The Alexanderov Federation
#2 - Growing Pains
By Robert Huntingdon
Table of Contents Prologue
Chapter One - The Senate
Chapter Two - Tailspin
Chapter Three - Meltdown!
Chapter Four - Storms on the horizon
Chapter Five - The Battle for Rotan Prime, Part I
Chapter Six - The Battle for Rotan Prime, Part II
Chapter Seven - The Battle for Rotan Prime, Part III
Chapter Eight - 007 he is not
Chapter Nine - A time for peace...
Chapter Ten - Revelations
Chapter Eleven - Tachidi Raid
Prologue"On three, now! One, two, three!" coached Captain Sarah Riley, as James and John blew the candles on their cake out. More accurately, they spit them out, but Vice Admiral Wayne Goodman and Riley naturally overlooked that. Birthday parties for the twins were always an adventure it seemed, but they were also a lot of fun. The two newly-turned four year-olds applauded themselves rather giddily, and shortly Jenna was imitating them and gurgling. At almost two years old, she was just getting -- A double chirp interrupted the party all of a sudden, the door chime. Goodman frowned ever so briefly and then covered it up and got up to answer the door. It was Lieutenant Commander Stephanie Lewis. Quietly, so as not to disturb the party, he said, "I thought I left orders I was not to be disturbed, Commander." "I'm sorry, Admiral. But Commander Roberts felt you would want to see this immediately," apologized Lewis. "You and the Captain, actually." "We gave McIntyre the day off." "I can watch them for a few minutes, sir. It won't take long," she said, as she handed the Admiral a video data wafer. Conflicting emotions raged inside Goodman. On one hand, she hadn't said it was an emergency, and it was his sons' birthday. On the other hand, Commander Clarissa Roberts was quite capable of handling almost anything that came her way, and if she felt he needed to see it right now then he probably did. None of this showed on his face of course. He was well practiced at concealing his emotions in public. "Very well. Would you help cut the cake for them?" "Of course, sir." Goodman stepped aside and allowed her to enter, then followed her in as the door closed behind them. As soon as they entered the kitchen, he called, very softly just one word, "Captain." Sarah responded immediately. Goodman never called her 'Captain' in front of the kids unless it was business. Well, hopefully this won't take long, she thought. My parents missed half of my birthdays, I do not want to do that to my kids. She followed Goodman to the office area of the main room, where the two of them sat down in front of the viewer and Goodman inserted the data wafer and said, "Play." The computer heard him and immediately began reading the wafer's recording. The picture of Captain James Shannon appeared on the screen. Though the image and sound quality were quite adequate, signs that the original had to be heavily enhanced and filtered to remove static and snow remained just barely detectable. "Admiral," Shannon began. "Our mission was successful. We successfully charted the system marked XB-17 on the charts given to us by the New Orions. There is in fact a Guardian there, and the debris from the Bumblebee was exactly where we expected it to be. The Guardian did not detect us at first, our new stealth enhancements allowed us to even get away with active scans for almost 2 minutes. After it finally detected and engaged us, we were able to avoid the worst of it and escape back through the jumplane. Our com system shorted out, however, so I am recording this on a message buoy and sending it ahead." "Odd. A message buoy should not have needed so much cleaning up," Riley remarked softly. Goodman merely nodded as Shannon continued. "The findings are unequivocal, Admiral. The system supposedly named XB-17 by the New Orions is in fact Sol. Earth has mostly recovered from the damage done to it by the old Antaran war fleets, and the other planets are all still in mostly the same condition as historical records stated. This includes the inner asteroid belt which the records tell us was formed when Venus was completely destroyed by the Antarans." "I have enclosed our sensor logs of the battle with the Guardian. It appears to be a much smaller one than the one found at S'sla 10 years ago by the Nommo, and not nearly as powerful. It is entirely your decision, of course, but I suspect we could take it with merely the forces in the Rrk'g'kreg system." "Our jump engines did take some minor damage in the fight, but they appear stable. We expect to be able to return to R-III in approximately two years. Falcon, out." "Two years? We could have a rescue vessel meet them and get them back in eleven months," Goodman mused. "Goodman to Roberts." "Roberts, go." "Dispatch the Dragonfly to rendezvous with the Falcon. Make sure they have a full EmEng crew and full set of spares on board before they leave." "Aye, sir. I expected that was what you'd want. I already have them alerted, they'll depart within the hour." "Good job. Goodman, out."
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