Hartwell looked at the micro-generator reading, the shield was starting to tax the generator. Damn it! He couldn’t kill these bastards fast enough! Where had this ass gotten this many men that were as loyal as they were? Touching the other thin badge like apparatus, Hartwell smiled when it hummed and he appeared a mile away! Good he thought, give the generator a little time to recharge the power cell.
Trianas Macley adjusted her settings as she quickly approached the Duke’s planet. As much as she hated to help that bastard O’Toma, she was pretty miffed at the Duke for screwing up all her carefully laid plans. Suddenly her ears perked up at a transmission.
[You got a reading on him?] Came a male voice.
[Reading? The man has decimated well over half the elite guard and part of the soldiers the Duke sent. We are in serious need of reinforcements!] Came another almost desperate voice.
[You have to be kidding! The Duke’s not going to let anyone leave here! Keep up the pressure! His equipment can’t last forever!] Replied the first voice.
[Nothing we have used is working, we need heavier weapons!] Came the desperate man’s voice.
[Buck up and get it done stop wasting my time coward!] The first voice said then clicked off.
Interesting Trianas thought someone is playing hell with the Duke’s troops. Damn! That means there will be less for her to kill! Oh well, she could go after the other one. Thinking a moment she shook her head no, let that idiot Duke get his self out of it.
Trianas changed course as she veered away and reversed course back to Earl Tauntoff’s planet. Guess I can amuse myself there for a day or two she thought.
Greeson lifted his self off the mat, looking around he was surprised when he didn’t see the Lieutenant. Then his eyes met those of Mara Callie.
Rising she walked over to the man. “Sergeant I wanted to ask you, why aren’t you an officer also? You are obviously as good as the Lieutenant.”
Greeson blushed a moment then what she’d said sunk in. “No ma’am, I’m real good but I’m in no way as good as the Lieutenant! I hope to one day but now I am nowhere near the caliber that he is!”
“Really?” Mara said. “From everything that I saw you are just as good, not better but just as good. I haven’t seen anyone go as long as you two did except for masters. By the way I think your teacher was on his way to see the emperor.”
Greeson’s eyes flew wide, was his teacher really trying to do what he thought he was? Mara and Greeson stood talking about home for a few minutes then started to move off. Dempsy was smiling wide when he saw the both of them talking as friendly as they were.
“Sergeant Greeson!” Dempsy shouted causing the man to stand at attention. “I was just informed by the Emperor that you have been promoted to Warrant officer!” Dempsy quickly sidled up to Greeson whispering, “You can thank me later, especially if I get busted back to enlisted after this!”
Greeson’s eyes went wide then he nodded, he’d heard about the Lieutenant’s aversion to being an officer. “Yes sir,” Greeson said as Dempsy pinned the warrant officer insignia to his collar.
“Now then,” Dempsy continued. “Take this woman to dinner! That IS an order!” Both Mara and Greeson snapped to attention with a yes sir! Then they both turned and marched off hand in hand.
‘Bout damn time Dempsy thought as he watched them walk away. Sighing Dempsy thought he really ought to kick the commander’s ass! First he was a second Lieutenant then that sneaky ass promotes him to Captain for the ground forces! Shaking his head he didn’t know what he was going to do, he was the third grade of officer! This was insane! Driving his hand through a punching bag Dempsy ignored the several gasps that sounded behind him.
Calming Dempsy knew he’d kill the others if he didn’t regain his calm demeanor quickly.
Derrick watched as Greeson and Mara walked away. Shaking his head he still needed to talk to Mara but it could wait a bit. Looking up he nodded, “she will assume command soon. I hope that you have been briefing her on the situation? Good and the upgrades of the triple output particle beam weapons and the power amplifier and stabilizer?” Derrick asked. Again Derrick nodded, “excellent keep her advised, as I said she will join you soon.”
Mara and Greeson had just sat to eat when Mara looked up. “Really? Yes of course I’m excited! No, not as of yet, oh he did? Alright I’ll see you soon then.”
“I take it that was your ship?” Greeson asked.
“Yes, I was just told that the Emperor put off me assuming command ‘til tomorrow. I am worried though that one day will be enough. The Creagons will be at the galactic system boundary in two days.” A worried Mara told Greeson.
“If you have been linked to your ship all this time, then you have an advantage the others don’t, true?” Greeson asked her. “Besides I have seen your tactics. You are a force to be reckoned with, you have a great mind!”
Mara could only stare at Greeson. “Why do you say that? We’ve just met.”
“Oh, I can tell, you always seem to be calculating, deciding. Like I said you have an advantage, you seem to be closer to your ship than anyone I have seen but the Emperor.” Greeson told her.
“Yeah, I noticed that though I thought I was the only one that had.” Mara replied.
Finishing up Mara asked, “When this is over, you still think we might get together?” A small look of worry on her face. She wasn’t sure why but Greeson was the first man she’d met in a long time she was comfortable with.
“I’ll make you a deal ok?” Greeson said to which Mara nodded. “You and I survive both situations, then I most definitely would like to get together again.” Greeson smiled a wide infectious smile that soon had spread to Mara’s face.
“Alright you have a deal! You’d better remember cause I sure will!” Mara said waggling a finger at Greeson.
Smiling even bigger Greeson told her, “Oh believe me I’ll remember!”
Both of them nodded then went their separate ways. Derrick nodded to Dempsy who’s face held a huge smile. “See I told you! I am never wrong in these situations! Now then about the rank thing, I...”
“You bring that up again before any of this is done and I’ll elevate you to a full bird Colonel!” Derrick growled slightly.
“You wouldn’t dare!” Dempsy said turning a little green.
Derrick turned and looked straight into Dempsy’s eyes. “Try me! You have more than enough experience and battles to merit it! As a matter of fact!” Derrick said as he handed Dempsy a gold oak leaf insignia.
“WHAT!!?? NO, no, no, no, no! I am no damn Colonel!” Dempsy suddenly shouted.
Derrick smirked, “as I said after all this over we can talk about you being busted back to enlisted. Then again as I said before you might actually like the pay raise!”
Dempsy could only stare at Derrick dumbfounded as Derrick pinned the oak leafs onto his collar.
“You really hate me don’t you?” Dempsy spit out as Derrick started to laugh.
Suddenly Derrick’s face got serious, “no, I need you more now them I did back then. I need you to keep this empire together as WE rebuild it. We are just starting we need everyone if this is going to work, ok?”
Dempsy issued a sigh then nodded, “I understand why, still doesn’t mean I have to like it at all!”
“You’ll get used to it. Besides after what you did for Greeson I can’t think of a better man for the job.” Derrick told him.
Alexander and his men had landed on Earl Tauntoff’s planet making all their preparations. Nodding he could see that they were more than ready for that ass O’Toma when he arrived. Smirking Alexander thought they ought to be ready for that bitch of his ex - wife also.
“I want the ship hidden before anyone comes out here!” Smiling he watched as all his men scurried around like a bunch of ants. Yeah they ought to be ready, he was relishing going against the woman again. He wasn’t the easy target he’d been when she’d left the sect. The fact that he was expecting her also gave him an advantage, no, she wouldn’t surprise him.
Trianas was about to go trans - warp when she picked up twenty distinct signals. What? Looking closer at the reading she saw that it was a group of the old sentry guards. Funny though she’d not seen that configuration of them before. Smiling she thought, target practice!
Letting loose a few blasts she watched as the sentries were hit and continued on! Looking closer she could see that these were far stronger than she’d seen before, so that bastard was updating as well! Suddenly her ship was rocked by a titanic blast that hit where she had been.
Shit! Now that was unexpected she thought with a smile. They were obviously fully armed and battle ready. Oh well! The Duke’s ass was toast after all! Smiling she reset her course and winked out into trans - warp.
On board Shelby an alarm was going off. “Report Shelby!” Derrick said as he pulled up the readings from the alarm.
“The new Sentinel Sentries that mother created were just fired on! They returned fire but the ship had a light screen. They reported that no damage was detected, then moments later a trans-warp signature was detected.” Shelby told him.
“Damn!” Derrick said. “Again, we almost got her! I swear this woman is part escape artist! All ships keep an eye open for any trans-warp signatures! Trianas the assassin may try again to got onboard one of you. She is to be stopped at all costs!”
A hologram of Thomas appeared, “that sadistic bitch is still alive! Let her bring it! I have a few issues with her!” Thomas said with a growl.
“We all do Thomas, we’ll get her. For now concentrate on the coming battle!” Derrick told him.
“Yes sir, though if you want me to, Conner and I could go look for her. I’d gladly hunt that bitch!” Thomas spit back.
“No, I need all of you. This is the largest force to attack the empire in a very long time. I want all of you ready, Captain Callie will join you in a few hours.” Derrick told him
Thomas nodded his head, “yes sir we’ll be ready.” With that Thomas clicked off leaving Derrick to ponder. Reaching over Derrick flipped a switch on the command chair’s arm. “Captain Callie!” Derrick called.
A moment later Mara Callie’s voice responded, “Yes Sire? Can I help you?”
“I am afraid that I am going to have to move up the timetable for you assuming command. If you are willing I need you to go now.” Derrick informed her.
“Yes sir, I am more than ready.” Mara replied to Derrick.
“Good,” Looking up, Derrick said, “I want her on board in twenty minutes. Captain have all your things ready for transport!”
“Yes sir I am preparing now I will be ready!” Callie told him.
“Make us proud, both of you!” Derrick said.
Hartwell looked at the generator indicator, then the cell charge, good it was almost at full capacity! According to his readings the Duke’s men were rapidly catching up to him.
Hartwell kept moving though he was afraid that they were trying to surround him. A tone let him know the generator was off and in a recycling mode, good that ought to help it later. He’d just readjusted his position when several particle weapons went off destroying the rock where’d he’d been.
Smiling Hartwell knew that their scanners were having a real hard time detecting him with the micro-shield. Watching the Duke’s men advance he fired off several shots taking out another five. Damn it! Just how many were left?
A moment later he heard several of his pursuers as they started to shout. Looking around the corner he saw that almost all of the men were hi-tailing it out of there. What was going on? That’s when Hartwell heard the screaming descending sound filling the air.
Looking up he saw what appeared to be about fifteen or twenty trails of fire. Even as he watched they streaked across the sky plowing into the ground possibly half a kilometer away! His mouth hanging open Hartwell decided it might not be a good thing to hang around. Arising he also started off in a different direction than the streaks of fire and opposite that of the Duke’s men.
Derrick was preparing a briefing for the ships and the four Captains when Mary appeared. “I am sorry to bother you Sire. It appears that 2 of the sentries were destroyed upon impact. They were apparently damaged far more than I had at first thought. The other 18 survived but another three are immobile. The rest have detected Admiral Hartwell, they are advancing as we speak. Would you like them to take the Admiral into custody?”
Derrick’s eyes went wide at Mary’s words, thinking a moment he shook his head no. “I will take care of him when he returns.”
“Sire? Are you that certain that he will return? It has been my experience with humans that they often run.” An opened mouth Mary asked.
“I am more than sure Mary, the Admiral may be many things but a coward he isn’t. He has great honor and will do his duty and return. After I hear the reasons for what he did, then I will decide upon a course of action. For now help him to escape, then move on to capture the Duke.”
Mary nodded as she conveyed the new orders to the remaining sentries. All fifteen stopped a moment then sent confirmation of the orders and proceeded forward.
Hartwell was moving as fast as he could away from the Duke’s residence. Problem was what ever had just crash landed seemed also to be after him. A sudden beeping had him looking at a readout on the run. Damn it! What in the hell was going on up there.
“Report Permute one,” Hartwell said into his communicator.
“Passenger that was IMT’ed to the berthing area has started to yell and beat on the walls. I am afraid that she has caused adjustments to be made. Her pounding is causing slight destabilization in orbital attitude.” A voice answered him.
“Alright go to secondary systems, shut down primary ‘til repairs can be affected.” Hartwell answered.
“Compliance, all systems converting now. Orbital stabilization now proceeding. Now reading micro-shield shut down. Commencing IMT onboard.” Came the voice.
A moment later Hartwell was in the command center of the ship. In the rear he could hear his sister shouting and screaming. “I know this is all a trick release me before the Duke has both of us whipped!”
Hartwell’s face twisted into rage as his hands clenched. Walking to the back, he reached for the release when she started in again.
“Let me out of here I will not play these sick and twisted games of his! Let me go or...” Hartwell heard her shout.
Opening the door she was swinging a piece of pipe at the door causing Hartwell to jump back. “Damn it Lucie! You trying to kill the both of us?” Hartwell shouted.
The young woman stopped in the midst of another swing blinking and staring at Hartwell. Then her eyes narrowed as she put the pipe between herself and him. “I know this is all a trick! Few know my name, no one knows my whole name and I’d rather keep it that way. The last who did was my brother and he died years ago.”
Hartwell smiled causing her to position the pipe in an even more defensive position. “I don’t think so Lucie. He is very much alive, that I know for a fact.”