Gday folks I was browsing my old fan fiction chapters and did a bit of thinking and found there was more stuff I should have added to my fan fiction and so I decided to redo my first fan fiction. After playing Standoff and re-reading some of the novels, I got my spark back into writing some good old fashion fan fiction I hope you enjoy my fan fiction. Apologise for any grammatical errors you might come across, as English aint my strong point. INTRODUCTION There was the Pilgrim conflict, the first Kilrathi War, then the Border Worlds and Black Lance Crisis, then the Second Kilrathi War and the war with the Nephilim. I take you back before it all began, before it all happen just before the first war occurred. Five years before the Battle of McAuliffe there was an internal threat which threatens to destabilise the Confederation from within. The Mari-ad, formerly known as the Mari-gosa Party was a political party comprise of citizens from throughout over the entire Confederation and were part of the Great General Assembly. Since their inception, the Mari-gosa were describe as a political party with somewhat mix views and people often wondered if they were a left wing or a right wing political party. Some of their views and policy were consider bias towards certain systems in the known Confederation Space. Some policies they tried into introduce was only allow certain citizens be allowed to enter military service or stand for public service. This was reminiscing the old caste system of the old Earth history in many countries, where people were It was sometime in the early years of the 2600 when the entire Mari-gosa Party was put on trialwas held responsible for supplying arms and other munitions to criminal and terrorists organisations for endorsing some of the activites A criminal syndicate known as the Mari-ad which has been causing much strife within the Confederation for many years. This has force several officers within the military to take drastic action against the criminal organization and formed a secret unit known as Blue Reign. This is the story about a young officer who is dragged into the conflict just prior to the first Kilrathi war. This is the story about Anthony Alan. PROLOGUE Star Date 2606.310 1145 Hours Earth, Sol, Terran Quadrant Confed High Command – New York Chief of Confed Operations “The Admiral will see you now sir” said the secretary “Thank you” replied Francis as he stood up and adjusted his uniform. Francis never liked meeting with the brass. He would rather be out on assignment, charting new territories, quelling uprisings, monitoring pirate activities, not meeting with the brass, presenting reports, updates and what not. “Lieutenant Commander Cheng reporting sir” saluted Francis as he entered into the office of the Chief of Confed Operations “At ease” saluted Admiral Johnson “please Commander, take a seat. We are waiting for one other to arrive, but in the meantime, tell me how is your assignment aboard the TCS James Cook?” “The Cook is a fine ship sir” replied Francis “we currently in dry dock, with repairs, refit and upgrade to the ships systems after our last tour” “Yes I have been reading the reports on the Cook about the pirate attacks and transport hijacks” said the Admiral “I am impressed with your performance. Captain Brock has given me a very detail report regarding the recent ship’s actions and crew’s performance of the last six months” “Thank you sir” said Francis, beginning to feel unsure about purpose of the meeting when he heard a knock on the door “Ah our friend has arrived” said the Admiral, “I believe you may have met our visitor Commander?” Francis turned around and his jaw dropped to see who the visitor was “I see our friend is a bit gob-smacked Jim” said the new visitor “I think that would be expected, since you are bit of a celebrity Mike” said the Admiral “Commander I believe no introductions are needed?” “No sir” said Francis “Admiral Tolwyn it is a pleasure to meet you sir” “Indeed Commander” smiled Admiral Sir Michael Tolwyn, “but it is no longer Admiral Commander. I’ve resigned my commission five years ago if you remember. I must admit I am enjoying my freedom away from the service” “Michael Tolwyn? Giving away his career for a life of peace and harmony” said Admiral Johnson “can’t see that happening my friend” “Maybe true” replied Richard “besides I think it was getting close to my retirement, and it is nice to be back in Windward. I can finally get back to some reading I have been meaning to catch up on” “Not for another ten years back then” said Admiral Johnson “Pardon for me saying sir” said Francis, “but with all the scandals and conspiracy theories regarding that amendment to the military spending budget. There wasn’t any proof that you were involved in the cover up. It was all hearsay and rumours. I believe that Command shouldn’t have accepted your resignation from the Forces. There was no evidence to the political corruption linked between members of the Assembly and members of High Command” “You’re very kind Commander” said Richard “but like all good things, all must come to an end. It was a decision I was willingly to take to save my honour and reputation. I was getting tired with all complaints, backstabbing and whining I get from all the other people and I thought that it was time. But enough of me, I believe we have other matters to attend to” “Yes” said Admiral Johnson “sorry to cut short our trip to memory lane. But the reason I ask you here Commander was that Sir Tolwyn and I like to offer you a position within Confed-Intel” “Intelligence?” said Francis “Sir, I don’t think I would cut it to be an Intelligence Officer. I am more of a Front-Line Command Officer and I believe that I served best with the Fleet” “That’s an admirable quality Commander” said Admiral Johnson “however I have read your psycho-profile and noticed your assessment profile. Although your service record shows a remarkable performance, it was actually your IQ-rating from the Academy records that caught my attention. Although you score quite high in linguistics, cryptology and analysis, you showed no interest in the Intelligence or Covert Field” “No sir, it hasn’t interest me” “Fair enough” said Admiral Johnson “that is why I am offering you still a position with a Special Intelligence Unit” “Would I have to step down as XO of the Cook sir?” “Actually, no” said Admiral Johnson “your assignment is somewhat different to what you might expect” “Are you familiar with the Mari-gosa party Commander?” asked Sir Tolwyn “Familiar more like hate them sir” said Francis “To be frank Admirals, I find their political ideals to be somewhat distasteful. It reminds me of the radical ideals of Nazi Germany in the 20th Century along with many of the extremist governments back in that time” “That is what many people believe” said Admiral Johnson “this assignment and position should you accept is quite simple Commander. You continue to serve onboard your assigned ship and monitor all transmissions and activities in any system you are in” “May I ask why sir?” asked Francis “As you may know Commander” said Sir Tolwyn “the Mari-gosa have change their political ideals over the last twenty to thirty years. Many members of the Great Assembly would believe that their views are somewhat cruel and unusual” “Like having certain members be allow to enter military service and certain members to be allowed to join public service” “Both of us have been doing a lot of investigations regarding the actions of the Mari-gosa party and their dealings with other political parties and private corporations around the known systems” said Admiral Johnson “we have been secretly investigating on them for the last five years” “Five year since Admiral Tolwyn resigned?” said Francis “Yes” said Admiral Johnson “with Sir Tolwyn resigning from the Forces. No one would expect him or I, be involved in secretly investigating the Mari-gosa. We want to know who has been dealing with Mari-gosa Party and have far has their influence reached. We need to know this Commander” “Who else is involved in this Unit sir?” asked Francis “Other than us, there is only a small group of twenty officers spread throughout Confed Space involved with this unit” “Pretty stretched out isn’t it Admirals?” “More chance of not being found out” said Admiral Johnson “so if you are willingly to accept this assignment we will provide you with all the necessary details you need. You must also know that you cannot reveal anything to anyone about this. No one knows of this Unit. Not the President, nor the General Assembly, Joint-Chiefs, or any Admirals or Generals in the Forces are aware that this unit exist. This is a unit that works alone with whatever resources is available” “Very well sir I’ll accept” “Welcome aboard to Blue Reign Commander” said Tolwyn “you’ll make a fine contribution to our unit” “Blue Reign, sir?” “Well it is actually quite appropriate” said Johnson “Confed Forces main recognition colour has been blue with like our uniforms and all. It is only appropriate that our Unit be named after our forces. We have a saying Commander, ‘We will reign down on your enemies’ ” “Oh that is an interesting name to given” “Yes it is, now since you have accepted this assignment, you will be promoted then” said Tolwyn “Promoted?” “Well we can’t have a Lieutenant Commander be restricted with his movements while working with us” said Admiral Johnson “I’m promoting you to the full rank of Commander and you will be the new commanding officer of the TCS Vatican, an escort frigate” “Um thank you sir” said Francis as he shook hands with the two Admirals “I’m a bit speechless, I don’t know what to say” “Well how about telling that lovely wife of yours, Susan” smiled Admiral Johnson “I’m sure you will have something good to celebrate now” * * * Star Date 2606.310 1730 Hours Earth, Sol, Terran Quadrant Adelaide, South Australia, Australia “Francis what you doing home early?” said Susan “I thought you wouldn’t be back for another two months. I was going to visit and stay with your parents in Hong Kong” “Well we had to come back for repairs and I had to give a report to Command” “Ah the usual repairs and what not?” “Yeah something like that, debrief meeting with Captain Brock, gave a report to Command and Ops, got promoted, review my next assignment, saw the plans of the new ship, did some shopping” “Wait a minute” interrupted Susan “you got promoted?” “Yes, they promoted me to full Commander and assigned me command of a ship” “Oh Francis that’s wonderful news” smiled Susan “I also got wonderful news as well. I’m pregnant!” “Really?” asked Francis, Susan pulled out a small vial with a blue liquid “It’s blue” giggled Susan “we’re having a baby” “We having a baby” said Francis in awe “I think I need to sit down” “You are sitting down Francis” said Susan, Francis looked down and found himself already sitting down on the couch “Oh” said Francis as he stood up “now I need to sit down” as he moved to another chair “we are going to be parents!?” “We are going to be great parents” smiled Susan “I thought I was going to tell your parents first before you came back. But since you’re back I think we should go and tell both our parents” “Yes we should” smiled Francis as he stood up again and walked over and gave his wife a hug and kiss “oh this is a wonderful day. Could this day get any better?” Star Date 2607.090 Vega Sector, Day Quadrant, Blackmane System TCS Vatican in parking orbit of Blackmane station “Are you sure the data you collect is accurate?” asked Admiral Johnson “Is there any definitive proof or evidence that members from the Mari-gosa party are responsible with the illegally weapons trading to the black market?” “It appears so Admiral” said Francis “but there is no evidence that points the Mari-gosa, are supplying the weapons even with the images showing Senator Gough with the members of the Blackmane Underground, it is not enough to convict him” “How are the Mari-gosa are able to gain access to military supplies?” “It is possible that they bribed officers to gain access to weapons and other equipment” “We have to review everyone who has access to weapons depots” said Admiral Johnson “if we have any members under the Mari-gosa payroll, then we are in a serious situation. Commander, continue with your investigations. In the meantime, you continue with your primary assignment in the sector, continue patrolling the assign quadrant and report to Sector Command” “Understood Admiral” “Before you leave, there is another thing” said Admiral Johnson “Admiral Tolwyn has been injured from an attempted assassination” “What when sir!?” said Francis completely in shock “how sir?” “Officially, TCN will make the announcement tomorrow that the attempted attack on his life was from a rupture internal tank explosion while he was travelling through the Gemini Sector on an inspection tour of the outlying colonies” “Unofficially sir?” “Unofficially, Admiral Tolwyn was in the Gemini Sector doing an inspection as he was meant to. He was also investigating strange activities of transports being raided possible pirates in the region and there were reports that the pirates were using military graded weapons possibly supplied by unknown source” “Did people know that he was visiting the Gemini Sector?” “Actually no” said Admiral Johnson “only the President, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the Chairman of the General Assembly knew of the Admiral’s trip to the sector and the route he would be travelling via. Someone has tipped the pirates off where Tolwyn would be and knew where to hit him” “We have been compromised Admiral” said Francis “if only those people were the only ones who knew about Admiral Tolwyn’s whereabouts, then it must be one of them who tipped the pirates?” “Yes it is both likely and unlikely that one of them might have tipped the pirates or whoever was responsible. But all three men have been cleared by Confed-Intel and by us” “Should we inform Intelligence what we might know?” asked Francis “No Commander, we cannot afford to alert Intelligence or even Internal Affairs should they hear about this. If we go out and start warning people, those responsible of the attack will change their tactics making it even longer to find out to the link between the Mari-gosa and the illegal trading” “How is the Admiral sir?” asked Francis “He is fine, the injuries he sustained were not severe, and he will make a quick recovery. He will head back to Sol, in the next few days. In the meantime Commander, continue with your assignment in the Sector. Continue with your patrol of the systems and monitor any transmissions and monitor for any pirate attacks. You will receive further orders at a later date” “Understood sir” * * * At an undisclosed location In a large room in what appears to be a bar, 12 men sat around the room at different spots. Some sat by the bar, a few on the couch while others are standing by the windows. Wherever they were sitting or standing the 12 men were all watching the vid-screen located in the middle of the room, all were watching the live newsfeed, “....and just to recap the main news bulletin, retired naval officer, Admiral Michael Tolwyn was injured after a failed assassination attempt on his life while on an inspection tour on the outlying systems in the Gemini Sector. The Admiral was touring the establishing colonies at the request of the Confederation Council to assess the colonies development while...” “Turn that off” said gentlemen 1 by the bar as he poured himself another drink, “well gentlemen, it seems that the good Admiral is much stronger than he appears to be” “I assume we try again at a later date?” asked gentleman 2, who turned off the vid-screen “we need to find a more efficient assistant in our operations” “No” said the gentleman 1 “we will leave the Admiral for now. We have more pressing needs to attend to. Have we removed our last member of the old party?” “Unfortunately no” said gentleman 3 “it seems that the good Senator Wong has refused to take our offer” “Senator Wong seems to prove to be a difficult person” said gentleman 1 “do we have any idea where he resides so we can speak to him directly?” “No” said gentleman 4 “he is never alone. He has with him three Senate Guards at all times which makes physically removing him from the party even more difficult” “Yes the Senate Guards are well known for their security. They would be difficult to break through” said gentleman 1 “We could always bomb his place of residence?” said gentleman 2 “No too obvious” said the gentleman 1 “No. I think we will have to hire some people and take the Senator while he is enroute back to his residence. Make it look like there was an accident in the ship he was travelling in” “I will arrange some of my people to deal with the Senator” said gentleman 2 “Very well” said gentleman 1 “in the meantime. Do we have any idea how the good Admiral survived the assassination?” “We don’t have anything on that” said gentleman 6 “but we assume that Confed-Intel might have been involved” “Impossible” said gentleman 7 “we have listening devices and agents within Confed-Intel. They would have alerted to us should Confed knew what we were planning to do. No I think there must be a secret covert group involved in this. They must be monitoring our movements” “I agree” said gentleman 1 “we need some divert some of our resources and find out who is this new player in this game” * * * Star Date 2607.272 The Day After “Congratulations Commander” smiled Admiral Johnson as he watched Francis gently held his son for the first time, “he is the spitting image of his father” Francis smiled and nodded back at the Admiral “How is she?” asked Carmen, Admiral Johnson’s wife. “Still in intensive care” said Francis, “They do not know what happen after the birth. Something happen during the caesarean and the doctors could not figure out what happen. It was a clean operation” “She is a tough woman Francis” said Johnson, “I am sure she will make a full recovery” “I hope she will too” said Francis as he played with his son’s baby fingers, “My god, he is so small John” “Yes he is. But then babies are, aren’t they” both men chuckled “So are you going to take the offer Francis?” asked Elizabeth, Francis’ sister, “It is a great opportunity for you” “I already have a good assignment thank you very much” smiled Francis “the Admiral has given a great opportunity over a year ago with the Vatican” “True. But the TCS Gaza?” said Elizabeth, “it is one of those Ranger light carriers. How could you not want to command those ships?” “Well if you like them so much why don’t you sis?” said Francis “Well excuse me” huffed Elizabeth “but I am fine thank you being a flight instructor. I’m just watching out for my big brother” “Yeah, I know” said Francis, “but after a year on the Vatican and I have been thinking of taking my chances of commanding one of those attack cruisers or one of those big battleships” “That’s a big ask there” said Admiral Johnson “you are long way of getting there. But I am sure you will get there someday” “I can wait” shrugged Francis, “it is actually quite invigorating to be in command even for a small ship like the Vatican. You wouldn’t normally get this opportunity at an early stage for command and I wouldn’t get another chance like this again. So I am happy to be on the Vatican” “Excuse me Captain” interrupted nurse came in the room, “I have to take your son, he needs his rest” Francis passed the baby to the nurse and kissed his son. “Be good boy and be good to your mother Anthony” said Francis as he kissed his son’s forehead, “I will see you soon” * * * Damn how could this happen thought James as he headed to the sitting room. Francis is not to get over this. First his mother and now his wife, he needs help big time. He turned around the corner past the other nurses and doctors in the corridor until he reach the door entering inside he saw several people inside. “Where is he?” asked James “He is over by the balcony” said Elizabeth, “He is very quiet. I am worried about him Admiral” “As am I” said James “I don’t think he will recover from this” James looked past Elizabeth and could see Francis sitting on the bench in the balcony, “Where is Anthony?” Elizabeth nodded to where Susan’s parents and Francis’s father were by the corner of the room looking over Anthony. Although James could see they were making faces at their grandchild, he could see in their eyes that they are in pain. The lost of Susan has been a terrible loss to both families. “This is a sad day” said James to everyone in the room, “remember that as family and friends we have to help each other out. I hope everyone can help Francis as much as possible” a lot of nods showed throughout the room. James walked out towards the balcony where Francis was. James could feel a slight breeze coming towards the balcony. James pulled his jacket tighter feeling a slight chill, yet Francis didn’t seem to notice the cold weather. James walked up and stood next to Francis on the balcony. “It’s a bit cold don’t you think Francis?” asked James, Francis didn’t reply let alone make a sound. James turned to face Francis and notice why he wasn’t saying anything. He was crying, tears were coming down his face. The Admiral put his arm around him to comfort him. “I remember the first time I met Susan Admiral” said Francis, “it was at the aqua dome on Mars with friends back during the Academy days” James smiled as he recalled how Francis told him how he first met Susan, “John was throwing the football far and long past the pool and I was running backwards and crashed into somebody and fell in the pool when I caught the ball. I remember hearing a cry before falling in” “I remember you telling me” said James, “They all laughed when they saw you fall in. It was a sight to remember they said” “Yeah, I remember trying to get out when some woman came up to me and gave me her hand. I looked up and saw this woman trying to help me up looking a little bit angry, ‘you should have been careful next time. I’m glad that my daughter is a good swimmer’ she said to me. I turned around and saw the most beautiful woman in the pool” “Ah yes you told me” said James, “you just stood there with your jaw dropping to the ground” “She just laughed at me and smiled” said Francis, “If there was anything I would miss. It would be her smile” softly Francis begins to sob, “her smile always make me happy” Francis begins to cry more as James wraps both arms around him comforting him, gradually Francis cried more, soon the people inside the room could hear Francis crying out on the balcony. * * * “How are you feeling Francis?” asked Admiral Tolwyn “my sympathy to you and the family” “Thank you Admiral” said Francis as he sat down “I’m sorry to pull you away from the family Francis” said Admiral Johnson “I know you are still grieving about the loss of Susan. But what I am showing is strictly confidential and between us” “What is it sir?” “Just watch this video-feed” said Admiral Johnson as he turned on the vid-screen. Francis saw on the screen 12 people all wearing cloaks concealing their faces and any part of the body which might identify them. “Hello Admiral Johnson” said the lead figure in front of the 11 other people. The person’s voice was distorted as well to mask their identity if they were male or female “if you receiving this message, then I would assume that Commander Francis Cheng’s wife would be dead” Francis turn to look at the two Admirals in shock “Just listen” said James “As you are wondering” continued the masked individual “you are probably wondering why and how we know that Susan Cheng is dead? Well we know of you and your so called group Blue Reign” “They know about us?!” said Francis “Apparently so” said James “We have been searching as to how our plans against Admiral Michael Tolwyn were foiled. We were fortunate enough with the generosity of some officers within your Confederation Forces that certain members were involved of some covert op group” the screen faded and a new image appear showing five officers bounded by changes and rags in their mouth preventing them to speak “Damn they found our operatives!” said Francis “As you can see” said the lead figure “we were able to learn from these people about your group and able to trace everyone who is involved including your Commander Cheng. So we decided what better to get your attention by removing the Commander’s spouse” James turned to see Francis’s jaw and fists clenching in anger “I only have one thing to say Admiral” continue the lead figure “interfere with us, and you will be receiving five body bags. Oh don’t worry about your officers here. We will send them back to you unharmed. As long you don’t interfere with us. Good day Admiral” “This message was received almost 24 hours ago” said James “Just after Susan died?” said Francis “Did they find anything in the autopsy?” asked the Admiral “No they didn’t” said Francis “full body analysis showed nothing” “Commander” said James “I need you to stay focus. These people whoever they are, know we are involved in the investigation with the Mari-gosa party and it seems these people are somewhat connected. But we don’t know who they are. We have to re-evaluate our situation” “What do you have in mind Admiral?” “Admiral Tolwyn and I discussed the possibility that something like this might happen. We have to shrink our group to a smaller contingent” said James “What? We have 20 people originally involved. How much smaller did you have in mind?” “Down to a quarter” said Tolwyn “Five people?!” said Francis “are you sure” “It would make it difficult for them to identify who is involved in this operation. The good thing is that they don’t know about Admiral Tolwyn’s involvement with Blue Reign and I think we should keep it that way. But in the meantime, I’m relieving you of duty. Take some time off and sort out your family. You have a son and he needs his father now. We will discuss later what we might do” * * * “It is not looking good is it Jim?” asked Tolwyn “No I guess not” said Admiral Johnson “we cannot afford to lose him. He is a good officer, but at the same time we have to be careful with our operations. It seems whoever this group is knows about us and our movements” “But they don’t know about my involvement with Blue Reign” said Michael Tolwyn “that is indeed strange” “Very, it might be an advantage we hold” nodded Admiral Johnson as he read through an intelligence report he received attached with the vid-feed “well Intel cannot trace the source of the video-feed and are using all their resources to identify who are these 12 people” “Do they have any leads?” “Unfortunately they have nothing on these 12 and who this group represents” said Admiral Johnson “It is not much then” said Admiral Tolwyn, “In the meantime I think I should take a leave of absence, maybe go away on a holiday, hopefully somewhere I can’t be tracked or contacted” said Michael “it might be a while before things settle down or we find a lead” “You taking a real holiday” smiled Admiral Johnson “Admiral Tolwyn going away on vacation with your wife?” “Be nice Jim” said Tolwyn “what about you? The perpetual officer and bachelor, when are you ever going to settle down?” “I am married to my job. You know that” said Admiral Johnson “Mick, I will contact you of any news. You be careful out there” “You too Jim” * * * Stardate 2617.276 McAuliffe Base McAuliffe System, Day Quadrant, Vega Sector “Have you been good to your grandparents Anthony?” asked Francis “Yes dad” replied Francis “when are you coming home?” “Hopefully soon” said Francis “I am waiting for repairs to be completed before we can do anything. Hopefully, my boss will let me go home for a holiday” “Can we go fishing when you come back?” “Sure we can do that, when I get back. Now put your grandpa back on” “Everything alright there?” asked Ta-ke, Francis’ father “Yes, everything is fine. Anthony really misses me” “He is doing fine, son” said the elder Cheng “what is the situation over there?” “Just waiting repairs to be completed on the Gaza then we should be heading back to Sol by the end of the week” “Command hasn’t issued any new orders or assignments?” “Fortunately no” smiled Francis “the last eight months running the carrier has been hell. We have had almost everything that could happen to the ship, systems and program malfunction, faulty lines, fighter crafts damaged or simply not working, just literally everything I could think of, the Gaza is giving me shits” “Well the Gaza has been through hell and back” said Ta-Ke “but you did decided to take the command of that ship two years ago” “Yeah but didn’t expect to clean up this god damn mess” sighed Francis “well have this major refit and repairs, the Gaza should be working and running at full capacity” “Well we hope to see you soon” said Ta-Ke “the families are all flying over to Adelaide” “Is it that time already?” “Well we agreed meeting with everyone every five years, we agreed to have both families that everyone will stick together” “Yeah I almost forgot. I will contact you while I’m en-route back to Sol. Talk to you later dad” Francis intercom beeped “Yes?” “Sorry to interrupt you Captain” said the voice on the other line “there is a priority 1 message from Sol Command” “Very well patch it through here” “Am I interrupting you Captain?” asked Admiral Johnson “Not at all sir” said Francis “what may I ask is the urgency of this communication?” “I am going to get straight to the point, because I hate to beat around the bush. Admiral Michael Tolwyn is dead” “What!? How? When?” “He died at Enigma” said Admiral Johnson “he was visiting the colonies in that sector, where he suffered a major heart attack” “Is that the official word or unofficial” “Official Captain” “What really happen to him sir?” “He was poison” replied the Admiral “autopsy show small traces of Ola-min venom in his circulatory system” “Ola-min venom?” said Francis “that is a very rare venom from the Ola-min snake in the Gemini Sector, they are very expensive to obtain, let alone find the snake” “It is. From what we can gather, he was shot with a tranquiliser dart containing the venom. We were able to secure his body before Confed-Intelligence could investigate the matter” “Was it them?” “It appears to be so. But there is something else you need to see, standby” the Admiral’s image was shrank to allow another image to appear on screen. The next image was a vid-feed showing a familiar image he saw ten years ago, “Admiral Johnson, if you are watching this feed. Then we are to assume that Admiral Michael Tolwyn is dead” Francis looked on in anger “Them!?” hissed Francis “Just listen Francis” said Admiral Johnson “The Confederation has been a thorn to our side interfering with our operations and future plans. Admiral Tolwyn knew way too much about us for the last twenty years and we believe that we must remove this pest. We have carefully planned and watch hopefully how and when we could strike next at the Admiral. We have waited this long for an opportunity to arise. Now we have the Admiral removed, we will reveal ourselves to you. For we are the Mari-ad, we the ones who will bring terror through space, we are the ones who will control all, for we shall regain our former glory where our predecessors failed. Be warn that the Mari-ad will eliminate any who stands in our way” “The Mari-ad?” “It appears from Intelligence have gathered” said Admiral Johnson “that the Mari-ad is loosely connected with the Mari-gosa party that was removed from the General Assembly five years ago. No one has heard what happen to them when they were removed. I guess after five years we know what happen to them. They have become a criminal or some kind terrorist group” “This is not good sir” said Francis “even if they were removed from the General Assembly, they still would have information about the Confederation, not to mention resources they might have gathered during the early days of the Mari-gosa party. We have a problem” “Yes we do” agreed Admiral Johnson “but there is not much we can do, but continue to gather intelligence and learn what the Mari-ad is planning to do. I fear they might try to infiltrate the General Assembly and put their agents in or even try to infiltrate Command. Either way we have to tread carefully now since they make it known to everyone” “Everyone?” said Francis “you mean that told the General Assembly” “More like to every known human system in this galaxy” said the Admiral “this feed came through about two hours ago” the first feed image was replaced with another which looked exactly the same. “People of the Confederation, the Republic and the known systems, five years ago the Great General Assembly of the Confederation evicted the Mari-gosa party for crimes they didn’t committed and denies any involvement with any criminal organisation and terrorists networks. Now after five years, we have return stronger than ever and now we are claiming vengeance upon all who dares to oppose us. The Mari-gosa is no more for we are now are the Mari-ad and we shall conquer all” “The transmission ends there” continued the Admiral “Intelligence from Confed and the Republic is trying to find who they are and where the source of the feed was and so far they have come up with nothing” “This is not what I had hope sir” said Francis “where do we stand?” “We will continue with our operations and carefully monitor all activities and see what we can do. There is little we can do, but I can assure you that Blue Reign has an official mandate which is the elimination of the Mari-ad any threats to the Confederation both foreign and domestic” “Sounds good to me Admiral” “In the meantime Captain, head back to Earth. I think you are due to spend some time with your son” * * * Seven years later “Are you sure about this Anthony?” asked Francis, “Joining the Academy and all?” “Yes dad” replied Anthony as their ride came near to their destination, “I have made up my mind and I know what I want to do. I want to serve the Confederation” “I understand” said Francis, “I don’t want to see you getting into trouble or hurt at the Academy. I might speak to the Commandant about.... ” “Dad I don’t want any help!” said Anthony, “I don’t want to your help in this and I don’t want any special privileges because I am your son!” Francis could see that Anthony was getting angry, “I’m getting sick and tired of being the son of a respected Naval Captain of some god damn ship, the son of a widower. Dad I am old enough to do what I want to do for my future and this is what I want!” “Very well Anthony” said Francis as he looked out the window and saw that they have arrived. * * * “Welcome to the Academy Mr Cheng” greeted Commandant Lee, “Captain it is pleasure to see you again” “Likewise Commandant” replied the Captain, “I’m sure that my son will receive all the education he needs to become a fine officer?” “Don’t worry Captain, we make sure that all our cadets are well trained. I will give you a few moments before I take the cadet to his facilities” Lee moved away giving the father and son some moment alone. “Well I guess this is it then?” said Anthony as he looked into the training ground of the Academy, “Doesn’t look too bad” “No I suppose not. But don’t be fool by appearances” said Francis, “Remember that I too had to go through the Academy” “Really I didn’t know. I thought the ‘flag pole’ incident with the freshmen was all made up?” “Being a bit cheeky are we cadet?” “No sir” mocked Anthony, “Just getting a feel for it sir” said Anthony as he saluted his father sheepishly, “Wish me luck sir” Francis smiled and returned the salute “All the best cadet and to your future” Francis stepped forward and gave his son a hug, “I’m proud of you son and I’m sure that mum would be too” * * * TCS Academy Houston, Earth, Sol Star Date 2628.101 Fighter Simulator Testing Room ‘Just need to get the corvette’ thought Datangia ‘I just need to make this kill and it’s all over and I get a perfect score in the simulator” “Breaking left!” Datangia pulled his flight stick hard left, swinging the fighter port side as the missile shot past under his wing. Datangia looked back seeing another fighter coming in fast behind him, shooting the missile down. “Thanks Gem. I owe you one!” “You can buy me a beer when we finish. You’re on my wing” said Gem, as Datangia looked over to his starboard side to his wingman flying by, “Flight 2 what’s your status?” “All clear” “Keeping’ those bandits busy” “Check, Datangia and I are heading for the corvette. Just keep those bandits off our backs” “You got it boss” * * * Gem and Datangia sped towards the lone ship that was trying to leave the fight. “Looks like it is trying to reach the jump point” said Datangia “Check” agreed Gem, “I’m reading power fluctuations” “We have to disable the engines!” “OK, you hit the engines, I’m hitting the weapons. We got to jam their transmission” “I’m right with you Gem let’s go!” Datangia and Gem hit their afterburners reaching closer to the enemy corvette. Datangia switched on his missile weapon systems as he targeted the corvette’s engines, “I’m getting tone” as he reached closer to the corvette, suddenly the corvette open fired on them, “What the hell!? When did the corvette had rear gun ports” “So did I” said Gem, “it’s too late, stay on target and hit those engines, we got to….” Gem never got to finish her sentence as her fighter exploded next to Datangia “Fuck!” hissed Datangia as he swerved his fighter away from the blast, “Reddy, Flame! Gems gone! I need help fast!” “Got our hands tied” said Reddy, “damn pirates are blocking us between us and you. You got to leave the corvette!” “Can’t do that mate” said Datangia, “we leave it, reinforcements would come back. I can’t do that. I going to hit the engines and communications, I’m not letting them go” Datangia swung his fighter back targeting the corvette’s engines and preset the ship’s communications antenna as his secondary target. Swerving his fighter left and right Datangia avoiding the corvette’s weapon fire, steadily inching in closer. His targeting system begun to emit a ticking tone attempting to acquire a target lock on the corvette’s engines. What was only a few seconds, seem to take a life time the targeting system reached a firing solution and locked on to corvette’s engines, “Launching missile now!” said Datangia as he fired his missile at the engines, Datangia pulled his fighter starboard as he fired his missile, “engines gone, engines gone!” said Datangia as he attempted to acquire the corvette’s communication systems, “Watch it Datangia you got bandit on your six” Datangia check his sensors and saw an enemy blip heading to his location very fast, “Damn, too close” said Datangia as he turn his fighter around, he checked his load out, only one dumb-fire missiles left, moving his fighter away from the corvette’s firing range he face his opponent. Before he could do anything his missile lock warning blared loudly through his helmet speakers, he looked through his cockpit and saw a flicker of light followed by a big flash of white light, “Second Flight got missile lock got…” Datangia never finished his sentence, as his fighter was completely surrounded by white light followed by blackness. “What the!?” said Datangia as he turned his head around trying to see what was going on, “Damn it, I almost had that corvette” “Well you should have checked that fighter that was coming up from behind” Datangia heard Gem’s voice as the cockpit simulator opened up and saw his wingman and the others climbing out of their cockpit simulators. Datangia pulled off his helmet and shaking his sweating hair, “Damn it we weren’t told about the corvette’s weapons” “We were not told anything about the corvette” said Flame as she leaned over to Datangia’s cockpit, “you of all people who have thought of that” Datangia gave Flame an angry look, as he was always referred as the ‘by the book’ type of guy, “who said that I would have thought of it. You knew that I was under pressure there” “OK folks quiet down” said a voice behind the cadets. The group turn to see their flight instructor Lieutenant Colonel Regan, walking up towards them. “You all did very good, given the circumstances, but Flame was right about something. We did not tell you all the information provided and you should have taken the initiative of assessing the situation.” “Sir why did you not tell us that the corvette had any weapons online?” asked Datangia “If you recall cadet” said Regan “in the briefing I said that the objective was to neutralise the enemy ship before jumping out. Assess the situation and follow the flight leader’s orders. I did not say anything else” Datangia looked over to his wingman and flight leader Gem who only shrugged her shoulders and shook her head. “I wouldn’t worry too much Cadet Cheng” smiled Regan, “you did what you thought was best. Just remember don’t do anything heroics when you out there. Your wingman is the most value possession when you are in combat. You folks have three more weeks til graduation. We will go through one more simulation and see what happens, until then read up your squad tactics and manoeuvres text otherwise dismissed.” * * * “I can’t believe that we are almost graduating!” said Gem, “Soon we will be out of here and be posted to our first ship!” “Or naval base” reminded Reddy, “you forget that we have planetary bases as well as carriers. The real action is onboard the battleships, cruisers and destroyers” “Ah there is always room for fighters” replied Gem, “what do you think Anthony what do you think?” Anthony sat listening to the conversation between the two cadets about the which was better, “Personally I don’t really care” replied the Australian born Chinese cadet, “As long I get to fly and do my fair share of duty and fun I am happy” “Ah you’re such a let down Anthony” said Gem, “you never take any sides do you?” “Why should I? Should I be concerned about what is better? Carriers or Battleship? Just read the report about the Panama Games and make your decision then” “Why read the report when you could turn up to Commander Turner’s lectures” said Flame, “I’m sure you could learn all the things you need from the Commander” “Hell no” said Gem, “the Commander gives me the creeps every time I look at him. I rather read the article on the network” “Suit yourself” replied Flame as she finished the rest of her drink. * * * He sat on the bench looking over the lake watching the ducks gliding over the water. In three weeks he would be graduating. In three weeks he will no longer be a cadet. In three weeks he will be an officer in the Confederation military. In three weeks he would be following the footsteps as his father would be. In three weeks he will see where fate will lead him. “Why the glum face cadet?” said someone from a distance, Anthony to face the voice and saw Colonel Regan coming with a small brown paper bag, “something on your mind Anthony?” “I don’t know sir” sigh Anthony, “It’s just that in three weeks I’m graduating. I know that I should be happy, I am. But I got this feeling that I am not” “Anything to do with the fire accident and the fact that your father pulled strings to keep you from being expelled from the Academy?” Anthony tried to reply but couldn’t find the right words to respond with, “Sir I was with those other cadets when they lit the fire crackers. I was with them when the crackers blew up and lit the garbage refuse. I am accountable as much as they were” Colonel Regan sat down next to the cadet and put his hand into the brown bag and pull out a handful of bread bits and fed them to the ducks that were nearby. “That may be true Cadet, but you have to remember that being there is not being the same as being involved” “No sir, but I still feel responsible for not doing anything” “Are you worried that this might be on your permanent record?” Anthony nodded, “I thought you might feel that way” John wiped his hand on his pants and pulled out an envelop from inside his jacker, “you might want to take a look at this” “What is it?” “My permanent record” “How did you get and why sir?” “One of the perks of being a senior officer is that you can pull strings to get on hold on things you need. Something which I think your father would have done” Anthony looked at his Academy instructor’s record until he came across a section mark as disciplinary record. The record show that his instructor had stolen exam papers, changed results, stolen instructors credit chip and received various different disciplinary action. “You see cadet that not everyone leaves the Academy with a perfect record. Even Commander Turner has had problems during his younger days” “Commander Turner!?” “Don’t get too worked up Anthony” laughed John, “go and find your friends and enjoy your time left together. You have your whole life ahead of you” “Yes sir and thank you sir” replied Anthony as he got up from the bench “And Cadet” “Yes Sir” “When we are not on duty or teaching or anything call me John” “Yes sir, John” “And I like my record please” Anthony looked down and saw he was still holding on to his instructors record “Sorry sir” smiled Anthony as he returned the paper. * * * One month later Confederation Service Academy Graduation Day 2628.131 Houston, Earth, Sol “Congratulations Tony!” said Ta-ke, giving his grandson a big heart, “we are so proud of you!” “Thanks gramps” smiled Anthony, “It means so much that everyone was able to come” “Oh darling we could not missed this for all the tea in China” said Anthony’s grandmother Jennifer, “Your mother would be so proud of you I know she would have like this” Anthony nodded as he too wished his mother was here. “I can’t believe I would see this day” said Anthony as he wiped a tear from his eye, “I went through so much trouble and I thought the Commandant would expelled me from the Academy” “Well you may have to talk to your father” said Ta-ke “I have a hunch that he may have something to do with it” “Not dad again” groaned Anthony, “he promised me not to help me. After helping me with from that fire accident I told him that I would face the consequences and not to get away from it!” “I know” nodded Ta-ke, “But I think that your dad does not what to see you suffer as much as he did” “Am I interrupting something here?” asked someone behind “Not at all Skip” smiled Ta-ke, “we just congratulating my grandson. How is the motley crew?” “They are all well Ta-ke, all well” smiled Admiral Banbridge as he shook Anthony’s hand “Congratulations Lieutenant and welcome to the service” “Thank you sir” replied Anthony, “I am looking forward to my first assignment” “Don’t worry Lieutenant” chuckled Wayne, “You will get your assignment in a few days, but in the meantime enjoy what you have now. If you excuse me I have some people I have to see. Ta-ke we have to catch up for some rice wine” “Don’t worry I intend to” laughed Anthony’s grandfather “I didn’t know you knew Admiral Banbridge Gramps” “Well his father and I went to high school together and to the Academy. Ah it has been a long time” “How old are you grandpa?” “As if I would tell you that” chuckled Ta-Ke, “I think you have another visitor Tony” as he pointed to another officer coming towards them, Anthony turned to see John Regan coming towards them, “Colonel” saluted Anthony as his former instructor came up towards him and return the salute, “Congratulations Lieutenant” smiled John, “Well done it has been a long time coming” “Yes sir it has been. Thank you sir for everything” “Your welcome Lieutenant. If you ever want to talk to someone I’m here” “Thank you sir I will keep that in mind” replied Anthony as former cadet and former instructor shook hands for the last time.