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Collab between @Irredeemable and @Sigma

Julian and his wife stared in awe as they, along with Ambassador Ghask and several other high profile guests exited through the main entrance hall. The interior of the ship was truly an extravagant and elegant sight to behold, a hallmark of Matuvistan engineering and design. “Well, this certainly makes up for our last trip, wouldn’t you say?” Julian said as he looked to Alice with love struck eyes, the ship’s décor amplifying their sense of romance, Alice looked to him, and simply gave him a quick kiss on the lips. “By a thousand miles.” She replied, as she tugged his arm tightly. While the Gala was a perfect occasion for quality time with his wife, Chancellor Constantine had ulterior motives as well, the report forwarded by Ghask regarding the Yyasum and their distant relation with the Yulzen had intrigued him to no end, and what better way to confirm than hear from a direct source?

It was easy to see the Yyasum in the mural. A huge portion of the middle of the hall were dedicated to them, showing their initial invasion and the efforts made to repel them. Camouflage-wearing humans lighting up a jungle with gunfire, a jetbike tumbling out of the sky as it engaged some kind of strange alien craft, even a depiction of a melee brawl between a Matuvistan and an armour-wearing alien, culminating in the latter's (sanitized) decapitation. After the main body of Yyasum depictions faded from the mural, there was a somber portion dedicated to what appeared to be some sort of war cemetery, headstones lined up in neat, organized rows with flags planted before each one.

As the group reached the end of the hallway, they were greeted by one of the young Patricians. "Hello there," the teenaged boy said, pride in his voice. "Welcome to the Santa De Angelo, can I help you with our night of festivities at all?

“Oh, such a charming young man!” Alice said, adoring the young Patrician boy, her grandmotherly instinct almost compelling her to simply grab the boys cheek like she would with her own grandchildren. followed by Julian letting out a hearty laugh. “I must say, the ship is truly a beautiful sight, breath taking really….and yes, you can help me for sure.” The Chancellor’s eyes drawn to the mural itself. “What can you tell me about this? The Yyasum?”

While the chancellor asked his question, Ambassador Ghask stepped forward as he inspected the mural for himself, his gaze drawn towards the Yyasum, characters that represented them…although quite different from his former masters, had shocking similarities that could not be denied. “It’s them…I know it.” Ghask mumbled to himself, almost with a hint of venom.

Rafael blinked a few times, caught totally off-guard. As he was recovering from the cheek-pinching and the compliments, a genteel looking woman strode forward, having clearly been waiting for the Republican delegation. She was demure-looking, in contrast with many around the room, and wore a dress rather than the typical military uniform, but nonetheless seemed confident in her approach.

"Greetings. Alfonso's report caused a significant stir back home on Matuvista. Condel Julianus himself assigned me to introduce myself at this gala. I am Valentina Trinidad Zelina Edita Santa Diana El Segundo, and it's a pleasure to meet you." She extended a hand towards the older duo, having not yet acknowledged Ghask as he stared at the mural.

Julian replied in kind as he shook her hand. “A pleasure to meet you Ms. Segundo. I am Julian Constantine, Chancellor of the United Columbian Republic.” He stated his name and title, all the while he gestured his hands towards his wife and Ghask. “My wife, Alice. Ambassador Ghask, our representative in the Meeting Place.” He paused as he and Alice cleared the way to allow their own guests introduce themselves.

The first to approach Valentina was a light-skinned man in his late forties, dressed in a very expensive-looking business suit. “Davion Hoss, CEO of Evergreen Farms.” Mr. Hoss stated with a theatric bow. “From what little I heard about your world’s culinary industries; I see some great potential for a beautiful partnership.” Following him was another Janari, just like Ghask, although he was a member of the more smooth-skinned Roonak, he too paid no expense, dressed in a fine suit. “Senator Ulik Tash, at your service.” He said with a more humble bow. Lastly among the group was a man that stood out more, dressed in a officer’s uniform of the Columbian Army. “General James Faros of the URC Army, Ma’am.” Faros said with a salute. “Intel regarding a Yulzen resurgence on your world sent High Command in a frenzy, and they best found it that I confirm their fears.”

"Please, just Valentina is fine. 'Ms' is my mother's title." 'Segundo' merely meant that she shared a name with her mother. She hadn't actually given her surname. Still, as more and more people arrived and introduced themselves, it was clear she was overwhelmed. Her eyes widened a little, and she nodded politely to the assorted number. "Rafael and I were not prepared for so many people! My apologies, if you'll excuse me, I can bring one of the majors around- they'll be better prepared to discuss with you, General, and then another of the ambassadors to handle the business side of things." She looked at the group to confirm that her departure would be acceptable.

“Oh, of course Valentina.” The Chancellor said, speaking behalf of the Columbian delegation. “We do apologize for this inconvenience. We’re willing to wait a tad longer.”

Valentina returned a few minutes later, with three people in tow. The first was Rafael, the young man who had welcomed the Columbian delegation, the second was a marine officer, two medals at her chest and a badge pinned to her beret, and the third was another smart-looking individual wearing a business suit.

"I am pleased to introduce major Elisabete and señor Domingo respectively," she said with a smile, gesturing to each of the individuals in turn. Elisabete turned to General Faros and offered a crisp salute, before extending her hand out. For his part, Domingo simply extended his hand out towards Hoss, then the Janari, and lastly the Chancellor.

"Greetings General. It pains me to hear that the Yyasum have caused troubles for another nation aside our own, but I trust, since you are standing here before me today, that you have pulled through all the stronger for it." Elisabete's voice was clipped and efficient, and her accent was fairly minimal, in sharp contrast to Domingo's much more heavily-accented voice.

"Now then," declared Valentina. "I imagine we all have a great deal to discuss: should we go to a meeting room, or would you still be interested in enjoying the festivities we've set out?"

“No need to hide ourselves away.” Julian replied. “We’re among friends, no harm in discussing openly, and no need to not enjoy ourselves while we talk.” With that said, Julian turned his attention towards the Mural once more, noticing the Ambassador’s fixation on the Yyasum characters, this garnering the attention of the Senator as well, staring in awe of the similarities, although the Yyasum did seem far different from his people’s former masters, the resemblance was, however, indisputable. “It seems we have common enemy, and it seems, the Yulzen’s attack on our world was not mere chance.”

"Very well then," Valentina said with a smile, offering a brochure out to Julian. "I shall allow you to choose where we depart to then." As she talked, so did Elisabete.

"We have been fighting them for two hundred years. As a marine, I must admit that I do not engage with Yyasum as much as some as my fellows who serve in the ground forces, but all marines are trained in counter-xenos action." She glanced up at the mural, eyes narrowing slightly.

“Huh, In comparison. Our war seemed like nothing.” General Faro said, inspecting the mural. “Granted, the Yulzen had managed to commit many atrocities on our world all within the span of fifteen years, no doubt learning from their defeat at your hands.” The General paused for a moment, reflecting as past memories of the war seeped into his mind, the pain, the sorrow, the screaming…” Losing to humanity twice no doubt has earned us a very special place on their shit list.” Before long, the group soon relocated elsewhere in the Gala, moving to the art gallery to observe and appreciate Matuvistan artwork.

The painting and statues themselves were very reminiscent of Old Earth’s renaissance, a far cry from Columbia’s more… modern, abstract art.

“With that said.“ General Faro spoke to Elisabete. “Our people are willing to cooperate in intel exchanges and even perhaps aid you in pacifying the Yulzen remnants on your world. There is plenty of recruits back home that would love the chance.”

Elisabete had stopped before a painting of Santa Quixote, depicted mounted atop his warhorse, lance held high and the banner attached to it flapping in the breeze. His noble and dignified squire, Sancho Panza, sat astride a smaller gelding, staring off into the distance. "The saint of jetknights," she said, inclining her head towards it.

"Make no mistake. It is not a single craft that has caused us such trouble. Their initial fleet was tremendous, but now, every few cycles, 'years,' if we go by Earth time, further crafts arrive. As they are slower-than-light, we are forced to assume this stream will continue for the foreseeable future, as xenos soldiers dispatched perhaps hundreds of years ago arrive in our system." She paused for a long moment.

"Luckily, none have left our system once they have arrived. The Navy destroys those in space, and it is the duty of any jetknight to slay the invaders wherever they might be found should they make planetfall. Similarly, our ISOCs and other infantry bravely engage them whenever one of their settlements is located."

She paused for a moment. "The duty of marines is mostly counter-rebellion and counter-piracy, both of which can be a concern."

The General let out a light chuckle. “I admit, I have to commend you.” General Faro said. “Your people held the line for centuries against a Yulzen plot long in the making. If you ever need help in purging them once and for all, we’ll gladly help.” Soon the group moved once more, now partaking in the more culinary aspects of the Gala.

"Should you ever desire to cut your teeth on a hated foe again, you are most welcome to send military detachments to Matuvista. I'm sure our soldiers can share knowledge with each other. Our shock tactics and jungle-fighting skills are second to none, I can assure you." She nodded curtly, watching as Hoss took a cup of coffee.

Mr. Hoss took a sip out of this coffee the Matuvistans were lauding over…and it did not disappoint. Davion’s eyes almost rolling at the back of his head, the flavor was unlike anything back on Columbia, it was so…exotic. “Oh god, this stuff is amazing.” Mr. Hoss said to Domingo and Valentina. “I can barely even describe it…”

Domingo let out a lilting laugh, smiling pleasantly at Mr. Hoss. "Why, I'm so glad to hear that." Both he and Valentina nodded to each other, an easy smile spreading across the latter's face. "We have many wonderful plantations on our planet's surface to grow all kinds of excellent crops, and we're extremely eager to share them with the wider galaxy." Domingo took a cup himself, taking a moment to appreciate the fragrance.

"We were so lucky to have been able to preserve things like this from old Earth."

“Extremely eager to share.” That’s it, those were the words Davion was waiting for, the opportunity had presented itself and like a predator, he readies his fangs to strike, before others do. “I’m very pleased you feel this way, because I can make it happen for you.” He paused as he took another sip out of the coffee. “If your people are willing, Evergreen Farms can help in the importation process of all your goods to the galaxy at large and in a very timely matter. In the exchange, Matuvista will receive our fine products.”

This predator didn't realize quite who they were messing with. Of course Domingo was polite, demure, and all too eager to share Matuvistan produce: he was the CEO of Borinquen Agriculture, and had just as much to gain from this exchange as the man across from him did. "Wonderful! Absolutely wonderful. Once this Gala is done, the Santa De Angelo will be used as temporary diplomatic offices, please," he reached into a pocket and handed across a business card. "Come and see me, and we shall hash the details out."

Davion accepted the card and gave Domingo a nod. “I’ll see you there.” With part of his discussion over, Julian, locked in arms with Alice, stepped into the conversation. “I see your little venture has bore some fruit?” The chancellor asked.

“Halfway there, your excellency.” Davion replied. “And you?”

“I can safely say that I’ve learned what I’ve needed to learn.” Julian replied, looking towards Valentina with a smile. “I thank you for your hospitality and cooperation. I look forward to future cooperation between Columbia and Matuvista.” With those uplifting parting words, the Columbian delegation had gone their separate ways as they enjoyed the rest of the Gala, meeting new and familiar faces alike from the other nations.
Collab between @Tortoise and @Sigma
Capital City of Argus
Senate Building

In a reserved conference room was a small circular table, a perfect shape for a trio of Columbian senators sitting opposite to the ECU diplomat, Kalya. “I must say.” One of the senators, a middle-aged man by the name of Houston Tanner was the first to be speak. “It was certainly out of the blue for your arrival.” He paused as he grabbed and drank a small cup of water. “Regardless, on behalf of the Chancellor, I'd like to formally welcome you to the Columbia and it's beating heart.”

“So... what brings a young lady like you here anyhow?” Another of the senators spoke, a woman by the name of Jasmin Brooks.

"Oh, politics," said the young lady in question, noncomitally. "Or something like politics. Curiosity? And war." Her grandmother used to say that Kayla could write a whole book and not say a single thing. It was rare for her to be understood, but really, part of her liked it that way. Kayla the Obscure, she called herself, when nobody else was around to overhear. "The one with the Zetans. We just finished it, as you'll know, and you didn't get involved. That's alright with us- but some of your civilians did. The Grave... somethings? Gravebakers? No, Gravemakers! Yeah, they came to us, but only as mercenaries. It's left us on New Hollywood wondering where the Columbians stand."

There was a brief moment of silence among the senators, the three looking to each other, followed by some nods. “Ah…yes, that.” The last senator spoke, an Urkani by the name of Krais Jia.

“We’ve been made fully aware of Columbian citizens partaking in the war.” Senator Brooks said.

“And the Gravemakers as well…” Senator Tanner said. “Their exploits during the Yulzan War were truly inspiring.” He paused somberly, his eyes looking down. “It’s a damned shame what happened on Zeta. The casualty reports have been…vague at best, body recovery will be…strenuous.”

“And only one of the Gravemakers was able to return from the surface.” Senator Jia said. “And so far…. he refuses to spoke a word of what happened down there.”

“Putting that aside.” Senator Tanner spoke once more. “While our citizens had volunteered in the conflict, this was in no way condoned by the government, quite frankly, the Chancellor had a half a mind to send a task force to support the Zetans.”

Kayla smiled broadly. "Then it's good I'm here. There's another diplomat, his name rhymes with Shanaka, who would have flipped backwards out of this chair if he'd heard something like that. But I'm not mad. Nope, not at all. In fact, I was at the Zetan blockade. I was in charge of it." She let that bombshell settle around the room, before continuing on: "So I'm curious- do the Columbians modify themselves like that?"

In her own way, Kayla was going through the checklist of info she was assigned to learn about the Columbians. The first was whether they supported the ECU or the Zetans- check. The second, if they liked Zeta at all, was whether they'd gone down that same kind of path; the kind that led to a war with New Hollywood.

It was quite the revelation for the senators, having the leader of the blockade sitting right before them. Normally, this would’ve landed someone like Kayla a nice comfy spot in a URC prison, although, despite the alleged and confirmed war crimes that took place, the URC and ECU were never truly in a state of war, and although relations were made complicated due to the conflict, had remained cordial and neutral for the most part, thanks in part to the stand-still that took place in the Senate. Senator Tanner cleared his through, focusing on the subject. “Yes…Columbia is a far different beast than Zeta-5.” Senator Tanner replied. “We’ve would’ve never have gone to such a path.”
“Cybernetics is a part of our lives, yes but for the most part, only when necessary. We don’t replace our whole bodies with machines.” Senator Brooks said. “We Columbians, while embracing progress, are a stubborn people out of habit, keeping our old ties to Earth, to what we once and currently are.”

"Only when necessary," Kayla repeated. "That's what my people said about the invasion, you know. Necessary. It's the Zetans favorite word, too: they say everything is necessary. Chopping legs off and replacing it with metal. Necessary. I think people believe that word is magic." She chuckled at her own joke. "I don't hate them, you know, the Zetans. The Savant just sent me to watch the blockade after the 'naval conflict' was already done. Felt like baby-sitting. The protectors handled all the fighting stuff." She nodded to the bit about keeping their ties to Earth. Boring stuff, to her, but it's what the ECU wanted to hear.

This Kayla was certainly a peculiar woman, the senators rather kept on edge with her antics. “…A comfort to hear.” Senator Jia said. “Columbia potentially seeks to help mend relations between Zeta-5 and New Hollywood in Xandal’s relief efforts, and to further deepen our own ties.”

“It was quite a relief in truth, that the ECU was willing to come to us.” Senator Brooks said. “Factions within the Senate had shared some rather…incendiary words to both parties.” The Columbian Senate had pretty much paralyzed the URC, parties sympathetic to both sides in the war, preventing much decisive action from taking place, much to the displeasure of the Chancellor, the only worthy compromise for both parties was to avoid war altogether. Although the mercenary activities did warrant an ongoing investigation, since it was made quite clear neither the ECU or Undefeated had enlisted their aid to begin with, rather, a mysterious third party was responsible.

"The Xandalians are an interesting people," Kayla commented. "Inventive. I met with some of them, during a negotiation on their ship. No appreciation for holo-tech, but then, nobody outside of the ECU does appreciate it." That reminded her of something. She was starting to feel a little disappointed with all this usual diplomatic talk, and decided to steer the subject into new waters: "While I'm here, I'm asking. Are you people still, ah, reacting well to our media exports? The ECU entertainment, I mean."

This question got a bit of a smile out of Senator Tanner. “Surprisingly well for some.” Tanner replied. “My personal favorite was the Blaze Gina series, feels oddly nostalgic, very retro.” Following that, the senator couldn’t help but start a slight humming of the intro tune.
“Yes, New Hollywoodite media has been in sort of craze in the past few months.” Senator Jia said. “You know how people go for the “exotic” products.”

"Hah!" Kayla laughed. "Senator Tanner, odd nostalgia is the ECU's number one export. Actually, I heard there's a sequel of that coming up, where... ah, ah," she teased, "I shouldn't spoil it." She loved playing this kind of role. A lot more than generic diplomacy, by far. And then she answered Jia: "New Hollywood. We aren't named that for no reason. And that brings something up." Her smiled faded a little bit, knowing the waters she was wading back into. "Since the end of our, uh, conflict with the toas- Zetans- the ECU has been experiencing a bit of a..." how to phrase it? "...cultural shift."

This is the first time an Oligarch has mentioned the brewing rebellion to an outsider, but Kayla decides that's only because none of the others were brave enough. Won't foreigners need to know, eventually? "It's not a new thing. This has been festering for a long, long time. I won't bore you with the details. But all you need to know is that- in the future, I mean- we probably won't be pursuing further wars. Probably. So, we want to focus on media. And trade? Yeah, and trade." Kayla was aware her tongue was tying itself in a rope, so she eases it with a sigh, and pressed onwards. "What I'm saying is: the ECU wants to refocus ourselves on diplomatic and mercantile goals. We would like to pursue further trade with the United Republic of Columbia, and hopefully, ease any lingering mistrust between us from the Zetan Occupation." There. Proper politician speak. Mission accomplished.

The three senators looked to each other once more, all nodded in agreement. “It is quite an honor that you would even share such an exciting event with us first.” Senator Tanner said. “And we would be more than happy to forward the ECU’s proposal with the Senate.”
@VXGreen Yup, you're more than welcome to join in! What idea do you have in mind?
@Aleranicus Good to see you return! :D
@Timemaster Good to have you back :)
Collab between @Sigma and @Irredeemable.

Irregulars Landing Zone.

The mass retreat had begun, the ECU protectors, no matter the training, were woefully unprepared for the onslaught the Zetans had instore for them on the surface. Thus, the order was finally given for all protectors to pull back. A vast array of Columbia-based mercenaries had volunteered to aid the ECU in their conflict with the Zetans, and it seemed that help had arrived in the nick of time.

Several large shuttle craft were placed in a circle pattern around the landing zone, a company’s worth of soldiers in light power armor were in position, setting up sandbags and portable machine guns and mortars. Among them was Gideon, former heavy weapons expert of the Gravemakers, clad in his personal armor. “Alright you maniacs!” He shouted over the intercom. “We’re to hold the LZ at all costs, and cover friendlies as they retreat, take out any cogheads while you’re at it!”

With the protectors on the run, the Zetans had pushed back, and, for the first time since the invasion had begun, re-surfaced. They knew what the ships coming down meant, and they were determined to not allow them to secure a landing. As the shuttles came down, and the mercenaries established an LZ, waves of Zetans threw themselves into the fray to dislodge the invaders.

These were some of the creme de la creme of Zetan forces. The Elysium sector had always been the best defended, and the fighting had only resulted in their production cycles becoming more optimized, and their soldiers more veterans. Few humans were among the soldiers here on the surface, and those that were in largely auxiliary roles. Of course, they were- on the surface, the Zetans could finally field-test their new equipment.

Recon warforms, equipped with long ranged rail rifles, had set themselves up in advantageous positions. With range, and without the fear of destroying their surroundings with radiation, they could lay down fusillade of accurate, gunpowderless fire, magnetic shots raking the mercenaries whenever they were foolish enough to expose themselves.

Up close, the surface also meant that the Zetans were no longer restricted to their smaller warforms. For the first time in the conflict, medium warforms had been deployed, with their thicker armour and heavier armaments. Gouts of flame curled through the air, jellied fuel creating choking smoke, whilst heavy machine guns chugged and thumped.

All in all? It was the typical hell that the fighting on Zeta-5 had descended into.

The mercenaries looked in sheer horror as the Zetan Warforms made their approach, following the fleeing protectors close behind. “Jesus Christ…” one of the mercs let slip, his arms trembling as he held his rifle closely. “Steady now ladies.” Gideon spoke, his hand raised. “On my signal, give them hell.” The protectors ran with all the might they could, knowing full well the nightmarish metallic beasts were perusing them.

Once they were within range, Gideon gave the signal. “Open fire!” The mercenaries popped from cover as they unleashed a volley of bullets and rockets against the warforms. Chipping off pieces of the medium warforms but like the machines they are, they kept advancing. “Focus on the big ones!” One of the mercs shouted, before long, his head had exploded into a bloody, Gorey mess, followed by several more as the recon warforms begun their own attack. “Shit! We got snipers!” Gideon shouted! “Get out of their line of sight!” The mercs, in a last-minute effort, scattered, looking for suitable cover from sniper fire.

It was clear that the Zetan warforms, as powerful and impressive as they were, were not invincible. Under return fire the medium warforms stumbled and collapsed, and although sparks and juddering movement showed them to be still functional, enough systems were taken out that they were no further threat. Still the beings pressed on though, and now, from the rear of the line, missiles began to streak through the skies, launched from some kind of rocket artillery battery.

It wasn't just a physical fight that the Zetans had prepared for either- they were also targeting their opponent's morale. As they drew closer, it was clear the Warforms had received their own unique decorations- kill counts, depictions of Zetan and Earth predators and insults. They lacked the true individuality of the pre-war anti-hunting warforms, but the effort that had been put in was clear.

There was more to their efforts than fancy paintjobs- some of the warforms had been retrofitted with speakers, and, as they charged forward, they let out a menagerie of sounds. From some, warcries, from others, pounding music, and from others still, deliberately high or low-pitched noises designed to unsettle and disturb the mind. It was quite the effective blend.

The mercs, now broken in formation, had scattered to wherever felt safe, random rock formations, the shuttles themselves, and some crazy bastards that stood their ground around the sandbags. Regardless of position, whoever was left kept the fight up. One mercenary still held on to his post at the machine gun nest, cackling like a maniac, undeterred by the Zetan’s attempts at psychological warfare as he unleashed a hail of lead on the advancing warforms. “I can do this all day!” He shouted out.

Gideon and two other soldiers were holed up in one of the shuttles, looking out at the few who remained. “Crazy fuckers all of you.” He said as he looked to one of them.
“You got what you paid for, pal.” One of them replied, taking potshots at the enemy, suddenly going limp as he fell victim to another sniper shot.

Sigma-Neumann, recon warform AC-3843, scratch off another one. The recon warform lacked the physical capacity to feel satisfaction in a robotic body, but... What other way to describe this warm feeling inside them was there? As they ejected the spent fission battery and exposed the already-destroyed landscape to another dose of greys, they took a moment to glance up, to where their original body hung, lifeless, in space.

It was hard to feel sympathy for the invaders, even as they became test subjects, to be exposed to chemicals, radiation, extreme weather and new weaponry. They had taken Zetan lives. Taken Zetan bodies. Taken Zeta itself, and now they were only reaping what they had sowed. It was... Karmic.

Shouldering their rifle once more, they centered their sights onto the soldier manning the machine gun, barely able to get an angle betwixt the hastily put up fortifications. There was the crack as the sound barrier broke, the hiss of the rail-rifle's cooling systems, and the silence of the nest. 'Rifle' was, of course, the wrong term for such a weapon, as they lacked any real rifling, but the coiled mechanisms that propelled the slugs suited well enough... And besides, they were far more destructive than any rifle they carried down in the depths.

The slugs didn't so much impact a target as they did crater it. When they made contact, they tended to flatten out, creating a miniature shockwave that crushed through the target shortly before the projectile itself did. If the target was fortunate enough to survive the initial shot, they might have had a good chance at survival, considering that the slugs tended to pass through the body rather than stay stuck in, but the gaping, pouring wounds were rather hard to shrug off.

Was this really it though? This small infantry incursion? After all they had faced, all they had driven back, they were being met with... Nothing greater than they had already overcome?

Gideon peeked out once more, making a quick survey of the battlefield as the mission all went to shit in quick succession, a good handful of the protectors made it aboard one of the shuttles, unfortunate that some were casualties both from Zetan snipers and some due to…friendly fire, that’s an embarrassing one.

Regardless, the objective was partially complete, all that had to be done was clear the LZ of hostile forces or die trying. “Fall back to the shuttles!” Gideon ordered. “We make our stand here, and get the hell out!” Those that remained complied with their commander’s orders, a quarter of the company’s strength returning the shuttles, leaving behind the corpses of their comrades at the mercy of Zeta-5. The retreat wasn’t a clean one, a few more fell as the Zetan Warforms crossed over the makeshift fortifications, advancing ever closer to the LZ. “Keep the cogheads at bay!” Gideon ordered once more as pulled out his machine gun, spraying a rain of bullets with a defiant warcry, those that could, returning fire...

Nothing greater. What a disappointment. The barrage of long-ranged fire from the recons dwindled and then halted, the remaining frontline warforms sweeping away any foolish or unlucky enough to not have made it to the shuttles. Their job was done. Their homes were safe once more, and every fist of defiance raised made the chances of it being permanently safer greater.

The shuttle doors closed shut as they made their ascent towards the skies of Zeta-5, the ground slowly shrinking as they made it past the atmosphere. Gideon laid against the walls of the craft as he slunk down, it’s been decades since he had this much action, and it sure as hell took a lot out of him. “Christ that was close..” Gideon said, Malcom’s voices cracking through the intercom as they made a connection with the Retribution. “Gideon!” He shouted. “Report! You still alive?”

“Yup, still alive.” Gideon replied. “Don’t count out the bulldog yet.”
“And the mission?”

“Partially complete, we took heavy casualties, but we did it. Cogheads were a lot tougher than I thought.”
@Damo021 You're more than welcome to. Welcome aboard! :D

Join us at the rp's dscord server if you like.
High Orbit
SS Retribution

Malcolm, Isana and the others all sat alone in the passenger compartment of an old shuttle, the four enjoying some small talk among themselves and with the pilots, exchanging some terrible jokes here and there. Occasionally the pilots would pester Malcolm and the others once or twice about their time in the Yulzan War but eventually, they had finally arrived. "Commander, we're on approach to the
Retribution." one of the pilots declared, following this, Malcolm stood up and walked over to the cockpit, followed by the others. Malcolm was first to sneak in the cockpit, taking in the view as they drew closer to the ship as it came into view. The Retribution was a heavily modified Superfreighter, they were an uncommon sight during the Colonization of Horizon, and in desperate times during the war, as makeshift carriers and warships.

The shuttle continued its approach, moments passing as they finally entered one of the Retribution's hanger bay, making its slow descent to the floor, the interior of the ship making a "thump" sensation. "Well Gentlemen." Malcolm spoke. "That's our que."

"Good luck, Commander." One of the pilots said.

"Give those cogheads a good beating." The other pilot said.

"Mhm." Malcolm nodded, backing away as he and his crew grabbed their luggage. The loading ramp lowered, the four stepping out into a wide hanger bay, buzzing with life as support staff, engineers and such were going about their duties. "Departure in 0300." The shipwide intercom announced. Malcolm took in the sight, standing on a piece of history, the damn ship being older than all of them combined.

Not too long after their arrival, the Gravemakers were greeted by a small group. Top members of the ship’s original crew. The former captain of the ship was the first to step forward, extending his hand to Malcolm. "Commander." He begun. "Name's Augustus Tanner, formerly captain of this ship, now your second in command." Maclom responded to his gesture and shook his hand. "Pleasure to meet you Tanner." Malcolm said. "You familiar with my crew?"

"It’d be hard not too, sir." Augustus replied. "The Gravemakers made quite a name for themselves during the Siege of Taurus.”

Isana chuckled a bit." Glad our reputation Precedes us."

"After all the hell we raised in the years, we better!" Binat joked, letting out a hearty chuckle.

Augustus nodded as he moved aside to let the others introduce themselves. The first among them was a imposing dark-skinned Dhulrak dressed in an green jumpsuit. "Hello Bossman.” The Dhulrak spoke in a heavy ascent. "I’m Yorba of Clan Hrak. Chief Engineer of ship." Another stepped an older woman in a medical uniform, shook hands with each one of the Gravemakers. “Dr. Tamala Hoshi at your service. First Medical Officer of the Retribution.”

“Hmm, a pleasure, doctor.” Gideon winked at the doctor with a sly grin. She simply smiled it off. Ending the brief awkward moment was the sudden introduction of another recent group of arrivals. The leaders of the various outfits hired out by their mysterious benefactors. An assorted of pirates and rough-looking mercenaries, the ones that stood out the most were a pair of disturbingly muscular Aldzir, one of them heavily augmented with cybernetics, complete with a robotic arm. “So, you must be the our commander?” One of them, Hrizz asked rhetorically in his flanging voice.

“The Zaark twins…” Gideon said in disgust, his past catching up to him, garnering funny looks from Malcon, Isana and Binat. “….I’ll explain later.” Gideon said, turning his attention back to the twins. “The hell you two doing out of prison?”

“A kind, generous, soul paid for our bail out of the goodness of his heart.” Khizz, the other twin, said in a mocking tone.
“Under the condition that we join this mission of yours.” Hrizz said. “I could give a shit of your human affairs, but money is money, and this beats prison. So we’ll suck it up, for now.”

“For now…I don’t care what grudges you have just do as you’re told, and we’ll get along just fine.” Malcolm said.

“Sir, yes, sir!” Khizz replied with his usual mocking tone, complete with an exaggerated salute, Maclom rolling his eyes. A short while later, all the mercenary and pirate leaders introduce themselves one by one, the sheer amount of which is almost impressive, a little over a dozen outfits being enlisted for this mission, although getting all them to work together as a cohesive force will be the true challenge.

After the last mercenary finished his introduction, Malcom let out a loud yawn, stretching his arms out up in the air. “Now, if it’s all the same with you, I need shuteye.” He paused as he turned his attention onto Augustus. “Captain Tanner, you have the helm for the time being.” Malcolm then scanned the whole group, nodding one more. “We’ve certainly got…interesting people here, let’s bear with each other and hopefully, we’ll get through this in one piece.” He paused as he took a small breather. “We’ll help put an end to this war. We either go home losers and dead, or go home alive and as heroes, and I sure as hell ain’t planning on going home a dead loser, dismissed."

The Meeting Place

After a rather quick sortie with all his assignments, Ambassador Ghask had found himself with more free time than he had hoped for, taking a nice stroll through the corridors of the Meeting place, escorted by two republican guardsmen as they passed by station personnel, tourists and staff of other Embassies. As he cleared his head of the many headaches that took over his waking hours, he had come to a small realization, those new arrivals would be docking soon....perhaps this would be the perfect opportunity to test his speaking skills. Although no doubt, there will be some awkwardness towards his appearance, for all Ghask knew, he could possibly be the first intelligent alien lifeform the Matuvistans have ever seen, or not, one can never know. Regardless, this was a small opening he would not let pass up and took a small detour to the docking bay to welcome the new arrivals.

@Crusader Lord

Columbian Space
Aboard the CSS Argus

All stood still once the Xandalian vessel, the XSS Tarkin, had entered the military exercise zone. At first, Admiral Wilson was pretty irked by the appearance of a unauthorized civilian vessel in restricted space but once the Tarkin revealed themselves to be aligned with the Xandalian Diplomatic Corps, his attitude had quickly changed, and once they shared the urgency of their mission, the Admiral had to be a though decision. "Order all ships and frames to stand down." The Admiral ordered. "Relay a message to Captain Xara, tell her that the mock battle will have to be postponed for now."
Just checking in on you guys, still with us?
No pressure or anything, just checking in.
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