Your Task Will Not Be Easy…

Palace of Eternal Flight
Highspire
Planet Attica
Elysian Sovereignty
“I am worried, Solon.”

The Czar of the Elysians looked out over his capital from the private office at the top of Highspire, eyes drinking in the sight of the sun setting in the distance, city lights slowly coming alive to replace the fading sunlight.

“Sire?” Solon stirred from his position looking over a holographic sphere of Elysium. The months of stress had worn away much of the decorum that had once existed between them. There was still a distance; that could never truly be erased. What was once a relationship between god and worshipper had become more of one between a commander and their soldier. An insurmountable barrier of class and rank existed, but it was tempered by a mutual suffering, an understanding that could be not be explained to those who had not experienced what had forged that previously unthinkable bond.

“The pups have been silent.”

“Lord, interstellar war takes time. Their economy is not so large as to spring up a replacement battlefleet within days. We know a replacement fleet is massing, but still out of place for a strike. There are some new designs that are part of the fleet, mostly just replacements for lost ships. Some more dreadnoughts, more carriers, fewer lighter escorts. It’s slightly stronger than their last strike, but we are much stronger as well. Our defenses we will tear them apart.”

Czar Nova Scion shifted some on his feet. “What I mean is that our contacts have gone silent, not that our intelligence has heard nothing. The raiders we funded have stopped reporting to us. Our spies in the corporations have been purged. Others have simply cut of contact and disappeared into the night. The few that remain council us ‘not yet’. And this does not concern you?”

The room seemed to drop a few degrees in just those short moments as his concerns were laid bare.

Were it someone else, they would have been cowed by the tone of the Czar’s words. Solon had spent months as the direct instrument of His will, and it would take more than veiled concerns to make him shrink back.

Solon brought up a fresh overlay on the sphere, highlighting interwoven rings of defenses. “Your admirals have studied how the deWulf have assaulted planets, ours included. We have layers of defensive fire, enough that even their own drone bombardment cannot saturate. Our already formidable missile batteries are being augmented, though slower than planned. Combined with the expanded gunboat bases, we can all but guarantee local space superiority. With our newly rebuilt orbital yards, we can start building new capital ships and get ready to go on the offensive.”

“Ah yes, ‘the offensive’. That thing our admirals have been promising since… oh yes. Since we were driven back into our home system.”

“Fundamentally we have the advantage there, my Lord.” Solon took in a deep breath as he continued. “Thanks to our efforts, we have identified no fewer than three separate routes into deWulf space in addition to the path through their colony. Once we have a strike force worked up, we can send out multiple reconnaissance ships and strike wherever they are weakest. They don’t have the fleet power to picket all the approaches in force and still have a strike force that can even approach what they think they’ll need to hit Elysium.”

“And their drone bombardment?”

“Our admirals are puzzled that they haven’t used that tactic against us, but the reason is, we feel, perfectly clear. With our gunboats, we can threaten anything in our immediate vicinity. And the only time the deWulf used that tactic was against a planet that couldn’t project any firepower beyond their PDCs. Freighters are remarkably fragile, and based on our calculations it would take them almost a week to deploy the same amount of drones. And that still doesn’t address the raw challenges in managing that many drones in a combat situation.” Solon relaxed at that. Drone bombardment was a significant threat, but their gunboats combined with the thick PD belt could shrug off anything the deWulf could throw. The math just didn’t lie. “If they are fools to try that, then it would be a total waste of resources and entirely to our advantage.”

“Regardless of how well protected you feel we are Solon, I want our intelligence network rebuilt in the pups empire. When children are quiet, it means bigger problems are coming.” Czar Scion turned almost imperceptibly, still looking out the window at some distant detail. “We may only be seeing what they wish us to…”

“Sire?”

“You have work to do, Solon. And it cannot be done with you standing here.”

“Of course my Lord.”

With a silent bow and the soft flutter of his wings, Solon bowed deeply before turning and heading out of the private office to set further wheels in motion.

The Czar continued to look out at the constellation of lights that was His capital city, the last rays of the setting sun melting into darkness. As his eyes watched the glow at that distant horizon melt into nothing he could not help but feel that here was the apotheosis of his rule. All that remained was the ending he intended to write.

And he would write it.

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