* Twenty - Six *
"This is Empress Kalindra Vohaydren, of the Zaleen Empire." said the voice over the bridge com system, as the crew gazed at the image on the view screen that bore a close resemblance to Angelina Jolie.
"I'll come straight to the point as to why I had the Orion summoned here." she said as everyone on the bridge watched and listened attentively.
"I order the admiral of the galactic fleet to seek out and find Princess Valakadria Tawn, and deliver her personally to me, in the orbit of this puny planet, along with her birth collar," the Zaleen empress demanded as she leaned forward in her throne chair, aboard her massive castle fortress which orbited the planet Glammadren.
"And why should I follow through with such an order?" Admiral Jackson asked as he walked around to the front of the helm station.
"If you do not, the peace treaty between the former government of the Zaleen Empire and the rest of the free and inhabited worlds in the United Galactic Consortium of Inhabited Worlds will be voided and terminated, and a full scale galactic war between the consortium and the newly formed Zaleen government will be unavoidable." the new Zaleen empress answered as she sat back on her plush throne." That is, if you do not follow through with my order, Admiral."
"Empress Vohaydren, do you not already violate that treaty yourself by being on this side of the neutral zone?" Jackson asked his second question, as Davadra and Davrina Adriakar entered on to the bridge and turned their full attention to the main view screen.
"Take as much time as you need, Admiral." the empress answered his second question as she stood up from her throne and drew closer to her view screen. "Which shouldn't take very long, since I firmly believe that you already know where she may be found."
"Empress, do you not ... already ... violate ... the treaty ... yourself?" Jackson asked his third question slowly this time.
"Admiral, do you not ... already ... harbor ... an enemy of the Empire?" Vohaydren replied just as slowly.
"And should Valakadria Tawn refuse to be apprehended and delivered to you?" Jackson asked his fourth question.
"Then she for one, and you for the other, will be held responsible for starting something that won't be stopped, until one of you, or the both of you, are dead, Admiral." the Zaleen empress replied, in answer to his fourth question. "Starting with the inhabitants of this innocent, and unsuspecting world, that my ship will destroy first if you should fail to comply."
"This is Empress Kalindra Vohaydren, of the Zaleen Empire, and I have spoken." she said before she terminated the transmission, from her end.
"Of all the things." Robert Jackson said as the main view screen no longer showed the face of the Zaleen empress, only the one of her twenty mile long flagship, in Glammadren orbit.
"I thought that I was ready for anything, but most definitely not this," the galactic fleet admiral said as he turned around and faced his fellow crew mates on the bridge.
"Helm, prepare to engage weapons and fire at---
"And just what good would that do, Captain Celane?" Jackson said, firing back at the captain.
"---will." she ended in saying.
"The Admiral's right," Commander April said from his station. "Firing on the wicked witch's ship might be the only provocation that the Zaleens need to start the war that we've been trying so hard to avoid." he added.
"And all that their empress wants, in order that we may avoid that very war, is Valakadria Tawn." Davadra Adriakar said as she walked across the deck to stand at Robert Jackson's side.
"Where to now, Admiral?" Captain Sathrana Celane asked as she gazed over at Jackson from her seat.
"Zanaria, Captain." he answered as he dared to take one last look at the main screen before turning back around to face Davadra.
"Why the planet Zanaria, Admiral?" Davadra asked as Captain Celane ordered the helmsman to set course for the Zanarian solar system at phase three.
"That's where we'll find Commodora Tawn." Jackson answered as he placed his right hand on her left shoulder.
"We're going to meet with Valakadria and find out the course of action that she wishes to take before we proceed any further." he added as he let his hand drop from her shoulder before walking up the steps and exiting the bridge.
"Lieutenant Andrews, hail the commanding officers of our escort ships." ordered Captain Celane as the Orion slowly maneuvered out of it's orbit of the planet Glammadren and headed for deep space.
"This is Captain Sathrana Celane of the Consortium starship Orion," she began as she watched the split view of both captains on the main vid-screen. "I want to thank the both of you for having escorted us to the planet Glammadren."
"Now if you'd be kind enough to stick around for awhile and keep an eye on our uninvited guest, we'd sure appreciate it." she said before the two captains bowed their heads and the screen went blank.
"A meeting will be held in the bridge briefing room of all heads of staff in half an hour." President Adriakar announced as she activated the ship wide com at the helm station.
"Alert secondaries to man all stations in twenty minutes, President Adriakar, out." she said, before grabbing her sister Davrina by the arm and leading her off the bridge at a run.
Out in the octagon corridor, Galactic Fleet Admiral Jackson waited for President Adriakar and Counselor Adriakar to arrive, and of course he didn't have to wait long, as they about bowled him over on their way out of the bridges left side oval sliding door.
"Davadra, why did you call for another meeting of all---
"We've got to put our heads together and find a solution to the immediate problem at hand Admiral." Adriakar answered. "We need to know what course of action that we are going to take before we proceed in finding out which one Valakadria will pursue."
"Davadra, Davrina," the admiral said. "I personally believe that this new Zaleen empress will not be satisfied with any thing less than what she has ordered me, and or us, to do," he stated as he now stood facing the oval door to the male head or privy that slid open in front of him.
"And that is ... for me ... and or us ... to deliver in full ... Valakadria Tawn ... into her very hands." he said as he stepped inside the lavatory and left the two women on the other side of the door as it slid shut and hid the tears that had welled up and stung at his eyes.