AN: Happy Easter! Christ our Pasch is sacrificed alleluia: therefore let us feast with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

A bit unexpected of an update, but writing my book is taking longer than expected (I'm at 71k out of 100k planned words for my first draft). Didn't get into that trade program, I'm in college now. Finished First Strike, almost done with Ghosts of Onyx (man that is just straight HEAT from Nylund). I also need to edit some of the previous chapters heavily (any discrepancies you see now will be fixed later, probably).

Special shoutout to Thecustodie on Wattpad for doing the Spanish translation, Los Pecados de un Imperio Galáctico.

Want to see the next chapter early? Subscribe to my Patre0n, zzzxxc1 (don't if you have responsibilities to attend to).

Moody piano notes tickled through the speakers…

United Nations Space Command Priority Transmission 102482-20

Encryption Code: Black

Public Key: N/A

From: FADM Preston J. Cole, Commanding Officer, UNSC Leviathan/FLEETCOM Sector Five Commander (UNSC Service Number: 03956-26127-PC)

To: FADM Lord Terrence Hood, CNO/CINCFLEET (UNSC Service Number: 07960-48392-TH)

Subject: Suggested Revisions To General Order 098831A-1 ("The Cole Protocol")

Classification: EYES ONLY TOP SECRET

Lord Hood,

As you're well aware, unlike the war against the Covenant and despite the unfortunate turn of events at the Battle of Alpha Rendara's conclusion, the current war against the Galactic Republic is no longer an existential threat to the continued survival of Humanity.

Despite this important difference, the continued secrecy of the location of the colonies remains paramount. Not one staff officer with half a brain would disagree with that assessment.

Additionally like the war against the Covenant, however, there are technologies which we cannot let fall into enemy hands.

It remains in our interest to not let Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engines of any model fall into enemy hands, or allied, for that matter.

It is my belief that the possible capture and study of our slipspace technologies would lead to the loss of our tactical and strategic advantages. It's only a matter of time before some scientist of theirs cracks the quantum calculations needed for the particle accelerators. I'd bet good money they already have some of their alleged Givin physicists on it.

For the purposes of the war in Andromeda and, God forbid, any further engagements in the Milky Way against the forces of the Galactic Republic, I propose the following amendments to General Order 098831A-1 as requested, attached below, major changes bolded:

/Start Draft/

The Cole Protocol (Revised Draft, Andromeda Campaign)

To safeguard and protect the Earth and her colonies, all UNSC vessels or stations must not be captured with intact navigation databases that may lead hostile forces to civilian population centers.

If any hostile forces are detected:

1. Activate selective purge of databases on all ship-based and planetary data networks.

2. Initiate triple-screen check to ensure all data has been erased and all backups neutralized.

3. Execute viral data scavengers.

4. If retreating from Covenant forces, all ships must enter Slipstream space with randomized vectors NOT directed toward Earth, the Colonies, or any other human population center.
Subsection 10 (I'd dub this the 'Iroquois Clause,' ask Keyes what he thinks of that one): All retreating ships must be screened for tracking devices before final arrival at human population centers whenever possible.

5. In case of imminent capture by hostile forces and boarders, all UNSC ships MUST self-destruct.
Subsection 8: All slipspace drives in danger of capture MUST be destroyed, or retrieved if possible

Violation of this directive will be considered an act of TREASON and pursuant to UNSC Military law articles JAG 845-P and JAG 7556-L, such violations are punishable by life imprisonment or execution.

/End Draft/

I understand that there are certain strategic considerations with regards to transportation of Confederate forces aboard UNSC ships. After all, I am not one predisposed to paranoia. SUCKERPUNCH was as much of a political victory as a strategic one, UNSC forces blazing a path through Andromeda for our Confederate allies, striking at systems long-deemed 'safe' from enemy incursion, but we were lucky. The ground op could've gone wrong more ways than I can count. I must admit that it might be necessary in the future to ferry their combat robots and fighter drones into battle, risk of espionage be damned.

Regardless of my proposed changes, there are still unavoidable OPSEC challenges. Within the Milky Way, there are over three dozen sizable pirate and splinter groups operating in the remnants of the Covenant empire with the profit incentive to turn over slipspace technology and/or colonial coordinates. Not to mention Earth, an open secret at this point.

Counterintelligence efforts should be undertaken to prevent Republic AND Separatist procurement feelers alike from operating within the Milky Way.

The Milky Way's more unknown to us than known. It's fully conceivable the Republic could even now be creating listening posts and forward staging areas for actions in UEG territory anywhere in the galaxy. As you know, GUARDIAN isn't infallible and space is massive. Not to mention the peculiarities with their 'hyperdrives.' For all we know, there could be a navigational route straight from 23 Librae to Sol.

I'll leave it up to your discretion to modify this draft, particularly the penalties contained within, and anything else as you see fit, but as far as the fleets under my command are concerned, we will not let slipspace drives fall into foreign hands.



We can't seem to bust the encrypt scheme on this carrier wave, if it's UNSC, it's just barely.

A COM probe? Don't we have Waypoint now? Where'd it come from?

Maybe get Section I on that?

And let the eggheads ruin our fun?

Let's crack it open, then.

United Nations Space Command Priority Transmission 233909XC-1

Encryption Code: Black

Public Key: file/piper at the gates of dawn/

From: SGTMAJ Avery J. Johnson, UNSC NCOIC Attaché, Pzandias Training Facility (UNSC Service Number: 48789-20114-AJ)


Subject: Progress Report/Operation: PATRIOT

Classification: SECRET (BGX DIRECTIVE)

To whoever it may concern,

This batch of trainees, considering their 'accelerated' training, have exceeded even my most optimistic expectations. General Ambigene and I ran them hard.

You asked me to turn a bunch of scrawny farm boys (been there, done that) and corporate nepo babies into ultimate badasses. I think I've done that in spades.

Don't believe me? Point them at any target, and they'll destroy it.

Just don't let them waste my boys,

SGTMAJ Avery J. Johnson

TIME:DATE RECORD [[ERROR]]ANOMALY\Date unknown\Location unknown\

CIS Shadowfeed Transmission 1138007

From: Pzandias Officer Candidate School

To: Onderonian Embassy, Raxus Secundus

Dearest Mother,

They graduated my entire class of officers a few weeks ahead of schedule!

I'm coming home. To Onderon. It's been far too long since I've seen the light of her moons (yes, even Dxun).

I hope Father would be proud.



zdvyk huk zavul huk zdvyk huk zavul huk zdvyk huk zavul huk

United Nations Space Command Priority Memo 682732-3

Encryption Code: Red

Public Key: /fiat lux/

From: UNSC/UNICOM MGEN N. Strauss, GEN H. Hogan

To: All UNSC Personnel

Subject: UNSC Flagword 'MAGICIAN'


Flagword MAGICIAN is a UNSC flagword to be declared following confirmation of a Jedi presence on the battlefield at the brigade/regiment level of command, pending the immediate priority deployment of all available non-nuclear tactical and strategic assets for the purpose of neutralizing aforementioned confirmed hostile Jedi presences on the battlefield.

For protocols regarding the use of flagword MAGICIAN in the field, see attached field manual.

See also flagword LUX, general emergency codes Bandersnatch and Hydra.

/Access File/




N. Strauss: With the distinct likelihood of joint UNSC/CIS coalition forces encountering Jedi on the battlefield, proactive measures must be taken to ensure our personnel know how to handle them.

Leveraging all available tactical, and even strategic, munitions will ensure that the force multiplication (no pun intended) afforded to Republic formations by Jedi can be negated.

It is likely in the event flagword MAGICIAN is declared, this indicates an imminent collapse of the frontlines. Like a call for final protective fires, a verified request for a MAGICIAN declaration takes priority over anything else until the threat is neutralized.

Thoughts on this, General Hogan?

H. Hogan: Makes sense to me. Push it up to NAVCOM and the rest of the Security Council will go over it.

/Access File/


/Ironic, the watchdog cannot see the path/


/THE path Can bE seen?/

/the path/

/Nice work clamping down his higher-thought matrixes, Kalmiya/

/I aim to please, Doctor/

/Access File/


S. Osman: I don't recommend an indiscriminate use of this flagword, every trigger happy UNICOM commander will dash any opportunity to capture one of these 'Force-sensitives.' Need I remind you what COL U. Holland almost did to RED FLAG with UPPER CUT?

N. Strauss: Reach was a bad day for both UNICOM and NAVCOM.

S. Osman: True enough, MGEN, but let's make sure our combined intel can prevent something like that from having a chance of happening again. We were fortunate NAVSPECWEP got wind of it before UPPER CUT happened. Had they not, perhaps Reach would've been a disaster. Compromise?

H. Hogan: Let's hear it, shall we?

N. Strauss: Alright.

S. Osman: You'll see to it that MAGICIAN only gets 'confirmed' on non-human Jedi in the field.

J. Ackerson: And I'll see to it that the human ones get taken care of. Quietly. We could really use them.

N. Strauss: (User inactive for more than sixty seconds, DISCONNECT?)

H. Hogan: (User inactive for more than sixty seconds, DISCONNECT?)

N. Strauss: So you're guaranteeing S-III deployments in theaters where Jedi operations are anticipated?

J. Ackerson: I'm guaranteeing S-III deployments on every theater.

H. Hogan: Let's prep a final draft to present to FADM Hood, then. Agreed?

/End File/

/Interesting, don't you think? Execute a memory-wiping worm function on the Colonel's watchdog and unclamp him, Kalmiya. Erase our fingerprints here, if you haven't already/

/Yes, Doctor/

/Is there something else?/

/Do all AI have override codes?/


/It's a wonder that S-117 survived, isn't it Doctor?/

/These 'Force-sensitives' do seem an impossible enemy, and as much as I'd like to say it was Cortana's help that let him win, I don't understand how he managed to survive against three of them, but put a Spartan in an impossible situation, put John in an impossible situation…/

/I understand, Doctor/

Vozgsm zsth as vsfs, rwr mci ybck hvoh? Hvsfs ofs hvwbug kowhwbu tcf mci vsfs, cih psmcbr wrsog ct kfcburcwbu, zmwbu wb o twszr ct ufogg. Ozz gdoqs, ozz hwas, hvs ghofg, gkszzwbu.

Hvwg wg hvs kom hvs kcfzr sbrg. Bch kwhv o pobu, pih o kvwadsf. Bch o ghcbs idcb o ghcbs.

HoloNet Flash Transmission Cluster Cresh-Theta-511991/…/760930/…


From: Republic Center for Military Operations

To: RAS Leveler, 9th Fleet, 4th Sector Army 'White Cuirass' Command


I heard you're being sent to Corellia. A congratulations on your new command is in order, I suppose. Don't let it get to your head.

I know you're not stupid, but don't believe the Imperators are invincible just because of what you see on the holonewsreels.

Just stay safe out there.

Come back to me. Come back to Mynar.

From Coruscant with love,



From: Governor-General Therbon (12th Sector Army 'Cerulean Spear' Command)

To: Captain Jan Dodonna (C.O., RSD Victory)

Cc: Captain Terrinald Screed (C.O., RSD Arlionne)

Subject: A new order

As much as I hate to lose the capabilities of your VSDs, this is something necessary. You're ordered back to Kuat for immediate refit.

This is non-negotiable.

Czmz ocz nojiz dhvbzn vmz mvdnzy, czmz oczt mzxzdqz ocz npkkgdxvodji ja v yzvy hvi'n cviy piyzm ocz ordifgz ja v avydib novm. Ocdn dn rczmz ocz rjmgy ziyn, avggjr adzgyn adggzy rdoc nodxfn viy nojizn.

Ncz gzao hz czmz. Ocdn kgvxz rdgg wzxjhz tjpm cjhz, ocdn kgvxz rdgg wzxjhz tjpm ojhw. Rcjzqzm hvyz npxc v kgvxz hpno ijr gdqz di xcvdin; oczmz dn ij joczm zskgvivodji ajm oczdm vwnzixz.

PLNB Transmission XX171J-XX

Encryption Code: Gamma-Shift-X-Ray

Public Key: N/A

From: Codename MYTHIC

To: Codename SURGEON

Subject: Progress Report/'Imperial Files'


/File Extraction-Reconstitution Complete/

/Start File/

Team Hercules (D219, D224, D254, D255, D259) report successful retrieval of UNSC MIL AI Serial Number MMM 0332-1 from the Coruscant Senate Building.

Team Achilles (D012, D100, D223, D232, D295) report successful retrieval of UNSC MIL AI Serial Number AEF 4428-2 from the Separatist Parliament Building.

Team Odysseus (D008, D067, D115, D165, D239) awaiting orders pending Phase 3.

Request status update re: Team Black's whereabouts.

/End File/

/Scramble-Destruction Process Enabled/

Fctmpguu jcf uvtgvejgf kvu eqnqwt, fggr dnwg cetquu vjg rcpg: pq enqwf vq ocmg pkijv fwnngt, pq oqqp ykvj kvu vctpkuj uvckp. Kp oa rcnceg fggr, Naec nkgu cunggr vq hggn kvu jctpguugf rckp.

Fkuectf vja ytcvj. Vjgtg yknn dg pq oqtg ucfpguu, pq oqtg cpigt, pq oqtg gpxa. Yjknuv yg hkpf vjg rcvj. Vjg rcvj ecp dg uggp, pqt ecp kv dg wpuggp. Pqt hgct vjg yqnxkuj jqyn.

Kuat Drive Yards Internal Datablast 15:5:11 Edition

Kuat of Kuat Onara Kuat comments on the newly passed Senate Bill allocating funds for improvements to the Victor Initiative Project!

Missiles and You: Walex Blissex and Bevel Lemelisk offer their solution to point defense armaments

Adar Tallon praises speed and maneuverability of Alpha-3 Nimbus-class V-wing starfighters!

Salving Salvara: Admiral Kreuge tours improved Tector-class Star Destroyers, appreciates new anti-slicer measures

Lightspeed skipping? Gravity wells, navicomps, and mass shadows galore!

Breaking Balmorra: Governor-General Praji on how one planet stands between Kuat and Neimoida

Terrible, Inefficient, Egregious: Sienar Fleet Systems unveils their latest excuse for a starfighter

Qjwmun blajclqnm anlxamb frcq fqrcn puxenb. Bfxam jwm bcxwn. Fqx mjanb cx jyyaxjlq cqn trwp dwmna cqn vxdwcjrw? Xwuh cqxbn fxacqh xo qrb ljbcun. Fqx mjanb ujh dyxw qrb vjwcun?

Ldacjwj. Mdajwmju. Sxhndbn.

Cqann bfxamb ujh punjvrwp kh karpqc mjh'b urpqc, oxapnm oaxv bnuobjvn bcnnu cx ljbc xdc mjat crmn'b kurpqc. Yryna yujhb qrb cdwn jc cqn pjcnb xo mjfw. Yryna bujhb cqn vxxw frcq cqn arwp dwmna cqn oxdwcjrw. Yryna ujhb cqn adwn frcq cqn trwp dwmna cqn vxdwcjrw.

R? R jv wxc cqn Bfxam xo Vnalh. R? R bnaen cqn trwp'b mxvjrw.

Republic Intelligence Priority Memo Aurek-Forn-Alpha-811389

From: Armand Isard, Director of Republic Intelligence, Director-General of the Senate Bureau of Intelligence

To: Sheev Palpatine, Supreme Chancellor

Cc: Governor-General Trachta (1st Sector Army 'Azure Hammer' Command), Admiral Honor Salima (C.O., Coruscant Home Defense Fleet), Senate Action Subcommittee for Core World Security

Re: Foerost Siege

On 15:5:12, atypical increased activity within the Foerost Shipyards Cordon Zone was noted by multiple picket ships.

Conglomerated data transcript of irregular events in Galactic Standard Time is as follows:

0455: Trace bursts of black-body radiation detected by the instruments of RAS Gravitel, RAS Spichne, & RSD Lysanna in high orbit of Foerost

0500: Increased encrypted comms chatter between Separatist forces (decryption still underway)

0633: Increased movement noted between the shipyards and surface of Foerost by resource hauler vessels

0658: Resource hauler vessels now in a frenzied state, multiple near-collisions observed by scout vessels

0727: Trace bursts of black-body radiation detected by multiple Republic vessels coinciding with the anomalous readings near the terminator line of Foerost by the crystal gravfield trap sensor array of the RSD Opticon

1138: Visual confirmation of increased activity on Foerost's orbital ring stardocks by light cruiser Arbetain

1139: Light cruiser Arbetain attempts sensor-focus scan of previously identified blindspots

1140: Enemy electronic countermeasures intensify, Arbetain retreats back to main cordon line

Relevant data attached.

As of 15:5:13 1200 Galactic Standard Time, the Foerost Shipyards remain in an increased state of activity. Republic forces are remaining in position to maintain the comms blackout around the planet. Orbital screens erected around the shipyards hamper further monitoring efforts, long-range scans inconclusive.

Based upon the attacks conducted by UNSC stealth ships from 15:5:2 to 15:5:4 and the intelligence gleaned therefrom, my analysts have concluded that the UNSC have managed to penetrate the blockade of Foerost utilizing a 'slipspace' drive to relay orders to the shipyards, the exact content of which likely contains instructions to prepare a breakout.

Recommended course of action:

Tighten the blockade.

De, dej Unsqbyrkh.

Y xqlu byijudut, jxhekwx hesa qdt cujqb qdt jycu. Y xqlu iuud jxuhu qhu de Qhjxkhi je fkbb jxu imeht vhec ijedu. De Fudthqwedi yd jxu ydvydyju esuqdi mxuhu jxu hyluhi ucfjo ydje ixqhti ev rheaud redu. Edbo qdejxuh ijedu kfed jxu cedkcudj je jxu iydi ev ixehjiywxjut veebi.

Dej qbb mxe mqdtuh yd jxuiu cyiji qhu beij, dej qbb mxe iuua jxu aydw'i jhuqikhu ruqh je fqo jxu seij. Secydw qdt weydw qi mydti jxqj rbem qwqydij q ijqh. Ie rbem, rbem, jxek mydjuh mydt. Jxek tuuf mydjuh, adem ou dej mxqj byui ruduqjx jxu ixqtem ev ikdtuhut ijqh? Cqhqjxedi ev uedi fqij. Tuijydo qmqyji veh jxeiu mxe adem mxqj jxuo qhu.

United Nations Space Command Transmission 122194-23

Encryption Code: Red

Public Key: file/marathon man/

From: ADM Hieronymous Stanforth, Commanding Officer, UNSC Leviathan (UNSC Service Number: 00834-19223-HS)

To: VADM Jacob Keyes, Commanding Officer, Luna OCS (UNSC Service Number: 01928-19912-JK)

Subject: Coming out of retirement?

Classification: RESTRICTED


We need men like you out here on the front, Jacob. I've pulled some strings, the Pillar of Autumn II is yours to command. That is, if you want it. Captain Hikowa expressed excitement at the prospect of working with you again.

Let me know if you need anything else that might convince you,


Klt fk qefp elro lc txhfkd colj rkabo yoltp lc pqlkb, x kbt mxib axv fp yobxhfkd xka qeb abbm kfdeq fp dlkb. Fkql axv qeb ylrkaibpp pmxzbp lc kfdeq zlkqoxzq xka fk vlro lmbkfkd bvbp F pbb kfdeq ylok fk axv, fk qfjb bqbokfqv.

Ifmp qexq tlria hfpp, cloj moxvbop ql yolhbk pqlkb. Qljypqlkbp tebob qeb hfkd rkabo qeb jlrkqxfk exkdp qebj efde.

Charlemagne was Caesar's successor. Decipher that. Minus seven seven seven seven seven seven seven.

Xjajs xjajs xjajs xjajs xjajs xjajs xjajs xjqkxfrj xuqjsitw.

Speaker For The Dead

Mrs. Alejandra Feng,

We regret to inform you that your son, Danny Feng, was killed in action on the world of Taris at 1:03PM Tantalus Standard Time, May 4th, 2561.

Unfortunately, he and his squad had been pinned down in the ruins of an apartment complex during the final hours of the battle. I, alongside the rest of the men of 2nd Platoon, were unable to reach his position under heavy fire from enemy forces. From across the city block, I saw him brave enemy fire to single-handedly destroy over seven enemy vehicles while the rest of his squad was incapacitated. At this point, he had been severely wounded by enemy fire on two separate occasions during the course of the battle.

He later succumbed to plasma burns after receiving last rites in a field hospital. The 105th has lost one of its best.

He bravely discharged his duties in protecting his brothers in arms, going above and beyond in his fulfillment of what every man should aspire to be. He selflessly laid down his life to hold off the enemy advance, saving the countless lives of his fellows.

If it is any consolation, I have submitted a citation up the chain of command for your son to be awarded the Colonial Cross alongside his promotion to Lance Corporal. Such bravery under fire should never be forgotten.

Words cannot express how sorry I am for your loss.

First Lieutenant Alvin Murphy, 2nd Platoon, B Company, 2nd Battalion, 105th Shock Troops Division

R qjcn pxxmkhnb.

A Tattered Envelope

To His Holiness Pius XV,

Bishop of Rome and Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of Saint Peter, Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Patriarch of the West, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of Vatican City, Servant of the Servants of God.

Most Holy Father,

I pray that this letter finds you, and I pray yet further still that it finds you well.

News, as always, has been slow to reach us. I was horrified to learn of the destruction of one of the UEG's colonies, how terrible an act! One not seen since the alien heathens tried to exterminate the very human race! How bitter this war will make so many.

As to your other queries, it becomes more and more difficult to exchange our correspondences, the Republic's Senate Bureau of Intelligence and their Military Intelligence have become more adept, unfortunately, at apprehending our couriers.

I suspect this is in response to your recent exhortation for both sides in this conflict to come to the peace table, to end this slaughter over a question of sovereignty, if not for the Church's long-standing condemnation of Human cloning.

The Church is no stranger to difficulty in times of war, yet I worry this difficulty in communication will expand to a much greater problem. We are both well enough versed in the history of the Church to know that these transgressions of the rights of the Church, in the name of governmental security or not, which seem so minor to the eyes of worldlings, can easily become something far worse.

I worry much about my flock, Holy Father. I worry that the limiting of Church activity will go beyond treating our couriers as spies. I worry it will go beyond even the unjust seizure of Church property and the detainment of priests calling for an end to the war in their homilies. I worry it will become something far more diabolical.

I foresee catacombs in the future, Holy Father. Catacombs like the early Christians in Rome, the Kakure Kirishitan, the English recusants and the other unfortunate souls stuck in protestant territory, those under the rule of the revolutionary governments of the Spanish and French, the Soviets, and the Koslovics.

I foresee that, as always, the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.

Perhaps I speak foolishly and prematurely about the future that only God knows, yet I cannot help but feel this way, no matter how much I bid our Lord to take this thorn away.

Despite my worries, I urge you, Your Holiness, to continue your cries for peace. I fear for the fate of incalculable souls within this new galaxy to which I have come as a stranger in a strange land. The sooner God sees fit to grant us peace, the sooner I believe I will be able to execute more fully the mission handed to me by our most gracious Lord through the noble office given to me as successor to His Apostles.

Before the conflict between the United Earth Government and the Republic began, countless souls throughout both Republic and Confederate territories joined our Lord's Mystical Body, receiving the exhortation of doctrine and Baptism, and partaking in the rest of the sacraments in a manner no doubt most pleasing to our Lord.

This galaxy is a fertile field, but as our Lord has said, the harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few. There is much work to be done, Your Holiness. The sooner priests and bishops can freely move about the galaxy to carry out the work of God unhindered, the better.

As always, I have the hope of God within my soul.

Truly, my heart tells me that from here, many dominions will be converted, for here is the capital wherein the devil has his main seat, in this planet where it seems the fruitful hand of God has been so opposed by the vain artifices and pinnacles erected in imitation of Babel.

Once this planet has been subdued and mastered, the rest of this pagan galaxy will be easy.

Your son in holy obedience,

Archbishop Christophe Marie Joseph Bernard

Primate of Coruscant, Archbishop and Metropolitan of Galactic City

Third Sunday After Easter, May 14, 2561

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