Master of Violence
by AJ Marks
Mark went over the reports regarding the Fletcher. It had finally been completed and was now running trials to make sure everything was working as expected. The first jump was scheduled in a few hours from now and the weapons tests would follow. It passed the maneuver tests ensuring that it would be able to at least move around in a battle. The weapons were a mix of new technologies which had been on the drawing board for several years now.
“How are things?” Victoria asked.
“Well, it looks like the Fletcher will be ready to go by the end of the week,” Mark replied.
“And the other ships of the class?” she asked.
“Coming along, it was going to be just a class of five, but that was expanded to ten,” Mark said despite the fact he would have wanted a larger ship, but the Fletchers would have to do for now.
“Any word from Sierra?” she asked.
“No, nothing in a couple of days now,” Mark replied, growing worried about them. The last bit of information indicated they had been working on slowing down the progress of the cleanup, but he knew they wouldn’t be able to stall it forever. The last text indicated the spot might be overrun by the end of the week.
“Still want to get an invasion force moving?” Victoria asked.
“Yeah,” Mark said. The debate had been furious about such launching an invasion. Many didn’t want to do anything until they finally managed to build enough warships to protect Earth. Mark had begun to think about that before forcing it from his mind and turned to another question. “Any word about our meeting with the rebellion?”
“Going a bit dicey,” Victoria replied, she was about to say more when Hans entered the room.
“Oh, did I interrupt anything?” Hans asked.
“Nah, going over the latest intel and such,” Mark replied.
“Wanted to let you know, the Fletcher just finished her jump trials,” Hans stated.
“That isn’t scheduled for another couple of hours,” Mark stated looking at the reports.
“No, it’s on time,” Hans said causing Mark to look at the time. He blinked seeing it was much later than he thought it was.
“Damn, been reading too much,” he finally said. “So, how’d it go?”
“Passed, the real trial will be the weapon systems,” Hans stated.
Mark nodded at that. New weapons were always a bit of a risk when you were in a rush. Of course the new weapons would make the ship more powerful. The real changes came with the next ship of the class, it would have a new engine designed from the lessons learned from the Simian ship. It should, theoretically, be more powerful than even the Enterprise’s engines. The power boost would give it an advantage in just about every system.
“Good,” Mark said, looking at the paperwork.
“What about the defense stations?” Hans asked.
“Got a few more up and running, none are at one hundred percent, but alpha and beta are now each around eighty percent, Delta is about fifty percent and the other three are below twenty-five percent,” Victoria said.
It was more than what they were operating at during the first attack, but still not that good. And they had a couple of more fighter squadrons which had been introduced. It really was amazing how quickly things had been built, but the fear of destruction made people do some very interesting things. Factories were running around the clock as were the ship yards. Seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day and humans could do some amazing things.
“And the next ship?” Hans asked.
For that Mark looked through a bit more to find that information. “Ah, here is it, the Sherman, should be ready next week, followed by the next three rapidly.”
With the additional ships and the quick repairs of the ships damaged the fleet would have eight warships. But he knew there was already pressure to retake Sierra from the people. He had to admit he was anxious to undertake such a mission.
The communications buzzed interrupting any further thoughts.
“Admiral Pappas office,” Victoria said.
“Need to speak to the admiral,” a familiar voice said, who Mark recognized as Richard.
“Richard, what can I do for you?” Mark asked.
“Need you down planetside,” Richard said.
“Oh?” Mark replied curious as to why they might need him down there. He knew of nothing which was going on which they might need him for. “What’s going on?”
“Pressure is mounting for some sort of action at Sierra,” Richard replied to him. It was strange that the call came as he was thinking about it. “The government is concerned that they might lose support if nothing is done. And,” he paused, “well, there is increasing pressure to go on the offensive in some way.”
“Don’t they understand we don’t have the resources yet to do such a thing?” Victoria said from where she sat.
Mark remained quiet for several seconds about that. With the new ships coming online, and the stations becoming operational they might just have the ability.
“That’s what we want to discuss,” Richard said.
“I’ll be down, when is this meeting?” Mark asked.
“We’re hoping to have it for five pm standard,” Richard said.
Mark looked at the time and mentally calculated how long it would take. “Yeah, I think I can make it.”
“Good, we’ll see you there.”
Mark looked over at Hans. “Well, get a shuttle ready, looks like I’m headed planetside.”
Mark sat down at the meeting table seeing that there were already several others in the room, including Richard. A few more walked in filling up the rest of the chairs before Richard got everyone’s attention.
“Thank you all for coming,” he said to them all. Mark realized there were no politicians in the room, or any of the other aliens for that matter.
“Are you really thinking of an assault on Sierra?” one asked.
“Yes we are, that why we’re here,” Richard said. “We need to figure out when we can strike back, and with how much.”
“Our forces are still too weak for any offensive push.”
Mark thought about as he listened in on the arguments. He kept quiet for a while as there appeared to be several opinions going around. Most thought the military still had too few forces to even defend Earth, let along Mars.
“Admiral Pappas, you’ve been very quiet, what do you think?” Richard finally asked turning the conversation in his direction.
“We still know very little about the O’krad, but the one thing I do know is we’re going to be losing communications with those on Sierra soon, if we haven’t already. Second, at what point do we finally have enough warships and men to launch an invasion,” Mark said to them.
“More than what we have right now,” another one replied.
“But, how will they react to such an action?” Mark said. “If everything we’ve ever heard is right, the O’krad are unused to such actions. Going on the offensive might cause confusion among them.”
“So you’re suggesting an offensive attack?” one of the intelligence officers said.
“Yeah, I guess so,” Mark said. “We have several of the defense stations up and operational, along with several additional fighter squadrons. And I feel an attack would catch them off guard.”
“Its possible,” Richard said.
“What the rebellion has been able to tell us is that no one has done such a thing against them,” the intelligence officer said. “Or at least, none they know of. They very well could be fighting another group and we would never know about it.”
“Which is why we need to keep them off guard,” Mark said, taking a look around the table at the others. Several of the others appeared caught off guard that he had mentioned such actions, while some of the others seemed more willing to do something.
“The simple fact is gentlemen, the public is growing restless with inaction,” Richard said.
“You fear losing their support?” another officer said.
“Yes,” Richard said. “We all know support is fickle at best, even when united it can disappear. Inaction isn’t helping us.”
“Going ahead and losing can be just as bad,” another one said.
Mark understood what they were all saying. They were walking a fine line of support, defense and offense with the ships they had.
“Can we undertake an attack?” the one who had been most supportive of the idea asked.
“I think so, it would require most of the fleet and the Enterprise to do,” Mark said as he put his mind to what might be needed, and something he had been thinking about for a while now.
“How would we defend ourselves?”
“Would we need to defend ourselves?” Mark asked. “There is no indication of how the O’krad would react to such actions. We’re assuming how we would react, but they’ve already shown they act differently, almost sluggishly.”
“So, you’re saying we should act with haste?” one asked Mark.
“In a way, yes, speed might be to our advantage right now,” Mark replied back to him.
“We shall consider it,” one finally said.
Mark looked over at Richard who seemed thoughtful about it all before he said anything.
“I think we should move forward,” he finally said seeing a lot of people look his way. “History has shown over and over again that to play defense is a way to lose a war. We must have a clear objective and plan to carry out that objective. Attacking Sierra gives us an objective, one which everyone can see.”
“And after that?”
“We’ll decide that after we liberate Sierra,” Richard said. “Call it, Operation Tiger.”
At that a lot of the others looked at Richard with a strange look.
“What, I like cats,” he finally replied.
Mark shook his head, but he had no problems with the name. It meant they would be doing something rather than sitting and waiting for the next attack to occur.
“I’ll talk with the generals, I’m sure we can use a few of the freighters to transport the troops, and we might even be able to use the people on the planet,” Richard said. “Do we still have communications?”
“The last communications indicated the signal spot would probably be overrun by the end of the week, if not sooner,” Mark replied back to him.
Mark watched as that bit of news seemed to sink in with them all.
“In fact, Jack mentioned they think we’ve abandoned them,” Mark said.
“If something like that gets out we could have trouble among the people, questions on why we are not doing anything,” Richard said. “Now, what plans can we come up with?”
Angie watched as Jack and Sven made their way back to their camp. Neither appeared too happy with anything as they sat down. The others came over to see what might have happened. She knew the cleanup was about to reach the signal spot, and feared the worst. She hoped they had not lost the only communications with Earth.
“What happened?” Aku asked speaking up first. Angie learned he was one who despite was quiet, wanted to know right away, especially if things were bad.
“Probably by tomorrow they will be upon the site,” Jack said to them.
“Did you inform Earth?” Charlie asked.
“Yes,” Sven replied. “But, we did receive some good news.”
Angie wondered what type of news would be good when they were about to lose their ability to communicate with Earth and see what was going on. She felt a bit depressed by it all actually. As long as she had communications with her uncle it felt like this would end, now, the reality of her life crashed around her.
“They are hoping to liberate Sierra in less than two weeks,” Jack said to them. “They are moving fast and we’re to remain ready to help out any way we can. It means keeping the phone charged, and on.”
“So they can signal us when they arrive, here’s hoping,” Ben stated speaking up. Angie had to agree.
End part 25