Captain Miller sat down in the briefing room in the chair to the right of the head of the table as she had since she'd gotten this rank.
The 'Crew' as they were called was the old crew of the HMS Heracles.All had gotten promotions to new slots in the ever expanding fleet of the Star Empire of Manticore.
She looked up as Admiral Kratzer entered with Commodore Masters. They all sat down and Kratzer placed diNozzo in his lap, the 'cat flattening his ears before curling his tail around him.
Commodore William Masters was the flag officer of a battlecruiser squadron. Promoted quickly from his slot as XO to Captain of BC, spending some time there before earning a slot as a flag officer. Masters missed being a regular officer, but on the upside, his flag ship had an actual hot tub installed by the yard.
"Since everyone else is dealing with their own areas of command, I'll start. As you probably know, we had a visitor about a day ago." Kratzer said, tapping a button on the terminal in front of him and a hologram sprung to life showing said visitor in full detail. "Turns out it was HMS Heracles, our old ships, manned by the old 'crew'."
"We have reason to believe that a star system near by, which was earmarked for scientific study earlier, produced an anomaly which allowed a parallel universe to connect to ours. This is where this ship came from." Miller made a motion at the hologram. "We've done all we can do in this universe. I may be just a Captain, but I have some connections, our navy is starting to rust, we need to shake that off."
"While I am usually all for attacking upstarts and assholes, how do we know their Star Empire, or whatever, isn't as powerful as us?" Masters said, bringing up some information on his terminal.
"Simple." Miller said. "If HMS Heracles, in its original form, exists, then they are still divided into different nations. We all know that we wouldn't be in the slots we had if we had decided to keep Heracles the joke of the fleet. Their was a symbolic meaning behind destroying her under the guns of our new posts, to show that we matured and can act like officers of the RMN, ones willing to do whatever necessary to make sure the Empire is always on top." She stood to pace around the table. "But if this other universe were to discover our nation and take a disliking to the way it has succeeded, they may attack. As powerful as we are, we still have weak spots. We can not station full fleets in every back water system, its a fact of space navies, it just doesn't work trying to cover all the bases all the time."
Kratzer nodded. "Then we'll gather up the fleet and get the science people working on how these people got here. We'll station ourselves and our screen with the science ships to make sure no one gets any bright ideas while the rest of the fleet pulls itself together and covers the areas they are leaving."
"And what about this other Heracles?" The Commodore asked.
"I'll have Shadow do exactly what her names suggests. Keep an eye on them and report back whenever possible." Miller tapped a message into a terminal and sent it off. "They are not getting away from me again."
"Alright I am seriously freaked out here." Caitlyn said, holding SnowFire tightly in her arms. The treecat was trying to soothe her, but the female 'cat obviously was just as confused.
"Never saw you acting like that, remind me never to approve any promotions for you ever." Will said and while Caitlyn didn't respond, the dagger glare from SnowFire made him take a step back.
Captain Kratzer sighed. "Look I know what we just saw was freaky, confusing and a bit scary, but we made it out alive... but I have to wonder what kind of Star Empire Manticore really is if they let officers like that take control of SDs. I'm afraid we won't be finding any help there,"
"You know what I was just thinking?" Will said, leaning back against a bulkhead. "So the Ywo is now Flag Captain, your an Admiral. Where is everyone esle? Did other Miller kill them off or something?"
"No, even at my worst I don't think I would allow my flag captain to kill all my other officers." Jim tapped a note into his memopad. "We need to go someone else, I was thinking Haven."
"Sir, I don't know if that's the best idea." Caitlyn said. "Looking at it this way, if Manticore is bitchy enough that they're powerful, Haven probably isn't in a alliance and still enemies, maybe even at war."
"You know for a Yeoman, you know an awful lot." Will pointed out.
"And for an officer in the RMN, you're pretty ragged looking, what's your point? I bring up a perfectly valid point, one which could stop our ship from being blown to smithereens the second it shows it face."
"She has a point, we just need to be careful and announce ourselves, probably a bit differently than we normally would..."
It took a while to reach Haven. Even with the ship skirt the absolute top band of hyper it was a maddening wait. Captain Jim Kratzer was doing his best along side his wife to keep the crews spirits up, but it was easy to tell from the lack of usual pranks and friendly contests in the gaming library that everyone knew something was up.
When it was time for Heracles to exit hyper, the captain had taken up command of his ship, dressed in his skinsuit just in case the worst happened. Praying to every god he knew of, he hoped to hell (not the planet) and back that Haven would not open fire on his command.
That familiar feeling of mausea came and went and he watched as the plot began to show details of the system. NO picket ships in range, no merchant traffic. Soon the tactical officer was sending out drones to help them see farther.
This WAS the Haven system. Astrogation checked it over, but there were no ships.
"Oh my God."
That whispered prayer was as loud as though someone had dropped a wine glass to the deck. Fearing the worst he forced his eyes to the screen which eld the data which the tactical officer was so shocked about.
It was Haven alright.
Except it was burning.
This was no fire, it was literally burning, the atmosphere filled with black clouds as smoke filled the air.
Heracles pulled into orbit, and Captain Kratzer could not believe it. Someone had actually done it, violating the Eridani Edict, and turning a planet into a probably not too metaphorical billiard ball. He wondered how the the Sollies had reacted, anyone who violated the Eridani Edict obviously either had the strength to stand up to the League or was so small and insignificant that they managed to get away with it before disappearing into no where. Neither really made sense. Even at Manticore's strongest, while taking on the league was not exactly a piece of cake, they could of done it before everything had been destroyed and Haven had decided enough was enough and join forces against the real enemy.
And the body count alone made him feel sick. The Yawata Strike had a death toll he hated to consider, but the glassing of a whole planet? There was no way such a population center could of been evacuated in time, especially if the fleet which was supposed to be protecting it had been totally defeated.
"A whole planet... gone. Dead. Glassed." He said to himself quietly.
"This is going to be more difficult than I thought."