Castle Roland

Ascension of the Thrones

by Thomas Nealy

On Hold

Chapter 5

Posted: N/A


Ascension of the Thrones

by ThomasNealy

Date: Crutal /10/6874

The first of the Harvester Class ships were finished two days ago. Callin and Chace were waiting for the Zeptites to finish assimilating with the hull armor. In the mean time, Celestia had fabricated all the smaller ships that when with it, eight shield ships, and eight deconstruction field ships, for a total of sixteen satellite sized ships, they were waiting in their specially designed holding brackets in the ship. Celestia said that the assimilation would take a month to fully complete, but the ship would be usable on the tenth and it was the tenth. They had to wait for the Zeptites to seal the seams of the hull, the blocks of armor were too big to be welded so they were using the Zeptites to fuse the blocks at the molecular level. Once assimilation was complete the entire hull would be made of Zeptites, so it would be self healing armor. Callin and Chace were primed and ready, they had been waiting for this day for months, it could not have come to soon either, they were out of credits.

"Celestia, have you loaded the A.I. on the ship yet?"

<Yes Callin, all that needs to be done is to activate it. Did you want to name it?>

"No, if the A.I. wants to name itself that will be fine, but the ship will just be Harvester I. Go ahead and activate the Core."

<Bringing A.I. core system online, standby, A.I. is online.>

"Come on Callin! Let's test it out!" Together they boarded the ship. Callin made his way to the Bridge and looked around, it was round, perfectly round. While he would not need the stations that wrapped around the edge, he had them there just incase. In the center was a row of seats, even though there were only two people that would be on it for the foreseeable future. Callin had made the bridge design standardized for the most part, only allowing for size. There were three seats in a row, all three were able to swivel 306 degrees. Running above the stations were view screens that offered a 360 degree view around the ship, the main viewer at the front of the bridge could switch to show what ever view the captain wanted, or display what ever he wanted as well. Everything shined with a high polished look. The edging on the station panels were done in Devian Imperial Colors. The stations themselves were all black with a mirror finish, the interface panels were cobalt blue with crimson red accents. The keys were color coded by function. The walls were dark gold colored with black veins running through them and the floor was silver.

He was proud of Chace's modifications and design. True to his way, Chase had made it beautiful as well as functional. There was not a straight edge to be seen any where on the bridge, it was all curves. Chace hated straight edges and 90 degree angels, so he avoided them when ever possible.

Taking his seat, Callin motioned Chace to sit next to him, in the X.O. seat. "Great job Chace, it is better than I imagined it. Now let's hope it works as well as it looks."

(Celestia, open the bay doors.) Callin said through his Interface, he had finally gotten the hang of talking with it.

"Harvester I, bring all systems online and set to standby," Callin said to the ship's A.I..

<All systems are online, and standing by.> The disembodied voice called back.

"Run full diagnostics of all systems." Callin ordered.

A few moments passed before it answered, <All systems show operational and green.> The Gender neutral voice once again sounded.

"Activate atmospheric departure sequence." Callin and Chace held their breath as the impulse engines activated. The ship did not blow up, that was a good start. As it rose from the ground and exited the bay, the shields, deflectors, and dampeners activated. The artificial gravity was set to standby and would activate the second they left the atmosphere. Once they were out of orbit Callin decided to test the new ship.

"Harvester I, increases impulse speeds until we are at maximum. Once that is reached jump to Warp and increase speed 'till maximum. Then drop from Warp and engage Slipstream, exit after one minute. Then engage Interstellar Hyperspace Drive, exiting after one minute. Then engage Intergalactic Hyperspace Drive, exiting after one minute. Then engage Wormhole Drive set for 10 light years. Save commands as drive test alpha and transmit to Celestia."

<Test saved, transmitting, running program. We are now at one quarter impulse, one half, full, activating matter/antimatter core, bringing Warp shields online, engaging Warp drive, Warp 1, Warp 2, Warp 3, Warp 4, Warp 4.5, Warp 6, Warp 6.5, Warp 7, Warp 7.5, Warp 8, Warp 8.5, Warp 9, Warp 9.5, Warp 9.8, Warp 9.98.>

Callin and Chase looked on in awe as they watch the ship getting faster and faster, the starlight becoming ribbons instead of pinpricks.

<Warp maximum reached, dropping from Warp, deactivating matter/antimatter core and Warp shields. Bringing online cold fusion reactors 2-6 and Slipstream shields, activating Slipstream.>

A teal colored gaseous window opened in front of them and the ship was pulled in. They watched as the ship rode in the slipstream tunnel. The energy spikes bouncing off the ships shields looked like lightning hitting the water. One minute later they they were spit back out.

<Exiting Slipstream, disengaging Slipstream shields, bringing Hyperspace shields online, engaging Interstellar Hyperspace Drive,>

Once again a gaseous window opened in front of them and the ship was pulled in, this time it looked like a dark purple. This ride was not as entertaining, it was like flying through a cloud. One minute later they returned to normal space.

<Exiting Hyperspace, engaging Intergalactic Hyperspace Drive,>

The process and experience was repeated from the Interstellar drive test, but this time the window looked light blue. One minute later they were once again back in normal space.

<Exiting Hyperspace, deactivating reactors 2-6 and Hyperspace shields, bringing Zero Point Energy Cells 2- 4 on line, engaging Wormhole drive, distance 10 light years,>

They did not even have much of a chance to see what was happening. One moment they were looking at a giant dark blue hole, the next they were flying at it, then they were not moving again.

<We have arrived at destination, deactivating cells 2-4.>

"Good at least we are still alive!" Callin said as he grined at Chace. "You did a good job, Chace."

"Not so bad yourself, that new drive is amazing. We just covered ten light years almost instantly."

"What do you say we test the weapons?" Chace's grin was all he needed.

"Harvester I, bring all weapon systems and defensive shields online and fire."

<Specify target.>

"Override, fire into space"

<Overriding, firing, all weapons have fired no errors reported.>

"Good, set coordinates for here," he said as he tapped on a holo-image of his map, "And engage wormhole drive, make sure shields are set active and all weapons are online when we exit."

<Bringing zero point energy cells 2- 4 online, setting weapons and shields to standby, coordinates excepted, engaging wormhole drive, distance 48 light years,> a few seconds later, they were at the coordinates. <Weapons and shields are active, we have arrived.>

"Scan for any life signs or other ships." Chace said. He did not know that Callin already knew if there was any life on these planets.

<No ships or life signs detected. Would you like to scan for what combination of planets have the maximum mass allowed by my system?>

"Yes, please, and while your doing that start sending out the shield and energy field ships." Chace was taking over, he wanted to see how his ships preformed.

<The second and fourth planet would come closest to the limit without going over it.>

"Very well, send the ships to positions around the second planet first." Callin said, he had to do this part. "May the Spirits forgive what I am about to do." He whispered under his breath.

Once the sixteen ships were in position a field of green energy surrounded the planet. As this field began to pulsate a shield was projected around it. The first field began to strobe faster and started rapidly changing colors. The planet began to tremble and shake violently. Then the unthinkable happened, the planet disintegrated. A tremendous shock wave bounced off the outer shield. Where once was a planet was now no more than what would be called a nebula. The first field started to thrum again and this time started off blue, it was giving off a deep bass like thrumming, the dust and clouds began to coalesce. With each color shift the nebula separated itself more. It began to pull elements to themselves. When it was done all the natural elements were in clouds of gases or lumps and pools of matter. The first field turned off completely as the outer shield stayed up.

"Target solid matter with the cutting laser and fire," Callin told the ship. A laser began firing from the ship, after there were no pieces bigger than a small car, green and blue beams began surrounding the pieces of matter. What ever the beams surrounded disappeared until there was nothing left. Then the field turned back on and what was left was gathered back up. The transporter transported what was left, then transported the gas clouds, after it was all gone the shields dropped. Where once stood a planet was nothing more than a few particles of dust. The process repeated itself on the fourth planet.

"Callin, I knew what was going to happen but, to see it, well, I'm scared. If this ever fell into the wrong hands, it would be a disaster. I'm not even sure we should have this technology, we just destroyed two planets, in less then five hours. May the King forgive us, we have become the destroyer of planets." Chace then left the bridge and headed to his quarters, leaving Callin standing there staring after him.

~He will get over it, it does not make me happy to see this, but I know that it was needed. The Spirits would approve, you did not use a living planet or one with life on it.~ Solaris spoke in Callin's mind.

{How could I, I will never use this on any planet unless it is devoid of life. I fear I have traded my soul to ensure peace. I know they were devoid of life, but who am I to take whole worlds out of existence.}

~You are right to fear that, but you have nothing to fear, not because this is right, but because you still care enough for it to bother you. You have done what was needed, and have done it in a way that conveys the purity within you. Let it trouble you no longer.~

"Harvester I set course for Ember. Engage wormhole when you're ready."

{My head knows your right, but my heart does not.} Moments later they were back at Ember.

"Harvester I, prepare Matter Stream transfer. Once you have transferred it all to Celestia, return to the last location and continue with the rest of the planets, return here and transfer what you collect to Celestia, until every thing in the system is gone, don't even leave the sun." Callin then went to find Chace, he knew the ship A.I. can handle the job.

He tapped on Chace's door comm and waited for Chace to tell him to enter. Once he got the OK, he prompted the door to open and walked in.

"Want to talk about it?"

"Not really. Arawn already got to me. I know it was needed, but I don't have to like it, and I know it is not your fault."

"Solaris already gave me a mind full too. This technology will die with me, that I promise you. I can't, no, I won't let anyone else ever have it. I will die before this could ever be used as a weapon."

"I know you would. I also now know why you did not put the details in the Image you gave me. It had the basics, but not the how. At first I was upset, because I thought you did not trust me. Now I know it was because you could not trust any one, you did the right thing." Callin just nodded and moved to cuddle with his best friend.

"I made you a present," Chace whispered into Callins ear after they had been laying there for while.

"What?" Callin asked, not even trying to get up. He was comfortable, and had no intention of moving unless he had to.

"It's a new ship, I call it a vault. It will be a one of kind."

"What does it do?" Callin asked, slightly interested.

"I figured that bank will probably fall in the war, so we will need some place to keep monetary metals and other things. And, if we keep harvesting planets like this we will need a place to store all of the monetary metals we get from that, too. So I made a ship that can do that. It will stay in subspace unless we need it, this way it is safe. Also, you may want to think about selling off the elements we don't use at all. War can be an expensive thing. We may not need to pay for ships and things, but we will need to pay people, and the rebuild will be expensive as well. We need to keep our credits safe, it can hold A.I. back ups as well, and other things that need to be kept safe."

"I like it, have Celestia work on it once the base is completed. And you're right, we need to sell off what we can't use. Have Celestia work on setting up buyers, and we can have an A.I. ship deliver it all." They lapsed back into silence, eventually they both fell asleep.

Caleb was standing in the kitchen thinking of what to make for his masters, they never asked for something they just expected him to come up with their meals. Things had calmed down somewhat, he was not getting beat every day, just every other day. Strange things were still happening around him, but he was learning to control them some what. He knew that if his temper flared things happened that he did not want, so he worked hard to keep his temper in check.

"BOY! Get in here." His master bellowed from the living room. Caleb walked out to see what his master wanted.

"Yes, Master?"

"We are having guests, you will make something special, after you have made it you will clean your self, serve my guests, then go out to shed and stay there."

"How many guests?"

"Twenty, make sure you make enough. Now begone with you."

Caleb walked back to the kitchen and once again tried to figure out what to make. He decided on a roasted krutarg with a honey sauce. The problem was they did not have the krutarg, so he went and asked his master.

"Master, could you pick some things up for dinner?" The man eyed Caleb in distrust and loathing.

"Why would you need something from the market?"

"We do not have any thing that would feed that many people and be special. I wish to make a roasted krutarg, with a honey sauce. We have neither the krutarg nor the honey."

"Hmmm, yes, that would make a good impression. Vrry well, I will get what you need, but you will go without food for two days to make up the cost." Caleb could feel his anger rising at that, but he fought the feeling and resisted the urge to hit his master.

"That is only fair master." With that he handed him a list and left the room, before he could say or do something that would get him beat again. While his master was down at the market he started on what he could, by the time his master was back he only had to prepare the roast and then cook it. While it was cooking he went and showered out side and dressed in the best he had, which still looked like rags, and returned to the kitchen to check on the roast. Seeing it start to brown he brushed on some more honey sauce, and returned it to the oven, then he started cooking the other things that were made but only needed to cook.

His masters guests started to arrive just as the soup was done. He timed it so each course would finish on time so it would not get cool and need to be reheated. He loaded the Valoren Shell Fish soup into a latrine and placed it on a cart then wheeled it out to the dinning hall. He stayed to make sure no one had any issues, then returned to the kitchen. On his way out he heard one of the guests comment on the soup.

"This is absolutely amazing, Derlorna."

"Why thank you, it is an old family recipe, it took all day to make."

"Well it is good, but if I were you I would make the slave cook. Why should you have to work."

"He is too lazy to make it, and to dumb."

That made Caleb mad, very mad. He was the one that worked so hard at cooking all day, he was the one that had to do everything, he was the one that put together the recipe, not that fat useless, waist of person. While he was getting his temper back under control he started getting the next course ready. He decided on a roasted Northern Silver Fish, it was almost done cooking so he prepared the sauce for it. It was wine sauce with wine marinated apple slices. When the fish was done he took it out and dribbled the sauce over it placing the thin apple slices on top of the fish, then added mixed fruit salad also marinated to the side. He loaded up his cart and took the food out to the waiting guests. He set the plates in front of every one and returned to the kitchen before he had to hear any more comments.

He began working on the last course, the roasted krutarg. He had the sauce ready and the roast was almost done. He prepared all the side dishes and got everything on the plates ready for the roast. When it was done he took it out and cut it, dribbling the sauce over it, and then took the food out. Everyone was impressed by it, and of course he got no credit for it. Dessert was a Terran dish, pecan pie, and a Snowel chocolate moose.

After everyone was done eating and had left for the night Caleb was out side curled in a ball against the back wall. His master came out and told him to get up. Caleb knew what was coming. His master dragged him to the whipping post.

"You made my wife look bad! She feels ashamed that a slave cooked better than her!" With that his master striped him down and started whipping him. He knew that he was going to get whipped no matter what. If he made a bad dinner they he would have been whipped for not making them look higher class than they were, if he cooked well he would have been whipped for making his mistress feel ashamed. He took his whipping in silence going to his happy place. Thinking about the boy in his dreams. He wanted to find him, he wanted to see him, and most of all he wanted to hold him and be held by him. There was no doubt in his mind that he loved this boy. He would just have to wait for him.

Lucius knocked on his moms door and waited to be told to come in. He was not often told to come to her office and he was nervous. "Mom?" He asked as he walked in.

"Have a seat Lucius." He took his seat noticing that his Great Uncle was there and so was Medil.

"Lucius, we have decided that you will be going on a trip with me. It will be about a month long." Thristian said.

Lucius looked confused by this, so he asked, "Uncle, why am I going on a trip? Are Dani and Lilia going as well?"

"No, it will just be you and your Uncle for this trip, Dani and Justin will make the same trip later. Your sister is too young for it right now." Ann told her son. She was still uneasy about it herself. She did not know where they were going, only that Callin wanted his brother to join him for a short time.

"Where are we going Uncle?"

"Near the boarder to the Epsilon sector. I can't tell you any more, but we will be leaving tonight. You wont need to pack any thing other than a few clothes, every thing else will be provided." Thristian said. Lucius took that as a sign that he was being dismissed.

Lucius walked out of his mom's office and went to his room, he started selecting what he wanted to take and had a servant pack it for him. While he was selecting his clothes Dani came in.

"Hey Lucius, where are you going?" He asked as he looked at the clothes being packed.

"Hey, Dani. I'm not sure where I'm going. I was told that I'm taking a month long trip with Uncle Thristian, and that you and Justin will be going after me." Dani's brow furrowed.

"That's strange, I wonder what it is for. We may be going to where ever Callin is at." Lucius looked over at his brother and thought about what was just said to him.

"You might be right. I miss Callin, it would be good to see him. He has been gone awhile, and no one will tell us were he went."

The twins, now at twelve years old, no longer looked like twins. Dani had a rounder face with wavy hair, Lucius was thinner with longer, straight hair that he kept highlighted with blond streaks. Even though they no longer looked like twins they still shared the twin link. Unlike most people, they had a permanent empathic link, so the sadness that Lucius felt just then flowed across to Dani and they both became sad.

"Well, where ever you go, I don't think we should tell our father, and at least you get to get away from him for a month. Some times I wish we could just avoid him all together." Dani responded, his anger freely flowing and meeting a similar emotion from his brother.

"Even if I don't get to see Callin, you're right, it would be worth it to get way from Father." Neither boy had anything like love for the man that they thought was their dad. In fact, they spent most of their time trying to make the man look as bad as possible and in general make his life miserable. Ann made a half attempt to get them to stop, but for some reason the smirk she always had when telling them to stop, always managed to encourage them. It was no secret that the Imperial family hated Stephon, the only one that even tolerated him was little Lilia, and that was only because she tried to make a good impression on the public and behave like a proper young lady.

"What do you think of the new skinsuits we got?"

"They seem strange, I can't figure out what marital they're made of, and Uncle said that they have features that we can't use yet."

By this point Lucius was done picking out his clothes and his servants were starting to pack. When they came in the talk about their father stopped. After the servants were done Lucius started to change, he striped naked and began putting on the skinsuit, he knew his brother liked boys, but did not seem to be uncomfortable being naked around him. When he had the suit on he was amazed that it seemed to adjust itself, he could not wait to find out what else it could do. After the suit was on he started to dress the rest of the way. Clothing style of the upper class and nobles was very similar to Mid Evil and Renaissance styles from Terra. In fact, most of the culture of Devia was similar to the Terran Mid Evil and Renaissance period.

When Lucius was dressed he and Dani went down to the kitchen to get a snack, they were twelve year old boys after all, so they were always hungry. Thristian met them down there, and after they were done eating Lucius and Thristian left. While Lucius was packing and eating, Thristian was contacting Callin, he was told what planet to meet them at. The strange thing was that it was close to the Devian system, but Thristian was not going to argue about that. If the boys wanted to spend longer on a ship that was their choice, or so he thought, he did not know about the new ship yet.

"Lucius, we will be taking my cruiser, go ahead and pick a room on the officers deck, just make sure it is not in use."

Lucius took off to the shuttle and waited for Thristian to catch up, they would be taking the shuttle up to the space dock. When Thristian boarded the shuttle every soldier snapped to attention.

"Lord Grand Marshal on deck!" A young Corporal shouted out. Thristian did a double take when he saw the young Phoenix on his shoulder. That meant he would have members of the Phoenix Core with him this trip.

Four thousand years ago the planet Avio was found, most of the life on that planet was able to fly. The dominant species were a big lizard and bird. Devian scientists had no name for them, but the Terrans did. The two animals matched ancient legends of Dragon and Phoenix. There were some differences but the names stuck. Both the Dragon and the Phoenix were highly intelligent and telepathic, the Phoenix was pyrokinetic as well. The two Imperial forces took on the names Dragon Core and Phoenix Core, both used the animals as partners. It made Thristian feel safer knowing that the Imperial Forces were doing this mission and not standardized military.

"My Lord Grand Marshal, we are ready for departure as soon as you and the prince are settled." The same Corporal said to Thristian.

"Thank you Corporal, and as you were ladies and gentlemen." Everyone relaxed but kept an eye pointed at Thristian and Lucius. Lucius was fascinated by the phoenix that was walking toward him. This one was full grown, so it was about the size of an eagle, it had red and orange feathers, and an aura of flame around it. It had a long tail and a crown of feathers on its head that trailed down the back of its neck. As the bird got closer to Lucius the flame went out, and the bird nudged Lucius's arm with its head.

[Hello young Prince, I am Thala.] A musical voice announced inside Lucius's mind, causing him to jump slightly. Lucius tentatively reached out and stocked the feathers on her back.

[You can call me Lucius.] Lucius continued to pet Thala until her partner came to join them.

"Hello, your Imperial Highness." As Lucius looked up he saw a young woman, well she looked young any way, standing there looking down at him. "I have to secure Thala now, we are about to take off. I'm Lieutenant Vera, once we board the cruiser you will be welcome to spend more time with her." When she was done talking Thala jumped on to the Lieutenant's arm and was carried to a special row of seats that was set up for the birds on boards. It allowed them to lay down and be secured so the force of the thrusters would not hurt them.

"This is the pilot speaking, please secure yourselves for take off and atmospheric departure." A few moments later the thrusters ignited and they rocketed way, Lucius felt the shuttle go vertical then saw the blackness of space and the space dock coming into view.

Once they had docked Thristian escorted Lucius to the waiting cruiser, followed by ten of the fifteen Phoenix Core soldiers. Lucius was looking around and noticed every one staring at him, it made him blush. He knew it was the Core they were looking at, and not necessarily him, but it still made him self-conscious.

"It is just up a head Lucius, remember what I said about your room." Lucius looked out at the docks at saw the I.S. Titius, Thristian's personal Cruiser. They walked to the air lock and the docking ramp. The Guard at the door came to attention when he saw who was walking his way and he placed his right fist over his heart in salute to Thristian.

"At ease." Thristian said with a nod to the guard.

The guard relaxed, opened the air lock and stepped aside, while Thristian and Lucius, along with the escort, entered the air lock. Once they were all in, the door to the Cruiser opened and they boarded the ship. Lucius took the lift to the Officer Quarters deck, and found himself a room while Thristian made his way to the bridge.

Thristian walked onto the bridge and talked to the Captain, he was told it would be about five minutes until they would be able to leave the dock. Thristian checked a few systems then made his way to his quarters. Once he was in his room, and the door locked, he closed his eyes and contacted Celestia.

(Celestia, please open a channel to Callin.)

<Channel open.>

(Callin, we are about to leave the dock. Are you sure you can get to the planet on time?)

(Yes, that will not be a problem at all, I'll see you tomorrow Uncle. Make sure that you and Lucius can slip away.)

(We have Phoenix Core with us. Would it be possible to bring them?)

There was silence as Callin stopped to think. He turned to Chase. "What do you think about having a Phoenix Core squad join us?"

Chase was still spooned to Callins back having not woken back up from their nap all the way. "Why are you asking me? It's not like we have access to one."

"My Uncle has one with him, he wants to know if he can bring them."

"It might be nice to have the extra fire power. And we could test some of our new stuff on them too, but in the end it's your call."

(Callin, are you still there?) Thristian asked as the silence grew.

(Yes, Uncle. I was just talking it over with Chase. I'm going to have Celestia patch him in too.) (Celestia please add Chase to this link.)

<He has been added>

(Thanks Celestia!) (OK, he is with us now, so he can hear you. If they come with you I probably would not want them leaving. At least not with out a mental block in place. Are you sure you can trust them all? I know that the Imperial Forces are supposed to be loyal to the House Devaus, but I would... feel better if they were scanned first.)

Thristian stopped to think about it. He had fifteen of the core with him, that would give the boys more protection. But he also realized that Callin was concerned with security, he did not think the core would mind staying, or being scanned, but he would check before he said any thing.

(I'll find out if they mind submitting to a scan and I will let you know before we board your ship. Are you still flying the same ones or have you upgraded again?)

Callin chuckled a little, he could not wait to see Thristian's face when he saw the new ship. (We have upgraded, and you will have to just see it for yourself.)

(Fine, I'm sure I will be impressed. Now about your brother, he has been asking where we are going. I would like to tell him.)

Once again Callin turned to Chase. By this time they were both sitting up. "What do you think?"

"He's your brother, but I think you can trust him now that he's off planet. It's not like your father is going to over hear it now."

Callin got up off the bed and started to stretch, he prompted the door to open and started walking back to the bridge, Chase got up and followed. "Good point."

(You can tell him the basics, just make sure your alone and not being monitored when you tell him. You know what is at stake Uncle.)

Thristian was proud of his great nephew's concern for operation containment, it was something even some of his adult soldiers did not understand yet. If Callin was not the crown prince he would have made a good commander in the military. This whole plan of his proved that. He thought about the fact that Callin was only fourteen and was already proving to be a better leader than most men he knew. He could not even think about what Callin would be like by time he took the throne. Thristian knew his brother was a good leader but he was not the best. And Stephon was the worst that Devia had seen in several thousand years. He remembered his own father who was more concerned with expanding the Empire than he was about ruling it. His father was the one that started the war with Gallia, lucky it turned into a nonaggression treaty, even if officially they were still at war. He decided that Callin would be the best Emperor in several generations, he just hoped that the families streak with untimely short life would not effect Callin as well. Normally Devians could live for hundreds of years, but bad luck seemed to plague the family for the last six generations. Not many had lived past seventy, a fact that had Thristian worried himself.

(Yes, I know what is at stake. I'll be sure Lucius knows not to talk about it with anyone as well. I'm going to go make sure he is settled in now.)

Thristian walked to Lucius's room and tapped the comm pad. "Lucius, can I come in? There are a few thing we need to talk about." The doors slid open and showed Lucius sitting at a table. Thristian walked over and took the seat opposite of him. "I know you have been wondering where we are going. Before I tell you I have to ask you to never tell anyone what we are about to talk about, OK?" Lucius nodded showing he understood. "We are going to see your brother," he held up his hand to stop Lucius from commenting. "He is doing some things that could get him killed if it is found out about by the wrong person. While we are there he will want to implant something in you. It will allow you to communicate with him and a few other things as well."

"Why couldn't Dani come?"

"Your brother is not ready for Justin to know what is going on, and we felt Dani would not leave Justin for the time required."

"Oh, I don't like being this far from Dani. It feels wrong." Thristian noticed that Lucius seemed different, but could not figure out if it was a mental reaction or a true physical reaction. He knew they were not identical twins, but they still seemed to share a twin link.

"You have to learn to be away from him some time. You can not go through life at your brothers side. I understand how difficult it can be, but the feeling will pass. Now do you have any more questions before we get underway." Lucius told him no and Thristian got up and left after giving Lucius a hug.

<Callin we are about to start processing the sun of this system.> the Harvester A.I. announced as Callin walked on the bridge, followed by Chase.

"Please put it on the main screen." An image of a Blue B4III Star filled the screen. They watched as the shields went up around the massive star and then the energy field turned on. Callin's mouth dropped open as he watched as the star began to pulsate, then it seemed to melt almost as it turned back into a protostar and then exploded outward. All that was left was a nebula. Then the elements started to clump together. For a moment Callin was worried about starting a new reaction but that worry quickly left as he saw the mass would not be great enough. Once all the matter was collected they left what was once a star system and returned to Ember.

While the matter transfer was taking place Callin and Chase took the shuttle down to the planet and noticed right away that Celestia had been busy. She already started working on the new bays and the new ships. Callin was excited when he saw his star-cruiser being built.

"Celestia, how long until my star-cruiser is done?"

<Time until completion is estimated at twelve days.>

"That is so amazing I can't wait to have this ship done. What else are you working on?"

"Currently I am building the bays to construct the C.R.M.3C, Vault, and base ships. Both bays should be done in four weeks. I have increased my droids to compensate. I have also begun fabricating my defensive grids." As they were talking Callin saw satellites taking off from the small ship bays. "I have instructed the Harvester to broadcast code that will allow it to enter this system with out being targeted. Only an A.I. designed by and linked to me will be able to broadcast the needed code. This will be incorporated into all future ships that need access to this planet. I am also in the process of expanding my matter buffers."

"Chace, what do you think of going back with my uncle and Lucius when we take them back? It would allow us to visit and take the systems that Celestia is not using any more and install them in the Palace."

"How long would we stay?"

"A few days. It would allow us to get my mom and Medil here as well." Chace had a look like he was lost in thought.

"It would be nice to go home, even if it was only for a few days." That got Callin thinking, he was having a ship built for himself. May be he should build one for Chace, too.

"Celestia, I want you to build a second Star-cruiser just like mine for Chace. Call mine Constellation and his Ara. Give both of them Superior Intelligence A.I.'s and also load an Advanced Intelligence A.I. and Average Intelligence A.I. on to your scrap systems." Then turning to face Chace. "Did you want a gender neutral, male, or female A.I.?"

Chace looked shocked. He did not expect his comment to get him a ship. "Umm, female, but you did not have to have one made for me."

"Do not worry about it. This way you can come and go as you please." "Celestia please make the A.I. for Constellation male and the A.I. for Ara female. The A.I.'s for the other two, make gender neutral."

"Callin, where are the other two going?" Chace asked, after he had gotten over the shock.

"The Advanced A.I. will be loaded on Celestia's system that she built when we first got here, the other will go on the one I built, Celestia's first system. I plan on installing the Advanced Intelligence one at the Palace of Light and the other one on the family island on Cerulean. This way the A.I. can control security, and other services."

<I will start the production for the new ship, and I have loaded the new A.I. interface and programing on the other systems. Would you like me to produce the system parts to secure the residences you mentioned?>

"How will you explain that to the people working there?" Chace asked.

"Yes, please Celestia. As for your question Chace, I do not plan on telling them anything. All they need to know is that a new computer system is being installed along with some other hardware."

Chace just shook his head. He was sure it would not be that simple, but he would wait and see. "Callin, are we going to house the Phoenix Core soldiers here or build them their own base?"

Callin stopped to think about it. He would rather have them out side this base if possible, but he did not know if a base could be built in time.

"Celestia, how fast could a military base be built?"

<I can replicate a modular construction and teleport it and the droids to assemble it. Depending on the size required, it could take as little as a week and at most a life time, but an average size base would take nine days baring any out side variables.>

"Go ahead and build an average size base, and put it on one of the smaller islands of our north western coast."

<I am copying the schematics for the Phoenix Core Military base on Snowel. Are there any changes you would like to make to it?>

"No, I don't think so, but I would like to equip it with an R.S.F. Unit, an Average Intelligence A.I., and a triple shield dome. Use a Cold Fusion Reactor for power, with a Z.P.E.C (Zero Point Energy Cell) as a back up."

<Very well, it will be complete and fully inhabitable in ten days due to the changes you made.>

Callin looked over at Chace and thought they both needed a vacation before going to meet Thristian the next day. He had the urge to go camping in the jungle to the north.

"Chace, would like like to go camping tonight?"

Chace's eyes lit up, he loved camping and did not get to go often. "Sure, can we fish and harvest our food?"

"Yea, but I'm taking tents and atmospheric shields. I don't know what kind of insects there are yet and I don't want to get bit by them."

Chace was about to argue but then remembered the trip they took on Terra, the misquotes nearly ate them alive. He shuddered and then agreed. When they went to load up the shuttle Celestia told them that she had fabricated a new one for them, this one had the A.I. on it, and some other upgraded systems. Callin was pleased the Celestia was learning to anticipate what they would want. She also replicated a set of fishing poles and a bow with a set of arrows for them as well. Callin did not like fish much but was willing to try and hunt one of the deer like animals, and bring back what was left.

After they were all loaded up they left, the trip took less then five minutes. Once they arrived Callin set up camp while Chace tried to fish. Once camp was set up and a nice fire going, Callin gathered some fruit then took the shuttle back to the plains and started hunting the animals. He decided they looked most like Oryx from Terra but had no name for them yet. He did manage to kill one, after gutting the animal and saying a prayer of thanks to the Great King. he wrapped it in an organic polymer cloth and carried it back to the shuttle. Once back at camp he skinned it and cut it into sections, he took some of the steaks he cut and cooked them over the fire. By the time he was done Chace came stomping back in the camp, he looked agitated.

"Chace, what is wrong?"

"The stupid fish are not biting." He then looked at Callins food and glared at his friend. He felt irritated that Callin was able to get something and he could not.

"Want some of this. It has a really sweet taste to it." Callin took some more of the cut meat and set it on the make shift grill. He also added some of the fruit he gathered. "This was really easy to get, they were all in a herd so it did not take much work. There will be plenty for our guests tomorrow as well." Callin, assuring Chace that the animal was easier to get then the fish soothed Chace's ego enough that he took the offered food.

"What are you going to call it?" Chace asked referring to what they were eating.

"I don't know, but it looks a lot like it belongs to the Genus Oryx from Terra. I'm just not sure what to call it."

"How about we name the land masses first then work on the animal names?"

"That works." Callin said with a slight giggle. They spent the rest of the night just talking and looking at the night sky.

Stephon walked into a control room with a scowl on his face. "Were is that old fool taking my son!" He yelled once he was in the room.

"My Emperor, it looks like the Lord Grand Marshal is taking him on an inspection trip to the Camba system star-base." A soldier responded, he was normal military and loyal to Stephon.

"Have you located my son Callin?"

"No, My Emperor, it seems that all traces of him are gone. What ever he has been doing and where ever he is, he has covered his tracks well." The man grew nervous then asked "My Emperor, are we sure he was kidnapped?"

"You idiot, he was seen leaving the planet with the bastard that my wife adopted. Find my son and make sure that Lucius and the old man are followed. I want to know every thing they do." With that he stormed out of the room.

Previous ChapterNext Chapter