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It seems every cycle brings a new challenger.
When Grand Admiral May-Ar disappeared, he left behind a powerful empire for me to inherit, a superb fleet, a crack corps of battle-ready marines, and a comprehensive plan for subjugating the rest of the galaxy. He also left behind his share of old foes for me to deal with.
None of those old enemies had quite the sting of Maak Datonii, the wily old admiral of the Sparda Republic in the Lanzin Local Cluster. Datonii is one of only two commanders to every get the better of May-Ar twice, the other, of course, being that perfidious Grand Vizier Swine-Ee. Unlike Swine-Ee, however, whose reckoning has yet to come, Datonii also took his share of thumpings. The last two skirmishes between the Bukki Star Empire and Datonii's Republic were so costly to the Spardan fleet that I'm surprised they had the gall to attack us again.
But attack us again they did.
We all knew the dangers associated with taking on a well-drilled force like the Spardans, but even so the early stages of the battle were costly. The Spardans had developed a new technology, an auto-modulating shield countermeasure that exploited gaps in our deflectors. The results were disastrous--before we instituted fleet-wide adjustments to our shield frequencies, we lost three capital ships and nearly a dozen cruisers, more than we've lost in any previous engagement since I've assumed absolute command. Captain Feeldz's command ship was one of the losses, though thankfully Feeldz was able to escape to a new ship, a cruiser. At the helm of this cruiser Feeldz was better able to maneuver himself and direct our operations. Meanwhile Captain Dobbuns led the first counterattack against the Sparda's line of capital ships, and although he was repelled he managed to blunt their assault.
Now a brief stalemate ensued, the Spardans unwilling to press against our now-set defenses, and our own forces equally uncertain.
Seeing the opportunity to strike, I gave the order, and Feeldz executed it beautifully. Driving his cruiser forward, the capital ships formed around him, Dobbuns and his taskforce in tow. The Spardan capital ships, caught recharging their main batteries, were unprepared for a direct confrontation. We deleted ten of them before Datonii smartly tucked his remaining forces into a pocket dimension created by a slip-generator. But that provided only a temporary reprieve for the Spardans, who didn't have enough juice to keep that dimension stable. They tried slipping out of a back way, but our ships were ready for them, and they lost another dozen ships in a hasty retreat.
But of course the victory would not be a total one--never against Maak Datonii.
Just when I thought we had him cornered, Datonii had one more trick in reserve--a portable jump-drive for his own flagship, which escaped along with a small escort of remaining ships.
We've not seen the last of him or the Sparda, but it will be a while before they're game enough to try us again.
Signing off for now,
Admiral Dae Riyan, Supreme Commander of the Bukki Star Empire