The Cimalian Princess: Invasion
by AJ Marks
Meia rubbed her eyes in disbelief at what she saw. She stood in a room and recognized the table right away. A few chairs lined each side of the table in a room decorated in simple tan colors. The doorway led to a small kitchen. From where she stood she saw a pot cooking on the stove. She closed her eyes then opened them again hoping to be somewhere else but she still stood in the small eating area of her childhood home.
“Little one, clean up, dinner’s almost ready,” she heard her mother’s voice say. A woman about her height, strawberry-blonde hair and green eyes stood there looking at Meia.
“And who else is there here,” her mother replied looking at Meia. “Now hurry up or the food’ll get cold.”Meia glanced at herself confirming that she indeed was still grown. The last time she’d seen her mother she’d been five, right after her testing. ‘This is impossible,’ she thought to herself. Her mother had placed some food on the table.
“Sit down little one,” her mother said. Meia quickly sat down then realized she’d sat without knowing it. The power of a mother’s voice, but her mother had died by the scum from the Alliance.
“Do you really believe that, or do you believe what you’re told,” her mother said. Meia noticed her mother’s eyes held a twinkle of knowledge as if she knew something no one else did.
“I don’t understand, the Alliance is our enemy,” Meia replied. The phrase automatically coming out.
“Then perhaps you should stop asking the questions and start seeking them,” her mother said. The scene once again began to change.
“Mother, come back!”
Tommy glanced over at the monitor as it once again showed a jump in activity. It had happened several times now. He glanced over at his patient to see if she’d awakened yet. A slight twitch of her finger but nothing else. Encouraged he went back to his reports.
Greg walked over to where Barnes sat. He’d already given his report to the President and now Agnes would be able to give his. Greg sat down next to Barnes who appeared to have a bit of a strange look on his face.
“Well, that report could’ve gone better,” Greg said sitting down in the chair next to Barnes. The other senator finally looked over.
“Did you look at your mail yet,” Barnes asked.
“Nah, too many people trying to tell me what to do,” Greg replied.
“Then you haven’t heard,” Barnes said.
“No, what’s going on,” Greg asked.
“We’ve lost contact with Hesslius and Vernada,” Barnes replied. Greg watched as Barnes paused taking a sip of water.
“Who else knows,” Greg asked.
“Just some top people in the government,” Barnes replied. “The military doesn’t know either.”
“What,” Greg almost yelled. He managed to keep calm and not attract any attention to them. “Why not?”
“I don’t know but this is beyond the explanation that this is the military,” Barnes said. “The leadership of the Constrict party is really pressing to keep this secret.”
“And I doubt I’ll get anything as I’m a Demrep,” Greg replied. He thought about what he been told. Something didn’t add up in his mind. “So why are you telling me?”
“Those in the military listen to you,” Barnes said. “I’ve spent the past term trying to cut and help eliminate the military to keep my job. Not it might have cost me my family.”
Greg didn’t say anything but waited to hear what Barnes would say next. He had a feeling he knew what would come, but had to hear it for himself.
“My daughter, Amy, she’s, well, she’s difficult, sometimes,” he said chuckling to himself a bit. “A lot like her mother she is,” his eyes took on a far away look. “Headstrong and stubborn, once she latches on she doesn’t let go. And don’t try and change her mind unless you have facts, just wasting your breath.”
Greg nodded his head. Everyone knew about the feuds he and his daughter had over the years. Mysteriously the feuding had stopped two years ago.
“Well after her last incident with her lover, I think it was Kim at the time, we had a huge fight, we both said things we didn’t mean. S-she said she’d leave. I didn’t think she would, but she left for Vernada. She’s been there now for two years. We might not have gotten along but she’s my daughter,” Barnes said.
Greg sat there for a few seconds watching Barnes. He noticed that sitting next to him the man no longer seemed to be a senator, or a government official of any type, but a concerned father.
“All right, I’ll check some things our and tell my sources at the military,” Greg said making up his mind. He would tell Jack what had happened. It might help the military as well.
“Greg, thanks. I want, no need, to apologize to her.”
“I can’t make any guarantees Barnes, but I know Jack’ll try,” Greg said honestly taking off towards the military base.
Jack looked around realizing that Chad hadn’t returned. Of course Jack realized that he’d been gone a rather short time. He’d slept a few hours and eaten a meal which Mary had made. A shower and he felt like a different man.
Now Jack flipped though the damage report of the fleet along with the estimated time for repairs. The total count of dead from the Hood now stood at one hundred and sixty-three dead and two hundred eight wounded. Shuttles had been shipping wounded down to the planet’s surface now since the end of the battle.
The damage to the Hood matched her wounded crew. Main power had been badly damaged, seven of the eight hard lasers were not functional, and one of the two plasma beams had been destroyed. The fighters had fared a bit better with ten out of the thirty-two destroyed. He noticed Randy had ordered the survivors of 110 and the 161 to be used to bring the fighter compliments of the Akagi and Bismarck up to full strength.
The enemy had lost three ships, one a large battle-cruiser size warship. He had a feeling that it wouldn’t be the last time Pacifica would be attacked. He glanced though the list of available ships scattered around the Alliance. The First Fleet now under Rear Admiral Mark Hayes at Corestar. The Second Fleet now had been ordered to Pacifica to reinforce the Akagi and Bismarck.
He heard the door open but didn’t look over. He assumed it would be Chad returning to work.
“Jack,” he heard Greg’s voice. he frowned wondering how his friend had gotten in without permission. Then realized that the senators had special permission.
“Greg, what bring you here,” Jack asked. “Come to tell me the bad news?”
“Well, I’ve got bad news, not what your thinking though,” Greg replied.
“Now what,” Jack said rubbing his face.
“Are you aware that Vernada and Hesslius were attacked recently,” Greg said.
“Um, no,” Jack said. He turned to look at the latest news reports but didn’t see anything on that.
“You won’t find it there,” Greg said. “It seems that the military isn’t important enough to tell. It appears that the Constrict party is really keeping a lid on the media.”
“I know its an election year but if this is true then its really serious,” Jack said.
“Its true, I’ve been talking to my contracts back on Corestar. Things are really tense. The President’s ordered a media blackout on some subjects. So far the people don’t suspect anything,” Greg replied. “The media is focusing on how much the military spends and comparing it to the exploration budget.”
“The exploration unit can’t protect the people,” Jack said. He crossed his arms in annoyance. Things really were bugging him about the press and the government.
“I know, that’s why Senator Barnes asked me to tell you this,” Greg said.
“Barnes, what’s he got to do with this,” Jack asked. Things were complex.
“Well, Barnes still has high up contacts who it seems told him about what happened. His daughter is on Vernada,” Greg said.
“An ally then,” Jack asked hopeful.
“Yes,” Greg replied.
“All right, I won’t inform anyone of where we got this information. If the military is being kept out of the loop then something serious is going on. I will say that this information I’ll act on, but it also scares the Hades out of me.”
“I know old friend.”
“Where’s the Dragon,” Jack asked turning to the nearest aide.
“Just returned here admiral.”
“Good, tell the captain to refuel and rearm, I’ve got another mission of vital importance,” Jack said.
The aide left to carry out the order. He turned back to Greg.
“You know, senators have families and friends all over the galaxy, rescue a few and let them tell the stories,” Jack said.
“Could work,” Greg said.
“Right now its our best shot. If Vernada and Hesslius have been taken then this isn’t pirate activity, its an invasion,” Jack pondered his next move. Perhaps it was time to tell the President. A familiar face walked into the room. “Ah, Chad, good, your back, rested?”
“Yes sir,” Chad replied.
“Good, get me the President.”
Olin walked out of his quarters down to the hangar. His first act as official flight leader of the 3rd fleet. He had endured the punishment earlier and now he would be free to shape up the pilots of the fleet. Most were brown-haired meaning they were nowhere as good as he was. Entering the hangar he noticed the pilots standing in formation waiting for him.
“I’ll make this short for you all so you all can understand it,” he said making sure to make eye contact with those who were of a lower class. “Either do your jobs as I tell you, or don’t come back. If you don’t do your job, I might kill you myself. I don’t tolerate failure as easily as our last weak leader.
He watched noticing a few pilots wince a bit at his strong wording. He now knew who to watch, of course those who didn’t show any fear of him he also would watch. He noticed what color their hair was as well to see how much ambition they had. He then turned to assignment board and activated it.
“Here’s your new assignments. I would take care to make sure you know them,” he moved a bit out of the way to allow the pilots to see for themselves. “Once you have your assignment you’re dismissed.”
Olin waited a bit watching the pilots look at the board. When the last pilot left he deactivated the board. Now he had one more mission, talking to the mechanics. He quickly spotted the head mechanic and walked straight for him. The man was a Gamma class citizen and Olin wanted to make this as short as possible.
“You, we need to talk,” Olin ordered. He watched as the man wiped his hands of gunk before walking over to where he was.
“You’re the new flight leader,” the man asked.
“I am, and I want all fighters in top condition, no excuses,” Olin said. “If we lose one pilot due to mechanical failure it’ll be your head old man.”
The man simply raised one of his eyebrows at Olin’s words. “Well, sir, my people do the best they can, you know with us being Gammas and all.”
“I wouldn’t pick this time to be smart,” Olin said narrowing his eyes at the man. He read the name, Hecus. “I’ll be keeping a close eye on you Hecus.”
Olin didn’t wait to hear what the man had to say. He walked away headed out of the hangar. He decided a shower would be in order to get the stench of a Gamma off him.
Meia’s cry for her mother faded away. The scene before her slowly came into focus. She glanced around wondering where she was this time. She could still remember ma lot of things but everything seemed jumbled into one as if she’d put her memories into a pot and stirred it around then poured it back out. A small part of her wondered if she’d finally snapped and lost it.
A small child’s laugh brought her out of her musing. Looking up she noticed her location had finally solidified. Standing in the middle of several buildings that appeared similar. Many appeared to be in ruins as if a major battle had occurred. She again heard the child’s laughter drawing her towards it in a hypnotic type way.
Rounding a corner she spotted a small child crouching down laughing. An odd combination Meia thought to herself as she continued to watch. The child quickly stood up noticing Meia standing there. Shock ran thought Meia with the realization she was looking at herself, well herself as a child.
“Hewo, I’ve been waiting for you,” the small girl said. “Wook, its beautiful.”
Meia stood rooted to the spot unsure what to do. The girl calmly came over taking her hand and pulled Meia over to what she’d been looking at.
“See, isn’t it pretty,” the girl said looking up. Meia found herself looking into her own blue eyes, yet so different. These held a passion for life that he’s no longer did.
Looking at the ground she noticed what the girl had looked at. In the ground in the middle of the street one carefully maintained, cared for and loved flower grew. A strange contrast to the dirty, dark and destroyed world around her.
“I knew you’d wike it,” the girl said still holding Meia’s hand.
“It’s lovely,” Meia finally said. The girl smiled at Meia’s admission.
“I wike flowers,” the girl said finally releasing Meia’s hand. She then skipped off down the road leaving Meia standing there. She watched the girl leave her hair flowing in the wind in her natural color, a reddish-blonde.
Pushing a strand of her now blue hair back she watched until the child went out of sight. Bending down she gave the ground around the flower a pat. She then decided to follow the girl and walked rounding the corner the girl had only to stop short.
Jack didn’t have to wait very long until President Winerich appeared on the screen.
“To what do I owe the pleasure,” the President asked. Jack thought he heard a dismissive tone with the president but ignored it for the moment.
“I’ve found out that contact with Hesslius and Vernada has been lost,” Jack said. He partly wondered if the President knew yet as well.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about admiral,” Eric replied.
“Sir, I’ve received reports that they were taken. Now I’ve sent the patrol ship Dragon to check out Vernada to confirm these reports. If their true then the alliance is under attack by some unknown force,” Jack said. He watched as the president rubbed his chin in thought.
“Admiral, the people already know the truth, it’s all over the galactic web, and the press,” Eric replied. “Besides, everything you’re telling me is circumstantial, no facts.”
“Sir, you’re telling me that the population knows that something is attacking our worlds,” Jack asked. “What if this is the prelude to something more sinister?”
“I’ve been assured by Senator Agnes and the Constrict party that everything is under control and that the military is behind everything. Frankly admiral I’m a bit disappointed in your actions,” Eric said taking Jack completely off guard. He hadn’t been expecting an attack.
“And what if dear Senator Agnes is playing you for a fool,” Jack asked.
“Are you saying one of our greatest senators is behind this? That is an outrageous, and if you continue such talk I’ll have you court marshaled,” the President said. “Now if you stop this nonsense we can really begin to figure out what place the military has in the future of the Alliance.”
Jack opened his mouth to reply but the President had already ended the conversation. It seemed that the President trusted those in the Constrict party more than what intelligence told him. He hoped he’d be able to handle whoever was attacking the Alliance while fighting the politics of the Alliance as well. Sitting down in a chair he tried to figure out what he’d have to do next.
End Chapter 7
Continued in chapter 8
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