Authors: Saxon Andrew
Tags: #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Science Fiction, #Alien Invasion, #First Contact, #Galactic Empire, #Genetic Engineering, #Hard Science Fiction, #Military, #Space Fleet, #Time Travel, #Teen & Young Adult, #General
She moved closer to Melody and heard Annelise say, “Either the lookout is drunk or the ship is moving faster than any vessel I’ve ever seen.”
Melody nodded, “The flag is moving up the mast at a rather fast rate.”
Annelise shook her head, “If the lookout is right, it has to be moving faster than twenty five miles an hour.”
“Is that possible?”
“I’ve never seen a Destroyer vessel sail that fast.” Annelise paused and said, “But I’ve never seen a ship equipped with camouflage sails either.”
Melody tilted her head, “Do you think those sails could make that big of a difference?”
“If the lookout is right, I can’t think of anything else.”
Annelise put a head cover on her head and said, “I can see the sails.” Melody pulled a head cover out of her pocket and pulled it on. Ophelia stared at the horizon and saw nothing. After a moment, Melody took her head cover off and pulled it on Ophelia. She looked out to sea and saw the topsails of a ship at the horizon. Her head jerked back and Melody said, “Their ship was camouflaged on the front and rear along with all the masts and sails. You won’t be able to see them without a camouflage head cover.” Ophelia reluctantly pulled the head cover off and held it out to Melody. She shook her head, “I think you need to keep it. You have much more riding on that ship than I do.”
They heard the crowd gathering at the end of the pier start cheering and Melody smiled, “I think Andy has arrived.” Ophelia turned and saw Andy and the other members of the Leadership Council walk on the pier. She quickly turned back to the ocean and saw that the body of the ship had moved above the horizon.
Andy arrived at the pier’s end and hugged Melody, “I had to rush getting here. The flag is moving incredibly fast.”
Melody nodded, “Annelise says that it must be moving around twenty five miles an hour.” Andy’s eyes narrowed and he put on his head cover and looked out to sea. He started nodding slowly and said, “It’s moving fast. The easterly wind is now blowing.”
Annelise shook her head, “It’s moving faster than twenty five miles an hour.” Everyone looked at her and she pointed at it, “Look at the bow wave; it’s huge.”
Ophelia stared at the ship and agreed with Annelise. She had spent a lot of time on a Destroyer ship and none of them created a bow wave like the one that ship was making. She never thought the ship would make it back. Now she began to hope that her sister might be on board. She fought against the hope not wanting to face the severe disappointment if she wasn’t but she just couldn’t stop herself.
A mile out from the pier, the ship furled its main sails. Its speed abruptly diminished as it continued moving toward them. Ophelia raised the head cover and saw that the sides of the vessel weren’t camouflaged and she could see it without the cover. She handed it to Melody and said, “Thank you.” Melody nodded and turned back to the ship.
Three hundred yards out, the rest of the sails were furled except for a small steering sail. The fresh easterly wind moved the ship slowly forward until the bow of the ship arrived next to the end of the pier. The steering sail was furled and lines were cast to the landing crew, who grabbed them and ran forward with the slow moving vessel. As the rear of the ship arrived at the end of the pier, more lines were cast and the landing crew tied them off to huge poles and brought the ship to a halt.
Ophelia stared at the vessel but couldn’t see over the railing. She looked toward the rear and saw Zeck steering the ship. She knew he would bring it in safely; he was an excellent Ship Commander. The ship came to a stop and the crew pulled it up against the pier. A landing ramp was brought over the side of the ship and everyone waited for the ship’s crew to exit. Ophelia stepped forward and stared at the ramp and, after it was locked in place, she saw a young woman in an archer’s blue uniform start walking down it. Ophelia’s eyes went wide and she screamed as she ran up the ramp toward the girl. She screamed, “OLIVIA!” as she grabbed the girl and pulled her into her arms. Both of them began weeping and the crowd at the end of the pier who had witnessed the reunion began cheering.
“I’ve been so frightened you were going to be killed. Thank God you’re here!”
“I love you, Ophelia. I love you!” They held on to each other as other members of the ship’s crew walked by them to the pier. Rory and Johnathan walked off the pier and immediately went to Andy and the Council. They began talking but for Olivia and Ophelia, there was only each other.
They finally walked down the ramp to get out of everyone’s way and Ophelia brought Olivia over to Melody, “This is my sister, Olivia.”
Melody smiled and gave Olivia a hug, “I’m so pleased to meet you. My name is Melody.”
Olivia bowed slightly, “And I’m so glad to be here.”
They continued to talk and after a few minutes, Ophelia glanced toward the stern of the ship and saw Zeck was watching them. He quickly looked away and she stepped back from her sister, “I have something I need to do.”
Olivia saw her staring at Zeck and nodded, “I’ll get someone to show me around. Go.”
Ophelia nodded and walked up the ramp. Olivia saw Tyler walking down the gangplank and she went over to him and smiled, “Do you have a few minutes to show me around?”
Tyler saw Ophelia rush past him and watched as she ran toward the stern. He smiled, “Sure, come with me.” He took her hand and led her toward the end of the pier.
Melody watched Tyler and Olivia walk away and saw something in the girl’s expression. Now this might be a problem. She looked at Ophelia heading toward Zeck and thought, “And this might be another.”
Zeck saw Ophelia run up the ramp and turn in his direction. He rubbed the back of his neck to ease some of the stiffness and wondered what was going to happen. Well, there was no avoiding it. He took a deep breath and turned toward Ophelia as she came up the steps and ran toward him. Three feet away she launched herself and wrapped Zeck’s head in her arms. “Thank you, thank you, thank you a million times!”
Ophelia was weeping and Zeck softly said, “It’s alright, Ophelia. She’s safe.”
“I’m not crying for her, I’m crying for us.”
Zeck’s eyes narrowed and he leaned back to look in her eyes, “What?”
“I love you, I think I’ve loved you from the moment you told me you bought me to save me. I just couldn’t admit to myself. But now I can’t hold it back anymore. Is there any way you can forgive me?”
Zeck pulled her close and said, “I’ve loved you from the moment I saw you at the slave auction years ago. There is nothing to forgive.”
“Can you accept me into your life, Zeck?”
Zeck looked at Ophelia staring up at him and he smiled, “There will never be anyone in my life but you. That’s the way it’s always been.” Ophelia wrapped her arms tighter around his neck and Zeck smiled as the stiffness disappeared.
Tyler had paused before leaving the pier and watched Ophelia and Zeck. He smiled and Olivia said, “I guess you were right.”
Tyler looked at her, “About what?”
“Love can make you do some unbelievable things.”
Tyler started laughing and took Olivia out into the crowd at the end of the pier and began introducing her to the community. Tyler watched her and was once again amazed at how she handled herself. She was brave, strong, and beautiful. He sighed and thought about Mindy.
• • •
It was much later when Zeck and Ophelia finally left the ship. They had talked for a long time and now, for the first time, they had found peace. They walked off the pier in each other’s arms and climbed the steps up to the top of the cutout. They arrived at the steps leading down to the community and were suddenly barraged by a huge roar. The entire community had waited for them to appear. For the first time since her arrival, Ophelia was greeted with smiles.
Tyler brought Olivia over to Andy and Melody and smiled, “Would you mind making sure she gets home safely?’
Melody smiled and nodded. Olivia watched him leave and looked at Melody, “Why couldn’t he do it?”
Melody stared at her and after a moment said, “Tyler has someone special here in the community.”
Olivia jerked her head around and watched Tyler walk away. She took a deep breath and blew it out. She looked at Melody and smiled, “It would be a real surprise if he didn’t. He’s not someone that would go unnoticed.”
Melody shook her head, “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be; I’m free. No one ever gets everything they want.”
Andy leaned down and said, “Melody, we need to meet about the Destroyer defenses now!”
Olivia looked up at Andy and said, “They really started building them about six months ago. I think they’re planning to chain the slaves to the wooden X’s along the harbor when you invade.”
Andy looked at her and shook his head, “They’re what?”
“All the slaves in the city were taken down to the shore and chained to the wooden fortifications. They practiced doing it several times over the last few months.”
Melody looked at Olivia and turned to Andy, “She needs to be in this meeting along with Zeck.” They looked and saw that Zeck and Ophelia were surrounded by the community. Melody chuckled, “The meeting can wait until tomorrow.”
Andy stared at Zeck and after a moment nodded. He looked at Olivia, “Will you come and assist us?”
Olivia nodded, “I’ll be glad to help in any way I can.”
Andy walked away and Olivia said, “Is he the Leader?”
“Yes he is and he’s my husband.”
Olivia smiled and said, “Both of you are quite impressive. Thank you for your kindness.”
Olivia turned and went to join her sister. Melody shook her head and thought, “And you are quite impressive as well.” Suddenly, she felt the baby move and she grabbed her stomach. As she grabbed it, she felt another kick from a different place. Her eyes went wide and her mouth fell open. She turned and ran after Andy.
ndy looked around the cave at the group that was gathered and felt a close bond to every one of them. These people were his family. He looked at the two teenagers in attendance and saw they weren’t sitting together. He guessed Olivia had found out about Mindy. She was sitting beside Ophelia, who had her hand on Zeck’s arm. He had a mental sigh and was thankful that they had finally come together.
He looked over at Rory and Johnathan and saw their concern. Rory had just gone over a map of the layout of the Destroyer defenses and it was clear that everyone else in the room was concerned as well. He expected someone was going to suggest that they let sleeping dogs lie and it didn’t take long for Harvey to confirm it, “I really question whether or not we need to do this. We know they can’t do us any harm. Is there really a need to attack them?”
Andy looked around the room and waited for a response. The question was greeted with silence. After a moment, everyone looked at Andy. “There isn’t a pressing need to attack at the moment.” Harvey actually blew out a breath he was holding.
Olivia looked at Andy and said, “But…”
Andy looked at her and smiled, “What are you insinuating?”
“You said at the moment. That didn’t mean it doesn’t need to be done.”
Andy looked at her and smiled, “You’re pretty sharp.”
Harvey watched the back-and-forth, “What do you mean? Is there a ‘but’?”
“As things stand, we currently have the upper hand. However, did any of you notice that the cannons mounted to defend the harbor are larger than any we’ve seen on their ships?” Andy looked at Johnathan, “They are larger, are they not?”
Steve nodded and said, “I really didn’t expect them to come close to us during our escape but they came close to hitting my ship.”
“How far away were you from them?”
“About four miles.”
Andy looked at Annelise, “And what is the range of the cannons we have on top of the cliff?”
“About two miles.”
Harvey leaned forward, “What are you saying, Andy? We still control the sky and we have the red beams.”
Andy nodded, “That is true but I think you can tell from the cables they’ve strung out over their city that they suspect we have a means of being invisible and of attacking them from the air. I really think that if we leave them alone long enough, they will build a ship capable of firing those cannons over the cliff and into our community. I also think they’ll develop a cannon to fire thousands of metal balls into the air around their ships. They’ll fire those air-defense cannons continuously while the larger ship blasts our homes.”
“They’ll still have to come on shore to attack us. We’ll just move out of their range if they employ that tactic.”
Andy looked at Rory, “You’ve seen those spitter guns they use. They’ll bring large numbers of them on shore with them and use them to fire into the air above their attackers.” Andy paused, “At least that’s what I would do if I were in their place.”
Olivia said, “I’ve heard those spitter guns being fired recently and they had a different sound.”
Harvey looked at her, “What was the difference?”
“The one’s I’ve heard in the past were louder and I could hear individual rounds being fired. This new gun sounded like a high pitched whine.”
Maxius said, “Smaller rounds being fired continuously.”
Andy looked at Rory, “Did you see any spitters?”
Rory looked down and slowly shook his head, “I did. They are placed about every thirty feet along the cliff’s edge as it runs north along the shore. I didn’t see any on the wall to the rear of the city.” Rory paused and said, “There was something I saw but didn’t think about at the time. Those guns didn’t have wheels on their mounts.”
Olivia raised her hand. Andy looked at her and nodded. “Is this gun you’re describing smaller than a cannon?” Andy nodded. “I saw them when we were taken down to the harbor and chained to the wooden defenses they have there. I thought it was weird that they had four barrels.”
Andy’s eyes narrowed and everyone in the room took a sudden breath.
“Did you say four barrels?”
Olivia saw the gathering’s reaction and nodded, “Yes, I could see the one directly over my head on the wall and it had four barrels. They put a covering over it right after I saw it.”