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David Foss

First Command

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Welcome back Commander Sebastian. You have been sorely missed. smile.gif

------------------

Rattler, Spectre, Insurgent One

Official BC3K Tester

[email protected]

ICQ 12894104

Just Doin' What I can with What I got!

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I'm glad you've decided to come back so soon, Sebastian. smile.gif Looking forward to see what you and Foss come up with next.

------------------

Cmdr. Benjamin Somerset

GCV Swiftsure

Prime Flt.

TDY Wraith Flt., SIN Wing

ICQ 32545391

"I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go into harm's way."

- John Paul Jones

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Excellent to see you back, Commander Vauban! I'm glad you decided to return! smile.gif I'll hold my posts till you get caught up smile.gif It'll also give me the chance to iron out a few bugs with the developing situation smile.gif

Again, welcome back, my friend!

------------------

Commander David Foss, GCV Deterrence

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Guest Sebastian Vauban

Thank you for all of your appreciative gestures. They are taken with utmost regards. Now, are we all ready? I hope so...

(rp on)

"Engines targeted, Sir! We have a firing solution!" came from across the bridge, almost incomprehensible amongst the squall of screaming and hollering on deck.

"Prepare to fire! Disable her engines, and then re-target the ship and take out her weapons systems. PTA and then the missile bays," I shouted, causing even more commotion on the bridge.

"Tractor control!"

"Yes, sir," said a voice from somewhere close by.

"Get those beams ready! As soon as her missile pods are down, spin her towards us, head on. I want to taker her IOD out myself."

"But sir, if she fires-" he began to argue.

"Shut it," I hammered down his throat.

"Yes, sir," he said, and went about preparing his station to tractor the Deterrence.

It was time.

"Battlestations! Decloak! Prepare to fire," I screamed, sending my officers into a frenzy.

"WAIT," came across the cold room, sending it into a cold silence, "Sir, theyÔÇÖve belayed the orders, theyÔÇÖve belayed the orders!!! DonÔÇÖt fire! DonÔÇÖt decloak!"

Instinct fired in once again.

"Cancel all orders! Remain cloaked! Deactivate weapons systems! AND EVERYONE GET QUIET!!!"

_____________________________________________

"Commander on the bridge," the Comms officer, Hans Ueberstein reported as everyone stood at attention.

"At ease," I said calmly as I sat down at my station.

I pieced together the past events

Why had Foss not gone after that ship? Did he know we were here? Perhaps he sensed us damnit at least we resolved a conflict before it happened

More uneasy questions followed.

Why the hell are we out here anyway? Foss is on a patrol mission I dont understand it hes flying in circles in Rinall, not flying circles in Gammula what is such a potential danger about him that Galcom would dedicate an entire BCs worth of resources and personnel during time of WAR just to watch him

My thoughts were suddenly interrupted, and then vanished altogether. Ours is not to question.

"Sir, we have an encrypted message coming through on the commlink. Its from Galcom."

"Thank you, Hans."

I dawned my HMD and accessed the commlink right as the message had finished decoding. Great. More bureaucratic waste on my ship.

FROM: GALCOM SPECOPS DIVISION, GENERAL IRVIN S. LITTLE

TO: GCV-STABAT MATER, COMMANDER SEBASTIAN VAUBAN.

SUBJECT: OPERATION FURTIVE VEIL

Greetings, Commander. We have received your report on yesterdayÔÇÖs incident involving the Warrens Pass. We have evaluated the situation and decided that your actions were hasty. In the event of a future occurrence such as this, you will be required to obtain Galcom approval of any actions BEFORE they are taken. If you or any crewmember onboard your ship take any action against the Deterrence without prior authorization, you will be terminated immediately. In the event that defection is imminent, your orders are to transport the contents of the DeterrenceÔÇÖs cargo bays 1 and 2 to your ship and return to Galcom HQ post haste. Any deviation from these orders will result in termination and imprisonment of your entire crew, including yourself.

Thank you, and have a nice day.

END OF TRANSMISSION

"WHAT! YOU BEAUREAUCRATIC SONS OFÔÇö" I yelled, standing up to throw my HMD headset across the room, and causing the entire bridge crew to look right at me.

"Sir, what is it," Kelly, the navigation officer and close friend of mine, asked as she got up and jogged over to me.

"Nothing. I canÔÇÖt discuss the matter with you via Galcom directive 328.099, which states-"

"What the hell is wrong with you! Have you gone nuts," she said under her breath, calming me down in that familiar way.

"I I dont know Listen get back to your station and just keep us close enough to maintain audio Ill work this out. Dont worry about me."

She acknowledged and returned to her post, getting back to work. I picked up my HMD and sat back down at my chair. I put it on, sending a near blinding light into my pupils. I instantly took it off, dropping t to the cold iron deck plates below my feet, and clenching my eyes in pain

"Systems, get an engineer up here pronto to fix my HMD Something seems to be wrong with the optical system," I said over the intercom.

"Aye aye, sir."

I need to cool off. Maybe Ill have a little of that brandy Ive been saving from our trip to Tau Ranis

I strolled to my quarters, trying to smile, but barely achieving my goal. I walked in, put on some music, and cracked open the bottle

God, I love cargo pods

(rp off)

More tonightI promise

_____________________________________

Commander Sebastian Le Prestre Vauban

GCV-Stabat Mater, Orion Fleet

Galcom SpecOps Division

"Let your plans be dark and

impenetrable as night, and

when you move, fall like a

thunderbolt."

-Sun Tzu, The Art of War (6:19)

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Bravo, Commander Vauban. Great scene.

My (belated) condolences on your loss. I hope you find your return to this forum as personally healthful as we find your writing to be enjoyable.

------------------

Cmdr Pherrett

GCV-STRATOS

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Guest Seeker

to David foss and Sebastian :i have just recently read this thread and first of all i would like to applaud you both for one of the best sci-fi litreture that i have read in the past year,keep it up!and if any of you plan on writing a book,please notify me becasue ill love to read it.

Sebastian im deeply sorry to hear about your loss and sincerly hope that writing here will help you get over it,an if ever want to talk e-mail me(since i live in israel,phone talks are costy)

Best Regards.

Ehud

[This message has been edited by Seeker (edited 07-31-99).]

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Guest Sebastian Vauban

(RP on)

"Sir...sir...commander?"

"Wha- Yes...who is this?"

"Commander? This is Hans, sir...are you alright? Would you like me to send a medic to your quarters?"

"N..no...No, Hans...what seems to be the problem," I said, realizing that I had only dozed off.

"Well, sir," Hans said, "The Deterrence is still monitoring distress calls. Their orders show no apparent reason for them to be on a constant SOS watch. I have a bad feeling, sir."

I thought for a moment, and then spoke:

"I'll be up in a few minutes, Hans."

___________________________________

The bridge doors swosshed shut behind me as I walked through and headed for my familliar seat.

"Commander on the Bridge," Hans yelled, sending the crew into "formal" mode.

"At ease," I commanded before anyone had the chance to salute.

"Listen up, people," I continued in a sterner tone, "Hans has alerted me to the fact that the Deterrence is still monitoring SOS messages. This could mean a few things. First, it might mean that she is looking for something, or someone aboard a certain ship. Second, it may mean that an enemy craft, possibly the one she could be defecting to, is emitting a coded SOS signal, which Foss will recognize and act upon. Or thirdly, and this one is a long shot, but Foss wants to find a ship he thinks will return to Galcom, and beam a weapon of mass destruction aboard it. If this is the case, we must not only destroy the ship with it aboard, but Foss as well."

The situation looked bleak...If Foss planned on executing any of these predetermined plots, he'd also be planning on executing the crew of his ship and possibly the lives of any other crew on a ship that witnessed the atrocity. God this was tough...but why would Foss be doing that? Hes a green commander...why did Galcom send us to...

ours is not to question...

_________________________________

"God damnit! Hans, has Galcom sent those orders back yet? Can we engage? Hans!?"

"No sir! Nothing yet!"

The Deterrence was getting pounded. She'd flown into Alpha Gamma during an iridium refule. We took our eyes off of her for a second, and she was gone...right into Gammulan space. We had no choice but to follow her. Having sent the decloak request to Galcom, we could only wait now...and we did.

"No sign of the shuttle Foss took off with in TacOps, sir. The J's Pride just exploded. We arent sure if he was onboard or not. We're scanning the planet surface," said Kelly Reinholdt, recently re-assigned from Navigations to watching the TacOps to see if we could get a tactical advantage over the Gams when we decloaked.

"Whats out there, Kelly,"I asked, hoping for smaller numbers than she gave me.

"5 Aestroms, a Stormcarrier and...well there are about 14...no 15...wait...Well...there are a bunch of fighters...mostly Vandals, sir..."

Jesus. Even if we decloaked now...

"Hans...anything yet?"

"No, sir. Im still monitoring onboard communnications. She's going to jump sir. It looks like...Regis VI, sir!"

"Kelly! Get on it... Regis VI"

"But sir," she argued, "What about Foss-"

"GO Kelly! Now!"

"Aye, aye, sir..."

I felt the Hyperdrive engage and watched out the window as the planet in the distance slowly dissapeared. It wasnt over yet.

(RP off)

_____________________________________

Commander Sebastian Le Prestre Vauban

GCV-Stabat Mater, Orion Fleet

Galcom SpecOps Division

"Let your plans be dark and

impenetrable as night, and

when you move, fall like a

thunderbolt."

-Sun Tzu, The Art of War (6:19)

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Guest Sebastian Vauban

I hope you are all enjoying this as much as I am enjoying writing it... smile.gif On with the show...

(RP on)

"We're arriving in Regis VI, sir...The Deterrence is 2000 clicks off our port. The Aestroms have jumped and are bearing down on her. One of the Deterrences IC's is trying to take a few down..." Kelly reported, watching TacOps dilligently.

I thought for a moment...

"Tactical, in their condition, give me your opinion on where theyre going to go to get out of this," I yelled across the deck, trying to overcome the displacement sounds crashing into our sheilds from the exploding Aestroms shockwave.

"Straight our, sir. They have no other options. If their reactor goes critical, they might not make it," Terrance Stevens, the Tactical officer, answered in his always monotonous voice. Terrance was a tall blonde man in his thirties who had served with me since Flight Camp in '02. His parents were both killed in early hyperdrive tests, leaving him an orphan at the age of 4. His speech skills were always somewhat behind everyone elses, so he was administered language training by a RX-1000 LanguTutor, leaving him unable to speak with normal tonalities.

Another shockwave slammed into our bow, rocking our cloaked vessel like a rowboat in a typhoon. A klaxon sounded.

"Sir, this is engineer-. That ---wave hit ---..."

Static followed.

"Engineering...Engineering...what happened? Is anyone there?"

More static...

"Will somebody get down there and find out what happened," I barked.

"OH CRAP!!! EVERYBODY GET DOWN," yelled Elwynn O'Ritigon, the flight officer, as he jumped from his chair and on to the floor, rolling under his console. Suddenly, the entire ship jumped, sending officers and crewmembers to the floor. Sounds of metal upon metal resonated through the hull, and alarms went off everywhere. 5 seconds too late, the colision detection klaxon sounded, causing a computerized voice to count down from ten to zero, indicating that at zero we'd be hit. Apparently, that last shockwave from the exploding Aestrom damaged some of our systems, the obvios of which was the onboard telecommunications network.

"Jesus! What happened!" I screamed across the room at Elwynn.

"Sir, an Aestrom ran right into us!"

"Did we decloak? Did they see us? Kelly...are they changing course?" I asked, suddenly fearing that our mission had been compromised.

Elwynn and the rest of the crew scrambled back to their posts, quickly deciphering what had happened.

"N...No sir...we're still cloaked...they hit us at a 37 degree angle...their calculated velocity...sir, their path didnt change...they just pushed us out of the way...they were going too fast for it to have affected them..." Kelly confirmed as the rest of the officers wiped their brows with relief.

"Sir, the Deterrence is jumping again..." Kelly continued after a brief pause.

"Where?" I asked, ready to convey the orders to follow her...

"It looks like she's going to make a jump for Cyron...but those Aestroms are ahead of them...it looks like they are already headed to block the wormhole...and the Deterrence has suffered some MAJOR hull breaches...I'm not sure if she's going to make it...I can't tell which deck, but she's venting gas everywhere...it could be a decompression..."

"Hans," I said, jumping into the stategy already, "Anything over the audio?"

"Yes, sir...it's hard to get much over all the screaming...but it sounds like...a woman...yes a woman just gave the order to jump for the wormhole...the ICs are going to dock, too...but only 3 of them...they're leaving the other behind...possibly for Foss..." Hans said. I detected a slight bit of worry in his voice...I could tell he didn't want Foss to get away.

"Any word from Galcom?"

"No, sir. I'll tell you immeadiately if something comes over the commlink."

"Good work, Hans. You'll make commander some day," I said, feeling that the praise would ease his discomfort about Foss.

"Kelly...jump to that wormhole, but make sure the Deterrence gets through it before us. And someone get down to engineering and find out what happened...I want a damage report, PRONTO!"

(RP off)

Enjoying it now? I'll do some more tonight...

_____________________________________

Commander Sebastian Le Prestre Vauban

GCV-Stabat Mater Orion Fleet

Galcom SpecOps Division

"Let your plans be dark and

impenetrable as night, and

when you move, fall like a

thunderbolt."

-Sun Tzu, The Art of War (6:19)

[This message has been edited by Sebastian Vauban (edited 07-30-99).]

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Ehud, David Foss is the one who wrote the vast majority of this story- he should get most of the credit for it.

Sebastian, great to see you back, man! I'm still praying for you, as are some of my friends. Those last three posts of yours are quality pieces- your best so far. Keep it up!

------------------

Commander Ben Zwycky GCV Svoboda

ISS Fleet

"Nakonec pravda vitezi" (in the end the truth wins)

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Guest Seeker

my mistake im editing the post!

and again nice to see you post again sebastian,you and david foss are making a great story here!

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Guest Sebastian Vauban

Thank you again for all of your prayers. They really are helping. I have been away this weekend, and I am going to post what I have written on Wednesday or so. I am considering the plotline so far, and where to take it...yet again, thank you all.

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(RP on)

Day three of our vacation on Crystar. Local time is 1300. Exploration of the cave has revealed no new exits. We have been using fragments of clothing and large boulders to mark our path. I thought wed found an exit a few minutes ago, but it proved to be only that of a recently collapsed tunnel. Theres no telling exactly how long ago it was sealed, though, or where it would have led to. Janice isnt holding up very well. She wants to leave. I cant blame her; I feel the same way. But we arent going anywhere unless we get a ship. We cant just waltz into that military base, as simple as that would be. There has got to be another way

Day three, second report. Local time 2230. Further scouting has revealed nothing. The Gammulan security forces were very thorough. Janice and I found three collapsed sections in one of the tunnels. Those discoveries have been over the last three hours alone. Weve got enough nutripaks to last us a week. Maybe two, if were careful. But if were not gone after that, were in real trouble. No new Gammulan soldiers have showed up yet. Theyve got to be milling about here somewhere, though. Im perfectly happy to avoid them. I just hope theyll be as considerate. Its getting late now, so were heading back to the camp, if you can call it that

Day four. Local time 1300. We went deeper into the cave today. Still no exits. Damn it, but all of the tunnels we had access to yesterday have also collapsed. The only tunnels we have found so far all lead down. We traveled down three separate tunnels, but they all eventually led to the same gigantic fissure. Theres no way we can cross it, and we sure as hell cant descend it. The walls in that area are moist, and far too smooth to scale. Even if we had climbing gear, I am not certain how sturdy the walls of that area are. They would more than likely give way. However, we dont have any climbing gear, so theres no real point in complaining about it. I just hope we find another way

Day four, second report. Local time 2230. We took the last path we could find. It went down a few hundred meters, then ascended rapidly. We took it slow on the ascent, but we were forced back down when part of the tunnel collapsed above us. We almost didnt make it out of that one. Its almost sunset, so were heading back to the camp. Well see if this area is still usable tomorrow morning

****

I woke up with what little light seeped in from the entrance to the cave. Time for our fifth day. I looked over at Janice, shaking her gently.

She opened her eyes. "What's for breakfast?" She asked.

I rolled my eyes. "We're not on earth, Janice. We're behind enemy lines, remember?"

"Oh." She said, looking around the cave. Her expression hardened as she remembered what had happened.

I was getting tired of this. She couldn't wake up even once without thinking she was somewhere else. Maybe the stress of nearly being blasted in space was taking its toll on her.

We stood up and proceeded back into the caves. The route we'd taken was gone, having collapsed sometime during the night. I was too pissed off to respond to her comment, much less make any of my own. I simply headed back to the cave mouth.

"What are you doing?" She asked.

I turned to face her. ÔÇ£IÔÇÖm going to find us a way out of here.ÔÇØ I said simply.

ÔÇ£How?ÔÇØ

I held up the only surveillance equipment we had an old pair of binoculars that had somehow miraculously survived the destruction of the Js Pride and the shuttle crash. It was an ancient instrument from the late twentieth century that Janices parents had given her. Who knows how it survived, or even how theyd managed to make do with them? No advanced optics or zoom functions, just four curved lenses angled and distanced properly to magnify images. They were old, but one could not debate their effectiveness.

ÔÇ£Are you sure they will work?ÔÇØ She asked warily.

ÔÇ£The lenses are intact.ÔÇØ I said. ÔÇ£They should be fine. They wonÔÇÖt give us a lot of detail, but it beats observing from this distance with the naked eye.ÔÇØ She couldnÔÇÖt argue with the logic. After all, ancient technology is better than nothing.

We left the protection of the cave shortly after sunrise, taking up a position in a small alcove behind an outcropping of rock. The sun was rising, the colors not unlike those of earthÔÇÖs spectacular displays of orange, pink and violet. The landscape in front of us stretched on for miles, eventually rolling over the horizon. The sun was rising behind us, so we did not have to worry about a freak reflection from the lenses of the binocs alerting the enemy. We just had to hope their sensors did not detect us.

I looked through the binoculars, spying a soldier barracks right away. I continued sweeping the binoculars around, finding a mech station, a repair yard Then my eyes found what I had hoped for.

A control bunker and the bases air defense sector. The pilots barracks, the detection equipment

Eureka! IÔÇÖd found the hangar for the fighters! I almost jumped, ready to scream in elation. I thought better of it, simply handing the instrument to Janice, pointing excitedly at the hangar as though it were my parents gift to me when I was five.

I was silent. She wasnt. She shouted out in triumph. Weve got a way home! Weve mmwutf?

It didnÔÇÖt take me long to silence her. I clamped a hand around her mouth before she could say anything more. We werenÔÇÖt within hearing range of the base, but I didnÔÇÖt want to take any chances of a security force hearing us.

Id once been known to have the layout of every Gammulan structure stored in my head. It was time to put that knowledge to the test. We beat a hasty retreat back to our alcove, making sure no one had followed us, then proceeded to employ the age old tradition of leaders everywhere who are stranded on a hostile planet. Contrary to popular belief, it is not running around in circles like a chicken with its head cut off. Nor is it simply laying down and dying. No, its planning an attack with little to no forces in reserve. Just her and I. The old dirt covered floor of the cave proved to be just as useful as any computer terminal would have been. In looking through the binocs, Id been able to chart the base in my head, memorizing the location of buildings and key areas of interest and danger. The mech station was not a place to sneak through, nor was the armory or the soldier barracks. But the maintenance section that was a different matter entirely. It was on the outskirts of the base near our location. That was where we would enter.

With the main route to the hangar decided, all we had to do was figure out when to make our move. I spent the rest of the morning observing the patrols of the security forces, memorizing their patterns and times of change; every four hours on the hour. Early morning, they were likely to be sloppy for the first couple of hours. ThatÔÇÖs when we would enter. We would then sneak through the maintenance area to the hangar where we would hopefully find a ship to fly home. Anything bigger than a fighter would not work. But we also needed the navigation data to get home.

Janice had been in space so long that sheÔÇÖd developed an intuitive knowledge of the gates. Any route she took, whether familiar or first time traveled, she could backtrack with unerring accuracy. It unnerved the hell out of me, but it had saved her life more than once. Now it would save both of our arses.

With the initial surveillance and planning finished for the day, we sat in our hiding spot and chatted about old times far past sunset. She offered first watch, but I told her to get some rest. Once shed fallen asleep, I proceeded to the cave entrance. She would hear weapons fire if there were any. Besides, all the other routes to this area of the cave had been sealed off. Perhaps their tactics would work to our advantage after all. I still did not understand why they simply didnt cave in No! I wouldnt say it. No sense letting Murphy kill me that easily. I would finish that thought when we were off this damned rock. I stayed up, far into the night, watching the guards patrol patterns and exchanges. It seemed as though they even went to the can at the exact same time, for crying out loud! Oh well. Nothing beats good organization.

That is, nothing but repeated patterns and a patient and observant watcher intent on turning their organization into a hell to be remembered.

(RP off)

I'm a bit rusty here. Hope it still works smile.gif

------------------

Commander David Foss, GCV Deterrence

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You've still got the magic. Keep it up. smile.gif

------------------

Commander Badgerius, GCV Diligence

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Guest Seeker

ditto!

what took yo so long? wink.gif

------------------

CMDR Ehud Almog

Prime fleet

GCV-Black Phoenix

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Badgerius, you got it smile.gif

Seeker, I was waiting for Vauban, but I'll keep things running until he returns.

Here goes smile.gif

(RP on)

Lieutenant McKay stood at attention in Commander JunkkariÔÇÖs ready room. The Deterrence was in drydock at Galcom HQ, while she had been summoned to the Fleet CommanderÔÇÖs office for a debriefing.

The Commander was less than pleased at her report.

ÔÇ£What the hell were you doing out there, McKay? Why didnÔÇÖt you stop him? Your orders were to ignore any and all distress calls from Gammulan space! What part of that was unclear?ÔÇØ

McKay struggled to swallow the lump in her throat, struggled to keep her voice calm and even as she responded. ÔÇ£Sir, with all due respect, the Gammulans deserved every shot they got.ÔÇØ

Junkkari slammed his hands on the desk, infuriated, silencing the young officer. ÔÇ£They deserved no such thing, Lieutenant! What they deserve is a defeat. What they got was a victory, while all we got was a disappointment! There are twenty-eight crewmembers dead and over fifty injured! The Deterrence will be out of service for at least two weeks! Commander Foss is missing and very likely dead! You were assigned to the Deterrence to prevent this sort of thing, not take part in it! How can you think of this as anything but a disaster?ÔÇØ

He looked straight at her, his blue eyes seeing right through her. ÔÇ£You should have relieved him of command the moment he ordered the Deterrence into Gammulan space. If not then, then by God, you should have done so when he turned command over to you and left the bridge, not ten seconds after he left the ship!ÔÇØ

Sir, I

ÔÇ£Enough!ÔÇØ Junkkari roared. ÔÇ£Lieutenant McKay, you are relieved of duty pending an investigation into your actions aboard the Deterrence. Dismissed!ÔÇØ

She straightened up at attention, saluted, then left JunkkariÔÇÖs ready room. She had barely made it back to the shuttle before the first tear fell. She was young, inexperienced, yet he had treated her like an elite Commander accused of treason!

She boarded the shuttle, setting course for Galcom HQ. She would find Commander Foss at any cost. Her thoughts swam in confusion and remorse as the autopilot took her back to Galcom, landing smoothly in the docking bay.

No sooner had she exited the shuttle, than another commander approached her.

ÔÇ£Please, sir, not right now.ÔÇØ She said, her voice quivering lightly.

ÔÇ£Lieutenant McKay, I am Commander John Teron. Foss and I shared some good times during the academy. I heard what happened to him at Crystar.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£How did you find out?ÔÇØ She asked.

He stared at her evenly. ÔÇ£Good news travels fast. Bad news travels even faster. Terrible news travels at hyperspeed. I heard about it before the Deterrence was towed in, so you can imagine how bad I consider this situation.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£HeÔÇÖs not dead.ÔÇØ She said firmly, brushing a strand of light brown hair from her green eyes.

Teron looked down at her, a stone serious expression on his face. ÔÇ£Some would argue that point, but only because they donÔÇÖt like the idea of going back there to save but one man who disobeyed orders and almost lost his ship.ÔÇØ

He put a reassuring hand on her shoulder. ÔÇ£IÔÇÖve heard that you have some experience flying Solarian Interceptors. Is it true?ÔÇØ

The question was so unexpected that Teron had to repeat it before she answered.

Um Yes, I do. A little. Why?

He grinned. ÔÇ£Because two of your pilots and your chief engineer will be filling in for some of my pilots while we go find him.ÔÇØ

She must have tripped on something. She fell backwards, her back slamming hard against the unyielding hull of the shuttle. She couldnÔÇÖt believe what sheÔÇÖd just heard.

ÔÇ£YouÔÇÖre going to look for him?ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£No.ÔÇØ Teron said firmly. ÔÇ£WeÔÇÖre going to find him. We promised each other that if one of us fell in battle, the other would bear him home. The crew of the GCV War Hammer are at your service, Lieutenant.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£What about your orders?ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£We donÔÇÖt have any, currently. Just sit tight and relax. I donÔÇÖt think anyone on the ship much likes those orders, though.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£ThereÔÇÖs going to be hell to pay, sir.ÔÇØ

Teron laughed loudly. ÔÇ£Yes, well, IÔÇÖd face GalcomÔÇÖs fury before FossÔÇÖ ghost any day!ÔÇØ

He looked at her, seeing her worried expression. She was green, all right. Time to do something about that. He shoved his face in front of hers, causing her to look up sharply in surprise.

ÔÇ£Toughen up, girl. The Deterrence has a strong commander in Foss, and IÔÇÖll be damned if we lose him! But in order for that ship to survive his crazy impulses, she needs an even stronger first officer. YouÔÇÖd best start fitting the bill!ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£The Irish still have some fight in them, sir.ÔÇØ She said quickly.

ÔÇ£Maybe they do.ÔÇØ He growled. ÔÇ£But what about you?ÔÇØ

That hurt. She looked down for a moment, then back into the veteranÔÇÖs eyes, not flinching a bit. ÔÇ£When do we leave?ÔÇØ

Slowly, very slowly, a smile cracked across his face. ÔÇ£As soon as youÔÇÖre ready, Lieutenant.ÔÇØ

(RP off)

I hope you return soon, Sebastian, or this attempt to rescue Foss will be a lot more difficult. smile.gif

------------------

Commander David Foss, GCV Deterrence

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Okay, time to get his back on track. Commander Vauban, if you are still here, e-mail me and we'll find a way to work you into this section.

(RP on)

The War Hammer slowed to a stop deep inside the debris field. A Gammulan task force had just entered the Otura-6 region. Crystar was only two jumps away. But if they couldnÔÇÖt get there secretly, they certainly wouldnÔÇÖt be able to get out at all!

ÔÇ£I think they might have obtained a partial lock. The cloak isnÔÇÖt functioning at top efficiency yet.ÔÇØ Teron commented.

Right on cue, three jump nodes appeared around them. They were big, signifying larger ships, possibly cruisers. No fighters, though.

The silhouettes of three Starcarriers flashed into existence in front of them. They began moving slowly, scanning the area. They would be lucky to find them in the debris field, but the possibility still existed. If they didnt stop searching soon

One Starcarrier flew past the viewscreen, so close that the clearing distance from ship to ship couldnÔÇÖt have been more than a couple of meters. So close that McKay jumped and almost screamed. She stifled it, as though screaming would somehow let the enemy know where they were.

Four tense minutes later, the Starcarriers suddenly veered off, turning toward the Gammulan station and vanishing through the hyperspace anomalies.

The War HammerÔÇÖs comm officer spoke up, his voice barely above a whisper, as though it would help them avoid detection.

ÔÇ£Commander, IÔÇÖve been monitoring the stationÔÇÖs broadcasts. Their sensors are only partially operational. ThatÔÇÖs probably why they dispatched those ships. They probably think weÔÇÖre a sensor glitch and wanted to confirm. There are several ships that will be entering the area in a few minutes. They are coming through the jumpgate to Kruger.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£What do you suggest, McKay?ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£If we can time it right, we could jump at the same time the convoy begins to enter the system. We can go through the jumpgate when they arrive, possibly hiding our jump.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Are you crazy?ÔÇØ The combat officer, who also doubled as the shipÔÇÖs first officer, shouted. ÔÇ£Do you have any idea how many things could go wrong with that stunt?ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£If something goes wrong, Vic, we are dead.ÔÇØ Teron replied cooly. ÔÇ£If we sit here, weÔÇÖre dead. If we jump now, weÔÇÖre dead. If nothing goes wrong, we have a chance of getting to Crystar before the cloak gives way. But the longer we wait here, the less time we have to sneak onto the planet.ÔÇØ

The logic was inescapable, even if it was a ludicrous plan. However, he was right. There was no time to argue. The first officer nodded in acquiescence. ÔÇ£Alright, letÔÇÖs do it.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Stand by to jump.ÔÇØ Teron said, as though he had known his first officerÔÇÖs reply.

The navigation officer calmly confirmed the order. A few seconds later, the first ship entered the region.

ÔÇ£Engage hyperdrive!ÔÇØ Teron shouted.

The War Hammer jumped, emerging near the jump point a few seconds later. There were just over six minutes left on the cloak.

Several more ships jumped in as the invisible Battlecruiser passed through the jumpgate. They emerged on the other side, narrowly missing an LRT-10, the last ship in the convoy.

ÔÇ£That was too close.ÔÇØ McKay breathed.

They were in luck. The sensors on the station orbiting Kruger were not operational at all. They entered and exited the region without incident.

ÔÇ£McKay, youÔÇÖd better get to your Interceptor. Your engineer is waiting for you in Bay 3. Hiker and Runt are in Bay 4. Get moving.ÔÇØ

McKay was already suited up in her pressure suit, ready for flight. ÔÇ£Aye, sir!ÔÇØ She gave a sketchy salute and left the bridge, running as fast as she could toward the hangar bays.

(RP off)

Hope there aren't any problems with that cross-jump idea. If there are, I'm sure I can find a way to revise the situation. I've done it a few times by accident though(almost got killed each time). smile.gif

------------------

Commander David Foss, GCV Deterrence

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Guest Antti Junkkari

Devil I love this one...

...because I┬┤m in it, but I don't have to do A DAMN THING by myself... smile.gif

Good job commander!

------------------

Fleet Cmdr Junkkari, GCV-Karhu

Orion Fleet Leader

Member of Dragon Council

http://www.orionf.pp.fi

email: [email protected]

icq: 2506142

"Von Finnland bis zum Schwarzen Meer"

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Thank you, sir! I was hoping I got your reaction right. Judging from your response, I can only assume that I did smile.gif

Time to get the show on the road, I guess smile.gif

(RP on)

I woke up at the crack of dawn. Damn it, IÔÇÖd actually allowed myself to fall asleep during my watch. It was clear that no Gammulans had found us yet. That was good.

I shook Janice, awaking her from what I could tell had been a very interesting dream.

ÔÇ£Time to go, eh?ÔÇØ She said groggily.

ÔÇ£Yes, it is. ItÔÇÖs time we left this hellish world.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Huh?ÔÇØ She asked, confused. She brought one hand up to scratch the back of her hand, then blinked twice, looking around the small alcove. Realization dawned on her as she realized again where we were.

She had yet to wake up without thinking we were somewhere else. Back home, on the JÔÇÖs Pride, on the shuttle, on the Deterrence, anywhere but the cave. I couldnÔÇÖt blame her. I wanted to get out of here as much to get away from the Gammulans as to get away from this annoying ritual.

She got up, zipping the top portion of her jumpsuit and fastening her armor on. She holstered her pistol and grabbed one of the rifles that weÔÇÖd retrieved from the Gammulan soldiers that had been killed a few days earlier.

I did the same, then we set out, leaving our alcove for the last time and heading down to the Gammulan base. For better or worse now, we were committed to getting out of here.

We breached the perimeter with no problems. The guards switched shifts at precisely the right time, and we slipped in without so much as a whisper from the security system. We worked our way slowly through three minimal security buildings and two moderately defended facilities before closing in on the hangar. It was the perfect place to launch an assault, as we found out the hard way.

ÔÇ£Be careful.ÔÇØ I whispered back to her. She had taken up position behind me, yet she kept forgetting to watch behind us. That was the whole reason for my warning. We were only a few hundred meters from the hangar.

ÔÇ£What do you think IÔÇÖm doing, dancing?ÔÇØ She spat back.

I turned around to give a stern warning then saw the Gammulan soldier taking aim further down the corridor.

I raised my weapon to fire just as the Gammulan fired a burst of plasma into JaniceÔÇÖs back. She didnÔÇÖt scream, but instead, fell silently to the ground, a look of tremendous shock and pain on her face. My shot echoed only a fraction of a second later, slamming into the soldierÔÇÖs chest and throwing him back against the wall as Janice hit the deck.

I turned her over, stripping the armor. The shot had penetrated, searing flesh and bone and blood. It had blown out her back, destroying any chance of survival. She pressed something into my hands, then tried to speak. She was only able to mouth the words ÔÇ£go.ÔÇØ Then, her eyes closed for the last time and she fell limp in my arms. Her eyes had closed for the last time, never to open again. Never to let anyone see the crystal purity that radiated within them.

I remembered once when I was a child, her and I were playing in a forest. SheÔÇÖd broken her ankle while chasing me down. As always, she was unable to catch me. I helped her back to her family and they took her to the medical facility. It was a bad break, and trying to walk on it hadnÔÇÖt helped the situation. They said it was likely she wouldnÔÇÖt be able to walk without severe pain for the rest of her life. Even so, her ankle eventually healed, and to our surprise, she was able to walk without any problems. She hadnÔÇÖt cried at all during the entire time. Not even when it had first happened or when she was walking on it. Not one tear.

Just as she had not shed a tear after being fatally wounded.

I set her back down, gently letting her head rest on the cold floor, numbly pocketed the object sheÔÇÖd given me without looking at it, then grabbed her rifle.

First my parents and now her. I had said before that they would pay, and it was long past time to collect. With this death, the payment would be even more.

I heard alien shouts down the corridor as the alarms sounded. At that moment all hell broke loose. It was a hell that Gammulans from one side of their space to the other would remember, a hell that they would learn to fear. It was a hell that still cannot be easily matched.

The hell of human fury

(RP off)

It's a short post, but there's more shortly.

------------------

Commander David Foss, GCV Deterrence

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Cmdr Foss,

You are doing a great job with the story, keep up the good work.

Fleet Cmdr. Jeehun Ristar

GCV Shogun, ISS02

ISS Fleet Leader

Shogun of the Dragon Council-Order of Jade Dragon

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Well, looks like I get to remedy that short post with a longer one now. smile.gif It's going to bring me one huge step closer to finishing this section.

(RP on)

McKay vaulted over the side of the cockpit and landed in the pilotÔÇÖs seat. The canopy closed around her and Neilson as she checked her communications first with the War Hammer, then with her wingman.

HikerÔÇÖs voice responded. ÔÇ£Well, Lieutenant, I guess weÔÇÖre going in together. Hope you can follow me through the maneuvers. After all, the one with the better flying skills takes the lead.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£WeÔÇÖll see about that, mister. Believe it or not, I did learn a few things at the academy.ÔÇØ A moment later, she received the all clear, and was thrown back in her seat as the Interceptor shot into space, Hiker and Runt in IC-2 only a couple of seconds behind her.



I stood quickly, grabbing JaniceÔÇÖs weapon and mine, then walked toward the dead carcass of the first soldier. I fired two shots from each rifle into the body of the Gammulan that had killed my dearest friend. It was not at all the justice she deserved, but I had other plans for the remaining charge in these weapons. Namely, wiping out every Gammulan on this base.

Six Gammulans rounded the corner at the far end of the hallway from which the first Gammulan had emerged. Six Gammulans fell soon after, only two managing to fire, both of which missed. I continued down the hall, rounding the corner to find three more Gammulans to the left. I fired without thinking, hitting one in the chest, another in the face, and two shots slamming into the thirdÔÇÖs chest and head.

Four shots lanced past me from behind, and I turned to see two more Gammulans. I fired two shots into each Gamm chest.

I turned again, jolting slightly as one Gammulan officer got off a pathetic shot with a pistol, hitting my right shoulder. I answered in kind with two shots to the face, one from each rifle.

The carnage continued for five minutes. The rifles ran dry, so I dropped them. With them went the rage that had consumed me only a moment before. In five minutes over fifty Gammulans had been killed by my hand. I blinked, desperately trying to figure out where I was as I drew my pistol from the holster. I was now feeling the pain in my right arm, and I had no choice but to draw the weapon with my left hand.

I turned back the way IÔÇÖd come, running down the corridors. I found my way back to JaniceÔÇÖs body and (painfully) passed her by, running down the corridor that would eventually take me to the hangar bays.

Fate was with me! Amidst the hundreds of fighters in the hangar, I found one single Solarian Interceptor not unlike those of Galcom. In fact, the markings showed her to have once belonged to pilots Tuck ÔÇ£VicksÔÇØ Conner and Joe ÔÇ£HangmanÔÇØ Salley of the GCV Nancy. I remembered hearing a report of one of their Interceptors disappearing. This was a hell of a way to find it again!

I climbed into the IC, the pain in my arm once again forgotten thanks to a surge of pure adrenaline, and sat in the co-pilotÔÇÖs seat. At least there, I could access every system with ease. I ran a systems check, and for the first time since landing on this mud ball, I smiled. Despite the fighterÔÇÖs aged appearance and scorch marks from the battle that had no doubt been her last, every system was 100% operational. I fired up the engines and hit the afterburners, making a bid for space and, God willing, freedom.



McKay rolled her fighter to port, blasting another fighter into nonexistence. ÔÇ£Hiker, youÔÇÖve got one on your tail!ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Roger, McKay.ÔÇØ Hiker said, spinning the fighter in order to shake the bandit.

Six fighters had entered the region a few minutes ago. Two had been shot down, both my McKay. She was quite pleasantly impressed by her apparently natural ability. Better flying skills my arse! She thought.

She brought the IC around, lining up a perfect shot on the P-21. The Vandal banked, following Hiker, but not before McKay collapsed the shields with several well placed shots. She continued to close, firing burst after deadly burst into the small craft. The fighter tumbled, out of control, then exploded in a spectacular fireball.

Then, she saw something that could only be a Godsend. A lone Interceptor shot up from the surface of Crystar. The IFF showed it as a Terran Military fighter. But then she remembered the America, and her hopes dwindled.

The face of Commander Foss appeared on her screen, again lifting her spirits high.

ÔÇ£Lieutenant McKay, I never would have thought to find you here! I ordered you to leave! What the hell are you doing in an IC?ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£You went AWOL, sir. I had to find you. We have to get out of here quickly before they send reinforcements!ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£I agree wholeheartedly, Lieutenant.ÔÇØ He said. ÔÇ£LetÔÇÖs make tracks. IÔÇÖll help you mop up those remaining bandits, then we can get out of here.ÔÇØ



I severed the link, hitting the afterburners and lining up on a Vandal. McKay followed on my wing, loosing a missile that went straight up the tailpipe of the fighter. The engine peeled away as I fired three rapid shots into the P-21, finishing it off. The pilot didnÔÇÖt even have time to eject.

Good.

The remaining two fighters were dispatched quickly between the three of us, then we made tracks for home.

We didnÔÇÖt get very far. Three Violon carriers entered through a jumpgate as we entered the Otura-9 region and launched four vipers each. The twelve fighters swept in as we turned and ran for the jumpgate to LV-184.

Lasers flew past as I rolled the craft. One blast slammed into the shields, but it wasnÔÇÖt a serious hit; the shields held. McKay and the other IC were both evading enemy fire as well, and doing a much better job of it than I was. Well, why not? I had twice the work to do! They hit their afterburners, accelerating toward the gate. Five seconds later, they vanished through the pulsating circle of red fire. I passed through as well, the universe exploding around me. I emerged from the gate and hurriedly matched course with the other two ICÔÇÖs, the Gammulan fighters only moments behind me.

We set course for the wormhole to the Regulus system and jumped, passing through the wormhole and emerging near Regis IV.

...

That was where Murphy tossed another wrench. Just after the wormhole, my engines gave out. The reactor had just died on me.

ÔÇ£Get out of here, Lieutenant. ThatÔÇÖs an order!ÔÇØ I said insistently.

ÔÇ£Negative, sir. We came to get you home, and thatÔÇÖs exactly what weÔÇÖre going to do.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£We donÔÇÖt have time to debate this, McKay! Get out of here!ÔÇØ

Too late.

The fighters, along with all three carriers, emerged from the wormhole and hovered right on top of us.

ÔÇ£What now?ÔÇØ Hiker asked desperately.

McKay appeared on the screen momentarily. ÔÇ£They think theyÔÇÖve got us. I think otherwise.ÔÇØ She switched over to another channel, her face still on the screen, and I heard her transmission. ÔÇ£Commander Teron, now!ÔÇØ

The Violons didnÔÇÖt have time to realize their mistake. The Galactan class Battlecruiser War Hammer decloaked, the remaining two fighters launching one after the other. The two ICÔÇÖs approached the enemy fighters rapidly as the War Hammer closed on the Violons. Simultaneously, as if in a concert performance, missiles flew from both the War HammerÔÇÖs launch tubes and the ICÔÇÖs 3 and 4, targeting the enemy fighters. Hiker and McKay launched their remaining missiles at the Violons as the War HammerÔÇÖs PTA system collapsed the shields. The missiles impacted, creating an impressive flower of destruction and debris, exploding outward from the hangars of both ships. The fighters simply ceased to exist, clouds of debris occupying their previous positions.

Commander Teron appeared on my screen. ÔÇ£The Violons are retreating. Stand by, Commander Foss. We will bring you aboard now. Hiker and McKay, dock for rearming and repairs, then launch immediately.ÔÇØ

The Interceptors curved toward the War Hammer as the impressive ship hovered over me. The tractor beam locked on, and I felt the fighter jolt beneath me. I turned my head to the side, content to finally rest.

I didnt even notice my blood covering the controls on my right side

(RP off)

Okay, not as long as I thought. Nevertheless, it is there. There will be more up in a matter of hours.

------------------

Commander David Foss, GCV Deterrence

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Guest Seeker

great story david!cant wait toread the next chapters!

------------------

who is error and why is he reading my drive c?

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Hehe... Sorry, guys. A watch running slow is supposed to mean behind time, not running slower than time! A few hours indeed! smile.gif

(RP on)

ÔÇ£We are gathered here today to pay final respects to our honored dead.ÔÇØ I said tightly. ÔÇ£Crewmen Sandy Shields, Colin Vester, Nancy Becker, Jacob Windslow, Jonathan Carp, Peter Jenson, Jennifer Lowden, Nicholas Hanson, George Lost, Gregory Bestow, Wendy Fendow, Ben Restis. Flight engineers Jack Kars, Charles Vance, Jessica Sevkes, Bell Choves, Kevin Hand. Marines Christen Hand, Sarah Victory, Xavier Vandenburg, Lace Anderson, Harry Dodger, France Ingles, Jose Baron, Chris Berringston, Eric Vance, Carl Wessel, and John Locke all made the ultimate sacrifice in the performance of their duties. They have given the greatest of gifts to the human race, gifts that can only be given once by any of us. They are to be remembered from this day forth with reverence and honor. Their sacrifices were not in vain, and they shall never be forgotten. They will be sorely missed. We therefore commit these bodies to the void of space.ÔÇØ

The master at arms saluted, the remaining crew of the Deterrence following suit. The Honor guard followed instructions from McKay.

Ready aim fire!

Bang!

Aim fire!

Bang!

Aim fire!

Bang!

The assembled crowd lowered their arms to again stand at attention as the coffins drifted away from Galcom HQ, to be forever lost in the great void of space. I turned away from the window, heading back to my quarters to finish the dreadful job ahead of me.

...

To: Victor and Eve Shields

From: Commander David Foss, GCV Deterrence

Subject: Sandy

By now, you have heard of your daughterÔÇÖs untimely and unfortunate death aboard the GCV Deterrence. Standard protocol directs me to send you the following letter:

ÔÇ£We regret to inform you that your daughter was killed during the performance of her duties in the service of Galcom and all mankind.ÔÇØ And so on and so on. The cycle continues.

I will write no such letter. I would gladly face a court martial to bring her back, but I canÔÇÖt. So I risk a court martial by sending you this, instead.

This is written to you from what little heart I have left. My orders alone are responsible for your daughter being killed light years away from the place she so lovingly called home. She died in the service of Galcom, under the command of a foolish officer who believed that saving the life of a friend was more important than saving his crew. This foolish officer was none other than Commander David Foss. The very person who writes this letter you will shortly be reading. It was my order to take the Deterrence behind enemy lines, and it was my order to engage the enemy that resulted in your sorrow, as well as the sorrow of twenty-seven other families and countless others who knew these people as friends. I can never undo what has been done. I can only hope that someday, when this is all over, and no more lives must be lost to this undeclared war, that you and your family, as well as her friends can forgive the officer responsible for SandyÔÇÖs death.

Yours with greatest sorrow,

Commander David Eugene Foss

...

I sent twenty-seven variants of that letter. IÔÇÖd made it a point to memorize the life histories of every crewmember killed in that awful battle. With the last letter sent off to John LockeÔÇÖs family, I turned my attention to the object that Janice had given me in her death throes.

It was a recorded message. I inserted the disk into the reader and hit the playback button.

The painfully familiar face of Janice Errintha stared back at me.

ÔÇ£Hi there, Davie. If youÔÇÖre seeing this message, it means that IÔÇÖm dead. I carried this message because I knew you would come after me. But at the same time, I knew that I wouldnÔÇÖt be getting out of there alive. I know I told you that I was just snooping along the border. The truth is, I was asked by an outside source to check out a military installation on Gamma 2 in the Gammula system. I am sorry that I couldnÔÇÖt make it back with you, but you have to understand that I did it for a reason. There is the very real danger that the Gammulans will attack Sol again. This time, it wonÔÇÖt be for some obscure reason surrounded in mystery. It will be for domination. Whatever they were after, they now consider us a threat, and you know what that means.ÔÇØ

Her face still held that astonishing determination behind it. She was a transport captain, but she could have been a great Commander.

ÔÇ£Listen, Davie. I donÔÇÖt know what happened out there, but you have got to go on. I know youÔÇÖre hurting inside, but you have to let me go. Otherwise, you will follow me. I donÔÇÖt want that, my friend. YouÔÇÖve always been like a brother to me. Let me protect you in the afterlife. If you join me anytime soon, IÔÇÖll boot your sorry ass right back onto that ship where you belong. Always remember, David Eugene Foss, that in order to value peace, you must truly understand the hardships and costs of war. Goodbye, my friend. May you find the wisdom in my death that I could not teach you in my life.ÔÇØ

Her image winked off, and I sat back in the chair, her words weighing heavily upon me. ÔÇ£Goodbye, my sister.ÔÇØ I whispered gently. I hadnÔÇÖt realized it before, but IÔÇÖd also thought of her as family. I looked over at the closet, all of my uniforms hanging neatly. All except for one, that is. A family is related by blood, after all, isnÔÇÖt it?

By blood.

...

I left my quarters wearing the one uniform that was different from the others. The one uniform that still had some semblance of family within. The uniform that still held the bloodstains on the shoulder from my friendÔÇÖs last inspiring speech to me.

I ignored the questioning glances from the crew around me, heading for the bridge.

Neilson looked over at me from what was left of the Tactical station. ÔÇ£Sir, good news. We should have this ship up and running in a few days.ÔÇØ He said, then cast a curious glance at the shoulder of my uniform, then nodded in silent understanding. Somehow, he knew whose blood had stained this uniformÔÇöand my lifeÔÇöforever. Later on, Dr. Daron treated the uniform, allowing me to clean it freely without losing anymore blood than I already had.

I walked slowly down the corridors of the Deterrence, not noticing the crew who walked past me. The empty blackness of space hung outside each window as I slowly walked every square inch of the vessel. The souls of all those IÔÇÖd killed swam around me. Visions of the crew scattering in all directions, their voices echoing in the corridors. The only reason they werenÔÇÖt here now was because of my order to save a friend only so she could die six days later.

She didnÔÇÖt die alone, at least, I thought. But what comfort was that? Brand new crewmembers, fresh out of the academy, none of them older than twenty, had died for that reason. Some of them had probably died in exactly the way that she hadnÔÇÖt. Alone.

Two days later, the repairs were completed. I thought something was missing, though...

...

Sanders walked through the observation deck near the docking bay of the Deterrence. The BC's hull glistened thanks to the recently completed repairs.

(RP off)

Crap! I'll have to finish this later. I'll edit it when I get home in about 45.

------------------

Commander David Foss, GCV Deterrence

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David,

this thread is nearly 300k, I am closing it now, please open a new one: "First Command, Part 2".

Thomas Siemens (a.k.a. Gudihl)

Official Tester, Battlecruiser Series

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