Chapter Twenty-Nine – A Shaky Alliance
“Dear Vishna, you are well I hope.” Nagesh greeted the old man with a tender kiss as he was aided by eunuchs into a luxurious chair in the Dranaa’s private chambers.
The Grand Admiral breathed heavily from the exertion of walking through the palace, summoned by his emperor. “I am very well young Nagesh,” the old man said, waggling the ceremonial baton that was his badge of office at the degenerate Dranaa (whose extremely feminine features were adorned with intricate painted patterns in white) as if he were still the pretty young boy he had taken to his bed so many years before. “Why have you sent for me Naga?” he asked, using the pet name he gave Nagesh.
“I have a task which requires experience and cunning, my darling. The kind that only someone of your long years can accomplish,” Nagesh said, avoiding his former lover’s cataract-filled eyes.
“Naga. I am an old man hard of hearing and nearly blind. If you wish me to go one last time into battle then I, Vishna, Grand Admiral of the Imperial fleet, shall do my duty. But if as I suspect you wish me to spy on someone or something, then my sweet Naga, I have to decline. These old bones are too tired to stand in the cold shadows of a dark alley…” The old man’s speech trailed off as he slumped back into the chair, exhausted.
Nagesh knew exactly how to get around him. “Dear Vishna, I beg you please help me. I would not ask you if there were someone else. Unfortunately my best officers are engaged in other tasks and there is no one I trust more than you, my dearest one.”
Vishna opened his clouded eyes and leaned forward to study his effeminate Dranaa, seated less than a meter from him. Even though the Drana emperor now looked and acted like a woman, Vishna still saw him as the cheeky little boy he took to his bed. The old man smiled to himself, remembering those far off days in the gardens of his house in Pranash on Janus Omega, when he taught Nagesh about their great ancestor Hanseer and the many battles he had fought in the service of the empire. “Very well Naga, what is it I must do?” he asked.
The admiral’s barge docked with the Capital class carrier, flagship of the fleet. The Grand Admiral was taken to the admiral’s day cabin and put to bed. His aid briefed Pasha, Admiral of the Fleet, on the task ahead, as he closed the door. “The Dranaa has asked the Grand Admiral to observe the renegade Alliance leader Maas from a distance, sir.”
“Why?” Pasha asked.
“I am not privy to the Dranaa’s intentions, sir. I am merely to record the Grand Admiral’s findings, and deliver him and the findings safely back to the Dranaa.”
Pasha stood alone on the bridge of his carrier watching his fleet form up behind him as it set off in pursuit of Maas. The task of finding Eugene should be relatively easy. He was creating a path of destruction any fool could follow. Orders or no orders he did not like the idea of shadowing the enemy rather than engaging them face to face. Something at the back of his mind told him that no good would come of this fool’s errand. Plus having to play nursemaid to an incontinent old man who should be at home by the fire surrounded by his grandchildren, instead of lying fast asleep in his bed, soiling his sheets, was simply too much!
“What is it, boy? What’s so goddamn urgent I get hauled out of my bath?”
“Sir we’re being shadowed,” the colonel said, standing to one side as Eugene shoved his way through the bridge personnel.
“What have you got, son?” he asked, watching Michael shift the magnitude on the screen out by another million kilometres.
“Sir, I count one Capital class carrier, fifteen Battle class destroyers, and eight Skirmish class cruisers sir. They’ve been following us across the galaxy, sir,” Michael replied, reading off the recognition system icons.
“Are they closing?” Eugene enquired, as he bit the end off another cigar, lit it, and inhaled the smoke.
“No sir, general sir. They’re maintaining their distance, sir,” the young marine replied, in answer to Eugene’s question.
“Well, just you keep an eye on them, you hear. Let me know when those sons of bitches decide on joining the party – ok?”
“Sir, yes sir,” Michael replied concentrating more than ever on his screen.
In the following weeks of Eugene’s rampage across the Andromedan galaxy and on towards the Milky Way galaxy and here to Earth, Vishna followed at a discreet distance, neither interfering nor attempting to attack. Eventually Eugene had had enough of the constant distraction of Vishna’s fleet and turned to face him.
“General to the bridge,” the colonel shouted over the intercom.
Eugene was on the bridge in seconds; his unlit cigar rolling back and forth across his mouth. “Sound general quarters. Prepare for action!” Eugene ordered. The klaxon wailed throughout the carrier and echoed across the armada. Stationing himself behind Michael’s right shoulder he watched as the Drana fleet assumed an attack formation five thousand kilometres away. “Prepare to fire,” Eugene calmly ordered. The colonel issued the order and waited. Michael watched a tiny target leave the Drana carrier and head towards Eugene’s armada.
“Boy, fire when they reach one thousand kilo…”
“Sir, they’re not attacking sir,” Michael interrupted.
“Sure about that, son?” Eugene asked quietly. All the personnel on the bridge knew the total trust he placed in the young marine.
Michael calculated the track and speed of the incoming target. “Sir, yes sir. That’s a shuttle sir,” he said, to the relief of everyone else on the bridge.
“Damn! Whadda they want?” Eugene snarled, spitting the chewed up cigar onto the deck. The Drana shuttle stopped midway between the opposing fleets. The face of the Grand Admiral’s aide filled the communications screen on Eugene’s bridge. “General Maas, I am commander Hakim, Grand Admiral Vishna’s aide. I bring you greetings from the Grand Admiral.”
“Whaddaya want, ya scum sucker?” Eugene angrily spat out the oath like a wad of unwanted chewed tobacco.
“Sir, my Grand Admiral comes to you with a message from our mighty Dranaa Nagesh,” Hakim replied, poker faced.
“You tell that lizard bastard from me, I’m not interested in anything he has to say, you hear me boy!” Eugene’s neck was turning purple as the rage inside him quickly built to a point where he would soon explode.
“Sir,” Hakim continued, “The Grand Admiral anticipated your refusal and in a gesture of good faith places both the fleet and himself in readiness, to assist you in your conquest of the galaxies.”
Eugene’s face rapidly changed, returning to its normal ruddy colour. He lit another cigar and rolled it around in his mouth. ‘Just what in hell is going on,’ he thought to himself, as he paced back and forth across the carriers bridge. “Shut that goddam screen off!” he yelled.
Both mighty fleets faced each other for several hours while Hakim sat in the admiral’s barge waiting for a reply from the foul mouthed renegade. The loathsome man he had spoken to hours earlier reinforced everything he had been taught about humans. They were uncouth barbarians, truly not fit to live. Eugene’s face filled Hakim’s communications screen. “You tell that admiral of yours to high tail it over here and deliver the message hisself – you hear!” After some minor negotiations over how the two leaders would meet, Hakim returned to the Drana fleet satisfied that he had carried out his repugnant task correctly and with dignity.
Five months later, the skies above Pranash were dotted with reflections, from the combined fleets in orbit around Janus Omega. The garden which Hanseer had played in as a child all those centuries ago, and that his descendant Nagesh fondly remembered from his own childhood, now took on another role.
Seated at opposite ends of a long table shaded by a simple open sided tent, eating and drinking from dishes and goblets made from the rarest metals carefully set out on the finest white silk table cloth, were the two most powerful men in the cosmos. Neither spoke as they consumed the sumptuous meal prepared by Nagesh’s personal chef. Standing at opposite sides of the beautiful, yet simple garden, were the senior members of both men’s entourage, glaring at each other across exquisitely manicured flower beds and lawns with ornate fountains and pools, which ran the length of the walled garden.
Eugene wiped his mouth on the sleeve of his fatigues, belched, and lit a cigar. “Well Nagesh, what about this here proposal. I have to admit you sure know how to feed a body; it would be downright rude not to listen to you,” Eugene drawled, fingering the pearl handled ancient colt pistol given to him by his father beneath the table, aimed straight at Nagesh’s groin.
Nagesh winced at the uncouth behaviour and the almost incomprehensible way in which Eugene spoke. “General – Eugene, I have in mind something which would benefit both of us greatly. An Alliance, a joining to rid the cosmos of the inferior species we both hate.”
“And just what makes you think that I need this here Alliance of yours?” Eugene bellowed. “Right now I out gun you; I’ve got more fire-power at my fingertips than both you and the sorry assed Alliance mothers. Why in hell do I need to do business with a degenerate faggot like you?”
Hasan appeared from one end of the garden and hurried to Nagesh’s side, whispering in his ear. Nagesh looked startled. “You’re sure about this?”
“Regrettably yes, Dranaa, I’m very sure.”
Nagesh silenced him with a wave of his hand. “General, while you believe rightly or wrongly that you do not need to side with me, the news my chief intelligence officer has just brought says otherwise! Hasan, you have proof of what you just told me?” Nagesh calmly asked.
“Then please inform General Maas and all present.” Nagesh invited the opposing sides to draw closer. “Please approach the table, and listen.” Hasan began to relate the intelligence reports coming in from all over the Drana and Alliance held territories. When he finished delivering the information, he bowed and quietly left the garden. The only sound within its perfumed confines came from insects busy at work pollinating the flowers.
No one noticed the pair of large dark eyes in the shadows of the house at the end of the garden, or the small garden gate silently open then close behind Hesket. It was time for my parasitic kin to abandon his host…
Next time – Chapter Thirty