San Francisco, Earth,
December 11, 2228.
“So what is the current relationship between the Galactic Commonwealth and the Klinzith Hegemony like commodore?” queried Galactic Commonwealth Broadcasting Network (GCBN) reporter Thomas Paddington to Astrofleet flag officer and Astrofleet academy professor of intergalactic securities studies, Commodore Irwin Tang who was sitting across from him. Paddington was carrying out this interview with the commodore because in two days’ time, it would be the sixty-fifth anniversary of first contact between the Commonwealth and the Hegemony, a first contact that many citizens of the Commonwealth wished could be undone or never happened in the first place.
The commodore took a sip out of his mug of coffee before replying the reporter’s question. “There has not been much change between our relations ever since we made first contact with each other sixty five years ago,” answered the commodore before taking another sip out of his coffee mug.
“Are you saying that in sixty five years, our relations with the Klinzith has not warmed up at all?” questioned Paddington with his thick Scottish accent ever present.
“Yes,” replied Commodore Tang. “As you know, relations between the Commonwealth and the Hegemony has always been hostile, ever since first contact. I’m sure you remember our first contact history with them Mr. Paddington?” asked the probably fifty odd year old Asian commodore with short greying hair.
Paddington let out a slight chuckle, “Unfortunately my history is a bit weak, and I think so are my reader’s first contact history with the Klinzith.”
Tang to a sip out of his coffee mug before starting the brief history lesson. “First contact between the Commonwealth and the Hegemony took place on the 13th of December 2163. During first contact, the GCS Scott encountered a Klinzith ship while surveying the Huoxi system. During the encounter, the Klinzith ship opened fire on the Scott, badly damaging the Scott which resulted in the injury of 73 and the death of 37 of the ship’s crew. Tang paused and took another sip of his mug of coffee before continuing, “and ever since then, the Klinzith has been constantly taking pot shots at whatever Commonwealth ship they encounter.”
“So then the next question is, will there be a possibility of war between the Commonwealth and the Klinzith Hegemony anytime in the near future?” asked Paddington
Tang took another sip of his mug of coffee before placing it on the only empty space on his work desk which was cluttered with multiple data disk and data pads. “The chances of the Commonwealth going to the war with the Hegemony is quite possible,” answered Tang flatly.
“Why do you say that?” asked Paddington as he shifted his sitting position slightly.
Tang picked up his coffee mug and took a sip out of it before answering the reporter’s question. “I’m sure you known about the recent attacks on our cargo ships near the Klinzith border?” Paddington nodded his head. “Well, reports indicate that those attacks were being carried out by Klinzith ships.”
“But couldn’t those attacks be carried out by over eager or insubordinate Klinzith captains who are not following orders from the Klinzith Hegemony’s military leadership?” queried Paddington.
Tang shook his head, “The frequency of the attacks as well as the specific type of cargo ships targeted is reason enough to suspect that these Klinzith ships are not acting by their self and are receiving orders from someone high up in the Klinzith government or military command.” Tang took another sip out of his coffee mug again, Paddington wondered to himself how much more coffee was in the commodore’s mug.
“So what are the Commonwealth’s chances if we went to war with the Hegemony,” asked Paddington.
Tang looked at Paddington before looking out of his offices’ window. Tang then looked back at the young Scottish reporter. “The Commonwealth will survive, but at a huge cost,” answered Tang.
“I see,” replied Paddington. “But can you give me a more tactical and strategic explanation as to why we will come up on top and what sort of cost are you talking about commodore?” Not bloody likely he’ll give me that sort of info, but worth the try, thought Paddington to himself.
Tang offered a small smile to the reporter, “You know I can’t tell you that Mr. Paddington,” answered Tang, “and as for your other question, I don’t think your readers would want to know that Mr. Paddington.”
“I don’t think I want to either,” replied Paddington as he ran his fingers through his short neatly groomed blonde hair.
“Do you have any more questions Mr. Paddington?” asked Tang as he finished his mug of coffee before placing it back down on his desk.
Paddington quickly scrolled through the information stored in his data recorder before looking to the commodore, “No sir, I think that’s all the information I need,” said Paddington as he kept his data recorder in his standard issue GCBN messenger bag. Paddington outreached his hand, an invitation for Tang to shake his hand. Tang accepted the journalist’s invitation and to shake his hand. “Thank you commodore for the interview,” said Paddington as he shook the commodore’s hand. “You’re most welcome Mr. Paddington.”
With that, Paddington made his way out of the Commodore Tang’s office and proceeded to the nearest transporter platform on the Academies ground to take back to the GCBN’s headquarters in London.
Juraxi Star System,
17th December, 2228.
Captain Raymond Moses stepped out of the turbolift and onto the bridge of his ship, the GCS da Gama. The da Gama was a small Echo-class surveyor which was tasked by Astrofleet Exploratory Command to survey the Juraxi system as well as adjoining star systems. Moses scanned the small and rather compact bridge of his ship before making his way to his command chair that was located at the centre of the bridge. The middle aged captain of African descent sat down in his chair before addressing the crew that was on duty on the bridge.
“So anything new or interesting to report?” asked Moses to the bridge crew on duty. Silence. Finally it was the da Gama’s communication officer, Mr. Lin who spoke out. “Well we did get a hail from a passing Holoion trade vessel who tried to offload three kilotons of Holoion beet root to us.”
“I hope you said no thank you,” said Moses with a hint of playfulness in his voice as he swivelled his command chair to face his young communication officer of Asian descent.
“I politely declined their offer sir,” replied Lin, “and directed them to contact the Commonwealth Ministry of Trade if they wanted to offload the goods.”
“Good man,” expressed Moses as he clasped both his hands together. “Anything else to report?
“Well there’s a class nine comet located about three million kilometres to port,” reported the da Gama’s Xellarian Chief Science Officer Mr. Rynvel Shrir, “we should definitely check it out sir, no Commonwealth ship has directly come across one for almost four decades.”
“Agreed,” said Moses with a huge grin on his face. “Miss Yagami, plot a course to the comet, three quarters impulse power,” ordered Moses to his helm officer of Japanese descent as he turned his chair to face his helm officer and the main view screen.
“Yes sir,” acknowledged Yagami as she imputed the comet’s coordinates into the ship’s navigational computer. The da Gama, listed gently to port, before the distinct hum of its impulse engines powering up were heard. And with that the da Gama was made its way to the comet.
The bridge of the KHV Legub was dimly lit, the only other source of light came from the few bridge consoles scattered throughout the small bridge. Captain Rashuk of the hated the way the designers back at the Hegemony’s Central Shipyard designed the bridge of his ship. How in blazes is anyone supposed to do their duties properly and effectively when they can’t see clearly, thought Rashuk to himself as he scanned the bridge of his ship.
The KHV Legub was tasked by the Klinzith Hegemony Military Command to scout the Juraxhi system, which was Commonwealth territory just beyond the Hegemony’s border to determine how extensive the Commonwealth’s presence is in that system as well as adjoining ones, a mission that Rashuk perceived to be a waste of his time and skill, but who was Rashuk but a lowly captain to deny the Hegemony’s direct orders. However an overload to the Legub’s power distribution system early in the mission damaged the Legub’s warp drive, weapons systems and long range sensors, which put an end to the mission which necessitated the to hide behind a passing comet while the engineers on board the fixed the damage that the ship has sustained. Rashuk pounded the communication button that was installed into his command chair chair’s right arm rest, “Engineer Lovek, report,” barked Rashuk, his voice echoed thought the small and compact bridge. Rashuk was only greeted by silence. “Lovek, you miserable b’dah, respond,” barked Rashuk.
“What is it,” replied an annoyed voice from the other end, “I am busy repairing the ship that has been obviously forsaken by the spirits.”
Rashuk gave out a low growl that was loud enough to be heard by Lovek over the comm. “Spare me your religious talk Lovek. Status report of your repairs. Now!” demanded Rashuk to his chief engineer.
Lovek sighed, “Weapon systems are back online at 50%, warp drive and long range sensors are still disabled,” reported Lovek.
“How long until the warp drive and the long range sensors will be back online,” asked Rashuk.
“Soon, replied Lovek, in about one h’jour if you let me get back to my work.”
“Very well, return to your work,” replied Rashuk before he closed the channel. The faster Lovek finishes the repairs the faster we can get out of hiding like frightened d’jings.
“We have the asteroid coming within visual range,” reported Lieutenant Commander Shyrir from his science station.
“Very good,” acknowledged Moses, “Miss Yagami put the comet on the main viewer, let’s see what we have.”
Yagami’s fingers played across her console before the main viewer came online, with the comet located dead centre of it. All eyes on the bridge were immediately fixated on the class-9 comet that was on the main viewer.
“Would you look at that,” Moses said as he got up of his command chair and made his way to the helm station, “truly breath taking.” Moses turned his attention away from the main viewer and to Shyrir, “Mr.Shyrir, has any Commonwealth ship or probe come across this particular class nine comet?”
“Yes sir,” reported Shyrir, “a Commonwealth survey probe came across this exact comet about four decades ago, when this area of space was still unclaimed by the Commonwealth.”
“What a shame, said Moses as he turned his attention away from Shyrir and back to the comet, “I thought we could name her.”
“What would you have named the comet sir?” queried Lim from his communications station.
Moses took a moment to think before replying his young communications officer. “Maybe I would have named it after my mother,” replied Moses to Lin. “What would you have named it Mr. Lin?” asked Moses.
“If I found a new comet or planet, I’ll probably name it after myself,” replied Lin frankly to his captain with a huge grin on his face.
Moses let out a chuckle, “I think a lot of us here besides me would do that Mr.Lin,” said Moses as he looked at his other bridge officers. Soft laughter echoed throughout the bridge of the ship after the statement Moses made. Moses smiled as he saw his crew enjoying this light moment.
After the laughter had died down on the bridge, Moses who was still smiling turned to his chief science officer, “Let’s get some scans of that comet Mr. Shyrir.”
“Aye, aye sir,” replied Shyrir as he turned to face his science console and began to input commands into the console.
“Anything interesting?” queried Moses who stood next to Shyrir who was sitting down at his science station who was analysing the readings that the da Gama’s sensors were feeding to him about the comet.
“Well I’m having a hard time getting a definite reading on the comet,” reported Shyrir without looking away from his console, “it seems the comet is also composed of a small amount of stelthirium that is disrupting our sensors.”
“Would diverting more power to the sensors give a better read on the comet?” Moses said as he stroked his bearded chin.
“Well if definitely would help sir,” said Shyrir as he continued to analyse the sensor readings.
Moses tapped his combadge that was pinned on the left side of his duty uniform. “Moses to Chief Daae,” Moses waited for his Chief Engineer to reply.
“Daae here sir,” replied a voice that came from Moses’ combadge, “what can I do for you sir?”
“Chief I need you to divert a bit more power to the main sensor array,” requested Moses, “we have a bit of a problem getting a clean read on the comet we came across. A bit more power to the array might give us the readings we want.”
“More power coming right up sir,” replied the da Gama’s Vufnisi chief engineer over the comm channel.
“Thank you chief,” thanked Moses before he tapped his combadge to close the channel. “Try it now Shyrir,” Moses said to his chief science officer.
“That extra power really helps sir,” said Shyrir as his fingers danced across his console, “we are getting much better readings on the comet.” Shyrir fingers stopped dancing across the console, and the two antennas on his bone ridged forehead became erect, indicating that Shyrir had come across something that was interesting to him.
“Something of interest Mr. Shyrir?” asked Moses who knew exactly what it meant when his chief science officer’s dark purplish antennas became erect.
“You could say that sir,” replied Shyrir as his fingers began to play with his console again. “There seems to be some sort of energy reading coming from behind the comet.” The statement that Shyrir made caused many of the bridge crew to turn their attention towards the science station.
“What sort of energy signature,” queried Moses, “can you get a clear reading on it?”
“Not entirely sir,” replied Shyrir, “we need to get closer to get a better read on the energy signature. Even with the added power to the array, the stelthirium traces on the comet is still enough to prevent us from getting a clear read of the energy signature from this distance. We need to get closer if we want a better read.”
This is interesting indeed, thought Moses to himself, maybe there’s an installation or a crashed probe on the surface of the comet that we can’t detect from this distance. “Very well then,” Moses turned away from the science station to face his helm officer, “Miss Yagami, let’s get closer to that comet one quarter impulse power.”
“Aye sir,” replied Yagami as she inserted the commands for the ship to close in with the comet.
“Captain, should I contact Astrofleet Command and report to them about the energy signature we’re investigating?” asked Lin from his communication station.
Moses turned his view away from the view screen to face his communications officer. “Nor at the moment Lin,” Moses replied,” not until we know for certain what the energy signature is.” Moses paused for a moment, “Just inform Command of our current position Mr. Lin.”
“Yes sir,” replied Lin as he places his earpiece into his right ear and began to send the da Gama’s current position to Astrofleet Command.
“Captain Rashuk I am detecting an energy signature closing in our position,” reported the KHV Legub’s sensor officer Dakkan form his station located on the right side of the Legub’s bridge.
Caption Rashuk immediately jumped out his command chair and made his way to Dakkan. “What sort of energy reading?” barked Dakkan to his sensor officer who’s fingers were still dancing across his console.
“I am not entirely sure sir,” reported Dakkan to Rashuk who took notice at his captain’s face that blackened. Dakkan knew for a fact that Rashuk did not like to be disappointed by his officers. “But the energy signature has some similarities with Commonwealth ships.”
Rashuk let out a low sounding growl. Have we been detected by the Commonwealth? thought Rashuk to himself as he continued to watch his sensor officer continue his work. “How sure are you that those readings are not false readings?” queried Rashuk to Dakkan.
“Well with our sensor array only at fifty percent efficiency, it was amazing enough for me to even detect the energy signature in the first place sir,” reported Dakkan to his captain.
“How sure are you about those readings Dakkan,” asked a now obviously irritated Rashuk.
“Fairly clear,” answered Dakkan as he looked away from his display and to Rashuk for the first time since the energy reading was detected. “Sir, there seems to be comm signal coming from the contact. I cannot determine where the signal is heading to sir.”
Upon hearing Rashuk’s report, Rashuk immediately turned to his armoury officer Dater who was seated at his station, “Dater, charge forward disruptors to full power,” barked Rashuk.
“Yes sir,” replied Dater with a deep gruff voice, “charging forward disruptors to maximum power.”
“Very good,” Rashuk said as he turned to face his helm officer Lorol, “Lorol plot an intercept course for the energy signature, full speed.” Lorol nodded his head upon hearing his captain’s order. Rashuk proceeded to sit on his command chair as soon as he gave orders to Lorol. “Dater, prepare to fire all forward disruptors on my orders,” said Rashuk without even turning to look at his armoury officer.
“Disruptors armed and ready to be fired on your command,” reported Dater from his station.
“Excellent,” said Rashuk as he leaned forward from his command chair, with a grin plastered on his face.
“Captain, the energy signature we’ve detected is,” Lieutenant Commander Shyrir paused, “seem to be moving towards our position,” reported Shyrir from his science station. “And coming at us at a pretty fast speed.”
Moses swivelled his command chair to face his science officer. “Are you positive Mr. Shyrir?”
“Very,” replied Shyrir.
What could it be, though Moses to himself as multiple scenarios played through his head, a ship, a probe? “Mr. Shyrir, do we have a confirmation on what that energy signature is?”
“Data coming in now sir” replied Shyrir. “Sir, the energy signature appears to be that of a Klinzith ship,” reported Shyrir to Moses who has at the edge of his command chair.
Moses turned his attention immediately away from Shyrir to his helm officer and tactical officer Lieutenant Junior Grade Akame Yagami. “Miss Yagami, raise shields,” barked Moses,” and prepare to take us to warp.”
“Aye sir,” acknowledged Yagami as her fingers danced across her console to fulfil her captain’s commands.
The size of Rashuk’s target, got bigger on the view screen as his ship the Legub approached nearer to its prey. “We are within weapons range sir,” reported Loral from the helm station.
“Fire all disruptors,” barked Rashuk to Dater, his order echoed throughout the bridge of the Legub.” Rashuk’s order was acknowledged with the distinct sound of the Legub’s disruptor banks firing its first volley. The first volley of disruptors hit the unshielded hull of the da Gama, causing a relatively large explosion. The second volley of disruptors that hit the da Gama not long after the first, managed to badly damage the ship’s rectangular shaped platform which housed the ship’s sensor array and communication array. The Legub made a turn and prepared for another pass on the now crippled da Gama.
The bridge of the da Gama was filled with thick black smoke and was bathed with the red light that was coming from the alert indicators located around the bridge as well as the warning sounds that accompanied it. Many of the bridge consoles have been smashed or rendered inoperative due to the damage that the ship has taken and many of the bridge’s Optical Data Network (ODN) cables dangled out from the ceiling of the bridge.
Moses let out a few laboured coughs as he struggled to get on his feet. The second volley of disruptor fire from the Klinzith ship threw him out of his command chair. He had trouble seeing his surrounding and breathing due to the thick smoke that filled the bridge. “Report,” Moses said weakly as he rubbed his eyes that were hurting from the smoke. “Report,” said Moses louder, gathering as much strength as he could.”
“Thank the prophets you’re alive sir,” said a voice that came from vicinity of the science station
Moses squinted his eyes. “Rynvel, is that you?” said Moses, forgoing all formalities of rank, as he made his way to the science station.
“Yes it is,” replied the Xellerian science officer who seem to have lost one of his two antennas before starting to cough due to the smoke.
“Damage report,” Moses said to him who appeared to be the only other surviving bridge officer.
Shyrir coughed, “All propulsion system is offline, shields and weapons are not responsive, and our communication and sensor array appeared to have been destroyed,” reported Shyrir, “we also have lost main power, we’re running on auxiliary power now,” Shyrir paused and coughed,” but auxiliary power levels are at 17% and dropping.”
“Rynvel, why not you try get to an escape pod,” suggested Moses to his first officer, science officer and friend. “I’ll stay back and keep the ship together for as long as I can possibly can.”
Rynvel looked up from his flickering console display and turned to Moses and smiled, “Raymond, we both know the chances of me getting to one is one in a million. Furthermore, if you’re going down with the ship, I’m going down with it as well.” Raymond returned his friend’s smile and waited for the inevitable to happen. Suddenly, Moses felt the familiar grip of a transport taking place. In mere seconds, the damaged and battered smoke filled bridge that Moses was in was replaced with that of a dimly lit transporter room with a trio of Klinzith guards aiming their disruptor rifles at him. Moses slowly raised his hands before glancing towards the right and left to see that Shyrir, a badly injured ensign Lin and a few other members of his crew had been transported aboard the Klinzith ship as well.
“The prisoners have been transported aboard,” reported Dakkan who had suggested to take prisoners of the surviving crew of the da Gama, as they might have information that could be of value to the Hegemony.
“Finally,” Rashuk replied as he pounded his right fist on his command chair’s arm rest. Rashuk turned to Dater who was waiting for Rashuk to issue the order to destroy the crippled da Gama, “Dater, load forward plasma torpedo tube one,” ordered Rashuk, “and prepare to fire on my command.”
“Torpedo armed and ready sir,” replied Dater from his station.
“Then fire,” ordered Rashuk to his armoury officer.
As soon as Rashuk gave the order, the Lebug fired a green energy projectile that headed for the da Gama. As soon as the Legub’s plasma torpedo hit the da Gama, the da Gama exploded in a brilliant flash of light.
Rashuk raised his hand in victory, as well as many of the bridge officers present to see the destruction of the Astrofleet vessel like Dater and Lorol. “Dakkan,” called out Rashuk who still had a huge grin on his face,” contact Military Command and let them know of our victory.”