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    Thread: Something Strange this way Comes

    1. #11
      TXU Sr. Member kevin398's Avatar
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      I'm getting slow, I must be getting old..lol

      **EDIT** You, getting old? perish the thought.. **END EDIT**

      Last edited by NovaCatt; 07-12-2017 at 12:18 AM. Reason: added humorous comment.. NC ;)

    2. #12
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      Chapter 22: Laughs and Respect


      Other officers watched too and got a big laugh that he used it as a mobile warehouse instead of a heavy fighting ship. But he did bring in a lot of stuff many needed, and some saw they were letting too much lay after battles, and they too started gathering either for themselves or for sale.

      And with every load coming in another ship got repaired or upgraded and Admiral Coss had no complaints since they needed every bit of it and more. But a good crew can easily take weapons off floating ships and one 55mm cannon was worth a small fortune, especially when they were in short supply. And Frank got his ships repaired and upgraded before another major offensive got started and when it did he ran in like everyone else and showered missiles onto the enemy from afar and the officers there reported that many small to medium ships took his hits and it made the battle go faster, and it seemed Frank had planned once more since he didn’t have fighters to throw into the mix he gathered missiles of all types and kept a good supply for himself, and that turned the tide in their favor as dozens ran in and fighters and corvettes were destroyed and that left the remainder of the fleet to deal with larger vessels, and stripped them of their escorts.

      Frank had seen one thing many might have overlooked, the big ship had a lot of smaller mounts, made for fighter and missile defense. So while it had a medium launcher made in it for bigger missiles, he took one small gun turret out and mounted a fighter style missile launcher in that spot. Now he could fire literally every missile made and he added a second one to the other side and while light cannons fired accurately for 5 miles, a light missile had lock on capabilities and could chase their targets for 25 miles, depending on the exact missile. That gave him a huge advantage in fighter battles and he knew how to use it.

      And it didn’t take long for others to see what he did either, and as reports of the effectiveness of it came filtering in, Coss mentioned to High Command that light missiles were cheap to make and had longer range than guns, and he got more credit for watching for improvements, and he made sure Frank got some credit too, and his rep went up a little more in the Capital. And a new option went on the books for future medium and large ships.

      Frank had gotten the carrier by default... or maybe a mistake... he thought, but he had seen that fighters against fighters worked well, but against any ship with turrets they were nothing to worry about. So his new ship wasn’t being set up to launch a dozen or more fighters, but missiles instead,and he had a larger than average maintenence crew on board and in battles others fighters landed and got repaired quickly, saving lives.

      It became the first of its kind, a mobile repair base that could jump right into battles and fend well for itself. The Admiralty thought the idea was incredibly stupid, at first, but results proved them wrong. During one battle not less than 6 fighters got repaired or rearmed, and sent back into battle within minutes. Of course Frank got paid for the work and ammo, quite well actually, but that didn’t bother anyone, and his ship and crew got bragged about in bars and meetings all over, and soon research was underway into a design made just for such an occasion at the Capital Shipyard.

      Six months later Frank was still the center of attention since his kill rate and mission success were above average by a decent amount. His Repair Base was still operational, a surprise to many who swore it wouldn’t last a month, and he was getting quite wealthy doing missions and repairs on anything that would land and pay to get them.

      So after much consideration, on the 12th day of the month of Jon, a ceremony was held and officers from all around showed up, and Captain Frank Samson became Major Samson, and many cheered for him as even members of the High Command came to shake his hand and ask a million questions of him.

      It was on all the news channels and as a Transfer he got a lot of attention. It had happened before of course but not recently, and his name got circulated around the Capital as a possible future member of High Command itself, and a few thought that might not be a bad idea, since he thought ‘outside the box’ and made it work for him.

      In the overall scheme of things his Fleet still wasn’t the biggest. He had 10 ships now 4 corvettes 2 destroyers and 4 frigates, and in some fights he was all that needed to show up. But Major Hardess had 12, a good assortment too, but he either never showed up... saving himself profits... or waited until near the end of the fight and rushed in at the last minute to grab credit for it...and that got noticed in the Capital too.

      Then there was a Major Harris... a reptilian who loved a good fight. He had 15 ships if you count fighters, and he rushed into every battle that he got called for, and gained a lot of respect among other officers for doing it. His people were well equipped and well trained and even for fighter pilots they came back a lot more often than others.When it came to fighter combat, his name always got mentioned.

      With more than a dozen officers owning their own ships High Command was pretty happy with the results. A Billion dollars in equipment and ships they didn’t need to take care of, and it helped their budget a good deal and thats just one reason personal fleets were allowed in the military.

      And with the war stretching on, every ship was needed and rules allowing more salvaging and even some free repairs got passed and made personal fleets even easier to run and that saved the Alliance enormous amounts over the long run.


      Chapter 23: Face to Face Negotiations


      After some time a meeting was held and Admiral Coss mentioned that they were going to try again, and a team of negotiators was getting ready to leave.

      “Didnt that have bad consequences last time?” Got mentioned and he admitted it was true.

      “About that sir...” Frank said standing, as he got waved to continue.” Our adversary is a Military State, they demand military discipline from everyone and are not afraid to kill without a seconds notice. How did those negotiators stack up when they met them face to face? Surely they panicked or showed fear...showing fear is a sure way to get attacked by aggressive creatures.” he said and sat down and everyone whispered among themselves about what was said.

      “So what do you suggest?” Coss asked as Frank said, quite clearly, that to deal with military officers takes a military officer, not some skinny little politician they can subjugate easily.

      “Hmm, I see your point, but who would go? Its still a good chance they will never return alive.” he added as many nodded it was true.

      “I’ll go.” Frank added as the room looked shocked and everyone, except maybe Hardess, thought it was a bad idea. “We can not send weak little negotiators into a Military State, thats certain, and the effects have been shown. But a military officer, in a military ship with a full crew...a show of strength... to a group that only respects strength.” he added as many did agree to that.

      “It’ll be extremely dangerous..” Coss mentioned as Frank just smiled and nodded that he knew that as well.” “Alright then, if you volunteer then we have no reason to stop you. The fact is we’ll take any reasonable offers of peace, so go and see what they say, just don’t give away the Alliance.” he added as a few chuckled and Frank walked from the room determined to see what this enemy was like face to face.

      He chose his Heavy Destroyer as his ship to take. He took only volunteers as a crew and in a day was sitting by the boarder sending the special signal across to see who would show up. Admiral Coss had a fleet on standby just in case, and after a few hours a huge battleship jumped in and stopped within weapons range and called over and Frank saw the enemy face to face for the first time, and it surprised him.

      The people on the screen were human looking, but like the Caterans and others had special features with the ears and tails. These had tails as well and they were...floating...in their ship, as Frank wondered how they managed to fight like this but waited as the person in charge gave him a cold look and demanded to speak to their representative...and Frank left him know that HE was the rep..and that they would deal with him.

      “The Alliance has been having fun with our little war.” Frank started as eyes popped all around. “ But you know how politicians are...right?” he hinted with a wink as many on screen laughed for a second until the officer in charge stopped them.

      “Are you saying you’re willing to continue the war? Then why come here at all?” he demanded as Frank left him know that he personally had never seen his enemy and he respected their fighters as people and he wanted this chance to see them in person,as many looked impressed.

      “Your ship is full of water isn’t it? Thats why you seem to float effortlessly about in it?” Frank mentioned as the man looked surprised they hadn’t known this before.

      “Yes...we are Mermen... our species evolved to live under water. Your ship is full of an oxygen rich atmosphere though, so you would not understand us.” he added sourly as Frank asked him what gases they take from the water...and the man looked thoughtful for a second.

      “As is easy to see, we are similar in many ways. We breath oxygen from air, and you the same from water, isnt that true?” Frank asked as the man refused to say but demanded to know what the Alliance wanted from them in this war. “ Peace, trade opportunities maybe, there are other civilizations out there we will meet and fight later on for certain. Isn’t it better to have a reliable Ally than a soft weak civilization you can subjugate easily? What kind of ally would that be?” he said and laughed out loud and a few on the enemy ship joined him and even the Leader had a smile for about a second.

      “Lets save our fighting for others and make Peace...this has been fun and all... but my Superiors are getting angry that we haven’t settled this yet, and so before open war gets going and we attack your Home World, lets just take a nice long break and let them settle down.” he added and mentioning attacking their Home World got gasps from all around and finally after much whispering they agreed to more talks and gave Frank a date and time and the battleship jumped away and Frank returned to the base victorious, and Admiral Coss and the High Command learned a few things they never knew. Like why certain pumps and tubes were on some wrecks and not others and why not all corpses seemed the same. It seemed the Mermen took prisoners and used them in battle and they might have a larger military because of it, but the thought anyone would force their way to the Home World scared them badly, and now they were ready to talk seriously for the first time.

      When the time came the Alliance sent a Battleship too, and they sat there for days talking and demanding from each other, but in the end Peace came after several years of war... and an agreement that if other civilizations attacked them they would respond as Allies... and the deal was done.

      There was a huge celebration, and during that time a State Dinner and dance was held. Many brought their wives along and when Frank walked in in dress uniform with a lovely Cateran on each arm, many stopped to look and he smiled wider than ever before and his wives greeted everyone with a big smile and many met them for the first time, and his reputation went up yet again.


    3. #13
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      Chapter 24: Moving Up


      Frank got called into the offices of High Command a few days later, and Admiral Coss had him set down for a chat.

      “Now that the war is over we’re turning our attention to the pirate problem.They have had things their way for a few years now and so we’re putting a stop to it.” He added as Frank nodded and waited for more.

      “So after some consideration, we have assigned you this area to Command.” he said and he slid a screen over to Frank to see and he looked badly staring at it and his eyes turned back to Coss who looked away trying not to notice.

      “There is a Commander in that area already.” Frank mentioned as Coss added that he had it on good authority that that Commander was turning in his resignation to run for public office, and he’d be leaving his position shortly. “ Isn’t that base his private property though?” Frank asked as the Admiral got a good laugh at that.

      “A Forward Command Base costs half a BILLION dollars to construct...do you really think he had that kind of cash, ever?” he asked with a chuckle as Frank saw that Gog had been telling people what he hoped would sell, and now with his ‘retirement’ he was being forced out.

      “There is a very powerful pirate organization operating out there, it’ll be hard to remove them so suddenly.” Frank added seriously as Coss admitted it was true.

      “Gog is moving out as we speak, we’re taking over the base from him and reinstating military discipline there. Instead of his private security guards there will be military personnel for the first time in years, and the base will be resupplied with weapons and missiles for its defense. I assume you’ll be taking your fleet with you?” he asked as Frank growled to himself and Coss got a big grin from it.

      “And my official Title out there will be?” Frank asked, as Coss grinned widely.

      “Military Governor.” Coss added as Frank agreed, and his first real job for High Command got started immediately.

      He went back to his home and told the ladies what was happening. Either they could move with him or he’d take weekends to visit. It was only a couple days travel time away, but out further into the fringes instead of closer to the Core like they wished. But they understood it was the military way of life, and everyone packed up and two weeks later the ladies were setting up the Commanders suite to suit themselves, as Frank got daily patrols started to clean up the ‘rif raf’ that Gog had let run the sector for so long.

      It didn’t take long before the first big meeting took place, as a small fleet jumped in at maximum range and called over, and Frank answered it to see a sour looking Captain looking back.

      “We had a deal..” he started as Frank reminded him that his deal was with Gog... and he wasn’t in Command anymore.

      “The military never made a deal with you or your people, and we wont...ever. The war is over now and we’re taking this chance to clean up some of our less impressive troubles. So I suggest you either start doing normal trading or something else...or get out of my sector.” Frank added loudly as the man looked upset, closed the link and he and his ships jumped away.

      “Think they’ll leave?” Frank’s Second, a Junior Lieutenant Collins asked, as he got a little laugh in there and Frank joined him.

      “Not likely... they made millions and built fleets along side Gog, and they’ll try and force us into some similar deal first. ” Frank added as he sent a message to all ships to watch for enemies and traps, and the next little war got started right here at home.

      The pirates watched Frank closely, Gog had a dozen or more fighters under his command and used them to pressure them into deals. Frank brought 2 destroyers and 2 frigates and they knew that only a major force could remove those... and it probably wouldn’t be profitable to try.

      And he offered nothing but advise, advise they weren’t sure they liked. They had several illegal activities going in and around that sector, making millions every year, but to give that up they needed assurances and deals, but were getting none.

      “ He’s hard ass military...” was the decision, and they were forced to think about moving their operations elsewhere if things didn’t straighten out soon.

      “ The base has been repaired and upgraded since our last attack...to try that again would be suicide.” Got added and many at the meeting looked sad because of it.

      “ He has a personal fleet almost as powerful as ours... he wont take bribes, we tried that... and he’s a serious young officer that demands that the Law be upheld... I think it’s time to go.” One older man added as a few agreed, and slowly over many weeks the pirate activity got less and less, and the sector became known for good deals and stations willing to go the extra mile to gain your business, and Frank got a Commendation for his part in it, and he settled back to enjoy the peaceful life that had befallen him there.

      His wives had been silent about his career this whole time and he appreciated it...but sooner or later they were going to have their say...and it became sooner. He was just sitting down to dinner after a hard day in the office when Kerr cleared her throat loudly and Car nodded agreement.

      “Something the matter?” he asked as she smiled and said they had come to a decision...and he nodded and waited to hear.

      “We’ve decided....” She started looking embarrassed but she went on,” that we both want to have a baby, your baby, and that we’be been very patient with you because of your work. But with things getting more peaceful now it seems like a good time.” She added as Car nodded agreement.

      “We’ve been using implants for all this time that stops us from becoming fertile...we want to stop using those... with your permission.” Car added softly and the two ladies waited, looking embarrassed and a bit sad they had to ask.

      “I’m a lucky man to have you...” Frank admitted as they both looked happy he said that,” if this is what you want, then by all means lets do it. I have no problems having a child with either of you, you’ll be beautiful mothers I’m sure.” he said as they cheered and he got serious kisses from both before they finished dinner.

      “Our Family can finally be started.” Kerr said and Frank agreed and his research into Caterans said they usually had one baby, much like his people, and if their children looked this good no man would ever object to that.


      Chapter 25: Building a Family Name


      It took a while for the word to get out, but at long last even High Command heard that Frank was having children here. Transfers were highly sought after, and he found a perfect set of females that kept him happy enough to consider having a Family. So that made him look even better for higher ranks later on. He did an excellent job during the war, gained a nice little fleet of his own, and subjugated the pirate forces in his sector in a year. Now it was a thriving business area, and new stations were planned to be added there too.

      It might become a truly advanced business region if things continued, and that meant that the ‘civilized’ sectors could be expanded into that region. The Core was the heart of culture and business, but Frank proved that given the chance any sector could become a business district and thrive, and now many high class businesses that never moved out from the Core were considering it, since materials were abundant and there was lots of room for expansion.

      As the Military Governor he had rule over the area, and after a few calls and meetings, a new Trade Center was being built not an hours flight time from his base. There had always been factories and stations out there but an actual to God Trading Center cost a Billion, but had every amenity that they had in the Core for the stations and people living within reach of it. Famous names in everything were on sale there, and even representatives from the Shipyards opened shop there and parts and upgrades became easily bought where they had been almost impossible to get before, and the sector got more secure with better ships and weapons available, and Frank saw his work had not been in vain.

      Their second year at the base and Car gave birth to a lovely baby girl and they were thrilled, but Frank got told not to worry they weren’t going to stop until he got a son...and he laughed at that... but they were totally serious.

      “We’re starting a new Family out here for you. Your Name will continue forever after this and ours will be mentioned along with yours.” Kerr added seriously as Frank smiled and said he wasn’t anything special and his Name was just that, and not worth worrying about, but she wouldn’t hear of it saying he had done many great things in his time out here and many noticed, and so he deserved to have a Family that the galaxy could be proud of...and Frank kissed her and said only he had to be pleased, no one else... and she smiled and hugged him back.

      “Then we will please you, this I promise.” She added, as he reminded her that he had never said they didn’t please him, they were everything he had ever wanted, and she just smiled wider and walked away, and he knew they had their own plans... and he just left it go for now.

      High Command now saw Frank as a family man and a guaranteed career man in the military. The word got around that the new area was becoming a great asset, and that he was completely in charge of settling what was once a pirate sector. Many thought he got special treatment since he first got there, but they were quickly told it wasn’t true. He worked hard and earned his rank every day, and even some of the top officers in Command agreed that he had done a lot in such a short time.

      “He’s not like some others,” Coss said during one meeting.” They come and get free education and then disappear into the Void looking for Adventure. He stays and makes us all look good and thats his true strength.” he mentioned as many agreed and even Frank’s opponents had to admit he had done some serious work since he got here.

      “ A Major in 4 years, thats pretty impressive itself, so how long until he gets another higher rank handed to him?” Hardess demanded sourly, as many looked away. In his time he had tried working hard, stealing, bribery and ...some say...even more serious offenses to get ahead, and because of that he was stuck at his current rank for all eternity. He even got told in no uncertain terms that Politics might be his way out, because those people don’t seem to care about reputation, and he growled and stomped away that day not wanting to admit he had done this to himself.

      “I hear Gog is running for Regional Governor...” One officer said as many laughed. Everyone knew his plans and because of it they were not likely to happen any time soon, and Hardess knew that even if he took that chance it would cost him every dime he had accumulated and with no guarantee of success.

      “Once we get rid of some more troublemakers then we can add more good young officers like Samson, and the Core will expand out into the Galaxy even further, thats the plan the High Council has in mind, so please keep that to yourself for now.” Coss added and the meeting was closed and when he mentioned troublemakers, many chuckled and looked away and Major Hardess knew they meant him...and a few others like him...and he started a plan to see about leveling the playing field before any more problems occurred.

      He started making a real effort to fix things he had done to others. He either called them in or went to see them and offered whatever he could to satisfy them and get them back on his side. One Admiral had several fights they shared stolen right out from under him when younger officers sided with Hardess and made him look bad, and so now they had a meeting, and since the older man was ready to retire...he got a nice deposit for ‘compensation for past wrongs’... and he stepped across that line to stand beside Hardess after that day.

      High Command saw this all of course and they knew he was up to something, but they didn’t really care because they could control him here easily, and he didn’t have a fortune big enough to pay off everyone, so they kept a close eye on him and after a while even ignored his antics again.

      But 6 months later he got offered a new job...by the Gaming Commission... an organization of a dozen or more gaming stations that offered everything from drinks to female companionship for a price, and the salary was great and after a short time considering it, he handed in his commission and left for the private sector, and a certain high ranking Admiral thanked a friend who just laughed saying they really could use a man of his skills, and the deal was done, and another troublemaker was out of the Military.


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      Chapter 26: Peace and Prosperity into the Future


      Another 6 months gone by... now Kess was having a child... and Frank was never so happy, as both his wives were in their glory, and Kess presented him with a fine baby boy, and she looked even happier than him...if that was possible.

      “Now no matter what happens your Name will continue for the foreseeable future.” She declared like it was some decree from the Bible or something, and Frank just laughed and whispered that he hoped they didn’t plan on stopping him from making them happier now that they had children, and they both grinned saying he better not, and they all got a good laugh knowing this might not be the end of it yet.

      Three years into his deployment as Military Governor he got another promotion to full Colonel, and that left him just a step from High Command and they all smiled and shook his hand when he got his new Commission. They got growled at for helping him too soon in the past, and now after years of service no one said a word, and Frank thanked his wives for standing by him all these years, and his friends for watching out for him when he first arrived.

      “A Transfer could never hope for anything better.” He said happily and people smiled all around the room that day and he got something else too...Command over the entire Quadrant... 4 sectors instead of one, and he looked tired just thinking about it and the pirate representative watching and listening in knew they were being forced back yet again.

      “With this new promotion you’ll have another new power...to write Laws in your region.” He was told as he looked lost just thinking it.” Since you are front and center out there we expect you to tailor make some new rules for the Region. The Core has their own, but we don’t really know the details of ruling so far away, so that’s up to you.” He got told and he agreed to do his best and they all nodded seriously and some waited to see what, if anything, might change.

      A week later and he saw his new Region would be giving him some real challenges. The Pirates had moved back from his sector before and now had well established bases and businesses in the sectors around him. Now that he controlled those as well a new War might well be coming...and silently he didn’t blame them. They had tried their best to fit in and leave him alone and he appreciated it, and so he felt he might be able to make a few concessions if they could step a step closer to being law abiding citizens under his Rule.

      He called a meeting with their Representative and as they sat across a table from one another he looked dubious if they had anything to talk about.

      “You know why I asked you here...” Frank started as the man looked as serious as he could and said even he wasn’t sure, as Frank laughed in his face.” Your people keep moving further and further away from the Core hoping we leave you alone. You’ve done pretty well in the sectors where you are now and it would kill your business to have to keep moving all the time.” Frank added as the man silently agreed.

      “ 1/3 of your business is Prostitution, and another 1/3 is drugs and another is...shall we say...inventive freight hauling.” Frank hinted as the man smiled wide..smuggling he meant... but he wouldn’t agree to any of these claims. “Its up to me to decide what to do with you and your businesses now that I Command those sectors too...so after some research I want to ask you this...can you live by the laws of the Core sectors? Prostitution is legal there, and some Senators would be very upset of their favorite alcohol would get harder to find.” Frank added with a wink and the man started looking hopeful.

      “Here are the rules you live by there, make them standard in all your businesses and we’ll consider it a deal. You can stay where you are and do business, and we’ll tax you for the Core. Prostitutes get Medical Care and salaries, no slave labor, and certain drugs get regulated so that their amounts entering the Core are reasonable.” Frank added and after reading the rules and arguing a bit about how much it was going to cost them the Pirates agreed, and the Core got a new business that paid taxes like everyone else, and hundreds of women forced into prostitution got rights and free Health Care and a working salary for the first time.

      The Report got sent to the Core for approval and after some heated debate that lasted a few weeks it got approved, and Frank went home from those hearings looking tired and worn out and the ladies made a special effort to make him rest for a while and his name went up again in High Command for solving what many thought was going to be a small war for certain.

      Because of all this good news Admiral Coss got another Star and his place in High Command was assured and when they ask him who would replace him at his old job he smiled and got stopped immediately by many of his friends.

      “No!” he got told and he looked away smiling.” He’s not an Admiral yet, and its too soon for him to move up again. Choose someone else and move to your new offices, he’ll make it someday I’m sure... but not yet.” And he agreed and another officer and career man got promoted to Admiral and took Coss’s place as Regional Commander and he moved into the Core itself and took his place on the Federation’s High Council.


      Chapter 27: Politics rears its Ugly Head


      Frank had made many friends since he got there and even at the ripe old age of 25 now, he was one of the youngest major officers in the Fleet. His name stood for hard work and good decisions, and his wives were seen bragging about him when he wasn’t around, and many knew he was here to stay and that his abilities were going to be needed and wanted in the Fleet for years to come.

      An Admiralty was almost a sure thing, and High Command was just a step away, and as things got better and better, others...more senior and less successful... started watching him closer and with a hard, cold glare.

      Out of nowhere there came a complaint that he got his last commission well before the normal time limit for others, and while it was true many stood by him saying he earned it...and that complaint fell by the wayside in short order. But Command are not total fools and they saw what was happening, and Frank got told to be careful, he was gaining respect among many that he met and that made others jealous, especially if they wanted the kind of job...or respect... that he seemed to attract easily.

      Some from well known military families saw him eclipsing them and their names and that would not do, and slowly pressure came to bear and Frank heard things that he had never known before, dragged out to slow down his progress, or ruin his reputation.

      This was new...Politics in all it’s sad little glory, on display...and Frank had to learn fast how to play the game or get left behind.

      He left it known that he didn’t care about rushing into High Command. He had enough trouble running the Quadrant he ruled now, and many stepped back smiling thinking he had no real ambition after all, and that made some feel a little better. He could stay out there, ruling his own little Kingdom for all they cared and that left the Core for them and theirs, as if they had that much authority in Reality, but they thought they did and that was all that mattered.

      People in high places were watching and even the Emperor himself got asked about new Transfers and if they got special attention, and he demanded they didn’t. But since it got mentioned he was forced to check... and he saw Frank way out there working to make a new area more civilized. And while he had never known his name before, he did now, and he had someone check to see why some thought Frank got special treatment...and the investigation got underway.

      In a year he got the report and he sat back smiling. So that was it...this young officer was a wonder... working around the clock if needed and putting himself on the line if necessary to get the job done. He was the first to see the Mermen close up and live, and to make deals that served the Core with the pirate clans, and because of that tens of millions in new taxes got sent in yearly.

      In some round about way he helped get rid of some officers that were more like pirates than pirates themselves, and he smiled to see some older, more established Military Families looking his way and worrying...and with good reason.

      He certainly was on the fast track to the High Command, maybe even the High Council someday. But he earned it with hard work... something many other Families had forgotten... as their name became more well known. Some sat back and rested on their laurels forgetting that one special member made what they took for granted possible. Others spent more time watching and spying than trying to out do their advisaries, and he saw that maybe this young officer and his Family would stir things up a bit...and that is never a bad thing.

      So when asked if he thought Transfers needed limited or got special treatment, he quickly said no... to all inquiries... and many didn’t like that because this meant that others might be coming too and that they too might jump ahead of their Family members in the Future.

      After being asked repeatedly, he finally mentioned it on his monthly broadcast on the Entertainment channels. He made sure that everyone knew that Merit mattered...not Family name...not Prestige or money, but hard work and reputation earned in combat or the field of Diplomacy. If you want your Family to be heard and be seen throughout the Federation as great...do something to prove it was worthy...or go home and sulk...and that ended the questions for the near future and he smiled as many old men on the High Council hinted that he surprised them with that comment, and he smiled and said ‘good’ and walked away.


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      Chapter 28: Growing Up...far from Home


      Frank had kept really busy to get where he was now, and many who saw it were impressed. But deep inside he was a little sad...he had Family back home too. Not a lot but a few members he used to talk to and see on Holidays. But now he was far away, and seeing them now...he was sure...was out of the question.

      He had seen and learned many things that would be worth Billions on his old world, and there’s no way they would allow things like that to happen, and when he asked thats exactly what he was told.

      “It’s in your Contract...” he got reminded,” we train you and find you work and you never get to go back again. If they found out what you know now their entire civilization would be stood on its ear, so no...you can never go back.” he was told seriously and he agreed and went on doing what he always did, working hard to improve himself and his Family members.

      But Kerr and Car knew, and they tried their best to let him know they understood his pain, and because of their efforts he felt a lot better knowing someone understood and cared. His children...Carey and Chad... were growing like weeds and now rushed to see him when he came home from his office. They sat beside him on the sofa when they watched the Entertainment channels together, and many times fell asleep there and he helped carry them to bed.

      This was his life now...and he wasn’t unhappy with it...but deep inside he’d always remember and he told his wives stories about his past and friends, and they smiled and agreed he was special even then, and then snuggled up with him to help him forget for a while again.

      It seemed hybrid children of Caterans and Human’s grow incredibly fast...thats what Frank said as Car laughed at him one day for saying it.

      “Caterans are full grown at 10..” She hinted as he looked surprised.” at 12 females are fully mature and ready to reproduce, so yes, they are growing fast, even though Chad has no tail like his sister he does have our beautiful ears.” She added as he agreed they were perfect kids, and she chuckled saying he might be just a bit partial...and he laughed at that too.

      They had talked about it already and the kids would be trained in whatever skills they had naturally. Everyone is born with some skill, if they get the proper training they can become successful in it too. So that was the plan, and as the children aged they started getting tested, and as Frank worked on and on in his job as Regional Governor the systems became more profitable and more peaceful.

      And in those few peaceful and happy years Car had another child, a little boy to be named James, and decided that was enough for her and Frank agreed and his Family was set then with 2 boys and a girl, and he was happy with that, as the first got ready for schooling and the Federation got ready for a new batch of deep space exploration.

      New Technology had been invented and a new Drive for ships was being tested. It allowed nearly twice the speed they used now... and with that... entirely new regions of the Galaxy could be opened and explored.

      Frank applauded right along with everyone else the day the first new Explorer ship went online and started testing, and he sat back to watch the rest of the Galaxy become colonized in his lifetime and smiled to see it.

      That first ship laid in a course for the unknown and jumped away on Jon 1st, of the Year 4328 of the Standard Galactic Calender, and everyone waited to see what impressive things they would find and how many more beautiful planets were out there for the taking.

      In 6 months there was another ceremony, and Frank got a Commendation for his hard work and a raise in pay. He was doing pretty well by now and his Feet did missions and patrols that paid extra. As a young officer of 29 now he carried the highest rank a Colonel could carry, and many watched carefully for the day the Admiralty would get offered to him... and there were bets among the people that thought they knew when it might happen.

      But he didn’t let on he knew and a few months later came the birthday that let Carey get announced as a grown woman...at 10...and Frank tried his best not to look too worried as she got the gifts her mother and friends got for her, and Frank managed to mention that this didn’t mean she was getting married anytime soon, and she laughed and gave him a big hug and said not to worry she was not in any hurry.

      But he was never as surprised as this day when she walked into the room dressed to the nines and he almost wept to see his little girl... now as tall as her mother...being announced as a grown woman. This is the way of the Universe, he got told, and he nodded and his Family knew he would worry no matter what and Carey thanked him for being such a good Father and keeping them all safe, and he had to turn away to keep people from seeing him cry.


      Chapter 29: Discovery...Unexpected and Worrisome


      2 years passed and the explorer ship made it to an entirely new solar system, well outside anything they had explored before.

      They found huge asteroid fields with ores more numerous to mention, and several planets, 2 gas giants and 2 rock types closer to the sun. They got scans of the gas giants and then started into the sun to scan those. The first was nothing but a dry rock, nothing alive here, and on they went to the last one. Here they found a world with greens and blues, lakes, rivers and streams and...in orbit...an odd looking globe, green and white with long leafy tentacles waving to catch the sun.

      “Unbelievable!” The Biologist screamed... as he ran every known scan.” A life form that lives in space itself, using nothing but sunlight to survive!” he screamed laughing like some nut as his friends watched on and tried not to join him.

      “Its definitely a plant, but look at how it moves its leaves to catch the sunlight...it might be intelligent in some small way.” he went on as results started coming in.

      “This might have been worth the trip.” He heard as he agreed, a whole new species of animal, or plant... whichever... and he decided they needed a sample and he got his suit on and went out to see more close up.

      He drifted over and after a thorough scan at close range he slid a pair of scissors out of his bag and clipped a tiny piece off the closest leaf. He put that away and was looking around even closer when his visor started fogging up. He was obviously too excited... his perspiration was causing him troubles... the humidity inside the suit was off the scale and so he opened a tiny valve on the arm and let out a small amount to lower the humidity inside a little.

      The result was instantaneous...one long leafy tentacle wrapped around him in an instant, and he screamed that ‘something was coming in’ and then got silent. They called for him several times but to no avail and another man got dressed and went out this time being a lot more careful. The plant held the first man for a while then left him go. They grabbed him and guided him back inside and when they cracked the suit...he looked very much like a thousand year old mummy.

      “He was wrong..” One of the other Biologists said and they took him away.” not just sunlight...water in all its forms. He said his suit was fogging up, he must have vented a bit to lower the humidity inside so he could see. The plant smelled or sensed the water vapor and went straight for the source.” She added as many there looked sick.

      “It’s predatory?” Someone asked as she shook her head no. It acted on instinct, looking for food or water wherever it could find it and this man just happen to let it know his suit was full of water...humans are mostly water from the very start.

      “I’m sure its no more intelligent than a flower... only out here it evolved to find food and water wherever it could to stay alive.” She added and a new message got sent back with all the info they gathered so far, and they moved away to continue their scans of the planet and were clearly surprised to find millions more just like this one on the surface.

      “It must have dropped seeds down from orbit.” Someone said as scans went on, but down there with all that water they were huge, some looking more like huge slugs that loved slowly around the surface eating its fill and drinking from the lakes and rivers. But during their scans several days later one huge slug seemed to explode and they caught it on their scans and cameras. the explosion was massive, surprising everyone and they got every bit of info and added it to their next report. But a few hours later and 3 more balls were in orbit, and they saw they had been wrong again.

      “They’re females..” The researcher said” they feed and drink and gain energy then at the right moment they shoot their seeds into space and towards the sun.” She said looking shocked as a few others looked the scans over carefully.

      “Then this one didn’t drop any seeds...it IS a seed.” Got mentioned and suddenly it became clear that these plants moved along through space eating and drinking, maybe for thousands of years, and then when they find a world with water and minerals they drop down, become females and when ready shoot seeds back into space.

      “They give their lives to procreate?” Got asked as she agreed.

      “Mothers often die giving birth its the last great sacrifice. So why not plants? They gain enough energy to make that shot... fire it... casting seeds into space where they grow and drift along on sunlight and water ice forever, and when they find another world do it all again.” She added and her statements got added too and more info got sent back, and they left the planet and started towards another system looking for new worlds yet again.

      “Plants searching the Universe for water...it’s kind of romantic in a way.Thousands of years gliding along on sunlight.” The researcher added as a few agreed and the plants were soon forgotten.

      Home World got their reports and every one was scrutinized and cheered for. They were learning new things daily and their scans of asteroids showed new materials they had never seen before. if this continued then new colonies would be in order, and new Corporations making Trillions on the ship loads of rare materials that they now knew existed.

      Everyone who was anyone was getting ready for this new area, and Frank was no exception. His son Chad was training now to be a ships Captain, and his job as Second on one of Frank’s frigates was waiting on his passing grade. The new engines had proven themselves and were being improved again, now being added to a new generation of ships capable of interstellar travel in months to the nearest stars, and many were hiring crews and researchers even now to get ready for when the word was given, and the new system would be open for business.


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      Chapter 30: Land Rush


      Frank had several nice big ships, and his little carrier was sitting behind his base getting completely overhauled. The newest engines , new computers, and the newest maps from the last exploration, and he got told that he wasn’t the only one. That several people were being watched by High Command, and they wished them well, and Frank thanked them and after Chad got his feet wet in Commanding a frigate, he got sent as Second on the carrier and the new engines got tested and approved as working well and by the last day of Fall on the Home World the message was sent and permission given, and 4 ships left that day for the new system, and Franks was the largest and slowest by a just a tad, but it also had a huge cargo capacity, and many noticed they might have rushed their first trip.

      The research showed a new metal ore being called Tritite, for now. It was going to be the next big thing if all the researchers were right. Harder than steel, lighter than aluminum and completely rust and radiation resistant.

      Nothing like it had been found before and that first load or two would be worth their weight in Gold. Quite literally. 1000 credits an ounce guaranteed, and Frank saw that if he made a trip at all, then he and his Family would be set up for life.

      32 million dollars a ton...and his carrier was empty... not carrying anything not essential. So thats a LOT of ore, and he had a freighter on board set up for mining, and even if it mined easily, it would take a month to fill the ship, and then another 6 months to return home. But after that nothing would be the same again, and Chad gave him a proud salute as the ship jumped away, and the Family went back to their daily work and waited to see how well it went.

      In 6 months they arrived to see two ships mining away. They moved into position and claimed the nearest Tritite rock and started mining it. A week past then another and finally the rock was just plain dead, as tiny bits floated away from what was once 200 feet across. Now the Captain checked and saw they were carrying 100 tons of the precious ore and he gave Chad a big grin and asked what he thought, and after a minute looking the map over he pointed to another asteroid not far away, and the scans showed it contained 10% Diamonds and the Captain laughed saying why not they were already here, and after two days the freighter came in loaded to the roof, tons of the stuff, and even Chad agreed they did their best. And at that, the ship turned and started home.

      But no one thought to check it over first... no one had even considered anything but the riches before them. And when they dropped out of warp and moved to dock...small green balls less than a meter across drifted away using the Momentum they provided, and no one even noticed.

      Some found nothing... but one dropped onto a moon some distance away. It put down roots and found ice and water, and minerals that were needed. It drank and grew and slowly moved into a crater where more ice was found and as it grew, out went the signals they all send constantly, telling others water was here.

      It was more than Telepathy, more like a Hive Mind, every plant being a part of the whole, what one knew they all knew, what one saw they all saw, and the info got seen and sent on again and again and soon was read on the screens of the Masters that constructed the First Ones and sent them out millenia ago.

      It took a while for anyone to notice, after all it was 500 years ago that they had gotten another call. But they found a new world this way and today towers taller than any seen before rose above that planets land mass, some into the very edge of space. The civilization there was massive, Trillions...and growing, and now more land was needed...it always was...and so from month to month the reports got checked and the Master Computer sent a message that new people were found and new technology, and a meeting was held at once to see if they were a threat or not.

      But the speed at which they traveled, the oddly cumbersome design of their ships and odd shapes and metals they were made from...no..these new ones were no threat, but they had land and more, stations capable of carrying millions...and so it was planned to see these new ones and demand from them...as if they had a choice.

      A scout was readied and sent and as it ran into the new system ships came out to meet it, and they were told in no uncertain terms what would happen if they resisted, and that one ship destroyed a fleet before being stopped itself and high Command had researchers working around the clock to see who these new people were...and why they came here.

      Bodies of the new enemy got examined and they were shocked beyond belief. They were tiny, not even a meter tall, but their technology was impressive and deadly. The first ship...small and lightly maned...had killed ships 3x its size, and many died . It used an anti-matter beam up front and smaller cannons along the sides. Anything it touched was instantly destroyed. But armor piercing rounds ripped it up quickly because its armor was nearly non existent. They obviously thought they were invincible..and they weren’t far from the truth. If this had been a battleship with this technology, their entire system would be theirs by now.

      High Command called a meeting and every Officer was on hand either physically or virtually. The ships design was shown and the weapons specs as people all over the Federation looked sick to see it.

      “Their computers are biological, and faster than we can even comprehend.” One Admiral added as many nodded they understood the seriousness of this. “The ship was also mainly biological. They grow ships and then add the things they think they need. But truthfully, they can probably put together a fleet a day like this, if they find the land and water to power them. That seems to be their purpose, finding new lands and fresh water. The plants are scouts traveling forever looking for these things and when they find it then the main civilization moves in to take control. It wont be long before more ships come our way, and frankly, surrender is looking like our best recourse.” he added sadly as people all over whispered to themselves.

      “And if we fight?” Got asked and was quickly told that they could destroy a lot of the enemy ships..knowing what they did now...but they would lose in the end. One hit and every atom of that spot on any ship would explode instantly. Their materials weren’t strong enough, and their shields not designed to withstand an anti matter attack, and someone screamed they better fix them then because he wasn’t surrendering, and many others agreed.

      “If they use the plants as scouts then they know only what they see.” Frank offered as many agreed. “The other systems nearby haven’t been seen yet and wont unless more spores get here. They fly blind and only see whats nearby. They could find a planet, conquer it, and live there for centuries and not know there were colonies not 5 light years away, until their scouts find it.” he added as many took time to consider that.

      “So right now they know about our colonies in system 3.” Got mentioned as many agreed.” But not in the Home system or any others. If they rely on the plants only as scouts, many of our colonies wont be seen for centuries.”

      “And if we cant find a better defense by then, we deserve to die.” Frank added and that comment got a little chuckle from many who heard it. “Do we know how large their civilization is right now?” he asked and a map came up that they took from the ship’s computer, and it looked seriously like their civilization owned, or thought they owned, 1/3 of the Galaxy, all off to the side from the colonies the Federation had now.

      “That’s a lot of ships...” One man mentioned almost silently and many nodded without saying a word.

      “Then we withdraw from colony 3, leave it for them and make sure no maps of any kind stay behind they can use, and we start today to get ready for a war that might last for centuries.” Frank demanded and many agreed and the plants that were there got found and destroyed and the stations got either emptied out or destroyed as well, and every ship and citizen that had lived there got sent somewhere else and satellites were set to watch the system and scan anything that came through it, and within a year the moon had a colony on it and scans showed billions of people, as their numbers grew exponentially in a few months, and now everyone knew why they wanted the entire Galaxy... they needed the room.


      Chapter 31: Playing Defense


      Patrols were ordered to stay away from the colonies they knew existed, and research started into new shields to stop the beams from ever hitting the hull.

      ‘Barrier Shields’ became the password for this research. Other shields helped slow down incoming weapons so they had less force to work with when they did hit the hull. But an antimatter beam didn’t care if it was slow or fast once it made contact it was all over. So these new shields would...if they worked correctly...stop or deflect the beams away into space saving the ship from ever taking the hit. A lot of time and money went into this new research, and in less than a year new things were being tested, and so far the new enemy hadn’t forced their way into any other areas, and their living probes were destroyed every time one was seen.

      New safety procedures went into place and every ship was checked and scanned every time it went out and came back again. No more hitch hikers following them home, their very existence depended on it.

      “It’s amazing they don’t patrol in ships like we do..” Got mentioned in a meeting and many agreed. They were a highly advanced race in some ways but it seemed their research in the past was focused on these living probes and their automatic spreading across the galaxy. If they truly were their ‘eyes and ears’ then they would realize eventually that they were being hunted and destroyed, and anyone with a map could plot out the areas where they were disappearing...leading them right to other worlds.

      “Compared to us they certainly are patient.” Frank added and many nodded agreement. They were screaming ahead, trying to find ways to defend themselves, and new weapons were being developed too just to be ready. But the only ships they saw were smaller scouts or maybe frigate class ships. And when one of those landed on a planet, it was like the place grew buildings and other structures overnight, and considering their way of doing things...maybe they did.

      The enemy landed on one moon in colony 3, and in months cities were there and then they were full just as fast. But no huge colony ships were seen, carrying thousands or millions to the new colony. So researchers had no other choice but to assume they procreated that fast. Hundreds turned into millions in weeks not years, and so in a battle of length and time, they had an extreme advantage since Humans and other species procreated much,much slower.

      “I have a suggestion...” Frank said as he got the floor to speak. “ I think we need a different type of defense against the pods. Just running in guns blazing will attract attention from their masters, and if they truly do see what they see then we aren’t fooling them at all. They probably know we’re here...just not sure where or if there’s land they can use. They might ignore ships altogether, not looking for a fight unless a world is seen worth the risk. But it’s the pods we need to hurt. How about some type of satellites that emit strong radiation to destroy them? If we are seen too often, they may take action, but if we ring our systems with radiation belts we control, then they will rarely ever see a ship, and the plants will dry up and die without finding anything. They may even think its a Natural occurrence and stay away.” He explained and a few looked pretty thoughtful about that, and it got added to the list of new research, and the meeting was adjourned for today.

      “But isn’t that the same as destroying them in space from ships? Wont they just plot the areas they are dieing on some map and then send more probes?” Got asked but if every probe died trying they’d have to consider personal intervention, and they did seem pretty lazy when it came to things like that. Maybe that was just their way, or maybe...procreation was their entire way of life...and traveling was only done to find new worlds to colonize. A civilization thats only need was to spread across the universe without end. Now THAT was some serious breeding.

      Chapter 32: Natural Barriers to Evolution


      Within a month a researcher brought out a system that sent out radiation in a slow but steady pace. If watching for satellites or ships was their purpose then these could be disguised as rocks and asteroids but slowly seep radiation into the surrounding area.

      If they were placed inside natural formations then nothing was seen, and the deadly radiation could easily kill a floating plant going by, and keep them from finding any other systems.

      The deal was made and dozens got built and placed all along the outer rim of the system. If those plants ever came this way again they’d die finding nothing, and since natural radiation was the cause, no ships would be seen and none needed to check on their progress. In all the centuries since they started out surely times like this occurred and they just ignored that area because radiation soaked land was still dead land and their cities and mines could not survive it either.

      The expression ‘Passive Resistance’ became used for this plan, and patrols still kept eyes out for plants that might get through and when that happened they were destroyed instantly from long range. Hopefully long enough range to keep the ships from being seen, since the plants had no scanners and only visual sightings got reported.

      In a few years every system they owned became ringed in such a way and their colonies and planets were safe once again. The new enemy seemed happy to sit back and breed, their plants floating forever into space, and ignoring things like pulsars and high radiation areas.

      This gave them both places in the Universe, and research continued on shields and armor that would save them when they were needed and the Universe became a standoff, with highly motivated Humans developing ships, shields and armor for their defense and their new enemy, a civilization so slow and lazy as to ignore them completely.

      And in the last days of the Millennium thats the way the Universe stood...forever in a state of expansion in one direction or another. Humans worrying and fretting and trying to get ahead, and the New Ones, sitting back and biding their time, always sure that no matter what happened they would own the Universe someday, and their trillions of people smiled and nodded knowing that every civilization has self-destructive tendencies, and they never needed to truly fight wars because their time was endless, not so for others, so someone willing to fight was a small nuisance that would destroy themselves eventually, and nothing more...as billions of plants floated forever into new areas and colony ships ran to claim land and even as civilization after civilization came and went those plants never stopped...forever expanding the Immortal Empire.

      The End (see Humans don’t always win) lol


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      Starting a new story about a family who...rather suddenly...moves from Chicago to New England. the young man doesn't know why exactly but he will. His mother tells him that their family owns their own school...for exceptional students there...and he just shrugs it off and helps them pack. But finally she gives him a hint and he just doesn't get it. "you've been playing baseball for a few years now, and lately nobody can catch your throws. You should have realized that when you play the outfield its not normal for a sophomore to throw a 90 mph ball to home plate." lol


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