Chapter 19.1 – To Reap Seeds of Potential
The room plays a nice calming music melody as four of the five members sit. They say nothing knowing discussion without a full council is strictly forbidden. Eventually the fifth light illuminates the entrance as the fifth enters. The long fast strides take him quickly to the center as the door clicks with several locks. Reaching the table he falls into a chair suspended in air. It bounces downward a bit from the full weight and momentum of the man. The man waits to finish the process for talking. He clicks a button on the chair initializing he is ready. The other four also activate theirs. The white smooth almost flat masks click allowing them to be removed from the concealing head gear they each wore. They each in unison remove the masks and place them on the flat table in front of them.
“I am sorry for my lateness.” The man says bowing his head lightly. The two other men and two women bow in acceptance.
“It is understandable. Your charge has suffered greatly.” A woman says. The statement lacked emotion or inference but the man was unhappy that it was said at all.
“If my charge wasn’t punishment for misfits, upstarts, and the retirees of our forces, we’d have a better record.”
“assumptions.” one of the other men says. The late man clinches his jaw unhappy the meeting had turned into a bashing session of his duties overseeing the border patrol.
“Regardless of assumptions, the news I bring is dire.”
“The invasion was repelled of course. Our spies in the Coalition have confirmed this, though that invasion was still under your watch.” The first woman says pointing to the man. He sighs loudly becoming angry.
“Please, please. I served as head of the border patrol once. It is not an easy charge. We who have more convenient and less tested positions like to look down on the one that is given the least support and often demanded the most from. Perhaps we should have one of you replace him to see what you can do with the meager management skills you have.” The older third man says pointing to the second man and the first woman. The first man is happy to have some relief from the testing of his patience. The second woman chuckles lightly.
“I agree, plus there is an official channel to go through for such admonishing of a job or duty. You wouldn’t be saying these things in an official capacity through the proper channel so don’t pretend those of us who know different will accept this kind of behavior here. We have real things to discuss.” The second woman chimes in looking around at the group. Each of the five bows their head once again in acceptance. Though the first woman and second man are unhappy with how things turned against them but they resolve to put it aside and move on. Content that the topic was finally put to rest the first man continues.
“The first point is the aggression of the Coalition. For hundreds of thousands of years their kind has waged incalculable wars against the seed worlds. In this incarnation we let them wipe out a dozen races, including the most promising Achoma, then enter our space and wipe out the Seargar and Samonia before attacking our planet directly. Now they have entered into our territory twice in a matter of weeks, one with a full strike team.” The man says laying out a very emotionally filled argument but is stopped by the second female interjecting.
“I will provide this bit and a counter point. We have gotten proof that the first incursion by the military expedition which first bloodied the border patrols pride was not done by the Coalition military. In fact records show he was not there for a weapon but has been confirmed to have been seen following another far more disturbing but possibly beneficial trail. Your argument for those seeds that are dead is not relevant. You know our ways, our non-interference is strictly enforced.” The woman replies pushing the final point hard.
“I will cede that in the battle the Draia did not go to the planet for any kind of gains we can find.”
“There are none.” The woman butts in again showing her resolve to end that thread of thought.
“Ok, however the second force, while not substantial in its initial invasion, the rescue force was sizeable. A third patrol ship was destroyed with all crew, and the two ships which intercepted the first transports and escorts were destroyed attempting to fight the ship by autopilot. Two of the crew survived the battle with the Coalition team. Despite having one less soldier, the Coalition team left only two of our soldiers alive while they lost only two soldiers. From the reports I took personally, it was only because of one of their soldiers that the two of them even survived. During the battle he removed some of the armor and saw our true form. It shocked him and kept him from dealing a killing blow.” The man says leaving such emotional ploys out and relying on only facts. The other three look to the second woman.
“That coalition soldier was on the planet of the illuminance. He was affected there.”
“This illuminance, is it a problem?” The old man asks.
“Debatable. However it is not one that must be done now. The other pressing issues must come now. The illuminance is a conversation for another week, month, or year.” She responds ending that thought.
“What are the pressing issues now then?” The second man says looking around at the group before continuing. “I haven’t heard one yet that makes this necessary.”
“The Coalition attack took the weapon from the base.” The first man says looking at the second. No one in the room looks happy now.
“We must get it back or destroy if need be. It cannot be allowed to be wielded by the hands of the Coalition.” The second woman says.
“Non-interference and then interference.” The first woman says pointedly.
“The weapon was designed and tested to be used against our nation. The Coalition will exterminate more seeds, but in the end they will grow large and seize the opportunity to strike us. The weapon should have been put to rest a long time ago, now it is required. I know we risk genocide of a planet with this task, but we cannot sit back on this any longer.” The old man says.
“We need the spear, the shield, and the sword.” The first man says, his words creating an uncomfortable silence. The other three look between the first man and the second woman seeing that both of these people are already set on this course.
“Such talk is strictly forbidden outside of this room.” The second man says a bit of anger in his voice.
“Coming to the same conclusion without having talked should be proof enough that it is needed.” The second woman responds.
“Blunting the Coalition does not require reinitiating our entire military structure.” The first woman says.
“No it doesn’t, however this will.” The second woman says nodding to the first man. He clinches his jaw unhappy with how badly this looks but he decides to shove through regardless.
“I have been filling reports to the chain of command for over 10 years now about the losses of the border patrol. Since we’re a band of misfits, upstarts and retirees it’s obvious almost no one else cares that it has become less of a band of retirees and misfits and now mostly upstarts. Younger generations have been signing up more and more because it is an easy way to track Vino groups, because they have become rampantly brazen in their movements.” The first man sighs looking down before looking back up and continuing with the hardest part. “The Coalition isn’t the only ones suffering from a significantly more organized Vino presence. The border guard has lost hundreds of our patrol ships in the last 10 years. Of course with such a vast border patrol it is easy to not notice it, but I’ve gotten reports of the Vino ships spotted by colonies and bases as close as Tiahuanaco or Damascus.”
“That’s only a few systems short of our primary ship yard and Damascus houses our secondary ship yard!” The second man exclaims.
“What is going on here?” The old man asks still suspicious of things.
“Being the head of the intelligence and counter intelligence charge I get all of the reports and have read through most of his briefings. I assume none of you pay attention to them.” The second woman says looking at the other three. With the three nodding she continues. “The Vino have become rasher in their exploits, I have already gotten word from my spies in the Coalition that the strange Vino encounters have increased as they search for long lost relics from the wars. They are also attempting to find the base species. However even if they do not, our conclusion can only be that they will strike within the next year, unless the Coalition gets the upper hand in their section and begins to push into ours. Then they will wait until they believe we are weak enough.” The group looks away from her each thinking about what would happen if they choose to bring their military back to its war state.
“I approve.” The second man says.
I approve.” The first woman says.
“I approve.” The old man says, his rough voice giving off displeasure at it, but acceptance of its necessity.
“I approve.” The other two nod and say in unison.
“Is there anything else?” The older man asked wondering if the pressing news had been fully satisfied.
“Just something minor.” The first man replies. The older man nods at him a bit hesitant to be happy about him speaking up again.
“General Hauti has filed his retirement notice after he survived the meeting with the Coalition on Sear. He parts with the military as the oldest General and soldier in recorded history.” The others nod as if agreeing that it was necessary. The first man pushes forward with the topic knowing some won’t be happy. “Morgan Kenway, the criminal who has been gate chained for nearly two decades was also wounded, which would be the second time in two weeks having faced both incursions by the Coalition or a member race of the coalition. She still holds the rank of captain having served her time in prison and being pressed into patrol service for a decade. A soldier of her skill and ability would easily have attained a gold rank gate status and as such be given the white armor fitting of the royal shield and colorless beam.”
“Absolutely not!” The second man says.
“Under the restructuring code of spear, shield and sword she has served her time and found to be still just as capable.” The first man responds.
“She lost twice!” The second man replies.
“You’ve seen what the chaining does to a person. To say it hobbles them is making light of that. Had she just been at a green level of a user her skills and abilities would have been far different. Perhaps they would have easily eliminated the second incursion.” The old man says.
“Perhaps or not. Certainties!” The first woman says.
“Certainty: Her skills put her above any other at the time. Going on just that, she would have led a spear had the transgression not happened twenty five years ago.” The second woman replies.
“The spears will fall under my jurisdiction, I will not have her.” The second man says.
“I am calling a vote for her removal of chains, not her placement in the spears. She can stay under my jurisdiction since the shield will fall to me.” The first man replies.
“I approve.” The old man says. The second man goes to speak but shuts his mouth before answering.
“I approve.” The second woman says.
“I don’t.” The first woman says.
“Three to two, under the rules of jurisdiction he is given the additional say, since you have revoked your leadership of her recommission.”
“I approve as commander of the border patrol and now the shield of the Neerkin.”
“Four to two. Record this now, Morgan Kenway, soldier of the Neerkin border patrol will have her gate chains removed and her power restored to its originality prior to sentencing.”
Chapter 19.2 – Aftershocks.
“General on bridge!” The woman yells at the door to the command room.
“At ease.” Morgan responds, still a bit unsure of everything.
“General?” The woman asks quietly.
“It is good to see you back at your proper place.” The woman says.
“Thank you.” Morgan says nodding at the woman and striding to the chair at the rear of the room. She knew the praise wasn’t entirely correct. She had taken a demotion from the standard military hierarchy to follow her friend and mentor into the border patrol. Though she gained the golden powers and subsequently the white armor befitting them, she was responsible for her mentor’s death. Now she was forever forsaken from her original place in the military, relegated to the shield fleets, and eventually the border patrols again once the military structure was suspended during peace time.
Now without the chains binding her gate to a green level she remembers the feeling of the gate without the painful filter. For 25 years she had to deal with the pain of pulling any energy for use. The experience of the painful application of the gate chains and the painful removal of them were but one memory of that time. Now she was free of it, and at the command of a fifteen ship fleet. She wondered why it took the deaths of ten soldiers to get her back to this point.
“Take us through the field and open fire on the mine field surrounding the watch point. Engage all communication disruptions. All fighters are given permission to fire.” She orders. The fleet moves through the border sensor grid and past the asteroid belt that was the guiding point for that section of the Neerkin border. As the first salvo of laser fire rips through much of the mines laid around the watch point, hundreds of miniature drones are released from the eight bays the watch point had. While the technology was more advanced than what the Neerkin fought against during its previous war with the Coalition the drones still didn’t hold up against the superior firepower and shielding of the Neerkin. As the drones are destroyed by the dozens additional pilots are launched from the watch point base to provide a more focused attack by the drones.
“We’ve lost two fighters, but pilots have been retrieved.”
“Destroy the entrances to the bays on the watch point. Have the Nira move in to deploy group forces to the watch point. At least three are to be captured for interrogation.” Morgan orders. Tactical interface activates displaying video feed from the outer hull of her ship on every wall, floor, and ceiling of the command room in intricate detail. She had forgotten how mesmerizing it was to stand on the command deck of such ships seeing all of the other ships flying around. Looking to her right she can see two of the faster cruisers destroying more mine fields to gain a position to fire on the rear bay entrances of the watch point. With the cruisers and frigates moving forward the mass of Coalition drones and fighters are dispatched quickly.
“The Nira has sliced into the upper areas and strike teams have taken the upper half of the station. We have two injured soldiers. They are stable and receiving care. Over twenty technicians and a few combat soldiers have surrendered.” One of the tactical personnel says.
“Take all of them for questioning. Transfer them to the prisoner transport 8W902.” Morgan orders as she looks at the listing of ships in her fleet.
“General we are getting a code blue communication from fleet 303.”
“This is a request for all fleet support. We have engaged the primary combat fleet, and have the 1st strike fleet in sensor range responding as well.” The radio communication comes through on the bridge.
“The 309th and 743rd fleets have already responded and are in route, however we have gotten no confirmation of the second strike fleet or the Black fleet’s location.” The technician adds. Morgan nods and taps a few lines into her pad and sending the communication off to fleet command for confirmation. Without a proper shield fleet defending populated worlds Morgan knows if her fleet is drawn into the battle with that Coalition fleet that another Coalition strike fleet could hit a populated Neerkin world before a defense force could get there to defend. The coded reply was quick.
“Is the prison transport away?” Morgan asks.
“It’s already cleared Sear and should outrun anything.” The tactical officer responds.
“Good, have all ships mark what’s left of the mine field and move to engage the Coalition fleet that is in combat with 303rd fleet. All ships are to move at full power.”
“General our fleet will fragment, if the other strike team.” The tactical officer says a bit distressed.
“Those are the orders. The other strike fleet has been discovered. Get the ships moving and get me the captains of the fleet.” Morgan orders forcefully. The bridge technicians turn around and resume their duties as the screens show ships moving away at full speed to the battle. On the arm rest of the chair a screen shows all of the captains linking in to her communications. Once all of them are there the communication officer turns around and nods to her.
“I know I am unfamiliar with this fleet. I know many of you had good relations with its previous General. I appreciate the professionalism of all the crew. We are responding to fleet 303, which is facing an enemy fleet five times its size. All our ships are to respond as quickly as possible to take the pressure off of that fleet. The faster the response the more soldiers we save. Please have all medical facilities ready to rescue any we can when possible. The Nira and my ship the Damascus will immediately be gunning for the two primary ships of the fleet the Phantom and Jinirao, both of which house a spy. Once the battle has been stabilized for fleet 303 all ships are to protect the Nira and my ship. Likely the second Coalition strike team will be arriving at the time we hook on. Stay safe in the battle, no heroics.” Morgan says.
The next 15 minutes pass by grueling as Morgan’s ship the Damascus is stuck with the three other battleships as the slowest in her fleet. The crew sits and listens as Morgan commands as much of her fleet as she can from there, but can do little else as fighter, frigate, and even a cruiser here and there are taken out of the fight. Finally getting into firing range they can see the second Coalition strike fleet coming in as well. She punches in the command channel for the three other battleships with her.
“Fire every long range weapon you have at the incoming strike fleet.” Morgan orders. The tactical team runs the firing prediction. Moments later each of the battleships opens fire. The enemy fleet slows dodging the rounds giving the rest of Morgan’s fleet the time to get to the fight first.
“The Nira is requesting permission to break off to engage the Phantom, she is already crippled and we see emergency life pods and transport craft evacuating?” A communication technician asks.
“Have them send over two transports of solders. Insure we have full control and the ship core isn’t at critical. While that is in progress have them focus on the Jinirao.” Morgan says as their four battleships cut right into the center of the Coalition fleet. The fleet scatters as Morgan’s ships unleash everything they have, while using the Coalition’s own ships to prevent return fire from the incoming strike fleet. The 743rd Neerkin fleet moves most of its battleships and cruisers to face the incoming strike fleet. The strike fleet tries desperately to avoid further damage while intercepting Morgan’s ships but is soon forced to engage that flank or retreat to the rear of the Coalition fleet.
“The second strike fleet has engaged the 743rd fleet and is already suffering extensive damage.” The tactical officer says. As the four ships move deeper into the Coalition fleet, the remaining cruisers and frigates from the 303rd and their own fleet follow them in picking off or disabling weakened ships. With the Coalition capital ship Jinirao in sight the four battleships concentrate fire on the weapons and shielding. Coming in closer to the Jinirao the group passes by the Phantom, allowing the two transports from the Nira to embark on their mission.
“Several cruisers are asking about firing permission on the transports leaving the Phantom?” A communication technician asks.
“No destruction of vessels is permitted on retreating ships. If it can’t be disabled don’t fire on it.” Morgan answers a bit upset she even had to give those orders. The technician nods seeming a bit happy at the answer.
“The forward defense interceptors and shielding is down on the Jinirao. A General retreat order has been given to the rest of their fleet. It looks like most of the personnel on the Jinirao are evacuating from the aft starboard side away from us.” The tactical officer says. The rest of the bridge lets out a joyous yell. Morgan looks at a tactical display seeing the secondary strike fleet withdrawing from combat with the 743rd fleet to pick up the escape pods and transports being used to escape the Jinirao.
“Have two transports board the Jinirao and secure the self-destruct systems.” Morgan orders.
“General! We have a coded transmission from the Jinirao, it’s our spy, they’ve already disabled the self-destruct. It says the Fleet General Kirii is still on board with an advanced combat team.” The communication officer says.
“Rescind the transport order. Bring our ship in to grapple the side of the Jinirao. Have all boarding teams ready. Relay to the 743rd that the remainder of our fleet is under their command. I will be joining the boarding teams to face off with General Kirii.” Morgan says getting up from her chair. The tactical and communication teams scramble to issue the large order. She watches briefly as the ship moves closer to the massive Jinirao. The fleet had struck fast since her defeat at the hands of Orlen the prior day. This was a decisive victory having lost a few pilots and probably only a handful of crew on various frigates and cruisers. They hadn’t lost a single vessel outside of the dozen fighters yet had managed to cripple the entire watch post system guarding the Coalition border with Neerkin space and destroyed or crippled over 70% of their closest battle fleet to the Ling home planet. Now Morgan needed to remove General Kirii, a new but well respected General. It would be a devastating blow to the Coalition moral.