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Dante

The God Emperor's Dune

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To the Imperium,

The Universe is falling into chaos faster than anyone has ever realised. We must unify and pick an Emperor to rule over us. It must be fair and just, not based upon military or polital strength. I ask that the Guild facilitate and help control this meeting of House Leaders.

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Meanwhile, the Arch-Duke sits brooding in his office on Ix.

"Mt liege, the universe is going into a status that is confusing at best," J'invy says, speaking to Darius, "and I fear the Earl has left his homeworld open to attack...Of both a potentially overt and covert nature."

"Indeed, most trusted friend," says Darius, turning in his seat to face the mentat, "If a renegade House attacked us now...There is no knowing the outcome. Vernius could gain Arrakis, but at the cost of thier most prized and powerful possesion."

The mentat steepled his fingers, "Of course, there is always another possibility. What riches, I wonder, would a few of the Houses Minor...Once Houses Major, require to take back the Imperium which is rightfully thiers?"

Darius raised an eyebrow, "I know of whom you speak. Bring me a Guild ambassador, and continue troop training for our remaining legion."

"Aye, my liege."

Research and Development at 4 posts and counting...

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"The time has come."

"My liege?"

"Cremlin, the time has come for freedom! The Imperium no longer exists!"

Message to the Imperium,

House Cobras declares its indenpendce from this defunct institution. We no longer require melange. We no longer depend upon Spice. We no longer follow a non-existence Emperor. If this Imperium is to stay together there needs to be an Emperor, without one we are separated.

Any vessels entering Cobras space shall be defended from attack as long as they do not fire. Anybody firing shall be destroyed.

Grand Duke Joshua Cobras of the Cobras Protectorate.

Secret message to Sarmizgetusa,

[hide] Greetings, I have joined you in independence and I ask if we can ally to protect ourselves. Share your technology with me and I shall share mine with you. As a gift I give you a sample of our Feedback shields. They are invincible in facing laser weapons. If you outfit your warships with them they shall be near invincible. Also I give you the FTL technology held by us since the creation of our House. The time has come for freedom!

Joshua Cobras

[/hide]

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Hidden Message To House Sarmizgetusa:

[hide]As House Cobras has joined you in independence, we ask that you continue to uphold your neutrality and not reveal any Sardaukar technology to thhem through any channels be they legal, political, or economical.[/hide]

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Message To Houses Of The Imperium:

[hide]It is evident we need a new Emperor to guide us through these burdened times, that is why I, Leto Vernius ask for Vernius control over the Imperial throne.[/hide]

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Darius stands to his feet, "Well, J'invy, it is high time we left these halls of plastic and wire, and returned home, where our guidence is undoubtedly required."

"Indeed, my leige," says J'invy, and a few moments later they were home.

"My lord Arch-Duke," says the High Bashar T'nera, left in charge of the planetary rebuilding, "Our facilities are almost completely rebuilt. Our army is still being repopulated, but the new recruits are almost ready for whatever my lord requires."

"Almost...? New recruits always took at least five years to be near the regular army efficiency."

"My leige, thanks to the new neural-binding technology from the Ixians, we were able to train thousands according to the Ghobey House manuals."

"Good. Better than good. What about the planetary resources and scientific stations?"

"Mineral output is up 50% of before the disaster, crystal output: 25%," the Bashar continues, "and that's with only one-third of the planetary mining operations online!"

The Arch-Duke raises both eyebrows and looks the Bashar dead in the eyes, "More Ixian technology?"

"Yes, my leige."

"Good. Let us assemble in my office, there is much to discuss," a smile glints the corner of his eye, "Of covert and overt natures."

A few hours later, the Arch-Duke sits at his ornate desk in the presence of his most trusted advisors. Standing at attention at the door stands the High Bashar T'nera, and alongside her stands the powerful and silent J'invy. On the other side of the door sits the Director of House Sciences, the Director of House Economics, and the Intellegence leader, Druanne.

"Sire, the Imperium is descending into madness. Two Major Houses have gone...Independant," says Druanne, the word feeling alien to her tongue, "And the rest are congregating on Arrakis, to start another civil war."

"And so would we be if not for our...extensive stockpiling," says the Director of House Economics, "Which, except for weapons productions, are getting low."

"Yes, yes...it is time for action," says Darius, "and there are options. I have spoken to our friends the Guild...A promising proposition, if they ever get back to us with a reply."

"And while the Guild delays, what then, lord Arch-Duke?" asks the High Bashar, T'nera.

"What then? We rebuild. We work to cement our alliances, and perhaps form new ones," Darius sighs and shifts in his seat, "and when diplomacy calls for more power than a clap on the back...we have our army."

"You really think it is that simple, m'lord?" asks Druanne, the edge of insolence on her lips.

"No. Nothing about this universe is that simple. What we need are resources, allies, intellegence-- Which is the purpose of this meeting in the first place!"

The room falls silent. The Arch-Duke looks around, as if asking for the first word against him.

"Now. You," he points at Druanne, "What of this machine threat, whatever happened with it?"

"No word, my liege."

"And the Atreides?"

"Out of the picture."

"You," he says, pointing at the Director of House Economics, "What of the planetary resources of Tiera Secondary?"

"We have analyzed the data surrounding the explosion, and we believe it is possible to begin re-building mining facilities there."

"Estimated time of completion?"

"Three posts, m'lord."

"You," he says, pointing at the Bashar, "How soon until troops are ready for a major engagement?"

"Most of them are ready now, m'lord, and the full army should be back up to pre-disaster levels by the end of week."

The Arch-Duke nods, his mind whirring like an Ixian machine.

"Good. Meeting dismissed."

R&D at 3 posts and counting...

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The Guild formally sends a diplomat to House Ghobey, and to the Ixians. It also begins the process of barricading Houses Sarmizgetusa and Cobras into their own systems, locking them in and all others out.

The Bene Gesserit meanwhile...

Message to House Ghobey;

[hide] Leto Atreides was correct in one matter at least, there is another spice planet. He was wrong however, in believing that he had one. We managed some time ago to transport sandtrout from Arrakis to a new location. They soon fulfilled expectations, and a new planet now provides spice for us. We are prepared to send large stockpiles to you in order to aid your bill-paying, and of course as a gift.

With greatest sincerity, the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood. [/hide]

Lillian stood outside the Ghobey palace, now little more than a hollow ruin with a few funcional rooms inside. The parapet she stood on was covered in moss already, and was crumbling. There were more important things to consider than ancient masonry. She sighed, and stepped up the edge, her red cloak billowing in the gale. She took the step up onto the brink and gazed down. Nothing but wind and rain... and- What was that?

Her eyesight being unable to penetrate the low cloud, Lillian lept from the edge. The next level held a flagpole which she snapped off on her way down and used to jam into another crack in the stone another three floors down. She hung there for a second before swinging around and upwards to flip onto a gargoyle on a corner of the building.

Standing there, she could see what had been obscured to her. Outside the palace gates, hundreds of people had amassed. She could just barely hear them over the roar of the wind,

"Independance is freedom!" "Follow House Cobras!" They chanted, holding placards with slogans that advocated breaking free of the old Imperium, living on their own, tearing alliances with Ix and the Bene Gesserit.

'Considering how much the Ixians are still helping them...' Lillian thought, as she swung around and through a smahsed window, landing in what had once been her own apartments. She made her way swiftly along to find Darius to inform and warn him; and perhaps subtly mention that she would have liked to attend his meeting.

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Message to the Imperium:

[hide]I, Burseg Culratha, respectfully challenge the Vernius clame to the throne, and submit my own. I will call the Imperium's attention to the former Corrino reign, and the prosperity the Empire witnessed as a result.

Though, should the Vernius receive the position, we will not actively pursue any challenges.[/hide]

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"All hail Grand Duke Joshua Cobras!"

As he stepped onto the stage the roaring was so loud that not even a meteor hitting the surface nearby could have drowned it out. Since independence his people loved him. This presentation would be his fifth sice declaring independence only a few short days ago. He readied himself as the moderator called for silence

"My people, we are independent bu it has coe with soem costs. Our economy, which we have depended on for so much, cannot sustain itself without import and export. It is with this in mind that intra-system trading shall recommence. But it has aso come up with some beautiful new technologies. Our scientists, reworking the ancient Holtzman quations, have created a new technology that may allow us to no longer need the Guild for our transport needs! They call it a Warp Jumper. It will soon be tested and if it works it can prove to be our bargining chip for neutrality. We are also preparing to launch colony ships to many nearby planetary systems in the hope that we can expand the Protectorate. Our new Hyper-Warp communications technology allows us to communicate over vast distances. The Protectorate must live on!"

As he walked off the stage the crowd cheered louder than before except for two women in the front who seemed to have their eyes guled on him. He smiled and whispered to himself smething he knew that any Bene Gesserit spy would hear.

Whisper (secret message to the Bene Gesserit)

[hide] Your spies are excellent Mother Superior. They truly are. Now I ask you for something, keep the Ix and the Sardaukar out of my space. If you should wish to meet with me go to moon 5, planet 3, in the system three light days away. I shall be there for three weeks overseeing the colonization program. Come if you wish, do not if you don't. This is no trap. I simply don't want my people to possibly get destroyed for being independent.

[/hide]

And he kept walking away smiling.


A few days later, from every plane in the system, a flurry of bright launch flashes tok place. Hundreds upon hundreds of colony ships wre launched, many to land on the same planets. Only two systems were chosen but his people wanted to start up extra-system trading as well, he could tell. His warfleet had grown by leaps and bounds and, with the Warp Jumper sucessfully tested out he felt that it was a great time to be independent. Already the House Minors on his planet had stopped trying to go against him and had started helping him. One of them had even sent over a small group of concubines for him. His army was the fierecest it had ever been.

As he was thinking about all that was happening a call came in over the Hyper-Warp Comm and he answere it. It was his sister, leader of the colonists n what had been named Beta system.

"Hello dear brother. We arrived in system only an hour ago and wefound something you might like to see. We have had it sensor dated and it dates from Pre-Butlerin Jihad."

On the screen was a ring with eight spokes going to a center rod-like module. The rod was connect to four other smaller rings on either side of the main ring. Beside of the picture was an overlay of Alpha Secondary, an asteroid a tenth the size of the combined rings.

"We've detected nothing on the ring and have decided to colonize it. There are mutliple symbols and inscrptions that point to a League of Nobles or something. I'll tell you more when we get everything set up. Lisa out"

Joshua looked out at the stars and sighed. Why did the Imperium have to be so decayed? Why couldn't it be much more solid? If it was solid he would rejoin it. But as it was now he didn't think so.

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(OOC:

1) The Holtzman theories could not be reworked for a warp propulsion system. Warp systems bend space around an object, creating a bubble, then it expands at the front and contracts at the back creating drive. The Holtzman theory folds space from point to point, instantaneously, and has no relation to warp theory what so ever.

2) First you develop a reflecting shield, which is impossible, and in just as short a time you develop yourruru own propulsion methods.

3) Your supposed "small, barely great house" has grown militarily despite the lack of econoomic trade.

Sorry, but this is getting more and more annoying by the second)

Message to the Imperium:

By the strictures of the Great Convention, the renegade House Cobras mumust be destroyed. House Sermizgetusa maintains it's neutrality and in light of recent events should be ignored. But the Cobras, are expansionists, and move ever outward.

House Great and Minor, join us to defeat those who would rend the Great Convention from it's base, and find glory!

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(4: Don't forget that everyone is addicted to spice. You can't just say "no we aren't")

Message to Imperium:

The Guild formally declares that House Cobras is not independant. That house shall from this moment onwards be classed as 'Renegade' and is to be hunted down and destroyed as such. All ships attempting trade, collonisation, military expansion, etc, are to be destroyed, in or out of any system including their own. Their planets are to be taken, by force if necessary, and the spoils shall go to the victor. Any group attempting to communicate with the Renegade house shall undergo economic and political sanctions at the very least.

As two parties have laid claims to the Goldon Lion Throne, the Guild sets forth a new form of competition. The War of Assassins (such as it was) is over. Now the Sardaukar, and Ix, being formal allies, are charged with the duty of obliterating House Cobras. The faction that takes the most land, takes the most plunder, destroys the technology threatening the Guild and captures the Duke, shall gain the throne from us.

The two women watch, and they think. One of them is not Bene Gesserit, she thinks how much like her father the Duke looks. The other is, and she thinks how concieted he looks.

Note left in Duke Cobras' personal chambers:

[hide] We are of course allied to the Ixians and thus the Sardaukar; but we have no control over their militaries. The new announcement from the Guild is sure to bring them both very close. We shall not meet you, as firstly we see no profit from it, and secondly it is too dangerous. We will not, however, attack you. You should realise from the very presence of this note that if we did so desire we could kill you at any time. But we have not, and if things continue as they do we shall not.

Watch your step, young Duke. [/hide]

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The outermost planet of the Cobras system lay below the fleet of 36 Sardaukar Battleships, only recently diverted from their journey from Arrakis to Salusa Secondus. Due to the recent, and very accomodating anouncement of the Guild, the Ix and Sardaukar would compete for land and spoils and would never have to come into direct contact.

"Begin orbital bombardment."

A low-ranking functionary acknowledged the Burseg's orders and relayed it to the weapons and communications officer, who would relay the order to the massive fleet.

"All ships report ready sir. What targets?"

"Target military facilities in orbit and then fire upon the military bases planetside."

"Yes sir, targets locked in. Ready to fire on your mark sir."

"Fire."

Only seconds after the word was spoken, nearly a hundred lances of blue fire lanced out at the planets surface and orbiting facilities. The view erupted in fire that consumed all its targets.

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The Arch-Duke sighs, having heard the reports of insurrection from more than one front.

"The people simply do not understand. They only see the power we represent, the faults of the Imperial throne before," says J'invy.

"Yes, yes," says Darius, "We must re-establish the working coda of old. The people grow bored and complacent, they see the liberation of the other Houses."

"The working coda of old, my lord?" asks the Director of House Economics.

"They must renew thier passions in the labor for thier House. Kandar," Darius say, looking at the Propaganda Advisor, "I want you to initiate an anti-Cobras initiative. Make the people think they are evil, wrong...Comparable even to the Atreides."

"Yes, my lord."

"Then re-introduce the rebuilding pathos. If they work hard enough, they will forget this idea of...liberation."

Later that day, Darius and Lillian stand overlooking the street below.

"It is good to have you back. Tell me, how are things on Wallach IX?"

Lillian grins, a silent joke echoing in her mind, "Old women, telling stories."

"Ahh, same as always," replies Darius, with a smile of his own, "While you were gone, a meetng took place. You have the report, of course. Is there anything you would add?"

To the Bene Gesserit Mother Superior Taraza on Wallach IX:

[hide] Greetings.

Thank you for your gift of spice melange. It is more than currency, it is life. The Bene Gesserit has always dealt honestly with House Ghobey. We wish, then, to deal honestly with you. The Bene Gesserit is one of the most powerful factions in this universe, if Ghobey can ever assist you in any way, please be sure to ask.

Thanks again.

Arch-Duke Darius Ghobey of Tiera Tertiary.[/hide]

To the Earl Leto Vernius of IX, on Arrakis:

[hide] Greetings.

I trust this message finds you in good health, not to mention a good victory. My every faith lies in you as victor in this...tournament of champions. As such, I am sending reinforcements for your troops from the Ghobey Army. They, as you will see, are easily comparable to the Sardaukar in fighting ability, morale, and technology. Use them well, trusted ally, they are under your express command. Rebuilding on Tiera Tertiary (and Secondary, I should boast) is going extremely well, thus you may take your forces back and put them at a more needed point. Either way, best of luck.

Arch-Duke Darius Ghobey, of Tiera Tertiary.[/hide]

A gift of 4 legions Ghobey Army Elite is included with this message. (120,000 men)

R&D at 2 posts and counting...

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I'm locking this thread for the time being, until I can get a few things sorted out. In the meantime;

1) Clanner, people are not picking on you because you are you, they are picking on you because you are a conveniant target, don't take it personally.

2) Atomics are banned, and are unmanufacturable in this thread. Thus, Clanner's attack on the ships that were not there will be deleted at the first oppertunity.

3) Inoc, please come back; I'm doing my best to fix things.

4) Lord J, please delete Clanner's post. We can continue once it's gone.

5) Rules.

1- EVERYONE is addicted to spice. There is no alternative.

2- Atomics and AI are banned, they cannot be constructed.

I'll add to them when I see fit.

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Done. I've archived all posts deleted in my IM Backup box. Please unlock the topic at your earliest convenience.

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Ok people, the topic is now open. Please check my last post at the end of page 8, and the posts beforehand, to see how things are progressing.

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"Mobilize 3/4 of the fleet, if a attack on Arrakis comes, the Fremen shall fend off any assualt." The mentat nodded and quickly departed to carry out the orders. Leto stood and walked to the large plaz paneled window in the Grand Hall and looked out onto the village where workers continued their daily jobs under the Ixian command. Sighing he rubbed his eyes, for a war was about to begin.

"You must not over-think political matters Leto, you will be Emperor soon." The feminine voice slowly creeped up for behind him. He felt the body next to his looking out, it was Jennifer.

"Who says I shall be Emperor, who says I am ready for it? And did I give you permission to adress me by my name?" There was a slight smile on her lips as she looked into Leto's cold eyes obviously not paying attention to the name comment.

"Leto, look out at what you see before, you control the Spice, or at least the biggest form of it, you control the largest military force left in the Imperium and your soldiers are better trained then the Imperial Sardaukar! Really Leto, fate is in your corner." He returned the gaze into her eyes. I cannot believe I never noticed how bueatiful she is!

"I know, but am I ready?" She leaned over and put her arm around him with no resistence from Leto.

"Leto, you led House Vernius at fourteen, you are ready for this, my Emperor."

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Because of the Embargo, House Sarmizegetusa was in great trouble. The mentets couldn't work anymore, as they had no more spice. The stocks were very well guarded, so no-one would setal or destroy them.

The Lord explained to his people the perils that came from being independant. They could be attacked by anyone, and no one would be forced to defend them. The people understood the situation and worked harder. therefore the workday grew from 8 to 10 hours a day.

The economy was near collapse, but it was still sustaining itself for the time being.

Progresses were made in the hyper-space frives, but it was very hard for the scientists to invent something using formulas, or ideas close to the AI line they hated so much. Even if he wanted, the Lod could not impose the robots or any form of AI.

To House Cobras:

[hide]

An alliance isn't suitable for the time being, but we can sign a friendship treaty. About the technology, well, we'll TRADE our own technology, if you want. We also have Sardaukar technology, that we cannot give away - it is a matter of honor.[/hide]

The Guild's threat was to become obsolete when the hyper-drives would be completed. Even so, the completion of these drives was a problem as the mentats working on them were using HUGE amounts of spice. The Lord was forced to take action.

- We have to sent in a small task force to steal some spice form Arrakis or any House that has some.

- That is dishonorable, sir!

- But we have to survive, or everything we have done until now would be in vane.

- We're blocaded.

- I know. I need a crew of volonteers, and some fast ships to infiltrate a HighLiner. I need those ships to be panited into some neutral Houses's colors, and the crew will have to wear that Houses's uniforms.

- That is risky!

- Well, let's choose House Ordos, they seem to be neutral in all this madness.

- Yes, sir, we'll try that. What will be our target?

- Why not Arrakis itself. It is still in haos after the current war. I think that our taks-force will be able to infiltrate and steal some spice.

- Wery well, sir, we shall commence this operation.

(OOC: you can destroy some of my ships, but let me steal at least a SHIP-FULL of spice.)

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"WAR IT IS, LET THE LANDS OF OUR ENEMIES TASTE THEIR BLOOD!" Screams of cheers echoed through the hulls of the huge space and ground armada before it got folded into space. The rippled image of the Earl shone through every ship and the soldiers listened on eagerly.

"Today two House's wish to break off from the Imperium and bring on choas from reform, let us destroy them and restore order to the universe, our large fleet is backed by Imperial Sardaukar against the Cobras!" There were more cheers at the name of the Ixians ally. "And on the front of the Sarmizegetusa we have our well trained and dedicated ally's the Ghobey who shall fight by us!" Leto gestured down with his hands signalling the Ghobey forces who had remained statured throughout this speech, some of them grinned, others just nodded.

"Let the war begin, remember, for House Vernius, for your Earl, for your honor, let the blood rain down upon our enemies armies, the war begins!"

And with that space folded...

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Davidu: Three ships get through the blockade, one spontaneously combusts though. So two of your ships reach Arrakis. Whether the Fremen will let any spice leave the planet is another matter entirely.

Ghosthunter: [hide] Don't let them get any spice if at all possible. [/hide]

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- Sir! Sir! We've detected a huge armada heading for us.

- Who exactly?

- House Ghobey...

- Only them? Well they don't have many troops left, so, if they land we might take them quite easily.

Message to House Ghobey:

[hide]

We are not your enemies, so, please turn back. [/hide]

- Ready or troops and our space fleet. I want every man in its place, I want you to distribute weapons to the population, and ready them for fighting, by organizing militias. Contact any House that might want to rebell against the Ixian-Sardaukars. We need allies.

After a while, an old general eneters the office:

- Sir, I have news.

- Well, let's hear them.

- Alone, sir.

- ... well... ok...

The others in the room leave.

- Sir, our radars have picked up unidentified ships. They have strange signatures. Theyr energy signatures resemble the old thinking machines.

- Are you sure?

- Yes, sir.

- You mean the machines survived? If they did, they surely evolved. I thought that the Emperor blufed back at the onference.

- He blufed! The coordinates he indicated were clean.

- And where are these ships heading?

- Well, staright for us.

- HELL! We're being attackes from two sides! Maybe not... You know of those old books in the family library?

- Yes...

- Well, they talk about EMP: Electro Magnetic Pulse. That disables a ship without destroying it. We even have the plans.

- Great! start building that! So, we still stand a chance against the machines. What about the Houses, they use far less electronics that the machines. We'll have to face them old-style!

- That's what I was afraid.

- Shouldn't you warn the Empire about the machines?

- Why? I have no duties regarding the Empire. They might have detected them by now too. Maybe they'll be too busy intercepting them, and they'll forget about attacking us.

- Maybe...

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Leto stood upon his flagship looking down at the Sarmizegetusa home planet.

"Begin aerial bombardment, decimate the whole planet then land the legions, including the 120,000 Ghobey troops."

The ships began the run, the battle had begun.

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The Sarmizegetusan fleet engaed the attacking fleet, using some EMPs mounted on 5 fighters. These new weapons proved to be useful against fighters and even Corvette class ships. The battle was fierce but, the Lord's ships won't pull back, they were fighting for their home.

At the surface the army mobilized: from battle-hardened armed-to-the-teeth soldiers, to the loyal peasants with sickles and axes. All of them were ready to defend their home.

In the meantime, Lord Burebista stood ready to pulverize most of the attacking fleet with the House's atomics, if needed. he also waited for the machines to attack. Maybe they would attack the ixian-sardaukar instead of his troops.

A message was also send into the former Empire to find new allies.

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As Culratha watched the bombardment of the Sermizegetusan homeworld, his thoughts twisted. But a decision came. He would not support the Vernius assault or fend against it. It was the only way.

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