Jordan Price was like most boys on New Holland. He dreamed of dancing in the sky like the Sky Dancers. To fly among the clouds under his own power. There is only one problem. Only women could be Sky Dancers, and Jordan was a boy. Then came the day that would all change
Temple of Ida-ten garden, Neo Geleen
The Reverend Mother Katsumi glided through the garden as if made of smoke. Her sometimes unearthly movements and beauty often unsettled the young Thunder Hawks. To Jordan, she was just being the Reverend Mother. Jordan had long gotten used to the woman and her mystical ways. The fact that Katsumi was here to see Jordan this time was not without cause.
“You wished to see me Reverend Mother?” Jordan asked as she bowed to Katsumi.
“I did. You can start by explaining to me why you failed to wait for the patrol flight to back you up?” Katsumi had to fight to keep her anger over Jordan’s fight with the rogue Flight Leaders under control.
Jordan just shrugged her shoulders then gave Katsumi a smirk. “Seemed like a good idea at the time. I mean it’s not like they could really hurt us. Not, without firearms. We both know that their lightning bolts only fuel the power of a Thunder Hawk, and there were four of us against sixteen Golds. More than a far fight.”
“A far fight you say? Just HOW do you consider forty-eight to four a FAR FIGHT? They outnumbered your whole section by twelve to one. Did you not even think about the Blues in that attack? Where was your tactics? What was your next strike? What if you failed to take out the leaders in your first attack? What then? Did you not even think of how your brash actions would affect this Flight? A Flight that is under the protection of the Temple and its Orders.” The more Katsumi questioned Jordan the more the teenager wanted to crawl under a city block house. What was truly maddening for Jordan was the fact that Katsumi never once raised her voice above a normal conversational tone. “I am waiting for your answers, young thunder Hawk.”
“I don’t have any answers, Reverend Mother. In truth, I didn’t think beyond fighting those in front of me at the time. I had no plan. I was making it up as I went. I knew that we had the advantage in the air. That unless they could get in close to us and use hand to hand combat we had them. I knew their lightning bolts would only fuel our thunder bolts and make our attacks stronger and faster. Outside of that I had no idea of what else I would do. I am sorry Reverend Mother. I let down you and my Instructors from the Knights of Ida-ten.” Jordan sighed and bowed deeply at the waist. “It shall never happen again.”
Katsumi looked at her charge and hid the smile of pride. ‘Yes, she is most definitely Maiha’s younger counterpart. Brash, bold, quick thinking, and very quick to anger.’ Katsumi kept her thoughts to herself. “Now, that you have seen your mistakes Jordan Price how do you plan to deal with the Supreme Council? You know they will summon you to the Grand Chambers to answer for what has happened here.”
Jordan thought on this question before answering. She had not really thought about it. There were currently eight Flights without Flight Leaders. Yes, when the rogues attacked they issued no challenge, but Jordan had already warned the Council that any attack on the Thunder Hawks would be considered as a Challenge Flight. Yet, who could she place in those empty positions that would not abuse their new power. Then Jordan remembered something that Katsumi told her months ago.
“Reverend Mother, who would you suggest that I place in the position of Flight leader to the now empty positions?”
“Now, you’re starting to think child. Start with your oldest members. They are the ones that you can trust the most and have the most control.”
“Should I just take them to the cities where the exclusionist Flights without Flight Leaders are, or confront the Grand Council first?”
Katsumi smiled at Jordan’s question. ‘Yes, just like Maiha. Now, she is thinking beyond what is in front of her.’ “Where would your greatest tactical advantage be? In the far flung individual cities, or in the grand Hall of the Supreme Council?”
Jordan looked up at the afternoon sky. She closed her eyes and started the mental relaxation techniques that Sisters Sara and Katlyn had first taught her. With each breath, Jordan felt her mind falling into a deep relaxed and calming state. Jordan sought not clarity, but control.
When Jordan finally opened her eyes she had some control over her raging emotions. She also had an idea of what she needed to do. “I must take the fight to the Supreme Council Chambers. There is where I will either finish this war or they will finish me. As for who I will take with me the answer is simple. Bravo and Delta Wings will accompany me. They along with Indian Wing as my personal escorts.”
Katsumi just gave the young Thunder Hawk Flight Leader a sly smile as she thought ‘Oh yes. Just as her Imperial Majesty thought would happen. Jordan will rip the cancer from this planet with her bare hands, even if she has to do it on her own. The Supreme Council will do well to listen to this young firebrand. To do otherwise is to their own peril.’
“So tell me Flight Leader Jordan Price. When shall this grand confrontation take place?” Katsumi already had an idea of when Jordan was going to face down the Supreme Council, she just wanted to hear it from Jordan.
“Three days from now in Neo Amsterdam, Reverend Mother.” The feral grin that graced Jordan’s face was one that left no doubt as to what she was going to do. “The Wings I selected are all made up of former inclusionists’ sons. They’ll be replacing the Flight Leaders for the exclusionist Flights that challenged us. After all I did warn them that any attack against us would be considered a Challenge Flight.” Jordan never stopped smiling as she laid out her plans for Katsumi.
To the older woman it appeared as if Jordan had taken on part of the characteristics of the animals that were used to make up the original symbionts. The more she thought about that fact, the more Katsumi realized that Jordan and the other Thunder Hawks were indeed the TRUE predators of the New Holland skies. Predators that were nothing like the normal Sky Dancers. Ones that hunted by their very nature, and instincts. These young Thunder Hawks would take on every fight as it were their last, and fight to the death. Here before her were what the Sky Dancers were meant to be. Hunters of the far flung skies.
The more Katsumi studied these people the more she realized that there was no way to improve on them. Not even as Death Dealers could these young people be better. This idea both thrilled and terrified Katsumi. She knew that her report to Maiha and Alice would have to reflect this important fact. Unbeknownst to Jordan and Ileana Price, Maiha had actually thought along those very faulty lines. Now, all Katsumi had to do was sit back and let the final acts play out in the Supreme Council Chambers three days from now.
Pirate platform 3, The Black Watch
Robert Kidd stood looking out his office window at a sight he had never seen from his office. The clear open skies of New Holland. It had been two days since they broke through the lower clouds. Yet, not even one of his scout pickets had reported seeing the Empyreal Navy. His XO, Jacob Bonny, had the scouts running nonstop from the moment they broke through the cloud cover. His attention was pulled away from the window when his office door opened.
Jacob Bonny walked in and didn’t look happy. “Captain, we finally found where the Fleet has been. You’re not going to like it.”
“Skip to the summery Bonny. How bad is it?”
“They hit the number two platform. The Night Wind, Glass Ghost, Wrath, Six Pence, and Sky Crawler were shot down with all hands before they could clear the station dockyards. The Black Lilly, Bent Sword, and Southern Cross, were able to clear the docks but went down with all hands before even firing a single shot. To be blunt the second fleet didn’t stand a chance in hell sir. That battleship wasn’t alone this time. The entire Fleet came at them. As for the platform’s weapons they were taken out by the fighters of the Super Carrier. As for the rest we’re still going over the feed from platform two. It was captured with almost all hands.”
“DAMN! How many personnel in total did we lose?”
“More than eighteen thousand in all, sir.” Jacob didn’t hide his feelings on the matter. “Sir, it was a massacre of the first order.”
“Are you telling me that there were no survivors?” The shock and surprise was clearly evident in Robert’s voice.
“Yes, sir. That is exactly what I’m saying. The Navy is issuing one warning to surrender, then blasting whatever is in range.” Bonny got a very serious look in his eyes. “Captain, even with our size, the Black Watch cannot stand up to the firepower of that magnitude or an organized attack of that nature. We stand a one in ninety chance of even getting off a shot. As for our air-defense weapons their about as good as they get, but are still nowhere near enough to stop a concentrated attack by Military trained pilots backed by AI driven fire-control systems.”
“How long do we have before the Fleet figures out where we are?”
“Two may be three days, Captain. That’s an honest estimate. Before you ask our friends have already told us to frack off. They were very blunt about trying to bribe them with more money. Nothing can change their minds. I even threatened to turn them into the Military Police and Port Police. It’s the same answer every time. Nothing doing and go ahead report them. They are all more afraid of the Empyreal Navy than they are of us.” Bonny knew that the next bit of info would drive his captain over the top.
“What aren’t you telling me Bonny?”
“Remember that problem we had with that black Sky Dancer?” At Kidd’s nod Bonny continued. “It is still there and getting worse. There’s over forty of them now. The little scum destroyed a Flight of forty-eight exclusionists in a mid-air battle over Neo Geleen. Well, I shouldn’t say battle. It was more one sided than what we’ll face with going up against the Fleet. According to our spies in Neo Geleen they’re the new Flight in residence there.”
“Where do you think those new Sky Dancers will go next?” Kidd asked.
“IF, and this is only supposition, they do as I believe they will. They’ll head for the Supreme Council meeting in three days. Now, this is both good and bad for us.”
“Good, in that the Flight Leader will not be in Neo Geleen. We can hit the docks with all our remaining ships. Bad, if she doesn’t take her whole Flight with her.”
“What are the chances that the Flight Leader will split her Flight?”
Bonny thought about for a moment. Then he remembered how his mother would always have half of her Flight with her when she traveled. The other half would remain in the city on patrol. The only exception was for a Supreme Council meeting over a Challenge Flight between Flights. That was when it hit him. Bonny smiled at his captain as a plan formed in his mind.
“She’ll have her whole flight with her at three days from now.” Bonny quickly went on to explain his plan. “We can put all of our ships in the air at the same time. We could hit the docks all at once, and this time we’ll have a real payday. Here take a look at this printout of the current cargo ships in port at Neo Geleen.”
Bonny handed over the second stack of reports. Kidd read the list and almost shouted in ecstasy. Four Monolith class dropships filled to the brim with grade one A, Casper Crystals. Ranging from the blood reds to midnight blacks. A grand total of over twelve hundred tons, with one ship filled solely with midnight blacks. That was the ship he and his crew would target. Four hundred tons of black Casper Crystals, would put them all on easy street.
“Prep the Red Skull, Texas Rose, Mary Celeste, Red Dragon, Challenger Deep, and the Dark Horizon for departure.” At the look on Bonny’s face Kidd smiled slyly. “Yes, I know that is our full fleet, including the unarmored ones. We’re going to need them if we’re to take ALL four of those Monoliths.”
“ALL FOUR SIR?! Are you crazy? The enter PDF will be on alert the moment the Sky Dancers take off.” That was when Bonny understood his captain’s plan. “You plan on using overwhelming force. The PDF only has standard strike aircraft.”
“Exactly. Then there is the fact that the PDF’s fighters are so outdated that they’re a joke. A sick one at that. The only real defense Neo Geleen has is those black Sky Dancers station there now. With them gone, the place will be basically defenseless. Not even those Knights of Ida-ten will be able to handle our overwhelming numerical advantage. They may be crack pilots, but they can only do so much when outnumbered by more than a four to one force. Even if you throw in the PDF joke, we’ll still outnumber them three to one.” Bonny had to admit that Kidd was right. They did have the numbers.
“I’ll see to the arrangements Captain.” Bonny turned and headed for the door. “By the way if we do this right. The Carol A. Deering, with those four hundred tons of black Casper Crystals will make a nice payday.”
As the door closed Kidd smiled, then chuckled. “In more ways than one, Steven Van Goth. Sadly for you, you’ll never seen a single credit of that payoff.”
Little did Robert Kidd know that the very same thoughts were going through Steven Van Goth’s a.k.a. Jacob Bonny, head. The only deference was Bonny had a plan in place. He also had the crew to get the job done.
There was only one fly in their soup. The Empyreal Naval New Holland Battle Group already knew where the Black Watch was located. After a resupply in Neo Geleen they were going on the attack against the Black Watch.
The Empyreal Super Carrier North Wind…
Admiral David Saint-James, walked out of his ready room with a frown on his face. He was not a happy man. So far the North Wind had only been able to attack one of the main pirate platforms. Even then it was only in a fighter support role.
“That bitch Holts is going to claim all the glory for cleaning up the pirates on this planet at this rate. I still can’t believe that her lone ship took out that first platform. Then she goes in tight and deploys her fracking Marines. Damn it! I’m supposed to be the one in charge of this Battle Group.”
What made things even worse was the fact that he had spent more than three quarters of his munitions in trying to drive one of those platforms to the surface. Nothing worked and they lost track of the platform in the disturbance of the lower reaches. Then to top everything off when he finally gets a chance at a platform his bomber and torpedo squadrons were reduced to strafing runs, and light rockets. That final attack had reduce his squadrons to only defensive ordnance. What was even worse those pigs over on the Fire Wind had been the ones to design the new torpedoes and missiles. If it wasn’t for the ‘advisors’ sent by the Empress he wouldn’t even be this low in the atmosphere.
Just the thought of those four women sent a chill down his spine. The machine like voices of two of them was enough to drive fear into most people. Then there was the fact that they always wore those tactical helmets. No one on his ship had seen their faces. To top it all off, they were Second Generation Death Dealers for the Daughters of the Dragon. This was apparent by the fact that their bio-armor was always deployed. The red and black color scheme marked them as part of the Royal Bodyguard. Then again, these four were not your normal guards, they were the Daughters of the Four Winds, and personal advisors to the Royal couple.
David had kept his feelings towards the four women to himself, from the moment they first set foot on his Flagship. The only person who had any idea of how he felt about the Four Winds was his XO. Then again, John Hess felt the same way about them and Lisa Holts. In their eyes the Empyreal Navy was no place for women. That also meant on their ships. Once the North Wind docks at Neo Geleen, David was throwing them off the ship. What really burned his ass was the fact that the Four Winds were known to be more cyborg than human.
The problem was trying to prove that fact. There were far too many vets that had cybernetic replacements, and repairs following the last war. The fact that two of the woman had mechanical voices could be played off as cybernetic repairs. After all, it was well known that the only APS Lance that had a higher kill rate in the last war was the Storm Dancers. The exploits of the Daughters of the Four Winds were almost as legendary as the royal Lance.
That still didn’t matter to David Saint-James. He was old school Empire, a native of New Holland, and above all a member of the High Family of Saint-James. Once he had the pirates under control, he would force the planetary government to expel the Death Dealers stationed here. Once that was done he would petition the Admiralty to send an all regular Naval Force. Then he would put this planet to rights. He would put the High Families Sky Dancers in charge of the Supreme Council, first. Then he would revoke the mining rights of the independent miners. The idea of those scavengers dragging in all those Casper Crystals was just wrong. Only properly licensed mining companies should be allowed to operate on New Holland.
The fact that he and his family personally owned four mines in four deferent cities was one of the driving factors for this last change. He knew that with the Empress’s personal bodyguards looking over his shoulder he would be unable to make those changes. They would make continuous reports to Empress Maiha. Who would put an end to any thoughts of his plans for enriching his family further. He had to get those four women off his ship before making any moves.
“Not having a good day Admiral?” The voice was cold and mechanical as always that came from behind him. “Don’t worry, you’ll get your chance at the pirates.”
“Captain Daniela, it is not the fact that my ship couldn’t claim a platform for itself that has me upset.” David grounded out through clenched teeth. All four of the Empyreal Bodyguards could tell the man had alternative motives. And it was their presence that was upsetting him. This was way they had been placed on this Super Carrier by the orders of Empress Maiha. “My personal feelings in this matter are of no importance. Only the mission has importance here.”
All four of the Daughters of the Winds could hear the lie in David’s voice. It took all of Daniela’s self-control to keep from gutting the man then and there. Lisa wasn’t far behind her friend and sister-in-arms. Cassidy wanted to just remove the man’s head and hang it from the bow of the Carrier as a warning to everyone else. Of the four only Sara could say to be close to having control over her emotions. Sara quickly opened a secure connection to her lance mates.
‘All three of you need to get a grip on your emotions, and do so now. Maiha sent us here to rein in this upstart, or put him down. Those were her orders.’
Through the link Sara heard the thoughts and felt the emotions of her friends calm. Cassidy was the first to regain her senses. ‘Thank you, Sara. Just promise me when it comes time, I get to remove that arrogant shit’s head.’
‘NO. That man doesn’t get off that easy, Cassy. If anything we turn him over to the Empress to face justice, at best he gets turned over to Jordan Price.’ Lisa told her lance mate through the link.
‘You’re both wrong. The Empress gave us the duty to cleanse her command structure of these old hard liners. We will not shirk our duty.’ Daniela ordered over the link. ‘Remember, we are her Right Hand.’
With that reminder Daniela cut the link and painted a target lock on the head of David Saint-James inside her tactical helmet. When the time came she would be the one to end David’s life. If it was the last thing she did. She wasn’t the only to do that either. All the Daughters of the Four Winds had hard locks on David. They were just waiting for the final insult before removing his head.
The Saint-James High Family was just one of the families that they has been sent here to try and reign in. In truth there were eighteen, just on New Holland alone, that the Empress wanted brought back in line with the laws of the Empire. As it was right now, Empress Maiha was working towards restoring more than half of the Heads of House for the High Families that were decimated in the War of Succession. The main reason behind this was the way the former Cardinal Richelieu targeted those High Families that defied him. Only those that would have supported his final bid for the Crown would have been left alone.
The Saint-James Family was one such High Family. David Saint-James was more than willing to keep the status quo on New Holland. They had been one of the reigning High Families from the time of the founding. It had sickened him to learn that the Empress had placed new laws on the powers of the High Families. Laws that restricted their ruling powers and how much property they could own.
The ways of the Monarchy were fast being replaced by new Democratic systems. None of which sat well with the current High Families. However there was little they could do, against the Empress Maiha and her wife that is. Yet, the Royal Couple could not be everywhere, and had to rely on the High Families to handle certain matters when it comes to Government. The problem with this, in David’s eyes, were the people that the Empress was using to restore those High Families. They were all the bastard children of those High Families.
First though David needed to get rid of the Daughters of the Four Winds. As the Sky City of Neo Geleen came into sight a real plan began to from in David’s mind. One that would allow him to rid the Sky Dancers of their problem, and him to rid himself of his own problem. Everyone who grew up on these cities knew the most dangerous times for a ship’s personnel was during docking. More than a few crewmen had lost their lives by stepping wrong on the gangplanks. Especially if they hadn’t been properly secured before demarcation.
A simple kick at the right place and down goes the gangplank taking with it everyone on it at the time. David knew which gangplank team to put on that detail. One that was loyal to him and the XO. They wouldn’t ask questions, if they were paid enough.
Little did David Saint-James and his XO know, that was just one of the reasons the Daughters of the Four Winds were on New Holland and aboard his ship. The Empress had sent them there to not only watch over Jordan Price and the Thunder Hawks, but to investigate corruption among the High Families on New Holland. Most especially the ones that had control over the crystal mines.
With an open link Daniela gave her opinion to her lance mates. ‘The Admiral will try to make our deaths look like an accident.’
‘The best time for that to happen will be when we leave the ship. A miss aligned or unsecured gangplank has led to more deaths than gunfire in ports.’ Cassidy informed her friends. Of the four of them she would have the most experience in ship board operations with her father being one of the Naval heroes of the last war.
‘Cassidy, would something like that be noticeable?’ Sara asked quickly.
‘Only to someone who knows what to look for. Before you ask, yes I know what to look for. Daddy MADE sure I knew what to look for when it comes to gangplanks. In his exact words. NEVER trust the plank to hold your weight. If it won’t hold a Cadillac APC then it won’t hold you.’
‘Damn girl! I thought my old man was a hard-ass about safety. Yours makes mine look like the class clown.’ Lisa told Cassidy.
‘Trust me I know. Daddy, may take chances in combat and wartime, but not in a peacetime exercise. He held THREE Fleet Masts on the same day, and sent one Lieutenant Junior Grade, and two Lieutenants to Frost Heaven Penal Colony for thirty years each. All for the same charge. Failure to follow safety regulations.’ The other three members of her lance heard the fear of Cassidy’s father at times, in her voice. They could tell that she was being deadly serious.
‘Oh Wow, girl. We never realized that your dad was such a hard-ass.” Daniela knew that Cassidy’s father was a real tactical genius and loved his daughter without restraint. But when it came to the safety of his crews and ships nothing stood in his way of ensuring that came first, to include his daughter. ‘I wish he was here now to handle this mess for us.’
‘No we don’t Danni. If my dad was here, we would be the ones standing before the Captains Mast in deep shit. HE absolutely HATES spies. Of any stripe. That includes those that work for us. If he knew what we’re doing right now, He’d flip the frack out and haul our asses in on Espionage charges.’ Cassidy smiled at her lance mates. ‘Five years ago he sent a Criminal Investigation Age for the Navy to the brig for seven years for conducting an illegal investigation on one of his ships.’
‘Damn. That’s harsh. Now, we know where you get your tenacity.’ Sara said over the link.
‘Yeah, my mom.’ Cassidy wisecracked. ‘She’s worse than my dad.’
‘How’s that?’ Lisa snarked. Not believing for one moment that Cassidy’s mother could be any more of a hard-ass than her father.
‘If my mom knew what we’re doing, she’d take a rawhide strap to ALL of our asses. Empress Maiha’s orders or not. And, before you ask, my mom is Rear Admiral of Military Intelligence Lorelei Pike.’
“Oh Shit!” Daniele said out loud. Only to blush at the outburst. She quickly apologized to the bridge crew for the disruption. “Sorry.”
‘Tell me something, Cassidy, when were you going to bring up the fact that your mom was the head of Empyreal Military Intelligence?’ Daniele asked over the link.
Cassidy took a few seconds before answering. ‘Um… Never if I could have helped it. You all know how much I hate talking about my family. Now, you know why.’
‘No duh. Now, we all know why, and we understand. The person I feel sorry for anymore is little James. He has to grow up in the shadow of the Daughter of Death and the War Princess.’ Daniele said with sorrow in her voice. ‘Then there is our young Jordan Price. Now, there is a true pickle. That kid will have her hands full with that Council meeting tomorrow.’
‘No kidding. If she doesn’t handle that meeting just right, she’ll be fighting the Supreme Council from now until Dooms day.’ Cassidy put in.
‘I have a feeling that she will surprise us all.’ Lisa looked out at Neo Geleen through the forward windscreen of the bridge deck.
Chambers of the Supreme Council, Neo Amsterdam
The two Blue Sky Dancers stood at the doors to the Chambers of the Supreme Council defying anyone who was not a Flight Leader entrance. Their orders were simple. Only the elected or appointed Flight Leaders were to be allowed in this Council. All others were to be sent away, or struck down. There were two such guards at every entrance to the Council Chambers. There were even guards at the outer doors, and on the glass at the arena. No one was getting in unless they were supposed to.
Jordan saw the arena guards even before she and her small escort cleared the far upper edge of the arena stands. As one the three youngest members of her Flight unleashed three of the lowest powered thunderbolts they could. The eight guards dropped before they knew what had hit them. Though not powerful enough to kill the guards, it was strong enough to knock them out for the time being, and a good deal more for six of the guards.
For the past three days Jordan and her escort had been city hopping while building a power reserve deep within each of them. In short there were twelve pissed off Thunder Hawks, each carrying three times their normal charge as they crossed over the edge of Neo Amsterdam. The whole Group touched down without challenge. They had come in high and fast. They used their speed and maneuverability to enter the arena undetected. Jordan looked around at her escort of eleven Thunder Hawks, her mother, and two older sisters. “You all know what you’re to do. Get to it, and if they challenge you. You know what to do. Just keep the damage down as best as you can.”
The group laughed at their Flight. Of them all, Jordan was known to be the one to cause the most damage when she lost her temper. While Jordan had been a Thunder Hawk the longest, she still lacked a certain amount of control at times. The biggest reason behind this was the fact that she had the most unconventional bonding. Unlike the rest Jordan never went through the Cleansing ceremony.
More than one of Jordan’s Flight, not to mention her family, felt that this was the root of her anger control problem. Katsumi put the problem down to Jordan’s continued internal emotional battle with her two half’s. Jordan the male, and Jordan the Female. Unlike the rest of her Flight, Jordan was still at war with herself over her Ascension. Katsumi, had spent more than one evening meal, talk in the garden, or simple cup of tea trying to help the youngster to know this truth.
Even the two Nightingales, Sara and Katlyn, couldn’t see the depths of the young Thunder Hawks emotional pain. Now, that pain was going to be turned on the Supreme Council in a barely control rage. A rage that burned brighter and hotter than the New Holland System’s sun. It has been this same rage that has been Jordan’s driving emotion for changing the way things were done among the Sky Dancers.
Jordan watched as Bravo and Delta Wing broke down into their Sections and headed for their assigned entrance points. Jordan had come to Neo Amsterdam with more than just a political plan. She had come here with a battle plan. One that she now put into motion. Four teams striking at the same time on four of the five entrances of the Council Chambers. While her and the three members of the Indian Wing, long with her family took the main entrance.
Leading her family towards the main entrance Jordan let her anger rise towards the surface. With that anger came the power of her symbiont. Unlike the normal Sky Dancers, Thunder Hawks used their emotions to control their symbionts. The greater the emotion the greater the power influx. The first guards they encountered paid the price of Jordan’s barely control rage over having to face the exclusionist Flight Leaders over Neo Geleen.
It was only a single thunderbolt, but that one thunderbolt destroyed the five hundred year old outer doors to the Council Chambers. Along with killing the guards in their passing. Not for the first time had Ilene Price seen the power of her third child, but to her second daughter this very blunt display of raw power by her kid sister was truly terrorizing. Silvia had seen Jordan unleash some powerful blasts in the past, but this was the first time that she had seen Jordan cut lose.
Little did she know that Jordan was still holding back on her power and rage. She was waiting until she faced the Supreme Council to truly release her power to its fullest. It had taken all of Jordan’s control to only release what she needed to destroy the door. The fact that it also destroyed ten feet on either side showed how massive of a charge Jordan and her Thunder Hawks were carrying.
As they approached the final doors to the Supreme Council Chambers one of the two Blues stationed there stepped away from her position. Stepping into the middle of the hallway the young woman held up her hands. “HALT! Come no further, Thunder Hawk Jordan Price. You and your people have no place here.”
“Step aside, Carrie Frost.” Jordan ordered coldly. “You are nothing more than an annoying, pitiful, Blue, that is not even a Wing Second. You stand no chance against me or my escort.”
“I am sorry, Thunder Hawk, but my orders are that no one but Flight Leaders are allowed to enter.” Carrie didn’t like the look that prevailed in Jordan’s eyes. There was something about it that said her death lay in Jordan’s hands. Yet, Carrie knew that she could not defy the orders of the Supreme Council.
“For starters, Carrie Frost. I am supposed to be in there. As the Flight Leader of the Thunder Hawks that is my right. If you fail to address me by me title one more time, I will consider it a Challenge. Also, remember there are eight other Thunder Hawks that are Flight Leaders themselves by Right of Combat, and Challenge Flights. They have come with me this day to claim that witch is theirs. So, for the last time, step aside, before I kill you and your companion.” Jordan let her cold fury fill her voice and eyes.
Carrie Frost had ascended more than twenty years ago. She knew her place among the Flights. She knew that she could have more than eighty more blues, a one-hundred-sixty reds, and two-hundred-forty green Sky Dancers there in ten minutes, but she would be dead long before then. She knew that if she did that she did call for those additional Sky Dancers it would be a bloodbath. For the Sky Dancers that is. And Carrie knew this very blunt fact of life.
So with a bow of respect Carrie stepped aside and waved for Jordan and her party to pass. Susan Forthright who stood guard with Carrie though refused to move. Susan was also one of the few hardline exclusionist left among the Sky Dancers. In her eyes Carrie had just violated her duties as a Sky Dancer.
“Carrie may have abandoned her duty for you abominations, but I will not.” With that said, Susan threw the most powerful of her lightning bolts at Jordan screaming. “DIE! SCUM!”
The lightning bolt hit Jordan full force. To Jordan it was merely a recharge after her earlier release. Not that Jordan needed recharging. Jordan and the other Thunder Hawks were already at the upper limits of their abilities to hold a charge. It was one of the reasons Jordan had issued the order to blast every door between them and Council Chamber. She knew they needed to bleed off some of their power, before facing off against the Supreme Council. Jordan knew if they didn’t, then half of her plan won’t work the way she needed it to.
As the lightning from Susan filled her Jordan snarled. With a casual flick of her wrist Jordan delivered her own attack. The thunderbolt slammed into the chamber’s doors with enough force to blast them from their hinges. At the sight of this very casual display of power Susan Forthright fell back in pure fear. She, like a great many of the other exclusionist members, had heard of the power of a Thunder Hawk, but like most didn’t believe. Now, she was forced to confront the very uncomfortable truth. The stories fell short by a great deal. Susan scrambled as far away from Jordan and her party as they walked through the door to the Supreme Council Chamber.
Ilene Price noticed that Jordan spared the guards on the arena glass and at the inner most doors to the Council Chambers. Whatever had angered her with the guards at the outer doors must have been from her past. Then as Ilene thought about this very interesting question the faces of the four guards came to her mind. They had been girls that had bullied Jordan when she was younger. Jordan may not have realized this fact, as she was still angered over the attack by the exclusionist party Flight Leaders just a few days prier. Ilene just sighed and let the matter go for now. Ilene knew that she and Jordan would have to sit down and talk about her lack of control over her emotions.
Supreme Council Chambers earlier
Supreme Flight Leader Helen Campbell looked around the chamber hall. Everything had gone just the way that Ilene Price had predicted. The exclusionists tried to replace their numbers among the fallen Flight Leader, but the inclusionists had been able to block each one during the voting. Again, just as Ilene Price had predicted. So long as the Thunder Hawks stay in Neo Geleen for now Helen could control the Council. And with that control Helen would be able to make more than a few badly needed changes and social reforms.
The biggest bonus from the attack on the Thunder Hawks by the exclusionists Flight Leaders had been the deaths of more than half of the High Families within the Sky Dancers. Now, all she had to do was keep the Thunder Hawks out of the meeting. That way she would be more able to influence the outcome of the voting. With the right people in place she would be able to rid the Supreme Council and the Sky Dancers of the High Families. Once, this was done, they could get the mines out from under the control of the High Families once and for all.
The sudden explosions from outside was the first indication that Helen’s plans had gone astray. The sudden rolling sounds of thunder within the halls was the second indication. Helen looked to the main door of the Council Chamber and waited for the inevitable arrival of Jordan Price. “Hopefully, she will not have brought her acceptable number of Wings as escorts.”
“What was that, Helen? How can you just sit there as we are attacked by someone?” Kathrine White asked from her place two chairs down.
“We’re not under attack, Kathrine.” Helen never took her eyes off of the main door. “That is the Thunder Hawks come to claim their rightful prizes.”
“What rightful prizes?” Chantilly Moor asked with true fear.
“The eight Flights that challenged them over Neo Geleen.” Helen sighed before answering the Flight Leader’s question. “Jordan Price told us all, that any attack on the Thunder Hawks would be considered a Challenge Flight. Now, that those eight Flight Leaders are dead Jordan Price has come to place her people in command of those Flights. We can do nothing more than sit back and accept the truth of the matter. By our own laws we have to allow this, Chantilly.”
All other conversation was cut short by the blast that tore the doors from the hinges at the five entrance ways. As the doors tumbled through the room and across the floor, all eyes turned to the five public entrances. All save three sets. Those eyes were locked on the main entrance and the seven people who strode through the now empty archway. It took all of Helen Campbell’s considerable self-control to school her features and not show her surprise. Never, had Helen believed that Ilene Price and her two oldest daughters would back Jordan’s play for power.
“HELEN CAMPBELL!” Jordan yelled at the top of her lungs. “You dare to try and stop the Thunder Hawks from claiming our rightful prize. Those eight Flight Leaders are here to take over for the ones that died in the Challenge Flight. By the laws set down by our ancestors those eight Flights belong to us now.”
“NEVER!” The scream came from one of the few hardliner exclusionist Flight Leaders left, just before the lightning bolt was thrown at Jordan. “DIE YOU ABOMINATION!”
The lightning bolt never hit Jordan, but the thunderbolt did reach its target. All eyes turned to the young girl who had stopped the attack on her Flight, this time. Jordan started to laugh at the thought of little Terry catching what must have been the Flight Leaders most powerful attack, while returning one of her own. One that was far more controlled than any Jordan could have delivered at the time. Ilene, Kathrine, and Silvia just stood back smirking.
They had seen the India Wing perform similar acts in the past. Of the nine Wings in the Thunder Hawk Flight they may be the youngest, but they had the most control over the power of their thunderbolts. It was for this reason that they delivered the opening attacks and why Jordan had decided they would be her personal escorts for this meeting. “Don’t try that again. The next person who does dies.”
Helen knew that Jordan’s threat was not an idol one. “Stand down, let her speak. This is the Supreme Council of the Golden Halo. All Sky Dancers are welcome within these halls. That includes the Thunder Hawks.”
“That is where you’re wrong Helen Campbell.” Jordan’s voice was low, quiet, but clear as a bell tone ringing in the open air. “The exclusionist party is no longer welcome here, or on New Holland.”
At this statement the last of the exclusionist party members stood up in defiance. Jordan gave them all a predatory smile. It didn’t take her long to stop the five that were close to coming into season. “Sharon King, Natalie Cole, Kathy Vickers, Marry Beth Snider, Lisa Saint-James, you five are close to your season. Leave now, and none shall force you into a mating flight. Stay and I will not be held responsible for what your sons do.”
The five Gold Flight Leaders looked down at the Thunder Hawks arranged around the floor of the chamber. Each could see small parts of themselves in their faces. They could not tell which young woman was her son but they know that they were there none the less. With more than a little fear they ran from the Council Chambers. They all remembered what had happened to Ronda King at the hands of Jordan Price and had no desire to experience the same fate. Not yet any way.
So, it was with no little amount of fear they all stood and left the chamber. Jordan just smiled as they walked out, before turning her eyes on Helen Campbell. “Supreme Flight Leader Helen Campbell, we have a problem.”
“What might that be Flight Leader Jordan Price?”
“You sent eight Flight Leaders to challenge me and my Flight knowing god damned well that we would see it as a direct Challenge against the whole Flight.” Jordan ground out through gritted teeth. “I told you and everyone else that all Challenges against a Thunder Hawk were to the death. YOU and all the other witnesses to the failed Challenge Flight within my own Flight knew this.”
“They came at you of their own volition, Jordan Price.” Helen stood up as she countered the extremely angered youngster. “And you will be respectful of your elders within these walls. That is unless you think you can take on the full might of the GOLDEN HALO?”
The minute Jordan heard the threat she started to first giggle then laugh out right. With contemptable ease Jordan fired a full-strength thunderbolt towards the celling. The resulting blast reigned down dust and debris everywhere. The thundercrack rumbled laud enough to deafen most of the Sky Dancers. Only the Thunder Hawks were used to the decibel level of their thundercracks. Ilene Price and her two oldest daughters had kept their tactical helmets on, so they were unaffected by the blast or the resulting thundercrack.
The Price women had learned months ago that it was best to wear hearing protection when dealing with angry Thunder Hawks. They had a nasty habit of blowing great bug holes in walls and doors when they were angry. Usually by unleashing a thunderbolt or two at close to half or high strength. After giving Helen Campbell, a very blunt demonstration of a Thunder Hawks full power Jordan jumped at her. The sudden attack caught Helen off guard and completely by surprise.
Dragging Helen up off the floor by the throat with one hand Jordan growled out. “Let me be absolutely clear on the matter Helen Campbell. Not only will I destroy your Golden Halo Flight, but I will leave nothing behind but ash. I may only have forty-five Thunder Hawks under my direct command but they more than make up for their lack of numbers but shear raw power. If you want to go to war with me and my Flight then by all means fracking bring it on. Just remember that I will not spare lives or take prisoners. In my Flight, it is kill or be killed during Challenge Flights. We train to go to war and win. By any and all means. OUR, Instructors are all veterans of the War of Succession form the Temple of Ida-ten Knights.”
Looking around the Chamber at the other Flight Leaders Jordan let her disgust and anger fill her voice. Just as it had fill her eyes long ago. “This is your last warning Flight Leaders. Heed or ignore it at your own peril. Change your ways before I change them for you. Understand that I will have no problem with doing the later by force if needs be.”
Helen croaked out barely. “We need time.”
“Your time is up Helen Campbell.” Jordan leaned in close to Helen’s face. “Your time ran out the moment you let those eight Flight Leader’s attack my Flight. Now, those Flight Leaders will be replaced by my people. Form this point onward those eight Flights shall be under Thunder Hawk control. Unless you want the rest of the Flights to face the same fate, you’ll do as you’re told.”
When Jordan finished she threw Helen Campbell to the floor and turned to walk out. her three escorts quickly fell in behind her. “Secure your Flights, Thunder Hawks. You have four days before I inspect them.”
As one the two Squadrons called out. “Yes Commander!”
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