Hunter St James woke from a deep sleep to the sound of the intercom alarm; 30 years of reflex brought his hand to the receive button, “What is it?” his gravelly voice croaked.
“Something happening on the Planet sir,” came the voice of Wendy Taylor, “You need to see this.” St. James rolled out of his bunk and pulled on his coveralls, “Doesn’t that girl ever go off duty?” he thought.
The Bridge of Deathfang was only a few feet from his Day cabin, when he reached the command station Wendy wasted no time, “The Dragonhead Swiftstrike has taken off and is heading this way at max acceleration,” she said.
“Try to contact her,” said St James. LT. Taylor went to the comm. station, “Something coming in now…it’s from the planet… on speaker.”
The voice of Major Putnam was one of desperation, “Calling Deathfang! We need immediate evacuation… Ambassador Redmond left us here… the Rogon weapons have all stopped working… send air support… please hurry… the ponies are going crazy killing everything… we need help now.”
“Shut it off,” Hunter said, “Send this: ‘Message received, help is on the way.’ ”
“Do you want me to launch the alert fighters?” Wendy asked.
“No just send the message…oh and since I’m up at this late hour…let’s run another being overboard drill.”
Wendy Taylor couldn’t hide her surprise, “But sir,” she began to protest…
Hunter cut her off, “You have your orders Lieutenant.”
Throughout the giant Rogon Battleship Deathfang alarms blared a message first in English and then in Rogon .
“BEING OVERBOARD… BEING OVERBOARD… THIS IS A DRILL…. ALL UN PERSONAL REPORT TO THE LOWER BOAT BAY …ALL ROGONS MUSTER ON THE UPPER BOAT DECK… THIS IS BY ORDER OF OSSOG; SESPES-AP.”
On the bridge of Deathfang the few Rogons and unnecessary humans left to report to there assigned mustering stations. As Doorway opened the Rogon scientist Shintok; krett-N entered.
“Another drill Commodore?” He asked.
“Surprise is best for this sort of thing, last time we had to go looking for 35 Rogons lets hope we can do better this time” Hunter said “ I will now go down to the lower boat deck to supervise the search party…Carry on Lieutenant.”
* * *
The lower boat deck was a cavernous chamber crowded with shuttles, fighters and all types of land vehicles belonging to the 21st, crates full of supplies and equipment were everywhere. One end was cleared and the UN personal were lined up in neat rows.
Major Lew DeWalt snapped a crisp salute, “The bridge and engine room have reported, including them all hands are accounted for.”
“Excellent Major lets see how many snakes we have to find.” Hunter spoke into his comm unit, “Where are the Rogons Lieutenant Taylor?”
The reply was prompt, “57 on the boat deck sir, and master krett is here, that leaves 27 who didn’t feel like showing up.”
“Very well stand by.” Hunter put the comm. unit in his pocket, “Everyone form a circle.”
He waved his arms as if to draw everyone in. “For 30 years I’ve served the UN World Government,” he began, “I’ve obeyed orders without question and done my duty, whether I liked it or not. I took an oath and a man of honor doesn’t go back on his word…But I didn’t make an oath to serve a bunch of damned reptiles!”
“The people we’ve been fighting came a long way to live in freedom; I won’t be the one to put them in chains, and I won’t wear them myself.”
The faces around wore expressions of shocked amazement and something more…the yearning for freedom.
Hunter continued, “Major DeWalt arm the search teams with MAC-15’s and 5 magazines of explosive rounds each, then take as many men as will go with you to the upper boat deck and clean out that nest of snakes. Search parties…Good hunting!” With that he saluted the men and to the sound of cheers began the long walk back to the bridge.
On Dragonhead ship SwiftStrike:
Richard Redmond was mad…mad and confused “How could this be happening,” he thought, “everything was going so well and then the Rogons managed to walk into a trap set by a band of bible thumping animals armed with spears and clubs.”
Well he’d teach them, “Once I get back to Deathfang, I’ll order that coward St. James to turn that rebel town into a sea of lava, I’ll have my colony with the slaves coming in on the New Palmtree.” Visions of a palace filled with obedient slave women filled his imagination, and a wicked smile came to his lips.
At the control console, Ossog; sespes-AP conferred with Shintok; maylock-A, they were obviously in communication with a Rogon on the Deathfang, when the voice abruptly was silenced.
“Slave! Explain!” came the imperious voice of sespes-AP.
Redmond snapped out of his reverie,“Yes master how can I serve you?”
Slave soldier on Deathfang rebel… kill Rogon masters! What know you?”
“No Master… It can’t be! They wouldn’t dare! They must obey!”
But Redmond knew it was true. “That bastard St. James did this, Oh I’ll make him pay!”
“Enough” said the Rogon Commander “other space is” and with that he operated a strange device set behind a protective shield and the SwiftStrike went somewhere outside this Universe.”
On the bridge of Deathfang:
Wendy Taylor was relieved to see her Commodore walk in through the doorway “sir we detected a transmission from within the ship to SwiftStrike and now SwiftStrike has vanished from our screens.”
But St James attention was not on her. He stood square in front of Shintok; krett-N, “You never should have gone to see my family you lousy snake,” he said, and then the roar of the big .50 caliber auto was all anyone would hear for some time.
15 minutes later:
“Sir the last search party has reported in, all Rogons are accounted for.”
“Very well Lieutenant, open that channel to General Stuart now, in fact broadcast over all the colonial channels.” He waited until the light on the mike turned red, “General Stuart, we have just exterminated the aliens infesting this ship and I am speaking to you as a free man for the first time. The war is over… your people can return to their homes…it’s time to put down our weapons and rebuild what we’ve destroyed.”
“My offer to help stands…this time without conditions… we’d like to join your colony if you’ll have us, I for one am looking forward to that sailing trip.”