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Brulaxian World Ships have destroyed seven Earth colonies and are approaching Colony Two. Rogue One arrives with a promise of a way to defeat them. But can he? This is part three of three.
WARNING! All of my writing is intended for adults over the age of 18 ONLY. Stories may contain strong or even extreme sexual content. All people and events depicted are fictional and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Actions, situations, and responses are fictional ONLY and should not be attempted in real life.

All characters involved in sexual activity in this story are over the age of 18. If you are under the age of 18 or do not understand the difference between fantasy and reality or if you reside in any state, province, nation, or tribal territory that prohibits the reading of acts depicted in these stories, please stop reading immediately and move to somewhere that exists in the twenty-first century.

Archiving and reposting of this story is permitted, but only if acknowledgment of copyright and statement of limitation of use is included with the article. This story is copyright (c) 2023 by The Technician,

Individual readers may archive and/or print single copies of this story for personal, non-commercial use. Production of multiple copies of this story on paper, disk, or other fixed format is expressly forbidden.

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Chapter Five - Commander Sylvia

Rogue walked up to the base airlock and reached up to trigger the microphone so he could speak the entry code. But before he could speak Jada said cheerfully, “Good Morning, Rogue.” The lock on the inner door clicked and it swung inward.

As he entered the kitchen area, Commander Blackstone looked up at him and said, “You look like hell. I was going to ask you more about your battle plans, but I think you had better go back to your ship after you eat and sleep it off. What in the hell were you drinking last night?”

Jennifer and Julie stifled their laughter as Rogue sputtered, “I... I... I... I didn’t know that Julie was one-quarter Mordofo.”

The security pair could no longer hold back their laughter. Amanda and Darlene soon joined their loud snorting and cackling.

“Enough!” Command Blackstone barked out and the room became silent except for the soft giggling coming from the computer speakers. “I guess we will have to discuss things tomorrow morning at the full briefing.” She paused and then said in a slightly softer tone, “I will be giving you your tour of the base this evening, but I don’t mix business and... tours.”

Rogue wisely said nothing.

“Archie suggested this,” Jada said as a plate appeared in the food synthesizer. Rogue reached over for a plate of steak and scrambled eggs. There was a small glass next to the plate with a dark amber liquid in it.

Rogue took a sip and his eyes went wide open. In response to his sudden intake of breath that sounded like a loud, “Oh!” Jada said, “Just to show people I know how to do it even if regulations won’t let me fix something like that for members of the crew.”

Rogue looked at the small glass held in his right hand. This wasn’t simul-anything. This was a double shot of real honest-to-goodness 180-proof whiskey.

“Thank you Jada,” Rogue said once his voice had totally returned. “And thank you, Archie,” he added in a very soft voice that no one at the table could hear. He knew, however, that Archie could always hear anything he said because of the translation chip. Hell, Archie might even be able to hear anything that he thought.

“Can you, Archie?” he thought as he scooped up a forkful of eggs. He almost spit them out when Jada said, “Archie says, ‘Yes,’ whatever that means.”

After breakfast, Rogue walked back to his ship. One of the first things he was going to do was discuss with Archie whether or not there was an on-off switch for the translation chip.

Rogue heard his alarm so Archie didn’t have to shock his feet to wake him up. In fact, he was awake early enough to take a shower, shave, and in general clean himself up for his tour of the base with Commander Sylvia Blackstone. He arrived in the kitchen just in time to hear Jada’s announcement, “Base switching to automatic for overnight. The human crew is relieved to their rest and recreation cycle. This evening’s sustenance for your enjoyment will be spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread. There will also be simul-wine or your choice of other non-alcoholic beverages.”

Rogue heard Jada’s voice inside his head, “Archie showed me how to tap into your translation chip. I changed the announcement just for tonight to get Commander Sylvia in a good mood for you.” The combination of Jada’s giggle and Archie’s laughter was very unsettling.

Conversation at the meal was very sparse. At one point Amanda asked Rogue, “Do you think it will work?”

He really didn’t want to answer, but no answer would be worse than any answer he could give so he said, “I really don’t know, but Archie thinks it will work and he rebuilt me and my ship and got me here at eighteen light so all I can say is that I have faith in him and his crew.”

A very light, “Thank you,” sounded in Rogue’s head that was much louder than anything said in the room. They ate in silence after that. At the end of the meal, the commander announced, “Rogue and I will be cleaning up tonight. The rest of you are dismissed to your rooms.”

It was obvious that Commander Sylvia wasn’t used to cleaning up after the meal. Rogue ended up doing most of the work, not because the commander ordered it, but because she truly didn’t know what to do.

Once everything was in the chutes, Commander Sylvia pointed to a door at the back of the kitchen and said, “You’ve already seen the hallway. My bedroom also connects directly to the exercise room.”

Rogue followed Sylvia into the exercise room. There were three treadmills, three stationary bicycles, three rowing machines, and two large weight-lifting machines. “There aren’t any actual weights on these machines,” Sylvia said as they passed them. “Instead the cables are computer controlled.”

Once inside the commander’s bedroom, which was nearly twice as big as any of the others, she tersely said, “Sit!” and Rogue dropped down into the desk chair. She stared at him for a long time and then asked, “Can I trust you?” When Rogue looked confused she repeated herself. “Can I trust you? Can I trust you to keep a secret that no one can ever know?”

Rogue paused a moment and then said, “Yes.”

“I... I... I...” Commander Sylvia stuttered. Then Jada’s voice piped up, “She likes to be tied up. She fantasizes about being fucked while she is tied in a big naked X.”

Sylvia looked down at the floor. Then she said, “Yes. And I ordered Jada to tie me up. She doesn’t understand why I would ever want to do that.” Her shoulders slumped and she said softly, “That’s why I called her a lump of intelligent silicon. She doesn’t understand my needs.”

“You are a commander responsible for people’s lives,” Rogue said softly. Then he put his hand on her waist. “It is said,” he continued, “that a commander is not truly a commander until they have knowingly sent someone to their death.” He looked up at her and asked softly, “How many?”

“Too many to count,” she said. “But the final straw was four Star Cruisers. It was during the Xerong war. I was a fleet commander back then. We needed to slow the Xerongs down for a day or two so our full battle array could get in position for a trap that would end the war. There were four Star Cruisers on patrol near the Xerong lines. I ordered them to attack knowing that they didn’t stand a chance. But it gained us the two days we needed. When the trap was sprung, the Xerong war fleet was annihilated. I was given all sorts of honors for winning the war with that outstanding victory. Everyone said we won the battle without losing a single ship,” she continued. “It was as if those four Star Cruisers had never existed.” She sighed deeply. “I retired in glory and took this station just to keep busy.”

“But it wasn’t enough,” Rogue said. “You still need to go somewhere where you have no control at all... somewhere where you don’t have to lead... somewhere where you can just be and experience... somewhere where you can let yourself go.”

Rogue stood up and said forcefully, “Strip!”

Sylvia looked startled, but then hastily shed her clothing. Beneath her uniform was standard issue everything. Once she was naked, Rogue looked up at the speaker in her bedroom and said, “Jada, how do we do this?”

Jada’s voice immediately replied, “Go into the exercise room and have her stand between the two weight machines. I will tell you what to do.”

Rogue swished his hand and pointed to the door indicating that Sylvia should go back into the exercise room.

“Don’t forget the small case in the closet,” Jada said almost urgently. Rogue looked in the closet and in the back beneath a standard issue duffle bag was a small leather case. He brought that into the exercise room.

Sylvia was standing between the weight machines. She had disconnected the pulldown bars from two of the cables and was standing waiting for Rogue.

“The wrist cuffs and ankle restraints are in the bag,” Jada said. “She knows how to put them on.”

Rogue rummaged through the bag and found the cuffs and restraints. He was a bit surprised to also find a crop, a tawse, and a leather paddle.

While Rogue was trying to figure out what he should do with the whips, Sylvia had attached the ankle restraints to the pull up cables on both machines and the wrist cuffs to the pull down cables. Then she stood between the machines with her legs spread and her arms held above her head.

“I will do what I normally do,” Jada said and the two machines began whirring. Sylvia’s legs spread out as the cables started to pull tight. She had to hop back and forth to let her feet slide outward on the carpeted floor. Then her arms were pulled taut by the pull down cables.

“I can actually pull her into the air,” Jada said, “but I think you want her feet on the ground for what you want to do... or more accurately, for what she wants you to do.”

Rogue stood in front of Commander Sylvia Blackstone and asked, “What do you want me to do?”

“I want you to beat my ass with the tawse and the leather paddle and my tits with the crop. I want you to continue until you break me and make me cry. I have bottled up my tears for so long I don’t know how to cry anymore. If I don’t cry for the men and women on those ships, I will die. This may be my last chance to cry for them.”

She looked at Rogue and said firmly, “And after I am crying, I want you to fuck me. I have shut off so much that it is like I am dead inside. Maybe if I cry I can... well, you know.”

A very small voice inside Rogue’s brain said, “I didn’t expect this either. Jada told me about the bondage, but I thought she was just kinky.”

“Tighter,” Rogue said. “This is more than just bondage,” and the two machines again whirred slightly. Sylvia’s feet were pulled a few inches further out and her arms were pulled upward until she was forced almost onto tiptoe.

“That’s good,” Rogue said and then with no other words or warning, he swung the tawse across Sylvia’s well-toned ass. He gave her ten strong swats with the tawse, moving up and down slightly so that large red welts began to appear from the very top of Sylvia’s ass almost down to her knees.

Next he placed ten swats with the crop on Sylvia’s breasts, five on each side. He stood in front of her for that and tried to not strike twice in the same place. The result was five square red welts evenly spaced around each breast.

“I guess it’s time for the leather paddle,” he muttered to himself as he put the crop back in the leather case. He had to take a few practice swings to get used to the whippy black leather paddle. Then he started beating Sylvia’s ass. He thought that this terrible weapon would soon break her, but he was wrong. Forty strokes later, her ass was red and purple with a couple of spots where the skin had broken. His arm was tired, but Sylvia still just grunted with each stroke.

Rogue went back to the crop. This time he decided that he would deliver ten to each breast. By the time he was finished, it was difficult to tell the individual welts. Both breasts seemed to be one big, swollen, red welt.

“Take her by surprise,” Archie suggested. “Do something she didn’t specifically ask for.”

Rogue walked around Sylvia trying to come up with something that would break her. As he walked he was softly striking the crop against the palm of his left hand. He watched as the head of the crop whipped over the edge of his palm.

“I know,” he said almost excitedly as he walked back and got the tawse out of the leather case. Sylvia watched him again walk behind her and she braced her body for the blows which she knew were coming.

Suddenly she screamed. It was a loud, shrill, scream of pain, terror, and surprise. Rogue had hid the crop behind the tawse as he walked behind her. He had silently set the tawse on the ground. And then he had stooped low and swung the crop with all of his might upward between her legs. The handle of the crop forced itself into her slit and the head whipped upward slamming into her clit.

The explosion of pain was mind-shattering. She screamed and screamed and screamed and then began to cry. “Oh, God! Oh, God!” she blubbered.

Rogue sighed very deeply and approached her from the front. He had pulled his prick from his pants but it was hanging limp in front of him. He heard a slight buzzing in the back of his mind and Archie said, “I thought you needed the help.” He looked down and his prick was now standing stiff and straight in front of him.

It takes a bit of work to enter a female who is tied up in a naked X. It takes even more work when that female is thrashing around in pain. But Rogue was able to do it. He was mentally receiving no pleasure from what he was doing, but a prick has a mind of its own and once he was inside Sylvia his lower brain took over.

Sylvia was now hanging almost senseless in her bondage. He thrust for several minutes and had reached his point of no return when suddenly Sylvia once again began thrashing and screaming. Again she was screaming, “Oh, God! Oh, God!” but this time it was different. Her voice was different. The way she was throwing her body was different. Then she tensed up completely and went totally slack so that she was hanging in her restraints.

Rogue pulled himself out of her and stepped back. “Vital signs are good,” Jada said through his translator chip. “She just needs to recover for a while.”

“Are you sure she’s OK?” Rogue asked.

“I’ll monitor her and let you know,” Jada responded.

Archie now spoke in his head. “I think you’d better sleep here for now,” he said. “Jada will wake you when you are needed.”

Rogue walked back into the commander’s bedroom and fell face first onto the bed. It was about two in the morning when a high-pitched whistle woke him. Jada was now speaking from the speakers in the bedroom and exercise room. “There is some ointment in the food processor dispenser,” she said. “Get it and rub it into the commander’s wounds.”

Rogue hurried out into the kitchen and got the large tube of ointment. When he got back into the exercise room Sylvia was coming around.

“I cried! I cried! I cried!” she wailed as Rogue stood in front of her and began smearing the ointment on her breasts.

“You did more than that,” he replied as he moved behind her to begin applying the ointment to her red and purple ass.

“The ointment will sufficiently heal her in a few hours,” Jada said over the speakers. “I will release her then. She can’t really lay down now anyway.”

“Thank you,” Sylvia said as Rogue finished smearing the ointment over her body. “Thank you for everything.”

“Archie says that the Star Cruisers are starting to arrive,” Rogue said calmly. “I believe you said that briefings begin at ten hundred hours tomorrow. I will see you at breakfast.”

When he got back to his ship Archie was waiting for him. “Are you OK, Rogue?” Archie asked.

“I’m fine,” Rogue replied. Then gesturing around at the sleeping bugs hanging on the walls and ceiling he said, “But I never thought that you and your crew would be the most normal things around me.”

Archie just laughed and said, “Breakfast is at Oh Eight Thirty. Your alarm is set for seven forty-five.”

Chapter Six - The Battle

There were forty Star Cruisers hanging in space above Earth Base Two Omega. They were under the command of four fleet admirals who were sitting around the table in the kitchen which was now doubling as a command post. Commander Sylvia Blackstone held up a message pad and said, “This is from Earth Prime. Due to the unusual nature of this battle, I have been called up to my previous rank of Fleet Commander. I will let Rogue One and Archie explain how this is to unfold. But first...”

She stood and looked around the room and then fixed her gaze on Rogue One. She stared at him and Archie for several minutes and then in a very firm voice of command, “Before we formulate our final plans I, and the command officers of this fleet, would like to know exactly who you are and why they can trust your plan of attack.”

“My true name,” Rogue began, “is Roger Montague III of Roger Montegue III’s Tours of the Stars. I was based at Earth Colony Seven. We knew the Brulaxians were coming and we were all probably going to die, but you have to make a living in the days you have left. Some rich couple named Bronson wanted to see the “marbles,” as they called them, up close. From what the authorities were telling us, that would be in a day or two anyway, but I guess they wanted to see what was going to kill them.”

“I took them up and got within visual range of the Brulaxian fleet. I didn’t think it was dangerous because the Space Force had been hammering them for weeks with no response. But as I approached Earth Base Seven Gamma, all of a sudden the front of one of the shields began to open like the iris of an eye. Inside the shield was a humongous ship that looked like a huge battleship the size of a small planet. As the eye opened, they started firing some sort of huge energy canon at the base and at any of the defenders who were in front of them. The Earth ships just disappeared; the surface of the base vaporized; and then the Brulaxian ship started pulling it in with some sort of tractor beam.”

“I turned my ship around and tried to run, but they fired several smaller energy weapons at me. I was a pretty small target, but one of the beams hit me with a glancing blow that scorched my hull. The Bronsons panicked and jumped into my life pod. They didn’t even ask if I was going with them. They just punched the eject and blasted off. The Brulaxians vaporized them as soon as the pod cleared the ship.”

“I closed down everything but the engines and lay flat on the floor of the cockpit. The electronics and controls hid my life signature and the Brulaxians thought the ship was empty and let it fly on its course out of the system. I was still within visual range of Colony Seven when the nine Brulaxian marbles arranged themselves around the planet and opened their shields. They all fired large energy weapons at the same time and the planet along with all of the defending starships disintegrated. They then pulled the pieces of the planet into their ships. I didn’t stick around to see how long it took to process the pieces. I tried to get to Colony Six, but old Maggie... that’s my ship... wasn’t built for interstellar travel. I went way off course and missed six completely. My life support was running out and I was more or less unconscious in the cockpit when I crashed onto a large asteroid that just happened to be a repair base run by Archie and his crew.”

“I was unconscious for a long time. By the time I woke back up, they had fixed me up and repaired my ship. They had also installed a translation matrix in my brain so I could understand them. They told me that four more colonies were gone, but with their help, I was going to stop the Brulaxians. My name had been partially burned off of my ship so all the bug people could read was the first part of Roger, the last part of Montague, and one of the I’s. That’s where the name Rogue One comes from. I couldn’t get them to understand that Rogue One wasn’t my name but I understood very well that they have a deep hatred for whatever those things are inside the marbles. They know exactly who the Brulaxians are but Archie said I wouldn’t understand until I understood. He talks that way a lot. Anyway, they put all that extra power on Maggie and told me to come here. Archie was actually the pilot once we went to overlight, but he says that I will have to be the pilot when we attack the Brulaxian home spheres.”

Rogue paused for a moment and then said, “It’s all Archie’s plan. He says that he and his brothers will take down the shields, then I need to use the laser canons to target the ships for your missiles. I trust him, and the fact that I was doing light eighteen on the way here says all you need to know about their technical skills.”

Archie stood on the tabletop next to the black translation box. “There are many things I cannot tell you right now,” he said slowly, “because our plan depends on absolute secrecy of our methods. I can tell you that the beings you call Brulaxians made their own home world uninhabitable, but rather than creating colonies, created world ships on which they live. They now exist by devouring the resources of other worlds. They are evil and must be destroyed.”

He stopped as if pausing for breath and then continued, “Rogue One will bring his ship within fifteen light minutes of the Brulaxian world ships. The fleet of Star Cruisers will be an additional five light minutes behind that. My crew and I will defeat their shields making the world ships visible. They should be at almost point blank range to us by the time that happens. There are many weapons and defenses that the Brulaxians will still have available to them, but the megashields will be gone. Rogue will then use a targeting laser to illuminate each of the ships. The frequency of the laser, which you already have in your targeting computers, will be slightly different for each ship. As soon as the world ships are illuminated, fire all your hyperspeed missiles. Four ships firing simultaneously should destroy each world ship. The additional four Star Cruisers are reserve in case one of the attacking ships is damaged or destroyed.”

Archie turned slowly on the tabletop to face each of the fleet admirals. Then he addressed Sylvia. “Fleet Commander Blackstone,” he began, “that is all we can tell you for now. But once the Brulaxians are destroyed, I will tell you how such shields were possible and how it was possible to take Rogue One to eighteen light. By the way, a ship specifically designed for the technology should be capable of thirty light.”

There was a collective gasp from the fleet admirals. Then Fleet Commander Blackstone said, “I think that tells us everything that we need to know. Rogue One will lift off at oh nine hundred tomorrow morning and lead the fleet to the Brulaxian... world ships. The four reserve ships will hold back five light minutes from the battle and be ready to accelerate to full light 3.21 in case they are needed. We will monitor your progress from here and relay it back to Earth Prime.”

She looked around the table and said curtly, “Dismissed.”

Rogue carried Archie back to his ship. They spent the day checking and double checking all of the launch controls for the fifty-seven small rockets in the tubes welded to the ship’s exterior. Rogue went into the base for supper, which was steak, potatoes, a salad and simul-ale.

“I feel like a condemned man eating his last meal,” Rogue said.

“We all have the same meal,” the commander said softly. “We all live or die together. This plan is our last hope.”

Somehow the steak didn’t taste quite as good after that. The rest of the meal was eaten in silence. After everyone had eaten, Rogue got up to go back to the ship. Darlene stopped him and stood silently in front of him for what seemed like several minutes. Then she reached up and kissed him on the cheek.

“Come back to me,” she said quietly. “I need you in my life.”

He bent down and gave her a quick kiss on the mouth and said, “I’ll try.” He then walked the short distance to the air lock and out to his ship.

The next forty-eight hours were a grueling wait for everyone at Earth Base Two Omega. The fleet reported in regularly using short super-burst messages that traveled at faster than light. As communication tech, it was Darlene’s responsibility to relay those messages to Earth Prime. When the message, “Approaching the marbles,” arrived everyone stopped anything else they were doing and listened to the super-burst transmissions.

“Rogue One is firing all his missiles.”

“No effect on shields.”

“Well over half of Rogue’s missiles did not explode.”

“Many Rogue missiles returning from marbles.”

“Shields are flickering.”

“Nine world ships visible. Shields are down.”

“SC 1107 hit by large projectile weapon.”

“SC 2489 take its place.”

“Rogue One now illuminating all nine world ships.”

“Missiles away.”

“Massive explosions. World ships destroyed.”

“Rogue One badly damaged.”

“Appears to be partially functional.”

“Will tow it back to base.”

It was another two days before the fleet returned to Earth Base Two Omega. As they got closer and regular communications were again possible without having to use super-burst, more details were reported. One Star Cruiser was badly damaged and under tow. Rogue One’s ship was very badly damaged and under tow. No communication was possible with them so the status of the crew was unknown.

Finally the fleet appeared in the skies above Two Omega. One small ship detached from the fleet and slowly approached for a landing. It was Rogue One. One of the thruster nacelle pylons was torn from the ship. Many of the launch tubes for the small missiles were melted against the hull. It wobbled slowly down and landed on the three remaining nacelle structures. The hatch opened and a flood of Archie insects poured out and down the ladder. Floating on top of them was an unconscious... or dead... Rogue One.

As they approached the air lock, Jada said loudly over all of the speakers in the base, “Archie says that Rogue has received a massive dose of Zorloxion radiation and will need immediate treatment. I have already concocted the necessary leeching and neutralizing agents. Bring him into the kitchen area and lay him on the table.”

“I can sit,” Rogue said in a very slurred voice. “I’m just very weak.”

All of the insects returned to the ship except Archie and one much smaller and much lighter-colored one which stayed by Archie’s side. They followed Julie and Jennifer as they carried Rogue into the kitchen area.

A soft voice from Rogue’s pocket said, “Put the translation cube on the tabletop.”

Darlene reached into the side pocket that had been speaking and moved the little black box to the tabletop. Archie and the other insect jumped up onto the table. Archie faced Commander Blackstone and said, “Rogue will live. He needs to drink the neutralizing agent several times a day for the next week, but he will live.” He turned to face Darlene. “A normal human would have died from the radiation blast, but when we rebuilt his body, we inserted some of our own DNA. It can’t be passed on to your children, but Rogue is forever part Archie.”

Turning back to the commander, he said, “Please assemble the fleet admirals and I will explain what we Archies... and Rogue... did to defeat the Brulaxians.”

The next morning Fleet Commander Sylvia Blackstone; the four fleet admirals; Archie and his companion; Rogue One; and the crew of Earth Base Two Omega met in the kitchen area of the base. Rogue looked much better but was still obviously very weak.

Archie stood on his back legs in the middle of the table. “I promised,” he began, “to show you the technology that enabled the Brulaxians to create their massive shields. I also promised to show you the technology that allowed Rogue to arrive here at eighteen light.” His front legs waved slightly and he said, “Here it is!” He was pointing to the smaller, light brown bug which was standing next to him. “I introduce... Mrs Archie,” he said with a flourish. Then he laughed slightly and said, “That is not really her name, but her real name, like mine does not translate into your consciousness.”

“What is this?!?” one of the fleet admirals said angrily.

“You already have the technology,” Archie said very firmly, “you just can’t tune it properly.”

“What?!” exclaimed one of the other fleet admirals.

“First let me explain how we destroyed the shields,” said Archie turning slowly to face everyone at the table. “The Brulaxians had discovered a way to bring a Zorloxion reverberating drive into 100% phase alignment. That gives them a tremendous amount of power for thrust, or if they stay below light, for a megashield.”

“That’s impossible!” the first fleet admiral exclaimed.

“For you, yes,” Archie said calmly, “Because you have to set up the alignment before you activate the reverberation cycle.”

“You can’t make adjustments to an active device,” the third fleet admiral said quietly. “The radiation would be lethal. And besides, it is impossible to get to the adjustments once the reverberation tubes are assembled.”

“But if you were immune to the radiation,” Archie said calmly, “and were small enough to fit between the reverberation tubes...?”

A look of understanding slowly appeared on each of the fleet admirals and on the face of Fleet Commander Blackstone.

“But how did you destroy the shields?” the commander asked.

“Admiral,” Archie said, addressing the most vocal of the fleet admirals, “what is the standard procedure if a Zorloxion drive drifts out of phase?”

“It must be shut down immediately,” the admiral answered, “or it will explode. That is a standard safety device on every Zorloxion drive.”

“And,” Archie continued, “even a properly operating Zorloxion drive gives off small amounts of lethal radiation that must be vented to space, correct?” He looked around the table at heads that were slowly nodding yes. “That means,” he continued, “even the most powerful shield, if you have it up continuously, has to have a hole in it to vent the Zorloxion radiation.”

Fleet Commander Blackstone’s eyes suddenly opened wide. “And you crawled in through the vents and detuned the reverberation tubes,” she said.

“That’s why only about one-fourth of the missiles from Rogue One exploded,” Archie explained. “The others appeared to be duds which just lay on the surface of the shields. We got in, dephased the Zorloxion drives and flew back to Rogue’s ship.” He paused and said, “Not everyone got back, but when the shields failed, Rogue lit them up and then you lit them up.”

Archie slowly turned on the table facing the commander and the admirals. “My species would like to form a union with Earth Prime and its colonies to produce Zorloxion drives with 100% phase alignment. The Brulaxians built such devices by enslaving my people. A female Archie was enslaved inside each of their engines and released only by death.” The intense hatred in Archie’s voice was readily apparent even through the translator.

“Before the arrival of the Brulaxians,” Commander Blackstone said softly, “there were plans to form a tenth colony. That world has been terra-formed and was not destroyed by the Brulaxians. I think it would be compatible for both of our species.”

Rogue looked over at Darlene and said, “Would you like to be one of the first inhabitants of Earth Colony Ten? ... It wouldn’t be boring.”

Darlene held his hand and asked, “Would my name be Mrs Rogue or Mrs One?”

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