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September 2, 128882

Nien’van Sho’tugo System (Hef’ben Region)

Tien vo Sha’cani

“Take us down,” Oasu’kli ordered as she floated with one hand on the command tree for balance…which was completely unnecessary with the inertial dampeners in the aquatic assault ship, but she’d never gotten out of the habit.

The Elarioni watched the forward vid screen as the view tilted and the orange/green oceans on the planet below rose up to dominate the sky as the flat oval of a ship began descending rapidly into the thick atmosphere toward one of many engagement zones as other recently arrived Jaws-class assault ships dropped on their own volition as Clan Cookie warships covered for them against the Hadarak swarms still in orbit.

The two Wardens that had assaulted this system were already dead, but the troops they’d brought into the system were not. Many special Insertion-class warship minions had circumvented the major space battle and raced out to three inhabited planets in the system. Two of those had already been purged, but the aquatic one was not. Star Force had not yet been able to get evacuation ships here, nor had they initially tried, because this was a V’kit’no’sat system, and it was assumed they’d be able to evacuate themselves.

Most of the groundpounders had, but the mix of aquatic races here did not have the necessary transports to leave and since the original V’kit’no’sat empire was now pretty much a fractured free for all, they weren’t getting the assistance of the empire…rather being left to live or die by their own merits.

But Ivan-029 was having none of it, and he’d sent one of his Clan task forces to preserve as much of the remaining population as possible…yet now that the Hadarak had got their specialized minions into the water and they were reproducing exceedingly fast, orbital bombardment was not going to solve the issue. That meant aquatic combat was necessary, and Clan Cookie didn’t have enough available aquatics troops on its own to get the job done.

Hence the call to the Star Force Elarioni…who had immediately responded.

Oasu’kli floated on the bridge of the 15 mile wide Jaws disc with her command crown fitted snugly to her blue head with her deep red hair flowing down over it whenever she moved forward, but right now she held on to the branch-like control web that the Elarioni used rather than flat consoles. Combined with the mental interlink through her crown, Oasu’kli could command her crew, the troops onboard, and contact other ships in the relief fleet that had recently detached from the spine-like jump cradle that had brought the aquatics ships here in closely packed racks. They were all space-capable, but not built for interstellar jumps. Instead they were meant to land in or above oceans and act as bases of operation rather than do any real fighting, considering their size often exceeded that of the part of the oceans they were landing in.

Her ship descended rapidly, picking up some fireballs along the forward shield arc until it slowed rapidly and leveled out again, taking fire from some Hadarak minion emplacements rising up above the water from the ‘lilly pads’ they were attached to…but the Jaws was too well shielded to care, and it came down right over them and smoked them out of existence with the few ‘space’ weapons it had onboard. Afterwards it settled down into the water without touching bottom, having to rely on running its anti-grav constantly to keep from smashing the ocean and creating a giant tidal wave. Instead it sank in a few hundred meters and stopped, exposing the ventral hangar bays and aquatic weaponry on the hull to the water itself.

“Hold position,” she said in English thanks to some genetic alterations of her race’s vocal chords in the past, for they hadn’t been able to make the necessary sounds originally and always had to rely on translation equipment, but with Star Force’s ever growing medical knowledge they’d been able to fix that incompatibility. “All troops to stand by for my order.”

The Elarioni commander twisted around and swam off the bridge, traveling through the ship until she came to a suction corridor that sped her faster than she could swim through various tunnels until she came near the hangar bay where her personal guard waited. Oasu’kli joined them, grabbing her armor and combat staff, which was double pronged and contained a variety of weapons within it, then she swam to the shield separating the ship’s pure water from the organic water outside that had a musky look to it that was going to reduce vision range even with the bright lights that all the troops were wearing on their person or built into the drone ranks accompanying them.

Oasu’kli activated her comm unit and keyed it to all the troops crammed into the ship that were eager to get into the combat as the V’kit’no’sat aquatics races were getting overwhelmed and forced back into select areas of the planet.

“Attack with no mercy. The Hadarak cannot be captured or negotiated with. Destroy all you encounter before they have a chance to destroy you or your kin. These are the standing Archon orders. Heed them, for they do not counsel mindless bloodshed lightly. The Hadarak are a threat that cannot be tamed, only destroyed. Do so with honor and swiftness. Now unleash our wrath on the butchers,” she said, transmitting the attack tone to everyone simultaneously.

Every hangar on the ship began to spill out infantry, Oasu’kli with them, like tiny minnows moving at high speed preceding the slower combat drones, then following them came the aquatics mechs and smaller warships, the latter of which were detaching from special niches on the underside of the hull rather than coming out of hangars. There was no strategy involved. No battle plans. The V’kit’no’sat were overwhelmed and the Elarioni were not dropping in to reinforce them. In fact they were miles away from even

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