Authors: Chris Kennedy
Tags: #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Science Fiction, #Alien Invasion, #Exploration, #First Contact, #Military, #Space Marine, #Space Opera, #Space Fleet, #Space Exploration
The Search for Gram
Book One of the Codex Regius
PUBLISHED BY: Chris Kennedy
2015 Chris Kennedy
All Rights Reserved
Discover other titles by Chris Kennedy at:
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This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only and may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This book is a work of fiction, and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.
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I would like to thank Linda, Jennie, Beth, Dan and Jimmy, who took the time to critically read this work and make it better. I would also like to thank my mother, without whose steadfast belief in me, I would not be where I am today. Thank you. This book is dedicated to my wife and children, who sacrificed their time with me so I could write it.
I would also like to thank Jim Beall and Dr. Robert G. Brown for their assistance with several aspects of the physics in “The Search for Gram.” Any remaining errors are mine, in spite of their expert aid.
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Cover art by Brenda Mihalko
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Note: When more than one race refers to a planet or star, the same name is used by both races in order to prevent confusion. Also on the topic of planet naming, the normal convention for planets is to add a lower case letter to the name of the parent star (i.e., Tau Ceti ‘b’). The first planet discovered in a system is usually given the designation ‘b,’ and later planets are given subsequent letters as they are found. In order to prevent confusion in this book, the closest planet to the star in a star system is given the letter ‘a,’ with the rest of the planets given subsequent letters in order of their proximity to the star.
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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
― Arthur C. Clarke
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“Continue firing all weapons,” said the
commanding officer, Captain Elorhim Silvermoon.
“Lasers firing,” replied the laser officer.
“Missiles launching,” replied the missile officer. “For all the good it’s doing,” he added under his breath.
,” Silvermoon transmitted over his implant. “
We need more power. How’s it coming back there?
I’m sorry Captain, but this is the best you’re going to get,
” said the assistant engineer. “
Engine Room One is open to space. Everyone who was in it, including the chief engineer, is
. We’re already 1
percent over redline, and I don’t know how much longer the Number Two engine can take it! With the loss of the Number One engine, it’s already pushing a bigger load than it was built for.
Do what you can,
” replied Silvermoon. “
They’re gaining on us, and we’re not going to make the stargate without more power.
I’ll do what I can sir, but it won’t be much. Maybe a percent or two. We’re going to blow the motor if I try to do much beyond that.
Do what you can,
” the commanding officer repeated. “
” He looked around the bridge. His crew was maintaining its composure, but he could tell the stress was getting to them. “How long until we reach the stargate?” he asked.
The navigator’s pointed ears twitched. “It’s going to be a little more than an hour at this speed,” he replied. “Engineering just gave us another 10 Gs of acceleration, but it won’t be enough to leave our pursuers behind.”
Captain Silvermoon sighed internally, not letting his frustration show. He wished he had another courier drone, but they had launched both their drones earlier. Launched them and then watched as a second enemy ship destroyed them. They had no idea the second ship existed before then; it had just appeared between his ship and the stargate after the drones were launched. Unarmed and unarmored, the drones were easy prey for the enemy frigate. Whatever cloaking technology the enemy used was outstanding. All of a sudden, it was just
“The enemy’s shields are down,” said the laser officer. He didn’t have to say he meant the smaller vessel’s shields; none of the Aesir weapons had made a dent in the shields of the larger vessel that was slowly catching up with them.
“Destroy it,” ordered Captain Silvermoon. Another volley of laser fire lashed the enemy frigate. The alien ship flashed on the screens as the missiles arrived, and something vital was hit.
“Target destroyed,” the missile officer reported.
“One hour to the stargate,” the navigator noted as the Aesir ship hurtled past the expanding ball of plasma.
The missile officer shook his head as he looked at his display. “I don’t get it sir,” he said finally. “The smaller vessel didn’t defend itself after it destroyed the courier drones. It just sat there and let us destroy it. It’s almost as if that’s what the enemy wanted us to do.”
“Yes,” agreed Captain Silvermoon, already thinking along the same lines. “They were probably gathering information on our weapons systems...information we let them have. Too late to worry about it now; there’s nothing we can do.” He paused and then asked the question he’d been dreading, “Range to the other vessel?”
“One million miles,” replied the laser officer. Last time, it had fired at 800,000 miles. They were getting too close, but there was nothing he could do.
“I’ve got the damage report from Engine Room One,” said the damage control officer (DCO), “but I don’t know if you’re going to believe it. I don’t.”
“Go ahead,” said Captain Silvermoon.
“The repair crew says the engine room is gone,” said the DCO, “and they mean gone as in vanished. There is nothing left. No pieces, no bodies, and no equipment. Everything is just…gone. Where the structure of the ship ends, it ends with a clean cut. The repair crew says what’s left is like nothing they have ever seen. They have no idea what could have caused it.”
“Well, I don’t know where it all went,” said the sensor operator. “They asked me to mark the debris field so we could look for survivors later, but the missile didn’t leave a debris field when it hit us. Everything just disappeared.” In their three previous deployments, Silvermoon had never seen the sensor operator look shaken. He was an extremely competent naval officer, and he always had an answer in the past. The captain found he didn’t like the new expression.
“Where did everything go then?” asked Captain Silvermoon. “Anyone have any guesses?”
The bridge was silent.
“Range to enemy vessel 800,000 miles,” announced the laser officer. “Enemy vessel is firing. Six torpedoes inbound.”
Damn it, thought the captain. The enemy ship had only shot one torpedo last time, and they hadn’t been able to stop it. “Activate all defenses,” ordered the captain. “Retarget main batteries on the torpedoes as well.”
The Aesir ship’s lasers and counter-missile lasers began firing at the incoming torpedoes, while missiles and counter-missile missiles leapt from their ports to join the energy weapons. Just like before, the torpedoes disappeared when the Aesir missiles would have hit them, only to reappear once the missiles were past. The lasers seemed to hit the torpedoes, but had no effect on them.
“No effect,” said the ship’s defensive officer. “Shields are as high as they can be with only one engine.” He didn’t say the shields hadn’t stopped the earlier weapon,even with both motors running at 10
percent. He didn’t have to.
“Any idea where the torpedoes are going?” asked Captain Silvermoon.
“I don’t know,” replied the sensor operator, the shaken look now a permanent part of his countenance. “They just vanish. It’s not a shield because our missiles go through the space where the torpedoes were. It’s like they’re not there anymore. I don’t know where they’re going.
It doesn’t make any sense
.” The sensor operator shook his head, barely able to contain the tears of frustration that Captain Silvermoon could see were perilously close to brimming over.
“That’s okay,” Captain Silvermoon replied. “Keep working; you’ll figure it out.”
“Five seconds to impact,” said the laser officer a few seconds later. “Four... three... two... one...” Six torpedoes impacted along the length of the