WKE235 Posted April 7, 2007 Report Share Posted April 7, 2007 The Acari Gambit Minouth, High Chancellor of the Acari, slowly moved through the busy command center within the Imperial Palace. His eyes were in constant motion, darting across the various displays contained on the multitude of work stations spread out across the vast and cavernous room. From time to time he would stop at one of the stations to more closely examine one of the screens, only to move on after a few moments. Ever since hostilities had commenced with The Colony, this slow move through the command center had become a daily ritual for the High Chancellor. The stroll provided little in the way of information as he received and read summary reports from all areas each morning after waking. But every being did fear the Chancellor would stop at their station and discover something that displeased him. Displeasing the Chancellor would result in a transfer to the fertilizer stations on the cities outskirts, or perhaps worse. And the Chancellor used this daily stroll to reinforce this fear and keep his troopers on their toes. After moving through the command center, Minouth reached a dais near one end of the room. Seating himself in a chair on the dais, Minouth cried out “Display!”. Even as the last of the Chancellors robes settled into place, a large holographic view of space in and around the Acari home world sprang into being within the command center. Surrounding the planet were several thousand lights. Each light represented an Acari ship now orbiting the world in order to protect it from The Colony. After staring at the display for a few moments, a smile crossed Minouth’s face. Over 2000 small ships now acted as a screen over the Acari home world. A screen that protected 6 of the most massively armored and powerful surface fortresses that Acari designers could come up with. Seeing nothing amiss, Minouth used a stylus on his chair to change the display. The Acari HW shrank out of sight to be replaced by a view of the entire Acari home system. Most of the planets and moons were ringed with tell-tale red to indicate colonies that had fallen to The Colony, with many others ringed in yellow to indicate colonies still controlled by the Acari, but minor in size. The Acari home world was the only bright white spot on the whole display. There was one bright blue spot pulsing on and off near the second moon of the second planet, indicating a battle in space. Using the stylus, Minouth brought up an information display about the battle. Looking over the pictures and data, Minouth’s smile grew wider. The recently commissioned Star Cruiser the Park 9 had taken the battle to the enemy. All 67 of the Octahedron defense satellites towed to the battle by the ship had survived the battle intact. And the fleet had managed to destroy a freighter in service to The Colony. As Minouth continued to stare at the battle results, his smile slowly faded. Something was not right. His fleet had destroyed a 500,000 ton capacity freighter with no armor and no weapons. Only added fuel tanks, a transwarp drive, and lots of MK I Antimatter engines. As he scanned the battle information over and over, his puzzlement grew. Why would the colony have a high speed freighter moving about in HIS system without protection or escort. Either they thought so little of the Acari that the believed they could act in such a manner, or they were so confident of eventual victory that …. A voice rang out from one of the many work stations in the room. “Chancellor, the city is under attack!” Standing up from his command chair in surprise, he barked “WHAT?! This cannot be! DISPLAY!” The large holographic view of space in and around the Acari home world sprang back into being. Surrounding the planet, the thousands of little lights continued to slowly orbit the planet. The large surface forts sat weapons silent and unmoving. No battle in progress. No ships in distress. Just a peaceful display of the Acari’s awesome might. In the midst of the display, Minouth noticed one green dot. Hard to see within the mass of white lights, it was given away by its movement away from the planet at increasing speed. “Focus on that ship, now!” Minouth bellowed motioning towards the receding speck of light. The display shifted to a real time view of a massive ship, engines on full thrust, moving away from the planet. Totaling in at over 1.3 Million tons, there was no mistaking the sight. Sinking back into his sear, Minouth shook his head in disbelief. “An Apshai Troop Transport, over the planet. But how? And when?”. Shaking in anger he turned towards the nearest command station. “Get me Admiral Aleove, now!”. Pressing a few buttons in record speed, the soldier quickly complied, and a holographic image of Aleove appeared above the station. “High Chancellor Minouth, what a pleasant surprise. How can the Grand Fleet assist you”. “You can explain” Minouth hissed through his teeth “why our cities are under attack on the ground”. Stunned by the question, Aleove sputtered “But, but, that’s not possible. We’ve seen no enemy ships approach the planet and everything is fine. I do not see how.”. “No enemy ships Admiral? Then what is this!!” Minouth roared as he pointed to a display of the Apshain Troop Transport. “The Apshain ship sir? They are not an enemy of the Acari. We checked the records twice and we have no declaration of war on record with them. They are neutrals sir. Our standing orders are to attack any declared enemy. Attacking a neutral approaching the planet under such conditions would be unthinkable.” “Neutrals Admiral? What about the Lexann attack? Was that the act of a neutral?” “Chancellor, that attack was over 40 cycles ago. And in all the time since then, the council never choose to issue a declaration of war. Why, when I was talking with the commander of the Apshai ship, it mentioned that ..” With a look of disbelief, Minouth looked up from monitor displaying the scene of a burning building. “Admiral, did you just say you spoke TO the commander of the Apshain ship?” Aleove pulled on his collar as if trying to loosen a noose tightening about his neck. “Uh . Yes sir, part of SOP. Being this was the first visit by the Apshai to the Acari home system, we spoke to ascertain why they were entering orbit” “And…” prompted Minouth, even as he gave a hand signal to one of the soldiers nearby. “Well sir, he claimed to be here to help resolve the situation with The Colony once and for all. He even offered to place his ship on one side of the planet away from the massed defense forces so as to avoid interfering with out operations. A very friendly being”. “So, in summary Admiral” Minouth began in a tone that made any nearby soldiers flinch in fear. He continued as a picture of the Apshain ship sprang up, “A million plus ton troop transport from the Apshai moved into orbit. Despite the attack on our ships so long ago, despite the fact the ship was named SLAMMER, despite the fleet flag declaring the name that translates as “Death Dealer”, you found the ship commander to be a nice being, and allowed the ship to move into orbit at a spot where they could land a base on the planets surface and place troops virtually undetected, behind our screen of several thousand defense ships? Is that what you are claiming Admiral?“ Sensing what was to come, Admiral Aleove, eyes showing his rising fear and panic, blurted out “I was only following orders Chancellor! We were not at war with them and I had to allow the ship into orbit. I was just following orders!!” “Such a loyal soldier, to follow orders so precisely. Hmmm.. how can we reward such actions…” Minouth intoned as a finger moved towards a nearby button. “I was only following orders! I was only following orders!!” Aleove screamed in the holograph. “Then I order you to die Admiral”. Minouth pushed a glowing red button, and the holograph vanished in a flash of light. Above him, one of the thousands of ships briefly flared white and disappeared from the display. Turning back to the command center, Minouth yelled out “At THAT is the price all of you will pay for any further acts of incompetence. Now get me information about the force attacking the cities. We have a world to save”. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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