Legacy of the Guardians
by AJ Marks
“Sir, new orders coming in from HQ,” the communications officer of the Moscow said. Ahmed turned to see, the captain had gone to his office. The past half hour had been quite interesting. The reports of a terrorist attack in New York City had everyone a bit edgy. The scanners were watching for anything in the neutral zone that might be happening in there.
He took the message, scanning through it realizing the situation might actually be worse than he, or the captain, thought it was. He quickly activated the internal communications.
“Captain to the bridge, repeat, captain to the bridge immediately.”
He paced a bit waiting for the captain, knowing that everyone else on the bridge watched, wondering what had happened to cause such a change in Ahmed’s attitude. He turned seeing the captain step onto the bridge and quickly made his way over.
“What’s up?” he asked, reaching Ahmed’s side. Ahmed passed him the order which came in from HQ, waiting as he scanned it rather quickly before cussing slightly. “Well damn, looks like the boys in high places aren’t taking any chances.” He walked over to the communications. “Open a channel to the entire fleet.”
He did not have to wait long until everything was set up. Ahmed waited patiently as the captain went about readying himself for what he might have to say. Ahmed knew the situation, but he also knew it would be quite a shock for most, who only heard about what had happened recently back home, and how tensions had grown.
“This is Captain Erricson to the ships and crew of the fleet, there have been some developments recently that most of you have heard whispers of, and with the current station back home. By now you have probably heard that the World Trade Center in New York City was hit by a terrorist attack, I’m here to inform you that indeed, two aircraft were used in a suicide attack. In addition the Pentagon was hit. The bad new is the towers have fallen, the death toll is currently unknown.”
Ahmed watched the group, having read the information already and knowing what a shock it was to some. He knew some might even have people they knew in New York, or perhaps friends or relative in the towers. The crew was made up of people from all over the world. He looked on as the captain continued.
“Right now, the leads that those back home are giving is a group of terrorists did this, intel is unsure about who is behind it, but there is some concern that it might have been done by the Skartians. As of right now, we are on war condition two, repeat, war condition two. The carrier battle group Saratoga and the fifth battlecruiser group will rendezvous with us to monitor the border of the neutral zone. All scheduled battle drills are cancelled. If a alarm sounds it will be the real thing. As of this moment, all traffic to Earth space is closed and any ship attempting to enter will be met by a military ship to determine their clearance.”
The bridge crew looked very nervous about what they heard. War condition two scared many of them. It was unnerving to know the next time the alert came out, they might be at war. Some were battle-hardened veterans of the war, some were new and had not seen any combat at all.
Ahmed watched as the light control officer started working up a rotating CAP mission. Others were quickly heading back to work, many now taking their tasks seriously knowing if anything happened, knowing it might be the difference between life and death.
He thought how could something like this have happened? What was the cause, and who was behind it? Privately he hoped the Skartians were, the alternative was too terrible to imagine. He wondered if it wasn’t time to inform the world of the situation. He figured he would bring it up if the chance ever came up. For now, he had a job to do.
Randall made his way into the council room, late because he had been watching the events back on Earth. He had something to tell the council this morning, that much was for sure, and he was not sure how they would take it.
“I did not expect you here today Ran Dall,” Kinser said, as Randall sat down in his seat close by.
“I was busy, but had some important things happen back home, have I missed anything?” Randall asked.
“Only the rambling of the Skartian ambassador. He’s declared that your race has once more defied the council by keeping your fleet in the neutral zone until our fleet arrived. Then something about some sort of buildup along the border,” Kinser said,
Randall looked over to the Skartian, who was still rambling. Randall stood up waiting a moment until the Skartian noticed him.
“Ah, I see the human ambassador finally graced us with his superior presence,” the Skartian said. “I have drawn up a list of charges against the human race, its on that thing called a computer on your desk, I’m sure you can find it, just look for my message. Then you can lie again about something to defend yourself.”
“You are to remain civil,” the President said, looking over at the Skartian, before looking over at Randall. “I’ll let you look over the charges before you respond.”
Randall looked at the computer, picked it up then tossed it on the floor while looking right at the Skartian. “As of right now, Earth and its space is off-limits to all ships. Any ships entering our space will be viewed as an enemy and will be met with military force, boarded, captured or destroyed. We have patrols on all our boarders including the Neutral zone.”
“You can’t do that!” the Skartian said, looking slightly nervous about what Randall said.
“Wrong, it’s our space, we have an internal matter to deal with and do not need any,” he paused looking right at the Skartian, ‘complications from others.”
Randall then left the room leaving a stunned audience in his wake. He privately wished he could see their reactions, but made an effort to not look back. He’d ask Kinser later on what happened next.
Jack rubbed his eyes after watching the screen for so long. They had been gathering data from every source they could find, including radio, television and internet, which surprisingly had been booming. Reports of a group called Al Qaeda led by a man called Osama bin Laden popped up. He had tried before to attack the World Trade Center and failed. He also was currently known to be hiding in Afghanistan somewhere.
He looked at the political map, and their information about the area. It was an area of concern because it was so unstable in some areas, and the current government was not that great. Intelligence had warned them of possible Skartian activity in the area, now he had a feeling he knew where it was. With that in mind he finally made a decision, one that could change the diplomacy between the Skartian and human races.
“Get me General Ginal,” he said to his secretary.
“What’s up Jack?” Ginal said a few minutes later.
“I have an idea, but I think its time we involve the President of the United States,” Jack said, waiting for the reply he knew would come.
“That’s risky, are you sure?” Ginal replied, not thrilled with the idea.
“This is different, listen,” Jack said, outlining his idea and theory about the Skartians to him, and how they might be able to use it to boost their defenses.
“Hmm, well, still don’t like it, but it’s the best idea I’ve heard in a while,” Ginal said after pondering the idea for several minutes. “When can you get here?”
“Set up an appointment for Friday morning,” Jacks aid.
“Sounds good, see you then,” Ginal said, ending the conversation. Jack went back to work doing some cleaning to prepare for his meeting.
“Contact, multiple inbound.”
Ahmed turned, quickly looking down at the scanner himself and taking a moment to analyze the situation. “Captain, we have warships, Skartain in nature in bound from the area of Gasica.”
“How long till reinforcements get here?” the captain asked.
“Half an hour at top speed,” the reply came back.
“Inform all commands that we have an invading Skartain fleet in sector three of the Neutral zone border,” the captain replied.
Ahmed quickly sent off a general message to all commands of what was happening, before sending more specific messages to the ships of the fleet and the Saratoga carrier group and fifth battlecruiser squadron.
“Open a channel to the fleet,” the captain said, waiting a few seconds for the communications officer to complete the order. “All personal, we have an incoming Skartian fleet heading for us. We must hold them here or else they will have a clear path to Earth. A Japanese Admiral, Togo, once said, let every man to his utmost, the same applies here, all hands red alert.”
The Moscow and her escorts went to alert and formed up in battle formation as the two fleets closed.
“Come about to course Three five six, concentrate on the carrier,” the captain said.
The two groups closed and engaged. Ahmed felt the ship shudder as it was rocked by a hit.
“Damage to section ten on the port side, repair teams on the way.”
The battle was not going well for them, especially considering they were outnumbered. They all realized the importance of the situation, and hoped they could struggle long enough for reinforcements to arrive.
Jack looked up from the meeting he was having as his aide, Greg, walked into the room. He noticed his face and knew the news was not good, waiting as Greg came over and handed him a piece of paper.
Jack quickly read through the message, hoping it was not important. His heart sank at the message and reread it a couple of times before looking back up at the others. Steve was looking at him intently wondering what was going on, as were a few of the others, the admirals and captains at the station.
“Well, there is no doubt of the intention now,” Jack said. “As of this moment, the peace with the Skartians is broken, we’re at war,’ Jack said to them.
“What happened?” Steve asked.
“The Second patrol group is currently engaged against a Skartian fleet in our space. Captain Erricson of the Moscow, states that they are under attack, and the Ilder fleet on patrol were also attacked in the Neutral Zone, their status is unknown. They are trying to hold on until the fifth battlecruiser fleet and the Saratoga carrier group arrive,” Jack told them. “I’m recommending we go to alert level one, war condition at once until this situation is cleared up.”
“You think it’s that serious?” one of the captains said.
“Yeah, I do,” Jack said.
“We’ll need full approval of HQ for this,” Steve stated, reminding Jack of who was in charge of such actions.
“With what is going on, we’ll need to make sure the Saratoga and the fifth battlecruiser fleet get there to intercept the Skartian fleet. If they fail, what other ships do we have?” Jack asked the group.
“The First fleet is here at the station, we can intercept if the others fail,” Steve said.
“Get on it at once, have them prepare all defenses,” Jack said. “That fleet is not to reach Earth.”
The meeting broke up as everyone went to get ready. Jack knew he’d also have to tell Randall, a conversation he was not looking forward to having.
Ahmed rocked slightly as the Moscow was hit again. Several bridge members were thrown in their chairs and the restraints. Ahmed was jostled a bit, but managed to stay at his job. He took a quick look around, checking for any damage to the bridge. The battle was not going well for them, despite inflicting some damage on the Skartian ships. The ilder fleet had retreated, with their faster ships they could get the news out to other races. The ship rocked again as some structural supports on the bridge collapsed.
“The captain is hurt,” Ahmed heard a voice say. He quickly went looked over, before racing over, another crewman helping the captain out of his chair.
“Damn, think I broke some ribs with that,” the captain said, pain lacing his voice.
“Medic to the bridge,” Ahmed said over the intercom.
“Don’t bring them up just for me,” the captain stated.
“I’m not, we have some others who are hurt,” Ahmed said, looking around realizing the hit came close to the bridge.
“Captain, we’ve lost the Benzin,” another person said. Ahmed realized that was the fourth ship lost. They were about to be overwhelmed. The Ilderians had lost two ships before leaving.
“How much longer until the reinforcements get here?” Ahmed asked.
“Unknown, that last hit knocked out our long-range scanners,” the reply came back to him.
With the medical teams now on the bridge Ahmed turned back to the bridge. “Ahmed, take charge for now, do what you can,” the captain said, as a medical officer looked at him.
“All ships, concentrate on the weapon systems of the enemy,” Ahmed said, hoping that might buy them some time.
His tactic might have worked better if there had been ships under his command, but with only two ships they stood little hope against the hundred of so Skartian warships. The remaining escort ship was doing some hard maneuvers to avoid damage, but Ahmed knew it would only survived so long before the numbers caught up to it. The Moscow had only survived so far because of its massive shields and armor.
The ship rocked twice more in succession as the damage came in. The news looked very grim, they had sustained damage to two of the three engines, and both would have to be taken off-line otherwise they were going to explode. The other bad news was one of the shield generators had sustained damage.
“Sir, I’m registering some new ships,” the scanner officer said. “It’s Earth ships.”
“Open communications,” Ahmed said, waiting a few second for the commander, a vice-admiral, appeared on the screen.
“Looks like you boys could use some help,” the man said.
“You bet,” Ahmed said, as the ship was hit again.
“Pull your ship back behind us, the Saratoga’s fighters and will cover for you, as will the battlecruisers Washington and Calgary,” the vice-admiral said.
Ahmed relayed the information to the others, ordering the ship to begin its withdraw from battle. With the arrival of these ships, the battle no longer would be in the Skartian’s favor. The Skartians were damaged from their battle and the new ships came in fresh
The Moscow managed to retreat despite having only one engine. It took a while but the Skartains finally retreated back into the Neutral Zone. The commander decided not to press the advantage and head into the Neutral Zone. Everyone knew the peace had been broken, and for many, making a new peace would be extremely difficult.
End Part 4
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