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In Leg Post 8, High Navitatex Qemik is making orders to have the Scion of Divinity brought up to working status after it was damaged in Tales Post 22. The current remnants of the High Empire are contained within the Terminus Systems of the Milky Way Galaxy where Proconsul Kim is essentially in charge, but practically Qemik calls most of the shots. Navitatex Pollos, however, is corrupt and ambitious and vies with Qemik for power. Qemik would like to have one of Highemperor's Wives or Daughters in command of the High Empire, rather than the incompetant Kim, but most of those remaining have taken refuge with The Imperium.

Post

NSP (Non-Story Post): Sorry this is so expository. I wanted to lay things out in a more natural flow, but the post just wasn't getting written, so I simply powered through it as a bunch of exposition, to get it done.

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REMNANT OF AN EMPIRE

On the edge of the Milky Way galaxy, at the end of one of its spiral arms, lies a star system known appropriately as the Terminus. Ages ago, an extremely powerful multiversal dominion, known as the High Empire, established an outpost here, just a small one. The fleet assigned here took over a few dozen nearby star systems, and collectively they become known as the Terminus systemS, plural. This gives the local bureaucrats quite a headache, when trying to make sure paperwork correctly identifies either the single outermost system or the collection of them. The outermost single system, the Terminus in which the colonizing fleet first established an outpost, remains the sector capital. In it, a massive space station formed of crystal and metal serves as fortress, administrative complex, barracks, shipyard, and capitol.

Qemik: Do you have a preliminary report?

A tall alien man with a hooked nose, and ridges on his skull in place of hair, Qemik is the de facto governor of the Terminus sector, and captain of its fleet's largest ship, the Ascendancy-class supercruiser Scion of Divinity. His three eyes (each of a different color) flick towards the lieutenant who has approached him.

Lieutenant: Yes, sir. The Scion of Divinity has lost a total 15% of its mass, including three repfacs that were totally pulverized and four others that suffered cataclysmic failure. One of the primary quark vaults is lost, and two of the shield projection domes are decimated.

Qemik is silent, pondering. He cuts an imposing figure against the backdrop of space through the transparent wall behind him. He wears the uniform of a High Imperial Navitatex, or capital ship captain. It's a black, silver, and gold affair, with a captain's coronet upon his head and golden shoulderpads. His left shoulderpad is marked with three white stripes, signifying his captaincy of an Ascendancy-class supercruiser, the largest ship size commonly fielded by the High Empire.

Such a supercruiser is ten miles long from stem to stern, covered in crystalline gothic architecture, and bristling with weaponry. A superlaser can be fired from its forward port, of sufficient strength to disintegrate an entire planet in a single shot. It has nearly infinite energy reserves, due to its twenty replication factories, or repfacs, a marvel of High Imperial magic and science. Crystal repfacs can consume any mass or energy and reform it into a suitable purpose, such as energy to power ship systems, or food and supplies, or drones, or anything that the repfac has a schematic for.

Qemik: How much docktime would be required to repair it fully?

Lieutenant: Four months is the current estimate.

Qemik falls silent again, and the lieutenant can almost hear the gears turning in his head.

Qemik: And if brought up only to Level-C combat readiness?

The lieutenant's reply is immediate, having anticipated this question.

Lieutenant: 120 hours.

Qemik: See that it is done in 110. Dismissed.

Lieutenant: Yes, sir.

He salutes smartly and hurries off, already speaking into his comm to relay the Navitatex's orders. Qemik watches him go, before turning around to gaze out the transparent wall of the space station again.

Some distance away he can see the Terminus sector's hypergate, an enormous crystal ring easily the size of a small planet. Once it glittered constantly across its surface, connecting Terminus to the myriad realms of the High Empire, including the grand capital, Urbis Imperia itself, home of the glorious godking Highemperor.

But a cataclysmic war had been fought, and at the end of it, Highemperor himself, along with nearly the entirety of his multiverse-spanning High Empire, had been sucked into a time lock of staggering power and scale, trapped forevermore.

Why the Terminus sector had escaped that fate, Qemik does not know, nor does he care to question it, merely accepting it as chance. Whether or not other outlying outposts of the High Empire still remain elsewhere in the multiverse, he does not know either, and it is not relevant to their situation.

The Terminus sector stands alone, and though it possesses a large fleet, formidable defenses, and the incredibly advanced suite of High Imperial magitech, it is small and frail versus the many enemies the High Empire had made over the eons. Enemies who might seek vengeance against a weak and isolated remnant.

The lift on the far wall behind him dings open, and out comes an anthropomorphic cat-person. His drunken stagger is very at odds with his grandiose attire, a red, white, and gold getup identifying him as a member of the prestigious Order of Powerplayers, the High Empire's extraordinarily potent champions.

Kim: Man, those Coaleshion blokes know how to PARTY!

He staggers another few steps towards Qemik, stops to belch, then makes the rest of the distance, looking blearily up at the captain.

Kim: Say, you should come with me to the next party! Could use some time to unwind, whaddya say?

Qemik has no idea how such an incompetent dullard was admitted into the ranks of the glorious Powerplaying Order. The fact remains however that Kim is now the only known High Imperial Powerplayer still in existence outside the ultimate time lock, and thus the highest-ranking High Imperial personage to be found. Quite aside from that, he had been named proconsul, governor over the Terminus sector, shortly before Highemperor's demise.

But Kim's incompetence and apathy is why Qemik is the de facto governor. He chooses his words carefully.

Qemik: You are generous to extend such courtesy, my lord. I regret that my duties to your domain require all of my time however.

Kim: You're a good guy, Qemik, ya know? Here, you should at least try some of this Fiolxon ale-- where'd I put it? Had it here somewhere...

Kim flails through his robes, looking for said ale, completely oblivious to the half-full bottle of it he grasps in his hand.

Kim: Oh, I bet I left it with Pollos! He's a good bloke like you. Knows how to party too! Have you met him? You'd like him.

Qemik carefully keeps his expression neutral. Navitatex Pollos is the captain of the Quasar-class drone carrier Void's Edge. Quasar carriers are two miles long and have 12 repfacs, which it uses to churn out a variety of advanced drones for military purposes. Comet-class drones for space, Phalanx-class drones for ground-based engagements, and elite Dragon-class drones for the more difficult assignments.

Just as the Scion of Divinity is the only Ascendancy-class supercruiser in the Terminus sector (and likely the only one left, with the others being imprisoned in the ultimate time lock that had caged Highemperor), so too is the Void's Edge the Terminus sector's only Quasar-class drone carrier. The majority of the Terminus fleet consists of hundreds of mile-long Quinquereme-class destroyers.

Qemik and Pollos are technically of equal rank. However, High Imperial tradition has long held that captains of greater ships hold authority over those of lesser ships; therefore in a usual case, Pollos should defer to Qemik. But with no high command to answer to any longer, there is no one to enforce such traditions, and Pollos is only too eager to assert his independence of authority.

Pollos is corrupt, taking bribes from local pirates to line his own pockets and live in luxury. He had also been the biggest fish in the pond, so to speak, for a long time, before Qemik and his supercruiser were assigned to the Terminus. As many men are loyal to Pollos and his corruption as are to Qemik and his dedicated patriotism.

So a precarious balance of power is maintained, for now. Kim is ostensibly in charge, but in addition to being incompetent is easily swayed by Pollos. Qemik is still unchallenged in most matters of governance, given that Pollos has little ambition, yet they butt heads constantly.

Qemik: My lord, is it meet for a High Imperial captain to party so much when he has fleets to oversee?

Kim: Aw, don't be such a stick in the mud, Qemik! You need to loosen up. Tell you what, I'm gonna run over to Pollos's place right now and find that Fiolxon ale! You could use it.

Qemik suppresses as a sigh as Kim staggers back into the lift. Honestly, he'd prefer to install one of Highemperor's many wives or daughters in charge, as he is a pious man who had fervently worshipped the departed godking. Most of them are trapped in the ultimate time lock too, but at least some of them had escaped, and had sought asylum in the Imperium, another multiversal empire that had long been a rival and wary ally to the High Empire. Qemik couldn't blame them; diminished as the High Empire is, to this single sector, the Imperium could protect them better than he could, at least for now.

He has more immediate concerns for now. With the Terminus sector's flagship - his own ship, Scion of Divinity - so damaged, some might see this as a prime opportunity strike. It would be a tense 110 hours indeed...

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NSP: Again, sorry for the exposition!

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