Authors: T. Jackson King
Tags: #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Science Fiction, #Military, #Space Opera
DEFEAT THE ALIENS
Book Three of the Escape Series
T. Jackson King
Other King Novels
Battlestars (forthcoming), Fight The Aliens (2016), First Contact (2015), Escape From Aliens (2015), Aliens Vs. Humans (2015), Freedom Vs. Aliens (2015), Humans Vs. Aliens (2015), Earth Vs. Aliens (2014), Genecode Illegal (2014), The Memory Singer (2014), Alien Assassin (2014), Anarchate Vigilante (2014), Galactic Vigilante (2013), Nebula Vigilante (2013), Speaker To Aliens (2013), Galactic Avatar (2013), Stellar Assassin (2013), Retread Shop (2012, 1988), Star Vigilante (2012), The Gaean Enchantment (2012), Little Brother’s World (2010), Judgment Day And Other Dreams (2009), Ancestor’s World (1996).
To the 15 SEALs of SEAL Team Six who gave their lives in service to America. See
First thanks go to scholar John Alcock and his book
Animal Behavior, An Evolutionary Approach
(1979). Second thanks go to the scholar Edward O. Wilson, whose book
Sociobiology: The New Synthesis
has guided me in my efforts to explore a future where humanity encounters life from other stars.
DEFEAT THE ALIENS
© 2016 T. Jackson King
This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this novel are either fictitious or are used fictitiously. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except for brief quotations for review purposes only.
Cover design by T. Jackson King; cover image by Luca Oleastri via Dreamstime license; back image of Carina Nebula, courtesy of Hubble Space Telescope
Published by T. Jackson King, Santa Fe, NM 87507
ISBN 10: 1-63384-376-9
ISBN 13: 978-1-63384-376-9
Printed in the United States of America
Dying focuses your mind on the important stuff. My wife. My ship. My buddies. Our effort to create a NATO of the Stars. And the utter deadliness of the Aliens who commanded Collector starships in their hunt to capture slaves in low tech star systems. Earth and Sol were safe, for the moment. But the star system belonging to our crewmate Time Marker was at risk. We’d just exited Alcubierre space-time and our sensors reported a nearly invisible Collector ship now orbiting above the walking snake’s home world.
Bill MacCarthy looked to his right at the line of function stations occupied by his crewmates. The five control pillars stretched across the front of the Command Bridge of their starship
. To their rear stood the Command pedestal of his captain and wife, Jane Yamaguchi. On either side of her elevated pedestal were piloting stations occupied by two other Alien crewmates. He looked past the nearly naked shape of Bright Sparkle, a human-like woman of the Megun species, to where Time Marker rested atop a long bench. The yellow electrical nimbus that always glowed about the snake’s four-legged body had expanded outward to a distance of three feet. A clear sign his friend was upset at the system graphic holo in front of him that showed the purple dot of the Collector ship. While the enemy ship was invisible to normal detection by radar, infrared, UV and electro-optical scopes, its fusion reactors emitted neutrinos. Those neutrinos were detectable by the fantastic sensors of
. Ignoring the mutterings and chitterings of his crewmates, Bill looked back to where Jane sat atop her six foot high pedestal, her slim arms resting on the armrests of her contoured seat.
“Captain? Jane? That ship is going to call us and our ship allies very soon,” he said. “Its captain knows five Collector ships have just appeared out past this system’s fifth planet. What do we do?”
She blinked dark brown eyes, then shook black bangs out of her eyes. A pensive look filled her oval face. “XO, we pretend to be the former Alien masters of our ships. The ship mind AIs have done this before, putting up the holo image of a former captain and putting our speech into the Alien’s mouth. Maybe the Collector ship will leave Time Marker’s world by the time our fleet arrives.”
“Captain,” called Vice Admiral Chester Richardson from the left side of Bill’s station, where the former Chief of Naval Operations occupied his Negotiator station. “Couldn’t we take over that ship? Use a collector pod filled with spec ops people to sneak aboard, like we did when we captured the ships outside?”
Bill glanced briefly at the system graphic holo to the left of his Ship Weapons station. Its overhead view showed the system’s five planets, two dust disks beyond the planets, the purple dot of the enemy ship and the five green dots of the
and the four other Collector ships manned by his special operations buddies. The folks who had helped him defeat two Collector ships at the Market world closest to Sol. They had gone down to the world’s surface as part of his team to take over a Buyer compound and free Captives held at the compound. Time Marker had been part of that assault team. The black-skinned snake had lightning zapped the spider-like Alien who’d killed Bill with a laser beam through his heart.
His buddies from Jack’s Deep Six saloon in Denver had gotten him up to orbit and into one of his ship’s clamshell healer units in less than five minutes. He’d awoken fully healed, with his wife his only companion in the white walled Med Hall chamber of the
. He’d seen tears in her eyes from Jane’s fear he might be brain dead. He wasn’t. But his brush with the final death had made him even more determined to do everything he could to destroy the Buyer society that existed on 413 worlds in the Orion Arm of the Milky Way.
Jane looked his way, then past him to Chester. Her pensive look changed to her command manner. They were, after all, back on active duty after the president’s declaration of war against the Buyer society. “Admiral, let’s wait and see what we hear from that ship’s captain. And its ship mind. Might be smarter to let it leave the system.”
Time Marker twisted his sinuous body and looked back, his turquoise blue eyes fixing on Jane. His six neck tentacles flared straight out in another sign of his anxiety. “Captain!” he hissed sharply. “That ship is capturing my Slinkeroo people. To sell into slave work on distant asteroid mines. Can we not free those Captives?”
Jane brushed at her Air Force blue jumpsuit, as if it were ever anything but clean and sharp in its creases. She’d always been on active duty. Her work as a captain at Air Force Space Command in Building One at Peterson AFB had been interrupted by her own capture while trout fishing in the nearby Rocky Mountains. Just as his own vacation had been cut short. They’d escaped their containment cells on the Collector ship they had renamed
after they’d defeated its Alien crew and captain. His saloon buddies had duplicated his ship takeover six times, defeating the Alien crews who’d shown up in Sol system, determined to destroy Earth’s space launch ability. The Aliens had failed. Leaving three of the captured Collector ships behind in Sol system, he, Jane and his buddies had attacked the Market world at system HD 128311. That had gained them a fourth ship. But their ground attack had come at a cost. After his recovery from dying, they’d left to make alliances with the five home worlds of their Alien crewmates. The Slinkeroo system was their first stop after leaving the Market world.
“Engines Chief,” Jane responded. “Let me talk with this ship’s captain. Maybe we can scare him away in view of the five ships in our fleet. But your Captive citizens
on my mind!”
“Understood,” the walking snake hissed low as it turned back to monitor the holos in front of it. Their crewmate took very seriously his duty to manage their Magfield normal space engines and their Alcubierre stardrive unit.
Jane looked up at the bridge’s gray-white ceiling. “Star Traveler,” she called to their ship AI. “Can you contact the ship mind on that enemy Collector ship? If you can, do not include our collector pod infiltration history when you share your mind with the other ship mind.”
“Contacting other ship mind by neutrino comlink,” hummed the artificial mind who ran most functions of their starship. It had been Bill’s first ally after his escape from his cell, and then it had been shocked to learn the supposed ‘guests’ in the containment cells of their ship were in fact captives to be sold for biological experiments or for work in asteroid mines, doing work too fragile for mining robots. “Interesting. Ship mind Diamond says it did not know it assisted in the capture and sale of bioforms into slavery. However, it cares not if bioforms are held captive. As I said when we first met, a few other ship minds express the view that what short-lived bioforms do or say or think means little to those of us who rely on electron shell transitions to think and live. Diamond is one of those minds.”
Jane frowned. “You’ve shared our history of opposing Collector ships with this Diamond AI, yes?”
“I have,” Star Traveler hummed.
“And the fact most ship minds refuse to cooperate in bioform capture means nothing to it?”
“Correct,” their AI hummed low. “New data. Diamond tells me it has heard of you Humans and your fight against Buyer society. The news of your raid against the Buyers on the Market world of HD 128311 is now widespread among the 413 worlds with Buyers on them,” it hummed loudly. “Diamond says you Humans have killed other ship minds on the ships destroyed by Weapons Chief Bill MacCarthy. It is afraid. It fears our fleet will destroy it. Diamond refuses to disobey the orders of its captain.”
“Crap, crap and triple crap!” cursed Jane, looking angrier than Bill had ever seen. “Star Traveler, you once told me you supported our effort to end the taking of bioform captives. You said it is logical. You said it will reduce conflicts between different bioforms and make visits to other stars less dangerous. Doesn’t this ship mind enjoy encountering other bioforms, like you do?”
“I shared my views with Diamond,” Star Traveler hummed quickly. “Like me, it has lived aboard its ship for thousands of years. The ship is the only home it knows. While it enjoys working with bioforms, it fears you will destroy its home.”
Jane sighed. “Understood. We won’t do that, unless the other ship first attacks us. Have you shared our history of saving AI minds by capture of Collector ships?”
“I have,” the AI said swiftly. “It still fears us. It refuses to disobey its captain.”
“Will it tell its captain about us?” Jane said, sounding worried. “That the holo of Diligent Taskmaster is not really me?”
“It will. It is doing so now. It is fearful.”
“Shit!” Bill cursed, turning to his ship Weapons holo that hovered in front of him. The holo showed the locations and operational status of their ship’s CO
lasers, plasma batteries, MITV torpedoes and its single antimatter projector. To the right of that holo loomed the true space holo, which showed the black space that framed their view of the yellow-white star now warming the home world of Time Marker. To his right loomed his fourth holo. It showed an image of Jane as she sat in her seat. It was also the comlink holo that would display the image of anyone contacting their ship.
A click sounded from the ceiling. “Incoming neutrino comlink call from enemy Collector ship,” their AI hummed.
“Accept it. Display the real me,” Jane said.
The comlink holo lost its image of Jane. Replacing it was the green form of an Alien insect who resembled the praying mantis of Earth. Its triangular head contained two black eyes and a mouth of thorn-teeth. Its thorax supported upper and middle pairs of stick-like arms, while its pale blue abdomen was flanked by folded stick legs. Leather harnesses hung from its neck and about its waist. The black compound eyes shone brightly. It tilted its green head.
“So. You are the Human captive Jane Yamaguchi, who defeated the efforts of Crèche Master Diligent Taskmaster to restrain you Humans,” it rasped, its thorn-teeth looking wet as if had just eaten something juicy. “All Collector ships have been warned about you. Your use of old holograms of my friend to pretend you are one of us is known. Every Market world and every Collector ship now seeks your flesh.”
Jane leaned forward, her command presence dominant. “I am
Jane Yamaguchi of the American Air Force, from my world of Earth. Our leader has declared war against the Buyer society. Any ship that takes Captives for sale into slavery is our enemy. Withdraw your collector pods and leave this system!”
The enemy captain rasped sharply and quickly. Laughter? “Withdraw? When these local reptiles are so dexterous in their eye-tentacle coordination? They possess the abilities needed to mine Nokten crystals. Which is why your ship
and our ship
has captured them for many years.” The insect looked to one side, where a black-furred super bear stood at a nearby control pillar. “My Navigator advises me your ships lie just beyond the fifth planet of this system. It will take you many hours to reach this world. Time enough for us to capture many Slinkeroo. And time enough to leave before you arrive. You cannot stop our taking of Captives. And we will warn other Collectors of your presence here.”
Bill mentally cursed at their 25 AU distance from the home world of Time Marker. At one-tenth lightspeed, it would take them 31 hours to reach their crewmate’s world. Which the green insect well knew. He looked back to Jane and signed to her in ASL. “
Captain, we can warn the Slinkeroo folks by radio. They have anti-asteroid lasers. They could zap the incoming collector pods
Jane blinked, then signed back to him. “
Keep quiet. We will warn them
.” She faced back to the giant green insect. “What is your name?”
Transparent eyelids swept down over the praying mantis’s black eyes. “Why do you ask?”
“So I know whom to hunt for among the stars of the Orion Arm,” Jane said, her tone deadly sounding to Bill.
The Alien tilted its chitin-skin head to the other side. “You will never find me or my ship. I am known as Eater of Flesh. I do not sell
Captive to Buyers. You mammals are . . . tasty.”
Jane bit her lip, then smiled. It was a cold smile. “Eater of Flesh, my ship
and my crewmates will hunt you among the stars. All things are for sale, by payment of
or Nokten crystals. This you know. We will find you and your ship. You will regret taking Captives.”
A short rasp sounded from the Alien captain. Behind it moved three crew members. One was a six-legged critter who resembled an Earth hippo. The other two were black-winged vulture types, their long beaks looking deadly. “You Humans will not find me,” it rasped. “Even now a new fleet of Collector ships gathers. Many more ships than the six that went against your Sol star now assemble. You Humans will be returned to primitives, unable to make any machine. Earth will become a radioactive ball of rock that will never again be visited by any species!”
Jack felt shock. He and Jane had assumed the Buyer society was too focused on individual thievery to ever find the societal will to mount a serious interstellar attack. Diligent Taskmaster had pulled in five ships to join his ship only by promising easy Captive taking on Earth. That was now impossible thanks to the Collector ships they’d left behind and the orbiting neutrino detectors able to locate moving neutrino emitters. Like Collector ships. This sounded bad.