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Old June 15th, 2011, 08:04 PM
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Rigel Stardin Rigel Stardin is offline
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At space dock, Rigel Stardin watched as the tugs moved the Thomas Walker towards the transport ship. His mind reflected back on the six month he had served aboard her. An arrogant captain and the death of two crewmen had been the only drawback to his tour of duty.

He had done some research on the ship. It was named after an Ensign who had died in combat during the war with the Kafka Empire. It had served with distinction and awarded four battle stars for actions taken during that bloody war. The frame was twenty-nine years. Eighteen commanders including Captain Luther had commanded the ship during war and peace. Twenty-four men had died during actions on board her. He thought it was a shame it would enter the scrap yard off Darius without a fifth battle star. She deserved it after the hell she had been through.

No one in the Alliance or the Innerempires for that matter had realized the contribution the Escorts had given them. They patrolled the space lanes for smugglers, pirates and fought in military actions. Without them goods would not travel freely among the stars. They were the backbone and the workhorse of their navies. Most cadets and junior officers thought tours aboard them were less glamorous than service on the capital ships.

The Gazelle Class never had needed improved. The design had been around for a thousand years, because she fit her niche just fine. It was only in recent decades that the Gazelle 4s’ had made refinements to the old warhorse. The new stallions were the Golf Class, which the Transport now released from its docking clamps to make room for the Thomas Walker.

Sleeker in design and over all profile, she had been adapted to fill two roles. One as a missile platform and the other was a gunship. Both had proven themselves in the conflicts, which plague the Myanmar Federation coreward of the Innerempires. The Alliance had procured the design from a Far Trader who had strayed off course finding itself 800 light years of the beaten path. So wrote the company who built them for the Alliance Navy.

Rigel watched the Gazelle closely as the docking clamps extend to receive her. As was the custom of the Mariusan Imperial Navy, he snapped to attention saluting the Gazelle as the clamps touched her hull. The final jester made by the crew for a ship who had served under ones’ command with distinction during her tour of duty. A slow turned brought him face to face with Commander Balzac before he could finish the tradition. He continued to hold the salute until Balzac said, “At ease, Ensign.”

He lowered his hand as the Commander glanced out the viewport. “You paid for your ticket on the military transport. May I inquire to your reasoning behind it?”

“I am not here on official business. The transport officer stated that it was regulations that I paid.” Stardin remained at attention.

“You should have seen me first, Ensign.” Balzac walked by him to stand next to the viewport. “It is customary for the last commanding officer of the vessel to see his decommissioned vessel off in our navy. I suppose that jester was Mariusan form of the same.”

“You are correct, sir.” He turned to face the Commander.

He glanced over his shoulder. “If you are wondering about the Inquiry, the findings were sent to your quarters as of eighteen hundred hours.”

“Is there anything further sir?” He asked politely.

“One thing of concern.” He looked back out the viewport. “I have been informed by command you will be reassigned to base operations for the next three months. At that time, you will be reassigned to Golf Class Escort. Until then, I expect that you will perform your duties as an Officer in the Alliance Navy and not the Mariusan Imperial Navy. Is that clearly understood, Ensign.”

“Perfectly sir.”

He faced the Ensign expressing himself with angry eyes. “Good day.”

He walked off…


* * *

Back in his quarters, Stardin punched in the four digit personal access code before pulling the monitor from the recess of his bunk. The screen flashed prompting him to enter his code a second time before reading the findings of the board.

There was also a reprimand from Vice Admiral Oporto for his boldness when considering medals. It went on to say he had no right in submittal process because he had not the time in grade or the experience of command. In the future, he was to submit his request before filing them with High Command.

A smile crossed his face. He had given the citations base operations for review. Someone in the chain of command had seen his protest taking it at face value and submitted the form. He was willing to accept the reprimand knowing that someone at least thought like him.

The crew had given an accommodation for bravery under fire. They were all to be reassigned within the next few days. However, Ankara received the harshest judgment of the inquiry. He was reassigned logistical command. The closest he would come to combat would be on an armed transport....
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