Chapter 11b: Peacock Soufflé

October 4, 2244
Archona, Domination of the Draka

Arch-Strategos Jacques Bourgouin was standing at his office, with his left placed on top of his desk, in a supporting position while his right hand war currently holding a glass of Bourbon. He was currently in deep thought, thinking about the preparations about the coming war with the Centauri Republic in under a month's time.

He by virtue of his exploits during the Dilgar war, is currently in commander of Vega command or the forces within the Domination-Centauri boarder, which was supposed to be comprised of the Second, Fourth fleets. Now it is currently augmented with the Fifth and Sixth and elements of the Third, which would make a grand total of over five thousand ships, which is easily over four times the ships used to defeat the Dilgar, slightly less than three quarters of the Domination's Navy and supposed to be enough to defeat the Centauri and carve a hole all the way to Centauri Prime.

This easily made Jacques one of the most powerful beings in the sector, hell he could take the ships here and sail to Archona and declare himself Archon, as the First fleet would stand no chance against such forces, but fortunately for the Archon they were aiming at the opposite direction.

The Draka plan was simple, to swamp the Centauri boarder with as many ships as they can spare at the start of the destroying as many Centauri ships as they can and capture as much Centauri industry in the opening stroke as possible.

"Everything is going according to plan." He thought, "but even the best conceived plans never survive contact with the enemy." He added.

Suddenly a chime sounded, it was his doorbell and the person he was waiting for has arrived.

"Enter." Jacques muttered.

"Ah, Merarch, just the Draka I was waiting for, please sit." Jaques greeted the lower ranking officer.

"I have an important mission for you." Jacques said as the Merarch satdown.

"A scouting mission, as you might know, we are in wartime footing and currently preparing for a war with the Centauri." Jacques said.

The Merarch merely nodded in approval.

"Your mission is simple, take you task force to Quadrant 15 and survey the system for Centauri activity.

As we have received reports from the Krypta of Centauri surveillance activity in the system

Remove any surveillance satellites with force if necessary if you encounter any Centauri force in the area, let them fire first."

"Sir, the whole task force for a scouting mission? Isn't a job for the Krypta?"

"You have your orders Merarch."

"Yes, sir! Is there anything else sir?"

"None, your mission details will be send to your command ship." with this the Merarch walked out of the office.

"Oh, one more thing Merarch, do not do anything I wouldn't do." Jacques ended with a sadistic smile, giving the Merarch realization of what his true mission was.

Jacques, specifically chose him as he was know to be trigger happy, fire first before asking kind of guy.

Just the guy they needed to create a Casus Belli with the Centauri. Either by having one of their warships being fired upon or by finding Cenatauri surveillance satellites in a supposed to be neutral system, both if they were lucky.

Then after the news of the incident the Navy would invade then declare war in that order.

Centauri Prime
Royal Court

"The esteemed guest from the Republic of Samothrace is given chance to speak."

The Centauri Prime Minister said as he motioned to give the floor to Chancellor Elizabeth Levy who was seating at the opposite side of the table the different ministers of the Royal Court was seating, she was accompanied by over a dozen different aids who were seated on the same side as her. Although she could have just sent an ambassador to negotiate in her stead, she chose to come here herself as it would give more credence to her proposal.

She was here to give the Alliance proposal of aid and alliance herself, it was upon the suggestion of the Centauri Prime Minister that they hold this in a closed door meeting with the Royal Court rather than bring it to the Centaurum.

"Honorable members of the Royal Court, you may have already know why I am here as we already sent the proposal via standard Diplomatic channels."

With that the different Ministers of the Royal Court murmured in affirmative.

"Will the Great and Powerful Centauri Republic answer in the affirmative to our humble proposal of Mutual Defense Treaty between our Two Great Republics?" Levy carefully worded it as she knew how much emphasis they put on pride and showing face.

"Let me get your proposal straight, you will give us intel on the Draka plus Bio-steel effective weaponry in exchange for a military alliance between both our republics?" The Minister of Defense clarified the issue. He was dressed like all the other Minsters with as much jewelry and embellishments money can buy, he was probably the second oldest in the room, only the Prime Minister was older and perhaps more embellished.

"No, Minister, we will give those for free as a token of our good will." Levy replied, this made the assembled ministers loose a breath.

"So what benefit does this alliance give the Lion of the Galaxy..." The said Minister again responded.

"An old, lion who is well passed his prime." Levy wanted to add but refrained herself from interjecting.

"... you are but a small power with territory and population only equal to that of a minor League power? Compared to us, which is the largest power in known space with the largest, industry, navy and population only the Minbari is stronger than us in naval might." The pompous minister continued, which also Levy wanted to correct him on several points but refrained herself.

"It must be obvious to you that the Draka are planning to attack you? Specially with their signing of a Non-aggression treaty with the Narn a week ago." Levy said in disbelief.

"Your intelligence must be wrong Madam Chancellor, as ours have indicated that their aim is the Drazi Freehold to control the last remaining League member not in their control." Lord Malifa the Minister of Intelligence a matter of factly answered Levy.

She almost grew red in annoyance or sheer anger in due to the reply, fortunately she did not let her emotions get the best of her.

"But Minister! Surely their fleet disposition would say differently!"

"Madam Chancellor." He said like he was talking to a child tone.
"It is but a ploy to ruse the Drazi into a sense of security surely it would not be poised against us, as it should be known to them that we are stronger than they are."
Malifa continued.

Levy wanted to hit the guy with an anti-matter bomb for his arrogance, she began to make another reply but was overtaken by the same Minister.

"This conference is going no where! You have nothing to offer, and assuming that we accept this I doubt that the Centaurum would ratify it seen that the Draka is our largest trading partner and signing it would do nothing more than gather their ire. This is but a wast of our time and effort. I move for its adjournment." with that the rest of the Ministers simply murmured in acknowledgment then went out one after the other.

Levy was pissed, at the way the Royal Court treated them like a Minor League Power, but even with that and the absence of an Mutual Defense Treaty she knew that her people would still actively intervene in case of a war.

Quadrant 15 – Neutral Space

Quadrant 15 was supposed to be Neutral Space in between the Domination and the Centauri.

With the Domination at the Galactic west direction and the Centauri in the Galactic north direction, with rumors of an unknown Xenos power to the Galactic east.

This system is also marks the most eastern part of the Domination as they have expanded at the other direction.

Time and time again it has been a scene of hide and seek between Centauri and Domination scouting parties and one of the sources of the cooling of relations between both powers.

"Sir still not detecting, even a whisper of a Centauri warship." the Tactical Officer reported to the Merarch in a bored tone, as this mission has been far more boring than what had been advertized.

"Very well Decurion, set course for the remaining satellites and prepare to fire at my command." He replied. He wished that the finding of the satellites would be enough of what the Combine needed to declare war. It had to be as they aren't detecting anything other than those satellites. And they have been here for over two days.

"And tell engineering to fix those malfunctions in the drives while aren't doing anything major I hate them to malfunction again when we meet the Centauri." he added, Dominion military hardware have been experiencing more than expected malfunctions due to the Alliance virus they have sent over the last decade, but still is far from the desired saturation. (note though those tachyons they have been sending)

"Sir, we are detecting hyperspace vortexes forming at near the third planet." The Decurion announced with a hint of excitement as they would finally see some action and their mission would not prove to be a waste.

"Finally the Centauri, plot course for intercept and prepare hailing frequencies." The Merarch said in reply.

"Aye sir, plotting new course to intercept five mins ETA."

"What is the read on those Centauri ships?"

"Sir, Im having a hard time reading, some kind of interference of some sort."

"Natural?"

"Can't tell sir but as far as I can tell it would most likely be artificial, I'm suggesting we should shift to external cameras maybe they will see something."

"On screen." The Merarch commanded after nodding to the Decurion.

The screen of the bridge changed the image from the system's readout to the image of the planet and the ships.

"Freyja's tits, those aren't Centauri ships." someone in the bridge said, as the Merarch stood up from his chair to get a better view with both his eyes not giving even a second away from the screen.

The image on the screen showed the ships were sitting there right beside the planet. To anyone who has eyes, and perhaps even those without them. It is obvious that these were no Centauri ships, these had fish-like appearance instead of the Centauri birdlike appearance, plus they were blue not purple.

There were three of them, one larger and the rest were probably escorts.

Those were what you could glean from the image as they appeared blurry.

"Well there goes two years of planning and months of preparation." the Merarch thought as obviously the invasion will have to be delayed due to this new discovery.

"Clean the image Decurion." He ordered.

"I can't sir, still due to the interference, and now I am of the opinion that they must be some sort of stealth systems."

"Like the Alliance ones?"

"Can't give heads or tails sir. But I'm of the opinion that they work at different principles as we can still see them with visual trackers."

"What can you tell us?"

"Nothing from this far sir."

"Very well, helm set course for intercept. Communications, broadcast an open channel and send first contact package."

"You are on sir." the Monitor of communications replied after pressing several buttons.

The Merarch began to speak. "Unknown vessels, This is the Domination of the Draka Ship Purest White, do you respond?" (Spoken in Draka)

"First contact package sent sir." the Monitor responded.

"Did they receive it?"

"Unknown sir."

"Loki's balls! Loop the transmission and... " The Merarch was cut off as alarms began to sound.

"What was that?"

"From the looks of it, it was their scanners pretty powerful ones as they lit up a lot of our systems." The Decurion of tactical replied.

"How much did they get?"

"Everything sir, I wouldn't be surprised if they would even know what the cooks are brewing in the mess."

"Reply in kind Decurion, full power to active scanners."

The purest white is currently using the newest versions of scanners R and D had to offer, which were already worlds apart from what they had used on the War with the Dilgar more than a decade ago. They were in response to Alliance cloaking tech, but still very far from being a viable counter or even negate it a bit or even pierce these alien ship's passive stealth.

"Nothing sir, I could only get an estimate of their energy emissions."

"And?"

"Way above ours sir!"

"Loki's balls!"

"Merarch sir, the ships are moving at intercept course their gun ports looks open sir."

"Are weapons charged?"

"I cant tell sir, plus I'm not detecting targeting scans, well none that we know of."

"Resume intercept course, Decurion and tell the rest of the task force to follow suit."

"Sir?"

"Resume course, I want a better scan of those ships which we could probably get at closer range, as no one scans Draka ships without being scanned back!"
The Merarch replied.

"Yes, Merarch Michael Jankowski."

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