The Battlesphere 'Thor' was in geosynchronous orbit around the planet Durbin. It was delivering the 6th infantry division, for extended deployment. Battalion Commander LTC Daniel C. Sharpton was getting ready to board the shuttle taking his company (HHC 1st Bn. 6th Inf. Div.) down to the surface and the disembarkation point.
His Bn. Sergeant Major had assured him the men were all onboard. His XO had informed him that the rest of the Bn. was similarly ready for departure from the 'Thor'. He looked around the huge shuttle bay, and was still amazed at the size of this ship. The emperor never stinted with his troops.
Daniel was the last man into the shuttle. He would be the first one out when it grounded. That was the way he was. If it had been a war situation, his XO and SGM would not have let him do this.
General ranks are as follows: BG. is brigadier general, 1 star. MG. is major general, 2 stars. LTG is lieutenant general, 3 stars. General is 4 stars. All are referred to as General. The ranks denote specific positions held within their military.
Other officers are: Second lieutenant is 2Lt. (or 2LT), First lieutenant is 1Lt. (or 1LT, or LT), Captain is Capt (or CPT), Major is Maj (or MAJ), Lieutenant Colonel is LtC (or LTC), and Colonel is Col (or COL).
The officer who is 'second in command', is usually referred to as 'XO', regardless of his/her actual rank.
For the enlisteds: CPL is corporal, Sgt is sergeant, SSgt is Staff Sergeant, SFC is Sergeant First Class, MSG is master sergeant, SGM is sergeant major (highest ranked enlisted man)
Two hours later, the rest of the division was down. The Commanding General of the 6th Infantry Division, Major General Anthony Wallace, was already holding an 'all officers' call for officers of the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and above.
"Hey, DC!" LTC Frank Tilman (Battalion Commander of the 2nd Bn., 6th Inf.) said, as Daniel entered the theater.
Daniel had been called 'DC' by his friends since he was a child; and by those of equal rank and above, since he joined the army.
"Hey, Frank. Any idea what the old man is going to brief us on? I would have thought it a bit early for this kind of call," Daniel said to his friend.
"Nope. I was going to ask you. Damn, now I have to sit like a clueless civvie." ('Civvie', 'CV', and any derivative, is the term the military uses to refer to civilians.)
Daniel laughed, grabbed a cup of coffee, and went to the table to register his presence with Division. He pulled a flat card out of his breast pocket, and passed it in front of a scanner sitting on a nearby table. A small electronic chirp acknowledged that his presence was recorded.
Daniel and Frank, basically shot the shit for the next ten minutes, until an announcement to 'find seats' was made. Everyone placed their mugs or other containers on the tables, and went to find chairs.
A voice roared out, "On your feet!"
Everyone who was in the theater sprang to rigid attention, as the Commanding General walked briskly to the podium at the center of the stage.
"Be seated," the General said.
They all sat and waited for the Commanding Officer to tell them what was going on.
"As you all may have noticed, the schedule for getting the 6th to make planet-fall was sped up quit a bit," General Wallace said.
There was a chuckle from the gathered officers. That had definitely been the topic of conversation in many orderly rooms.
"The HMS Thor will be breaking orbit, at anytime now. Supply ships will be dropping off ammunition and other supplies, for an extended deployment. The political situation here on Durbin is such that his majesty, and the general staff, have decided that a show of force (other than a few ships floating by in space) is needed here," the general paused for more chuckles.
"The reason Durbin is important, is that a certain small plant grows here. It grows on very few planets, indeed. It is instrumental in making the longevity drugs that are now being commonly used throughout the civilized galaxy. During the recent war, which His Majesty ended so abruptly a couple of years ago, this planet was hit by the aliens. Its defenses were stripped for the fight against said same aliens.
"This planet has resented that attack, which they blame on the Emperor and the Navy. It is unfortunate, but there it is. A movement has started on this planet to withdraw from the Empire. The Emperor frowns on planets (especially ones that are contributing to the imperial coffers so well) leaving the Empire.
"While it is theoretically possible for a planet to leave the Empire, it has never before been done; and the Emperor does not want a precedent started here. He has bent over backwards in order to smooth ruffled feathers, here.
"Our job is to show the people of Durbin that the Empire has not forgotten them, nor is the Empire just an entity sucking money from their pockets. We will show the flag, and we will be training here with the fledgling Durbin military. That sums up the political problem.
"Now, as to why the Thor is breaking orbit, and why our deployment was accelerated. The recent war has caused a number of political problems in other parts of the galaxy. One of our main concerns is Earth, and her stability.
"Since the outbreak of the war, Earth has been gearing up on war materials and shows no signs of stopping, or even slowing down. Not even with the war's end has Earth ceased from its building of implements of war. Our allies are nervous about them, as they are closer to Earth than we are. So, we are sending a major portion of the Navy, to augment two of our allies. That should give Earth pause to rethink its position. That said, let's talk about our deployment, here..."
Emperor Richard Newcastle was giving his two-year-old son a piggyback ride. The crown prince was laughing happily, as his father bounced around the suite that was the Emperor's aboard the Battlesphere Rising Dragon.
Richard Newcastle had finally decided it was time to take his wife and son to New Haven, and have symbionts introduced into their bodies. His son, Richard Preston Newcastle was now old enough to handle the process.
Richard sighed. He swung his son from off of his shoulders, and went towards his bedroom. His wife was feeding their daughter. Alicia Vonda Newcastle was the newest member of the royal family, and a Princess of the Empire.
Richard smiled at the sight of his wife and daughter together on the bed. His daughter was nuzzling at his wife's breast, greedily feeding. The empress of 137 worlds winced as her royal daughter bit and pulled too hard.
Richard felt his wife mentally tell their youngest offspring to slow down, and be more gentle. It was more an emotional message than a verbal one, but the tiny princess paused. She seemed to listen to her mother, then went back to the important task of feeding.
"They are more instinct at this age, Vonda," Richard told his wife.
"I know, but with this ability to commune between minds, we should be able to instruct her much earlier. Besides, I swear she bites on purpose!" Vonda said with a yelp, as the princess once more bit down on her mother's nipple.
Three hours later, the Dragon Rising achieved orbit around New Haven. This was the Emperor's first time back since he had left, two years ago. It was his family's first ever visit. The people of New Haven were ecstatic at having the royal family to visit them.
A reception was thrown for Richard and his family that evening. Everyone who could get in, showed up. The local news feeds showed constant streams of video of the empress and the children.
For hundreds of years, these people had only heard of the Empress, and the Emperor's oldest child. Now, for the first time, they were seeing the royal family together. Most importantly, they were seeing them 'in person', on New Haven.
Four men, and two women were gathered in a secure room, deep under the Terran Senate building on Earth. These were the most important movers and shakers in the Terran Federation.
"This room is sealed?" Harold Greenstreet, President of the Terran Federation asked.
"Yes. This room is now independent. Nothing can penetrate the shielding. 'Sweep' says the room is clear of all electronic devices," Vanessa Hollingsworth, Chief of Intelligence responded.
"Excellent. Has their been any success in trying to penetrate the Newcastle Empire's naval yards?"
"No. Since the Emperor came back from wherever he got those larger battlespheres of his; every spy we had in place, has been exposed, arrested, and/or deported. It's not just us, either. My contacts in other governments tell me they lost their spies, also," Vanessa responded sourly.
"How close are we to duplicating the new technology our admiral Gordon saw being used? I know we got excellent sensor readings of the battles those huge ships took part in," Eric Spitner, finance minister asked.
"We have been improving our gravity compensators somewhat. It's nothing like what the Empire can do, but it should give us an edge on everyone else. We still have no idea what those beams were that they used to take out the aliens.
"Nor do we have the remotest idea of how to even begin to copy the force fields that his ships showed. There is a whole list, pages long, of what we could use from their technological base, but we no longer have access," David Abernathy, Science minister responded in a wistful voice.
Harold Greenstreet rapped on the conference table.
.... There is more of this story ...
Science Fiction /