Once upon a time this scene was in Playing the Hero. It was deleted and rewritten from Vathion’s POV for v2 of the book. However. Here’s Clemmis’s side of the story (with minor edits).

Enjoy!

**

Clemmis was not usually a jerk to other fleet captains and admirals, be they Imperial or privateer. However, that Ha’Vathion had been exceedingly rude. Admittedly, Clemmis had drawn up his battle plans before speaking with Ha’Vathion, as he had intended to force this new admiral to show what he was made of. Now, however, it would be personally satisfying to see the little untried snit get his butt kicked.

He sighed as he cracked his knuckles, watching the readout on his screen even as his scanner officer reported, “Admiral, the Natan Fleet has taken center rank.” Meaning he had filled the hole between Clemmis’s Sports ships and his heavies that would come in behind.

“I didn’t think he’d really be that stupid,” Clemmis sighed and pulled a breath to call out his orders to be prepared to haul the battered Natan Fleet out of the mess they were about to get into.

As Clemmis had made his plans, he had seen two options for Vathion – the first being to fall into line with the Imperials, the other was that he would come in from around the top or bottom and try to make a hit on the back row of Rebels. However, even that plan was fraught with the possibility of getting one or more of his ships destroyed or severely crippled. The fifteen Rebel battle cruisers were lined up from heaviest to weakest in an arrowhead formation. Clemmis had lined his ships in a phalanx planned on coming at the side of the triangle. His Sports had been placed out front to soften the enemy Haulers, then had orders to continue through the Rebel ranks to their Sports. With Vathion taking center row, the Natan Fleet would take the full brunt of the heavy Rebel ships’ retaliation before Clemmis’s own Vans and Haulers could wallow in.

“Sir!” his Li’ gasped, “Natan Fleet appears to be running up for a Jump. First line missiles have been fired!”

Confused, Clemmis looked down at his own screen. Where there had been sensor readings on twelve ships, there was now only a fuzzy line of the first wave of missiles. “Amazing! He’s using the missiles as cover.” Clemmis watched in awe as the wave hit, and directly behind came the lighter, faster, and deadlier Natan Fleet. The Fleet proceeded to shoot down the Rebels’ return fire before scooting through their ranks to blast their engines.

Clemmis’s own Sports scattered, darting unhindered through the Haulers to engage the Rebel Sports in the back.

That had always been the beauty of Natan’s fleet, in Clemmis’s mind. Unlike the rest of the Imperial Navy, which were mostly re-purposed merchant vessels; the Natan Fleet ships were built for war, and built for firing on the go. Clemmis’s fleet was mostly stuck moving into positions and trading shots with another stationary target. He was glad to see that Ha’Vathion knew how to use his ships.

“Second wave of missiles hitting Rebels, sir,” the Li’ reported, and Clemmis leaned on his elbow, chuckling into his hand as he watched the battle play out. What had been fuzzy readings reformed into eleven crimson stars of the Natan Fleet and six pale blue arrows of the Imperial light fighters dodging between the green arrows of the Rebel ranks. And here, the Imperial admiral had been expecting heavy damage and high number of casualties. One Rebel ship after another was disabled, a few floated like dead fish, their engines destroyed.

The back few rows of the Rebel fleet began maneuvering to make an escape. Clemmis had expected this, and while it wasn’t complete victory it was still denuding the Rebels of more of their ships. He sat up in surprise when the Cinnamon deactivated scanner shields and opened fire as the Rebels were herded towards her by the Xarian, Vathion, and Seven.

So that was where the twelfth ship had gone!

Clemmis laughed harder.

His Ca’ said, “Ha’Clemmis, the remaining Rebel fleet surrenders.”

Looking at his scanner, Clemmis found nine of the original fifteen Rebel ships sitting disabled on the battle field. Damage reports were coming in for the rest of his fleet, showing minor losses and moderate damage. Scans of the Natan Fleet showed that they were in relatively the same state.

“Reply: Surrender is accepted. Open a channel to Ha’Vathion.”

This time, Vathion took the call on the bridge. Ma’Gatas was in the middle of shouting, “You think you can just get away with this kind of juvenile arrogance-”

“Ha’Clemmis,” Vathion greeted, speaking over top of Gatas. He wore a far more pleasant expression this time, edged with self-satisfied smugness. Gatas snapped his mouth shut and looked back over his shoulder. His face was red, body shaking with rage.

Clemmis snorted. “Good to see that you at least inherited your father’s brilliance in battle tactics, if not his silver tongue. I’ll take these Rebels in to Marak for detaining.”

The smile Vathion gave Clemmis was closer to a grimace, and again, Clemmis disconnected before the young admiral could say anything that he might regret. He would let the boy learn to watch how he said things before speaking to him again.

By K.E. Ireland

Self-Published Author, Artist and Entrepreneur