A/N: And, the long-awaited sequel to Commander of War! If you haven't read Commander of War, I do suggest you read it before you read this one. It will help you greatly. If anyone's reading this, please review. Please? :-D The site for the saga can be found at: http://www.geocities.com/commanderofwar . Enjoy the story!
Commander Kent Jalnie, or KJ as he was called, stood on the observation deck of the newly reconstructed space dock.
The fleet from Komani had helped win the Battle of Copser, but the fleet had lost at least twenty ships. Engineers said it could take up to a half of a year to get the fleet back up to what it had been.
But it could not replace the Huok, in spirit, or those on board. Jalnie thanked whoever had been watching over him that he had been temporarily transferred to the Maspo. After they had limped back to Komani, that had been his current assignment. Now, while the fleet was being returned to normal, there was a war to fight. Komani would not make it official until the fleet was at full, but it was still a war.
His attention returned to space, at the two ships being commissioned, the I. K. S. Asnum and it's sister ship, the I. K. S. Jacques. Most everyone knew of Mylo and Jaslyn's marriage, but it seemed right to honor them separately.
Applause rang out in the room, in the station, on the ships and on the planet.
I'm ready, he told the stars, just tell me what I need to do.
Commander Kent Jalnie turned off his datapad in disgust. Rumors were flying around the suddnely-back-on-its-feet Komani Fleet. Those rumors were about his old ship, his old crewmates, his old commanding officers. Primarily, it was two commanding officers in paticular. Captain Jaslyn Asnum--Jaslyn Jacques, he corrected himself, and Commander Mylo Jacques. The rumors said that the two were part of an ancient Copsernem prophecy.
Kent snorted to himself. Copsernem prophecy. What would Jacques and. . . Jacques have to do with the Copsernems? True, Jaslyn had been influential in the attack on Copser only three months ago. The attack in which Jaslyn had paid the ultimate price. The attack in which a lot of Komani-and Copsernems-had paid the ultimate price.
But to take Jaslyn and Mylo down after their deaths was unacceptable to Kent. They had protected and served the Komani Empire without doubt. Now there was all this talk of them being the only hope to save the entire universe.
Kent sighed as a communication came in for him.
"Jalnie," Admiral Hayes greeted him. "We have some news from the front."
"Oh?" he asked.
"Yes," her face started to pale. "And I think you'd better get down here."
On the way to Komani Fleet HQ, Kent's mind raced with the possibilities of this meeting. Was it another promotion? A demotion? A death sentence?
He took a deep breath and ordered his mind to calm down. There wad to be a reason that Hayes would call him down here. And he knew he would find out in a matter of minutes.
Even the facts could not calm his mind. The places that the public airbus stopped at did not help, either. Kent silently wondered why he took the public transportation. Thankfully, no one on the airbus seemed to recognize his face, even in his tan Komani uniform. Or, at least he didn't think anyone was taking notice of him.
A man that was seated across from him locked eyes with him. "Damn Fleeters," the man hurled at Kent. "They always think they're better than us."
He was momentarily taken aback. "Sir?"
"You heard me."
"I did. Why do you think us 'damn Fleeters' are better than you?" he asked, hoping the man would give in to reason.
"The way you put your uniform on to wander about the planet."
Kent allowed a small smile. "Might I ask, sir, what I should wear to meet an admiral of the Fleet?"
A chuckle rose from the airbus.
This managed to only anger the man more. "Then you don't need to us ethe public transportation system."
He was insulted. "I do consider myself a citizen of Komani."
"Oh, really," the man drawled. "Well, then. Since you consider yourself a citizen, why don't you become a civilian?"
The whole airbus, including the driver, had become caught up in the arguement. Kent stood up. "Mister, I don't know who you are. Nor do I care. All I know is that the Fleet does not think we are better. I know a whole ship that risked the lives of its crew for the safety of Komani-"
"And I fought for Komani here, three months ago, on the ground!"
"You think that I haven't? I have. On Congail III."
The man's eyes grew wide. The next thing Kent knew, he was on the floor with a headache and blood falling from his nose and mouth, dripping on his uniform.
Hayes isn't going to like this, he thought.
He pulled himself up, blinking against dizziness.
"I lost friends on Congail III. And my wife."
"It was not my fault. I merely fought," he insisted.
"So did she. She was in the Fleet, too."
"Who was she?"
The man's eyes darkened. "It does not matter. Get off."
Kent raised his eyebrow. "Why?"
"I wish you to. And assuming you don't wish to dirty that uniform more."
He sight. "I can ride if I wish. You are not the Conglamanen."
"I may not be. But you are making me uncomfortable."
He decided for the sake of preventing another confrontation, he would get off and walk the rest of the way.
"All right," he walked to the front of the airbus and started to descent the stairs.
"Don't let me see you again," the man called after him.
Kent was off the bus and walking off, watching it fly away when he remembered a detail of the mission he had discussed.
There had been no women fighting on Congail III.
Kent walked into Fleet HQ, earning stares when he walked by people. Reaching the turbolift, he leaned against the wall and relaxed.
His relaxation ended abruptly when the lift ride ended on the floor of the office of Admiral Hayes. More stares followed him up to the Admiral's door. He rang the chime.
Kent walked in the door and saluted. Admiral Hayes stared at his nose and stained uniform.
"I can explain," he said.
The Admiral's expression stayed confused. "Please, do."
"I was riding on the airbus. Public airbus. In uniform. THere was this man who. . . does not like the Fleet. He punched me after I said that I had fought at Congail III. Would you like to know his excuse?"
"That his wife fought and died there, an officer of the Fleet. It took me until I was off the bus that no women fought on the Fleet side at Congail III."
Hayes raised her eyebrow. "A spy?"
"Perhaps," he said. "If that's the case, which side?"
"That's the real question," she said. "I'll have someone look into it. But I did call you here for something."
"It had to do with news from the front," Silently he thought, Where I would much rather be.
"Did you ever hear the Copsernem prophecies that Jaslyn and Commander Jacques were supposed to be a part of?"
Hayes nodded. "After the Copsernems started to give up the fight two months ago, many had to stay behind on Copser after her capture."
"Those shis couldn't hold everybody."
"Indeed. But the mostly civilian population that was left behind began to act. . . strangely."
"About the time that the news of the Huok's destruction reached them," Hayes said. "They started to band together and. . . worship. . ."
She paused. "We think they're worshiping the Commander of War and her Follower."
Kent frowned. "Jaslyn and Mylo."
"Why is this important?"
She paused again. "Those left behind seem to claim that they have seen the ghosts of those two."
"Is it? There have been reports of other worlds seeing them."
"In ghost form?"
"In ghost form," she confirmed.
He sighed. "Let me guess. I am to be bait."
"Not exactly," she said. "You are to go out on the front and scan for anything abnormal."
"A science vessel could do that," he insisted. He wanted to be on the front fighting, not scanning for abnormalities!
"Under normal circumstances, I would agree, but we are in a state of war. All the science ships are slowly and painfully being upgraded into warships."
"What do I take?"
Hayes broke into a grin, "I was only waiting for you to ask."