A Citadel of Stone (AU/CC , Adult) Epilogue - 02/13/12

Finished stories set in an alternate universe to that introduced in the show, or which alter events from the show significantly, but which include the Roswell characters. Aliens play a role in these fics. All complete stories on the main AU with Aliens board will eventually be moved here.

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PML
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Re: A Citadel of Stone (AU/CC , Adult) A/N - 11/01/10

Postby PML » Sat Feb 05, 2011 8:59 pm

And here we are. This part is short and is a set up for the next one. But then I unfortunately lost a lot of my momentum for this story when I did NANO this year. I do apologize. It'll probably be slow going for a bit. But I will finish this whole story (Not just Citadel which has maybe three to five parts left maybe fewer.)

Thanks again for reading.

keepsmiling7- Thanks.

Bluestar8- Thanks. Sorry its taken me so long.

Michele in LA- Thanks. I hope you continue to enjoy.

StarCharms- Thanks. Yeah, poor everyone involved with the whole Ambrosia mess. And Liz who got hit with a quick and dirty method in Teardrop.... Once they stabilize their situation, hopefully they can start to figure out how to help her and Mara. And stop the various evil practices going on right now on Antar. Hope you continue to enjoy.


Disclaimer- Roswell is not mine and no infringement is intended.

A Citadel of Stone- part 10

Near the Citadel, Northern Teven Mountains

Kyle checked his instruments. “All right people, what exactly am I looking for?”

Arkady, who was awed at being taken along laughed, “Hey, don’t look at me. I am just a primitive barbarian here. To me a monoplane was high tech. What about you, Tess? You’ve had a bit longer to soak this all in?”

Tess looked over at the former security officer. “I have done a little bit of studying.” She shrugged, “Alex prompted me to brush up on my Drathan and a few other things.”

Kyle looked over at Alex who was playing with multiple small holographic apps in front of him. “Should we have brought Liz with us?”

Alex kept looking at his various applications, “As long as we can contact her, we are better off with her back at the Roswell. We are looking for any standardized neutrino pulse. Something that tells us that there are some reactors on standby.”

Kyle shook his head, “Five hundred years is a long time to put a generator on standby.”

Alex looked up, “The Drathans build to last, and they knew they would be coming back. You know what a pain it is to cold start a fusion reactor. And if one is on stand by, it’ll still be simmering enough. I doubt they had good enough shielding to keep it from being detectable.”

Max shrugged uncomfortably, “Why would they bother? My people were too primitive to even get here, let alone find this place.” He gestured at the displays of the rugged mountains they were flying through. “What made them put it in such terrain anyway?”

Alex said softly, “Standard Drathan protocol. This was probably their central defense base. Where you would house all the tech you didn’t want the locals to get a hand on. I hope we can find at least one active reactor, preferably with a bunch of repairable restart capacitors for the rest. Liz was not happy about the idea of breaking into our stash of antimatter to light up an ancient reactor.”

Arkady said confusedly, “Antimatter? Matter that is not matter? How would that help?”

It was Tess that answered, “It is a method that is used to store high compression energy. Antimatter completely annihilates matter, causing a massive amount of released energy. Its time consuming to make in quantity and fusion usually serves well enough for power and armament.”

Alex looked over at her.

Kyle gave her a fond smile and an air kiss.

Tess air kissed him back and turned to face Alex, “I have been reading up on the capabilities of your ship and technology. I still don’t know precisely how I fit in to your crew yet, but I plan to be one of you. Just as much as Isabel does. I am done with Teven.”

Arkady looked away, “What if Teven isn’t done with you?”

“We will cross that bridge when we get there.”

------
Bridge of the Roswell, Northern Teven Mountains

Michael walked in looking down at the dainty prosthetic hand that Liz had fitted him with. Along with the device she had implanted in his back, it would keep him from doing any major shape shifting.

Which left him stuck in his beta form, a short dark blonde haired woman. He had spent a considerable amount of training in this form, as combat skills worked best in a familiar form. He would under infiltration protocols still be able to change his hair, skin, and eye color without changing his shape too much.

Despite all the use in literature of Protectors taking the forms of specific people, it didn’t happen as much as you would think. At least not in terms of impersonation, as to do it right required lots of practice. Just because you looked like someone didn’t make you them.

He looked up and saw Liz working several consoles at once. Her bearing held less tension, and he could see she had a measure of calmness about her. More like the Liz Maria had told him about that what he had personally ever seen.

When she turned around, there was a small smile on her face and a trace of kindness to her eyes. The blankness of Soullessness was still there, but it was faint. Alex and Tess had worked their minor miracle.

Liz said, “I have a task for you. There is another bandit camp being set up. I want you to see if they are planning the same set up as the camp we stopped. And if so tell me so I can destroy them.”

“Are you sure you trust me, Liz? After what I did to Maria and…” Michael couldn’t help the tears. The memory of his shooting his lover at the command of Zan, of not being able to stop himself…. He probably would have committed suicide had Maria died.

Except according to Alex, Maria was simply too stubborn to die. Not when she had something to live for.

Liz shook her head, “As long as we keep you away from the royal line of Avidar we are fine. I am entirely in agreement that we need to find this… institute… that trained you. We then analyze the hell out of what they were doing so we can FIX it, and then we STOMP it flat. Not even a Drathan aristocrat would want that level of control.”

“Thanks.” He wiped his eyes, “So what am I doing?”

“I’ve reworked a set of combat armor for you and improved the rifle you brought here with Max. He said you were quite the shot with it.” She looked at him closely, “We don’t really have time for you to practice with more advanced combat arms. The rifle should shoot in a fairly similar fashion, I kept the bolt action as you were used to it. But the ammo is now warped in from your armor. No need to reload. Also you can call for some specialty loads, also in your armor.”

He wouldn’t need to reload? Then again his mind went back to Maria unloading her miniguns on the enemy. She had simply kept firing.

Oh.

“Yeah, that will be useful.”

“Just remember you are primarily to scout it out. You will have back up with a couple of heavy combat drones I have activated. So as long as you keep your head and stay down you should be fine against anything they can throw against you.”

Michael nodded and headed aft for the shuttle to take him where Liz directed.

It was strange how his life had changed. He looked again at the hand, the synthetic hand that felt so very real. That worked just like his other. And he smiled.

For one thing Maria had made certain that Michael knew.

Liz kept her promises.

They would go back to the Institute and stomp it flat. She had promised him.

And maybe. Just maybe he could be human again.

He closed his eyes and shed one last tear, this one of hope. And set out on his mission.

-------
Foot hills of the Teven Mountains.

Roger was very worried. According to the men he had interrogated going into the mountains was becoming perilous.

The reason they stated was utterly insane, but many simply were not willing to go.

And that boded ill for Vanessa’s plans of converting the local peasantry into Ambrosia.

Roger shuddered. The very idea of converting living people into a consumable substance turned his substance…. Although he could use a shot of Ambrosia himself right at the moment.

It calmed him.

He walked into the central building. Again he saw the frightened mercenaries talking quietly in the shadows.

The King of the Mountains had returned. Or so they said.

Roger wasn’t quite sure what was going on, but something was indeed attacking their groups. And whatever it was not normal. He had been taken to one sight by a survivor who had been on point…..

The rest of his group had been incinerated, only bits of them remaining.

Even the ground had been turned into glass.

Roger shuddered again.

So many problems. And if he didn’t find a solution he might be joining the proles that would have to be sacrificed to make the Ambrosia Vanessa had promised Khivar.

Roger had met Khivar, and the man was no longer human. He had taken so much Ambrosia into himself that he considered himself a god. And Roger wasn’t so sure that he wasn’t. The man could fly, could do things no one else could even come close to.

All that power from one simple drink…..

And he sought to raise others up so that they would rule over the world as Gods and Goddesses. If he played his cards right he could be one of them.

But he needed to solve this problem. He needed to find out why this area and this area alone was getting so dangerous for his men.

Or he wouldn’t become a god. He would be drunk by one.

PML
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Re: A Citadel of Stone (AU/CC , Adult) part 10 - 02/05/11

Postby PML » Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:01 am

Short, but trying to keep the story alive and moving forward....

Bluestar- Thanks. I am trying I really am....

keepsmiling7- thanks.

valentinebaby- Thanks

Smac- Thanks. Trying to keep it alive.

Disclaimer- Roswell is not mine and no infringement is intended.

.A Citadel of Stone- part 11

Foothills of the Teven Mountains.

Michael looked through the binoculars. How he wished he’d had something as nice when he had been on the front.

He shook his head to shake the reverie. No time for a flashback. He activated his comm, “Liz, it’s pretty much what you feared. It looks pretty much like the other camp. They haven’t corralled anyone into it yet, but….”

Liz’s voice was loud and clear in his helmet, “But it’s only a matter of time. I have a pair of attack drones on the way. There is a button on the side of binoculars. View through them and press the button at the targets you think will be the best to hit first.” There was a pause, “And Michael, I want survivors. I want these bastards to know just how outclassed they are. Maybe they will pull back.”

Michael nodded to himself, “There is a party just entering their headquarters building. Unless they have a set patrol out, they will all be busy inside the camp.” He broke off into a small run, “So unless we can get some of them to leave the camp, you fighters will kill them all.”

“Not optimal, but I think I could live with that.”

“Didn’t you just say you wanted survivors? If I draw some of them out of the camp before it gets hit, you get survivors.”

“Who will be hunting you. No, Michael. Not worth it.”

Michael clambered over to a good spot. It was sloppy enough that the camp hadn’t seen him yet. But then Teven discipline was shoddy at best on a good day. He took the binoculars and highlighted where he thought should be hit first.

The fighters were minutes away.

Michael smiled and put the binoculars away. He hefted his rifle and sighted along it.

Time for a little fun.

------
Near the Citadel, Northern Teven Mountains

Alex sat back suddenly, “Captain, we are being hailed!”

“What is it Alex?”

“Coded Drathan transponder protocol. Wants our status and gene codes.”

Kyle openly said, “Gene codes?”

Liz’s voice was loud inside their cockpit, “Drathans are highly bloodline driven. Without specific significant proof, your worth is in your genes.” There was a brief pause, “I have sent the gene codes for Alex and Tess in standard Imperial Protocol Format. It should accept them. Or at least one of them, I hope.”

Kyle looked over at Alex, “Why you?”

Alex looked away, “Mom is part of the Royal Bloodline. It’s through a Cadet House, and its not that close, but….”

Liz’s voice was droll, “Alexander Whitman is currently ranked at 238th in line for the Drathan Throne. It is doubtful that if ever they did get to him, he would be allowed to serve. Seeing as he is an active military operative for a foreign antagonistic power. Tess, I don’t know about. Probably a minor noble family, but…. She probably has the gene code of whoever survived here. That local touch might mean more to us than Alex’s connection.”

Arkady reached over and patted Tess’s arm softly. “Sorry.”

Tess just stared ahead. She had made up her own mind. Teven and Antar was her past, not her future. And she would fight to keep it so.

“Ambassador Whitman, and Lady Tess have been given clearance for their party. We have landing coordinates. Do we take them Captain?”

Kyle looked over at Alex, amused, “Sure thing, Ambassador. Just shoot the coordinates over to me, so that your lowly Captain can land this tub.”

------
Somewhere on the Ithlen Plains

Roger rode the horse as fast as he dared. He only had one spare horse on a lead and so had to be careful.

Vanessa had to be warned. The force from the mountain was more than they could handle. He had seen Hendricks land a shot on the sniper they had sent. The bullets hadn’t even phazed it.

Truthfully, Roger wasn’t sure it had been human. Those flying devices hadn’t been of local manufacture. Berava with its war colleges or Ekedar with all its advanced science had nothing like this.

Either the enemy from the stars had returned…. Or the legends were right and the King of the Mountains had returned to save his people.

Returned to protect and shield his people from the forces of evil. Save them from the likes of Khivar and Vanessa.

Or from Roger himself.

He rode on in shame and discontent at the thought that he had truly chosen freely to be evil. Every choice had been so logical….

Roger rode to the capital to warn his masters.

PML
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Re: A Citadel of Stone (AU/CC , Adult) part 11 - 06/04/11

Postby PML » Sun Dec 04, 2011 10:55 pm

Must not let this story die. Its a small part but it moves it along a bit. Parts for Wisper and End next I think.

Valentinebaby- Thanks. He is thinking he might have backed the wrong team, and what that all the things he had to do to remain in place were in vain.

Smac- Thanks. Michael definately was the right one for the job.

Keepsmiling7- Thanks.

mary mary- Thanks. i am trying, I really am.


A Citadel of Stone- part 12

Inside the Citadel

Kyle powered down the craft. His shuttle was not alone. Scattered around him were a variety of Drathan model shuttles and he shuddered to see a squadron of Spitfires all lined up on deck.

The Spitfire was an ancient design by Republican standards, but the Drathans were highly traditional and the design worked. Kyle had had a few run ins with a few of them operated by pirates.

Not fun times.

He checked the warp lines to the Roswell. Still intact. Good. That would mean he should be able to contact Liz and do any resupply they might need. Once again his mind went over the differences having an elite crew truly made. He knew Liz had his back. That even if everything went to hell, they still had a good chance of getting out of here.

Alex opened the hatch and trundled out. Arkady followed him.

Tess just sat in her seat and looked at Kyle. “Do I have to go? I have a bad feeling about all of this.”

Kyle tilted his head to the side. He didn’t know exactly the limits of what Tess could do, but Alex had mentioned that some of the elite Drathans possessed some measure of precognition. “Something bad about to happen, huh?”

She sighed and got up, “No. Just that everything is about to change again. And I am not certain if it will be in good ways.”

“Nervous?”

She smiled softly, “Yeah.”

Kyle walked over and gave Tess a hug, awkward as it was in battledress.

She said, “I will be fine. Let’s go.”

Kyle moved towards the door when he heard Alex say in a too calm voice, “Kyle, we may have a problem here.”

Kyle rushed to the opening, Tess right behind. In front of them was a large group of people. Hundreds perhaps.

Tess walked around the corner to get a better look. And at her sight, the people knelt.

One of them lifted up his head and said proudly, “We welcome you, Your Majesty!”

Tess stumbled back a moment before the poise of Court descended upon her. “I am afraid I am Queen no longer. I have been deposed.”

“And yet you live.” The leader raised his hand and his people stood. “We have been monitoring the radio broadcasts coming from Teven.”

“Then you know….”

He raised up his hand, “I know that the Great Chaos has come again. And that once again the Hardings are needed to solve this crisis for our people. I heard your coronation speech, I have watched you grow up in that horrible court.” He shuddered, “We need you, Tess. Teven needs you. Will you refuse us? Will you refuse us in our hour of need?”

--
Somewhere over the Ithlien plains, Northern Teven

She became aware of her surroundings as she rocketed through the air.

She couldn’t move! She wasn’t breathing!

And yet she could see so much more than she ever had, and she could feel the wind buffet her airframe. She could hear the radio waves that connected her to the AAC (Autonomous Attack Craft) to her right, could feel the deeper connection between herself and the Roswell,

“What is going on!”

“Wakey, wakey Isabel. Sleep time is over. Your body still needs recuperation time, but your mind should be fine.”

There was a brief pause of static, “Liz?”

“You are connected to a pair of Rapier class Autonomous Attack Craft. You wanted to be a level B Pilot, well you now are. That gives you the ability to remote AAC’s, Drones, and other things. Expect a workout soon on that capability, as I am going to need help.”

Now that she knew what was going on, Isabel felt a thrill of excitement. Her senses stretched as much as they could out of the two speeding craft. “So what do you need me to do?”

Liz laughed slightly, “I have some targets I want you to hammer flat. Take a look at your armory and just let loose. Get to know how the weapons work and what they can do. And have fun. The workout begins later.”

Isabel felt a sense of anticipation as the targets were loaded into her systems. In their shared dreams, Alex had let her know a bit of what their enemies were doing. That they showed the peasants of Teven, their own countrymen, no mercy.

So Isabel didn’t either.

PML
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Re: A Citadel of Stone (AU/CC , Adult) part 11 - 12/04/11

Postby PML » Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:32 am

I got around to rereading this and found to my surprise that it was basically finished at its installment in the series. So this is the last chapter of A Citadel of Stone outside of the Epilogue. Thanks for those of you who have followed along.

keepsmiling7- Thanks.


A Citadel of Stone- part 13

Whitefire Mountains, Southern Avidar

Max quietly got out of the cutter. The Institute for the Advancement of Human Dynamics lay before him. He could see a few lights on, although they had not responded to his radio hails.

His father may have changed the codes. That was certainly possible.

“Liz I am here. But while they haven’t sent any company to deal with me, they haven’t exactly rolled out the red carpet.”

There was a pause, “We don’t have time to play around. It’s why I sent those Assault Drones with you. If they won’t open the front door for you, make one. But you need to be fast, Maria. We need that research!”

Several machines hummed out of the cutter from behind him. Six of them were human sized, floating in the air for no reason. Eight retractable arms articulated out of them, moving in and out as if stretching their muscles. Above them a couple dozen bird sized machines flitted rapidly away.

He looked back into the cutter. Maria was in there, in a large box. She had demanded to come once she realized what they were up to. It was only when she had pointed out to Liz that she could remotely pilot the assault drones that Liz had given way.

And so now the cutter had a small medical unit plugged into it. Apparently one of the configurations for these cutters was for medevac, but Maria’s care would not be as good as it would be back on the Roswell.

Maria hadn’t cared. To fix Michael she would do anything.

And in truth Max was happy to have back up. “We will be fine Liz. Maria has my back.”

There was a pause, and his heart melted, for it was his Liz again. The patches that Tess and Alex had developed worked!

She said, her voice calm but full of emotion, “Both of you come back to me in one piece, okay?”

“Roger that, Ma’am!” said a whimsical Maria. The drones began to move out towards the front of the building.

Max began following them. This armor Liz had given him should be able to resist anything the institute had, but still he felt exposed as he walked towards the building alone.

No not alone. For Maria was with him.

Maria said through his commlink, “There are a half dozen humans and a couple like Michael inside. How do you want to handle this?”

“Well I had thought about knocking first, and if that doesn’t work….”

“Showtime. Understood.”

And with a sigh Max moved forward to save his friend from his personality slowly fading. To finally deal with an injustice his family had been perpetuating for generations.

--
Over the Ithilien Plains, Northern Teven

Isabel had never had such fun as she had with her two Rapier class fighters. They were fast and maneuverable and had an endless supply of fuel and ammo. She didn’t need to go back to base at all. Just fly at one target after another.

Perhaps in time even this would get boring and routine, but at the moment it was all new. And the freedom she felt as she flashed through the skies…

Priceless. Absolutely priceless.

Liz had given her the physical therapy routine she would need to do. It would undoubtedly be painful and inconvenient. But still the ability to just do this, to remote to drones was incredible. What would it be like when she personally was able to fly… To feel the g-forces press into her body… The sense of personal risk as she flew a fighter herself.

She couldn’t wait.

Off to her left were a set of optional targets. Liz didn’t realize just how important the rail lines were. It had taken a bit of persuasion but Isabel now had the right to hit them as long as it didn’t interfere with the rest of her target list.

Which sadly was almost completed. She would have to go home soon after all.

Well, there was a train station right over there. For a bonus there was an actual official Teven government train moving along those lines. She raced to intercept.

She felt his presence even through the commlink. Khivar. Khivar was down there…

Half-heartedly she launched her attack.

It was blocked. First one then the other of her remoted fighters began to lose control. One of them slammed hard into the ground. But she managed to free the other.

Only through the use of her powers was she able to do so. And in so doing she linked for just a moment with her former lover.

Isabel?

No. This was impossible. He couldn’t reach her here! She was safe!

“Isabel, this is Liz, what is wrong? Over.”

“It is Khivar. He has knocked down one of my planes. HE is trying to, trying to…”

Isabel could feel as her emotions were being toyed with. As endless memories of her time with him, the incredible sex and just how she made her feel.

And promises of Ambrosia. Forbidden promises of Godhood. She could rule the world at his side. All she needed to do was come to him. To tell him everything.

The AAC she was flying wavered and began to move to the train Khivar was on. She could feel as more of what made her her began to fill the craft, as her soul was slowly being pulled in. Slowly being pulled toward Khivar.

Soon he would possess her. And she would be one of the countless souls screaming for release from an endless state of ecstasy and agony.

Her eyes opened and she was back in her Pod. Her heart was beating and she could feel her body craving Khivar. Could feel a part of her needing him inside of her body and mind… and soul.

She felt as a darkness took her over. Liz was sedating her.

Isabel’s last words before going under were, “Thank you. Thank you for rescuing me. Thank you…..”
--
Somewhere in Harding City

Roger felt as the pain hit him again, as the electicity roared through his body. Not quite enough to kill him. But enough to cause such excruciating pain.

Worse he could feel the siphon. He hadn’t known the victims could feel as their souls were torn away. It appears that they could.

He certainly could.

All because he told the truth. Because he had been responsible for those northern camps. Had ridden back to warn Vanessa.

The King of the Mountains was back. And he was angry.

A loud voice called out, “Release him!”

And the pain stopped. He still hurt, could still feel his soul divided and torn. But the pain stopped. If only for now.

“This is Roger Erkhart?”

“Yes sir.”

“Release him. Process what you have there and return it to him when it is done.”

Roger’s eyes were glazed as he felt the men remove him from the rack.

“Sir, it isn’t very effective with so little concentrated fluid. I don’t know how effective the Ambrosia will be.”

“Very well. Add her to his mix. I was hoping to taste some of her myself. But this man has important information and has served well.”

Roger could only vaguely see a handsome man look down at him. He wanted to say thank you. But he was too weak.

The man looked down at him, “My name is Khivar. And you will be working under me now. I need to know what you know about the Lord of the Mountain. I will return what was taken from you.”

“Sir, it will take time for him to recover.”

There was the sound of a familiar voice, “What is going on here? Why have I been dragged to this building… Khivar!?”

“You have failed me Vanessa. Moreover you were trying to hide your mistakes by blaming this man here for them. I looked, Vanessa. I checked. He has information I need. Information YOU ignored.”

“Khivar, I can explain…”

“There is no need. Gentlemen, assist the Premier to the rack. Let her be an example. I will not allow a superior to hide their inadequacies by pretending they are the faults of others.”

Roger could hear as his former employer and lover began to scream. As her soul was extracted slowly from her shuddering body.

And he cried.

--
Every Radio in Teven

“This not a mistake. Do not adjust your radios. I speak from the fabled Citadel of Stone.”

There was a slight pause, “It is possible that you do not fully recognize my voice. I am Queen Tess, the woman you tried to kill and bring about changes. And I do not say that there were not and are not things that need to be changed with the nation of Teven. But as all of you know by now, the forces that promised change were not the white knights they pretended to be.”

“The forces that have overtaken our fair land are nothing more than evil incarnate. All of you can surely see it!

“I call upon all of you to resist this evil with all of your might. I do not wish to rule you. I have every reason to hate you and in time will relinquish my rule to a different and hopefully fairer government than Teven has ever had. But that is for the future.

“For now, I am your Queen, and I say fight against the evils you see. Fight where you can if you can. If you can’t come to us in the North and we will shelter you. And in the goodness of time shall fashion an army that will wipe the forces of evil off the face of Antar!”

“Practical details will follow in coming days. But for now, do what you can for the betterment of yourself, your family, and your fellow man.”

“This is Teresa Harding, signing out.”

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Re: A Citadel of Stone (AU/CC , Adult) part 13 - 02/12/12

Postby PML » Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:01 pm

Thanks again to everyone who has followed along. This is the second book of what I planned to be a four book series, whether I will need book four or not I have not decided. Book three will definately be needed and I should start it either in mid March or early April.

Also note that just like in A Teardrop of Fire, this epilogue covers not our heroes, but a portion of events occuring outside their little pocket of space. Hope you enjoy.

keepsmiling7- Thanks. Yep, Queen Tess. She doesn't want it, but the folks in the Citadel demand it. Or they will not assist our heroes, so Queen Tess it is.


A Citadel of Stone- Epilogue

Admiralty House, Planet of Evergreen, Verdes Sector, Drathan Space

Commander Alan DeVai looked and made sure his uniform was spotless. He took a deep breath of the crisp autumn air. He had to make an impression. This was the sort of opportunity that did not come along often

Particularly not in the Verdes Sector. The Verdes Sector was in the main quiet with little direct military action. Not a place where quick advancement occurred. No, that happened in the Aquilane sector, or over in Menarez.

Sure the risks were higher, but so were the rewards. When he had been in the Aquilane Sector he had hoped for a patent of nobility. But he had made a powerful enemy with his intelligence analysis. It hadn’t mattered that later he was proven right. No the damage to his career had been done.

The transfer papers had already been cut. He couldn’t even take comfort in the failures of his enemy, as it meant the deaths of so many men he had once considered friends. May that bastard rot in Hell for all eternity!

His Eminence Viscount Vice-Admiral Kerinal had been in Aquilane too. That might help.

But the man was a stickler for details, and so DeVai had made sure he had his analysis correct. He was a little nervous that they had not finished the translation of the speech that had been given, but given who the speaker was and where she was calling from….

That would be a surprise, if perhaps a pleasant one. Regaining an relatively advanced colony would be pleasure. Particularly if the local authorities needed assistance to quell their rebellious subjects. That would allow easy access to their fortifications and allow for an easy assessment of their value to the Empire.

He was uncertain whether he should include the rest. It was simply impossible.

But the man was such a stickler, he would have someone else check… No it was safer to mention the other gene profile. Impossible as it was.

Checkpoint after checkpoint he went, desperately trying to keep his eyes from roving over the surroundings.

Such opulence! Gold intermixed with imported marble. Paintings denoting some of the Empires glorious past.

There was very little in office. Just a bunch of computers and tech equipment. Hypercomms and analytical tools. Very functional.

What he wouldn’t give for a token of nobility! To crack the diamond-like ceiling separating the elite from the rest. He had joined the service for that opportunity and he had done his job and done it well. But still to be relegated to second-class status forever…..

He stood waiting just outside his office. The secretary smiled at him and told him to wait a moment.

A voce came from the office, “Come in.”

Commander DeVai looked at the dark skinned V ice-Admiral. His eyes were deep and purple, his hair a mix of grey and the reddish color of his gene-line. He came to attention feeling the man’s mind press on his.

Like many of his prominence, the Vice-Admiral had strong mental gifts. Gifts DeVai didn’t have, but if he were given a token could be given to his future children.

“Your Eminence, my office is in charge of Deep Void HyperCom chatter. About a day ago we received a transmission from an old colony of ours.”

“Yes I vaguely recall hearing something about that this morning. I presume you have translated the message?”

DeVai shook his head, “Not entirely, Your Eminence. But the message had a pair of gene codes added to it. The woman speaking is actually a member of the First Family.”

“Ten-thousand, two hundred and fifteenth in line? Not too bad. Not for a colonial. Looks like cream rises to the top, no matter what those damn Repubicans think!” The Vice-Admiral reached out for the file. “That’s not possible.” He hit the data file a few times. “He has her eyes. My God. What are the odds…” He looked over at DeVai, “You are sure this is real? Not some Republican plant?”

“Your Eminence, that would be nearly impossible! The planet I have tracked it to did indeed have an Imperial Colony before the Collapse. It was never recovered because the Gate-Ring it belonged to had failed. It is in the Barrens now, but reachable.”

“Yes. Reachable. And not just by us. You see the man who is standing a little to the left of this Teresa Harding?”

“Yes, Your Eminence.”

“His name is Alexander Whitman. He is my nephew. My sister’s youngest.”

Commander DeVai forgot himself as his haw dropped, “But how… I checked the gene code, and it said…. But how?”

Vice-Admiral Kerinal sat back and stared at the picture, “Alexander Whitman is a member of the Republican Navy, shipping out of the New Mexico if I remember right. Good man to not fight his own people even if he is on the wrong side.”

“But how?”

“Simple, they are better at deep space exploration that we are. We know how to more seamlessly add our conquests to our economy and military, but they are better explorers.” He smiled. “Good work. Send me everything you translate out of this.”

“Yes, Your Eminence.”

Again the smile, “You will find I reward those who serve me well. Bring me all the information your section has on this planet, this Antar.” He looked at the data packet, “Yes they are better than we at deep space, but that doesn’t mean we are not good at it.”

Commander DeVai nodded and left. Republican presence on an old Drathan Colony in the middle of the Barrens? This wasn’t good news for the Empire. The Verdes Sector had been quiet for so long they would have to pull other forces to cover possible raids by Republican forces.

It would be the Aquilane Sector all over again….

DeVai smiled as he walked back to his office. Maybe his career wasn’t dead yet.


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