"The Compliance of the so-called Koprulu Sector and the systems within it is notable not only for the prolonged time the so-called "Terrans" were able to hold out against the Astrates, but because the society encountered by Rogel Dorn and the Brother Primarchs who later joined the Crusade to take the sector represents everything our young Imperium should never be. Corrupt and moribund, the Dominion and the smaller factions had hovered over it's dying corpse are an ample lesson as to what humanity would face without our Emperor and the Warmaster Horus protecting us."
-Claudius Antonov, Imperial Remembrancer
"I swear in God all mighty's name, those yellow painted sons of harlots gonna regret what they did here sir."
"The Dominion is humanities only hope for unity," the heavy Korhalian drawl and deep self-confidence of the voice and repetitive marching music coming from the Bars TV could only mean one thing, Emperor Mengsk was giving another of his god-damned speeches, "Unity is what is needed in face of the multiple threats which us assail every day. The nightmarish Zerg-"
Bob groaned into his cheap beer, even though the Zerg were as close to nightmares as anyone was ever gonna get this side of hell, he was sick of hearing that phrase. It had sounded good in the inauguration speech but that was years back, now it just got on his nerves. Mengsk had taken to using more and more stock phrases of late, like a badly written cartoon superhero repeating it's catchphrases.
"My Benevolent Monarchy" Bob hatred that phrase too, especially since he had no idea what Monarchy meant "Shields humanity from the darkness around us, the threat of know and unknown enemies. Remember the Protoss Intervention, the UED Invasion, and the First Great War? I and I alone have provided the leadership-" usually, Mengsk lost his cool here, his voice rising in anger as he pronounced the word "that lead humanity through the darkness. I admit-" Bob looked up startled, Mengsk never admitted to anything! "That civil liberties have suffered, I admit there have been mistakes. I am not as young-" everyone had stopped moving in the Bar, somewhere something tiny dropped "as I once was. In acknowledgment of this, I am appointing-" he gulped, as if being forced to speak "Prince Valerian as my deputy, he is capable of winning this war. His…. victory on Char had show he is… worthy of the high office I offer… and eventual succession to the Throne of the Dominion. I shall take a back seat role… Long Live Valerian, Long Live the Dominion," Bob's mouth hung open, Mengsk's voice was actually shaking!
Something crashed outside the Bar, and as one they turned to face the door.
"Valerian! Speak to me you son of a-"
"Nice to see you too, Jimmy" Valerian inspected a vintage wine label intently, "to what do I own the pleasure?"
"You aren't expecting me to let you take that sonofabitches offer up are you? I fought to end the Dominion not to make you deputy, goddamnit kid. I won't prop up another tryant." Jimmy Raynor was in a rage, as was to be expected of a man who suspected he was about to be double-crossed for a second time. He had been drinking, of course. He'd expected to be able to hold back now Kerrigan was back, but he still.. needed it. Besides, she wasn't talking to him, or for that matter anyone.
"My father will do anything to remain in power, even if it means giving up some of that power," mused Valerian, "He really does believe deep down that he has always acted for the best of the whole Dominion, a delusion typical amongst the selfish. It will simplify matters somewhat to bypass a violent overthrow of the Dominion. But don't worry, I'm not decided yet, it will be expedient to wait and see what happens over the next few mouths. I'd suggest you abstain from attacking me till after my decision. Besides, we have more important things to deal with."
"What things?" Raynor asked, suspicious.
Valerian chuckled, "Archaeology." He finally poured the wine in a glass, he was listening to that damned record again, as if Dupe boxes didn't exist "And a few things I'd like to talk to the late Queen of Blades about. But I'm busy now, we can go over things later." Valerian dismissed Raynor with a wave.
Raynor grunted, and stalked out. He don't look so busy, he thought, and thudded the cold metal wall of the ship.
Astartes, Angels of Death.
Rogel Dorn of the Imperial Fist Legion surveyed the planetary system rising up before his flagship, Phalanx, as he considered the role of his warriors in the Great Crusade. A shame, he thought, that humanity must be forced in Compliance so often, that so many cultures and states must suffer oblivion in battle before learning the truth. While he in no way doubted the role of the Astartes was that of Liberators, sent to bring light to the worlds lost to chaos during the Age of Strife, he sometimes wondered why the words of the Iterators were not enough to make those lost in the Age of Strife see the errors of there ways? If man was so noble, why must he be policed by supermen engineered to kill him? Was not man rational, and was not reason innately good, as the great Sindermann taught? Or was his brother Curze right, and must man be taught only through fear, and through the threat of reprisals? Was man such a beast to be ruled by force alone?
He shuddered at the thought of his malcontent brother Primarch's philosophy and the manner in which his Night Lords carried it out, and made a mental note to challenge Curze's incorrect views in future.
Now was the time to deal with the Compliance of the sector. His thoughts could be left for later, now was the time to martial the Legion. The Imperial Fists prided themselves on their record of conquest and on the efficiency with which they effected compliance. Dorn was said to be second only to Horus in military genius. The Great Crusade to reclaim the stars was the purpose for which he had been engineered, a Primarch of the Emperor, commander of a whole Legion of the Adeptus Astartes.
"Does the world have a fleet?" his voice boomed out, Dorn was by the standards of humanity a Demigod, towering even over the warriors of the Astartes, the pinnacle of genetic perfection "I'm not in the mood for battling primitives, nor for accepting their inadequate gifts."
"Some ships are approaching, Lord" Sigismund, the First Captain, replied, "They are making contact, shall we answer?"
"Bring them up," sighed Dorn, "we may be able to awe them sufficiently to move on quickly. We are in need of some recruits; Fulgirm has requested our presence to help comply the Ogryn Kingdoms in the Mulciber Sector. I want to be on full strength for that operation. Apparently they build better fortresses than most others of their mutated kind."
"Coming up, Lord"
A strangely dressed commander, puffing on a pipe and wearing an extremely out of date hat, appeared on the screen. His eyes widened in surprise and he nearly choked when he saw Dorn, seated in his throne majestically, in his golden armour, the size of a small tank.
"I… Identify yourselves" he blurted, his voice had a quaint twang to it. "This here is Dominion Space, what is the meaning of this?"
Dorn stoically noted Sigismund's anger at the mortal daring to demand anything from a Primarch, and replied, "I am Rogel Dorn, Primarch of the Imperial Fists. I represent the Imperium of Man. We stand before you as Liberators, not enemies. The days of Old Night are over, and now humanity is reuniting. All you need to do is offer your compliance to the Emperor and the Imperium, and your world will be left in peace. If you do not, my Astartes will reduce you to dust."
The native commander choked, dropping his pipe. His sputtered at Dorn, "Now, I don't know nothing about what you just said Sir, but I'd thank you kindly if you didn't come over here expecting us to kiss your ass just cause you got a big ass fleet. This here is Dominion space, and the only Emperor I know is Emperor Mengsk, Gawd bless his soul. Now kindly retract your threat or will we engage, whoever you are."
Dorn persevered with his argument, while signalling to Sigismund to arm all weapons "I beg you too reconsider, your 'Emperor' is no doubt a brutal tyrant or a fallible blue blooded fool. We represent the only true Emperor, the Emperor of Mankind itself. I was like you once, and mustered to resist his coming, but I saw truth. The Imperium is the height of human civilisation. I would hate to see good men die to defend some petty kingdom. At least wait awhile before attacking, so we can demonstrate our good intentions. Your ships are pitifully small compared to our-"
He noticed the enemy ships moving into attack formation, they weren't listening.
"If you will not withdraw from Dominion space, we will open fire. I ain't no diplomat, so please discuss whatever carp you is talking with the correct agencies once you get the ass out of my system!" shouted the admiral.
Dorn shook his head, the hubris of the lost. It was regrettable, but it seemed some demonstration of the Emperors might was needed before these backward provincials saw sense. He switched off the jumped up little admiral and gave his orders.
"Sigismund, order the fleet to fire all lances, and then move in for an attack."
"Holy mother of God!" shouted Admiral Douglas O'Donald, as the first salvo of Imperial fire blasted into the front of the DSS Daring. The bridge shock violently, and somewhere something started to beep madly. "Those bastards are fast, return fire! Immediately!"
"Right away sir!" his lieutenant replied.
"And send out fighters, we aren't big enough to deal with this on our own!" Those bastards ships were huge, almost bigger than the supercarriers. He wondered how those monstrosities could land, but then, perhaps they didn't have to land. You could fight a fleet of transport inside just one.
The Daring opened fire, blasting straight at the Phalanx. Never one to be unprepared, O'Donald had made sure the Yamato Cannon was fully charged before hailing the strangers. He gave a triumphant yell as the thick stream of plasma flew towards the Imperial Flying Fortress. Take that assholes! Then the plasma blistered and dissipated against an invisible barrier. Shields? What are these guys, Protoss?
Dorn leaned forward, finally interested. That Plasma attack had demonstrated that though these ships were inflexibly designed, they were well armed. He was glad that the enemy commander had chosen to fire on the Phalanx, such an attack would have broken through the shields of most other Imperial Warships. As it was, the Phalanx had enough shields to withstand a planetary bombardment, not counting the fortifications which the shield hung over, it had been these defences that had altered the Emperor to the genius of it's designer, Him.
"Move in closer, we don't want to risk more attacks like that" he snapped to Sigismund "These provincials won't last a second against our broadsides with such top heavy ship design, but they will do serious damage in head on head engagements. Relay my instructions to the fleet. The Emperor Protects!"
"Bah! So what they have shields, we still got numbers on our side. Are the fighters here yet?" O'Donald balled, red with rage. He knew some Terran ships had Defence Matrixes these days, but they could be seen a mile off. Invisible shields raised a problem, where they on or off, or permanent?
"Right with you, Sir" a voice echoed, Ted Delleraway the Wraith commander, "These outlanders won't know what hit 'em."
"Good to hear from you, Ted. Finish that crossword or did you decide the battle was more important already?"
"Cool it, Admiral" Ted breathed, "we have our own timetable to keep."
"You're here anyway" O'Donald had recovered his pipe and puffed seriously, "though I aren't got no idea what use you'll be if their fighters are as good as there battleships"
"Don't worry sir, we'll deal with all comers," Ted whispered.
"Under fire, Lord, from unknown sources" reported Sigismund.
"What?" Dorn inquired, this was getting more interesting by the minute.
"The pattern of fire conforms to a fighter attack, but no fighters are visible on are scopes."
Dorn nodded, reminded of the Invisibles of the False Imperium that the Lunar Wolves had subjugated. Cloaked fighters, impressive, but not a dynamic changing threat, they wouldn't be able to damage the Phalanx enough to stop its progress. The rest of the fleet was already engaging the Provincial battle cruisers. To his amusement, the enemy had shown a great deal of foolishness; throwing their great plasma attacks exclusively at the Phalanx, ignoring the weaker vessels in the Imperial Fist Fleet. He knew from a thousand engagements you should never waste you force on the enemies strongest point.
Amongst the ranks of the Provincial fleet, a battle cruiser was annihilated by a broadside from Imperial Power, exploding in a colourful burst of red flame against the eternal darkness of space.
"Holy shit!" O'Donald's confidence had long been knocked out of him, and he sat trembling in his seat. "How many guns do those things have?"
The Imperial Ships were built like great sailing ships, with vast batteries of cannon on their sides, and were armoured with the great plates of shinning armour and fizzling shields. They were the best the Imperium had to offer, a symbol of the Imperium's ascendancy over the stars.
The Dominion ships however, were built like armoured rocket ships, with a single weapons battery at the tip. They were ideal for fighting ground forces and other ships of a similar design but against the Imperial fleet they were woefully inadequate. Without broadside weaponry, once an Imperial ship was alongside a Battle Cruiser it was able to rip it apart with relative impunity, though superior Dominion fighters caused some disruption. The Imperials had been confused by the clocked fighters at first, but had proceeded to ignore them, calmly destroying one Battle Cruiser after another. The Phalanx was barring down on them, slowly but surly, it weapons blazing.
O'Donald had had enough of this carp.
"Lieutenant, send out a signal. I'm going to surrender to these sons of bitches."
Dorn's face appeared on the screen, serious yet somehow amused, his voice was deep and powerful.
"Are you Compliant yet?"
Bob and the other occupants of the Bar, some with guns and others with pitch forks, poked gingerly at the overturned trash container, unaware of the reports of a sudden attack on Dominion space by an unknown enemy playing to an empty room inside.
"Could be a Zergling," muttered Sid.
"It's a cat I'm telling ye," replied Luke, but he kept his gun up anyway, just in case. On the frontier everything was always just in case, never sure when the clanking the backyard was a lost pet or the next Zerg offensive.
Inside the tin container, something grunted.
"That ain't no cat!" Sid said, raising his voice.
"I was in the Marines" Bob said, "Zerg is all high pitched. That too low for Zerg."
The creature emerged slowly; it was the size of a small Gorilla, but bent over and much more ugly. It was green, and looked like an illustration from a children's book. You know, the Troll under the bridge one. It was definitely male.
"It's some new kinda alien," Luke said, lowering his rifle, slightly.
"We is discoverers!" Sid enthused, "Like, First Contact and shit."
"Looks dumb," said Bob, the thing had a silly, tusky grin and a tiny skull on top of a massive jaw "Never heard of dumb aliens before."
"Ain't Zerg dumb?" asked Sid.
"No," Bob shivered just a little, "they ain't."
Eddie, the Barmen, lowered his rifle and spread out his arms.
"How 'bout we use the little fella as a mascot? For the Bar!"
Typical, Bob thought Eddie don't think 'bout nothing but business.
"I don't think so, Eddie, he's kinda mean lookin', might scare customers."
Eddie ignored him, caught up in his fantasy, "Think 'bout it, first domesticated Alien mascot in the Sector. We can even let the Football team borrow the little guy, for a fee of course."
The creature opened it mouth to speak.
"See, it's trying to talk to Uncle Eddie!" cooed Eddie
"Yoz Humies," it said slowly "me iz Orky."
"What a cute name!" exclaimed Eddie.
It reached out to Eddie, "Daka" it said.
"It called me daddy!" Eddie was overjoyed, but Bob saw something wasn't right. "Look out there Eddie, he's-"
The Ork bellowed "Waaaargh!" as it head butted Eddie, breaking his back like a Christmas cracker smashed by a bull and grabbed his rifle, before turning it on the other yockels. "Orkz is best! Waaargh!" Sid was struck across the face by a wave of bullets; Luke fired and hit the creature in the arm to no effect, and got shot several times in the chest. Bob and the others had already dived for cover.
"I knew it weren't no Zerg," said Bob, and sat down on a patch of butt ugly looking mushrooms which he'd never noticed before…..