Jump to content
News Ticker
  • IPB version 4.2 installed!
Sign in to follow this  

Federation's End

Recommended Posts

Federation's End.




A FANFIC by Michael January






Eleven planets circled the yellow star. Three of the planets


were inhabited so densely that there was no trace of ocean or mountain


upon them. The primary mechanism by which life and economics in this


system was maintained was trade, and by the continuous mining and


stripping of planets in this and surrounding star systems. There were


more than enough of such planets nearby. In this part of the galaxy,


the distance between stars was a mere two or three light-years, and


the nearest heavily populated galactic standard planet was nearly


sixty light years away. That left quite a few thousand planets in the


sphere of influence of the local system.


Dozens of gigantic freighters and bulk transports were plying


the routes between the planet and it's neighbours, and hundreds of


tiny yachts, freighters and medium transports flitted in between them.


Because of this traffic, any visitors to the system were forced to


jump into the outer edges of the system, to then be guided in by droid


controllers on the capital world of the system. Patrolling this mess


was a number of TIE's and a few gunboats, which had been dropped off


by one of the ISD's assigned to patrol this region of the sector. The


sector consisted of less than one hundred and fifty such star systems,


which made it a relatively under-populated sector by galactic


standards. Nevertheless, Imperial standards called for a full squadron


of twelve ISD's to patrol these one hundred and fifty systems, with a


thirteenth ISD used as a command ship. That still left several star


systems per ISD, but not as many as they would have to patrol in most


other sectors.


Another ship suddenly flickered into the traffic nightmare,


close to the edge of the system. It was not a big ship, smaller than


many of the transports already in the system, and dwarfed by the huge


bulk transports, which themselves were dwarfed by the several thousand


kilometre structure of the Ubiqutorate refinery which dominated the


profile of the fifth planet of the star system, even from this great


range. There were only two immediately distinguishable features about


the relatively small new arrival. It was wedge-shaped, and it's


engines were huge, totally out of proportion to it's size, compared to


other ships in the sector. The Imperial Star Destroyer belched out a


dozen fresh TIE fighters, and gathered in the TIE's which had been on


patrol. Then it flickered out of the system again.


Anyone who had dared do a sensor-focus on the wedge-shape


would have noticed several other features which distinguished the


military vessel from it's civilian counterparts. Immense shielding, a


double-hull more than a dozen meters thick, a state of the art solar


ionisation reactor burning matter so dense it's atomic structure had


collapsed, and dozens of weapons blisters of various types scattered


all over it's hull.




The ISD Annihilator streaked through hyperspace, hopping from


one star system to another, dropping off it's TIE patrols, and


gathering in reports from the dozen or so star-systems in this


sub-sector. There had been no pirate activity for months now, and the


patrols were becoming routine. Every few hours at random intervals,


the Annihilator would drop out of hyperspace in deep-space, and just


lie there. During this time, it's sensors would sweep out for a


hundred light years in all directions, gathering data and probing the


surrounding star systems. The computers would analyse every bit of


data collected, compare it to the last sweep of the area, and analyse


the changes. The information derived would be compiled into a report,


and transmitted to the central archives, where it would be further


analysed. Some of this information would eventually find it's way into


the navigational databases crucial for safe hyperspace travel.


This time, though, Captain Storve's attention was caught by


something out of the normal pattern. The lieutenant in charge of the


long-range com-scan technicians was having an ardent discussion with


one of his techs. The lieutenant glanced towards the command deck, and


seeing the captain's eyes on him, nodded and said something to the


tech. The tech touched a control, and Storve's tactical display was


updated with whatever the technician had spotted. Storve glanced over


the display, as the lieutenant marched up to him. A grid reference


about sixty light years away was marked. Storve zoomed his display in


on the reference. Yes, that was strange, very strange.


"Lieutenant?" he said to the officer, who had been patiently


waiting to be noticed.


"Sir. We have three sub-space anomalies, all diverging from


the same point in space. All the anomalies are travelling at


significantly faster than light, and appear to be each heading towards


a specific star. All three targeted star systems are of the G spectral


class, and have galactic standard planets, though none of them are


inhabited yet."


Sixty light years was too far to be able to get more than


that. A starship was not detectable beyond seven or eight light years,


and only very high-powered sub-space communications would be


detectable beyond fifty light years, and all such communications


equipment would be in the control of the Military.


"Those anomalies will still take several hours to reach those


stars. We will finish our scan and transmit a report as usual." The


lieutenant acknowledged, and continued about his duties.


"Communications." Storve ordered, having opened the


appropriate channel on his command padd, "put me through to Commodore


Heyward. Scrambled Holonet, priority four."


A few minutes later, the console beeped. Storve activated his




"Storve. You have a problem?"


"A small one sir. I request that we be relieved, so that we


may investigate three sub-space anomalies we have detected in


sub-sector fourteen."


"Very well. I will despatch the Adjudicator. They will arrive


at Woostri in forty minutes."


"Yes, sir."


The commodore cut the communications, and the vid-screen


deactivated itself.


Storve pressed another internal comm button, "Commander


Sarkan, cancel further launches, prepare all fighter groups for




As soon as the navigational sensor-sweep was done, the


Annihilator flickered into hyper-space. They stopped briefly to


collect their TIEs in their nearby patrol systems, then headed for


Woostri. Storve just paused long enough in the Woostri system to


transfer all trade and traffic data to the Adjudicator, then popped


back into hyperspace. They dropped into real-space ten light years


short of the last recorded position of one of the anomalies they had


detected earlier.


Storve waited patiently as the sensors swept through the


surrounding systems, passive mode only, building up a picture of the


surrounding space. Passive mode had a range of only thirty light


years, with starship detection range down to half a light year.


"Sub-space anomaly re-acquired, range eight light years. It is


a resonance pattern in the lower K-band of sub-space, consistent with


the sub-space image of a starship, but magnified immensely."


"Is it in range for an active sensor focus."


"Yes sir."


"Do it, four second focus only."


A long pause followed. Storve noticed a look of surprise and


consternation on the young lieutenant's face.




"Sir! It appears as if there is a small starship, about the


size of a corvette, at the same location as the sub-space anomaly. It


is little more than a ghost image in real-space, but intensely


magnified in sub-space, and ..."


"Continue." Storve grated.


'Yes, sir. The starship seems to have disconnected some small


part of it's surrounding space from the fabric of the universe, and is


propagating this island of space at several hundred times the speed of


light. The ship is stationary in the centre of this island, and it's


movements is perfectly synchronised with that of the sub-space


resonance field. Such a stardrive is consistent with ..."


"I know what it is consistent with, Lieutenant."


"Helm, take us to an intercept point 10 AU ahead of this


starship." Storve ordered, "ECM, prepare to broadcast a reversed


spectral image of the starship, maximum power, in the K-band of


sub-space, and jam any communications that ship sends out."


Minutes later, the Annihilator flickered into position ahead


of the approaching vessel. Immediately the ECM crew initiated the


broadcast, an exact inverted image of the starship in sub-space,


effectively creating a sub-space destructive interference with the


starship's presence. The results were just as Storve had hoped for.


The alien starship came to a near dead stop as it's mass was kicked


out of sub-space by the interference pattern. The Star Destroyer


powered towards the trapped alien ship.


"Com-scan, micro-focus on that ship, I want to know what type


of life-forms operate it, I want to know what they breathe, what they


eat, what colour underpants they're wearing, and I want to know if


anybody on that ship so much as sneezes. General, prepare a boarding


party to secure that ship."


"The enemy ship is attempting to establish a sub-space


communication protocol."


"Ignore it. Commander Sarkan, launch one flight of TIE's to


fly cover on that ship till we can lock our tractor beams on it."


"Yes, sir."


The ISD swept up to the corvette, closing rapidly, and was now


less than half a million kilometres away.


"Sir, the enemy is attempting to escape."


On his display, Storve saw the enemy ship had powered up an


ion-type drive, but with a very strange signature. It appeared to


operate on a pulse basis, rather than a smooth analogue thrust system.


It was also a rather small drive by comparison to it's size, giving it


a very poor power to mass ratio, especially given the fact that the


enemy ships mass was no longer shunted into sub-space.


"Intercept course, prepare to fire ion cannons."


The alien corvette was accelerating at a prodigious rate, but


the ISD had been closing at a high velocity, and the corvette could


not hope to out accelerate the huge ship now. It had left it's escape


attempt too late. The ISD swept across it's rear, firing a volley of


ionised particles into the corvette's rear quarter. A bubble-shield


momentarily lit up as it fought to dissipate the randomly charged


particle beams, but the variation of charges and frequencies was


designed to overcome the limitations of force fields, and many charged


bolts slipped through the shield to splatter against the corvette's


hull. The hits didn't appear to cause any visible damage though, not


even a stray discharge.


They must have caused some effect though, because the corvette


disengaged it's nuclear fusion drive mechanism, and coasted along


without power. The Star Destroyer pulled alongside, it's bulk totally


dwarfing the tiny ship. A tractor beam locked onto the alien's hull,


and drew the ship down to the docking bay. A second tractor beam


locked on, and the alien ship was maneuvred into the cavernous docking


bay, and deposited on a set of universal hull clamps, which locked


into position.


One of the tractor beams remained locked on to the alien


vessel, in case it attempted an escape, and a number of stasis field


projectors were aimed at it's hull. A double squad of stormtroopers


advanced on the vessel, the sensor-data from the micro-focus already


downloaded into their battle computers. There was not a square


millimeter of space on the alien ships which had not been scanned.


They apparently had no sensor damping or static damping equipment. A


droid advanced, and began cutting through the hull with an industrial


focussed plasma torch. There was not a material or alloy in the galaxy


which could stand up to the intense heat of the laser energised plasma


in it's narrowly focussed containment field, not even neutronium based




The force blade sliced a large section of the hull away, and


the droid moved back to allow the hull-plate to fall to the deck, and


launched a smoke canister into the opening. The canister bounced back,


as it encountered a force field, beyond which two humans could be seen


aiming some sort of hand weapon at the opening. The droid, unsurprised


by the force-field, attached a number of flat disks to the hull either


side of the opening, while a group of storm-troopers aimed their


rifles at the humans beyond. The disks activated on the droids signal,


creating a stasis matrix designed to short-circuit the force field


generators. There were a few satisfying discharges at a number of


points on the hull, as the force-field generators were blown, and the


stormtroopers opened fire immediately.


One of the troopers was knocked backwards by a yellow beam


fired by the humans, before they were both smashed backwards by


several blaster bolts, their bodies ripped open and blood spraying


onto the wall behind them. The injured trooper stared at his chest in


shock, his entire breast-plate had vanished, destroyed by some sort of


chain-reaction. For some reason, the chain reaction had been confined


to the breastplate, and had not jumped the gap to his undertunic, or


across the joints to the rest of the armour. He was immediately


relieved by another trooper. The squad advanced into the ship.


A number of explosions could be heard, and the sound of


blaster fire, as the squads of troopers advanced through the ship,


blowing their way through walls where necessary, assisted by static


pulse discharges, thermal detonators and e-web light artillery pieces,


which dismantled or overloaded force fields and other blockages as


they advanced. Some of the troopers were armed with stun gas, and they


laid down a heavy barrage of the gas as they advanced. Minutes later a


squad leader returned and reported to Storve.


"The ship is secured, no casualties. The enemies hand-weapons


were low-powered disruptor type weapons. It is very materials


dependent, the chain-reaction it initiates seems to confine itself to


the specific materials it was targeted at. The reaction destroys


super-polymer armour easily enough, but it takes a second shot to kill


the trooper, although even the first shot can cause temporary


neurological damage to the trooper. I'll demonstrate."


The trooper raised a curious weapon which had little


resemblance to a blaster. He aimed at a nearby droid and fired. The


droid vanished nearly instantly, but the deck where the droid had been


standing wasn't even scorched.


"Are there any prisoners?"


"Seven prisoners, all officers. The rest of the crew were


terminated. Intelligence are interrogating them now."


"Very well."


Storve waved to one of his officers, who immediately led a


tech team onto the alien ship. The tech team knew what Storve wanted,


he didn't bother to tell them. Information about the enemy's military


forces, their weapons and shielding systems, their command and control


systems, and of course the reason for their invasion of Imperial






"Sir, the tech team has finished up. Permission to jettison


the captured ship."




The hangar crew activated the tractor launch system, and


dumped what was left of the Excelsior class starship into space. Some


turbolaser crews opened fire on the remains, blowing it into tiny




"Open a channel to Commodore Heyward. Holonet, priority two."


Storve was surprised when the vid-screen blinked on almost


immediately. But it was not Commodore Heyward. He stiffened at the


sight of Admiral Pellaeon.


"Your report, captain Storve."


"Yes, sir. Our analysis of the alien ship is attached to the


battle-report being transmitted to you now. The aliens are human,


belong to a grouping calling themselves the United Federation of


Planets. They are from another galaxy, and entered this galaxy via a


wormhole, the location of which we have triangulated. There are


another two suspected invaders within six light years of our position,


we will be intercepting them in the next few minutes."


If Storve had expected surprise on the part of Pellaeon, he


was disappointed. The Admiral didn't blink.


"Belay that. The Invincible is on it's way to that sub-sector


now as well, and will take care of the other invaders. Your job is


firstly to locate the wormhole, and then to explore the space beyond.


A task force is being assembled under the lead of the Devastator and


will follow you shortly. Our goal is to establish a beachhead on the


far side. Your mission, Captain Storve, is to ensure that we can


expand into that galaxy."


"Yes, sir."


Pellaeon cut the communication. Storve stared at the empty


space where the vid had been. The implications were clear. With an


entire galaxy to explore and to conquer, the Empire could rise to it's


former glory again. Fortunes could be made, and with the required


expansion of the fleet, those commanders who played their cards right


could rise up the ladder quite fast. The question was, had Pellaeon


known about this in advance? And if so, why only investigate it now?


"Helm, set a course for the triangulated position of the wormhole."






The Annihilator flickered into real space, and right into the middle


of an enemy fleet. Well, not quite. They had aimed for a point several


million kilometers away from the triangulated entry point of the


invaders, and their initial scan showed five alien ships congregated


at a point much closer to the calculated position of the wormhole.


"Five vessels detected. They have activated their distortion


drives, Five sub-space resonance fields detected, K-band."


"Initiate k-band interference."


The five vessels came to a stop. Four of them immediately


powered on towards the Annihilator using their fusion drives, while a


fifth held back.


"The enemy is attempting to establish a communication




"Ignore it. Close to attack range."


The four ships split into two pairs, attempting to flank the


Star Destroyer. They were still attempting to open a communications


channel. The distance separating the ships were now down to nearly one


hundred thousand kilometres, and the aliens were getting frantic about


their attempt at communications. One of the alien ships took up


position directly ahead of the Annihilator, while the others turned


and tried to maintain a steady distance between themselves and the


immense warship bearing down on them.


The largest of the alien ships was barely 600 meters long, a


third of the length of the Annihilator, but it was essentially just a


thin disk, with almost no bulk to go along with it's length. This was


the vessel that now sought to confront them. The others were of the


size of the corvette destroyed minutes before.


"Hold fire, continue closing." Storve said.


The alien ship was now barely forty thousand kilometres away,


and holding it's ground. The Star Destroyer bore down on it, reducing


the range to ten thousand kilometres in seconds.


"Prepare to fire, all forward weapons, light turbolaser to


lead ion cannons by 50 microseconds, followed by heavy turbolasers


fifty microseconds later. Fire."


The Star Destroyer shuddered slightly, almost imperceptibly,


as dozens of guns fired nearly simultaneously. Many of the larger of


those guns had recoils measured in gigatons, but the hull was designed


to withstand such recoils, and the energy of the recoil was further


dissipated by the molecular bond enhancing field which permeated the


structure of the hull. Such a broadside was sufficient to totally


disable a Victory Star Destroyer, and five such broadsides would


severely damage even an Imperial Star Destroyer.


The relatively tiny alien ship didn't stand a chance. It's


shields were strained by more than a hundred light turbolaser hits,


paving the way for a volley of ion cannon fire, which overloaded many


peripheral circuits on the starship. Storve knew that it's core


systems were almost entirely optically based, but many sub-systems


were electrically powered. Before the shields could recover, the heavy


turbolaser barrage slammed into it's hull, smashing right through it's


superstructure, and out the other side. The entire ship was one


red-orange flaming mass for half a second, then it detonated in a


violent nuclear fury, it's anti-matter containment fields destroyed.


"The remaining enemy ships are attacking."


The three nearby ships were no longer attempting to maintain


their distance, but were sweeping in on attack runs. The fourth ship,


which had held back, was running for empty space. The three ships


opened fire with their phase disruption weapons, but they just didn't


have the power to severely impact the Star destroyer's immense






"Activate point defences."


Several glowing blue missiles slammed into the Star Destroyer,


as the laser cannons on point defence belatedly opened fire.


"Damage report?"


"The missiles yield was equivalent to a medium turbolaser


blast, about a hundred megatons. Only seven impacted, not even


equivalent to a Victory's broadside."


The Annihilator's shields was designed to withstand energies


in the multi-gigaton range for several seconds at a time. It would


take dozens of such torpedoes in a continuous barrage lasting several


seconds to make an impact on it's shields.


"Turbolasers recharged."


"Overrule broadside command, allow for synchronised ripple


fire only. Keep thirty percent in reserve."


The gunnery officers punched in their commands. The


turbolasers recharge rate would automatically be synchronised so that


successive turbolaser batteries could fire every one tenth of a second


only, with five weapons in each quarter of the ship held in reserve.


The fire rate was now in the region of ten to fifteen turbolaser


blasts per second from any given quarter of the ship. With the enemy


ships spread out and attacking from different directions, that meant


each ship was attracting more than ten shots per second, with a


firepower averaging several hundred megatons per shot, and the larger


turbolaser cannons capable of unleashing several gigatons each in a


single shot.


One of the enemy ships was hit twice in succession early in


the engagement, and spun out of control, it's shields blown away. A


volley of turbolaser fire smashed into the stricken ship, and it too


detonated in a nuclear fury. The remaining ships sped after their


comrade which was now close to the position of the suspected wormhole.




"Full power to engines. Intercept vector."


The Star Destroyer leapt forward, cutting across the path of


one of the alien ships. The alien vessel fired several glowing blue


missiles at it, but the handful of missiles that made it through


didn't seriously depreciate the shields. The residual power from the


reactor was more than enough to recharge the shields, without drawing


on the auxiliary power cells. The alien vessel was engulfed by several


lances of green turbolaser fire, and went the way of the two previous


ships. Ahead of the Star Destroyer, Storve was struck by an awesome




In the midst of deep-space, where nothing had been seconds


before, a huge spinning vortex erupted. Half the instruments on the


bridge of the Star destroyer went crazy, and the two remaining alien


ships slipped into the vortex, which immediately snapped out of




"Head for that spot. Transmit co-ordinates and battle-report


to command."


The Star Destroyer vectored towards the location of the


wormhole. Once again, the spinning vortex erupted furiously. The


Annihilator aimed itself like a dart at the vortex, and accelerated


straight into it.


The stars disappeared, and Storve had a momentary impression


of immense energies, flaming vistas, blue eternity, and a sense of


timelessness. Then the stars reappeared like they always had been


there. Except, they were different. There were none of the formations


Storve was familiar with. No familiar distant nebulae he could use as


a reference for his senses. On his tactical display however, there


were several ships closing on his position. That he could deal with.


Despite being too young to have fought against the Rebellion, now


known as the New Republic, Storve was not an inexperienced commander,


he had led his ship into battle on several occasions against various


alien species, pirate gangs, and the odd dissenting star system. He


calmly began issuing his orders.


"Com-scan, full navigational sweep to maximum range. Tactical


scan, track all enemy ships. ECM, broadcast sub-space k-band


interference, jam all comm frequencies, including EM bands. CAG,


launch fighters at will. Weapons are free, synchronised ripple fire,


broadsides on my command only."


"Tactical: eight alien vessels. Repeat, eight alien vessels."


"Designate targets in order of descending size."


On the holo-display, several blips were seen to be closing on


their position.


"TIE's are away. Deflector shields are at full power."






Second Lieutenant Mithel flung his TIE fighter down and to the


left as soon as the tractor beam flung him clear of the Star


Destroyer's bulk. The computer projected a path for him to join up


with his flight group, and he slotted in neatly on the right of his


flight leaders flank. The three TIE's sped through the blackness, the


tiny black fighters almost invisible against the blackness of deep


space. They were too small for even life-support or shields to have


been fitted, their miniscule size, radiation scattering design, and


automatic ECM pods their only protection. A blinking indicator showed


their designated target. A sleek looking alien ship with a swept back


profile, reminiscent of a bird in flight.


Mithel was amazed at the clarity of his readouts. There was no


trace of signal or comm jamming coming from the alien ships.


Conversely, he knew they would have a devil of a time tracking the


tiny black TIE fighters through the jamming signals being broadcast by


the Star Destroyer. The alien ship was heading directly for the


Annihilator, and the TIE's were curving around to attack it from the


flanks, staying outside of the direct line of fire of the Annihilator.


Even as Mithel looked back, the space from the location of the


Annihilator was suddenly streaked with green. The alien ship weaved


from side to side, doggedly evading the incoming blasts, but as it


closed to within a third of a light-second of the Star Destroyer, the


blasts were tracking closer and closer to the ship. The space beyond


the ship was also streaked with green turbolaser fire, and the red and


orange of the returned enemy fire.


"Commence attack run." The flight leader announced.


The three TIEs banked towards the alien ship, and streaked


down towards it's upper port quarter. Mithel triggered his fire


control, and the computer fired several rounds, co-ordinating the fire


of the twin laser cannons to fire several pulses in the space of a


second. They were rewarded with a spectacular display of shield-glow


as the weapons fire intersected the alien's shields. Mithel banked


away, following his flight leader.


His missile indicator lit up, and Mithel banked to the right,


throwing his control stick forward, pouring power into the engine. The


TIE surged forward, his inertial compensators screaming as it fought


to keep pace with the sudden acceleration. The cockpit was momentarily


lit up as something detonated far behind. The missile indicator had


gone quiet. The enemy missile had either been targeted at empty space,


or the intense jamming from auto-ECM had confused it. The computer was


projecting a path for him, to rejoin his flight.


He was surprised to discover that the left wingman didn't show


up. Maybe the missile had done it's job after all.


"Prepare for another run." The flight leader ordered.


The two TIE's once again swept towards the alien vessel. It


was maintaining it's distance from the Star Destroyer, still flying


evasively, as one turbolaser bolt after another streaked past it. One


or two light turbolaser bolts hit glancing blows on the alien's


shields, which were flickering wildly now, and Mithel could see a few


blackened scorch marks along it's hull where turbolaser bolts had done


more than glance off it's shields. In the distance something detonated


in a brilliant blue-white explosion.


He pressed his fire button, and once again the TIE bucked as


the computer synchronised laser-cannons poured energy into the alien


ship. The first few bolts spattered harmlessly against what was left


of it's shields, then another green bolt slammed into the ship,


smashing through the shields like it wasn't there, and rocked the


alien ship severely, sending several glowing chunks of hull metal


careening off into space. The alien's shields gone, the laser-bolts


smashed into the hull, blowing panels away, and scoring deep marks


across it's left flank. Mithel centred his crosshairs on what looked


to be a weapons blister, and fired a full one seconds worth of


particle enhanced laser-cannons fire into the emplacement. As he


banked away, he was rewarded with a spectacular detonation as the


weapons pod broke away from the hull.


Another huge green bolt smashed into the alien ship from the


direction of the Annihilator, and this time tore right into the


superstructure of the ship, opening it's interior to the vacuum of


space. The ship rolled end over end, gases boiling out into vacuum,


and fires clearly glowing through the huge hole in it's side.


"He's finished. Lets get outta here." Mithel shouted.


He aimed the TIE at empty space, and slammed his throttle


stick forward, once again thrilled by the protesting scream from the


inertial compensator. Seconds later, the TIE was rocked by an


explosion, the cockpit filled with blue-white light. Glancing behind


him, Mithel could see no sign of the alien vessel.


"Tighten formation." The flight leader called.


"Yes, sir."


Mithel concentrated on his flying, and tucked in neatly behind


his flight leader. On his sensor panel, he could see they were heading


towards a formation of three alien ships which were arrowing towards


the battle, or what was left of it. On his long-range scan, Mithel


could pick out the Annihilator, it's shields were down to seventy


percent, but were being recharged almost as fast as it was being


drained. Around it, there were several clouds of debris, and of the


eight ships in the initial alien attack force, only these three




A warning indicator flashed, and Mithel noticed the power


build up on one of the three ships ahead of him a heartbeat before it


launched several glowing blue missiles. The computer automatically


locked onto the lead missile, which was coming straight for him.


Mithel hit the fire button, kept his finger down for a fraction of a


second to allow the computer to align the laser-cannon fire with the


incoming missile, then threw his controls to the right. The TIE banked


away even as the lead missile was struck by one of the laser cannon


bolts. The other missiles had been targeted at other TIE's converging


on the group. Again his cockpit was filled with radiance from several




Mithel turned back towards the alien ships. A glance at his


sensor board showed that one or two TIEs had been destroyed by


proximity detonations, but most had made it through. The TIE's swept


into the alien formation, firing laser-cannons at will. The space


around them was cris-crossed with red and orange lines as the alien


ships attempted to destroy their attackers. The TIEs were too close


for them to use torpedoes, and the small ships were difficult to track


with any accuracy with all the interference being broadcast. The TIE's


flitted in between the ships with near impunity, strafing any part of


the ships which came into view. The ships were almost continuously


surrounded by blue shield-glow as dozens of particle enhanced laser


pulses smashed into them.


"All TIE's. Clear the area. Clear the area."


Mithel didn't hesitate, he swung his TIE around an exposed


engine tube, and released the computer's acceleration override, the


facility which automatically interpreted his flight commands relative


to the acceleration and velocity of the surrounding alien ships. He


slammed his thrust control forward, and screamed in exultation along


with his inertial compensator as the TIE streaked away from the


formation of alien ships. Not a moment too soon either, as the


formation was suddenly obscured by a flurry of green streaks.


Mithel didn't know what impact the TIE's had had on the enemy


shields, if any, but the alien shields were no match for the fury of


the turbolaser blasts ripping through their formation. One of the


alien ships spun out of control as an engine was sheared off, and


another was stopped dead in it's tracks by a direct hit. The third


ship pressed on, banking to one side to avoid the incoming turbolaser


fire. The two damaged ships though had no chance, and were smashed to


pieces by several hits in quick succession.


The third ship, which was still relatively unscathed, was now


the sole recipient of the Annihilator's fury. It charmed it's way


through several dozen green streaks, launching volley after volley of


glowing blue missiles at the Annihilator. Then it's luck ran out, and


it detonated in a blue white nuclear fury amidst a shower of deadly


green streaks.


Mithel hit the auto-land button, and the TIE headed home. A


glance across the sensor board showed the Annihilator's shields were


down to less than thirty percent, but were now once again being


recharged to normal levels. Those missiles must pack some punch, he


thought, but the enemy hadn't fired nearly enough of them to make a


serious impact on the Star Destroyer. Their beam weapons were not bad


either, they just didn't have enough of them to make a difference.






"Tactical?" Storve asked.


"No signs of enemy infestation within seven light years, sir."




"The hundred light year sweep is nearly complete, sir."


"As soon as it's done, download all navigational data and the


battle-reports into a probe droid, and send it back through the




"Yes, sir."


Storve stood at the view-screen and surveyed the view. A whole


new galaxy, and soon the Empire would have it all to itself. As soon


as the Invincible arrived through the wormhole, Storve would leave it


in charge of the defence of the Imperial beachhead, and he would then


explore the fringes of the one hundred light year sphere that


navigation had almost completed mapping. In a few hours, that sphere


would be extended to a two hundred light year radius, and as more


ships arrived, they could set about seriously exploring their new










The Star Destroyer drifted silently through the blackness.


Human eyes would not be able to see it in the dim light from the


distant stars. The only sign of it's presence as Michel approached was


a few faint navigational beacons and the light pouring out of the


view-ports, where such were allowed. The tractor beams gripping his


TIE pulled the fighter around to the ventral hangars. There was a


slight bump as the TIE was forced through the atmospheric containment


fields. A gantry arm swung down and grabbed the TIE, and the tractor


beam was tasked to the next incoming fighter.


The hangar was a hive of activity, as damaged fighters were


stripped by dozens of droids, and prepped for their next sortie. The


pilots were hustled through the activity by ground controllers, and


marched off to debriefing rooms. The hangar was alive with the noise


and glare of laser welders, plasma torches, the whir and buzz of


hydrospanners and the smell of ozone and plasma coolant. In minutes


though, the noise level started decreasing as the last of the fighters


was recovered. The fighters that had been fully prepped were loaded


onto secondary gantries, and carted off to the launch bays. By the


time the Judicator came through the wormhole, the Hangar was silent,


the only noise the beeping and whistling of droids going about routine






"Judicator to Annihilator, where is the enemy?"


"The enemy has been destroyed. Transmitting battle data.


Sensor sweep to seven light years reports no enemy vessels,


navigational sweep to one hundred light years has detected no


sub-space activity. Transmitting logs."


"Thank you, Annihilator. Please maintain position. We will


resume scouting operations."




Storve was a bit taken aback, Judicator was the senior ship,


and as such should have taken responsibility for securing the


worm-hole, and sent him off scouting. He could guess why they had gone


themselves. They wanted to rack up some points. Well, let them.


Over the next two hours, Judicator transmitted several reports


back to them, expanding their local starmaps to a three hundred light


year radius, and locating three inhabited planets. Nothing




"Sir. The worm-hole is opening!"


Storve walked over to one of the rearwards facing view-ports.


A circular display of colour marked the wormhole position, which he


knew to be several million kilometers behind him. Several specks


appeared in the centre of the colourful circle. He touched the


'enhance' button on the display, and the wedges were super-scaled. Six


Imperator-class Star Destroyers, plus two Imperator Mark II's.


Commodore Heyward appeared on the holo-board. He had brought half the


sector fleet with him.


"Annihilator, where is the Judicator."


"Scouting the perimeter sir. Transmitting logs."


There was a hesitation as the Vice-Admiral scanned the summary


attached to the logs.


"Annihilator. Go to the world designated F-002. Find out what


you can about the enemy shipyards, and command and control centres."


"Yes, Sir."


Storve cut the transmission.


"Navigator, set course for F-002. Flank speed."


"Aye, Sir. Course plotted."




Storve was seated in his command seat, and he quickly called


up the sensor data on the enemy world. Low population, two major


population centres, a few small satellites of unknown type and


function. Possibly weather or communication satellites. They would


arrive in minutes, the world only being a handful of light-years away.


"TAC, on arrival launch one squadron of TIEs to take out the


satellites, a second squadron of TIEs to escort the landing barges,


and a squadron of bombers to suppress resistance. General Corran,


secure both population centres. I want ranking prisoners."


The two officers acknowledged.


The small, recently established colony world didn't stand a


chance. Their first inkling of attack was a sudden loss of planetary


communications. They were still trying to establish the cause of the


communications breakdown when the centre was rocked by several


supersonic shockwaves. People rushing out to see what was going on


were met by the sight of several immense ships landing all around the


city. Several tiny black shapes darting around over the city covered


the ships. A communications tower on the edge of the city was suddenly


struck by a lightning bolt, or at least a blue bolt from one of the


circling black planes, which caused a series of massive electrical and


plasma discharges from the building.


In minutes, the entire population was herded into the town


square, while dozens of armored figures and androids searched their


homes. Everything vaguely technological was collected, and dumped into


a huge pile on the edge of the town. A group of droids systematically


examined everything, destroying or breaking most of it in the process.


One or two self-appointed spokespersons for the colonists were


immediately marched off into one of the buildings. Seconds later,


screams were heard to emanate from the buildings.


Colony co-ordinator Jasper Brown was a tough man,


psychologically as well as physically. You had to be to survive on the


frontiers, where anything could happen and usually did. This was the


third colony to have employed him as co-ordinator during their


establishment phase. He had seen a lot and experienced a lot. He had


never experienced, or expected to experience, anything like what was


happening now.


One of the armoured figures had dragged in Councillor Johnson,


the colony leader, and casually flung her against a wall. Two other


armoured troopers stepped forward and pinned her arms to the walls. A


trooper stepped forward, carrying a power-hammer, and casually nailed


the councillor's hands and arms to the concrete wall, ignoring her


screams. Blood sprayed from severed arteries, staining the soldiers


armour. He ignored it. Another soldier stepped forward, and smashed


his armoured fist into the screaming councillor's face. Blood


spattered across her tear stained face and a tooth dribbled down her


chin in a wash of blood from her broken gums.


The soldier pulled out a knife-like implement, grabbed one of


the councillor's ears, pulled it viciously and casually sliced it off


at the base. He stuffed the severed ear into a pocket on his utility


belt. A wet stain appeared between the woman's legs, and spread down


her trousers. A pool of yellow liquid formed at her feet, marred by


red specks as blood from her destroyed face dripped into it. Brown


could hear the muffled sounds of laughter through their ugly helmets.


A brown uniformed human officer stepped into the room,


followed by a humanoid android. He wrinkled his face in disgust at the


sight in front of him. Ignoring the whimpering councillor with the


pee-stained pants, he walked over to Brown. He spoke rapidly to the


android in an unfamiliar language. The android turned to Brown.


"I am MP-29, military protocol droid for the Galactic Empire."


It said in a smoothly modulated synthetic voice that still managed to


sound somehow supercilious. "Captain Borsk would like to know the


locations of all nearby Federation starbases, the number and size of


military vessels in attendance, their fleet dispositions and the


nature and strength of their armies."


As a civilian, Brown knew little of such matters, and he began to


shake his head. Something smashed into the back of his skull, sending


him reeling to the ground. A boot smashed into his ribs and he felt


something give. A gesture from the brown-uniformed officer prevented


further punishment.


"Captain Borsk is waiting." The android said menacingly, as


the troopers dragged him to his feet.


"I don't know much about military matters. I am a civilian."


He said.


Something ticked in the corner of the officer's mouth. His eyes


narrowed, and he gestured mildly towards Councillor Johnson behind


him. A trooper stepped forward, and viciously kicked her in the groin.


She moaned in pain, her head drooping, and blood running from her


mouth. The only thing preventing her falling to the ground was the


nails driven through her forearms. The soldier who had cut her ear off


stepped forward with the vibro-blade and grabbed a handful of hair. He


jerked her head back, and ran the blade casually along her forehead,


made a smooth cut down her cheek past where her ear used to be, and


drew the knife lightly along her jawline. He tugged lightly with his


finger at her cheek, and half her face flapped forward, exposing the


muscle underneath.


"Shall we ask again?" The android asked.


Brown started talking, telling them everything he knew. The


soldiers didn't bother taking notes, the android could play it back


later on. When he was done talking, the android and the officer


conferred, the android obviously relaying some of what he had said.


The officer appeared satisfied. He smiled at Brown.


"Thank you for your co-operation." The android said smugly.


The officer turned smartly on his heel and walked out of the


room, followed by the armoured soldiers. One of them stopped at the


door, and casually levelled his rifle-like weapon at the battered and


bloodied form of the councillor, and shot her in the head. Her head


disappeared in an explosion of charred meat and bone, and so did half


the wall behind her. The wall collapsed, releasing the woman's body as


the nails broke free. The trooper turned and walked away, leaving the


colonist to contend with the smell of faeces, urine, burnt flesh and


permacrete dust. Unable to stop himself, the colonist retched in the


corner, still heaving long after his stomach had been emptied. In the


background, he heard the sound of their ships taking off.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

It had been three hours since Storve had come through the


wormhole, and little more than seven since they had first tracked the


sub-space anomalies. The news of the discovery of the worm-hole had


not yet reached Starfleet headquarters. Starbase 133 though was aware


of the discovery, but had lost contact with the ships sent to


investigate. There was no reason to suspect anything had happened yet.


The loss of contact had probably occurred when the ships had gone


through the worm-hole. It was now waiting to hear from either the


ships or from Starfleet headquarters. The signals sent to SFHQ should


arrive there in the next few minutes, which meant another seven hour


delay until the orders came back.


"Holy Cochrane!"


"What was that?" the base commander said sharply. He did not


appreciate blasphemy.


"A ship sir, sector four, a big one. Came out of nowhere, with


no warning. Activating view-screen."


The base commander's eyes narrowed. He double-checked the


scale indicator at the bottom of the view-screen. Not trusting himself


to make an accurate estimate, he asked the sensor operator.




"One point six kilometres long, eight hundred meters across


the beam."


"Open a channel, attempt to establish communications."


"No response sir." The communications officer was saying.


"Detecting a power surge. Possible torpedo launches. Belay


that, tracking 12 fighters, one pilot in each. Holy Cochrane!"


The base-commander turned to reprimand his sensor operator.


The second profanity was just too much. He was distracted by the


view-screen. It was suddenly washed out in static.


"We're being jammed, right across the spectrum, sub-space as




"Raise shields, activate video cameras. Battle-stations."


The view-screen cleared as the video-scanners came on-line.


There was nothing to see at first, then the cameras zoomed in on the


enemy battleship. An indicator showed that the image was more than two


seconds old. Something black flitted across the view-screen. The image


changed perspective, and attempted to track some of the incoming


fighters. They were difficult to see, being black, and microwave and


radio frequencies were shot to hell by the jamming. And of course,


video merely provided the after-image of where the target had been.


A video lock tone sounded from the tactical station, but was


immediately broken by a flash of light on the station's shields as


something slammed into it.


"I think they're shooting missiles at us." The sensor operator




A barrage of missiles rained against the shields, rocking the


station in a series of rapid explosions as the shields fought to


dissipate the multiple detonations. There were too many missiles


impacting in too small an area for the shields to cope, and several


made it through before the shield could regenerate. They detonated


against the hull of the station, stripping all equipment mounted on


the hull in that area. Focussing collimators for shields, video


scanners, phaser emitters, sub-space antennae and communications


dishes, all destroyed or knocked out.


"Hull breach, deck nineteen. Shields down to fifty percent. I


have lost all tracks on the enemy fighters. Last track had them coming


around for another missile run."


"We're blind! And those damn fighters are ten thousand


kilometres away. They're too small to see and too fast to track by




A series of small explosions ripped around the bridge, blowing


console after console. The bridge was suddenly plunged into ink-black


darkness, then the emergency lights came on.


"What happened?"


"We were hit by a series of ionic pulses. Strong ones. All


power routing circuitry is blown, shield generators are off-line, and


everything electrical or magnetic has short-circuited. Only the


optical core is still operational, but we're cut off from it."


Something clanged against the hull.


"That was no explosion, they're going to board us. Order the


armoury opened, distribute phasers to the crew, have security button


down the base."


"Sorry sir, we have lost all communication with the other


decks, they're on their own."


Several security personnel came running into the bridge, and


quickly set up a barricade across the blast doors, sealing the bridge


off from the rest of the ship.


"Sir," one of them reported, "my men are moving through the


base, manually locking it down. We are distributing phasers to the


crew and to civilian volunteers."






Private Nerak hung onto the restraints as the assault shuttle


clanged against the hull of the small space station. They could hear


the hiss of the hatch-cutter as it cut a hole through the enemy's


hull. A crash of something heavy told them that the hatch-cutting had


been successful. The forward doors immediately slammed open, and he


dived out of the shuttle, rolling clear of the door as a volley of


blaster fire from behind him ripped down the passage. He came to a


stop on one knee. No targets in sight. He charged down the hallway,


waving another soldier to the right as they hit a junction. He turned


to the left, firing his blaster before he even reached the junction.


Hitting the junction, he threw himself to the deck, rolling and


firing, as behind him the other trooper mirrored his actions, facing


the other way.


A group of humans in colourful uniforms came running around a


curve in the passage ahead of him, and he fired several rounds at


them. He was gratified to see two of them slammed backwards, blood


spattering on the walls nearby. Somebody grabbed his legs and hauled


him backwards as a thermal detonator sailed over his head. He barely


made it to cover before a wall of heat flashed down the passage-way.


He felt the heat even through the environmental protection afforded by


his armour. Around the area of detonation the walls ran down in rivers


of molten metal, and glowed red in patches. Charred and smoking


remains were all that was left of the colourfully clothed soldiers.


"We caught 'em in their pajamas. Move it, don't let them




The group reached a sealed blast door, and called up an E-web


crew. They mounted the mobile artillery piece in the middle of the


passage, and opened fire on the sealed blast door. In seconds it was


scorched in several places, and starting to glow red. Some of the


shots started punching through into the room beyond. Suddenly half the


door disappeared as somebody on the far side opened fire with a


disruptor weapon. A trooper dived through the opening, firing as he


went. A disruptor shot connected with his armour, de-atomising deep


tracks into the almost indestructible material. The trooper writhed in


shock as his nerve impulses was disrupted by the side-effect of the




Nerak steeled himself and dived through the opening himself. A


colourful uniform was still firing at the writhing trooper on the


floor, but seeing Nerak shifted their aim. The first shot went wide,


de-atomising a section of wall behind him. He shot the uniform,


sending her flying backwards, a hole punched clean through her chest.


Nerak rolled into cover behind a nearby console as more shots came his


way. More troopers crowded through the hole, driving the defenders




"Squad seven bravo five. You are directly beneath the command


centre of the station. Use demolition charges to breach the ceiling,


and take the command centre. Set your weapons to stun, we don't want


to damage it too badly.."


"Acknowledged." Nerak responded, not bothering to wait for his


squad leader.


Another trooper rushed forward, also having heard the orders.


Without bothering to wait for instructions he climbed onto some


equipment, and attached some charges to the ceiling, shaping them for


an upwards detonation. Everybody ducked out of the room or behind


anything with a vaguely solid appearance. Nerak readied two flash-bang


grenades and a stun-gas grenade. A thump followed by a crash signalled


the successful blowing of the ceiling. He stood up, and lobbed all


three grenades into the hole. Opposite him, a second trooper did


likewise. Not waiting for the detonations, he scrambled up the pile of


equipment and debris. As the grenades detonated above him, he launched


himself up and into the hole in the ceiling.


He felt somebody pushing his feet up as he scrabbled into the


room. He rolled clear of the hole, firing stun bolts wildly, in case


anybody was still moving. It wasn't necessary. Nobody on the bridge


was armoured, or wearing gas-masks, and they were all down.


"Bridge secured." He reported, as more troopers scrambled up


through the hole in the floor. Seconds later, he heard radio reports


of other squads reporting in.


"Engineering secured."


"Hangars secured."


"Secondary bridge secured."


The squad which had won control of the hangars had droids with


them, and the droids got to work straight away, attempting to repair


the control circuits for the hangar doors. The ship was not designed


for self-repair of circuits fused by ionic weapons, and it took the


droids some time to work around the problem. During this time, Nerak


and the other squads had to fend off several attacks from the station


crew attempting to wrest back control.


"Hangar doors opening."


Seconds later, a large shuttle came in and landed in the


hangar, disgorging forty troopers. Another forty followed seconds


later, and the two shuttles returned to the Star Destroyer for a


second load. Within minutes, the entire station was secured.


"That wasn't too bad." Nerak commented.


"Sith! I wish all boarding actions were so easy." Another


trooper responded. "No automated defences, no battle droids, no


grenades or thermal detonators. And those colourful uniforms! Talk


about wearing a nerf-eye!"


"Next time, we can just flood the damn ship with stun-gas.


They weren't even wearing gas-masks. Haw Haw."


Only seven troopers had been killed, and eighteen were


receiving treatment for neurological damage from disruptor weapons.


The remaining troopers were still coming down from their adrenaline


rush, and lots of jokes and nervous laughter was exchanged as the


adrenaline wore off.






"The computer systems?" Storve asked.


"Still operational, but many peripheral systems are damaged.


Their circuits are hard to repair, and it will take time to get the


base operational. We have tasked some of the prisoners to assist,


using threats of violence against their comrades. They have a high


level of consideration for their compatriots, and it appears to be a


successful tactic."




"Apparently they do have extensive starmaps. Once we have got


into the computer system, we will transfer them. There is one more


thing, captain."




"Their communications systems are rather slow, and during


interrogation we discovered that they had no foreknowledge of us from


the ships we destroyed at the wormhole. It is therefore quite


conceivable that their government doesn't even know they're being




"Thank You, Lieutenant."


Storve turned to the holo-board alongside his command chair,


and punched in the code for Commodore Heyward. Heyward gave exactly


the orders Storve had suspected he would.


"Maintain sub-space silence, any ships detected are to be


intercepted and destroyed before they can issue any warnings. All


worlds detected are to be reduced to level two civilisations. We won't


bother to invade them, we'll just cut them off from this so-called


Federation. The word is bound to get out sooner or later, but no point


in making it easy for them."


"Understood, Sir."


"You have done well, Storve. I will be keeping an eye on you.


Keep this up and you will be well rewarded."


"Thank you. Sir."


The admiral cut the transmission. The only thing Storve needed


now was to get into the damn computer of this so-called starbase.




"Yes, sir?"


"How long do the tech teams still need?"


"Their current estimate is two hours sir, for minimum repairs


to be conducted."


"Two hours! We only hit it with a few ion cannons!"


"Yes, sir. Apparently their computer systems are not


self-repairing. Fused systems do not automatically re-route, but have


to be manually replaced, and the technology is alien."


Storve settled back to wait. No doubt Judicator and the other


ships were having a field day searching out more colony worlds, and


bombing them back into the dark ages, while he was sitting here


twiddling his thumbs. To give himself something to do, he started


revising the battle logs of the last seven hours.






Storve's reading of the battle plans were punctuated by


computer filtered reports from the other Star Destroyers. Besides the


Annihilator and Judicator, there were six other Star Destroyers


operating in this galaxy. Two of them were patrolling the area of the


wormhole. The Annihilator, Judicator and the four other Destroyers had


between them launched one hundred and twenty probe droids. So far,


eighteen small colony worlds had been discovered within a few hundred


light-years of the wormhole. The five Star Destroyers had bombarded


eleven of the worlds into a pre-space-flight state. The next five


would be hit within the next few minutes.


Before being hit, each world was first isolated, any nearby


sub-space booster-stations would be destroyed, the world's


communications jammed, satellites destroyed, launch and landing


facilities destroyed, and every sign of space-related industry bombed


from orbit until nothing remained. The purpose of this was firstly to


prevent the worlds from cobbling together anything remotely capable of


interstellar communication, at least for a few weeks or months, and


secondly to remove the support base of any enemy starships in the




One of the lights on Storve's wrap-around panel lit up. Power


had been restored to the nearby starbase. He was already reaching for


the controls of the holo-board when it lit up.




"You have power lieutenant."


"Yes, sir. The computer core of the starbase has extensive


records. We are transferring it as we speak."




"Not very extensive sir, merely a few thousand light years


worth. Apparently they have not explored much of this galaxy."


"Strip the base of anything that might be interesting to


investigate. As soon as all data has been transferred, bring your


teams back. Bring any captured senior officers as well."


"Yes, sir. The transfer should be complete in ten minutes.


Translation into Basic has already begun."


Storve cut the transmission.






The Star Destroyer moved away from the starbase. A few hundred


starfleet personnel and several civilians still remained on the base.


They were no concern of Storve's. He had the prisoners he needed.


"Open fire."


One broadside was all that was needed. The starbase was two or


three times larger than the Destroyer, but it had never been designed


to cope with the level of fury unleashed upon it, especially without


shields. Several holes were punched right through the structure,


causing numerous secondary explosions. A few turbolasers had been set


to detonate upon impact, and these blew gaping holes in the bulbous


structure, setting it spinning slowly. Rocked by multiple internal


explosions, weakened by dozens of holes punched through it's


structure, the alien space-station slowly broke apart, still burning


furiously. A series of large explosions marked the puncturing of it's


anti-matter storage facilities, then it was consumed in a nuclear




The Star Destroyer had not even bothered to wait for this


final dying gasp, it had long since jumped to hyperspace. Storve was


eager to get back to business. By the time he had bombed the planet


nearest to him, the computer should have finished translating the


first of the starcharts and incorporated it into the navigational














Senator John Ryan was furious. He hated the supercilious starfleet


types and their condescending mannerisms. He had dozens of matters to


resolve, a tedious business at the best of times given the unavoidable


delays in inter-stellar communications, but in the last few hours


things had gone from tedious to ponderous to nothing.


"Admiral," He spoke into the vid-screen, "I have been waiting


for seven hours for word from my constituents. A delay of two or three


hours is normal, but seven hours? I have not even received an


acknowledgement of receipt!"


"Senator, I am sure that word will come through soon. Perhaps


the message has had to be re-routed because of sub-space interference.


These things do happen."


"I am afraid that is just not good enough, Admiral. The


Federation diverts a substantial amount of resources to starfleet for


maintenance of your precious starships. If we had a monetary economy,


you would have bankrupted us by now. I want you to send a ship to


ensure that communications are properly restored."


"Senator, starships can not be re-tasked for minor


communications glitches. We have few enough of them as it is, and the


Romulans have been ..."


"Admiral! I will not be held to ransom by your petty plays for


more resources and more starships. You will sort out this problem.




The senator cut the transmission with a slap of his hand. He


sometimes wished for an older age, when communications could be more


forcefully cut. Suppressing his frustration, he attempted to calm


himself so he could get back to the business of government.






A few kilometers away, in Starfleet headquarters, the Admiral


shrugged. Senator Ryan was a difficult person at the best of times. He


wasn't going to let anything slip to Ryan, but starfleet operations


had noticed the deteriorating communications from the rimward colonies


with growing alarm. Orders had been sent to the California, the


closest starship to the affected region, several hours ago. They


should have received the orders by now, but would take days to get




The cause of his worry was multi-fold. They had received a


transmission three hours ago from Starbase 133 about a possible


wormhole being investigated, but nothing since then. Starbase 133 was


the only Starfleet facility in that region, and had a full squadron of


starships attached to it. Nothing heavy or spectacular, but enough to


give anybody pause. It was strange that not even the ships had


reported in. The California was a Galaxy-class starship, not the best,


but better than anything that Starbase 133 had at it's disposal.


Considering this, he decided to send another ship.


"Ensign, what else do we have close to that sector?"


"Sir, starbase 132 has two Akira's in her squadron. They are


not the closest, but they are the most powerful ships for several


dozen light years in any direction. They can get there in four days."


"That's a day after the California. Well, better safe than


sorry. Get them moving, then."


"Yes, Sir."


Admiral Boyd called up a Quadrant level map. The sector which


had gone 'dark' was right on the edge of Federation space, on the


rimward side of the galaxy. There was nothing significant out that


way. Most of his best ships were on the coreward side of Federation


space, within easy warp distance of the usual hot-spots. The Romulans,


Klingons, Cardassia, and the Bajoran Wormhole. The rest of the fleet


was scattered all around the edge of Federation space, with the lowest


concentration of ships on the quiet rimward side, and mostly they were


old ships. Maybe he should move a few more ships around that way, he




He started issuing a string of orders, increasing squadron


strengths in Rimward starbases, and re-deploying his newer ships to


strengthen squadrons he had depleted. The end result would be that a


lot of older ships would be moved Rimwards, resulting in an increase


in numbers more than anything else, while the newer ships were spread


thinly along traditional frontiers, their individual strength making


up for lack of numbers. It would take days for the new fleet


dispositions to take effect, but it would increase his flexibility


should the communication problem in the Rimward sector turn out to be


something serious.










"Have those records been analysed yet."


"Nearly done sir. A lot of it was useless. Personal logs, art,


entertainment, cultural information, and garbage like that. We deleted


most of it, and recorded the rest for the anthropologists and




"I am not interested in anthropology. The scientists can


discover what they like from the ruins afterwards. Fleet dispositions,


starmaps, inhabited worlds, industrial centres, shipyards. These are


what concern me."


"Yes, sir. We have identified eighty-two more worlds. Probe


droids have been despatched to map hyperspace routes, and to assess


threat-levels. We have also discovered six starbases within two


hundred light-years. It appears that each starbase has a detachment of


ships assigned to it, ranging from ten vessels to fifteen vessels.


They are classified as older ships, with one or two newer warships in


each squadron. All the ships are rather small though, averaging about


three hundred meters."


Storve considered his option. His orders were to prioritise


industrial and military targets, and not necessarily to engage the


enemy. However, if he did not engage the enemy, those starships would


quickly get word out that they were being invaded.


"Patch me through to Commodore Heyward." He finally ordered.


The Commodore had of course been going through his own copies


of the records transmitted to him by the Annihilator, and had already


despatched ships to bombard certain planets identified as having


significant industrial capacity.


"Sir. I suggest a hard strike against these starbases will


leave the entire sector open."


"Denied. Those starbases are defended by a dozen capital ships


each. I only have eight Star Destroyers at my disposal. I don't need


one of them to be damaged. Once the Empire can spare more ships, we'll


hit the starbases."


"Their ships are not very powerful sir. I have engaged and


destroyed several of them already."


"According to my analysis of the captured enemy's records,


those ships were old, and close to being de-comissioned anyway.


According to your battle-logs, you engaged them in smaller groups, not


all at the same time. The wormhole, and the suddenness of your attack


separated them from each other. Hitting a starbase means you go up


against the whole lot all at once, and some of those ships are newer


models. Now, you may have met with success so far, but don't get too


eager. You have your orders."


The commodore cut the communications.


Storve fumed. Well, orders were orders, he may not agree with


them, but nobody got shot for following orders, even if they were


wrong. He glanced down his list of targets. Seeing nothing of note, he


ordered an attack on the nearest planet.


The Star Destroyer jumped directly into high-orbit on the


planet, opening fire on all satellites in line of sight even as it


launched it's fighters and bombers. A pre-set ECM package was


broadcast, blanketing the entire star system in noise and static,


blotting out a surprised squawk from the planet below. A turbolaser


cannon was automatically tracked onto the source of the surprised


squawk, and a full power blast fired. A flash from the surface, and a


rippling shockwave expanding through the atmosphere was the only


visible sign of millions of deaths as an entire city died. A few


seconds later, having scanned the entire hemisphere, a few low-powered


shots were fired at selected targets, while the fighters and bombers


curved around the planet to deal with the far side.


Minutes later, the fighters were being retrieved, and the Star


Destroyer prepared to jump to it's next target. Feeling a bit better


now, Storve sat back in his command seat for a second, then got up. He


had been on the bridge for fifteen hours, nearly two full watches, and


it had been an eventful day since the discovery of the wormhole this


morning. There was still an hour before the next watch change, but he


saw no need to stay on the bridge. His officers could handle the




"Continue down the list of targets. I will be in my cabin.


Call me if anything happens."












"Admiral Boyd."


"Yes?" What now, he thought. It was still two days before the


California would get to the vicinity of Starbase 133. Surely there


couldn't be another problem.


"We have received a report from the California."


"But it's still two days out from 133."


"Sir, you'd better come and look."


Boyd cut the communication, and swung out of bed. Minutes


later, feeling only slightly refreshed, he walked into the command


centre. His staff was ready for him, and a quadrant level map was


displayed on the main view-screen. Boyd's eyes narrowed. The one


darkened sector which had been experiencing communications problems


had grown. A large blotch of darkness marred the map of Federation


space, with a thick greyed out zone surrounding it. The icon


representing the California was now inside the grey area.


"The black area is where we know we have lost communications.


The grey area represents systems from which no recent communications


have been received. We have not yet confirmed loss of communication


with those sectors. The communications black-out is spreading, and


spreading fast."


Even as he watched the display, another system was marked as


grey, and two more confirmed black. A wave of darkness was engulfing


the Federation. Even as the thought came to him, a chill ran down his


spine, a feeling that started deep in the still-reptilean base of his




"Darkness comes." He said softly, then shrugged the


superstitious thought aside. Superstition was for the ignorant.


"You said you had a report from the California?"


"Yes, sir." The view-screen changed, showing a planet, with


the voice of the California's captain providing narrative.


"We were on course for Starbase 133, and in passing within


communications range of this world, requested a routine colony status


update. Receiving no response, and apprised of the loss of


communications in the area around Starbase 133, decided to


investigate. This is what we found."


The image on the view-screen zoomed in, then changed to an


aerial view of a smoke covered city. A crater in the centre of the


city marked some sort of blast zone, with large parts of the ground


still glowing red. Spread outwards from the blast zone was a large


blackened area with no signs of life. As the view-point shifted, the


remains of buildings could be seen, with fires still raging. The


destruction was spread over an area some twenty kilometers across,


encompassing several hundred square kilometers.


"Tell me that was an asteroid strike."


The view-screen cleared. A nearby officer cleared his throat.


"All the cities and towns on the planet were hit, both hemispheres,


and every single satellite destroyed, as well as all nearby sub-space


boosters, hence the communications black-out. The last transmission


from the California was an indication that they were staying on


torender assistance to the survivors."


Boyd's face hardened. He unbuttoned his jacket, and his


surprised staff were treated to the unusual site of the Admiral


rolling up his sleeves like a common worker about to get down to a


grim task.


"Recall the California. Have them report to Starbase 132.


Divert the Akira's to Starbase 132 as well. I hereby order a Starfleet


Grade One override of Federation diplomatic functions, and order the


revoking of clauses ninety three through one hundred and seven of the


Klingon peace accords. That should make the Klingons happy. Order


every ship on the Klingon frontier to report to Starbases 101 through


148. Then strip every single ship we can from the neutral zone and the


Cardassian frontier, and spread them across the Klingon frontier. I


also want the Earth Defense Fleet increased in strength from twenty


starships to forty.


"Send orders to all starbases in the quadrant to commence


manufacture of self-replicating mines, and to seed the orbital space


of all nearby planets with them. Incorporate cloaking devices into the


mines and to hell with the Romulans. Under Protocol Seven of the


Federation Constitution I also authorise starfleet personnel to


commandeer all resource production and to divert any and all resources


available for starfleet usage. Now get the President on a secure




The quadrant-level map had reappeared on the main view-screen.


Another star system was greyed out. Boyd knew they might as well mark


it as blacked out. The investigation of the wormhole by Starbase 133


must have unleashed some terrible force that was now invading


Federation space, and by God, they were trying to do it on his watch!


Not while he could help it.


The rate of invasion was phenomenal. The blacked out area was


expanding faster than a warp ship could keep up with. If the rate of


expansion was maintained, they would reach the heart of Federation


space in days. That didn't give them much time to prepare. His only


hope was that as the enemy forces penetrated deeper into Federation


space, the number of inhabited systems and starbases would overwhelm


them and slow down their rate of advance. He knew billions of people


must already have died, and billions more still would, but there was


nothing he could do for now.


"Have all my command staff transferred to the Sovereign. I am


moving my command centre to Starbase 74."


"Yes, Sir."


Starbase 74 was more than halfway towards the blacked out


area. Moving his command to it would drastically reduce the lag-time


in inter-stellar communications. The only problem was, it was four


days away even at high warp.


"Do we even know what the enemy looks like?"


There was no answer. Except for the blacked out area on the


starmap, and the visuals of a devastated planet, no further evidence


of an invasion had reached them yet.








The Galaxy-class Starship California had just finished


transmitting their report to Starfleet Headquarters. The planet below


was a particularly beautiful planet. Or had been. Now it's mottled


green and brown surface was scarred by raging fires and the glow of


newly awakened volcanoes. It's wispy pink and white atmosphere was


scarred by long dirty tracks of grey and black smoke. It was hard to


believe that their were still people alive down there. The


California's transporters were unable to get a solid lock on any of


the life-forms detected due to the high levels of dust, the heat waves


and the turbulence. As a result, a number of shuttles were despatched,


loaded with medical supplies and medics. A handful of security


personnel accompanied the medical teams, hoping to get some


information out of the survivors.


The Starship tracked it's shuttles as far as it could as they


descended into the maelstrom below. Soon however, no trace remained of


the shuttles. Only the starship itself was visible. The starship


captain was not worried though, he had faith in his pilots. They would


have turned back if the conditions were not passable. There was no


sign of the enemy, so the starship was on a high alert status, though


not at battle-stations. As such, there was a fatal hesitation in their


response when the Star Destroyer Judicator jumped into the system.


The Judicator had tracked the starship's sub-space signature


on it's way to the system, and had been laying in sensor-stealthed


mode behind one of the outer planets. As soon as the starship's orbit


had been established, it had initiated it's attack. It flickered into


position behind the unsuspecting starship, and fired several volleys


of turbolaser fire into the rear of the starship before it responded.


The California was the most powerful starship encountered so far, and


it did not go down easily. It powered away on Impulse (after


ascertaining that warp was denied), firing photon torpedoes out of


it's rearwards facing tubes.


The Star Destroyer however still had the superior position,


being behind it and in a higher orbit, albeit inverted. The starship


shuddered as one of it's warp nacelles broke away under the barrage,


it's shields battered aside. It side-slipped the next few volleys of


fire, firing a second brace of photon torpedoes, and raking the Star


Destroyer with it's phasers. Six of the photons were shot down, one


detonated short of the Star Destroyer, and another against it's


shields. The phaser beams rapidly reduced the shields, but before it


could penetrate the shields the California died.


The Star Destroyer remained in orbit for another thirty


seconds, scanning the wreckage, it's weapons occasionally flickering


green as it made sure that nothing significant survived. Satisfied, it


pointed it's nose at the stars, and with a flicker pseudomotion, it


was gone.


The wreckage of the California was left alone in orbit, a few


pieces falling into the upper atmosphere ignited as they were


destroyed by re-entry. Amongst the wreckage, an innocuous piece of the


wreckage began to transmit a short and very low-powered pulse at


random intervals. It was still transmitting two hours later when one


of the shuttles returned from the surface. The 'black box' was


suddenly de-atomised, only to re-materialise inside the shuttle. The


shuttle broke orbit, and dived into the atmosphere below at high


velocity. Minutes later it reappeared, but made no attempt to achieve


any form of orbit. It hesitated, as if gathering strength, then


launched itself at the stars. It did not have a transmitter capable of


reaching any nearby starbase without assitance from a nearby booster,


but it could get to within range of a starbase under it's own power.


It had to.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



The Sovereign crawled across the space between the stars. Or


so it seemed to Boyd. They were travelling several thousand times the


speed of light, but given the immensity of the distance between the


stars, it would still take them days to travel to his new






"Yes, commander."


"I thought it best to tell you. We have not received an


acknowledgement of the recall order from California. Either they do


not wish to return to a starbase, or they are unable to respond."


"Thank you, commander."


Boyd kneaded his forehead. The California was a Galaxy-class


starship. It was about the third most powerful class of starship


available to Starfleet. It was only outgunned by the Akiras, of which


there no more than a couple of hundred spread very thinly throughout a


ten thousand light-year sphere, and the Sovereign-class, of which


there were less than ten in service currently, and also spread very






Shuttle zero seven, previously of the GCS California, was


approaching extreme sub-space range of starbase 132. It began


transmitting the contents of the California's 'black box', a recording


of the starship's last moments. The transmission lasted for five


seconds, then repeated. The pilots of the shuttle had no doubt that


they were making a lot of signal noise. They also knew that the


starbase was well inside the 'black zone', and was possibly under


observation by the invaders, if not already destroyed.


After ten minutes, the pilots were sure that the message would


reach it's destination, and stopped transmitting. They immediately


changed course, heading for the more distant starbase 91, several days


away. They had no intention of putting all their eggs in one basket.




Probe alpha-one-seven was positioned between the shuttle and


the starbase, and so picked up the alien transmission seconds before


it arrived at the starbase. There was nothing it could do though,


except log that fact that a coded transmission had been received by


the starbase. Half a minute later, an identical transmission was made


from the starbase, at a much higher power setting. The transmission


was obviously being relayed to another point. The probe decided that


the message must be important. It abandoned all attempts at secrecy,


and contacted it's 'parent', the Annihilator.




Storve ran his eyes down the probe's report. A coded


transmission had been received by the Starbase from the direction of


one of the planets supposedly silenced by the Judicator. The


transmission had been relayed towards another starbase several dozen


light-years away. No doubt there were booster stations in-between


connecting them. Uncertain as to what to do, he contacted Heyward.


"I will despatch the Judicator to silence the planet properly


this time," Heyward answered, "there is nothing you can do about the


message. We don't have the ships to attack a fully defended starbase


at this time."












The Judicator arrived in orbit over the same planet for the


third time in a handful of hours. The captain was red-faced. He had


been chewed out by Heyward, in public. He had in turn chewed out his


sensor technicians and operators. The Star Destroyer unleashed it's


fury on the planet below, commencing an all-weapons bombardment that


would drain it's energy reserves to nearly zero in the matter of an


hour or two. By the end of that time, nothing remained of the


pink-white atmosphere of the planet. All that was left was a ball of


molten rock, the yellow-orange glow broken in several places by the


angry red of massive volcanic eruptions, as the planet's mantle fought


to recreate the crust that had been destroyed.


It's energy spent, the Star Destroyer remained in orbit for


several hours. It's reactor was running at full power, slowly


recharging the auxiliary power cells of the weapons, the shields, the


hyperdrive, life-support and the emergency banks. All these cells had


been drained as power was diverted into the weapons systems to sustain


the bombardment. It had used up more than a year's supply of it's fuel


in the operation. The hull of the immense warship was a hive of


activity as droids worked to repair and replace over-heated turbolaser


barrels. Four of them had been heated so badly that the barrels had


fused, and the nearby deck plates had run molten.


The Judicator's crew had vented their humiliation on the


planet below, but now would have to sit idle for half a day before


being ready to continue operations.












The Sovereign had left Earth behind several hours ago, and was


drawing ever closer to Starbase 74. It had been pushing beyond warp


nine for more than twelve hours now, and the engineers were wide-eyed,


frantically working to keep the wildly fluctuating warp-core going.


Captain Lowe had finally had enough.


"To hell with Boyd." He muttered, and ordered a reduction to


warp eight.


In the conference room which Boyd had commandeered he felt the


change in the ship signifying the lowering of the war factor. He


shrugged. He knew they could not have maintained maximum warp for much


longer. The command staff continued with their jobs. Seventy two of


the re-assigned ships had reached their destinations so far, but at


least eight hundred ships were still on the way from the far reaches


of the Federation. Boyd and his staff were commandeering every


freighter they could, and re-tasking them to transport much needed


anti-matter supplies to the front-lines, or assisting with the


operation of laying mines to protect strategic worlds.




Word of the invasion was spreading amongst the civilian


populations as fast as sub-space would allow, but not nearly as fast


as the rumour-mill preceding it. Dozens of worlds were in open revolt,


screaming for starship coverage. In the areas immediately outside the


'black zone', panic-stricken colonists were evacuating the cities as


fast as they could. Those who had access to starships had long since


left for nearby starbases or better defended worlds. Many starbases


had been swamped by the influx of civilian vessels. They just didn't


have the docking facilities to handle so many vessels.




Starships arriving over Federation worlds were welcomed with


open arms by the relieved populations, then cursed as they sped on


their way to the next planet, having seeded the orbit with


self-replicating mines. Many sent a silent thanks after the starships,


relieved to at least have the protection of the mines. The more


cynical prayed that the mines wouldn't fall on their own heads. A


number of civilian ships which had left the evacuation too late were


now trapped below the minefields. A few tried to get out anyway, not


having faith in the devices to protect them from the faceless


onslaught approaching. The minefields eagerly sucked them in, making


maximum use of the raw materials provided to manufacture additional






The old pontiac-class freighter arrived at starbase 128 with


some relief. It was overloaded with civilians, more than it's


life-support systems had been designed to cope with. The crew were


dismayed to be ordered to be on their way. The starbase was already


packed to the gills with refugees, and all it's bays were occupied by


military vessels. A request for nutrient base and anti-matter fuel was


denied. All starship related supplies had been diverted for military


use. The pilot swore at the military controller, and made as if to


head for the nearby planet. The controller warned him off. The


planet's orbital space had been heavily mined.


After some extended begging, the pontiac crew gave up. They


assumed a holding position in close proximity to the starbase. The


starbase commander looked out with some dismay. The space around his


starbase was beginning to look like an old trailer park, surrounded by


dozens of barely space-worthy ships. It appeared that everything with


a warp-core had decided to camp out in his backyard. If the starbase


came under attack, things could get very ugly.


"To hell with orders. Refuel those ships and send them on


their way. I want my lanes kept clear."






Other starbases took a more realistic view. The military would


need those fuel supplies in the coming weeks, especially seeing that


the only fresh supplies would have to be ferried in from dozens of


light-years away across hostile space. The larger ships were sometimes


refuelled, and as many refugees as possible transferred to them, then


they were sent on their way. For those that couldn't be accommodated,


minefields around friendly planets were deactivated and the ships


ordered to land. On several occasions starfleet personnel were forced


to stun or otherwise subdue civilians who felt they would be safer


onboard a starbase or military ship than a planet.


Rumours about the nature of the enemy were getting uglier by


the minute, few believed that they faced a mortal enemy. The few


descriptions of the wave of darkness spreading across the Federation


that were relayed to civilians only fuelled the rumours even more.










"Admiral Boyd."




"A transmission from starbase 132. It is a black box


recording, from the California."


Boyd gritted his teeth. That meant the California was


confirmed dead.




The officer ran through a quick analysis of the California's


last moments. The command staff watched as an immense wedge-shaped


space-ship seemed to appear out of nowhere, right on the California's


six. The California's crew frantically attempted to engage warp, to no


avail, as the starship rocked from multiple hits. Several systems were


knocked off-line as the helms-man attempted to turn the ship so more


weapons could be brought to bear. The tactical officer was thrown to


the floor as half the bridge was swept away by an internal explosion.


She lunged back to her station and resumed firing, half her uniform


burnt away and her right arm, right breast and half her face burnt to


a crisp. Her last action was to fire a full volley of photon


torpedoes. The recording ended, with a note by a shuttle pilot that a


scan of the debris had revealed nothing of non-Federation manufacture.


The California had died bravely, but had not bloodied the attacker at




"Commendations for the shuttle crew for getting this data to


us. A medal to the California's tactical officer, and to her


helms-man. Any thoughts on the attackers? Cloaking device? Weapon




"The way they snuck up on the California, had to be a cloaking


device. The ship registered clearly on the California's sensors, but


there was no sign of an approach, except for a half second of


deceleration just before it opened fire. The primary weapons used were


bolts of plasma, superheated, and fired at relativistic velocities.


Only good for short ranges of course, since they would be unguided.


Secondary weapons were bolts of charged particles, which caused hell


with the California's shielding and electromagnetic devices."


"Weapon power levels?"


"No solid readings, Sir. The hits the California took ranged


from photon torpedo level to way over quantum torpedo level. Probably


different weapon sizes. The primary weapon seemed to be several


kilograms - possibly more than a hundred kilograms - of a relatively


dense plasma, superheated to tens of thousand degrees Kelvin. Even


near misses registered as hits on the shields."


"To fire that amount of mass at relativistic velocities would


require immense energy," Boyd speculated. "The Romulans experimented


with weapons like that, but had to design a whole new ship type to


accommodate the recoil, and the weapons required regular calibration.


They were only good for a few shots. We know the Romulans still have


the technology, but have never been able to afford a whole new fleet


make-over. At least now we know what we're up against, and it's


technological, so we can stop it. Prepare a limited report for public


release, just enough to quell any rumours of superbeings or giant








Storve was idly tapping his hand to his knee as he watched the


holo-display. Another boring bombardment. Their seventh for the day.


On the holo-display a significant portion of a hemisphere was


scrolling past, as the ISD powered it's way around the planet in a low


orbit. Green lines stabbed into the holographic ground as turbolasers


lashed at industrial facilities. One after another icons representing


high technology industries winked out.


"Operation completed, sir."


"Very well, take us to the next target."


The next target was significantly deeper inside Federation


space, and not too far from a starbase. The starbases themselves were


being avoided for now, while the neighbouring systems were subdued.


Once that phase of the operation was done, the real action would begin


when the fleet moved against the starbases.


"ETA to next target?"


"Fourteen minutes, sir."


"Very well."


Storve was getting bored with this whole operation. They were


approaching the end of the second day in this galaxy, and after the


initial excitement, it was just one boring bombardment after another.


In the back of his mind, a niggling worry had started. He knew the


enemy was now aware of the invasion, and would start taking defensive


measures. It was understandable that their stardrive was slow, hence


the delay in a response, but things wouldn't stay like this. The enemy


was bound to start responding to the invasion soon.


"Approaching destination. Disengaging hyperdrive."


Another G-type star appeared in the distance ahead of the Star


Destroyer. To one side, barely visible, was a sliver of light in a


crescent shape. Their target.


"Scan for enemy ships." Storve didn't really expect anything,


they had sent a probe through this system only an hour ago and it


hadn't detected anything.


"System is clean."


"Life-signs and industrial overlay for the target."


"Reading. Activated."


The holo-display lit up, showing a false-colour image of the


planet, the colours representing life-sign densities and concentration


of industries. The planet was more heavily populated than average,


with a significant industrial base.


"Planetary defences?"


"All high-energy readings detected are consistent with


fusion-based power-plants. Satellites are unarmed. No surface


defensive installations detected."


"Very well, move in to repulsor range. Gun crews stand by for


level two bombardment. Weapons are free. Weapons are free."


The Star Destroyer moved in closer to the planet, one or two


guns firing ranging shots at the larger targets. From this range, only


the medium and heavy turbolasers would get significant atmospheric


penetration. Lighter weapons would detonate in the atmosphere,


reducing the efficiency of the bombing operation. The superheated


plasma radiated a lot of it's heat into space, and from a range of


several light-seconds would lose a lot of it's energy. Though it would


still impact heavily on the atmosphere, the blast wave might not be


sufficient to damage hardened ground targets.


"Drive emissions detected! Multiple cloaked targets! All




"Mines. The orbit is mined."


"Point defences, track drive emissions, fire at will. Helm,


come around twenty degrees. Full power to engines. Navigation, plot a


jump to the edge of the system."


The Star Destroyer had a lot of forward momentum, and the


enemy mines were launching themselves on intercept bearings, their


drive emissions the only clue to their existence. It was too late to


back out, but Storve hoped by changing direction and accelerating, he


would spoil the intercept courses of the mines, or force them to


reveal their positions by firing their thrusters. Twenty degrees would


be sufficient to veer away from the planet, without having to fight


their own momentum.


A flash behind and to one side told him of a mine that had


activated it's proximity fuse.


"Full ECM, don't make it easy for them to track us."


Several guns were firing, setting up flak-bursts in the paths


of suspected mines as calculated from observed drive-emissions. Storve


stood at the transparisteel view-port, and watched anxiously as his


gunners tried to knock down the invisible mines. The view-ports


automatic filters cut in to block out a bright flash just ahead of the


Star Destroyer. For several seconds a series of bright flashes lit up


the bridge, the automatic filters unable to block them out altogether.


The deck rumbled slightly. Either a very near miss or a direct hit.




"Holding, sir. Forward dorsal shield is at forty percent.


Minor damage to forward targeting systems. Some of the hull-mounted


sensors are dysfunctional."




"Seconds. Nearly done."


"Jump at will."


The stars vanished for a brief instant, then re-appeared.


Storve glanced at his tactical display. They had jumped to the edge of


the system.


"Damage report."


"Nothing serious. One blown shield generator, several external


sensors destroyed, forward targeting computers damaged, several dorsal


batteries report possible damage to gun barrels. Left to the droids,


we can sort it out in eight hours. With a friendly dockyard, three




"Weapons efficiency?"


"Seventy two percent on the forward-dorsal batteries. All


other batteries are at one hundred percent."


Storve considered another run on the planet below, but decided


against it. He could bombard them from long-range, or with missiles,


but it would take very long. Alternately he could use missiles and


TIEs to test the minefield, probably destroy it, but that would also


take long, and there was no guarantee that he would get all the mines.


"Send a general warning to the fleet. The enemy has seeded


their orbital space with mines. They have level three cloaking


devices, and are detectable by drive emissions from their manoeuvring


thrusters. All ships are to be on the lookout for ships out-fitted


with similar cloaking devices. We will return to the wormhole, and


conduct repairs there unless ordered otherwise."


Storve considered their options. All Star Destroyers were


equipped with static damping and sensor stealth capability, which


reduced the ships sensor profile and prevented casual scanning, but


certainly didn't render the ship invisible. Fighters and scout ships


were generally equipped with slightly better sensor damping devices,


rendering them virtually undetectable except at tactical ranges, and


even then a decent ECM package prevented positive tracking of


fighters. The TIE's were better at this than rebel fighters, being


smaller than Republic fighters and being manufactured from Radiation


Absorbant Materials. Their lack of life-support and shielding helped




Level three cloaks were familiar to the Empire, but frowned


upon for a number of reasons. The cloaking device worked on a dual


principal. Absorption of all radiation emitted by the ship, and a


modification of the electrostatic nature of the ship so that it was


effectively transparent. The absorption of all radiation emitted by


the ship resulted in a number of disadvantages. The most notable being


that the ship was forced to run on minimal power, even shutting down


non-essential systems like shields, weapons, lighting, etc. Not doing


so would put a major strain on the cloaking shield, or at best, result


in the overheating of the ship since all energy generated by the ship


would be constrained to the ship. Usually, ships could only be cloaked


for short periods of time, the bigger the ship the shorter the period


for which the cloak could be maintained.


As far as the transparency to energy was concerned, light and


sub-space energy could easily be made to pass through inter-molecular


spaces and even intra-molecular spaces, a small fraction of


electromagnetic and sub-space energy would collide with the actual


neutrons, protons and electrons of the structure. This was how the


ship perceived it's surroundings, and how it's passive sensors


operated. The result was a slight energy shadow, which was not a


problem, since no energy would be reflected back to the ship


attempting to detect it.


However, careful observation of the stellar background would


reveal a very slight dimming of stars as the cloaked vessel passed


over it, almost a twinkling effect, which would allow for a bearing


and angular velocity to be calculated, but not a range. Sub-space


detection would require a minimum of two ships, one to broadcast


sub-space energy, another on the far side of the cloaked vessel to


search for shadows. Again, no positive range estimates could be made.


However, three ships working together could roughly triangulate a


cloaked ship's position, while four ships could allow tracking


sufficient for targeting purposes. All detection methods would only


work if the cloaked ship was 'inside' the hunters' formation.


As far as Storve was concerned the enemy had revealed their


hand too soon. In their rush to defend their worlds, they had revealed


their knowledge of cloaking technology. Had it been him, he would have


allowed the enemy to bombard a few more planets, and reserved the


cloaking technology for an ambush further down the line. He made a


mental note of the enemy's tendency to compassion. That was a weakness


that could be exploited.


The Star Destroyer came out of hyperspace at the wormhole,


which was now a hive of activity. The two Star Destroyers which had


been guarding the entrance to the wormhole were now accompanied by


dozens of other ships. Four immense freighters were servicing a mobile


dockyard where the Tyrant was being repaired. It had a number of ugly


looking hull-breaches, and had no doubt jumped directly into a


minefield. Nearby, the Invincible was waiting for attention as well,


though it's damage was much less severe. Further out, three old


Victories and a group of even older dreadnaughts were on patrol.


"By the time that dockyard is available, our droids would have


finished the repairs already." Storve's first officer commented.


"There are a few supply ships over there. We'll take on


supplies while the droids are busy. See to it."


"Yes, sir."


Storve punched in the code for Commodore Heyward.


"I received your last transmission, Storve. We have re-tasked


a number of probes to return to worlds scouted earlier, and it appears


that the enemy has in fact mined a number of worlds. This will slow


down our rate of advance significantly. We are still short of ships,


but Admiral Pellaeon has promised more ships will arrive in due


course. In the meanwhile, he has sent these."


The commodore waved dismissively at the ancient Victories and




"They will have to do as far as planetary bombardment and


minesweeping goes, and they might be of limited use in ship to ship


combat. I am also transmitting a report to you of the Judicator's


encounter with a Federation Glaxy-class ship. It is one of their more


powerful designs, though not the most powerful. This encounter should


be a good indicator of what to expect from the rest of their fleet,


but bear in mind that the Judicator surprised the ship. Future battles


may not always go so easily.


"I am assigning you three Victory-class ships. As soon as you


have completed your repairs take them and finish the bombing raids on


the worlds indicated, then rendezvous with the Judicator's group


before hitting Starbase 132."


"Yes, sir."


Storve cut the transmission. They remained at rest for several


hours, while waves of shuttles darted backwards and forwards ferrying


supplies to the huge ship, and the droids went about their work


repairing the external damage inflicted by the mines. The Furious


limped into the system a few hours later, half it's bridge blown away,


and it's hull breached in several places. The damage was too severe


for the mobile dockyard to deal with, and it was sent back through the


wormhole. Storve doubted that it would be repaired in time to see this


campaign through.








The Sovereign was still several hours short of Starbase 74,


but the distance had been shortened sufficiently so that Boyd only had


to contend with a four hour time-lag from the front-line, instead of




"Incoming transmission, Admiral. It's from Giedi Prime, and it


looks like a satellite recording."




Many sensor satellites had been seeded amongst the hastily


deployed minefields, and this was one of them. The mere fact that they


were receiving a recording was indication of some degree of success.


Boyd and his staff watched the display eagerly.


A dagger shaped warship, one point six kilometers long


suddenly appeared in the distance. So it was a stardrive, not a


cloaking mechanism. The huge ship accelerated towards the planet, it's


larger weapons already firing. A secondary sensor registered severe


damage to some industrial centres on the planet, but the population


had long since moved away from the industrial sectors. As the ship


approached upper orbital range, a number of cloaked mines launched


themselves on intercepting vectors. The ship at first seemed not to


respond at all, allowing the mines to get very close. But as more


mines fired their thrusters and moved in, the ship started firing it's


point defences.


The second wave of mines were decimated as dozens of rapid


firing quad-cannons opened up on them, but the ship had not properly


tracked the first wave of mines, and the ship was momentarily obscured


by several anti-matter detonations. The ship slowed down, and tried to


turn away, it's shields reduced to nearly nothing, and several of it's


point-defence cannons silenced. A few more explosions rocked the


immense ship, ripping holes in it's structure, then it vanished.




"No. It engaged it's stardrive, but it took a beating from the




"Another transmission sir, from Gamilon Two."




A nearly identical scenario played itself out, except that


this time the alien warship responded almost immediately by


accelerating and changing course, throwing a number of intercepts off.


Several mines detonated behind it, others were shot down by


point-defences before getting into range. The picture was momentarily


lost in a wave of static, and a number of mines detonated in the hope


of being close enough to the suddenly obscured target. The static


momentarily cleared as the sensors fought to overcome the jamming, and


one or two mines exploded against the alien ship's shields. Then the


ship vanished. The sensors picked it up half a second later on the


edge of the star system, then it vanished again.


"Well, you can't win 'em all. At least we saved the planet."


In the next few minutes, two more reports came through.


Another ship badly damaged, worse than the first one, and a fourth


ship only lightly damaged. It was the last reports they would receive


for several hours, and no more worlds would be bombarded for several


hours as well.


"I can't believe the number of hits that brute took and still


got away." One staffer commented.


"Multiple independent shields. They had separate shields for


dorsal, ventral, port and starboard, as well as a shield across the


nose and the bridge. The engines were surrounded by massive field


effects as well, and the exhaust is a natural shielding."


"Well," Boyd commented, "those two ships will be out of action


for quite a time, if not decommissioned altogether. That is worthwhile


payback for the California. Maybe now they will finally be prepared to


talk, and we can get to the bottom of this mess."


There were a few skeptical faces in the command room. But Boyd


ignored them. Starfleet was not in the business of war, but the


business of peace. His command staff may not all like it, but they


would come to understand.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



The Annihilator and it's three escorts came out of hyperspace


broadcasting jamming signals on all frequencies. They were several


light-seconds away from the target planet, and quickly angled off to


enclosing positions, while maintaining their distance, wary of mines.


They paid close attention to each other's sub-space broadcasts,


attempting to locate 'shadows' in the sub-space energies indicative of


energy lost to a passive sub-space sensor.


"Tracking eighteen possibles. All close in to the planet."


"Close formation to ten diameters."


"Thirty two confirmed, seventy possible."


"Target and destroy confirmed targets, close to five




"One hundred eighty seven solid targets."


"Target and destroy. Close to three planetary diameters."


"No readings."


"Launch bombers, have them do a few fly-bys close to the upper




Storve watched dispassionately as the bombers made one pass


after another, gradually working their way closer to the planet. They


were maneuvrable enough to stand a chance of evading any mines which


attempted an intercept, and were large enough to provide a reasonable


target for any lurking mines.


"Were any communications detected from the planet's surface?"


"None strong enough to have made orbit against our jamming




"Very well, have the Victories move in to one diameter and


commence bombardment."


Storve checked the clock. At the enemey's sub-space


communication speed, the nearest starbase was one point five hours


away. He could get there in twenty-five minutes despite his slow


escorts. More than enough time for his escorts to pound the planet,


and his sensor crews to evaluate their performance against cloaked




"Bombardment completed, sir."


"Set course for rendezvous one."


"Yes, sir. Plotting. Transmitting jump co-ordinates. Fleet


acknowledges. Jumping. ETA Twenty ten minutes seventeen seconds."


Storve's group would link up with the Judicator's group and


they would combine forces for an attack on the starbase. Heyward had


given him command of the attack, Judicator's captain still being on


reprimand for not intercepting the California sooner. The heavy


casualties on the Tyrant and the Furious had sent a wave of bitterness


through the fleet. The crews were used to casualties, but the use of


cloaked mines had angered a lot of people. They were a coward's


tactic. The crews, and their officers, were keen to get some payback.


The Judicator and three dreadnaughts were already on station


at the rendezvous point. Storve bit back a smirk. He had been taken


aback at having to take three old Victories as escorts. He could


imagine the disgust of the Judicator's command crew at having been


given the dreadnaught heavy cruisers as escorts.


"Fleet message. Judicator to form up on Annihilators


starboard, at double optimum weapons range. The Star Destroyer's will


jump in to three light-seconds range. Dreadnaughts and Victories will


jump in to fifteen light-seconds, in enclosing formation. Scan for


mines and cloaked ships, then close in to screening positions. The


Star Destroyers will engage the enemy, escorts primary duty is


screening the Star Destroyers. Each bomber squadron will have one


squadron of escorting TIE's. Primary target is enemy industrial


facilities in the star system. Remaining TIE squadrons will engage


enemy starships first, the starbase second. Transmitting jump




Storve's intention was to attack the enemy starships and


starbase as hard as possible with his Destroyers. The enemy would only


be able to counter the Destroyers by running a gauntlet of fire from


his escorts. If they attacked the escorts, then it left his Destroyers


free to engage whatever targets he chose. He would rather lose a


Dreadnaught or Victory than an Imperator.


The fleet flashed into the system, and immediately activated


full all-spectrum jamming. The first bomber squadrons were dropped


immediately, followed by their escorting TIE's. Already, the sensor


data from the six escorts were picking up enemy unit dispositions. The


starbase was five times the size of a Star Destroyer, and was in a


high orbit over the planet. The lower orbits were littered with


communication and weather satellites. As the ships drew closer to the


planet and it's orbiting starbase, the sub-space energy blanket


beginning to pick up cloaked mines in-between the comm and weather




"TIE's, do not, repeat do NOT destroy the mines. Punch through


the minefield into the atmosphere and commence planetary bombardment."


Two huge doors ponderously slid open on the starbase, and


three small starships slipped out in quick succession. Bits of the


starbase also seemed to break away. The bits turned out to be other


starships which had been hull-docked.


"No sign of ECM. No enemy fighters detected. Total defensive


force appears to be fourteen capital ships of gunship and corvette


size. Enemy designations have them as light cruisers and frigates."


"Intelligence have put a team of programmers to work on enemy


transponder codes. No results yet."


Storve ignored the comment. Code-breaking rarely occurred in


any battle, although the New Republic was known to have a few top


slicers working for them.


"Leave the starships to the fighters, primary target is the




"ECM crews have analysed all starship's sub-space signatures.


Broadcasting destructive interference for all enemy starships."


Two of the starships broke away and attempted to intercept the


TIE bombers, but were forced to take evasive action when met by a


swarm of tiny proton torpedoes. Their phasers flickered through the


torpedo swarm, but the missiles were very tiny, and most of them made


it through. By the time they had turned back on course, the TIEs had


reached the minefield. The bombers ignored the mines, relying on the


escorting fighters to shoot them down. Most of the bombers made it


through into the atmosphere, but the fighters were forced to break


away as a number of mines detonated in the wake of the bombers. Storve


spotted them.


"Fighter groups one and two to attack the starbase."


The Star Destroyers were also approaching extreme range on the


starbase now, but twelve enemy starships had formed into a close


formation and were moving to cut the Star Destroyers off from the


comparatively immobile starbase. "Ignore the starships," Storve


told his gunners, "leave them for the escorts. Helm, maintain course."


Four of the escorts were within line of sight on the enemy


starships, two more being on the far side of the planet, assisting in


setting up a sub-space web for detecting cloaked mines and ships. The


four escorts opened fire on the approaching formation of starships,


pumping flak-bursts into their path and concentrating on the lead


ships. Six squadrons of TIE fighters were harassing the rear of the


formation, but the starships ignored them, reserving their weapons for


the bigger ships.


It was a mistake. TIE fighters were not very powerful


individually, but that wasn't the point. A squadron of fighters firing


linked bursts of laser-cannon fire plus multiple volleys of linked


proton torpedoes were extremely efficient at punching tiny holes in


the shields of much more powerful capital ships. Their job was to


knock out weapons blisters, shield generators, sensor pods,


communications dishes, or even to cause tiny breaches in the hull.


Four of the starships were damaged in short order, and they broke away


from the formation to deal with the TIEs, joined by the two starships


which had failed to stop the bombers.


This too was a mistake. Immediately the six squadrons of TIEs


raced for the main formation, while three dreadnaughts and a Victory


moved in to isolate the six ships from the main formation. They were


joined seconds later by the other two Victories powering in from the


far side of the planet. The two Star Destroyers ignored the main


formation of starships, and opened fire on the starbase. The eight


starships of the main formation were themselves now being harassed by


the six squadrons of TIEs. They fired several torpedoes after the Star


Destroyers, but to no real effect. They were unable to capitalise on


the reduced shields without opening themselves up to even more attacks


by the TIEs. Torn between the two groups of targets, they were forced


to engage the TIEs.


"Set guns for broadside mode. TIE groups one and two to clear


the starbase. Fire."


The starbase was hit by alternating broadsides, first one from


the Annihilator, then one from the Judicator.


"Break away, target the starships, fighters to hit the




The starbase was still functional, despite several breaches.


The main damage was that it had lost shields across one entire


hemisphere. A weakness the TIE fighters could exploit best. All eight


squadrons of TIE's accelerated towards the starbase, firing torpedoes


and laser-cannons as they came. The escort ships were gaining the


upper hand on the smaller group of starships, four of them having


already been damaged by the fighters.


The larger group of Federation ships, eight of them, two


visibly damaged by proton torpedo hits, moved to engage the Star


Destroyers, finally rid of the pesky TIE fighters.


"Set gunnery for fleet mode, move to supporting position on


the Victories. We'll hold them while the TIEs finish the starbase. How


are the bombers doing?"


"Seventy percent of industrial targets destroyed."


"Set point-defence weapons to open a path through the


mine-field for them. Have the escort ships pull back to screening


positions on the Star Destroyers."


"Judicator's got one."


A distant flash confirmed the sensor operators call. Three of


the enemy starships were attempting to withdraw, racked by internal


explosions and trailing superheated plasma. One of the dreadnaughts


suddenly staggered and rolled away, a jet of gas escaping from it's


wounded side. A Victory automatically laid down covering fire as the


dreadnaught crew fought it back into position. A starship attempting


to move in for the kill walked straight into a barrage of fire from


the Victory.


"TIEs report the starbase is finished."


"Recall TIE's. Have the bombers make a pass on the starbase on


their way back."


Storve glanced over his display, keying for a close-up on the


starbase. All it's major systems were down, there were no sign of


shields, and it's hull was pockmarked by breaches, through which


several internal fires could be seen. The starbase had also lost all


attitude control, and was slowly tumbling end over end.


"Got 'im," came the exuberant shout of the starboard gunnery


control sergeant. Storve frowned. He would not tolerate indiscipline


from any member of his crew.


"Lieutenant. One demerit to you, and to your starboard gunnery


control sergeant. Ensure that your men observe proper reporting


procedures in future."


"Yes, sir." The lieutenant glared in the direction of his


subordinate. He made a mental note to mark up three extra demerits for




The enemy ships had reformed, with the stronger ships proving


cover for weaker or damaged ships as they withdrew. The escort ships


followed the retreating ships, and Judicator made as if to follow.


"Recall all ships, stand by to recover fighters."


The returning bombers made one final pass on the ravaged


starbase, as the remaining enemy starships reached the limit of


jamming range and jumped out of the system. Storve glanced at the


strategic display, counting the sub-space anomalies characteristic of


the enemy stardrive. Nine ships. All accounted for.


"Victories to clear the minefield, Dreadnaughts to provide


sensor support. Knock out all satellites as well."


The two Star Destroyers drifted closer to the stricken


starbase. Storve picked up a few stray life-signs on the starbase.


There were still people aboard, either trying to save it or escape it.


Judicator fired a broadside into the structure. The life-signs


disappeared as the structure broke into three separet pieces, one


headed for the planet below. That was bound to cause some damage.


Storve shrugged.


"All fighters recovered, sir. We lost sixteen, Judicator lost




"Navigation to set course for the worm-hole. Jump at will."


He wondered if he had done better than the Invincible's group.


They had been sent to hit one of the other starbases.








The area around the worm-hole was even busier than Storve


remembered. The Tyrant had been patched up and sent back through the


wormhole, and the mobile dockyard was working on the dreadnaughts.


Three of them were badly damaged, as were a Victory belonging to the


Invincibles group. The Victory would probably have to be scrapped.


Storve bit his gums to hide his elation. His battle record was now the


best in Commodore Heyward's squadron. If there were any promotions to


be had out of this campaign, he would be first in line.


"All ships are to lay up for three hours, while the escorts


are repaired." Heyward informed them. "My information is that the


Admiral will be here by the end of that time with the major part of


the fleet. Analysis of enemy communication patterns have revealed that


all communications for this entire half of Federation space is being


routed through the starbase designated number seventy four. Long-range


scans by probes in the area have also revealed that a total of sixty


three starships are converging on this starbase. Amongst these


starships, one of them stands out as significantly faster, and having


a significantly higher volume of communications passed to it.


"Intelligence believes that this ship is carrying the senior


officer for this entire sector. As soon as Admiral Pellaeon arrives,


we will launch an all out strike on this starbase. If we can destroy


this fleet and capture or kill this officer, we are confident that the


entire sector will fall, opening the way for a strike on the enemy's


home planet."


"Only sixty ships sir? Don't they have a fleet of some five


thousand vessels?"


"Yes, but these ships are spread very thinly, most of them


committed to border zones with other races. They are too far away to


make a difference, many of them are several months away from Earth,


the enemy's capital world. Destroy starbase 74, and we destroy all


defensive co-ordination for a four thousand light year region. Capture


Earth, and we can force a surrender of the entire Federation."


The Imperial forces gradually grew in strength, to a full ten


Star Destroyers and more than thirty Victories and Dreadnaughts. Then


Admiral Pellaeon arrived.


A collective hush fell over the Imperial forces as they caught


sight of the monstrosity the Admiral had brought to the Party. An


Eclipse Star Destroyer. Only two had ever been built, the first having


been destroyed by massive series of discharges of unknown nature


during a New Republic raid, taking the mad Emperor Palpatine with it.


The second had never been completed, and had also been rammed by a New


Republic Star Destroyer before mysteriously vanishing. So Pellaeon had


kept it on ice all these years, and somehow seen that it was finished.


The Eclipse itself was accompanied by another ten Imperators, four


Allegiance class heavy cruisers, and several Interdictors. Not that


the Eclipse needed Interdictors, it had it's own gravity well










Boyd looked at the bulk of Starbase 74 with satisfaction. It


was one of the most impressive structures controlled by the


Federation. It was second in size only to the massive Space-Dock.


Surrounding the starbase, and dwarfed by it, were more than five dozen




It was while the command staff were relocating from the


Sovereign to the immense starbase that the reports started coming


through of the resumption of the enemy advance. A number of planets


had been marked 'grey' as communications were lost. Most disturbing of


all was that two starbases had also gone 'grey'. The enemy had started


moving against harder targets now as well. Boyd decided it was time to


bring out the heavy artillery.


"Send a message to the Neutral Zone. Every second Akira, and


all Sovereign and Galaxy class ships are to head to Earth at maximum


warp. The Galaxies are to be refuelled and sent on to starbase 74.


Deep Space Nine is to be turned over to the Bajorans, and all


Federation forces in the area, including Defiant and Enterprise, is to


report to Earth and await further orders."


Boyd ensured the order was sent off, and turned to the main


view-screen to see what else he could do.


"Send a message to the Klingons. As Admiral of the Fleet for


the Federation, I formally request their assistance in this matter.


All Klingon ships that can be spared is to be equally divided between


Earth and starbase 74."


The communications were properly worded and despatched. The


reports received from the surviving ships attached to the destroyed


starbases indicated varying levels of damage to the enemy fleet. The


fact that only two starbases were hit, by eight ships each, indicated


a relatively small enemy fleet was operating in Federation space. Boyd


hoped the damage to them was severe enough to hold them off for


another few hours. Every hour gained meant another planet or two


defended with mines, for all the good that would do. It also gave his


ships that much more time to reach their destinations. A secondary


worry was beginning to nag at him as well.


The sheer volume of fleet movement and the speeds necessitated


by the rapid invasion meant that deuterium and anti-matter stores were


being used up faster than ever before in Federation history. There was


more than sufficient fuel in storage though, except that a third of


the production base had been destroyed in the last two days. Also, it


appeared that the new fleet dispositions had caught the supply


freighters by surprise, as all the fuel storage depots were positioned


strategically relative to the more traditional trouble spots, which


meant that a fair portion of his merchant fleet would have to be


dedicated to lugging fuel after his starships.


If the war continued at this pace for several months, his


ships would start running into major re-supply problems. Then a


comforting thought occurred to him. If the war continued at this pace


for several more days, there wouldn't be a Federation left to defend.


As if reading his thoughts, the battle alert sounded. There had been


no warning of approaching ships, but all the sensor boards were


screaming and flashing as they registered potential threats.


The view-screen flickered from one sector to another, Boyd


barely having an opportunity to count and assess the threats in each


sector. Then the view-screen reverted to an earlier sector. Two of the


massive dagger-shaped warships were visible, gliding over a metallic


surface. That wasn't right, Boyd thought. The view-screen was set to a


new magnification by an operator. Now there were five Star Destroyers


in picture, all much smaller at this magnification, with something


else sticking out of the bottom of the view-screen. The view-screen


panned downwards, and now Boyd could see that the surface over which


the Star Destroyers were gliding was in fact the hull of a starship.


A massive starship.


It dwarfed the starbase.


It even dwarfed Space-Dock.


It was clearly not a space-station, it's lines vaguely similar


to the smaller dagger-shaped warships surrounding it. Boyd could see


that it was in fact a spaceship, and not a space-station, but he


couldn't quite grasp that anybody would build something so massive.


In the nose of the immense starship, several green beams


lanced out, and joined in a nexus of energy just ahead of the




"Energy readings have gone off the scale." He heard somebody




The incredulity in their voice not quite matching up to the


incredulity of the sight on the view-screen.


Time seemed to stand still for Boyd. In his mind he saw what


was coming, and he knew there was no escape. Everything ran in


slow-motion before his eyes. A pulse of energy ran out along the green


lines, the nexus of energy doubled in size, then a single much larger


beam lanced out of the ship, into the nexus of energy. The beam shot


towards the view-screen.


Boyd's last thought was one of anger at the universe. All the


Federation had strove to achieve. The betterment of humanity. Peace


and goodwill. The unity of the galaxy's species. Centuries of strife


and suffering and achievement and tears and happiness and laughter and


learning and sacrifice. For nothing. And he didn't even know why. Or








Storve glanced at his display. The opening shot of the Eclipse had


totally destroyed the starbase, taking at least a dozen starships with


it. The Imperial fleet was spread over several light-seconds, and now


easily outnumbered the remains of the Federation fleet. This battle


would be over before the Eclipse could fire a second shot. It had been


a good three days.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this