Authors: Raymond L. Weil
Colonel Sheen commented quietly, seeing that the six blips representing the
scouts had vanished from her plotting table. They had been tracked by high-resolution
cameras as they left the Victory.
In a way, she
felt relieved that the mission had finally been launched. Not knowing what the
Federation actually faced had been gnawing fearfully in the pit of her stomach
for quite some time. Amanda just wanted her parents to be safe back home on
Aquaria. Recent events had made her extremely concerned for her parents'
pursed her lips, feeling apprehensive at what the scouts might discover. When
she had entered the fleet academy, she had never dreamed she would become part
of an interstellar war. That was something that only happened on the holo vids
or in books. Her parents lived on the colony of Beltran Three, called Aquaria
by its inhabitants. The planet was nearly eighty percent water and possessed
the most beautiful ocean beaches of any of the four major colonies. Amanda knew
that the orbital defenses above her home planet were being heavily strengthened
to protect the colony from another Hocklyn attack. She just prayed that it
would be enough and that her parents would remain safe.
“Mission counter has started,” she reported as a timer began moving on the plotting table.
“First system emergence should occur in twenty-two minutes.”
nodded. “I want the fleet kept at Condition Two. We don’t know how well the
stealth protection on those scouts will hold up. If the Hocklyns detect them,
we could have their warships here soon after.”
responded Colonel Sheen, hoping that was not the case. She walked several paces
over to a set of consoles manned by two lieutenants and two ensigns. “Keep all
weapon systems on standby. If any unknowns are detected, I want firing
Jacobs instantly responded. “All targets will be locked upon FTL emergence until
deemed friendly or unfriendly.”
nodded and passed the same order over her mini-com to the rest of the fleet
after setting her com to fleet-wide so she could communicate the admiral’s
orders to the other ship commanders. She then continued to walk from console to
console in the Command Center, talking to the men and women who manned them. At
the helm control console, she ordered Lieutenant Jenikens to be prepared for
emergency maneuvers upon her command if they went to Condition One.
everything was as ready as it could be, she returned to her station at the
plotting table. She could have done the same thing over her mini-com, which
connected her to all the stations, but she preferred to talk to the individual
crewmembers whenever possible. She felt it made a better impression upon them.
had watched Colonel Sheen move through the Command Center talking to the crew.
He leaned back in his seat, thinking about what had brought them to this point.
It had all started eight months back when a strange vessel had entered the
Stalor System, which contained a small mining operation. The miners had
instantly screamed for help when their scanners had detected an alien ship
going into orbit above the volcanic moon they were mining. It was the first
alien ship ever encountered by the Federation.