Lionette walked determinedly down the hall. She was dressed in her bright red official dress military uniform. Her hair was pulled back and swung side to side with each step. Her long black cape trimmed with heavy gold braid announced to all who saw her she was an important person. Neeka was having a hard time keeping up with her. When Lionette walked the crowed hallway seemed to part as if by her will alone. Like a powerful ship moving through the sea. But like the sea the crowded hallway closed in again after her passing leaving little Neeka to fight against the wake that was left. Neeka had been given a uniform to wear as well. It wasn’t nearly as resplendent as Lionette’s however. Hers was a simple white tunic and skirt topped off by a military style white cap. White boots came up to her knees that were more for show than function.
It was now three weeks since the Empire had begun their assault against Visiok controlled space. The fighting had been brutal with the Empire taking more loses than they had counted on. Lionette’s forces had struck the Imperial supply lines hard and with great effect. This was causing the Empire to hold their positions until new supplies could be received.
Lionette was on her way to speak with Kyus Hadron. He was a first cousin of the Royal family and in charge of the fleets of the Hadron clan. They had promised their support as usual in times like this but had not shown up with any ships as of yet. Lionette had flown herself and Neeka to the Hadron capital to speak with him in person to find out why they had not arrived.
The capital was in a state of near panic. Lionette was enraged to see so many Feloids packing their belongings and leaving.
“They’re acting like humans.” she snarled under her breath. In contrast her own people had immediately began readying their ships by packing them with provisions and stocking the shelters as well. The Hadron clan was known to be a very profitable and wealthy clan. They were small in number and paid many lesser clans to act as their security forces. They also had huge numbers of slaves that did nearly everything for them. In short they had become soft.
“Mistress, please wait.” Neeka had lost sight of Lionette in the throng.
A hand took her by the arm and helped her through the crowd. Neeka looked up to see one of the handsomest Feloids she had ever seen. He was tall with blue gray eyes. He wore the dark green uniform of the Hadron clan. He looked down at her and smiled as he made his way down the hallway too Lionette who had stopped when she heard Neeka’s plea.
“I believe you lost this.” He said jokingly to Lionette.
“And whom should I thank for returning it.” Lionette smiled back at the handsome officer.
“I am Kyus Hadron, we missed each other at the space port. I’ve been trying to catch up to you ever since. I do apologies for the confusion. If we go to the end of this hall we can speak in my quarters.” he said sincerely.
Lionette motioned for him to lead the way. Neeka grabbed tightly onto his arm as he went. She was afraid of getting left behind again as well as liking the feel of his muscled arm.
Once inside his quarters he shut the door. Like almost everything on the Hadron home world this room was furnished in all the finery that money could buy. Kyus noticed Neeka’s expression as she took it all in.
“It all seems a bit much doesn’t it?” he commented uneasily. All this wealth didn’t help the reputation the clan had of not being worthwhile fighters or willing to risk it all. They had too much to loose.
“Please sit down, you have a lot of questions and I have a lot to answer for.” he said holding out a chair for Lionette.
“I’ll stand.” Lionette said crossing her arms. He offered the chair to Neeka who smiled and took a step towards it. She stopped as she felt Lionette looking at her. “I think I’ll be standing as well.” she nodded.
“ Understandable.” he said.
“Our fleet is on it’s way as we speak. The delay is entirely my fault. I was away on other matters when the word of the Imperial attack came. I issued orders to move the fleet into position at once but there was some confusion as to where it was to go. Once I was informed of the mistake I rushed home and took charge personally.” he said humbly.
Lionette looked around the room. Sitting quietly around the room were at least seven catgirls. They were very very young and pretty. They were also chained and naked. She had heard rumors about the levels of decadence that this Clan had sunken to but now she had seen it for herself.
“Your apology is not what I came for Kyus! I want back the lives of my warriors that took your place in the front line. My warriors died because you weren’t where you should have been. I came here too bring you back from whatever dream world you live in. We are under attack from a force so powerful that it may destroy our entire culture. If we don’t all do our part now,today, we will fall under the boot of human extremists that will take all we have and enslave the children of the dead. Everything will be gone if you and your kind don’t remember that you are a Feloid and would rather die than surrender. We all have to stand together to win this. If we loose because of you I will come back here and kill you myself!
Lionette turned and went to the door. Neeka, surprised by Lionette’s out burst nodded to Kyus and ran after her. Lionette stopped at the open door and without turning towards Kyus said, “I will expect you to be leading the fleet from the front Kyus. If you have any manhood left in you at least do that.” she turned and looked at the startled girls chained in the room. “And leave your toys at home, this is the real thing.”
Ceecee and Pep were looking over the plans that Granic had made. They were plans to refit two of the prize freighters they had captured some time back into raiders. These ships would be made to appear as normal freighters but with more powerful engines and concealed heavy weapons. They would prowl the Imperial shipping lanes and search out and destroy any ships they could by surprise attack. Ships like this were uncommon but both sides used unconventional ships like this as well as surveillance ships and flying bombs. The flying bomb ships were the most terrifying ships to encounter. They carried atomic war heads and were piloted by droids. They would charge into a convoy or military fleet using their heavily modified shielding and explode destroying even the largest of vessels.
“It’s a good thing we’re in Feloid space.” Pep said. “My people have been pirates and raiders for centuries. We’ll show you how it’s done.” Pep grinned an evil little grin. Even though she had been born a slave she was still loyal to her race.
“Sounds good to me. I always wanted to be a pirate deep down.” Ceecee smiled back.
“Granic sure knows how to make a good set of plans. The way he has these modifications laid out we can put both ships in action in less than a week and put the finishing touches on while we’re in flight.” Ceecee said.
Pep looked at her as if she wanted to say something but wasn’t sure how to say it.
“Oh. Don’t worry Pep, you’re not going. You’ll have to stay behind and make sure those damned Feloids don’t take our stuff while we’re gone, no offense intended.” Ceecee smiled. She was talking about how all the Ty Clan pilots and crews were scrambling to beef up their ships before they went into battle. Some had been snooping around the base trying to get some of the groups salvaged parts.
“None taken.” Pep smiled.
Ceecee started to make a list of parts for Pep to pick out of the supply dump. Pep looked across the hangar and saw Timtam following Granic around like his little pet. She had her arms full of his new plans and designs that he was giving to the other Rebel techs. The group had decided it was time to help the Feloids with their problem and so they put all their plans on hold until this war was over.
Timtam looked over at Pep and waved causing her to drop some of the things in her arms. Granic growled at her and picked up the items himself. Timtam looked at Pep and smiled. She new he didn’t mean it, it was just his way.
“No! No Matt, were busy. You and Pep can hook up later.” Ceecee saw Matt beginning to step into the ships hold where they had been sitting.
“Relax Ceecee, I’m just here to ask you something.” Matt said.
“That’s how it always starts then bang, you two sneak off somewhere for and hour. Well that’s not happening today so go!” Ceecee was insistent.
“What’s all the howling about?” Ragg asked as he poked his head around the corner. He had been right behind Matt as he walked in.
“Oh, hi Ragg…I didn’t know you were there.” Ceecee said as she awkwardly wiped her face and tried to straighten her hair.
“We can’t stay Ragg, Ceecee doesn’t want us here.” Matt said smiling as he pushed Ragg back out the door.
“Wait ! Alright you two, what is it that you want?” Ceecee asked sitting up straight and pushing out her chest. Pep rolled her eyes at the obviousness of the display.
“We’re going around asking the people in charge if they need any extra hands. Since we still have about fifty of Ragg’s ground troops here with nothing to do we thought they wouldn’t mind helping out if you need them.” Matt said.
“Wow… you actually have a real reason to be here.” Ceecee said too Matt.
“Yeah, Ceecee. I do actually do stuff around here once in a while you know.” Matt replied.
Pep smiled at their conversation.
“Well let’s see…”Ceecee started to say.
“Hey great, you work that out with Ragg while me and Pep check and see if you all need any supplies in the back.” Matt grabbed Pep by the hand and pulled her down the hall laughing.
“You jackass !” Ceecee yelled as she watched the two disappear around a corner.
“Well I guess it’s just you and me now.” Ragg said as he sat down next to Ceecee.
“Yeah.” Ceecee laughed clumsily. She was a very attractive girl but had very little if any experience with making a man find her interesting. It was odd to see such a vivacious woman so completely without feminine charm or subtlety.
Ceecee slid close to Ragg and in an obvious move that was almost comical pushed her breasts together with her upper arms by moving her shoulders forward. Ragg had to fight back a laugh as she looked down at them to see if they looked okay and then at him as if saying “You Like?”.
Her signals couldn’t have been more obvious than if she had just pulled her shirt off and shook them in his face.
Ragg needed to take charge of the situation. “So how many men do you need?”
Realizing that she must be doing it wrong she sighed and put her chin in her hand. “About fifteen. See if any of them know how to wire laser canons to a ships power output too I guess.” she said frustrated.
“So ladies, it seems we’re not going to be included in this war after all. I’ve just been told that they want us to keep gathering information on the bases marked on that droid brain they have.” Kllair said addressing her crew.
“That’s okay by me. I really don’t know what I’d do against one of those new Star Destroyers anyway.” Elith said.
“Sounds like the right decision if you want to know what I think. All things considered, I like that Adda Beddo. She knows how to handle her resources pretty well. I trust her.” Novuh added.
Kllair looked at the twins. They were sitting on the top bunk one behind the other with their arms holding each other. Just for a second their blank expressions made her think of the young primates she had seen in the zoo in her youth. They only had each other in their view of the world. They would huddle together to comfort each other as the rest of the world went on around them. They were part of that world but they only connected with each other. Every one else was expendable.
“Well?” Kllair asked looking at the twins.
“Well what?” Vyra asked.
“The situation? What do you think about it?” she asked.
“It doesn’t matter to me.”Nya said.
“Me neither.” Vyra added.
“You two need to take a little more effort in the decisions we make around here. I want your input. We’re supposed to be a team here.” Kllair said irritated.
“If you do something we don’t like…” Nya said.
“…You’ll know about it.” Vyra finished.
“Leave it alone Kllair, their just screwing with you. That’s all those two know how to do. When push comes to shove they’ll do what you tell them to or you can always send ’em back too where they came from.” Novuh smiled.
The twins both cringed at the thought. They only feared one person in the entire Galaxy, the one who trained them to be the little monsters they were, Mom.
“What the Hell are you eating?” Tarin said laughing.
Bronski hadn’t seen her come in to the mess hall. He though he was alone. He didn’t want anyone to see him eating healthier food. Especially her.
“What is that? Is that a salad? Are those Chabobba beans?” Tarin was actually standing over his shoulder and pointing.
Buck slowly turned to look up at her and glared. She stopped laughing as he bent his fork in half while holding it with his thick meaty thumb.
“Easy killer, I was just joking.” she said backing off a bit.
“Can’t a man just eat in piece without being disturbed by children?” he said turning back to his plate.
Tarin’s uncanny instincts kicked in. Buck was sick, that’s why he was delayed when they were leaving the Imperial base they blew up.
“How bad is it?” she said sitting down next to him.
“There ain’t nothing wrong with me!” he said staring at his plate.
“Eating healthier isn’t anything to be ashamed of.” Tarin said.
He looked at her as if to say “ Weren’t you the one who was just making fun of me?”
“Hey, we always joke like that, it’s just a thing we do. Hell just last week when we were on that shuttle and we kept hearing that creaking noise you told everyone it was my vagina.” she said defensively.
Buck smiled. “Yeah, that was funny.” he said cracking a smile.
“So?” she asked.
“What?” he replied pretending he didn’t remember her question.
“You should know by now that you can’t lie to me Bronski, I know you to well.” she said pressing the issue.
“I don’t know…I collapsed back there, some kind of chest pain or something. It passed though and then I was okay?” he said jamming a bent fork crammed with greens into his mouth. “Anyway I talked to Thorim about it and he told me to take better care of myself so I am, end of story.”
Tarin looked at him concerned.
“Don’t you look at me that way little girl, I know what I’m doing, I’ll be fine.” he noticed a look of pity or sympathy cross her face. He was the guy that fixed things. He didn’t need any fixing.
“I hope so Buck, you’re the only friend I have here.” she said.
Buck never thought of the two of them as friends, he wasn’t sure what to think of that statement. It made him feel good somehow.
“Yeah well I don’t need any friends. No friends, no favors, no funerals.” He said looking straight ahead.
“ Well I need at least one friend and I think it’s you. You make me laugh.” she said.
“What the Hell are you talking about? All you do is bitch at me and tell me I’m an asshole.” he said surprised.
“No, I laugh at you behind your back, but that still counts to me.” she said.
Buck stared at Tarin after her statement. “You really are a bitch you know that?” he smiled.
“It’s made me the woman I am today.” she smiled back.
Baltis knocked on Mykala’s door. She had just returned from a resupply trip for the Feloid ships that were attacking the Imperial supply lines.
“Oh, hey Baltis, what’s up?” she asked.
“How was it out there? He knew Mykala was good at assessing a situation.
“ It’s okay for now and I think it will take a while longer before the Empire figures out what we are doing. Once they see what it is though they’ll do things differently. We can’t under estimate them for a second.” Mykala said.
Both Mykala and Baltis had violent pasts. Baltis worked his way up through a crime syndicate and honed his craft as an assassin on many different worlds and many different ways. Now he was in the process of redemption. He had been tricked into believing the Jedi killed his family. He began a crusade against them and even developed a rifle that fired a round that could pass through a light saber. He had been a pawn of the Sith and their plans to eliminate as many Jedi as possible even before Order Sixty Six was handed down.
“Hopefully the Convoy Raiders we’re building will give them even more grief. I’ve talked to some of the Feloid Captains that have used similar ships for years as pirates and they have been very successful with them. Of course we won’t be doing any piracy, we’ll just be blowing their ships out of the sky.” Baltis said grinning.
“I think the fact that we’re not Feloids but are going to stand with them will be helpful. What I mean is that we have different races, including human, standing together against a common evil. The Empire is almost entirely human. I just want to make sure that everyone remembers that humans fought against the Empire as well. I don’t want to see all human being linked with the Empire.” Mykala said.
“That may be a problem. Most people regardless of their race tend to lump outsiders into stereotypical groups. After this is all over I’m sure the Galaxy won’t look at humans the same way anymore.” Baltis said.
Hudd sat up in bed suddenly. There was a lot of commotion just outside his window. The sun had just started to rise so he knew most people should still be asleep. He looked through the window and saw Imperial storm troopers running around and pulling people out of their homes. In the distance he saw several shuttles landing and more troopers disembarking.
There was a loud banging on the door downstairs.
For the first time in weeks he was glad Timtam wasn’t with him right now.
Hudd was only half way down the steps when they kicked it in.
“Hey!” he yelled.
“Looks like we got us a trouble maker men” said the one he took as the officer.
Several of the other storm troopers quickly grabbed him and dragged him outside. The troopers pushed and shoved Hudd towards the group of other people that had been taken from their homes. He realized that they were all pilots that owned their own ships.
“Congratulations, you men have just volunteered to join the noble effort in the war against the isolationists that harbor the Jedi traitors. The war against the Feloids. We need your ships and your talents to replace our losses at the hands of these barbarians and their piracy.” said the Imperial Naval officer that walked up too them as he spoke.
“Each one of you will be given three of my men to help you with your duties. You will be compensated for your time and endeavors.” the officer said.
Hudd new the help the officer referred too meant armed stormtroopers and the compensation would never come. There was a feeling of hopelessness that hung over the assembled men as they watched their ships being loaded with cargo. They were made to stand outside, some like Hudd were only half dressed, until the ships had been fully loaded. They were then given ten minutes to gather anything they needed from their homes. Afterwords they were all marched to their ships and given their destinations. The ships lifted off one by one and eventually formed a small convoy of about sixty ships. They were given an escort of two Imperial Frigates. They were the type used during the Clone wars, far from top of the line, and used mainly for secondary duties. He hoped this meant they would be hauling supplies in the rear areas of the battle but somehow he didn’t think he was going to be that lucky.
Hudd looked at his destination, it was what he had feared. The destination was Feloid space, the front lines. They didn’t tell him what he was hauling or why they needed these men and their ships. He could only come up with two scenarios. The first was the Empire wasn’t doing that well in this war and they needed replacements in a hurry or the cargo they were carrying was extremely dangerous and they didn’t want to use their own ships. Either way it didn’t leave him with many options.
Tarin had finished with her morning work out. She walked down the hall towards her quarters. As she turned the corner she saw Timtam sitting on the floor with her head down. She jumped up and smiled at Tarin when she noticed her. Tarin felt bad for Timtam because she hadn’t heard back from Hudd after she sent him the message.
“Have you heard anything Tarin, I was just walking by so I thought I’d wait here in case you heard anything.” Timtam said smiling.
Tarin felt bad for Timtam. There hadn’t been any word at all from Hudd.
“Nothing yet sweety. It must be the war. He’s behind the lines in Imperial space so he’s just having a hard time sending you the message is all, he has to be careful you know.” Tarin said unconvincingly.
Timtam looked down in disappointment. “Yeah, the war. He must be having a hard time is all.” she said.
Lionette stood on the bridge of the newly built “Revenge”. Like most Feloid ships it wasn’t very big but they were excellent at hit and run tactics. This ship carried ten heavy torpedoes and a variety of other turret mounted weapons. Although small it was well shielded and very maneuverable.
She was waiting for the signal that the convoy was on it’s way to the attack point. Space is a hard place to hide with it’s vastness and millions of miles of open areas. Sometimes one could hide in an asteroid field but crews usually watched for these kind of attacks. The standard hit and run attack relied on knowing where your target would be and when. Once you had this information you could enter hyper space from millions of miles away and drop out of it very close to your intended victim. It was just a matter of closing the distance and attacking before they could plot a new course and make a run for it in hyper space. In this situation either way the Empire played it Lionette’s squadrons would come out ahead. If the convoy ran that meant the supplies wouldn’t reach their destination. If they stood and fought they would take loses and at least some of the supplies would be lost and never reach the Imperial Navy.
Lionette’s ship’s job was to attack the military vessels while the smaller ships went after the freighters and tankers. A green light came on in the center of the control panel.
“Jump !” Lionette shouted as she grabbed one of the support beams on the bridge. The ship leapt into hyper space for about sixty seconds.
“Drop !” Lionette shouted as they reached their destination indicated on the instruments in front of her. As usual there was no sensation of movement. There was just the stars streaming past then suddenly you were somewhere else. In this instance they appeared right were they wanted, broadside too the convoy.
Lionette’s ship, The Revenge, lead the assault. There were two more ships like Lionette’s in this assault group, The Courageous, and The Relentless. Hers was the newest and more heavily armed. The remainder of the ships were much smaller having crews of less than ten Feloids a piece. Lionette spotted an old cruiser leading the convoy and went after it immediately.
“Steady with those torpedoes men.” she said as they lined up on the cruiser’s main battery of guns. The Revenge hurtled towards the Imperial ship at full flank speed and fired. The torpedoes rocketed across the remaining distance. The first one slammed into the hull of the cruiser causing it to roll slightly. The second one hit just above the main battery just missing due to the rolling of the ship.
“Bring the ship around. We’ll try it again.” she said calmly.
A voice came over the comm system. It was the Commander of The Courageous. “ The other ships are reporting that the convoy is using conscripted ships, civilians pressed into service. Shall we target the civilian ships as well?” he asked.
Without thinking about it she replied. “Destroy every ship that comes under your guns Commander, no exceptions.” she said coldly. It was a simple matter of her people or the enemies people.
“In position My Lady.” the pilot said.
“ A little slower this time I think.” she replied.
The torpedoes were launched and they watched as they hit their mark. One hit the main battery and the second hit just left of the first place struck causing a huge explosion to erupt from the damaged area.
The crew of The Revenge all cheered loudly.
“ Left one hundred twenty degrees, I want to get some of those tankers before they make a run for it.” Lionette said over the cheering.
The Revenge swung around hard as Lionette pressed her attack. She knew that she needed to be aggressive and not hesitate during a fight.
“Fire forward guns at target indicated.” she had locked the sensors onto the lead freighter in the convoy as they began their slice through the middle.
“Fire forward guns at target indicated.” she ordered again as the first freighter exploded and she locked onto a second. They were working their way back and forth through the convoy of ships making it hard for the enemy gunners to not hit their own ships as The Revenge twisted and turned.
Then she saw it, a big fat tanker that had slipped into the middle of the convoy to avoid being hit. It was a civilian tanker and the Captain wasn’t following his orders to stay on the outside of the convoy. Tankers blew up in huge fire balls that would cause massive amounts of damage too any ship unfortunate enough to be too close.
“Fire torpedoes five and six at that tanker. Set the warhead on a sixty second delay in case any of our ships are near by.” she ordered.
The torpedoes were launched and headed directly towards the fat tanker. They could see both weapons hit and punch two huge holes into the storage area with the fuel.
“Fall back, fall back, fall back !” she yelled into the comm system. The Revenge rolled upside down and dove straight down to make as much distance as it could away from the impending explosion.
Everybody scattered in all directions as the huge tanker exploded. Burning fuel and parts of the ship went in all directions. The shock wave destroyed several other nearby ships causing them to explode as well.
Another old cruiser had launched it’s fighters. This was the first time Lionette had actually seen these new type. They had been described to her by Mykala after she had fought them on Tatooine a while back. Lionette wished she was in the Blood Claw once more so she could see just how good these new fighters were.
“Attention assault fleet. Regroup and make hyper speed for home.” Lionette spoke into the comm system. It had been decided earlier that if they encountered these new fighters they would retreat. At this point neither the Feloids or the Rebels had anything in production that could match these ships in a dogfight. There were individual ships that had heavy modifications that could do it but they were privately owned ships and very few in number.
One by one the assault fleet activated their hyper drives and flicked out of sight. The Revenge was the last Feloid ship to leave the area. It was Lionette’s duty to make sure they weren’t leaving anyone behind. Once she was certain everyone had left she gave the order to engage the the Hyper drive.
The mission had been a success with only a few loses on their side. Still she couldn’t help thinking it was too easy. Maybe it was supposed to be. Maybe the Empire was planning it that way the whole time.
If you have enjoyed these stories please check out my first all original book series at Amazon.com. The title is Beyond the Crystal Heaven.
Once again thank you for your support.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 10 September 2013 02:04)