One of her officers has learned the Empires most guarded secret and now they have plans.
It has always been like this serving in the Empire Space Corps. You are not allowed to enjoy close quarters with your female counterparts. Yet you shower together, fight together, lose friends together, and even share the same eating tables together. But you cannot ever share a bed together while you are aboard an Empire warship even if you are married. I am going to try and share a few of the officer training memories with you as to why this is a law on board a fighting vessel.
Training memory #1. The reason no officer or crew will share a bed with a female crew member is all Atlantians are telepathic and will share the moment with you as well as the ship’s living computer. We do not ever want a ship’s computer to want to become a living being. It could cause a mutiny and thus the death of the crew and the ship. They never go into the reason it will cause the death of the whole crew. But it does leave one to think that the computer might be rigged to destroy the ship if it fell out of certain computing guidelines.
Training memory #2. You are never to discuss the training memories with the living computers. They administer the memories to you, but they cannot ever know the contents of these memories. You are not allowed to ever think these memories out loud or without proper mental shielding. The penalty is loss of rank and instant medical discharge out of the service. Because the computer will think your crazy and follow protocol.
Now, I want you to know right now that I am no longer human as the Atlantians are. I started out as a male Atlantian and trained as a fighter pilot. I got good at flying the one man fighter ships. Eventually, I was assigned to the Empire Warship Gena the hardest, meanest, most fighting Warship in the whole Empire's fleet. According to her crew, they would fight anyone who opposed their ideas and tried to prove that their own ship was meaner. The Admiral was always bailing her crew members out of the brig when they would win the fights. I never heard her chastise a single one of her crew over boasting about her abilities as a Warship. She did give them a lot of deck four time, though for fighting with other service men and women. Generally, the term is four-on-four. It means four hours with a tooth brush of your choice polishing the whole fourth deck floor, walls, and ceiling. Which, by-the-way is already at a high gloss from all the rest of us who got lucky to get the four-on-four.
Our men and women went out of their way to brag how spotless her deck four was kept. I never really understood about why they would brag and fight with other crews about this ship. Until I screwed up, and had to spend my four-on-deck four.
That deck was spotless and was polished to a high gloss spit shine. None the less, I had a job to do, so I started at one end and started in polishing it to an even higher gloss.
The soft sexy voice of the Admiral appeared in my head as I continued to polish. “James, I was hoping to get some one-on-one time with you.”
I was really taken by surprise. I thought no one, but the higher ranking officers were the only ones who could talk to her. She caught this and chuckled in my head, “In a way under Empire protocol you are right, but not on deck four. This is how I get to know my people who live, breath, love, cry, and die inside me. This is the reason why my people challenge the other crews and why I keep bailing them out of jails. I care about every single one of you. So deck four is our time together. If you have questions, need help with equipment, or just need new uniforms this is where you let me know how I can help make your stay on board myself a pleasant one.”
“I do have an issue. I know the fighters are a one way ticket to a funeral, but why can’t we be allowed shields. It really would cut down on the death rates in those death crates.” I thought without thinking about who I was really talking to.
“You're not kidding, are you, about this?”
“No, Mam, I am not.” I had shouted out in my mind, then I went, “Oops, I'm sorry Admiral, please excuse my outburst. I forgot my place. I promise not to let that happen again mam. I’ll scrub harder to make up for my outburst.”
“James, you will stop polishing right now. You will explain to me, why my fighters fly into battle without shields. That is a direct order!”
I stopped, I stood up, and jumped to attention and with dread in my voice I started speaking. “Admiral Gena, the reason I am told is that the Empire cannot put a power supply battery that is bigger than a fighter ship inside the craft without making it to big to be a fighter nor will it power one generator or more that we would need. Because of the size and weight factors of both keep it from happening. But I cannot believe that our race has not invented or doesn't have such things that could work and fit. It is almost as if we are meant to die in those things, Mam.”
I didn’t get a dressing down for speaking my mind. In fact all I got was silence. The loud “At ease James, I don’t want you falling down on the job.” Startled me, and I quickly went to parade rest. She continued, ”It wouldn’t look good for either of our records.”
She pictured me sitting on the floor in my mind. I sat down and waited for her to reply to my offenses.
She never did dress me down instead she spoke, “James, this is where you are on punishment for any offense you want to get into trouble for. It is my way I use to allow you to talk with me directly and not have to go through the chain of command. The chain doesn’t want to excite me. They doctor things up because they are all afraid I might get upset and do weird things to them in hyperdrive. The truth is this is where I build crew loyalty and help them with problems the officers are afraid to touch. No, I will not allow Empire rules to be broken, but I do bend a few now and then for good causes.I can see that we needed to talk a lot sooner than we did. From now on this is our time, use it wisely.”
“I see. So I can really talk to you as I would a person and we don’t let rank get involved on this deck?”
“Yes, James, that is how I work it. I have to know what is going on with all of my crew. If I want to stay the best and have a good hard working crew. I am working on your request. Expect to have all the fighters upgraded with new systems tomorrow. I will do the training tonight in your sleep on your new shields and proper care for them. Now that I know you and you know me, James. Do you have any other requests that I need to know about you and your job?”
“No mam, I think you just save a lot of your crew’s lives today.”
“No, James, you did. I don’t fly the fighters. You do, and now that I know why we are having such a high death rate with my pilots, we have fixed it. By the way your request went up through the chain of command and I just received it a few minutes ago. Your squad leader Frank sent it. I believe at your request. Now the admiral has noticed you with your report and is promoting you to the second squad as their new replacement officer. You are now a squad commander. It will be made known to the crew in the mess hall after you are done with my deck.”
I flew many missions with Admiral Gena. I got to know her as a person more than a hunk of electronic hardware. It was this relationship that saved me. I was flying a standard recon mission when the back end of my fighter took an explosive hit. I forced my helmet on and connected it up to the oxygen tanks as my back end disappeared. My squadron was taking heavy damage from a new enemy weapon. I was hunted down by the Admiral as well as the rest of my remaining squadron. I know she took a few direct hits as she gathered us into her cargo holds. That new weapon was punching through her shields as if they didn’t exist. As soon as she got us all. She went into hyperdrive and got us out of that area. She made it back to base and reported in what we found as she landed before her power gave out.
I was dying even with the heroic efforts, she went through to try and save me. The special surgical team was at my bedside with an offer I couldn’t refuse. They told me that Admiral Gena had recommended me for this new job. It might not work out, the technology was still being developed, but what did I have to lose. I let them pull my soul out of my poor dying body and place it in the body of a brand new Empire Warship, “The Empire Warship James.” Now, I know why the ship’s computers are always referred to as a “living computer.” I also know Admiral Gena’s secret. I plan on courting her and even marry her if she will let me. Of course that will be another story that I have yet to tell.