Expanding Interests, Part III

Galactic East Quadrant
Open Space//AT-566 Star System
Date - o1.455

The Republic Eminence had been in space for several days now. The trip from the Republic Core to the frontier took a single day, bouncing around the subspace highways. From there, it was another day to the nearest Warp Lane.

Traveling to the meeting point by the ancient Warp Lane would take about three days, but that was a far better arrival date than the weeks it would take using traditional methods. The Warp Lanes, despite the dangers they posed, were the sole reason the galaxy was so well connected and accessible.

The Republic Eminence, a stately envoy cruiser, was equipped with the means to both survive a passage in the lanes, and navigate them. For the most part, as long as a starship had solid enough shielding and powerful enough engines, they could utilize the lanes for easy travel, though a means of navigating them was necessary to actually ascertain one's location in the lanes.

Within the sleek government cruiser, the Ambassador prepared for his upcoming meeting. He reviewed his predecessor's notes on the Ignis Clans and the data that the Republic Ministry of Intelligence had gathered, as well as the various reports from the merchant captains that dealt with them.
He felt he had enough data to effectively renegotiate the terms of the trade agreement, though once that was done he would have to test the waters for additional agreements. By and large, the Republic was open to having new partners in the East Quadrant of the galaxy, having few contacts in that region aside from the United Trade League.

As he overlooked his notes again, the Ambassador also listened in to the flight crew's conversation on the intercom.

"Adjust the approach, and make sure that auto-decelerate is armed"
"How are we looking on shield stress?"
"Uhh....2.3 and holding"
"Good, get ready for exit. Additional power to shields and engines please, gentlemen"

It sounded like they were about to arrive.
The Ambassador, a tall, sleek, and well dressed insectoid, stood from his desk and donned an ornate overcoat, along with a sash bearing the Republic's diamond sigil and colors (a common accessory of the Republic's diplomats).
He exited his office and casually made his way towards the bridge through the quiet corridor.
Envoy ships like the Republic Eminence were a stark departure from the military vessels used in the Grand Armada, being decorated akin to a staryacht, rather than possessing the utilitarian designs and cold, barren aesthetic of a warship.
The Eminence possessed wood-paneled walls, a carpeted floor, and various displays that presented Republic artworks in an ongoing slideshow.
The bridge, while not wood paneled or carpeted, was still a far cry from the utilitarian command centers of the Armada's warships.
Only five crew worked the bridge, the pilot, navigator, bridge engineer, captain, and an officer of the Executive Security Bureau (the agency responsible for protecting government officials).

The Ambassador passed through the bulkhead door and took a place next to the Captain. The older Almari had flown the Ambassador on countless voyages in the past, and was probably the closest the Ambassador had to a work-friend.
The aged reptile cocked his head slightly and nodded to the Ambassador.

"About there sir, computer says we're about a minute out" the Captain said.

"Panic button is set" the ESB officer called from a nearby control station, "The 9th Akron Armada is a call away if we run into trouble, just fire off the emergency beacon and they'll send a squadron over"

"Good, though I'm hoping matters will remain amicable. With the state of affairs right now, we need more allies, not enemies." the Ambassador replied, earnestly hoping that the meeting would go off without a hitch.

Outside the main viewport, a massive dark blue tunnel of energy stretched out into the horizon. The interior of the Warp Lane stretched on for what seemed like eternity, being both an awe inspiring sight...and a rather boring one.

"We're on final approach, ready to exit the warp lane" the pilot said, pressing several commands on his holo-controls. "Let's bring her out"

The navigator, from the co-pilot's station beside the pilot, entered several commands as well. The shield bubble outside the ship flickered as the ship began an ejection maneuver, blasting its engines towards the "walls" of the Warp Lane to re-enter realspace. The ship shook, causing the Ambassador to lose his footing. He braced himself on the Navigator's seat.

"Ejection in 3...2..." the ship shuddered, a bright flash outside the ship gave way to a starry backdrop and the sight of a nearby gas giant. Before the crew could get their bearings, they were greeted by a confusing mass of ships engaged in a firefight.

"Shit-General Quarters, seal all compartments!" the Captain barked, hitting several buttons on the overhead panel.

Red alert lights flashed from behind as the entrances to the bridge were sealed by pressure doors. Alarms blared throughout the ship as all compartments were sealed off, all airlocks were sealed and depressurized, and the power was diverted from non-essential systems.

"Get those shields up and prepare countermeasures, who the hell are these people?!" the Captain barked over the commotion.

"Scanners say it's Ignis warships..." the Pilot replied, taking over from the ship's AI and steering the ship down towards the gas giant, hoping to take the Republic Eminence into the giant's gravity well to distort its radar signature.

"What are they doing!?" the Ambassador said, clutching the seat as the ship pitched down.

"I don't know but I'm calling the 9th!" the Captain said, activating the ship's emergency beacon.
The beacon, which had previously been linked to the 9th Akron Armada, sent out an automated distress signal. The signal pinged off of the 9th Armada, which was several systems away (having adjusted their patrol to be close to the meeting site just in case the Ambassador needed them). The Armada pinged them back, sending a text transmission.


As the battle raged, it became apparent that the assailants were more concerned with each other than the Republic Eminence.

"They're ignoring us or haven't noticed us, all stop. Lets hold here" the Captain said.

The ship came to a halt, firing maneuvering thrusters to stop its drift.

The Ambassador observed the carnage above them, "Is there a Coup? Did we warp into a fleet exercise?"

"That's live ammo, and those wrecks look pretty convincing to me. I'd love to know what the hell happened. Either way, I hope the 9th sent enough ships"

Finally, the battle seemed to halt. The perplexed crew stared up towards the warships above them.

The holo-controls at the front of the ship flashed, indicating an incoming hail.
"Incoming hail, Captain, Ambassador"

"Go ahead" the Ambassador replied.

The Navigator opened the channel.

“To our trading partners in the Republic; our embassadorial vessel was intercepted by a pirate fleet. Our First and Second warfleets responded swiftly, and the remaining pirates fled after being beaten in battle. Do not be alarmed by the military presence here. It is a precaution since this area is a hot zone with high diplomatic clearance. Additionally, our 8th Fleet has gone completely rogue after their admiral refused to be relieved of his duty. We decimated them here today, but their remaining ships present a threat to our trade. That is all for now, proceed as planned.”

The Captain looked to the Ambassador, "Well, attempted coup I guess?"

The Ambassador breathed a sigh of relief, "Right, I suppose it's under control then?"

"Regardless, sir, I'd prefer if we kept the 9th nearby. This tub doesn't have weapons and an emergency FTL out here would land us in a no-mans-land where we'd likely get taken out by pirates" the ESB officer replied.

The Ambassador, winded from the excitement, rubbed his forehead, "Yes, well...uh...have them hold at the edge of the system. I'll have their ambassador meet us halfway between their ships and ours. Let the 9th know what happened...please"

"Yessir" the officer replied, turning back to his console.

Roughly two minutes later, a squadron from the 9th Akron Armada warped in. The flashes from their entrance visible at the edge of the solar system. The warships came to a rest, with the lead vessel immediately opening a channel with the Eminence.

"This is Commodore Ampek of the 2nd Squadron, 9th Akron Armada. Republic Eminence, do you read?"

The Captain tapped his earpiece, "Yes Commodore, we hear you, this is Captain Adropov of the Republic Eminence. We're alright, just a little shaken. Hold at the edge of the system per the Ambassador's orders, we'll let you know if we need help. This is a diplomatic meeting so keep weapons powered down and maintain your distance, please"

"Of course, we'll put on our best manners. Commodore Ampek out"

The Republic's warships held their position, keeping their weapons powered down and targeting scanners off.

The Ambassador was unnerved by the experience, and the fact that a Republic Squadron was now present at what was supposed to be a diplomatic meeting. He hoped the Ignis would understand their skepticism and desire to protect what was ostensibly a civilian vessel.
The Ambassador also turned to an earlier conversation with a Bureau chief about an ESB escort; while ESB ships weren't nearly as powerful as warships, they were formidable enough to buy time to escape. He had turned down an ESB escort for fear of appearing aggressive towards the Ignis Ambassador...and now here he was flanked by warships.

The meeting was not off to a good start, and the veteran Ambassador was hoping he could salvage it and reach a productive end. It would not bode well for the Republic to lose a potential partner, nor would the Ambassador's career fare well if he failed today.


"This is Senior Ambassador Kosseieh aboard the envoy vessel Republic Eminence, we're pleased the situation was resolved. However, you will have to understand our concern for our own safety. The Squadron on the edge of the system is a component of a Republic Armada patrolling trade routes along the East Travel Lanes that responded to our distress signal when we warped into the battle. They will remain on the edge of the system and depart with us once our meeting has concluded. They present no threat to any of your warfleets and will act as a deterrent against aggression from outsiders, and will assist should we fall under additional attack. A rogue warfleet is a matter of state security and I would like to discuss this matter once our trade talks have concluded. I am ordering my vessel to high orbit of this system's gas giant and have cleared a hanger bay for your arrival. We may hold the meeting aboard my vessel, which has been prepared ahead of time. I look forward to meeting your envoy, Kosseieh out"

The Republic Eminence parked in high orbit, the crew aboard making final preparations to receive the ambassador.


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