Part 20: Operation Wedding CrashYou were just trying to protect Asaga. Apology accepted.
It was a shock to me too. I certainly understand how it must feel for you. But please, don't blame Asaga for deceiving you.
How did you find out Asaga was the princess?
It was a long time ago, years before any of us knew the name Arcadius. It was shortly after I arrived on Ryuvia as a refugee from Diode. I was lost on my way to my job and panicking when some gentlemen came by to help give some directions. Then all of a sudden, Asaga burst into the scene and started shouting at the men. They didn't take kindly to what Asaga was saying and things started getting dangerous Luckily, I had my handy hair ribbon on, so I used it to temporarily stun the men and ran away with Asaga.
Your hair ribbon can do that!?
Yes, captain ... It's actually one of my inventions, you see In addition to various defensive mechanisms, it can also store music, tell me the time, turn into a flashlight, and keep my hair clean. Ah, with an assortment of other miscellaneous features, of course
You know, that story was really different when I heard it from Asaga.
Shortly after I ran away with Asaga, she told me her true identity. I was really shocked to meet the Princess of Ryuvia, but Asaga made it seem like it wasn't anything special. To her, being the princess didn't define who she was. She was going to leave Ryuvia one day and find adventure among the stars. She was never meant to be in politics. But then the war approached Ryuvia. Asaga's mother passed away and her father fell ill. The royal court was darkened by talk of succession and fear of PACT's power. I still remember Asaga bursting into my apartment after finding out what her father had done. Then we decided to run away together. It was the only thing I could do to protect Asaga. And that's how we became freelancers and met you, captain.
Don't worry, Chigara. We'll go in there and rescue Asaga before the Veniczar can even lay a finger on her. This is going to be our hardest mission yet. Prepare yourself.
Good. We'll be counting on your expertise to pull this off.
One more thing, captain. Asaga gave me this.
A holo recording?
She told me to give it to you if anything like this ever happened. With everything that's been going on, I couldn't give it to you until now. She made me promise not to look at it, so it is meant only for you.
Thanks. I'll take a look at it in my office.
Thank you captain. I was worried before ... but now I feel better. We'll rescue Asaga and end this!
Captain? I sure hope you're the one hearing this. If you're playing this message, then it means that I've left the Sunrider and am probably en route to Ryuvia.
First, let me say that I'm really sorry for fooling you! I didn't mean to have been lying to you all this time! I thought it could really work out. That we could just travel the stars forever and beat PACT for good measure.
When the time comes and I go back to Ryuvia Please don't come after me. Even though I don't agree with it, my father is still doing the right thing. Without the royal marriage, what happened at Cera will happen again at Ryuvia. Millions of people will be killed. Worse, what little remains of our way of life will be destroyed. Ryuvia's already suffered too much in the past one hundred years ... If we take one more hit, it'll be the end. If it just takes the sacrifice of one life to save the lives of millions and the preservation of a history which spans longer than the length of the known galaxy ...
There's a legend on Ryuvia ... Whenever the kingdom is in mortal danger, the sacrifice of the king's only daughter is necessary to save the kingdom. Things like this have occurred throughout our history. I'm ... ready to play my role, even though it wasn't the role I wanted!
(No Asaga ... We're coming for you. You know the Veniczar is fooling the king! PACT will never honor an alliance with Ryuvia.)
Right. Thanks, Ava.
Was there something else you needed?
Asaga left me a recording asking us not to follow her.
Ava If you were captain and I was the one captured, I know you'd dive into the heart of the Veniczar's palace to rescue me.
You presume too much, captain.
O-oh. Ouch. So, what are your thoughts on this wedding?
While Ryuvia is no longer a galactic power, the stories of its former glory are known throughout the galaxy. Marrying the princess of Ryuvia will place Veniczar Arcadius in line to eventually become the king. And what tyrant could ever pass up the opportunity to restore the Holy Ryuvian Empire and become Emperor of the infinite cosmos? Many millennia ago, the Ryuvian Emperors were the rulers of all life. Legend speaks that they controlled time itself, and indeed, were worshipped throughout the galaxy not as a man, but as a god.
Exactly the sort of power a man like Arcadius would dream of wielding.
Its former glory is gone. Just look: we had the princess of Ryuvia onboard our ship for two months and nobody even recognized her. Intergalactic treaties are only as powerful as the guns backing them. And Ryuvia has none. Offering Asaga to Arcadius was merely a form of surrender. An offering, by a dying world to the new rising galactic power, in the hopes of being spared from the coming fire. Asaga's sacrifice, however tragic, will spare Ryuvia from a PACT invasion.
Ill continue to prepare the battle plan just the same, captain.
I know. Changing the subject, it looks like Claude's going to stay on board for a while longer.
Peh She's already made a total mess out of the crew quarters. She always leaves her belongings in the showers, gets toothpaste splattered all over the mirrors, and has spilled coffee in the lounge twice. And of course, instead of getting any work done, all she does is stay in bed in her pajamas all day!
Sounds like you've finally met your match.
Now Ava ... Claude's been a big help to our team Anyway, tanks Ava. I'll keep you posted on additional developments.
Alright. I'll see you later, captain.
Lets hear it.
We will make a pinpoint jump past the entire PACT fleet and come out mere meters away from the Star Palace. A security team supported with combat drones will then launch from modified escape pods into the wedding hall, secure Asaga, then return to the Sunrider. Following that, the Sunrider will attempt to shake the PACT fleet by swinging around the first Ryuvian moon while we prep our warp drive for a second emergency warp.
Sounds like the best we've got. All right, Operation Wedding Crash is approved.
There is also an alternative plan ...
You could say it's something far more daring ...
Right on, I'm listening ...
My Veniczar. Welcome to Ryuvia.
Such a pity that we cannot see the halls of the Star Palace as they were millennia ago, lavished with the splendors of the Holy Empire.
Hah! Fear not, my lord. The Star Palace is still plenty baroque to this day!
It is nearly complete, my lord. Day after day, more worlds eagerly join our cause! And those that don't? Well, hah! Our cannons prove them most cooperative!
The Neutral Rim is but a testing ground of our power. Our true objective lies at Far Port.
Those Alliance cowards don't see what's coming! Five of our best fleets are poised to strike Far Port within days! With the fall of Far Port, the gateway to Alliance space will be ours! We will be in orbit of Solaris before the Solar Congress can muster its forces.
Careful, Cullen. The Alliance is different from the backwater planets you have dealt with in the Neutral Rim. They will not be defeated as easily.
Perhaps to your fleets, Fontana! They are no match for mine!
Very well, Veniczar Cullen. You will lead our forces at Far Port. Let us see if you can translate your words into actions.
Thank you, my lord!
This way, my leader, to your chambers. We've prepared a special guest for you.
Truly your father is naïve to believe offering such a pathetic girl to us will save his dying world from the coming revolution. Ryuvia and its secrets will be mine.Just as the old Ryuvian Emperors of the past, we shall hold the galaxy upon our palms. But it will not be around the halls of the ancient Star Palace that the galaxy revolves, but from our mighty fortress at New Eden!
Not if I stop you!
Oh? And what would a naïve girl do to oppose us, the Veniczar of the crimson armada? Your life now belongs to us. Your soul will be crushed, until you are but an obedient dog, eagerly licking her master's boots.
But in mere hours, you will be ours. And with that, the keys to a weapon which shall send a frozen shiver down the galaxy's spine will be in our hands.
Next time: Asagas Big Day.