The Tipping Point (Antemeridias)
Posts: 1865
  • Posted On: Nov 28 2013 4:00am
Abhean Defence Fleet HQ, Abhean

Most of the sub-basement of the unassuming building was filled with massive supercomputers and embedded droids all processing and managing the various assets of the Confederaten Defence Web. But every once and a while, a little alcove with a sentient supervisor and a console popped up. At one of these, a young Abhean lieutenant hunched over a console on the outer edges of the room. He clicked on several icons twice and tapped a button on his comlink.

“Sir,” reported the man, “There's a lot of signals on the Web heading up from what was Imperial space, but I don't think it's the Empire. I've double checked the drive profiles, and while some of them seem of Imperial origin, there's too many that aren't theirs to be an Imperial fleet movement.”

“You think it's Reavers.”

“Possibly sir.”

“Headed directly towards us?” questioned the distant commander.

“I can't say for sure sir, the droids and computers are saying it's roughly a fifty percent possibility. The other potential destinations that it thinks likely are Centares or Antemeridias.”

The Reavers had forced a sort of understanding between the Empire and the Confederation in what typically was a rather contentious area of space between the two powers. The Empire's stretch of influence jutted into the area predominantly between the Confederation's populous Meridian Prefecture and the core of the Confederation itself, the Capitol Prefecture. But the latest threat had forced the powers to focus more on the Reavers. While the Confederation had not taken Emperor Kraken's offer at face value yet, they were inclined to warn the Empire of the possibility of a Reaver incursion. What they would do with that warning was beyond his knowledge. The young lieutenant knew that many of his fellow Abhean officers in the building wouldn't mind if the Reavers smashed into nearby Centares, yet he doubted their luck was that good.

“All right lieutenant, keep monitoring them, and I'll bring it up to our superiors. Let me know if there are any new developments.”

“Yes sir.”


Mattonhelm, Antemeridias

“May I present to you Mrs. Colesi of Antemeridas Corps, a partner of your Gallidor Industries on Abhean. Mrs. Colesi, Ambassador Jackson of the Contegorian Confederation and Captain Perian of the Confederation Merchant Fleet.”

Perian offered a brief nod to the world's Chief-Governor and the corporate officer and let his almost periwinkle eyes wander around the room. For the skyscraper's size, he was surprised at how small the man's office appeared to be. It could have easily been that of a minor bureacrat, not that the governor needed more space than most bureacrats for his daily work, but that most governmental executives he had met tended to like to display the best side of the worlds, including their world's wealth. While not terribly wealthy, Antemeridias had more wealth than this plain office would have suggested. Or so Perian thought.

“I'm assuming this is something rather important that you thought it might warrant interrupt my meeting with Mrs. Colesi here. Is it all right if she stays?”

Perian glanced at the red-faced ambassador. I know he knows the Chief-Governor well, but really, that was rather unprecedented. But they are fast friends, or so he says. I think it's more likely that the man can't ignore or anger the Confederation given its proximity and dependency on so many nearby Confederate worlds...

“Well ma'am,” started the diplomat slowly, “I know your company's work here will be affected by what I'm about to say, but you must keep it quiet. If you do not, there will be a panic.”

“Reavers,” sighed Governor Kunstadt, “or is the new alien dominion?”

“How did you know?”

“Mr. Ambassador, I may head a neutral world that is friendly with your government, but my government keeps tabs on all the worlds around us. I know when there are dozens of your worlds mobilizing their fleets. There must be some threat coming towards our worlds.”

“Reavers, a large group of Reavers, we think,” stated the confederate ambassador, “isn't that what you were told, Captain?”

“It was. My orders are to stay and assist your world if they so require. I must add a little warning to the Governor's comments, we do not know for sure if the Reavers are really headed here because-”

“How far out are they?” questioned the Chief-Governor, “assuming they are heading towards us?”

“Several thousand light years, I'd estimate by now,” guessed Perian, “we have time to jointly prepare a defense, if you so desire.”


Ambassador Jackson's hazel eyes gleamed brightly, “Because no-one needs the Reavers. I know many of the local commanders and officials of the Meridian Prefecture worlds. They want to stop the infection before it reaches them. I have spoken to several of them already. The Budpockian fleet is already moving its fleet to deal with this task. I could convince them to stay here and defend your world. The local CMF chief has ordered Perian here because of your world's importance to our economies.”

Kunstadt snorted, “Or because his shipment isn't quite ready yet.”

“He could have ordered the CMF to get out of the way and let you get steam rollered.”

“True,” admitted the Chief-Governor, “I'll take it for what it's worth. Very well, I'd appreciate it if you would share your intelligence on this supposed invasion with our security forces. Mrs. Colesi, will you be joining us, or rather is there anything you would like to tell us, as a group?”

Perian quickly turned his face to the narrow-faced blonde and eyed her closely. She headed what had been the local branch of the Loronar Corporation before the Empire nationalized that company within their own space. Now it's own company, the company had moved from making its needle-ships to continuing to explore automated craft, but with a more civilian twists. Its new drone barges tended to be common in the areas around the world and fairly popular within the Meridian Prefecture itself. Yet Perian had always wondered if the company continued to do so some more militarized work in secret. She paused. The Chief-Governor knows something that they're doing that she's hesitant to reveal to us. But why twist her arm so obviously in front of us? Colesi broadly smiled at the ambassador.

“I'll see what we can do to aid the effort. After all, Antemeridias is our home too.”

“Good. Not much point in having a military if you're not going to use it, now, is there?” mused Kunstadt, “at least my Admiral will have a decent reason to lobby for a budget increase in three months if nothing else.”

Posts: 1865
  • Posted On: Dec 2 2013 12:20am
Delaborde-class Star Destroyer Artemisé, in orbit via Abhean

“They're going to shoot right past us.”

“Are you absolutely, 100% positive on that?”

Commodore Marcant stroked his chin. Based on the readings from the Defence Web, he does seem to be correct. But still, I don't like it one bit. We leave here for that system, and we leave the world undefended, although I suppose the defenses should be able to hold off any intruders until we get back if the Reavers are planning a feint...Marcant accepted the stylus from the junior officer and manually recalculated the oncoming Reaver's route. It's unusual that they're going so slow. That suggests they're not using top of the line vessels, probably a lot of converted transports, but the Reavers seem to have dispensed with using those during their latest raids, probably because they've discovered that we respond too quickly to that. So perhaps they're not thinking of us in their plans, which suggests that they are thinking of fighting a different opponent, which reinforces our young lieutenant's conclusion. Marcant frowned.

“I don't like this one bit,” muttered the aging man, “but I don't see much of a choice with the Compact Fleet being away. Helm, prepare to take Lieutenant Gyathol's course to intercept the Reaver Fleet. Comm, signal the rest of our heavy squadron to follow us, we'll leave the light lines behind just in case something pops up elsewhere.”

The lieutenant frowned, “So we're going to fight them even though they're not coming towards us?”

“Not towards Abhean,” corrected the commodore, “that doesn't necessarily rule out Budpock or any of the other Meridian Prefecture worlds. Besides, it doesn't necessarily rule out that it'll attack a trading partner of ours. Intel thinks they might hit Antemeridias,w hich will indirectly affect us. Besides, the last thing we need is to have another Reaver spawn world near us. Lieutenant, why don't you go read up on our intel, and tell me what you think about the analysts' opinions. I want to hear at least three questions from you about that the content of that report.”

“Yes sir.”

He has the making of a fine officer, at least intellectually. Now if we could only get that leadership developed in him. It's too bad Valeska joined the Federals. She'd love him. Maybe I should make Commander Newark mentor him on that. He shook the thoughts away and hobbled over to his command chair and edged into it. When he looked up again, the stars were swirling in the lines of superluminal travel commonly referred to by others as hyperspace. He hated correcting them on that. Several hours passed before the warships of the Abhean Defense Fleet dropped out of hyperspace among the stellar bodies of the unpopulated UTI23523 system. The system's large blue sun bathed the Confederate ships in an ethereal light that remind the man of many of the ancient holos he'd seen of Abhean's previous starships, including that of the Chu'unthor. Not that Abhean needs any more doomed vessels...

“Sensors, any sign of the Reavers?”

“Nothing yet...wait...I do have FST signatures in the distance, but they're not power.”

“Recent, or derelicts?”

“I can't tell from here sir. We'll have to do a more focused scan or send in a recon flight.”

Marcant pursed his lips. The Reavers could be attempting to run silent. This could be a trap. But I'm not willing to spring it yet. He turned his aging crown of gray hair to the squadron's flight controller.

“Scramble a CAG flight to take a look at the other ships. Comm, Defense web update?”

“We're outside the inner perimeter of the web,” reported a kirkanian, “with the outer stretches of the web spun so loosely, we probably won't get another update on their tracking for another five minutes or so.”

“Very well. Inform me as soon as you get an update.”

“Yes sir.”


Styria-class Galleon Prosperity, in orbit via Antemeridias

Captain Perian idly wandered among the consoles of the galleon's bridge, casually eying his crew's work. Most of them were fresh off of Antemeridias itself. He could almost feel their rejunvenation after spending several weeks on the starship. While the Prosperity wasn't as cramped as many mercantile vessels, it was small enough that Perian himself admitted to getting sick of the surroundings: both the ship and the people in it. His little stint on the surface wasn't as refreshing as the shore leave he had been hoping for, but it was better than nothing. The starships of the Antemeridian fleet, comprised mostly of vessels originally built by the Loronar Corporation, swung about in orbit with a quartet of Antemeridias Corp drone barges following their wake. Perian eyed the Strike Cruiser leading the formation. And what module do they have there? Hangar? That'd make the most sense in this situation, if they're specifically outfitted for that...I wonder what Antemeridias barges are supposed to do/? Ramships? Or perhaps carriers or supply ships of some sort? I've really got to get in better contact with Line-Commander Pylokam about all of this. Such an odd title...


Perian's head swiveled to the voice, “Yes?”

“Line-Commander Pylokam is ah, requesting us to fall in with the Antemeridias Corp ships in the rear of his formation.”

The CMF leader shook his head. This isn't good already. The second we have people making assumptions about the command chain....but am I making the same mistake? He briefly thought out the matter, but he knew that the incoming Budpockian fleet would be expecting to link up with his little convoy of Confederate vessels that he had gathered. Aside from the two other galleons that had arrived with him, both sporting green captains, they had managed to round up a Till Chorios corvette acting as a fast packet, as well as a pair of Montcalm frigates from Abhean that had been searching the nearby area for asteroids to mine and process to feed the Abhean shipyards. Perian walked over to his comm's officer.

“Let me talk to him directly,” decided the captain.

“On it sir.”

Perian stared hard into the holo-cam and glanced at the flatscreen monitor of the communication's console. The frozen Unitas displayed on the monitor quietly faded to display an almost nondescript man wearing an Imperial-style uniform along with a black eyepatch over his right eye. His sole blue eye pierced through the communication's channel to cautiously wander over Perian's body.

“Captain Perian, I presume.”

“Line-Commander Pylokam, is that how you say your name?”

“Yes indeed,” confirmed the Antemeridian man, “I assume your calling about your orders?”

“My orders are rather clear, actually. Ambassador Jackson has ordered me to keep in orbit around the world until the Budpockian fleet arrives. We will consequently not be joining your formation yet.”

Pylokam scowled, “If we divide our strength, one of us is more likely to fall. If you would prefer us move our formation in front of yours, that is fine as well if there is some sort of bureacratic entanglement that you'd prefer to avoid.”

“Don't get me wrong, sir. This is your world, and I'm personally inclined to follow your lead in this matter.”

“I understand,” muttered the Line-Commander, “I suppose they've dictated some of your tactics too?”

Perian nodded. Not really. But it's always good to have that as an excuse to disagree with someone who might try to pull rank on you...

“Well then, I suppose we should begin discussing my battle plans, er, our battle plan.”
Posts: 1865
  • Posted On: Dec 3 2013 12:42am
Delaborde-class Star Destroyer Artemisé, UTI23523 system

Commodore Marcant stood over the shoulder of his sensor officer, talking to the other man about the derelict wrecks they'd rediscovered. Deep in the crewpit of the star destroyer, he wasn't able to physically see the bright flashes of cronau radiation announcing the arrival of more starships in the system. But he heard it; the crew around him immediately began murmuring and turning to him. Reavers. He turned his cold eyes back to the sensor operator's screen. They're about several thousand klicks out, want to bet they're using the same vector that we did to enter the system? There is too many of them for us though...but maybe we can still do something productive with this. Marcant quickly patted the man on his back and jogged up the steps, watching Captain Metarie Rimsen begin to turn the chaos permeating the room into ordered actions. The Commodore promptly plopped down in his command chair and put on his headset comlink.

“Form the wedge, put the Artemisé at the tip,” decided Marcant.

“We're actually going to give them a fight?” questioned Rimsen, turning around on the command walkway to face the older man.

“Not as much of one as I'd let to give them. But we can delay them. You have command. Give me some time while I work a few things out. Comm, get me a line with the Defense Web line.”

Marcant began immediately toggling through a myriad of screens. Many of them displayed astrographic charts that Lieutenant Gyathol and himself had plotted astrogation paths as practice. Several of them were from this system. There are only a few good exit vectors out of here, if they want to continue on their current spinward course. He stroked his chin, eliminating one of the exit vectors because it abruptly would have taken them deeper to the Core, which while not impossible, would not likely happened if the Reavers were trying to taken an efficient course, which he assumed. That left two vectors, but judging by where the Reaver Fleet had entered realspace into the system, he narrowed it down to one. He almost didn't here his headset beep among the low-level din of the bridge crew.

“Commodore Marcant?” questioned a young voice.

“Yes,” replied the Ahbean man, “I'm assuming you are the commander of our Defense Web line...”

The Defense Web line was comprised of half-dozen Juaire Mk II corvettes whose bays were fully outfitted to recover, repair, and deploy the mines and satellites that made up the defense web where the Confederation Proper met the edges of the Meridian Prefecture.

“I am.”

“Good,” decided the man, flipping through his data screens to find the other formation's location, “I see that you're not too far away from Abhean yet, looks like you're headed to Budpock next.”

“Yes, this is true.”

“Drop whatever you're doing right now. I want you to alter your course to the closest of these points that I will be sending you. You will set up a pulsemass minefield and immediately activate it.”

“How large of a field?”

“As large as a field as you can make it before the Reavers get there.”

“Ah, yes sir. I've recieved your coordinates. We've moving now.”

“Good luck.”

“Same to you sir.”

The comlink clicked out. The Commodore turned his attention back to battle at hand. Flipping to his immediate tactics scene, he saw that the Reaver fleet had formed into what could be described as a box, with a pair of smaller horns just jutting out from either side. They mean to blunt our wedge with their main body envelop and outflank us with the extending columns on either side of their formation. He gazed at their motley collection of vessels, noting the typical variety of infected warships and heavily modified civilian ships forming the front of their formation. Deeper in the formation, he thought he say the massive wedge of a star destroyer similiar in size to the Artemisé. Behind that destroyer, he noticed an oddly pure assortment of lightly modified transport vessels, including a handful of Kleeque-classes notably used by the Alliance as troopships in decades ago in the past. They're either not fully converted into warships yet, or maybe...maybe they're fulfilling their conventional roles. That could be something we accomplish, if we do this right...Marcant cleared his throat.

“Let's take this wedge around their portside flank at heading Beta-Charlie-six-five-niner,” ordered the Abhean Commodore, “and focus our fire on this collective unit of ships, and jump the hell out of here. Helm, have one of your people start plotting our jump out of here.”

The Abhean man designated a trio of the Kleeque-class transports as primary targets and authorized the hyperspace-capable Starflare warheads on those targets. Dozens of the warheads surged out of the veering Confederate wedge, jumped into hyperspace, and reemerged among the Reavers to lance into lightly-armored transports. The hardened ferrocarbon heads of the missiles dug through their hulls before detonating. Explosions rippled acrossed the rear of the opposing fleet before either of the two were in normal weapon's range. Using the ship's FSTs, Marcant peered at the damage the attack had wrought. Debris from the wrecked craft blossomed outward to smack into the hulls of other nearby Reaver vessels. His lip twitched. It's too bad their destruction didn't do more damage to the rest of their fleet, but there do seem to be a hell of a lot more bodies floating out there than normal...perhaps they were using them as troopships. A second and third salvo of the warheads surged out of the tubes of the Confederate warships. As they disappeared into hyperspace, the long-range batteries on the Confederate and Reaver vessels began to fire. Steady streams of emerald and sapphire bolts from the KDI-built weapons of the Artemisé lashed out at the unrecognizable vessel leading the portside column of Reaver vessels that Marcant suspected would attempt to block or outflank their maneuver. Its shields burned a green-yellow upon contact with the first barrage of Confederate turbolaser bolts. The quad ion cannons fared better, almost immediately producing the splaying lightning across the ship's hull that signified a significant power-surge across the vessel's hull. Anyone want to bet that the Reaver nanite dust conducts electricity rather well? Many of the Reaver's vessels weapons fell silent and the local shield projectors faltered, allowing the Confederate turbolasers to begin to chew into the hull of the vessel itself. What Reaver fire could hit the confederates, much of it formed up of the long-range turbolasers that the dragons used before their evolution to a new realm, nipped at the Artemisé's bow shields, creating little splotches of neon green light when they hit. Marcant turned his attention to the subsequent Starflare strikes at the suspected support vessels of the fleet. What had been a formation there was a now a splotchy assortment of small vessels along with a few vessels so heavily damaged that Marcant knew conventional opponents would have abandoned them. He wondered if the Reavers manning them would be able to survive in them if the ship's made a jump to hyperspace. Judging by the structural deformities which grew from many of their hulls, he doubted it. But the Reavers are not sane men. They might try it. One of the vessels had turned out to still be acting as fuel tanker; its destruction had destroyed many of the smaller Reaver vessels which seemed to swarm around their larger vessels like a protective screen.

The fleets finally entered normal firing range.

Massive turbolasers arranged in copious banks among the fleets began to fire; flooding space with brightly colored criss-crossing lines which Marcant thought almost could have made a rainbow if they had been better arranged. Not that we're here for the light show...
Posts: 1865
  • Posted On: Dec 3 2013 2:11am
Styria-class Galleon Prosperity, in orbit via Antemeridias

“No, absolutely no.”

Perian gazed at the hazy visage of the distant man. Only harsh light of Antemeridias' sun could match the tone of the Ambassador's words. How did he ever become an ambassador? He must have some sort of connection or hidden talent that I don't know about...Captain Perian shifted on his legs and spared a quick glance downlards.

“Ambassador, I realize this is not entirely what you were thinking about, but I think his plan is solid. It will work best with him in charge. If it would help calm your mind, I can forward the battle plan through-”

“You will not bypass me. I am the mission commander here,” replied Jackson, “and as much as I appreciate your attempts to ingratiate us with them, Antemeridias is not a Confederation world, and we need to remind them of that. Getting the tension just right between getting them to realize the benefits of our membership, and giving them just enough help to keep them friendly with us, has been difficult to say the least. They've not been begging to join us, despite our nations nearly surrounding them. And unlike many recent members, the Reavers haven't helped us out of this yet. You will not fall under their command. We will be viewed as being politically weak if we simply yield to them.”

“With all due respect, if the Budpockian fleet does not arrive soon, I'm going to be very inclined to simply fall under his command,” rebutted the CMF man, “regardless of your wants and needs. You may be the mission commander to bring the world into the Confederation, but my people aren't attached to your permission. I'd say it's highly unlikely that you'd be able to bring me to a court-martial-”

“Not a court-martial, fine, maybe. You don't know who I know, and I won't admit to knowing who you know higher up. But this is what I do know one person certainly: Commodore Tobias. Whenever he gets back, I'll have to inform him about your actions.”

“I'm not sure if that's a valid threat...”

“It will be once I explain to him how you lost thousands, if not millions, of the credits that my mission could potentially save the CMF in a month, from everything from docking fees to tariffs, that Antemeridias' membership would solve...”

“And you don't find any of this slightly manipulative?”

“It doesn't matter what either you or I think,” spat out Jackson, “results matter. And both of our bosses know it. That's one of the things that's separated us from the Coalition, and you know it. And I'll do whatever it takes to get you to fall into my-”

“Fine,” interrupted Perian, “we'll do it your way...”

A smile blossomed across Jackson's face. As the ambassador opened his mouth to speak, Perian cut their connection. He allowed himself a brief smile. Well, that wasn't worth any of it. I knew the ambassador was dogmatic, maybe even paranoid or self-centered, but by the Maker...Now I just have to find some way around this without alerting the ambassador.
Posts: 1865
  • Posted On: Dec 3 2013 3:32am
Delaborde-class Star Destroyer Artemisé, UTI23523 system

“You will do as I say, or I'll call in the Paladins to take care of you. She's beyond saving now.”

Captain Rimsen stared hard at her superior. Staring back, he began to mentally count down. I can almost not blame her. From up here, you always here and see the battle unfold like it's so far away. And how rare are certain defeats, certain victories. But what's done is done. Rimsen's cheeks briefly flushed crimson before she abruptly walked away from the Commodore's chair to shout down orders to the crew below the walkway. Exhaling, Marcant turned his blue eyes back to the holo-screens. The Confederate squadron had managed to skate pass the Reaver fleet mostly unscathed, aside from the La Galissonière-class star destroyer Éole. The Éole had passed too close to the Reaver ships and became snagged in several Reaver starship tractor beam projectors. Subjected to heavy fire and after being reeled into the Reaver formation, Marcant had ordered the unretrieveable star destroyer to be abandoned with its self-destruct sequence engaged. Escape pods and transports fluttered out of the stricken craft under the cover of several squadrons of disposable Piranha drones. It would likely be one of the most severe losses the Confederation had ever had. I wonder how that's going to reflect on my record. But I suppose we were bound to lose ships least it won't be with all hands. He glanced back at the holo-screen. The Confederate squadron had finished its arc around the Reaver fleet. The Confederate forces had been successful in destroying the rear-section of the Reaver ships. Marcant guessed at the very least that they had destroyed most of the Reaver fleet's logistical support and any invasion forces they had specifically gathered. Few of the Reaver ships followed in the Confederate's wake.

“There she goes.”

Marcant flipped his screens to follow the Éole's demise. It exploded violently as a volatile mix of hypermatter combined with the ship's overloaded reactors. The resulting fireballed enveloped the portside element of the Reaver fleet in a dazzling yellow-white light which nearly blinded the Artemisé's external cameras. Large chunks of the Confederate warship spiralled out among the Reaver fleet, smashing into the star destroyer's opponents. One flange of heavy hull plating that had served as the Éole's starboard armor sliced into portside flank of the Reaver star destroyer in the center of the fleet. Most of the other debris of the starship perfocated the hulls of the Éole's assailants. At least we didn't lose her for nothing...

“We're in position for the jump back to Abhean,” coolly stated Rimsen.

“And all of the Éole's survivors have been recovered?”

“They're all roughly here. We lost some of the pods to the Reavers.”

“The maker help them,” muttered Marcant, “the maker help us. If there are any of them still in their possession that we can see, destroy them with the Starflares. We don't need to fight our old friends.”

She sighed, “Don't give the crap about there's fates worse than death.”

“I won't. Take care of it captain, and I'll take care of the rest of this mess.”

Rimsen glumly nodded and waded back to execute her grim duty. Marcant eyes switched from his subordinate back to his command chair's holo-screens. The Reaver fleet kept going towards their designated nav point. At least we know they're not headed for Abhean. That really only leaves Antemeridias as the only target, at least on a direct route. And given that they aren't bothering to engage us, I think it's safe to guess we know where they're headed. As Marcant mused about the future of his career, the starships of both fleets fled the uninhabitanted system to stars beyond.
Posts: 1865
  • Posted On: Dec 5 2013 1:29am
Styria-class Galleon Prosperity, in orbit via Antemeridias

“What a man,” muttered the holo-proejction of the Line commander, “if he only knew how close we've been to joining the Confederation.”

“Oh?” questioned Perian.

“Before we go any farther, I'll be blunt with you. I am a loyal son of Antemeridias, and to her interests. That grounside admiral of ours has been lobbying for joining the Confederation simply to get access to better technology to defend our world. Colesi has been pressuring the Chief-Governor for economic reasons. There's plenty of internal allies to the Confederation, but the Chief-Governor has refused so far for only one reason: pride.”


“Tell you what, this is what we'll do,” decided the one-eyed man, “you follow all of my orders during the battle for our plan. However, we both agree to present this as the Confederation's plan to save Antemeridias. The Ambassador can be satisfied that the Confederation doesn't look politically weak, the two of us can win the battle and save our ships and people, and this should be enough to convince the Chief-Governor to stop vetoing the bill to join the Confederation.”

“And what does the Chief-Governor get out all of this?”

“He's not the loser, if that's what you're hinting at,” derided Pylokam, crossing his arms, “he gets saved from messing up later. Pride tends to bring the worst of downfalls-”

The Line-Commander abruptly swiveled his head to face an unknown speaker. A series of voices rang up in his galleon's little bridge. They're here. Both man spared at a glance at each other, nodded, and moved to severe the holo-connection. Perian turned his eyes to the command chair's holo-screens. He rapidly flipped through the screens, finally pulling up the approaching Reaver fleet. Most of the Reaver vessels seemed severely damaged already, even for Reaver vessels. Various sensor scans of the opposing fleet simply showed pieces and entire sections of the vessels simply missing. No carbon scouring from turbolaser or laser canons. No charred sections or cavities formed from any projectile or missile weapons. There was only one explanation for the damage: they had run through a pulse-mass minefield. Even with much of the severe internal damage permeating through the Reaver fleet, it's presence still chilled him. Even with the Antemeridias defense forces, Antemeridias Corp ships, and the Confederate ships combined, the Reaver Fleet still outnumbered them three to one. His stomach fell and warped into a twisted knot. Perian leaned forward in his chair. It's a hell of good thing Line-Commander Pylokam is as smart as he is...

“Helm,” stated Perian quietly, “break us out of the formation and take us into follow in the Antemeridias Corp ships' wake, but don't follow their course to the Reavers yet.”

The Antemeridias Corp drone barges surged ahead of the Antemeridias defense force ships to the cloud of marauder vessels. He watched through the viewport as his ships, still stuck in Antemeridias' gravity well, abruptly veered away from the drone barges calmly sailing towards the Reaver fleet. His Confederate vessels swung away from the battle, hidden from it by the orb of Antemeridias itself. Perian turned his eyes from the viewport to the tactical holo-screen rising from his left armrest. The barges made quick micro-jumps into the Reaver fleet itself. Most of them promptly exploded as a potpurri of random explosives compiled by the fleet's three elements detonated. One of the barges exploded near the prow of the Reaver star destroyer, promptly incinerating much of the warship's external systems in that area including dozens of turbolasers. Once the fire blossom faded, Perian could see that the explosion left an almost consistent charring of the star destroyer's hull in its blast radius. Several of the barges actually rammed themselves into their targets, including the command tower of the star destroyer, releasing highly radioactive waste originally destined incineration into the hulls of the Reaver vessel. Among the chaos created by this attack, the Antemeridian forces quickly moved to flank the Reavers' portside element and fired. Almost a minute later, the Confederate forces swung out of orbit to find themselves among the Reavers' starboard side. Pylokam's maneuver allowed the Antemeridian and Confederate forces to concentrate their shields against Reaver forces while simultaneously forcing the Reavers to keep their own shields divided. Pylokam hoped that the maneuver would be successful enough to buy them time for the other Confederate forces to arrive to offset the numerical advantage enjoyed by the marauders. As the allied forces slugged it out with the Reavers, the infected launched dozens of small craft towards the surface, which Confederate and Antemeridias Corps drones and Antemeridian fighters immediately pursued. Just as the Reavers began to recover from the series of counterattacks, the Budpockian fleet augmented by elements of the nearby Task Force Justitias arrived and assaulted the Reaver Fleet from behind. The battered Reaver fleet began their retreat, dogged by the allied forces until the marauder's retreated out of the system. The few areas on the world where the Reavers had landed were immediately quarantined and sanitized by a variety of electromagnetic and radiological attacks.

Only a few days later, Chief-Governor Kunstadt fell under more pressure of the populace to have stop vetoing the membership bills after Line Commander Pylokam announced that the Confederates were primarily responsible for halting the Reaver invasion. The tipping point in the polls was enough for him to abruptly flip-flop his viewpoint on the world's joining of the Confederation. He managed to slightly cover up his change of heart by suggesting he had only been trying to work the Confederation to get the most for Antemeridias before the world joined, but not everybody was convinced by this tactic. What mattered most to the people of their world was that Antemeridias was safe from the scourge of the Reavers under the aegis of the Confederation's permanent protection.