Citizens of the civilized galaxy, on this day we mark a transition. For a thousand years, the Republic stood as the crowning achievement of civilized beings. But there were those who would set us against one another, and we took up arms to defend our way of life against the Separatists. In so doing, we never suspected that the greatest threat came from within. The Jedi and some within our own Senate had conspired to create the shadow of Separatism using one of their own as the enemy's leader. They had hoped to grind the Republic into ruin. But the hatred in their hearts could not be hidden forever. At last, there came a day when our enemies showed their true natures.
The Jedi hoped to unleash their destructive power against the Republic by assassinating the head of government and usurping control of the clone army. But the aims of would-be tyrants were valiantly opposed by those without elitist, dangerous powers. Our loyal clone troopers contained the insurrection within the Jedi Temple and quelled uprisings on a thousand worlds.
The remaining Jedi will be hunted down and defeated! Any collaborators will suffer the same fate. These have been trying times, but we have passed the test. The attempt on my life was not small, but I assure you my resolve has never been stronger. The war is over. The Separatists have been defeated, and the Jedi rebellion has been foiled. We stand on the threshold of a new beginning. In order to ensure our security and continuing stability, the Republic will be reorganized into the first Galactic Empire, for a safe and secure society, which I assure you will last for ten thousand years. An Empire that will continue to be ruled by this august body and a sovereign ruler chosen for life. An Empire ruled by the majority, ruled by a new constitution!
By bringing the entire galaxy under one law, one language, and the enlightened guidance of one individual, the corruption that plagued the Republic in its later years will never take root. Regional governors will eliminate the bureaucracy that allowed the Separatist movement to grow unchecked. A strong and growing military will ensure the rule of law.
Under the Empire's New Order, our most cherished beliefs will be safeguarded. We will defend our ideals by force of arms. We will give no ground to our enemies and will stand together against attacks from within or without. Let the enemies of the Empire take heed: those who challenge Imperial resolve will be crushed.
We have taken on a task that will be difficult, but the people of the Empire are ready for the challenge. Because of our efforts, the galaxy has traded war for peace and anarchy for stability. Billions of beings now look forward to a secure future. The Empire will grow as more planets feel the call, from the Rim to the wilds of unknown space.
Imperial citizens must do their part. Join our grand star fleet. Become the eyes of the Empire by reporting suspected insurrectionists. Travel to the corners of the galaxy to spread the principles of the New Order to barbarians. Build monuments and technical wonders that will speak of our glory for generations to come.
The clone troopers, now proudly wearing the name of Imperial stormtroopers, have tackled the dangerous work of fighting our enemies on the front lines. Many have died in their devotion to the Empire. Imperial citizens would do well to remember their example.
The New Order of peace has triumphed over the shadowy secrecy of shameful magicians. The direction of our course is clear. I will lead the Empire to glories beyond imagining.
We have been tested, but we have emerged stronger. We move forward as one people: the Imperial citizens of the first Galactic Empire. We will prevail. Ten thousand years of peace begins today.
Palpatine bowed his head to the Senate as applause echoed throughout the chambers. Palpatine signalled for the applause to cease. The cam drones hovered around him, all trying to find the perfect angle. "Many Separatists and dissidents seek to disrupt our way of life, and I know many of you in these chambers and beyond fear for the wellbeing of your peoples, but I assure you. The very best that the New Order has to offer is being dispatched to those systems in crisis. The Rule of Law will be restored!"
Palpatine bowed his head as the applause begun anew. The central podium lowering to take him back into his office. Lights dimmed in the Senate chamber as more and more beings filed out, Senators reporting back to their homeworlds. It would take years to remove the power the Senate had over the Galaxy. While as Emperor he had complete control, dismantling the Senate immediately on reformation of the New Order would be a foolish mistake. Too many beings would riot, chaos would spread throughout the Galaxy and even he would struggle to bring it back under control. No, have it flounder and cause issues. Have them halt advancements he was trying to make to better the Galaxy. That would vilify them, so when the time comes for the Senate to finally be dismantled it would be a heroic act, not a cruel one. With the wave of one hand, he dismissed his aides who bowed and moved away.
Approaching a door with an emblem marked upon the door. Palpatine composed himself. Focus Sheev. One slip up, and he would likely end up dead. They still needed each other. The door opened revealing a room with golden engravings and embroidery on marble walls. At the end of the room was a cloaked man, his back turned as he worked on some form of a computing device. Strange symbols floated across the screen, and while he could not read the language the screen was cleared as soon as his host noticed his presence.
As he turned Palpatine bowed his head slightly. Out of respect, a gesture that was not returned.
"It is done, the people of the Galaxy have accepted the rule of the New Order."
"A trivial waste of time. Were I in my home Galaxy-"
"You are not. Things are different here, many of the peoples of this Galaxy have not had their wills tapered for thousands of years. If we were to simply seize power, remove all the freedoms there would be mass unrest. No, it must be done slowly and surgically. From what you've told me about yourself, time is not an issue."
The hooded man bowed his head. "Soon the people will understand when the new breed of Kull Troopers are ready and deployed on the ships we have created together, we shall soon rid the Galaxy of those who could possibly pose a threat to what I have planned. What of the Jedi?"
Palpatine almost lost the smile he tried to keep plastered on his face. Order 66 had been a stroke of genius, years in the making. The false war, providing the Jedi with an army to fight it with. Then, having trusted the faces of clones throughout the course of the war the Jedi would see those same faces turn their weapons against them. Betrayed by those they served with. The Jedi would be undone by their own hubris. Sadly, not all had fallen for it. Some sensed it, some sacrificed themselves for others. They were of no significant military threat, but what they represented to many systems was. "Some still elude us. By all reports, there are ten unaccounted for."
"Including two of the most powerful."
"For the time being. As you say, the combination of your Kull design and the Clone Troopers makes for a formidable warrior. Their raw strength, endurance and versatility coupled with their armour makes them far more powerful than any army the Jedi can muster. Coupled with Kaminoan cloning techniques, growing a sizable force won't be too difficult. With my apprentice leading them, there is no-one in this Galaxy who can hope to rival them."
"So it shall be. That all beings in the Galaxy shall belong to us." The word us was practically spat in Palpatine's face. He wasn't quite sure why he felt the need to mention the two of them, it was obvious that by the time their power over the Galaxy was absolute, only one of them would still be in the picture. He would need to keep Darth Vader close in those days, he wasn't quite sure what kind of being he was facing but in the Force it was... different. It felt powerful, but in a way different to that he had ever sensed before.
"I have no doubt that the Galactic Empire will rule for thousands of years."
"I'm aware." Palpatine bowed his head again ever so slightly. "I shall leave you to your work, for I have my own to do. Anubis."
Another barrage of turbolaser fire flew from the starboard side of the Resurgence, slamming into the crippled Imperial Star Destroyer and blowing a hole in it's port side. All across the fringes of both Hutt and Unknown space, the last vestiges of the Galactic Empire made a frantic last stand against a resurgent Republic Remnant and the New Republic that they've allied with. This particular battle was lead by the flagship of the Supreme Commander of the Republic Remnant himself and his flagship. Boarding parties had disabled the SD's hyperdrive and were making a push for the bridge as the Resurgence's cannons kept the ship autolocking down behind the party to prevent any of the Stormtroopers on board from reinforcing the bridge.
"Fire again, aim closer to the-" Jason Erthos' sentence is cut short as an explosion rocks the Kenobi, reducing it's fighting capability but not doing enough damage to remove it from the fight. Shortly after, the Acclamator-Class ship responsible for the damage exploded in a brilliant show of lights. About the same time, the boarding parties reported that the bridge of the Star Destroyer had been taken. "Good work. You know the drill, bring the captain and fleet officers there for trial, then set the ship to self destruct." The last Acclamator exploded and soon smaller explosions lit up the stars as the ARC fights and V-Wings picked off the remaining TIE fighters.
"Another victory. Your thoughts, Commander Hammer?" The red and white adorned clone glanced up from the holographic display and shrugged.
"It went well, Supreme Commander. The Gravity Well worked as it was supposed to too, so that's one for R&D if you ask me." Nodding, Jason returned to his seat as the last of the L/AATs left the Star Destroyer and landed to off-load prisoners on the Fisto. After which they returned to their berths on the Resurgence.
"Helm, take us to hyperspace and Hosnian Prime. Let's get the last of these traitors their due reward for stabbing the Republic in the back." A nod and the familiar lines of stars becoming blurs began to appear as hyperspace was jumped to. However, the Resurgence was redirected by a flash of white light, to a destination unknown.
When the flagship of the Republic Remnant's supreme commander exited hyperspace several hours later with their Arquitan-Class escort ships, it was not above Hosnian Prime, or even the Hosnian system. Nor was it a system that Jason immediately recognized from his time in the Clone Wars and their campaign against the Imperial Remnants. And before them lay several ships of unidentified design and appearance. "Helmsman, care to explain."
The man at the helm of the ship was rapidly going through his readouts and screens, but frowned the whole time. "I wish I could, sir. The last entered coordinates were to Hosnian Prime and now...we're here." Jason frowned and Hammer approached the read out as he exited the lift. Bringing it up, he frowned behind his helmet.
"Sir, it would seem we're still in our galaxy, but...I'm getting far more Imperial signatures than when we went into hyperspace. Something isn't right." Jason nodded in decision and turned to the communications officer.
"Open an open hail." Waiting a moment after receiving an affirmative nod, he starts speaking. "Attention unidentified ships, this is Supreme Commander Jason Erthos of the Galactic Republic Remnant. It would seem the galaxy is not how we left it several hours ago, and we hope you might be able to answer some questions. Please respond on this channel."
The Royal palace of New Mobotropolis, a grand jewel sat atop a city that had known little but peace in the last 50 years. Sonia marched through the guards as she made her way to the throne-room. Oglivie in tow. "Look, Sonia, i know you're pissed, but don't think there is anything that I can say that will sway him."
"You ARE him. If he's going to listen to anyone, it is you." She replied. Walking up to the royal court's doors, she was stopped by a pair of Wolves at the door.
"Princess, i'm afraid that you cannot enter, your father and mother are in deliberations with the cou-" She turned back to Oglivie.
"Open the door, or he opens it with his machine guns." She replied. The guards looked at the Metal-Sonic-clad Hedgehog. Oglivie put his hands up.
"Hey, don't look at me, i'm on your side, i'm trying to talk her out of it!" The guards continued to bar her entrance. She sighed, before turning around and walking away, but she had taken no more than 3 steps when she turned and sprang into a leap, rushing the door and barging it with her shoulders, pushing straight through it. Oglivie jumped over the guards and ran after her.
"-ughter of yours is getting far too much, with the betrayal of your son, i'm starting to have serious doubts about your parenting skill." a hologram of a black hedgehog said, before turning to see Sonia. "Ah, here comes my point now." he said, bowing to the princess. Oglivie finally caught up to her, grabbing her by the shoulders and beginning to drag her back out.
"Very sorry, Milords, but your daughter is a bit of a tough-" A weary, glove laced hand extended from the throne.
"Hush." The old, greying, blue king arose "Sonia, why do you approach my throne, unannounced, interupt a meeting with other heads of state and bring weapons with you?" He asked. Sonia and Oglivie knelt as he stood.
"Father, you have forbidden me to join the Egg Carrier's mission to hunt down Manic." She grunted.
"What of it?" Asked the King, his grimace unflinching. "You are a princess of Mobius, whilst Manic was still on the planet, you could easily be retrieved at any moment and were still within our territory, setting out into uncharted space, where i cannot protect you is-"
"YOU cannot protect me here. You are just an old man sat on his throne, daydreaming about past glories-" Sonia seethed. "Out there, Manic is plotting something else and it is my duty, as Princess, to make sure that New Mobotropolis stays safe. YOU can only send other peop-" Sonic stood up and tapped the bottom of the Royal Scepter on the ground, making a loud clack that made everyone fall silent.
"You have my ruling, Sonia, do not make me enforce it." He ordered.
"How can you enforce it?" Sonia grinned, rebelliously "You've got your attack dogs, i have mine." She backed towards Oglivie.
"Ummmm... Princess, i'm gonna let you in on a little secret, i'm SUPER uncomfortable right now. Please, milord, she has something up her sleeve and i don't know what it is, but i'm sure that i'm a part of it. Please, just let us go, before she forces me into this." Oglivie pleaded. Sonic slowly walked down the steps, approaching them. He stared her in the eyes.
"You feelin' froggy?" He asked Sonia with a confident grin of his own, guards slowly moving to surround them. "Then jump..."
"Oglivie is both right and wrong..." She smiled. "I do have something up my sleeve, but not involving him." He reached in her back-satchel and pulled out a bright yellow gem. Sonics grin faded as he realized what was about to happen.
"CHAOS CONTROL!!!" She yelled as she clutched the gem, then her and Oglivie disappeared. Sonic let his head drop as the guards started to look around.
"She's gone, don't bother..." He turned around to see Shadow chuckling at the sight. "I suppose you had something to do with this? Because, i know i didn't teach her that."
"Let us just say that, she came to me and asked me to train her to defeat Manic. I did so. And i was right, your parenting skills do leave a lot to be desired." Shadow smirked.
High in orbit, the Egg Carrier was just taking on the last of its supplies, Eggman himself sat in the captain's chair, breathing heavily. "I'm too old to be chasing hedgehogs across space... Too old to be building death-robots..." He sighed.
"That's just what they want you to think, boss." Said a small, cute voice. He looked down to see Thunderbolt having entered the room. "It's finally time. This time, we're going to win!" She squeaked, a small spark of electricity jumping off of her. "Ok, sucks that we're on the good guy team, but we can still take it as a win over the hedgehog." Eggman looked out of the viewport to see Jack and K'Tari throwing magical spells at each other.
"Oh to have the old Egg-Bosses again. Robots are nice and all, but i did miss the yelling and berrating. It's no fun to have no spirits to break. Imagine all of the fun when it's the hedgehogs child." He grinned. "And my own son, as well."
"He's just a stupid robot that got some stupid flesh!" Thunderbolt huffed. "Hardly a son."
"Yeah well, i'm all he's got and he's all i got, so shut it!" Eggman yelled. At that point, there was a bright flash of light right in front of the captains chair as Sonia and Oglivie landed in a heap. The Chaos Emerald bouncing away from them. Eggman pressed a button on his chair and a clawed hand on a metal tentacle lashed out and grabbed the emerald, before bringing it to his hand. Oglivie and Sonia stared at Eggman. He looked at the Chaos emerald, before smiling and offering it back to her. "Sorry, old habbits die hard, i see an emerald, i grab it." Sonia snatched it from him.
"Ok, cast off, we gotta go now." She ordered. Eggman laughed.
"Let me guess, you just annoyed the old man. Yup, i know how that feels." He then pressed a button on the chair. "Attention all Eggbots, we are casting off immediately." There was a noticable clunk as the engines began to roar to life. "I would have rather waited another few weeks, until we at least had some of the other ships in the fleet re-fitted for space, but now's as good a time as any." He mumbled. Eggman looked out of the bridge window. "All systems, full power!" He ordered, the engines roared as they charged up the special-zone engines. The ship began to lurch forwards, breaking orbit.
"Doctor, we are getting a transmission." Thunderbolt said, looking at the computer. The old king's face appeared on the viewscreen.
"Eggman, I hate you... I've always hated you... But you'd better keep my daughter safe." He said.
"Heh, always nice to hear from you, rodent." He grinned. "But don't worry, we're on the same side this time. Been a while, but i had your back on the ARK, i've got it here too." He replied. "Manic is far more insane than i ever was, and he's got your powers to back it up."
"Yeah, but you've never beat me." Sonic grinned. Eggman's smile faded.
"You always hold that one over me..." He groaned. 10 seconds until Special Zone Penetration A voice said. "Well, see ya, rodent." He said, before shutting off the feed. A ring appeared in space as the Egg Carrier increased in speed. Jack had walked onto the bridge.
"So, this is how you go faster than light?" Jack gasped in awe. Eggman looked back at him.
"Yup and you'd better sit down, if you value your spine." He replied. Jack jumped into a seat and his ears crossed his eyes. The ring enveloped the ship as it finally jumped. The swirling colours of light on the outside of the ship were beautiful.
"It's... Mesmerizing..." Jack said as an ear raised to allow him vision again. "It's like the first time i touched the etherial..." Eggman blew it off.
"Eh, it's just diffraction of compressed light through the ships shields." He sighed. Jack still stood up, looking into the pretty colours. He then cocked his head.
"Something is... Wrong..." He said. Eggman pushed a few buttons.
"Nope, everything is operating well within normal parameters." He replied.
"No... Something is very wrong... The energies of the universe..." He waved his hands around, a pair of magical symbols appeared in front of him. "They're still here, but they are... Different."
"You're being ridiculous, there's nothing wrong." Eggman replied, getting noticeably annoyed now. "Magic is all well and good, but it's just science you don't understand." He slapped the console "This is science that I understand, and it says that there's nothing wrong." He then pushed a few buttons. "Alright, coming up on Bluto now, it's the closest planet with an atmosphere that can sustain mobian life." The ship dropped from the special zone and into regular space. "See, a big ol' planet right there for the searching." He said, staring at a big, blue planet. Eggman looked at it, then to his computer, seeing a picture of a brown planet, then back to the planet, then to his computer, then the planet, then the computer. "Wait... Which planet is that?" Eggman asked, staring at the blue planet.
"Analysing now, milord." Thunderbolt answered "But it doesn't seem to register any kind of markers that the known planets we have visited. We are reading several large metallic objects in the sky, probably ships of some kind."
"Metallix?" He asked, warily.
"No, doesn't match any known Metallix design..." She pressed several buttons to bring up the picture of the Immense, grey warships "Reading 3 in total." She said. "Reading thousands of life-signs onboard, though. Definitely well armed..." She trailed off as her eyes widened. "b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-" She stammered. Eggman threw his head back in annoyance.
"Not another feedback loop?"
"Bo-b-b-boss..." She squeaked. "They're..." She swallowed hard. "OVERLANDERS!!!" She finally screamed. Eggman's face drained of all colour.
"OVERLANDERS?!" Jack jumped to his feet.
"Overlanders? Get everyone ready for battle, i'll be standing by in the Egg Wizard." He said, before running to the hallway. Bumping into K'Tari. "Sis, it's bad, Overlander Warfleet."
"I thought Eggman was the last Overlander?" K'Tari said. Jack had already ran off at this point. K'Tari walked onto the bridge. "You're sure it's Overlanders?" She asked.
"Without a doubt." Thunderbolt replied. "Please, boss, don't let them skin me alive, or shove me into a tiny cage with a wheel and a sand bath and A LITTLE BOTTLE THAT I HAVE TO PUSH A BALL IN FOR WATER!!! IT'S HELL!!!" She screamed. Eggman nervously sat contemplating the next move.
"We'll bluff our way out of this. They probably haven't seen us yet, reverse course and let's get out of here." He ordered.
The Captain of the lead ship, Conqueror, stood at the comm desk, watching the unknown ship trying to reverse course. "What the devil is that?" he asked.
"Unknown, but we are picking up ungodly amounts of droid activity aboard." The comm officer replied. "Probably some last ditch Seperatist weapon." He replied. The Captain sighed, this planet was being pacified of Seperatist already, someone must have gotten a distress call out and some remnants have come in for the save. "Signal Ajax and Libra, tell them to form into attack position and get ready for combat." He then walked over to another officer "All pilots to their fighters, prepare for sortie." He ordered. He then walked back over to the comm "Get me that ship, tell them to stand down and prepare to be boarded."
"Unidentified vessel, this is Imperial Battle Squadron Centauris. You are hereby ordered to heave to and prepare to be boarded." The signal was filled with static, before a reply came. Eggman appeared in his chair as a hologram at the comm desk.
"Well, hello there, young'ins." He laughed nervously. "Don't worry about me, just an old Overlander out on a pleasure cruise with my robots. No need to feel threatened by me, i'm harmless."
"Sir, identify yourself." The comm officer ordered.
"Oh yes, my name is Julian Kin... Kin... Kinbotnik." He laughed. ""I'm the captain of this here pleasure boat." He replied. "And there's no need to board, we definitely have NO Mobians aboard. Those nasty little rodents."
"By order of the Emperor, all suspected Seperatist vessels must stand down and be boarded for inspection." He replied. Eggman stopped laughing.
"Wait, Emperor? Seperatists? Wow, you guys went way downhill since you left Mobius." He mumbled, he then readopted his "Kindly old man" demeanor "Oh, that won't be necessary, i'm a member of one of the old noble houses. House of Kintobor, we were loyal to the Grand Council of old." The Comm officer was now very confused.
"Sir, you have your orders. Stand down or we will use deadly force." He said. The lead venator shot a single blast straight across the Egg Carrier's nose.
"Wow, there, friends, i'm sure that we can come to some kind of an agreement. I've got rings... Lots of rings, i'm sure that enough will convince this to go away." Eggman laughed.
"Attempting to bribe an Imperial Officer is a serious offense, Captain Kinbotnik. Prepare to be boarded." The communication shut down.
Eggman put his hands together, fingers pointed up and across his lips. "Alright, looks like it's back to the great war." He grinned. He had betrayed his own people then and it looked, to him, like he was going to have to do that again now. "All hands, prepare for battle." He began pushing buttons. "Prepare the Egg Emperor for launch." He ordered, before pressing several more buttons. "Princess, if you'd be so kind as to man one of the Egg Bosses, i'd be greatful." He said with a surprisingly pleasent tone. "We don't know what those ships are armed with, we're going to keep the Egg Carrier as far from them as possible."
Down bellow, alarms were blaring. Oglivie ran past a swarm of Egg-Pawns that were running to their battle-stations. He rushed into armory and pressed several buttons on a panel, before standing on a pad between several robotic arms. The robotic arms began to attach the Metal Sonic armour plates to him, The weapons hardpoints equipped him with a Lance on his right arm and a Shield on his left, the other Metal Sonics jumped down from their holding bays. "Alright, we have no idea what these guys are armed with, we're going to assume laser weapons and combat robots. Move fast, hit hard. We're going to board the central one and take control." He said. The Metal Sonics nodded and they floated to their launch pads, before getting taken up to the top deck. He looked around to see the 3 vessels. A few seconds later, he saw bright blue flashes of energy heading towards the ship, most of them missing, due to the extreme range. The ones that did impact, smashed straight into the energy shield, creating ripples around the ship. He then saw immense amounds of smaller craft emerging from the ship. "Eggman, we've got fighters coming in."
"I see them." the mic replied. The mine-launchers began to deploy the floating explosives around the ship to prevent the fighters from getting close. Oglivie and the Metal Sonics took into space. Flying through the barrage of laser blasts, Oglivie flew with 8 Metal sonics formed up behind him. Several V-Wings flew towards them in the standard Attack Tunnel formation, 2 of the Metal Sonics, instinctively pulled away from the formation, straight into the V-Wings blaster fire, badly damaging the robots. The rest stayed in formation, their eyes blinking to indicate that they had learned from this. They continued on as the V-Wings now came into conflict with several of the drone fighters from the Egg Carrier. Oglivie looked back. "Broken through their front lines, bring the formation in tight and initiate evasive maneuvers." He ordered.
On the bridge of the Conqueror, pandemonium was setting in as these brand new models of droids were punching through their front lines and effortlessly avoiding both turbo-lasers and fighters. "Forget the enemy carrier, focus all fire on the incoming." The captain ordered.
Oglivie and the Metal Sonics were now ducking and weaving as much as they could from the now sheer downpour of intense fire. "Egg Carrier, require assistance!" He asked. "Anything to take the pressure off of us would be appreciated!!!"
"Standby..." Said the voice of Jack. At that point, a large blast of blue energy lanced out, leaving ice crystals forming along the hull of the Conqueror. At that point, the Egg Wizard came shooting across space, the fleets cannons now pointing at the huge mech, blasting it. As the blasts came in, the Egg Emperor intercepted, its shield deflecting the blasts.
"We've got your back, get to the lead ship." Eggman ordered from the cockpit of the Emperor. With the pressure now focussed on the larger machines, Oglivie's group managed to get into the Conqueror's main hangar. Touching down, the 7 remaining strike-team members fanned out, cutting down every crewman they could find, before they could go for their blasters. The lightning fast robots looked around.
"Hangar secured." Oglivie reported. "You two, find the magazine and get ready to detonate it, you two, sweep these lower decks, you two, follow me to the bridge." He ordered, before they began to go their separate ways.
On the bridge, the Captain was now organizing anti-boarding parties. "All Personnel, be advised, we have boarding parties." He called. "Blue droids, floating, very fast."
"Sir, we've lost contact with the Magazine. Cannons are running low on ammo."
"All units, converge on the Magazine." He ordered. If the Droids detonated it, they were all dead.
The Doors to the Magazine opened and the Clone Troopers slowly walked in. The commander guestured his men to fan out and search. They split and began walking down the vast corridors of Blaster-Shells. The Commander was backed up by the medic. Off in the distance, there was a clattering sound. The Commander and Medic began to silently run in the direction. Reaching where they heard the clattering, they found a blaster on the floor and a piece of the Duraplast armour and nothing else. The Clones looked at each other. At that point, there was a woosh and the Medic, who was at the back of the pack, was gone. The commander turned around, beginning to point his gun around. He raised his hand and signalled to fall back. The Clones began to head to the door, standard 2x2 cover formation. This time, it was the heavy weapon that was seemingly tackled by something moving almost as fast as the eye. The Clones got a few shots off. "Nuts to this, RUN!!!" The Commander yelled as they set off at a sprint for the door. The remaining 3 escaped. The Clones sealed the door. "Bridge, this is Cannock squad, we just lost over half the squad to hit and run, they're faster than we can see." He said into his wrist-mounted comm-link. "Please advise." He then turned around to see yet another member of the squad was gone. "CARABAST!!!" He yelled, raising the gun. "BRIDGE, THEY'RE EVERYWHERE!!!" He finally saw the Blue machine stood at the end of the corridor. He immediately opened fire, blasting the Metal Sonic. As the bolt neared it, the Metal Sonic's exoskeleton turned pitch black as a crystal-like field appeared around it. The blaster bolts bounced harmlessly off of it. "Dammit, be advised, these things are equipped with shields." He then took out an EMP Grenade and rolled it along the ground towards the Metal Sonic. The Grenade went off and suddenly, the Metal Sonic wasn't there. The Clone turned to see the Metal Sonic behind him with his ammo-belt.
"AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!" Was the last message that the Bridge got from Cannock Squad. The Captain looked around.
"What the hell are we dealing with." He walked over to the Comm. "Distress signal, now. Inform high command." He ordered. "This is Battle Squadron Centauris, we are under attack from Separatist Aggressors, brand new models of ships, fighters and Battle Droids. Counting 2 larger battle droids. Mayday, Mayday, Mayday." He then turned to the Conn. "Send all the images we have gathered." He said, he then looked out of the bridge to the Ajax, to see the Egg Emperor land atop their bridge and stick its lance into the bridge, before slashing sideways, sending the broken remains of the bridge tower into space, the flailing bodies of crewmen could be seen among the wreckage. "By the force..." The captain gasped. He then looked to Libra to see the bridge engulfed in lightning as they blasted by the Egg Wizard. The Wizard then pressed its staff into the main hull and the whole hull began to glow red as it had fire magic channelled into it. Flakes of molten armour began peeling away and floating into space. It then swung the staff around, pressed it into the molten hull. The Ship crumpled almost instantly as it was flooded with ice magic. "Get us out of here." He ordered. "Ajax, Libra, if you can follow us, do so, prepare for emergency jump to lightspeed!" He ordered. Anything was better than staying here. At that point, the door to the bridge exploded and 3 Metal Sonics stood.
"Reach for the skies, Overlanders." Oglivie yelled, pointing his lance into the room. An officer went for his Gun, Oglivies shoulder-mounted laser blasted him automatically. "Come on, nobody else needs to die today." He said. The crew put their hands up. "Good..." He sighed. "Doctor, we have the lead ship. their captain has stood down."
"Alright, Oglivie, bring some of them aboard, we'll need to interrogate them." Eggman ordered. He then saw a button start beeping on the control console. "What the..." He then saw the new Star Destroyer approaching and the message.
"Attention unidentified vessel. You have infringed on Imperial Territory and attacked an Imperial Navy vessel. Stand down now, withdraw or be destroyed. These ships are far more powerful than the ones you previously attacked."
"HAH, YOU GUYS JUST MESSED WITH THE EGGMAN EMPIRE!!!" Thunderbolt responded over the closed communications. "BOSS, ORDER US TO OPEN FIRE AND WE'LL TAKE 'EM DOWN!!!" She yelled with excitement. Eggman smiled as he flicked a switch.
"Remind me, Thunderbolt, since when did you give the orders?" He asked. She faltered as he asked.
"Umm... I... Uhhh... Never?" She asked.
"That's right!" He replied in a patronizing tone. "Now, kindly STOP DOING IT!!!" he roared.
"I'M SORRY!!!!" She cried.
"All forces, retreat, pull back to the Egg Carrier and retreat." Eggman ordered. "We are after Manic, we don't need to get bogged down in a pointless fight." He said. "Rev up the Special Zone drive." He ordered. The Emperor and Wizard began returning to the Egg Carrier. Oglivie, on the otherhand, was slicing his way into the bridge computer.
"Give me a minute, i'm going to try and get some of their data. See how much they know about us." He replied.
"The longer we stay, the more data they'll collect." Sonia replied over the comm. "I hate to say it, Eggman's right, let's just go." She ordered. Oglivie saw some of the data that he was downloading.
"Metal Sonics, fall back and secure an escape route." He ordered. The Metal Sonics began to leave the room. Oglivie saw the bar go to 2% then 3% "Dammit, this'll have to do." He replied, before disconnecting and floating out of the room and rocketting down the corridor, towards an airlock, that the remaining Metal Sonics were gathered at. He jumped into the Airlock and was followed by the Metal Sonics, before they were ejected into space. They blasted back to the Egg Carrier. Oglivie rushed up to the command bridge to find Eggman having already returned. "We could have gotten more data if we fought them." He said. Eggman didn't look at him.
"Their ship is brand new and they aren't too sure about us." He said. "They don't want to test it out against an unknown, so they are letting us go. I think that is the best outcome that we could possibly hope for." He said. Oglivie plugged his jack into the console.
"At least download and analyze the data we collected." He asked. Eggman nodded, before the Special Zone appeared around them and they disappeared.
Egg Carrier exitted the special zone again. "Alright, here it is, Bluto!" Eggman proudly announced. He then looked out of the viewscreen and saw the planet.
"That's..." Jack said. "That's not Bluto." Eggman's face froze as he contemplated what had happened.
"I mean... If you... Kinda tilt your-WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS STUPID THING!?!?!?" He yelled, kicking the console.
"Real mature, boss." Thunderbolt replied.
"WHO ASKED YOU!?!?!?" He then saw the console beeping. "YEAH, WHADDYA WANT?!?!?" He yelled at it. A picture of a Robot materialized in front of him. "Oooh, what's this?" He asked.
"Greetings unidentified vessel. Identify yourself or be destroyed." It chirped.
"Wow, we sure do know how to meet very hostile people." Eggman quipped. "Hello, I am the great Doctor Eggman of the Eggma..." He then stopped. "The Royal House of Acorn of Mobius." He smiled. "I promise that we are of no threat to you and simply wish to talk to whoever is in charge."
"Stand by." The robot said.
"Well, they aren't shooting at us, that's a good sign." Oglivie said. A picture of a cyborg appeared.
"Greetings [tzz] I am Bromb Krashtal [fzzt] Member of the new Confederacy Council. The [fzzzzzfzzzzzt] Resistance against the Empire."
"Ah, fellow revolutionaries against the tyranical Overlander Empire." Eggman cried with joy. "If you are against the Empire, then you have found common allies." The cyborg tuned a dial on its chest.
"This is [tzzz] most fortuitous. We will send landing coordinates, please come [fzzzzzzzzz] Unarmed."
"Sounds good to me!" Eggman bowed, before the feed shut off. "Like hell are we going unarmed, Oglivie, Acorn, Jack, you three are with me.
The Egg Carrier moved into the correct orbit of the planet to teleport them down to the coordinates, a green beam shot from the ship towards the planet. Immediately, alarm claxons began to sound in the Seperatist command. The beam hit the ground, dealing no damage, much to the surprise of everyone. Several ships began to make their way to Egg Carrier. Eggman, Oglivie, Jack and Sonia appeared at the bottom of the beam, the beam then disappeared. Battle-Droids immediately surrounded them and pointed weapons at them. "Woah, what kind of welcome is this?" Eggman asked.
"DROP YOUR WEAPONS!" One of the droids ordered. "YOUR ATTACK ON OUR CAPITAL WILL NOT BE TAKEN LIGHTLY!" It said.
"I DON'T KNOW, THERE WAS NO EXPLOSION, ARE WE EVEN SURE THIS WAS AN ATTACK?" Another one asked.
"THEY SHOT A GIANT LASER AT US!!!" It replied. "OF COURSE IT WAS AN ATTACK!!!" There was a murmering of "Roger-Roger" among the droids, before they were corralled and lead to the large building nearby. On the steps, they were met by Bromb.
"That is a very [fzzzzzzt] Interesting form of travel. The Techno-Union would be [fzt] Very grateful for [fzzzzt] technical specifications on it." He said. "These are our [fzzzzt] Guests. Please, leave us." He waved the Battledroids away.
"Your Robots aren't terribly bright." Eggman said. "I do know the pain of incompetent robot help..."
Orbot looked at the note left for him by Eggman. "And finally, please note the self destruct buttons. There is a very large red button labelled "Please do not touch this" it doesn't actually do anything, but it should keep Cubot busy for long enough to complete the rest of the fleet. The actual self destruct button is next to the large red button. It is small, so he shouldn't notice it." Orbot looked over at the giant red button. Cubot floated over to it.
"OH COOL! BIG BUTTON!!!" He yelled. Orbot sighed with relief. "You know, the boss only labels stuff "Don't touch this" when he doesn't trust me, that means that this is obviously just a ploy to distract me into not pushing the REAL button that he doesn't want me to push." He said, looking at Orbot.
"Why, Cubot, that is the most coherent thing you have ever said." Cubot then looked back at the button, before constantly jamming his finger into the big button.
"The older B1 models [fzzzzzt] were unfortunately speedily upgraded and forced to work independantly, when they were originally [fzzzzzt] designed to be hiveminded."
"Trust me on this, never go hive-minded. They soon start questioning why they are following your orders..." Eggman sighed. "Let me work on your robots sometime, i might be able to squeeze a few more points of IQ points out of them."
"The new B3 lines [fzzzzzzt] are going to be more than sufficient for the next war against the Empire."
"Oooooh, new robots, i MUST see them." At that point, Sonia pushed in.
"Ok, if you two could stop bonding over your love of building robots, we do have a diplomatic mission to perform here." She said. She bowed to Bromb. "I am Princess Sonia of the House of Acorn." She bowed to him. Bromb looked at Eggman, then back to her.
"Then that would make Eggman here your Father?" He asked. Sonia stared at him, then swallowed an amount of vomit that crawled up her throat like a thousand tiny spiders.
"That would be incorrect..." She wheezed.
"I'm sorry, we've been at war for the best part of 40 years and now i'm her best friend." Eggman smiled.
"You're on thin ice, Eggman..." She grunted under her breath. Eggman gave a smug smile, he was enjoying this greatly. "I wish to speak to your King and ask him if he might help us on our current mission." She said, regaining her composure.
"We do not have a King, but i will [fzt] ask for a convening of the [fzzzzzt] Council" He said.
Oglivie, Sonia and Eggman walked into the Sparcely populated grand hall that served as the senate building. There were many empty seats in the house, almost 3/4 of them. Sonia looked around with a face of uneasiness. "Did this few of them actually care enough to hear us?" she asked. Eggman tapped his nose.
"More likely this is all that's left of them. War is a tricky business and if these guys are on the losing side, then all the more difficult for them to help us." He said, before bending down and whispering in her ear "More likely, they want us to join them."
"This emergency meeting [ffzzzzzt] Is now brought to order." He looked over the remnants of the once grand and proud Confederacy of Independent Systems.
"First order of business." a member of the Trade Federation that was sat next to Bromb called. He pressed a button on the console. "War Report."
"The Galactic Empire has been making gains with their [fzzzzzzzt] Brand new vessels and equipment." he said as a galactic map appeared. "I'm afraid that [fzzt] the following worlds have been conquered." 7 systems turned red as the desks of 7 of the people that did show up to the meeting also turned red. "Those of you who's worlds have been conquered, you are welcome to stay with us, the Techno Union is more than [fzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt]" He slammed his fist into his chest, before twisting the dial "Excuse me. The Techno Union is more than happy to host any and all of your governments that wish to rule in Exile, as we will support and recognize your governments." There was a few murmers. 7 planets may not have been much in the grand scheme, but with their numbers dwindling to so few, those 7 planets hit them hard. "After the fall of Count Dooku and General Grievous, as well as the White Flag Slaughter, we all knew that times were going to be tough, but we still endure, every day that we exist is a day that they have not won. If we can endure until tomorrow, then we can endure until the day after that. Every day, we must promise ourselves that we will endure until the next day, if we can do that, then the Confederacy can never be defeated. Intergalactic tyranny will never rule us." There was an ovation of clapping... Which sadly fell flat with the realization of how quiet it was with so few. He then looked down at the 3 of their guests.
"Our next order of business, the arrival of the Egg Carrier and her crew from the esteemed House of Acorn on Mobius." the speaker sitting next to Bromb called. He guestured for Sonia to speak. Stepping out from behind the desk, she bowed to them.
"Esteemed members of the Confederacy of Independant Systems, my name is Sonia Acorn, Princess of Mobius, Second Child of King Sonic and Queen Sally, Guardian of the Realm and Protector of the Chaos Emeralds." She leaned up. "I do know that you are in a dire position and i am willing to grant what little aid we can offer to you, but my people are in an equally dire position. The Exiled Prince Manic of Mobius has recently failed a coup upon my house. With this, he has escaped our grasp and has ventured out into the galaxy with promises to rebuild and re-arm his forces. We beseech anyone that might be able to point us in the direction of him. Have any of you seen him?" She called. The house was silent. "Have you recently been attacked by anyone weilding powerful new technologies at all?" She asked. There was a murmuring. A Koorivar stood up.
"The Empire has recently made great leaps and bounds in their technological advancements as of late. This Prince Manic must be working with them." He called. At that point, a Muun stood up.
"That is ludicrous. The Empire has been very clear in its pro-Human rhetoric, i highly doubt that they would be assisting someone like this, even for technological advancement. We are at war, you should either join us or get out of here and allow us to continue our war." He called.
"No, we cannot afford to turn away allies at a time like this!" A Sullustan yelled, standing up. "I call that we formally ask the Egg Carrier and her crew to join us, along with Mobius." He called.
"ORDER!!!" Bromb roared. His machine began to fizz as he fiddled with the controls as the court settled down. Eggman stepped forwards.
"The Egg Carrier is but a single ship. Although powerful, she is not enough to sway a war in her favour. If we were to join now, our vessel would be destroyed and our world ransacked. We are currently working on an entire fleet of powerful warships that, once completed, will be able to make a difference. If we remain out of this war for the time being, we will be able to come back in 6 months with an actual fleet." He called. "I ask for patience. We will fight the Overlanders, but not right now." He called. There was a murmuring from the stands.
"Overlanders?" the Muun asked. "We are talking about the Galactic Empire."
"Yes, the Galactic Empire of Overlanders, much like myself." Eggman called. There was another murmuring.
"We will [fzzzzzt] call a recess to confer please return in an hour..." Bromb called.
"WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?" Sonia screamed, the crew had been brought to a side room to confer.
"What? I showed them good faith." Eggman replied.
"YOU PROMISED THEM THAT WE WOULD JOIN A WAR AGAINST THE OVERLANDERS!!!"
"I made a promise that i don't intend to keep. I do it all the time. Look, i promise that i will never do anything like this ever again." He said in a mocking tone.
"Cute..." Oglivie replied.
"Look, i can see how their war is going, in 6 months, there is NO chance that they are still going to be fighting." He grinned. "I gave them hope-"
"False hope..." Sonia seethed.
"Hope nonetheless." Eggman sighed. "All we need is a map of this part of space and we can really start tracking Manic down. These blind jumps are getting us no-where fast..." He then looked down at his feet, before an alarm began to blare. "What now?"
"BOSS!!! BOSS ITS BAD!!!" Eggman's communicator began screaming. "ITS A WHOLE FLEET OF THOSE OVERLANDER SHIPS!!!"
"That would be a good reason for the screaming alarms." Eggman sighed.
"If this is their capital..." Oglivie said. "Uh oh! We should probably... Leave..." He grabbed his helmet from the table. A Battle Droid entered the room.
"WE ARE UNDER ATTACK!" It stated in an upbeat tone. "I HAVE ORDERS TO TAKE YOU TO THE COMMAND CENTER!" The crew followed the droid as they saw more droids scrambling to get to their positions. They saw everything getting locked down, before finally, entering an elevator and going up to the command center. They witnessed the Separatists activating the planetary defenses.
"How big is the fleet?" Eggman asked, feigning ignorance.
"The fleet is of [fzzzzzt] significant size. Our estimated chances of holding are... Unfavourable..." He responded. Sonia stepped forward.
"I'm..." She wiped her face with her hands. "I'm so sorry... We can't-"
"Nor would i [fzzzzt] expect you to." He turned around and stared out at the city as the copious numbers of AA guns seemed to come to life, along side massive Anti-Orbital cannon arrays. "If we are to fall [fzzzzt] We will not allow the Galaxy to witness [fzt] us roll over and accept defeat."
"We can offer you Asylum." Sonia said. He didn't respond. "I understand."
"I cannot accept your offer" He responded finally. "But i know who will." He pressed a button on the console. "Koffal, please [fzzzt] report to the command center." He said. A minute later, the door opened and a Geonosian in decorative armour appeared. "I will not lie to you, my friend. This is the end." He said. The Geonosian responded in a language that they didn't understand. "Indeed. They are offering Asylum as a neutral party." He stated.
"We can indeed offer you asylum. Are you the leader of your government?" She asked.
"Not [fzzzzzzt] exactly." The Geonosian said something else, before producing a Golden Orb.
"Oh..." Oglivie responded. "What is it?" He asked.
"That is a Royal egg. And the last chance that the Geonosians have to restore their race." Sonia's eyes widened as she stared at it. Oglivie approached her from behind and put a hand on her shoulder.
"You think you're old enough to be a mommy?" he asked. Without looking, her fist clenched and the back slammed into the front of Oglivie's helmet and he stumbled back. "Ow..."
"We would be honoured..." She responded. Eggman got his communicator out.
"Thunderbolt. We're going to need a hasty retreat." He ordered. "Come on, we'll need to be outside." He called. Sonia bowed to Bromb.
"Fight well..." She said. As they entered the elevator with Koffal, it began to descend. "This is wrong... This feels so damn wrong..." Sonia grunted. "We are leaving these people to die."
"And that is their choice to make. You said it yourself. We are here to find Manic. Getting caught up in a war is pointless." Oglivie said, then looked at the egg. "At least we can do some good." He then looked at Koffal. "Do you speak our language at all?" He asked. It flexed its throat a little, before opening its mouth.
"Small... Number... Words..." It said, obviously looking pained to say it. Eggman leaned in.
"Yes, your throat wasn't designed to talk the way we do. I'm sure i can throw together some kind of translation device." He sighed. The crew finally made it outside, before a Green beam hit the surface outside and they walked into it, reappearing in the Teleporter room. "Robot get our guest some quarters and... Have a nurse-bot meet him there." He ordered. The Egg-pawn saluted before marching away. "Right, just because we claim neutrality doesn't mean that we'll be afforded it. I'll start spooling up the Special Zone drive, Oglivie, you prepare the Metal Sonics in case we need to fight and Princess... Maybe get the Dragoon ready." He then hopped into the awaiting Eggmobile and ascended upwards. Sonia hopped into another Eggmobile and descended to the flight deck, before slotting the Eggmobile into the Egg Dragoon's cockpit.
"Patch me into the comms. Begin wide-band broadcast, i want all sides to hear this." She ordered. As the light on the console turned green, she sighed. "My name is Sonia Acorn, Princess of Mobius, Second Child of King Sonic and Queen Sally, Guardian of the Realm and Protector of the Chaos Emeralds." She began. "We are on a mission of purely diplomatic intent and are proclaiming our neutrality in this conflict." She said. "We are preparing to leave the combat area, but will answer distress calls and will happily take on life-boats from either side to return to their side without harm." She said. "Please head this call. Repeat, we are remaining Neutral in this conflict." She stated. On the bridge, Eggman shook his head, he had the feeling it wasn't going to be easy, but he pointed to Thunderbolt, who set the engines and the Egg Carrier began moving away from the combat zone.
USAF Daedalus - Col.S.Caldwell in command - Lantea
The Daedalus pulled through the atmosphere, returning from their mission to the Aurora. The crew was solemn, seeing a ship similar to theirs sacrifice themselves to save them. Destroy a Wraith Cruiser. Caldwell sat on the bridge, tablet in hand as he was looking over some of the data they had managed to collect of the Aurora before it was destroyed. There wasn't much, the Wraith had purged pretty much any useful data that could be used to give their own ships a bit more power. He looked up through the viewport window as a voice came over the radio. "Daedalus, this is Atlantis control. You're clear for landing on the east pier, welcome back."
Caldwell tapped the comm in his left ear. "Thankyou Atlantis. I'm sorry I couldn't be bringing back better news." The voice of Dr.Elizabeth Weir replaced that of whatever scientist had previously been on the radio.
"That's okay Colonel. You all came back safe-" Someone could be heard speaking off to the side. "-Colonel we're picking up a strange energy reading coming from the Daedalus, is everything okay?"
Caldwell turned to his own officers, without anything being said they had already begun to run diagnostics. Both shaking their heads. "We're not picking up anything Doctor, can you be more specific?"
He sat down in his command chair, as there was a strange light that began streaming in the window. "Marks."
"We're still getting nothing, Sir."
"Doctor Weir are you sure-" The entire ship shook, everyone ducking to cover their eyes as the light got far too bright to look at.
Then as it dimmed they found themselves in deep space. "Status!" At the same time as he called the command AR-1, Atlantis first recon team came onto the bridge. While Caldwell didn't always see eye to eye with the leader, he couldn't argue with his skill and the ability of the team.
"What the hell is going on?" That was Sheppard, straight to the point. McKay was already pushing one of his crew off a terminal while his own officers worried away at their terminals.
Marks was the first one to chime up. "Sir, we're not only just above Atlantis the navigational computer has no record of where we are. It doesn't even register the travel."
"Oh no, no, no, no, no no!" Atlantis' resident egomaniac had something to say, though while it was unbearable Rodney McKay had an ego for a reason.
"Got something to say, Doctor?"
"McKay?" McKay turned to face Sheppard, rather than Caldwell on his own ship.
"Whatever shifted us, shifted us far enough away from Atlantis that the navigational computer has no idea where we are. With no navigational data, we can't find a way back-"
His voice was interrupted by Marks, his first officer Kevin Marks spoke up again. "Sir, we're picking up contacts!"
"Shields up! Bring main railguns online, and have all pilots stand by. Bring them up onscreen." He turned his chair as the screen to the left of the bridge was replaced with images of a group of ships in the surrounding space. "What am I looking at Marks?"
"Unsure. None of them is a design or putting out energy the likes of which we've never seen."
There was a pause. Everyone paused. Caldwell turned to Cooper. "Broadcast on an open channel." She nodded as he pressed his talk button on his armchair, standing up and walking to the window to look out as he did so.
"This is Colonel Steven Caldwell of the Earth ship Daedalus. We have been brought here without our knowledge, and are unsure of our current galactic positioning. We mean no harm however will defend ourselves if provoked, we request navigational data so that we can plot a flight home."
"Sir, someone else is on an open channel." She played the hail through the speakers.
"Attention unidentified ships, this is Supreme Commander Jason Erthos of the Galactic Republic Remnant. It would seem the galaxy is not how we left it several hours ago, and we hope you might be able to answer some questions. Please respond on this channel."
"Supreme Commander? Galactic Republic Remnant?" Sheppard looked over at Ronan and Teyla. Ronan just shrugged.
Teyla shook her head. "These terms and names are unfamiliar to me, but then I am unfamiliar with any other spacefaring races other than the Wraith."
Yiithren watched from the ships viewport as the craft silently made its way through the empty expanse beyond the systems primary star, a yellow sun several million miles in diameter. Blinking his green tinted eyes as his two face tubes contracted in a rhythmic fashion, taking in oxygen and pumping out carbon dioxide that would then be filtered through the ships built in conversion system where it would be turned back into breathable air once again, Yiithren let out an annoyed burble as he glanced over at a nearby holo-display that was beeping furiously.
"Is there a problem specialist Mihraan?" He asked, swiveling to face her.
"I-" She began, leaning closer to the holographic display and flicking a few alien symbols away with her tendrils. "I'm not sure. Our sensors seem to be registering some sort of space-time disturbance."
"Space-time disturbance?" Yiithran echoed, cocking his head to the side slightly as he towards Kurqruik, his first mate. "That didn't happen during our last patrol of this system... Think it could be a malfunction with our sensors?"
"Not likely, but I'll check with Strevrols just to be sure." Kurqruik replied, moving over towards a screen embedded in a nearby wall. Running a tentacle over its blank surface caused it to flare to life. Leaning in closer, Kurqruik began to speak.
"Can you check the status of our sensors?"
"Yeah, give me a minute..."
A brief silence settles over the ship. One that is only broken by the low, efficient hum of its engines.
Finally, Strevrols returns.
"Sensors are green." He said, uncertainty beginning to creep into his voice. "Um, Kurqruik?"
"Why did you want to know our sensor status?"
"Sensor ops specialist Mihraan picked up a space-time disturbance in this system. Captain thinks it could be a malfunction, but I figured I check with you just to be sure." She explained.
"I see. Well I'll keep monitoring things on my end."
"Alright." Kurqruik said, shutting off the screen with a wave and moving back to her post near Yiithren.
"So not a malfunction then?" He asked, craning his head towards her.
"Hmm..." Yiithren began, absentmindedly rubbing his violet tinged beak, as he briefly lapsed into a deep muse. "Well lets stay on guard should it happen again. We could be facing another dimensional invasio-"
But he was cut off as a large shockwave radiated through the whole ship, causing its sensors to blare and scream in alarm as most of the crew, including Yiithren himself, were thrown to the floor by yet another violent tremor. Shakily turning his view to the ships main window, Captain Yiithren shielded his eyes with a wince as the whole craft was slowly enveloped by a impossibly bright light.
And then, they were somewhere else.
Star Date: Unknown.
Carefully pushing himself up off the ships deck, Yiithren did a quick headcount of his crew. Just to make sure no one had been killed or injured during the incident, before taking stock of the ships systems and their new surroundings.
"Navigation specialist Lathoor-" Yiithren said, gently massaging the side of his head. "-where are we?"
"I... I'm not sure sir." He replied, climbing back into his seat and tapping frantically at the display before him. "But wherever we are, it doesn't match anything we have in our star charts or navigation databanks."
Yiithren nodded slowly, his mind going over everything that had transpired thus far, as order was gradually restored.
"I checked with Strevrols." Kurqruik said, approaching from somewhere off to Yiithren's left. "He says everything looks fine despite the tremors and our apparent transportation. Shields are a bit damaged, though they should replenish over time."
"Transportation?" Yiithren asked, turning his gaze towards her. "Transportation to where?"
"Yes sir. It appears as though that disturbance has launched us into another universe. That's what Strevrols says happened anyway." Kurqruik explained, flexing her appendages slightly as though relieving built up tension or stress.
"Hmm. I see. Well he hasn't steered us wrong yet, so I'll take his word for it. Anyway, seeing as how we're in another universe, do you have any ideas as to how we can get back to our own?"
Kurqruik shook her head. "Not one. And Strevrols doesn't either. Universe hopping isn't exactly something he does on a daily basis."
"And most of our technology and science just barely flirts with the possibility of accessing and using other realities to our own advantage... So I guess that means we're stuck for the time being." Yiithren said, expelling a gust of air through his face tubes in what was clearly a sigh.
"It appears so sir."
Staring out the ships viewport pensively, Yiithren began pacing back and forth across the bridge when another loud beep from a nearby console caught his attention.
"Oh what now..." He muttered, moving towards it. Staring at the screen, his emerald eyes widened in surprise.
They were receiving a hail.
"Kurqruik-" He said, casting glance at her from over his frilled shoulder. "-get me communication specialist Cathere and tell her to start calibrating our neural translators using the sound bytes from the hail as a base. We have some neighbors to greet."
Kurqruik nodded, quickly shuffling off to another part of the ship.
"Now..." Yiithren said, turning his attention back to the dark void outside the Va's main viewport. "Lets see what surprises this new universe has in store for us."
Days were long times with little to do. A warp did not last that long, and even when it did, it was known when it was going to end. Broodmother Kasira did not know when the torment of nothingness was going to end, and it tugged at her tendrils. At every instance of question, the Leviathan informed her that they were still in warp space, but the creature of the zerg was not as intelligent as she, and could barely make an assumption as to why that would be. The Protoss weapon was one of unimaginable power if it was able to forcibly pull an entire Leviathan into it's maw.
Kasira had confidence that her brood was able to destroy the weapon; they were on the brink of tearing it to shreds, already ripping off plating and destroying it's generators as the Leviathan was pulled in. However, without her guidance the brood was most likely destined to become feral. She could only hope that the brood survived long enough for the Swarm to reassert control. A simple task for any zerg as powerful as she, but she suspected that the lesser Queens would already be fighting for domanance over the Brood; a lose-lose situation, she knew not one queen was powerful enough to control the whole brood or even the more complicated strains within it. Perhaps even an Overlord would float away with it's own little posse.
There was nothing to do except everything on the Leviathan except tend to what remained of her brood. At the very beginning of the warp, thousands were left on board, ready to be launched down to the surface to assist in the invasion; still not enough to fill the vast space inside the creature that held them. Within a few days, the Brood's numbers had already climbed to tens of thousands, due to the careful nurturing of the lesser queens and overlords who tended the larva. Broodmother Kasira slipped her way through the wet warmth of the leviathan, affirming her presence over those beneath her.
On the fifth day in warp, Broodmother Kasira observed the birth of zerglings, watching them tearing from their cocoons in pairs with razor-sharp claws. She walked amongst the cocoons, observing the larva wriggling between them, the queens tending to them. An overlord even flew within the cavernous space, almost as if overseeing the whole operation. Kasira saw it float down toward one of the hatcheries and left it to it's business, making her way to the other side of the chamber. It was then that there was a grumble, almost a groan from the Leviathan. Looking through it's eyes as quickly and as efficiently as if they were her own, Kasira saw that they arrived - somewhere.
There wasn't a need for her to rush, however. It was not like she had to attend battle stations, or pull some levers like the Terrans. No, she could command everything from wherever she was, and right now, that was one of the hatcheries. The 'bridge' barely existed; it was simply the upper mouth of the Leviathan, a place where she could peer into space or a planetary surface. She felt it better to do so, but there was no need to; particularly when she didn't know where they were. The Leviathan had a limited mind, enough to know where it was and where it could go, including the surrounding stars. It didn't recognise any of the stars; it should have been able to at least pinpoint the direction of home, but it could not even do that. They were somewhere that wasn't home, perhaps not even the same galaxy.
Concern flooded Kasira, and a few queens turned their heads her way, sensing a change in their Broodmother. With a simple push of her will, all were instantly back to their duties, and her focus went back to their location. At the very least, they certainly were not in the middle of nowhere; the Leviathan was detecting that there was the presence of ships in the system, and could sense their communications. These communications were not those of the Zerg, however - there wasn't another Broodmother or even a Queen of the ships to hassle with: Broodmother Kasira could not even feel the Overqueen communicating to her - no she was somewhere far, far away from the reaches of the Swarm, the Terrans or the Protoss. The designs of Terran and Protoss ships were very easy to detect or even recognise, but these did not look like their traditional designs. Without a mechanical communicator, the Broodmother was not even able to communicate with any of the forces in the system.
There was a ceasefire with the Terran Dominion and the Protoss. These were neither. Zerg all over the Leviathan started to stir and ready themselves at her will; Ground strains swarmed to the Leviathan's tentacles and pods, spacefaring Zerg such as the mutalisks and broodlords were launched into space, and the queens within the belly of the beast worked hard to nurture the larva into their required strains - as the situation was, Broodmother Kasira wanted more mutalisks, in case these unknown vessels wished to engage. It was very quick that the Leviathan was surrounded in spacefaring Zerg strains.
As a Broodmother, Kasira could make her own decisions, particularly when away from the Overqueen. There were still directives she, as Swarm, was forced to obey, but there was a lot of leniency. Kasira had survived a long time, and saw herself as an intelligent Broodmother, intelligent enough to know her own appearance, and that of the Swarm. In a Terran's eyes, or a Protoss' eyes, the Zerg looked aggressive, looked what the Terrans would inherently describe as alien, as perhaps predatory. The Zerg did not look like a peaceful race, and so Kasira suspected there was a chance she could be fired on at will, immediately seen as a threat. Moving her Brood into combat positions and launching some into space certainly looked aggressive, but was also a defensive posture; the Leviathan could take on perhaps two Terran battlecruisers on it's own. But three to one, and against unknown weapons? Kasira had to ensure her own safety and the safety of her brood.
As her Brood obeyed her will, Kasira tore into her intellect, trying to determine a way to make peaceful, or at least non-engaging, contact with the unknown vessels. Noticing that the Leviathan was moving further in-system, she let it push a few more kilometers in before holding position. Pushing herself psionically, the Broodmother attempted to reach out, to try and psionically interact with the captains of all nearby vessels. At this range however, she could barely do more than sense that they were there, that they existed. She had to get closer to at least one of them.
It was that fact that made the Broodmother's caution get thrown out of the window, her patience running thin. At her will, the Leviathan and it's swarm of spaceborn Zerg began moving again, toward the large ship escorted by smaller ones; the Resurgence and her Arquitan-Class escorts. Kasira reached out psionically to the flagship and the towers which she believed to be it's bridge. She pushed with her will, attempting to locate a member of the bridge crew who could be psionically capable enough to hear her - it was a long shot, but it was the only she was going to be able to communicate without being in even closer proximity.
Broodmother Kasira did not know if any of those aboard the vessel would even be effected - she might be so far out from her home that no species here was even effected or used psionics. Her efforts could be in vain, but if they were, that meant nothing to her. She had to try, and failing that, if they attacked in response to her movements, she had to defend herself. She was Swarm.
"Unknown species member, if you are hearing this, you are one of the only people that is able to hear me through my psionic communications. I reside within the Leviathan that approaches you now; Tell your Captain or highest authority that I will not threaten you if you do not threaten me, I wish for cooperation in this unknown territory. I require a communicator to speak to you mechanically. Else, I will succumb you to eternal agony as my Brood destroys your vessels."
Broodmother Kasira was tempted to force pain into the psionic mind whoever heard her, but she decided against it. Yes, she could be cruel, however she was sure that the species might take it negatively, no matter how hard she tried to underline her points. And that was if anyone even heard her. She readied her Brood in case none of the bridge crew, or anyone on the ship, heard her psionic communications. She might very well have to defend herself.
While no response was immediate, Jason passed along the order for all hands to battle stations, just in case. However, as the ARC fighters and V-wings were taking up their formations and patrol lines, a large, alien...SOMETHING dropped out of what basically looked like a hole in the universe. Lines of scrimmage were taken up by the escorts and Hammer ordered Y-Wings prepped for sorties. Jason, however, held up a hand. "Do not launch those bombers unless we are absolutely certain that that thing is hostile. DO NOT engage without orders or I'll have you court martialed and launched out the airlock."
Hammer nodded and passed the orders along and for several long moments, the group only grew more nervous as more and more hostiles appeared on the radar. Eventually, the space around the massive creature seemed fuzzy from the fliers with it. "Coms, try to raise them."
The man, one Jerus Je'and, a former bounty hunter who'd joined up after the Remnant had first made their presence in Hutt Space known, nodded. "Unidentified Organic vessel, this is the Resurgence, flagship of the Republic Remnant's fleet. Please identify yourself and your intentions." He waited several minutes. "No response sir." The large being continued to move in closer and Jason frowned.
"Gun batteries, fire warning shots, two volleys. NO hits, even on their escort. I just want it clear that until we hear from them, they don't get clo-" WIthout warning, Jerus looks at the Supreme Commander as he stands.
"Sir...I think we got a response, but...well...it was in my head." Jason raised an eyebrow at his communication's officer.
"The only people I ever worked with that could hear people in their head like that were...lieutenant, is there something you aren't telling me?" Sighing, Jerus reached behind him and pulled out a long metal cylinder before igniting both ends, revealing a silver and orange bladed double-bladed lightsaber.
"My parents worked hard to stay hidden and suggested I do the same, didn't want the Jedi, and later the Empire, to get me. Sorry, sir." Hammer and Jason exchange looks before the Supreme Commander replies.
"Given the time you worked in, I can't blame them. What does it want?" Jerus grimaces.
"Short version? She doesn't want a fight but needs a non-mental way to speak with us." Mentally, he lashes out against the invasive presence, making sure to make it wince. Threaten me or this crew again, there won't be enough of you or that beast of yours to fill a cup. We'll get you what you need.
Jason had been conversing with Hammer in the interim before a plan was set in motion. "We've sent orders to the engineering to send one of our FOB holo-communicators into the space between us. They can pick it up and it will work how they need." Jerus nods, deactivating the blades and putting it back on his belt loop.
We're sending one of our communications devices out into the space between us. Pick it up and set it up and we'll speak further then. "Message sent sir." Nodding, Jason returns to watching the beast, barely noting the shining metal that slowly floated towards it. Hopefully, they could come to an accordance with who ever or whatever was in charge of it and not have to fight each other.
Broodmother Kasira winced as she recieved a communication from the unknown species. Kasira was pleased with the fact that her attempt at communications granted a response from the unknowns - but the bliss of fortune was only temporary. Whoever she was communicating with, quite reasonably, offered a counter threat - if she were to threaten them again, they may engage. The creature that had communicated to her even had the gall to force the psionic communication enough that it had made her wince. She was tempted, very tempted indeed, to show the creature who it was dealing with, to launch psionic attacks that would cause great pain to the creature. She held back, however. She knew personalities were diverse within the Terrans and Protoss, and so it could be so within this new species as well. She could have just been dealing with a rude and moronic member of the species.
The Leviathan was fast to detect the device that had been launched toward them, and fed that information straight to the Broodmother. By the Broodmother's will, the Leviathan and it's escorting swarm of fliers moved toward the device that the ship had launched (and thus getting closer to the ship in the process). Slowly yet smoothly, the Leviathan raised one of it's long tentacles up. The tentacle extended out of the Leviathan's body, the tip opening up enough for the communication device to be swallowed within it. At the end of that tentacle, a Zergling retrieved the device, and started a long scurry to the observation area of the Leviathan, where Kasira had made her way to.
Broodmother Kasira was grateful when the Zergling finally arrived, despite having been able to observe it's progress the entire time and know when it would be arriving. By then, Kasira had a small, fleshy 'pedestal' for the communicator to sit atop. Once the communicator was set down, the flesh of the pedistal almost completely absorbed the thing, leaving just the top open, so that the projections of the device would not be blocked. It took a few minutes, but the functions of the simple device were quickly made available to her. Experimentally, the Broodmother used the communicator, attempting to make contact with the ship that had given it to her. If the communications attempt was accepted, a holoprojection of herself would be displayed. She would stay quiet, however, waiting to be spoken to first to confirm that the communicator was working as intended.
"All troops on board?" shouted Captain Astrovia at the General "We have two, maybe three minutes before that warp conduit is closed"
"Yes Sir, Last round of Medivac Dropships just touched down offloading marines and supplies." Replied the General "we are leaving 5000 troops on the planet captain" he added knowing full well how the conversation would play out.
"I am aware of that General, we are at 110% capacity as it stands. We couldn't carry that many no matter how much we wish we could." said Captain Astrovia solemnly "stow your men and material General, we are leaving this world." after ending the conversation with the General he turned to the navigation officer, "Take me to that warp conduit"
Lieutenant Hunt turned in hear seat "y-yes sir... Do we know if the Hammer can move through a Protoss warp conduit?"
"No Lieutenant, I've never tried but its that or be swallowed by the Zerg, our defense guns and ground forces are hardly holding the swarm back. It will be maybe an hour before this place is overrun us along with it." replied the captain calmly.
The huge battle-cruiser slowly turned itself around firing its titanic engines and pulled away from the grueling ground battle still in progress. Marines and Siege Tanks firing without pause to hold the hordes of Zerg back from their lines. Even as the battle-cruiser fell out of range of the battle the Zerg surged forward sensing that the lines had lost the firepower to truly hold them at bay. Zerglings dove into the trench lines dragging the power armored men to them ground and rending the apart.
"Give them some cover fire Commander West." said the captain quietly
The executive officer saluted understanding the order, he tapped a few screens on his display before the cybernetic adjutant announced "Nuclear Launch Detected" Moments later the battlefield was wreathed in nuclear fire granting the defenders a brief reprieve to gather themselves for their final stand. The Hammer of Korhol was passing over scorched no-mans-land in the process of being claimed by the Zerg.
It took time to reach the Protoss lines and they seem to have prepared for a heavy assault on their warp conduit, Many powerful warships and orbital defense weapons stood between the battle-cruiser and it only reckless hope of salvation. It was an impossible force to directly confront. Captain Astrovia stared at the problem mulling over the threat, his eye twitched struck with an idea that was probably profoundly insane.
"Lieutenant Hunt, engage tac-jump, exit inside the Protoss warp conduit portal." said the Captain firmly as if he had any idea if that would work, or was something that even could happen given the laws of physics as he understood them. The Lieutenant gave him a panicked look as she was thinking the same thoughts, if it was even something physics would allow. The captain's calm and stern gaze was all the reply she received.
"Uh, Yes... sir.." said the Lieutenant plotting the jump and ignoring every one of the dozen warnings and error messages the computer replied with. "Tac jump In 3...2...1-"
As the tac jump engines fired reality seemed to take a turn through a dimension that humans and the sensors of the ship could not account for. No time seemed to pass as the effects of the ship spinning through dimensions, or possibly reality, were impossible for the humans to understand. The crew simply did not remember their travel.
The Terran Battle-Cruiser simply appeared from the empty void of space twisting and rolling for several minutes as the attitude thrusters arrested their movement. Once the ship had stabilized it sent out a large sensor sweep ping broadcasting their location and drawing in the data of the space around them.
"Status Report!" Captain Astrovia said tiredly but with an edge of tension to his voice
"All systems green Captain, computers are trying to determine our location and... Mother Mercy, there are a hand full of ships and a Zerg Leviathan near by" said Lieutenant Newgate, "Unknown ships, they are not Terran or Protoss ships sir, not anything we have seen before"
The captain frowned, that was not anything he liked to hear. Unknown ships were dangerous, but they are usually some kind of pirate or mercenary scrapheap the Leviathan however, that was a real danger. He needed more information. The Ghosts might know more about the ships if they were some special kind of special forces top secret nonsense, better still they needed to get out of here and make for Dominion space.
The Captain announced to the adjutant "Call the Ghost team up to the bridge and begin plotting a course to dominion space."
The computer acknowledged his order calling the Ghosts to the bridge but announced an error for the second request. "Location unknown, unable to locate Dominion space..." Captain Astrovia stared at the machine for several long seconds waiting for the system to figure it out. 'well' he thought 'that is a bad sign.'
"Spin up weapon systems! Scramble fighters! Battle stations!" ordered the captain, obviously preparing for the worst while hoping this didn't turn into a suicide mission against a Leviathan or brawl with a pirate fleet.
"Bring up the hail system, broadcast this message" - "Unknown Vessels, This is the Hammer or Korhol, we request aid in destroying the Zerg"
Captain Yiithren let out an annoyed grumble, which sounded more like a liquid burble, as Cathere finished entering the language they'd heard from the hail into a nearby console. The calibration process was always a painful one. Made him feel as though his brain was being poked and prodded by thousands of hypodermic needles.
Brushing a orange tinged, gray tentacle against the display, Cathere finished logging and translating the unknown speech, quickly sending it out to the crews neural translators. Tapping the side of his head slightly, Yiithren gave a small nod the his communications specialist who opened up their comms.
Striding forward towards the viewport, Yiithren sent a message to all ships in the surrounding area. If they spoke the same language as the one's who hailed them, they'd respond. And if they didn't, well no response was better than a hostile one.
"Attention unidentified vessels. This is Yiithren, Captain of the Blathriin-Va, forty-first ship of Admiral Kost's war fleet and acting envoy of the Cantharian Empire. Please state your identities."
Ending his speech, Yiithren motioned for Cathere to cut off all outgoing communications from their ship.
"Now what do we do sir?" Kurqruik asked as the ships outgoing comms shut off with a barely audible 'vroom'.
"Now-" He said, turning to face her as the ships comms lit up with a message from another craft nearby. One that indicated aggressive action might be taken. "-we wait. And hope these creatures don't destroy themselves or us in the process."
Two years, it had been two years since The Reapers had struck earth, two years since they thought they would complete the cycle. Those days still weighed heavily upon Travis' mind. He remembered the day the reapers lost very vividly, he remembers seeing them crash to earth, and the look of relief upon the faces of the assembled crew. He looked upon the monument to all the fallen in London, some of the Glasgow's own were etched upon that surface, and for a moment he felt that feeling that most commanding officers get when they see the names of those they lost. That they should be here, and he shouldn't. Of course many were unlucky in that battle, and he should of felt lucky that he was standing here at all, but he couldn't help but entertain those kind of thoughts. They ate at him everyday, the image of his failure, the image of how he felt he would never be good enough for those he lost.
Clearly he had done something right, or wrong. Depending on how you looked at it to be one of three ships, and the only cruiser on this mission to reenter the newly rebuilt relay's, they would enter, and reimpose the system alliances laws, and customs back into planets that have since been isolated in their absence. They also had secondary missions. Find out where the Destiny Ascension, and the council went, see if there are any traces of the reapers left, and quell any piracy in the systems they went to. A tall order, but they'd be getting help as they kept pushing out from their relay's. Almost if on queue the datapad in Travis' pocket began a shrill beeping he quickly grabbed it, and looked at the message so as to not disturb any of the mourners. "Shuttle in docking bay 04 has arrived, all remaining Glasgow crew members are required to board at this time. Thank you - Major Laskey." With all the haste he could muster, Travis wove his way through the crowds of both the memorial, and the docking bay back to the military shuttle. Here some crew members were saying their goodbyes to family, friends, and loved ones. But Travis had no one who would miss him when he was gone, which made things all the better for him.
After the goodbyes were said, and the people boarded the shuttle departed heading into orbit, and for cruiser that stood on a space station dry dock. Travis couldn't help but admire The Glasgow from the windows of the shuttle. 707 meters of finely made steel, titanium, and beauty. They wouldn't have fighter craft as most of their work would be on the ground. So her fighter scaffolds laid empty so you got to see her untainted beauty. He imagined that some of his crew were brewing moonshine among them already. When the shuttle entered the supply bay, and the crew piled off it he wasted no time in heading to the brig and making a ship wide announcement. "Good evening everyone. This is your ship captain Travis Elliot. Some of you have been on the Glasgow since the beginning, some of you are new here. But there is one thing I wish to say. We are all now a family, and together as a family we are doing something that very few before us have done. Discovering a galaxy. I know what you're thinking we've been out there before, we know what to expect. But it's been two years out there, things are bound to have been changed, and we don't know what we are walking into. Will it be easy? Probably not, but we survived the reapers, we survived the worse the universe has thrown at us, and we will survive this. We will be bringing back law, and order to a galaxy that has spent two years without it. And for that, I have never been prouder of the Glasgow's crew, we will see this through. Captain Elliot out." With that he gave the signal for the release of the dry dock from his console, and had the helmsmen pilot her to the edge of the system, where the two frigates that would be their escort awaited them.
They would be doing something that very few before them had did, they would be going once more unto the breach. They eased their way into the relay, and before they knew it they were entering relay travel once more this was a familiar sight for most of the crew, of course a few who had enlisted after the battle of Earth had yet to see it, so some of the bridge crew stared with their mouths agape. The simulations not preparing them for this. But none of the crew had been prepared for what happened next as they came out of relay travel they were alone. The escort was gone, there wasn't a relay in this system, and there didn't seem to be any recognizable stars on their star charts it seemed to the bridge crew they were lost.
The crew were in a frenzy in trying to locate their positioning in the Milky Way but nothing matched their star charts, they weren't officially in the Milky Way anymore, and to Travis, and some of the crew they weren't even sure if they were in the same universe anymore. He gave the helmsmen the signal to move the ship forward, before the navigation's officer spoke up. "Sir we have multiple unidentified ships on scopes, nothing that identifies them as any kind of ship of the council species, or even Quarian flotilla designs." That gave Travis the signal that they weren't in Kansas anymore. This was unknown territory, and he had to protect the lives of his crew. "Keep us out of the way of the gathering of ships, bring all crews to combat alert, and keep the main gun ready for action just in case." "Aye sir." "Laskey, get the special operations crew, and a shuttle ready. Suit up, and prepare to deploy on my orders." "Aye cap'n" With that said the major left, and the crew was worked into a frenzy to fulfill her commanding officers orders. When the all clear signals were given the captain gave his next set of orders. "Bring us into communication range, and transmit the following. On all frequencies" - "Unidentified ships this is the SSV Glasgow of The Systems Alliance navy. Identify your intentions, and serial numbers. Do not be alarmed, we do not wish to fight you." With that put out he ended the communication hoping that they'd all comply, but he doubted the living ship they had spotted had any kind of radio transmitter so he had the crews keep their guns fixed on it, the thing reminded them too much of the stories they had heard of the rachni.
As he awaited communications, Travis couldn't help but wonder if they were in on it together. Which he doubted as if they were pirates they probably would of moved into a formation as soon as they entered the system, and turned weapons on them. He also doubted that any fleet of pirates would keep a living ship, along with metal ones in one mush-mash of ships. Maybe they were enemies of a sort, but he doubted that unless they were on peace talks from the lack of fire going on. Although one of the ships seemed to be scrambling attack craft, it seemed to them that maybe they had walked into a battle they weren't prepared for.
The bridge remained silent for several minutes while Jason decided on a response to this Daedalus, but ultimately, after a brief exploration of their own navigational charts, he decided on the truth. "Colonel Caldwell, this is Supreme Commander Jason. You must be well out of range of your home, because there is no Earth in this galaxy, at least not in any of the colonized systems or any of the explored systems in Wild Space."
As if on cue, the projector lit up and revealed the holographic image of the creature that had rudely intruded on Lieutenant Je'and's mind came to life. They were most certainly not human or any known species of non-human that the crew had seen, but a lot of their Galaxy remained unexplored. "So you're the one who rudely threatened my ships and my crew. Identify your-"
"Sir, another ship just arrived through a wormhole similar to the biological ship. It's powering weapons and calling for aid destroying the 'Zerg.' And another of the ships responded, the captain said his name was Yiithren from an Admiral Kost's war fleet. Neither name is in our database." So far, they were the only ship who knew where they were...sort of. Hammer finally spoke.
"Sir, we might want to diffuse this situation before identities are traded any further. If fighting erupts, we might attract the Empire and we're in no position to put up any real fight without the Fisto and Kenobi." Nodding, Jason turns to Jerus, but he holds up a hand.
"Another ship arrived, this one said it's with the Systems Alliance and is calling for identification." Growling, the Supreme Commander slams his fist into the panel in front of him, reopening the channel he'd first opened.
"Attention all ships, we ALL need to stand down and calm down before the Empire decides to come find out what's going on out here. I am giving everyone a two hour window to come aboard our ship, the Resurgence, so we can figure out what happened. We seem to be the only ship here with navigational data that can get all of us to safety, remember that. Two hours, Supreme Commander Jason Erthos out." Cutting his broadcasting mic and the holo-communication to the alien on the biological ship, he turns to Hammer.
"Prep the troopers. I want our guests to be aware that less than their best behavior will NOT be tolerated."
"What about the commandos?"
"They'll be in the room with us. They're better suited to close-quarters if it comes to that." Nodding, Commander Hammer dons his helmet and heads out of the bridge towards the barracks while Jason turns to his coms officer. "Lieutenant, get some proper Jedi robes on and keep that lightsaber visible. You'll be a powerful force multiplier if things get messy." The Jerus nods before leaving as well and then Jason heads towards his quarters after giving command of the bridge to his XO. He'd be armoring up and armed as well, since he didn't want to take any chances.
Kasira was surprised at what she was shown by the communicator. The unknowns appeared to be, or at least looked like, Terrans. She wondered if she was just being duped, tricked by the Terrans. The Broodmother was then made aware of someone that she easily recognised; a Terran from her end of the galaxy, apparently as braindead as the other ships as to their current situation. The Leviathan itself quickly noticed the Terran battlecruiser, feeding it's vision to Kasira. An old calling demanded that she destroy the battlecruiser and all those on board, but she knew that the Zerg were in a ceasefire with Terrans. Kasira did not want to, or rather, could not displease the Overqueen by breaking that ceasefire. It troubled her that the Terran ship was broadcasting a request for aid in destroying her, which she could pick up with her new communications device.
It did not just trouble Kasira due to the fact it would break the ceasefire. It also amused her that the broadcasting Terran was willing to try and throw his life away. So far, Kasira had not engaged anyone - if the Terran ship opened fire on her, then it would be seen as the aggressor. She wouldn't even need the help of the other unknown ships to destroy one, measly battlecruiser. She might even take the effort to capture it entirely instead of destroying it to add to her ranks.
She could very well have attempted to contact the battlecruiser, to disclose her intentions. However, a better plan formed in her head, one that she felt more likely to work. She prided herself in her intelligence over the lower strains of Zerg for a few moments, before putting her plan into action; she moved the Leviathan directly toward the Supreme Commander's ship. To signal that she did not have any bad intent in the movements of her Brood, she signalled all of the Zerg around the Leviathan to fall in and get inside the Leviathan; recalling and docking her fighters, so to speak. Kasira directed her Leviathan to get a safe distance yet close to the Supreme Commander's ship, before making her way through the Leviathan's body.
Kasira had felt them a while ago, the Terran Ghosts. Their psionic signatures were obvious, like a light in a dark tunnel. Only now did she reach out to them, to send a message through secretive telepathic communications; "We are at a ceasefire, Terrans. Engage me now, and you will not have broken the ceasefire with the Swarm, but with these other ships as well. You will be the aggressor, not I." And with that, Kasira cut her mind off from the Ghosts, at least for now. She had arrived where she wanted to be; at an Overlord. She made her way inside of the creature, and then let the creature remain where it was for a minute. In that time, a group of ten Zerglings and a Ravager joined her inside the Overlord. Finally, the Overlord took off, floating it's way out of the Leviathan.
As soon as the Overlord left the Leviathan, a group of twelve Mutalisks took flight, joining the Overlord in it's flight over to the Supreme Commander's ship. Broodmother Kasira knew that this ride was where she was most vulnerable, and made sure to make the ride over as fast as possible. As soon as the Overlord slipped into the hangar, the Mutalisks turned to make their way back to the Leviathan. The Overlord touched down inside of the hangar, and the Zerglings ran out first, making sure it wasn't an ambush, followed by the Ravager. They then sat around the Overlord, and finally the Broodmother made her way out.
Kasira could almost feel the uneasiness from the two troopers that approached her, especially as the Zerglings stared them down. One glanced at the other, and then finally, they spoke their purpose; "Greetings... Ma'am. We're to escort you to the briefing room," one said.
Kasira was a little concerned that she might not be able to fit in their passageways, taking a glance over at a hatch but they looked large enough. Her gaze went back to the troopers. "Very well, lead on," Karisa says, her voice more-so emanating from where her mouth would be rather than actually coming from an orifice. The troopers glanced at eachother again, before starting to lead her to the briefing room. Four Zerglings followed close behind the Broodmother, and the rest of the Zerglings and the Ravager stayed with the Overlord.
Arriving at the briefing room, Kasira and her Zerglings settled themselves down and waited. For what, Kasira did not know. She wasn't sure what to expect.
Yiithren rubbed a tentacle against the side of his head, his eyes squeezed shut, as a flurry of communiques was transmitted between the surrounding ships, filling the bridge of the Blathriin-Va with a maelstrom of voices and sounds that seemed to grow louder as time went on. After a while, however, a message from the ship they'd been hailed by originally rose up, cutting through the rest, rendering them silent. The Supreme Commander, as this person called themselves, requested that all ships stand down and send delegations to meet aboard their craft, the Resurgence. They also mentioned an empire, though from the way they said it Yiithren suspected it was one large entity rather than just one of many feuding factions in this universe. And one that the commander seemed quite keen on avoiding.
Yiithren opened his eyes and stared down at the floor briefly, lost in thought, before returning his gaze to the viewport.
"Specialist Cathere-" He said, all four of his eyes wandering over the dark silhouettes of the alien craft floating in the darkness beyond. "-open a channel and hail this Supreme Commander Jason Erthos."
"Yes sir." Cathere replied, flicking an appendage across the holographic display floating before her. A series of beeps followed by a low drone were emitted from the machines in her area, before falling silent once more. "Channel open."
Yiithren nodded. Clasping his tendrils behind his back, he began to speak.
"Supreme Commander Erthos. This is Captain Yiithren of the Blathriin-Va. I have received and agree to your terms. However we do not have any sort of short range transport craft, so we may need assistance in reaching your vessel." And with that he motioned for Cathere to end the hail as he waited for the commanders response.
After five minutes of waiting in near total silence, they eventually received a response from the Resurgence.
"Captain Yiithren, this is executive officer Kol'Zife. If you require assistance in getting to our ship, we can send a LAAT over to your craft."
"That would be acceptable." Yiithren replied.
"Very well. A LAAT is en route to your craft."
The line went silent.
Turning away from the viewport, Yiithren gave some ordered his crew to watch the ship in his absence and called Strevrols up to the bridge where he began putting his delegation together. It was a small group consisting of himself, Kurqruik, and Strevrols. Under normal circumstances, he'd usually have some kind of a guard with him, but since his ship was a simple escort class, it hadn't been large enough to warrant a security contingent. So they'd have to make due with what they had and hope that the others who showed up to the meeting wouldn't try to start anything while they were onboard.
USAF Daedalus - Col.S.Caldwell in command - Unknown Space
Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard, Doctor Rodney McKay, Teyla Emmagan and Ronan Dex sat in their uniform around a table. Rodney continued keying in details on a tablet, pouring over the sensor readings of the individual ships that had been showing up. They had established by the open communications that nobody knew what was going on, the closest was the ship calling itself the Resurgence and their Supreme Commander. Though even they seemed to be displaced in some way shape or form. McKay was already calling it that they were somehow transported to an alternate reality, as they were a thing SG personnel dealt with regularly.
"This ship is the most concerning-" He held up the readings of what appeared to be a giant creature, rather than a metal ship like the Daedalus. Johns's stomach did a turn, it was easily bigger than a Wraith hive. McKay picking up on his discomfort continued to speak. "As far as we can determine, it's not Wraith. It doesn't match what we know of their technology, based on what we know a Hive is essentially a union of multiple organisms with one central nervous system. Whereas this appears to be one creature, and while that's y' know. Utterly terrifying it hasn't made any hostiles move yet, by this point in meeting the Wraith they had already fed on several of us."
"That doesn't mean we can let our guard down." Caldwell walked into the room, a cup of coffee in his hand. "The Resurgence is sending a shuttle to pick you up, their Commander felt it prudent should we all send delegates across."
Rodney scoffed. "That's ridiculous, why don't we just beam-"
John shot daggers at the scientist. "Because we don't want to show them everything we're capable of Rodney."
"I just feel like I should make you all aware that there is a ship out there calling for the destruction of the Zerg, which from best we can gather in the big living ship out there. We've got hyperspace co-ordinates locked to a nearby planetary body if things get hot, and we'll beam you out."
Teyla winced as she held her head in her hands, rubbing her temple. "There is a powerful mind aboard the large ship. She calls herself, Broodmother?"
Ronan raised an eyebrow. "Wraith?"
She shook her head. "No, it's different. More alien. She is very powerful but concerned."
Sheppard and McKay exchanged looks, Sheppard was the first one to speak. "We'll be careful Colonel."
Caldwell nodded. "Good. Five minutes, port landing bay. Make sure you're armed."
The L/AAT came in past the great big hangar doors, which of course were nothing compared to what they were used to flying through. Space seemed quite tight, Rodney was already analysing the ship in all its glory. It had no visible engines, likely using some form of gravity-defying technology to fly similar to that of the puddle jumpers. Was this race more technologically superior or were they inferior? The sensor readings they gathered of their main ship were conflicting, they had vast amounts of energy generation but the shielding was negligible compared to their own. This just added more questions to the already growing list, and he expected that by the time this day was done there would be even more. The only ship that was like anything they had encountered before was the Hammer. With similar technologies, it seemed very similar to what they would have eventually come up with without the discovery of the Stargate.
As the craft landed in front of them he could see Sheppard's finger resting near the trigger of his P-90, a motion that Teyla seemed to not be mirroring. She had her P-90 at rest, but then she had been dealing with strange cultures all of her life as a trader for the Athosians. Ronan's hand was down near his unique pistol, though he could still probably let a shot off before Sheppard. Rodney lowered the tablet as the door to the craft opened, what looked like humanoid figures in white stepped out. In their hands their own guns, while a figure stepped forward in a similar armour without the helmet. He walked up to Sheppard, who was obviously the leader of the away team and offered a quick salute. Sheppard returned it. "Captain Sixer, I'm here to take you and your team over to the Resurgence to meet with the Supreme Commander."
"Lieutenant Colonel Sheppard, United States Airforce. This is Doctor Rodney McKay-" He pointed to McKay who nodded in turn. "-Teyla Emmagan of Athos-" she bowed her head in greeting "-and Ronan Dex from Sateda." Ronan just grunted. "We're going to be there to represent the Daedalus. Your commander mentioned having never heard of Earth, though that doesn't surprise us as we're currently based outside of our home galaxy. Have you ever heard of Atlantis?" Sixer shook his head.
"No, though those questions are probably better directed at the Commander. Let's get going."
Rodney barged his way to the front of the group. "While we're on our way, what sort of propulsion system do you use? You seem to be able to move without visible engines, is it manipulation of electromagnetic waves or some form of gravity manipulation? Also, how does your main ship generate energy as we detected a massive output, is that nuclear or some other form of energy generation?"
"McKay." Rodney turned to look at Sheppard.
"I'm sure the nice Commander will answer any questions we have, so long as we answer his." Sheppard turned to Sixer as they boarded the craft. "Sorry about that. He just gets excited." Then the doors slammed shut.
General Dosh and the ghost team arrive on the bridge with a squad of marines in tow, preparing to hold the bridge from Zerg boarding and to appraise the situation with the captain. They have been just recently been figuring out communications from the other ships, and they have been confusing to say the least. Using ship names and communication protocols that were utterly foreign to the Terrans and Protoss.
"Whats the situation sir?" asks the Ghost team leader once on the bridge and witnessing the general chaos of ship crew frantically working on a dozen non-combat problems.
Captain Astrovia gives the short version to the general and Ghost leader, which boils down to 'i have no idea, but there is a lot of unknown out there, and a Zerg Leviathan.' With no direct response to their call for aid to fight off the Zerg it seems there was some kind of cease fire in effect... or the Zerg had infested the fleet already.
After several minutes of discussion Major Veck clutches his head and falls back a step to steady himself as the psychic communication with the Zerg takes hold in his mind. He slowly makes sense of the communication, unpleasant as it is, not being trained to deal with direct contact with a Zerg mind making it quite painful and slow to interpret for him. "uh, Sir, It seems as if..." he winces trying to work it out, "There is a cease fire with this other fleet and the Zerg.. we would be the aggressor if we started firing."
The Captain stared long at the ghost, Psychics... why did they need psychics. "Very well.. I suppose we will want to chat with everyone, General i don't suppose you will want to go have a chat with the fleet on our behalf once we hash out the details?" says Captain Astrovia. The general simply salutes waving his squad of Marines to follow.
The Captain thinks for a moment before a Lieutenant interrupts his thoughts, "We are getting a hail sir, We are to send a delegate to this capital here and prepare to move in two hours." Astrovia simply nods at this and sends the information down to one of the dropships.
The ship is prepped and ready in short order, the General leaves to the meeting on the Resurgance. As the ships flies it takes a wide berth around the Zerg never closing with it until close enough to dock with the Resurgance without fear of surprise from the Zerg. The dorpship lands quite comfortably in the hangar and lets out two squads of Terran Marines. The Marines spread out into a semicircle around the base of the dropship sizing up their trooper counterparts. One approaches close enough to make things quite tense while towering over the trooper with his heavy gauss rifle across his chest the before keying his external speakers "heh- you want a piece of this boy?"
The troopers, disciplined soldiers as they are do not rise to the provocation but glance at each other in surprise more than fear. The Terran marines in their powered armor are much larger than the troopers and do make an intimidating presence compared to the troopers. General Dosh stomps down the ramp in his old Firebat Armor. The visor rolls up releasing a cloud of smog, the general smoking a cigar inside his armor, "Where's this meeting" he says eyeing the troopers obviously not impressed "I am General Dosh of the Terran Dominion" while waving his hand unintentionally pointing his incinerator gauntlet at the trooper.
"Follow us General, we will take you to where you need to go." replies the trooper still making the occasional glance at the Marines in their power armor.
Shipmaster Falul was on the bridge of his vessel, the Immaculate Aegis. He was sat in his chair, hovering in front of a view screen showing an image of the outside of their ship. Though, there was little to see beyond the planet they were orbiting. It was a frontier colony called Khael'mothka. Falul had his crew had fought here before, when it had been embroiled in a civil war, like so many other Sangheili colonies in the aftermath of the Battle of the Ark. The fighting was all but over by this point, however, with only the embers of dissent remaining to be stomped out. Their reason for being here was simply as a part of their normal patrol of Sangheili space, searching for pirates or any of the other meager threats that still needed to be snuffed out in their territory. The only event that was even somewhat out of their routine was that they had taken aboard an artisan-armorer for transport to Sanghelios, though that was hardly the sort of excitement that he knew some of his crew longed for.
There were those among the Shipmaster's crew who resented the fact that their vessel was no longer taking an active role in the destruction of Jul 'Mdama's Covenant. The Immaculate Aegis had not so much as entered combat in months, but Falul understood his role. As much of a threat as Covenant still was, they could not simply leave their territory undefended. There needed to be ships at the ready to defend any world under the protection of the Swords of Sanghelios. It was a role just as important as any assault ship, and for this task, Falul fully intended for his vessel to live up to its name.
Having already completed their scan of the system and found nothing out of the ordinary, it was time to make their return to Sanghelios. Falul gave the order and the slipspace jump was quickly calculated. A brilliant blue glow filled the view screen as the slipspace portal opened just ahead of the ship's bow, their engines pushing them through into the portal itself. A slipspace jump between stars was routine, and unremarkable. It was a journey this vessel had made countless times during its service, yet, this time, they were not destined to arrive at their intended destination.
Entry into the portal had gone just as smoothly as usual, but as soon as the portal had collapsed in real space behind them, the whole of the ship seemed to shake violently, and they dropped out of slipspace mere seconds after entering. Even the Shipmaster's chair had shaken, though he had managed to right it before he could be thrown from it.
Most of those on the bridge were of at least major rank, all wearing the crimson armor of the Swords of Sanghelios. Most were Sangheili, though two consoles were operated by Unggoy, and one by a Kig-Yar. All of the Kig-Yar aboard the vessel were mercenaries, which did not sit well with all of the crew in terms of their loyalty, but Falul knew their leader and found them useful enough to continue to continue to employ them since just after the fall of the Covenant.
"Report!" Falul shouted, to which his officers needed only a few moments to read the errors flashing on their consoles. Although, interpreting the actual meaning behind them was an entirely different matter.
The Sangheili at the console just to Falul's right swapped rapidly between the screens in front of him, trying to make sense of the readings being presented to him. "We dropped from slipspace, shipmaster. I am not sure why, these readings are...confusing. The spirit is still piecing it together."
"Then give me the information. What is unusual?" Falul instructed. The Immaculate Aegis operated with a far more advanced AI than it ever would have possessed under the restrictions of the Covenant; however, it was still not as complex as the artificial lifeforms regularly used by Humanity, and it did not serve as a replacement for the reasoning and judgment of the crew.
The officer took just another moment to collect his thoughts and gather the information in front of him. "The computer cannot identify where we are. We were in slipspace for only a moment, but we are no longer above Khael'mothka...or in the same system, either. And there are no readings on our sensors to explain why we dropped from slipspace. The borer shows no errors."
"That would be a rare slipspace anomaly, but not impossible. How far outside the system are we?" Falul asked.
The officer seemed to be having a difficult time believing the readings in front of him, but nevertheless relayed them to his shipmaster. "We...are not outside the system either. The spirit confirms that we are in a galaxy, but the star positions do not match any possible configuration in our galaxy."
Falul did not have time to express his own doubts before a Sangheili at another console interjected. "Shipmaster, our sensors are detecting multiple vessels in range. All unknown patterns. Five are smaller ships, but one is larger than our carrier, and it appears organic."
The Shipmaster leaned forward in his chair, his concern showing through his sharp gaze. "The parasite?"
There was hesitation from the officer as he double-checked his console. "No, it does not resemble the signature of the parasite. It does not resemble any lifeform we have seen."
Falul gave a low growl as he turned his chair back around towards the view screen. "Show me." He ordered. After a moment, the screen switched to show the organic vessel, as well as the other, smaller ship in proximity to it. Just as the signatures their sensors were detecting were entirely foreign, it also did not have the appearance of any Flood ship he had seen. This was not an artificial vessel overgrown by a parasite, but rather an entirely organic being. "Have we sustained damage? Are our shields active?"
"Our shields are active, shipmaster. The spirit is not reporting damage." One of his officers answered.
"Then target the organic ship, but do not power weapons. If we are fired upon by any ship, then return fire immediately. Do not wait for my order. Scan for any signals, and broadcast on all communication frequencies." Falul instructed. With a few presses of holographic buttons on the arm of his chair, Falul readied his message to be broadcast. "This is the carrier, Immaculate Aegis. We have entered this space unintentionally, without hostile intent, but we will destroy any ship that fires upon us. All vessels, identify yourselves."
It was a demanding message, but as Sangheili diplomacy went, it was a tempered response to an uncertain situation. While they could not identify any of the vessels, that did not mean that none of them were Human in origin. Their Arbiter had given his word of allegiance to Humanity, and Falul was not intent on breaking it.
The invitation aboard the Resurgence was all the group needed. Travis sent the signal to ready the shuttle but just as he was about to leave another of his crew shouted. "Another contact looks like this one is late to the party." One of the bridge officers shouted, and Travis sighed. More, and more this was coming together they had only theorized there was alternate universes out there, but this seemed more, and more like the case as none of these ships seemed to fit in with on another, so that means they were all brought to this point for some reason. But who brought them here, and why? Not that he had time to reflect on the matter he opened a channel so all ships could hear his conversation with the Immaculate Aegis, last thing he needed was for them to think they were keeping secrets, they'd probably need to find a way to work together if they were to go back home anyways. "Aegis my name is Travis Elliot, captain of the Systems Alliance ship Glasgow. We have been invited aboard the Resurgence to discuss matters, as long as you hold true to the fact that you are non-hostile then I'm sure they will welcome you aboard as well. If you need a shuttle, I'm sure my crew can spare another one to pick up your detail. Glasgow out." He had his officer transmit it, then left the bridge.
As he made his way through the corridors he could see by the looks on his crews faces that they were just as confused as him, that they were well and truly lost. He could hear them whispering among themselves wondering what happened, what were these ships, where were they. All questions they had hoped to answer, and he hoped that this Empire that the commander of the Resurgence had mentioned did not decide to visit them today. When he finally made it to the shuttle bay the assembled operators stood at attention for him awaiting for him to address them. "I'm still not sure if this is a trap or not, but in the case that it isn't then I don't want any itchy trigger fingers, if it is then we do what we have done best, and show them why we sent the reapers packing. Understood?" "Sir, yes sir!" "Good, lets go before they start without us." With that they all piled into the shuttle, and left the hangar.
The inky black of space was all Travis could see on his short shuttle ride, the operators in the shuttle chatting nervously among themselves, Laskey, and Wilkes sat on either side of him holding a quiet conversation. Both cut imposing figures in their armor, especially Laskey in that Terminus assault armor, he had picked it up somewhere when they stopped in the Terminus system, and it had proven it's worth before hand so Travis had let him keep it despite the fact that in Alliance space was non regulatory, and could of gotten them in trouble. Wilkes was only imposing due to the N7 emblazoned upon her armor, he doubted what any of these races would know what the N7 operators were capable of, or that Wilkes was an accomplished biotic. That could work in his favor, if negotiations went south.
As they neared closer, the shuttle pilot spoke over the comm to the bridge, requesting landing clearance, when it was given the shuttle moved to where it was told. They had arrived into a busy hangar bay with people moving to, and fro. But there was an escort waiting for them. "Laskey, Wilkes you're with me, the rest of you keep the shuttle safe." He ordered, before turning to his escort. He opened his jacket revealing he was unarmed, then explained to the escort that the only ones armed that were heading into this meeting were his guards. He didn't want their host thinking they had gone into this wanting to fight, but he knew if it came down to it they'd be ready to.
With everything clear up, the escort bade them to follow, and they did. Winding through the ship corridors, and the turbolifts. Travis made sure to try to memorize the way back in case the worse happened, but he doubted that it would come to it. He imagined that those gathered here was just as confused as he was, and that if they started shooting one another they would remain confused. There would be no info, no star charts, no nothing. So he hoped the others would have the better sense to not shoot at one another, and just work things out. For he did not like the idea of being stranded here.
When they finally made it to the briefing room, they were told to wait. So they did taking their seats, his guards standing at either side of him. They didn't keep their weapons in hand, but judging by the way they stood they would be able to draw, and access their weapons incredibly quickly if push, came to shove. Travis sat down as far away from the broodmother as space could put him, she put him at a level of unease that he hadn't ever felt. He had only heard stories of the Rachni and her species very much reminded him of those stories, he didn't say anything to her. He just sat. Studying her, studying the room, and wondering what the other leaders would be like.
High above the blood-pink atmosphere of Mallus XI, a climatic battle was currently underway...
After months of intense searching, the Galactic Federation had found the home fleet of the vile Space Pirates situated over the gas giant. And indeed the rumors were true - the enemy fleet was huge; being arguably one of the largest fleets the pirates had ever assembled. Comprised of various alien-crafted battleships and two experimental Nemesis-Class dreadnoughts - the "Annihilus" and the "Conquerer" - it was said that the pirates were planning to initiate an attack on the Galactic Federation's home planet via a secret hyperspace wormhole they had found in the region. Had the Federation been unable to locate the enemy fleet, the wormhole would've sent the entire space pirate fleet straight towards their planet and take them by surprise.
Alas, the Federation was lucky to have found the space pirates first, being all thanks to their most trusted and valuable asset...
However, this time, the bounty hunter wasn't just working for the G.F for monetary reasons alone. There was a far greater stake for her here - another chance for her to finally end her space-dragon nemesis Ridley once and for all. He was reported to be commanding the fleet from within the "Conquerer" dreadnought and if Samus was quick she could catch him before he could retreat like the coward he is. There was no time to lose to miss out on such a glorious opportunity.
Having crawled and blasted through heaps of space pirates, the armored Samus fought tooth and nail towards the command bridge. Her iconic varia suit sent shudders down her opposition, all knowing full well in what was coming to them. They would be blasted apart as the bounty hunter's cannon ripped through their alien flesh like butter and she destroyed any barricade that blocked her path. Yet for every level she ascended, the opposition became harder and fiercer than the last. Still, Samus gave no quarter and after killing the last space pirate that was in between her and the door to the bridge, she'd finally reach her destination.
Blasting open the shielded door with a well-placed super missile, Samus entered with her cannon primed and ready through the bellowing smoke. Ridley should be in there if the bounty hunter's senses were correct. It was almost as if she could feel his presence...
Without hesitation, Samus twisted her body towards the noise and proceeded to open fire at what had caused that terrible sound. Her vengeance would be unleashed upon the space commander's vile body, determined to wipe out this menace once and for all. And after a few seconds of her intense barrage, she would stop... yet she could already feel that something off. The air was eerily still and oddly quiet outside of the intense battle that was going on in space. Surely this couldn't have ended so soon. It would've been too easy. The bounty hunter cautiously approached where her foe would stand and as she appeared out of the smoke, she could finally confirm the status of her target.
It was indeed Ridley... or rather, a mechanized version of him. His gunmetal armor gleamed in the harsh lights of the ship, with smoke emerging from its damaged circuits. The bounty hunter slowly lowered her cannon, her body violently shaking as she realized too late of what had just transpired.
Just then, a faint beep would resonate through her helmet. Someone was hailing her. Sighing, Samus proceeded to answer the call.
"Samus." the voice cackled to that of a middle-aged man, "What's your status? Did you find Ridley?"
"No, Captain." the bounty hunter replied as she tried her best to calm herself, "I've found his mechanical double. Ridley must've known that we were coming."
"Blast..." the captain cursed under his breath, "How could he have known? We'd made sure to prepare for this assault in total secrecy. I hope he didn't detect you as you were leaving with the plans..."
"I doubt that." Samus answered, "If he did, he would've moved the fleet elsewhere. He must've planned ahead, either installing it as a diversion or using it as his double as a last resort for his quick escape... ugh, that coward. I bet he even primed it to~"
Suddenly, Mecha Ridley's poisonous-green eyes began to rapidly glow in quick succession as a high-pitched blinking emanated from it. It echoed throughout the room, piercing the stillness an ominous intent. Samus kept her guard up, however she had a good feeling in what was about to happen next. And before she knew it, the entire command room began to glow a deep-crimson red as klaxon alarms blared throughout the ship.
Instantly, Samus bolted out the command door as fast as she could, barely avoiding the emergency blast doors shutting on her.
"Samus?" the captain's voice asked concerningly from the comms, "What's wrong?"
"The whole dreadnought is gonna blow in 4 minutes!" the bounty hunter bellowed as she smashed into an unlucky space pirate, "And it's going to wipe out both of the fleets in orbit if we keep lingering here."
"Ah, damnit..." the captain cursed again, "Right, copy that. Preparing for an emergency jump now. Rendezvous with the rest of the fleet as we had planned. We will pay you there."
With that, Samus ended the conversation and continued her mad-run back to the hangar bay. The other pirates onboard also began rushing to their ships or to any available escape pods if they were near them. Most wouldn't even pay attention towards their nemesis as she rushed by them, or ran over them as she activated her shinespark boost to rush through locked doors.
With only one minute left, the bounty hunter was able to reach her ship and proceeded to haul her armored ass out of the now collapsing dreadnought. Her gunship zoomed right out of the hanger bay as it got to a safe distance away.
Thirty seconds were left.
Samus began to fumble with her ship's controls as she prepared to jump to lightspeed back to the Federation's home planet. Once she finished putting in the coordinates, she sat back down in her seat as she waited to make the jump. However, things would suddenly turn south as her ship began to mysteriously short circuit, with electrical sparks flying all over the main computer.
"No no, what's happening now..." Samus began to panic as she attempted to override the glitch in the system, but to no avail.
Ten seconds left.
The coordinates screen began to become corrupted as the numbers were rapidly shaped into a series of code, before a large error sign could be seen engulfing the entire screen.
Samus could then notice space warping around her as her ship began to slowly engage to light-speed.
With nothing else to do, the bounty hunter silently sat down and let fate decide for her.
And with a sudden jolt, Samus could feel her ship jump straight into the void as she was thrown back into her seat with a hard thud, causing the world around her to become black. All just mili-seconds before a ball of violent light engulfed the entire sector behind her...
After what seemed to be an eternity of idling in the darkness of the unconscious void, Samus Aran would slowly attempt to regain her senses. She was still fading in an out of consciousness, but she could hear the faint sound of chatter coming from her comms.
"Attention unidentified ships, this is Supreme Commander Jason Erthos of the Galactic Republic Remnant. It would seem the galaxy is not how we left it several hours ago, and we hope you might be able to answer some questions. Please respond on this channel."
Samus attempted to hone in on whatever the person on the other side mean't, but she was still too dazed to properly get up.
"What... are you talking about...?" the bounty hunter mentally replied in her head.
"Unidentified ships this is the SSV Glasgow of The Systems Alliance navy. Identify your intentions, and serial numbers. Do not be alarmed, we do not wish to fight you."
Another reply would come through, this one being from another faction in of itself - one Samus couldn't recognize either. And like the other ship before it, it too seemed as if it was out of place in the environment it was placed in. Was it a coincidence?
"This is Colonel Steven Caldwell of the Earth ship Daedalus. We have been brought here without our knowledge, and are unsure of our current galactic positioning. We mean no harm however will defend ourselves if provoked, we request navigational data so that we can plot a flight home."
Perhaps not. Something strange was going on. Three ships had already declared themselves to not be from wherever they were originally stationed. Samus was already getting rather curious about all this. Was she too thrusted into something larger than she realized? Slowly, she finally attempted to roll onto her side, carefully planting her armored hand onto the floor of her gunship.
"Unknown Vessels, This is the Hammer or Korhol, we request aid in destroying the Zerg."
She lifted herself off the floor before planting her hands on the cockpit's control desk. She heard a distress signal that a vessel was already under attack, by something it referred to as "the Zerg". Definitely an alien threat by the sounds of it.
"This is the carrier, Immaculate Aegis. We have entered this space unintentionally, without hostile intent, but we will destroy any ship that fires upon us. All vessels, identify yourselves."
Samus would slowly look up into the vastness of space, where she finally could catch sight of some of the various vessels that were in orbit. Several massive ships, each varying in different size and unique shapes, were interacting with one another as they attempted to figure out what was going on. She took a minute to assess her surroundings and study the ships in the area. Most seemed to be friendly, or at the very least cautious, with only one organic-looking ship acting aggressively towards one ship. She needs to keep a good distance before engaging with these much larger vessels.
How long had she been floating here?
Samus would activate her main computer, swiping her button against the holographic screen to assess the current state of her gunship. Most of her systems were fine, but her engines were badly damaged. They could still propel her ship to a certain degree, but not nearly to the degree where she could fly quickly. So basically, she is stranded here... unless she can contact a friendly ship to pick her up.
So much for keeping her presence masked.
With no other option available, Samus activated her distress signal and proceeded to give her own introductory speech through her open channel.
"This is Samus Aran - formerly a client for the Galactic Federation. My ship's engines have been damaged in a freak light-speed jump and I require immediate assistance. Requesting a pick up from any non-hostile ships. Please respond."
Thankfully, it wouldn't take long for someone to reply.
"This is Executive Officer Kol’Zife of Ryloth onboard the Resurgence. We will send a crew to tow you to our vessel. Please stand by, over."
Within the span of a few minutes, Samus' gunship would be towed in by friendly ships as she was taken into the Resurgence's hangar bay. Once inside, the bounty hunter would ascend from her ship's interior via her ship's onboard elevator and emerge still encapsulated in her Varia suit. Once outside, she would be escorted by the crew to where everyone else was situated and was to wait in the briefing room for further details. The bounty hunter may have been late to the melting party, but not late enough as to be considered "tardy".
She would simply sit quietly as she observed the volley of new faces around her and wait to be debriefed.
Kol'Zife had just settled into his seat on the bridge, watching the crew prepare for the arrival of the various delegates from the other ships when the newest arrival came through. The size of it alone...well, Kol could think of a few good uses for a ship that size. Another hail came through and, in classic fashion, the XO answered. “This is Executive Officer Kol’Zife of Ryloth aboard the Venator Resurgence. Any one with questions has been invited aboard in order to get the answers that we can give by Supreme Commander Jason, my immediate superior.”
It had not taken long for the Aegis to begin receiving signals. One had been a message, but upon noticing the active, open channel, the communications officer redirected it to the Shipmaster’s personal display. Though, as far as the ship’s computers could interpret, the channel was audio-only. “You speak of ranks I have never heard, places I am unfamiliar with, and from a ship with a pattern I have never seen. You could well be inviting me into a trap, Executive Officer Kol'Zife of Ryloth. Does your vessel belong to the Humans of Earth? To whom do you owe allegiance?"
Kol sighs as he sits back. “Again with this Earth place. Look, wherever you think you are, you aren’t. I owe allegiance to the Galactic Republic Remnant and its leader, whom I’ve already named. If it’s going to help, I can transfer you directly to him.” The Twi’lek pauses a moment. “And yes, he is human.”
“Again, you speak of something unfamiliar. Something unknown to me.” Falul began, pausing a moment in thought as he leaned to the side in his chair. “Your ship, it is armed. If only by its appearance, I can see it is a military vessel. You invite envoys from our ship, and presumably these other vessels, with no knowledge of who you are or whether you can be trusted. And yet, if you are Human, then you share the species of our allies, and I am bound to treat with you...diplomatically. Unless otherwise provoked. I do not require the word of your shipmaster; yours is sufficient. I shall attend this meeting, but know this: if your intent is betrayal, hostages would not prevent the destruction of your vessel.”
“Buddy, if we were gonna shoot people, then we wouldn’t be holding a diplomatic summit. In any case, your choice of dropship is cleared for landing. Be aware, we are providing everyone with an escort once you’re on board, both to guide you to the meeting room and, well, as you said, we don’t know you people.”
Falul gave a brief, somewhat audible grunt. "Indeed." He replied, which was the last word before he terminated the transmission. He lowered his chair closer to the floor, then stood before turning back to his communications officer. "Have you detected other signals?"
"Yes, shipmaster." He answered, prompting Falul to approach the console and listen to each message they had intercepted. They were all different, but most had a similar theme. These ships, all remarkably different in design, had all arrived in this one section of space unexpectedly, and with no identified cause. Another Sangheili, wearing the armor of a commander in the crimson colors of the Swords of Sanghelios, approached beside Falul. His name was Uril 'Laras, and he was the second-in-command to Falul. "Strange forces are at work here, Shipmaster. This is not like anything we have encountered before, but...it still could be a trap."
"Yes, it could be." Falul remarked, turning back around from the console. "So I shall go myself, along with my guard. My orders are this: if this meeting turns to betrayal, then you are to retreat from this region of space, then focus your efforts on discovering our location and finding a way to return to Sanghelios. After destroying my captors."
Uril clenched his fist over his chest and bowed his head slightly. "Yes, Shipmaster."
Given the uncertain situation they were in, Falul's personal guard were already prepared by the time he reached the hanger bay. Their armor did not bear any distinguishing markings to differentiate them from other major-ranked Sangheili, but their combat harnesses were equipped with shielding as befitting their role. The four of them were armed primarily with carbines or concussion rifles, plasma rifles, and, of course, they all carried energy swords. Falul himself was more lightly armed, with a plasma rifle and energy sword on either side of him at his hip. They all boarded a phantom, plated in the distinctive red color of their faction, then made the relatively quick flight to the Resurgence.
Falul did not have much to say to the troopers that greeted them in the Venator's hanger bay, aside from brief utterances of acknowledgement once they offered to take him and his guards to the briefing room. This was a potentially hostile vessel, and Falul would treat it and its crew with appropriate caution. Observing the troopers, they were the size and shape of Humans, though all that he personally saw on the way to the briefing room were in full armor. He was also unfamiliar with their weapons and was not sure of what they could do. Indeed, there was little about this vessel or its technology that Falul could call familiar. If nothing else, it was a fact that affirmed that his caution was wise.
Once they were brought into the briefing room itself, there was much that Falul could have noticed, but all eyes from both himself and his guards inevitably went to the Broodmother. The sight of the creature was enough to cause alarm in his guards, but Falul was quick to motion them to stand down. There were aspects of the being that did bear some resemblance to the parasite, but Falul could see that it was different. That did not necessarily mean it was any better but Falul was not going to be the one to initiate hostilities. Looking around the room, he could see that there were indeed Humans among this meeting. Although, he could not say what that meant for the situation they were in.
Communications: All species onboard the Resurgence.
Yiithren and his entourage remained silent the whole trip, examining the LAAT and humanoid creatures who piloted it with great interest instead of making small talk. While their technology wasn't as impressive, the current transport they were in felt and looked more like some kind of pre-space age pile of junk rather than an actual ship, it still managed to sail rather smoothly through the cold void of space. He had to hand it to these creatures. As primitive as they were, they did manage to construct quite sturdy craft. Even Strevrols had changed his original view, which had been outright refusal to even board the thing on the basis it looked like a death trap, once he had boarded and they had disembarked. A miracle really, as his chief engineer was the most scrutinizing bastard he knew when it came to foreign technology...
"We're here." One of their escorts said matter of factly, bringing an abrupt end to Yiithren's reverie. Odd. He'd been so caught up in his own musings, he'd completely missed the fact that they'd landed. Kurqruik and Strevrols had already disembarked and were waiting for him outside the craft in a well lit area, most likely one of the Resurgences main hangers.
Nodding to the man, Yiithren made his way out of the LAAT and into the brightly lit hanger bay beyond, his tentacles making slight slapping sounds as he traversed the ships metal floor. Taking a moment to examine his new environs, Yiithren took note of the overall construction of the craft. It was rather plain looking, all dull greys, and mostly angular in layout. Quite unlike the ornate style used by their own craft. His eyes narrowed slightly. Perhaps it was better, more efficient. Then again, perhaps not. Either way, it was still the most boring and aesthetically unpleasing thing he'd ever seen in his life...
"If you'll follow me." The man from earlier said as he stepped out of the LAAT and strode over to the three alien invertebrates.
Yiithren nodded, burbling slightly as his thoughts were interrupted yet again, and followed the man, his first mate and chief engineer in tow. After several minutes of walking, or shambling in the Cantharians case, they eventually arrived at a rather sizeable room in which a circular table with numerous seats sat. It appeared as though the delegations from the other ships had already arrived before them. Somewhat awkward, but not a complete disaster appearance wise. He took a moment to examine the others, most of which were noticeably similar in appearance barring a few exceptions. The main one of which was a rather fearsome looking woman who, while sharing the overall shape of the other species gathered in the room, couldn't be more different in terms of actual appearance. Blinking slowly as he finished his examination, the captain and his group laid claim to the nearest empty chairs they could find, quickly pressing their boneless masses into the cold metal objects.
Turning his attention back to the rest gathered, Yiithren decided to remain silent until Erthos arrived. Since this was his vessel, he'd be the one calling the shots here, not these others.
And until he showed up, there was nothing that needed to be discussed.