Derrick looked around the room at each and every hologram as each promised that Lucy would never be an outcast again. Each said that they were proud and would let her know just how proud. Derrick nodded at each of them as they made their pledge. Pride was starting to swell up in his chest, he had been so proud of Lucy, it had almost killed him when she didn’t make it.
Derrick decided right there and then that he had to make sure that this didn’t happen again. Already ideas were starting to push their way to the front of his thoughts. Bending over a computer note pad Derrick started to outline several ideas that were taking hold in his mind. Hmmm Derrick thought might be a good idea to give these to Kimison and Rayburn, as it appeared he was going to be busy for a while.
Derrick finally dismissed all of the ships watching as each of them left. All of them that is except for Tara. “Yes Tara was there something else?” Derrick asked.
“Yes Sire, I know that you are extremely busy. I have a favor to ask Sire.” Tara asked hesitantly.
“I always have time for my EIG ships Tara.” Derrick answered.
“It is just that, uh...” Tara started.
Shelby nudged her daughter and whispered, “Ask him he won’t yell or bite!” Shelby said as she started to giggle then Tara did also.
Taking a deep breath Tara said, “Sire I feel so alone I would love to have a prime. That is if you have time Sire.”
Derrick smiled, then thought a moment. Hmmm he had someone in mind if they took it. Yes! They should do very well indeed! “Of course Tara I have just the individual in mind though you will have to finish growing before I can have them brought here to you ok?”
Tara’s face lit up and a huge smile spread across her face. “Yes Sire! Thank you so much sir! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”
Derrick smiled widely also this was the type of praise he liked not the bowing and scraping others did!
Three days later
1st specialist Ensign Callie was bored out of her mind. She didn’t want anyone to take her wrong, she loved her work as a tech specialist. Since the incident with the other personality being placed in her, they had stuck her at central. Basically all she did now was process reports, she was a tech specialist for god’s sake not a desk jockey! Even though she hadn’t said anything she had felt that the emperor and Rear Admiral Hartwell had been happy with her brain results.
Sighing again or at least she thought she had, she looked around the corner. In another cubicle sat a young science officer with the markings of the Ranger ship Plymouth on his shirt. Then she thought she heard another sigh next to her on the other side. Looking over she saw an old friend of hers, the old science officer of the rear Admiral’s old flag ship the Comrade.
“Mack?” Callie stated, “They stuck you here too? My god man, what did you do?”
Ensign Mack Brown was startled by the voice from the past, “Mara?” Mack asked looking around for the source of the voice. Shaking his head he went back to the scientific analysis of several anomalies. Sighing he thought yeah an exercise in boredom.
Suddenly there was a body standing next to him, a very hard but sweet smelling body. “Mack Brown you avoid me again like that and I’ll knock your ass all over this center!”
Looking up Mack’s eyes went wide, “Mara?” He asked. “MARA!” He shouted jumping up and picking her up twirling her around.
“Hey! Put me down! You want us both to be court-martialed?” Mara said a stern look on her face. “Again, what did you do to get stuck here?”
“I don’t really know, I noticed something that no one else did, a month later I was here. It feels a lot like school but a thousand more times boring. Same thing happened to Zimmel a month after that.” Mack replied with a grimace and then a smirk.
From the other side of her cubicle they heard, “What!?”
“You mean to tell me that Randall is here too?” Mara said a look of shock on her features.
“Oh yeah,” came a voice from behind them. “Actually made it to Lieutenant Junior Grade.” Randall shook Mara’s hand. “I got busted for not giving up when I noticed the same thing that Mack did. Though I am sure Mack is as curious as I am as to why you are here.”
Mara sighed, “I was used as a pawn by one of the sect’s to try and assassinate the emperor. I actually met the man afterward, I thought I was about to be executed like that slime ball leader of the Republic. The emperor and the Rear Admiral were both there, they asked me to help which I did. Then a month later I was transferred here I thought I was clearly safe, but here I am. I really miss being out there.”
Mack and Randall both nodded. They’d rather be executed than to be subjected to anymore of this tripe! Mack did a double take, looking behind Mara and Randall and motioned for them to get back to work. They both looked and saw the High Commander of the Rangers was heading their way after an attendant pointed them out to him.
A moment later the High Commander stopped about 20 feet from their cubicles. “1st specialist Ensign Mara Callie! Science Officer Ensign Mack Brown! Lieutenant JG Randall Zimmel! Front and center NOW!” Came the commanding voice of the older man.
“SIR” All three said as they stood at attention in front of the man.
“As of today I am proud to announce that all three of you are being reassigned! I was ... well let me let HIM
explain to you, I have them here sir.” The High Commander said as he pulled an odd looking device from his side belt.
“Hello officers. I apologize for taking as long as I did to come for you. All three of you were singled out for your attention to detail and your mind strength. Yes Ensign Callie, I am including you in that category.” The voice that only Callie recognized said.
“I’m sorry for sounding misinformed sir,” Mack Brown started. “I am afraid that I don’t know your voice. You are obviously a man of high rank if the High Commander calls you sir. I am afraid as I said, though I mean no disrespect, I do not know you sir.”
“Ah! I apologize again then. I am your emperor Derrick O’toma. I am here to enlist you in further service to the empire. A service I think, that all three of you would find a hell of a lot more satisfying than sitting at those desks!” Derrick said a smile crossing his lips. “I do not require you to do this. I only expect loyalty nothing else. I am rebuilding the empire and I need strong people like you, yes Ensign Callie I mean you!”
“Emperor! After what happened last time, I thought I would never be allowed to serve again!.” Mara said a sad look on her face.
“My dear I don’t know why you would think that! You were cleared and strengthened. Ok, now here’s the deal. Your ride will be there in an hour, though I could send them now. You have that long to say your good byes to family, get what you want then be back here. I suggest you hurry cause I will pick each of you up no matter where you are so be ready ok?” Derrick advised all of them.
“Yes Sire!” All three of them replied as they all went running.
“What do you think High Commander? You think they are ready?” Derrick asked as soon as they were out of sight.
“I don’t know Sire. They are of high caliber, they all posses high intelligence. If it were for me, I’d say hell yeah but you Sire demand more a lot more than I do.” The High Commander replied.
“The mere fact that you give them the praise you do is more than enough for me. You are definitely one to go to if I need advice High Commander!” Derrick told the older man.
“Sire you do an old man good with your praise though, I know that you posses far more knowledge than I!” The High Commander stated.
“Oh so you have heard of that huh? Ah yes I remember you were a master of information gathering! All I can say sir is that, I may have the knowledge but you have far more experience than I to use that knowledge!” Derrick said as he smiled.
“Touché Sire! Alright sir, I will remember and always be open and ready if you need me!” The High Commander said then Derrick clicked off.
Randall, Mack, and Mara were still running when they exited the building. Suddenly stopping Mara started to laugh, the others stopping looking at her as if she were crazy. “What the hell are you finding so damn funny?” Mack asked her.
Almost about to fall down Mara laughed even harder at the look of astonishment on Mack’s face. Finally able to talk Mara said, “Here we are hurrying to say good bye, to get our stuff. I know for a fact that we all told our families good bye years ago. As for all our stuff I have most of it here or in a bag in my room.”
Both Randall and Mack’s eyes went wide as they both realized that they were the same way. All three of them had transferred so much they rarely unpacked for long. “Huh, see you both in about 15 minutes!” Randall said then walked to the officer BOQ (Bachelor Officer Quarters). Mack and Mara looked at each other and shrugged and headed after him.
A mere thirty minutes later they all three were back in the building. Sitting down they all decided it would be a while ‘til they left well ... at least they thought so.
The computer screen in front of them lit up as Derrick appeared on it. “Damn I’m glad I was right about all of you! Ok prepare, your ride will be there in a few seconds. Thomas?”
“Yes Sire?” Came a voice off screen.
“Go get them, their already ready,” Derrick said.
“Crap! More techs,” there was a big sigh then nothing.
“I’ll see you in a few minutes.” Derrick told the absolutely confused trio.
A moment later several alarms were going off in the building, hell all around the whole complex. Then suddenly all three were standing on a huge command deck. All three were still blinking that was ‘til they spotted the equipment in front of them.
“Oh my god!” Mara said as she started to run her hands over several panels. Both Randall and Mack were practically drooling over everything they were seeing.
“Everything is so beautiful! All three of them were repeating over and over. Conner appeared a moment later and looked at Thomas and nodded. “I am glad you find my systems to be as stimulating as you do.” Conner told all three of them.
“A projection within a self contained system of a three-dimensional image!” Mara was saying as she stared at the image of Conner.
“Oh god! Sire! You have to save me from these techs! Christ they are as bad as Kimison and Rayburn!” Thomas was shouting at the hologram of the emperor that had appeared.
Chuckling Derrick told him, “Just get them here, then I’ll take it from there.”
Thomas nodded, “Conner! Get us back now!”
“Yes prime, engaging trans warp now!” Conner said a huge smile on his face.
All three of the new arrivals looked around as there was a winding up noise then a whoosh. Looking at the view screen Randall tried to speak as did Mack. “Hmmm” Mara said. “Trans-warp, half the galaxy in a few seconds. I assume the emperor uses it quite a bit to keep order in the empire?”
This time Thomas smiled finally they were talking more his language. “At present we are stretched rather thin but that shouldn’t be a problem for long.”
Mara looked at the readouts and nodded. “This ship has a great deal of fire power it ought to provide a hell of a lot of protection.”
“You’ve got that right!” Thomas said.
“I’m sorry sir,” Mara started again, “you look familiar. Very familiar.”
“I served with the emperor in some of the bloodiest campaigns of the Republic wars.” Thomas spit out the disgust apparent in his voice.
Mara nodded, “Yes I remember those as a child, my father served in them also on the Republic side.”
“Ah! So you knew of the terrible things we were required to do!” Thomas again spit out his disgust growing by the minute.
“Yes sir, father made it to the end. He was killed in an accident years ago, I barely knew him, but he inspired me to enlist.” Mara said a few tears in her eyes.
“I’ll have to ask you about him later. If he made it through he was exceptional, there weren’t many of those.” Thomas said as he looked at the woman closer, now that he thought about it she looked rather familiar also.
“Sire we’re back ready for IMT when you are sir!” Thomas said to the air.
“Thank you Thomas, Shelby?” Derrick said.
This time there was a flash and they were standing in a large room in front of a tall man with sandy blonde hair. All three nodded to Derrick who was smiling hugely. “Reporting as you asked Sire.” All three of them stated.
Looking back at Hartwell Derrick said, “See? Why in the hell can’t most of those that work for me be this fast? Christ, it would damn sure speed things up that’s for sure!”
All three of the officers looked past Derrick and saluted standing at attention. “Alright that’s enough of that!” Hartwell stated. “Keep that up and we’ll never get anything done! Now then the reason you are here...”
That moment several alarms went off. Derrick looked up a snarl on his face. “I need status report now!”
“God damn it!” Thomas was shouting. “The bastards slipped in! I’ve got them at 3 parsecs (93 trillion Kilometers) from the galactic edge. They are numbering in the thousands!”
“Configuration?” Derrick was asking.
“I am reading it is the race that you, me, Conner and Lucy,” here Shelby voice was tearful, “went against the first time.”
“Damn it! Just when things are finally starting to go right!” Looking at the three before him he sighed. “I guess you will have to get a rough start. All ships, I want all of you here now.”
A moment later all 14 ship’s holograms were there. “Yes Sire?” All of them stated.
“I meant to ease them in but we don’t really have time. All of you that don’t have a prime, think to all three of the prime candidates before you.
Eleven of the ships holograms looked at the three candidates. First Mack Brown’s eyes went wide as he nodded and looked at the hologram that was talking to him in his mind. Next Randall Zimmel’s eyes were wide as he too nodded looking at the hologram that was talking to him in his head.
Derrick nodded a huge smile on his face that is ‘til he saw that Mara was still hearing nothing. Hmmm Derrick thought did I make her mind too strong? “The rest of you, her mind was strengthened. I know she will hear one of you, she has all the indicators. Another 20 minutes nothing happened, sighing Derrick nodded, she would need a little more time.
“Alright, we’ll try again tomorrow. Captain Brown, Captain Zimmel report to your ships and familiarize yourself with them.” Derrick told the two men who nodded then flashed out to their ships.