Part 22: War
Now, there can be no doubt about Arcadius' ambitions. With PACT now at its doorsteps, the Solar Congress has convened for an emergency session. The only possible outcome is a declaration of war. The Sunrider is now caught right in the middle of the biggest intergalactic war of our time. I'm not sure just where we stand here. My gut feeling is that we shouldn't get too close to the Alliance. The Alliance is mired in politics; whatever is good for them may not be in the best interests of my ship. For now, it'll be better to wait and see just what the Alliance wants out of this war.
End log. Come in.
Asaga. Have a seat. I've been meaning to speak to you about what happened on Ryuvia.
You must have so many questions. First, I'm sorry for lying to you. I didn't mean to place the crew in danger like that.
That doesn't matter now. I'm just glad to have you back. But you saw your own father get killed. How are you feeling?
Yeah Even though I hated my father for marrying me to the veniczar, I think in the end, he was just trying to do his best to protect me. But I'm not the type to get all depressed, captain. Not while there's still something I can do. I'm going to avenge my father by ending PACT once and for all. As long as I still have my Black Jack, I'll keep fighting for my father's memory.
I'm glad to hear that. But remember, we're all here for you. You don't have to carry your burdens alone. Technically, though, youre now the Queen of Ryuvia. What are you going to do?
I'm through with being royalty, capt'n. It's just not what I was meant to be.
You have every right to choose your own destiny, Asaga.
Ryuvia's been ruled by a monarch for too long. After all of this is over, I'm abdicating. Nobody needs kings and queens in this age, captain. The people deserve elected officials. Not royals.
You're right. That's the best you can do for your people right now. Now what can you tell me about Arcadius?
I'm sorry captain, but I dont know much more than you do. I hardly ever saw him, and when I did he always hid his face and voice behind a mask. I have no idea who or what he is. All I know is that he seems obsessed with Old Ryuvia. He was spouting nonsense about lost technology and becoming immortal. I think conquering Ryuvia has been a goal of his for years. Rumor has it that he's amassing a collection of Ryuvian relics from across the galaxy. For what purpose, nobody knows.
Whatever its for, I bet it's not for ending poverty. Someone like Arcadius finding lost technology is bad news for the entire galaxy. We have to act fast to stop him before he becomes too powerful. Anyway, thatll be all, Asaga. Good to have you back.
Time for another round of check in with the pilots.
I figured I'd find you here. Thanks for helping us out with that rescue.
Not yet. The Queen still lives. We'll liberate Ryuvia and free your people.
My sacrifice was meaningless. In my time, the Holy Ryuvian Empire stretched across the galaxy. It was the center of all of the sciences, civilization, and industry. And yet the Ryuvia of today is nothing more than a forgotten world, to be conquered so easily by barbarians.
Your sacrifice was not in vain. For over a millennia after your ... death ... the flame of Ryuvia burned on. Its only within the last 400 years that Ryuvia has been in decline, and only due to infighting within the royal court.
And so it was us who sabotaged our own empire and caused our eventual collapse?
Leave me. I wish solitude.
All right. Just You don't have to be alone, Sola. We're all here for you.
Well that was cheerful. To Engineering!
As her friend, it means a lot to me, what you did for her.
Of course we were going to rescue her. Asaga's a member of our crew.
Eh-heh. I'm glad to have you as our captain ... Captain. Was there anything else you needed? Perhaps an anomaly to scan? A new research project?
Nothing at the moment, Chigara.
Please come by my lab any time you need anything, captain.
By the way ... You weren't startled when I came in this time.
O-oh. I, uh ... didn't know you did that.
Is it not allowed?
Well, I'm sure it's fine. Just, uh ... don't let Ava find out about it.
Yes captain. Maybe I could test out my new camouflage composite on them ...
Lets see whos hanging out down in the hanger.
To tell the truth, I'm surprised we made it out of there myself.
Heh. One day, captain, that heart of yours is going to get you killed. I just hope I'm there to save your ass when that happens.
That heart's the reason why you're aboard this ship, Icari. Doing the right thing and doing the expedient thing aren't mutually exclusive, you know. You can stand for what's right and still make it out alright.
Alright, captain. Haha, just don't go around looking less than a hundred percent confident in front of the crew. You know, there are even some rumors circulating about you.
Haven't you been checking the holonet? You rescued the Ryuvian princess. People are starting to take notice of what you've been doing. The more things are looking like theyre going down the tubes, the more people want to rally around a leader. So make sure you live up to expectations, alright?
I'm just doing what's good for the galaxy, Icari. I'm not in this for the attention.
Do you think we should fight alongside the Alliance?
I meant what I said after Versta: the only chance we have of stopping PACT is to work with the Alliance. Right now, practically the entire Neutral Rim belongs to PACT and the few independent planets left don't stand a chance by themselves. PACT needs to be stopped no matter the cost. I say working with the Alliance is the best chance we've got at ending this war quickly.
I don't know if I like this yet. If the Alliance does defeat PACT, what will that mean for planets like Cera? Won't we be replacing one occupation for another?
Well, once PACT's gone, the Alliance will probably fill the power vacuum. I'm not sure what that'll mean for the Neutral Rim. Probably, the current PACT-occupied territories will end up being occupied by the Alliance instead. Either way, it doesn't look like your planet will be able to return to the way things were.
I'm not going to let Cera become a colony of anyone, Alliance or PACT.
Hopefully for you, the Solar Congress will be too busy debating to make much of a difference. Well, that's assuming the military doesn't take over. Anyways, that's too far into the future to really predict. Right now, it's obvious that you're going to need the Alliance's help if you're going to take back Cera.
I get what you're saying. I'll keep it under advisement.
Thanks captain. Make sure to tell me what ends up happening. See you.
Not yet. Why?
The Solar Alliance has just officially declared war on PACT. Admiral Grey is on the line for you.
Seems like the invasion of Ryuvia finally woke the Alliance up. Put him through.
Admiral Grey. You put us in quite a bind at Versta.
I have no idea what you may be referring to. You had a mission which you fulfilled. That is all that I recall. Now, word of your daring rescue of the Ryuvian princess has spread even here. I must say captain, I am quite impressed you made it out of that alive.
I have one hell of a team here, admiral.
Yet, the rescue was merely the silver lining in a grim situation. With the fall of Ryuvia, PACT is in the perfect position to strike Far Port, the entryway into Alliance space. If Far Port falls, PACT will be in position to strike at least five populated Alliance systems before we can fully mobilize our forces. The Alliance has not seen a war fought within our own space in a hundred years. A PACT occupation of an Alliance planet is not an option. We must hold Far Port if we are to win this war.
We're already in orbit of Far Port. We just need some repairs and supplies.
I will not mince words. The situation is not looking good here. Years of neglect and bureaucratic resistance have made our fleets inefficient. Only one of the fleets I have dispatched will arrive before the earliest time PACT can launch an assault. Our fleets are not prepared for this war. Some of our ships have not even been manned for decades. Worse, our supplies and ships are scattered across our territory with no unifying chain of command.
Far Port must be held by Second Fleet until the other ships arrive.
What are we up against?
Our intelligence reports that five PACT fleets are staging to attack Far Port. The commander of the attack will be Veniczar Cullen; I believe you are already familiar with him. All together, Alliance Intelligence estimates at least seven battleships, six carriers, eighty cruisers, and over four hundred support vessels. Further, we believe Arcadius himself will observe the battle from his flagship, the Legion.
If we only have one fleet to defend the planet, we're outnumbered nearly five to one. Those arent good odds, admiral.
Yes, which is why I am appointing you my special fleet advisor. You're the only one who has fought against those odds. Nobody in the Alliance fleet has even seen a PACT vessel up close. Yet you know how they operate. You're the only person we have who've fought them outside of simulators. Im placing you in command of the defense of the Alliances gateway world. You must hold out there until our reinforcements arrive.
I understand that you're currently looking for more pilots. I'm sure she'll be a valuable asset to your crew.
We'll need all the help we can get. Thank you, admiral.
She's a talented pilot and a loyal officer. I'm sure she'll fit right in with your crew. She's already been dispatched and will arrive with Second Fleet by tomorrow. I expect she'll be given due care. That'll be all for now, captain. My lieutenant will give you the specifics of the coming battle when she arrives. Admiral Grey out.
(An Alliance officer here? I'm not sure if the crew will like this...)
Next Time: A Port Too Far