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The New Republic Civil War had spread beyond the the Cyrannus Galaxy, through the wormhole at Lianna and into the Quadrants. However, Republic forces were not only fighting between themselves, but also against a new player in the game—Rambo Nation itself, under the rule of High King Rambert Ramveral. Upon the New Republic and Cognatus victory at Lianna, the Rambo, through the actions of the deadly Commodore Malegras had invaded Elen'Nanethia, arresting former President Apaltar, executing the Republic ambassador for all the Gigaquadrant to see, and imprisoning President Apollo's son in the salt mines of Pauvenris. Peace between the once great allies came crashing down, both consumed in the conflagration of the Second Great War and the manipulations of the Galactic Empire of Cyrannus.
Chapter I: The President Responds
In the Presidential Pyramid on Capricaerón, President Apollo had just received the news that High King Rambert had declared war against the New Republic, executing his old friend Ambassador Tadgh, devastating several Republic agricultural colonies and imprisoning his son, Laoi Cretacea. Pacing up and down the office, the President refused to acknowledge anyone else in the room, seemingly deep in thought about the next course of action. Dané Elenya approached him and placed a hand on his shoulder.
- Dané: "Aedanius, you're going to wear out a hole in the carpet. Please, come on, sit down."
Apollo looked at Dané for a moment, before nodding silently and sitting behind his desk.
- Apollo: "Rambert's gone absolutely bloody mental. What in the galaxies does he think he's going to accomplish?"
Looking at his vice-president, Ramthrace looked miserable and fatigued. The Serindia noble shrugged his shoulders and admitted he did not know. Never in the history of the Rambo Royalties they had an insane ruler. Meanwhile, Apollo's mystical companion Gorf sat in a tiny chair made for his much smaller body, with arms crossed and a frown upon his massive face - Laoi's imprisonment had bothered him as well.
- Gorf: "Get Kid Apollo back now!"
- Apollo: "I never should have let him remain on the Rambo Capital after Rambarth's death."
- Ramthrace: "I have darker news as well Mr. President. My contacts inform that your son has been spirited off the capital but to where they do not know. For a fact, we do know he is not at Ramghatulk."
- Apollo: "I wish I could say I was relieved. Ramghatulk is a horrific place, but if Adelheidis had any say in it, Laoi's probably been-"
He cleared a lump in his throat.
- Apollo: "H-he's probably been taken somewhere worse."
- Gorf: "Get Kid Apollo back now! Get ugly blue woman in jail or volcano or whatever is closest."
Apollo's advisor, Naelys Valraenos cleared her throat.
- Naelys: "Mr. President, perhaps we should try and contact Rambert?"
She indicated to the Vice President.
- Naelys: "Perhaps a fellow Serindia, like the vice president, could talk some sense into him."
- Ramthrace: "Perhaps, I could persuade the High King Mr. President. For one though, I do not believe he would harm Laoi. He is more valuable as leverage against you Mr. President, with all due respect of course. We must find out how to settle for peace with the Rambo. We need their support and forces if we wish to stand a chance agianst the Empire".
Fleet Admiral Cretacea grumbled and crossed his arms over his chest.
- Willelmus Cretacea: "I hate to admit it, Mr. President, but he's right. We can't fight a war with the rebels, the Rambo, and the Empire. Even with allied support, we'll eventually be defeated."
Apollo nodded solemnly.
- Apollo: "Naelys, contact the Rambo Capital, please. Tell them that the President of the Republic seeks to make terms with... High King Rambert."
Naelys nodded, and entered the required details into the office's holoprojector. The assembled members of the administration stood and sat around the room tensely, with nobody saying a word, waiting for Rambert to respond—if he would respond.
- Rambert: "Well well, looks what the cat dragged out"
High King Rambert spat out as his holo image came into view, he had donned his ceremonial battle armor and horned helmet.
- Apollo: "Always a pleasure, Rambert, and may I say you look particularly insane today."
Apollo's press secretary, Reneé Valentae gave a short "ahem", reminding the President to be diplomatic.
- Apollo: "High King, I come before you in peace. Release my son, remove your ships from Republic space, apologise to the family of Ambassador Tadgh, and we'll put this... behind us."
Rambert leaned forward, with an obvious smirk on his face.
- Rambert: "I did warn you of the consequences of attacking friendly forces within our sphere of influence. The blood of those that perished is on your hands Mr. President. So tell me, how do you wish to convince me to stop our petty conflict?"
Apollo's fury began bubbling within him, but he put it aside and forced a smile.
- Apollo: "We will help you overturn Imperial rule. Stand together, as the Republic and Rambo did in conflicts past."
- Rambert: "And what kind of assurances do I have?"
- Apollo: "You have my word."
Rambert nodded and clapped his hands.
- Rambert: "Very well, I will withdraw my forces, give you back President Large Hat and we will join forces. I trust your word, you name still means something amongst our people and as a king I have to abide to the wishes of the people sometimes. As for assurance, I already have one if I am correctly. Ah yes, the kid."
Apollo narrowed his eyes.
- Apollo: "I am not in the mood for sarcasm. Release my son, Rambert, release him now, or the consequences will be yours to suffer."
- Gorf: "Give Laoi back, you bird brain!"
- Rambert: "I think not Mr. President. Show me you are worthy of my renewed faith and trust and I promise you will see him back, eventually. For now, trust me that he is treated fairly and decent."
Apollo indicated for Naelys to mute the audio, and when she did, he turned his head quickly to his father.
- Apollo: "I want the Grand Republic Fleet to leave orbit in five minutes. Travel through the wormhole, and when you do, launch all fighters."
Admiral Cretacea nodded his head with a smile, and left the office. With a nod to Naelys, the audio was restored.
- Apollo: "High King, arrange for my son to be handed over to my forces when they arrive in the Quadrants."
- Rambert: "Come and get him Mr. President, if you can find him of course."
- Apollo: "Play whatever game you like, I'm getting my son."
- Rambert: "Good day, Mr. President."
With that Rambert cut off the transmission, leaving the gathered dignitaries in anger and confusion. Ramthrace approached Apollo and laid a hand on his shoulder, leaning forward he whispered in his ear that a war or invasion into Rambo space was not desired for both sides and could damage relations forever. Instead he proposed something darker and dearing, why not send a small infiltration unit and simply remove the obvious danger the High King now posed for the safety of the entire Cluster. Apollo nodded his head.
- Apollo: "Not to worry, I have a plan."
Chapter II: Into the Space In Between
The Auethnen Raptor sailed through hyperspace in the mysterious region of space known as the Space in Between, located, as the name would imply, between Cyrannus and the Quadrants. Aoirtae sat in the co-pilot's seat with her legs on the console, absent mindedly flicking through a datapad. According to the information provided by Janice Ross, the Rambo Loyalists were currently massing in the Purpura Nebula after a disastrous loss at Ozdudrahk. Sitting beside her, Munalur slapped her leg with a grumble.
- Munalur: "Feet on the floor!"
Aoirtae rolled her eyes and placed her feet on the deck, just as the Raptor dropped out of hyperspace in the Purpura Nebula, which filled the cockpit with a purple glow. Vanikaimar approached from behind and folded his arms.
- Vanikaimar: "Remind me what are we doing here."
Aoirtae rose from her seat and made her way toward the crew quarters, with Vanikaimar walking behind her.
- Aoirtae: "Kara's brother has been taken to one of Rambert's prison worlds, but we've no idea which one. Apollo figures that if we get the Rambo rebels on our side, they may be willing to help find him."
- Vanikaimar: "A sibling in peril? This may yet be a good test of her resolve."
- Aoirtae: "Well I'm sure your words of encouragement will make her day, Vanik."
- Vanikaimar: "Who is her sibling? Is he capable of defending himself?"
- Aoirtae: "His name's Laoi, I met him once during the Battle at Aldár. I think he takes after his dad in the fighting department."
- Vanikaimar: "Then we should probably not waste time, lest he... well. Die."
As Aoirtae and Vanik prepared their equipment, Munalur shouted from the cockpit that they had received permission to dock on Loyalist One,the command ship of Ramannis Le Rambo after they were allowed to pass by patrolling Hammerhead-class corvettes, When the boarding ramp had been extended, the hatch opened, revealing an heavily armored purple elf by the name Lord Jar'Dris Ravencrow.
- Jar'Dis Ravencrow: "Greetings members of the Resistance and servants of the Lord of Light. How may we help you?"
Aoirtae awkwardly stared at Vanik, but decided not to mention that they were not official members of the Resistance.
- Aoirtae: "Thanks for receiving us. As I'm sure you know, High King Rambert has attacked the Republic and kidnapped President Apollo's son. We'd humbly like your help in locating, and rescuing him."
- Vanikaimar: "The High King's crimes against the Republic have gone too far. We share a common enemy."
Lord Jar'Dis crossed his arms in front of him and looked rather amused through his helmet.
- Jar'Dis: "And how may the Loyalists be of assistance? We were quite hammered at Ozdudrahk and with this Raptor Squadron running around to hunt us...."
- Vanikaimar: "We require Laoi Cretacea's location. We must know what prison he was sent to, and you know this galaxy better than us."
- Jar'Dis: "We have received a possible location through our network, but we are not sure if they are correct nor are they proven."
- Vanikaimar: "Narrowing our search is already helpful."
Lord Jar'Dis handed over a small datadisk holding the possible location. He did warn the group to be very careful, Pauvenris was off limits ever since the sudden and unknown disaster and destruction of the Serindia population. He also warned them by violating Rambo space, they will get the Rambo navy after them and they are of a different breed than the Imperials are far less predictable in battle. The Nagith took the datadisk and turned his eyes to Aoirtae.
- Vanikaimar: "I take you have no knowledge of this "Pauvenris"."
- Aoirtae: "I think I've heard of it in my studies on Aldár. Rumour has it, is was destroyed by the Xhodocto."
Jar'Dis nodded and explained, according to inside information the area has been heavily patrolled and the Senate is unaware of what is happening there. It is one of the few quarantined zones Rambo Nation enforced within their own territories, crossing those boundaries unwarranted is punishable by death.
- Aoirtae: "And you think Laoi is there?"
- Vanikaimar: "If he is, then his chances of survival are likely slim. We must rendezvous with Kara and depart immediately."
- Aoirtae: "Yeah, I know the Loyalists have been on the run lately, but do you have anyone to spare to help us?"
- Jar'Dis: "I can lend you a Hammerhead-class corvette that has one of our more efficient teams, led by half-elf sergeant Yvenne. The Hammerhead is equipped with a U-Wing and a single walker and various Loyalist forces, I can vouch for them if you want ma'am."
Aoirtae grinned broadly and elbowed Vanik.
- Aoirtae: "He called me "ma'am"! You could learn something from this guy."
- Vanikaimar: "I am 26,000 years old. You are still a long way from getting me to treat you as an equal."
- Aoirtae: "Your humility is an inspiration to us all."
Aoirtae turned to face Jar'Dis.
- Aoirtae: "I'm sure your forces will be a great help, Lord Jar'Dis, thank you for agreeing to help us."
- Vanikaimar: "Let us make our leave. The President's son has no time to spare."
Jar'Dis nodded and promised to inform the team at once, he made his apologies for not being able to send more as the Loyalist needed to regroup and reorganise after the loss at Ozdudrahk and plan their new course.
Chapter III: Battle of Pauvenris
Having ascertained the location of Pauvenris from the Rambo Loyalists, Aoirtae and Vanikaimar transmitted the information to President Apollo and Fleet Admiral Cretacea, who had entered the Quadrants via the Saxhleel Wormhole to reinforce Admiral Shavalera's armada at Lianna. Having secured the support of the Mendel Pact and Saviki mercenaries of the Void Combine, Apollo ordered the Republic forces to travel through the Metruia Nebula and ambush the Rambo defences gathered at Pauvenris. Along the way, the Auethnen Raptor docked with the Republica, upon which Aoirtae and Vanik met up with Kara, to prepare for the fight ahead. Two gallitos and the prowler Silent Retribution also arrived and linked up with the battlegroup,each one carrying a multitude skiffs, gunboats, and shrikes in its hangar and the latter holding two ground crews lead by Qurik Skel. A small Mendel battlegroup of two Koridalbe-class Battleships and three Krigoa-class Frigates arrived to lend heavy support. Aboard the lead Battleship was a squadron of Super-Commandos, each carrying their own various heavy weapons, rifles, Anti-armour guns and swords for the inevitable assault.
After a few days of travel, due to the anomalies which pervade the Quadrants, the Republic armada dropped out of hyperspace in the Pauvenris system, the bleak and ruptured world filling the Republica's viewscreen. To the horror of Fleet Admiral Cretacea, the planet's blockade was heavy. Various Delphator- and Caradhras-class vessels were in formation around one very large behemoth, so the rumors were true about the Rambo Nation's Paragavatus-class Dreadnought.. From on board the USS Paragavatus of Draconid fleet captain Rambam narrowed his eyes about the sudden arrival. Communicating with the other officers of the fleet, Cretacea listened to their recommendations. Some, such as Shavalera, believed that they should demand Laoi immediately, though not fire until fired upon. Others, such as Commodores Thonaloc and Roslia, advocated for an immediate attack, for the time for talk was over. Cretacea, however, desired to raise a channel.
- Cretacea: "Rambo vessels, we're here for my grandson. Hand him over, or we'll be forced to attack."
- Rambam: "To all vessels, you are tresspassing a Rambo Quaratine Zone. Prepare to be destroyed."
After Rambam closed the transmission the mighty cannons of the Paragavatus roared, followed by precision phasers by the various Delphator-classes. Several Republic frigates and corvettes, which had yet to raise their shields after dropping out of hyperspace, were hit immediately, disappearing in a haze of fire and debris. On the bridge of the Republica, Cretacea sat in his command chair and ordered all vessels to immediately open fire and engage the Rambo fleet. A flotilla of Venator Star Destroyers, led by the Aeolus led the charge, backed up by a squadron of Aether-class corvettes, and the C.R.S. Ardaeinos commanded by Captain Tymonir Vargeryan. The Hammerhead-class corvette provided by the Loyalist forces, the Resurging Starfire under the command of Yvenne took fire as well, vaporising the forward shields and forcing them to retreat to the back of the lines. She did however inform the fleet-admiral that the U-Wing task force was ready for extraction when called upon. The Mendel leader, Kiess Valinor, student of Commander Ryaler himself, ordered her mass driver and railguns to light up the Rambo, and deployed specialised Battlesuits made for void combat.
Leading the fleet, the mighty Republica unleashed its forward superlaser projectors, incinerating a Caradhras-Class and smashing through the debris. All around, space above Pauvenris became chaotic, with both Republic and Rambo ships locked in vicious combat against one another. The Rambo forces deployed a well known tactic, trenching themselves in and minimalizing the holes in their lines while deployed fighters engaged any ship or craft that got passed the Delphator-class front lines. While the two gallitos aided the Republic ships in battle, the Retribution docked with the Republica, with Qurik stepping out to greet Aoirtae's crew.
- Qurik: "Greetings, . Your exploits have become known to us in the Void Combine lately."
Aoirtae bowed her head and smiled.
- Aoirtae: "All good I hope? I look forward to seeing what you can do in a fight!"
- Vanikaimar: "We must make haste. I can sense the doubt in the minds of the Republic's fleet; they will not fight to their fullest against their former allies."
- Qurik: "Agreed. Come, my ship awaits us. You may want to hold on to something as we descend."
The group entered the ship and strapped themselves in, as it undocked from the Republica and made its' way toward the planet's surface. Its dark teardrop shape distorted and faded as the stealth drive activated, cloaking it from observation on the majority of the electromagnetic spectrum. Kara's eyes were fixed on her datapad, which showed the location of Laoi within one of the more hospitable work camps on the planet's surface, where Rambert sent his political enemies who deserved more than the slaves and salt-miners. As they approached the camp, Qurik scanned the surrounding landscape with his Execution Rifle. The landscape was barren and desolate full of rocks and devoted of any cities or villages.
- Qurik: "We'll have to land at a distance from the camp, lest they pick us up on sonar."
- Aoirtae: Sounds good. This needs to be quick and fast."
- Qurik: "I think I have a solution."
Hovering just above the landscape, behind a particularly tall knoll, the prowler opened its hangar and dropped down a group of Skimmers, single-occupant Saviki ground vehicles built for rapid movement on uneven terrain.
- Kara: "Is it safe to jump?"
- Vanikaimar: "It will have to do. Stealth operations are not my specialty, so I will be staying behind to defend this position until you return."
- Kara: "We'll miss you, big guy, just make sure you're here when we get back."
- Vanikaimar: "Go and watch yourselves. Ryen would be displeased if you were to die in this dump."
Aoirtae and Kara nodded, and turned to Qurik, and began approaching the loading ramp. Breathing deeply, Kara was the first to jump, telekinetically easing her descent before landing on the ash-covered ground, soon to be joined by Aoirtae and Qurik.
- Qurik: "Even with two arms you all shouldn't have much trouble piloting these craft. They are built for scullions, after all."
Aoirtae looked at Kara with unease, but shrugged as they both mounted their vehicles.
- Aoirtae: "If you say so buddy."
Chapter IV: Rescue Mission
The skimmers glided over the blasted surface of Pauvenris toward the location where Laoi was believed to be held. After several minutes of travel, dodging Rambo patrols, they stopped atop a large cliff, overlooking a vast crater. The sight below was disturbing, at a steep hill near one of the cliffs an estate was build, while the rest of the crater was filled with metal prison structure, while prisoners were mining some sort of substance. Straggles were whipped by the Serindia guards, clad in the traditional armor of House Ramveral of Fornaeria. Using their macrobinoculars, they realised the whips were made of metal, ripping open the flesh of the prisoners. On top of that, the endless screams below made the sight all the more disturbing and very non-Rambo. Aoirtae held her hand to her face, the stench of death and decay sickening her.
- Aoirtae: "This is totally barbaric."
- Kara: "And my brother's down there somewhere. We have to press on."
- Aoirtae: "He'll probably be held in that estate over there. He's a valuable prisoner for Rambert, and unless he's totally lost his marbles, he wouldn't physically harm him."
Kara turned to Qurik.
- Kara: "Any idea how we can get down there without being detected?"
- Qurik: "They know we're here and who we're looking for, so they'll likely have sensors pointed in every direction and a multitude of sentries awaiting us. Best we can do is preoccupy them long enough to slip in and extract Laoi."
He turned to one of the Saviki marshals accompanying them.
- Qurik: "Kasik, take your crew around one of the adjacent sides of the crater. Get as many of their men away from our path as you can while we-"
Suddenly behind them they heard a little movement behind one of the rocks, a small rabbit/bunny like creature emerged and looked at them intrigued. According to intel the creatures were known as Crepechu, but they didn't resemble those known to the databases anymore. These were horrifying creatures to behold that suddenly launched itself forward. Qurik's response was lightning fast, as his skewer extended to meet the creature, both knocking it back and stopping its heart with a bolt of electricity. Both Aoirtae and Kara appeared somewhat disturbed by the creature, taking a step back as Qurik dealt with it. The creature stopped moving after it was done twitching and convulsing.
- Aoirtae: "That looked like... an animated corpse or something."
- Kara: "Just what has Rambert done to this place?"
- Aoirtae: "No idea, but I doubt this is Rambert's doing, this feels differently. We must hurry, there might be more around. Qurik you were saying?!"
- Qurik: "Yes, Kasik will take his crew around and create a diversion, while the rest of us enter the estate. Hopefully, the distraction will occupy the majority of their forces, but we shouldn't expect a total lack of resistance."
Six skimmers sped off toward the right-hand side of the crater, ready to harass the defenders on Qurik's command, while Aoirtae and Kara stood in position, ready to go into the estate as soon as the path was clear. Within seconds of Qurik giving the order, gunfire could be heard from down below, and numerous Serinidia guards left their positions to deal with the threat. Then, from the skies, dropped two drop pods at the edge of the camp, disgorging the squadron of Mendel Super-Commandos, assisting in the distraction with heavy, concentrated fire and swords in hand, singing out prayers to their gods, Zaraturai and Hoorangiir, voices booming across the camp. Taking the chance, the trio made their way in, as to begin their search for Laoi Cretacea. While passing the gate Aoirtae ignited her saber and took out a Serindia guard who approached them with sword drawn. Another guard was blasted away by the telekinetic powers of Kara and crashed into a nearby wall while three closed in on Qurik. He grabbed one's metal lash, pulling the unfortunate guard into the electrified tip of his spear, tripped another and, in the process, drove one of his blade-tipped lower arms into his head. The third was dispatched by a kick to the head and spear thrust to the neck before he even hit the ground.
- Aoirtae: "Nice moves, big guy. I'm sure Vanikaimar would tell you how adequate you are if he was here."
Chapter V: The Estate
Before heading further a metal whip wrapped itself around the spear of Qurik, the Serindia guard was flanked by three others while a Serindia clad in golden and blue emerald armor, a spiked crowned helmet stepped forward and spoke.
- Royal Guard: "Halt in the name of his majesty, High King Rambert Ramveral of Rambo Nation. You are trespassing in a quarantine zone. Lower your weapons and come in peace."
Kara stood forward and clenched her fist, Royal Guards were known to be highly trained and the best of the Serindia Knights.
- Kara: "Give us my brother, and I may decide not to remove your arms."
The Guard chuckled and readied his spear.
- Royal Guard: "So be it, may the Ultimate One be merciful upon you or face the wrath of Artmyris!"
The Serindia Guards pressed forward, the guard with the whip targeted Kara while the Royal Guard went for Qurik. The other guard, clad in Ramveral armor and armed with a sword circled Aoirtae.
- Qurik: "Stand back, comrades. I'll handle these dregs."
Twisting several small knobs on his belt, Qurik's armor and spear began emitting a flurry of small thunderbolts. He rushed forward, spinning like an acrobat and firing lightning indiscriminately at the guards whilst bashing them each with the spear. Facing the guard in the armour of House Ramveral, Aoirtae took her blade from her belt and ignited its purple blade. Lunging forward, she brought it down on the guard's pike, and while he was powerful, she was faster, and swung her blade across his chest, sending him crumpling to the ground in a heap. Simultaneously, the other guard cracked his whip, wounding Kara's shoulder and sending her to her knees. Just as he was about to strike again, she held out her hands and telekinetically stopped the whip as it came within an inch of her head. Rising to her feet, and with her arm outstretched, she manipulated the whip into wrapping around his neck, the guard fell to his knees desperately trying to get free. Though she knew she could kill him in an instant, Kara instead telekinetically lifted one of the unconscious guards and sent him smashing into him, knocking him out and leaving the path clear to Laoi. The Royal Guard, having made the mistake of targeting Qurik, had his flesh seared and heart stopped by the micro-thunderstorm that had encircled the Saviki, dropping his remains to the ground and leaving him smouldering.
As the group made their way into the central building of the estate, they were surprised to find that, with the exception of a few easily avoided patrols, the place was almost empty. As Kara opened one of the closed door she was suddenly hit by a flying vase that came from the right corner, dropping her to her knees and craddling her head. Aoirtae bursts into the room with saber ignited to see a clearly shaken Laoi in the corner with another vase. Laoi gasped and rushed forward.
- Laoi: "Oh bollocks, I'm so sorry! Ouch, that looks painful."
Kara got to her feet and cursed loudly.
- Kara: "You're damn right it looks painful! It is bloody painful!"
She nursed the lump on her head.
- Kara: "This is precisely why both you and dad should just hide under beds instead of trying to defend yourselves!"
Before Laoi could retort, Kara rushed forward and hugged her twin warmly.
- Kara: "I love you, you big idiot."
Suddenly the ground shook as an earthquake hit the crater and a immense shadow loomed over the estate. As the ground shook closets fell over, light flickered and glass splintered as the group struggled to keep their footing. Ceiling parts came down as well as a nearby water pipe broke, sprouting water. Looking outside they saw a large grey metallic arrow hitting the ground, and Kara suddenly realised it was one of the star destroyers in orbit that came down. Somehow her grandfather managed to turn the odds in his favour. Though the star destroyer frontal section had hit the ground already, most its mid and engine sections were still in the air as it slowly crashed down. Outside the walls of the estate swung and stones fell down as one of the guard towers collapsed.
- Laoi: "Well this is some rescue. We need to get out of here! What's the plan?!"
- Qurik: "The plan is we get the hell off this planet!"
He turned on his comms.
- Qurik: "Yvrak, where the hell are you? We need to be extracted immediately!"
- Aoirtae: "No idea, I'm just here to stab things."
As more guards approached from below the hill the group realised they were trapped inside the estate, though the guards had difficulties entering the estate due to the collapsed tower. Suddenly fire reigned down upon them as the guards took cover under their shields. Above them an U-Wing hovered, the Retribution just above it, with the former dropping down ropes as the half-elf Yvenne shouted:
- Yvenne: "What 're ya waiting for! Don't you recognise a rescue when you see one?"
- Aoirtae: "Your timing is impeccable!"
- Vanikaimar: "Good, you survived."
- Kara: "I missed you too, big guy."
Grabbing Laoi by the arm, Aoirtae tossed him toward one of the ropes, and he began to climb, followed closely by Kara and Qurik. Across the crater, a pair of skiffs could be seen picking up the diversion crew. As they made their escape, Vanikaimar leaned forward and squinted his eyes as he looked over the distance, a small frown growing on his face as he grunted to himself.
- Vanikaimar: "A Basileus...? Hm."
- Laoi: "... No Basileus here, fella, doubt even Rambert would imprison an Imperial without them knowing."
- Aoirtae: "You see Basileus in your breakfast cereal."
- Vanikaimar: "I must be seeing things. Come, let us leave this miserable rock once and for all."
At the President's Chamber
Vice President Ramdard Ramthrace walked the halls of the Presidential Pyramid on Capricaerón at an increased pace. Opening the door, he found Apollo with his head against the presidential desk, mumbling something incoherent in his sleep about Dané. Making a slight bow with his head Ramthrace apologised, eyeing the annoyed-looking Gorf wearily, who apparently didn't like being awoken, and seemed to drool a bit at various seemingly important papers that still had to be signed by the President.
- Apollo: "Huh, wha, I wasn't asleep. Ah, Ramdard, how, w-what do you need?"
- Gorf: "Aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!!"
- Ramdard: "I am sorry to wake you Mr. President but I have promising news!"
- Apollo: "Strange days when I get promising news. What's happened?"
Ramdard handed over the datapad and smiled.
- Ramthrace: "They have your son Mr. President, and are on their way here!"
Apollo rose from his desk and smiled broadly, walking over to Ramdard and clapping him on the back while Gorf jumped in place eagerly.
- Apollo: "Well that's the best news I've heard in years!"
- Gorf: "Laoi is safe! Yaaaay!"
- Apollo: "Gorf, ol' buddy, ol' pal, we'll have to go immediately, of course! Find Tigarlu too, I'm sure Laoi will be more pleased to see her than me!"
Ramthard smirked though crossed his arms in front of him and suddenly looked a bit concerned yet hopeful.
- Ramthrace: "There is more Mr. President, the preliminary report indicate Laoi was locked in an estate within the prison with another, frozen in stasis."
- Gorf: "... But there is only one Laoi. Two Laois?"
Apollo's smile faded, but hope appeared in his eyes.
- Apollo: "Do you think it's where they're keeping Ramashe?"
Ramdard shook his head.
- Ramthrace: "No Mr. President, her bastard feather Ramanei."
Apollo frowned slightly at Ramdard. The Serindia custom of naming illegitimate children "bastards" never sat well with him.
- Apollo: "If the fleet is still at Pauvenris... we'll have to send another team down to rescue her. Ramanei is family to me too."
Ramthrace sadly informed him that most of the fleet was forced to withdraw as reinforcements had arrived from the Capital, many ships were damaged though the allied fleet managed to inflict considerable damage on the Rambo defense fleet as well, including the destruction of one of their Paragavatus-Class Super star destroyers.
- Apollo: "Hm, pass on the information to the Rambo Loyalists. I'm sure Lord Ramannis will appreciate some help from the New Republic in restoring House Le Rambo to the throne."
- Ramthard: "In addition, there is someone here who is quite eager to meet with you."
A tall figure, four metes high at least, entered the room. The dark violet cloak draped across his back and quadruple arms told Apollo it was Rikken Eksil, Chrill of the Void Combine. The sight of the figure caused Gorf to point and scream for a moment, before he lost all interest.
- Rikken: "Greetings, President Cretacea. I understand you are interested in receiving the aid of my Combine in your war with the Empire."
Apollo bowed his head.
- Apollo: "Thank you for agreeing to meet with me, Chrill Eksil. I've just received word that Qurik's forces have proven instrumental in rescuing my son. Your reputation is certainly not exagerrated. So yes, I would most definitely be interested in the Combine's support against the Empire."
- Rikken: "Please, call me Rikken. Now, tell me, what can you offer me that would match the cost of my people's entry into this conflict?"
- Apollo: "I can pay your forces as much, and more, than they have ever received from a contract. With ships, weapons and whatever resources they could possibly need."
- Rikken: "Is it within your power to give my people a new home? The Saviki have long wandered the Gigaquadrant, forced to perform as mercenaries or, in most cases, lawless pirates in the abscence of any system to call our own. I believe the time has come for us to find somewhere to finally dock our ships and start anew."
Apollo was touched by Rikken's request, and bowed his head slightly.
- Apollo: "Forgive me, Rikken, I should not have assumed that all you sought was a mere contract. We spent two years sailing endlessly amidst the sea of stars, and yet I can't imagine what your people endured."
Apollo placed his hand on his chest.
- Apollo: "I swear this to you, your people will have a new home. Together, we can fight together, not as benefactor and mercenary, but as free beings."
Rikken stooped down and grasped Apollo's hand firmly in a sign of gratitude and solidarity.
- Rikken: "Thank you. You have given my people something more to fight for, something more than loot or the scrappings of energy that may be processed into sustaining Mana. Perhaps even the rest of the Metafleet will come to fight, once word reaches them. And then what a fleet we would have fighting on our side, billions upon billions strong!"
Rikken appeared to lose himself slightly as he dwelled on the majesty of a united Saviki fighting for a new home, but quickly snapped himself back to reality. Standing back up, he began making his way toward the door.
- Rikken: "Once again, on behalf of my species, I thank you."
- Apollo: "It's my honour to help. In any way I can."
Hand of the Monarch, the loyal Ramseph Ramcard just informed his highness, High King Rambert Ramveral about the events at Pauvenris and the estraction of Laoi Cretacea from the prison. As expected, Rambert was furious and roared.
- Rambert: "They did WHAT?"
Ramseph fell to his knees, indicating that they were taken by complete surprise, and that even one of the grand Paragavatus-Class super star destroyers had crashed on the surface. Rambert's eyes spit fire as he throwed his cup against Ramspeh.
- Rambert: "Am I surrounded by complete incompetent idiots?"
Nearby, Marscalcus Sinhai Kakharis narrowed his eyes in disgust.
- Sinhai: "With all due respect your majesty. Our forces fought valiantly but were overpowered, you yourself ordered the main Gorge defense fleet to invade New Republic space in the Quadrants".
Rambert hissed and pointed his finger in fury at the Zazane commander-in-chief.
- Rambert: "Yes, yes the Commodore is to blame! It is all his fought. His military blunder lost us our defenses. By Royal degree, that man is now a renegade, call back the fleet and close the Gorge! In our withdrawal set flame to the occupied New Republic planets and execute the Commodore."
But Ramseph and Sinhai were shocked by the ruthless and very non-Rambo actions they had to take by order of the crown. Chancellor of the Royal Crown, Fleur Inviere was horrified, she didn't recognise her once noble and proud friend anymore but before she could protest Rambert send them all out of the throne room.
As the Rambo forces fell back into Rambo Space, some of the more reluctant officer refuse to carry out the orders to set torch to NCR planets, though some did anyway. The Commodore Malegras was furious by this betrayal and set torch to various planets as well, trying to escape capture by both Rambo and New Republic forces. He was a renegade now, in command of a very powerful Caradhras-Class destroyer!