Naplian Emperor Ronal Bonate faced the new millennium, according to the Terran calendar) with a sense of accomplishment. Operation Danzha had split Tanaka's force in two, to say nothing of the drubbing Bonate had given the sheresh Admiral Ergen. Terran Admiral Reese's command, the 31st Fleet Group, was cut off and had no alternative but to continue on to the Outland Colonies, which would be considerably smaller by the time he arrived. Admiral Lombran in the Outland Colonies had impressively turned the Naplian demonstration into a full-on invasion that was steadily pushing the Outlanders eastward. Bonate's vanguard divisions had reached the eastern frontier of Terra, completely severing the Terrans from their northern colonial empires. More importantly, the Terrans were cut off from the Grand Alliance. Even Co-Emperor Benaltep had sent a grudging communique of congratulations.

Adding to his satisfaction was the mountain of serjaum that his forces had secured in Northern Terra. The Humans had no idea how much was here. Presumably, because they didn't have the technological chops to find it. It was a wonder to Bonate that the Audrians had not sniffed it out and invaded Terra long ago. Baedecker starcluster had been a bit of a problem, but Marshal Daviont had sent the Guards Corps to sort it.


Bonate did note with some concern that fighting continued in the Great Desert rift. Along with the natural hazards of that unstable region of space, the alien colonists there, whether Human, Audrian or any other number of species were an independent lot. The lines of communication and supply through that region were going to take an unacceptably long time to get sorted. He needed another route for the 


On the Terran side, President Saito sacked Admiral Tanaka and replaced her with Admiral Ubomo. The new commander of the Northern Fleets was not happy about the appointment. This, Ubomo believed, was a mistake. Admiral Tanaka was the greatest naval strategist since Admiral Juarez led the Terran and Reittian Alliance to victory in the 2nd Consular War.


As Ubomo entered the command center of her new flagship, the dreadnaught TSS Continental, the mood was grim. The Starsystems of Orta, United Consortium, the Union of Planets, Outland Colonies, all of the northern colonies were under assault. Her front line stretched from the uncharted regions west of Terra to the Lotharian border in the east. They were cut off from their colonial partners and their new allies, the Grand Alliance. In the west, the Rutak would not allow passage of combatants and in the east, Lotharia, although technically a Terran colonial power, was in truth, an anarchic pirate kingdom that could not be trusted to let convoys pass unmolested. Northern Terra was wholly isolated from the Republic. On the plus side, to the northwest, the Human and Audrian starsystems in the Great Desert Rift were still in the fight, Admiral Reese's 31st Fleet Group was on his way to support the Outlanders, and Briddarri Admiral Ergen's task force, and most notably Ergen himself, was available to liaise on behalf of his Grand Alliance masters.


On Earth, President Saito had more issues in the air than even the most accomplished juggler could manage. The loyal opposition was smelling blood and calling for his resignation. The Admiralty was seething over Saito's sacking of Tanaka. His own political coalition was demanding immediate action to rescue Northern Terra, the colonial allies, and the settlers in the Great Desert Rift. As pressing as those matters were, the only thing Ichiro Saito could see was the vid-com image of the man-sized black calico cat seated on the couch in the outer office in casual business attire reading a Lunar Engineering magazine.  The text message across the bottom of the vid read -  

"Kvizier ambassador here to see you."

Next...The Colonies Prepare To Fight

Artwork by Dmitri Borodin Design by David Snodgrass


Copyright 2018 Kgruppe LLC


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