Hoxha stood by the window of his flagship, staring at the empty space. He was an admiral in the Navy for over a century and all he ever saw was empty space. Ever since the early days of conquest, no traces of interstellar civilisations were found by the Comissarat for over a millenium. There were expeditions, but they were either lost or already confirmed what was known: there is nothing but uninhabited wasteland.
Hoxha’s work as an admiral consisted of flying there and back along the border and looking into the emptiness of space. He considered retiering and spending the rest of his life on one of the Core Worlds, maybe getting an offspring or two.
“Admiral, you might want to have a look at this”, reported one of the sensor operators. Exitement and nervousnes could be very clearly smelled on him.
Hoxha slowly made his way to the sensor panel. “It is propably a weairdly shaped asteroid like a week ago. Why do I always get the new recruits?”, he thought to himself. But when he look at the panel, he realised it was no asteroid. Those were ships.
There were no scheduled flights in this sector for another week or so. The ships were also alien in design, like nothing ever recorded. His job suddenly got interesting.
Thirty light-seconds out, the alien vessels drew ever closer to Hoxha’s fleet. It would take time for LADAR scans to fully parse out their appearance, but curiously enough they were doing nothing to try and avoid detection. It was almost as if they wanted to be seen…
Before long, the flotilla of alien ships would be within visual range, matching speed to ensure that neither group of ships would lose track of one another. They were… beautiful, almost. Each of them bearing sharp angles and sweeping edges that cut through the void of space like a knife. Most concerning, though, was their size. Even the smallest of the alien ships was a hundred meters in length, with the flagship easily being one of the largest battleships they had seen at well over a kilometer long; no doubt all of them were armed to the teeth.
One could only hope that this species was friendly… that is until faint pulses of light could be seen from the unknown flagship at an increasingly predictable frequency, accompanied by various frequencies being picked up across all channels. They… they were attempting to communicate! Perhaps the stars were far more peaceful than the Envari expected?
Hoxha had to process the situation for a moment. An alien fleet! First in over a millenium! He knew if he made any mistake now, it would be catastrophic. He turned on interfleet comunications channel.
“Get the fleet into battle formation 1 and ready your weapons, but do not fire”, said Hoxha.
Should I contact the Comissar sir?, asked one of his adiutants.
“No, there is no time for that”, answered the admiral. “We will have to handle it ourselves.”
He watched as the fleet organized itself into the standard battle formation, developed and mastered during many wars fought by the Envari. A semi-sphere of battleships in the front, acting as a wall of shields, armor and guns, ready to form a full circle if the enemy encircled them. Behid them the missile cruisers filled with strike drones an the flag ship, a true behemoth of a ship. It was more of a flying fortress than a ship. The only place Hoxha could feel truly safe. He turned on a comunications channel and turned on a translation software.
“Let’s see who you really are.”
(Ooc: the translation software includes a couple languages of species conquered by the Envari, including a human language)
Aboard the alien battleship, and no doubt among the rest of the small flotilla, the crew would mutter among themselves. Clearly these outsiders were paranoid to make such a fearful formation in response to such a seemingly small force…
“Captain,” one of the bridge officers spoke up, “they appear to be attempting to respond to our hails. Shall we answer?”
“Of course. It will buy us time for the rest of the fleet to arrive, should their intentions prove hostile.” She nodded almost imperceptibly from her command throne.
“At once, Ma’a-- huh… interesting…” the Comms officer muttered softly as he looked over the data once more. His captain would raise a bony brow in response, her curiosity piqued.
“What is it, Ensign?”
“They appear to be using a Human dialect among those in their transmission. A translation package may not prove necessary.”
“Good. Prepare to open a channel to them.” She smiled as she stood up, moving towards the holoprojector a few short meters away to reveal her reptilian frame. She was tall by Human standards, easily two-hundred and sixty centimeters in height with a powerful sinuous tail to match. What little of her flesh that wasn’t hidden by her uniform was practically armored with copper-hued scales.
“Unidentified alien ships, this is Captain Viviera Allinus of the DSV Exalted Justice, command ship of the Third Talon of the Two-Twelfth Fleet. In the name of His Imperial Majesty, Julianus the Seventh, and on behalf of the Senate of the Drakari Celestial Imperium, I greet you in the hopes of peace and friendship our peoples.” Her ice-blue eyes showed no hint of deception or excessive suspicion. Perhaps this creature was being sincere…
Hoxha looked curioulsly at the projection. A reptillian. That’s new. He stepped back and activated the recording software.
Envari were what most other races would describe as hideous. They were around four meters tall, had beige skin with no hair at all and were so thin, you could see their bones, unless they spend their entire life with a military training. They jaws could be unhinged to reach enormous sizes and produce terryfiyng sounds. Their eyes were black, and could change their size and position, allowing the Envari to even look backwards. They had two tubes at the sides of their head, used for breathing and smelling. Not a look you want to be greeted with, but the favor had to be returned.
Hoxha stood a few meters from the projector, wearing his combat exosuit, a standard military uniform, that covered everything but his face.
“Unidentified alien ship, this is Admiral Hoxha of the Ninth Border Fleet. I hope that peace and friendship may be possible, given our unorthodox ways. You are the first species we met in over a millenium. Our weapons will not be powered down, as is required by the protocols. All hail the Grand Comissar”
Allinus could not deny that this creature was… unsettling… to say the least. This ‘Hoxha’ stood nearly as tall as the Emperor himself, and yet was as thin as a rail. Had it not been for the extreme variations that arise across the universe, she would have thought Hoxha to be badly malnourished until she saw the rest of him.
‘The Seven grace us with infinite diversity in infinite combinations, but this must be the strangest species we’ve met beyond the Galactyans,’ she mused before finally responding.
“With respect, Admiral Hoxha, while we understand that each nation has its own protocols and laws, surely a compromise can be reached regarding your weapons? We mean you no harm, but some would understandably misinterpret your stance as preparation for battle. My flotilla has not made any act of aggression towards you or your people. Perhaps if some in your fleet powered down their weapons, it would aid in facilitating further communications?”
Hoxha thought about the transmission from the aliens. There was sense what they were saying.
“Power down weapons,” he commanded. “And start writing a report to the Comissar.”
He turned the communications back on.
“Our weapons were powered down, just as you asked. Is there anything else that could make our further communications easier? Do you prefer distant comunication or in person? If in person, I recommend that the meeting is hosted on one of your ships.”
After he finished talking, Hoxha turned off communications.
“Preparebthe transport shuttle”, he commanded. “We might need to pay the xenos a visit.”
“Meet me in the hangar of my vessel. I will inform the rest of the fleet to remain at ease when they arrive. Providing you coordinates now.”
The saurian creature nodded to one of the bridge officers off-camera, who would enter the data into the transmission within seconds.
“You may bring an honor guard if you wish, though with any luck, they will prove unnecessary.”
Hoxha departed in his shuttle right after getting the message. It will be weird, negotiating with xenos on their own ship. Most other Envari would find it deeply insulting. But he didn’t.
After a while, the shuttle docked onto the ship and the airlock opened. First came out the Black Guard soldiers, four of them to be precise. After them came out Hoxha. He was wearing his exosuit, black with two stripes and five stars, both red, to signify his rank as admiral. He also had the K-31 pistol in his holster. Th Black Guard stood behind him, as he approuched the alien commander.
“It’s quite an impressive ship, especially for a xeno. Probably the best non-Envari made ship since the times of the Hyperwar”, said Hoxha while looking around. “Sorry, I digressed. Anyway, I hope that our nations may estabilish peaceful relation and hail the Grand Comissar.”
After he finished saying this, all the Black Guards, silent before, shouted in unison “Hail the Grand Comissar.”