"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.
**** Forward Interceptor Deck A-One ****
David Jackson stood inside 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 some thing 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 it's 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 your not feeling right about this either." he stated as the lift began it's 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 came 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 it's 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 on that sword your holding, as i 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 lay 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. Though however, 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 crewmembers 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.
**** Round Forest ****
Jackson made his way quickly to the round forest river galley that set over Round River in the round forest sciences section of the Orion. Along the way he happened to notice another long lost friend.
Adrienne Barnes sat on a bench that circled one of the many beautiful trees in the forest. Flowers of all varieties lined the pathway in front of her. Jackson noticed her and he thought for a moment that she noticed him but she paid him no attention for she was in a conversation with Penny Ridgewood, another friend from the past.
Robert Jackson continued onward until he crossed over the arch bridge and up the veranda steps to enter the double ornate oval glass doors of River Galley. He began to search out Dara Kamadees. He soon found the ambassador who favored Kirsti Alley, seated over in a dark corner of the galley, by herself, and very much, alive.
"Ambassador Kamadees, you’re not on the crew roster, and as i recall, you were supposed to have been killed on Earth." the admiral said as he quickly sat down beside her.
"It would have been to our mutual benefit if i had of been," Ambassador Kamadees answered. "Your world reminds me so very much of my own home world, that it's frightening to think that your civilization will one day traverse the stars---
If it survives." she told him as a single tear rolled down her face, unnoticed for she hurriedly wiped it from her cheek.
"The Zaleens destroyed Delindria, and we earthlings can destroy ourselves without any invasion from deep space." he explained to her.
"Admiral Jackson, you must understand that i no longer have Admiral Mazanurra as my master any more, and since he is still in suspension, i am no longer his---
"Dara, you’re not making much, if any, sense to me right now." Jackson interrupted, as he tried in vain to figure her out.
"Dara Kamade Tekka." she said, rattling off a name that he failed to comprehend at the moment.
"Ambassador Kamadees, i'm meeting with Valakadria Tawn shortly," he told her. "Will you please get to the point of the matter for which you have urgently requested my presence!"
"My world was not destroyed by the Zaleen's, Admiral." she replied and Jackson homed in on her statement.
"I am a Zaleen, and we are destroying ourselves, from within, as are you, and even though you seek to be an equal with all the inhabitants in this galaxy and enslave no one, we on the other hand are---
"Are ...Dara ... Kamade ... Tekka?" he asked as he gazed straight in to her eyes, finally comprehending at last.
"Yes, i am." she answered as another tear rolled down her cheek.
"Dara, you've summoned me here and told me that you’re a Zaleen, so now that i know this, what am i to expect next?" he asked as he gently wiped a tear from her face with his hand.
"Your making it very difficult for me to continue, Robert Jackson." she said as she gently removed his hand from her face.
"Oh, I'm all ears if nothing else." he replied as he sat there with her.
“One of my own people was sent here to kill you. He almost did but you survived. I was sent to finish his work, should he have failed to succeed. He failed as well as i myself, but---
"Your heart is not as wretched and as evil as you have led yourself to believe, Dara Kamadees." Robert Jackson told her as the tears flowed freely down her face.
"We Zaleen's are an evil and a wretched civilization bent on destroying the rest of the galaxy if not stopped." she said as he handed her his handkerchief.
"Dara, dry your tears, for you and i have a meeting to attend to, together." he ordered her as he stood to take her hand in his.
"I'm an outcast without a home." she told him."Should i have accomplished what he failed to do, i would have been the next queen empress of the Zaleen Empire."
"Now, i am nothing but dust under my own people’s feet, to do with as they so please." she explained as she took his extended hand.
"Dara, a family is only as strong as the weakest member of that family." Jackson said. "We may be weak, but we are a family aboard the Orion."
"As long as you are on the Orion, you can consider yourself family." Jackson told her, and she managed a small but teary eyed smile as they left the darkened corner of the galley and walked out into the light.
**** Later ****
Robert Jackson had let the ambassador freshen up before they both entered on forward view deck A together.
"I'm only going to say this one more time and one more time only! I'm hungry, and i am tired! I have traveled millions of miles at top speed to arrive here in time to stop you from going on a mission of death!" Valakadria Tawn stormed in a rage as the admiral and ambassador stepped out of the turbo lift and into the verbal battle.
"Ok, what's going on here?" Jackson said as he looked about to find that every department head sat at or stood around the table that arose from the center of the view deck floor.
"Admiral, please talk some sense into these airheads. I didn't come hurling my ship at her fasted speed all the way across this galaxy to be drilled like a cadet! I came here to warn you, and if also possible, perhaps to save your lives. The Zaleen's are going to cross over the Uorexuan neutral zone on their continued quest to conquer all the inhabited worlds in the galaxy. If they are resisted, they will kill and destroy all the inhabitants of those worlds in their path. In the meantime they have taken up their quest to seek out and find the one person in this galaxy that will be able to stop them." Valakadria said as Keletivia stood statue like at her side.
"Just one very quick question Commodora Tawn," Admiral Jackson said as he walked overby her.
"Admiral, please forgive me, but---
"I overheard you saying something about your being tired and hungry?" Admiral Jackson asked, instead of what he really wanted to ask, because he could see it in her eyes that she was not herself.
"More so tired than hungry. It's late night on my ship and i've been up for far longer than i've been down. So, if you will please excuse me, i would like to go to my quarters and rest. I really don't feel all that well at the moment." she answered him as she gazed momentarily at Dara Kamade Tekka, who, turned away in shame.
"Over here Zena my dear, it's mid morning and you'll---
"This meeting is adjourned until everyone has rested up." the admiral said to everyone on the view deck.
"Not till i say that it's adjourned, Admiral!" Davadra thundered.
"Madame President, i've not had any thing to eat this morning, and i'm rather hungry myself---
"Robert Andrew Jackson, you may be the galactic admiral of the galactic fleet, but i'm the president of the consortium, and rather you happen to know it or not, countless billions of inhabitants in this galaxy are depending on what we find out during this particular meeting!" she said as she lashed out at him.
"Davadra, i'm well aware of our current situation," Jackson replied. "There's a Zaleen battle cruiser destroyer out there, enroute to the Glammadren system. And we are going to continue on our journey to rendezvous with that ship as was requested---
"What! Are you out of your mind?" David Jackson asked heatedly as others in the room spoke up in opposition to what his brother had said as well.
"If we don't go, then our hands may be dipped in the blood of a few million inhabitants on planet Glammadren! Meeting adjourned!" Admiral Jackson forcefully ordered.
"We have to go ... " Ambassador Kamadees said and paused. " ... because just as many worlds in this galaxy will be obliterated if we continue to waist precious time."
"Meeting adjourned until further notice!" Davadra growled in fustration, along with a few others until Valakadria Tawn staggered and then passed out, falling back into the arms of Keletivia Torl.
"Help, get her to med-bay, on the double!" Jackson barked, as David Jackson came from around the table and hoisted the Zaleen commander into his own arms.
"She hasn't rested, nor has she eaten in days." said Keletivia Torl as she gently released Valakadria over to David Jackson. "She has pressed herself to get here in time to---
"Keletivia, i know about these things," Admiral Jackson said, having interrupted her.
"What about you?" he asked, as they followed his brother David over to the turbo lift elevator.
"Nor have i." she answered as David Jackson looked down into the face of Commodora Tawn then stopped short of the lift to turn and face his brother Robert.
"Look bro, i don't actually hate her, it's just that i don't care for her like you do." he said turning back to follow Doctor Barbara Henderson and Keleketvia Torl into the lift.
"Perhaps not, Commander Jackson, but you do today." Henderson told him as the oval shaped lift doors slid shut.
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