Cold Reception IV
QE 312, The Qorsikan Universe
The Command Centre, ESS Huyukina no Kashara
Lieutenant Commander Chihi
"Commander Chihi, Sir, you need an escort at least!" It was Magic, his personal aide. She was the regular breed of clone girl that swelled the ranks of the Ellian Starforce in the quadrillions, constituting approximately half of the interstellar warfare service's manpower. "I'll organise a marine detail at once."
Chihi dismissed the notion with a wave. "The Qorsikans invited us in a gesture of generosity. Let us enjoy their charity."
The pink-hair girl stepped forward. Like all clones, she was tall for an Ellian girl but she still had to look up at Chihi, who was half a foot taller. "Then let me come with you!" The fiery-haired Ellian turned to the Qorsikan page with a helpless expression.
The Aide De Camp sighed, "I'll see what they can do."
Nexus, The Constellation of Richia
The Command Centre, ESS Tsuyukuna no Kashara
The naval build up around Nexus was no longer solely that of Kashara's. Ships flying under all the banners of the Constellation of Richia were now arriving in droves, each numbering in the tens of thousands. The increased foreign activity was worrying. No doubt the other powers were closely studying the Navy's training operations in an attempt to deduce their strategies and tactics for the coming invasion. Gate technology had been theorised for millennia and military thinkers had seriously considered their use in warfare for since the time of the Ellian Homongeny.
But no one had ever accomplished such a feat before, much less attacked when gateways were the only avenue of approach. The armchair admiral societies of Richia had wargamed every aspect of a Nexus invasion since Elliankind was first contacted by the Owners. They have since concluded that the advantage lay solely with the defender and that the Nexus Gate provided a serious obstacle for both operational and logistical movements.
No warp-capable starship could navigate the atmospheric conditions of the Nexus interior and far more primitive aircraft had to be employed for such tasks. With this realisation, the Richian states launched an avid naval construction project to expand their fleets of spaceplanes in anticipation of a Nexus assault. Decades have passed and the relative silence of that front had drained much of that energy away. Until now, at least.
Miuteki's Carrier Brigade had been ordered to continue training operations for all aspects of the invasion except the initial entry. The Grand Commander wanted to keep their invasion plan as secret as possible to gain an advantage over their foes. While the other nations could potentially intercept the light as it radiated away from the system, but with every passing day, they would need more and more powerful telescopes to actually deduce any useful information. They had missed the prime time. The next opportunity was in a year.
The Captain leant forward and buried his face in his hands. It was a dangerous gamble. Without adequate training, there was no way any of his pilots could survive the carnage.
“Captain Miuteki?” A familiar voice asked tentatively. He looked up to see his aide, a white-haired Ellian girl, staring down at him with her big brown eyes. “Are you okay, Sir? You've been looking kind of depressed lately. Is everything alright?”
“I'm fine,” he replied, rubbing his forehead and sitting up, “I'm just tired.”
Her eyes flickered up and down for a second or two as she assessed his condition before she spoke again. “Let me know if something's troubling you, Sir,” she told him.
“I will," He agreed, "Thank you, Fuyuko.”
She gave him a small smile and turned toward the rear screen. “I'll get you some lunch,” she declared, “Good food always cheers you up.” And with that, she marched out of the room.
Once she was out of earshot, he slumped back down and buried his face in his palms again. “If only,” he lamented. His brigade! His poor carrier brigade! They'll cut it to ribbons!
Kashara, The Constellation of Richia
Naehaka's War Room, Kashara Military Headquarters
Grand Marshal Naehaka
The doors parted to admit a trio of men and women into Naehaka's War Room. Leading the party was a tall, pink-haired clone girl who gestured towards the staff officers at the centre of the room, obviously welcoming them inside. The other members of the group were far from Ellian, however. The first to enter was an impeccably groomed older gentleman, suit and tie gathered around his average stature smartly. Following closely behind him was a shorter lady whose cat ears poked out of her otherwise human hair.
"Mr Peter Williams, I presume?" Naehaka asked in fluent Standard, rising to his feet and extending his hand to the Dornalian in greeting. "It's a pleasure to meet you at last."
"From New Dornalia with love," the foreigner affirmed, taking the offered hand and shaking it warmly. He gestured briefly to his entourage and the cat-eared girl placed the large suitcase in her hands onto the table. "A small gift from my company," Williams explained, opening the briefcase and producing a bottle of liquor, "Consider it a token of goodwill. We do hope we can work together more in the future."
"Thank you for coming," the orange-haired grand marshal continued, quickly accepting the gift and handing it to his aide, "Now that you're here, we can finally start the invasion of Qora in earnest." He gestured to a nearby chair. "Please take a seat. You must be exhausted after such a long trip."
"Not at all," the Vice President of NORINCO replied, "If anything, it was a welcome change in scenery from my office. Your people have a way with buildings. They're quite..." He paused slightly as if searching for the right word. "Vast..."
Naehaka grinned foolishly. "Some civilisations build titanic vessels the size of mountains and consider them vast. Others build immense space stations the size of moons and call it vaster." He swept his hand towards the radiant orb outside the window - the red dwarf Kashara. "We Ellians built our own stars. The entire Constellation of Richia is artificial." He smiled again, far more sensibly this time. "But if you're looking for impressive architecture, the false star of Nexus ought to be particularly impressive... Speaking of which, how did you go with preparing the goods?"
"We've managed to build almost ten thousand gate segments since you placed the order a few weeks ago," Williams replied. Naehaka's eyebrows shot up in awe at the figure and a stunned silence settled upon the room. Even the fiery Furahani seemed impressed - or at least surprised
- by this development. Kashara might be able to launch almost eighty million battlecruisers a day from the system's trillions of shipyards and assembly lines, but gate technology remained firmly within the realm of science fiction for even the Kingdom's finest scientists.
"I must say though, our company was rather surprised by such a huge project," Williams continued, "We hadn't the infrastructure in place to handle the manufacturing, otherwise we would have made far more."
"I'm sure what you've given us is plenty," Naehaka said, "Your payment's already been prepared, though your fleet may need to remain in port for a few more days for us to load the materials." The Dornalian nodded in understanding. "If you could do us a favour though, since your drives are far faster than our own, we'd like you to ship half of your stock down to Nexus for us. Captain Miuteki will be waiting your arrival to collect the goods."
"Consider it done," Williams agreed, "Miss Santino?" The neko bowed slightly and excused herself from the room to make the call. She came back a few minutes later and nodded to her superior. Everything had been organised. The Dornalian shifted slightly in his seat. "Please excuse me," he began slowly, "the company usually doesn't ask its clients what they're going to do with our products, but your order is quite peculiar. If you don't mind me asking, Grand Marshal Naehaka, what on Earth are you planning to do with all those gates?"
"Well, that's a long story..."