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In the vicinity of HMNB Sentinel of the Void, Kaus Borealis System

Sentinel of the Void had once been a lonely, unimportant, and largely forgotten station in the middle of... well nothing. Now it was becoming one of the busiest regions of space in the Kaus Borealis system and was arguably the Kingdom's most important station. The station had already doubled in size and was maybe a week away from being able to function as an anchorage.

The amount of warships in the area had more than doubled as well. In fact the collection of ships were being called the Expeditionary Fleet by some members of the Admiralty. Officially the fleet was considered part of the Home Fleet, but that was liable to change any day now. Many had wandered who would be the commanding officer of the new Expeditionary Fleet. Those questions had been answered once the HMS Monarch had arrived.

"What's the status of our trade ships?" Admiral Harrington asked. The trade ships in question were two medium sized cargo vessels that were loaded with various goods and tasked with seeing what the markets of the Americana system would be interested in consuming. At least that was the cover story. The trade ship headed to the FRA had some armaments to trade. Obviously not anything in large quantities, just a few pieces that could easily be explained away as being part of the protection details armaments. The trade ship headed to Yulzan space was tasked with collecting intelligence on what the Kingdom was increasingly coming to see as a potential future enemy. Each trade ship would be escorted by a single destroyer, but would otherwise be on its own and at the mercy of the waring Americana factions.

"Both ships report that they'll be heading out within the hour." Monarch answered after a moment. "Their escorts have confirmed their readiness."

"You sound a bit envious." The admiral stated after a moment.

"Sabre," HMS Sabre was one of the escorting destroyers, "was bragging about being the first Royal ship to leave the system." Monarch didn't bother hiding how irked she was about that. "She's been very, very vocal about it." The admiral chuckled at that. After a moment Monarch allowed herself to chuckle as well.

"If it makes you feel any better you'll be the first Royal battleship to leave-" Admiral Harrington never got to finish his statement.

"Something just came up on our sensors" An officer called out.

"Show me" The word's had barely left Harrington's lips before a 3D map was projected in front of him, showing the Gate, station, his ships, and three unidentified blips. They were coming in fast and from the direction of the outer rim. "Swimmers." The three blips suddenly exploded into more than Harrington could count. "Battlestations! Get those transports through the Gate. NOW!"

Admiral Harrington moved to his seat and strapped himself down. Once secure He pressed a button on the arm of his chair, causing a cable to extend from the chair and plug in to a port at the base of the Admiral's skull. With the Man-Machine Link between himself and Monarch established he now had access to a greater amount of information and control over the massive battleship than he could ever have hoped to have otherwise.

He turned the front of Monarch towards a Swimmer the size of Monarch herself, a so-called leviathan class Swimmer. He was aware of the two transports and their escorts slipping away through the Gate, but the bulk of his attention was on the Swimmers.

The Expeditionary Fleet got off the first volley with their spinal cannons. Monarch's spinal particle beam cannon speared through the leviathan, blasting a massive hole through its body. It thrashed for a moment before going limp, momentum causing it to continue to fly towards the fleet. Many Swimmers had been killed, but not enough. Monarch shuddered as return fire, plasma that the Swimmers were literally spitting, struck her armor. Monarch withstood the attacks with little trouble, but several destroyers reported taking heavy damage.

"They're aiming for the Gate." Admiral Harrington said just a moment before the Swimmer's collided with his fleet. Royal Navy ships fired their CIWS and spinal cannons as Swimmers spat at them or struck them with their tentacles. Several Swimmers even collided with their targets, wrapping their tentacles around the warships in an attempt to crush them.

"Admiral" Monarch said.

"I see them." Harrington responded as a pair of cruisers were forced into the Gate by the momentum of being tackled by a Swimmer. "Did our cruisers end up in the Americana system as well?" Swimmers followed the two cruisers through the Gate. A lot of Swimmers.

"They did not." Monarch answered after a moment. "One ended up in New Terra and the other in RADX." Great, so they had been thrown into two different star systems at random.

"I'll take the 1st Task Force to RADX. Admiral Howe, you will take the 2nd Task Force to New Terra. Do not let a single Swimmer slip away. Task Forces three through six will remain here to mop up the remaining Swimmers and protect the Kingdom from external threats."

@Sigma and @Crusader Lord Two transports and destroyers headed to the Americana system

The Gate, RADX System

Collab between @Darkspleen and @Timemaster

First out of the Gate was the Royal Navy cruiser, a massive squid like creature wrapped around it. The locals in the vicinity of the gate had just a moment to recognize the presence of foreigners before over a hundred more squid-like creatures, ranging in size of a human to a battleship, disgorged from the gate. Particle beams from the cruisers speared out at the creatures, killing a few but leaving dozens more alive to swarm it. Its spinal cannon shot out, spearing through two destroyer sized creatures, before the cruiser finally succumbed to the tentacles wrapped around it and crumpled.

And then a small fleet appeared through the Gate, particle beams reached out for the creatures. Each Royal Navy ship launched a handful of fighter craft to help combat the smaller creatures, be even then they were greatly outnumbered. Still the Royal Navy fought well, using finesse and coordination to make up for its lack in numbers. Fighters would antagonize the creatures, causing upwards of ten to give chase. Then a nearby destroyer would take out the whole group with a well aimed shot of its spinal cannon. Most of the creatures seemed content to fight the Royal Navy, but about a third flew off in various directions.

As soon as the Goddess left through the Gateway to assist with Catherine's distress call, two unidentified creatures came through the Gateway followed by a small fleet of an unknown nation. The Golden Armada, while diminished as it was currently, it still counted thousands of Infiltrator-Class ships, 15 Carriers, 5 Battlecruisers and the "Angel", a ship similar to the Seraph in size with almost twice the weaponry classed as experimental to the Chosen. Other ships were getting ready to launch into space and more were being built.

"Admiral Watson, incoming communication from the unidentified ship." said one of the Templars aboard the "Angel"

"Put it through. Let's hear their explanation." answered the Admiral with a tired voice. Barely a day since the Gateway reopened and they already met with two different nations, potentially lost a Hierarch and another one in danger. This was not what he imagined his service will entail but for the Goddess, he will do what he must.

"I am Admiral Harrington of the Royal Navy and Crown Prince of the Kaus Borealis Kingdom," The broadcast originated from one of the larger ships, "this is for all native forces in the area. I promise to explain once things calm down, but for now it is imperative that you not allow a single one of those biological entities to escape into your system. I repeat: you must not let a single one get past you."

"Send a message back to them." taking a deep breath, Watson continued, "This is Admiral Watson of the Chosen. We'll provide assistance but better have a good explanation at the end of this."

Soon after orders were given to the Golden Armada, eliminate all the creatures but also encircle the unbelievers, they shall not escape if they intended to use the creatures as a distraction. The Battlecruisers already in position close to the Gate had a clear line of sight to the creatures and soon after the order was given, they opened fire with all they had. Countless missiles loaded with corrosive acid were thrown at the enemy, each exploding on impact then spreading the acid.

The Carriers followed soon after, spitting Infiltrator ships one by one while their medium cannons battered the creatures with everything they had. As the ships approached they started pestering the creatures with bullets and as they got very close, Chosen Templars were released in space with no suits. Unburdened by suits, they were all armed with rocket launchers, grenades and long range rifles with AP bullets.

With the Royal Navy firing at them from the rear and the Golden Armada from the front, the fleeing creatures found their numbers cut down. Even so they were certainly still a threat. They spat plasma at the Infiltrators and Chosen warriors that fired upon them. And once they got close enough they bodily slammed into warriors and wrapped their tentacles around. The smallest of the creatures were slightly larger than a normal human, but even they were incredibly dangerous in melee. Royal marines, even when outfitted in powered armor, had long ago learned to dread fighting Swimmer's in melee combat, and the Chosen were about to learn that same lesson.

At the same time the Royal Task force focused its attention on the Swimmers that had stayed back to fight. Royal fighters darted around destroyers and cruisers, exchanging shots with swimmers as the warships CIWS picked the smaller ones off. Particle beam cannons tore through swimmer bodies. Swimmers swarmed warships and worked to tear weapons off of hulls.

For the most part the Royal Navy ignored its Golden Armada counterparts, although the movements of several heavy cruisers clearly indicated that they were aware they were being encircled and positioning themselves to counter an attack from the flanks in necessary.

A Royal Navy destroyer fired its spinal particle beam cannon at a cruiser sized Swimmer, the attack severed one tentacle but missed the creature's body. A tentacle swatted the destroyer with enough force to throw it to the side and cause it to collide with another nearby destroyer. Armor dented in two places, the destroyer continued to fire on the swimmer with its CIWS, but to little affect. Then the Monarch's massive spinal particle beam cannon punched through the Swimmer's body, leaving it to twitch and thrash in its final death throes. And with that final kill the Royal Navy had eliminated the Swimmers that had remained behind.

The Chosen that went out of the Infiltrator ships started to be targeted by the smaller Swimmers. Even if they were smaller than the Chosen they still posed a challenge and soon the first wave of Templars were being decimated. Occasionally an explosion could be seen from where one Templar would fall as they'd sacrifice their lives by detonating their grenades just before death.

The other Templars started a slow rout, herding the Swimmers towards the better equipped battlecruisers and Carriers all while taking pot shots at any Swimmer that would try to escape the deadly trap. As they'd reach the targeted area, the Templars pulled away as fast as they could. Soon after the two battlecruisers and Carriers that didn't actively engage the other Swimmers started their onslaught, missiles after missiles were being shot at them until, eventually they stopped.

Finally the Chosen side of the battlefield was cleared out of Swimmers, not without losses. A few of the Carriers sustained damage and one battlecruiser was floating in space, their hull pierced by a swarm of Swimmers. Admiral Watson surveid the battlefield with a critical eye learning how the Swimmers moved, their tactics and weaponry while at the same time, keeping a very close watch on the Royal Navy. In case this turns into a shooting match, they needed to know what they should expect.

"Send a message to Admiral Harrington telling him all the creatures were killed and send a team to retrieve any body parts from them, the Goddess will personally want to run checks on them. Full security detail. That admiral better have a good explanation for this or by the Goddess we'll remove all these heathens from our airspace." said Admiral Watson on board the Angel.

Royal Navy cruisers and destroyers spread out and slowly moved amongst the Swimmer bodies in what was clearly a well coordinated search pattern. Occasionally a Swimmer body would be subjected to particle beam fire. In fact the Royal Navy was firing at things that, at least initially, seemed to definitely not be Swimmer bodies, such as space rocks and smaller warship debris. What was clear was that the Royal Navy didn't seem to particularly care whether or not the Chosen got their hands on Swimmer bodies, as the bulk of said bodies was left unmolested.

"This is Admiral Harrington to Admiral Watson. You'll want to take care that none of our foes are playing dead. They have a habit of doing so or of disguising themselves as something else. I cannot stress enough how good they are at stealth and camouflaging themselves. I'd recommend blasting anything you aren't sure isn't dead." He paused for a moment before continuing. "As for an explanation- well the short version at least: these monsters are beings we call Swimmers. They are natives to the star system we colonized and have a voracious appetite. We have yet to find a living thing they won't eat." Another pause. "The Swimmers made a run for the Gate. My fleet engaged, but they were... very focused on getting to the gate and a large percentage of them chose to prioritize accessing the Gate over engaging my fleet. Two of my cruisers were struck by the Swimmers and forced through the Gate as well. Roughly half of the Swimmers ended up here and the other half in another system. We gave chase and... well you know the rest. Now I know that that explanation will surely leave you with many questions," He sounded genuinely apologetic, "and I'll do my best to answer your questions. Or if you'd prefer I and my fleet can leave your territory right now. We came only to ensure the Swimmers were not allowed to spread elsewhere."

Admiral Watson listened closely to the explanation. So, these creatures were good at hiding and intelligent. Maybe something close to sentience. A fact that would, for sure, interest the Goddess. Orders were sent to the retrieval team to triple check if the creatures were indeed dead and if possible to capture one that is injured to do so.

A dilemma presented itself. The Admiral had no authority over diplomatic matters as those would be reserved to the Hierarchs but with the Hierarchs gone or busy, something had to be done. After a quick prayer for divine guidance he nodded and a message was sent to the Royal Navy.

"We will make sure that the creatures are indeed dead before running our own tests on them. This is the first true alien life we've met and as such, we are as curious as the Goddess made us.

I've got a few questions and then, if you could leave, we would be happy. Once the Goddess is back and proper leadership is restored, diplomatic matters can be discussed in detail.

Who are you? Are you humans, descended from the original settlers? How many other nations have you met? Do we have any reason to consider you as potential enemies of the Chosen? These Swimmers, are they sentient?"

The questions seemed basic enough but behind them a deeper meaning could be understood. Would the Chosen need to get ready for war against yet another nation?

"As I mentioned before," Admiral Harrington began, "we are from the Kingdom of Kaus Borealis. We are descended from some of the Humans who fled Earth. I can actually trace my family lineage back to England. Your country is the third country we have encountered since the Gate has reactivated, though I expect the detachment I sent to chase down and destroyer the other half of the Swimmers who had fled through the Gate to have encountered yet another country. And to be frankly honest I don't know enough about your people to even guess as to what would make us your enemies. We aren't going to be looking for trouble."

"As for the Swimmers..." Admiral Harrington paused to collect his thoughts. "We honestly aren't sure how intelligent they truly are. We assume they have some kind of language, or at least a means of communicating with each other, but have never actually identified anything that could be a language. All attempts at communicating with them have failed; either they have no ability to comprehend our attempts or they have no desire to communicate with us. When they initially appeared they didn't fly in any kind of formation, but other time they started mimicking the formations used by the Royal Navy, and then they started using formations of their own apparent design. We've also seen them change tactics over time, also indicating at least some degree of sapience. Still they continue to be thoroughly alien to us. What their motivations are, beyond eating, are a complete mystery to us."

"Kingdom of Kaus Borealis." said Admiral Watson as to see if the name rolls of the tongue properly and to better commit it to memory then continued talking "We once were humans as well, many years ago but our planet proved to be uninhabitable to humans and as such, in our time of greatest despair when were were close to extinction...the Goddess revealed herself to us and chose us to ascend. May She be praised until the end of time. If your people aren't looking for a fight then pray to the Goddess for your ascension if you are, I'm sure you've noticed surrounding yours but that is your own choice.

These Swimmers of yours are indeed a threat then for everyone who encounters them. If they have the ability to learn from one nation, they can learn from others and your tactics might not work against someone else's tactics. They're dangerous. Once the Goddess is back, maybe something could be worked out between our nations. A defensive alliance or so. We help you eliminate the Swimmer threat and you'll offer us something in return but that's not my decision.

Am I correct to assume your nation is a monarchy?" a king or queen would be easy to control or please if they would have absolute power.

"A constitutional monarchy, yes." Harrington answered. "We'll actually be holding elections for our parliament in the next few weeks, but that's not something I need to bore you with at the moment. As for any agreements between our countries, that'll have to be determined at a later date. While I do possess some say in regards to what the Crown government does, at this time I haven't been empowered to do much more than contain the Swimmer menace."

"I would like to know more about your Goddess" Harrington added after a moment. "I do hope you don't take my... um ignorance.. to be disrespect. The way you speak of her gives me the impression of a being with a... physical body. Is goddess a type of title of rank or do you mean she's a divine being that occupies a physical body of some kind?"

Constitutional monarchy, not good but not bad either. Not that much power over the nation but either way, no one ruler to decide everything at once.

"Elections you say? May the Goddess shine her light on the chosen of your people." Watson said, his voice full of devotion for the Goddess, then continued in the same manner "The Goddess was once a human like yourself from Earth until Earthfall. She ascended to godhood shortly after arriving here on RADX-001 and we, her children, were chosen to be ascended. All who meet her will understand her divinity. All who meet her will bow their heads in reverence and pray for salvation. So, to answer your question the Goddess leads the Church and occupies a physical body." his eyes shined with pride as he spoke about the Goddess.

"Now, I am sorry for cutting this short but as I said, I have no diplomatic power nor training. If you wish to return, you will be greated properly by the Chosen."

"Very well then." Harrington said. "I wish honour and glory for both your nation and Goddess. Till we meet again." With that he cut the communication line to Admiral Watson and gave orders for this task force to return through the gate.

The Gate, New Tera System

Collab between @Darkspleen and @Dog

First came a single cruiser, ensnarled by a tentacled monster. Then a hundred more tentacled monsters poured out. The cruiser managed to free itself from its foe, a CIWS particle beam cut a tentacle clear off and allowed the cruiser to break free. The cruiser began to limp away from the swarm of monsters, but it was clear that it wouldn't be able to outrun them.

Thankfully help arrived just in time. Reinforcements followed through the Gate, opening fire with the spinal cannons the moment they were through.

"This is Admiral Howe to all local defense forces nearby. Help us kill these damned monsters or stay out of our way."

The Terran Navy is...shocked to see such surprise come to their home-gate. Without hesitance in their plans, the enmassed Terran warships quickly lock onto their targets. A few minutes of lull as targeting-solutions are acquired before hell is let loose. The discharge of heavy-artillery is a sight to behold as rounds upon rounds of ammunition are fired relentlessly - a never-ending salvo of kinetic munitions. Before long, the space monsters are met with extreme power.

The monsters were trapped between two powerful fleets; their numbers already reduced due to the short skirmish in Kaus Borealis. They could do just one thing: die. And they died in great numbers. Heavy artillery shells and particle beam cannons smashed into their flanks, some were even struck by both before they died. Soon the beasts had been reduced to little more than space debris.

The Royal Navy was willing to take no chances. Light cruisers and destroyers moved amongst the bodies in a search pattern, occasionally a particle beam would reach out and end the life of a creature playing dead. To the Terran Navy, it would quickly become clear that the monsters were quite adapt at camouflaged, able to make themselves looks like rock or even pieces of metal with ease. And for how good the monsters were at hiding themselves, the Royal Navy was just as good at finding them.

"I salute your steadfastness in the face of an unknown and alien foe" Admiral Howe broadcast to the Terran Navy as he recalled his ships, the fleet slowly making its way back to the Gate.

"We thank you for the comment. Sadly, we must ask you to take your leave. It is a matter of state security," an unknown Terran Admiral broadcasts.

"Understandable." Admiral Howe responded. "We are leaving now." The Royal Navy task force slowly made its way back to the Gate, its destroyers and escorts taking care to destroy as many Swimmer bodies as they possibly could with their CIWS. Once they had all formed up near the gate, the royal ships swiftly left the system and returned home.

Arkton, Laurasia, Kaus Borealis System

Lloyd idly watched the crowd of protestors as his limousine drove by. Many held signs that read NO MORE GODS, the latest slogan amongst the radical left. Perhaps calling them radical wasn’t fair; Radical Socialists and Syndicalists made up the bulk of the protestors, but a fair number of Progressives were certainly present. And there certainly wasn’t anything radical about being disturbed by the thought of aliens massacrading as gods.

That thought made Lloyd wonder how word about the Kingdom’s guests had gotten out, and so quickly. By the end of the day details about the Free Republic and Yulzan had been on the news broadcasts. Details that could only have been obtained by talking to the guests directly. Was this simply a case of a sailor having loose lips? Had the Crown decided to spread word without telling him? Perhaps this was some sort of nefarious plot from one or both of their guests. Lloyd had no idea and that disturbed him greatly.

“Mr Prime Minister”, One of Lloyd’s bodyguards drew his attention. “We really should take a government plane up.” Lloyd was shaking his head even before the guard had finished his statement.

“Let’s not needlessly waste the tax payer’s money.” Lloyd said. “There’s nothing wrong with taking a public SSTO up.”

“It’s not secure-” A snort from Lloyd ended the guard’s rebuttal.

“You’re being paranoid. Standard security is good enough and no one knows we’ll be taking one.” Lloyd couldn’t help but smile at the guard’s scowl. It was childish, but sometimes he liked giving his guards a bad time. In truth he didn’t care about saving government funds, at least at this level. No, he just preferred taking public transit when possible as it gave him a chance to meet with the citizens and get candid opinions from them. And it certainly didn’t hurt that his approval rating always went up by a point or two after he made an appearance on public transit.

“It's my job to be paranoid” The bodyguard countered. “And this whole trip is an unnecessary risk.”

“Save your breath. This is the first time in our nation’s history that we’ve made contact with a foreign power. We don’t even have a foreign minister! This is a historic moment and nothing, save death, will stop me from seeing it unfold firsthand.” Lloyd’s bodyguard scowled again. “Alright, alright. I’m sorry.” He couldn’t help but chuckle before offering the other man an apologetic smile. “I promise to stop jinxing us.”

***** ***** *****

“The Prime Minister just boarded!” Alex’s first officer was almost shaking in excitement as he closed the cockpit door behind him.

“Alright,” Alex let out a chuckle. “Settle down so we can make sure he has a smooth flight.” The Prime Minister was known for taking public transit whenever he could. In fact a sort of ‘social club’ had been formed for SSTO pilots who had had the honor of flying the Prime Minister into orbit. Guess Alex and his first officer were now joining that club.

“Can I take us up?”

Alex raised an eyebrow and made a show of looking at his first officer. The younger man was quite experienced and had done an admirable job settling down. He nodded his head. “Sure.”

“My sister is going to be so jealous once she hears about this.” The first officer said with a shiteating grin. He then focused on his preflight checklist like the professional he was. Five minutes later they had completed the checklist and rolled down the runway.

“V1” Alex said when the SSTO had reached a speed that committed it to taking off.

“Rotating” The first officer said a few seconds later as he slowly pulled back on the control stick, nosing the SSTO up. A moment later they were airborne and rising in altitude. They had been in the air for less than a minute when the whole aircraft shook, almost as if they were flying through a strong storm.

“Engine one is rolling back.” Alex said as one of the engines lost power. “They’re both rolling back.” He added a moment later. He reached for the master ignition button and pushed it. “Engine restart failed.”

“That’s not good.”

“No. No it is not.” The SSTO was now gliding in the air over Arkton. “My aircraft.” Alex grabbed his control stick as his first officer confirmed that he had control. The first officer then focused on starting the SSTO’s auxiliary engine and going through their emergency checklist.

“This is Arkton Airlines Flight 173. Mayday, mayday, mayday.” Alex broadcast.

“This is Arkton Control, what is the nature of your emergency?”

“We’ve lost power in both engines.”

“Copy that. Which engine did you lose power in?”

“Both. Both engines.”

There was a moment’s pause before the air traffic control responded. “Ok we can bring you in on runway 1-1.”

Alex wondered if they could even make it back to the airport as he looked at his surroundings. The SSTO was only a hundred feet over the top of the buildings below it. He veered the SSTO to the left, towards the Centennial River. “No can do.”

“Ok… what about runway 1-5?”

Alex thought for a moment. No, there was no way they were getting back to the airport. “Impossible.” After a moment he added “We may end up in the Centennial.” Out of the corner of his eye he could see his first officer giving him a shocked look. There hadn’t been a SSTO accident in over fifty years.

“What do you need?”

What Alex needed was a safe place to land. But with every passing second that seemed to be less and less likely to happen. The SSTO flew over a bridge; the craft was so low that the bridge triggered a proximity alarm in the cockpit.

“Jefferson Base is clearing all of its runways so you can land there.” The air traffic controller stated. By now the SSTO had lost too much height. At best Alex could keep it in the air for another two minutes. The buildings on either side of the river seemed to tower over the SSTO. “Flight 173, I’ve lost radar contact. Are you still there?”

Alex had already tuned the man out. He couldn’t help them now. He picked up a small phone that connected to the SSTO’s passenger compartment and spoke into it. “This is your captain speaking. Brace for impact.”

“Oh shit.” Alex’s first officer said. Alex could hear his flight attendants yelling instructions from the passenger compartment. He tuned it all out. All that mattered to him was the SSTO, the river below it, and the control stick in his hand.

“Brace yourself.” He calmly said.

***** ***** *****

“Rescue crews have yet to find any survivors of the Arkton Airlines Flight 173 crash that occurred earlier today.” The news anchor stated. “While no explosive materials have been located, there are still widespread allegations of Radical Socialist terrorist involvement in the-”

A wave of His Majesty George II Harrington’s hand turned the TV off, cutting the news anchor off mid sentence. He scowled at the blackened screen for a moment before turning towards the room’s other occupant. “So…” He said as he looked at Lord Speaker John Hill, “were the Radical Socialists involved?”

The Lord Speaker was a man who looked like he had one foot in the grave on the best of days. This was not a good day. “In short? No. Of course it’ll take months of investigation to be positive, but at this time we are fairly certain that this was simply a tragic accident. The experts believe that a faulty component in the SSTO’s fuel tank might have cut off the supply of fuel to the engines shortly after take off.”

The Prime Minister might have been a member of the Progressive party, but over the past few years George had come to consider the man a friend. He was a good man. When George had last spoken to him, moments before he had left for the airport, Lloyd had sounded excited at the prospect of talking to people from another star system. And now he was gone.

“Your Majesty?” The Lord Speaker spoke up after a moment. He almost sounded embarrassed. “There is… well… The people are requesting that a vote be held.”

“THEY WHAT?!” Goerge demanded, slamming his first down on his chair’s armrest. “Lloyd’s body isn’t even cold and the mob is demanding we hold elections?!” He would have spat in disgust were he in a room of a building he didn’t own.

“Demand might be a bit strong…” The Lord Speaker wisely trailed off as George scowled at him.

“Fine. Let them have their election.” George said after a moment. “And I hope it comes to bite them in the ass.”

HMNB Sentinel of the Void, Kaus Borealis System

So much had happened over the past few days that Captain Hudson was having difficulty keeping up. First a gate to locations beyond Kaus Borealis had opened, then two battling warships had traveled through it. Once that had been resolved the Prime Minister had perished in an ill-timed accident and the Crown had announced that parliamentary elections would be held in a month. It was… a lot to take in.

“Commodore Hudson,” Senny spoke to him through his quarter’s speakers, “Captain Winters reports that his ship has exhausted his supply of mines and is returning to Laurasia.” Oh, and there was that too.

Apparently given that Hudson was the commander of the station he had seniority and thus was in command of not only the Sentinel of the Void, but also the two task forces that had come to reinforce him. Thus he had received a temporary promotion to commodore. He had quickly tasked the ships to deploying mine’s around the Gate. The mines were little more than large anti-ship missiles that were left drifting about, able to activate and home in on any ship that might come blasting through the Gate. It wasn’t a long term solution to the possible threat, but it would hep buffer his defense for now.

He had also moved his two guests away from each other, physically blocking the FRA and Janissary cruisers from each other with one of his task forces. More specifically he had tasked a battleship and two destroyers to each of the cruisers and instructed them to blast first and ask questions later should either one decide it wanted to start trouble.

He had received word earlier in the day that another two task forces would be arriving soon to bolster his forces. And shortly thereafter several fleet auxiliaries would arrive to begin the expansion of Sentinel of the Void.

He had been assured that someone from the government of sufficient post to negotiate with outside powers would arrive at the station soon, but given the state of things in Arkton after the Prime Minister’s passing he had taken those assurances with a grain of salt.

“Tell Winters to grab some coffee on the way back.” Hudson said after a moment. “And none of that cheap crap either.”

“You’ve been promoted for less than two days and are already abusing your power.” Senny chided him.

“I’ll pay him back!”

“You sound stressed.” Senny commented. He was stressed. “I’ll have Winters grab a bottle of wine for you while he’s at it.”

Hudson was more than a little surprised that she had noticed. It wasn’t that she was oblivious to human emotion, quite the opposite in fact. It was just the fact that she simply tended not to care about him specifically. “Thanks Senny.”

“Hmm… I think I’ll ask him to grab two bottles for you.” Senny added after a moment. Hudson could only roll his eyes.

HMNB Sentinel of the Void, Kaus Borealis System

Being the commanding officer of an insignificant, out of the way naval base wasn’t all bad. It might be a post far away from the front lines, making promotion above the rank of captain a mere dream. It was also a far cry from the luxurious and prestigious postings of the Home Fleet. And perhaps it was an utterly dreary, uneventful post where all he was expected to do was watch an empty swath of space important only for its history. But at the very least it allowed Captain Hudson to get a full night’s sleep. Or at least that was supposed to be the case.

“Captain Hudson.” A moment’s pause. “Captain Hudson. You are needed on the command deck. Captain!”

“Whazz-it?” Still half asleep, Hudson slurred his question. He slowly began to wake up, recognizing the voice that awoke him to belong to the station’s bioroid. “Senny” Her full name was Sentinel of the Void, but she and the crew prefered to shorten it to Senny. “What could be so important to wake me up at…” He glanced at his bedside clock, “Two A.M.?”

“Sir, what I believe to be a portal has appeared. Based off the correlation between its location and that the recorded location of the orig-”

“Enough!” Hudson groaned. Senny had developed something of a practical joke streak as of late. He had allowed it to pass thus far, but perhaps it was past the point of reeling her in a bit. At this rate he wouldn’t believe her if an incident ever did occur. “I’m going back to sleep. Don’t bother me again.”

Hudson had just begun to settle back into bed when a blaring alarm shattered any hope of further sleep. He cursed as he jumped to his feet and rushed towards his desk where he had left one of his uniform tops. In the hallway outside his room he could hear Senny speaking over the station intercom. “All hands to battlestations. I repeat: all hands to battlestations. This is not a drill. Further instructions will follow shortly.”

“You were serious?!” Hudson quickly threw on his top and headed towards the door.

“I would never joke about something so important. Unknown ships have been detected.”

Thankfully the captain’s quarters were close to the command deck, thus making for a short trip. And in this sort of situation every second mattered. The door to the command deck had barely opened before Captain Hudson was calling out orders. “I need a status report!”

“All weapons are active and ready on your command” An officer calmly reported.

“One fighter has launched and the other is wai- the pilot for our second fighter has just arrived in the hangar and will be launching momentarily.” Senny reported.

“The two unidentified ships have begun firing on each other!” A second officer called out.

“Both ships appear to be comparable to our cruisers.” Senny stated. “Although they do appear to possess much greater fighter carrying capability than any of our cruisers.”

“Send out a wideband broadcast ordering both warships to stand down.” Hudson turned to his communications officer. ”Do we have any reinforcements nearby?”

“The destroyer Vampire is already burning hard towards us. It reports that it will arrive in the area in twenty minutes and its fighter complement will be here in ten.”

“It should already be in missile range.” Hudson commented.

“Aye sir, but the captain of the Vampire stated that he doesn’t want to risk drawing firing on either the station or his ship by launching missiles early if it can be avoided.”

Hudson could only grunt an acknowledgement and turn his attention to the tactical map as Senny sent out a wideband broadcast. “This is the HMNB Sentinel of the Void to all unidentified combatants: you are currently infringing on the territory of the Kingdom of Kaus Borealis. Cease all combat immediately and identify yourselves. I repeat: you are currently infringing on the territory of the Kingdom of Kaus Borealis. Cease all combat immediately and identify yourselves.

***** ***** *****

Arkton, Laurasia, Kaus Borealis System

“Can someone tell me what is going on?” Lloyd demanded. All at once the situation room quieted with the exception of a few whispered conversations between communications staff. After a moment an older gentleman wearing a naval uniform stood and turned towards Lloyd.

“Of course Mr Prime Minister” The Lord of the Admiralty answered. “It would appear that the Gate to Earth reopened five minutes ago.” He held up his hand to forestall any excited comments the Prime Minister was about to give, “and through the Gate two unidentified warships appeared and began, or perhaps simply resumed, combat. The cruiser Vampire will be in the region within the next fifteen minutes. I have already taken the liberty of ordering both the Home and Outer Rim fleets to send reinforcements to the region. We expect a task force from the Home Fleet to be on site in the next two hours.”

“Are either of the warships of human make?” The Prime Minister asked.

“That is impossible to determine at this time.”

“Ok… At this point I believe the Gate poses the greatest threat to our security.” Lloyd’s statement was answered by nods of agreement from throughout the room. He nodded himself before turning back to the Lord of the Admiralty. “We are going to have to pull some of our forces from both the Home and Outer Rim fleets.”

“Yes sir.” The Lord of the Admiralty winced. “Admiral Halsey” the admiral of the Outer Rim Fleet, “will balk at giving up more than a handful of ships, but given the situation we won’t push back too hard.”

“And he can hold out against the Swimmers with a reduced force?”

“Hold out? Certainly. But he won’t be able to push any further into Swimmer territory.”

“That’s acceptable for now.” Lloyd turned to the Minister of Finance. “We might want to plan for a further expansion of the navy.”

The Minister of Finance shook his head. “I can probably wringe an extra ten billion out of the budget, but that’s about it.”

“That’s barely enough to make one cruiser!” The Lord of the Admiralty stated. “We’ll also need to expand the facilities at the Sentinel of the Void. That alone could cost twenty billion if we were willing to forgo adding more armaments.”

“For now earmark any extra funds you can get for expanding the Sentinel of the Void.” Lloyd ordered. “I’ll bring the matter to both the Crown and the House of Commons and see if I can get a new budget passed quickly. Hopefully things won’t get too out of hand before we can get control over the situation.”
@Irredeemable Obviously still very much a WIP but I want to be able to chat with the boys in discord. =P
Update: Got most of it down outside of Tech and Military.
Update 2: Tech is done, on to military.
Still very much a WIP. Total population size/makeup is still subject to change. I'm hoping to knock out one or two more sections at work tonight, but no promises. At the very least this'll give you guys a heads up as to what direction I'm going.

Edit: A lot of things have been added. Its essentially done outside of adding in details.
Looks fun. I'm interested.
Obviously a heavy WIP, but I should be completing the bulk of it over the next few days.
Commonwealth Embassy, Duro One

“Get that transport loaded!” Sergeant Ross yelled. “NOW!” The Commonwealth sergeant aimed at figure of a being he could make out in the misty white cloud of tear gas. The rubber bullet he fired struck the being, eliciting a yelp of pain in reply.

“Sarge!” One of his subordinates yelled. “We’re on our last tear gas grenades!”

“How much longer till that transport is loaded?” Ross asked, firing another rubber bullet into the tear gas. The transport in question was a civilian shuttle they had managed to commandeer from a Commonwealth civilian freighter in orbit.

“Sixty seconds!” A second soldier answered.

“Tell those damned fools to hurry!” Ross ordered. They had been under siege ever since the military junta took control of Duro One. At first the Commonwealth embassy guard figured it would die down. When it became clear the situation was only going to get worse they had requested an extraction, which was quickly cleared and transportation was slated to arrive within the week. When it became clear that the rioters were going to give them a week the embassy had requested aid from any Commonwealth ships in orbit. Hence the single shuttle extraction.

“Take cover!” A soldier yelled, following his own advice and diving behind some sandbags as a petrol bomb soared in the air towards him. It fell short, with only a few flames reached the sandbags and quickly sputtering out.

Ross himself was forced to dive for cover when an individual using an assault rifle fired at him from within the tear gas. He could feel the riot ramping up. Soon they would rush the embassy in mass and he wouldn’t be able to hold them back. All he had was two squads, one of which was a militia squad.

“Fire the last of the tear gas grenades!” Ross ordered. Grenade launchers answered him, launching the last of his supply towards the mass of people beyond the embassy. “I am authorizing the use of lethal force. All soldiers are hereby ordered to switch to combat rounds and shoot to kill.” He connected his radio to the embassy’s system to use its loudspeakers to speak to the crowd. “Lethal force will now be used on any individuals who attempt to enter the embassy.”

“The transport is full and lifting off now!” One of Ross’s militia reported. Good. That meant half of the embassy would soon be safe. All he had to do was keep the rioters back for one more load and then he and his men could be extracted too.

He turned to watch the shuttle lift off and start to climb towards orbit. There was a flash of movement - a missile! - and then the shuttle was enveloped in a ball of fire. It would appear that Ross and his men wouldn’t be leaving the embassy any time soon.

Houston, The Free Star Commonwealth

“So let me get this straight,” President Brown said, “we have an embassy under siege, with barely enough soldiers to secure its perimeter during peaceful times, with no means of evacuation on hand, and we have already suffered significant loss of life amongst the embassy staff. Does that about summarize the situation?”

”Um… yes sir.” The secretary of defense answered.

”Please tell me the extraction force has already departed.”

”Well sir it's taking more time then expect to shake loose the ships we need-” The secretary was cut off by the president slamming his fist into his desk.

”Our people are getting killed out there!” He yelled. ”We should have forces there already to protect them!”

”Well yes, but our navy-”

”Why do we even have a navy if its incapable of protecting our people!” Brown took a deep breath to calm himself. ”Pull ships from the defense force here. Anything that can be spared.

”But that’ll leave our defense forces here weakened!”

”Then so be it.” Brown shot back. ”If the relief force doesn’t leave within forty-eight hours I’ll see that you’re held responsible for the loss of every citizen’s life on that damned planet. And if there are any Rangers able to send them too.”

”Yes mister president. Is there anything else I can do?”

”Yes, yes there is. You can hand me your resignation before the end of the day.”

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