The beginning of a full-scale invasion
Alien attacks start in all worlds. Crystallid offensive fleets lead the charge. The first blow that landed on the outskirts, was only a combat reconnaissance. Soon after, attacks begin in the inner worlds as well. Some systems are destroyed, others are fiercely fighting. Civilians flee the attacked worlds in horror. Refugees tell of anomalies, huge alien ships and their deadly weapons.
Cybers activate their beacons attracting Aliens in various sectors. In addition, they open portals into their own worlds. There is no doubt, Cybers fight on the Alien side.
Meanwhile, from the inner worlds there are reports of increasing Revenant cult activity. There are rumours of appearances of Bake-kujira, ‘Ghost Whale’ — the Revenant flagship. Incredibly huge ship appears out of nowhere and attacks allegedly random targets, then just instantly disappears into nowhere.
Revenants openly attack a number of planets. They organize terrorist acts. Their appearance leads to Liu virus outbreaks. When the epidemic becomes uncontrollable, Biomorphs form a swarm around the planet. Soon the planets themselves literally come to life and go out of their orbits. The nature of this phenomenon is not yet known, but scientists call these animated planets ‘Bions’.
Because of these attacks and disasters, the fleets have to be spread out, which greatly reduces their effectiveness. Portal storm has dissipated, but it’s still difficult to shift significant forces over long distances. Some systems are completely cut off from the rest of the world. Comms are also broken, and no one knows what is happening there.
Facitons start using the services of corporations and mercenaries to defend their territories from Aliens. States remove the moratorium on the construction and operation of large warships by individuals. First corporate dreadnoughts appear.
Jericho isolation and Mendes family demarche
The war caught Jericho off guard. Its huge fleet was ready to directly attack the Aliens. But first isolated attacks inflicted significant damage to infrastructure and logistics. Iridium mines and several key shipyards were lost.
Family Council decides to go into deep defense. Because of this they have to interrupt almost all contact with the outside world. Only small fleets continue to patrol the borders.
Fearing betrayal by the Federation, Family Council transmits all trade contracts to private corporations.
Weeks later a scandal shakes the highest circles of Jericho. Details are unknown to the general public. One thing is clear — Mendes family is in the center of the scandal. The same day, Mendes leave Bartle sector with all their fleet.
Mendes openly declare that they are no longer going to carry out any of the arrangements of those signed with the Council, including peace treaties and quarantine memorandum. They say their sacred duty is to destroy the Revenants. According to them, the cult perverted Bartle’s doctrine and is a threat to all humanity.
Pretty soon Mendes take the infrastructure Jericho left after isolation. Mendes Station IX, as before, is ready to work with mercenaries . The role of the latter increases significantly — Mendes family trusts them with the most important and dangerous missions.
As the family fleet does not conduct aggressive actions in relation to the Empire and the Federation, the two factions decide to leave them alone.
The rise of corporations in Federation Senate
After the signing of the trilateral Quarantine memorandum, the Federation starts using corporate mercenaries for operations in the attacked sectors. This greatly strengthened the position of the latter. But not so much as to disturb anyone in the Senate. Jericho isolation upset this balance — hundreds and hundreds of key contracts were lost. Corporations were thought of as ‘agents’ of the state. Now serious power is concentrated in their hands. The situation is getting worse due to the fact that Armada is busy fighting with Aliens and can not ensure the safety of trade routes. This problem also extends to corporations. Soon, their lobby in the Senate reaches an unprecedented scale. More and more new laws give corporations almost unlimited freedom. Federation property goes into their possession. Sometimes even openly pirate captures are legitimized.
Fall of Guard-21
Node station Sentinel-17 receives a distress message from Sentinel-21. ‘Twenty-First’ ensured the security of an important Imperial iridium mine on the border of the Crystallid quarantine zone. A message is brought by a Dreadnought, that ensured the departure of the last batch of Iridium. According to the captain, chaos reigns in the sector. It all started with a Crystallid attack. This happened before — each time the defenders managed to repel the attack. But this time, the enemy fleet was much stronger than usual. At the same time, a distress signal came from the mines. The planet literally went crazy. Its surface was set in motion, and very soon it became clear that the planet became a Bion.
Crystallids immediately approached the Bion and dealt a powerful blow with all their weapons. They literally opened up the surface of the planet. Kilometers of Iridium-rich rocks revealed the outlines of an ancient titanic structure. Whatever was hidden in the core of Bion, clearly had an artificial origin.
When Dreadnought started the jump, the last thing its sensors detected was that the Sentinel-21 had all the energy transferred to the shield and went on the defensive. It is possible that there are still survivors there.
Naturally, the Empire immediately ordered to assign the sector to the quarantine zone. However, many corporations are interested in what happened in this sector.