The carrier Eagle circled the planet New Singapore. Around the system, the ships of the Royal Alderian navy watched and waited for the enemy to appear. Her escort of five destroyers and the cruiser Ajax guarded her like a sheepdog guarding her flock. Ten million miles away the dreadnought Bellerophon and the battle cruisers Inflexible and Black Prince traveled together under a small screening force of ten destroyers. Down on the surface of the planet, shuttles and transports continued to lift off from the planet's surface. Smaller jump capacity ships have quickly jumped to hyperspace and headed for the nearest friendly system. While the larger passenger liners continue to load up refugees the smaller ships abandoned the planet. Small children and the woman were given hibernize to induce hibernation sleep. Then they were stacked like cordwood throughout the ship and stasis fields were turned on. The ten liners, the fifteen cargo ships, the repair ship Collins and the six destroyer escorts gathered their flock together along with the two hundred year old battleship Valiant and start heading for the hyper limit. Behind them, the remaining liners and freighters gather as the cargo shuttles made their final delivery of human escapees.
Aboard the carrier, a small celebration was taking place in one of the many lounges throughout the huge ship. Eight pilots sat around the table and watched the poker game going on. The celebration was for the engagement party of the CAG to one of the other squadron leaders.
Commander Kyla Hall looked around the table at her squadron mates, glancing at her hole cards and seeing the nine and four of diamonds. With the two and six of diamonds and the nine, and jack of spades up in front of her she looked at the pot with the five thousand in it and then up at Lieutenant Timothy Miller.
Tossing another three hundred in the pot as Lieutenant Galled dealt the next card down to each player.
Sliding the card to her, Kyla lifted it and saw the King of Diamonds giving her a flush.
Lieutenant Miller looked at his new card and saw the five of diamonds, settling for two pair he looked over at his CAG and thought for a minute about his hand. Possible flush or pair, looking into her eyes he gets no hint of what she could have. Reaching down he picks up a stack of a thousand dollars and tossed it into the pot.
"I bet a thousand," Timothy said.
Kyla looked at Timothy and then at his brow, 'was that a tick?' she thought.
"Well, Icepick, I don't think you have that four of a kind, so I am going to call you."
Reaching down she slides another thousand into the pile, "and I will raise you another five hundred."
Timothy tossed his cards into the pile. "I'm out. Damn it Widow, how did you know?"
"I'm the CAG it's my job to know my pilots, and with those words I must bid you all good night."
Standing up she drained her scotch and set the glass down.
"Sara, can you count me out? I am going to go spend the rest of my engagement party with my loving fiancée."
"Like that's going to be hard, only one who has any money left is Icepick and Goalie," She said as she pulled a mahogany box onto the table, she looked at the money in each pilots pile and continued, "Ice has fifteen hundred left and Goalie has six." Pulling the money out, she removed the twenty-one hundred dollars and handed the rest to Kyla. "Here you go Ma'am and we will see you in the morning."
Taking the money, she pulled a hundred out and tossed it on the table.
"Get some drinks on me guys; I will see you at O-Nine hundred hours. We will be running a training mission in the asteroid belt."
Slipping the money into her jacket, she grabbed a bottle of Alderian Champagne and walked out of the room. Turning right she went down the hall and passed flight Ops. Stopping she turned and walked into the room. She looked out onto the landing deck of the carrier and saw several repair techs working on the fighters and bombers. Seeing the gold suit on the body sticking out of her fighter, she knew it was Sergeant Jim Yang her chief mechanic working on her bird. She looked at the names on the wall and pressed the intercom on the wall next to the sergeant's name.
Jim wrestled the circuit board out, and tossed it on the hatch and onto the deck.
"Ok Sammie, hand me that new board."
Corporal Sammie Rogers reached into the box and pulled out a new board. Then she passed the new board into the small maintenance hatch after running the scanner over the board.
"Hear you go Sarge. I've run the diagnostic on it, the boards good."
Jim reaches out and he felt the board slap into his hand.
Jim forced the board into the slot and then felt his suit buzzer going off just as it locked in place.
"Damn it! Who's paging me?"
Corporal Rogers looked over at the flight Ops window and saw the CAG standing there.
"It's the CAG sir."
"Ok, clear me a space I am coming out," Jim said as he started wiggling out of the belly of the fighter.
Sammie stepped back as Jim slid out on the gravity board and looked over at the flight Ops window. Waving to her, he stood up and walked over to the airlock. Walking through the energy field protecting the rest of the ship from depressurization, he deactivated his suit. He looked at the bottle of Champagne, and then at Commander Hall. His eyebrow went up.
"Evening, Ma'am, what can I do for you?" he asked as he took a breath of fresh air.
"Hi, Jim, did you find the problem?" Kala asked.
"Yes, Ma'am. The circuit board was bad, everything else checked out. You should not have that ghost image on radar anymore. We also tracked down that harmonic in the left stabilizer engine; it was the chip in the fuel inducer for the motor control. I have replaced it, as well."
"Thank God, Chief, I swear that harmonic made my teeth hurt, but no one could find it. Before I forget, did your family get off?"
"Yes Ma'am, they are on the liner Queen Victoria and are heading for Alderia in the convoy. The only one staying is my father, and he cannot go, his unit was called up. However, my five sisters and three brothers along with my wife and child are on her, and in seven hours they will be safely on their way."
"Good. Well I am going to go get some sleep," Kyla said.
Kyla started to turn away and her eyes were drawn back out into the bay and at her fighter. It was, as if the fighter was calling to her to warn her. She felt a shiver go down her back, like the time she was jumped by five Gormarian fighters out in the Vesper system. The warning told her to turn and fire. When she did, she caught two of the enemy fighters as they came around an asteroid.
"Ok, Ma'am. Good night."
Jim activated his helmet and started to go out when he saw Commander Hall staring out at the fighters, and seemed lost in thought.
"Ma'am is something wrong?"
"I don't know Sarge, but ... I just got a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach and a shiver down my back."
Stepping up the armored glass that was protected by the shield, she looked out the main launch bay into space.
"Sarge, I want all flights loaded with war shot in the morning. I mean every bird. I know only my squadron and Sparrows are due to go out on the training mission, but I just got a bad feeling about this."
"You're the CAG Ma'am, if that's what you want that's what you get," replied Jim.
As she started to turn away, she stopped.
"Sarge, this is for you," Kyla said as she handed him the bottle of Champagne.
"Enjoy it when your off duty, I know you couldn't come to the engagement party."
"Thanks, Ma'am, I will send it over to the Queen Victoria, there is a shuttle leaving in twenty minutes to take the mail over. We will drink it when we get home, a celebration that we survived."
"Sounds good ... Well, good night," Kayla said as she turned and walked out the door as Jim started boxing the bottle of champagne and placed it in the mail sack.
Walking down the hallway, she came to her quarters, and looked at the nametag and read it. 'Commander Kyla Hall, CAG officer of the H.M.S. Eagle, soon to be Commander Kyla Railman, '
"God I like the sound of that: Commander Kyla Railman"
She felt a shiver run through her body. Placing her hand against the door scanner, it opened, and she walked into her office. Looking at the desk and its stacks of paperwork, she ignored them. She walked passed it, and into her quarters.
Going down the short hallway, she stepped into her bedroom. She saw Talon asleep on her bed. Stripping off her clothes, she looked at herself in the mirror. She admired her thirty-five year old body that looked as though she was nineteen. Taking the money out of her jacket, she looked at it for a second and then stuffed it inside her flight suit where she kept her digital photo card.
Kyla stretched her long legs, sat on the edge of the bed and lay down. She rolled over onto her side, and looked at her fiancée. His broad chest slowly rose and fell as he slept. Sliding her fingers over his smooth chest, and down his body she started stroking his penis as he slept. When he was hard, she lifted her leg over his body and slowly sank down onto him. As she settled her weight on his groin, she watched his face as she slowly slid up and down on him. A few minutes later his eyes opened, and she leaned down and kissed him.
"Good evening, lover. God that feels so good," Kyla said.
.... There is more of this story ...