10: Lost in the Shuffle (3/3)

8 1 0

April 7, 2180 (New Era Calendar) /
Sol System, William Clinton Spaceport, Terra

Kendrix marched up into the central hold of the Delphinus, a Valiant-class frigate, to see everything squared away. Crewmen stopped whatever they were doing and faced her as she walked through the ship as an informal salute. Heading briskly to the bridge, she met with the vessel's captain, Ric Olsen.

She smiled at the white haired captain.

"Has our nav plan been approved?"

"We've just got confirmation before you came aboard, Madam Senator. We're good to go."

Their journey would take them to Antilla via a hyperspace route known as Primendian Way that would dump them in close proximity to the Oakland Cluster. And from there they would initiate another shorter jump that would take them straight to the heart of Antilla.

"Excellent, I'll be in my quarters."

"Copy that, Kendrix. Don't get too comfy, we'll be there before you know it."

Kendrix gave Olsen another warm smile before taking her leave. "I wouldn't dream of it."

- - -

Captain Ric Olsen didn't watch the Senator leave. Instead, he turned back to the crew, strapped in at their stations on the bridge. His crew always impressed him with their professionalism -- they were sharp, capable, and, for a change, pretty harmonious. Sure, it was a small crew, but he wouldn't downplay his group because of that.

Ric, himself, had been at this a long time -- this being in command of a Valiant-class frigate. He was a part of the Alliance's Foxworks team that developed the ship and when the Alliance higher-ups like General Howard decided to move in a different direction, Foxworks shuttered its doors. Designed with the anti-capital ship assault mission profile in mind, the five fully-operational Valiant prototypes were then auctioned off or believed destroyed -- deemed either too powerful in the wrong hands or an obsolete piece of tech.

Ric glanced around at his bridge crew preparing final checks and nodded, satisfied that they would be underway shortly.

The Delphinus, one of the surviving prototypes, was anything but an obsolete piece of tech. She was a good ship and was more than proud to give her the opportunity to serve a purpose.

He glanced down at his wrist chrono and clasped his hands. It's time to get the party started.

The Captain approached the helm station and placed a hand on the young man behind the controls.

"Cloudkicker, how is the Lady?"

Without taking his attention away from his prep work, the helmsman replied, "She's showing green across the board, sir."

"Then take us out, kid."

"Aye-aye, Captain."

- - -

April 7, 2180 (New Era Calendar) /

Antilla System, Alloyo Military Academy, Alloyo

Commander Myles Warren sat in complete darkness -- he liked it like this as it reminded him of space -- his feet reclined on the corner of his desk. For what felt like the first time in a long time, Myles was in a groove. The cadets, having seen a bit of action were settling back into the routine. But with a true understanding of what it meant to be in combat, he found that their attitudes had tempered slightly.

Myles chuckled as he remembered viewing base surveillance cameras showing Ariades and Davyles chasing Kalvyn Jemara down.

They were still teenagers afterall.

A chime from his comlink broke him from the breezy line of thinking. He brought up the call, and with the press of his thumb transferred it to the holographic console on his desk. The holographic projection of Septem Eslos sprung from the emitter.

"Septem, what's going on?"

The Prime Minister's face shook his head, a hint of regret in his expression.

"I have a mission for your squadron."

"They're not ready."

"I don't have anybody else I can rely on right now. I've got damn near have the entire Space Force hunting Stenbach's fleet and they keep coming up empty. I can't pull another squadron for this -- it will turn too many heads."

Myles stroked his chin, his curiosity piqued.

"What do you need?"

"The Alliance is sending a representative to discuss the terms of Antilla joining the Alliance. With the circumstances surrounding the Skyline fiasco, I don't want to take any chances. The last thing we need is the loss of an Alliance rep on our watch."

"Sounds like a milk run."

Septem's hologram nodded. "That's because it is. It's got to be off book. Are you good with that?"

Myles fought a laugh. "Technically speaking, our only combat hop is off book. I think that's fine."

"Thanks," Septem said with a smile.

Myles gave Septem a stern glare. "Let the record state that I never put promise into a milk run."

"The record so states."

Into the Black: Birth of LegendsWhere stories live. Discover now