Lost Empire
Chapter 10

Derrick sat alone, he hadn't liked giving the ultimatum to Joseph, but he figured he needed to do something to get the Rangers to back off. Jumping out with trans-warp Derrick knew that no one would be able to follow or trace them. In orbit around Darius 4, a lifeless dried up dust ball; Derrick knew that no one really ever came here anymore. Derrick knew he had so much to do; he had to have the rest of the knowledge in the libraries. There was still the explosive charge attached to the astral fin near Zan's engine. There was still the mysterious message that Tempro had, plus the mystery of the 2 of the ships having been designated as the personality creators, one of whom he suspected was Shelby. There were just too many questions and few if any answers.

Looking at the head set again for the fifth time in the last 30 minutes, Derrick asked Shelby. "Shelby, I need to use the head set, there are far too many questions I need answers to. I want a full diagnostic on the system, Query, are all 7 buffers sufficient to intercept and quell and funnel the information at a more tolerable rate? Also, are the charge dampeners sufficient to prevent electrocution to the one wearing it?" Derrick had been through the diagrams and the design checking the apparatus numerous times.

"Comparing the apparatus to that which you used last time, I am showing that all buffers are working at 99.5%, all three charge dampeners are at 100%, also the added quick switch has been added, though I must warn you Derrick there are only certain times that you can use it. Only when you see a green light in the upper left quadrant is it safe to quick disconnect, any other time you will either suffer severe brain damage, or instant death."

"Thank you Shelby, I have to complete this," Derrick said as he sat and placed the head set over his ears. Again as it started it wasn't bad then the information started to flow faster, then faster yet. Looking to the left he still hadn't seen the light yet, good to keep that spot in focus in case. After what felt like an hour the information again started to gain speed. That's when Derrick started to notice that something was wrong, he still hadn't seen the light, or any opening. Derrick also noticed that the information was far beyond what he knew was in Shelby's library. Son of a bitch! Even this far into the future the traitors had found a way to try and kill him. Shelby was starting to get worried, Derrick had finished her library a short time ago but for some reason the apparatus was now pulling from the other ships, including Tempro which it shouldn't.

Delving into the link Shelby only found an empty room, following the link further she again found Derrick curled into a corner. It was at that moment she saw the sabotage, somehow there was a residual virus in one of the ships systems, a virus that could leave them all without Derrick. Remembering the disc from earlier Shelby had it in a receptacle within moments. As the blue healing stream of data washed over them, Derrick finally uncurled looking up he saw that Shelby had again saved him. "Thank you Shelby, where are we? I don't recognize this," Derrick asked.

A man about 25-30 appeared, "you are in my library, I'd say you've accessed almost half of it, my lord." The short cropped blonde hair, medium build man, with a smooth face said as he bowed.

"Tempro?" Derrick asked.

"I am glad you remembered me," looking at Shelby he stated, "thank you I owe you my life for the second time no... , third. My lord I was told that when you were here, to tell you, this is where you are supposed to be. You need to complete my records, it will be painful especially the last part. I was told you have to endure it, you'll see why."

Derrick looked at Tempro as if he was crazy, the pain had already started, shaking his head did that mean he was almost done with the extra huge library Tempro had? Then almost all clear thought vanished as the last few tens of thousands of files washed through his brain. Falling to the ... ground? He wasn't sure what it was nor did he care the visions and information he received made him feel as if it all were actually happening to him. All the pain he saw, all the pain he felt, Derrick thought was going to kill him then just as suddenly it was gone. Standing up Derrick could see things a lot clearer now, looking at Shelby he walked up to her and held her close. Though highly surprised Shelby groaned and leaned into him, finally she could touch him even if it was only in his mind it was heavenly. "I promise you Shelby, I will do all I can to recover your children, and possibly another of Mary's." Derrick told her.

Shelby gasp, "You know? How? There was never anything in the records about that; I don't... , " Derrick kissed Shelby effectively shutting her up eliciting another groan.

"I have to leave here soon, Shelby I find that I have feelings for you, I never thought I'd feel what I am, not after what the war destroyed in me, thank you." Derrick whispered.

Derrick pulled the head set off his head, there was a lot to do but armed with what he had now, it would be a lot easier. Looking at Shelby's hologram he smiled actually causing her to blush! Suddenly Derrick took over control tuning in the palace. "Mary, secondary emergency code enacted now! Epsilon, Mu, Epsilon, Rho, Gamma, Eta, Nu, Chi, Epsilon; confirm and enact." Derrick said.

Immediately Mary answered, "Epsilon, Mu, Epsilon, Rho, Gamma, Eta, Nu, Chi, Epsilon, confirmed and enacted. All batteries charged and ready, Republic capital targeted awaiting orders."

"Good keep a lock we may have need of a demonstration soon, I want no Ranger ships destroyed, nor Ranger personnel injured." Derrick ordered.

"It will be as you say my lord; I will await orders to destroy what you will. Mary answered.

In the Republic presidential palace, the corrupt president was soaking. 'What a day, ' he thought, 'the 10 he'd sent for execution had needed extra evidence to get rid of'. Sighing he knew he was going to have up the ante on the council possibly get rid of them, though that would be messy and expensive.

The hollow sound of running footsteps drew his attention to the door, "President Maury! President Maury!" His assistant was screaming sounding like a scared little girl. Sighing the president stepped out of the huge sauna/bath naked and waited as the little man threw the doors open. "President M... , oh my!" the assistant said eyeing the president's naked body, what he wouldn't give to take... , shaking his head he spoke up. "President Maury! We have an active scan from the old empire palace, sir it has trained every weapon on the empire world upon this building!"

"WHAT!? The planetary shields will take care of that." The president said waving the little man away.

"I'm sorry sir but," the little man was shaking.

"But what?! We have far more power than the old empire ever did." Maury said not really worried he'd spent a fortune getting the best, nothing could get to him now.

"All the science officers say that the shields are nothing, the empire palace alone possess 100 times more power than Republic capital world does. If they fire sir," here the little man shook not sure if it was the nakedness of the president or the fear he was feeling. "They could destroy the entire planet!"

The president's face blanched, "call the entire fleet, and have them begin bombardment of the ancient empire planet! Destroy it before it can destroy us!" The assistant bowed low looking lovingly at the president's body then left.

Mary was monitoring every communication out of the Republic world, when she saw the order she smiled. Finally the pitiful excuse for a ruling class would be shown just how insignificant and inconsequential they truly were. As per the second emergency code Mary started to target not only the Republic world but every ship of theirs within 2 light years. Derrick was receiving updates constantly, Shelby was impressed that Derrick was adapting as fast as he was. Sighing Derrick knew that there was a major confrontation coming and soon it would be better if he found more ships but at present he had to wait for Tempro and the message before he moved on it. For some strange reason Derrick felt, no he knew he HAD to hear the message before he did anything else. In orbit on the far side of Darius 3, an older man flipped 3 switches and smiled, almost time to be a hero boy. Shaking his head he caressed the long scar on his leg, activating another set of switches a miniature hologram appeared looking at him lovingly, the man nodded then the little ship jumped without moving.

"Derrick," a startled Shelby said. "I just discovered a program buried extremely deep within my records. I've never seen it before, yet records show that it has been there since I was built."

"Is it a danger to you or the others?" Derrick asked.

"No, it appears to be specifically to disarm almost all destructive programs and devices." A shocked sounding Shelby stated.

"WHAT!?" What the hell was going on? He was never this lucky or fortunate; nothing EVER just fell into his lap like this. Looking the program over it was almost the same as the one he'd been working on for weeks. "Zan, I think we have the program ready to remove the charge from you. Are you ready to try?"

Zan's hologram appeared bowing low, "for you my lord I'd carry it and risk destruction, though my lord I believe I have detected another problem."

What the hell now? Derrick thought then shook his head he knew something would go wrong it always did. "Explain Zan."

"It appears that the device is now a part of the fin, it will have to be removed and I am afraid none of us have the ability or equipment to do this." Zan said.

"I see," stated Derrick, "I need to prepare, and then I'll advise all of you what I want you to do."

Shelby and the others started to protest when Derrick looked at all of them, "Executive order, Omega-Omega-1 I will take care of this."

All the holograms froze they hadn't heard an order this serious in almost 1000 years, bowing they all sadly stated, "Yes my lord we hear and obey." Shelby started to protest though she'd heard the order.

"No Shelby, I HAVE to do this; if I don't then I don't deserve to wear the crown of the emperor." Derrick whispered.

Tears were starting to fall freely from Shelby's eyes, "no Derrick please, there has to be another way, there has to be!"

"I've considered everything there is no other way, if I don't remove it we are all in danger, even as you risk your life for me will I risk mine for you, I told you I have feelings for you, feelings that died from all the killing, from everything they made me do. I owe you a debt I can truly never even begin to repay, but I will every remaining day of my life." Derrick said dead serious, this in itself shocked Shelby.

Derrick began to pack several pieces of equipment from his ship, and then went over readings from Zan's effected section. Hmmm so the device packed an explosive force of 25 x 4.184 gigajoules, powerful enough to punch a substantial hole in the side of Zan and almost anything within ten thousand miles, it also seemed to be laced with something else that could amplify the blast. It appeared that the further from Zan it was the weaker it was, a good thing to remember. Finally ready an hour later, Derrick transferred to Zan. The young man, still in overalls appeared as soon as Derrick began to move to the air lock closest to the astral fin.

"Though we are under the executive order I still must protest, my lord," Zan stated. "If you are lost it would mean disgrace for all of us, we would no longer be able to function."

"I know that Zan, but you are, all the ships are as important to me as I am to you. I have to do this or I won't feel I am near worthy to lead you and the others." Derrick stated.

Zan's face began to show the pride he felt for Derrick, as far as he was concerned Derrick WAS the emperor. "I will do all I can to protect you my Lord, up to and including giving my existence."

"With the skills I possess I am hoping nothing like that will be necessary, when I have removed the device, I want you on the other side of the others. The further away the better, it appears the device is triggered to amplify the blast the closer to you it is." Derrick advised Zan.

Bowing his head Zan then nodded. "I will do as you say my Lord." Exiting the ship Derrick looked around at the side of the ship, the skin was odd but this close up he could see it was well armored. Slowly he made his way up the side of Zan, already as far back as he could go it was still a bit of a walk to get to the fin.

"Shelby, Zan monitor the device let me know if there are any changes." Derrick said when he was half way to it.

3/4 of the way there he suddenly got a call, "Derrick I am reading a slight change in the charge it appears to being enabling itself to arm." Zan advised.

"Alright Zan, I want you to load the program, after its run completely, notify me." Derrick ordered.

"Derrick there is a small maintenance thruster on that suit, please remember that is only a class 2 suit, it won't offer as much protection as a class one if the device explodes. You also have a temporary shield good for approximately 60 seconds please use it if necessary." Shelby advised.

"Thank you Shelby I'll try and remember that," Derrick replied.

"Program complete Derrick," Zan told him.

"Ok, advancing." Derrick said as he began to scramble toward the fin faster. Drawing a strange cutting torch from his pack Derrick began to cut at the fin, thankfully it was specifically designed to cut the living metal. Finally loose Derrick pulled the device about a meter and a half long loose, Derrick firmly grasped it then pushed off, turning he watched Zan jump away, the wake of the trans-warp propelling him away faster.

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