Star Rover-Chosen to Die (Lens of Time)

BOOK: Star Rover-Chosen to Die (Lens of Time)
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Star Rover
Lens of Time-Book Seven
Chosen To Die
Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Epilogue

Books by Saxon Andrew

Chapter One

K
atherine stared at her computer screen and wondered about the fleet’s readiness report. Seventeen years had passed since the war with the Servants ended and so far, the only evidence of danger was the strange probes sent to monitor the Union’s activities. The Rovers were all updated with the newest force fields Belwen had developed. Getting them modified without being noticed had been difficult. The probes the distant galaxy had sent to spy on the Union were difficult to work around. Thank God they appeared to be unaware they were being tracked by her own probes. Rovers were sent to the colonies to be updated when they were not being observed. Moving any of the new Jukeboxes to the Union was impossible; a large number of the strange probes stayed with her fleets. She couldn’t risk sending the current Jukeboxes away to be updated and have them possibly followed. She heard a knock and Brad entered her office. His expression showed that something was bothering him, “What’s wrong?”

“It appears many more probes have arrived.”

“And?”

“We think two of them are following Gibbs and Shane wherever they go. You know that Arvolo has been followed for years. Following the other Admirals is a new development.”

Kat sat back in her chair, “They believe they’re missing something.”

“Or they’re planning something and know they’ll be in the middle of our planned response.”

Kat stared at Brad and said, “You’re not telling me something.”

Brad slowly shook his head, “Another probe has appeared here and is watching what you do as well. I’m also thinking that they might be armed.”

Kat stared at Brad and then she understood, “They’ll attempt to remove us from the board before they take action.”

“If I were in their place and I could make it happen…”

“So would I.” Katherine paused, “Do you think they’ve broken our encryption?”

“I have no way of knowing; however, I think there’s a way we can find out.” Katherine nodded for him to continue. “Send a communication to Shane to go and check out the new weapon modifications we just completed on the Jukebox at the Moet’s Capital.”

“We haven’t modified a Jukebox.”

“I know, but they don’t know that. If one of those probes shows up at the planet prior to Shane’s arrival, we’ll know they intercepted your communication and were able to decipher it. It takes a probe some time to follow a ship through a skip jump. If one shows up faster than ten hours…”

“Do you think they know the location of the Moet’s Capital?”

“I don’t know. As long as they’ve been here, I’d be surprised if they don’t. I’m of the opinion if they have broken our encryption and a probe shows up, Shane is not only being followed but they’re intercepting our communications as well. We need to see.”

“If he is being followed, all of our Senior Admirals are in danger.”

“Like I said, we need to see.”

“You will have one of our probes there?”

“It’s already in place and another is tracking the probe that is near him at this moment.”

Katherine stared at Brad and picked up her communicator. She started speaking and looked at Brad after she sent the orders, “I hope you have someone at the Moet’s Capital to tell Shane what’s going on. I don’t want him calling in asking.”

“I talked with Matt face to face when he landed here this morning and he’s aware of what’s going on. He sent one of the Rovers in his command to the Saturn and to deliver a written message from me explaining what’s going on.”

Katherine waited in her office with Brad and watched the Moet Capital from the feed being sent from the advanced probe that was hidden above it. One of the Blue Civilization’s probes appeared and Shane arrived an hour later. Katherine shook her head and looked at Brad, “Do we have a new encryption to use?”

“We do, but if we use it now, they’ll know we’re on to them.”

“Have it downloaded to all our forces as a secondary frequency. I suspect our visitors might be acting soon.”

“Are you going to tell Dat what’s going on?”

“Not yet; he needs to continue to act normally. I suspect he is the one they are most interested in following. If we have any new weapons, he would go and inspect them.”

“Is it time to upgrade the Jukeboxes?”

“All the modules and reactor fuel have been delivered to the maintenance facilities; I’ll send a message out to the fleets that a problem has been found in the environmental systems on several Jukeboxes and the fleets will go to our fleet facilities to have the systems replaced.”

“Do you think they’ll understand what we’re doing?”

“The new modules are really not that big and will only need to be attached to two anchor spots. It should only take a few hours to install them; they can’t believe that anything important can be done in that short a period of time.”

“Do we have enough for all the battleships?”

“The probes have not been tracking our commercial fleets. We have enough to modify all the Jukeboxes.”

“What about the reactors?”

“The new isotopes are also there. Injecting them into the reactors will be done in less than thirty minutes. The Facilities will order all the ships to keep their power at their former level until notified.”

“I hope you’re right. All it’s going to take is one ship to go to full power.”

“We can’t wait any longer, Brad. The arrival of more probes has to mean something is changing. Just make sure every ship commander knows to not use their new settings until given direct approval from my office.”

“I have written instructions that will be handed to every Captain before they complete the modifications.”

Katherine picked up her communicator and said, “Fleet Control, notify all Jukebox Fleets that there is a recall on their environmental filters. The old systems are starting to fail and need replacement. Please schedule your ships to go to the each fleet’s maintenance facilities and get them updated.” Kat put the communicator down and said, “You should make sure this happens quickly.”

Brad looked at a clipboard, “We have three thousand of Belwen’s engineers at each facility. The modifications can be completed within four weeks.”

Katherine nodded and worried about Dat. She looked at Brad, “Have Dat send his ship here for updating of its software.”

“What are you going to do?”

“It would be too dangerous to bring him here before the Jukeboxes are modified. I’m sending him a message that will be delivered as soon as the Jukeboxes complete their modifications.” Brad nodded, kissed Kat, and walked out of the room. She wanted to ask Belwen if the planetary force fields had been updated but couldn’t run the risk. She leaned back in her chair and hoped she was wrong…but it looked like war was just over the horizon. The beings that sent the probes were a nasty lot and she prayed all of her secret plans were enough. Maybe they would keep their word and stay away. She knew it was probably just wishful thinking.

• • •

The yellow colored being heard Katherine’s transmission come in from the probe and called his leader over, “I’ve just intercepted this. Is this something to worry about?”

The leader stared at the Seeker’s panel and said, “Has anything happened to support this?”

“I have heard three ships in the last two months directed to their facilities to repair their atmosphere systems.”

“Keep an eye on one that goes and let me know how long it’s at the facility.” The Seeker leaned back showing his understanding and had a probe follow one of the large warships to the facility. It was there for forty minutes before it backed out and jumped away.

He called the Leader back several hours later and said, “It appears the changes are being done in less than an hour in most ships. The longest time was an hour and a half.”

The Leader thought about it and looked at the Seeker, “What’s the shortest time it would take to modify a weapon system?”

The Seeker had been in his position for decades and he shrugged, “I guess you could change software in that amount of time but major changes to blasters or force fields would take days. Looking at what we now know about those ships, I don’t think the systems could be radically changed even if they chose to do so.”

“Why do you say that?”

“That ship is an ancient design that has been upgraded several times. It’s at the end of what can be done to improve it. It would be much easier to just build an entirely new design. It doesn’t surprise me that they have issues with the ship’s systems.”

“Have you seen construction of new ships?”

“No, and none of their transmissions have mentioned anything about new ships being built.”

The Leader stared at the Seeker’s display and saw thousands of large warships above a giant facility in orbit above a planet. He said, “I guess this doesn’t need to be passed on to those making plans. I don’t see anything that requires us to change the schedule.”

The Seeker raised his head three inches indicating a shrug, “I must say I am forced to agree.” The Leader pivoted on his main leg and went to another Seeker on the other side of the large room. The Seeker continued to watch the ships coming in and then decided to follow one of them back to their fleet to see if they had trialed a new weapon. Two days later he decided he was just being paranoid. A warship just couldn’t be significantly changed in less than an hour.”

• • •

Belwen looked at the huge Madator and adjusted the belt around its midsection. “How does that feel?”

“To be perfectly honest, it feels odd.”

“I need you to keep it in place; don’t change your shape while you’re wearing it.”

The Madator smiled, “Don’t you mean don’t change the shape of the place it’s on?”

“Well, yes.”

“What exactly is this thing?”

Belwen sighed, “It’s a new device for dropping you on a planet.”

“Say what?”

“You know how we dropped your parents during the war with the Grillen and Servants?”

“Yes.”

“The old system stranded them on the planets they were dropped on. This system will allow you to leave the planet if needed.”

The Madator looked at the belt and back to Belwen, “You better explain how this works.”

“What’s your name?”

“Leon.”

“Leon? That’s an odd name for a Matador. Why did you choose that one?”

“Humans can pronounce it; all of us have names that the Union can understand. It comes from an ancient human explorer named Ponce de Leon.”

“I can’t say I’ve ever heard of him.”

“I found him in the Human’s library. He was an explorer that found an undiscovered continent. He was also able to live forever.”

“What?”

“Yeah, I find it hard to believe, too. He found a Fountain of Youth that gave him eternal life.”

“Is he still around?”

“No, I think he was shot or killed by one of the local inhabitants of the continent he landed on. It’s hard to outlive a weapon hitting you. However, I was impressed with his story and decided to use his name with our Allies.”

“Well Leon, this belt uses the gravity system our warships use for their normal space flights.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I really should have thought of this sooner; it would have made life much easier during the last war with the Servants. It was actually used the first time by Dolly during the war with the Moet. She reversed a gravity beam and a hundred attackers flew off the planet and into space. This belt will either pull you toward an object or push you away. If you want to go down to a planet, you adjust the belt’s gravity unit to pull you toward it. You can move at any speed you choose by raising or lowering the force of the pull. If you choose to leave, you simply change the belt’s setting to push you away from any object. The larger the object, the stronger the push.”

“I assume the belt also controls the mass of the one wearing it?”

“Very good; that’s exactly what it does. The belt will place whoever has it on inside a dark energy field. The field will contain the atmosphere needed to survive in space and the means to see through the field.”

Leon thought for a moment and said, “Does this knob control mass?” Belwen nodded. “So what would happen if I set it to zero and used the highest push setting?”

Belwen smiled, “You would leave the planet at about two hundred thousand miles an hour and continue accelerating to about half the speed of light before the push started to fall off with distance from the planet.”

BOOK: Star Rover-Chosen to Die (Lens of Time)
11.66Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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