Several hours later…
“Doctor Saeed, status report on our guests” The commander requested over the ships intercom. There was impatience in his voce, as he needed start making some decisions. As he waited for a reply he drummed his fingers on the armrest of the captain’s chair on the bridge of his Idris.
“Sir, All of our guests are expected to survive. The two in the medical bay are in an induced sleep and will be out for another Earth day or so.” Doctor Saeed was exhausted. The two “guests” he received were in bad shape when he received them. The female had lost a significant amount of blood due to a gunshot wound, but also had serious internal injuries from blunt force trauma. The male appeared to have been roughed up quite a bit and had a laceration to the face and a slight fracture to the back of his skull. After several operations he was able to ensure that both prisoners were going to survive.
Saeed had an opportunity to learn more about the events that lead them to their ship when one of the prisoners was brought to him to have a broken arm tended to. He documented the conversation in his logs but had not yet disclosed everything to the commander. He did not trust his commander, but had a burning hatred for the Empire. He had lost his parents when he was young in a Vanduul raid on Orion. The Empire was called in, but they delayed arriving to verify that the rescue operation of the remote planet was within budget allowances. By the time the Empire arrived the Vanduul had left and several score of people were dead, including his parents. The Empire called the operation a stunning success with no ships lost to enemy fire. He was taken to an orphanage. His memories of what occurred at that place were horrible and left him emotionally scarred for many years. Red tape prevented a proper criminal investigation, and he lived as an outcast until he drifted his way to the Outer Worlds.
“Good job Doctor. I trust that you have secured their personal belongings for me to inspect? Just keep the guests well. They have a great worth…” The commander thought about his own ambitions while he responded to the doctor about the prisoners or guests as he liked to call them. He thought that they might be very profitable to him. He had no love of the empire, but even as an officer in the Outer World Alliance he was involved in the resistance more as a means to an end than actually supporting the mission of the Alliance. For all of their talk of liberty and freedom and republican form of government, they ignored the one true freedom: Out in space with a heavily armed ship and disregarding any government except for the one that paid the best. He was his own government and the only sovereignty he recognized as his own mind. Even if Franklin was a fellow officer and highly valuable to the Alliance, if he could further his own freedom by using her for his own purposes then it is just the cold hard fact of life.
A voice from the communication station on the bridge pulled him from his thoughts “Captain Malachi, sir, you better take a look at the vid-comm traffic we are intercepting. I’ve never seen anything like this before!” The Lieutenant manning the station was experienced, having served in the UEE for several years before going AWOL and running off to hide in the fringes of the Empire. The display he was seeing on the video screens was impressive.
“Oh my…” A hushed voice came from behind his station as Captain Malachi approached the communication station and caught a glimpse of the screens. It really was an impressive scene. It was a Bengal carrier with its bridge blown wide open, twisted beams of metal projecting in various directions, the fore side of the flight deck peeled open slightly with the main door completely missing from the ship, and the most amazing was a massive hole in the aft sections of the ship opening the very core of the anti-matter reactors to the void. Through some of the gaps in the holes there was the faint orange glow of fires burning deep inside the ship behind the shields that keep the atmosphere inside. An escort destroyer was rigged to tow the stricken carrier and was the only source of power for the ship. It appeared the video was recorded from a fighter craft and then used to make a briefing file that was being transmit to a courier at the jump point that leads to the Elysium system. The Lieutenant then output the audio to the main bridge speakers.
“…were inflicted; three quarters of our marine compliment, an advocacy attachment relating to the arrest of the conspirator, and roughly three hundred and fifty crewmembers. Official identification of killed or missing is underway. For his dereliction of duty I have placed Admiral Koenig under arrest. Official charges can be determined and filed once we arrive back at Earth. The mutineers and Vanduul conspirators are believed to be deceased. Many of our fighters are heavily damaged, and one of our four strategic bombers was vaporized in the flight deck explosion. I expect…” The report went on several more minutes outlining the exact damage to the ship and their expected arrival to Earth. As the report continued Captain Malachi’s expression went from a slight smirk to a deep dark and gloomy stare. He had just came up with a plan that he believed would take him from being the lowly captain of an old beat up corvette class patrol ship in a some backwater rebellion, to becoming a heroic Admiral in command of a Bengal carrier leading a military coup against the corrupt Imperial government and establishing himself as the ruler of the Empire. He knew that the report was a lie. He knew that voice on the radio from a dark part of his past. It was Shaw that left him to die in a wrecked ship on some asteroid in Spider and then stole every penny his family had. He had now in his grasp a way to get vengeance and glory, and destroy the deep corruption he saw in the government.
“Helm! Plot a course for New York on Earth. Maximum fuel burn! We will refuel in orbit over Earth.” He paused for a second and with an eager gleam in his eyes and a smile on his face hit the ship-wide intercom “My fellow crew, today fortune has smiled on us and brought us a trophy beyond measure. We have a new mission, one of vital importance to our cause for liberty. We are heading at max burn to Earth where WE will change the course of history!” The crew was silent for a few seconds and then resumed their jobs. Malachi was expecting a cheer and applause. Perhaps his speech giving needs some work before ascending to rule. He then called the medical bay “Doctor, let me know as soon as our guests awaken. I have urgent need to speak with them. Forcibly pull them from sleep if they are not awake in ten hours.”