The Battle of Charmelle: The Vhaen Project | 9

Amelia rocked in the free swinging ship high above the sharp jagged rocks of the planet’s surface. She had been hiding now for more than an hour maybe two…and there had been no response to her call for help. Several decks above, unbeknownst to her, a small force from one of the attacking ships lowered themselves to the outermost deck heavily laden with weapons. All together they moved with intention to take or kill any they found on their search. One, two, three, they filed in one behind the other, moving together as a group. Several of these sets moved into the body of the ship overturning furniture and debris as they went searching for the illusive crew of the Isabella.

 

One group of soldiers made their way past the decks of repaired damages and radioed back to the ship above that there was little to be seen, aside from a rushed and somewhat botched repair job. Amelia could hear the sounds of their boots across the floors above her and quietly she pulled the hiding space debris closer in around her.

 

A young man, Jareth, was newly recruited to the “scouting” division cast his eyes over the layout of the ship, in its jumbled condition no one would have believed it would have been so threatening to anyone. He saw the cups and plates overturned and made a funny face as the realization dawned upon him.

 

“They’re just people…”he muttered edging his toe against an overturned frame that had been tossed in the ship-napping.  “Don’t see what the big fuss is about.”

 

Jareth continued through the room and passed the place Amelia kept herself hidden. He crunched broken and overturned glass in his wake. Amelia eyed him silently as he passed her watching his every move and drew short shallow breaths.

 

In the young man’s search he stooped to view something and the hidden woman strained her neck to see what he was doing. When he erected himself he had a simple silver cup clasped in one hand and a small smile on his face. The young man cast his eyes around the room and stuck the engraved cup into a bag at his side quickly.

 

Amelia inhaled sharply as her mouth drew into a tight line across her face. How dare he!

 

Jareth continued through the far side of the room where a great deal of debris had fallen. In and amidst the rubble he could see a matching silver platter to the cup he had procured. Maybe this would have some value as a set..  So with a measure of quietness the young man began to uncover his latest prize.

 

When he pulled it free from its entrapment, Jareth held it up into the light reflecting the image of the room in the lightly tarnished surface. The last thing he saw was the enraged face of some twisted figure in the metal surface before all went black.

 

Amelia stood over the fallen man with the end of a wooden beam clutched in her hands. ” Don’t take my stuff!” She mouthed angrily. She glowered over the now unconscious young man and removed their things from his bag simultaneously rifling his pockets and spotted the pistol in his holster. An easy means by which to arm herself. She turned away to retreat back into her hiding place, when a thought occurred to her.

 

If the young man downed in an odd spot in the ship was even remotely suspicious, they may return with more men and really give the ship a thorough going through; and that was less than desirable. The ship creaked as it gently tilted to the right, they were turning rather sharply.

 

With a measure of strength Amelia threw a pile of fallen debris on top of the still fallen man creating a loud crash that echoed through the doors and open spaces in the Isabella proper. When the two soldiers finally found their companion buried beneath a pile of debris they moaned to themselves.

 

“I wish they would leave these greenhorns at base. Never can do anything right.” The senior officer said pulling the bleeding young man from the wreckage.

 

“Tell General Liam we’ve been through the ship and found no wounded or otherwise. He may not have the crew yet, but they’ll be coming for their vessel. No doubt about that.”

The soldiers radioed back to the ships above that the vessel was clear and their injuries were fairly minor. Dragging the fallen man with them they exited the ship by the way they had come.

 

Amelia had only been settled into the hiding place she had created for a short time when the ship jarred violently. Bracing herself on the walls around her she waited silently. Her breath was calm but her heart racing in her ears. There were sounds of deep tremulous metal on metal contact. Voices shouting far away and high above her the sound of boots on deck. The gentle swaying of flight had vanished, replaced with she stability that only being moored to the earth can bring. Amelia pulled the pistol closer to herself and slid the chambered mechanism open, ten shots, not a lot but enough should the need arise.

 

Outside, the hard and dark stone grounded the lighter than aircraft with clamps that ran the length of it’s keel. Soldiers in the familiar colors and regiments, though still dressed for the cold climate, that were common to their enemies scurried about the grounds in securing the ship. Those who commanded, sent smaller groups to man the entrances and exits of the base they had set the Isabella into the center of.

 

Specifically, the courtyard of the only Order base in the sector; Fort Samthane. An old and appropriated building left from ages long past. Stationed here, in this empty world were soldiers and scientists alike seeking the truths of the world that once had held over a million inhabitants but now hardly even gave signs that life had ever existed there.

 

General Liam Coult was highest ranking here in the rock wastes. A short, wide man with deeply cut features and twisted sense of humor. He was his subordinates worst nightmare, often resorting to leaving his men on the cold faces of cliffs for disobedience. It was this man that tread heavily onto the deck of the Isabella.

 

“Real shame the tin can is empty.” He exclaimed filling the courtyard with his voice.

 

“What are your orders now, General? Do we fortify against attack?”

 

The general smiled a sort of half grin that almost made him pleasant, “Attack? Are you kidding? With what kind of ship? They’d have to grow wings to get here without the Isabella. No, make sure the fort is secure and bring the Argon over the courtyard here. Block out any chance our little catch here can escape.”

 

“Yes, General.” His orderly nodded quickly.

 

“And Michael…I’ve been thinking just now…”

 

“Yes, Sir?” The young man beside him looked up rather wearily.

 

“Since we had to waste such a fine ship as the Charmelle as ammunition…I rather think the Isabella would make a fine addition to the fleet here, don’t you?”

 

“A fine Idea, Sir, I’m sure.”

 

“Good, splendid. Get the repair crews out here pronto. Do whatever repairs are necessary. I want this ship in the air by morning! Oh…and bring the craftsman in…I have a few changes to make…”

 

“Yes…Yes, Sir.”

 

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