Read Star Force: Quenar (SF88) (Star Force Origin Series) Online

Authors: Aer-Ki Jyr

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Action & Adventure, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Science Fiction, #Colonization, #Galactic Empire, #Military, #Space Fleet, #Space Marine, #Space Opera, #Two Hours or More (65-100 Pages)

Star Force: Quenar (SF88) (Star Force Origin Series)

BOOK: Star Force: Quenar (SF88) (Star Force Origin Series)
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1

 
 

September 17, 3255

Andip
System (lizard
territory)

Stellar Orbit

 

When the
Excalibur
came out of its breaking run ahead of Nami, Paul was relieved to see some 284
Star Force jumpships waiting for them. Amongst them was the
Sanguine Blade
, as well as numerous
cargo ships and a half dozen Ma’kri sitting well off the incoming jumpline in
the face of Paul’s beaten up command ship and the equally wounded vessels
coming in its wake along with a handful of fully operational escorts they’d
picked up along the way from other assignments. Within a few seconds Jason’s
hologram popped up in the command nexus.

“How are you holding up?” the blonde trailblazer
asked.

“We lost a lot of people, and our new allies lost
almost all of theirs. Have there been any other Trinx sightings?”

Jason shook his head. “I’ve got scouts out all along
your projected path. None have reported so much as a single blip. I hope that
means they’re out of ships after the beating you gave them.”

“It was mutual.”

“I assume you still have the Uriti?”

“It’s following us. Riley is bringing up the rear to
make sure it doesn’t go AWOL. It did, briefly, after the battle when our
transmitter was down. Stayed sitting in place for more than five days, then
decided to take a dip in the star and stayed there until we got the leash
working again.”

“Where are you with that?”

“We’ve got the original working, but with everything
in the fleet busted up we haven’t had a chance to try and build a bigger one.”

“I sent for some parts before I came here. They’re on
the way to Alamo and we can call to bring them up the line if you want.”

“Right now I just want to get Nami there. She may be a
beast in battle, but she’s definitely a snail when it comes to speed. When the
Chixzon planned to conquer the galaxy, they had to know it would take centuries
to get from one end to the other.”

“Makes it all the more dramatic to see it coming, be
able to take a lot of pictures, and know you can’t stop it when it does get
there,” Jason pointed out. “At least the Hadarak aren’t much faster.”

“I’d take a little faster now with ample joy,” Paul
said dryly. “Our escorts haven’t wanted to leave and they’re badly in need of
supplies. The closest relief they have is the Bahamut site and they don’t want
to risk abandoning it to the Trinx so they’re sticking it out with us. They’ve
got too many people on too small of ships with all the rescues we pulled off.”

“Did you pick up any Trinx?”

“Not living ones. We couldn’t get to all of our
survivors fast enough as it was.”

“I have a bad suggestion to make.”

“Make it,” Paul said, suddenly on guard for more bad
news.

“The Neeyvir.”

When Paul frowned Jason pressed further.

“We know they have at least limited contact with The
Nexus.”

“Yeah, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be…you’re right.
It’s worth asking at least,” he said, adjusting the
comms
and calling the ranking commander within what was left of the Sety fleet that
now consisted of only 6 ships. It took a while to get a response, long enough
that Paul felt there might be a technological problem onboard their ship, but
eventually the tree-like visage appeared next to Jason over top the control
board in front of him.

“Yes, Archon. What is it that you require?”

“How close a relationship do the Sety have with the
Neeyvir?”

“Limited. I only know of them because we were required
to familiarize ourselves with this region prior to the Hamoriti assignment.
There is diplomatic contact and isolated trade.”

“Trade?” Paul asked, wondering as to that. The Neeyvir
were one of several holdout races within lizard territory…meaning that the Sety
would have had to pass through it to get to them, or vice versa.

“High end technology is all my information said.
Sporadic shipments.”

“My point is, could the Neeyvir be used as a relief
port for your ships? Their nearest system is four jumps from here.”

“I’m afraid the only people qualified to answer that
question died during the attack. But bringing the Hamoriti into an inhabited
system of that caliber would not be wise. They could see it as a prelude to
attack.”

“Do they know what
a
Uriti
is?”

“I do not know.”

“Regardless, I wasn’t suggesting to take it there. I
meant for your ships to break off from the escort now that we’ve received
reinforcements.”

“As long as we are mobile, we will not abandon our
duty,” the Sety said firmly.

“The Uriti is moving so slow you can stop by the
Neeyvir, get whatever relief they can offer, then catch up to us in short
order. We’re months from our destination system. Do you have the logistical
longevity to last that long?”

“My ship does not. I do not know about the others.”

“I don’t know if the Neeyvir will assist you or not,
but there aren’t many choices right now. We’ve got supplies to share, but all
of The Nine have differing repair needs and we do not have a shipyard near
here. Unless you want to travel a long ways to one of ours, returning to The
Nexus is your only other option. Do you concur?”

“The Yisv may offer another option if we can contact
them.”

“They won’t enter the same system
a
Uriti is in,” Paul reminded him. “Whatever help they can offer will mean you
still have to break from the convoy. At this point, now that my reinforcements
have arrived, there isn’t much your remaining ships can do to assist in a fight
given their current status. Repair and resupply must take priority else the long
term security of this mission could be jeopardized.”

“I cannot fault your reasoning, but I cannot guarantee
the reaction of the Neeyvir.”

“I will accompany you there. We’re going to run into
the Neeyvir eventually anyway, so I might as well make an introduction.”

“Your presence is required to safeguard the control
ship,” the Sety said earnestly.

“One of my peers has arrived. He will take over
security in my absence. Regardless, my command ship is heading back to a
shipyard for repairs. I’ll transfer to one of the newly arrived warships so I
can stay in the region while our damaged ships are cycled back. Yours need to
do the same.”

“Very well. The Sety will go to the Neeyvir, but I can
make no promise as to their willingness to help.”

“I’ll dispatch a courier to the Yisv and inform them
of our departure from the convoy. That way they’ll be able to rendezvous there and
offer whatever assistance they can.”

“Acceptable.”

“Make preparations to leave after the Uriti exits this
system. Inform the others of The Nine of the logistical reality and of the
timetable. If they’re not convinced as to its wisdom, tell them to contact me.”

“I will spread the word, Archon. Thank you for your
assistance.”

Paul nodded and the hologram cut out, leaving him with
Jason.

“You’re leaving the
Excalibur
?”

“She’s a broken sword right now, but she’s still far
faster than Nami. Assuming you’re going to stick around, I want to send all the
damaged ships back to start repairs.”

“I’ll take it from here,” Jason promised. “But the
Zeus
has to stay.”

“I know, but there’s no reason to keep the others
here. We’re just well armored target practice right now, sorry to say.”

“Did you have to leave any ships behind that we need
to recover?”

“Not whole ones, but there’s a lot of salvage to be
done. That’s low priority, but we need at least a Ma’kri on the site to keep
scavengers away. There’s a large sample of advanced tech floating out there
that I’d rather the lizards didn’t get their hands on.”

Jason raised his eyebrows. “Before we do?”

Paul smiled. “They’re not going to be picking it up
anytime soon.”

“I’ll get three Ma’kri there immediately, then send
another back to pull a recycling team off the front line. We should be able to
get a collection crew there within a handful of months.”

“Good. I’m going to go meet the neighbors and will
meet back up with you somewhere along the line.”

“What do you want to do about the Trinx?” Jason asked
ominously.

Paul’s eyes hardened. “There’s a reckoning to be had.”

“Obviously. What do you have in mind?”

“Keep them on ice for now. If we go after them it’s
going to suck a lot more resources away from the lizard campaign. I don’t want
more planets dying because we took our time eradicating those buggers. The
Trinx can wait, unless The Nine get to them first. I don’t think they’re going
to take this betrayal well.”

“Do you want to coordinate with them on the ass
kicking?”

“Possibly. But we need to figure out what to do with
the Uriti they’re sitting on first. And to solve that riddle we need to learn
to talk to this one and figure out if Nami is as nice as her namesake or the
big obtuse hunk of rock she looks like.”

“But bottom line, the Trinx lose their sovereignty?”

“In some form, yes. We’re not tolerating them as
neighbors.”

“Agreed,” Jason said as his ship’s sensors picked up
the Uriti coming into stellar orbit. “Damn, she’s…small.”

“Small?”

“Compared to the ship I’m sitting in, yeah.”

“Apparently her mind is not. Have a chat with Riley
about that and see if you can’t brainstorm a solution I’ve missed.”

“What’s the challenge?”

“Finding a way to make
a
Uriti pay attention to the ants it can so easily step on.”

“We’re in ships bigger than she is, so it shouldn’t be
hard to get noticed.”

“Telepathically it’s a different show. Our ships
probably look like rocks to her without the aura.”

“How’s our resident Chixzon doing?”

“Complaining about lack of adequate parts.”

“Should I try building a new transmitter on the
Sanguine Blade
?”

“Do you have enough resources to spare?”

“Depends what it will take.”

“Then the answer is probably no to the big one, but
having a redundancy for the small one is worth tinkering with. Even if you can
only half build one, it’ll save precious time if the primary goes offline.”

“Offline?”

“If Riley gets his ship blown up.”

“With Nefron on it?”

“He’s smart enough to get out first,” Paul said
deadpan.

“He’d have to build it, I assume. Will he leave the
Zeus
?”

“If it’s during jump he might. Gets really boring and
even if you talk to the Uriti it can’t do much of anything, so he doesn’t need
to be there.”

“Nice to have a hobby. How often does Nami need to
stop and eat?”

“The hungrier she gets the less likely she is to obey,
so we’ve been having her take a dip in the star every 3 stops.”

“No planets?”

“Not yet. The stores she gets from them don’t
deplenish very rapidly. It’s mainly her energy reserves that need a boost.”

“Alright. Where’s she headed now?”

“Into a preordered orbit. She’ll get the redirect once
the
Zeus
gets here.”

“Safe range?”

“I’ve been keeping it at 1000 miles minimum.”

“Any sneezes?”

“Not yet. She’s been a good girl so far. Even sat
still and watched us while we fought.”

“Good to know she’s not temperamental, now that I’m
babysitting for you.”

“Riley is babysitting Nami, you’re babysitting Riley.
I hope the Trinx don’t have anything else to throw at us, but I’m not counting
on it.”

“I’ll make them pay if they try it. Which ship do you
want?”

Paul mentally looked through the list via the nexus in
less than a second.

“The
Jasper
,”
he said, selecting one of the Protovic ships in the mixed fleet. It was the
oldest model,
a
Mk.6, but it was still fast enough to
carry him around the region while Nami crawled on.

“All yours. But before you transfer over stop by my
command ship. There are a few things we need to discuss at length. I assume
you’ve got at least a few hours before Nami moves on?”

“That we do. I’ll be right over,” he said, cutting the
comm
and walking out of the nexus and onto the main
bridge.

“Admiral, the ship is yours. You’ll be taking it and
the other damaged ships back home for repair. I’ll be staying in the region on
the
Jasper
.” Paul glanced at the
ceiling. “Get her fixed up good. I’d like to keep this one if at all possible.”

 

A day later and Paul watched Nami leave the system
with her escort ships, leaving his one spotless warship with the broken fleet
that was all that remained of The Nine. He rallied them to a different
jumppoint and accelerated away at the best speed the slowest of them could
handle, headed for the not too distant territory of a race that had withstood
the lizards’ expansion while hanging on to some 27 systems spread out in shotgun
fashion. The interconnecting ones had been swallowed up by the lizards, but
apparently the Neeyvir went where they liked and hadn’t seriously been
endangered by the occupation of the surrounding systems.

Paul had misgivings about that. Turtling up was one
thing, but he didn’t care for the idea of sitting it out while watching
neighbor after neighbor fall to a civilization that you could have kicked to
the curb without even making a full effort. He didn’t know the history of the
Neeyvir, but given their not too distant location from
Krachnika
he assumed the lizards had gotten to them during the second or third major
phase of their expansion, which was well before they’d come into conflict with
the H’kar.

But then again, not everyone was a warrior. Were these
guys sitting out the war because they were snobs or because they were just
keeping their heads down and tending to their own? They weren’t isolationists,
that much had been determined from the Shanplenix, not to mention their link
with The Nexus, but that didn’t mean they also couldn’t have had an agreement
with the lizards. Thrawn had never spoke of such a thing, but both he and Paul
now knew that the templars kept much from the masterminds.

BOOK: Star Force: Quenar (SF88) (Star Force Origin Series)
6.11Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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