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The Capitol - The Fleet Command City

 

The home of the Fifth Fleet Admiralty was just another celestial stucco seven-story building with a lot of glass, not sticking in any way out among the thousands of others. Its curving lines and ample space were supposed to portray the vastness of space and its propensity to constant change.

Each floor had its own docking-pod stations with the top one being reserved for the Five Star Admiral himself.

There, in his private office with a ceiling-to-floor window that had a direct view of the nearby lake, he felt more at home than at his family home.

He was a centennial with a new rejuvenated body of a forty-year-old. Neatly trimmed mustaches and a short haircut were weeded out of greyness and now looked chestnut brown perfect.

That morning, while enjoying his first glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, he asked for his assistant’s presence.

“So, what is it that I need to know this fine morning?”

His assistant was a woman who looked years older than him, with blond hair that needed coloring and a pair of old-fashioned glasses to help with her deteriorating eyesight.

“You have a meeting scheduled in sixty minutes with a…” she started to inform him, but he stopped her by raising his hands.

“That can wait. Give me first security updates for our sectors, please.”

“Everything is rather quiet, Sir. No major issues. There were some possible sitings of UA objects in quadrants 100xx, but we have dispatched a scout ship there, and the last report came in as all negative.”

“So, no new aliens we need to deal with?”

“No, not that we know off, Sir.”

“What else?”

“Some minor labor disputes on ReBee Wall, quadrant 5AT40’. We have gathered the info needed for the local law enforcement to take care of the main perpetrators.”

“Excellent. The less we are involved in local disputes better it is. What else?”

“Groton Priests have been spreading their influence out of their home quadrant.”

“Why is that supposed to worry us? Those radicals have been barking out stupidities for a long while now.”

“They are increasingly becoming very militant. We have just received the last report from our source. It says that the priests are planning a major assault on one of our outposts in the quadrant 40-CY.”

“40-? That's the jurisdiction of Admiral Rover. Pass the information to the Admiral."

His assistant cleared her throat. "Already have done so, Sir."

"Still, put 40+ quadrant on alert. And send some reinforcements there. A few thousand extra soldiers will probably make them rethink. What else?”

“We have suffered some minor accidents in quadrant 15AT43’, the frigate energy generators blew up.”

Admira's face frowned. Those accidents were never good news. “How many dead?”

“Five hundred.”

“The whole ship?”

His assistant nodded down her head, her face frowning in sympathy. “Pretty much,” she answered.

“And it was… an accident?” He almost did not care to ask and know.

“That’s what the first signs are indicating. No terrorist activities there.”

“Okay, talking about accidents… what about that little accident with our class 1 battleship, in the quadrant 3 was it? That’s pretty close.”

“Quadrant 3FD50’, the closest planet called Reinaxys, a mining…”

“Yes, has that been resolved?"

“Of course not, Sir.”

The Admiral smirked. “Who is leading the investigation?”

“Reimon Kesler.”

The Admiral tried hard to recall the name but only drew blanks. In the end, he had to say, “Put him up, let’s see who he is.”

The screen popped in the air just a few inches from the Admiral’s eyesight. The picture of a young man in uniform together with the performance stats, his intelligence score of 80 of 100 being displayed in golden letters.

“But he’s only rank 5?” the Admiral asked with genuine surprise.

“Yes, Sir.”

“No wonder I never heard of him. And this was… a major intrusion. A major security breach. How dare they assign such a low-ranking investigator for this?”

His assistant knew better than to offer any opinion, and the Admiral appreciated the silence to stroll out of his desk and move around the office. “They are trying to just wrap this up and just shove it places nobody will look at. Well, that’s not going to happen. I want a full investigation. This is not acceptable. They are trying to protect that imbecile Kornell. How he became a Five Star Captain, how they entrusted a whole class one battleship is beyond me.”

"I know, Sir."

The Admiral strolled around the room, thinking, then decided to share his throught. “That guy needs to be demoted to the rank of an ensign.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Too bad his family is… so influential.”

“I know, Sir. They are very influential. But something still needed to be done. He failed on multiple levels.”

The Admiral snorted. “He failed on all levels. And, if you think that will stop that man from being pushed forward and advance? The way I heard it in the Joint Meeting, there are people who are trying to make the whole fiasco look like he was a damn hero, not a moron that we know he is."

The Admiral continued to stroll around the office, looked through the window and the morning sun that bounced of the lake's quiet water.

“So, it’s up to me to write a report and make it stick inside his file. Something that won’t be able to be just… lost. State the facts for me again. What did the investigation find out so far?”

“Well, first of all, the troops were given two transporters to land on the nearby planet delivering some security equipment to the local security forces when two of our transporters were hijacked. Those transporters were later used to make the incursions in the battleship."

“Do we know what exactly was delivered?”

“No, Sir. It’s confidential. Procurement Act 109G.”

The Admiral sighed. “I can get clearance for that. Make a note to get it later today. I want to see what kind of equipment was it that needed to be delivered by two transporters."

“Yes, Sir.”

“And what happened then?”

“They landed on the battleship-”

“Do we know who the perpetrators are?”

“No, Sir.”

“And what exactly was the object of their incursion?”

“Sir, I believe they raided one of our cargo areas.”

“So, then a heist job?”

“That’s what it seems to be.”

“What did they take?”

“That’s classified as well.”

“Well, we’ll see about that as well. Who were we delivering that for? Government or private?”

“It only says DUD 909, Sir.”

The Admiral twitched back. “Shit. I don't even want to know what is in that package then. And they entrusted this to Kornell?”

“Seems like it, Sir.”

“I don’t give a shit about that package, but I do give a shit when one of my battleships is being raided! Now we are letting them fly in our ships and pick on the cargo we carry??? If this gets out, imagine the damage to our reputation. The shaming. Any terrorist, anarchist may try to do the same. Not to say anything about the rates we can charge private interests.”

“I understand, Sir. But we are keeping this well wrapped up.”

The Admiral was not happy with the information and started to shake his head with displeasure.

“That’s not enough. We need also to punish all the people involved in this. And I mean everyone. I see they flew EM bombs inside the ship and detonate it right next to our energy plant???”

His assistant looked at the screen that the Admiral was staring at, stating all the known facts from the investigation.

“Yes, Sir.”

“And it took them like ten minutes for the secondary system to come online?”

“Yes, Sir,” his assistant answered. “That’s what the investigation found so far.”

“And twenty-five people died??”

“Yes, Sir.”

 

“Is there anyone on the battleship that is of interest to us?”

“Sir, Captain R.V. Niccotonix seems to be one of the troops that were abducted.”

“Isn’t that the family of yours, the promising young man we bumped up a bit?”

“Yes, Sir, the very same one. He was the seventh-ranked officer on the ship.”

The Admiral stopped pacing for a second, looking at the ceiling, folding his hands behind his back.

“This can explode in our face. If he is found to have… any part of this.”

“Sir, I believe him to be the victim. The information from the report supports that. And, frankly, I just can’t imagine him having anything to do with this.”

“Let’s hope not. Let’s hope he comes out all clean. Another reason for us to keep a close lead on this investigation.”

“Yes, of course, Sir.”

“Let get some of our own personnel to investigate this. Who would you have for us?”

“First Lt. X. Gornar proved very useful during her last investigation. A very loyal person, sir.”

“Yes, she did that job very well. What is her ranking now?”

“I believe Four, Sir.”

“Well, let’s bump her up to Three. And bring her here for a little meeting. We should make some things clear to her right from the start.


“Sir, I’ve just been informed, we have a live update…”

“Concerning this case?”

“Yes, Sir. It’s just coming through. They’ve detected the signal from the lost transporter about ten hours ago. We have sent in two frigates to check it out. They are approaching the area where the signal has been detected.”

The live video feed showed them the view of the object the frigates were chasing down, growing bigger and clearer every second.

The Admiral frowned when he saw it clearly. “It’s only a probe!”

“A decoy.”

“Probably right, Sir.”

“Where was it first detected?”

“We don’t have that data yet, sir. I’ll have the frigates pass the data to us.”

“Well, I won’t have time to look it over, but pass it all to our investigator, okay?”

“Yes, Sir.”

 

Suddenly, her assistant tapped her ear again.

“Sir, I'm receiving some more live updates. They are picking ion presence in the area.”

“A jump drive.”

“Yes.”

“Can they date it?”

“Sir… They say it’s less than one hour old."

The Admiral's eyes beamed brighter. "Ha. We are getting close. It means they fled only when they saw us come. A ship's trouble, maybe?”

"Probably, Sir."

“Turn this over to the investigator we selected. I want her to have full resources available. She should check all the surrounding quadrants. That transporter could not make a jump of its own. Meaning, the culprits had probably used one of the freighters that were in the neighborhood of the battleship.”

His assistant nodded her head. “That is a logical conclusion.”

“She should start with that, investigating all of them and checking all the quadrants around. ”

“And, what do you want to do with the Five Star Captain Kornell?“

“I will… not be able to take his stars away. I doubt the Commission will vote to take him down. But… I can send him to some far away place where he won’t be able to do any damage. Let him go to that sector 100xx.”

For the first time that morning, his assistant frowned and raised her finger up. “A whole battleship to go there, Sir? That will raise a lot of eyebrows.”

“Fine, you are right. We can’t send him there, not without proof there might be something worth investigating in the quadrant in the first place. That was a good try though. Almost wished our shout has found something there. Oh, well... So, then, let’s give him some far-away route to patrol. Something, next to meaningless.

“We have quadrant 30XT. The Rear-Admiral Fertugon has repeatedly asked for a chance to come back home for a vacation.”

“Well, that sounds good to me. I like Ferguton. He got a raw deal there. So, let’s do that. Send Kornell to that area as a replacement. If his family wants him to play with a battleship, well, let him have that one. But, he can have just a limited crew. What is the minimum do you think?”

“Twelve hundred, I would think.”

“That sounds good to me. You put that in the order, and I’ll stamp it. And let’s do it now before my meetings start.”

His assistant typed a few words on her keyboard, and an order popped right in the air next to the Admiral. He slid the top of his brass ring off, and his seal appeared right on the electrical document.


"Well, now it's official, Sir,"

“Good. And also, keep me posted about that investigation. I’m now really curious to see what we are going to find out.”

He looked at the water one more time, a beam of light bouncing off it, slightly redder than the sun rays.

He did not even process it when the explosion blew the window and the big chunk of the whole floor off, killing him and his assistant immediately.

 

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A note from Spacerin

It seems the first story will be finished with two more chapters.  But then, that's only a small part of a bigger story that I plan to continue to write.


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Spacerin

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