BLK-K1T Black Kite Scout VTOL
BLK-K1T Black Kite Scout VTOL
Base Tech Level: Standard Mixed (Base IS)

Tech Rating: F/X-X-X-E

Weight: 20 tons
BV: 506
Cost: 2,325,000 C-bills

Movement: 10/15 (VTOL)
Engine: 105 XL

Internal: 10
Armor: 110 (Ferro-Fibrous)

Internal Armor
Front 2 33
Right 2 27
Left 2 27
Rear 2 21
Rotor 2 2

Weapons Loc Heat

Rocket Launcher 20 LS 5
Rocket Launcher 20 RS 5
Rocket Launcher 10 FR 3

Equipment Loc
Bloodhound Active Probe BD
Chapter 30
Chapter 30

Natasha looked at her screens, making sure that her fall was controlled and in sync with the rest of the people that would be dropping into the area surrounding the spaceport. Double checking the numbers, she triggered the bolted-on jets at the right time to brake her fall, her rapid descent turning into a controlled fall and allowing her to brace her Nightstar’s myomer muscles to absorb the impact at the same time that Thastus, Levi, and Viola did. The four of them were the only members of Natasha’s Marauders that didn’t have other duties at the moment.

“It looks like they have seen us,” Regina Levi said as she strode forward in her Hellbringer. “Let us see how they measure up to us in combat.”

“What is it that you need?” the Batarian Spec-Ops leader, Ran Gasdogan asked Egram with a snarl in his voice.

“We are under attack,” Egram stated as he met the other Batarian's four eyes with his own, refusing to back down. “If you wish to not have failed in the eyes of the Hegemon then you will assist in defending Torfan.”

“I do not think that you understand what position you are in,” Ran said as he backhanded the unarmored leader of Torfan hard enough to throw him into the ground. “I am the leader of several squads of the SIU and have the choice and ability to do with you as I wish.” Ran bent over the other Batarian as he spat out a tooth. “You do not command me, regardless of what position you hold over this lifeless rock.” Ran stood back up and looked at the guards who had their hands on their weapons but hadn’t drawn them yet. “We will defend what we deem necessary, no more, and no less.”

“I’ll take what I can get,” Egram said as he recovered his strength on the ground before standing up after the SIU officer had left the command center. “Get me a hardsuit,” he told one of his guards. “And ready our escape plans, I do not think that this will go in our favor.”

“Our VTOLS and air support can’t get in close,” Carter told Natasha over the comms from her Von Luckner. “They’ve got enough AA surrounding the spaceport that we’re going to have to push in unsupported.”

“Understood,” Natasha said as she moved forward and kicked over a small APC-looking vehicle. “We have not encountered any major resistance as of yet.”

“Same here,” Carter said as her tank crew disabled yet another fast-moving wheeled vehicle with a precise shot. “I haven’t seen any sort of true AFV out here yet so we’re going to push forward.”

“We’ve got enemy VTOLs,” one of Carter’s tank crew reported. “They’re fucking fast too, one just evaded two rounds from our main gun.”

“Get our Partisans pulled forward,” Carter instructed. “We’ll keep pushing once those VTOLs are down for the count.”

“You’re sure you can hack this door open?” Mathis asked Sura.

“Yes, it’ll just take me a couple of minutes,” the Quarian volunteer replied. “Most people’s airlocks are the hardest to get into.”

“Once it’s unlocked I need you to get out of the way,” Mathis told the up-armoured Quarian. “I know that you’ve got more armour than you used to, but I don’t want you to get targeted. If you need any extra cover I want you to get behind one of us.”

“I’ll do that,” Sura said as she looked at the massive armoured soldiers who were stacked up on the airlock that she was opening.

“I’ve got it!” She cheered as the airlock indicator lights showed it being unlocked.

“Good,” Mathis said as he took his place as the pointman. “Let’s clear out this stronghold and move on to the next. Our intel puts them as potentially having as many as ten to twenty underground shelters like this of varying sizes.”

“Enemy gunships are down, Colonel,” the Partisans reported. “But we’re in armor condition yellow, permission to re-armor and return?”

“Granted,” Carter said as she coordinated the Marksman’s advance. “We’ll take it from here.” Her Von Luckner pushed forward at flank speed, its treads kicking up dust as the rest of the tanks and mechs began to push forward into the spaceport.

“I want some infantry dropped near those ships,” Carter ordered. “If we seize and hold them then we’ll deny the enemy the ability to retreat from here and we’ll have them boxed in.”

“Copy that ma’am,” one of the dropships in orbit responded to her request. “Dropping fireteams down in five.”

“We’re taking heavy fire!” the driver of her tank reported as he threw the tank in reverse to get away from the rounds that were impacting the side of their tank.

“It’s their AA guns!” one of the crew members reported. “They’re using them against us, effective too, we just lost a ton of armor off of our front, and our SRMs are down until we can get the feed mechanism jury-rigged back together.”

“Pull us back and hit them with our Gauss and LRMs,” Carter ordered. “I need a fireteam to push around and flank their AA guns.”

“Copy that ma’am,” A voice responded. “Rifle 2-1 is moving to flank.”

Mathis moved forward under the intense fire from the turrets and enemy pirates and slavers, his armor pinging as the small rounds deflected off and into the walls around him.

“Frag out!” He yelled as he primed a fragmentation grenade and tossed it further into the hallway while he ducked down behind a barricade that barely hid his body from view.

“Sir,” one of the other fireteams reported while he was in the middle of the firefight. “We’ve got a lot of slaves down here, and they all have collars on. I’m afraid that we won’t be able to do anything about them unless we can find the ones who are holding the controllers.”

“Fuck,” Mathis sighed as the expletive left his mouth. “Change in priorities, try and locate the VIPS and HVTs,” he ordered the other fireteams that were spread out throughout the stronghold. “Disable them, we need them alive if we’re going to ensure the survival of the slaves.”

“Moving up!” He yelled to the fireteam that was supporting him as he moved down the corridor and policed what was left of the turrets and pirates that were at the end.

“Covering!” his battle buddy responded as he put his hand on Mathis’ left shoulder.

“I’ve got some sort of railway here,” Mathis reported to Natasha. “Looks like it might connect to the rest of the strongholds here,” Mathis booted up some translation software and looked through the terminal that wasn’t destroyed by the firefight. “We’ve got more strongholds than predicted, I’m going to need people down here to hold against an enemy counterattack if we want to push forward.”

“I’ll have Carter reroute some forces over, we just secured the main spaceports and might be able to start pushing on the rest of the strongholds if there’s a system that connects them.”

“Copy that ma’am,” Mathis said as he coordinated the policing of the enemy’s bodies and weapons. “We’ll hold here until given further instructions.”
Egram look like dude smart enough to survive.Unlike his buddy Ran.
About AA stationary AA used as AT - i read,that in Berlin in 1945 turrets with 128mm AA guns on AA tower destroyed entire soviet heavy tank battalion.
Wrap quality guns in thick armor. Pretty sound strategy. Just need to make sure they can traverse enough to target quickly.

Answer: Ortillery. Might not be the best call as the objective is releasing 'living' slaves.
Chapter 31
Chapter 31

“We should be able to make our escape from here,” Egram told both the guards and the lone technician that was with him as they made their way down some secret and hidden tunnels that he had built over a decade ago when he was first put in charge of the facilities on Torfan.

“How long has this shuttle been hidden away here?” the technician asked.

“It’s been here since the escape route was constructed,” Egram replied as he got into the pilot’s seat and began the start-up procedures. “I executed the slaves who I had working on it and have maintained all of the required equipment myself.”

“We’re not all going to fit,” the captain of the guards told Egram. “One of us will have to stay behind.”

Egram stood up from the pilot’s chair, quickly drew his pistol up, and snapped off a shot at a range that was close enough that one of the guard’s kinetic barriers wasn’t able to react in time, the armor-piercing round driving through the Batarian’s head and sending him crashing to the ground. “Do we have enough space now, captain?” Egram asked as he kicked the lifeless body of the guard out of the shuttle.

“Yes,” the captain nodded frantically as he eyed the Batarian noble who seemed crazier the more time he spent around him. “We should all fit now.”

“Good,” Egram said as he holstered his pistol and kicked the rifle that the guard had held up into his hands. “With all of the holdups eliminated, we can now leave this lifeless rock. You, tech boy,” Egram sent over an information packet to the technician’s Omnitool. “Open the external doors.”

The doors that held the shuttle bay began to open up, the atmosphere and pressure having already been leaked out when the technician had first input the authorization codes.

“Now, we’re lifting off,” Egram muttered to himself as he began to drive the shuttle forward only to immediately try to pull away when he saw what awaited him. A giant bipedal machine stood in front of the entrance, its hands open as it reached out, caught the shuttle, and threw it into the ground.

“What in the Pillars is that?!” the guard captain asked frantically as he unstrapped himself from the crash chair he had been in, in a blind panic he bolted out of the rear of the shuttle only to get disintegrated by something that couldn’t be seen by any of the occupants of the shuttlecraft.

“Attention pirate scum,” came a voice in synthesized Batarian from the giant machine. “Do not attempt to leave this shuttle, any attempts to do so will be dealt with as I did to your comrades. Now, I hate pirates, so I’d prefer to kill you all, but I’m feeling nice today. So you can just sit there nice and cozy until someone comes to collect you.”

“I need a new set of clothes,” the technician whimpered at the giant machine as it stomped closer to the shuttle door and shot at one of the Batarian-made tanks with some sort of massive gun that was built onto the top of its right hand, some sort of artificial charge moving rapidly across the battlefield and rendering the tank into nothing more than a piece of slagged metal and advanced melted electronics.

“It’s an avatar of the gods,” one of the guards said in awe as the machine kicked a Krogan that got too close, causing whatever was left of it to soar into the air and impact the recently melted tank. “What else can it be?” he asked as he knelt on the ground and began to meditate on the pillars.

“It’s just a machine,” the technician began rocking back and forth in his chair as more of the giant machines appeared, some of them looking identical to the one that had stopped them, and others being taller, shorter, or packing more weapons, but they all seemed invincible as they crossed the battlefield, missiles, what looked like tank rounds, and some sort of invisible weapon impacting what little resistance was left of the defenders of Torfan and eradicating it.

“Is the boss alive?” asked the one Batarian who seemed to have retained his sanity. “Nevermind, I’ll check on him myself,” the Batarian stood up and made his way to the pilot’s seat to see that Egram was unconscious.

“Well, I’m not dying here,” the Batarian muttered as he triggered a hacking program on his Omnitool and tore into the other Batarian’s systems, collecting all of the information and blackmail that Egram had on his Omnitool so that he had a defense against himself being killed if this new enemy decided to try something.”

“This is the last stronghold,” Mathis said as he looked at the locked-down entrance to the railway that connected all of the strongholds. “We’ve only captured a few VIPs and HVTs, so we’re assuming that most of them will be here. Remember to watch your fire, there will be hostage situations and we don’t want to kill anyone who doesn’t deserve it.” Mathis turned and looked at the hatch that some engineers were prepping to blow.

“We’re ready to blow the doors when you are sir,” the lead engineer said. “Just give the command.”

“Hit it,” Mathis ordered. “Let’s get in there.”

The engineers and surrounding soldiers all moved to a safe distance from the explosives as the detonator on the shaped charges was triggered. The Charges blowing the door in and towards any enemies that might lie in wait. The first trio of soldiers to go through the door were met by a hail of bullets that pinged off of their armor, and they held steady until a small wave of rockets hit them, the soldiers were knocked off of their feet by the concussive force and into the wall behind them. Instead of falling back though, a full fireteam of Marksman infantry pushed forward and into the space while a mixture of Corpsman and platoon medics tended to the soldiers that were slumped against the wall.

“Launching incendiaries!” the lead fireteam called as they threw six incendiary grenades at the forces blocking the entrance into the rest of the stronghold.

Moving forward, the infantry walked through the pools of flame and engaged the rest of the enemy, leaving no survivors before pushing forward into what was most likely the slave-holding pens.

“Once we clear this area of hostiles we’re on defense,” the fireteam leader ordered. “We do not let anyone try to get any of these slaves while we’re still breathing.”

“Yes sir,” the fireteam replied as they finished off the slavers and took up positions in the choke points and entryways of the holding pens.

“Status report,” Natasha called out over the comms as she stood guard over the now silent spaceport that she and her teams had taken over.

“Last stronghold is nearly down ma’am,” Mathis replied through bursts of gunfire and explosions. “We’ve taken some casualties so far, but nothing that the Argo and some R&R can’t fix.”

“Good,” Natasha said as she turned to her battlecomputer, checking on the rest of the moon’s invasion. “Everything is proceeding well, just make sure that we get all of the intel and HVTs collected. We have got plans for them later.”
Like Stoormtroopers taking Leia frigate in SW- almost no casaulties,enemy eliminated.
I think,that Egram would die,since they have his captain and Omnitool.
Chapter 32
Chapter 32

“So, is there a reason that Mathis is chewing out several soldiers from my unit?” Carter asked Natasha as they sat in what had once been the Overseer’s office.

“Yes,” Mathis himself said as he entered the room. “I gave orders to watch out for hostages, and the minute the greenies saw some of their buddies go down they pushed in with incendiary grenades,” the grizzled bodyguard shook his head. “They were lucky that the enemy didn’t have any hostages at the entrance and had decided to hold them further back in the VIP area.”

“Give me their names,” Carter sighed. “I’ll have their CO put them on a punishment detail of some sort.”

“There won’t be a need for that,” Mathis replied. “I think I made it extremely clear to them why they would be listening to the words of their sergeants in the future.”

“You didn’t break any of them did you?” Carter asked. “I only have a few rookies, and antipiracy and other ops like this one are exactly the sort of thing that lets them cut their teeth without dying against a more skilled enemy.”

“They’ll be fine,” Mathis said as Natasha tune their conversation out by lounging back in the surprisingly comfortable overseer’s chair, reclining the chair back far enough that her boots could rest on the desk while her red hair haloed around her, cushioning her head as she began to doze off. “I wasn’t too hard on them because this was the first instance and everything turned out fine, I just want to prevent something similar from happening on the next op they get deployed on.”

“Thanks,” Carter responded. “Now, we should get down to the important bits,” she smacked Natasha’s feet, causing her to jolt awake with her pistol in hand. “We’re done with the discipline stuff.”

“Sorry about that,” Natasha replied with a half-shrug of her shoulder. “This chair is much more comfortable than the one that Mark has in his office. I almost wish that I had it decades ago.”

“Well, we’re having that Salarian that Tela brought back go over the Omnitools of the captured VIPs and that of the downed shuttle that tried to escape,” Mathis started going over some important details. “I’ve also got our intel people going over the VIPs with some soft persuasion techniques. We’re hoping that there’s more to this moon than just being a holding ground for slaves to be processed before being sent on to be sold.”

“I’ve got salvage teams picking the spaceports and everything else clean,” Carter said with a shrug. “Their vehicles are crap, but the AA was decent and we should be able to use the orbital guns should we get the chance as well if we need to defend this place.”

“Also, apparently we’re now the focus of some sort of cult among some of the enemy soldiers that we captured,” Mathis said as he looked over the reports he had been sent. “Something about us being ‘vessels’ or ‘avatars’ ‘of the gods’,” Mathis shrugged. “The exact word isn’t translating very well, so we’re just trying to make sense of it, but they apparently see our mechs as giant ‘avatars’ of the god of war or some such nonsense.”

Carter snorted at the thought of someone worshiping a battlemech while Natasha just looked at Mathis with a raised eyebrow.

“What?” Mathis asked with open palms. “It’s not just one species either, I’ve got Krogan, Batarians, Asari, and Turians doing this. It’s not just the pirates we captured either, some of the slaves have caught on too.”

Then the door to the office was thrown open, Natasha barely getting her helmet back on in time as Matriarch Aethyta stalked into the room, being closely followed by Spectre Tela Vasir.

“You going to tell me what exactly those giant AI are doing parked outside of this moon?” Aethyta asked with her eyes blazing in biotic fury.

“What AI?” Natasha asked as she tilted her helmeted head. “Barring any of Doctor Roger's experiments with an SDS system I do not believe that we have any Artificial Intelligence with us.”

“Then what exactly the fuck are those eighteen-meter-tall war machines out there?” Tela asked as she stepped forward. “Because they sure as the goddess don’t look like powered armor.”

“The Battlemech has been a premier weapon of war since the mid-2400s,” Carter said with a shrug.

“And what year is it now?” Aethyta asked, the rage seemingly leaving her.

“Well, it was the beginning of 3050 when we left, and by our measurements, it’s been almost a full year since then,” Carter responded. “While some of the machines out there are new, about half of our gear is a hundred years old or older. We’ve made some upgrades to the mechs and tanks, but my Von Luckner has been in service since the early 2800s. We’ve upgraded the weapons in it, and swapped out the fusion engine, but the chassis isn’t changed all that much.”

“You’re telling me, that some of the tanks and ‘mechs’ out there are over two hundred years old?” Tela asked.”

“Yes,” Natasha said. “The Nightstar that I pilot originated in that era as well. It is a gorgeous mech that has been upgraded to my husband’s exacting standards.”

“I’m going to have to make a report to the council on this,” Tela said bluntly.

“That would not be wise at the moment,” Aerdin said as he rushed into the room and hooked up his Omnitool to the terminal at the Overseer’s desk. “Not until you can meet with the Council in person that is,” he opened up several holographic pictures that meant nothing to the humans in the group but were apparently quite legible to the two Asari. “Turns out that the Turian Admiral who oversees piracy in this sector has been turning a blind eye to Torfan despite knowing that it has been here. I have not only evidence that he was taking bribes, but I have the tracking numbers for the accounts and banks as well.” Aerdin’s eyes lit up with joy. “The Batarian that collected this was holding everything as blackmail for just this kind of situation, he wanted it to blow up in the Council’s face while the Hegemony benefitted from our races accusing each other.”

“Ma’am,” Tela said to Natasha. “We need a ship so we can get out ahead of this.”

“Do what you must,” Natasha said to the alien trio. “Just give us a copy of the data before you go.”

“I’ll convert it into one of the formats that you provided me with,” Aerdin said quickly before turning to the Spectre. “But we need to act on this quickly if we want to expose the corruption.”

“Take one of the shuttles,” Mathis said with a shrug. “We’re not likely to use them for anything beyond their eezo cores for now.”

“I’m coming with you,” Aethyta told Tela. “Someone with a shred of sanity needs to be there to keep the old coot and her other two idiots from overreacting.”

“So, how long did it take us to get workable information from that chit that the Salarian gave us?” I asked Rook.

“I just finished decrypting everything on it,” the man in charge of all of our IT personnel said with exhaustion evident in his voice. “We’re going to need to figure out a better way to sync our technology than this because while it makes our tech harder to break into, it also makes it harder to share with others when we need it to work.”

“Have your R&D people look into it once you’re able to get some rest,” I suggested. “You don’t have to do everything yourself, delegation works after all.”

“I’ll do that,” Rook yawned. “I’ll just get a nice nap in first though. “

“Not in my office you won’t,” I said with a chuckle. “I have so many people in here that you would get no rest.”

“Point,” Rook said as he stood up and stretched. “I’ll schedule a meeting once I’ve got the right people reassigned from some projects.”

“Rest well,” I told the tech as I inserted the data drive into my slate and began to go over its contents.

“Interesting,” I said as I stroked my beard while leaning back in my chair. “So that’s why they were trying to capture educated slaves. I looked deeper into the data. “Looks like I just found Carter’s FOB,” I muttered. “It’s not like we can leave those kinds of resources without a protection detail after all.”
Beyond the Horizon (Universes that were considered for insertion #2 Stargate (Atlantis) Part 1
“There’s not going to be a problem,” Dr. Mckay said as he argued with Dr. Zelenka.

“You don’t know that,” Zelenka stated, trying to argue his position.

“If it seems like we can't fix it, we'll just turn around and go back!” Mckay said as he continued packing up a case. “Now, I realize I am invaluable everywhere-”

“You know what? Forget it. I take it back!” Zelenka retorted.

“Sorry, nope. You can't take it back because you've just admitted that I'm smarter than you!” Mckay said smugly, a smirk on his face.

“I admitted no such thing!” Zelenka protested.

“I know it's hard to say, but the truth shone through when you prepared to speak,” Mckay said arrogantly.

“You are a miserable little man,” Zelenka said through gritted teeth.

“Hey, hey, let's not ruin the moment,” Mckay continued working on the case while going silent before turning and facing the other scientist. “Keep an eye on my city for me while I’m gone. Hmm?”

“Good luck,” Zelenka said as he shook Rodney’s hand.

“Right,” Rodney said as he turned and began wheeling the tray away.

“You’re going to be fine.”

“Yeah, that’s easy for you to say. You’re not the one with an eight-hour ceiling on their breathing!” Mckay breathed out as he floated ‘down’ relative to the bottom of the Ancient defense satellite.

“It’s completely dead,” Mckay said over the radio.

“Well, we thought as much.”

“I’m going to hook up the Naquadah Generator,” Mckay said. “See if I can get some life support going.” He pulled the tether connecting him to the generator towards himself.

“Here we go,” Mckay said as he powered on the weapons satellite.

“Primary power online,” Dr. Grodin said as he floated across the ‘floor’ of the ancient weapon. “Looks like life support’s now at a hundred percent. And I think I found the switch to initialize the gravity.”

“Great, just give me a second to oh!” Mckay said as he fell to the ‘ground’ of the satellite. “Oh yeah, yep. That’s permanent back damage,” Mckay groaned.

“Sorry, I assumed it would come on more slowly,” Grodin said while Miller just stared outside of the ‘glass’ screen at the space around them.

“You might want to see this,” Miller said as Mckay started to chew Grodin out. “Guys!”

“What?!” Snapped Mckay.

“There’s a fleet right there, and it doesn’t look like the Wraith,” Miller said as he looked at the side of a ship that was three times the size of a Daedalus class Battlecruiser.

“What is going on?” Dr. Weir asked as she walked onto the floor of the control room.

“Dr. Weir,” Zelenka said as he turned to her. “We just had a fleet of unknown ships appear right next to the defense satellite that Rodney is trying to fix.”

“Are they Wraith?” Dr. Weir asked as Major Sheppard ran up the stairs of the control room.

“No ma’am,” Zelenka said as he shook his head. “They don’t look like anything we’ve seen in the Pegasus galaxy.”

“Try and contact them,” Weir said confidently. “They may be able to help us.”

“Where the hell are we?” I asked as I stormed onto the bridge of the Manassas.

“We have no idea,” Jewel said, her voice coming from the comms station. “None of our Hyperspace navigators can give me accurate information.”

“Sir, there’s some sort of station here, and it looks like it’s got power,” the sensors officer relayed to the Manassas’ captain.

“It’s your call sir,” The captain said as Jewel nodded.

“Alright,” I sighed. “Try and hail them, but keep our weapons pointed at them, I don’t want this to end up with all of us dead.”

“Copy that sir,” the sensors officer said as she turned to her terminal. “Unkown station, this is the Kentares Guard Ship Manassas, do you read me?”

“Manassas, this is Atlantis, we hear you,” a feminine voice replied. “I apologize that I have to greet you with such informality, but our enemies are fast approaching and we need assistance. The Wraith are coming, and if we are not ready they will make it to Earth, and they will feed on everyone there.”

“The Wraith?” Captain Jason Wylde mouthed. “Atlantis?”

I just shrugged a bunch of half-remembered things from a TV series beginning to kindle in the back of my mind. “Beats me,” I replied to the captain.

“Atlantis, how long do you have until your enemies arrive?” I asked. “We may be able to lend a small hand with some defenses assuming you can give us data on the local star charts.”

“We have less than thirty hours,” the voice said. “I’m afraid that unless you can escape that you are now stuck here with us until they arrive.”
I read once,that Torfan was political tool of Hegemony - they wanted their caste system stable,so they send lover cast to Torfan as pirates which were doing Hegemony will.

So,they both get rid of troublemakers,and get unofficial weapon against their enemies.
I read once,that Torfan was political tool of Hegemony - they wanted their caste system stable,so they send lover cast to Torfan as pirates which were doing Hegemony will.

So,they both get rid of troublemakers,and get unofficial weapon against their enemies.
Ah so a little like the Bandit Caste for the Clans. A release valve for the society and a propaganda tool and mask to keep naysayers in line.

“Our society may have its quirks, but without our essential traditions we may all devolve into Pirates/Bandits. And no one wants that.”

“We didn’t raid your food stores, it was those nasty Pirates/Bandits. Now about that trade deal we mentioned.”
Ah so a little like the Bandit Caste for the Clans. A release valve for the society and a propaganda tool and mask to keep naysayers in line.

“Our society may have its quirks, but without our essential traditions we may all devolve into Pirates/Bandits. And no one wants that.”

“We didn’t raid your food stores, it was those nasty Pirates/Bandits. Now about that trade deal we mentioned.”
Hey,it worked!
Council Interlude 2
Council Interlude 2

“Spectre,” the flanging voice of Councilor Sparatus greeted Tela. “Thank you for taking the time to meet personally with us. The reports you have sent for the last few months have been interesting, to say the least.”

“Yes,” Tela nodded. “I sent over the relevant data for your perusal, but I wanted to be at the forefront of any investigations that are led by this information.”

“Yes, the knowledge that one of our Admirals is being bribed to look the other way while pirates do as they please is,” the Turian Councilor paused for a moment while he visibly restrained his rage. “Unsettling at best, and I have spoken with the council of Primarchs and they are recalling him for a ‘debriefing’ on Palavan with all that entails.”

“We assigned several Spectres to his security detail,” Tevos stated. “The Admiral will not be escaping the consequences of his crimes.”

“Now, onto the more pressing matters,” Vedol said as he shifted his cloaked head. “We have read your reports on this new species, and would like to hear what both you and your companions have to say regarding whether they may be a stabilizing influence in the Terminus Systems or not.”

“They have the potential to stabilize the region,” Tela said after she had gathered her thoughts. “But their existence will be polarizing and may lead to further conflict in the short term.”

“Why is that?” Tevos asked. “Have you not managed to gain a measure of their trust?”

“They despise pirates on a level that we have not seen before,” Tela stated. “While I may be biased due to my own rescue at their hands, they do not see pirates as a simple nuisance to be dealt with as they come. Instead, they have dealt with every pirate band that is in their immediate cluster, and have gone out of their way to not only strike at one of the biggest pirate havens in the Attican Traverse but have taken it and eradicated all of the pirates within. Given time to build their strength even further, they may end up taking the fight to the Batarians themselves.”

“I concur,” Matriarch Aethyta spoke up. “And while they may not be up to par in space just yet, any ground fight with this species would end in a disaster for any of us.”

“Explain,” Sparatus said. “I find it hard to believe that any force could oppose one of our races should it come to open warfare.”

“They’d lose if it came to full-scale warfare,” Aethyta said bluntly. “But I’m not sure that we could afford what it would take to put them down permanently. They would bleed us for every kilometer of ground, and every section of space that we tried to take as well,” Aethyta met Tevos’ eyes. “And Goddess forbid we miss some of them. Because they would come back for revenge.”

“There was something in the reports about ‘giant bipedal robots’,” Vedol said. “Is that a reference to this species making use of Artificial Intelligence or just advanced VIs in their war machines?”

“It’s neither,” Aerdin finally spoke up. “I took many scans and examined as much as I could of all of their technology, and I found no evidence of either. In fact, while their technology is advanced in some areas, it is also primitive in others. And while it appears that their computer systems have seemingly made a giant leap forward recently, given that our current operating systems and computing techniques are incompatible it makes it much harder to try and breach their systems,” Aerdin sent over some data to the Salarian Councilor. “I’m quite certain that they do not have an AI or VI advanced enough to make something of that size work. While they have chosen to not show us the technology that enables them to pilot these machines of war, I have pieced together some clues as to part of why they may be able to get these bipedal machines to work and have sent over the data on that so that the STG may have some better analysts go over it and potentially come up with research options for us to potentially begin manufacturing something of the sort for our forces.”

“They were extremely effective,” Tela cut in when Aerdin paused to breathe. “These machines were able to take on anything that the pirates threw at them without falling. Gunships, Tomkahs, and anything else that the forces on Torfan could bring to bear were shattered by these ‘mechs’. They were used in concert with air support, artillery, and tanks of their own to utterly crush any opposition to them on the surface while their infantry made entry into the pirate strongholds.”

“Yes, we have the reports on that,” Tevos said. “What are the chances of us establishing trade relations with these newcomers?”

“I would say that they are likely to trade with anyone providing that they’re not assisting in enabling piracy or slavers,” Tela stated.

“That will be all,” Sparatus said with a wave of his hand. “We have a meeting with the Batarian Ambassador next.”

Tela, Aethyta, and Aerdin all left the Council chambers and headed for the elevator.

“The Hegemony asks that the Council intervene in negotiations,” Dosk Sab'notor, the Batarian Ambassador stated. “We have multiple officials of our government being held captive by a new species in the Terminus and if we cannot negotiate their release then we shall make every effort to regain them. By using force if we must.”

“We will try,” Tevos said diplomatically. “We have already made some contact with this race and will make every effort possible to achieve a peaceful resolution.”

“I expect the Council to intervene on my people's behalf should this new species attempt to harm any of our government officials,” Ambassador Dosk said. “We have been a member of the Council's species for centuries after all, and trust that the Council will find it in their best interest to continue to have us be allies instead of enemies.”

“We are sending our trusted Spectre, Tela Vasir back to treat with the species,” Sparatus said with a slight glare at the Batarian. “She will do her level best to get your countryman out alive so long as your government doesn’t commit to doing anything rash.”

“I thank you for your time, esteemed councilors,” Ambassador Dosk said as he tilted his head in a measured Batarian greeting. “I will attempt to persuade my government to do as you wish.”

Author's note: I'll be starting NaNoWriMO for an original work starting tomorrow. While I'll be trying to maintain updates on this as well, I'm not going to be making many promises.
Chapter 33
Chapter 33

“So, you think that we’ll be able to set up mostly automated mining operations on Torfan by the time that the first of the shipyards are finished next year?” I asked one of our experts.

“Yessir,” Dr. Waters said as she nodded her head. “The pirates and Batarians there had already excavated to the level required, and now we will simply need to push on from where they had started to begin harvesting the Element Zero that is on the moon.” The woman paused as she flipped through some of her data. “In fact, we should be finished before the shipyards are finished. Which will leave us plenty of time to work on core designs and test them out for the first production runs of our shipyards.”

“I believe that Dr. Kelley and his team are working on both ship and core design,” I said as I lifted my eyes up to look at the excited scientist. “Can I assume you have also provided them with this information?”

“Of course,” Waters replied. “I’ve been coordinating with our other science teams since we arrived here. There’s so much of what we do that ties together currently that we have been pooling all of our resources and using the other teams as sounding boards for outside-of-the-box ideas.”

“That’s good,” I said tiredly. “Thank you for meeting me and working on this on such short notice.”

“It’s been an interesting challenge,” The scientist smiled. “Exploring the unknown is every scientist’s dream, and now we are doing it on a level that would make the great minds of the past green with envy.”

“Just don’t get carried away, doctor,” I said as she stood up to leave. “We don’t want to do anything drastic like blow up a sun or something.”

“What kind of madman would cause a star to go supernova?” Waters asked with a raised eyebrow.

“I have no idea,” I shrugged. “It was just the first warning that popped into my head. Have a good rest of your day Dr. Waters.”

“And you as well, Duke,” She inclined her head and then left my office. Leaving me with the massive amount of paperwork that was involved in helping nearly twenty thousand slaves be reunited with their families.

“Lots of work to be done,” I sighed as I flipped through the documents that were labeled as the most important by my secretary. “So we got all of the intel that we could from the high-value targets and executed them, along with the rest of the pirates and slavers,” I mused as I read the report.

“So, I took the time to go over what you had planned for Torfan and double-check everything that you sent me,” Melissa said as she lounged on my office couch. “It looks solid, having Carter settle the Marksman down on Torfan, and having them take over and making that their base of operations for the foreseeable future is a good idea. And with the resources there we can start working on some production of the rarer things that we will need to become a power not worth messing with in this corner of space. Eezo cores and armor are the biggest issues that we were going to be bottlenecked on. While we’ll still be having to manage our germanium supply in order to manufacture some of the designs for bigger ships that Dr. Kelley and his teams have been working on.”

“If we want our ships to be able to utilize K-F Drives, then we’re going to have to locate more sources of Germanium,” I agreed. “It’s a good thing that Veil has some of the resource deposits that we need, because when we eventually get a hidden shipyard to start manufacturing some of our bigger ships.”

“On the bright side, using Element Zero to assist is going to make manufacturing easier in many ways,” Melissa said as she scrolled through some reports on the manufacturing processes that had been tested over the last few months. “Having both Endo-Steel and Double Heat sinks manufactured in the exact same facility as the mechs and tanks will make a world of difference. And having all of our mechs redesigned with Endo-Steel in the manufacturing will mean that we can cram more weapons in as well. I’ve also had some of our autocannons submitted for a redesign to use some of the mass accelerator weapons to boost both range, accuracy, and the ammo that we use. While missiles will remain much the same, we can do a lot more with our autocannon should we make the changes that I’ve seen recommended.”

“I’m going to leave that sort of decision up to the astechs and engineers,” I replied. “I’m not an expert in manufacturing, I’m just good at seeing opportunities and putting the right people in the right places.”

“Well, based on the facilities that they were starting to prepare on Veil, I imagine that we’ll be able to start replacing any material losses soon enough,” Melissa said. “And I’ll be leaving to head back to Veil in time for the first of the Iron Womb babies to be viable.”

“We’ll keep you updated via regular HPG transmissions,” I said to the woman who had essentially stepped in to fill the role of 2IC since we had arrived in this strange new universe.

“Just remember to take breaks,” Melissa reminded me. “You have a tendency to overwork yourself when you’re not careful.”

“I’ve been delegating more lately,” I replied. “Once we get some decent trade going I’ll be able to assign more people to take over some of the things that I’m doing now.”

“You better,” Melissa glared at me. “I fully expect you and Natasha to come to spend time with your godson sooner rather than later after all.”

“Give me three months,” I chuckled. “Barring any big emergency that Murphy tries to send my way I should be able to break away to spend some time relaxing.”

“I’ll hold you to that,” Melissa said as she stood up, gave me a quick hug, and then left my office.

“Looks like I’ve got a vacation to plan,” I said to myself as I rested my head down on my desk. “But I think I’ll lay down and take a nap first.”
Chapter 34: Prelude to War
Chapter 34: Prelude to War

“Duke Hull,” Tela said as she greeted me in the open cafe that had been relegated to the diplomatic meeting place for these negotiations.

“Tela, Aethyta, Aerdin,” I nodded to each of them in turn. “I don’t believe I have had the pleasure of being introduced to your two new companions though.”

“This is Dosk Sab'notor,” Tela introduced him. “He’s the current ambassador of the Batarian Hegemony and is here to negotiate the release of several prisoners taken from your eradication of the pirates that were on Torfan,” She then pointed to the second Matron that was with her and Aethyta. “This is Revratia, she is the daughter of one of the most prominent diplomats in recent Asari History. She’s here as an observer and to ensure proper protocols are observed.”

“We’re a nation in the Terminus,” I replied. “While the Council is welcome to trade with us, we are not beholden to your rules or rulings,” I looked between the Batarian’s four eyes from underneath my helmet.

“Cut the bullshit, Hull,” Aethyta said bluntly as she quickly figured out what I was doing.

“Fine,” I shrugged. “Every pirate or slaver scum present on Torfan has been summarily executed. Our laws on both piracy and slavery are extremely clear. And even the most oppressive of nations back home would have done the same.”

“Those were Batarian Hegemony officials!” Dosk spat at me. “What gives you the right to do with them as you please?”

“The right of conquest, and of the right of every sovereign nation to deal with pirates as they deem fit.”

“The Hegemony will not stand for this!” Dosk stood up from the table angrily before looking at Tela and Revratia. “I demand that the Council do something to assist in us collecting reparations from these filthy primitives!”

“The Council has not approved for us to intervene in the affairs of the Terminus,” Tela shook her head. “We are merely here as observers.”

“Then we shall take matters into our own hands,” Dosk said furiously. “I hope you are prepared to lose everything that you hold dear to you as the might of the Hegemony comes crashing down around you.”

“We’ll see,” I said with a shrug as the Batarian stormed out of the cafe.

“You know that you’re not ready to take on a full stellar nation,” Aethyta said as she looked at me. “What’s your plan here?”

“They won’t be able to bring their full might to bear immediately,” I said as I laid out some facts. “A battlegroup or two maybe, but even getting the proper authority to task those will take more time than they’ll expect. I’ve looked at your codex, and the Batarians haven’t fought a war in centuries. And quite frankly, the only thing keeping their nation alive is the fact that the council species haven’t cracked down on their slaving,” I grabbed my slate and showed them some rough estimates. “I’ll have around six months before they can shift enough forces to cover wherever they’ll move the battlegroup from. That will give me enough time to truly prepare the Imir system for whatever they’ll bring to bear against us.” I looked at the trio of Asari. “The Batarians are a face culture, and constantly have to not only claim that they’re the best. But they have to prove it as well. Should their first battlegroup fail, then we’ll start to see where the cracks are.” I then showed them the contract that had been submitted to the MRB on my behalf. “And the salvage rights on here are good enough that a merc unit would be a fool to not take this.”

“You madman,” Revratia said as she stood up. “You would allow mercenaries not beholden to any nation to possess ships up to the size of dreadnaughts?”

“Should they manage to capture one, then yes,” I replied. “If it’s too damaged, then I’ll pay them for the cost of the dreadnaught and fix it up for my own nation's forces.”

“This is madness,” Revratia said. “And you’re all going to die underneath the weight of a nation that has been around for much longer than you.”

“No, this is the Terminus,” I simply replied. “The Council washed their hands of the affairs here centuries ago. What did you expect to happen? That we would come crying to someone else when an ‘unlawful’ act is committed? Nay,” I shook my head. “We stand or fall on our own merits. And this is the proving ground where nations truly rise and fall. This is the start of the Terminus Commonwealth. A place where the Rule of Law means something.”

“I can see that you will not see reason,” Revratia stated. “My report to the council will indicate that you and your nation have chosen stellar suicide rather than something logical.”

“There is evil right before us,” I said bluntly. “Slavery is wrong, no matter the institution that practices it. What kind of people would we be if we allowed evil to flourish where we could have a hand in stopping it?”

“I’ll see my own way out,” Revratia said as she walked out of the room, leaving me with the trio that I was more familiar with.

“So,” Aethyta grinned madly. “Where can I pick up a suit of armor like yours? I want in!”

“We’ll have to do some R&D to get that sorted out,” I replied with a matching smile underneath my helmet. “But either way, your experience is welcome.”

“I want to help,” Tela said with a sigh. “But I’m afraid that if I were to assist you then it would most likely drag the entirety of the Council into the war. And I’m likely to be reassigned anyway.”

“I am in,” Aerdin replied quickly. “Only have a few short years of life left anyway, might as well see if I can assist in bringing down a stellar nation. Would be one of the first Salarians to do so in centuries.”

“I might need your input on some of the defense planning,” I told the two aliens. “While we’re aware of most of the capabilities of the enemy warships, I’m going to need as many specifics as possible while we prep our defenses.”

“How fast can we speed up the construction of the first Shipyard and still have it viable for the long term?” I asked Dr. Rogers.

“We can finish it in three months if we cut some corners,” She replied with a frown. “But I guarantee that we’ll start to see cracks in our process within the first month or so of production.”

“We might need it done that fast,” I replied. “We’re going to be pushing up production of everything. We’re about to enter into a war and we’re going to be pushing this as far as we can.”

“We have the Element Zero to make the Glamdring work,” Rogers said. “We can put out one every three months or so with the shipyard built. And I expect that you’re going to be pushing to have the rest of the yards built quickly as well?”

“Unfortunately yes,” I said in response. “But Dr. Kelley’s team had a brilliant Idea for temporary shipyards. Admittedly, they’ll only be able to put out two to three ships before it won’t be viable, but with that and the defenses that we’re working on, we should be able to hold off any attack long enough to build up properly.”

“You’re counting on a Pearl Harbor-type situation, aren’t you?” The woman asked me.

“No,” I shook my head. “I want them to think this is a Pearl Harbor. I want them to attack us first, and for them to be not only found lacking but for them to be so aggressively stopped that they have to reel back and catch their breath while we do limited strikes.”

“What kind of defenses are you prepping?” Rogers asked.

“Do you remember just how long Taurus held out in the Reunification Wars?” I asked with a smirk. “Let’s just say that the Taurians among us are going to be bristling with envy at the defenses we’re going to put in place around the entirety of the Imir system.”

“Oh,” Rogers said as she leaned forward. “Tell me more.”

“Well, given that we’ve got the ability to manufacture much larger components using the Omniforges…”
Do you remember just how long Taurus held out in the Reunification Wars?” I asked with a smirk. “Let’s just say that the Taurians among us are going to be bristling with envy at the defenses we’re going to put in place around the entirety of the Imir system.”
Such a Beautiful image you conjure mi Amici! 😈
Chapter 35
Chapter 35
Imir System, October 2164

“Keep pushing at this rate for another twenty minutes and we’ll be finished with this batch,” Captain Mike Ranger of the Elephant class tug Dancing Queen, ordered. “Then we’ll take an eight-hour break while the Killer Queen takes over setting up the defenses.”

“Aye sir,” the pilot said exhaustedly. “Holding course for the next twenty minutes.”

“We only have one more shift after our break and then we’ll be done setting up the defenses,” Captain Mike told his crew with a smile. “We’ve done a lot of work in the past month and a half. And I’m damn proud of you all.”

“Incoming transmission from Korlus, Captain,” the comms officer relayed.

“Send it through,” Captain Ranger nodded at the comms officer.

“Captain Ranger, this is Duke Hull,” the Duke’s voice echoed through the bridge. “Finish up whatever you’re doing and head on back behind the thickest defenses.”

“They starting to push, sir?” Ranger asked as he gestured for the pilot to speed up the process.

“Just received word via Omega that a battlegroup just left Batarian space and is heading for a relay,” the Duke replied. “We want y’all back in cover just in case they’ve hired anyone to screen for them.”

“I thought we hired all of the mercs though?” Captain Ranger asked as his crew sped up the deployment of another asteroid defense station.

“We hired the biggest ones,” the Duke replied. “Eclipse and the Blood Pack are working for us due to the salvage rights, but the MRB is neutral, and the Batarians hired a bunch of smaller groups to harass our interests. Some of them have already met their end at Torfan, but we’re expecting the rest to be utilized as defense screens for the main Batarian force. Just because we have the intel advantage on them doesn’t mean that they’ll behave like idiots after all.”

“Copy that,” Mike said as he checked their progress. “The link is good on this battle line, and we’re nearly finished with placing the defenses, sir. But if we don’t put the last ones in place then we’ll have a gap in our defenses here.”

“We’ll have to deal with it,” the Duke replied. “Y’all are too valuable to lose. So finish up with the job you’re on and get on back here. Hull out.”

“Aye sir,” Captain Ranger said as he sat back down in his chair as the transmission ceased. “You heard the Duke, let’s finish up this deployment and go grab the last few defense stations.”

“Aye sir,” the pilot said with a grin as he shook off the with a look of joy in his eyes. “I always worked best under a time crunch.”

“We’ve got three more defense asteroids to relocate to finish out this defense line,” the sensors officer relayed. “They’re already synced up with the rest of the network, they just need to be moved into the right locations.”

“We’re going to pick up the pace quite a bit,” Captain Ranger told his crew. “Those three shouldn’t take us more than a couple of hours if we push ourselves.”

“Copy that sir,” the ship began to accelerate past what it could have handled in the days of the Star League as the newly Installed Eezo Core began to allow them to move through the void with a speed that would have been unheard of back in their old lives.

“Ease us in,” Captain Ranger coached. “I don’t want any accidents to happen.”

The Dancing Queen slowed down until its nose was touching the defensive station. Then, a group of men and women in Mithril hooked up a tether and boarded a Small craft that was waiting for them.

“Accelerating to safe delivery speed now,” the pilot said. “It’ll still take time, but we’re going to be pushing the envelope on this to get it at the right spot in time.”

“So long as we don’t mess up the defenses already deployed, Lieutenant Lovell,” Ranger said as he ran some calculations on his Slate. “We should be fine on time assuming that it takes them eight hours to make it through each of the Relays and to assemble outside of the system.”

“Dancing Queen,” a voice came over the comms. “This is the Killer Queen, we’re here to assist with finishing the defensive setup.”

“We’ve got a few more stations left to deploy,” Captain Ranger replied. “I’m having Liza send over the data on the stations left now.”

“Receiving data, we’ll handle stations 4 through 6, you take 1 through 3.”

“Copy that Killer Queen,” Ranger grinned. “Whoever finishes their defenses last has to buy the drinks once this is over.”

“You’re on, Dancing Queen,” the response came back.

“Here they come,” Duke Hull muttered under his breath as he saw a couple of frigate wolfpacks stream through the mass relay and begin moving toward Korlus. “I don’t want them intercepted by anything other than our captured ships,” he ordered as the staff of the Command and Control center relayed the command. “We don’t want to show our hand just yet, after all.”
Sparatus Omake
(This occurs at the same time as the Prelude to War)

“You’re sure that this is all legal?” One of the many Primarchs assembled for this private meeting asked Councilor Sparatus.

“Yes, I had every specialist that was at my disposal take a look into it, and they’ve confirmed that it’s legal in both the Terminus and council space under our jurisdiction,” Sparatus said with a spread of his mandibles that indicated a grin to his fellow Turians.

“This is the opportunity we’ve been waiting for,” one of the Primarchs said as he looked over the data in front of him. “A chance to both blood new recruits and to finally act against the Batarians without repercussions.”

“We’ll have to ensure that once the group is formed that they receive no orders from us until their contract is complete,” Sparatus clarified. “But yes, provided we file everything appropriately we should be able to at least send over two battle groups under the umbrella of a ‘newly formed mercenary group using ‘outdated’ hardware.”

“It’ll take some funds to bring the ships that they’ll need out of mothballs though,” one of the Primarchs who rose through the logistical side of the Hierarchy stated. “But this could be what we need to finally fight in a war that’s more than a policing action.”

“I’m putting it to a vote,” one of the Primarchs said after he had finished going over the data.

“All in favor of pursuing Councilor Sparatus’ plan, please cast your votes” a chorus of green lights lit up on the board. “All against,” a minor amount of red lights shown. “Motion passes,” the one who had called for a vote stated. “We’ll get everything assigned and planned out before this potential conflict erupts.”

“This is one area where I have disagreed with both of my colleagues,” Sparatus stated. “Both Tevos and Vedol believe that negotiations will continue and that peace will go forward, but listened to what Spectre Vasir said about their hatred of slavers and pirates, they will not shy away from this war.”

“Then let us see if we can maybe tilt the scales in their favor a touch, eh?” An old haggard Primarch stood up. “I’ve got a small fortune that’s sitting in a Volus trust doing nothing but growing, I’ll donate it to this new idea as the basis for their starting funds. After that is exhausted, however. They’ll be on their own for funding.”

“Then all that is left is for us to begin the paperwork,” Sparatus said to the council of Primarchs. “I’ll do my best to divert the attention of the other two councilors while we get this set up. Hopefully something else will come along that will distract them from our movements until it is far too late.”
Chapter 36
Chapter 36
Imir System, October 2164

“What kind of defenses do they have in place?” The Batarian Admiral, Darek Crerbolak asked the Turian that was in charge of the scouting frigate wolfpacks that they had sent ahead of the main force.

“The Mass Relay is clear, Admiral, and we’re detecting only around six cruisers and a dozen or so frigates,” The Turian replied. “Our Wolfpacks can begin harassing the enemy frigates and cruisers at your command.”

“Remain there until the rest of the battlegroup arrives,” Admiral Crerbolak said as he conducted the tactical data he had been sent. “We’ll push in together, see if we can overwhelm them with both superior numbers and technology.”

“Copy that sir, we’re holding on this side of the Relay until your battlegroup arrives.”

“Take us through the Relay, Captain,” Crerbolak ordered.

The Batarian Heavy Cruiser that was serving as the flagship for this fleet was grabbed by the relay and shot across the stars, the rest of the fleet following suit as they exited in a rough parity to what their formation had been beforehand.

“It seems that they didn’t update the star charts recently,” the navigator said as he looked at the brief scans of the system. “Some serious mining operations are going on in the belt according to our scans.”

“You’re sure that they’re mining operations?” the Captain asked as he leaned over the shoulder of the sensors officer.

“Yessir, they’ve been evacuating on unarmed shuttles and moving to Korlus as fast as the shuttles will carry them since we arrived in the system.”

“Good,” Crerbolak said as he overheard the tail end of the conversation. “Keep an eye on the mining stations that they were evacuating from anyway. I’ve seen pirates and rebels use repurposed mining lasers to cause some serious damage to ships in the right circumstances.”

“Aye sir,” the sensor’s officer replied. “I’ll task a VI on it so that I’m given an alert if something suspicious happens.”

“Good man,” the Admiral said before he turned back to his tactical map. “Looks like the enemy has finally started moving,” he muttered. “We outnumber them two to one, and I’m fairly certain that we have an advantage given the age of some of those cruisers and frigates. Now, that doesn’t mean that we can take it easy, we’re going to cautiously push forward, and probe their defenses, get a feel for what kind of opponents they might be.”

“Start with having both our frigate wolfpacks and the mercenaries push forward,” Admiral Crerbolak said as he leaned over the tactical map. “Let’s see if we can bait them into making a mistake.”


“Hold steady,” Admiral Jewel ordered the largest fleet that had been under human command since the Second Succession War. “Let them probe us, we can afford to bleed them on this, we don’t want them to see our defenses just yet, after all.”

“Aye, ma’am,” the Batarian militia officer that was manning the helm replied. “Transmitting instructions to the fleet.”

The Batarian wolfpacks began to move forward in groups of three or four, making sure that all angles of attack were covered as they pushed forward through the Imir system at what felt like a small pace until the first of the wolf packs shot forward as a group, angling to try and maneuver behind the defense fleet that was waiting for them.

“Group Alpha, I want that wolfpack busy, I don’t need them gone, just kept busy,” Jewel ordered a Cruiser with a group of escorting frigates.

“Copy that, moving to take out the designated wolfpack,” the leader of the small group of dispatched ships responded.

“Admiral Jewel, this is Blaze, we are in position and awaiting authorization to drop the hammer,” Blaze’s voice came over the command channel.

“Copy that Blaze, hold your position until we’ve got the enemy maneuvered properly,” Jewel ordered.

Jewel looked at the enemy battlegroup that was gradually picking up speed and pushing towards her arrayed forces. “Come on, we’ve got fewer forces than you do, we’re the perfect bait for you to sink your teeth into.”

The Batarian Fleet then seemed to wink out of existence for a split second on the sensors before reappearing closer and within the spinal guns of both battlegroups.

“Groups Bravo through Delta, you’re cleared to engage as your CO sees fit,” Jewel ordered before focusing on the big picture. “Captain, keep us alive and in the fight, but do your damned best to take out some of these bastards in the process.”

The Cruisers of both battlegroups were the first to open up and begin firing at the other battlegroup. The lead Batarian Heavy Cruiser was the ship to get the first kill of the space battle as its main gun flashed twice before one of the frigates under Jewel’s command went dark.

“Hold steady for a bit longer,” Jewel ordered as the enemy started to suffer minor losses as well, a trio of her frigates chasing a light cruiser flew past her lone heavy cruiser.

Jewel’s heavy cruiser shuddered as an enemy frigate round bounced off of its shields before the cruiser returned fire, the frigate’s barriers flickered and died right as the Cruiser’s round impacted, causing the enemy ship to drift away leaking atmosphere and coolant.

“Blaze, I need your ASF to begin moving now,” Jewel ordered. “And tell the Stings with you that you have the authorization to use the Peacemaker on that Heavy Cruiser.”

“Copy that ma’am,” Blaze’s voice responded. “Wardog is moving to engage, prepare for a rapid boom and zoom.”

“All Forces, prepare for allied ASF,” Jewel told the rest of her forces. “Watch your fire, and make sure that you’re not in the way as they move past.”

On the far side of the system, Blaze’s aerospace wings began to accelerate from where they had been waiting for the past several hours, their few Sting gunships keeping them updated on the fight that they could barely see on their scopes.

“Alright people,” Blaze said as he kicked his Stuka’s fusion engine on and threw his Aerospace fighter into an acceleration that would have killed him before the installation of the inertial dampeners. “Remember to watch your targets, we don’t want any friendly fire mishaps. We’re here to make sure that the enemy's barriers go down, and to cause as much damage as possible before bugging out, so make sure that you have a way out because this is going to be the fastest boom and zoom we’ve ever performed.”

“Copy that lead,” Edge replied as she stayed on Blaze’s wing.

“This is the Serenity, I assume we’ve got an escort given that we’re carrying the party with us?”

“This is Hitman actual, we’ve got you covered Serenity,” the no-nonsense voice of Hitman’s Squadron leader came through.

The gunships and ASF soon were moving through the void, steadily picking up acceleration and finally holding course until they had the appropriate firing arcs that were being fed to them courtesy of the Heavy Cruiser that Admiral Jewel was on.

“All units, get as far away from the enemy heavy cruiser as possible, we have multiple November-Whiskeys targeting it and would hate for you to get vaporized in the process of them detonating.”

Jewel’s small outnumbered fleet then began to see the tide turn as Blaze’s ASF began to zoom past, the weapons they fired overwhelming the barriers on enough enemy ships that there was now a rough parity in the number of forces that the two groups could bring to bear. Then, what seemed to be a series of miniature suns appeared where the Batarian heavy cruiser used to be, the five nuclear weapons that hit the heavy cruiser breaking it apart into fragments that then spun into the frigates that had been escorting it, causing their barriers to pull double duty and defend against both incoming fire and the debris from the once flagship of the Batarian battlegroup.

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