“Come closer hatchlings… did I ever tell you of the time I saw the shining dome of the galactic capital on the blasted throneworld of Mecatol Rex?
As you may already know in the time of our grandmothers’ grandmothers, when our planet’s twin was still green in the sky, the great Lazax emperors of old ruled from Mecatol. That is, until the complacency of the emperors themselves coupled with the treachery of their subjects wrought the downfall of the Empire and the extermination of the Lazax. It was in the wars that tore the Empire apart that the Humans and the Letnev committed the atrocities against Archon Tau that left it the grey husk we see in the evening skies…
What young hatchling? Sorry.. sorry, the mind wanders…
Where was I…? Yes, when I was a young Xxcha myself, not much older than you are now, I was joined to the Royal Fleet, like my mother, and his mother before him. My first post was on the cruiser Ccjys, patrolling the border between our Eastern colonies and Letnev space. It was just another day on board when we heard that the Lazax had returned.
We picked up the faint signal announcing their presence, but we were not alone in doing so. Long range chatter that told us the Letnev, Yssaril, Humans and the Mentak Coalition had also received the transmission.
Immediately our representatives in the Galactic Senate put forward our case to hold regency of the capital until a course of action could be decided, and for a while, it seemed we were listened to. We established a tentative peace in our region of space, despite a paucity of resources. Even the Letnev, of all species, conducted politics in a civilised manner, suggesting a limit on fleet allocations amongst the spacefaring peoples, though this was defeated and may have been a ruse… You know what they say about giving a Letnev a lectern… Ahem…?
Oh yes, Well, as I said, it seemed as though a united galaxy was ready to deal with the return of the former Emperors, The Humans had even entered an uneasy trading relationship with their new homeworld, only… well, as you know, they weren’t the Lazax of old, but nightmarish technological chimerae that called themselves the L1Z1X, and the Humans grew uncomfortable being so near to their inscrutable new partners… It wasn’t long before the first shots were fired.
The Letnev, never ones to pass up a chance to assert their might, took immediate advantage of the breakup of peace and flew a massive fleet through the Alpha Wormhole, thankfully bypassing our territories, but harassing the colonies of the Mentak, our allies. Alas, we had not the ships to send direct assistance. We pleaded for calm through the proper channels however. Though, as a precaution, a massive fleet-building program was initiated above Archon Ren, while the fleet containing my ship, the Ccjys, was deployed to the space bordering Mecatol Rex… to provide protection for our diplomatic envoys you understand. And the Yssaril… the Yssaril waited…
Whilst we stood vigil at Mecatol, the Techartisans on Archon- including my clutch-mates Sachkki and Kaaz- were frantically trying to increase our capability to achieve our objective, though with little available income, progress was slow. Then, suddenly, we heard peace had been struck between the Humans and the L1Z1X, the latter were now heading directly for Mecatol with an armada of terrifying dreadnoughts. Our captain, a grizzled old reptile whose name sadly escapes my old mind, snapped his menn-root pipe and swore that he would not inhale another lungful if anyone was allowed to seize the capital by brute force.
We were unsuccessful…
Sorry, I shall just re-light my menn-root…
Anyway, the cyborgs overran the planet, and fortified their position with an enormous space dock, belching out ever more of their hideous warships. Salvation came from an unexpected quarter…
With all parties outraged by the L1Z1X’s mad power-grab, the Letnev released vicious technopathogen into the atmosphere of Mecatol, one designed to attack the L1Z1X’s unique cybernetic physiology. We took our chance. The Ccjys lead the charge into the planet’s airspace. The Massive weapons batteries of the enemy’s dreadnoughts were as nothing against our superior defensive plating. Casualties were suffered, but we emerged victorious… at least in space. On the surface itself the ground forces of the L1Z1X were too entrenched for our warriors.
It was then that the opportunistic Yssaril broke off from their border disputes with the Mentak and appeared suddenly in the midst of our still-recovering fleet. We had no choice but to withdraw and look on as the Yssaril accomplished what we could not, flushing the L1Z1X from Mecatol Rex.
The Yssaril plasma cannons were not cold before two things happened at once to bring a perhaps premature, and some may claim unsatisfying, end to the hostilities. Firstly, A massive Human fleet appeared out of hyperspace, also bearing down on the beleaguered throneworld. Secondly, and more terrifyingly, a wide-band transmission was received from the L1Z1X by all other parties. The message was silent, merely text and a verifiable vidlog. The text read, in the languages of all sentient peoples, “WE HAVE THE WARSUN”. Yes hatchlings, the most feared battlestation ever developed by the shipyards of the Jol-Nar, and somehow those demented cyborgs had recreated it!
All species recognised our only chance was to sue for peace, and with no small diplomatic input on the part of our ambassadorial corps, eventually a tripartite regency was established between the strong and numerous Humans, the Letnev, who managed to leverage their control of the wormholes into a strong political position, and the L1Z1X. A peace, an uneasy peace, but peace nonetheless established that lasts to this day.
Though for how much longer I cannot say… Sorry? Oh, just thinking to myself hatchlings…”
Or in other words, I got to play some Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) this weekend. Look what it’s done to me.