Derrick kept watch over Kimison as Mary started his treatment. Derrick knew all too well what was needed to break the hold that all the fear and pain held on him. She was barely into the start of the procedure when Derrick felt him tense up; looking up a moment later she motioned me close.
"I am afraid that I have need of your help sire his mind is as strong as yours it will require two energies to break the hold of the paranoia that has a hold on him." I nodded as I moved closer, “Lie down over there Sire, remember while you are inside that nothing is real and can hurt you. The images you see are just that and only the memories of his mind.”
"I will do my best Mary," lying down Derrick closed his eyes and was suddenly standing above the abyss that was Kimison's mind.
"Alright we are starting down," Mary told him as they started to descend. All around there was nothing but chaos Derrick had a feeling that his mind had been almost as bad, but somehow he'd kept a better handle on it. Mary touched his arm and pointed to a spot where the chaos was nonexistent. Landing, Derrick looked around recognizing where they were, it had been one of the worst missions that they had been on.
Suddenly there was a shout and Derrick and Mary turned to see a wild looking, red eyed glowing 8 foot tall something that Derrick could only describe it as a beast. "So you've come back you son of a bitch," the deep voice of it snarled. "Good I need something to carve the hell up, seeing as you're the one that put us in this hell!" With that the figure lunged at Derrick with what looked to be a 4 foot bayonet. Slashing at Derrick the creature that was sounding more and more like Kimison started to roar in anger when the weapon only went through him.
Calmly Derrick just smiled at him, "What in the hell are you smiling at, you ass wipe! After I kill you all this will be safe then you can't take away the only safe place he has! Die! You have to die!"
Mary could only stare at Derrick by doing nothing he was in fact helping more than she thought he could have. Nodding to Derrick, he grabbed Kimison's arms as Mary began to slow the chaos. "NO! NO! STOP! He'll have nowhere to hide when those assholes at the veteran's center start to hurt him again! Stop it now! I'll kill you, I'll kill you all! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!" With that almost all the Chaos was close to stopping and reassembling into more ordered thoughts. Mary nodded to Derrick who let the beast loose now that now looked more like Kimison. Falling to the area beneath their feet Kimison looked up at Derrick. "Commander? Are you really here or is this another nightmare?" Reaching out Kimison touched Derrick's arm then grabbed him. "By god you really are here! I don't know what you and she have done, but I feel almost normal."
"I told you we had a way to help you, I have been through it also, so I know." Derrick said tears in his eyes Kimison was starting to look more and more like Derrick thought he should. "We'll see you out there," Derrick said a moment later when Mary had motioned for them to go up.
"Alright commander." Kimison said as all three of them started to rise to the surface.
Derrick opened his eyes, Mary was standing over him, "I am glad that the decision to take you was the correct one," she stated.
"I am also glad that you did; I owe that man far too much to let him suffer another day. Thank you Mary, will you need me for the second part?" Derrick asked her.
"I am not sure Sire but I will let you know before I go back in so that you are able to assist," Mary replied.
Kimison opened his eyes shaking his head, and then a startled look came across his face. "You both were really in there! My god almost all the horrible dreams and visions are gone!" Getting up he came to Derrick and grasped his hand shaking it vigorously, "You need me commander I'm yours!" Derrick smiled, well that was three of the five he just had to get the other two to complete this part of the plan.
Mary was soon showing Kimison to his room, Mary was smiling hugely finally there was actual life back in the palace though if the Emperor didn't open the defense grid they might be the only life here. Appearing in front of Derrick she bowed low preparing to ask him again about his coronation, "Sire we still need to discuss about your being crowned. I feel that it truly would solidify your position with not only the people but with the nobles." Mary let out a little sigh when it appeared that Derrick was flagrantly ignoring her. "Sire I know you wish to put it off but as I said it is the only way that you can lower the defense grid."
"I know," Derrick said he'd been going through all the information in his head. Everything has a loop hole, he just had to find it, even if he had to try and download the entire imperial library. He felt he'd lucked out with the override code, hell he'd been afraid that it wouldn't work. Withdrawing deeper into his thoughts there had to be something.
Mary sighed this family was going to be the greatest Imperial family ever and here she smirked they were also going to be the most active and hardest to guard. Sending a signal she again started the sentry making production line. She was going to definitely going to have her hands full with all of them. Derrick sat at the foot of the throne sighing he couldn't find a solution to the problem.
"Mary I need you to call Hartwell I need to talk to him before we go any further." Derrick told her finally breaking out of his rumination. Nodding she called him.
The wall in front of Derrick lit up as the sight of the bridge of Hartwell's ship was revealed.
"Rear Admiral, I have concerns; is it possible for you to consult with me for a short time?" Derrick asked him.
A wide smile crossed his face then was quickly gone, "Yes your lordship I always have time for you."
"Good, Mary, transport." Derrick told her.
"What you..." Hartwell started, "right now?" He finished a second later, standing in front of Derrick.
They both could hear the many gasps of his bridge crew they still weren't used to it yet. "Captain Multry, avoid any incidents I will be back on board soon." Hartwell told him.
"Yes sir," a moment later the same man held up a communiqué. "Sir we have just received this from command you are advised to render any and all aid to the Emperor that you can."
"Thank you, send a confirmation of reception of the message, I'll keep you informed of what we will be doing in a few hours." Hartwell ordered the man.
"Yes sir," the man said snapping off a salute.
Hartwell's mouth was hanging open as he took in the throne room he'd dreamed of being here all his life but never as the friend of the Emperor. Moving around Hartwell reached out to touch everything he could as if he was scared that it would vanish at any moment. Derrick could only smirk he'd remembered little Joey telling him years ago that he wished that some day he could actually see the Imperial palace. Walking back to Derrick he hesitated a moment then asked, "You mean to tell me that all of this belongs to you?"
Derrick thought a moment then replied, "No actually it belongs to the people they are allowing me to use it while I am ruler." Derrick told a shocked then huge smiling Hartwell.
"Now you really are starting to sound like a true ruler of the people. If I have a chance I will let all know what was said here," bowing low Hartwell stood with a proud look on his face. "I am proud to have been your friend all these years Sire, very proud."
Rolling his eyes Derrick thought I might as well get used to this; they all are going to be doing it before too long. "The reason I asked you here is that I am going to need a detail for later." Sighing exasperatingly he looked at an even happier Hartwell, "it appears that I have to be crowned, though I do not want to, it seems I have to."
Starting to laugh Hartwell was hardly able to contain himself. Derrick looked at him like he was crazy, "I fail to see what in the hell is so damn funny Joey!" Derrick growled at the man.
Sucking in a huge lungful of air Hartwell looked at his friend, "Well Sire if that is the most difficult thing you have going right now, I'd say you’re damn lucky!" Again Hartwell started to laugh.
As Derrick continued to stare at the man he realized that the man was correct and started to chuckle with him. "Damn but you aren't always right little Joey, but unfortunately I am still going to have to go through with it."
Suddenly sobering up and getting quiet Hartwell told him, "Sire I am at your disposal as are any of my men."
"That's good to know but I think you should know exactly what you are up against," Derrick told him holding up copies of his father's files that he'd only just discovered a day or so ago.
Hartwell's eyes got big as he started to read, then he started to nod, "Yes we've known of these cults for a while but have never had anything solid on them to eliminate them. I think that this information could go very far towards that end."
"I believe that this is what got him killed and not some accident that just randomly happened. I also believe that it was almost the same for my grandfather though father was a bit sneakier with his probing." Derrick informed his friend.
"As I said this information will go far to start the end of their cults, many of the proofs here will indeed spell the end for several of the cult leaders. Besides I don't think they really want to go to war with the Rangers, advanced tech or not." Hartwell advised Derrick after a few minutes. "Though I am afraid if they really do have spies as indicated here it may prove difficult."
"I need to get Thomas and Rayburn onboard with us, at present I found Rayburn, but as you indicated he is as isolated as you said. As for Thomas he has effectively disappeared," here Derrick smirked, "though Mary has become quite adept at finding people and things."
Hartwell had been nodding when he looked up, "Rayburn would be a good asset, but I am afraid that he truly wants to be isolated. I remember the last time I talked to him; he'd told me that he had become disillusioned with society and most people. When he heard that no one was able to find you having literally disappeared, he removed himself to the outer rim."
"Well getting there won't be that bad of a problem, though I am afraid that he might not believe that it is me. Wasn't he also suffering from extreme PTSD?" Derrick asked Hartwell a concerned look in his eyes.
"As I said the last time I saw him a few months ago he was doing well apparently the isolation is extremely calming to him. I do remember though that when we were on approach to his planet he was issuing several warnings. His tech isn't as advanced as yours but he has succeeded in advancing what he has to a high level."
Derrick nodded taking this all in Rayburn had been their tech advisor and a very good one at that. Derrick knew that even with the added intelligence he had it was possible to miss something; Rayburn had been the best at finding problems before they developed.
"I need you to supply Mary with all the names of the men you can assign to us while I am crowned. Mary I want as quick a check on them as possible, override any system that does not wish to comply." Derrick ordered her.
With a huge smile Mary replied, "It will be as you command Sire," turning to Hartwell. "I await the names of all those you indicate Rear Admiral."
In orbit, The Lysium was finally under her own power, the Duke had finally emerged from his chambers after hours of plotting. Yes he thought this would be a most delicious game of cat and mouse, with the duke taking the prize at the end. His crew stayed as far away from him as they could, they'd seen him in as happy a mood as he was in before. It bore no goodwill toward anyone to get close and upset that mood. The cook had the man's food ready as fast as he could; good thing the man almost always wanted the same thing. Already the Duke thought everything was in motion he'd already contacted the two groups that had high end tech. Smiling evilly he knew they'd get the job done after all, they hadn't failed before, he saw no reason why they should now.
Several systems further out closer to the Galactic rim, a dark shadowy man smiled at the communiqué. So they had a new emperor, this Duke Risen was willing to pay their price to remove the man. Smiling he saw that there was almost no information on the man, no matter he liked mysteries more than almost anything. A runner was standing by to take all that the man had to the leader; he would be the one to assign an assassin to rid the Galaxy of the man. More excited than he'd been in quite a long time, the shadowy man hoped that it was him. A job this big would bring ultimate satisfaction to him and make him feel like his life was complete.
Derrick and Hartwell had been pouring over the list of men and women that were aboard his ship (it seemed another wouldn't arrive for another day). Hartwell had smiled at this, good, he thought no one else to horn in on any of this. "I believe that is all that we can spare after your coronation," Hartwell told Derrick. "Anymore might render the ship useless though you do have 90% of the crew."
"Mary run all backgrounds, if there is the slightest wrinkle I want to know about it no matter how small." Derrick ordered her after they were finished with their discussion.
"Yes Sire, running all now." Mary replied as she reached out to multiple computer systems to confirm or deny information that were soon pouring in.
Within minutes she had cleared half the crew as she thought she might, and then she ran across one that she was not sure of at all. Still she kept at it soon finding another five that were more than questionable. "Sire I have completed the list of ALL crew members," she stated a mere ten minutes later. "I have six members that are in question; one I believe is a spy for one of the anti-throne sects."
Derrick and Hartwell's heads snapped up at this news, "Display please," Derrick told her. Derrick and Hartwell went over the information for all six quickly dismissing four of the other five, and then they were reviewing the sixth. "Mary is there a test to discover whether or not this one is in fact a spy?"
Mary was quiet a few moments, as she searched her data base, "Yes Sire there is, but I am afraid that it can be fatal. If the person is indeed a conditioned spy the test could produce a ripple effect that would spread 'til almost all memory is erased. In the past any of the two sects that were questioned died within minutes of their mind shields being broken. I have refined it in the last 500 years but the results still aren't that favorable for survival. I am sorry Sire but given the few times I have performed the procedure I still have insufficient data to correlate an effective treatment."
"Let me see your results and readings during your questioning sessions Mary, I might have a few improvements that you could incorporate." As Derrick started to go through the data, he started seeing parts of the older programming viruses that Mary had been infected with to destroy all her living circuits. Derrick worked the keyboard with almost inhuman speed typing at a blinding pace. Finally an hour later he was looking over all the work he'd just finished, Hartwell had backed away not wishing to interfere and the simple fact that he'd never seen anyone type that fast.
"I think I have it patched enough for you to better work it," Derrick told Mary who had been following Derrick's work as he had progressed. From what she was seeing the viruses she had were designed for her to actually kill the spies rather than question then. Now though as she smiled her probing would do nothing but yield staggering results that should prove more than useful. "I believe we are more than ready if and when they try again; I think they are in for a very rude awakening." Derrick laughed as he started to flip several switches.
"How would you like to proceed with this one?" Mary asked Derrick a few minutes later.
"I'll decide after I am crowned. Two things that unfortunately have to happen today, one we ARE executing that bastard Maury; that is happening no matter what, and as publically as possible. Two, I will be crowned afterward not as a celebration of that slime ball’s death but a promise of life, it will be at that time I will reveal who I am and not before, is that clear Mary?" Derrick asked.
"Yes your lordship, as you know you will then be able to lower and raise the palace defense grid as you want afterward. Unless it is an emergency then I can instantly raise them, as stated before, your life takes precedence over everything," almost in a whisper Mary added, "This includes the life of this unit."
Derrick whipped around to stare at Mary after she'd uttered these words, "I do not appreciate your levity in this matter Mary!" Derrick quickly told her.
"I am only speaking the truth your lordship, it is all that I can do, as that the way that I was made," Mary said, her head bowed tears slowly beginning to fall from her eyes.
"I," Derrick started, "do not intend for you to be put into a situation like that, you do understand that without you and the others I would never have accepted this position." When Mary only nodded her eyes wide at what Derrick had said, Derrick continued, "I intend for you to last long after I am gone." The tears were falling harder now no one, no Emperor had ever given her, her children or their children the consideration that this man did.
"Mary, how close are we to being ready for all of this?" Derrick said though he really didn't like to kill, this was the one time he really had no qualms about it.
"I estimate that we have at least three hours before the execution, then depending how soon
afterward we can have the coronation within minutes. Do you feel we need to make an announcement about everything Sire?" Mary asked him, she could see the emperor was still somewhat upset about everything she just wished there was more she could do.
"I think a warning ... I mean an announcement would be prudent in this case. I want you to reach all that you can, let all know that as of today the empire begins again. If they wish to join then they will need to swear allegiance to the empire and all the other kingdoms within it. If they desire to stand against us then," here Derrick paused, then a grim look shadowed his face, "then that also will be dealt with swiftly and fairly."
Mary nodded then vanished to begin the preparations for the execution and the eventual crowning of the new emperor. Derrick was sitting at the foot of the throne again when the link on his wrist chimed. "Yes Shelby, do we have a problem?"
"No Derrick I thought you'd want to know that 1000 is ready for space with only three days to go before her re-gen reaches completion." Shelby advised Derrick.
"Good, I need to speak to her as soon as she has full cerebral activity, how is 0798's progress?" Derrick inquired.
"I just started her re-gen a few minutes ago; she should be ready in at least a week." Shelby told Derrick a wide smile on her face. "Derrick I know you still blame yourself for Lucy but we will find her and she will be given a hero status among us all. She has struggled for years to feel she was a true EIG, what she did," here Shelby lowered her face and voice, "will not be forgotten by any of us, especially me. She overcame so much to reach the point she did, she did it all for you Derrick and only you."
"Yes I know Shelby, I WON'T let anyone forget what she did and we will find her." Derrick replied trying to keep the tears from his voice.
Two and a half hours later Derrick was standing inside the protected outer courtyard. Twenty small containers were arranged in a semi-circle around a post that had been driven into the ground in the center. Derrick had several of the Rangers bringing the man to the post after securing the snarling, spitting, and cursing man they beat a hasty retreat. Derrick, who had been there the whole time wearing a mask, was awaiting the time for this to start. Right before Mary was to go public Derrick walked to the edge of the courtyard.
"You have been a bastard president for this supposed Republic far too long." Removing his mask the ex-President's mouth dropped open in shock as he stared at Derrick, a man he'd been told was dead many years ago.
"No you son of a bitch! You're dead; I was told they beat you to death! NO you're a ghost! Get away from me!" Smiling Derrick reattached the mask and activated the security around the post. Moving to a window Derrick nodded to Mary who started the broadcast.
"Citizens of the now defunct Republic we are here to witness the execution of the criminal known as President Maury. His list of crimes is indeed long, but in a shortened form there is evidence of genocide, starving whole planets, untold war crimes but the worst is the attempted murder of the emperor, the attempted destruction of the Imperial planet, the last is the near death of over half of the galaxy. This last was more than enough to order his death. The imperial sentence? Death by the Imperial sand bore worms. Execution to begin immediately!" Derrick moved back as all the containers next to Maury opened. Six foot long, and an inch around, the furry looking red worms slowly crept from their containers.
Maury started to laugh at the fuzzy worms 'til all 20 turned and quickly advanced boring into his arms, legs, neck, and back. Though he was grimacing, once Maury started to scream and beg, Derrick stood stead fast. Derrick knew that first the worms would sever the man's spinal cord rendering him unable to walk or crawl away. Then they would take their time consuming each organ of the body saving the heart, lungs, and brain for last.
As he watched Derrick could see the worms starting to bore toward the organ that they wanted to start feasting on first. Though the man had passed out a few times he always seemed to pop back up a few minutes later as the boring increased the pain in a new area.
If he remembered right the brain would literally explode from the pressure the worms caused in the man's cranium. Though not that humane of a death it was quite effective, as the saying went about the worms, once they’re in it's the end. It took another hour before the man began to scream even louder, and then his whole head exploded.
"I apologize to those citizens that found this to be vile but it was necessary to give some justice to all the families of the millions that this... thing has caused such great pain." Derrick told everyone still watching. "I did not want to be crowned after such a horrific execution but I find
that I must in order to start bringing order and rule back to the Galaxy. Please know that as Emperor I was not happy doing this."
Walking back to the throne room Derrick sighed this was the last moment he would have as plain Derrick O'Toma. Advancing upon the throne he stood beside it waiting for Mary to appear.
"To the citizens of the old Republic, I am Mary the law holder and palace security AI. I was empowered by the very first Emperor Angelius with the power to crown he who bears all the genetic markers, who has the codes and commands the imperial fleet such as it is at the moment. The man before me is a man of the people an emperor not that far removed from the first emperor. He is the first in over 200 years to display all the qualities. Sire? Are you ready to assume the duties as ruler and protector of Empire, and do you at this time reveal who the emperor is with full knowledge that you rule for the people?" Mary stated in an official voice.
"I do Mary," a very nervous Derrick replied.
"Please Sire remove the mask and show the Empire the face of its new ruler." Mary said as she had to suppress a smile.
Almost all of the Rangers present gasped when Derrick removed his mask revealing his identity. Derrick smirked as he could hear several of them whisper that they knew him or knew of him.
Mary waved her hand as a sword and a crown appeared, "By the power invested in me by the mandates written by the first emperor," here she touched each shoulder with the sword. "I dub you Emperor O'Toma the first, ruler of the galactic empire. Please arise Emperor O'Toma and receive the crown of the empire." With a slight smile Mary lowered the crown via mechanical arms upon Derrick's head. "Please be seated Sire," Mary advised him as she turned toward the all that were watching. "It is done! Long live the Emperor, long live the Empire!"
All the Rangers in the room, Hartwell included, bowed, and repeated what Mary had just said. Hartwell advanced and bowed to a now sighing Derrick, "Sire Ranger command has advised me to swear allegiance to you as do I and my men, also to tell you that all of the Ranger force is now at your disposal."
"Thank you Rear Admiral Hartwell, I accept yours and your command's gracious offer of allegiance. I will do all in my power to ensure that the Empire will be a shining beacon of freedom from such beasts as the one we executed today." Derrick told Hartwell, a little smirk on Derrick's lips.