The Cimalian Princess: Invasion
by AJ Marks
The battle-cruisers Warspite and Enterprise arrived from the Reserve Fleet joining up with the Akagi and Bismarck. These four ships would form the backbone of the Strike Fleet. On board the new flagship, Akagi, newly promoted Rear-Admiral Randy White watched his crew work. He hoped that he’d do as good a job as others thought he could. Nothing new had changed in the last couple of hours leaving him plenty of time to think about Meia.
“Captain, I mean Admiral,” Han said. Randy understood the slip in rank, he still had to get used to it as well. He glanced over to see what Hans wanted. “Doctor Leaver says Meia is awake again.”
“All right, be right there,” Randy replied. He turned walking off the bridge quickly making his way down to the med lab. He’d been thinking of his plan. The Alliance needed information and Meia seemed to be the best way to get it. He hoped that by using truth and gaining her trust he could gain some information.He walked into the med lab noticing this time the woman seemed more alert and awake. Still a bit confused by everything but at least this time she wasn’t armed. He noticed the guard from earlier who’d been disarmed still stood guard. He nodded as he passed as the guard returned the nod. He glanced over to see the doc at his desk writing a report but paying attention to the patients.
“Doctor,” Randy said. The doctor looked up gave a nod then Randy went over to Meia. “Hello, do you remember anything?”
He watched as blue eyes narrowed a bit at him in concentration. He wondered where she’d come from once more. Under different circumstances he would’ve found her attractive, not his normal type but attractive non-the-less. He pulled the chair up and sat down hoping to maintain an air of calmness and openness which might help put her at ease.
“I’ll explain once more. I think last time you were a bit too confused,” Randy said launching into the story again. When he finished he waited to see what her reaction would be.
“Aboard an Alliance ship,” she asked.
“Yes, the Akagi,” Randy replied.
“Am I a prisoner?”
“Ah, the complex question,” Randy said. He had tried to prepare for this question. Meia definitely should be a prisoner, yet in order for his plan to work she had to assume she wasn’t. “You are human right, not a clone?”
“Yes,” Meia said. He could see her frown at that question.
“And your name is Meia,” Randy asked.
“Yes, how?” Meia asked.
“You told me last time we talked,” Randy said. He hoped she might remember something.
“You, no, this is real,” she said confused. Randy wondered how much might be her memories and what might be from the drug she’d been taking.
“Everything here is real, or at least it was last time I checked,” Randy said with a chuckle at his own attempt of a joke. He mentally shrugged when his joke didn’t go over very well with Meia. “Well, ah, where do you come from?”
He waited as she seemed to think about that. He played the waiting game once more hoping to gain at least some information. A home planet might give the Alliance some lead about what had happened and why.
“Nowhere in particular,” Meia finally replied.
“Everyone has a home, me I’m from this planet, Pacifica,” Randy said. “My parents still live here. My mother even works for a local restaurant called the Usails. I also have an older sister who works in a hotel chain on Corestar, unmarried much to my mother’s dismay. What about you, any family, a brother or sister?”
Randy watched as Meia’s eyes flashed anger for a few seconds. He wondered what sensitive subject he’d stumbled upon. She finally shook her head no.
“It seems you have a lot of information about us, where to attack and that your ships are a bit more advanced, but we don’t’ know anything about you,” Randy said.
“More lies then,” Meia said. “The Alliance has been attacking the Cimalian Empire for years! We will destroy you.”
“Why do they want to destroy us,” Randy asked sensing he had gotten some information.
“The Alliance started it,” Meia replied.
Randy thought about that but also the fact that Meia’s words sounded strained, or forced. It seemed the response had come without thought, almost programmed.
“Well, I don’t know about any of this, and I’m sorry if there was some miscommunication. If you’ll excuse me for a second,” Randy said getting up out of the chair. He walked over to where the doctor sat. He looked up.
“What’s up,” Tommy asked.
“Call the bridge and have Kim ask intelligence about something called the Cimalian Empire,” Randy said.
Tommy nodded his head as Randy turned to talk some more with Meia. He figured he might steer the topic away from the Empire and politics. Family also seemed to be out, there had to be a common ground he could use.
Jack watched as Greg made his way across the command center. The look on his friend’s face said more than anything else.
“What’s wrong,” Jack asked.
“I just heard that the government isn’t happy with what the military is doing,” Greg said.
“Can’t avoid it,” Jack replied.
I know Jack, but something seems very wrong,” Greg told him. “Now the Constricts are saying that the military is behind the fact we can’t reach Vernada and Hesslius. What’s really strange is the Winerich Administration has backed off over its stand against the military spending.”
Jack opened his mouth to speak but Chad interrupted him. “Admiral, Captain Kim from the Akagi is asking to speak with you,” he said.
Jack glanced at Greg before answering. “Thanks, put it though,” Jack said watching as the new captain of the Akagi appeared.
“Admiral,” Kim said. “I have a message from Admiral White. He’s asking for intelligence to see if we have anything on something called the Cimalian Empire?”
“Cimalian Empire, no I haven’t,” Jack replied in confusion yet the name did strake a bit of familiarity with him.
“Well, according to Admiral Randy it’s who this enemy is,” Kim replied.
“I’ll let intelligence know about this, thank you captain,” Jack said as the screen went dark again. He turned to Greg who seemed deep in thought. “Know anything about this?”
“No, well yes, maybe,” Greg said slowly. “Three hundred years ago there was a Charles Cimali who was elected to President of The Republic. Five years into his Presidency he declared himself Emperor of the Republic. Within six years of that time a rebellion started. A Civil War broke out called the Cimal Civil War, it’s the beginning of the Alliance. It took a couple of years but the rebels, now the Alliance banished Charles and his supporters. There was no trace of them ever found. Some wreckage was found about twenty-five years later and assumed the fleet had been destroyed. Charles Cimali said he’d be back to reclaim what was rightfully his.”
Jack pondered what he’d just been told. A banished enemy returning three hundred years later. “I guess their back then, though I doubt Charles is still alive.”
“No but if his descendants are then they might be trying to take over the Alliance again. Some sort of manifest destiny,” Greg said.
“Great, an enemy with an ego,” Jack sighed. “Just what I need.”
“I think the other question is how long have they been watching,” Greg stated.
That question didn’t hold well with Jack. By the moves of the enemy it became obvious to him that they had been watching for some time now.
Jezic watched from the bridge of the Kitakim as the battle-cruiser Esta came into view. The ship replaced the lost Oi from the battle around Pacifica. High Command hadn’t been pleased upon learning that one of the fleets had lost a major warship. They deemed that the scouting party would suffer punishment for the lack of info on Pacifica leading to the loss. He thought it was ironic considering the scouting party was already dead.
He turned to see Olin walk in to report on the fighter groups. He acknowledged the young man waiting for him to report.
“Admiral, all fighter groups are ready,” Olin said.
“Very good,” Jezic said.
“Sir, when are we moving out so I can have my pilots at maximum efficacy,” Olin asked.
“Not for another day or two,” Jezic replied. “We’re waiting from word of the 2nd CF. They’re still securing Vernada. The 1st CF had no problem with Hesslius. Once the 2nd CF is cleared they are joining us for another assault on Pacifica. High Command considers it a high target with so many large warships.”
“Understood, I won’t let you down admiral,” Olin replied. “We’ll destroy them this time.”
“I’d hope so Olin, for your sake. You were shielded a bit by your former leader, Meia. However next time failure will be placed on you,” Jezic said. He didn’t mention anything about that he knew Olin had attacked Meia. He didn’t care about such trivial things. Olin would get his chance then Jezic would make up his mind.
“By your will admiral,” Olin replied. Jezic watched the green haired man walk off the bridge.
“Betas,” Jezic said to himself gaining a strange glance from nearest crewmember. “Be glad you don’t have to deal with them.”
Jezic turned to the communications station ordering the captain of the Esta report in to him at once. He still had a lot to do before the 2nd CF arrived.
John walked onto the bridge looking around for Randy. He noticed Kim standing not far away. Not seeing Randy he decided to see what she was up to.
“Looking for Admiral Randy,” Kim asked him as he approached.
“Admiral Randy,” John asked a bit confused.
“Yeah, Admiral White is Randy’s dad, always will be. Calling Randy Admiral White just sounds strange, so Admiral Randy,” Kim replied logically.
“Well, since you put it like that, yeah, sounds good,” John said. “So, have you seen him?”
“Not lately, last I heard he was down in med lab. I think he’s with our guest,” Kim told him.
“Thanks,” John said turning to walk off the bridge. He quickly made his way down to the med lab. He had only seen this strange guest a few times, each time the woman had been unconscious. He arrived a few minutes later and glanced in from the doorway.
The doctor sat at his desk, which seemed normal. A few nurses were seen treating the few remaining patients from the battle who would be going back to their stations soon. He took a few steps in noticing Randy off to one side. He seemed to be talking with the strange woman, what was her name, oh yeah, Meia. He noticed the blue hair making her stand out in the middle of everyone.
He looked at her noticing nothing that made her the remarkable pilot who almost killed him in combat. He noticed the blue eyes matching her blue hair, or making her eyes stand out even more than normal. He slowly walked towards the two of them.
John could see that Randy had his back to him but the woman could see him. For a brief second he felt as if he’d just been scanned by her eyes as she gave him a once over. It almost seemed like a predator looking at another predator yet he knew who would win, she would. Puzzled he took a breath then continued on.
“So its true you do have blue hair,” he heard Randy ask.
“Yes,” she replied. “I think you have company,” she said causing Randy to turn around. John watched as Meia adjusted her pillows then effectively ignored them.
He looked over at Randy and had the feeling that the interrupted something. The look faded quickly but it left John wondering what had gone on between the two of them.
“What’s up John,” Randy asked.
“I’m just reminding you that you wanted to brief the pilots,” John said. He wondered if his friend had forgotten.
“Oh, right,” Randy said. He glanced down at the data pad in front of him. “Didn’t notice how late it’s gotten. I’ll be right down there.”
“No problem,” John said. He glanced back at Meia then Randy before heading out of the Med Lab. He had a feeling that something more than the plan was going on between the two of them. He’d keep an eye on Randy just in case. He walked towards the elevator to take him to the briefing room.
Randy glanced back at Meia noticing her again guarded face. It had taken him this long to begin to see the person under all the defenses she’d built up. He had told her much of his own youth, adventures that he and John over the years. He had only hoped she hadn’t been bored. Her face had showed curiosity and he hoped some ground had been gained.
“Looks like duty calls, the life of an admiral,” Randy said with a small laugh.
“Admiral, eh,” Meia said in almost a question.
“Yeah, something about that they think I’m a good leader,” Randy replied. “I’m not sure about that yet, but I guess time’ll tell. I need to go brief the pilots.”
“Do you discipline them as well,” Meia asked. Randy was a bit surprised by Meia’s question. She hadn’t asked a question since the first part of their talk.
“Well, that’s a part of the position of leader, but I’ve got the best fighter leader in the universe so I don’t have to worry about it much,” Randy replied. “In fact you met him just now. He’s a bit abrasive at times, but he’d give up his life for a friend.”
“Have you ever used the electowhip on him,” Meia asked.
“The what,” Randy asked not sure what she’d just asked.
“Never mind,” she replied quickly. Randy watched as she focused her gaze on the ceiling. He could tell the conversation had ended.
The ‘electowhip’ seemed to sound like a punishment thing. Did the Cimalins use this along with drugs to keep the people in line? He’d think about this after his briefing with the pilots and perhaps John might have a idea for him.
Walking up to the doc another idea came to him. Tommy glanced up as Randy approached.
“What’s up admiral?” Tommy asked.
“Would it be possible to have her released for a couple of hours, say a meal planet side,” Randy asked.
“Planet side, well,” he said taking a look at the scans from Meia on his monitor. “She’s stable, has been since she woke up. If nothing else goes on then I’d give you the green light.”
“Good,” Randy said thinking of what he had to do.
Meia watched out of the corner of her vision as Randy left the room. She still had a lot of unasked questions but she didn’t want to give up too much information. What puzzled her was his reaction to her question. It had been as if he’d never heard of the electrowhip. Its creation had been attributed to the Alliance. She wondered then how they punished people who didn’t carry out their orders.
Then the dreams that she’d been having. None of them mad any sense to her. Her head seemed clearer now than before as well. Her mother’s death seemed to be different as well. She had two versions in her mind. A long-lost memory of when she’d been young and snuck around the academy. She’d overheard several men talking about her mother but she couldn’t remember what they’d said.
“Well, how are you feeling today,” the doctor said walking up to her bed. She watched as he read her chart while waiting for her reply.
“Fine,” Meia finally replied. She watched as he jotted something down on the data pad.
“Seems everything’s in working order. You should be out of here in the most a day or two,” he told her. She watched as he went back to his desk leaving her to think about what he’d said.
Releasing her seemed like a logical step but then what. Would they be taking her to a prison? Perhaps a containment camp or even worse, executed for her crimes against the Alliance. She couldn’t blame them if they did. She’d killed several of their pilots and had a hand in the destruction of the defenses of the first planet the Cimalian Empire had attacked.
She glanced around seeing the different people in the med lab. Were they all the same class citizen. If they found out she was an Epsilon class would they even consider her worth talking to or keeping alive. Her rational mind reasoned that things were different in the Alliance, but the movie portrayal of their soldiers, eager to kill Cimalian people and the strange torturous things they would do to gain information kept coming up in her mind.
She wondered briefly if perhaps she’d been drugged or not. It might explain her strange dreams but another part of her didn’t believe that. It also contradicted what she’d seen of the doctor and Randy. Both seemed truly interested in her and her health, not who she was.
Her thought’s drifted once more to her mother. Everything seemed confusing to her. Even her memories of her mother were different. She remembered things that she hadn’t before. One had been her mother telling her she was very important, a princess. Now she could remember a look that seemed strange to her, one of hope when she said it.
Meia wished she had some of that hope now.
End Chapter 9
Continued in Chapter 10
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