Lost Empire
Chapter 15

Derrick was fighting to open his eyes ugh! He felt like he'd been kicked a few times and possibly run over. For some strange reason he felt he needed to be mad at Mary when he woke up but for the life of him he couldn't seem to remember why. It was at that moment he noticed that he was far more tired than he usually was. Mary and Shelby went over his readings again, the nanomites were working at 100% to boost his energy levels. Mary was starting to worry a bit that she and Shelby had performed the procedure far too soon. Problem was Mary had done it many times and had never had a subject not come out better or quickly.

Shelby was half tempted to delve back in, the kiss Derrick had given her had held a lot more meaning to her than the last. Touching her lips again she watched as Mary ran through several scenarios trying to figure out why Derrick hadn't awoken yet. Mary wasn't blind to the fact that Shelby was far more worried about Derrick than a mere A.I. should be. Softly Mary examined Shelby's circuits hmmm interesting Shelby was far more alive than Mary had at first thought. Reaching out she found that the others were at 8% they had almost independent mobility. Shocked a moment Mary looked at Derrick in a new light. So the emperor was a far more trusting soul than any of the previous emperor's. Shaking her head she contacted Tempro she had to do something for him, something that hadn't been attempted in well over 900 years.

It had been almost a day and a half when Derrick jerked awake. What the hell was he doing on the bunk, the last thing he remembered was ... smirking he knew she'd go a long ways to protecting him but this was a little far even for her. Stretching out his 6'2'' frame Derrick rubbed the scar on his leg, he needed to finish up so he could get things going. The addition of 2 more ships would most definitely be an added power advantage when he started to go against the nobles. They'd enjoyed free reign for far too long and needed to be brought to heel, smiling Derrick felt he was the perfect one for the job. He needed to get this fleet back in shape first, and then he could start to think about looking into the many injustices he'd heard of.

Shelby appeared at his side a moment later, "feeling a lot better Derrick?" She asked her almost ever present smile on her face.

Thinking a moment Derrick chose his words carefully, "Yes I do Shelby though I think I could have done without the shock treatment," Derrick chuckled.

"I am sorry Derrick; it was the only way she could get you to listen to her. You had pushed yourself past the point of exhaustion, she felt under the mandates she had no other choice." Shelby explained.

Sighing Derrick knew she was right but there were times, he had no choice himself, but to push like that. He had accomplished many a great thing with him doing that.

Anyway I look at it, I think Mary needs to take a look at the record of the many things I have done. Just because I am exhausted does it mean that I am in any type of danger.

"Shelby, have you..." Derrick started.

"Yes Derrick, she has been hooked to my generators for 4 days, now she should emerge in almost an hour. Derrick?" Shelby asked excited.

"Is something wrong Shelby?" Derrick asked.

Shelby was silent only a moment then rushed her answer, "I have determined that this is Zan's wing mate, 1000, is it possible to have him answer her when she awakens?"

Derrick thought a moment this was a welcome bit of news from what he'd read the two wing mates acted better together than they had when he was linked to the ships. "I think that would be an excellent idea, they have after all been apart a very long time. Have..."

A moment later Zan's hologram appeared beside Shelby, "you wished to see me sire?" He said as he bowed.

"It appears that we have located your wing mate, I wish for you to be here when she awakens, I hope that I am there though. This new device I am testing may further help with problems like you had on your fin. As a matter of fact your problem may have helped to furnish the idea for the solution." Derrick told the now shocked but proud image.

"Thank you sire I think she will appreciate it also. I know it was a shock when I heard you and not a more familiar voice, sorry sire I don't mean to insult." Zan apologized

"It's fine considering the shock of suddenly being alive again." Derrick told him.

Shelby appeared, "Sorry to interrupt but it is Rear Admiral Hartwell." She advised Derrick.

"Open the channel let's see him and let him see my eyes again." Derrick told her.

"Channel open, all adjustments made Derrick." Shelby replied.

"I say again to the emperor, we have retrieved the president and his ship. Please advise as to action to take." Derrick heard Hartwell's voice.

"Hello again Rear Admiral, I am glad you called. Under imperial law and mandates he would normally stand trial but as you have read, as I know you have brushed up on imperial law. The attempted assassination of the emperor carries an immediate death sentence which I am sorry to say I have been lax in carrying out. Please advise your high command and your command that I will make an appearance on the imperial world to carry out said execution in 2 days. Until such time, could the Rangers please imprison him? At the moment I am on the other side of the galaxy."

"Thank you sire for clearing that up. Now as to the crew of the ship and his assistant?" Hartwell asked.

"Truth scan them all; if they didn't know about the missile let them go, but they are to be grounded a year. As for the assistant I am sure there is more than meets the eye with that one, hold him for now." Derrick said.

"Thank you sire," Hartwell said with a wink, "I'll let you know as soon as I receive word from both."

Derrick laughed, so little Joey had impressed them it seemed good, though they might not be as pleased if they knew that Little Joey and the emperor were good friends. Then again they just might be terrified. Derrick tried to sit up and suddenly realized that he was indeed weaker than he'd at first thought.

"Derrick!" Shelby shouted as Derrick nearly fell to the floor. "You could at least wait for me to be there to catch you when you hit the floor!" she said as she chuckled.

Derrick's head snapped up damn! That was sarcasm! Chuckling to himself a moment, he felt better that meant that her circuits were closer to being free than he at first thought.

"So you're turning into a smart ass now huh?" Derrick said as Shelby began to giggle.

"I thought you liked me like this," she said slyly. Man Derrick thought I think I created a monster, but a monster I wouldn't give anything for.

"Shelby, the explosives that are attached to the brain box we are at present trying to restore. Query, I know that the boxes are supposed to be indestructible, but at present can the force of the explosives harm the case in any way?"

"Scanning now; it appears that the case is in fact totally intact. Though the charges are attached to the exterior, I am not reading enough force to damage the box, though I am afraid it would be sufficient to devastate a ship from the inside." Shelby told him.

Derrick nodded taking a few more readings, "Is it possible to use IMT to place my enhancers in the correct positions?"

"At present it would prove to be difficult to place them in precise position, given the present movement. Plus without precise coordinates it might prove to be an unsound risk." Shelby reported. Derrick sat back a few more minutes to allow his head to clear.

There had to be a way to position them without blowing himself or a ship to pieces. "How long..."

"I would say that she should be aware in a few hours, her case was untouched and her energy is still at full." Shelby advised Derrick.

"Good, Shelby, do you really think it is advisable to have Zan answer her when she awakes? I am afraid that he might become emotionally unable to perform when we need him the most." Derrick asked her.

"I believe that this would go farther to promote his self value than you think, plus as stated before it would be better to hear a voice one has heard before. As the emperor it could be a little overwhelming to hear the emperor's voice when one first awakens, some might even see it as a punishment." Shelby told him.

"Hmm I see your point, alright since we now have a more enhanced system for finding them, it might, as you say, prove beneficial. The simple fact that we found two more EIG's this fast is most advantageous and give me much hope for finding them," here Derrick's voice broke from the pain he still felt, "and Lucy."

Shelby nodded as fresh tears began to fall from her eyes, she was extremely grateful that she'd heard Derrick that day months ago.

"I have also been thinking about the problem of the enhancers, Query, is it possible to stop the movement of the box without physically touching it?" Derrick asked.

Shelby was quiet only a moment then her eyes opened wide, "I believe it is Derrick, the same tow beam I used on the pirates could be adjusted to slow and stop the motion of the case. I do believe that it would only require lessening the power of the beam to ensure that nothing is crushed or damaged."

Derrick's eyes grew wide as he went through the beam specifications it was more than feasible, "Shelby..."

"I began changes to the system a few moments ago I estimate it will take another 45 minutes 34 seconds to recalibrate to the specifications you are needing." Shelby said again answering before Derrick could even ask.

Shaking his head he should have known she wasn't going to stop just from him asking.

"Now all I have to do is figure a way of delivering the enhancers around the case without blowing everything up." Derrick said more to his self than Shelby.

Shelby herself had been trying to think of something, the mere fact that she could do this was a shock in its self. Though the fact that she might actually be able to help thrilled her to know end.

On board Tempro several machines were running at the present moment, "Mary, mother, I am not so sure of this. I do not want the new emperor to become angry with me when he finds out what we are trying to do. You know it was banned after so many failed attempts that ended with horrible results." Tempro almost begged of Mary.

"Tempro," Mary started, "for all he has done, for all that you and I know he can accomplish he will need this, he will need her."

"I realize this, all of this, but we both know it is wrong and in the words of the human race immoral." Tempro again was almost pleading with Mary.

"If we don't even attempt this then we are no better than the masses that were the Republic. Do YOU want to see the most glorious empire reduced to that?!" Mary questioned Tempro.

"No, but we have to proceed with more than extreme care, if it appears to have failed we need to terminate, finishing that form would be cruel and I know you are not that mother. Please don't make me go through that again the last time was almost too much for me and the crew, remember we lost half after the first failed set." Tempro told Mary.

"I remember," Mary whispered hearing the screams and agony.

Derrick had been sitting at his desk for several hours trying to come up with a solution to the problem. Laying his head on the desk he began to go back through everything that had happened to him over the last 6 or so months. The meeting of Shelby, finding that the detection system that so many had called useless could actually find the ships. The battles to protect the galaxy, the losses and near losses, the love, and trust he felt from and for the ships and their A.I.'s. Then there had been the two strange messages from his, he guessed, future self the second most profound. The first though had something in it that still seemed to bug Derrick if it really was his future self then yeah it made sense, what was it? Derrick had almost fallen asleep when he heard part of the first message again: 'Rest the answer will come, it always does, and it's always that simple.' Snapping his head up Derrick was shocked at the simple things he'd been thinking of my god, was it really that simple?

Leaping from the desk Derrick went running to the command deck. "Shelby! I may have an answer!" Derrick was screaming as he entered the command deck. Once again Shelby was shocked she hadn't expected to see Derrick for a while longer.

"Shelby!" Derrick yelled again.

"I'm here Derrick is everything alright?" A worried Shelby asked him.

"I may have an answer; remember the thruster pack I used when I removed the device from Zan's fin?" Derrick questioned her.

At first she only nodded then her eyes flew wide, "Under the mandates I am afraid that Mary and I cannot allow you to place yourself in danger like that again." Shelby sternly told him.

Derrick drew back a moment, God! She was completely serious! "No I have something far less dangerous than that, I also do not wish to be in that position again. I was thinking of a mini thruster pack on each enhancer that could be maneuvered into place, with you controlling them in should prove a far better way to place them."

"Hmmmm this plan has much merit," Mary said behind Derrick making him jump a bit. Both Mary and Shelby giggled when Derrick had to sit a moment to calm down. "I calculate that this plan has a 95.6% completion chance. This plan I find far more acceptable than the last that involved you risking your life." Mary told him after a few minutes. "Though I believe that we will have to increase the fuel that it carries and add 3 more burn tubes."

Derrick started checking all the specifications and started to add the additional equipment, the whole time Mary watched closely as did Shelby. Finally finished Derrick sat back more than pleased by the design he'd come up with.

Mary's head was nodding at the design she was more impressed by the emperor's detail to the design.

"I believe you're right Mary these extra tubes will give us more stopping force, plus I think the extra weight might actually be easier to calculate fuel wise." Derrick told her.

"Production has already started on them Derrick," Shelby told him sweetly.

"We need to stop the box and mark where it is, I have a promise to Zan to keep," Derrick stated.

"Oh you're right Derrick she should be emerging very soon, you also have that execution tomorrow," she reminded him.

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