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    Thread: The Defenders a new galaxy and a new beginning

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      Cool The Defenders a new galaxy and a new beginning

      The Defenders


      Chapter 1: Back Ground


      The Mayon Empire was an ancient race, they lived for centuries in their chosen systems and lived in peace with all around them. Their technology was second to none and because of it, even their enemies smiled and bowed to them as they went by and wished for a better, or darker time or place to meet. But as time went on they fell into a peaceful rut, and even their science community moved away from weapons and a strong military and into other, more peaceful endeavors. Their massive ships became museum pieces and many were dismantled for use as other things. And all the while, people all around them watched and waited knowing that a peaceful civilization is a weak civilization, and they gathered more ships and better men and women and watched as their powerful neighbor silently ignored the rest of the galaxy and instead focused on other areas of science and great strides were made and things built that a decade before would have been unthinkable even for them.

      The Council was not however totally oblivious to the situation and the Council President demanded that they be more serious about their own defense, as many laughed at him behind his back.

      “We are the greatest civilization ever conceived, we have technology that was never dreamed of before, no one would dare bother us, and they don’t need to, we will trade all of our technology to others for peace, so wars are a thing of the past.” They openly said, as even the President knew that wasn’t completely true. They had forever refused to sell weapons technology, and that alone made their enemies think they were light years ahead of others, and it had been true. In the past their weapons were so very advanced that it became known that no war would last more than a few days, and the research into newer and better weapons stopped, and they moved on to other things as their war machines sat there, waiting on a conflict that had never come.

      But now, as years past the Council itself started getting requests to dismantle and the President refused, saying that apathy was the greatest enemy of all and many others started getting ready to demand the end of all military and defensive testing and research and he demanded that a minimal size navy was necessary as others around them got stronger and stronger, but they didn’t listen and they never changed at all, until finally not a single man or woman was trained to use the equipment, and the military for all apparent purposes, disappeared from their worlds.

      The only things left now were the drone fighters, forever moving up and down the side of the systems, watching for pirates or other offensive ships that might enter without permission. They were the last ships built for defense and they were more than a century old now and even repairs seemed to be hard to come by. But they did their best and their scans and reports made it back to the Council month after month, and it became plain that things were not as peaceful along the outer boarders than it had always been. The drones were being tested, almost weekly now, by larger, manned ships from outside the Empire and as these attacks became known to everyone, many smiled, saying that the ‘smaller worlds’ were feeling their growing pains and tested their betters, but the President said no, they were trying to either destroy the defenses or capture the drones for their own uses, and the other Governors and Councilmen laughed saying they didn’t have the technology to do even that, and ignored him once more as he started to feel that only his mind was working any more.

      The last building for military training was now a museum, but he ordered a small area of it made ready, and started gathering a few young people to test his theory. If he was right, they couldn’t even be trained, much less do the job, and a few months of intensive work later and it showed the truth. Many generations of peace and higher education had made them lose their instinct for survival, and though they had more than enough mental abilities, the will to use them for defense or offense was gone, and he saw a world of planners and thinkers, but not a single warrior among them.

      He called a meeting of his advisors and when all the facts were shown they looked sad to think that their civilization was nothing more than the schools it ran and a few old drones that held back every war machine in existence, and that was a lot. While they sat by watching the ‘lesser worlds’ fight each other for resources and land, they had become complacent and weak. All the instincts that a people had inside them for survival was gone, replaced with higher level thought, and compassion even for their enemies. but in a time of war, they froze, they had no idea what to do, even if it was shown to them, their people couldn’t do it. So great was the change that came over them during their centuries of peace and prosperity.

      “Then how do we survive after this? What are our options?” He asked sadly as many ideas came forth, like a new generation of drones, and he agreed and research started into those, but he wanted more and they had to pull out the last weapons research, now 200 years old and see what could be used autonomously, since not a single person would use it in battle.

      “I believe we’re blindly dancing around the truth here...” The Master of Biology, Carl Griffon said as everyone looked his way, “ our civilization has failed, as a civilization, not as a people. We can and do research and build, but we lack the skills and instincts to use what we make. Our people live life in a bubble of peace and tranquility and that is no longer true, as we have serious enemies, some that we helped supply ourselves. If we are to survive, we need new blood, new people to add to our own genetic diversity to regain the instincts we have lost, and the military side of our world.”

      “But that would take decades of genetic research and we just don’t have the time to recreate ourselves so quickly.” He heard as he shook his head no.

      “Not ‘rebuild ourselves’ at all, I mean...literally....adding to us. We have the technology to see other worlds, we watch them from here and with dimensional scanners and drones, we know for a fact many young planets outside our area have good people that lack the technology to see space like we can. If we make an offer ...to the right people, then have them come here to live, we can begin defending our worlds and adding to our genetics immediately. Even our best genetic splicing and rewriting would take a century to see good results, and besides, sometimes the old way is better, we have other problems... genetically, that this would also solve.” He added as many whispered among themselves but the Council President agreed and a plan to see what could be done was set up and the Master of Biology was put in charge and he began looking for ways to test young people from other worlds to see who had what it took to become the next generation of Mayon, and to save their world and civilization from permanent stagnation.

      So many ships, so little time

    2. #2
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      And so the race begins to save a master race from its own foolishness. Will they find help in time? Will they let outsiders rule their military while they sit back and build new machines for them? And will their old friends become new enemies, when they discover that they are no longer either willing or capable of defending themselves? Stay tuned, same bat time, same bat channel...lol

      So many ships, so little time

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      Chapter 2: Ken



      Master Griffon was all smiles as he saw the results of his first months work. There were 5 planets that he was watching and they had many good candidates on them. Many had games that artificially created space and left people see if they could make a living while getting along with others and making friends. Some did very well, while others forced their way, using shortcuts and cheats and he wrote them off right away. If they brought new people out here they had to understand that they would need to live on their own, after a small start provided by their government of course. They would not be made military at all, but independent pilots of a new generation of craft and they were being planned and made ready even now as he was asked daily when his research would bring them their first new ‘colonists’. He was being stern though, he wanted only those that had great skills and weren’t afraid to use them while still showing compassion for others, and having a moderate amount of intelligence.

      They had to fit into the new civilization without major turmoil and still bring the skills with them they needed to do the job, and his outline for their new plan was seen and approved. Pilots that stopped or killed enemy ships would be given rewards including a chance at better ships later on, and money of course as bounties. Then as they grew to see the universe around them maybe even their own businesses, and some stations were set aside to show they had something to work towards. Not only did he want them to fight for them, but he wanted to see what many might call ‘improper fraternization’ between their people. And with that new people would be made to add their genetics to the populous and that would save them for generations to come.

      The Mayon had long ago defeated many of the universes problems, like diseases and obesity. They were in fine shape, every last one of them and they were attractive to anyone who saw them. Tall and thin, but not sickly thin just in great condition, with muscles rippling on the men and women in nice shape, with their normal silver gray hair and snug body-suits that were standard for many occupations, they made more than one man take a second look.That attractiveness with their good attitudes and fine looking bodies, would certainly help his cause, and he made a short list of 5 to start and made plans to bring them here, or at least offer to, since abductions would only cause more troubles later, they had to agree to come and he had some small dimensional shuttles made ready to gather those who agreed, and he started making the necessary information available to those that he had chosen, to see how well this first string accepted or rejected his offer.

      Kenneth Haskell got home from his job and laid back on the bed for a minute. He was beat, but you need to start at the bottom to make it to the top, thats what his father had always preached to him, and now here he was just starting out as a graduate from their schools mandatory education program and was working to support himself. He lived upstairs above the garage in his own little apartment that his father helped him set up to give him some ‘privacy’ for a young man at his age, like he was worried about that right now.

      He got a job working construction while going to school in the evenings studying to become an engineer. He didn’t want to work on buildings forever, but design them thats where the big money was, and he slowly got up and got a bite to eat and then sat down to play his favorite game for a while before going to bed.

      On this game he owned several ships from small things for one man to larger ships with a full crew. He had been in a battle yesterday and had lost people, so today, while his ship was being repaired, he needed to buy some more people... or hire them as it said, and he looked to see what he needed. He lost his first shift navigator, so he needed a new one but those with skills he wanted were pretty expensive, but to get where you want to go and back safely it was a necessity, so he hired the best he could get and assigned him to his cruiser. Then he ordered a few marines, since his last boarding attempt failed miserably, and that made the ship safe to fly at least, and he gathered a new medic, because he knew that fighting was as necessary as living, and he wanted his people to have a fighting chance even if they got hurt.

      That set him up again for now, and as he looked over some new ships at the shipyard a message popped up on the screen and it surprised him. It had never happened before but he watched as a list of new vessels, all very,very high tech was shown and he decided that he had passed some milestone somewhere and an entirely new line of vessels was being offered and he smiled widely. They looked pretty nice, nothing like the little ships from before, and when it asked if he’d like to see one, he agreed and the message went away for a minute and then came back...with instructions to where to go see it....on his world... right down the street, not more than a mile out of town, and he sat back with a thump and stared at the screen as it blinked the message over and over that asked : “ will you come?” and after a minute he agreed,and grabbed his coat and jumped on his electric motorcycle and ran to see if this was true or not, before it got too dark to see.

      He rode like a madman and made it there without stopping to talk to anyone and he got off the bike at a small field. He looked around and saw nothing but waving grass around knee high. He turned and looked on the other side of the road and nothing was there but trees, but when he turned around again, there was small blue and white ship sitting there in the field, not a hundred yards away, and his eyes popped out of their sockets. He walked slowly towards it and when he arrived he looked up at the cockpit now just over his head and then walked down the edge of the wings and around the back. It was small, by military standards here, but it had a look that just screamed ‘fast’, and it had that supersonic, long thin thing going on, like it could do Mach 5 in an instant and he nodded in appreciation.

      He went back to the front and tried to see in but it was too high and finally he just said right out loud...”Is there a ladder or something I cant see in like this.” and a minute later the legs it was sitting on lowered it to the ground and the cockpit opened as the top slid back to show a small seat and blue glass on three sides, nothing more, just blue glass, as he slid into the seat and looked around lights came on and just as he started to jump out again, a small 12 in wide screen came on with a mans face on it, and Ken sat back down to see what was going on.

      “Who are you?” he asked as the man smiled at him for a second.

      “We are the Mayon...” He answered as Ken nodded and waited for more. “Like it?”

      “Sure, whats not to like, it seems very high tech I really like the blue glass dash and hidden instrumentation.” Ken went on as the man nodded, all smiles. “ Is this a light fighter? In the games I play thats the average for a small ship like this.”

      “No, this is only a shuttle we don’t use light fighters any more...” The man said and looked sad. “ But I need to ask you something. Would you agree to come live with us, on my world? We need young men and women who can fight our enemies and fly our ships. Our people are no longer capable of doing it for ourselves, you see. So we need you and many more like you.” He said all too seriously as Ken looked shocked.

      “But...I’ve never really flown anything. I just play games on my computer, thats all.” Ken insisted as the man smiled and agreed.

      “We’ll train you, and give you your first ship,one better than this.” The man said as Ken swallowed hard thinking that he was being offered a ship, and a job, on another world.

      “There are problems you need attended to there?” Ken asked straight out as the man looked surprised he could ask like that, but he agreed.

      “We build the most high tech devices and ships imaginable, and we sell to others, but some are getting more violent with us. Our ships are attacked and our businesses take losses, and we cant do that type of thing ourselves any more, so we need to recruit new people.” Ken heard as he nodded he understood, at least a little.

      “As you can tell, we are human, like you. Our people are smart, our intelligence is our most prideful creation, but to get it we gave up too much.” The man said and looked very upset with himself. “ but...we have great health as will you, our medical specialists are nearly perfect, as is our young women.” He said with a wink as even Ken smiled for a minute.

      “When do you need to know ?” Ken asked as the man looked surprised he could ask, with him sitting there ready to leave. “ I need a few minutes to think.”

      “Very well but hurry, even your people will see this sitting here soon, and we can not allow that.” The man said as the screen went blank and rejoined the rest of the glass like it had never been there. Ken got out and walked quickly back to his bike,and took the key from his pocket and stuck it in the ignition. Then he pulled out his coms devise and made a call and his mom was on the link a second later.

      “Where are you? Your father said you ran out like a bullet and jumped on the bike and disappeared. Whats going on?” She demanded as Ken smiled at her.

      “I had a job interview to get to.” he said as she looked happy to hear it wasn’t something odd. “ I decided to go, to...another country...” he lied as her face fell. “ they are here waiting for me, and I cant take the bike along. You’ll find it outside town about two miles on the right, have dad come get it and take it home, the keys are in it.”

      “Outside of town, what kind of job interview is way out there?” She asked, while waving and running, as he smiled widely at her shock.

      “I’ll call when I can or visit when possible,” he went on as she just nodded agreement, “ don’t forget come get the bike.”

      “Ken, wait, whats really going on?” She asked looking scared as he walked back towards the little ship, and he turned the coms camera to show it to her,as her voice refused to work, now nothing but a soft squeak. “I’ll be fine mom, don’t worry.” And with that he closed the coms and slid back into the little cockpit and as the screen came on he nodded he was ready, and the cockpit closed and a minute later it lifted off vertically for a hundred feet, and as he looked out he saw his dads car coming to a sliding stop next to the bike, and they both jumped out as the little ship disappeared into nothingness right before their eyes.

      So many ships, so little time

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      Chapter 3: Krystopher and Casi



      Krystopher Hawking was walking home from a friends house late on a Saturday evening when his coms buzzed and he opened it to see a face he didn’t recognized at all.

      “Sorry don’t want any...” he said and started to close it as the man laughed right out loud at him and he stopped to see why.

      “How do you know? I haven’t offered anything yet,” the man mentioned as Krys did smile for a second and waited to hear the usual sales pitch that would end suddenly when he finally did hang up on him. “I saw you playing that game tonight, your quite skilled at planning what you want ahead of time. It shows a certain degree of intelligence many don’t use in that situation, its called strategy.”

      “How could you know...” Krys started as the man waved it away like it was nothing to worry about.

      “We are in need of some young people, people like you that have certain skills we lack,” He heard as Krys nodded without thinking. “ would you be interested in coming to my world for a while and working for me? The chances at advancement are great, and the extra money would certainly help your family wouldn’t it?” He asked as Krys stopped short and leaned on a wall next to an ally and wondered how this person knew him and his family so well.

      “Who are you, really?” Krys asked as the man gave him a short bow.

      “We are the Mayon...” the man said as Krys looked like he might faint any minute, “ and I can come get you if your interested, we’ll train you and give you a ship for your own, like some you’ve used in the games you play, and all we ask is that you stay with us and help defend our worlds from invaders.”

      “And I take it that asking for help on other worlds is happening because there ARE invaders?” Krys asked as the man nodded slowly.

      “You’ll get free training, a place to live until your self-sufficient, and a ship to start you out, then you’ll have the ability to make as much or as little as you like depending on what path you choose, and we can even see to it that some of your earnings get transfered back home for you, so your mother can get the medical treatments she needs. We might even send one of our own medics to see her and give her treatments that your world doesn’t even possess yet.” The man hinted as Krys looked shocked that his dream of taking care of his family was finally coming true.

      “With those conditions, I’ll do it, come get me,” He said quickly as the man nodded and he gave him directions to an empty lot just two blocks over and Krys started that way but before he got there, he called home and told his mother he had a job, a good job, and that he’d send money back for her and maybe have a doctor stop by sometime and she nodded she understood, and coughed harshly for a moment and then asked him to be careful, and he agreed he would as he closed the devise and stood there, looking at the empty lot. But a second later a small ship just appeared there and lowered itself to the ground as he walked over and slid in and it then closed and lifted up to clear the nearby buildings and disappeared in an instant.

      Cassiopeia Rollins was working with her grandmother in the fields of their family farm. It was a hard life but the people of their community helped each other, and together they managed to get by with what they could grow or make for themselves. The big city dwellers had it much better, but the gap between haves and have nots was huge and even though millions worked to keep up their high standard of living , the average person had little more than the cloths on their backs and a small dwelling to live in.

      Casi had come to live with her grandmother when both her parents died in an accident in a factory a few years ago. Now, she worked daily in the fields and then went to school to get a diploma that she was sure would be as worthless as the so called ‘councillor’ was that pushed her towards it.

      She was almost convinced that she’d have nothing, be nothing and only get married when the time came to help out her family or to guarantee herself a place to live if something happened to her grandmother someday. But that was a long ways off yet since they were both in fine condition. Hard work has a simple side effect of helping the healthy stay that way while weeding out the weak and sick, as she had seen in the past.

      She stopped for a minute to wipe sweat away while her grandmother called for her and she went to get something to eat before it got dark out and the solar power got low again, but as she sat down to eat, her coms buzzed and she excused herself to answer it as her grandmother teased her about ‘some young man’ calling and she laughed at her for it. She stepped outside onto the porch and saw the man smiling at her and she smiled back and asked if there was anything she could do for him and he nodded and said he represented a new world. A world where she could become anything she wished for, and make as much cash as she desired, and Casi laughed at him until she saw his face. He was truly serious and he mentioned she had skills he needed and that they would send a ride to get her and she looked scared and hopeful at the same time.

      “What skills would those be, exactly?” She demanded and her face showed she misunderstood him completely as he took a minute to explain, and her stern face dropped and he smiled and waited for her to regain her composure.”A pilot...of a spacecraft... defending your worlds from attack, and I get free training, a place to live AND a free ship afterword?” She asked loudly,as he nodded agreement and her face lit up like a million LEDS were in it and she agreed, asking when they would come, and even while she was asking, a small ship lowered from the sky and landed in their front yard and Casi screamed and jumped back for a minute n shock, as her grandmother ran out to see why.

      “My God...what is that!?” She demanded as Casi caught her breath and explained as her grandmother looked shocked and nodded to her explanation without thinking.

      “Its a new world and a new chance for me,” Casi whispered in her ear as she hugged the older lady, who nodded she understood, but still looked like it was all a dream. “ I’ll visit or return someday, I can do that right?” She asked the man on the screen as he mentioned that once she got her own ship, she could do whatever she liked with it, but there were rules about giving away their technology and she’d learn all about those in her training and she agreed.

      “Then I’ll go,” Casi said seriously as her grandmother nodded in shocked silence and she gave her a huge hug and went to see inside as the little ship lowered itself to the ground and Casi slid in and waved to her grandmother,as the cockpit slid shut and the little ship lifted off once more and her grandmother waved and smiled her best smile, thinking this was the last time she’d ever see her granddaughter alive.

      So many ships, so little time

    5. #5
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      Now where do I download this ”GAME”?????
      Now on a more serious note, great story, Kev I can sense a lot of Epicness in it

      "Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum."-Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus
      (If you want peace, prepare for war.)
      Path to Profit Vol. I-The birth of Armacorp Alpha and The Nomadic Manufacturer(concept, flaws, potential solutions)

      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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      every world would have its own sci fi stuff, so its not a single game, one might be space warfare, another colonization, another trade. The idea is they have the means to see what your made of, and if you have any hidden desires that would cause them trouble later. Basically they might even build a game and then release it on another world, and sit back and see how people respond to it. And yes, this is not going to be a short story...lol.

      So many ships, so little time

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      Chapter 4: Recruitment Continues




      The back of the old museum hadn’t seen so much attention since the old days when it had been the prime military training center in the Capitol. Now there were a handful of teachers, gathered for their expertise in the needed fields of piloting, weapons use, power consumption, resupply and repair,and economics. These few classes would give the new people a chance to see and understand the new world they’d be entering and defending, and the old school dorms were cleaned and made ready as the first shuttle landed out back and the first young man was led in and shown where to stay until they called for him.

      The Master watched as the first person made it to the training center. He was well built, young and had blond hair, something that would make him stand out on their world of the ‘same of everything’ that their genetics research had given them. Of course they too had small people, tall people, chunkier people, but they all had the same hair color, a sort of platinum blond, and they had gotten used to it, but that was over now for sure, he thought with a smile. Ken walked into the dorm, led by the landing pad guard and soon was getting settled in as they gave him new cloths, a uniform they designed with medium blue color on all but the trim and that was bright white. They’d get gold wings for their uniform after they passed the necessary tests and that would tell everyone they met they were special, as if their looks alone wouldn’t. The uniform had their name on it too, to help anyone who wanted to talk to them or each other, until they met and got used to seeing them here.

      In an hour another shuttle settled down, and another young man got out, this time a little taller and with jet black hair, so black it shined in the sun and Master Griffon smiled again, another young man that many would be wanting to meet, and he approved even before it started. He too went to the dorms and got his new cloths and just a few minutes later the third landed and the only young woman so far.

      Cassiopeia was tall too, and muscular for a young woman, but that was from hard work, her file reported. She walked into the dorms like she had been there her whole life. No holding back, no frightened look, just ‘lets get on with it’ on her face and a small smile. She too would be a shock to see since her hair color was bright red, and she was anything but flat and ‘normal’ looking. He could see some young men that would want to spend time talking to her as well, and his plan to restart their genetics seemed closer than ever, as she was led away. That was the first group, since the other two he asked refused him. But that was fine, being timid wasn’t a crime, or every person on their planet would be criminals, and he left them go without any argument at all. But these three seemed strong and thats what they needed and he left the teachers know to ready the study room, because their first students had arrived.

      Later that day, a person came and got them and waved for them to follow. They went down the hall and around a corner and was waved into a room with seats that looked odd for any classroom they had ever seen before. Ken looked around at the other two, the first time they all saw each other and said something, but the others looked oddly at him and he realized they didn’t understand, and he laughed a bit before getting sat down, quite literally, in a seat and each of the others got the same treatment, and the person left and a teacher walked in all smiles.

      “Well, I know this seems fast, but lets run some preliminary tests shall we?” He said as everyone nodded and said nothing. “ lean back and relax, make sure your heads are against the headrest,” he instructed, as Ken looked around at the chair he was in. It resembled a scoop of some kind, like it was concave with black plastic body and red padding for the seat, arms and headrest. He also saw that the headrest had some...speakers or something, and as he was investigating this, the teacher gave a loud ‘ahem’ and he finally smiled and sat back.

      The chair was very comfortable and he felt he could have a nice nap there and as the teacher smiled and opened the controls, he did, along with everyone there, and he had no idea why he was so tired, but he slept soundly for a while, while the man in front of the room made some scans and nodded seriously.

      These new people, from three different worlds were nearly identical in brain design, just as they thought they’d be, and he made sure the seats were calibrated for each of them before starting the first program, and as it started he saw some young people outside the door, peeking around the corner and trying not to be seen and he smiled and waved for them to enter, as two young women and a young man walked in looking very surprised indeed.

      “These are the aliens then?” One young woman asked and he nearly had to grab her to stop her from running over and touching them while their class went on.

      “Yes...their humans just like us...well... not just like us, they have greater instincts for survival than we do. They aren’t afraid to fight to survive and they have good intelligence too. I almost had to yell at the one young man who looked like he’d dismantle the chair before I got his lesson started.” he said and everyone got a chuckle from the story.

      “They’ll be around for a while so tell everyone. They’re nice young people, kind and gentle and strong too, so lets make sure they get along, OK?” he asked as they agreed and as they turned to go the one girl was still staring very,very closely at Casi, and the teacher asked her not to bother the students while class was going on and she smiled and stepped out into the hall and was heard asking the others if they thought that was her real hair color or not, and the teacher got a good chuckle from it. These new kids were getting noticed already, more than usual because in the past, no one would even consider walking in on a class in session, not like the students would ever know, but he had been given orders to make them available to others when possible, and today seemed like a good start.

      So many ships, so little time

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      WEEKEND BONUS


      Chapter 5: First Lunchtime



      When they woke up they all felt really refreshed, and Casi yawned and stretched for a second until they heard a soft bell sound and they all looked forward to see the teacher watching and waiting.He then reached up and took out a small devise from his right ear and laid it on the desk and smiled.

      “You can understand me now, correct?” He asked as they each agreed. “when we talked to you before, we used these...” he said holding up the tiny ear-bud for them to see. You’ll each get one later for talking to other civilizations, but now, your new language is Mayan and you can talk to everyone you meet now and be understood. Thats why we rushed this first lesson, without it you’d need an interpretor full time, and thats completely unnecessary.” He mentioned with a huge grin and Ken looked around and smiled and introduced himself and Cassiopeia and Krystopher did the same.

      “Now that thats over, we’ll take a break. Its lunchtime and thats a great start in letting you be seen by other people. A few were here while you slept, and saw you and your hair color got some real attention.” he mentioned as Casi looked surprised but the guys didn’t seem worried at all.

      “Is it odd here, my hair color?” Casi asked as the man smiled and said that everyone on their world had the same hair color, but now just these three would have different colors, so they all would stand out badly for a while, until more students came. “great... I was hoping to fit in here.”

      “I’m sure you will, our people are friendly above all else, you’ll see. Let me show you to the lunch area, and don’t be too surprised, since this will be your first time being seen in public.” he mentioned as he waved them along and they walked down a hall and up another then as they rounded a corner, many people were standing talking and he waved and said 'hi’ and as they walked by, and the hallway... and then the room inside... got deadly quiet, and even the guys had an odd look on their faces as the teacher showed them how to order meals and what was available to them, and it became another lesson, as Ken looked around the room at all the young people staring and one young girl who was busy waving and smiling and he thought she looked like she’d rush up to him any second, but she didn’t, until they got their meals and sat down and the teacher nodded approval, and many there rushed in to ask a million questions and it looked like they’d barely get a chance to eat at all.

      “Alright, alright...” The teacher called after a while and the other kids walked away whispering and laughing to themselves. “ they’ll be here for meals from now on for the next few weeks, so please be civil.” And everyone smiled and nodded as they left, all but the one little girl with the big smile and short gray hair, who sat there next to Ken asking more questions, and leaning so close he could barely move, until the teacher actually had to take her by the arm and help her up from her chair.

      “I’ll be back to talk later...” She whispered as she was led away and Casi laughed saying Ken had a girl right off the bat and he shook his head no looking sad and upset, saying they had it all wrong.

      “Didn’t you hear her? She’s a UFO and alien nut, just like some freaks back home, only here... I AM the alien.” He said looking upset as she got a good chuckle from it and he gave her a big grin a minute later. “ And you are too, she’ll get around to you soon you just wait.” He mentioned as she didn’t look as happy as she was a minute ago.

      “We’re all aliens here,” Krys mentioned seriously,as they all agreed, “ in some strange way we’re a group here almost like a family, even though we started out on three different worlds. Here, we’re the same.” He added as Ken nodded agreement and Casi did too. They might be a class of aliens but that first day they realized they only had each other to understand the problems they’d run into, like Ken and his alien hunter, and who knew what else.

      “But she is cute, maybe she wants your alien babies,” Krys mentioned with an obvious wink, as Casi nearly choked on her drink and Ken gave him a dirty look for it. “ hey, you never know.” He said going back to eating before the teacher returned to lead them back to the room for another lesson, this time...'health and sex education on Maya’ like they didn’t see that one coming.

      By the end of the day they had two successful classes, and were all embarrassed to death as they walked back towards their rooms. ‘Sex education’ on Maya was not what they had seen or heard about on their worlds. They actually taught you ABOUT sex here, in great... or gory detail, depending on who might be ask. It was a sort of ‘all you ever wanted to know,but where afraid to ask’ lesson and no one said a word about it after class, and everyone knew that was for the best.

      The next surprise was when they got ready for bed. It never got dark here, the planet was locked into position with full time sunlight around the clock, and when it was time to sleep, the window blinds on the windows, as well as the windows themselves, got dark, until there was no light getting in. The ‘day and night cycle’ was set at 22/12 hours, and everyone would have to get used to that from now on. As they each had to adjust and get as much sleep as possible that first night.

      The next day they were back at the class room, and the teacher was different today. Today they were studying ships and weapons, and they learned about the many different and varied sizes they had built in the past. And that there hadn’t been a new armed ship built for over 300 years. But now they were working on a new class of ship, just for them, but it would be a while before all the details got figured out, so they weren’t going to get any anytime soon.

      That was OK with them anyways, since they had a lot to learn about command, and crews and what and when to fight. Ken seemed to jump right into it though and the questions and answers after the class were largely him and the teacher, until Krys asked him to just sit down and shut up, and the teacher chuckled and Casi joined in and finally Ken saw he was stretching the lesson further than it needed to be and he left it go for now.

      “Enthusiasm is good, especially when your very lives are at stake,” The teacher mentioned as Ken nodded seriously and Krys rolled his eyes and looked away. As far as he was concerned saying that was unnecessary. They all understood that if they weren’t careful, or lucky, they’d die out here. But if things worked out, then they would have a life beyond anything they could have ever hoped for back home.



      Chapter 6: The Rush



      Three weeks and two dozen classes and a few tours later, they were all well taught, as well as well known. They were the first class and while Master Griffon had a dozen more ready to ask, the President was getting heat from above and he had to call a halt until they could prove they had done the right thing. Now the research people were getting the heat, and they refused to hurry, saying their very reputations were on the line, as the first ship designers to make and manufacture a new ship in 300 years, their names would go down in history, for the good or bad and they weren’t taking any chances.

      “Classes in space have been just flying around in shuttles,” The main instructor said on the coms and the President nodded he understood.

      “The borders are erupting in violence, an autonomous freighter convoy was destroyed and the cargo salvaged just yesterday. Now those fools that said it couldn’t happen are screaming for us to do something.” He said as the man agreed that things were getting worse. “Do whatever you have to, see to it they are ready as soon as possible, and I’ll rush the research teams as much as I can.” He said and closed the link as the teachers all sat back after the video conference and wondered what to do. The kids were there too, sitting back listening and finally when everyone else had had their say, Ken stood up and ask the obvious question no one else had before.

      “If things are getting bad so quickly, where are the old ships that you made years and years ago? Surely with your technology, you can patch up a couple for a temporary patrol.” he mentioned as the men there shook their heads ‘no’ and looked sad, saying that all the old ships had been destroyed or de-commissioned and sold as scrap, century’s ago.

      “Are you sure? I keep hearing that you made thousands once upon a time, but not a single one escaped the scrap yard? Thats hard to believe.” he insisted as the Master finally stood up and nodded and turned to the other teachers and waved for them to follow.

      They walked to a large control room and he waved them to sit and as they did he ordered a ‘Full Empire Sweep’ of ships that had ever been built and what happened to them, and they groaned, as he gave them a look that could freeze water, and their hands started flying a mile a second over the glass and pictures of ships of all kinds flashed on and off for over an hour, as he stood back watching over their shoulders and one by one they were all identified and written off as scrap, or being used as space universities, or old training centers, or finally, as ‘technology samples’ of their time. And they brought up a list of 6 ships still intact from all over the Empire, and Master Griffon looked surprised that they found even those.

      “Technology Samples’ basically they were prototypes for their class, and instead of keeping the blueprints on stock for centuries, we kept one of each kind of ship. Of course that hasn’t happened either for hundreds of years, but thank the heavens things stored in space don’t degrade.” He mentioned as the teachers looked like they’d faint from the rush he put them into and the three kids walked over to see.

      “Whats that one?” Krys asked as they tapped the screen and it got bigger and its full information package opened and its specs, from that long ago.

      “ Convoy Escort, class: Light Corvette. Crew: 6... 2 engineers, 2 mechanics one navigator and a coms officer, and of course the captain. Back then it was a starter ship for young officers, so many were commanded by a new Leutenent.” He heard as he looked the specs over.

      “5 AU per hour, is that fast?” he asked as the teachers got a chuckle.

      “Back then it was very fast, today, our shuttles can outrun it in a second,” Griffon said as Krys nodded he understood.

      “Then it needs upgraded,” he said as everyone looked around at him to see of he was serious, and they saw his face and beyond a doubt, he was. “two turrets, both beam weapons, capable of either cutter beams or burning beams it says, whats the difference?”

      “A cutter beam uses polarized particles to cut through armor and anything else it touches, its really not hot at all, but like a huge knife blade. The burner beam is the exact opposite, it cuts through the hull, and often set off explosions on board as the enormous heat hits the oxygen rich atmosphere inside, burning everything it touched.” he said as Krys nodded he understood, and the questions had turned into yet another lesson.

      “And this one?” Casi asked as another ship came up, a bigger one and they told her it was a freighter, an armed freighter from the old military. It too had twin turrets one front and one back, and lots of room inside, but it wasn’t made for fighting, only self-defense while hauling loads of materials. “ and yet it had the same weapons as a light corvette.” She added, pointing at the screen while the men there had to admit it was true.

      “Add another beam weapon on the bottom, and maybe a missile launcher, and you have a corvette, or light cruiser maybe, just using the main body from the freighter, and adding new more modern parts.” She said with a flare at the end and even Master Griffon had to admit it would be possible, and weeks faster than making something totally new.

      “So...then... if you like that one and you that one let me see....” Ken said as he looked the remaining ships over, but they were all larger and ugly as sin, to him. “ Which one is the smallest of these?”

      “This one,” One man said as a bigger picture came up. It had a certain ‘tough’ look about it but it seemed a little boxy, and had too many straight lines and square corners for his taste, but then it was a temporary fix, so he admitted that with new weapons and upgraded engines it might work, and the teachers all nodded as notes were made and sent and the entire school got behind getting them and dragging or flying them to a repair base and then, getting the repairs and upgrades started. It would take a week for each at least but they’d have ships capable of scaring the **** out of someone, as Ken said and even the teachers got a big smile that these old pieces of scrap might be of use after all.

      So many ships, so little time

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      Ahhh nothing like a good read to start the day with a smile on my face and loads of stamina
      Thanks Kev, keep up the good work

      "Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum."-Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus
      (If you want peace, prepare for war.)
      Path to Profit Vol. I-The birth of Armacorp Alpha and The Nomadic Manufacturer(concept, flaws, potential solutions)

      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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      Chapter 7: Rebirth



      Several days went by and finally they were informed that the ships were all at an old base in orbit of one of their worlds, just outside the core sectors.

      “Elan III...” The Master said as a picture came up for them to see, “ the planet itself is a water world, only its a tad too far away from the sun, so its covered mostly in heavy layers of ice. The base was put there for defense purposes, and was one of the last bases to be closed. Now, of course we have a new crew there getting started on the repairs and re-fits. All the ships are there now so if you’d like, you can grab a shuttle and go see them, the bases life support is up and running and the parts have arrived, so things are well under way.”

      “And weapons?” Ken asked as Griffon looked less than thrilled.

      “We cant find much so far, we have a few turret beams, mostly light duty that will fit. Great for small ships but larger vessels wont be too impressed, but until we can make a few new ones, these will have to do.” he insisted as Ken didn’t look too happy. “ Hopefully, just seeing military crafts again will give the enemies something to think about, and if they attack, then with draw until reinforcements arrive, and make the call letting us know what you’ve found. Its not a war yet, so if we show signs of awakening our military, they may think twice.” Griffon said as Krys didn’t look too convinced either.

      “I think they’ll test us, just like they have been the drones, which by the way are still out there, right if we need assistance?” He asked as Griffon nodded but said their numbers had been reduced drastically while they were training. “ Great...” Krys added while looking a little upset.

      “Lets get going then, there’s a lot to do,” Ken added as everyone agreed and a shuttle was made ready and the three of them got on board and it disappeared into space and docked at the base less than an hour later. They walked off to applause from the workers and engineers that had already been there getting things going and Casi and Krys made it a point to wave to everyone as Ken made a bee line for his new ship and the repairs and re-fits that were going on now. He wanted to make very,very sure that everything worked, and he knew he’d need some help with it, since it was large enough to have a full crew, even though ‘full crew’ meant 12 people, he’d have the last say who would accompany him on this first mission.

      He entered while everyone seemed busy and some didn’t even see him go by. Those that did only stopped for a second and then went back to work, many times faster than before, and he made his way to the bridge and took a seat in the Command chair as one engineer walked up quickly and mentioned not to boot up anything yet since many conduits were still off line, and Ken nodded and thanked him as the man went back to work. Ken decided to remember that name from his uniform and would mention it later. Out of all the people he saw this was the only man to actually talk to him and he did it in a professional way, not whining or bitching about the work, and Ken appreciated that.

      He sat back looking the bridge over for a few minutes, the outside was ugly to him but the inside had a sort of warm and professional feeling at the same time. He watched as people pulled out panels that didn’t look much newer than some on his world, and replaced them with the new blue glass panels that he had seen up until now. As he sat there another man walked in watching his notes carefully and he walked over to see one young woman getting some work done on a new panel and he shook his head sadly and criticized her for it.

      “Not like that...like this...its more comfortable for the operator and more efficient in times of combat. Those aliens will expect more than we can give them so make sure it at least looks the way its supposed to!” he demanded as she tried hard not to look around at Ken sitting there as the man went on about doing things properly no matter who it was for... and they could just wait for it, and Ken smiled and waited for the other foot to drop, as the man turned away from her and started towards him, probably thinking he’d get something done on the chair itself, but when he looked up he saw the chair was occupied,and he dropped his note pad to the floor on the spot, and began to babble gibberish as someone behind him got a giggle from it.

      Ken got up slowly and stepped down next to him and smiled widely, then patted the man on the shoulder and smiled point blank right into his face as the man looked like he’d faint from the shock.

      “Christian, heh?” Ken asked looking at the mans name tag on his uniform,as the man nodded slowly, “ I like you, your my new chief engineer, make sure things are done properly for us, Chief.” He said as he walked off the bridge and the engineer stood there, frozen,and looked like he might have wet himself, as his whole world had just come to an end.

      After that, Ken was a lot happier, he didn’t want people around him that kissed his butt, he wanted people that did the job no matter what, and he found one, that was one man he didn’t need to interview later, and he remembered the first man too, and decided that made another one, and his crew started taking shape in his mind. So now he went for a walk to see how everyone else was doing and found Casi watching the turrets getting replaced from the docks and her ship really was a good bit bigger than his, at least just from first glance.

      “Done staring at yours already?” She asked as he walked up and he laughed about it.

      “I checked it out and hired my first crewmember, the Chief Engineer,” he added while she nodded,looking impressed. “ Hows it going here?”

      “I’m not too sure about these little guns...” She said pointing to one sitting on the dock, waiting to go on the ship. It didn’t look too impressive, not compared to what was coming off, anyways.

      “I’m not either, but I’ll have my guy see what can be done to beef them up a little. After all, the enemy has seen these before in the drones, and that hasn’t stopped them yet.” He added as she agreed, not looking very happy either.

      “Did you check the missile launcher on your ship? You were the first to mention it and this one doesn’t even have one yet, but I was told it might not matter, since missiles haven’t been made for centuries.” Casi mentioned as Ken rolled his eyes and thought ‘not again’ and went to an office off the side and sat down at a panel and she wondered what he was doing there, but she stayed and watched and finally went inside to see what it looked like there, as Krys walked up and saw Ken working away in the office and went in to see what he was doing there.

      “Hey...” he called as he sat down next to Ken, “ what are you working on?”

      “Cassiopeia mentioned that the engineers here said missiles hadn’t been made for centuries, so I’m doing an Empire wide search for warehouses, military bases, anything that might have an old stockpile.” Ken mentioned as Krys nodded and waited. “ Even if we find some this old they might not be too useful but then we can have them worked on too. We just need the basic design.”

      “Any luck then?” He was asked as he shook his head no for a minute then stopped and smiled. in a military warehouse behind what was now a University, were 20 cases of something called ‘ MWHO - model 12‘ and he did a search to see what that meant.

      “Aha!” he said a minute later as Krys looked around to see,” Multi-warhead Homing Ordinance, model 12, a standard missile used during the last Great War, 320 years ago, these missiles were used for defense of larger ships from fighters and corvettes and did good amounts of damage for a cheap price.” He read as even Krys got a chuckle, it seemed he had found an old sales pitch, probably from the corporation that made them back then, but it still gave them the idea what they had found. “ get me an engineer, please.” he asked, as Krys stepped out and waved for someone and they showed them what they found and the young woman ran to see who she needed to talk to about investigating this find for them.

      “One more little thing fixed,” Krys mentioned as Ken said they might need newer computers or better explosives but they fit the launchers, and that was a big thing, and somewhere in the distant galaxy, a team stormed into a warehouse and carted away several cases of 'antiques’ and disappeared towards the base.

      So many ships, so little time

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