The Cimalian Princess: Invasion
by AJ Marks
Meia ran a finger over the smooth wooden lid of the music box. Looking around her sparse quarters things seemed a bit empty to her. She had gone over the plan with the other pilots making sure they all understood their assignments. She didn’t need some fool blowing everything because they didn’t know. She also had talked with the flight leader of the battle-cruiser Oi making sure that neither ship’s fighters would be attacking the same target.
The flight leader of the Oi was also a green haired pilot, but a better disposition than Olin. Meia figured that had to do with the class of the pilot. Olin was a Beta while the Oi leader was a Delta. He wanted success over class.
Olin however seemed to want her job. She knew that the man bullied the maintenance crew. Poor Hecus had to put up with the man as much as she did. She wondered what the punishment would be if Hecus decided to throw the man out an airlock. The maintenance crew did an important job that Olin still had to learn. If their fighters were not operating then it could mean death in a fight.Glancing over at the clock Meia wondered where the time had gone. The time had come to begin the next operation. Looking down at the music box in her hand she opened the lid allowing the song to wash over her once more.
Returning it to the place under her pillow she smoothed out the blanket. Walking out the door she turned heading towards the hanger and her fighter.
Olin watched from a distance as Meia walked out of her quarters. The time would soon approach where he would be able to take over. A slight smile came to his lips at that thought.
“I’ll be the leader soon, then I’ll show everyone how great I am,” Olin said.
Randy looked up to see the Hood and Bismarck as the two battle-cruisers settled into an orbit around Pacifica. Vice-Admiral Ginger Dredge had taken control of the newly formed fleet.
His dad told him what Senator Agnes said making Randy think about the future. He sure thought that the senator would probably carry out his threat. Everything seemed to be happening at once. Even the report from Admiral Dredge wasn’t good. She had reported to the President who didn’t seem counter what the senator said. In fact she stated that the President had been under constant pressure from the radical Constricts to dismantle the military.
“Incoming message from command captain,” Hans said, gaining Randy’s attention.
Randy nodded for Hans to put the call though. “Admiral,” he said to her father. “Any news?”
“The Dragon returned from Dredius. Its worse then we thought,” Jack said to him. “A large group of ships were in orbit around the planet. Same type of ships but more of them. I fear this isn’t some sort of pirate raid.”
Randy thought about that for a few seconds. Two large fleets definitely were not pirates. That along with a patrol ship had been caught here did not give Randy a good impression of the situation.
“What’s next then,” Randy asked. He had the feeling his father had made up his mind. He felt better knowing that his father now understood better what had happened.
“We’re the only planet without anything to have happened but have encountered a strange ship. I’ve assumed we’re the next target,” Jack said.
“Pacifica, doesn’t sound very wise,” Randy replied.
“Nope, makes perfect sense,” Jack said. “We’re the headquarters for the central command of the fleet. These invaders have attacked several planets. Hoping for us to scatter our fleet then attack the central command causing chaos in the ranks.”
“Dad, one problem with that,” Randy said slowly.
“I know, it means someone’s on the inside,” Jack said. “Or they’ve been observing us for some time now.”
“Hopefully it’s the second one,” Randy said.
“I know but it’s the reason that I’ve ordered the cruisers Babylon, Fitch and London back here as well,” Jack told his son.
“That gives us three battle-cruisers,, four cruisers and a half-dozen destroyers. We’re going to gain attention,” Randy said.
“Already has, Senator Agnes,” Jack said. “The man is quickly becoming a pain.”
Randy could only imagine what the Senator and his father had argued about now. “I think we’re doing the right thing. Has intelligence found out anything from the wreckage?”
“No, the design isn’t in any database, nor is it like anything we’ve come across,” Jack replied. “What has me concerned is the fact the ships are more advanced.”
“A dozen years of government slashing research hasn’t helped,” Randy said. “I do know my crew will do their best.”
“I don’t doubt that,” Jack said. “I should let you go then.”
“Say hello to mom for me,” Randy said.
The screen went black as the communication ended. He looked over at his bridge crew. The second shift had come on allowing the first shift to rest. The Bismarck had the patrols at the moment allowing his pilots some down time.
“Kim, let me know if anything happens,” Randy said.
“Will do skipper,” she said with a smile.
“Ha-ha,” Randy replied. He walked off the bridge headed towards his quarters hopefully to rest a bit.
Meia walked around her fighter once more taking in everything she could. Her inspection had always taken longer than other pilots. Many like Olin didn’t even bother with the inspection. She thought they were foolish with such trust.
“Everything looks good Hecus,” she said to him.
“Glad to hear it passed inspection,” Hecus replied. “you be careful out there. I don’t trust our pretty boy pilot over there,” he sad giving a nod over to where Olin had walked in.
“Don’t worry, it’ll take more than him to worry me,” Meia said confidently.
“Still, don’t trust him,” Hecus said. “We should be clearing hyperspace in a few minutes.”
Hecus hadn’t finished talking when the announcement came over the intercom. “Five minutes until hyperspace clearance. All personal report to your battlestations.”
Meia climbed up into her fighter looking around to see if anyone was missing. She didn’t see anyone missing but would wait until the flight controller told her for sure.
A minute later she heard that a few pilots wouldn’t be ready on time. She knew if they survived the battle a punishment would be merited out. She realized that most of those not ready were from Olin’s group. Sighing she hoped the man could fly better than he led.
“All fighters, launching in one minute.”
The fighters were to launch as soon as the Kitakim exited hyperspace. That would allow for a short warning time for the enemy.
“All fighters, launch.”
Meia felt her fighter rotated down then the clamps released as she engaged her engines. Seconds later she had left the Kitakim as she glanced at her scanner to begin the fight.
She quickly noticed that instead of one large ship there were now three. That meant things would be a bit different. She quickly changed the attack plan of the fighters.
“Squad one, we’ve got patrol fighters, take them out. Squad two, your target is the large ship in quadrant six. Remaining squads, attack the smaller ships in quadrant eight. If more enemy fighters appear break off an engage,” Meia ordered. She turned her fighter towards the nearest enemy to engage.
John sat down with a cup of coffee hoping to gain a few moments of energy to do his reports. A few other pilots were nearby eating. When the klaxons went of he about jumped out of his chair from shock. He noticed a few others had stopped what they were doing frozen by what had happened.
“All right, red alert, let’s go people,” John said quickly standing up. He raced out of the room heading towards the hanger.
Ben handed him his interface as he zipped up his flight suit. Quickly jumping into his fighter he adjusted everything before hearing what was going on. A large number of ships had appeared nearby. They were attacking the Hood already along with some of the smaller ships. The combat patrol was overwhelmed and was fighting for their life.
Randy felt his fighter launch as the clamps released his fighter. He looked at his scanner to see what he would be up against. Things didn’t look good to his eyes. However time for revenge would be his.
“Now it’s my turn little bastards,” John grumbled to himself. “All fighters, engage, protect the battle-cruisers.”
John picked the closest fighter turning to engage. He pressed the trigger watching as his weapons fired.
Jack looked up when a flash of light caught his attention in the sky. the night sky seemed to be crystal clear allowing a perfect view of the moon and stars. That wasn’t what had caught his attention.
“What’s wrong,” Mary asked.
“I need to go,” Jack said sighing. He hadn’t been home for long and now it seemed he would be going back. He opened his mouth to say more when his communicator went off. “Admiral White.”
“Admiral, you’re needed back at command now,” Chad’s voice said.
“I’m on my way. Until then Admiral Dredge is in command,” Jack told him. The communicator went silent as he turned back towards Mary.
“Return safe,” she said to him.
“I will,” he replied. Giving her a hug he quickly ran towards the base. His mind racing with everything that might or could go wrong. He ran up towards the gate not noticing that another person stood there.
“Admiral, is this façade really necessary,” the man said.
Jack stopped quickly hearing Senator Agnes’ voice.
“Setting such a thing up, you really should be ashamed of yourself.”
“Senator, are you that blind,” Jack finally said. He couldn’t believe that the senator would be that blind to what was going on.
“I have a situation going on that requires my attention senator,” Jack said as he walked though the gates.
“And you are making a mistake admiral,” Agnes said following right on his heels.
Jack didn’t bother replying as he entered the command room. People seemed to running over each other tying to figure out what they were doing.
“Calm down everyone,” Jack said to the group. People stopped and looked at him for a second before returning to their duties. This time an air of calm prevailed over the room. “Now, what do we have?”
Chad quickly filled Jack in on what had happened. Many of the enemy fighters had quickly engaged the Hood along with several of the cruisers including the London. The Akagi had been the furthest away from the fighting. As a result it hadn’t engaged any enemy yet.
“Put the tactical map up. And someone get me Admiral Dredge,” Jack ordered. He quickly forgot about the senator as he thought about the battle that now occurred in space above him.
Meia glanced behind her noticing an Alliance fighter there. The pilot must have thought she would have been easy prey being by herself. She quickly put her fighter in a tight spiral leaving the attacker confused. Exhaling a breath from the g-forces she had stressed her body with she noticed the enemy now in front of her.
“Time to die,” she said pressing the trigger. The enemy exploded giving her a third kill for the battle. A second attacker opened fire. She jerked her fighter hard left then right. Cutting her engines she then executed a glide turn where he fighter continued on one path while she turned the fighter. Starting the engines back up again she felt her body slammed against the back of her seat. A breath escaped her lips as she fought to remain conscious. The enemy fighter had executed a similar maneuver.
“Not bad, but not good enough,” Meia said to her enemy.
She opened fire watching as the pilot made an extreme turn barely avoiding her fire. She noticed that his maneuver put him into a firing position. She quickly turned as her focus narrowed to the enemy pilot and her.
She took a breath executing another slide maneuver this time she managed a hit on the enemy. The enemy’s fighter wasn’t destroyed but Meia could tell that the pilot now had some trouble controlling it. The enemy quickly turned heading away from the battle.
“No you don’t,” Meia said, having to turn around to give chase. As she closed the range the enemy battle-cruiser opened fire. She had to continually adjust her course to avoid the anti-fighter weapons as she lined up the enemy fighter.
Olin finished off another enemy fighter as his wing-mate was destroyed. He turned away to engage the enemy in retribution. However he broke off seeing his ‘leader’ heading towards the enemy fleet.
A slight smile came to his lips as he understood what the fates were showing him. His path to being the flight leader of the 3rd CF was for his taking. He accelerated his fighter to full speed hoping to catch up. He had an easier time lining up Meia’s fighter as the battle-cruiser’s weapons seemed to be concentrating on her.
With a sure shot he pushed the trigger. His weapons opened fire catching Meia’s fighter. He pulled away knowing that he had done his job. Turning back to watch he noticed her fighter heading straight towards the enemy battle-cruiser.
His position in the fleet now had been guaranteed.
“Captain, incoming fighters,” Yvette said.
Randy turned to see the scanner. John had been followed by the enemy fighter. Now the enemy seemed to heading straight for his ship.
“All hands brace for impact,” Randy said as calmly as he could. He hoped he sounded calm at least. The Akagi shuddered slightly from the hit. He turned to see what the damage was.
“Slight damage to hanger alpha,” Kim said. “We’ll be all right for now.”
“Send a damage control team,” Randy said.
“We’re in range captain,” Yvette said.
“Open fire,” Randy said. It had taken a while for the Akagi to move into firing range. Now that they were in range they could help out the rest of the fleet.
Vice Admiral Ginger Dredge watched as the battle raged on around the Hood. So far the enemy had concentrated on her flagship. Of course it had also been the closest to where the enemy had appeared. The Bismarck had quickly engaged but it had taken time for the Akagi to do so.
“Admiral, Akagi has opened fire,” the captain said to her.
“Good, have all ships concentrate on the large ship in sector F,” Dredge said. Her orders were relayed to the other two battle-cruisers. Another shudder indicated another hit on the battle-cruiser.
“Incoming missiles,” the captain said.
“Point defense systems,” Dredge calmly replied.
“Having trouble locking on ma’am,” the reply came back. “Switching to manual.”
“Impact in fifteen seconds,” the captain said.
“Get those point defense systems working,” Dredge said.
The crew worked feverishly trying to make the switch to manual then began opening fire of the Hood’s weapons. Ginger rocked on her feet as the first missile hit the Hood. A second took her off her feet as the bridge of the Hood went into chaos as the power went off blanketing the crew in darkness. The occasional flicker of a power relay exploding cause a momentary flash of light illuminating the devastation of what once had been the bridge.
Randy watched from the Akagi as the Hood took three missiles in rapid succession. They watched as the ship seemed to absorb the blows. While the ship looked fine on the outside everyone knew that massive damage had been done.
“Continue firing,” Randy said. “Concentrate on one ship. We need to cover the Hood,” he ordered. A flash of light lit up the bridge. He looked over to see what had happened.
“We just lost the cruiser Fitch captain,” Kim replied.
“What’s the report on the enemy battle-cruiser?”
“Indicating damage to its weapon systems,” Kim replied to him.
“Incoming message from the Hood,” Hans said.
Randy watched as a young-looking lieutenant appeared on the screen.
“Captain White, Admiral Dredge and Captain Gail are both dead,” the young man said to Randy.
Randy thought about that for a few seconds before making a decision. “Are you the highest ranking officer on the bridge?” The young man nodded. “All right,” Randy said to him. “I’m placing you in command of the Hood. Retreat from battle. The Bismarck and London will cover your escape.”
“Yes sir,” the man said.
Randy turned thinking that he probably should have told his father, but couldn’t. He had to act quickly. A large explosion caught his attention.
“Large enemy warship destroyed,” Yvette confirmed.
Randy felt a bit relieved. One enemy ship had been destroyed but he knew other ships were still there.
“Enemy ships retreating captain. Picking up hyperspace engine activity,” Kim said to him. “Enemy fighters are retreating. Orders?”
“Tell our fighters to return and refuel and rearm. I want a constant patrol going at all times,” Randy said.
“One, two, lift!”
Ben along with the others lifted up a piece of bent steel that had collapsed during the battle. Straining the group using small steps quickly shuffled away placing the beam several feet away.
“Clear?” Everyone checked as they lowered the beam careful not to squash their own toes.
Ben wiped his hands looking around. The damage had actually been minimal to the hanger but the beam had blocked off part of the landing bay.
“Sweep the bay,” he yelled out to the group. The last thing he needed would be debris fouling up one of the engines which he would then have to repair. Making his way across the deck a strange gray color caught his attention.
Heading over to investigate he saw it to be some sort of parachute. Intrigued he walked closer wondering what he’d find. Pulling the clothe up he noticed a human hand.
“What in Hades,” he said quickly uncovering the rest. A human, actually a woman, but with blue hair was lying on his deck. He then noticed she appeared to have suffered a head wound. He noticed the woman take a breath. She was still alive.
“I need a med team here now,” he yelled out to the group across the way. Looking down once more he wondered at who she was.
“Captain, Doctor Leaver is asking for you,” Kim said to Randy.
“All right,” Randy said. He’d been expecting the call for a while. The Akagi’s losses he hoped would be light. “Doctor?”
“Captain, I suggest that you come down to med lab at once,” he said to Randy. The tone in the doctor’s voice caught Randy’s attention.
“Can it wait doc, I’m a bit swamped here,” Randy replied.
“I’d make the time captain,” the doc replied. “It’s worth your time.”
Randy glanced around the bridge at his crew. Curiosity caused him to say he would be right there. “Commander, you’ve got the bridge. I’ll be in med lab in case anything happens.”
“Got it skipper,” Kim said.
“Great, not you too,” Randy said with a slight grin. “First John now you.”
Kim shrugged but smiled. Randy shook his head then walked off the bridge towards the med lab.
End chapter 5
Continued in Chapter 6
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