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Space bent, then tore to disgorge great ships of shimmering metal, energy fields and menace.  Ten, twenty, thirty; they poured out of the spatial rent, a wave of silver riding their momentum from hyperspace.  Then the ships in the vanguard were shifting as gravity bending real space drives were activated and particle shielding reinforced before they began to move to the nearby planet, a dirty brown and blue ball that hung awkwardly in space.

‘And so it begins!’  Vice-Admiral Vit Barkada grimly thought as the shimmer of her flagship’s shielding washed over the bridge’s primary display before fading to clear.  In regulation pearl gray, she was a lean, isolated figure that stood on the bridge’s elevated command dais, hands clasped behind her back as below her the crew worked with calculated chaos to prepare the Agganon Aggregate battle cruiser God’s Hammer for battle.

There the Hammer’s captain, a veteran of the Aggregate’s devastating Rim Wars, was issuing terse commands, insuring the powerful battle cruiser was positioned for maximum efficacy, her sensor pods sweeping space ahead of them.  Thinking of the Rim Wars tightened Barkada’s expression, as they represented the single most destructive period experienced by the Aggregate.

Fought over a period of 150 years, the Aggregate had been forced to fend off wave after wave of invasion from no less than four separate species.  They had succeeded, but at a horrible price.  Millions had died, dozens of planets rendered uninhabitable.  The fleet was here to make sure that never happened again.

“The enemy’s disposition, captain?”  She asked in a quiet voice that reached every corner of the half-moon shaped bridge.

Looking up from her tactical officer’s station the captain faced Barkada just as the bridge’s main display showed the planet’s single satellite swinging into view from the far side, and into scanning range.

“We’ve detected activated defenses in place, admiral.”  She reported in clipped, efficient words.  “Dug in emplacements on the satellite and heavy orbital defenses, including weapon platforms and strike-kill rocket batteries.  We’ll be within targeting range in ten tana.”

Barkada nodded, her expression softening to one of satisfaction. 

“Compliments to navigation on an excellent traverse, captain.”  She said, her hands coming out of the small of her back to reveal a long, pale white ceramic cylinder in her fingers.  It was a sealed definitive order scrip, holding direct orders from the Silver Council.  Their journey complete, she was now required to open it, and read what the Silver Council required of her command so far away from home.  Before she could wrap her long fingers around the scrip’s seal, however, another voice spoke.

 “With the traverse complete, our orders are clear, vice-admiral.”  The quiet voice pointed out from a few paces behind her.  Barkada barely resisted the impulse to draw her sidearm and shoot the speaker, the Hammer’s erstwhile resolution officer, in the face.  Put on board to make sure the Silver Council’s will was enforced regardless of the situation, resolution officers were on every ship in the fleet.  None, however, directly questioned their superior's every decision like this one did.  And so, Barkada hated her.

Military her entire life, Barkada had served the Agganon Aggregate and its leaders, the Silver Council with honor.  That service saw her rising to prominence during the Rim Wars, and the subsequent Vreesh’tak Rebellion, and granted a flag commission to her a full ten years before any other high command officer.  And so Barkada was perfect for this mission, capable of commanding fleets and soldiers with precision and determination while far a-field.  Judging by her attitude and discourse, however, the resolution officer didn’t share the admiral’s sense of accomplishment.

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