THE PARTS OF THE FIRE THAT BURN
Matt realized all eyes were on him.
“Time for plan B.” He said self-assuredly.
“There’s a plan B?” Maggie asked.
“There is now. Everyone, inside the compound.”
Most would have a hard time understanding the principles behind the stasis field. Stasis came about as a weapon during the war with Taurus. Matt knew the effects well. No energy could be generated in the field. No electromagnetic radiation, no electricity, no magnetism, and no light. The result of it was to make all conventional weapons useless.
The idea was to project the field over the compound just above the force field at a radius of ten meters. That would neutralize the enemy’s weapons before they could hit the force field. This would prolong the remaining energy shield by hours.
Deforest was convinced the move was for morale only. He knew that it was only prolonging the inevitable. “We’re not going to make it are we?” He asked Matt directly.
“How old did you say your son was?”
“He’ll be ten years old on his next birthday.”
“Really, when’s that?”
“Well make plans to be there.” Matt went back to work.
As soon as the techno crew had the generator hooked up they were ready to activate the Stasis field. For the next eight hours, they watched the exploding lights in the sky just beyond the dome. His idea was working but for how long?
Matt had seen enough. He knew what he had to do. Without asking anyone for an opinion Matt requested terms for surrender. Everything went silent as they all listened. Still no one wanted to argue. The Link came back on Matt turned up the speaker for everyone to hear. The dialect was easily recognizable to Maggie and the others. She also knew what it meant. Almost by reflex she let out a cry. Matt also knew what it meant. Translated said PREPARE TO DIE.
Over the speakers came a tirade about the Khad and the mighty Throojan Armada and how this day would go down in glory spewed from the Comlink. At that point Matt shut it off. The hysteria he had tried to avoid had started.
“We trusted you,” A woman yelled.
“Get him, it’s his fault.” A group of them quickly formed and tried to get to Matt but Sadia stood in the way gun drawn. “We all knew what our chances were.” Sadia yelled.
People were scattered about in desperation.
“Die with some dignity.” Maggie rose and shouted at the top of her lungs. “I’d rather die free then live as a slave.”
“I’d rather live as a slave than die.” A man shouted. “Now we can’t even do that.”
“Who said anything about dying?” Matt finally shouted back. He walked over to Storm and pushed her weapon down. “There’s no enemy in here.”
“So, this is it.” She said her eyes welling up with tears.
Matt looked at her puzzled, then he looked at his Timepiece. “Not just yet.” Matt smiled. “But any minute now.”
Now Sadia was puzzled. She looked at Deforest.
“He’s got something up his sleeve.” Deforest supposed.
“He can’t possibly have something up his sleeve.” Sadia protested and grabbed Matt’s arm. “Matt what’s going on?”
“Major what’s plan B?” Maggie wanted to know. The word spread quickly that something was up. Soon everyone had quieted down and gathered around at the center of the hanger holding hands. “Major, tell us what’s going to happen.” She pleaded.
“Oh my God there is a plan B!” Storm said a huge grin on her face.”
Matt looked at his timepiece again. “Everybody, please cover your eyes and do not look up at the dome for any reason. Thank you.”
A moment later the dome suddenly turned to a blinding bright orange for several seconds. It turned a whitish purple but soon the dome went orange again. Suddenly the ground dropped away and then flexed back up. Everything went airborne in all directions, making it impossible to still be upright. Then the entire dome began sinking downward like a slow elevator. When the sinking stopped everyone was wondering what had just happened.
NEW STAR HORIZON WILL RETURN
IN BOOK TWO
NEXT TO LAST EPISODE
ANOTHER COURSE OF ACTION
“This is Quinn, we are under attack. Our cloak is somehow not effective against their sensors. The two war ships are closing in on us.”
“Quinn do you read me?” Matt yelled into the receiver. There was a long eerie silence.
“The Khad’s are intercepting our communications.” Deforest cautioned Matt. “They can hear whatever we say.”
“It doesn’t matter anymore.” Matt said stepping forward. “Listen to me Quinn; you can no longer help us. Get out of there. Return to the wormhole and return to Earth for help. Is that understood?” There was no reply only silence. “This is a direct order.” Still nothing, “MOTHER.”
“You must follow Directive Alpha-Sigma-Epsilon and inform Earth Force of our situation. Is that clear, Alpha-Sigma-Epsilon.”
Quinn jumped in, “But what about you? What about the colonists?”
“Get my ship out of there now, while you still can. Set a course for the wormhole maximum speed.” There was silence again. “This is a direct order. MOTHER, take command of the Horizon and follow my orders, do you understand?”
“God be with you all; Quinn out.”
Quinn looked around the damaged control room at the crew. He had almost gotten them killed, so now he was forced to turn the reigns over to a machine.
“What are we going to do sir?” Doris asked.
Just then belvedere came flying into the room sideways due to the artificial gravity being offline. “We have got to make a run for it.” He screamed as he made his way over to the tactical station.
Quinn launched himself over to him. “What’s going on?”
“Communications are still down with that part of the ship.” Keiko said informing the crew.
“Our force field overloaded and shut down. O’D says he can’t do anything until the power rods cool down.” They looked at the console and all indicated were at zero. “THEY KNEW JUST WHERE TO HIT US.”
“MOTHER can we out gun them?”
NEGATIVE – BUT WE CAN OUT RUN THEM
That was all Quinn needed to hear. “MOTHER gets us out of here.”
The ship lounged forward, and the thrusters kick on and sent everyone back in their seats. The G-Force was as unexpected as the speed of the ship.
COURSE PLOTTED FULL POWER ENGAGED
“Strap in everybody.” Quinn yelled as he made it back to his seat. “There’s no turning back now.”
The viewer flashed the image of the Khad ships that were getting smaller every second. Finally, they turned away from their pursuit.
“They can’t catch us.” Doris yelled.
“Thank God,” A relieved Quinn said loud enough for all to here. “And thank you MOTHER.”
“I’ll be damned, this ship can haul ass.” Keiko said as she put her helmet back on.
“What’s gonna happen to our people?” Doris said unsettled.
NOT TO WORRY – WE HAVE A PLAN
“MOTHER, what exactly is ALPHA-SIGMA-EPSILON?” Quinn wanted to know.
NEW BLOG YOUR NOVEL
THE BLACK LOBSTER
HERE’S A PREVIEW OF THE INCOMING BLOG:
STILL FOLLOW THE BLOG: NEW STAR HORIZON (BACK STORY)
THE GRAPHIC NOVEL — ADVENTURES OF MAJOR MATT STEWART
TOO HIGH A PRICE
Drea barked into her Comlink, “Ruthie, Danaya get back to the Horizon.”
“Forget it, Horizon is gone,” Ruthie’s responded.
“WHAT?” Danaya asked almost in tears.
“We’ve completely lost connect.” Ruthie barked, “What about the missile launch pad.”
“I’ll take care of it.”
Jet was too far off to get to Drea’s ship. “Damn girl we were supposed to do this together.”
“No time, get these shuttles to base camp.”
“Drea, don’t do anything stupid.”
“Are you kidding? It’s a little late for that.” What was strange was the fact that she had never cared about anything. No causes, no groups, no relationships. Now she was about to risk her life for colonists. Yet the truth was she felt it was worth it. She was never prouder of her friends or herself.
The SR10 rolled over and did a tumbling move leveling off at tree height. She made a desperate dash for the coordinates where the hidden launch pad should be. There she needed to create a hotter spot than her own engines to misdirect the missiles and destroy the battery at the same time.
She put the SR10 onto a collision course with the launch pad as the main battery lasers began firing on her. She ignored the beams and the fact that she would probably not outlive the encounter. She pushed open the throttle. She had one chance to make it work she had to get closer to the battery before she launched her own missiles.
Drea flicked the arming switch on her console. She then activated the guidance systems. As she hit the correct distance to the target the system automatically launched one of the decoy missiles they used to confuse the enemies’ scanners.
The missile jettisoned out and she pulled hard to the right and away from the course the missile was taking. She caught the firing of its motor out the corner of her eye. Had it not fired it was too late to arm another one. As she climbed she saw the launch range clearly for a moment. It was much larger than any of them had expected. This must have been their main base. The other bases were probably diversions to keep the targeting away until they bombed the hell out the settlement. No one would have seen it coming.
Drea pulled the SR10 into a sudden turn back to the left, away again toward the range. The battery lasers were in the center of her console screen. If her plan didn’t work, she would have to take her ship right down their throats Kamikaze style. She bet this was one technique the Khad never heard of.
Her own missile appeared on the screen and detonated. If she was lucky the other missiles locked on to the decoy, they would follow down into the maelstrom just below the ship. That would be something she would not see. An armor piecing laser ripped thought the hull of her ship just missing her helmet. The ship tumbled out of control as huge parts of the fuselage went flying in all directions.
From the distance all eyes were on their console screen as the remains of the S10 fell beyond their view. At that moment an eruption could be felt from even that distance. The inferno that was once the Launch range left no doubt that her sacrifice was not in vain. “GOTCHA.”
ONLY TWO MORE EPISODES AFTER THIS ONE
INTO THE FIRE
The INVISIBLE HORIZON pulled around the planet to get a look at the incoming enemy. Two battle ships were dropping transports to the surface leaving them wide open for attack. Quinn transferred the ship controls to the center seat. He could override the computer; his basic instinct wasn’t to trust a machine in a situation like this. “Tactical.” A schematic materialized in front of the view portal showing the two Khad ships. “Prepare to fire all forward cannons.”
CAUTION IS ADVISED
“Caution for what?” He bellowed clearly annoyed.
INTEL INDICATES THE KHAD WERE BRIEFED WE HAVE CLOAKING ABILITY, YET THEY SEEM ALMOST CARELESS IN THEIR ORBIT SELECTION
“So why is that our problem? We need to get rid of these ships as fast as we can, so we can help our people below.”
SORRY REGULATIONS 30-2248 PARAGRAPH 16 STATES NO EARTH SHIP SHALL EITHER ENGAGED OR RISK ENGAGEMENT WITH AN UNKNOWN ENEMY UNTIL ALL INFORMATION ON POSSIBLE STRATEGIC COUNTER CONDITIONS CAN BE ANALYZED. FURTHERMORE…
“That’s enough. I’m giving you a direct order so carry it out.” Quinn stood. “Prepare forward weapons.”
WEAPONS MAXIMUM EFFECTIVENESS IF LAUNCH AT ZERO POINT SIX-NINE-NINE. WE WILL BE IN POSITION IN LESS THAN THIRTY SECONDS
The Horizon moved steadily towards the Khad Ships. Suddenly the control room was bathed in red light as the sirens came on. “Mother what’s happening?” Quinn screamed over the noise.
A THIRD SHIP HAS ARRIVED, AND WE HAVE BEEN TARGETED
“But how…? They can’t detect us?”
WE HAVE INCOMING
Quinn couldn’t believe it. “Bring the force field to maximum. Hurry!”
It was too late.
The blast from the Khad ship sent the Horizon tumbling over and the ship righted itself just in time to get hit by the second blast. The stabilizers were the only thing that saved the crew from being smashed against the bulk heads.
In the Control Room debris was everywhere, the lights are out, and all is pitch black except for the consoles glow. The area where the center chair used to be is shattered and the wall behind open to the corridor.
Upon seeing this Keiko activated her headset. “Jim, are you, all right?” There’s no reply. Keiko shined her light to the spot where the captain’s chair should have been. Keiko struggled up and over to the center area and look around. “Jim!”
“Seavers reporting, I’ve got Haffs and Belvedere with me.”
“We’re okay.” Peter announced.
A few seconds later a faint groan could be heard. Keiko looked around. “Did you hear that?” Keiko shines her torch in the direction the sound came from. The groan sounded again. She moved forward to see Quinn on the ground, lying protectively over Doris Travers debris covering Quinn’s back.
“Quinn’s here,” Keiko hurried over to him.
“We lost the Control Room in the blast.” He mumble disoriented aloud. “Did WE lose the Horizon?”
“No, we haven’t lost the Horizon, at least not yet, and we did not lose you.” Keiko told him.
ALL SYSTEMS ARE OFF LINE
“Get us the hell out of here.” Quinn ordered.
MAIN ENGINES WILL BE OFFLINE FOR 30 SECONDS
“Then switch to manual,” Doris said from below them.
“Manual thrusters full speed ahead.” Seavers said at the helm.
The Horizon lurched forward and traveled along the planet’s atmosphere. It managed to get beyond the dayside and into the darkness on the other side of the planet, the battleship in hot pursuit. The HORIZON had to out run them or be destroyed.
ONLY THREE EPISODES LEFT
THE NATURE OF OUR SITUATION
“Drea this is Alison, my Shuttle is under attack.”
“Alison what is your position?”
“We’re getting our butts kicked up here.”
“This is Drea I’m coming to assist you. Jet; return to the Horizon. There’s no point in both of us getting killed.”
“Who said anything about getting killed?” Jet changed course to catch up with Drea who had a big lead on her.
Drea’s ship cut in front of the emergency shuttle and steered towards the incoming interceptor missiles.
“Listen to me, I will increase my forward force field and discharge a solar burst. Hopefully this will cause the missiles to lock on to me and I can lead them away from you.”
“Can’t we just blow them out the sky?” Tatiana asked.
“Not a chance, I might get two or three but the others will have you guys. They have to be lead away from you.”
Jetsenia arrive just in time to see Drea’s maneuver. She watched the bright flash appeared in the sky as the shuttle went one way and the S10 went the other. It worked as the missiles turned to follow Drea and were easy targets for Jet’s pulse cannons.
Then their missile warning system lit up again. This time it was further off. Off to their left they saw a white flash. “Something has just launched.” Jet announced.
“This one is way too big to be ordinary rocket.” Drea added. “Where the hell did it come from?”
“Drea those sneaky bastards have a hidden launch base.”
“No shit Alison. But where is it located? Run a diagnostic Ruthie.” Drea ordered. “Hurry before it reaches our altitude.”
Ruthie’s ship had advanced computer relays that the others lacked. “I’m on it.” Her onboard screen lit up with schematics of images. Then it read possible alien technology. “I got a ninety percent match. It’s a dual stage ICBM.”
“I lock in the coordinates when the missile launched.” Tati shouted. “The base is twenty kilometers down east. Oh, shit guys their target has just revealed itself. Drea It’s the COMPOUND!”
At the Compound Matt and the colonist received the message, “They’re a lot smarter than we gave them credit for,” Deforest said to Matt with a dejected sigh.
“Yeah, BASTARDS,” Matt said sporting a glower, “Where in the hell did they get those long-range missiles?”
Maggie heard him and walked over, “They were probably already there hidden in solos.”
“I thought they were abandon and empty.” Matt admitted, “I wanted to nuke them anyway,” He turn to look for April, “But that would have been an act of aggression. Omori Shi may be ugly, but he’s no fool.”
The loud speaker boomed; “INCOMING”
Matt realized all eyes were on him. “OKAY. Time for plan B!”
“There’s a plan B?” Maggie asked.
Sadia just smiled at her. “There is now,”
“EVERYONE, TO THE COMPOUND!” Matt yelled, “FORCE FIELD FILL MAXIMUM POWER, everyone inside and hold on to something and brace yourselves.”
First there was a sonic boom then the projectile hit the barrier. The explosion and shockwave was surprisingly mild. “THE FORCE FIELD HELD,” Sadia screamed.
Matt took a deep breathe, on the screen it showed how much power remained in the generator. “Strike team, do you read me?”
“Drea here, You guys still there?”
“Yes, but we won’t be if we sustain another missile hit. You have got to take out that Launch base or it Farewell,”
“Understood, pray for us. Drea out,” and they all began to pray.