The Cimalian Princess: Clone
by AJ Marks
Meia made her way along the streets with Victor close behind her. She took note of the empty streets, which concerned her especially considering the traffic earlier. Had she missed out on a curfew in place? She hurried along knowing a couple of more streets they would be headed back into the forest and the shuttle.
The echo of footsteps behind her did not match Victors. Turning she froze to listen as Victor stopped as well. She looked at the shadows, watching for any change. The footsteps continued despite her wanting them to pass her by.
Her eyes went wide at the shout, but what shocked her even more wasn’t that it came from the group but Victor. The street lit up momentarily blinding her as she shielded her eyes trying to see something.
“Surrender at once,” a commanding voice said.
Meia blinked hoping to see something. She wanted to be able to do something about the situation.
Meia felt a slight sting on her arm and looking down noticed a small dart projectile sticking out of her. It had to be drugged, as she felt it start to work. Unable to control her body she fell to the ground as her strength failed her. Her vision dimmed as she lost consciousness and one question came to her. Why had Victor called out?
Jezic paced around the command center causing everyone to be nervous. He only knew he was waiting for some mysterious message. He already had the 1st CF on standby, ready to go the moment he gave the order.
“Admiral, incoming message for you.”
“Put it through,” Jezic replied.
”Admiral Jezic, this is Captain Hellis of the enforcer patrol in section Gamma Six, we’ve caught an intruder that we were told about and instructed to report to you,” Hellis said.
Jezic understood the order now. This was set up by the Emperor and he now had to act according to the plan.
“Bring the prisoners to me,” Jezic ordered.
“By your will admiral,” Hellis replied.
Jezic ended the communications and immediately ordered an open channel to the 1st CF. It took only seconds before Admiral Wambu appeared on the screen.
“Admiral Jezic, you wished to see me?” Wambu asked.
“Yes, you are ordered to attack the Alliance fleet orbiting the moon at once, no ship is to survive,” Jezic ordered.
“By your will Admiral,” Wambu replied.
The screen went dark and Jezic waited a few seconds before finally contacting the emperor to let him know what the situation was. He wondered what the next part of the plan was.
“Admiral,” Emperor Henry said his face appearing on the screen.
“Emperor, it was as you decried. We have caught prisoners, they are on their way here, and I have ordered Admiral Wambu and the 1st CF to attack the Alliance fleet,” Jezic said, waiting for the next order.
“Excellent, all according to the plan. Bring the prisoners to me I shall decide their fate personally, especially if they are who I think they are,” the emperor said. “I will want all information about the Alliance fleet the moment the battle is over.”
“By your will emperor,” Jezic said with a slight bow of his head even as the screen went black. Jezic pondered who the prisoners might be, or even is ‘she’ might be with them. He turned back to his staff. “I want to know the moment the prisoners have arrived.”
He looked over the reports anticipating the meeting. The minutes dragged by, but finally the report came in that the prisoners had arrived. He made his way down to personally escort them to the Emperor. He looked at the enforcers, noticing one prisoner was awake and the other had been dragged in. He looked at the awake prisoner, he had black hair, blue eyes and much shorter than Jezic. The other he thought he recognized as ‘her’.
He could not wait for what the Emperor had in mind.
Randy looked down once more at the screen watching the latest news come in. He looked up with the latest bit of information from the scanners, a Camilian fleet.
“Admiral, Cimalian fleet dropped out of hyperspace, they are heading towards us,” Aaron said confirming what Randy saw on the screen.
Randy suddenly had a delimna on his hands. Meia and Victor were still on the planet gathering information and now it appeared a Cimalian fleet had returned to confront them. The Akagi could not possibly fight off the enemy fleet and were hopelessly outnumbered. He also had orders to avoid engaging any Cimalian fleet.
“Orders admiral,” Kim asked.
“Tell all ships to prepare to jump to hyperspace,” Randy ordered. The decision would not be popular with those who liked Meia and Victor but it had to be done. “Head to the first jump point.”
He looked around at his command crew noticing they were all looking at him with questioning eyes except for Toni and Aaron. No one wanted to abandon Meia and Victor. Randy also understood that if they failed to leave now they would never have a chance to return.
“Relay the message to the shuttle on the planet, we’ll try to make a return trip so they will need to keep watch,” Randy said. “Then tell the rest of the fleet we leave now.”
Randy watched as Kim relayed the message to the rest of the fleet before hearing the hyperspace engines power up. He sent a brief wish down to the planet hoping Meia was all right and could survive a bit more on her own.
“Admiral, scanners indicate the hyperspace engines powering up on the Alliance fleet.”
Jezic turned to see the scanner for himself knowing from the position of the ships the 1st CF would not be able to intercept the Alliance fleet. Even as he watched all three ships disappeared from his scanner as they jumped. This is not what the Emperor ordered.
“Sir, Admiral Wambu is on the line.”
“Transfer him here,” Jezic ordered knowing things had not gone well and someone would have to be punished. Wambu’s face appeared on the screen. “Admiral, you allowed the alliance fleet to leave, why did you come out of jump so far away?”
“I await punishment,” Wambu said.
“That will be up to the emperor after I inform him of your failure,” Jezic said, wondering how the emperor will take the latest news. He thought about opening up a communications but another aide walked into the room waiting patiently to be addressed. “Speak?”
“Admiral, you wanted to know when the prisoners arrived, they are waiting for you.”
“Very well,” Jezic said, moving down to where they waited. He spotted the uniforms of the enforcers along with one other who appeared normal. Jezic did not recognize the man at all but the other was unconscious and held up by one of the enforcers. He reached out pulling her face up and even with the reddish-blonde hair he recognized her, Meia.
“Prepare them for transport to the emperor at once, I’ll be with you shortly,” Jezic said.
He watched them be taken away. It seemed strange that the male prisoners seemed unfazed by the order and he made a mental note to keep an eye on him. he walked back and sent off a quick message to the Emperor and that he would be on his way to the palace with the prisoners. He informed his staff where he could be reached then walked out.
Meia felt the haze covering her consciousness slowly lift allowing her access to small bits of information of her surroundings. Muffled voice, unclear and coming from all around her meant nothing as she could not make sense of it. She started to use her other senses to gain a better picture of where she might be before opening her eyes.
Her hands were cuffed behind her back and she felt the cold floor under her indicating she was lying on it. It still did not tell her where she was. She listened in to the voices as the haze slowly lifted. It was the voice of the Emperor which chilled her the most.
“The drug should be wearing off shortly emperor,” a voice said close to her.
She quickly thought back to everything which happened, the mission and the meeting with Trina. She and Victor had been on the way back when confronted by some enforcers who had been called over by Victor.
The thought of the betrayal caused her to open her eyes. Victor betrayed her, but why? Her vision slowly cleared allowing her to see exactly where she was. The expensive tile on the floor and she figured could be the throne room, considering she heard the emperor. She turned slightly allowing herself to see more of the room and saw Victor standing not far away with a smug look on his face.
“Well, well, it appears she’s awake a bit sooner than you thought,” she heard the emperor’s voice say. She froze at the sound of his voice taking a few moments to overcome the chill she felt. She looked towards the throne.
There sat her uncle, Henry, casually looking back at her. She noticed his blue had not changed and conveyed the same cruelty she observed years earlier.
“You’ve caused me a great deal of trouble my dear,” her uncle said as he stood up straight and made his way down to where she lay.
Fear coursed through her body at the sight of him. He stopped only a few feet away and crouched down but still forced her to look up. She found herself unable to look away from him.
“I see you still remember me, good for you,” he said with a slight smile. “I won’t have to go through the trouble of teaching you again. Don’t worry I have plans for you.”
Meia shivered at the tone in his voice knowing whatever he had planned was not good for her.
“Oh, don’t worry, you won’t feel a thing, at least nothing I don’t’ want you to, not yet,” Henry said to Meia before standing back up and turn his attention towards Victor. The young man had no fear at being so close to Henry. Meia thought she saw some pride in Victor’s eyes as Henry addressed him. “And you, my little friend, I think Meia wants to know why?”
Looking up at Victor she noticed his smile. “Simple really, my sister. You see, you were responsible for it, for it all,” he said, his tone cold.
Meia could not believe what she heard. He still blamed her for Pam’s death
“You’ve got them all fooled about the Cimalians, don’t you. Yeah, even the admiral looks up to you as do all the other pilots, like fools. You are nothing, and you deserve to be treated that way!” Victor yelled at her.
His face had a look of rage on it as he bent down to be more at her level.
“You see, I understand a lot more about vengeance than you ever will. I don’t care about the Alliance, I want to make sure you know all about suffering,” he said to her.
“A person after my own heart,” Henry said causing Meia to look back at him. She heard the tone before and the look in his eyes was anything but friendly causing her to want to flee. Her body refused to move.
She watched as Henry paced a bit, pausing slightly to say something she did not hear before turning back to her and Victor. She knew something bad would happen by the look in Henry’s eyes.
“You realize you’ve done the empire a great service,” Henry stated.
“If it gives me vengeance then it’s all worth it,” Victor said, his eyes never leaving Meia.
“Nonetheless, a reward you shall have,” Henry said causing Meia to shiver. She looked at her uncle who waved his hand and the sound of heavy footsteps approaching them. She saw a pair of black, shiny boots and a green camouflage uniform of the person approaching that looked so familiar to her. She looked up the rest of the figure not surprised to see Admiral Jezic standing there.
She felt a bit of shock at seeing him, he managed to survive the battle somehow. Meia knew she did not wish to watch any reward to Victor. Jezic stopped close to Victor who had yet to pick up on the dangerous aura of the man. The height difference was evident even from Meia’s position on the floor.
One quick movement as Meia closed her eyes hearing the sickening crack and snapping of bones followed by the thud of a body falling on the floor. Opening her eyes she knew Victor was dead and looked up to see Jezic brush off his hands and turn towards the emperor who walked over to look at the body.
“Silly fool, did you really think I’d allow someone like you into the empire, have someone clean up this mess,” he said turning his attention back to Meia. “Now, for you my dear niece.”
Meia felt the panic welling up in her again being so close to him. her last thought before passing out was concern with getting away.
End part 10