Chapter 239 Negotiating With an Asuran Despot Part II
Erich did not immediately respond to the Despot's attempts to negotiate with him. After all, he needed a few months to properly equip the Ironhand Clan, and to have them approach Asuran space. Thus, he spent a lot of his time on his ship, refusing to step off of it until a time where he was ready to negotiate with the despot.
And eventually the day came much sooner than Erich had anticipated. It was only a handful of weeks before Tia confirmed that the Orcs had been equipped and trained with their new gear, and were on their way to Asuran space.
Evidently, the moment they docked with Tia' compound, she had used her vast army of robotic laborers to retrofit the fleet so that it was equipped with superior technology, including warp drives. The largest weakness of the Orc clans had been their lack of naval power. Their ships more operated as gunboats, to bombard worlds, and allow the deployment of forces.
Against an actual navy, they were easily defeated. That is until Tia had fully upgraded the ships. After all, robots were precise and efficient. They were not prone to exhaustion, nor other human error. And because of this, the robots stripped these obsolete gunboats, until nothing but the bare bones of their hulls existed, before upgrading every component on board.
And they had done this in a matter of weeks. Because of this, the journey to the Asuran world where Erich was currently resting on was much quicker. Once the Ironhand clan had arrived in Asuran space, the despot was alerted, and made an immediate attempt to contact Erich. Where he finally answered her summons, after god knows how long.
She was absolutely livid, as she realized Erich had been stalling in order to prepare his forces. And when she found this out, she could not help but be disrespectful to the man.
"You rallied your forces against me? Am I to assume this is a declaration of war?"
Erich, however, shook his head. Currently, he was sipping on some coffee with a smug smirk on his handsome face. He then explained to the woman what he had done, and why he had done it.
"On the contrary, I am merely ensuring that my forces are present for this discussion. In the event that you refuse to give me what I want, then I will take it by force. You have been trying to negotiate with me for weeks now, so negotiate. You know what my demands are, so offer a proper counter proposal, or outright decline me."
There was a look of complete and utter rage on the despot's face. She had spent the last few weeks trying to approach Erich, but kept getting ignored, and worse yet, she had tried to convince Thyrin to betray his order, yet the man had stubbornly refused to do so, and instead grew angry with her.
He had even attempted to escape from the world, but was caught doing so, and was now imprisoned in the Despot's palace. Something which served only to worsen their relationship. And all of this was Erich's fault. The despot could not help but blame the man, and thus, she was now fuming with anger.
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"You know what, you are right... I should have blasted your little vessel to pieces the moment you declined my attempts to negotiate. There is no negotiation! You will not get your hands on Thyrin!"
This caused Erich to smirk, probably because he had long since decided to use force to get what he wanted. He had used diplomacy before, and it had barely worked. Yet now, he felt the hammer was a more capable means of getting what he wanted, and thus, he sighed heavily while shaking his head in a facade of disappointment.
"You disappoint me Despot, we could have made a peaceful arrangement, but now I am afraid I need to make my power clear to the galaxy, especially the sages who hide like rats. Mala, give the clan permission to bombard the world!"
Mala looked slightly nervous, as she was also sitting in the cockpit waiting for the signal to contact her clan. She could not help but fear getting caught in the blast.
"Husband, should we not first attempt to flee from orbit?"
It was not Erich's voice that responded to this, instead Tia's adorable voice could be heard throughout the cockpit correcting Mala of their circumstances.
"The hangar is locked, and hostiles are approaching. Our defenses have been activated. You do not need to worry, despite the fact that I have upgraded the Ironhand Fleet, its weapons will not be capable of getting through the Vigilance's shields. The hangar itself will be destroyed before our vessel is."
The Despot had long since hung up on Erich, and had indeed sent her most elite guard to flush him out of his frigate. Thus, Mala could only sigh as she relayed the orders she had been given to her clan. Who instantly began the bombardment of the Asuran world.
As for Tia, she activated the ship's point defense systems, which began to spray the intruders into the hangar with automatic laser projectiles. Which tore through their armor with ease, and claimed their lives.
It was less than thirty seconds before the hundreds of men had all fell over dead, and once that had happened, the Despot realized that she needed better tactics, if she wanted to eliminate Erich and his crew. Thus, she ordered the bombardment of the hangar, completely unaware of how effective their shields were.
After all, if she killed Kali, she would be in a lot of trouble, but if the Orc's indiscriminate bombing campaign "accidentally targeted their hangar" then she would face no political repercussions whatsoever.
Unfortunately, all this managed to do was to bring down the hangar bay, where among its ruins, a ship, with its glowing energy shield, remained defiant in the face of the Despot's attack. This only further infuriated the woman, who was just about to call for another bombardment when her sage companion halted her actions. The man's voice was filled with despair, as he saw the Orcish drop pods fall from the sky. His tone was chilling to all living beings who heard it.
"They are coming...."
Upon realizing that she did not have the ability to waste her efforts on taking out Erich's ship. The despot quickly alerted the planetary defenders to the invasion of the Orcs. Hoping that they might be able to buy her enough time to flee to her bunker. Which she believed the foolish green skins would not be able to find. 𝚋𝚎𝚍ｎ𝚘ｖ𝚎𝚕.𝚗𝚎𝚝
Of course, her hopes were immediately dashed by the sage, who informed the woman of what he had foreseen in his visions.
"Only death awaits us in the bunker... We should remain here.... That way only one of us will have to die...."
The Despot was quick to try to reason with her companion, with an almost desperate tone in her voice.
"Thyrin! I won't let them have you! If we die, we die together!"
However the Sage simply shook his head and looked down upon the city, which was now a smouldering ruin, and sighed heavily before revealing his thoughts.
"The Dark Sage is already more powerful than we could have possibly realized. I'm afraid it is my time to die. But I won't give that bastard the answers he needs!"
After saying this, the sage took one step off the ledge of the massive tower and plummeted to his death in the streets below. The act of suicide had happened so abruptly that his Asuran companion did not even have time to stop him. She watched as the man fell from the sky and cried out to him in horror.