Part 43: Auroran - Part 12 - April 30th, 1182 NC: A whole lot of deathApril 30th, 1182 NC: A whole lot of death
Bit of a short update today, we are to defend Heraan itself by delaying the Moash strike fleet at Ventra until Heraani forces can pull back from Federation border patrol. No problem.
Now Auroran spaceways are explained - the Feds are centralized, the Polaris are distributed, but the Aurorans are a giant mess. Why? Each house follows the same guiding principles behind the Federation layout, but at the same time they try to maximize buffer space between them and competing houses. The end result of this is a hideously slow mess to slog through when traveling through Auroran space, but strategically amazing - the closest route to Moashi space takes several weeks to run through, but all Heraan territories can be accessed in half that time from the capital.
We jump in and the Moash follow not long after. The escort cruisers and carrier start laying down long-range fire support as we burn in for close-range fighting.
We already outnumber the Moash at the outset of the fight, facing only a cruiser and a carrier. They wanted a sniping contest, and are completely unprepared for 1200m of carrier hurtling at them.
I disable the cruiser as it is attempting to bring its weapons to bear, and hurtle onwards to the carrier. It doesn't last long.
Without losing even a fighter, we return triumphant to Heraan.
If only we had some sort of super battlecruiser to give these warriors...
All of your 'Pack' have died this day, but the Moashi have been completely routed.
Horgar died ramming his ship into the bridge of a Moash Cruiser, Savard while dog-fighting, outnumbered 15 to 1. Burch'ee of the Cold Death disappeared in a hail of fire, which destroyed the lead cruiser of the second fleet, commanded by the son of Merrick'Ahh. Jesura claimed scores of enemies before the end, and Bazara carried out a suicide dive through the flight deck of a Moash Carrier, destroying its fighter component before it could even take the field. Syn'tax overloaded the reactor of his ship to put a Moash Cruiser into the next world.
Kuron has lost an arm and a leg. He directed the last defense while surgeons tried to stop the bleeding.
We need a combat rating of "Deadly" to have properly established a name for ourselves. I oblige, raiding Federation and Moash worlds.
The Heraani Fleets, returning from the Federation border, will make merry hell among the remainder as they flee for Moashi territory.
Yet for you it is a hollow victory. Most of your friends have died this day, and their deaths were of a direct consequence of your orders.
Karrod finds you sitting at the foot of your ships ramp, head in hands. His face is streaked with dirt, smoke and blood.
"Today you started to make a name for yourself as our Thurokiir," he congratulates you quietly. "Now you need to head out amongst our enemies to show that today was no mere fluke, and that you are a force to be reckoned with."
With that, he clasps your bone weary hand, and the two of you sit in silence while the rest of Heraan space celebrates.
It takes a few months, but after thousands of Moash and Federation sailors meet their ends we have established ourselves as the terror of the spacelanes.
This ship is seriously overpowered. We outarmour even the fearsome Polaris Raven and have more damage output to boot - only the Polaris Torpedoes are a credible threat to us. Beats railgun sniping any day.
We even break the Federation blockade on the rebel world of Merrol. Flushed with success, we return to Heraan.
You are sitting in the bar, trying to banish the ghosts of the past, when your wristcomp beeps an incoming message. You look down and read that you have been challenged to a duel by Am'Rosso, Thurokiir of House Moash, to be held in the Great Hall of Aurora.
Wearily you get to your feet and make your way to your ship. Kuron, from his hospital bed, informed the House Elders to expect this challenge, as the Moash will be trying to win back some honor. Kuron had asked you what you intended to do when the challenge came, but you told him you had no idea. Now you do.
They aren't really our friends. We had just one mission which saw them all get destroyed as we ran away, then they all died off-camera. Not really the strongest motivation.
The Moash will try to win back some honor, and for taking the lives of your lover and friends, they will pay the ultimate price; they will lose their position as First House. You reach your ship and blast away. You are going to relish this.
Once again, the Moash try to ambush us in orbit around Aurora. They arrive woefully unprepared.
You land on Aurora and march to the Great Hall. The news of your defeat of House Moash has spread far and wide, and many line the walkways to catch a glimpse of the woman who stopped an entire fleet. The Hall is packed tight with spectators to see the combat between Thurokiirs, an event of great rarity. Am'Rosso stands across the ring from you, his tattooed flesh glistening. You casually strip off your clothes and stand before him. The other three Thurokiirs stand between you. You recognize Chorga the Insane of Dani House, Jimuga Bloodspiller of Tekel House and Jeorgen the Painted of Vella House. They nod to you, and you see respect in their eyes. By tradition, Am'Rosso speaks first to inform all present of the meaning of the duel, and you then reply, before fighting...but not this time.
"KarHallarn, of House Heraan, I, Am'Rosso call you to stand for your House in this matter. I demand you rescind the Debt of Honor you have over House Moash through a duel, unarmed, before this council."
You take a deep breath...
"Am'Rosso, you are without Honor. Your House of proven treachery cannot be considered a House any longer. Having plotted to cheat the Auroran Empire of its independence, it did not even have the integrity to step down as First House in the face of incontrovertible evidence. Just one battle group from House Heraan stalled the cowardly Moashi attack of three fleets on the Heraani heartland, and gave you the greatest military defeat of the century. I will not lower myself or the Honor of My House to do battle with you, Am'Rosso. The honor of your House stinks more than the air that comes out of your arse. You and your House are a blight on all the Auroran Empire stands for."
The fate of tens of trillions of humans, decided by a fistfight between naked tattoo addicts.
You turn your back on him and hear sounds of a struggle. You turn to see Am'Rosso being held back by Chorga, Jimuga and Jeorgen. Yet even as you look Am'Rosso breaks through and rushes you, swinging his fists like a club. You duck beneath his blow, and, continuing your spin, ram your elbow into his ribs. You feel satisfaction as his ribs snap with a loud crack. The look of surprise on Am'Rosso's face has not time to change as you spin around and smash your other elbow into his nose, driving broken bones into his brain. Am'Rosso falls from your poleaxing blow like a felled tree and skids slightly on the floor.
Silence descends on the Hall.
Chorga, Jimuga and Jeorgen step forward and demand the electing of a new First House, and within the hour the Moashi have been ousted and House Heraan unanimously voted to take their place.
The task of forming a government takes some time, but before too long the disgraced Moashi have left Aurora, and House Heraan is in residence at the heart of the Empire. You wish that those who have gone before you were here to see the day of triumph, but somehow, you know they are watching, and that the Hall of Heroes echoes with songs of Heraani Valor.
There's an interesting bug that occurs here as Aurora switches to Heraani control - all the missions start and end in Aurora. I take them all and wade through the dozen "mission complete" screens. We make a cool half million dollars.
Aurora's New Bar posted:
Heraan House warriors dominate this bar and unlike their predecessors they treat the many young warriors wearing the colors of the First Family as equals unless they have proved themselves otherwise. You can see many Heraan warriors having a drink and sharing stories with warriors who have obviously come from widely spread parts of the Empire.
Hail but you're a girl, Grand Battle-Master of the Auroran Empire.
Next time: Artificially extending the game's length via pointless travel!