0001 - Tempro
0003 - Conner
0097 - Ace
0098 - Lucy
0101 - Shelby (mother ship)
0125 - Lars
0200 - Ellen
0301 - Rodrick
0403 - Johnathon
0667 - Marco
0778 - Jan
0798 - Celeste
0908 - Tara
0999 - Zan
1000 - Sherry
Trianas had landed as far away from the Earl’s palace as she dared. She’d spent the better part of the day working on her systems trying to restore what she could. Smiling her work had restored almost all her weapons almost all of her hyper drive. Shaking her head she saw that her trans-warp was at half, not great but at least now it wouldn’t take a month to get anywhere.
She’d just finished for the day when she got an alert, then nine more! Looking at what she saw she had to do a double take! Those had to be the biggest damn war ships she’d ever seen! No wonder the invaders lost! Ok this was going to take a hell of a lot more planning on her part before she made another attempt at the bastard emperor.
Alexander was pushing his techs almost to the breaking point. He had to find that bitch before she had another chance to damage the ship. He knew she had no trans-warp; problem was they didn’t have that much themselves. Cuffing a tech who’d fell asleep the man flew across the room into the wall with a smack. “I didn’t tell you that you could sleep you ass! Get back to work you can sleep when she is dead!”
Greeson had practiced the first two advanced moves ‘til he could do them with his eyes closed. Then the now Colonel had come back in pinning those bars on him. Placing a blind fold on Greeson, Dempsy then started to train the man harder. “This will allow you to actually use your senses. Remember the eyes can lie to you as they almost always do. Do not let the lies of your eyes get you killed.” Dempsy said as he started to get faster and faster.
Greeson knew something was different the Colonel was pushing him harder than he’d done before. He was actually grateful for this training. As he remembered, his teacher before had mentioned almost the same thing that the Colonel had. Reaching out he could almost ‘see’ the blows that were coming at him.
Hartwell, Derrick and Lucie were looking at the planet when there was signal from below. “Thank you for honoring us with you presence Emperor O’Toma!” Came the voice of a young sounding male.
“I take it I am speaking to Earl Tauntoff?” Derrick replied a moment later.
“Yes Sire, we have been awaiting your arrival. I apologize for not having much to offer you when you come down. We aren’t as rich or fortunate as those you visited before. We will make you as comfortable as possible sire.” Came the voice.
Looking over the report he had in front of him Derrick nodded. “What you offer will be more than enough. The simple fact that you care for your people as well as you do says more to me about you than anything. I am actually looking forward to seeing your territory.”
“Why thank you Sire! We will be expecting you whenever you are ready, Sire,” The young voice replied.
Derrick turned toward Hartwell who was nodding, “This one appears to be the real deal sir.”
Derrick was also nodding then he looked at Lucie. She still had a distraught look on her face. “Are you still worried about that voice Lucie?”
Looking up a moment she turned toward Derrick. “Yes sir, the voice is so alone! It has been getting weaker and weaker every hour. Is there no way we can go and get it?” Lucie said almost begging.
Derrick could only shake his head. They needed all the ships that were here right now. With Zan and Sherry watching the rest of Lucy’s growth, along with Tara’s repair growth and Tempro also hanging in orbit. Derrick just wasn’t that sure that he could spare either of the wing mates to search for the box. He sat to discuss it with Shelby.
Shelby after only a few minutes suggested that he ask the ships in question. Nodding he contacted both Zan and Sherry. Both appeared a moment later bowing to both of them. “Yes sire you called for us?”
Still a little unsure he asked, “I have a possible location to one of your sister ships. I can’t really afford to send one of the ships with me. Nor can the two you are watching go. I was wondering if either of you could step in, retrieve them?”
“Sire, it would please us to no end to serve you in this capacity. May I suggest Sherry? She is far better suited for the mission than I am.” Zan spoke up.
Sighing Sherry added, “I am afraid that he is correct Sire. He has a better targeting system than I have. When may I go Sire?” Sherry’s suddenly excited voice stated.
“As soon as possible, though you are going to have to stop by here where we are and pick up a passenger.” Derrick told Sherry.
“Yes Sire, I can be there in a few moments if you wish. To help another of my brothers and sister fills me with pride.” Sherry told Derrick.
“Good I’ll see you soon then.” Derrick said as he broke communication.
A few moments later a disturbance in space appeared near the others then a rift opened as Sherry came through. Pulling within a few thousand meters Sherry called. “I am ready for your passenger sire, whenever you are.”
“Very good,” Derrick answered. “Shelby IMT Lucie to Sherry please.”
“Yes Derrick,” A smiling Shelby told him. Then with a flash Lucie was gone.
Lucie appeared on a command bridge not unlike the one she’d just been on. The only difference with this one was the fact that there was no one here. A slender brown haired teen female appeared a moment later. “Hello, I am EIG - 1000 I was the last of the EIGs built. My name is Sherry, may I know yours?”
“Uh...” Lucie started as she was looking around in wonder.
“Yes?” The slender teen asked smiling sweetly as she awaited Lucie’s answer.
“Oh! I’m sorry I am Lucie Hartwell.” Lucie said suddenly.
“Hartwell? Are you related to the emperor’s second? Admiral Hartwell?” Sherry asked in a cheery manner.
Lucie could only stare at Sherry a moment. It was going to take some getting used to the computer or A.I. or whatever she was. “Uh ... yeah. He’s my brother. One I thought was long dead.”
“That is so sad, I know that pain as so many of my brothers and sisters are still missing. The news of our father Gregor ceasing to function has weighed heavy on all of us. It’s still so hard to believe that he is gone. “Sherry told Lucie who was staring in amazement as tears started to fall from the holograms eyes.
“I’m so sorry Sherry, I forget that you are a living A.I. I didn’t mean to upset you! The last thing I want you to do is hate me!” This time it was Lucie’s turn as she also started to cry. Lucie had spent so long alone and afraid now she felt she had alienated the A.I. from her.
Sherry’s visage stopped suddenly as she stared at Lucie crying also. “I could never hate you! You are one of the dearest humans to all of us right now. I too am sorry that I upset you! It wasn’t my intention to make you feel unwelcome. Can we start again?” Sherry asked her cheery smile once again in place. “Hello I am Sherry. I am the A.I. of this ship. May I have your name that I may record it in my memory?”
Lucie’s mouth dropped open, they really were like this!
Kimison was still a little leery after Rayburn’s declaration recently. The man was tired of fighting? When the hell had this happened? Hell the best part of the day was fighting with the man. Sighing, he once again tried to get past all the safe guards that were put in place to keep programs and hackers out. Then he had to get past the processors that seemed to be equipped with dangerous shock nodes.
Then he thought once I am past both of those, there was an anti-program to reject any personalities that weren’t entered correctly. Mary had helped greatly guiding him past the first two safe guards; though he had been slightly shocked at the last of the processors.
Looking around he could really use Rayburn’s help, the man had not been seen in quite a few hours. Scratching his chin Kimison was beginning to think that the man had left the ship somehow. “Tempro?” Kimison asked.
Tempro appeared a moment later, “Yes prime?”
“I thought I told you to stop calling me that! Where is Rayburn? I haven’t seen him in all day. Is he still on the ship or has he gone planet side?” Kimison asked.
“I have no idea.” Tempro replied.
“Uh huh. I swear you are lying to me. Perhaps I should take a look at your logic circuits as they appear to be faulty! Open ALL your circuits NOW!” Kimison growled out.
“Sir I can do a diagnostic, it shouldn’t take more than...” Tempro started.
“NO! Open them now! You are lying to me I can tell! Now either tell me what in the hell is going on or I start going through your logic circuits one at a time!” Kimison was practically screaming at the hologram.
With a huge sigh Tempro knew he could no longer stall Kimison. “Sergeant Rayburn requested...” Tempro started when Mary appeared.
“It is fine my son I will explain.” Mary said.
“Thank you mother,” Tempro said then disappeared.
“You and Sergeant Rayburn are going to cause my son to no longer function.” Mary stated a frown on her usually happy face.
“Uh huh. I just want Rayburn back here helping. I cannot do these experiments alone. I need his extra set of hands.” Kimison told Mary.
Sighing Mary nodded, “I am sorry to inform you that Sergeant Rayburn requested to be moved to planet side. I am afraid that he will remain there ‘til such time as another position is open for him.”
“WHAT!? Why in the hell did he do that?” Kimison asked a look of worry on his face. Sighing again Mary went on, “Apparently he was afraid that to remain would put a strain on him and you that he didn’t want to be the cause of. As I remember he said that you were the only true friend he ever had. He was tired and wasn’t going to do it anymore.”
“Oh my god! That son of a bitch was serious!” Sitting with a thud Kimison could only shake his head. Without Rayburn life would revert back to what it had been in that hellish, horrible place. Alone, deserted and unwanted!
Mary watched as Kimison’s whole body began to shake then he broke down and wept. She hated what these two brilliant humans were putting each other through. She still wished she could shock some sense into them both. That wouldn’t have the desired effect. She’d spoken to the emperor telling him all that had gone on. Though concerned, Derrick told her to let them break apart. They were far too good of friends to stand being alone for long.
Looking at Kimison as his body was wracked with sobs she really felt for the human. She’d felt much the same upon losing her children. She just wished there was something she could do!
On the Imperial planet Rayburn was fairing no better as the work he was performing seemed so meaningless. It had been a harrowing few days with Kimison. Finally realizing that Kimison wasn’t going to change or accept that Rayburn was tired of the fighting. Finally he’d spoken to Mary asking her to talk to Derrick about him transferring to the palace.
A few days later Mary gave him an answer. Packing up as quickly as he could, he moved his few measly possessions to a secluded area. Then he was in the palace, alone. With a sigh he went to the assigned room unpacked and went to work. Even as far away as they were Rayburn could still feel when Kimison received the news. He could also feel the soul deep grief that the man was feeling.
Rayburn suddenly fell to the floor rolling into a ball as he felt Kimison release more and more grief. The pain was beyond anything he’d ever felt in combat, almost as if a member of the crew had died in front of them. Shaking his head he tried to stand, tried to block it out nothing seemed to work as a sudden feeling of aloneness and desperation hit him.
Mary was watching both of them afraid that they might take a turn for the worse. As brilliant as they were it would be a crime she felt, if they stopped functioning because of this. She had to push somehow, but how? Nothing in her records had prepared her for this. A lot of what she’d learned of human nature and behavior had actually been in the last few months. Though she was by far no expert she felt that this wasn’t going to get better only worse if she didn’t do a thing.
After a few hours both men were asleep, Mary thought she had a plan not sure if it would help. Appearing in both of the rooms the men were in she started a low recording that told both of the men that they were friends. She also said that they needed each other for support or they might not survive. It wasn’t much but she hoped that the subliminal messages she was trying to get through to them helped.
The next day they both awoke feeling no better unable to work or think of anything but their friend. Sighing Mary thought she’d just have to keep it up ‘til they finally changed their minds.
Trianas was on her way to the palace; well she guessed it was a palace. It wasn’t that big, not really offering her much room to hide and plot an ambush. Smiling she thought that her ass of an ex-husband would be there also. Maybe she’d get the chance to decrease the amount of her ex’s men. That would leave him all alone for her, aw! Now that was a delicious idea!
Finally ensconced in a perfect place a few hours later all she had to do was wait. An hour later she felt a presence as a sect member was approaching her position. Waiting ‘til the last second she struck breaking the man’s neck in record time. Ha she thought. What a waste of her killing skills. These useless sect members were no challenge at all.