Stealth Systems Operational
The call had gone out, and a coded message from the agent dispatched to accompany the Deputy Grandmaster had shown up in the Director of Intelligence’s inbox scant hours before. Now, a cadre of Arconans were making landfall on the moon of Thillon as the system-wide alerts broadcasted over the vessel’s intercoms on repeat. The Brotherhood had staged an attack, or so the panicked voices were claiming. The alert they’d received from Violet D’slan suggested that Evant himself had no knowledge of the attack.
“So either it’s tha Collective, or Mav is playin’ a strange bloody game,” muttered Kordath Bleu, staring resolutely at the assembled Shadesworn in the hold. If anyone had heard his thoughts over the shaking of the transport as it shuddered through the atmosphere, they didn’t show it.
Arcona hadn’t been idle in the months since helping take down Meridian Station, their Odanite allies snatching the artifact from their grasp by mere minutes. The Arconan Expeditionary Fleet had been actively raiding Capital Enterprise shipping lanes, among whatever Collective assets they could find. And the Severian Principate had been getting louder and louder, just down the hyperlanes from their home in the Dajorra system on the outer edge of the Maw. Kordath and the Dajorra Intelligence Agency didn’t quite know what the Collective was up to in the Lyra system, but they were confident in the intel they had on the moon of Thillon.
“Oi!” he shouted at the crowded group of Arconans. The Bleusmobile was made to hold a fair number of folks, but even this was feeling crowded. “I know this was a volunteer gig and all, but we, uh, did kinda leave in a hurry.”
As the Shadesworn settled down they looked at him with a mixture of apprehension, disdain, and barely restrained glee at the prospect of causing mayhem.
“Right. So. We’re goin’ ta this moon, yeah? Uhh, ya know it doesn’t seem to have a proper name, so just call it Moon, alright? Sometime back, they found a load of them fancy kyber crystals there, and tha Collective,” he paused to let some people make rude noises, “well, they muscled in on tha folks mining. We found out about that when we was lookin’ at the Principals for trad—”
“Principate,” interrupted the red-haired woman standing to his side.
“Right, that’s what I said, yeah? Anyway,” he continued, ignoring Lucine’s eye roll, “lil’ bird up in tha Inquis…inq…tha bloody spies o’ tha Council asked us ta hold off on screwin’ with ‘em. Well, now it looks like someone is makin’ it look like we, or tha Iron Navy anyway,” he waved a hand dismissively, “is attackin’ things in the system. While Evant is havin’ diplomatic talks and all.”
“Also, our agent Violet may be in danger,” spoke Lucine, causing Kordath to look at her in confusion. “The young woman we sent as our representative? Mousey, quiet? Always covered in ink?”
The Consul shrugged, drawing a sigh of exasperation from the woman.
“Can I finish? Right, so, tha Collective, they’re thievin’ these crystals. People tell me they might be able ta make a bloody big laser out of it, planet crackin’ size. Then, it’s pretty much game over, eh? Unless they left some really obvious flaw in it, like forgettin’ ta make sure all tha vital bits was properly armored. But really, who’d do somethin’ that dumb? Uhh, sorry, off-track there.”
He shuffled his feet and looked at his people again. His. People. That thought always bothered him, especially when they were off to cause mischief.
“We also thinks they got some big brain types,” he nodded towards the slender Chiss, Rhylance, “around as well. So we need ta, uhh, take those home with us, or make sure they don’t go home. If they do nae make it out, we oughta steal their data at least. Uhh, what else was there,” the Ryn paused, rubbing the side of his chitin nose, until Lucine murmured something next to him.
“Ah, right! They got some ships full of crystal already, loaded up and ready ta go. Those can nae get ta tha Collective, obviously. So uhh, me, Zuj,” he nodded and grinned at the half-Ryn sitting near the front, “along with uhh,” his eyes tracked the crowd, “Tali, and you, Grot. We’re either gonna make them ships disappear quiet-like or loud-like, eh? The landin’ pads for ‘em are somewhere on tha west side o’ tha excavation site. Lucine and Rhylance will be headin’ up two other, uh, operations. Oh, and, uhh,” he caught the smirk on the lady half of the resident Tameike twins, “Satsi will be headin’ up a team ta deal with tha Collective presence. Direct-like. Just uh, remember, they have upwards ta a whole bleedin’ battalion down there, with uhh, like, mechanized stuff, so be careful."
He paused, looking out over the myriad of faces. He hoped they’d all be making the trip home too.
“Now, uh, we’re meant ta be doin’ this sorta quiet like, but considerin’ tha whole system thinks its under attack by tha Brotherhood…eh, do what ya gotta do.” He shrugged and stepped aside to allow Lucine to take center stage.