Will post shortly
Pushing her Ninjan Sister further into the alleyway, she again pressed her hands over the woman's mouth before prompting her to keep quiet with her index finger.
"Take this transponder, find my ship. Return to the Ninjan Empire. I can't bear to see one of my own living like this. I will not be returning" She said shooing her sister away.
Right before she took another step, her head begins to hurt. Pressing both of her hands on her forehead, she tried her hardest to keep the foreign mind out; but he came through anyway.
"L-Leonel..." She gasps a bit shocked that he'd return to her portion of space after so many years.
"No! you idiot, they don't know I'm here!" She responded back; she then felt it. The terrible power that only a being that bathed in the heart of stars could produce.
"You...FOOL!." Maddie hissed in contempt. "I was in no immediate danger here, you will have just made it impossible for me to leave this planet. The Talmut's will investigate this...and if either of us is caught...well you know what happened last time."
The Queen of Ninjeta's power changed over time, she now had new and unique abilities. Abilities that made her formidable even amongst the strongest of foes. "Someone else is coming," She said out loud.
He could hear it. Amidst the violent cry of water and air being torn apart by a storm of energy that'd left it red and flaring, the Prince of Power caught the echo of Madison's barking in his mind. So as the water boiled underneath him, and the hot vapor climbed higher in the air, Leonel couldn't help but grin at what'd been left of the Talmut fleet - nothing. Glad to see the fire's still burning hot in you. But you need to relax, Leonel answered, his thoughts reaching out to her, his cape sweeping to the side as he turned and soared into the distance. I'm not going to say I know what I'm doing... but I know what I'm doing. Look, the Talmut were going to find you sooner or later and you don't have the firepower to hold them off. Not here, not in their own backyard.
I can't either. But I can delay them. Buy you some time to find the power source you're searching for. Because while they may not have known you were here, I'm sure they were looking into those rumors about a mysterious power source. But now? Now, he paused, flying low till the field of energy round him parted the sea below, They're focused on me. Worried about the unidentified object that just took out part of their fleet. They're going to throw a lot of their resources at me, and devote none to following up on the rumors of this mysterious power source. At least for now. So go, find it while I take a couple missiles for you and - his thoughts stopped and his brow scowled. "Someone's coming here", he murmured before slowing to a stop. Hovering in midair, his cape flowing like an ocean breeze while arms that could shatter moons hung at his sides, Leonel waited. His senses had warned him - had felt a reservoir of negative energy coming his way.
And though the ship screeching through the air eluded even his ear, it's pilot.. the energy coursing through her veins, the infrared radiation flowing out her body, were caught by his greater senses.
The ship's sensors were screaming. Something not particularly large but obscenely powerful and fast had appeared in the planet's orbit. She briefly thought it might be her target, but...no. It was too obvious. This wasn't someone or something trying to lay low; this was an obvious bid for attention. A distraction. One that the Talmut seemed all too eager to engage. The Ancient One's assassin cracked a cruel smile as she beheld the fate that enveloped the pursuers. Quite a distraction indeed.
Well then, nowhere was it written that a distraction need only benefit one party. As the Talmut made a valiant but futile effort to engage their intruder, another quietly slipped into the atmosphere in her cloaked vessel. She landed it in a remote area, keeping it fully invisible and the engine primed to allow for a swift departure. Disembarking, she shrouded her own body in the negative energy that she had mastered, wrapping herself in a shroud that reflected no light at all, and rendered her effectively invisible, herself.
She shot into the air, streaking towards major population centers, reaching out with her telepathy in wide-area scanning of surface thoughts. She did know the Ninjeta Queen's mind well enough to be able to identify it, but there were certain characteristics, certain energies that she would seek, like a hound on the scent of a wounded beast. The locals would feel comfortable, confident. Warriors would be wary and proud, slaves beaten down and obedient. But an exiled queen was likely to have mind that was sharp, determined, and yet cautious and even furtive.
She would fly across the entire planet if she needed to, until she found a pattern worth investigating. The Daughter of Nordok did not fail.
"HA!" she hissed arrogantly at the notion that she needed his help. She prepared to send another statement this way, but she knew he'd only mock her. "Very well, I shall find the information I seek; but I hope you have a ride off this rock."
"Pssst!" someone called out immediately drawing Madison's attention from the terrible negative energy hovering in the atmosphere to a lowly older Talmut peddler.
"I hear you're in search of Rataj" The man said. The actual name of the Talmut homeworld was a mystery to Madison, but she played along to find out as much as she could.
"I am. What of it?"
The elderly Talmut moved closer before removing a holodisk with various maps on them; maps dated back a couple of years ago. Her eyes wince at some of the star clusters, there were systems on this map that didn't exist on her new map.
"So that's how they did it" Madison bent down to examine the specifics of the Star Chart, unknown to him that her SBA allowed her to memorize just detail of the map...she didn't necessarily need it to continue on.
"No thank you peddler, I will not be needing your map." She dismissed taking one more glance at the vast space between Johoto and Rataj; something peculiar. On her new map, there was a world place in the space before Rataj, one that was absent on the old one.
"I bet what I'm looking for is in this area..." before she could relay her findings to the former Azure Son, the newcomer with the negative energy seemingly bore down on her too fast, she had to prepare to fight.
Those thought-patterns could only come from the mind of a ruler.
Baerda circled several times, keeping her form cloaked as she zeroed in on the individual she felt the strong waves of mental energy emanating from. Once she had narrowed it down to a few individuals she dropped both her invisibility and her flight, landing on the ground mere feet from Madison, with enough force that any nearby would feel the impact. She rose to her feet slowly, her duranium spear held almost carelessly over her shoulder as her gaze swept over the bystanders, before coming to rest on the exiled queen.
"Highness," she said, with a perfunctory nod of her head. "Your escort has arrived."
The Woman from Another World
In the aftermath of the Ninjan-Talmut War the final loose-ends for Ninjan reconstruction were complete, The journey was filled with victories and defeats. Inside the Ninjan Political Spectrum a "Glorious Revolution" occurred the Ninjan Noble and Sigma Class succeeded in peacefully overthrowing the Ninjan Royal Class.
This turned the Ninjan Monarchy into a Representative Democracy, giving the Celeste Class a voting voice. To ensure this delicate system worked in it's infancy, the Ninjan Government elected Addison as it's Interim ruler, until a more suitable candidate could be determined.
This cause a considerable about of problems within the Society, because while she'd been the def facto leader for a while, now she was being called "The Ruler" and people within the society were having problems being ruled by a Non-Ninjan. Addison was by technicality a Ninjan, but not of this universe; she was only a Ninjan by appearance however her exterior was something far more advance then most civilizations could fathom. Besides, they also didn't like that she was orange and everyone else was Green.
They'd get over it, the "Madison Trials" officially ended which was the most significant defeat of the Ninjan rebirth. The official verdict was exile, however since Madison didn't stay to be honorably tried the ruling for desertion was death. A blow that hit Addison hard.
The transition from "Acting" ruler to Real ruler immediately felt on Xiox and on the Omega Space Station? because of her longevity with the Ninjans she was the most respected leader within the OSA. She'd manage to usher in a different feel from Madison time frame, the atmosphere of peace.
Walking through the hyper-dimensional halls of Augusta's Hypercube, the Prince of Power felt his mind pull back to thoughts of the Abyssal Imperium, of the war to come against the Ancient One, and finally - to Addison. It was strange. He and Addison were close. Or at least, they had been - in the past. She was his partner in Reality-M, a warrior with whom he'd braved the war that had made a graveyard of their home universe. In their home universe, he'd saved her from his parents' death camp, and together they fought the good fight - butall for naught. Reality-M was dead. So as he walked the Hypercube's halls, Leonel wondered. Was that why he gravitated more towards Addison's nU counterpart, Madison? Because Addison was a living reminder of his failures in Reality-M?
Stepping into the hyper-spatial bulk beyond - a cosmic ocean of which normal space-time was only a puddle - Leonel shut his eyes and waited. For years the sight of Addison frustrated his mind and drew the worst of his memories. Her emerald eyes reminded him of greed. Of the greed for strength and skill he'd needed to save Reality-M but lacked then. Her fiery hair reminded him of the Roman passion to win a war no matter how dire the chances. A passion he had lacked during the war. And her orange skin reminded him of the warmth - the life - that Reality-M will never again know. And it wasn't fair to her. But as hyperspace dragged him light years across the universe in seconds, the Prince of Power had long come to terms with those demons. He'd grown, was different now. And he needed Addison to destroy an enemy that had not only wronged him - but threatened the cosmos just as his parents had Reality-M.
And that lit the warrior's fire in him. He wanted to test himself against the strong. See if he'd grown enough as a warrior to do what he'd failed to in Reality-M. It was his and Addison's chance to right a wrong by saving this universe in place of the one they'd failed. And for him to make things right with Addison. So there he floated, his white cape suspended behind him, and starlight glimmering on his battlesuit's armor as he gazed upon the Magnum Opus station. Arms at his sides, chin high and his posture strong and proud, Leonel descended from the starry cosmos till his boots touched the metal of the landing bay and he strode inside to meet the Ninjan queen, Addison. To all guards and servants around, the Prince of Power's voice flowed like thunder - commanding and ought to be listened to. "Tell your queen that I'm here. She and I are overdue a conversation". Was he in any position to make demands? He didn't believe so. But he didn't care. Leonel had lived the past year as a gladiator king, a liberator of galactic gladiator imprisoned on Planet Nero by Eteldan slavers. His respect for authority for authority's sake, no longer existed. He wanted what he wanted, and that was to speak with Addison, not earn the respect of her people.
It was beautiful, the peace. It was like a dream she'd finally attained. In M, Addison's Ninjans were the first to fall to The Champions onslaught of the cosmos, taken out before the could ever really mobilize. She was born into captivity, and could only see the world from the perspective of a survivor. Now, here she didn't have to.
The battle between Shayla and Thee Champion that transpired seemingly forever ago wiped out OSA Leadership save for Addison, making her the most senior council member in the OSA because of this she had a stake in many of the other Non-Ninjan races government as well.
The biggest win was getting them to agree to allow the "Cortega Force" (I really need to update them) to serve as the protectors of the Space station, which allowed them to use their individual militaries for the protection of their origin worlds.
One of her good friends Emerald Drake currently commanded the OSA division of the the CF, at the current moment she was calling the Ninjan Queen from her daily meeting on Xiox summoning her to the space-station.
About 7 minutes after being summoned the newly dubbed Ninjan Ruler appeared before both Drake and who she could only assume was Leo.
There was something different about him, it was obvious. He was still the same Leo that saved her from his father's death camps back in "M" but...now he stood with a certain arrogance--One that wasn't appreciated by the OSA guards.
"Because you never come to check on me...I'm just going to ask. What do you want?" Her voice was low, those standing idle could tell there was some sort of history, but would never be able to guess the depth.
Leonel had been one of her good friends, but ever since their trip from M, she rarely saw him--only saw him when he needed a favor. It was apparent he favored her predecessor and nU counterpart-Madison, today would be no cake walk. He was going to respect her right to rule. These people had been more family to her then he'd ever been.
Strong arms folded before his chest, white cape hanging from his armored shoulder plates like a warrior-king's surcoat, Leonel awaited Addison with his chin high and his air regal. Like Addison, he was a monarch. While she sat as the queen of her people, the Ninjans, Leonel ruled battlefields across the stars - he was a king of Andromeda's gladiators. So he waited, regarding with contempt the glares and frowns sent his way by OSA guards. He didn't care. They didn't matter. Only Addison did. And there, amid stares and silent judgment he gave no credence to, the Prince of Power caught sight of a familiar thermal whisper in the air - Addison's body heat. Stepping forward with no regard for those around him, Leonel's eyes looked ahead to where Addison'd emerge.
And finally, the Lion of Andromeda met eyes with the Ninjan Queen. 'Her eyes are still as green as ever', he thought before catching the low echo of her voice - the hurt in her words, 'She hates me. She has every reason to. I've treated her poorly'. And he truly had. It'd been the elephant in the room between them. His neglect of their friendship, his neglect of her, and his preference for Madison - a stranger compared to Addison, to everything he'd been through with her. And yet, he and Madison had been closer, and almost more than friends once, while he and Addison became strangers to one another. All because for what seemed like an eternity, Addison had been - in his eyes - a reminder of his failures, his weakness. No more. "To mend things with you", Leonel answered, his voice, posture and gaze held strong by a warrior's cold confidence, and a genuineness he hadn't spoken to Addison with in years. "In private, Addison", he pressed, passing his gaze over the OSA guards and all others around them.
"I've changed. And so have you. It's time we address everything. I'll no longer take dishonest harmony - us not addressing what should be addressed, in other words - anymore. If we need honest conflict to get to an understanding, then so be it. We'll be better for it. This isn't something we can avoid talking about any longer", he insisted, boldly stepping closer till he was no less than two feet from the Ninjan Queen. He held her gaze, his eyes never shying away from hers, and his presence there to be felt by her. "There's a better place for this conversation to be had, Addison. Unless you intend for your guards to be a part of our reunion", he teased, a calm small breaking through to remind them both of what had once been between the two of them - and what could be should they mend things. Because if they didn't, there would soon be nothing to mend. The Abyssal Imperium's shadow looms near..
The Last "M" Ninjan chuckled arrogantly, even as he boldly approached her location she chuckled. Her index finger extended motioning for him to move no more. Oh how she wanted to send a fist across his jaw, how he arrogantly strolled into her domain demanding things.
The thought of it all infuriated her, and this used to be one of her close friends. Her eyes flickered back and forth between regular humanoid eyes her extra-terrestrial full emerald slits. Her normally calm and mannered hair begin to sizzle causing small embers to cackle in the air.
She was the Queen, The Ninjans were a proud warrior race; everything from this moment would indicate how they saw her.
"That's far enough. Outsider." She finally said with her index finger still extended.
"You speak as if we're familiar. I don't know who you are." The New Queen of Ninjans purposely took an exaggerated step backwards, her brow furrowed, face slowly wrinkling into rage.
"I haven't known you since we arrived here. It really is too easy isn't it?" She wanted to fight, but Leo had become so much more powerful than he was in M, she wasn't sure she could take him--plus she'd stopped training.
"Easy for you to come here, look pass me. Ask Madison for anything you want. She gives it to you and you go back to your nice little family on Earth. Or did you runaway from them too?." Her fist balled, as much as she wasn't going to admit it he was right this conversation was probably better saved for closed quarters.
"Leave us. I want this corridor completely shut off" She commanded prompting the OSA guards to move in compliance. No one ruler could make such a move on the space-station but all the races respected and trusted Addison enough to do so.
"I will talk to you, but you will NOT becoming inside the Space -Station or on the Ninjan Home world. You and your "family" have lost that right. If you want to talk about the past then talk, it's not like I forgot about you"
Thermal radiation rising in the air, Addison's jaw tightening like a screw, and the cocktail of rage, hurt and frustration in her voice - Leonel saw and heard it all. And yet whereas he would once hang his head in shame and avert his eyes in guilt, the Prince of Power did no such thing. Even as Addison's hair crackled like a cosmic flame, Leonel held strong and cool like the steel of a well made sword. He held her gaze as bold as ever, a warrior ready to walk into the eye of a storm. Calmly, he watched her make little of their history together, dismiss him as a stranger - an outsider - yet his certainty held. He knew, nay, felt, that this was what he wanted to do. Not because he believed it to be right, but because he wanted to mend things with her. Leonel did nothing he had no desire to. He'd have never come if it weren't true.
"You and your "family" have lost that right. If you want to talk about the past then talk, it's not like I forgot about you"
"My family losing the right to come here doesn't matter to me, Addison", Leonel began, following her gaze with his own as he, at the very least, respected her request that he come no closer to her. "I'm not here on my family's behalf. Because you're a stranger to them, just as I've been one to you", he admitted, owning up to his mistakes like he should have years ago. "I came here on no one's behalf but my own", he paused, unfolding his arms before his chest, his body facing hers as he spoke. "And because I haven't forgotten about you either", Leonel confessed, his face softening an inch. "It's hard to believe, I know. I've been nothing but horrible to you. And you wouldn't be exaggerating if you said the last time we really spent time together was back in Reality-M. Because every other time since then, I've come to you only when I needed help". That much was true. Though as he strode an inch closer despite her warning, Leonel's mind cast away his thoughts of the looming war with the Imperium. He couldn't ask Addison to lead her people into another war for him. Perhaps it was time that he help her.
"I've been selfish, distant and cold. I had a lot of growing to do. All the phases I went through. Trying to emulate my father. Taking on beliefs and ideologies that weren't even mine. It was funking stupid to be honest with you. Because in doing that, I not only lost myself, I lost you. The one person who came with me to this foreign universe and was by my side until I was no longer by yours. I've been horrible to you, Addison", his face softened further, his words echoing with a truth they hadn't in a long time. "When I finally found my way, it was here in the stars all along. Maybe I should've stayed with you in space. But we can't take away the past. We can only learn from it. And I've learned from mine. I'm sorry, Addison. Really. For everything. I can only imagine the feelings of betrayal and hurt I've put you through all these years. Let me rectify them. If you need to punch me first or something, that's fine, do it. And if at the end of this you decide you never want to see or hear from me again, that's equally fine. I understand".
"But let me try mend things", he said, offering her his hand, his mind set on taking her to Augusta's Hypercube. "There's something I want to show you, if you'll come with me".
Addison's visage hadn't changed, the truth of the matter is; he left her when she needed him the most. If it wasn't for Madison taking a liking to her, the political influence she'd grown to have within the OSA would be non-existent.
The Ninjans weren't an accepting people, nor were they ever forgiving. Finally, her face softened. Orange-skin and burning hair aside she was a Ninjan, but her Ninjans were forgiving and understanding.
But now it was easy to see how Madison always seemed to resent Leo. "You've been here 5 minutes and you've already given me an M sized headache" Her fist loosened, followed by the extinguishing of her wildfire locks before repositioning her body to face him, holding her head up to catch his gaze.
"You've changed that's for sure." She said noticing Leo's confidence. He'd always had some sort of confident--or arrogance she couldn't tell. She probably was confusing them both now, but he stood "taller". He was a leader now; a confident pain in the ass. For personal reasons she never cared to meet his NU mother and father, but she could tell when she saw "Thee Champion" fighting the Savage Ninjan not far from here, Leo couldn't be him.
"I guess there's no point in holding a grudge. I mean if I really hated you that much I could've invaded Earth. Where are you trying to take me. And how come every time you're here you want me to leave" She jested recalling the time he needed her help to find Madison
Slowly but surely, Leonel watched Addison's facial muscles relax and give way to something softer. No smile yet but could he truly expect one? After all, as Addison herself had pointed out - it had only been five minutes. "I know. But if you want me around, I suppose it's an M-sized headache you'll have to deal with", Leonel teased, his smile calm, measured and genuine. "You've changed as well. Not at all like the woman I first met. You're a queen now, a leader responsible for the well-being of an entire civilization. Maybe that's why my parents had you in a death camp", he paused, "You were a potential threat, a revolutionary waiting to happen, and they saw that. A part of me wishes they could see what you've become, what we've become. If only to get some satisfaction from wiping those smug grins from their faces".
"As for why I want to take you elsewhere", he paused, folding his arms once more as he regarded her with a smirk and playful tilt of the head, "I thought you'd be thrilled that I want you all to myself. After all, it'd be a first since our arrival to this universe", he jested, his cape brushing his rear ankles as he stepped closer. "And as for where I want to take you, it's where I spend most of my time. Growing, learning, training. There's something there I want to show you. About home, about Reality-M. About what could've been. I've hurt you enough times that it's only fair I do something good to you. Or at least something that I think is good", he shrugged. "But I understand if you don't want to leave the station, your people, even if only for a minute. But then again, I'm not sure if I want to either, after all the queen herself has stripped me of my right to come here. I leave and I may never see you again, queen's orders", he teased, walking with a war general's stride yet speaking with a knight's charm.
"So maybe, I either take you with me - or I can just tell you what it is. Though if you want my opinion, I'd rather surprise you and show you what it is".
"Hmm" She pondered out loud before her eyes cut back toward the entrance to the Space Station, her guards waiting patiently. "I guess I'm free for a while, I have a meeting with the other leaders in a couple of Ninjan cycles" She glancing at her SBA.
Much like Madison's SBA (Symbiote Battle Armor), it was tuned with her thoughts; her outer clothing disappeared as if they'd been eaten away by acid, only to be replaced by her "Exploration" outfit. All Ninjans had them, it was how the empire kept tabs on any woman venturing out of Ninjan Controlled Space.
"Consider this me accepting your offer, but this better be worth it. All those years of war have made me lazy, I hate leaving the space station" She complained wiping what appeared to be space particles from her exploration kit, a clear indication on how often she used it.
"Oh...yeah..." She called out, before attempting to send a haymaker right across Leonel's jaw. To any other person a strike of that nature might've concussed, but Leonel was so much stronger than her now, she was sure he could take it. "I accept your apology." She said smirking, daring him to lead the way.
While Addison shed garments sewn for regality for a battlesuit armored for the reaches of space, Leonel caught himself glancing at the OSA guards standing vigilant by the exit. Locking eyes with them, a leader - a war general - to guards, the Prince of Power felt no threat from their glares. They disapproved of him, that much he knew. But his icy self-assurance made it known how little he cared for their opinion of him. He'd come only for Addison, not them. Cape flowing behind him as he turned back round, Leonel's ears caught the sound of Addison's muscles contracting in her fist. He'd heard the punch before it was ever thrown, and he simply stood. 'She needs this. After everything I've done, it's the least I could do'.
Watching Addison's arm whip through the air, Leonel felt a gust of wind flutter his cape, and heard her fist roar with a primal fury. BOOM! Her fist crashed into his jaw like a meteor on a planet, and it's power coursed through his body like a bolt of lightning. Had he been the Leonel of old, she'd have shattered his jaw and flattened him. But to the Leonel of now, the punch moved his face two inches to the right. "I might've underestimated how upset you were", Leonel said, rubbing his jaw before matching her smirk, "Because a year ago, that would've broken my jaw. In any case", he paused, bold as ever as he hooked an arm around her waist, "You wouldn't be coming with me if you didn't think this was worth your time", Leonel teased before vanishing with her as they tunneled through the hyper-spatial bulk and a second later, stood at the emerald gates of his home; Augusta.
A gem floating in the cold space between galaxies, Augusta drifted through a blackness painted by faraway spiral and elliptical galaxies. "Come", Leonel mouthed with nothing to carry the sound of his voice. Augusta's gates parted open, and into it's halls Leonel walked with the Ninjan Queen.
(Let's move this to the Augusta space station thread)
Being transported partway across the universe in defiance of all the known laws of space was always a disconcerting experience, no matter how many times one experienced it. The simple fact was that a being born within the conventional confines of reality was never designed for even temporary sojourns outside of them, and it left one with a feeling not unlike the momentary weightless that occurs when an elevator stops, albeit magnified to a truly uncomfortable extent. That said, while one might never become immune to this strangeness, one did eventually develop a heightened ability to recover from it.
It was frequent exposure to this maddening experience that allowed Baerda to adapt to being torn through physical space so effectively. When space itself tore open and resealed itself on the Magnum Opus in the span of the blinking of a human eye, it left the Daughter of Nordok none the worse for wear, supporting herself on one fist and one knee for but a moment before drawing herself up to her full height, holding her hand out to catch her lost spear as a smaller but otherwise identical rift disgorged it.
Facing the goddess, she wasted no precious time on preamble or ceremony. "Who must die, then?"
@daughter_of_nordok: "She'll come to you... "
The Prize Fighter's voice grew faint as Catalina reassumed control over her mind. The Prize Fighter was many things, but she was not a liar. Just moments after the Baerda emerged on the Space Station Ninjan Officials converge on her location with the Reigning Queen of the Ninjan Empire--Addison Hopewell.
Ever since the "Glorious Revolution" occurred within the Ninjan Government Addison's longevity gave her a superior voice within the OSA, today of all days she was supposed to be pitching mobilization to the Non-Ninjan races.
The Ninjan-Talmut war changed the landscape of the Omega Space Nebula, the Ninjan owed worlds took the blunt of the attack, however most origin worlds for the other species were hit harder. This plan was to increase security along the Ninjan-Talmut border, but also approve an OSA Armada.
It'd be the first time in it's long history that the OSA races did anything as a unified force. Of course Addison didn't tell them the truest intentions of this plan, to ready them to combat the Imperium. A foe most OSA races--including Ninjans didn't believe exist.
The former Queen and Born Ruler of Ninjeta New the Imperium was real but lacked proof, she however disappeared (I believe she's in the Imperium lmfao).
"You if you don't start speaking. Why are you here?" The orange woman asked, surrounded by a sea of Green Ninjan soldiers.
Well, this was...unexpected.
No matter. If she was here, it was because it was the will of the universe, and she would find a way to adapt and succeed in her mission. There was no room for any other potential outcome in her thoughts.
A moment of taking in her surroundings, and her surrounders, was enough to allow her to surmise that she was within the confines of the Ninjan Empire. She knew of no other species that fit the description of the soldiers who faced her, though this was the first that she had ever seen any in person. She faced their golden-hued potentate, and drawing herself up to her full height, she offered a fierce smile. "I am here because it is my Father's will," she replied, "or did you mean in a less existential sense? I am an ally of the Goddess, and if you are her allies, then I am your ally, as well. If you are her enemies, then clearly it is my task to introduce you to the sensual embrace of oblivion."
The Orange Queen stood with the backdrop of emerald Ninjan warriors standing at the ready. Her eyebrow's narrowed she didn't know who the Goddess was, but judging from the threats the woman spew--they were on a collision course with violence.
"I don't know about your father, or who this Goddess is, but I can assure you; you will find the Ninjan Empire at tad bit resilient. Attack"
She commanded prompting her Royal Guards to move forward to surround the azure knight. Addison's hands crackled with violent emerald energy, Addison pulled back before firing a volley of green energy orbs toward the newcomer. Addy made a choice right before the start of all this, something she knew would cost them in the long run, but against an unknown enemy she had to play chess, not checkers.
Why were the attractive ones always so violent?
The energy attack caught the cosmic assassin momentarily off-guard. While her armor and inherent toughness absorbed most of the damage, the force was still enough to knock her prone, a position that would leave her at a notable disadvantage against the encroaching Ninjan soldiery.
Because violence was itself the highest form of beauty, of course.
As she hit the ground, she sent a telekinetic blast billowing outwards from her in all directions. Doing such would greatly diffuse the force and prevent her from bringing her full power to bear, but with luck it would give the first ranks of the guards surrounding her a nasty surprise, and hopefully some room to maneuver.
It was a luxury had by many but appreciated by few. To whom did strength matter most if not those forced to use it in defense of their own freedom? Alduin could only wonder. The Talmut had invaded the skies of his homeworld, and torn it asunder with fire and war. But the Invictus, his people - a proud warrior race - fought. So fierce was their will and so brutal was their way that any war god would have loomed over them with pride. They were warriors, as fine as any in the cosmos, but nothing more. The Talmut were scientists. Equal parts thinkers and fighters. So where the heat of plasma had failed them, sharpness of mind would succeed. And succeed it did. The Invictus advanced, and the Talmut countered.
A bio-weapon spread through the air like a rolling mist of death, and turned warriors feared into corpses mocked. Only a handful had survived to watch the Talmut dry out the seas of their homeworld and bleed out it's soil. The weakest were executed, and the strongest sold to slavery as Alduin was. And for five years, the Eteldan colony of Nero became his home. He was sold into the arena, thrown to the beasts, and revered by the bloodthirsty crowd for the thunderbolts he pulled from the clouds. But where there lay pride, there would be strength. Alduin rebelled, and the fire of a slave uprising was sparked when Leonel Pettis - a king among gladiators - descended from above. Chains shattered, masters fell, and all slavers were slain.
Yet while the men and women he'd come to know returned to the welcoming folds of their homeworlds, Alduin returned to nothing, and to no one. Minerva, his homeworld, was a corpse, and he'd become the last of his people. All there lay for him to return to was vengeance. So long as he lived, so would the Invictus - unbowed, unbent, and unbroken. But as he sat in solitude while his spaceship drifted into the Omega Nebula with it's lights strobing in distress for fuel and oxygen, Alduin could only wait for the Ninjans to either surrender to mercy and pull him into the Magnum Opus - or leave him to die once oxygen depletes.
Xiox-Capitol of the Ninjan Empire
The O.S.A push to assist the Kalar, leading the Ninjans as the operating force on the space station. This was such a rare occurrence, most of the time it was the Ninjans who were away at war; leaving either the Talabeths or the Crattians in charge of the station.
The Ninjans would join them later, for now, was a time for celebration. Centuries past since the Ninjans were displaced from their homeworld, Ninjeta. Since being elected Queen of Ninjeta, the number one priority for Addison was to restore it back to adequate Ninjan living conditions.
Throughout all the smudges during her reign, the destruction of the space station, the Talmut conflicts, the Inexperience of the O.S.A even colorism amongst her own people, Addison manage to restore Ninjeta.
This would not be without challenge, Xiox was the only home many of them knew. It was located right under the O.S.A and offered many trade opportunities than Ninjeta would.
Ninjeta was on the opposite side of the System, which would put them into the 1st contact protocol with races they've encountered before. Lastly, there was the Aquarians. The Aquarians were Ninjans, as in they lived on Ninjeta; in oceans and rivers. But they typically did not get along with the land fairing Ninjans.
She wouldn't think about all that, not right now. Addison just enjoyed her stroll amongst the Xioxian fauna. Unlike most Ninjans in this Universe, she didn't share the weakness to water; which allowed her to actually enjoy the beach.
"My liege we've discovered a distress beacon approaching the M.O.S.S" The Docking station reported sending their message to Addison on her wrist interface. Addison's orange lips curled in thought, she was the approving authority; but did she really want to deal with all the paperwork that'd follow.
"Activate the station's gravitational pull. Pull it in. But don't open the airlock until I've arrived on station"
The Magnum Opus Space Station
Flanked to the left and right by Ninjan Station Support, Addison arrived about 40 minutes later dressed in traditional Ninjan Royal cloths.
"Open the airlock, let's see what fortune has brought us this time?"
The last of his ship's lights flickered, and gasses hissed out the sides of it's parting doors. Alduin had traveled the galaxy, first as a slave, and now as a free man. He'd faced death a thousand times over, and had seen a brutality rarely witnessed, even by Ninjan eyes. And he felt little purpose save for the vengeful hurricane he'd one day bring to the feet of the Talmut as a people and a culture. The honor of his warrior race turned memory, depended on it. His people would be reborn in the minds and spirits of those whose path Alduin will light for them by making a desert of the Talmut. Yet as he strode out his ship expecting hostility at worst, and dismissal at best, he instead caught the cool blue glow of his eyes in contrast to the flaming red of a woman's hair.
A woman flanked by Ninjan authority, and draped in the colors of alien regality. The Queen.
He was armored and partially masked by a helmet, yet stood with a lion's nobility she - and the other Ninjans - would and perhaps should, recognize. He was an Invictus, and the last of his kind. Passing his eyes over all gathered round him, the Knight of Thunder found himself surrender to whichever force pulled his gaze back to the Ninjan Queen. She was colored differently than the others, as though her skin dared glow the orange warmth of stars her people could not. In noticing it, Alduin awoke his own curiosity. He strode forward but stopped a respectable distance from her. Her shoulders carried pride as much as her face did beauty, while his eyes trafficked only in the cool mystery of a warrior who had seen more than most eyes could ever hope to behold. "I'll apologize in advance, Your Grace", he began, offering her a respectful inclination of the head but never a bow.
"Because my people don't bow. Or kneel". Perhaps it was why they were all dead. "But your decision to welcome my ship instead of leaving it to wander, is why I'm still breathing". He knew of the Ninjans, but he did not know the Ninjans. To pull his helmet from his head now when it may yet serve him should they attack, would be foolish. So he stood guarded, but thankful. He smiled, and what calm daring had he, a war refugee and former slave smiling at a queen so above his station? Yet he didn't care. It was not his way to. "However I can repay that kindness, I will. If you'll have me, that is". A survivor of the Talmut-Invictus War, legendary gladiator of Nero, and the co-leader of a slave rebellion that shattered chains held for millennia, Alduin was a man of many talents. And if need be, he was willing to earn his keep in the Magnum Opus.
After all, where else was he to go?
As the legendary warrior wandered through the arcs of the M.O.S.S entrance, Addison's eyebrow rose at the innocuous chatter behind her. They recognized him as an Invictus--She did not. In her Universe, she was too overwhelmed with the battle to ever actually encounter one.
"You needn't do that" Addison explained waving an index finger. While bowing in the presence of a monarchy was a Ninjan practice, it was a rule that was recently done away with on the M.O.S.S. The Ninjans were ruthlessly proud, and couldn't be bothered to bow to Talabethian and Crattian officials; because of this the O.S.A elected to get rid of such customs on the Space Station.
"You seem to have some importance among my people," Addison said slightly turning to motion for her guard to lower their weapons. Soon after, they were joined by the Crattian and Talabethian governors, they whispered for the Ninjan Queen to allow him to board.
While the orange tinted beauty was one to be envied, she was also a proven warrior; she understood the small nuances that told the tale of a survivor--She was one after all.
"Something tells me that this is to be the last stop in your journey, I am Queen Zurita Tesla, but you may call me Addison" Exposing her real name was more of a show of solidarity amongst her Ninjan Sisters; they'd after all just reestablished Ninjeta; and all Ninjans had names that begin with the equivalent to the English letter "Z"
"I represent 1/3 of the leadership here on The Space Station." The Ninjan Queen turned to her other counter-parts before issuing her official decree. "I will give this man access to the Space Station, only under the condition that he meets me in my office here"
"You seem to have some importance among my people"
Addison's words echoed, and Alduin hadn't a shade of doubt in their truth. His people were torn asunder by a bio-weapon too cruel for many a dignified mind to comprehend. An entire race had been made a distant memory. But Alduin lived and breathed as the last glint of Invictus hope. They were thought to be all dead, yet here he stood as the one - the only one - who lived. "We have a mutual enemy as well", he reminded, eyeing the guards' lowered weapons with a measured but daring gaze, "The Talmut. Had they never existed, I would have a planet and a people to return to". Instead, he had only a planet turned cosmic graveyard, and the ghosts of his people wailing for vengeance.
Zurita Tesla. The name floated to his ears guided by a queen's spirit. Yet her second name, a nickname he imagined, sat in his mind like a familiar face. It fit her, more-so than the former. "Addison", he parroted, "It suits you". Though as Addison spoke on, it rang clear to the Last Invictus that her word was not the lone will that commanded the tides of her civilization to rise. There were others, she was simply the first head of a dragon with three. "Then I can only hope that those who represent the 2/3 of that leadership are as welcoming as Your Grace has been", he nodded, his gratitude true and honorable, while yet cool and understated. But by inviting him behind the walls of her office, Addison's trust in him was overstated. And Alduin could only wonder as to why. Perhaps in all the doom and gloom he'd seen, in having his home and people eroded by a chaos yet beyond his control, she saw a kindred spirit.
The Last Invictus could only wonder.
And he, perhaps foolishly, afforded her the same trust. Lifting the helmet from his head, the light glimmering gold on it's rare metal, Alduin stood with his helmet tucked under his arm, and his head fully exposed. His hair flowed in medium curls of dark brown, his face lined by a nobility that lured the eye, and the cool glow of blue steel sat in his gaze. "I've no quarrel with that condition. We shall meet in your office, Your Grace. A shame it took my people's extinction for a Ninjan and Invictus to properly meet. Yours is a warrior's culture. Our people would have been good allies, with some tension here and there", he smiled, bantering, yet doing so with a measure of truth.
Addison turned to quell the whispers now dancing around her ears from the rear. His mention of the Talmut made them uneasy, and rightfully so.
The Ninjans and the Talmuts entered a "cold-war" with each other during the first year of Princess Madison's reign, tensions rose when the Ninjans captured Magog; but for the majority of their existence, the "War" between them was silent.
Then Catalina Liafador happened, and the Ninjan-Talmut changed the entire landscape of the Omega Nebula. "Well, I'm typically the hardest one to please. But my people have spoken" She said watching as his helmet came off revealing the man underneath. The Orange beauty nodded, watching as his Dark Brown curls slowly set to a more natural state following their release from his helmet.
The Ninjan Queen turned to motion for him to follow her. "Well, I'm not sure what you've heard about us; but we're definitely a proud race. The History is as complicated as it is great. But it's a shame.
Madison waltz into her Royal Chambers on the Space Station, before taking a seat in a massive chair positioned in front of the fireplace. "So I want to know everything. What did the Talmuts do? How long have you been out there?"
"Well, I'm typically the hardest one to please"
"Something Your Grace has in common with every other monarch in history", Alduin bantered, mouth pulled into the subtlest curls, as though shrouded by a warrior's mystique. Pulling his helmet back on, the Last Invictus answered her motion with a nod, and strode after her, shooting a final glance her guardsmen's way. "My people had heard that yours were the finest fighting force in the Omega Nebula. Pride comes with the territory, I'm afraid", he noted, "But most else I learned about the Ninjans came from my time in slavery". Walking into her chambers, Alduin heard the crackling song of her lit fireplace. It was strange. To feel it's warmth wafting through the air.
For so long he'd been deprived of it, and wade made to endure an unspeakable harshness he survived only by regarding it as a path of proving. Addison sat in her chair, and the light from the fire in the hearth lent a soft glow to her skin as he gazed upon her. "The Talmuts invaded my homeworld. Though I can't speak for their reason, we - I - always assumed they were simply conquerors being conquerors", he began, the glow in his eyes gone cold as they peeked out the slits of his helmet. "The war lasted years, longer than they expected it to, I'm sure. My people were among the greatest warriors in the cosmos, and we had a stubborn unwillingness to die. But, that's all we had. We weren't scientists, inventors, engineers and so on".
"But the Talmuts were".
Crossing his arms over his chest, the golden plates of his armor catching the orange glow of her fireplace, he continued. "They couldn't best us in direct combat, so they made do with the science they had that we did not. They launched a bio-weapon that left most of my people diseased. It weakened us, enough for the Talmuts to make easy work of us. Those of us who survived were made to watch them make a desert of our planet. They then executed the weak, and the strong were sold into slavery. I still have my questions but if one thing was made clear to me, it's that the Talmuts have done the same to many planets a thousand times over. What was the most tragic decade of my life was just another ten years for them".
"I've been out there for years, Your Grace - Addison", he added, now sure to be less formal without the presence of her guardsmen. "I was one of the few they deemed useful enough to be sold into slavery. I was sold to an Eteldan colony, Nero. I was too proud, too willful, too defiant, and too stupid to be a house slave", he paused, thoughts pulled back to how soft he'd found their punishments to be. "So I was sold to the gladiator arena. In retrospect, throwing me in a place where I could socialize with other warriors, some proud and many desperate - was their fatal mistake", he smiled, calmly but genuinely. "I fought there for years, yet planned a slave rebellion at the end of each one".
"With help, I succeeded. We had defeated our masters. We'd freed ourselves. The people I'd come to regard as friend and family, who I'd seen in both their best and worst, returned to their homes and families. But what was I to do with my newfound freedom? My homeworld is a dry corpse where nothing can grow. And my people are ghosts screaming for vengeance. I had nowhere, no one, and nothing to return to. So I simply boarded a ship, set random coordinates, and would go wherever it'd take me. Be it the heart of a star so that I join my people, or somewhere I can start my life anew".
"But in a ship, alone with my own thoughts, I became angry", Alduin scowled, a storm rolling on his brow, "Losing my homeworld, my people, and losing years to slavery... all because of one enemy, I realized I could not die without avenging my people. I need to destroy the Talmuts, if I'll ever have peace. So I came here. Not to ask that you or your people help me wage war with them. But to learn about the Talmuts from your libraries and archives, so that I may make my plans to defeat them, somehow. And in exchange for that kindness, I came here willing to offer you my use wherever you see it fit".
And once his goal was fulfilled, the Last Invictus could finally give himself to death, for he'd have nothing more to live.
Addison sat listening intently to his recollection of his experience with the Talmuts. It was the same. All stories about the Talmuts begin and end the same way--Death and Slavery. She could sympathize and understood his situation more than he could know. Born into a world at war, from the very young age she was taught how to fight and survive. The Goddess manage to capture her too, torture her at one of the prison camps; it was there that she left the name Zurita T'sela behind and became Addison Hopewell.
"For years the Ninjans and Talmuts have been in a cold war of sorts. They conquer a world, we annex a world. Both civilizations expanding until there are only two opposable forces in the Nebula, us and them. The tensions between us grew near nuclear when we captured a prison planet called Magog, and the Talmuts captured the moon, Sitar. All our tensions needed to turn nuclear was a fuze, and that fuze came in the form of an Earthling named Catalina. The Talmuts nearly rip through our space station in an attempt to take Xiox but we held dear. My friend killed King Talmut I, but I hear his some King Talmut II is far worse."
"I've given you temporary access to the station, to gain full-time citizenship on the station or on Cratto/Talabeth you'll have to file the appropriate documents with those respective races. I could offer you access to Xiox, but I'm afraid that wouldn't be beneficial for both of us."
Addison pointed to a small statute positioned over the fire. "That's Ninjeta's rightful ruler. Queen Zavanna, or Madison as she was called. She allowed Catalina to be kept here which came back to bite her in the ass. The Ninjans don't like outsiders. They just warmed up to me, and I am a Ninjan. I can't give you access to any of the Ninjan planets.
Understanding the Ninjan plight came as no struggle to the Last Invictan. By reaping his planet's soul and smiting his people, the Talmuts had made themselves an enemy of his, an irredeemable cancer to be wiped from the cosmos. So as he met eyes with Addison, it was not difficult to see the fire and blood her people had witnessed. "King Talmut II", Alduin parroted, echoing the time a hundred times over in his mind, his brow scowling a storm like the ones he called down from the heavens. "At some point, the Talmuts will return to your doorstep. Though I'm not telling you anything you didn't already know or weren't prepared for. So I'll say this", Alduin paused, stepping forward, the weight of his stride matched by the sharp cry of embers crackling in the fireplace.
"If I'm still here when the Talmuts return, allow me to fight by your people's side. If not for them or you, then for myself. Because I've nothing else to live for than to avenge the memory of my people. I've no home, no companions, nothing. I should be dead but I'm too stubborn to die". Though a fire burned in his words, his eyes never flared anything more than their cool and mystifying glow. A luminous blue tempered by a soldier's composure. "Your people don't like me?", he paused, his mouth pulled into the subtlest of smirks, and an eyebrow arched with an amused dismissal of their dislike. "Doesn't concern me. Everyone who likes me is either dead or a freed slave", he bantered, "So let them dislike me", he shrugged, "I keep to myself, so they've little to concern themselves with".
Though as the topic of conversation swept to Ninjeta'sone true queen, the Last Invictus gazed upon her statue and watched it catch the warm glow of the fireplace. "Rightful ruler? By birthright you mean?", Alduin asked, his expression and tone indicative of a man who gave little credence to titles granted by virtue of blood instead of merit. "Well, it seems she's responsible for bringing to your people the Earthling that was the catalyst to a nuclear war. Whereas you seem to be at the helm of more stable times. So rightful ruler? You'll have to forgive me if I think nothing of her birthright and more of the merit you've achieved. But", he paused with a shrug of his armored shoulders, "Perhaps I'm speaking from ignorance, Your Grace".
"I believe you are, but of course that's no fault of yours" His assessment of Madison brought on terse emotions but she was able to quell them in order to educate the Invictus. "She was a marvelous Queen, she had her mistakes as all young monarchs do, but she elevated the Ninjans to a platform that most races in this nebula couldn't compete with. The Earthling was unstable, she knew it. But she agreed to help out a friend of hers, and mine I suppose. It backfired when the Talmuts learned this and somehow got to the girl. She caused the Ninjan-Talmut War, despite riding the galaxy of Talmut I. The Ninjans blamed her hospitality and exiled her. One wrong, depending on who you asked in a history of wonderful things"
The Orange beauty pushed away from her desk moving over to the small figurine on the fireplace. "She's the reason I'm here. I do not know if you noticed but I'm Orange. A Ninjan from a world long lost. Had it not been for her, I wouldn't be the Queen I am today; and perhaps you might've been still fumbling around in space" With that last part a subtle smirk crossed the face of the Ninjan hostess.
"Also, We are prepared for war with the Talmuts, we have scientist, we have warships, we have armies, but most importantly we have allies," She said thinking of Leonel and his sister Maya.
"I won't strip you of your opportunity to combat the Talmuts, but I pray we may have more than one enemy on the horizon. What do you know of the Imperium?"
To be remembered for one's failure instead of revered for one's deeds. It was a legacy to which the Last Invictus was no stranger. For years untold, the Invictus slew every enemy who dared part the clouds of their homeworld with banners of conquest. Yet their one failure shrouded the light of their success in the darkness between the stars. "Ah", Alduin conceded with a subtle shrug of his armored shoulders, "Then I misspoke. If that statue was Queen Zavanna herself, I'd even apologize to her", he joked, though soon allowing the tease to pass. "To be remembered for one's mistake is also the legacy of my people. We have lost battles and skirmishes, but never a war. Our battle cry was "Unbowed and Unbroken". We had won countless wars, but the one war we lost cost us everything".
"So I can understand Queen Zavanna's importance with greater clarity now. Still, her mistake was grave", he paused, "As was my people's". The brief silence flickering to and fro was soon shooed by a remark that drew amusement from the Lord of Lightning.
"I do not know if you noticed but I'm Orange"
"If I hadn't, I think that would've made the extinction of my people second on my list of tragedies", the humor was dark, yet it eased the stress from his shoulders and set a glow something other than vengeance in his spirit. Catching the smirk so calmly worn on her lips, Alduin tilted his head an inch to the right, "Oh? Does the thought of me drifting aimlessly through space amuse you so?", he teased, finding confidence in her readiness to wage war with the Talmuts. "Good. I can count on one hand all the things I've ever asked for. To fight the Talmuts so that I may avenge my people - is one of them. As for the Imperium", he stopped, the name sending a cold chill running down his spine. "I'm familiar with them and the threat they pose. Many of the buyers who'd go to Nero to purchase slaves were Imperium agents".
"Rumor has it that the slaves bought by the Imperium were turned into abominations bent in service to Nordok". The name disgusted him. It was foul and heralded a cosmic hell that Alduin, Addison and others like them would have no choice but to one day face. "Has the Imperium conducted operations against your people, Your Grace? Because as prepared as I'm sure you are, one can never be too prepared for an enemy like the Imperium or the Talmuts. So what I'm getting at is, a suggestion". With a bold stride closer, Alduin felt something, a familiar thrum the closer he drew to the Ninjan Queen. Dismissing the thought, he locked eyes with hers. "Additional armies. I know of people that will fight against them. Gladiators from Eteldan slave colonies".
"Help me free them, and you'll have thousands of fighters so skilled people thought them worthy of being bought to fight each other for the spectacle. And believe me, Your Grace, no warrior will fight harder for you than one to whom you gave freedom. However, I wouldn't want to draw the Ninjans and Eteldans into a diplomatic situation at best, and war at worst. So perhaps sending in a small covert squad with no banners or badges would be most effective. My proposal may be bold, but the payoff is great".
The Queen's emotions settled as the conversation of Madison came and went, the former Monarch was a mentor and a friend above all. Though she'd heard disturbing rumors placing the former Primer in the Imperium, she'd dismiss them as a myth for now.
The Orange beauty chuckled with her hands concealing her teeth, the thought of him floating aimlessly in space could be likened to her being an orphan in this universe, like he was an orphan to her nebula.
"It does not amuse me, there's just a parallel there that I find amusing. Though I do not wish to share" He then shifts her focus to the pending confrontation between the Ninjans, The Imperium, and The Talmuts. Both her enemies had the advantage, no one knew the origin worlds for either of them. Xiox, The Current Ninjan Capitol, was pretty much broadcast at the center of the Omega Space Alliance.
"A couple of days ago, we picked up a distress beacon from the planet Kalar, they're being invaded. We suspect either the Talmuts or the Imperium. The Talabeths nor the Crattians would act on the Imperium, they believe it to be a myth. So we sold it as a Talmut skirmish. A small portion of their force is in route to provide support, and I will send a Ninjan team to assist once Ninjeta Restoration celebration has ended." She explained rising from her seat crafting a manipulative star map of the Omega Nebula.
"We told them our Sigma army was taking a sabbatical. Which is a lie It's clearly written in our constitution that the Army is not to rest. My Army is on Ninjeta right now preparing for War with the Imperium. That's the first significant event. The second is we're pulling out of the O.S.A" Addison's revelation causes her to almost shiver in an inexplicable chill. The Ninjans were the best fighting force in the O.S.A, them exiting the Alliance would place a heavy strain on the Crattians and Talabeths to defend themselves especially with governments in their infancy. But it had to be done they relied on the Ninjans for too much.
"The restriction placed on my people after the Ninjan-Kandrosi ends soon, which means we will be free to once again expand our empire. I fully plan to. I suppose if we free these slaves from this world. I can grant them citizenship to our vassal worlds. They can live under the Ninjan Empire."
It was to be her legacy, none of the Ninjans were currently aware, but Addison was preparing an annexation plan that would see many nations swallowed by the might of the Ninjan Empire. They'd still function according to their traditions, but they'd essentially be Ninjan Territories--expansion to stop the Talmuts.
"I will support this motion. What do you need from me to make your stay adequate while the other races deliberate?"
It was seemly - and personable - how Addison's hand rose to cover her mouth as she laughed. Like a glaring light, it became all too clear to the Last Invictus how deeply court etiquette ran in Addison's veins. It amused him, and perhaps it even charmed him, how a woman who seemed every bit of Venus and Minerva, was as much a Mars as he was. Though the past she found so similar to his, she did not wish to share. And to that, Alduin could only nod, "Fair enough". The queen's attention swept elsewhere, and she echoed conquest and how Kalar had surrendered to it, by will of the Abyssal Imperium or the Talmuts. Indeed, either one could be at the helm of the invasion.
Few were as passionate in their love of conquest, governed only by war, ambition, and themselves. But that the Talabeths and the Crattians regarded the Imperium as little more than myth - that draped a cold sheet over his spine. The glow in his eyes dimmed, and his gaze seemed to darken at a thought. His people had been unprepared for the Talmuts, and they paid with both their then present and future for it. Were the Talabeths and Crattians destined to run the same risk? Of fending off an invasion they're ill-prepared to answer? "You know your people well, Your Grace", Alduin said, watching her stand from her chair to weave a glimmering map of the Omega Nebula for him to see.
"Telling them that it is a Talmut skirmish will ensure that a support squad is sent. And if it's the Talmuts, good, you're seizing the initiative from the enemy. But if it's the Imperium? Good as well, because nothing will convince someone to arms than coming face to face with the threat they were convinced didn't exist". Though as Addison spoke on, tracing her finger on a star map that bent to her every touch, it was clear to Alduin that she regarded the Talabeths and the Crattians as liabilities. As children in need of supervision than allied people with whom wars can be won. War with the Abyssal Imperium seemed an inevitability, as all things ultimately were.
As Ninjan conquest was.
"You'll need to ensure that these conquered people don't rebel, though I'm not telling you anything you don't know, Your Grace. Stubborn races will challenge you, I should know", he paused, knowing the fire and blood the Invictus would raise were they still living and under Ninjan rule. "Some will be willing to die for their freedom, which will make any conquest of them a fruitless effort. Resources are wasted when conquering a people. Battleships need fuel to move, heat generators to keep the crew warm, heat regulators to keep battleships from overheating from all the body heat and on-board machinery, and so on. Soldiers need food and weapons, the list of demands in war are endless".
"A lot of those resources are lost in wars but are earned back by the use the conquerors derive from the conquered. But if the conquered are so willful as to rebel and fight to their deaths? It's a wasted effort. It's resources poured into conquering a people who died for their freedom. Some will have useful planets that can compensate for their extinction, but others won't. My suggestions, Your Grace", Alduin paused, "Learn about the cultures of those people who pique your interest. Not only will it identify those less likely to rebel and come as a cost to your efforts, but for those who are naturally defiant, they might be more willing to accept a ruler who took the time to learn about their history and way of life".
"It will make it clear that you care, or if you don't it'll give off the impression that you do. As for the enslaved gladiators", Alduin paused, pleased that Addison had given his words a fair thought, "You will not regret this, Your Grace. Besides, if you did, it would be my neck on the chopping block. Although considering how everyone I know is dead... it would not be too bad", he smiled, his humor grim but genuine. As for what he needed to make his stay a warmer one, Alduin felt a chuckle escape him. "A bed would be a welcome change".
Please Log In to post.