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    Thread: The Defenders a new galaxy and a new beginning

    1. #21
      High Tension Thinker AKA Genius at work krm398's Avatar
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      Chapter 17: New Gains and New Losses

      With Carl getting a new job, and Candy taking some time off. Ken finally got the message from the president that no charges would be filed, and he asked him to be patient with Carl for his outbursts, and he agreed.

      “He’s a moron sometimes, but he’s a good man I’ve known for years,” He explained as Ken smiled and nodded. “ I’ll see he gets some therapy for his problem so maybe things will settle down after a while, just be patient.”

      “Thank you, sir,” Ken said as the link went down and he returned to his work. At least now he wasn’t in any trouble and he and Candy might even see each other again. But that was for later, and he went on for another boring day not seeing anything new, and wondering what happened to the enemy forces they had fought for over a month.

      But thinking that might have been the straw that broke the enemy camels back, as a sizable force moved into position a few light years away, and opened fire on a star base in orbit of one of the Empires outer worlds. There were cruisers and bombers and they made it very plain that they were here to stay until the work they set out for was finished. They moved into weapons range and dropped several heavy missiles towards the base, which went to high alert a minute later and crews ran to operate the weapons and defend the base against the heavy weapons on their way.

      The battle was a good one with many missiles getting shot down by the high tech defenses of the base, but sheer numbers, as well as help from the cruisers big guns, was taking a toll, and the call went out for help, and Ken got the message a little while later and jumped that way.He wasn’t the only one jumping in as Frank and Karen called to let him know they were on the way too. That gave the station something to cheer about for a minute anyways as they continued to hold their own against the invaders attacks, but two heavy missiles got through, one hit the side of the base but thankfully wasn’t near anything essential. The other went right into a docking bay, and several ships docked there were destroyed and a raging fire was ignited from the burning fuel and the rich oxygen atmosphere.

      It was a real disaster, but not as bad as what might happen if they didn’t get help quickly. Ken got there a few minutes before anyone else and attacked the nearest ship with missiles and did a good amount of damage to a cruiser that turned on him immediately. But he saw right away that the real problem was the bombers so he set out to destroy those as he ducked and weaved to avoid the heavy weapons fire from the cruiser, until his beam weapons finished it and it blew up into a dozen rather sizable pieces that drifted away.

      Frank and Karen were there a minute later and they too attacked the force with full intent. They managed to finish one bomber quickly, but another jumped in almost at once and they saw that this was not just a skirmish , but a real battle for control of the planet. Just then another missile hit the station and even Ken swore that they might take it down yet.

      “We need more help, send everyone,” He called as the message went out and he got the return saying that the entire team was on the way. Casi got there first and was posted to defend the base from attack and she took up position between the attacking forces and the base, and her beams started shooting down every missiles that approached her ship. That reduced what the base needed to worry about by more than half and they thanked her gratefully as she just nodded and went back to work. The battle was still hot, with two more ships jumping in and Ken started to wonder how big a fleet they had staged nearby, and if they planned on fighting until the planet fell or they destroyed the defending teams, or maybe both.

      The President got the message too and he ordered every ship to the site, and was told that Ken had called for them a while ago, and he smiled thinking that his expertise wasn’t needed as bad with him on the job. They had always been told they would get help getting started then be on their own. But that hadn’t happened since the war got going the defender teams were on constant patrol and they fought almost daily. The original plan might have failed but the results were the same, they had a new defense team and they were doing a smash up job, and he looked to see where the battle was taking place and swallowed hard and called a friend before he found out for himself and did something unthinkable, since it was the star base in orbit....around Terra II.

      The entire Defense Force was now in one place, not necessarily a good thing it left other areas open to attack, but they had no choice since the base would fall without them. Now several corvettes jumped in and were destroyed as quickly as the heavy beams could cut through them. Casi took a hit and had to fall back closer to the base as Krys made sure she got away safely, and she thanked him. Then he turned again on the corvette that managed to get past her and finished it , but not before it got several missiles into the side of the base and windows and stuff from inside started out across the space nearby and everyone knew that people were dieing in there, and that things were getting worse.

      “We cant let any more missiles through!” Ken ordered as everyone agreed, but Frank got his two cents in saying he hadn’t been told Ken was in charge, as a few chuckles were heard.

      “Just shut up and kill something,” Krys mentioned as Frank gave him a sour look and got quiet after that.

      “I’m almost out of missiles myself, how many did these guys bring anyways?” Karen mentioned as Ken agreed they had been fully armed when they jumped in, and the counter on his command screen said that he had only 12 more left himself. But minutes later and a call came in saying a supply ship was on its way, and Ken knew that their coms were always monitored and this time was probably a good thing they were.

      “That’ll help,” Krys mentioned as everyone smiled and went back to work, but Karen took a good hit this time, while trying to move into beam range to save the last of her missiles, and Frank covered her retreat, as she slowly made her way to the base for emergency repairs.

      “Its getting tough here, lets concentrate on the bigger ships,and Casi, watch for smaller vessels getting past us,” Ken mentioned as she agreed and watched closely for any corvettes that might get past, but everyone was working to remove the defense team and it was clear to see from a distance, and she sent a few of her missiles out to help whenever a ship came within range. The battle was now into its third hour, and scrap was getting thick in some areas as ships from both sides bumped into pieces of ships that had not survived the fight so far. Some pieces were the size of vehicles and did damage to anything they hit, and people had to fly more carefully, until the area cleared itself, and even the enemy ships seemed to be more careful, as a large piece nearly ripped a hole into a corvette that wasn’t careful enough and lost shields when it rammed a tumbling piece from an exploding cruiser.

      The Commanding officer of the enemy fleet saw it too, and his reinforcements were now all gone. The old Admiral had warned them these new people were their equal and until now he had fought that idea tooth and nail. But here he was, watching them first hand and their skills, and ships, were very good, and he saw that even he, personally, could not stand against them and after a while trying to remove as many as he could. He ordered withdrawal, and the ships jumped back to a fall back position, until he decided what he’d do next. The officer in charge of the attack, sitting back at the base was not happy either, to see so many casualties, but they hadn’t completely destroyed a single Defender ship. Two were damaged, but only one was forced to leave the battle field, as the other was big and strong enough to take the damage and remain working. They had wasted over a dozen ships trying to destroy the star base and take the planet, but had failed, and these new people hadn’t lost a thing, as far as he was concerned, and he recalled the fleet, until a better plan could be hatched.

      But on the planet itself, the local news agency had a ship in place, watching the battle from a distance with special cameras. They’d zoom in to show the enemies and the defense force ships fighting and Candy was sitting on pins and needles as shot after shot was fired and ships exploded and she watched closely to see if Ken was among them. Her aunt offered her some tea and she took it as they both watched now and finally Candy pointed, all excited to a ship on the screen and Clare slid up closer to get a better look.

      “Thats him, thats Ken...” She said as Clare looked impressed as the ship fired off shot after shot and dodged many missiles and heavy weapons. “ he’s the unofficial commander of the Defense Force.” She added as even Clare looked impressed.

      “Unofficial?” She asked as Candy laughed.

      “No one was ever named as the official Commander once they are in space...” Candy mentioned, “ but when he talks, everyone listens, except maybe Frank but then he wishes people would follow him instead I think. Ken’s a natural born leader.”She whispered as Clare smiled very wide....it was love... no doubt about it, and she went back to watching the screen as the battle stopped and the enemy ships jumped away.

      The ships all docked and the repairs began as the fires on the station were all out now and the news crew got to interview a few of the Defender Force, and true to his manners, Krys refused their offer and Casi spent her time waving and cheering for everyone else. But Ken was all business, and he thanked the entire team for their hard work, mentioning that one member had been hurt in the attack and two ships took damage, but they’d be OK soon, and as he stood there talking Clare pointed and Candy nodded agreement, with her nose high in the air, and Clare smiled and said he was gorgeous, and Candy agreed wholeheartedly.

      “Captain Kenneth Haskell...” Candy said with some pride, as Clare nodded she understood.

      “THIS is the young man your seeing?” Clare asked as Candy agreed with the biggest smile ever.” What’s Carl’s problem anyways? He’s great looking has a cute face and nice build, and he’s the ‘unofficial’ commander of the new Defense Force...I mean come on...what more could a young girl ask for?”

      “My point exactly!” Candy said with feeling and Clare laughed and gave her a big hug. It looked like Candy was taken and if she didn’t try for this young man, Clare would have wondered about her herself.

      So many ships, so little time

    2. #22
      High Tension Thinker AKA Genius at work krm398's Avatar
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      WEEKEND BONUS TIME...


      Chapter 18: Repairs and Remarks



      The call went through just a minute later, as Carl looked like he’d die from shock.

      “The Defense Force held the line and saved the station, and the planet below.” The President said with some pride,” Can’t you see? These new people are better than anyone else, many times better than any normal Mayans. If any of your daughters decided she loved one, it would be a blessing for your family as well as our world.”

      “I’ll take it into consideration,” Carl added, not too happily and the President just waved him away and left it go for now. It seemed that even Mayan men would not please him, so there was no reason to even talk any longer.

      But Carl did have to admit that the teams were doing a good job, and that saving the planet was the biggest so far. Of course he wasn’t in a position to say anything to them now, he had fixed that for himself, but he sent a message anyways, just saying thank you to the team for their hard work, and got back to his job...supply and repair... and he made sure the supply ship got there with the spare parts and missiles and they got reloaded before going back out on patrol.

      With the previous deal they were given, he knew they had made some serious cash today, even though they took damage and one young girl was hospitalized for a small injury, but their accounts were on the rise, rapidly, and having families and starting businesses would never be a problem for them later on. He also knew another class was getting ready, a bigger one this time. The last battle had only 7 people and ships to use, in another few weeks that would nearly double, and then they’d all be more safe and secure, and when that happened they’d all get more time off, and he knew what Ken would use some of his for, and he closed his eyes in disgust and hoped he could someday get used to it, or he’d lose his entire family.

      The team made a quick trip to the hospital to see Catherine, who had taken a serious hit during the battle and got thrown around badly. She had a broken rib and some bruises, and would OK in a few days, but they kept her overnight for observation...mostly because many of the local doctors had never seen a person from another world, and was using this opportunity for themselves. It wasn’t bad, she was being treated like a queen, and she smiled when they all walked in.

      “I see your still alive...” Ken mentioned as she pretended to take a swing at him and everyone laughed. “just lay back and relax, you’ll be fine in no time, the Mayan medical sciences are centuries ahead of ours.”

      “They said that the bone will knit over night, but I think they’ve gotten more tests done than just for that, and some I’m really, really sure they didn’t need for a broken rib.” She said loudly,as the doctor standing by the door, quickly walked away and everyone got a chuckle at her expense.

      “You’ll be back on board your ship in no time, just get some rest.” Casi added as Catherine nodded agreement. “after this battle we shouldn’t see too many ships for a while, so we’ll be fine.”

      “And, with the extra time they’ll have, your ship will look like new again.” Krys got in as she smiled and agreed.

      “Thank you for coming, and please....” She whispered and looked over everyone’s shoulders to see if the staff could hear,” get me out of here...quick, they’re coming for more tests, I can feel it.” She said and then laughed along with everyone else.

      As the ships got repaired they left the docks, one by one and when the last was finished, Catherine was ready to go. Her patrol left the system last and went back to their area, but it was only two days before their next time off anyways and they got a good round of applause when they all docked at the main base, and their paychecks made even them looked shocked after all the damage they did during the big battle.

      Money was saved, sent home, and even invested, and the Councillors saw that they really did need their help,and admitted it after all this time. The ships were constantly being looked at and new armors and weapons tested. If having a small but elite force was their very best option, then they’d do it right, and the President agreed, and he was sure that he’d never hear them complain again about his budget proposals after that battle.

      But the enemy was just as sure that they’d get their revenge, and plans were made for that possibility. The Colonel sat behind a computer screen and looked over every video they had of the new Defense Force and the best information he had said they were humans from other systems, brought in because, quite frankly, they liked to kill, and would...without a seconds notice. That made him feel that they had been cheated. These were not Mayans at all, but profession soldiers, and he decided that he’d need to show them a little more respect next time , or he’d start looking like a fool losing so many ships to so few enemies.

      He was just getting a handle on a new idea when an older more seasoned officer walked in and gave him a huge grin and he looked away to keep from antagonizing him any more.

      “Ten ships, destroyed by what? Seven...and not a single enemy loss.” He heard as the man sat down next to him, all smiles. “ I did warn you, you know.”

      “I refuse to think that a few mercenaries can hold back our plans. They have to go, the sooner the better.” Colonel Fredericks declared as the old man agreed, with a big smile watching the younger man staring at the screen.

      “And how will you do it?” He asked as James looked deadly serious for a second.

      “I will say this...the plan that I’ll use would turn your stomach, but it needs done.” He said as he walked out and the old Admiral looked sad that their military had sunk so low.

      James moved the entire Second Fleet into position out side the Mayan frontier, and he set up a plan to deal with these new people. He sent two small ships in to look around and when the first patrol arrived to see what they were doing, they jammed their coms and attacked in full force. 20 ships, all sizes and shapes and in a matter of minutes, two Mayan patrol ships were gone, and they retreated from the battlefield, to cheers from their Commander, but not a single person in the attack force was happy with the way it had happened. And they knew they’d be trying this again really soon, to finish the rest of the Mayan Fleet.



      Chapter 19: Rehab



      Ken woke up a week later with Candy, her aunt and half his team standing by his bed. The last thing he remembered was a barrage of missiles that filled space around him and a second later his shields fell, and he passed out. Now, it seemed, he had been saved by a crew member, who at the last minute, pushed him and another officer into the escape pod just before his corvette exploded.

      He looked over at the bed next to him and there laid Krys, and he didn’t look any better than Ken felt. He was just getting off the tubes and eating solid food again after a week, and they all knew that only the massive science of the Mayans had kept them alive up to this point, and left them survive.

      “Both our ships?” Ken asked after a minute and he was told that they had been destroyed.

      “They’re patrolling our boarders with a full Fleet, not less than 30 ships,and they attack anything they see with massive force. We were recalled from our patrols because we didn’t have a chance against those numbers.” Casi mentioned as he nodded he understood.

      “So we lost everything we had gained then.” He whispered as everyone nodded it was true.

      “But we haven’t given up yet,” He heard as people bowed and backed away as the President himself walked in. “ The next generation of drones is ready, much stronger and faster than before,and two new cruisers, both from the design you helped us make. Care to command of one of those?” He asked as Ken smiled and agreed and Candy grabbed his hand and squeezed it hard,he looked her way smiling.
      ” It’ll be alright, you have no idea what we’re talking about right now but you will, and those enemy ships wont have a chance against us.” He said as the President himself agreed and everyone looked shocked they could say that knowing what they were up against.

      “And those other things I asked for?” Ken asked as even the President nodded and sighed heavily.

      “It took some hard work, but we got it working...the ‘Pulse Shield’ you asked for for the cruisers. They take a lot of power and we added separate generators just for them, but they work.” The President said as everyone looked odd at him. “care to explain to everyone else?”

      “There will be a small, separate shield thats ‘pulses’ once its activated.” Ken started as everyone nodded and waited for more. “once its turned on, every drone or missile within 1 km of the ship will get hit with a 5 mega joule pulse of energy, and their electronics and warheads will be destroyed. One big ‘boom’” he added and there were some cheers around him.

      “We estimate that as many as 90% of all missiles will be destroyed before they get to the ship, its a huge defensive weapon.” Everyone heard as President Clark himself smiled and shook Ken’s hand. “ once this war is over, we want you to join the Empirical Engineering Academy....as a teacher, we need all the new ideas we can get and you’ve been an enormous help to us so far.”

      “I’d be honored...” Ken added as Candy looked like she’d cry and her aunt was all smiles. To teach at the Academy was a huge honor especially for someone so young, and he’d be paid well above even the most successful engineer, and his future was already assured.

      “But first we need to get out of these beds and back to work,” Ken mentioned as everyone laughed.

      “In a few days, your both doing very well, so just rest, the new ships are getting loaded with weapons right now so they’ll be ready when you are,and the second generation of missiles is on board, and beams that include heat weapons this time,able to burn through cruiser type armor in just a few seconds.” They all heard as everyone looked surprised, “they wont know what hit them and we’ll take back every sector they patrol now.”

      “Amen to that,” They all heard as they turned to see Krys smiling even with the isolation bubble around him. “ I need a new ship too, so the second cruiser is mine then?”

      “If you want it, yes,” The President added.

      “Then its mine, we will show them that the new Defense Force isn’t to be taken lightly.” He added as the nurse next to him demanded he lay back and rest, and everyone smiled and slowly walked out into the hallways to let them alone for a while.

      “He’s a very strong young man,” Candy heard as she nodded it was true, “ you should be proud of him, he’ll save us all before this is over.” And the President walked away letting her standing there all smiles holding her aunts hand and she too looked very pleased he had taken the time to say all that.
      “I knew that the day I met him...” She whispered as Clare looked like she’d cry.

      Slowly they all went their many ways, some home to think about what happened so far and others back to their ships, making sure if there was anything new or improved they’d have it when the time came. There were two new cruisers coming out very soon, and they’d need escorts and together they’d do a lot of damage to this new Fleet that so surely thought they had won. They might be extorting money and goods from stations today in those sectors, but in another week or two things would be different and they’d see that Mayans, either new or old, don’t give up easily.

      Two days later, as Casi was making sure her ship was loaded with the new missiles, an alarm went off and she turned to see a new ship moving in from space and docking. It was big, 5 maybe 6 times the size of hers and as it stopped in the bay next door she looked up at the side and smiled. It had a very shiny surface and was tall and thin. It looked a lot like some older water type battleship or cruiser, but the guns mounted on it made her see that this was no old vessel. It had two massive turret guns on top, one front and one rear, and then 4 smaller more or less standard guns mounted along the sides and the newer, bigger tubes up front showing right where the new missile launchers were mounted. It brazenly had a large number 1 on the side and a blank space where some workers were quickly moving in to make a change and within a very few minutes the name ‘Reclaimer’ was put there, and she laughed as a voice she recognized asked her what was so funny.

      “YOU are not supposed to be out of bed, I’ll tell Cassandra on you!” She said turning around to see Ken walk up a little slowly but he was all smiles.

      “I had to be here to see it coming in, not too bad if I do say so myself...” He stated and smiled looking up at it, “ oh by the way, there’s a smaller version coming too, about the size of yours now only vastly improved, so hold on a little longer.”

      “Nice...” She mentioned as they both looked up at the big ship. “think those turrets are big enough?” She asked joking as he laughed too.

      “If they do what I ask, yes, they’re big enough, but alone they’d still not make enough of a difference, so thats why the ‘Pulse shield’ was needed, now....their massive missile attacks mean next to nothing.”

      “And the new corvettes will have them too?” She asked as he nodded they would.

      “And when are these new corvettes coming out, sir?” They both heard as they turned to see a small group of young people, wearing the same uniforms with slightly different insignias,walking up all smiles looking at the new ship.

      “Just a couple of weeks, I hear...who are you?” Ken asked as they all laughed.

      “Defender class 3...” One mentioned as Ken smiled wide and stuck out his hand and shook everyone’s hand who would let him. “your Captain Haskell aren’t you?”

      “Yes,and this is Captain Rawlings...also of the First Team.” Ken mentioned as everyone shook her hand too. “We’re really glad to see you coming down to check out the new ship. This will become the standard for cruisers in the future, and the newer, more powerful corvettes will fill in a very important place for convoy protection and patrol duties.”

      “We heard from the teachers that you designed this new class ship, thats very impressive.” Another added as Ken’s face grew red and he looked away.

      “I helped...” was all he’d say as Casi went on and on about it and Ken finally just asked her to stop.

      “To answer that question better...” They all heard as President Clark and his aides walked up and everyone saluted him quickly, “ we’re putting a rush on the corvette class ships now, the very first one will be in this very dock by noon tomorrow.” He declared as even Ken looked impressed. “When the third class graduates in a few days, we hope to have ships for everyone.”

      “Then we’ll be ready,” Ken added as they both looked at each other and nodded, and the teams smiled looking at the big ship. Their revenge was at hand and the President himself offered to give Ken a ride back to his dorm room, so he could rest and the third team looked impressed that he accepted as they walked away.

      “Thats what we’re fighting for...” Casi mentioned as they turned to see her smiling face, “ a world where the President makes friends with a mere pilot or engineer, and they plan the future of the world together.” She added as they all nodded and stood staring at the new ship for a while more.

      So many ships, so little time

    3. #23
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      Woohoo, they are bringing out the big guns
      Onwards to victory!

      "Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum."-Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus
      (If you want peace, prepare for war.)
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      Path to Profit Vol. II-From Scout to Commander(as soon as I make an impression of 2.0)

      The Paladin Order(still working on it,....got the ``writers block again``)

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      High Tension Thinker AKA Genius at work krm398's Avatar
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      well no matter the technology, corvettes and fighters cant win forever, so it was about time the real Fleet got built again. They had thousands once and then left them sit until they fell apart or was scrapped, so now they're rebuilding their defenses.

      So many ships, so little time

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      Chapter 20: Launching a Sad Future




      Cassiopeia had a new corvette before the next mission, and Krys got his new cruiser. The new missiles were double the power of the old ones, and the cutter beams could melt through a cruiser in 10 seconds and the side mounted turrets were slightly more powerful than the normal beams they mounted on the corvettes now. They also had another 6 more heavy fighters, and their beams had been upgraded and they carried the new missiles too. When the day came, they all pulled out together, and broke off into a few directions. Making up two assault teams, one under Ken’s command and another under Krystopher.

      One went north, one west, and they had plans to meet near the outpost just 1 days travel time from Terra II, where a supply ship would be waiting. If everything went according to plan, they’d have a lot of kills, and be out of missiles by then, but the enemy would learn a hard lesson, that they didn’t own this galaxy or at least this part of it, and if they didn’t stay home, they might lose some of the territory they thought had been theirs for a long time.

      The first battle happened not two hours from base and surprised even Ken to see a patrol so close. It was obvious that they thought they had won, and were slowly moving in on the main sectors, but that stopped now as his team jumped in on a cruiser and three corvette class ships, and the fight started without a word.

      First the new team members got a few shots in and one corvette was destroyed by a combination of beams and two missiles. The second corvette was busy hammering Ken with its guns but it was a futile attempt, since the new armor was made for it and they barely burned the paint, as a turret along the side ripped through them in a few seconds. Then he turned on the bigger ship, which had been pelting him with heavier weapons fire, but doing almost no damage at all. Ken turned the main guns on it and when they fired, the entire side of the ship turned bright red for a second, then melted forming a hole big enough to fly a fighter through and the second shot hit it in the same area, and the ship exploded in a hundred pieces, as everyone moved away to keep from getting hit by shrapnel.

      “One enemy patrol destroyed...” The report said with video footage of the battle, as they moved on towards their next spot. They had taken some hits but everyone was OK yet, and Ken ordered jump and they went on towards the boarder, and a sure thing for more fighting, as Krystopher saw his first enemy ship, three corvettes, and blasted through them like they weren’t even there.

      “This is costing them some big bucks...” Krys said as the last one exploded and his bridge crew nodded agreement, all smiles. “ OK, lets got going, we’ll be late if we dally around here gloating.” They jumped on towards their eventual goal and soon encountered another enemy patrol this one seemed ready for them and he swore that he hadn’t stopped the first patrol from sending out any warnings.

      There were 4 corvettes and two cruisers, and even now he was sure they had called for more reinforcements as the fight got started, but he had learned from them already and he ordered attack, as everyone dropped missiles and when the massive wave of enemy missiles came running in he activated the pulse shield and every one went up in flames before getting anywhere near the big ship, and after a few waves like that even the cruisers seemed to fall back a bit as Krys smiled and fired the new missiles they had loaded on board. They hit a corvette dead in the center, and ripped it in half while the next missile was still approaching, and he whispered ‘oops’ as the second missile adjusted and went after another ship close by.

      “These new missiles are great, I’ll have to remember that.” He commented as everyone there smiled. When the first cruiser went up in flames, the others jumped away but he wasn’t going to let them, not this time as his group pursued them until they dropped out of jump next to the boarder, and attacked them again, taking down the second cruiser before reinforcements got there. Then they jumped away letting their own ships get their shields back up and making sure no one was injured before the enemy could catch them between two forces, like they had before.

      President Clark saw the reports coming in, and he looked sad about it. 6 ships had been destroyed in less than a day and the fighting was not over yet, as another report came in saying yet more ships were spotted and some escaped back across the boarder, and he nodded that the new ships were doing everything they had hoped, but at a terrible cost in human lives. He turned to the coms link and opened it and after a minute it went through and the Chancellor looked like he had been crying for a second there.

      “Chancellor...” Clark said very officially,” please...end this. Killing off your military wont settle our differences. Let diplomacy do its work, and not make us continue this war like this. You know once we get to full power you cant win.”

      “Would that I could...” He heard in return, as he looked shocked, “ our military has taken control of the war, even when I call for meetings to discuss it I seldom get anyone of importance. If we’re not careful this could turn into a coup de ta...and our leaders will be running instead of our military. A few young officers have taken control and demanded that their fleets gain honor and reputation for them. I doubt any of them will retire from the war while they have ships left.”

      “It’s that bad?” Clark asked as the man agreed.

      “I have to be very careful...if they knew we talked like this, it would mean my life, and the lives of my family. Don’t call again. But please...end this war as quickly as possible, maybe a few of us old guard will survive to help forge a new peace.” He said as the link went closed and Clark sat back looking very upset, and a little tired.

      He had always figured that his old friends were open to discussion about the war, and after a few battles, they’d concede and it would end, but young officers making war to elevate themselves and their Families into the spotlight. Things like this hadn’t happened for centuries, and it just went to prove that things might appear different but they truly never really change. Their people had been the exception, but now they learned from their mistakes and another class started and Clark sent a message to their factories and said not to hold back, they needed war supplies, something he had stopped short of doing before this, as they all agreed, and new weapons were made and stock piled and missiles by the hundreds and soon he’d have enough to carry on the war indefinitely, something he had always hoped would never happen on his world in his lifetime.

      So many ships, so little time

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      Chapter 21: War Drums



      There was a party going on on the Barron home world and as the new officers in charge of the war, or as they were calling it now, the ‘Occupation’ of Maya, walked around, drinks in hand bragging about taking down the most technologically advanced civilization in all space. The old Admiral listened in and smiled and nodded from time to time but they ignored him , saying that his time had past and a new more aggressive military was needed and they had stepped forward to fill the bill, and some women swooned over the young men, as he still just smiled and nodded like he wasn’t even listening to them and one young officer got pretty angry about it.

      “We succeeded where you failed, old man, the Mayan home world will feel our wrath within the year and then this little skirmish war will end and the great Mayan Empire will be no more, but we will have their technology for ourselves.” Carlson demanded loudly as the Admiral just smiled and whispered ‘Bull’ and walked away and the young officer almost went after him until the leader of the group grabbed his arm and told him to let it go. ‘Old fools never learn’ he said as they all agreed, and the three of them laughed at him as he walked over to talk to the Chancellor who was avoiding these three idiots religiously.

      “They think its over, young fools...” Admiral Glass whispered as even the Chancellor agreed, “ How long do you think until Maya counter attacks?”

      “Any second now,” He heard as he saw the report in the Chancellors hands and smiled wide and waited and sure enough aids came running in and whispered to each of them and one threw his drink on the floor and stormed out with a look of anger on his face that had to mean something terrible had happened.

      “And there it is...” The Admiral whispered and then laughed, and not too softly either as the remaining two young men looked his way and weren’t too happy about it. “this war is just getting started, anyone who ever fought the Maya before could tell you that, they will never give up so easily, and their technology will cost the people on the front lines billions in ships and repair, glad its not me...” He said sipping his drink while staring at the young men.

      “You take too much for granted, old man,” Colonel Hendricks said loudly as they stared at each other for a minute before he rushed from the room, leaving it dead silent and Admiral Glass gloating about their losses.

      “Be careful...they aren’t the military men you’ve been used to for so long, and I’d wager we all are in their plans before this is over.” Chancellor Glass mentioned, as his father nodded, very seriously.

      “They aren’t fit to be called ‘military men’ they are ambitious, young and full of themselves, but they’ll learn we old men know a bit more than they do about war.” The Admiral said as he too sat his drink down and left the room and the Chancellor looked sad and tired that he had to be in power when all this started, but it was too late now and he set up better security around his home and offices and made sure the men working there were loyal to his family and no one else.

      Needless to say the party ended there and everyone slowly went home, wondering what really did happen to make their Leaders walk out so suddenly, but it couldn’t be anything good, so they all went home and waited to hear more.

      Not only were they looking at an all out war against Maya, but now, and with the Admiral’s serious meddling, they might well be seeing a civil war before long. Or a war of elimination, killing off the old leaders and taking command of the country themselves. If it happened the way he thought, then his Empire would be at war for a very long time, and many, many thousands of people would die. Chancellor Glass just hoped that his old friend got his message that last time...’end the war quickly’ so that he and his friends had a chance to survive, and help forge a new peace that would last. But these new Commanders would never step back now that they had made their foolish statements right out loud, their pride and ego wouldn’t allow it. So now here they were, on the brink of a new war, a bigger war, with fighting on both sides, and even these young officers couldn’t stand long against the threat of death from within, and without.

      Colonel Hendricks was looking over his losses from the last round off attacks and he swore that they had brought out bigger, more powerful ships before he was ready for them. The Mayan research and development people were amazing, to say the least, and now these mercenaries were doing a huge job, wiping out every ship they found. 12 ships dead in a day, from two of their fleets, and 4 cruisers, thats a lot of money and people gone, and his brags earlier seemed more than a little hollow right now as he ordered his fleet to pull back to the boarder, and wait for new instructions.

      “They aren’t going to give up no matter what we demand,” He heard as he nodded it was true. He had planned to wipe out their defenses and then let the core sectors surrender. He didn’t want to destroy everything to get it, he wanted their technology for himself, and his new Kingdom that was coming, with his friends help.

      “And the Chancellor and Admiral aren’t letting go either, you said they’d walk away and let the government to us when we embarrassed them enough, but we’re the ones getting embarrassed.” Major Carlson added as he got a dirty look for even mentioning it. “Admit it, the Admiral was right, the Mayans will fight to the very end, and probably destroy their own computers and cities to keep their technology out of our hands, this war will be long and hard on us all, and we’ll gain nothing!” He declared, looking at his losses from the last round of attacks.

      “Don’t wimp out on me now, we’re in this together, we agreed long ago.” Hendricks demanded as the younger officer nodded he understood. “We’ll take the Mayan technology, their world and their people, and they will serve us forever as slaves. I was willing to treat them as equals after the war but not now, they brought this on themselves.”

      “And if we lose the war?” Carlson asked as the Colonel acted like he hadn’t said a word and went on planning his next move and bringing up some heavy ships from their reserves to fill in the slots made by the cruisers that got destroyed.

      “I’ll die before I surrender to these people, on either side,” Hendricks whispered as they both looked deadly serious for a second. Planning to take over your own country or Empire from within was an all or nothing proposition. Either they won and became the new leaders of their worlds or they lost and their lives would be forfeit. Either way they had no choice now but to go straight ahead, no matter what that might mean to them, their families or their future. Either a new Kingdom was coming, or they wouldn’t be around be see what really did happen, and they wanted to live as much as anyone else.

      So many ships, so little time

    7. #27
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      I need to be careful, writing this way, with multiple reads and addons and more detail, is nice but slower than before. If I dont spend more time writing, the story might catch up to me..lol

      So many ships, so little time

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      WEEKEND BONUS TIME:


      Chapter 22: One step Forward, Two steps Back




      That first week things went really well for the Defense Force, but Ken knew that they had caught them by surprise. When they regrouped, then they’d see a lot more big ships, and the Mayan shipyards knew that up front. The new cruisers were nice and powerful but still not capable of winning against ships of the line, like carriers and battleships. Of course losing just one of those was a major loss, and the Barron’s would protect them with everything they had, so the battles of 6 against 10 or more would go on, but the size of the ships would change radically from time to time.

      Now that they were in for repairs and resupply the President called a meeting and everyone was there. He made a nice speech about loyalty and how the First Team had held the line until the others made it that far and now they were doing much better and had enough ships and crews to let some people get some time off.

      “The First Team has been on our world for nearly a year,” he mentioned as the other teams applauded for them,”I feel its time they get a break. It was once asked of me...’we can go home to visit right?’and I said yes, but things got so busy and dangerous that no one ever could. So, I’m giving the First Team time off, two weeks, to go home and visit, things have settled down for a little while so its a good time. We don’t know how bad things might get later so nows the time if you want to go.” He said as everyone looked their way and Casi nodded saying she’d like that and he reminded her that their technology must not fall into others hands, and she agreed.

      They all agreed and as they left the meeting the other Teams shook their hands and said not to worry, they’d hold down the fort until they returned and they all smiled and went to get ready. Ken went to gather a few small things as presents for his parents and friends, and as he walked onto the dock edge where his ship was docked Candy was standing there, with a small bag and his mouth dropped open in shock.

      “It sounds like the perfect time to meet your family,” She mentioned with a red face and he stammered a bit trying to think of something to say. “Your not embarrassed about seeing me are you?”

      “Of course not, but my mom will go nuts, and my dad will ask some very embarrassing questions...” He went on as she nodded with a bug grin and took his arm.

      “Thats what families do...” She added as he finally heaved a big sigh and agreed and they walked onto the ship together and a little while later it backed away from the dock and into space. Casi was by now long gone and halfway home, and as her crew asked about her world she tried her best to explain it to them.

      “You’ll have to stay out of sight while I’m gone,” She mentioned as they agreed.

      “The scanners on your world aren’t a problem, we can sit right in orbit and they’ll never know we’re there.” Her engineer said with her nose in the air as Casi said she hoped so, they weren’t ready for star ships and beam weapons yet, and they all laughed.

      She took a shuttle down when she arrived and landed behind the barn where no one from the road could see it. Then she walked over to the house and was surprised to see that it had new paint and a second solar collector since she had been gone. She rang the bell and her grandmother came to the door, and she burst into tears and hugged her for a long time.

      “I get money from time to time, so I fixed the place up while you were gone,” She mentioned as Casi said it looked a lot better now. “ The new solar panels make enough power that it lasts all night, and for days when its really bad weather, its a god sent, thank you.”

      “Thats why I sent it, to help out, I hope you weren’t too surprised when I didn’t come back for a while.” Casi said as they walked inside and sat down on the sofa together.

      “At first I was, then the money came and I knew you were alright then, and when I told people that a space ship took you away, they said I was nuts, but when I got the place all fixed up, people started saying better things.” Casi’s grandma said as she looked shocked at her.

      “You can’t tell people I’m working on another world, if the government found out they’d do something bad to you or me when I get home.” Casi added sadly as her grandma shook her head no.

      “When everyone was saying I was too old, or nuts, a nice man came,and we talked for a long time, and he had me draw a picture of the little ship you left in, and then he said when you come home he wants to talk to you. He should be here any minute.” She added all smiles as Casi jumped up, scared and shocked at the same time.

      “Grandma...there are rules I agreed to, no one was supposed to know. If they found out they’d try and get my ship or some other stuff, for themselves. That would be a huge problem.” Casi added as she started towards the door.

      “Wait, thats probably him now...” Granny said as they heard a vehicle sliding to a stop and Casi looked out the curtains to see a man in a very expensive suit and three armed guards running towards the house.

      “With armed guards?” Casi added loudly her grandmother said it must be some mistake, and Casi ran out the back and around the barn to her shuttle as her grandma yelled that she wasn’t armed, to put their guns away but shots rang out and one bounced off the small ship as it lifted off and disappeared into the sky and the man got so upset he threw his hat on the ground and stomped on it.

      “Hundreds of years of technology...gone...you stupid old woman, you were supposed to hold her here!” He declared as the old lady said that Cassandra would not hurt anyone but she had rules she had to go by and the man jerked a gun out of the holster of one of his men, and fired a single shot into her head and walked away, letting her lay there, as he called on his coms and said that there was an alien ship in orbit and he wanted it shot down.

      Casi docked at the ship and asked if they could scan her grandmothers farm and they agreed, and her worst fears had come true. The government men had killed her for not helping them, even though she called the second Casi had returned.

      “There is a line of missiles leaving the surface coming this way,” She was told as she took her command chair.

      “I thought they couldn’t see us up here?” She asked as even her weapons operator just shrugged and mentioned they might be firing blindly, hoping for a hit.

      “Shoot them down, and then the launcher that fired them,” Casi ordered as she was told that using their weapons against a low level civilization was a huge problem, but she demanded she didn’t care.” They killed my grandmother, a woman who has never had a bad word about anyone for as long as I’ve known her because I escaped them. I’ll take full responsibility for what happens.” She demanded as the woman nodded and in a second the missiles were all gone and a minute later, the base that sent them went up in flames.

      “All targets destroyed,” Casi heard as she nodded that it was done, and then started to cry, and ordered the ship back home and they left orbit and jumped as she ran into her office to be alone for a while.



      Chapter 23: Ken’s Reunion



      Ken meanwhile, was home too, but under better circumstances. He had them drop him off and hide the ship behind the moon while he was home and then called his family from the same little field that he had left from and said he needed a ride home, and his mom came screaming in a few minutes later with the family car, and nearly ran off the road getting stopped, then ran and threw her arms around him and cried saying she thought he was dead.

      “Dead people don’t have savings accounts...” He mentioned as she gave him a soft tap up the side of his head, saying she’d not know about anything like that and he agreed he could have kept in touch better.

      “So, where have you been what have you been doing all this time?” She asked as Ken cleared his throat for a second and Candy walked out from behind a tree nearby and gave her a big smile, as his mom looked surprised and shocked at once.

      “Mom, this is Cassandra, she’s a scientist studying alien worlds and....well... me.” He added silently as Candy started to laugh.

      “He means we’re dating, nice to meet you, Mrs. Haskell.” Candy said as Ken’s mom looked faint for a second then shook her hand and welcomed her.

      “My, my now at least I can see you haven’t been lonely up there.” She added as Candy’s face grew red and Ken’s wasn’t any better.

      “You cant keep saying ‘up there’ and ‘in space’ mom, people have to think I’m just away working.” Ken added as Candy agreed, saying if everyone found out they couldn’t come back anymore, as she just waved the idea away.

      “Everyone understood, and a lot of your friends want to go too...” She added as they got into the car and Ken dropped his head on top of the car, shaking it slowly and looked like he was ready to leave already, but Candy took his hand and said it would be alright, just wait and they went home to have a nice dinner and talk about what they had been doing.

      “Pilot of a military space ship? Really?” His mom asked as Candy informed her he was a Captain of a Mayan cruiser, and had been successful in a dozen fights so far, as she looked a little scared, and proud at the same time.

      “We owe him a lot, our people, we have great minds and build things easily but we can’t fight, not even to protect ourselves, so we asked him to help us and he’s wonderful at it.” Candy added and Helen Haskell smiled to see the love in her eyes when she spoke about him.

      “Its not just me, there’s a lot of us from different worlds.” Ken mentioned as his mom smiled and nodded she understood.

      “And you are a scientist, at your young age?” She asked as Candy agreed, saying her father started the Defense program and they smiled at each other for a minute.

      “Speaking of fathers, Ken’s dad will be home any minute, you wait until he sees you...” Helen added as Ken looked like he’d hide Candy away somewhere, but he knew it wouldn’t do any good.

      “And make sure that nothing goes missing from your belongings while your here,” Ken mentioned to Candy who looked oddly at him. “ My dads a businessman, always looking for the ‘next big thing’ he’s had some small successes, but nothing big, so seeing stuff from another world might drive him to act like a pervert.”

      “Your dad works very hards supporting us, so it wouldn’t hurt you to help.” Helen added as Candy looked away chuckling.

      “There are rules mom, if we break them then we’ll never be able to come back visiting again.” Ken added as the front door opened and his dad came running in and Helen made a wave for him to slow down and act cool and Ken saw it right away. “ No, dad I cant help you find some new tech, don’t even ask.” He got out even before his dad opened his mouth, and Candy got a good laugh as the family had a quick talk about what they could expect on his visits.

      After a little while for things to settle down they were all sitting in the living room and Frank, Ken’s dad was looking Candy over very carefully as her face grew redder and redder, and finally Ken asked him to behave himself and he just smiled and said he had never seen an alien before, and Candy looked surprised he said that.

      “Now you know how I felt,” Ken whispered as she got a quick little laugh under her breath.

      “She’s human dad, just like us, if there’s anything I can tell you thats it, there are humans on a lot of worlds.” Ken hinted as his dad grabbed a note pad and asked for him to name them all, as Ken just laughed at him. “ No one here would recognize the names anyways dad, get real.”

      “Star names, star clusters?” He asked excitedly as Ken took Candy’s arm and started towards the door.

      “We’ll see you in the morning,” Ken added as his mom asked where he was going. “to my room of course we don’t need dad harassing us all night.”

      “About that...” His dad started as Ken gave him a sour look.” it has been almost a year, we converted it into storage weeks ago.”

      “But your old room upstairs is still there, you...two?” Helen asked as Candy nodded agreement, “ can spend the night there.”

      “I have some time off, more than a night,” Ken mentioned as they both seemed thrilled, probably for different reasons, “ never mind, we’ll spend the night here and tomorrow we’ll see about getting a place to stay.”

      “NO, you can’t!” Frank said quickly as Ken gave him a dirty look, seeing him planning something, “ I mean...we wouldn’t look like good parents if we left you stay away from home after coming all this way...what 10 light years? To visit.” He asked, hopefully as Ken rolled his eyes at him.

      “YOU are pathetic, dad...” Ken added sourly and they grabbed their things and left right there as Helen cracked him over the head with a note pad for pushing too hard and chasing them away.

      “If you would have just shut up and left him talk, he would have said something sooner or later, he’s right, you are pathetic...” Helen declared as Frank looked upset he was in trouble for trying too hard to learn about the new job, and where exactly it was. “ and I promised my fans that I’d have a big announcement for them on the extra-net this week, moron!” She added as she went to see what else she could add to her blog, the one she started months ago when Ken left, and her story had become an instant sensation, and she made a good living off it now that she found her ‘niche’ to write for.

      “When we see them tomorrow...pictures!” She added as he nodded excited, and made sure he had film and everything he’d need for the next day of their visit.

      So many ships, so little time

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      Chapter 24: Krystopher’s Big Surprise



      Krystopher was on his old world by now too, and when he got home he was very surprised. The place was spotless, and his mom was walking around, all smiles like her heart problems had never happened. She saw him coming and ran...actually ran...out to meet him and gave him a huge hug. He was so happy to see her like this he cried and she joined in.

      “I used some of the money you sent to fix the place up, hope you don’t mind.” She said, smiling as they walked back to the house.

      “Thats why I sent it, mom, and I see that your feeling a lot better too.” Krys added as she nodded happily.

      “ A doctor came about a month after you left and examined me and gave me a shot...just one...and then left. In the next few weeks I got better and better, it was a miracle!” She said as Krys nodded agreement. It wasn’t a miracle of course, but better medicine, and he was never more glad he took this job than now.

      “Dr. Gray was astounded when I got better, he did tests and said the disease was completely gone, and he didn’t know the person that came and gave me that shot. She wasn’t from his clinic or the local hospital...” She mentioned as Krys could see things could get complicated from this.

      “Mom, listen to me, your better now, and may never get sick again. Thats my gift to you so don’t worry about going back to the doctors any more, and don’t tell anyone about the doctor that came and gave you that shot. Its important everyone thinks it was just some miracle, not better medicine that did it. People do strange things when they find something new they don’t have, and if my boss found out, I’d never be allowed to come home again, and you would never see another doctor.” He explained as she looked sorry she mentioned it.

      “But I’m glad it worked for you, and that I don’t have to worry about you any more.” He added as she nodded and thanked him for the money too, she had no idea what he did but her account had more in it than it ever had, much more and she said she’d be set for a long time now.

      “I’m thinking of working part time, just to have something to do,” She mentioned as he nodded and said she should do whatever she liked when he was away. “So don’t worry about sending any more money, save it for yourself and I’ll be fine.”

      “If your sure...” He said as she nodded with a big grin, he went away and sent home a miracle and now she was healthier than she had ever been and had a nice nest egg in her account, a mother couldn’t ask any more than that from a son, and she was happy he was such a good boy.

      “Any one ever ask about that doctor again just shrug and say it was all a mirage or something, maybe God healed you?” Krys mentioned as she gave him a sour look, she didn’t like lying to people but if it saved her and him from getting in trouble then she’d let it go.

      “Just this once...” She said giving him a dirty look and he agreed as they sat down for a nice talk.

      “A war...oh my...and your doing OK then?” She asked as he nodded he was.

      “Thats where the money comes from it’s full time job, we work a week then get a few days off. I had one close call, but you’ve seen how good their medicine is...” He added as she nodded it was true. “ I’ll be fine, so don’t worry.”

      “You don’t have a nice girl yet?” She asked after a while and while he admitted he had met someone, they weren’t a couple or anything and she smiled. He was a nice looking young man, if she did say so herself and at his age it was now just a matter of time.

      “Come on mom, I’ll take you out to eat,” Krys said finally as she agreed and went to change cloths and they got a cab and went out for the evening, and had a nice time as people who hadn’t seen him around for a while saw them and they talked about his new job...as a consultant...and his mom smiled the whole time and agreed to whatever he said.

      While this was going on, Ken and Candy were doing better, as she got a tour of his hometown. They went to some stores, and walked around meeting some of his old friends and everywhere they went, they heard about his mom, and her blog and that fuzzy picture she had of some space ship she said took him away.

      “It was just an airplane, moms a little kooky,” He would say as everyone laughed and they went on, but he could see that not everyone would take that as an excuse and it worried him.

      “My mom has a blog, explaining to the whole world that I went into space...” Ken mentioned as Candy agreed, “ if the wrong people see it, we’ll be in big trouble, so we need to make everyone think she’s a little nutty.” He added as Candy gave him a sour look, it didn’t seem nice to do to his mom but then she had started this all herself.

      “And we need to be careful, if they get some samples of your hair or fingernails, anything they can test for DNA, they might have some evidence against us.” He added as Candy reminded him that humans had a common ancestry, and even the Mayans didn’t know for sure where and when that happened.” But if we ever want to come back here again, we’ll need to keep them all in the dark.” He added as she nodded and they went on. They went to a nice restaurant and she made some odd noises looking at the menu, and he explained that food here wasn’t pre-made every time, that places made it fresh and you waited for it, and she looked impressed and said that on her word people would pay enormous prices for something like this and he looked surprised, since the pre-made food there was really good.

      “To have a nice place like this to go out and sit and talk, listen to the music and get a ‘custom meal’ made, that would be the ultimate luxury.” She mentioned as he looked even more surprised, and she laughed at him.

      “Kenny, you old dog!” They heard as he looked up to see his best friend walking in with a young woman and they asked to sit and he agreed as they shook hands and Ken smiled widely. “ So this is the alien girl your mom mentioned...” He said as Ken’s face fell like a rock.” Everyone wants to meet her , your moms a celebrity with her blog, I hear even some government agency’s are watching it now. She’s got everyone convinced that you went into space and found a nice girlfriend.” He went on as Ken looked like he’d be sick.

      “When did you hear that?” Ken asked as he was told she had just made a big add to her blog,’ My son returns from Maya with his alien girlfriend’ and people are eating it up!” He said as Ken excused them and they ran from the building as the young woman with his friend opened her coms and said they were leaving now, and a man in a van nearby nodded and they started following them as they got a ride and ran towards his moms house.

      “I cant believe it...my moms incredible.” Ken whined as Candy looked a little upset too, “have the shuttle waiting on us, we’ll need to leave soon.” He whispered as she nodded and she made a call and said to wait for further orders and someone was sitting in the shuttle in orbit an instant later. They pulled up in front of the house to see a news crew there and they barely got through without a major interview and as they ran in his mom and dad were all smiles gushing about the news and that everyone wanted to know more about them and her.

      “You have no right, none! “ Ken screamed as they both stopped cold,” Now that this mess is out in the open, we’ll never be allowed to come home again! This is it, so say goodbye mom, we need to get off this world immediately before something even worse happens.”

      “But you don’t understand, we’re famous now. Even the government agrees that peaceful relations with another world would be a god sent...” His dad went on as Ken nodded he understood. “They’re waiting to interview you two,and meet your young friend.”

      “And dissect her for research, what kind of idiot are you anyways?” Ken screamed as they ran back to look out the door but the cab was gone and another one refused to come when called.

      “They just want an interview with you, and maybe some samples of her blood, and they’ll pay well for it. You’ll be safe I guarantee it...” His dad said to Candy who looked scared now, and for good reason.

      “And you think YOU control that? You idiot...” Ken screamed as his father stepped back, shocked.

      “Follow me...” Ken said as they ran out the back to the garage and they jumped on his electric motorcycle and as the door opened they ran out, nearly running over a few news crews that were rushing to get pictures before they got away. They ran out of town and back to the field where they came in and as they got off and ran out to the middle the shuttle dropped down and they ran in as a van stopped and many men jumped out and ran towards them.

      “Lift off now...go go go..” Ken screamed as the shuttle lifted back up with bullets bouncing off the hull and disappeared into the afternoon sky. “we made it, thank god.” Ken said, sitting down in a seat next to Candy who was looking a little upset.

      “That was close but at least we got to see your parents before we left, they are a unique couple...” Candy mentioned as Ken nodded and now they could smile about it.” I wish I could have gotten my backpack from the hotel first though, my favorite cloths were in it.”

      “Oh ****...” Ken said as she looked surprised,” what all was in it, anything that my world doesn’t have?” He asked as she thought and said one sweater that was made of the wool of an animal on yet another world, and some makeup, nothing special.

      “ Wool from another world....thats just great...I guess they got some evidence after all, but at least they didn’t get to do anything bad to you.” He said softly and she saw he really was worried for her and she gave him a kiss and thanked him for it.

      “Thats enough vacation for me, lets go home,” He added as she agreed and they docked to the ship and returned at best speed. It seemed that taking people from less developed worlds was fine for the Mayans, but they could never really return, and Ken decided that he’d mention that to the President when they next met and he was waiting to hear what adventures the rest of the team had on their worlds.

      So many ships, so little time

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      Chapter 25:The Truth be Told

      Casi got back first, and after her report, was out on house arrest pending a hearing into the matter.And when Ken found out he went to speak to the President personally.,

      “When on her leave, she did ,with forethought fire her weapons and destroyed not just a wave of missiles but an entire military base. Its against everything we believe in.” Clark said with his nose held high and a very serious look on his face.

      “Her grandmother thought she was doing the right thing, but the government got wind of it and attacked Casi. Then they killed an unarmed woman for not doing enough, and attacked the ship in orbit with nuclear weapons. In MY opinion Casi did what was necessary, and when they finally do meet people from another world again, maybe they’ll treat them with some respect.” Ken added just as seriously as President Clark took a minute to think about it.

      “Its partially your fault too, you take people from under developed worlds then think their governments wont do everything in their power to grab anything new they can get? Even in my case we barely escaped and the shuttle took hits as we lifted off. Worlds less advanced than you fear that they will be overrun by you if you would choose to do so, so they beg, borrow or steal any technology they can get, and collateral damages are acceptable. Because of that and my parents greed, I can no longer go home again, ever...but I’m OK with that..this is my home now and I’ll make a life for myself here, just like Casi will from now on.” Ken insisted and slowly Clark saw that letting them go home for a visit was his fault, because they hadn’t planned well enough and figured for the way other people would respond.

      “I understand what your saying, but there has to be a reckoning for what she did, many, many people died from this attack.” Clark added as even Ken nodded it might be true.

      “How about this then...” we agree that what she did was wrong and she apologizes for it. Then as punishment she’s never allowed to return home again, hows that?” He asked as even Clark took a minute to think about it.

      “If she agrees, we’ll let that go as punishment, but she has to apologize on the nationwide coms, then we wont have heat coming down on us for it here, it was her decision and she’s responsible for it.” He said as Ken agreed and they shook on it. He went and talked to Casi and told her he understood and explained what happened on his world too and she looked sad.

      “Thats OK with me, my grandmother was my only living relative, so I have no reason to return home.” Casi mentioned sadly as Ken gave her a quick hug and she thanked him for his help.

      “You have us, here, we’re family.” Ken whispered as she nodded and smiled.

      The announcement was the next day and while she apologized for making the Defense Force look bad, she also made sure everyone knew her ship and crew were under fire at the time, something President Clark hadn’t mentioned but he nodded gratefully as she finished her little speech and the entire team stood beside her while Ken added his story, saying that returning people to a world where everyone knew they had gone into space was wrong and a bad idea. It would only cause more troubles, but if things could be contained, then they could control it better, and even as they talked they were worried for Krys who still hadn’t returned from his vacation yet, and everyone thought the worst.

      But things on his world had stabilized pretty well, with his mom agreeing not to mention space and her health getting better so she could do anything she wanted now, she decided to get a job and work for a while. Krys had given her some money to help out and she fixed her place up nicely with it, but now she didn’t need the doctors she had been seeing and anyone who asked how she got better so quickly she’d say ‘its a miracle’ and then let it go.

      They spent a week together talking and seeing old friends and finally Krys was ready to go back and he said he’d stop by sometime again, and she gave him a big hug.

      “Maybe you’ll bring that girl we talked about with you next time,” She teased and he smiled and said ‘you never know’ and as she waved he walked away and around a corner out of sight. They planned it this way, she never saw the ships that came and went he never took her on board to brag and she never had anything to report even if someone of great power asked her. It was a sort of ‘forest for the trees’ type thing ...see no space stuff, and have nothing to say if asked, and even Krys made sure he never mentioned anything someone might do something bad to get. Ignorance is bliss, so she was happy just knowing he was doing OK, and even she started telling everyone he was working on another continent, and she missed him and hoped he’d come home more often, and no one thought a thing about it except that they were happy her family was doing better now.

      Krystopher was back the next day and when he landed he was dragged in in front of the President himself and Ken was there and they asked if things went OK and if anything bad happened on his trip. He was pretty shocked and he explained what had happened and how they fixed it and even Ken smiled and nodded approval. Out of all of them Krys and his mom had worked it out and made a good cover story so no one would ask too many questions when she got new things or her health got better. He then asked why everyone was so upset and Ken explained what happened and Krys nearly ran out to make sure Casi was alright.

      “She’s doing OK,” Ken mentioned with a small grin, “ but she needs a friend right now she’s hurting pretty bad after loosing her grand mother.”

      “I’ll check on her as soon as we’re done here,” Krys added as even Clark nodded he approved.

      “So, under special circumstances it can work, but only if everyone agrees to keep things secret, and greed or ignorance doesn’t make someone do something silly.” Clark mentioned as even Krys nodded, saying that his mom understood that if she wanted to see him again, she had to go along with the story and she agreed, and everyone there agreed that this was the way to go, and on worlds that were too suspicious or militant, then returning just wasn’t possible.

      The meeting was finally over and Krys went right to Casi’s dorm room and asked to come in, she agreed and when he walked through the door she was still sitting on the sofa looking very down. He went right over and sat beside her and reached out and took her hand and as she looked surprised he leaned in and gave her a soft, quick kiss.

      “My mom wants to meet you sometime,” He added as she looked speechless for a minute.

      “But we’re not...” Casi started as he nodded it was true.

      “Want to be?” He asked straight out as her mouth fell open and she looked very shocked he asked her now.

      “That’s an interesting thing to ask, and I’d be very happy you did except for one small, but important thing.” She said as he looked worried and she leaned in and whispered something into his ear and his face went red right away and he cleared his throat and gave her a hug anyways.

      “I didn’t see that coming...” He added as they both laughed for a second.

      “Sorry your a great guy really...” She started as he stopped her with a big smile.

      “Its OK, I’m not equipped right for you, I understand, its not my fault this way.” He added as she got a good, roaring laugh from it. It might be hard to say on her world but he had asked something very personal and now he knew, that she too was looking for someone special, but, just like him, it needed to be a girl.

      So many ships, so little time

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