This is the final book of the Jordan Locke series. Part 1 was Altaria's Last Stand, and Part 2 was Jordan's Revenge. Please read them now before start this if you haven't already. If you have, sti back and enjoy the read. Because I have the story more planned out, I should be able to write it faster.
Through the reaches of space near the remnants of the Terran Alliance, the battleships Independence and Royal Vengeance continued on their journey. Aboard the bridge of the Independence, the ship that led the way through the warp tunnel, a handful of men were at their stations, keeping the ship running. In the captain’s chair sat Jordan Locke.
Three f^cking months, thought Jordan. It’s been that long already? Jesus Christ… A check of the calendar proved the date correct. Jordan leaned back in his chair and recounted what had happened since mercenaries hired by Tresia Kolonus, the leader of an Altarian elitist movement called Uslynthinis, sent mercenaries to board the Independence to destroy the ship and capture his allies, the renegade Yor Ordo, and Aelytha, an Altarian refugee that had fallen in love with Jordan. It had been three months since those events had happened, and to add insult to injury, Tresia had manipulated the Altarian government to place a bounty on Jordan and his men. All of this because Jordan killed at most six people, all of them twisted and cruel. Three months had gone by with no change on his status. The bounty was there, the many serious charges stayed the same, and the bounty remained at fifteen million standard credits. Jordan had doubted that his name would ever be cleared by authorities. With everything dedicated to the war effort, domestic things tended to be neglected. History taught that.
The two ships came out of warp at a star system in order to make any needed turns and let the warp engines recharge. The men at the control stations got up and stretched, as did Jordan. Owen Derekson, a man whom Jordan had hired to work with him, approached. “Jordan, we’re at the system. Now what do we do?”
Jordan leaned back in his chair. “We’ve never really had anything to do, Owen. We can just spend some time here and see if the bounty’s been removed, but I doubt it will.”
“Knowing Tresia and her influence, there is no way that bounty is coming off,” said Owen.
“I know, I know. One can still hope, though. I would try to go into the Terran Alliance myself and try to clear my name, but it wouldn’t work. I’d be put in handcuffs five minutes after docking. Our ships are probably tagged. Two Vortex-class battleships would easily be seen.”
“Jordan, you can still try my idea of contacting Altos for help. I’ve said it many times. I’m not trying to sound rude, but you need to-”
“Owen, if you think I’m closed to other people’s ideas, I’m not. Trust me. I may have used to be, but that was ages ago. I would do it, but people would detect our transmission, and get pretty suspicious. We could go to the Terran Alliance, but like I said, we’d be seen. Talking to Altos is an excellent idea, but we’d be found. There’s no one out here but us.”
Owen checked a display that showed system scans. “Actually, we’re not alone. A group of ships is coming in. Looks like an exploration task force.”
Jordan got up and looked at the display. “Why the hell would the Terran Alliance send ships to a place like this? What’s out here that out scanners didn’t see?”
“They’re not coming from the Terran Alliance systems. They’re coming from somewhere beyond that. The Terran Alliance sent forces out like this before the war. When we started fighting the Drengin, they all returned. Why is this one returning just now?”
“How should I know?” asked Jordan. “Who’s the captain of the task force?”
“Someone by the name and rank of Colonel Jenna Casey. The ships’ ETA is about a half hour.”
“Okay, how did we not see them sooner?” asked Jordan.
“The sun apparently was blocking that area from our sensors,” explained Owen.
“Like holding a coin up to your eye…” said Jordan with an eye roll. “Plot an intercept course.”
After a quick trip at sub-light speeds, the Independence and Royal Vengeance arrived in the general area where the ship’s computers calculated the arrival of the Terran task force. A warp tunnel opened, and about ten small ships sped out of it.
Jordan opened his mouth to order the ships to be hailed, but the lead ship of the task force sent a communication request before he could even speak. He opened up a channel and a communication was projected from the ceiling of the bridge. Jordan found himself looking at an attractive young woman, whom he assumed to be Jenna Casey.
Jordan smiled. “You sent a communication request?”
The woman nodded. “Yes. I am Colonel Jenna Casey of Task Force Odyssey. We are en route to Earth on a mission for the Terran government. Who are you, and how are you in control of such military equipment?”
“My name’s Jordan Locke. Until about two years ago, I held the rank of Captain. Since the Earth Shield was put up, I’ve been out of the Navy.”
“Pardon me, Mr. Locke, but what are you talking about? What is the Earth Shield?”
“Colonel Casey, have you or your fleet received or sent any communications during your trip?”
“At the beginning, yes. Something extremely important happened that cut off our communications. What is this Earth Shield?”
Jordan took a long breath. “Colonel Casey, during your absence, a war between the Terran Alliance and the Drengin Empire was fought. We were winning until the Dread Lords, the Precursor civilization, came out of this pocket universe and started launching attacks. The Terran Alliance managed to stop them, however, the Drengin Empire took advantage of this in order to attack on destroy the Terran Alliance, because there was never a ceasefire. Most of the Terran Forces retreated to Earth, where somehow this force field was raised, blocking anything attempting to cross it. I don’t how they did it, some people were talking about some ghost-like being called Draginol giving a plan for a shield generator.”
Casey’s eyes widened. “Draginol?! He was at Earth?”
“Uh, you know him, or it?” asked Owen, a look of puzzlement on his face.
“What I have to tell the Terran Alliance involves him and many other factors. I have to return to Earth. What’s the status of the Dread Lords?”
“Dead, for the most part,” said Jordan. “The rest have gone into hiding. They’ve caused a civil war in the Drengin Empire. We had a nasty encounter with them at this battle over Toria.”
“What I have to tell the government is vital. I must get back to Earth. The information I have could possibly change the known galaxy,” said Casey.
“I see,” said Jordan. If I can somehow get aboard her ship or travel with her fleet, I can get to Earth and talk to Altos to see if he can help me.
“Before I leave, I must ask: why are you out here?”
“The Altarians have placed a warrant against me for killing several people. Evil people. I don’t want to risk going to the Terran Alliance, because it’s likely I’ll get arrested. Where are you headed for?”
“Earth. Twilight Station to be precise.”
“I need to get there. Can I travel with your fleet? I have a shuttle I can use.”
“And why would I allow that? A criminal is a criminal, even if you are a former Navy captain.”
“Because I didn’t do anything against the Terran Alliance,” explained Jordan.
Casey quickly typed something on her console. “This record says that you have conspired with the Drengin Empire and Yor Collective. You are an enemy of the Terran Alliance and Altarian Republic. Explain that.”
“The leader of those people I killed fabricated information about me. Talk to Commodore Altos Carniss or Admiral Evars. They have the real story.”
“They know what really happened. Now, may I please come along with you? I also have to get to Twilight Station.”
“You have a ship. Fly there yourself.”
“The Independence is going to be easily seen approaching the Terran Alliance. We have smaller ships docked, but people won’t get suspicious if we travel with you.”
Casey nodded, her jaw length hair bobbing slightly. “Very well. We leave soon. Get ready.”
“We’ll need an hour at most,” said Jordan.
“An hour it is. No more.” The channel closed.
“Owen, you and I’ll take the Perseus,” said Jordan
“Right,” said Owen. “I’ll need to take off some of its heavier weapons. The station authorities aren’t stupid. If they see a ship armed to the teeth land in a civilian hangar, well, you know what will happen.”
There was no more to say. Owen alerted the hangar crews and sent them instructions on what to remove. The two then left the bridge and headed for the hangar.
After a quick ride down a turbolift, the two arrived in one of the Independence’s hangars. Owen’s ship, the Perseus, was surrounded by several hangar workers and mechanics. One of them walked up to Owen. “Sir, we’ve removed the heavy mass drivers and missile launchers. We’ve left the lasers intact, and disguised their signatures, as you ordered.”
“Very good,” replied Owen. “Is the ship ready for departure?”
“Ready as it’ll ever be,” said the technician.
Jordan and Owen walked up the boarding ramp and into the ship. Despite being the size of a corvette-class ship, the Perseus only required two people for a skeleton crew. After running pre-flight checks, Jordan and Owen settled into the pilot’s seats.
The hangar master radioed the Perseus. “Everything’s clear. You’re good to go.”
After waiting for the hangar to depressurize, Owen activated the ship’s engines. Once the hangar doors were fully open, the Perseus lifted off the hangar floor and into space. After about ten minutes of travel, the ship arrived at Jenna Casey’s fleet.
One of the ships radioed the Perseus. “You got here earlier than expected. We’re ready to make the jump to Earth. A word of warning though: if we have the slightest feeling that you’re lying simply to use for cover, we’ll be aboard your ship and have your butts hauled off to jail.”
“How heartwarming,” said Jordan, making an obscene gesture even though the communication was only audio. “We’re ready.”
“Jump on our signal,” said the person on the other end.
A few seconds later, the fleet jumped into warp, heading toward the home of humanity.