Sep 16, 2022
This episode carries content warnings for violence, death, and colonization.
For the first few years of the war, those in the central depths of Nideo space felt safe. In order to reach them, the Pact would first have to push through an unthinkable amount of territory—much of it well defended. What they did not expect was an Apostolosian sneak attack arriving through the deep space that separates two galactic arms. And when they arrived, it was not simply an invasion. It was an invitation to a morbid race: Who would conquer Palisade—and the Twilight Mirage Beyond—first.
At the forefront of this conflict, two pilots arose. This is their story.
This week on the Road to Palisade: Last Shooting
Stel Nideo: WIth origins in the long lost Twilight Mirage, Stel Nideo are architects of our current era, dread controllers of the Present. Along with shaping mass media, popular culture, and educational standards, they now operate both Received and Progressive Asterism, the former run by the corrupt Cycle and the latter by the grotesque puppet of the lost prophet Gur Sevraq. These priests, pop idols, and patriotic poster children are largely aligned with the Curtain of Divinity.
Stel Orion: For hundreds of thousands of years, Stel Orion—under countless names and forms—has repeated a cycle of exploitation and revolution. Competing spirits of individualism and camaraderie ebb and flow, but industry remains. Is it any wonder that it remains associated with the raw breadth of Space itself? Currently, Orion is at war with itself, with countless small factions not only differing in position on the larger civil war in the Principality, but also on many additional issues like wealth, religion, and culture.
Stel Apostolos: An ancient people, ever obsessed with external conquest and internal freedom, and utterly uninterested in understanding their own contradictions. They are dedicated to the pursuit of forward Motion, and I suppose I can respect such bullheaded devotion. It is, at the very least, not boring. They are the meat and muscle of the Pact of Necessary Venture.
The Curtain of Divinity: For generations, the Curtain of Divinity operated in the shadows of the Principality, partly as intelligence agency, partly as shadow government. Now they have been dragged into the daylight, and serve as one of the two ruling factions of the whole Principality. Though there are some divisions along questions of secularity, humanism, and cultural taste, in general, leaders of the Curtain are conservative, traditionalist, and nationalistic. They seek the reunification of all five Stels and the permanence of the Divine Principality.
Led, in public at least, by Cynosure Whitestar-Kesh, the Peaceful Princept. In fact, the Curtain has five divisions, each led by a ruthless individual known only by a codename: Silk (diplomacy), Damask (research & inquisition), Lace (military), Linen (economics), and Gabardine (espionage and collaboration).
The Pact of Necessary Venture: As their (current) name suggests, the Pact began as a cooperative exploratory committee founded in the late 14th Century of the Perfect Millennium. They sought new territory to conquer, breaking an old taboo in the process, and inviting destruction and fracture. Which is appropriate, as their vision for the future is one where each Stel is granted more autonomy and independence—some even claim that they would see the Principality utterly destroyed and replaced by a loose affiliation of free states.
Despite this, the Pact are no radicals: While they want more independence from the Principality, they have little interest in shaking up the internal power structures of the Stels themselves. After all, their founders were all Elects, and though only two remain (Gallica, elect of the Divine Present, and Rye, elect of the divine Space), they are led by Dahlia, who serves as both Apokine and Glorious Princept.
Cor'rina Corrine (cor/cors): Drawing cor root name for the Eidolon Corridor, a famed Apostolosian peace maker, is it any wonder that Cor’rina Corrine, ace pilot of the Pact’s forces near Palisade, is a naive idealist?
Misericorde 'Miseri' (he/they): Heir to a disgraced family who sided with the rebellious Sovereign Immunity once known as The Farmer. Seeks to restore his family’s name by any means necessary.
Dahlia (they/them): The self-proclaimed “Glorious Princept” and Apokine of Apostolos has the support of the Pact of Venture, yet seems more concerned with winning the war against the Branched than attending to the civil war inside of the Principality. Dahlia is the elect not only of Integrity but also Commitment. A feat, a folly, or both?
The Skarnoc Debris Fields: The remnants of a battle from the era before the Twilight Mirage, where the Rapid Evening fought and lost the Divine Nobility. Besides the normal ship debris, the field has gathered strange crystalline spires.
The Portcullis System & The Divine Space: Huge, distended hexagonal gates that float at the edge of key systems throughout the Principality. Once a week—or more often, if one has the keys to the kingdom—each one connects to one other, forming a faster-than-light highway that serves as the logistical backbone of the galaxy. Built by Orion, the technology is a perversion of that used by some of the earliest Divines, tens of thousands of years.
The Perennial Wave: Perennial is something like a god, or at least I think she imagines she is. Her wave is her arrogant whim, made manifest. Functionally infinite nano-particles, spread throughout the galaxy, hampering all technology except (curiously) Divines.
Kalmeria Particle: A so-called miracle of modern science, providing those that master it power akin to what was wielded before the Perennial Wave. Like most miracles, there is an explanation, but most people have neither the knowledge of nor interest in what it really is or where it came from. Some know that it is named for the rogue engineer Kal’Mera Broun, but few know that it is the result not only of their research into the divine Asepsis, but also the particular consequences of Millennium Break’s battle with Motion and her siphoning of so-called “Autonomy Itself.”
Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)
Featuring Andrew Lee Swan (@swandre3000) and Sylvia Clare
Produced by Ali Acampora (@ali_west),
Music by Jack de Quidt (available on bandcamp)
Text by Austin Walker
Cover Art by Craig Sheldon (@shoddyrobot)
You can purchase Last Shooting at https://my-name-is-grant.itch.io/last-shooting