Universal War I: 4672

Chapter 2

Aaron Harper laid back in his seat as the starliner made its final approach for the Earth's atmosphere, it had been eight months since he last took leave. It was a small relief, finally getting away from the nonsense that took place day to day in the Federation Stellar Navy. He looked calmly out of his passenger window, the beautiful blue orb of the Earth hung brightly in the vast blackness of space. A gentle tone chimed from the ship's intercom, "The ship is now making its final landing preparations, for your safety, please remain in you seats and lock in your seatbelts. On behalf of the Solaris Starliner Transportation Company, we welcome you to the planet Earth. Homeworld of the human race." The ship's flight attendant repeated the message again in Anstran and Wezqueemian, the other two primary languages of the Milky Way Galaxy Federation. It was going to another half an hour before the ship made planet fall. Aaron put his head down on the headrest turned on his personal audio system. This was going to be the first time in three years that he had been back on Earth.

The starliner began planet fall and activated its heat shields as it sped down to the Logan Interplanetary Spaceport in Boston. The spaceport was situated on a manmade island about two miles from the coast and city-proper, it had exactly fifty-five steep ramps for the takeoff and landing of large spacecraft, some commercial, some military. As the starliner neared the ramp numbered twenty six, it steepened its dive and put itself in a near-vertical position as its landing gear finally made contact with the ramp, the ship continued to race down the ramp at speeds excess of seven hundred kilometers per hour, as it neared the base of the ramp, retro-thrusters burst to life, gently slowing the ship down to docking speeds as it reached the passenger and cargo terminal. "Passengers may now leave their seats and proceed to the baggage claim and exit. We thank you for choosing Solaris, and look forward to seeing you in the future." One of the flight attendants said, and then repeated herself in Anstran and Wezqueemian.

Aaron got up from his seat and proceeded out of the ship too the passenger exit terminal. A long bridge extended from the ship to the main terminal across the main landing platform. Aaron made his way to the baggage claim area. It was a large room filled with many cylindrical consoles with two boxlike terminals jutting from the sides. Aaron proceeded to the nearest console and inserted his ticket into a receiving slot, the console read his passenger information, and a moment later his baggage materialized from the boxlike terminal that faced his direction, he grabbed his suitcase and duffle bag and headed to the main lobby where his ride would be.

As he approached the doors to the outside he was greeted by the sweet sound of his fiancée, "Aaron!" She yelled joyfully as she playfully hugged him, nearly toppling them both over. "I've missed you, its been a year since we last saw each other!" Carra said just after kissing him on the cheek.

It had been a while, Aaron was the captain for a long patrol squadron of Delta fighters at the edge of the Galaxy. Carra was a squadron dispatcher for a Gerinius Class Light Cruiser the FSS Athens, a ship in the third fleet, far away from the long patrol. Aaron looked around, Boston was a huge dual layer city, with a large plate housing the residential and commercial sectors of the city. All things industrial were on the lower half, where for the most part, sunlight usually never reached. Maglev trains and highways circled upward to the top plate close to the seven large spires which helped keep the plate above ground. "It feels good to be back." He sighed as they both climbed aboard a maglev headed for the main city.

Carra turned to him as they sat on the train, "So, when are you going to be a ship captain?"

"I dunno, whenever they decide I'm done being a squadron leader. Its really hard to make the list."

"Well I know that, but I was just wondering, cause I have some good news."

"Oh really? Whats that?" he turned to her.

"I've made the list. When our captain is done with his tour on the Athens, I'll be taking his place."

"Wow, how'd you pull that off?"

"It wasn't really that hard, the first mate is going to be transferred as well, and the captain put me in for recommendation on my last Eval."

"That easy huh? Damn, I wish I could pull that off."

"Well maybe if you'd let your dad pull some strings for you, you could."

"But that's the cheap way into things, and I'm afraid that would just put me in as just another rank rat, clawing and teething his way to the top."

"Hey, I'm just saying, Its not often you find somebody who's father is the High Admiral of the entire Earth Fleet Command of the Federation. I'd take advantage if I were you."

"I'd rather get my rank on merit over anything else. Besides I think my time will come."

"So the entire long patrol was completely destroyed?" Admiral Harper asked his executive officer as they rushed into emergency passenger loading bay of the F.S.S. Atlantis, the largest Super-Carrier of the Earth Fleet Command, and the Flagship of the Milky Way Galaxy Federation. It was joined by hundreds of other Flagships from their respective races, the F.S.S. Gevhanda-Tuh of the Wezqueemian Empire, and the F.S.S. Y'Tk of the Coronan Star Command were also present in orbit around the moon Anstra of the Planet Vega IV.

"Yes sir, there have been no reports of survivors since the distress signal was received. Since then the Anstrans called for an emergency meeting of all the major member races of the Federation." They sat down inside the VIP portion of the transport as it prepped for planet-fall into the Anstran atmosphere. The transport sped down towards a massive pyramid in the center of the Anstran capital, hundreds of other transports already circled the pyramid waiting for it to grant entrance. For as they all knew, this was a time of emergency and even deep within the federation capital, there was a sense of extreme urgency, the traffic in the Anstran capital was heavier than usual as ship after ship dropped down from orbit for the emergency assembly. The general public was still yet to be aware of what was happen in the outskirts of the galaxy only that they were being delayed from their usual daily routines. There was chaos in the streets as curious onlookers crowded around the capital center, the media was quick to reach the scene as several media ships attempted to get closer to the ring of ships around the main pyramid.

Police craft kept a tight parimeter around the pyramid. Preventing the media from gaining entrance with the many diplomatic ships making landings onto a large landing-surface the extended from the tip of the pyramid. "Sir, the Anstran air traffic control is granting us clearance we are headed in." the pilot turned back toward the passenger compartment. "Holy shit! We got incoming!"

A Wezqueemian media ship attempted a bold entrance into the pyramid as it weaved past the police ships and cut directly in front of the Earth shuttle. The shuttle pilot pulled up out of the line of fire as the Anstran police opened fire on Wezqueemian ship, it turned away from the pyramid and was finally halted by the police. The shuttle continued down to its landing pad. "You know that with a situation like this it won't belong before the whole galaxy finds out" the executive officer stated.

"It isn't our intention to hide it, but we don't need it spilling over our laps either."

"I think it already has…"

D'Forim looked out over the city, the entire sky was filled with chaos. "That was a close one there, which company was it that nearly sideswiped the Earthlings?"

"That was a Wezqueemian newscaster, we don't know at the moment which one."

"Is the conference hall ready?"

"Yes your lordship, it is also nearly fully, the Earthlings will be the last to enter."

"Make sure that the Wezqueemian company responsible for the fiasco out there issues a written apology to the Earthling government. Will the Celletrainians be joining us today?"

"Not officially today your lordship, but they did send in an observer."

"They are far to distant and reserved to be a reliable ally."

"But their rugged nature may prove useful if things take a turn for the worse." E'Matan said as she emerged from her quarters. D'Forim and his assistant took a bow of respect to their high priestess, which in fact was a merely a formality, but her true talent was her foresight and knowledge of the times before the Federation.

"My lady, the counsel is assembled." D'Forim said as he stood back up from the bow.

"Lets not keep them waiting."