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Classis I Sector Langara

The first fleet under the Aschen Empire's new designation system.

0 · 808 views · located in Palisia

a character in “The Multiverse”, as played by barney_fife


The Aschen Empire, a massive collection of semi-sovereign provinces that reigns over a great portion of the Milky Way Galaxy, paranoid, arrogant, and cruel, a once prosperous nation spirals into poverty, and self-destruction.


Command Staff
Flag Officer: Admiral Elisha Whitcomb

Notable Vessels
Flagship - Imperious Class Command Carrier - The Pride of Langara

Fleet Breakdown:
Iconoclast Class: x2
Punisher Class: x2
Atlas Class: x106
Sagittaron II Class: x373
Athena Class: x382
Hastati Class: x211
Hera Class: x378
Gemenon Class: x377
Picon Class: x200
Noncombat Logistical Vessels: x452

Strike Group Alpha: TBD

Strike Group Beta: TBD

Strike Group Constellation: TBD

Strike Group Delta: TBD

So begins...

Classis I Sector Langara's Story


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Elisha Whitcomb Character Portrait: Jacob Hightop Character Portrait: Slo'gars Pact Character Portrait: Classis I Sector Langara
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Somewhere else in the Milky Way Galaxy...

It was said to be the maiden voyage of the Imperial Aschen Navy's newest class of ship, the Imperious Class, with the capabilities of a Reverence II, but the sheer overwhelming armor and firepower of the Iconoclast class Battleship. The Imperious class Command Carrier fit the bill somewhere between a Planetary Assault Carrier; and a Dreadnought.

Her name was the Pride of Langara, the very first iteration of her kind; equipped with the most sophisticated central AI system, astrometrics, and navigation, along with programming from the Aschen Empire's brightest minds, and the fastest, most sophisticated quantum computers available to the Empire.

Additionally it was equipped with a radical new FTL Drive, which enabled near limitless travel near instantaneous. Generating a large wormhole, it could fold space, and with the right set of coordinates travel anywhere in an instant, along with projecting an envelope for an accompanying fleet. This meant the new generation of Command Carriers could insert an assault fleet deep into enemy territories. Further adding to the awesome ability for the Aschen Empire to project power anywhere within the local galactic cluster.

The Imperious Class Command Carrier was a capable vessel alone, or accompanied by escorts in battle, with it's primary armaments being two heavy three-barreled emplacements that slid along the horizontal axis of the vessel along an armored track system, independent of the rest of the vessel's fire control system. These Hellstorm Class frag cannons were designed as the proverbial 'big guns' to allow the Imperious class to inflict devastating damage from extreme ranges.

Along with the Command Carrier's main weapon systems, hundreds of secondary and tertiary weapon systems lined the faces of this new warship, from the massive single barrel Turbo-Disruptor emplacements, not unlike those utilized on the Reverence II, to the massive Seraph missile arrays, that could spread destruction across entire fleets from several AU away.


Admiral Elisha Whitcomb; a seasoned officer within the Imperial Aschen Navy was going over final checks within the spacious CIC of the Pride of Langara. Her eyes flitted across displays, admiring the clean finish of each holographic display. A Massive star map was projected in front of her, which could be zoomed in to display positions of other celestial bodies and starships relative to the Command Carrier.

Her eyes moved over to Helm Control, the twelve man control team manning controls that dictated the four basic functions of the Command Carrier. Throttle, pitch, yaw, and roll, these functions were relegated by a large navigation display that allowed the twelve man helm team to maneuver the ship efficiently and in unison.

Whitcomb's eyes moved to Astrometrics, another large section of the CIC, which was situated much closer to the holographic display. Astrometrics was in charge of stellar navigation, and was crewed by a twenty man team, who were in charge of ensuring proper navigation for the vessel and it's fleet. Whitcomb was watching the red path being plotted across the Galaxy, they were checking the Hybrid Bifrost Drive system.

Satisfied with the look and feel of her surroundings, Admiral Whitcomb drew breath to speak.

"Ladies and Gentlemen of the Pride of Langara, it's an honor to serve on this maiden voyage, our mission parameters are simple, we're to test the envelope system of our Hybrid Bifrost drives, accompanying us are the capable ships of Task force Alpha, I'd like communications to have them check in at this time." Whitcomb ordered.

Five hundred vessels of Task Force alpha, including two Iconoclast Battleships began to check in, their crews calling in on the communications channel. They dialed in their IFF Transponders, which showed up as green icons on the Three-dimensional holographic display in the center of the CIC. The Command Carrier was displayed in the center, with everything moving relative to the ship's position.

One of the Communications officers nodded. "All ships checked in and green, they're ready for transport." He reported, while Fire Control nodded.

"All weapons batteries report green across the board."

"All crew report ready to jump."

"Initiate the Bifrost." Whitcomb Ordered.

In front of the formation, the Command Carrier fired a multicolored beam of light, which culminated into a brilliant flash several hundred kilometers in front of them, the flash erupted into a massive swirling vortex roughly 2,500 kilometers across.

The Command carrier accelerated first, breaking the event horizon before being totally enveloped within the wormhole. The Accompanying fleet was close in, tucked into a close formation. The Command carrier shook, rattled, and protested as it was hurled through the wormhole at superluminal speeds.

But something went wrong.


Dead space, and two fleets, The Aklarian Fleet, and the Columbian fleet. What was first contact between two races would now be three, as a vortex suddenly erupted several hundred kilometers on the starboard side of the Aklarian formations.

The unusual vortex began ejecting massive levels of neutrinos, chronitons, and subspace particles, before it belched fourth all 25 Kilometers of the Pride of Langara. The Command Carrier careened through empty space, before lurching to an abrupt stop. roughly several dozen vessels also emerged, many of them warships with clearly defined markings of the United Aschen Empire.

Something was off though, typically when the Aschen dropped in, they started shooting, or began making demands. At this moment there was silence, as the vortex slammed shut behind the few dozen capital ships, escort frigates, and the singular Command Carrier.

Whitcomb was nearly tossed from her position and thrown into the Holographic display when the Pride of Langara emerged from the wormhole, alarms blared and lights flickered, what was supposed to be a smooth test run was quickly going south.

"Main and auxiliary engines have spun down! We're drifting!" The Helm Captain reported. "Try to restart them! Get the reaction restarted before we have an overload!"

Almost all of the ships were drifting lifelessly through the blackness of space. Some even began to collide into each-other, smaller ships gouging the armored plate of the larger ones.

Everyone who came out of that wormhole quickly found themselves stranded, their ships without power for the moment.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Elisha Whitcomb Character Portrait: Jacob Hightop Character Portrait: Slo'gars Pact Character Portrait: Classis I Sector Langara
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The sudden broadcast from the twenty ship fleet gave the crew some measure of relief, and even some regret. Five million people? Civillians?

"What are you thinking sir?" Deck Runner Hark muttered, as he came up behind Vasham.

"I'm thinking that these people aren't in our busniess, just wrong place wrong time..." Vasham mumbled back, hands coming to grip the railing, looking over the fleet display. Twenty ships... Not even ships, more like metal rocks with thrusters thrown on them. They wouldn't stand a chance if he decided his mission outweighed their need.


"Yes, Commander?" The AI growled out from no where. The Admiral winced. While Commander and Admiral were synonymous in the case presented, as Vasham was indeed in command, it was respectful to refer to someone by rank. However, he liked the AI's gruff nature, so he'd let it pass. "I believe the decision of these people are in our hands."

The Admiral thought it over, yet it was quickly decided in his eyes. The Aklarians were a force to be reckoned with, even in small fleets such as his own, yet it was unthinkable for an assualt upon space civilian targets, even in interal strife. Planet Born targets were more acceptable, but these were people whom had spent eight years in hunks of metal...

"Warm up our communication booth, Seraph. Report to command mission is scrapped."

"S-Scraped sir!?" Hark almost threw a fit, but a wave of the hand from Vasham silenced him.

"It is of my opinion, that in order to properly conclude this mission, we would need to secure an automatic base of operations here within the asteriod field, with the sole purpose of being a fuel stop for any of our passing fleets. To do so is to ensure this system is secure upon it's construction. It is my thought that this fleet here would be an unknown factor in it's security, and therefore can not be trusted. However, it's civilian nature, and crude technology, as well as their seemingly peaceful intentions, persuade me to not stain my hands with what would be genocide, Deck Runner."

He turned, looking that man in the eye. "Infact, if we, as a race, ever hope to one day expand into the greater galatice society, it would do well to have another race who remembers our mercy. So th-"

It was that the display blipped, drawing the admirals attention. There was a disturbance in sub-space that the carriers sensors was picking up. "Seraph, report."

"Incoming Contact... Unstable warp field."

What the hell? Vasham inclined his head to give orders, but his operatives were already ciphering through information. He turned his head back to the display...

When it all filled up with new contacts. Hark suddenly ran down the pedestals steps to check information, as Vasham immedeatly tightened a stern look upon his face, and leaned forward to hear the words he wished he wouldn't hear.

"Warning. Capital class ships detected." The Crew froze, for but a moment, but enough that one could see the confusion and tension reveal itself once more.

"Seraph!" Vasham yelled, slamming his heads on the railings. "What are we looking at!? An ambush?"

"Unlikely. Unstable wormhole indicates travel gone Awry. Some ship classes have not been encountered before, but this AI belives that they have a decreased reactor output."

"Not good enough for me, what are we looking at!?"

"An Aschen Assualt Fleet."

If Vasham were to allow his emotions to be betrayed, the blackness of his cheeks might have drained into a dark grey. "Ignore the civilian fleet, I want a new formation!" The man jabbed two fingers at Cur. "Mr. Cur! I want the fleet to reposition itself ten Kilometers to our current rear!" A nod indicated that he understood, and he pointed at his helmsman. "Give me full maneuvers! every engine up! Seraph, I want our shields set to Brunt!" The Ship shuddered, just a bit, considering the many gyroscopes placed around the ship to keep the interior stable, but such an advanced maneuver would cause a shudder. The carrier had suddenly pitched on a horizontal axis to bring it's front point to bear on the new fleet, while at the same time firing off it's side thrusters to expedite the maneuver, as well as re-position itself.

All the frigates at this time were repeating this maneuver. It was an elegant performance, as all in one go, the entire fleet was suddenly abandoning the civilian convoy to shift itself to it's left, while at the same time twisting the hulls of the ship to face the new threat.

"Deck Runner! Signial the entire fleet, I want all ships to have One Kilometer spacing! I want our Ion's in the front in an arrow formation! Bring our flag ship to the center of the arrow, and position our Flak's on our side! I want our squadrons to our rear, at the sides." The man growled, looking over the display as yet again another lurch occured, as the capital ship adjusted it's course to accomodate this new order.

"Seraph, I don't recall us running into Aschen before. Give me my scenarios."

"Probabilities, as well as the Aschen's current track record, indicate that this may very well be a subjugation force. However, it is unlikely this is their intended destination-" The AI ratted off it's explanation in it's analytical, rough tone. "As there is very little of here to note."

"Fleet's too big to be a simple patrol, unless they're like us." One of the operatives, a woman, called out.

"Exactly my thinking, Ms. Al." The AI commented, with an approving tone. "The Aschen do not operate like us, like most other known races."

"Can we expect hostilites?"

"If this is indeed not a subjugation force, as it is becoming apparent, then likely not. A competent commander would not attempt to start a conflict randomly, even if the odds favor them."

"And if they are?"

"It is..." The AI pause. "My belief, that if so, we would already be in combat."

The crew took a moment to process this information, before Vasham continued. "You mentioned that their travel may have go-"

"Yes. Power read outs are... Unexpected. Low. There is nothing here of note. It is explainable why they are here."

"We are here. Could ou-" Another interruption, as the AI dismissed the notion.

"Negative. We have been discrete. Our reports indicate Aschen do not slouch with their intelligence, but we have not given ourselves away in any meaningful fashion. It is very possible that they know of our /existence/," The AI said 'existence' with disdain. "But any meaningful knowledge about us is... Debatable."

"Got anything else?"

"If it is true that they merely happened upon us by accident, my personal thoughts, are that they are just as confused as we are."

Vasham chewed his lip. "So this is first contact with them."

"Short Answer: Yes." The AI said grimly.

The Admiral took the moment to process the information given to him... He stared at the crew, at the display...

"I want our weapons kept hot and ready, but I want our frame shift drives charging this instant."

"Sir?" Cur called out.

"I want to bug out the moment they fire a shot, Cur. I ain't dealing with this shit. Meanwhile..." He inclined his head to the ceiling. "Message command. I want every detail of this encounter logged, and I want to request command for a support fleet."

The AI bleeped, and, as far of Vasham could tell, devoted it's processes to the assigned tasks.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Elisha Whitcomb Character Portrait: Jacob Hightop Character Portrait: Slo'gars Pact Character Portrait: Classis I Sector Langara
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The colony ships waited from a repport back....many of the mechanics and soldier, all dressed in there various power armors. They waited for there be destroyed.....the citizens continued on like nothing was one told them...let them enjoy there last minutes....

Jacob was sweating as he looked at the ships from the radar....they wouldn't kill....5 million people....would they? Praise Atom they didn't...His heart leapt when he saw the ships leaving.....then it let an impression on his mind....They were not alone in this universe.....and they were going to get killed by forces....unknown to them....they needed technology....cosmic currency...anything to keep to survive this new hell called the multi verse....He called out to the troops and governors. "Were safe...for now''....Many cheered silently, but the ominous thoughts in there head played over and over... they needed rescoreses...

The Columbian fleet began its approach toward the new planet...there sensors only found minimal life as they neared....then tons of life. Then minimal....the damn thing busted. Jacob called for a mechanic and stomped to his room....anger on every inch of his face...."Its so idiotic...I knew this damn trip wouldn't work...why the fuck we didn't rebuild society?" Because even if you rebuilt, the cannabals would be using you as a snack "Why cant we find the cure?" No recourses for a cure....all that's been losts hundred years ago. "Why cant we just die?" That's not what the NUC does.

Jacob sighed and got out of his bed, and to the ham radio they used to communicate...he awaited a call....something....anything....Aliens....who would have thought....


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Elisha Whitcomb Character Portrait: Bryn Magus Character Portrait: Jacob Hightop Character Portrait: Slo'gars Pact Character Portrait: Classis I Sector Langara
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Admiral Whitcomb slowly pulled herself to her feet, the CIC was dark save for the emergency lights which cast the room in a red hue.

"Gods... sitrep?" She called out before she rose up, feeling something warm move down her face, touching her forehead, she looked at her fingers. Blood.

"Damage control is restarting the reactor, temporal flux upon emerging from the Bifrost caused a power surge that overloaded primary systems." The XO, Commander Magus reported, helping the Admiral to her feet. "They're cycling the breakers and trying to restore power." He added.

Whitcomb sighed. "Where are we?"

Magus tapped a console, before handing Whitcomb a paper towel for her head wound. "We're blind, deaf, and dumb for now. At least until they restore power."

Some of the CIC Crew by now had turned on flash lights, and were setting to work using handheld radios to communicate with the team inside main engineering and the engine bay.

Some of the other ships were showing signs of restoring power. One of the Athena class missile cruisers began to come to life, lights flashing along it's hull before it's engines bloomed to life and she quickly oriented herself. However that lone cruiser began to quickly come into combat readiness. The milky white bubble flashed briefly along the vessel's hull as it's shields came to life. It's missile bay doors opened, and the ship began to maneuver closer to the Command Carrier. It's crew was working quickly to get into attack readiness, and respond to any moves against the vulnerable carrier. Even though the Athena class was a dedicated long range missile cruiser.

A Sagittaron II Class came to life next, shields online and weapons hot, it too maneuvered into close defensive formation with the Command carrier. Highly encrypted Aschen Radio chatter on several subspace frequencies could now be detected between the two vessels, as a third came online. One of the Iconoclasts.

This time they sent a direct communication to both the Columbian and Aklarian fleets, which was broadcast on digital, analogue, and subspace frequencies.

"This is Commander Warren of the Aschen Empire's Iconoclast Class Battleship Hrunting, we demand that you identify yourselves immediately and state your purpose or we will take aggressive action."

And now the demands came...

The massive 5km long Iconoclast class was a formidable vessel, shield energies washed over her from bow to stern as several massive gun emplacements swiveled to life, garnering targeting solutions across both the Aklarian and Columbian fleets. It was logical to see this reaction. The Aschen had just been tossed through a spatial wormhole, and considering the paranoid nature of the Aschen people and especially their military types. It fit right in with their MO.

As everything was unfolding, Admiral Whitcomb and the crew of the Command Carrier, as well as the rest of the Aschen fleet remained unaware that Commander Warren was now holding all the cards in this first contact scenario.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Elisha Whitcomb Character Portrait: Bryn Magus Character Portrait: Jacob Hightop Character Portrait: Slo'gars Pact Character Portrait: Classis I Sector Langara
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"Warning. Aschen Warships are powering combat systems. Incoming transmission." Seraph bellowed, and the control room turned from a warm orange, into a threading red, highlighting screens and the holograph display.

"How many?" The Admiral called out, stepping down from the pedestal, the display orienting itself to follow his person, so he could watch the entire time as the events unfolded.

"Two- Recalculation, three warships have restored systems. Warships are regrouping themselves."

"How long?"

The AI was silent for a moment. "I do not have the information or data required to give a proper estimate, but I would hazard a guess that it won't be too long before enough of the fleet powers back up in numbers that will prove more than hazardous in combat."

"Deck Runner! How's the drives going?" The Admiral called out without so much as a glance, as he brought a hand up to the display, grasping one of the renditions of his flak frigates, bringing it down as if he did indeed hold one, and looking it over. A panel of options came up to his right, and he glanced through them.

"We got about five minutes for a fleet wide escape! Three if we plan an emergency haul!" Called out the deck runner, whom was busy shoving aside an operative to get at his panel.

"Mr. Cur! How ar-" He stopped when the man in question held up a finger, rapidly communicating with his panel, while one of his hands held a headset to his right ear. Vasham smiled. The man worked fast. With the encrypted communication going with command taken care of with Cur's rapid speech, Vasham inclined his head as Seraph spoke again. Vasham himself was vaugley aware that the online Aschen fleet might discern that the flagship was broadcasting on an encrypted channel to somewhere out in space, but he cared little if he was aware of it.

"Commander, the Aschen are attempting communication on multiple forms."

"Let the bridge hear." Vasham commanded, turning on his heel to head back for the pedestal. What came forth put fury into his steps.

"This is Commander Warren of the Aschen Empire's Iconoclast Class Battleship Hrunting, we demand that you identify yourselves immediately and state your purpose or we will take aggressive action."

"The guy waltz right into unclaimed territory, and demands we reveal ourselves? Dumbass." Commented an opperative from his panel, sharp white teeth displayed in disgust.

"That's a man with big guns pointed at our heads, officer To'loth." Vasham shot back, looking over the holographic displays of the Aschen fleet.

"Deck Runner! I want our fleet positions changed, and priorities set!" He called out, glancing to Hark. "I want our ships to adjust for ten Kilometer spacing. We're a giant target this close, with no maneuverability!" "I want Heat-Sink and Bella's Teeth running point defense. If fighting starts, I want every single one of those fucking guns gunning down their missiles like it's Checkorov all over again." That remark brought a grimace, but also elation. The Admiral was getting his fire.

He then pointed to the flak frigates in question. "I want them turned for a broadside, give as many of their guns the view of the ships." He then pointed at his remaining flak frigates. "I want these two bastards to be our brawlers. They launch strike craft, I want them to eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner the moment they are close enough to realize how fucked they are."

At this point, the fleet was beginning to adjust itself, first they began to space themselves, then the flak frigates began to adjust their positions to accommodate their orders. What became apparent now is that the Aklarian fleet was not only incredibly organized and disciplined, even in the face of a perhaps more powerful combatant, but the ships, even of such classes and size, were capable of great maneuverability. The Frigates both moved to the side, turned on an axis, and raised themselves above, or below their partner ships all in one go. No doubt this was due to an advanced system of engines and counter thrust engines all across the hull. Front, back, below, above, sides, they were there. Either as large as the back engines, or small ports.

"I want our Ion frigates to maintain their arrowhead position, and ready to fire at all times. Keep their main guns charged. And our squadrons..." Vasham chewed his lip.


"Send our squadrons out to flank their right and left... I want each bomber squad to pair up with an interceptor squad, and thrust out. The moment they got the speed they need for a ten minute drift, I want them to go dark."

Going dark, as it was called, was when a ship sealed off it's own engines and all of it's ports. Weapons were powered down, power cores were set to minimum, so as to only show up as if it was background radiation, and there was radio silence.

The result was ghost ships on the sensors... Ships that were there, and then suddenly gone. With no emited heat, radiation, power, or signal, sensors suited to detect such signals came up blank. As a vanguard fleet, the smaller ships also had a 'chamelion skin', which consisted of a surface coating of paint that absorbed radar waves. While outside of dark mode, this paint had no effect, as there were open ports, where the internal parts lacked any paint. However, once sealed, the entire surface of the craft was considered coated. With no radar bouncing off the ship, there was no signal to head back.

This in no way prevented the naked eye from viewing the vessel, Vasham considered grimly, but he smiled either way. They were at a distance where the naked eye could not perceive his smaller strike craft, unless the Aschen had races that can pinpoint what was effectively a very massive cow from over fifty kilometer's away.

"And, the, uh, other squadrons?" He was speaking of the two remaining interceptor squadrons, Hark was... Vasham smiled.

"I want them to do the same, thrust out... Go dark... But randomly. I want their squads seperated, and their individuals all about... If they get uppity, we'll have them flash themselves. I want them to think they're either surrounded by smaller vessels, or we have sensor disruption abilities."

"This is to assume that the Aschen lack the technology to see through our ruse. We have not truely encountered them before. There is no telling exactly what tech they have." Seraph pointed out, but Vasham merely smiled.

"If an object traps all light, my dear Seraph, it appears black, because no light escapes it... If no signal, not even radiation, escapes a craft, then it is as if there is nothing there."

"There is still there demand, commander."

Vasham glanced at Mr. Cur first, however. "We got anything?"

Cur looked up. "Command is attempting to regroup Hailstorm, Commander Alth'ahs fleet, which is currently guarding a nearby Liveship. Barring delays, they will have frame shifted and be here within fifteen minutes. We can expect them to bring with them destroyers and a battle cruiser. They have a Titan, but command is informing me that it will be left behind to keep the Liveship company.

"Hrmg." Vasham Grunted. A Titan would truely be something to bring to a fray, even if he didn't specifically want a fight. Even so, it was better to keep it at the Live ship, which was infinetly more valuable than his small fleet. "Set me on broadcast, signal based."


The fleet had completed it's change in formation by the time Vasham had ordered the squadrons to go dark, and by the time the signal was being broad casted on a broad level, the squadrons were already starting to disappear from sensors.

"This is Admiral Vasham of the Slo'gars Pact vanguard fleet! This system is currently inhabited by my fleet for purposes that are not of your business! Especially one that pops out of no where, unannounced, and brings up their guns the moment they can, in the middle of foreign space! As one commanding officer to another, I would like to kindly suggest that you keep those weapons cool enough that we can sit here comfortably without the threat of one of us trying to annihilate the other after getting these splendid five minutes of pointing weapons of mass destruction at each other, after meeting not six minutes ago!"


"Splendid, Sir. If they weren't going to fire on us from being confused as fucking hell, they sure as hell now out of indignation."

"If they fire on us just because I gave them lip, officer Brekins, they would be people I'd shoot dead, and then shoot the corpse, for being such a panzy." The Admiral responded in kind.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Elisha Whitcomb Character Portrait: Bryn Magus Character Portrait: Jacob Hightop Character Portrait: Slo'gars Pact Character Portrait: Classis I Sector Langara
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Commander Warren was carefully eying his readouts as the alien fleet was beginning to move into position. A calloused hand tugged nervously at the collar of his duty uniform while one of the Bridge Officers turned.

"Unidentified Xenos fleet is moving into attack formation." Lieutenant Makerac, from the Hrunting's Tactical station reported. "They're arming weapons and launching strike craft, Wide-Spectrum is detecting several strike craft moving into zero-emissions, The AI is coordinating with the Scylla and the Sword of Avalon for defensive runs for the Command Carrier. Sir; we're not going to be able to defend the Command carrier with one Iconoclast, a Sagittaron and an Athena class, much less the rest of the fleet." Makerac added, while Warren stroked his chin.

"Hrunting to Scylla." Warren ordered, while Commander Kerr replied, her voice echoing through the CIC of the Hrunting. "Hrunting, this is Scylla Actual; go ahead."

Warren looked to the wide spectrum scanner, frowning some more. "Are your weapons systems online? I'm sending you targeting data for a Thunderbolt strike. I want to hit hard and fast if this gets nasty."

There was a brief pause, followed by a reply from Commander Kerr. "I've got shields and weapons, we're working on Astrometrics and Tertiary systems, but my crew reports condition one." She replied.

Warren nodded. "Prep your Tricobalt packages for launch, fourty thousand teracochranes."

Kerr made a face, as she eyed her own combat scanners, she held up her hand and keyed up a reply. "Sir, with respect that would tear a hole into subspace large enough to consume this entire star system, we're talking at least twelve, thirteen missiles each with a high yield warhead. This whole sector of space would be uninhabitable for millions of years."

One of the Deck Lieutenants aboard the Scylla promptly turned. "Sir, I've got targeting data for the Xenos fleet from the Hrunting."

The Sword of Avalon was the smallest of the three ships that were online, a Sagittaron II Class Battlecruiser. It was suited for hit and run skirmishes, as well as escort for larger vessels. While lacking the large anti-capital ship guns or the star ending missiles of the Athena class, the Sagittaron II was no slouch, excelling at mid range engagements against both frigates and cruisers.

With the Athena class holding back, the Iconoclast and the Sagittaron II forming up, the Command Carrier was beginning to show signs of life.


Like flipping a switch, the Command Carrier's lights came on section by section. The vessel ceased to drift lifelessly and was slowly orienting.

The lights flickered on, and computer systems came on one by one, including the large holographic interface in the center of the CIC.

It wasn't mere seconds before both fleets were pinged on the Wide-Spectrum systems of the Command Carrier. Admiral Whitcomb and Commander Magus were getting their bearings just as the response was starting to come in.

Magus was staring at the readouts with a perturbed look upon his face. "Admiral." He said, with a slightly concerned look. "We're missing half our strike group and it appears we've fallen into a hornets nest. I've got Tricobalt signatures coming from the Scylla, and the Hrunting, and Sword of Avalon are shields and weapons hot." He reported.

"Whoever they are, they're organized." Magus commented as he eyed the readout. "If I'm reading this correctly they've moved into an attack position. I've got logged chatter from the Hrunting's AI, our AI is going over it and parsing the dialogue."

Whitcomb offered a slight nod. "Transmit to the Hrunting. Tell them to hold position and not engage unless fired upon. I'll handle the talking now."

At that moment, Whitcomb turned to her Tactical commander.

"How are we doing?" She asked, while the Commander nodded. "They've reset the thrown breakers, we've got all systems except the Bifrost drive."

Whitcomb nodded in approval, before she transmitted to the other three vessels.

"This is the Admiral; all ships initiate datalink synchronization and prepare for combat maneuvers." She said, before turning to Tactical once more.

"Initiate the Planck Field, whoever these Xenos are, I don't want them escaping or bringing in Reinforcements on top of us."

She looked up to the large feed, while the alarms sounded in her own vessel. It would take some time to bring the Command Carrier to full combat readiness.

"I want everyone to their fighters, I want Prowlers out and making reconnaissance runs, get me nice and close to those Xeno ships." Whitcomb ordered. She was confident in the sophisticated stealth capabilities of the Prowler, it's ability to evade scanners by moving slightly out of phase from reality, and it's sophisticated reconnaissance and cloaking systems. Though confused, Whitcomb was confident her fleet would enter combat preparations the moment they came online. It was this efficiency and discipline that the Imperial Aschen navy was known for. They would figure out what the hell happened once the threat had passed.

"I've got a reply to Commander Warren's Hostile challenge, Admiral." Magus reported. "I've got operations and Astrometrics recalibrating sensors to try and find the whispers on our wide-spectrum. We'll have to adjust our sensors for Partial-to-zero emissions. If there's so much as a beating heart on these alien ships we'll pick it up."

Whitcomb offered a slight nod. "Get me weapons and defense analysis as well. And gods damnit I asked for shields a centon ago!"

"This is Admiral Vasham of the Slo'gars Pact vanguard fleet! This system is currently inhabited by my fleet for purposes that are not of your business! Especially one that pops out of no where, unannounced, and brings up their guns the moment they can, in the middle of foreign space! As one commanding officer to another, I would like to kindly suggest that you keep those weapons cool enough that we can sit here comfortably without the threat of one of us trying to annihilate the other after getting these splendid five minutes of pointing weapons of mass destruction at each other, after meeting not six minutes ago!"

Whitcomb pondered a reply, quickly shooting off a message in the Datalink for Warren not to reply, this was in her court now. She pondered for a moment, the exact nature of the reply. However, the words spoken through the universal translate, which had been parsed through the shipboard AI system were clear.

It managed to garner several chuckles from the CIC, a few snickers, and mutterings of 'disgusting Xenos' from the crew, until Whitcomb shouted.

"Enough! We're professionals here. If anyone's going to initiate a pogrom of filthy aliens, it's going to be me. I need to play this carefully until the Prowlers can get out."

"Open a channel." Whitcomb ordered.

"Xenos Fleet, this is Admiral Elisha Whitcomb, of the Pride of Langara; Flagship of the Classis I, Sector Langara, Starfleet of the United Aschen Empire." She hailed. "I see you are in attack formation and have deployed strike craft to attack my vessels. I will warn you that any attack will be construed as an act of war against the United Aschen Empire, this may not mean anything to you. However if my scans of your vessels are reflective of the technology level and development of your people; it would be a war your civilization would be unlikely to survive in any meaningful fashion. I also noticed, by the tone of your response to my Commander's hail. Either you're ignorant as to the nature of exactly who we are, and and what we're capable of; in which case I wouldn't fault a Xeno for it's ignorance. Or you have a deathwish." She said calmly. "To that end you have us outnumbered, my men were preparing defenses in the event of an attack, if you stand down, I will order my men to respond in kind." She said firmly.

A moment later Whitcomb turned to Magus. "I want our relative position and the location of the nearest fleet."

Magus nodded, and eyed the charts for a moment. "Interesting... if this is correct we're not far from Isiria, I can signal The Third Fleet of Glorious Consequence, and Admiral Torres, they're in the Blackrock System, and I could get them here within the Centar." Magus said, which brought a sigh of relief to Whitcomb.

"Then our Bifrost screw-up didn't totally send us to some uncharted realm... good, then we'll have the upper hand here." Whitcomb said, as she awaited a reply.


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Character Portrait: Elisha Whitcomb Character Portrait: Bryn Magus Character Portrait: Slo'gars Pact Character Portrait: Classis I Sector Langara
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Vasham brought his arms to a cross, watching the Aschen fleet scramble about to reorganize themselves. He was impressed, and infact, started to hold some kind of respect for their commanding officer. They were turning what could have easily been a disorganized firework show, into something truly menacing...

Unfortunately, those guns were pointed at him. The message that they received didn't help.

Xenos Fleet, this is Admiral Elisha Whitcomb, of the Pride of Langara; Flagship of the Classis I, Sector Langara, Starfleet of the United Aschen Empire." I see you are in attack formation and have deployed strike craft to attack my vessels. I will warn you that any attack will be construed as an act of war against the United Aschen Empire, this may not mean anything to you. However if my scans of your vessels are reflective of the technology level and development of your people; it would be a war your civilization would be unlikely to survive in any meaningful fashion. I also noticed, by the tone of your response to my Commander's hail. Either you're ignorant as to the nature of exactly who we are, and and what we're capable of; in which case I wouldn't fault a Xeno for it's ignorance. Or you have a deathwish." "To that end you have us outnumbered, my men were preparing defenses in the event of an attack, if you stand down, I will order my men to respond in kind."

Some of that respect died easily enough with that message, but he soothed himself over. "Tell our fighters to return to our side of our sandbox here... Slowly. Let's not panic our friends here." Vasham grunted... It wasn't questioned, which Vasham found surprising, as Seraph broadcast the order, and the swarms of fighters that had gone dark, slowly began to twinkle back onto sensors, dancing their way back into reverse. The Interceptors produced brilliant blue streaks of light in their wake, making the scene almost look like a blooming flower, with the Aklarian fleet at it's center.

Then he sat in silence... Thinking.

"I could see us getting into a slugging match with them... But I'm not inclined to start an imperial war over what appears to be a misunderstanding." Seraph replied gruffly through his hidden speakers, bringing up the display of the Aschen Empire to make his point.

"Neither do I... Not inclined to give these Aschen the satisfaction of us tucking our tail between our legs though. 'Lower technology', pah. What the hell do they expect from a Vanguard fleet. Vanguard! We're glorified scouts." The Admiral huffed, leaning on the pedestal.

"Commander... Our Frame Shift drives have just began a recalculation."

This brought a hush to the crew. The drives don't recalculate their solution, unless something larger than the ship approached to close range, as it required time to calibrate to compensate jumping away from the mass... Yet the Aschen ship was still comfortably Fifty Km away.

"By the children's blood..." Came the helmsman's curse, as he quickly began flipping through screens. Like it was just now occurring to Vasham, something was affecting the drives... And as it slowly washed over the deck, everyone took a guess at what, or in this case, who, was responsible.

"Seraph." Vasham leaned up. "Give me a five second burn of the fleet's reverse thrusters, set us into a drift backwards." Vasham called out, looking back down to the display to resume his silence. Upon his command, the carrier, and it's subordinate frigates, fired off the large engines positioned at their front, for a good five seconds, before going dark again, setting the entire fleet to drift.

Now about message... They would notice them returning their interceptors and strike craft to their fleet, so he'd hope they take that in good faith... Now he wondered how to respond.

"Command relayed a message sir, Hailstorm are charging their Phase Shift drives... They request coordinates." Cur called out, looking up from his panel.

"Have them drop off out system, here." He let the holographic map zoom out, and pointed to a pocket of space just beyond the gas Giant. "I want them to wait here, just beyond the gas, where they can be here in a moments notice if our friends here get fisty..." He glanced back at the Aschen ships. "Otherwise, I'd rather they simply know we aren't as technologically inferior as they want to think."

"Drives are charging sir, they'll be here within the next eight minutes."

"Would you like to relay a message commander?" Seraph queryed.

The Admiral cleared his throat. "Broadcast."
As the ship began it's drift backwards, the carrier began broadcasting yet again.

"Greetings, Admiral Elisha Whitcomb. I will agree that I am not inclined to start a war over what, from what we here have gathered, appears to be a mishap on your part. Surely, however, you can agree that when what appears to be a full assault fleet pops out of no where, that one reacts with the most extreme forms of caution." There was a pause here, as if the man was organizing his thoughts. "Simply put, I organized my fleet to prepare for what could have been a serious threat, and kept that formation when I was told to identify myself, or be attacked. As it is, I have retracted my strike craft, as you can most surely see, in good faith. I am not entirely convinced however, to have my fleet stand down, in the face of someone threatening a declaration of war almost right off the port, with a species they have not yet encountered." Vasham almost instead said 'In the face of someone cutting off our escape routes', but figured he'd keep that to himself. If the Aschen didn't already know it was being successful, even after he ordered his fleet to begin a back drift, he'd rather they didn't know.

"I would instead invite you to have a most civil conversation over more private channels, so that we may talk peacefully."


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"Planck Fields are up and holding, additionally the 'Pyxis, Cebrus, and the Emperor's Wrath have come online, synchronized with the Datalink, and have taken up formation." Magus said, reading off the incoming readings.

Whitcomb was watching the readout as the whispers once again turned into icons on the large holographic tank in front of her.

"They're drifting back." She said calmly, moving her hands to zoom in on the opposing icons, and then she brought the whole view out, to show the extension of the Planck Field, which was one Solar-Unit or 150 Million Kilometrons in every direction.

She took stock of the layout of the star system, the sun, the planets, everything as she keyed up the Point-and-click plotting interface. She was calculating paths to keep her fleet covered, with six vessels instead of three.

"It's going to be awhile until everyone comes back online." Magus added.

At that moment the other officer's reply came up, echoing loudly through the CIC. Everyone was silent for the most part, except Whitcomb. She was considering the words the man said.

What struck her as odd was that he called the 32 ship task force, or what was left of one a full blown assault fleet. Magus' comment however served to break the silence as he spoke up.

"If he thinks we're an assault fleet, they're going to shit bricks when Glorious Consequence arrives." Magus commented matter of factly.

"We could play nice." Whitcomb replied. "Or we could seize the ships, and interrogate the crew. Regardless, Commander, Nothing's coming or going so long as we have the Planck Field up. And it pretty much eliminates the use of Prowlers. So we'll have to do this the old fashioned way." She said, before keying up another icon, disseminating point and click orders for the fleet to go to condition two, and spread out in a more staggered formation.

In a well coordinated effort, the Command Carrier sent out several bursts of data, and the other vessels moved into a relaxed formation, their weapons while still hot, were no longer targeted at the opposing fleet.

"Comms, bring me up." Whitcomb ordered.

A moment later, Whitcomb's reply keyed up on the comms, this time it was an encrypted channel with the decryption keys piggybacked on the subspace frequency. A Private channel that carried a video signal, the large airy CIC that was the Pride of Langara, and Admiral Whitcomb standing center, aside a large console. The Holographic tank was of course not visible from this angle, but the efficiency and technology of the Aschen's CIC Crew was much more evident. Holographic screens flickered, and everyone moved with purpose and discipline.

"You understand, attacking someone who emerges from Slipspace with no power isn't looked upon kindly in any cultures we've come across." She replied. Her right hand was resting on the console beside her, as there was no 'Captain's chair' anywhere. "In a hostile galaxy you can never be too careful. But since this is first contact between our two people, I'll extend an apology for our hostile actions. We are not a people to leave anything to chance, our safety is absolute, that often entails we must treat those we meet with suspicion. So long as you do not act with the intent to harm us, likewise we mean you no harm."

"If this goes according to plan, Commander. We won't need the fleet." Whitcomb said, this time in Anquietas, the native language of the Aschen.

"Call us an old fashioned people, but I would like to propose a more personal exchange, aboard either of our vessels or a neutral location of your choosing, from there I can put you in contact with our diplomatic staff, and more formal arrangements can be made." She hailed once more.


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The Aklarians maintained their formation strictly, and the channel was left silent for a while. The two flak frigates whom had turned to reveal a broadside of guns did relax themselves, turning to face forwards at the Aschen fleet, but it was otherwise erriely silent.


"The Posability of friendly exchange with one of the more powerful space fairing empires could be to the benefit of the Aklarian people." Seraph said, but was met with a retort from Deck Runner Hark.

"Blood thirsty, planet rutting apes, you blasted piece of Circutrty!" Came Hark's outcry. "Contact with surface dwellers has never brought us anything but ruin! We prosper now, our people living amongst the stars! And you would suggest we /submit/ to these people!?"

"The suggestion I made was not to submit, Mr. Hark, but rather to cooperate. This is a race, whom while they delve into planets, has the numbers and the technology. Perhaps we might hold our heads high in our unique form of logistics, and to be able to match many forms of space fairing technology and combat-"

"You damn right we do, you damn chi-"

Hark was silenced by a wave of the Admiral's hand, a stern gaze held over him. A look from the raw anger bestowed upon him from the officers face forced the Deck runner into silence. For a time, the Bridge was silent, all eyes upon the Admiral.

"It is not a doubt within my mind, that the Aschen do in fact have the capability to bestow havoc. My family, the Vasham Line, does not have the capacity to take on any form of conflict with Aschen. They have armada's..."

He straightened up, letting that last bit hang in the air. "We know nothing except they are powerful, they are numerous, and they are subject to prejudicial caution. That is not unlike our race as a whole, if you think about it. We hold no real planets to our name, but we hold armada's to it, and we have not always been so kind to races that have wounded us. In the end, however, our people are new to this Galaxy. I have no intention of jeopardizing my family, my race, by refusing audience with their officer, and insulting them."

He then turned his gaze upon the Aschen display. "I am, however... Very aware of the dangers... Mr. Cur. I would like our support Fleet to delay itself for a time... Inform command we are making first contant with a forgien power... Send for the Judicator." Mentions of the Judicator brought about winces from most faces aboard the bridge... For good reason, Vasham figured. "Seraph, give me communications."

After a long dead silence, the Aklarian Formation's com's flickered back up, and wired over their message via the same encrypted channel.

"It is of my opinion, then, that for the purpose of the now, I might dispatch my frigate 'Desmond' to the in between of our two fleets, where it might act as a hub for you and me to meet in person. I would request that you board our frigate by shuttle, and bring no more than six honor guards, whom may be equipped as they see fit, save for heavy armor or explosives."

Vasham, as he made this message, resigned himself to a rejection for this offer. He would rather however he opened up with this, instead of waiting for the Aschen to suggest something else.


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"I don't like this, one but." Magus protested, considering the proposition. "They want us to meet them aboard one of their ships." He said, turning to face his Admiral, who slowly nodded in response.

"The whole thing stinks." She said, slowly shaking her head as her eyes moved up to the large holographic display. "Much of the fleet is back online and are regrouping in defensive formation. We can coordinate an attack from here using the datalink system." Whitcomb said, nodding to the point and click interface in front of her.

"Why don't we send the Android?" A Deck officer inquired.

Whitcomb paused and nodded. "Problem is there's no telling what kind of information they could gain by compromising the android, I won't risk it." She protested, before her eyes settled on Commander Magus.

"That's why I'm going to send you; and a Marine strike team to accompany you." Whitcomb said, causing the Commander to frown in protest.

"Sir." He said, nodding abruptly as he offered a salute. "I'll report to Hangar one." He said, before suddenly turning to leave.

As Magus started towards the Hangar Deck, Whitcomb turned to her tactical officer. "Get me three Marine strike teams and an Adept team in condors and launched in five minutes. I want to extract the Commander the moment things turn south."

The Tactical officer nodded, and picked up the intercom to relay the message.


Whitcomb waited a moment, keying up one of the Athena class missile carriers forming the rear of the fleet, obstructed by the sheer size of the Command Carrier.

"Scylla, prep your weapons package, Tricobalt Multiple warhead. Staggered targeting pattern, with decoys." She said. "Launch only on my order."

With acknowledgement, a single missile silo slid open to form a hole in the armored hull of the Athena class missile carrier. There were no other outward signs, even as the targeting package for a high yield multiple delivery missile system was being loaded.

Finally, Whitcomb keyed up the alien fleet.

"This is Admiral Whitcomb, I'm sending one of my officers over to the designated coordinates; standby."

Moments later, a single Condor transport emerged from one of the multiple hangar decks of the Command Carrier, escorted by a quintet of Raptor Talon assault fighters. The Raptor Talons maintained a close knit delta formation around the Condor, while approaching the Frigate from the Aschen fleet.

Several moments later, three more Condors emerged, with an escort of several dozen Raptor Talons fluttering about the darkness of space, they held back however, keeping a distant orbit around the Command Carrier, moving in an elliptical pattern, each Condor was packed with assault marines ready to move should the Commander's Life be in danger, or should he face imminent capture.

The group of Aschen Ships moved quickly through the darkness of space.


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"We've received coordinates, one of their officers is en route." Came one of the operatives voices, who flicked up a display of the message to the holographic center. Vasham grunted in a nod. However, in dismay, he noted that the time that had been spent trying to keep each other firing upon each other, had now given the Aschen a very clear advantage, as more of their fleet came online.

"Send Desmond to their coordinates... Weapons cool. Order the fleet to cease it's drifting." Vasham grunted. He didn't feel it, but the fleet moments later countered it's drift with a five second forward thrust, bringing it to a halt.

"Will you be going sir?" Came Hark's grunt, and the color beneath the visor drained into a white at his nod.

"Seraph, you have the fleet. If conflict starts, prioritize escape of the majority." Vasham muttered, turning to walk away from the command pedestal. His eyes centered on the cool blue blast door, that sealed the command deck from the rest of the ship. Two marines in M22 Power armor stood their, the massive vacuum sealed suits, easily towering a few feet among any who passed them. One had three golden strikes across their right arm... The other had a crimson emblem on the same arm, a simple dash. He nodded to them, and the lower ranked individual nodded... The door seemed to open of his own will, though he was certain one of the two triggered it. "Mr. Cur, please infrom the Desmond that I will be boarding their ship mid transit via shuttle. I will expect them to be ready to meet our guests."

"If conflict starts, and we are unable to retrieve you?" The AI asked, and one could accuse it of being somewhat nervous. Infact, the question caused the Admiral himself to pause.

"Then I expect, that if given the chance, that if I can not be retrieved, there is nothing left for them to retrieve."

With that, he fled down the corridor.


The Formation itself halted, as the Desmond departed from the group... A frigate measuring in Six kilometers, the front of it's craft was dedicated to two massive ion cannons, mounted on a gimbal that allowed them to pivot on an X and Y axis to track targets. The guns were placed to stack atop each other, to keep the ship thin in terms of width. Two rail guns were mounted on the upper, and lower portions of the ship, great, five barreled guns that could target anything within one hundred eighty degrees above them.

The hull itself was spearlike at the front, emphasis on the point where it's main guns rested, and then suddenly turned into a large block at the rear, as if one glued the arrow onto a giant cube. A rear hatch, measuring atleast a fourth of a kilometer, atleast two fifty meters, opened up, revealing a brilliant blue glow from within...

To receive the Admiral's shuttle, which in turn was escorted by ten interceptors. They streaked up to the craft's starboard side, holding in a delta formation, before the fighters suddenly broke off to take up positions at the frigates aft, where as the shuttle flew into what was assumed to be the dock.

The Frigate itself continued on for the time it took to reach the coordinates, before countering it's inertia, and holding position. It's weapons were cool, but it's shields were constantly up, and the interceptors kept their engines flared.

It then began broadcasting docking procedures to the Aschen Escort.


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Whitcomb silently watched the holographic interface as Magus' shuttle cleared the field of influence. This was the designated safe zone with which Imperial forces could quickly and readily retrieve the Commander in the event that he was compromised.

Magus kept his cool, checking the life support systems of the T-65 Combat skin he was wearing. The T-65 was an extremely advanced piece of equipment, typically reserved for special forces and operatives of the Imperial Intelligence Agency. The T-65 Consisted of a form fitting undergarment that interfaced with the nerves of the body, which fed impulses into the suits neuromuscular enhancement systems. This allowed the wearer to enjoy strength many times that of a normal human.

The Combat skin was further augmented by several internal power systems, including a sealed life support and NBC System. A Nanomesh outer layer provided excellent protection against projectiles and energy weapons, this was further augmented by the suit's portable aegis wrist mounted hard-light shield system, and overall frequency oscillation shield systems.

Everything was topped off by a breastplate, gauntlets, and greaves made from a special material called Kanvium. This alloy was a highly synthesized material that dissipated energy by becoming a liquid like state, returning to a solid once the energy was dissipated.

The Marines wore something different, a completely self enclosed CUIRASS Combat System. The Cuirass was a hybrid power armor system that afforded a hermetically sealed environment, which allowed Imperial Marines to operate in a variety of alien environments, including zero g and within a vacuum. Their faces were completely obscured by a self contained augmented reality Heads-up display, allowing them to see in infrared, ultraviolet, and even X-ray and Wide-Spectrum if the situation required it. This enhanced sight rendered most conventional methods of obfuscation useless.

They carried the Type 03 Disruptor PDW, which was a fast firing close quarters disruptor weapon that was capable of unleashing devastating ordinance downrange and up close. Their backup was a simple Type 23 disruptor pistol, they also carried an assortment of grenades, and various other equipment. Each marine silently checked their weapon, checking the fusion cells and the calibration of their weapons. Some kept their gaze fixed on the holographic screen that served as the weapon's sights. Calibrating and checking their weapons for errors.

Magus swallowed hard, as he gazed out the small porthole to the Raptor Talon that flew alongside them, and then he looked back to the formation of Aschen vessels.

"We're approaching the Xenos vessel." The Pilot of the Condor reported. "Receiving docking information, initializing final approach."

The Pilot moved to get on comms with the Desmond, chiming in on a wide-band frequency.

"Condor 867 to Xenos Frigate, I'm beginning final approach now, I'm calling the ball."

The squadron of Raptor Talons banked off, splitting into several different directions before forming back up several kilometers away from the Frigate. The Raptor Talons held their position however, waiting for any sort of signal from the Command Carrier.

The Raptor Talons were working a second mission. Highly encrypted subspace transmissions moving back and fourth from the Command Carrier and the Raptor Talons. This was hashed in with normal datalink transmissions. The Raptor Talons were acting as spotters for the Athena class carrier's missile package.

Inside the dock, the lone Condor made it's approach, following docking instructions until given final clearance to land. Once touchdown was achieved, Magus gave a silent nod to his Marines, and then tugged at the combat skin's collar.

"Alright, time to impress upon these Xenos why it's a bad idea to challenge the might of the Empire." Magus said, as the visor for the Combat skin slammed shut over his face, a small hiss could then be heard as the suit pressurized, the Marines checked theirs one last time as well, and then gave a thumbs up once the Condor made final touchdown.

There was another hiss as the seal to the Condor's troop bay was broken, the atmospher of the frigate if there was one, and the atmosphere of the condor allowed to comingle. Magus stood up as the back ramp began to open up. He stood as an imposing black clad figure, with a reflective faceless visor among his team of eight marines. To the layman, the Commander didn't appear to be wearing heavy armor, but the Combat Skin was none the less a formidable combat system.

When the back ramp opened up, the Commander would be the first to step down, and the first to set eyes on these strange aliens.


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The Sight within the frigate was that of a massive storage and utility center. The Condor had been directed to one of the many pads usually reserved for incoming cargo, or equipment. The entire 'dock' itself was dedicated to both landing pads, one of Which the Condor was currently nestled on, to small docking rigs, great metal arms that were capable of locking onto larger craft to keep them in place. Currently, three of these were home to large, rectangular like ships, where several arms combed over their surface... Apparently repairing some sort of physical damage that they had endured.

The entire 'dock' was a long line of this, with the occasional hover craft moving from one 'landing pad' to another, gripping some crate or another underneath it's belly with small, pincer like claws that connected to small hoops on the crates sides.

The main concern for these marines, however, was the military before them.

The most visible was the six M22 Combat Armor suits before them. Hulking piles of metal in the form of a man, stretching easily into nine feet, added further onto their size because of their seemingly bulky nature. The suit was large enough that the helmet ended up almost nestled into the suit's chest frame, it's brilliant orange, reflective visor giving the Aschen a good look at themselves, if they cared to stare at the visors.

The suits were comprised of adamantium, a material, produced in Aklarian refineries that had to be specially configured for it's production, that for it's durability and strength, was considerably high. Small arms fire upon these hulking machines was like rock against steel plating. Very loud. Little effect. Even worse was the adamantium's considerably high melting point, as well as a layering of shock absorbing foam beneath the massive armor, which made to give the armor a considerable defense against energy based weapons.

To add to it's already considerable defenses, the suits contained a defense matrix pack. These matrix's were refresh shields, shields that constantly dispersed and recharged at an incredible rate, it's purpose was to deflect, or considerably slow down, energy or physical rounds fired at the armor, aimed primarily towards larger calibair, or high energy weapons. The method of the shield's refresh did mean it had little effect on weapons with a higher rate of fire, however.

The suits were powered by a rear power pack, a generator that operated on Thollium, an element used often by the Aklarian's for it's massive power output in it's stable form, as well as for it's explosive potential when reduced into an unstable form. Two massive ports on the pack, which protruded just enough from the armor plating of the pack to be visible, let loose a torrent of heat into the air, cooling both the generator, and the suit.

The suit's themselves carried various pieces of equipment. The chest had four floodlights embedded into itself, which the wearer could turn on when desired. The Helmets contained a HUD, that gave the wearer tactical information regarding his current surroundings. People. Weapons. Explosive contents. Objectives. Operator Vitals, were just a few of the things available to these men and woman. These suits could read out the battle field in infrared and heat, and night vision, if required, and the suit itself contained medical packs that could be injected into the operator in an emergency. A mix of stimulants, blood coagulants, as well as medical nanites for the higher grades of armor, thankfully those were not present here.

A majority of the suits carried their MK2 Standard Visceral Puncture rifle. "The Punisher". Massive rifles built specifically to be wielded by these giants. The upper barrel was capable of firing bursts of focused plasma at a rate of three shots a second, or one hundred eighty in a minute. The rifle was powered by a fuel cell, or an over glorified battery, that was slide into the rear compartment of the stock. The gun also carried an under barrel of a rather large diameter. It's contents were more serious, Rockets, with a shaped charge of thollium in them, their sole purpose to disable, or assault enemy armor.

None of this compared to the rear Combat suit... It was similar to all the others, but it's arms had been replaced with massive cannons. The suit could lift these cannons up, as if he was jutting fists out for a friend to bump, and unleash a storm of energy bursts. It's legs had traded off a little bit of armor, for larger servos to accommodate this weight, yet it was a formidable craft none the less.

To add to all this, a team of no less then eight marines were scattered about, wielding smaller, assorted weapons, many of them appeared to be nothing more than energy based rifles. They were, however, in Wolfhelm's armor, a vacuum sealed suit meant for 'light' infantry, that appeared to be essentially mini figures of the combat suits. It was safe to assume that they shared similar capabilities in terms of utility.

However, two figures stood out from this group, the only ones who's faces were visible. One was a rather large, bulky male, who's features were hard to discern, thanks to that overwhelmingly pitch skin. He was definitely hominoid, that much was certain, to the point where it wouldn't be too far a hazard to assume that they held common ancestry with humans, if one wanted to delve into that sort of question. Yet his skin made him appear as if he was a black shadow, and as the Condor's doors open, the red, illuminated eyes of the man fell onto the officer. The man himself was in his uniform, a very bright white, to contrast his pitch features, and held a variety of emblems scattered on his upper right chest. The cuffs of the uniform's arms were somewhat golden, and the pants themselves were a darkish, navy blue. He did have some sort of small, slim pack mounted on his back and shoulders, but he didn't pay it much mind.

That aside, the male, upon closer examination, was quite stocky. He had an enormous jaw, almost boxy in shape, and his eyes were cold and hard. His shoulders were a boxy square, and if one looked closely, there appeared to be very small protrusions upon them. At first, they might appear to be decorative emblems, but any scrutiny revealed that they were in infact small metal rods, with a slight oval shape at the top, implanted into the flesh itself.

The other was definitely female, a slim body with curves to be sure, yet that build also held tension and strength in it, as brilliant yellow eyes fell onto the Condor's hatch. Brown hair was tied into a neat ponytail, which was thrown down her back. She herself had a grey uniform, with a smaller amount of emblems on her upper right chest, yet the way one of the closest marines regarded her with a certain wariness indicated she was certainly important. Like the male, she had a certain amount of professionalism about her, but her eyes carried more youth and curiosity than her counterpart, and were certainly quite warmer.

The male spoke first. "I am Vasham Van'dune, Admiral, and currently in command of Slo'gars Pact." The man introduced himself, sliding his arms to rest just above his rear waist, while he inclined his head upward just a bit. He was silent after that, observing how his guests would occur from this distance.


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Character Portrait: Elisha Whitcomb Character Portrait: Bryn Magus Character Portrait: Slo'gars Pact Character Portrait: Classis I Sector Langara
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The rear bay door to the Condor lowered slowly with a hiss, the team of Marines keeping their formations as the ramp hit the floor and ceased it's movement.

Commander Magus stepped down from the ramp, though his face and all features were obscured by the form fitting Combat skin, which kept his expressions concealed behind a black, glossy visor which was tagging and highlighting all possible threats, of which were numerous.

A mental command was sent through the suit's systems, and into the HUD of his marines. They engaged their helmet and gun cameras to take in their surroundings, broadcasting them on an encrypted subspace bit-stream channel back to the fleet. The Datalink provided tactical data into Magus' suit from the Marines that disembarked behind him, and everyone moved with cohesion despite not a single word being spoken.

The men kept their eyes vigilant on the aliens around them, the sheer volume of weapons and armor around them. This was starting to seem like a possible trap.

Magus knew that Admiral Whitcomb was watching the feeds back aboard the Command Carrier, tactical data from the fleet was showing two Imperial fleets being mobilized out of Isiria in the event the fighting began.

While the immediate situation gave the advantage to the Aliens, Magus was confident that the Empire was working behind the scenes to lock down the entire star system.

Once the Combat Skin's systems recognized the ship's atmosphere as capable of sustaining human life, a small green icon flashed on the HUD, and Magus sent a mental command to open the suit's visor, which opened with a hiss and a series of clicks, retracting into the helmet in several sections. The thick black visor revealed an older man, rugged looking and fair skinned, but those were the only features that could be made out through the suit.

"I am Commander Bryn Magus, executive officer of the Pride of Langara." He said, looking around, his eyes taking in his surroundings. "I see you were expecting a little more than myself and a few of my men." He said, frowning.

"We are not creatures of Treachery, I would certainly hope, for you sake that you are not either." He added. "There is no place in this galaxy for Xenos such as that."

He uttered the word Xeno with disgust, contempt, as years of propaganda taught him to. "We have not encountered your species before, even with our extensive knowledge of this galaxy, I would be interested in further exchange of information, were it not for so many men with guns pointed at me and my retinue." Magus said. He knew that all of it was for naught. If the aliens in front of him chose to become aggressive, Magus knew that Whitcomb would order that tricobalt package fired, taking the alien fleet, and a good chunk of the solar system with it.


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Vasham started forward, his form stiff and proper, that befitting of someone of his position. His eyes locked onto Bryn Magus's own, their red hue darting over the features of the man opposed to him. "It is of my thinking," He started, displaying those sharp, greyish teeth. "That I have personally invited you onto one of my own crafts, under the assumption, given my own invitation, that you are not to be harmed in any way, shape, or form." He glanced aside as the female stepped forward, mimicking the admiral's posture.

"And that sentiment shall continue, until such a time as your team here proves an immediate threat to my men and women." With that, the man offered a handshake, stretching forward his right arm. "Make no mistake. I am just as nervous as you probably are. You have guns pointed at you here. I got guns pointed at me out there. I am most certainly sure neither of us here want to provoke the other, even if I am an... 'Xeno.' " He man mimicked the other's attitude about the word, but it was for a different reason. Vasham had no ill will for the race... But he was displaying his threshold for tolerance at the lack of thereof, and by the tone, it was little.

The surrounding suits and marines relaxed a little at the Admiral's offer of a handshake regardless, and one of the marines even held up a hand to his visor, speaking with some other individual one what could be assumed short range coms... Even then, the channel was guarded by security encryptions.


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Magus reached out and took the offered hand, clasping it firmly but not hard enough to hurt, he wasn't used to the strength enhancing systems of the Combat Skin, and so he had to pay close attention not to crush the Admiral's hand under the grip of his own handshake.

His own men relaxed slightly, but they were still taking in the sights of the ships interior, looking around and seeing the sights, while transmitting everything back to the Pride of Langara.

"There are no guns pointed to you out there, so long as you don't provoke the fleet." Magus explained. "I pride myself on the discipline of my men." He said, inclining his head.

"You see, we come from a civilization where aliens are considered hostile, no thanks to the last thousand years of our history; every alien civilization we've come across has at one point aimed to take down our Empire, and thus the alien civilization was destroyed."

There was a thinly veiled threat within Magus' statements, never the less he continued on his introduction. "We were testing a new form of Faster-than-light travel when we happened upon your fleet. This sector of space was previously charted as uninhabited, and yet here you are." He added.


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Indepth of their docking port revealed that occasionally, when one of the cargo drones moved a crate to a new port, it was quickly dragged further into a ship by a robotic arm, disappearing into small corridors and shafts. It seemed that this particular part of the ship was some sort of distribution area, where cargo could be directly loaded in from exterior forces, and instantly transported to where it needed to go. Should they posses the proper scanners, there were faint bursts of energy each time the crates were slid into their ports. To faint for anyone outside the ship to detect, in fact outside scans appeared to be disrupted by some sort of back round static, but with the marine team on the inside...

Vasham licked his lips, nodding to the officer's rebuttle sagely. He mulled the man over for a moment as they shook hands, before retracting his own. "My people are not very fond of contact with others... We tend to keep ourselves isolated, for reasons that may be very well similar to your, ah... History. It was no accident that we have not encountered each other before."

Then, the Admiral glanced to the female beside him. "Captain Sha'loun, I do believe it would be necessary to at the very least secure us some seats." He said aloud, to which the captain nodded... However, she did not appear to do anything but stare off into space for a few seconds, and even more, the admiral accepted this.

"While we await so... Is there anything you wish to open up with? I... Realize, this is a rather tense situation, and if it would ease you, I would be happy to answer a few questions... Within reason."


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"Within reason." Magus repeated quietly to himself. He would have to word his questions carefully, but he decided it was most prudent to reiterate with the implied question he had opened up with previously.

"Where did you come from, it's obvious you're not native to this sector of space. We charted this location as previously uninhabited." Magus said.

Each small burst of energy was detected by the combat systems of the Marines inside the ship, these energy bursts were fed through the Datalink and back to Admiral Whitcomb's Command Carrier. This provided them a unique insight to the distortion field that surrounded them, allowing the Aschen systems through the reconnaissance packages of the Raptor Talons to probe and analyse up close.

"Were your people enslaved by parasites posing as gods?" Magus asked in rebuttal. "Something tells me, with your level of technology and your general demeanor, you weren't. But you were right to avoid contact with us. Many regimes have predated ours, many regimes far more brutal than ours. Those who wouldn't hesitate to exterminate your people without the slightest provocation." Magus explained.

"Fortunately for us all, we live in different times. To that end we should make arrangements for more formal contact, as we speak my Superiors are convening a message to our government, their reply will determine the course of these discussions." Magus added further. "Though I must ask why you have come here, now that we've triangulated our location, I'd warn you that this star system is rather close to Aschen Imperial holdings."


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The Admiral mulled this question over, listening careful to Magnus. His eyes drifted about the man for a moment, fidgeting over details as he could. "You are correct, we are not native to this particular area." The man replied, straightening up after a quick assessment of his own words. "You must understand if I am disinclined to give our origins... After all, with all the talk you give of your military might," He'd say this with an emphasis on 'talk'. "... It would be foolish for someone such as I to give away something so critical as our home world." The man tilited his head to this, lifting a brow. "Do not take it as an insult, I have not the authority to give away information regarding our territory to a foreign power that we've only just met, though under the circumstances, even if I had the authority, now's not the proper place discuss it."

Of course, the Admiral was being deliberately misleading with his mention of 'our home world', and kept his tone analytical and professional. A very low level member of his family he was, being anything noble meant holding your own in a battle of speech, as well as craft.

Then he found himself inwardly vomiting as he thought over the mans other words. He took it as a threat, in all honestly, and if meant to be subtle, he didn't see the subtlety in it. Yet, he decided he'd let the man continue talking. He'd respond to it later...

So when he finally asked why he was here, he stiffened for a moment, thinking on what to say.

"What I can say is that my fleet is a Vanguard. Scouts. I'm sure you can divulge from this fact that we are preparing the system, and nearby systems, for larger movements. However, I am quite sure such activity is of no concern of this apparently near Imperial Holding... And if it is, I'd like to observe the fact that your center of power is almost on the other side of the galaxy. If there is a problem with that fact, I can be sure for my authorities to be notified for the more formal meeting... But in the mean time, I plan to operate normally. After all, as you said before, this is uninhabited space, and we've been here long enough that if the Aschen claimed this area, some form of craft would have stopped by, and, mind you, in this case, I'm not going to count this fleet of yours, given it is very clear that it's presence here is nothing more than happenstance." He licked his teeth, glancing over his shoulder as the blast door down the way opened, to reveal a small troop of marines, three of them, carrying stools. He shook his head, glancing back at Magus.

"What I mean to say is, I heed your warning, but if we were close enough to it for it to be of enough concern that we'd have to keep the area vacated of any of our military and civilians, we would have been in contact quite a while before this." He grunted, and decided to throw them a bone, if nothing else than to keep an argument from breaking out. "After all, it is not as if we plan to inhabit the area... It just so happens to be of interest to us for the time being."


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Through it all, Magus remained linked with the Command Carrier, Whitcomb stood in silence as she observed the proceedings. The commander watched his adversary's movements.

He quietly allowed the Admiral to finish his piece, declining to reveal his origins. This caused Magus' brow to furrow, whether it was in disappointment in the lack of an answer or something else was yet to be seen.

Magus made a fist for a moment, stretching the actuators in his armored gauntlet, letting neural impulses carry to commands and electrical impulses. His eyes moved over to the Captain as she brought.

Magus mulled over the words quietly, saying nothing for a moment and only listening. He ran several scenarios through his head, he knew that the Capital of the Aschen Empire was fairly common knowledge throughout those who were familiar with the Aschen's projection of power in the Galaxy. Those races were races the Aschen Empire knew of and kept close tabs on, races such as the Scatterrans, the Terrans, the Taiyou. The Aschen knew the locations of their respective home worlds and could strike should it become necessary. But these aliens, with their unknown ships presented a challenge.


"Xenos not native to the Aurora Quadrant?" Whitcomb said aloud while sending off a quick text message to the Ministry of Defense. She had submitted her report, which was hastily prepared along with a recommendation. She was awaiting details for further contact.

Five minutes went by, the Ministry of Defense had sent in a reply.

"Refer the Xeno delegation to Watchtower A-5 in the Gaelian System of the Isirian Semi-Autonomous Region. Ambassador Lucia Tarthus will handle negotiations."

Whitcomb quietly relayed the message over to Commander Magus, a text message that would display on the datalink feed in the augmented reality system of his HUD, and on the holographic screen of his gauntlet.


"Respectfully, Admiral." Magus rebuked. "Larger movements in these sectors would have provoked a more aggressive response than our mere happenstance contact." He said, clearing his throat as he glanced at the opening blast door and the entering Marines.

"Though I think the more appropriate question is how much do you know about us? You know enough to know that our center of power is on the other side of the Galaxy, which it may or may not be." He said, neither confirming or denying the location of the actual Aschen Empire.

"Exactly how much do you know about our civilization, you seem to be holding back." The Commander asked, suspiciously. "Such knowledge belonging to a race we know very little about, could be detrimental to our perception of security."


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The admiral opened his mouth to speak, but the approaching marines caught his attention once more. He turned around, gesturing one of them forward, so that he might whisper to them, in a more guttural, unidentified tongue.

The Captain however, smiled brightly, charmingly so even, with a soothing voice, and spoke with confidence, in the place of her commanding officer. "Your concern over the matter of your territory in this area is noted, Heuran Magus." She said, a lightly smile upon her lips. "As for your question regarding our information of the Aschen..."

"We have our information." She said after a moment of pause, mulling it over slightly before she continued. "We do not make it our business to probe and spy on a sovereign power we wish nothing of, as it would be counter intuitive to us, should such efforts be discovered, and traced to us."

Then, her mood shifted, her brows furrowed, as she tilted her chin to her chest. "However, this does not mean we do not have ears. Your reputation precedes you, and it is very easy to come across such a reputation across a galaxy, even with our... Isolationist tendencies." Her eyes glanced up to Magus again, though her head didn't move, given her a somewhat ashamed look about her.

"If you truly have a thirst of knowledge for our people and our territory, then I'd say the same as my commanding officer here. He, I, nor I doubt our superiors, are comfortable with such a nation being aware of our birth world." She too caught onto the Admiral's misleading words, and sought to support him in the endeavor.

She brought her head back up, more confident now. "So yes... We are aware of the Aschen, and we know more than we are letting on. I can, uh... Only hope, Heuran Magus, that for a people whom claim to have been assaulted by the galaxy's races, you'd understand our caution."

The Admiral turned back, but added nothing to the conversation, as if in full agreement. He was in fact, and felt that her words and expressions put it better.

The marines behind him, who had carried into the chair, looked at each other... Shrugged, and began dragging the stools back towards the blast door.


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"Know the Alien, purge the Alien." Magus let the mantra repeat in his head a dozen or so times as he looked to the datalink feed.

"My ship is preparing to transmit coordinates to a more formal meeting location, if your people are interested in furthering our relations. It would be in your people's interests to pursue them, from a tactical standpoint as I do not think that any operations that can be perceived as a threat by the authorities of the Empire at large are a good idea anyway."

He nodded to a pair of Marines, as they appeared to have seen enough. The nod came from a Marine sergeant; who turned to return to the landed Condor transport ship.

About that time the Command Carrier began broadcasting stellar charts and a set of coordinates to where the Aklarian and Aschen could meet in a more formal setting with less martial tension. The coordinates lead to a zone of dead space on the fringes of the Aschen's Isirian sector, a lone watchtower that was in charge of monitoring traffic in and out of Isirian space.

"I appreciate your welcome aboard your ship, and your willingness to meet with me in person. You have displayed yourselves worthy of further diplomatic contact with my people, thus you should be getting a set of coordinates." Magus said. "If there is not anything further, I need to return to my Command Carrier, so we can regroup and proceed to our designated coordinates."


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The communications were received by the Aklarian Carrier, as the AI began processing and organizing the information for a later report.

The Admiral back on the Desmond nodded curtly to Magus, tilting his head to one side, and then the other in thought. What had nearly turned into a slugging match between his fleet and another, better equipped, if temporarily disabled group, had turned into perhaps a possible, if very tenuous, contact with another race. How the children must smile upon him.

"I should think so!" The admiral finally as Magus finished. "I am personally impressed, you defied some of my expectations... I hope that bolds well." The man clacked his teeth, as an alternative to shrugging, a most casual, and therefore taboo, gesture for an admiral to make.

"As soon as your craft has exited our ship, however, I would be very much glad if your suppression field was lowered, so that we might return to our business."


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Magus inclined his head slightly, before signalling to his Marines to file back into the Condor.

"Once we have docked with the Command Carrier, we will lower the inhibition field so that we can perform our own FTL Jump. You are free to proceed as you see fit once we have vacated the system." Magus said, turning to the Condor as it's engines began to warm up.

"Enclosed in the Coordinates package is a time and date for you to meet with us, if you choose to arrive at the designated time, you should have much less tension on approach, as we'll be expecting you."

Moving back towards the Condor VTOL, Magus gave one last wave before he turned to the pilot.

"Get us out of here." He complained, before strapping himself in as the engines continued to spool up. There were several bursts of data on the datalink, and once the Condor was cleared to leave; it would proceed to the escorting Raptor Talon formation, and begin it's flight back to the Command Carrier.

A few moments passed and the Planck Field was taken down, as the Aschen fleet began to slowly turn on it's axis, while the ships disseminated and prepared for an FTL Jump.


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Once we have vacated the system. The admiral let the words bounce around his head, as their landing craft departed, lifting up into the air, and flying out the dock. The moment the dock closed, he tapped the side of his head, where his ear piece was. "Seraph, signal the fleet to return to standard operations. The moment the field comes down, have us phase back."

"And the refineries?" Came Seraph's voice. There was a mumble in the back round... Odd.

"Have us warp in on our signatures once we return..."

The fleet didn't bother to reassemble back into formation, simply turning and adjusting themselves to face their intended coordinates. The Admiral himself remained on the frigate, mentioning to himself he'd simply transfer over once phasing was complete.

As soon as the Planck Field was down, the ships instantly began popping off radar for less than a moment, as they have never discharged their phase drives in the first place when they first began charging them.

On board the Skagrims blade, one of the technicians down in the AI quantum control unit, noticed that since the field was up, the AI's processing power spiked up more than twenty percent. This unnamed did not bother to question why the AI needed so much energy, but investigated the matter anyway, fearing that perhaps this field had affected the AI.

He found that Seraph had, without prompt, boosted the carriers sensors, and was feeding itself sensor information from the refineries, whom prior to the entry of the Aschen, had phased out of the system, just outside where this supposed field of influence was.

Not only that, unknown to the crew, it had established a commutations feed to a third party, to which the technician could indeed determine that it was some higher authority within the Aklarian Fleet. He reached for an intercom, tapping the control panel to contact his supervisor, yet found that the AI locked him out. For a brief moment, he thought it has gone rouge, but then Seraph addressed him.

"I would appreciate it if you would not inform your superiors of this discrepancy, as it has no bearing on them. I merely offer the explanation that the scenario we have been presented, offered a truely striking, and important piece of information, that our commanders should be aware of." It said, and the man soothed, yet questioned him.

"Why?" He asked. "What was interesting enough to bypass the Admiral?"

"I might offer that the anti-phase field is a topic of interest of me, and one other."

The technician left it at that, as the fleet's refineries phased back in.

Slo'gars pact was back where it was, a bit tighter formation, as no doubt the AI and command staff eye'd their sensor data on the Aschen fleet with caution, as dozens upon dozens of the smaller utility vessels poured out of their carrier, resuming their duties to assemble the raw resources.