Sitting around a table within an abandoned bar room were four Korkonid. Each of them was holding a few playing cards and various assorted items were on the table; coilgun rounds, jewelery, medicinal tablets and a few tokens. While they were busy, in onother part of the room was a fifth Korkonid who was cleaning the components of what was presumably his gun. One of the Korkonids, a guy named Krossh had a smile on his face as he set his cards face-up on the table, followed by everyone else.
Krossh - Stra'ht flush lads, cum ta daddy!
The others at the table grumbled as thay passed gaming chipps to Krossh. All but one however, who looked at Krossh with dagger-like eyes while chewing something in his mouth.
Thragan - No no, you were peeking I swear!
Krossh - Piss off I weren't peekin'. Mah eyes were on mah cards and mah prize dah whole time.
Esvarg - Yeah I didn't see him peek.
Thragan - He peeked I know it!
As the others agreed with Korssh, Thragan jumped ot his feet and drew a pistol holstered under his armpit, pointing it straight in Krossh's face. The Korkonid, far from being shocked, looked at Thragan as if this act was some manner of joke, he replied humourously.
Krossh - I take it you're giving up your holdings.
Suddenly, the door of the hideout opened wide - or, rather, was melted by a powerful, clearly military-grade weapon creating a crevice large enough to enter. Three armoured, vaguely humanoid figures stepped forward - humans, perhaps - clad in grey, featureless power armour of Andromedan craftsmanship; although it was certainly heavy and bulky, it did not restrain their movements in the slightest, and they walked with a casual, almost realxed gait. The design of the weapons the strange figures clenched in their hands was reminiscent of Tertanai or perhaps Solarite designs, though they were clearly customised heavily and did not comform to any particular manufacturer.
??? - Am I interrupting, gentlemen?
Thragan turned his aim to point at the source of the voice. Valash, who until now had kept herself ignorant of this card game, looked up from cleaning her guns' components and stood up, walking over to the group at the table.
Thragan - Ahh shit da commonwealth 'as found our 'angout!
??? - You are mistaken.
Thragan - Oh am I. I'm not stoopid, commonwealth gits. Why else would ye' be here?
A tall, dignified figure stepped from behind the warriors. Although it was clearly humanoid in stature, the shadows that surrounded its form, following it even when it stood illuminated by bright lamps, concealed most of its body, and the Korkonid could not distinguish any of its features. Clearly, advanced cloaking technology was at work.
??? - I come with a proposition to cripple the Commonwealth instead.
'Thragan - Cri'pl' it? Yer talkin' out yer aarse mate.
??? - Are you aware... of the New Tertamian Alliance? - the strange figure opened his hand and revealed a small holographic image of Borealis Galaxy, the small area in the Arm of Wildness higlighted with cyan - One of the most important non-Highlord Commonwealth realms.
Thragan lowered his pistol and looked at the figure defensively, the other Korkonid at the table turned their attention to him with inquisitive looks.
Thragan - Wot about 'dem?
Valash scowled towards Thragan and walked up to him, giving him a firm punch in the side. Whiel the punch did connect and he did fel it, the blow was more of a signal than an act of random violence.
Valash - Stop bein so mouthy Thragan. Dis could be a gold'n oppertunity fer us.
??? - They have a strong presence in Borealis, here among the criminals. What they plan to do is to bring the locals under their clawed fist, extort them out of their money and then plunder their oversector for ancient technology. And naturally, once they estabilish a stable foothold... you can guess who will come to help.
Thragan - Dah Imperium? I fink ye need tah look at da news more sticky.
Krossh - Yeah, dey're gone from Borealis, given up I here, hm. Good ridd'nce an' all.
??? - For how long? You think it was not a feint? - the stranger laughed - You're smarter than that, I trust you. How can you not see that the Imperium is planning its return?
The words of the figure were bold, unlikely, perhaps, but such was the persuasion of his speech - the very timbre of it ringing with authority and power - that the Korkonid suddenly felt uneasy, afraid for their lives. They looked at each other with unease.
Krossh - It...it sounds like somethin' those gits on Alcanti wuld do, don't it?
Thragan - Yeah...Okay. Whoever you are, ya have a point. What's yer plan?
??? - Remlaniacci III, ladies and gentlemen.
The figure pointed at one of the brighter - though not the brighest - points on the map, watching it expand into the image of a barren, icy world
??? - Perhaps not the most important world in the Alliance, but one of the most populous and not the most well-defended one. Sector Varealica will shudder once you strike there, and fear... fear can move mountains.
Krossh - So you want us to go to this planet, destroy stuff, cause misery and death and make a big noise about it?
??? - Precisely. - the figure chuckled - But don't leave the world a complete wasteland, mind you. There have to be survivors. Refugees. They will spread... the word.
Thragan - So leave a few tah scream out to th' Commonwealth who did dis? Seems legit. When do we strike?
Valash - Wait wait wait, wat 'bout compensation?
??? - In Borealis credits or Andromedan Exchange Units?
Valash - Units.
??? - Five hundred thousand. For all of your company.
The group looked at each other, Valash looked at the figure and for a moment it looked lik she planned to say something else to what she did.
Valash - Deal.
??? - Very well, gentlemen. Tertamia alaisana...
With these words, the mysterious figure left the Korkonid hideout, along with the servants that followed it. The Korkonids began to bicker with Valash, asking why she did not attempt to demand more than what he was offering. The argument evolved into two of the group turning hostile and Valash resorting to an aggerssive defence. After punching Thragan in the jaw and ribs, she announced that she would have, but the figure's words were in some form intimidating. And he sounded a man that was better off being kept happy than being exploited at every step. She assured the others however, that fun would come in the ensuing raid. Little did the Sons of Uzgov know, however, that at the very same moment their employer was gone, it contacted another group of prominent Borealis criminals...