Swift Fox and the Pirates of the Jackai, Part Thirty-eight
The IPF Osprey, main bridge
Commander Jarin watched through the view screen as the Night Sky hung like a child’s mobile above a crib. He was calm, but deep in thought of what had just transpired. The bridge crew heard about the loss of the Vulpine pilot, they all heard his last transmission before crashing into the base of the laser lance. Some might have considered it callous, but he could not dwell on that. Especially now, as he took note of the arrival of the Tiger’s Pride.
“Admiral Felan Tal is on approach, Commander,” the helm officer announced.
“I can see that, yes,” he said and turned to the officers at the diagnostic station. “I’ll need a report for the Admiral. Prepare damage report and casualty reports.” The officer nodded in reply then began to gather that information. Most likely the same was being performed on the Kestrel as they spoke. He turned to the communications officer and spoke in a solemn voice. “Please send condolences for the loss of the Vulpine pilot. Let Captain Clarendale know that we send our best to the squadron, and please prepare a message to be sent to the pilot’s family.” Jarin straightened his tunic and cleared his throat before he began issuing new orders. “Open joint hailing frequencies with the Kestrel. We need to greet the Tiger’s Pride.”
Jarin and Yenna remained on open communication as they kept themselves busy with incoming reports of ship’s status. Four dead Kestrel, five dead on the Osprey, all on lower decks when the Night Sky made her initial attack. They were lucky, it wasn’t many ships that survived an attack from a Pantheran destroyer. The combined efforts of the two Stalkers and the Vulpine fighter pilots were enough, but at the cost of ten lives.
Jarin stood at attention as word came in that the Osprey and Kestrel were being hailed by the Tiger’s Pride. He could only imagine that Yenna was performing the same function on board her vessel. Right on cue, Admiral Felan Tal spoke over the comm to both ships.
“Commanders,” Tal said as his image came over the view screen on the communications console. “You’ve dealt the Night Sky a heavy blow, you are to be commended.”
“We had assistance, Admiral,” Yenna spoke up, a smaller image displaying the Kestrel commander next to the Admiral’s on the console view screen. “The Midnight Squadron were most effective in taking out sensors, short range weapons and the Night Sky’s laser lance.”
“Impressive,” Tal replied with a nod. “I will have to commend Colonel Dawkins on the training of his crew.”
“There was one casualty among the fighter pilots,” Jarin informed the Admiral. Tal leaned forward, indicating to Jarin he should continue. “Corporal Maynard, as we are told, was struck by debris from the lance. His craft spun out of control and crashed.”
“Corporal Maynard,” Tal thought for a moment. “A new recruit of Dawkins’?”
“No sir,” Yenna spoke up. “Maynard was a bounty hunter. Royal Vulpine Authority. Under command of Lieutenant Senia Felix of the Nighthawk Squadron. He was part of the group that attacked the laser lance.”
Felan Tal nodded as he thought back to what Tor Clarendale told him. Tal knew that Authority members would be on board. One of them was now dead. Riktar would have a great deal of explaining to do. “I want to see a full report,” Tal finally said. “Structural repairs needed to both your ships and casualty report. As for your actions, you and your crews will be commended. You have helped in protecting the peace. I offer you my congratulations.” He nodded, then ended the transmission. He had Commander Riktar to speak with.
Main bridge of the IPF Night Sky
Riktar was furious and desperate. Two Stalker class ships and a handful of fighters had taken out the effectiveness of a Pantheran destroyer. His crew was scrambling to make repairs and divert power. Charging up the lance had reduced a great deal of the ship’s main power, having it destroyed seemed like it was a complete and total waste.
“Commander,” his communications officer called out, though in a rather timid voice. “We are being hailed. By the Tiger’s Pride.”
Riktar looked to the communications office and scowled. “Don’t answer it. I won’t be speaking with that filthy Jackai today.”
“Oh, I think you will,” a voice came over the communications console. Riktar turned to look at the main view screen, which held the image of Admiral Felan Tal. He looked very angry. “Don’t forget, Commander. I hold the encryption keys to contact any ship I wish to that is under my command. And you are still under my command, Riktar.” Riktar moved to his command console, a look of mixed disgust and dejection covering his face.
“Admiral Felan Tal, if only you…” his words were cut short by a roar from Tal. Even over the vastness of a mere communications link, Riktar found himself slightly startled.
“You will answer for this treason, Riktar,” Tal informed the commander with a voice that displayed not only his displeasure, but the serious nature of the situation. “You have broken several Pantheran laws merely by firing on ships aligned with the Imperial Pantheran Fleet. That will be your treason. But you have also broken code with the Lupine Treaties. Opening fire on a Vulpine vessel, aligning yourself with known pirates, and the destruction and death of a member of the Royal Vulpine Authority.” Tal read the quizzical expression on Riktar’s face. “You didn’t know. Well, maybe you can pass that off when the Vulpine Authority wishes to question you. But let me inform you. The Revenge had three bounty hunters from the Authority stationed on the Revenge. Corporal Maynard, under the command of one Lieutenant Senia Felix, died as they attempted to destroy the laser lance that you ordered to be powered up.” Tal didn’t wait for any reaction from Riktar at all. He punched in the encryption codes into his communications console, and soon his voice went ship wide on the Night Sky.
“This is Admiral Felan Tal. Now hear this,” Tal’s voice seemed to boom over the ship wide intercom. “All hands will surrender weapons and stand down. All on board are effectively placed into my custody. If you are able and willing to present evidence against Commander Riktar for his treasonous actions, that will be taken into consideration. If you struggle and attempt to fight off the squadron of Central Council agents that are on route to the Night Sky now, then you will be meet with a harsh offense. That is all.” Tal switched the communications back to the bridge of the Night Sky, speaking directly to Riktar. “For your actions, Commander, I hereby strip you of rank. You will be placed in my custody where you will be transported to the nearest detention facility. You will await trial there. That is all.”