Galactic Battles: The Dark Menace Chapter 4

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Well, chapter 4. Wow, this is going faster than I thought. In this one, the Galactic Regime holds an emergency meeting to determine what they should do to this new threat to their power. We also get a little insight on the capabilities of Galactic Knights and their weapons.

IV

Darthamoor

Date: Jan 3, 900 A.C.

__________________________________________

A grim gathering of people assembled on Gorthormer inside the ACC. There was David, Savantone, Senator Shore, Senator Westerbridge, the Admiral, and others who had been present at the capture of the Arie Outpost Command Center. Also present was Epsilon Widripper. As he was the head of the Facratic regime, a combination of the governments Fascism and Democracy, his formal title was Supreme Dictent, or just Dictent.

Epsilon sat back in his chair, his fingers threaded together and the wrinkles in his wiry face deepening as he visualized the calamity. “So you say, Admiral, that the outpost was attacked without warning? Or did you already have some premonitions?”

“I had no idea that any such thing was about to happen, Dictent.” Admiral Yive said, shaking his head. “It was all so sudden. One moment we were grouped for a meeting, and the next moment, the base shook as if bombarded by heavy artillery. However, I could see no such heavy weapons in the vicinity.”

“I think I can clear up this point,” Captain Pere put in. “While scouting, just before the attack, my light wing and I discovered a battalion of mechanoids guarding what appeared to be a shield generator.”

“A shield generator?” The Supreme Dictent asked. “On Reotos, with the Arie Outpost guarding  it? I thought the security systems implemented on Reotos were of the highest technology? How can there have been a shield generator? If it had been a portable shield generator it would not be surprising but a shield generator? That must’ve taken quite some time to construct there, I don’t understand how you could not notice it until then.”

Captain Pere looked very uncomfortable at this and shifted slightly in his seat as he turned to his superior officer for help.

“Well,” Commander Grennet said. “The only thing I can think of that would have made our enemies’ building of this shield possible would be a cloaking device.”

“A cloaking device?” Savantone asked, his voice showing mild surprise. “I thought we gave that up as hopeless technology long ago.”

“Well, it appears that our enemies have succeeded where we haven’t,” Epsilon said, shaking his head. “Still, Captain, wouldn’t it have been possible to detect the generator with the new anomaly detectors?”

“I suspect,” Commander Grennet said, leaning forward and whispering as if he was afraid someone would hear him. “But I suspect that it is highly possible they have succeeded in making a cloaking shield.”

“A cloaking shield?” The Dictent asked. “I’ve never heard of it. Refresh my memory please.”

“It was some technology we messed with about thirty years back.” Senator Shore said. “It was to absorb all waves of the spectrum, thus being impossible to see with anything, including those outdated radars.”

“I think it is also highly possible that they included projectors in their design,” Captain Pere said, speaking up. “It would project an image onto the shield and because the shield would no longer absorb everything, it would appear as colors, that way, they could have projected a whole forest and the sky onto the shield and we’d never have known about it.”

“Hmm… This certainly is a threat to the Galactic Regime.” Epsilon said, turning to Commander Grennet, he continued. “Have your scouts reported back from the Arie Outpost, or what remains of it?”

“Yes, Dictent, they have. They say that the base is flattened. It appears also that there is a mech occupation,” Commander Grennet replied, using the soldiers’ shortened version of mechanoid. “The skies are patrolled by E-Swoops and they barely missed being seen while flying back to base.”

“I see, fortunately there are no civilians on Reotos, are there?” At Savantone’s negative, the Dictent continued. “To the best of my memory, Captain, you had mentioned the shield generator to clear up the point of heavy artillery, yet I do not see how that does clear up the point. Was the shield protecting some cannons?”

“No,” Captain Pere said, shaking his head. “It wasn’t. The generator itself was shooting!”

“What?” Everybody exclaimed in unison.

“What I don’t get,” Admiral Yive said. “Was why they turned their cloaking shield off when they began to attack. I mean, they might have added some cannon technology to the generator, but why turn the shield off?”

“I have a solution to that question, Admiral, if I may be allowed to speak,” Senator Westerbridge said.

“Certainly, my dear,” Epsilon said, as all eyes focused on the young senator.

“As most of you may know, I not only am a senator, but I also specialize in the Department of Technology, or DT. While you people were talking, I constructed a cloaking shield on my VCC (Virtual Constructor Computer) and tested its properties. I discovered that the side effects of this cloaking shield is that the inside becomes highly reflective and reflects the plasma bolts used by us. If they did not turn the shield off, it would have reflected the plasma bolts back onto the generator, pulverizing it.”

“Ah, so turned inside out, this shield could be used for a reflective shield.” Commander Grennet said. “But it won’t be practical, because the people inside the shield will not be able to see. It appears that we are up against an enemy more technologically advanced than we are.”

Just then, Savantone’s holocell beeped. Savantone quickly reached inside his robe and took it out. He pressed the answer button expectantly, and was not disappointed when an image of his former pupil, Neil Ban, appeared.

“Greetings, Master Kay, Supreme Dictent, Senators, David, Commander Grennet, and Captain Pere.” Neil Ban said, then turning back to his former teacher, Neil continued. “As you know, advisor, recently I was called to go to the planet Darthamoor in the Atproandu network. There, I found that a fierce war was going on. The southern hemisphere of the planet was in chaos. Mechs were everywhere, shooting down harmless civilians and killing all who offered resistance. That was two days ago. Now that those two days have passed, the whole southern hemisphere of civilization has been decimated.

“Now,  the survivors have sent out a call for help. They are in urgent need of assistance and I have thought to be so bold as to place their request before you. I know that many of our defenses are spread out, keeping the peace, but I thought that perhaps there might be a few coms or maybe a Galactic Knight we could spare.”

“What exactly is the case?” Senator Shore asked.

“There is an air blockade of five unknown spacecruisers. Best estimate is that they each carry about twenty of this unknown swoop class.” Neil said as his image slid aside and a rotating holograph of a GI 85 T-swoop appeared. “Also they have about five battalions of MBMs. They probably also came from the spacecruisers.”

“These tinnies mean business,” Commander Grennet growled as he visualized the information that Neil Ban had given them.

“Wait!” Neil said, whirling around. “Something is coming.” Neil reached inside his cloak and drew out the shining handle of his enerblade but made no move to activate it. Savantone mentally asked what is it? The answer that came was not what he was looking for: A strong surge of evil. Then the holographic image of Neil disappeared.

Savantone immediately tried to contact Neil again but there was no answer. Suddenly, the reality dawned on Savantone as he felt a great pressure come on his mind: Neil Ban had been killed. Savantone slowly turned to face Commander Grennet. “You, and Caddie Erntie will go, with five coms, to Darthamoor.”

“Won’t you come with us, sir?” The Commander asked.

“We will have to see. First, however, you and Caddie had better get ready.” Savantone said, wearily turning as he left the room. To the eyes of all who saw him, the aged man appeared to lean on his cane more than usual.

“I will continue my research on our enemies’ technology,” Senator Westerbridge, or Jennifer, said.

“Yes, good idea,” Epsilon said. “Come with me Senator Shore, there are several things that you and I need to discuss. Especially the new security measures that are to be taken, now that a new enemy has risen.” At this, both the Dictent and the Senator left the room.

“I’ll go tell Caddie about the new mission,” Commander Grennet said, and the remaining people dispersed to their different duties.

As Savantone slowly hobbled down the hall, nostalgic thoughts flooded his memory. Neil Ban had been his first pupil. Savantone had treated him as a son, and now, it was more like losing ten sons. Neil Ban always did have his faith dampened by his fear. Savantone thought, shaking his head sadly. He must’ve realized his danger too late.

Then, as Savantone rounded a corner, his mind was suddenly pierced as if by a blaster bolt. Go to Darthamoor. “Then Darthamoor it is,” Savantone said aloud. He had nothing to prepare and simply changed direction to head for the hanger where he knew the Commander and Caddie would be waiting for him.

“So are you coming? Sir?” Commander Grennet asked, as Savantone entered.

“Yes, I am coming.” Savantone said, as he walked up the boarding ramp of the LT 67 Guardship.

Caddie was already seated in the pilot seat and the coms hurried to make room for Savantone as he sat down beside them. Everybody respected the aged man. Commander Grennet flicked a switch as he entered and the boarding ramp closed. The minute the boarding ramp indicators went green, Caddie pushed the throttle forward and soon the spaceship had roared out from the hanger.

The second they were out of the gravity of Gorthormer, Caddie’s liquid voice filled the cabin: “Prepare for Machspace everybody.”

Caddie locked on the coordinates and watched as the navigational display calculated the best route. Commander Grennet shook his helmeted head in amazement as he watched Caddie survey the strings of equations that the navigational display went through. Every pilot who flew spaceships beyond the speed of Mach one was required to learn how these complicated calculations worked. The reasons for this was numerous. First off was that there always was the chance of the computer making a slight mistake, which, at the speed of Mach five, and above for many spaceships, could result in the death of everybody in the spaceship and the pulverization of the spacecraft itself. Also, though navigational calculator meltdowns were not common, they did occasionally happen, and it was crucial for a pilot to know how to manually calculate and input the best Mach-route.

Then the strings of equations stopped coming and a green indicator light blinked. Caddie acknowledged it with a flick of a switch and Commander Grennet watched the Mach-indicator as it rose from one, to two, then to three. Four was then followed by a reluctant five. At this speed, the walls vibrated gently as the sound absorbers absorbed the roar from the engines that would have deafened everybody given the chance.

Caddie turned in her seat to face the Commander. “Well, Commander, we should arrive at Darthamoor in exactly eight minutes and forty-eight, now seven, seconds. When we arrive, I think it’ll take some clever piloting to steer past the blockade, if Neil’s estimate was correct that is.”

“It will be correct,” Commander Grennet said grimly. “I have no idea how we expect to hold out against five battalions of mechs with only five coms, you, me, and Advisor Kay. Unless we’re just sent there to organize the civilians.”

“Yes, you are correct,” Caddie said, and, as the ship slowed, turned back to the screen. “I myself supervised the loading of one hundred C 30 assault rifles onto the spaceship. Along with five holocells for captains.”

“Great,” the Commander muttered. “We get a battalion of unarmored coms who have to be divided into groups of twenty to battle against five mech battalions. Just beautiful isn’t it?”

“They will be divided to organize the other civilians with whatever is available.” Savantone said. “I myself personally thought of this plan. However, you two will be the ones commanding the civilians. I myself will personally search for General Ban’s killer.”

Commander Grennet would have protested but Caddie interrupted him.

“Hang tight guys,” Caddie said grimly as the fighter emerged from Machspace. It did not take long for the enemy fighters to notice the insignificant Guardship, and they zoomed in for the kill.

Caddie jerked the spaceship aside as a burst of blaster fire emerged from the cannons of the enemy swoops. She steered upwards, as if she was about to do a loop, but the minute she noticed the enemies follow her course, dived steeply down. This move ridded them of the tailing swoops but more were to come.

“This ship is not as maneuverable as my swoop. It’s going to be hard for me to avoid the next batch of fighters. They won’t get caught by the same trick twice.” Caddie told them, grimly, as she nosedived to avoid a barrage of heavy fire from the spacecruisers.

“Why not do it the opposite way?” Commander Grennet suggested. “If you head up as if you were going to do that move again, they’ll probably try to intercept your move and head downwards, then you can loop around behind them and blast them out from space. If they don’t move downwards, then you can continue your first trick.”

Caddie thought this was a good idea and she executed the move as the Commander suggested. But what neither of them had visualized happened, the fighters split into two groups. One tailing Caddie up, and the other heading downwards to intercept her should she try to change direction.

The Guardship shook as the T-swoops’ fire bombarded it. A wing tip was lost and Caddie had to jerk the control lever to the right to avoid rolling into a death spiral. “I’m gonna try to do a flash dive,” Caddie yelled, over the roar of another barrage of plasma.

The coms gulped. A flash dive was where the pilot entered Machspace while heading directly for a planet. At the last moment, they were to reverse the thrusters, raise the air brakes, and nose the ship upwards. The chances of success when the pilot was a veteran was about one out of fifty. Not only this, but the chances were worsened because Caddie had no time to calculate the route and would have to manually control the Guardship.

Caddie flicked the Machspace switch but a warning came up saying the route had not been calculated. It gave two options: one, to wait for the calculator to calculate the route, or two, to fly the Guardship manually. Caddie selected the latter option.

The Guardship shot forward, Caddie barely had time to flick the ready switches on the revers thrusters and air brakes before she had to wrench back on the control lever and flick the activate switch. Everybody was thrown forwards as the Guardship burst out of Machspace but the angle of the hull was not great enough and the Guardship’s speed carried it down, down, down till it hit the planet’s surface with a sickening crash.

Savantone was the first to recover. The jagged edge of a rock stuck through the hull and the viewscreen was smashed, but other than that, nobody was harmed. He looked around and deliberated on waking his companions up, then decided against it. What better time to split up than now? If he waited, his companions certainly would plead with him to stay, and though Savantone was certain of his persuasive abilities, he did not relish the idea of tearing himself away from his friends.

Silently he got to his feet. The boarding ramp would not work, so he drew his enerblade and activated it. A snap sound filled the cabin as the internal core shot out from the handle, then a low fizz sound took place of the momentary snap as the green plasma blade projected from the core. It shone a bright green as Savantone jabbed it down into the floor of the spaceship, indicating that he was using some of his own energy to strengthen the blade. This was one of the many advantages of an enerblade, a Galactic Knight was able to use his powers to strengthen the blade. He cut a small circle out of the floor, then jumped through it.

Once outside, Savantone turned his enerblade off and returned it to its place under his cloak. Then resolutely turning his back to the spaceship, he walked off.

***

Caddie’s eyes fluttered open. Something pinned her arms behind her back. She could hear a dull thudding, as if somebody was walking. In the background, she heard the voices of men.

Pushing herself up to a sitting position, Caddie tried to focus and take in her situation at the same time. The effort was too great for her strained body and she fell back with a sigh. A jarring pain ran up her ankle and she figured that she must have sprained it.

“Ah, you are awake,” and for the first time, Caddie was aware of an armed man standing guard over her. He held a blaster pistol pointed at her head and she noticed with a sinking heart that the selector was positioned at the ‘kill’ function.

“What do you want with me? Who are you?” Caddie asked, realizing now that her arms were pinned together with a force restraint, a sort of tight force field band that encircled her wrists, rather like handcuffs, but way more effective.

“It’s the boss who wants you, not me. And my name is not for me to tell you. I’m just here to guard you, not answer your questions.”

Caddie was about to ask where the Commander, the five coms, and Savantone were, when the first six were pushed in, she figured Savantone must have escaped. All of them were bare headed and each had his arms tied behind his back. A blaster pistol was pointed at each of their heads and they were kicked brutally forward to join her on the ground.

“Stand up, all of you,” one of their grim looking captors said. He seemed to carry about him a sense of authority and Caddie guessed that he must be a captain.

“Where are you taking us?” Commander Grennet asked.

“We’re taking you, to see Richard, Leader of the Freedom Fighters of Darthamoor!”

******End of Chapter 4******

Hope you enjoyed! 🙂

~Michael Hollingworth
Disce Ferenda Pati – Learn to endure what must be borne

Click Here for Chapter 5!

Click Here for Chapter 3!

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