Authors: Saxon Andrew,Derek Chiodo
dmiral Dorg sat with Clan Leader Terl in the General Clan Assembly Hall. The battered remnants of his fleet had just jumped in system from the battle with the Human fleet and were being integrated into the home fleet’s ranks. He was ordered to report to Clan Assembly immediately and he had not had time to clean up or rest. He was tired and felt resigned to a probable execution. “I’ve lost 2,000 war ships in this campaign to occupy the human’s home world,” he thought. “I probably should be executed. I just didn’t know what I was leading my fleet into.” He walked into the Clan Assembly Hall with his head down and his four arms crossed behind his back. The towering ceiling overhead and the troches that cast shadows on the floor made his mood even more somber. He was still seeing in his mind the human battleship as it fired its terrible beam at his dreadnaught just as he jumped into null space.
Terl, the leader of the assembled Clan Leaders looked at him and indicated a chair, “Come in and sit down, Admiral. I’ve taken the liberty of having your recording of the battle downloaded to my console. I’d like to go over them with you and get your thoughts on what happened.”
“Yes, Clan Leader,” he said with resignation in his voice. He sat down at the table and placed two of his hands on his head and the other pair on the table to hold him up. He was tired and soul weary from the savage defeat the Humans had just given him. Cainth looked like four armed kangaroos except they had small ears on the side of their head and thick legs that made them walk stiffly. They were covered in light tan fur and had solid black eyes above a protruding snout. Admiral Dorg looked like one weary kangaroo.
“Admiral, you are not in danger here.” Dorg lifted his head and wondered what was going on. “You have been warning us for four cycles that these Humans represented a real danger to our civilization and we chose not to listen or believe you. Now after looking at the recordings of the battle, it’s clear that they are even more dangerous than you portrayed them. Look at this, Admiral.”
Terl’s screen showed one of the smallest Earth Ships fly by a dreadnaught and fire four of those narrow beams into it. The dreadnaught hit the small ship with 200 primary beams and 50 heavy missiles which the small ship shrugged off until a series of explosions turned the dreadnaught into rubble. The small ships screen was deep red from the beam and missile attack but it flew thru the screen of one of those small battleships to emerge with its screen back into white.
“Admiral, what do you make of this?”
“Clan Leader, I’ve never seen screens like theirs. I watched ten dreadnaughts firing more than a thousand primary beams into one of those battleships and before it finally died it killed four of the dreadnaughts. I’ve also witnessed one of those battleships destroy six dreadnaughts in less than 60 sems. Those smallest ships are capable of killing any ship in our fleet including our largest dreadnaughts. I do not understand how ships so small have such strong screens and energy weapons greater than our largest ships. I watched warships 3,600 degs long blown up by their smallest ships. We lost 1800 ships and we were only able to destroy about 150 of theirs.”
Terl looked at the Admiral for a long moment and asked, “Admiral Dorg, can our remaining ships protect us from the 200 Earth ships that survived?”
Admiral Dorg looked at the Clan Leader and shook his head. “We have less than 1400 remaining in our entire inventory and they are scattered around the empire. We only have about seven hundred within two rotations of our Capital. What do you think the Alliance will do if the Humans come here and attack us?”
Terl looked up at the torches overhead, “They will do nothing and will probably hope the Humans exterminate us. We have stepped on far too many toes over the cycles and if the humans can eliminate us then the Alliance Leadership will probably feel we deserve it. I wish I could disagree with them but unfortunately we have placed ourselves in this situation. Our attack on their world after the first contact with the human exploration vessel coupled with the attack after Clansman Ginhr died on their planet is enough to cause the humans to want revenge. The ordering of the execution of those Human civilians after they had already surrendered on the colony planet will probably be our death warrant.”
“Are you certain they will come here, Clan Leader? They haven’t been aggressive in the past,” Dorg said while he continued to watch the screen showing his fleet being destroyed. “If those ships are all they have, will they leave their planet undefended?”
“Put yourself in their place, Admiral. The Alliance won’t be able to mobilize another fleet to attack the human home world for at least twenty rotations and probably longer because they will have to decide which races will provide the ships. How long would it take for the humans to come here and completely exterminate us? It also begs the question, if they have never been aggressive in the past, why were we?”
Dorg said, “I did not know their capabilities and now after our loss of so many ships they can probably destroy our home world in less than half a rotation with their remaining ships if they so choose.” Dorg looked at Terl somberly, “Now after the fact, we should have left them alone.”
“Admiral, you better start planning to evacuate the most important members of our government and decide what we can save if they do come here. I’ll contact the Alliance and request assistance but I’m certain that nothing will be done to help us. If the Humans come, I’ll attempt to communicate with them, but I’ve seen how they chased down your retreating ships and destroyed them, I don’t expect them to answer.”
Dorg stood to leave, “If you offered me as the one that ordered the civilians killed, do you think they would be satisfied?”
Again all the Admiral could do was shake his head.
anielle was going back to work from her lunch break when her com beeped. “Hello.”
“Mrs. Gardner, I have an appointment for you that I would like you to make before you report back to work,” her boss Chief Inspector Connor said.
“Yes sir. Where is it?”
“Report to the Central Government Tower and the front desk will give you directions. The Special Forces Team has requested your presence.”
Danielle was suddenly alert, “Do you know what the meeting is about?”
“They didn’t offer to tell me and I certainly wasn’t going to ask. You’re expected within the hour.”
“Yes sir, I’ll head that way now.” Danielle was nervous, what could they possibly want? She banked her floater next to the World Bank building and then lifted seventy levels to join the traffic headed toward the Directorate Tower. She looked out across Central City as she gained altitude and marveled at the beauty of the city. Central City stretched from horizon to horizon and covered most of the central part of what used to be the old United States before it was destroyed in the third world war more than 1,000 years in the past. She turned on her violet emergency lights and screamed by two heavy haulers moving a small housing unit. She passed two of the 3,000 foot high government buildings then saw the main tower off in the distance rising more than 4,000 feet above the ground. She thought a minute and then decided to ask her husband what was going on. “Tag,” She thought, “have you got a minute?”
“Hi, my love, I’ll always make time for you.”
“I know you’re trying to wrap up after the fleet action and I hate to interrupt you but do you know why the SFT has requested a meeting with me?”
Tag was silent for a moment then thought, “No. They’ve said nothing to me about it. Do you want me to find out?”
“No, you’re their leader and if I use you, then I feel I’d be using you for personal reasons. If they wanted you to know, wouldn’t they have told you?”
“Possibly, or they might just be respecting my schedule.” He paused a moment and thought back to her, “Somehow I don’t think so. Contact me after the meeting and let me know what’s going on.”
“I will. When are you leaving with the fleet for the Cainth Empire?”
“Soon, the ships have to be rearmed and we’re going to replace the damaged ships with other ships from our reserves whose crews haven’t had any combat experience. Be sure to interrupt me and let me know what’s going on. I’ll be here a while.”
“I will, Love.” Danielle was always amazed at the ability she and Tag had been given by Atlas to hear each other’s thoughts where ever they were. Then she had an idea, “Atlas, did you hear all of that?”
There was momentary silence and then Atlas responded, “Yes. How did you know I was listening in?”
“I felt you. Besides, what else would a precocious ancient alien ship do with its spare time?”
Atlas was an intelligent ancient Alfont Ship that Tag had discovered in a cave on the moon while attempting to escape capture by the Directorate. The Alfont were the most technologically advanced race in the history of the Galaxy but had mysteriously disappeared more than sixty million years ago. Any race that found one of their artifacts was sentenced to be destroyed by the Alliance of Worlds to prevent anyone from getting an advantage in weapons technology; discovery of one of their artifacts meant total annihilation. When Tag touched the dead Alfont in the cave it had set off a tone that could be heard throughout the universe and the Alliance had tracked it on a line that passed through Earth and as a result was now in the process of attempting to occupy the planet. The sole reason that they were going to occupy the planet instead of destroying it outright was that Atlas had caused them to lose two of their lines of origin. The Earth was located on the line that remained but they did not know for certain that the tone originated from Earth. “You want to know if I know why the SFT wants you, right,” Atlas said.
“My, aren’t you the mind reader?”
“Well, I can’t help you; that group is pretty much invisible to me. Their psychic skills are strong and I don’t have a link into their meetings if Tag isn’t there. Sorry, but I’m sure it’s not anything to worry about.”
“Ok, thanks any way, Atlas.”
“You’re welcome, Danielle, any time,” Atlas thought back at her and broke the connection.
“He’s sounding more and more human in his thoughts every time I communicate with him,” Danielle thought. She arrived at the Central Government Tower, landed her floater in front of the building, and walked in to the front desk where she saw a tall man standing next to the security officers. “I’m Danielle A. Gardner and I’m,” she started but was interrupted by the tall man.
“Welcome, Mrs. Gardner, I’m here to take you upstairs; if you’ll come with me, please.”
Danielle followed the tall man into the lift and exited on the 336
floor where she entered a room with clear crystal glass on all sides of the room. She could see the huge city in all directions and it was beautiful from this height. Danielle noticed a table off to the right where a group of people were sitting and she walked over and stood in front of the SFT Team dressed in her Security Committee blue uniform with her blond hair falling to her shoulders looking both professional and lovely. The members of the SFT, however, could see the trouble in her blue eyes as she furrowed her brow and looked at them. They were sitting in a semi circle around a table whispering among themselves. A small woman sitting in the center stood and said, “I’m Alesia Patel and I’m the designated leader of the SFT this month. Welcome and we appreciate your coming on such short notice,”