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STAR BRIGADE: First Renaissance

Read Chapter 1 here!

"[Why do you keep doing that?]" The young Korvenite, Vantor, opened his eyes at the question, spoken in Korcei—the language of his race. Since this journey began one-and-a-half orvs ago, he had been praying to his Deity Korvan, praying to know life as a free sentient being. That was, until the question disrupted his prayer.

Vantor's stomach grumbled loudly from hunger. One look at the skin hanging off his emaciated body confirmed that hunger was a sensation he knew all too well. The air around him stank of perspiration and other foul odors he tried to ignore. Vantor's arms were in magnetic restraints up on the wall of a small cell, as were his feet. This prevented him from bowing his knees or even placing his fists across his chest in proper Korvenite prayer method. Regardless of this, he still felt obligated to pay homage to the Deity of his race.

"[Vantor, why do you keep speaking to a Deity that doesn't exist?]," the voice asked again, harsher and more scornful. It belonged to Rouma, one of the many Korvenite prisoners on the ship with him. Vantor craned his head to the right, as much as his tight restraints allowed, and stared right at Rouma. His Korvenite counterpart was bound up next to him.

The dim, blue halolights in this cell partially obscured Rouma's features, but Vantor knew him without even looking. Milk-white skin like his own, a thick lavender-hue mane shorn to the scalp like his own, eyes with black sclera and goldenrod pupils like his own. But there were differences, like the birthmarks that this particular Korvenite wore, small freckle-like marks all over his chest and shoulders. Most importantly, Rouma, the older of the two Korvenites, had no hope, no faith in anything. Despite the humans stripping him of Korvan's gifts, Vantor didn't need them to sense this. "[Because Rouma, I have optimism for our future,]" Vantor said softly, looking Rouma directly in the eyes. "[I believe that there has to be something beyond the penance we as a race currently suffer. Korvan will—.]"

"[Korvan does not exist, FOOL! What deity would leave his begotten race in shackles, bereft of our ability to Mindspeak?!]" Rouma shrieked. Vantor stared at his brethren's barefaced hatred. The younger Korvenite opened his mouth to reply, but snapped it shut when he saw the anger in Rouma's eyes. Nothing he could think of would quench that type of loathing.

"[Leave the youngling in peace Rouma!]" shrilled another voice, a female Korvenite's. "[Who he prays to is for him and him alone to choose. Just because you have lost your faith doesn't mean you should deny him of his own.]" Across the tiny cell were at least 20 or so other Korvenites, all bound to the wall like Rouma and Vantor. Most were asleep or too broken in spirit to pay attention, a sad sight indeed. But the one who spoke, a petite Korvenite with much longer and curlier hair than her male counterparts, still had a fire in her black and gold eyes.

"[This is none of your concern Cymae,]" Rouma spat out. "[I will not have another of our race fall under the sway of some false Deity that never existed in the first place!]"

"[Please stop,]" one of the more gangly Korvenites next to Cymae pleaded weakly. "[You will only bring pain upon us!]" But his warnings fell on deaf ears as another male Korvenite chimed in.

He was tall, broad-shouldered and looked a little better fed than the rest. Vantor remembered his name—Khasos. "[There is still hope Rouma, whether you want to admit it or not. I echo his sentiments. Korvan must have a reason for us enduring this penance.]"

Rouma snapped a furious glance at Khasos, straining against the magnecuff restraints to get at him, which never was a good idea. The more one struggled against them, the tighter the cuffs bound their occupants.

"[You haven't seen scores of our brethren die for this Korvan, only to see him NEVER answer your prayers, NEVER answer your pleas for deliverance, only to see yourself stripped of your abilities, stripped of your freedom until age and despair finally accepts this entrapment!]"

Vantor felt ill seeing his brethren argue like this, and about such an essential issue such as prayer. "[My brethren, please—ARRRRRRRHHHHH!]"

"SILENCE!" a hate-filled voice boomed over the room's comms, speaking in plain Standard. But Vantor barely heard it. It was as if a bomb went off in the base of his skull, ripping through his nervous system like butcher knives through oxophas meat.

The nerve shock was triggered by the restraining bolt that humans had placed in the skulls of every Korvenite they captured, mainly to contain the gifts that Korvan bestowed on his chosen race. The pain made Vantor spasm and convulse; and he wasn't alone. All Korvenites in the cell felt the same torture, the same agony. Their screams thundered in Vantor's skull, as did his own. The pain was so intense, so unbearable—it blurred his vision.

Then just as suddenly as it began, the shock was gone. Vantor sagged forward and gasped for air, as did many other Korvenites in the cell. Clarity slowly returned, just in time for Vantor to feel every muscle fiber in his body burning. Some of the weaker Korvenites around him, Rouma included, were completely limp. They had passed out from the pain. Vantor envied them.

"Keep those hideous pipes SHUT! Unless you want some more of this, you stupid mindrapers!" boomed the voice again before cutting out completely. Vantor's eyes welled up with tears, the result of anger and no means to exact it. He looked up to see both Khasos and Cymae staring back, gaunt and fatigued from the torture, but hope remained in their eyes.

"[Keep praying youngling,]" Cymae whispered in a ragged voice. "[There is still hope.]"

Vantor smiled weakly and bowed his head in appreciation. He closed his eyes and lost himself again in prayer to his Deity, Korvan. It did nothing to ease his physical soreness, but on the mental level, he already felt alleviated.

Captain Nathaniel Fennimore glared at the mini-viewscreen monitoring the Korvenite prisoners for a couple more macroms, making sure that they stayed settled down. Sniffing with disappointment when they did, he moved his hand away from the console that triggered their restraining bolts.

Any sentient who cared enough to observe Fennimore would find absolutely nothing extraordinary about him. He was an Earth-born human and all too proud of it, had average features, average height and a slightly below-average physique—a small paunch to be exact. His average look was capped off by a sandy crewcut with a scraggly mustache that he could never get to grow in completely.

A week from tomorrow would be the fifteenth year Fennimore had been doing internment camp transfers on his S-305 medium transport, the Fennimore (he named it himself). This latest drop-off was to the camp on the uninhabited planet Alorum in the Rynn system, probably another day away. He usually dropped off a hundred or more prisoners from the internment camps at the outskirts of the Commerce Sector, but he was on his way back to Terra Sollus after unloading this group of 20.

"Stupid mindrapers," Fennimore scowled. "They should be happy that they're only getting transferred." Fennimore pivoted away from the ship's monitoring array and stalked across the wide half-circle that housed the ship's bridge, back to his command chair. Casting an approving gaze across his diverse crew, he felt a sense of pride at this handpicked group. It didn't matter whether it was the Nnaxan male Ensign sitting at helm in front of him, the towering Kintarian sitting at comm to his far right or any of his forty-member, mostly human, crew. All were true Unionists, proud to be member races in the Galactic Union of Planetary Republics and unquestioningly behind their Chouncilor in all his decisions. Fennimore wouldn't have it any other way.

"Why are we transporting these Korvies again?" Cal Edmunds, his human second-in-command asked as Fennimore settled into his seat. "I mean it's so tiny a load from our usual drop off."

"These ones have been unruly, no-good slackers like all Korvies," Fennimore hissed between his very crooked teeth. "That's why they're being sent to Alorum's Light, to whip their worthless asses into shape."

The name Alorum's Light cast a hush through the entire bridge. The Kintarian comm officer's tawny fur rippled as if the room had suddenly gotten drafty. "The worst of the worst. The stories I've heard from that facility," he purred in accented Standard.

"No less than they deserve H'Merioph!" Fennimore snapped. He then leaned in the Kintarian's direction with an elbow propped on his chair's armrest, clearly about to go off on a tangent—which is exactly what he did. "From day one, I've never trusted them Korvies, them with their mind tricks and their mind moving hoopla. We humans taking their planet was no less than they deserved after what they did to Earth. I lost a good number of loved ones that day…."

Cal Edmunds, H'Merioph and the other six members on the bridge all exchanged annoyed glances before going back to their respective duties. It didn't take much to whip Fennimore into his anti-Korvenite rhetoric. But anyone who had been onboard the Fennimore for at least a week had quickly learned to tune out the Captain's rants.

"If it was up to me, I'd throw all those little blekdritts in carrier ships and send them directly into the star Rynn. That would be a permanent solution to the mindraper problem." Fennimore sucked in a long breath of air and sank into his command seat. He actually felt better after saying that.

"Well," Cal smoothed back his curly hair, eager to change the subject. "I'll just be glad once this Kedri-Union merger is over with. It's still over a month away, but you'd think the bleeding thing's happening tomorrow with all the TransNet coverage they give it."

"I think it will be good for the GU," said the other Ensign at the helm, a petite human female. "It will be nice to see what the Kedri Imperium will import through our borders."

Fennimore snorted and idly scratched his paunchy stomach. He, of course, had an opinion on that subject, too. "Normally I wouldn't want them Kedri warmongers anywhere near Union Space, but I trust our Chouncilor. He'll keep them in line."

Cal stared at his commanding officer as if he had just been slapped across the face. "Uh, Nate? You talk about the Kedri Imperium as if it's some barbaric pre-luminal society, which it isn't."

Fennimore glared at Cal, not just because he didn't agree with his views, but that the commander embarrassed him in front of his crew. He leaned toward Cal to retort.


Fennimore snapped his head toward the helm. Both human and Nnaxan Ensigns had called him. They sounded a little puzzled. The browbeating Fennimore had planned for Cal would have to wait for later. He shot one last glance at Cal before turning to his Ensigns. "Go ahead."

"I'm detecting multiple projectiles appearing alongside the Fennimore."

Fennimore frowned. "Onscreen." The viewscreen switched from the view of the stars to an outside diagram of the Fennimore. Nathaniel saw a wire frame model of its long barrel-shaped body and the hammerhead rear housing the stellar drive engines, plus four miniature spheres appearing out of nowhere alongside the transport. One materialized near the front, another next to the port side, one more on the starboard and the last one at the rear behind the engines. As he watched this, Cal started in his seat like an energy jolt had run through him. "Aren't those—?"

"Z-BOMBS!" H'Merioph yowled in surprise. Z-bomb was the general term for seismic shock mines. Normally used for asteroid miners, just one of these small spheres could unleash a massive earthquake from its container when triggered. And four of them were parked all around the ship!

Captain Fennimore immediately braced himself in his chair, as did the entire bridge. The mood in the room switched from casual to command mode in a nanoclic. "All hands brace for impact. Shie—." The words "Shields up" never made it out of Fennimore's mouth. On the diagram all four Z-bombs exploded, each heaving out shockwave after escalating shockwave. And that was when his world turned upside down.

It was like a giant grabbed the Fennimore and shook the ship like a bowl of toss salad. Captain Fennimore was thrown from his seat, smacking chest first on the unforgiving bridge floor. But he had no time to process the pain. The ship lurched and rumbled mercilessly, hurling Fennimore and his crew into each other, then slamming them against the walls. Sparks flew from blown consoles and damaged machinery.

Finally, after the longest three macroms of Fennimore's life, the tremors stopped. Fennimore found himself sprawled in front of the helm. His chest hurt, a sharp pain made it hard to breathe, but he managed to roll into a sitting position and survey his bridge. Smoke covered his vision, but not enough of it.

Bodies of his crew members were strewn all over the bridge, though none appeared dead. Sparks flew from the comm and Ops stations, both visibly wilted by the z-bomb assault. Oddly enough, the viewscreen stayed intact. Fennimore gritted his teeth, barely holding in a frenzied roar. Someone had attacked his ship, his pride, his joy. Probably some space pirate or something. He felt violated. Whoever did this was going to pay!

"Damage report," Fennimore said as he fought to get on one knee, wiping at a busted lip. "Damage report!" he barked the words out when no one answered immediately.

"Stellar drives are offline, as is the weapons array," Cal said weakly. He had somehow ended up near comms, his fingers tacking away at a frenetic speed as he operated a diagnostic wall console. "We also have minor hull fractures on the port side." The Nnaxan Ensign crawled back into his seat. He began to work with the parts of his console not fused together before he spoke. The craniowhisks branching out from his forehead and down his back began to twitch nervously. "Bioscans are picking up a sentient out there in space, barely fifty pentametrids in front of us. It's alive and in seemingly good condition."

Of all things to tell him after his ship had been attacked, the stupid Nnaxan updates him on the health of their attacker. Fennimore studied him through narrowed eyes. "What is it, a betelydra, a centolydra?" This was pretty far off from any of those space-faring creatures' roost of nebulas, but Fennimore figured it was worth a guess.

"No," the Nnaxan Ensign looked back at the Captain, almost cursing himself for having to say the words. "It's a Korvenite."

The violent quakes of the ship did not faze Vantor, not much did anymore. Prayer was his only escape from the perdition that was now his life. Nothing broke him from the dialogues with Korvan.

[Your faith in our Deity will be rewarded, Vantor.]

The words boomed in Vantor's head; calm, potent and beguiling. "[Who…?]" He opened his eyes and gazed around the cell. This didn't reveal the voice's owner, as every other Korvenite in the dank little cell was either staring off at nothing or lethargically hanging there. Plus, it sounded nothing like any Korvenite he had heard before. It was probably his imagination playing tricks from being in this cell too long. Vantor bowed his head again to continue his prayers to Korvan.

[There is no need for that, Korvan has answered your prayers young one. His Anointed has come to free you all from your shackles.]

Vantor shrieked, and would have jumped two metrids in the air if not for the shackles holding him. For a nanoclic he thought he had lost it…until he saw the faces of Cymae, Rouma and every other Korvenite in the cell. They all wore the same disbelief that was no doubt on his gaunt face. Rouma in particular looked as if he had heard a ghost. "[You all heard that voice in your head?]" Vantor frowned, not believing he was saying that. With all the restraining bolts in their heads, no Korvenite in captivity could use Mindspeak.

[Me in captivity? Hardly, I am free, as will all of you be,] the voice replied, and Vantor gasped. He said something out loud and this sentient being replied through Mindspeak. The gravity of this situation drilled him in the stomach. A free Korvenite with all his Korvan-given abilities.

"[No it can't be. It can't….be,]" Rouma breathed quietly. His haggard face was wrought with fear and disbelief. "[Who, Rouma?]" Khasos demanded in a panicky manner, his eyes darting from Rouma to Vantor. "[Who is this voice in our heads?]" Rouma opened his mouth to speak, but his gaze was elsewhere, glassy and distant.

[I am Maelstrom, ordained llyriac to the Way, Korvan's Anointed herald,] the voice boomed again. [Rouma was one of my most loyal followers until his capture three years ago. But he and all of you will no longer know prison walls or mistreatment. In the name of the Korvenite Deity, you will be liberated.]

A number of Korvenites cried out, most in joy, others in disbelief. Maelstrom, the Korvenite llyriac of this same name, was reportedly slain in battle by the Union Command. Khasos was completely terrified, quivering all over like he had swallowed a seismic shock bomb. Why, Vantor didn't know. The touch of this uncanny Korvenite's mind on his was too genuine to doubt. The strength flowing from his thoughts brimmed with dedication to Korvan's Way.

"[Korvan has answered our prayers,]" Vantor whispered and smiled. He couldn't even remember the last time he had anything to genuinely smile about. His spirit soared higher than ever before.

"[Korvan!]" yelped another young Korvenite named Jhori. "[He has sent his Anointed herald to liberate us!]"

[All I need is a moment to deal with those that imprison you. Hold on to your faith in Korvan's Way, freedom is coming.] And with that, Maelstrom was gone. Vantor felt the llyriac's presence dissipate from his mind, only to notice the tears streaming down his own face. The room quickly filled with sniffs and noisy sobs of joy.

["Maelstrom….]" Vantor finally remembered to breath, unable to say anything else. He was barely able to even whisper a thank you to his Deity.

"A Korvenite? Out in space!!?" Fennimore could barely contain his anger as he shot right out of his seat.

"Affirmative, sir. The Korvenite is approximately a hundred pentametrids away." The Nnaxan helm kept his eyes on the console when he answered; he didn't want to meet Fennimore's crazed glare. "But it's surrounded by some force field that's oozing with psychic energy—."

"Zoom in and show me this thing so we can kill it," Fennimore impatiently waved off the description. He had no interest in its power levels. The viewscreen zoomed in on the Korvenite in question by a factor of fifty. And Fennimore nearly had a heart attack.

"No, no! NO!" his voice grew louder with each denial he shouted out. Not caring who saw him, the Captain immediately backpedaled and plopped into his seat. Luckily, no one even gave him a second glance. Every crew member present stared in outright fear at the viewscreen. Some swore, others muttered in astonishment while a few just stood at their posts with their jaws or mandibles hanging open.

Three years ago, Fennimore had seen this renegade Korvenite and his Korvenite Independence Front on the news network IPNN. He had heard of this terrorist's relentless pilgrimage to get back the homeworld for his race. The explicit images on the news of humans slaughtered in this monster's wake still made him shudder when brought up. Now that very same Korvenite butcher glared back at him across the darkness of space. Maelstrom, leader of the Korvenite Independence Front and currently presumed dead by all, floated in the middle of open space and on Nathaniel Fennimore's viewscreen. The Korvenite didn't smile or even frown effusively, just exuded supremacy unlike any this crew had come close to seeing from its own Captain.

The Korvenite's long curly locks of violet floated in an almost rhythmic manner. His arms were folded across his chest as the taciturn solar winds whipped his indigo cape into a frenzy. Countless outlying stars shimmered off his sable-hued armor, which perfectly fit the Korvenite's robust build. His black and gold eyes were cold, clearly bearing no tolerance for insolence.

It didn't matter that he and Fennimore were pentametrids apart and separated by the ship's viewscreen. Maelstrom's glower drilled into the back of Fennimore's skull and he trembled feverishly…like a frightened child. It was a sad sight. "Kill him. Kill that mindraper NOW!" Fennimore pointed a shaky finger at the viewscreen.

"But sir, our weapons array is still down—."

"I DON'T CARE! RAM HIM IF YOU HAVE TO!" Fennimore roared. The Nnaxan jumped in his seat and moved quickly to comply. On the viewscreen Maelstrom's eyes flashed bright gold. Given your current position, Captain, I wouldn't be so eager to deal out death if I were you, he Mindspoke to Fennimore not in his native Korcei, but in Standard—the common language of the Galactic Union.

"NAAAAW!" Fennimore grasped and clawed at his skull as if trying to tear out his own brain. It knew his title and probably his name as well. "Get out of my HEAD! You won't rape my mind like you did the other humans!!!"

Indeed, human, the last word sounded dirty and vile coming from Maelstrom. You will relinquish the Korvenites in your custody to me. Do so and you will leave this sector in peace. Resist and you will exit this life in pieces. "You no-good Korvie bastard—."

Pieces then, Maelstrom cut him off. The llyriac eyes turned pitch-black then. He held out both open palms toward the Fennimore, which absolutely dwarfed the Korvenite in comparison. Invisible telekinetic fingers stretched out from his hands, combing over the entire hull, grasping onto the edges of micro-fractures and digging into the dents caused by the Z-Mines.

His focus on the Fennimore, teeth clenched tight with clear purpose; the Korvenite now drew upon the psionic power that was his birthright. For several macroms Maelstrom ripped and pulled at the weakened hull. Finally the micro-fractures ripped wide open like paper, jagged chunks of hull peeling off the Fennimore. Oxygen and other gases gushed out of the hull breaches in steady spurts, immediately crystallizing into icy bits at the first touch of space.

Filled with a renewed vigor, Maelstrom poured more psionic force onto the Fennimore. His telekinetics now squeezed and crushed the transport's weakened engines until they burst under the pressure. Plumes of bright orange fire erupted from what was left of the Fennimore's ruined hull. Thus was the power of Korvenite Mindshift.

Inside the ship its bridge shook violently, ragged explosions bursting through its own walls. Computer alarms shrieked at deafening decibels, indicating multiple hull breaches. Crewmembers lay maimed or dead all around Captain Fennimore. Cal screamed as an argent burst of flames caught him in the chest and face. The commander slid to a stop at his Captain's feet, smoky curls rising from his charred flesh. Nathaniel Fennimore stood alone on his ruined bridge, barely able to stay upright. His forehead gushed blood as he screamed into the comm system, "Any ship or station in range! This is the prison transport Fennimore!"

No one's listening human, Maelstrom's voice taunted in Fennimore's head. A word of advice before I finish my work here. Blind obedience to any government, especially the Galactic Union, will get you killed.

Another explosion disintegrated the podium Fennimore stood on, hurtling him forward. Nathaniel went headfirst through the viewscreen, hitting it with a stomach-turning crunch. A fissure running up and down the cracked viewscreen marked the Captain's death, his back twisted at a ghastly angle as he slid to the ground. More eruptions collapsed the ruined bridge, crumbling huge shards of the viewscreen and crushing the corpse.

Maelstrom had already forgotten about the death. He stretched his mind farther, his telekinetic fingers combing through the Fennimore's rupturing remnants, and at the same time scouring for the exact location of the Korvenite prisoners. Before long he found his brethren's essences again. Their fear was transparent, but the faith in him and Korvan overpowered any other sensation. Maelstrom smiled to himself and continued to peel layer after layer off of the crippled ship's hull.

"[Dear beloved Deity of Sollus, please protect us during this time of change.]" Vantor bowed his head in prayer. The only difference was this time every single Korvenite in the cell followed his lead, even the skeptical Rouma. This sense of unity made the young Korvenite's heart soar in ways he couldn't describe, despite the rumbling chaos around their little cell. Just as Vantor reached the end of his prayer, he felt a sudden alleviation of pressure on his wrists and ankles. The bigger shock came when he dropped and landed face first on the hard metal flooring.

"[Sweet Korvan!]" Vantor exclaimed, scrambling into a sitting position. The shock was not lost on his fellow Korvenites, who also fell forth in heaps. The magnetic restraints holding them shorted out in small showers of sparks before releasing their limbs. Vantor didn't know how to process this as he rose to his feet and shook off his stiffness.

[Stay close to each other, my brethren. It will only be a macrom more.] Maelstrom advised, speaking again in Korcei to his brethren. Instantly, Vantor grabbed onto Rouma's hand, who took Cymae's hand. The link continued with all 20 of the cell's occupants and ended with Khasos, who looked more unnerved by the moment.

"[Relax, Khasos. We're safe.]" Cymae beamed at him. He simply nodded, but it didn't stop his trembling. Metal around the cell began to twist and warp, clearing its throat in anticipation of something big. Vantor squeezed Rouma's hand just a little tighter and the older Korvenite did the same.

BADDAMM! All around them, the walls ripped away like paper blown in the wind, exposing the Korvenites to open space. At first, most of the Korvenites erupted in terrified, muted screams. But Vantor never flinched. Just as the young Korvenite expected, he could still breathe, he felt himself rise up from what was left of his cell. Maelstrom, in his vast power, had placed them in a telekinetic bubble to protect them as they were extracted from the ship. In short order, the other Korvenites quieted down, realizing there was fresh nitrogen to breathe and that they were surrounded by a most miraculous sight.

As far as their eyes could see, an ocean of twinkling stars spread across the unending blackness around them. It was beautiful to Vantor. He had never seen outer space let alone floated out in the middle of it. Below the Korvenites were the remains of their former prisoner transport. Jagged pieces of the Fennimore floated away slowly from the main wreckage, but the wonders of endless space quickly drew their attention away from the charred and ugly debris. That was when they saw him.

At first, as the figure of Korvenite legend floated closer, Vantor thought he was imagining things. But Maelstrom now joined his protective bubble with the one he fashioned for them, and stood less than a metrid away. He was taller than Vantor expected, the long hair and flowing cloak made him appear more deified in Vantor's eyes. For a macrom or two, they all just stared at him. And then Maelstrom smiled.

[You are all safe now. No longer will you know slavery. As an agent of Korvan's Way I will see to that.] With those words every Korvenite moved forward to touch him, grabbing at his long cloak, clutching at his legs and he made no effort to stop them. There was weeping, cries of joy and laughter from all as they swarmed around the Korvenite llyriac. Of course, the void of space muted all of this, but the expressions and gestures spoke volumes.

Maelstrom looked upon them all, eliciting some joyous expression from each of the former slaves. When he beheld Vantor, the young Korvenite heard only a few words. [Thank you for giving them hope,] the llyriac smiled broadly. Vantor thought that he was dreaming. Nothing could ruin this surreal moment. Maelstrom's expression quickly changed upon looking at Khasos, giving him a rather stony look. Khasos wilted under it.

[Here is your new home, the Libremancer.] Maelstrom pointed beyond them into space. At first, Vantor didn't understand. But then the black of space behind Maelstrom rippled, a Monarch-Class Command Cruiser at least fifteen times bigger than the Fennimore wavered into view from behind a sensory shroud. Resembling a massive sapphire fang, the Command Cruiser was studded with lights and weaponry, truly an awesome sight. All the Korvenites in Maelstrom's telekinetic bubble were visibly exclaiming loudly, though the void of space muted any sound. The ship explained to Vantor how the llyriac got so far out into deep space.

[This is the beginning for you, the beginning of your path beside me and Korvan to rid our ancestral home of the human maggots that suck the life out of this galaxy. The humans have imprisoned our race for too long, taking our home of Sollus, stripping us of the gifts Korvan blessed upon his chosen race.]

Maelstrom spread out his hands disarmingly. [No more. The human cabal, them and the mindless sycophants whom they call a Galactic Union. All will be expunged from our world. And we'll walk on the unsoiled hills of Sollus. This I promise you.] Vantor sobbed openly with pride and joy. Never had he been so proud to be a part of this race, the Korvenite race. The twinkling of space began to fade in a shimmery sparkle before his eyes. Maelstrom's presence soothed any fears he or his brethren had, assuring them that they were just transmatting onto the massive Command Cruiser.

[So this is what freedom feels like?] Vantor thought as space completely disappeared in front of him. [Freedom will be when we're on Sollus, young one,] Maelstrom replied. [Always remember that.]

Having picked up its quarry, the Libremancer made an abrupt turn to starboard, moving away from Union Space and into the eternal black. The massive sapphire vessel rippled again and faded from view, its sensory shroud obscuring it once more. Strewn in its wake was the rubble once known as the Fennimore transport. The burnt and twisted fragments from its remains floated away into empty space, another victim of the Korvenite Liberation Front.

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