Tooth and Claw- - Chapter Six: Liberation...


Well, here it is. Not my best chapter, mind you, but it serves the purpose of creating that separation from first half of the story to second half.

Just to let you know, I'll be taking a break from writing my simple tale in order to let my mental energies take a chill pill.

So, you know the drill: Read, post some helpful comments, and so on...


CIC & Chart Room, TCS Enterprise
Aeolus Asteroid Belt, Outlands
1216 hours (CST)

The Enterprise’s CIC and Chart Room felt incredibly cramped right now,
Captain Baine Hawk thought, squeezing his sizable girth through the door.
Rollins was following close behind, but already three other people were
occupying the bantam chamber: Stingray, Janice Carmichael (the woman they
had found on the Lucky Star), and young Lieutenant Edison, who was present at
the behest of Colonel Wright. Chris immediately came to attention at Captain
Hawk’s approach, but Baine waved him off.
Setting down a cup of tea for Ms. Carmichael, Baine lowered himself into
the chair opposite her in an effort to make the woman more comfortable. Captain
Hawk also lit his pipe, which he had decided to use once again. Hell, the wife
would never know, would she? He extinguished the match and inhaled deeply,
feeling the rich tobacco flow through his lungs. It felt good after abstaining from
using his pipe for so long.
“ So,” he began, calmed now by his tobacco, “ Ms. Carmichael, I want you
to tell me what you just told Colonel Wright, okay?”
Janice nodded. “ Okay, but I won’t change my story, you read me?”
Hawk flinched at the vehemence in the voice of the women, who seemed no
older than twenty-five, but nodded his head in understanding. “ Good. I was
born in 2440. When I was nineteen years old, I quit high school and signed on as
first mate to a Captain Tobias Hart on the SS Santa Maria. We were paid by the
Confederation, still in its infancy, mind you, to venture to the far side of the
Milky Way and log anything unusual or spectacular.”
“ Your standard mission of exploration,” Rollins quipped.
Unscathed, Janice pressed on. “ After a six-year long trip we decided that
that was as far as we were going to go. Luckily, there was no scarcity of spatial
anomalies where we dropped anchor. Pulsars, quasars, globular clusters. But
one heavenly body caught our attention-- the Terminus Nebula, as we called it.
It was massive, writhing with energy. You probably can’t even imagine it,
Captain, but it was gargantuan. Captain Hart and I manned the Sphinx work
pods for a closer look, although now that I look back at it, that probably wasn’t
such a good idea.
“ Anyway, we beheld the Nebula for, oh, about fifteen minutes before we
decided to return to the Maria,” Janice continued, remembering every detail of
those days two-hundred years ago. “ But a change had overcome us, Captain
Hawk. We developed a sort of... connection to the universe itself. Do you
Hawk shrugged. “ Sorry, I don’t believe I do, Ms. Carmichael.”
Janice searched around, looking for something, but Hawk wasn’t sure
what. Finally, she seemed to find it. Looking square at Baine, Janice leaned back,
closing her eyes, her entire body relaxing. Captain Hawk felt a strange feeling
rise throughout his body, as if he were warm on the outside, but cold on the
inside. What the hell was going on? he wondered. And then, all of a sudden, his
pipe slipped from his mouth, tumbling end over end across the room, until it
smashed into dozens of pieces against the wall. Baine was on his feet in protest.
“ What was that?” he demanded.
Janice Carmichael smiled sweetly at him. “ It’s a filthy habit, sir. Anyway,
whatever had happened to us, we knew we were not quite human, and so set
up a colony in what you would now call the Outlands. Over the centuries, as the
effects of the Nebula’s radiation never aged us nor our children, we set up Titus
Colony as a sort of spaceport, dealing with countless races you cannot even
imagine. The Jarn, the Wishara, the Daktari. We had lived in peace for nearly
two-hundred years, Captain. Us-- the Navigators!”
“ And then the Orion Consortium came,” Chris concluded.
Janice looked up at him. “ And then the Consortium came. They raided
several of our planets when they first arrived with their one fleet carrier and
wing of fighters, but now, merely over a course of two short years, they have
grown into an empire,” she stated grimly.
“ How is that possible?” Stingray asked incredulously.
Janice shrugged. “ Beats me, Colonel. Some say their mythological gods
were indeed on their side, others say they seized an alien empire with the use of
nuclear arms. But whatever they did, it spawned the Consortium, and thousands
are dying because of it! We have to stop it, Captain Hawk! Now!”
“ We’re trying to do just that, ma’am,” he said with a frown.
“ You don’t know, do you?” Janice spat. “ Valentino took scores of my
people, enslaving them to use as his pawns. I have the sinking feeling that he did
this to my leader, Tobias Hart, and he will use the Navigators as weapons. We
have to free my people, Captain. Before it’s too late!”
Baine waved a hand to calm the woman down, who was on her feet and
shouting at this point. “ Miss, we are doing all in our power to stop the
Consortium. Tell me why exactly we should send this carrier in to rescue a few
thousand people?”
Janice slammed the table with her open palm. “ Goddammit, Captain
Hawk. Are you as deaf as you are stupid? We Navigators are powerful
telepaths. You saw what I did with your pipe? That was simply a parlor trick.
Why, I can collapse a star with the snap of my fingers, have a planet rain for an
eternity, flooding it so none will survive. My people have great power, sir.
Valentino will exploit it for evil.”
Hawk leaned back, swiping Janice’s tea and taking a sip. “ We don’t even
know where the Consortium is keeping your people.”
Janice frowned. “ Neither do I, sir. But the nearest Orion base in here,”
and she pointed to a position on the star chart laid out across the table, “ in the
Caesar System. I would wager good money that that’s where Valentino is
holding the Navigators. We have to save them.”
“ I agree,” Rollins said. “ Aside from the fact that we should always help
cute, two-hundred year old chicks in distress, the powers the Navigators have
could very well be used for evil, if they are in the possession of the wrong
person. Giovanni Valentino, in this case.” Chris nodded in agreement.
“ Yes, this is all fine and good,” Baine sighed, “ but what of Baron
Vagargk and the Skarr’var’Rhis? We need to take them down before they do just
that to us!”
Stingray stepped forward, coughing low to get everyone’s attention.
“ Captain Hawk, I could have DangerLover and her squadron stay behind with
the Churchill, if the Enterprise and Colonel Stone’s Marines go in to pick up the
Navigators. They’d keep that bastard Vagargk busy until we get back.”
“ Fine,” Hawk grumbled and Janice squealed in joy, jumping up and
wrapping her arms around Radio, who grinned in delight. “ Rollins, have
Commander Pemberton make room on his hangar deck for DangerLover’s
Arrows, you read me? Make sure they know the game: They’re to keep the
Skarr’var’Rhis playing long enough until we get back from Caesar.” Rollins
saluted and reluctantly left Janice behind as he ventured onto the bridge.
“ I’ll have the Enterprise and Tripoli jump out at 1400 hours standard time.
Colonel, get DangerLover and her boys ready. It ain’t gonna be easy. And I, uh,
will call Lieutenant Colonel Stone and inform him of the plan.” He locked gazes
with Janice. “ You better be right about this, young lady,” he hissed, Janice
smiling at the ironic words. “ Dismissed, all of you! And somebody better get
me a new pipe!”
Chris chuckled, following Stingray out into the corridor beyond the chart
room. “ What’s so funny?” Wright asked, falling into step next to him.
“ Nothing,” Chris said with a grin. Deciding to change the subject, Chris
said, “ Say, Colonel, when Ju’rak was ready to off himself after Machine got hit,
why wouldn’t you stop him?”
Stingray winced. “ God, kid, well...” he faltered. “ Um, well, I guess I just
learned long ago to not question a Kilrathi. If Khan had wanted to commit Hari
Kari, or whatever the hell it is the Cats call it, then I would have respected that,
which is why I didn’t stop him.”
“ But he could’ve died,” Chris squeaked.
Sadly, Dirk nodded. “ I know. That’s what I was afraid of. If Captain
Ju’rak had died, I would have lost one damned good pilot, and that would have
been, well, unacceptable. Lord knows I’ve seen too many pilots-- to many
friends-- die in the madness of warfare. I can still remember their names and
faces so clearly; Downtown, Spirit, Angel, Jazz-- that traitorous son of a bitch--
and, yes, even Hobbes. And yet there were so many more... over Vespus, when
the Concordia went down. I fear I’ll see too much more death before I too plunge
into that great beyond.” He chuckled ruefully. “ Am I scaring you, Lieutenant
Chris shook his head in all seriousness. “ No, sir, not at all. It makes sense,
it really does. Even the ones you’ll hate you’ll still remember.” Like Cadet
Piedmont. Sure, Piedmont was still alive and it was not quite the same thing, but
the point was that memories sometimes are the only things that drive us, that
keep us in the game. Chris looked down at the locket which still hung around
his neck. Like my memories of my father. “ Well,” Chris said with mock
cheerfulness. “ Enough of this mushy stuff, I’ve got to go hit the sims.”

Bridge, TCS Churchill
Aeolus System, Outlands
1357 hours (CST)

Commander Niles Pemberton could not sit still for the life of him, not
when his little five-hundred meter long, nine laser turret carrying, good for
nothing destroyer was supposed to “distract” a way-too-much meter long
Kilrathi supercarrier. Now how the devil were they supposed to that? Niles was
forced to wonder. The light Arrows from the Enterprise were not much good,
either! Would it have been that hard to lend them some Thunderbolts for this
little suicide run? Well, apparently it had been, because the heavy ships had
gone meandering off to God-knows-where, leaving Niles and the Churchill a
sitting duck.
“ Bloody hell,” he whispered, nodding his thanks as his yeoman handed
him a steaming cup of Earl Gray tea, just like the kind his mother made back in
England... well, sort of. It wasn’t as if ConFleet was hiring any expert chefs for
their galleys. I should have listened to Father, he thought dejectedly, sipping at
his tea. I should have become a painter. Less dangerous that way. But, no, he just
had join the Navy, serve in the Kilrathi War, and now this. What the devil was
he doing!?
Lieutenant David Charter, his young Executive Officer, smiled
sympathetically at him from his console. “ I’m sorry you hate this assignment,
Niles, but, quite frankly, we’re getting sick of your whining! There’s not a damn
thing we can do about this right now. The T-Bolts and Hellcats were needed
with the Enterprise, face it. Okay, so we have no hope and we’re going to die,
but I say we use those little Arrows and go out with a bang!”
“ Oh, that was so reassuring, Lieutenant Charter,” Niles responded dryly.
“ Status!?” he barked, looking around the Churchill’s cramped bridge for
answers. A dozen or more voices assaulted him with those desired answers,
however, and it was giving Commander Pemberton a bloody headache! “ Once
at a time, for Pete’s sake,” he roared. “ Ensign Horace?”
Dan Horace, a lookout, checked his console readouts. “ We’re still five
minutes out from engaging that supercarrier, Commander,” he announced. To
Niles, that wasn’t long enough. The later they faced the Skarr’var’Rhis, the
better. “ Shit!” he suddenly swore, forgetting his place for but a moment.
“ Commander, I’m detecting two torpedoes in bound!”
Pemberton stifled a curse, handed his empty cup back to the yeoman, and
strapped in. “ Shields up! Torpedo room, launch interceptors! All hands to action
stations!” The bridge of the Churchill suddenly became a frenzy as the crew got
to work, strapping in, barking out acknowledgments. As the red alert sirens
flared to life, Niles saw twin exhaust plumes snake out from his carrier , the
interception missiles. Niles crossed his fingers as an ensign counted down the
time till interception. “ Come on,” he whispered.
“ Direct hit!” Charter roared, pumping his fist into the air, but that
ebullience was short lived. “ Crap, our missiles only got one of the damned
things. There’s one still tracking us, and it’s too late to launch another
“ AM guns, keep that torpedo away from us!” Niles roared, knowing
even as he gave the order that it was futile. “ Helm, hard to port!” The Churchill
veered sharply to the left, antimatter flak lancing outwards, as the torpedo from
the Skarr’var’Rhis flashed in. The warhead skimmed the starboard flank of the
destroyer, tearing through shields and hitting armor. Sparks flew from a nearby
console, raining fiery torment down upon a spacehand, and Niles felt himself
jerked around by the impact. Damage alert klaxons sounded above the battle
alert sirens. “ Damage report!”
Jody Harper, his Damage Control Officer, pulled herself upright,
brushing sparks from her uniform jacket. “ CPO Zhou reports a leak in the
engine room, there’s a hull breach on decks C through F, and the battery room
reports a fire, Commander!”
The Churchill’s captain sighed. A couple more hits like that, and his little
ship would be a goner! “ Where is Major Giacommeti?” he demanded.
“ DangerLover’s Arrows were ambushed and destroyed,” his Flight
Control Officer responded with dread. “ My God, sir, they never had a chance
against those Vaktoths.”
Damn, he knew it! What had Captain Hawk been thinking, for God’s
sake? “ Goddammit, people, are we expecting more incoming from the
Skarr’var’Rhis?” he asked, only to hear the grim report from Charter that the
Kilrathi supercarrier was opening up its tubes for another launch. Damn!
“ Torpedo room, launch interceptors, then fire the big boys! We can’t let the
Skarr’var’Rhis get away with this!”
Biting down hard on his lower lip, Commander Niles Pemberton watched
with apprehension as a trio of enemy torpedoes streaked towards his crippled

Hellcat 315, TCS Enterprise
Caesar System, Outlands
1403 hours (CST)

Feeling the sense of nausea-- heightened as the Enterprise hurtled
through the hyperspace tunnel-- Chris watched as the swirling colors of light
dissolved into a single point and the world of Caesar was visible. The world was
mostly ocean, the only terrain visible a thin strip of land in the western
hemisphere. Well, at least the grunts will have an easier time locating those
Navigators... if they’re even there. They were merely waging an assault on this
world based upon an assumption given by Janice Carmichael, who, for all they
actually knew, was a member of the Orion Consortium. Still, if the bad guys had
indeed in their possessions the telepaths, than everything the Enterprise was
fighting for could already be for naught.
“ All fighters launch! All fighters launch!” boomed the voice of Air Boss
Thoe over the Enterprise’s P.A. system, startling Chris momentarily. He watched
as dozens of Hellcats, Thunderbolts, and Longbows kicked out from the ship via
the catapult as the verdant light lit. Chris felt his ship connected to the catapult
by his deck crew, and with an intake of breath he saluted the Launch and
Recovery Officer, saluted Flight Control, and signaled that he was ready. As he
punched through the airlock and pulled up on Nike’s wing, he heard Stingray
bark, “ Remember, folks, to knock out the Orion’s defenses or the Marines will
be cut to ribbons!”
Chris saw on his radar as dozens of red blips appeared, and one large
orange one-- a cap ship. He knew it was a destroyer, Colonel Wright had
ordered Captain Carnegie and his Longbow team-- Bloodhound Squadron-- out
to eliminate the deadly vessel. It was up to the Pitbulls’ Hellcats and the
Pinschers’ Thunderbolts to take out the fighters so Lieutenant Colonel Grant
Stone and his ten Marine LCs could land on the planet and free the Navigator
prisoners. Hopefully, he again told himself.
He saw the first Excalibur seemingly coming straight at him, tachyon and
reaper guns spitting deadly fire. “ Break and attack!” snapped Dirk, and Chris
pulled the stick sharply to starboard, pulling away from Lieutenant Dunham
and dropping an Excalibur into his gun sights. He shifted shield power to
provide him with a better forward defense and opened fire. Linked neutron and
ion fire lashed out from his Hellcat, splashing against the Excalibur’s front
shields. The Orion fighter immediately reacted, flying past Chris to port. He hit
rudder, pivoting his Hellcat around to pursue the Excalibur.
As he dropped the targeting reticule over the bogey’s form on his HUD,
Chris saw the battle raging around him. As the enemy destroyer sailed a bit too
close to the Enterprise and Tripoli, flashes of fire lit up the void as Orion and
Confed pilots met their demise. Chris sighed inwardly. Just more senseless
death. At least, he thought, their deaths aren’t for nothing. We’re fighting to stop
evil here, to see that the galaxy we live in is one of peace. And, like it or not,
Chris Edison had to fight as well.
The Excalibur banked to port, Chris tracing neutron fire across its flank as
it did so. The bogey’s shields flared for but a moment, and then the ship hit the
afterburners, attempting to get the hell out Chris’s field of fire. But Chris was
already locked on, and when he was locked on, there was no such thing as
evasive action! Hitting his own ‘burners, Wizard swooped down upon his foe
like a dark angel. He heard the lock tone and slammed his thumbs down upon
the trigger, launching the ImRec and pulling up to avoid the blast wave. He
watched in triumph as the missile hit home, a jet of flames shooting out from the
Excalibur’s engines just before the heavy fighter ripped apart in a blinding
conflagration. “ Yes!” he cheered, although there was still that minute sense of
nausea churning within his belly.
Reaching up to feel his Dad’s locket, the one Spyder had given him has a
sort of peace offering, Chris did a barrel roll, landing on the flank of another
Orion fighter. He gave the pilot, who was visible inside the darkened cockpit, a
rude gesture and hit the juice, rocketing forward and pulling back up and
around in the classic Immelman. His Hellcat rocked with the salvo delivered by
the Excalibur, but luckily he held firm. The target threat tone sounded in his
helmet suddenly, and with a curse he saw another Excalibur rushing down to
meet him. He frantically called up his second Spiculum IR, dropping down
behind his original target and opening fire quickly. The bogey dropped chaff
and sped off, pulling up on his partner’s wing. “ Damn,” he whispered,
watching as the two ships came right at him, guns blazing.
He initiated evasive, trying to get away from the angry duo. Hell, they’d
surely cut him into pieces if they caught up with him. There was no way he’d
run faster that them bastards, and so he’d have to have Lady Luck on his side if
he wanted to get out of this one. An enemy missile snaked his way, trailing an
immense exhaust plume, and Chris launched a deluge of decoys in an attempt to
throw off the Javelin HS. Thank God, he thought as the heat-seeker impacted
against the chaff and exploded.
“ Shit! I could use a little help here!” he called into the comm, even as his
rear shields faltered under the continuous tachyon and reaper barrage pressed
onto him by the Orions.
Suddenly, a flash lit up to port and Chris winced at the brightness of it.
He saw as the aft section of the Orion destroyer exploded in an expanding cloud
of metal and gases, crushed under the torpedoes of John Carnegie and his
Longbow squadron. “ Ha, ha! And there goes the engines!” the man who flew
under the callsign of Engineer said with a grin. Chris would have cheered too, if
not for the little fact that his very life was in danger!
Across Chris’s radar display, red dots continuously winked out, and at
least that was a good deal. Colonel Stone and the Marines would have some
chance at rescuing the Navigators. But still there were the two Excaliburs. His
computer howled a warning as his rear shields winked out completely and the
Excaliburs began to eat into his armor. He’d been leading them around in this
chase for a good few klicks, and still nobody had responded to his cries for help.
Damn, here were go again, he thought, remembering that near disastrous battle
against that Vaktoth in Aeolus.
Even now in that system the Kilrathi were no doubt mobilizing against
the Churchill and Major Giacometti’s Bulldog Squadron. Chris wasn’t sure the
destroyer and DangerLover’s Arrows could handle the massive Skarr’var’Rhis.
After all, he has seen what that behemoth had done to Machine’s T-Bolt. They’d
have to hold, though, or else Vagargk would jump the Enterprise when she least
expected it and they’d be swamped most definitely.
A second heat-seeker came screaming towards him and once again Chris
blew chaff, dipping to starboard to escape the explosion. Damn, these bastards
weren’t going to give up, were they? Feeling a great sense of the old nausea
overcoming him, Chris winced as enemy fire cut through his rear armor, leaving
long blackened tears in his Hellcat. Joel won’t let me forget, he thought, even as
smoke began to spill from the damaged plane.
“ Goddammit!” he roared. “ I said I need help here!”
Carrie dropped down from above then, blasting through the shields of the
nearest Excalibur and eating through its armor. The pilot let out a long howl as a
chain reaction started within the ship’s reactor, tearing it apart into a million
glittering fragments. Upon seeing his wingman’s demise, the second Excalibur
hastily attempted to flee, only to be destroyed by a well-placed ImRec from
Chris. “ Thanks, Gamma One,” he sighed in relief, as Nike came up on his wing.
Her image on the VDU winked at him. “ Hey, what are friends for?” she
Chris smiled and saw the board clear of crimson blips. He knew there
were more out there, they’d attack soon no doubt, but for now the zone was
clear. As if to confirm this, Stingray’s voice came over the comm. “ Looks like
this area is clear for now, people. Colonel Stone, you’re clear for launch. Gamma
One and Two, escort the LCs down to the planet, eliminating any planetary
defenses the Consortium may possess on the surface. Good luck, Grant. Go and
rescue the bastards.”

Marine LC, Cavalry Lead
Caesar System, Outlands
1417 hours (CST)

Lieutenant Colonel Grant Stone of the Terran Confederation Marine
Corps had a killer instinct, he was convinced of it. Fifteen years in the hell that
was the Marines had turned his heart into ice, and filled him with a strong sense
of killing and death. That was his job, that was his life. Sure, it was not a trait
that all Terrans particularly loved-- in fact, during the Galactic War, many of his
commanders or subordinates had actually feared him, claiming that there was
something of the Kilrathi in him. And perhaps they’re right, he thought as a grin
split his stubble covered jaw.
Lord knew he had killed enough of the furry bastards during the War to
last a lifetime. It was pure joy for Stone to see a Kilrathi body torn to bloody
shreds under the unrelenting powers of his laser rifle. Hell, all he ever needed
was field rations, fatigues, and his rifle and he’d be all set. He didn’t even have
to command, just as long as he got to kill. He absently fingered the
wicked-looking dagger dangling from his belt. And if for some unfortunate
reason I found myself without my rifle...
Feeling that wonderful sensation he felt when he knew combat was
approaching, Stone slapped on his camouflaged helmet and stomped up the
ramp into his LC. He’d be taking down ten of the arrowhead shaped craft for
this particular mission. They were rescuing a lot of folks-- telepaths no less-- this
time, and they just damned needed the room for them all. Hell, he hoped they’d
all fit!
He gazed around the cramped hold of the LC, watching as officers and
NCOs secured armor, slapped magazines into rifles, and dropped slides back.
Those sounds always brought a glorious chill down Stone’s spine. It was the
sound of impending battle! “ Glorious, isn’t it, Major?”
Major Ric Huygens, Stone’s Dutch second-in-command, swallowed hard
and absently nodded. The young grunt would never admit it, but he was
actually scared of his bloodthirsty commander. That man was a natural born
killer... “ Yes, sir,” he lied with just the slightest hint of his old accent. “ The boys
are ready, Colonel Stone.” A feral grin lighting up his scarred features, Grant
nodded and continued down the row of troops sitting upon the bench seats
lining the hold. On more than one, he saw the battered and scarred features of a
veteran, but most were frightened newbies, fresh from boot camp, eager to jump
into the fray but wary at the same time.
But he saw one face which he was not expecting, that of a woman. At first,
he did recognize the young-looking, raven haired woman, but he suddenly
remembered the images sent over from Captain Hawk on the Enterprise. “ Ms.
Carmichael!” he barked, and she turned at his approach. “ May I ask what you
are doing on this LC, ma’am?”
“ My people are down there, Lieutenant Colonel Stone,” she spat back,
dropping the slide back on her rifle and leaning it against her shoulder. “ I have
a responsibility to them, to see that they are returned to their homes safely.
Frankly, I don’t trust you.” Stone’s mouth flew open, shocked as we was by
Janice’s statement. “ Yeah, that’s right. Look, I’m trying to put as must faith in
you and Captain Hawk as I can-- Lord knows you’re the only ones that can help
me out here-- but after being away from the Confederation for so long, I just
can’t completely trust you, you know what I mean?”
Grant shrugged the comments aside, grinning wryly. “ Well, I’m sorry
that you don’t trust me, Ms. Carmichael, but you’ll have to deal with me. I’m
rescuing your people down there-- me! You better remember that, you read
me?” he barked viciously. Janice smiled innocently and nodded. “ Fine. Stick
close by me when we get down there. I don’t want to have to drag your broken
body all the way back to the LC!
“ Pilot!” he roared, turning away from the Navigator. “ Signal all Marine
LCs! Prepare to launch!” He strapped in across from Janice and next to Ric,
feeling the shudder run through the ship as the engines warmed up. They rose
above the Tripoli’s flight deck and with a tap of the stick, the pilot sent them out
through the airlock and into open space. Grant saw tons of flaming wreckage
dancing back and forth across the cosmos, and grinned in approval. Damn fine
killers those Space Force boys were.
The remaining nine LCs and two Hellcats from Rigsby’s Pitbull Squadron
fell in alongside Cavalry Lead as they plunged towards the watery world below.
The bottom shields flared as the ships sliced through Caesar’s atmosphere, and
eventually beyond the viewport Colonel Stone saw the blackness of space give
way to the thick golden clouds of the Orion base, the sun poking its brilliant rays
through them. Caesar would have been a nice vacation spot, he reasoned, if only
it wasn’t for the Orion Consortium
Like wildfire, they plunged through the thermosphere, dropped past the
stratosphere and troposphere, and then Stone saw it. The Orion prison base was
located on a small island on the western hemisphere, dozens of small, black
domes clustered together on the strip of land. Gun emplacements, positioned on
rocky outcroppings on opposite sides of the island, began to belch out shards of
neutron fire, their gleaming barrels rotating, as the LCs got closer. Wizard and
Nike from Gamma Wing, who were flying escort, called up two ImRecs each,
dropping the guns into their sights and opening fire. The missiles streaked
downwards, slamming into the outcroppings, raising up shards of rock and
metal. As they past over the emplacements, all Stone saw were twin craters in
the ground.
“ Men, get ready!” he roared, fastening the chin guard on his helmet and
standing up. Guns were prepped and helmets slapped on as the Marines rose to
their feet, hunched over in the cramped hold. The rocky beach swelled in the
LCs’ viewports and Stone braced himself as the ship slammed into the surface,
sending up a spray of rock and water. “ Let’s go!” Grant roared, slamming the
hatch release and following the crush of soldiers pouring out of the LC. Down
the length of the coast, his remaining LCs landed as well, the Marines inside
released like candy from a pinata.
Colonel Stone hit the earth hard, feeling the slight difference of gravity on
Caesar. Damn, he thought, I should have looked into that. “ Come on, sir!” Ric
roared, as he and Janice hauled him to his feet. As a recording of “Charge”
blared from the troop transports’ speakers, the two hundred Marines raced
towards the low black building directly ahead. They had detected the
Navigator’s biosignatures originating from that structure. If they didn’t find
them there, then they weren’t on the planet.
A small squad of Orion troopers poured out from a nearby guard house,
bringing their rifles up to bear on the swarm of Confed soldiers. Grinning, Grant
raised his gun, drew a bead, and fired, tearing into the chest of the squad’s
captain. With a groan of pain the grunt when down. “ Take that you pagan
bastard,” he hissed. Rifle fire centered in on the Orion security squad and,
knowing that they were beaten, they attempted to escape back to the safety of
the guard house. Stone wasn’t going to give them that luxury. Rifle fire easily cut
them down. He spotted the last surviving soldier crawling back to the barracks,
clutching a bloodied shoulder and with a smile Grant centered the grunt’s back
in his crosshairs and squeezed the trigger.
“ Come on!” he hollered into his helmet mike. The prison complex was so
damned near, and this entire mission seemed too easy. There had to be
something not-too-favorable in their near future, he was convinced of it. Soon,
however, he and his troops reached the wide, metal doors of the prison,
emblazoned with the insignia of the Consortium. Grant dimly heard a warning
siren blare in the distance. Yup, he thought, Orion troops will be on us any
moment. “ Stand back!” He yanked a charge from his pack, set the timer, and
slammed it into the door frame. Sparks flew as the charge detonated, tearing the
bulkhead free from its moorings, and sending it clattering into the corridor
beyond. “ Let’s move!”
He led the way as the Marines rushed into the prison complex. He was
grateful for the cool, dark building, a welcome contrast to the blazing sun
outside. Stone assigned Roberts to search the north wing, Hamill to check out
south, and Karyo to hit the west. He’d personally lead the eastern assault. Ric
and Janice by his side, he set off at a run, racing down the darkened corridor,
heading towards the nearest detention block. The sirens howling above were
deafening, an excruciating cacophony of hellish discord. “ Orions!” Ric cried,
and Stone immediately ducked back behind a steel column, holding his hand out
to stop his troops. Peering around the corner, he saw them; A squad of
twenty-five, black-clad Orion troopers, fanning out and bringing their rifles to
“ Pour it on ‘em, boys!” Stone roared, raising his rifle and opening fire.
The corridor suddenly became a maze of hellish rays of light, one searing so
close to Stone’s head that he could feel its heat. Both sides-- Orion and Confed--
put up a steady stream of fire slicing down the hall and Grant cheered in
triumph as an enemy trooper clutched his leg and went down. Two more Orions
went down, and Stone felt a great sense of victory rising within him. But then,
suddenly, a laser blast whistled past his head, slamming into a young sergeant
behind him. A geyser of blood sprayed forth from the kid and Stone winced as
he felt it splash across his face. Soon, he saw a lieutenant and two corporals go
down as well. Roaring low in his throat, Stone sprayed the corridor with fire,
wasting ten of the bastards with ten shots. With a grin, he had to think back to
Earth and its first World War. Alvin York, a young American corporal, had
taken down seventeen Germans with seventeen bullets, and Grant had always
been impressed at the man’s sheer killing ability.
He checked on his three fallen comrades and with dread realized two
were dead. Fortunately, however, one of the corporals was still alive, albeit
barely. Stone ordered Captain Sinclair to take the wounded man back to the
ship. As the captain and his injured comrade disappeared from view, Stone
ordered his men to press on. They continued down the dark corridor, stopping
occasionally to exchange fire with a cell of Orion soldiers. Six of his men fell,
blood pouring from wounds, and as help was offered the wounded waved their
comrades forward, urging them to move on and forget about them. As hard as it
was for the Colonel, he was forced to do so.
The detention block was getting closer, he could tell that as he scanned his
forearm-mounted computer slate, but as he pressed deeper and deeper into the
bowels of the prison complex, he could detect some strange changes. The
architecture became more harsh, with more sharp angles, as if it was no longer
human in origin. As well, Stone could detect along the walls where a rather
unusual symbol had been painted over. It was a trio of blue triangles, points
joining to form an even larger triangle. He had never seen the image before, and
so stored it away in his mind for later reference.
“ Right this way, Colonel,” Janice said, pointing straight ahead. As the
long corridor which made up the primary detention block came into view, a lone
Orion guard came around the curve, sans helmet, and Stone could see the mad
look in the man’s dark eyes. This man, Stone thought with dread even as he
raised his rifle to fire, used to serve the same Confederation I do now. And yet I
have to kill him? Strange, now that I can look upon my enemy’s face and see a
fellow Terran, the joy of this kill is somehow absent. As the guard went down in
a spray of blood, Stone could not help but wonder if the man’s last thoughts
were of a loved one, left behind on Earth.
Taking a deep breath, Grant slapped Ric on the shoulder and pointed
sharply to the right. “ Ric, you and Ms. Carmichael head that way, I’ll take the
left!” Detailing off a squad of soldiers for each team, Grant raced down the hall,
coming to the door at the end of the extensive corridor. The bulkhead was made
of heavy black metal, and was locked tight to boot. Waving his men back, he
jammed a charge in, set the detonator, and cleared the blast zone as the charge
went off. Stepping through the smoke, Grant saw a clutter of two-hundred men
and women, battered and bloodied, standing gaped mouth in the center of a
large holding cell. There was no sound, until a youngish-looking man with thick
arms and a mop of blonde hair pushed toward the front of the crowd. “ Who the
hell are you?” he demanded testily.
“ Lieutenant Colonel Grant Stone of the Terran Confederation!” he
barked, and excited whispers rippled through the crowd, as they had heard of
the Confederation from their much revered ancestors. “ I’m here to rescue you!
Now we have our ships waiting out on the beach, but there are a lot of Orion
troopers between here and there. Stick close to the guns and don’t get cocky.
We’re sure as hell not out of the shit yet!”
A crush of Navigators flooded outwards from the holding cell, cramming
into the corridor. Private Nelson raised his gun and pointed forward, guiding
the liberated telepaths down the main hall leading to the LCs. The blond man
stepped out last, grasping Stone’s hand and pumping it up and down. “ Thank
you, Colonel. You don’t know how much this means to us.” Smiling he stepped
back and to Stone’s surprise saluted him. “ Barry Parker, sir.”
Grant returned the man’s salute. “ Well, Mr. Parker, we ain’t out of it
yet.” Reaching into his holster, he removed his pistol and slapped it into Barry’s
hand. “ I sure as hell hope you can shoot straight, Navigator!” With Barry on his
heels, Stone raced back into the main hall, only to find Captain Gavia and the
men he had assigned to accompany Ric and Janice standing around
dumbfounded. “ What the hell...? Where is Major Huygens?” he demanded.
Gavia sighed, pointing his rifle down the starboard corridor. “ He and
Ms. Carmichael ran into a little...trouble, Colonel. We were waiting for your
“ Well, dammit, learn to have a little initiative, Captain! You can’t rely on
me for every goddamned thing you do! What if I should take a laser bolt
between the eyes and then where would you be?” Gavia opened his mouth to
speak, but Stone cut him off, instead turning on his heels and racing after
As he came to the end of the hall and the heavy door leading into the
adjacent holding cell, he saw Janice hunched over near an open panel, Ric
looking worried as hell by her side. “ What is going on!?” Stone demanded, and
Major Huygens immediately came to attention and saluted. The Marine
commander did not bother to return it.
“ Janice here didn’t want to risk injuring the prisoners,” Ric began with
wide eyes, “ by setting a charge, and so she convinced me to open up this panel
here to ‘hot-wire’ the door.” Huygens paused, swallowing hard. “ Damn, sir, she
set off some sort of self destruct device!”
At first, Ric’s words did not fully register on Stone, until the Colonel
brushed past his Exec to see Janice huddled on the deck, her arm trapped
between two thick metal coils rising from either side of the panel. “ Ms.
Carmichael?” Janice looked up at him with tears streaming down her cheeks, so
intense was the pain of the crushing coils. “ Just what the hell are you doing?”
“ I couldn’t risk setting a charge, sir, just like Major Huygens explained,”
Janice blurted in a pained voice. “ So I tore open this panel, only to set off this
thing. When the coils touch, it will set off a nuclear charge, vaping this entire
complex! I stuck my hand in here to prevent the coils from meeting.”
Fuck, Stone thought, shoving his rifle into Ric’s hands and stepping
forward. This was going to cost them. “ Follow orders next time, Ms.
Carmichael,” he barked. “ I made it clear during the briefing that all soldiers
were to use charges to get past a sealed door!”
Wincing in agony, Janice whispered, “ I wasn’t at the damn briefing!”
Grant knelt down next to her, inspecting her bloody hand where the
sharp points of the coils had torn through her gauntlets. “ This isn’t
Confederation technology,” he observed. “ Just what in hell is this thing?”
“ It ain’t Confed technology, all right,” whispered Ric in awe. “ Hell, it
isn’t even Terran technology. Or Kilrathi or Firekkan for that matter! What we’ve
stumbled onto here in the Outlands is far more complicated than a simple
Stone nodded, but did not respond. There were just more and more
mysteries springing up here in Astris Incognita, he was convinced. First off, how
could two-hundred men with a single fleet carrier and a wing of fighters become
an empire like the Orion Consortium? And there were much smaller things, too.
The strange architecture and symbols in the corridor back there, and now this
strange detonation device. But there was no time to dwell on that right now,
Stone knew. They had to find a way past this obstacle first.
“ Is there still a way to open that door?” Grant asked.
Huygens nodded. “ Yup, the charge, same as before. But with Janice stuck
there she’ll surely get caught in the blast.” Stone frowned. As grating as she was,
he was not prepared to leave Janice to die like this. He had to get her and the
Navigators out of here and prevent the complex from getting blown to
Kingdom’s Come. But how? The Navigators... He didn’t even know them. But he
had fought alongside Carmichael, and she was a damn good killer. He knew
what was more important.
“ Janice,” he whispered, drawing his knife out of its scabbard. “ On the
count of three pull your hand away from the panel.” Ric and Janice looked up at
him as if he were mad, but he held up a hand to stifle any comments from them.
“ Don’t argue, dammit! Just do it. And be prepared to run... One... Two... Three!
Now!” With a high-pitched scream, Janice yanked her mangled hand away from
the panel and almost simultaneously Grant shoved the dagger in between the
coils, halting their inevitable meeting if but only for a few moments. The coils
pressed against the steel blade, raising sparks, but inching closer and closer.
“ Son of a bitch!” he swore. “ It won’t hold long, let’s go!”
He scooped up his rifle from Ric’s hands and set off at a run. “ Where the
hell are you going, you stupid leatherneck!? What about the prisoners!?” Janice
“ Forget them! They’ll just slow us down!” he barked, hating himself for
saying the words even as they escaped his lips.
Not even bothering to pick up her rifle Janice raced towards him, her
arms pumping back and forth as she picked up speed. With a roar, she tackled
Grant, driving him to the deck. “ You fucking bastard! How dare you leave my
comrades back their to die?!” Maddened with rage, Janice slammed her fists into
Stone’s face, pounding unrelentingly. He attempted to fight off the onslaught,
but Carmichael seemed to have developed superhuman strength. Finally,
however, Ric pulled the woman off of him, passing her off to Gavia who
disappeared down the corridor trying to calm her down. “ Damn, let’s go!” he
yelled at Ric and they raced the hell out of the detention block, flying past the
strange alien writings and symbols and the walls.
At a turn in the corridor leading back to the main hall where they had
entered the prison, Stone saw Hamill and Roberts backed up by a massive squad
of Orion Marines. “ What’s going on?” he demanded.
Erin and Mark saluted stiffly, then pointed down the smoke-filled
corridor. “ We’ve got the Navigators, sir, but the Orion have us cut off!” Major
Hamill screeched in a high-pitched voice.
“ This place is ready to blow up, Majors! We can’t lollygag, for crissakes!”
Stone thought for a moment, ducking behind a column as a shot whizzed by his
head. “ Use grenades! Just lob ‘em at the bastards!” he concluded, ripping an
explosive from his belt, yanking the pin loose, and hurling it towards the
Consortium soldiers. More grenades followed him, going off in a brilliant
conflagration. Rubble clogged the corridor as well as bodies and Stone urged his
men and the liberated Navigators onward, over the wreckage and into the main
hall, littered with dead bodies.
As they rushed past, Lieutenant Colonel Grant Stone counted
eight-hundred and fifteen Navigators rescued from the Orion Consortium.
Damn, they were still missing at least four-hundred of them. He still felt terribly
about leaving those poor suckers behind back there, but if he had attempted to
free them, they’d just now be getting out of the detention block, and they’d
surely all die. As the last of the prisoners and Marines leaped out of the
shattered building, Stone bolted out after them, only to stop dead in his tracks as
he realized Ric wasn’t with him.
“ Goddammit, Major, what are you doing?” he roared, rushing up to his
friend who stood hunched over a dead Orion, mouth open wide. “ What?” the
Colonel pressed.
“ Oh, God. Look!” hissed Huygens, pointing down at the Marine. What
Grant saw nearly took his breath away. That was no human; Hell, it was no
species he had ever seen in all his years of space travel. It looked highly similar
to a Terran, however, what with the body structure and general facial features,
but its skin was a light blue, thinner than a man’s, almost translucent. Its dead
purple eyes stared upwards, and from under the creature’s helmet, Grant saw its
azure forehead rise to a point. “ What the...?” He tore off his glove, reaching
down to touch the alien’s flesh. It was scalding to the touch, so unlike what a
dead body should be. “ Ric, help me get this...thing outta here!” Ric nodded and
grabbed the alien by the shoulders, while Stone took it by its feet. Hastily, they
dragged it out of the complex, racing across the rocky beach with the thing,
which must have weighed at least one-hundred and thirty pounds.
Meanwhile, below in the detention block, as the Navigators sat in their
cell confused by the commotion going on outside, the pressure placed upon the
knife by the wires became too strong. With a dull “thwap” they came together,
snapping the dagger in two, and sending down the signal to the volatile
explosives three-hundred meters below the surface of the island.
The complex began to rumble, suddenly lighting up with a blinding
white glow from the inside. The main structure went up in a roar, blowing apart
from the force of the explosion. Stone felt as if the world was coming apart
around him as he was pelted with debris. Helping hands reached out from his
LC, dragging him and Ric and pulling them inside. With a shout, he ordered the
strange alien body dragged aboard as well. Ric slammed the hatch shut, and the
ship immediately lifted off, riding the shockwave as the entire island was torn
asunder by the nuclear explosives. Stone was tossed around the crowded hold
like dice within a cup, and he looked through the hatch. All he saw was white.
God, all of those prisoners dead... They were most likely all innocents in this
damn strife.
As the LCs left behind the biosphere and began their ascent back into
space, Stone felt for the first time in his career thankful that a mission was over.
Their was no joy in that one. It was nothing like fighting the Kilrathi.
“ Colonel Stone?” he heard Ric say, and with a grunt he hauled himself
off of the deck, gratefully accepting the flask of vodka Captain Gavia handed off
to him. He found Major Huygens standing near the rear of the hold, hunched
over a dark form crouched in the shadows. “ Check it out,” he whispered,
leveling a finger at the horribly burned figure. “ Sergeant Karyo picked up a
Grant knelt down, pressing his face close to the disfigured Kilrathi, what
was left of its brown fur blackened. He was about to offer a nasty comment to
the beast, but froze, his mouth agape. Although blackened and scarred, Stone
easily recognized the face from the mission reports. With wide eyes, Grant Stone
whispered, “ Srakkah nar Ki’ra?”

Hellcat 315
Caesar System, Outlands
1447 hours (CST)

“ Here they come!”
Upon Falcon’s startled cry, Chris kicked in the throttle and pressed
forward, following Carrie and the flood of fighters racing towards the enemy
lines. They had just recieved word of what was happening down on Caesar, and
Chris could not help but be disappointed. Not only did the Marines not even
rescue all of the Navigators, but they actually ended up destroying the whole
damn prison complex! Well, I suppose I shouldn’t complain, he thought even as
the first of the Razors opened fire. I’d probably choke if I ever had to see my
opponent’s visage, to look into the eyes of one I will most likely kill. Out here in
the cockpit it is just me trying to vape another lifeless machine before it blows
me out of the sky. That was the way he wanted to think of it, it was the way his
father had thought of it.
Gun fire and missiles snaked across the void, and Chris highlighted a
nearby bogey on his HUD. “ I guess they just can’t give us a break, huh,
Wizard?” Carrie asked lightly. Chris nodded, the image projected onto her VDU.
“ Well, it’s time to kick some pagan ass, my friend.” Amen to that, he thought
with a smile.
But he had not even gotten a missile lock yet when suddenly from out of
nowhere a spread of torpedoes popped out into space, striking the Tripoli, the
Marine transport ship, in several key areas. The heavy vessel shuddered under
the impact, armor plating flaking off like skin after a sunburn. After what
seemed like an agonizing eternity, a tremendous blast shook the ship apart,
flinging massive chunks of debris throughout the airspace. Chris watched in
horror as the remains of the Enterprise’s escort vanished into the darkness.
Damn, where had those torpedoes come from? he thought, searching his radar
scope even as the large orange blip appeared.
Shaking off its cloak, the heavy gunship seemed almost joyous over its kill
as it pivoted its heavy guns on the Enterprise. Chris had never seen that kind of
ship before. It was heavy and slow, but bristling from fore to aft with antimatter
and mass driver guns. “ Shit, all craft concentrate fire on that ship, whatever it
is!” Colonel Wright howled, and Chris wholeheartedly complied. Nike on his
wing, he hit rudder and swung his battle-scarred Hellcat towards the gunship,
which began to belch forth a heavy curtain of triple-A fire.
Chris dodged his fighter left and right as the surviving Hellcats,
Longbows, and T-Bolts focused their fire at the murderous gunboat. He
witnessed three of Carnegie’s bombers go down in explosions, their pilots and
gunners howling in terror as their ships were torn apart. A few Thunderbolts
and a Hellcat were also unlucky victims of the damnable flak. They launched
their missiles at the boat, but it seemed to be all in vain. The flanks were just too
damn strong, for God’s sake!
“ Chris, I’m a little shot up here, man,” Carrie said and Chris could detect
a nervous tinge to it. “ I’m not sure if I can hold it.”
Startled, Wizard craned his neck to see Gamma One’s Hellcat, shot up
and trailing fluids. He frantically looked down at his HUD. Damn, her systems
were red across the board! “ Eject!” he roared, feeling tears come to his eyes.
“ Goddammit, Carrie, eject!” Upon his VDU, he saw his friend’s eyes go wide as
she reached down and pulled the handle. Thank God, he thought, as her eject
pod blasted free of the shattered Hellcat. But his jubilation for his best friend’s
survival, however, was short lived, as a brilliantly glowing tractor beam knifed
out from a passing Consortium Broadsword, snagging onto the spheroid pod
and dragging it back to the obsolete Confed bomber. Soon, the Broadsword,
painted sable in the colors of Valentino’s mad cadre, hit the jump point and
vanished. “ NO!!!!” Chris howled with an animalistic fury. “ Carrie, for Christ’s
sakes, no!!!!!”
Bellowing like a banshee gone mad, Chris gunned his afterburners to the
red zone, oblivious to the deadly hail of fire aimed directly at him. Ju’rak, Dana,
and Stingray screamed at him to call off his attack, but he was no longer
listening. Carrie had been with him from the start of those turbulent Academy
days, had seen something in him that no one else had, had treated him like a
human being. He loved Carrie as a sister almost, and now those maniacs had
her, inflicting God-knew-what upon her! Blind with rage, he saw the gunboat’s
engines swelling in his viewport. He called up his two remaining ImRecs, got a
solid lock tone, and slammed down on the triggers, watching as the missiles
homed in on the gunboat’s vulnerable engines. He howled in triumph as
explosions rippled outwards from the damaged gunboat, consuming the entire
ship. With a brilliant flash, the diminutive vessel tore apart at the seams and
soon was no more.
Even as he slipped into unconsciousness 2nd Lieutenant Christopher
Edison knew that he would never be the same again...

Orion Consortium Broadsword
Outlands, Sector 008
1512 hours (CST)

Battered and bloodied, 2nd Lieutenant Carrie “Nike” Dunham of the
Terran Confederation Space Force felt cold. She felt scared, a fear like none other
she had ever experienced in her young life. When she was small on Titan, there
had always been nightmares about monsters living under her bed, ready to
devour her if she should ever let her feet touch the floor. When she was a
teenager, it had always been Kilrathi bogeymen, as illogical as it seemed to
Carrie now.
But right now, at this moment, Carrie Dunham was just scared... of
whatever was outside of her eject pod right now. After she had ejected, she had
seen the Broadsword, but it had not fully registered on her what was happening
until she had been dragged aboard the bomber and they had jumped out of the
Caesar System. Where were they now? she wondered. How far away are my
ship and comrades? Hell, will they even come to try and rescue me? She wasn’t
sure, but poor Chris. I was the first one to pay any kind of attention to him ever
outside of his family, and now just thinking about him all alone like that...
Suddenly, the Broadsword stopped, and Carrie wondered why. Had they
landed, or had they docked with another ship? She was tempted to poke her
head outside of the pod and check it out, but something made her stop. Perhaps
it was the footsteps echoing outside. She tensed, even as the hatch of her eject
pod was silently slid open. She wanted to scream, to run, or just to claw the eyes
out of the Orion pilot looming over her. The man was young, but held dark
circles under his eyes. He looked down upon her, until his pale lips split open in
a grin.
“ Mea dea,” he whispered in Latin. “ Venibam te!” He reached a blistered
hand down and soon all Carrie understood was blackness.

If I'm locked on, there's no such thing as evasive action!
Last edited by a moderator:
Um... I think you're going slightly too far with the recycling of names and phrases. When you read about Roberts, Karyo and Hamill, all realism flies out the window... and the "evasive action" phrase too.

Other than that, a rather interesting chapter, but you're gonna die a slow and painful death if you take a break now. You're guilty on three counts of suspense

Sidenote: Telekinetic. You said so yourself, but in this chapter you seemed to get the names confused and keep calling them telepaths. I'd suggest you run a search through the chapter, and replace all the telepaths, telepath, and telepathic.

Incidentally, if they're powerful enough to collapse suns, then surely they don't need to worry about some little consortium? I know that she's probably exaggerating, but if somebody told me that I have to risk my crew's life for the sake of several hundred individuals capable of destroying suns, I'd probably say "save yourselves, fellas."
Last edited by a moderator:
Another great chapter!

But I have to agree with Quarto on some points there. The use of your sig in the story was kind of cool but IMHO using Roberts/Hamill/Karyo as characters was a bit too much!

Man, this Janice Carmichael is really getting on my nerves by the way she behaves!

A little correction in here, too:
"Now how the devil were they supposed to that?" - shouldn't that read "...supposed to do/accomplish that?"

No one will hear your cry of death in the void of space
Last edited by a moderator:
The quote from his sig is straight from the movie, Nighthawk
. I don't mind when he throws that sort of thing in every once in a while, but these last two chapters had a bit too much of it
Last edited by a moderator:
The Navigators need total concentration to tap into their telekinetic (telekinetics, not telepaths-- I'll fix that) abilities, they can't just snap their fingers, as Janice said. Of course, that was an exaggeration. After clearing their minds, they may very well be able to collapse stars, but only the oldest of the Navigators can do that. The majority taken by Valentino were of the younger generations, whose TK abilities do not go beyond lifting rocks with their minds. It was the Consortium's hope to strengthen their abilities to accomplish evil deeds.

Okay, so you don't liek my use of Roberts/Hamill/Karyo? Damn! Oh, well. I always put in names like that in my stories, as sort of an homage. I recently created a character for one of my non-WC stories named Gene Lucas, an amalgam of the names of the creators of Star Wars/Trek. Okay, I tone those "homages" down next time.

Nighthawk: Can't stand Janice, eh? Good.

I'll try to keep my next chapter smoother, this one was a doozy.

If I'm locked on, there's no such thing as evasive action!
Hmm... which raises an interesting question. What have they tried to do with those powers? I mean, I'm sure they didn't try to collapse stars, but how far did they go with the tests?
It's really a moot point, considering that the most of the Navigators are either dead or no longer in the possession of the Consortium. The only real important factor in this entire Navigator debacle is Tobias Hart. Keep that in mind.

If I'm locked on, there's no such thing as evasive action!
Tire yourself out?
<LI>&gt;behest&lt; + &gt;vehemence&lt; - Yeesh! I have nothing against your vast vocabulary, but it would be nice to read a chapter of your story without the need to reach for a dictionary.
<LI>&gt;voice of the women&lt; - Singular, woman.
<LI>&gt;I quit high school and signed on as first mate&lt; - Frankly I wouldn't take a h.s. dropout as a first mate.
<LI>&gt;we were not quite human,&lt; - Consider adding anymore.
<LI>&gt;the effects of the Nebula’s radiation never aged us nor our children,&lt; - It sounds like the nebula's radiation never aged.
<LI>&gt;I can collapse a star with the snap of my fingers,&lt; - My word! What have you done!?
<LI>&gt;nearest Orion base in here,”&lt; - Is here.
<LI>&gt;“ Aside from the fact that we should always help cute, two-hundred year old chicks in distress, the powers the Navigators have could very well be used for evil, if they are in the possession of the wrong person.&lt; - Is he a horse-race commentator? Much too long.
<LI>&gt;you read me?&lt; - Yes we read you...a few times too many.
<LI>&gt;commit Hari Kari,&lt; - I'm guessing you mean the Japanese Hara Kiri where a Samurai would use a sword to closer examine his own intestines.
<LI>I fear I’ll see too much more death before I too plunge&lt; - Too much.
<LI>&gt;Enough of this mushy stuff&lt; - I wouldn't exactly call living by the seat of your pants, mushy.
<LI>&gt;Commander Niles Pemberton could not sit still for the life of him, not when his little five-hundred meter long, nine laser turret carrying, good for nothing destroyer was supposed to “distract” a way-too-much meter long Kilrathi supercarrier.&lt; - Another way-too-much long sentence.
<LI>&gt;a steaming cup of Earl Gray tea,&lt; - I see that Captain Thomas Harvey is not the only one with a fondness or Earl Grey.

<LI>&gt;I should have become a painter.&lt; - Heh.
<LI>&gt;Once at a time,&lt; - One at a time.
<LI>&gt;than everything&lt; - Then.
<LI>&gt;Pitbulls’ Hellcats and the Pinschers’ Thunderbolts&lt; - What, no Shi-tsu?

<LI>&gt;But Chris was already locked on, and when he was locked on, there was no such thing as evasive action!&lt; - I bet you couldn't wait to use that line.

<LI>&gt;a rude gesture&lt; - He mooned the enemy?

<LI>&gt;He initiated evasive,&lt; - How cliché.
<LI>&gt;run faster that them bastards,&lt; - Faster than them.
<LI>&gt;he has seen&lt; - He had seen.
<LI>&gt;I said I need help here!&lt; - That's what you get for not staying on wing.
<LI>&gt;a chain reaction started within the ship’s reactor,&lt; - So effectively, it began doing what it normally does.
<LI>&gt;Go and rescue the bastards.&lt; - My, he thinks highly of Navigators.
<LI>&gt;That was his job, that was his life.&lt; - Consider a dash instead of a comma.
<LI>&gt;field rations, fatigues, and his rifle&lt; - He needed to be tired? If so it should be singular.
<LI>&gt;thermosphere, dropped past the stratosphere and troposphere,&lt; - You forgot ionosphere...
<LI>&gt;outcroppings&lt; - I believe it's actually outcrops...both times.
<LI>&gt;As they past over&lt; - They passed over.
<LI>&gt;released like candy from a pinata.&lt; - Isn't that a little stereotypical?
<LI>&gt;a recording of “Charge” blared from the troop transports’ speakers,&lt; - Do they have the little trumpet thing going too?
<LI>&gt;the grunt when down.&lt; - Went.
<LI>&gt;centered the grunt’s back in his crosshairs and squeezed the trigger.&lt; - My hero...

<LI>&gt;an excruciating cacophony of hellish discord&lt; - Ever heard of non-cacophonic discord?
<LI>&gt;a maze of hellish rays of light,&lt; - Hellish again?
<LI>&gt;Alvin York, a young American corporal, had taken down seventeen Germans with seventeen bullets,&lt; - Time for American History 101.

<LI>&gt;It was a trio of blue triangles, points joining to form an even larger triangle.&lt; - So it's four triangles i.e. a tetrahedron mesh?
<LI>&gt;I’m here to rescue you!&lt; - So much for humility?
<LI>&gt;When the coils touch, it will set off a nuclear charge&lt; - This must've been Valentino's crazy idea. But if it's all alien technology, then how do they know it'll set off a nuclear charge?
<LI>&gt;shoved the dagger in between the coils,&lt; - Eh, most knives are metal and hence conduct electricity.
<LI>&gt;Carmichael seemed to have developed superhuman strength.&lt; - Bo-ring.
<LI>&gt;As they rushed past, Lieutenant Colonel Grant Stone counted eight-hundred and fifteen Navigators&lt; - How? By taking their estimated distribution and flow per second?
<LI>&gt;felt terribly&lt; - That's terrible.
<LI>&gt;weighed at least one-hundred and thirty pounds.&lt; - Lesse...around 70kg?
<LI>&gt;Meanwhile, below in the detention block,&lt; - So below or in?
<LI>&gt;riding the shockwave&lt; - In such close proxitimy I doubt they would've even been able to take off.
<LI>&gt;entire island was torn asunder by the nuclear explosives.&lt; - Explosives or explosions?
<LI>&gt;handed off to him.&lt; - I'd skip off.
<LI>&gt;near the rear of the hold,&lt; - Consider rephrasing.
<LI>&gt;Gun fire and missiles snaked across the void,&lt; - How about streamed this time?
<LI>&gt;striking the Tripoli, the Marine transport ship,&lt; + &gt;the Enterprise’s escort vanished&lt; - Just a minute. So is the Tripoli an escort or a transport?
<LI>&gt;animalistic fury.&lt; + &gt;Bellowing like a banshee gone mad,&lt; - MOO!

<LI>&gt;Even as he slipped into unconsciousness&lt; - That could be dangerous whilst flying.


A rather disappointing chapter I must say. You really need to get those batteries recharged. Too many questionable and unbelievable things happening. New characters seem to keep popping up without much attention to their detailed development - so I tend to forget them all too easily. You also seem to undermine the structure of the military hierarchy. There's nothing wrong with people of differing ranks being friends, but petty comments whilst on duty should be frowned upon. Again, speech get's tangled up in places where it's not on a new line. I'd suggest you double space so paragraph breaks show up when you post.
Last edited by a moderator:
Oy, here we go again...

1.) Sorry if I have an advanced vocabularly--Didn't use the thesarus but one or twice these past few chapters.
3.) Don't worry about it. It's not essential. Yeesh.
5.) Misplaced modifiers. Learing about those puppies right now in English class.
6.) I won't waste my dwindling mental energies deciphering that cryptic comment.
7.) As for that, and my 'too-long' sentences: I've seen longer in published works by notable authors with even worse organization; Deal with it.
10.) No, I mean Hari Kari. Look, it's used both ways; Make sure you know stuff like that before you try correct something's that already correct.
12.) What...?
14.) Or Jean-Luc Picard...
18.) What do you get when you cross a bulldog and a shi-tsu?
19.) Exactly...

20.) &lt;groan&gt; Yes, he mooned the enemy.

21.) That's why it was so easy to write!
25.) If there was a nasty grin icon I'd put that up right now...
26.) Soldier talk.
28.) What the hell are you talking about? Fatigues, man, the clothes soldiers wear when going into battle!
29.) And I also forgot a lot of others, but I wasn't going through them all, just a few.
30.) No...
32.) How the hell so?
33.) Yes.
35.) Right...
36.) No, cacophony is used to modify some more. No little jokes required.
37.) Yes, again...
38.) American and Roman History-- two of my favorite subjects.
39.) A trio of triangles- 3!
41.)It's the twenty-seventh goddamned century, I'm sure they have some sort of device which would detect it.
42.)The coils aren't electrified until they meet, for crissakes. Look, it's alien technology, I'm sure you (nor I) would truly understand it, considering it ain't real.
43.) Yeah, as are those little comments.
44.) Fast counter.

46.) Metric? Yeah, right.

47.) &lt;sigh&gt; Just what it says.
48.) Okay, so I'll go and rewrite it to have them get caught in the blast and die.
51.) Toward the rear? Near the back? Do those work better? Yeah, I agree that sounds a little odd.
53.) It's a Marine transport, but carries more weapons than the Enterprise. Sense the Churchill was left back in Aeolus, it's serving a dual purpose.
55.) Good thing the Enterprise is right there to tractor him back.

Yes, it is a rather disappointing chapter. I believe I said that. That's why I haven't touched my story for five days, and I'm not planning on starting again for a good while. I really have to get back to my epic, non-Wing Commander story. One-hundred, seventy pages so far in that baby.

Questionable and unbelievable...? A little distressed, eh, Matrix? And where do you get undermining military hierarchy? Again, I must say, that I don't type this story in the post box-- there'd be no spell check, and I'd have to be on the 'net way to long-- but on MS Works. When I cut and paste the story into the post box, previously structured paragraphs are warped all to hell.

Eh... Sorry if some of my replies and/or comments seem a bit snipety... I have a lot of homework tonight and that's not what I'd constitute a nice afternoon. You don't even have to read my story, and yet you do, which I thank ye for.

So, that's it for now. I'm sure you probably aren't, but don't look forward to any chapters anytime soon. I'll work on it over spring break here in a couple of weeks, rest assured.

If I'm locked on, there's no such thing as evasive action!
Last edited by a moderator:
...Brain...Overload...Right, well I've just read all six chapters plus the prologue
and I'm now going to have a little rest...(I think reading all the comments tired me out

A few comments of my own:
On the whole this is a very good story, but you really need to throw out that thesaurus, way too many big (and obscure) words.
I also have to agree with the others, this isn't the best chapter, however it it does seem to move the story along by answering a few of those niggling questions (how did the Orions get so big, what happened to Redfang etc).
You really need to proof read a bit more before you post, it will avoid those simple grammer and spelling mistakes (and don't always trust the spellchecker - If ewe our not careful than spell czech will knot ketch sum things lick this

After reading everything so far, you've finally inspired me to get back to writing more of my own story (expect it in a day or two
)...and to read Quarto's (though I'm sure I've read a bit of it before?)

I think you should take a day or two to recharge then you must write some can't leave us in suspence for too long...

'For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky'.

Wing Commander - Secret Ops Missions

[This message has been edited by Primarch (edited March 22, 2000).]
Last edited by a moderator:
Thanks, Primarch, glad you liked it.

The first chapter I used the thesarus perhaps too much, that I understand. But, hey, I barely use the thesarus, but only a couple times every other chapter or so. I just have a large vocabularly, that's all. That's why I've been in the advanced English class since sixth grade!

If you agree with the others that this chapter isn't the best, then you'll have to agree with me as well. It was my goal to get this chapter out to kind of build some suspense at the center of the story, but I suppose I kind of rushed through it so I could take a break and let my mental energies rest. I'll pick it up in a few days though. As a matter of fact, I already have the first part, featuring a tense confrontation between Vagargk and Kali, written.

As it is mentioned in other posts, I don't have a lot of patience, so I'll miss quite a few mistakes when I proofread (I do proofread, by the way). I'll try to be more careful next time, but I'm not promising anything.

Speaking of Redfang, did anyone else notice I called him Redclaw all through Chapters Four and Five? I'm going to have to change that.

Well, Primarch, all six chapters and the prologue? You should take a breather. Play a little Wing Commander, that'll get you relaxed.

Anywho, Chapter Seven: Insurrection should be out sooner than you think...

If I'm locked on, there's no such thing as evasive action!
Last edited by a moderator:
Primarch: I agree about the thesaurus thing but there is nothing wrong with getting a little poetic once in a while - as long as the reader gets the picture. As per Quarto's story, he had posted the earlier chapters before, but they underwent some rewriting.

Dralthi5: I'm not done with you yet.

5. Is that what they're called? Go figure, I've used (and abused) English for 18 years and I never knew that. Learn any other interesting things you'd like to share?

6. Then allow me to lend mine. The comment she made didn't sound like a joke, hence it's unbelievable.
7. Yes - those that I put the book down after the first three pages. If you read that sentence carefully, there really should be a fullstop instead of a comma between distress and the. BTW, the average academic text has about 26 words per sentence, and academic writing isn't a lesiurely read. Of course there's nothing wrong with having long sentences - as long as you punctuate them adequately and not slap them together with commas. Heck, Quarto gets away with it just fine.

10. Hmm. I was pretty sure of that, but if you say so. Maybe he should've committed sepuku instead.

12. *sigh* Never mind. I can't be bothered explaining it.
18. Mildly amusing...
26. I wouldn't know - I've never been a soldier.
28. Well you learn something new every day.

29. I was implying there were too many spheres already. *shrug*
32. Probably cause I've never seen a pinata IRL.
39. So much for a clear description of their logo.

41. I certainly hope your faith in the human race is well placed.
42. *sigh* Well excuse me for thinking that the whole point of writing it down was to make it seem believable - not confusing.
43. Feel free to ingore them.

46. Yes. What the rest of the world uses.

48. And why the hell not? I'm sure you've read enough to appreciate a good tragedy. I intend to start killing off my characters soon.
51. Either. Heck I just make the comments - it's still your story.
53. Armed transport. Gottit.

Distressed? Perhaps. More likely disappointed. The prologue still remains my favorite, though the story has evolved nicely with just the right number of little twists.
The "undermining military hierarchy" was just a comment on lower ranking officers calling their superiors by first name...and shrinking.
Dunno, maybe I misread the ranks.
The reason I read your story (and give comments) is because it's worth reading. I wouldn't waste my breath on a critique of "Bedtime Story" now would I? And you are welcome.

As to further chapters, take your time. I know I needed one to regain focus.

"Patience is a virtue."
Last edited by a moderator:
5.) Yeah, appeasement is a sham peace.
6.) Twas not a joke. She just wanted to,oh, I dunno, maybe intimidate Cap'n Hawk.
7.) All right.
10.) Trust me, it goes both ways. I can easily look that up. Hell, did it when I wrote that.

12.) My comment was pretty shitty. Sorry.
18.) Not my joke, but I thought it was funny.
26.) Neither have I...
28.) That you do.
29.) Sarcasm doesn't come through well in writing, does it?
32.) IRL...?
39.) Yeah.

41.) Again, another bitchy comment from me that should have never been. Sorry.

42.) Point well taken.
43.) Don't worry, I do. (Just kidding, I do like your little comments.)
46.) We Yanks are stubborn buggers, aren't we?
But if they had been killed, I'd have had to change my entire plans, and that would have been a pain in the ass.
51.) That it is, but, hey, I like the comments.
53.) Good.

Again, I was in a bad mood then, so I wrote down some pretty belligerant things, but I'm cool now.

Anyway, the next chapter (I'm a good ways through now despite my earlier comments) seems a helluva lot better than this one. It clears some things up nicely, I believe.

And patience is a virtue. I need to learn that.

If I'm locked on, there's no such thing as evasive action!
Last edited by a moderator:

29. Yeah I've noticed that too. It's too damn easy to misinterpret casual written stuff.
32. IRL = In Real Life
46. Aparently so are the Aussies.
48. That's why I'm picking mine off one by one.

Hey, no need for apologies - we all have days like that. Hope to see the next chapter...anytime.
Last edited by a moderator: