Elder vessel Rancour - Durkas system - Tempestas Rim

The Durkas system was home to three planets that orbited Red Dwarf sun in eccentric elliptic orbits.
The largest of the three worlds, Bitol III, is a large terrestrial world, rich in iron silicates and with vast deposits of stable transuranic elements. Dense jungles of tall, orange stalks cover much of its surface dotted by sprawling red bog to the south. The planet's north hemisphere is almost completely covered with vast icy plains. Several colonies dot its surface, mainly dedicated to industrial mining and refineries of heavy elements.

Its ocean depths are home to scaly scuttling creatures that serve as the main food staple for the system inhabitants and the main source of income for the colonies located around the planet's equator.

Huge electromagnetic storms over its ocean serve to power most communities and serve to keep the vast number of toxic microbes in its atmosphere from multiplying beyond manageable numbers and devastating it's the fragile ecosystem. A network of tunnels extends under much of the surface and most colonies tend to spring underground.

The Elder vessel Rancour was in high orbit above the planet. Many of its non essential crews were enjoying some time away on some of the planet's colonies. The new leaders of The Armada knew that after a decade long war many needed to enjoy some time away, something that was not very common. Others were away across the other worlds in the system, while others still were transporting essential elements from the world below to the fleet.

Black Finger Lodge adepts were busy performing routine maintenance and essential repairs and upgrades across the flotilla vessels. A fleet wide R&R had been declared. It was planned to be weeks long and everyone would rotate into some form of rest in the coming weeks.

In the war room of the Rancour vessel, Nomad sat listening to Delta Cade. He had invited Lilith along to the meeting. Cade had rejoined The Armada a few days ago after a fifteen year absence.

"I still don't understand why you don't put the call out yourself." Delta told him. "We would be flooded with volunteers."

Nomad grunted. "I told you why. If I put the call out myself, most of the volunteers will be bloodthirsty brethren looking to pit themselves against my achievements. We need pathfinders. We want to restore the Archangels to what they were always meant to. An elite vanguard. Not a death squad."

Cade rolled his eyes. "Says the man with thousand of lives marked across his body."

Lilith smiled looking at Nomad. She liked Cade already. But he seemed to be struggling under the weight of what Nomad was asking of him.

"Look Cade, ever since anyone could remember, there were always other Archangels to show the new recruits the way. What we stood for. What our mission was for The Armada. Every year anyone could try and join the ranks by taking the trials." he paused flexing his hands. He was getting restless.
"I don't think that is a priority yet. We might reinstate the trials in time. Traditions still mean a lot in the Armada but for now I want you to put a core team together. Hand picked by you. "

Lilith could see the other man was not totally sold on the proposition.

"Nomad told me about you. How you left the Armada when others like him could not see the path the Bloodborn Elders were taking the flotilla. How they slowly turning you into cannon fodder in their pursuit of the ultimate prize." she looked at Nomad and placed a hand over his trying to calm him down. She could see he was getting agitated. He was not a man bred for periods of inactivity.
"That is what he is asking you to do. To use that way of thinking to ensure the new generation are not simply sociopaths and murderers but that they hold to the true values of The Armada."

"We still have want them to be the meanest, deadliest fuckers in the flotilla just not some mindless butchers. Those have their place in The Armada just not in the Archangels." Nomad tried to complement Lilith's answer.

"Great. Basically pirates but with honour. Tough and deadly but not butchers. The best of the fleet but not prone to genocide. Anything else? Do they have to be good bakers and recite poetry as well? Cade said in exasperating sarcasm. "Where the hell am I going to find those? I've been away almost half my life Nomad. The flotilla is a completely beast. "

Nomad stood up. "I know its not an easy task Cade, but I know you are the right man to the job. You stayed true to the old ways better than most." he looked down at Lilith and at her lithe body pressing against the shape of her black and dark green exosuit. He wished they were alone so he could run his fingers through her wild curly locks, kiss her and feel her naked body against his.

"That is why I already have the first person lined up to join you. To help you in your task." he said looking at Cade and Lilith.

It took the former Ether Fox a few heartbeats to realise what Nomad meant. She could not keep the shock from her face.
"Me? Are you mad? I am not going to be an Archangel." she protested.

Nomad smiled looking at them both. "The Archangels are no more. They served their purpose." he placed his hands behind his back and started to pace. "Anyone that we recruit will always be judge against impossible standards. What we want id a fresh start."

He looked at Lilith. He knew he would have to talk her into it but he was sure he could do it. She was not too happy he had not discussed these matters with him before. But he liked when she was mad at him. She was one feisty woman.

And he looked at Cade, seeing a sliver of thanks in his face that he no longer had to face this monumental task alone.

"No. The Archangels are no more. They are part of our lore now." he continued. "You two are the first of The Spectres..."

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