Always the schemer Zi Teu. Something he admired of the man. After coming in to contact and then the employ of Zi Teu, Kaervik's savagery was refined and became more focused. It used to be chaotic, abhorrent, and he'd lose as many soldiers as they themselves killed. But now, with the cold and ruthless focus of Zi Teu, his own edge has been refined in to a fine dagger, capable of killing his enemies with the same kind of precision. Of course, there were times when acting as a hand grenade was necessary, but not now. For now they would play it safe.
Upon Zi Teu's command, they implemented the plan. They sent some of their forces to Nakira. To die. Half to Sector Z, and the other half—Zi Teu and his half—to the Rularian System. They also brought along the fuel barge ship so they could fill up on the System and keep the fuel stores topped up. As they got closer to the System, it was discovered that their asteroid belts were abundant in rich resources, but they had many outside scanners and defences. But despite the size of Zi Teu's fleet, they were able to fly under the radar with their steal tech, fanning out within the asteroids like deadly debris, and studied the Rularian's, their defenses and their military. It appeared they were a militaristic race of canine and feline bipeds, but they were also a proud and self-sufficient people; for how long they had observed them, there were very little transports coming in and out of the System, and none of them were foreign. Good, that meant that they would have to contend with minimal outside opposition.
It became a very brief discussion, but once Zi Teu made up his ind, Kaervik went and told a squadron of their stealth interceptors to take out the Rularian Deep Space Communication Array. They had many arrays, but one acted like the brain, which they could exploit. The Rularians were strong and self-sufficient, but that was the very thing that would be their downfall. [b “Wait for my command.”] He orders them. They were getting the barges in position so they could begin utilizing the fracking stations the Rularians so [i helpfully] left for them the second they took out the communications arrays. Once those were destroyed, their presence would be known and the beautiful destruction of this system could begin.
More interceptors and then ground crews were deployed to the fracking stations, killing all the Rularians inside so they couldn't signal to the military as the barge got in to position. And once they did...
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/C6ICB7v.jpg] ]
Despite the fact that it hit an asteroid, the air shook just as the alarms went off. And when it did, they all moved smooth and quickly, like they were trained for this. Dash didn't even have to give a command as everyone began moving to their designated battle-stations.
They were on Rularia-2's main military base for a scheduled inspection. There had been rumblings of Fringe System's being assaulted by an unknown entity, and they had decided—being a Fringe System themselves—that they should prepare for the eventuality... Although, Dash didn't know why he thought they would have more time.
Getting to the helm of his flagship, he's immediately being assaulted over the radio by the Admiral, telling them that the Deep Space Communication Array had been disabled, and had everyone begin mobilizing. They were getting in to defensive positions for the planets, the moons, and to attack the enemies head on as they flooded in to the system. Once his flagship was in the air and headed out of the atmosphere, it seemed his most trusted was being proactive. They had discussed at length that if the rumours of this rogue galaxy were true, then they were extremely dangerous, judging by the amount of them that were coming up on the radar, it seemed that assessment was true. By taking out the communications array, they effectively crippled their ability to receive outside help. Normally they wouldn't need it... But this enemy was [i different].
“Commander Bravanac!” Appearing on the holographic screen was Admiral Samo. “Our communications array has been cut, we need you to-”
[b “I already have my top soldier on it.”] It was something him and Lieutenant-Commander Luna Sabroc discussed, as it seemed like the most appropriate thing to target first, that and ordnance depots. They just didn't expect them to bypass the Solar System's external sensors before they could adequately defend it. Clearly they underestimated the opposition, but he was confidant that they could still win the day. It would just take everything they had.
[i “Commander Dash, this is Luna Sabroc. I’m heading to fix our Deep space communicator! As soon as my squad is done-“] Communications blurred out, and Dash began to try and raise the comms on his end.
[b “Lieutenant-Commander! Lieutenant-Commander Sabroc! Luna!”] Their battalion mobilized, but they stayed in their own defensive perimeter of Rularia-2. But that didn't stop Dash from ordering a few other pilots to suit up to take out their mechs and go assist Luna and her squad. However, just as they were about to be deployed, Luna's signature appeared on the scanners, and immediately he had his men clear the flagship hangar, as she was coming in hot. Once she landed, Dash was the first to meet with her, first making she was okay and then receiving her tactical report. It seemed they had their own versions of mobile suits, and they were fearless, and didn't fear death, outnumbering Luna as she was unable to get to the array to repair it. From the detailed account, it seemed that it was a miracle Luna made it out alive, the rest of her squad having perished in the attack... These were no ordinary foes.
“Commander!” One of the techs came rushing towards them with a datapad. “Admiral Samo has activated the reserve units.”
[b “And Captain Setter's fleet?”]
“Destroyed before he could get to his post, sir.” And Dash's eyes widen. If Captain Setter and his fleet had been destroyed, that means there wasn't a defensive blockade around the moon Yuter, the reserve base.
[b “Get us to Yuter, now!”] He commands.
“B-but, what about Rularia-2? We're stationed here as part of the defensive perimeter.”
[b “The other Commanders can handle it. The reserve units are nothing more than armed civilians with minimal training. We can't leave the moon undefended!”] Not to mention there were civilian cities on the moon that wouldn't be discriminated against. When no one moved, Dash growls. [b “That's an order!”] And just like that everyone animated and began getting to their stations, some getting in to their mechs to perform overwatch. He had the engineers run diagnostics and repairs on Luna's mech; normally he'd say she was done in the field for now, but he had a sinking feeling that they would need everyone and everything they had against this enemy.
Like clockwork once Dash was back at the helm, Admiral Samo's projection came online. “What is the meaning of this Commander Bravanac?” He demands.
[b “You activated the reserve units, Admiral, they're going to be pinged on the enemies radar as combatants and wiped out without proper support.”] The Admiral seems to chew on that for a minute. They didn't always see eye to eye, but Dash was a respected and decorated Commander, known for his forward thinking and effective combat strategies. He was also known for carrying out operations with minimum casualties.
“Then you better hurry, Commander.” And the screen goes blank.
The fleet shifts in to turbo, and they head towards the large moon Yuter, Dash sending ahead a few Mech companies to get on the ground and evacuate those that could be evacuated, as well as speeding up the process of getting the reserve troops mobilized. The reports they were getting were good, and just as Dash and the rest of the battalion arrived-
[b “Oh no.”] Dash whispers. There was no horizon in space, but with the amount of the enemy there might as well be one, but they... They weren't advancing toward Yuter. For a moment they were just floating there menacingly. And then just like that, the formed line opened and a large cruiser began charging towards the moon. [b “Analysis!”] Dash shouts.
After a couple of seconds of one of the techs scrambling on their holographic computers, he turns to Dash. “No life signs on the vessel, sir. Probably manned by an AI.”
Dash doesn't waste any time raising the comms. [b “All units, this is Commander Bravanac; evacuate the planet now. Grab as many people as you can and evacuate yourself immediately.”] He turns and points at the techs manning the propulsion systems. [b “Fire us back and signal the rest of the battalion to do the same! Give us a cold zone!”]
It seemed he was right to be worried, as the unmanned vessel began picking up more and more speed towards Yuter. [b “Once its in range, fire our forward cannons on it! Try to slow it down or destroy it!”] But it was no use, from its size and the speed it had picked up was nearing warp speed, their weapons becoming useless, and it was all they could do but watch as it lanced in to the moon. There was an explosion on the opposite side of the moon, before magma fissures and cracks formed all along the surface. It cracked some more before blowing apart in one of the most sickening displays Dash had ever seen, the force of the exploding moon rocking the flagship despite its safe distance and spewing debris and large rocks, destroying those too slow to have made it out of the danger zone.
When the light finally faded, in front of them was the destroyed moon of Yuter, split in to pieces like a blown apart asteroid. He turns his head to look at the horizon of enemy units, but it seemed they had retreated for the time being. It wouldn't be the last they saw of them; this was only the beginning.
“H-how many did we save?” One of the Bridge Cadets asks. Dash rests his face in his hand, and closes his eyes, a single tear shed for all the lives lost on Yuter, wiped out in an instant.
[b “Not enough.”]
After that, it was a long few months. The Rularian defenses held, but barely as the enemy would employ hit and run tactics, slowly whittling down their numbers and resources. They had effectively blockaded the System, and anyone trying to get out was immediately blown to space dust, their numbers and firepower superior to theirs. They didn't respond to hails or messages either, killing seemingly indiscriminately. In the last few weeks, they lost Rularia-9 and Rularia-10, their outer most planets. The planets weren't destroyed, but it caused the RSC to lose some of its footing and retreat back. Rularia-7 and 8 weren't civilian planets, but wildlife and farming worlds, and they were doing their absolute best to keep those from falling in to enemy hands. The Rularian's supplies were steady, but if they lost those two planets then they would be in a lot more trouble in this war of attrition.
“We can't just sit here, we have to act!” The Admiral slams his fist on to the table. They were on Rularia, in the main military encampment, the Captains, Commanders, and some of their Seconds were present, Dash and Luna included.
“I agree. We've kept our planets safe for the most part, but we can't keep up with these glancing attacks. Two night ago they took out Captain Manx and her fleet, and this morning they took out Commander Grey.” Commander Shepard had said. Normally a level headed and calculating soldier, Shepard was only recently promoted to Commander after the former Commander of his battalion had been killed in one of the hit-and-run attacks. He was stressed, exhausted, and scared just like the rest of them.
[b “So what are you suggesting? We break rank and attack the enemy head on?”] Dash asks, and Shepard growls at him.
“Accurate if a little inelegant. Yes. I don't think they would expect an assault head on from us all at once.”
Dash motions to Luna who steps up to the table. [+blue “That's exactly what they're expecting from us. We've done some reconnaissance-”]
“You what?!” And Dash holds up his hand to let her finish.
[+blue “And we believe they are waiting for an ambush. There are some ships we've seen that haven't been seen for a while, and with the blockade, there's no real way to assess their real positions, not to mention we can't get proper reads from all the space debris and asteroids; they're using it as cover and to their advantage.”]
[b “We've always known they have number superiority over us, and this is no different. A direct attack is the swiftest way for them to annihilate us and then take the undefended planets.”]
“Then its what I've been saying!” Captain Devon Rex interjects. “We need to break the blockade! We need the assistance of another system or some way to signal the ITF!”
“Anything bigger than a mech will be seen almost immediately and destroyed. And even if we somehow broke the blockade that way, a mech doesn't have enough fuel or life support to make it within comms range of another System or even one of the Way Stations.”
The room grows silent for a moment, Dash getting thoughtful as he looks to Luna. There had been [i another] option they had been discussing, but they weren't sure how well it would be received. He tilts his head a little to Luna and she shakes her head, but Dash was already going for it. [b “There may be another way.”]
The Admiral turns and looks at Dash, and he stands there, his arms behind his back as he looks at the Admiral. “And what might that be pray tell?”
[b “Its something my officers and I have been discussing, almost a marriage of everything we've been discussing. I would only need three Commanders and their battalions including myself.”] He taps the war table and Rularia-8 comes up. [b “We believe with the death and destruction of Commander Grey and his battalion, they're going to attempt to take the world since it only has one and a half a battalion still defending it. They suspect that we're too spread thin to assist so they'll begin to slowly encroach on us from Rularia-8 and on. So we take myself, Captain Devon Rex, and Commander Shepard to assist Rularia-8. They'll have underestimated our numbers, so either we destroy them or they retreat to bring more.”]
“And what does that accomplish?”
[b “We make for the blockade. My ship is still Anubian Class, so we can set charges on the reactor to destabilize the crystals. Once that happens, the ship will explode with enough force to blow open a segment of the blockade so the rest of my battalion can get through. Then we can get in range to the Thraxian Way Station to signal for help.”] Another silence consumed the room as everyone mulled it over, but the first one to speak was the Admiral.
“We can't spare the resources. Your plan is suicide.”
[b “With all due respect, Admiral, doing nothing is suicide.”] He counters and the Admiral growls at him.
“The answer is no, Bravanac. For the time being we will continue to hold out until we can, its the best option we have for all of our survival. Dismissed.” And the room begins to move as everyone starts to leave to head back to their ships and posts. Luna leans in.
[+blue “I told you he wouldn't listen.”] She chides.
[b “It wasn't him I wanted to listen.”] He tells her, nodding his head towards the other side of the round table. Captain Devon Rex and Commander Shepard stood there silently, and then they nodded their head at the two before leaving for their posts.
A few days later, it happened just as Dash had predicted: the attack of Rularia-8. But Dash, the Captain, and other Commander had conveniently kept themselves in range, so when it happened, they were there almost immediately.
Dash had taken to his mech, [i The Damocles], and soared in, unsheathing the mech's sword and killing their enemies. The other two followed suit, their battalion's ships and mechs coming in range to rain down hellfire on their enemies. It felt good to be on the front lines again, and despite this being small, it felt like a victory they had just accomplished. It had run smoothly with minimum casualties, and the Commander currently holding the line for Rularia-8 was grateful for their assistance.
It took slightly longer than he anticipated, the enemy not retreating so they had to kill every last one of them, but it was fortunate for them they only sent just enough to take Rularia-8. They were preserving resources as well, it would seem. [b “Lets move forward. Are you ready, Luna?”]
[+blue “Ready!”] Perfect. They advanced towards one of the fracking stations in the belt, and once they got in range, the rogue galaxy began firing on them. There was less than they had expected, but not by much; they were blockading the System, so their numbers would be spread out, after all.
[b “Spread out! Don't let them concentrate on the flagship!”] He commands over comms, and they do as they're told. They were still getting shredded, but this was their only shot to break the line. So once there was enough space between blasts; [b “Now!”]
[+blue “Sending her in!”] The flagship was unmanned, but rigged up similarly to the vessel that destroyed Yuter, coming in fast.
“Dash, what the hell are you doing?” the Admiral's voice came on over comms. “I order you back right this instant.”
[b “I can't do that Admiral. This is the way.”]
“I'll have you court martialed, Commander! You can't do this!”
[b “This is a one way trip, Admiral. Its been an honour serving with you.”] And Dash closes the Admiral's channel as they continue on fighting. Once they ship finally starting hurtling towards the belt, the enemy began concentrating fire as predicted, but that gave the battalions ample opportunity to take pot-shots at them and take out as many of them as possible.
Soon enough, the ship was crashing in to the belt, and he didn't even need to give the command. His vision was filled with white as the ship's core exploded incinerating a segment of the belt and all of the enemies within it. And it set off a chain reaction as well, heating the contained gases in the asteroids and fracking station, causing a more massive explosion and smaller ones for a brief period. And after that, there was just silence, pleasant silence as a large gaping maw in to the empty expanse of space lay before them.
[b “Move out, people! Captain Devon Rex and Commander Shepard, keep our flanks covered... And thank you for your assistance.”] The rest of Dash's battalion began to move through the maw and out towards the expanse of space. He was about to get [i The Damocles] on to Luna's ship when-
[+blue Commander, look!”] It appeared on radar first, but coming out of the warp was a ship, bigger than the other ones they had previously encountered. [i Their flagship]. [+blue “Commander, get aboard so we can make the jump. We can get passed them.”] And he didn't know what possessed him to say it as he looked at the flagship all by its lonesome.
[b “No.”] He tells her. [b “We end this here and now.”] They could easily outmanoeuvre that and take it by its lonesome. Then they would continue as planned.
[+blue “Are you sure, Dash? We can still make the jump.”]
It gave him a second to think it over, but he was still convinced this was the way. [b “No. Attack!”] And they began advancing on the flagship, too many of them for the one ship to handle, but-
He didn't know what it was at first, but after a second, he knew what it was. And he knew he just made a grave mistake. Over the comms came laughter before a voice spoke slowly and menacingly. [+red “Nice try, Doggy.”] And his radar began to blow up, as more ships came seemingly out of nowhere to engage them. Lasers fire and ion torpedoes tore through their ranks and cut off their escape in to space. Their only viable option was to turn back. Curses! How could he have been so foolish?! They baited him and it worked!
A large laser incinerates [i The Damocles'] arm and sends Dash hurtling back in to the asteroid field. He begins to recover, but not before he sees his battalion being torn to shreds, and... Luna still trying to make the jump out of the system!
[b “Luna, turn back! That's an order!”] He commands in to the comms. He begins to fly off the asteroids, but there was substantial damage to his fuselage and other systems. His entire screen was nearly filled to the brim with flashing red warnings, one being his escape pod being rendered inoperable... So this was [i really] a one way trip.
[+blue “I can make it, Commander! I can make it!”] And he sees her engines begin to glow, space and time warping around the ship, and then-
[i An explosion.] Luna's ship vaporized to atoms by a barrage of ion torpedoes. [b “NO!”] He shouts and then howls in to the comms. But that was the only reaction he could muster as a barrage of ion torpedoes came his way as well, striking the asteroids surrounding him and engulfing him in a violent white light...
[b “That's the last of them, Captain.”] Kaervik tells Zi Teu, the last enemy signature on the radar disappearing. [b “A hardier people than I had expected, but the result was still the same.”] They had managed to take out some of their forces, but not as a significant amount as they might've thought. If this were really a problem they would've signalled to the rest of their armada. However, he garnered some respect for the Rularians, specifically the Commander Bravanac. Through some intelligence gathering, he learned the good Commander was quite the sword fighter and would've relished the challenge in duelling him one on one. Alas, this was the nature of the business, and you couldn't duel someone after you atomized them.
[b “Other than the two we just lost, the Fuelling Barges have been replenished and we're ready to move on... That is unless you would like to take the rest of this System before we depart?”] But he had a feeling they had bigger fish to fry.
He was there for the negotiations, although 'negotiations' would be an overstatement of the affair. These people were desperate for what the Milky Way and for what Earth had. It made it an easy weakness for Zi Teu to exploit for their gain. The Caxian was motivated, he'd give him that, but for the Abollite with him? Money was not as much of a concern. Enough to keep the armada together and the men happy. No, what he craved more than anything was violence. To dominate. To be feared. And with Zi Teu and his fleet, he's done that and more.
The alien which had called them, once finished with Zi Teu spared the Abollite a glance, and he sneered back. He was a Warrior Caste Abollite, so as a result his skin was ashen grey, but to distinguish himself from his brethren during the Abollite Slave Uprising he adorned himself with with black tattoos and spiked piercings all over his body. Upon his genetically and cybernetically hardened body was a form-fitting exo-suit to enhance his already profound warrior qualities. And unlike the other Abollites that followed him, he had a name: [i Kaervik]. A name that struck cold fear in to hearts of many... Yet his name still paled in comparison to Zi Teu, but not for much longer, not after this score. After this, Kaervik would take over the fleet and every galaxy would know his name. And they would bend to his might or perish.
Kaervik follows Zi Teu to give the commands to the fleet that they would be departing to the Milky Way Galaxy. It was a long way from this galaxy, but as Zi Teu had told the alien, they would stop to refuel in different System's, turning them in to nickles and dimes along the way. A fleet this size, one that could subjugate entire galaxies, was very expensive to maintain, fuel, and finance, so taking planets and slaves along the way was not uncommon for them; they'd sell them off to pirates or rival dignitaries. Many of them were of the same mind or weren't motivated beyond the money lining their pockets. That suited him just fine; it meant there were no mutinies.
Once in the command bridge, they waste no time pulling up the star charts. The Milky Way was exceptionally documented, so it wasn't hard for them to figure out which way they would be coming from and to devise where they should hit first. Obviously the Fringe System's would come first, not only would it provide them with precious resources, but there were many places that would be advantageous footholds so they could encroach on Earth. Earth itself wasn't a Fringe World, so they couldn't just take their armada right to it without proper preparations first. It had been his first instinct to suggest that, but he quickly stopped himself. Kaervik knew better after working with Zi Teu and studying his tactics. They still didn't have all the information or detailed accounts of Earth's defences, allies that might come to their aid, or the limits of their military. But they had ways of divining that information...
[b “Zi Teu.”] Kaervik approaches him on the command bridge. With a wave of his hand, a holographic projection comes up before them. It was of two solar systems, one was closer than the other, but they were both rich in resources they could use as fuel. [b “Nakira and the Rularian System, both abundant in resources ripe for the taking. Our firepower and numbers are superior to theirs so we will have no problem taking what we need.”] He splits two fingers and both system's separates with their own separate bits of information. Since Nakira was closer, they had more information on it in the visual spectrum, but the Rularian System was further off and they had minimal information about them at the moment. With another wave, a third holographic projection appears showing them their fleet and resource and fuel stores.
This was still a point of contention, but Kaervik liked to prove himself, so he would make his suggestion. [b “I suggest we divide our armada, the ones with the lowest fuel going to Nakira while we go to the Rularian System. Our fuel stores will last the journey til then, and once we are done we may move on throughout the galaxy without concern for fuel while we gain more intelligence.”] There were other Fringe Systems they could hit as well for more resources and slaves when the fleets formed back together, and even more still as they moved further in to the Milky Way.