Category Archives for "Military SciFi"

The Slow War

The fierce blue star lied. It appeared to be in the center of a field of crowded blue and violet points of light all focused and pulled towards the front of the ship. It was the incredible speed that they traveled at that hid the truth of a warm yellow dwarf star. The glare of the star from this distance hid its collection of planets and asteroids.

Astrogator Vyron Rhoson preferred to see the ″real″ image of uncorrected light. Gazing at the floating images of the stars crowded ahead of him the universe assumed its familiar cast given by relativistic velocity that he had known since childhood. A universe of stars in all directions, without the blue-shift in the direction of travel did not really seem real to him, any more than the world outside the ship’s walls as more than an intellectual abstraction.

Rhoson activate the full scope of the sensor’s abilities once more. The fierce point of blue light became a warm yellow globe speckled with sunspots. The three large gas giants were easy to discern, and the various icy and watery planets and moons were visible as faint crescents and discs. The haze of the cometary belt glowed about the system as each item was located and updated by the computer.

These had been known for years; he was looking for minutiae in the haze of individual photons. He scanned carefully for the high-energy emissions of ship’s drives, power sources or communications. Nothing. Still, he double checked. While he would never live to see the star-system, the survival of his descendants was at stake. Would the ship decelerate and form a new colony, or would they enter into a radiation-filled battleground? Satisfied that the system ahead was still unclaimed, he made the call.

″Still no sign of the enemy in the system ahead, Captain.″ he reported. ″No high-energy signatures, no signs of industry. It looks like a good place to stop.″

″Thank you, Astrogator.″ the Captain replied. ″I want an updated navigational deceleration map and relativistic probe launch tracks for the meeting in two hours.″

″Yes sir.″ I looked like they were going to be stopping at last. They would not have to continue to drift along until they ran into the enemy in the Sagittarius arm. The system ahead would have everything needed for a colony: comets, asteroids and barren worlds. He was a little worried about that second planet and it’s oxygen atmosphere, though. Still, that temptation aside, the system would be a perfect location to fortify and prepare the next generation of generation ships. All of this would take generations of course. Only those that planned ahead went to the stars.

Vyron updated the projected paths for the relativistic probes. Each would speed silently by, dormant for most of their flight, sending bursts of coded data to the ship about the system ahead. The ship meanwhile, would then engage the powerful braking drives and fields, blasting super-heated particles towards the system at near light speed. Not only would Vyron loose his cherished view of blue stars ahead, but the stream of particles would be a loud alarm across the galaxy announcing their presence.

The light of their engines would race ahead of them though the centuries, and be received by the enemy. Slowly, inevitably, ships would be launched, or more likely, ships already in motion would change their course towards the new target. Even though all would take centuries, speed was essential.

Behind them lay a thousand light-years of conflict, where the expanding waves of human and alien colonization had met. He hoped that they had arrived here first, and may have left behind the conflict, for a while. Perhaps they may even be able to flank the alien’s expanding space, as had been intended when the ship was launched so long ago.

All around him were the faint, red-shifted broadcasts of the conflict they left behind. Haggard faces in slow-motion described the constant struggle. He listened to the last broadcast of a doomed world, watching as it died centuries ago. This would not happen to their new home, he swore.

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4

The Dragon’s Teeth

Master Sergeant Jacobs arose in his tomb, ready for duty. He scanned the inside of the subterranean bunker with radar, lidar and IR, noting the lack of any intruder or breach in the wall’s integrity. Chemical analysis indicated the presence of no foreign gasses, and the standard neon-argon gas mixture was uncontaminated by any rogue microbes or nanotech. Standing up in the armored stasis coffin he mentally gave the signal to bring the bunker tomb fully online.

He looked around with his new eyes. Infra-red, light amplification, full spectrum analysis, X-ray, radar, and range tracking and direction finding were all available with full telescopic detail. It would have been overwhelming were it not identical to the neural overlays of his reconnaissance old helmet with which he had trained, back when he was still alive. Now, he was able to able to take in the information faster with his quantum brain. Rather than it seeming to be less dense information, the rest of the world simply seemed to move slower, though.

While the bunker powered up around him, he reviewed his own internal diagnostic information. The  quantum computer that composed his brain was functioning at several times the speed his mind had in his former life, and the full archive of planetary maps as well as tactical battle data were intact. His micro-fusion torus in his chest was running flawlessly, and should function for centuries of normal activity, and weeks of combat. Already, it was diverting extra energy to superconducting loops to provide extra hours of energy in case his fusion “heart” shut down. His bones were each a single super-covalent molecule with interlocking orbitals, the same material used in armor-plating. That structural strength was needed to anchor the nano-scale superconducting magnetic strands of his muscles each with the speed and power of a rail gun accelerator. He could break the speed of sound with ease, and strike faster than a shock-wave could propagate though metal, shattering most armors.

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Major Hunter

Darkness gives way to flashes of red, blurred forms. The throbbing pain in his head increases. He closes his eyes again. Major Trace Hunter remains motionless hoping the sick feeling in his gut will soon subside. The smell of smoke and ozone from the burned circuits fills his nostrils. The memory of what happened escapes him. He wonders; ‘How much can I move? Should I move?’ He opens his eyes and tries to focus them to no avail. Slowly, he rotates his foot and then the other. ‘So far, so good. Legs? No pain.’ He raises an arm. “AAH!” A stabbing pain rips through his upper chest and shoulders. Pushing back into the seat, he braces himself. His head reels as flashes of light dance in his head. While sucking air through his teeth in an effort to deal with the pain, a burning sensation fills his lungs. A coughing fit brings about dizziness that overtakes him. He closes his eyes once more. His line of thought drifts into disarray.

A familiar voice over his earpiece jolts Hunter awake. Trying to focus his foggy mind, he is not certain what was said. ‘What time is it? Where in blue blazes am I?’ Looking out the cockpit windows, he is greeted with a starless, dark void. A flashing red indicator light on his dashboard illuminates a broken dial. His head and shoulders still hurt, but at least the nausea is gone.

“Blue-7, this is Rescue-2. Do you read?”

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The Fourth Fleet

You haven’t felt fear until you’ve been left to die in a giant tin can, one point two billion kilometers from home. The last thing we heard from the pirates was their laughter as they slammed the hatch shut. Then we watched out the tiny windows in terror as they flew away.

We did a thorough inventory of everything they’d left us. It wasn’t much. Our batteries would last us a day or two – and we could probably extend that to a week if we powered down everything non-essential. But they hadn’t left us any fuel to get anywhere, and they’d taken most of the oxygen, too. We weren’t sure yet how much they’d left us. Our harvest – hydrogen and helium rich gases we’d mined out of Neptune’s upper atmosphere – was by far the most valuable thing we’d had on board. They’d taken it first.

They hadn’t left much beyond that, either. Not that we’d had a whole lot to start with. Every ounce of weight was extra money. Lots of extra money, when you shipped it all the way out to Neptunian space. Our little gas mining vessel didn’t have a lot of extra niceties. Just enough to keep me and my two brothers alive for our two year contract.

We had about a day’s worth of food in the crew stores. My brother John had a handful of meal bars that he’d brought on at our last resupply. We’d mocked him at the time for spending most of his per diem trying to put back on all the weight that a tightly rationed space diet had finally helped him shed. Now we wished he’d bought more. A couple of flashlights, the clothes on our backs, two rolls of spacer tape, and a smattering of random tools that hadn’t been properly put away fleshed out our meager belongings.

We did what we could anyway. We powered down most of our systems, instituted emergency food rationing, and limited our activity to preserve the little water and air we had left. We even deployed the solar panels for extra juice, although they wouldn’t do us very much good this far into the outer solar system. We’d take anything we could get. But we didn’t really have any hope. Without any propulsion, we weren’t going anywhere.

Everything changed when Simon tried to power down the harvester.

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