In Pan Post 141 the carrier Void's Edge is in orbit around the mass that makes up Coaleshion. Another ship belonging to the remnants of the High Empire's fleet arrives and Navitatex Pollos, captain of Void's Edge, has been expecting it - a visit from Navitatex Qemik, Pollos' greatest rival for power. Pollos treats Qemik rudely but Qemik bears it no mind. He is here to secure stability in the Terminus Systems and reminds Pollos that he would be hunted down by those opposed to the High Empire and be left vulnerable without the rest of the remnant fleet. Eventually Pollos agrees to tow the line.
A Mutually Beneficial Proposal
In a stately orbit around the stellar morass that is Coaleshion, in the Milky Way galaxy, the High Empire carrier Void's Edge drifts in a seemingly aimless pattern. Repped drones constantly stream out from the repfac port bays to surround the system, detaining any pirates who haven't paid their monthly dues to the Void's Edge's captain, Navitatex Pollos.
A shuttle warps insystem near the carrier, bearing the insignia of another High Empire Navitatex. Pollos has been expecting it.
Pollos: Bring it aboard. I'll see the esteemed Navitatex in the war room. Alone.
He takes a swig of nymphflower wine then slams the crystalline mug down on the arm of his command chair, before standing up and striding off the bridge. His boots ring on the metal-crystal deck in the manner that only a high-ranking officer's can, and everyone on the bridge breathes a bit easier with the moody eccentric captain gone.
Pollos takes a seat in the largest and most luxurious chair of the war room. It's not a regulation chair, but one installed by him with the profits of his bribes from Coaleshion pirates.
Navitatex Qemik, captain of the impressive battlecruiser Scion of Divinity, comes in shortly, His eyes take in Pollos, slouching in his non-standard chair, with a nymphflower wine bottle on the side of the holoprojector around which the chairs sit.
Pollos' uniform is mostly the standard one for a High Empire Navitatex: black, silver, and gold. Two white stripes on his left golden shoulderpad signify him as captain of a carrier, as opposed to the three white stripes on Qemik's. Pollos' uniform has some extra tassels and even frills however, and his captain's coronet has been embellished with extra jewels and is sitting at a jaunty angle atop his head.
Pollos: Qemik, my good man, fellow captain. Come in, take a seat.
They both know that Pollos, by awaiting his visitor in the command room rather than meeting him in the hangar bay where Qemik's shuttle docked, is a slight to Qemik. Qemik chooses to overlook it.
Qemik: You're rather cheerful, considering our god and empire have both been destroyed.
Pollos: And you're rather moody, but then, aren't you always?
Qemik's eyes flick to the holoprojector, which is showing pirate ships passing unmolested through the field of repped drones. Obviously these are smugglers who have paid their bribes to Pollos. Pollos is arrogant indeed to not even hide his misdeeds, though Qemik of course is already very aware of them.
Qemik: We are both High Imperial Navitateces, Pollos.
Pollos: Indeed we are. Equal in status.
Though in fact, the two captains are technically of equal rank, in practice captains of battlecruisers - such as Qemik commands - are respected more greatly than captains of carriers - like Pollos. But now, with the High Empire almost completely wiped out in cataclysmic war, there is no higher authority to enforce such practical distinctions.
Only Kim, as a High Imperial Powerplayer - the only known surviving member of that prestigious order - now outranks them, among everyone in the Terminus systems. And Pollos has ingratiated himself to the gullible cat-man with flattery.
Qemik: So we must work together for the good of the Terminus systems. There may be other outlying High Imperial stations, in farflung corners of the Deep Void, but they are beyond our reach. So far as we know, we are all that is left of the High Empire.
Pollos: They are under control. I have had them under control since before you arrived and replaced Flowdy.
Technically, Kim has replaced Flowdy as proconsul, but Qemik does most of the actual governance, given Kim's relative incompetence. He cannot govern Pollos however, not now, not with the higher command structure obliterated.
Pollos leans forward, staring levelly into Qemik's three differently-colored eyes.
Pollos: I would still have them under control if you were...gone.
Qemik recognizes the veiled threat, and knew it was a great risk to venture onboard Pollos' ship alone. He remains calm however.
Qemik: My crew is very loyal to me, as I'm sure your spies have discovered - and would reward any assassination with cold vengeance. Besides...are you prepared to deal with the manifold threats of those who would seek to punish us for the perceived transgressions of our dead deity? Gods and empires who are now greater than a tiny sector on the edge of a single galaxy?
Pollos' face pales, but only slightly. Qemik has read him correctly. Pollos is an avaricious man, but not particularly ambitious.
Pollos: Do not think that you can command me by fiat alone, Qemik.
Qemik: Of course not. But I have a proposal for you, one that may be mutually beneficial. One that may be the first of many mutually beneficial proposals between us.
Pollos: Intriguing. Do go on.
Qemik: You have certain... underworld contacts. Dealers who can net you auctions over valuable assets.
Pollos: And you were provide such assets for this purpose.
His voice is deadpan, obviously disbelieving.
Qemik: An asset, in this case, which is no longer valuable - a fact which the universe at large does not yet realize: the Scion of Divinity's Anti-Deific Wards.
Pollos stares in shock at Qemik.
Pollos: Are you mad? Even I would not hand such power over, no matter how well paid.
Qemik's reply is with a thin smile.
Qemik: Nor would I. But they no longer hold any power.
Qemik: The Anti-Deific Wards are defunct. It was Highemperor's blessing that sustained all Anti-Deific Wards, and with his passing, so too have my ship's Anti-Deific Wards - and I would presume all Anti-Deific Wards in the multiverse, assuming there are any others surviving - failed.
Pollos: It's too bad you're not corrupt, Qemik. You would be very good at this. But why would you hand me the means to obtain great profit? What's your angle?
Qemik: I would expect extremely large profits from such a sale...a share of which could go to the proconsul's coffers. Such funds would help greatly in securing our province.
Pollos: And what makes you think I wouldn't just keep them all?
Qemik: Nothing. But then I would less inclined to bring you future proposals. And I imagine you'd prefer a secure and stable Terminus over being a wandering vagabond with your carrier.
Pollos: A vagabond captain with his own High Imperial carrier would be rather secure, and a fearsome marauder indeed.
Qemik: Indeed, but if he would be hunted by those seeking vengeance, without the support of a secure Terminus. And he would have to raid others to obtain profits. I imagine you vastly prefer being handed profits by your pirate cohorts.
It is Pollos' turn to smile thinly.
Pollos: You are bold and persuasive, Qemik.
Qemik: A pleasure doing business with you.
He stands up and walks to the door.
Pollos: Give my regards to the proconsul.
Qemik does not reply as he walks out back towards the shuttle bay. He knows that Pollos' last words to him are a reminder that the carrier captain is still a wild card, even though he may be amicable to Qemik's proposal's.
But Qemik does not overly mind. What Pollos is failing to consider...is that whomever he sells the now-defunct Anti-Deific Wards to, will be VERY unhappy to be cheated...