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Tipaka-Capital city, Byzral, Liberated system of Byzral, Imperial-Commonwealth controlled space, Planetside.

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Ben was at a loss. He didn't voice his opinion aloud in case of causing some unintended offence to those around him not of Commonwealth or Imperial army uniform.

It had been ten hours since UEC troops took the capital city of the alien world known as Byzral from the mechanical hands of the Separatist Alliance. Following the capture of the enemy main base, which also happened to be Byzral's governmental centre, Ben and his squad were ordered to mop up any straggling holdouts of enemy droids across the city alongside the rest of the 115th. Ten hours later, all enemy forces were routed within the capital they eventually heard went by the name of Tipaka city.

The city was still being thoroughly searched for leftover robotic soldiers by some units, whilst Ben and his squad were on a short reprieve from their duties. He and Michelle were sat atop the wreckage of an AAT observing the activity of Commonwealth soldiers going about setting up a temporary station of medical tents and a supply depot. This was all observed in the spectating eyes of the local populace. The people of this world were nothing short of remarkable. Not only were there other humans but a completely different assortment of aliens too.

For so long, he and all peoples of the Commonwealth thought they, and those under the Chimeran Empire, were the only living beings inhabiting the galaxy. The fact there were a dozen different races on just one planet, in one city alone proved that old claim so very wrong. Some Commonwealth soldiers were as stunned by the aliens as the people of Byzral were of their presence. A world liberated by forces they didn't, or even heard of before drew a great deal of attention from the natives. Much of it was curiosity but there were those who held understandable caution over their current occupation. A big unknown had swept in and crushed the Separatist's droid army and to the humans and aliens of this world, it was a question of whether they were facing a new oppressor with a different face.

But to Ben seeing all these aliens was both spectacular and strange. It wasn't like they weren't unfamiliar with non humans given the Chimera. To see so many, however, of different looks, shapes and sizes moving around conversing with other humans so casually was just unreal. Stranger still were humans living on the other side of the galaxy. He wondered if this unthinkable divergence was a bizarre joke of the universe.

"Check out that one." Ben heard Dan say below him.

Breaking out from his own gazing at the natives, he looked down to find Dan and Victor standing beneath him and Michelle in front of the wreckage. The pair were doing a poor job in masking their not so obvious checking out of the aliens either passing by, or were talking with one of the UECAF personnel by the medical tents.

"Looks like it has a squid coming out of its head." Victor said.

Ben glanced over at the alien being the duo were referring to. He found a humanoid with a peach coloured skin tone and weird tentacle-like growths running down their back. Judging by the alien's feminine figure and features, it was fairly obvious she was a female of whatever species she belonged to. Strangely, if she didn't have the unusual skin colour and long, fleshy growths out the back of her head, Ben was certain she would've looked eerily human. The alien woman was sat speaking with a medic by one of the tents, tending to a wound on her arm.

Ben thought if the medics were having trouble dealing with aliens, considering they had no knowledge on either their psychology or biology. The only help they had in combating this ignorance was the assistance of the natives' own medical personnel. What an experience for the UECAF doctors and medics to be the first to work alongside extraterrestrials from beyond Commonwealth and Chimeran Imperial borders.

"What about that guy? The one with spikes coming out of his cheeks?" Dan nodded over to another alien.

"Must hurt when he smiles." Victor joked.

"You guys are assholes, you know that?" Michelle asked rhetorically, shaking her head at their crude observations.

"What?" They both looked up simultaneously in comical fashion.

"Here we are having kicked the bots asses and freeing these people from their clutches, and all you two can do is poke fun at them like a pair of immature kindergarten toddlers." She said rolling her eyes at them as she picked up her helmet and mask.

"A great start to public relations, lads." Ben said with a sarcastic grin.

"Come on, you have to admit some of them do look a little funny." Dan said shrugging, hoping to salvage some agreement out of it all.

"They probably think the same when looking at your sorry mug, Hai." Michelle said as she jumped off the burnt out turret.

"That's Lance Corporal Hai to you, Colton." Dan rebutted at an attempt to pull rank.

"And it's Corporal Howard to you, Dan. And I order you and Modric to stop making fun of these people." Ben told them.

Mirroring Colton's actions he collected his own mask he had disconnected upon sitting on the wrecked tank. Resting against the charred hull of the tank's driver compartment close by was his BM08 Razor of which he scooped up whilst re-syncing the mask into his helmet. Out of his team present, only Michelle remained in keeping her mask off. It appeared at least showing there was a human hiding behind their armoured masks eased some suspicions and fears to the native inhabitants.

Over by the medical tents there was a gathered group of at least a dozen people touring around the temporary medical station. Ben recognised Colonel Hall and Captain Pires speaking with the planetary governor, the one they had saved during their retaking of what they learned afterwards to be the star system's government buildings. The alien governor was lizard-like in appearance, a species like all the rest were completely unfamiliar to all Commonwealth and Imperial forces. The planetary leader was said to have given the name of his particular race which was passed around, however, no one could pronounce it properly. The only way they had pronounced it in an English tongue was 'Nikto'.

Ben caught a glimpse of Lord General Yuku'las and a small contingent of four Chimeran soldiers donned in black heavy armour and armed with energy-staffs. He had never seen the apparent fabled Royal Guardians up close in the flesh, or rather more accurately in the armour. There wasn't a show of anything to depict whoever was encased in the hefty, yet sleek power armour was a living being. Only pictures and second hand rumours were all Ben knew of the mysterious warriors. Two stood in front of the entourage, whilst the rear was taken up by the other two Guardians in mute surveillance. He was fairly certain the Lord General's bodyguards were watching every move surrounding their charge.

Ben's eyes were drawn away from the party of representatives as Nat approached from the aptly named 'tent city'. The squad's sniper was rubbing her left wrist with an expression of irritation written on her face whilst weaving through the crowd of soldiers and civilians.

"Everything okay, Nat?" Michelle asked her.

"Just a sprain according to the medic." Nat said grimacing. "He put a med-patch around my wrist and has given a temporary three day pass on any strenuous duties. Damned machine." She cursed at the cause behind her injury.

"What did you expect, Stanovich? You threw a punch at a robot." Victor said incredulously.

"It was instinct." She countered back.

"You've got some strange instincts, Nat." Dan said with a shake of his head in amusement.

Ben could see she wasn't at all impressed by their teasing banter at her expense. Three hours ago they had been clearing out what was found to be an apartment block like complex suspected to still possess entrenched battle droids. His squad and two other sized units searched the multi floor apartment building to clean out any of the machine soldiers remaining. They had come across a dozen of the thin tanned coloured robots on the eighth floor seemingly unaware their side had lost their grip on the planet.

The fight was brief, thanks to a combined effort of both his and another squad sweeping the building. Confident the floor was cleared, they headed for the stairway leading up to the next level, only for one of the larger battle droids, a B2, to make a sudden grand appearance.

The 'thumper' had smashed open an apartment door and began firing rapidly at the squad who had backed him and his team. Two had fallen from the initial burst, then the squad leader was struck in the shoulder from a stray bolt as he dived behind a doorway for cover. The droid had then turned it's firing arm over to Nat and Victor, with the latter having her captured 'E-5' energy rifle swatted out from her grip. Extraordinarily, whether by an instinctive reflex or a brain dead spur of the moment, Nat had lashed back by throwing a fist at the thumper.

Had her glove not had the protective polymer padding, Ben was sure their sniper would've had received something more serious than a sprained wrist. She had cried out in pain to the impulsive jab leaving her defenceless in the face of the droid. The machine wasn't able to get off a killing shot as a shower of subsonic energy bolts and bullets the rest of his team's weapons riddled the super battle droid into a spark fusing wreck.

"I wonder if the Cloven regiments will just drop their weapons and pummel the machines with their fists. Instinct and all." Victor said, wading in with a speculative joke. This earned a deathly glare off their hybrid squad mate.

"If a Cloven decided to do so with you out of instinct, Modric, they'll be disappointed and gravely dishonoured by how hollow that head of yours is. You would be deemed an unworthy foe." Nat said angrily.

"Easy, Nat-"

"Excuse me?" An alien came up to them gingerly, interrupting whatever calming, de-escalating words Michelle had for Nat.

Ben turned to face the alien accompanied by a small mixed group of humans and other aliens. Judging by the outline and feminine accented voice, this alien was definitely female also, though of what species he hadn't a clue. Her skin was as yellow as sunlight and she possessed small horn-like appendages coming out from her bald scalp.

"Can I help you, miss?" Ben asked her, feeling a tad nervous talking to the alien.

"We just wanted to ask," The alien woman started, clearly hesitant from lingering set fear to their presence. "Who are you people? Are you from the Republic?"

"No, ma'am, we're not of the Republic." Michelle answered in a friendly manner.

"We heard that an army of monsters have occupied the Factory District." One of the humans in the group said. "Do they mean to harm us?"

Ben held in a laugh that was threatening to break out. And judging by the looks on the faces of his squad that weren't adorned in their masks, that amusement was a shared sentiment.

"No, sir, those are the Chimera." Ben said. "They may come across as frightening, but they are here for the same reasons as we are. I assure you that our allies will keep you safe from the droids and their masters. They are providing aid to the injured and sending down supplies to support the population."

Expressions of relief washed over all their faces. It took a weight off his shoulder how they appeared more calm.

"So if you're not with the Republic then who are you?" The yellow alien woman quizzed.

"We belong to a government called the United Earth Commonwealth. Those beings over there are of the Chimeran Empire." Dan pointed a finger to the gathering where Lord General Yuku'las was conversing.

"Why did you attack the droids?"

"Are they coming back?"

"Do the Republic know you're here?"

A round of questions were thrown at them left, right and centre from the group as a number of other Byzral's inhabitants joined them. Ben glanced over at Michelle who only gave a sympathetic smile and shrugged in return to the bombardment of inquiries.

"This should be fun."

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Committee Chamber, Floor Level 07, Confederacy of Independent Systems Parliament, Atrioux city, Raxus Secundus, CIS Space.

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Anger. An emotion that fed into the Dark Side of the Force like oxygen flowing into a respiratory system. It was a catalyst to power no Jedi, or any follower of the Light, could comprehend. Embracing it was deemed a fall from grace by the dogmatic beliefs of the Jedi Order.

And yet, the anger Dooku was experiencing as of this moment was not caused by his need to draw on the Dark Side. The cause behind his silent rage was not an ignorant, foolish Jedi attempting to bring him to 'justice', nor was it the doings of his Master to get under his skin. Both were preferable to what he was left dealing with now.

Dooku wished he possessed the ability to raise people from the dead, so he could kill Admiral Laden, again. And again. Slowly and painfully.

Thanks to the incompetence of one man, the Separatist Alliance was facing a grave threat. The survival of the Alliance, and more importantly his Master's plans, were hanging in the balance if this problem wasn't solved quickly and with great care.

The war was soon to find itself embroiled on new fronts against powerful new foes. None of this was foreseen by him, or Sidious. The thought of Laden's callous actions bringing new powers to the Separatist doorstep made him seeth immensely.

Dooku sat at the head of the elegantly long and expensive Homongi wood table in contemplating silence, listening to the heads of the Separatist Council bickered over the recent and unexpected events circulating in their space. Or rather the hard won territory now lost to these invaders.

In the space of a week, 14 systems in the Ado and Mektrun sectors had been attacked by this 'Chimeran Empire' and 'United Earth Commonwealth'. Eight had fallen to these still largely mysterious factions. One was still under siege from their latest reports, and three had sustained heavy damage through raids that struck supply ports, droid foundries and shipyards.

The swiftness and strength these factions showed were of great concern. Withheld knowledge and lack of transparency were the causes of how their forces were soundly defeated. Dooku wasn't fond of it, but his Master ordered him to keep the information secret from the Council for the time being.

It wasn't like he could keep their presence shrouded in secrecy now, all things considered. However, he can play the ignorance game to the collection of smartly dressed brigands and corrupt political creatures arguing before him.

"We must send our fleets to retake these worlds at once." Nute Gunrey stated, slamming a fist down on to the table.

Dooku was aware the Neimodian Viceroy had a considerable amount of credits invested in the industrial world of Byzral. The loss of Byzral's factories was a huge blow to their forces in that sector of the galaxy. It was bad enough the Republic was hunting down all worlds that housed production lines of battle droids, without somebody else doing the same thing.

"There is no fleet we can spare at this moment in time, Viceroy." Admiral Izzo said. The Faust's blue hued hologram flickered from the other side of the table, connecting in from his flagship. "We are currently engaged on too many battle fronts to send ships out to face these invaders."

"Surely we can use one of the fleets not involved in any operations? Perhaps one that is on planetary defence duty in one of the more better defended sectors?" Passel Argente suggested.

"And leave those worlds vulnerable to a Republic assault? Don't be absurd." Shu Mai spoke in her people's native tongue, waving a dismissive hand at the idea. Dooku agreed with the Commerce Guild Presidente's sentiment toward the proposal from the Kooriva Senator. As if the fool's advice on military matters was ever considered a valuable input.

"We're already facing the huge challenge of asserting our independence. Having these unknown forces striking us from out of nowhere unchecked will break our Confederacy's pillars in ways possibly worse than the morally bankrupt Galactic Republic." Senator Zurros passionately declared. Spoken like a true politician, Dooku thought, resisting the urge to snort in disgust at the empty words of the opportunist cretin from Falleen.

"Count Dooku, what do you suggest we should do about this new crisis at our doorstep?" General Drazi said, turning all attention in the chamber over to him. The Duros' General was the only other person present in holographic form. It was truly an interesting contrast of who was out there fighting their 'cause' against the Republic, compared to the cosy and safe mouth pieces preaching about their survival against the odds the galaxy had embattled them with.

Dooku tapped his fingers together, contemplating the correct way to deflect any probing inquiries to his answer.

"It is an unforeseen dilemma we found ourselves in. To say the least, what was supposed to have been a simple, peaceful expedition into a vector of space unknown to us to find new prospects for our people has provoked a hostile response." He said, standing up from his seat at the head of the table. Dooku ignored their trailing stares as he walked over to the large, spacious window to the right side of the room and gazed out at the Separatist capital. It wasn't quite the scenic ecumenopolis of Coruscant but the view was certainly better than the current occupants of the room.

"Has anything been heard from Admiral Laden, Count?" Wat Tambor asked.

The surviving reports given to him by Laden's tactical droid were still kept securely away at his private palace on Serenno. The Council had been kept in the dark on much of the details of the expedition, including the late Admiral's orders to report directly to him and only him.

"No." Dooku lied. "All attempts in trying to contact Admiral Laden have so far been met with no success. It is the consensus amongst our military high command that the fleet sent into the Unknown Regions has been lost. With the cause behind their destruction being that of these new enemies we now find ourselves embroiled with."

"There were over fifty ships in that fleet. None escaped? At all?" Senator Voe Atell asked incredulously. The shock in her voice was the open aired feeling most in the room held.

"Given what we've seen on those recordings salvaged from the Killisu shipyards, or rather what's left of them." Izzo said morbidly.

Dooku was fully aware what the Admiral was referring to. They had all seen the footage of the shipyard's demise in such staggering fashion. Recovery ships were sent to the Killisu System to find the once heavily fortified shipyards were a huge mess of floating wrecks and pulverised dusty debris. The wreckage of the third largest shipping manufacturing station in Separatist controlled space was enough of a shocker to all present. But it was the salvaged recordings that stilled hearts and drew horrified gasps.

The limited recordings and reports Laden's expedition had sent back during their fateful journey gave Dooku some idea what the enemy wielded in battle. It was a strange mixed concoction of small arms, armoured vehicles and ships armed with both energy based weaponry and primitive slugthrowers between the two species out for their blood. The sleekly elegant, yet intimidating designs of the Chimeran Empire were a big contrast to the ugly brutes fielded by the UEC. It was the former which had caused fear amongst the Separatist Council of the battle footage from Killisu.

Dooku had been learning and becoming familiar with the architecture and abilities of the Chimeran Imperial ships, impressed by the armaments and their unique design. Yet, a curved bolo-ball was thrown his way by the introduction of a ship of colossal size and firepower.

The footage started by showing an engagement between Separatist and Imperial vessels. The shipyard itself could be seen joining the fight with its own defence platforms, turrets and contingent of starfighters. Cruiser, destroyer and frigate class warships were locked in a fierce engagement, with fighters and bombers racing over the holo footage like flying insects over a rotting carcass.

Midway through the recording a giant ship appeared behind the Chimeran lines, dwarfing all ships engaged in combat. It's appearance was similar to that of the Chimeran cruisers, only its odd 'fin' stretched the entire length of the ship and the front showed two large energy buzzing cannons rather than one. The holo scans had fed back data of the enormous warship, reading it as eight kilometres in length and three point six kilometres in width. It bristled in anti-ship and fighter cannons, along with the deadly plasma beam main weapons all their ships possessed. It gave it the look of a Sando aqua monster amongst a shoal of opee fish.

The dreadnought sized vessel ignored the main battle, moving instead in the direction of the shipyards. Several CIS ships from the fleet charged with the defence of the shipyards broke off from their fight with the Chimeran warships, in an attempt to halt the behemoth's advance. All that fought the dreadnought were swatted aside, like a pestilent fly engulfed by a tremendous barrage of white energy from its turbolaser like batteries. It never deviated from its course to the shipyards, only stopping again once it was within range to fire up its main guns.

The defence platforms switched their attention over to the monstrous ship. The turbolasers, however, didn't seem to phase the dreadnought at all as the build up of white coloured energy charged in its frontal cannons. What would've taken a fleet of Republic Venator class attack cruisers to bring down its shields, the brightly lit beams of plasma from the dreadnought cut right through the main station's deflector shields like a lightsaber through an ice block.

The footage blinked and faded as the shipyard's main station erupted into a brief but huge explosion, before the vacuum of space starved the flames ripping through the artificial atmosphere. A chain reaction soon followed as dockyards blew apart from outright the second beam being unleashed on the once proud, now grief stricken Killisu shipyards. The plasma beams destroyed, no, obliterated the space docks.

It was an amazing sight to behold. Worrying as it may be, Dooku was most impressed by this Chimeran Empire. Such power, such strength at their disposal. If only they had sent someone with a better, refined diplomatic mind to head the expedition. Having such might on their side would've broken the deadlock to this war in favour of the Separatist cause. Possibly even help some way into Master's plans.

What he had seen from this United Earth Commonwealth, on the other hand, was less of a concern. Whilst they came across as well equipped, organised and fielded an impressive sized force in both troops and ships, they largely used dated weapons by modern galactic standards. It was a mystery to him how such an highly advanced race like these Chimera were allied with such a lesser advanced one. Had it just been the UEC alone, the Confederacy, whilst battling on two fronts with two different enemies, would have defeated the ignorant upstarts eventually.

"How long before the Killisu Shipyards could become operational again?" Argente asked.

"Operational?!" Senator Atell laughed mockingly at her senatorial colleague. "Are you blind? There's nothing left of it!"

"Our current resources, as well as our fleets, are indeed stretched at this moment in time." Dooku said in a more calm manner to the Confederacy senators. "As we are now facing new battles crossing over into our borders, we'll need to make some sacrifices to maintain stability."

"Such as, Count?" Senator Zurros asked.

Dooku turned his gaze away from the skyscrapers of Atrioux and returned to his seat at the head of the table.

"We'll have to postpone three planned operations into the Tandon and Chommell sectors. All droid units originally destined for those sectors will be redirected to the western territories to bolster our defences. Systems with more than sufficient defense fleets will have several of their ships partition away and formed into new fleets, alongside newer ones recently constructed at the other shipyards." He laid out to the assembled committee.

"With respect, Count, as Shu Mai stated earlier, that will leave those proposed worlds vulnerable to Republic attack." The Falleen representative said.

It took a great deal of effort to withhold from crushing the insolent fool's throat, but Dooku was professional enough to keep his urges in check. The more he was in their presence, the more those urges often increased.

"We can take them off worlds deep enough in our territory that would sway Republic temptation. They'll see it as too risky to venture this far into Confederacy space. Our fleets may be stretched but they still outnumber the Grand Army's navy three to one." General Drazi said.

"And the Devastation is near completion." Izzo added, informing them of the current status of the second Subjugator class heavy cruiser commissioned by the Separatist Alliance. "Upon her launch she'll be deployed along the Expansion Region."

"Good. Let us hope it performs better than the last. It is painful enough seeing that amount of credits funneled into such an expensive ship for it to be destroyed barely upon entering service." Gunray said in contempt of the construction of the overly large cruisers. The loss of the Malevolence had drawn scorn and anger from not only Separatist military officials, but political and industrial ones also.

"No." Dooku said, silencing the room.

"No?" Atell asked nervously.

"In case you have all just forgotten, we have new important problems that need solving." He said casting his gaze at everyone seated at the table. "We cannot afford to flaunt our power when we have someone else doing the same thing to us within our very own territory."

"The Devastation may well be the only ship in our navy that could go toe to toe with the vessel that destroyed the Killisu Shipyards." Izzo said. Dooku was pleased at least someone, unsurprisingly a military officer, understood. "We just need to inform her new Captain that she has a new course set upon launch."

The conversation continued with inputs from everyone across the table when Dooku heard the low beep of his comm link. The call was expected but the caller themselves was somebody Dooku would never unveil to the useful idiots parading as the heads of the Confederacy of Independent Systems.

"I must depart, for I have other matters to attend. The discussions over the counter attack against our new friends will be continued in better detail this evening." Dooku declared, rising up from his chair.

"As you wish, Count Dooku." Zurros said, as he and the rest of the Separatist Council bowed their heads in respect as he passed them all on his way out of the chamber.

Dooku stepped out from the council chamber, feeling a sense of relief and disdain for putting up with the real body governing the CIS leadership. In sync, the pair of IG-100 MagnaGuards standing on either side of the door he had walked out of snapped to attention then followed after him. He barely acknowledged their presence with his mind distracted by the committee meeting and what he was to relay to his Master.

Dooku headed to the Turbolift at the end of the level's corridor and entered in with his bodyguard in tow. The MagnaGuard silently climbed in with him, taking up his flanks as he pressed on the floor button which led to his private office in the Parliamentary building. Rage was flowing through him and it needed release. It ate away at him, demanding to be let go and used on whatever fancied his fury. He could've simply used the Force to snap the two droids behind him in two, to vent some of that rage out in a small dosage. But, he'd rather not leave evidence of his anger laid in a scrap pile on the floor.

No, he will instead unleash his anger during the next training session set up for his apprentice. Afterall, Ventress not only failed in retrieving the clone template from Kamino, she also participated in an operation not approved by either he, nor the rest of the Separatist Council. Dooku promised himself to make sure she did indeed pay for her failure and insubordination.

Several figures walked the corridor as he passed them, giving them a mere glance of split second interest. There were a couple he recognised from previous dealings with state affairs, but they didn't warrant his interest for long. The rest were mingled about or gave him an acknowledged greeting, of which he offered no response back. No matter what they spouted about being different from their Republic counterparts, the Separatist Senators were still slaves to political habits.

Upon reaching his office, Dooku pressed his hand over the door controls and entered in alone as the doors retracted into the wall frame. He heard the hydraulic steps of the MagnaGuards taking up positions on either side of the door, in time as the doors closed behind him. The spacious office that greeted him was adorned in decorative ornaments and extravagantly themed, none too similar to his mansion back on Serenno.

The garnished, emerald glass window lit the office with specks of dark green light, giving a contrasting glow in some areas of the room. The less impressive spartan grey, metal desk, however, drew Dooku's attention. With a wave of his hand he used the Force to close dim the lights and close the blinds over the windows.

The only lights that stayed alight within the confines of his office came from the holoprojector in the centre of his desk. Certain nobody was able to interrupt his private call, Dooku knelt down onto one knee and bowed his head in submissive respect to the hologram of a black cloaked figure flickering to life from the projector.

"What is thy bidding, my Lord." Dooku greeted his Master.

"Tyrannus. I trust you have kept the Council from falling into panic and chaos over recent events?" Darth Sidious asked.

"Yes, my Master. As expected they are deeply concerned with the sudden arrival of these new alien forces, but they are pulling together to counter the new threats." Dooku reported.

"Good," Sidious said. "This unforeseen intervention has already caused a rift in my plans without those delinquents descending on each other."

"This new threat from the Unknown Regions has stiffened their resolve, although they do hold understandable worry for what faces us in the battles to come." Dooku said, thinking back on the recordings of the Chimeran dreadnought.

"Are you afraid, my Apprentice?" Sidious mockingly asked him.

Anger raised within Dooku at the Sith Lord's sneer.

"No, my Master, only cautious. Fighting and prepping for a war against a known entity like the Republic is one thing, to then fight an army and nation we lack any real understanding of does bring a level of concern as to how we'll face this challenge." Dooku replied back, raising his head up to face the Dark Lord. He tried masking his ire away but he was certain no matter how hard he tried, his Master could sense feelings with little effort.

"I see." Sidious said curtly. "It may interest you to know that as of yet, neither the Senate nor the Jedi are aware of the invasion into Separatist territory."

Dooku raised a quizzical brow to this new piece of information. It did answer why his agents hadn't reported anything new regarding the Republic's Senatorial meetings.

"Has it been kept quiet at the Chancellor's Office also?"

"No, this is what has made me curious." Sidious said, tapping a pondering finger to his exposed chin his black hood failed to cover. "No contact has been attempted by these Chimeran or the humans from the Unknown Regions with any Republic aligned world. No broadcasts or messages of peace. Nothing but silence so far. It is obvious they had recovered data banks from the lost fleet, otherwise they wouldn't have struck such strategically important systems. So it is safe to assume they know of the Clone Wars, the Galactic Republic and all current knowledge of other powers of the galaxy. Yet they have maintained a communication blackout."

Dooku found this indeed most peculiar. It would've been prudent to probe or send out feelers to the other power locked in war with the force you're attacking. This only added one more question to the whole unanswered list in regard to their new enemies. Perhaps they are waiting to establish a secure presence before sending out transmissions to the Republic Senate, he wondered. Either way for whatever their reasons were, Dooku hoped the Separatist Droid Army was able to blunt their advance to at least a standstill and resolve this issue before the Republic got wind of their presence.

"I shall maneuver our fleets to stop this attack, Master. And see they do not derail your plans for this war." Dooku stated with conviction.

"I am unsure they will do so. In fact, I believe I can turn this to our advantage." Sidious proclaimed.

"How so?" Dooku asked.

"All in good time, my Apprentice. For now you have a new war to fight. Do not fail me in this endeavor." With that departed warning, Darth Sidious' hologram faded into the holo-projector.

Dooku stood up infuriated at the dismissive, condescending manner of the Dark Lord of the Sith. Matters of diplomacy, plots and schemes to win over split or sympathetic worlds to the Separatist cause had to wait. He pulled up a nearby padd and sent a message to have his personal shuttle ready for departure immediately. Afterwards he then relayed a comm message to Ventress summoning her to his palace on Serenno.

He may not be ready to vent his rage and power to overthrow Lord Sidious, but he could do so with his own Apprentice. Lessons needed to be taught and in it, he may learn something new himself.

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