Cold, it was deadly cold, shivering the man tried to move but found that almost every bone in his body was broken or fractured. Reaching in he began to use his training to deaden almost all the pain, then began to painstakingly drag his body to the escape capsule. A small smile briefly crossed his lips, that bastard was going to pay dearly for what he’d done. It might not be all that soon but he would pay that was for sure. Finally in the capsule he looked back at the destruction, they were all dead, the ship was lost and would be forever as would he, if he didn’t evacuate.
The capsule detached still moving with the ship, barely able to reach out the man flipped several switches as the ship flashed away then back into trans-warp space. Going through the star charts he saw that he was several parsecs outside the galaxy. Starting the limited trans-warp, the man knew that this would take a few days; looking at his oxygen he reduced his breathing and the O2 usage. Smiling this would gain him several days, enough to make it to the galactic rim.
Derrick, Hartwell, and Thomas appeared in the throne room, several of those present bowed, and saluted. “Mary, were you able to keep a lock on the ship?” Derrick asked hoping that she knew where it was.
“For a short time sire, it has been in and out of trans-warp for the last hour though the time out of it is decreasing more and more. I estimate it will appear one more time then, it won’t be able to re-enter regular space again.” Mary advised them. There was a sudden beeping as Mary turned her attention to it. “I am detecting an escape pod though at this distance I am not reading any life signs.”
“Alright try to keep an eye on it and we’ll see what develops, let me know if you pick up anything. We need to start planning an assault on the new sect’s world; they can’t be allowed to try again. Nor can I allow them to re-establish themselves.” Derrick told Mary and Hartwell.
“Sire I believe that Conner and I could make short work of the planet,” Thomas suggested.
“No, as of yet we don’t know just how far their tech is advanced, they might have other weapons like the nullifier ray that they hit us with.” Derrick advised Thomas who was nodding at the decision that Derrick had made. “I’ve had Mary doing scans as deep as she can on the world the rest escaped to, we should have more conclusive details soon.”
A few moments later Kimison’s image appeared before them, “I am afraid that the energy that they are utilizing blocks more than 40% of all scans. It has both I and Mary perplexed, I have attempted to adjust and have only gained an additional 1%.”
Suddenly another hologram appeared, “It’s alright sire, they are just worry warts, and I should be able to gain at least another 10% in an hour or two.”
“You’re still doing it I swear, nothing I do is good enough you have to tinker it up.” Kimison spit out.
“It’s not my fault that you can’t see...” started Rayburn.
“Alright you two enough,” Derrick said to both of them. “I really need you two to work together like you did in the unit. We don’t have time for either of your useless fights.” Derrick raised his hand to keep the two quiet. “I need both of you ok? Not a pair of badgering old women!”
Both men lowered their heads and answered, “Yes Sire.”
“I am depending on both of you to solve this problem the way you two used to. That’s why I went after both of you, no one was better at it than the both of you together.” Derrick told them hoping that the little pep talk caused them to bond better. “Now then if you two are through bickering we have a lot of work to do.”
“Yes Sire,” They both replied trying to not look at Derrick or each other.
“Find a way into the damn place! I want the end of that sect before they can try again.” Derrick instructed them.
Both of the men nodded then disappeared, Hartwell was smiling broadly beside Derrick. “Ah just like old times!”
Derrick looked at him like he was crazy then he started to smile also. “I always had to rein those two in, weren’t they always fighting unless I was there?”
“Pretty much, but it only took a word from you to get them together to work out whatever was wrong. As I remember they always came out with a maximum solution to the problem also.” Hartwell replied.
“True but...” Derrick started, then an alert was going off from his wrist com. “Yes Shelby, is it time?”
“Yes Derrick, she should emerge any time now. Should I bring you back onboard?” Shelby asked.
Looking around Derrick was trying to decide whether right now would be a good time. Finally, “Yes Shelby for a little bit. Mary, watch over everything and advise me if you are in need of me.”
Mary nodded then sighed, as she thought, the least little thing and he’d be off. It was going to be a true challenge to protect this Emperor.
Derrick appeared a moment later on the bridge of Shelby, “Alright let’s prepare for her.”
A moment later there was a crackling noise then a female voice was heard, “Hello? Where am I?”
Shelby stepped in, “Hello 0798, you are onboard me, finishing your re-gen cycle.”
“I see, are there many left? There weren’t but about ten left in my last memory.” 0798 said.
“At present we number six including you, though we have another eight that are in various stages of re-gen or holding for regen.” Shelby advised the voice.
“I see mother, you have found a way to bring the fleet back. I know that this makes you very happy as it does me.” The voice told Shelby.
“Actually it was the new emperor that discovered a way to detect our brain boxes as he calls them.” Shelby advised the voice.
“I see, I hope that you aren’t displeased with me mother, I fought as hard as I could.” The now whispering voice told Shelby.
“No I am not, neither is the emperor, he wishes to speak to you.” Shelby told the voice.
There was a soft gasp then, “Yes, is he with you mother? I thought he’d be at the palace.”
“I am at times, 0798 I am Emperor O’Toma. I wish all ships to go by the name that was given them. Please what is yours?” Derrick asked.
“I was called Celeste Sire.” Celeste told Derrick.
“Good then you shall be Celeste from now on. As soon as you are fully grown you will make a grand addition to the fleet.” Derrick told Celeste with a smile.
“Oh thank you Sire, I will do my best for you and the empire!” Came her happy reply.
“I know that every one of you that we gain, will add to the power and beauty of the empire,” Derrick told Celeste. “Now then Shelby...”
“Yes Derrick I have already moved 0667 into bay two after transferring 0097 into bay one,” Shelby said then giggled at the look of fake exasperation on Derrick’s face. Well mostly fake anyway.
“Good, how long do you...” Derrick started.
“I’d say at least another four or five days ‘til he emerges though with the energy upgrades you had me install, it may be a day earlier. Shelby advised Derrick. Derrick could only nod as he was somewhat lost in thought about possibly accelerating the process more. He still had to run more simulations first, they didn’t need any setbacks at this stage of the game.
Tempro was looking over all the data that he’d collected in the last few months; for all intents and purposes he was actually done with the organic part of this. Well at least the growing of the organic part of this was finished now he had to have help with the transfer part. Shaking his head he was nearly lost looking at the only data that was available on it. They had been concentrating on the organics for so long they’d all but forgotten the transfer part.
Mary appeared a few moments later, “You had a report for me Tempro?” She asked as soon as he turned to her.
“Yes mother, I have finally grown an organic to full maturation. All readings indicate that it is stable and ready for transfer when we have perfected it. Mother I have so little data on the procedure; I am at a loss as to where to really begin. I am afraid that I will require assistance with this part of it.” Tempro told Mary hanging his head.”I am sorry that I have failed you mother.”
“No son, not failure, just inadequate data to convey the process to a final conclusion,” here Mary smiled. “I have another that I feel will be more than eager to help us complete this project, especially when we tell him what it is for, and whom. If that is not enough we have another that could assist also, I will have them here in a few cycles. In the mean time I want you to expand as much as you can on the little you have.”
Tempro thought for a few moments then started to smile, yes they just might be what was needed they were fiercely loyal to the emperor. The more he thought about it the more he smiled yes, this could work indeed! “Alright mother but we need to get started on this as soon as possible. We are so far behind compared to the organic part it may take years to get where we need to be. I know that the emperor has accelerated and advanced his brain far beyond any other that I have ever seen. Mother are you sure that they can do it? Perhaps they might also need the acceleration of their brains?”
Mary’s smile disappeared a moment as she contemplated this, hmmm Tempro might be right but how would they react to once again being smarter than the emperor? Would they in fact try to take the empire or would they remain loyal still?
Tempro watched the emotions play across his mother’s face, he didn’t even want to try and guess what was going on in her mind. “As I said Tempro I will have at least one of them here soon. I feel that they are the best chance we have to actually bring this project to a successful conclusion. You have copied and recreated the emperor’s boosting download apparatus?”
“I have tried mother but it appears that Shelby has it under heavy security, I have tried several times, but she has nearly been alerted each time.” Tempro told Mary again hanging his head.
“Not to worry Tempro as I remember one of the two have seen it and commented on it, they have also suggested upgrades to it. I will have him here soon then you can start to work on the second part of the project.” Mary told Tempro an idea already starting to form within the scheme that she was formulating.
Kimison was so tired; he’d been working for over 18 hours straight strengthening all the security measures. He’d added several layers of encryption so that now he felt no one could get in unless they were a far better hacker than he was. So far he’d not seen a better one yet, hell, even Rayburn had to admit he was that good. Laying down he had to get at least an hour of sleep before he ran the checks. Smiling he fell asleep almost as fast as his head hit the pillow.
Mary sighed she really didn’t like to do this but it was for the emperor. There was a shimmering of light in the room then Kimison was on a cot onboard Tempro. Mary appeared a moment later, “I am not happy having to do this, we may have to send him back at a moment’s notice but at least he is here now so we can start to work on him.”
“Mother how are we going to keep the emperor from discovering? The man is not stupid I am afraid he will not be fooled as easily as most.” Tempro advised Mary.
Mary nodded; Tempro was very right in that respect, this emperor was far smarter and quicker to catch on than almost all of his predecessors. Again Mary was lost in thought, this was a quandary she needed to overcome if they were going to succeed with this mission for him. A steady beeping alerted Mary to the escape pod that she had detected earlier.
Derrick was half way through another upgrade for Shelby and the other ships when Mary appeared beside him. “Sire I am detecting that escape pod from the damaged ship using trans-warp though only half second bursts. Should I dispatch one of the ships to determine what is going on with it?”
“Mary you told me earlier that the escape pod might go in and out of trans-warp for a time ‘til it finally is stranded. Are you suggesting that it may be manned? If so then by all means dispatch a ship but first are you getting any life readings from it?” Derrick told Mary.
“No sire I am not as of yet, though, as I said it is still at an extreme distance, if it continues to draw closer to the galactic rim I will know. I will keep you apprised Sire if there is any other change.” Mary said as she increased her scans of the pod. She had seen something like this before but as of yet couldn’t access those records.
The capsule lurched into normal space slightly closer to the rim, but still too far to send a signal but closer. Barely breathing he slowly set the next jump and lapsed into a near death state again. A smile frozen on his face his dreams full of the revenge that he and the sect would exact upon the bastard born pretender.
Derrick was finally finished with Shelby’s latest upgrade plus the fact that he now had her at 15% of her personality freed up. He had to get to the other ships and start them also, might as well start with Sherry since she hadn’t had anything done as of yet. “Shelby, open a line to Sherry.”
“Line is open Derrick.” Shelby replied.
“Sherry I need to come onboard to begin your upgrades.” Derrick told her then was standing on her bridge.
“Hello Sire,” A young, slender, long brown haired woman said. “I am prepared for your upgrades Sire; I am excited that you have chosen me to start on with these newest upgrades.”
“You’re welcome Sherry; please open you circuits for me this shouldn’t take long.” Derrick told her, he had in fact found that with the new tool he had, he could do 10% in only a few minutes. Within 15 minutes he was done, standing he looked at Sherry who’d been watching the whole time. “How do you feel Sherry?”
At first there seemed to be no reaction then the young woman’s eyes flew wide. “Uh ... Sire? I ... feel strange ... I Sire!! I can feel! I can feel love! OH my Sire! This is a gift I can never repay you for! Zan?”
Zan’s hologram appeared concerned for his wing mate. “Sherry, are you alright? Is everything functioning correctly?”Zan asked his concern growing when she didn’t answer him.
Walking over to Zan, Sherry’s hologram grabbed his image and began to passionately kiss him. Breaking the kiss Sherry looked at the started Zan, “What do you think? Is everything functioning correctly for you?”
“I ... you ... we ... emperor...” when it became apparent that Zan couldn’t get the words out Sherry nodded.
“Ok I’ll take that as a yes!” Then with a giggle she danced away.