CHAPTER 21 - THE SHANNON
A few months later Captain John Smith was reassigned to protecting cargo supplies on a small warship on an old Earth cruiser called the Shannon an aging eighty year old ship that had recently been refitted.
He was with Commander Kyten both assigned away from the front lines and both felt it was a punishment. They had heard of Earths defeat by the Iquan and both knew that the war was not going well.
The Shannon slipped through the blackness of space its grey rectangular metallic hull protected a fleet of twenty ships of various sizes ferrying supplies to Vinon home to the Moomat race a race of four foot aliens that spoke through computers integrated into their bodies.
The fleet was halfway to Vinon the mission had been quiet with little sign of the Iquan on the ship the rest of the Alliance however was under severe strain with losses mounting and whole star systems falling.
The mood aboard the Shannon was quiet, downbeat its crew speaking only of defeat which had led to fights and scuffles in the first week of the three week journey to Vinon flying from Quintar the home of the Quinon.
Captain John Smith was in his quarters continuing to study the virus but had been struggling with the coding.
Commander Kyten was on the bridge the routine of ship life and the quietness of their run had been a welcome relief being away from the frontlines of the war with the Iquan.
However the quietness was soon to be shattered by a high priority message from a VIP coming in on a shuttle.
Captain John Smith dressed in his uniform walking to the docking hatch unsure of the VIP. Out of a small shuttle came Admiral Gothan walking with his stick and smiling.
Captain Smith stood to attention the Admiral looked to him and said "It is good to see a friendly face."
Captain Smith replied "I was not expecting your visit."
The Admiral nodded "With the way things are going we need to talk."
They both walked silently to a conference room located in the ships belly and it looked onto the view of the Missouri and Danube both of the same class as the Shannon.
The Admiral stood his hands behind his back looking at the view. The conference room he noted was much smaller then the newer crescent warships but it was simple with a long rectangular table with eight softly padded chairs with metal legs.
The Captain stood in the background the Admiral turned and sat.
The Admiral looked to him "Its not good John, its not good at all."
Captain Smith looked to him "How bad are things out there?"
The Admiral looked to him "Bad, very bad the Alliance has lost so many ships and planets with millions of casualties. We are a few weeks from surrender but we cannot continue to fight."
He paused before continuing "After the loss of the Nosan you were too harshly treated. You did everything you could to save your ship. You were punished for abandoning the President when he was still alive."
The Captain looked to him "I tried my best."
The Admiral nodded in agreement and got up returning to the view outside "We've lost John. I have lost so many friends in this war. But we must continue. This morning on my desk I got a proposal from the governor from Sirenson. It seems your friend Lisa Gwenta has proposed assembling a fleet and moving to the Trequan nebula on a planet located inside.
Few know of this plan but its being taken seriously. The Alliance has to continue and we are not throwing it away because of the Iquan."
Captain Smith replied "What do you want me to do?"
The Admiral looked to him "Survive. I know of the virus you have been working on and most of us took it as insignificant when you tried it but if it works then the Iquan could be defeated. The Shannon has a new mission if you decide on it. Once your at Vinon there will be some of our ships ready for you to take the Trequan nebula.
We have already begun to send out feelers to the Iquan to try and resolve this. By the time your at Vinon we will have surrendered to the Iquan.
Their rule will be harsh, brutal and unforgiving I've heard rumours of hundreds killed for opposing the Iquan despite pleas for restraint."
Captain Smith was stunned and stood by the Admiral seeing the weight of the burden that the Admiral was carrying "Why don't you join us at Vinon. We could use a few good leaders."
The Admiral smiled "Tempting, very tempting no I'm done here but my disappearance will indicate of what we have discussed."
The Captain looked to him "The crew will find this hard most are due for leave at Vinon."
The Admiral continued "You need to let your crew know. This is your ship and crew. Soon their won't be an Alliance and the purpose of this ship will be obsolete."
The Admiral looked somberly towards the Captain "I have to go my ship waits for me in hyperspace. But I want you to think this through the fleet is readying at Vinon if you decide not to lead then I have someone else in mind. But you are the best person for this."
The Captain nodded "Then my answer is yes."
The Admiral smiled "They will be waiting for you."
The Admiral walked with Captain Smith to his shuttle the Admiral turned to the Captain "Best of luck. I fear your our only hope."
With the words ringing in the Captains ear the Admiral left on his shuttle.