Chapter 3: Commander
Admiral Aslan Quatar stood at the edge of the bridge, looking through the thick window, at the vastness of space before him. From the Zordon fleet he commanded position he had an awe-inspiring view of the solar system. The fleet was situated just outside of the Solar System allowing Aslan to see most of the planets. He could make out the system’s sun as the glowing dot way off in the distance. The gas planets were clearly visible with Saturn easily being one of the most beautiful planets he’s ever seen. From the corner of his eye Pluto was visible though he barely gave it a second thought beyond how the Zordons occasionally used for mining; which no doubt led to it shrinking significantly in size. Off in the distance he could make out Mercury, Venus, and Mars glowing semi-brightly. He could see Earth as well but preferred not to give it a second thought; particularly when it came to the planet’s inhabitants.
It was hardly the first time Aslan had seen the Solar System having been stationed there many time during his long military career. It wasn’t his favorite System to be stationed at due to the hostility of the sentient life called humans who inhabited the planet Earth; they had a record of being hostile toward any outsiders. The humans’ hostility was the reason Zordons were ordered to stay away from Earth unless it was mission-oriented from a high ranking official. But, at least in Aslan’s opinion, it was one of the most beautiful and peaceful System’s to be stationed. It was often described as the perfect system to be stationed to prior to retirement, something he wasn’t too far from. Standing on the bridge of the Zordon flagship battlecruiser overlooking the system, he could confirm from his own experience that was mostly true.
Aslan turned his attention away from the Solar System and focused it towards the massive Zordon fleet positioned all around his battlecruiser. The spectacular battlecruisers and battleships that were visible from his position were a sight to behold. The only difference between the two classes was their size, armament, armor, and purpose. Battlecruisers, being the larger of the two, were significantly larger with bigger guns and thicker armor, were designed mostly for defense along with the intention of overpowering and breaking enemy lines with fire superiority. Battleships, though less armed, were much more maneuverable and faster, allowing them to be primary offensive. Aslan knew his fleet contained twenty battlecruisers and thirty battleships, all fully staffed and ready for combat at a moment’s notice. Behind them were the carriers, a truly massive piece of Zordon work, the smallest being the size of a small asteroid. The carriers were so massive they were capable of carrying five battlecruisers each, along with hundreds of Zordon Starfighters. Those ships were seen as the backbones of the Zordon fleet and defended by the others as they were support ships, equipped with truly devastating plasma canons capable of destroying large asteroids with ease. Aslan fleet, being like all the others, possessed five carriers, giving him a great deal of support. Each of the classes had the same design, being long, rectangular ships with large engines on the back and a dome shaped bridge on tops, with weapons and other equipment positioned along the ship. The Zordons designs were simple, having never cared for aesthetics, favoring function instead.
However, the most important ship in each Zordon fleet, which Aslan could barely see from his position on the bridge, was the insanely massive planet-shaped ship that rested in the center of the Fleet. Every ship in the fleet surrounded the single ship as they were positioned around a planet in a defensive manner. Aslan was well aware that was protocol as what rested inside the gigantic ship, which was easily five times larger than a carrier, truly was the most important part of the fleet, the families of the fleet. The single ship was the living center of the fleet, where the family of the lives of the Zordon soldiers rested. The ship could easily house a million people and he knew there was around that many on it at the moment. Aslan viewed it as the heart of each fleet, hence why they were classified as heart ships, and as such it had to be protected. Though heartships were heavily armored and armed, they were the least maneuverable ships in the fleets, and as a result deserved the most protection.
Aslan let out a loud sigh as he looked down at his feet. I swear, it is impossible to get used to having so many under my command. It is not a responsibility I would wish on anyone. Aslan looked up, quickly looking from ship to ship as Starfighters flew past in small patrol formations. The weight of such a responsibility and the amount of lives I have to worry about would crush the soul of most people.
After a few moments of observing the fleet Aslan turned around and glanced at the busy activity on the bridge behind him. The bridge was one of the largest rooms of any battlecruiser, with the flagships begin larger to accommodate coordination of the entire fleet. There were four roles of terminals on each side of the room, terminal with a different purpose, and a dedicated technician manning each one. Nearly every technical was a different breed of Zordonian, there were dozens upon dozens of different breeds in the Zordon race, or a mix breed. Despite the difference in breeds they appeared to get along quite well, or enough so each person could do their jobs properly. In the middle of the bridge was a large control table with multiple terminals from the entire fleet could be easily coordinated by just a few commanding officers, or just the Fleet Admiral, in their case Aslan, if it came to that. Thankfully, he hadn’t heard of that happening in a Zordon fleet in multiple System revolutions.
Aslan smiled slightly as he observed the personnel go about their business. Even in times of silence they remain busy and active. That is quite inspiring to see subordinates dedicated to their work when things are slow. He smirked to himself. It gives me confidence for when combat comes inevitably comes.
Aslan began turning around back towards the window when the sliding door leading to the officers’ recreation room. He glanced in the direction of the door to see a young adult officer, from his guess a poodle/Rottweiler hybrid, hurried rushing towards him. The young officer ran full speed towards Aslan while carrying a data pad. He looked concerned about something and the scent he gave off confirmed it.
“Admiral Quatar?” The young officer called out as he ran towards the Fleet Admiral. “I think you need to see this.”
Aslan looked questionably at the young officer, as did most of the personnel on the bridge. A quick glance from the high ranking officer quickly fixed that resulting in all personnel immediately resuming their work and ignoring the scene taking place before them. It eased Aslan’s tension a little to see the technicians go about their business upon realizing the situation did not involve them; the amount of professionalism amongst them was still amazing to him. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long as he turned back towards the young officer who looked worn out and greatly concerned. He could tell the young man had been running for a quite a while by the sweat and heavily breathing as he stopped in front of him. It wasn’t till they were close to each other that Aslan realized how tall he was compared to the officer, at least a head taller and the young officer was slightly taller than average Zordonians.
The young officer took a deep breath, straightened up, and saluted Aslan. “Admiral, Officer Lanceton with a report you have ordered.”
Aslan looked confusedly at Officer Lanceton. “What report is that Officer? I have a lot of officers on orders running around so you are going to have be more specific.”
“Sorry Admiral . . .” Officer Lanceton panted. “. . . I should have . . . been more . . .”
Aslan held up his hand interrupting Lanceton. “Slow down officer, take a deep breath and calm down.”
“But Admiral . . . it is . . . important.”
“That may be true but it cannot be so important that it can wait for you to take a moment to catch your breath?”
Officer Lanceton shook his head. “It is about . . . Fara Fennix. You ordered me . . . to keep track of her and . . . her daughter.”
Aslan fought back his reaction upon hearing Officer Lanceton’s words. Fara always had a way getting to him, even others saying her seemed to be enough to get his attention. However, at that moment, hearing the tone of concern and panic in the young officer’s voice, he found himself being more concerned about her than he’d ever been in the past. Though Fara was no stranger to trouble he had a dark feeling what she had gotten herself involved in, after their last aggressive argument, something exceedingly dangerous. The concern he felt was significantly increased at the thought of Fara’s daughter Felicity being possibly involved in that danger.
Aslan closed the distance between him and Officer Lanceton and spoke softly to him. “Tell me, what do you have to report?”
Officer Lanceton looked up nervously at Aslan and gulped before replying. “Uh, how much do you want to know?”
“All of it. I need to know why they have not returned yet.”
Officer Lanceton reluctantly nodded. “Uh, well, it is a long story Admiral, and one that will probably infuriate you. I mean, everyone knows of your connection to Fara and that is why we in personnel tracking drew straws to determine who would deliver the news to you.”
Aslan remained stoic towards Officer Lanceton’s response but on the inside he was busting a gut laughing. He’d heard rumors of departments going to extremes to determine who would be the one to report to him. It was common knowledge that most of the fleet personnel were afraid of him, Aslan was very aware of it but didn’t care. He believed it was because he was one of the remaining pure wolves of the Zordon species, a breed that still received quite a bit of suspicion from the other breeds. Aslan just accepted it and often used it to his advantage. Though in that moment, hearing it affected how people were reporting to him about Fara it slightly infuriated him.
Aslan took a deep breath and looked down at Officer Lanceton. “Alright, then just get it over with and start from the beginning.”
“Of course Admiral.” Officer Lanceton replied with a lot of nods. “When we received the order from you to track Fara’s starship we were unfortunately reluctant since it was certainly not the first time.”
Aslan nodded while remaining stoic. Yeah, this has got to be the twentieth time since she got old enough to begin flight training. It is what she would always do after we had an argument, just take the nearest starship and go flying. Though it was usually just a quick flight around the fleet. Aslan thought as he glanced at the floor. She would usually be back within a circulation, only staying out longer if she was absolutely furious at me. She has never been gone anywhere near this long though.
Officer Lanceton cleared his throat as he continued. “Regardless, we still monitored her Starfighter but not closely as we assumed she would stick around the fleet. That quickly changed when she went outside the fleet boundaries.”
Aslan jaw dropped slightly but not enough to where Officer Lanceton appeared to notice. “Outside the fleet boundaries, are you certain about that?”
“Yes Admiral, there was at least five of us monitoring her at that point and they can back me up.”
Aslan shook his head in frustration and disappointment. She must have really been furious to go that far from the fleet. She has not been this mad since I forbade her from becoming Daniel’s mate or since she lost him because of the stupid humans. Aslan straightened himself up and looked down at Officer Lanceton. “Once they got past the Fleet boundaries what happened?”
Officer Lanceton cleared his throat and glanced down at his data pad before replying. “For a while, not much of anything. We thought they were just going for a joy flight and just let them enjoy it for a while.”
“You did not think of contacting them?” Aslan passive aggressively asked.
“We did nice they passed the planet Uranus. That is when we tried frantically to contact them to no avail.”
“What, you waited that long to contact them?”
Officer Lanceton nervously nodded. “Yes Admiral, at that point we knew they would not be coming back any time soon and tried to call them back. But Fara shut off all communication so all we could do was track them.”
Galaxy that girl. Aslan angrily shouted in his head while remaining as stoic as possible on the outside. There has to be something wrong with that woman. Though I guess I am to blame to but still that is . . . just insane. Aslan took a deep breath and replied as calmly as possible. “I got a feeling this is just the beginning of the bad news.”
“Unfortunately, it is Admiral, and in probably the worst way imaginable.” Officer Lanceton sighed loudly. “We tracked their flight as they neared the asteroid Jupiter. That is when the unimaginable happened.”
“What, did Xulons attack them?”
“Yes Admiral, unfortunately that is exactly what happened?”
Aslan gasped loudly as his mouth dropped open. “WHAT?”
Officer Lanceton jumped out of fear almost dropping his data pad in the process. “Y-yes Admiral, our equipment recorded the entire ambush. All of the personnel tracking department freaked out and went into overdrive the moment it happened.”
Aslan no longer tried to hide his feelings or concerns, nearly collapsing to his knees upon hearing the news. He braced his hand on the bridge’s window to steady himself, allowing him to remain standing. His mind raced faster than what should be possible. His lungs almost immediately went into hyperventilation but due to his training and experience he was able to avoid it. Fortunately, it only lasted for a couple moments before Aslan was able to gain control and recover, standing back up as best he could and faced Officer Lanceton.
Aslan took several deep breaths before speaking but still stuttered. “Do we at least know if they are still alive? Ambushes by Xulons do not have a high survival rate.”
“Normally I would agree with you Admiral but in this case we have one of the VERY rare cases where one of ours survived . . . for the time being at least. This is Fara we are talking about, that woman is a one of the fiercest fighter pilots amongst all our fleets.”
Aslan internally let out a sigh of relief along with a silent chuckle. Hearing that Fara and Felicity had survived what many would consider an impossible scenario definitely caused his blood level to lower and nearly internally collapse. If it wasn’t for his image he would’ve fallen to his knees in front of everyone. Officer Lanceton’s comment about Fara helped to ease the tension as he knew it was true. He raised the woman so he was VERY aware of what a fiery woman she was, as well as how talented she was in a cockpit. For her age it was well known amongst not just his fleet but most of the other Zordon fleets how talented of a combat pilot she was. It gave him hope that he would soon be seeing her again.
“Alright Officer, tell me what happened.” Aslan ordered.
“I will do what I can Admiral but in our department, and a couple others, we are still investigating the situation.” Officer Lanceton replied. “We know they were ambushed by a patrol of Xulons, at least ten according to our scans, and all hell-fire broke lose. We guess it was an accidental ambush other’s even the Xulons would have swarmed Fara ALOT quicker, that gave her an advantage. As soon as it happened we got in contact with every department we could to monitor the situation and possibly solve the situation. I will say this Admiral, Fara certainly put up a fight, she took out at least three of them before taking damage.”
“Really, she took out three against such odds?” Aslan responded not hiding how impressed he was.
“Yes Admiral, but in the process her engines were damaged in the fight and by that point they were surrounded. To escape she jetted . . .”
“Wait, she jetted with damage engines?”
Officer Lanceton nodded. “It was either that or face Xulons with a damaged engine, neither are good options in the slightest.”
“Huh, though jetting with a damaged engine is extreme dangerous it is still safer than facing a Xulon patrol alone.” Aslan respond. “We you able to track where they ended up.”
“Yes Admiral, but you are not going to like where they are. It is probably one of the worst places in the Solar System they could be.”
“You mean . . . Earth?”
Officer Lanceton reluctantly nodded. “Yes Admiral, we have confirmation that while they did manage to escape the damage and jetting caused them to crash on Earth. You will be happy to know that they did survive the crash but we do not know much beyond that.”
Aslan sighed as he turned around and looked in the direction he assumed was Earth. One of his worst possible nightmares, for any Zordonian, had just been confirmed. Nearly every personnel in the Zordon military, and in civilian life, knew about of the humans’ aggressive history towards their kind and as a result most refuse to go near Earth. In Aslan’s case, it was a near textbook example of a person going from an extreme dangerous situation to near certain death. He had to do everything within his power to keep from going into a panicked/worried state and somehow managed to keep his posture enough to remain standing. Being faced towards the vastness of space, away from the others on the bridge, helped him to appear to be stoic.
After a few moments, Aslan looked over his shoulder at Officer Lanceton. “Can you tell me anything at all about their current situation?”
“Not as much as I wish we could despite multiple departments being involved.” Officer Lanceton slowly nodded. “We know they are alive since we received a distress signal and a short message from Fara shortly after the crash. She was straight to the point as usual.” He looked down at his data pad and read the message. “Attention Zordon Fleet command, this is Fara Fennix with offspring Felicity after crash landing from an engagement with Xulon forces on Earth. We are alive but I have suffered a minor injury. Please get off your fluffy butts and rescue us.”
Aslan shook his head while letting out a loud chuckle. “That is definitely from Fara, she has never had a delicate tongue. She got that from her mother.” Aslan had to take a moment to recover to be serious. “Do we know anything else?”
Officer Lanceton sadly shook his head. “No Admiral, we know nothing else beyond the location of their fighter. The tracker and ship diagnostics are still working but that is all. I wish I could tell you more but that is all the information we have.”
“I was afraid that would be the case.” Aslan replied as he crossed his arms and sighed loudly, trying to bring himself to muster the ability to chance the subject. “So, the Xulons are coming?”
“That is uncertain right now, Admiral. The Xulon Investigation department have been doing their best to stay on top of the situation but from my last report we do not know much beyond just that single patrol’s presence. They were monitored closely and at this moment . . .” Officer Lanceton glanced down at his data pad. “. . . they are currently positioned near Jupiter. No other Xulon presence has been detected but we are monitoring the tire system to be safe.”
“Good job Officer, make sure to keep that up, the Xulons are more crafty than we often give them credit for.” Aslan responded while glancing at the out towards Jupiter. “If a single patrol is spotted in a system than it is certain a fleet will eventually . . . eventually. So we need to be in high alert.” Aslan turned towards the bridge overlooking the personnel. “Pass the word along, the fleet is on observation alert. And pass on an alert to the rescue department to get Fara as quickly as possible.”
Officer Lanceton stood at attention and saluted. “YES ADMIRAL!”
Officer Lanceton took off running towards the door that led to the communication department; within moments those orders would be submitted throughout the entire fleet. Assuming the personnel throughout the fleet did their jobs, which Aslan was certain they would having made sure each department was ready personally, it would take hardly any time at all for the fleet to be on alert. Unfortunately, Aslan couldn’t be proud of the effectiveness of his subordinates, not with the thought of Fara and Felicity in danger. He knew that as long as they were out there his concern for them, would make affect how effective he would be at his job. At least Aslan had a long career of experience dealing with extremely stressful situations, but even those felt tame in comparison compared to his current stress level. His only hope was the rescue department getting to them and off of Earth soon as possible. Until then, he would have to remain strong and do his job as the Fleet Admiral to the best of his ability.
Just hold on daughter, we will get you back. Aslan thought as he hid back a worried tear.