"I should return to the surface and give my people the good news. Being part of a Trade Alliance is a big deal to them since it will increase our revenue for the planet's services. Even before we introduce them to the new technologies, this day is a cause for celebration on Klux." Lord Joseph declared, then stood up and straightened his uniform.

"I am certain that the revelations of the day have been hard on the constitution. If you would like to return to the surface and inform your people, just leaving behind the trainees to learn to pilot the shuttle will be sufficient. We will make the delivery in the morning." Nico agreed, also rising to her feet to bid farewell to their new Alliance members.

"Thank you for your hospitality then, and we will be looking forward to the arrival of the Replicators. The first of them will go to the cafeteria of the government building so that all workers and petitioners can enjoy the benefits of our new Alliance equally.

I think they will be pleasantly surprised to find out the capabilities of the Reavers and the true benefits of joining with them." Lord Joseph announced.

He was about to continue when a beeping noise from his watch interrupted him. [Incoming Vessel. Holy Truth Warship, Cruiser Class.]

Lord Joseph sighed and looked sad for a second before standing a bit straighter and beginning to issue orders.

"We have a mole in the administration. Find them. Every member of the delegation will have their transmission logs checked." he announced, just as another announcement was broadcast throughout Terminus.

[Terminus Trading Company. This is Cardinal Red of the Holy Truth. You have violated the embargo of the Klux system. Please stand down and prepare to have your vessel boarded.]

Nico and Max both burst into laughter at that pompous declaration. The Holy Truth nation might not know it yet, but they were the final system that Cygnus was intending to annex now that the Kepler defenses had eliminated their war fleet. Not only that, but Terminus carried five fully equipped Cutters, which were more than a match for a single cruiser, even without deploying the Mecha contained within.

"It looks like the Trade Alliance needs to earn its keep on the very first day. Don't worry about those idiots. They won't have a system by the end of the month. We just need to keep them busy until Cygnus shows up.

You likely already know that most of their fleet went to fight in Kepler, but what you might not know is that the two most powerful Mecha in the Kepler arsenal were activated by the defenders, and the foreign fleets that were attacking have been eliminated.

None of their war vessels are coming back. They couldn't enforce a blockade even if they wanted to." Max explained to Lord Joseph, who was preparing his men for battle.

"So, you really will stand and fight for the Trade Alliance, even with a Colony Ship?" Lord Joseph asked curiously.

"Terminus is much more than a Colony Ship these days. She carries an entire Mecha Regiment and has been renovated to be one of the finest cruise ships in the galaxy while keeping the majority of her cargo capacity." Max informed him with pride.

The Lord seemed a bit confused about why they would have turned a Reaver vessel into a cruise ship, but the fact that they had a Mecha Regiment aboard was more than enough to calm his nerves.

Klux might not have a Mecha army, but if Terminus did, they wouldn't have any problems at all dealing with the Holy Truth Cruiser.

[All hands to battle stations, hostile vessel incoming. Prepare to launch the Cutters.]

Nico's voice over the intercom caused a wave of activity through the ship, and within three minutes, Max had received the first message that the Cutters were loaded and ready to go. That just might be a new record for the Regiment, but some of it was a coincidence since the majority of the ship had been on standby anyhow, in case the trade negotiations didn't go well.

[Launch the Cutters, hold your fire until my command] Max ordered, then began a transmission to the Holy Truth Cruiser.

[Cardinal Red, this is Commander Keres of the Terminus Trading Company. Cease your hostile actions at once, or prepare to face return fire. Klux has become a member of the Reaver Trade Alliance as of today and is entitled to invoke the mutual defense clauses within said agreement.]

The Holy Truth vessel did not take that well and began to fire on the Klux space station, which was unfortunately on the far side of Terminus itself. It was obvious that they were intending to disable the planet's ability to do any space-based trade by destroying the dilapidated station entirely, but the shields of the Colony Ship extended far enough from her hull that they absorbed the entire volley.

[This is an open broadcast. As of this moment, the Holy Truth has opened fire on the Terminus Trading Company and declared war on the Reavers.] Nico sent out over the open airwaves with a hint of amusement in her voice.

[Open fire.] Max ordered at the same time.

Five Orbital Lances from five Cutters hit the Cruiser's shields in the exact same instant, overloading the ship's power source and collapsing the shields.

They had reduced the power enough that the ship wasn't outright destroyed, but one lance did get through the ship's armor plating and disabled their Warp Drives permanently. That was no accident. Even an outdated warship like the one the Holy Truth had sent was an extremely valuable commodity, which could be captured and repurposed by the Reavers using their new technology.

They only had to clear the old crew out of it and call for a barge or other large ship to haul it back to Rae 5 for a refit.

"Lord Joseph, do you perhaps have a boarding vessel? We find ourselves short on infantry, and the aggressors need to be removed from the Terminus Trading Company's new Cruiser. Alive would be more humane, and we do hope to avoid further damaging our new ship." Nico asked politely.