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The Hobnobbers, a.k.a. the founders of the noble and royal houses of the Andali Confederation, plotting their break for independence from the European Union with a Spartan Group mercenary commander. An excerpt from the Dark Nova RPG history files, written by Cap'n Sally-

The second war came in 2280 as the Andali Confederation made a big comeback. The whole thing started with an elitist country club debate in 2267, I shit you not. The heads of a dozen wealthy and powerful industrial families were hobnobbing one day, and the discussion turned to a mixture of politics and history. Turns out that each of them could trace their roots to one noble family or another in old Europe, and they began a big ol’ debate about how much better things were during the Renaissance, blah blah blah. One thing leads to another, and the discussion slowly evolved into a plan for restructuring the colonies. Public sentiment towards the European Union hadn’t improved much since the Andali systems were conquered, and even the wealthy wanted a change in leadership at the very least. The hobnobbers were, being wealthy elites, well-versed in classical literature, including the works of Nicolò Machiavelli. Using Machiavelli’s The Prince as a blueprint, the hobnobbers (I love that word) cooked up a three-part plan. The first part was a viral propaganda and public relations campaign to remind the people what the European forces had done, to point out the freedoms experienced by those colonies that had succeeded in their bids for freedom, and fomenting pure, unadulterated hatred for the EU. The second part was to create a mythology of noble houses of ancient European origins, dethroned by the evil fascist and socialist governments that had come to power throughout the 20th and 21st Centuries, who were the true leaders of the people. This mythology centered, of course, on the very same families the hobnobbers came from. The third part was the quiet financing of a sizeable private army by each of the hobnobbers through their corporate and industrial assets.
Contracting non-European mercenary firms to provide security for their industrial facilities, they started recruiting thousands of idealistic Andali youths who had bought into the mythology, and had the merc firms arm and train them for combat. The mercs figured out what was going to go down, but didn’t say jack because, frankly, they realized a free Andali nation would owe them, and be likely to prove a very lucrative client in the future. Ah, war as business, gotta love it. At least it’s honest.
Thirteen years after the initial hobnobbing session, the plan kicked off. Contract mercenary fleets- Spartan Group, Venturi Military Solutions, and many Ahrugan mercenaries with their own ships- combined with tens of thousands of nationalist troops loyal to each of the “noble” houses in a joint operation. In lightning strikes the Andali ground forces took out the command and control centers and government administration buildings on each colony world. Simultaneously, mercenary SpecOps units hit and disabled the primary European garrison with a non-lethal bioweapon slipped into their drinking water that gave the soldiers crippling gastroenteritis. This literal shit storm disorganized the European troops long enough for the Andali soldiers to overrun them. With the colonial garrisons taken down, the Andali commanders immediately set about prepping to defend against the inevitable European counterattack. They pulled the mercenaries back to defend the colony worlds and stations, and burped out a bunch of etheric emulator satellites. Why, you might ask, were they throwing Omninet VR emulators out into space? Ah, grasshopper, you have to understand the European approach to warfare.
Not since the Americans during the last half of the 20th and first part of the 21st Centuries had a nation existed that was more casualty-adverse. Dead soldiers and sailors made for bad press back home, and the casualty-adverse mindset led to an unbelievably unhealthy level of reliance on drones. Ground combat was fought with combat robots, fighter drones launched from control carriers where the pilots were safely tucked away in the bowels of the ship, and so on. The Andali planners knew this, and as the European fleets jumped into the dozens of Andali systems to crush the “upstart rebellion”, they unleashed their secret weapon- netjackers.
As the drones were launched, thousands of netjackers hacked their command sequences or hijacked their pilot feeds, disabling the drones or sending them back against their own carriers. Aboard the dropships and troop transports, combat robots suddenly activated and shot the bat crap out of the vessels from within, destroying them. It was an utter disaster for the EU. Now, for my part, the sight of several drones drunkenly spiraling into their carriers like sauced kamikazes was funny as hell, but European Fleet Command didn’t see it that way. The EU followed up a few days later with real warships and real, meat-body troops. The Andalis were waiting for this, and in a truly Machiavellian move, sent what could only be described as modern-day “fire ships” (if you don’t know what a fire ship is, research the Spanish Armada vs. Sir Francis Drake back in the 16th Century) when they launched shuttles loaded to the gills with radioactive waste and other special ingredients. Thinking the shuttles were nuclear suicide bombs, the EU ships blew the batsnot out of them, creating a massive radioactive debris field. Said debris field just happened to screw up the EU ships’ sensors enough to hide the signature of the barrage of incoming MAC rounds launched from mass drivers on the planets’ surfaces. Normally, MAC rounds traveling that far- between three and ten light seconds distance- would be pinged by gravitic sensors, allowing the ships to fire countermeasures or evade. Not with a big-ass radioactive debris fields and a few gravity lens generators thrown in for flavor.
The European ships were taking significant damage and still hadn’t closed to firing range of the planets and their defense fleets. Making matters worse, the Andalis were using gravity lenses to curve the trajectories of their MAC shots, banking rounds in wide arcs around behind the fleet, confusing the EU fleet commanders as they were shot from behind, but no ships were present.
Three of the fleets bugged out, withdrawing to friendly systems to regroup and recover. The rest followed standard protocol and pulled into tight defensive formations to allow their shields to overlap, creating a shield wall against the incoming rounds. It was quite effective, and the MAC rounds went from devastating withering fire to harassment attacks as the EU ships were able to transfer all of their shield output to the outermost facing side. Unfortunately, it also allowed the Andalis to pinpoint the fleets’ exact locations and short-jump automated freighters right on top of them. Those ships not destroyed by the tidal forces of the jump points were smashed or scattered by the impact of hypervelocity cargo ships, the reactors of most of which went critical upon impact, doing even more damage. Andali Confederation 2, European Union 0.
The Andalis managed to overrun and capture the surviving ships easily, and added them to their growing fleet of warships. The EU were shocked at the losses they had suffered, and withheld further attacks until they could formulate a plan. Taking a cue from the Ahruga, they decided to try an overkill approach, sending six carrier task-forces to each star system. This constituted nearly twenty percent of the entire European fleet at the time. Knowing that they’d lost the element of surprise, and not wanting to be thought of as one-trick ponies, the Andali planners had already come up with phase two of their operations. Standard military operational protocol back then was to jump a scout ship into the Oort cloud of a target system, cloak it, and slowly work its way into the inner system to the target planets over a week’s time. The scout ship would then gather intelligence, report back to the main fleet, and give precise jump coordinates for the ships to pop into close orbit and come out swinging. The Andalis knew this, and set up listening posts on comets in the Oort cloud to detect the jump points of incoming ships (yeah, I know, common-freakin’-sense, but that tactic was new back then.) As soon as the scouts would pop in, the Andalis set up their defenses in such a way as to leave subtle, yet potent weaknesses that could be detected by a sound strategic mind. Sure enough, the scout ships came, scanned, and jumped back out over the next several weeks. As soon as the scouts left, however, the Andalis set up ambushes at the likely jump points.
Soon enough, the European assault began, and the majority of the incoming fleets found themselves in a world of hurt of gravity and fusion mines, killing-field volley fire, and missile barrages from orbital defense platforms that hadn’t been there in the intelligence briefs, as well as planetary defense cannons the rebels weren’t even supposed to have (thanks to Ahruga-Mart, selling big guns to anyone the Europeans don’t like since 2267!) Both sides took heavy losses, but the Europeans were forced to retreat once again. Back home, the war had become incredibly unpopular as Andali-leaked footage of the battles coincided with tens of thousands of next-of-kin notifications. Masters of propaganda, the hobnobbers amped up the people, and solidified their positions as neo-royalty, noble houses ruling a confederation of systems. By the end of 2281, the European Union found itself bogged down in a guerrilla war against what was rapidly becoming a solidified nation. The death-knell to the war came in 2282 when the Australio-Pacifica Coalition and Ahrugan Tribal Confederation officially recognized the Andali Confederation as a sovereign, self-governing state. Having had no decisive victories, and facing a brutal insurgency and possible intervention by the APC and ATC, the European Union signed peace accords and formally recognized the Andali Confederation as well. The EU didn’t go quietly, however, and they still to this day lend material and financial support to various “loyalist” insurgency groups and separatist movements within the AC. Not openly, of course, but everyone knows they are behind it. The bickering between the AC and EU in the TAN council is as heated today as it was back then, so if you ever want to get an insight into the Andali Revolution, pop on CBN and watch the council debates.


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Text is copyright Dark Nova Games, image is based on an illustration from Eve Online with heavy modifications by yours truly.
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First use of my wacom intuos 4 M I just received!
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A design I did for the 2012 Ron Paul movement. I wanted to do something that would grab people's attention when they see it. Not commissioned from Ron Paul or his campaign but from a group of people who want to make people informed of the truth and the availability of other options other than what Fox News tells you about. We got lost in the day to day routines of working, going to school, feeding our families, etc and lose the interest to research and understand what is going on in the country we live in. I appreciate any feedback about the art and understand that there are those who disagree with Dr. Ron Paul's beliefs and that is one of the very freedoms he looks to preserve. So please feel free to criticize my work and give any advice(I am new to this type of art) that might make it better but please keep the political debates to other forums. Thanks for taking the time to look!
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Here's how I imagine the rural farmers in this post-apocalyptic setting might live. Pretty peaceful.
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Trying a darker, more evil environment with fun lighting. I also didn't want to do the good vs evil scene, my goal was to leave it pretty vague as to who's who. Toying with the "evil is a perspective" thing adds to the mystique I hope. This has definitely been on of my favorites to paint so far!
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Remember the 'Lil Coffin? Here's a 2012 version.
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Fairly quick environment
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