Roleplay - The Invaders Attack:
Written by various players.
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Chapter 25: Remembrance


Good news may travel fast and wide as winds strong and hard,

Bad news will reach waiting ears quicker then the light of star.

- Que'Wagm Ta the Wise One (8708.5 E - 9682.9 E)

The sun was rising, draping the City in a light orange glow, unreal and wondrous in its colouring. To a stranger the streets may have seemed under the rule of an early curfew, yet to those fortunate enough to call themselves residents of this magnificent City, the silence of the empty streets had a deep and profound meaning.

The light of the rising star had the plastered walls bathing in an almost magical light, majestic buildings seemed to rise up from the ground, trying to reach even higher towards the sky, propelled by their desire to feel the morning light upon their outer walls, yet others among these sturdy creations seemed to bow to both the light and their high-reaching superiors, allowing those to shine even brighter upon the view of the skyline.

The characteristic pointed dual towers - Honour and Loyalty - dominated this skyline, reaching further towards the clouds then anything else in sight, and seemed to do yet another attempt to touch the stars under which they slept every night again.

The streets, which were normally filled with people around this hour, were now empty as if the City had been abandoned by those that loved it the most.

Banners hung low, gently rocking their cloth bodies upon the subtle morning breeze. The gates of the City were open - they always were, due to an automated system which only closed them in case of an alien invasion or a natural disaster, both which hadn't happened in many decades.

Apart from the noise of the automated transportation system, the City was held captive by silence.

Padeen City, in all its splendour and glory, lay in the morning sun as if she as a relic of an ancient past untouched. Nothing like that would explain the silence in the normally so exuberant City, for she was, as countless of her sisters across the vast empire, in mourning.

Every city and town in the Federation looked the same that morning, and would look the same for an entire week.

Slowly the travellers made their way through the curving streets, careful not to disturb the seemingly peaceful silence that seemed to rule them.

Quietly they approached their destination in the utmost centre of the immense City, and again they noticed the many banners hanging low, as they had seen before when they had entered the City through its gates from the south passage, and in the various streets which they had passed through. The low hanging banners, as they knew, were a custom of the people that they would call their hosts for the coming days, a custom they were eager to honour.

Although the planet was well equipped with the joys of anti-gravity propelled public transport - which was automatically operated - the travellers had come by foot, at least, from the site where they had been given permission to land their starship. They had travelled in this manner in respect for their goal and their destination.

At last the company of travellers reached their destination: the Great Hall. They climbed the stairs, and the first of the strangers knocked on the Kotar-wood (which is indigenous to Padeen) of the door. This resulted into a deep baritone drumming sound resonating from - as it seemed - within the ancient wood. The carvings on the doors were decorative, yet quite functional at the same time, a rare combination.

Many years ago the finest craftsmen in the City dedicated a year of their lives to creating these doors, and it was considered the crowning achievement upon building the Great Hall.

After a few moments, there was movement: access had been granted to the travellers and the doors slowly opened just enough to let the tired strangers enter this great sanctuary. After the group entered the Hall, the doors once more closed, leaving no trace that they had ever given access to anyone or anything.

Inside, the strangers shed their travelling clothes. Instantly they became old friends to those gathered in the Hall, for now they were recognised.

Many familiar faces were there, many old friends, yet also people that had barely ever met each other had come here with a common destination, a shared goal: Remembrance.

As all took their seat, an old Plexxan stood up and made his way to the end of the Great Hall, where he was to hold his welcoming speech.

As the sound system kicked in, and the Plexxan, whose face was now visible on a large screen behind him, started to speak, everyone turned their attention to him.

"We are here to remember an ally, a leader, a fighter, but above all a dear friend, one that is no longer in our midst." Behind the old Plexxan, who all now recognised as StarRaider, a picture appeared on the screen. It was a face that all knew: the face of a fallen warrior, a legend as there were many in the Galaxy: President John A. Howard.

After StarRaider finished his speech, many people came forward to share their condolences with the Plexxans, to remember their most fondest stories of the one Remembered.

At some point, Prophet of Sin stepped forward to tell those gathered in the Great Hall the story which made him remember Howard the most.

The skinny Plexxan Captain stood, tall as he was and spoke in a soft and somewhat shaky voice. "I remember Howard, when I was stationed here in Padeen City as a guard and escort for the diplomats that came to visit and talk with him. One day, during the time that the Federation had some serious disagreements with the Union, and the friction was so bad that war was close, the Union government sent a diplomat. That diplomat was a spokesperson, a messenger."

Faintly one could hear some laughter and some snickering in the Hall, because most of the people there knew Howard's opinion on the use of messengers all too well. Sending him a messenger with a diplomatic offer was something you only did once, but never, never again.

Prophet went on: "The Slah'ke was tall and very proud, too proud in my opinion. I escorted him to the Presidential Office, and let him in. The Slah'ke made his way to Howard's working quarters, and - as I later found out by reviewing the security camera tapes - positioned himself right across the Presidents desk, right on top of an old rug. As a proud Slah'ke should, he made demands, he told Howard to do something, something that the Federation would never do, and offered something utterly ridiculous in return."

"Long story short, next thing I know, Howard is dragging the Slah'ke by his tail out the door onto the street, publicly humiliating the Overlords messenger. Then he rounds up the entire Slah'ke diplomatic staff currently working and living in the building of the Slah'ke Embassy and ends up kicking him back into the nearest cargo vessel. Needless to say, that transport vessel just happened to make a one way trip back to Proxima."

Laughter ensued in the Great Hall.

As Prophet of Sin stepped down, one of the strangers - Marc7005 stepped up, and started to speak - using the artificial voice-amplifier built into his Encounter suit - and talked about how he and Howard met.

Long memories, old stories, and many good - and some less then good - jokes were told, shared by all who had attended.

Many people followed and spoke of their memories, positive and negative. Although Remembrance usually is a sad moment, a sad day for all attending, it seemed that the people gathered to Remember the old Captain and President found more then just a bit of comfort in this gathering. Representation of the Union was unsurprisingly very absent.

At some point during the Remembrance, a very old Terran Admiral stood up, and shared the story he wished to share.

His time-worn voice was barely heard to Plexxan ears as he spoke of John A. Howard.

"Many, many years ago, the Empire was at war with the Federation, a war in which I as young and inexperienced Captain fought. It was the first war in which Howard had been given command of a war fleet. Terran forces were assaulting the then Federation owned - and in our point of view rightfully our property - Procyon, and making good progress."

"We had a massive fleet consisting of about a hundred Invincibles and a few hundred Type-74s, G-66's and some assorted vessels as our assault force, a fleet several times of what the Federation could muster at that moment. As we were moving in on Procyon I after successfully laying waste to a few of the asteroids, the Federation defensive forces arrived in the system, under command of Howard."

A small pause, the old man seemed to be catching his breath. "Off course, our forces turned their attention to the defenders by chancing course to intercept the enemy fleet. This fleet was small in comparison of ours, barely 30% of our numbers. That day, the Federation finally managed to really strike back in defending what was theirs. That battle saw the birth of several tactics that now are being studied all throughout the Galaxy as classic Federation strategy, as well as used and applied by many fleets in battle. Those tactics are of the hand of our dear departed friend, foe, ally and enemy. On that day, they were brand new, and more then just effective against our forces. That battle turned the tide of our war, wiped out a large portion of our entire fleet, only a few ships of the assault force made it out of Procyon that day, and set the Federation on the galactic map of power to recon with. Howard's name was suddenly known throughout the Empire, and hated for that matter. I have the deepest respect for him, for his military accomplishments, his ability, his honour, and his sheer love for a good battle. I salute you, you old Plexxan troublemaker! May you rest in peace."

The old man smiled at the picture of the recently deceased as he started to walk off the stage, at a pace that made a Terran snail look fast.

Some of the leaders that were present quietly discussed how that the Allied forces should cope with the rest of the war, but as was to be expected, no real decisions were made at that time.

The Federation mourned for another four days, and then started to prepare slowly for the upcoming elections: a new President was needed. In the mean time, Federation forces kept fighting, together with their allies.

One thing remained unclear to the Plexxan military leadership though: what had been the faith of Bloodred Death?

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