The Cimalian Princess: Clone
by AJ Marks
Randy sat down in the command chair on the bridge of the Akagi, waiting for the final report. All ships were reporting ready to go, and now he waited for final permission from HQ. It took a bit longer than he had expected to transfer all the supplies, but it all managed to work out.
“Admiral White on the line for you admiral,” Hans said to Randy.
Randy acknowledged the statement and flipped his screen over to see his father’s face. “The task force is ready to go.”
“Good, head on out, report in every twelve hours,” Jack ordered.
“Understood,” Randy replied to the order.
“One more thing, if possible try to avoid military conflict,” Jack said to him.
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Randy replied. He knew the severity of the situation and how even the loss of one battle-cruiser could change the balance of power right now. He had no intention of getting into a fight at the moment.
“You’re mother says be safe, as does your sister,” Jack said.
“Tell them I’ll be back as soon as I can,” Randy replied, he had no intention of dying at the moment.
“I’ll wait for your progress reports,” Jack said. “All supplies are loaded?”
“The fleet is stocked and fueled,” Randy replied.
They said their good-byes and ended the communications as he turned to look at the rest of the bridge crew. Kim stood off to the side double checking the Akagi’s systems. The Akagi had two new bridge crew members, a new second in command, Aaron Gilgamesh and Toni Burns, who would be taking over the weapons systems. Toni appeared about the same age as Yvette, but had fiery red hair and green eyes matching her attitude.
Despite the fact Toni had no combat experience he had a trained crew. Most of them had been around for the defense of the Alliance.
“All ships report ready,” Hans said.
“Tell all ships to head to the first point,” Randy said.
“Yes sir,” Hans replied, relaying the order.
Randy heard the ship’s engines powering up for the first jump. They would be making small jumps to prevent a long cool down of the engines in case they ran into trouble. He hoped the mission would be boring.
Meia made her way towards the flight deck. She wanted to check out her fighter to make sure it was able to perform at peak condition. The last thing she wanted was a fighter with a problem in the middle of combat. The maintenance crew did a good job, but she wanted to make sure.
“Everything to your liking little one?’ Ben asked, as Meia looked over her fighter.
“Yeah, looks good,” Meia said, checking inside at the engine. The newer fighter looked similar to the older version but had a lot of improvements. Several Vengeance fighters had been recovered at the battle and the engineers quickly incorporated new improvements.
“So, what’s your thoughts about this mission?” Ben asked, leaning on the fighter wing and looking at her.
She gave it a bit of thought before finally replying. “It all depends on if we actually find the Cimalian Empire or not. If we do then we can possibly do something about the situation at last. If not then they might be leading us on some sort of chase. Either way we’ll know for sure in a few days.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” Ben stated. “How’s the admiral handling all of this?”
“Randy, he’d doing fine,” Meia replied quickly and saw a knowing look on Ben’s face.
“Yep, had no doubt about his leadership ability, he’d done good so far, flexible and quick thinker, but how is he doing,” Ben asked.
“Well, a bit nervous about what might happen,” Meia said, she really had not had much time to talk to him since he left Pacifica during supper.
“Good, good,” Ben said.
“Are you bugging her again,” Meia heard another female voice say, and looked over to see the familiar blonde hair as Jean came walking over to give Ben a bump with her hip.
“Me, never,” Ben replied. Meia watched the familiar interaction between the two of them. Jean had no problems with giving Ben a hard time, and he seemed to always take it in stride.
“Sure, never, yet I see you talking to her all the time,” Jean said, giving Meia a wink.
“I’m crushed you’d think that,” Ben replied, placing a hand over his heart. “I wanted to make sure she found everything in tip top shape with her fighter.”
“You spend more time tinkering with that fighter than any of the others,” Jean said. “I think you’ve got a fixation with it.”
“Nah, its only because she actually looks at her fighter before taking off,” Ben replied back to her.
Meia watched as Jean remained quiet for several seconds before saying anything but could not help but feel she missed something, some interaction between the two. She smiled at Jean and Ben and waited for a few seconds as Ben ran a hand through his close cut hair, his back to her before turning around and facing her.
“Well, I need to go check on John’s fighter next,” Ben said.
“I’ll be right over there to help you out,” Jean said.
They watched as Ben walked off towards one of the other fighters, grabbing some tools and looking over a report before JEam turned towards Meia.
“You know why he focuses on you?” Jean asked, confusing Meia.
“Um, not really,” she replied, waiting to see if Jean would tell her something.
“Don’t say anything to him, and you didn’t hear it from me, but you remind him of his oldest daughter,” Jean said. “She loved ships, and to explore the universe. She and his other daughter served on board an exploration ship, and disaster struck on their third deployment. The ship went out and never returned. I did some checking and it was to explore near Cimalius.”
Meia understood the unspoken result. The ship had probably been destroyed by the empire’s military. She heard rumors of Alliance ships scouting their positions, but the explorer ships makes more sense now that she had more information.
“So, I remind him of his daughters even though the empire probably killed them,” Meia said.
“Yeah, he does have a son who they had not gotten along with due to the fact Ben was in the military. Last I heard he enlisted after the invasion, trying to make things up with his dad, even training to be a mechanic,” Jean said.
Meia was quiet for a few seconds before finally asking the question. “Does he know what happened to his daughters?”
“Yeah, he probably does, but he also is very practical, and he likes you,” Jean said, giving Meia a smile.
“Then I’ll try not to disappoint,” Meia said.
“I should probably go over and help him out again before he messes something up,” Jean said with a slight giggle.
Meia watched her walk over to the fighter where Ben was working leaving her alone with her thoughts. There had been so much death and destruction already, could they live in peace at all? Looking over the fighter once more she left and headed back to the rec room.
Meia made her way into the rec room and found herself an empty chair. Many of the pilots relaxed I there before the fleet would take off on missions. Now it was full as the hyperspace flight would take another several hours, not including two more jumps. They would only be on alert when the ship was about to come out of hyperspace. The squadrons were rotated and this time her squad would be off.
She grabbed some water on her way over to the chair and sat down next to another pilot of her squadron, Victor Geros. She had a strange relationship with him. The first day they met he tried to attack her. She learned later it was because he lost his twin sister, Pam, in an attack on a scout ship before they knew war had broken out.
Now, Victor had become very interested in talking with her. He wanted to learn as much as possible about the empire and their history. She knew he talked with other survivors as well from the invasion fleet, and had been a big help with intelligence for the Alliance.
“Well, this mission should prove interesting, especially if we find out where they went,” Victor said to her.
Meia nodded her head in agreement. She did not say she half wished they found nothing.
“I hope we find them this time, I might finally be able to get back at those bastards who are responsible for Pam’s death,” Victor said, his voice full of hatred.
“It won’t be easy, that’s for sure,” Meia said. “If they have the same defenses the planet will be a fortress.”
“Yeah, but we’ll know where they are at last, they won’t be able to hide from us,” Victor said.
Meia thought Victor seemed almost too eager to fight the empire for his own revenge. She understood that anger, something she went through only six months ago when the invasion was about to start. She felt she would finally have revenge on the Alliance for her mother’s death, only to learn what she thought she knew was wrong.
“Perhaps, but with that knowledge we might also be able to incite a revolt against the Emperor, or something else,” Meia finally said, thinking about it. “Such actions might help out the lower classes even more than a war. The only ones who lose in fighting are the lower classes of the empire as they are the minions heading off to die for the glory of the empire.”
She watched as Victor seemed to think about that for several seconds. He seemed to contemplate something she said. She hoped he took her advice on the empire and take their time in any conflict against them. She also knew the Alliance had the harder role in the war, defense. It was always easier to attack than defend.
“You must also remember that the Emperor will use any fact and twist it to support his lies and the people are more likely to believe him than us,” Meia told him.
“I can’t imagine a government so repressive that it will do so much to retain power, I mean I’ve heard of such things in our ancient past, but now, it seems too outrageous. It boggles my mind,” Victor said back to her.
The technology of the Alliance is very different than the empire,” Meia said, knowing it for a fact. There were many things for everyday use which she had to learn. “You take for granted so many things that don’t exist in private in the empire.”
She watched as he thought about that for a few seconds. She really hoped he understood what type of enemy the empire was. The emperor would do anything to win, he would follow no rules.
“It always sounds terrible,” Victor said, looking down at his communicator. “Well, I’m needed in the hangar, you need anything from there?”
“Nope, just came from there,” Meia replied.
“Then I’ll catch you later,” he said, standing and heading out.
Meia watched him walk out of the room before taking the moment to look out the window. She knew what type of enemy they would be facing, and hoped the people in charge to the threat seriously. Randy seemed to, as did his father, but beyond them she had no idea. Many seemed to want the threat to disappear and not deal with it.
She knew the only real way to deal with the empire was to confront them, and know where they were. The only way to defeat the empire was to take out the emperor. That thought scared her for some reason.
She focused her attention back on the upcoming mission and decided to hope they found nothing.
End part 3