I was thirty five and looked maybe sixteen when I left Mage Seth. He had been my master since I entered puberty at ten. Now I was a master and a mage and going out into the federation. Mages were not popular so I did not use my mage name when I left. I did use a little magic to change a few things when I decided to join fleet as an officer.
The training was physically demanding but not as bad as mage training. I went through basic and the basic officer course before going to a company as a second lieutenant. The federation was at war and had been for a couple of years. The mages had stayed out of it so far because it would have brought imperial mages into it which meant a mage war.
A year as a second lieutenant and I was promoted to first lieutenant and given a combat platoon. We were on a transport with ten thousand other troops heading into a system called Gallant. It was supposed to be covered by fleet with ships patrolling the system as we tried to take the planet.
The huge battleship that appeared ten kilometers off our starboard side had alarms ringing all over the ship. They were calling for our surrender, not that they could take us prisoner unless they flew the ship out. The stupid ship captain and the regiment commander were negotiating the surrender when I used my magic and called them with an idea they approved.
It was not mine, it was my platoon sergeant's. We used our armored suits and linked the squads together before going out the airlock. I used long range glasses to find the other ship before we used grav shrouds to cross to it. We split into teams once inside the warship. We took the bridge, CIC, engineering, weapons control and damage control.
We sealed the men that were manning the weapons after killing the power. Of course the aftermath was not good, the captain and the general were both extremely embarrassed about agreeing to surrender. Even though we had taken the enemy battleship I was told by my entire chain of command I would never be promoted.
They even gave me negative reviews on my after action evaluations with a reprimand. I was at attention the whole time they chewed me out for saving the ship and capturing the enemy. When they finished I left my bars on the captain's desk and took a copy of the meeting minutes. I went to my tiny platoon office and started packing, "I am done sergeant Dempsey."
He stood up behind his desk, "you are kidding?"
I smiled as I took the engraved fourteen millimeter plasma pistol I had taken from the enemy ship captain, "we embarrassed them by capturing the enemy."
He snorted and I grinned and tossed the chip with the disciplinary board minutes. I headed into the back where my sleeping quarters were. I packed and carefully took the long tube that held my ivory staff. I put everything on the baggage float and headed out. When I stepped out the platoon was called to attention.
I hesitated before saluting, "take care of my men sergeant."
He nodded as I turned and headed for the shuttle bay. It had been long enough since we captured the other ship that we were in orbit above the planet. When they heard the battleship had been captured the enemy on the planet had surrendered. I signed up for a shuttle down and sat to wait.
Five hours later I was walking away from the fleet section at the port. I took a room in a hostel and sat in the bar to decide what to do. I was thinking of just returning home when the vid screen went blank and then a special announcement came on. Bombs planted by unknown men had killed every known mage in the federation.
I sat up and almost let the magic come before listening to the next part. The federation declared mages outlawed and were to be killed on sight. Now I knew who the unknown men were and stood. I returned to my room and stared at the tube before crossing and opening it. I had not touched my staff in over a year.
As soon as it slid out and into my hand the warmth and tingle of strong magic coursed through me. The staff was two inches across at the foot and almost four at the head. It was carved from foot to head in runes and glyphs and symbols. I turned and murmured the simple spell that would keep people from seeing or noticing me.
I pulled the float after me and left. I headed back to the port and to an empty shuttle. I walked aboard and went onto the bridge. I sat before reaching out with my magic and then bringing the shuttle online. I lifted and turned it before heading away and up. If the federation wanted a mage war they just got it.
I headed for the Imperial battleship my platoon had captured. It was in high orbit with federation specialists going through everything. I docked and put the shuttle on standby before heading to the airlock. When I stepped aboard the battleship I stopped and sent my float towards the captain's quarters.
I touched the foot of my staff to the deck and began to chant. Within minutes men began walking past me blindly as they boarded the shuttle. I closed the airlock and sent the shuttle away before heading to the bridge. I stopped at the scan station and put my hand on the display before beginning a spell.
When I lifted my hand there was a shimmer and the battleship disappeared from every ships scan. Two weeks later the huge ship slowed as it went into orbit above what had been my home. I looked down at the devastation and whispered a spell. I was shocked at the answer, they had not just killed the mages, everyone on the planet was dead.
I went to sit in the captain's chair and think. I finally turned and moved to the pilot chair and plotted a course towards the sun and a high orbit. I went to engineering and used the large ship computer. I began to design a mage ship, from the secret mage reactors and engines to the large gardens.
I even designed the weapons and everything in between. When I was done the ship was in orbit but the shields were straining. I went to the bridge and set the foot of my staff on the deck before I began pulling power from the sun while chanting spells. No mage had ever attempted something like this and never using the power of a sun.
The ship shifted and spread as the top and bottom became closer. Three hulls emerged with weapon blisters and large thick windows. It was several days before I stopped and the shining hull of a huge mage ship took the place of the battleship. I was tired and turned towards the large opening off the bridge, "Ren, head for Calvin."
Ren was the name I had given the ship and it turned and moved away smoothly and a lot faster than any other ship could ever hope to match. In moments it began to skip towards the heliopause. Once off the bridge I walked down the wide spiraling stairs to a meadow with small trees bordering it.
A metal framed area held a very wide bed with a gauze curtain around and over it. I stripped and leaned the staff against the bed before climbing in and pulling the covers over me. I woke two days later and sat up. I reached out around me before moving off the bed and walking to the pool of water to one side with a small waterfall.
I walked into the pool and under the falling water and unseen hands began to wash me. When I walked out warm scented air swirled around and dried me. I glanced into the trees where my float was and clean pants and a comfortable shirt drifted to me. Socks slithered onto my feet when I lifted them and then soft boots.
I walked to the bed and bent to put on the weapon belt with the pistol. I walked through the trees and into another meadow where a large kitchen sat. I ate before heading back to the bridge and sitting in the large comfortable command seat. Holographs sprang up around me and I gestured to bring one to me and enlarged it.
I was calm now with the anger of what the federation had done a cold thing hiding inside me. One week later Ren emerged from jump on the edge of Calvin. Warships patrolled the system and were everywhere. I sat and looked at the huge holograph of the system before turning to gesture.
Another holograph moved to cover the first and I began touching warships. I turned to another smaller holograph, "open comm on wide spectrum broadcast."
Ren's quiet voice answered, "open."
I nodded, "since the federation has declared war on my people I am here to answer. My name is Stalker and I am a mage. You have one hour to surrender or I will destroy every warship in this system. I will destroy every power sat and generating system until you are left in the dark."
I gestured and the comm shut off before I turned, "put us in cloak."
I sat and leaned back in the chair as the system came alive. Of course battleships and cruisers and every other warship headed towards where they had seen my ship. I waited the full hour before standing and walking to the large holographs, "fire."
Forty six weapons fired skip missiles which the federation said no one could ever make. As each struck a ship it exploded and shimming magic spread through the hull and into the ship. Men or women in the ships screamed as they were consumed by fire. I began touching those ships I had not targeted before, "take us in. Head for Assembly station."
The ship began to move as I stepped back, "fire."
Another forty six missiles launched and began skipping until they struck a ship. By the time Ren slowed and began docking with the station only dead ships, dead power sats or dead fortresses were behind us. I spun and walked off the bridge and followed the balcony around and then down to a set of stairs and strode though the outer hull corridors to an airlock.
.... There is more of this story ...