Space Queen Chapter 5

That night in my room Minsha and I lay on the bed, she told me about her life, and I told her more about Earth. I now understood why Tagnor wore so little clothing, Minsha was hot. I would never freeze with her next to me. Her fur was soft, she let me feel it last night. I think we also made a good start to a great friendship. We may not have similar pasts, but we have similar ideas for the future.

I was awakened by Tren and Kal, they were happy to be working with me. They looked good in the new clothes that they had received, “Your Majesty, we have your clothes ready for you and Minsha. We are looking forward to helping you look your very best.” I gave them a little giggle and grabbed Minsha’s hand to get her out of bed. I was looking forward to some girly assistance with my fashion and makeup. I knew the basics, but I have never really been able to get some direction.

I found that the ladies had laid out some loose robes for me. It was so different from what I had been wearing which had shown off my figure. I looked a little confused at them. “Your Majesty.” Kal started.

I interrupted them, “Call me Kara when we are up here.” I reminded them.

“Kara, you have recently started courting Minsha which requires you to wear this style of dress to symbolize your commitment to her.” Kal finished. I gave her the stink eye at that comment. This sounds like something that the church came up with.

“What custom says that it is very demeaning, that I need to hide my body because I am in a relationship. Is that something the church mandated?” I was skeptical about this. I did feel that it was demeaning to women. It reminded me of a Muslim hijab.

“Yes, Kara it is the Church’s custom, but everyone in the Empire would expect this of you,” Tren said trying to placate my disgust.

“Okay ladies, I am going to introduce the Empire to an Earth custom. I will not wear that no matter what anyone thinks is appropriate. On Earth, those in a relationship wear rings on their left ring finger.” I held up my hand to indicate where I was meaning. “I am willing to comply with some customs and I feel that I am pretty open to the customs of others, but I don’t want to give up my customs in the process. So, get me some pretty clothes please.”

Minsha was a little shocked by my blatant disregard for hundreds of years of history. “What a strange place this Earth, giving trinkets as a symbol of commitment. I will follow your customs Kara, but I do not understand it.”

I spent the next hour explaining the significance of rings and the use of precious metals and stones. I hadn’t even realized that people around here did not wear jewelry. That would have to be another custom that I will have to start. I learned that what I considered precious metals were just a common everyday metal here. That is why Minsha thought it was just a trinket.

The precious metal that my crown was made from is rhodium. It had a silver sheen to it mixed with a rose color. That is a very difficult metal to come across. Our discussion was interrupted by Spire, “Your Majesty, if you would like to look through the collection of royal jewelry. It is in a vault that can only be opened by you. Till now that vault has been a secret that could only be discovered once an heir returned.”

“How much time do I have before the meeting with the council and representatives?” I asked and when I heard that it was two hours from now. “Let’s go see what’s in my vault ladies. I think we can find something for all of us in there.”

We rushed out of the room and followed the instructions that Spire had given us. We found ourselves deep under the palace. No wonder no one has found this place. We had to take stairs down the last three flights of stairs. There was a lot of dust on all the surfaces. The metal walls reminded me of what I thought a space station should look like. It was dimly lit and very functional, rather than decorative.

We found the door that would lead us to the vault. I placed my hand on the scanner to unlock the door. It popped open, releasing a gust of stale air that had been trapped inside. I was going to need maintenance to look at the ventilation down here. We all were coughing as we entered the antechamber. There we fancy suits of armor lining the walls. I found one for Tagnor women, “Minsha you would look great in this suit of armor. It had a metal chest plate, metal leggings, and an intricate helmet. It looked like ceremonial armor.

I made my way over to the vault door. I placed my hand on the scanner. Then we heard mechanical mechanisms behind the door moving and locking into place. The door opened to reveal an enormous room filled with cases of jewelry, each labeled. I found a nice ring and placed it on Minsha’s finger. She admired the ring.

I walked around looking at all the different things. I found something that just called out to me. It was like a combination slave bracelet and forearm gauntlet. I tried it on and that triggered something in the gauntlet. It locked itself in place around my forearm and acknowledged my identity as Queen like my armor did. Only this sealed around my arm. I could not find the seam to open it back up. We started hearing metallic noises coming from all around us. The air handlers down here kicked on, and I started to feel vibrations in the metal.

We quickly closed the vault back up and ran back to the elevator to get out from down there. Once we got to the main floor of the palace a large announcement was broadcast throughout the station. “Queen’s Rage activated. Time of arrival ten days, nine hours, twenty-two minutes.” OK, what is that and why did this happen when I put on this gauntlet?

“Spire, what is Queen’s Rage?” I asked concerned.

“Queen’s Rage is a superdreadnought that the last queen commissioned before she was deposed. It has been sitting in the black hibernating. You have activated it and the spire weapon systems when you put on the gauntlet. You can track the Queen’s Rage from the throne room.”

I’m glad I decided to go with boots today because running seemed to be the thing to do this morning. The four of us started running towards the throne room as the ladies came filling down from their rooms with looks of concern on their faces.

Running in heels was a new feeling but at least they were chunky heels, so I didn’t break my ankle as I climbed the stairs to the throne room. I heard the citizens out in the streets yelling at each other trying to figure out what was going on. Once I got into the throne room and sat down the gauntlet caused a screen to show in front of me. It started listing the status of all the systems of the Queen’s Rage. I was reading through it and saw quantum drive thirty-five percent, and below it was cryo-chambers ten percent. Was there a crew on that ship in status for three thousand years?

I realized that I needed to calm the citizens. I was told I could broadcast from the throne to the entire Empire if I wanted to. I just needed the station at this time. I brought up the broadcast and spoke to the people, “citizens of the Caravelle Empire. This is your Queen giving you an update on the message you just heard. This is nothing for you to worry about. It is a ship that was built at the end of the last queen’s reign. It has been operating in stasis in the black since then. It has become active after receiving a command that I have taken reign. It is now returning to the Spire to act as my flagship. I will update you when more information comes in.”

I hope that would quell some of the hysteria that I heard from the streets. The council and representatives had shown up during my speech and waited in the back of the room until I was done. Commander Krude, the military officer I put in charge after weeding out all the bad apples. Came forward. I wondered how he could live wearing a uniform as a Tagnor. I didn’t have an understanding of their customs when I appointed him, but now I had a new respect for his discipline.

“General Krude, I will forward you the status of the Queen’s Rage as it comes online so you can monitor the status of the ship as well. Tell me how my ascension to the throne has affected my military.” I asked in a serious tone.

“My Queen, I have been checking the status of your ships and unfortunately the Grand Cleric has the support of the majority of your fleet. I have pulled back those that I believe are loyal back to the station in the event of an attack. I believe the Church has a strong hold on the fleet, and they will use it to get back in control.” He informed me honestly.

I should have guessed this was going to happen which means my order for more ships had better hurry up. “What is the status of getting our fleet updated with the technology I released?”

Council member Nobar spoke up as I asked that question. “My Queen, we have run into a problem, the shipyards are not happy with the loss of their slave labor and have refused to supply us with any ships. They believe the Church will take back over and they do not wish to anger the Church by providing us ships.”

“Councilmen Nobar, what about other trading? Are we able to get supplies to the station?” I asked with a sense of urgency.

“Yes, your Majesty, we have always only needed minimal supplies to be sent here as we have been self-sufficient with the bio-chambers and aqua-generators.” He gave me some good news finally.

“I want those guarded at all times. The last thing I want is a saboteur to disable them. So, if I get this right, we are in the midst of a civil war between me and the church?”

General Krude acknowledged my concerns. “That is what it looks like is happening, though they have yet to declare war, I expect that is a foregone conclusion. They are amassing their forces right now.”

“General, I want a tight lid on the Queen’s Rage. I believe that some information about it will get off the ship, but I want to make sure they have no clue about its capabilities. I also want you to get more people trained, and use the former slaves if they want to join. Oh, and cut any payments to any of those on the vessels that are going against us. Money is always a good motivator for soldiers.” I gave him a rundown of what he should be focusing on.

“Mininor, what is going on with the Tagnor? Which side of this are they leaning?” I asked now that I finally had some representation in the meetings.

“My Queen, the Tagnor people stand with you. After yesterday’s trip to the Tagnor section, you have made a positive impression on my people.” I blushed as he told me that and I looked at Minsha. She had been standing next to me quietly as I had these discussions. I hope that in the future I can include her more in the decision-making. I need to get another throne in here for her.

“Grinky, what is the stance of the Pinari in this pending conflict?” I knew that it was a lot to ask these people to help us in fighting our fight. I just needed to see what side they were leaning towards.

“Your Majesty, we are still discussing which side we are supporting. I am here to tell you that we are going to remain neutral at this time.” He said in a calm voice.

“I understand and it is no problem. I have no right to ask you to fight my war. I will continue to keep up my end of the pact you have with my people.” I needed to assure them that I was going to support his people.

“Trinar, and what of the Skraggs?” I also got a no from them, that they were also remaining neutral.

None of that surprised me until I started to deal with the Craggs. I knew he had a dislike me from our first meeting with him and I was kind of surprised he showed up to this meeting. So, what was his actual goal for showing up? “Srellon, I got the distinct impression you were not on my side so why are you here?”

“I am here to give you a chance to surrender and repent to the Grand Cleric. I am sure your life as a slave will not be too painful. You think you know war, but will you be able to wage it and kill millions? I think as a woman you know that you are not strong enough to do that. As all women you are too stupid and weak to properly rule in a man’s…” That is where his words cut off as I shot him in the head with my pistol. I am glad I made a point to always carry that.

“That’s one, only a million more to go. The mistake you made is to think you know what kind of woman I am. Send his body to the others as a message.” The rest of the representatives and council members we wide wide-eyed and shocked. “Let it be known women are not weak nor stupid. Those who underestimate me will end up like Srellon. Let the Craggs know I killed their representative and if they join the Church, they will be killed along with them.”

As the guards removed the body I leaned back on my throne. “I guess there is one good thing about the red carpet. As for those of you who chose neutrality. I respect your choice. You have nothing to worry about from me. You may go back to speak to your people while I make my plans with those who are going to fight with me. Oh, and if you have any troubles let me know I will do what I can to help.” I told them with a smile on my face. I don’t know if that made me look psychotic or not, but it gave them the impression, not to fuck with me.

Once the representatives left, I looked at the General. “Put some troops in the Craggs district. I don’t want them causing problems after I killed their representative. Have them put up messages about what Srellon said and how he died. Let them see the truth.”

“Councilmen, do you have any advice on plays to be made?” We sat for several hours coming up with a plan. The first thing we needed to do was hold a public trial for the men I had custody. Then we had to recruit.

Recruitment was going to be an issue since half of the population of the empire was uneducated. I needed to find a way to make this work out for the best. Damn, those men for keeping the women uneducated and therefore ignorant of their treatment. I needed to start making women aware of their situations. Time to make a speech.

A smaller throne was brought in and set next to mine for Minsha. This was something that needed the support of her as well.

Citizens of the Caravelle Empire I have a message for all my citizens but especially the women of our Empire. For too long the women of this Empire have been treated like chattel. Nothing more than property to the men. You have been denied an education that has been afforded to men and thus left ignorant of just how badly you have been treated. I speak to you as an educated woman, who knows the worth of my sex.

Men fear you becoming educated because that would make it harder to control you. I have seen what women can accomplish when they are educated and free to succeed. I have already mandated that all children, boys, and girls, are to receive the same educational opportunities. For those adult women who wish to learn and take control of their lives. I will be starting a training facility for women who wish to learn and support our Empire.

The Church of Minthral has been lying to you for generations, their goal is to maintain all the power. They wanted to control everyone and keep you compliant. Now that same Church wished to take back control over the Empire and you. They will use military forces to put you under heel so that you cannot revolt against them. I, however, as the rightful Queen of the Caravelle Empire as verified by the Queen’s Spire, wish to lead you all to even greater glory.

The Church thinks it can match the technology that I possess as Queen of the Empire. They need this technology because under their rule the Empire has reversed in their technological knowledge. I will make this knowledge available to those who oppose the Church and its evil ways.

I sit here with the woman I am courting to assure you that we both support the rights of women. We support equality for all. And most of all we support the growth of the Caravelle Empire. May we reach farther into the stars and achieve greatness.

I hoped that would get the women motivated to change. I just hope it didn’t result in a riot. I made sure that my speech was broadcast to all the world in the Empire. Maybe that would cause some people to defect to my side.

“My Queen, there is a fight breaking out in the docking ring section Alpha four nine,” Spire announced to me. This probably was in response to my announcement so I best go down there and see if I can’t help smooth things over. Better get my armor though.

“Follow me, ladies,” I announced as I left for the palace and up to my suite. I suited up in my full armor and grabbed some weapons. I needed to make a statement. I placed my pistol on my hip and grabbed a pulse rifle. I had it at the low ready as I smiled at my ladies and asked them to stay here till I finished. I would need to get Minsha a set of armor if she was interested in following me into a fight.

I took my transport to the docking ring and stepped out. In front of me was a huge fight between some dock workers and someone else, I couldn’t tell who they were with. The guards were not able to break up the fight. It was mayhem but I did see a man with a gun raising it to shoot one of the guards. Before he could get his shot off, I turned his head into pink mist. This rifle was great. I wish I had this when I was in the army.

People around the man quickly backed away as his body fell to the ground. I saw a man on the other side of the crowd aim his weapon at me and he got the same treatment as the other man. Everyone was staring at me at this point. No one wanted to move for fear that I would shoot them. “What the hell are you all doing on my station?”

A large man pushed through the crowd. He was a race I was not overly familiar with. He had a pig-like nose and was built like a tank. It seemed to me he thought he was in charge of the situation, “Look here, lady. I am here to pick up the fifty slaves I was promised. I think I might just have to take a little extra for you killing my men. So why don’t you just get along and get me my slaves.”

“There are no more slaves in the Caravelle Empire,” I responded to him.

“Then we have a problem, you better get me my slaves, or I will see to it that this station is torn apart starting with you.” He stated as he raised a gun and pointed it at me. I needed him alive to question, so I shot him in the left knee removing his leg. He squealed as he fell to the ground. Another man got a shot off at me before I could respond to him. My shields kept me from getting hit. I returned fire into his gut.

“I don’t like threats pig man. Now we are going to have a nice long talk, you and I. You are going to tell me everything I want to know and then you are going to rot in a prison cell while I sell your ship for scrap. Guards secure these men and their ship. I want that thing searched from top to bottom.” The guards responded and started working through the people.

“Dock workers? Why were you fighting these men?” I asked trying to understand what happened to set off this fight.

A young skinny man couldn’t be more than twenty spoke up first, “You see yur Majesty. Ma’am. Tha’s ship jus’ come in ‘d tha’s lookin fur some slaves. We’s tolds dem aint no slaves here on account of new Queen. Tha’s didn’ like dat answer. Tha’s hit ours foreman ands we’s try to help him out.”

I think I figured out what that boy was trying to say, but man I thought cajun was hard to understand. “So, these men came here looking for some slaves and the foreman told them there are none. Then they hit him, so you all jumped in and started fighting them.”

“Yes, yur Majesty.” He replied to me very nervous.

“Well done, next time though please leave the fighting to the guards. Now get to the med bay and get patched up. We have cargo that needs to be moved around.” I said to the dock workers.

Captain Fenmer came up to me, “Your Majesty, what are you doing down here while a fight is going on? You could have been hurt or killed.”

“Captain, I appreciate your concern about my safety, but I need to set an example that this sort of action will not be tolerated in our Empire. I will let you go back to work, and I will go back to the palace where it is safe.” I said sarcastically. I did head back to the palace after that. It probably was stupid for me to go by myself.

I needed more information about what happened between the last Queen and this Minthral. That created a huge shift in rule. “Spire, can you tell me what led to the downfall of the last Queen?”

Queen Alana was the youngest child; she had an older brother Minthral. When Alana was chosen to be the next ruler, Minthral was not happy. As time went on and Queen Alana was crowned, he worked as her military advisor. She remained in the dark about what her brother was doing with the military. He was garnering a lot of support among the military men. This support did not stop with just the military, he was secretly recruiting the top families of the Empire to support him.

He did this over the years, unbeknownst to Queen Alana. The first strike happened ten years into Queen Alana’s reign. The men mutinied in seventy percent of the fleet. They gained control over the majority of the military. Word had gotten to the Queen of the mutiny, and she was able to lock down the spire’s main weapons and shields. She made sure that it could only be unlocked by a female descendent in possession of the crown and she fled in the Queen’s transport trying to get to the Queen’s Rage. Unfortunately, her ship was damaged as she was leaving the system causing her to not reach the dreadnought. Since the Queen’s Rage was to be her flagship, its AI was programmed to only respond to the wearer of that gauntlet. With the Queen deposed the Queen’s Rage transported itself to the black between galaxies. Where it has remained.

King Minthral took the throne after the Queen escaped. He claimed the Queen had died and he would rule in her stead. It was not long after that he made it, so women had no power in the government, and it only got worse when he died without a male heir. That is when the Church of Minthral was created and took power. The Church then went about stripping all women of any rights or power. The Church has maintained an iron grip over the throne ever since.

I thought about this. I couldn’t claim that they stole power because that was Minthral that did that. They just seized on the opportunity when Minthral died. What was I going to charge them with? I will just have to say that I am the rightful ruler because only I can operate the full systems of the Empire. I will charge them with willfully harming citizens of the Empire.

“Spire, does the fleet have AIs in their ships?” I asked.

“No, my Queen. The Empire has no active remaining. They lost the knowledge to program AIs. Currently, the only active AIs are RXAI-199, Queen’s Rage, and me.” Spire responded to me.

That means that I have no override control over any of the fleet out there. It also means I have access to the most advanced technology in the Empire. From what I have found this station is only vulnerable to internal threats. After the commotion on the dock ring the other day. I am going to have problems with ships docking. That will be the best way for them to damage the station, by blowing a ship up while connected to the docking ring. Now I know my weak point, I need to find a way to prevent that from happening.

***

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