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.Network (Sometimes abbreviated to .net or .nwk) is a paramilitary group that was founded on the Teen Grid on March 1st. Throughout their lifetime, they have been involved in numerous high-profile combat operations and ongoing conflicts against a vast array of factions and individuals.
During their time on the Teen Grid continent, they've been based in Carroll, Gordon, Martin, Lodestone, Svecia, Alloy and Lancashire. The group is noted for keen focus on the quality control of equipment and distributed technologies, but have also been criticised for the alleged segregation and cult mentality most of their personnel are seemingly forced to endure behind closed doors.
Formation & Early History
.Network was born in the ashes of Dave Mantis' Nairiax: at the time of its creation, the Teen Grid had stirred - finally alert in the wake of a post-Talon & Rome world. From the peak of Bay City, over monumental barricades of iron, concrete and plywood - to the very foot of the continent in Appalachia, the place was swept with a flurry of activity the like of which had not been seen in over two years. The group was founded by Orange Stickfigure, Corroded Zeplin and Thane Audion, spurned largely by the momentum of its predecessor, .Network inherited both the bulk of Nairiax's personnel and all of its land holdings.
Whilst .Network was first brought into the world in Carroll, the parcel there was traded-off within a matter of days for Maleficent Hands' smaller acquisition in Gordon, where the group erected their first structure; it is for this reason that Gordon, not Carroll is so revered by older .Network personnel.
Being of strategic value, Gordon had been immensely sought-after, and from the moment word broke of the fledgeling group who were now occupying the island, many became twisted with envy. In particular, a few dozen former-Talon personnel who had fled after the failed attempt to launch on Main Grid found themselves together once more under the protection of Copper Shriner and Lex Veriander's Infrastructure, who made haste to discredit the group, insisting not only that .Network had no claim to land in the region, but that it was instead theirs by right.
For the most part, Infrastructure personnel were unable to continue using their main accounts, which had been transferred to the Main Grid prematurely. Consequentially, many would decide to involve themselves in Veriander's brainchild, 23, whereupon a whole host of alts were created with uniform identities (For example, AV23.Lastname) and used to form the bulk of Infrastructure's member base.
Behind their masks of anonymity, the actions of the 23 grew increasingly depraved, and the two groups scrapped for months, these avatars making a frequent appearance on the border of the .Network parcel. On numerous occasions, .Network command accounts were mass-reported and banned - entire chunks of the architecture were copybotted from Gordon and displayed with pride at the Infrastructure parcel, and each time their attempts to dissolve .Network were met with stubborn perseverance, the group's actions went up a notch.
Finally, when things had been esculated to a peak, .Network command lashed-out, purging all of the Infrastructure groups and abandoning their holdings. Beaten, Shriner and Veriander went inactive simultaneously, with the vast majority of their personnel following suit.
Corroded Zeplin resigned from his position in command and lapsed into inactivity shortly thereafter, not wishing to invest any further time in the military community after Veriander had so cruelly opensourced years of his hard work. Zeplin's involvement in the fall of Infrastructure was a final act of vengance in lieu of this.
Carroll/Alloy era .Network
The decision to port operations to Carroll was a practical one; now with enough resources to support large plots in Gordon, Carroll and Martin, it was deemed appropriate that the group set their main location in a region that was less compromised. The Antaeus construction in Gordon had been rebuilt repeatedly, but each iteration of the design was as warped as the first, with Stickfigure forced to distort the shape of the compound and to awkwardly reinforce its defenses around the Catalyst parcel that sat defiantly in the middle of the island. After negotiations with Jack Westwick and Varg Svenson turned sour, .Network tore down Antaeus and left only a small sentry outpost in the region, intending to obtain the missing piece at a later date.
In the wake of Jack Westwick's transfer to Main Grid, Catalyst were also occupied with the business of rehousing themselves, moving from Camden to Tolkien and erecting a vast warship named the Espien II high in the atmosphere above the bay. Seeing the opportunity to relentlessly assault the rival group, .Network command chose the disused holdings in mainland Carroll as their primary base of operations, where their proximity to Catalyst was sure to cause the most friction.
In kind, Stickfigure (Now under the name Red Azov) built the spanning airborne obelisk The Angel Incarnate, situated a few thousand meters above the altitude of The Espien, with a rear docking berth that doubled as a means of parachuting down to the Catalyst post.
As both factions grew, the uneasy squabbling that had heralded their previous interactions reached fever pitch and boiled over into all-out war, fuelling activity and development within the two groups. The aggression of Catalyst had earned them a wealth of enemies, and many applied to .Network purely as a result of this. In kind, .Network were getting a reputation that had earned them a similar number of adversaries: Catalyst ranks too began to swell.
At this time, Catalyst undeniably had aerial superiority, and this became their standard method of dealing with the struggle. Whilst .Network command recognised this as a serious problem and voiced a desire to restructure their Air Division into a viable force, it was not until Sage Turquoise enlisted during Illumination that anything would come to change.
Midway into the conflict, Infrastructure made a reappearance. Veriander had his avatar recovered and set about gathering former personnel. They settled on the penninsula in Boscombe, (This time, notably lacking Copper Shriner) recruiting extremists like Kion Kuhn and a number of low-tier enlisted members who would much later form the Coercion Combine.
Much as before, accounts with the 23 monniker were created and there was a great deal of talk about destroying .Network; regrettably, Infrastructure met with an untimely end before they had the opportunity to attempt such a thing, and the half-built facility in Boscome grew empty as Veriander's subjects fled once more.
Only a few remained - and unchecked, they would lie dormant in the vicinity of Carroll and Tolkien, bellowing threats as idle as their avatars to anyone who might care to listen.
Enthralled by .Network's continued success and resilience in the face of such opposition, Azov in particular grew careless. The group was rewarded for this when Kion Kuhn stole into Azov's account and did to .Network what had been done to Infrastructure, hoping to leave it decimated. To their credit, Catalyst did not claim responsibility for the attack, going as far as to publicly condem Kuhn as a coward.
Within hours, Azov had resurfaced as Hexagon Torii and personnel were being reassembled in new .Network groups, now holding Alloy island; in spite of their quick recovery, the faction was humbled by the loss of the Angel Incarnate, and the weeks ahead were spent replacing the equipment that Kuhn had leaked whilst on Azov's account.
The north wing of the Illumination Citadel was raised on the day Alloy island passed into .Network control, and the rest of the structure was built shortly thereafter. Gradually, .Network assimilated much of the coastline also, although at no point did they utilise the additional holdings for anything more than an increased prim count.
Catalyst resumed offensive operations almost immediately, with raids frequently being conducted whilst work was being done on the former Eastern tower, which was actually torn down mid-combat in one such instance. The only structure remaining on Alloy island to date - the current Overwatch facility, lies in the same location as the former tower's foundation.
In spite of the relentless nature of the enemy barrage, Illumination became a period where .Network truly began to thrive - often heralded as their peak of activity, if not the peak of their existence. Regular assaults on the Espien II remained in evidence, and as .Network expanded so too did their desire to refine the group and its subsequent divisions.
The bulk of neighbouring region Lodestone was acquired and Torii set about building more fortifications under the Illumination title. The Lodestone side of Illumination was due to become the headquarters of the Fleet Division, which had been raised under the careful hand of Sage Turquoise - even in its earliest stages, the architecture was an impressive arrangement of towers and bridges - other divisions sprang-up and worked towards matching the progress being made in Fleet, as Fleet-specific armour was built (The earliest incarnation of the H16) and .Network began to combat Catalyst assaults with their prototype frigate, The Firenes.
Minerva Special Defense Forces began to take a more active role in the conflict, defending The Espien and co-ordinating joint assaults upon Illumination with Catalyst. Despite the formation of the Line.Six alliance group, .Network was seldom fortunate enough to be able to marshal such numbers from without, and they warred both factions whilst flitting between other, lesser struggles. Netharian Union perished at their hands, and Frost Umino belatedly heckled the group until Catalyst dismembered his budding faction Malestrom Armada, at which point he promptly left the grid.
In the midst of the carnage, Philip Rosedale announced that Teen Grid would be merged with Main Grid. Panic ensued throughout the land, and as details began to emerge it became clear that Linden Lab were due to once again offer a multitude of conflicting explanations as to what would occur. The hapless Terrence Linden was charged with dealing with any public backlash on the Teen Grid, and his statements would ultimately cause more harm than good; he falsely stated that the Teen Grid continent would not be brought across, suggesting instead that any residents who had holdings there would be reimbursed financially.
Thinking the landmass doomed, most of those who had not already quit transferred to the Main Grid prematurely on alternate accounts. Catalyst quickly acquired a private region named Aethyr, with a member of .Network command purchasing a self-titled homestead sim in which they began building the Poseidon Stronghold.
Activity on Main Grid
The group that arrived on Main Grid was most different to the one that had fought and survived on the Teen Grid - overwhelmed perhaps by the sheer size of it all, and certainly by the vastly different political landscape that dominated the military community there, it quickly became clear to .Network command why all previous attempts to transfer a military successfully had been met with eventual failure, and large numbers of the founding personnel grew disheartened by the true isolation of the place in which they found themselves.
In kind, immigrants were arriving from the Teen Grid each day, with individuals from all manner of backgrounds successfully applying for .Network membership. As their surroundings had changed, so did the group itself, at one point reaching a stage where most of their members were quite unrecogniseable.
Not long after, Thane Audion (Then using Artemis Fehr and Sergey Azarov, respectively) made the fatal error of trusting Dave Mantis to age verify his Teen Grid account so that it might be brought across to join the Main Grid .Network groups: Mantis complied, but not without informing Copper Shriner of this fact, and ultimately collaborating with Shriner so that Infrastructure staff were able to gain access to the Azarov account and to an ownership role in the new .Network groups, where they caused no end of mischief.
Azarov was removed from the Basileus position and for the most part, tangeable damage done was reverted - the region was rolled back and the groups were salvaged - but for a host of personnel who had already lost confidence in the grid itself, such an event was damaging enough to give them cause to lose confidence in the group.
Sage Turquoise was promoted from his role as Fleet Commander to hold the second Basileus title, but in spite of a gallant effort to make the best of the situation, the spirit which had made the group so versatile was lost. In a final blow, .Network's main scripter departed, Torii lapsed into inactivity and several months passed in which Poseidon and the group which occupied it became a shell.
Hexagon Torii's return was met with little fanfare. The group had no region to speak of - a mere handful of active personnel remaining - the few who still logged-in and displayed an interest were confined to unfamiliar, foreign sandboxes.
Meanwhile, Linden Lab had retracted prior statements made with regards to the Teen Grid continent, confirming that it would remain intact. In a last-ditch effort to pull the group back together, Torii consulted with Turquoise and Azarov about the possibility of returning to the Teen Grid and collecting themselves on the remaining holdings in Alloy, ready for the transfer.
Turquoise was firmly set against such a thing, but determined that it was the best course of action, Torii deposed him from command and reinstated Azarov in his place. Together, they brought the remnants of their group back to the Teen Grid, where the Illumination Citadel had lain derelict.
Feeling that they would only succeed if their personnel saw something new being produced, .Network command demolished the Citadel and Torii set about constructing the Astraeus Bulwark. True to form, loyalists emerged and soon the island showed traces of activity once more.
The Grids merged on January 21st, but Astraeus was still far from complete; Torii was wrapped-up in the extravagances of this new .Network aesthetic, and his pace was not helping matters. The group continued in a sleepy semblance of progress through to February, assimilating the first incarnation of Vaelkyr and finally starting to pick-up speed.
On the 7th February, Azarov resigned from .Network in a fit of rage, returning the Astraeus construction, abandoning the holdings in Alloy and Svecia. All personnel were mass-ejected from the groups and Azarov went to great lengths to distribute any and all .Network-related items he had in his possession.
It later surfaced that Azarov, diagnosed with Schizophrenia some time before his involvement in .Network, had stopped taking his medication - feeling that he was stable enough to manage without.
Elsewhere, Coalition of The Order had surfaced, attracting a wealth of recruits with the sheer prestige of Teen Grid Officers who were present there. Coalition promised solidarity and strength for a generaton who had fallen on hard times - they drew all manner of individuals to defect from their respective factions, and one such individual was none other than Jack Westwick, the founder of Catalyst Ops. who had linked-up with Varg Svenson after the group had arrived on Main Grid.
Westwick's departure cut the group deeply, and with many of Catalyst's engineers and officer core enlisting in Coalition with him, the betrayal stung all the more. Amongst those who remained loyal to Svenson was Victis Verne, who had an unusually good relationship with .Network considering the nature of his position.
In an act of kindness, Martyr Dethly of the now defunct Minerva Special Defense Forces saw what had been done to .Network and gave them the old Minerva parcel in Lancashire, where Torii and the rest of his crippled group went to lick their wounds. The ruins of Astraeus, which Azarov had returned in separate pieces were painstakingly reconstructed and completed on the shoreline there, with the compound now titled Hydra.
Verne and Torii spoke regularly, with each advising the other on matters concering the state of their respective factions. Eventually, Torii proposed that they work together - stating that .Network had stunted manpower but a number of good, loyal engineers and officers. In kind, Catalyst were brimming with enlisted personnel and still had their scripter intact, but lacked officers and engineers.
A meeting was initiated amongst Verne, Torii and Svenson - it lasted for several hours and whilst .Network's advances were initially treated with suspicion, the outcome was remarkably productive. Eventually, an agreement was reached and it was decided that the groups would share both Aethyr and the vast majority of their resources, but that they would remain separate entities.
The Aethyr Combine
Considering their relationship to be a success, Svenson proposed that the two groups become one several weeks after .Network arrived in Aethyr. Torii (Now Jack Mondegreen) gave his consent and hours later, The Aethyr Combine was born.
For all that had passed between .Network and Catalyst, the partnership was a fruitful one. The minority within the new group who were opposed to this new arrangement were removed accordingly, regardless of their previous origin or rank.
The Combine sought to improve on all that they had been previously - to set a standard and to lead by example; the impression they created for themselves was vast and bloated to the outsider, although attempting to carry such weight so early on proved to be a dire mistake.
Beyond the oceans of paperwork that were now being generated, the group worked tirelessly to root their physical presence as this impressive beast - the desire to shout of recovery and triumph stemming from the fate of both former factions - the scale of the citadel in Aethyr itself was just the tip of the iceberg.
Mondegreen in particular strove to buy-up mainland Teen Grid, snatching spawn points in the vast majority of the regions there and leading the charge to recover Gordon island, which had been fractured into dozens of parcels, Alloy island and Mizithra, much of which had been empty since the death of the Valkyrie Alliance.
Successful in this and also acquiring a third valuable island holding in the form of Lodestone, immense divisional bases were erected on all but Alloy, which was planned for a future use which never came to pass.
Outsiders often assumed and subsequently remarked that the group must have particularly good finances, but the truth of the matter was a grim one; Svenson came and went without warning, disappearing often for months at a time. The tier used to purchase the land on Teen Grid was borrowed, and slotted in and out of different groups so that the parcels could be held simultaneously. The Combine were actually paying for less than a quarter of their Mainland holdings.
Eventually, after over a year with the region closed to the public, The Dusk Station in Gordon was opened and warfare assumed with New Rome, who had been freshly reborn. Swimming in the grandeur and the scope of the concepts that command swore would make The Combine great, personnel activity increased and thrived in spite of the gaping holes in the group's infrastructure.
The Aethyr Combine lost their tier mere days before Aethyr itself went offline, and Svenson's avatar was banned for failure to honour region payment. The group limped-on in Gordon for a further three weeks before officially closing, with personnel dispersed far and wide.
The monolithic Combine architecture that littered Teen Grid remained for quite some time before it too was lost.
.Network's Renaissance came first as an awkward, hesitant gait and then in sudden vibrant throes of triumph. Much had passed since the fall of the Aethyr Combine, and even the solitary memorial in Appalachia had been forgotten, for the most part. The greatest concentration of former Aethyr personnel had been in Drevus Valerik's Arkreign prior to Aelus Kaur's stint there, but following the incidents in Arkreign those still in military service were divided, whilst a number of the others still walked the grid garbed in the rusted-golden H16R - tagless, observing but seldom participating in the community.
Jack Mondegreen had been absent from militaries for the duration of this period and had ultimately dropped out of contact with all but a few of the remaining .Network and Aethyr veterans. Varg Svenson had resurfaced briefly to create a group named Irminsul Worldwide, which had met with the same fate as Aethyr; shortly thereafter, he left the grid and did not return.
Here, The Combat Continent reared its head for the first time as a desirable alternative to private region-based conflict, and for a moment the years would fall away, leaving groups of both Teen and Main Grid origin to contemplate what it would be to return to some form of Mainland combat. Enthralled by this prospect, Mondegreen approached Project Fallen to at last give thought to the revival of the slain .Network.
Structures were erected and decimated on Alloy island as Mondegreen struggled to regain some sense of what had been lost in the time spent away - the result - the first Renaissance .Network structures came in ungainly colours, the shapes appearing more as those built by numerous imitators of .Network had rather than an authentic creation by the group itself.
The first constructions lacked the deft touch of their predecessors - were without any kind of mystique or attention, for all the effort that went into making them appear so.
All the same, the group was making positive headway and soon acquired a region named Invalid Location, and later Helios, on The Combat Continent itself. .Network dove into the fray, scrapping with their neighbours but still very much an infant to the giant they had been.
When The Combat Continent began to lose traction, .Network moved operations to a private region, Casmor and finally what they had been attempting to build clicked into place. The atmosphere - a sense of detail throughout, of knowledge - of this sprawling, versatile beast - that sense of Teen Grid.
On February the 24th, just short of its 4th anniversary, .Network officially closed its doors. After a meeting in which everyone was informed of the imminent closing of the group, the Resurgence Bulwark in Anomaly was destroyed after an immense final battle with its oldest rival. In its final hour, there were personnel who were there on the day that chance spurned it into the world, personnel who fought valiently against those who besieged the Resurgence Bulwark , personnel who scaled the towering walls of the Faulkenstrom Bastion for hours on end, personnel who once pushed through the narrow hallways aboard the Espien II, and personnel who defended it viciously against men and women who are now perhaps their dearest comrades.
.Network was one of the last surviving factions of Teen Grid origin.
The group has always been noted for its distinctive appearance, which has been both highly criticised and praised. .Network architecture has an undeniably striking aesthetic, with conflicting influences ranging from brutalism to the Art Deco structures of the 1930s. In particular, Jack Mondegreen has cited the Accoustic Mirrors in Denge, the Barbican Centre in London and the eerie post-cold war structures that lie across much of Eastern Europe as being key sources of inspiration.
Former quartermaster Absent Thexton's iconic works like the Screadta had a profound impact on Renaissance .Network weapon and vehicle design, with Project Fallen and Sith Thunders both successfully imitating his signature organic curvature in their own work.
Group uniform is a departure from the tactical grey staple that many other groups of the same generation hold dear - instead, a battered, browning palette of angular metal where the line between avatar and attire is often blurred; in this regard, the notion of human/machine integration is very much in play - an intentional allusion to the players' own relationships with technology.
As is the case with numerous other factions, .Network personnel are perhaps most easily identified by the colour of the lighting that adorns both their armour and structures, which has been sage green since the group was based in Illumination.
.Network is based in Anomaly, and at this time retains holdings in 33 of the remaining 48 Teen Grid Mainland regions in which land is not owned entirely by Linden Lab. Their territory in Alloy is by far the largest of this crop, where an active Overwatch facility is positioned in the Eastern peninsula.
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