Rise of the Commander

The morning was cloudy, and while it was still early in the morning the sun was already beginning to burn through the clouds making the clouds patchy in some areas. Some time during the night it had been raining and the air still maintained the freshness that came after rain.   The room was small, only containing a small desk with two chairs, one of the chairs with a small pile of clothes, and a bed. Suddenly the serenity of the small room was disturbed by the loud and high-pitched noise that came from somewhere in the room.   Slowly, Caden began stirring and after a moment registered the loud and high-pitched noise.   "Ah fucking hell, where is that damm phone" Caden felt around him and under the pillows, only to find nothing, it wasn't until he with countless curses and with a speed that would make the continental drift seem to be rushing that he sat himself up on the edge of the bed that he found the phone, having stepped on it with his right foot.   His head was having a headache of legendary portions and his memory of the evening before was somewhat foggy, the only thing he remembered was that he with some friends had decided to go out drinking and that one of his friends had challenged him to a drinking contest, it hadn't occurred to them that the beers on Earth were stronger than those he was used to. With great willpower not to puke, Caden managed to bend down to grab his phone and turn the cursed alarm off, when he looked at the phone and the clock, Caden saw that a few of his friends had messaged him asking where he was, he sat there for a second until it dawned on him.   "Crap crap crap, fuck my head" Caden said jumping to a standing pose and quickly taking himself to the head in a faint attempt to ease his headache.   With years of practice and muscle memory, Caden managed to get dressed fast and almost flew out of the door, only to return a few seconds later to grab his phone, making his way down past the receptionist who despite his condition and lack of time, he still managed to shout a quick greeting to the receptionist, down in front of the hotel, he had his first bit of luck when he spotted a taxi that was free and just waiting in front of the hotel, jumping into the taxi, sat back in the seat catching his breath.   "Where to sir?" The taxi driver said looking back at Caden in the rearview mirror.   "The Naval Headquarters please"   "Right away sir"   The drive towards the Naval HQ went without any trouble, despite the time of the day and it being the capital of the Empire, the traffic went smoothly and Caden used the time to swallow a couple of paracetamol that the driver handed to him, the same time he was thinking about why he was going to the Naval HQ, he had arrived the day before in the early evening having transferred from ESS Hadrian, a destroyer in the Imperial navy and his first command since coming out of the Imperial Naval academy half a year before. onboard the ship he had received the orders from the Lord of the navy, that he was to report to the HQ on this day, and when he had asked what the purpose of the visit was, all he had received was that he would find out soon enough, typically navy he thought while packing some spare clothes and his dress uniform.   After about half an hour he arrived at the gates to the naval HQ, after paying for the taxi, Caden went inside and after a few minutes and only having to ask for directions 5 times while cursing the designers of the building on the inside, Caden managed to arrive in front of the office of the Lord of the Navy. In front of the office were four other people, he knew a few of them from the academy, one of them Nica Sonez a good friend from the academy and a member of the Astral Vanguard, their small group of elite cadets.   "Hi Nica, didn't know you would be here"   "Oh hi Caden, why would I not be?   "Well, the last time we spoke you were just about to go on a deep patrol in the eastern regions"   "Well yes, just as we were about to make the first FTL jump we got an urgent message saying that I had to go back to Earth, but let's not forget that your sorry arse almost didn't make it here, what were you doing?"   "Ah well, I arrived yesterday and ran into some friends of mine, we went out drinking and let me tell you this, these Earth beers hit hard, so if someone hadn't messaged me I would probably have gone back to bed after turning off the alarm"   "You are hopeless Caden"   "And you know it"   Their conversation was cut short when the door to the office opened up and an aide asked for Caden to enter, On inside of the office, Caden noticed that one wall was covered with a handful of paintings of old naval officers throughout history, and on another wall, there were a long low shelf filled with models of ships, in the middle of the well-lit office sat the Lord of the Navy currently looking at some files on his desk but looked up when Caden and the aide had entered the office and the door closed behind them.   " At ease Captain Nova, glad you could be here"   "Thank you, sir"   "Well, I can imagine you have a few questions about you being here?"   "Yes sir"   "Well go on lad"   "Did I do something wrong on the Hadrian Sir?   "No captain, that's not the reason why I called you here, as you know, the navy is being stretched quite considerably at the moment, and there are ongoing tensions with The Fersian United Commonwealth that are taking up a considerably amount of our assets, at the same time the government still want us to perform the same amount of patrols on the border to the Zeyorian Republic and the frontier systems still need patrolling against pirates and what not, on the plus side, the Imperial senate has approved the construction of new ships to fulfil some of these operations but that leaves us with another problem, although one that is somewhat easier to deal with, the problem of finding qualified personnel to crew those ships and this is were you are coming in Captain Nova"   "Sir?"   "Well, what we are doing to do it that we are moving a large number of officers around, some of the older officers are getting moved to the new ships which leaves the old ones free to new officers like you, to make it short, due to your performance at the academy and with the EES Hadrian, we have decided to give you the command of the EES Freya, you will receive further orders later today or tomorrow, then you are to report to the ship as soon as possible, any questions?"   "emm.. Sir, this is a huge honour, at the moment I only have two, firstly, Is there no one better qualified? I mean I don't have much field experience yet, secondly, where is Freya located?"   "Dont sell yourself, short Captain, yes, there are many that have more field experience than you currently have, but those officers are also very much by-the-book officers, I have seen your actions during exercises at the academy and I believe that your type of officer is precisely the sort of new blood the navy needs, for your second question, she is currently enjoying a small inspection at the shipyards on the Moon" The man said before handing Caden a small paperfile that contained some files about the ESS Freya and crew.   Having thanked the Lord of the Navy once again, Caden walked out of the door to a waiting Nica and a few other officers that he recognized from the academy but could not remember the name of, as Caden walked out of the door, one of the other officers were called into the office.   "So what did he want?" Nica said as she leaned against Caden.   "I was given command of a new ship" Caden said still not quite believing what just happened.   "Really? I thought you already had the Hadrian. What is the name of this new ship of yours?"   "EES Freya"   "Freya.. Freya... Holy cow Caden, that's a battleship, that's amazing, it was your dream to command a battleship right?"   "Yeah, I just can't quite believe it happened already, it's a bit sudden."   The two of them continued to talk for a few more minutes until Nica was called into the office while he was waiting, Caden went to the nearest coffee machine and brought a cup, about ten minutes later Nica came out and Caden could see that she could barely hold the excitement under control and as soon as the door to the office closed she burst out.   "Holy crap is today Christmas or something"   "Heh, I assume you also got a new command?"   "kinda, I have to wait a bit longer for it as it's currently under construction and I do not have a name yet, but yes, I am going to command one of the new fleet carriers as soon as it's done" Nica said smiling all over her face.   "That's amazing Nica, seems like we both made some big steps in our careers today"   "Yeah, can't wait to see what the other Astral Vanguards are going to get"   "They are getting new assignments as well?"   "I would assume so, from what I have heard, the navy has recalled all of us back to Earth so that would be my guess"   "That's great news, you will have to keep me updated both on your new ship and on the other guys, I will have to go back and pack my stuff and go catch a shuttle to the Moon"   "yeah, likewise, keep me updated on how Freya is," Nica said as they shook hands and hugged each other before parting ways"   Before returning home to his room at the hotel, Caden decided that he better take a look at the file he had been given he made his way towards the Naval Headquarters cantina that he had discovered earlier when he got lost, after ordering something to eat he then sat down in a quiet corner before opening the file, there was the standard info about the ships stats and there was also a file containing the names and short description of the officers and notable members of the crew onboard. It took Caden about half an hour to review the file and familiarise himself with the new information.   Later that day Caden had made his way towards the nearest spaceport and boarded a shuttle that could take him to the moon, sitting down in his cabin, he took a book out of his bag and prepared himself for the three-day journey to the moon, the only time Caden looked out of the window was when the shuttle had already taken off and he could observe Earth from orbit. By this time, he had seen a few planets from orbit but didn't think the other planets could hold a candle to the beauty of humanity's homeworld.   The trip to the moon went without any noteworthy happening, Caden used most of his time on the first day sleeping, trying to get rid of the headache that had bothered him since he woke up, on the second day he went through the file he had been given again and tried to get a better feeling for his new staff and ship, turning a few pages, Caden found the page detailing the things ESS Freya was getting checked during her inspection, turned out to be some rather small things, like ger engines were getting some valves checked and replaced, some recent refits were being inspected. Caden spent a few hours reviewing the file before closing it and sitting back and relaxing for the day, it would be his last free day before the hectic life of a battleship commander would begin for him.   Early the next day, the shuttle arrived on the moon and it didn't take Caden long before he found himself on the train to the shipyard where his new ship was currently docked, on the way Caden opted for another look at the file to get the names right, something that always took him some time to remember correctly, but he had been over the file so many times in the last three days that at this point he could almost recite the entire file without looking. About 30 minutes later Caden arrived at the shipyard and after showing his ID to the guard at the gate, he found his way towards dock 55D, the dock where ESS Freya was docked, turning the corner into the dockyard, Caden had to stop because before him in all its glory lay the imperial battleship ESS Freya.   "She is a beauty isn't she?" a voice came just behind Caden, quickly followed by a "Sir" as soon as the person noticed the rank insignia on Cadens' uniform.   "That she is... commander" Caden added once he noticed the person's rank insignia.   "Sir, my name is Lira Hayes, I'm the Executive Officer onboard Freya and I assume you are her new captain?"   "that is correct Commander Hayes, so commander if I may, I have been reading this file for the last three days," Caden said holding up the file from his bag "but I would rather hear it from someone that knows the ship and crew, so how is she?"   "Well sir, the ship itself is holding up very well, the refit a few years ago gave us some new and improved pumps for the reactors, it also those pumps we are currently getting inspected but I dont expect anything of importance to come from those, for the matter of the crew, I would dare to claim that Freya is crewed by some of the best men and women the empire can provide."   Caden nodded, and the two continued to talk for a few minutes before splitting ways with Caden walking towards the ship and his new cabin. Lira continued to supervise the crew and informed the rest of the officers that the new commander had arrived.   "Sir, is that the new captain?" a crewmember asked as Lira passed their workstation.   "Indeed Jaxon"   "What do you think about him? He seems a bit young."   "Well that's because you are ancient Jaxon" Lira said with a smile and a few of the other crewmembers chuckled at the comment " But to be honest, I have a good feeling about our new captain, something like a new day is about to begin."

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