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The Ambush at Bolera was the final major engagement of the Hunt for Red Eclipse, which saw the death of Sayl Leikvold and the elimination of the Red Eclipse fleet.

The setup

Reeling from the Battle of Harth Gool and the death of Zhin-Vel, Red Eclipse had limped along under the guidance of Sayl Leikvold, but was being harried from all sides. Access to previously lucrative slave markets was being restricted even as the Order of Keltrayu and the Glorious Armada of the Golden Empire hunted Red Eclipse's agents and vessels.

Sensing the growing desperation of her enemy but no closer to finding them, Queen Rin Sakaros and Royal Intelligence began to plan a trap. After quiet negotiations with some of her Consuls, Bolera volunteered to play the bait. Several Athans even volunteered to be captured by the slavers to help strengthen the illusion, and were equipped with microtransmitters dug into their keratin-and-calcium claws. Meanwhile, Royal Intelligence worked through intermediares to ensure that Red Eclipse received starcharts of the Empire, and the intelligence that Bolera's defenses were light.

An initial Red Eclipse raid on Bolera resulted in the capture of a group of Athans, including those tagged. Emboldened by her success, Sayl Leikvold planned a massive campaign against the system.

The fall of the slavers

The Red Eclipse fleet arrived in full force, and launched a quasi-invasion of Bolera. Committing all its resources, it expected to overwhelm the natives without trouble and retreat with tens or hundreds of thousands of slaves before the Empire had time to respond.

The plan collapsed almost immediately. Bolstered by hidden Royal Army regiments and most of the Centurions, the Athans counterattacked savagely, and the landing forces were pinned down at their drop ships. An hour after the fleet arrived, the Prime Fleet dropped out of hyperspace with half the Armada as backup. In the ensuing massacre, the entire Red Eclipse fleet was pinned in place and methodically obliterated. Sayl Leikvold was killed during the battle, and the fleet collapsed into disorder.

Aftermath

In the wake of the destruction of its slaving fleet and the death of its leader, Red Eclipse was effectively decapitated. The volunteer Athan slaves were tracked by Centurions and, in a series of simultaneous raids, were rescued along with other slaves. The slave owners and traders apprehended on the scene were put to death; Centurions decapitated many of them, while those unlucky enough to be caught by Massassi were crucified or dismembered.

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