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3500AD - Part 5
Wednesday, 23 May 2012
Part 5

“So this is how Steve was defeated!” Dr. Robert Sar had just finished analyzing the data from the recorder. “He gave his all to protect us. If we are to stand a chance against these aliens, we must find a countermeasure to their power draining and disruption technology.”

“You were always master of the obvious, Robert.” Adrian chuckled.

Robert momentarily flashed Adrian a dirty look, then chuckled himself. “Alright, let’s get started then.”

They started researching solutions and countermeasures. They performed additional extensive research on the enemy vessel’s wreckage for clues. All the while work on their starships was nearing completion.

A day passes. The IPV Walcott and IPV Sar complete their weapons upgrades. Adrian and Robert have made considerable progress – enough to implement workable solutions.

“Our countermeasures aren’t perfect, but they will suffice. We can’t wait any longer – we must start rescuing our people.” said Adrian.

“But we could perfect it in just another day or two…” replied Robert.

“In a day or two, there might be no one left to rescue. We must head out as soon as possible. We’ll leave enough personnel behind to fortify the base and continue to perfect the countermeasures. We’ll have to come back anyway at some point for repairs, resupply, or what have you.”

“Alright. What’s our plan of attack?”

“Let’s start out simply – we’ll rescue the nearest colonies and outposts, and work our way back to Earth. Prep your vessel, Robert. We launch in three hours!”

“Three hours. Got it. I’ll grab some lunch now…”

“Man, Robert. How can you be thinking of food at a time like this?”

“Because I’m hungry? Anyway, you should eat as well, it’ll do you some good. You look like a twig as it is…”

Adrian was taken aback for a second. “Heh heh. I guess you’re right. Why don’t I join you then?”

The two scientists ate together, and then prepared their vessels. At twenty minutes to launch, Dr. Walcott began to address everyone via internal comm systems.

“Attention all personnel. Dr. Walcott here. In just twenty minutes, we will begin our first offensive operation. After being on the defense this entire time, I for one welcome this change of pace. Our goal is to liberate our outermost colony near the dwarf planet Eris. Initial scans report about two to three hundred enemy vessels near that colony. Interference, assumed to be alien jamming tech, prevents us from getting an exact reading. After launch, we shall make a lightspeed jump twelve lears to the Tau Ceti system, then double back in another jump towards the Eris colony. This will be our attempt to conceal our base’s true location. Once we are near the colony we shall engage the enemy in what we hope will be a surprise attack.” Adrian paused.

“We are mankind’s last hope. We must not fail. Dr. Waxer attempted to communicate with the aliens after destroying half of their strike force, to show them mercy – to make peace. They spat on his mercy. The time for mercy has passed. The time for peace has passed. We shall give them no quarter. They will not know what hit them!”

“Wow Adrian! Great speech! Way to boost morale, man!” commented Robert.

At the twenty minute mark, the massive hangar doors of the asteroid base began to open. The Walcott and Sar slowly emerged, and moved off into space.

“Course to Tau Ceti laid in! Lightspeed factor fourteen! Engage!” cried Robert.

The engines of both vessels lit up, and then the ships vanished in a flash as they started traveling faster than light. They reached the Tau Ceti system in about half an hour.

“Charge main cannons to one hundred percent! Shields to maximum! Lay in a course to bring us within one hundred kilometers of the enemy vessels at the Eris colony! Program targeting systems to automatically acquire individual targets! Maximum lightspeed factor! By the time they notice us, we shall be upon them! Engage!” shouted Adrian.

Just in case you were wondering, the maximum lightspeed factor is about sixty or so. Yeah, that’s fast!

In less than a minute, they were upon the enemy.

“Targeting systems have acquired six hundred targets!” cried an ensign.

“Six hundred, huh?” said Adrian. “Let’s see what these main cannons can do. For Steve and for Earth – FIRE!!!!”

Two bright flashes of light appeared from each vessel respectively. It was a frightening sight. An intensely bright array of beams emerged from those flashes – each targeting an alien vessel.

“Four hundred vessels destroyed!” the ensign cried again.

“Good! Recharge main cannons, initiate cooperative firing pattern Sigma One!” said Adrian.

“Firing pattern Sigma One! Right!” replied Robert.

As soon as the Sar’s main cannon charged to five percent, it fired four powerful beams in tandem – each at a different point surrounding the remaining alien vessels. Space warped at each impact point – and four huge energy shockwaves erupted. All of the vessels were pushed together in a tighter formation, with many colliding with one another.

Then the Walcott’s main cannon reached it’s maximum charge capacity, and fired a wide, powerful beam. The remaining enemy vessels were dissolved in the blast.

The enemy never knew what hit them.

~~~~

Drifting in space, surrounded by debris, are the remains of the Interplanetary Vessel Waxer. Gaping holes and entire missing sections scar what was once a magnificent starship. Any chance of survivors on this wreckage would appear to be nil.

Yet all is not lost…

Some light is visible from one small area of the darkened wreckage…

The bridge.

Dr. Waxer stirred. He had been unconscious for several hours. “Wha… what’s going on…” he groaned. He struggled to his feet and looked around. “Huh?” All around him lay members of his bridge crew. Then he remembered –

“The battle! Computer! What’s the status of the enemy force?” he yelled.

“All of the enemy vessels have been destroyed by the experimental weapon. In addition, the IPV Waxer has been severely damaged by the resulting explosion.” replied the computer.

“So, we were successful. And we survived to boot. Good. Computer! Medical scan on the bridge crew, please!”

“The bridge crew are unconscious from the impact of the explosion and a temporary failure of life support systems. Minor injuries. They should all regain consciousness shortly.”

“Thank God… Computer! Ship status, please!”

“Severe damage to hull. Major damage to weapons and communications systems. Heavy damage to power systems, but running stably at a diminished capacity near 14%. Minor damage to shield and drive systems. All other systems undamaged.”

“How did we survive the blast?”

“Emergency Protocol I-99. All power was rerouted to shields as soon as the enemy vessels’ energy drain effect ceased. In addition, shields were configured to only to protect the ship’s vital areas. Power was gradually transferred back to life support as the explosion faded.”

“That’s strange, I don’t remember that protocol…”

“It was programmed by first officer Kagami prior to the experimental weapon launch.”

“Rei?”

“Correct. The probability of this vessel surviving the explosion in our previous battle conditions without that protocol was less than 1%.”

“Wow…”

“Ughh… agh…” First officer Kagami regained consciousness.

“Rei! Are you okay?”

“Ughhh… I think so.”

Steve helped Rei to her feet.

“That emergency protocol you instituted saved us all. That was some quick thinking on your part. I’m glad I chose you to be my first officer, Rei.”

“I had no intention of dying if it could be avoided. And thank you, Steve.”

“I’m also glad that you’re unhurt. Now, let’s get this ship back to…”

What happened next was totally unexpected. Rei suddenly moved in close to Dr. Waxer…

And kissed him.

Dr. Waxer was totally dumbfounded.

“Wow… Rei, I had no idea…” Steve stuttered.

“Well, now you do.” Rei smiled.

He’d always found Rei to be exquisitely attractive, her hypnotic brown eyes, long dark hair, her slender athletic form. But he’d no clue that the attraction was mutual. He’d always been oblivious to the subtle signs women use to show interest. He’d even considered asking her out in the past, but was afraid to jeopardize their professional relationship. He respected her greatly.

“Rei, I don’t know if this is the right time for… for us… with all that’s going on -"

“I see,” Rei looked disappointed, then started to turn away.

“Rei, wait.”

Steve grabbed Rei by the waist and pulled her back to himself in a strong embrace…

And kissed her in return – deeply, passionately.

“Rei, I really want to be with you.” He caressed her hair. “Let’s get the ship underway first. Then we can -“

“Understood.” Rei smiled, then coyly slipped away. He smiled at her as she left.

“Computer! Can we get a message to the engineering facility?” Steve asked.

“Communications systems are severely damaged and are offline. Weapons are offline as well.”

“All right, then. Computer, get us back to the base, top speed!”

“Since drive systems are operating at reduced capacity, it will take eight days to return to the engineering facility.”

“Crap! Eight days! And we don’t have any way to make significant repairs in our current state…”

“We can make good use of the downtime, Steve. Research the battle data, design ship upgrades, and also, simply rest and recover from this ordeal. Plus, you and I can… you know…” said Rei. She smiled shyly.

Steve’s eyes lit up. “Computer, engage!” He then took Rei’s hand, smiled, and led her to the captain’s quarters.



To be continued…
 
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