Master of Violence
by AJ Marks
Mark looked on as Angie answered questions to the media. She had become a media darling since returning to Earth telling her story over and over, going on several shows and showing support for the military. Jack had gone a few times, and surprisingly it seemed, at least to Mark, that Angie seemed to actually care for him.
He and Angie were both dealing with the loss of her mother, Mark’s sister. Angie’s father had passed away a few years earlier. Mark learned Jack had lost his parents in the attack as well, and he and Angie leaned on each other for support.
The others in the group didn’t want the spotlight as much, and for some reason Angie loved it. Mark was fine with it.
“She’s doing quite well today,” another person said standing next to Mark. He recognized him as Charlie. He was the oldest of the group, and Mark learned that he and his son, Ben, had been on a fishing trip when the attack occurred.
“Yeah, picked it up from her mother,” Mark said.
“I was surprised to learn she had an uncle in the military, and one so high up,” Charlie said.
“Got lucky,” Mark replied as they fell silent for a few seconds.
“So, what’s next?” Charlie asked.
“Not sure, build up or forces, send out patrols to see about neighboring systems,” Mark replied, knowing they needed more information.
“Reasonable,” Charlie said looking on again.
“Glad its not you?” Mark asked.
“I know the feeling, I was hounded by the press for answers to things I didn’t know, good thing I’ve got a communications officer to handle such things for me,” Mark said looking at the time and realizing the press conference was about to wind down.
He watched as Angie came off the stage to greet her uncle.
“Hey, good job out there,” he told her.
“Its easy when you tell the truth,” she replied back to him. “And I stay away from certain subjects knowing they are traps.”
Mark nodded, knowing she could but some questions he couldn’t avoid at work, like what were they going to do next. The war wasn’t over and the O’krad were still out there. Looking down at his watch he realized it was time for him to get going.
“I have another meting coming up, see you later,” he told her.
“All right,” Angie said.
Mark nodded towards Charlie before heading off to another meeting which nothing would be accomplished. There were several differing voices going on, from wanting to strike at the O’krad to sitting back and hoping they could have peace with them. Mark had no idea which course of action was the best, only that they were still out there. Of course they were still building up their forces.
The only other bright spot was the fact the alien relocation on Mars was moving ahead of schedule and appeared to be a success. Even an area where the two groups could mingle was growing.
He hoped things would continue to be peaceful.
Toncor walked around the surface of the planet which the humans called Mars. Things were being erected rather quickly to house all the aliens. It had been decided to house them all here, not to segregate them away, but to help protect them from the many deadly things on Earth. It was something Toncor had to be aware of when on Earth.
Even an insect which was completely harmless to a human could be dangerous to one of them until they learned what was, and wasn’t harmful. Toncor had been lucky, most insects stayed away from his race.
“So, Toncor, how are things?” he heard a familiar voice ask. He turned to see Iccol walking towards him.
“Not bad, the humans are settling in, trying to figure out what they might do next,” Toncor said.
“What do you think?”
“It’s a complex issue facing them all,” Toncor replied. “I can understand that some want to take the fight to the O’Krad, others want to back off. I am conflicted.”
“In what way?” Iccol asked, his tone indicating confusion.
“Well, they could fight back, retake homeworlds which were conquered,” Toncor said. “But that brings up other problems, like they are doing all the fighting, and what do they get in return. I think many don’t want to be the rulers of the universe, or have the other races indebted to them like that.”
“An interesting situation, it shows they are capable of greatness,” Iccol said. “I admit, the more I learn of them the more complex they are. I understand why you are so enamored with them.”
“It’s a puzzle waiting to be figured out,” Toncor replied. “But, how are things down here?”
“Everyone’s working hard to make things work,” Iccol said. “Its actually been working quite well. The former slaves tell an interesting tale of their time under O’krad control. Some have never known freedom at all.”
Toncor shook his head at that. The O’krad had been doing this for that long, that entire generations never knew their homeworld, or their past. How many civilizations had they destroyed in their mad conquest of the universe? It seemed almost unimaginable to him.
“Are they settling in?” Toncor asked, knowing that some of the humans had expressed some doubt on their ability to be free after being slaves for so long.
“Yes, some better than the others, but it appears to be a species thing as well,” Iccol said. “We’re monitoring the situation for any trouble.”
Toncor continued to walk around seeing buildings going up and being constructed.
“One thing which has come out, apparently the O’krad are not quick builders,” Iccol said. “By comparison the humans are almost master builders.”
“They adapt technology to produce things rather quickly, and more machines to help produce what is produced,” Toncor said. “its really quite amazing at how they are constantly looking to improve. Watching a couple of shows about it I learned its they feel like they are lazy.”
“Not sure about that,” Iccol replied as they approached the main building.
Making their way inside Toncor would eager to see how things were going, and from the looks of things, it appeared things were going well. He would have a positive report to give back to Earth.
Mark returned back to the Enterprise along with his command staff. The recent meeting had done nothing to answer upcoming questions of what the future might hold. Even as he thought about it he noticed Hans making his way towards him.
“So, anything new?” Hans asked.
“Nope, what about up here?” Mark asked.
“The next of the Fletcher class is undergoing trials,” Hans said, something Mark already knew. “What about the other ships?”
“Ah, well, they finally authorized the cruiser class, calling it the Atago,” Mark said.
“Old Japanese name,” Hans said to which Mark nodded. “Any word on a follow up to the Enterprise?”
“Still working on it, and the docks are still being built to build them anyways, but designs are almost finalized from what I’ve heard,” Mark replied.
“Well, I’ll be glad when they actually start on them,” Hans replied as they made their way down the corridor. “Other than that, we’ve sent out a few ships to explore nearby star systems, so far nothing.”
“Better news than we expected,” Mark said. “And we’re retrofitting the rebellion’s ships with new weapons.”
“Yeah, heard about that, some discussion about that, still not sure about it myself,” Hans replied.
“Well, we need all the allies we can get right now,” Mark said.
They walked into Mark’s office and sat down, Mark behind his desk and looked over the reports.
“Nothing new,” Mark stated.
“You were expecting something?” Hans said.
Mark went to reply when alarms sounded. They both looked at each other before Mark pressed the intercom for the bridge.
“Admiral Pappas here, what’s the situation?” Mark asked, his mind already racing with what they might have to do, how many incoming O’krad warships and how to defend the planet.
“Admiral, incoming ship, identification is unknown,” Yvette replied.
“We’ll be right there, have all squadrons ready to launch, keep the ship in stealth mode,” Mark replied as both he and Hans made their way to the bridge.
“One ship?” Hans said.
“Not their style,” Mark said agreeing that one ship was unusual in their few encounters with the O’krad so far.
“Perhaps they are here to talk?” Hans stated.
Mark wasn’t sure, but he wouldn’t take anything off the table in this encounter, including a trap. They reached the bridge and its bustle of activity as people were working to figure things out.
“Incoming communications from Earth,” Joaquin stated.
“Put it though,” Mark said, not surprised upon seeing Greg.
“What’s the situation?” Greg asked.
“An incoming ship, unknown who it is,” Mark replied. “I was considering it a trap, or perhaps they wish to talk to us.”
“Open a channel,” Greg stated.
“But be aware of a trap,” Mark stated turning to Joaquin and instructed him to open the channel and hail the O’krad in a language they might understand.
Everyone waited tense to see what type of message might come back. It took a few seconds before the answer came back.
“This is the Creataesis, we ask for your help.”
Toncor made his way down the corridor having been hastily called back from Mars with this newest development. He reviewed the intel on what happened on the way, a ship, the Creataesis had appeared, and they were asking for help.
The people on board had at least some sort of translation program which understood at least one of their languages. It meant that somewhere along the way the translator program his race had received had encountered this race.
“Ah, Toncor, thanks for coming so quickly,” he heard a voice say. He looked up to see Greg making his way towards him.
“Another alien race, I would have never expected it,” Toncor said.
“Yes, we were surprised as well,” Greg said as they made their way to the meeting room where the President waited as well. It didn’t take long before the visitors arrived.
Toncor took in their appearance, looking very much like wonderers in space, refugees going from planet to planet. Orange uniforms, and looking rather worn, as if they had been wearing them for a long time.
“I am Kre’eek,” one said, Toncor noticed he had four legs and did a graceful sit at the table not using any chairs.
“I am President Natile Carter,” the President replied back.
“Yes, we seek help, and a warning,” Kre’eek said. Toncor could almost hear what was going to be coming, something this group had probably rehearsed many times. He looked around seeing the others in the room almost lean back, having been over this before.
“We will be glad to help,” Natile stated. “As for your warning, what is it?”
“Our world was attacked by a race, we do not know their name, only whispers of a name, the Dark Race,” Kre’eek said.
“The O’krad, yes we know of them,” Natile replied.
There were several seconds of silence as the news registered with Kre’eek and the others.
“You know of them?” Kre’eek asked, and Toncor saw his eyes dart around in surprise. Toncor took pity and spoke up.
“I sat where you did not long ago saying the same to them,” Toncor replied to him. “I gave them the same warning. Instead of fleeing, they stood and fought for their planet.”
“And you are still here,” Kre’eek stated, a bit astonished at this fact.
“We are warriors,” Natile said. “We don’t take kindly to others trying to take our home away.”
“There are many other races on a colony of the humans, many are liberated slaves” Toncor stated.
“I see,” Kre’eek said, taking a moment to look around. “Then, we ask for asylum.”
Toncor watched knowing that a new chapter was about to start for the human race and the O’krad. He hoped the universe would survive and peace returns.