Legacy of the Guardians
by AJ Marks
Admiral George Dinen walked around the battlecruiser Seydlitz, amazed at the design. Though complex, the simplicity of the design took his y surprise. He could go anywhere on the ship in less than a couple of minutes, with plenty of room despite the fact there were a couple of hundred people o board. Automated systems allowed a smaller crew.
Thinking of the systems, those were beyond expectations as well. He overheard many crewmembers already talking about the performance of the ship. In fact, the performance of the ship had persuaded those in charge of spending to allocate the funds for a second ship, which he heard was now under construction. Two such ships could center a powerful fleet.
The admiral spend the last couple of hours walking around the ship, learning where things were, like the hanger, bridge, engines, rec rooms, officer quarters, his office, the captain’s office, and other such areas. The ship as actually a bit shorter than the normal battlecruisers, but wider than other ships. This design allowed better weapons and engines to be installed on board.
Admiral Cave had outdone himself in demanding so many features, and surprisingly they all seemed to work. Of course Jack had used his vase battle experience in the design, and not listened to the other designers who were trying for pretty features.
He made his way back to his office and was notified that Captain Ahmed returned to duty, and now was headed back to the Moscow to take command of the first patrol group. George scanned through a list of suitable ships, picking out a few to complete the group. He had meant to do it earlier, but got distracted by the ship.
He walked to the bridge, seeing everyone working efficiently. The fleet was in position, ready if anything happened.
“Admiral, urgent message coming though,” the communications officer said. The statement cutting across the bridge, everyone stopping what they were doing, waiting.
“Put it though,” George calmly replied, maintaining control.
“Enemy ships approaching sector Z-5, repeat, enemy ships approaching sector Z-5,” the statement said.
George quickly brought up the space map, and the location of the fleets.
“Sir, what are your orders?” the captain asked.
George had an uneasy feeling about the report. Sector Z-5 was about as far away from Independence Station as one could get. He had another thought.
“Any word on how many ships are approaching?” George asked, looking at the communications officer.
“No sir,” he replied back.
George drummed his fingers on the console for a few seconds deep in thought. He could not ignore the report. If he sent too few ships, they could head to Earth, but if his gut was right, then this group was a diversion. Even to invade Earth, the path was too far out of the way. If it was a diversion, which was the target, Earth or Independence Station? If he sent the entire fleet, they would never make it back on time.
“Send the Calgary and Edmonton with their escorts to sector Z-5, and the rest of the fleet return to Independence Station,” George said, turning back to the map to study the tactical layout. From independence Station he could make it to Earth if the Skartians tried to invade there. Looking at the map he came up with a better idea. “Belay that last order, help, plot a course to sector L-8.”
He looked it over as the captain came over to look down as well. Sector L-8 was a group of asteroids perfect for hiding the fleet.
“Let HQ know the fleet is responding to the threat, and give the impression all of Fleet R is going,” George said.
“Yes sir,” the officer said, confused but carried out the order.
George hoped his gut was right.
“Admiral, we have a situation,” Greg said, running into the room.
“What’s up?” Jack asked, instantly alert by the tone of Greg’s voice.
“Startian ships approaching sector Z-5,” Greg said, handing over the report he had received.
“Damn, does Admiral Dinen know?” Jack asked, looked at Greg then at the note.
“Yes sir, he’s already moving Fleet R to engage the enemy,” Greg replied back to him.
“Good,” if they leave now they can intercept them before they get too far into our space,” Jack said. “Put all commands on Yellow alert, inform them what’s going on, and have the second battlecruiser squad ready to help.”
“Yes sir?” Greg said, pausing before he took off. “Will be headed to C-in-C, or staying here?”
“Tell them I’ll be there in a second, going to drop by Steve’s office first,” Jack told him, watching as Greg took off before heading over to Steve’s office.
He entered Steve’s office seeing him working on some report.
“You heard?” Jack asked, watching Steve look up at him.
“No, but seeing as you’re here, something big happened.”
“Skartian fleet in sector Z-5,” Jack replied, watching Steve’s face. His friend barely showed any emotion, almost relieved something had happened. “I’m on my way to C-in-C.”
“Be right with you,” Steve replied, standing, even as the station went to yellow alert. “I was wondering when they might make a move.”
“Yeah, know what you mean,” Jack said, as they headed towards the stairs and moved down a few levels passing by others who raced to their stations.
“Expecting trouble?” Steve asked, as another group walked by going up.
“Always,” Jack replied, as they reached the level and headed down to the C-in-C, reaching it a few seconds later.
Inside people rushed around and people manned their stations. Already Jack saw the increase in activity compared to other days.
“Status report people,” Jack stated, standing in the middle of the room.
“Fleet R has departed to intercept the Skartians, all other commands have been notified and on yellow alert,” the officer on duty replied.
“Good, now we see what they have up their sleeve,” Jack said, more to himself than anyone else. He put himself in the enemy’s position, what might they try, what moves. He sat there thinking while looking at the map before something struck him as odd.
“Something wrong?” Steve asked, standing beside him.
“Did all of Fleet R respond?” Jack asked, getting a confirmation they had. Jack looked at the map once more. “Something’s wrong Steve, sector Z-5 is too far away, take too long for a fleet to invade Earth, we’ll be able to respond easily, they have to know that.”
“A diversion?” Steve asked, as they both thought of the same thing.
“Yeah, but for what?” Jack asked, more to himself than to anyone else. He looked back over at the map trying to get a feel for what might be happening.
Jack watched the map nervously for the next half hour. Fleet R would engage the enemy fleet soon.
“Admiral, the captain of the Edmonton is reporting in,” one officer said.
“How many ships?” Jack asked, knowing that would indicate the status of the enemy move.
“They have engaged six ships, no heavy units,” the reply came back.
“Damn, where is the real fleet,” Jack asked, looking around.
“Sir, multiple contacts inbound,” the scanner officer said, surprising everyone in the room.
“What? Where?” Jack said, as the map was linked with the scanner. He looked seeing the ships were headed straight to Independence Station. “Time to contact?”
“Well, we know the target now,” Steve said grimly.
“Yeah, red alert, get me Admiral Dinen,” Jack ordered.
“Sir, unable to contact the Seydlitz, jamming,” the communications office replied.
“Get me Captain Ahmed, now,” Jack said, running out of options to defend the station, and if they were jamming them, a fleet might not move until it was too late. The first patrol fleet had been gathered, and not yet joined with Fleet R as the Moscow was still under repairs.
“Admiral,” Ahmed said, his face appearing on the screen.
“You know the situation?” Jack asked, watching Ahmed nod yes. “They are jamming our communications.”
“We can move out and engage the enemy as far away from the station as possible,” Ahmed said.
“Do it,” Jack replied. “Give the Moscow and any other ship clearance from the docks.”
Jack watched as the engines of the battlecruiser powered up. It’s engines were slightly under normal due to the repairs, but her shields were in place. He had the communications trying to contact one of the fleet but so far no luck. They were in for a big fight, one he hoped they survived.
The Skartian fleet advanced on the human station, only a token resistance force coming out to do battle, victory was theirs. They would please their masters with this victory. They were aware that their masters might be watching as well, they had a way of knowing what was going on in the Skartians Empire.
The masters watched the fleet move towards the human outpost, ready to be eliminated.
“Soon, we’ll be able to take over the universe, and this time, we won’t be denied,” one said to the others.
“Yes, once the humans fall, the last resistance to us will be gone,” a second one said. The cursed ones would not be able to stop them this time, they would fulfill their destiny this time.
“Skartian fleet closing in on Independence Station admiral,” the scanner operator said to George.
“Maintain radio silence,” Dinen said. He knew ignoring the hails from the station might result in a court-martial, but now maintaining that illusion was more important. Before the jamming began the Edmonton radioed only a handful of ships and with no heavy units the Calgary and Edmonton would be able to handle the situation easily.
With the news of the invading ships he realized his instincts proved correct.
“Moscow is heading out to intercept the Skartians.”
George knew the battlecruiser did not stand a chance, but with the Skartian’s focused on the enemy ahead, they would never know they were passing by close to them. The opportunity to attack was about to show itself.
“Order the first and third squads to begin their attack,” George said. The first and third were closest to the front of the invading Skartians. If they chose to try to retreat, the main body of Fleet R would be waiting for them. “Communications, inform other commands of an attack on independence Station, Fleet R is responding, there might be other points of invasion.”
George did not want any other fleet to try to respond in case the Skartians tried something else.
Jack and Steve watched the scanners and map as the Moscow made its way towards the enemy fleet. A token resistance force along with fighters from the station. Jack then noticed new contacts appearing near the asteroid belt.
“Identify the new contact?” Jack ordered, waiting a second before the identification of the ships appeared.
“Looks like a trap was set for our friends,” Steve said.
“Yeah, but how did he know?” Jack asked, unaware that the Skartians commander was just as confused.
On board the Skartian flagship the commander watched confused as several more human ships appeared in front of them. It was too soon for any ships to come help, and the diversion had worked, or at least that’s what their spying overheard.
In his confusion the Skartian fleet retreated, he wanted to organize and attack again.
On board the Seydlitz, Dinen watched the unfolding action.
“Sir, they’ve taken the bait and are heading this way,” one of the officers said.
“Good, wait till they’re within one hundred miles of the asteroid belt before moving out,” Dinen said.
He watched the fleet close distance quickly. Dinen had a feeling that the Skartians were fleeing, perhaps to move to a better position to counter attack this new threat. He would not give the Skartians that opportunity.
“All ships, open fire,” he said, as the main force of Fleet R moved out of the asteroids to block the path of the Skartians., who suddenly found themselves between two forces of human ships.
The Seydlitz moved forward, its main weapons opening fire at extreme range. Fighters from the carriers Saratoga, Zuikaku and Ark Royal moved forward to engage the enemy ships. With surprise on their side, and numbers Dinen felt confident of a victory, but kept an eye on the scanners for any other ships. If the Skartians had designed such a trap, they might a reserve plan as well.
Back on board the station Jack and Steve watched with relief at the appearance of Fleet R. Without Admiral Dinen’s swift action the station would have been lost. Jack’s decision to make the man the commander of Fleet R had been validated today. He had taken some flak for the decision, but not anymore.
The Moscow had retreated a bit from the battle, and would survive. A wise decision on Ahmed’s part to avoid battle with an already damaged ship.
“Well, that went nothing like I expected,” Steve said, as the battle wound down, a solid victory for them. The jamming had stopped and the other commands reported in nothing, leaving Jack feeling relieved. The main thrust of the attack had been beaten back.
“Let me know when the Seydlitz docks, I want to speak with Admiral Dinen,” Jack told them, then headed back to his office to review what happened.
Others, watching the battle, were not as pleased with the outcome as the humans were. They understood with the battle the enemy was gaining strength, a strength they could not allow them to understand. Their allies, the Skartians had been beaten.
With quiet determination, they understood they would have to become involved in this battle. The time for peace was over, blood would run throughout the galaxy.
End part 18
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