Lost Empire
Chapter 8

A part of this chapter was inspired by an idea that Baron Rod and I collaborated on late one night after he read Chapter 7 I thought it added quite a bit to the story.

Shelby had engaged the hyper-drive as soon as she could, almost immediately 2 of the remaining Ranger ships gave chase.

"Status Shelby," Derrick asked groaning trying to sit up and get off the bio-bed.

"At present we have 2 of the remaining 3 operative First Class Ranger ships giving chase; I estimate that we will be out of their sensor range in 25 minutes 33 seconds." Shelby reported. "DERRICK!" Shelby yelled, "you are still too unstable to attempt to stand. Please rest 'til such time the bio-bed has allowed you to exit." Derrick grumbled but lay back down, watching as they quickly out distanced the following ships.

"Are you picking up any transmissions from the Rangers?" Derrick asked.

"Yes Derrick, apparently the commanding officer of the ship that fired on us has been taken into custody." Shelby reported. "They are trying to speculate as to who we are, no one has said anything, and they are still calling us an extremely fast ship, attacked without provocation. Apparently they are preparing an apology for us for the offense, and that no charges will be brought up against us." The mouth of the Shelby hologram dropped open. "They want us to come to the Republic capital for it."

Derrick growled, there was no way in hell that he was EVER going near that den of iniquity again. Shelby noticed that Derrick's heart rate and pulse had increased.

"Derrick, are you alright? I am detecting your heart beating faster and massive amounts of adrenaline being released by your body." Shelby asked a little afraid.

"I will be Shelby; the Capital is a place I want to never be in or near ever again." Derrick spit out his anger growing more by the second. "I was disgraced through the streets when I refused to re-enlist; I was their greatest hero 'til I refused to kill for those asinine pricks anymore. If I could I'd destroy the entire city and every THING that claims to be alive there." For a moment, Shelby was shocked at the sudden burst of anger from Derrick, but then she remembered the many atrocities that she had seen in Derrick's head. Most by the other Republic troops, Derrick had tried to keep his self out of it to no avail. No wonder Derrick's anger is so great she thought, those were horrible things that he and his men had been forced to do.

Sighing she wondered how Derrick had stayed sane in all that time, how he had managed to remain a decent person. It would be several hours before the bio-bed was going to release him, Derrick decided to get an update.

"Shelby, any word from Conner?" He asked.

"The last I had from him was that he'd arrived at the point the others were and was tri-angling our position, though we are almost 1/10 of the way to where he left the others. I estimate it will take 6 days, 10 hours 30 minutes to get there." Shelby reported.

"I am afraid that taking the first 2 might have over taxed his trans-warp generators. We may have to reach them with hyper-drive, though I am anxious for all of us to be together." Derrick admitted.

"As am I Derrick. As weak as the others were, they are so defenseless out there; even Conner is only 50% with his weapons. If he has lost trans-warp then it will indeed be some time 'til we are reunited. I estimate it will be another 35 hours 15 minutes 20 seconds 'til my own trans-warp is operational." Shelby sadly said. Nodding Derrick went through the reports and damage reports of Shelby's systems.

Derrick had been studying her system schematics for almost an hour when he began to get an idea. "Shelby can you generate any Critela particles at all?" He asked.

"Calculating now, also running diagnostics. It appears that I can produce a small amount of the particles, but I cannot sustain them for a prolonged period." Shelby answered.

"Query Shelby," Derrick asked. "If you release the Critela into your trans-warp generators, at 1 minute intervals, I am seeing a chance to increase re-gen of the generators by 33%."

"Calculating now, yes I am seeing a 32.9% increase in re-gen of generators. Though this plan of action has great merit I can only produce the particles every minute for an hour, then I would need 30 minutes to start the process again. Under these conditions the re-gen time would be reduced from 35 hours, 10 minutes, 29 seconds to 24 hours, 3 minutes, 33 seconds." Shelby replied.

"Alright," Derrick sighed, "it will have to do, we need to re-establish contact with Conner and the others. Shelby I want you to call all of them on every frequency you can that won't alert the Rangers or others to their and our location.

The hologram of Shelby's eyes grew wide; this was something she hadn't even thought of. If they were monitoring as she thought they should be, then there was a greater chance of contacting them. Shelby began the long process of cycling through all the frequencies sending out a message that only the others would understand and reply to.

Finally, an hour later the bio-bed released Derrick, finally able to get up he started to go through all the readings he had on Conner the last time he'd seen him. A few minutes later, he saw what he thought he might. The strain of taking the first 2 had once again damaged his generators. Damn it Derrick thought, I'm going to have to apologize to him when I see him again, I just hope that my impatience didn't get him destroyed again. It was only a few minutes later that Shelby got a response to all her calls.

"Derrick!" Shelby called to him, "I've got a response from Conner and Lucy!"

"Let's hear it," Derrick told her.

"Primary, Shelby it is good to hear that you are both well. It was almost as you feared Primary the strain was too much, only moments after I emerged with Lucy my trans-warp failed. I am sorry I have failed you Primary," Conner apologized.

"No, it is I who put you in danger Conner, Shelby and I should have trans-warp within a day. I am sorry I pushed you to that maneuver, losing your trans-warp twice in 5 days, it is a bit much." Derrick said.

"Oh no Primary, it is an honor to do everything I can for you, please sire, allow me to serve you again as soon as I can." Conner begged.

Derrick was a little shocked then looked over at Shelby who was hiding her face turned away. "Shelby, I want to know right now," Derrick said as soon as Conner was gone. "What have you found out? I want to know everything NOW!" Derrick ordered. Shelby straightened up at the authority that was in his voice, then she sighed all the fears that she'd had before resurfaced.

"Yes Derrick," Shelby said sadly. "Over a week ago I took a bit of your DNA. I was starting to have suspicions as to your identity. Too many things coincided with the stories we had heard about the cousin

of the emperor that had been hidden and the circumstances surrounding you and your family."

"Alright I'm with you so far," Derrick said.

"Since I do not have all the Ribonucleic acid sequences that I needed to run proper tests on your DNA, I contacted the Palace A.I." Shelby said becoming more and more fearful.

"Go on," Derrick prompted her.

"Mary, the Palace A.I. sent me the proper RNA sequence, telling me exactly how to do the test." Shelby said her lip quivering.

"Ok, so did you find anything?" Derrick said though, for some reason, he had a feeling he knew what Shelby was going to reveal.

"When I contacted her the second time I had the results but was confused by them, though Mary soon cleared them up." Shelby said. Derrick had been nodding most of the way through the conversation but now sat up his own curiosity now peeked.

"What was Mary's take on what you had found?" Derrick asked.

Sighing Shelby stated, "Mary said that there was a 95.333% probability that you are a descendant of the Imperial line, the only one she has seen in 200 years. I also advised her that I took you DNA without your permission, that you might be angry with me." Here Shelby lowered her head as tears fell from her eyes. "I am so sorry Derrick; I had to find out, I am sorry I took it without your permission." For a few moments there was only the sound of Shelby sobbing in the control room.

"Shelby," Derrick said softly, "why would I be angry at you? I did ask you to find out what you could. However, for the moment this news is a little disturbing. Do you have the power to contact Mary?" Derrick asked.

Shelby looked up shock apparent on her face. "Yes I do Derrick, though I can't guarantee that it will be a very clear transmission."

"It's alright; I need to do this before we do anything else." Derrick said a look of concentration on his face.

Shelby started to tune to the extremely high frequency for Mary, "Palace A.I., this is EIG-0101F code alpha-339, beta-229, delta-119, gamma-009, omega-stop. Subject of test wishes to speak to you." This time there were several minutes before she was finally answered.

"EIG-0101F, code alpha-339, beta-229, delta-119, gamma-009, omega-stop, again confirmed. Thank you Shelby I have been anxious to speak to your Primary Derrick." Mary replied.

Derrick stepped up and cleared his throat; he had to get this right, just like his grandfather had told him. "Hello Mary, I was told that if I ever spoke to a Mary dealing with the palace I was to recite this."

"Please continue," Mary stated.

"Mary, I am Derrick O'Toma descendant of Thomas Tomalley, Alpha-010A beta-020b, delta-030d, gamma-030ga, Omega-050oo2, confirm." Derrick said.

"Derrick O'Toma, Alpha-010A beta-020b, delta-030d, gamma-040ga, Omega-050oo2, confirm. Section 1 complete, I await section 2 confirmation." Mary said though Derrick could hear the excitement in her voice.

"I was told to wait a day before giving section 2 confirmation, at present I should have all but Imperial access. I need you to start collecting all the information you can, to start taking down all those that will oppose the ascension of the new emperor." Derrick said trying to repeat everything his grandfather had told him.

"It will be as you wish my lord, 'til tomorrow unless you have further orders for me." Mary said happily.

Smiling a moment Derrick could think of a million things he'd like her to do but they were just things that wouldn't really help in the coming days. "No not at this time, but please have all defenses ready I want everything checked and rechecked I fear there was a traitor or two in the court. I fear that there may be sabotage to your systems." Derrick ordered.

Mary was shocked a moment but started to check, "it will be done sire."

"When I call to confirm, let me know what you have found, then I can help you deal with them." Derrick said.

"It will be as you say sire, I eagerly await the second half of the royal code." Mary said happily switching off. Derrick had to sit down though he'd been almost expecting something like this; it still came as a shock that all the crazy shit his grandfather had spouted actually, was in fact the truth. Tears threatened to cloud his eyes; grandfather, I am so sorry for ever doubting you thank you for taking the time to tell me all the stories you had.

Shelby herself was in shock not only did her primary know the royal code but also was part of the imperial line. Then it hit her that she was going to lose him, he was the next emperor and wouldn't have time to be on the ship anymore.

Already she'd found 3 sabotaged parts of her systems only 2 she'd been able to disarm. Mary continued on the rest of the day running over all her systems, in all she'd found 103 sections of her programming that had been set for deletion of which she could only remove 93. Upon completion of a second pass with a newer program, not many knew of, she found another 50, here though she had more success removing 49 of them. Although angered at first she smiled at the fact that Derrick had shown that great of concern for her. Thinking for a moment she remembered the ancient recording she had, re-opening it she soon found the program that had been sent to her. Playing the recording again she started the program feeling it run through her system cleaning all of the adverse programming out of her, plus it added a few healthy upgrades that she loved the feeling of.

Derrick got a shivering feeling again, thinking of the things his grandmother had told him. Derrick finally had the head set adjusted that there was no danger to use it and though he desired the rest of the files, he was still a little afraid to use it. "Shelby," he said having finally made up his mind. "I need to gather the last of the files in your library, with all the improvements we've made it should be completely safe."

"Though I know you desire more knowledge, I am still afraid that you might overload again."

"Shelby I have to, there are still too many unanswered questions that I have, that neither you or your brothers and sisters can answer. Besides with you there to monitor me I should be more than safe enough." Derrick said trying to convince himself as well as Shelby.

"I realize that Derrick, but if you are injured than I would be guilty of killing or letting die the last Emperor. I'm not sure I could survive with that knowledge." Shelby was almost whispering.

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