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Ravens of Eternity
Chapter 424 - 424 The Benefactor’s Reach, Pt 4

424 The Benefactor’s Reach, Pt Unregistered Orbital Station, Unnamed Planet, Unlisted System, Great House de Jardin

The last of the Einherjar flashed into the incoming port beacon at the unregistered orbital station.

Though it had taken them a great deal of time, they had been able to escape whoever or whatever had attacked them. Of course, the fleet was far larger than the station could handle, but there was no other choice.

Their emergency practically demanded it.

And it certainly wouldn’t have been bad if it was just the Einherjar.

But they brought with them whatever remained of Hegemony Replenishment Facility 114, including lifeboats, defensive ships, cargo cruisers, passenger liners, everything.

And no matter which fleet they belonged to, almost every single ship in the fleet was heavily damaged and scarred. Plates of armor or chitin had massive gouges and channels across them – all served as a stark reminder of the silver beams’ destructive power.

In the midst of every fleet was the Corvus Republic, who was now inextricably linked to the Einherjar. As a matter of fact, if it wasn’t for them, they would never have been able to ‘port here at all. This was reserved almost exclusively for Omega-Tau nation-states.

But then again, extreme emergencies called for extreme solutions.


The Republic had also taken some damage, but not nearly as severely as the other ships in the fleet. Their armor had been ripped up and torn apart, but thankfully no-one had died and no-one was left behind.

Their ships flew amidst the devastation, like crows surveying a battlefield.

They reached out with whatever repair drones they had, and did their best to help patch up every ship they came across.

Deep inside the Republic’s flagship Folkvang, at one of the numerous maintenance passageways between decks and floors and walls, a lone engineer was seemingly taking a break.

He leaned up against the wall and took a bite of his mealbar. Tasteless, as always. But also comforting.

The sound of footsteps quickly alarmed him, but when he saw the datacoder coming his way, he immediately relaxed. It wasn’t as though he knew this person, and honestly he had never seen her in his entire life.

But the thin dark blue band around her left upper arm told him she was trustworthy. After all, he was wearing one as well.

As instructed.

The two of them nodded wordlessly to each other, then they both walked further down the passageway. Neither shared a thing about each other, not a glance or a word or anything at all. But they still walked side-by-side like partners.

They went down the passageways, deeper into the ship itself, until they came to a shut entryway with an access panel next to it. Leaning up on the wall next to the panel was a mechanic.

Around his left upper arm was the same thin dark blue band that the others wore.

All nodded to each other silently before the datacoder leaned down to the access panel.

She slid open a small security terminal next to it, then placed a small metallic disc-shaped dataprobe on its screen. The screen flashed with glitches for a moment before the access panel itself beeped and slid open. The three snuck in carefully right after.

The mechanic went in first and patrolled around the small room – nothing. He quickly went over to the access panel opposite, slid it open, then peeked around. Nothing again.

While he made sure their perimeter was clear, the other two went straight towards the numerous operational nodes on one side of the room itself. The engineer went to the closest one, opened up its secure housing with his tools, and revealed some internal circuitry to the datacoder.

Then, he moved down the line and opened up each of the half dozen nodes along the wall.

As he opened up all the nodes on each of the walls, the datacoder took that same dataprobe and placed it over a specific part of the circuitry itself. She moved it around with one hand while she scanned its readouts on a datapad in her other hand.

When she came to the spot she needed, she activated a nanite link through her DI and gained physical access to the circuit. Or, part of it anyway.

She sent a quick ping, received the reply, and solidified the tap. Happy that it wasn’t going anywhere, she moved on to the next node and did the same thing again. While she dug through the second node’s circuitry, the engineer finished up the last of the nodes along this wall.

He went up to the mechanic, tapped him on his shoulder, then moved on to one of the other walls to continue opening the node housings there.

The mechanic, in turn, took a quick look around, then reached into his satchel and produced a small dome. He then walked over to the first cracked node and placed the dome right over its direct access interface.

The dome beeped, and the tiny screen on it flashed with a quick alert.

Injection Pending 𝐢𝘯𝑛𝓻𝚎𝙖𝑑. ᴄ𝗼m

Awaiting Multilink Synchronization…

Despite how secretive and silent the trio was, none of them realized that it barely mattered. In the corner of the datanode access room, perched high up in the darkest corner was a ladybug drone.

Its sensors adjusted themselves as they scanned the three would-be saboteurs, and then quickly sent live reports straight up to the nearest Corvus Republic Civil Defense hub.

There, one of the CRCD Wardens read the reports as they scrolled past her terminal with eyes wide open. Not just out of alarm, but surprise as well.

She simply couldn’t believe what she was seeing – nothing like this had ever happened in the history of the Republic. Though admittedly that history was incredibly short.

Still, saboteurs among the Republic? It was inconceivable.

Datacorruption devices detected

Explosive devices detected

Personal defense weapons detected

She immediately hit the silent alarm and alerted the nearest available Defense Force.

It was only moments later when three wolves ran out of the hub’s deployment bay. Each were wearing light plate armor that was affixed to their legs, sides, and spines. Though there probably wasn’t a practical need for them to wear armor, they felt it was necessary anyway.

The armor was like a uniform to them, and so they wore it proudly.

They ran down the passageways with resolute determination and expertly wove around anyone and everyone in their path. In fact, their lupine ferocity completely shocked any crew members they passed.


The engineer began to close up the nodes while the other two were deep in their work. As when he opened them up, he carefully slid their housing back into place and relocked their latches. A few nodes ahead of him was the mechanic, who was installing his explosives carefully onto the nodes themselves.

And across the room from him at one of the other walls, the datacoder continued to precisely inject direct lines into the nodes themselves.

All three were deep in their groove as they performed their work. They had all been here a half dozen minutes now without any interruption, and any nervousness they might have had was gone.

Once the datacoder was done with the last one along this wall, she stood up and wiped her brow. As she exhaled at length, her ears picked up the sound of clicking and clacking. Although she tried her best to try to listen, the sounds that the other two were making dominated her ears.

“Shh!” she said as loudly as she dared.

The other two stopped working and stood still for a moment, as she demanded. Their faces were plastered with confusion, and they looked at her for answers. Instead, she simply turned her head, as though to listen to something far in the distance.

Her eyes went wide when she realized what was happening – whatever that sound was, was getting closer and closer. It dawned on her that they had possibly been discovered.

“Run!” she yelled.

All three bolted straight out of the datanode access room, through the closest panel to them. The datacoder hopped out first, immediately followed by the engineer. But neither got very far – both were knocked to the ground by a couple of running wolves after only taking a half dozen steps away.

The wolves came careening in from the side, and simply slammed into the two with unbelievable force. The humans were thrown to the ground, where they rolled and bounced and slid. As they did so, they both uttered pained grunts and gasps along the way.

The same went for the mechanic, only he was clobbered the very moment he stepped out of the room. He was thrown around by the third wolf with such ferocity that he slammed against a passageway wall before he fell down to the floor painfully.

All he could do was groan from the pain of what seemed to be a broken rib.

The wolves circled around the three fallen would-be terrorists, then lunged at them fangs-first.

“Stop!” said Amarok telepathically. The thoughts crashed through all their surface thoughts and put everything to a halt.

The wolves immediately withdrew, and instead sat at attention while Amarok padded up to the three humans. She went right up to them and inspected them thoroughly. Primarily by reading their surface thoughts, but also through scent.

Her voice echoed in their minds – it sounded firm and resolute. Most of all, it was frightening. None had ever had a telepathic encounter in their lives. They barely even heard of it to begin with.

“Let’s do this nicely,” echoed the wolf. “I’ll ask questions, and you answer them. Plainly. Truthfully. And all you have to do is think about it. Anyone who tries to hide answers, or change them with untruths… understand that I will know.”

She sat down in front of them, and read their responses eagerly.

“Good,” she told them. “Now, tell me, why are you here? Who told you to be here?”

Each of the three couldn’t help but think about what got them in that situation. It washed across their surface thoughts like water as they recalled exactly why they were there. Not like it was pulled out of them – they simply thought about it all on their own.

It didn’t matter if they wanted to lie – they had to think of the actual truth before they could think of anything alternative to it.

Amarok easily read everything that their minds had to offer. And to her surprise, each one in front of her had come from different places, different sources.

One of them had seen a posting on a private contractor’s job board, and applied to be a saboteur. He had the credentials and the skills to be accepted. Another was introduced to the job by a close friend, who in turn was told by another close friend. The third was simply a corporate mercenary, and this was, to him, a simple corporate infiltrate and sabotage job.

Despite their differences, it was clear that all three were certainly mercenaries and contractors with the same goal. They had all slipped in with whichever populace the Republic had rescued months or even years ago and waited to get activated at the right time.

Amarok saw that none knew about each other before they all met, but they clearly knew to expect someone to help them.

Which meant that even though all three had come from three completely different parts of the galaxy, all three were inexplicably linked. This entire operation was engineered by someone, even if the disparate parts of the operation didn’t even know about the others.

It became clear to her that their orders ultimately came from one place. Or perhaps more accurately, one Benefactor.

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Ravens of Eternity Chapter 424 - 424 The Benefactor’s Reach, Pt 4