With Daarell and Shareena's consent, the
Battleship "New York" was now decending back toward Zinna-Thraull and Specter's secret dock...Lord figured, this would be
the only safe place, after tonight.
The conference room was full as Captain
Venture walked in. Admiral Lord smiled, and welcomed him to the table. Now, it was time for the business at hand. The small
talk died out as Venture sat down. The room was quiet.
"Alright people...As you all know,
things around here are getting pretty tense...The Tunisian government has expanded it's state of war, to include Mr. Specter."
Maxx opened, looking over to Shareena and Daarell. But before the two could answer, he continued. "...Though, we might not
agree, with Mr. Specter's "Ethics," his people repaired this ship, under his direction. I also understand, that Tunisia has
enjoyed a secret partnership with him, for quite some time...He supplies them with new technology, they advance alittle
more...Now it seems, they want to turn on him. This puts us in the middle of a very awkward situation..." Lord paused, The
table was silent, as everyone pondered over the news. "...A situation made worse, by our new orders, which I hold in my hand.
According to Earth Defense Head Quarters,.. We are to back the Tunisian Government, 110%. Whether we agree, or not." " Youz
can't meanez that, sir!" Exclaimed Daarell. He and Shareena were both upset. Maxx knew this was comming, and quickly
added. "...Which is why, we're here right now...There may be another solution!" He said, smiling at the two. With
Specter's people calmed, the meeting could continue.
"We were given two options... Earth Head Quarters,
just took one of them away. That said... I think, I'll go with "Plan C"... My own option." The table looked to Admiral Lord
with confusion. "For those of you, who don't already know him,.. I'd like to introduce Cadet Petty Officer, David Starr."
With that, a young officer stood up, nervously. Lord continued, as the officer sat back down. "...Without realizing it, Mr.
Starr gave me an idea...One that may clear Mr. Specter, as far as I'm concerned." Eveyone looked at the cadet with new interest.
Lord started his explanation..."All
ships leave energy wakes...A sort of signature, if you will... As they travel through space...This is common knowlege. In their
rush to implicate Mr. Specter, the Tunisians have neglected to check the convoy's sensor records." The table sat, silent and
confused. "...And, this is important, how?" Shareena questioned for the rest. "I'm getting to it...Mr. Starr, would you please
post the sensor readouts from the Dectran attack on Zinna-Thraull?" "Yes, sir." Replyed the jr. officer, as he worked the
keypad in front of him. A large screen in front of the table now lit up with the sensor readouts. ( These readouts looked alot like those of a planetary Seismograph.) "Thank you, Mr. Starr. Now, isolate the moment
that the Dectran ship appeared." The officer worked the keys again, and a section of the graph became highlighted. "Now, bring
up The sensor record from the "Hood"... And compare..." Again, Starr worked his keypad... On the display screen, another strip
of sensor code appeared below the first...Then a section highlighted, and merged with it's counterpart. "There, is the Dectran
signature, people... Now, if you look at the "Hood's" graph, you'll see another point of disturbance...That would be Mr. Specter's
ship entering our Time/Space continuum. Please note, these two signatures are not the same!" There was another quiet
moment, as the table struggled to see where Lord was going.
"Now...If I was a tech...Collector... ( Lord thought this word, would go over better than the word, "Pirate" with Specter's
people.) It would make sense, that I would try and obtain the best, from whomever I decided to work with..." He started. Around
the table, there were nods in agreement. "Mr. Starr, One last thing... Please compare Mr. Specter's energy signature,
with our records." The officer went to work with his keys once more. On screen, Specter's sensor reading highlighted...While
below, codes flickerd by at high speed. Suddenly, the flashing codes stopped. And the code displayed, merged with the other.
The table sat, shocked and confused. Lord smiled. "Just as I thought...Thank you, Mr. Starr." "Aye, sir" The young cadet responded.
"Mr. Specter is using our old U.D. engine, people...That's why the energy signature is on record. Am I right, Mr.
Daarell?" The table fell silent, as all eyes focused on Specter's two people. Daarell looked fidgety, as if not sure how
to answer. Shareena did, for him. "Yes sir...It is your technology, Mr. Specter is using." Lord only nodded, then continued.
"...So, why is this important? U.D. drive was dangerous at best. We couldn't even get it to work right... If I were
friends with Dectra, I'd want, what they use. That said...It is my oppinion, that the Tunisians are wrong, in wanting to hang
Mr. Specter." With the conclusion of his argument...Maxx fell silent, watching facial expressions around the table. He could
see, that eveyone was mulling over what he just said. Surprisingly, it was Daarell who broke the silence. "Thank youz, Mr.
Lord..." A simple verbal response...That spoke volumes, in heart. Apparently, the rest of the table felt it also. "So,...What
do we do?" Asked Ossyrus. Lord smiled...Now came the interesting part.
"A very good question,...Right now, we're
chained to the orders right here." Lord said, pointing to the papers on the table. "...But youz said, there might bez a way!"
Exclaimed Daarell, still lost in deep remorse. "Indeed I did, Mr. Daarell...Indeed I did." Lord said, smiling in the direction
of Specter's two. "Mr. Venture...Your Uncle served on the very first Space battleship, did he not?" "Yes sir, he did...I was
named after him." Captain Venture said, with pride. The group smiled, as Lord replyed. "... As we're all keenly aware... I'm
told, you're a historian as well?" "Yes, sir." Venture answered, with confusion. "Very good, then... Mr. Venture, I hereby
transfer your command, to this ship...With Captain Ossyrus." Jaws dropped around the table..."...Two...Captains, sir?" Venture
responded. "Yes, you heared me correctly... But then, The "Yamato" had two captains for a while, as well. Did she not?" Lord
said, knowing the answer. "But that was an unusual circumstance, sir..." Added one of the department heads. "And this isn't?"
Asked Lord. "We're going to need two captains, working together...For what I'm planning." He added, then he turned to Shareena
and Daarell. "I'm guessing, you people send coded messages to Mr. Specter... So the Tunisian's don't catch on?" "Of course..."
Answered Shareena. "Send Mr. Specter a message, then...Warn him about the Tunisians, and explain our position... Tell him
to steer clear, of any Tunisian Defense vessel! If he feels the need to help, tell him, this ship will be his safe
contact." Lord explained. "Yez sir, Thank youz, sir!" Daarell said, sounding more like himself. Around the table, nervous
conversations were breaking out. Lord could pick out words like "rogue" And "AWAL." "Calm down, people....Let me finish,
then you can decide." The room fell silent, as order was restored. "Good... Now, the Earth Defense Force gave us orders to
follow. And, as long as this ship operates under it's title, we have no choice, but to obay..." Everyone looked to the Admiral
nervously, not sure what to expect, or where he was going. "Mr. Venture...Please recall your history from the years, 2199
to 2205." Lord seeded. "Yes, sir...Sir??" Venture began to see the light. The rest of the table watched, some still lost.
"The "Yamato" was not an E.D.F. ship...Was she?" Lord gave alittle more, smiling. Expressions around the table began to change...There
was a feeling of growing excitement. "No sir,.. The "Yamato" was independant. And thereby...Not govened,..By E.D.F. rule!"
Venture exclaimed. "And there's are loophole!" Lord finished.Venture and Ossyrus sat back, both smiling..."... I'll be damned!"
Ossyrus said quietly. "...As Admiral, you have the authority needed, to Reactivate..." "Right again, Mr. Venture." Lord replyed
to the Captain. There was a quiet moment...Then Maxx spoke up. "Does everyone here, understand the implications, of what I'm
about to do?" He asked. "Yes, Sir!" came a response, both loud and prideful... Everyone that is, except Daarell and Shareena,
who looked at Maxx with confusion. Seeing this, he addressed them. "You two are exempt, as you fall under Mr. Specter's
crew." He said, smiling at Shareena. " Very well then...Mr. Starr, Open up the ship-wide com." He ordered. "Aye, sir" The
"Attention crew...This is Admiral Maxxmillion Lord. As you
all know, we have been backed into a corner... Both Tunisia, and Earth, expect us to destroy, not only the Dectrans,..But
Mr. Specter as well. I believe, that everyone aboard understands this irony... After all,.. If it wasn't for Mr. Specter,
none of us would be here now!
Many years ago,..Another group of people disreguarded
their authority...And I for one, am glad they did! Because if it wasn't for them, we'd all, be living under the Comet
Empire! These people were the best, of the best...As are, all of you, today! That's why, it gives me great honor, to
redesignate this fine ship, and all who sail her...Under the official title...STAR FORCE!"
The ship thundered with cheers...Lord didn't need the
intercom to here it. The sound seemed to ring through the steel itself. This new optimism filled the conference room as well...Maxx
Looked around at all his people. He then, took out his lighter, and burned the E.D.F. papers. With this act, the conference
room broke into cheers as well. He gave a quick
smile, then sat back in his chair,.. Concerned. He knew that this decission would spark controversy with Earth Defense. But,
they left him no option.
With the meeting over, Admiral Lord went back to his
stateroom...He sat in his study, thinking about this historic decission. He looked at the painting of "New York" hanging
on the wall, absently... Then, he looked at it harder. The painted ship wasn't the same... ( Indeed, the painting depicted
the battleship as built by E.D.F...Not the hybrid that she was, now.) That's when he was hit by another, powerful realization.
This ship, had been rebuilt...As was the "Yamato." Both, with the assistence of another world. Maxx smiled...Any worry, any
doubt in his mind....Had been washed away. This was, the right thing to do. (Again, it should be mentioned that Maxx Lord
was a superstitious man...To him, this was a sign.)
With a renewed sense of confidence...He sent a coded
message to the E.D.F. He told them of his decission, and informed them,..This ship was now it's own self-government. He sent
the Tunisian High Council a like message. Ater getting the news out, he called the bridge on the intercom.
"Attention everyone, I just sent news of our intentions, to
all concerned...I'm sure, it won't be taken well. That said,..Remember the history of those, we follow...The group, and title...We
represent! I want you all, to do the very best you can...And then some! We will not be treated well...But I say, Let history
be our Judge! Now, lets get to work." Lord said, motivating the crew, once again. Then he was struck by an afterthought...He
opened the com again."One more thing...Get a detail crew out side,..Paint me some Anchors!"