Part 51: Rebellion - Part 07 - January 15th, 1180 NC: Ory-HaraBit of a longer update than usual, but this is the end of the Rebel storyline and I didn't want to cut it up.
January 15th, 1180 NC: Ory-Hara
We go to drop off Eamon back on New Ireland.
And off we go.
"It has been good fighting alongside you Ory-Hara," says Eamon as he leaves. "For in your chosen fields of war you are a true master. The ancient Gaels called people like you 'warrior-poets', for they understood that to master the arts of war required a man to master his soul. I would be honored to call you my Battle-Brother."
Having travelled extensively throughout Auroran space and learned a little about its warrior culture, you realize that this offer is not given or received lightly. By offering to become your Battle-Brother, he has indicated that he holds your life to be of much greater value than his own.
You are touched and bow deeply, replying that the honor would be entirely yours. The two of you grip forearms and you both make a small incision on the back of your hands letting your blood mingle.
"Good luck, my brother," Eamon says by way of farewell. "If any songs are sung about these days I will make sure that your name is mentioned before that of all others."
You are greeted by your supervisor 'Geoff' as you walk down the ramp.
"I'm guessing that Eamon let slip who I am," he says without preamble.
You reply that Mr. Flannigan is of the opinion that you are Frandall.
"Well he's right," chuckles Frandall, "and it's good to see that you're still keeping your cards close to your chest, even with me!"
"Especially with you," you reply with a sardonic smile. Frandall laughs.
"So you got everything in place?" he asks and you nod in confirmation. "Excellent. Meet me in the bar in two hours. We have another mission that I believe can only be completed by you."
Our first kill-mission! Woo!
Frandall enters the bar with General Smart and they both make their way over to your table.
"We have just received the news that Raczak's Roughnecks left Spacedock V yesterday morning," says General Smart quietly. "Things are now officially out of our control. But we can try to channel them a little from here."
"General Smart is going to lead the entire Rebel fleet in an attack on various Federation military targets in the hope that it will draw away ships from the Auroran campaign giving the Heraan House a better chance of surviving," explains Frandall in an equally hushed tone. "Unfortunately our entire military doesn't amount to much against the might of the Federation Navy and if they are allowed to react effectively, we will be crushed," he continues grimly. "Needless to say, this is not the desired outcome.
"We need someone," General Smart says gravely, "to decapitate the Bureau in order to cause a little chaos and confusion. Are you interested?"
Commander Krane really prefers the low-key approach - an unescorted Class I Valkyrie has pretty much zero chance against us. I accidentally very literally behead her several times before realizing that capture is the goal here.
"Excellent!" exclaims General Smart. "We believe that without leadership the Bureau will take as much as a week to start re-organizing and the Federation Navy will be effectively broken up into a large number of smaller units that we will be able to deal with."
"The head of the Bureau currently goes by the name of Krane," Frandall informs you, "and she is usually seen in the uniform of a Federation Navy commander. She is mid-thirties, 5'5", slim with blonde hair and blue eyes."
General Smart turns to stare at Frandall, "I wasn't aware that we knew that much about the leader of the Bureau."
"She was my best pupil," reminisces Frandall. "But she always did prefer to club things to death when a more surgical solution would suffice. Finesse was never her strong point.
"Anyway," he continues, snapping out of his reverie, "she has been seen recently in the 'Wolf 359' system travelling in a ship called the Prodigal Son. Go there, disable her ship, capture her and return here."
It doesn't take long to nab her, though, and we're off running back to Rebel II.
"You do know, Mr. 'Ory-Hara'," the stunningly attractive Commander Krane informs you, "that you are going to be killed when my people find you. If you return me now I will reward you by making you one of my lieutenants where you will have an enormous amount of power and influence. What do you say?"
You snort quietly to yourself at her attempts to buy you off. You ignore her continuing attempts as you pilot your ship into the docking bay.
After completing your post-flight routine you pick her up and march her out to the waiting reception. You are greeted by all the Rebel leaders except Frandall, who is nowhere to be seen.
The beautiful Krane looks at them imperiously and asks them what it feels like to be fighting on the losing side, especially now that the Bureau knows of the location of this base.
General Smart laughs, "You may find that not all your information regarding this station is completely correct. Take her away!"
Krane was at least spot-on about the location of the base - we're immediately attacked by two Federation fleets.
As she is led away you feel a tap on your shoulder and you turn to see a man who is vaguely familiar indicating that you should follow him. He takes you into one of the many Intel offices and turns to you.
"If you're wondering why you don't recognize me," he says with the familiar voice of Frandall, "it's because I have had surgery to alter my appearance. I don't want to be recognized in public by that young lady and revealed.
"You did very well on this last mission," he continues cheerfully, "but unfortunately we will need a couple of other weapons against her. You see, we want to put her in a Vell-os trial, but the Vell-os are still an enslaved race."
He holds up a hand to stall your questions.
"Yes I know the propaganda says that they now serve the Federation willingly," he explains cynically, "I created it, but it isn't true.
"I have an idea though," he continues thoughtfully. "Keep an eye out here, once I've hammered out all the details I'll be waiting for you."
Giant Space Battles!
You sit quietly sipping your drink when a senior Rebel officer runs in.
"We've just picked up an incoming Federation fleet on long range scanners!" he shouts urgently. "I need every ship that is fully functional airborne now, otherwise we stand no chance at all!
No real fighter support means that we can simply tear through the Destroyers, scattering them and exposing them to fire as they try to target us at close range.
They don't last much longer once the reinforcements jump in.
You and your fellow survivors greet each other with gleeful bear-hugs and a lot of shouting. After you all celebrate each others' survival you head off to find the dockmaster to see if you are going to be recompensed for your services. He thanks you heartily when you enter his office and pays you all the princely sum of 100,000 credits each.
"There you are!" exclaims Frandall after the two of you spot each other in this fairly crowded establishment. "I was beginning to wonder when you were going to turn up.
"While you were away I have come up with a method to have a Vell-os trial where the Vell-os are actually capable of handing down the right decision," he explains. "You see, because the Vell-os are enslaved and can be literally ordered to do anything, they are very useful to the Bureau in the field of justice because the Vell-os who is allegedly meant to be reading the 'truth' of statements of the accused can actually be ordered to answer a specified way. The Bureau has used this trick for years to bias the courts. Now since Krane's underlings are demanding her return, saying that if she has done anything wrong she should stand trial, I wanted to figure out a way of ensuring the impartiality of the Vell-os 'judge' so that she can indeed stand trial. At the end of the day, if she is found guilty, then the Bureau will be basically defeated.
"Are you interested in hearing my solution?"
I'm surprised he wouldn't take the American approach and simply return her as requested... in 30 crates. A strong escort accompanies us to Mu'ar Haro.
"It is simple really," he explains slowly. "The Vell-os are telepaths. It appears that there is a way for another telepath to take the strain leaving the Vell-os free from the burden of their enslavement.
"Now I just happen to know that the Polaris have a number of telepaths amongst them," he continues with a savage glint in his eye. "None are anywhere near as powerful as any Vell-os, but a small group of them should be able to do the job. That's where you come in. I've already contacted the Polaris in the matter and they have agreed to help in the matter as they feel that they have an enormous debt to the Vell-os for protecting them from a Colonial Council invasion some seven centuries ago.
"Once you come back from Mu'ar Haro in the Mu'hari system with those Polaris telepaths," he says with a sudden cold resolution, "we can take the young Krane to trial and the Bureau will be no more."
You realize that this cold, hard man before is the real Frandall whom you are seeing for the first time.
Here's a random planet we stopped to refuel at, because we haven't seen new planets for quite some time now:
Ver'ar Noriout posted:
This is a highly technical world where nearly all of the useful biological agents cultivated on Ver'ar Pised in the Ver'avo system end up. They are used in the creation of medicines, and to help grow and repair the biological components of Polaris ships. Despite the numerous Ver'ash laboratories, Ver'ar Noriout remains an extremely beautiful planet.
We reach Mu'ar Haro after a month of hard travel.
Ver'ar Noriout's Bar posted:
The green-cloaked doctors and engineers sitting in this bar are all eating their dinner and having a few drinks in small groups. Unlike similar Ver'ash bars elsewhere, they are not discussing aspects of their work while they unwind.
And back again.
You are surprised to see a smiling Mu'Randa when you open your hatch.
"Hello again Ory-hara," she says happy to see you. "You have become something of legend amongst our people since we last met. You have really lived up to your code-name, much as I thought you might. And before you ask, yes I am a telepath. I'm sorry I didn't tell you last time, but I thought that it might be detrimental to our working relationship."
You wave your hand and tell her that it does not matter. She smiles and goes on to introduce you to her fellow telepaths who you notice are all garbed in gray, much like she is garbed in black. One of them notices you looking and tells you that the different castes wear differing clothes. The Mu'Hari, the caste to which Mu'Randa belongs, wear all black. The rest of the group belong to the Nil'kemorya and are all warriors. Mu'Randa explains that the Ruling Council suggested that warrior telepaths might be more capable of dealing with difficult situations should they arise.
Good thing we never have to actually take on Eamon or Frandall, the collision of two Mary Sues would probably lead to the universe exploding.
You are greeted by a smiling Frandall when you land. Mu'Randa is surprised to find out that the man she knew as your supervisor is the mysterious Frandall.
"I didn't even realize that you had assumed a false identity," she exclaims in confusion. "How did you do that?"
"I have no real identity," answers Frandall with a wry smile. "I make any identity I take on my real one. It also allows me to operate around the Vell-os without being discovered, which is useful. For even if they didn't point me out because they realized that I was a rebel, their reaction to my presence if they were aware that I was using a false identity could be enough to give me away.
"Now, ladies and gentlemen," he bows courteously, "If you would please come this way to meet the other leaders of the Rebellion, we can brief you on the exact details of the situation and we can begin the operation.
"Ory-Hara, if you could meet me in the bar in two hours," he states without looking at you, "I will explain the next phase to you."
Geoff walks in and you hail him from your seat in the rear of the bar. He comes over with a grin which he loses when you address him as 'Frandall'.
"I survive by being unknown," he murmurs intently, "I would appreciate it if you kept the information you have quiet. Loose lips sink ships."
You nod, feeling a little hard done by, but understanding the idea. Despite this, you cannot help but feel that he is still hiding something from you. Something that is probably quite important.
"I need someone to take Krane to Sol so she can stand trial," he announces quietly. "It should be fairly easy, but I need that person to be someone I trust implicitly. Are you available?"
"I knew I could count on you," he continues gratefully. "You are going to be escorting the ship Defiance to Earth. It will be carrying the Polaris telepaths and Dr. Pentecost. General Smart is currently busy off on his crusades harassing the Federation forces but he assures me that he will meet you on Sol.
"Don't mention to Krane that we have a card up our sleeves," he tells you more seriously. "We don't want her to suspect anything.
"It would be something of a public relations disaster," he says with a wry grin, "to lose Dr. Pentecost, the Polaris telepaths and the trial of Miss Krane all in one hit. So if you could make sure that the Defiance isn't destroyed en route, it would probably be for the best.
"Good luck, Ory-Hara."
Being as it's a carrier class Dragon, the damned thing can take care of itself, really. We're mostly decorative at this point. Though given as how we're not personally transporting her, doesn't that mean that their pilot is even more trustworthy than us?
You keep Commander Krane on board until the trial despite the protestations of the Federation media. The trial itself is an enormous affair, being publicized live Federation-wide.
Commander Krane stands before a traditionally long-haired Vell-os judge and a bailiff who will read out the list of crimes she is accused of.
The bailiff begins reading out the charges which range from breaching freedom of speech to imprisonment without trial; from unlawful execution to provoking war with other nations and entering into coalitions with pirate organizations. The final two charges are of treason and of usurping executive power away from the democratically elected representative government.
After spending some minutes reading out the charges, the bailiff looks up from his datapad and asks Commander Krane formally: "How do you plead?"
She answers with a resounding, "Not guilty!"
The Vell-os judge stands up and looks her directly in the face: "She lies!"
The crowd erupts.
Krane looks momentarily confused.
"What?" she blurts out, her voice nearly lost amongst the clamoring.
"She is guilty of every crime she is accused of," says the Vell-os judge, somehow audible over the noise of the crowd.
"You shouldn't be able to say that," Krane says in a shaky voice.
"Why?" returns the judge lifting his 'traditional' long hair to reveal a technological device attached to the base of his skull. "Because you have kept us your slaves for over six centuries? Well learn that there are people who are civilized enough to help us, and in my freedom I condemn you to the worst punishment the Federation constitution allows for. Lifetime incarceration in solitary confinement. I also suggest that the entire Bureau of Internal Investigators be disbanded for the security of the Federation. This court is adjourned."
In the following hubbub General Smart finds you and yells across the crowd that he wants to see you in the bar as soon as both of you can get there.
"If we act now," says General Smart when you two finally get to the bar, "we can end this war. We have the Bureau running for cover, going into damage control mode. I'm going to lead an attack on Bureau HQ on New England before returning here and sending my men out to hunt down the remnants of their forces. The news I'm getting from Auroran space is that the Heraan House has accused the Moash House of trying to destroy their Empire. And with Dechtakar witnesses, it looks like the charges might stick, which would mean the Moash House would be stripped of their position, lands and even their name. The way things are going, it looks like Heraan is going to become First House, and they seem to be at least a reasonable bunch. All in all, things are looking up.
"I need someone to go and pick up the other rebel leaders," he tells you quietly. "I want to make an announcement in the press calling for general elections within the Federation, and many of them will want to stand for office. Can you do it?"
Don't worry, the excitement of fetch quests isn't quite over...
"Thank you," he says gratefully, "I don't know how we would have survived without you.
"The remainder of the leaders are located on Rebel I in the Evlei system," he informs you. "By the time you have left I will have sent them a coded signal warning them to be ready to return with you to Earth to lend their weight to the announcement. It shouldn't be too hard unless the Bureau tries to interfere.
"While you're out there keep an eye out for Bureau forces," he continues. "If you see any make sure you pass the information on to the next Rebel ship you see. I believe most of them have been named, unless they have recently changed their paint-jobs.
"Good luck Ory-Hara," General Smart says standing, "and once again thank you."
We're ambushed by a massive Federation fleet outside of the Nesre Primus hypergate - we take down many fighters, but barely escape - over 30 ships were flying against us, and they started with a positional advantage.
We jump conventionally through Nesre Primus this time to avoid being ambushed again.
As soon as you open your hatch the remaining rebel leaders start coming aboard. You notice that Frandall is missing and you ask them about his absence.
"He's disappeared," replies Mr. Donald Chick with a shrug. "We've learned from long experience that when he does this, he'll make contact in his own time, and there is nothing we can do to speed up that process."
You roll your eyes and shake your head before giving your guests a quick tour of your ship, showing them their quarters for the trip. They are all seasoned travelers and before long you are back at the controls of your beloved Red Six prepping her for the long return journey.
It's almost over.
Almost before you land it seems like your ship is surrounded by the media in a frenzy after hearing the news that the remainder of the rebel leaders have returned to Federation space. One by one they step out, waving for the cameras before being whisked away by rebel soldiers who have drawn bodyguard duty. As soon as they are gone things calm down and you get to relax a little and start taking care of your somewhat battered ship.
A few days later, as you are fiddling away on a power coupling that isn't working to its maximum efficiency, you hear the proclamation by the rebel leaders announcing the defeat of the Bureau and most of its forces. General Smart goes on to inform the citizens of the Federation about the recent machinations of the Bureau in attempting to provoke a war with the Aurorans. Finally, Dr. Pentecost asks the Federation President to step down and call a general election.
Within a day the President bows to public pressure and steps down, but not before calling for Federation-wide general elections. To your surprise you realize that the Rebellion has won their war. They have destroyed the Bureau and as a result the Federation will return to what it once was before the Bureau twisted it into something unwholesome.
You figure that you are out of a job as you doubt they will need too many people with your abilities in the new regime. You shrug your shoulders, thinking that you can handle becoming another freighter captain for a while. You decide that you will not mind leaving the excitement to other, younger pilots.
Your thoughts are interrupted when your comm beeps, indicating an incoming pre-recorded message. It turns out to be Mu'Randa who asks to meet with you in the bar.
Ah, the final mission is a courier mission. How fitting.
You walk into the bar and see Mu'Randa and the other telepaths sitting near the door.
"Ory'hara, how are you?" she asks with her dazzling smile. "I'm so glad you got my message. Please, join us."
You begin to making casual conversation as the Polaris loosen up around you. You discuss many things from the philosophies of the differing Polaris castes to the bits and pieces you know about Federation election protocols. You remember that you have heard nothing from Frandall and you ask them if they have seen him.
"I don't really want to talk about him," Mu'Randa wrinkles her nose in disgust. "Have you heard that Commander Krane was found disembowelled in her cell? Nobody knows who did it or how it was done, but I have my suspicions. Did you know that he was the one who started the Rebellion?
"Anyway, the reason I asked you here," she changes the subject quickly, "is because in all the excitement of the last few weeks we seem to have been forgotten and we need a lift home. Could you help us?"
We land on Mu'ar Haro and enter the human pantheon.
You answer in the affirmative, but you are not put off so easily. You ask what she meant by Frandall starting the Rebellion.
"He is no better than that Krane woman," Mu'Randa answers, slightly cross at having to answer, "which is not surprising since she learned her craft from him. He saw that when she was put in charge of the Bureau that he would be slowly pushed out of his job in Federation Intel. So, in an effort to regain his influence, he began to subtly make sure that several influential people began to get access to information detailing atrocities committed by the Bureau. The end result is that he has now destroyed his rival and has once again become the Head of Federation Intel. You can be assured that we will be watching carefully while he remains in office.
"Enough of talking about that man!" Mu'Randa exclaims more cheerfully. "You have proved yourself worthy of your name once again Ory'hara, and we would be honored if you could take us home."
...and so it ends.
Dr. Oriallo Pentecost was elected the new President of the Federation, and his first proclamation was to free every single Vell-os from the bonds of slavery, whereupon they all left Federation space to journey into the galactic North-West to pay their respects to what they had been before passing beyond the physical universe.
The Federation, under the guidance of Dr. Pentecost, with the help of his fellow former rebel leaders, entered a new golden age. On his death bed some twenty-three years later Dr. Pentecost signed the documents welcoming both the Aurorans and the Polaris into the Federation. After letting the pen slip from his fingers, he sighed and looked around at the men who had been his dearest friends and fellow conspirators during his life.
He said one word: "Ory'hara," and died.
Later, when pressed, the people who were present at the signing only smiled cryptically and left the question unanswered.
Rumors abounded, but the only information found was that during the troubles that preceded the unification of humanity there had been a man who had gone by the name 'Ory-Hara', who had then immediately dropped out of sight. Not even the Polaris, who were rumored to have last seen him, knew where he might have gone.
Over the next 10,000 years humanity developed, and suffered the occasional nearly cataclysmic setback. Every time the name 'Ory-hara' was mentioned by those who had led humanity back from the brink, and still none seemed to understand.
Eventually humanity began to slowly evolve and began to move beyond these limited dimensions, and finally they began to see.
The last human, before evolving into the beyond, looked around at the physical universe laid out in all its glory and said one last word in a satisfied voice.
And so ends the penultimate storyline. Looks like we're going to be a female pirate for our last romp through the EVN universe - what name and ship names should we take on?