Part 35: Veniczar Fabulous
It's another PACT scout ship making a short-range jump.
Hovering just out of weapons range.
That's the fifteenth probe theyve made since their main fleet warped into the outer system last week. PACT must be planning something.
They know most of the Combined Fleet is stationed at Ongess. Most likely, they want us to chase their scouts so the main fleet can warp in when were out of position. Order all Alliance vessels to stay where they are. If PACT manages to slip a ship past us, they could ignite the Ongessite being stored on the docks and wipe out the entire Combined Fleet.
We are, lieutenant. There's enough liquid Ongessite in orbit around the planet to blow us all the way back to Far Port. Ava, give me the rundown on their new commander again.
Veniczar Fontana. He's quite young considering his position at the top of PACT. Despite his age, he's seen as Arcadius' right hand man. Reported to be as brilliant as he is deadly.
Crushing on the enemy commander's a capital offense, Ava.
Ahem. Also, I believe one of our crew may have encountered him in the past
Asaga reported that she briefly met him while she was captured.
What does she say?
You can imagine. Oh right, that guy. He was actually pretty good lookin' for a red.
Heh, not quite helpful.
Regardless, he is a far more dangerous foe than anyone we've encountered in the past. We should not underestimate him.
All right, thanks for the advice. You have the bridge. Im going to check on our ryders.
Ill join you, captain.
Glad to see ya up and about! Ya had us all worried for a sec there!
Don't worry. I wouldn't let myself get killed by the likes of Cosmos.
Did she hurt you anywhere!? The next time I tangle with her, I'm gonna give her a piece of mah mind!
Just a bump to the head. Nothing serious.
T-that... scum!! I'll be sure to get you some payback, capt'n!
I definitely dont condon her methods, but in her way Cosette's just fighting to protect her own people.
No, no, no, no!
We'll pound her to the ground for everyone she's hurt! Including you!
Heh-heh. All right, Asaga.
Don't do that to us again. We were all worried.
I was careless. It won't happen again.
Well then, I better get back to work on Black Jack! We've got another big battle comin'! And I'll bet my money that Cosette's gonna show her mug again. And this time, I'll be ready!
Carry on, Asaga. Looks like I need to go defuse another squabble.
I reiterate, she also had forty armed pirates with her. We had no choice but to surrender.
Pft. The first time you told me this story there were just twenty pirates. And now there's over forty?
It was a chaotic situation! You cannot expect me to remember every detail!
You guys ... Will you two ever get along?
The mercenary started it!
Heh, it's not MY fault soldier boy got herself captured.
You marched down to the armory and strapped on more weapons than you could carry, screaming something about a rescue mission! The commander had to get six guys from security to drag you down!
I have no idea what you're talking about.
Oh my ... Could it be that you actually care about Kryska?
Shut up! I don't care about anyone.
You're turning red.
I'm leaving! The Phoenix needs ... calibrations.
She's always trying to act cool, and yet ...
I DO NOT ALWAYS TRY TO ACT COOL!
Good hearing, though.
Uh ... carry on, lieutenant. With whatever you were doing. And Claude ... just no.
So, do the stars answer any of your questions?
You wish to talk?
The Ryuvian Empire of your time ruled Ongess. Tell me, if you were the Sharr, would you give the Ongessians independence?
I? I have given such matters little thought.
The Ongessians have suffered under the hands of foreign powers for millennia. But they will not be able to recover without foreign intervention. To complicate matters, we need their Ongessite to win this war. Without it, tens of thousands of lives could be lost. Deaths we can prevent by making better arms with Ongessite.
Such dilemmas came with sitting on the throne of Ryuvia. But men craved it. Killed for it. But you are different, are you not? You were thrust onto this stage, not by choice, but by circumstance. To be Emperor was to decide who lived and who died. Such power was inherent to the throne. But it was always my hope that the man who sat in the Star Palace would be a fair ruler, who made decisions for the good of the Empire.
The good of the Empire, huh ...
Whatever happens, I am sure that you will make your decision based on what is good for the galaxy.
I wonder what that is. Terms like the good of the galaxy are hard to define. It could mean anything.
Ha. Thanks, Sola. I'll come back to you any time if I need advice.
I dont know if Solas exclusive use of the masculan pronouns indicates that Ryuvia only allowed men to inherit the throne or if its just a writing blunder.
Here by yourself today?
Ah, yes ... Asaga's been acting strange lately. She's been calibrating the Black Jack more often. She's even stopped playing her games and now spends all day practicing in the simulator.
Uh, really? That's unusual.
(Could it be that Asaga's finally decided to grow up?)
It's good that she's been taking her duties more seriously, but I wonder if she's overdoing it. She really can't do anything in moderation...
That's Asaga for you.
I feel like this one's going to be different. PACT's been acting strange.
In what way?
They came back with a smaller force after withdrawing. A force that size wouldn't be able to take Ongess by itself. I'm not sure what they're after this time.
Do you think Cosette's pirates have something to do with it?
No doubt. The only strategy I can think of is that PACT plans to sneak past our defensive line and hit the Combined Fleet while it's docked. They'll try to wear us down for weeks with feints until we finally get careless and let a ship warp past us. We have to be perfect every time, but they just have to succeed once.
Don't worry captain, we won't let anything past!
Hey, on another topic, there's Asaga now.
I was just trying to figure some things out.
Well I wonder what's on the menu today! Yesterday, we even had bulgogi! Alliance requisitions sure are generous, huh? Looks like it's super spicy curry for me today! With a side of even more hot sauce! Listen up, Chigara! The key to victory in war is first to conquer spicy food! A true hero is not born unless you can handle spice!
And with that, I'm off! Enjoy your chat together!
You're not joining us?
Oh, no, no, no, no, no! I've got more scenarios to run on the simulator! Can't let the skills get dull, ya know! Who knows when PACT might attack again!
Well I for one am impressed. What's come over you?
Oh nuthin, just a certain pirate to beat and a ship to protect! See ya guys! Enjoy yourselves!
Sometimes, I worry about her.
Don't worry, Chigara. I'll talk to her later and find out what's going on.
Thank you, captain.
Warp signatures detected; a pirate fleet has just warped into high orbit around Ongess.
All right, here we go. Battle stations. Launch ryders.
Aye, sir! All hands, battle stations, battle stations. Set condition one throughout the ship. This is not a drill. Repeat: this is not a drill.
Should have figured Cosette would show her face sooner or later. Size of the pirate fleet?
The largest we've seen yet. I never thought they could organize something that large. They must have pulled in ships from over fifteen different crime rings. The PACT fleet has gone to full thrust as well. It seems they were waiting for the pirates to fill their ranks. Incoming transmission from the PACT fleet.
Put it through.
I'm afraid that wedding's been called off. Something about shooting the father of the bride dead during the wedding.
Unfortunate. Then it appears I have no choice but to take her by force.
Good luck with that, Fontana. We already took care of your friend. What was his name the big guy, with the mustache. And you're coming at us with less than half the ships he did. There's no way you're going to win this.
Hmph. Cullen was a fool and a stain on our cause. You will find my fleet to be quite different, captain. Numbers are irrelevant where tactics are concerned.
That's thats my line.
Heh. I am eager to finally cross swords with the Vanguard of Far Port. Prepare yourself!
All right then, that's enough of Veniczar Fabulous. Ava, put the tactical situation on the screen.
The pirate fleet approaches from a separate angle while our forces have been stretched out in a perimeter around our docks.
A pincer attack, huh. They're going to hit a single point on our perimeter to break through and detonate the Ongessite in our docks.
Well have to hold the combined enemy fleet back until the remaining Alliance ships arrive.
Give me a shipwide channel and loop the ryders in.
All hands, this is the captain speaking. It's the moment we've been waiting for. Remember your training, and make us proud. Hold the line. Nothing gets past the Sunrider today!