Spoiler Alert: IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED YOU READ BOOK ONE, LOVE ISLAND TWO – BEGINNINGS, BEFORE YOU CONTINUE.
TOU’CAAN Part Two
The Journey to Chitta Prime could not have been more comfortable for the three brothers. Captain Tarc’On was a good Chittan commander and had worked personally to ensure that the trio had been afforded every possible comfort. They had not only lost their home and their Mother, though they had fought hard to save both, they had risked their lives to save the homes of other Chittans. And it was Tarc’Ons firm belief they deserved some respite.
But the month long journey was over now and as the brothers once more got ready to board their own ship in the hangar bay of Tarc’Ons flagship the Captain met them to see them off.
Bar’Yl, Var’Nach and Tic’Flur stood to attention and saluted their commanding officer. Tarc’On returned the salute. “Right lads, as you’ve heard on the newsnet the Chorans have been attacking Chittan assets sector wide. They’ve also stolen an experimental station which we believe they are taking to a place called Earth, yes I know, odd name. I wanted to stay and help in part with your training, but I’m leading the retrieval task force to retake the station and assist our allies. Work hard, I want to see you on the front lines as soon as possible.”
“Sir! Yes Sir!” The three replied as one. “And save, Earth we like the place Sir!” Var’Nach added enthusiastically. He realised suddenly that he had said that alone and coughed.
Tarc’On watched as the three boarded their ship and powered its engines. “Good luck.” He said so quietly that his second in command who was stood beside him didn’t hear.
Bar’Yl powered up the engines of their ship as his two brothers took their position on the small bridge. “It’s purring like a Josgh wild kitten again.”
Tic’Flur smiled at his engine loving brother. “To be fair Old Tarc’s got some top notch techs on his ship.”
Bar’Yl nodded but didn’t say anything as he concentrated on pulling their ship from the hangar. It was a tight fit. Their ship hadn’t been made with Chittan cruiser hangars in mind. But Mar’Mythrin had been a clever person and hadn’t made it so big it wouldn’t fit in at all if required. The Three brothers looked on in awe at the five other cruisers pulled up beside Tarc’Ons ship, they had never seen this many together at the same time. But they knew the truth; most of the Chittan fleet had been destroyed in a series of Choran raids, there probably weren’t too many others that had survived within any of the fleets. Tarc’On was the head of the Chittan Ninth fleet, the Ninth fleets usual mission was border patrol and resupply. But at least two other ships in the small armada carried the insignia of other fleets.
Tic’Flur leaned forwards in his seat, “if the ninth are being deployed on active battle missions we’ve lost a lot more than we should have.”
The Tou’Caans ship passed between Cruisers and supply shuttles as they headed towards the Fleet Training facility planet side. “How can so many Chittan ships have been defeated? How did the Chorans find them for that matter?” Var’Nach asked.
“We can only speculate, as Raq’uel the wise once said, less theory, more action. So let’s get signed in to our new training programme.” Bar’yl said with a smile.
Tic’Flur activated the shields as they began to enter Chitta Primes atmosphere to protect the ship from the heat of re-entry.
“Let’s get this party started then brothers!” Var’Nach said in response as he activated the ships comm system. “Fleet Comm, This is the U.D.S. Tou’Caan requesting permission to land at Academy Air Terminals. Over.”
They didn’t have to wait more than a few seconds before the line activated and an air traffic controller responded. “U.D.S. Tou’Caan, this is Fleet comm, lock beacon onto Alpha Frequency Two Dash Six Dash Five Eight Six. Reduce speed to mark three over.
“This is the U.D.S. Tou’Caan, transmission received, over and out.” Var replied before the line went out.
They watched as the massive Academy air terminal came into view on the side of the great mountain formed by their ancestors long past. It had to be massive; the airstrip itself contained three large Chittan Cruisers used to teach in. The Academies main building was mostly under the surface of the mountain, though the brothers could see large glass fronted rooms and balconies protruding from the rock, some draped with beautiful flowing gardens, others with pools or training mats. Bar’Yl spotted a class of Chittans on a balcony practicing martial arts and pointed it out to his brothers as he flew by. “Look, they’re almost as good as you Var.” Var’Nach wasn’t known for his great martial arts skills and all three bothers laughed.
Their ship came into land across the sprawling airfield to the rear of one of the cruisers that had been partially disassembled, presumably to teach engineers a thing or two. They landed in an area made for larger shuttles it was quieter than the rest of the airstrip which was bustling with activity. Each of the boys was quiet as the pads of their ship touched the ground softly under Bar’Yls expert control. None of them had ever seen this level of activity on the ground before. Had they not have been so eager to immerse themselves in it, they may have been overwhelmed. Streams of troops jogged past in ranks and engineers moved around on anti grav, orgone powered buggies laden with tools. Further away they could see pilots getting into Chittan Fighter Craft and taking off to join formations for drills further in the south. The three brothers exited and locked down their craft as a few curious engineers milled around and pointed at it. Var’Nach gestured for his two brothers to follow him, as he himself followed a map on his holographic pda.
It hadn’t been the hard day they were expecting. They had been issued with Chittan fleet training uniforms which were grey and bland and ultimately binned and given a room to themselves. They were recognised and a few times they had been approached by other students or staff members and quizzed on their activities. The boys were not shy and they happily told people of their story so far, never failing to highlight the power of the three together. Apart from that they had been left to their own devices after a fairly swift orientation.
“It’s a nice room, though, I’m not sure I really want to share it with you smelly gits.” Var’Nach said jestingly to his two siblings.
“You’re the smelliest Var.” Tic replied before becoming more sombre. “We have the rest of the afternoon and tonight to take it easy. Tutelage will start in earnest tomorrow.”
“They really do things differently here don’t they Var?” Tic’Flur said to his brother who was stood in line next to him.
“Shh, you’ll make him shout more. My ears hurt already.” Bar’Yl said leaning forwards a bit to see his brother.
“I’d listen to him if I were you.” Var’Nach agreed noting the normally pale blue tinted skin of their instructor in front of them getting a distinguished shade of red. The boys didn’t even think it was possible.
“Be quiet all of you!” Their instructor roared with enough force and energy to make the brothers take an involuntary step backwards. “I don’t care who you are, or where you came from, in this academy if you cannot follow instructions you are out!”
“With respect sir, we thought that maybe you wanted us to continue disassembling the grid.” Tic’Flur piped up.
“Why? Why on the whole of Chitta Prime would I want you to disassemble the academy’s power grid?”
“Well, we took the casing off as you asked sir ready for your lesson, but you were late and we thought we’d keep going sir. We try to be super-efficient, what Tou’Caan do, Three’Caan better sir you see.” Bar’Yl realised about half way through he should have not even started speaking, but he wasn’t one for stopping once he’d started, which was probably why they were all in this mess at that moment.
“We can have it back together in a jiffy sir if you would like?” Var’Nach added.
“It’s a mark ninety five super condensed orgone power unit, the only thing this powerful outside of a space station and you think you can put it back together in a jiffy! Out! Get Out!” Their instructor roared again at them.
The three didn’t take a moment to hesitate and left the engineering rooms swiftly whilst the rest of their class watched them. The corridor beyond was lit with emergency lighting and the quiet hum that had permeated the halls on their arrival had died down.
“It’s going to take him hours to put back together, he should have let us do it, would have only taken half an hour.” Bar’Yl said grumpily.
It wouldn’t have been so bad for the boys if it hadn’t been their third and final tutelage of the day and they hadn’t angered the other tutors in a similar fashion. All three young Chittans looked down hearted.
“Psst. In here.” A voice said from the shadows of a doorway.
The three brothers looked at each other. Var’Nach nodded and the other two agreed, they were curious minded, this sounded like something they wanted to explore. They walked through the open door which hissed closed behind them, more slowly than it should, but not unexpected to say the whole bases power had recently been compromised. The three turned to a shadowed corner where they could just see the silhouette of another Chittan.
“What do you want?” Var’Nach asked, firmly but politely.
“I represent an organisation who are on the lookout for troublemakers like you.” The shadowy figure said.
“We’re not trouble makers, they were accidental mishaps.” Tic’Flur said defensively.
The shadowy figure didn’t sound convinced as he began to speak again. “Tell me, do you love Chittans and all they represent?”
“Of course,” The three brothers said in unison.
“Do you want to see us destroyed by spreading ourselves too thin?”
“No, what a silly question.” Bar’Yl responded for all of them.
“Do you want to see Chittans become the masters over those that would repress us?”
“You mean defeating the Chorans?” Var’Nach asked, though his brothers could see a glint in his eye so remained silent and let him talk. They trusted each other and Var’Nach had evidently picked up on something the other two hadn’t. They knew he would fill them in later when they were alone.
“Yes sort of.”
“Well let’s say yes then.”
“I was hoping you would. Why don’t you come and meet me and my commander tonight at nights zenith.” He handed Var’Nach a scrap of paper and rushed to get through the door. The brothers didn’t stop him; instead they gave him a few moments before heading back to their room themselves.
It was only a couple of hours before night’s zenith, the Chittan name for the middle of the night. Var’Nach turned the old fashioned scrap of paper over in his hands for the umpteenth time. It held co-ordinates for a place just a few miles outside the perimeter of the Academy. Tic’Flur had already been out to recon the place and had just returned as the main power of the complex came back online. They heard the muffled cheers of students in other bunk rooms further down the hall they were housed in.
“It’s clear. It’s just a small dip in the landscape, nothing to see except the Academy itself for maybe a hundred miles.” He reported to his brothers.
“As I suspected.” Var’Nach said. “It’s too cloak and dagger to be an official issue.”
“That on top of the fact that we’re likely the least popular people on the whole base.” Bar’Yl added. “Should we go and report it to a tutor?”
“They’d probably think we’re making the whole thing up, and we don’t know whose watching us.” Var’Nach said.
“No one is watching us here; I’ve done a full sweep.” Var’Nach said.
“Then, let’s take Mar’s old micro recorder and see what they want of us, if we can get evidence they will have to take us seriously.” Bar’Yl said.
“I was thinking along similar lines.” Tic’Flur replied as he started to rifle through their bag of gadgets made mostly by their mother at some point for their games when they were younger. They had gone through a phase of playing the part of a highly reputed British spy who had a fancy for the ladies and dry martini. Their mother of course had given them fruit juice and made better gadgets than those in the movies or documentaries they had seen, but that was the privilege of having higher technological capabilities.
They gathered their things and headed out into the night, avoiding the detection of the security cameras they had already identified. They walked slowly through the landing ports, avoiding people and sticking to the shadows. They stopped regularly to make sure the way was clear until eventually they arrived at the edge of the plane and darkness reigned. They picked up their pace then and were at the meeting point in good time before the meeting was due to start.
But there were already two people there, hidden well back in the small crater made fifteen thousand years or more ago by the terraforming of the planet. The three brothers barely picked them out as one of them began to speak.
“You are eager to aid the cause.” The shadow said, in a matter of fact tone.
Tic’Flur spoke. He had been chosen to head the talk by his bothers so that they could concentrate on their task of watching and listening. “We don’t like the idea of being anyone’s underlings, and the Chorans need to be defeated.”
“Good, my friend here said he got that idea from you earlier.”
“You’re going to be our leader?”
“Perhaps, but I am a mere subordinate myself. I will have to talk to my superiors before deciding to bring you into the fold fully. Still, are you willing to push boundaries?”
“We are willing to do everything it takes to ensure we are not made slaves by other races and to defeat the Choran scum.” Tic’Flur said, mentally kicking himself for going a little over board with the scum comment.
How-ever the shadowy figure sounded pleased by his comment. “Then a test of your resolve perhaps, I need access to some data held at the academy. Bring it here on a porta device at night’s zenith tomorrow and I’ll give you a bigger role to play maybe.”
“Consider it done, what do you need?”
“Night shift cadet patrol patterns over the northern edge of the plains. Air and Ground.” The Chittan turned away and talked in low tones to the other figure. Tic’Flur shrugged his shoulders at the brothers, who nodded. The three turned and began to make their way back to their room.
“Well, that was all very conspirators.” Bar’Yl said finally when they had closed the door to their room and rescanned to make sure no listening devices were placed in there whilst they were gone.
“You know we can’t go through with it, the potential danger to the lives of those here is too great.” Var’Nach said as he took a seat on one of the deep soft chairs the room had to offer.
Tic’Flur headed back from the fridge with kakanander juice for the brothers to share. They sat in thought as they drank from the glasses Bar’Yl poured, each savouring the mellow, yet slightly tangy drink.
“If we want to know more about them and their leadership, so we can stop them, what choices do we have?” Tic’Flur asked his bothers. “Did you get a good recording Var’Nach?”
“Yes I think so, the scanner mother made got some information too. The second figure, I think was the one we met in the halls. He was scanning us the whole time for recording devices.” His two brothers looked shocked before he allayed their fears. “It’s ok; they didn’t pick up any Tou’Caan tech.” He said before swiping his hand from the recording device he pulled out of his pocket to the large screen in the wall. The screen lit up and started to play back the meeting they had just attended with the shadowy figure.
This time how-ever the shadowy figure wasn’t quite as shadowy as Tic’Flur began to manipulate the shades and filters their mother had installed on the small device. The shadows became lighter the features of both the males that had been in the crater became clearer until each were being seen as if they were stood in the light of day.
The figure at the back they recognised from their first lesson of the day which had been about tactical operations. He was a tutor’s assistant and had smiled when the brothers had caused trouble by disagreeing with the main lecturer who they had criticised for never being in a real battle. They hadn’t been wrong, and in the brother’s view were the students to follow the tutors’ advice to the letter they would end up getting killed in the process.
Bar’Yl flicked through the teacher profiles on the campuses net. “He’s down here as Hing’Lit he only started this semester. He’s actually twenty years younger than us if you would believe it. The other isn’t in this list though.”
“Well we know at least one person we can’t tell of this. Bring up the profile of the academy leader.” Var’Nach said.
“Academy Chief Console Nit’Mim Gwil’Na’Baan. It’s a triple barrelled surname name, unusual now-a-days. Do we take the risk?” Bar’Yl said.
“Yeah, we have to, but we don’t want to be spotted talking to her so soon. We’re gonna have to find a way to get her to want to talk to us. Does she own a shuttle?”
It was a bright and beautiful morning, one Chitta Primes native birds, the Nala’Lai, with their long flowing tails flew between nests in the woodlands of the east and the estuary to the west with food for their chicks. In the distant planes small fowl gambled through the grasses and larger beasts roamed slowly in herds going about their daily business of grazing.
The brothers could see it all quite clearly from the office at the top of the mountain. Their view through its massive open windows beyond the desk at which sat Academy Chief Console Nit’Mim Gwil’Na’Baan was nothing short of amazing and beautiful.
“It’s an impressive view.” Tic’Flur said to the other two quietly.
“It is isn’t it?” The Chief Console said mildly. “Not a view you’ll get how-ever gentlemen when I’ve expelled you for your distinct lack of respect.” She was a pretty chittan lady, maybe of six hundred give or take a decade or two, she smiled at them pleasantly as she talked. There was no threat in her voice, but she stated things with a finality that no one could argue with.
“We had a cause Ma’am.” Var’Nach said bowing his head slightly to show his respect for her authority. It was a symbol used rarely among Chittans in the modern era, but when it was used it meant a sincere attempt to placate. Even Bar’Yl and Tic’Flur looked impressed at their brothers’ effort.
“You had a cause to nearly completely deconstruct my Shuttle overnight? And I see here you’re all responsible for the power outage yesterday.” She responded with a slight look of scorn at what she thought was Var’Nachs attempt to simply placate her. Her shuttle was her own and her pride and joy. It was outfitted with some of the best comforts for short interplanetary trips, at the rare times she had off, that were available on the market.
The three brothers had been awoken in their rooms from their pleasant slumber by two stern faced security guards and marched to the chief consoles office. They had expected as such and had the night before made sure that every single security camera they knew about caught them in the act of shuttle sabotage. They had barely been asleep an hour by the time they had been arrested, and had slept in a fresh pair of clothes for expediencies sake.
“Ma’am, truly the latter was an accident, a complete misunderstanding.” Bar’Yl said.
“Well that confirms you purposefully took my shuttle apart.” She said with a sigh. “I really don’t like expelling people, but before I send you guys back to your ship, would you care to explain exactly why you targeted my vehicle?”
“We needed to see you Ma’am about an urgent matter.” Tic’Flur said.
“Couldn’t be bothered to arrange an appointment?”
“It needed to appear forced Ma’am.”
For the first time since they had been put in her office, she looked genuinely into the eyes of the brothers and saw their sincerity. “Explain, and make it good.” She said.
Academy Chief Console Nit’Mim Gwil’Na’Baan listened intently to the story the boys recounted in parts together, first of their meeting with the tutoring assistant and then the other conspirator later in the night. They backed up their story with the recording they had taken. When Tic’Flur ran the filters through and showed the strangers faces she began to listen even more intently to the boys until they finished without interrupting.
“And you have no idea who the stranger is? Do you not watch the newsnet?” She asked before adding, “This is Dank’Ka!” She said standing and pointing at the highlighted face on the screen.
The three brothers shook their heads simultaneously. “Not here Ma’am,” they chorused. Before Var’Nach added; “Respectfully Ma’am, the news were used to in the outlying colonies is mostly the important stuff. Like supply runs, Choran locations. We haven’t had time to watch Chitta Prime newsnet.”
“I suppose terrorism isn’t such a big thing out there. He’s a domestic terrorist; he spouts nonsense about the people of Earth becoming the next enemy. He believes that they will turn on us now that they have access to our tech and that they will share it with the Chorans leading ultimately to our defeat. He thinks we should destroy them before they destroy us.” Gwil’Na’Baan said quietly.
“We haven’t met any of the people of Earth, but our mother spoke highly of them, she was one of our ambassadors in the initial agreements.” Tic’Flur said. He looked angered that someone would disagree with his mothers’ assessment, as did his brothers.
“Counsellor Mayflower is a personal friend of mine, she would agree with your mother, as would the rest of the council. For that matter, most Chittans would agree. We need to stop this murderer. But he has obviously given you a test, if you fail it, we will never get close to him again.”
“Then what do you propose Ma’am?” Bar’Yl asked.
“Complete the mission. Let’s be honest about it, your being here is simply a formality. I’ve read the reports; Tic’Flur your ground combat skills are on par with grade A cadets. Bar’yl your aerial combat and piloting skills are exceptional. Var’Nach is a great medic and as a team you have more experience than most deployed Chittan Service Personnel. You also proved today that your joint engineering skills are exceptional. You know, we had to fly in an engineer by the name of Unkai to fix the generator, he is one of the top three Chittan Engineers.” She said.
Bar’Yl looked excited. “Can I meet him?”
“Sadly no, he’s on a mission now with Ambassador Thil’Nir to the Love Islands, they left as soon as they’d finished, there’s a lot more going on. The Chorans have become emboldened for some reason and are pressing attacks on many fronts.”
Var’Nach cut across his brother before he could register his disappointment. “Captain Tarc’On gave us a bit of information.”
“Good, you’re not completely in the dark then.” She said with a smile. She had read the reports on the Tou’Caan brothers in the days before they had arrived. She had already decided on fast tracking them, she had been somewhat disappointed to find that the Tutors had taken an almost instant dislike to the trio. But given their experience coupled with their unorthodox methodology she was no longer surprised. She liked them, though someone was going to have to repair her ship.
“Right boys, this has to look real, so I’m putting you all on remand, this will show on your permanent personnel files for all to read until I remove it. Also, because I want my ship put back together by professionals not standard cadets I am suspending you for the day. This will convince anyone watching that I have dealt with you properly. You will repair my ship under guard for everyone to see. Hopefully, that will stop less experienced pranksters from trying to copy you.” She gave them a false stern look, before continuing. “Before I start shouting at you for the whole academy to hear is there anything else? I’m assuming you already know how to hack the system for the rosters?”
“We might have a device that was made for us that could do such things.” Tic’Flur said diplomatically. Their mother had made them a terminal hacking device, it was a piece of kit that would be frowned upon by the Chittan authorities, but it had only ever been used on the standalone system their mother had also made.
Academy Chief Console Nit’Mim Gwil’Na’Baan smiled and handed Var’Nach a communicator. “It’s isolated and secure; it will only come through to me.”
It was gone dark when the three brothers had finally returned to their rooms. They could have been back a couple of hours earlier but they had taken their time reassembling the academy leaders’ shuttle. She had done as she said she would and shouted so loudly before they left her office that it had been almost mid-day before Bar’Yl could hear properly again. She had also posted guards on them all day to keep watch over them, though they hadn’t been very good at the job. At one point, whilst his brothers told them he was conducting repairs inside the shuttle Tic’Flur had sneaked off and hacked into the academy’s security net to gain access to the perimeter guarding rosters. The poor cadets set on guard duty had no idea he had been gone for nearly an hour and hadn’t seen him return. The three brothers gathered that the Chief Console had given them inept cadets to guard them on purpose.
Now, once again, Var’Nach, Tic’Flur and Bar’Yl stood in the small crater they had been using as a place to talk to Dank’Ka the face of Chittan domestic terrorism. He was there, as was the same shadowy figure in the background, still under the assumption that they had no idea who he was.
Hing’Lit in the shadows spoke. “The data is genuine. They have done the job as requested.”
“Good” Dank’Ka replied to him before turning to the brothers. “I am impressed. I had no doubt you could do it. Clever move by the way, getting yourselves into trouble so you would have alibis when you took the data.”
The brothers weren’t surprised that he knew, after all Hing’Lit was stood right in front of them and had probably been watching them since the night before. Tic’Flur smiled; he had once again been elected by his brothers to be the spokesperson. “We do like to be thorough. But next time, someone else can hear the wrath of Academy Chief Console Nit’Mim Gwil’Na’Baan. Not a pleasant woman at all.” He lied. He and his brothers had actually quite liked her.
“She won’t be an issue for much longer. Tomorrow an hour past Nights Zenith no-one there will be an issue any longer. Make sure you’re at your ship ready. We will be taking the two active cruisers; we’re going to Earth to stop them from getting Chittan aid. Tarc’On and his small fleet will never see us coming.”
The three brothers smiled and Tic’Flur spoke again. “Chittan supremacy, past, present and future!” He said. They had done their research and knew that was the phrase used by the Chittan Rebels.
Dank’Ka smiled and nodded. “Good, be ready for a fight, we’ll be coming in hot and leaving hotter.”
“Yes Sir!” The three brothers chimed.
Dank’Ka pointed to a case. “This needs to be left near the power centre in the mountain.”
“What is it?” Tic’Flur asked.
“Just an EMP, I’d leave it outside myself when we get the Cruisers, but I think the mountain is shielded too well.” He was making an effort to sound placatory but he wasn’t fooling anyone. Still Var’Nach headed forwards and took the case from beside him.
“Go Brothers and be ready to fight for our people’s future!” Hing’Lit said.
The brothers smiled and looked at each other before adding at the same time. “For our people!”
They didn’t go back to their room as they had planned; they went back to their ship. Having a case with a massive EMP was a game changer, and they didn’t want to risk taking it into the academy proper. Dank’Ka had told them the building set in the mountain side would be pretty much unharmed if he left the device outside, that implied they could work on it more safely here.
Var’Nach returned from the tool rack embossed into the ships storage area with an array of tools. “We will have to leave it there; Dank’Ka will have Hing’Lit check.”
Bar’Yl looked up from the scanner. “This isn’t an EMP”
Tic’Flur chuckled. “Did we ever suspect it would be?”
“Have you identified what it actually is?” Var’Nach asked as he laid the tools out on the table in the small living area of their ship for Tic’Flur and Bar’Yl to use.
“I think it’s the dangerous part of a cruiser class missile.” Bar’Yl said with a small look of concern.
His two brothers smiled at him before Tic’Flur spoke. “Worry not brother, what any Tou’Caan do.”
“Three’Caan better.” Var’Nach finished.
Bar’Yl smiled and clicked the catches on the case, then slowly lifted the lid, peering down low to make sure there was no sensor or hidden wire to snap and set off the device as he did. The inside of the case was lit with a series of lights and digital displays. Wires ran from one end of large portions of circuitry to the other and underneath all of that Bar’Yl could see the detonator, primer and explosive cell. Tic’Flur picked up a couple of the tools and started to prod and probe various portions of wiring as he started to get a feel of what went where.
“Did you contact Nit’Mim Gwil’Na’Baan? Var?” Tic’Flur asked as he concentrated with Bar’Yls help on removing a small portion of circuit board and laying it on the table beside the case still attached to the rest of the device by its wires.
“Yes, I’ve apprised her of the situation; she’s going to contact Mayflower. She agreed that if we can disarm the EMP we should leave it where asked and proceed as requested by Dank’Ka until the appropriate moment comes.” Var’Nach said with a smile.
“You didn’t tell her we suspected it might be more than an EMP?”
“No, of course not, there wouldn’t be any point in panicking her unduly. And if we can’t disarm it, we probably won’t be around to tell the tale.”
“No pressure on us then whilst you stand there watching.” Bar’Yl chimed in causing the three brothers to laugh jovially.
There was a click and Tic’Flur jumped dramatically causing his brothers to have heart palpations. “Naa, just joking, I’ve disarmed it; it was a pretty crude setup behind all the complicated electronics.” He said with a smile.
“Say’s you Tic. I’ve never seen anything like it and you ran me through all of the same training sims they gave you.” Bar’Yl responded.
“It was all fancy looking, but half of these wires and coils are redundant, even more so now.” He said with a chuckle as he began to put everything back in the case after removing the main explosive charge. “It would have easily destroyed this facility and much of the mountain around it too.”
There was a rush of air around the three brothers and each turned and pulled out laser hand pistols that were secreted around their persons. Academy Chief Console Nit’Mim Gwil’Na’Baan looked up as the remnants of her effect faded away into the barrels of three weapons. “Jumpy.” She stated simply as the boys lowered their guns. “And where did you get side arms?” She looked around at the walls of the living quarter of the ship. There were three beds, a central table and a cooking area as well as several doors that lead to other parts of the large shuttle. One wall was adorned with an array of beam rifles, pistols and other combat gear. She looked mildly disapproving.
“Can’t blame us. And our Mother gave us the weapons, the rules only state that all weapons must be handed in when entering the facility buildings.” Var’Nach responded. “What brings you here?”
“I wanted to see this device for myself, see if it needed dis-arming. This is just how I get to see people without taking their shuttles apart.” She said peering past the brothers at the still open case with a look of concern. “It’s not an EMP is it.”
“No.” Tic’Flur responded.
“Enough to kill everyone in the academy and the parade ground. In all likelihood the subsequent rockslides would wipe out most of the shuttle landing areas too.” Var’Nach said.
“All of that to steal a couple of Cruisers that aren’t even fully armed?”
“Apparently so, they intended to use them to way-lay or destroy Captain Tarc’Ons fleet.” Tic’Flur replied as he placed the explosive charge in a sealed case.
“That’s not a logical outcome, unless they have the ability to re-arm on route.” Nit’Mim said with a sigh before continuing. “Mayflower is correct; the rebel organisation is bigger than suspected. Ok, we obviously need to stop them. But how?”
“We have some idea’s Ma’am; if they go to plan the rebels won’t suspect we had anything to do with it.” Var’Nach responded.
Hing’Lit stuck to the shadows, he always did, and he was used to doing so by now. At least as long as he wasn’t in his cover role as the assistant tutor of the Tactical Operations class. But he didn’t trust the three brothers, even though he’d passed on their invite to meet his cell leader. He thought they were too eager. He had enough time to check they had placed the device as ordered. He had an active comm open with Dank’Ka as he slid into the little access tunnel that ran behind the academy’s main orgone power system.
“It’s here.” He whispered. “They kept their word. Wait.” He became silent as he heard footsteps. He cursed himself, he was supposed to be in and out quickly, and he hadn’t closed the panel. “I’ve think I’ve messed up, I’ll meet you at the ship.” He said quietly before hanging up and raising his voice. Academy security, probably a couple of over eager cadets on night watch armed with batons, ‘better kill them now’ he thought. “Just me doing some checks.” He said for them to hear before climbing out of the short tunnel so he could gain an equal footing on them.
He discretely pulled his weapon and jumped the last bit onto the ground with his gun against the nearest head. But the head had a helmet it shouldn’t have had a helmet, cadet security was fairly lax. He never got a chance to fire. What should have been a two Chittan squad armed with batons was a ten Chittan tactical unit. Nine members of the ten Chittan tactical unit saw a gun raised to the head of their team leader. Three Chittans fired at the armed assailant who died instantly.
Dank’Ka had fifty rebel soldiers under his command plus twenty well-armed ship crew personnel spread between two land trucks. He had just made his final report to his superiors advising them that the Tou’Caan brothers had been all they hoped they would be. He hadn’t told them that Hing’Lit had messed up and potentially got himself captured; they’d scrub the mission if he did and consider it compromised, and that’s just not how Dank’Ka worked.
He peered through the front window of the all-terrain camo troop carrying lorry as it made light work of the ridges and potholes of the track used to carry troops to and from the perimeter guard station. It had been easy enough to kill the drivers and hide them in the darkness of night in an area they knew no patrol would be close to for a couple of hours and steal the vehicles. He could see the lights of the airstrip getting closer and his heart pounded with excitement at the idea of the rebels finally getting a couple of cruisers. With them they could deal with the Human menace once and for all, and be damned to them.
They could all serve as Choran slaves for all he cared. There was one master race and it was Chittan. There would be none of this pansying around placating other races and joining alliances. He would eventually deal with his superiors too; they were only in it for the recognition and power. They couldn’t win elections so they had decided to cheat. When he dealt with them, he wouldn’t just be the face of the rebels, he would be their leader and they would storm the council chambers and seize control of Chittan affairs. He watched as the gated entrance from the plains drew near.
“Ram it.” He said firmly to the driver.
The driver didn’t hesitate and increased his speed, the Chittan guards at the gate leaped out of the way as it became apparent the vehicles weren’t slowing down. Dank’Kas’ lorry smashed through the barrier and the whole lorry rocked wildly in response, the power systems started making odd growling and wailing noises, but it didn’t matter, it only had to get them a few hundred more yards. He heard the rat tat of Chittan beam fire bouncing of the armour plating of the troop transport and smiled. They were pretty lively cadets at the entrance. Still if they gave chase he would have no qualms killing them.
They were part of the problem, the liberals who thought the galaxy working together was fine. The ones who would dilute Chittan sovereignty in order to create bonds that were not required. The Chittans were the powerful force in the galaxy, a couple of successful hits by Chorans weren’t anything to worry about.
The rears of the two active cruisers came into view, his lorry headed to the area between the pair where they intended to us the lorries to barricade the space at either end. Instead, as they rounded the corner the driver slammed down on the emergency brake pad and squealed the vehicle to a halt. Dank’Ka was about to berate him when he saw why through the window screen. A Chittan Fighter shuttle hovered a few feet from the ground. The lorries sensor panel registered that its shields were raised and its weapons were armed.
“Back, back. Damn you Hing’Lit you blabbermouth.” He yelled at the driver and through the radio to the second vehicle. His driver had started to reverse when a flash lit the sky behind them. He saw through the rear visual screen one of his men had climbed out of the access panel of the rear troop carrier and aimed an anti-air missile launcher at a target just out of sight and fired. Evidently the target hadn’t been severely damaged because two rockets sunk into the side of the rear vehicle and it exploded.
“Everyone out, and take cover.” He opened the side hatch and made sure he was one of the first out of the vehicle, just in case, he didn’t want to get killed because he was stuck behind those that were less than him.
Well-armed Chittan soldiers rounded the corner and the rebels with Dank’Ka started to open fire. Suddenly his arm was grabbed by someone from the shadow of the crates he was taking cover next to. Tic’Flur held his finger to his lip and gestured to Dank’Ka to follow him.
Dank’Ka breathed a sigh of relief, the Tou’Caans had a ship. He could use them to get off Chitta Prime. He followed obediently happily sacrificing his men in order to get to safety. He was a commander, not a fighter. Tic’Flur led him through the crates as rapidly as if their lives depended on their haste. And Dank’Ka followed blindly until he realised they had stepped into a courtyard surrounded by Chittan military. Academy Chief Console Nit’Mim Gwil’Na’Baan stood in the centre of the small clearing in the crates as several of the security personnel rushed forwards to restrain him.
He turned to Tic’Flur, “Run you fool, my leaders will be in touch, go now.”
Tic’Flur smiled and walked over to his brothers who emerged from the shadow of the crates nearby. “Handy to know my brothers and I will have the opportunity to take down your leaders too.” Bar’Yl and Var’Nach clapped him on the back. Tic’Flur had been particularly angry that this man was happy to sacrifice the whole academy for the sake of a couple of ships. Nearly ten thousand Chittans could have lost their lives in the massive training complex. His brothers had not argued when he had requested the job of leading Dank’Ka to his capture.
The three brothers slept late into the afternoon of the next day, they had had nearly three days with practically no sleep and had been exhausted by the time they had finished writing the top secret report for Academy Chief Console Nit’Mim Gwil’Na’Baan. Not a lot was kept top secret in Chittan society, and it was rarely kept that way for long. But, Nit’Mim had been adamant that the reports be kept off the open net if there was a likelihood that the brothers would have the opportunity to take down the leadership of the rebels threatening the Chittans and their allies.
Dank’Ka had been remanded in custody on a station used to hold Choran prisoners of war. There weren’t really jails on Chitta Prime; there were temporary holding units for the disorderly. The judiciary of Chitta Prime worked differently, it had to, crime wasn’t a huge issue in a world where everyone had plenty and access to magicks. But even though he was a terrorist, he would have to appear before a judge and a jury of his peers at some point. Time was of the essence, as soon as he made a public appearance, or had access to a lawyer there was a risk that he could leak the Tou’Caans betrayal. No-one, least of all the three brothers wanted that.
The Brothers spent the following days settling back into their scheduled routine. Few knew of the brothers involvement in the chaos that had erupted on the campus and they worked hard to keep it that way as the days drew by.
THE END FOR NOW.
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