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The Alexanderov Federation
Book 1 The Grendarl War

Part Three - The Attack

As the Bumblebee approached the part of the asteroid field from which they would launch their ambush on the hated Rrk'g'kreglin shipping, Lieutenant Morse worked his panel methodically and carefully. Programming the new homing mines was no trivial task, especially when they only had enough for one per enemy ship. The artificial intelligence that drove these tiny devices, while good enough to figure out how to accomplish its tasks, still needed precise instructions on what to do. But for as skilled a weapons officer as Gary Morse, this was a task he could accomplish in his sleep. The 47-year old, despite his low rank in the Navy, was a highly sought-after officer. His rank might never climb, but he was by far the most experienced Lieutenant in the Navy, and that gave him seniority enough to choose his posting. He chose to stay with Goodman. His morose and rude nature had pissed off more than a few COs in his time, but Goodman understood him as no other had, and tolerated his quirks unfailingly.

As he worked, he thought back over the last 15 years of his military career. He hadn't planned for them to be quite so adventurous. But, despite the fact that he rarely showed it, he had enjoyed much of that time. And the reason he had enjoyed his work so much had happened exactly 15 years, 12 days, 17 hours, (he checked the chronometer quickly) 15 minutes and 27 seconds ago. A second that would remain burned into his memory for the remainder of his life. The day, hour, minute, and second that he had received 'the call'.

It hadn't started out as a bad day. The Grendarl bastards had launched a surprise attack on our scout vessel shortly after it left the jump lane from the M'gewen system into the Tamarian system a few weeks earlier. But this was potentially able to be overlooked. What had happened that day in M'gewen, however, was not. Morse had been posted to M'gewen IV, in charge of the ground security forces for the capital. The system at that time was not nearly as well defended as it was today, but the orbital defenses had heavily damaged the Grendarl expedition, such that they only had a few ships left to use in orbital bombardment, and less than half their original 15 troop transports. So, really, the day hadn't started out that bad at all. Yes, many of his fellow officers had died to protect the civilians on that world, but they had died valiantly and with honor, and had given far more than they had taken. Morse respected that.

The Grendarl, however, saw no distinction between civilians and military personnel. In their culture, if a planet was invaded, a significant portion of the populace took up arms to defend it. Thus, in their minds, the order to deliberately target civilians was an attempt to reduce the human's supplies of reinforcements. But Morse didn't see it that way, because as the troop transports landed to attack the military and the government DEAs he was assigned to protect, one of the opening salvos of the orbital bombardment had hit squarely on his house. Where his wife had lived. And his two young kids.

Today, he took some comfort in the fact that they had never knew what was happening. But that day, as the knowledge reached him surprisingly quickly, it caused him anger and hatred such as he had never felt before, and that he had never quite put behind him either. Every Grendarl he killed that day had been the monster whom had ordered his wife's death. Every Grendarl who surrendered in the waning moments was an abomination that had to be eliminated. As he tortured each one to death in sequence, each was the monster who had pulled the triggers on those ships, the abomination that had built the weaponry for those crafts, the creature so evil he had no word to describe it who had ordered the assault in the first place.

Officially, he was censured for his actions. But he was not arrested. Those who were ordered to do so had refused to comply. They had lost family in the assault too, and many of them had participated in the torture. After a few days of bashing their heads against an immovable wall, the leadership gave in. Alexandrov himself agreed to offer them all a full pardon, on one condition. Morse would not be removed or forced to retire, but he would never repeat his actions either, and he would not ever be promoted again. Morse gladly accepted the conditions and continued to serve for the last 15 years, involved in many fights in each of the five Grendarl wars. And in each fight he fought in, he made sure to leave as few survivors to surrender as possible, so that he would not be tempted to break his word. And every day of peace he spent hoping the treacherous Grendarl would attack again, and that this time the Federation would be ready to strike back. Because as a condition of staying on, he had demanded one boon from Alexandrov. He would personally get to end the life of the emperor of the Rrk'g'kreglin. No one even knew his name, but one day, somehow Morse would find him, and the creature would learn that there are lines you do not cross. And then he would die.




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