CHEVALIER DE LA

CROIX NOIR

                                                     By 

                                                  Arthur 

 
CHAPTER 4


BY ARTHUR




TO CONTACT THE AUTHOR:

Artcart65@gmail.com


Over the next two weeks we watched all the broadcasts, there were in-depth
discussions on what lay ahead of the boy hero, interviews with his
remaining family, supposition was rife in the media, it was the biggest
thing since the last Corporation wars, Ferris stayed well out of it and hid
away under the watchful eyes of Ganius and Spider, both still in stealth
mode with their cloaks unless they were all alone in Ferris new grand
expensive home.

The current plan was for Ferris to stay out of the lime light until the
furore settled down and he could start on his plan for the Chase
Corporation Board, the requests for interviews and his determination to
avoid them only caused more speculation, as to whom had ordered the murders
and his kidnapping, from out of nowhere came a report from an independent
pirate station about a possible conspiracy within the Chase Family, I was
to learn a little later that the station was owned by none other than
Santos, he had decided to stir things up a little and try to take the heat
off the demands on Ferris for interviews.

Santos was never slow to stir things up with the Corporations, this was an
ideal time for him to start to put doubts in some of the minds of the
people, we would have to wait and see if anything came of his new ploy.

Finally the offer of security came from the Chase Family, it was time for
Ganius to be made known, it was an elaborate plan that they had devised for
just this occasion, much had been said about the supposed explosive device
that Ferris wore, every expert had said they would not take the chance of
trying anything as it would be too dangerous for Ferris, enter Ganius and
Spider.

Ferris then went on a Vid Show to make his first statement as we had
planned, I watched as he stepped out from behind some screens and sat in a
seat with the interviewer waiting for him in another, Ferris was dressed in
his Skerrit suit with Ganius and Spider behind him looking very
threatening, the interviewer, not the one on the ship, he had been ignored
but the pilot Philos, had been given all the kudos about the rescue, the
reporter had not been happy but little was seen from him thereafter.

The interview began but Ferris soon stopped the reporter asking him
questions and said he was only there to make a statement and would not be
answering any questions about his ordeal which he said, he was trying to
put behind him as he was still grieving for his murdered family, Ferris
began his statement.

"I have now employed my own security, I wish to thank my remaining family
for their concern over my safety, however, I was contacted by the two men
behind me and was told that Mr. Ganius could disarm the bracelet safely if
I wished him to do so, to this end he has accomplished that, it is now
inactive, I have decided to continue to wear it as a reminder of the events
that took my parents and siblings before their time, as you can see I am
wearing body armour, this was given to me by Mr. Ganius to keep me safe,
both he and his trainee will be by my side at all times.I now plan to
return to Terra and take up my place on the Board as my adopted Father
would have wished, at this stage I have no other plans until I am back in
my home on Terra, I thank all those concerned with my rescue, especially
the effort of the brave pilot, Philos Mann, I will see that he is properly
rewarded for his great care of me during that horrific time, that is all, I
thank you all and ask that you do not try to invade my privacy, my body
guards have instructions to take any action they deem fit for my safety,
this also includes any invasions by reporters, thank you."

As he finished speaking and before the reporter could get a word in, Ferris
stood up and walked out of the studio, it had been perfect, the stunned
look on the reporters face said it all, Ferris still had them at a
disadvantage and in wonder about what just happened, when they returned to
his present home, Ganius got the ship ready and, within an hour they had
all disappeared into the far dark reaches of the galaxy, they would not be
heard of again until they landed back on Terra, to disguise the ships
abilities, Ganius jumped back to the base for a few days of rest while the
rest of the galaxy wondered where they were, they would reappear above
Terra in a few days time.

After a few days had passed, Ganius flew to Terra, he hovered over the one
time Macklin Chase estate which now belonged to Ferris, there was ample
room as the estate covered many hundreds of square acres of land, once the
ship was down and the security systems engaged, the three made their way
into the newly reopened estate, every member of staff stood outside the
main doors waiting for the new master of the estate to return, unknown to
them, they would all have to go through a new interview under the eye of
Ganius, they could not afford to have a spy in their midst if Ferris plan
was to come to fruition.

Time had passed and it was soon that Santos told me the fighters were
ready, he would use his own men to fly them all in and it would also give
him a chance to do final testing, two days later and Gareth, now in the
form of a very sexy young teen with the colour of Panther and the slim
slightly Asian look of Scorpion, his new body was a delight to see and even
the other boys looked at the results of Gareth's genetics to be attractive.

"Commander, we have a group of ten fighters and Master Santos ship
approaching, do you wish to have them in Lower Hanger 1 for their
personalisation?"

"Thank you Gareth, we will all go down and welcome them."

We all jumped in the elevator and flew quickly down to the lower levels,
this took only a few minutes to go right through the solid asteroid, not a
mean feat if you consider the size of the asteroid that was our base,
Santos was already in a cradle and his fighters were now coming in one
after the other as Gareth cleared them to do so.

The little ships looked as though they had just come from the factory but
the small pods on the side and the larger exhaust outlet at the rear told
other stories, once all the ships were cradled, the hatches dropped and the
men stepped from their seats, I turned to the boys and told them to go and
look at their ships, each one was to select one for themselves and Gareth
would ask them questions about how they wanted them to look, already the
engineering droids were massing at the far edge of the hanger, for Santos,
all he could do was stare at the two large Cruisers at one end of the bay,
I couldn't help smiling as he saw them.

"So what's all that over there, why do you need another Cruiser with those
two sitting there?"

"Well how the fuck are you too, as for the ships, I didn't know we had them
but there's another surprise for you as well, I'll show you after we have
these boys settled with their fighters."

"So, are you still going to want that other Cruiser?"

"No, not know, you can keep it for your guys, what I will need is some crew
that are prepared to fly them and stay here with us."

"That won't be a problem, when my people heard about your little escapade I
had volunteers coming out of my ears, what do you want?"

"Well, let me add them up, first the Cruisers, I'll need fifteen men for
each one plus forty fighter pilots for each."

"What! Fifteen, you can't be serious, you need at least two hundred men to
run a Cruiser"

"Not these ones, Gareth has had them modified, most of the systems are run
by Positronic control, they just need the human factor for decision making
in a fight, now next we have our Heavy Cruisers, or as Gareth calls them,
Battle Cruisers."

"Come on laddy, there's no such thing, if there was then the Navy would
have them first."

"Not if they didn't know about them, come with me, you have to see this."

Leaving everyone else behind I took Santos to lower level two, the three
Battle Cruisers were now at the stage of getting a last polish by hundreds
of droids, the size and deadly look of them even made Santos catch his
breath as he saw the massive Cruisers for the first time, these ships were
huge, the three of them took up almost every inch of the gigantic hanger,
that is to say, they were so big that their aft engines disappeared into
the dimness of the far reaches of the hanger, they were 2.5 kilometres
long, .5 kilometres high and the same wide, they bristled with gun pods of
varying sizes and their communications and targeting arrays looked like
nothing I had ever seen before, All Santos could do was gasp and shake his
head.

"These need only about thirty five or forty men to run them as well as the
forty fighter pilots for each, so you can see, we will need a lot of men
for them, can you get the right sort with enough experience to be able to
use them in a fight?"

"I told you I had a lot of my men from the navy working with me, getting
crews for these babies will be no trouble although you will have to have
quite a few newbie's to train up and those I can supply as well, we have a
lot of young guys who would like to ship out on these."

"Good, oh, by the way, thanks for the idea on using a pirate station to
stir things up, I don't know if it will do any good but the idea was great,
it must have someone thinking."

"That's what I thought, can't do any harm to stir up the Corporations when
we have the chance."

"Let's go back down to the others; I want to see how the boys are getting
on with their new toys."

We returned to hanger 1 the boys were by now standing back as their little
fighters were being swarmed over by the droids, Santos men were standing
around looking over the two remaining Cruisers, they looked like
experienced men, they were talking about things that were different from
the Cruisers they knew from the navy.

Just as we got back, Android Gareth appeared from the elevator doors.

"Commander, the fighters will take one more day, the Battle Cruisers will
also be ready for testing although it is not necessary, if you could find
crews for all ships I will put them through the training needed to operate
them safely, there is a call from Ganius about Ferris, he is waiting for
your call back."

"Thank you Gareth, we will be up there in a minute."

Gareth turned and went back to the elevator as I called the boys and my two
Brothers to join us back up top, Santos looked at his Frigate, a smaller
version of a Cruiser which is what his personal ship used to be.

"You can leave that here, bring your men up top and I might even find a
bottle of rum for you to play with."

"Now that I can do."

He called his men to him and they joined us in the elevator for the trip
through the Asteroid to the upper base centre, once there the others went
their separate ways while I called Ganius on the sub space.

Ganius reported that they had dismissed most of the staff of Ferris estate,
they were all in the pay of the family in one way or another, he wanted
some ideas on where to get people they could trust, I told him I would
think it over and then asked if he could get Ferris out of here for a few
days, his little brother Ellis was due to come out of his surgery and
memory implant and it would be best if Ferris was there when the little boy
woke up, Ganius said they would be at the base in two days.

The next week was frantic as Santos returned to the Rim to organise his men
and the crews for our hidden ships, Ellis woke up and cried on Ferris
shoulder like a little boy which mentally he was as Ferris memories only
covered the time he had been small and before they had been taken away,
Santos also said he was sure he could get good volunteers for Ferris
estate, next was the planning session for Ferris introduction to his first
Board meeting, with his IQ he would have little problems.

Ferris had already made up the Proxy votes from his numerous ghost workers,
with his own shares and those of his Uncle and family, he now held more
than enough to take over the Board with a clear Majority, when he did this
it would be the most dangerous time, to this end, we decided to take all of
the other boys and their newly worked on fighters as well as our own ships
and orbit Terra in stealth mode in case we were needed in a hurry, it was a
shame we did not have the crews yet to man the larger ships but, with our
ships advantages we hoped to be in and out before anyone caught on if
trouble came.

For the next few days, Ellis would not leave Ferris side, when it was time
for him to return to his estate for the Board meeting, it took a lot of
explaining to Ellis to let Ferris go, strangely enough, it was Android
Gareth that Ellis turned to, I suppose his own Positronic brain made him
feel closer to the Android than any of us except Ferris, I was to learn
much later that Ellis could directly contact Gareth at any time and he had
full use of the massively large information storage banks of Gareth through
the very same Positronic Brain, we were to learn in time to come that
harmless little Ellis was far more than he at first seemed.

Ferris of course still wore the UHF com unit given to him by Gareth, it was
through this we were all able to see how the Board meeting went, it turned
out to be quite a loud meeting, his biological Father was the loudest of
all when he found out after the vote for a new CEO of the whole
Corporation, that Ferris now held 56% of the shares, a large number by
Proxy that he knew nothing about but going through the records of share
holders, they were deemed valid, Simon Chase was not a happy man, he was
even less happy when Ferris stated he was going to change the members of
the Board and nominate new people to those positions.

Through the vid camera in his wrist band, I watched the face of Simon
Chase, that man looked to me as though he was as guilty as sin as the
ancient saying used to say, there was going to be trouble in the not too
distant future, not only for the Corporation but particularly Ferris, as
young as he looked and dressed unlike the other suited men in his Skerrit
armour.

Ferris watched each member of the Board like a hawk, men of such power and
influence never gave his high IQ a second though as they tried to persuade
him he did not have the necessary experience to run such a large
Corporation, their worries went right over Ferris head as he banged his
small hand down and called the meeting closed, he gave the Board Members
ten minutes to clear their offices, he also told them to touch nothing but
their personal items, they would all be searched prior to leaving the
building, only Simon was told to stay.

Ferris had been placed at the bottom of the table, he now stood up and
walked the length of the large Board Room and looked at his Father.

"You are sitting in my chair, Father, your place for today is over there."
The sarcasm in Ferris voice as he said `Father' was quite noticeable and
not missed by Simon.

Ferris pointed to a vacant chair in the now empty room, Simon glared at his
son and then you could see the look of realisation come over his face as he
took in the word used by Ferris.

"How did you know I was your Father?"

"Mother told me just before you sent me to Uncle Macklin's, I've known all
along."

"Damn you boy, I should have sent you away with the rest of your bastard
family."

"Ah, so at last I know who it was."

"What do you mean, boy?"

"I found my Brother Ellis and I know what you did too him, from today
onwards, you are no longer a part of this Board, you will leave here and go
to your estate and wait there until I decide what I will do with you."

"Boy, you have no idea what you are getting into or doing, stupid little
boy, every Corporation will come down on you now and I have the Galactic
Navy to back me up, I'll make sure you never lead this Corporation, you
will be like your little bastard Brother by the end of this week so have
fun while it lasts."

Ferris did not budge nor did he show any fear, instead he punched a button
on top of the long table, his next words brought a look of shock on Simon's
face.

"This is Andras Chase, I have been elected as the new CEO of Chase
Corporation, you are the Captain of Security for this building?"

"Yes Mr. Chase."

"As of this minute, you will stop all communications going out of this
building, you will post security at every entrance and search every member
of the staff, both lower and upper management, no one is to leave this
building with anything belonging to the Corporation, they may take only
personal items, do you understand Captain?"

"Yes Sir, but what about Mr. Simon, Sir?"

"Mr. Simon will be treated just like any other employee, this building is
now shut down until further notice, is that clear Captain?"

"Yes Sir, I will get it underway right now."

"Thank you Captain, I will not forget your role in this."

Ferris switched off the com unit and turned to his Father.

"You may leave Simon, do not do anything foolish."

"Your day will come boy and it won't be far away."

Simon got up and left the room with a long hard glare at Ferris, Ganius and
Spider were standing outside the door and came in as the man left in the
elevator to clear his office, Ferris looked at Ganius.

"Do you think that will do it?"

"Ferris, remind me not to get on your bad side and, yes, that should do
nicely, I would say we have about two days before the Navy arrives to take
back the Corporation and Simon tries to get rid of you."

"Good, two days gives me plenty of time to strip their computer files and
send them to the base, then we can get out of here and start our rebellion,
Sargasso should really like that."

We were still stationed high above Terra in stealth mode, as soon as Ferris
had everything he wanted from their files we would be out of there and back
to the safety of our base, the little war we had started was going to be
dangerous and interesting, with the few surprises we had sitting in our
hangers and the mass of people out on the Rim waiting for an opportunity to
get back to civilisation, we had a good chance to make something of
ourselves in the future.

Ferris did not waste time, within minutes he was downloading everything in
the Corporations archives, they were all sent in file bursts to the waiting
storage of Gareth, once completed, Ferris would then insert a shut down
virus into their computer and return to his estate, when Simon took back
control all he would have is empty file systems, they would have to start
all over again.

Dusk was just starting to darken the sky on the second day when we picked
up a fleet of Naval Cruisers and Fighters on our screens, I sent a message
to Ganius that the cavalry was on the way and to get Ferris out of there,
everything had been prepared for just this occasion and Ganius and his two
boys were in his ship and lifting off before the Navy had got close enough
to land anywhere near the estate.

Ganius beacon showed him slotting into our small fleet just as five Navy
fighters rushed past us, in stealth mode they did not see us sitting
watching them go by, using Gareth's modified camera, I saw what looked like
a huge explosion where Ferris estate once stood, before the fighters got
anywhere near all they saw was a huge pile of burning wreckage, the Macklin
Chase estate was now a smouldering ruin, of Ferris there was no sign for
them to find, we turned our ships and snuck off into the dark reaches of
space and our home base.

For the next week the news channels were full of the story of the death of
Andras Chase, the boy who had defied all the odds and escaped from
kidnappers only to die in a horrible explosion just after he had taken over
the Corporation, the platitudes were many and varied, each extolling the
boys virtues and trying to outdo each other, we all sat back in the base
and watched the fun, as it began to calm down and Simon once again took
over control of the Chase Corporation, it was time to have our new recruit
Sarraton rejoin us, it was going to be Brutaria's job to train him in the
use of his new body.

Kratos had returned with our charter as the F.F.T. we were now legal under
the eyes of the law of the Galaxy, he also demanded the name of the person
who had enslaved Ellis, Ferris told him it was Simon Chase, Kratos looked
at Ferris and said to everyone present.

"That man is mine; no one touches him but me, everyone clear on that?"

It was at this time that Gareth came through with his inspection of the
huge quantity of files from the Chase Corporation, there were a few
surprises in the massive amount of data, also at this time Santos called to
say he had crews ready for the ships in our hangers, most of the men were
older and would run the large Cruisers, all had said they were now too old
to operate fighters but would act as trainers for the large number of young
men to who wanted to pilot them.

Santos own Cruisers were now close to completion and would then be brought
to the base for armaments, once all was done we would be ready to start our
little rebellion, our forces would be split between the base and the Rim,
it was not good to put all our eggs in one basket, the asteroid had a lot
of unused space, it was after all the size of some small continents on
Terra.

After another month, Gareth had finally opened the last of the files, the
last one had been heavily encrypted and had taken him some time to break
through but it proved to be the most revealing of them all, during this
time he also opened his own armoury, every pilot or crew member now had a
personal weapon unlike anything ever seen before, these were a light weight
laser pistol, the current Naval sidearm was still the very old fashioned
projectile weapon, they were in for some surprises if it came to a close up
fight.

Gareth also issued each member of the flight crews with an emergency pack,
it was a slim pack that they wore on their backs, it carried dehydrated
foods, a small water reservoir and spare power packs for their weapons as
well as a personal emergency beacon, it was far more than the Navy ever
had.

Gareth called me to the main console just after he broke through the last
encrypted file, as usual I called all of my Brothers and new Knights to
join me, Gareth made it sound important so we all needed to know what was
going on, as we all stood around the main console, Android Gareth with
Ellis close on his heels, began to explain why he had called us there.

"Commander, as you know this last file was very difficult to get into,
there were no clues as to what it was, unlike the normal files it was
marked only with the picture of an Owl, however, I broke the password and
it was four words, So Mote It Be, a very strange password, after finally
breaking the encryption I found this."

Gareth put the file on the console screen as we all watched.

"As you can see, it is a list of names and Corporations, they are all
members of something called, `The Followers of the Light' as close as I can
get to one of the old languages in time past, they also used the name, 'the
illuminati' it appears that every Corporation is run by the same board of
directors, only the name of the CEO changed but it was always one of the
board members therefore, all the Corporations are owned by the same people
and they all belong to this same illuminati group, there appears to be no
true competition among the Corporations except for the elimination of those
who would challenge their leadership."

"So Gareth, they are all one and the same?"

"Exactly Commander, every Corporation is tied in with the other; they in
effect rule the Galaxy as you know it."

We all stood around in awe of what the Corporations had been able to pull
off under the very noses of the people of the Galaxy, it must have been
going on for centuries as it was a far bigger scheme than could have been
put together in only a few years, it was time to take a stand and try to
break up their hold over everyone and everything.

Our new pilots and even the older crews had been training in the new ships,
with every ship having stealth capabilities as well as far faster and more
powerful drives as well as the massive increase in weaponry, we stood a
good chance of having some success but it would be a long and probably,
dirty fight, my Brothers and I along with our young Red Knights would have
to do our part in the area we were best suited for, even with the knowledge
that we were now listed all through the Galaxy as wanted killers by Sega
Corporation which meant by every Corporation.

Santos agreed to take any and all salvage from any fight we might have, he
would also supply Gareth with what he wanted, we hoped to be able to build
up our own little Navy in time, with what we had now we did not have enough
in numbers to take on the full force of the Galactic Navy, we had the
better technology and weapons but not the numbers and they always counted
in the end.

Gareth gave Santos the plans for the Hulls of the Battle Cruisers, Santos
had the people and numbers to make them faster than Gareth could, once they
were completed, the hulls would be sent here to the base for outfitting,
first we needed another two Cruisers, it would give each Battle Cruiser an
escort of the two Cruisers as well as the multitude of fighters in their
bays, for now we would use only two of the Battle cruisers and the four
Cruisers as escort, it would leave us with enough older crewmen to act as
trainers and replacements for the two crews going out.

Our first objective would be their money, to this end Ferris and Ganius sat
at their consoles and looked for those ships designated as currency
carriers, these would be the ones to hit and it would soon make the
Corporations start to suffer, only by taking what they valued most would
they start to really make mistakes and every mistake they made gave us the
advantage.

Our next plan was to hit four of the Sega Corp planetary executives on four
different planets, while we were doing this, the two Battle cruisers and
their escorts would go after two of the money targets that Ganius and
Ferris had found, the ship attack was on the other side of the Galaxy from
where we would hit Sega, the planets we selected were to be Sega 3,5,6,and
my home planet of 7, they were all wide spread and the combination hit
would hopefully unsettle Sega Corporation and therefore all of the
Corporations.

We had decided on the four senior executives on each planet, it was going
to be made messy as a warning that the Knights of the Black Cross were
still around and that they were all now in danger of reprisals, we all felt
that at this stage it was better to stay on the periphery and not go
directly at the heads of the Corporations, with luck they would be the
means of their own downfall.

With all this new information, Santos increased his pirate broadcasts to
the Galaxy, he began to tell of conspiracies and double dealing within the
Corporations, information from the files was released as proof, it started
a real shit storm as the Corporations tried to discredit everything the
pirate station broadcast, they must have known that we had infiltrated
their best kept secrets from the detailed information he gave out, it was a
good start.

The plans we had put into practice were simple but we hoped they would be
successful, all the ships with weapons were to be marked plainly and openly
with a double Celtic cross on the rear hulls, the bottom cross was in black
and then it was overlaid with a smaller red cross, this would be our sign,
we had decided to try to capture all freighters, they would be sent to the
rim and, once renovated and changed in some small way to hide their true
nature and where they came from, they would have the three large letters
painted on their hulls and become part of the cargo fleet of the F.F.T. the
three letters would also be their signature.

If all went well we would be able to keep the two branches of our little
rebellion separate, the freighters would go out to purchase cargo and other
goods from Corporation planets, we would use their own credits to purchase
the goods then on-sell them to other planets, the freighter crews would
also keep watch for any target we might find interesting, the idea was to
make the F.F.T. ships a common sight around the Galaxy so they would not be
noticed while our armed branch stirred up trouble, every freighter had now
been armed with the Starlight Lasers, they were concealed within the hulls
of the freighters so they could not be seen, we did not think anyone would
attack harmless freighters but we could also not afford to take chances.

The boys had come up with the idea of painting small murals of the animal
they had been named after on the side of their new fighters just below
their cockpit, it soon took on with the new pilots of the Cruisers fighters
following their lead, many of the Cruiser fighter pilots were very young
but they were firmly under the hand of an older and more experienced
teacher.

There had been many hours used to learn the old tactics of the Galactic
Navy, once everyone had a good grounding in their tactics, I set Tiger to
re-invent new tactics to counter them, once that was done they then used a
number of weeks practicing what he had come up with, some did not work but
most did, it was not long before we would be able to give the Navy fighters
a good run for their money, even if we were outnumbered, of which there was
a good chance of it happening.

Tiger had turned into quite the tactician although his swearing had not
abated in the slightest, his fresh brain did not see the same things as the
older more experienced ex Naval men, where they saw a planned and static
formation, he saw holes that, with a superior technically advanced ship,
could be made into a vital weakness for exploitation, most times it worked
out fine in practice, if it failed, the swearing would echo through the
large hanger in a fiery outburst that curled the ear drums.

The Taurus asteroid belt stretched for millions of kilometres, it was the
ideal place for the new young fighter pilots to practice and train in
without being spied by any passing Naval ships, the old Navy tactic of mass
attack by fighters was pushed aside in favour of small three ship attack
squads, they all worked in unison and watched each other's back when going
through attack manoeuvres, for the old fashioned Galactic Navy they would
be a devastating force until the Navy reworked its own tactics.

Santos had decided he was still an Admiral at heart, he asked if he could
make use of the last remaining Battle Cruiser as his cover for the many
small freighters he used out on the rim, the freighters would be the
mainstay of the F.F.T. fleet, the Battle Cruiser would stay in stealth mode
during any trip, he also asked if he could take Sarraton with him as he
said he saw potential in the younger teen as he had already had some
training and would eventually make a good Battle Ship Commander once Santos
had taught him all the old Admiral knew.

Slowly our small band was growing; Gareth had opened up new areas of the
base to accommodate all the new personnel, even so, the base was so large
that the new numbers made little impression on the sheer size of it, it at
times still seemed empty although now there were over three hundred men
living there, this had got way out of hand to what I thought I would be
doing when I employed the original ten boys, never the less it felt right,
there had to be a time when the Mega Corporations were brought to heel and
this was it.

None of us doubted the problems ahead, the Corporations had three centuries
of practice, the Galactic Navy was huge even if it was outdated and had
little on the technical side that could keep up with us, they still had the
numbers and, in a long drawn out fight could prevail if they got us
cornered, it was for this reason that no ship ever left the base without
being in stealth mode, the base had to be kept secret if we held any chance
of success.

There were over a thousand planets held by the Corporations, we had plenty
of targets and Santos also had plenty of places to `Trade' with, the Battle
Cruiser would carry a large amount of the stolen Corporation credits, they
would be used to buy cargo as the small freighters went from place to place
and traded, we could not afford for the freighters to become to many as the
Corporations would soon look upon them as competition, that we did not
want.

The freighters were half the size of those used by the Corporations so ten
of them in a convoy would not look out of place, the Corporation freighters
also moved in convoy with Naval escorts, piracy was real in space although
our smaller freighters were far superior in speed and, unlike Corporation
freighters, ours were armed and had the large Battle Cruiser as concealed
escort, there would also be ten fighters around the freighters at all
times, again concealed from view, any pirate foolhardy enough to attack our
freighters was in for a nasty shock.

Finally the day came when we were to put into practice all the planning we
had been doing, Santos along with Sarraton, took off for the Rim and the
first freighter convoy, the remaining two Battle Cruisers along with their
escorts took off a little later than Santos and turned in the direction the
money ships were to be travelling, for us four Brothers, it was time to do
a final check, get our boys together and go after our chosen targets, the
first of the bloody work was about to start, Scorpion had come up with a
novel way to start rumours on the Corporation planets we were to hit.

Once our little forays were complete, we would leave behind a large poster
that Scorpion had made, his artistic talents were surprising, it was a
large poster about one metre long and half a metre wide, its background was
a bright red, on this was the black Celtic cross and again over the top was
a smaller red cross, as a further taunt, he had written the words of the
file password underneath, `So Mote It Be', we would leave the poster
hanging prominently in the house after our attack and assassination of the
managers.

I had decided I would go to Sega7, my old home planet, having lived there
for the first fourteen years of my life, I was well acquainted with it and
how things were done, each of us would strike at night as we usually did,
we, the Brothers, would fly our ships solo, our boys flying in their
fighters, they did not have jump capability but their new power plants gave
them plenty of speed to keep up with us, the trips were made just a little
longer because of this but time was on our side as we had the advantage of
surprise.

This time we were not after the whole family, it was to be only the senior
managers that paid the price of their devotion to the Corporation, our
first target was the manager of the Sega7 mines, he was followed by the one
managing the ship port, then came the manager of the administration and
finally the manager of recruitment, the idea was to let other planets know
it was a bad idea to be in a management role with the Corporations.

Once again we left each house with a bloody reminder, the poster was hung
up and we disappeared back into the night before anyone was the wiser, in
all cases we would enter the homes, disable or kill the guards, drug the
families and then wreck our revenge on the managers leaving them a bloody
mess for the families to find when they recovered, it was nasty but
necessary for what we were trying to achieve.

Two weeks later and we returned to the base for a discussion on how things
went, of my Brothers work I had little doubts, it was the two Battle
Cruisers and the attacks on the money freighters I was more concerned with,
I need not have worried, the older hands with the new ships made short work
of the five Cruiser escort, coming out of stealth right on top of the small
convoy, the heavier and better weapons of the Battle Cruiser and two
Cruisers along with their one hundred and twenty fighters, decimated the
escorts, the freighters stopped and let themselves be taken, the crews were
set adrift in escape pods as they were non combatants, the freighters were
then sent on their way with a skeleton crew to return to the base under the
watchful eyes of the three large and fast Cruisers.

For their first foray into piracy, they had done well, they had
unfortunately lost four fighters to Cruiser fire but on the plus side, we
now had a treasury in level four that would make the Corporations shudder,
when we all arrived back in the base we went to the main console first to
see what the news reports had to say about the sudden mayhem that had hit
them, there had been nothing like it for centuries.

The news channels were full of it, four attacks on prominent Managers on
four separate planets, the call went out for the total annihilation of the
Knights of the Cross, we had been uncovered by the Sega Corporation, of
course they did not say it was they themselves that had created us, we were
named as some type of new rebel group made up of malcontents and pirates
and that the full force of the Galactic Navy would be sent out to bring us
down.

The taking of the money freighters was kept quieter, they did not want to
let the citizens know the sort of trouble they were getting into, the loss
of so much money would begin to unsettle crews and planetary people who
depended on the money for their livelihoods, the Corporations would of
course have to replace the money for the planets to keep operating and
producing the much needed goods for their Corporations.

Santos reported in one week later, he was orbiting Sirius Minor with his
small fleet of freighters, he told us that all was well and they had not
been stopped or questioned by any Naval Forces, they did however see that
the Corporation convoys were now escorted by more than ten Cruisers and a
myriad of old Frigates, the Frigate was half the size of a Cruiser and the
same type of ship Santos used as his personal ship although those of the
Navy would not come close to the technical ability of Santos ship.

It appeared the Corporation did not waste time, they had more than tripled
their escort screens around their freighters and convoys, it was a good
thing for us, it would mean they had less numbers to go out trying to find
us although they still had many hundreds of Naval ships left for that job,
for now we had the distinct advantage, even with all their power and money,
they could not hope to upgrade their Naval fleet for years to come, the
sheer numbers of ships involved made it a long slow process, all we had to
do was keep an eye out for any new ships being in the Galaxy and go after
them before they could build up their numbers and become a threat.

As the Corporations worked on looking for us, our own fleet would enlarge,
with the Battle Cruiser towing two Cruiser hulks from the battle and the
other Cruisers towing one each, the Rim workshops would have six new
cruisers to work on, they would then come to the base for new weapons
systems, Santos also kept one eye open for space junk and old hulks, they
could be beaconed with a sub space beacon and picked up for Gareth's
workshops to break down and build a new Battle cruiser, hanger 2 was going
to be busy.

Two weeks later and Santos returned from his successful trading flight, he
and the freighter shad been away for six weeks, they had traded back and
forth over a number of planets, the superior speed had made them a tidy
profit, level 4 was filling with the stolen Corporation gold credits and
all of our young men had been blooded in one form of battle or the other,
it was suggested that a wall of honour be made for those who died, it was
readily agreed upon and Gareth set about producing a large blank sheet of
titanium to be bolted to the wall of lower level hanger 1, there the names
of the lost would be seen by everyone and remembered, a droid engraved the
first four names as we all stood and watched, over the time to come there
would be other names added to that large piece of metal.

This was only the beginning of the dream and planning I had been doing for
the last fourteen years, all that remained now was for us to keep up the
pressure and try to win each battle as it came along, I was sure that as
long as we maintained our advantage of superior technology, we would stay
ahead of their machinations although I was well aware that things would get
harder as we hit them more and more, it was going to be a long battle and
only a final victory would save us from being taken down by their power and
numbers.

Our next target was to be the Sony Corporation, it had its headquarters on
Mars, it had been using terra forming to make the planet habitable, we
would go after the top brass and try to do as much damage to their life
systems as we could do, not hard when you have the weaponry our ships
carried, there was only the problem of the ordinary citizen, they should
not be made to pay for the sins of the Corporations, to this end we all sat
down and tried to think of a way to save as many as we could, it was not
going to be easy.

At our meeting were all of my boys and my four Brother Knights, also were
the captains of the Battle Cruisers, and Cruisers as well as their second
in command, it was a strange mix, fifteen of us in Skerrit armour and
twelve dressed in civilian clothes along with Kratos and Santos who were
dressed like the other captains although Kratos was wearing his large and
heavy coat of silver Starkly fur, an animal with the reputation and
disposition much like that of Kratos himself, large, strong and very
dangerous.

After four hours and no final plan to work with, we all called for a rest,
food was served and then a few dinks made their appearance, the
conversation continued while we sat and relaxed, some ideas were just
barely possible while others were outrageous or would cost to many innocent
lives, the last thing we needed was to turn the civilian population against
what we were trying to do, in the final battle we would need their support
to overthrow the Corporations power.

For a few more hours we threw ideas back and forth, eventually we all need
a long break and decided to call it a night, we had a number of suggestions
and idea to work on and try to refine, for the moment I needed a break with
a couple of warm bodies, the last few months had been wearing and we all
needed a good break away from the pressure, Tiger and Snake were my
preferred toys for that R&R session.

That night, as I lay with a worn out and contented pair of boys, one under
each arm with their head on my chest, their smell of fresh sex still heavy
in the air, I realised it had now been over a year since we started on this
crazy idea of mine to bring down the Corporations, so far we had had a
reasonable success but there was still a long way to go, as yet we had just
barely scratched the surface, the attack on Mars would really stir up the
bee hive.

Mars was the central headquarters of Sony Corporation, Mars 1 was the main
city, everything for Sony stemmed from that city, it was there we would
have to make our example, we certainly had the fire power to leave it a
pile of rubble on the surface of the planet but we also had to consider
what damage it would do to the innocent population that were no more than
slaves to Sony, targeting places on the planet would be of prime
importance, as my mind worked on this, a warm hand groped me and something
hard was rubbing against my naked thigh on the same side as Snake was
laying, it seemed the boy still had something left to play with, time to
get back to the R&R.

The next morning, Santos called to say they were starting work on
renovating one of the captured freighters, it was to be repowered and
enlarged so that if it was not being used for freight runs it could be used
as a mobile workshops if needed for the fleet, it was a good idea and, as
he was going to put in larger and more powerful drives, it would also be
able to escape at speed if needed, it would also be well armed from the
massive supply in Gareth's store rooms.

Everything seemed to be coming together as we worked hard on plans and
counter plans, the Major Corporations were in an uproar over the loss of
more currency ships and the blatant attacks on the Sega Corporation
executives had them looking over their shoulders, as yet we had left the
upper echelon of management alone, the Mars attack was going to change all
of that.

The plan was simple, Santos would send his small convoy of little
freighters to Mars for trading, already the good and honest deals he made
sure his convoy gave out, soon spread throughout the Galactic trade route,
going to Mars would be seen as just an extension of the small Federation
convoy.

While they were there, Santos in the Battle Cruiser hiding under his
cloaking, would track and map the setup of the city of Mars 1, he would
also look for the power plants and water supply, most of which came from
the underground ice fields, the centuries of Terra forming had made a big
difference on Mars, they now had an atmosphere albeit a thin one but enough
for the population to survive and for some smaller plants to grow, most of
the work on Mars was now administrational although there were still one or
two small mines still operating further out in the wastes.

Once we had all the information we could get, we would go after the
administration office blocks and senior executives homes, after that it
would be the larger power plants, the water system we would leave alone it
was too important to the ordinary folk to take the chance of leaving them
without any water at all, the central administration district in Mars 1
would be left in ruins.

The plan eventually developed and my three Brothers and I, along with at
least one of our boys, would go into the homes of the executives during the
night, we would then eliminate them and escape back to our ships hold
station overhead, as dawn broke we would use our plasma cannon to level the
administration district to the ground, the resulting uproar should bring
the Navy at speed.

While one of the Battle ships was attending to the central administration
district, the other would decimate the Navy port facilities further out, we
would also have two of the Cruisers destroy the only other port which was
the civilian one just outside Mars 1, this would leave the planet without a
place for ships to land for sometime; it would also cause enough chaos for
the Corporations as a whole.

Santos would have his freighters well away from the planet before we
struck, the overall idea was to get the navy active in our pursuit, while
they were running all over looking for the phantom ships, we would be well
away from the scene but not too far away, we also planned to have the two
battle cruisers lay a large mine field in the path of pursuit by using some
of the thousand mines stored in the holds of the Battle Cruisers.

The Kemp Roll Out Mines were a bane to ships, they were made entirely of
polymers and undetectable by any normal means, they were a round ball that,
once set would wait for a ship to close on it, once the ship was no more
than ten kilometres away, a small charge would split the ball open and send
out thousands of small sharp metal pins, in space the velocity of the pins
gave them a great penetrating power, a ships shields were only good for
electronic protection such as lasers and other weapons, against a solid
ballistic round they were ineffective.

The mines would make a huge curtain of these fast moving pins and they
would penetrate a hull like a meteorite, they in themselves were not enough
to destroy a ship but the many holes in the hull would need repair and so
put the ship in dock for weeks if not months, no one in their right mind
stayed in space with small holes in his hull or even as it sometimes
happened, it managed to go into the engines and would cause irreparable
damage.

Two weeks later and we were in the respective compounds of our targets,
they had certainly taken extra care about their security after our past
exploits, all of us noticed the increase in guards and vigilance, most of
their security system had been upgraded and it was quite an effort to
penetrate into the inner sanctums, however eventually we made it inside
without causing too much damage, this time we were going to leave the
family members alone unless they interfered.

Ganius had taken Ferris with him and they were responsible for the
Corporation President, Ferris would also get into the Corporation computers
and strip them of everything he could get, Ganius would make sure the
President would comply with anything Ferris asked, once it was all done
then the President, like the other senior executives of the Sony
Corporation Board, would be made an example of.

Brutaria had Karrum along with him, they were the only ones that ended up
in a fight as the Vice President in charge of the Corporations finances,
did not want to co-operate and had three of the Corporations own assassins
guarding his estate, Brutaria later told me he had quite a little dance
going with two of the assassins while Karrum did his best with the other
one, had it not been for their Skerrit armour they would have sustained
some serious injury but eventually they got the better of the other
assassins and were into the house.

Unfortunately the Vice President had got into his safe room by the time
Brutaria and Karrum made it inside, after tracking down the man's family
hiding all over the house, he had not got them inside his safe room in
time, Brutaria started to show him what it was like to watch his family
tortured and then die, for the Vice President it was even more horrifying
to see his only son in the hands of what appeared to be a young teen
assassin, with only the very youngest daughter left of his family of five,
the Vice President finally relented and opened the safe room.

Over a period of twenty minutes and using a lot of his talent for gathering
information, Brutaria got the codes to break into the Corporations book
keeping computer systems, after setting up a relay to Ferris, they stripped
the files and left, the only remaining family member was the little girl,
even as hard hearted as Brutaria was well known for, he could not bring
himself to hurt her, it would also leave a witness for the Corporations to
question.

After we had what we wanted and the executives had paid the price, we took
off and got out of range for part two, the Battle Cruisers moved in and, in
the city, levelled the business district, the losses of people would be
practically nil as it was just breaking dawn but there was hardly a
building left standing after four large blasts from the Plasma Cannons.

Out at the Naval Port, the other Battle Cruiser appeared, it had been
decided to show these huge ships so the report would go back to
headquarters and even with luck strike a little fear into anyone silly
enough to come after the huge ships, the Battle Cruiser left very little of
the port, the landing pads were just piles of drifting dust and the
communication towers were small mounds of burning rubble, the ship then
disappeared into the dawn sky.

At the civilian port the two cruisers tore up the landing pads but did not
touch the communication towers, it was civilian and not military, the loss
of the landing pads would put the port out of action for many months, once
completed the Cruisers also disappeared into the dawn light leaving a mass
of broken concrete as their calling card.

We all made the one parsec jump to where Santos was watching over his
convoy, this had all been prearranged, they were moving at the pace of an
old freighter convoy although they as we all knew, were capable of far
greater speeds, our boys had parked their little fighters in the hold of
one of the Battle Cruiser, it was now time for their use, while all of us
except the freighters, stayed cloaked, the boys got their fighters out of
the hold and flew towards the freighters, they did not use their stealth
modes, they were to be seen by anyone that came along, we all hoped it was
the Navy.

The boys did a great job of pretending to attack the convoy of freighters,
the zipped around firing off their laser only metres away from the hulls of
the ships, to anybody not knowing what was going on it really looked like
an attack by small pirate fighters, the call went out over the space waves.

"Mayday, mayday, mayday, this is the Federation of Free Traders ship Argon,
we are under attack by unknown forces, request immediate assistance,
mayday, mayday, mayday, our co-ordinates are as follows, any help out
there, mayday, mayday, mayday."

The use of this age old system for emergencies had been used since before
space travel, it was one of the very few things from the early centuries to
still be used today, it did not take long before a voice came over the
space waves.

"F.F.T. Argon, this is the Naval Squadron out of Terra, we are not far from
your location, can you hold them off for a little longer, we are coming to
your assistance."

"Naval Squadron, yes we will try to hold them off, we only have small old
fashioned lasers but they are keeping their distance but they are very fats
and agile, how long before you can be here?"

"No more than .1 of a parsec, we were chasing some rebels from Mars, can
you hold them off for that long?"

"I think so, we will do our best, and thank you Naval Squadron, your
assistance will be noted in my log and sent to your superiors."

"Thank you Argon, we will be with you soon, hang in there,"

The freighters were flying in the usual convoy system, Argon was in the
lead with the rest in two lines behind him, they were about 2 kilometres
apart and the two lines were separated by about 3 kilometres, as we watched
on our screens, the sub space channel opened and I heard Tigers high
pitched voice.

"Argon, Argon, you are the only one undamaged, we have to put a burn on
your hull or it will look suspicious, hold here steady I'm coming in."

"You damage my ship boy and it comes out of your pay for the repairs."

"I don't get paid Captain."

"Then it comes out of your body boy."

"My body only belongs to one person, but I'm only going to scorch your
hull, you have to look under threat like the others."

"Ready and waiting, just don't hit anything important."

We all watched as Tiger came zooming up through the central corridor of
freighters, as they all opened fire on him, unfortunately missing him as he
sped by, he flipped over and tore at the lead freighter, with a short blast
of his lasers, he put a long dark crease along the full length of the hull,
missing the communications array by no more than half a metre, the Captain
had something more to say about the closeness of the hit.

"Son of a bitch, did you have to cut it that fine, boy?"

"Just doing my job Captain."

We could all hear the laughter in Tiger's voice as he zoomed off into the
blackness of space, as he disappeared the general channel opened.

"Argon, Argon, we have you in sight, that was a close one did you see any
insignia on the fighter, I am launching my own fighters to clear your way."

Up until this time both the fighters and freighters had been cruising along
at a pace that was consistent with their older form of ship, for the
freighters it was only about half power, for the fighters it was less than
25% of the Naval fighters, as we watched from our cloaked position, a storm
of fighters came out of the massed ships of the Galactic Navy, it was time
for Santos to have his fun.

He had wanted to lay the mines for his old one time ship mates, he was well
behind the rest of us as we stayed above the freighters out of sight, as
the storm of fighters left the Cruisers and came to the `assistance' of the
convoy, Santos released a hundred mines in their path, for fighters to hit
the mines was a death knell, they were just not built to handle the small
storm of needle sharp pins.

Santos rolled out his mines and then put on the power to join us as we
watched the results, our boys in their fighters were still `harassing' the
freighters as the Armada of Naval Cruisers drew closer, it would soon be
time for them to get the hell out of there, a Naval Squadron consisted of
five Cruisers and ten Frigates along with their fighters in the holds, that
many ships were not to be trifled with and I hoped the boys would stick to
the plan and not get carried away with their play acting, the Naval ships
would not shoot to miss.

Behind and below us the darkness of space began to light up with small
bursts of fire as the Naval fighters ran into the mines, there were a lot
of fighters not going back to base today, as I watched this I gave the
order to clear out.

"All ships GO."

Only Santos would remain in his cloaked Battle Cruiser to keep station
above his freighters, they would also plod along until the Navy had cleared
them, for our boys they did what was natural, they spun on their axis, sent
a long blast towards the Naval fleet and disappeared into their stealth
mode as they powered up towards us and the waiting safety of the Battle
Cruiser hanger, once they were all safe aboard, we set course for our home
asteroid, it had been a full and total success and the boys got the chance
to practice their fighting skills on live ships shooting back at them even
though they were trying to miss it gave the boys a chance to know what
could happen if they made a mistake.

Safely back in the base, we switched on the news casts, Santos of course
was still in hiding mode with his freighters but they had been escorted by
the now battered Navy to the small Sony Corporation moon of Paragon, there
they were greeted as heroes for fighting off the rebels attacking fighters
until the Galactic Navy could get to their rescue, the news casts also
reported the great loss of life among the Naval fighters as they somehow
stumbled into an unknown mine field, there had also been damage done to
some of the Cruisers and Frigates of the Navy, but the Captain of the Argon
was held as an outstanding hero, he had saved his whole convoy from vicious
pirates and rebels.

The Captain thanked everybody and told them he had to leave quickly as he
still had a business to run and his men's families would need to know they
were alright after their close call, he thanked everyone again and
mentioned the valiant rescue by the Galactic Navy Commander, the glint in
the Captains eye said other things that were not voiced as he slipped away
and back to his ship, he did not want to give them an opportunity to find
out his real name and that he had been one of Admiral Santos chief officers
in their own Navy, he still had a price on his head for going with Santos.

Five days later and everyone was back in the base, Santos had sent his
freighters on ahead to the Rim while he stayed for a little while and got
up to date on what was planned for the next foray, he also wanted to get
some information from Gareth about a new ship design he was working on, if
it proved to be viable then it would be the granddaddy of all ships, the
Navy would have nothing to even come close to it.

While we were discussing the latest scuffle with the Corporation, Android
Gareth with Ellis close by his side; came into the room.

"Commander, we need more pilots if you are going to build more fighters,
Admiral Santos has his people rebuilding two of the old freighters to be
used as mobile hangers so there will be a need for two thousand more pilots
in the near future, Admiral Santos is also preparing one of his moon bases
to go into production of the new Galactic Federation Jump Ship."

"Thank you Gareth, but just what exactly is going on and how is it
`Admiral' Santos once again?"

"Jah El Kabak has contacted me and has suggested the changes, you are now
the Commander of all Federation Forces, Alpha Base is your headquarters,
Admiral Santos has been given his title as is his due and is now Admiral of
the fleet of the Federation Forces, the Federation have been recognised by
the Inter Galactic Council as a valid Federation of this Galaxy and as such
is now able to be given indirect assistance by the Council."

"Wait a minute Gareth, who is this Jah El Kabak, who is the Inter Galactic
Council, and how did we become a Galactic Federation when we only have a
few members that thought it was a good joke on the Corporations?"

"I can not divulge who Jah El Kabak is nor who the Council is, at this time
it is better they are kept out of the day to day happenings of the
Federation, at some later date it will be explained to you in full, until
that day you are the sole Commander of the Federation forces, Captains
Brutaria, Ganius and San Rio are now in command of the infiltration forces
under your Command, Admiral Santos as stated is in Command of all ships
under the Federation Flag, which you must design before too much longer."

I looked over at the grinning face of Santos, for some reason I thought he
already knew most of what Gareth had just told me, there was a gleam in his
eye that there was way more going on here than what I had so far been told,
thinking back I almost thought that perhaps I had been manipulated into
this but that would have been impossible as I did not know myself that all
this was going to happen, I had only planned on getting some revenge on
Sega Corporation for what they had done to my family and I.

It seemed a good time to sit down and look over all that had happened, this
was far larger than what I had anticipated and by the way things were being
suggested, it was going to get even bigger, how would the Corporations
react to a new Federation in their midst, only one way, they would come
down on us with everything they had, our only hope was our concealment and,
as long as we maintained that we had a chance of surviving.

There appeared to be more going on here than just a few raids on the
Corporations, I had no idea where the thought of a thousand new fighters
came from or why we would need them, the new ship that Santos and now
Gareth wanted to build was another new item, all this was going on while I
was still trying to work out why we were even thinking of taking on all the
Corporations at one time, there was a lot to think about.


TBC.

Artcart65@gmail.com



 

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