By: DANAE CONRAD
Ludit. Captain Ludit. Message arriving on subspace frequency, acknowledge
please. Captain Ludit?"
said a sleepy voice.
Ludit, sir, there is a message arriving over subspace frequency 8. Shall I
read it, sir?"
go ahead, Lieutenant."
Forces in Taft's Domain are massing for an apparent full-scale attack. Their
largest ship appears missing, but the others are armed and dangerous. Numerous
fighter ships are begin prepared as well. The people in the country are in a
state of warhawking and are ready to commence the battle.
all!!! Why didn't you put this on priority one?" She scowled at the
screen. "Put Meric on, Lieutenant."
hit the ships comm on. We're on red alert - repeat - that's red alert. Dub in
the message that we won't attack. We will defend. Got it!!!"
on my way to the Enchantress now. Try hailing the Scimitar."
we've being trying for days. There is no response. They won't respond...They
are just out of our range."
Thank you, Meric. Relay my message - Captain out."
pushed the hair from her eyes. What kind of game were they playing? A deadly
one, a real one, and an unknown one, she decided as she combed her hair up
from her face into a chignon. She tried to think all of her reactions through
while she changed into her captain's uniform. To make decisions now would save
her time on the battlefield. She grabbed a high-power laser gun for any hand
on hand combat and she positioned her Keys at the ready. Adena turned to leave
the apartment when her reflection in the mirror caught her eye. She saw
herself geared for the fight, ready to defend -- what?? She blanched slightly
for she was going to war. Not a game, not exercises, she was going to fight a
fear at the prospects caused her to swallow the lump in her throat. Her people
and his people were counting on her to lead them. She spoke a silent prayer to
the heavens to guide her steps and then she left the room. Her first stop was
Yorkshire Manor to inform Jonathon of the events.
you're not really serious, are you?"
course I am. I wouldn't waste my time creating a lie, would I?"
let me go with you."
Jon. You've got to keep the morale up on T'Mir; that's one of the biggest
battles. I'll inform the people myself, but it's your job to keep them
paused and continued, "No matter what happens."
you think he'll come back?"
think he will. Keep in mind, I'm his best friend."
know, but I have to rely on what I have right now - myself."
care of T'Mir, Jon."
came sharply to attention and saluted. "Captain." He surprised her
further by going on one knee before her, "and Enchantress. May your
victories be complete and your defeats kind."
you needn't kneel to a friend."
will miss you and worry about you until you return home." He kissed her
hand and saluted her. "Now go, T'Mir awaits your lead." She bowed to
him and left the room where his eyes streamed silent tears cursing the thief
of youth - war.
FURTHER NOTICE T'MIR WILL BE ENGAGED IN A SKIRMISH WITH A FOE. PLEASE OBEY
NECESSARY EDICTS AND KEEP YOUR DEFENDERS IN YOUR MINDS AND HEARTS. THANK YOU,
ADENA LUDIT...out. She clicked off the machine that had been feeding her words
over the entire planet. Everyone had heard; T'Mir was committed to her
rap of sharp boots on a polished for came from behind her. "Captain
Ludit, all is ready. Everyone has reported for duty. The ships are powered and
ready to go. You have the wind at your back, Enchantress."
you, Meric. Let's get to the bridge."
bridge was alive with electric activity that assaulted the senses. It cased
slightly with her entrance, but soon assumed the noisy prepatory work required
to run the enormous vessel.
ships have hailed in 'ready', sir. They have your message and will comply -
all stock are full and fuel levels are at optimum."
engineering here. The engines are tuned and at your command."
here. Ready for a full load, but we'd rather not have it."
taken, Doctor Sharpe."
are ready and fully charged...sir."
that the bustle on the bridge ceased, all the departments had reported. All
that was needed was a word from her. Adena sat quietly in the command chair
and glanced around the room. There was an aura of fear and excitement as they
awaited her order. They knew as well as she that the outcome of this battle
was not entirely in their hands. She exhaled a deep breath and paused before
issuing an order.
she thought to herself. If you're alive, I need help. If you're dead, send
help anyway. In any case, goodbye - I don't feel optimistic about seeing you
Her voice seemed to stick in her arid throat.
me into the Divad and the Emerald."
sir....they're on now."
split picture revealed the commanders of the two ships. "Yes sir,"
they said in unison.
will take your ships to the coordinates being fed into the navigational
control and form a blockade."
blockade??!!" Commander Gregory Caxton was obviously none to pleased
a blockade. Are your communication systems alright, Commander?"
will try to prevent any foreign ships from entering this space. Defense only,
self destruct if necessary."
acknowledges and accepts status, proceeding as ordered."
screen now held the contorted visage of Caxton. "What do you think you're
doing? Putting the two newest ships in the front line and in a blockade none
hoping that the appearance of our two new ships will deter an attack. The
enemy will hopefully be fooled into the power of our fleet."
too much of a hunch."
of the best things of history have been played on hunches,
some of the worst, Captain." He returned this with a note of sarcasm.
see. Who taught you how to question your orders so well, Commander?"
was told never to take anything for granted."
This course however seems to be the best for the time. If you find that
circumstances dictate another, would you be as so good as to inform me
Caxton was obviously won over by her tact to say the least and he quickly
adhered to her orders and took his ship to the blockade zone, that had been
coded as Greenpeace. Adena quickly contacted the other vessels sending some to
the blockade zone and positioning the others in defending positions with the
Enchantress at the head. Now came the time to wait. Would they attack or was
this an extreme false alarm – Adena hoped for the last but doubted its
bridge was once again alive with activity. Adena tried to find some quiet
within herself. Time would make them all triggerhappy but laxity would leave
them unarmed. She took reports calmly and all seemed to be well. That was the
best she could hope for right now.
you care for me to relieve you? This is the delta shift now. You've been on
for twelve hours."
that's alright, Meric. Go ahead and take a break yourself."
man your station then." Meric obliged, giving her an exasperated
that's about it, Jon. We've been at battle ready for three days now. Three!!!
The second I call them all back, we'll be attacked like buzzards finding an
thought space travel could give you cabin fever, not wars."
think again, my friend." She shook her head ruefully. "I'm about
ready to think that I flew off halfcocked for no good reason."
my dear, patience." "Yes, I know. Any message at all?" She kept
her voice steady but her eyes were hopeful.
nice to hope. Thanks Jonathon. Talk to you later." She cut their
transmission. The comm whistled again. "Yes."
from the Divad on Greenpeace."
him on the screen. Yes, Commander. What can I do for you?"
from sending us some action - nothing."
you having any trouble with your crew?"
a bit. The message is still absent of any aggressive actions."
good. I think." They laughed slightly at the situation. "Thanks,
Commander." She cut him off, and the comm whistled again.
is Lieutenant Lapo, sir. No contact can be established with the Scimitar.
Anything added to the log?"
Thank you, Lieutenant." As soon as he broken contact, she pounded the
desk. "Where on earth have you gone, Iffley?"
decided not to take any more agression out on her hapless desk. Wandering down
to the gym, she slipped into the pool area. It was silent, completely silent.
She changed her uniform for a bathing suit and dove into the refreshing water.
Pulling several laps across the pool, she felt the tension melting away.
Tired, she pushed herself out of the water and shook it from her hair.
she pulled the last stray hair back and straightened her uniform, she was
joined by Doctor Sharpe.
was the doctor ordered, Captain."
medicine didn't taste too bitter. In fact, it was rather enjoyable." She
smiled slightly and sat down to put on her boots.
had to be good medicine; that's the first time you've smiled in
raised an eyebrow at him and stood up. "Wonders never cease." She
was about to continue when the intercom interrupted loudly.
LUDIT - CONDITION YELLOW. GREENPEACE REPORTING IN - URGENT. TO THE BRIDGE
eyes flew open in surprise. "It's started." She tossed her towel to
Doctor Sharpe and rushed from the gym. Arriving on the bridge, she barked
responses to several requests and added several requests of her own. "Put
Greenpeace on, quickly." The tension of the waiting was erupting in her
you. Go ahead, Commander."
range scans have finally picked up something. Small, metallic..."
small? What kind of metal? Can you give a location?" Her barrage of
questions took Caxton off guard. "Switch on your viewing screen and let
me look at them." he did so and she glared at the image. "Can you
enhance it, helm?"
They're lucky they even picked it up at all."
you tell anything about them?"
not too terribly powerful - probably scout ships of some sort," said
Caxton. "Not heavily shielded. A single shot could..."
will be NO offensive moves, Mr. Caxton!!"
course, sir. What are we going to do?"
chewed frantically on her lower lip. Her immediate impulse was to move on the
ships, but she quelled it in the name of peace. "Mr. Caxton, how many
shuttles do you have on board?"
a fix on the two Emerald shuttles. Record any sounds or transmission as they
approach the crafts."
Man those two crafts and give the pilots orders to broadcast peace messages -
no offensive moves."
sir," he said, smugly dispatching orders.
sound so blasted happy about it!" She raised a correcting eyebrow.
"All Ready?" She closed her eyes, and said, "Go."
Enchantress' bridge watched the screen as the two shuttles approached the
ships. The space chatter of the peace message backgrounded the bridge noise.
Adena was drumming her fingernails on her chair in anxiety. Suddenly a new
STILL APPROACHING. THEY ARE TRYING TO APPEASE US WITH OFFERS OF PEACE. NO
AGGRESSION - I THINK THEY'RE CHICKEN. Adena's eyes narrowed at that, but she
listened. SHOULD WE FIRE? No, she pleaded. You cannot do that. "Give the
shuttles orders to stop out of their firing range," she whispered. The
shuttles immediately slowed. THEY HAVE STOPPED THE APPROACH. I DON'T THINK
THEY CAN TAP TRANSMISSIONS ON THIS CHANNEL. WHAT? YES, SIR. Adena sighed a
breath of relief, but it was too soon. IF THE ENCHANTRESS IS MONITORING THIS
CALL, SHE WILL BE PLEASED TO KNOW THAT SHE WILL LOSE THIS BATTLE AND EVERY
OTHER ONE AS WELL. SURRENDER NOW AND THE ADMINISTRATOR WILL SHOW YOU SOME
MERCY. Adena bit her tongue; they were trying to bait her into answering.
"Tell the shuttles to stand their ground, Caxton. Caxton?"
Commander Caxton is on one of the shuttles."
idiot!!" She rested her head in her hand. She swung her chair around to
look at the screen and jumped out of her chair. "NO!"
panorama of black space seemed appropriate...The other ships let off a
glancing blow on the shuttles. "This is for defense, Captain."
don't do anything silly!"
shuttle returned a glancing blow. YES, THEY RETURNED FIRE. YES, WE FIRED
FIRST. YES, WITH PLEASURE.
They are going to fire! Back off!"
make them think we're not willing to stand our ground! Forget it!!"
not a request!"
the shuttles stayed and they didn't fire. A large spike appeared on the tip of
the scout craft. (An adaptation made from a recent ally, Mr. G.) It proceeded
to gore the helpless shuttle, expelling its contents to the vacuum of space.
Strangled cries erupted over the speakers. Adena gasped as the second shuttle
blew up the one ship.
that was as offensive as .... consider yourself under court martial. Get out
of that mess and come back!"
reply was cut off by the other two alien ships converging on the craft only to
be blown to bits as the shuttle self destructed. All the noise on the bridge
was gone. The beep of the computer seemed to silence in respect for the dead.
"Green peace. This is your captain. The shuttles are destroyed - no
survivors or wreckage. Emerald, Lt. Commander Roger Caxton."
charge of her and run her well. My regrets your brother was an excellent
yes, but a good officer. No hostilities, Captain. "I'll take care of
you, Commander. Captain out."
was furious and gave orders to Meric sharply. "The doge are on are trail
He quoted an ancient author -"Let's cry havoc and let slip the dogs of
the Panther is on Greenpeace. Let's hope these dogs are afraid of cats,"
she said grimly and went back to studying the black of space.
| ||© 1985, ||K. Blaire, L. Charles, D. Conrad, Enad the Great, J. Pierce, B. C. Randolf, and T. G. Taft|