CHEVALIER DE LA

CROIX NOIR

                                                     By 

                                                  Arthur 

 
CHAPTER 8


BY ARTHUR


AUTHORS CONTACT:

Artcart65@gmail.com


It is close to four years since we started this little path to freedom, we
were now at the last point of no return, tomorrow we threw all our eggs in
one basket, something we Knights of the Black Cross were trained never to
do.

Gareth would lock down the base and go into purely defensive mode, the rest
of us, every ship and every man would be going out on an attack that would
decide our fate, one way or the other.

The second Jump Ship, the FFT Freedom had just been finished, it was now
fully armed and loaded for Skerrit, the space waves had been full of the
attacks and losses of the Naval Fleets, losing one battle fleet was bad
enough but now the Corporations had also lost a full Battle Group, Santos
space pirate radio had made sure that, that little piece of news was well
spread out in the Galaxy.

There were now more than twenty planets in the Corporations influence that
had downed tools and refused to work, the internal disruptions pulled the
focus of the Corporations off what we were doing, or so we hoped.

There were no more plans to make, in an hour we would set off on the win or
lose mission, our major hope was that the bulk of the Navy was out trying
to locate us, this left the home worlds virtually unguarded by fleets, they
were not totally defenceless but the numbers would be reduced and our
superior technology will make up for the lack of numbers, that and
surprise.

It had been so long since the Corporations had been put under pressure that
the thought of anyone actually attacking their home bases would be the last
thing they would think of, if not, then we were all dead before we started
out.

Tomorrow morning we would set out, the three chosen planets had been looked
over and the attack group selected for each one, Kratos would have covering
ships above him on Saturn but they would mainly be the troops gunships
along with a few fighters, he planned to do most of their work from a
distance and stay well out of any close combat.

Most of the Corporation leaders on Saturn were second tier, disposing of
them was more to cause panic than any direct assault on their leadership,
Santos however would hit Mars again, they were higher up the food chain so
he would use a full scale attack with both ships and ground forces, we had
split the ground forces between us as I also was going down onto the Terran
surface in an all out cleanup.

Most of the Mars and Terran attack would be from the air, we would
concentrate on their bases of power, namely the headquarters buildings and
administration areas, once they were destroyed we would go after the
individual Senior Officers.

We were under no illusions as to the ground forces available on both
planets but again we hoped our technical advantage would cover for the lack
of numbers, that and the hard hitting `Tanks', something the Corporations
did not have, as there had been no serious war for them for over three
hundred years, it would be the last thing they would expect.

On this last night before we played our final cards, I took both Scorpion
and Panther to bed, their squeals and groans made it an interesting night
and when we had to get up for the assembly the next morning, they were
still a little bleary eyed and moving tenderly, just how good boys should
be in the morning.

When we three leaders gathered in the common room, the base felt, and was
practically empty, everyone had been loaded and were only now awaiting for
us to finalise the last few items of the attack, namely the frequencies we
would use on the Sub Space calls, all would be routed through Gareth, as
soon as we left he would totally lock down the base so he looked like so
many other asteroids in the belt, only his outer beacons, if seen, would
alert anyone that something was a little off.

It was a marvellous sight to see as the three fleets set out for this last
throw of the dice, from what we had started with less than four years ago,
we had now grown to a force to be reckoned with, although we were still far
less than what the Navy had at its disposal.

This was going to be the only chance we would get, of course had it not
been for the hidden council, none of us would still be here, from the
bridge of the FFT Freedom, I took a last look at the ships as they did
their final power-up for the jump to their destinations.

As we had the furtherest to jump, the others would wait for our call to
begin the attack, everyone had to hit their targets at the same time to
stop the Corporations from having any time to react and call in their
massive Naval units.

Our Intel told us most of the Naval units were out looking for us in the
vicinity of the last position of their lost Battle Group, Gareth was in
lock down and would only open fire if the Navy somehow found him or were
getting far too close for comfort.

We came out of the jump only 5,000 kilometres above the shining globe of
Terra although we maintained the cover of our stealth systems, Terra glowed
blue and white below us as I split up the ships and sent them off to their
locations above the main cities of the Corporations.

I called the ground troops to board their ships in preparation for their
landings, the Freedom would take position over the main cities of the
American Union, from this height we could easily mark our target cities,
the only concern we had was the loss that would be inflicted on those who
were not involved with the running of the Corporations, but there would
always be some eggs broken in any hen house.

Above Mars, Santos sat waiting for my signal, like myself he was in the FFT
Sargasso and his ground troops would be waiting for his call to go, over
Saturn Kratos also sat waiting, as yet none of us had seen more than a few
Frigates of the Galactic Navy patrolling over the three planets, our
fighters had already been sent out to get ready for the attack to begin,
when I gave the word they would hit the few Frigates above Terra and then
join us in the land attack.

The time finally arrived for us to throw our hats in the ring, when all
this was finished, we would either be winners or dead, there would be no
turning back after this, it was not our intention to take over the
Corporations, once this battle was over, if we survived, we would go back
to our lives far from this place, it would be up to the ordinary people to
recover their dignity and run their own planets.

Finally the word went out, the time had come and there was no turning back
now, we won or died, there was no other options left, I gave the order and
then all hell broke loose.

The fighters went after the guarding Frigates like terriers, the sheer
numbers of fighters made short work of the Frigate guards, the FFT Freedom
had placed a blanket block on any attempt to send transmissions for help
from the Navy, as the Fighters went after the Frigates, the mass of Battle
Cruisers, Cruisers and Frigates went into the attack on their designated
targets on the surface of Terra.

Freedom opened fire on the chosen targets on the American Union cities, it
did not take long for large masses of administration areas in the cities to
start looking like nothing more than large burnt holes as the ships Plasma
Cannons cut a swath through their buildings, the troop and equipment ships
started their descent towards the ground as our Frigates turned their
attention to the many military camps.

It was now time to go after the executives themselves, leaving the Bridge I
called for my boys to get to their fighters as I went to my own ship, Tiger
was waiting for me, his guns ready and waiting as I slid into the pilots
seat, onboard the Freedom the gun crews kept up a fast and accurate fire on
the secondary targets we had decided on.

We had been in the fight for less than an hour when I finally landed on the
ground of the American Union main city of New Washington, already the
ground troops were moving through the suburbs of the massive city, the
opposition was light and most of the people seemed to prefer to stay out of
our way, only those who thought they would lose too much if we won, tried
to put up a defence, none were left behind in any fit state to fight again.

The reports from the other cities and Unions were coming in and being
collated, our surprise attack had been almost too easy; Corporations were
crumbling under the onslaught of technology and weapons that they had no
answer too.

As the ground troops went after their individual targets and then onto
cleaning up, I took my boys off towards the private homes of the CEO's that
had been selected for eradication, Gareth was already working on their
personal files and cleaning out anything they had in the way of finances,
they would be left with nothing to restart their empire if they managed to
survive our hunt for them.

Even though the ground troops were meeting some resistance, once the
`Tanks" came in it was all over, the Corporations just had nothing to stand
up to those behemoths although we were having losses as we had expected but
not nearly as many as we could have had if the Navy knew what we were doing
or where we were.

As we came over the Chase estate I had no hesitation in telling the boys to
level it, there was not to be even a stone left standing and those inside
would never see the light of day again, to make sure there would be no one
left to raise the Chase Corporation again, I let my own Plasma Cannon
finish off what the boys had left behind, it was now time to go onto the
next one, Fulbrights, Ford, G.E.C., Sega, Lloyds, and all the others, one
by one we took them out of the game, in the other Unions the assigned
troops took care of the magnates, Mitsubishi, Garands, Carlisle's and
others, each and every target was hit and destroyed.

Seven hours later, as the sun was sinking over the West coast of the
American Union, all that could be seen were the dark scars and rising
columns of black smoke where once huge Corporations had stood in all their
power and corruption, cities were in ruins, large estates were now only a
shadow of their former glory and size.

Our Frigates had taken out seven of the main Damns which supplied
electrical power to the many large grids, now there was only darkness, it
was not only the American Union that suffered, things were now no better in
the Asia Pacific, African, Asia Minor and European Unions, we had set out
to ruin the Corporations and what they stood for, admittedly we had caused
a huge amount of destruction with our heavy Plasma Cannons and the other
ships with weapons just as or nearly as powerful.

There had been secondary deaths that we would have preferred not to have
had but there was no other way for us to break the backs of the
Corporations, when we finally left Terra it would take them years to
rebuild and, hopefully, this time they would do it a little better, what
happened on the other two targets I would not find out until I returned to
the Freedom.

As darkness set in I could see the glow of the thousands of fires, wherever
one looked there were flames or thick dark columns of black smoke, from
five kilometres above the surface and as far as the eye could see or the
instruments show, there were fires and blackened holes where once fine
buildings and towers had stood starkly in the sky as a symbol of the
Corporations power, now they were nothing more than smoking ruins or deep
holes in the ground.

We did not have it all our own way, our losses, while nowhere near those of
the Terran forces, were still more than we would have liked especially with
our ground troops, if the Corporation had had the technology we had then
the outcome would have been vastly different, we still had pockets of
resistance and it would be another two days before things quietened down
and we could sit back and count the cost.

In most of the smaller towns and villages, the people did little to stop us
although there were a few places where they put up a strong resistance,
these were mainly places where the Corporations had an undue influence,
most were militias and had a sense of the rightness of their religious
beliefs or were just plain mad, this was especially true on some of the
Eastern mountain areas.

At the closing of the third day, I called all our forces to pull back to
twenty kilometres above the planet, we had done all we had set out too and
now was the time to count the final cost, we left behind nothing but
destruction, there were no large headquarters left, their many factories
were now only smoking ruins and the main power supplies had been cut or
destroyed.

On my return to the FFT Freedom, feeling dirty and tired, I sat down and
began the long job of going over what had happened on the other two
targets, I was well aware we were not out of the woods yet, there was still
a very large Navy out there somewhere and now, was not the time to be
caught by them.

Kratos had reported in the morning after the attack began, all his targets
had been taken care of and they had no casualties, by using the small group
of snipers, along with Ellis and himself, they had been able to get in
close and assassinate those on the list before anyone knew what was going
on, the new suits and helmets Gareth had made for the two pairs had been a
marvel of technology.

The shooter still had to carry the laser rifle and, although it was a lot
lighter than their old .75's, they also had to carry three power packs as
well, the spotters now had HUD display helmets which allowed them to not
only target but also fire the rifle when they sighted in on a target, the
shooter was now no more than a well conditioned mule.

The laser rifles they used were nearly 2 metres long and were mounted on a
thick base, on which two of the power packs were set, the third pack was
attached to the spotters helmet by a thin cable which powered his HUD
display, even from five kilometres the boys were very dangerous, Kratos
with his enormous size, did not need any help with his rifle and Ellis had
a smaller version with a self contained power system.

Ellis, with his specially designed suit could get in as close as he liked
or Kratos would allow, so he did not need to be worried too much about the
longer ranges.

Kratos reported that Ellis had gone right into the main cities of Saturn
and worked as a more or less inside man while Kratos and the two pairs
worked from well out of the way, the fact it took them only a single day
and half a night to complete their mission proved those tactics were the
right ones, they were the only ones not to have any losses, even the
covering ships above them had destroyed the few guard ships before they
could retaliate.

So far it was two out of three, Santos had not yet reported in so he must
have been having a tougher time, as an afterthought I sent Kratos a message
to jump to Mars where I would meet him with the rest of my forces in case
Santos need extra help, he had been on Mars now for close to four days so I
had to assume something was not going as easily as we had hoped.

There was one major problem with Mars, only about a quarter of its people
lived above ground in reinforced domes, most of the important people would
be underground so Santos knew he was not going to have an easy time of it
so a little extra help might be appreciated, I sent out the order to jump,
there was no more we could do on Terra.

We met up with Kratos at 100,000 Kilometres, as we all came out of the jump
we could see on our screens that a major battle was going on above Mars,
down on the surface were the smouldering ruins of the domes.

The battle was about 1,000 kilometres above the planet, for large ships
like ours it was almost like fighting on the planet surface, it was plainly
obvious that the battle was at the stage of being close to a stalemate, the
Naval Ships outnumbered those of Santos but his superior technology had
held him in good stead.

It took almost no time at all for me to give the order to go after the
Navy, staying in stealth mode we went in from both sides after I sent
Santos a message telling him where we were although he would plainly see us
on his own screens.

From the moment we joined in the battle it was a foregone conclusion, the
Navy had surprised Santos as he was about to recall his ground troops, he
had taken his eyes off his rear just long enough for the Navy ships to get
close enough to start firing, it fortunately was not a full Battle Group
but it still had numbers over Santos and the fight had begun before he
could take measures from a distance.

After adding our numbers and weapons to the mix the battle was over in
short order, the only down side was that now the rest of the Navy knew
where we were, we had to get the hell out of here in quick order.

Santos sent out an emergency recall order to the ground attack troops, they
had little time to get back into their ships and up high enough to make a
jump, I don't know how close we cut it but everyone was out of there as
fast as they could jump, we had arranged to meet up and reform as a full
fleet just outside the Belt, it would be then we would take stock of our
losses and see where we went next.

Three days and two jumps later we were 50,000 kilometres out from the belt,
using subspace I sent a message to Gareth that we were ready to enter the
base, there was no answer, I called the fleet and told them to stay in
stealth as something must be wrong at the base and to wait until I
returned.

Taking my own ship along with Tiger, I set course for the base doors, every
other ship in the fleet was on full battle alert, as we left them behind I
tried to work out why we had no replay from Gareth, had he been attacked
and destroyed or invaded while we were away, there were many thoughts
running through my head as we neared the base.

From close in to the base I could see the main doors open wide, the guns
were not showing and everything seemed unnaturally quiet.

"Tiger, ready all guns, we're going inside loaded for Skerrit, something's
wrong."

It was with a great deal of trepidation that I let the ship fly into the
unknown, the main hanger was almost in darkness and, although the guns were
not out, Gareth should have let us know by now or at least warned us
through his connection with Ellis, this did not bode well for any of us.

Once inside the hanger, I settled the ship in one of the cradles, Tiger was
at his guns and sweeping the empty hanger from side to side while I looked
into the furtherest reaches of the dim space using all of my mind power,
there was nothing in here, the uncanny silence was beginning to unsettle me
in a way I had never felt before.

Both of us stayed in the ship as we looked into the dim silence of the
hanger, it appeared as though there was only one thing left for it, I had
to go out and start to look around, telling Tiger to stay alert and keep
his weapons ready, I released my belt and stood up to go to the hatch, it
was now or never.

Stepping down into the silent hold, I suddenly became aware of something
nearby but could see nothing, I did not get the feeling of danger but the
feeling was unsettling and brought me to full alert, suddenly the very air
in front of me began to shimmer, I let my blades drop and got ready for a
fight, from behind me I heard the soft hum of the ships guns coming around
to cover me.

As though fully aware of my readiness, the shimmering suddenly grew solid
and in front of me stood a humanoid, he was close enough to human that at
first I thought he was a man in a stealth suit but then got a good look at
him.

He was taller than I was, mind you a lot of men were taller than I was but
he was a good foot taller, he looked to be thin under the long flowing
Mauve coloured robe, it had a deep hood pulled up over his head so I could
not make out his face but I had the feeling he did not have the same type
of features as that of a human.

Suddenly in my head came the vision of the figure before me, the sight I
got was of a smiling figure, from then on our `conversation' was held mind
to mind.

"Greetings to you Commander Sargasso, I am Gramisol, Lead Elder of the
Interstellar Council, I welcome you home from your final battle and final
victory."

"How did you get inside Base, Gareth is programmed to defend against
invasions?"

"My you are one to come to the point, do you humans have no greetings for
friends?"

"My sincere apologies, Elder Gramisol, I have been distracted lately,
greetings and welcome to our base, to what do we owe this visit?"

"Ah, straight to the point again, do you humans not enjoy conversation?"

"Once again I am sorry; my life has not been one of diplomacy."

"Yes I know all about your life Commander Sargasso, we have been following
your career since you were a small boy."

"You have?"

"Oh yes, you have been on our computer banks for a long time, we always
knew you would one day do what was needed in this Galaxy, it has been long
foretold, now, I assume everything went well with your little endeavour?"

"Yes, I think we have broken the back of the corporations although we still
have the Navy to contend with once they get their act together."

"Well I have good news for you Commander Sargasso, as of this moment, the
Federation of Free Traders is recognised as the true leaders of the Terran
Galaxy, too this end you, Commander, have been chosen by the Council as our
representative in this Galaxy, to this end you will have seven fleets of
Jump Ships at your disposal to keep peace and enable you and your people to
become full and fruitful members of the Interstellar Council."

"I'm sorry Elder Gramisol but I don't think I'm the man for that job, there
are others that are better suited to diplomacy, it's not my strong suit, as
you know I am trained only as an assassin, talking for my living does not
fit."

"There you are wrong, Commander, look back and think over what and who
caused this revolution, for what must be done to repair this Galaxy you are
the right man, just as an aside Commander, we never make mistakes, not when
it is as important as this one is, let me explain further."

I nodded my head to let him know I was listening, completely forgetting he
was in my head.

"Oh, and don't worry about your young friend behind the guns, he has
decided to take a nap while we talk, now, you are thinking of Santos or
Kratos for the position, unfortunately, neither of them would be able to do
it, Santos is a brilliant Admiral but he still much prefers to take orders
rather than give them, as for Kratos, his mind is totally on protecting his
newly adopted son, so that only leaves you."

"I'm sorry Elder Gramisol, I still can't see myself as a diplomat, I know
nothing about running planets and talking to politicians, I can only think
I would be a failure at that."

"That's where you are wrong Commander, you have all the right training and
the right protective attitude for the position, if we wanted some
politician it would be easy to find one, what
we want is someone who knows when he has to use the rod and when to use a
soft hand and that person is you, whether you like it or not."

"But what would I have to do; I know nothing about running a planet let
alone a whole Galaxy?"

"The first lesson to learn is to know how and when to delegate, you have
two very fine men under you that would be only too willing to follow you
anywhere, use them, you also still have to settle things with the remaining
Naval forces out there, the extra Jump Ships will let you do that with
ease, even as we speak they are fighting amongst themselves over who should
command, they need someone to take command and that someone is you."

"Well we would have to find them first."

"That's not a problem, I will tell you where they are after we make a few
corrections to your nanite system and body, it will only take a few days
and we have plenty of time, now, do you agree to take the position?"

"I have a choice?"

"Not really, I was just being polite, you were our choice some twenty years
ago, why do you think you were always able to be in the right place at the
right time, or know when something was not going right, or when danger
threatened?"

"All that was you?"

"Well in truth it was not just me but all of us, we didn't want our one
hope to lose his life in some silly backwater planet, there's too much work
for you to do yet."

"It appears as though I have little choice in the matter, what are these
alterations you mentioned?"

"We are going to enhance your mental abilities, strengthen your existing
nanite infusions and give you the ability to live a little longer than any
normal human."

"Live a little longer, I would think that was impossible to do, all humans
have a life span and that's it, or that's what I was always told."

"Yes, that's what you were told, but then those who told you did not know
about us and our technology, you were worried about your AI Gareth, where
do you think the Professor got the plans for him and why did he not attack
me when I entered?"

"It is apparent that he is yours, right?"

"Correct, now, it's time for you to have a couple of your days off, when
you resurface you will know you can do what is needed, oh, just as an
aside, your sexual pleasure will be enhanced to a degree that you would
never have thought possible, I hope your young friends can keep up with
you."

Those were the last words I heard as I was suddenly in a very dark place,
in my head it was as though I could see the whole cosmos swirling and
moving around me, in no time at all, or so it seemed, I heard the same
voice in my head.

"Commander, welcome back, how do you feel?"

"Very horny."

"That's natural, you can fulfil your needs when you return to the base,
your little friend is still sleeping so has no idea you have been away, now
what about your other feelings, what do you see and hear?"

"I'm not sure; I think it's like being able to see the whole cosmos as
though it was a recorded film and my body feels different and stronger,
wait, what did you say, I'm not at the base?"

"Of course not, we could not do the needed alterations on the base; you are
at present in one of our smaller infirmaries on our home planet of Passant
Major in the Galaxy of Savarant."

"Uhm, I've not heard of any of those."

"Well we are the fourth Galaxy out from the centre of the Cosmos; let's say
we are on the other side of the Universe to your system."

"But how, if that is true how did we travel so far in such a short time,
there's not a ship made that could travel that fast."

"Very well, let me demonstrate, where would you most like to be right now?"

"Back at the base and rolling Tiger up into a ball with his knees up by his
ears."

There came a slight flash and when I opened my eyes I was standing back in
the hanger of the base, Gramisol was standing beside me in his long Mauve
robes.

"What the...?"

"You brought us back to the base, you call it teleportation, we call it
shifting, just a little something you now have the ability to do, now it's
time for me to go back, we will be getting in contact with you again when
you have things sorted out here, we will also call a meeting once every
year for all our Councillors to meet and exchange ideas, farewell
Commander, or I should now call you, Councillor, until we meet again in a
year's time."

I could only stand and watch as Gramisol disappeared in his trade mark
shimmer, it had still not entered my head that that was what I now did when
others looked at me shifting/teleporting, all this would take some getting
used to.

It didn't feel like I had been away for days as I stepped inside and took
my chair, a soft grunt from behind me made me look back and see young Tiger
opening his eyes, my nether regions immediately took notice, to hell with
it, at the moment I had the need for his young body more than the need to
contact the others.

"Come on Tiger, we have some business to do so get your little ass out of
the seat and let's get inside the base, it's time for bed."

As I stepped outside with Tiger pulled in close to my side, Gareth decided
to make himself known once again.

"Welcome home Councillor, your quarters have been made ready, Admiral
Santos and Representative Kratos have been informed of your return and are
on their way back to the base with the fleet, the new Jump Fleets will
arrive in two days time, is there anything else you need at present?"

I looked down at Tiger and was about to reply when it hit me, something
felt different and Tiger was looking up at me with a strange look in his
eyes.

"What?"

"You've changed so much, how did that happen?"

It then struck me, I was looking down at Tiger, he was now close to twenty
years old in Terran terms and had been close to my own height before the
meeting with Gramisol, now I was taller, there was also something else, I
could not feel the tight fitting Skerrit armour, instead I felt lighter and
somehow younger, I needed to find a mirror.

As though my thoughts alone had ordered it, a shimmering mirror appeared in
front of me, the person looking back at me was definitely not me, he was
more like Gramisol, tall, slender and very young looking, my features were
the same but it was a different me, a younger, slimmer and more youthful
me, the long Mauve robe also made me look ethereal, so this is what
Gramisol had meant when he said there would be a few changes made.

I had to admit to myself that I did look quite nice and the throbbing in my
groin told me it was time to get rid of some pent up stress, with a
surprising ease, I picked Tiger up and threw him over my shoulder as I
followed the directions of Gareth to my new quarters, I felt as though I
did not want to be interrupted for at least a year.

That desire of course was not going to happen, half way through the night,
Tiger had passed out from the long and sustained pounding I was
administering to his tender parts, but at the time he passed out from
overload, I found I was still in the mood for more, even after four hours I
was still hard and wanting, seven ejaculations had not dimmed my desires.

I had to force my needs down, the base was still deserted and none of the
others would be returning for a couple of days yet, I felt like a fourteen
year old that had just discovered he could do more than just piss out of
his new toy.

I forced myself to relax, the look of total exhaustion on the sleeping face
of Tiger told me I had more than just worked him hard, I had worn him out
and still felt the need for more, this new body was going to take some
getting used to.

I lay back and ran through what my body felt like now, all my nanite
enhancements were still there including my arm blades, I was taller and
thinner but felt a lot stronger, it was as though the power of the Cosmos
flowed directly through me, it was a tough thing to understand and get used
to.

I let my hand wander down my stomach to where my shaft was still throbbing
and needing attention, when my hand came in contact I almost jumped from
the bed, had they really done so many alterations, it was no wonder that
Tiger had gotten a look of fear on his face as I was about to enter him for
the first time, my pent up needs had been so great I had not stopped to
think I would now be such a size, it was a formidable weapon for any boy to
handle, I would have to remember to take it easy with any new boy I found,
I did not want to rip them apart by accident.

I settled back on the spacious bed, it would be a long time before Tiger
would be ready for round two, I let my eyes close and thought about other
things, the first being where were the Naval Fleets hiding, it was as
though I had a crystal ball, suddenly the shape of Ursa Minor came into
focus, there in the centre of the formation was the entire fleet of the
Galactic Navy.

It took little effort for me to see what they were doing, it appeared as
though they had all come together to work out who was the senior Admiral
and who would now lead the Navy towards finding the invaders of the
Federation, in a form of being that was no more than a faint shimmering in
the air around them, I settled back to listen.

Their meeting became something of a free for all as they tried to out
manoeuvre each other for the prime position, it was amusing to see the
factions splitting and reforming as they vied for power, I decided not to
interfere at this stage, they would be at this for some time to come, I had
other priorities at the moment, I returned to my body and settled down to
rest although I knew deep inside I did not need sleep anymore, but old
habits die hard.

It seemed no time at all before Gareth informed me that the seven Jump Ship
fleets had arrived and that Santos and Kratos had arrived only hours ago,
the rest of our fleet was to arrive behind the two leaders, I tousled
Tigers unruly hair as he lay asleep, he was once again worn out, the poor
boy would take a week before he could walk properly again, I then left my
new quarters and made my way to the common room to view the new fleets on
the main screen, they proved to be quite a sight.

These were not the same type of ship that we had used in our fleet, they
were longer and wider and their outline was different, they were also
unlike the others in that they were a very bright silver colour instead of
the mat black of our older ones, at the head of the fleets sat one ship
totally different from the others.

This ship was more of a gold colour, it had two wide bands of Mauve along
the hull, at the bow it was like many other ships with a central control
and banks of windows, it then flared back in a form of delta wing until it
came to the rear area, there it was circular but was hollow in the centre,
I had never seen anything like it, around the inside of the hollow centre
were the bright blue lights of Plasma engines, there were more of them
mounted on the outside of the tail section.

It was a very strange looking ship but the colours told me it was to be my
new Councillors ship, no surprise there, in my head I got the image of the
rest of our old fleet not far out, I sent out a thought and then saw them
with ease although they were still in Jump Mode and were a full light year
away, this new body was interesting to say the least.

After greeting Santos and Kratos back home, as well as trying to explain
what had happened to me while they were still in transit to the base, we
thought it would be a good time to work out where and how we were going to
find new crews for the seven new fleets, it was not going to be easy.

A fleet of Jump Ships numbered twelve hundred, multiply that by seven and
you have an idea what we now had, I knew that each Jump Ship needed a
working crew of two hundred men, it was time to do some more recruiting and
then the time needed for training.

A small part of my now larger mind, was still with the Galactic Naval Fleet
and the meetings that were going on, I judged that we still had a few weeks
before I would have to go and give them their options, by now they knew
something was wrong with their one time masters and this had caused a lot
of speculation about what they would do now.

Most of the senior officers had only one thought in mind, they wanted to
return to their home planets and take over, hoping that with their fleets
they would have the needed power to replace the Corporations, as yet they
did not know that was not going to happen.

Over the next week we sent out recruitment groups to look for young teens
and boys that wanted to change their lives, as groups arrived they were
asked what they wanted to do and slowly we filled most of the places needed
on the new version of the Jump Ships under those who had already crewed
them, they were promoted to officers or junior officers in the new ships,
many of the new recruits were placed in the older ships as well as filling
the crew slots on the new ones.

Another month passed as the fleets came up to full recruitment and
training, it was time to go and visit what was left of the Galactic Navy,
it would have been easy for me to just jump on my own but I would need the
fleets to be seen to convince those that wanted to fight that they would
stand no chance of winning.

On the wall sized screens of my new ship, I could see the whole Battle
Fleet spread out over one thousand square kilometres of space, it was a
very impressive sight, I was at the head with one of the new Jump ships on
each side of me, behind us the rest were set out in a shallow V shape with
two hundred ships in each tier.

The rest of the Fleets were spread out in the same formations that extended
far behind us one both sides, in the centre were the older ships that also
included the Battle Cruisers and Cruisers, the frigates would stay at the
base as they would not be able to keep up with the new fleet, the Gun Ships
and transporters would also stay, we would have no need for ground troops
or `Tanks' on this exercise.

I was amazed to learn that the new Jump Ships were far better than the two
we had earlier used, these new ones could literally do single Interstellar
jumps with only three quarter power, they were also armed to the teeth with
mainly Plasma weapons and carried over three thousand fighters, again a
newer model than those we had been used to.

The meeting with the Galactic Navy turned out to be something of an anti
climax, one look at our forces and they all caved in without a shot being
fired, it then came down to what I thought would be practical for their
futures, of the old Admirals I asked Santos to sort out, none of them were
to be left in charge, their fleets would be mothballed until we could find
another use for them, perhaps as training ships.

My new understanding and greater reach with my mind told me there were many
places yet undiscovered throughout all the Galaxies, perhaps we could use
these older ships as explorer units, it would still have to be seen what we
came up with.

I had no intention of using my far superior forces to govern the Terran
Galaxy, there were others that could do that, my main work now as far as I
could see was to keep peace and find new planets for some of the over
populated planets, the most important thing was for any new planets as well
as the older ones, to re-learn what it was to be free and to make their own
decisions.

My return to the base had a lot of new advantages, there were young teens
everywhere, it was not hard to select a dozen to keep me occupied when
nothing was going on, there were always plenty of volunteers amongst the
young for the position of bed boy, even after being well ridden most wanted
to come back for more.

The quiet calm after all the stress and strain of the past war felt
strange, I had no one to assassinate, no ships to hunt down, no planets to
attack, after four years of fighting, running, planning and the new found
gift of diplomacy, things seemed too quiet, it was almost as though I had
grown old and there was nothing to keep me busy, a strange feeling for
someone like I had been.

There was now only the organising of the rebuilt ships as explorer units,
it had been six months since the last of the Galactic Navy had surrendered,
the rebuilding of the old fleets had brought a new prosperity to many
planets that had the engineering skills to do the work, it was time to
begin to send out the small five ship fleets to explore far and wide, there
was a lot of empty space out there, a lot of it I could already see with my
new abilities, I could also go there at a thought, finally I knew it was
going to be an interesting future, as long as I did not run out of boys to
keep my very large needs satisfied, time would tell.


END:


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