A Clandestine Exchange
Admiral Emily Sanchez drums her fingers impatiently against the arm of her chair as she watches Imperial Minister Michael Coltraine putter about her command centre, poking curiously into her people's business and generally making a nuisance of himself. At that moment, he had bumped into yet another technician, causing this one to spill his coffee.
Who the hell let this man out of his cage? she fumes silently. And why do I have to be here on the Endeavour instead of my normal command, the Nemesis?
Minister Coltrain had been obnoxiously sparse with details when he'd contacted her last week with her new orders. She was to transfer her flag from her carrier to the fleet's primary heavy cruiser and take them out to some godforsaken coordinates off some godforsaken coast without any escort or even a reason for it. What was worse, he insisted that he needed to be there. A dozen of his trained special forces goons had required berths, and Sanchez was hearing rumours that they were there in case of a mutiny. She wondered what they could be doing that was so bad as to spark a mutiny. She'd never had any discipline or morale problems with her fleet.
Blithely indifferent to the chaos he's causing, Coltrain wanders over to Sanchez's chair. "Has there been any communication from our hosts?"
She shakes her head, quickly counting to ten before responding. "No, Minister. If there had, you would have heard it from Lieutenant Piers over there."
"Yes, of course," Coltrain said smoothly. "It's just that my orders are awfully vague. I have no more idea of what to expect than you do, hence the nature of your orders. But since the Emperor signed off on them, we have no choice but to obey, yes?"
Sanchez frowns and leans in toward Coltrain, pitching her voice so only he can hear. "I thought the Emperor had been crippled in an attack. How could he sign off on this?"
Coltrain grins and continues in a normal voice, clearly ignoring Sanchez's concerns. "Oh, the Emperor was hurt, but the government goes on. He set safeguards in place against such an emergency, and they are working well. But for your information, the Emperor is not quite so crippled as you might think. We're receiving regular communication from him, and expect to have him back within a month good as new."
Sanchez's frown gets deeper. "That's impossible. He was caught in an explosion and suffered severe head injuries. Nobody walks away from that in a month. He's just a man, not a god."
Coltrain leans forward conspiratorially. "Ah, but our Emperor has friends in high places." He gestures toward the ceiling. "He's not in the capital right now, or even on the same planet. He's being rebuilt so you'd never know he was hurt. We're told to expect him back soon."
Sanchez sits back, stunned by the news. She was pleased, of course, not only out of patriotism but because she honestly felt he was a competent leader. She wasn't so sure she liked meeting him, but he carried himself with an air of authority and confidence that reassured her military proprieties. Certainly, the gamble he'd played in Sisgardia had paid off, and she'd been rewarded with a promotion out of it. It had allowed her to command the strike force that assaulted Iaceo, and she'd taken grim satisfaction in carrying out that task to perfection.
"So, what are we waiting for?" she asks quietly.
"President Allenson. We're supposed to meet him for some sort of prisoner exchange. We weren't given any details other than to show up here in a battleship, alone, with a special forces detachment. We'll receive further instructions then. So now we're waiting."
Sanchez clenches her hand in fury. "You knew this all along? And you didn't see fit to inform me of this?"
"You didn't need to know, Admiral," Coltrain informs her coldly. "Allenson wants a high ranking government official present, presumably to treat with. I wasn't told much more than that, I just needed you to get me here."
"You might have had the courtesy of filling me in, at least once we'd left port," Sanchez retorted. "This is my fleet and my responsibility. You can't expect me to make informed decisions if you keep me in the dark like this!"
"And what would you do with that information, Admiral? Relay it to your officers? Let them gossip about it with their departments? Let the news leak out to possible traitors or sleeper agents? You didn't need to know. But now we are here, and I've informed you."
Coltraine turns without waiting for a reply and leaves the room at a stately pace.
Sanchez pounds the arm of her chair in frustration. Damn him! This isn't about politics, this is about life and death! How dare he? After a while she settles down and a smile crosses her face. At least it got him off my deck.
President Allenson sat in the helicopter looking out at the open ocean. flanking his helicopter where two gunships. Over on the the horizon he could just make out the silhouette of a ship.
"Is that them?"
"Yes" answers a voice in his head set. "Sat com says the area's clear"
"Good, pilot requests landing"
"Attention Treznor vessel, this is Tappee Presidental fligh 08-7 request permission for approach vector, followed by landing protocol"
The last thing anyone wanted was for the Treznor ship to shoot them out air. Allenson watched as their escort broke formation and began to head back home. now all they could do was wait for approval.
"Admiral, I have a contact on my scope bearing One Seven Four by Zero Three Niner! Designate contact Alpha-One."
As Sanchez prepares to respond, she is interrupted by her communications officer. "Admiral, I have the Tappee President on the horn. They're requesting landing instructions."
Sanchez nods sharply. "Okay, good. Give them clearance to land, and make it a soft one. This is why we're here. Jimmy, keep a sharp eye on that scope. If anything else shows up on the screen, I want to know about it."
"Captain," Sanchez turns to the master of the boat. "I suggest you clear the decks. I'll inform Minister Coltraine that it's time for him to do his job."
Allenson sits in shear awe at the magnificance at the amount of fire power the the Treznor ship has. For a moment he almost felt sorry for the Iaceo force that had found themself at the other end of her gun at the begining of the conflict. Treznor had defineitly sent the right ship for the job. his thoughts where inpterput by the pilot
"Mr President we've been cleared to land, we should be touching down in 5 sir"
"Very well, as soon as we're off I want you to head back, until I call for you. understand."
Imperial Minister Michael Coltraine waits on the forward deck of the Treznor Imperial Vessel Endeavour near the helipad. It's a far cry from how he normally conducts business, but he doesn't have much choice in the matter.
At least I've gotten past that damned sea-sickness. I thought I was going to throw up my lungs for a while.
He puts on a big smile as Allenson steps down from the Tappee helicopter and reaches out to offer his hand. "Mister President, it's an honour to receive you! If you'll come with me, we can get out of this wind."
Allenson follows man who meet at the helipad into the ship. If memory serves him the man he just meet was Michael Coltraine one of Treznor's minister that he had meet during his last visit.
"Mr Coltraine, if its ok with you I would like to meet with the commander of this ship so that we can talkabout how to procced from here. I would suggest that we do it rather quickly as well only have small window of oppertunity."
Coltraine nods. "I was wondering about that. Come with me, please. Captain Inchon and Admiral Sanchez are waiting in the command centre." He turns and leads the way into the bowels of the vessel.
"I'm sorry we couldn't supply a battleship as you asked; when we contracted with the Grendels to build a fleet for us, they recommended we forego the bulk of a battleship and stick with heavy cruisers. They have almost as much firepower, but they're more maneuverable. I thought it odd that the Emperor would choose to purchase vessels when we produce so many weapons and military vehicles of our own, but war isn't my department."
Eventually, they arrive at a hatch with two armed sentries standing guard. "Gentlemen, this is the President of Tappee. We're here to see the Captain."
The sentries eye Coltraine suspiciously, then Allenson with equal suspicion. Then one of them opens the door. "A moment, Sir." He ducks in and closes the hatch, then opens it a moment later. "Sirs, they're ready to receive you."
Coltraine again leads the way and finds the command centre staff standing at attention.
A tall, pleasant-looking woman steps forward to offer her hand. "President Allenson, I'm Admiral Sanchez. Captain Inchon is in command of the vessel, but I'm in charge of this operation. Under Minister Coltraine, of course." She nods toward Coltraine. "What can we do for you?"
Allenson shakes teh Admirals hand "Nice to meet you Admiral" then does the same for the Captain. "Captain Inchon"
Now that the introduction where done Allenson continues "I will get straight the point as time is not on our side." he studies everyones responce trying to decide how to procced. "We are currently standing over a top secret military prison that is located on the ocean floor nearly four miles below us. The facility is completely mobile, and for security reasons it changes locations every 8 days. It's schedualed to depart in 7 hours, so we have to move fast. The subermarine which is going to take us down should be arriving in" Allenson glances at his watch " 23 mins. it will take us two hour to get there and two hours back, this gives us three window at the facility. There are six open seats on the sub. one will be taken by Mr Coltraine, and another by myself, so you have four seat that can be filled by anyone want."
"Now thereare a number of rules for anyone going down. One, no projectile weapons, reason why will explain once we're onboard the sub. two you will follow all instruction that I give you."
Allenson turns to the Admiral. "I don't mean any disprespect here Admiral, but given the nature of the exchange. I would like to offer some adivise. with the execption of the sub treat anyone that comes near this ship as a hostile. Even if it one of mine. My people are unders not to come nears us unless I call for them."
Allenson directs his attention back to the entire group. "I know that I'm coming off as rather demanding here. But we have a series of protocols for this type of situation that must be followed. If I've offened anyone I'm sorry. Now, is there any questions that have that I can answer before our ride arrives?"
"We have a pinpoint on there location, sir. A wing is ready to be sent out at your command."
General Yalsti sighed, and rests his face in his hands. "You know that I don't have a choice in this, don't you, Sallan?"
"Of course, sir." Sallan lied through his teeth. However, he wanted to the generals job, and leading the general to believe that his ridiculous plan would work out best would surely get him fired.
All of a sudden the door is thrown open. A bald, short and rather wide man barges in, face beet red.
"I was wondering when you would get here, Hasor." He knew that the leader of Melforlian Beaurau of Intelligence would be along one time or another.
"Thats my man whose prisoner, Yalsti! You can't do this to him!"
"And nor can I allow him to remain prisonner!"
"But blowing up the whole convoy? That's presterous! You'll start a war, Yalsti! He's one man, he can't do that much damage."
"I've run out of options, Hasor. He knows to much about that day, not to mention all the information he's gathered in his work. He can't be allowed be allowed to fall into enemy hands." Yalsti's face pales slightly. Resolving himself, he gives the order.
"Send the wing."
Coltraine nods. "I brought a dozen special forces personnel, as requested. I'll have my four best get ready to join us. We can leave in a few minutes."
Sanchez clears her throat for attention. "Minister, with all due respect, the men and women under your command are all trained in counter-intelligence and SAG operations. You haven't got a single sailor among them. If you're going to be traveling by water, I seriously suggest you take advantage of my people. I have a team of well-rounded deep-sea divers ready to go. I really think you should take two of them."
Coltraine frowns, clearly unhappy at having his authority questioned.
Allenson stood on the port side of the ship. Looking at his watch
He glances up just and time to see the hull of the sub emerge from the watery depth's. He lets out a bit of a sigh.
"Well Mr Coltraine I hope you and the Admiral have decided who's come along, cause our ride is here, and they what for no one. not even me. I want everyone board in 10 min. Anyone with a side arm, leave it here."
He glances over at Mr Coltraine "Hope your not Closter Phobic Mr Coltraine" abit of a smile come over his face.
Coltraine swallows nervously, then nods to Sanchez. "All right, Admiral. I'll take one of your people. I'll bring the rest from my people. Let's go!" He steps lively out of the command centre to get things ready. Sanchez shrugs and smiles at Allenson before turning to Inchon to discuss who will be going with them.
Seaman Jorge Jones assembles on the deck five minutes later with his gear, ready to board the sub. Coltraine shows up with two minutes to spare, two men and one woman in tow. He glares impotently at Jones before nodding to Allenson. "We're ready, Mister President."
Once everyone's board Allenson take a quick count just to make sure that they have everybody. Once everyone's been accounted for he seals the hatch. The submarine is rather cramped at the front sit's two pilots, there are only cm of free space around them. at the back is a washroom facility. in between the two is the crew section. three seats on each side. Passanger sit with their back the wall, and have only a foot of space sperating them from the people in the other side.
Allenson makes his way past everyone to where the pilots are asking them a few questions after he done he turns and adresses everyone.
"Ok everyone listen up. his facilty is extremely secure. The prisoners that call it home are to dangerous to be free, but to valuable to be dead. A number of countries rent space from us. So under no circumstance are we going to allow anyone to escape. The Facility is rig with explosives, so should the base be attacked they are under orders to detonate. As a backup system we have a state of the art air filteration system on board, which as able to detect a single molecule of gunpower in a cubic meter of air, if any is detected an automated system will also detonate the explosives." He allows his words to sink in "What this means is that if the is any gun fire while we are on board, we're all dead. As a percautionary measure you'll find a change of clothes under your seat, if you all will be kind enough to change into them before reach our destination that would be great. Please feel free to use the bathroom located at the back of the ship. Now the pilot tells me the the decent will take just of two hours." He glances over at Mr Coltraine "If any of you are feeling I'll you find bag just to your right"
Now that he's done play stewardess he take his seat across from Mr. Coltraine.
"Well Mr Coltraine it would appear that we have some time to kill. Tell me hows Emperor Treznor. I've been unable to ascertain his status, I was wondering if you could give me any news?"
Coltraine looks a little green, as does two of his operatives. Crewman Jones smirks a brief grin at the newbies who never spent much time in the water and begins to change his clothes as requested. After some hesitation, the others comply.
"T-The Emperor's condition has been stabilised," Coltraine replies in answer to Allenson's request. "They...they anticipate his recovery will take another month, and then he'll be able to resume his full duties. I received my orders from him...directly." As he stumbles through his change of clothes, he eyes the vomit bag suspiciously. He can't decide if he's going to need it or not.
A moment later, he decides he does. Shortly after, so do his three agents. Jones just casts a wry grin at Allenson.
Allenson couldn't help but chuckle to himself after the look Jones had given him after the others got sick. He ould have prefered it if Mr Coltraine had allowed the Admiral to get her way, it would have made the trip much more enjoyable. As the other settled in he didn't think that they'd be up for much conversation, as most of their attenttion was diverted to keeping what remained of their lunches in their stomach. So with and hour left in the trip Allenson trun to the person he could.
"So Mr Jones how long have you served in the Navy?"
"I'm in my second tour of duty, Sir," Jones says politely. "It's been six years since I joined. Not much call for my specialty in the civilian world, so I re-upped. I'll probably do it again in a couple of years when my contract comes due. I love the sea. Nothing calmer than the ocean at fifty fathoms."
Allenson smiles "I couldn't agree more"
After some time, and much silence one of the pilots yells out to Allenson
"Mr President, we're five min out, security codes, have been cleared. We've been cleared for enterty. Oh Mr. President I would suggest you change." Allenson looks down at his clothes, How could he have forgot.
He finishes changing just in time as the sub shackes as it complete's its docking procedures. He makes his way over to the hatch and waits for the red light to turn green. When it does he opens this hatch. there's a hissing sound as a bit if air rushs it way of the due to the pressure change.
Enough the they'd adjust to the pressure on the way down Allensons ears where still poping.
"If everyone will follow me" Allenson makes his through the hatch and climbs up the narrow tube making his way up towards the main chamber.
As he reaches the top of the ladder a friendly hand reaches out to him helping him complete the journey. Allenson turns and help the others make their way up. Once everyone up they form a small group, the man who helped Allenson up stands infront of them The main chamber is a 15X15 room with a tunnel the backend of the room which leads back to the sub, and a door at the other end with two guards with shock sticks.
"Hello my name is Jett Ried, and I'm the warden of this facility. Welcome to SP-15. Before we procced does anyone have any questions "
"Crewman Jones, of the TIV Endeavour, Sir," Jones says, saluting. "May I ask, what are your procedures in case of an emergency? Most of us haven't been this deep, before."
Coltraine shoots him an angry glance, but keeps his mouth shut.
"I'm glad you asked mr Jones. there is only one way outof this faciltiy, and that the way you just came. In case on an emergany make your way to the sub. my and my crew are underorder to stay. If the alarm goes off you will have three min to get back to the sub before the explosive charges goes off. Don't event think of try to swim outside. we're four miles down and you'll be crushed like a walnut. In case of fire you find fire hoses as well breathing equipment through out the facility."
Ried glances over at one the guards who hands him clip boarded with a series of paper.
"Now just for a little bit of paperwork. This here are the release papers. No saying that the Government of Tappee has authorized the transfer." He hands it over to Allenson who signs the bottom then hands it back. Ried shuffles the papers "And this one is saying the government of Treznor has accpeted the prison and will be held accountable should the prisnor escape while in it's care. Now who's going to be signing for it"
Allenson nods towards Coltraine "Today Mr Coltraine has the honor"
"Very well, here you go Mr Coltraine, please sign here, and here. Once your done we'll procced to the next check point."
Coltraine steps forward proudly, happy to finally be able to do something. He spends several moments going over the papers, frowning in concentration as he reads. Finally he takes the pen and signs in the appropriate places with a flourish. "Anything else?"
Reid rips the carbon copies from the orginals and hands them over to both Allenson and Mr Coltraine.
"If you'll just follow me" He leads the group through the door and down a series of corridors until they each a dead end. Both sides of the wall are a series of terminals. "Mr President if you'll be so kind" both men walk up to the terminals, one terminal for ech of them. they place their left hands on a sensor pad and lean in the the eye scan.
Access Granted says an automated voice. as the words are spoken as section of the wall moves back and then to the right revieling a hidden room. There are four guards one for each conerner of the room. in the center is what appear to be a metal coffin. In top of the coffin are a series of display's as well as a window allowing one to look inside.
"Here you go everyone, our very speical quest Latito Iaceo" says Reid with a simle on his face.
The entire Treznor group stares in awe at the person most responsible for the greatest tragedies in their nation in living memory.
Jones breaks the silence first. "Not quite what I expected, you know?"
Allenson all to well undertsands Coltraine words "I know what you mean. It hard to believe that a living person is capable of such acts" he pauses allowing for a moment silence remembering all those that where killed during Latito regin of Terror.
"Reid has she been preped for transport" he inquiered.
Reid nodes. Allenson walks over to a bin located against one of the walls and grabs a series of items.
"Now Mr Coltraine I need you to listen to and listen close. I promised your Emperor full coperation last time we met, I'm a man of my word. Here is a complete file on everything that we have on Latitio." Hands him a series of folders. "This is a recording of her entire interogation. he may be able to use it when he's during his questioning." Hands him a DVD recording. "Now this is the most importand Item" Allenson hold up a vile which contain a transperant yellow liquid. "This is our final security check. just before transfer each prisoner is transfered they are injected with a serum that shuts down their body. With in 15 min of the injection the prisoner enters a catatonic state, then after four days the rest of the body shuts down killing the patient, unless of course the anti-serum is inject. This vile here is the anti-serum. inorder to revive Latito you must inject the entire contents of this vile into her bloody stream. Do you understand"
Coltraine frowns as he tries to remember this information. "So, how long do we have before she dies if we don't give her the injection?"
"Reid how long ago did you adminster the serum" asked Allenson
Reid looks at his watch "It would have been 47 min ago Mr President. That Would give them just over 95 hours from now until Latito's system shuts down completely. Now Mr Coltraine I need you to sign one more thing." Reid grabs a clip board from atop the coffin. He glances at series of read out coming from the display, writing them down. "Now Mr Coltraine I need you to sign here verifing that the Latitio vitals, that I have written down match the one on the screen. Basically what you doing is verifying that she was alive when we made the transfer. Here go" He hands him the board. "Once your done we'll make our way back the main chamber, grab you guy something to eat, while the prisoner is being transfered on board the sub."
Reid waits for Mr Coltraine to read through the information.
Coltraine looks a little green again, as full realisation of the responsibility being placed on his shoulders hits him. He accepts the clipboard somewhat unwillingly, his hands shaking slightly. "Has, uh, this serum ever failed before? Has anyone died in spite of having the serum administered?"
By the Goddess, if she dies in my care the Emperor will have me shot! He might even keep me in his damned dungeons until he returns so he can do the job himself!
"Reid take the clip board from Mr Coltraine, As long as its adminstered before 96 hour we've had a 100% succes rate. There is a change that a person can be revived after the 96 hours but the surivial rate falls by 10% every 20 min after that. the lonest anyone survive after the serum has been inject is just over 99 hours, 96 hour is the safe zone, so that what we tell people. Now if you all follow me we'll procced back of the main chamber, while the load Latitio into the subs cargo hold. which should take about 20 min."
As they make there make their back to main chamber Allenson notices that Mr Coltraine look a bit nervous, he's not sure if it the building or the reponsiblity thats just been placed on his shoulders.
As they enter the main chamber they notice that table for six has been setup, and a steak dinner is waiting for them. Allenson takes this oppertunity to easy Mr Coltraine mind.
"We have a number of countries that keep prisoners here. So when the come for the exchange we try to make them as comfortable as possible" Allenson gestures towards the table "in five years of operation we've had a 100% success rate. Please tell your Emperor that if he's in need, our station is at his diposal" Allenson sits down and begin eating, he's starving. Plus he's got 20 min to kill. Given the ride down he wonders if any of the others will join him."
Allenson had just finished his meal when Ried comes over to him
"Mr President I've jsut recieved word the the transfer has been complete, the sub is preped and ready to go."
"Thank you Reid, you've done a fine job as always." he turns ot the others at the table "It would appear that we're now done here, are you ready to depart"
Coltraine stands up quickly, having barely touched his steak. His people follow suite and prepare to escort him out. Jones wipes his mouth with one last longing look at his dinner and reluctantly falls into step behind them.
"Let's be off, then."
Allenson and Ried help the others make way down the shaft. Allenson is the last person down, he look up to see Reid close the hatch after he's made his way through. The pilots are already onboard. He take a quick count just to make sure. One he's sure that everyone's he closes and seal the hatch to the sub
"How's every in the hold" He asks one of the pilot
"Everythings good to go Mr President"
"Very well. Time to head home"
He can feel the sub lurch as it detaches from the station. and his knees buckel as the begin their assent back to the surface. They should be home free in about two hours. He takes his seat.
"Your all welcome to change back into your orginal clothes now" He looks across to Mr Coltraine "So what did you think of our little facility"
Coltraine nods solemnly. "It's an impressive establishment, Mr. President. If we had any need for prisons, we would naturally be interested in making terms for space. Fortunately, however, crime is exceptionally low in our nation. We don't have any prisons."
Jones coughs loudly, once, then busies himself with getting back into his navy jumpsuit.
Allenson takes a moment trying to read Jones body language to see if he was trying to imply anything or if the the cough was a merely natural. At any rate the where other thing to attend to
"Well Mr Coltraine if the need ever arises, just feel free to contact us"
Noticing that Jones was changing it made him realize that he should do the same or suffer the same mishap as on the way down.
Some Time later
Allenson had decided some time ago to take this opppertunity to take a bit of a nap. However, his rest was interuped by one of the pilots
"Sir we've reached broadcast depth"
Allenson shakes his head a bit in an attempt to wake himself up "Have we heard from Sat Com yet." He reaches back to rub his neck which by this time was getting stiff "How every thing in the cargo hold.?"
"Sat Com gives us the all clear. And the cargo good Where 20 min from target"
Allenson gives a sigh of relief, it's almost over "Ok update with Sat Com every 4 min until we break the surface."
AS soon as the light changes from red green Allenson opens the hatch. There is a hiss of air followed by a cool breeze of fresh air. Allenson lifts his head out of the hatch attmepting to gain a veiw of his surroundings. He take this change to takes a deep breath of the ocean air. To his left is the Treznor ship waiting for their arrivial. Now that he's ure every thing is clear he return back into the crew cabin
"once we dock with you ship and our cargo is unload, then well be all done here Mr Coltraine. I'll call my people to come pick me up then your free to head home. If you want I've got a small Armada on stand by ready to escort you until you reach the end of our waters if you need."
"Con, Sonar. New contact, designate Bravo-Two."
Captain David Inchon twisted his chair around to address the crewman sitting at the sonar station. "Con aye. Got an ID?" He was grateful to have his chair back; he didn't much appreciate relinquishing his authority to the admiral, even this admiral.
"Aye, Sir. It looks like the same sub used to transport Minister Coltraine. They're on a return vector."
"Very well." Inchon pushes a button on his chair. "Admiral to the C-in-C, please." Then he releases the button and turns to his executive officer. "Cheryl, please see to the docking."
She salutes him sharply. "Aye-aye." She's out the door in a flash, leaving Inchon alone with his thoughts.
What in the world are we doing out here, anyway?
Allenson waits until all docking proccedures are done until he makes his way on too the Treznor vessel.
"Well Mr Coltrain it would appear that where all done here, once Latito has been unload, I'll call my people the come and pick me up then we can part ways."
Coltraine scrambles from the sub to stand on the swaying deck with his head tilted back to take in the sky. He spreads his arm as though to embrace the sun, looking for all the world like he had been worried he would never see it again.
Eventually he sighs and turns to Allenson. "You've been very generous, Mister President. On behalf of my Empire, I extend you our thanks."
With a word to the XO of the Endeavour a dozen crewmen line up to assist with the transfer, awaiting instructions from the Tappee.
"No thanks is need, Latitio was a threat to both our countries. I'm sure that your emperor needs some of the information thats in her head"
Allenson moves past Coltrain towards that back of the sub. he kneels down opening a small panel revealing a keypad. Allenson punches in a series of numbers. The sub shuders as as the top of the cargo hold opens up. the sound of hydrulics fill the air as the metal coffin is raised from inside the cargo hold to the out side world. Allenson watches until the sequence is done, he looks over to group of people that had gathered to help unload sub.
"Ok, I want this unloaded, and I want done double time. But please be careful, I don't want it damaged." He turns his attention back to Mr Coltrain. "Mr Coltrain if you'll be so kind as to let me use your radio, so I can contact me people to come pick me up."
Coltraine nods solemnly and instructs one of the officers to assist Allenson with his call. He stays behind to oversee the loading of the capsule, a slight frown of concern on his brow as he shouts at the men and women to be careful and watch out. In spite of his micro-management, they manage to get the coffin aboard and secured in a short amount of time.
Admiral Dodalla waits quietly on her bridge. Her and the main battle had waited outside the transfer zone for the just in case scenerio that every one feared. the silence in teh room was interupted by her Com Officer.
"Ma'am we've just recieved word from President Allenson he requests that we sent a transport to pick him up. Sat Com has given the all clear."
Dodalle looks out towards the open ocean "Very well, sent the transport. Tell them it should arrive on 20 min. Put all our forces on stand by, with package is now in the open, if anything is going to happen it's going to happen now."
She looks over at the Com Officer to make sure that she's recieved her orders.
Allenson nodes as he given Dodalla message.
He walks over to the nearest window and watches as they finish unloading Latitio off the sub. As soon as their the the Cargo hold closes and the sub subemrges for it journey back to the prison. He glances at his watch. As soon as the sub return the facility will pick up and change locations. Allenson couldn't help but worry. He knew as long as Latitio was in his postion that she could not escape. It was not that he didn't trust Treznor ability, but now she was not under his control, there was now unknown variable. Something that any intellegence agent didn't like. But this was a matter of state, and state matter sometime meant that you had to do things that you didn't want to. He could only hope that he would one day regret the decision that made her today.
Several minutes later, an aide comes down from the command centre to whisper in Minister Coltraine's ear. Coltraine smiles and waves the aide away. "It seems your ride is here, Mister President. Once again, on behalf of my government I thank you and wish you godspeed."
"Well it's been a pleasure Mr. Coltraine, but I think that it's now my cue to leave. Remember that if your governmnet ever needs our assistance feel free to ask. Also send my regards to the emperor, I wish him a speedy recovery." With that being said Allenson made his may to the waiting helicopter. Within in seconds they are in the air heading home.
"How'd every thing go" Asked one his aids Gene Roberts
"Good, I only hope that I'm not making a mistake here. Have Dodalla and the fleet stay close to the Treznor Vessel until the leave our waters. As a precautionary messure."
Allenson was glad that his was over, he could head home and get some rest.
Gene nods "There's been a situation on the FSN, I'll brief you when we land"
Great now what was the only thing that was running through his mind at the moment.
Coltraine waits until Allenson has boarded his transport and safely gone before he rushes back to the command centre. "Admiral Sanchez," he pants, out of breath. "We're now carrying very precious cargo. Get us back to Treznor fast! And mobilise the fleet! I'm not taking any chances with this!"
Sanchez frowns as she regards the Minister. "Sir, with all due respect, you're not in my chain of command. You have no right to make such demands. The Second Fleet is already on duty in northern Wysteria. I can't authorise retasking such resources without an Imperial Edict or orders from the Ministry of War."
"You fool! You have no idea what's going on here! We've got Iaceo on this vessel! The head of the serpent! If the Emperor finds out you refused to cooperate with me he'll have your head!"
Sanchez blinks as the full impact of the news strikes her. She turns to Inchon. "Captain, radio the First Fleet. Have all units not currently in dry dock rendezvous with us..." She swings around to consult a map on a nearby data terminal. "We'll meet them at the Holdas Strait. Let's get under weigh for home, while you're at it. Full military speed. You are authorised to go to 110% on the reactors until we rejoin the Fleet."
"Aye, Admiral." Inchon turned to begin quietly giving orders.
Sanchez turns back to glare at Coltraine, not even bothering to hide her dislike for the politician. "It would have been helpful to know this beforehand, Minister."
"That makes two of us, Admiral."
The Endeavour turns ponderously as she alters course and heads southwest to speed toward home.
"Are they clear yet" Doddalla looks over the her Nav office. The Dauntless had been staying close to the Treznor just to make sure that nothing happened to it while it was in Tappee. However, the Dauntless being a large ship had a bit off trouble keeping up.
"Yes Ma'am they just crossed over into International Water."
Now that they had crossed the imagnary line they where now on their own. All Dodalla could do was wish them luck.
"Very We'll. Helm adjust heading, destination FSN, full speed ahead."
She was going to use this time to get some rest. Once they reached the FSN there wouldn't be much time for rest.
Five hours later, Sanchez returned to the command centre in time to hear a report from the XO.
"Captain, the Engineer wants to know how long we're going to be pushing the engines so hard. She says she's never seen the temperatures climb so high, and the reactor is starting to give off alerts every fifteen minutes. The punishment we're giving the screws is barely within tolerance."
"Can't be helped, Cheryl," Inchon replies. "We're still twelve hours away from meeting up with the rest of the Fleet. If Kathy is starting to worry about the reactor, tell her she can engage the diesel backups for support."
Inchon turns to find Sanchez watching. "Emily. I assume you heard that?"
Sanchez nods and resumes her seat. "I heard. Don't worry, though; the Grendels build to last. They test to destruction, so they know where to set the tolerance limits. The only real point of failure I'm worried about is the reactor; the tokomaks were retrofitted, so they're not part of the design. You can push the rest of the systems up to 110% of their listed tolerance; Grendel engineers always give themselves some wiggle room. And if anything does break, I'll accept full responsibility. As much as I'd like to pitch the man overboard, Minister Coltraine is right: we need to make sure nothing interferes with the transport of our prisoner. We can slow down some after we rejoin the Fleet."
"It's incredible that this man is actually Latito Iaceo. The monster behind all that senseless violence."
Sanchez favours him with a sour grin. "Actually, he's a she. I went and looked for myself. And yes, it does seem hard to believe. It makes our mission that much more important. So eyes sharp, Captain. If there's anything bigger than a seagull out there, we need our guns on it pronto. If I have to, I'll make a call to the Grendels myself."