Ch 19 – The Qoof Attack

Qoof Scout Ships
Planet Ice Ball
Kartan System
December 27, 1999
 
The three Qoof fleets arrived at different location on the edge of the Kartan system.  Sub-sector Master Quwart knew she would have had to travel with them with a larger fleet of her own if the three Planet Master were to be kept from attacking each other.  She saw no reason to waste any of her spacecraft on the attack, so she had the fleets arrive separately.  She would command the attack from near the small planet that was the farthest from the star.  That the arrival times had not been coordinated did not matter to her.

When the third fleet arrived, she ordered all to proceed to the main Clar planet.  The previous attacks had shown that attacking there would draw all the armed spacecraft from throughout the system.  With the smallest of the three fleets being larger than the number of spacecraft that they had found in the previous attacks, she saw no reason not to destroy the enemy spacecraft before demanding the surrender of the planets and the many space habitats.  When they got close, her spacecraft and her escorts would move to the star side of the planet so that they could monitor what occurred.  Her observation of the attack would keep the fleets from attacking each.  She settled in to wait.

AU-2B Shuttle
Planet Ice Ball
Kartan System

Keyvan and his squad had no problem monitoring the Qoof Master Quwart thoughts.  She had only a light mental shield in place so that she could receive messages from the Planet Masters who commanded the three fleets, her monitors accompanying the masters, and her spies throughout the fleets.  They had not probed her thoughts too deeply, since they didn’t want to take the slightest chance of alerting her to their presence on the other side of the planet.  They kept quiet and waited.

This Qoof master almost makes me feel that the silent ones weren’t a bad idea by the Nartak.  Sandy Lawrence’s mental thought goes only to Keyvan, her Life-Mate.

Creating thinking beings whose only purpose is to attack those with mental ability can never be good.  They have a destiny that they are prevented from working towards so that the Nartak can attack and kill their previous mistake.  I believe the expression ‘trying to dig yourself out of a hole’ fits what the Nartak are doing.  Keyvan had spoken seven languages and he could read a half dozen more before he had walked up to the S-I facility at Carlisle the day that he and Sandy had met.  He hadn’t known that he would meet her or that the British were conducting their first exploration of the planets through windows there.  He had just followed impulses or hunches from Rome to Carlisle.  Something similar was helping him to understand the Qoof and the Nartak from the new information that they were learning.

I just meant that I could follow the Nartak thinking.  I definitely wouldn’t say the Nartak used logic in what they were doing.  I believe that they have been doing so many things out of fear.

I believe that is very possible.  Keyvan paused.  I also believe that the Qoof may be acting out of revenge or retaliation.  After viewing this Qoof’s thoughts, I wonder if they have any long-range plans other than take whatever they want.
 
 
Clar Space Command Space Station
Hardy, the Fourth Moon of the Inner Gas Giant Sparkle
and
AU Teams Shuttle Hanger
Planet Kartan
Kartan System

The five species had been in a number of discussions since the Clar had been trained in the mental abilities.  Again only the Kin could be said to have a representative that represented them but the discussion was mainly to find out more about each other and how and maybe why the five of them were chosen to be united in what some were calling the Federation of the Helping Hand.  There was also discussion about the upcoming space battle and about how to make use of the support that the three teams and their shuttles could provide but it was clear to everyone that the burden of the battle would fall on the Clar.  They had the experience fighting the Qoof and the fighting would be done with their spacecraft.  The others just commented occasionally as Admiral Rising Wind and his staff developed the battle plan.

Keyvan’s report on the Qoof Master Quwart will cause changes in the developing plan.  You will know her commands when she gives them.  Nancy reported.

That is every commander’s dream.  Knowing what the enemies orders are when they are given.  Admiral Rising Wind was feeling better about defending against an enemy that had over four times the number of starships that he did.  I will be able to develop a counter to every move as they are implemented.

You will have to be careful not to let them know that we know their plans.  In a recent war, we had access to the enemies’ encrypted messages.  We had to take much loss of life and damage so that they wouldn’t know that we knew their plans.  Charlie Blake knew what a previous British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, had suffered through in letting his people die so as to keep that secret.

I think it would be better if no one knew what Qoof Master Quwart wanted to do.  Will Maclaren’s comment caught everyone by surprise.  Keyvan, can you get Quwart to come after you when the combat starts?  You will need to shield her and then capture her so that the three fleets won’t have her to coordinate their actions.
 
To shield her while we capture her, that was the main set of our contingency plans.  Keyvan had instantly known what Will was suggesting.  We may be able to help with the second part of your plan if it is what I believe it to be.
 
Will smiled and sent a private message to Leslie and Jess.  I love working with people that understand before you tell them your plan.  You two have always done that.
 
What about Alice?  Leslie asked.
 
I often felt that she knew the plans before I thought of them.  She just waited for us to voice them.  Will switched back to addressing the larger group.  If we can get the three fleets to fighting among themselves, Admiral Rising Wind could pull his ships back and let the Qoof do most of the fighting.
 
Can you do that?  Rising Wind wondered how his new allies could get the Qoof to ignore his starships and fight among themselves.

Yes, it can be done.  Robert answered.  He and his life-mates had fully understood Will’s plan and what Keyvan would propose as his part of it.  Keyvan, explain what your people would do.
 
Just as the main battle starts, we will send out a signal asking for help from the air breathers that are fighting with the Clar.  Quwart will be concentrating on the battle and will send one or both of the guard ships to take care of us.  What she will mentally see is a couple of Glazen in distress from hiding out from the Clar in a shuttle after their spacecraft was recently destroyed by the Clar.
 
We wouldn’t have attacked a Glazen spacecraft.  Admiral Rising Wind had explained how the attack on O-dof’s colony and the spacecraft that had come with supplies for it had been at the command of a junior officer that had not even informed his captain before making the attacks.
 
We know.  O-dof had been surprised that the Clar had thought that they had wiped out the colony.  If his colonist had risked contacting the Clar after the attack, he and his people wouldn’t have had to survive for all those year in primitive conditions.  What is suggested matches what the Qoof would do in the Clar’s place.
 
We could also fake messages from Quwart saying that she was under attack from agents of one of the planet master.
 
No.  That won’t be necessary.  When they shield her, the other masters will assume it is another Qoof master who is responsible.  They will suspect the others since they didn’t know of the attack beforehand.  Claire explained.  We will monitor the three Planet Masters and add to the confusion when necessary.

No, they must think that it is one of them.  Otherwise, they will be looking for an outside force attacking them.  Will realized that Robert and his life-mates had also understood his plan but didn’t have the experience to evaluate all the problems.  They were still young though they were learning fast.

Admiral Rising Wind considered what could go wrong with this plan.  He couldn’t see any scenario where his spacecraft wouldn’t be better off in the battle than he had thought they would be.  The worst he could see happening is one of the Planet Masters trying to pull his fleet out of the system.  The Qoof would know what happened in the Kartan system if he wasn’t able to stop any spacecraft from getting away.  This is a good idea.  We need to work on the details.
 
Quwart has noticed mental communication in the system.  Keyvan warns them.  We need to restrict mental activity.
 
“All communications will switch to secure, encrypted mode radio communications.  Admiral Rising Wind ordered.
 
Only person to person mental communication.  Non-essential people are to leave KartanRobert, Claire, and Nancy individually communicated to key individuals who in turn passed the message on.
 
Nancy message to Keyvan added some commands.  We will contact you when the attack begins.  Let us know when Quwart moves.
 
 
Clar Space Command Space Station
Hardy, the Fourth Moon of the Inner Gas Giant Sparkle
Kartan System
December 28, 1999

“Admiral, Fleet Beta has lost another ship.  This one blew up and there was some damage to two other ships.  They are advancing faster than their shields can handle the debris.”  Commander Sweet Voice reported.  She and the other members of Hand had remained on the space station to assist with communications while all of the Teams’ shuttles had joined up with the Clar spacecraft that would meet the attacking Qoof fleets.

“That makes four that they lost and they now have two damaged ships also.”  Rising Wind had seen the Qoof Master’s ship in previous attacks standoff while they ordered the ships of their vassal species into suicidal attacks against the Clar.  Luckily, they had very little coordination between ships.  His ships had been able to double and triple team against individual ships, but he had faced no worse than a fleet slightly larger than his fleet.  Now he faced three larger fleets attacking from different directions.  He had had to divide up his ships into three small fleets.  Without the nuclear explosion suppressors that their new friends had bought them, his ships would be quickly destroyed.  As it is, he suspected that the Qoof masters would order their vassals’ ships to ram his ships once they found out that their missiles didn’t work.

“Order the fleet to accelerate their movements towards assembly.”  Too bad that we don’t have any of the mines that Robert had asked about.  We could have left them behind to blow up and take out some of the attackers before they got in range of the ships.  The idea to take one of the ships that had been in for overhaul and abandon it to fall behind the other ships had been a good one.  It would give the Qoof something to blow up so that they would take longer to realize that their missiles were not working.

“Admiral, Keyvan reports that Sub-sector Master Quwart is moving.”
 
 
AU-2B Shuttle
Planet Ice Ball
Kartan System
 
Only Keyvan had not been bothered by the long wait.  The children had had to be ordered to sleep or kept busy with studies.  It had also been good for the older Team members that they had the children to keep them busy when not on duty.

Keyvan, the first two fleets have begun firing.  Fleet B is still out of range.  Jenni Wavi, the Human member of hand passed on to him.

“A-ver and E-vai, start your broadcast.  Remember to keep the thoughts of being survivors from an attack on your spacecraft as the main thoughts in the unshielded portion of your mind.”  Keyvan maneuvered his shuttle to be near the location where the three Qoof spacecraft were moving from behind the planet.  Mary and Brenda Maclaren maneuvered their shuttles so that they could take out the two scout ships that were acting as protection for the Qoof Master Quwart.

“Help, we were attacked by the Clar when we entered the system.  Our spacecraft was destroyed.  We are running short of supplies.”  A-ver repeatedly transmitted over the radio.

Qoof Scout Ship
Planet Ice Ball
Kartan System

Sub-sector Master Quwart had been surprised when told about the radio broadcast from nearby.  She had mentally reached out to the one broadcasting.  Two survivors of an attack by the Clar.  Another species that I will control.  They are in a shuttle.  No danger.  Quvat move in on the shuttle.  Do not destroy it unless I tell you.  Master Quirta, your ships fall farther behind.  Your share will be proportional to how many ships you destroy.
 
I destroyed many ships in my previous attack.  Quirta didn’t say how many he had lost.  He had had to strip over half of all his ships from his systems for the fleet that he now led.  He didn’t want to lose any of his share of this system.  They should be part of the count.  He realized that he might gain very little here today.  The Clar were the toughest species that they had fought in a long time.

They weren’t destroyed for me.  The ones you destroy today are.

*******

When the one scout ship had moved forward towards Keyvan shuttle, he had ordered Mary to switch to Master Quwart’s scout ship.  When all three shuttles were lined up on their targets, he had given the order to fire.  The drive engines of each scout ship were destroyed first, followed by the pair of energy weapons that they each had.  Keyvan and Brenda had then put low speeds shots through the pressurized compartments of the two escort ships.  None of the Qoof had been in sealed spacesuits.  Most died before they could seal their spacesuits.  The Qoof had not noticed the two other shuttles.

Master Quwart was not wearing her spacesuit.  It was uncomfortable and she hadn’t expected any problems out here away from the battle.  She mentally reached out to the shuttle that had broadcast.  What she found surprised her.  Another Qoof.

AU-2B Shuttle
Planet Ice Ball
Kartan System

JJ was imitating a Qoof.  He had started out imitating Qoof with the Qoof that they had captured on Lotatt.  Quit-ar-lalo, or Demzoin as they had called him, was a low level Qoof.  He had been sent on a mission to the Glazen world of Stroven to ensure that the Glazen didn’t attack the Clar before the Qoof had taken over the Kartan system.  JJ had been fascinated by the Qoof.  He had monitored the interrogation sessions where they learned about the Qoof.  He wasn’t interested so much in the Qoof and their worlds but in the Qoof mind.  He had learned to keep the Qoof from fainting when he sensed the Three-fold Life-Mates.

When Robert had found out what he was doing, he had talked with Keyvan and Sandy, his squad leaders.  They had begun a formal study of the Qoof mind that had been taken over by JJ’s aunt, Dr. Ann Lawrence Tidwell.  They had learned much but they knew that their subject was a young, low level Qoof.  JJ looked forward to what he would learn from Quwart.

When he felt the probe from Quwart he sent out a message.  Planet Master Quirta, I have attacked as you requested.  You and the Clar can begin your attack on her fleets.
 
 
Qoof Scout Ship
Planet Ice Ball
Kartan System

Quwart had heard the mental message that the Qoof on the shuttle had broadcast to Planet Master Quirta.  That is why his ships were holding back.  He was going to trap the other two fleets between him and the Clar.  Masters Querta and Quheffa, Quirta has attacked me.  He plans to attack you with the help of the Clar.  Quizzor, kill Quirta.  His planets are yours.

After that message, Quwart found that she had been shielded.  She could no longer communicate with anyone.  A glance at her crew showed that they faced the same fate.  Who is powerful enough to do this?  No Grand Master would come this far without an important reason.  Why would one bother with me?

Thank you.  You have saved us some trouble with the three fleets.  We will join you in a bit.  Keyvan told her.

Who?

Sleep!  JJ joined with the other Team members in the three shuttles commanded her and the other Qoof on the scout ships.

AU-2B Shuttle
Planet Ice Ball
Kartan System

Grand Masters!  JJ had read much in her mind as Quwart thought of them.

One step at a time.  Keyvan smiled at his apprentice.  You will need your Life-Mate and your own squad, before you tackle one of them.
 
You have vision now!  Sandy asked him.
 
I know JJ is not what he will be and we all know that your Life-Mate brings the best out in you.  Right now JJ may get lucky if he took on a Grand Master but I don’t want an even fight with the Qoof.  We are not here to kill them but to help them and the Nartak.  We have much to learn before then.
 
Jason found Teresa, and KA found Mikael.  I need to go look for her.  JJ had seen the change in his sister and cousin.  He had known that he would someday find his Life-Mate but the timing had been someday.  There had been so much to learn and do.  A Life-Mate had not seemed urgent.  Now there was a reason.  Qoof Grand Masters.
 
No!  It will be a surprise.  Nancy entered the conversation.  We have gone out unprepared too often during the past six months.
 
Tell me more.  JJ asks.
 
That is part of my vision.  She will need your help.  If you are not ready, you could lose her.  You will need to learn to control yourself and your abilities.  If you do not you could lose her.
 
 How could he lose her?  KA asked about finding her brother’s Life Mate.
 
That is all that I am to tell you.  Nancy left the conversation.
 
Keyvan, let us go and find out what Quwart knows.  Sandy knew that JJ needed to be distracted.
 

AU-1A Shuttle and Clar Space Command Space Station

They are targeting each other.  Fighting has broken out on a number of the ships.  Admiral Rising Wind, have your ships hold back.  It would be good if you could shift them so that they could intercept any Qoof that try to run.  Claire informed the Clar commander.
 
Rising Wind was surprised at how well things had gone.  “Commander Sweet Voice, order all ships to restrain from firing unless necessary.  Work out orders to shift ships so we can stop any ships from escaping.”  He contemplates what had happened.  We have lost no ships and only one has any damage.  Their missiles were not exploding.  If they had not fallen on each other they may had realized that they had a problem.  We destroyed seven ships but by falling back, we had delayed a full engagement.  I hope the next part goes as good.  Shuttles among all those spacecraft will be dangerous.  Even if the missile does not explode, it will destroy a shuttle if it hits it.

*******

The Teams observed the Qoof infighting.  They watched spacecraft after spacecraft destroyed.  The crews of vassal species were dying along with the Qoof commanding them.  There were yet too many Qoof spacecraft for them to do anything.  A couple of the crews had taken the opportunity to ensure that all the Qoof died on their ship when the Qoof on the ship had fought each other.  Willy had contacted them and told them to power down their weapons and slowly head toward the Clar.  The Clar would not attack them and would protect them from the Qoof.  When the second of the ships had been targeted by one of the Qoof ships, Willy had taken his shuttle forward to protect it.

Admiral Rising Wind, the Qoof fighting on the ships had ended.  There is still too many ships for the Teams to handle at one time.  We need you to engage some of their spacecraft while we handle the rest.  If you damage any such that they cannot attack, do not destroy them.  We can take care of them later.  We will move in after you start.  Robert requested.

I will send some ships in with you.  It will keep from having all of their attention on you.

That would help.  Remember that your missiles will not work when you get in close.

Captain Shining Sun has come up with an idea to get around that.  We will turn off the nullifier and allow the missile to explode.

Just make sure that their missiles are not close by.  Contact us when you want to do this.  We can check that there are no Qoof missiles near.  Robert offers.

Won’t you be busy with the Qoof.

Yes, but we left most of our younger team members back on Kartan.  They have been keeping track of all the spacecraft in the system and looking for any more that may be hiding.  They have not found any but they have found a number of asteroids that you will want to mine.
 
You are working young children?
 
No, we are keeping them out of mischief.  We have found the best way is to give them something to do.
 
I look forward to learning more about your Teams.
 
It is our Teams.  Quiet Eddy and Bright Dawn are just the first that will be joining the Teams.  You will be setting up Teams here and in your other systems.  It will require that they have oxygen habitats for the other species.
 
With the Return, we will have a lot of space on our stations and ships.
 
Not as much as you might expect.  You have been living in space for a long while.

*******

AU Shuttles
 
Planet Master Querta’s spacecraft exploded before the AU-2A shuttle could get close enough for its squad to take control.  Bruce scanned the crew of the ship that had destroyed it.

There is no Qoof on that shipWhen Bruce contacted the crew, he was surprised at the response that he got.  The Risari were not unwilling vassals of the Qoof.  They are allies of the Planet Master Quirta.  What had he done to reach an agreement with them?  Claire, the Risari have Planet Master Quirta aboard their ship but he is unconscious.  Their mental thoughts are hard to read.
 
We need to nullify their combat capability.  Nancy is requesting Captain Shining Sun to head towards you in case you need support.
 
I will take out their drive engine.  Alyca flew towards the ship.  The shuttle was spotted and two missiles were fired at it.  She moved the shuttle to evade and the missiles followed.  Hold on.  She flipped the shuttle so that the rail gun faced behind her flight path.  Firing.  Without waiting to see the results, she shifted the shuttle’s orientation so that it was aimed at the second missile.  Just before she was ready to fire, the missile started evasive moves.  She started counter moves with the shuttle.  After seven seconds, she fired.  Her moves had caused the missile to make an anticipated turn.  Her shots destroyed the second missile.

Captain Shining Sun’s spacecraft had approached the spacecraft of Quirta’s allies.  Both spacecraft were firing missiles.  Alyca approached the hostile spacecraft but from the side.

Bruce had been monitoring the Risari spacecraft.  There are two other Risari spacecraft.  They are moving in to help.
 
Their warheads are not exploding but they can guide the missiles into my ship.  Captain Shining Sun thoughts were worried.  I am unable to evade them.  Anti-missile defenses are having a hard time destroying them.
 
Let us stop playing nice.  Avla, take the rest of the squad and do something about the Risari firing the missiles while Bruce and I attack with the shuttle.  Alyca ordered.

Avla, their thoughts are different some what like the silent ones were.  Less Lawrence and Mort, the Kin that she was bonded to had been monitoring the battle with the other on Kartan.  They joined with Avla to help read the Risari thoughts.  Soon they are supplying information about what all three Risari spacecraft were doing.

Alyca shot crippled the first Risari spacecraft engine, but she had to take evasive action when missiles were fired at her.  She destroyed the missiles and headed back to take out the life support.

Less has had enough.  She mentally reaches out to the Risari.  Stop fighting!  You cannot hurt us but we could accidently hurt you if you do not stop.  She didn’t use compulsion which though her strength was not as strongly as her brother JJ was only matched by her sister KA and the Three-Fold Life Mates.  Her tone was that of the six year-old girl that she was but with more power than a Qoof Planet Master.

All the Risari were startled.  Planet Master Quirta hadn’t been able to communicate mentally with them but they had learned from his vassals of what he was capable.  They had no experience with mental communication except for the one contact with Bruce.  It had taken a while to believe what they had heard from Quirta vassals about what the Qoof did if they didn’t obey them.  This person could communicate with them, but it was only a child.  Arguments started up about what to do.  Some of the Risari thought that they should not fear a child.  Others had realized the mental power of the child and wondered whether there were adults that they should fear.

As my young cousin said, stop fighting we do not want to hurt you.  We are here to stop the Qoof attack.  So far, we have been able to keep down the casualty especially among the Qoof vassals though we did not attempt to do that as much with the Qoof.  We have suffered no casualties.  The tone of Robert’s thoughts was that of an adult dealing with children.  We would like to offer you the same care that we are giving the Qoof vassals, but you need to stop fighting.  We have captured Sub-sector Master Quwart, and Planet Master Quheffa.  We would have captured Planet Master Querta, but you destroyed his spacecraft.  What is your choice?

The Risari were shocked.  This was one of the adults.  His power far surpassed that of the child.  What had they gotten themselves into when their Queen had made her deal with Planet Master Quirta.  The conference among the three captains took only a couple of minutes.  It was more to decide who would speak for them since their Admiral’s spacecraft had been destroyed in the fighting among the Qoof.  “We will stop fighting.”  Wuseten, the selected Risari captain broadcast in the Qoof language.  Two of the spacecraft started to shut down their weapon systems.

Captain Rewuasta, shut down your weapon systems!  Robert let impatience enter the tone of his thought.  He also included all of the Risari in the communication.

Captain Rewausta hurried to comply as shouted communication came from the other two captains.

Now if you would be so kind as to tightly tie your three spacecraft together with the grappling equipment that you have, we can start to sort things out.  Captain Rewausta, your spacecraft should be in the opposite direction of the other two.  Shut down all but Captain Wuseten’s spacecraft engines.  You do not have to make much speed on your approach to the planet.  When you have your spacecraft in that configuration, shut down your radios.
 
Robert’s ability to know what they were doing surprised them but not as much as his knowledge of their grappling equipment.  That equipment was little used and none of the crews would have been thinking about it.  Their opponent could sense the internal workings of their spacecraft.  They realized how thoroughly outclassed they were.

Team Pool Coverage – December 28, 1999 – Douglas Richard and Amy Tuckey

The Clar fleet in the Kartan star system with assistance from AU Teams 1, 2 and 3 defeated a much larger force of starships under the command of a Qoof Sub-sector Master.  The Qoof starships that numbered over four times the Clar fleet lost one third of their number.  Many other Qoof starships were damaged and suffered casualties.  Almost all damage and casualties among the Qoof and their vassals is attributed to in-fighting among the Qoof starships.  Damage to the Clar starships was minimal.  The only casualties were caused by an accident when an anti-missile defense weapon overheated and exploded.  Three Clar near the weapon were killed and seven injured.

Captured in the attack were Sub-sector Master Quwart, Qoof Planet Masters Quirta and Quheffa, fifty-two other Qoof, and eighty-seven thousand two hundred eighty-seven members of seventeen vassal species.  Plans are being made on how to handle the large number of prisoners. …

Clar Space Command Space Station
Hardy, the Fourth Moon of the Inner Gas Giant Sparkle
Kartan System
December 31, 1999
 
Will Maclaren had come from Kartan to the Clar Space Command Space Station to debrief the three Australian Teams.  O-dof and O-dofi who had come to talk with the Clar had decided to sit in on the meeting, which was in a large room in the section of the station that the Clar had converted for the oxygen breathers.  That the station was built such that the environmental systems in different sections were independent had made the conversion easier.  The teams had planned ahead and had large oxygen refreshing units built knowing that oxygen breathers would be living with the Clar.

Of the new Clar members of the Teams, only Quiet Eddy and Bright Dawn had chosen to wear spacesuits and join the oxygen breathing Team members.  The other new Clar Team members that they had identified since the battle were in a room in the Clar section of the station.

Will was at the front of the room with O-dof and O-dofi.  The three teams sat facing them.  Admiral Rising Wind and Captain Shining Sun were sitting with the Clar Team members in the other room.  They could be seen in a 3-D display to the side of the room.  Will stood.

This meeting is to go over your actions during the recent invasion by the Qoof.  Our purpose is to learn from what you did so that you can improve and others can learn from your actions.  To start off I will state your goals for the mission.  The primary goal was to support the Clar in defending the Kartan system.  The secondary goal was to ensure that the Qoof did not learn about us and about our support of the Clar.  An additional goal was added prior to take off.  It was to kill or capture the Qoof observer in the outer system.  The discussion will be on how you met these goals.
 
Will paused.
 
Will Maclaren.  What is your position that you sit in judgment over these Teams.  Admiral Rising Wind was trying to understand how the Clar’s new partners command structure worked.  He had understood that the Three-Fold Life-Mates led all the Teams on all the planets.  Will was Robert’s father but what position did he hold?

I do not sit in judgment over them.  I help them to sit in judgment of themselves.  Will’s amusement at the question was also mentally felt by all.  I am partially a teacher, definitely a parent of my five children on the teams, and mostly a friend that is trying to help them become what they need to be.  I believe that my role is evolving as the teams learn more about what they will be.  My current role is guide.

Will turned from the 3-D display to Team 2.  Keyvan, would you start.  The action at Ice Ball was more limited in scope.  If we did everything together in chronological order then I feel we would affect the review of what happened at Ice Ball.  We will do your review separately.
 
The mission to Ice Ball was based on Nancy’s hunch that a high level Qoof would be observing the attack from the edge of the system.  JJ’s ability to handle a high level Qoof meant that AU 2 Squad B was the logical squad to be sent to stop the Qoof master from learning about our action in support of the Clar.

The purpose was to ensure that what happened here was not known by the Qoof.  Yes, we were the biggest unknown, but complete lack of knowledge of anything that happened was the goal.  Robert clarified.

You based the action at Ice Ball on a hunch.  Admiral Rising Wind was unsure if the Clar military should work with them if they based their actions on hunches.

Nancy’s hunch is what led us to consider action against a Qoof observer, especially since it indicated that the observer would be of a higher rank than those in the attacking force.  We had observed similar activities during a Qoof attack in the Mossly system.  There the observer had been of a much lower rank.  When we considered what we might encounter and what we should do, we decided that there could be other spacecraft protecting the high Qoof master.  Two additional shuttles were added to counter these spacecraft.  We expected to play a minor role in the actual combat against the Qoof fleets.  Robert considers what he had said.  That would be our first mistake.
 
But your action was taken because of a hunch.
 
Nancy’s hunches are similar to your seers’ visions.  Both are given to them.  Robert wondered again where the hunches and visions came from.

I still find it hard to believe that shuttles were effective in combat against warships.  Admiral Rising Wind had reviewed three times the recordings of Alyca piloting the shuttle with two missiles in pursuit.

Yes, the shuttles out performed our expectations for a design we rushed to design and build in a couple of months but Alyca knew how to get the most out of her design.  Will’s comments surprise the Admiral.

Alyca designed and build the shuttles in a couple of months?

I was lead engineer on the design.  All three Teams helped.  We had Boeing build the parts, but we moved them through the windows and assembled them.  Alyca knew that the work was a team effort.

I will hold any more comments until after this meeting.  There is much that I need to learn and that will happen faster if I stop interrupting.  Admiral Rising Wind expected it would be hard to keep from commenting.

The Teams offer constant surprises.  O-dof laughed.  With the Clar now joining them, I expect much more excitement.
 
They all are excited to have us join them.  They are unsure what to expect but they expect us to make a big difference.  Rising Wind thought to himself.  And The Return is upon us.

Keyvan continued describing the flight to Ice Ball and their actions there.  His plan to have the Qoof fight among themselves drew only a couple of comments from Will.

I ordered all three scout ships disabled and the two supporting scout ships depressurized.  Sub-sector Master Quwart was not in her spacesuit and would have been killed.  JJ imitated a Qoof so that Quwart would believe the attack was planned by Planet Master Quirta.  She ordered the other two Planet Masters to attack Quirta and her representative on his ship to kill Quirta.  We shielded Quwart and the other Qoof and put them to sleep.  We then boarded the Qoof ships and restrained them.  The prisoners were moved to the pressurized scout ship, which we then towed back here.  We brought back forty-seven Qoof captives.  There were fifty-two dead Qoof.
 
How are your captives being held?  Will knew but wanted all to hear.

All of them are physically restrained in their spacesuits without helmets.  Three bombs were placed on the outside of the scout ship.  We can remotely detonate them or if the hatch is opened from within, they all will explode.  The prisoners have a video feed on one of the bombs to remind them that the bombs are there.
 
Is that necessary?  We only have them locked up.  Admiral Rising Wind was confused.
 
You only have seven Qoof captives.  Claire explained the difference.  Planet Master Quheffa and one of his underlings were the only ones that survived out of two of the fleets.  From the Qoof fleet that was supposedly working with you, Planet Master Quirta and four of his underlings have survived.  None of them escaped unharmed from the fighting on the spacecraft.  When we screened their mental powers, those that they had had under mental control took the opportunity to kill the one or two Qoof on their spacecraft.  Quheffa had already locked himself in his bridge area so they could not get to him.  Quirta spacecraft was the exception.  It appears that he was more moderate in how he handled those under his direct control.  Those with Sub-sector Master Quwart were all Qoof.  They are her handpicked supporters and none of them is injured.  They have been trying to break the mental control that they are under since they were captured.  That is why they are so far from any of your ships or stations.
 
They could mental attack, but they are screened and we have the new mental shields.
 
Just like with all the other species, not all of the Clar accepted what we taught.  If one of those came under control of the Qoof, the Qoof would have a way to cause trouble.
 
But you have been able to control them.
 
Yes, but only a few of us are individually able to handle the three masters.  Of those, many are children.  JJ is only eight.  When we join together, any of the squads can handle them, but we still have not learned to go about our lives mentally continually joined.  Also, we need a permanent solution for handling the Qoof prisoners.
 
Admiral Rising Wind was starting to understand the problem.  Do you have a solution?
 
NoWill took over the discussion.  We need to talk this over with leaders of all five species.  If you can speak for the Clar, then we only need leaders from the Swizz and Humans.  The Swizz world of Lyysssiisss is sending someone but it will be four days until they can get here.  Neither the Swizz or Glazen have heard back from their other worlds yet.  O-dof and O-dofi have long acted for the Glazen.  Will knew that the reincarnations of both of them had not been explained yet to the Clar.  Moiria speaks for the Kin.

Do not you or the Three-Fold Life-Mates not have standing to speak for Humans?
 
No, I am a retired officer working for my wife’s family’s company.  I am here because, I took on this responsibility when I was only ten.
 
Claire broke in.  My father is the elected leader of the strongest country on Earth, but he only represents about five percent of the Humans.  We have not united in one government.  We are a contentious people.  I am not sure if we can select someone by the time we need to make a decision.
 
You are mistaken about my father’s position.  Sweet Voice knew more about the other species than any other Clar.  Her interaction with her sister-singers had allowed all five of them to learn much about the others species.  He only leads the defense of this system.  He only had that position and the leadership of our tribe.  When our home world died, many were killed including the government.  We left the system looking for a new world but could not find it.  We live near these lesser worlds but they cannot be our homes so we are still fragmented.
 
What my daughter says is true, but that which you ask us to decide on is a matter of defending the Clar.  I can be our representative to the discussion.  What is the role of the Three-Fold Life-Mates in this discussion?
 
Our role is to advise not to lead.  Claire spoke for the Three-Fold Life-Mates.  We will lead the Teams but the Teams purpose is not internal governance of the union of our five species.  This may change when the majority of our species are on Teams but that is many, many years from now.  It is our time to learn what we will be.
 
 
Team Pool Coverage – January 1, 2000 – Douglas Richard and Amy Tuckey

Representatives of our five species will be meeting on Kartan to discuss plans for co-operation between the five species.  Admiral Rising Wind and Yellow Tuopen, his wife and Life-Mate will be the initial Clar representative.  O-dof and O-dofi will represent the Glazen.  Fllaazziii and Jaaiiff of the Swizz world Lyysssiiss will be the Swizz representatives until the Swizz ruling family could appoint representatives.  Representatives from the Kin pack Two Moon Pastures will represent the Kin.  The individual Kin attending the meetings will rotate among the pack senior members based on availability to attend.

There has been no agreement on who should represent Humans at this historic meeting.  Discussions of who would representative Humans had turned into arguments with the only thing that most Humans agreed on was that the United Nations didn’t represent Humans.  The Three-Fold Life-Mates was often heard as a suggestion along with various Team leads.  When they were asked about the three of them representing Humans, Claire Clarke said.  “No one on the Teams should represent Humans in setting up how our five species are going to work together.  Our job is to guide the Nartak and Qoof back to the path that they should be following.  We have much to learn about them among many other things.  As to the three of us,   we are teenagers and we have a job that will keep us very busy.  The one suggestion that we have is that the selection should be Life-Mates.  The Glazen, Swizz, and Clar representatives are Life-Mates.  Only the Kin, who do not have Life-Mates but make major decisions by everyone joining mentally together do not have Life-Mates as their representative.  They actually have a whole pack as their representatives.”

Amy and I concur on Life-Mates being our representatives.  We have found that since we became Life-Mates that we can do much more working together.  That will also help to cut down on the possible choices since less than 0.1% of Humans have found their Life-Mates.  That number will grow as we gain more experience with our new mental abilities.

Chapter 20 – Changes

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