excerpt from Odyssey II
For the defenders, think of humans and aliens not unlike Juhani in the Komets, for the enemy, think of the veliciraptors from Jurassic Park.
The final preparations were finished. 32 aircraft; 7 Harriers and 25 Komets took off from Challenger. DC moved outward, and Challenger joined her.
“Enemy dropping out of Hyperspace in three, two, one-” The moment was anticlimactic. To the naked eye there was nothing because the ships were over 50 light minutes away. Earth would not see it for almost two hours. But on the screens, thanks to gravitic technology, three red dots glowed.
“We have got to get this for the fighters too.” O'Flarhety said, watching the screen.
“That appears not to be possible, Michael.” Pallas replied. “The waves are easy to detect, but difficult to produce. A receiver capable of capturing the waves is possible for something that small, but a transmitter needs to mass over a thousand tons. Even with the redesign you suggested with a synthetic aperture we barely fit it into DC. I have already added the receivers connected to their targeting systems, so they can detect the enemy, but real time communications is as yet impossible.”
He leaned back. “Maybe not.” He mused. “Submarines use ultra low frequency radio for communications from massive ground stations that can reach a submarine hundreds of meters below the surface, but can't produce the pulses themselves because the transmitters are a square mile in size. Maybe we can use a pulse transmitter to send to them.”
Pallas considered the situation. They might not even survive the next day, yet he was still thinking of ways to make more of the technology he had.
Humans were so interesting; unwilling to surrender even as doom descended.
The enemy ships proceeded slowly, scanning the system as they did. If they'd had more ships, they would have met them further out. But with only two ships merely fly specks compared to the enemy, they had to let them get closer. That didn't mean they couldn't make them bleed...
The fighters hit them as they approached the orbit of Mars.
“What are those things?” The Pack leader snarled. She was sick of this ship, of being packed tight enough that just moving caused someone else to touch! She leaned over the sensor control. “Answer!”
“I do not know, Pack lead.” The technician replied. “I have never-” His recitation ended as she struck, dew claw ripping into his neck. He sank to the deck, and a pair of juveniles attacked the body. She snarled, and both of them joined the unlucky crewman on the floor squealing in agony.
“Get over here!” She ordered.
Another took the seat, and began running the programs to determine their enemy's methods. “They are single attack craft, very fast.” He reported. “Large enough for only one enemy.”
“Why would anyone waste time with those?” She mused. “Claw them when they are close.”
“Coming up on 3 million kilometers.” The T'Pau unit reported.
“It is so good.” Meryl said. “Hawks, let's reach out and touch someone.” He set his targeting pip on the center vessel, a 25 km sphere. As he did, two others also chose that target, the other pair on port and starboard chose the other two, both only 10 km in size. “T'Pau, let's rock.”
“They are nine seconds light speed distance. time to our own range, eighteen-” Bolts of fire leaped from the first approaching phalanx at an impossible speed! “Impact in 11 seconds!”
“What are those?” The pack leader snarled from behind him.
Sensing his doom, the new sensor technician replied, “I do not know, Pack lead.”
Each of the Harriers carried five Harpoon missiles. With the modifications made by Pallas and the robots they hit with the force of 13.9 gigatons. With the delay caused by the 2 milliseconds between impact and immolation they barely dimpled the armored hull.
But then they did release that energy.
The Harriers could not see their handiwork, but both DC and Challenger did. All three ships staggered as more energy than man had released in every war in history blasted into them.
Sirens wailed as the ship lurched. The pack lead picked herself up off the deck. She looked at the third sensor officer in less than a minute and growled. “Answer!”
“Somehow these prey have created missiles driven by the same drive our ships use.” He reported. They travel faster than our ships, and are very hard to target. Thirty five were fired, but only four were stopped before they struck.”
“Have all guns fire on automatic.” She ordered as the second wave, 25 more smaller ships closed.
Meryl saw the flashes as his weapons hit. “Head back to reload.” Meryl ordered. Unfortunately this one attack had exhausted every air launched Harpoon they had.
As the Harriers turned, racing back to reload, the Komets closed. They were armed with the next best thing the ship carried; but the Gabriel missiles were lighter, and there were only 30 of them. Fifteen of the Komets carried two each. The others carried 3 Amraams each on their pylons. The design of the fighter precluded a center mount for weapons, leaving them only the two wing hard-points. This attack would use half of the Amraams aboard.
As the leader, Shaka had chosen to carry the lesser weapons. “We have yet to be blooded, my friends.” He told them as they closed to four light minutes. “Now prove our worth!” He targeted the center ship, and the eight, four to each side also marked that enemy vessel. All of his team carried the Gabriels; he hoped they would be enough.
Again the missiles fired, but setting the guns on automatic had helped. Of the 60 missiles 40 were killed before they struck. Because they were faster, more of an obvious threat, most of them were Amraams. But ten were Gabriels that died before they struck.
Each hit like the hammer of Thor; 1.15 gigatons each. Only two hit the 25km ship, which continued to advance even as air streamed like blood from the wreckage. Another pair struck the port side 10 km globe and they were too much. It opened like a lethal flower as the Komets also turned to return and rearm. The third ship, another 10km was staggering.
“This prey is worthy of us.” The Pack lead murmured. Half of her pack had been destroyed and they had yet to reach the planet! “Retreat to the base.” She ordered.
“Not good.” Tetsuko reported. One ship had been destroyed, but the others were retreating. “If they escape, they will bring others.”
Allison tapped his communications pad. “Flight deck, how soon?”
“Five more minutes.” Sanchez reported, voice heavy with fatigue. “Sorry, skipper, there's only thirty of us here.”
“Hurry it as much as you can, Jen.” He replied.
The Harriers took off. Only three carried full loads of Amraams, there weren't enough for a full strike. One carried three of the missiles on the port side pylon and three sidewinders on the center hard point with six sidewinders on the two starboard ones. The last three carried all up sidewinders, fifteen of the missiles.
“So they are fast as well.” The pack leader murmured. She saw her death but the people would survive. “Place us between them and our pack brother.”
The larger ship slowed, and Meryl's eyes narrowed. “They're going to get the other ship out of the system. Number four on, go after the one running. We'll kill this one.”
There was a delay because of light speed. But the outer four broke to spilt around the larger ship as thirty missiles lanced out.
With all her damage, the largest ship turned our a bravura performance. 20 of the missiles were killed before they hit, but ten, each striking with the force of 244 mt hit. The ship vanished in a fireball.
The other fighters had barely targeted when the last escaped into hyper space.
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