The Cimalian Princess: Clone
by AJ Marks
Jezic made his way to the throne room having been summoned by the Emperor. He seemed to spend more time there than anywhere else lately. He hoped the Emperor would finally explain what his plan was before it drove Jezic crazy. He noticed several additional people in the room, one wearing a cloak and hiding their face but he from the posture of the body a short woman.
“Ah, admiral, you’re in time for the reveal,” the Emperor said making a sweeping motion with his hands towards the group.
“Sire, I’m not sure I understand,” Jezic replied looking at him and then to the others.
“You will admiral,’ Henry said as he walked over to the woman pulling her cloak aside allowing Jezic to view the face of the person. He looked on a bit stunned by the face before him.
“What? Why is she not restrained?” Jezic stated glancing at the guards nearby. “It’s dangerous letting Meia loose like this.”
“I am not Meia,” the woman in front of him said.
Jezic paused for a second before answering her. “Interesting choice of words Meia, but you don’t fool me.”
“And I said I’m not Meia,” the woman growled back at him, taking a fighting stance towards him. He mirrored it without thought due to years of training and combat experience.
“If you’re not Meia than who do you think you are? I’m not fooled by this act either,” Jezic said to her.
Meia straightened a bit and smiled, something he never saw before on Meia all the time she was under his command. The smile reminded him of the Emperor and not the elite fighter pilot who had been on board the Kitakim.
“I see that you’re not stupid after all,” the Meia in front of him said. “It would have been a shame to kill you. Uncle Henry says good things about you.”
Now Jezic felt really confused by what Meia said. He glanced over at the emperor waiting for an explanation which might make sense for what he heard her say.
“As the woman said, she’s not Meia,” Henry said rising and walking over to the woman who Jezic wondered about.
“If she’s not Meia then who is she?” Jezic asked finally.
“He watched as Henry glanced at the woman then back at him before the woman finally replied to answer his question. “I am Ann Cimal, next in line for the Cimalian Empire.”
“A clone of Meia but with some modifications,” Henry finally said.
Jezic took a second as the words were processed. “Clone?’ he finally asked.
“Yes, she has the same genetic makeup that Meia has with some slight modifications in the proper areas,” Henry said. “Her hair is now a natural blonde, not the blue it was, and some additional reflex modifications and she is the perfect successor to the empire and my daughter.”
“What about Meia?” Jezic asked.
“A public execution, a fitting end to a traitor,” Ann replied coolly.
Jezic found himself nodded in agreement still in shock over what he had been told. The coldness of Ann’s voice towards Meia reminded him of a younger Henry when giving some of his orders. Jezic briefly wondered if Henry knew what type of monster Ann might become, especially if she was anything like he was.
“However, before that can happen we have one more thing which we must take care of, the Alliance fleet that Meia came from.”
“The one that left,” Jezic replied.
“Only for a bit, you see there is more going on here than any of you realize,” Ann stated pausing for a second before continuing. “The admiral of the Alliance fleet and the crew of the ship Meia was a part of will not give up because you chased them away.”
“So we get another chance,” Jezic said, his mind already racing of thoughts for an ambush of the Alliance fleet. Things could not be better.
“I have a better idea,” Henry suddenly said causing JEzic to look over at him. “Let them come, Ann can infiltrate their defenses to gain tactical information. You look like Meia, why not use that to gain information.”
Jezic turned towards Ann to see she was thinking about the situation. The Emperor made a great point about gaining information. Since the failed invasion their spy cells had been devastated and information was much harder to come by than before.
“That might work,” Ann stated. Jezic was not as convinced as Ann acted so differently than Meia did. She would have to convince them she was Meia.
“Once back at the Alliance we can use out spies to extract you depending on how the mission is going,” Henry said.
“Then we should begin the preparations for my pick up by heading to the shuttle,” Ann said.
“What if they don’t accept you, or notice you are acting strangely?” Jezuc asked.
“Improvise, what else. Beside the Alliance dies not know the empire has this technology and taking advantage of it will be easy with my abilities,” Ann replied back to him.
Jezic was not impressed. He had underestimated the Alliance once before as well. They were not the fools they were told they were. He hoped Ann understood that otherwise the mission was already in danger.
“What about your hair color?” Jezic asked.
“Easy, I’ve decided to keep it this way, so I don’t stand out as much,” Ann said.
Jezic fell silent as they continued to discuss the plans before heading off. Jezic turned to being his part of the plan as well. If the operation was to be successful Ann would have to get on board and the 1st CF could not interfere. As long as Ann got on board the Alliance ship but it allowed some room for him to plan something.
Randy waited and watched the screens as the Akagi raced through hyperspace towards the Cimalian planet. He hoped the Eagle and Valiant were on their way as well. The plan called for almost precise timing on all ships. If one ship arrived too early it could ruin the entire mission.
“About to enter Cimalian space,” Kim said to him.
“And we’re probably about to be on their scanners,” Randy said.
“Red alert,” Aaron said, as the Akagi went to battlestations and people concentrated on their jobs.
Randy knew most of the crew were already at their battlestations. The alert served to tell them all they were about to drop out of hyperspace. The screens showed all stations ready from damage control to weapons. Both squadrons of fighters were ready to launch but Randy was hesitant to use them. He wanted to get in and out quickly.
“Exiting hyperspace in three, two one, now,” Aaron’s voice said throughout the ship.
Randy listened as the engines powered down and the ship returned to normal operating speed. “Scanners, give me a clean picture,” Randy said, waiting a moment for the order to go through. He wanted to know what they were up against.
“Few ships in orbit, the Valiant has arrived and the Eagle just appeared. A few ships are headed our way,” the reply came back to him.
“Bring weapon systems up,” Randy said before turning to look over at Hans who was listening intently. “Anything Hans?”
“No,” Hans said focusing on listening. “Hold on, one message coming though, I think its Meia.”
Randy felt a bit of relief at that statement. He hoped it did not take her too long to get on board a ship.
“One enemy warship now in range, firing at us captain,” Aaron said.
“Toni, open fire,” Kim ordered.
Randy watched as Toni relayed the information to the rest of the weapon systems and the Akagi opened fire a second later on the nearest warship.
“Meia reports she’s lifting off the planet now,” Hans said.
Randy looked back down at the scanner hoping to pick up the shuttle. It took only a few seconds and he realized the Eagle would be closest to it. Opening a communications to the Eagle he waited for Yvette’s face to appear on the screen.
“Admiral?” she said all business.
“Yvette, the Eagle is closest to the shuttle, pick her up and leave. The Valiant and Akagi will cover for you,” Randy said.
“Understood,” Yvette replied.
Randy closed one communications and opened another with the Valiant. Neil appeared on the screen with the same quickness that Yvette had.
“Captain, prepare to leave,” Randy said to him.
“You’re missing pilots showed up?” Neil asked, a bit surprised that it worked.
“Yep,” Randy replied, letting a bit of a relief smile appear.
“Good, I’m powering up my engines now. Give us the word and we’re gone,” Neil said to him.
Randy understood Neil’s urgency to leave the area. No one wanted to be around in orbit around an enemy planet with so few ships for long. He looked over watching the shuttle make its way towards the Eagle. Once it was aboard he would order the Valiant to leave.
“Engine status?” Randy asked.
“Powering up now,” Kim replied back to him.
“Good, I want to be out of here as quickly as possible,” Randy said to her.
He looked down at the scanner noticing enemy warships were beginning to appear on the scanner. Most were approaching the Akagi being the largest target. The Akagi also has the best chance of surviving this battle.
“Captain Yvette reports the shuttle is docking now,” Hans said to him.
“Tell Captain Neil to go ahead and leave,” Randy ordered.
The dot representing the destroyer Vialant remained for a few more seconds before it vanished heading off to hyperspace. One ship safe two more to go.
“Kim, once the Eagle leaves get us out of here,” Randy told her. He watched her nod and continued to work on the status of the ship and engines. Reports were already coming in about damage to the enemy ships and the shields of the Akagi. Randy knew with what they were facing they were not in any danger yet. He needed his luck to hold out a bit longer, and no larger Cimalian warships to appear.
“Admiral, incoming warships,” Aaron said suddenly.
Randy looked down at the scanner noticing six ships. Two appeared to be battle-cruiser in size. They appeared where the Valiant had been, the furthest away from the Eagle and Akagi.
“All right, time to go,” Randy said to himself watching as the Eagle finally left the planet.
The hum of the engines increased as the power built up was released to break through the light speed barrier. Kim gave the order and the Akagi accelerated to hyperspace heading to the rendezvous point where the Eagle and Valiant would be waiting for them. He hoped they had some good news to help defend against the Cimalians later on.
Jezic turned away from the scanners. He knew the outcome of this battle already, they were going to allow the Alliance ships to flee. He only hoped no ships suffered any major damage. The mission went as planned and Ann took the shuttle up to the Alliance ships with no problem. Of course it went smoothly because the 1st CF had been ordered to avoid the shuttle.
Jezic ordered the remaining 1st CF ships after the Alliance ships arrived and the shuttle was on the way. This gave the illusion of ‘reinforcement’ were coming and lend the mission some credibility. It took only a few minutes before the Emperor called.
“I take it the mission went according to plan?” Henry asked.
“Yes sire,” Jezic replied. “Her shuttle landed on board one of the Alliance ships, the rest is now up to her.”
“Let our spies and agents remaining in the Alliance know about this,” Henry ordered.
“By your command,” Jezic said, pausing for a second to consider something. “What if she fails? Isn’t she the next in line for the empire?”
“Do not worry about that, it is why I am the Emperor and you are not,” Henry said confusing Jezic a bit with that.
The communications ended before Jezic could formulate another question. The emperor had something else up that much he felt sure about. He did not see the clone coming back alive. He wished he had a hundred more ships and soldiers which he could use to destroy the Alliance. Perhaps the emperor had a plan not clone soldiers. He would wait an see.
End part 12