The Cimalian Princess: Clone
by AJ Marks
Randy made his way into his office on the Akagi, quickly turning on his computer and linking up with the communications systems. Once the link was established he logged in and waited for the proper protocols to pass back and forth before his father’s face appeared on the screen.
“Dad, what’s going on?” Randy asked. He had not received too much information In the restaurant and did not ask in case the information was sensitive. Now he looked for answers.
“The Endurance failed to report back in,” Jack replied. “It was a scout ship looking for the Cimalian Empire. Its last position was here.”
Randy looked up the position on the map of what the Endurance’s route was to be.
“It missed its last reporting in, five hours ago,” Jack said.
Randy understood what this meant. The ship could have had problems, or encountered an enemy fleet and been destroyed. He had a feeling he knew what the orders would be.
“What’s our orders?”
“Well, we can’t spare many ships, the Eagle just finished trials,” Jack said. “I want you to head out to the Endurance’s last position and check things out.”
“The Second fleet or just the Akagi?” Randy asked, knowing they could not afford to send the entire Second Fleet on such a mission not knowing where the enemy was. With so many ships gone it would hinder the defense of the Alliance.
“No, I was thinking of a small task force centered around the Akagi, the Eagle and the destroyers Valiant and Sunray. The Eagle will need a new captain, as her temporary captain is headed back to the Warspite, her refit is over,” Jack said to Randy.
Randy gave it some thought before realizing he had a person who would fit nicely. “Not a problem, and I’ll let you know when we’re ready to take off.”
“Good luck Randy,” Jack said, signing off leaving him to ponder the situation.
He knew that he might have to push Meia hard on this mission. It seemed odd to him but he had the feeling that the Alliance’s very survival, perhaps mankind’s survival in space depended on that young woman. He turned his attention back to his other problem and buzzed for Kim asking her to send Yvette to his office. He only had to wait a few minutes before she arrived at his door.
“You wanted to see me captain” she said walking in. His mouth quirked as she continued to use his old rank, captain. The old crew continued to do that and motioned for her to have a seat.
“Yes,” he said, as she sat down. “You’re probably aware that the Eagle has been recently commissioned, but it’s in need of a captain. The temporary captain went back to the Warspite and the Eagle is to head out with us shortly. So, I’d think you’d be perfect for the position.”
He watched as she stood up a bit straighter as she realized the promotion he was giving her. “Sir, me? Are you sure?”
“I need people with experience on this mission and I can’t think of anyone else who’d be more qualified,” Randy said to her.
“Then, I’ll say yes,” Yvette finally said.
“Good, pack up your belongings and head over, we’ll be leaving within twenty-four hours,” Randy stated, watching her eyes bulge out at the statement.
“HQ lost contact with the Endurance, they’re sending a task force to check out what happened,” Randy told her.
“I’ll be ready sir, as will the Eagle,” Yvette replied.
Randy watched her leave his office, hoping he made the right choice. He turned his attention to the upcoming mission. There was only one person he trusted about knowledge of the Cimalian Empire and that came from Meia. Sure they recovered prisoners after the battles but Randy was not sure he could trust their information yet. Meia had earned his trust more than once.
He looked back at the starmap and where the endurance was thought to have gone. Did the ship run into problems, or was it attacked. Of course if it was attacked, had it been by the Cimalian Empire, or some other group? He had to take that into account as well.
His thoughts turned to how could an empire move an entire population at a whim. It would require a large number of ships, transports and organization. If Meia was right then people in the Empire would be highly organized and either through loyalty or fear organized.
Their ships were also more advanced than the Alliance, at least from what they learned. The downside was personal freedoms was severely limited, which meant home life, technology was more advanced in the Alliance.
He would be taking four ships into enemy territory and no idea what to expect. It almost sounded a bit suicidal to him, but he would do it. He only hoped the mission went smoothly.
Jezic waited patiently for permission to enter the throne room. He had the report of the destruction of the Alliance ship by the captain of the Granger. He felt confident based on the logs recovered from the Alliance ship that no one sent back a message.
He held no illusions that the destruction of the ship would mean more would come. It was logical that a ships destroyed would prompt further investigating.
Their fleet had taken some losses, including five of their precious battle-cruisers leaving them with nine to protect the homeworld. The losses had been higher than expected by any war games indicated. Of course they had not expected to have the problem of Meia, which still angered Jezic.
The one bright spot was the fact new ship was approaching completion to compliment the battle-cruiser along with a new improved battle-cruiser which had been started.
“Enter!” the voice said giving permission.
The voice interrupted Jezic’s thoughts but he quickly recovered. Straightening his uniform for the best presentation he entered the Emperor’s throne room. The Emperor sat behind the large, deep red stained wood desk, behind him several large windows allowing sunlight to stream in.
“Admiral, I assume this is the report?” Emperor Henry asked, looking at Jezic.
“Yes sir,” Jezic replied, handing the report over to the Emperor.
“Ah, yes, I see,” Henry said scanning through the report rather quickly before returning his gaze back to Jezic and ran a hand through his hair before making any further comments. “This might be even better than I had hoped for.”
The statement caught Jezic off guard. He had not expected to hear that from the Emperor but it also meant the man had a plan. If he had a plan then they had a chance for not only survival but victory.
“I suppose you’re wondering what is going on, and I’ve lost my mind,” Henry said.
“I am curious about what is going on sir,” Jezic said, ignoring the part of the emperor losing his mind. There was no way he would even consider saying such a thing.
“Ever cautious with word Jezic,” Henry said.
“Sir, our position is still too weak after the failed invasion attempt,” Jezic said.
“Yes, but there is more than one way to win a battle and a war,” Henry said. “We have many other options than what we’ve used so far. The failure of invasion was a calculated risk I felt could work.”
“It almost did work my lord,” Jezic said, recalling all too well what caused it to fail, Meia. Henry’s niece and rightful Emperor of the Empire who had learned her past. Such information had been kept quiet from the rest of the population still.
“I know you don’t understand, but I need people to carry out my orders now more than ever,” Henry said. “That means people like you.”
“Of course my lord,” Jezic replied, glad the emperor thought so much of him.
“Now, the Alliance will be sending some ships out to investigate the disappearance of their ship. I hope to learn more about that from my spies, but there is only one thing I need to know. That is if Meia is on board those ships or not, when that information come in I’ll have more orders for you,” Henry said to him.
“By your will emperor,” Jezic said. He bowed his head slightly and left the room heading back to the command center. He only cared about one thing when it came to Meia, revenge. Once she was out of the way, everything else would fall into place as it should.
John Reed made his way onto the busy hangar. Shuttle were coming and going bringing up supplies from the surface of Pacifica and the nearby starbase. He spotted Yvette standing nearby holding a duffle bag and a box. Perplexed he made his way over wondering if somehow she was leaving. He was not aware of her time in the military being up. He noticed a new rank on her uniform as he approached.
“So, what’s up captain?” he asked. “You’re not shipping out on us?”
“Yeah, well, kinda,” Yvette replied. “I’ve been promoted.”
“And I was offered my own command, the Eagle,” Yvette said. “I have to get over to it quickly and set myself up as the captain.”
“Really, the Eagle, amazing,” John said only slightly shocked at the fact she made her own command. “Guess you’ll miss the fun then.”
“Nope, the Eagle is part of the task force, which is why I’m hurrying over,” Yvette replied back to him. John thought about that for a few seconds before replying.
“Isn’t that a bit risky, sending a new ship into a situation like this?” he said, wondering if they should use another ship.
“A lot of the fleet is undergoing refits at the moment, or repairs from battle,” Yvette said. They both knew the repair and refit faculties of the fleet had deteriorated over the years. It was taking time to bring the repair docks up to operational speed.
“Yeah, the Akagi just finished, probably why it’s going out on this mission,” John said, thinking logically.
“The Akagi and her crew also has the most experienced crew when dealing with the Cimalians,” Yvette said. “At least, that has something to do with it.”
“I’ll miss seeing you on the bridge when I tease the captain,” John said, referring to Randy. “Good luck to you.”
“Thanks, though you know I could use a second in command,” Yvette stated.
“Nah, I’m having too much fun working with the pilots, besides the forty I’m in charge of is plenty for me,” John said knowing he did not want such a position yet.
“If you get bored…”
“I know where to find you,” John finished for her with a smile.
“There’s my shuttle,” she said, looking slightly nervous.
“You’ll do fine,” John said to her.
“Hope so, after this is over we’ll all have to go and have a beer planetside,” she said.
“Look forward to it,” John replied, watching as she moved off towards the shuttle and her new command. He had the feeling command was not taking any chances on this mission after all. It was a sobering thought. If they failed the defenses of the Alliance would be considerably weakened.
“Hey captain,” he heard a voice say, and turned to see Victor walking towards him. Victor was Pam’s twin brother and in the past couple of months he noticed a slight change in his attitude. John thought for sure he would try some sort of revenge against Meia, he had blamed her for Pam’s death. Instead he had tried to learn everything he could about the Cimalian Empire.
“Victor, what’s going on?” John asked the shorter man. He had cut his hair again and wore the typical brown flight suit.
“I’m hearing some rumors, is it true that we’ve found the Cimalian homeworld?” Victor asked.
“Don’t know about that, but we’re investigating the fact the Endurance was destroyed, it could be Cimalian activity,” John said to him. Victor appeared thoughtful for several seconds before replying.
“So, we finally get to bring the fight to them instead of waiting around, about time.”
“We don’t know if its them or not, it could also be a trap. We’ll have to wait and see, and be cautious as well,” John said, though a part of him did not want to curb his enthusiasm for the mission too much. He only wanted to ground it in reality. They might get out there and find nothing at all.
“Well, I’m ready for anything,” Victor said bouncing slightly on his feet.
“One step at a time,” John reminded him.
“I better get ready,” Victor said, shocking John a bit. What was there to get ready for?
He watched Victor walk off before looking back to see a group of new crewmembers, including pilots making their way off a shuttle. He made his way over to introduce himself to them, as they probably would be under him. Headquarters wanted the fighter squadrons to be at full strength, and these pilots looked fresh out of training. He had some training to do himself.
End part 2