* Fourteen *
The red alert lighting on the bridge changed to yellow and the exterior lights and beacons lit up all over the Orion's hull.
"Captain Celane, you have the conn." Jackson said as he gave his seat back to Sathrana.
"This is Captain Sathrana Celane, commanding the star ship Orion, to the Zaleen ship." she said as she retook her seat on the bridge. "Please identify yourself at this time."
"Thank the stars," said the frightened voice over the bridge speakers. " I thought that I would be too late in arriving here on time to---
"This is the captain of the star ship Dorion Adriakar to the Zaleen ship, identify yourself at this time!" Sathrana said more forcefully.
"Damned it Sathrana!" stormed the voice of Valakadria Tawn. "You know damned well who this is, so stop playing around over there and put---
"This will be my final repeat!" the captain thundered. "This is Captain---
"Orion, this is blue team scout leader, Emanon Tey." said the voice over the bridge com system. "It's the Kalaketvia Tawn."
"Commodora Tawn, this is Admiral Jackson---
" Admiral you say?" Commodora Tawn asked.
"Yes, I did say." Jackson answered.
"Would you kindly toss Captain Celane out of an air lock for me." Valakadria Tawn said as her twenty-mile long ship slowly, and finally, came to a halt in front of the Orion.
"You were supposed to have been en-route to the planet Glammadren, Commodora Tawn." the admiral told her as her visual shimmered to life on the main vid-screen.
She favored Cindy Lawless so closely that Robert's brother, David, called her Zena the Zaleen one time to many over thirteen years ago. She had decked him in payback for his rude and cruel mistreatment of her on their first voyage together aboard the Orion.
"So were you, Captain, Ad ... miral. I raced as quickly as I could to get here, in the hopes of stopping you from heading into a very dangerous trap." Valakadria Tawn said over the bridge speakers as he stayed glued to the view screen ahead of him.
"I'm glad that we were turned back around or else you would have lost us for sure." Jackson told her as he stood beside the captain's chair with Davadra at his side.
"In more ways than you could possibly fathom." Valakadria said.
"Now that we know who we're dealing with, how about transporting over to the Orion?" Jackson asked her.
"I'll ready my personal shuttle and see you aboard shortly." she said yawning just before the vid-com link was severed.
"Land on the forward Starvette interceptor fighter deck a-one." he told her.
"Understood, Admiral." she replied, as the view changed from the bridge of her ship to an exterior view of the colossal cruiser.
"This is President Adriakar, all department heads meet with me on Forward View Deck A in one hour. Davadra Adriakar, out." she said as she lowered her left arm to her side.
"In the meantime, Captain Celane, you have the bridge." Jackson told her.
"Commander April, come along, and Lieutenant Andrews, have Commander Jackson beef up security on Forward Starvette Deck A-One. We don't want to have to deal with any last minute surprises." he said as he made his way off the bridge with Commander April in tow.
"Admiral, I don't like all the little surprises we've received thus far. Something tells me that we had better concentrate our sights on the Uorexuan-Zaleen neutral zone." Donald April went on to say as they entered the octagon corridor that surrounded the bridge.
"I'm coming along too," Valdara said as she stood in the corridor. "Of course though however, you'll have to lead me."
"In order to keep you from getting yourself and us into any more trouble, I'll be more than happy to." Davrina Adriakar said as she bounced seemingly from out of nowhere in the corridor.
"This is Jackson, to the Bridge." the admiral said over his wrist unit. "I want an updated report from the Uorexuan neutral zone as soon as you can provide me with one."
"I'll get on it at once, Admiral." Captain Celane said from the bridge.
"Let's go meet Commodora Tawn." Robert Jackson said as he stepped inside a turbo lift.
David Jackson stood in the flight deck control booth and looked down over the security team that had lined both sides of the bay. He was for certain that nothing would go wrong for as long as he was in command or someone or something would taste his wrath for far longer. From the first day, seventeen years ago, David Jackson had never cared for the Zaleen Princess, Valakadria Tawn. He really didn't care too much for her now nor did he think that he would in the future and he couldn't shake the feeling as to why. Her shuttle was now birthed inside one of the Starvette interceptor bays and sat between the male and female forces of Andulonians, Delindrians, Earthlings, Perrinians, Sanartans, Talmurrans, and countless others. His brother Robert, Donald April, Davadra and Davrina Adriakar, and Valdara Adriakar entered the control booth.
"Commander Jackson, do you feel confident that nothing will go wrong?" Davadra asked him.
"I'm sure that you'll settle for no less than the truth," David Jackson answered truthfully. "No, I do not."
"Stay on your toes, David. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link." his brother Robert told him as he stepped inside the turbo lift that would take them to the flight deck below.
"I'm sincerely hoping that you're not referring to me as the weakest link, Admiral!" David growled.
"I sincerely hope not also, Commander." Robert Jackson said as the others joined him in the lift.
"Are you coming?" Donald asked.
"Why the heck not," David Jackson answered. "If Zena the Zaleen flinches the wrong way, then I would like nothing more than to personally escort her to the brig myself." he uttered as he stepped inside the lift.
"Just stay on your toes, Commander." his brother told him once more.
"You know," David said. "I take it that you're not feeling right about this either." he stated as the lift began its decent.
After exiting the lift Davadra took up the lead with Donald April at her side. Robert Jackson walked across the flight deck beside Davrina with Valdara between the two of them. David Jackson followed behind them while looking from left to right and nodding his approval to the security personnel as he passed them by.
Up ahead Valakadria Tawn approached being followed by another female Zaleen that looked like or who favored Joanie Laurer, aka former wrestler, Chyna. Davadra Adriakar and Donald April parted enough so that she and her bodyguard could pass between them with ease. Davrina and Valdara Adriakar broke formation to stand together behind Robert Jackson and of course, David Jackson brought up the rear.
Valakadria now stood before Davadra and Donald.
"Madame President Adriakar, Commander April." she said bowing her head before them.
"Commodora Tawn." Davadra replied as they stood face to face.
"This is my escort, Keletivia Torl," she said introducing her security officer who neither bowed nor showed any emotion other than radiating fear.
"Vandesekor Torl's daughter, no doubt." David Jackson uttered under his breath.
As Valakadria Tawn approached Robert Jackson, she unstrapped her sword and held it in her right hand. She then knelt down upon her left knee and placed the sword across her right leg before lifting it high above her head with both hands. The admiral reached out, taking the sword with his right hand and held it until she stood up before him.
"Admiral Jackson." she said as he passed the sword back to her escort, much to David's disappointment and Keletivia Torl's utter surprise.
"Commodora Tawn, welcome aboard the Orion." he said extending his right hand towards hers, gently taking it in his own.
"It looks as if your brother has out done himself again. Keletivia and I have come here alone." she told the admiral and the others that stood on the deck.
"He's stayed on his toes at red alert status for the most part of his life. It's his way." Robert Jackson replied as he let go of Valakadria's hand.
"A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and so far, I see no weak links here." Keletivia finally said as she gazed about the interceptor flight deck while also watching the expression on Admiral Jacksons face.
"Nor will you see one," David Jackson spoke aloud as he came from around Davrina, Valdara, his brother, and Valakadria to stand face to face with Keletivia Torl. "Your Vandesekor Torl's daughter, aren't you?"
"And just what if I am, Earthling?" she asked in return, still holding Valakadria's sword in her right hand.
"Let me put it to you as straight as an arrow and as sharp as the point of that sword your holding, as I possibly can," David Jackson said as he stood close enough to have kissed her. "If you take no action of aggressive force against any member of the crew aboard this ship, then no force of aggressive action shall be taken against you."
"I'm hoping that we understand each other." he said as he tapped his hearing aid translator.
"Commander Jackson, we come before you and the members of this crew, peacefully, and as family and friends." Valakadria said as she turned to face him. He though however did not turn from Keletivia to face her.
"Just so that we understand one another." David said as everyone stood at alert and listened attentively.
"I hope that you, David Jackson, understand fully what I meant by saying, we come before you and the members of this crew, peacefully, and as family and friends." Valakadria explained to him once more.
"Valakadria, Keletivia, if you would follow me please." Davadra said as she turned and began walking across the deck toward the turbo lift elevator, hoping to ward off a confrontation between David Jackson and Keletivia Torl.
Valakadria turned and started to follow her but stopped short, to stand before Davrina and Valdara.
"Davrina." she said while Keletivia and David continued with their face off.
"Iylandra." she replied just above a whisper.
"And who might this be?" she said as she laid eyes upon the young female, whose eyes may have been blind from the time of her birth, but she saw much more without sight, than those who had sight but saw much less.
"David Jackson, I believe that you should stand down your hostilities towards Keletivia Torl, for Valakadria Tawn speaks truly. I shall inform you on this matter, Valakadria. Keletivia Torl came here to kill Captain Celane for killing her father. However, though she has had a change of heart." Valdara informed them all as they listened to the sightless daughter of Robert Jackson and Davadra Adriakar.
"It's because of me!" David Jackson stormed.
"No, David Jackson, it is because of a Zaleen ritual executed by my father, and you would not understand, so I will not even begin to explain it to you." Valdara told him as one of the crew members walked over to the admiral with an urgent message.
"Admiral, I know that you have a meeting scheduled with Commodora Tawn," The messenger said. "An Ambassador Kamadees requests your presence at River Galley, in Round Forest." they told him as they turned to leave.
"She also requests that you would come alone, sir." they added as they departed.
"President Adriakar, I have an urgent matter that needs attending to before I commit myself to the one on View Deck. This shouldn't take long." Robert Jackson said as Valakadria spoke with Keletivia.
"We'll wait for you, before we begin." Davadra said as he took his leave of the heated reunion on the interceptor deck.