A Tempered Vengeance
The medical team arrived and repositioned Marjee in the captain's seat. Reclining it so she was a horizontal as possible they started their scan. Vital signs were normal; her brain scan indicated she was in 'a light sleep' yet no one was able to wake her. Moving to his left the med tech picked up a pricking needle from his bag and said.
"Let's see if she has any reaction to pain."
With that he gently pricked her palm, no response, he tried again a bit harder, her hand flinched and suddenly she was encased in a force field. Within seconds systems started to come on line. Taking note Noel tried to stop what was occurring, failing that she opens the ship wide link and said.
"All non essential personal leave the ship at once. Clear the bay departing immediately."
Systems were cascading, power levels were approaching maximum, it was then Noel tried to communicate with Marjee.
"Marjee listen there are still people in harms way if you launch now you'll do great bodily harm to them."
Power levels stabilized, moorings were released in sequence, and then Pegasus rose slowly, effortlessly, towards the bay opening. Hovering at three meters those aboard and in the bay moved to safety. Once that was accomplished navigation became active homing in on Illusion and plotting an intercept course. Raising her creunoc Noel informed Cassandra what had happened and that they were departing. Cassandra's response was…
"Noel you were suppose to pull the plug what happened?"
"Marjee took it from me and plugged it back in. We're departing in fifty seconds, if this display is correct, and if what I'm seeing is true we'll beat Illusion there."
"Return home in one piece."
"I hope so …."
Pegasus raised shields and rose from the surface, all normal communication was blocked, however Lyra would know shortly of their departure.
Aboard Illusion KO was viewing the long range scans when Lyra chimed in.
"Captain, Pegasus has launched from Shahrazad time to intercept four minutes, time to observation party's location seven minutes."
"Sarah, our time to party location?"
"Eleven minutes, I've got a target approaching from behind their speed is increadable."
The display showed a dot approaching them like they were standing still KO inquired to Leo about this.
"Captain it was rumored that Pegasus was capable of short bursts equaling the current factor fourteen. We never saw that until now. Just to let you know I'm receiving data from them they are armed to the teeth and in full offensive mode the AI does not control the ship a humanoid life form commands. It would seem that life form is in a semi conscious state."
"Great, Eli did you hear that? Marjee's passed out and is heading this way with Pegasus. Looks like she'll beat us there and they're loaded to bear."
"I'm on it, sorry KO; I'll get there just before she does. See you soon hope I can stop her."
"Samson just went to flank speed, by my calculations she'll arrive a minute before Marjee does. One hopes Noel can wake her."
"One hopes, Leo, Independence's location?"
"They are sixteen minutes in trail should I contact Scholar?"
"By all means and tell her everything we know, also tell her to pull the limiters out, we need them there, yesterday would be nice."
"Sending, Independence is accepting communications data delivered awaiting response."
"Lyra, are you talking to Pegasus?"
"We're receiving data but all attempts to communicate are being rejected."
"Send Pegasus our tactical data and see if it accepts that, we have to let it know who the good guys are and who are the unknowns if they go in there guns blazing they might kill the wrong side."
"Captain Independence just went to maximum speed plus it would seem another five percent."
"Well at least Scholar got the message. Where's Pegasus?"
"Passing us to starboard distance five hundred thousand kilometers and at factor fourteen point three five."
"Can we muster anymore speed?"
"We can but extra speed means sacrificing fire power… sorry captain it just occurred to me that if Pegasus keeps up this energy usage they might arrive defenseless. Unfortunately I don't have solid data to base that on but if rumors are true then…"
"Wonderful, Sarah, did Pegasus accept the tactical data?
"It was received, now if whoever is in command knows what to do with it, that's the other pressing question."
"Send Leo's energy assessment and see if they slow down there has got to be a way to communicate with them."
Aboard Pegasus Noel sits at the main console while a communications blackout is in effect they are receiving data from Illusion. KO's tactical has been fed manually into the fire control computers and accepted. At least they'll not fire on their own. This new data from KO is troubling if correct they might expend the bulk of their reserves getting to the destination. Feeding the data to the engineering computers at first caused an error. On second entry it was accepted. They were five minutes from the last known position of the Suran's, tactical also shows Samson approaching from the stern in an overtaking maneuver. The med tech is monitoring Marjee once she tried to open her eyes and that's the only response they've seen.
Aboard Samson Eliana has Pegasus locked into her fire control computer. They are one minute from intercept and if communications are refused she plans on giving notice. Firing on ones own has always been frowned upon but if one of your own goes rogue you can toss the book out the window so to speak.
"Slow our speed approach from the port side astern that's the least populated offensive position be prepared for defensive maneuvers as well."
"Slowing, distance six hundred thousand kilometers and approaching at seven thousand meters per second."
"Steady as we go, communications, anything?"
"All quiet Captain all frequencies show clear."
"Open a broadcast link; use every known frequency aboard Pegasus. We're close enough to blast through any jamming."
"Go ahead Captain narrow band link open."
"Marjee its Eliana I'm approaching you from the stern drop your shields and lower your speed. If you go barreling in there and hurt the wrong people I will personally kick your butt."
"Captain Pegasus is lowering shields and reducing speed."
"Slow down keep our distance and lower shields."
"Drop shields, one hopes I'm right about this however if you see one energy ripple get them back up."
"Um hi Eliana, I wanted to join you but you left without me, of course you didn't know I wanted to come so I can't blame you. I have this little problem it would seem the ship has accepted me but I don't want to be a vegetable in this chair forever. Do you know how I can gently break this bond?"
*KO, I've stopped Marjee. Get in there and see what happened to our people how far behind you is Scholar?"
"Scholar here, six minutes from your present location we'll approach you from port."
"Eli, KO two minutes to arrival, scanning the system multiple heavy weapon discharges indicated we are going to need you pronto."
"KO I'm not leaving till Scholar's aboard, scanned her and has report back."
"Um Eli go join KO I'll be fine Noel's here with me and knowing Scholar's enroute, you go and save my mother."
"KO I'm on the way."*
"Tactical, area scans."
"Captain it would be advantageous if we separated and took a quadrant on our own, if not you looking at an hour or better given the garbage that's floating around here."
"Agreed how ever at the first sign of hostile activity we rendezvous somewhere we can become whole once again."
"Separation commencing assigning scanning areas. Samson has entered the area and has been informed of our plan. They are one thousand kilometers off the starboard beam Eliana is waiting to converse with you on scrambled."
"I'm assuming you heard the conversation?"
"I'll say even my personal audio device was active. Did you really have to use the entire broadcast band? You know the bad guys probably heard that and our allies as well."
"So we lost the element of surprise maybe, maybe not. I'm analyzing the weapon discharges it's a signature we've seen before and if it is who that signature belongs to they probably have either captured or destroyed the dreadnought."
"Our people and the Suran's?"
"Damn good question the beacons have been silenced I'm triangulating their location how goes the scan?"
"Slowly, give us another fifteen minutes and we'll have something. I know the Suran's picked this area to hide in because it's almost impossible to pick out energy signatures in all this garbage but really. You know someone had to tip the bad guys off, there is no way in hell you'd stumble upon this location."
"KO I'm heading to the last known location if something comes up on the scan let me know."
"Eli, be careful."
The link closed and Eliana starts moving towards the location.
"Shields at maximum, move us slowly towards the last location of the beacon's sounding."
"Captain we could move faster if we cleared a path."
"Can you be one hundred percent certain of what we're clearing?"
"No Captain not in this obstacle course I can scan around the smaller asteroids but some of those out there are larger than this ship."
"And are capable of hiding anything friend or foe correct?"
"Aye Captain steady as we go."
"For once I wish the Suran's left us a map I know there is a passage in this maze but…"
"Eli, maze map is being sent; Orion found the entrance and is making headway to the source. We are following; you might have to backtrack a bit, ETA to the clearing six minutes."
"Backtrack my foot now that we know where we are going figure out the shortest route and clear us a path."
"Captain you just said."
"Clear only the smaller obstacles, we'll zig and zag a little but I don't know where the 'reverse' lever is."
"Aye Captain as you wish."
Scholar was aboard Pegasus she had made it to the bridge and was next to Marjee. Unable to penetrate the force field physically she concentrated on linking with Marjee. After several forceful rejections either the AI relented or Marjee finally took control, to this day it's uncertain what happened. Opening her eyes Marjee tried to sit up on her third try the field collapsed and she almost fell to the floor. Standing before the chair she said.
"Noel did I do anything um…"
"You did nothing wrong, but if you'll take note all systems are operational can you feel a presence in the room?"
"Not a presence per say but there was this voice whispering to me in a language I didn't understand. Once I sat up it ceased."
A terminal in the center console became active at first the language it displayed was unknown to Marjee however Scholar and Noel recognized it the ancient language that Illusion initially used. Accessing the terminal Noel inputted a code sequence and then…
"Commander accepted transferring all functions to… how should I address you?"
Marjee had a blank expression on her face looking at Noel and Scholar she said.
"Address me? Like a title or something I'm confused."
Scholar moved to her side and said.
"Illusion addresses KO as captain how would you like Pegasus to address you?"
"I'm not a military person I'm used to being addressed by my name. So you shall address me as Marjee and I shall call you?"
"Your translation of the name on the hull is grammatically correct Marjee call me Pegasus."
"This is all well and good but now what do I do?"
"I believe a crash course on being a starship commander is in order because, like it or not, you command this ship."
Returning to the 'center' seat Marjee took it; the information before her was overpowering. Sensing Marjee's confusion Pegasus reduced the information exchange to a manageable rate. The subject of ships operations was displayed, just by thinking; Marjee found she could control all ships operations. A detail chain of events was shown; once she understood she rose from the chair and said.
"No need for the course, I've just received enough information to operate this ship safely; however I'm going to need some help. I don't understand tactics or the like; I guess that's where you two will be helpful."
When she stood up both Scholar and Noel sensed a change in Marjee, she was no longer uncertain; in fact she seems to have a new confidence not only in herself but those around her. Scholar made contact with Marjee and understood.
"Pegasus has subtly altered you. Taken all your apprehensions from you, a word from the wise, always think before you act because your actions aboard this ship will cause it to respond without hesitation and with next to no notice."
"I realized that once you made contact for a split second I was hesitant and took notice of the ship wanting to prevent you from continuing. I realize I now have an awesome responsibility also now that we are here I want to know what has happened. Pegasus, I want you to joint the search."
With that the ship responded and linked with Illusion.
"Captain, Pegasus is on line requesting information and instructions… it looks like the command structure has been set."
"Understood, open a secure audio only link to Pegasus."
"Link open audio only."
"KO, Marjee, what can we do to help?"
"Right now the best thing you can do is scan the area looking for an energy signature Noel will know which one we're looking for… We've just arrived and I'll get back with you shortly."
KO muted the link and opened a scrambled link to those with in the area.
*"I'm so glad it was audio only because I couldn't have hidden from her what we've seen."
"No sign of the dreadnought I've made a quick sweep and I've accounted for all but one Suran ship, KO whatever came though here …"
"I know Eli I know it's almost like the dreadnought turned on them with no warning but that was impossible."
"KO, supposedly impossible remember that they were going to try to revive it once they understood its functions, you think…"
"Eli I don't want to think, we've got to figure out how to tell Marjee what we've found and hope she doesn't take Pegasus and go on a rampage."
"Not knowing what Pegasus is capable of that would be a bad thing I wonder if … Noel, are you listening if so flash your ID beacon."*
Pegasus's beacon flashed and KO knew at least Noel knew what was going on.
Scholar had kept Marjee occupied while Noel tapped into KO's link. Rising from the center console she stood next to Scholar and said.
"I've programmed the energy signature into tactical system I've also assessed our trip here. It is good that you stopped when you did because our reserves were less than twenty percent which meant about two minutes of combat till energy depletion."
Marjee engrossed herself into the data Noel had given her. While that occupied her Noel shared with Scholar what she had heard. An appalled look came over Scholar which changed as Marjee addressed Pegasus.
"Is this accurate? Would we have arrived in the area with little reserve to fight?"
"Marjee you never expressed the notion of putting up a fight, you were only consumed with following Illusion. The data is correct we would have shown up defenseless…"
"I understand now lets agree on something if I make a rash move and fail to explain it to you fully you'll never let our reserves run that low again lets say sixty percent."
"Building default is fifty-five percent do you want to override that setting?"
"If that's true then why did you let us get so low…?"
"Emergency protocol overrides all safety settings should I overwrite those as well?"
"Show me the emergency protocol and I'll decide from there."
Marjee studied the procedure it was then Pegasus spoke.
"Residual energy signature detected, on tactical, integrating current star charts and projecting course."
"Energy recovery in progress, system at forty percent, if we were to orbit the solar engine indicated by the flashing icon we can be at full power within the hour otherwise it'll be six hours present rate of absorption."
Noel's brow rose at that statement she inquired of Pegasus.
"Would this involve the equipment located in station six fifty three thru six sixty."
"Correct that is the energy replenishment system, which I have to admit was repaired admirably, given I couldn't give you guidance."
"So you're able to recharge instead of draining your present energy source… that's why you were still 'alive' after all these years."
"Basically a correct assumption had the system not been damaged you would have not found me. My orders were to avoid all life forms except those who created this vessel, however upon going through the data from Illusion. I realize I've outlived my creators."
"KO, I've found the target sending information and changing location, need to 'charge' my batteries."
Aboard Illusion KO was contemplating her next move when Marjee's message arrived…
"KO, I've found the target sending information and changing location, need to 'charge' my batteries."
"Charge her what?... Leo care to explain?
"Again not based on fact but it was rumored Pegasus was able to tap certain energy sources to recharge it's depleted energy cells instead of using it's own built in energy source.. Looks like rumor has been confirmed, Pegasus is moving to the large star on the edge of the system."
"I see… Eli, have you found anything?"
"No KO no signs at all I have confirmed we're missing one dreadnought and one Suran cruiser nothing else I guess we should rendezvous with Pegasus and continue from there, we also should…."
"Yeah I know I know she's not going to like this at all."
"Can't keep her in the dark forever either, I guess we go... Independence is trailing Pegasus there will be four of us you think that's enough to take down a fully operation dreadnought?"
"Damn good question a ship with a novice Captain and unknown qualities. I want to leave the balance of the fleet at home just in case. Hopefully the Suran's were as curious as we were and have sent an expedition out."
Aboard Discovery Dai and Plakia had just intercepted KO and Eli's recent conversation.
"Navigator, Captain speaking, plot a course to rendezvous with Illusion and fleet and transfer it in my quarters."
"Dai we just can't run off without orders…"
"True, but I'd like to know how soon we could be of help if we're needed."
The course appeared and Dai commented.
"If we take the short cut through the nebula we could knock almost half of the time required to get there."
"That nebula is tricky its density doesn't remain constant it could be a cake walk or…"
"A disaster and we won't know… oh yes we would… Arisa, Captain speaking, launch a class five probe to the Sawa nebula I want a density survey in 'real time'."
"Probe launched ETA fifty five minutes data lag three minutes depending on nebula density."
"We'll know in an hour I guess we wait."
"I hate waiting."
"Independence commander's personal log: Kenesh recording. We've followed Pegasus to the sun, Illusion and Samson arrived about ten minutes ago. KO and Eliana went aboard Pegasus to inform Marjee of their findings, at the moment the only way to communicate with Pegasus is thru Illusion so as to what is happening aboard, I do not know but I'm guessing it won't go well."
"Marjee I'll make this as simple as I can… our scans show that most of the Suran ships were destroyed. We have one Suran cruiser and the dreadnought missing, also missing, at the moment, is any sign of your mother."
"But … you're telling me…"
"Marjee, KO and I thoroughly scanned the area. We found no trace of your mother's life sign or remains."
"So she's missing and not dead…?"
"That's a logical conclusion unsupported by any other evidence we'll have to assume that is the case."
"Then we're going after the dreadnought?"
"As soon as you are able, tactical shows the vessel moving at a leisurely pace. I'm pretty sure they think they gotten away Scott free. At a moderate intercept speed we'll reach them in less than an hour after you're recharged."
"Why don't you go and I'll catch up.
"If we have to do battle with it it'll take the four of us to subdue it."
"Marjee I've run analysis with the data provided she makes a true statement. I'm scanning the technical data probing for any weaknesses."
"Pegasus link with Illusion they have complete data…"
"Scanning… Identified KO Captain Illusion, opening link, accessing data, acquisition complete analysis commencing."
"Marjee we need to speak to you about Pegasus protocol he's a bit rude."
"I like him, you deal with it. Plot an intercept course and let me know the minute we can proceed."
"Yes Marjee, course plotted we can depart in about fifteen minutes. I've fed the data to Illusion and Leo agrees with my figures. I suggest your guest return to their respective vessels so we can leave when I'm ready."
"Fine we can take a hint… Come Eli, and Noel, if something goes awry I'm leaving you with a decision to make."
Noel nods, KO and Eliana leave… in confusion Marjee says.
"What did KO mean? I'd like an explanation."
"Until are officially commissioned by the council I'm the ranking officer should you decide to go against KO's orders I'm to wrestle command from you and …"
"I understand, don't go off on my own, and be a team player. I can still disagree with her can't I?"
"Until you're commissioned you can disagree through me but I don't see any disagreement coming about do you?"
"No, I'm so new at this I have no idea what I'm doing so I'll let KO proceed it's her field of endeavor not mine, at the moment, something I plan on changing and soon."
"Commander Vekk we've received a tactical update from Illusion I suggest you view it at once."
Opening the data Vekk leaned back in his chair and looked at the ceiling of his cabin. The ships he had left just ten hours ago were all destroyed almost five hundred civilians and crew members were dead. The missing ship, he knew exactly where it was… opening a secure link to Illusion, He informed KO of everything he knew and told her, he was enroute to her location and to 'wait' for his arrival.
Lily sat quietly taking the view of the afternoon. Hearing the door open she turned to see Risch and Robert enter before a word could be spoken she said.
"Pegasus is flying, I felt its departure, I knew Marjee was a miracle worker, but they're not back, what happened, it was only to be a suborbital flight…
Moving chairs to face her they explained as best they could what they knew, with Risch finishing by saying.
"We know their location they're part of the fleet, your mother is sending data home at such a rate it'll take us weeks to fully understand it. Pegasus has bonded with Marjee and according to Saio it's the best possible match we could have hoped for; however her general inexperience and the total unknown that is Pegasus. I wish I had more positive information to provide but that's where we stand."
Not content Lily sat a bit straighter faced them both and said.
"You're going to think me daft I only just met Marjee but what I encountered leads me to believe she and mother will be just fine, having Scholar aboard is a help. As for what Pegasus can do, think Illusion. They were designed by the same beings; we've found enough similarities in them to convince me it a downsized Illusion or Illusion is Pegasus super sized look at it either way the end result is the same. My concern is has Pegasus taken in enough current data that it will function in this era without reverting to its previous programming. I just hope Marjee and mother don't lock horns they need each other not try to out do each other."
"Lily, Saio guarantees me Marjee will do just fine…"
"Robert, listen to me carefully because I'm only going to say this once. Remember how KO changed after her run-in with Illusion? It took quite sometime plus almost losing her and the ship for her to realize she'd changed. Granted Marjee's not one hundred percent Abh but she's still a product of a pure bread Abh, you and I both know how unpredictable, at times, offspring can be. So take care in your thoughts and make sure someone is monitoring the situation from afar. Given the data we acquired from Pegasus it is as formidable as any ship in the current fleet and if Marjee has full access to our ships Pegasus will know our weaknesses as well. We don't need any 'friendly fire' accidents. Now you two 'shoo', take what I've said and related it to those who need to know. I'm going to rest."
Robert was taking quite a bit of exception to what his charming wife had just said. Wanting to have the last word he started to rise from his seat. A tug on his jack and a nod towards the door and they were off without another word said.
Once outside Risch reminded Robert of a common fact.
"I've know her from day one you've known her most of your life. You know she's her mother's daughter and I know her mother very well. Remember son, discretion, at times, is the better part of valor. You still have to live with her, although the spare room has a comfortable bed, neither one of you need to be fighting over this matter."
Entering the command center Cassandra said.
"How did it go? Do we have answers?"
"Lily was not surprised with what we said. Her only concern was if Pegasus was able to adapt to this era without reverting to his original programming."
"Survival mode, I've given that some thought Noel say she feels that Lyra transferred enough information, unless there is a complete systems collapse, Pegasus should be fine, her fear is what will happen if they don't find the survey team alive. An emotionally charged Marjee and a loaded for bear Pegasus, hell the dreadnought might not be so bad at all."
*"KO, Vekk is off the port quarter he's on the common link shall we give him the plan?"
"Go ahead make sure he understands he has a two fold duty as does Independence."*
The plan was simple; surround the dreadnought, cloaked, KO and Eli would position their ships in front of the dreadnought while, Vekk, Kenesh and Marjee flanked from the rear. Separated Leo, Lyra and Orion would cover the z axis. If they failed to surrender and opened fire those aboard were expendable, a fact that had been kept from Marjee. Vekk and Kenesh were to halt Marjee's progress if she tried to disobey orders.
"Cloak now and jump on my signal estimated time to target three minutes. We'll arrive in a one hundred thousand kilometer circle. Execute."
The jump went off as planned once they matched speed with the target KO opened a link.
"This is KO of the Shahrazad ship Illusion; you're surrounded cut your engines and surrender at once."
Silence greeted KO, from astern Kenesh and Vekk were scanning the ship it was Kenesh who spoke next.
"KO, I've scanned the ship there are only four life signs aboard and they are located on the bridge."
Switching to a more secure channel she continued.
"We've located a dozen bodies in the hold, in the process of transporting them over, partial scan shows… Um I'll want to do a visual before I say anymore."
Aboard Pegasus Marjee had just completed a scan and had seen everything Kenesh had and more. Noel took note of a very far away look and motioned to Scholar but before anything could be done Pegasus froze them in place and locked onto the dreadnought with an energy beam halting it in it tracks. There was no attempt to struggle and communications were finally established.
"You can't have it… we found it a long time ago. It's ours. We killed all that you had aboard. You'll not get this ship we'll blow it up first, now leave us alone."
A single tear ran down Marjee's cheek opening the link she said.
"You killed everyone, what gave you the right to…"
"We had them outnumber but no that stubborn Abh she killed half my crew so we killed them all."
"Just to let you know I'm the daughter of that stubborn Abh. So I'll finish what she started. FIRE!"
Aboard Illusion Sarah told KO they had just lost contact with Leo and Orion it would seem Pegasus was operating them.
"Get them back."
"I can't they are targeting the dreadnought, KO, five narrow beam full power discharges were leveled at the unshielded bridge, they vaporized all in the area and have done substantial damage to the ship itself. I'm getting telemetry from both Leo and Orion. Pegasus has released its energy beam after draining the dreadnought dry."
Leaning back in her seat KO tried to open a link to Marjee, but before she could Pegasus disappeared in a flash of light.
*"KO! What the hell just happened?"
"Marjee acted on her own, took control of two of our remotes and barbequed those aboard the ship. I'm getting control back and Sarah is changing the protocols. Anybody have any idea where she's heading?"
"Kenesh here where ever she's heading its not home and she's moving right along I estimate factor six or better."
"KO, Vekk, we'll handle everything here you go round up your stray. I'll notify the Alliance if they see her to tell us but not get in her way."
"Eli, when I have my ship back we'll go after her, Kenesh, head home, inform command of what's happened and I guess you should arrange at least one funeral."
"On my way take care and come home safe."*
Kenesh departs, Vekk placed the dreadnought in tow, Eli boards Illusion and together they find where Marjee has gone. The projected course places her on the edge of pirate haven in three hours. Samson and Illusion launch in that direction they'll arrive shortly before Pegasus does.
Pegasus released Noel and Scholar, while Noel was still shaky Scholar was having no part of this removing Marjee from the seat she addressed her directly.
"Who promoted you to GOD? Where do you get off making life and death decision? Their shields were down, weapon systems off line; you were no better than they were."
A fire, which was in Marjee's eyes, disappeared. She heard Scholar and realized what she had done. Her face grew solemn, eyes refocused upon Scholar. Taking a step back she said.
"I realize what I have done and if given the same circumstances I would do it again. Its not that I'm cold hearted on the contrary I feel I'm an understanding person, but Scholar you didn't sense what those people were feeling, I did. No matter what we tried to do they were willing to sacrifice themselves to keep that inanimate object. When they care for things more than their own lives there is no hope. Also I saw how my mother died; no one deserves to end life in that way. God, no not god, but I've had my revenge and I've avenged my mothers death she can now rest in peace. There is one more loose end to tie up and I'm going to do that as well, Pegasus time to planetary system."
"Two minutes Marjee, we have company, two alliance vessels approaching us at high speed they'll arrive before we do unless."
"Take no action, open a link to Illusion."
Aboard Illusion KO was contemplating how to stop Marjee when the main viewer became active. There stood Marjee, Scholar to her left and Noel to her right, before anything could transpire Marjee spoke.
"KO, Eli, I know you're approaching and request you keep your distance. I have an issue to discuss with the tribal leaders of this system and ask you not interfere."
"Talk you say, I've seen an example of your speaking skills, I'll not have you starting an interplanetary war Marjee…"
"I know what I did was wrong I don't have the time to go into detail but I ask that you trust what I've gathered and my judgment…"
"Judgment! Yeah I've got concerns about that, do you realize that you murdered those people."
"KO, I just said I realized what I did, now I'm asking that you trust me."
"No more violence Marjee these planets are defenseless since we were just here…"
"I have the system scan, for the moment just let me proceed, if you think I'm in the wrong stop me but hear me out first."
"Marjee we are in range, comm. link open and I've completed my scan."
"Very good Pegasus now if you'll excuse me KO."
Noel took the link from KO; Marjee opened the link to the planetary council the conversation was more than direct.
"What do you want? Why are you here?"
"I'm here to inform you that you no longer have the dreadnought in your possession. We've reclaimed it. Just so we're straight you killed all of our people and in kind we've killed all of yours."
*"Noel what the hell is she doing. You realized she just declared war on them."
"Wait KO, hear her out first."*
"We don't know what you're talking about. Leave now or die."
Marjee airs the conversation between those aboard the dreadnought and Pegasus. The tone of the conversation changes drastically.
"You actually killed them how could…."
"You boarded an unarmed ship; horribly murdered the crew and you're crying foul? Sorry I can't let this pass I can't let you sit smugly on that planet figuring we'd just complain and leave. So I guess a demonstration of what you're now dealing with is in order."
*"Noel, stop her she can't, don't let her…"
"Patience KO, watch and learn Marjee has grown up a lot in the past couple of hours."
"Noel I hope you know what you're saying because. Leo target Pegasus, at the first sign of hostilities, open up on them."*
"What are you planning, killing six hundred million people...?"
"No nothing that drastic but I hope it's warm where ever you are, Pegasus engage."
A beam emitted from the ship and knocked sixty percent of the planetary power grid off line. The link disappeared momentarily then returned at a much lower signal level.
"What did you do? What have you done?"
"Disrupted sixty percent of your power grid and left the power reactors cold. I estimate it'll will take you six months or better to restore power. And just so you know you can rebuild and hide them but we'll find them and if there is a next time I'll wipe the entire planet out and leave you in the "stone age." I strongly suggest you make peace with the Alliance if not I'll be back."
The link snapped shut and Pegasus set sail for Shahrazad upon arrival Marjee was placed in custody and appeared before the council. After several hours of heated discussion it was decided that Marjee was to undergo extensive command training and was given command of Pegasus. The council president, Gwen, left Marjee with this parting thought.
"We always strive for resolution by 'peaceful means'. Armed conflict is condoned, when necessary and only when it’s the avenue of last resort. I hope we never have to discuss a situation like this again because next time …"
"I understand and I'll abide by the council's wishes, may I be excused I have a service to attend."
"Yes, yes, go my child I'm sorry for your loss."
At the falls most of the command staff was gathered Marjee arrived and the service started. Memories of her parents were shared and the high priest of the council said some inspirational words. The grave was closed and the monument erected. Marjee stood and reflected, KO and Eliana stood by her side. After a few moments Marjee was ready to leave. Returning to the compound she said.
"We need to keep talking to each other I have much to learn. Just so you know its official I'm staying it would seem I have no where else that I feel I belong. If you two aren't doing anything I need to gather my belongings and move them here. Never piloted a shuttle before anybody wants to give me 'driving lessons'?
A wry smile appeared on KO's face and before she could say anything Eliana said
"I volunteer, KO's shuttle skills well um Noel taught her to drive."
"Um is that a bad thing?"
"You want to know ask Jinto he's experienced Noel's driving first hand."
"Eli you are a party pooper."
Eliana smiled while KO was pouting and Marjee was taking in her new surroundings.
To be continued in: Picking up the Pieces