Death Star II, low orbit above Endor
4 years after the Battle of Yavin
"Lord Vader, we're starting our approach." One of the pilots said through the speakers in the Lambda transport. Darth Vader, the most feared Sith Lord after the Emperor himself stared at the battle station under construction. The round surface of Endor rotated behind it, showing an obvious contrast between nature below and the grey mundane machinery of the Death Star. Construction ships and droids moved around in space to transport and weld parts necessary for the battle station to function. It seemed that half of the station was only just finished, but Vader knew that the Emperor had some tricks up his sleeve if the Rebel Alliance should commence a hit-and-run attack.
The Lambda ship lowered its landing legs once it entered the hanger protected with a semi-permeable shield to prevent atmosphere venting. A squad of stormtroopers ran to the transport and made formation to the hatch as its landing gears made contact with the ground. The commander of the Death Star, Moff Jerjerrod, stood near the base of the Lambda standing tall and proud.
On the inside, however, he was nervous about what Vader would do to him.
The exit hatch opened and a platform lowered down with a hiss. The air pressure of the ship relieved to welcome the air of the Death Star. From the steam caused by the slight depressurization, Darth Vader walked out of his ship with a force of awe emanating from his very existence. The stormtroopers saluted at the Sith Lord and so did the Moff.
"Lord Vader." Jerjerrod greeted.
"Moff Jerjerrod." Vader replied with a mechanical voice followed by mechanical breathing. He looked down at the high officer, who was already considered tall by his inferiors.
"This is an unexpected pleasure. We're honored by your presence." With Jerjerrod's words, Vader and the Moff walked through the corridor of stormtroopers that stood firmly like a Star Destroyer armor.
"You may dispense with the pleasantries, commander. I'm here to put you back on schedule." Vader replied with a threatening but emotionless tone. Jerjerrod turned ashen nod slightly trembled.
"I assure you, Lord Vader, my men are working as fast as they can." The Sith Lord silently sighed at the sugarcoated words of the commander. He was secretly tired of these words of assurances.
"Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them."
"I tell you, this station will be operational as planned." That's it. Something in Vader seemed to have snapped. The Sith Lord stopped and threateningly turned to Jerjerrod.
"The Emperor does NOT share your optimistic appraisal of the situation."
"B...but he asks the impossible. I need more men." The commander stuttered, fear obviously visible in his eyes.
"Then perhaps you can tell him when he arrives." Vader replied, turned back front and continued walking.
"The… the Emperor is coming here?!"
"That is correct, commander. And he is most displeased about the lack of progress." A short pause followed. That may have done the trick. Nothing can defy the Emperor Palpatine.
"We shall double our efforts." Jerjerrod finally said.
"I hope so, commander, for your sake. The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am."
The two stopped at the window that showed Endor in the deep and cold space. Not a single star except for the system's sun could be seen.
"Commander, have you heard about a rift in the Tarlan System?" Vader asked.
"The Tarlan System? Yes, sir. I've heard about it through my superiors." Jerjerrod replied. "It's only known by the highest officers of the Empire."
"Correct. Have you thought about where it leads to?"
"No, Lord Vader."
"The Emperor has sent two invasion fleets into the rift. I do not know where they ended up, but their communications are only being relayed to the Emperor himself."
"I… don't understand."
"Understandable. Neither do I.
High orbit above Tatooine
Two small ships exited the atmosphere of the desert planet Tatooine in high speeds. The one in lead was the Millennium Falcon, transporting the recently rescued Han Solo, one of the generals of the Rebel Alliance, accompanied by Princess Leia Organa, Chewbacca, the Wookiee companion of Solo, Lando Calrissian and C3PO. Behind the ship was a T-65 X-Wing starfighter, piloted by the young Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker and accompanied by astrodroid R2-D2.
"Luke, good luck out there." Leia said through the communication device.
"I'll be okay, Leia. How are your eyes doing, Han?" Luke asked.
"They're better, kid. Just don't get pulled in by the Imperial tractor beams. Remember that incident four years ago?" Right. Like remembered that time as clear as day. In fact, it was the time where Obi-Wan sacrificed himself to get the Millennium Falcon out of the Death Star.
"Thanks, Han. Don't get caught by another bounty hunter."
"Hey!" Han shouted, but Luke heard laughter around the General.
"Masters, if I may, have you heard about Imperial reports of a space anomaly in the Tarlan System?" C3PO asked.
"Tarlan system? Never heard of anything strange there other than being a refinery planet." Lando replied.
"According to decrypted Imperial reports, the Emperor has sent two fleets of twenty four Star Destroyers each to identify the anomaly. It turned out to be a rift that leads to…"
"Whoa, hold on, 3PO." Han interrupted. "You mean those wormholes?"
"Yes. In fact, the fleets have entered the rift. The messages that are coming from the rift is too encrypted for the Alliance spies to decode." A long pause followed. Luke could only the whirring of the engines behind him as he was mesmerized by the stars dotting the space around him. He had to go see Master Yoda. In fact, he left his training unfinished only to get his hand dismembered.
"Guys, looks like it's time for me to go. Meet me at Home One." Luke finally said before separating from the Millennium Falcon. He set his hyperdrive destination to Dagobah and engaged.
November 'Nova' Terra
Somewhere in the Koprulu Sector, 2510
Staring at the extensive asteroid field that she was on, Dominion Ghost Nova thought about the future of her and her crew on board the Griffin. She was a slightly short but fit woman who had blonde hair and wore Ghost armor that had a prototype Personnel Cloaking device. One year ago, she was ordered to capture General Carolina Davis, the leader of the Defenders of Man organization. However, due to her hate for killing millions of civilians, Nova instead killed the general on the spot, thus violating her command. She and her soldiers ended up living as nomads around Terran territories as the emperor permitted her to go for now.
"Nova." A voice called from behind, startling Nova as she snapped back into reality. She turned around to find Reigel, considered as the Dominion's greatest scientist. He was a bald dark-skinned man with brown eyes with a cybernetic arm in position for his right arm.
"What is it, Reigel?" Nova asked.
"We've been intercepting Dominion distress calls from multiple systems. You may want to find out."
"Let me see it." The Ghost replied. Reigel nodded and pressed a button on a control panel on the left. Part of the floor right next to the cockpit window elevated to form a giant control panel. On the center was a giant monitor, which flashed into life.
"Mayday! Mayday! Our colony is being overrun! Enemy ships are bombarding the planet's surface!" A marine in a burning city said.
"To any idle fleet hearing this message, this is the battlecruiser Pulsar. My battlegroup has been obliterated by an unknown enemy! We need reinforcements immediately!"
"Take cover! Jesus christ, there are lasers EVERYWHERE! Where's our backu- AARRGH!"
"Form a battle line! Make a blockade to prevent those… wedges from entering firing range of the planet! I don't care if we lost sixty percent of our fleet!"
Nova's was horrified by what she had witnessed. Ships that looked like grey triangles and soldiers with small, shiny white armor was invading lightly defended Terran colonies, killing anything that stood in their way, including civilians.
"W-who are these guys?" Nova asked.
"We don't know. They seem like Terrans, but…"
"No. Their technology is vastly different from anything we've encountered human."
"I don't get it. What is going on?"
"The first known attack was at Alden III, a municipal planet with little defense." The two paused to think. Nova's mind was swarmed with questions. What is happening to the Terran Dominion? How are they losing so badly against this new threat? Oh, how she wanted answers.
Her thought train ended when an alert rang on the monitor. Reigel turned to the interface to see what it was.
"Nova, We've received transmission from Korhal. It's apparently Priority One." Priority One. This type of transmission can only be sent by the Valerian Mengsk himself.
"I thought the emperor wanted us arrested? What does he want?" Nova asked, confused. "We're supposed to defend the Dominion, alone."
"Well, perhaps the emperor has our answers about the threat." After some thinking, Nova finally nodded.
"Patch him through." Reigel nodded and pressed a button near the monitor, the emperor of the Dominion stared at the 'Renegade' Ghost, emotions unknown.
"Emperor?" Nova asked.
"Nova, do you know about the situation of the Dominion?" Valerian called.
"Yes, emperor. You seem to have… some problems wedged on you."
"There's no time for puns, Agent. Look, I understand that you've violated your orders to capture Davis last year. But this is something else. Even the Protoss have been facing the same problem.
"What do you want us to do?"
"I'll relay coordinates to a distant part of space far away from Korhal. We'll be holding an emergency meeting with Hierarch Artanis. If you want your criminal record wiped along with your Covert Ops team given amnesty, come see us." Amnesty? Now that's something she'll have to think about. Nova turned to see her crew. Everyone was awaiting her answer with eager eyes, ready to follow her orders to the end. She then turned to Reigel.
"Nova, it's all up to you." The scientist simply said. Sighing, Nova rolled the dice.
"Yes, Emperor." She said to the screen.
"Alright. Relaying coordinates now. My fleet has just rendezvoused with the Protoss fleet. We're all waiting for you." With that, the screen went black. Within a second, Reigel received coordinates that the emperor had given.
"I've received the coordinates." Reigel said.
"Alright. Set course, helmsman. Let's see what the emperor has to say." The helmsman nodded to Nova and typed something on his control panel.
"Entering warp space." He said as the space around the Griffin distorted and the ship disappeared in a flash.
The Griffin exited Warp Space after a few minutes of travel. In front of the covert ship was a group of ships facing the same way. One side was black, had red marks and were hammerhead-shaped, which were obvious Terran battlecruisers while the other side was golden, blue and round, meaning that they are Protoss vessels. Nova's heart started to beat faster as her ship approached the fleets.
The monitor of the main interface flashed on, revealing Valerian Mengsk once again.
"Nova, glad that you're here." The emperor said. "We're at the Protoss Mothership The Shield of Aiur. Sending you the ship IFF now."
"The ship's computer will automatically navigate us to the Mothership." Reigel explained. Nova nodded as the Griffin guided itself around Terran Battlecruisers, Protoss Carriers, Void rays while avoiding collision courses of starfighters. "The Mothership's tractor beam has picked us up. It should pull us into their… hangers, I suppose." The scientist said as the ship jolted. Nova was tensed at first, but relieved when she heard Reigel's explanation.
When Nova dismounted from her ship, she was greeted by Protoss Zealots who wore golden armor with shields off for now. Their eyes glowed blue and their psi blades were off.
"The Hierarch and the Terran emperor are waiting for you at the bridge, Terran. We shall lead you there." One of the zealots said.
"Sure." Nova shrugged as she followed the Protoss warriors to the corridors. As the Ghost walked, she had a hard time keeping her jaw shut by the sheer beauty of the Mothership. There was an entire city at the center of the ship bustling with Protoss. It was hard to believe that these ships were considered as weapons of mass destruction. She fought motherships before in Vardona when the Tal'Darim attacked, but never she had seen what was inside one of them.
The giant gate that separated a corridor between the bridge opened, revealing Artanis, Vorazun, Valerian Mengsk and Admiral Matt Horner on the center. They all faced Nova when she entered. The Zealots knelt on the ground before their hierarch before leaving the bridge. Right next to Artanis was Talandar, the representatives of the Purifiers, the mechanical Protoss race and Rohana, the Grand Preserver of the Khalai. There was a stout-looking Protoss with facial features that resembled a human beard standing behind Talandar. Strange. Nova had never seen this guy before.
"I suppose this is the Ghost you've been talking about?" Vorazun asked the Terran emperor.
"Yes. Meet Nova, our best covert operative in the Dominion." Valerian replied, placing hand on Nova's shoulder. She slightly cringed at the word 'our' since she is considered as a criminal right now.
"I've heard about the Defenders of Man's treason." Artanis said. "Now, we must return to what we were here for."
"Right." Valerian replied.
"Karax, what do we know about this enemy?" The stout Protoss stepped forward and turned a hologram on.
'That's Karax. Noted for now.' Nova thought. The hologram on the center showed the triangle-shaped warship that had been attacking the Terran planets, making the Ghost frown for a second.
"The technology that we've found in their wreckages are highly unusual. They have armor plating very similar to the ones found in Terran ships and their shielding systems have striking similarities to our own." The phase smith said.
"...So those ships are made of Neosteel?" Horner asked.
"No, Admiral. It is a completely different alloy that I have yet to identify. What I know so far is that it is slightly weaker than Terran plating."
'...So it's the shields that we have a hard time cracking.' Nova thought.
"Their weapons seem to be an hybrid between plasma and ion. They seem to be quite effective in breaking shields down in our ships."
"Indeed. There is no way the shields of the Spear of Adun be overrun in just ten minutes by twelve of those ships." Artanis added.
The Tactical discussions lasted a good twenty minutes. Karax and Terran Chief Engineer Rory Swann shared intelligence they've gathered and their superiors discussed about how this enemy could be quelled. There were some arguments over some battle tactics, but they were solved eventually. It seemed like everything was going well…
"Hierarch! The enemy fleet is engaged with the stationed fleet in Aiur!" A zealot ran to Artanis and said.
"Emperor, message from Korhal! Our defenses are engaging the enemy!" An officer from Valeiran's personal hologram said. The bridge of the mothership became frantic. Everybody did their best not to panic about this sudden emergency.
"Impossible. Two fleet attacking two places at once?" Rohana said, flabbergasted.
"Somehow, they've found our home planet…" Artanis said.
"Our blades shall strike their cores, brother! We must return to Aiur and PURGE the enemy!" Talandar bellowed with confidence. For some reason, Nova found it slightly adorable and secretly grinned at it.
"Hierarch, we must get back to our capital before they send troops down to the surface to Korhal! We'll return to or ships!" Valerian said.
"Do as you must! We must also to our homeworld!" The Hierarch replied.
"Nova, return to your ship and follow our fleet! Welcome back to the Dominion." Horner said to the Ghost.
"Yes sir." Nova replied.
With that, the Terran and Protoss fleets separated from the one group. Nova's Griffin followed the Bucephalus, Valerian's battlecruiser and entered warp space towards Korhal.