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3500AD - Part 3
Wednesday, 10 March 2010
Part 3

The asteroid with the engineering facility was exactly where Dr. Waxer said it would be, on the outskirts of the Sol system. It had taken about eighteen hours to reach it after the scientists’ encounter with the alien vessels.

“This is a huge asteroid! But where is the engineering facility, Steve? I don’t see any structures on the asteroid’s surface...”

“Not to worry, Robert. The facility is located inside of the asteroid. The entrance is on the other side. There will be enough room for all of our vessels to dock inside, with plenty of room to spare.” Steve responded.

“Sounds good to me.” said Adrian.

As the three vessels circled the asteroid, a huge set of hangar doors became visible. The doors were so huge, that two starships could enter the facility simultaneously!

“Robert, what’s up with that alien wreckage? Is it safe to bring inside?” asked Steve. “We don’t want that thing evaporating us and the entire asteroid…”

“I’ve actually discovered how to dismantle and disarm the self destruct mechanism. I should need about an hour or two for the task.” responded Robert.

“Excellent work, Robert. I’ll stay here to watch your back while you disarm that thing. Adrian, I’m transferring the access codes to the engineering facility to you. Please get its systems up and running, and then start on your weapons upgrades.” said Steve.

“No problem Steve.”

“Launching engineering probe!” said Robert.

A small spherical probe was jettisoned from the IPV Sar, and then propelled itself towards the alien wreckage. It disappeared through a gaping hole in the wrecked hull. Dr. Waxer took note of the probe’s accurate maneuvering, and how it could be applied to a new weapon system.

Meanwhile, Dr. Walcott transmitted the access codes to the engineering facility. After a few moments, the huge airlock doors slowly opened. The IPV Walcott entered the facility and docked inside. Dr. Walcott and his crew disembarked and started working on getting the engineering facility up and running. In just under an hour, everything was operating at one-hundred percent!

In that same hour, Robert had completed the disarming of the alien self-destruct device.

“Whew! Now we can safely inspect this wreckage and uncover its secrets!” he said.

Steve’s eyes suddenly lit up, as if he just had an idea. “Robert, please send me all the data you’ve collected on that self-destruct mechanism. I would like to know more about it. Also, is it possible for the device itself to be delivered to my ship?”

“No problem, Steve. I’ll transmit the data, and send the probe with the device to your ship’s cargo bay. Be careful with that thing!” responded Robert.

Steve smirked. “You know me, Robert. I’ll be real careful with it. Heh heh heh…”

The IPV Sar engaged its tractor beam on the alien wreckage and slowly started towing it into the engineering facility. Simultaneously, the engineering probe exited the wreckage with the disarmed self-destruct device, made its way to the IPV Waxer, then entered the ship's cargo bay. The IPV Waxer slowly followed the IPV Sar through the huge doors of the asteroid, which closed behind them.

Once all three vessels are inside, Dr.Walcott starts the weapons upgrades for his vessel and the IPV Sar, while the IPV Waxer remains at full battle alert. Dr.Sar resumes his research on the alien wreckage, while Dr.Waxer starts his own little research project on the alien self destruct device. He plans to learn everything about this device, weaponize it for his use, re-arm it, and hold on to it as a last resort weapon.

"We'll probably soon have the need for this great destructive power, since the odds are currently against us..." thought Steve.

Steve thought fondly of his friends Adrian and Robert, and his ship's crew; but then the horrible thought of losing them entered his mind.

"No! I will not think of such an outcome! We will all survive, and rescue our world...no matter what the cost."

Steve then stepped up his efforts to complete the weapon as quickly as possible. Steve worked tirelessly throughout the entire night. When he finally completed his work, he stumbled to his quarters, collapsed on the bed, and slept as soundly as if all was well in the galaxy.

Dr. Waxer awoke at around three in the afternoon. “Ughhhh…. What time is it? Crap! Three o’clock! I’ve got to get up!”

Thump!

“Oooff! Crap!” Steve tripped and fell in his rush to get out of bed. “Aarrgh! Why am I always so groggy when I wake up…”

Steve quickly showered and dressed. He then disembarked from his vessel and joined his friends in the engineering facility control room.

“Sleeping beauty, awake at last!” joked Adrian. Robert laughed heartily as Adrian chuckled. Steve smiled and laughed.

“How are the upgrades going?” asked Steve.

“Very well. Progress is about twenty five percent.” responded Adrian.

“Yes. The upgrades should be completed in about twenty-one hours.” said Robert.

“Any progress on analyzing the alien wreckage, Robert?” asked Steve.

“Definitely! My initial analysis tells me that we can develop effective countermeasures for their power disruption tech upon further study. It’s only a matter of time!”

“That’s great news, Robert!” said Adrian.

“That sounds great, guys. I have good news myself. I completed weaponizing the alien self destruct device for our use. I’m keeping it on hand as a last resort.” said Steve.

Adrian’s and Robert’s eyes widened in surprise.

“So that’s what you were working on all night. Great work, Steve!” said Robert.

“Yeah! Good work, Steve. We just might need it too.” said Adrian.

“WARNING! WARNING! UNIDENTIFIED VESSELS HAVE ENTERED THE VICINITY!” A loud alarm blared throughout the engineering facility.

“This is not a good time to be attacked – not when our ships are being upgraded!”

“You said it, Robert. Great timing from their perspective, though…” said Adrian.

“What kind of defense does this facility have, Steve?” asked Robert.

“Minimal defenses. This place was never meant to be used for battle.”

Adrian looked annoyed. “Not good. That means we’re defenseless…”

Dr. Waxer hit a button on the nearest comms panel. “Open channel to the IPV Waxer!”

“Channel opened.” the computer replied.

“Ensign! I need the ETA on those alien vessels!”

“Yes sir! The vessels are about forty minutes out.”

“Okay! Can you give me an estimate of the number of vessels?”

“Checking now…”

“Hopefully there aren’t too many of them…” said Robert.

“Sir, I can’t give you an exact number. But I can tell you that there are between two-hundred and five-hundred vessels approaching!” replied the ensign.

“Between two and five hundred!” exclaimed Adrian.

“Thank you, ensign. Waxer out.”

“What are we going to do?” asked Robert.

“There is only one thing to do. I will take the IPV Waxer out to meet them. Best case, we destroy them all. Worst case, we buy enough time for your upgrades to be completed.”

“But you can’t…” said Robert.

“I must. It is our only option. There is no other way.” replied Steve.

“I wish it wasn’t so, but you’re right, Steve.” said Adrian.

“In preparation for the worst, I suggest you two grab any free crewmembers and install the new shielding technology to this facility.” Steve added.

“Will do, Steve. You be careful out there, man!” said Adrian.

“Yes, watch yourself out there!” said Robert.

“Relax guys. With your new shielding tech, they won’t be able to touch me. And with my main cannon, they won’t last long, even if there are thousands of them.” Steve replied.

Adrian and Robert smiled at Steve’s remark. Then Steve smiled and started laughing.

“Okay Steve. Do us proud!” said Robert.

“Kick their asses, man!” said Adrian.

Steve left the control room and made his way back to the IPV Waxer.

“Adrian, I’ll get started on the shielding setup.” said Robert.

“Good man, Robert. I’ll continue working with the upgrades to our ships. Let me know if you need any help. Of course, I’ll let you know if anything comes up on my end.”

“Thanks, Adrian. See you later!”

“Later!”

Adrian and Robert then part ways. In the meantime, Steve arrives on the bridge of his ship.

“Ensign, initiate a full charge of the main cannon!”

“A full charge? Yes sir!” replied the ensign.

Dr. Waxer took his seat in the captain’s chair. He then hit the ship wide intercom button on his armrest.

“All hands to battle stations! We are heading out to battle!”

Dr. Waxer took a deep breath, then continued speaking.

“As you may know, a large number of hostile alien vessels are approaching us. Our sister ships, Walcott and Sar, are currently undergoing weapons upgrades, and are unable to fight. That leaves us as the sole line of defense for our comrades. We shall not wait for the battle to come to us; it is we who shall bring the battle to them. That is all.”

Then he released the intercom button.

“Ensign, take us out slow!” exclaimed Dr. Waxer.

The huge hangar doors slowly opened as the IPV Waxer approached them. In less than a minute, the vessel was clear of the engineering facility. The huge doors closed behind them.

“We are clear of the asteroid, sir!” said the ensign.

“Good. Raise shields, maximum power! Bring us in firing range of the enemy vessels! Lightspeed factor fourteen!”

“Yes sir!”

With that, the IPV Waxer’s engines lit up, and then the ship vanished – or at least appeared to vanish as it began to move faster than the speed of light.

“Ensign, how long will it be until we get into weapons range?” asked Dr.Waxer.

“About ten minutes!”

“Okay. As soon as we are in weapons range, drop us out of lightspeed. In the meantime, I want a full tactical report on the enemy!”

“Tactical scan in progress, sir!”

“I wonder how accurate the initial report was regarding the number of enemy vessels…” Dr.Waxer thought to himself.

“Tactical scan complete, sir! Five hundred ships, heavily armed and armored with strong shields! They are jamming our long range communications and our ability to do any detailed scans on their vessels!”

“I see. Thank you, ensign.”

With about six more minutes remaining before coming into firing range, Dr.Waxer started mulling over different tactical strategies and possibilities. He became deeply lost in thought…

“We are in weapons range, sir! Dropping out of lightspeed!”

“Ah! Configure main cannon for wide beam! Target groups of enemy vessels!”

“Main cannon configuration set! Enemy vessel groups targeted! Ready to fire at your command!”

“Fire!”

There have been only a few times up until now that Dr.Waxer’s main cannon has been fired at full power. It is a truly frightening display to behold. A huge flash of light appears, resembling a small star. Then from the depths of this light erupts a bright fiery beam of tremendous energy. This beam seems to tear through the very fabric of space itself. The beam widens as it approaches the alien vessels, then engulfs several large groups of them. Any ship in the beam’s path doesn’t stand a chance. Their shields fail in mere seconds, followed by the utter vaporization or their hulls.

“Report, ensign!”

“Sir, the beam has destroyed approximately eighty enemy vessels! Wow!”

“Excellent! Charge main cannon to maximum for another volley!”

“Charging sir! Uh oh, the rest of the enemy ships are increasing their speed towards us!”

“They’re trying to get in weapons range to counterattack. When the charge is complete, fire at will.”

“Charge complete! Firing!”

Another large group of enemy vessels were vaporized by the onslaught.

“Approximately ninety enemy vessels this time, sir!”

“Good. Continue the attack, ensign.”

“Why aren’t they retreating? Can’t they see that they are no match for us?” Dr. Waxer thought to himself.

“Sir, the alien vessels are spreading out! The wide beam will not be as effective like this…”

“I see. Let’s try a different offensive approach. Use the targeting system to auto target individual vessels, and configure the main cannon to fire at one percent strength per shot.”

“Yes sir!”

“I wonder when they will be able to fire on us…” Dr.Waxer wondered.

“Charge is complete! Targets acquired, initiating firing program!”

A bright flash of light again appeared as the cannon fired, and many powerful beams erupted from the flash in rapid succession – resembling a laser light show. Each beam found its individual target, and vaporized it. One hundred alien vessels fell this time.

“One hundred ships destroyed this time, sir!”

“This is becoming a slaughter. Cease fire for now, ensign. Let’s give them the chance to surrender. Open comm channels. Charge the cannon to maximum again, just in case…”

“Sir! The alien ships are firing at us!”

“Brace for impact!” yelled Dr. Waxer. “So, they won’t give up, eh?” he thought.

Crrrrraaaashhhhh!!

The remaining two hundred alien craft opened fire on the IPV Waxer. Several hundred energy beams and missiles bombarded the solitary ship. Several bright momentary flashes surrounded them as the missiles detonated. All of the alien beam fire resembled an intense fireworks display.

“Damage report!”

“Minimal damage, sir! Shields are down about three percent, and are currently replenishing!”

“Okay. Keep the comm channels open in case they change their minds. Acquire targets, and prepare to fire on my command.”

“Yes sir! Huh? What’s this..?”

“Hm? What’s wrong, ensign?”

“We are losing power!”

“What? How is that possible?” Dr. Waxer asked.

“It appears to be some kind of previously unseen alien weapon. Apparently several of the enemy vessels are emitting a strange form of energy – it’s sucking us dry. I’ve never seen anything like it!”

“Those slick bastards…” thought Dr. Waxer. “What’s the rate of energy loss?”

“Checking now… Wha..? I can’t believe it! This is bad – real bad. It’s about eighty to ninety terawatts per second!”

“What!! How can that be?” asked Dr. Waxer, in shock.

“I’ve quadruple checked, sir. The data is accurate. Unfortunately, I can’t exactly say how at this point…”

“At this rate, we’ll be sitting ducks in about five minutes…” said Dr. Waxer.

“This isn’t good at all. With the current rate of energy loss, I can only take out half of the remaining ships, and I won’t be able to charge the cannon for another volley. Those aliens have some nice tricks up their sleeves…” he thought.

Dr. Waxer was in a really tight spot. He had to think up an effective plan quickly. The fate of his colleagues, his crew, and perhaps all of humanity might be riding on his decision…

“Can we pinpoint which vessels are draining our power, so that we can take them out?” asked Dr.Waxer.

“Yes we can, sir. But there might be a problem with that. We don’t know if all of the ships have the same capability or not…”

“You’re right. Let’s test that theory! Target one of the power draining ships and fire a blast at one percent.”

“Yes sir! Firing!”

The targeted vessel was vaporized.

“This isn’t good sir. When we destroyed that ship, one of the others stepped up to drain our power in its place.”

“That means that they all have the capability to drain our power…”

Dr. Waxer clenched a fist tightly in frustration. “It looks like I have no other choice.” he sighed.

Suddenly, Dr. Waxer’s sullen expression vanished – and was replaced with one of fierce determination.

“All hands to escape pods. All personnel are hereby ordered to abandon ship!” cried Dr. Waxer.

The bridge staff looked at Dr. Waxer in shock at hearing this order. Throughout the vessel, crewmembers began to scramble to the emergency escape pods. All of the crewmembers except the bridge staff, that is.

Dr. Waxer noticed that the bridge staff wasn’t moving. “What are you still doing here? I gave you a direct order! Get to an escape pod now!!” he shouted.

Rei Kagami, the first officer, stepped forward. She had a determined look on her face.

“Dr. Waxer, we know that you want to protect your colleagues, and us. We fully understand the high stakes of this battle. We shall remain with you on this vessel. There is no other place we would rather be.”

Dr. Waxer, looking dumbfounded, looked at the other crewmembers on the bridge. They all nodded.

“Fine. Then I’ll tell you what I’m planning to do. But there is a very high chance that we may not survive this…”

“We are with you one hundred percent,” said the first officer.

After a brief discussion, everyone manned their stations and got to work.

“One more thing,” said Dr. Waxer. “Someone needs to deliver this data recorder to the others at the engineering facility.” He looked around. “You.”

Dr. Waxer pointed to the youngest ensign on the bridge – a young man of nineteen years. “Take this and get to an escape pod. There is no other choice since long range comms are being jammed. It will receive our data as long as you are in range.”

“But sir -” the ensign stammered.

“This is a direct order. With this data, our colleagues might find a countermeasure for this vampiric alien weapon. You are wasting time. Take it and go. Now!!”

The ensign took the device and ran to the nearest escape pod, boarded, and launched to safety.

Dr. Waxer breathed a sigh of relief. Then he steeled himself for the task at hand.

“Configure Main Cannon to fire at 1.2 percent strength! Prepare to fire shockwave bursts in a four point encapsulation formation! We need to push those vessels closer together!” exclaimed Dr. Waxer.

“Configuration complete. Firing formation set. Ready to fire at your command!”

“Fire!!!”

The Main Cannon illuminated – and fired four powerful highly focused blasts in tandem around the enemy vessels. It was so quick that it seemed instantaneous. Seconds after, four lights appeared as space warped around the points of impact...

Suddenly, four huge shockwaves of energy surged – forcing all of the alien vessels into a very tight formation. Many collided with each other, and a few were actually destroyed by the impact.

“Is our power still being drained?” asked Dr. Waxer.

“There was a momentary lapse, but yes. We are still losing power. Our reserves are currently at 2.8 percent.”

“Very well. Arm the weapon, set ten second timer to begin countdown when fired.”

“Weapon armed and set!”

“Fire.”

A small torpedo launched from the IPV Waxer and headed directly towards the enemy vessels, adeptly maneuvering around the debris in its path and dodging enemy fire.

Dr. Waxer then rose from the captain’s chair, and turned to face his shipmates.

“It has been a great honor to work and fight by your side, everyone. You have my utmost respect and admiration.”

Everyone rose from their seats, looked at Dr. Waxer and smiled.

Tears started to well up in Dr. Waxer’s eyes. He then smiled and thought to himself, “With this, my friends have a chance to continue the fight –”

A huge explosion suddenly rocked that section of space, absolutely obliterating everything in the vicinity. The shockwaves even shook the engineering facility, several lears away. Massive amounts of debris from the battle littered the area.



To be continued…
 
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