Imperium Galactica: Nightfall [Open]

Personal Quarters of the Ship Sayyt, Taer Atlos

Ayyal had retreated to their personal ship soon after the election of Margrave Rhodes to the position of Regnier. Despite being the current head of their house, they had always felt more comfortable outside of large crowds and in relative isolation or among those few that they trusted. A live feed of Margrave - no, it would be Regnier for the time being, Ayyal admitted - Rhodes addressing the populace of Taer Atlos sat on one screen while various panels regarding the state of their houses military numbers filled the other. What could vessels House Nazdi spare to the throneworld? Though quite capable in a military sense, with an effective navy, this fact was necessitated by the House's location in the Northern Marches of the galaxy, which were more wild than the core worlds and needed a stronger guiding hand and a larger military presence. Their House flagship, the Kilaalmesh, was already in a nearby system, along with the cruiser Istaara, the destroyers Urkayu and Aawriti, and the frigates Samsa and Urak, as well as a few scores of less notable ships of varying sizes. These would be invaluable contributions to the ad-hoc fleet Regnier Rhodes was assembling, but Ayyal had the gnawing worry that they were not enough.

The Margrave sent a message to Regnier Rhodes, their respirator lending a humming, slightly synthetic tinge to their voice, its effect compounded by the compression of the channel, "Regnier Rhodes, as is my House's duty to the throneworld and the empire as a whole, I, Margrave of House Nazdi, will offer my personal support. In addition, I am pledging a portion of House Nazdi's fleet to the defense of the throneworld at your request. Be at peace."

Ayyal then opened a communique to the Captain of the Kilaalmesh, Admiral Afalyyan Setsin, who responded quickly. Afalyyan spoke, voice level, though Ayyal could tell he was appreciative of the change of pace, "Ukhanyyar* Ayyal, how may I assist you?"

Ayyal responded, "Admiral, the Kilaalmesh and her contingent are necessary to protect Taer Atlos now. The head of House Rhodes was elected Regnier and has not received any response from Grand Admiral Rian, so it is up to the Houses to defend the throneworld. However, I am worried that your fleet, such as it is, will not be sufficient. Do you know what vessels else we can spare from their duties in the Houses's territory?"

Afalyyan glanced to another screen, barking some orders at his subordinates as he did so, "Let me check my records, there are a number of vessels on leave right now if I am not mistaken."

After a minute or two of silence from either party, Afalyyan glanced back from his other monitor, "With some fortune, it appears that we have a number of vessels to spare. One of this vessel's siblings, the Bakhamaat, has just finished maintenance, which means it and its task group are available, as well as the cruiser Nerkuul and the frigates Talyaaz, Daliyat, and Dumaasqa"

Ayyal nodded. "Call them all in, as quickly as possible. Inform them that this is under the direct orders of myself, and that the throneworld is potentially in danger."

Ayyal closed the communique, slouching slightly and sighing through their mask. A storm was brewing, and Ayyal was not sure they could know the extent of it.
 
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Syrixia

The one, the true, the great.
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House Aglar was a proud house; that much was well known across the Imperium. Though their business stretched across the Imperium and their military - the Aglarines - were greatly famed, so was their disdain for the Core Worlds, which kept business with Core houses strictly professional. Among the Rim Worlds, meanwhile, their ties were more friendly, but most Rim Worlds were generally naught more than positive acquaintances, given House Aglar's general distaste for what it perceived as dirty, slimy realms.

By contrast the shining cities and pristine countrysides of Zimraphel, the Aglar capital world, were a sight to behold if one managed to make their way out to the Southern Marches, where Margrave Ar-Urithôr ruled, both as an Imperial Margrave and with his own title, Grand Warden of the Southern Marches. House Aglar was not an ancient house, hence it only holding a margraviate - in the midst of the civil war that saw House Morghanos seize the Celestial Throne, it had first been founded by a family of wealthy businessmen in the region with financial connections to House Morghanos themselves.

Over time their discovery of massive aecorium reserves at the Marches' far ends allowed them to shape and refine their military, make a vast fortune, and build up not only their internal infrastructure but both their cities and their mining colonies, which eventually became cities in their own right. The house's origins, more importantly, led to one of their key foreign policy characteristics; one that shattered their otherwise proud and often even 'difficult' streak, and one that would play a key role in the situation that had unfolded with Emperor Shiram's death. They were fanatically loyal to the Celestial Throne.

Most of the time, the Margrave was a jovial man. A shrewd financier and administrator, he had greatly increased aecorium revenues and business during his tenure. His younger son Aphanuzîr shared this demeanor, though his expertise, along with his elder brother, was in military matters; and together they jointly commanded the Aglarines in place of their father, who was uninterested in such matters. Said elder brother, Gimilzôr, was the one who informed his father and brother of the Emperor's demise. In charge of border security and any and all foreign operations, not only had Gimilzôr upheld House Aglar's strict foreign transit and immigration laws well during his own tenure, but he was his father's chief source of information regarding the greater Imperium.

It was agreed at once that Ar-Urithôr would travel to the throneworld, Taer Atlos, with Gimilzôr to attend to their duties as nobles of the Imperium Galactica by attending its Diet. Almost immediately, both through their own relationship with House Aglar and through rumors on the wind of possible actions they had taken outside of the Diet's halls, one house had come to stand out immediately: the Archdukes of the Southern Marches, House Khor. Of all the Great Houses of the Imperium, House Khor was the one House Aglar could consider closest to itself. Not only were they close by, trade was frequent and friendly, a rarity for House Aglar. Ar-Urithôr knew Archduke Arnu Khor well, and knew they needed to speak on these matters before the Archdukes convened.

All this was running through his mind as he was walking with two Aglarine guards through the Diet's grounds. He had just given orders to Gimilzôr to send for a large Aglarine fleet, led by the flagship Pharazôn, to Taer Atlos to join in the defense against Alecto Rian's rogue fleet, and to inform the Regnier of House Aglar's intention to do this in acceptance of his call to arms. Suddenly, however, he noticed Arnu, having just come out of a meeting with another Margrave, Owain ap Selyf. Perfect timing.

"Arnu! About time we crossed paths on this godsforsaken planet!" shouted Ar-Urithôr from across the grounds, before walking towards him at a brisk pace. A friendly smile crossed the Archduke's face. "Hah! If it isn't Ar-Urithôr." Arnu replied as Ar-Urithôr came to stand in front of him. "To see you here is truly a welcome sight in these times, my friend."

Ar-Urithôr chuckled. "We saw eachother in the Diet, I'm sure - but yes, it is good to finally talk face to face. I had something I wished to tell you as well." At this, Arnu seemed intrigued. Thus far it was House Khor and those of the Great Houses who supported it who had been contacting others and asking for support. If this was what it very well could be, it was not just something new, but it was something worth remembering.

As it turned out, indeed it was, in a roundabout way. "House Khor is first amongst the Archducal Houses, for its worlds are no pompous core worlds; not even close. You rule the sands and the badlands; you know better than most the attitudes and ways of life of the Rim. An Emperor from our neck of the Imperium would do all citizens a great deal of good. Not only this, but I have known you myself for a while. My family knows your family. We know well the honor of House Khor, and I wanted to encourage you to consider bringing that honor to the Celestial Throne."

Arnu laughed heartily. "Even these days, my friend, I'm still one step ahead of you. I've already made the rounds, and I would be honored to have your support, as well."

Ar-Urithôr nodded, the smile leaving his face in favor of a more serious expression, before looking around to make sure no one was eavesdropping. "I don't know who the Legion supports yet. What is sure is that we make all possible efforts to get them on our side. I can only assume you've already been working on that as well. But either way, for better or for worse, House Khor has the support of the Aglarines -" he paused, a sly smile now crossing his face. "-and our aecorium."

(Post written with permission and collaboration from @Loz.)
 

Loz

TNPer
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The Election

"We're ready father." Said the Archduke's children in unison.

"Excellent."

The might of the Great House Khor was on the move. Thousands of warships and support craft were now arrayed under the deft command of Minras from the Khor Flagship Peacemaker. In the bellies of troop transport were thousands more ground soldiers slated to augment the Imperial Legion as was promised. They stood marshalled on the Arc prepared to move at their Lord's Command. As the fleet readied itself, a smaller, more agile fleet made its way to the space of House Tywysog to bolster their forces who would no doubt be assailed by pirates during the chaos. Arnu was taking a terrible risk emptying the Badlands to defend the Capital, but if their had ever been a time for extraordinary acts, it was now. Arnu himself stood in the box of House Khor in the Diet Galactica with Azuari and Kardin. The three were quiet as they prepared for what could rightly be the most important moment in the history of the Imperium since the days of Tyran. The time for sentimentality had passed however, Arnu had a speech to make. He gave Azuari a hug, and Kardin a firm handshake before making his way into the Diet Chamber.

Arnu raised his hand as to be recognized by Rhodes, and took one deep breath before the plunge. "Archdukes of the Imperium!" He began. "You all know who I am, but I will name myself before the Diet. I am Archduke Arnu Khor, Lord of the Oasis, and the Badlands, and I will nominate myself for the Celestial Throne!" He roared. "I have seen the danger to us all, I have followed the trail of death and violence, and I have seen what comes for us. The rogue Starfleet and the traitor Alecto Rian seek to take our Imperium by force, through barbarism he seeks to take what he could never win through politics. But we, we Archdukes are the pillars that hold up this galaxy, and he will not take from us a single system while I live and breath and while the forces under my command draw breath. You have all pledged your loyalty to Imperium and I call upon you now to hold your oaths fulfilled. Defend the Empire, and know me not as Archduke, but as Emperor! And together we shall bring peace, freedom, justice, and security to our new Empire!"
 

Esplandia

Factbook Addict
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Diet Galactica
Taer Atlos


The new regnier had called for the elections to begin. So the nine Archdukes would meet and start throwing names around. Faizul felt trepidation about the whole thing, but he had received word from his father’s doctor that he was going to live. He hadn’t woken up yet, but they could now say with surety that he would make it. This had boosted his confidence.

He bid his wife farewell and made the trip from the Estate to the Diet Galactica. The Regnier gave a speech to the assembly about it being the time for leadership, and also calling on fleets for the defense of Taer Atlos. A wise precaution. After the speech the assembly exited and the Archdukes made their way to a council chamber where the discussions and voting would begin.

It fell on Faizul to speak first. He was representative of the most senior house, and his father had been the emperor’s cousin. He stood up before the nine other men (eight archdukes and the Regnier) and he spoke.

“Many of you no doubt have been wondering whether my father had intended to claim the throne by right of his blood, but that was never his intention. The Celestial Throne was never a chair that he wished to sit in. Though he cannot be here today, in his stead I will honor his wishes. House Drof-Antier will pull its name out of the running. In the meantime we nominate the Houses of Wonju and Khor as candidates for the throne.”

He thanked the gathered archduke’s and then took a seat, waiting for the next nominations.


Hexactor 0017,
Unnamed System


It took nearly a day of scanning the system before someone took notice. Taschal had expected to be out here for another day or two before calling it quits. But then the man at sensors cried out. “Contact! Dreadnought off our port bow. It just appeared out of nowhere.”

The dreadnought was still a good distance off from them, but was bearing down quickly. Minutes later three other ships just appeared on their sensors. They hadn’t transwarped into the system. Taschal scratched at the stubble on his chin. There must be some kind of anomaly in this system that hindered their sensors. Some kind of naturally occurring stealth field.

“They’re hailing us.” Taschal nodded, giving the go ahead to open a channel.

A thin older man, dressed neatly in the Starfleet uniform, scowled out from the holoprojector. “Captain G’var,” he said mockingly. “You’ve changed your appearance.”

Taschal stood, trying to pose as regal a figure as he could. “Captain G’var is indisposed at the moment. I am Count Adammar Taschal here on behalf of the Imperial Regnier.” It was a lie, but one he hoped would intimidate this fleet officer. “And may I ask who I’m addressing?”

“I am Cruzier Kal Adanth,” the officer said. “How do you come to command an Imperial Starfleet vessel, Count Taschal?” It was obvious this Cruzier was not intimidated by Taschal, nor his rank.

“I was forced to take command when the fleet abandoned their posts.”

The Cruzier rankled at the accusation. “We did not abandon our posts. We are here under direct orders from Grand Admiral Rian.”

“Well it appears the Grand Admiral has absconded with the imperial fleet. He has been ordered to return to Taer Atlos to face charges of dereliction of duty, and to face questions about his knowledge of the emperor’s death.”

Adanth’s eyes went wide in surprise, but he composed himself quickly. “The emperor is dead?” he asked.

“Indeed,” Taschal reassured him. “And now the Imperium faces a period of crisis that without your starships, Cruiser, lies vulnerable.”

Adanth couldn’t hide the confusion on his face. He’d just been hit with news that had been kept from him. “There must have been a reason we weren’t informed,” he argued. “And until the Grand Admiral decides it is his place to inform me, I will do my duty and obey my orders. Prepare to be boarded.”

The holoscreen cut out. Talk, apparently, would get them nowhere. “Shields,” he ordered as the three warships bore down on them.

“Transmit the following message on all open channels:

The emperor is dead. Grand Admiral Rian has abandoned his duties and is believed to be plotting against the Imperium. By the authority of the Imperial Regnier and the Diet Galactica, you are ordered to return to your duties and defend the empire.

When Taschal received confirmation the transmission was sent, he ordered an immediate retreat from the system. The frigate warped away just as the first salvo of weapon’s fire shot out from the dreadnought.


Taer Atlos
In Orbit


The fleet of the Drof-Antiers entered the system from transwarp. Over two hundred ships, mostly frigates and corvettes, but also cruisers and destroyers, all in formation around the massive carrier that was the flagship of the house’s fleet.

Imersa Natal, the Cruizer of the fleet, sent out the codes to imperial defenses, letting them know they were here by request of the Regnier. She didn’t breath easily until the confirmation code was returned, and the planet defenses lowered out of alert.

She noticed a few military ships already in orbit. Identifications came back as belonging to the Sorlanders. She wrinkled her brow in clear contempt. She should have suspected house Rhodes would have called them in as well. It was known their houses were close.

She set up her fleet in a defensive posture around the main starport. Now she would wait and see how long before things turned violent.
 

Kanada

TNPer
Taer Altos

In one of the few homes the Margravess owned on the capital planet, Mira and Lieutenant Haruss lounged around a table covered in drinks and snacks. Since only those involved with the actual election of the next emperor itself would be allowed to be present, the Margravess had taken leave with he retinue to wait for the result- if one could be quickly decided. The Lieutenant was leaning back in his seat, with his cap covering his eyes, but he wasn’t asleep. The Margravess had refused any drinks. Although there was a period of extreme tensions while they waited for the outcome of the election and also for the arrival of their fleet, she wanted to be able to communicate with her ships without being drunk.

The Margravess had contacted Admiral Witek, who was stationed back on Quella. He was to bring as many ships were readily available to them in order to bolster the Throne’s fleet. Unfortunately, much of House Vane’s fleet had been detached for some regular training on the other side of her realm, and so the ships would arrive in two groups. As much as this news annoyed her, there was little she could do about it. According to her admiral, the first group was significant enough on its own, including the Vane flagship, and it would arrive in about half a day. Having already informed the Regnier that her fleet was approaching, she had nothing to do but sit around and pass time.

Without moving, Haruss questioned aloud, “Was House Livia the right choice, you think?”

“Know your place, Lieutenant,” the Margravess looking up from her reading, “I have faith in Sulla. If he doesn't take the throne, what do I lose other than things I don't yet have? Don’t sow doubt in my mind, especially not from a reclined position. I should have you demoted to a custodian just for slouching.”

The Lieutenant sat up and smiled knowingly, “You know you like me too much to punish me for unprofessionalism at a time like this.”

Mira was too tired for any unneeded nonsense like this. She had chosen Haruss to come with her simply because all her other close advisors had been off-planet during her rush to leave Quella. Haruss was young, and after a few drinks, he had become almost unbearable. Technically, he was a distant family member and was therefore close enough to Margravess to be relatively safe from demotion and discharge. In response to his claim, she simply said, “Now is the most important time for professionalism. The Diet could be recalled at any time. Drink some water and shape up, or I’ll send you to oversee settlement in a desert.”

The Lieutenant fixed his cap and stood up to fix his uniform, “Yes, ma’am.”

"You make me look lenient," she huffed, shaking her head and returning to her reading.

Having only come with Haruss and relatively uncaring silent guards on the other side of the room, Mira wished with a sigh she had brought a larger entourage.
 
Diet Galactica
Taer Altos


After the speech Fredrick made his way to the council chamber his body feeling heavy with anxiety, he thought of the recent assassination attempt on one of his fellow Archdukes concerned him. Especially with the disappearance of Admiral Rian it only serviced to trouble the man. He entered the chamber and looked around taking a seat at the council table. He waited for his fellow Archdukes to arrive. After a few moments and after the Archdukes and Regnier had made their way to the table from there Faizul the son of the injured Archduke began to present his nominations for Emperor. House Wonju and House Khor. It was an easy decision as the Khors had already guaranteed him a position in the council. So in quick succession, he raised his right hand and proclaimed.

"House Valin shall also pull its name from the running and second the nomination of House Khor." The old man put his hand down. And waited for the next nomination.
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The Palace Gardens
Trovan


Amelia looked around the garden, its splendor was not matched by any in the whole galaxy, not even the Imperial Gardens could match its beauty. The garden contained all sorts of trees, animals, fungi but out of all the things in the garden, her favorite was the roses they were not ordinary roses though. They had been genetically altered by her family for years to warp the rose from its normal red to a beautiful royal purple. The roses were not just aesthetic they did have properties according to her father they were used to do "very bad things." According to her mother, they were used as decoration on the lapels of the members of the Valin House but according to others, they were used for much more than that. According to the botany books she acquired from the Palace library revealed their dark side... the roses were poisonous but not by accident for centuries her family she had discovered used these to eliminate dissenting nobles and military officials. Her father had put a stop to this as he found it barbaric just like the old gods they worshipped, he tried to wipe away the memory of their past...of the old ways but now it is clear to Amelia. He was wrong and for his betrayal of the family name, he must pay for it, and how better to do it than to seal his fate with the very thing he tried to destroy. The old ways shall surpass the new, just as the young surpass the old.
 

North Timistania

RolePlay Moderator
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The Diet Galactica

"Arnu Khor" I say my tone contemplative as the holographic facsimile hovers above us

"An ambitious man with the forces to back his goals" Oba replies pointing to the images of Khor fleets on the move

Events continue to evolve devoid of any predictable pattern, first Hiram gets taken out of the picture and now Arnu Khor stands ready to claim the celestial throne. The Arch-Duke has likely been planning this for months, perhaps even years, having gathered support from most of the great houses and a good chunk of the legions no less. In other times I would have abstained and left the corrupt gaggle of imperial nobles to bicker and feud amongst themselves, better to stand apart from the imperium than be tainted by association. However, these are not other times, a tumult is brewing at the edges of the imperium and if allowed to fall upon a disunited empire it will swallow the reach as well. House Oragbade has always looked to its own culture and people first, our wealth, resources and generous donations to church and state buying us a reprieve from the intrigues of the wider core. Now though the ambitions of a rogue admiral could swallow the reach along with the entire imperium, unity is more than an ideal, it is the only move that will guarantee survival.

"Better Khor then those Wonju snakes," Oba says a look of disgust on his face as he mouthes the name of that much-maligned house

For my part I care little for either potential claimant, let the vultures squabble over Shiram's carcass so long as the reach is left alone. My only desire is to place a warm body on the throne of this icy cesspool so that I can once again look to the protection of my own realm. But the reaches continued health requires an emperor with a stable grip on the reigns of power and Arnu Khor appears to have that strength. I rise from my throne and stand to address the diet.

"He has the support of Aaron Rhodes and I swore to support the Regnier, House Oragbade supports Arnu Khor's nomination for Emperor," I say my voice amplified by various unseen speakers

Sitting back down I turn to Oba "what news from the fleet?" I ask

"House Oragbade is ready for war," he says solemnly

Taer Altos Orbit

The blackness of space was momentarily illuminated as countless pinpricks of light flickered briefly into life signalling the exit of hundreds of vessels from transwarp. The Balogun had sent out the call for as many ships as the reach could provide and the Yoruba had answered their warlords call in record numbers, whole warrior merchant clans now prowled the orbital lanes, their bulky vessels covered in menacing ordinance. Ships and crews hardened by decades of expeditions and void combat now brought their deadly skills to bear, though their vessels might have appeared ugly, slapdash and wholly unprofessional each represented a crew that had braved the darkness times beyond counting and lived to tell the tale.

Merchantmen and larger cruisers appeared like spiked fish as their unusual hulls glittered in the light of the nearby star, their bodies bore countless jutting lances and rocket silos. The merchant clans may not have been particularly concerned with aesthetic beauty but their warships bore the means of reducing vessels to scrap, which would then be scooped up and sold in short order. The promise of salvage and a healthy payout from the Oragbade commission office had proven more than enough to attract the largest gathering of the free armada since the pirate wars of old.

Behind the rowdy collection of merchant's vessels came a smaller and distinctly more uniform fleet, these ships were as different from the free armada as night from day. Some hundred or so larger warships emerged from transwarp, their hulls a mix of bone-white panelling and golden bodywork, these craft represented house Oragbade's formal military and the ancestral masks at the prow of each vessel ensured there was no ambiguity as to who they served. The Arch-Duchesses personal fleet was small in number but they made up for this by putting the houses immense wealth to good use, the finest armour and weaponry money could buy had been procured for each vessel of the royal fleet and only the most seasoned captains were blessed with the honour of the white and gold uniform.

At the head of this vast collection of merchants and royal guard was the largest vessel in the Oragbade fleet, the Obatala, the houses vast flagship towered over the smaller ships and prowled the space lane like a vast metal shark seeking prey. Fitted in the shipyards of Shango bay this vast warship possessed enough firepower to level a small planet, expensive and precious beyond imagining its arrival signified the house's commitment to defending the capital. From the bridge of the Obatala, Balogun Sadeko watched as her forces completed their jumps and formed up behind the flagship.

"All ships accounted for Balogun" an ensign called out from his station

"Good, send a transmission to the capital authorities, let no one doubt that the Oragbade have answered the Regniers call," she said as the austere beauty of the capital world flowed across the viewscreen
 

Esplandia

Factbook Addict
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Unclasping her hands, Archduchess Dae-Soon stood, calling attention to herself. She saw the faces of those looking towards her. There was disgust, mistrust, curiosity, and wonder. There were many here who would never support her house, and if she did become Empress by some miracle of the gods, they would mistrust her and actively seek to supplant her from the throne.

Hiram’s gesture had been touching. A true testament to the man’s character. His return of their house seal was something Wonju would not forget. But the assasination attempt on his life told her that the capital was far too dangerous. She could scheme with the best of them, but if someone was bold enough to attempt to murder an elector, on the Diet Galactica grounds, during the elections of a new emperor then perhaps it was best to scheme from the safety of the Traverse. Let the snakes have the core.

With the dignity and grace of a woman born to power, she spoke to her peers. “Thank you, Faizal Mulrhaad, for the nomination. But I must decline. House Wonju will not seek the Celestial Throne. Instead we nominate Archduke Sulla of House Livia. They will make a fine Emperor.” She returned to her seat, eager to study the expressions on the faces of the others.


Written at the behest of @Andrenne
 

Slon

Registered
Beware The Storm
Episode 1 - "Preparations! Preparations! Preparations!"
The ship was kingly to put nicely. Upon entering the mammoth landing bay, Maura knew she was expending her most precious of resources―Antica, that was. She had received word days prior of the impending threat of a fleet, something of the god's origins. She didn't give a name, but only a whisper of its masses. Maura for that matter was left mostly in the dark. She didn't regard her cousin as the superior her position was meant out to be, nor an equal because of Antica's detailed history with Aldikar, but Maura would answer, for loyalty, even if she pitied the Imperial Throne. To Taer Atlos, that's where her cousin wanted Maura to fly to now. Taer Atlos―the undeniable center of the Imperium and galaxy at that. A hall of revered Emperors and statesmen alike, progressive policy, and plentiful rum. Only held back by that illusion and that anything said about it was actually false, the Atlos and greater Imperial Diet were a joke. She hadn't been, not since she was eleven. The galaxy appeared so daunting then, many orbits ago. Now, she scavenged the stars with the Arcdothien Grand Fleet, or what would've been if the upgrades were allowed to be finished. See, Antica stressed that Maura had a week to come from the other side of the galaxy, which included dragging all five hundred Arcdothien space ships to what she assumed to be a light–hearted shit–show. But, she forgave the dirty politics, the insanity of Antica's demands, her resentment to a scheming throne, an Imperium drowning in lotacracy, and an upcoming war she had no role in outside of hereditary responsibility. More times than not, Maura would stare into the stars from the deck of her own battlecruiser wondering if she could abandon what was the hex of this career and leave the Imperium altogether, with her fleet of course. It was only the grind of managing a house of her own that made being an Arcdothien worth it. But even the fleet could not forgive the daunting nightmares that Maura had endured, the dreams that stilled her in the night, or whatever was night anymore. The recurring pains inhibited her from more days gunning down pirates or blasting asteroids in the outer–rim, but she would manage. She always had.

“Gettin’ slow are we now?” the voice called out. It was louder than the entire platform, she could sense as half of the harbor froze and turned to see the origin of the noise.

Maura looked out into the crowd before the ship, spotting none other than Rev in the middle of the maintenance crews, engineers, and cargo–bots. Droids were the majority of the population, not accounting for the incoming soldiers. “In your dreams,” Maura called back.

Rev responded with a bellow that resembled that of a howl, he ran up to the ship and put Maura in a bone–crushing hug, “I'll squeeze the tired out of ya!”

His hug was indeed wild, Maura's back popped as Rev settled her to the ground, but she wouldn't let him know, even if he felt it. “Wow I feel amazing!” Maura exclaimed.

“Then I should do it again!” Rev hallowed, pretending to extend his bear arms. Maura sidestepped him for a muse.

“And I thought I was ‘slow,’” Maura clicked her tongue at the space between them, prompting Rev into another fit of laughter. He was middle–aged, barely sixty Imperial years, though it only showed in his face, the rest of his was a teddy bear. A seven foot, purely stone, bear-armed, veteran, teddy bear. He had always served as a father figure in the loss of her own biological one. She had no familiarity with him though, which made loving Rev and his goofiness all the easier, she knew no other way. She supposed the ignorance was bliss in that she could love him for who he was, even if it meant her going through six years of military academy at ten years old.

“Hahahahaha!” Rev's brown eyes cooled to soft amber, signifying he was happy. Maura embraced him with a hug of her own.

“I'm surprised you found the terminal okay, old man!”

“If only you inherited my sense of natural direction!” he beat his puffed chest with one arm as a show of pride. It would have looked comical on others whereas on Rev it looked like he was about to rip your head clean off your shoulders―gently, though. Maura loosed a laugh at the thought, tempting a smile.


“Ok Commander Giggles! When are ya gonna take me around your ship?!” Rev patted his black backpack which blended right into his tank top and sweats, for that matter.

“Since when am I Commander Giggles? If I'm the Commander, you're the entire damned fleet!” Rev roared, and Maura was glad that she could enjoy the next few days with someone, someone other than just her crew. It definitely beat waiting for responses from Antica and sentient drones at gas depots. “We can start right away, but you have to promise to drop the mom sweats, unless you're pregnant with my warrior sibling?

“Sure thing Commander, ” Rev replied, “but I'll drop my sweats. Please, lead the way!” He walked up the ramp into the hangar bay, promising stares from crewmates who looked on in definite envy, for her or her dad, she didn't know. But, she also didn't care. They laughed all the way to the elevator, from the elevator, and into commission, spending hours just up until the entire fleet left the docks and into the final hyperloop, next destination: Taer Atlos.




Diet Galactica, Taer Atlos
It was hard to consider the possibility, Antica debated, the idea of House Khor being leaders―about anyone in the camber ruling, for that matter. She had correctly predicted that time would be her ally, striking anew her friendship with Sulla and to a greater extent, Solios. How even the idea of House Livia occupying the throne once humored Arcdothiens for generations, now here she was, about to declare them her candidate for the throne. In all Arcdothien glory, for that matter. For what was longed to be the final meeting in a series of dreadful meetings, the Regnier–apparent Aaron had called forth the House's combined forces to calibrate an army that could withstand Admiral Rian. It was a formidable inquiry and Antica surely would not let the Empire fall apart now, when Arcdothien's had so much too lose. When she had so much to lose. But it was the omnipresent belief that the starship salad would still not be enough and only amount to dubious sums, Antica could not allow her entire fleet to be destroyed other. The Imperium or House Arcdothien? Oh how there was so much too game and it could all be settled here,

Antica spoke to her equals when she said, “At the behest of House Arcdothien, I see both candidates are fit for greater alignment. But, both have provided more than sufficient arguments for who is deserving of an Arcdothien nomination. That said, I concur House Wonju's message and support Archduke Sulla of House Livia for the throne. And whilst I see a potent future under Khor rule, it is integral we may not flail in these hours. While former-Admiral Rian schemes we need to amass militant nature that has been indicted for many a generation. Tis' our chance to regain our superior standing in the Universe. To prevent losing our dignity and for the general promotion of the common defense, to embark on rebuilding our grandeur and supplementing the Greater Empire abroad, to Solios, to Sulla. By Oridran, the Imperium!”
 

Esplandia

Factbook Addict
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Looks like it will either be House Livia or House Khor, Faizal thought. He knew that most of the proposals would be for an Archduke. There had been a number of elections in the past and he could count the number of times anyone lower in rank had been nominated on his fingers. And the number of times they’d been elected? That had never happened.

He was pleasantly surprised when House Wonju had declined their nomination. It made him feel less that he was going against his father’s plans. Or had that been Hiram’s plan all along? To nominate and let Dae-Soon decline? He didn’t know. His father was always a few steps ahead of him on everything.

That so many houses hadn’t nominated themselves, now that was an interesting development. Perhaps the Great Houses were learning to be more humble. He had to cover his mouth to hide the grin at his own joke.

Two houses nominated. And with equal support. That boded ill, and battlelines were likely to be drawn up. He leaned over to whisper to Aaron Rhodes. “Looks like you're up, Margrave Rhodes. Time to tell the candidates to make their case so we can all hear what wonderful things they have to say about themselves.”
 

Esplandia

Factbook Addict
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Salicor
Secret Imperial Weapons Depot


The landing was rough. High winds and electrical discharges rocked the vessel as it dropped from orbit. Rian gritted his teeth and rode it out. Salicor was not a very hospitable world. Deemed to be poor in resources and incapable of long term settlement, it had remained long ignored by the great houses. A small world in a small system in an out of the way corner of the Imperium.

The shuttle thudded heavily against the ground. He felt his bones knock against each other. A metallic screech warned him that damage had occurred. He would admonish the pilot later for such a poor display of flying. But that thought died when the landing ramp was lowered and the compartment was slammed with the rush of high winds.

It took a moment for his landing party to gather themselves. Commander ALtain Vis was the first one out, the wind pulling at her uniform. She was followed by armored marines. Rian unclasped his cape and let it be blown to the back of the transport compartment. He would not fight it and the wind.

A towering gray building greeted them about half a kilometer from them. They made their way towards the facility, pushing against the wind. There were no guards at the gates, but the sentry turrets tracked their approach.

Rian entered his access code into an entry pad sealed within the gate, and they swung open to let him in. They entered a vestibule of sorts and when all were inside the outer doors closed. Rian entered his codes again and the inner doors swung open.

He was greeted by two dozen Imperial Guardsmen and a short pudgy man. He was rubbing his balding head and looking out of sorts. His uniform was crumpled, and Rian noticed that the guardsmen’s equipment did not look well maintained.

“Grand Admiral Rian,” the pudgy man said nervously. “I was not expecting a visit. If you had sent word ahead that you were coming…”

“Then perhaps you’d look like an actual officer in the Imperial Military,” Rian finished coldly. “I have no time for your sniveling, Commander Currahee. I am here on a matter of great concern. You will take me to storage locker…” Commander Vis handed him a datapad and he read the information “...3X-772. I will be requisitioning the entire stock of Stellar Fusion Weapons.”

Commander Currahee’s eyes widened. He looked at Rian and then at his marines behind him. “Sir, as you’re aware those weapons are outlawed by Imperial Proclamation 22-97…”

“Don’t lecture me on Imperial proclamations. We are in a crisis.”

“I can’t just hand them over. I will have to contact the Ministry of…”

Rian cut him off again. “Are you unaware of what has happened?” he asked, his voice rising with indignation. “The Emperor is dead, murdered by his own cousin who now seeks to grab the Celestial Throne. We stand on the verge of a calamity. These weapons are all that stand between us and a civil war.”

“I can’t let you have them,” Currahee said, his voice cracking.

Rian stepped closer to him. He eyed the guardsmen in their shabby uniforms, with their poorly kept weapons. He then pointedly looked at his own marines, wearing heavy armor and carrying the finest and newest Imperial weaponry. He turned back to the balding commander. “I would rather not have to take these weapons by force.”

Commander Currahee made one final protest. “Just one of these weapons can obliterate entire fleets, or burn away a planet's atmosphere.”

“I am aware of their destructive capabilities,” Rian assured him. “And the gods willing, I need not use them. I pray that the enemies of the Imperium back down when they learn of what I have.”
 

Prydania

Það er alltaf sólríkt í Býkonsviði
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Aaron nodded as Faizal leaned in. He had much on his mind. Perhaps it was his military background, but the fleet he was hoping to cobble together was on the forefront of his mind, even as he observed the debates before him. Still, he smiled at Faizal's comment. That was one reason he liked folks from Drof-Antier. They were part of the inner galaxy and still willing to point out its pretensions.

"Assembled Archdukes," he began, standing. His own uniform somewhat more...subdued then the finery the highest nobility in the Imperium wore. Still, he'd learnt about how politics were played from his younger years in the core. He knew damn well how to sell himself in this situation- times were dire, and a no-nonsense frontier outlook was necessary. He both loved and hated that. Loved it because it gave him a degree of freedom to be a bit more direct than would perhaps otherwise be tolerated- they thought of him a certain way, why not lean into it? He hated it because...ugh. Politics was still politics, even if you made it work for you.

"The throne is vacant. I want to impress onto all of you just how dangerous this is. It's been a thousand years since this has occurred. This would be an uncertain, and dangerous time even under the best of circumstances. It's not the best circumstances though, is it? We grapple with a rogue admiral and starfleet. What should be our shield is now a sword against our throats. I'm not naive. I know this process will take some back and forth. I implore you all though, don't dither. Don't cling to old grudges. Don't use this as an arena to settle every single petty past dispute between you. A lawless usurper is somewhere behind the blackness of space with the most powerful military force known to history at his command. So let us select an Emperor and come together as one to survive the oncoming crucible."

"As Regnier I call on Arnu of House Khor. You've made your desire to sit on the Celestial Throne known. Make your case then." He sat down, taking a deep breath. It was a procedural step, yes, but he could have called on either to make their cases first. He'd just singled that, as Regnier, he had a preference. The man he selected to speak just now.
It was a choice he'd have to make, and he did. Problem was choices like that, in this arena, could get you killed.
 

Slon

Registered
Beware The Storm
Part 2 - "Vote"

Antica considered the words of both houses. There was a lot left on the table. She wasn't just picking and choosing here who would be 'his majesty'. She waot just picking and choosing the next imperial blood line. More likely than not this was the ruler whom she would die alongside against the enemy fleets that assembled in darkness. The idea of the conflict ahead weeded itself into Antica's mind. The most powerful military force known to history, Antica considered those words too. Being so close to the galactic center, her home world of Aldika wouldn't stand a chance. She turned to Regnier Aaron.

"I am ready to cast my vote," Antica said. "I stand by my nomination and cast my vote for Archduke Sulla of House Livia to be Emperor of the Imperium Galactica." Antica shifted her stance, "You're right, we don't have time for rivalries Regnier Aaron. The people of Solios are strong. Their Pelclaren culture makes them so. Archduke Sulla will lead us to crush these insurgents and any other enemies we should face." Antica sat down and let the room resume its discussion, much milder than the Diet. Still, the images of the war to come flickered before her and she prayed to Oridran that the fleets in orbit above were enough to beat back the shroud that swallowed stars.


*Disclaimer: this presumably takes places after House Khor's and House Livia's posts, respectively. Just posting early, but icly this would happen after those posts
 

Esplandia

Factbook Addict
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Taer Atlos

It had been decided. After hours of deliberation and argument. Multiple times it had nearly come to storm outs, with war threatening to break out. But at last there was a majority. House Khor won the vote by one.

Not everyone was happy with the result, and those who had supported House Livia were still fuming. Faizal worried that even after this there would be a division in the great houses that might still lead to conflict.

But there was finally a new emperor. One less thing to worry about in this ongoing crisis. Aaron Rhodes would be responsible for informing the Diet Galactica, and the peoples of the Imperium. In the meantime, Faizal returned to the hospital to see his father.

“Your father’s condition has improved,” the doctor informed him. “He’s got a long ways to go yet, but he’s no longer in critical condition. I’m expecting a full recovery.”

The news was the best he’d had in the last few days. He couldn’t wait for his father to recover, and take command of the house once again. There would come a day when Faizal would happily ascend to the title of Archduke, but for now he was content to look forward to many more years of his father ruling.

He sat at the edge of the bed, holding Hiram’s hand clasped in his.


Imperial Command Carrier Hammerhead
At Warp


Alecto Rian sat straight-backed in his command chair. He drummed his fingers on the arm of his chair. He watched the distance ticker count down as his fleet raced to their final destination. This was it. An all or nothing play.

Taer Atlos. The seat of power of the imperium. It was his for the taking. He would grab the Celestial Throne and end the corruption of the great houses. A new age would begin, one with a strong ruler, an emperor no longer hampered by tradition. No longer trapped by the machinations of the houses. And one completely and utterly dominated by humans.

“All fleets have checked in,” Commander Vis informed him. “We will all arrive within seconds of each other.”

He nodded, feeling pride at the professionalism of his fleet and its officers. “Once we have punched a hole through planetary defenses, we will launch a ground assault. Take command of the Diet and the Palace.”

“Do you think the legion will stand with the great houses?” she asked him.

“If they haven’t declared an emperor yet, then no,” he answered. “But if they have, then we will just crush Zabi and her forces.”

“Arriving at Taer Atlos,” the helmsmen called out, “in three...two...one.”

The first of the fleet arrived, dropping out of transwarp. The command screens were filled with readouts showing the positions of the planet's defenses and ships within the system. Rian noticed that a great deal of ships from the noble houses were in orbit, more than he assumed, but that wouldn’t stoop them. His ships immediately began firing on the planetary defense platforms, bearing straight in for the planet. Another of his fleets arrived on the far side of the planet. And then another, and another, and another. As more and more of the Imperial starfleet arrived in the system Rian smiled. The Imperium would be his soon.
 

Loz

TNPer
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Taer Atlos

"Hail the Emperor!" Yelled Kardin as Rhodes proclaimed the victor. Arnu's supporters in the chamber took up the cry as well, while his detractors silently weighed the price of their losing hand. Arnu himself did not know what to feel in the moment. It was a heavy mix of pride and anxiety, but none the less a smile now rested on his face. As he scanned the nobles he hardly noticed Azuari had rushed to side, and was apparently rather energetically trying say something to him. "Father!" He heard. "Captain Vas made contact with Minras, the Dauntless and the rest of Rian's fleet is on the move to Taer Atlos." Arnu's smile faded. "How long?" He asked. "The fleet is in transwarp, could be minutes, could be seconds." The chamber was deathly silent now, the assembled lords processed the battle that was about to unfold. In this moment of uncertainty Arnu stood and spoke. "Lord Rhodes, please hail the Peacemaker and get my son on the holo." His command clear, and his voice firm he continued. "Kardin, send word to the Legion immediately that we have an Emperor to whom they owe their allegiance, and tell Zabi Alecto is coming." Kardin gave a curt nod, while Minras appeared on the screen. Finally Arnu turned the Archdukes. "Each man and woman in this room is a pillar that holds both our Imperium and our Galaxy, and it is ours, no others. Our Empire cast down the gods, and we shall sweep aside this traitor to the wasteland of history. Now do as your Emperor Commands and Rise! Assemble your forces! For the Imperium!"


Khor Flagship "Peacemaker" Taer Atlos Orbit

Minras listened to his father's speech and it brought courage to him. Courage that was desperately needed. The Archducal fleets of House Khor, Oragbade, and Eburtkol made up the majority of the defending fleet, with several other houses also doing their part for the Imperium. "Too few." Khor said aloud to his bridge. Moments before Lord Rhodes had hailed the Peacemaker, Minras had put out the signal to all the Imperium. He knew help would be on the way, or at the very least he hoped. What he knew however was that the early stages of this fight would be painful for the defenders. "Ships exiting transwarp Sir!" Called out a bridge officer. "How many?" Minras said focusing his attention to the scanners. "Thousands." Replied the Officer. While that word echoed in Minras' head, response signals began to flood his instruments. Vane, Tywysog, Arcdothien, Aglar, and even the church. "The Hammerhead is on grid my lord, hostile fleet has begun bombardment of Taer Atlos." Minras nodded. "Planetary defenses?" Minras asked. "Aye sir, the Legion has engaged Rian's fleet with ground to space cannons". Minras nodded again. "Alright get us moving." He called to his helmsman and to his allies on the holo. "For the Imperium."
 

Esplandia

Factbook Addict
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Taer Atlos Orbit
Drof-Antier Dreadnaught Virammar


Alarms blared. The crew of the ship immediately rushed to stations as the command screen filled with readouts of arriving ships.

“Defense platforms have begun firing.”

“I’m counting two thousand....wait...three thousand new contacts.”

“Another fleet arriving at the far side of the planet.”

“Raising shields.”

All around Cruzier Natal commands and responses were being hollered about. She sounded all hands to battle stations. The Imperial Starfleet had warped into orbit without notice, and already were cutting through planetary defenses.

“Bring all our ships into formation,” she ordered, and her command was relayed swiftly to the surrounding fleet. “We need to defend the inner picket line. Keep those missile batteries firing.”

The ship was rocked as laser fire began hitting the Virammar’s shields. She watched as her fleet moved into position. Gunboats were already creating a flak screen between her cruisers and the incoming missiles from the Starfleet. Her cruisers were launching their own missiles, and her carriers were discorging their wings of fighters.

But she didn’t have to do the math to know they were outnumbered. More and more imperial vessels were warping into the system and already the out picket-lines of planetary defense platforms were being overwhelmed.

The sorlander ships were moving to engage along with the Planetary Defense Fleet. She opened a channel to her own ships. “This is Imersa Natal, prepare to defend your positions. Taer Atlos will not fall! May the gods welcome our souls to their side today.”


Taer Atlos
They moved Hiram from his room, taking him to the bombardment shelter below the royal hospital. Faizal stayed by his side only long enough to make sure his father was safe, and then he got a transport to take him to the Diet.

Evacuation procedures were already underway across the capital as people fled the cities or ran to the shelters. He could see fighter craft rising up from the ground in the thousands, heading spaceward to fight the invading force.

His transport landed and with his guards flanking him he made his way towards the Diet chamber. He met up with his chief of security, Aram Valgurhros.

“Where is my wife?” he asked.

The blond haired man fell in beside him as they made their way towards the chamber. “The manor has been evacuated. Her transport made it out of the system, so she should be back on Coarin soon.”

Faizal sighed in relief. “Thank you,” he said.

“With all due respect your highness, you should have evacuated as well.”

“Yeah,” he said as he entered the chamber and saw the defense forces and numerous noble house guardsmen preparing defenses. “But what kind of acting Archduke would I be if I abandoned the defense of Taer Atlos.”


Taer Atlos Orbit
Imperial Command Carrier Hammerhead


The Starfleet broke through the outer planetary defenses and moved to engage the defending fleets. He smiled as he watched a Drof-Antier carrier burn up in a series of explosions. It hadn’t been fast enough to get behind their flak barrier, and all seven missiles heading towards it struck true.

“Commander Vis,” Rian called, and his first officer hurried over. “Prepare our first Stellar fusion Device.”

She nodded and rushed away to relay the command. The fleet continued moving forward as the last of their forces straggled into the system. They now outnumbered the defenders ten to one. This fight was already his, but he wasn’t going to give the noble houses time to mobilize. It was time to bring the fight to a swift conclusion.

“Weapon armed,” Vis informed him.

“Target that Planetary Defense fleet in quadrant three,” he ordered. “Launch device at will.”

The device was launched. It raced across the distance between the two fleets. The planetary defense forces launched counter measures, but Rian smiled knowing it wouldn’t matter. At a hundred kilometers out from their fleet the device detonated.

A bright flash of energy expanded rapidly outward from it. The energy of a small star. It disintegrated the counter measures, the flak barrier, the fighters around the fleet, and all ships within range of the weapon. A spherical area of about a thousand kilometers was completely obliterated.

“Prepare the next devices,” Rian ordered. “Target the largest concentration of defending ships. Fire at will!”
 
Taer Atlos
Archduke Fredrick Valin's office


Looking out from the balcony of his office in the Diet, Fredrick looked up into the sky and saw what seemed to be a relatively even fight, not one side seemed to be taking the upper hand but then like an act of the gods, a massive flash emanates from the sky wiping out several ships and defenses entirely. Fredrick bowed his head and walked over to his desk. The desk was smaller than the one back in Trovan, along the desk were a few items his guardsmen had decided to place around his office to make it feel like home.

Sitting there was a bottle of wine and a glass brought from his own vineyard, a small holographic picture that displayed his two daughters, and finally a box of his own personal fountain pens. Knowing that this may be the last few moments, he decided to open the bottle and have just one last drink. So he popped the cork and poured himself a glass, picking it up he held it for a moment swirling the wine around, he checked the side residue to see the sweetness of the wine of which he so prided himself on. He stood glass in hand also picking up the small holographic picture of his daughters. He stared at them, then the sky, and finally, back at them, they were his pride and joy he just hoped that the weeks to come would be good to them. He took a sip of the wine and put down the holo picture. He walked slowly to the balcony and continued to sip on his wine. But after a few moments, his chest began to feel tight, and his vision began to blur. After a second or two of this odd spell, he began to cough and cough and cough bringing the man to his knees gasping for air as his throat closed and his vision went completely dark.
 
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Taer Atlos
Khordus shared his congratulations and traversed through the delicate, and intricate maze of political relations and alliances, which to him would be more like crossing a minefield...blindfolded, truth is, he was under a magnitude of stress, he could do with an excuse- any excuse to take his leave, and for a moment he felt relieved as brown scales filled his view

that was untill he saw the face of the Nelidian before him, and a wave of realization fell on him like a mountain

"Sir! We are being attacked" Valk almost yelled into his face, his gaze piercing, the smaller royal left stunned for a moment, finally responding
"By who?" is all he could manage out, before the rest of his security detail formed up around him, escorting him out; his security chief blurting out an answer that didnt fully meet his ears "Alecto Rian"

Taer Atlos- Orbit
the RNN Firebird increased her flank as she fell back towards the defensive perimeter, stardboard and stern shields struck multiple times but holding as the Missile carriyng ship repositioned, line abreast with others of similar class, silos opening and targetting computers aquiring multiple fire solutions while orders an reports were barked out on all decks

"Status on launchers!" demanded the captain, holding onto the armrests of his chair as the ship shook from another impact
"Three through Fifteen are loading, targets locked for One and Sixteen!" came the report from the young crewman
"All battle stations, Send those traitors into the vacuum!"
 

North Timistania

RolePlay Moderator
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In orbit above Taer Altos


The bridge of the Obatala glowed a baleful red as alarms screeched in warning, the void burned with wrathful light as energy weapons glittered in the dark. The screens of every console were alight with thousands of targets, the rogue admiral had brought the full force of Starfleet down upon the capital world. Sedeko gritted her teeth as a merchantman directly in front of the Obatala was torn apart by a direct hit from a missile.

The situation was dire, the great houses were outnumbered and outgunned by the imperial fleets whose superior firepower was now tearing at both the defending ships and the capital world itself. Defence batteries exploded and ships burned as the comms were filled with the sounds of battle and death. Sedeko had little time for the Imperium and their false teachings, but the scriptures that spoke of apocalypse suddenly seemed very relevant.

“The outer defences have fallen Balogun!” an ensign called out fearfully from his station

Rian’s fleet was advancing at a merciless pace, already the planetary defence fleet was tied up in a desperate holding action and all while the rest of the defenders were pounded by a withering salvo of missile fire. The naval might of no less than four great houses had been assembled to face the threat, but already their disadvantage was plain for all to see.

“Where are the other houses!” Sedeko hissed angrily

Word of mobilizations beyond the core had reached the capital days prior, but unless they arrived soon it would be too little, too late. Something had to be done, time had to be bought or the capital would be lost before reinforcements had a chance to turn the tide. Sedeko sighed and resigned herself to the cost of the decision she was about to make, time would be bought but the blood price was going to be steep.

“Helmsman call an...” she didn’t have a chance to finish her order as a blinding explosion in the distance rocked the fleet

For the briefest of seconds, the comms was filled with terrified screaming and then nothing but ominous static. The planetary defence fleet had been swallowed by blinding white fire, as the light faded Sedeko noted that not even wreckage was left to mark the last stand of the capital fleets.

“Fusion weapons, he intends to kill us all!” Sedeko thought grimly, a chill snaked down her back

There was no time for caution left, it was time to gamble everything or to lose the imperium to a tyrant. Sedeko activated her command console and set the comms to fleet-wide transmission, it was time to show the good admiral how Yoruba did battle.

“All ships, loose formation! We are attacking, ramming speed!” she roared as warning klaxons rang in the background

It was a dangerous move, one likely to claim many souls, but to stay put and engage Starfleet in a ranged engagement would give the admiral the ability to pick them off at his leisure with his fusion weapons. The Obatala’s engines roared into life as the flagship of the reach sped to the front of the advancing fleet.

“Olarun help us” she whispered reverently

A sea of missiles rose to greet the advancing fleet, the Oragbade charged forward their destination either death or victory.

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Oragbade Estate

Taer Altos




The sky was pockmarked with orange fire as the battle raged in the capital's orbit, the grounds of the Oragbade estate shook as the ground bombardment hammered at the planet's surface. Oba led the Archduchess and her personal guard as they raced toward the shelter beneath the estate, dust fell from the ceilings as the walls shook from nearby hits.

“I have no intention of cowering in a basement Oba!” Moremi protested angrily as Oba led them to the shelter entrance

“Then don’t, you can still command our forces within the bunker, but I cannot turn my full attention to the battle if you are at risk”

“We are all at risk Oba, no one is safe” Moremi replied mournfully

Oba leaned in and embraced her; she planted a passionate kiss upon his lips as they separated, Oranyan and several of the guards looked away in embarrassment. Everything was at risk now, the family and life they had built together threatened to be snuffed out by a stray barrage.

“The news from the fleet is not good, we are too few to hold Starfleet for long” Moremi said her tone grim but oddly lacking in fear

“Even if Rian manages to wipe out the fleet, he still has to win the ground war and this capital has many places to hide,” Oba said with a vicious grin

It was true enough that the ground war afforded the embattled houses a slightly more level playing field. They had the legions at their command and the urban nature of Taer Altos meant that a well-organized defence could easily stall the navies assault if the defenders utilized the terrain properly. Then there was the matter of the fusion weapons, even Rian probably wouldn’t be insane enough to bombard the capital with fusion weapons, then again Oba might have said the same about the admiral using such weapons at all before today. In any case, it was going to be bloody, the admiral would bombard the defenders mercilessly and the casualties would likely be horrendous.

Oba reached down and opened the large metal case he had been carrying, a biometric sensor flashed green, and the sealed container swung open to reveal a battered suit of legionary Armour and a worn looking auto-rifle. Oba pulled the Armour free and put it on, the layers of ablative plate had saved his life more than once and he would need their protection now if he was to survive. He reached for the auto-rifle and slammed the magazine in place, there was something comforting about holding his old battle rifle again, it had served him well on the periphery, he would need its protection more so now.

“Legate Zabi is in command of the ground forces; I'm going to take a shuttle to the garrison and provide whatever aid I can” Oba said calmy as he strapped his helmet on

“If you die, I will never forgive you, in fact, I will cross to the underworld to berate you!” Moremi said as they embraced one final time

“In that case, I shall avoid a hero's death, you are scary when you argue,” Oba said with a mischievous grin.

He turned to regard his young son, Oranyan seemed both terrified and excited all at once, the boy was getting firsthand experience in more than just politics. Oba sighed, the time they had spent on the warm shores of Oduduwa may as well have been a lifetime ago. He ruffled the young boy's braided hair and placed his hand on Oranyan’s shoulder in a fatherly gesture.

“Be good for your mother boy and await my return” he said softly in a paternal tone

“Bring me back a souvenir?” Oranyan said with a nervous tone

“Perhaps a certain admirals head” Oba replied with a sad smile

He turned to regard the small retinue of house guards, too few to stand against the horde that would soon descend upon them, they would have to do. He saluted his sovereign and then led his men out into the fire choked capital outside.

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

Olo Bandasi gripped the arms of his chair as the Oko's engine shook violently with the strain of coming up to maximum speed on such short notice, a console directly across from him exploded in a shower of sparks killing the crewman instantly. He checked the viewscreen, still leagues to go before they closed the gap between the Oragbade and Starfleet, he would be losing many crewmen to today. Missiles and beams of killing energy screeched past the Oko which rose and fell on the void like a dolphin leaping in and out of the ocean. Others were less lucky, the Akani split apart as twisted metal burst apart from a direct hit, the screams of its crew filling the comms as it was destroyed.

Olo felt his heart begin to pound like a drum, he had known the captain of the Akani, the two men had shared the same birthday and been present at each other's weddings. He swallowed hard and turned to his second.

"Tell the men to start singing the prayer, we need Ogun on our side this day!" he yelled over the cacophony of battle

The first mate nodded and yelled out the call for battle prayers, drums began to beat as the ship musician began to hammer the ancient synth skin with a rhythmic hand, all across the ship men took up the fierce appeal for the god of battles aid. The Oko advanced with a desperate song as the void was filled with death.


 
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In Orbit Above Taer Atlos

Ayyal watched the battle unfold with steepled fingers aboard their personal corvette from a distance, its signature cloaked to prevent detection from the imperial navy. Their eyes were narrow slits and the breaths coming through their respirator crackled intensely. The margrave rarely showed emotion, but Rian's betrayal and ruthless attack on the throneworld infuriated them to no end. The situation was dire, even the strongest houses were wilting under the full strength of the imperial navy and Rian's ace-up-the-sleeve, those hellish fusion weapons. The Kilaalmesh had thus far withstood the storm of missiles and cannon, slinging heavy blows into unprotected targets, but several of the smaller ships present were limping, and a number more reduced to wreckage.

They glanced at their communications screen. Task Group Bakhamaat was still in transit and couldn't help. Even if they had arrived, their numbers would only delay the inevitable against this onslaught. Ayyal sighed, and considered telling them to turn back to save themselves, but such a message would arrive too late.

Ayyal's mind wandered, going to their teachings. Some religious scholars of House Nazdi's church would point to this shift in events being favored, and indeed their logic was sound - change must occur in the universe, otherwise stagnation will rule. But Rian's betrayal could not be abided, regardless. Something about it did not sit right with them - Rian had been loyal to the Imperium. To Ayyal, there was little evident reason for his betrayal. Ayyal began humming a prayer to House Nazdi's patron deity, hoping their will would favor the Imperium as the margrave knew it, or at least close enough.

Then, in the rear of Admiral Rian's fleet, there was the flash of ships exiting transwarp, and moments later all hell broke loose.

In Transit to Taer Atlos, Task Group Bakhamaat

Admiral Unnuzal Eygir stood with her hands clasped behind her back, waiting impatiently for her fleet to drop out of trans warp in the throne system. Her Margrave had demanded her aid and Unnuzal was determined to see this crisis through, whatever the extent of it was.

A bridge officer appeared at her shoulder, "We'll be arriving in the system shortly. You should take your seat, Admiral."

Unnuzal sighed and returned to the captain's chair. She spoke to the bridge at large, "Open communications for when we arrive, and inform the task group to ready arms. I have a gut feeling we'll need to come in swinging."

The admiral watched as the weapons systems lit up across the board for the Bakhamaat on their heads-up display. The ship, and its sister, the Kilaalmesh, were imposing foes on the battlefield, each one able to rival all but the largest ships of the Imperial Navy in firepower and protection and perhaps surpassing them in some instances. Unfortunately, the house could only field two ships of this caliber, compared to the vast might of the Imperial Navy.

A few minutes passed, and the navigations officer spoke up, "All ships in task group Bakhamaat arriving in the throne system in 3... 2... 1...", and Unnuzal felt the slight jolt of leaving transwarp before witnessing the chaos currently bearing down on the throneworld.

In Orbit Above Taer Atlos, Behind The Imperial Navy

Each ship in the task group had only moments to take in the carnage before Admiral Unnuzal's instructions roared over their communications to open fire into the backs of the Imperial Navy. The combined firepower of some 200 House ships tore into the navy, which was thrown into momentary chaos by the interlopers, with a number of ships starting to turn their efforts to defending their rear. The surprise attack left a number of smaller ships of the Navy in tattered pieces, any flames quickly being extinguished by the vacuum of space, though the heavier ships weathered the storm and began to return fire, intending to inflict their own casualties.

Ayyal, from their position away from the fight, let out a small but unmistakably delighted yelp, even through their respirator, at the unexpected turn of events, but returned to their stoic calm as they hailed the Bakhamaat.

Unnuzal's visage crackled to life on Ayyal's screen, greeting the Margrave with a voice strained through concentration, "Ukhanyyar Ayyal, I see we arrived late. My apologies. We have thrown the Imperial Navy into some disarray at least, but we will not be able to sustain casualties once the Navy's larger ships bring their arms to bear on us. Please advise."

Ayyal nodded "Even still, Admiral, your presence is greatly appreciated. This change is good fortune indeed. Hold for as long as you can, to split the fleet's attention and provide some respite to the defenders, but regroup as soon as possible. Admiral Rian has acquired fusion weaponry and has already used one such device on the gathered loyalists. He is a dangerous opponent. May Their Will be with you."

The communique closed, and Unnuzal gritted their teeth as their fleet dug in for the fight.
 

Prydania

Það er alltaf sólríkt í Býkonsviði
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Taer Atlos

Aaron barely had time to proclaim Arnu of House Khor as the new Emperor when word of Rian's arrival rippled through the Diet. Arnu issued a call to arms as Aaron stood there for a moment, amidst the chaos. He looked out the grand windows of the chamber the Imperial election had taken place in. Already foreign lights blinked in the skies above the capital.

"I should be staying planet-side," he muttered.

"Bullshit," Brodie Fisher remarked.
"We need to get you to the Hvitt. Marshal Hákon of the Soderlands is awaiting you"

"I'm a Legionnaire," Aaron replied.

"Let Zabi do her job, because you're not a Legionnaire anymore. I don't know how the specifics work, civics was never my strong suit, but you were Regnier not too long ago. I think you may have a few more drops of blood to squeeze out of that stone. We need to get you up there."

Aaron nodded before letting Brodie take the lead, leading him to the shuttle that would take him to the White Company's flagship, the Hvitt.
"Brodie," I need you to send three messages," he said as he paced the shuttle's passenger area, not content to sit.

"Anything," Brodie replied, opening up messaging windows on his comms pad.

"Send one to Legate Zabi. Tell her...well...tell her that I know that she embodies the Legion's best qualities. It was an honour to serve under her before, and I know it will be an honour to serve her again."

"What else?"

"I need you to send two priority messages back home, to Holseta...tell Admiral Bruce and the Margrave fleet that should we fail here today, that he's to do what is necessary to defend Holseta...and my family. Tell him that, in such a situation, he's to seek out the remains of the Soderlanders and resist Rian."

Brodie gulped as he typed the order out, and affixed the seal of the House of Rhodes to it before sending.
"What's the other priority message?"

"To Kylie, Killian, and Aiden..." he said softly.
"I don't know how the day will go. I've seen war before but..." he walked to the window and saw the emerging might of the Imperial Starfleet.
"...this is something far more terrible. If I never see you all again, know I loved you all. And will always love you. Aiden, lead our House well. Be brave and..." he felt his heart lodged in his throat as he breathed deep.
"...be strong. No matter what."

Brodie again nodded nervously before sending...

The Hvitt
above Taer Atlos

before the battle


Aaron and Brodie were met by a contingent of White Company soldiers.

"Regnier Rhodes..." Brodie looked at Aaron and shrugged. He DID say there was blood to be squeezed from that stone yet....
"Marshal Hákon is waiting for you on the bridge."

"Where's Margrave Thor?" Aaron asked, referring to his nephew. What was about to happen....an engagement of this size....it was potentially apocalyptic. He was concerned, to say the least.

"He's here, on board," the White Company commander who greeted him answered.
"He's in private quarters. He didn't wish to interfere with you and the Marshal."

Aaron took a deep breath. The boy was soft spoken and unsure, and he didn't really blame him. Who wouldn't want to hide from what was about to happen. Dread seemed to permeate even the White Company's flagship. The largest flagship of the largest mercenary band of a people renowned for fighting and there was a sense of unease.

"Bring him to the bridge. We all serve together," he said with a nod. It was a sentiment that won him support for soldiers under his command as a Legionnaire, emphasizing the common struggle of officer and soldier.

The White Company soldiers split off, half escorting Aaron and Brodie to the bridge, the other half going to collect Thor. Aaron couldn't do much as he marched his way to the Hvitt's bridge. Just stare ahead. Stare ahead as the worst case scenario he'd studied as a student in the Imperial Military Academy many years ago dawned on him. A battle of total annihilation between two fleets each capable of scorching the cosmos.

The Hvitt's bridge
above Taer Atlos

before the battle


"Regnier," Marshal Hákon said with a salute as he met Aaron and Brodie aboard the warship's bridge.
"It's been a long time, but I won't lie. It's a good feeling to serve alongside you again."

"We have an Emperor now," Aaron replied.
"I'm not sure it's still Regnier."

Hákon shrugged with a chuckle.
"Maybe not, but we were all happy to hear about your election all the same. Besides, your duties as Reginer aren't complete until you present the Emperor to the Diet and the Imperium."

"Is that so?" Brodie asked, causing Aaron to give him a disappointed look.
"You weren't kidding when you said civics wasn't your strong suit."

Hákon just laughed for a moment.
"Every Soderland vessel is under our command...your command, Margrave Rhodes. And we can broadcast to anyone out there. So if you'd like to finally fulfill your duties..." the Marshal handed Aaron a transmitter. And Aaron? Well....

He thought back to the Rebellion of the Three Fold Path. Heresy everywhere. Rebellion and madness everywhere. What did he say then to calm those under his command? He clicked the button to upon the broadcast.

"To the Great Houses and Fleets defending Taer Atlos! To the Legion below guarding our capital! This is Margrave Aaron Rhodes of Holseta. Reginer of the Imperium. Before the combined Houses and peoples of the Empire...rejoice! We have, in accordance with our laws, named Arnu of House Khor our new Emperor! Long may he reign, and long may his line sit upon the Celestial Throne! We have a duty though, because as we assemble in the skies above our capital, an enemy approaches....Admiral Rian. I know you can hear me. Stand down. You will only find blood here above Taer Atlos. You are a criminal. You are a traitor. And the men you lead, you lead to their disgrace. You will face us, as we rally to the rightful, lawful Emperor, and you will fall. May the gods show you mercy for all you've done. Long live the Emperor! For the Imperium!"

Aaron was shaking as he set the transmitter down. Hákon knew why. He'd seen war too. He'd fought alongside Aaron. He hoped that they could live up to those words.

"That was rousing, Uncle Aaron."

Aaron turned around, smiling to see Thor there.

"I'm just unsure...why you want me here?" he asked, sounding unsure.

"Because," Aaron said, touching the red swallow-tailed flag on his uniform's sleeve.
"Red, or blue, white and black..." he tapped the blue, white, and black swallow-tailed flag on Thor's uniform sleeve, "we all bleed the same. I want you by my side."

Thor nodded with a gulp. He was scared, but he new....he knew why Aaron wanted him here. They were on the verge of death. Standing before a gaping maw of nothingness....if they were to die...well? At the very least they should both die in the company of family.

The Hvitt's bridge
above Taer Atlos

in the midst of battle

"Initial defences have cracked....we're holding our lines, but the Imperial Starfleet's not the Imperial Starfleet for nothing!" Hákon called out. He was filled with both dread and energy. As dire as it seemed...he was in the midst of the greatest battle of his life. Quite possible in the history of creation. At least not since the fall of the gods.

"We just lost a Drof-Antier ship!" an ensign called out.

Aaron turned briefly, panicked. His friends too....he grit his teeth. Thor just stayed back a bit...he appreciated why Aaron wanted him here, but he wasn't going to get in his way. He just tried to steel himself from the sights he saw. Blazes cutting through space, entire ships being wiped away. It was pure, overwhelming chaos. He couldn't help but be impressed as Aaron and Hákon managed to coordinate in it. Even as what he saw was terrifying. And then....

The flash of light akin to a star lit up the sky.

"The fuck was that...." Hákon muttered in awe of what he saw.
"That's an entire defence quadrant..." he turned to Aaron.
"The crazy son of a bitch didn't just use a..."

"He did..." Aaron growled. How he wished he'd called Rian a war criminal too....it would be fitting.

"Wha....what was that?" Thor asked, his voice shaking.

"A stellar fusion device," Aaron muttered.

"It just...I mean... it just...." Thor was stuttering.

Aaron had gone white. A battle against the Imperial fleet was one thing but.... now this. He was going to die here."

"Will he listen to reason? Can we negotiate with him?" Thor asked.

"Men who use weapons like that don't negotiate," Aaron replied.
"They take."

"Only if we go down without swinging," Hákon chuckled.

Aaron's life....he thought back on his life....he remembered crying tears of joy for each of his sons' births. He remembered meeting Kylie and knowing she was the one when she agreed to come all the way out to Holseta from the Core just to be with him. He remembered meeting Hiram, his first taste of battle....he looked down. At his uniform. What it represented. Why he was here....

"Patch me through to every Soderlander ship still standing," Aaron said softly.

Hákon signalled to the comms officer, who handed the Margrave the transmitter. Aaron's hand was, unlike before, steady.

"Mercenary bands of the Soderlands. Your contracts say I'm your employer, but you know me better than that. You know my family better than that. I didn't ask to be here. I didn't ask to be a position to defend the Imperium from usurpers and maniacs, but here I am. And here you are. Our fates, intertwined again. And it seems that the story that began when my ancestor found your people may end here. Against a would-be tyrant wielding the weapons of a maniac. If I have to die fighting though, gods damned right I'm dying fighting alongside Soderlanders! The Imperium elected a Rhodes Reginer! Let's show them what they get when they do that! And let's show Admiral Rian what he gets when he messes with the borderlands! To arms! And make that son of a bitch pay for every godsdamned stellar weapon he wants to use!"

He slammed the transmitter down. Sure of his fate. If Rian was going to use these weapons....Aaron's only choices were victory or death. And they both seemed to start on the same road forward right about now.



Prelude to War by Bear McCreary, 8:26

OOC Note: Given permission to RP the Soderlander fleet by @Kyle
 
Last edited:

Nogori

TNP’s Greedy Capitalist
The dozen transports full of Sulla’s and Pelagius’ honor guards filled the sky of the capital, approaching the Diet. Sulla looked out over the city which was illuminated by the lights of flying ships and vehicles attempting to find safety for themselves. A glance up at the nighttime sky showed it being lit up by thousands of warships and vessels preparing to shed blood. If one wasn’t aware of the current situation that they were in, the war machines dotting the sky could’ve been mistaken as the many stars in space.

Sextus had already been informed by Sulla of the events transpiring at Taer Atlos. The fleet was on its way. Now whether or not they would arrive in time was the real question but the entire might of House Livia and those loyal to it was going to fight irregardless.

Even in the face of certain death, his defeat still stung his mind and hung over his thoughts. The throne was only one single vote away from him. One vote between him and the power to destroy worlds. One vote between him and the power to conquer the stars as he deemed fit. And now? He most likely would not even live to see the next emperor sit on the throne, if even that was chosen would survive the battle. Now the best he could do was face combat as any Pelclaren must; with strength and honor which would hopefully give him a glorious death. After all these were the pillars of Pelclaren society.

All of these thoughts wandered throughout his brain as the transports landed on the platform in front of the Diet. Sulla and Pelagius stepped out, followed by their men. All of them wore their famed Pelclaren war armor which was decorated with different engravings and markings showing the history as well as the symbols of their clans. Sulla and Pelagius both had their own curved warblades sheathed and strapped to their hips. The choice of weaponry was optional for the Pelclaren; some chose the warblade or another form of melee weaponry as was traditional with their people or a ranged weapon, there was an even mix in the honor guards of both men.

Pelagius finally broke the silence and said to his brother, “No matter what happens here...I am proud to have been able to call you my brother...and my leader.”

Sulla said back, “We have been through many battles. Legions have trembled at our feet. Hundreds have fallen at our blades. Whatever happens here we will be bringing honor upon House Livia. Death is inevitable but the best way to combat it is with strength. And we will fight harder than any men.”

Pelagius gave a silent nod in return. Sulla took off his war helm and looked out over the heavens and the city once more. He took in a deep breath and exhaled. As he did a sudden burst could be seen in the sky, rivaling that of a small supernova above the planet. He breathed and exhaled one more time. He was not phased. Many would die by his hands.

They made their way into the Diet Chamber. It was a sorry sight. Nobles cowering and their men awaiting their deaths. “Gods, this is worse than seeing a cripple trying to fight a starship singehandely” Pelagius said. Sulla chuckled in return. He knew what his men needed before combat and that was a good speech.

He stood up on the Regnier’s desk and cleared his throat before he begun.

“Today a traitor comes here to take this world. He seeks to take the very thing that our ancestors fought and bled for so many centuries ago. But I don’t ask you here to fight for an emperor. I don’t ask you to fight for a man that you will most likely never meet. I don’t ask you to fight for a throne soaked and stained in the blood of those who have tried to conquer it before like the Traitor is doing. I do not ask you to do this and I will never ask you to fight for something you don’t believe in.

But what I do ask is that you fight for the honor of your people. The honor of your clans and the honor of our ancestors. We are the galaxy’s best warriors! Our people have brought worlds and star systems to heel. Cultures have crumbled at our might! I ask you to fight and die honorably so that your children and their children may remember you.

I fight for the men I've held in my arms, dying on foreign soil. I fight for their wives and children, who's names I heard whispered in their last breaths. I fight so that all the fighting I've already done hasn't been for nothing. I fight... because I must. Now is the hour of our victory! Rise up sons and daughters of the Pelclaren people and claim it!”

Pelagius started to beat his hands on his breastplate and repeat the chant, “SULLA! SULLA! SULLA!”, which was followed by all of their men. After the chanting Sulla asked Pelagius a question.

“Would you be willing to lead the defenses outside the Diet?”

“I would” he said.

“How many of you would follow Pelagius in being our first line of defense?” Many of them stepped forward. “Good. You will be our initial bulwark against the Traitor. Fortify the bridge leading into the Diet and the landing pads with canons and anything else you may find. To those who wish to stay” and he looked at everyone’s guards in the building, attempting to assert control, “Fortify every hallway with anything you can. Block off every chokepoint humanly possible. Set any traps that you can.” Their honor guard hit their chest and marched off.

Sulla stepped down and his brother extended his arm as a sign of respect and Sulla grabbed his forearm as Pelagius did likewise. Sulla said to him, “You do not come back here unless every intruder is dead. You will give your life. Do you understand me?”

Pelagius nodded and Sulla responded, “I will kill the Traitor. I promise this.” With that Pelagius followed his men and prepared the defenses outside. Sulla drew his warblade and approached Faizal, “Now we wait.”
 
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