The Cimalian Princess: Invasion
by AJ Marks
Randy watched as Meia walked off the bridge. He really didn’t know what to say to her. The one thing he wanted to do was offer support to her. However, he was needed on the bridge as reports came in about damage and losses. Then he also had to deal with what was happening down on the planet’s surface. So far he’d heard nothing from the planet’s surface. Commander Porkins had left a few minutes ago to check it out.
“Fleet status,” he asked.
“Bismarck reporting slight damage, should be repaired within an hour. Warspite ready to go, and we’re under going repairs that should be finished by the end of the day,” Kim replied.
“And the fighters,” He asked.
“They took a beating, the 116 lost seven while the 201 lost nine.”
That leaves us with a full working squadron,” Randy replied. The news didn’t sound too good.
“Was that our mysterious guest,” Yvette finally asked.
“Yeah,” Randy said. “Her eyes gave her away right?”
“Um, yeah, right,” Yvette said smiling.
“All right, I need to know what replacement fighters well receive,” Randy asked.
“I’ll take a look admiral,” Hans said. A few seconds later he looked back up. “Command has twenty-five pilots ready and on the way from command, plus the survivors from the Enterprise.”
“All right, let me know when they arrive, and let John know as well.”
Randy realized that he’d have a lot to do before he’d be able to talk with Meia. The bridge crew was working at their assigned tasks. He also had another idea pop into his head. He’d have to talk with John first but it might help.
“Admiral, Captain Orti is asking for you,” Hans said.
“I’ll take it in my office,” Randy replied walked off the bridge towards his office. Sitting down at his desk he activated the communicator as Captain Orti’s face appeared.
“Captain, what’s wrong,” Randy asked. He immediately assumed something had gone wrong.
“Well, we’ve finished picking up the escape pods, and well, we’ve picked up a few that belonged to the enemy,” Orti replied. “I have no idea what to do with them. We’re keeping them in the hanger but that’s not going to be feasible for long.”
“Hmm, how long can you hold them there,” Randy asked.
“At most a day,” Orti replied.
“I’ll get someone on it. Perhaps we can transfer them to the planet’s surface,” Randy said.
“I’ll let my guards know,” Orti replied. “By the way, how did you know to close the distance?”
“Well, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you. Just be glad for now,” Randy said.
“Wish we’d learned about it a few minutes earlier,” Orti said. “The Enterprise might have survived.”
Randy only nodded his head at that. He didn’t know if he could do what Meia had done, tell a secret of the military he’d been a part of.
“How many were saved,” he asked.
“I think we picked up two hundred survivors,” Orti replied.
Randy knew then that almost fifteen hundred had been killed. Add in the fact that probably around five hundred from the cruiser London and two hundred from the destroyer and it added up to over two thousand casualties not including pilots. Despite the loss of three ships he had to call it a victory.
Leaning back in his chair, which creaked, he now had to worry about casualties from the planet’s surface. The ground forces should be landing soon with the help of fighters giving recon and support.
Jezic waited for word from the 2nd CF so their combined fleet could begin the second attack on Pacifica. The fleet should be arriving within the next couple of hours. The last he’d heard had been the fleet was preparing to leave.
“Admiral, incoming ships,” Diern said.
“Finally, notify all ships to prepare for departure,” Jezic ordered.
“By your will admiral,” Diern replied. Jezic watched as the captain relayed the information to the rest of the fleet. After the 2nd CF had refueled they would go to Pacifica.
Jezic turned to look over the last intel of their target. The last scout ship indicated that one of the battle-cruisers had been damaged but the other two were still combat ready. The planet also had an assortment of other combat ships from cruisers to scout ships, but he was primarily concerned with the battle-cruisers.
He didn’t fear the Alliance ships, only when they outnumbered him. The Yulov battle-cruiser held a slight technological advantage but against superior numbers that advantage disappeared. The Alliance fleet was proving even more formidable than the intel mentioned. The Alliance fighters were more maneuverable than the Vengeance fighters even though the vengeance was faster.
“Admiral, there’s a problem with the incoming ships,” Diern said.
“Problem, how,” Jezic said wondering if he shouldn’t call for a red alert.
“The fleet is missing four ships, including two battle-cruisers,” the reply came back.
“Interesting,” Jezic said, as he mused it over. “Alert all commands, when will we have an ID of the ships?”
“Almost,” Diern said. Jezic watched the scanner operator for a few seconds before he finally spoke up.
“They’re ours admiral,” he said.
“Open a communication then,” Jezic said. He didn’t have to wait long until a reply came though.
“Captain Torka of the cruiser Jerriz,” the reply came in.
“This is Admiral Jezic of the 3rd CF, what happened,” he asked.
“We were preparing to leave Vernada when an unknown Alliance fleet attacked us in force. At least four battle-cruiser, six destroyers and a dozen destroyers destroyed the Icibus and Sorrot along with Admiral Lazaris,” Torka said.
Jezic stood stunned for a second upon learning what had just happened. Two battle-cruisers destroyed as well as two other ships effectively rendering the fleet useless.
“Are you the ranking officer,” Jezic asked.
“Yes admiral,” Torka said. “When we lost the Sorrot I ordered a retreat to save as many ships as possible.”
“I will have to inform High Command of the 2nd CF’s failure,” Jezic said leaving the knowledge of a severe punishment to be passed down. Both men knew it would happen.
“Of course admiral, by your will,” Torka replied.
Jezic now wondered what High Command would think about this. He knew the punishment for losing on battle-cruiser, two he could only imagine should be double. He also wondered how this would affect the invasion plans of Pacifica.
“Get me Cimalius,” Jezic said. He didn’t have to wait too long until High Command replied.
“Admiral Jezic, this is a surprise. How are the preparations for Pacifica,” the high admiral asked.
“There’s a slight problem admiral, the 2nd CF was attacked at Vernada by the Alliance in a counter-strike. The Sorrot and Icibus were lost,” Jezic relayed.
“What, and Admiral Lazaris?”
“Dead, Captain Torka of the Jerriz ordered a retreat to prevent the loss of any more ships against a superior Alliance fleet,” Jezic replied.
“I see, this will have to be discussed then,” the high admiral said. “I’ll talk with you later after punishments have been decided. Then we’ll decide on Pacifica.” The man didn’t wait for Jezic’s reply as the line went dead.
“Get me Olin at once,” Jezic said. If the Alliance had attacked Vernada then he needed to be prepared if they came here.
Randy finally managed to reduce the reports from the battle and decided he deserved a small break. He had worked hard so he could check in on Meia. Her reaction to what had happened made him hope she was all right. He had a feeling that something deeper was bothering her and he wanted to find out what that was.
“Kim, I’m headed for a quick snack, and wash up, let me know if anything happens,” Randy said. They were flying constant combat patrols in case of a counter-strike.
“Yes sir,” Kim replied. “The ground forces have said they are encountering minor resistance, mostly from the invaders. Many inhabitants of Vernada are helping out our forces. The replacement pilots arrived, I can bring the 201 up to full strength, but the 116 is still three pilots short after the other ships replenished their fighter squadrons.”
“That’ll have to do then,” Randy said. “I’m not sure what the political situation is back home.”
“Is something going on,” Kim asked.
“More like when isn’t there,” Randy said not sure whither to chuckle or sigh at the truth in the statement. “Last I heard it’s under control but the Constricts are very anti-military. I wonder which side their on.”
“The last Constrict senator I heard said conversation is the great way to get anything done,” Kim said.
“That’s true, if the other side is conversing with you,” Randy said. “Sometimes I wish it was that simple. We’ve lost over two thousand good men and women today, and that doesn’t include those killed on Corrius, Dredius, Hesslius and Vernada plus the failed assault on Pacifica.”
Randy noticed Kim didn’t respond. They both understood the results of war all too well. A war might not have been declared but they were fighting one.
Randy left the bridge and found himself standing outside Meia’s quarters a few minutes later. He glanced back and forth in the hallway trying to psyche himself up to knock on her door.
“You can do this,” he said to himself. He backed off a second later berating himself for his cowardice. “I’m not even sure she’s there,” he said to himself, trying to justify his actions.
He began to turn in defeat only to see the door open.
Meia continued to sit on her bed where she’d been since leaving the bridge. Her stomach growled as she realized she had gotten hungry. Not really knowing where the cafeteria was she decided to try and find it on her own. Opening the door she almost ran right into Randy who appeared as surprised as she felt.
“Oh, um hi,” she said, still trying to recover from the shock.
“Hey, I was about to knock,” Randy replied. She watched as he ran his hand though his hair. “How are you doing?”
“A bit hungry,” Meia replied.
“Well, I can show you the cafeteria,” Randy said. “I don’t remember showing you where it was, or much of the ship for that matter, well a lot of is probably classified, but the cafeteria isn’t.”
They walked over to the elevator in comfortable silence. Meia was glad that Randy didn’t feel as if he had to keep talking to her. Strangely enough just his presence alone seemed to comfort her.
“The cafeteria is on level 4,” Randy told her. He pressed the button as she watched on. She already knew how to operate the elevator, not that it differed much from Cimalian elevators.
A few seconds later the elevator doors opened again revealing the cafeteria in front of her. The smells of foods assaulted her nose as her stomach growled in reply. Randy chuckled a bit as Meia felt her face flush.
“Come on, let’s get you fed,” Randy said, leading her across the room. Halfway across Meia noticed a strange-looking piece of furniture set.
“Huh, oh, that a piano” Randy replied. “A musical instrument used for entertainment usually during the evening meals.”
“Pe-an-o,” Meia replied. The word sounded strange on her tongue.
“I’ll show you after we eat, though I’m not that good,” Randy said.
“Sounds like a plan,” Meia replied not taking her eyes of it until they arrived at the food.
Randy led her though the line quickly pointing items out. She thought they all looked good and couldn’t wait to try them.
Greg made it back to his hotel room after another long day of listening to Senator Agnes. The man seemed to have some sort of personal vendetta against the military. He briefly wondered if the man had a military service record. Making a mental note to check that out later on he continued to checked his mail one last time.
He quickly scrolled down until reaching one in particular. Opening it up he scanned though it before looking at his watch. He just had time to make it before the person left. Walking back out the door he headed to the contact point.
Meia glanced up after the dinner. She’s decided on something called a hamburger. Surprisingly it had been very good, except for the tomato which she’d taken off.
“I enjoyed it thank you,” Meia said.
“I figured you would,” Randy replied to her.
“And now this piano,” Meia asked.
“Like I said, I’m not that good, oh wait,” Randy said. Meia turned to see what had caught his attention. Another man in a flight suit walked across the room. “John!”
The man turned heading straight to where they were sitting. “Randy, and our mysterious guest, Meia,” he said.
“How about a small demonstration of your musical skills,” Randy said.
Meia watched as John glanced over at the piano then back at Randy. “Sure, why not,” John said, walking over to it. Sitting down he made a show of flexing his fingers for a few seconds.
“Show off,” Randy said.
“There are newbies on board,” John said matter-of-factly.
“Newbies,” Meia repeated the word. Something else she was unfamiliar with.
“People who are new on board or its their first mission,” Randy replied.
Meia nodded her head in slight understanding. They had similar people in the Cimalian fleet but it had been the job of the leader to make sure everyone understood their job. Of course the Cimalian ships didn’t have any form of recreation either. Everything had been geared to an efficient ship making the most of every space on board the ship. A person had to create their own forms of entertainment when off duty.
She heard the first couple of notes and froze. It couldn’t be? The song he had chosen to play so echoingly familiar.
“It’s a favorite…” Randy’s voice faded out as her world grew dark.
Randy had to move quickly to catch Meia before she fell to the floor. She appeared to be breathing and fine as he wondered quickly if she was having an allergic reaction to the food.
“Get the doc,” he said one of the nearby crew members.
“What happened,” John asked as he appeared by Randy’s side.
“Don’t know, she was fine one second then the next she just, well passed out,” Randy replied. He calmed his racing heart when he noticed nothing else seemed to be happening to her.
Tommy arrived along with a nurse. He carried his portable kit and quickly crouched down next to Randy.
“What happened,” he asked.
“I don’t know. She appeared fine, then this.” Randy said shaking his head and pointing to her.
“Hmm, might be something we missed or the scanners didn’t pick up. Or it might be a result of detoxifying the drug from her system. I’ll take her to med lab and keep her under observation for a couple of hours,” Tommy said. He activated the stretcher as it levitated Meia so he could take her to the med lab. “I’ll keep you informed admiral.”
“Thank you,” Randy said watching as the doctor and nurse walked away.
“I never had that happen to one of my performances before. I don’t know whether to be insulted or flattered,” John said.
Randy cracked a smile at his friend’s joke. “I guess we’ll find out later on.”
Meia glanced around not sure what had happened. One second she remembered standing next to Randy listening to John play the piano the next, she stood in some strange park.
“I should know this place,” she said to herself. It seemed familiar to her but her memory just refused to cooperate with her.
“Meia, there you are,” the familiar voice of her mother said. Turning around she noticed her mother standing there. She glanced down at herself noticing she was a little girl once more.
“Momma,” Meia asked unsure about this.
“I know there are a lot of strange things you don’t understand, but remember sometimes the grown-up world is difficult to understand. I will always love you,” she said. Her mother glanced up looking down the road.
Meia glanced around seeing three men walk up to them. She recognized one man right away, as Admiral Ordex, another high ranking official and the third, another important looking official who looked vaguely familiar. He had black hair, average height and brown eyes. But the shape of the face seemed vaguely familiar.
“Its time,” the man said.
Meia watched as her mother’s eyes narrowed at the man before speaking. “You think you know so much, yet you’re afraid of a small child. Your brother would be ashamed.”
“Silence,” Ordex said striking Meia’s mother. “Boris was a weak fool.”
“Quiet you fool,” the man said. Ordex quickly shut up.
Meia launched herself at the man who had struck her mother. She quickly was picked up by the third man. The other man waited for her mother to get up.
“Remember what we told you Didi,” the man said.
Meia squirmed trying to get down but the man refused to let her go as her world slowly went dark again.
End Chapter 13
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