At the heart of the People’s Combine is the Inner Assembly, unrecognisable from the gulags that stood in its place four generations ago. Its towering Arsenals are home to a million patriots apiece, each structure perfectly optimised to maximise its contribution of skilled soldiers, gunships, and materiel to Operation Infinite Dawn.
Life in the Inner Assembly is harmonious and bright, with the workers of the Combine circulating between instructories, forges, logistics centres, medical workshops, laboratories, and mess halls as talent, need, and inclination direct them. Grand portraiture of the People's heroes smile confidently down upon them, and One World Radio keeps perfect time. It is a model for how everyone should have the right to live.
But even the Inner Assembly has not escaped the influence of chaos abroad. Logistical failures and difficulty reaching Consensus suggests the Industrioclasts are trying to bring down the Combine from within its innermost sanctum.
The Inner Assembly is most likely to feature stories from the People's Combine, the Penitents seeking to direct them, and ambassadors from other cultures.
A Call to Action
+++PRIORITY COMM BEGINS+++
PATRIOTS OF THE COMBINE! In 83 hours, OPERATION INFINITE DAWN enters its FINAL STAGE. As we speak, our GREATEST SHIPS are converging on the Worldbreach. They carry an ELITE TEAM, UNITED in ONE MISSION: to claim the UNCHARTED WORLD in the name of LIBERTY, UNITY, and PROGRESS! The VICTORY THROUGH PERSISTENCE is the first to the fray, fresh from battle against the VALTARIAN TYRANTS on the Shattered Front. War may take its toll, but the valiant crew of the VICTORY THROUGH PERSISTENCE never falter!
But they do not fight alone! Since receiving the signal, the SYMPHONY OF PURPOSE and the RELENTLESS ASSAULT ON THE TYRANNY OF AUTHORITY have raced NIGHT and DAY from the Inner Sea, leaving a wake of shipping HEAVILY LIBERATED from OPPORTUNITY PROFITEERS!
And on an intercept course, newly refitted from the Armories, the VICTOR ASCENDANT seeks to lend their LEGENDARY FIGHTING SPIRIT to the cause! These are the HEROES of the PEOPLE. Their VERY HEARTS pump DIESEL and CONVICTION. With the might of their COMBINED ARMS, and the strength of their UNITED WILL, we CANNOT FAIL!
+++PRIORITY COMM ENDS+++
Bring Me The Horizon
Author: At Dusk and At Dawn
It was a tradition of sorts, within the combine, that when a new ship was built to the name of a new crew’s choosing its first engine check was to have the crews core liberators present. Not only was it a prime propaganda opportunity (and an excellent step on the way to fame for the young pin-up-prospects) but it also helped to form a bond between the crew and the ship. Just as the Pro-crops were entrusted with the first welding of the bare bones and the Rev-corps charged with outfitting the decor, Lib-corps had the burden of making the ship an extension of the combine itself.
Gatling smiled as the wind tugged at her hair and the engines hummed into life beneath the black lacquered wood at her feet. There was something about the mix of cold steel and dark walnut that shouldn’t have worked but brought the whole thing together into something --
“Beautiful, right?” Her brother grinned from beside her, leaning back against that same bow and adjusting the goggles on his head. The Rev-corp covering their visit, one Comrade Signal, had insisted that they be at a “jaunty” angle for the shot, despite the young man’s protests on the matter. Gatling smiled as she reached across and straightened them for him. “If all goes well today it should be just another week before she’ll be sky worthy.”
The two shared board, cat like grins.
“Not a moment too soon, ay Dy.” Gatling smirked, elbowing him in the side before hopping up onto the side railing of the ship. Out of the corner of her eye Signal burst into a sudden flurry of movement in an attempt to capture the moment. This was the rest of her life - she thought - ignoring cameras while trying to look good at every moment. “You’ve been talking about this for weeks.” The male smiled, boyish charm still awkwardly trying to keep what would one day be a roguish smirk at bay.
There was a small jolt as the ship started to raise a little way off the ground and Gatling hooked her boots around the support strut of the railing to secure herself. “It’s so close I can taste it. Everything we’ve been trained for, Dy, been working for. It’s out there.” She gazed out of the open bay doors, the wider world stretching out beyond the ship's current reach all the way to the horizon line. “It’s waiting, calling to me, to us. The Horizon… I can feel it in my bones.”
Their grins were still wide and bright as the camera flash behind them, silhouetting them against the sun.
The Music in The Storm
Author: By My Crooked Teeth
The Inner Assembly, a long time ago.
The Oncoming Storm of Progress was truly a monster. A vast heavily armoured war ship, top of the line with 84 guns upon her, she was a thing to be feared. But to Hegemonic Engineer Rotation she was home. The back of the ship was burned black after it got into a tangle with a dragon, in which they got away with only some beauty marks. The Storm was a tough lady that was for sure.
Rotation was one of the few Shapers on board, he was discovered after he was seen picking up crew assumed past the point of help. He was a quiet but smiling man, always ready for a joke with the crew but firm when needed. He was someone who the crew could rely on to keep them on task and bold when they were fighting the capitalists of Opportunity or the Tyrants of Valtaria.
Rotation was practicing shaping. It was a practice he was fascinated with but never really had much call for the usage of. The means of production being limited in the resource he needed to work. But he was turning his harmonica over in his hand faint green mana danced around it as he worked. It was a simple item, one he got with a drop of instruments for morale purposes. He found the small instrument in his hand to be oddly reassuring. To begin with he was terrible. Much to the amusement of his comrades.
But he would just laugh and says, “Persistence Comrades. Have Faith.” And still he would play. As the days turned to weeks and the weeks turned to months he started to get good, he could hold a tune and amuse the crew as he did it. Here he was turning it into something else, a new purpose to the combines gain.
The Storm was caught up in putting down a new threat of Industroclast activities, they had taken over a whole three airships. This was unacceptable. The Storm was sent to capture or destroy the offending vessels. The rain fell hard upon the decks as the Storm climbed higher and higher. The Storm took advantage of cloud cover and their weight to perform combat dives. It was insane but it was effective.
The gunnery crews were ready, loaded and primed. The Crew were attached to their harnesses to keep them from kissing the sky and rushing to be acquainted to the ground as Engineer Weld would say.
The Storm drop was a thing of controlled beauty as it took perfect timing from helm and engineering to time everything right. The Volunteers and Liberators hunkered down and checked each-others harnesses to make sure they are tight. Rotation walked down the line checking with the rest of them.
The other members of Revcorp on the ship were spaced throughout the vessel and were calling out the mantra that the crew always spoke before a drop.
“Citizens of the Combine. Comrades one and all. Today we do the great work. Today we will do what we are trained to do. We will show our enemies that tyrants will not stand, that those who stand against Liberty and Unity must brave the Storm. Be Bold Comrades. And please don’t fall off the Bloody Ship.”
This was met with laughter from the crew and then it was silenced by a wave from Engineer Ballast who was on the radar. The Industroclast ships were right beneath us. We waiting for all stations to sound off as ready. Rotation checked his pocket was buttoned up to prevent his harmonica from dropping out. He hunkered down in his seat and strapped himself in. Liberator Gage fussed over his wires. He nodded and smiled at her as he took his glasses off. He had learned his lesson from the first time they attempted the drop.
Helmsman Lens was counting beats between the lighting and thunder. This was so the ship wasn’t struck by lightning as it went down but could still look impressive on the way down. The crew was silent and then they heard the crackle on the radio.
“Attention Industroclast ships this is Hedgemonic Engineer Piston of the Liberation without Limit. You have one chance to hand yourself in for reeducation. This is not the way comrades. This is your one chance to redeem yourself. What say you?”
There was a murmur though the crew mostly a combination of comments on Piston’s bravery or stupidity. Then the crew heard it. The reply crackle on the radio.
“We will not live in chains.” Then the sound of cannons firing. We knew there were three ships, The Liberation was a small ship twelve gunners, but fast. She was mostly for reeducation and morale work.
What they were doing here was no one’s guess.
A sound came up from the engine room, “Ready comrade.”
Helmsman Lens checked the straps on his harness one last time and nodded. “Dive Dive Dive.” He yelled into the radio. With that the levitation engines were shut off and the Storm was falling. It was like dropping a Valtarian fortress on someone. By the Machine it was a sight.
The levitation engines kicked in and the heavily reinforced supports for the lift balloon was strained as the ship suddenly became a lot lighter. The Industroclast ships were one moment out numbering the small ship the Liberation and then it suddenly had the storm on their hands. The guns fired as soon as they got a shot. Bottom deck first. Then middle then top. BOOM, BOOM, BOOM. Like the clapping of thunder, wisps of cloud curling along her hull. One industroclast ship took a bad hit to the mast and began to dangle dangerously. A second volley sent it spinning into the waters. The Storm powered forward.
“Right Comrades. To your stations. It would be unfair for the Gunners to take all the duty.” Rotation would shout as be pulled his revolver from his holster and replaced his specs on his face.
The battle was done, the will broke from the traitors, one ship destroyed. One crippled and the last one captured after a boarding action. Rotation was always where the fighting was thickest. He would wade in with his pistol or blade and help pull out the wounded. He got some funny looks when he pulled his harmonica out of his pocket. “Now’s not the best time for a song Comrade.”
“Just watch.” With that Rotation, would play a few fast-breathy notes like a small tune and he then moved it from his face and said “You ONE UP.” And the wounds started to close. He smiled broadly and continued playing. Volunteers surrounding him keeping him safe and spotting for him the wounded as he played his battle field tune. There were those who laughed at the absurdity but they did not laugh for long. That day was the first that Rotation had made use of a hailer.
By My Crooked Teeth had a harmonica against his lips playing a tune that washed though the Gallery. He started playing an old tune of battle, one from long ago. There were times where he would feel nostalgic. He remembered that he dropped into the old tune when in battle, he remembered the quick lessons he gave. He always felt strange when around the Combine. But they were always tests. Show himself his old life and keep himself on the path he was needed on. He smiled and placed the harmonica back to his lips and continued to play as he remembered the battles of the Storm.