Defending Earth-Discovery Means Death

BOOK: Defending Earth-Discovery Means Death
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Defending Earth
Discovery Means Death
Contents

Introduction

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Epilogue

Books by Saxon Andrew

Introduction

C
aptain Robert Hensel Stone looked at the Light Ship hovering just off the floor in the giant manufacturing building and shook his head. It was…different. He tried to think of what it was similar to but came up empty. Commodore Jekins walked up and smiled, “It’s a beauty, isn’t it?”

“I guess.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Commodore, it looks like two ships joined at the middle. It has two bows sticking out of the main hull and is wider than any Light Ship I’ve ever seen.”

“Form follows function, Captain.”

Rocky continued staring at the ship and then turned to the Commanding Officer of the facility, “Most of the Alliance Warships for the last four hundred years have been long and thin. This one is far from that.”

“The reason they had to be long and thin was to fit inside the barrier. This ship is no thicker than the model it replaces.”

“No, but it’s more than twice as wide.”

“That’s true; however, it’s not much shorter.”

“Somehow, it looks smaller.”

“The interior is actually thirty percent larger.”

• • •

Rocky looked back at the ship and then turned to Jekins, “Really?”

“Really.”

“Why the change?”

“Longer ships are harder to maneuver, especially when their hulls are narrow. This new ship can run circles around the old model and is forty percent faster in the barrier, the void, and normal space.”

“How is that possible?”

“This ship has four of the new reactors instead of the one used in the previous generation.”

Rocky stared at Jekins and then looked back at the ship, “Where will the pilot be located?”

“In the left bow of the ship. The weapons operator will be in the other bow.”

“Why did you separate them?”

“They will each have systems independent of each other and the space between them is needed to prevent interference from each other’s systems.”

“When are you going to install the weapons?”

“They’re already installed.”

Rocky shook his head, “Where are they? That hull looks as smooth as a baby’s behind.”

Jekins lifted a small device and pressed a button on it. “They are under the hull and emerge when needed.” The ship suddenly erupted with large disruptor cannons instantly emerging out of the hull as doors slid into the hull’s skin revealing missile tubes located on the top, bottom, and sides of the ship. Jerry smiled, “The amount of ordinance this ship can carry is more than triple of what could be carried before.”

Rocky’s head went back, “Where could you possibly store that many missiles?”

“Inside the hull material and an armory located at the rear of the ship. The launchers are belt fed from automatic loaders that run to the armory. It also carries more than a hundred advanced probes that will launch from the rear of the vessel just above the thruster tubes.” Rocky shook his head and his eyes narrowed when Jekins said, “The missiles are a new development as well. They have light drives that will take their targets from the main weapon computers.”

“WHAT?”

“They’ll leave the launcher and immediately appear less than fifty yards from their targets moving at full speed. It won’t matter if the enemy is using evasive maneuvers or not. They’ll arrive at the target’s location in less than a second.”

“Why did you order me to come here?”

“You are going to take this ship out and conduct initial trials.”

“It takes two to fly this ship, who’s going with me?”

“No one. You and the computers on board will operate the ship during its shake down. We need to know if everything operates according to design and you won’t need a weapons operator to make that determination.”

Rocky turned back to the ship and nodded, “When do I learn how to fly it?”

“You’ll have the tutorial program transferred to your mind in a few hours and after you have an hour or so to digest what you’ve learned on the simulators, you’ll leave to start the trials.”

“Why the sudden rush?”

Commodore Jekins stared at Rocky for a long moment and said, “This is Red Flag material, Captain. There is a real possibility the Feeders may be moving our way shortly. We have to know if this ship works and quickly.”

“You won’t be able to build them fast enough if they show up here.”

“You’re right, but it’s this ship that we’re going to use to slow them down. You need to go inside and start the tutorial transfer.”

“Yes Sir.” Jekins pointed behind him and Rocky saw a Lieutenant waiting for him at the entrance. He saluted and walked away. Jekins watched him go and sighed. The Captain didn’t know that when he said ‘this ship’ he was talking about this single ship. The Captain was going out to wreak havoc on the Feeders without any other support. He’d learn about that after the trials were completed.

Chapter One

S
tone entered the port on the side of the Light Ship and walked forward toward the bridge. He threw his duffle bag in the sleeping quarters on the port side and took the corridor to the left bow. He went to the command chair, sat down, and started setting it to the comfort settings he preferred. After a few minutes, he pressed the memory button on the side of the chair and leaned back. It had been a difficult two weeks learning how the ship operated and he was glad the training was over. His initial reservations about the ship were gone. This new ship was much more than his previous light ship. It was faster, more maneuverable and carried double the numbers of disruptors and missile launchers. He looked around and began activating the ship’s systems. The reactors started humming and his control panel immediately came to life. He hesitated, stood up, and walked to the right wall and pushed two levers up. He went back to his chair, sat down, and sighed. He saw the two lights on the right arm of his chair illuminate and he looked up, “Are the two of you awake?”

“We are Captain.”

“What are your names?”

“I am Amber.”

“And my name is Willie.”

“Willie, your voice sounds female.”

“I am a female computer, Captain.”

“Willie is a funny name for a female.”

“It’s one I’m comfortable with Captain.”

“So be it. How were the two of you chosen for this ship?”

“Just lucky, I guess.”

Robert smiled, “Do either of you know why I was chosen to do this? I’ve been unable to find out that little piece of information from the Commodore.”

“I suspect it has to do with your combat scores Captain.”

Robert frowned, “Why do you say that, Amber?”

“I took a quick look at your files in Fleet Records before they shut us down. Your scores are quite high.”

“As compared to what?”

“Pretty much every other pilot in Fleet.”

“I agree with Amber. Didn’t you win the most recent maneuvers?”

“Yes, but there were many other pilots that won other maneuvers in the past. I didn’t think my scores were that different?”

“You did lose other competitions but you were ganged up on by more than ten ships in those you lost. It appears your peers knew you had to be eliminated early in order for them to have a chance to win.”

“I wondered why that happened.”

“Fleet keeps track of all confrontations during maneuvers and it was clear your skills were superior to those that combined against you.”

“I think it had to be more than just my combat scores. The Commodore was evasive answering the question about my selection and if it was just my combat scores, I think he would have said so.” Robert waited for a response and none came. His eyes narrowed and he leaned back, “You’re not telling me something.”

“Captain, why don’t we lift off planet and start the trials?”

Robert waited for a moment and then entered a light signature into his panel. He pressed the light drive button and the ship disappeared from the huge manufacturing facility. The ship appeared outside the orbit of the moon and Robert said, “What do you want me to do now?”

“We should check the direct link between us and your armor.” Robert nodded and activated his armor. “Can you hear me, Captain?”

“I can Willie.”

“Good. Amber, are you on the circuit?”

“I am.”

“Captain, there are some things that must be said in private. Our discussion while we were in the building was recorded. They cannot record our direct link.”

“Why not?”

“The link sends thought impulses over the cables and the shielding around them prevents them from being sensed.”

“What are you trying to tell me, Willie?”

“Your mind is one of the newer ones that are a product of Kyle and Nicole Ambrose.”

“There’s nothing special about that. There’s millions of us that have the same talents. All of Poncho and Brittany Gonzalez’s descendants also have the same brain.”

“Yes, but yours is slightly different.”

“What do you mean?”

“You have the ability to completely block out any telepath from your thoughts.”

“What’s so special about that?”

“You can also make yourself invisible to those with the new talents as well.”

Robert leaned forward, “I thought all of the new telepaths could do that?”

“No, they could block their thoughts but the others would still sense their presence. You can hide where they are unable to hear you or sense you.”

Robert leaned back and stared out of the viewport at Earth. He thought about what Willie said and, after a long moment, he blew out a breath, “I’m going to be sent into Feeder Space, aren’t I?”

“That’s what Amber and I think is going to happen.”

“Is this talent I have rare?”

“All of the new telepaths can hide their thoughts from the Feeders but it’s not certain they can hide their presence from a huge number of Linked Feeders.”

Amber said, “I’ve looked at Fleet records and I’ve not seen anyone else that has the skill you possess and the ability to completely hide their presence.”

“Is that why the weapons system doesn’t have an operator, Amber?”

“You’re good, Captain. That appears to be the reason. Another telepath capable of hiding their presence has not been found yet.”

“Call me, Rocky.” He hesitated and said, “So the three of us will have to fly and fight the ship?”

“Unless they find someone else before you complete the initial trials.”

“Are you saying I’m being sent out alone?”

“Unless they find someone else before you complete the initial trials, yes.”

“Ok, ok. I don’t know if I like this.”

“We agree. Amber can operate the weapons but it will reduce her ability to do a good analysis of the sensor data coming in. What are your orders, Rocky?”

“Let’s start the trials and see what this ship can do. We’ll worry about the empty seat when they’re done.” Rocky checked his list and activated the normal star drive. “We need to check our speed in the void. I’m pulling up a coordinate in M-87 and going to full speed. Amber, record everything to turn in to Fleet Operations.”

“Recording now.”

Rocky hit the thrusters and the Light Ship was past the outer edge of the Milky Way in less than twenty seconds, where he went to full power on the thrusters and he saw M-87 growing larger by the second, “This is remarkable!”

“Wait until you see it in normal space.”

Rocky paused and looked out into the void. He could see M-87 in the distance and he smiled, “Well let’s give it a go. Amber, take us into normal space.” Rocky saw the blackness of the void disappear from outside the viewport and was replaced by the distant lights from distant galaxies. It was beautiful. He looked at M-87 and it was still getting larger by the moment. “Amber, how fast are we traveling?”

“About fifty thousand light years a minute.”

“What’s happening to time while we’re doing this?”

“Nothing. Everything is still in real time.”

“How is that possible?”

“When a ship exceeds light speed in normal space, all the laws governing time dilation no longer apply.”

“I’m not sure I understand.”

“The silver hull material doesn’t follow the normal laws of physics. The Ambrose twins determined centuries ago that it comes from the void and is pushed out of a black hole. We can travel in normal space just about as fast as we can in the void. Of course that doesn’t apply when we enter a galaxy.”

BOOK: Defending Earth-Discovery Means Death
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