“My organisation and that of our Plazithian friends here, would prefer that this meeting has a hick-up, of sorts. You will all be payed substantially if the meeting is cancelled and even more so per diplomat killed.”
- - Unknown Benefactor
The Indoctrinate Collective was amongst the closest allies of the United Republic of Cyrannus and Rambo Nation prior to the establishment of the Galactic Empire of Cyrannus at the end of the Great Cyrannus War. Though the Republic Remnant maintained good relations with the Collective, the Nim-Glaré Concordat proved to be deeply unpopular with Rambo Nation becoming a protectorate of the Empire. The fact that the Rambo received no aid from the Seven Starr Alliance against the Empire during the Invasion severely soured relations between the two powers for several years. Now, Proconsul Apollo has organised a meeting between Maryah and Ramashe in the hopes of restoring positive relations. However, nefarious eyes seek to disrupt this diplomatic event...
Deep in space, several ships had docked with an unmarked cruiser in orbit over a large gas giant in the Cyrannus Galaxy. Stepping out of their craft, the Cyrannian Syndicate bounty hunters Mist and Garnossk made their way to the central chamber of the large vessel where they were soon joined by fellow bounty hunters from the Quadrant Galaxies. Lieutenant Talon of the Vengeful Claw, the dreaded Zazane known as Skato Wolrein was also present, his four arms crossed as he was followed by numbers of Claw operatives. Garnossk, a Tra'ssahk, hissed like a serpent as the new arrivals entered the chamber.
- Garnossk: "Well, what have we here? Not from around here I ssssuppose?"
- Skato': "Not really, no. I don't often hear good things about this galaxy."
- Mist: "But you guys I know from reputation. I wonder what this is about."
As soon as she spoke, a holographic image appeared of a slender woman, whose face was obscured by a hood while her voice appeared to be distorted.
- Unknown: "Welcome, welcome. I am pleased you've all decided to answer my call. I trust none of you have been followed?"
- Skato: "I assume no one here is a novice, because I most certain am not."
- Garnossk: "Hardly! I am the one who gunned down Voro Acetenusss himsself."
- Mist: "Yes and now he leads an empire, really fantastic work lizard."
The holographic woman cleared her throat.
- Unknown: "My sources inform me that Proconsul Apollo has organised a meeting between Empress Ramashe and Queen Maryah in an attempt to sooth relations between the Indoctrinate Collective and Rambo Nation. My organisation and that of our Plazithian friends here, would prefer that this meeting has a hick-up, of sorts. You will all be payed substantially if the meeting is cancelled and even more so per diplomat killed."
- Skato: "I'm above working with petty criminals. But any chance of kill the bastard empress, plus rack up some cash, is alright by me."
- Emtor: "So does the Syndicate has interesst in causing trouble between these three empires. Though I don't know ifthe lot gathered here is up for it."
- Mist: Hmph, speak for yourself. The Syndicate believes that war is always good for business, but I don't think our holographic benefactor works for them."
- Unknown: "Very astute. The meeting begins in one standard day. I have arranged passage through the Cyrannian-Quadrantia Wormhole near Cheynoslin Station, though I assure you the Empire will not hinder you. Best of luck."
The hologram disappeared, leaving the various operatives and bounty hunters alone. One by one, they began to travel back to the airlocks where their ships have been docked, keen on making sure that the mission was successful. Vezktan approached Mist while she walked away, getting her attention he pinnend her against the wall and whispered so the others did not hear.
- Vezktan: "Well. pretty lady, in for a fun little before we join this happy fun club of associated criminals?"
- Mist: "Remove your hands or I'll remove your head!"
Scowling, Mist kneed Vezktan in the groin and jumped over his head, activating her sabers and holding them to his neck. Vezktan raised one hand in surrender and gulped while the other held his groin, hissing in anger.
- Mist: "Try that again and I'll do more than kick it, scum!"
- Vezktan: "A simply no was sufficient as well, no need to get close"
- Skato: "Bahahahaha! I can tell this is gonna be an amusing trek."
The next day on the Rambo Capital, a shuttle touched down on the landing platform near the Royal Palace, where a contingent of guards had gathered to greet the new arrival. Standing in the center of the platform was Kara Inviá and Laoi Cretacea, the children of Apollo along with Ramanei Joy Feather, the newly revealed daughter of Empress Ramashe. Laoi brushed down his suit as the doors of the shuttle opened, revealing the very important visitor. Out of it came Queen Maryah of the Indoctrinate Collective, followed by multiple diplomats belonging to the Dracogonarious and Spinker races. Kara approached first, smiling as she admired the regal appearance of Maryah.
- Kara: "Welcome Maryah, it's been a long time!"
- Maryah: "My my, indeed. I have not seen you since we were mere children."
As Laoi approached, he almost tripped over his feet, hugely embarrasing the young Libertus.
- Laoi: "Laoi! I-I mean hello! You have certainly... grown. In- in a good way, I mean."
- Maryah - Hmhmhm. It's good to see you again.
- Kara: "And this is Princess Ramanei, Ramashe's daughter."
The young Serindia princess stepped forward, her arms folded in front of her, a little shy she welcomed Empress Maryah with a little bow.
- Ramanei: "I, Princess Ramanei Joy Feather bid thee welcome Empress Maryah, might thy visit to Serndianiliae be a pleasent one. I stand at thee service."
- Maryah: "Thank you, Princess Ramanei."
- Kara: "Now that's finished, let's get down to the politics, shall we? My dad and Ramashe are waiting for us in the Palace."
- Maryah: "Of course. I hope to resolve dire matters here today."
Approaching the palace entrance, the Royal Guards guariding the palace took stand, raising their spears in honoration of Empress Maryah while trumpets were heard, heralding her coming. Maryah watched the scene in curiosity, admired by the guards's discipline. Trying too hard to appear dignified in front of Maryah, Laoi accidentally walked into one of the Royal Guards, prompting Kara to place her face in her hands. Ramanei helped Laoi back to his feet, whispering if he as feeling alright.
- Kara: "I apologise for my brother. He doesn't get out much."
- Maryah: "Teehee. Well, I'm not that much better myself.
After walking down the opulent hall, the group encountered Empress Ramashe and Proconsul Apollo standing alongside each other. Apollo, who had grown to know Maryah through Mou'Cyran Accords meetings, seemed pleased to see her. Maryah proceeded to bow slightly as a sign of respect to both Ramashe and Apollo. Ramashe returned the bow and opened her arms in welcome.
- Ramashe: "Welcome to the Royal Palace of Tirithsilliana!"
- Maryah: "Thank you, Empress Ramashe. I am here today in hopes to restore the ties of the Indoctrinate Collective and Rambo Nation."
Apollo bowed his head in turn.
- Apollo: "It's lovely to see you again, your Highness."
- Maryah: "Likewise, Proconsul."
The three leaders were beckoned into a large dining room adorned with a vast array of food and drink. Apollo, Ramashe, Maryah, Laoi, Kara and Ramanei sat down for an informal lunch before the true political meeting would begin.
Ramashe raised a glass to the three leaders, welcoming them all to her palace and Rambo Nation at whole, claiming that they now stood under the guest rights of House Le Rambo. Ramashe thanked all present, and gave word to Apollo, as the Proconsul of the New Cyrannian Republic organized the meeting.
- Apollo: "Today is a great day for all of our peoples. After the unfortunate events in the aftermath of the Great War, the relations between the Rambo and the Indoctrinate Collective became strained. Today it is my hope that a new era of friendship and peace can reign between our peoples."
- Maryah: "Indeed. It was an unfortunate misunderstanding, and the Empress has my sincere apologies."
- Ramashe: "Sadly the Empire caused much misunderstanding, and perhaps the fault was with us as well as we took the decision as a slight. But we are willing to set the past aside and reopening diplomacy with the Collective. "'
- Maryah: "I'm very glad to hear so. And please do not blame yourself for it. The culprit of all this is that detestable Empire."
- Apollo: "Personally I'm inclined to agree. I for one hope for the day that the Nim-Glaré Concordat is repealed and the Cyrandia Alliance can be reborn."
- Ramashe: "We will see, but for now it places us in a dificult position, as we wish to keep neutrality and not stand between the Empire and her challenges. The concordat gave us challenges as well as benefits. But we are luckily the Empire doesn't involve itself with our foreign policies, they seem to respect that."'
- Maryah: "Many of my supreme advisors would love to declare full military hostility against the Empire, but we all know it's not that easy. Too big, too powerful."
- Kara Inviá: "The bigger the empire, the bigger the fall!"
Laoi rolled his eyes at his sister's comment.
- Laoi Cretacea: "Clearly you didn't inherit the diplomatic skills of our parents."
Ramanei giggled at Laoi's comment, just as Kara was about to retort, the room was rocked as several armed individuals burst through the windows brandishing weapons and aiming them at the gathered diplomats. A startled shout came out of Maryah as she got up from her seat, staring at the unknown individuals in fear. A chill went down her spine as she recognized the symbols on some of their armor. Alarmed, Apollo quickly gathered Laoi and Kara behind his back, though Kara appeared quite keen to fight them off. While Ramashe stood up and pointed her fingers at the intruders, Ramanei sat in shock and didn't dare to move.
- Ramashe: "Brigands? How dare you to intrude! And how did you get pass my security! Guards!"
- Mist: "Haha! Nobody can hear you, little bird! You are all now in our power!"
- Maryah: "V-Vengeful Claw..."
- Claw Soldier: "Kill the scum empress and all the others!"
Suddenly the doors leading into the palace burst upon, drenched in blood was the sickening smiling Vezktan who signaled the others the guards were taken care of. Breaking free from her father, Kara scowled.
- Kara Inviá: "You won't get away with this!"
- Maryah: "Stand down, Kara! We are defenseless here."
- Emtor: "Who are you to tell us to stand down foreigner? Y're in the Quadrants now, and right now we make the commands here!"
The Saurdoshan Hunter and Vezktan raised their weapons at their hostages, followed by Mist and Garnossk who growled like a rabid beast at Kara, who was pulled back by her father. Maryah let out an intimidated whine as she backed away, unsure of what was about to happen. She did not expect to encounter the Vengeful Claw here of all places. Suddenly Empress Ramashe stepped forward.
- Ramashe: How dare you filth enter the seat of House Le Rambo unwanted. Begone!"
The bounty hunters simply laughed, with Vezktan even rolling over the ground in sheer joy.
- Emtor: "Seriously your majesty, with all due respect I believ....."
- Ramashe: '"SILENCE!"
Suddenly Ramashe's eyes glowed bright, levatiting in the air she made a difficult arm movement, unleashing a strong whirlwind heading towards the bounty hunters. The Vengeful Claw operatives were taken by surprised and hurled backwards, while Maryah looked at Ramashe in a mix of surprise and awe, not being aware she possessed such abilities. Meanwhile, Apollo's jaw dropped as the other bounty hunters were also hurled off their feet and into a nearby wall. Emtor was the first to get back to his feet, firing a bolt of energy from his phaser Ramashe raised a shield and unleasehd torrent of lighting at him, shocking him while he yelled in agony. Gathering Laoi, Kara and Ramanei behind Ramashe's back, Apollo watched in disbelief as the bounty hunters and operatives scrambled to their feet.
Activating her sabers, Mist seemingly defied gravity as she jumped around the room toward the hostages only to be stopped in her tracks by a plate thrown by Kara, impacting against the bounty hunter's face and sending her plummeting to the ground. Meanwhile, Garnossk did not have time to raise his weapon before Ramashe struck him with another torrent of lightning.
- Maryah - "We need to get out of here!"
- Apollo: "Agreed! Kids, follow me! Kara, stop throwing cutlery, those are expensive!"
Using one of his old Presidential Pistols, Apollo carved a small hole in the elaborate door at the back of the room.
- Kara: "Oh and that door isnt?!"
- Laoi: "Shut it and get in!"
Protected by Ramashe's continued assualt on the bounty hunters and Vengeful Claw operatives, Laoi, Kara and Ramanei climbed through the hole in the door. Looking behind her, she saw her mother getting tired of using her magical powers, she looked at Apollo and Maryah. Running back to the weakened Ramashe, Apollo began firing at the assailants and though many of his shots missed their target, one stray bolt managed to hit one of the ornate and expensive chandeliers above the room, sending it crashing into the floor.
- Apollo: "I'm so sorry! I swear I'm not doing this on purpose!"
- Maryah: "A chandelier is less valuable than a life!"
While Vezktan tried to gain his footing again, Maryah ran towards the Sephirian bounty hunter and slammed him in the face with a plate, rendering the criminal unconcious before promptly running back to the hole, dodging enemy fire as she did so. With the chandelier momentarily blocking the field of vision, Apollo took hold of Ramashe's hand and darted toward the hole, firing blindly behind him as he ran.
- Saurdoshan Hunter: "Not so fast you troublesome nobles!"
Emerging from the flames was a very angry Saurdoshan Hunter, aiming his blaster at the door, where the children still tried get through.
- Saurdoshan Hunter: "Surrender, for the sake of those you love!"
Darting quickly, Apollo blocked the Hunter's view of the door and turned to face him.
- Apollo: "Surrender?"
Aiming his pistol, Apollo fired a stun bolt which impacted Saurdoshan, sending him to the floor.
- Maryah: "...How uncharacteristic."
- Kara: "He usually misses..."
- Laoi: "They aren't going to stay down for long, we need to find some royal guards to arrest these fiends!"
- Maryah: "Indeed. We need to hurry up."
The group began to run down the corridors of the Royal Palace.
- Kara: "Or we could just let my father talk them to death!"
- Apollo: "I heard that young lady!"
- Kara: "I wasn't whispering!"
Laoi ran around the corner, slamming a doop open he bumped into a heavily armored figure, both slammed to the ground hard. Getting to his feet again, the Judge Magister drew his sword and pointed it at the son of the proconsul.
- Ramgaarbath: "What maddness is this boy? This is restricted area!"
- Laoi: "We are -ugh- being chased by bounty hunters!"
- Ramanei: "It is true...Judge Magister....mother is in danger!"
- Maryah: "They're right behind us!
Behind the helmet his eyes grew large, looking at Empress Maryah for confirmation that she ackowledged he barked commands to the Royal Guard and raised the alarm.
Running at some distance behind, Apollo and Ramashe were quickly followed by the pursuing bounty hunters, who rased their weapons and fired down the hallway toward their potential prey. Darting behind the Judge Magister and the Royal Guards, Laoi and Kara watched in concern as Ramashe and Apollo dodged bolts of energy.
At the sight of the Royal Guard, well known and respected troughout the Quadrants the Saurdoshan Hunter began lacking behind, he didn't feel much to get killed by the blue birds. Vezktan was in rage and began a fist fight with one of the guards. Emtor and the Vengeful Claw kept the other guard occupied, leaving Mist and Garnossk to face the skills of the Judge Magister. Baring his teeth and hissing, Garnossk viciously engaged the Magister with his claws and teeth, while Mist managed to knock Apollo to the ground only to be blasted away by Ramashe who then collapsed to her knees due to the drainage of her use of powers. Lifting Ramashe onto his back, Apollo continued to run toward the guards.
- Apollo: "Don't strain yourself on my account, Ramashe!"
Noticing the withdrawal of the other hunters, Garnossk roared loudly and kicked away from the Magister before darting down the hallway, picking up Mist as he went. Noticing the Vengeful Claw operatives continue in their attempts to kill Maryah, Garnossk called out.
- Garnossk: "You Plazithiansss should follow if you want to keep your sssskins!"
- Vengeful Claw Operative: "Damnation. So be it."
The Quadrantian hunters agreed as well and steadily walked backwards, searching for a way out. As the bounty hunters and operatives fled, Laoi cheered loudly.
- Laoi: "That's right, run you currish tickle-brained miscreants!"
An angry Emtor turned around and fired, just before it his Laoi, Ramanei jumped in front of the young Libertus and was hit in the back, while the bullet exited in her chest, the young Serindia fell to lump to the ground, blood gushing out of the wound.
- Laoi: "Ramanei!"
- Ramgaarbath: "By the Gods! The Princess is hit!"
- Maryah: "This is so terrible... It was meant to be a peaceful visit..."
Kneeling down, Apollo applied pressure to the wound, his eyes full of tears as he looked at the young Serindia gasping for air and in agony.
- Apollo: "Stay strong my little bird..."
- Kara: "I can help her..."
Getting to her knees, Kara placed her hands over Ramanei's wound. Suddenly, the outpouring of blood disappeared back into the wound, which quickly closed up.
Apollo's eyes widened as he witnessed what was happening, while Laoi was similarly dumbstruck, his eyes still filled with tears under the impession that he was the one responsible for Ramanei's injury. Maryah appeared perplexed as she watched the scene, unaware all of them had such strange abilities. Ramashe fell to her knees, tears flowing over her cheeks, the Serindia Empress was hyper ventilating at the sight of her dying daughter. Judge Magister Ramgaarbath remained silent, though breathed heavily when he placed his hands at the shoulders of Ramashe. Though all fell silent at Kara's actions.
- Maryah: "...How are you doing this? How did... since when are you all supernaturals?"
- Apollo: "Kara?"
Looking up, Kara turned to face Apollo and Maryah.
- Kara: "I'm no supernatural... I-I just knew I could help her."
- Maryah: "Both you and the Empress. I wasn't aware you had... powers."
- Apollo: "I knew Ramashe developed powers after her X-452 treatment, but Kara? This is new to me. Is everyone alright?"
Ramashe cradled her child within her arms, smiling at the others she held out her hand to Kara which was soon followed by a tender embrace of gratitude. Ramanei was still a bit shocked, though the Judge Magister cradled the young princess in his arms.
- Ramashe: "Dear Maryah, House Le Rambo always had mages amongst us, I learned from a young age but always was told never to use them and keep it a secret. In ancient days, there were many references to magical powers used by the Serindia, though somehow lately since the Rise of the Galactic Empire more magic has been seen within the Quadrants at whole."
- Maryah: "Magic?... Interesting. Perhaps once all of this is done, we could discuss about it. But for now, our security is more important."
- Apollo: "Judge Magister, we need to get somewhere safe and the Palace must be locked down, we cannot allow these criminals to escape."
The Judge Magister nodded, informing them they could continue their meeting in the heavily guarded throne room. However, despite their best efforts, the criminals which assaulted their earlier meeting had seemingly vanished into thin air. Once they arrived in the throne room, Ramashe and Maryah sat down to discuss what they had set out to do previously while Apollo brought Kara, Laoi and Ramanei to a secure location where doctors could study Ramanei's injuries and potentially even the mysterious method which Kara used to heal her. By the time Apollo returned to the throne room, the meeting had almost ended.
- Apollo: "I trust that was a productive meeting?"
- Maryah: "Disregarding the attack, yes it was. I must apologize, for they were obviously lured here by my presence."
- Apollo: "Diplomacy should always triumph. Petty crooks aren't going to stop that."
- Ramashe: "It is great to see that even in dire times friendships can be renewed and heroes of the Light come forth, no matter their age."
- Maryah: "It was a pleasure speaking to you in person, Empress. Now I must return to New Draka."
- Apollo: "Despite the attack, it was good to see you again, your Majesty. I hope to see you at the next meeting of the Accords! Hopefully with less bounty hunters, of course."
- Maryah: "Likewise. Take care, all of you."
Maryah made a slight bow as she turned back and made her way out. However, before she could leave their view, something appeared in front of the hybrid empress: Gorf, who looked at her with a curious expression.
- Gorf: "Hmmmmm. Another time, another existence... you and Gorf were close. Gorf can feel it in his bones."
- Maryah: "...Who are you?"
- Gorf: "Hm. Clearly not this one. Goodbye. Off you go."
Maryah shrugged as she continued making her leave, while Gorf bit on a piece of wood he was carrying. Back in the throne room, Apollo turned to Ramashe with a concerned expression on his face.
- Apollo: "I'm glad relations have been re-established, but how are you doing? You've been through a lot today."
Ramashe looked down at her feet, with slight smile she told she was tired but was happy the meeting resulted in something good. Suddenly her expression turned darker and she looked Apollo directly in the eyes.
- Ramashe: "I saw something else as well when I was unresponsive, I saw our galaxy burn."
Returning to the ship they started out on, the bounty hunters and the Vengeful Claw operatives looked around for the individual responsible for sending them out on the mission. Suddenly, the hologram appeared in the same place it had before, this time revealing a particularly annoyed individual.
- Unknown: "You all have failed."
- Vengeful Claw Operative: "The fault is entirely on the person who organized this attack. They were not even capable of warning us we would face supernatural resistance. Now Lieutenant Talon will have our heads."
- Mist: "Exactly, the fault is on you alone. Now if you excuse me, the lizard and I are returning to Tar Kuuraen for bounties which don't involve psychotic supernaturals."
- Unknown: "As you wish, and yet both Maryah and Apollo have no such powers and they live."
- Vengeful Claw Operative: "They may not do, but the Rambo empress does. And so does another Libertus female who was present at the time. I've seen her close the wounds of a Rambo girl in a matter of seconds."
- Garnossk: "As if by magic!"
The unknown figure scoffed.
- Unknown: "Magic is just a word used by the ignorant to describe things they don't understand. Now, leave."
- Vengeful Claw Operative: "Brezank should have devoured you all."
The Vengeful Claw operatives signalled to each other as they left the room. Garnossk, Mist and the Quadrantia Hunters soon followed. Meanwhile, thousands of light years away, the hooded figure stood into the light, revealing herself to be Imperial Intelligence Agent Agrehele. The blue-skinned humanoid narrowed her eyes as she watched the Vengeful Claw operatives and the bounty hunters leave the abandoned ship. Her superiors would be disappointed that the New Republic had scored a diplomatic victory, resulting in an empire with noted anti-Imperial intentions being in the good graces of Rambo Nation. Next time she thought, things would be different.