The Iskarian Gambit - Page 3

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  1. #21
    @Higurro My thanks for your comments. If you ha the time, I'd like your opinion of what you think should be done to improve the readers contact with? I've had a few comments from others that split on the issue of expanding on what has been written, adding more detail and or expanding on some of the scenes so far. Two wanted more detail two said not to worry of excessive detail it's the overall plot/story they liked.
    "Illegitimi non carborundum " Vinegar' Joe Stilwell

    "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." Martin Luther King Jr.

    What you learn in life is important, those you help learn, are more important.

    "They can because they think they can."

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools will speak to say something." Plato

    "The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible."
    ​ Mark Twain

    "To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States." George W. Bush

  2. #22
    My next section....

    Two days later, the three ships entered orbit. A message came to the Krang from one of the approaching shuttles, “To senior lieutenant Knorr. You are to be taken to the palace of Prince Thrandal Iskavian Khal.” When he boarded the shuttle, with its Kybar guards, Jeldava was there also. He came to attention and bowed, saying “Princess.”
    She just smiled and replied “Thank you Senior Lt. Knorr.” After the shuttle landed, they got out.

    Seeing that there was no escort, which wasn’t an unexpected development, she just gave a small smile and turned and said to Draven.
    “It would seem my brother has forgotten my escort, would you Senior Lt. Knorr please be my escort?” Draven nodded and held his left hand, upon which she placed her right and they then continued on.
    They arrived at a receiving room and the guards let them in. The prince and a very attractive lady were there. This was his wife Miret, Grand Duchess of Iskaria. The prince turned toward them, his eyes fixed on Draven as he said. “Do you know what you've started senior Lt?” Draven just said “No sire.”
    “Well, the papers are saying that we are both allies and enemies of the Zaherians. At war with the Kalvari Empire, oh and a joint committee of the three Teracts wants to speak to you and my sister and me as to what devious clandestine meetings were held aboard your ship as they pertain to a secret treaty being signed. Not to mention of how this would help your father’s ship building interests and on and on. By the way the naval tribunal is waiting for you.” his anger being very evident. “Ohhh and to top it all off, this was done as a wedding present to you as my sister has finally decided to get married!! Like a senior Lt. would be good enough. Now for you dear sister, what was going through your mind? Sleeping with this unfortunate senior lieutenant? This at the least is being perceived as lending his action your support, which means my support to a ship’s captain who seems to have less and less common sense. First breaking with protocol and then getting you into bed. Well, at least you’ve seen the last of him. Your dismissed Lt.” Thandal said

    Jeldava's eyes got huge and her face flushed and she just did an impersonation of a volcano, but silent, though the lava as boiling as ever. “Draven, if my brother can have his say with you here I’ll have mine so dear stay and hear this. My bombastic brother is also an ass. First and I’ve said this before multiple times; don’t ever attempt to involve yourself with whom I sleep with and my personal life. Second, I got him into bed and it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be but it was more enjoyable. Third, are you actually mad because you thought he was using me to protect himself from this situation or that you’re thinking I would be that naïve? Fourth, how old will my dear sister-in-law/cousin be on her next birthday dear prince of Iskaria? Miret told me before the wedding, that it would be about two years before she could get her air car license, when she discovered she was with child. That would’ve made her 14.” her arms akimbo on her hips. “I don't care about your politics so don't think any grand deception.”
    Prince Thandal was livid. “How dare you say such dear sister! I am the prince, you are a princes and fourth in line to the throne, that makes whomever you sleep with my concern, just as much as a lowly senior lieutenant deciding to deviate from policy. No matter how apolitical you are, you are and always will be a princess of Iskaria and that fact alone makes you a political figure. Do you think that it was just your charming personality that has sparked an increase in donations to the Feather and Shield? Yes, I know where you stand on the Zaherians. So, yes I do think that Draven Knorr is trying to use you to shield himself. It's a benefit of being only slightly paranoid. That’s what I’ve been told by members of your crew as what was overheard on board the ships. You two were quite the topic. Jeldava, is it okay if senior lieutenat Draven Knorr leaves for his other duties?” he asked with a bit a sarcasm. “Yes and Draven, I'll be in touch.” Draven turned and left, just glad to be outside the danger zone.

    “The crew of the Zilwander should have kept their mouths shut. You have expressed your opinion of my behavior, so what. All know my penchant for acquiring lovers. Would you believe me if I told you that senior lieutenant Draven Knorr tried to call our relationship off for just such a reason as this investigation.
    He didn’t want me involved in what he called a problem of his own creation.” Jeldava said.
    “It was and it is, yet, based on your temper tantrum, you actually like this one, don't you? He isn't just another pair of shoes for your closet?” the prince asked.
    “I'm not sure. He is different and outside of when we first met, never called me princess or treated me as such. So, if it’s decided that his actions deserve reprimand from a military or diplomatic reason I’ll accept that. I won’t like it but I'll accept it. If on the other hand, I think it’s been done because he and I are an item, as you put it, or if I'm brought into any political arguments, I won’t like that very much at all and as you said I am fourth in line of succession. I know a lot of what goes on in these halls despite my not being concerned with it. Can you imagine me talking to the press?” Jeldava said with a most taunting air and even a challenge in her voice.
    The prince just looked at her for a brief moment then said. “Okay Jeldava, you would to. Okay, it'll be judged only on the merits of his actions as an officer and ship’s captain. By the way, I've reviewed his record and he is a promising officer. He graduated eighth in his class, very good scores all around and fairly complementary remarks from his professors. He received a rating a seven out of eight on his ensign cruise. However, his father is a political figure and sometimes the sins of the father are passed on to the son. He is a very noticeable qualitative improvement form your usual acquisition. Any other time or place I just might have approved.”
    "Illegitimi non carborundum " Vinegar' Joe Stilwell

    "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." Martin Luther King Jr.

    What you learn in life is important, those you help learn, are more important.

    "They can because they think they can."

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools will speak to say something." Plato

    "The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible."
    ​ Mark Twain

    "To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States." George W. Bush

  3. #23
    More than what I normally add but I wanted to include the whole meeting. Hope all are enjoying and all are welcome o provide comments.

    On the estates of clan Knorr, R'Karvin was livid, the precious gem game pieces of the Ah’Beth set suffered his wrath, as pieces scattered and broke on the floor. The two ladies in the room both jumped at the unexpected outburst. “Dear, what brought that about?” asked his wife Jilada.

    “Your son Draven, that’s who. He's gone and blown the whole thing up. Rescuing a Zaherain ship, giving merchant status to them and somehow getting involved with the princess Jeldava.” He ranted as he paced about the room.

    “When dear, did he become my son? Ohhh, when he decided to join the navy, must have been the P&E treatment that changed the DNA. Now, please tell me why that is bad?” she asked.

    “Bad, oh it’s more than bad. The Speaker of the Main wants a joint terract council and is considering summoning Draven, Jeldava, myself or a combination of the above. Our prince is furious and there are diplomatic messages going back and forth from our Foreign Minister, the Ghoram and Kalvari embassies and the messages they've sent home. There are accusations in the paper that Draven did this to improve the position of our ship building industries. Veritas, did you happen to have anything to do with this?” he asked the younger lady in the room.

    “Father, no, besides why would you ask? I wouldn't need my erstwhile brothers’ help to do such. We have many contacts in the navy and foreign ministry. However, since we can't change what has happened, we'd best profit from it, before our competitors do.” she said

    He looked at her briefly, “How?”

    “Okay, I've had our tech pull up all info on Zaherian ships. The one in question is a light raider, 105,000 tons, generally they have 7 double 6cm laser turrets and 4 double 7cm missile racks. Able to carry up to 2,000 soldiers, 5 to 10 assault shuttles and still has about 4500 tons of cargo. Acquire license to make the ship. It could be modified to be a very nice truly armed merchant. It might also have a possibility of being a naval transport auxiliary. Next, bring the Zaherian crew here. Better to observe and control who has access to them. Lastly, repair your relationship with Draven. Yes, you hate what he did and it was a defiance of your authority, yet, the fact that you've basically kicked him out of the clan might well come to light and it wouldn't look good. Besides, his naval record is a good one. If not repaired some might attempt to use him against you politically. As for how to do that, I’m sure you’ll come up with something” Veritas concluded.

    “You support her dear?” he asked his wife.

    “Support her in what? I was never asked nor agreed with you almost disinheriting Draven. Veritas has been a better manager than you and deserves to keep that as her inheritance. Draven should be welcome and supported in his career. No problem in being disappointed in his choice but you should accept it as joining the navy is a way to improve trade by making it safer. Besides, though being involved with the princess could be both good or bad, would you want to be on the outside if it's good?”

    Chapter 3

    The meeting began as Prince Thandal Iskhavium Khal entered the chamber. Baroness Jarset Sharet, the Princess’s 1st cousin and Director of Intelligence, Fleet Admiral Cindeck Zhan, the Commandant of Naval Infantry, General Nlor Quhen, the Foreign Minister Askarin Mnelo, the Speaker of the Moyet, Lord Whythel Dran and the Speaker of the Opposition, Lady Dame Miela Czedra.
    The Prince began as he sat his 2.3 meter frame in his chair. “Okay, as this is about the actions of one senior lieutenant Draven Knorr, how to best deal with it and any potential punishment to be given based on said actions. Let's start with the facts of the incident. Now what do we know from the sensor logs Admiral Zhan?”

    “Your Highness, though rather damaged, we were able to glean some information from those of the Drakkan and the Krang. They do show that the Drakkan was engaged with two unknown vessels. It appears that the Drakkan was attacked first, though it isn’t totally conclusive. The Krang’s logs don’t have any information on that matter as the fight was already in progress when they came upon it. It is factual that the Krang followed procedure and demanded that all vessels stand down. About a minute later both pirate ships opened fire on the Krang, who then defended herself” the admiral’s raspy voice the result of an injury suffered 14 years ago when he was defending two merchants from an attack by Zaherian raiders.

    “That’s nice.” replied the foreign minister Askarin Mnelo. “Yet, my Prince, what does that have to do with the situation. So he followed procedure and defended himself and knowing what procedure is, I might add, who should damn well know better in granting a Zaherian light raider the armed merchant status due to it being the victim of pirates, a vessel clearly listed as an armed combatant and military ship. True it appears that the Drakkan was attacked first, which can’t be definitely proven, even if such could be definitively proven, how does that change his action? Besides, Lord Deskharliot has already inquired about the incident and if it represents a change in our policy?” His demeanor and tone were always formal and he was an excellent foreign minister, even if a by the book person.

    Baroness Jarset Sharet, 1st cousin of Prince Thandal, spoke up. “Why shouldn’t it?” she stared Askarin down, her red hair with a tinge of orange almost looking like a flame.
    “Are you suggesting that after saving them from pirates he should’ve then interred the Zaherian ship? Are we not honor bound to protect all merchants that enter Iskarian space for peaceful purposes? Don’t we allow Kalvari and Ghoram merchants such trading privileges? I’ve checked the data base and ships like the Drakkan do have a noticeable cargo capacity. Besides, if you‘d checked that we note that these ships are used as merchants. If we note that they have a cargo capacity, our policy doesn't preclude that possibility to be used. The fact that it hasn‘t may or may not be a matter for the diplomatic corps to solve, but and granted this might well be a technicality, the senior lieutenant didn‘t break our policy, he just deviated from standard practice as there is no existing policy in place.”

    “Baroness, your political leanings are well known, yet technicalities will not make the Kalvari Empire or The Ghoram Union happy with us. Maintaining our neutrality is paramount. I guess they might decide to attack us but I'd consider that chance small.” replied admiral Zhan.

    “Yes, Baroness, the Moyet has only a plurality that favors neutrality. This has already caused debate and shows a divided front, which might create many situations, if other ships captains feel that they can alter policy based on a technicality, or politics. We need to maintain our neutrality or suffer being cast as a supporter of one side or another.” That was the Lord Speaker of the 1st Teract, Lord Whythel Dran, that of the Commons, for the Moyet.

    “Lord Speaker, I understand that yet, why does maintaining our neutrality seem to mean ceding authority over our own system?
    By being so afraid of possible reprisals or even direct attack, we allow pirates at best or active Kalvari Naval ships at worst to flaunt our systems neutrality and attack, with impunity ships of other nations or in this case our own naval vessels? In lieu of evidence to the contrary, shouldn't the assumption of innocence be presumed for the Zaherian ship Drakkan?” That was General Martock Lynor, commandant of the Iskarian naval Infantry. One who favored the Zaherians over the Kalvari/Ghoram alliance.

    “Lord Dran, since when has the 1st Teract or for that matter all of the Moyet, been at a loss for words when we debate? You just don’t want debate because that might lead to a vote, which you don’t want because you aren't sure of what winning might cost you. Besides, isn't our neutrality already in question if we don't allow any Zaherian merchants to trade in our system? They seem to think so” lady Dame Czedra’s wit and sarcasm were both evident as well as her loathing for the Lord speaker.

    “Dame Czedra, I’ll not use ‘lady’ for fear of insulting those of honorable employment with that moniker. Do you mean to say that you support the senior lieutenant’s actions, despite how they might cause consternation with the Kalvari Empire and the Ghoram Union!”

    “Well Lord Speaker, at least my bed partners all have two legs. Support his actions? I don't know. That would seem to be a naval matter. However, the result of those actions? Yes, I think we should consider a change in our policy. Yet you and your Social-Democrats favor alliance with the Kalvari and Ghoram, because of the Zaherain raids 15 years ago, which I feel is irrelevant to the current situation. If everything we did was based on 15 year old events, wouldn't even your family be in a different position?
    This ship was either the victim of a pirate attack or Kalvari naval forces active in our system. The Zaherians deserve the opportunity to conduct peaceful trade. Our nation was itself founded by merchants banding together for protection and fostering of trade, for and by all. Why should our principles be different now? Besides, in any vote you’d only win with the 1st Teract.” Her eyes just filled with comeuppance as she looked at the Lord Speaker. Next heard was the rather loud tenor voice of Prince Thandal.

    “I expect my council to be civil and respectful to each other, besides dear baroness, I will be the determining factor in what is honorable to us and we all know the founding history of our republic. I don’t like the fact that pirates or privateers, decided to attack one of our patrol ships nor do I like senior lieutenants, who for whatever reasons making diplomatic policy, be it accident or by intent.”

    General Lynor spoke up. “If we make an example of the senior lieutenant, it won’t sit well in the 3rd Teract. His father is R’Karvin Knorr, head of clan Knorr and Speaker of the Main, head of the Traders Union and also on the Committee of Naval Design. His clan is one of the three largest ship builders and the developer of our likhat fighter.” reminded General Lynor. Most in the room just nodded their heads.

    “You’re Royal Highness, which changes nothing. We still need to reprimand and rebuke his actions and at the same time emphasize that they were his personal actions and therefore not government policy, which resulted in the rebuke. We can't let his family affect our decision, regardless of any potential political fallout. If I may ask, how does your sister factor into this your highness?” Askarin Menlo stated. The Lord Speaker was even more emphatic.

    “In all discussions of this matter, the princess is to be left out and not considered, unless her actions also violated our policy. We also can't let his family position to be totally ignored either.” the prince had a very poker neutral facial expression but his eyes were just filled with rage that his sister had been brought in on this.
    “Yes, that and he needs to be reduced in rank so no other officers will do anything so foolish.”

    Lady Czedra chimed in. “Great, I’ll contact R’Karvin Knorr and we’ll work on breaking up your political alliance with the Conservatives. This will be so easy, once you make an example of his son. My lord Prince, what are your thoughts on this matter?”

    “My initial thoughts are of two fold. Ship captains do need to have allowable leeway for their actions and expect their navy and government to support them but the altering of established policy is troubling to me. Is there perhaps a compromise that we can reach? Oh admiral, why do you think the probability of us being attacked is small?” as he scanned those at the table.

    Fleet admiral Zhan just nodded his head. “It's a logistical matter my prince. The Kalvari and Ghoram are currently involved in a war with the Zaherians. They most likely don't want us as an enemy. It's not that their fleet isn't large enough to do such but they have plans already in place and to attack us would alter their current plans. That would take time. Also, it's a distance thing. We all know that hyper engines work on time compression. Merchants, due to their desire for large cargo holds use the slowest engines, around 20 hours for each light year traveled. Military ships are faster, they are 10 to 1.
    Now add to that the time to reallocate forces and such and it would take some time, doable of course but not a spur of the moment decision. As for a compromise option, perhaps there is your highness. Our trading alliance partner, The People’s Republic of Elvhra has requested through their fleet admiral Martin Heskva, assistance from our navy in dealing with increased piratical activity. What if senior lieutenant Draven Knorr was given this assignment? He’d be removed as a focal point in any debate and we’d be helping a trading partner and keep his father happy.”

    Prince Thandal Khal just looked at his Foreign Minister, a very slight smile crossing his face. He‘d also be out of the system as far as my sister is concerned. “I find that agreeable, as long as the navy does. Just a letter of question about his taking such action without gaining approval in his file, no decrease in rank and a public statement, by my council, via the foreign ministry, that our policy hasn’t changed.” as a smile came to his face.
    “The navy has no objection, however just what will our policy be, dear Prince, that hasn’t changed Lord Askarin?” spoke Admiral Zhan, a quirky smile coming to his face.

    “That any military vessel that enters our system has 90 hours, to leave the system or be interned.” Lady Cezdra spoke with a bit of urgency in her voice.

    “My prince,that does seem to be the point here. Just what is a merchant ship? We are a nation built on trade. We should allow all merchants, armed ones as well, the opportunity to trade here. What if all ships needed to have Iskarian certification of their merchant status and capabilities? Any not certified who enter our system would have to apply within 3 days or either leave or be interned? We’ll let our own determine what qualifies as a merchant or armed merchant. This will let us remain fair to all sides keeping to our neutrality and perhaps provide an increase in revenue from the licensing fees generated and keeping military ships out of our system.”

    The Lord Speaker was on his feet. “Absolutely not! It would be manipulated to the detriment of the Kalvari Empire and Ghoram Union.”

    A most interesting option Lady Dame Czedra brings up. “Well Lord Speaker, that might happen, yet aren’t all of our policies manipulated by some group? This might be a nice bone for the Traders Union and bring in more money and demonstrate our neutrality. Yet, you raise a good point. How would a change like this be perceived, taken and of course manipulated? If the Zaherians are going to be afforded an opportunity to be traders, then they’ll meet our requirements, if not then they only have themselves to blame. If the Kalvari and Ghoram complain too much, just remind them that this is Iskaria and we make such determinations. We are a neutral in their conflict. Also, ask them why old style Kalvari naval ships, with full Kalvari crew, attacked one of our patrol ships? They weren't privateers I hope? Now what do we send to help our trading partner?” Prince Thandal said, effectively ending the discussion.

    “Well your Highness,“ said fleet admiral Zhan. “We repair the Krang, then, along with her, we can send the light cruiser Prang along with the destroyers Ikar, Monthar, Winther and Bilzel. It’ll be a Task Force so we could offer him a brevet rank of captain or not, just make him the senior ships commander in system and therefore the task force commander. We provide support to our trading partner and that is always a good thing.”

    After a moment pause, nobody objected. As with many political options, not everyone liked it yet they didn’t hate it that much either, in other words acceptance was at least a palatable alternative.
    "Illegitimi non carborundum " Vinegar' Joe Stilwell

    "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." Martin Luther King Jr.

    What you learn in life is important, those you help learn, are more important.

    "They can because they think they can."

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools will speak to say something." Plato

    "The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible."
    ​ Mark Twain

    "To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States." George W. Bush

  4. #24
    The next section of my story, again hope its enjoyable and all comments are welcome.

    In another building in the city of Taphir on Iskaria, there was a meeting as well. This one had a much more lecturing tone to it, Lord Deskharliot Men’Zhalor, Charge’d’Affairs for her sanctity, Empress Alizhohira Ka’Cendila was obviously agitated. His 2.5 meter frame was pacing while the other two in the room just sat in their chairs. Finally he spoke, though the tension really didn’t get any better.
    “What in the name of all the Cave Lords were you thinking captain by attacking an Iskarian patrol ship, after she identified herself to you? Do you have quaft as brains! This isn’t a good thing right now. They are a neutral in not favoring us or our enemies, yet there is a noticeable segment that advocates favoring the Zaherians. This action will only serve to encourage them and weaken those that support us. Then on top of it they captured prisoners.”

    The captain of the D’Thoak clan ship, War Calleneger, H’mik Sulthan, kept his head up despite his concern, “I have dully issued letters of marquee from our government and signed by the navy. I can attack our enemies anywhere I find them. Besides I’d have won if they didn’t show up.”

    “Yes, you just might have and then it wouldn’t be an issue but now, may the Cave Lords help me, I’ve a diplomatic situation here. Our Empress doesn't need new enemies right now. Since you ran like a scared cub. I can't argue such letters here. The Iskarians don’t recognize such letters in their system. That is why all privateers are supposed to inform me when they arrive in system, so I can arrange paper work for their ships as escorts! Remember, those letters don't exist here and in the systems of their trading partners Lira, Elvhra, Borkat, Malapar and Singoroth.” his ears rising up in an obvious show of anger.

    “Lord Dekharliot.” spoke the Kalvari in the other chair. “These yellow bloods are just Du’Kuok! Besides I did follow protocol by informing Fleet Lord Frylth Kho’Zhalor of our 8th fleet. If he hasn’t sent the required updates, don’t blame my captain. I’ll of course see that you get such documentation, when I return to my ship, as well as that for any other ships we have out here.“ he then bowed his head in respect. This was Therak Broskar D’thouk, 2nd son of L’vel Brak D’thouk, who was Master of Clan D’thouk.

    “Yes, see that you do master in waiting. Now, that does beg the question of just what are you doing out here?”

    Therak just developed a slight smile at the off pawed insult. “I’ve been tasked by my father to inspect our clan’s assets and develop any new opportunities that might come to light, Master Ambassador. As you are aware, our clan has an asset on planet here on Iskaria, Telar Imports and Exports.” two can play the game of gahel, that of insults if you wish as his smiled got just a bit larger.

    “Master Therak. In Iskaria, I’ll repeat, they don’t recognize any letters of marquee, in the systems I listed, nor do they allow any combatants to stay more than three of their days, 90 hours. Merchants and their escorts are not covered by this. If you had followed procedure, I’d have been able to list all your ships as armed escorts for any merchants you have out here. Now I can do little, but to procure procuring the release of your crew. So, please remember no more attacks in Iskarian space or on Iskarian ships, merchant or naval in the systems of their trading partners or I will report you back to the Empress.” Deskarliot’s ears were twitching in a show of anger.

    “Of course Lord. I’ll do exactly as you have requested.”

    As H’mik and Therak left the embassy and got into the air car. Therak told the driver to head to the Arsenal. He then hit the privacy button and a glass window came up. He then cuffed H’mik on the side of his head, drawing a slight amount of blood to appear. “You son of a gheft; what possessed you to deviate from our plan? You had information to wait for a ship, capture it and head for base 2.”

    H’mik just looked at him, fear apparent in his eyes. “My lord, the Zaherian prince’s ship arrived as I expected and I figured it would be a great boon to your honor if we were able to capture him, then complete the assigned task. I never expected the patrol ship to arrive.”

    “No you didn’t and the fact that you were in combat and that would attract attention never occurred to you either. If you had just waited, all would’ve gone as planned, but no you thought about clan honor. Well, if our plan succeeds then we have honor, and this means nothing. I’ve worked for months on our source and now. Okay, when we get to the Cloudmaker we’ll head for base 2.”

    Lord Deskharliot arrived at the Foreign Ministry building and then headed for the suite of offices that housed Lord Askarin Mnelo. “Greetings lord minister and good health is desired for both your Prince and your family.” he said as he bowed his head to Askararin.

    “Please good friend, no need for such formality here. Sit and I’ll have some refreshments brought.” He contacted his adjutant and asked that some be brought. Returning his attention to his guest “How may I be of service today Lord Deskharliot?”

    “It’s come to my attention that there are some Kalvari prisoners, from a pirate ship that was captured recently, in your custody. Such activity is a stain of honor to us and that since it happened in your system and I’d like these honor less beings given into my custody, so that they can be punished in accordance to our law. I’d also like to inquire as the status of the Zaherian raider that is now in port?”

    “Well Lord Deskharliot, I can indeed confirm what you’ve said as far as the captured pirates. Though unusual, yes, I’ll see that these vermin are turned over to your mission staff after we‘ve finished questioning them. As for the Zaherian raider, as it was the unfortunate victim of piracy, it will be allowed to repair itself. Once done, the 90 hour clock, will begin. There is also a new policy that affects any and all merchants and armed merchants that visit our system, including any of your empire or those of the Ghoram Union. Our policy has been rather strict when it comes to armed ships of combatants. It’s been decided to allow armed merchants of combatant nations an opportunity to register, under Iskarian law, as armed merchants. There is an application process that could take 30 to 60 days but if a ship qualifies, pays the fee and if they pass inspection, they’ll be certified as a licensed armed merchant to Iskaria. This could well remove the need for the use of many armed escorts. Escorts won’t need to worry about this as our policy of 1 escort to 4 merchants hasn’t changed. We feel that this will allow you to use armed merchants in the less dangerous areas, like those of our trading partners, were piracy hasn’t been as much of a problem. Off the record, well it wasn't my decision.”

    Lord Deskharliot fumed on the inside. Though applying to all nations, this could clearly favor the Zaherians. If their raiders were now classified as armed merchants, that would give them a safe port for repairs and for trading, while still keeping active privateers and official naval vessels out of the system. Why such a change.

    “Lord Minister. Why such an unexpected change? Does your navy allow its ships captains to make policy? I will of course send word of this new policy to my empress and well my recommendation that we consider revisiting our policy of no privateers in this system and that of your trading partners.” his question had all the politeness and the teeth of a Tsang crawler.

    “Representative Deskharliot. May the Cave Lords grant you many cubs and a long life. Policy is, as always, determined by our Prince and his council. In this case, it was considered rude of us to enforce a policy when the ship was so damaged by those pirates, in those old Khalvari cruisers, who also attacked one of our patrol ships. As for your potentially sending privateers into our system or that of our partners, that could have unintended consequences.”

    Lord Deskharliot seethed inside. Such a radical change was unexpected and though he knew the Iskarians would apply it fairly to all governments, it helped the Zaherians much more, provide they met the requirements of course.
    “Minister Menlo, just what are the conditions of such a status? If you could let me know then I’ll forward them and see that we also avail ourselves of such opportunities. Now, though I sympathize about pirates, how does that allow a ship’s captain to even modify your legal policies? Such action would appear to well exceed his authority. Has he been punished for such?” He knew what he said was out of line, yet he needed to see Askarin Mnelo’s response. The minister was very good at his job and had never shown any favoritism in his politics. This could well let him know if he approves of such a policy.

    As he watched, Askarin face, well his eyes narrowed, in typical fashion of the non-furred, indicating displeasure. It was brief, yet there.
    Askarin Mnelo, sat straight up and said. “Lord Deskharliot that is none of your concern, it is an internal Iskarian matter! I’ll see that the Kalvari pirates are transferred to your custody, deal with them as your justice would.” he knew that he had been provoked yet he felt the need to reply in kind.

    He just nodded his head at Askarin, for his being a good player. “My thanks for the return of the criminals” and with that the visit was over.
    "Illegitimi non carborundum " Vinegar' Joe Stilwell

    "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." Martin Luther King Jr.

    What you learn in life is important, those you help learn, are more important.

    "They can because they think they can."

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools will speak to say something." Plato

    "The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible."
    ​ Mark Twain

    "To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States." George W. Bush

  5. #25
    The story continues.....

    DYOGHI SYSTEM, Kalvari Empire

    Grand Admiral Bhal Khundra was in his meditation chamber when the chime sounded. “Enter”.

    As the portal opened, his adjutant, lieutenant colonel Chima Andor entered. He wore the uniform of the Kalvari marines, but with a silver stripe down the arm. This signified him as a member of the Moon Corps, those who protect the Empress and her family. “Grand Admiral, they are assembled for the meeting.”

    “My thanks Chima, how long has it been?”
    “How long has it been for what sir?”
    “That you’ve been my adjutant“?
    “Why, almost seven years now sir.”
    “There has been a lot of change in life sense then huh my good friend.” he said.
    “That would depend on if you felt the change was worth the notice and yes, some of it has been.” Chima replied

    “Good, I can accept that and it reminds me that I need be more specific when conversing with you. So Chima, what is the most significant change for the empire?’ as his head turned slightly toward Chima.
    “Why the most noticeable change is the one that has caused the fewest ripples. You are still in command and that is significant with our new dreadnaughts and battleships that have recently been added to our inventory. Now, sense philosophy is a debatable recreational activity with you, your staff is still waiting.”

    Grand admiral Bhal Khundra and Lt. Commander Chima Andor entered the conference room on the Darkaszial, Bhal Kundra’s flag ship and one of the new dreadnaughts that had been commissioned within the last half year. In attendance were Zel Thari'belk, the director of naval intelligence, with his white and dark blue fur, the commander of 5th fleet, the tactically excellent yet prima Donna, Ysandra Mholvik. The quiet and red furred commander of 7th fleet, Cysark Zhol, aggressive, young, sound in the basics but such a command as he had now was easily twice if not three times the size of anything previous.
    They all stood as he came to the podium.

    “Please be comfortable. You are here to receive the final briefing and orders for our assault on the ‘orange bloods’. Zel Thari’belk will provide that and answer any questions that will no doubt arise.”
    At a little over 2 meters, Zel Thari'belk wasn’t very physically imposing, yet no one in this room would consider attacking him. “Greetings admirals, this will let you know of what we expect when we launch our assault. First, as you all know, this is the most powerful assault fleet ever assembled by our empire and with the new dreadnaughts; we now have parity with the red bloods of the Confederation. The existence of our dreadnaughts will be out once they appear in combat, as nothing secret can stay that way. Their reaction will be interesting yet irrelevant to our purpose, which is the total destruction of the Zaherian raiders. Our allies the Union of Ghoram are also preparing their own assault on the agreed systems.” He pressed a few buttons and a 3-D display appeared showing the Empires border with the Zaherian Clans.
    One was in blue and the other in green, the system in green had a designation 5th blue for the one designated 7th.

    “Each of you now sees your target system. As shown, each is a Zaherian main system a clan home world. As that being the case, we expect there to be major resistance to our naval attack and follow up military invasion. The loss of these two systems will cause a major reduction in their offensive capabilities and coupled with our Ghoram allies simultaneous attack on three other systems will eliminate all five of their clan home worlds. Our most recent intelligence about defensive forces are between 30-40 heavy raiders, double that in light raiders and a similar number of heavy cruisers and destroyers.
    We have no indication that they have any formalized defensive organization. Their typical attacking strategy is to close with the enemy and overwhelm them and then board them. In our last battles we didn’t have enough battleships to strike at long range. Now, each of our attacking fleets has 6 our new Bhalkyeal class dreadnaughts and 12 of our new Trepezial class battleships. Even our older Brazhal class battleships have been upgraded, and each fleet has another 12 of them. With the new long range missiles we expect to be able to noticeably damage their charging ships before their numbers would have a chance to be effective at close range. Once we’ve eliminated or driven off their naval forces, our assault ships move in and begin the planetary invasion phase of the operation. Are there any questions?” as he looked at those in the room.
    Ysandra Mholvik stood and asked. “What chance is there that the Terran Confederacy will intervene?” That was always a concern. The Terran’s or red bloods, as some in the Empire called them, had stopped the Empire’s last expansion, after it had occupied only 5 systems. Though the Empire hadn’t been pushed back, their advance had been brought to a rather swift end. The Terran Confederacies Dreadnaughts had been almost impossible to stop.

    “A valid question, while a Confederation response is anticipated, we don’t expect them to actually figure out what is going on, as far as the attacks on the Zaherians are concerned. By the time they do, we’ll have occupied all of their clan systems. The distance is much too far for them to launch any response without a major preparation. So, while such might well be forthcoming from them, it is planed that any major military response will take at least six to nine months to begin. We do expect knowledge of our new dreadnaughts to reach the red bloods. It should come as a surprise and hopefully cause pause as they figure out how to adjust their tactics to our new ships.”
    "Illegitimi non carborundum " Vinegar' Joe Stilwell

    "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." Martin Luther King Jr.

    What you learn in life is important, those you help learn, are more important.

    "They can because they think they can."

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools will speak to say something." Plato

    "The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible."
    ​ Mark Twain

    "To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States." George W. Bush

  6. #26
    Continuing with the story....

    ASPIATH SYSTEM, Union of The Ghoram

    They had all assembled. Despite all those here only four really mattered. There was Nysong Bokhtor, Grand Admiral of the 2nd naval assault force. Sylog Gyrlock, Grand Admiral of the 6th naval assault force. Grand Admiral Byleth Zharnior, Grand Admiral of the 11th naval assault force. The person in charge of this information symposium was Neomyth Tang, the commissioner of military intelligence. There were at least 25 other admirals, adjutants, assistants and others of varying lesser importance to what was the topic, not that they didn’t know, but the details are always lacking. The commissioner looked out at them all. They have no idea what we are getting into. The bell was rung and all took their seats if of rank or just stood using their tail to help balance if not.

    Neomyth walked to the speaker’s cage and began.

    “You are all here to gain final understanding as to what this campaign is about, receive your final orders, for after this meeting, security will escort you all to your ships and only properly authorized, secure and monitored communication will be allowed. The purpose of this campaign is, primarily to secure new systems for our Union and secondarily, to severely reduce if not eliminate the Zaherian threat to the Ghoram Union. In that purpose, our plans have undergone a recent modification to the attack. As you may have heard, we will be attacking three Zaherian clan home worlds.

    That part hasn’t been altered, just modified. Instead of invading three systems, we will only be invading two, the home world to clans Thyria and Umbrea. The home world to clan Chel’Bra, will now be subject to heavy naval raids as a major attempt will be made to eliminate the threat of its naval forces. This will be done by secondary forces of the border patrol and colonial naval command.

    The 11th Grand Fleet has now been given the task of securing three systems in the Border Worlds; Urlyal, Malapar and Borkat. The decision for this was made by Union Command Central, after reviewing the resources being spent vs. the potential for gain. As you know, we’ve developed a new ship, the fleet carrier class, Shingarsora. They will carry 200 of our drak fighters and the new check streak interceptors. We have assigned 4 each to the 2nd and 6th Grand Fleets and 3 to the 11th Grand Fleet. These now give us a strategic counter to the Terrans, which we never had before, nor have they had to deal with. There is also the new attack mine to be deployed in these attacks. Yes, mines have traditionally been a defensive weapon but with the new sensor application, and the construction methods of our new fighters, simulations have shown a 78% targeting success rate when used in the attack roll. They will be delivered into combat by missile-pod deployment. With the increased battleships and battle cruiser allotments, we feel that losses will be well within the acceptable range. As for defensive forces, in the Zaherian clan worlds, we expect there to be anywhere from 40 to 70 of their small and large raiders along with an equal number of cruisers and destroyers.

    As for the Border Worlds, they have just lighter units, their largest being heavy cruisers, though they do have between 50 and 100 likhat fighters from the Iskarian Republic. Yes, they do have a mutual trade agreement and defensive agreements as well but the potential for them to interfere is irrelevant. If they do their forces are considered light, though they have recently commissioned a new battle cruiser class and will shortly have a small escort carrier to supplement their defensive patrols. Any interference from them is viewed as inconsequential to our overall success, as we'll have local naval superiority and will be dealt with should it happen. As in all operations, losses are rather irrelevant to overall success. Not that we don’t care about losses but winning is the objective, losses are result of combat.

    Support elements will be standing by waiting for the signal to begin the invasion phase of the operation. Each Grand Fleet has three armies available to it, again our process is arrive, secure and expand. Invasion and occupation are always long affairs but once on planet, we will stay, for no potential relief force could be sent. The Terran Confederacy is too far away, too complacent in their supposed naval superiority and will have to consider the option of our Khalvari allies and their operation. The Khalvari Empire is closer to them and would most likely be considered a more direct threat, besides; they are not ready for war against both of us.

    This will allow us the time to secure our acquisitions. Now, to your ships, review your specific orders and meet with your subordinates.”

    Byleth Zharnior knew that to ask a question could be viewed as questioning their orders, besides being rude it was not how to gain favor yet this was an unexpected and surprising deviation from their agreed upon plan with the Khalvari Empire and as a result would mean a repositioning of forces, so she was anticipating a reduction of capital assets and an increase of lighter units in her fleet.

    She never agreed with the High Commands willingness to accept large losses for the acquisition of systems, why waste the personnel, resources and the experienced gained in surviving an attack. Contrary to the High Commands view that experience was just data to be recorded and then dispensed to those in school, she felt that the individuals who survived were an asset to be cultivated. However, to directly ask would be rude and perhaps insubordinate, best to see what her orders allowed and how they could be bent.

    Two hours later, she was in the command center of the Shingarsora class carrier, Zhil. She was examining her orders and fleet composition, in light of her new task and as expected, she had been noticeably reduced in heavy fleet elements and increased in lighter units.
    The 11th Grand Fleet was now composed of 3 Shingarsora fleet carriers, 9 Drelft class battleships, 18 Gornath battle cruisers, 36 of the brand new Tetler heavy cruisers, 72 each of the older Addler light cruisers and Meranth class destroyers.

    Thinking on her objectives, “Captain Danulph, please bring up our targets and their estimated naval strength. Also bring up the Singoroth system and its estimated defenders. That would be the closest place for them to run to. Also, what are the defenses forces in this system?”

    The captain entered coordinates into the display and the four systems appeared on the map, with notations of their anticipated defenses. She noticed that both the Urlyal and Malapar systems had just 6 heavy cruisers and 12 light cruisers as their heaviest elements, along with 100 of the Iskarian likhat fighters. Borkat was different. They had 12 heavy cruisers, 12 light cruisers and destroyers along with 100 likhats.

    The Singoroth system was given 1 battle cruiser, 18 heavy cruisers, 20 light cruisers, 24 destroyers along with 150 lihkats. The Aspiath system defense forces were 8 battle cruisers, 17 heavy cruisers, 25 lights and 36 destroyers. “Captain, bring up Iskaria, along with travel times between them and these four systems.”

    Again keys were punched and the Ikarian system and travel times appeared. Their fleet estimates were listed and she became concerned as she examined them, 2-4 battle cruisers, 12-24 Patrol Monitors, 9-12 patrol carriers each with 15-25 lihkats, 18-24 light cruisers, 24-36 destroyers. Each of the ships bore the mark of improvement, unusual. “Captain, what does the improvement designation mean for these units?”
    “Grand admiral, they indicate that each of their line units also carries or can carry some lihkats, the destroyers 1, lights 1 or 2, patrol monitors 2 or 3 and battle cruisers 4 to 6. Also that the battle cruisers, patrol carriers and light cruisers are all relatively new classes as they have scrapped or sold their older units in an upgrade of their navy.”

    “A very interesting upgrade indeed.” she said with an obvious element of surprise. “So, they could send half their fleet to support one of their allies, like Singoroth and have almost as many fighters as one of our carriers. Be equal to in other ships. A difficult deployment option, we should consider, wouldn't you say captain?”

    “Grand admiral, difficult situations are what the navy is supposed to handle, but it would seem obvious that we need to make sure that the Iskarians don't send any relief force.”

    “Captain Danulph, you've have seen the obvious and given me an idea. Now, let’s move our forces into three major groups and two minor groups like this.” The map changed as her naval units were moved into four columns, three of which each had a carrier and three battleships, 4 battle cruisers, 10 heavy cruisers and 20 each light cruisers and destroyers. The two remaining columns had a designation for Singoroth and Iskaria. “These will be task Force S and I. They will have 3 battle cruisers, 3 heavy cruisers, 6 lights and 6 destroyers. Sub-prophet, can I requisition half of our Q-ships and inform the local system defense commander that I’ll be transferring half of his command to my fleet as escort and support for the invasion transports?”

    Captain Danulph, looked at the map with its force dispositions. So did the other member of the room. Officially he was sub-prophet Ylesdra, in charge of ships morale and function. He spoke up. “Grand admiral, such an action is not covered in your orders concerning the Iskarians.”

    “Sub-prophet, with three major invasions under my responsibility, preventing any possible relief force from interfering with any of them on almost equal terms and that would be before the attack, is covered by my orders. Just like the success of all the invasions. I intend to draw a line here. My orders also don’t say that I can’t do such do they sub prophet?”

    The map began to show a purple line about 75% of the way to Iskaria but also parallel to their border. “I'll station the Q-ships along here with those lighter units. Their task will be to eliminate any retreating elements from our attack and therefore lengthen the time when the Iskarians and Terrans for that matter, will learn of our actions. This will allow more time to consolidate the systems we are attacking, making defending them that much easier, should a counterattack be made, Right sub-prophet Ylesdra?”

    Ylesdra just said. “That is correct Grand Admiral. I'll see about getting you the Q-ships and local system defense ships.”
    "Illegitimi non carborundum " Vinegar' Joe Stilwell

    "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." Martin Luther King Jr.

    What you learn in life is important, those you help learn, are more important.

    "They can because they think they can."

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools will speak to say something." Plato

    "The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible."
    ​ Mark Twain

    "To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States." George W. Bush

  7. #27
    Well the story is getting views so I'll put some more up..thank you for taking the time to read.

    Back on Iskaria, Volthan Dyell was going over the yards report of the damage to the Drakkon. It wasn't good. Her power core would need a full replacement and more than half of engineering would need to be rebuilt. All of her main turrets and half of her secondary turrets also would need replacement. The rest of the repairs needed required three pages to list. The time would be 7 months, the cost was expensive and more than he had available to him. So, he was looking at what could be repaired and allows him to get home for the rest to be repaired.

    The chime for his room went off. He glanced at the monitor and saw a man in a coat and with a cane…and smiled. He looked at his War Master Kelvarn n'Zhig. “I'm not expecting anyone and it isn't anyone from their military. Let the man in and see why he's here.”
    Kelvarn pressed the intercom. “Who are you and why do you disturb us?”

    The man pressed the button answering back. “I am R'Karvin Knorr and would like to speak with High Captain and Ship Master Volthon Dyell.”

    Kelvarn looked at Volthan, who just nodded. After being searched by Kelvarn, R'Karvin was shown to a seat. “R'Kravin Knorr, Leader of clan Knorr, Speaker of the Main in the 3rd Teract of the Moyet and father of Draven Knorr. I'm honored by your visit. Your son is a fine man and captain. He honors you, your clan and his navy. What is the purpose of your unexpected visit?” and he nodded his head toward the man.

    “My thanks, high captain, for such words, my purpose is not political, yet could have an impact on such. I know of the repairs your ship needs. I don't know of your finances but I've an offer for you.
    I'll pay for the repairs. I ask two things in exchange, first the permission from you to have the licensed right to make ships of that design. Second, please accept my offer to become an escort ship for my merchants, once the repairs have been completed?”

    Volthan looked at R'Karvin, then at the looks of surprise on his friends faces. Beltor F'ghon, the Master of Science just said. “Mercenaries! No shepherds are we to the flock. I for one say no.”
    “Master Knorr, the rights to build ships like mine, is no problem, but why escorts? Doesn't your navy have enough? Kelvarn, what do you think?”

    The War Master looked at Volthan. “There is no dishonor in such. Clans have taken such jobs in the past.”

    Beltor F’ghon spat on the floor saying “The lack of honor can only mean dishonor. What honor is there in watching sheep! If the sheep can’t protect themselves then they deserve to be eaten.”

    “Beltor, the honor in watching sheep is the same as for doing any job well. The sheep will still be eaten but if the watcher does his job well, then they will be sold for food and not taken by the wolf. High Captain, for me to escort my own ships would spare the navy such a task. The rights to build such ships like yours, large armed merchants, provides me a way of increasing my profits and yes, potentially, some political options as well.” replied R'Karvin

    “Honestly said, but tell me Master Knorr, why should we become a mercenary for you? As I understand it, I might well qualify, with a few small changes, as an armed merchant, approved by your government. What benefit is there for me and my crew to accept your offer?”

    “High Captain Volthan, your ship will be repaired faster, better and at no cost. I can even see to having some upgrades installed, sensors and communications. As an escort for my company, you would receive a portion of any profits, maintenance and other expenses would be covered. Not as exciting as doing it on your own for sure. You'd also be a unit of my company and any attack on your ship is an attack on me. It would also provide an opportunity to improve relations between our people from both directions.”

    “Master Knorr, if your people require us to be mercenaries instead of honest merchants to improve relations that is unfortunate. However, I'll offer the following. Repair of my ship and license to make more for your company. In return I'll offer up to 25% of my cargo capacity for two years, no charge or questions. Is that acceptable Master Knorr?” Volthan extended his left arm. R'Karvin grasped it with his left arm and they both came together, their clasped arms between them.

    “I'll see that the Arsenal begins your repairs as soon as they can move the Drakkan into a slip. If you'd like, your crew is welcome to stay at my estate while repairs are being made. I'll see that air cars are available for you to go observe them or any other place you'd like to go.”

    “That is most generous Master Knorr.” a few minutes later he left.

    Beltor F'ghon just shook his head. “He's using us and figures that money will cover it. I don't like him, little honor in dealing with him. His son is the better man and on top of it all he's a terrible negotiator. He agreed to your offer far too easily.”

    “That was for several reasons my science master. First, yes he is using us but I don't think to our detriment, though we are some sort of part in their game of politics. As for agreeing to my offer, that only means he had what he considered important. The man is a clan leader a political figure as well and respected and wealthy. Things weak men and those with little honor become and hold. As for him being like his son, his son is in the military he is not. People adapt to the conditions their environment places upon them. Staying there gets us out of here. Do you enjoy their press with the interviews, stupid questions, insults and government visitations? Some should stay here of course. Besides, this gives us all a chance to examine how the Iskarians live, work and play, what they think of us and the Kalvari and Ghoram. Ilysean, please see that that all the paperwork to apply for armed merchant status is filed, properly. Also, let the crew know who will be relocating to new accommodations for about a half year. Let us see that we put that time to good use, learning about the Iskarians and what they have to offer, be it as allies or enemies.”
    "Illegitimi non carborundum " Vinegar' Joe Stilwell

    "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." Martin Luther King Jr.

    What you learn in life is important, those you help learn, are more important.

    "They can because they think they can."

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools will speak to say something." Plato

    "The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible."
    ​ Mark Twain

    "To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States." George W. Bush

  8. #28
    Creative Area Specialist (Fiction) Folcro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Long Island
    You lean very heavily on dialogue to explain what is going on, which isn't always such a terrible thing, but in your case I would try taking a moment or two throughout the opening chapters. Have the captain look around his bridge, perhaps out of habit, at the inner workings. People working on a computer, a technician sneezing on a radar, a man carrying papers to a beautiful blond lieutenant. Show me a living, breathing world the captain occupies and leads. Show me his responsibility for human lives. Take me into his head--- what he thinks about all of it. Perhaps, briefly and sparingly, his philosophies. Make me like this guy... or make me hate him... both?

    Another danger with leaning on the quotations marks is expository dialogue. I would omit lines like "We know this because..." or "Remind me of..." Try to keep such exposition (if such exposition is integral to understanding the scene) to the narrator.
    For any who are wondering...

    Show: Stephanie's eyes rose and her lips curved down as Melanie ambled through with intentional grace. Men's eyes widened ablaze; Stephanie's narrowed in darkness. Her snarling lips caressed the edge of her glass.

    Tell: Stephanie was jealous of Melanie.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    There's a lot to admire here but I urge you to pay closer attention to the technical aspects of your writing. Your paragraph construction and punctuation are distracting but with practice will become second nature.
    I'd also try to avoid the huge info-dumps you've inserted into the narrative. If reader knowledge of these is essential and their inclusion is unavoidable, try to have concurrent actions along with the exposition. This will improve your flow and can also comment upon the information.

    I like the imagination on display and the general flow of the tale is good. War and diplomacy is a compelling topic and introducing aliens into the mix lends an extra layer of dramatic uncertainty.

  10. #30
    The next section of my story. I am most thankful for the comments to improve the story and the fact that there are parts that are liked.

    In the Arsenal at the Iskarian naval command center, senior lieutenant Draven Knorr, was in a meeting with Admiral Cindeck Zhan, chief of Iskarian Naval Defense and Jesperin Hind, Minister of Naval Affairs. “Well senior lieutenant Knorr.” Jesperin started. ”Do you really expect me to believe that you didn't know and only responded to what you thought was a pirate attack? You are obviously an intelligent man, so the fact that all your sensor and communications corroborate your story is no surprise. Yet your treatment of the Zaherian raiders’ crew reveals your true intent, such friendly treatment, repair assistance and that just coincidental request for aid from that Feather & Shield ship.”

    Admiral Zhan's ears peaked up at that mention and he interrupted. “Careful minister, I suggest we keep this on a purely military and or naval discussion, otherwise we might involve other elements in anything we do. Besides this meeting is at my request, in my office, to talk with one of my ship captains. So keep your aspersions about his motives in the realm of logic.” The minister just looked at Zhan, smiled as his facial expression softened.
    “You are correct of course, thank you for keeping me on subject. Okay, while the Krang is being repaired, that'll take about 5 months. During that time you're residence is restricted to the naval yard or your family estates. You are under a censure as to speaking to the press We're working on a new assignment for you and when finalized, you'll be informed. In the meantime, take 2 weeks shore leave. Now, I've got to go, admiral Zhan has and you will inform me of any interactions you have with the Zaherians, do you understand these instructions?”
    “Yes minister.” Draven replied He hates me, because of my dad so its personal with him and he came to attention and saluted as the minister left.

    “Okay Senior lieutenant, at ease. Now, let’s understand something here, I didn't like what you did. Now, unlike the minister, I don't feel that you had anything but the desire to do the right and honorable thing, as a ship’s captain. However, you dragged the navy into the press and politics, your dad's been very much probing into your case and the fact that any fully detailed investigation would bring the princess into any discussion and that is something the Prince wants avoided. The minister wants your head, I'm sure more due to your father than your actions. I don't like that. I don't like or want Askarin poking his nose into my navy, or your father So, what am I to do with you?” He tapped a pencil on the table flipping it between two fingers.

    “First, you'll not be reduced; there is no formal or other reason to do such for your deviation. You broke no policy, order or operational directive. You actually followed them. Granted there was no official directive about what constitutes a merchant. Oh, I could, but that would tend to make all ships captains more concerned with the results of every action they might do. I don't want to squash innovative thinking. So, a note of question for making a political decision without requesting clearance, that such an action deviated from accepted practice, without requesting permission of higher command authority, will be in your file.
    No reduction in rank either. Now, just so you know, there were some who wanted to do a lot more. If you keep your head low and mouth shut, you just might come out from under this cloud in four or five years. You've attracted a lot of attention and I'm a bit impressed with how you've handled it only because I expected you to not be able to handle it, dismissed.”

    Draven saluted and then left the office. That’s great, an unofficial official letter of reprimand and the personal ire of a minister and the commander of my navy. Even the princess has been unavailable and not returned my calls. Welcome to life as an outcast senior lieutenant. I could always resign and work for dad. He's always said that I had a job if I needed one. Draven thought as he walked outside and headed for an air car shuttle when he heard his name being called.
    “Draven Knorr.” He thought the voice was familiar and as he looked around he saw no one inparticular, just the normal naval crowd. Then he heard it again. “Draven Knorr.” This time he saw its source. A man standing next to a private air car, he had a cane and fur timed shoulder mantle over a long coat, R'Karvin Knorr, his father. What the hell does he want? Just stopping by to say I told you so?

    “Would you, Draven, please come here? I wish to talk to you.”

    Draven went over and when he got up to him he said. “Yes master of clan Knorr, to what do I owe this honor?”

    “Draven, please get in. I’d like to talk in as private an area as possible. Would the Ylthon Ah’Beth center be okay?”

    That’s a fine choice sir.” They went to the center and got a booth for the two of them, indicating that they were not interested in accepting new players.

    Ah’Beth is a game played on a 5 sided board. There are five sides, green, blue, clear, amber and yellow. Each side has ten pieces, 4 soldiers, 3 lancers, 2 nobles and 1 flag. The game board has 62 spaces. Each space is worth 1 point, except for a number of spaces equal to the number of players. Those are worth 10. A space is captured when occupied, the same with capturing another player’s piece. A flag is worth 25, nobles worth 3, lancers worth 2 and soldiers worth 1, which also correspond to their movement ability. The player who has the most points wins.

    R’Karvin began. “Draven, I’m sorry to hear about your current situation. Yet, I do agree and support your action. You helped an unknown merchant from a pirate attack, saved lives and well your grandparents would be proud of that. Your mother isn’t proud or happy of how I treated you. I hear it more often than you’d think. I’d like to start over…no that would be wrong. I’d like to begin again having a relationship with my son. I’ve always followed your career and it is impressive. True, it wasn’t what I wanted you to do and I don’t take ‘no’ very well. However, even an old man like me can learn or should be able to learn from his mistakes.” R’Karvin just sat there looking at Draven.

    “Father, I’m not sure. You, to my knowledge, have never told anyone you made a mistake. Yet, I also know that you aren’t one to lie to family as our code says ‘Truth and family above all but the sun.’ I’m sure there is an element of gain to you yet that doesn’t invalidate you asking, so in answer yes, we can. I’ll ask for three things, I don’t know what yet. You’ll do them, these three things. One for grandma and grandpa and one for me, agreed?”

    R’Karvin looked at his son and considered his game strategy, capturing spaces, not destroying his opponent’s pieces. Interesting, yet when one has no army, one can capture nothing. “Okay Draven and I thank you for me and mother. Now, it seems you’ve lost your flag.” As his noble captured Draven’s last piece which ends the game. “Well now father let us see the point total shall we?” The tally computer showed the final score, Draven 41 and R’Karvan 39. “Father, remember the rules, that should dictate your purpose. I’m surprised that I beat you. Your skill at Ah’Beth is well known.”

    “Why thank you Draven but perhaps the fact that I haven’t played you in about 16 years. Oh well, even defeat can be a learning experience. I’d like you to take a look at a new design for a large carrier for the navy. I’m having a problem with its cost and size, as our yards can only build naval ships of cruiser or our new patrol carrier.”

    He handed over a video reader with the ships blue prints on it. Draven scanned the blue prints and after about ten minutes of only some minor comments and mumbling. “Okay father, the first problem is why are you putting heavy lasers and missiles on it? There is no need for such. Oh, perhaps two or three large missile racks, for long range attacks, otherwise it should only have AMM’s and AML’s. As for building it, build it as if it was a Q-ship. It would have some armor but as a carrier its purpose is to deliver its fighters for they are its offensive weapons. That way it would be cheaper to build, faster and be able to carry oh maybe 125 fighters. Your only problem is selling the navy on it. Now, I’ve got a few things to do father and oh thanks for the game.”
    "Illegitimi non carborundum " Vinegar' Joe Stilwell

    "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." Martin Luther King Jr.

    What you learn in life is important, those you help learn, are more important.

    "They can because they think they can."

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools will speak to say something." Plato

    "The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible."
    ​ Mark Twain

    "To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States." George W. Bush

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