The Cimalian Princess: Clone
by AJ Marks
Randy walked back onto the bridge of the Akagi knowing that the fleet would be exiting hyperspace soon. So far all ships had remained in position despite the long amount of travel time. They still had another jump to go before reaching the spot where the Endurance had disappeared.
“Preparing to exit hyperspace in ten minutes,” he heard Aaron say to Kim.
“Good, get me the admiral,” Kim said.
“Don’t bother, how are the other ships?” Randy said walking over to where she sat.
“Ah, I was about to call you,” Kim said back to him.
“I was keeping a watch on the clock,” Randy said taking a look at the monitor. “Are we in position for the next jump?”
“We’ll run the calculations after we exit hyperspace,” Aaron replied back to him.
Randy acknowledge the statement knowing their position would be critical for the next jump in case they did run into Cimalian ships. He did not want to be caught by surprise like the Endurance might have been. He also knew not to expect a warm welcome by any Cimalian ships.
“So, what’s the plan captain?” Kim asked.
“Not sure about that,” Randy answered honestly. “Its something I’ve been thinking about since we left. Really, our mission is to check out what happened to the endurance, beyond that, no idea.”
He looked around at the bridge crew, they all knew how serious this mission was. They all knew that an encounter with the Cimalians might be deadly for them and they probably would be outnumbered.
“What about asking that girl, what’s her name, May, Tina, something like that,” Aaron asked.
“You mean Meia,” Kim answered for him, giving Aarong a glare.
“Yeah, I hear she’s on board, why not ask her, after all she’s one of them,” Aaron said. “Why not ask her.
“We’ve already asked her about it,” Kim replied back to Aaron.
“She wasn’t an elite in their society so she doesn’t know that much,” Randy said. “She’s told us as much as she could, but their class divisions is very strict.”
“She’s also the reason why we’re still here, many of us trust her,” Kim said.
“I was only making a suggestion admiral,” Aaron replied, looking around at the group. Everyone who served on board during the fighting had a similar opinion of Meia.
“We know, but understand that many on board don’t see Meia as one of them, but a trusted crewmember. She’s earned that respect. Tot eh crew, you’re the outsider,” Randy said to him.
He knew Kim’s defense of Meia came from her working with the young woman. Many on board did trust Meia, including many of the pilots and many of the crewmembers on the hanger, including Ben and his crew. Meia worked hard working with John and others to develop tactics to work against the Cimialan fighters and bombers. They had learned a lot over the past couple of months. From combat experience to what she said the military used that to help develop new upgrades for the fleet.
Looking over at the new second in command of the Akagi Randy waited to see how Aaron would react. His words would carry a lot of weight in how others perceived him.
“I meant no disrespect admiral, she saved the Warspite as well, I only wanted to see if she might know something about how the Cimalians might deploy their fleet,” Aaron replied. “I don’t like not having an advantage we can use.”
“I know, but there are some things about Meia that many others, especially outside the crew, don’t understand,” Randy said. “So, we are a bit protective of her.”
He looked over at the crew seeing many were watching the interaction between Aaron, Randy and Kim with interest. He spotted Toni listening in as well, not having been part of the crew would she accept Meia? So many unanswered questions in his mind.
“Sir, dropping out of hyperspace,” Kim finally said.
Randy turned looking down at the scanners watching as the three other ships of the task force dropped out behind the Akagi on schedule and in place. The whine of the normal engines filled the bridge as the engines provided power to the ship once more.
“Inform the fleet on eighth burn on the engines, sent out a patrol to make sure we’re alone,” Randy said, the patrols would look for any Cimalian ships or nearby planets. He watched as the crew rushed around to carry out his orders.
Aaron had returned to his spot on the bridge, working on carrying out the orders. Randy nodded in silent approval before turning towards Kim. They shared a glance before she returned to his station. He had a feeling Aaron would come around regarding Meia, but for now it would take time, especially considering the Cimalians had killed Aaron’s parents on Dredius.
“Admiral, the captain of the Sunray is on the line for you,” Hans said.
“Put it though,” Randy said, wondering what Captain Jacob Alterin wanted.
“Admiral, my chief engineer informed me that the Sunray’s hyperspace engines will require a bit longer to cool down. For some reason they are running hot and he’d like some time to look into the problem. I’ll report back in thirty minutes,” Jacob said.
“Understood captain, I’ll inform the fleet we’re staying a bit longer,” Randy said. “Keep me informed of the situation.”
“Yes sir,” Jacob said as the conversation ended.
Randy turned to Hans. “Inform the fleet to be on alert, we may not be in enemy territory, but we’re not safe either, and we’ll be staying a bit longer for the Sunray.”
“Yes sir,” Hans said, turning to relay the information.
“Activate weapon systems,” Kim said.
“Yes captain,” Toni said.
“Have a patrol launched as well, take a look around for anyone beyond our scanning range,” Randy said.
He watched as the crew went about their duties, and hoped the fleet did not encounter any Cimalian warships. For now, he would play a waiting game.
Emperor Henry glanced at the report Admiral Jezic had given him. The long range patrols had picked up a small fleet of Alliance warships. Henry knew that Jezic did not understand why he allowed the Alliance such a close position to figure out where they were. The admiral did not have the intelligence Henry did, and how the Alliance military operated.
“Is this report accurate?” Henry asked, looking up at Jezic.
He watched the tall man adjust his eye-patch once more. It was something about the man he never understood, why he had not had his eye regrown. He said it reminded him of a lesson he learned, but Henry thought the man had yet to learn that lesson. Of course anyone below Henry still needed to learn lessons.
He turned his attention back to the present and the report. His plan was almost ready to go, and only needed a little bit of information before resuming his course of action. He had to be right, but then again he had yet to be wrong and went ahead with his action.
“Tell Admiral Floyd and Ammari to back off to the secondary launching point. I also want the reserved fleet to be removed from orbit and the defenses weakened significantly,” he said to Jezic. Henry watched with interested as Jezic showed confusion at the order.
“Sire, that would leave Cimalius unprotected with several Alliance ships nearby,” Jezic protested.
“I know, you do not understand as I do, now either carry out my orders or I shall have you replaced with someone who knows not to question me,” Henry replied in a stern voice. Jezic let out a breath before answering.
“By your will emperor,” Jezic said, a bit reluctantly. He left to carry out the orders.
Henry looked over the report one last time. He knew Meia was on board, and this Alliance group would send someone down to get some information, and who better to send than his niece. Once she was down and back under his control he would have her again. All his work at training her would pay off, and the universe would be his again. He only had to reach out and take it.
Meia climbed aboard her fighter, John had picked her and her wingmate for the patrol. She did not mind, and gave her some time to get away from prying eyes and questions about what they might expect. She had no idea about what type of defenses the homeworld might actually have. She never had that information because of her social standing.
She thanked Ben as he handed her the flight interface helmet. The computer activated recognizing her. The flight path she would be taking was already imputed into the flight computer and she took a few seconds looking it over, comparing it to the one she was shown in pre-flight. It was a well-chosen path in her opinion.
“Patrol one, here,” Meia said.
“Patrol one, report anything out of the ordinary. Scanners don’t show anything but exercise caution,” the reply came back to her from the bridge control.
“Understood control,” Meia replied, she had no problem with not finding anything at all. Her fighter swung to the floor of the hanger, which opened. She was lowered into the launch space. She powered up her engines waiting for the clamps to release and the outer doors opened.
“Patrol one, cleared for launch.”
“Patrol one, acknowledge,” Meia replied, as the doors opened allowing her to launch out of the ship followed closely by Victor.
She looked at her scanner to figure out where Victor was and watched as his fighter formed up beside her. Turning her fighter away from the Akagi she set out on her patrol flight plan. She took a moment while looking at the scanner to figure out where she might hide some patrol craft, or fighters, or a trap.
“Victor, don’t use the communicator unless you have to. The empire will use such transmissions to home in on us,” Meia said, recalling that part of her training.
“No problem,” Victor replied back to her.
Meia adjusted her throttle and headed out on her patrol. She hoped they would find nothing but a small part of her wanted answers to questions only her uncle, the emperor, had. She could still recall the first time she met him.
Meia made her way down the hallway making sure no one noticed. It wasn’t hard for her, a five year old her size helped tremendously and she learned she had a tremendous ability to hide around others. She fit easily in small places, behind fixtures that others never bothered to look at. She had wondered around at night hearing things she did not understand, and learned not to ask questions about.
The clicking of heels on the polished floor gave her warning that someone was coming, and allowed her to quickly hide behind some tables and chairs. She could see the legs of the people walking down the hallway as their conversation echoed over to her.
“Are you sure about this?” one voice asked.
“Of course,” another male voice answered.
“It’s risky bro,” the first voice said.
“Has to be done, you know that, besides the steps are already in place,” the second voice said.
“Keeping Boris’ daughter alive, I wouldn’t do it,” the first one said.
Meia noticed a third pair of legs join the other two.
“Sire?” a third voice said which seemed recognizable to her.
“There’s been a slight problem,” the third voice said, as they started walking again.
Meia was unable to hear anything else and continued on her exploration of the building. It was all a game to her, see how much she could see without being caught and return back to her bed.
The next morning she was called into the head supervisor’s office. She waited wondering what was going on as she was led into the room, pausing as she entered the room. A figure of a man she did not recognize and for some reason he scared her.
“So, you’re Meia?” the man asked, causing Meia to freeze when he spoke. She recognized his voice from last night.
“Y-yes,” she finally stammered wanting to run away.
“Such a pretty name, did your mother give you that name?’ the man asked. His voice was at odds with her instincts.
“Yes,” Meia finally replied.
“Do you know who I am?” the man asked, leaning back a bit. He had hair color which seemed identical to his but finally shook her head no. “I am Prince Henry, Empress Terresa’s grandson. I’m here to look at the next generation of pilots like you.”
Meia swallowed as a slight shiver ran though her body at his voice.
“You may go Meia, take this pass to class and show your teacher said handing a card to her. She walked out feeling relieved to be away from him. Quickly making her way down the hallway and back to her class.
Meia shook her head of the memory of the day. She recently had begun remembering things about her past, especially memories from before she entered the academy. She assumed they began drugging her shortly after her entrance into the academy.
Doctor Tommy Leaver thought the same thing and came to the conclusion the drug used effected memories and emotions while leaving her venerable to suggestions which might still be there.
She had memories of people visiting her mother when she was young, did they know who Meia was? Was that the reason why they made so many visits, and why her mother seemed so sad afterwards?
She glanced down at her scanner, spotting Victor flying behind her maintaining formation. He had been competent so far, despite they had not worked together in battle yet. She had been pleased that someone actually volunteered to be her wingmate. She feared no one wanting to be with her due to her backgrounds.
She kept a close eye as they approached their first group of asteroids which could be used for hiding anything. As they got closer she kept an eye out for any energy readings no matter how small. Not seeing any she continued on to the next group of asteroids and sent a quick message to the Akagi that everything was clear so far.
End part 4