Legacy of the Guardians
by AJ Marks
Jack Cave walked into the office to begin another day of work. The intercepted transmissions pressed his thoughts, and he contemplated passing the news to his superiors on Earth. The last time he had brought up something like this, he had been dismissed without a second thought. This time though, his instincts told him to start doing something before it became too late to do anything. The Skartians had some plan in motion. He also believed if he told his superiors, they would order him to stand down.
Jack said to his secretary, who went to work to carry out his request. A few minutes later she informed him that the general was on the line, Jack closed the door and picked up the phone.
“Jack, what’s going on old friend?” Ginal asked him.
“Peaceful, at the moment, but far from quiet,” Jack answered.
“Oh? How so?” Genal asked, his tone neutral.
“Well, we’ve intercepted some transmissions coming from a Skartian source,” Jack said waiting for Ginal’s reaction.
“Interesting. And what have you done about it?” Ginal asked, not doubting the information.
“I’ve informed Randall, who is speaking to the council about it, heard they finished not long ago. Don’t have a full report, but the Skartian denied everything and the council is investigating the situation. I’ve also sent two patrols to the neutral zone,’ Jack said, giving Ginal a brief rundown of the situation.
“Dangerous times this is, and I don’t like it. The Skartians probably raised a fuss over the patrols, but I’m glad you sent them,” Ginal said.
“Yes, that is part of the investigation is seems,” Jack said.
“Skartians probably think we sent the patrol in violating the peace treaty, but if they really did send transmissions then we are in our right to do so, or someone else is playing both sides, either way dangerous. Proceed carefully, I’ll let the rest know what is going on,” Ginal said.
“Thanks,” Jack said, as they hung up. It was a way to inform them without actually informing them. Some might considered it a coward’s path, but he could keep the patrol out there longer.
The Moscow and her five escorts patrolled around the neutral zone near the dead planet of Gasica. At one time the planet might have been habitable, but now, a barren wasteland unable to sustain any form of life known. It also represented the closest planet a fleet could hide behind to attack Earth.
“Sir,” Ahmed said, looking over at the captain.
“What’s up?” the captain asked.
“We’ve got some strong signals coming from one of the moons around Gasica,” Ahmed replied, transferring the information to the captain’s screen so he could look it over.
“Ideas about who or what it is?” the captain asked after a few seconds of looking at the screen.
“Not sure, it’s kinda fuzzy, but whatever it is, its definitely hiding from us,” Ahmed heard one of the communications officers say.
“Alert Independence Station of a possible presence at Gasica,” the captain said.
“Yes sir,” Ahmed replied, bring up the screen. He was worried about what might happen next.
Randall sat down at the next Council meeting several days later awaiting the results of the committee investigation. He did not know how the council might vote, mentally preparing for anything they might hand down. The President handed the floor over to the speaker of the committee.
“Thank you Mr. President. As promised we have looked into the Skartian and human recent dispute. The Skartians claim the humans brought warships into the neutral zone in violation against the treaty. The humans claim the Skartians have sent transmissions to Earth in violation of the treaty.
“We find both parties involved in this dispute guilty, the humans for sending warships to the neutral zone, though they have never denied this. However, the Skartians have indeed sent transmissions to Earth even though…” the Skartian ambassador started yelling drowning out the speaker’s voice for a few seconds. Randall waited patiently until things calmed down and speaker started again. “As I was saying, even though exactly who sent them is still up for debate, as some other group could have sent such transmissions.”
Randall watched as the speaker gave his report to the President. He would wait to see what judgment was passed down before he complained, or lodged a complaint. The President stepped back up to the podium.
“The judgment of the council is that the human fleet is to remove their fleet from the Neutral Zone, the Skartians are free from any judgment at this time based on the evidence against them. However, be warned, the council will not tolerate such actions in the future,,” he said, looking over at the two of them.
The Skartian quickly agreed, though he appeared disappointed no further actions were taken against the human. Randall thought for a second before coming up with an idea.
“Earth will accept under one condition Mr. President,” Randall said, watching as many looked over at him. He knew most wondered what he might say next. “We ask for a third-party to patrol the neutral zone, one that is elected by the council.”
“Absolutely not!” yelled the Skartian ambassador. “My government refuses to allow a foreign presence so close to our boarders, for any reason.”
“Why not? Afraid they will pick up the signals that your race is sending to Earth?” Randall replied, watching the Skartian.
The ambassador paused for a second and looked around the room. Everyone was watching him, waiting to hear what he might say next in the verbal war. Randall watched and partly hoped he might say something to give away what the Skartians were doing.
“I’ll have to speak with my government about this before I can accept,” he finally said.
“Then Earth will not accept the judgment until the ambassador comes back with his government’s response,” Randall replied, looking right at the Skartian.
“Then the Council will wait for the response to the Skartian ambassador, and will acknowledge Earth’s request,” the President said, much to Randall’s surprise.
“There is one last thing Mr. President, Earth would like to request why there are ships hiding near Gasica. Our scout ships reported activity there when there should be no activity at all,” Randall said, looking over at the Skartian ambassador.
“Why are you looking at me, we have no ships near Gasica,” the Skartian said.
“I suggest a third-party military scout ship check this out as soon as possible, and start patrolling the border between the humans and Skartians,” the Ilder ambassador said. “It is becoming clear that something is going on, we do not need another war between these two races.”
“I strongly object to this,” the Skartian said.
“I have to agree with the ambassador from Ilder, we shall put this up for a vote,” the president said. Randall settled back waiting for the call, and went ahead with his vote of yes to accept a third-party. Some of his superiors might have a problem with it, but it would also validate their claims, especially if the Skartians, or someone else, was sending signals to Earth or hiding ships in the neutral zone.
Jack looked over the latest report, which included the updated translations of the messages sent to Earth. The messages made little sense, but the one thing intelligence seemed to point to some sort of attack. He had already put some patrols on alert, and raised the alert level of the First fleet. He felt if an attack happened he could respond adequately. He even told the admiral of the fleet he had permission to return fire if fired upon. The fleet was on the highest level of alert since the war ended.
The vague messages left him feeling uneasy, and reminded him of some sort of surprise attack like when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. He wondered if the Skartians would attack again, and if so from what direction. Of course they were also behind the war back then as well, which had him very uneasy. Did such messages go back and forth back then as well? He had no good answers to the questions.
“Ugh, exhausting just thinking about this,” he said to himself. He had read reports all day long and now he felt the strain in his eyes. “Bah, I should just go home, too tired to think straight much anyways, probably missing something important in my sleep deprived mess.”
Stretching his back he jumped a bit as her secretary buzzed him.
“Transmission from Ambassador Randall, he says its important,” she told him. He groaned at the name before replying.
“Can’t he talk to someone else?” he asked, almost whining to her.
“Sorry sir, but you’re the only one available,” she replied back to him.
“All right, fine, put him on,” Jack replied, resigning himself to the upcoming conversation, hoping it did not last long. He waited a second for Randall’s face to appear on the screen. “Randall.”
“Jack,” Randall replied, sounding a bit surprised. “Must not have anyone else to talk to me.”
“Yeah, cut the chit-chat, tell me what’s so important, eh,” Jack said, in no mood for idle talk, especially with Randall.
“Blunt as always Jack,” Randall said, then looked at his computer before continuing on. “I needed to tell you some things that the Council voted on. The first is for us to move our ships from the Neutral Zone.”
“That’s absurd,” Jack said, protesting at the idea. “We have confirmed reports of those idiots posing a threat to our national security.”
“Don’t tell me that, I know,” Randall replied back, his tone rising as he stopped and ran a hand through his hair. “I managed to secure a third-party, military to patrol the zone, the Ilderians volunteered for the duty, should be there in a couple of hours.”
“I won’t move our ships until the Ilderians arrive,” Jack said, not about to leave the area unguarded. Something was up and he wanted to be prepared.
“Fine,” Randall said, looking for a second like he was about to say something else but managed to stop himself. “I’ll let them know.”
Jack watched as Randall hung up ending the call leaving Jack to figure out what to do next. The first thing, he had to inform the patrol groups. He did not like it, but at least someone else would be there in case the Skartians tried sending messages again. He allowed a smile to come to his face at the thought of another race detecting something near Gasica. He wondered how the Skartians would explain that. He quickly sent out the orders for the patrol group, and they would leave when the Ilderians arrived.
Picking up the phone he dialed a number waiting for the secretary to pick up. “Let me talk to General Ginal, it’s Admiral Cave,” Jack said, waiting as the secretary told him to wait a second. He tapped the desk for a few seconds before the general picked up.
“I take it the Council returned with something,” Ginal said.
“Yeah, and mostly bad news for us,” Jack said to him.
“They voted that we must leave the neutral zone despite having proof of what het Skartians are doing,” Jack said to him.
“Makes me think the Skartians are up to something now,” Ginal said, pausing a moment. “Are they going to do anything else?”
“They did agree to sending a third party to the neutral zone,” Jack said.
“Oh, and who is that?”
“The Ilderians, they are sending a few military ships to patrol the area, I told our ships not to leave until they got there,” Jacks aid.
“Good, knew I could count on you and Randall to deal with the situation. Anything else I should know about, or inform the others about?” he asked.
“Only that the second patrol picked up a strange reading in the Neutral Zone near Gasica. I have orders to the captain to report his findings to the commander of the Ilderian fleet, hopefully they check it out as well,” Jack said to him.
“Fine, I’ll let them know about it. They didn’t like the last report, and this report of something at Gasica, not good at all,” Ginal said.
“I understand, I’m nervous about all of this as well. They are up to something,” Jack said.
“That we agree on, but take no action if you can help it. They might be trying to provoke us into a fight,” Ginal said.
“Understood,” Jack replied, knowing how such a move might look to the rest of the council. Hanging up the phone he looked over everything making sure everything had been taken care of before retiring for the evening. A fresh look at things in the morning might allow him to see something he did not see earlier.
End Part 2
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