In HFO Post 34, Hermes Trismegistus enters Command aboard Orbital One, reading a book he borrowed from Bill Nye, to find Hero Force One have just been in a fight with their unexpected guest in HFO Post 33. Lobo Ono is using nanomods to refuel his pistol's energy cells and repair his armour, and conceded that his battle with the team had been a mistake thanks to his fear of rats. Lobo Ono tries to get CynthAI to request a ceasefire, but she doesn't respond to him calling her 'computer'. Fortunately, Hermes arrives and Lobo Ono recognises him as the wandering god-mage. Hermes invites the Void Ranger back to Command to try again, but he first wants to know if Lobo Ono knows anything of R.I.T.E.. Lobo Ono acknowledges that in the group is HorseGod of Earth, though he is the God of All Horses in the NeSiverse. Hermes is taken aback, calling HorseGod an oaf, but Lobo Ono says that he is a sly oaf. Lobo Ono still feels that Hermes is not telling him something and the god-mage says that he should ask Azariel, the captive Phrophetim. Outside, Dragonlord Riaken is a half-dragon, half-angel who commands the Dragon Cataphracts and appears to be one of the stronger factions in the war outside Orbital One. He is ruler of the Dragon Worlds and a member of R.I.T.E., and aided by a Gebohq Clone that is half-dragon, Draco-Qhobeg. Draco-Qhobeg reports that there is no sign of the Netherwyrms, but they have detected unusual satellites. Riaken uses a Dragon Crystal Ball to see the Nova Shroud satellites, then swipes to find the Netherwyrms still in the Deep Void, close but beyond the translocated galactic supercluster. He sees this as a blessing as they can now tame the Netherwyrms without wasting the potential of the supercluster. He decides he will attempt the taming process himself and he uses the crystal ball as a teleportation device to appear near the creature.
Hermes Trismegistus: Fascinating. Theories even I haven't encountered before. In particular the transliminal effect on astrogravitics--
He suddenly notices the rest of the team, sweating and panting and in some cases bruised.
Hermes Trismegistus: Did I miss something?
Elsewhere, in the hundreds of corridors aboard the station, Lobo Ono is recuperating. Nanomods are refueling his pistol's energy cells and repairing his armor. Time to think has made him consider the battle with HFO a mistake: they responded violently to his panicked fire upon the wererat, when in fact it was simply the Void Ranger's murophobia[Ext 1] dictating his actions, rather than true hostile intent.
Lobo Ono: Computer, if you could convey my wishes for a ceasefire to the team--
Hermes Trismegistus: You know, if you keep calling her 'Computer', CynthAI will put you on her bad list.
The Void Ranger keeps himself from flinching in surprise with a supreme act of will.
Lobo Ono: I know you. The wandering god-mage.
Hermes Trismegistus: Indeed. And you must be a Void Ranger. It seems you have already realized what my allies have.
Lobo Ono nods.
Lobo Ono: It was a mistake.
Hermes Trismegistus: Indeed, and now we wish you to convene with us in Command, that we may discuss the crisis at hand. But first, tell me... what do you know about a group called R.I.T.E.?
Lobo Ono looks sharply at Hermes Trismegistus, confirming the god-mage's belief that a Void Ranger would have heard of this mysterious organization.
Lobo Ono: You mean they're the ones behind this massive translocation.
It is a statement, not a question. Hermes's face remains impassive, and he says nothing. Lobo Ono studies him for a moment, then continues.
Lobo Ono: We don't know their true purpose, but they always seek aggrandizement, and new sources of power. Weapons, technology, arcane lore...they hold nothing sacred in this goal. But what they plan to do with this power is a mystery. No attempts at conquest or control have been made.
Hermes Trismegistus: But WHO are they?
Lobo Ono: No one knows. They're powerful enough that divination can't identify them, and crafty enough that spies cannot uncover them. They work through agents usually, or they cast powerful rituals to achieve phenomenal effects from far away... such as this translocation. The HorseGod, from your home planet, is one of their known agents.
Hermes Trismegistus looks incredulous, and with good reason.
Hermes Trismegistus: That oaf? I find it hard to believe.
Lobo Ono: He may be an oaf, but he is a sly oaf. Also, what you may not know, is that he is the god of all horses in the NeSiverse, not merely those on your planet. We do not confront him, but instead keep surveillance on him, hoping to gain some clue as to R.I.T.E's identities or true purpose.
Hermes Trismegistus looks thoughtful.
Hermes Trismegistus: I think we should assist R.I.T.E.
Now Lobo Ono looks VERY sharply at the god-mage.
Lobo Ono: You know something you're not telling.
Hermes Trismegistus smiles slyly, and touches his nose.
Hermes Trismegistus: Ask Azariel.
Meanwhile, the Hero Force One space station is slowly orbiting around within the solar system, and is almost back around to the massive multi-factioned conflict in space. The dragon cataphracts seem to have the advantage over the other forces: their armor is nigh-impenetrable, and their flaming breath is made of primal-fire that ignores normal fire resistances and immunities. Also, they are clearly the coolest of the fighting forces.
One particularly gigantic dragon, about the size of Manhattan Island, and plated in sparkling red and golden armor, has a massive citadel perched upon its back. An impenetrable force shield protects it from harm, and deadly weaponry belches destruction from its ramparts. Within the citadel's tallest tower is a private chamber, housing the war room of Dragonlord Riaken. He is half-dragon, half-angel, with a dragon head atop a human body with one feathered wing and one draconic wing. His fingers end in talons. These talons clack menacingly against each other as he steeples his hands and tap his fingers together.
Dragonlord Riaken: No sign of the Netherwyrms?
Yes, this is still another Gebohq clone, this one spliced with draconic DNA. He is the vizier and primary tactical advisor to the supreme ruler of the Dragon Worlds, who is also none other than one of the secretive R.I.T.E.'s mysterious leaders.
Dragonlord Riaken: Satellites? Why wasn't I informed?
The supreme dragonlord telekinetically summons a crystal ball from the ceiling, where dozens of multiple colored orbs are floating and lazily drifting about, and the summoned globe swoops down to float obligingly in front of the dragonlord as the half-dragon/half-angel waves a clawed hand over its polished pearly surface. Instantly, the surface disappears, and within it can be seen one of the Nova Shroud satellites hiding the galactic supercluster.
Riaken frowns, but a thoughtful cast soon appears on his face. He swipes his hand over the ball, and the vision within it likewise swipes, into the Void, on and on, until it comes to rest upon the shadowy Netherwyrms.
Dragonlord Riaken: This is an excellent and unexpected boon. We drew the Netherwyrms close before the supercluster was hidden, but now that it has been hidden, we won't have to sacrifice the supercluster. Who would have thought a meddlesome Void Ranger could be so helpful?
Draco-Qhobeg: Shall I order the elite beast-tamers out into the Void, Sire?
Dragonlord Riaken: No. I shall join them myself, for there is no beast-tamer greater than I. Stay here and direct the battle. Do not reveal the true extent of our weapons and resources; merely a slowly gained triumph is sufficient.
With that, Dragonlord Riaken flies literally into the orb, appearing in the Void with his beast-tamers near the Netherwyrms, and Draco-Qhobeg is left alone, with the floating orbs of power watching him like so many multicolored eyes.