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Aurolia
Orbital Dock 14


Several days had passed since Gaius' fateful encounter with Agent Severis, enough time to have his own affairs set in order. He of course couldn't divulge the true details of his mission to his family, all that could be said however, was that this would be his final tour of duty along with announcing his well-deserved retirement from naval service, much to the pleasure of his children and grandchildren.

-----------------

Gaius sat alone in the troop bay of a razorwing combat dropship, the only company being the pilots, his luggage, and a service droid provided by the Agency. In his boredom, Gaius enjoyed some small talk with the pilots, exchanging some terrible jokes here and there, and the pilots pestering him once or twice about his time in the war, but eventually, they had finally arrived. "Captain, we're on approach to Orbital Dock 14." one of the pilots announced. Following this, Gaius stood up and walked over to the cockpit, flanking the pilots as they all took in the view as they drew closer to the installation, the docked Dawnhammer coming into view. One of the pilots let out a loud whistle. "Impressive ship."

"Well she oughtta." Gaius said. "Been at my side since the war."

The dropship continued its approach, moments passing as they finally entered the Dawnhamer's massive hanger bay, making it's slow descent to the floor, the interior of the ship making a "thump" sensation. "Well Gentlemen. Gaius spoke. "That's my que."

"Captain, it's been an honor." One of the pilots said.

"And...good luck." The other pilot said.

"..Thanks" Gaius said, walking away, signaling his service droid to pack up his things, with a simple nod, the droid complied and grab a hold of two heavy suitcases. The loading ramp lowered, revealing a his XO, young man in an officer's uniform, plus a two squads of marine standing at an orderly attention, greeting their captain. "Welcome back aboard, sir." The Officer saluted Gaius with a smirk. "I see shore leave was cut short?"

"Good to be back Janus." Gaius saluted back. "Ready for our last round?"

Janus' smirk swiftly became a slight frown, the realization sinking in. "Yeah..we're gonna miss you, sir.."

"Ooh don't give me that look." Gaius said, giving off a wide grin. "I ain't dying, not yet at least." He joked, although considering the mission, it's partial to truth. "These bones are startin' to get old, I feel I've done enough in my lifetime."

"Understood, sir." Janus said, who signaled the marines to disperse, as they retired for the day, one thought had almost been forgotten."Oh, sir, you have some "Guests", I'll meet you in the bridge when you're ready."

"Guests?" Gaius was puzzled, twisting around before one particular group stood out among the uniformed crew, his wife and wing filght mates standing near another dropship. Gaius walked over, still puzzled, why were they even here? But before any questions were asked, Gaius gave each of the old starhounds a tight hug, and an intimate kiss for Isana. "Little much to see me off huh?"

"Well, yes." Isana replied. "Did you think you'd be going in this alone?"

"If this is your last mission, we want in." Caris said followed by a fist pump.

"Just like old times, right?" Giddy said.

Gaius wanted to object, this mission was unlike anything back in he war, the consequences of any mishap would be disastrous for them and for the Republic...but, if all goes according to plan, this would be their final mission together, and honestly? He wouldn't have any other way. "..Yeah, just like old times."

"That's it? No bitching about protocol?" Isana jested.

"Who the hell do you thin I am?" Gaius jested back. "Besides, the mission itself is very unorthodox and I'll take any good help I can get."

"The last flight of the Starhounds!' Caris shouted joyously. "Let's make it count."
Collab between me and Yen.

-----


Norma Expanse
Deep Space

For six decades, they've been left to rot, to be forever forgotten in the cold embrace of the void. Although the Expanse War had long been over and done with, the scars and signs left behind still lingered, moving aimlessly through the void. A large graveyard of starship wreckage had accumulated over the years, warships of Aurolian, Astranan and even Volkadian designs were slowly melding together to form this vast graveyard, an ever present and sore reminder of a conflict long ago, and of past sins.

The crackling sound of the comms unit on the Valkyrie vessel emitted across the entirety of its halls, and rooms. “All personnel prepare for docking with a MVDA. Attachment crews ready yourselves at airlocks.” The science vessel drifted closer to the wreckage graveyard, normally they’d explore these sorts of space anomalies simply for the chance to possibly develop new technology, but this time they’d been paid to do so.

As the vessel reached the optimal range it’s thrust rotated so that it brought its port to the combination of warship remnants. Doors opened across the port side of the ship, hissing as the airlock released. Women wearing thrusters on their backs traversed the space between the wreckage and the science vessel, trailing behind them thick cables with self welding pads. The women attached the pads to the wreckage, and immediately the pads turned a bright orange as steel bubbled and melted together.

A voice came over the comms once more as one of the women involved in the attachment gave the all clear to reel themselves in safely to the dead vessel. Captain Viola stepped to the long range communications console and tapped in several passcodes and finally a frequency. “This is Science Lab Vessel Alpha of the Starburst Valkyrie Corporation, we are in contact with the MVDA, requesting final mission parameters from the URAS.”

Several moments passed before they received a response. "This is Seventh Fleet Command." Spoke a masculine voice. "Your recovery teams are to thoroughly search the ARS Vanquisher for the aforementioned object, once the weapon as has been retrieved and is secured, you are to immediately link up with the Seventh Fleet to the assigned rendezvous point." There was a brief pause before the voice spoke up. "Good Luck."

The long range communicator was switched off and Viola returned to her Captain’s seat on the bridge. She ran her fingers along the console on the arm of her seat and opened up communications to her own ship once more. “I need four retrieval teams to head over to the MVDA, Carlyle, Sanchez, Baily, and Davis you will lead the teams. Ten security troopers, and an engineer each. Midfield, i want security details at every airlock in case we run into any nasties and they try to get on board with us. Be careful ladies.” Viola closed the comms and gave a sigh as she stared at her screen. “We’re supposed to be researchers, not field operatives.”

The four teams had already suited up, wearing the traditional combat gear for void troopers. Using the cables they pulled themselves to the void wreckage, and activated their magnetic boots and worked their way inside either using holes already available, or by using magna cutters to remove door shaped plates. Flashlights on their helmets illuminated the areas, the troopers taking point as their HUDs fed information to them on their surroundings, and their current firearms condition.

Once the light pushed away the darkness within the corridors of the derelict vessel, the troopers witnessed a rather troublesome sight, a horde of Void Leeches latching onto nearly every corner of the hall, the flashlights disturbing the beasts as a number of the leeches detached themselves from the walls and begun angrily floating towards the intruders.

“We have void leeches.”

“We do too”

Confirmation from all four teams down came about the void leeches, though this was quickly followed by shooting, the weaponry of the teams tearing through the creatures in the hall, using the funneling effect there to make quick work of the ones before them. “Clear!” Came from Alpha team and was echoed by the rest along with a report of no casualties. The teams continued down the halls clearing any side rooms as they went.

Once the excitement of the skirmish had died down, and as the troopers moved deeper into the insides of the Vanquishers, the atmosphere slowly grew more...isolated, the recovery teams passing by floating corpses of the long dead crew, their bodies disturbingly preserved in the dark void, their faces frozen in anguish, their final painful moments on display for all to see. It was an unsettling sight to behold. In one section of the ship, a trooper had begun to notice...shadows moving on the corner of her eye.

Alpha team stopped as the comms opened up, and apparently Davis team had located the target. Davis began to punch codes into the container for the bomb slowly working through its passwords, and pins so that she could get the core removed. Meanwhile the rest of the troops had begun setting up to leave, Alpha team being the first to start heading for the exit. “Returning to homeship Captain eta ten minutes” Sanchez reported over the comms. Everyone though was on edge, still looking around for whatever those fleeting shadows were.

The "shadows" that had briefly stalked the halls, following the recovery teams had soon made themselves known, old, rusted Republic Warbots had emerged from darkened halls, several entering the same room as the recovery team that had found the bomb. One of the old warbots raised its rifle towards one of the troops, discharging its weapon as chemrails shot through the nozzle, tearing through one of the troopers, the other bots follow suit as they fired their weapons. "In the name of the Republic! Stand down!" the warbots chanted through the comm channels.
.
“Son of a bitch we have malfunction droids!” Suddenly flooded the channel, Davis moved down behind the bomb to keep some cover as she fired her pistol from around the corner. The rest of the troopers taking covered behind what they could returning fire and knocking down a few of the rusted robots. The rest of the teams began moving towards Davis position tactically, shooting through whatever warbots were in their way as they went. However Bailey’s team got pinned up in the cafeteria, where there seemed to be a large amount of the warbots.

“We’re pinned we can’t make it to Davis team, we’ll be fine though we can hold them off!” Bailey shouted over the comms as two of her troopers now lay dead on the floor having been shot through by the chemrail guns.

Several squads of the malfunctioning warbots continued their advance on the pinned mercenaries, weapons fire peppering the walls of the kitchen. "In the name of the Republic! s-ssxzsddzzzs" The voice box of the robot begun to screech over the comm channel as it broke down from the wear and tear.

Bravo and charlie teams began to tear through the Robots attacking Davis position burning through them as she was finally able to remove the bomb core. “Let’s go! Everyone out!” She yelled over the comm system. Alpha team remained quiet for a moment as they continued to fire at the Robots piling in the room.

“We aren’t going to get out of here! Complete the mission!” Another trooper fell, that was four so far, plus the engineer had gone down in the hallway. Bailey stood up and threw a chaff grenade, it distorted the troopers heads up displays, but also played with the Robots targeting systems. Though it wasn’t enough as a shot made it through her chest and sent her to the floor gasping for a few fleeting moments as the vacuum collapsed her lungs and crushed her heart.

The rest of the teams were rushing towards the exit, and began using their thrusters to clear the space between the wreckage and the science vessel. Any robots that followed were torn apart by Midfield’s teams waiting at the airlocks.

More and more of the warbots had converged on the retreating mercenaries, fruitlessly assault the airlocks in waves, their wreaked bodies piling up to the point of blockage. "sZZZZHHHHH" Was all that could be heard now, the warbots overworking themselves to fend off the intruders, but to no avail.

As the last of Bravo, Charlie, and Delta teams got inside the science vessel, and Midfield shut the airlocks, they could hear the cries of the remaining troopers in the wreckage as they were murdered. Viola growled. “Fire broadside turrets I don’t want those piles of junk getting on my ship!” The Science vessel using what little firepower it had began to fire into the openings the robots were coming out of, it wasn’t strong enough to destroy a ship but it was easily enough to destroy the robots.

The warbot bodies poured out from the hole made upon their forceful entry, those warbots that still functioned floated out, making themselves easy targets as the Science Vessel's guns begun tearing through them into scrap metal until they stopped their advance all together.

The science vessel veered away and put distance between itself and the wreckage, already an officer tallying up the dead, and placing price markers next to their names as assets lost. Viola gave a sigh. “Plot a course for the Seventh Fleet, we have a package to deliver.” The nav officer tapped into the console plotting the course, and finally the FTL drive kick into life and with a small popping sound the science vessel was moving as quickly as possible to rendezvous with Seventh fleet.


Aurolian Border
Corona System

Some hours had passed since the mission, the Science vessel closing in on the rendezvous point as it emerged from a Warp Gate, met with oncoming space traffic, ships lining up for Warp Gate travel. The Seventh Fleet however, was not too far behind, as over a hundred warships cluttered together, circling around the Corona Warp Gate as they awaited for the arrival of their package.

As the Science vessel got closer a shuttle release from it’s bay. Within was Midfield and a small security team along with the bomb core. Rather gracefully it docked with the flagship of the Seventh Fleet, Midfield and the security team walking down the shuttle’s ramp with the package in tow on a hover cart. “Release package into your custody as requested.”

A rather imposing Scorpine dressed in an Admiral's uniform approached Valkyrie with several marine guards. The Scorpine made an attempt to "smile" to show his appreciation for this dire task. "Excellent work." The Scropine spoke. "And as agreed, you will be paid handsomely for your troubles and further compensated for any casualties and damages taken." The Admiral motioned to the marines to take the core, without a word spoken, the marines walked over, the security team moving out of their way to as they took the core elsewhere within the dreadnought. "A pleasure doing business, as always." The Admiral said as he took his leave. He hesitated for a moment, turning to face Midfield. “And I trust this stays between us?”

Midfield gave a nod, handing over the device without even a word. “What stays between us Admiral?” She says with a nod and steps back into the shuttle followed by the security detail. They were off and back to the science vessel in seconds flat.

@Slagar A few links in OOC, but I'll PM it to you.
@Slagar No problem, and in the mean time, hop on in the discord when you got time, most of the RP planning and discussing goes in there.
@Super Grandpa We sure are! :)
Aurolia
Star Port City of Pavliu
Neon Tipsy Bar, Upper levels


Gaius Vikir, a tired and worn out human in his early sixties laid against the wall of a moving elevator as it made it's ascent to the Neon Tipsy, the classiest and most expensive bar you could find in this city, the occasion? Gaius had just returned from rather somber get together, a real close friend, practically a younger brother, had recently passed away, attending his funeral with his family, friends and surviving members of their squadron, and after that depressing reminder of all their mortality, he needed one hell of a drink, so he and rest of the crew had decided to throw a little drinking party in his honor,

The aged Gaius maintaining his balance as he heard the "bing" sound from elevator, the doors sliding open to reveal bright neon lights, they really wanted to put an emphasis on the bar name that's for sure, all the while some jazz-like music was booming, filing the air and atmosphere of the bar. The bar was half-full, the bar patrons were a varied sort, ranging from "fellow" navy officers, though by the looks of them, they were a bunch of coreworlder suits, to more suits of the business variety, both shady and legitimate sat in another corner, all drinking to their hearts content. All the while, in left corner stood a little stage of sorts, two young, quite attractive Laadaruua women had begun to sing in their native tongue, it was a rather calming melody to an extent.

Gaius continued scanning the room until he took notice of aged Xuhajann man hand waving at him, turning to that direction to see a trio waiting for him, the aforementioned Xuhajann, a human woman, and an Aldzir. Gaius walked over as he grabbed a glass, he was fashionably late enough to have his drink ready. "Glad you could make it, Suit." the aged woman, Isana Vikir, his wife spoke, followed by hearty chuckles from the other two

"Yeah yeah, very funny." Gaius replied mildly annoyed, the two then lovingly embracing each other, followed by a short but passionate kiss. "Love you too darling." She said.

"With that." Caris, the Xuhajann spoke, raising a glass. "A toast to Sanders."

"May he find peace in Spiritus." Giddy, the Aldzir spoke mechanically through his translator.

"To the Starhounds." Both Isana and Gaius said, the four of them clashing their glasses together and begun gulping down their drinks. An hour had passed, the festivities of Remembrance Day still raging across the planet, however, the four former pilots felt hollow, their latest loss hitting them hard in their old age. "So, how's the family doing?" Caris asked the couple.

Gaius and Isana looked to one another before turning their attention to their old friend. "Doing well." Gauis replied. "Called Jade an hour ago, we were going to celebrate the holiday together..." Gaius paused, once more looking to his wife. "...but me and Isana agreed now wasn't the best time...the grandkids were mighty disappointed."

"Yeah..not in a festive mood either." Giddy said, dunking his trunk into the glass, siphoning the alcohol. Some more time passes as the starhounds took it all at a slowed pace, a large hologram screen brightened up as the daily news reports came in, a Janari Anchor appearing. "Our on-site teams have reported mass causalities numbering in the millions as recent as last week as the Resurrectionist Offensive pushes deeper into Scropine Lin-"

"Thank Spiritus we're not in that mess..." Gauis said, chugging down another drink. "I feel miserable enough as is.."

"I heard some rumors from passing by merchants." Caris said. "Mars is already itching to make a move on the Rezz."

"And if true, I guess we all know what that means." Isana said, her tone matching the mood in the air around the group.

"They can do whatever they please." Gaius said disgruntly. "Just keep it a Martian Operation I'd say. Last thing we need is another war on our hands."

While the Starhounds were busy watching the screen, they had failed to notice a young stranger approaching from behind, having just arrived from the elevator. "Careful there old man." the stranger spoke. "You'll just jinx yourself with that kind of talk."

The four turned to see a human man in his mid thirties, wearing a fine suit often associated with the Republic Intelligence Service. "Gaius Vikir?" The stranger begun. "The name's Leon Severis, I'm with Intelligence."

"We know that much." Isana spoke up.

"Could you and your associates come with me for but a moment?" Leon requested of the group. "It won't take long."

---------------

Some time had past, the group driving around the city in a rather spacious truck, often used as mobile listing posts by Intelligence. The Starhounds sat rather comfortably one one end of the truck, all the troubling spying gear gutted out in favor of more comfy seats, facing them on the other end was Agent Severis. "So, why'd you drag us here." Gaius asked, honestly intrigued by this point.

"As you're quite well aware, the war between the Neo-Scorpine Empire and the Resurrectionists is going less then swimmingly for the Scorpines. It's not public knowledge as of yet, but the Martians have begun operations to covertly back the Empire, the Martian Commander General has requested the Chancellor herself to lend aid in this operation."

Gaius had quickly shifted from intrigued, to less then interested. "...Son, Why'd you bring that up?"

"I'll get to the point, your country is in need of your services Captain." Leion said. "Your former post as a pilot has made you a maverick among your peers, men and women serving under you have commented on your unorthodox, but efficient command. Such an officer would be-"

"Let me stop you right there." Gaius interrupted. "I've already survived a war, I've done my country a great service as is, I won't be thrown in to start another."

"Gaius..lets at least hear him out." Isana said, gripping onto his arm, locking into each other gaze. "Fine...continue."

"Thank you." Leon said. "An Officer of your talent would be of great use in an operation such as this." He paused a moment, catching his breath. "Officially, we're not in a state of war with the Resurrectionists, however, their stated goals do run counter to the Coalition as a whole, and we would rather avoid open war with the Resurrectionists and their allies."

"...What do you want me to do exactly?" Gaius asked, still skeptical.

"Put up a good Facade of course." Leon replied. "Officially, we're sending your ship under the guise of Humanitarian Aid, your vessel would be provided with surplus Mercy-class ships to back that up." Leon paused once more. "Unofficially, you are to assist the martians in training and supplying the various anti-res militia groups to properly fight this war. Unless pressed by the enemy, you're to avoid combat as much as possible."

The group remained silent, seemingly not convinced, however, Gaius spoke up. "So My crew and I would be the only ones sent in? Not to fight a war or anything, but get others to do it for us?"

"That's the original plan, yes." Leon answered. "If the operation goes well that is."

Gaius remained silent and pondered, he could possibly do some do some good, helping the locals to help themselves, and possibly not drag Aurolia into this unpleasant war. "...Dammit all, fine." He reluctantly agreed. "I'll do this under one condition though, after this Op, I request an early retirement from Navy service."

"That can be arranged, captain." Leon said, extending his hand towards him, Gaius grabbed a hold of it and shook. "Glad we can come to an understanding."
@Wernher Earth exists in a way, but has been scorched, a lifeless rock.

Aurolia
Capital City of Yalvin


Yalvin, Jewel of Aurolia and the Seat of Power for all of the United Republic, a beautiful sprawling Metropolis stretching for miles on end, the various lights of the night and celebrations that sprang the city to life added to the its immense beauty, for today was a special day for the citizens of the Republic.

Today marked the 40th Anniversary of the end of Önargol War, A five year-long bloody conflict that saw millions dead, countless alien worlds scarred, left in complete ruin. The war had bitter, inconclusive end, the fighting simply...stopping, the long silence forcing both sides to come to an accord. However, the war's end was cause enough to celebreate as the brave men and women of the Republic's armed services returned home.

The time nearly upon them, time for the Chancellor to make her speech as millions gathered around Largest Holographic Projectors, others waiting at home to watch the broadcast, and thousands more gathering around the Yalvin Sports Stadium where she'd make the speech.

------------

Chancellor Cortez observed her reflection onto the mirror, making final touches to her white dress, becoming quite nervous, the thought of addressing to billions of beings from all across the Republic had always giving her a bad case of the butterflies. She turned to face a man a few years older then her, in a fine black suit, her husband, Danial. "So...How do I look?" she asked him nervously. "Honey, you're just fine." he replied. "Addressing live to billions can do that to you." she cracked a joke to him, followed by a chuckle from Danial.

"Relax, you'll do fine!" He embraced her. "Just a small speech, and you're done, and not a moment too soon, I'm starving!" He half-joked, although in truth, he was eager to get on with dinner already. Danial had moved on ahead of his wife, meeting with their children and other VIPs waiting at the stadium's field.

"Hehe, yeah...just a minute or two and that romantic dinner can be my reward." She smiled as she walked down the great hall leading up to the stadium field, pausing for a brief moment as she took a deep breath before stepping out onto the field and was greeted by thousands cheering citizens and blinding lights, a small cadre of republican guards standing at attention on both her flanks as they escorted her to the center, there stood a platform, where members of her cabinet sat, and next to them were four individuals, her husband and three children, one seeming to be his mid twenties, one in her late teens, and a young boy, around the age of ten. Alexandria walked up the short stairs leading up the platform, soon taking center stage as she approached the edge, one of the guards handing her a volume amplifying device, it was similar in design to Aldzir Translation Collars.

She snapped the device around her neck, green lights flaring up as the machine automatically activated, camera drones begun swamring around the platform, hovering around them as they record. Breathing deeply once more, Alexandria begun her brief speech.

"My fellow citizens, today is a day of both joy, and of grieving. Today marks the 40th Anniversary of the end of the War. For five years we stood strong, even against a foe that sought our total submission, for five years even as were caught in bloody stalemates, we held strong. Our military would not give in, and was all that stood between life and death." She paused for a moment, and continued.

"Some of those brave souls may be among you now, look to them in admiration and respect, for they fought for your very freedoms.....your right to live, and we must not also forget the countless sacrifices our allies paid in securing their own freedoms against the Önargols.

"Despite the bitter aftermath...we sought to rebuild, and lend our aide to the broken and battered worlds beyond our reaches, those caught in the crossfire, and although relations between our Republic and the Önargols are quite strained, I hope that one day we can leave this conflict behind us once and for all, and build a better future together." With that, she finished as the crowds cheered on, her waving at the people as she made her exist, the others soon following her, and so the festivities began throughout the worlds of the Aurolian Republic.
@Rabidporcupine Not a problem, the Species Database updates every now and then, two more species wouldn't hurt. Just PM them to the GM when they're done.
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