Story: Tenchi Muyo: Conquest (chapter 26)

Authors: Shanejayell

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Chapter 26

Title: Chapter 26: One's Own Honor 1

[Author's notes: FLASHBACK BEGINS. How DID Ryouko recruit her navy?]

Disclaimer: I own none of the characters from David Weber's Honor Harrington series or from the Tenchi Muyo anime or manga series, and I intend no infringement on any of those rights. This story is part of the 'Tenchi Muyo: Conquest' timeline, but is set before that series begins.

Tenchi Muyo: Conquest! One's Own Honor

Commander Honor Harrington felt a stab of fear as she looked down at the tactical display by her seat, but she hid it very well. All of the Gryphon System Fleet, well over fifty ships of the line, were arrayed in a defensive vector along the projected route of the invading force. Not only was every active military vessel out there, but they had scrounged up every available ship, arming comercial vessels and also re-arming previously scrapped hulls. It was a remarkable display of military force, but it probably wasn't going to be enough.

Manticore was coming.

The Gryphon system had been lucky, in a way. The expansion of their neighbor Manticore had been in the direction of the Republic of Haven originally, they were clearly concentrating on defeating the most powerful of the local neighbors. Up until recently Manticore had barely even ventured into space, and their sudden appearance as a major military power had shook local systems to the core. Their ships were generations ahead of anything their rivals had, and they had quickly conquered all of their more hostile neighbors.

And now that fleet was coming their way.

"Long range sensors?" Honor enquired, her hands nervously the tree- cat in her lap. Nimitz bleeked at her softly, and she scratched him behind the ears. A few years ago a commander wouldn't have even been in that seat, but despirate times called for despirate measures. Most of her class at the academy had been rushed through, their teachers knowing that this day was coming soon.

"We're getting early warp echoes," Scotty Tremaine reported, the young officer watching his scanners carefully. "Fleet command seconds that, ma'am."

"Yellow alert," Honor said softly.

"Readying main and secondary missile tubes," her weapons officer calmly reported from his station, "preparing electronic counter measures." Alistair McKeon was a good second in command as well as tactical officer, and Honor was glad to have him here.

'Depending on how good their tactical systems are,' Honor thought, 'we might get a full flight of missiles off before we die.' A deep breath and she said, "Prepare evasion courses, when the enemy returns fire I want us ready to move."

"Right," the boy on navigation squeaked out nervously. Hudson looked fifteen, tops, and his hands shook as he worked.

Honor felt a flash of sympathy, one she firmly squelched. Softly she said to him, "You can do this, just remember your training."

Hudson flashed her a greatful smile, "Thanks."

"Warp emergence!" Scotty reported, working his controls quickly, "We've got multiple warp emergences. They're here."

"Red alert," Honor ordered as the sirens began to wail around them. She quickly turned to study the tactical display and felt her stomach drop. As the first few ships appeared it looked almost like an even fight, then more and more vessels appeared.

"There's got to be over a hundred ships out there," a soft voice whispered.

"I want targeting solutions," Honor barked the order, trying to keep her crew distacted from the enormity of the odds against them, "ready point defense!"

"They're slowing," Scotty reported, "stoping! They're dead in space, ma'am."

"What the..." Honor blinked in surprise.

There was a sudden loud squeal on the bridge, almost loud and sharp enough to be painful, then the large holographic tactical display wavered. There was a distortion, the image of local space completely disappeared, and a image of a humanoid figure stood there. She seemed tall, her eyes sparkling as she looked around. A long mane of blue hair flowed down her back and a simple red and black bodysuit clung to her form.

Honor puffed out a nervous breath, then got up out of her seat and walked over to where the image now stood in the holo-tank. She cleared her throat and despite feeling a bit foolish said, "My name is Commander Honor Harrington of the Gryphon System Navy warship Fearless. Who are you, and what do you want?"

"Huh," the woman looked at her thoughfully, and Honor took a moment to wonder how it was being acomplished, then she continued, "you're the first one to actually try talking to me. You've got guts, I think I like that."

"Who are you?" Honor repeated, a sudden sinking feeling grabbing hold of her. 'It couldn't be,' she thought weakly.

"My name is Ryouko," the woman smiled, "and I'm the Warlord of Manticore. I want to talk to whomever is in charge over there, as soon as possible." Ryouko paused, then added, "And you are now my liason officer." With that, her image simply disapeared.

There was a long moment of dead silence on the ship's small bridge, the entire crew stunned by what they had just seen and heard. Honor was the first to recover, barking the order, "Connect me to the admirality, at once!"

"Bleek?" Nimitz commented in the quiet.

A few minutes later a conference was going on, command ships connected via subspace links. "Very well done, Honor," Admiral White-Haven smiled at her wryly, the older man sitting on his own flag bridge.

"Don't be praising her," Houseman of the diplomatic corps whined, "we were preparing a formal response! If we'd just had more time..."

There was a general ignoring of that comment. The Manticore contact had left them all badly off balance, and this conference was more to try to determine what to do now. It was made more difficult by communication lag times with the Crown, who would know about what was happening well after this meeting ended.

Admiral Courvosier spoke up, and Honor felt herself smile over at her old tactics teacher. "We don't have the Queen's authorization to act, but I feel we have no choice," he sighed, his steel grey hair falling in his eyes.

"I agree," Ambassador Langtry nodded, the younger man's eyes shining with eagerness. "We'll need to send over a mixed military and diplomatic delegation and," he paused, "Commander Harrington, you're coming along."

"What?" Honor found herself blurting.

"Ryouko of Manticore named you her liason officer," Admiral White- Haven pointed out, "I suspect we should take that seriously."

"This is a travestry," Housman muttered, "this is a delicate matter, one that should be handled by the experts..." He trailed off when he met Harrington's deadly gaze. The young woman and he had a history, and it was clear he was scared of her.

"Have we got information on where this meeting will be taking place?" Courvosier asked.

Ambassador Langtry spoke up, "They've sent us coordinates for their flagship, we're to dock our pinnacles with the Washu's Revenge."

"Lovely name," White-Haven murmured to himself softly. He smiled seriously, "Then let's get going, people. Pinnacles will be going around to pick up the negotiation team."

Communications were closed, and Honor took a nervous breath. She returned to the bridge and waved Alistair over, "Lieutenant-Commander McKeon, you have the bridge. I'm going to be off ship for awhile, so use your best judgement."

"Yes, ma'am," McKeon saluted. He dropped his voice, "I've heard about this Ryouko, she's supposed to be honorable."

"Let's hope," Honor agreed. She left the bridge as Nimitz climbed up on her shoulder, a comfortingly familiar weight. The lift took her down to the docking bay, and she was a bit surprised as the pinnacle arrived so quickly.

"Welcome aboard," Admiral Courvosier gave her an engaging smile. He waited until she was seated before he asked, "How are you doing, Honor?"

"Very well sir," Honor said frankly, taking in the figures in the compartment with her. Two admirals, two diplomats and her. With a wry smile she continued, "I never expected to be commanding a vessel this soon, especially considering what happened back in the academy."

Admiral White-Haven, sitting just ahead of them, fought back a bit of laughter. "I've had the dubious pleasure of meeting Pavel-Young," he said dryly, "I have no doubt that he gave you every reason to beat up on him."

"I was glad that you decided to report his attempted assault," Courvosier noted, "otherwise we'd be dealing with him as an officer."

"You should be offering your thanks to my roommate," Honor said softly, "Michelle Henke." Honor felt a blush come to her cheeks as she thought of her beautiful, dusky roommate, "She helped me understand that it wasn't just about me, but the good of the service."

"Are you and Michelle still in touch?" White-Haven asked perceptively.

'I wish I didn't blush so easily,' Honor thought, her cheeks still faintly red. "Not since the academy Sir," she answered.

There was a soft thump, and the pilot stuck his head back into the passenger's compartment. "We've docked with the Revenge," he reported.

"Let's go," Langtry said as he lead them out through the hatch, up a docking passage and into the Washu's Revenge.

Waiting there were two women, visually as different as night and day. The blue haired woman looked almost exactly like Ryouko except for her scarred cheeks. Beside her and only half her height was a redheaded womann, dressed in casual clothing.

"Welcome aboard," Ryouko's twin said with a grin, "my name is Minagi, and I'm currently in charge of the Revenge."

Introductions were quickly made, then the redhead spoke up. "Ryouko's waiting in the conference room," she said, "let's go." Instead of leading the walk the redhead dropped back to walk by Honor's side. "So you're the one who got Ryouko's attention?"

"Ah, yes ma'am," Honor blinked as she looked down at the little redhead. "Uhm, may I ask who you are?"

"Washu," the redhead smiled. She gave Honor a piercing look, "Are you single?"

Honor blinked, instantly thinking of Michelle. "Ah, no," she stammered.

"Too bad," Washu mused, "you're Ryouko's type." She gave Honor a cheerful wave then walked to the front to join Minagi.

"What was that about?" Honor squeaked.

"Manticore is said to have somewhat more liberal customs," Langtry noted, his lips twitching up in a slight smile.

Before Honor could try to form a reply to that comment Minagi declared, "We're here."

The doors opened into a large room, a simple table with Ryouko sitting at the head, viewports all along one side. She flashed a smile as she saw Honor enter along with the others and take a seat. She waited until Washu and Minagi sat down on either side of her before saying, "I'm glad you came so promptly, we have a great deal to discuss."

Langtry cleared his throat nervously. "We are under instructions from our Queen to sue for peace, but we do have terms.."

"I'm not here to demand your surrender," Ryouko shook her head. She got up from her seat, walking over to stand by a viewport, "I'm here to offer an alliance."

To be continued...

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