CHAPTER 19 - THE PRESIDENTS SHIP
Within twenty four hours the Avenger was ready and she left Peridima. The ship entered hyperspace and flew at near top speed.
The damage sustained during Lisas trip to Earth had been repaired enough for the ship to work but she knew the ship was needing an overhaul and had been worked hard over the past two years frequently doing long distances.
Priette stood at her station keeping an eye on the ships course she was taking watch as Lisa rested below.
Lisa looked to the mission more closely and read that the President was located in the Latav system located only a few light years from the Punan world. The mission report commented on Johns mission and how he had to abandon ship however the ship had survived and that the President might still be alive.
She turned to her archives and had been studying the Iquan having purchased information from a trader on Peridima who specialised in archeology. She studied carefully the various stories from different cultures.
From what she gathered the Iquan ruled from their homeworld Iquos ruling over a vast empire three times the size of the Alliance and they ruled with an iron fist.
The records talked of the grey aliens being brutal but also not all the Iquan were terrible some ruled their planets with compassion allowing the resident population to live freely.
Lisa put down her data pad the records were vast and she believed that within them contained a secret to defeat them. But she also knew that she did not have the time to investigate she was in a war her crew drafted into help and she suspected this would not be their last mission they would be asked to perform.
There was a distant ping. Lisa looked to her screen and the ship was approaching the coordinates of where the Presidents ship was.
She walked to the bridge as Priette sat on the Captains chair "We've arrived at the coordinates but I can not see anything."
Lisa walked to a console that housed the ships sensor information "The ship is not picking up anything. She looked to the system and it was nothing remarkable several large gas giants and an ice field and a single red giant.
Priette sat close to her sister "What do you think?"
William and Natav entered the bridge and looked to Lisa. Lisa looked to them and explained that the President was no where to be seen.
Lisa looked to Natav "Launch some probes lets see where they are. This may take a few hours."
Natav fired the probes into the Latav system as they began to scan for the Presidents ship.
Natav smiled as the probes information came through "I've got them and they are located in a large gas giant closest to the sun and they are on the southern pole."
Lisa nodded "Got it."
She maneuvered the Avenger its sapphire blue hull glowing in the red glow of the red giant. In front of the ship stood the warship Nosan a crescent shaped Alliance warship.
The ship was pockmarked by burn marks and evidence of recent fires.
Priette looked to the ship "Its taken a beating. I am seeing evidence of extensive weapons fire and multiple hull breaches and few life signs."
Intrigued Lisa saw a docking port located on the starboard side of the ship "Lets dock here."
Lisa maneuvered the ship and docked with the Nosan and went aboard the ship with Natav as Priette stayed onboard the Avenger.
Lisa walked on board and there was the smell of smoke, burnt circuits and death. The ship was quiet and smoky the once plush carpets stained.
Lisa was armed with a plasma rifle followed by Natav who was also armed with a portable scanning device.
"I'm picking up evidence of life signs located two decks up."
They walked to a lift. Natav saw a distant panel which he opened and he saw a crawl space that went up several decks.
They both ascended at speed to the level. The deck had suffered little damaged compared to what they had seen already.
They walked slowly down the corridor which was quiet and still. Lisa looked around her senses heightened wary of what maybe around the corner.
They both approached carefully a room that appeared to be quarters. Lisa tried to open the door but it was locked. The door was forced open by Natav who used his large mass to open the door.
Inside was the Earth president and his staff alive and breathing. All were human with a mixture of cuts and bruises.
The presidents bodyguard walked towards them armed and wary "Identify yourself."
Lisa looked to him "We are here to get the President and the rest of you out of here. We were sent by Ho Yuan."
A distant voice shouted "Let them through."
Lisa saw a man wearing casual clothes sitting with his left arm in a sling "I assume your the rescue party."
The ship started to creak Lisas radio crackled "The ships beginning to tear itself apart. You've got thirty minutes before it blows up."
Lisa nodded "Understood."
She looked to the people assembled who numbered ten in total "We need to go. Are you all fit to walk."
President Hwan Cho replied "We've got up a couple of injuries. A few have sprained ankles."
Lisa knew she couldn't leave them behind and radioed the Avenger "We're going to need William here."
Everyone moved to the lift quickly descending the lift and onto the Avenger. The warship rocked violently as it began to fall apart.
Lisa radioed Priette "We're aboard. Get us out of here."
The Presidents staff where taken to the medical bay and treated.
Hwan Cho looked to her and he had spoken little since meeting Lisa "Thanks for getting us out of there."
Lisa looked to him "What happened. The ship looked pretty beat up."
The President looked around "Can we talk in private?"
Lisa nodded and walked with the President to the bridge.
Lisa looked to Priette indicating she needed to speak in private. Priette nodded and went below to help the survivors.
In the distance the Nosan blew up in a bright orange ball that soon dissipated into nothing but debris that fell towards its grave the gravity well of the gas giant.
The President sat and looked to Lisa "We were attacked by the Iquan. We where coming back from a meeting with the Laquain on the home world of Ivlan. Our ship came into this system to get supplies. It was all fairly routine.
Then those ships appeared out of nowhere they must have been following us or hiding and we were attacked. The ship was easily overwhelmed and left us for dead."
Lisa looked to him "It seems you survived. What happened to the crew those type of ships can hold more than two thousand crew."
The President nodded "The meeting with the Laquain was private and unofficial for months we have been talking with them. They are suffering shortages of Pinatarium which is used for hypergate construction. Normally we would approve help but also they were looking to join the Alliance."
Lisa looked to him sensing there was more to the meeting than just hypergates but did not press "We have some quarters below decks."
The President nodded "Thanks again for saving our butts out there."
The Avenger arrived back at Earths solar system emerging out of hyperspace. Lisa noticed the system was too quiet she thought.
She approached Earth yet saw large circular ships orbiting the planet with fighters and ships of all configurations descending onto the planets surface below.
"The Iquan" Priette said.
Lisa nodded "Have they seen us?"
Natav looked to a screen "Yes I have two warships on a fast approach."
Lisa was worried and quickly turned the Avenger around and headed for the hypergate.
Yet there was as she whizzed by Earths moon as two Iquan destroyers lay in her way. Yet Lisa knew she was more agile.
As they approached closer she dived beneath them pulling up at the last minute before entering hyperspace.
As they entered Lisa "That was too close."
Lisa went to see the Earths President "Where do we go now that Earth has been invaded."
President Ho Yuan thought for a moment "Earth was our fall back. Take me to the Meon world we have a fleet there."
Lisa nodded and the ship headed for the Meon homeworld.