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Trouble Ahead by The-Chronothaur Trouble Ahead by The-Chronothaur
Major Teril 'Harrak of the Jjaibii Shroud Nexus during a pirate raid on the Ynchoinri Platform above the gas giant Kjesjalma in mid-2557. The Nexus is particular about their relatively few territorial holdings, especially where they are of significant strategic and economic value. Unfortunately to them, most of said holdings are also located in politically volatile and/or pirate-ravaged territory, albeit far from the focal point of the Blooding Years.

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The Jjaibii Shroud Nexus is a mercantile ex-Covenant faction led by the Unggoy matron Div'qup and her small circle of associates. They have managed to amass an impressive amount of wealth, in local terms, from almost nothing during and after the Great Schism thanks in equal parts to good fortune, financial shrewdness, and the effective application of military power.

The Nexus is nominally headquartered in the Rift, a bustling trade port based in the collection of systems known as the Jjaibii Shroud. The Rift is based on an otherwise inhospitable rock world, a city stretched across both sides of a spectacularly deep chasm sealed by atmospheric shields on top, and has been a lively center of commerce for centuries due to its location in the confluence of key slipspace lanes; even now it remains home to millions of souls. During the Schism, a Jiralhanae pack took over the upper districts of the Rift, but they were driven off by mercenaries hired by Div'qup's forces shortly afterward; they would also form the basis of the Jjaibii Shroud Nexus, alongside Div'qup's existing commercial crews. Ultimately, it was the debilitation of the Sangheili leadership in much of the Jjaibii Shroud during the Great Schism that tipped the scales in Div'qup's favor and cemented her hold on the region, with many key Sangheili commanders killed in battle either against the Jiralhanae, or in the Devatation of Joyous Exultation after heeding the Imperial Admiral's general summons there.

Essentially a mercantile oligarchy comparable in nature to the maritime empires of ancient Earth, the Nexus has little in the way of common goals. Div'qup and her inner circle hold supreme power, though as their net of interdependence has grown through trade deals they have been forced to take various member states' interests into account in their decision-making. Apart from holding vital resources -- refineries, shipyards, industry and spaceports -- they care less about controlling territory such as population centers than the ability to trade freely and maintain their merchant outposts in advantageous locations. As such they do not physically control much space, but have activity across the Jjaibii Shroud and beyond, including operations as far as the human sphere, on worlds such as Venezia, Far Shore, and Talitsa.

Indeed, the Jjaibii Shroud is in an advantageous position regarding passage to human space and houses a considerable amount of Covenant-era supply infrastructure, said infrastructure having been relocated to the region during the war to facilitate invasions into the human sphere. The Nexus fleet doubles as a trading flotilla and war-fleet, their merchant ships being escorted by an impressive array of ships of war thanks to Div'qup's swift seizure of a Covenant naval depot in the Rings of Hseng during the Schism. Likewise, their military is more or less a mercenary force, as Div'qup prefers to employ her own army rather than hire external groups.

Their species makeup is as mixed as that of any similar ex-Covenant merchant polity. Div'qup imposes no formal caste system and cares more for merit and ability than species, though she does appear to take some delight in having Sangheili or Jiralhanae serve under her -- even as she values the former's expertise on military matters. As for humans, she is supremely indifferent aside from seeing the human sphere as an expanse in trading opportunities. The most prominent species of the Nexus include Unggoy, Kig-Yar, Yanme'e, Jiralhanae and some Sangheili -- although not many Sangheili are willing to serve under an Unggoy, those few able to swallow their pride are usually attracted to the fat paychecks; it is also some consolation that Sangheili hold significant military positions in the highest levels of the Nexus' somewhat loose internal hierarchy. Lately, more humans have begun appearing in the region as it is the first stop to many entering the Covenant sphere, and a number of Outer Colonials have enlisted in Div'qup's fleet.

The Nexus has trade and non-aggression pacts with the Swords of Sanghelios and several of their satellite polities as well as various independent planetary governments, though there is suspicion they have had dealings with various warlords opposed to 'Vadam though intermediaries, such as shady merchants in Hesduros' interstellar neighborhood. They have traded with various human Outer Colonies as well as the New Colonial Alliance and the Keepers of the One Freedom, which has made their relationship with the UEG somewhat frosty. The Nexus is in direct competition with the Chikri-Merkaa Conflux's Haar Nappar Freehold, though they do trade with one another to an extent, and both of their respective merchant fleets frequent each other's trade stations -- with substantial tolls paid by both sides.

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Based on a sketch seen here. This piece wasn't originally even meant to have a story attached, but I figured I might as well drop the Jjaibii Shroud Nexus lore I'd had for a while (as I'm not sure when I'll end up doing anything related to them). The Nexus I of course name-dropped earlier in my Chikri-Merkaa Conflux lore submission, but overall they're pretty peripheral to what I'm doing.
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:iconwisky-08:
Wisky-08 Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2018
Cool.
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:iconthe-chronothaur:
The-Chronothaur Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2018  Student Digital Artist
Thanks :)
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:iconstrayqrow:
StrayQrow Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love the classic elite look :)
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:iconthe-chronothaur:
The-Chronothaur Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2018  Student Digital Artist
Thanks; I think the Elites' designs have kind of lost focus along the way so I try to go back to the essentials. That and I have a fondness for old-school Halo aesthetics in general.
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:iconwisky-08:
Wisky-08 Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2018
I love the classics and agree
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:iconstrayqrow:
StrayQrow Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Np :)
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