Part 69: The Gang's All Here
Captain despite all this, we will always be by your side.
When you gave the order to abandon ship, and I believed that I had truly lost you I cant help but feel that when you needed me the most, I
I was ... overcome with my responsibilities. The burden of my duty to liberate Cera made me forget about the real ties that bind us. I was too strict. And stiff if I had just been there for you when you were hurting
Ultimately I cant help but feel that it was the rift I created between us that doomed our mission. The prototypes exploited it, and used it to put a spy inside our ranks. In hindsight ... I should have known. A ship where the captain and the XO cannot communicate is doomed to fail.
The road ahead will be a difficult one, commander. Well face it together. Can I count on you?
Hey, commander! That's unfair! What about me!? I was the one trying to warn you about Chigara the most, remember!
What is with this stupid love fest. I can't believe you guys still even like this guy! Lets review: got back stabbed by his new girlfriend, ruined everything we've fought for the past year, and as if that werent enough vaporized our ship! The most unreliable space captain in the history of space captains!
I can't believe Im not going to bail on these people.
Well then, we have our plan. Now as long as nothing else goes wrong
Eeaaahhh that sure was a messy reentry ...
You have GOT to be kidding me.
Welcome back from your exile, Veniczar Kuushana. Your exploits against the New Empire are still legendary. I was there myself to witness your victory at the Battle of Threala.
Flattery will get you nowhere, Seisar.
Oh? By my order, your position as High Admiral of the Crimson Fleet is hereby reinstated. You once held back Imperial fleets a thousand strong using nothing more than dozens of scrapped pirate ships. Now, you will defend our homes from the coming imperialists not with obsolete frigates but with the full might of PACT's industrial base. With this I hope we can undo the critical mistake that was your exile by the madwoman impersonating Arcadius.
Alice ... were you ever told how she came to be a member of the Party?
Thats right, you were just a boy when Arcadius picked you off the streets of Threala. Alice's failure was set the moment she set out to lead PACT. You know she was but a broken, destitute girl when Arcadius met her? Her home destroyed, her entire life in shambles He took her in. Sheltered her. Gave her a new life inside the Party. Gave her family. And she fell hopelessly in love with him. But in the end, Arcadius sought peace with the New Empire. He believed that the Empire would recognize that it would have to change in order to end the bloodshed, while others in the Party sought a more radical approach. And in the end it was the angry mob which won. When we took New Eden ... the dam of anger after centuries of brutal oppression burst and the mobs took to the streets. Set everything ablaze. Raped. Pillaged. Tore down millennia of history. Alice was there that day, when Arcadius stood before the mobs, trying to protect the Emperor. When he was cut down, killed by the very people he had sought to liberate. In the end I think she sought justice for Arcadius. In her own twisted way. My single greatest mistake was not standing against her until after she had secured her power base.
Very well. If you are to lead PACT into a new age, free of the madness which Alice brought to our cause, then I will gladly take your fleet. Just know that if you prove unworthy of flying the crimson flag I will dispose of you myself.
I expect nothing less.
Then what is the situation, veniczar?
The Solar Alliance amasses for a full scale invasion of PACT space. After the Liberation Day Massacre this war will only end in one of two ways. Either we win, or they kill all of us. So, admiral whats our next move?
They assemble their fleets at Barona while our forces are still stationed at Cera. They had the advantage before, but now their brightest military minds have all been killed. Their fury will be their undoing. They intend to strike Tethra.
Tethra? But that is deep inside PACT space! Merely a few jumps away from New Eden itself!
We have amassed all our ships at Cera, leaving our interior undefended. The Alliance will seek a target which will deal the most damage to our will. And a heavily populated core world like Tethra would be too tantalizing a target if it were to remain completely undefended. And since they no longer have Ceran exiles working with them no, they will perform a risky multi-stage warp from Barona to Tethra, and ignore Cera altogether. Grey was wise enough to avoid risky plans such as that, but with him dead and the Alliance public wanting blood Send messages on our encrypted military channels. Inform all our ships to amass at Cera for a final defensive line. The Alliance will no doubt intercept our messages and believe we intend to remain at Cera. In the meantime, I shall take my fleet and hide in low orbit behind Tethra's moon. When the Alliance Fleet warps in, believing we are still at Cera well, that will be the end of their offensive, as their ships will now be trapped deep inside PACT space with no safe warp back point to retreat.
Very well, Admiral Kuushana. The plan has my approval.
How wonderful. Comms! Give me a fleetwide channel.
ALL HANDS! I am Veniczar A. KUUSHANA, newly reinstated High Admiral of the Crimson Fleet! Some of you may have heard my name during the Compact Revolution. I am told that during my absence, the men and women of the martyr's banner shamed our cause with such cowardly tactics as bombing unarmed cities, mistreating prisoners of war, and flying with artificial beings who have never even understood the meaning of sacrifice! Know that as of now, such unbecoming conduct has no place in our fleet! I'll reform the lot of you until you all become worthy of that red uniform again! We are not the villains of this story! We are the proud men and women who fight for freedom, justice, and equality! The entire galaxy detests us now. And for good reason, for we have brought nothing but great suffering to the Neutral Rim and beyond. That ends NOW. Soon the entire galaxy shall sing songs of our heroism! Of our discipline! We will turn the tide of this war, and bring about a new age! The age of the Peoples Compact, where peace replaces violence and freedom replaces blind obedience to demagogue begins today!