Chapter 17: Triumphant are the Clones

Copyright© 2017 by Hunter Johnson

“Linda and I have gone through your previous battles with considerable interest and amusement with our team since our arrival. We love the idea of the mines. We have used an equivalent concept of a small drone for cyber warfare as you know, but it’s remarkable that the Empire didn’t construct explosive mines. We were stimulated to be creative with the idea. Most of the weapons of the Empire have been around for so long that we have frankly been bored with them. We commissioned the development of several different mines for use on the planet,” said Andrea with relish. The ship engineers and our engineers have had many ideas seeded from the mine concept.

“Let’s tell you what happened on the planet, but before we do, we wanted to say we don’t think that anyone would have thought of using communications drones as missiles. It was a brilliant strategy and saved you from defeat. Communications drones cost an enormous amount of resource and effort to construct and that’s the reason that most commanders would have been defeated. We used your concept of missiles going trans-dimensionally and re-manifesting in the target on the planet. It works as a bunker busting technique most efficiently, or as a technique to avoid the atmosphere. It means you don’t need many bunker busters and so much wasted explosive. It is strange how we used the technique for shields and ships but not on planets prior to today.”

“The ship’s Marines quickly took over the armory and armed the clones. While Marines and tanks protected the periphery, our troops reinforced the immediate perimeter as our people were armed. We mined the approaches with jumping mines that sat on the ground and when shuttles and tanks approached flew up attached themselves and blew up. We created antipersonnel mines. We knew that it was likely the enemy soldiers were demoralized by the attacks the previous day and it was likely that the officers had exerted considerable time and effort to re-motivate them. We wanted to hit them before they expected it and demoralize them quickly.

“We used the idea of the missiles going trans-dimensional before they hit the atmosphere then penetrating the bunkers and exploding progressively testing the technique. We simultaneously hit all the barracks with the ship cannon, followed by tanks, and then hit all the bunkers with the missiles. As we didn’t know the precise depth of all the bunkers we didn’t get it right the first time, but our objectives were largely achieved. The barracks were also hardened and they extended underground for some distance. The hidden bunker areas disgorged more troops than emerged from the much larger barracks which was largely destroyed the previous day however we saw that the strikes from the previous day had not destroyed the deeper bunkers. More of the fanatics were garrisoned in the previously hidden bunkers. We planned for further surprises from the bunkers, placing mines widely dispersed around them, and we mined extensively around and on the fighter bases as well.

“We found a reserve fighter base, some twenty kilometers away, but no additional troops.”

While she was speaking she was showing on holograms a speeded-up version of the events. “We sent in and installed more anti-missile systems on the ground as they had been so effective the previous engagement. Few fighters emerged from the bases that we knew about, but we mopped up the reserve fighters from the previously undiscovered base quickly using our existing forces with only one of our fighters lost. The pilot has been recovered and is currently in the sickbay having burns treated.”

“There’s a network of underground service tunnels to all areas. At all critical junctions, they were mined. We hope to explore some other ideas from your primitive planet to adopt as well,” she said with a smile on her face while patting his hand. The ordinary soldiers believed that the exploding mines were micro missiles and they were being targeted from space and fled. Most of the units other than one elite fanatical troop fled after the mine exposure in the tunnels. The elite teams were nevertheless slaughtered as they continued forward exposing themselves to further mines. They thought they were grenades and rushed forward to engage nonexistent troops and went to their final resting places.

“We have had very few casualties as we owned the skies and had more heavy weaponry, and are now involved in the process of mopping up. We have captured thousands of soldiers.

“We did have some difficulty with the elite Guild group supervising the medical technicians, and there’s still some sporadic resistance from them. We are moving captives into holding areas and we are delighted to say that Oleg was found unconscious and injured in a bunker, and has been resuscitated, and will be interrogated shortly. We recovered our captured pilot from Oleg’s bunker. She’s not in great shape. Her interrogation from them was brutal and unrelenting,” said Andrea.

“Linda,” she said teasingly, “let’s take this man for lunch, he can feed us, and then we’ll have our way with him. Warfare makes me randy. Come to think of it, anything makes me randy.”

Jason was impressed with the accomplished way that they had managed the battle. He could only imagine how they would progress with more experience. He was pleased to hear that Oleg had been captured but was concerned when he heard how many prisoners were captured. They would need to feed and guard them. He wondered what on earth they would do with them in time. There were times he was pleased not to have to think about the solutions.

Jason linked arms with Linda and Andrea and then they made their way to his canteen. He saw through the large port the chefs and kitchen staff happily chatting and dancing around in the kitchen. The tables were a little busier even though most were still engaged elsewhere.

They ate extraordinarily well with Jason consulting with Marie and breaking out one of his bottles of favorite Australian champagne to celebrate the taking of the planet. They returned to his stateroom slightly tipsy to enjoy themselves in his much enlarged bed. It was no surprise to Jason in a society of so few men, that women had no hesitation in making love with each other. This time he had another unique and even more profound experience of feeling himself within the minds of two people and being aware of himself at the same time. It was an amazing sense of intimacy where there were no reserves, no boundaries, no reservation, and no holding back. For Jason, the feelings were more intense than he had ever experienced before in his life by an order of magnitude. He couldn’t believe that he could feel so much for two people in barely two days.

Two hours later they emerged laughing and joking with him about his limited stamina. Andrea attempted to be careful, but she lost herself in her intense emotions and again ripped his back to shreds. Afterwards she was filled with remorse but she explained that it was a reflection of the depths of her feelings. She said she clawed him as deeply as she felt for him. Both women excused themselves, but arranged to meet him at dinner.

Linda called him a little over an hour later and suggested that he made his way to the area of the ship where the prisoners were incarcerated as she wanted him to meet with Oleg. She said that they had interrogated him at length and they were of the belief that he was an Imperial spy. Jason knew the military in the Empire were hardened against telepathic interrogation and many senior officers had powerful mental powers enhanced by crystals and was not reassured by what she was saying. There was no reason for the situation to be any different for those in the priests’ military.

Jason was on full alert. He asked ship for a map but she said it would take too long to get there and teleported him to Linda’s location. Linda said that she and the interrogators were confident that he was from the Imperium. They didn’t believe he could satisfactorily hide a different motivation from skilled and experienced interrogators that were from the ship marines.

Two sentries joined them in an interrogation room. Oleg was bought in to the room by a large guard. Jason took an instant and profound dislike to him. Oleg had handcuffs and leg chains and shuffled into the room. Jason and Linda were seated. Oleg intently focused on Jason. Jason felt a force reach into his mind. He felt as if he was drowning and his head was bursting. He heard Winston tell him to push and he pushed Oleg out of his head. Oleg looked startled.

Oleg’s guard collapsed, Oleg grabbed the release from the belt of the guard and in an instant the handcuffs and shackles opened and fell off Oleg who moved rapidly towards Jason. He struck Linda viciously on her neck as she started to rise and he moved past her. He lunged towards Jason. Jason had not been caught napping. He stood as Oleg freed himself. He was enraged as Oleg hurt Linda. He saw Oleg begin to raise his hand and saw some kind of weapon extending from his hand. Jason pushed his hand aside. He heard his own telepathic voice speak and it was as if it was not from him; it was as if he moved to the background observing his other self, “For what you do to my beloved you die,” said Jason as he imagined crushing Oleg’s heart while his telekinetic hand stopped his forward motion and suspended him in midair. “For what you’ve done to my beloved you die in pain.”

Oleg’s eyes showed surprise and then pain, then his eyes bulged with their blood vessels bursting then glazed just before Jason hit his nose with his palm with sufficient force to send shards of bone into his brain and catapulted Oleg backwards. As Oleg moved backwards Jason raised his hand and hit him with fireballs. He burned a hole into his skull and created a gaping cavity in his lower chest. The marines then shot Oleg again.

“Remove the scum, search him, do a post mortem and cut off his hands for research then space him,” commanded Jason. The marine guards had not had time to react when it happened; it all happened too quickly. They shot a dead body.

“Ship take Linda with me to Medical and put her in a pod.” Linda was placed in a pod to be resuscitated. She had been paralyzed and was unable to breathe. The delay between injury and resuscitation was well under thirty seconds.

“While I’m waiting, Cherie, tell me what is happening with Oleg.”

“Jason the marines carried him to the Intelligence Doctor. They put him in a pod for analysis, removed his hands as ordered, and then removed his crystal in the trans dim room prior to spacing him. I’ll interrogate the Pod on your behalf using your Imperial override.

“His heart is crushed; his neck is broken and there are pieces of bone in his brain. There are two post mortem injuries from marine fire.

“He had a knife hidden in a bionic arm, the one he used to strike Linda.

“The interrogators are shocked and remorseful that they had not assessed Oleg correctly. The marines face disciplinary action. The senior telepath believes now that Oleg was constructed as a sleeper by the priests; his commands were buried deeply and triggered by the sight of Jason. This was one of the greatest fears of the telepaths as no amount of interrogation would reveal the hidden motivation.

“The intelligence section believes that the attack emphasizes the importance of you my Lord. The Guild and The Mob want to neutralize you Jason. You represent a powerful threat to them and their minions,” ship stated.

“They are carrying the body to dispose of him as you requested, sire.”

Jason wanted to wait in the hospital for Linda to recover. Phyllis said that she would be fine. She also said that he was a nuisance hanging around in the hospital and suggested he could be more useful elsewhere. He would be called immediately once she recovered. “My Lord she’s in the hands of superior Imperial Medicine. She will receive the best of care and recover fully. Please go and reassure the others and please have something to eat. I can hear your stomach grumbling. I’ll call when she’s ready to leave here,” said Phyllis compassionately.

He made his way to his canteen, sat at the table despondently for a while until he was joined by Andrea and a number of people from her team, Malone and Harris and their assistants as well as a number of new clone colonels from the surface. Andrea introduced them to Jason who promptly forgot their names due to his distress. Andrea had already heard what had happened and complimented Jason on his rapid destruction of Oleg and ensuring Linda received appropriate care so quickly.

Jason was amazed at how fast information traveled on the ship. The company of people he enjoyed rapidly brought him out of his funk. The new clones from the surface thanked him for saving them and treated him as if he was some kind of royalty.

“If ever I act like royalty you can whack me on the back of my head. I’m no fancy pants. I also prefer not to hear my Lord this and my Lord that. You can call me Jason, because that’s my name and as of this time I have no title. I just happen to be one of the people along for the ride. Make yourself at home and enjoy the food!”

They appeared to find this quite amusing and laughed heartily as they moved to another table, but the expressions on their faces indicated that they thought differently. Andrea seemed to find the hero worship most amusing.

“Don’t even think of assaulting my illustrious personage! I don’t want to have myself torn to bits or bashed on the head,” Jason warned her, shaking his head.

He had felt her thinking of tapping him on the back of the head. She laughed even more triggering the others to begin giggling at the table.

He enjoyed the company and meeting the new clones.

Jason was a cheerful drunk and was easily encouraged to rise from the table and make a speech. In a very hoity-toity tone he proceeded to make a speech.

“I, the illustrious one from Earth, pretentiously known as Lord Muck, do greet and welcome you all,” he said to the accompaniment of a few cheers. He wobbled a little on his feet before he continued.

“You have all triumphed today in securing victory. That makes me proud to know all of you. When I left my planet, I believed that I was going to do an uncomplicated job in a more sophisticated society. I was told that I was to be tested to see if I could adapt. I thought it was going to be a simple trip. My great-grandfather was ill and I was going to help manage the Duchy.

“It didn’t turn out that way at all. The priests first tried to poison me, then we were attacked by pirates, then we attacked the pirates, twice! Then for reasons that will forever remain obscure, we came to fetch a few of you guys.

“You all know what we have done together. I’m embarrassed to say that it’s probably more appropriate to say you guys have done a great job today. The admiral and the general wore me out last night and I missed the action.”

His audience hooted appreciatively.

“You now have a future as my adopted family. If any of you call me ‘Dad’, I promise I’ll have you shot. You can refer to me as ‘the old man’. Today, you took your destiny into your hands! You’ve freed a planet, which from today will be known as Mars. Mars in my mythology was the God of war. Today we have begun a war, first to free the remainder of my family, and then to teach the Patriarch a lesson which he will never forget, mainly because he won’t be able to learn anything, any longer.”

This led to cheers and hooting that took some time to die down. Jason had to wave his arms to continue.

“I find it amazing that a group of people who have only been born six months ago, can plan and command as did their ancestors after hundreds if not thousands of years’ experience, while others scarcely over one week old can fight bravely and overcome a trained army. What impresses me the most is your genetic memories and loyalty to your originators and by extension to the Army and the Empire.

“You were not corrupted by the psychopathic Guild of evil, malicious priests and their henchmen. That’s a great compliment to your fundamental integrity, decency and the hope that we have for your futures. I guarantee that I will, to the best of my capacity to introduce you to society within the Empire as legitimate citizens.

“I’m pleased to say that I’m going to be a father to many!”

The audience laughed and continued to cheer for some time.

“Many of you are aware of the history and the prior generations of clones and their miserable lives. The past is something to be learned from, and it’s not something that should invariably determine our future.

“I’ll do everything within my power to reward your loyalty to the quest that we find ourselves pursuing together. I’ll not rest in my endeavors to help you achieve your place in the Empire, and your place within my family. The medical AI has assured me that we can now repair your genes, independently of my capacity to impregnate you. That takes some of the pressure off me, but does not remove my enthusiasm to be a father.”

Further extended cheers followed this statement.

“We’ll work together and we won’t be overcome. We’ll find a future where we can live out our lives together in a fulfilled way, so that our children will have a future and their children’s children will have a future. May we enjoy each other as an extended family, love each other, cherish each other, and support each other through good and bad times to achieve common goals of peace, joy, and fulfillment.

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