Odyssey into Hell

"It's them. They... are coming."

By on May 30, 2008 12:44:09 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Eidolon1032

Join Date 03/2007
+4

Chapter 1: Awakening

Varna Station, Tau Ceti system

Lieutenant jr. Jack Nicholson put his coffee cup on the steel desk near his radar screen. He chuffed, stirring the black liquid.

The same job eight hours a day, six days a week, four weeks a month. And it never happens anything exciting. I never thought I could miss the Drengin Wars. At least then I had something to do. The most interesting thing that happened in three months had been when Lieutenant Esher put a Torian lizard in Commodore Fitherly’s shower. Her cry made the security marines crazy. He chuckled at the thought. That had been a funny day. Not so funny for Esher, however…

But it seemed to have happened years ago. Now there was only a boring, unstoppable routine.

“Warning. Possible detection of an Unidentified Flying Object. Position 234-454-545.5. Elaborating data…”

Oh, great. Another comet. Hooray.

The SID – name that the crew had affectionately given to the interception control AI of the station, in honour from the old 1980’s - UFO TV show – slowly started grinding ciphers and spitting out analysis.

“Data elaborated. Detection confirmed. Position 234-457-546.1. Speed 95 m/s. Requesting IFF…”

Jack relaxed on his seat’s back.

“Friendly IFF. Object classified as Aenius-class starfighter, Terran Alliance.”

What the hell…?

The radio began crackling.

“Var… Station, do y…ecive m…”

“Aenius fighter…” He checked the screen “…989, here is Varna Station. Please switch on secure channel Alpha-Bravo-Six.”

“I can… acc…”

“Please repeat, Aenius 989.”

“I can’t accomplish… sustained… damage… requesting assis…”

Jack switched some switches, directing three microwave-comm. antennas on the unexpected visitor.

“Aenius 989, can you receive me better now?”

“Affirmative… Here is Cadet McJones of the 33rd Flying Daggers… reporting heavy damage… hull integrity is failing… requesting immediately rescue!”

“Copy that, Cadet, please stand by.”

He moved to another visor, looking for a ship near enough to the fighter to help it, but the pilot stopped him.

“I can’t! I need assistance NOW! They… they are here!”

“They? Who are they?”

“I need coverage! Oh, God, they’re here!”

“Cadet, keep quiet! WHO is there?”

“They… They’re firing! I need help! Anyone! I ne…AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!“

The communication was suddenly interrupted.

“Cadet?”

------

TAS Hammerhead, Tau Ceti system

TAS Hammerhead, here is Varna Station, please respond.”

Without raising his eyes from the magazine that he was reading, Dave opened the channel.

Varna, here Hammerhead, receiving.”

“We’ve lost contact with one of ours fighter, coordinates 234-458-599.4. It had… reported something strange before he cut the communication. You’re ordered to look for it.”

“Another disappearing ship? It would be the… sixth, this month?”

“Yes, but it would be the first in our system.”

“Ok. Further details?”

“No. I even don’t know what the hell was it doing out there. According to registries, Aenius 989 should had been detached to the 33rd fighter squadron in Procyon.”

“Two systems away from here?”

“Yes.”

“Well, it’s strange. We’ll report ASAP.”

“Good luck, lieutenant. Varna over.”

“What orders?” Harper asked.

“To investigate the disappearance of one of ours fighters.”

“Well, more interesting than comet catching.” Dimitri commented.

“Set a course. Par seven speed.”

“ETA twenty minutes.”

“Shouldn’t we use maximum speed, sir? It’s a rescue mission, after all…” Ensign Arcoxia Seeve, the new entry in the Hammerhead’s crew who had replaced Renee, objected respectfully.

“Relax, rookie. We’ve got all the time. It isn’t a life-or-death matter.” Dave responded.

“But sir, the fighter is in…”

“It’s probably only a problem with the radar response. Don’t worry.”

“And the Hammerhead just made it through refit. We shouldn’t push the new engines too hard without a regular test.” Qin definitely closed the discussion.

“Listen a fresh-graduated Xeno Engineer, Arxie.”

“If you think so, Commodore…”

------

“Let me guess, Arxie. Nothing on the radar?”

The young Ensign shook her head.

“No, but… well… not exactly…”

“What’s up?” Dimitri leaned over her shoulders to see the radar screen.

“Well, do you see these… spots?” She pointed them. “I can’t determine what they are… not ships, this is oblivious. They seems rather composed by organic matter, but it’s too big to be the corpse of the missing pilots. And if it was a Shivan ship, it would have a different signature and I’d still see not-organic materials. Instead… These are purely organic, sorry for the repetitions.”

“Maybe a cosmic flower bed?” Dave suggested ironically.

“No… they are moving.”

“They are WHAT?” Harper exclaimed.

“Moving, sir. Probably a problem with the new radar system, I guess.”

CRAP! FULL SPEED, EVASIVE MANOUVERS!

“But…”

MOOOOOOVE!” Harper personally switched to par 14 speed in Qin’s console.

A strip of pure energy passed where the Hammerhead was a few seconds before.

“What the heck… I can’t see anything on the radar! From where…”

KEEP MOVING!

COMMANDER, CAN YOU PLEASE TELL US WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?!?

“Modern youth!”, he sighed. “It’s big, it’s organic, it’s moving, it’s firing us! What do you think that it can be?”

“Uhm… an enemy, I guess?”

Qin suddenly turned the upgraded incursor to dodge another energy beam.

“Oh, shut up and open a channel with Varna Station!”

------

AC4, Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado

North American Federation, Earth, Sol system

“Admiral, it’s for you. Red code.”

“Alighieri here.” Amanda curtly responded.

“Sir, here is Varna station. We’re getting an alarming report of an ongoing action here in Tau Ceti from one of our incursors…”

As the report proceeded, Amanda turned pale.

“Received, Varna. Switchboard, give me the President.

------

The Capitol House, Geneva, Switzerland

European Union, Earth, Sol system

Not again. It was the only Alan’s thought as five agents of the Secret Service jumped in his office, plasma guns ready to fire, and took him to the Space Force One.

“What’s up now, Seth?” he asked to his security chief.

“I don’t know, sir. I’ve been ordered to bring you away.”

As always.

The ship slowly took off, with Alan looking through the reinforced glass of the porthole.

------

“Mr. President.”

A voice made him turn. He recognized the Minister of Defence.

“Oh, Steven. What’s the problem?”

“We have… oh, shit, you won’t believe it. But come here.” He pointed the conference room “There’s an extraordinary session of the Security Council.”

The two men entered in the room, and sat in their seats. Only other five Counsellor were present, the others were there through holograms. Without too much ceremonies, he turned to Grand Fleet Admiral Alighieri blue shape.

“This is the third time in ten minutes that I ask this: what-is-going-on?”

Even if it was only an hologram, Alan saw that she was ill at ease.

“Well… to be brief, the Shivans were right. They were coming. And they are now here.”

“I don’t need prophetical answers any longer! WHO is here?!?”

“From my sources…”

WHO, Admiral! I want a name!”

She looked the Council before proceeding.

“The Shivans call them the Dea…”

“And? What else?”

She took a deep breath.

“…but we refer to them as… the Dread Lords.”

Alan turned pale.

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August 27, 2008 8:12:57 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

MORE! MORE! MORE!

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August 28, 2008 1:36:02 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Good stuff. I'm really enjoying this one .

Keep up the good work.

 

That is all.

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August 30, 2008 8:00:49 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Nice!

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September 27, 2008 5:54:20 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

So, exactly a month later, I magically reappear to continue this AAR. Unfortunately, school has begun, so I fear I’ll be even slower than before in writing … I hope I can post at least once a month. For my six readers, here it is the…

 

Chapter 7: Planning plans

 

AC4, Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado

North American Federation, Earth, Sol system

 

“Pay, Will. Fifty credits.”

“What… how…”

“I supposed they’ve used an I-field.”

“A what?”

“An I-field. According to Altarian scientists, the I-field is what delimits our soul, our true being, in our body. Some people, if properly trained, can project their I-field outside their body, and create in this way a defensive barrier that can be unexpectedly resistant to enemy attacks. However, it’s also very dangerous. If that barrier is broken for whatever reason, well… you die.”

“Because your soul is no longer kept inside you?”

“Something like this. But is something more about religion than science.”

“Well, if they’ve used that to stop a nuclear attack…”

“The point” she said, opening an old report over the holomap “is that they can’t have adsorbed 100 megatons without damage…”

“What are you looking for?”

“The studies of the Altarian archiater… Aze… Azar… Aza…something.”

“And how can they help us?”

She continued leafing furiously through the pages.

“I remember something about a… oh! Here you are!”

Amanda held the report to the young commander.

“Read.”

Will quickly skimmed the paragraph.

“So?”

“So, Will, this means that our dear invaders are in trouble.”

------

TAS Behemoth, near Phobos, Sol System

 

“This is the plan.” Sha’jant simply said. “Suggestions?”

The top officers carefully studied the orders on the holomap.

“Maybe one…” Sira intervened.

“Yes, mrs Aaryn?”

“Here, during phase three. The heavy bombers are uncovered.”

“We can’t do anything about that. Support fighters are needed elsewhere.”

“But you’ll doom those pilots!”

“Sometimes, the Way requires sacrifices. Sometimes we can’t fully understand the Way. But the Way knows what should be done. The Way will lead us to a better tomorrow.”

Sira froze. She had forgotten the Krynn fatalism.

“But we can help them.”

“As I already said, the fighters –“

“No, no.” She interrupted him. “The Behemoth can help.”

The Krynn’s six eyes suddenly looked much more interested.

“We can use the black hole torpedoes as a shield.”, she explained.

Sha’jant silenced, thoughtful.

“A black hole adsorb everything in its range, even light. Ergo, it will stop the Doom Rays from vaporizing our units.”

“That’s one of the most creative ideas I’ve ever heard in my career, and you can bet that mine’s been a long career. Mrs Aaryn, you are confirmed as vice-commander. Congratulations.”

Sira smiled. Not that command had ever been something she’d desired, but… Being one of the commander’s favourites could have its advantages.

------

Crystal Palace, Alire, Ilya

Altarian Republic, Altaria, Altair system

 

“So?” Eleys asked.

“No results.” Azamar regretfully informed. “Project Terror Star is officially dead… and buried. All the scientists who have worked on it are dead, too, and in horrible ways. Looks like the Korath, the Kriath and the Empire all wanted the weapon… and that no one had managed to obtain it. Sabotages and murders were almost the routine in the days immediately after the end of the Great War.”

“You can’t shut up thousands of workers! Someone will notice…”

“Believe me, milady, if you are a Drengin, you can.”

“So, we’ll have to start again from zero…”

“Not exactly… as in every novel, the good guys always have a last chance before annihilation.”

“What?”

“This… wait…  – he checked his notes – Dra… Dreghal, Sub-group Lord, is the last living Drengin who worked with that project, even if only remotely. He may prove useful.”

“How?”

“Well, he had delivered data for the project… the same data we have obtained. Maybe, we can acquire something more if we proper interrogate him.”

“Where is he?”

“That’s the problem. Shyreka penal camp, Kriath Star Republic.”

“I doubt they’ll handle him too smoothly.”

“Exactly. Lately Coalition’s relations with the Kriath have become cold... Icily, I’d dare to say.”

“Can’t the Terran super diplomat corp help us?”

“I doubt.”

“Well, we can always try.”

“I don’t think alerting Chancellor Dharna about what we want is a good idea.”

“You got a point, Archiater. Let’s hear what Alan Bradley suggest us.”

------

AC4, Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado

North American Federation, Earth, Sol system

 

“Yes, Eleys?” Alan asked.

“Our researchers found nothing but the data you already have. But there might be another path to follow. A medium-rank Drengin warrior is imprisoned in the Kriath Star Republic, and this warrior may know something we don’t. Is there anything you can do?”

“Diplomatically? I doubt. My ambassador told me that the Kriath were quite frustrated for our decision to not help them against the Drengin Empire.”

“So, you’re thinking about a military action?”

“A covert military action… This Second Dread War is quite enough to keep us more than busy.”

“How are things going there on Earth?”

“You might find the CED offices on the dictionary as the illustration for ‘panic’. Those damned giant lobsters have taken 100 megatons without batting an eyelid. And they have cut down the M.A.G.I. network. At least, my military advisors guarantee me that without the necessity to power the supercomputers, we can use more energy to activate the Arnorian shield. Unfortunately, this will take four or five hours.”

“How is the situation in Paris?”

“Those mother-fuckers have killed two thousands of my men in less than five hours, and then they have disappeared before we could kick their asses out of our city!”

“At least they have left, no?”

“They’re coming back… if our fleet won’t keep them out of our planet, we’ll be pretty much screwed.”

“Good luck.”, she said, feeling terribly powerless.

------

CED Headquarters – The Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

North American Federation, Earth, Sol system

 

“I don’t bother how they’ve took a hundred megatons as they were snowballs! I want you to find something they can’t stop, you understand? Yes? Good! I want results before now!”

General Ross slammed the receiver on the support, which broke under the pressure.

“Shit.”

He put the phone on his desk, and called the technicians for a substitution.

“You can’t treat a poor phone in this way, sir…”, his assistant pointed, laughing.

“Oh, shut up!”

“Aye, sir.”

“And let’s focus on more important problems”, he said as the small repair crew quickly substituted the secured phone. “How can we kick some Dread asses?”

“Commodore Sha’jant’s battle plan is quite good… it exploits the Dread Lords few numbers.”

“Yes, but I’d like to have a backup plan. You know, just in case…”

Adam sighed. Since President Bradley said “just in case” when, during the Great War, Great Admiral Alighieri proposed to use nuclear missiles as an emergency plan, these three words seemed to have become the Alliance’s motto.

“Well, we have three upgraded incursors near the asteroid belt. They were there to fight local pirates and smugglers, but I think we can recall them back. Their manoeuvrability will be really helpful… And those ships are our only units capable of outmatching a Dread Fighter in speed.”

Ross stood, thoughtful, looking the techs working.

“We can cover them with a penetr–”

He stopped.

Something was wrong.

He looked again the phone, and understood. Ross grabbed his assistant and threw him out of the door, and run outside, quickly followed by the techs. An instant later the room exploded in a ball of fire.

“Crap… sir, how have you…?”

“Call it sixth sense, instinct of survival… Are you two guys all ok?”, he asked the technicians

“Yes, sir... By the skin of our teeth.”

“How have you understood that…”

“Oh, you know, there’s an old saying in the SPEC.T.R.E. teams… ‘If you see an officer run, well, run faster’!”

“Good point.” Adam smiled. “Now, sir, what are we going to do?”

“Well, first, we’ll get a new office. Then, we’ll personally kill who had done this mess. No one, and with no one I mean no one, can even think to blow my personal coffee-machine and hope to get away unharmed. And I think we’ll have to change our phone supplier.”

“Obliviously.”

“Now, let’s find an holo station. I have two or three nice things to say to our dear President and Grand Admiral…”

Unfortunately, he wasn’t going to hear them soon.

------

AC4, Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado

North American Federation, Earth, Sol system

 

“They tried to blow you up?”

“No, they’ve invited me for a tea party. C’mon, Amanda!”

“A bomb in a phone?”

“For the hundredth time, yes! You want the spelling? Y-E-S. Yes. Oui. Sì. Da. Ja. Tak.”

“It was only an innocent question!”

“Innocent my ass! I’ve had to survive assaults from the Security, the CDA, the AID, the NCIS, the National Guard and half of the existing police districts! How can I work in these conditions!?!”

“You need to rest.”

“Oh, sure as hell I do! But unfortunately our demigod friends aren’t going to let me do it.”

“Definitely not. Well, I have a special commission for you.”

“Save Earth from annihilation?”

“No. That is something I’ll do personally.”

“Hey! It’s in the CED competence!”

“Technically, I’m still the CED vice-commander.”

“So, technically, I am your commander, Amanda!”

“Oh, don’t worry about that. Your new assignment is much more important… And I prefer you to oversee it, than a SOC empty-head general.”

“Wow. Is it so important?”

“Quite. Have you received the data?”

Ross looked his laptop. He had. He checked them.

“Wow… That’s the official proof that the Chiefs of staff have gone nuts.”

“You’re not paid to judge, general. Do you think it’s possible?”

“Quite… yes. I have the right elements.”

“Good. This is an F.Y.E.O. document. Read it, and then delete it. We don’t want it laying around.”

“Roger. This Sub-group Lord should be a really important person.”

“He is. Oh, hell, you can bet he is.”

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September 28, 2008 2:03:43 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Nice post and welcome back Eidolon

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November 22, 2008 2:53:17 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Thanks mambaman... with two months of delay. Ups. Yes, school takes a LOT of time, but I've managed to write the eighth chapter, and here it is...


Chapter 8: Back to the past

 

SPEC.T.R.E-2, Novaya Zemlya, Arctic Ocean

Russian Federation, Earth, Sol system

 

“Those are your quarters.”, a guard briefly told Jean and Leonard, and left the room.

“Nothing to say, they’re really friendly here in Russia.”, the scientist complained.

“You’ve never been in the old Nomad mines in Mars, I guess.”

“No. Are they even less talkative?”

“Less? They use words as if they have to pay for every single one of them, and the miners don’t even look at you, not till you have joined their Guild. Compared to that, this is a noisy party.”

“Bah! I’ve seen more expansive statues in a crib.”

“Oh, well. You can always ask for a transfer.”

“To doctor Dushenko? No, thanks. I… I don’t like her.”

“Quite a judgment, considering that you’ve been with her for… ten minutes?”

“They were enough… She’s so… cold, if you understand what I mean.”

“Nay… It’s simply you. I haven’t found her so…”

“Oh, I know. It’s only me. But… you heard when she spoke about bacteriological warfare. I was shivering. She was so…”

“Korath-like?”, Leonard suggested, smiling.

“Yes.”

Jean sat on his camp-bed, thoughtful. He couldn’t even explain to himself why he couldn’t stand his new superior. It was something… ethical.

Yes. Ethics.

“Don’t you think that lately we have been a little too bit… vague on the difference between good and evil?”, he asked.

“We?”

“The whole Alliance. I mean, we’ve used more than half of our nuclear weapons in the last war. We’ve poisoned food reserves. We’ve bombed cities full of civilians. That isn’t clean.”

“Jean, listen. What have we done, we’ve done for our survival. Would you prefer being a Drengin dinner?”

“No, but… what’s the point? Why have we fought the Drengin, if we have become like them? Why have I survived the attack on Paris, if I’ll be responsible for the death of thousands of people?”

“The simple fact that you’re asking yourself this, means that you aren’t so Drengin as you think. Believe me. There are –”

All hands, battle stations. All hands, battle stations. This is not a exercitation. Four Dread Fighters and two transports identified, course 20-03-54. I repeat, all hands…

------

Crystal Palace, Alire, Ilya

Altarian Republic, Altaria, Altair system

 

“Milady! We found it!”

Eleys turned, looking the five Priests carrying a broken crystal into the large room, with an extremely satisfied look on their faces.

“It was exactly where the Books said! Under the –”

“So, is this the dreaded Telenath?”, she interrupted them.

Eleys admired its sleek lines, passing her hand on what had once undoubtedly been something really close to perfection. Now, more than half of it was gone.

“Not entirely. This is the biggest part of the Telenath. The other ones… well, we’ve to find them.”

Eleys felt the sharp edges of the broken object under her fingers. The crystal wasn’t active, obliviously, but she could still fell its raw power flowing. And she could also feel that unmistakable mark left a long time ago by an evil hand.

“So beautiful… and so terrible.”

“Indeed, milady.”

She sighed, still looking the artefact. Shaking her head, she ordered the priests to bring the Telenath to a secured place, and activated the holo projector.

“Lady Mue…” The olographic projection of the Terran ambassador greeted her, “…what can I do for you today?”

“I’d like to talk to President Bradley. Immediately, if possible.”

“He’s currently engaged in a Senate meeting, but I’ll try to do what I can.”

“Thank you, ambassador.”

------

Senate Building, Geneva, Switzerland

European Union, Earth, Sol system

 

“…and this is unacceptable! I ask, no, I demand that Alan Bradley explains to this assembly what he has been doing since the start of this pseudo-war! Why the Senate hasn’t been informed of the critical developments in our home system? Why haven’t we been informed of the nuclear attack that happened less than two hours ago? Why this assembly has been cut off from the chain of command?!? ”

Senator Arthur Callaghan, representative of Terra Nova, launched his vehement philippic in the large hall with a indignant voice. Many senators were murmuring agreement with his words, and the extraordinary session was quickly degenerating in a lynching of the Terran President.

Alan Bradley’s blue image was shaking with anger.

“Because, senator, as President of the Terran Alliance I have the right to declare a State of Emergency for seventy-two hours without needing a Senate ratification, and I can suspend the constitutional rights if needed! And undoubtedly we are now in a State of Emergency!”

The senators could almost hear the capital letters fixing in their places.

“That may be true, Mr. President, but undoubtedly your conduct in this pseudo-war is really questionable! Using a nuclear strike without a Senate debate…”

“That’s enough!” Alan finally erupted “We are in a war! Do you need a picture? War. Do you think I can call a Senate meeting every time there’s something that might interest you senators?!? Do you -”

“HA!” Callaghan was red with rage “So that’s what you think of the Senate! That’s what you think of the democratic institutions of our government! THAT’S WHAT YOU THINK OF THE ALLIANCE!

“Senator, order!”, the Senate president severely said.

Callaghan ignored him.

SO, I SHOULD ASK YOU WHAT YOU THINK OF DEMOCRACY IN GENERAL, MR. PRESIDENT!”

“Senator Callaghan, you’re going over the limit!”

SENATORS, I’VE AN UNDENIABLE PROOF THAT OUR PRESIDENT HAS HIDDEN INFORMATIONS ABOUT ONE OF THE WORST VIOLATIONS OF THE GENEVA CONVENTION!

“Senator Callaghan, this is my last warning! Stop now, or I’ll suspend the –”

LOOK THESE PHOTOS!” He activated his holo projectors, and sharp images of an arctic secret research lab appeared “IN THIS LAB, HUMAN SCIENTISTS ARE RESEARCHING NERVINE AGENTS AND PRODUCING MASS DESTRUCTION WEAPONS! HAVE YOU EVER SEEN ANYTHING ABOUT THIS? HAVE YOU, SENATORS?

Even through the hologram, everyone could see that Alan quickly went pale.

THAT’S ENOUGH! THE MEETING IS SUSPENDED!”, the Senate president shouted.

ARE YOU GOING TO LET THIS UNNOTICED? ARE YOU GOING TO LET HIM DISSOLVE OUR GOVERNMENT AND TAKE THE POWER?!? HE’S NOT A PRESIDENT, GENTLEMEN, HE’S AN DICTATOR!”

The whole assembly froze.

QUOUSQUE TANDEM ABUTERE, BRADLEY, PATIENTIA NOSTRA? QUAM DIU ETIAM FUROR ISTE TUUS NOS ELUDET? QUEM AD FINEM SESE EFFERAT-

I SAID THAT’S ENOUGH! SECURITY! ESCORT SENATOR CALLAGHAN…

Pandemonium erupted.

------

AC4, Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado

North American Federation, Earth, Sol system

 

Alan hold his head in his hands. On the command chair in one of the most protected installations in the world, he felt totally defeated. Everything he had stood for had been effortlessly crushed and swept away. The Dread Lords were annihilating Human colonies. The long awaited peace with the Drengin clans was slowing crumbling. His own people couldn’t see what he was doing for them…

A single tear run down his face. Maybe…

His secretary interrupted his reflections.

“Sorry, sir, but we have another emergency at SPEC.T.R.E-02.”

“I know. They’ve discovered it.”
“Exactly. What are your orders?”

“Well… I… I don’t know, Mara. What can I do?”

“Send reinforcements?”

“They accuse me to be a dictator and you ask me to send troops?”

“What else should you do?”

“Well… try to explain them…”
“I doubt they’ll listen. They’ve never done that. Even if trying a first contact-”

“A first contact with the Senate? That’s a good one.”

“Sir?”

“A first contact with the senate, you’ve just said…”

“Mr. President, I’m afraid you’ve misunderstood me. I wasn’t talking about the Senate.”

“You told me they’ve discovered SPEC.T.R.E-02, and the Senate…”

“They’ve found it? That’s another problem. But with ‘they’… I was referencing to the Dread Lords.”

------

SPEC.T.R.E-2, Novaya Zemlya, Arctic Ocean

Russian Federation, Earth, Sol system

 

“Defence network down to 34% and counting!”

“Breach in lab F-03! Breach in lab F-03!”

“Energy down in sector 4!”

The command centre of the secret research base was an hive of frantic activity. Scientists and military personnel were running here and there, trying to front the emergency. Doctor Dushenko stood on the high control station, an island of calm and determination in a sea of panic.

“Sir, we can’t stop them.”, the security chief simply said. “We should begin the evacuation procedures.”

“We can’t stop now. We’ve just received the final components for our project… a few weeks, maybe even a few days, and we’ll have a fully operational new weapon…”

“Sir, I have to disagree. It’s over. They’ve found us. If we save enough eggheads and material, maybe we’ll be able to begin again somewhere else…”

Defences in sector 5 inoperative.

“It may seem reasonable. Hell, it’s reasonable. But I won’t let them destroy what I’ve almost finished.”

“So…?”

She sighed.

“Begin the evacuation. I’ll stop them.”

“What?!? Are you – ”

She smiled, picking up a flick knife from her white uniform pocket.

“They came here, thinking that they could play with us as the wished. But you know a thing? Game rules have changed. Now I take the initiative.”

She walked out the command centre, her coat sinisterly fluttering behind her.

------

AC4, Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado

North American Federation, Earth, Sol system

 

“Mr. President?”

Amanda appeared on the door.

“What’s up now, Admiral?”

“The Shield will be activated in twenty-two minutes.”

“Excellent. Any word from the other planets?”

“Terra Nova, Hera and Poseidon will complete the development in a few hours. The other Core Worlds are starting now, so I guess they’ll be ready in ten hours or so.”

“At least something is working.”

“We can blindly trust Arnor technology.”

“Yes.”

A long pause.

“Sir… Was SPEC.T.R.E-02 connected to Operation E120?”

Alan sighed.

“Yes, Amanda. I guess that now it has no importance.”

“You did well. You’ve kept it secret for… two years?”

“Yes.”

“I thought that secret operations no longer existed… you showed me something to look upon, sir. Guess I’ve to thank you.”

“Oh… you’re welcome.”

“And sir… I’m here to ask you to let me go to the front lines.”

“What? Amanda, I need you here! The Dread –”

“With all the due respect, Mr. President, I think I’m almost useless here. Once the shield is activated, Earth will be safe. I can’t control our fleets from here as well as I’d do if I were on a flagship.”

“But I think that… Oh, forget it. Permission granted. I know I can’t win a debate with you, Admiral. And now take your flying banger and get the hell out of here!”

She smiled. “As you wish, sir.”

“And… be careful.”

“Don’t worry. I haven’t survived three major wars only to be killed by giant squids.”

“I’ve had no doubts.”

------

SPEC.T.R.E-2, Novaya Zemlya, Arctic Ocean

Russian Federation, Earth, Sol system

 

Der’mo! HOLOMAN!

Crouched in his foxhole, Commander Papov was both trying to stay alive and repel the Dread Lords. An hell of an occupation.

“Here I am!”

The soldier with the holographic equipment jumped in the hole, barely avoiding a death ray that incinerated a machinegun nest behind him.

“Yessir?”, he said, trying to catch his breath.

“Contact the command centre and tell them that I need more… more of everything, damn! How am I supposed to stop someone who can pick up a tank and toss it aside as if it’s made of rubber?”

“I’ll try.”

Papov cautiously leaned out from his foxhole, trying to see anything more than the explosions which were decimating his company. He fired a few shots, and was quite sure to have killed a Dread Knight, before being forced to crouch again under an impressive barrage of fire.

“They’re advancing!”, he shouted in his radio. “Grenades!”

A few grey cylinders were thrown from other foxholes to the Dread army. Too few…

“What the hell are you doing, you noob?!? Where are my reinforcements?”

As to underline the question, a Terran heavy gunship crashed in the ice a few meters away.

“They’re preparing artillery!”

“Artillery? Are they crazy? We’ll be caught in the barrage fire!” He begun a long, detailed and rude description of where the Generals could put artillery in.

“And they suggest us to put on the full armour.”

On the verge of an hysterical attack, Papov tried to not kill the young operator crouched in his foxhole.

“And what do you think that we’re wearing?”

“I mean, the helmets.”

“The helmets?”

The artillery barrage begun.

“Incoming!”, a few soldiers shouted as a warning, just to inform anyone who wasn’t already buried in his hole that he should had been better to find a shelter quickly.

Plasma fire erupted less than ten yards from the Terran soldiers, incinerating Dread Knights and Dread bots.

But it was useless.

The flames suddenly opened, and a Dread Lord slowly advanced towards the humans.

“Oh, shit!”, the operator cried.

“Command! We’ve a contact with a Dread Lord!”

“Received, commander. Response is coming.”

Other artillery projectiles came down, but the alien lazily rose his hand, stopping them halfway from their objective.

“Command… Guess we need something else.”

“Oh, no, commander. That will be enough. Just be sure to have your helmet.”

Papov was too frightened to insult his superior.

Another barrage of projectiles came down, and again the Dread lord stopped them. But these ones were different. They were swirling, while falling, as if…

Mudack! Gas! GAS!

It was something that no one had used in a land battle since the First World War. It had always been feared by soldiers, but now they greeted him as if it was a gift from God.

The Dread Lord was puzzled. All he could see was a slim fog that slowly embraced him, his soldiers, and the Humans. What were they…

And then he fell, rolling around in something that he had never felt.

Pain.

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December 24, 2008 6:05:23 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

As Christmas present, I present you the next chapter... If anyone is still reading this, that is

Chapter 9: Taking chances

 

CED Headquarters – The Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

North American Federation, Earth, Sol system

 

In his brand new office, General Ross looked thoughtful the battle plan for the secret operation in the Kriath Star Republic, as his assistant fixed the last details on screen.

“Excuse me, sir. How are we going to jam their radar screens here…” –he pointed where- “…without interfering with our support operation there?”

“Oh. That’s why I’ve you, Adam, to tell me suggestions to fix my errors.”, he said smiling.

“Maybe we can change this part of the plan. If we move the Warspite here…”

The aid-de-champ went on with the correction, and half an hour later, they had finished.

“Should we start?”, Adam asked.

“Well, let’s do it, and may God bless us all.”

------

 TAS Hammerhead, Varna Station, Tau Ceti system

 

“Stealth troop module correctly installed, sir.”, Qin reported. “We’re ready to go, as soon as the SOC guys will show up. And pardon me if I am too insistent, but –”

“No, Qin.” Harper answered. “I’ve no idea of the true objective of this cruise near Kriath space, nor I know why we have six Soccers aboard.”

The two entered in the bridge of the Hammerhead. Arcoxia was already there, checking the radar filters and running the last tests, while Dmitri was dipped waist-high in a control panel, doing… something useful, I hope, Harper thought.

“Hey, Dimitri!”

“Yes si… Shit!”, he swore as he hit a plasma conduct with his head.

“What were you doing down there?”

“I was fixing the sub-ignition cooling tubes, as they got damage last time when we fried the Dread Fighter. While doing this, I found that the forward energy equaliser had also been heavily damaged, so I was forced to took a power reverser from the flux realignment chamber an fix it with the quantum–”

“Okokok. Enough technobabble. Will it work?”

“I’m almost certain.”

“Good. That’s enough. Where’s Dave?”

“Oh. He… were was he going, Arxie?”

“To the station’s bar. And I already told you not to call me Arxie.”, she answered without raising her eyes from the radar screen.

“The bar, huh? Shouldn’t he revise his Kriath pronunciation?”

“He said he finished yesterday.”

“Well, I hope for him that’s true.”

Tlake, sir.”, Dave said as he arrived, with a Koranian aristocratic inflection.

Obliviously, eh? We’ll see, we’ll see…”

“What have you done?” Dmitri asked while looking for the first aid kit.

“I’ve met our new friends from the SOC.”

“Once upon a time we were a combat ship. Now we are forced to ferry troops…”, Qin complained.

“Those are our orders, Qin.”, Harper said in a matter-of-fact tone. “Now, I want this ship ready to leave in half an hour. Let’s try to stay on schedule for the rendez-vous with the Warspite.”

------

TAS Behemoth, near Phobos, Sol System

 

“Sir! The Dread Fleet is moving!”

Sha’jant rushed to the radar station, and found Sira already there.

“Miss Aaryn, what’s going on?”

“The Dread Lords are moving with 45 ships. Radar scans report that six fighters are no longer operative.”

“No longer operative?”

“They’re just floating into space, as if their pilots are dead.”

“So, Admiral Alighieri was right. Is our fleet ready?”

“If you can say so, sir. Our men aren’t too enthusiastic.”

A man does not have himself killed for a half-pence a day or for a petty distinction. You must speak to the soul in order to electrify him. This is what said that Terran general named Napoleon, if I’m not wrong. And this is what we will do.”

Sira smiled. No one could resist a good injection of Krynn speech. Maybe that would had been enough to wake up the crew.

 

“…Will you let them do this? Will you?”

NO!

Sira could almost feel inside her the thunderous roar that greeted Sha’jant’s words. Nothing to say, Krynn were masters of oratory.

“So let’s go! For our salvation! For our children! For their future!

The Altarian joined the cheers, till the computer voice coldly forced her to come back to reality.

Enemy fighters on attack vector 34-56-455.

“Ok gentlemen, that’s enough speaking!” Sha’jant said. “Torpedoes ready?”

“Ready, sir!”, the intercom confirmed.

“Let’s do it. Fire.”

------

TAS Hammerhead, Varna Station, Tau Ceti system

 

“I’m Commander Hans Schneider, 55th Tir-Quan Ghost Recon, requesting permission to come aboard.”

“Permission granted, Commander. I’m Commodore Elijah Harper, CO of the Hammerhead; welcome aboard.”

“Thank you, sir. This is my team for this mission…” he pointed his comrades one by one, as he named them ”Private James Clark, sniper…”

“It’s a pleasure.” A tall, fair-haired SOCcer said, shaking Harper’s hand.

“… Lieutenant, j.g., Samantha Colleton, data retrieval and informatics warfare…”

“Commodore…” a young, pretty, purple-haired girl hailed, shaking his hand, too.

“…Private Giuseppe Amadori, explosive expert and hand-to-hand combat…”

“Sir, glad to know you”, he said with a strong southern Italian accent.

“…Private Kim Ji, standard combat…”

The Chinese simply greeted, without a word. Harper returned the salute, silently.

“…and our professional burglar, Alfred Eltham.”

A white-haired man, well over his forties, shook his hand with an iron grip. “Your servant”, he said with an impeccable Londoner accent.

“As said above, I’m glad to have you aboard. Now that we’ve presented, gentlemen, we’re ready to go. ETA for our destination is forty-nine minutes. From there… well, I hope sooner or later someone will tell me what it’s our mission.”

“Time to time, Commodore.” Hans replied. “We don’t know our orders, too. They’re all there.” He showed a sealed folder, with the writing “Operation Falling Star” in black letters on it.

“Terran security…” Qin sighed.

“That’s enough. Have we got permission to take off?”

“Sir, Varna station grants our request.”, Dave professionally answered.

“Excellent. Pilot, bring us out of here. Par 10 speed.”

“Par 10, aye aye.”

------

TAS Behemoth, near Phobos, Sol System

 

“HIT! Scratch a frigate!”

Cheers exploded in the bridge, as a newly-created black hole swallowed a few Dread ships.

“They’re charging…”, someone informed.

“Polarize shields and recharge torpedoes”, Sha’jant coldly ordered.

“Incoming! All hands, brace for impact!”

“Second torpedo volley out!”

The Behemoth shook as the Death Rays impacted on the Invulnerability Fields, badly damaging the shields but without harm for the juggernaut. “We’re hit!”, someone cried, just to state the obvious.

“Damage report.”

“Shields down to 45%, hull integrity 100%, sir.”

“Not bad.” Sira pointed.

“The Dreadies are recharging!”

“Weapon control, ready to detonate the torpedoes.”

“Incoming!”

Now!

The torpedoes exploded half way from the Dread fleet, each one crating a black hole which sucked in the energy beams. The dreaded weapons had been stopped.

“Your plan worked, miss Aaryn. Congratulations.” Sira was gratified with a rare Krynn smile. But that didn’t stopped him from being a cold war calculator. “Proceed with phase two.”

Aye, sir. Behemoth to Calypso. They’re all yours.”

“It will be a pleasure. Launching bombers.”

And let’s hope they’ll be enough.

------

TAS Galatea, near the Moon, Sol System

 

Barbaric. That was the only adjective Amanda could think. With all their power and superior intelligence, the Dread Lords weren’t able to build up a battle plan which implied anything more complex than rally and attack. Rhino tactic, they called it at the Academy. Barbaric, she preferred.

Probably the main reason why she couldn’t stand it was that the Alliance Navy couldn’t afford such a way of fighting, as in a battle with the Dreadies causalities were around 50-60%. Yet, when they charged as they were doing now, everything she could do was to push more and more ships in the meatmincer machine. The point was that she couldn’t think in terms of ships. She had to consider each unit as composed of men and women with dreams, with hopes. And she was forced to destroy them in order to win the battle. That was why she hated the Dread Lords.

“Admiral?” a young captain interrupted her thoughts.

“Yes, captain?”

“Commodore Sha’jant is keeping on with reinforcements requests. We can’t sustain this drain of forces, I tried to explain this to him, but he don’t want to hear excuses.”

 “I’ve studied the situation, captain.”

“And…?”

“And… there isn’t another solution. I hate this too, but it’s the only way we can go on.”

She felt every single word on her lips disgusting. And I complain with the President if he uses dirty weapons!

“So, sir, what are your orders?”

“Move all the available forces from the inner planets. We need to win.”

“Sir… the point is that… by this way, I expect orbital garrisons to be empty in less than an hour.”

“Current losses of the fleet?”

“Estimated in 62%, while the 34% of the Dread fleet has been destroyed.”

“We can’t go on with this.”, she said matter-of-factly. Unfortunately, she didn’t know what else could she do.

------

TAS Behemoth, near Phobos, Sol System

 

 “Sir, the fleet is taking unsustainable damage! We can’t - ”

The hologram abruptly disappeared.

“Communications, why…” Sha’jant started.

“The Calypso has been destroyed.”

“Sir, we need to disengage. We can’t win.” Sira said.

“But if we retreat, Earth itself could be threatened!”

“It will be even if we don’t.”

The Krynn bent his head, as someone cried “The Antares is down! The Antares is down!”.

“That’s a point. Communications, transmit withdrawal orders.”

------

TAS Galatea, near the Moon, Sol System

 

The Dreadies are really putting this on personal, Amanda thought.  “Goddamnit, that’s not a withdrawal! That’s a coward rout!” she shouted, hitting the table with the dossier she was reading a moment before.

“Sir, there’s nothing we can do.” Sira hologram said. “We’ve lost.”

“They’ll have to kill me before even thinking of reaching Earth!”

“Sir…”

“Sir un corno! I won’t…”

“We’ve lost.”

NO! Not till I say otherwise!”

“You’re a little kamikaze. We have to re-organize and…”

“Excellent. New plan. You re-organize the fleet, I stop them! Alighieri over!”

She fell on her chair.

I can’t loose. Not now.

“Sir?”

“Yes, captain?” if eye-looks could have killed, the young officer would have been dead right away.

“We can’t do that. We’ve gathered only sixteen vessels, and…”

“Son, I stopped a Xendar advance only with a fighter squadron when you were only a dirty thought in your father’s mind! Don’t come to tell me what I can or can’t do!”

“But…”

“You’ll see. Trust me, captain.”

He hanged on for a few minutes, undecided.

“The M.A.G.I. agree with me.” Probably they’re still nuts after the forced shutdown.

That made the deal.

“Yes, sir.”

------

TAS Hammerhead, Varna Station, Tau Ceti system

 

“Beta Tauri system?”

Hans nodded.

“Is the Navy HQ crazy? There’s only a class 1/3 planet, not worth the energy to go there!”

“Our mission –“ the SOC commander continued reading “- is to free a Drengin Sub-group Lord, who has very valuable data for a secret project, according to the AID. We go in, we take him out, we come back. Possibly without starting a war.”

“Oh, yes. And maybe we also have to invite the Kriath for a tea?”

“You’re too sceptic, Commodore.”

“If you had seen half the things I’ve seen in my career, you’d be worried, too.”

“We’re Tir-Quan. With us, you can.”

“Oh, stop it. It sounds like an advertisement.”

“Sir?” Dave interrupted the discussion.

“What’s up?”

“An urgent communication from Earth. They say to do it quickly, as it’s something crucial for our war.”

“Oh, yes?”

“Yes. Our fleet had been defeated, and the Dreadies are going straight for our homeworld.”

“Damn.”

“Yes.”

“And the Behemoth?”

“They’ve simply outflanked it. I’ve always said that thing was too slow to be useful.”

“Earth defences status?”

“Well, Admiral Alighieri is marching against the invaders.”

“Oh, God save the Dreadies.”

“You think she will be enough?”

“She will be more than enough. Remember the Vega Engagement in the Xendar wars? It had been a totally unexpected victory, and all thanks to her. She will be enough, Dave.”

I hope.

“If you say so, sir…”

“Yes, I say so. Qin, set a course for the Beta Tauri system. Par 15, and stealth mode activated. We’re going to do some James Bond-ish things out there.”

 

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December 24, 2008 8:12:46 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

    Thank you, best hour I have spent on line this week. Great work with your English.  I am ashamed to say that I could not do what you did. I learned a little German in high school but that was it.

 

Keep it up please

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December 25, 2008 9:07:49 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Yeah this is a cracking good read Eidolon-when you gonna post again?

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December 31, 2008 6:13:55 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Well, who knows? When the next chapter is ready... maybe even in two weeks, considering that we're still on holiday...

Oh, and Happy New Year to everyone! (here in Italy right now we're already in 2009... It's you Americans who are late, hint hint )

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January 17, 2009 7:24:16 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Reposting... Mambaman told me it didn't show up.

Chapter 10: You… shall not pass!

 

CED Headquarters – The Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

North American Federation, Earth, Sol system

 

“Give me a single reason to not jump in the first transport and go as far as I can before they reduce Earth to a flat wasteland.”

“’Cause there are billions of people who counts on you, Ross!”

“Hit and sunk, Amanda. The point is that, without something more I can’t do much more. Pardon me the repetition.”

“What are your battle orders?”

“Every single long-range weapon on this planet is pointed skywards, and with more ammunition than you can ever imagine in your wildest dreams. Our only problem is about the ships. We don’t have enough units to defend Earth. I need you to regroup what is left out there.”

“I’ll try…”

Ross remained silent for a moment.

“What do you want to ask me, Amanda?”

“We… we’re pretty much fucked this time, no?”

“Such profanity! But… yes. I fear that this time… could be our last time.”

“So…”

“So, let’s do something brilliant as usual. Let’s try, at least.”

“What news from the internal front?”

“Senator Callaghan? I’d really like to see him in a Drengin slave pit. Internal front… good definition.”

“You haven’t answered my question.”

“It’s a total mess, from what I’ve heard. Thanks God, it isn’t of my competence… I’d go crazy if I had to manage something like that.”

“Yes, but… What do you think?”

“Of that speech? Probably just propaganda…”

“No. That secret laboratory… exists. The President admitted it.”

“What?”

“I’m worried, General. What are we going to become?”

“Peace has a price, Admiral. Are we going to pay it? That’s the question.”

He who fights with monsters should look to it, that he himself does not become a monster.”

“Not bad. Yours?”

“Nietzsche.”

“Ah. Anyway, let’s focus on more impelling matters.”

“Isn’t that something urgent?”

“Less urgent than the Dread Lords.”

------

TAS Rampart, near the Moon, Sol System

 

“Engineering, report!” Jenna shouted, overwhelming the chaos on the bridge. A dozen alarms were simultaneously bleeping, half of the screens were inoperative and the artificial gravity was exhaling its last breath.

Hull integrity down to 34%, shields inoperative, torpedo banks from 4 to 11 inoperative, multiple hull breaches in decks 3, 14, 15, 16, 23 and 34, we’re venting atmosphere in section E and half of the circuits are fried! I don’t know what holds this ship together!”

“The Dread Lords?”

“They’re passing us! Looks like we’re not important for them…”

“Oh, no. They shouldn’t have done that. Engineering, what’s the possible maximum speed?”

“With this ship, I think that par ¼ will compromise what is left of  structural integrity…”

“Sir, what are you going to do?”, a crewman asked.

“Ram the largest vessel in sight. All hands, leave the ship!”

“All hands, leave the ship!”, her second-in-command repeated in the interphone. “Crewmen… At aaaat-tention! Salute!”

As the bridge crew made the rituals before running to the escape pods, Jenna patted the Navigation console. “It had been a good time, Rampart. Too bad it’s over.” She repelled old memories that were slowly coming back, then, in the interphone: “Luke? Can you give me something more?”

“The boilers are at full steam, sir! I fear I can’t do any more!”

“Thanks Luke. And… goodbye.”

“Sir, you can put the new course in autopilot and…”

“No. A true commander dies with her ship.”

“Don’t you think it’s a little bit too anachronistic?”

“Please, Luke.”

She could hear his sigh from Engineering.

“No. This time, we won’t let you do anything similar. The Alliance needs you.”

Her spicy answer was interrupted before even its beginning by a flash of blue light, as Nemamiah materialized from nothing.

“What are you doing, Colonel Jenna Casey? Why have you decided to die? This isn’t your last hour, not yet. You should fight the Dread Lords!”

“How am I supposed to do so?”

“I’m here to help you.”

 

A second later, she found herself on the… bridge? of a bioorganic ship.

“Maybe this will help you.”

She looked the interior, trying to guess the position of the command console somewhere in that blue cave, as Nemamiah stared at her, expectantly.

“Err… What am I supposed to do?”

The alien looked puzzled.

“Fight the Dread Lords, what else?”

“Yes, but… How am I supposed to do so? Where are the controls? Engines? Weapon systems, shielding, FTL injectors, and so on?”

“You don’t need them.”
“No?” she asked, amazed. “And how I control this… thing?”

“With your mind.”, he answered as if he was talking to a particularly stupid four-years baby.

“Great. But I can’t even see where I’m going! Isn’t there a screen? A window?”

Nemamiah sighed.

“Humans… you are just so -”

Jenna chuffed.

“Will you help me with this?”

“Sure.”

------

AC4, Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado

North American Federation, Earth, Sol system

 

“Mr President, as I already said, I pretend an explanation! Why have I…”

SHUT UP, CALLAGHAN!”, Alan roared to the holocom. “You’ve threatened the stability of the Alliance in a critical moment! Just be thankful that you’re only under sourvelliance and not in the Lefortovo State Prison!”

“With all the due respect”, Callaghan hologram spitted out in disgust, “This is a violation of the First Amendment, of the Padua Convention and of the Bet…”

“I don’t bother with…”

“You don’t bother? So, emperor Bradley, what are you going to do next? Dissolve the Senate?”

“Listen to me, you idiot! We’re in a State of Emergency…”

“Not ratified by the Senate!”

“I don’t have the time to…”

“I think your objectives are clear, tyrant! All I have to say, well, is that you won’t find your new role so easy.”

Alan exploded.

GUARDS, TAKE HIM TO THE NEAREST PRISON, LOCK HIS CELL AND THROW AWAY THE KEYS!

“You won’t win, Bradley!” Callaghan managed to say. “You’ll soon see I’m right!”

“And you’ll soon see I’m not joking, senator. That’s my last word.”

------

TAS Galatea, near the Moon, Sol System

 

Vengeance, here Alighieri, correct your route to 04-34-344, over.”

Vengeance, received and executing.”

Amanda was mechanically adjusting her little fleet for the imminent battle. Halting the Dread Lords advance with only a dozen warships was beyond her best hopes, yet… She knew she had to try.

“Ships ready?”

“Yes, sir!”, a trembling vice-commander answered.

“Don’t be afraid. I’m not gonna let us all to be killed, you can bet on it.”

I hope.

“Enemy frigates incoming, sir! Four bandits identified at 45-34-344!”

Silence fell on the bridge. She could hear the soft tap-tap of fingers over controls. Nervousness and fear could almost be touched.

“Steady, boys…”

“They’ve just entered in torpedo range…”

FIRE!

A volley of blue spheres run towards the approaching dark red ships. Most hit their targets… with no apparent effect.

“Disengage! Break formation!”

The ships scattered, dodging enemy fire and hiding behind the wrecked hulls of previously destroyed units.

“Regroup and return fire!”

Diligently, the ships did as ordered and disengaged again. Despite their excellent manoeuvrability, the Dread Lords couldn’t hit them. One of the alien vessels even crashed in the engine section of what has once been a bombardment cruiser, catching fire and letting out that… psychic cry? they used to do when deadly hit.

“That’s a lot better.”, Amanda commented, despite the alien noisy last breath punching through her head. “Ready again!”

The humans did so again, and again, and again, until another frigate died, and the remaining two retreated.

“Good. Fleet, report!”

“No damage taken. The TAS Oberon  reports minor variations in shield output, but nothing serious. Kill ratio is 0 to 2… for now.”

“Excellent.”

She checked the tactical screen.

“Let’s move. New fire position, half a parsec on approaching vector 34.”

Aye.”

------

TAS Hammerhead, Beta Tauri system

 

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Kriath Star Republic.”, Dimitri announced.

Harper entered in the command room suffocating a large yawn. Dave had just woke him up, and he still was half asleep, despite the big coffee cup he was holding. He stopped in front of the holographic rendering of the almost inhabitable planet of Beta Tauri II, studying it. The SOC team arrived a few seconds later.

“Now that we’re all here, I’d say we can see our orders. Dave?”

The comm. officer ceremoniously gave him the folder, which he opened equally ceremoniously, and commented with a not-so-ceremonial “Oh, sweet mother!”

“Problems, sir?” Hans inquired.

“We’re going to commit what can be considered an open act of war. Attacking a penal colony…”

“Ah. I was expecting something similar. Our commando is specialized in stealth recon and hostage rescue.”

“…and we should save a Drengin!”

“Never ask why. Third rule of a good SOC member.”

“I don’t want to know the first two. Well, let’s make it happen.”

The location of the penal colony was now highlighted in red in the hologram, near the equator of the planet.

“Dave, what can you tell us about the environment?”

“A damned sinkhole forgotten by God, to put it short. This rocky planet is frozen near the poles, and hot as hell near the equator. Its irregular orbit has although allowed the formation of what can be defined a jungle in few small zones, usually in valleys between a rocky mountain and another. The Shyreka camp entrance is built in the largest of these vegetation spots… the only place in this world were anything bigger than an ant can hope to survive. The main complex is underground.”

“A nice little world…” Samantha commented.

“Ant it isn’t over. There are regular hurricanes and storms on the 89% of the surface… The remaining 11% is hit by unpredictable ice storms. Moreover, the asteroid field of the system is  influenced by Beta Tauri II gravitational field… which means that there are meteors falling for most of the year.”

“We can use them to cover our landing manoeuvres…” Qin suggested.

“I don’t think we need that. The colony has only outdated radar screens, and half a fighter squadron, which would be considered a pile of junk in every military of this quadrant. They don’t think someone would invade this place.”

“I can believe it…”

“The Shyreka colony is where who isn’t liked by the Republic is doomed to spend the rest of his miserable life. He is put here, and everyone else forgot his existence. Something like a gulag in the old SSSR. The Kriath name, ‘shyreka’, can be roughly translated with the English term ‘dry well’. You can’t escape… but you can be brought outside, if someone needs you again. Maybe, for a dirty job, you could have back your liberty.”

“So, we’re going to meet a lot of nice people…”

“Exactly. Gentlemen… welcome in Hell.”

 

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January 20, 2009 6:17:18 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Hehehe nice one Eidolon-tell me tho-how did the 2nd Fleet defeat the Dreadies? Missed what gave them the technical edge

KUTGW brother

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January 21, 2009 3:36:38 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Man, this is getting interesting. Keep it up!

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February 24, 2009 2:44:22 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

You still writing my friend?

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February 27, 2009 6:31:48 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Obliviously...  Sorry for the delay, but currently I'm quite busy with my end-terms... I hope to have a new chapter ready in two weeks or so. I'm quite slow...

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February 28, 2009 10:05:53 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

For my six readers, here it is the…

Make that seven!

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March 1, 2009 2:18:51 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Quoting Mascrinthus,

Make that seven!

Hehe... Welcome on board, Mascrinthus!

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March 4, 2009 3:25:57 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

 

Chapter 11: Victorious opposition?

 

TAS Hammerhead, Beta Tauri II

 

“Waypoint! We’re in the upper atmosphere, sir, initiating descent procedure gamma-bravo. Four minutes to waypoint Beta.”

Harper silently nodded. The command bridge was unnaturally silent. The five crewmember were bent over their consoles, ready for action, while the SOC team, in full combat armour, was waiting in the airlock. Tension was almost palpable.

“Ready to launch. Opening hatches.”, the CO announced in the interphone.

“Ready.”, Hans replied in the interphone.

“Waypoint!”

“Go-go-go! Launch!”

“Roger, sir. See ya later.”

The six men jumped in the sky, disappearing in the darkness of Beta Tauri’s night.

“Phase one completed. Proceed with phase two.” Harper coldly ordered.

And good luck.

------

TAS Galatea, near the Moon, Sol System

 

Here we are again.

After a long guerrilla action, the Galatea and her small battlegroup had been forced back to the starting point. At least they had hurt the Dread Lords… four frigates and seven fighters, according to computers. The fact that the Oberon and the Thethis were reduced to flying scrap metal… well, that was part of the Great Scheme Of The Things.

“Give me the CED.”, Amanda curtly ordered, still studying the holomap in front of her.

“Hey, Amie. Good to hear you again.”, Ross said.

“Situation?”

“Disastrous should be the right adjective. Losses are by far over 70%, and according to the standard Terran doctrine, this means that the battle is to be considered a defeat. In my opinion, if we save a single fighter but we annihilate the Dreadies, that is a victory. The only matter is how to explain this to the Senate. Political situation here is getting a little bit complicated.”

Amanda looked the intercom in a way that could have drilled through titanium.

“What’s the problem with the politicians, now?”

“We’ve a… well… internal unhappiness about some decisions that may be considered… uh… not too constitutional. Yes. That’s a good way to put it.”

“Nevertheless.” Politicians, she whispered.

She had always been the stereotype of a good military leader. Cold when needed, rational, charismatic. She had never ordered anything to her troops that she wouldn’t do herself. She was loved by her subordinates… and not too well seen by the Senate. She gladly returned the feeling. Politics was a strange world for her. It wasn’t suited for her bulldozer personality… when there was a problem, she run directly against it, and she did it by herself, until it had been resolved. By this way, she had obtained more success than any other Admiral in the Alliance’s history… maybe even more than Admiral Ewerdorf. But, again, Ewerdorf had been a politic expert, while Amanda’s behaviour was completely diplomacy-destructive.

“You know my opinion on the matter, right?”

Ross sighed. “Amanda, that would be considered dictatorship, if not even fascism… something we had managed to get rid of in the 20th century.”

She nodded. “Yes, but I think that the last thing we need is an internal conflict during a war. Everything should be used to support the war effort, no matter what.”

“That’s exactly the point of what’s going on… but the President don’t want you to interfere with, uh… ‘internal affairs’, to put it kindly. And he wants to know why half a hundred Dread ships are still en-route to Earth.”

“I’d been told that the shield would had been activated in half an hour, and I acted by consequence… why it isn’t on yet?”

“Good question. I’ve bawled at scientists, and all they can say is that there’s something messing up with the standard procedures. They’ve found Dark Matter strings where they aren’t supposed to be… No doubt the Dreadies are trying to delay us.”

Amanda snorted. Nothing went the way you expected it would go.

“Have you got a new ETA?”

“Unfortunately not… it spans from ‘now’ to a month. Everything we can do is trust the eggheads.”

“Fantastic.” She hated being unable to do anything. “What about our fleet… what’s left of it?”

“We’ve about forty fully operational vessels here near Earth… unfortunately, half of them are from the Guards reserves. Rookies.”

Probably for the first time in her life, Amanda felt panic slowly emerging from her guts.

“How many veterans do we have, here?”

“Counting your battlegroup, more or less fifteen ships. We’ve also the orbital defence forces from the North American Federation, the European Union, Russia and China. Not veterans, but not rookies, either.”

“Nothing else?” she asked desperately.

“Three damaged battleships, the Resolution, the Kaiser and the Independence are serving as orbital batteries, considering that they’ve got long-range weapons still operational, while it can’t be said so of their engines.”

“Earth-based fighters?”

“Oh, we have dozens of squadrons of them. But I really doubt they can be any useful. But we have Golgotha station ready for you.”

“That’s something. Guess we can seriously hope only on that.”

“Amanda… can’t we beat them?”

For the first time, he seemed scared to death. Good, I’m not the only one.

She sighed. A long silence followed that question.

“Guess we can. Only… I’m not sure about the losses we’ll take.”

“Huh?”

“If we beat them… but in four, five years? What will happen if we beat them only after they destroy Earth? Will we still consider it a victory?”

“If they destroy Earth… well, I guess the Alliance will be almost dissolved.”

“Who is the genius who has left almost all the command centres on our homeworld?”

“Amie… stop them. Please.”
She tragically smiled.

“I’ll try.”

------

CED Headquarters – The Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

North American Federation, Earth, Sol system

 

I’ll try.

Ross shook his head. Why, oh why things weren’t simpler?

“Adam?”

“Yes, sir?”
“Have we got a scenario for the Dread Lords attack?”

“Sure. Just a moment… Here it is.”, he said, inserting an holodisk in the holo projector.

“Scenario A: the Dread Lords are halted in orbit and…”

“Totally implausible, now. Show me the ones where we have a Dread space dominance.”

“Well… scenario H. We don’t have much to do, rather than sit down and wait the bombardment.”

“All here?”

“Sir, we don’t know exactly what the Dread Lords can put up in a planetary invasion. We don’t even know how they invade a planet, hell… All I can think about is to use a scenario which includes guerrilla warfare.”

“Don’t we have an idea about their objectives?”

“No. They have landed in Paris and Novaja Zemlja only because there were top-secret R&D facilities, from what I’ve heard… I can’t say anything specific on their tactics. They could just bomb Earth from space until they have annihilated the planet. They could force us to surrender by flattening a major city a time till we give up. They could just land again because they want to keep an habitable planet, or they could use spore warfare… who knows?”

“Any way we can cut the ground from under them?”

“I fear it’s all up to Admiral Alighieri… With what we have here, we can do only support actions.”

“Absolutely anything?”

“The Security Council should discuss the use of our last nuclear weapons… maybe that will slow down the Dread Lords.”

“They haven’t been so effective, last time.” He still remembered his shock in seeing the enemy fleet still operational.

“Maybe… As a matter of fact, the NAF and Russia are deploying the boomers, as a preventive measure.”

“Nuclear submarines… Well, it’s better than nothing. Off-shore launch platforms, virtually undetectable.”

“Yes sir… but will it be enough?”

Silence fell in the room.

Ross sadly echoed a very old song: “Who knows… only time.

------

Beta Tauri II

 

With a soft pop!, the steel gate was gently removed from its supports, leaving the entrance for the cooling fans opened.

Hans cautiously entered in the tunnel. He had heard stories of overconfident special operations men who had ended their lives minced by a cooling fan. That was enough to make him unwilling to go on. Yet…

Problems?, Samantha telepathically asked. Tir-Quan troops were trained in using the deepest hidden abilities of the human brain… so deeply hidden, that they didn’t know them till someone showed them.

No. Just bad feelings, he answered in the same way.

They went on. And no one was sucked in a fan… so far, so good, he thought.

Here we are. Alfred?

Here I am.

The old soldier studied the reinforced door that led in the cooling maintenance station. If their map was correctly updated, that is.

Mmmmh. Primitive. Just a minute, commander.

He tinkered with the complex equipment he had in the 23rd-century version of a rucksack. A few seconds later the door silently unlocked.

Twenty-three seconds, he transmitted with a disgusted look on his face. This thing seriously needs a new battery.

Hans smiled.

Let’s move, guys!

The team stormed in the control room, hitting the two half-asleep Kriath engineers with stunning darts before they could even realize what was going on.

Area secured.

Samantha, it’s your turn.

Aye.

The purple-haired teen begun transferring codes and data strings from her portable device to the computer banks. Stealthily, the virus assembled itself in the deep computer cores, and immediately begun duplicating and sending its copies in the databanks where they were supposed to be most effective.

When you want, sir.

Hans’s eyes looked for the rest of his team, the standard combat experts.

Ready?

Ready.

Bomber?

Giuseppe was already working, placing the explosive charges all around.

There won’t be anything bigger than dust left of this room, that’s for sure.

Good. Samantha, where is our prisoner?

Just a moment, the data are coming back right… Ok. Section 3, door 34. We can reach it through the abandoned mining tunnels we saw a few minutes ago.

Let’s go.

------

Crystal Palace, Alire, Ilya

Altarian Republic, Altaria, Altair system

 

Eleys was impatiently drumming with her fingers on the wooden desk, as Priests in the room, gathered in a circle, slowly weaved a complex research enchantment… that was how humans would have called it – for an Altarian, it was a simple Dark Matter manipulation.

The circle of clerics was the image of concentration: every member had his (or her) eyes closed, lips quickly moving murmuring the words to control the Dark Matter, and a few were pale for the effort. Exactly in the middle of them the Telenath glowed as every single word was pronounced.

She looked her biomechanical left arm. The Dread Lord had nearly killed her… her arm had been infected by some unknown alien virus… so her medics had had to cut it. Plain and simple.

You’ll pay for this…

Then, suddenly, everything stopped. The room was unnaturally silent. An instant later, the Telenath illuminated, projecting red light dots all around the room, that slowly combined together in what seemed a star map.

“So?”, she finally asked.

The Priests stood stunned for a second, then their leader recovered.

“I’m sorry, milady, it’s been quite… stressing. But now, we have a map. We can find the last fragments of the Telenath.”

“Where are they?”

He pointed a few brighter dots.

“Here, Altaria. Dratha. Snathia. We can easily obtain them. But there’s also Iconia… It could be a problem. And we’re just lucky that we’ve obtained the Drengin and Korath pieces in the last peace treaty. Who could have ever imagined that those crystalline statues were so important?”

“We’ve come so far. I won’t let the Yor stop us.”

“I doubt they’ll handle it over too smoothly.”

“So, we’ll take it.”, she said, “By any means necessary.”

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March 4, 2009 5:59:08 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Lovely Eidolon-good to see this story is coming back to life after a long lay off (I know that you've been busy however young man )

KUTGW Mr!!

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March 4, 2009 6:13:16 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

AWESOME!!!!!

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March 8, 2009 1:38:12 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Glad you like it... this chapter took quite a long time to be written I hope the next one will be ready sooner...

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March 9, 2009 1:35:28 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Quoting Eidolon1032,
Glad you like it... this chapter took quite a long time to be written I hope the next one will be ready sooner...

It better...

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March 10, 2009 4:35:24 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

hehe-I second that emotion

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April 25, 2009 7:46:07 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

In the end it took quite a long... much more than the promised "sooner". It's school's fault


Chapter 12: Out of the darkness…

 

Crystal Palace, Alire, Ilya

Altarian Republic, Altaria, Altair system

 

You’re not in position to make demands, fleshling. We are disinclined to acquiesce to your request.

Eleys found really hard staying calm, but she managed to. The Yor ambassador was really annoying.

“Probably you’ve misunderstood me. I was –”

Not possible. My auditive system has clearly identified your intended vocal output.”

I swear on the name of my family, I’ll manage to have his chips all over this room someday…

“I hope you’ll pardon me, ambassador. Those are really difficult times…”

That’s irrelevant for the intended subject of this meeting.”

The Altarian whispered.

“What can we give you in exchange for that?”

I have previously replied to that. We’re not going to have a trade agreement.”

“Why?”

We’d have no interest in giving you the crystal you have designated as the Telenath.”

“The Dread Lords are advancing, and that’s our only hope to stop them!”

That’s something not in the Collective’s best interests. Your time has come, fleshlings. The strongest will prevail.

“Do you really think the Dread Lords will let you alone?”

For the moment, our objectives and theirs coincides. Your time has come, fleshlings.

Eleys stood up, hitting the negotiation table with her new bionic arm, bending the metal under her fist. Not that that impressed much the Yor.

“Listen to me, you useless pile of scrap metal! I’ll try to put it plain and simple, so that you’ll understand: you don’t give us the Telenath, the Dread Lords wipe us out, you’re the next on their list!”

That would be illogical. The Precursors would be too weakened to begin a war of aggression against our Collective. We’d annihilate them by sheer numbers.

“It’s something the Coalition hadn’t managed to do twelve years ago! Why should you be successful?”

We’re more efficient than you fleshlings. We will prevail.

“Why not fight together? It’d be more advantageous for both of us, and -”

No. We’ll follow our first course of action. Be aware that any attempt to obtain the Telenath by force will be doomed to fail. This is the end of this diplomatic meeting.

------

TAS Galatea, Earth, Sol System

 

“All units, focus your fire on Frigate 34!”

“Aye, sir! Transmitting orders!”

“Helm, 20 degrees port! Gunnery control, I want another torpedo volley before now!”

“Bridge, gunnery control here! We’re frying the cooling fans! They weren’t designed to sustain this rate of fire!”

“Do what you can, and something more, gunnery!”

“Sir, we – no, the weapon systems – need a break, or they’ll breakdown!”

“The Kaiser is down! The Kaiser is down!”

Amanda swore. Another ship out of service.

“Sir, we have a transmission incoming from Washington!”

“I have no time, now! Comm, order the Warspite and the Orion to try an outflanking manouver!”

“Aye!”

“Sir… the CED is transmitting encoded retreat orders!”

“What?”

She paralyzed in the middle of the bridge, feeling that everyone’s eyes were pointed on her.

“Orders are to break the engagement and reorganize for a better planned counterattack. If we stay here, they’ll crush us one by one, till we’ll have nothing more to fight with…”

“Nuts! I’ll die with my ship, rather than live with the remorse of having fled the most important battle of my career!”

“Sir, it’s a single planet against a whole race. If we loose the most of our fleet here, we won’t be able to effectively form new battle lines to fight elsewhere. The Dread Lords will have their happy rampage time anyway.”

Thoughtful silence.

“You’re right.”, she finally admitted. “Send the retreat order.”

The remnants of the Terran fleet much more than happily left the field of engagement. Only a handful of vessels were fully operative, most had been scratched, battered and ripped by enemy Doom Rays. Yet they still flew, somehow.

The Dread Lords had taken heavy losses, too. Barely forty ships were still alive, from the initial two hundreds. Wave after wave of human offensives had hit them much more than anyone would have thought at the beginning, yet they had won. With slow manoeuvres, they began their descent toward geostationary orbit and bombardment position.

 

“What are you doing, helm?”

“Uh… engaging hyperwarp, sir?”

She smiled.

“Did I told you we were going anywhere?”

“Retreat point?”

“Oh, no. The fleet is retreating. Not me.”

“Oh, shit.”, someone murmured.

------

CED Headquarters – The Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

North American Federation, Earth, Sol system

 

Defeat.

Such a bitter taste.

Ross stood up from his command chair. Around him, everyone looked stunned, as if they’d never thought this could happen. Oh, yes, fighting the Dread Lords would have been hard and difficult and bloody and whatsoever, but I the end they would have won… Or not?

Actually, the answer looked too much a loud, resounding “NO”.

Well, he and Amanda had tried. Tried and failed… Only a miracle could have saved Earth, now.

SIR!

“What’s going on, now?”

“Sir, I read multiple subspace anomalies near Venus! There’s something massive coming out!”

A little spark of hope.

The men in the control room furiously begun to tip on their computers, till someone yelled: “Friendly IFF! It’s the Shivans!”

“About time, damn! Open a channel!”

------

Arnor cruiser, the Moon, Sol System

 

“And you call this flying a ship?”

“What’s wrong with this, Colonel Jenna Casey?”

“That’s more… being flown… I don’t know if I give the idea… And it’s quite impossible to maintain a straight course! Don’t you have a cloche or something like that?”

“You’re experiencing the symbiosis. It’s something new for your race… but one day you’ll –”

“Okok… I trust you.”, she rudely interrupted the Arnor. He was too poetical for her… too likely to digress even in such a situation. And she was having her hand full with piloting the cruiser. As she had said before, it was a strange and unique experience. Though she was conscious to be a separate entity from the ship, at the same time she was the ship… more or less, that was the basilar concept. The full extent of that relationship was well beyond her imagination. It was something unique.

“Suggestions for a battle plan?”

“Follow your heart, Colonel Jenna Casey.”

She held back a long string of profanities. Never try to get an useful answer from an Arnor in a reasonably short time…

“Wait… what…”

Dark red vessels were emerging from transpace near Venus. She knew that… how she was sure of that was another question.

Nemamiah wrinkled his forehead.

“Shivans…”, he spitted out in disgust.

------

TAS Galatea, Earth, Sol System

 

“We’re here to help, Human. Looks like we’ve arrived just in time. Proceeding to engage enemy forces. Stand clear of the destroyer ships Qhiah and Yamis.”

“Received, Admiral. Breaking off our attack.”

A silent ‘thanks’ was murmured from everyone in the bridge, despite Amanda’s icy look. She sat down on her command chair, visibly annoyed. She hated being put apart during a decisive fight…

“Captain, keep us on this course… Gunnery, ready to fire a last combo at my or-.”

Suddenly, they hit her.

 

In her mind.

She was in an endless foggy, dark plain… with nothing but shadows moving menacingly around her. She felt completely alone… defenceless… vulnerable… she couldn’t move. And they were laughing at her! Why… I can’t… Why…

Voices booming in her head.

You failed.

We won.

You’re weak.

You’re useless.

You’re alone.

Die.

 

“Sir!”

Her second in command was knelt on her, slapping her face.

“Sir! Wake up, damn! Wake up!”

She stayed there, immobile.

“Medic! A medic!”

Two Altarians stormed in the room.

“Psychic attack!”

Captain Ford stared at them.

“What should we do?”

The newcomers quickly checked her, and then they shook their heads.

“Nothing. There’s absolutely nothing we can do… She has to win on her own. Otherwise…”

“Otherwise?”

“She’ll die.”

 

Crouched in that dead wasteland, Amanda was silently praying.

Not me… Not me… Why me? Please!

You’ll die. You can’t even imagine what you went against…

Please…

 

Around her, another battle was taking place. The Shivans spore ships had opened fire against the Dread vessels, forcing them to scramble to dodge the lethal biological weapons. The Galatea somehow managed to withdraw from the engagement area, with minimal damage. As the distance between the Galatea and the leading Dread frigate increased when the Terran ship engaged her warp drive, the psychic grasp on Amanda’s mind slowly diminished, till she felt that invading presence fade away.

 

I’ll be back, earthling. Next time you won’t be so lucky.

------

Arnor cruiser, the Moon, Sol System

 

“Yeah! They’re retreating! And we didn’t even fired a single shot!”

“Follow them, Colonel Jenna Casey.”

“As you wish, Nemamiah… time to show them how does it feels being hunted down…”

------

TAS Galatea, Venus, Sol System

 

“Are you sure she’s ok?”

Alan Bradley’s hologram was menacingly looking Captain Ford.

“Quite, sir. That’s what the Altarians have said. She only looked a little bit.. shocked, but that’s understandable, I guess. Having someone else in your head shouldn’t feel too good.”

The President’s face brightened.

“Try to help her… do what you can. I need her back in command of our Navy as soon as possible.”

“Yes, sir. She’s now in her room, and-”

“Stay with her. Always. That’s an order, Captain.”

“Aye, sir!”, he saluted.

“Excellent. Bradley out.”

Wow. One day you’re the second in command of a battleship, the next you’re assigned to Admiral-sitting. Such is life. Muttering to himself something not too pleasant about the President, he walked towards her superior’s room.

 

“Ah! Mio ben solo in  terra… mi guarda, mi conosci…”

“O padre mio”!

“Oh qual mistero! Che fu? Sei tu ferita? Dimmi…”

“L’acciò… qui mi piagò…”

“Chi t’ha colpita?!?”

“V’ho ingannato… colpevole fui… l’amai troppo… ora muoio per lui…”

“Dio tremendo… ella stessa fu colta… dallo stral di mia giusta vendetta… angiol caro, mi guarda, m’ascolta… parla, parlami figlia diletta!”

“Oh! Ch’io taccia… a me… a lui perdonate… benedite alla figlia, o mio padre…”

 

[Rigoletto: Ah, my only joy on earth … look at me … say who I am … 
Gilda: Ah, my father!
Rigoletto: I'm mystified!… What happened?… Are you wounded? Tell me...
Gilda: The dagger… wounded me here...
Rigoletto: Who struck you?!?

Gilda: I deceived you… I was guilty… I loved him too much… now I die for him!

Rigoletto: Great God in heaven! She was struck by the bolt that I, in righteous vengeance, loosed! Beloved angel! Look at me, listen to me! Speak, speak to me, dearest child!

Gilda: Oh! Let me be silent! Forgive me, and him. Bless your daughter, my father…]

 

Opera. Ford chuffed. Only her CO could like something so old-fashioned. She was there, sunk in her armchair, looking that old theatrical representation. He knocked on the door jamb to announce his presence.

“What’s up, Captain?”, Amanda muttered without turning her eyes off from the holograms in front of her.

 “The President is worried for you, sir. He asked me to-”

“I don’t need help. Not now, at least… it’s too late. Many thanks.”

“Yes. Sure.”, he sighed. “Oh, and the CDA found Admiral Alvarez… or what’s left of him. He was a bloody mess in a lane near the Docks in Copernicus. Probably he’s been assassinated by a Dread agent just before the attack.”

“Another death. Will this ever end?”, she asked to no one in particular.

“Not that you are watching something much happier…” Ford sceptically looked a crying hunchback over a dying girl.

 

“Lassù in cielo, vicino alla madre, in eterno per voi pregherò…”

“Non morir! Mio tesoro, pietade… mia colomba, lasciarmi non dei… no, lasciarmi non dei…”

“Lassù in cielo, vicino alla madre…”

“Oh mia figlia!”

“…in eterno per voi pregherò!”

“Non lasciarmi non dei!”

“Per voi…”

“Non morir!”

“Per voi pregherò!”

 

[Gilda: Up in Heaven, near my mother, forever I’ll pray for you…

Rigoletto: Do not die! My treasure, have pity… my coulomb, you must not leave me… no, you must not leave me…

Gilda: Up in heaven, near my mother…

Rigoletto: Oh my daughter!

Gilda: Forever I’ll pray for you!

Rigoletto: You must not leave me, you must not!

Gilda: For you…

Rigoletto: Do not die!

Gilda: I’ll pray for you!]

 

“Italian, I guess.”

“Yes. Verdi’s Rigoletto… one of my favourites. The hunchback is Rigoletto, a court jester, and the girl is his daughter Gilda. She had been raped by the Duke of Mantua, and Rigoletto had hired a killer to avenge her honour, but she loved the Duke, after all, and when she discovered her father’s plan she decided to sacrifice herself to let her beloved live. The killer gave Rigoletto what he thought it was the Duke’s corpse, and the joker just discovered it’s his daughter’s…”

 

Se t’involi qui sol, qui sol rimarrò, non morir o qui teco morrò…”

“…non più…”

“O mia figlia!”

“Perdonate…”

“O mia Gilda…”

“Addio! Lassù… in ciel…”

“Non… morir…”

“Lassù… in ciel!”

“Non lasciarmi… non dei!”

“Pregherò… per voi… per voi… Ah!”

“Gilda! Mia Gilda! E’ morta! Ah! La maledizione!”

 

[Rigoletto: If you go away  I shall be alone here, do not die or I’ll die here with you…

Gilda: …no more…

Rigoletto: Oh my daughter!

Gilda: bless…

Rigoletto: Oh my Gilda!

Gilda: Farewell! Up in Heaven…

Rigoletto: you must not… die…

Gilda: Up in Heaven!

Rigoletto: You must not leave me! You must not!

Gilda: I’ll pray… for you… for you… ah!

Rigoletto: Gilda! My Gilda! She’s dead! Ah! The curse! ]

 

 “Bah. I can’t get the point.”, he commented as the orchestra reached its climax as Rigoletto fell on his daughter’s dead body. “The curse?”

 “It’s quite a long story. Rigoletto has been cursed by Count Monterone, whose daughter has been raped by the Duke, too. The jester mocked the Count when he asked justice to the Duke, and so…” she noticed his emotionless face. “You don’t like opera, don’t you?”

“Well, no. And frankly-”

He was interrupted by the bleeping sound of his communicator.

“Excuse me, Admiral… Ford here. Yes. What?

She jumped out of her armchair as soon as she heard his worried voice.

“What’s the matter now?”

“The M.A.G.I. network. The supercomputers are tracking an anomalous energy reading in the uninhabited Gamma Centauri star system. And it’s definitely of Dread Lord origin. Looks like we’ve got more trouble on the way.”

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May 29, 2009 6:58:41 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

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