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Ticonderoga – Episode 4 Shattered Dreams

Ticonderoga – Episode 4 Shattered Dreams

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They were already signaling their surrender. Forty-five seconds into the fight and it was over.

Now, we had to clean up the mess. We had High Command and Captain Furllow both screaming for status reports. I watched on the screens as two of the shuttles started moving towards us and the third started to move away. My brain just managed to register the fact that something was wrong when my ship’s drives kicked in.

I spun to look at Mighty Mouse’s monitor. She had hijacked the computer and taken control of my ship. What was she doing? Then at the same time every monitor on the ship started flashing the words "Hold on".

The snort drives suddenly powered to wide open. I could feel the ship protest as the drives were trying to rip her hull apart. Then my world turned inside out. The positions of the planets around us seemed to suddenly shift.

As I recovered my equilibrium, I looked up at the main screen. There was nothing but a wall of light back the way we had come from. I was watching the blast wave from a matter/anti-matter explosion. "Tactical, Report! How long before that blast wave reaches the planet?"

"Thirty-six minutes, Pig. I am also tracking the last of their shuttles. It is seven light seconds in front of the wave and running like its ass is on fire."

"Its ass is on fire! Phone Call, send a sit rep and logs to High Command and open the channel to Captain Furllow. He has to lift off his people now. We have to scoop them up and run for our lives!"

"Sir, they will achieve orbit in twenty-two minutes."

I slapped my com panel and called out to engineering. "Jazz Hands have the tow beams ready for an emergency grab. We are going to have one shot at this."

"Sir, this is Goodwrench. Jazz Hands is not available. We will have those beams ready."

"Where is Jazz Hands?"

"He is in the generator room, Sir."

"Get those beams ready."

"Yes, Sir."

I closed the channel. If Jazz Hands has been nipping at the solvent again, I was going to strangle him. I fumed over that for a few minutes before I heard the report that the evac pods were lifting off from the surface of the planet. "Bumpy, plot us an intercept course to the shuttle. Keep us in front of the blast wave. I want the occupants of that shuttle alive."

The first of the evac pods reached orbit. I opened the channel to engineering again. "Get those pods on board as fast as possible."

"Yes, Sir."

As I closed the channel I looked over at Mighty Mouse. She was still jacked into the console and out of body. I had no idea what she was doing but I hoped she knew.

As soon as the last pod was inside the shuttle bay, I gave the order. "Bumpy, get us moving now!"

I watched the throttles pushed forward and there was a moment of hesitation from the engines. Then we were moving on course to intercept the shuttle. Why had the engines hesitated? They had never acted that way before. I opened the channel to engineering again. "What is going on down there?"

"Sir, this is Goodwrench again. I need to report a casualty. Jazz Hands was in the core room when the engines engaged. I am registering no life signs."

"What was he doing in the core room?"

"When the engines engaged at full power earlier without moving, it burned out the main transfer couplings. Jazz Hands was replacing them sir."

My blood ran cold. I had lost one of my crew. I knew it would happen eventually but I was not ready to lose anyone. How can the captain of a ship ever be ready for that? "Why wasn’t I informed of the problem?"

"Jazz Hands ordered us not to inform you. He knew it would take him ten minutes to climb out after the couplings were replaced. If we had waited we would have been there when the blast wave hit."

I sat back as the ship moved to intercept the shuttle. My mind was recoiling at the thought of telling his wife. Then a voice cut through the fog in my head.

"Captain Graves, I am pleased to meet you in person."

I looked up to see Captain Furllow standing over me. I stood and took his hand. "I am glad we could be of assistance. Right now we are trying to catch that shuttle before the blast wave does. They are losing ground rapidly and are only a few seconds ahead of the wave."

"Captain, I want the people on that shuttle as much as you do, I would not risk my ship and crew for their capture. Let the blast have them."

Behind us the planet was roasted as the wave swept over it. The atmosphere boiled away and every living thing on the surface experienced temperatures in excess of a million degrees. "Those people are the only mutineers still alive. Their mutiny cost you your ship and crew. It cost me a member of my crew I considered a friend and family. Now they have cost a planet its life. I will have them or I will die trying to bring them to justice." The intensity in my eyes made him draw back.

Bumpy broke the tension with his announcement. "Captain, we are pulling in front of the shuttle and will be in tow beam range in one minute."

As soon as he finished speaking the ship seemed to lurch slightly and then the words "Go Now!" appeared on the main screen.

"Bumpy, pour on the speed! Get us out of here as fast as you can!"

As the ship accelerated to maximum speed Mighty Mouse spoke from behind me. "Captain, the prisoners are in the brig and Jazz Hands is in the medical lab."

"Thank you, Mighty Mouse." I said, then as what she said sank in I turned to look at her. She was smiling.

"Sorry, Captain, I did not have time to inform you. I teleported Jazz Hands out of the core room when the engines engaged. He has slight radiation burns and will need to be treated."

"Thank you." I said softly, as it sank in that this young woman had saved the life of my crew and crew members several times during this encounter. I then turned to Captain Furllow. "Captain, I believe we have some prisoners to interrogate. Would you care to join me?"

"I await the pleasure of this interview."

A few minutes of time found a small group of us standing in front of the brig cell that contained the prisoners. It consisted of Captain Furllow, Mountain, Mighty Mouse, and myself. I looked into the cell to see William and Janet Kines sitting naked on the bench.

"Commander Kines, I am glad I get this chance to meet you. It seems we did not have a proper introduction when we first encountered each other. I am sure I do not have to inform you of the penalties attached to a charge of mutiny."

William Kines looked up at me and smiled. "You cannot make a charge of mutiny stick. I was acting under orders from high command."

"It seems your orders came through an unofficial channel. High command had no idea about your orders."

"My orders came straight from the mouth of Admiral Tigrat himself."

"Admiral Westland, did you get that last transmission?"

"Yes, Captain Graves, several MPs and I heard it."

"Then I guess this interview is over. Captain Furllow, would you and your wife care to join us for dinner?"

"It would be an honor, Captain."

Later we were all sitting around the Captain’s table in the dining area. "Captain Furllow, what are your plans for now?" I asked as I we waited for our dinner to be brought.

"That is an interesting question. I was looking forward to heading home. We only had a year left and then a long trip home. Now we either spend several years asleep in a short space pod or we stay as part of your crew and remain out here for fifteen more years. Captain, you will pardon me and my crew if we are a little down about this."

"Mighty Mouse, do you think you can do it?"

"Yes, Sir, but we will have to have the couplings disconnected before I power up the engines."

"Captain Furllow, what would you say if I told you we could get you home very quickly?"

"What do you mean by quickly?"

"That we will show you tomorrow."

"This is painful, my crew and I were going to be the first successful return from going deep. Now we get to return home in disgrace, just another failed mission."

"Your mission did not fail, Captain, it was betrayed from within. I am sure High Command will take that into account on your return."

I was sitting at my desk in our quarters. Mighty Mouse and I had a plan. Now we just had to clear it with Admiral Westland.

"Captain, this is Nightwatch, your scrambled call to the admiral has gone through."

"Transfer it to my quarters please." It only took a second for the call to connect to my desktop monitor. "Admiral, I am aware it is highly unusual for us to place a call directly to you at your home. I need to explain what we are going to try tomorrow." After a lengthy conversation the Admiral agreed that it was the best solution. The twenty extra people would put too large a strain on my ships supplies. We had to get them home.

After the communications was terminated I moved over and put my arms around my wife. "Baby, I love you." I said softly and felt her melt against my chest.

"I love you too, Phillip. Take me to bed."

"With all my heart." I said as I scooped her up into my arms and carried her to our bed. I laid her gently in the bed and began to caress her through the silk nighty she wore. Her skin felt so smooth under my hands. I could hear the light sighs and moans that escaped her as she enjoyed my touch. I began to untie the bows that held her gown closed. With each small spreading of the silk I kissed the skin it revealed.

I could feel the heat of her skin rise as her passion began to burn. The aroma of her arousal began to fill my senses. I slid her nighty apart after untying the last bow. Then I caressed my hands down the skin of her sides and stomach. The light moan of passion that came from her built me higher. I began to kiss and lick her from head to foot. Every touch of my tongue would elicit a new sound of pleasure from her. In the weeks since we had admitted our love for each other our passion had grown. We were like newlyweds on our honeymoon. Every night we made love. That is what it was between us now. We both sought other companions for stress relief, but together we made love.

As my kisses and caresses intensified, she entwined her hands in my hair. I could feel her guiding me to what she wanted. I ran my tongue lightly along the lips of her pussy and listened to the inrush of breath into her lungs. No matter how hard she pulled my head towards her all I would give were fairy light touches and licks. I lifted her legs upward allowing me full access to her treasures. Then when her moans started turning into frustration I licked from her puckered rosebud to her clit.

"Oh God, Phillip!" She moaned out as she began to shudder and quake. Her nectar came to me in a flowing stream of sweetness. Her taste was like the purest ambrosia. I sucked her clit into my mouth and nipped at it lightly. Her small orgasm skyrocketed into the clouds. Her moans became cries of passion. When she started to relax I pushed my tongue deeply into her entrance and curled it upward. Several flicks of my tongue started her up that hill again. Soon she was moaning out my name and begging me to push her over. When I heard these pleas, I pushed my tongue deeply into her ass and she once again fell over into bliss. I rode the waves of her climax until she was starting to slow down then I pinched her clit between my fingers and stroked it with my middle finger. I could feel her start to stiffen again. When the rush came on her again, I pushed my tongue into her entrance and a finger into her rosebud. She went over into a cataclysmic climax. Her legs tried to clamp onto my head as she began to buck and try to get me off of her sensitive pussy. I held on and forced her to keep orgasming. She began to plead for me to release her. I began to stroke my finger in and out of her ass, as I worked her clit with my fingers and her pussy with my tongue. Within seconds she was pulling my hair and crying out. Then with a force of will strong enough to move mountains she spread her legs and grasped my ears. She knew I could not stay locked while she pulled on them. I gave up my feast as she pulled me up her body. We locked into a kiss full of passion and power.

I was in the perfect position. I felt her sudden exhalation of breath into my lungs as I thrust fully into her. Then she pulled her head back and moaned out her pleasure. My thrusts became urgent as I pushed her again into orgasm. I could feel her nectar running over me as she rode the tidal wave of our love making. Our passion had us kissing and thundering towards our conclusion. She pulled back from my kisses, then began to cry out, "Cum with me, Phillip! Give me your essence! Give me your passion!" I began to tense and my thrusts became erratic. We both were moaning out as we approached our climaxes. Then with one final thrust I buried my cock as deeply into her as I could. My cum flowed into her in spurts and waves as she cried out her orgasm.

In the afterglow of our lovemaking we snuggled and kissed. It felt so wonderful to be in her arms and to have hers around me. Somehow it made the place we were in so much more bearable. We talked through our days and relaxed. Then when we were both ready and cleaned up a little I walked over to the communications panel. After thumbing it to life I called the Med Lab. "Melons, is there any change in Jazz Hand’s condition?"

"No, Sir, he will finish radiation decontamination at zero-eight-twenty-three tomorrow."

"Contact me if there is any change." I then switched the channel to Mighty Mouse’s room. "It is clear for entrance."

"Thank you, Sir."

I had barely climbed back in the bed when Mighty Mouse entered our room in her pajamas. She climbed in the bed between us and we all wrapped our arms around each other. Just before I drifted off to sleep I heard my little mouse whisper. "Good night, Dad. Good night, Mom."

We both mumbled, "Good night, sweetheart."

"Admiral Westland, it is good to see you this morning. I see you have the command admiralty with you. May I speak freely?"

"We are the only people in the room. Speak freely."

"What we are about to attempt must remain a secret among the admiralty right now. I am sure they understand the reason for it. Captain Furllow has volunteered to be or first subject. He refuses to risk any other member of his crew. M.D. Roberts has successfully short range teleported our entire ship on two occasions. This will be the first time she has tried a person through the wormhole link."

"How sure is she that it will work?"

As admiral Westland spoke I heard the engines wind up. Then Captain Furllow disappeared from my office. It seemed like forever that we waited. Those two ticks of the old clock on the wall sounded like Thor’s hammer in my ears. Then just as suddenly the good captain was standing next to Admiral Westland. Everyone spoke at once. "Please, one question at a time."

"Do you realize just what this could mean for our exploration efforts?" Admiral Westland asked softly as the others just stared at me through the view screen.

"I am well aware of what this can mean. It will now be possible to re-crew ships in deep space as well as give them supplies. The problem I have is that a certain Admiral has a grudge against me personally. This same admiral is in charge of the effort to build a psychic transport station. If he finds out that he can send people through, he could well send a boarding party directly to my ship. I wish the admiralty’s permission to blackmail him." As I spoke the remaining crew members of the Sequoia began to disappear from the office and reappear one hundred and twenty six light years away in the command building.

"What do you mean "Blackmail" him?"

"The two leaders of the mutiny aboard the Sequoia that survived and were captured are his oldest daughter and her husband. Under our current command and law system I am autonomous while deep. That means I am the law onboard my ship. These two people are guilty of treason and mutiny. Those crimes carry some pretty stiff penalties. I will offer to suspend these penalties for his early retirement."

"If we give you permission to do this we can have no knowledge of it."

"Then we have an understanding. I will ask to speak to him alone. At the end of that conversation I will expect him to turn in his resignation letter."

"We have not agreed to this. We need to know why we would want him to retire."

"I will forward the logs from the Sequoia’s computer and some other communications between myself and the admiral. We can reconvene in two hours when you have had time to review the logs. If Admiral Tigrat is with you I will know your answer."

The logs were sent and we closed the channel. After it was closed I contacted security and had them bring the prisoners to my bridge office. It only took a few minutes for them to be brought. Both were wearing shackle restraints. I watched as they were brought into the office and sat on the couch. I had them placed there so that they would be fully visible to the view screen. "Are you two both aware of the severity of the crimes you are guilty of?"

"As I said before, you cannot convict us of anything. We were acting under the orders of an admiral from High Command." William Kines said with more than a little bit of arrogance in his voice.

"You seem to have forgotten something. We are deep, I am captain of this vessel, and therefore I am the law. I have more than enough evidence to have you both executed. Now all I need to do is decide the method of your punishment." I watched as the fear suddenly set into Janet’s eyes. "I believe I will have Commander Kines executed via explosive decompression. Then as for Lieutenant Commander Kines, I will have her stripped of rank and used as a sex slave aboard the ship until we tire of her. Then I will use the matter recyclers reduce her to energy for our use."

William tried to jump up from his seat on the couch. Before he could get fully to his feet, Mountain triggered his restraints. I watched as he fell and writhed on the floor as electricity arced along his body. When the device finished discharging I looked at Mountain. "Please place him back on the couch."

Mountain roughly jerked him up off of the floor and pushed him back down onto the couch. I walked over and stood in front of them. "You abandoned the captain of your vessel on a planet with no hope of rescue. You attacked my ship without establishing communications or announcing any charges I was to be brought under. You also nearly cost a member of my crew his life. Give me one reason why I should be soft on you in any way?"

Janet was in tears. "Please, can’t you just put us in a short space pod, and send us back to Earth?"

"I would be better off abandoning you on a random planet with no communications! You almost killed a member of my crew! I should have you both thrown in the core room and the engines brought to power slowly! You expect mercy from me?" I stormed out of my office leaving the two of them there to think about what was going to happen. I had a crew member to be there for. Mountain and Everest would keep them in line.

My feet soon had me standing in front of the sickbay. Mighty Mouse had followed me and was only a step behind me. "Pig, you wouldn’t really do that to them, would you?"

"No, I wouldn’t do that to them, but they have to be afraid if this is going to work. You have a bad habit of eavesdropping."

"I can’t help it. I can hear everyone on the ship’s thoughts all the time."

I turned to look at her slowly. "Can you hear what the prisoners are thinking?"

"Yes, she is terrified and he is trying to plan how to kill you and escape."

"What I am about to ask is very important. Can you talk to us with your mind?"

"I have never tried."

"Try it with Mountain. Warn him about William." She nodded and seemed to lose focus for a moment. Then she looked at me.

"I startled him a bit, but he knows now."

"Thank you." I turned and we went into the Med Lab to find Melons and Jazz Hands. As I approached his bedside he looked up at me.

"Captain, how did I get here? I expected to wake up in the last great unknown."

"You had a guardian angel looking out for you. She yanked you out at the last instant."

"How did she even know what I was doing? I gave all the engineering crew orders to keep you clueless until it was over."

"You don’t want to know, and if you ever give that order again I am going to give you extra duties."

"Yes, Sir."

"For this infraction I am giving you three days off. You saved the ship, now go get some rest. When you get back your first duty is to redesign the main couplings. I want to be able to disengage them by remote from the bridge. We also need to be able to fire up the backup generators and leave them uncoupled. I want Mighty Mouse to have all the power she needs at command."

"Yes, sir."

"Good, now as soon as the doctor releases you, you are to take a three day vacation with your wife. Yes she gets to share in your punishment."

"Yes, sir, and thank you."

"I am not the one you should be thanking."

Jazz Hands turned to look at Mighty Mouse. "Thank you, I am truly grateful."

"You are more than welcome."

I was sitting in my office again. William was lying on the floor with fresh bruises just starting to show. Mountain had reported that he had tried to attack them. I figured the bruises would look good for my little act. Then the call came in.

"Captain, the admiralty is on channel and waiting."

"Thank you, Phone Call, please forward it to my office." I waited the few seconds it took for the screen to become active. I almost jumped for joy when I say Admiral Tigrat among them. "Good Morning, Sirs. I have asked for this conference to inform you of my decision regarding the charges of Mutiny and High Treason against William and Janet Kines." I watched as Admiral Tigrat paled in the background. "It is my decision that William is to be executed in one hour in the method of explosive decompression. Janet will serve an indeterminate sentence as sex slave aboard this ship until we tire of her. Then she will be executed by total energy conversion."

"You can’t!" Admiral Tigrat started to say but was cut off by Admiral Westland.

"I am afraid he can. He has autonomous power while deep. It is his right and power to uphold the laws as he sees fit. I assume you have evidence to support the charges?"

"Yes, Sir, I have the logs from the Sequoia. They detail the contact between these two and one of the admiralty staff. They also detail the events of the mutiny and our own logs detail the events of the attack on this ship."

"We will expect a full report with your weekly check in."

"It will be forwarded, Sir."

"It is customary for the condemned to get a last visitation with family. May we ask this mercy from you?"

"I would not consider myself a captain if I was cruel about this sentence. Might I suggest you step out of the room so that Admiral Tigrat can say goodbye to he oldest daughter and her husband?" I watched as the admiralty stepped out of the room leaving Admiral Tigrat at my mercy. Once they were clear of the room I spoke openly. "It seems, Admiral Tigrat, that you have misjudged me and my crew and now your daughter and son-in-law are going to pay the price."

"Please, Phillip?"

"Please what? Please spare them from your attack? Please spare them from the crimes they committed in your name? Why would I do that?"


"I am Captain Graves to you. You have no right to call me by my first name."

I watched as he seemed to swallow and nearly choke on the words. "Captain Graves, please put them in a pod and send them home to me."

"What do I get out of that? Then you will just contact some other loyal clown and send them after me. I am tired of watching over my shoulder for your traps. As long as your daughter is on my ship we will be safe from your attacks. Besides, I have not had the pleasure of this daughter. I am sure she will be a most attentive slave. Imagine those lips wrapped around my…"

"Please, I will do anything."

My mind jumped in elation. I had found his weakness. His family was his Achilles heel. "So if I return your family to you then you will tender your resignation? I want to see you resign in disgrace."

"I… I…."

"Mountain please escort Mister Kines to airlock one. Everest please take Missus Kines down to the lounge and outfit her with her collar."

"Wait! I will do it."

"Sit down and type up the letter of resignation, now. Hold it up to the screen, when you are done, so I can read it. If it leaves the camera view after I have read it, I will terminate the call and proceed with the punishment." I watched as he typed up his letter. In my mind I was dancing. I had Tigrat over a barrel. If he refused he would lose his family forever. I would let his daughter contact them and tell them he refused her safety for his career. If he did it his career was over.

The Admiral finished his letter in only a few minutes then held it up to the screen. I read through it and found it all in order. Then I invited him to ask the other admirals to return to the room. "Oh and, Admiral, you might want to note that the recording station is off. So any claim of duress for your resignation will have no support."

I watched the admiral growl as he called out to the others. Within seconds they were standing in front of the view screen again. "It seems that Admiral Tigrat has offered his resignation to spare the lives of his Daughter and Son-in-law. I have graciously accepted. I am afraid Admiral Tigrat I will have to forgo my promise of being there at your retirement party."

It was Admiral coffee that spoke first. "You do realize Admiral Tigrat that if we accept this it is irrevocable. You also will only retire on half pension."

"Yes, Robert, I understand. I would do anything to ensure my family’s lives."

I interrupted the talk at the far end. "May I make a request?"

"Certainly, Captain, What is your request?"

"I would like to have the admiral’s resignation refused, and he allowed to retire in the normal course of time with full pension. I do not believe his family should be made to suffer."

All of the admirals looked at me in surprise.

"Maybe I should explain. I feel I owe my present position to the trust the admiral showed in me when he promoted me and gave me the command of this ship. As such I feel the admiral should be forgiven for any part in this and allowed to continue his duties. It is my understanding that the Liskian home world is in need of an ambassadorial presence. It is my belief that he will fit that position admirably."

I waited as they all absorbed what I had said. Then Admiral Tigrat spoke softly. "Why?"

"Admiral, I am not a vengeful man. I just want you to let me do my job and explore. We had an agreement at one time. Please allow me to die my bloody death at my own hand."

I looked upward and called out. "Mighty Mouse, send them home." Within seconds the engines had wound up and the two prisoners disappeared. I then turned to the view screen again. "Admiral, I and my crew are in enough danger out here. Let us face it. I cannot speak for Captain Furllow, he may well still wish to press charges for the loss of his ship and crew." As I spoke the two people appeared among the admiralty.

Admiral Tigrat looked at me through the view screen. "Captain Graves, I believe we have an understanding." He then turned to the other admirals. "I would accept the post as Liskian embassador, if it is offered."

After Mountain and Everest had left my office, Mighty Mouse entered. "May I ask a question about why you did not press your advantage on the Admiral?"

"You can ask." I said with a small smirk. She stood there waiting for my answer then she started to giggle.

"Why didn’t you press your advantage? You had him nailed to the wall and he knew it."

"If I had pressed it he could have called duress. Even without logs for evidence the facts would have been compelling. There is an aspect of this though you are forgetting."

"I understand that Captain Furllow may press the issue."

"You went through the crew roster. Who is Captain Furllow’s father."

"He is the current president of the United Planets."

"What exactly do you think is going to happen to Admiral Tigrat when the president gets word that the admiral tried to have his son abandoned on a planet?"

"Oh my!"

"Exactly, I do not believe that the Admiral is going to be an ambassador. It is a lot more likely he is going to be In charge of garbage disposal or sewage system maintenance." I said as I headed for the door to my office.

I walked onto the bridge. "Bumpy, what is our next target of opportunity?"

"There is a habitable world around a star four light years away."

"Point and click, Bumpy."

"Yes. Sir."

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