Mara’s eyes were still wide; it had been exactly like the emperor had said. She’d only been asleep for possibly two hours at the most. Here she was hearing a voice in her head of one of the ships. Looking over at Derrick she asked, “Uh Sire? Do you want me to go to my ship right now?” She asked.
“I’m not all that sure right now Captain,” Hartwell said with a wry smile on his face. “As upset as you were, do you really think that you are ready for this?”
Mara snapped to attention as she saluted both Hartwell and Derrick. “Yes sir, I am more than ready!” Mara’s face a look of consternation as she was staring at Hartwell after what he’d said.
Hartwell turned to Derrick still with a wry smile on his lips. “What do you think sire? Do you feel that she is settled enough emotionally to take on this challenge?”
Derrick had caught Hartwell’s smile and nodded slightly at the man. “I’m not sure Admiral; I am in need of more primes for the ships. I do have to make sure they are mentally sound though!”
Mara’s face had gone from elation to downright anger, “With all due respect Admiral, sire, let’s cut the crap ok?! I am a hell of a lot more stable than Mack Brown! Beside after leaving us for as long as you did, we all deserve this!”
Derrick started to smile wider as did Hartwell. “Do you know which ship it is Sire?” Hartwell asked.
“Yes,” Derrick replied, “They all inform me before anything is done. In this case being second was understandable.” Derrick nodded looking up and said, “All right, I agree for those reasons. I want you at 100% before we talk about that.” Derrick nodded again then looked at Mara. “I suggest that you rest for a bit, it’s going to be a bit before you can finish bonding with your ship’s A.I.”
Mara nodded, “Yes Sire, thank you Sire!” Then she cocked her head to the side as she was walking out of the door. “Yes, my god I am so excited to meet you! I just hope...” she was saying as the door cut off her conversation.
Hartwell just shook his head, “Really Sire that was mean!”
Derrick laughed, “True but I already knew she was ready. I have to keep things serious after all!” Derrick was suddenly quiet as he stared at Hartwell. “So ... when were you going to tell me?”
“Tell you Sire? I’m not sure what you’re talking about.” A confused but wary Hartwell said.
Derrick sighed, “Mary, Shelby, I need isolation for the following conversation!”
“Yes Derrick, all communication if off, all recordings are off, all outer walls now sound proofed. You can proceed.” Shelby advised him.
“Again I ask when were you going to tell me. What, you think it could go on as long as it has and I not find out!? Christ Joseph we’re best friends what has come over you?” Derrick almost shouted at Hartwell who was still looking at Derrick with a questioning look. With a frustrated grunt Derrick continued, “You’re really going to make me say it aren’t you? About your family, about your sister!”
Hartwell’s eyes suddenly narrowed, “that’s none of your damned business!” He shouted. “That’s my family and I’ll take care of it! Now back off!”
“Look you stubborn ass! I am already involved had you come to me with this I might...” Derrick started.
“You might have stuck you nose where the hell it didn’t belong! As I said back the...” Hartwell shouted.
“Joseph Johnathon Hartwell! You and the men ARE my family! I cannot and will NOT let anyone hurt my family!” Here Derrick pointed a finger at Hartwell as he continued. “You, you stubborn ass are too damn proud to ask for help! Well too bad! You’ve got it now damn it! Besides as I see it this may be all I need to roast that idiot for all the shit I am hearing he has done.”
Hartwell refused to look up damn it, this was his responsibility, “It is my responsibility to kill...”
“I’m not denying you the right to that. You and the others are my family and I will protect my family to the best and last breath in my body. Remember that you and all of your family are mine also. I know about the disappearance of your sister, the suspicious deaths of several of your family members. I have had Mary gathering every shred of information she could. Mary if you please.”
“Yes Sire, I have noticed many, many discrepancies in the Duke’s records. I have made detailed investigations of all money that is the Duke’s money. I have also noted increases in his financials in the same amount that you sent your family. I am now requesting the source of that money. Under Imperial penalty, I am again making requests. If they are not answered I have sentries in place to take action. That being said, I have also threatened prison time. They have exactly one hour to turn over all records I am inquiring about before they are taken into custody.”
Hartwell could only nod opened mouthed he’d not expected Derrick to have gotten this far. As a matter of fact he thought that it was still well under wraps. “I’m sorry; I have lost so much, so many of them. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful but...”
“SIRE!” Came Mary’s sudden shout.
“What’s wrong? Have they refused?” Derrick asked a little worried.
“No sire, this is another matter. It seems that the day the Admiral’s sister disappeared a new slave was added to the Duke’s residence; a slave that more than closely matches the description of the Admiral’s sister!” Mary informed them.
“WHAT!? I’ll kill that bastard with my bare f•©king hands!” Turning Hartwell bowed then left the room.
“Keep an eye on him Mary; I don’t want to lose him now; especially after I just got him and the rest of them back!” Derrick told both Mary and Shelby.
“Yes Sire I’ll do what I can.” Mary said.
“As will I Derrick,” Shelby stated.
Duke Risen re-read the message he’d received, good they were on the way. Rubbing his hands together he thought this ought to keep that bastard out of his affairs long enough to get a better plan going. Several of his people had reported that their systems had been breached by a very powerful computer. Ha! He no doubt thought it was that bitch of a computer the bastard had at the palace.
Laughing he knew that it wouldn’t get much as he was already expunging everything that might be used against him. Pressing a button on his desk a young male voice answered, “Yes, your lordship?”
“Are the erasures on schedule? I want nothing left that can be linked to me!” Risen was saying.
“Yes, your lordship everything is deleting as we speak.” The young male voice replied.
“Good, that bastard that claims to be the emperor has garnered enough support now. He could actually bring me to a standstill and put me away. That is not about to happen! Inform me as soon as all incriminating records are gone,” Risen said, as an evil smile crossed his face. Let the bastard do anything now! Without this proof he had nothing and the Duke would gain control again!
Clicking off the visage of Mary smiled as she started to download every file that the Duke had indicated. That was ‘til she came across some information that the Duke had ordered the assassination of the emperor and still had a plan in place. Growling, she immediately informed Derrick. “Sire!”
Derrick looked up from the screen he’d been reading at tremendous speed. “What’s wrong Mary?”
“Sire, I have quite a lot of information for you. It appears, as you thought, that Duke Risen IS responsible for the attempt on your life. It appears that he paid a considerable sum to the sect to have you removed. I might also add that I am finding several hundred atrocities that are comparable to the old Republic President.”
“Finally,” Derrick yelled. “I’ve got all that I need to end that asshole!”
Trianas was in orbit around Earl Tauntoff’s planet when her alert system started to go crazy. Looking over the readings she started to curse, this smelled a little of that ass Duke Risen. Smiling evilly at her joke she sighed, she’d have to wait ‘til this crisis was over before she could even get near the man let alone kill him. Veering off she decided she’d have to amuse herself elsewhere. Thinking of Duke Risen she smiled and set course.
Derrick was looking over all of the information sent in. It appeared that this race was the Creagons. They were a particularly nasty race when it came to warfare. Shaking his head Derrick was afraid of this; these bastards wouldn’t surrender no matter what. Much as the second time he’s gone against them Derrick’s mind was working overtime planning strategy.
Calling up his three Captains, Derrick wanted to advise them. All three of the Holograms of the men appeared before him. “Captain Thomas,” Derrick started drawing a groan from the man. “I suggest you get used to it Thomas! You are my senior Captain in this. I have faced this species before twice. They will not surrender and will give no quarter.”
“Uh Sire?” Mack Brown started. “You mean we have to slaughter them to the last ship?”
“Yes, I am afraid so this is one of the two most ruthless races. They have been trying to invade the Empire for over 800 years. I stopped them last time with only three ships then they only numbered in the hundreds. This time I am afraid they are in the thousands. So far all but two ships have been upgraded with the new triple power particle cannons. They have also had a power redoubler added to the power core.” Derrick informed them.
“So compared to how you were back when you faced them, what are our chances,” asked Randall Zimmel.
“With this new equipment you will be far better protected than I was. You will have almost three times the destructive capability. The new weapons should enable you to take out far more at one time than I did.” Derrick told them. “I still want you to remember though, even with the increased shield power, you’re not invulnerable. If it’s one thing I have learned there is always a way around situations. Remember repeated hits on the same spot of the shields can weaken them ok? I was hoping that Captain Callie would be on her ship but it will be another day before that is possible. I estimate that we have another 3 days before the Creagons breach our galaxy. Now then Captains, I must inform Earl Tauntoff that we will be delayed. Thank you that is all.”
Derrick shook his head this was a hell of a way to really get things started; especially now that they had a fleet of ten or more ships. For some strange reason Derrick felt that someone was behind all of this, shaking his head he’d have to investigate further.
Greeson had been thinking of Ensign Callie all day. Not really paying attention Dempsy had smiled when almost everything he threw at the man was blocked. That’s when Dempsy started on the second more advance wave of attacks. Again he was pleased when Greeson, a little more aware blocked almost all of those. Taking a deep breath Dempsy started on another different attack throwing in several advanced attacks of other martial arts. Another wide smile crossed Dempsy’s face.
Even as he barely watched Dempsy, Greeson saw that Ensign Callie had once again entered the training area. Watching her walk he again almost ignored Dempsy ‘til the man landed a blow to his chest. Crumpling Greeson coughed trying to draw a breath. Smiling Dempsy walked away, now he thought let’s see if the man had truly listened.
Gasping Greeson watched as Dempsy walked away, almost as if on auto-pilot the man hit a point near his sternum. Gasping a hung lung full of air Greeson sat and meditated. Thinking he’d avoided almost all of the Lieutenant’s moves and blows. Thinking harder he had to solve this mystery this was the first time he’d reacted like this.
Dempsy watched as Greeson went into meditation, good. The man was finally starting to concentrate without thinking. The simple fact that he was now in meditation was another good sign. Sighing Dempsy thought that the man was a hell of a lot faster; his techniques were starting to advance to a high point. The thing Dempsy was afraid of was that they weren’t far enough. If he couldn’t make it to them, when she went after his student, the man might not make it. He just prayed that all that he’d taught the man would save his life in the end.
Mara watched as the man Greeson dodged and blocked a myriad of attacks. Then her eyes opened wider as she walked in and the man turned toward her and was moving so fast she couldn’t even see either of them move! Then as incredible as it seemed they went even faster! What in the world was going on? The man was just a sergeant and he was almost as good as the Lieutenant! Why in the world wasn’t the man an officer also? That’s when she saw the one named Greeson go down choking and the Lieutenant walked away!
Dempsy stopped the young woman as she arose to go help Greeson. A smile lit up his face it was as he thought they both were highly attracted to each other. Then he sighed he had to get the commander to change his mind. The fact of what the man had just done against him was proof enough to Dempsy. “Let me go sir! He’ll choke to death!” The young woman was pleading.
Dempsy just shook his head, “He will be fine, watch.”
Even as the words came out of his mouth Mara watched in amazement. The man hit a point near his sternum and drew in a huge lung full of air. Almost immediately the man settled to the mat and went into meditation. “How?” Mara asked.
“He is a far better student than I had thought him to be at first. I have to thank you young woman. Your presence has enabled the man to advance where I have been trying to get him to.” Bowing low Dempsy said, “I thank you for that as I am sure he will some day. Just never tell him that I have said so.” This Dempsy said as he waggled a finger at Mara.