The Alexanderov Federation
Book 1 The Grendarl War
Part Twelve - The Sharktooth II
A year after the battle for Tamarian, the Federation
colony was a thriving outpost of civilization. Though not
an impregnable fortress just yet, it was well defended enough
for now, and all traces of the recent pitched battle had been
cleaned up and recycled. Admiral Stockert formally stepped
down as military governor on the anniversary of the attack,
and participated in the inauguration for his replacement,
Kelly Wood, who had been elected only four weeks previously
in the first elections ever held in system. Now freed of the
burden of planetary administration, it was time to turn his
attention to prepping his fleet for launch.
On the bridge of the Sharktooth II, Commodore Goodman was
also prepping for launch. His ship was the prototype of a
new class of PD destroyer, similar in design to the old Sharktooth
that was now scrapped and turned into raw materials for the
ever growing Tamarian industrial base. Its major differences
were that it carried half again as many missiles and 10 times
the firepower in PD beam weaponry. As there were only 15 of
these in existence so far, it was indeed a plum assignment.
In addition to the new ship, he was also now in command of
the entire PD screen force, and would be responsible for directing
the captains of the other PD vessels to best cover the fleet
from the Grendarl fighter forces. Referred to as Task Force
77.1, in addition to the 15 Sharktooth-class destroyers, there
were another 30 of the older Nelson-class PD frigates, all
of which were newly built for this assault.
The 5th fleet, the fleet that had destroyed Charelton IV,
had been underway for six months. It was now time for this
fleet, the 7th fleet, to get underway as well, so that they
would both reach their target system, Rrk'g'kreg, at the same
time. The Grendarl would soon find that behaving like graktoz
scum carried a high price.
As the prepared to leave the Tamarian system behind, Task
Force 77.1 led the way, followed closely by Task Force 75,
the long-range beam destroyers. Here, too, one could find
a few new ships, though not as many, and none were of any
special design. A few minutes later, Task Force 71, the light
cruiser missile ships, entered the jump lane, followed by
Task Force 77, the cruiser carriers and Admiral Stockert's
new flagship, the Hyperion, a battle cruiser class carrier
with more fighters and a significant cluster of PD weaponry.
Finally, Task Force 77.2, composed entirely of the salvageable
PD frigates that survived the Battle of Tamarian, served as
rear guard. These ships, though initially intended for PD
work, would now serve as a decoys and scouts. Most of them
were barely functional, and all were run entirely by AI or
remote control, so they could safely be used as cannon fodder
if needed. It was cheaper to use them up and then salvage
them than to try to repair the extensive damage, though most
of them did carry at least partially functional weapons and
one full load of missiles. With no crew on board they could
not reload after firing, however, so one shot was all that
was loaded. The donated warships of the Trillarians, the Psilons,
and the Raas were split among Task Forces 77.1, 75, and 71,
depending on their function. This was not a time for finesse,
this was a time for a massive assault to overwhelm the Grendarl
During the 6 month journey to the last known bastion of Grendarl
territory, Commodore Goodman ran more drills, including fleet
maneuvers and strategy games. Despite the hyperlight velocities,
the ships could still maneuver and play war games just fine.
One did have to worry about going past the edge of the jumplane
and dropping into a lower 'quality' of hyper-space-time, one
less amicable to hyperlight travel, but this particular jumplane
was plenty wide enough for their purposes.
He also had time to reflect on the past. One particular scene
he enjoyed replaying a few times was the look on Doctor Jones'
face when he delivered the message from Admiral Stockert.
Shortly after his promotion to Commodore, Goodman had spoken
to Stockert and explained the problem he was having with the
arrogant and surly Doctor. Stockert did not seem surprised
to hear this, and Goodman asked why.
"Well, I must apologize for putting him on your crew,
but he was, in some ways, a test of your abilities. I knew
he was a problem crewman, and despite his somewhat above-average
skills as a physician, he simply does not belong in the military.
He's received a discommendation from all nine of his previous
COs, so while I wanted you to have a decent crew, I did want
to see if perhaps you could turn him around, and if not how
you would handle the problem."
"Hmm. Well, I found most of the rest of the crew to
be people I could work with without difficulty. But him I
just cannot get to behave as befits a proper officer."
"I'm not surprised. Well, you have the right to demand
his transfer, and I'll gladly grant it. But if you file his
tenth discommendation it forces a dishonorable discharge."
Goodman smiled. "I'm aware of that. I don't particularly
have any hard feelings against him, but I would not care to
give him to any other CO either. Perhaps I could write up
the discommendation, postdate it one day, sign and file it,
and then show him a copy and tell him he has 24 hours to resign
before that takes effect and he gets kicked out."
This Stockert did react to. Not at first, of course. It took
a second for the sheer audacity of Goodman's plan to sink
in. But then he began to laugh, loudly and freely. "I
love it! By all means, do it, and make sure to have a security
camera operating when you inform him. I want to see the look
on his face after all the hassle he's caused over the past
Goodman did exactly as he described to Stockert, and savored
the moment for weeks afterwards. Sometimes getting even is
worth the trouble.
Also during the journey, Goodman proposed to Commander de
Campos. They were married a few days before the ships arrived
at the exit to the jumplane in a ceremony attended by all
the crew from their days on the Bumblebee, all members of
their graduating classes who were with the fleet, and a smattering
of delegates from the other races as well. Due to the numbers
invited, the ceremony had to be held on the Hyperion, and
Admiral Stockert officiated.
At almost the exact same minute the 7th fleet emerged from
the jumplane into Grendarl territory, the 5th fleet arrived
out of its jumplane and headed over to merge with the 7th
fleet. The task forces remained separated but would work together,
all under the guidance of Admiral Stockert.
The day had arrived. The day to finally teach the Grendarl
true herpatra, the day to show the honorless exiles how to
behave in the new galactic order, the day for research to
triumph over brute strength, and the day of revenge for the
countless innocent dead and wounded who suffered at the claws
of the Grendarl. Or at least that was the plan.