The Cimalian Princess: Invasion
by AJ Marks
Meia climbed into her bed ready to rest. Her punishment for allowing the Alliance ship to escape had been more than she expected. Admiral Jezic had been furious that the ship had been allowed to escape. The ten lashes from the electro-whip didn’t cause any physical damage to a person but pain was real. The electro-whip had been developed some one hundred and fifty years ago for punishments that didn’t require a doctor to help heal. The person felt the pain yet could go back to work the next day.
Meia reviewed the battle in her head to see what she could’ve done differently. She incorrectly assumed the Alliance ship would fight, not run. Next time she’s allow the ship to get closer than target the engines.
Placing her head on the pillow she felt the small music box. Pulling the box out she opened the lid causing the music to begin playing once more. Looking inside the lid she looked at her mother’s picture. Beside her mother stood a man, his arm around her shoulders. She never told her who the man was, but a younger Meia believed the man to be her father. His blue eyes held a gentleness and warmth that she wanted from a father.
The song slowly lured her to sleep with her thoughts on her mother.
A small four-year old Meia ran into the kitchen where her mother stood. The smell of food cooking filled the small kitchen.
“Momma, momma,” Meia said rounding the corner heading straight for her mother.
“What little one,” her mother said wiping her hands before bending down to Meia’s level.
“Can I open my gift yet,” she asked. In her hands she held a neatly wrapped gift.
“Well,” her mother said putting a finger next to her cheek thinking about it. “I suppose you’ve been good all day, go on ahead.”
Eager hands tore through the paper covering. A wooden surface with an intricately carved surface had been uncovered. A few tugs and the paper floated to the ground. The young girl held a small wooden music box.
“Go ahead and open it,” her mother encouraged. Meia lifted the lid listening as the song started playing. A smile came to her lips as she listened to it. “It’s an old song from before the ‘dark’ time,” her mother explained.
“Dark time,” Meia asked. She hadn’t heard that phrase before.
“Don’t worry about it. You’ll understand when you’re older,” her mother said. “When you’re older you’ll understand. Just be yourself, for now.”
She reached down enveloping Meia in a hug. She could smell her mother’s perfume making her think of flowers after a rain. She felt loved and loved in the small cocoon she never wanted to leave.
Meia woke up. She didn’t understand the dream. She hadn’t dreamt of her mother in years. At least not since her academy days, which had been three years ago. Perhaps it had been the music box earlier. She thought about the last battle. The Alliance ship hadn’t tried to shoot back or fight. That seemed to go against everything she’d been taught by her instructors.
“I don’t understand,” she said to the darkness.
The darkness of the room provided nothing but shadows and silence to help her out. Klaxons wailed breaking the silence once more. Meia jumped out of bed to call the bride. She needed to know what the situation was.
“Meia, there’s another Alliance ship inbound. Take the second squadron and destroy it,” Admiral Jezic said. “Do not fail me this time.”
“I understand admiral,” Meia replied as the screen went blank. She quickly dressed and made her way to the hangar.
The Griffen approached the planet Corrius at maximum speed. Captain Val knew only that the Akagi had been attacked, not by whom. That task had been passed onto him in a ship designed for such a task. So far the scanners showed no movement from any ship near the planet.
“Communications, anything from Corrius,” Val asked.
“Negative captain,” the reply came back.
Val suddenly had a thought that this mission wasn’t going to be easy. He also knew the only way to get accurate information would be to get as close as possible.
“I want full power to the engines and shields the moment we drop out of hyperspace. Also communications, open a channel back to headquarters. Put as much power as possible, we’re going in,” Val said. He stood calm and collected on the bridge. The crew hesitated only a second before carrying out his orders.
Meia sat in silence as her fighter floated in space waiting for the opponent to show up.
“Why are we sitting here,” she heard the whine of another pilot. Switching her screen to the green-haired pilot who didn’t surprise her. “The ship’s out of hyperspace we should be attacking!”
“Can it,” she said to him. “We’re sitting here because of the plan. We need them closer. Too far away and the ship will escape, understand?”
“But sitting here does nothing,” Olin replied. Meia heard the impatience in his voice rolling her eyes for a second before replying.
“Listen carefully, they don’t know who we are, so they will close to get a full scan, then we attack. But do nothing until I say so otherwise face punishment for you squad if the enemy get away,” Meia said to him.
“Fine, but if we fail, I want you executed,” Olin said as the communicator cut off.
Meia didn’t bother replying. The enemy was all that mattered to her, gaining revenge.
‘Just be yourself!’
The words seemed to be whispered to her from somewhere in her mind. Glancing around she didn’t see anyone. The words reminded her of her mother and briefly wondered if someone was playing tricks on her. Snapping back to her senses the enemy ship had entered range.
“All fighters, launch,” Meia ordered. She felt her own fighter rotate. Hitting her thrusters the clamps released her fighter allowing her into space. Turing her fighter straight towards the enemy ship she assumed her squad formed up behind her.
Her orders to attack the enemy engines first had been relayed quickly as she looked for any weakness form the enemy. Avoiding enemy fire she zeroed in on the engines. She hoped to avoid a repeat of last engagement. At least this time the enemy was firing back at her. A quick burst of fire from her fighter sent several bolts of lasers at the enemy. A soft glow indicated a hit on the engines. She had to look at her scanner to see that the engines had been damaged.
Satisfied that the engine power had decreased enough she gave another order. “Target forward shields.” Once the enemy shields were down the enemy would be venerable. Then the ship would be theirs.
“Captain, engines are damaged. We won’t be able to retreat with this damage,” Val’s second in command said.
“Hades,” Val said to himself. He should have taken more caution in his approach. Now it appeared his ship had suffered extreme damage. “Anyone responding to our communications?”
“Negative, nothing-” the officer paused listening to his headphone.
Val rocked a bit as the Griffen received another hit. More damage reported on the forward shields as they were reduced fifty percent.
“We have slight communications with the Akagi captain.”
Val turned to his screen noticing the slightly fuzzy image of Captain Randy White. Interference lines prevented anything clear on the screen.
“Captain White, Captain Abin of the Griffen,” Val said hoping that his message would get though. “We are currently under attack by twenty to twenty-five fighters around the planet Corrius.”
“Captain, your signal is breaking up please enhance,” Randy said.
“We can’t, trying to maintain our shields,” Val replied rocking some more as another hit. The shields had failed. A nearby console stopped working and a support beam crashed onto the deck. He turned to a nearby officer. “Do we have a clean scan of the enemy?”
“We have the fighters and the larger ships captain.”
“Sent it to the Akagi,” Val said turning back to the screen.
“Captain Abin, please come in,” Val heard Randy say.
“I’m sending you our scans, get it back to command,” Val said.
Val nodded to the officer who quickly worked to send the information even as systems around them failed. Val hoped the Griffen had enough time to carry out the task.
Meia glanced with satisfaction as the enemy ship began its death roll. The hull had been breached in several spots. Meia could see precious atmosphere leaking from the ship. Even fire from inside could be seen as an orange glow from inside the openings. The engine reactor finally went critical ripping the ship in two.
Turning her fighter a small part of her didn’t want to view the human carnage that had just taken place. Destroying the enemy had been one thing, watching as a person died in space was another.
“Woo-ha, what a rush,” a voice said. Meia recognized the voice right away as Olin’s. Shaking her head she concentrated on her landing. Things would be different tomorrow.
Randy looked at the scanner as the bridge crew of the Akagi waited to hear what had happened. The screen Randy had been watching suddenly went blank.
“Captain, come in, Griffen, come in over,” he said hoping to regain communications with the vessel. He glanced over at Hans hoping the officer could work some magic. He gave a small shake no.
“Captain,” Kim’s voice said shaking Randy out of the fog he’d been in.
“Hans, did we get the scanner logs from the Griffen?”
“Finished downloading a second ago captain. Bringing it up now,” Hans said finishing typing the commands.
“Transfer it to my screen,” Randy ordered feeling Kim walk up next to him.
Looking at the screen he noticed the same ships that had attacked the Akagi several hours ago. The Griffen had a much better scan of the ships. Now he had the type of shields and some weapons from the enemy ships. The shields were stronger, looked to be class VII compared with the Wolf fighter’s class V. The fighters also had two hard lasers.
When he finished looking it over he felt a bit disturbed by what he’d seen. The enemy ships were more advanced than anything the Alliance had. Years of no funding for research and development had stagnated the military.
“Set course for Pacifica,” Randy ordered.
“What about Vernada,” Kim asked.
“We’ll head back when the excitement is over,” Randy said. “Right now I think we need to report this in personally.”
The Akagi turned towards Pacifica as its hyperspace engines powered up. Seconds later the engines roared to life sending the massive battle-cruiser towards Pacifica.
Meia walking onto the bridge of the Kitakim. She felt small compared to the others on the bridge. Many of the officers were male, and many were around six feet tall, a good ten inches taller than she was. She noticed the admiral standing over at another station, his six-six stature towering over the others. She walked over knowing that he wanted her report.
“So how long,” she heard him say. He appeared to be in a conversation with someone else so she waited off to the side.
“About a week at most admiral,” the voice replied. “We’re trying to flush out the remaining resistance pockets now.”
“Good, the Fourth CF will be here to replace us in a couple of days. Prepare your transfer papers then report back,” Jezic said.
“By your will admiral,” the voice said.
Meia watched as Jeciz turned off the communicator then looked towards her. “Ah, Meia, I’m glad you’re here,” he said to her. “I’ve notified high command of your success. They’re relieved things went so well. Our next phase is to start the moment the Fourth CF arrives.”
“By your will admiral,” Meia said automatically.
“I believe that the next battle won’t be easy. You are to make sure fighter loses remain low,” Jezic said. “I don’t have to remind you of failure.”
“No admiral,” Meia replied.
“Good, now return to work. I have much to do still,” Jezic said. She watched as he turned his back effectively dismissing her.
She walked off the bridge not looking back at him. Everything the Cimalian Empire had done had been for this time, the time of ‘liberation’. She remembered when she first heard those words.
Meia stood in front of a couple of men. One seemed to be really tall at least to a five-year old. Both had blonde hair. She could remember the eyes of the men. Both had brown eyes but aside from that something familiar to her. She had been sure she’d seen them before. She couldn’t be sure, but she couldn’t remember much except her mother before she’d been taken.
“We have some bad news Meia,” one of the men said. “The Alliance terrorists have made another attack on our people. Your mother was killed.”
Meia’s world imploded in on her with the words.
“Dead,” Meia said. She understood the words but her brain refused to understand.
“Yes, we weren’t able to stop them in time,” the man said. “But I have a feeling that the time of ‘liberation’ is at hand.”
“Lib-a-ation,” Meia repeated trying to say the word.
“Yes, where we free the people of the Alliance from the evil that controls them,” the shorter man said.
“You must be strong for your mother. You want to be strong for her don’t you, you want her to be proud,” the shorter man said.
“Yes,” Meia replied with some determination.
“Good, learn your lessons and she will be proud,” the taller man said. “Now be a good girl and go back to your bed and sleep. Tomorrow is an important day.”
Meia turned and walked out. The next day she learned that the leaders of the evil Alliance had forced those loyal to the Cimalian way onto ships sent into the universe. She watched the movie as she learned how the survivors fought for survival and endured despite what the Alliance had done.
A bump brought her out of her musings. She glanced up noticing Olin standing in front of her. His blue eyes boring into her with a hatred that almost made her step back.
“You were lucky, but I know that luck runs out. As it is I shouldn’t have to take orders from an epsilon class citizen” Olin said. “Imagine the insult of a Beta taking orders from an Epsilon, disgraceful. “But when your luck runs out, then I’ll be the one in charge and things will be run the way they should be.”
“Then I guess it will be lucky you,” Meia said. She watched as Olin snarled a bit at her perceived insult to him.
“I suggest you watch your back little girl,” Olin said. “I won’t always be there to watch yours, and I am the best there is.”
Meia merely raised an eyebrow at him. She knew that her actions were egging him on. Watching she moved quickly as he went to shove her. His hand passed though thin air that she had occupied only a few seconds ago.
“I’ve had one shower today, didn’t want another one,” she said. She moved out of his way heading towards her fighter. She waved at one of the mechanics who smiled at her then continued on her way.
“This isn’t over,” she heard him say.
Olin shook with rage clinching his fist so hard he could feel his fingernails biting into his flesh. The retreating form of Meia and her humiliation of him only fueled his knowledge that she didn’t deserve to be an elite. Her, an epsilon above a Beta class citizen. It seemed outrageous to him.
“What’re you looking at,” he snarled at the nearby maintenance man.
“Nothing, nothing at all,” the man replied grabbing a tool then turning back to the nearby fighter.
“That’s right. I’d better not hear about this again,” Olin threatened. His thoughts turned back to Meia as he headed away from the bridge. He had the skills, he had the elite status, it should be he that was the fighter leader on board the Kitakim. He knew as long as that epsilon, he couldn’t bring himself to say her name, remained elite the liberation was doomed to failure.
Jack sighed upon seeing the monitor in front of him. The Akagi had just arrived without permission. The more pressing concern, however, were the three men standing nearby. Senator Agnes, a Constrict from Corestar, Barnes, a Radical from Kassan, and his friend Greg were there from the government. He wondered how a bad situation could get any worse, especially if what Greg had told him was the truth.
“Admiral, what should I tell Captain White,” Chad asked the admiral.
Jack took a breath before replying to collect his thoughts. The government always threw his ability to think rationally askew. “Tell him I’ll talk to him when I finish a previous meeting,” he told Chad.
“Yes sir,” Chad replied with a salute he walked away towards the landing pad for military shuttles.
Jack watched Chad walk off then turned his attention towards the three senators. All three were wearing similar outfits, suits, ties, dark pants, and the typical power apparel that hadn’t changed in centuries.
“Senators,” he said approaching the men.
“Admiral, it’s about time,” Senator Agnes said sneering a bit. Agnes seemed to look down on Jack. It seemed hard to do seeing how the senator only stood about one inch taller than Jack’s six feet.
“Admiral White, glad you could spare some time for us,” Senator Charlie Barnes said. His tone seemed to be a bit friendlier but Jack noticed a hint of reservation in it.
“Can I get anyone some coffee, it’s from Earth,” Jack said.
“No, that pile of rocks still hasn’t recovered from the wars,” Agnes said.
“I’ll take some Jack, thanks,” Greg said.
Jack noticed Greg and Barnes both looking at Agnes with some disappointment in their eyes.
“Senator,” Jack asked Barnes.
“Yes, things always seem better over a cup of coffee,” Barnes replied.
Then this way gentlemen,” Jack said. He led the group out of the main room towards the kitchen. He heard the low rumble of a shuttle’s engines as it passed over the building. Randy would be landing soon.
End Chapter 2
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