The Cimalian Princess: Clone
by AJ Marks
Randy looked across the shuttle at the other passengers on their way up to the Akagi. He felt the bump as the shuttle flew through another storm in the atmosphere of Pacifica while on course to land. The extreme activity of the planet made it harder on the pilots of the shuttles, but from what Randy heard many enjoyed it. Randy noticed Yvette’s knuckles were white as she showed stress from the descent. Looking over at Meia he noticed she had a similar expression for some reason. He thought it was a bit odd but with everything else going on it almost seemed normal.
“Sorry about that sir,” the pilot said after the shuttle shook a bit more violently than normal. “The weather’s a bit more severe than usual.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Randy yelled back. He had no doubts about the pilot’s ability to get them down before looking over at John, who seemed almost relaxed. Randy rarely saw his friend with a tense face which is what made him such a good leader of the squadron.
Another slight bump and the engines powered down indicating the shuttle had landed. Yvette appeared relieved and almost jumped out when the doors opened. He walked outside into the storm they flew through where several people were waiting outside with umbrellas for everyone. He wondered why they didn’t make a covered area close by the pads but continued on over to where Chad waited for him.
“Admiral,” Chad said as Randy approached.
“Chad, how are you?” Randy asked getting under the umbrella before getting too soak.
“Aside from the thunderstorms, fine,” Chad replied as they started towards the nearby building. “Weather should clear up by the time you’re ready to leave.”
“Some good news, I thought I heard Meia state she had something she wanted to do in town,” Randy said, and with no rain it would be easier for her.
“Shopping sir?” Chad asked a bit surprised.
“Possible, I’ve given up trying to figure her out,” Randy replied, not saying anything about recent events with her.
“Women,” Chad said with a slight chuckle at the age old joke.
“Especially this one,” Randy said.
“Well, they are all waiting for you in conference room one, we have the link set up to the President already along with a few other members of Congress,” Chad said to him.
“Great,” Randy replied even though he knew his dad would be doing most of the talking he still had little trust of the government. He hoped the new people were better than the group in office eight months ago.
He followed Chad towards the command center before breaking off down a hallway towards the conference room. He would rather be heading to the command center but he had a job to do no matter how much he wanted to protest it.
Walking into the room he spotted most of the group already waiting for them. His father, Jack White was already seated and Yvette had beat him to the room, not a real surprise. He sat down along with Meia, Kim and Neil and noticed the link which Chad mentioned already operating with several people on the screens along with the seals of their office in the background.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I’m glad we could all make it to this meeting,” Jack said standing up and addressing the group. “There is some new information we received concerning the Cimalian Empire. As many of you are aware not long ago we lost the scout ship Endurance and as a result it was decided to send a small group of ships to investigate. It included the battle-cruiser Akagi, cruiser Eagle and destroyers Valiant and Sunray. They managed to send two scouts down to the surface, Meia, who many of you already know, and Lieutenant Victor Greos.”
“I see Meia, but where is this lieutenant?” one of the senators asked.
“Unfortunately Lieutenant Geros didn’t survive the mission,” Randy said speaking up to answer the question.
“I see, so the Cimalian Empire knows more than we do,” President able replied.
“Highly doubtful sir,” Randy said. “Early in the mission we uncovered something else which might be part of the Cimalian plan. The destroyer Sunray started having engine problems after a few jumps. I ordered the captain back to Alliance space and warned HQ of possible saboteurs in our repair facilities.”
“That is a serious acquisition admiral,” Able replied as a few other senators murmured about the comment. “I hope you can back that up.”
“No solid proof sir, but the Sunray recently finished a refit, before that her engines were working fine. The overheat did not start until after the engines were overhauled,” Randy stated. “It might not be anything, but I’d rather take some precaution than have a problem in the middle of a battle costing lives.”
“I wish this had been brought to our attention before you started a panic admiral,” one senator said. Randy didn’t recognize him but noticed he was from Praxis, a system unaffected from the invasion.
“I side with the admiral on this issue,” a female voice said. Randy glanced over recognizing Amy Barnes as she continued. “This is a fight where we must remain diligent against this enemy. We already know they controlled a political party so tt’s not a stretch they might have some spied in a repair facility.”
Randy was relieved he had at least one political ally in this group. He glanced around for her father but did not see him.
“We’ll take it under advisement admiral,” President Able finally said.
“Good, we haven’t figured out exactly what happened, but the Sunray was destroy on the way back,” Jack stated. “After the fleet returned and the Sunray failed to show we sent a scout ship to investigate. Its wreck was found not far from Alliance territory.”
“I see,” Able stated. “It might have been caught by the Cimalian fleet, but I assume you’re investigating?”
“Of course,” Jack said turning to Randy to begin his portion of the meeting.
“After arriving at the target we send Meia and Victor down to the surface and to return within a twenty-four hour period. I felt if we stayed any longer the Cimalian government would notice us. We were forced to retreat by a Cimalian fleet,” Randy stated. “When the twenty-four hours had elapsed we returned to try and pick up Meia and Victor. We were fortunate that Meia was able to return at all.
“I’d like to hear from Meia about what happened,” the President stated.
Randy stepped down and allowed Meia to explain what happened down on the planet. Randy heard it all before and listened as the senators asked a few additional questions before the president spoke up.
“Meia, what is your evaluation of the overall situation on the planet?” he asked.
“For having been uprooted and moved they are quite organized,” Meia replied.
“How much of a threat do you think they currently pose to the Alliance,” another senator said and Meia took a second to think it over.
“They still pose a great a threat as they did earlier, their still have several warships, don’t let our guard down,” Meia finally replied.
“Should we open up a dialog with the Cimalian Empire?” Able asked.
“If you do, don’t be fooled by anything they say, the leadership is processed with taking over the Alliance,” Meia replied back.
“I appreciate the advice, but if I didn’t try then I’m failing in my job as President,” Able said.
Randy watched the political bickering go on glad he only had to worry about the military aspect of it all. If he had to be part of it he felt he would go crazy.
“We might open a dialog, but a cautious one,” Meia told them. “It might help out, perhaps gain some trust with some who are knowledgeable of who I am.”
“I also want to avoid a civil war if possible, but an understanding between the two groups, maybe a show a force?” Able suggested.
“Perhaps the Warspite, Akagi, and Hood along with several cruisers, destroyers and supporting ships might be enough to make them listen,” Admiral Hayes said speaking up.
“And if they destroy the fleet what will we have left to defend ourselves?” Able asked in reply.
“Every planet is able to deploy at least a squadron of the new Wolf II fihters,” Jack stated.
The group paused in silence thinking about the proposal.
“Make the preparations,” Able said.
“Yes sir,” Jack replied.
Randy watched the screens go blank knowing if the Akagi was going then he would probably be chosen to lead the fleet.
“Randy, can you stay a bit,” Jack said.
“Yeah,” Randy replied looking at the others. “I’ll see you all at the ship.”
He watched them all file out before turning his attention back to his father, wondering if his hunch was right.
Ann made her way out of the stuffy meeting pleased at how well everything seemed to have gone. If everything went her way she could return to Cimalius as Emperor and Conqueror.
“Captain, I’ll see you back on the ship, there’s some shopping I want to do,” Ann said to the captain of the Akagi, Kim.
“Sure, Randy mentioned something of that on the way down,” Kim replied looking up at the weather. “In fact, I might slip over as well with this weather.”
“Then I might see you there,” Ann stated as they split up.
Ann quickly headed away from the base and towards the meeting place where she’d swap with her replacement. Once they had swapped she’d be able to work with the spy group within the Alliance to build a new powerbase to take over from her ‘uncle’. The thought brought a smile to her face as she continued to plan.
A quick glance around indicated she was alone and headed into the restroom. Once inside she only had to wait a few seconds before hearing a sound outside and watched as her replacement approached.
“I take it everything’s ready?” Ann asked sharply.
“Of course,” the other woman replied.
“Good, let’s get this over with, I can’t stand these Alliance airbags,” Ann said turning towards the mirror to straighten out her hair.
“If you insist,” the other woman replied.
Ann already dismissed the woman expecting her to walk out of the bathroom and towards the military base. Looking into the mirror she felt a bit shocked to see the other woman standing so close to her before spotting the glint of reflected light off something metal.
Hot white pain seared her throat area forcing Ann to her knees, mouth open trying to say something, trying to understand what happened. Ann looked up at the woman who calmly looked back at her before the darkness overwhelmed her, her head hitting the tile and then nothing.
Mia glanced down at the dead body of Ann, her sister-clone and smiled. Wiping the blade on a towel one of the other men gave her she handed both items back to him.
“Take care of this mess, I don’t want to hear anything about this on the news, otherwise the Emperor will hear of this as well,” Mia said to them. She could care less about the men but she had a duty to do to the Empire and they would help her with that mission for now.
She almost laughed at how easy the mission had been for her. All she had to now was take Ann’s place and say she was Meia, and easy enough task for her. Meia had not been that social, the only thing she had to concern herself with was anything Ann had done. However even such actions which might cause suspicion she could deal with using the shock of the recent mission to Cimalius.
She watched as two men covered the body and began the disposal before turning towards the mirror and making sure her own clothes looked fine and no blood had gotten on her.
“I leave the rest to you,” she replied to the nearest man.
“Yes ma’am,” several replied not stopping their duties.
Mia gave a slight nod before heading out and towards the town to do some quick shopping, buy some3thing easy before heading up to the base and back to the ship. She already had some ideas on how to destroy the military from the inside.
End part 18