Space Lasers Sci-Fi Contest Entry
|Admiral Joe Carpenter was an impressive figure of a man, six foot four, with a strong muscular build, a craggy face, and a strong jaw. In his uniform, his chest bedecked with medals, he radiated authority. The Admiral stood on the bridge of Earth's flagship, the cruiser Earth Republic Ship Victory. He had two more cruisers, ten destroyers, one hundred heavy drones, and about 3000 small battle drones at his disposal for this battle. He addressed Captain Starling of the ERS Victory.
"Captain, status report!"
"The Empire's fleet is being tracked through the asteroid belt."
"How many, how are they armed?"
"Just two space cruisers and seven destroyers. They have a mix of missiles, rail guns, and heavy lasers, much like our own."
Joe scratched his head, Why invade with an inferior fleet? What is the Emperor's game here?
"OK plot intercept course, prepare for battle."
"Yes Admiral, time to intercept is estimated at three days"
"Let me know when we are coming into range"
With that, the Admiral departed the Bridge.
Admiral Joe Carpenter was in conference with the Earth Republic's President, with the Secretary of Defence in attendance also.
"The fleet is small, Mr. President. If this is an invasion then it seems strange they did not bring more ships."
"So where are the rest of their ships?"
"At the Empire's habitats around Jupiter and Satan."
"Is their weaponry more advanced?"
"Not according to the latest intelligence, no. They use a similar design to the Helios Mark XV 20 tonne laser design we use, in fact, they probably stole our design. This will puncture a hole in the hulls of destroyers but not a cruiser. They have the same rail gun technology and the same nuclear and conventional missile technology also."
"Any idea on motives here?"
"Well, we have been more successful at preventing their pirate activities against our cargo ships and mining facilities in the asteroid belt recently. Losses are down some 60%. Also, there are those reports of the blowout at the largest habitat in Saturn orbit. Intelligence estimates, some fifty percent of their food supply may come from that habitat. If they are starving, this may be an act of desperation?"
"They could always ask for our help, they always resort to war. "
"The Empire was founded by rebels. It will die by the sword it swears by."
"You knew the Emperor, before he escaped from the earth, a hundred and fifty years ago, did you not?"
Joe looked nervously at the president, wondering just how much he knew about that story.
In response to the look, the President said. "Don't worry your identity is a state secret, Joe. It is why you were chosen for this mission. Is the Emperor an immortal like you?"
Joe paused, finally concluding he should be honest.
"Both the Emperor and his Queen are possessed by senior fallen angels, once close to Lucifer himself. His powers come from these. They were atheists before they were possessed and now it is too late for them. They are not immortal like me and their powers do not serve God."
"Be careful out there Joe, the Republic needs you to keep us on track."
"Mr. President, I have lived through many kingdoms. I witness to a Higher Power."
"Nor would I want it any other way, God speed Admiral"
"Thank you, Mr. President, I will keep you informed."
As the two fleets approached each other, the Admiral barked his orders.
"Show me the battle map on screen"
A picture of the fleet deployments, appeared on screen, with the enemy shown in red. The enemy was approaching in a long line.
They are deploying to keep an open field of fire, to maximize their firepower.
"Form up the fleet, behind this cruiser, in a single column, and advance towards the enemy. Unload our railgun rocks into a nano-net and deploy it in front of the ship, for extra shielding"
"Make it so!", the Captain repeated the order turning back to the Admiral with a smile, "Like Nelson, at Trafalgar?"
"Exactly, their lasers are wasted on this ship, the rocks in front will protect us from the lasers and railguns and screen us from the missiles. If we hide the destroyers and drones, behind the cruiser, we minimize our losses until the last moment. Then we break out and hit them with everything we have."
And the powers God gave me will allow me to crush the guidance systems of the missiles, they direct our way, he thought to himself.
The railguns were unloaded into the latest nanonet design. Once the required pattern of rocks had been achieved the nanonet sealed the bond between the rocks so that they became a single rock. The seal being stronger than the rocks themselves and diamondoid in composition. Twenty heavy drones were then deployed to push the rock-shield some ten miles in front of the flagship.
The Admiral barked his orders, "Don suits, compartmentalize the ships, remove the oxygen."
The crew complied insulating themselves and the ship from any hull punctures coming as a result of the battle.
The enemy fired everything they had at the lead cruiser to no effect. Their missiles were intercepted, thudded harmlessly on the rock barrier screen in front of the cruiser, or mysteriously malfunctioned. A fact the crew attributed to luck, rather than the presence of the Admiral on their ship. As the cruiser penetrated the enemy line, the breakout was ordered. Drones and destroyers targeted the closest ships, side-on, where their armor was weakest. The enemy lost a cruiser and four destroyers in minutes and shifted into a headlong retreat.
The Admiral could hear the cheers of the crew, as the Captain said.
"The enemy is bugging out, congratulations Admiral, should we pursue?"
"Yes let us finish them once and for all."
"Admiral the enemy is slowing down. They appear to be heading for that cylindrical-shaped asteroid. Ships are disappearing into the asteroid as they arrive. There is a single cruiser some thirty-five miles in front of the asteroid."
Joe recognized the shape of the base. It was the old habitat from Saturn which had had the blowout a few months ago.
"OK they have a base here, it looks like the old Saturn habitat, slow the fleet, this could be a trap. Form a line of cruisers and destroyers, earthside, but let us keep our distance for now. Put out drones on that cruiser and the habitat and give me full surveillance."
Joe Carpenter watched as the battle map changed according to these orders. He pondered how he could crack that habitat open. Only a barrage of nuclear missiles would probably suffice.
"Order the fleet to deploy nukes, target the habitat, let us hit them with everything we have. Do it now, fire when ready."
A barrage of nuclear missiles flew towards the habitat, it would be several minutes before they reached their target. When the last missile had been fired there was nothing to do except watch the show. But then as the Admiral watched he saw with some shock the habitat start to project a solid beam of energy into the back of the cruiser in front of it. Presumably, this was generated by the fusion reactor that used to power the Habitat's life support.
"Scan that cruiser. Put the results on the screen."
The cruiser had been stripped of all its weaponry bar three laser guns at its front of a new design. These seemed able to focus the raw energy channeled from the habitat into a viable point defense system. The laser fire from the cruiser swept across the lines of missiles targetting the habitat frying the circuitry in all of them and blowing them out of space.
"Admiral, we have lost all our missiles, Oh no, they are targetting our lasers."
The Admiral watched in horror as the rapid fire of the enemy's lasers took out the fleet's laser guns.
"Fire lasers and railguns at that cruiser?"
They tried, but there were not enough lasers left and projectiles were incinerated en route by the point defense system of the cruiser.
Shit, has the Emperor outwitted me? .
Joe watched in some horror as destroyers started blowing up all around. But he realized that the enemy's secret weapon lacked maneuverability.
"Get the fleet out of here. Use asteroids for cover, or nanonet railgun rocks if you cannot find any. Remove all personnel from this ship. I repeat, remove all crew. Once you've set the course, Captain Starling, I will pilot this cruiser into the focusing device, for the laser. I will stay to make steering corrections, if its course is disrupted by hits, on the way. Captain Starling, you will leave the ship and assume command of the Fleet on board the cruiser ERS Invincible. Take the crew with you. I promote you to Vice Admiral here and now. You will lead the fleet around the dark side of the habitat and blast it to pieces. The ERS Victory's course, rocks front, will slam it into that cruiser. This will destroy the focusing mirror and distract the enemy from your circling manoeuver.
"Yes Admiral, thank you, sir, it has been an honor serving with you", replied Vice Admiral Starling, acknowledging the Admiral's plans with sadness in his eyes. "I will have the controls locked to this pilot console" and he pointed to the place.
The fleet left quickly, having lost three destroyers. Two lifeboats took the crew off the cruiser and departed with the other cruisers.
Admiral Joe Carpenter's last communication was.
"Vice Admiral Starling, do not let the Emperor escape the habitat."
As the cruiser approached, Admiral Joe Carpenter kept the ship on a steady collision course. The drones in front, pushing the rocks, were tied into the same control stick. As the ship approached, the focal mirroring system of the laser, the rocks in front literally melted. Nonetheless, they kept their momentum forwards, now as liquid fire, until finally, they evaporated, just before hitting the focusing structure. It was then that Joe sensed the full power of the Emperor and his Queen, desperately trying to push him off course.
It is too late. Your plan has failed Joe thought, as he countered the Emperor's attempts.
The rocks had done their job and the cruiser behind them was still intact. Nothing could stop it now.
I wonder how I am going to climb out of this one
As he glanced down, he noticed a half-eaten box of Hawaiian Pizza, lying beside the console, obviously forgotten in the rush. As his mind wrestled with the Emperors, his last conscious thought, before the ERS Victory slammed into the device, destroying it, was, I hate pineapple with pizza
Broken by the collision, and avoiding the solid beam from the habitat, now directed uselessly into empty space, the cruiser continued on a dead and dumb course towards the enemy habitat. Three missiles approached from the habitat's surface and hit the cruiser. It broke into more pieces, its debris, and Joe's space-suited body fell onto the habitat, where he was buried alive by the deluge of ship fragments. A rock shattered his suit and his body froze solid. The Earth Fleet completed its encirclement and fired missiles that blew the habitat into pieces. Only a single fast ship escaped their blockade.
The Earth Republic publically hailed the battle as a victory, having destroyed the enemy fleet, but the loss of their admiral was a devasting blow. Had the Emperor captured him or was he still out there frozen in the void of space, unable to die and yet so also unable to live?
No copyright infringement is intended with the use of Jonas Clark's image.