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Planet Ja-Gorr, Lor Colony, Edge of Lor Space

Earth Year: 2015

 

Ja-Gorr could be best described as an arid planet. Not quite a desert planet, as it wasn't all sand everywhere but definately an arid and inhospitable planet. Discovered by the Lor decades ago it mostly languished in obscurity, a backwater, until the events of the Communion excursion brought new blood to the planet; people fleeing the mechanical horrors. Unfortunately, the peace of Ja-Gorr is about to be shattered, as recent excavations have begun uncovering priceless artifacts and attracted the attention of those who would desire them.

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Starhunter-Class Za'akis Ship, Toh'krev

 

Hovering above the planet, the Starhunter-class ship, a multi-purpose battleship and a mainstay in any Za'akis fleet waited silently. Inside, however, it wasn't so silent. Far from it, in fact. Dark and cramped, with a lighting set for Za'akis eyes, the ship was filled the sound of rowdy Za'akis warriors. On the bridge, it's captain was observing the planet surface, half in contemplation half in chewing on some meat.

 

The door to the bridge slid open and a figure walked in. "I assume by now you've sent your men on the planet, Voltark?" asked the figure, dressed in somber robes, unlike the armor of the others. The figure was carriying a staff, like a badge of office. Of course inside the staff were weapons but that was to be expected from the warrior race; even bureaucrats and officials were armed to kill.

 

"It's CAPTAIN Voltark, need I remind you!" Roared the captain, pivoting on his chair. "Or do you wish to challenge my position?" He said, snarling and showing rows of yellowed teeth. The bridge staff glanced at them briefly, before turning back to monitor their stations. It wasn't worth their attention. Unless a fight actually occured, that is.

 

"No of course not." Politely replied the official, smirking. "I have no intent in becoming a captain. I like my current work just fine." He chuckled, fully aware that he didn't need to yell or roar to make himself look feared. Not every confrontation had to be resolved by a brutal display of force. There were other means to assert dominance. "Yes, they're down on the planet. I'm expecting a report soon, we'll see if what they've found is what we need. Then, maybe...maybe we will reform the Empire."

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Unknown Ship in orbit of Ja-Gorr

 

Unknown to the Za'akis, a second ship was in orbit, hidden behind one of Ja-Gorr's three moons

It's crew was composed of gangly tan-and-grey vaguely insectoid aliens with quills on their back. However, their leader was humanoid, possibly a Lor offshoot. Touching a metallic orb, the alien entered a trance. "Everything is proceeding well, my mistress. We have encountered some- y-yes, I know, any trouble will be dealt with I- Y-yes, no. No. No need to worry, my Queen, they will not get in our way." The alien said, with great fear in his voice.

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Orbit of Ja-Gorr

 

Finally, a third ship arrived in orbit of Ja-Gorr: Corona's ship. The Outback Overwatch Patrol & Survey had sent her there to investigate information that unknown artifacts had been recovered on the border world and colony of Ja-Gorr. According to the initial report, they appear to be incredibly ancient terraforming devices, something people are quite eager to get their hands on following the events of the Incursion. Once there, her ship's sensor immediately picked up a ship in orbit, belonging to a race sometimes associated with the Stellar Khanate, the Za'akis.

Edited by RobRX

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Aya K'zan sat in the pilot's chair in trim Navy blues, waiting patiently as the Nomad II dropped out of warp. The jump had been precisely calculated to the thousandth digit, and she appeared in high orbit around Ja-Gorr. Surprisingly, the sensor board lit up almost at once, with one large contact painted a bright crimson. Aya considered what the ship was telling her, her usual frown deepening as she did so. The Lor officer flicked open another set of commands, quickly opening up a comms channel between herself and the Za'akis ship.

 

"Za'akis ship, this is Aya K'zan of the office of the Lor Republic Outback Overwatch Patrol & Survey. This planet is claimed by the Lor Republic. Identify yourself and your cargo." While she waited for a reply, the Lor stood up and walked over to a cabinet set into the side of the cockpit. She unsealed it with a quick palm swipe, revealing her battered but functional space armor. She doubted the Za'akis ship was a simple trader.

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GM

 

"This is Voltark of Clan Rugash, Captain of the Starhunter Toh'krev." said the figure, revealing itself to be an hairless, green-skinned humanoid with a ridged forehead, it's face covered in scars. Not exactly the prettiest face this side of the sector, that was certain. Judging by his cracked and worn skin, he wasn't young. Far from it, this Za'akis was past his prime, which only made him more dangerous if someone of his age was still in command. Either he was extremely skilled and ruthless or he commanded great respect from his crew. "As for my cargo, well this is a warship as you might imagine. However I am not here to fight, I am here for the acquisition of vital ressources in the name of my Great Clan. As you might have noticed, I have powered down my weapons as a token of good faith as long as you allow me to continue the business I have to attend to on this planet."

 

"Allow me to do the talking." Said a second figure, this one dressed in robes and carrying a staff and clearly a smoother talker than the blunt captain. "These are official business from our Great Clan or House as might sometimes hear outsiders call them. We are simply here to acquire goods, I assure you none of our crewmates have started any act of violence more dire than a few bar brawls."

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Corona frowned at the reply, finishing the buckles on her cuisse before answering. "Well the Lor Navy has no records about a Za'akis ship comin' in for supplies or tradin' or anything else." She paused a moment, then added, "You can sit tight in high orbit while I go have a chat with the Magistrate. If'n this is a fair deal, then there's no problems from anyone. You hear me?" She never planned for things to go smoothly, and with Za'akis in the equation it was especially unlikely, but she still hoped that everyone would be reasonable and sensible this trip. The Navy was likely to chew her out if she destroyed another shuttle.

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GM

 

"Well, I'll assume you have no intent of cutting short my troop's shore leave on this planet, correct?" Said the captain, half-smug half irritated at the prospect of having to deal with constraining Lor bureaucracy. "In the meantime, we will remain in orbit but do not make us wait any longer than it is necessary. Glory to your ancestors and glory to the empires-which-were! Voltark out!" The alien saluted and cut communication. One had to admit that 'empires-which-were' wasn't all that impressive and, in fact, a little depressing to say but the alien still said it with convinction no matter how shameful the fact was.

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Aya narrowed her eyes as the captain's surprisingly solicitous words rang in the quiet cockpit. Her few encounters with Za'akis had warned her that any attempt to order them around would end in violence, but this one was being downright... helpful. It set off all sorts of alarms in her head, but she couldn't very well fly over and arrest a captain for being polite. Instead she sat in her pilot's chair, her helmet sitting in a chair just behind her, the rest of her suit snapped into place and reporting green functions across the board. It was child's play to ping the local control tower and get an approach vector for the local spaceport.

She circled the area twice and it slowly dawned on her that calling it a spaceport might be aggrandizing it. It was mostly just a collection of prefabricated platforms with a few buildings standing around it. She didn’t see any structure in the settlement over three stories tall, and altogether it seemed dirty and dirt-poor. Aya wondered if the local magistrate worked out of an office or the bar.

Her shuttle settled on a pad and she walked down the gangway, helmet under her arms. She wasn’t inclined to linger on a backward planet like this, and a Za’akis warship in orbit just made her more vigorous in her work.

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GM

 

As soon as Anya got there, something immediately stood out. While it was true that this was a Lor republic colony and as such very cosmopolitan, some of the beings in the crowd immediately stood out as completely out of place. Amongst the crowd of Lor and other various humanoids, tall and gangly insectoid creatured could be seen. Measuring a good head taller than Corona at the very least, they were covered in a brown and beige exoskeleton, with a few of them going toward a more grey color. Long sharp quills protuded from their back and their faces were nothing but a mass of interlocking plates and mandibules. Given the cybernetic weaponry grafted to their bodies, these aliens were most definately not tourists. However they weren't bothering anyone it seemed and were simply idly wandering around the spaceport and market. As one passed near her, she could hear it 'speak': "[seven short clicks followed by three long, low clicks]"

 

The magistrate's office was one of the few buildings which didn't look as bare-bone as the rest. However upon close inspection, it looked as if the structure was only half-finished. Clearly it had been planned for further expansion down the line but had been left unfinished for reasons currently eluding Corona. One could presume it had simply been left like that because there were other priorities.

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Aya gave the chitinous aliens a hard look, evaluating the weapons grafted on and into their flesh. Lor worlds welcomed all species -- well, nearly all -- but some planets were predominantly Lor. To see so many of another species so prominent, and so prominently armed, on a Lor colony was unusual. and it pricked her investigator’s senses. She had a different job to do here, though, and as long as the creatures didn’t attack her she wasn’t going to bother them.

She approached the magistrate’s offices, barging straight through the front door like she owned the place. The interior looked as half-finished and misused as the exterior; she grabbed a flunky running from one room to the next. “I’ve got some business to be getting on with the magistrate of this here planet,†she said. “I’d appreciate it if you could point me in the proper direction.â€

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"Yes, well the local magistrate..." Muttered the poor purple-haired Lor, a bit lost that something was actually hapenning on this backwater planet. Well that and being bossed around by someone acting like they owned the place. Presumably that had to hint it was someone important. She pointed with her finger:

 

"Third door to your left. Yes, third door. I...I suppose you're here about the excavation? Only reason anyone would bother with this place unless they're a refugee."

Edited by RobRX

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Aya let the harried bureaucrat go, making a beeline to the door she had pointed out. There wasn’t to suggest that a powerful individual made deals and world-shaking decisions behind it; she didn’t approve. If this planet was heavily colonized by other races, they needed to be reminded who they were talking to when they came to see the magistrate.

She never broke stride when she hit the door, going straight through it and into the magistrate’s office. She glanced around quickly as she introduced herself. “Aya K’zan, agent of the outback Overwatch an’ Patrol survey,†she said. “I understand someone here found somethin’ interesting.â€

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GM

 

The magistrate, a lumpy-looking Lor, nodded at Aya. "Welcome to Ja-Gorr. And yes, we've found something. When we were excavating the badlands, looking for ressources underground, we uncovered several artifacts of unknown origin. Most of them were damaged beyond repair but our recent scans have exposed several large, apparently still-functionnal devices. They appear to be environment-altering devices. I had to notify the Overwatch Patrol."

 

The inside of his office was rather bare, safe for a few personnal posessions and some old broken metallic devices. Presumably some of the excavated ones, those damaged beyond repair. "Yes." He said, noting her observing the device. "This is one of the small ones but we aren't sure if these were complete devices on their own or stray parts."

 

"I will get to the meat of the problem now; the Za'akis in orbits claim these devices belong to them. That Ja-Gorr was apparently a Za'akis outpost in their so-called 'golden age', over a thousand years ago." The lumpy man sighed, visibly stressed by the presence and request of these aggressive aliens.. "As you might imagine, they are very keen on obtaining these devices. Of course they haven't attacked the colony and I am glad about that but they simply refuse to take no for an answer. According to their official representative they claim they need this device to 'save their empire' or some such. Not that they've had any empire in a long time, to my knowledge."

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Aya moved to the devices, picking one up and turning it over in her hands. She wasn’t an engineer, she had no way to determine how the machinery worked, but it gave her something to do while she thought about the problem. She had fought alongside Za’akis in the war, and she didn’t like the notion of of fighting them here. Maybe if she had a battlecruiser of her own in orbit, but with the tiny shuttle she had been granted the fight would be over before it started. “The Za’akis don’t rightly have an empire no more,” she said, squaring her shoulders, “but I can jaw with th’ captain. If they can help us get all this junk workin’ again, maybe we can work somethin’ out between us.”

She put the piece back and turned to face the magistrate again. “I’ve got another question for you to answer. What kinda folk are those bug-folk? I’ve never laid eyes on their kind.”

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GM

"Oh they...." The Lor looked around, his nervosity seemingly increasing tenfold. "Travellers from what I understand. Nomads. Perhaps from the edge of the galaxy, in the regions far beyond the influence of the republic. Y-yes, they're not from this sector of space. They don't interact much with us, we know so little about them."

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Aya’s eyes narrowed fractionally. The magistrate was scared, almost panicked, and the absolute Lor authority on a planet should never be anything but self-assured and collected. Something was obviously very, very wrong. “Well if’n they stay quiet I guess we don’t really need to go pokin’ that hive,” she said. She paused to watch the magistrate’s reaction, then added, “But as a member of the Outback Overwatch Patrol an’ Survey, it is my duty to make contact an’ learn about new alien species. I’ll search out their heads, once I’ve sorted the Za’akis out.” She fixed the magistrate with a hard stare. “I’ll be needin’ to utilize your comms to do that.”

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GM

He nodded at her, sinking a bit into his chair under Corona's gaze: "O-of course. Do what you need. As for the Za'akis presence I must say, in all honesty, we've been rather fortunate, I was expecting much higher collateral damage beyond a few broken things. The fact is, their ship in orbit could pose a threat to use down here. What was it called, a...Starhunter class? They're the mainstay of their fleets. Heavily armed, designed to operate equally as well as solo killships or as part of a squadron. Fortunately nothing of the sort hapenned, so I will be more than glad if you can settle matters without a single shot fired."

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Aya sniffed harshly, putting the gizmo back. “The Za’akis wouldn’t dare fire a shot at a Lor planet,” she reassured the magistrate, “even one like this. They’re just bluffin’.” She followed an aide to the comms center, a small room crowded with beeping machinery. While the comms tech tried to establish contact with the Za’akis warship, she racked her brain for the name of the name of the lead Za’akis. Finally, she got a thumbs up from the comms tech and toggled her own headset on. “Cap’n Voltrak, this is Aya K’zan. I’ve had a chat with th’ magistrate and as I understand the lay of it, we’ve got a Za’akis artifact on this planet? Do you have any evidence of this?”

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GM

"Aya of the K'zan." Replied the captain. "I'm hearing from you quite soon. That is indeed correct, we have claims on the artifacts found on this planet and we would like to have them returned to us! If you have the time, come on board. I'm sure, as a Lor, you are required to endlessly talk to me about protocols regarding the acquisition of offworld items. As much as I would consider that a waste of time, I must avoid misunderstandings here. Now I'm certain you might be worried about coming aboard our ship but there's no need for fear about a discussion between two civillized beings." He said, the last part of his speech mildly mocking in tone althought it was hard to tell if it was self-deprecation, with him calling himself uncivilized or him calling the Lor the uncivillized one. There wasn't much written about that species' sense of humour or if they even had one.

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Aya’s senses were tingling. Za’akis were not supposed to be this helpful; they were supposed to be rampaging and yelling and tearing things apart. On the other hand, if these Za’akis did become flesh-tearing maniacs then they would roll over this planet, so maybe she shouldn’t be looking a gift horse in the mouth. “I’ll be right on up,” she said. “Make sure th’ papers are ready.”

 

The agent stalked out of the magistrate’s office, pausing to let his secretary know where she would be headed. Her shuttle hadn’t even cooled down and was still ticking and sizzling on the landing pad as she stalked up the ramp. In no time at all she was in space again, approaching the Za’akis ship and requesting an empty berth.

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GM

The inside of the Za'akis ship certainly reflected a warrior culture. It was tight and spartan. However at first glance the lighting seemed a tad too dark, almost making it seem like it would be counterproductive to have a warship where people can't see well but anyone with familiarity with the species would know they can see the heat of objects and people. Presumably they had no issue navigating inside their ship. Corona found herself greeted by four armored aliens, presumably Za'akis but it was hard to tell given their full body armor. "The Captain will see you in his ready room, Lor. Follow me."

Edited by RobRX

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Aya carefully maneuvered her shuttle into its assigned berth. She didn't want to so much as scratch the paint on the decking; she didn't want to give the Za'akis any reason to break whatever fragile, freakish peace that had taken hold here. The Lor paused at the threshold, her hand hovering over the door controls. Every instinct she had was screaming at her to run and call in a battlefleet and hide while the marines duked it out with the Za'akis. She couldn't though; this was the one chance she had to keep these barbarians from overrunning the planet and slaughtering every one of the civilians down there.

She walked out into the hallway, keeping her head up and her gaze steady. She couldn't afford to show weakness or fear in front of the Za'akis, not if she wanted to come back with her head on her shoulders. She did give a quick glance at the quartet of soldiers. Apparently the Captain didn't quite trust her yet. "Show me where to, then," she said, falling in line behind them as the little party marched off.

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GM

Navigating the somewhat narrow corridors, the Lor caught glimpses of the crew outside of their armor. A few of them were from other races but most of them were indeed Za'akis; which is to say green and blue humanoids with saurian-esque crests on their heads and, looking closer, continuing down their spines. Corona spotted several ones which she figured were female, but with them it is always hard to tell at first glance. Either way they seemed as unfriendly and battle-hardened as the males.

Corona arrived at the bridge and was taken to a door to the left of it, which led to a few stairs, taking her to a level above the bridge, the captain's ready rooom. "Aya of the K'zan. We meet, in the flesh." Said the captain, sitting at his desk. All around the room, gruesome trophies decorated it; skulls of what Corona presumed to be dead animals, but it was possible some were actually sentient beings. Or had been, anyway. Weapons of all kind on the walls and a rug made from some immense red-furred beast. "I assume it is customary to ask you to take a seat? To be perfectly honest, I am not sure if you Lor make it a custom to sit without being asked. What can I said, I'm an old man and my head is full of old rituals and customs."

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Aya followed the guard silently, but her eyes swiveled around constantly, peering into corners and willing herself to see through the gloom. Once she was presented before the Za’akis captain and the guards had left, she acknowledged him with a slow nod and looked around for a place to sit. Unsettlingly, there didn’t seem to be any piece of furniture that wasn’t made of bone, or leather, or chitin, or something that used to be alive. Failing at that, she perched on the edge of a chair made of curved, white bone. “There’s probably some procedure we should be doin,’” Aya admitted, waving her hand airily. “Let’s get to work. You have a yearnin’ for those terraforming devices on the planet. The Lor have a pressin’ need for them likewise. So, how do we know these widgets belong to the Za’akis?”

Edited by Raveled

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GM

"Simple. Ja-Gorr used to be a Za'akis colony. It's that simple. There is nothing else to it; we were here before the Lor were, so by right what is on this planet belong to us." He said, pouring himself a foul-smelling drink, colored an odious slimy green. "I would offer you a drink but half of what we eat or drink is poisonous to the Lor but if you want I can get a you a drink or meal that will mesh better with your biology." The old Za'akis chugged down what he had just poured. As soon as he was done, he started pouring himself another 'shot' of...whatever the hell that was.

"You probably don't believe me. It is fine. There is no need for dishonesty between us."

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"I'm stocked on grub," Aya said truthfully, not mentioning that most of it was ration bars and reclaimed sweat. "I'm mighty interested in how you reckon this is a Za'akis world, though. There aren't records of a Za'akis empire of any sort. An' the Za'akis aren't really known for technical innovation, pardon my Lor. So how did your old 'empire' come up with these gizmos?" She perched on the edge of her chair; she was putting a lot of energy into keeping her expression neutral, but she had some idea that she was baiting a bull. A Za'akis who parked a warship over a Lor world must have courage and pride and certainty in his actions. If she pushed him too far, she'd have to fight her way back to her shuttle.

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GM

"Wether or not we had an 'empire' depends on which historian you ask. You see, over...I believe two millenia ago we were a pre-spaceflight civilization. We had just been united by a conqueror when aliens arrived and then uplifted us. We became part of their empire and when theirs collapsed, we entered our own golden age of sort and spread across the stars. Wether or not it was an empire depends, as I said, on who you ask. There was a figurehead, an emperor but as I have said, people will debate how much of an empire it truly was as we were spread rather thin. That is why there isn't much 'Za'akis space' to speak of, it's semi-isolated planets and systems ruled by clans who are often quite belligerent to each others." He took another shot of his grub. "As they should be." The captain added, strangely content with this state of semi-permanent warfare. Presumably something about 'keeping sharp'.

"By the time the Lor had reached the stars we were very much in the current state you see us. As for technological advancement, there is a certain sense of complacency amongst my people; we have enough knowledge left to us by the Delaztri empire. I'm not sure you've heard of them, but they were a pre-Lor galacity society of which few records are left of. They are the ones who uplifted us. As for the rest, outside of technologies applied to warfare and survival in hostile environment, we tend to reverse engineer." Or perhaps steal or take as spoils of war, Aya presumed. Take something neat, take it apart and build more. Why bother inventing? "Ja-Gorr was indeed a Za'akis colony but only for a time. When the Delaztri found it they deemed it a bit too difficult to make us of, too dry the story says. I can see today's Lor colonist have similar problems. So they gave it to us, as our population was growing. Then...well the details on the fall of the Delaztri are unfortunately scarce. Or were, until recent event."

The old Za'akis looked Aya in the eyes. "We've all seen them now, haven't we? The Communion."

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