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In the Shadow of a New Alliance


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((Somewhere on the Surface of Thracia II))

::A stiff wind blew through the baring trees, shedding more of the dying leaves from the brittle branches and bringing with it a chill that permeated the air surrounding the silently moving predator. With darkness falling, it would have been difficult to see the black hair billowing behind her head like smoke from a growing blaze, unless of course you knew just what you were looking for. To the prey she stalked, her silent movements went unnoticed as it continued to gather what it would need to survive the coming winter.::

::With speed and agility that came naturally to the woman who darted through the trees and across the blanket of dead leaves spread over the hillside ground, Ili'kai approached her prey from a downwind angle. Sharpened spear in hand, her graceful movements finally brought her in range of the large rodent-like creature. Pulling the spear back in the same manner her mother had taught her, she took one last aim at the animal and sent the weapon sailing through the air.::

::As her fingertips let their grip fade, the creature finally looked up to see the hunter, but by then it was already too late. An almost sickening cry erupted from it as the spear found its mark and took a life that had been there only moments before. With a sigh, the woman moved next to her kill and fell on her knees whispering towards the first stars that began to appear in the ever darkening sky above.::

((Warbird Rinoaul - In Orbit of Thracia II))

::The Thracian Alliance has officially been born. With the transition of the Vauthil to the command of Commander Kital Creena, and the apparent retreat of the Klingons from the border world's orbit, the newly born, interstellar power could begin to gain a foothold in one of the most contested and hostile regions of space known to the galaxy - the Neutral Zone that lay between the Klingon Empire's territory and that which once belonged to the Romulan Star Empire.::

::With help from the Federation, war over the mineral rich planet below had been averted. Despite the apparent direction in which the Alliance would head, the Commander of the Starfleet ship which had been dispatched to negotiate the contested region had finally stood behind the third option once it had been presented. Not wanting the world to be either Klingon or Romulan, and rightly so due to its location, the raven haired officer had backed up the Thracian Fleet which had been disguised in the cloak of the Romulan predecessors to whom the ships had once belonged.::

::The destruction of Hobus had changed everything and the move to bring together a sect of Romulans with a group of Velorians and Ameoneians seemed promising for all involved. Now they had created the fledgling Alliance, with their first task to be implementing mining operations on the untouched planet below. The world was rich in minerals, and it would bring plenty of income to the new Alliance, but there was still one small issue to take care of. Far below the Rinoaul, on the surface of the primitive world, was a proto-Vulcan race that had not yet achieved industry let alone space travel.::

::It was an issue that would need dealing with, but not one that would slow the new Thracian Alliance down.::

((Somewhere on the Surface of Thracia II))

::Standing on the edge of a rock that jutted farther into the sky than those surrounding it, as if reaching for the very stars she watched, Ili'kai pulled the heavy cloth hanging off her shoulders closer around her thin frame. The first chill of winter could be felt here much more starkly than it could below in the forest. The lack of trees on the rocky ledge permitted the whipping winds to race the birds along the mountaintops as they sought shelter as they would from a coming storm.::

::The same feeling that sent the animals deeper into the darkness set an uneasy feeling about her. Though the rock she stood on, Stormwatch, was named for its vantage point that gave her people the ability to see, and thus prepare ahead of time, for the coming storms sent by the gods, this night she saw nothing but clear skies. Night spread across the lands, snuffing the last of the daylight and sending the sun into exile until day would break once more on the other side of the sky. The stars appeared, twinkling into existence one by one as the sky grew darker and the last remnants of the day were lost forever. There were no signs of a storm, yet the winds carried with them a new voice; whispers of change that promised something sinister she couldn't quite understand.::

::Things were simple for her and her people. The same events came year after year, season after season, with very little changing the lands around the villages that thrived along the river they knew as Mirak. It was the water that brought life and provided them with the creatures that they hunted. It gave them a mode of transport and refreshment on the warmest of the summer days. Winters weren't easy, but the river allowed life to thrive through the cold as long as you had the tools to break through the surface to the flowing water below the ice.::

::Traditions had been passed from mother to daughter since antiquity. Ili'kai was proof of those traditions. Now standing on the rock that had been known as the guardian and lookout point, where her people sent scouts to catch the very first tendrils of danger that might be heading their way, what amounted to the princess of the Paytora people sought to figure out just what danger that might be. There were no visible signs of it, but the feeling that was eating away at her wouldn't let her give up and take her recent kill home without searching for something deeper.::

::Again, the dark haired woman with the pointed ears pulled her primitive cover closer around her body to block out the shrill stab of the cold wind, watching as the trees below her in the valley swayed in the growing silence. It was then, as yet another wave moved across the ocean of half bare trees below, that she noticed it.::

::Far above the few traces of clouds that floated through the night sky, a single point of light appeared to move from one side of the sky near the horizon to a place directly above her. The woman let out a gasp and sunk instinctively to her knees. Taking shelter in the small bushes that grew here and there among the rocks, Ili'kai watched the light as it moved into the distance and disappeared.::

((Thracian Survey Shuttle - Enroute to the Surface of Thracia II))

::Cytara Tren, Sub-Commander and Commanding Officer of the now Thracian Alliance Warbird Rinoaul sat back in the chair and watched as the terrain of the planet came into view. It was still very far below them, but she was able to make out a river here and there between seas of various greens, a teal-blue ocean to the east, and some kind of darkened forest in the south. The scientists on the ship had told her of a few small colonies, if that's what you could call them, positioned along the biggest of the rivers. It was here that the primitive race lived.::

::Mining equipment was already being arranged for transport to the surface. In fact, as soon as day arrived on this side of the planet, the operation was set to begin. However, history had a way of repeating itself, and so Cytara was sent to head off any problems the natives might cause. They might have been primitive, but when you were fighting for your right to exist, strength seemed to find its way to you. It was her job, then, to ensure that strength did not find its way to these people, in this time.::

::Along the river the shuttle went, getting closer to the surface as it passed one village. A few minutes later it passed another. Things went on like this until the river met a much larger body of water and poured its heart and soul into the sea; a sea that would soon turn red with the blood of the dying world. With a stoic gaze, Cytara watched as the shuttle turned around and lined up for another pass along the river. The effects of the mining operation were of no consequence to her. After all, it was not the Romulans or the new Thracians, who maintained the so-called Prime Directive, and as her mind was only concerned with the wellbeing of her people, the images of the blood red water didn't bother her.::

::Lower to the surface now, the shuttle sped along, racing up the snaking river as its occupants, mostly science personnel from the Rinoaul, took note of sensor readings, village locations, and mineral rich deposits. In nearly every case, village locations coincided with mineral rich areas, a theory that had come to light while the team had still been on the larger ship above. Now that it had been confirmed, it was time for Cytara to decide on how to relocate the natives without causing too much of a stir.::

::While her first reaction would be to just get rid of them, the Thracian Alliance was decidedly not the Romulan Star Empire. As such, the game would have to be played a bit differently than if Hobus had still been around. Besides, there was something to be said about native labor. The less they would have to do themselves, the easier the process promised to be. Not only would these native people know the land and any dangers that lurked within, but they would surely be awed by the technology that Cytara and the Alliance would bring with them. Yes; that would be the best way of dealing with the problem of these people that, to her, didn't even have a name.::

::Perhaps her mind was running away with her, but she envisioned a welcome that the very gods would receive if there had been any. Sure, she knew better, but would the native people of the planet know better? With looks that were similar to the proto-Vulcan race, becoming their religious icons seemed like the path of least resistance and something that she could truly enjoy. Her aspirations within the Romulan military had been dashed with the destruction of their main star, but perhaps she could regain something with her command of the mining operations on Thracia II.::

::A small, somewhat repugnant smile appeared on her face as she continued to look out the front window of the survey shuttle. Her hands clasped in her lap, plans of her godly 'homecoming' were already coalescing in her mind.::

((On Top of 'Stormwatch' - The Surface of Thracia II))

::With the passing of the dancing light in the sky, a sight that Ili'kai took as a sign from the gods above, the land grew eerily still. The sky was still devoid of clouds, yet the calm of the wind, the ground, and the life of the surrounding forest seemed to point directly at an oncoming storm. She was beyond confused now, wondering not only what the strange light in the sky had been, but what the reason was behind the stillness of that night. It felt as if something were coming, though she could not even begin to speculate as to just what it was.::

::The soft rustle of a nearby bush pulled her eyes from the sky as the head of a large cat-like creature emerged slightly to watch her. A soft smile graced her features and she knelt down to pat it's head. Distracted with her loyal pet, who also refused to step out into the open, Ili'kai never saw the approaching shuttle as it raced along the course of the Mirak river. The wind seemed, for a moment, to pick up, blowing the long dark hair from around her shoulders and out behind her, but she gave that moment and all of her attention to the seemingly fearful animal hiding in the bush.::

::It was often the timing of the universe that made things as they were, and in this moment, things were no different. As Ili'kai knelt near her beloved pet, whispering tranquil thoughts to him, a deep rumbling sound grew in the distance. Seconds later, the sound grew into a thundering roar as a huge flying creature rushed over Stormwatch. Not having the time to hide, the woman found herself alone again, left with her confusion and fear as she watched the strange bird dart into the distance.::

::There was a moment where she knelt frozen, unsure of what action to take or even if she had really seen what she had just seen. The creature, having disappeared along the river, left her in near total silence and even the wind calmed beyond the norm. It seemed as if a specific calm, one that preceded the worst of the squalls, had settled; she had to warn her people of the danger that rode on the wind that eve. Though she was still unsure of just what that danger was, they needed to prepare for the coming storm.::

::Tying the worn in cloth around her shoulders, the agile legs of the Peytora princess carried her quickly through a forest that was far more silent than it should have been. The land itself, along with all of its inhabitants, were preparing for the tempest that was building just out of their sight. Ili'kai knew now that her people needed to do the same, and quickly, if they were to survive.::

::Her momentum carried her into her village with an air of panic about her. Walking to the elders hall and not speaking to any as she did, the raven haired woman threw open the doors and locked eyes with her mother. There was fear in those eyes, as well as a look that conveyed the dreadful nature of what she had seen. It was only when the great hall fell silent at her abrupt entrance that she spoke.::

"A storm is coming on the wings of a giant eagle," her voice sounded ominous, proclaiming the dire news. "We must prepare."

--

Commander Kalianna Nicholotti

Commanding Officer

Starbase 118/USS Victory

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