Lieutenant Colonel Randall Jimison still couldn't believe what was happening. Not only were they going to be delayed more from getting home, now that were saddled with these females. Looking over the readings he still didn't understand what in the hell had happened.
"Vice-Admiral Shiloh, you understand what the hell is going on? I mean as soon as we went trans-warp, all their life signs went critical." Jimison asked Shiloh.
"I was about to ask my A.I. give me a few minutes. Incidentally, let me have the readings you have." Shiloh stated.
Jimison nodded as he initiated the transfer. Sitting back, he made sure that the female was comfortable while he waited. Looking at the petite form of the woman he suddenly felt strange feelings of protection deep within him. Shaking his head, he started to wonder what the hell was going on.
Resisting the urge to hold the female close to comfort her, Randall started to pace to take his mind off her. What was going on, was he coming down with something? He'd never felt this way about any female, he damn sure didn't feel like suddenly getting that way either.
A moment later he heard the Vice-Admiral cursing over the comm. "Well it looks like we're going to have to get back the hard way."
"What are you talking about?" Rear Admiral Richard Grant's voice came over the comm.
With a sigh Shiloh continued, "it is apparent because of the long term exposure to ripalon energy, trans-warp more than ten seconds can kill them. Damn it! I thought we'd be home by now! It will be another day before they can travel again via trans-warp."
"That is unfortunate," came the voice of Derrick, his holo-gram behind Shiloh. "I know for a fact that your family wants you home. Do all that you can," Derrick's eyes narrowed as he thought a moment. "Hang on a moment Vice-Admiral." Switching channels Derrick called Johnathon. "We need to take readings on the young female with you. The three that are with our recon, passed out with their life signs bottoming out at almost ten seconds. The thing is, I know for a fact that you were in trans-warp far longer, Mary?"
Johnathon nodded as Mary appeared running several scanners over the female. A perplexed look dominated her features. Turning toward Lucie Hartwell, Mary started to run the same scanners over her. Looking unsure Mary brought out a few more scanners, a moment later she nodded.
"After scanning the Tendraxian female, then Miss Hartwell, it is apparent she is the key. Her close proximity to the female, combined with her extended exposure to trans-warp, helped the female to survive. The amount of energy her body contains from trans-warp space, helped to allow the female to travel." Mary started as she was quiet a moment. "I have conducted the same test scans on Captain Callie, plus the Empress."
"You're conclusions?" Derrick asked.
"They also contain the energy, though nowhere the extent as Miss Hartwell. According to the readings I am getting, they have not been in trans-warp nearly as much as Miss Hartwell. Might I suggest that Admiral Hartwell, along with Miss Hartwell, retrieve the three ships?" Mary suggested.
Derrick was nodding as he turned toward Johnathon, "Make it so. I'll let them know you're coming." Switching channels Derrick stated, "Alright, we have solved the mystery. Admiral Hartwell should be there in a moment."
Shiloh nodded not really understanding what Derrick was talking about. He trusted the commander implicitly, the man always seemed to know what to do. A moment later a rift appeared, not far in front of the three small ships. Johnathon slipped easily out of the rift, stopping in front of the three small ships.
"Alright, I am moving to take you all aboard." Hartwell said a moment later. As they watched an opening appeared on the side of the ship. A moment later, a yellow beam shone on each ship as they all were pulled toward the ship.
Hartwell turned toward the Tendraxian female as soon as the ships were aboard. "I think it would be good if you are there when all three of the survivors awake."
The pale female's eyes got large as she stared at Hartwell. "Lord sir?" She asked a look of uncertainty on her face. "Other survivors?"
Hartwell sighed as he explained. "Other females of your people were found. I believe it would help things if you are present when they awake.
The female bowed her head to Hartwell, "I will do all that you command, Lord sir. I am after all, yours."
It took all Hartwell could do not to growl at her answer. It took even more effort, not to try and correct the female. With a pleading look to his sister he watched the both of them as they made their way to the med bay.
Within minutes all of the unconscious females were in the med bay, all three of the recon team reporting to Hartwell.
Turning in his chair as soon as they were there, he regarded them for a moment. Looking at first Shiloh, Grant then finally Randall, with a small shake of his head.
"Recon one reporting sir." Shiloh stated for all of them.
Shaking his head again Hartwell gathered his thoughts before he spoke. "I assume that the three of you know he isn't happy. Frankly neither am I, you three are three of the highest ranking people we have. I had assumed that this mission would have been a vacation for you." Here Hartwell turned toward Randall, "YOU, I am the most disappointed in. Son, I know you can read, I know you can follow orders, yet, you did neither when it came to first contact with the Delcrons."
"Sir, I thought that in this instance that he was going to kill-" Randall started then was cut off by Hartwell.
"Idiot! Had you read the full briefing you would have realized that SHE was trying to get you to react the way you did." Hartwell said with a serious look on his face. A look that quickly dissolved into one of slight amusement.
Randall narrowed his eyes as he stared at Hartwell. "Wait a minute, what in the hell! A SHE!! Damn it man! She nearly took my head off! I...I..."
"I tried to tell you, but you were so sure you knew what they were like." Shiloh stated then turned toward Hartwell. "So, it will only be a fleet of forty to fifty thousand."
A suddenly grim faced Hartwell shook his head. I would suspect-" Hartwell started.
"That they are sending all three?" Derrick said as soon as his holo-gram appeared. Hartwell's face screwed up into a grimace. "We have to remember that you left after you beat the hell out of her. Also, I had Mary analyze all the video of the altercation. She appears to be someone of importance in the Delcron empire."
"Someone of importance?" Hartwell said as he stared sideways at Randall. "You're not exactly sure, who?"
"I have a suspicion, though at this point we aren't sure. As I said they will send all three groups of ships. The first to open negotiations. The second group will be the actual beings involved, plus their family. The last I am sure they will have hang back in case nothing comes from the negotiations."
Randall swallowed hard as all turned to stare at him. Looking at Derrick, a look of near terror in his eyes Randall asked. "Is there no way out of this?"
Derrick shook his head, "nothing short of the eradication of the Delcron race. Though I do remember reading that if another female steps up to claim you, then a battle for you will ensue. The victor gets to become your mate."
Randall's eyes went large as the look of terror seemed to grow larger. "Claim me? What, am I a piece of meat?" Randall almost whispered now starting to look bewildered.
Derrick could feel for the man, though in this case had the man actually gone in prepared, none of this would be happening. "I am afraid that in this case, in this situation, dealing with these people? You are just that, a piece of meat, that is the prize at the end."
Randall's look of bewilderment was growing more by the second, Both Shiloh and Grant also had a slight look of bewilderment, though they knew the commander had something up his sleeve.
"Given what we have on them, we are working on a solution. Know this though," Derrick said with all seriousness. "You will end up with a wife or two at the end of this."
A look of abject horror replaced the bewildered look in a second as Randall started to back away from Derrick and the others.
Giving a sigh Derrick looked at Hartwell, "according to Mary it shouldn't take more than an hour with Lucie. I have asked Mary to monitor all three of them to make certain."
Looking around, Derrick, then Hartwell, could see that Randall had beat a hasty retreat for now.
On board Celeste, Kimon Dempsy could see that his soon to be bride, was chomping at the bit to get loose. He could sympathize with her, though, she did seem to be greatly distracted. She hadn't been concentrating hard enough or she'd have been out sooner.
"Onai Sakuta, you should be concentrating on healing more. Your father would be displeased if he knew of this." Dempsy said as Onai suddenly laid still a look of intense concentration on her face. Fifteen minutes later a confused Celeste appeared.
"Miss Sakuta," she stated as the bio-bed started to power down. "I am surprised that you are ready to depart the med bay. I release you."
With that Onai flipped up off the bed. A slightly grinning Dempsy was sitting in a chair nearby. "Husband to be, how long have you been released?"
"A few hours." Here he held up a hand to silence Onai. "I know that you wish to complete the joining ceremony. I am afraid that a mission of importance awaits me. Another has taken the place, of the mate of my shame. I must go after them, as well as my student. He has the gift though," here Dempsy smiled. "He is not yet complete. I will return-"
"NO! Husband to be, I lost you once before, that shall not come to pass again. I will accompany you, two masters should be able to aide the Emperor far better than one. Plus, I know that you will not lose me either." Onai stated with a slight smirk on her face.
Dempsy looked up into her eyes to gauge how serious she was about what she'd just said. The fierce look of determination, gave him pause. There also was a look that he hadn't seen in quite a long time. An all consuming devoted look of love. His eyes wide a moment, he was surprised that she still felt the same about him.
Unwinding like a coiled spring, Dempsy was on his feet heading for the doorway. Onai was right behind him moving in step with him almost as if they were two of the same person. Stopping a moment Dempsy nodded.
"We need to prepare for this. The one we are going after must have great skill, though the last was rather pitiful." When Onai nodded with a serious look Dempsy was satisfied. "We will gather what you need from your ship. Then we will gather mine, I will stay with you."
Looking at him with a suspicious look she warned, "do not make me come after you again Husband to be. I was only angered the last time, I do not want to follow you with blood lust. It would not go well for either of us."
Dempsy's head snapped back from the fierce look that she was giving him. A thin smile crossed his lips as he nodded. He'd been very lucky last time, the next? He wasn't sure that he be able to defeat her with the blood lust.
Less than an hour they were prepared, each were a little distracted having watched the other strip naked. Then they had watched as the other redressed with a simple grace. Dempsy still had the image of her body burned into his memory.
Looking up Dempsy stated, "Celeste? I need to contact Brigadier General Norman."
A fiery redhead appeared a moment later. "Yes Colonel, I have him now."
"General," Dempsy started. "We have been released, we're going after the Duke and the rest of them."
"We?" Norman stated as his holographic image appeared.
"Yes sir, it appears that-" Dempsy started.
"I will not lose him again, once was nearly unforgiveable, this will not happen a second time." Onai said a look of fierce determination on her face.
"My Shin'yu, I think this is the best course of action. She has already stated that if she has to follow after me, again she will enter blood lust." This of course had Norman staring at Onai who only smiled sweetly at him.
"Alright, I really don't want to lose any more personnel. We just got them to a good point." Here he turned to Onai bowing to her. "Protect my Shin'yu, daughter of Isamu Sakuta. I want the both of you to return. I also wish to dance at your joining. Tomodachi," Norman said to Dempsy as he bowed.
"Ani." Dempsy said bowing shocking Norman. "You will always be my brother." Norman nodded then was gone
"We need you to IMT us to the opening of the cave." Dempsy stated to the air, right before they vanished appearing before the cave. Dempsy stared at the opening a moment before he nodded, then the both of them advanced.
"From what I was shown this will take us close to where the Admiral's family is." Dempsy told Onai as they rapidly advanced through the cave. Exiting, the both of them looked over the landscape, tasted the air then were quiet listening. Nodding with a smile to Onai, they both were off seeming to fly through the forested area.
Trent and William were about to sit and eat when a slight breeze made them both look at the opening. Sitting there were an Asian looking man and woman. Both were looking at William and his Uncle.
"Since no alarm was raised, I assume that you are the teacher and master of Captain David Greeson." Trent Hartwell stated.
Dempsy nodded as he bowed, "you have me at a disadvantage sir."
"Oh yes," the older man said as he rose. "Trent Hartwell." He said as he shook Dempsy's hand.
"Ah! I see the Admiral's uncle, yes. You are I take it, his brother?" Dempsy asked of William as the man nodded yes. "I am honored to meet and aide the family of one as honorable as him." Dempsy said with a smile bowing to both men.
"I take it you are looking for Captain Greeson?" William asked.
"Yes, we are, though we still have to follow. It seems that the sect that we thought destroyed, is still in existence." Dempsy replied.
"Captain Greeson said something along the same lines. He and his squad took off almost immediately after they got here. I'd say that they've been gone for over a day." William told them as he pointed in the direction they'd all gone in.
Dempsy and Onai rose to leave, stopping when Trent put a hand to Dempsy's arm. "I killed a few of their men with an artillery strike. I thought I'd warn you that, the bastards are probably mad as hell."
Dempsy bowed saying, "often times an enemy that is angry? Makes far more mistakes than when they are thinking clearly."
Trent nodded as he and William watched the Asian looking couple depart. Both men shook their heads as the couple seemed almost to vanish like smoke before their eyes.
For the next few hours the both of them tracked Greeson and their prey through the forest. Finally, they broke into a clearing to the sounds of heavy fighting. Dempsy watched as the men and women that he'd trained held their own quite well against the sect people.
That's when his eyes caught the sight of Greeson going against a man with an extremely familiar style. Even as he and Onai watched the opponent was starting to push Greeson to the limits of his training. Then as Dempsy knew he went up another step catching Greeson in the side putting the man down hard.
Dempsy was there in seconds catching the sect leaders killing blow. Smiling at Dempsy the man said in a raspy voice. "You must be proud, your student pushed me more than anyone has in a very long time. Too bad it has to die!"
Whirling Dempsy caught the man's second advanced killing blow. Swiftly pushing through Dempsy caught him off guard knocking him back a good twenty feet. Springing back, both men began to move far faster than anyone but Onai could follow.
With Oni entering the fray, both Onai and Dempsy soon had the leader backing up. Suddenly, Onai gasped out as she was knocked back a good fifteen feet. Unable to catch her breath, she began to rapidly hit several multiple points on her body.
Smiling the leader spoke, "tick tock, you only have seconds to administer the healing blow." With that he passed his hand towards Greeson gasping for breath, as well as Onai. "Now then, what to do?" The leader said an evil smile on his face, his hand on his chin. "Kill me or save these worthless two?"
With a growl, Dempsy turned towards Greeson administering a whirling kick to the leader's ribs, smiling when he heard the satisfying cracks of ribs breaking. Racing to Greeson he saw that the man had passed out half way through the healing blows. Rapidly hitting Greeson he heard the man gasp then start to breathe.
Flipping over to Onai he growled when he saw her not moving. Placing a hand over her heart, he hit her chest several times when he felt nothing. His ear on her chest was also revealing no sound. Picking her up in his arms, Dempsy roared out as held her close, then he stated a look of anger fading from his face. "I will not rest 'til I have taken the life of the one that has ended yours. Nothing will stop me, when next I meet your killer, I will be in the blood lust, I will not be stopped. This I pledge before god."
With that he placed Onai's body next to him as he calmly sat. The calmness that he was showing though, hid well the boiling turmoil that was building higher within his body. It was almost another hour later that he heard a moan coming from Greeson.
Through clenched teeth Dempsy, told Greeson as he slowly walked to his master and his bride. "I am going after her killer."
"He killed-" Greeson started.
"Yesss!" Dempsy hissed clenching his hands. "My indecision allowed this to happen. Take her back to the ship. Have her pilot contact her father. Play this for him," Dempsy said handing a small recording device to Greeson. "I trust you with this mission, as I do the art that I have taught you. I hope that you will seek out my old master to complete you."
Greeson was about to speak, then thought better of it. "I will complete it with honor, Masuta." Greeson said as he bowed, shocked when Dempsy returned the bow.
"Thank you my Gakusei, it was an honor to teach you. I would say that I will see you in Ame, though the path I am on now almost guarantees I will be sent to Jigoku." Dempsy stated as he arose.
"Jigoku?" Greeson asked confused.
"It is what your people refer to as hell, a place of the dishonored." Dempsy said his head and voice low, it was becoming harder to talk as his concentration moved more toward his prey. Then a moment later Dempsy stood turned then vanished as if he were smoke.
Greeson looked in the direction that Dempsy had gone a few moments, then turned his attention toward the body. Picking Onai up, he turned toward the direction that Dempsy had come from. Taking a step, it seemed as if he also vanished.
It was a few hours later that William and Trent, thought they saw something move past their camp. Shaking their heads, they were about to turn when William's com. went off. Several miles away in the direction that Dempsy, Onai and Greeson and his team had gone, his people reported that Greeson's team was returning. The thing was they all seemed to have several prisoners with them.
Outside the cave Greeson appeared with Onai as he called to Celeste with his com. A few minutes later, he was walking toward Onai's ship with a grim faced Norman close behind.
"He said he was going after them in blood lust?" Norman asked even more worried.
Greeson could only nod with a grimace on his face as he stopped before the hatch of Oni's ship. Holding up Onai's badge of rank, the hatch rapidly opened. Bowing low to the pilot Greeson spoke.
"I was told to ask you to contact Onai's father, to play him this." Here Greeson held up the recording device.
The pilot also bowed to Greeson, "It is good to see that which was passed on, was to one more than worthy. I will allow it, the both of you. Many stories have been told of an outsider that held all he met on our world with the greatest respect." Here the pilot bowed to Norman, "again it is an honor to meet you sir."
Norman bowed to the pilot as both men entered the small ship.
Lucie and the pale Tendraxian female moved toward the med bay, the female's mouth having been open since they left the bridge.
"I have never seen a ship as gigantic as this one." She stated her shock seeming to grow the closer to the med bay they got. "It is like a great city instead of a ship. The wonders I have seen here would benefit my people greatly." Here she stopped a look of horror on her face. "Please forgive me, if the Lord heard that I had said such things he would have me disposed of." The pale female started to shake almost uncontrollably.
"I know for a fact that my brother would never do such a thing. He'd greatly regret it afterward I can guarantee that. Unlike your world, males and females are more equal within the empire." Lucie stated then stopped when the pale female's mouth again dropped open in shock.
"Equal!?" The female said great shock in her voice, "This one has never heard of such a thing, how does your empire function? With the females speaking out, how do things get done?"
This time it was Lucie's mouth that hung open really? Was this female serious? "The empire gets along fine; the females contribute not hamper. Many are as smart if not smarter than a great many of the males."
The pale female only shook her head, "This is so alien to this one. We could not imagine having anything worthy to say that a male would want or need to listen to."
Lucie was doing her best to hold her own temper in check. Like her brother she was thinking that they might have to go to war against her planet.
A few moments later they entered the med bay. Moving to the three bio-beds the pale female looked at those that were there. She suddenly stopped before the last bed a gasp rising from her lips.
Lucie looked at the unconscious female then back to the one that came in with her. "Are you alright? What's wrong?" Lucie asked incredulously.
"She...she is... my...my..." The pale female stuttered.
"You know her? Lucie asked incredulous.
The pale female's head was nodding yes rapidly. "She's my sister, I thought to never see her again. Normally the Lords let us see family. Hers wouldn't allow it, I had thought her lost to me forever."
Lucie's shock went to elation as tears started to fall from her eyes. "It is good then that we came here. You get to see your family.
The female drew back in fright when Lucie put her hand on the female's shoulder. "Perhaps, though we both know that we will be disposed of soon by the leader of the beast empire." Here the female shook again as she lowered her head.
Again, Lucie had to hold her temper back, though just barely. Taking a breath Lucie told the female as calmly as she could, "I know the emperor personally, he would not do what you have said. He would not throw you away like a sack of trash!" This last part was said rather loud, causing Lucie to grimace. The female had again shrank back into a corner curling into a ball.
Sighing Lucie looked up, "Johnathon, I need the emperor." Looking over, she saw that the female was trying to make herself as small as she could.
A moment later Derrick's holo-gram appeared. The female's eyes got large as she started to whisper, "NO! It is the beast leader!"
Derrick's visage turned toward the female. "Hello young lady." Derrick said as nicely as he could.
"NO! NO!" The female whispered trying to get away from Derrick. "The beast leader."
"What is all that about?" Derrick asked.
"She says that we are regarded as, the beast empire by her people. Nothing I have said has convinced her otherwise." Lucie told Derrick.
Derrick sighed as he looked at the female that was doing all she could to get away from him. "I guess we'll have to change her mind."
"That's the thing sire, from what I have gathered from her? She and her people have been told this for a long time. I might be wrong though it seems that way to me." Lucie stated a look of worry on her face. "I thought that with you here, you might be able to convince her."
Derrick nodded as he stepped back from the female. What could I do to change her mind he thought. I could just ask her, though would she be able to answer me as afraid of me as she is? Shrugging his shoulders, he decided it couldn't hurt.
"Young lady? Is there anything I can do that will calm you?" Derrick asked only making the female shrink back more.
Derrick was at a loss when he heard Shelby ask. "Let me try Derrick." Derrick nodded with a sigh then the image of the empress appeared. This had the female visibly relaxing as Shelby smiled. "Hello, I am the Empress Shelby, I know you are scared, I am here to help you." The young female nodded as she relaxed more.