Admiral Lord arrived back to ship, with more questions
then answers.... If the Dectran war machine was truely all powerfull, then why is it, the Tunisia is still free? And, what's
the deal with the president's daughter? Any thought of reprieve was shot down by Captain Ossyrus's strange discovery.
Maxx found himself on Deck with the Captain now...Holding
a set of Binoculars and looking to the strange sight. On the distant platform, Lord could just make out a vessel by it's shape.
A rather familiar, ( if old ) shape... A Borodino class battleship! (Although, this craft was extremely modified from
it's original look.) "What do you make of it, Admiral?" Ossyrus questioned. "...I have no idea...But it's one of ours, left
over from 2201 I think..." With this, he lowered his binoculars and look to his officer. " I'll tell you this...Someone's
not being square with us!"
Below: image made by "New York's" computer
base of the "mystery ship" Ossyrus and Lord observed... It's general appearence was that of an old "Borodino" class vessel...But
how was this possible?
...In her chambers, Martrees was getting ready
for bed...She was not alone. In the corner of the darkened room, near the balcony doors...A figure stood. A tall, slim yet
imposing shape of a man.
" I'm taking a terrible risk comming here...This better
be really important, my love!" came his voice. With this, the young woman rushed to him. "It is...So very much." she replyed.
"Very well, then... Of what, do you wish of me now?" "I need the service of your facility...You can be of better assistance
to the Earther's then we can." Said the woman. There was a moment of tense quiet...The he spoke."please understand, Martrees...It
was of great risk to even tow the Earth ship here, to your father's city! If I become more involved, your father will surely
find me out...And we will never be together!" Again, the awkward silence. "...To say nothing of the Earther's laws I have
broken, by just having my ship..." He added. "...I understand, but your assistance in saving our world, must be enough for
redemption on both sides! Isn't it worth the risk?" She pleaded...Adding "...What about our happyness?" The shadow man thought
for a moment...And realized, he could not argue her point. "...Direct the Earth ship to my dock, by shallow sun, tomorrow
eve... By then, I shall have guided the "Phantasmica" to a safe place."
The next morning was
graced by a beautiful sunrise...Admiral Lord could not help to thinking this world a good place to retire to. (If he made
it that far.) Back on "New York's" bridge, it was reported that Ossyrus's mystery ship had departed sometime during
the early morning hours... Indeed the far off platform was now empty. Maxx had decided to stay ship-bound for the day...Seeing
what work could be done with the repairs.
By afternoon...A visitor arrived. It was Martrees.
As she boarded, the crew was quick to salute. As was the bridge staff as she entered. Maxx, though polite, was cautious
of her enterence. "To what, do we owe this honor?" he inquired gracefully. (Noticing the woman to be by herself, with-out
any security or escort.) "I bring you news, sir..." She smiled, handing Lord a slip of paper. "...This is written permission
to move your vessel from this dock, to the one off there..." (She pointed out the windows, toward the platform on which, the
mystery ship had been a few hours back.) Uppon taking the paper, Lord could not help the puzzled look he gave to Captain Ossyrus.
Martrees caught it as well. "Bring your ship there...The men of that facility, can fix all the damage to this ship. All will
be explained to you, in good time." she smiled.The crew looked at one another..."I shall remain onboard to escort you over."
She insisted. With that Maxx gave a smile..."You heard the lady, lets get moving."
The battered ship was slowly moved
over to the other dock... It seemed as if the air traffic people where all "looking the other way," as this was done. The
uncomfortable feeling was back, thought Maxx as the ship settled in it's new birth. Martrees took to the radio herself, to
address the dock heads. "Good Late-sun, to you Daarell...I'm sure I speak for all the Earther's, when I say thank you for
receiving us." She spoke,..From the other end, came a puzzled response. "Miss Martrees?!... Cappy never said nothin', 'bout
you commin' over!" The woman smiled, then spoke again to the mic. "Don't worry about it, No one else knows I'm here, so you're
all safe!" A loud sigh came from the other end."...That's a load off my mind...Anywayz, Cappy sez make yerselves at home,
welcome, my place is yerz and all that..." With that, there was a heavy metallic sound as the ship settled on the landing
clamps. "New York" was again docked.
With the ship planted, Martrees quicky made
her exit. Captain Ossyrus and Admiral Lord watched her retreat the dock, as they looked around with nervous apprehension..."Who
the hell, are these people?" Ossyrus asked. "I have noooooo idea." Lord replyed, still watching the curious looking
men work about, securing his ship. "...But, I suppose it's time, to figure that out!" He added, heading to the bridge exit.
On the dock, Lord was met by a rather
large man with loud attire...The man was covered in tatoos, and was chomping on what looked like a toothpick. "Are you in
charge?" Lord asked. "Sorta,.. I look after the dock when Cappy's doin his errends...Name's Daarell." the man replyed. The
radio guy, thought Maxx to himself. "So, who's this "Cappy" He inquired. With this question, Daarell looked about, as if to
see if anyone was listening in... "Well, hez the kinda guy, that fixes problems. Trouble is, most other people don't exactly
see it that wayz, I recon." He said with a laugh. Lord got a clear picture...A mercinary, or outright Pirate. "Anywaz,
looks like you still build 'em the same..." Said the dockman, looking about the hull of "New York". Lord gave him
a look of question over his comment...But Daarell continued, without flinching. "...So, if you get yer people to
clearz the area, I'll get the gantry machine slung out...Start fixin' you up!"
The number of questions was mounting... This
situation was clearly not an "official" act. Lord wondered if the Tunisian President even knew of this change of plan. He
and Ossyrus were discussing just that, when the invite came.
Daarell had offered a meal and conversation to The head
officers of the "New York". Admiral Lord jumped at the opportunity...With caution. ( He and Ossyrus would attend...But other
"key officers" would in fact, be decoys.) This was a big risk, there was always the chance that these people might want to
take the ship....But the need for information was too important to ignore.
Everyone met in a large Rec-room in the Dock Facility...
Lord, Ossyrus and the other crewmen, entered and were seated. Daarell was joined by half a dozen other men and women, all
dressed in the same "colorfull" way...They all seemed alittle "rough around the edges." Once everyone was settled, Daarell
spoke. " Cappy...er...Captain Specter, that is...Has instructed me to welcome you folks from the planet Earth....And
to use everything we got, to make sure your ships' as good as...If not better then she waz to begins with." This "speech"
seemed to be labored, as if Daarell thought about his every word. "Our thanks,..To Mr. Specter, then." Lord answered in a
Again, a fine dinner was brought out...Daarell
explained that this was customary on the part of Tunisians..."It is always better to offer visitors food and drink, rather
than suspicion and doubt." said one of the women with Daarell.
"I'm guessing, that this offer was made to the Dectrans, as
well?" Asked Ossyrus. "Of course, the President made it very clear... The Dectrans ignored it."The woman replyed, as Daarell
nodded. "...I see...So, if they really are all powerful, how is it, that they haven't taken over this planet yet?" Lord asked
with abit of reservation. "That is a very good question... One that we can't answer." offered the woman.
Daarell broke the quiet moment that followed with
a change of subject. "I think, I can make yer ship better." "You can repair it, then?" Ossyrus asked, with a degree of
puzzlement. Daarell actually looked offended. "Of course I can fix it...But I, can Makez it...BETTER! Herez...Let me
punch it up." With that, he worked a keyboard. A blueprint of the "New York" flashed on a large wall-screen...
Looking very different. There was a second Wave-Motion Gun, and more turrets. The E.D.F. crew looked at this image with amazement.
"..If yer plannin' to stick around these partz, yerz gonna need some beefin' up!" Daarell said, odviously proud of his modifications.
The plan was set, Daarell's men would get started the
next morning...The "New York" was going to get a drastic make-over...She would become her own class of ship, out-gunning
her sisters. With the arrangements made, the meeting was finnished. The Admiral and his men were led off
by the woman who spoke at dinner. This was perfect, Lord thought.
Her name was Shareena. Lord
thought she might provide more answers, if alone and able to talk freely. He guessed that the Tunisian custom of openess,
would side with him now...So he invited the woman aboard. And, as expected, she quickly agreed.
"So, Daarell really thinks he can build me a better ship,
then?" He asked, escorting her though the vessel. "He doesn't think...He knows." She said with a smile. "I realize, that he
may not sound that educated, Mr. Lord... But he's one of the smartest people in this sector, when it comes to tech...Or Mr.
Specter wouldn't have him." She added as they walked. There was a quiet moment as Lord led the woman to the ship's rec-lounge.
"...Which brings me to Mr. Specter....Who, exactly is he?" Asked Lord as the two sat down. The woman smiled, looking lost
for a moment. Maxx could tell that she was thinking about how to answer. "...Mr. Specter is our leader... He's kept us safe
for many of your years... And, if not for him,..Your ship might not be ready, the next time the Dectrans come." She replyed.
The Admiral smiled. He could appreciate this answer...Something about throwing the gift horse in his face. "Very true...
your grasp of our technology is...unexpected." Lord replyed, with a slight hint of suspicion. The woman stiffened abit. She
was clearly uncomfortable with this. After mulling over her position, she gave a heavy sigh and spoke once more. "Look,
Mr. Lord..." "...Just call me Maxx." Interrupted the Admiral, disarmingly. She smiled, and started again. "...O.K...Maxx...
Before the Dectrans came....Our business was opportunity. We gathered technology from accross the stars, and sold it to others.
This planet has made great progress, with our help." She admitted. " I see...So you're Tech Pirates, then?" Lord said, half
to himself. "We rather call it, leveling the playing field... Ironicly, the same government that buys our tech, has made law
against this practice...That is why we hide." She said with sadness.
Lord pondered this for a moment. "...Then, you've
seen our technology before?" Shareena became uncomfortable once again, but answered. "Many of your years ago,..Your people
lost a ship. A warship that had been sent off to be dismantled." Lord thought about history for a moment. "...The "Iron Duke"...
She was taken by force, near Mars...2245, I believe." He answered. "Yes...But the ship has changed hands several times, sense...Mr.
Specter took it from a group, who had planned to use it against this city." She added. This news caught Maxx off guard. "...So,
he stopped a pending attack, by one of our older ships?" He paused, thinking of the implications... then added. "...That could
have been a disaster for our relations." "Exactly.... But then,.. That's the kind of man, Mr. Specter is." She said with a
certain satisfaction. Maxx Lord felt a better now, and began to talk to the woman about many "other things."
...The next few weeks went by quickly. Lord focused
on helping the "Techers" rebuild his ship. Maxx spoke a few more times with Shareena, and had guessed (Correctly) that
The govenment link was the President's own Daughter...The sale of "barrowed" tech went though several contacts, then to Matrees.
With this in mind, Lord was always careful when speaking to Tunisian officials.
Lord kept alot of this, to himself... It was too important,
that the ship be made ready again. This point was driven home with the fact that several Tunisian supply vessels
had been attacked and destroyed by the Dectrans. The longer "New York" sat, the odds of attack grew. Lord and Ossyrus felt
like sitting ducks.