Stealth and Deception
by Alastair Cooper (Myralyst)
The remains of the asteroid expanded as a billowing
dust cloud, lighting shields with a blue rippling effect where
they made contact. The cruiser Alhambra vaporised the asteroid
that was threatening the planet below. With a smug smile Commander
Baldezar turned from the immense viewport and regarded the
aide who had sidled up beside him.
“Well, boy! What is it?” he demanded.
“S..S..S.tatus report on the handover, sir!”
the aide stammered, visibly wilting in the palpable cruelty
emanating from his superior.
“Stop stammering and speak, man! I don’t want
your ineptitude to get in the way of MY operation” Baldezar
“Y.Yes sir, I mean: SIR, YES SIR! The operation is
proceeding according to schedule, and we are down to a skeleton
“Good, who then is aboard?”
“We have only the last of the construction teams, sir!
They are putting the finishing touches to the cargo loading
mechanisms, sir!” the aide reported, growing in confidence.
“Incorrect, fool! Who are they?” Baldezar demanded,
pointing at a small group of white-coated men crowding the
main computer terminal.
“Ahh…They are the technicians, sir!” the
aide pronounced the word as if he were speaking of the dregs
of humanity, “they are activating computer systems,
sir! The Artificial Intelligence….”
“I don’t care what they are doing! You Moron!
Report everything to me…”
“I though… I thought sir, you would not want
to here about such menial ….”
“I don’t care that they have no high blood family,
I want EVERYTHING to proceed within my operation’s parameters
tonight! Do you KNOW what success in this assignment could
bring me?” “N…”
“OF COURSE YOU DON’T YOU IMBECILE! How could
you POSSIBLY grasp the rewards of success from your meagre
rank” Baldezar was visibly shaking and his face was
scarlet with rage, impatience and malice, “Now GET OUT
OF MY SIGHT! Report to Sergeant Grunt immediately for a full
repentance session, NOW!” he screamed.
As the aide turned and fled, visibly paling in terror, Baldezar
chuckled to himself out loud. Though he had never had command
of a commissioned vessel, he still believed he could enforce
iron-fist discipline with the best of them. His rise had been
largely due to his family connections, well placed bribes
and not a few tactical assassinations and death threats. The
last of the former had got him this post, over seeing the
Leviathan Death’s Touch final outfitting and construction.
He had done well, and now the massive battleship was at the
brink of completion, ready to join the task force that had
been assembled round its bulk. This ship would bring the cursed
Rebel collective down to size; it was a shame that this was
a prototype vessel, since the Federation remnant desperately
needed more ships like this. Ships that could Fight, and destroy
brutally. The leaders of the Federation had become worried
and then desperate at the growing number and frequency of
Rebel confederation victories. They keenly felt the rotten
core of their empire was not standing up to the passion, commitment
and technology of the rebels. They had dragged themselves
to a secret meeting with the New Orions and grovelled before
them, pleading for some weapon technology that would swing
the battle their way. Sympathising with the Federations desire
for cruelty and despotism they had agreed to hand over the
secrets to disruptor cannons, mauler devices but also a fearsome
stellar converter. The Orions were wary of handing over this
last technology to the treacherous Federation so they had
humiliated them by building it themselves to specification.
His homeworld of Bethron VI had been chosen to build the
new shipyards capable of constructing such a huge vessel,
and he had fought to be in charge of the ship through its
construction phases, and then its commissioning phase too
–after that disagreement with the local military commander
had been…cleared up. The thought of spilling blood fired
his veins, and he strode to his quarters to beat his domestic
animal to a pulp. He had no need of the worthless creature
after he disembarked tonight, and taking its life had been
much on his mind recently after it had refused to devour the
last aide to disobey him. He had been told that these domesticated
baby Sakkra were voracious in their appetite, but he theorised
that he probably should have killed the aide first.
He had reached his quarters now, and was dismayed that his
personal guard had had to leave with the rest of the security
team. They could not know his families plans for this vessel,
and the planned fate of the spineless admiral who had been
assigned the command. His father had longed for such a posting,
and had been denied by this admiral Patitise, a member of
their most hated rivals. Well, Patitise would not live the
night on the world below, thanks to the assassins that he
had hired, and the only person qualified after that was his
father. Musing over the glories that his family would rise
to imminently, he barely remembered that he could no longer
pointlessly berate his guards as he strode into the chamber.
Reaching his desk he read the routine space traffic reports
left there by the sensors team, and threw them to the floor
in disgust. He could not wait to be rid of their trivial news
– why should he be bothered by news of the provision
freighter group’s arrival in system. Bah he thought,
where was that dratted Sakkra anyway!