Part 50: Rebellion - Part 06 - December 12th, 1179 NC: I fly my ship back and forthDecember 12th, 1179 NC: I fly my ship back and forth
We head back to Rebel II to report on the Auroran troop movements.
Geoff greets you grimly as you step off your ship.
"Did you find anything?" he asks hopefully. You nod and give a rundown on what you discovered. He looks at you for a long moment with narrowed eyes digesting the information you just gave him.
"Oh my god!" he exclaims in horror, his eyes widening suddenly. "They're going to sacrifice Raczak's entire force in order to start a war that the Federation will win!"
You look confused and ask how the Federation could defeat the Aurorans in battle. Conventional military wisdom states that the Federation simply does not have the resources to pacify something the size of the Auroran Empire.
"Come with me and I will show you how," he replies cryptically.
Geoff takes you into an office with a single terminal on a desk. He quickly calls up a display of information from an analysis from a holo-scanner.
Yup, big reveal. This differs from what actually happens in the Vellos/Federation storyline, so either Geoff is wrong or the writers actually tried to mix up the plot a bit.
"This is the analysis of recent data gained from the holo-scanner on New England," he explains in a no-nonsense professional manner. "They show that the Bureau has been organizing Federation forces into two enormous fleets. They have been passing on 'intelligence' regarding Auroran major thrusts into Federation space.
"From reports coming from the front," he continues briskly, "these Auroran strikes have actually been made up of countless ships from four of the five major houses. But not one Moash ship has been sent against them!
"I'm willing to bet that the Bureau is going to send Raczak's men into a waiting trap where he will be annihilated within Federation space," he states forcefully. "They will then inflame public opinion and send the troops off to war against the four houses that will be severely depleted, and the first family won't lift a finger to help them!
"Wait for me in the bar," Geoff says, suddenly impassive, "I'm going to have another mission for you within the hour.""
Geoff walks in briskly and spots you almost immediately.
"There you are Ory-Hara," he greets you brusquely. "It looks like the Bureau is going to cut off Raczak's forces using the entire Moash fleet plus most of the Bureau's forces. If we can draw Raczak into Auroran space and keep him there we have a chance of salvaging the situation.
"I need you to go on a long roundabout mission," he continues diffidently. "You'll be heading from here to New Ireland in the Tuatha system then you will go on to Heraan in the Heraan system before going to Rimerta in the Pimen system. We need to get messages to the people at those places urgently as we are just about out of time to try and turn this Federation invasion into not only a real defeat, but also into a public relations coup against the Bureau.
"Are you interested?"
Run back and forth. Maybe we get to shoot more sitting ducks as well. First, we pick up Eamon.
"Excellent!" he exclaims happily. "We need to alert these people so they can prepare for the coming events. The 'Wild Geese' have to be ready to jump in and save Raczak's backside, otherwise a war will be started. We need to warn the Heraan House as they, being the hated enemy of the Moash House, are most likely to bear the brunt of the first invasion force. They are also the most reasonable of the major houses so they might actually listen. If you can get Flannigan along with that part of the mission, it will make things a lot easier. If not, you will have to do it on your own.
"Finally," he continues quickly, "I want you to warn the Rimertan warriors as they are the only group of warriors that are trusted implicitly by Auroran courts. Their testimony is as law, and if we can get them to witness Moash complicity in this matter, then the whole Auroran Empire will be thrown into turmoil.
"When you are finished, return here," he finishes simply. "Any questions? No? Then good luck, my friend."
"Greetings Ory-Hara," calls the savagely tattooed Eamon Flannigan as you open your hatch. "What brings you to my humble abode?"
You outline what you know and what your mission is as quickly as you can. He asks a number of questions regarding the veracity of the intelligence gained which you answer as concisely as possible. After a few minutes he seems satisfied if slightly stunned.
"I was aware that the Bureau were working with the Moash House on something," he mutters quietly, "but I wasn't sure it was anything this big."
He turns back to you.
"And what are you planning to do now Ory-Hara?" he asks intently.
You reply that you are going to travel to Heraan and Rimerta to talk with the warriors there regarding the coming events.
"I can see your plan," he nods approvingly, "and it is a good one. I may be of some assistance."
"As you probably already know," he explains thoughtfully, "I am a warrior of the Heraan House. If I were to travel with you, you would not have to deal with young warriors challenging you just to be allowed to step foot on their planet. They would also be more likely to listen to what you had to say if I were there to back you."
You nod saying that you are more than happy to have him along to help out in any way, especially if it would speed things up. You ask if he has any advice about dealing with the Rimertans.
"They call themselves 'Dechtakars'," he answers almost reverently, "which translates roughly as 'we who sacrifice ourselves for the highest cause'. They are loyal to the first family, but their honor is beyond question. And yes, I can help with them. As a fellow Auroran warrior of many battles who has fought alongside them on many occasions, my word carries some weight.
"I need a couple of hours to organize my men," he decides finally. "Meet me in the bar and I will journey with you."
You see Eamon Flannigan enter the bar, just about filling the doorway with his muscular frame. You down the rest of your drink in a single swallow before getting up and heading back to your ship with him.
On the way he tells you that he will have to do most of the talking when they first land, and will continue to do the talking until he has introduced you to the House Elders. Once that has been taken care of the Elders will then listen to whatever you have to say, not only with the weight they would give to words spoken by Flannigan, but also with the added weight of the respect they have for you.
"And don't think that last point is negligible," Eamon wags his finger. "I have been following your career as closely as I can with the resources that I have, and I have mentioned you more than once to them. They know, as I do, that you are perhaps the most widely travelled person in the galaxy, and one of the most skilled pilots around."
Off to Heraan! We get to beat up a Moash carrier while landing.
"Of course," he continues, " you aren't an Auroran warrior which is a count against you, but the Heraan leaders are more open-minded than most and they realize that most Auroran warriors couldn't even hope to have done half the things you have.
"The real test will be when we see the Rimertans," he muses thoughtfully as you reach your ship. "They like to keep themselves above what they think of as the petty squabbles between the Houses. If they think that you are here representing the Heraan House they won't even see you. I must admit that having me alongside you won't much help with that.
"Unfortunately," he muses sardonically, "unless you are a warrior, or have been introduced by a warrior they would probably ignore you anyway. To them their lot is to fight and die with absolute honor. In many ways they are the essence of being an Auroran warrior. But dealing with them can be tricky."
Eamon steps out first and he greets the awaiting warriors in a friendly manner. They quickly realize that you are under his protection. They put their weapons away and ignore you.
Eamon leads you up a long staircase. After climbing twenty floors it opens on to the top floor of the arcology. Seated in leather seats surrounding a large circular table are about twenty elderly warriors with many faded tattoos.
Eamon Flannigan walks to a space in their table, formally introduces you and informs them that you wish to speak with them. The oldest warrior at the table inclines his head and indicates that you should begin.
You explain the events of the recent months and explain what the Bureau is planning to do in concord with the Moash House. Many of these hard old men narrow their eyes when you tell them of the actions of their rival house.
"So you want us to allow Federation scum into our space to protect them from this Bureau," asks one of the elders after you finish. "Why should we do this?"
You explain that if they do not, then the Heraan House will in all likelihood be destroyed. If they do decide go along with the plan, they will have extra ships to bolster their defense in the coming battles.
The eldest warrior turns to Eamon asking, "Don't you have blood oath against Raczak?" to which Eamon nods. "Then how can you fight beside him?"
"By imagining his reaction when he realizes that I have been the one who rescued him a second time," he replies, receiving approving chuckles from around the table.
The eldest warrior nods slowly and turns back to you.
"We will do this thing you ask," he decides with finality. "For I cannot stand to let any house bring about the ruin of everything we have fought and died for. Ory-Hara, I believe that many songs will be sung about the coming days, and I will make sure that you are mentioned."
He then dismisses you with a wave of his hand.
Eamon quickly moves to your side.
"I want to see a few people," he says quietly. "Meet me in the bar in an hour."
"You did well in there," says Eamon when he arrives just over an hour later. "You were concise and to the point. You also didn't try to gloss over the difficulties. You have gained their respect and their thanks for your message. That little speech he made about making sure your name is in any songs isn't an idle statement. It is probably the highest compliment one warrior will pay to another."
You raise your eyebrows in surprise.
"So what is your real name anyway?" he asks with a sardonic grin. "You realize that you will have to tell someone, otherwise only your code-name will be immortalized in song."
You have to laugh at his attempt to discover your true identity. After realizing that you have no intentions of revealing your real name he laughs alongside you.
Oooh, Mr. Space-Ireland likes us! The writers must've been swooning over this line.
"The more time I spend with you," Eamon chuckles, "the more I like you. I've never met anyone who can say so much by saying so little. I wish I had your gift with words sometimes."
You snort derisively as you set about preparing your ship for take-off. He laughs.
"I can see why Frandall used you on me," he comments laughing. "You and he come from a similar mold. But then it's not surprising you take after him. After all he is your supervisor."
You manage stop the surprise you feel from reaching your face. Frandall your supervisor? The more you think about it, the more it makes sense. Nobody has ever seen Frandall, nobody knows his name and yet Geoff/Frandall seems to have the ability to set his own missions for his own operatives. He can also disappear at any time to take care of things and has the pulling power to get General Smart to pass on messages for him.
You vow to have a few words with your 'supervisor' when you report back in.
For some strange reason, there's a Fed Carrier raiding Rimerta. It carries credits, so it's not plot-induced.
You let Eamon off first again to deal with the waiting warriors. With no small show of disappointment they sheathe their weapons and let you past.
Once again Eamon leads you up a staircase to the upper level of the arcology to a room where ten elderly warriors sit in council. He walks over and introduces you formally indicating that you wish to speak with them. The ancient warrior at the head of the table tells you kindly that you may begin.
You begin telling of the events that have led up to you standing before them, leaving out the names of all the Auroran houses involved so as not to prejudice them in any way. You explain what you believe is going to happen and you ask them to keep their eyes open to watch for any cowardly actions undertaken by any house.
"Why do you wish to involve us in this matter?" asks one of the warriors. "How will that help you in your cause to fight against this 'Bureau'?"
You reply saying the Rebels are worried that Auroran counter-attacks, however justified they may be, will further muddy an already messy situation. You also explain that because an Auroran House is involved, a civil war might result, and you do not want to give the Bureau any chance to expand their influence further. Your leaders want to cause as much damage to the Bureau as possible.
"So all you want from us is that we be present in or around Heraan space in the next few weeks?" asks the ancient warrior heading the table and you nod in confirmation. He closes his eyes in thought for a moment before reaching a decision.
"We will do what you ask," he announces quietly. "You are not dragging us into a squabble between Houses as I initially feared. We thank you for your information. With it we may stop our enemies from destroying the Empire. We are in your debt."
He dismisses you with a wave of his hand.
Eamon gives you the thumbs up as you leave and informs you that he will meet you bar in an hour.
You see Eamon enter within thirty seconds of the hour he specified. You wave to attract his attention and he comes over.
"I had to go and see some of my battle-brothers," he explains. "Men who I hold closer to my heart than any family in this universe. I could not have passed up the opportunity to drop in, as I do not get to meet them very often."
You nod understandingly, saying that you would have done the same.
"Well it seems as though everything is ready," he says with a smile. "The Bureau will fall into our trap, eh?"
You smile thinly saying that you hope so.
"Why so glum?" he asks cheerfully. "You have done all you can, nothing more can be expected of you, why do you look so down?"
You reply that the events that are coming are too enormous to predict outcomes for. You add that you do not like what you see if anything goes wrong.
The question of why we are so famous rears its head. Our piloting skills may be better than the AI's, but we have never been called on to actually attack anyone - and with Rebel ships having cloak, a fast Dragon or their vaunted anonymous freighters can easily substitute for shipping people about. Our personal word means nothing on top of that, given how we're an anonymous deep-cover operative. I suppose it should just be chalked up to being a Mary Sue - though if you think it's particularly egregrious now...
"You underestimate the abilities of the people you are working with," he says quietly. "Now that we are forewarned and forearmed the Federation and the Bureau will be hard pressed to salvage a bloody draw out of the coming battles. Wait and see."
You down your drink in one long swallow before standing up, indicating you are ready to go.
"Yes," rumbles Eamon with a small smile, "it is time to head home to ready ourselves for war. I need to return to New Ireland and you need to return to whatever Rebel base to report in I would imagine."
The two of you make your way back to your beloved Red Six where he helps you to go through your pre-flight routine.
Next time: Kangaroo Court!