From 2791 onwards, the forces of the Drodo Empire and its allies were locked in a perpetual struggle with the overpowering might of the Drakodominatus Tyranny. A massive Tyranny-wide slave revolt in December of that same year had drastically changed the course of that war and set the Dominatus on a path towards destruction. Eager to change his own fate, Dominatus commander Mortrig Maelvon engineered the Tasan Crisis, a plan to bring the Katar Sector to its knees through deception and the clever manipulation of fear and old hatreds.
Looking to overpower the nations of Delcath while it was busy with the Drodo, the Tyranny turned to the Grand Tarkan and Mardor Empires and ordered them both––as its allies––to carry out attacks on these nations.
Oathbreaker's Command Edit
December 10, 2792
The Gran Beyvik's palace on the Tarkan's home world of Vulduar was a monstrous creation. Hulking metallic walls with jagged edges protruding at every corner cut it off from the rest of Tarkan civilization, though that was not its purpose. Indeed, it was a work of art, the epitome of creation in the Tarkan's eyes. They, whose conception of beauty differed from our own, knew how to appreciate the rugged magnificence of such an edifice.
It was there that the sovereign of the Tarkan race held his court in its massive rooms with high domed ceilings. At the current time, it was largely empty, as no crises faces the realm and the council was not in session. What would be decided today, however, would scar the Grand Tarkan Empire for generations.
- "My children," Gran Beyvik Dishal V'klor said with outstretched hands as he advanced towards them, "The empire has need of you."
The throne room was a massive vaulted chamber with thick columns running along the sides of it. Near the center was a circular plaque, a seal depicting the crest of the V'klor dynasty, on which four figures stood. The first, the sovereign himself, was a significantly aged creature. Sickly, limping along with the aid of an elongated staff, nearly blind, and with his skin dangling loosely from his flesh, it was obvious that even if no opponent––no matter how worthy or valiant––had succeeded in felling him, the passage of time still had a hold on him. And slowly, very slowly, it was tightening its grip. And yet, he still smiled in his own way, advanced to meet his children, and grasped them each by the forearm as was tradition.
His loin had produced three offspring, two males and one female, all clothed in fine armor. All of them had long graduated from his house and now held titles within the realm as adults, and Etzan, next in line for the throne, even had children of his own.
- "Gather up your forces," Dishal continued as he returned to his throne, "it is high time that we act. You, my children, will take your fleets and conquer the empires of Delcath. Theirs is no match for your might."
- There was silence for a while as his three pupils stared at him, not knowing what to say. Finally, Etzan stepped forward and said in his powerful voice what was on all of their minds. "The oathbreakers commanded you to do this."
- The sovereign replied with some asperity, "I am commanding you to do this, should that not be enough for you?"
- The three shared a glance. It was Abanan's turn to step forward. "We lick the oathbreaker's boots, give them everything they want. Why do you let yourself be influenced like this, father?"
- "My decisions are mine to make, and not to be questioned by anyone. When you are Gran Beyvik, Etzan, you will have the wisdom to put aside your pride to better the state of the realm. Wisdom is learned through obedience, and as such, you all will obey."
- "Yes, Gran Beyvik," they said in unison, bringing their large fists to their chests in a salute.
- Dishal eyed each of them critically before lowering his glassy orbs to the ground, "You may go."
The three of them filed out of the throne room in silence. When the large double doors closed behind them, Sirga, the youngest, turned to the others as they walked.
- "What are we going to do?" she whispered, concerned.
- "We do as we are told," said Etzan "and ensure that this is not the death of him."
The eldest having spoken, the matter was settled.
This is not wise Edit
Beyvik Etzan V'klor's personal forces just arrived on scene at one of the many staging points for the Tarkan Imperial navy. His personal retinue, one of the most powerful and well equipped in the realm, bore his crest to differentiate themselves from the rest of the Imperial Army.
The personal escorts of the rest of the royal family had arrived a few days earlier from nearer parts of the realm. The force assembled in Lorkhav province numbered roughly sixteen-thousand ships, which, Etzan had calculated, was more than enough to defeat and occupy the nearest Delcathian nations in short order. Keeping momentum was going to be an issue, however. This is why it had been agreed that Etzan would go before the council––the assembly of all the Beyviks of the realm––to ask for their support in continued conquests once he had demonstrated their ability to win.
Etzan held the Beyvik's vassals in the utmost contempt. As the empire had grown stagnant thanks to the Tyranny's intervention in the Katar Sector, corruption had set in. Men who were once proud warriors now plotted against one another from the shadows. Assassination, an unspeakable act years ago, was now a common practice. And worst of all, the vassals had grown lazy. Years ago, if he, the Gran Beyvik's Master at Arms, were to have gone and proclaimed war on an enemy, the armies of the whole empire would soon find themselves marching to the sounds of harsh laughter and heroic war songs.
If he went in front of the council now, Etzan knew the reaction he would get. No warrior would be mobilized, no ships handed over.
All of this Etzan considered as he stared at a rotating three dimensional projection of Delcath, hovering over a squarish table at the rear of the dimly-lit command bridge of the ITS Isav, a Tarkan heavy cruiser designated as Etzan's flagship for the campaign. The bridge was an elongated room two-level room lined with control panels and personel on all sides. Overlooking the second level near the front, slightly lower than the first, the Isav's harsh leather command chair was vacant.
Proud Etzan himself was garbed in plain chainlink and leather armor with an embroidered sash hanging over his shoulder to indicate his rank.
A tall Tarkan entered the bridge, similarly garbed as Etzan, and bearing the symbol shown earlier to announce that he was part of Etzan's personal retinue. He scanned around and located the Beyvik and strode over. Etzan looked up from his maps in time to see the warrior advance, and gave a wide grin.
- "Ardir, my friend," he said as he advanced to grasp the other's forearm.
- "Beyvik," the other said, "your forces have arrived. As always, we are yours."
- "We depart within the hour," Etzan said. "As Master at Arms of Arkheer province, I give you full control of my personal forces within the theatre."
- "Yes, Beyvik," the other replied, striking his fist to his chest in salute.
With the formalities out of the way, the two went over the invasion plan and the role the forces of Arkheer province were supposed to play in it over the next half hour. When this was finished, Ardir returned to his command vessel. By that time, the first elements of the Tarkan invasion force had entered warp a were cruising smoothly towards their target, the unsuspecting Miperiors. As it came the Isav's turn to jump to warp, escorted by a formation of heavy cruisers, Etzan's gaze returned to his map.
- "This is not wise," he thought with frustration. The engines below churned audibly and the stars outside on either side of him appeared to stretch into blurry lines and then suddenly vanished as the ship entered warp.
By the second day, December 20, 2793, the Tarkan Imperial Army would enter the range of the Miperiors' long-range scanners, appearing as a massive, unidentified fleet of signals flying in a loose formation.
The Miperians Prepare Edit
Commander Mkun was leaning back in his chair. With Gmfk gone, he was leader; and he planned to use his powers as much as he could.
- Suddenly, one of the nearby monitors turned red. A hazy image of a fleet appeared. "What is that?" he asked a nearby official. The man peered at the screen, shook his head and punched in keys madly. "That, sir, is a fleet moving towards us."
- Mkun leaped back. "Are you sure?"
- "They're blueshifting, Commander." Mkun observed the steadily clearing figures. They were certainly ships of war, with distinguishable weapons. With nervousness but poise, Mkun walked over to the wall and slammed the glowing crimson button. The entire planet was rocked with blaring alarms and flashing red light.
- "Send distress signals in every direction," he said to a nearby worker. "Make sure the Amphibibots and other nearby empires learn of our dilemma." The worker nodded and ran off. Mkun grabbed a microphone and began speaking.
- "Miperiors, there appears to be assailants coming towards us to wreak havoc. All of our defense practice has culminated to this very moment. Everyone in the militia, hurry up to your designated posts and bring everything you have. Civilians, I cannot stress how great it would be for you to join in the fighting, but if that is not your style, then prepare for evacuation immediately."
Screams of both excitement and fear were heard outside. Mkun headed towards the docking area. As he saw more and more people flowing in to participate in whatever battle would follow, he smiled.
- "Emperor, we are receiving a distress call, from the Miperiors Empire." A-000011 notified.
- "What do they need help with?" the Emperor asked.
- "They have detected an incoming war fleet from an empire." the drone answered. A-000001 began to simulate genuine anger.
- "No, this won't do. Won't do at all." the Emperor said. "15, send in our battle fleet. Destination: Miperiors Territory. I won't let them be destroyed." he commanded.
- "Yes, master." A-000015 responded as he notified the Amphibibot Battle Fleet to go to the Miperiors Empire to aid them in the upcoming battle.
An emergency Farengeto council meeting Edit
Halkon found himself yanked from his sleep by the alarm. Frustration filled his mind, what could possibly be so important at this hour?
Moments later he was fully dressed in a meeting chamber with the other members of the Farengeto High Council, the room was quite similar to the council chamber, though it was far from the same.
Chancellor Unaria was the first to speak.
- "I have grave news. The Grand Tarkan Empire has launched an invasion fleet against the Miperiors Empire."
- Taronsa showed great concern, "What kind of force are we talking about? Can we expect the Miperiors and Amphibibots to resist this attack?"
- Mafarni appeared deep in thought, "From my analysis of the data, the fleet seems sufficiently prepared to conquer both empires, no doubt part of the plan. Without interference defeat seems inevitable."
- Halkon was enraged, "Then we must send a force! The Miperiors are one of our greatest allies, they can not be allowed to fall."
- "The Tarkan Empire is an ally of the Dominatus. Military action would be consider an act of aggression against the Tyranny and will break our neutrality." replied Unaria.
- Halkon grew more angry "I don't really give a damn about neutrality at this point! It's only done us more harm than good!"
- At the same time Taronsa grew increasingly concerned "Is there any chance for aid from the Nakeimoto or Ezlangei?"
- Mafarni answered "Negative. Even the fleets of our capital would be too late. Only those deployed in the Unatri province could arrive soon enough."
- Halkon let out a brief sigh before stating "What about an another way? We send our fleet to the Miperiors as a peacekeeping force. Admiral Tekari will lead the group in the Unatri province, and I will leave at the same time with the others. Should Tekari need support we will be there as soon as possible. If diplomacy is impossible, I propose the navy will have have the choice to take the action that best ensures both the fewest casualties and the safety of the Republic. We must take immediate action!"
It would be a vote that would change the Republic:
- Taronsa - "My people have always felt a close link with the Miperiors. I approve."
- Mafarni - "A Miperior defeat would generate incalculable losses. I approve."
- Unaria - "If we must take action, then I approve of doing it this way."
- Halkon - "I, of course, approve."
Taronsa and Mafarni left, leaving Halkon and Unaria alone.
- "Chancellor, the Mardor, the Tarkans... all the nearby allies of the Dominatus appear to have recieved attack orders. Except, as it would seem, us. Care to explain?"
Unaria's silence needed no explanation. Halkon held back his rage.
- "And what did you say?"
- "I didn't."
Unaria cut the line before Halkon could respond.
Moments later Halkon awoke in his room, the chamber a mere digital setting created by his implants. His mind was wide awake, but his body had been fast asleep. But there was no more time for sleep, they had a war to win.
Opening Moves Edit
Less than an Earth hour later
Farengeto Flagship RSS Eternal
Admiral Tekari stood alone, staring out of a window into space. His navigation officer mentally informed him they were about to enter Miperian space. He quickly moved to the bridge to monitor the situation. According to his calculations the Tarkans would have arrived less than 2 hours* ago.
Arriving at the bridge, Tekari prepared to send an ultimatium to the Tarkan fleet.
- "Attention vessels of the Grand Tarkan Empire. This is Admiral Tekari of the non-aligned Farengeto Republic. Your warships are entering the territory of our soverign ally, the Miperior Empire. We request that your fleets stand down so that we may negotiate and prevent this conflict. This is a diplomatic force, but should you refuse to desist the Farengeto Navy will take action. This is neither a declaration of war nor a threat, simply a warning."
- "How far behind is Halkon's fleet if things go wrong?"
- "About half a day**." An officer replied.
- "Then it seems we may be on our own. Continue course through Miperior territory. Make sure our crews and the Miperiors know we are not at war with the Tarkans and will not take action unless I say so. I don't even want to see a return of fire without my orders first."
*a bit over one Earth Hour
**around 18 Earth hours
The Miperians fall back Edit
The Miperian border patrol was on the alert, awaiting orders at any second. After what seemed like years, Mkun's voice was finally heard. "Everyone, the Tarkan fleet is advancing as we speak. You are to retreat back to our homeworld, Miperia, while there still is time. However, before you leave, you are to flood the area with saBOTeurs - as many as you have."
Immediately, the border patrol set out and sent out all of the tiny sabotage robots they had at their disposal, spreading them out over a large area. After this was done, the ships turned and delved into the depths of the Miperian Empire.
- "This is Relg, head of the Border Patrol department. Your orders have been carried out. Over." Relg was tense. Whatever fleet required immediate retreat of their border defenses was strong indeed.
Meanwhile, the Amphibibot fleet quickly dropped out of warp as it reached Miperiors space.
- "Miperiors, we have arrived. Give us more information about the fleet and where we should position." the Amphibibot fleet leader contacted.
Half an hour later, Etzan stood at the back of the Isav's bridge where holographic strategic display was. He had called up a three-dimensional likeness of the Miperiors territory again, except that this time it had been rendered in far more detail than before thanks to data gathered by the scouting parties he had sent ahead of the main force. He knew it was not wise for them to wait in a single position for too long. Precious time was being wasted, his enemies were getting stronger, and with every passing second he could feel the battle-eager warriors around him grow increasingly frustrated with his delays. On top of everything, the Farengeto were sending their entire navy to oppose him, a situation he had not planned for.
Earlier they had laughed off the Farengeto ultimatum, but now that he was alone in the seclusion of own mind...
- "Why do you even consider the possibility of failure before you act?! You are turning into your father!" an indignant voice whispered at the back of his mind.
- Etzan snarled. "No!" his conscious mind snapped back, "I am not that old!"
He knew he had to act decisively, and fast.
With the renewed determination of a man with something to prove, he grabbed the embroidered scepter-like instrument embedded into the side of the holoprojector and pointed the tip of it at the image. He drew a single holographic line with it, a well defined red against the green of the projection, that directly connected the projection of his fleet with that of the Miperiors homeworld.
Without even looking at it, he turned to his officers at the front of the bridge. "warriors!" he said with new energy, "Transmit this to the fleet!"
- "Imperial Tarkan Army," he began, savoring the words, "I have come to a decision. There will be no ploys, no clever tricks, no decoys. With all of our might, we will descend upon the enemy! They will know us, and our faces and blood-soaked blades will be the last thing they will ever see! That is how it has always been, and that is how it shall be!"
The entire bridge crew sat in silent amazement for several seconds as he continued to yell in that old self-assured way of his. It had been years since the Etzan V'klor, the great warrior and military mind, had spoken with such conviction. Ever since they had practically become the Tyranny's lapdogs, he had become cynical and withdrawn from his position as leader of men. His sudden and forceful return was met first with stupefied amazement, which then graduated into awe.
He then finished, and the chamber and the airwaves fell silent.
One by one the bridge crew raised their fists to their chests and saluted, animated by the same feeling of being suddenly recalled to life.
- "Yes, Beyvik," they said as one.
Below decks, they could feel that many were not so reserved. Their cheers, hoots, and applause could be felt through the reinforced alloys that composed the floor.
Etzan the Great padded back to his command chair and sat down. Though he had returned, he still regarded his men with hidden shame. There they all were, free from the Oathbreakers in spirit but still tethered by their law. It had been decreed that they would attack, and they would attack, regardless of their motivations.
- "Execute the order," he spat. He regretted the utterance instantly, even though that side of him which he hated so much––the clever, the prudent, the coward––told him that it was the soundest decision he could make.
Mkun's plan Edit
Mkun surveyed the empire from his holographic display. As the Amphibibot leader watched, he dragged fleet icons around and combined them. Mkun summoned his secretary.
- "Commence empire-wide evacuation plans to Miperia." The secretary nodded and ran off. "Well then, 1," said Mkun to the Amphibibot emperor, "the enemy fleet seems to be advancing. To counter that, let's combine some of our fleets. Also, if you could send a handful of reinforcements over to the homeworld in case of emergency, then we'd end up with something like this.
- "This should hold us... at the least, we'd be able to defend until the Farengeto fully support us. The Tarkans should have already encountered quite a few tiny saBOTeurs - besides these being an annoyance, they should have caused some trouble to their engines. That way, they're slowed down sufficiently for us to be fully prepared by the time that fighting is imminent. Does the strategy look good to you?" asked Mkun.
- "Yes, it seems to be plausible. Let's do this way." 1 replied.
One step closer to war Edit
The RSS Eternal and its fleet continued to hurtle towards Miperia. But even at over 13,000 times the speed of light, near 4 trillion meters every second, the ship seemed like a snail in the void of the universe. In his room Tekari was once again deep state of calculation, a state often witnessed by his crew. Checking the time, the Admiral returned to bridge. With the Tarkans refusing to back down, Tekari was running out of options. But his orders were to take the course of action that would result in the fewest casulties, and for the moment diplomacy was still the best way.
- "Attention vessels of the Grand Tarkan Empire. Once again this is Admiral Tekari of the neutral Farengeto Republic. Your continued un-provoked attack of our allies will not be tolerated. We order you to stand down and send a diplomatic envoy so that we may end this conflict without further casualties. The Farengeto navy is en route and should you refuse to end this conflict we will be forced to take action. It is your choice: end this peacefully or face myself and the might of the Farengeto Navy."
- "Contact the Miperiors. If the Tarkans refuse to stand down I want telemetry of the battlefield. Be prepared to execute Fleet Manuver 47B."
- "47B! But Admiral..."
- "The network can handle it."
- "Are you su..."
- "If there's one thing I know, it's what TekNet can handle." Only Tekari knew the full truth of his words.
Mkun and 1 were staring at the holographic diagram. Both of them attempted to drag fleet icons around, until suddenly, a plan hit them. As if coordinated, both of them moved the fleets in an attack plan.
- "Alright then," said Mkun, "this is what we have - we'll split our fleets and lead the Tarkan fleet onwards with fleets B and D. Once they're close to Miperia, fleets A and C will close in behind them."
- "This way, they're trapped between five fleets - a five-pronged attack. We'll have the upper hand an-"
A small beeping noise interrupted them. A message from the Farengeto showed up. After listening to it, Mkun pounded a button and sent a message.
- "Listen, Tekari! We don't have any more time for diplomacy! They are heading over here as we speak, and the LAST thing they want is to talk out their problems! Stop hoping for that miracle! NOW is the time for action! Are you going to help out your allies or are you just going to sit there?" Mkun let go of the button and sent over a holographic image of the battlefield.
Miperian Encirclement Edit
On the bridge of the Isav, Etzan sat in his command chair. Flanking him on either side, his most senior lieutenants were engaged in animated discussion. Images of Abenan and Sirga were displayed in the left and right extremities of the massive viewscreen at the front of the bridge, which doubled as a window into space. Currently, the multicolored aurora of warp space was the only thing that could be seen through it.
The space at the center of the screen was occupied by an image of the current situation. They had flown into the encirclement and now cruised along at warp 8.5 with the Miperian and Amphibibot fleets closing in around them.
- "Keep the army together," one of the lieutenants was saying. "We have the advantage of speed, we can destroy them one by one and they will not be able to do a thing about it."
- "Time!" rejoined another, "That would take too much time!"
- "Do you have a better idea?" the first quipped back.
Etzan had listened quietly to the entire exchange, his thick cheekbone resting on the palm of his glove. He chose this moment to interject, "Do you, Irike?"
- The Irike paused and realized in that instant that he had no cohesive plan of his own. Deliberately, he stepped forward and gestured towards the map on the viewscreen. "We should split the army into four and advance upon each of the enemies, ignore the capital entirely. Even divided, we will have more than enough to defeat them! Beyvik, allow me to--..."
The royal heir raised a gloved hand to silence him.
- "If we were to do that, we would lose the advantage they have presented us with. They are few and disjointed, we are many and united. However, if we were to advance upon these disjointed groups with all of our might," he gestured to the Irike, as this was the concern he had raised, "we would be losing our time. No. We need to selectively engage the enemy while they are still spread out and struggling to keep up with us. Our advantage in speed gives us the luxury to choose where and when these battles will be fought. As such, Sirga will lead a detachment of four thousand vessels to confront the smaller fleet behind us."
As he spoke, he padded his fingers along the interface embedded into his armrest. The Tarkan fleet broke into two, an arrow being drawn between the detachment and its target.
- "We, meanwhile, will continue on to Miperia and defeat their forces there."
A line was drawn between the remainder of the Tarkan fleet and the Miperian homeworld.
- "These are my orders," he finished.
- "Yes, Beyvik." they replied in unison.
Back on Miperia Edit
- "While the Senate would prefer a diplomatic resolution," Tekari's voice echoed through the chamber. "They were far from rejecting the possibility of war. Should they refuse to stand down we will attack. And I need not remind you that the views of the senate do not always reflect the views of its citizens.
Mkun squinted at Tekari's position on the map. "Well, he'll show up eventually."
Mkun surveyed the battlefield. He quickly dragged a few images around.
- "Get Fleet A to move towards the left, with Fleet C heading to meet it. Fleet C might not get there to assist right on time, but Fleet A can hold those invaders until then. We've got a larger fleet moving straight over to Miperia, so we're going to need Fleets D and B to counter it."
Mkun pressed a button and issued a command. "I want every file here backed up to our outposts. Move the IMC database and servers over there too. Get our citizens here to evacuate elsewhere. We need to be prepared for the worst case scenario." This being done, Mkun brought up a display of Miperia's weapons and, for the first time in history, turned them online.
- "We've got a wide variety of weapons here," Mkun told the Amphibibot emperor. "Everything ranging from explosives to even more saBOTeurs if we need them. Now then, it's time to defend..." Mkun performed a few calibrations and then stared straight at the hologram.
- "We will have to sacrifice many things in order to stand a chance, possibly even the deepest warehouse of weapons we have." 1 commented.
- "Do you think the Farengeto Navy alongside our fleets will be enough to fend off against the Grand Tarkan Empire?" he asked.
Seeing that his adversaries were trying to regroup, Etzan veered the main fleet off course and aimed it straight at the Miperian Fleet B.
At roughly the same time, Sirga pushed her force as fast as it would go. She maintained bursts of warp 8.63 for short periods of time, a velocity considered unsafe for most of the Tarkan's older ships. This was especially true for those infested with saBOTeurs. She managed to close the gap between herself and the Miperian Fleet A in this manner while it was still isolated.
Farengeto declares war Edit
The Farengeto watched in horror as the Tarkans decimated Fleet A and B, then as Fleet C tried in vain to stop Sirga.
Tekari did not to wait for orders from his superiors. "Prepare the transports for pick-up. We won't be staying at Miperia for very long. Make sure the Miperian government is ready, we're facing worse case scenario."
Meanwhile in the Republic updates were constantly being delivered, and within minutes over 2 trillion were aware of the nature of the situation. Public outrage had erupted over the Tarkan invasion. In the Farengeto senate's emergency session opinions suddenly shifted, and the divided issue became a massive majority. Unaria prepared to make a speech that would change the Republic's future...
- "Emperor, I have tragic news." 55 called out. "It seems that Fleets A and B have been...destroyed." he said.
The Emperor was taken aback by the news, a rare simulated emotion for an Amphibibot.
- "Ugh. And how many spaceships did they managed to take out before they were destroyed?" 1 asked.
- "Fleet A destroyed around 700 spaceships, but unfortunaly Fleet B only took out around 100." a Miperior overseer noted.
- "Crud, Fleet D is screwed." the Emperor commented. "Let's do this: Fleet C will engage head-on with Sirga, but Fleet D will attempt to meet with Tekari and combine forces. If Etzan catches up with them, which will likely happen, they have no choice other than die fighting." he said to Mkun.
- "Sounds good." Mkun commented.
Sirga, instead of engaging Fleet C, turned around and retreated back towards Etzan's forces. Meanwhile, Etzan advanced on fleet D. His ships would probably enter firing range of the Miperian forces shortly before they reached Miperia, allowing them both to exchange several volleys of warp missiles.
Battle would be joined over Miperia, with Tekari arriving in time to participate in the opening stages of the engagement.
- "That was a rather cowardly move," Mkun commented.
Fleet C attempted to follow up on Sirga, but due to their slower warp drive, they were quickly left in the dust. That didn't made them give up, though. They haplessy attempted to chase the attacking fleet.
Fleet D pushed itself as fast as it could go, in an attempt to unite with Tekari as fast as possible. If The Source decided to have mercy on them, they would hopefully meet with the Farengeto Navy and would be able to defend themselves against Etzan, and Fleet C would be able to catch up and attack the Tarkans from behind.
Etzan dropped out of warp close to Miperia, far enough out of range that he could organize his army into recognizable formations without being interrupted. He split his forces into two even halves, one he assumed command over himself and the other he gave to his brother. Once in formation, the two armies set out to circumnavigate Miperia in opposite directions.
- "The Farengeto have just dropped out of warp and are approaching the system on impulse," said an officer on the bridge of the Isaav.
Etzan sat back, relaxed in his command chair. His strategy had worked marvels, and the last two battles he had to fight had been engineered in such a way that every advantage on his side. What's more, this battle looked more than promising. He had every reason to be confident.
- "Stay the course," said he.
The Tarkans would begin to move around Miperia to attack the Amphibibots on the other side.
Seeing as Etzan had dropped out of warp next to Miperia, Fleet D took the advantage to stop running away and made a turn towards the other side of Miperia, but still avoiding Etzan. A shuttle accompanied by some fighters flew in Miperia. Afterwards, a short evacuation of important personnel began, as well as a few civilians.
Fleet C gave up in chasing Sirga and just pathfounded another way towards Miperia in an attempt to get there as soon as possible.
On the opposite side of the system Tekari's fleet exited warp and split into two groups. The main fleet, already accelerating during in warp, continued to accelerate on its course towards Miperia, using Miperior data to organize into formation for Manuver 47B.
A second small group consisting of some carriers and transports travelled at a slower speed on a direct course for Miperia landings.
Tekari and the remaining 2032 ships of his fleet were travelling at significant percent of the speed of light when they drew close to the Tarkan fleet and cut acceleration. Then, surprisingly, the whole fleet rotated so they were facing away from the Tarkan fleet while they continued to hurtle towards it. The captains diverted increased power to the rear shields before handing control to TekNet.
The crew held their breaths. The fleet was one relative Farengeto minute away from Etzan's fleet. They were impossibly outnumbered and knew it would be an unwinnable battle, but they would hold the line as long as possible.
A bridge member counted down... 64... 63...
- "The Farengeto must have a death wish!" a brdge officer said with a grin.
The crew laughed at the remark, though the fact that Etzan did not partake made them uneasy. The Beyvik had stood and watched the Farengento through the large glass windows at the front of the bridge.
- "Beyvik?" one of them insisted.
- "How long until they get here?" the royal asked.
- "Forty-five seconds, sire."
- "Ready all weapons, raise the shields."
- "Aye, Beyvik."
He eyed the nearing Farengeto fleet closely, still puzzled.
- "They have entered firing range," a bridge officer said.
The space between the two fleets was suddenly lit by glowing red plasma.
The Farengeto ships unleashed a full volley on Etzan's fleet. Boosted by their velocity, their weapons hit with more energy than antimatter. A few more seconds later the fleet re-entered warp, and once again appeared in front of Tarkan fleet, restarting the cycle.
They had to hold Miperia until evacuations could finish.
The shields of many of the Tarkan ships took a severe beating during the first volley. Though the vast majority of them were fine for the moment, it was clear to Etzan that they could not withstand that kind of sustained firepower for long. Engagements between ships of equal strength in space were often lengthy given how much time it took to dismantle a vessel's shields.
- "Damage report!" he yelled, having sprung to his feet.
- "Three ships have been destroyed, sire. Ten more are reporting critical damage, two have to be evacuated."
- "Evacuate them!" He felt frustration welling up inside of him, as he knew that in several seconds, the Farengento would reappear, unleash another volley, and retreat before he could respond. Like the piston of a well oiled engine, the enemy fleet would repeat the action and slowly grind them into dust.
- "Retreat the Condors and advance our all of our heaviest ships!"
Just as he spoke, the Farengeto returned and lit the darkness of space with the fire of their weapons. The bridge rocked dangerously as the wing of a vessel close to the Isaav burst into flames. The force of the impact sent it careening out of control.
- "How many?" said Etzan through gritted teeth.
- "Four more gone, three damaged."
- "Did they come out of warp in the same place?"
- "No, sire. Their second attack vector was off by several degrees."
- "All ships!" the Beyvik said, the computer picking up his command and broadcasting it to the fleet. "Ready full torpedo spread to the front of the formation, three second detonation!"
He gazed intensely at the spot the Farengeto had previously been, counting the seconds. Just when he thought the time was right, he let loose a bellowing yell.
- "FIRE AT WILL!"
Every single Tarkan ship within the line of sight of the Farengeto let loose a torrent of brightly glowing antimatter torpedoes. Within seconds, these would have closed the distance between the two fleets. The cloud of glowing red orbs would meet the Farengeto as the exited warp, each orb breaking into a number of smaller ones before exploding violently. The result was a massive series of sustained explosions spread out over a large area, likely causing a lot of damage if the Farengeto had not changed their attack vector.
The Farengeto had anticipated a Tarkan retaliation, and had taken maneuvers to prepare. Despite this they were unprepared to deal with the full extent of the Tarkan navy. 21 ships were destroyed and almost the entire fleet's shields were about to fail. The Eternal's bridge shook as the fleet was rocked by enemy fire. The Farengeto completed their third attack and activated warp one last time. They could not risk the loss of the fleet. Tekari broadcasted a final message to his allies before retreating.
- "We can't hold the line! Our shields have sustained heavy damage! All vessels are advised to evacuate as soon as possible and maintain a warp factor of 8.6 for as long as possible to keep your distance from the Tarkan fleet. We will Rendezvous with the Grand Admiral's fleet while en route to Amphibibot space."
The first Farengeto evacuation vessels had touched down when Admiral Tekari's message arrived. Gunships, Shuttles, even cargo ships and transports were being used. Thousands of Farengeto fighters and bombers flew by overhead. The ships landed wherever they could, picking up their scattered targets. While most of the ships stayed only long enough to clear their platform, the transports accepted anyone who could make their may to the ships in time. Hundreds of Farengeto ships were participating in the evacuation. As one shuttle pilot launched he looked around in the chaos at the billions who would be left behind and face the punishment of conquest under the Tarkans.
- "Hold!" Etzan ordered with a raised fist as the Farengeto disappeared for the fourth time. The Tarkan barrage ceased. They last of their torpedoes exploded uselessly in the space in front of them, and then all was still.
- "We took very little damage that time. No ships lost." the comm officer said.
- "Where are they on sensors?" he asked.
- "They're moving off and leaving the system, sire."
- "Scan the wreckages, I want to know how many of them there are."
- "I count twenty, my lord."
Etzan's lips curled into a snarl. His attack had worked, though not to the extent he had hoped. The Farengeto vanguard was still largely intact, and he was not about to sit on his laurels and let them escape.
- "Have Ardir pursue and destroy them," he ordered. "The rest of the army will advance to Miperia in formation."
- "Yes, Beyvik."
The Imperial Tarkan Army slid forward towards the planet while the forces from Etzan's estate of Arkheer, comprised of roughly 4,000 ships, turned around and immediately went to warp in pursuit of Tekari.
Now with 6,700 ships under his command, Etzan entered orbit of the Miperian homeworld. With his reduced force, he was hesitant to engage the Miperian force directly, though he had a feeling he could not allow them to escape.
- "Where is Sirga?" he demanded, his mood having soured considerably.
- "Her signals read at less than twenty light years from here. She's on her way." responded one of the bridge crew.
- "How long?"
"Approximately ten minutes."
Etzan nodded, satisfied.
- "Open communications with the enemy," he ordered.
- "Channel open."
Etzan stood and spoke in his booming voice.
- "Miperians and allies, you have been beaten. You may surrender now. Power down your ships and I swear upon mine honor that your lives will be spared."
Then, he waited.
The Emperor, like any Amphibibot would, simulated just pure anger after listening to Etzan's transmission. He was about to reject the offer to surrender, but he was interrupted by an Amphibibot overseer, A-000148-M1.
- "Master, it's going to be no use to just fight against them. I've done some calculation, and due to Etzan's status on the Tarkan Empire, it would stain his honor if he were to lie. And I don't even need to make a calculus that, if we do fight them, we will lose even more than we will lose if we surrender." he warned. "It's either surrender, or lose everything." he added.
The Emperor still simulated anger, though far less than he was earlier. "Fine." he replied. The message to surrender was broadcasted to Fleets C and D, as well as Tekari and Halkon's fleets. While most Amphibibots in the fleet were disappointed on how they lost the battle and furious at the Tarkans, a few were glad, as they had executed the same calculus as 148, though still furious at the Tarkans.
Hours away, Grand Admiral Halkon watched the rapidly deteriorating situation. He had increased his fleet to 8.6, matching Tekari.
While the bulk of Tekari's fleet should be able to regroup, over 700 mostly unarmed vessels were trapped behind enemy lines along with half the Miperior and Amphibibot navies. Hopelessly outnumbered, Halkon was forced to make a difficult call.
The evacuation vessels were ordered to stand down, and he advised his allies to do the same. He hoped that Etzan would hold up his end of the bargain. In a private channel he ordered Tekari to maintain course, the fleets were too important to surrender.
Etzan nodded with satisfaction when the Miperiors' surrender came in.
- "Patch me into the fleet," he said.
- "Aye sir. The fleet can hear you."
- "Miperiors is ours!" he proclaimed with pride, his voice resounding through every loudspeaker in the Imperial Tarkan Army.
He could feel the bulkheads below him vibrate slightly as the crew of the Isaav celebrated. The bridge crew joined in, letting loose loud grunts which were disorganized at first, but quickly fell into a recognizable pattern.
Etzan's expression soured as he took his seat. The war had just started, but the Fall of Miperiors could be counted as one of his finer military accomplishments. Without honor, the victory felt empty to him, meaningless.
Sirga's fleet had a similar reaction when news reached them. They dropped out of warp to change direction before entering it again, heading for Fleet C. They broadcasted for it to drop out of warp, power down weapons and shields, and prepare to be boarded.
Etzan did the same as his formation neared Fleet D.
A hard truth Edit
From deep in the Amphibibot Collective, Halkon and Tekari were preparing for a conference with Chancellor Harenia. Though she was many light years away and Tekari was still in his ship, to Halkon they may very well all be in the same room; albeit a computer-generated one.
"Xarni, Chancellor." greeted Tekari as she arrived, using the formal Farengeto greeting for someone of her stature. Despite the attempt at a cheerful greeting, the mood remained somber and tense
Halkon briefed her on the situation. "As you already know, the Miperior Empire has fallen to the Grand Tarkan Empire. We have managed to evacuate to the Amphibibot Collective, though at a tragic cost."
Tekari continued, "There was nothing more we could have done; by the time we arrived it was already too late. With 15,000 Tarkan vessels occupying the former Miperior Empire and 10,000 more believed to be on the way, the Collective may have days, perhaps even hours, remaining."
A grim Unaria was silent for a moment before she replied.
"Then the region Is lost... Can anything be done, or is it too late for our allies?"
The truth began to truly sink in for Halkon, "I'm afraid so. We are hopelessly outnumbered and diplomacy has long since proven itself impossible. We have already ordered a full retreat. Political relations will be useless if the Tarkans destroy us. Perhaps our allies will be able to rally enough forces; if the campaigns of the Mardor and Tarkans continue according to current data, we're really going to need it..."