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Parley On Faust IX

2267, September 12th: Over the gaseous world of Faust IX in the Savannah sector, the 1st Naval Battlegroup has been bogged down against raiding Archon Scout Drone groups, prohibiting them from retreating back to Denov. The attacks by the Archon Scouts has been continuous, but so far the 1st Naval Battlegroup has held their ground and taken minor damage; AR point defense cannons and missile systems have been running almost continuously over the last 72 hours, unleashing a barrage of epic firepower against the Archons. However, celestial observers/astronomers attached to the 1st Naval Battlegroup detect a large anomaly of craft assembling over Savannah, determined to be of non-human design. Analysts come to the conclusion through the intel provided by Disciple 2 survivors and Captain Miller of the ICS Spirit, that these are the mysterious and destructive Archon "Conduits", moving towards the 1st Naval Battlegroup and only 4 hours out at current speeds. Just as Fleet Admiral Darius Rex is about to give a risky "blind-warp" order to his fleet, in order to evade the massing Archon forces, his celestial observers track another set of signatures; Identified as Scion Empire craft, aft of the 1st Naval Battlegroup, and only 20,000 km away, within visual distance. Rex's communication officer, Lt. Rykers, receives a transmission from the Scion's, requesting a parley, between the commanding officer of both groups on the surface of Faust IX. Considering this has not happened before in the history of the conflict and given the circumstances of an impending alien threat over all of humanity, Darius Rex went against all his formal military training on the matter and accepted with the support of Captain Miller and his men, who reported having fought alongside the Scions on Savannah against the Archons. "Admiral Collins, The Scion Empire has requested a formal parley on Faust IX, they've given me coordinates where I'm to meet them and discuss conditions for a "cease-fire". Until I return, you are in command of the 1st Naval Battlegroup. Be advised that if this is a trap, I want you to blow those Scion ships to kingdom come," Rex said as he left the bridge of his flag ship and prepared to go planetside. Aboard a Raptor Dropship, Darius Rex is accompanied by Celestial Assault Troopers of the 20th Celestial Assault Force. As the Dropship touches down on the toxic and gaseous planet, the AR military personnel prepare for the first diplomatic mission with the Scion Empire since negotiations failed on Artemis, almost half a year ago. The cargo bay door opens, and immediately they can feel the overwhelming pressure of the planet's atmosphere. If it were not for their protective equipment, the toxic air and gasses would kill them within seconds. Darius Rex sets foot on the sands of this barren world, which has never been greeted by the presence of humans before, despite being in a colonized sector. Faust IX was deemed too dangerous and inhospitable for human life over a hundred years ago by surveyor probes launched by the ECF. It was a peculiar place to meet the Scion Empire for negotiations. Off in the distance, almost like a mirage in a desert, Rex makes the outline of a woman approaching him and his security detail. He was surprised the Scion Empire would send any commanding officer without security. The woman was now in front of him, something about her seemed off, a strange static filled the air around her, he could feel it. The situation was...different than what he had expected. "Who are you?" Darius Rex inquired, as nearby mud geysers spewed debris into the air. The woman spoke up, "I am Duntana, I come on behalf of the Emperor." At that moment, Darius Rex felt a chill down his spine, he knew who she was. He read classified documents about he

r, gathered by the SER, when he was tasked with assembling a strike force to raid the Ark-One facility. "You-...You can't be.." Darius said with shock in his voice, realizing the destroyer of Gliese stood before him . A gap of silence followed. "I am," Duntana replied. "The Emperor is ready to honor a cease fire between our forces and mutual cooperation against the Archons, but first he needs a show of good faith. Release Grand Scion Bushida and his crew, allow the 3rd Scion Armada to be restored to its operational capacity." Darius, taken aback by the terms, shot back. "And in return? What will the Republic gain from this?!" Duntana looked to the Celestial Assault Troopers pointing guns at her, one to her left, the other to her right, she thought to herself how she could easily snap their necks with just a thought, before gazing back at the Fleet Admiral. "The Emperor will grant temporary recognition of the Amalgamate Republic as a sovereign interstellar state, until the Archons have been destroyed. We can end this war, here and now, Rex." Rex scuffed at the proposal "Temporary recognition?! What does that do for us, if one day the Emperor can walk back his agreement and renew the war?" "It buys you time, it buys humanity time. Don't be foolish Rex, why would the Emperor send me here to negotiate with you, instead of sending me to Denov to destroy your capital. If he really wished the end of the Republic, it would already be so," Duntana spoke candidly and without deceit. Rex laughed, nervously, "And what if I just have you killed, right here, right now. What then?" "You can try, but I guarantee you that none of you will live through it, nor your Navy" she pointed up to the sky. "Suppose that if you could, even then, I'm not the only one..." Duntana responded, referencing her brother, and playing on his fears. She was un-phased by the Fleet Admiral's threats; She knew she was in control. Rex considered his options, contemplating what to say. If he accepted, what stopped the Scion Empire from a renewed offensive against the Frontier, so he addressed his concerns again. "What guarantees do we have that the Scion Empire will simply not just attack us after the Archon threat has been dealt with.." Duntana acknowledged, "The Emperor will restore dialogue with the frontier worlds and allow for a diplomatic resolution to the conflict. If you accept these terms, the Emperor will announce the cease fire to the entire dominion of soon as the Archons are defeated, a Second Diplomatic Advent is to be held, and hopefully unlike the first (referring to the First Diplmatic Advent on Artemis which was botched), it will not fail, and we can have peace between humanity.." Rex sighed, he knew his options were limited and that he alone could not make a decision for all of the Republic. What's more, the Republic was in dire straits. Reports coming from Denov revealed a potential coup in progress against the Socialist Party, as well as a major attack on Joss by a "hostile Orgur faction". He feared the end of the Amalgamate Republic was imminent; The Scions were offering more than just a cease-fire, but military cooperation against the Archons. He did not trust them, he did not like them, hell, he hated the Scions to the core and could not forgive them soon enough for their atrocities. But Rex knew both sides had suffered their fair share of casualties. The Amalgamate Republic was teetering on becoming everything they declared independence from. But if the Emperor was willing to initiate a cease-fire, then what choice did they have; Strategically, if nothing came from it, it would grant them time to recuperate their losses and bolster planetary defenses. The Scions had more to lose in the long run. "Okay, I'll honor the cease-fire now, and take the request to the Senate. Bushida and his men will be released and transferred to their ships...Ya 'know, the Archons will be here soon," Rex said raising an eyebrow, awaiting Duntana's reply. "We know", she replied, "We will stand our ground with you."

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