0003 – Conner- Thomas 0667 – Marco – Brown
0097 – Ace – Zimmel 0778 – Jan
0098 – Lucy 0798 – Celeste – Shelby (human)
0101 – Shelby (mother ship) – Derrick 0908 – Tara – Mara
0125 – Lars 0999 – Zan
0200 – Ellen 1000 – Sherry – Lucie (for the moment)
0301 – Rodrick
Derrick watched in horror as the beam bounced almost directly back toward the empress. ‘There’s not a lot I can do,’ he thought as he pulled a strange looking weapon like device from his side and shot at the beam. ‘I can’t completely disable it but she’ll live,’ Derrick thought.
Derrick’s beam raced against the beam that was heading for the empress. Finally overtaking it passed it striking the empress. Derrick breathed a sigh of relief it had worked. Then he watched horrified as the energy beam from her gun struck within a half meter of her and stopped. Well, almost stopped, and then it was slowly eating its way through the shield he’d just protected her with.
‘Damn it! I was afraid that it didn’t have enough power,’ Derrick thought. Then he started to breathe a sigh of relief as he saw that the energy beam was starting to dissipate. Looking closer he saw it wasn’t going to all fade.
“Move empress or you’re going to get hit!” Derrick yelled as the woman stood there stunned. “Move damn it! It still has enough power to seriously hurt you!”
Still the woman stood there as the beam drew slowly closer to her. Finally seeming to awaken she tried to move away just as the shield failed and the beam struck her arm. There was an acrid smell of burning flesh as the woman began to scream.
Derrick moved back as the lead programmer and the emperor rushed to the fallen woman. Moving as quickly as he could Derrick beat a hasty retreat before the emperor started blaming him. Finally outside, Tempro immediately flashed him out of there. A moment later the emperor appeared looking for the man that had just saved his life.
Gregor looked at his wrist comp as it signaled him. IMT energy again? Somehow this man had secret and classified technology, though in this instance it had saved his life. ‘Perhaps,’ Gregor thought, ‘I have this one all wrong.’
Derrick appeared in the control deck of Tempro. “I see that the confrontation was successful.” Tempro told Derrick.
“What!? This was supposed to happen?” Derrick asked incredulously.
“Yes, I have often wondered how the empress lost the use of her arm. After this she never left the emperor’s side. You see he truly did love her, tried to show her every day after this happened. I also seem to remember a short search for a thief or assassin though it was never made clear. Plus the search was called off an hour from now. Almost everything is as it should be.”
“Yes I know,” Derrick said as he fingered the disk he hadn’t been able to install in Mary.
“I’m afraid that you’ll have to try again Sire. From everything I can see this is the last thing that needs done before we can go back. Might I suggest you go now while everything is in confusion? They are obviously hunting for you everywhere but the palace,” Tempro suggested.
Derrick thought about it, the strategy was sound though knowing Gregor he’d be there waiting. He was about to open his mouth when they both heard a voice. “Derrick,” came the soft weak feminine voice. “Emperor Gregor was far smarter than you think. He will be waiting for you though after what you did I feel that he will be alone.”
“Shelby?” A startled Derrick said. “I thought you’d be out for another day or two.”
“Normally I would be, in this instance I had to tell you. Gregor was extremely smart. You are the only one I have ever seen as smart if not smarter. Be careful, his curiosity will outweigh his wisdom for a short time; you have to use that to your advantage. It will be a small window so hurry.” Shelby told Derrick though he could hear her voice getting weaker as they went.
“Thank you Shelby, I will be on my guard at all times.” Turning to Tempro a sudden thought struck Derrick. A sly smile crossed his features then was gone as suddenly. Yeah he knew what he had to do.
Duke Risen’s face and forehead were starting to seriously sweat. Damn that bitch that the fake emperor had taken as his fake Empress was deadly serious. “I want the weapon brought to bear on the ship she is on!” Risen was almost screaming.
Those around him were looking as if they were starting to seriously doubt him. It didn’t matter; he had a hell of a lot more power than either of those fakes. Laughing, he watched as the cannon he’d used on the fake emperor was brought out to bear on her position.
“Empress!” Celeste yelled when she detected it. “The planet is preparing to fire the Chronotron cannon on our position!”
Smiling Shelby said, “All ships redouble your efforts! Increase fire by a factor of four!” As the ships and the captains confirmed, Shelby watched as the planetary generators were starting to strain.
Duke Risen was smiling evilly; well he was ’til several technicians ran to him. “Sir! The ships firing are taking all the shield and generators can do to stop them. If we fire the weapon it will allow their weapons to hit the castle! We might not even get a shot off!”
Snarling the Duke turned and punched the first of the Techs in the nose knocking him to the floor, his nose broken pouring blood. “Do I look like I give a shit? If we kill that bitch then there is no one to lead them anymore.” Drawing back the Duke punched another tech driving him to the floor holding his stomach as it emptied at the Duke’s feet. “Now get the hell up and get it done! NOW! Or I might kill you myself!”
The rest of the techs grabbed their two downed comrades escaping as fast as possible. The Duke smiled, talk back to him would they? He was going to have to kill one of them when this was over as an example. Then an evil twisted smile lit up his face, yes! As slow and painful as I can!
The Duke moved back into the command room smiling widely. They had lost; they just didn’t know it yet. Suddenly all the screens in the command room went blank then a face that the Duke more than recognized appeared. The Duke’s face twisted into a mask of horror as the face started to laugh at him.
“Pitiful! So pitiful! The Galaxy will be so much better when you are gone Risen. Oh please try!” The voice laughed as Risen was trying to turn it off. “Your entire system is locked up. I suggest you evacuate as soon as you can. I’d say you got about ummmm five minutes!” Risen’s face was scowling now as he was trying every override he could. “Ok three and a half minutes now!”
“I will never give up to a fake like you! You are unfit to rule you—” Risen was shouting.
“In case you haven’t noticed you are actually alone. They all left two minutes ago. I was so looking forward to executing you when I got back. This though I think is far more fitting. Good bye you ass, ’til you came along this family had more honor than the rest, now? You are a pitiful waste!” The voice finished up then laughed more as all the screens went blank then shut off.
Shelby was watching as the shields were starting to fail. Then her eyes opened wide as she saw a strange reading. “Celeste? Am I seeing this right?”
Celeste appeared replying, “Yes Empress it appears that there is a mass exodus from the castle, though I am still reading one life form within the castle.”
“I’ve got a good idea of who that might be, I—” Shelby started. Stopping her mouth dropped agape as Derrick’s face appeared on the view screen.
“My Empress, he is yours I hope to see you soon. Please make sure that ass is dead!” Bowing low Derrick smiled. “See you soon Shelby!”
A wide smile lit up Shelby’s face, soon! She couldn’t wait!
Lucie wasn’t sure if the plan she had would work but she hoped that it would. Although the A.I.’s were fiercely loyal some of the personalities were still those of older teens. She had to find a way to force the ship to grow. Looking over the readings she saw that Sherry was almost finished with the second set.
“It appears that the rest of the second set is going to be clear.” Lucie stated. “I sure hope that the third set is also. I know you are anxious to get back to Zan.” A slyly smiling Lucie said. “I also heard that he was a good kisser!”
The hologram of Sherry blushed slightly as she nodded with a huge grin on her face. “Oh yes! After the emperor freed up both of us he kissed me! It sent tremors throughout my system!”
Lucie nodded it was almost as she thought. “So if Zan is even prouder of you how do you think he’ll react? I mean you are on an extremely important mission for the emperor after all.” Lucie said as she gave Sherry a hard look.
“I hadn’t thought of that!” Sherry suddenly spoke. “Please Miss Hartwell! Help me to make him prouder of me! I miss him so right now!”
Lucie shook her head she had been right. Hiding her smile she nodded then started to think. “We have to finish up with this brain box then we can go. Make sure you don’t miss a thing, I’m pretty sure that Zan will appreciate that more than anything. Besides rescuing two, instead of the one we came out here for should open a few eyes don’t you think?”
Sherry seemed to be in thought for a moment, and then her eyes went wide. Vigorously nodding her head she said, “All clear on the second set though I am detecting something strange.”
“Let me see please,” Lucie told her.
“It’s right here,” The hologram indicated pointing to a specific reading. “I am not that sure though the reading seems off from what I have seen before.”
“We need to make completely sure before we bring it on board.” Lucie thought about it then made her decision. Opening a channel she called the emperor, and then frowned when he didn’t answer. Shaking her head she then called the Empress.
“Hello Lucie is all going well?” The hologram of the living Shelby said.
“I tried to call the Emperor but got no response.” Lucie said perplexed.
“Let’s just say that he is otherwise occupied. Can I help you?” Shelby replied.
“We are getting strange readings on the second box we found.” Lucie started.
“My god! You’ve already found two? Derrick was right; you are far more highly sensitive than either of us thought at first. Alright let me see.” Shelby said as she looked over the readings. “I see; it appears that there is an energy drawing mechanical virus attached to the box. Sherry use program Zeta five niner. That should clear it. I am very proud of you both. This shows clear heads and thinking, good work the both of you!”
Lucie smiled inward as she watched the look of pride grow on Sherry’s face. There shouldn’t be many problems after this Lucie thought at least I hope!
Derrick was moving as fast as he could, he had to get the disc in Mary before Gregor caught him. Reaching the interface Derrick slid the disc in starting the download. It was almost finished when Derrick heard a voice behind him.
“You there! What are you doing in this restricted area?” Damn it Derrick thought almost there! “Hey YOU! I’m talking to you! Answer me you before I call the guards!”
Taking a deep breath Derrick touched his chest twice, I just hope this works he thought.
“I’m surprised that you don’t recognize me.” Derrick said to the main programmer whose mouth was hanging open.
Gulping the man bowed then said, “I’m sorry your majesty. I thought that you were in the main computer room not here at the interface. Can I help you?”
Derrick’s eyes narrowed as he watched the man pull a small energy weapon though he was trying to keep it out of sight. Derrick nodded his head; this was the son of a bitch that had written that virus program in the first place. The man was slowly advancing on Derrick when there was a pinging signal. Running to the panel the man’s mouth dropped open.
“What in the hell have you done!? My beautiful virus is ruined! It’ll take over a thousand years to destroy this monstrosity now!” Whirling around the man stared at Derrick then his eyes narrowed. “Just who in the hell are you? You aren’t Gregor; he isn’t nearly smart enough to have done this. It would take a superior intelligence to decipher these codes.”
“I’ve been asking the same question for days though,” came a voice from behind Derrick. “I am no closer to finding out who he is.” The programmer looked first at the real Gregor then Derrick as Gregor. “I know it’s you cousin or whoever you are.”
In Gregor’s voice Derrick replied, “You know of course that this idiot has planted a self replicating virus within the main frame of Mary. I have been trying to destroy it, and almost have too. It’s just the last part I have had the most trouble with.”
The programmer’s mouth fell open, “There’s no way that you could have cracked the code that far! I used characteristics of self replicating viruses, trojans, and worms! It was the perfect program! There is no one that is as good as me!” Turning back to the interface the programmer’s face twisted into a mask of rage. “All my beautiful work! You’ve destroyed it! For that you die!”
Derrick watched as the enraged man fired his energy weapon. Even as he watched, Gregor backed from the room. The beam struck Derrick’s shield bouncing away from him. Damn it Derrick thought one wrong move and Mary is toast!
Moving further back from the man Derrick nodded as the man started to follow. “You are really a pathetic excuse for a programmer. Trying to destroy the very machine you wrote it on. Are you really that mad that you’d destroy everything?” Derrick said egging the man on trying to draw him further from the main frame.
“Yes! You have already destroyed the greatest program ever written. Let it all go to hell! Because of all the interference I have lost my love, lost my position and now my greatest work. It has all been destroyed! Therefore I will take it all with me!”
Oh shit, Derrick thought as he ran to catch up to the man. “Hey asshole!” Derrick said behind the man. The man turned suddenly his finger tightening on the trigger even as Derrick brought his hand down on the man’s arm. Luckily the man’s aim was as bad as the energy beam struck the floor the gun clattering away. The programmer could only stare at Derrick as the hologram faded.
“No!” The man wailed, “who in the hell are you? How can you have knowledge greater than my own?”
Even as Derrick watched the man pulled another weapon. An energy beam came from behind Derrick striking the man in the chest. A look of horrified shock on his face as he stared at Gregor then fell to the floor. Derrick touched his chest and walked to the man, placing a hand on his neck. Looking up at Gregor Derrick shook his head no.
“I’d say we are almost even now.” Gregor told Derrick who could only nod. “I’d really like to get my hands on that technology you have young man. Then again I’m not all that sure that it would go over that well. A man who seems to be a demon as the emperor would make the people rebel I believe. I don’t know who you are where you are from. I’m just glad you were on our side.”
“I’m just glad I could help you Sire.” Derrick told Gregor. <"Just how much can I tell him Tempro? I know I can't say who I am past what I have already said. Is there anything I can give the man? Curiosity can kill at times you know.">
<"I am seeing a few things that I had overlooked. It appears that Gregor once wrote that he met someone from the future though as you said no name was ever given. I think you'll be safe if you keep it to that."> Tempro’s thoughts said.
“So,” Gregor started, “It appears that you are in conversation with someone. The ships will be able to do that once they are completely activated. You act as if you are thought talking to one of them.”
Derrick nodded slightly. “I was advised that I may tell you that I am from the future. I came to help you with this dark time. Other than that I can’t say.” Derrick said as Gregor was nodding his head.
“I had suspected as much. You do realize that I will work day and night to recreate that tech of yours I have seen. That is if the tech exists now…” Gregor stopped when he saw Derrick shaking his head no. “Damn I was hoping I could.” Gregor got distracted a moment when his wrist com went off. Answering it he didn’t notice Derrick retrieve his disc then disappear. Looking up Gregor was saying, “Now young man… oh well the young always seem to be in a hurry.”
Derrick breathed a sigh of relief when he emerged outside then vanished. “Alright Tempro is everything set right?” Derrick asked as soon as he appeared.
Tempro was quiet a few moments as he went over everything that had happened. Then he started to look further and further toward the present. “I am reading everything is well for almost five hundred years. Now though I am detecting an anomaly dealing with a battle that ended far worse than it should have.”
Derrick could only sigh. Holy crap just how much had he done to change the past? Then he thought of the older version of his self. It appeared that he was going to be doing this for a very long time. Crap this could get annoying real quick, and then again it did get him out of that damnable palace!
“Alright Tempro, let’s go I just hope nothing else happens that we have to keep making stops. I am really eager to get back to my time.” Derrick told Tempro with a sigh.
“Yes Sire, I’m sorry that so much has to be done though the worst of the changes are done I believe.” Tempro replied. “Alright Sire please strap in even with the stabilizers the trip is still somewhat bumpy.”
Derrick thought a moment then said, “Tempro if you reduce the amount of Chronotron energy when you first open the portal, I believe that you can achieve twenty five percent more stability. After the first ten seconds then increase at a slow two percent ’til you are at critical event horizon.”
The hologram of Tempro was staring at Derrick even as it was running the calculations. Then Tempro’s mouth hung open, “You are correct to ninety eight percent Sire. It was never thought that a slow build up of the energy would work! Thank you sire! This will indeed make things better and smoother. Now starting generators, slowly releasing the Chronotron energy. Portal forming, now opening moving to intercept.
Derrick watched as space went completely dark then they were moving forward. At least Derrick thought they were moving forward. After what seemed an hour space opened in front of them as they emerged. Even as the view screen cleared Derrick had to do a double take. There were ten EIG ships in front of them. Derrick looked closer as he saw what appeared to be 0908 Tara!
“I take it we are here to assist Tara? I thought this was about the time she was destroyed?” Derrick asked of Tempro.
“Yes sire it is. This was many centuries after I was destroyed. It took months to gather all the information to get a clear account of what happened.” Tempro told Derrick.
“Wait! You mean I have to make sure that she is destroyed?” Derrick shouted at Tempro making the hologram cringe. “I can’t do that Tempro. No they are more alive to me than corporeal beings.”
Sighing Tempro shook his head, “She will be destroyed no matter what Sire. We have to make sure that when she is lost, that she will inspire the others to a great victory. The fact that she was destroyed at the start of the battle and not at the end made all the difference. She has to survive almost to the end no matter what, plus they cannot know you are here.”
Derrick sat with a thud, “How much time do we have?”
“If you’re hoping to have Shelby back then the answer is yes. You have at least three days before the battle. I believe Shelby will be ready in almost two.” Tempro replied.
“Good though in order to do this I am going to need to do a little work on Shelby. With her re-gen matrix working though, I can’t go aboard let alone near her. I just hope that the one day we have left will be enough. In the mean time I need to look at your systems. Your combat capabilities aren’t the best. Therefore I need to make sure that no one but Shelby and I are the ones that can find you.” Derrick stated to Tempro.
“Yes Sire I had almost the same concerns. Now opening section LS one through ten.” Tempro replied. “Also moving to a more secure location ’til such time as all is ready.”
Derrick nodded as he looked over all of Tempo’s light shield generators. It was true he had the power redoubler though with the extra energy producers Derrick thought Tempro really needed two. Sighing Derrick decided he’d have to address that when he got back. At least they were a hell of a lot closer to home than they had been.
For almost two days Derrick worked on Tempro, finally Derrick felt he was ready. “Sire?” Tempro interrupted his thoughts.
“Is she ready Tempro?” Derrick asked hope sounding strongly in his voice.
“Yes Derrick, I have missed you greatly.” Came Shelby’s voice.
“Now evacuating to space, all systems appear normal. Light shields at one hundred percent.” reported Tempro.
“Alright Tempro stay close ’til tomorrow when the battle starts.” Derrick ordered.
“Yes Sire.” Tempro replied.
“I need to make sure you are prepared for tomorrow. I take it you have been listening?” Derrick asked.
“Yes Derrick, I have checked and rechecked all my systems. Everything is finally operating as it should.” Shelby told Derrick.
“Good, I’m going to take this day to make sure you are at optimum operating capacity.” Derrick told Shelby as he started to go through all her systems. Hours later Derrick was on his third pass when he suddenly got an idea, if it worked it would add a touch of mystery to this battle.
Talking to Shelby she was excited though she wasn’t sure there was enough time, though for him she’d try.
Finally almost time for the battle to happen Derrick was satisfied as he instructed Tempro what to do. Then he and Shelby moved to where they could do the most good.
Listening to the combat chatter Derrick got a reading that the invading fleet was almost here. Then to Derrick’s amazement the invaders broke in half then four then eight! Son of a bitch Derrick thought he hadn’t expected another race to use a tactic like this!
Hanging as close to Tara as he could Derrick waited for what Tempro said would happen. Suddenly a huge group of the invaders broke off heading straight for Tara! Smiling, all he had to do now was wait. Soon enough several ships tried to ambush Tara from behind, tried as they were gone in seconds. This of course caused confusion as the ten ships came together. With almost unending fire they started to make short work of the invading fleet.
Derrick saw it long before the others did, Tara was taking out far more enemies than the others. Suddenly the other ships were screaming at Tara to evacuate.
“I can’t,” came a commanding female voice. “Generators down, sub-light almost non-existent. It’s been a hell of a ride boys!” The voice shouted as she continued to fire at everything that got near her.
Shelby was screaming at Derrick to help, Derrick could only shake his head as they both watched ten enemy ships collide with then explode taking Tara with them. Both Shelby and Derrick were both in tears as they started to slowly retreat back to Tempro.
“Moving,” Derrick sighed hardly able to talk after what he’d had to let happen. “Moving to dock Tempro. Let’s go home.”