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The Hellas system



The gate in the Hellas star system was long abandoned and neglected. Sitting at the edge of systems asteroid belt, there was little need to travel this far out in the system. There were closer resource deposits, easier trade and traveling routes, there was nothing out there.

It would be a mistake to assume no one was watching though, as the all seeing eye of the Boatian Inteligence Service was always watching. A simple and long outdated motion and radiation sensor sat just within range to capture the emmisions of the gate and the movement of the Solis ship through it. With utter annoyance , the crew assigned to maintain this station was startled and sure of a system failure.

The BIS maintained a rotation of officers on something called, “ Gate Duty” , the much dreaded observation detachment that all officers rotate into. It was a cold, lonely and sometimes dangerous mission due to the remote nature of the location. This detachment included a number of commandos and commando trainees who conduct training and perform repairs on the aging gate monitoring systems. So as normal, the call for service was put out and a repair crew was assembled with equal annoyance.

With an almost routine procedure, the shuttle crew left the asteroid cut out base and began the hour long trip towards the gate. Halfway along the trip however, the crew quickly determined that something was certainly different. This was a training mission for the elite shuttle crews as much as it was for the commandos. As such, they were ordered to fly tactically, dipping between and behind asteroids on their way to a target. The shuttles radar was switched on and off between asteroids to provide periodic sweeps of the area while reducing radar exposure. At first, the mysterious returns could be dismissed as rare asteroid alloys and shapes. As the got closer to the target, the radar operator was able to more cleanly make out the shape of the Solis vessel on his high resolution radar.

The crewman froze for a moment, stunned at what he was seeing before hastily croaking out “ Contact!” and calling out a gimbal azimuth. The remainder of the crew, equally as stunned, shakily snapped into training as they closed the distance to the vessel. The could recognize its size even from their distance, its slow movement speed making it easy to track with the naked eye. The radar operator continued to be horrified however as his picture of the vessel could be seen in increasing clarity.

The Solis ship was long towards the front with a raised rear bridge. The crewman could make out turrets along its length for defense and what looked liked the openings for larger weapons on its side. Based on their side on profile, they could see what the crewman would interpret as large phased array radar antennas on its side. The shuttle’s radar measured the vessel at 2200 meters from engines to stern, dwarfing the 150 meter long shuttle. The radar operator shook as he prepared this data for a report back to the observation post. Everyone was equally terrified of the civilization that would need this weapon and curious, as this would break the isolation of the Hellas system and its people.



Within the month, the ship was towed back to Boitia and dissasembly began. Something that the leaders of Boitia and the Intelligence service found eerily too easy. The effect this had on the inteligence service was immense. All officers and commando detachments were recalled from wherever they were and all active operations were abruptly put on hold. To anyone watching, the signs of something going on was clear, but the details of what happened rested firmly with Boitia.





Calth

Solaria

The Court of the Stars




The high court building still wore the scars of the rebellion, a large hole in the ceiling caused a long sunbeam to shoot onto the floor of the room. The usually ornate stained glass windows were still blasted out and without a replacement being available. The debris was clear, which allowed the court to gather for their first time since the battle for Calth.

Rylanor sat in one of the newly constructed stone seats with thinly veiled rage evident on his face, only constrained by the stitches on his face. A senator yelled on the floor court, complaining about the state of their provinces now, the damage caused and civilian unease. Under normal circumstances this would be a minor annoyance for Rylanor, but after the betrayal by his own officers and friends every word was a dagger to his pride.

Luckily for him, and the remainder of the intelligence service, the true scope of the betrayal was obscured, they would be executed if the high priest knew how many officers turned against the empire. Despite the danger, Rylanor jumped at the chance to consolidate power as he removed and assassinated his political rivals. Those whose loyalty to Rylanor was questionable were executed or threatened into compliance. He also had a plan, something that would ensure the continued existence of his intelligence service and his untouchable status.

Rylanor abruptly rose from his chair and walked toward the still damaged doorway. He did not need to listen to this, his action were not governed by the court. The high priest would need to know however, as he would need the support of the military and their naval commandos. The disappearance of the Relic ship would be noticed eventually, but the nature of its disappearance could be used. The high priest was insulated from Rylanors operations and did not know or need to be informed except for extreme circumstances. As he walked through the halls of the court building towards the high priest's chambers, he could not help but smile about what he was about to do. His stiches twisting his face into a macabre half grin.



The High Priest nodded in a fatherly way as Rylanor walked into the room, his face twisting into concern as the nature of his wounds became clear.

“ I trust you are taking time to take care of your injuries” the high priest said in a low tone, motioning towards the large couch in the room.

“ I am trying,” Rylanor said in a flat sarcastic tone before abruptly taking a seat “ I have bad news.” he finished, causing more concern to wash across the high priest’s face.

“ Yes.....” the old priest said, nodding his head as he waited for more.

“ We uncovered an external supporting actor to the rebellion, as we claimed victory they attempted to assassinate you and inflict as much damage as they could before leaving. As a result, I sent Horus and a detachment of naval commandos to investigate this external actor.”

The high priests face changed from worry to a curious gaze as Rylanor took a deep breath to continue

“ I made the decision to send a Relic ship, through the gateway” he said with a terse flatness, pausing to take in the priests reaction.

At first the priest’s eyes widened but either his age or wisdom prevented panic, he took a deep breath as he looked up towards the imperial seal above the door before looking back down towards Rylanor.

“ Was it successful?” the high priest asked

“ Yes initially, but we lost contact with the detachment. Its not like Horus to be unable to find a method of communication. I am worried they may be compromised.”

The high priest swallowed hard, his curious stare replaced with a thinly veiled panic

“ If this enemy can affect us through the gateway, I worry they can best our best and newest ships. This advanced enemy is the only reason Horus might fail. I am requesting full authority over the relic ships, their crews, the entirety of the intelligence service and hand picked naval commandos”

The implication of what Rylanor was going to do did not need to be spoken and in an uncharacteristically quick response the high priest nodded, before taking a deep breath.

“ Granted, this cannot spiral into a full scale war again, the people are tired this must stay small, quiet and quick.” the high priest added with insistence.

Whether it be by a slip of his true intentions or the unwillingness to mask them, Rylanor answered sarcastically again as he stood to leave.

“ I will try”







Calth
Solaria
The Parade grounds and Solar Palace



The parade square outside of the Solar Palace on Calth was truly a massive structure. Cobbled in immaculate white stone, the entire avenue was nearly a mile wide. Gigantic multi tiered fountains adorned either side, topped with martyrs, people who have fought and given their life for the solar cult.
A large garden surrounded the avenue, with viewing pergolas and pavilions interspaced throughout. The large cobbled street led directly to the massive steps of the Solar Palace, the structure itself dwarfing the surrounding structures. The palace was equally as massive as the base of stairs featuring three large plateaus adorned with panoramic open top amphitheaters.
On this day, the entire square and adjoining garden was full of spectators and soldiers. Large red and yellow streamers flew from the tops of the massive fountains and massive banners were erected around the cobbled avenue, representing different regiments of the church’s military. The soldiers marched down the avenue in perfect formation to the cheering of an ever growing crowd. It was victory day and an end to the rebellion on Calth. It had been nearly a century of continuous rebellion against the Solar Church with varying intensity throughout the years. The Ecclesia had firmly solidified its grasp on Calth and was the only power on the planet but now faced no one to fight. Six months past the end of hostilities and the cracks in the foundation of the Ecclesia as a state were becoming obvious.
The rebellion allowed for the church to maintain a large and brutal secret police that will be hard to justify now. A large expensive military, paid for and incentivized by the conquest of new land and plunder, now lost its only source of income, the state was already struggling to pay. This new society only knew war, what will they do in peace? What new freedoms will they demand for their service? All of these questions were present in the high priest’s mind as he rose his hands to address the crowd.

“ VICTORY!” he yelled, his small wireless microphone amplifying his voice to the many speakers around the square. The crowd cheered in response, erupting into a deafening roar before the man held his hands up again.

“ These men before you, are the finest of this nation. They have bled and fought across countless continents, leaving their friends and family behind to continue this holy legacy!” he finished again, prompting more cheering from the crowd.

“ We honor these men here today, we honor their sacrifice and those of the dead who return to the stars as ash” the man finished again, turning to another religious official next to him with a slight nod.

The other official began to break into a prayer, prompting the crowd to bow their heads as the high priest walked inside the entrance of the palace, immediately being confronted by another man in religious garb.

“ Yes….Rylanor…” the high priest said with a slight nod as he waved him closer with an elderly hand.

“ Sir, they are back and they have the support of more districts this time” Rylanor said in a semi worried tone. “ They insist on discussing the reform of the local tithe of men and material from all districts” he finished eyeing the high priest.

The high priest was an elderly man, even his pale leathery skin could not hide his wrinkles.
“ Yes…” the high priest said nodding slowly “ As we knew they would, I will speak with them” the high priest spoke in a slow methodical tone. “ Speak with Kayvaan…..I have spoken with him about a possible solution, I want you to discuss its…… feasibility.” the elderly priest finished with a nod, patting Rylanor on the shoulder before continuing into the palace.

Rylanor let out a sigh as he walked back towards the entrance of the palace, immediately being hit by the wave of sound by the entrance to the palace. The hot dry air making him blink as he crossed the threshold and made his way outside, walking towards a collection of vehicles by an adjacent entrance to the palace.

The guards were lax, wearing dark green working uniforms and low slung weapons, quickly snapping to attention as Rylanor walked up.

“ where to sir?” a guard said as he jumped into the drivers seat of an open top truck.

“ The Ecclesiarch’s palace…” Rylanor said flatly as he stepped into the open top vehicle and closed the door.

The Truck sped off down a neatly cobbled street before the road changed to well maintained pavement, considerably smoothing the ride. The Ecclesiarch’s palace was the administrative center of the solar priesthood and the headquarters for the secret police. Rylanor held a ceremonial religious office as keeper of holy artifacts, however his real position was intelligence chief and head of the secret police.
Rylanor needed to find a new mission for his secret police and intelligence wing. Giving agents and office time to think and grow used to peacetime would be detrimental to morale and their willingness to carry out his dirty work. Skeletons in your closet also have a tendency to fall into the open during times of peace, when people have nothing else to do but reminisce. Rylanor wanted neither and needed a solution relatively quickly. Luckily, one just may have dropped into his lap.

In a bittersweet moment of respite, a decorated spy attempted to steal a Terran artifact. An old navigation core for use with the old, and long unused, gateway junction. The Ecclesia had self isolated themselves, due to their struggle to survive and long war for supremacy of the planet. Technology and knowledge was retained however, leaving the option open for future travel into the gateway.
What this spy wanted to do with it was unclear, but both the nature of his crime and the suspect were of great interest to Rylanor. The spy, Horus, was a personal friend of Rylanor and a veteran of multiple campaigns. Horus was a master spy chief, thought to be extremely loyal and maybe even a candidate for religious office. This saddened Rylanor, but he now had a scapegoat and future mission for his secret police and intelligence officers.

The pavement turned to gravel as the truck pulled up to the front of another large palace, adorned with large spires, sporting red and yellow star banners. Rylanor nodded at the driver and made his way inside, nodding towards the guards as they opened the doors in his path.
He was on a mission and quickly made his way back towards the secure elevator to go down to the prison and torture cells. Opulent and pristine surroundings quickly turned into dark concrete as he arrived at the prison level, loud screams greeting him as the the elevator doors opened.

“ where is he…” Rylanor almost growled at the first intelligence officer he saw, his anger growing in the short journey down to the dungeon.

“ Second door on the right sir” the man said, standing and nodding his head to the right as he moved to the side of the corridor.

Rylanor nearly walked through the man as he received the instructions, angrily thumbing the touchpad before the door slid open. A man sat inside, seated with his back towards the door in a small steel chair. He was stripped naked except for a bag over his head and his body was clearly beaten and bloody. Despite this, the man sat tall, turning his head to the side like he was expecting Rylanor as he opened the door.

“ I know that gait…….Rylanor” the man growled through broken teeth, his jaw too swollen to open it fully.

“ Why Horus…..after all this, Monarchia, Balhut, THE PROTEAN EBB!” Rylanor yelled uncharacteristically before quickly calming himself again. “ You had the opportunity, why now”, he finished, abruptly pulling the bag from his head to reveal his swollen and bloodied face.

“ Dont you think there is more, to all this…..” Horus spat, drolling a mixture of blood and saliva “ Do you remember how they begged, the xenos….they begged like us” he finished, he left eye twitching as he met Rylanor’s gaze.

“ I hate it, the stars, the church, all of it…..and I wanted to leave” he paused before managing the best smile he could “ and I will….”

Rylanor took a step back, his eyebrow raised in concern and confusion, had his friend snapped? Man handles death and destruction in odd ways, this could be his breaking point. Rylanor sighed heavily, looking sad as he met Horus’s gaze again. He couldn't bring himself to say anything as he walked behind the chair again, before turning towards the door. As he opened his mouth to yell for the guards, what felt like an explosion rocked the building. It was big enough to shake the foundation of the building and the prison level as the lights flickered off.
Suddenly Rylanor stood in the pitch black, looking towards what he once thought was the door. An animalistic sense took over, an ingrained sense of survival quickly brought itself to the front of his mind and forced action. With the sound of squeaking rubber, Rylanor quickly turned toward around to face the chair and Horus before the lights suddenly flickered on as the emergency batteries activated, illuminating the room once again.

Rylanor had estimated wrong, and was facing toward the far corner of the room. Either blunted by his new comfortable position or age, Rylanor was exposed. Horus was already moving, seemingly before the lights turned on, and was already in the air over Rylanor’s left shoulder.
The speed at which Horus released a cufflink surprised Rylanor, slowing his reaction to the punch that Horus threw. The blow connected right under Rylanors left ear staggering him a moment before he felt the cold metal of the handcuff chain around his neck, quickly tightening as Horus took him down.

Rylanor’s hands instinctively shot to his neck as the pair fell, unable to brace his fall as his face bounced off the dirty concrete floor. Rylanor felt Horus sit back on his lower back as he increased tension on the makeshift garrote, the chains of the handcuffs cutting into his neck.
Despite the blow to his face Rylanor clawed at his neck viciously as he struggled to free himself, attempting to turn violently and get to his knees. Despite his efforts, Horus remained on his back, ever increasing the pressure of the handcuffs around his neck. Rylanor’s face was slammed into the ground again, heavily lacerating his left eyebrow and lip. A warm, almost soothing feeling crept across Rylanor’s face as a large puddle of blood immediately began to form. His good eye shot to the door, wondering why no one had heard the struggle inside and came to his aid. Rylanor could barely hear Horus’s own expletives over the sounds of his own retching and choking. Suddenly an unfamiliar feeling began to creep into Rylanor’s mind, panic, something he had not felt since his early days as a soldier. This sudden mortal realization made Rylanor thrash wildly in an attempt to free himself, grasping out towards anything that may give him leverage to lift himself. Rylanor’s thrashes became less and less spirited as Horus continued to choke him. His vision slowly narrowing as he lost consciousness and his thrashing stopped. Panic left his mind as a warm realization of death crept over Rylanor, his panicked gaze toward the door replaced by an almost serene yet emotionless stare.

Horus felt the resistance wane and immediately increased the pressure, lifting Rylanor’s unconscious body up off the floor a little as he stood over him.

“ This is only the beginning, we will fix our people, with or without the church” he said angrily before his attenion shot to the door, causing him to drop Rylanor’s body once again.

The sound of armored boots could be heard behind the heavy metal door quickly fading as they ran past but the message was clear, Horus needed to go. He looked down at Rylanor who was sprawled out face down on the floor, small bubbles dripped from his mouth as his blood slightly frothed in their struggle. ‘ was he dead?” Horus thought before his attention shot back to noises behind the door.
Unlike the heavy security controlled terminal on the outside of the torture cell, the inside just featured a button for ease of escape in the event of this exact situation, a prisoner escape. From the commotion behind the door, it was clear that it was not just his cell that was affection but others as well. Human and alien could be heard screaming and fighting in the distance. The chaos alone was not enough cover however as Horus was still completely naked, he needed to find some clothes.

Looking down towards Rylanor again, Horus dragged his body away from the blood puddle and began to strip his clothes off, removing anything personal to Rylanor. The ceremonial robes were simple, a white or red toga with a gold and white shawl usually worn across the shoulder or over one arm and shoulder. Different patterns on the shaw denoted family ties and military honors.
Rylanor’s shawl was too well known and would be noticed, but the toga could be worn alone, particularly during a time of chaos. Quickly donning Rylanor’s bloody toga, Horus handcuffed his body and placed it in the chair before stuffing the shawl down the industrial drain in the floor. Horus walked back to the door and listened for a moment, hearing a another collection of boots run past before hitting the door control and entering the corridor.

It was chaos outside of the cell, a large collection of soldiers could be seen down the corridor with their backs turned to Horus. The way towards the lone elevator was clear and the elevator was still operational.

“ good” Horus said under his breath as he feigned a heavy limp towards the elevator door, hurriedly smacking the control panel for the elevator. Taking a look behind him, Horus could see a group of soldiers fighting behind him as the elevator stopped on the floor. Quickly stepping on, Horus smacked the door control before the elevator ascended.
Horus sighed deeply, the solitary elevator ride granting him a moment of reprieve. Despite his demeanor, his body was broken. He had spent the past week undergoing the worst torture that could be imagined. He took another deep breath, pausing slightly as he felt his broken rib. The right side of his jaw was swollen shut and he could feel his left eye floating in the broken socket.

Horus was not some grunt or simple soldier, he was a member of the elite naval infantry, shock troopers of the Ecclesia. All true believers in the solar truth, blindly loyal and willing to do anything to accomplish their means.
Born out of the need for a quick raiding force, the naval infantry turned into Eccleissa's premier SOF force. Proficient in a variety of missions, its bread and butter are hard target assaults. Using heavy weapons, naval support and ground, air or orbital deployed troops, they ensure absolute shock. This coupled with their religious zealotry, makes them a formidable opponent, unafraid to close with the enemy.

The naval infantry held a near mythical status amongst the populace as incorruptible, making Horus’s betrayal that much more surprising. Horus had not acted alone and many of the officers that served under him also joined his small rebellion, disaffected with what they were forced to do.
As the elevator reached the ground floor Horus could hear the commotion behind the door before it opened, revealing a ruined palatial atrium. It looked like a bomb had gone off inside the palace. The floor was heavily cratered and the sky was exposed behind a broken ceiling. Large chandeliers lay broken on the ground, accompanied by multicolored stained glass scattered everywhere.

Horus dipped his head low and began walking through the crowd of military and religious officials before he felt an armored gloved hand wrap around his shoulder. Too weak to put up a fight after his engagement with Rylanor, Horus allowed himself to be led outside by a waiting military truck. Horus continued to feign his limp and hold his head low, he did not know who grabbed him or where he was going.
The soldier was in full battle dress, a kevlar weave environment suit with modular armor plates and carrying an assault weapon. Looking up ahead, Horus could see another collection of boots before the door opened and he was lightly pushed inside.

“ All going to plan sir….” a female voice spoke once the door was closed, prompting a small smirk from Horus.

“ Good, how many of us are left…” Horus spoke in a raspy tone, finally able to look up.

The truck pulled away, slow at first before hitting the main road and speeding off with the towering space elevator in the distance. The damage in the city could be seen clearly now, over a dozen thick, black plumes of smoke could be seen in the distance with sporadic tracer fire.

“ Just us so far,maybe those that will meet us at the elevator. Getting you out was costly”
She finished flatly as the truck continued to speed off.

The rest of the ride was silent, and after a short moment the small group of trucks was at the space elevator and quickly greeted by other rebels. The entire group barely numbered more than 40 fighters, a large fraction of the elite naval infantry had sided with Horus but that was about it. Many in the other branches were extremely loyal and many administrators did not have the heart for rebelion. He had nearly 300 fighters, and he was now down to 40 as the small force sat on the oversized elevator platform.
Designed to be a mass conveyance, the platform could accommodate twelve large shipping containers laid end to end. Entire battalions and their gear could take the 12 minute ride into the spaceport.

From this vantage point, the smoke and the cities could be seen clearly, large craters could be seen by the papal palace and intelligence building. Close to the space elevator, a large dust bloom could be seen, marking the movement of a large military force.

‘ It did not take them long to react to this…’ Horus thought, as the feeling of panic began to creep into his mind.

More fighters met them at the top of the space port, bringing their small group to 60 fighters. The space port itself looked like it was taken peacefully, with most of the staff being detained instead of killed. Destroying orbital weapons would be detrimental to the station itself, so the crews were also killed or detained the the weapons jammed electronically from the station. By the time anyone got up there to fix the weapons, they would be long gone.
This space sport was special, housing vessels involved in relic research. Most of these ships had special navigation drives and the ability to interface with the local gateway. The Ecclesia had planned to travel back to former human worlds but the purpose was unknown to Horus. He gained enough exposure with the relics to understand how to use them with the vessel interface, but their technology was foreign to him.

The group wasted little time and boarded an experimental frigate, barely filling out the minimum crew needed to go underway. The rebellion was prepared, and used smuggled manuals to learn the very basics of moving and maintaining a ship underway. The makeshift crew could secure the ship for the vacuum and move the vessel, but little else could even be attempted. The ships weapons, radar, navigation and damage control were completely useless and inoperable by the crew.
With the large gateway completely insight of the spaceport, navigation was not needed and the ship could simply be pointed towards the large ring structure. The vessel had authentic IFF tags and their only ally in the administration approved launch orders for the vessel, standing down the automatic gateway defenses. This rebellion took years to plan and prepare and it was looking like they may just escape with their lives.

—-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Despite their elite training, years of subjugating rebels and combat, they were not sailors and did not know their way around a ship. Many holds and maintenance compartments went un-searched and unknown. Despite their inexperience, they were lucky as the ship was mostly empty, save a single electricians apprentice that just happened to be napping in the fuse hub of the ship.
It was a popular place to nap by the crew and this crewman just happened to fall asleep during a scheduled fuse check. The sound of boots and shooting immediately woke the crewman who locked himself in the hidden compartment. Illuminated by the pale blue glow of status lights the crewman quickly figured out what was going on and began planning.
The crewman was young, a basically trained electrician's mate but he was loyal. This was his chance for glory, maybe even a promotion and an increase in standing for his family name. His plan was simple, cut the power and wait for the navy to rescue them. Simple in its execution but naive in the belief that it was a good plan.
As the frigate neared the gateway the crewman unscrewed panels exposing the wiring for a specific section of the fuse compartment. With his training, he knew that he was looking at the propulsion and power bus for the vessel, cutting these would cut power and engines without suffocating them.

Back on the bridge of the frigate, Horus went through the interface steps just as he had seen rehearsed before. A cold shiver shot down his spine as he reached the relic interface, greeted by an alien looking list of stellar coordinates.
The other names were unknown to Horus, but one stood out, Terra. The affirmative selection sent another chill down his spine as the gateway reacted, energy buzzing between the extremities of the ring complex. A deep purple orb grew towards the center of the ring, emitting a deep purple UV glow.

From the vantage point of an outside observer, the vessel would appear to move toward the orb before reaching its edge and suddenly disappearing. Quickly being followed by the rapid dissipation of the ring’s orb.
Inside the vessel, the events were much less peaceful. The crewman, finally finished exposing what he thought was the propulsion and power cables, wasted no time in starting the cutting process. Unfortunately for the crewman, his inadequate tools led to difficulty when cutting the thick high voltage wires.

White hot electricity arced inside the small space, frying both the crewman and the small enclosure in an instant. The sudden jolt and loss of power first scrambled the navigation interface, unknowingly setting a random destination as the ship crossed the gateway threshold and jumped.
To the crew, the journey took nearly an instant, but the wonder of their first interstellar travel was cut short by the shrill siren of warning tones and flashing lights. The makeshift crew could do little else but stare at view-screens as errors blinked by before the entire ship suddenly went dark.

The crewman’s plan had worked, he did indeed cut power and propulsion to the ship, along with everything else. The fuse bus compartment was ablaze, further fueled by the crewman’s melting body. Molten metal quickly spread to other parts of the compartment and started a small fire at first before igniting the entire compartment. Before any of Horus’s rebels could find the source of the fire, it had consumed the entirety of the electrical room.

Horus had also accomplished his mission, he had left Calth and stolen a holy relic. Horus would never figure out that did not make it to Terra, his makeshift crew was too busy attempting to fight the oxygen consuming fire that threatened to destroy them.
The would continue to fight the fire, inspired by reaching Holy Terra and full of hope for survival. No one had noticed that the large Brown Dwarf in the distance was indifferent to their suffering and hope.

As the Solis frigate slowly creeped closer towards Hellas and her moons, their fight would turn to desperation, and then panic as the fire consumed their oxygen. No one was coming to save them, as no one knew they arrived. The Gateway in Hellas was not maintained and not monitored and Its existence was forgotten by the majority of the populace.


It would be a long time before anyone would find the ship and the remains of Horus’s rebels.
– Nicosia “The Vault” –


The secure rooms of the SIS headquarters were nicknamed “ The Vault” by the staff and agents who work there. Ten meters underground, cut off and shielded from any outside connections, this was truly the dark hole within the dark hole of SIS headquarters.

Two dozen identical rooms within a maze of featureless hallways was an intentional choice by its designer. The layout is only known by a handful of people at a time and is never written down. A handful of maximum security cells also exist deep within the maze, built for housing those the Nicosian government would rather see disappeared.

“ Either my contact was compromised or I was….” Cristos said in a flat tone, while leaning back against a hard steel chair. Around him sat nearly a dozen people, taking notes and recording the meeting. Sitting directly in front of Cristos was a woman, known by the respected and feared name of The Confessor.

“ Did you do anything to make you think you were compromised?”, she asked in a disarming tone, staring into Cristos’s soul.

“ No…” Cristos answered quickly, shooting back an almost angry micro aggression before returning to his stoic demeanor.

“ Was your contact?”, She countered in the same tone.

“ I don’t know, he seemed pretty careful” Cristos answered in an inquisitive tone. “ He really did not want to be found by Boitian Intelligence, but I don’t know how he obtained the plans, or warehouse locations”.

The Confessor hummed and nodded continuing to write down notes before looking up suddenly.

“ Well, you are free to go” she said flatly, prompting the door to open up almost on demand. Cristos was urgently ushered out into the hallway before the door was abruptly shut behind him. The sudden silence of the situation was unsettling, prompting feelings of isolation as he suddenly realized that he was in a maze.

“ Over here..” An elderly man growled loudly, startling Cristos with visible jump. The man full belly laughed while waving for Cristos to follow him before the pair walked out of The Vault.

– Within the offices of SIS headquarters –

“ You want me to go….where?!” Cristos almost yelled at his handler, looking around before staring at the other agent in the room. “ You look far too relaxed to understand where we are going” he finished.

The other agent laughed in an arrogant tone before his handler spoke up.
“ Argos, both Boitian intelligence and our intelligence have received tips that an extraction team is going to try and salvage the material from a crashed colony ship.” She finished in a matter of fact tone.

“ There are maps in your bag….” She continued, pointing with a knife hand towards the next room. “ Everything is pre-packed, and your escort will provide you with everything else”. She finished again.

The look on Cristos face spoke volumes, a mixture of extreme fear, confusion and anger.
“ Wh……Who is our escort..” He said incredulously, still not totally believing what he was hearing.

“ The Argan Light Infantry” she said calmly dismissing the pair with a lazy wave towards the far side of the room.

The process of grabbing their pre-packed gear and leaving was rather……sterile. It felt like no one wanted to touch them or see them, even unsettling Cristos’s formerly arrogant partner. Cristos had been off world, he had heard stories of Argos, talked to former soldiers and even spent some time working on an orbital platform over the planet.
Kristos knew what horrors existed in the jungles of Argos, he had seen it in the eyes and injuries of the soldiers he met. The stories sounded unreal, hordes of vicious creatures screaming through the jungle towards lines of infantry, large creatures emerging from lakes, winged beasts screaming down to grab and consume people. It all sounded like fantasy, like a fairy tale from ancient earth. It was all real though, and knowing this fact terrified Cristos. He hoped this would be an easy mission, he hoped that maybe it would be quiet or maybe the area would be clear. This only terrified Cristos more, because he knew that this was not going to be any of those things.

– On Approach to the “Citadel”, in Argan orbit –

The trip to Argos was short, a quick 12 hours with a commercial shuttle. This in itself was odd, there is no tourism to Argos like there is with the other moons. Apart from the regular diplomatic mission for funds and supplies, you never see Argans. The charter itself was empty, an entire transorbital shuttle for just the two of them and the crew. It was eerie and everyone on board knew it.
Despite his current position, Cristos did find the charter a bit humorous. This is a civilian shuttle, leaving from a civilian spaceport, this shuttle has a regular weekly schedule to and from the two moons. ‘ Who pays for this….? ‘ Cristos thought, there is no demand, either this is a very obvious transport cover for intelligence activities, or the Nicosian government subsidizes this charter for some unknown reason. The former would not surprise Cristos, while the latter sounded too fanciful to be true. The thought caused Cristos to chuckle slightly, slightly amused by the obvious simplicity. This amusement quickly faded as he could feel the shuttle begin to decelerate and the announcement of approach to the Citadel station.
Due to the hazardous nature of the ring system, a pilot is needed to be brought onboard with the most current navigation charts. From this distance, the rings themselves were indistinguishable, a wall of rock and ice could be seen adjacent to the ship, stretching as far and high as Cristos could see.

The pilot skillfully weaved past boulders as big as the shuttle as they made their way toward the station, large chunks of rock and ice surrounded the large transorbital shuttle. Cristos was a child the last time he made this trip, but his face was glued to the window as if he was seeing it for the first time.
The planet below reflected a green hue into the lit interior as the shuttle rotated itself for docking. The planet was lush, striking green jungle with variously sized lakes of blue water. It was beautiful, seemingly a perfect place to settle but with a deadly secret.

Unlike the single large orbital hub of Nicosia, Argos had hundreds of small orbital observation platforms. Not for observing the stars or watching for external threats, these stations were focused on observing the planet. Programmed to look for the Dru’s bio signatures and activity, these platforms act as a reconnaissance and early warning system for the Argans. As the Dru normally travel, attack and feed in hordes, they sometimes can be tracked if in large enough numbers. Under the triple canopy of the Argan jungle though, there is no guarantee, so this is augmented with surface sensors and even simple trail cameras. All of this just to get a minor edge over the savage Dru and possibly save some Argan lives.

The Citadel was the largest orbital platform on over Argos. One part supply and munitions hub, one part barracks and one part hospital, the Citadel was a hive of activity. It was also the home for the ALI, the Argan Light Infantry, who deployed from orbit to hotspots around the planet.
Cristos had used the time on his trip well, the SIS had pages of documents about the ALI, they were certainly an exceptional unit. For having the title of light infantry, the ALI were not light at all. They deployed with a weeks worth of supplies on their back, packs usually reached 40kg or more. Choosing to forgo advanced armors for stealth and weight, the ALI fights differently from the rest of the Argan military. They carry no heavy digging equipment for digging trenches and defenses and the ALI does not deploy with any crew served or static weapons. Due to the lack of armor, the ALI chooses to hide behind their own fire. Squad automatic weapons and grenade launchers make up a large part of combat teams. Their organization is also strange, choosing to operate in 12 man “recon teams” or “ spike teams” depending on the mission. The ALI as a whole was a little over 120 members in recon teams with almost 400 in support and transport roles. The Argan Light Infantry was the premier raid and recon force on the planet, there was no one better suited to do this mission.

Loud metallic clangs brought Cristos back to reality as the shuttle began docking with the station. Usually the sound of people getting their belonging and companions together drowned out the company advertisement at the end, but lack of people caused Cristos to pause for a moment as the advertisement played.

- We know you have many choices when you travel, but were glad that you chose to travel with us on Hellas Chariot, please take this time to gather your belongings and make your way out into the terminal. Cleaning crew will be arriving in 20 minutes, we thank you for your cooperation -

Cristos chuckled as he grabbed his nearly 35kg pack and walked towards the exit. For relatively short trips, there were rows of large lounging chairs, enough to accommodate up to 500 people on two levels. As he made his way towards the exit bulkhead, a man stuck his head in the door, looking at the pair leaving the shuttle.

“ Nicosians….follow me, im your escort” he said curtly, his Argan accent almost too thick to understand.

The man quickly left before allowing the pair to respond, choosing to wait outside of the shuttle for them to make their way out.

“ He could at least help us with all this shit..” Cristos’s compatriot spat under his breath, prompting Cristos to shake his head as he left the shuttle.

Unlike the mass of tourists that occupied the terminals of Kana station, the Citadel was orderly, columns of soldiers marched through the large corridors, doctors and officers walked solo or in pairs looking determined. It was also quiet, only the lightest sound of conversation could be heard. The lack of loud conversation, drunken chanting and children was unsettling as the pair trailed behind their Argan escort. The citadel was well lit and maintained, bright white light and polished floors reflected onto the gunmetal gray walls, properly illuminating the various access panels and warnings. No one seemed to look up from what they were doing, and the pair were certainly an oddity.
Argans walked in light tan formal uniform suits and dresses or brownish green fatigue tops and bottoms. Polished shoes or boots were the footwear of the day, drawing a striking contrast to what Cristos was wearing. Dark brown straight leg slacks with an ankle high faux boot. His casual fitting oxford shirt was half open, sporting a small patch of chest hair where his chest was exposed. This didnt go unnoticed but Argan were too disciplined to stare, despite the rarity of off worlders, particularly ones carrying survival gear.

“ In here, Colonel is waiting” the elderly man barked, tapping the door with a hard calloused knuckle

Cristos inhaled sharply before promptly hitting the door control, fighting his apprehension with forced action. The door sharply slid open revealing a small office with a man sitting behind a lone desk. Hearing the elderly soldiers knock, the attendant was already attentive, giving a curt nod towards the pair as they walked in.

“ The Nicosians….” the man said with a smile, as he pressed an intercom on his desk “ Colonel, the Nicosians have arrived” he said flatly before sitting back in his chair to size the pair up.

“ The stories ive heard made you people seem taller…” he said flatly with a slight chuckle and nod, “ Skinner too….” he added before the door to his left shot open, causing the attendant to shoot up to attention.

“ In here”, a woman said , sticking her head out for a moment in order to make eye contact with Cristos before returning to the room beyond the door.

Cristos looked back at his companion and nodded towards the door before walking into the Colonel’s office. The walls of her office we adorned with medals and pictures of past commands and operations. A Dru skull on top of crossed bladed appendages also hung on the wall, adding to the pedigree of the soldier who currently sat in front of them.

“ So, we are to escort you two to ship 6 in order to thwart or ambush a criminal extraction team seeking highly radioactive material in order to fabricate what looks like a dirty bomb…….” she paused, either waiting for an answer or taking in the absurdity of the task she was asked to do.

“ Yes maam “ Cristos responded with a nod, fighting an awkward smile as the Colonel stared through their souls.

“ You know, the Dru make hives out of the crashed colony ships. They like to eat the wiring insulation and they are a shelter for their egg sacs. They are also drawn to the corium of these melted down reactors, you can consider these positions headquarters points.” she spoke again, continuing to stare at the pair.

Cristos had no answer for this, simply repeating “ Yes Maam” as he nodded again, either in understanding or acknowledgment of what she just said.

“ I dont know what kind of gangs you have on Nicosia, but they must be very bad to consider this as a viable option. Not impossible, but very dangerous” she added, standing up to press a screen control terminal on the opposite wall. The formerly transparent screen lit up, revealing a map of the ship area.

“ This area is 20 miles from our current front line and is quickly becoming a salient. I have already lost a recon team in this area, and the regular army has marked this for encirclement and bombardment”. She finished, bringing a hand to her face to pinch the bridge of her nose in frustration.

“ I hope you understand my unwillingness to send in my best recon teams into an extremely dangerous area in order to kill some criminals who might not even accomplish their mission!” she almost screamed, quickly calming herself down.

“ We have set up a cot in the adjoining room, we have tasked recon team Thermi to your mission. You leave tomorrow,” she said, almost sounding defeated “ for the record, if it was up to me, I wouldn't be sending anyone on this mission. The jungle will take care of them…………your dismissed” she finished, nodding towards the door.

The pair quickly left the office and walked into a door behind the desk in the lobby. The hallway beyond was bathed in dark red lighting with dormitory rooms on either end. They pair was pointed towards an empty room and promptly left alone. The room was neat and made up, two additional packs were laid on neatly made cots. A crate of weapons and ammo sat at the far end of the room.
Dropping his pack on the floor next to his cot, Cristos flopped down on the bunk and closed his eyes. Tired from the journey and restless from his nerves, Cristos finally was able to will himself to sleep, or so he thought.

No more than an hour passed before a loud series of knocks could be heard at the door, immediately pulling Cristos from his deep sleep with a jump.

“ Sir, the sergeant told me to come get you” a young voice boomed through the door. “ Recon team Thermi is starting is briefing soon”

“ Yea….one sec….” Cristos grunted more that spoke through the door as he rolled himself out of bed still fully clothed.

“ Sir, please bring your packs and weapons” the voice added, before footsteps could be heard walking away.

“ Hmm yea….” Cristos grunted again, turning around in a panicked motion before noticing his companion stirring in on the cot opposite to him.

“ Get up, they want us…” Cristos said in a groggy tone, “ They want us” he finished, glancing down at the crates in front of him. The pack was simple enough and pre-packaged, all he needed to do was grab it and run. Weapons were a little more complicated however, as this level of weaponry never saw the more civilized moons.
Some of the weapons were familiar looking, as civilian versions of these weapons existed on other moons. The main difference was the ammunition, the civilian models were electronically operated and caseless, using a solid projectile. This is ideal for civilian shooting and hunting due to the consistency and lack of heavy combusting containing structures. These weapons still used cased cartridges, and the bore was larger than their civilian counterparts. The cartridges themselves were also different, each round was tipped and much heavier than the civilian projectiles.
Shrugging, Cristos grabbed the nearest rifle to him, a shorter version of a popular civilian rifle. It was a standard K-4 assault rifle or a 4R-1S on other moons. Easy to operate and magazine fed, the weapon was easily supported with a telescoping stock. It was light and easy to control when firing.

The halfway outside of their dorm room was awash with activity now, trading the soothing dark red light for a harsh white fluorescent glow. Still feeling and looking groggy, Cristos and his companion noticed the young soldier standing outside their room, quickly sharing a nod before the soldier led them down the hall. The man, or kid rather looked to have just reached maturity 18 or 19 revolutions around their host star. Yet, he looked to already be a hardened soldier, a single prominent scar marked his face and two chevrons adorned his sleeve.
The soldier led the pair into a large warehouse space, large tables sat in rows in front of lockers of equipment. At the far end of the warehouse space, large parachutes hung from the rafters, tended to by workers on scaffolding, packing and inspecting the chutes for launch. The place was a hive of activity nearly 150 people were present, packing gear, conducting briefings and working on equipment. Gear and weapons lined the large tables with soldiers standing beside them, readying personal gear for the mission ahead.
Despite being assigned to a single recon team, there were nearly 48 soldiers readying gear at the tables, almost half of the combat complement for the ALI. Cristos felt bad, all of this for a Nicosian problem, the threat of mass destruction on another moon. The political movement behind this effort must of been enormous. Or maybe this is the beginning of a more unified Hellas? Cristos did not want to speculate.

“ Are they going down to the surface like this?” a man spoke in a gruff tone, pointing a upturned hand towards the pair. “ find them some fatigues…” the man finished in an annoyed tone.

The whole interaction had brought Cristos back to the present, as he looked at the man turn back around and address a group of soldiers. His sleeves were bare of rank but his collar sported a pin with two crossed lines, he was an officer. Turning back around the face the pair, the officer waved a hand dismissively towards the young soldier, prompting him to leave the trio alone.

“ Your assigned to my company, I lead recon teams Thermi and Kastos ” he said matter of factly, yet in a calming tone. “ You are not to go farther than two feet from my person or the team sergeant” he said, pointing to the soldier currently conducting a briefing.

“ If your separated, dont yell out” the officer said with a chuckle and half grin “ We will find you, yelling will just attract the Dru.” He finished glancing down at their weapons and nodding.

“ Your team sergeant will keep you informed and safe, listen to him as your life will depend on it..” the officer finished with a curt nod before walking off to speak with more soldiers.

Despite the mass of people Cristos and his companion were finally alone, people ignored them like they weren there, simply continuing with their tasks. Cristos shrugged and nodded towards a group of chairs towards the back of the briefing area.

“ No, im going to go back to the room” his companions said before turning to walk back through the door they came through.

Cristos nodded his head then rolled his eyes, wondering again why they sent someone with him on this mission as he half dragged his bag towards the nearest chair. The pack itself was twice the size of the one packed by the Nicosian SIS. Opening it would reveal that the majority of the weight was water, neatly packaged in thin metal liter blocks. The rest was ammunition and a small crate labeled ‘ Rations’.
Looking back towards the front of the room another briefing was just about to begin, stealing Cristos attention from his own thoughts.

“ Alright, Operation SISI will commence as follows, operational time, two weeks” the team sergeant said as a large screen illuminated behind him, showing a map of the area.
NS: Gestalt Concordant

Second NS, I think this was accepted before the PUNT war ended
HELLAS

The orbital hub of any planet in the Hellas system was always busy, constant arrivals and operations keeps it almost fully staffed all the time. This was especially true for Nicosia’s lone orbital hub, grouping both cargo arrivals and passenger traffic. Kana station, as it’s known by the locals, is more of a secondary city than a cargo hub. Due to passenger demand, hotels, bars and restaurants took root on the station, both adding to the size and the need for permanent housing. This also increased the demand for cargo space, necessitating the need for bigger bays and storage. Kana station quickly turned into a void city, with a population rivaling some medium sized cities down on Nicosia.
The streets of Kana station were always busy, packed with transient freighter crews and diplomats traveling between worlds. This gave the station a seedier feel as the transient nature of the clientele and black market activity attracted strip joints, brothels and all types of dive bars. If one knew what to look for, you could find it on Kana station.

Cristos Kal
Kana Station


Cristos stepped through the docking bridge and into the arrivals bay of the station. He squinted against the harsh glow of the lights as his eyes adjusted to their new environment, tired from his nearly four day journey from Boitia. With an almost silent grunt, he made his way through the arrivals bay, dodging tourists as he made his way towards the exit into the station.
The arrivals bay felt like a different station, the decor was kept very modern and maintained. Fancy bars and a bright off white interior made it very appealing for tourists traveling to and from the surface. Tourists rarely left the bubble of the arrivals bay however, most had no idea the city that sat below them.
Cristos gracefully dodging a final group of drunk tourists before reaching the exit and walking into a large elevator bay. Quickly finding an empty elevator, Cristos ducked in and hit the close door button, letting out a sigh as the door closed. He felt lighter as the elevator quickly descended, a mixture of the velocity and the switching artificial gravity fields from the arrivals bay to the station. As the elevator doors opened again, Cristos was met with a starkly different picture.
The soothing off white interior had been changed to a gray dirty steel, stained by decades of use and graffiti. The polished floors had changed to a dirty concrete, pockmarked with gum, cigarettes and random unknown stains. The lighting, had also changed to a dull orange coupled with the fluorescent and neon lights of bars, clubs and restaurants.
Bypassing the crowd outside of the Arrivals entrance, Cristos quickened his pace as he walked into an alley, pulling the hood up on his coat before reaching the street on the opposite side. A flashing neon sign lit the street in bright periodic flashes of purple light. A bright red “ Lucky 1’S, best girls and steaks” sign, bathed the street in a constant red glow.

‘That’s the place’ Cristos thought before making his way past the short line and into the bouncer.

“ Im here for Vlad” Cristos said flatly, as he sized up the bouncer. The man could easily crush Cristos, standing nearly a foot taller than him with arms as big as his head.

“ Yes, inside” the bouncer spat without even meeting his gaze, pointing towards the door with a dismissive thumb.

Cristos nodded and walked inside, the door buzzer audible from the outside before being opened by a similarly sized bouncer.

“ This way”, the second bouncer said in a gruff tone as he opened another door leading to a hallway.

With another nod, Cristos walked through the door, making it a couple steps inside the hallway before the door abruptly shut behind him. “ Shit “, he said audibly before a door to his right was yanked open, revealing a gang of men inside.
A gloved hand quickly reached out towards his chest, finding a hold on his jacket before yanking him inside with the sound of ripping fabric. Even before he fell, Cristos could feel the kicks and punches from the gang around him repeatedly hitting his ribs and back as he covered his head.

“ Stop”, a voice said over the commotion, immediately stopping the beating as the gang stepped away from Cristos

“ Vlad wants to know if you have it” the man said as two men from the group around him bent over to pick him up causing Cristos to wince.

“ Do you have it?” The man repeated, now face to face with Cristos.

“ Yes, front jacket pocket…” , Cristos said, wincing slightly as he inhaled to speak.

A hand entered his jacket pocket and retrieved the small flash drive within before handing it to the gang leader.

“ Let’s check it out” the leader said, before the gang dragged Cristos to an adjoining room, sitting him down in a posh leather chair. The room was obviously a conference room, with a large rectangular table in the center and a large screen at one end.
The gang leader plugged the flash drive into a terminal on the table, causing the screen at the far end of the room to light up. The plans for an experimental bomb were displayed on the screen, followed by the locations of cobalt stores and enriching facilities. This was all beyond Cristos’s understanding, but he knew that he was looking at some sort of terror weapon and the means to get it.

“ Good” the leader said before abruptly pulling the drive from the terminal, prompting a slight smirk from Cristos.

“ Cut him loose, and pay him” the leader said before walking out of a door next to the screen. Almost before the gang leader was out of the door a large duffle bag was thrust into Cristos chest and he was pushed out a separate door to his right.
The transition from a lit room to the sudden dull orange light of the station made Cristos blink slightly as he struggled to see where he was. As his eyes adjusted, he realized he was outside again, behind the club. He slowly lowered the duffle bag down from his chest and looked inside, fining a bundle of clothes. Laughing slightly, he dug further to find a hard case with a set of currency chits inside, looking pleasantly surprised as he closed the duffle bag.

“ Im surprised they actually paid me”, he said under his breath ‘ Almost made the past two weeks worth it’ he thought, as he walked toward the main thoroughfare. Cristos made his way back to spaceport and into the arrivals terminal again, his slight limp going unnoticed by the guards and tourists.
Walking past the normal arrival gates, Cristos walked into the private terminal and onto a waiting shuttle. He was met by a large group of people, working on small terminals and discussing documents over a large but portable screen. After what seemed like a minute or two one man looked up from his terminal and grinned.

“ Cristos…you look like shit” he said with a laugh, “ Did you load the virus…” he finished looking back down towards his terminal.

“ Yes…” Cristos answered flatly, nodding towards the back of the shuttle. “ I guess the boss wants to see me right” he finished, looking down towards the man who greeted him.

‘Mhmm’ the man answered, not looking up from his terminal prompting Cristos to roll his eyes before walking towards the back of the shuttle and opening the private quarters hatch.
Another group of people sat inside, obviously shushing their discussion as Cristos walked in. The room was an office, a man sat at a desk towards the far end of the room, with men and women scattered around the room in chairs. Portable tablets littered the desk and the floor, followed by hand drawn plans and maps.

“ Ah Cristos…come in and close the damn door” the man at the desk barked before someone sitting in a chair closed the door for him. “ You’re alive, so I guess you’re successful” he nodded, obviously proud of Cristos. “ Congratulations, you passed, welcome to the SIS” he said with a nod and a smile before his face soured into his normal scowl. “ Now find a seat, we are debriefing on the moon” he barked again before the room erupted back into its previous conversation.
Cristos nodded and walked out of the hatch behind him, into the passenger area. Finding the first seat he could, Cristos threw the bag on the row of seats and laid down, just getting a chance to close his eyes before the private office hatch door swung open.

“ Cristos….” A woman barked from the door, prompting him to sit up slightly on his elbows. “ What’s in the bag?” She asked flatly.

“ Clothes……” Cristos answered in a matter of fact tone, staring at the woman with a slightly annoyed face.

“ Alright..” She said, before abruptly closing the hatch again.

Cristos laid back down again and smirked as he felt the hardcase of the payment chits against his head.

- Five days earlier -
- On Boitia -


Cristos and another sat at a tall table in a crowded bar, hunched close to each other so they could be heard over the thumping bass.

“ Everything is there, the plans, warehouse locations, everything. Now, where is my money” the man spat in almost a frantic tone, constantly looking around the bar with a worried face. “ You don’t know the Boitian intelligence service, they are ruthless man…” he finished with a wavering tone.

Cristos smirked and sat back in his chair before bringing the glass to his lips “ Don’t worry about it”, he said dismissively, “ You weren’t followed, and if they were as ruthless as you say, you’d be dead already” Cristos finished with a chuckle as he pushed a flash drive over towards the man. “ The location of your payment is on this, now hand over the plans” Cristos teased, sliding the small jump driver on the table under his fingers.

The man, reached into an interior coat pocket and pulled out another slightly larger flash drive before slapping it on the table “ Money first….” The man said, his voice obviously shaking as he white knuckle gripped the flash drive in his hands.
With another chuckle, Cristos slid over his flash drive with the payment details and watched as the man hurriedly grabbed the jump drive and walked towards the door, leaving the flash drive with the bomb plans and warehouse locations on the table.

‘ Dont spend it in one place ’ Cristos said under his breath sarcastically, knowing full well he walked that man into an ambush. There was no payment waiting for him at that location, just a tactical team from the SIS and the business end of a pistol.
Cristos rose with a cocky grin and retrieved the flash drive from the table before making his way to the bathrooms. Weaving past a couple making out, Cristos made his way into the single occupancy bathroom letting the door shut behind him before he heard an audible thud.

Turning around, Cristos could see the outline of a foot in the door, “ Hey man, its occup-“ is what he got out before a figure burst into the bathroom, shoving a stun gun up under Cristos’s chin. There was a moment of blinding pain, followed by a warm soothing feeling as he quickly lost consciousness, smacking his face on the dirty toilet on his way down.
Working like the true professionals they are, the Boitian agents opened the bathroom window and Cristos’s limp body was shoved outside and into a waiting van. The whole operation took less than a minute.

The sudden feeling of pain mixed with extreme cold is the next thing Cristos felt, opening his eyes to the inside of a black cloth sack. Another blast of cold water hit him, causing him to yell slightly before the cloth sack was yanked off his head.
The sudden sunlight blinded Cristos as he rapidly looked around to ascertain his surroundings. His legs and arms were bound as he laid on his side, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Tall blue Boitian grass grew around him, limiting his sight to just his immediate area. Behind him, Cristos could hear sobbing and the laughter of their captors as they walked around the pair.

“ So……” a voice boomed over the slight commotions obviously directed at the pair. “ Why do we find ourselves in this position, this is a little more than you wanted from your Boitian tourist experience I’m sure” the voice boomed with a chuckle.
The voice was clearly a mans voice, but it was….odd, disturbed almost in a gleeful psychopathic way. Cristos was warned about the Boitian security service, but the way it was worded made it sound like more of caution than a warning of danger. Thinking back to the briefing he received before leaving on this mission, Cristos remembered one sentence that concerned the Boitian intelligence service, -Take note, some of your counterparts in the BIS can be……odd-.

‘ Well….” Cristos thought to himself…’ this is certainly odd’.

“ Let’s start with the Nicosian, he voice boomed again” Bringing Cristos’s attention back to the situation at hand before being yanked to a kneeling position.

“ What’s your story....” The man said with a chilling barely contained giggle as a large knife pushed its way into Cristos’s field of view. From this distance, Cristos could see the serration on the blade itself and the casting marks from the forging process. If this wasn’t terrifying enough, the man quickly flicked his wrist, prompting the small serrated blades to move, quickly gaining speed to give the edge of the blade a red hue that gave off heat.
Cristos’s eyes clearly widened only causing the look of glee on mans face to twist into a wide toothed smile. As the blade inched closer to Cristos’s face, he quickly blurted out in a frantic tone.

“ Im from the SIS, here on a mission!!!!” He screamed, wincing against the heat of the blade that was now mere inches from his face.

A chorus of laughter erupted around him as he felt the blade retreat from his face, finally getting a chance to look around at his captors. A mixture of men and woman stood around him in a variety of dress. Some wore formal suits or the political robes of Boitians politicians. Others were in tactical dress, sporting rifles and chest rigs with advanced helmet devices and armor. Much of this was beyond Cristo’s own understanding as this level of technology never really saw the inner moons. Every so often a new weapon or technological improvement will be sold by the merchants of Boitia but most of it is hoarded by the Boitian government themselves. Even the knife used the threaten Cristos was experimental.

The chorus of laughter subsided for a moment before the man placed a reassuring hand on Cristos’s shoulder, “ We know….” The man said, as he trailed off to face the other man.

“ Did you know you were dealing with the SIS…..” The man asked in a fake inquisitive tone, almost seeming more gleeful than before.

Cristos looked worried as he turned his head to look at the man, immediately recognizing him as his criminal contact from the bar. His face was swollen and bloody, his undershirt in tatters as he was stripped down to his underwear. A mix of blood, snot and tears fell from his face at a constant rate as he failed to meet his interrogators gaze.

“ N-No….” The second prisoner said meekly his face glued to the ground.

“ What would your bosses think….if we give you back to him without payment, or the plans you stole from us?”, the interrogator continued as he walked behind the man, prompting his sobs to turn into full blown wails.

“ Shhh, shhhh… there is no need for all that, were not cruel” the interrogator said with a chuckle “ We wouldn’t give you back to your bosses…” the man said pulling a pistol from his waistband and pointing it at the back on the mans head. “ We will just kill you” he finished before pulling the trigger

-CLICK-

The sound was nearly deafening as the chorus of laughter returned. “ Look at that….” The interrogator laughed as he spoke “ Can’t be careless in this position” he said before holstering the pistol. The interrogator looked back towards Cristos and walked over, squatting down on his heels to be at the same height as him.

“ In this business you don’t often get to learn lessons, usually the lessons kill you” the interrogator spoke quietly, loosing all the glee in his voice. The sudden change in demeanor was disturbing as Cristos slowly turned his head to meet the interrogators gaze.

“ I have a lesson for you today Cristos, something the SIS failed to teach you”, he continued in a flat emotionless tone.

“ “There is no greater danger than underestimating your opponent”. The interrogator quipped, “ A lesson from Sun Tzu from ancient Earth” the man finished before standing once more, making his way back towards the second sobbing prisoner.

“ That is the lesson” the interrogator yelled, dismissively waving his hand towards the sobbing prisoner, “ and this is how you will remember it” he finished as one of men in tactical dress slipped a garrote over the sobbing prisoners neck, wrestling him to the ground.

The ferocity of the strike shocked Cristos, who audibly gasped before another black sack was pulled over his face. Leaving him with the sound of choking and the panicked gaze of his former criminal counterpart burned into his mind.

A few hours later, Cristos had been bandaged and unceremoniously kicked out on the corner by the spaceport, left with only a paper bag of fresh clothes and some instructions

“ Get this to Vlad’s boys, have them plug it in and we will do the rest”

NS: Gestalt Concordant
Well, I have returned and will take your suggestions into practice. Stats have been removed, HOWEVER....I still remain the final say on anything I see as OP.

The RP continues, at your earliest convenience

There is also a discord: discord.gg/K5RRyGfc
*Waves* Have I been accepted?
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