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   Chapter 7 No.7

Dead Beckoning By Christina Engela Characters: 5780

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:01


"Thank you, Lt." Lofflin acknowledged. "Close all airlocks, retract all debarkation tubes. All duty personnel to stations, all sections report in."

"Aye, Captain." Blige replied.

"Well, Mr. Carlson, " Lofflin smiled at his new Exo, who seemed to be trying out his console and display. "Are you ready?"

"Yes, sir." Carlson smiled back.

"Comms, " Lofflin told Blige, "Request departure clearance, please."

"Tremaine O.D.S. Control, " Blige called over his headset, "This is I.S.S. Mordrake, registry number alpha tango nine, nine, five, requesting departure clearance."

The reply came speedily.

"Mordrake, this is Tremaine Control Central, departure clearance granted."

"We have clearance, sir." Blige reported.

"Thank you." Lofflin nodded. "Ensign Bennett, retract all moorings, take us out of here." Then he added, "Don't forget to drop the handbrake."

"Handbrake sir?" Dellon asked, slightly puzzled.

"Never mind, Ensign." Lofflin grinned.

The I.S.S. Mordrake finally eased away from the orbiting space dock, bade farewell to Tremaine, and turned to her new assignment.

* * *

In military circles it is a universally accepted truth that in war, gaining control of territory is often easier than keeping it. Likewise, while destroying a fleet in battle could take hours, days even – as was the case at Meradinis, or Turtle Island – bringing a planet's population under control could take years, and would require far more than just firepower and soldiers. Assuming the force in question didn't intend to simply drop a few planet-killers on it and move on – which this particular force did not even consider – it would take control, endurance, influence and re-education of the population.

M

d future generation, none of its citizens were to be allowed to leave the planet or to resettle anywhere else. In fact, Corsairs captured anywhere else were to be returned or interned on Meradinis as well. This was to allow the Terran Empire to consolidate its grip on the former Corsair sector while eliminating the influence of the Corsairs on the surrounding systems. It was a bold, ambitious plan.

Light years away from the troubled planet called Meradinis, the crew of I.S.S. Antares – now veterans of the Battle of Turtle Island, as it was being called by the folks who wrote history textbooks, found themselves back in deep space on a scouting mission to chart the blank spaces in the Omegan Quadrant.

The Omegan Quadrant! …A vast treacherous blank spot on the star-maps, that surrounded Meradinis – a place where ships went in, and usually didn't come out again – at least, not in the same color. Now that the Corsair threat had been eliminated, its territories were open, and the Terrans could explore it unopposed. If there were any Corsair stragglers hiding out in its dark depths, they wouldn't likely confront a warship, not anymore.

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