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Emmett.hendrick

Andromeda - Death of a Princess

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The silent shape of the GCV Andromeda sat in the hanger of Wraith station, in orbit of Lyrius. As the giant ship slept engineers busily made their way, by jetpack and shuttle, around her massive frame. Last minute checks were being carried out, all systems prepared and her cargo was being loaded on board.

As Commander James Smyth stood silently behind the glass of the Fleet commander's office and watched as his ship was prepared for another mission he wondered what the mission would be this time. In her time the Andromeda had seen much action indeed her starboard hull still carried a discoloration from a PTA blast taken while she last saw action during the Omega operation when she had served along side the Invader and her commander, Elio Jason. Smyth sighed lightly as he watched the engineering teams bustling around her like an angry nest of bees, he glanced down for a moment at his cap which he had tucked neatly in under his left arm as he waited on Wraiths XO to brief him and let him know where he and his crew where going this time.

The sound of the elevator surprised Smyth, he had assumed that FC. Tac was already in his office. But as the lift came to a stop outside the FC's office Smyth wasn't so sure anymore. The lift door hissed open and Tac's stern facade greeted James from across the room. Slowly but commandingly Tac made his way across the room and stopped at his desk. He seemed to ingnore Smyth as he approached his desk, deeply involved instead in some papers in his hand. He read them intently and mumbled something to himself as he did so. As he reached his desk he thumped the papers down on the desk and cast a look at Smyth and at the Metalic Goddess slumbering in the hanger beyond.

"Hows she bearing up Smyth?" Tac more commanded than asked.

James snapped straight before responding, "Engineers reports say she's bearing up well sir. Although they won't tell me what her cargo or weapon load is they assure me we will be ready to leave first thing!"

"Excellent, excellent! And your crew?"

"Already back on station sir - ready to embark!"

"Excellent!" grinned Tac and his expression softened somewhat,"And yourself James how are you?"

"Geraldine seems to think I'm fit for duty sir although the leg still gives me pains!" replied James nodding at his right leg with his head

"Geraldine?" replied Tac a little confused, "Ah yes your old medical officer." He paused for a moment before continuing,"You married her didn't you?"

"Yes sir I did! Soon as I got out of hospital after the Omega operation!" smiled James.

"Yes yes" mumbled Tac, he remembered the day the Andromeda was towed back to dock after that operation, half the ship's starboard hull was missing, one third of her crew dead and the rest only barely survived. It had taken weeks to rebuild the ship and months to heal some of her crew, including Smyth who had been greviously injured in the final fire fight from one of the Omega craft. James had not been the same since but Tac could understand why.

Slowly Tac sat down behind his desk and motioned James to sit down in front of him, James did so although a little too formally for Tac's liking and he ordered the Commander to relax a little.

"Excuse me Sir!" interupted James, "But are you going to tell me where we are going?"

"Yes off course Smyth" retorted Tac as he stood up again from his desk and activated a holoscreen tactical display on the board behind his desk.

"James this is Gammula1, somewhere I'm sure you are familiar with, and this is the moon which orbits Gammula1. I'll get straight to the point. Intelligence has found out that the Gammulan's have some sort of weapons production plant located on this moon but that is not all they also believe that they have a weapon research plant on the planet also"

Tac paused for a moment as he moved away from the display

"Now usually this would not bother us however we have learnt that this plant are involved in the mass production of R.A.N.D.O.M OTS missles and the research station are looking at devoloping a version of this weapon that could take down an entire solar system. We have learnt that the production facility is not online just yet, however research at the other facility is moving at a brisk pace."

Tac looked grimly at Smyth

"James these reports are unconfirmed and as such Galcom will not commit a strike force to hit that deep into Gammulan territory. Nothing withstanding the probably losses that such a strike would incure on both sides and we still could not guarantee success. So Wraith Fleet have been tasked with confirming these plants exist and taking both out of action."

James stood up and faced his XO "So how many ships in the strike team sir?"

"Just one! The Andromeda!" replied Tac Grimly

"Just the Andromeda sir?" Queried James.

"Well not quite. A day after you leave two other ships will leave on a slightly different course but with the same goal. If you fail they must suceed!"

"So we are the decoys?" complained James

"No James your no decoy" reassured Tac putting his hand on Smyth's shoulder. "You're going in fully armed to do the job, I expect you to do the job. The Andromeda is getting 5 Bugnor class OTS missiles and full compliment of missiles. Your also getting 2 tonnes of demolition explosives and an extra supply of ATS missiles for your IC's. Your brief if very simple get in, confirm the existence of these facilites, and blow em to hell!"

James lip quivered for a moment as he contemplated this mission, the odds against one ship making it that far into Gamulan space undetected were astronomical but he knew the odds were better than a strike force trying to charge it's way head long across the Galaxy.

James put his cap on his head and saluted his XO.

"If you'll excuse me sir I have to go say goodbye to my wife" he snapped

"Fraid not James, there is no replacement medical officer available. Geraldine in going with you!"

James stopped dead in his tracks and spun viciously on his heel.

"No way! not going to happen! I am not taking her on a death mission!"

"I know how you feel but there is no other medical officer available Geraldine is a qualified Galcom doctor, she's combat trained, she's....."

"Pregnant!" snapped James

Tac stopped mid sentence, "I'm sorry James I truly am but we have no other choice!"

"I'll go without a chef medical officer her second in command can do the job!"

"Very well" sighed Tac "You leave tomorrow morning!"

James snapped a salute and then turned on his heal and walked to the lift. As the lift doors hissed closed Tac called after him.

"James I have authorised a few upgrades for the Andromeda check the details when you get on board!"

With that the doors hissed closed and James started his return to the slumbering Goddess in the hanger.

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Bandus stood on the bridge of the GCV Defiant quietly. He watched a computer monitor which currently displayed the battlecruisers cargo manifest. He watched as his ship was slowly resupplied.

The doors of the bridge opened and in walked a female of about 29 years of age. She weighed approximately 135 pounds and stood about 5 feet, 6 inches tall. She had hair that was somewhere between red and blond that was tied up neatly. A very noticeable feature was that her left eye was blue and her right eye was green. She had a very tan and clean complexion. Her lean build indicated she kept in shape and she moved with a very agile aura. She wore a Galcom uniform; on her shoulders were bars indicating the rank of "Executive Officer." She carried in her right hand a file folder with papers in it. She walked up behind Bandus, snapped to attention, and said, "Lt. Commander Solis, reporting for duty, sir."

Bandus turned around, surprised by the female voice on his bridge. He looked at her confusedly for a moment before saying, "Excuse me?"

Lt. Commander Solis repeated herself a second time, though it was unnecessary, Bandus had heard her the first time. Bandus shook off his confusion as now the two were attracting a bit of attention from a few of the Ensigns on the bridge that were performing repairs or maintenance. He said, "At ease. Welcome aboard, Commander. You are the replacement for, Commander Dykstra?"

Lt. Commander Solis nodded and said, "Yes, sir. That is correct." She went to a more relaxed stance and said, "It's a pleasure to serve aboard the Defiant. I've heard many good things."

Bandus nodded slightly and said "Commander Dykstra was the finest XO I've ever had. I'll be honest with you, you have some big shoes to fill." He looked over over, then met her eyes again and said, "Do you think your up to the task?"

With gusto Solis said, "Yes, sir!" Bandus nodded and said, "Excellent. Go ahead and get your stow your gear. See the Officer of the Day for a officer quarter assignment. Dismissed." Solis snapped back to attention, saluted, her salute returned by Bandus. She then turned on her heel and walked off the bridge.

Bandus sighed, a bit unconvinced by his new first officer. Was it because she was female? Bandus never had a female officer on his crew before. He shook his head slightly as he sat down in his command chair. He pushed a button which activated his viewscreen revealing the massive shape of Galcom Headquarters. The ship was in the middle of auto docking procedures to the station. He noticed several other ships in drydock including the GCV Andromeda. He looked over the Andromeda and smiled slightly, recalling the stories he'd heard about her latest mission.

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OOC: Welcome aboard Bandus but just to let you know the Andromeda is docked in Wraith station not Galcom HQ.

IC: The door to the bridge silently opened in front of Smyth and the Andromeda's bridge once again revealed it's self to him. As he stepped out of the lift he took a quick glance around. The subtle drone of constant radio communications echoed from every station as crew members co-ordinated teams through out the ship. Computer displays constantly updated with new information on ships status flashed at every station.

At the command chair Smyth spied his second in command, Lt Commander Phae Talla, surrounded by half a dozen crew members with reports for her attention. Busy as she was she was unnerving in her determination and she was making quick work of barking orders to each of the crew in turn. As soon as she spotted Commander Smyth she stopped, snapped to attention and called.

"COMMANDER ON THE BRIDGE!"

The entire bridge stopped, the incessant radio chatter remained by the back to front banter and operational discussions between crew members ceased almost immediatly. The entire bridge stopped, turned to face him and snapped a salute. All except for a poor maintenance engineer who caught his head on a console as he hurried to pull himself up to great his commander. Smyth stiffled a smile and returned their salute

"As you were!" he commanded as he crossed the bridge to his second in command. As he approached the other crew members quickly finished their business with the LT Commander and hurried back to their posts. James hid a wiry smile as he pulled up beside his first officer and gave her a quick glance up and down.

LT Commander Phae Talla, 24, female, human, originally from Lyrius. She had joined Galcom as soon as she was elible and had literally clawed her way up the ranks, James was not sure but he thought she may just be the youngest first officer in Galcom but he never got around to confirming that idea. She was dressed, as usual, in her full military uniform which was kept maticulously clean. Her hair was short, to just above her shoulders, well within regulations. On the bridge she ran a tight ship, but James also knew that socially she was a very easy going and easy to get on with person. She was also very efficient, the crew on the Andromeda we're well trained and combat hardened but Talla had managed to increase their efficiency even further and James was very impressed with her service record to date on his ship. He also knew she had been offered her own command, actually that was not true she had been offered her choice of commands. They had discussed it shortly before the Omega Six incident and she had said that she was being pulled towards Naval duty although space travel still pulled at her too. To his knowledge she had not made a decision, but he knew that if she went she would be sadly missed by all on the Andromeda.

"How goes it Lt?" asked James as he pulled up beside his first officer.

"Well sir!" she smiled "We are just about ready to depart, Wraith's engineers have been working in the engine room all day but they report they work is done also, personally I don't think Faulker would have given them another tweenty minutes down there without barging in on them to see what they were doing!"

James smiled, Roy Faulker had been the Andromeda's chief engineer for as long as he could remember, even before he was her commander. Faulker was a bit of a gruf man, slightly over weight but great fun when surrounded by his friends. He had a very unhealthy relationship with the Andromeda, almost boardering on an obsesion and he loathed letting any other engineering team any where near her engines.

"Once the station engineers are finished tell him to go in a check their work, that should make him happy. I should be able to tell him what they were doing by then!"

"Yes sir. On that a private transmition came in for you from FC Tac while you are away. I had it piped to your desk."

"Thank you Lt Commander," smiled James "If you need me I'll be in my quarters!"

Phae nodded her head as he exited the bridge the way he came. James felt a little strange leaving the bridge as they were preparing to depart but he knew LT Commander Talla could look after things and he was only at the end of the com link should anything go wrong.

As the turbolift started on it's journey to the crew quarters he wondered about the upcoming mission about the datapad waiting for him is his quarters. What were the extras that Tac had talked about and why had Galcom engineers baned his chief engineer from his own engine room for almost two days. Hopefully the Datapad would give him the answers to these questions.

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{rp}

The Invader was sitting quietly in the Wraith hangar.

I had come over to Wraith after hearing about Smyth's injury. I had found out he had recovered well but he still had pains.

I was still in the Invader's hangar, the shape of the MK2 still intrigues me to this day. We had seen much action after the Omega incident.

I already knew what was happening. Smyth was being sent on a high profile mission deep into Gammulan territory. But he was being sent alone.

This sent a shiver down my spine again. This indeed was a bold move but it was very risky as well.

They had asked me to be one of the ships to do the job if Smyth failed. This sent another shiver down my spine. I accepted but the thought of Smyth failing clouded my mind.

I brought myself together as my second in command came to me,

"Sir, ship will be ready soon. She's been loaded with all the mission requirements. Are you okay sir?"

"I'm fine." I responded, "Make sure everyone gets a good rest." I responded

"Yes sir." and with that he walked off.

I got up and walked towards my ship.

{/rp}

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James stood staring at the datapad that sat on his desk for a few moments, unsure of what it contained he was uncertain about reading it, the last thing he wanted today was more bad news. Eventually he plucked up the courage and snapped the pad from his desk. Activating it a confidental message from FC Tac appeared..

To: Commander James Smyth, GCV Andromeda

From: FC Tac

James once again I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for taking this mission, I know it can not have been an easy decision for you but with your extensive time in Gammulan space to date you have possibly one of the best chances of pulling it off.

Not to belittle your expierence but I have authorised some upgrades to the Andromeda to help guarantee your success. By the time you read this Wraith Engineers should have finished upgrading the hull, shields, reactor and engine of the Andromeda, however you will also find that they have fitted an IOD device to your ship also. The upgrades are not much but I hope they help in someway.

I have also authorised delivery of as much fuel as you think you will need for all your systems and you will find two replacement IC's in you cargo bay also

God speed Andromeda.

We await your return.

James turned off the Pad and turned to look out the view port, he watched for a few moments as shuttles travelled too and fro transporting matierals and fuel as required. Out of the corner of the view port he noticed the Invader sitting quietly in the hanger also. James smiled, a bit surprised that the had not notice the MK 2 before but assuring himself that he had been failry distracted on his return to the Andromeda.

He thumbed the com link to engineering, Roy Faulker's gruff voice answered

"Engineering!"

"Roy this is Smyth have you had a chance to look over Wraith's work?"

"Bumbling group of children. Yea I had a glance surprisingly they seem to have done a good job but I have one of my teams looking it over to be sure!"

"Efficient as always! Roy can you go to the main gun and check the installation there?"

"Main gun what the Frell did they fit there." he paused for a few moments as James heard him below something at one of the engineers behind him "Sure I'll take a look shortly!"

"Excellent!" smiled James "Oh and Roy don't take long I expect to see you at my table for diner!"

"I'll be there" barked Faulker as the com line was cut.

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A few hours later James sat at the head of the Commanders table for dinner. He was surrounded by his most senor officers and his wife, Geraldine Meagher, had joined them also. Before dinner James and Geraldine had been involved in quite a heated discussion regarding her involvement in the up coming mission. Geraldine had fought her corner well and in the end James had, grudginly, yield to her demands to be allowed come along. No matter how he had argued for her safety she had refused to give in. She was a very stubborn woman and it was one of the reasons James had fallen so deeply in love with her so he had, eventually, yielded to her demands and allowed her to store her belongings in his quarters alongside his own.

Now she sat beside him at the table while his first officer, Phae Talla, sat on his left. Also at the table was Roy Faulker, the Andromeda's chief engineer, the majority of the bridge crew and LT John Tucker, who had recently come on board to command the Andromeda's marine compliment after her previous combat officer was killed during the Omega incident.

James sat silently sipping his drink as he stared at his crew assembled around his and the other tables in the dinning area. The rest of the crew mixed well he was happy to see and members of all areas of the crew happily conversed over dinner.

After dinner James stood up and walked away from the table calling for the attention of his crew as he did, drink still in his hand.

"Good evening all!" he started, "Some of you have been part of this crew for a long time. And some of you are new. To the new members I welcome you aboard, to the old I am happy to once again be going in action with you again."

He paused for a moment to allow his greeting carry to all in the room.

"As from now the Andromeda is in a state of lock down, all supplies are aboard, all weapons are loaded, repairs are done and we are ready to depart, and in little over two hours we will depart on our latest mission."

"I have briefed all the supperior officers on our mission and they have been ordered to inform you all of the details once we are underway. I must unfortunatly inform you that the details of this mission are confidental and must not be discussed with anyone outside of yourselves. To this end all personal communications will be barred in one hour."

"I know many of you have your doubts and worries I'd be lying if I said I didn't have worries of my own. But I promise you this this crew will show the same dedication, the same determination and the same savy that we have approached all our previous operations. We will make Wraith proud of this ship and Galcom proud of Wraith. We will perform all that is required of us by duty and we will prevail!"

With that a cheer arouse for the crew and a thunderous round of applause filled the dinning area for 5 minutes. Eventually the applause died down and James concluded.

He held his drink high

"To Galcom, To Wraith and to the Andromeda!"

The crew responded by raising their own glasses and repeating his call

TO GALCOM, TO WRAITH AND TO THE ANDROMEDA!!

James sat down to thunderous applause and cheers from the entire crew.

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The following morning the sun broke over the oval shape of Lyrius and oozed through every port hole in Wraith HQ. Smyth stood on the bridge with a half a doozen report pads in his hands, as he diligently read through and signed each on he was handing the completed pads to a LT on his left side, she was already carrying about a doozen pads and was quickly getting overburdened with her load, noticing her plight a young marine lept to her aid and offered to help her carry her load as James handed her the last pad.

He smiled at her and her new friend as he handed her the pad and without changing his focus called out acros the bridge.

"Miss Talla what is our status!"

"Bridge stations ready to go Sir!" was the LT Commanders quick response.

James turned and hit the com link to engineering "Bridge to Engineering! Roy status!"

"Engines are raring to go sir - reactor power is nominal!"

James smiled as he switch com lines "Medical this is the bridge report!" ordered Smyth trying to sound as commanding as possible

"Medical ready sir!" came Geraldine's voice over the com line, James sighed he really wished he hadn't given into her demands to come but he knew better than to argue with her, again he changed the com line.

"Flight Deck report!"

"Fighters ready for launch sir - pilots on station!"

James eased himself into his chair as LT Commander Talla took her position standing beside him, quickly he activated his perscan computer and noted that the Andromeda's marine compliment were already on duty through out the ship.

"Very well then lets get under way!" he nodded at Phae beside him and she nodded knowingly in return before turned to face the anticapting bridge officers.

"Helm prepare for departure!"

"Coms open a line to Wraith HQ launch control!"

"Navigation set course for our first jump to the Lennon system!"

Crew members quickly attended to their task as ordered presently a voice from Wraith dock control filled the speakers on the Andromeda bridge.

"Andromeda this is control you are cleared to depart space dock doors are opening!"

Outside at the spaceward end of Wraith HQ's massive space dock facility the immense, cumbersome doors slowly parted, as they did so the forboding mysterious of space beyond were revealed once more to the crew of the mighty ship.

"Helm all ahead slow!" commanded Smyth.

The Andromeda's engines grew to a roaring crescendo as she fought to break the confine's of inactivity. Slowly the massive beheamouth started to crawl towards the gapping maw of the gateway and the obscurity that lay beyond.

The giant carrier pulled slowly past the view ports and social areas of Wraith HQ space dock, shuttles sped around the dock area as the massive ship powered it's way forward gaining momentum with every passing moment.

"Forward one half helm!" commanded Smyth as the hanger doors loomed ahead gapping widely to allow her to escape to the void beyond.

With a thunderous blast, lost in the silence of space the GCV - Andromeda powered clear of Wraith HQ.

Calming to a gentle cruise the carrier silently moved away from the massive station that was Wraith HQ. Within a few moments the ships powerful hyperdrive engines kicked in and the ship was cast into hyperspace and on it's way to her first system jump.

Lenon!

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With a flash the form of the Andromeda entered the system. James cocked his head slightly to look at his second in command.

"Well Phae what have we got?"

Studying the scanner read out in front of her she frowned before answering.

"System appears quiet sir Pixan station in orbit of the planet accompanied by the ODS platform but I'm not picking up any fighters or capitol ships in the area!"

James smiled, a good start to the mission, Lenon was sometimes a very easy place to run into a lot of trouble even though it was so close to Wraith territory. But he wanted re-assurance.

"Tactical report!" he barked

"Agreed sir nothing unusual in the area a LRT has just entered the area but is making course for the station!"

James smiled "Set course for next jump and engage hyperdrive once it's recharged!" he commanded.

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The trip to the Gammulan border was fairly uneventfull. To all her crew's relief the Andromeda had not run into any resistance so far but they all knew that things were about to get much harder for them.

Smyth and Talla stood on the bridge staring at the Tacops display for the region, they appeared to be looking for something.

"There it is!" snapped LT Commander Talla pointing at a slight flicker on the screen.

"Yes!" mussed James, "it appears we are being shadowed, but the question is by whom?"

"Helm!" he called "make for planet fall. Lets see if we can loose them in the planets atmosphere?"

The giant carrier moved slowly towards the planet, elsewhere her silent stalker moved to follow.

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{rp}

Ensign Woodbridge burst through the bridge doors.

"Sir!!! We were trying to reach you via commlink, but it seems all of the comms are down! After checking out the descreptancy, we found other minor problems with the targeting computer. This may have an effect on the missles in launch; they may malfunction. We have, however, come to one conclusion. It appears someone is jamming us. I would have had someone more high-up to contact you, but I seemed to be the closest one to the bridge. With all due respect, I believe we should be more careful as of now. "

The Ensign feels the effect of gravity on the ship.

"I think I must return back to my station with the other engineers. If you do need me, feel free to contact me one way or another. I also have espionage experience, if you look in my dossier."

The Ensign salutes the commander.

"Good luck sir"

The Commander hears the doors swish open and close.

{/rp}

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