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The best weapon against an enemy is another enemy.

StoryEdit

PrologueEdit

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The Imperial delegation approaches Station Halcyon.

Station Halcyon hovered against the dark skies of space, the occasional nebula brightening up what would normally be considered an unusually dark area of the Cyrannus Galaxy. In her richly decorated cabin, Captain Caelia Valerii absentmindedly gazed into the endless night while patting her pet Dvottie on the head. The gentle cooing of the bird did little to calm the captain's nerves. Over the past three days, representatives from across the First Gigaquadrant had begun to gather on the station for a monumental meeting aimed at defusing many of the building tensions between many of the different galaxies of the civilised universe.

Carrying the Imperial delegation, the distant outline of a mighty dagger-shaped Star Destroyer hunt menacingly in orbit around the system's star. Valerii narrowed her eyes slightly, knowing quite well that if anyone was to cause trouble at the gathering it would be the Imperial delegation. Ambassadors from the Empire were known for their condescending attitudes towards other civilisations. However, Valerii knew that at such a fragile time in Gigaquadrantic politics, anything is possible. A subtle "pop" heralded the arrival of a Plazithian Fleet in the system, which took up position a safe distance from any of the other gathering fleets around Halcyon. Valerii sighed, it was going to be a long day.

Warfare ConcealedEdit

Stepping into the turbolift, Captain Valerii straightened up her dress uniform, ensuring that the seven stars of the Alliance were displayed proudly on her chest. Stepping out of the turbolift into the busy promenade of Halcyon-B, the captain accidentally bumped into a black-suited alien, who merely continued to step into the turbolift without saying a word. Making her way through the growing crowds of diplomats, ambassadors, civilians as well as the familiar faces of the Halcyon's crew, Valerii spotted many figures she knew of from her research including Ellera Orion Selenvior of the Draconid Imperium, Sodage of the Troodontid Empire, Nelana of the New Tertamian Alliance, Nicolas Martin of the French Sixth Republic, Andorrus of The Divinarium, Abal'nyan of The Coalition, Gnaeus Salinator of the Galactic Empire of Cyrannus and Teelis of the New Cyrannian Republic.

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A dangerous situation.

Many other Plazithian ambassadors from several dozen civilisations entered the station, some of them from highly prestigious empires, including Warlord Lunarai Khan of the Delpha Coalition of Planets, recently famed for helping re-discover Station Halcyon, Cooperative Grox loyalists and drones, standing several paces behind out of centuries born hate. Next came the human factions, some hailing from the Kindred Coalition, in a display of unity, and alongside rolled an aquarium full of Cetacean uplifts. The DCP delegates enjoyed a reunion with now-fallen empires now surving in the Civilisation and SSA; Taxton, Jovar, Gjigantrox, Light Sector Alliance, Pondsisosa, Bearian, Zagorian, Teffeltyke, Kazaru, Oimonsk, Sylit to name a few, many wanting to be recognised again at the universal gathering.

After a formal diplomatic "meet and greet", the ambassadors began to pour into the Conference Chamber, where they sat in a large circle underneath the transparent roofs. Many of the ambassadors looked in awe at the beautiful nearby Jhu Nebula, which have the room a subtle maroon glow. Checking to make sure everything was in order, Valerii posted two guards at each entrance to the room and wished good luck to SSA Ambassador Nelana, who agreed to chair the meeting. Returning to the bridge, the loud din of diplomatic discussion filled Valerii's ears.

At the head of the room, Ambassador Nelana listened with interest as each delegate spoke their case about the current state of the Gigaquadrant. Of particular interest to Nelana was the growing arguments between representatives of the Civilisation and two of its intergalactic rivals, the Galactic Empire and the Andromedan Commonwealth. Though some ambassadors, such as those from the New Cyrannian Republic and the Unified Alliance of Enlightenment attempted to calm the ambassadors down, others such as Ambassador Zaukoffi of the Zarbania Powers attempted to play the super powers off each other for the benefit of his own civilization while more daring representatives such as Gavist Draheim and Envig of the Imperium of War as well as the anonymous representatives from the Regellis Star Empire actively sought to provoke. The Cephalodians were also present, some preaching activism and criticising certain races for their environmental damage.

Turning PointEdit

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A massive explosion destroys Halcyon-B.

Within the hour, the arguments between the Imperial Ambassador Gnaeus Salinator and the Civilization Ambassador Albanwr reached a point where both delegates stood angrily, ignoring the attempts of other ambassadors to calm them down. Narrowing his reptilian eyes, Salinator roared that the Civilisation is but a puppet of rogue aspects of the AI Netspace and angrily left the room. The musings of the ambassadors over the potential diplomatic consequences of this argument gripped the room. The ambassador from the Defensive Systems Bloc angrily dismissed the Empire as imperialists who are alien to the concept of diplomacy. Suddenly, a titanic explosion ripped through the conference room, shattering the room and decompressing the area into space.

On the bridge of Halcyon-A, Captain Valerii's jaw dropped as she watched the conference room disappear into a bright golden flash, sending debris crashing into other areas of the station. Within moments, the bridge crew were thrown off their feet by another titanic explosion, much larger than the first, violently turning Halcyon-B into an obliterated array of hull fragments and burning pieces of debris.

With barely enough time to recover, Valerii ordered all remaining weapons charged and began to send rescue teams to secure possible survivors. Surrounding the Station, fleets belonging to the countless factions charged their weapons on each other with outraged ship captains angrily blaming one another for this perceived act of war. The loudest cries of betrayal came from the Star Destroyer Accuser under the command of Captain Gaius Prentus, who claimed that a surviving ambassador told him of the Civilisation's involvement in this heinous act of war while the lead Civilization ship made similar claims about the Empire.

InquiryEdit

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Gaius Prentus maintains his innocence.

With massive destroyers of various nations circling each other like hungry sharks, Captain Valerii managed to defuse the situation to an extent where the captains of the nations represented at the Council agreed to land on what remained of Halcyon in an attempt to ascertain the motives behind the destruction of Halcyon-B. As various nations such as the Galactic Empire of Cyrannus, the Draconid Imperium and the Salsetthe Republic began to conduct their own investigations, the crew of the Halcyon began a non-biased investigation. Within three hours, Captain Valerii and her droid companion, QT-101 called the representatives to her ready room. Tension between the ambassadors of the Empire and the non-DCP members of the Civilisation filled the room in particular, with Captain Gaius Prentus glaring with utter contempt at the Plazithians.

Walking over to Prentus, QT-101 activated a hologram which showed Imperial technology was used to create the massive bomb that destroyed Halcyon-B. Stuttering and in shock, Prentus declared the innocence of the Empire and questioned the legitimacy of QT's findings. Outraged, angry representatives demanded the arrest of Prentus and the Imperial delegation to answer for the crimes they committed against the civilised nations of the Gigaquadrant. Meanwhile, the information was relayed to the ships in orbit over Halcyon, many of which raised their shields and targetted their weapons on the Imperial flagship.

The crisis would almost certainly have turned to all-out war against the Empire, were it for not for a timely intervention by Apalos, whose own investigation had uncovered details that were missed by Halcyon's forensic teams. A few half-destroyed microbots had been found at the centre of the blast, clearly made using technology that was in the possession of the AI Netspace, and beyond the abilities of any other faction to replicate. It appeared that the rouge AIs feared by other nations did exist, and had enough influence among the Civilisation to cause them to enact a false flag attack framing the Empire. Yet they evidently lacked influence over the entire cooperative, else one of the Civilisation's own representatives would surely not have revealed the evidence of their involvement. More furious than ever, the Imperials called for the Plazithians to be arrested and their fleet destroyed, but other representatives were less sure, and debates began even among the Civilisation's own diplomats. Before this could come to anything, however, the leaders of the Plazithian delegation made the decision to actively refuse arrest, and the entire group was beamed back to their ships, which immediately vanished into hyperspace.

Within the hour, dozens of war declarations had been made, ranging from an initial statement by the Empire against the Civilisation as a whole; to counter-declarations by nations opposed to the Empire's perceived aggression, and further responses against those nations in support of the Imperial decision; to member states of the Civilisation accusing each other of being responsible for the violent act, tearing the organisation apart in the process. An intergalactic war had begun.

TriviaEdit

Further ReadingEdit

Unknown voices whisper in the night for conflict and chaos.
Conflict and mistrust spreads like fire.
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