The Destroyers, Book 1: A New Beginning
Chapter 1: A New Beginning
The year was 2498 ... or the year 22 Post Discovery, (P.D.). The human race was at her Death's door. Her mighty fleets had been destroyed. Her colonies had been enslaved for food, or even worse, turned into wastelands. Her humans penned as food animals.
Now, Terra, the once bright jewel of the Terran Federation, was but a husk. It burned under a nuclear and chemical bombardment unprecedented in known history. Her once great cities were now mere wreckage. Her forests and farmlands had been turned into blackened ash.
Up near the Moon, the huge ship that had wrought this devastation on humanity turned, and headed back into space. As she went, she continued to fire her missiles at the planet Earth, as a last gesture of utter contempt.
The last twenty-one surviving Lighting class fighters of the Federation Defense Forces, flew towards the enemy ship, knowing they flew to certain destruction. Behind the fighters, trailed the last two surviving bombers of the fleet.
Captain Charlene Harris brought her fighter around, and looked at her pilots on the screen.
"Ok! Listen up! We fold in three minutes. When we come out, we will be going in hot. Keep your forward shields at full power!" A series of 'Rogers' came back to her, as she spun up her fold engines.
Twenty-three small craft disappeared, and reappeared near Terra, already aligned against their planet's killer.
With a quick look at Terra, Charlene started issuing her last orders to her friends.
"Ok, people! We've lost this one. But let's show these bastards what hell is like. Arm the Odin's! Bombers one, and two, stay behind us. Launch your ordinance after we get through the shields. We know that whatever ships we have left are coming home, so let's see if we can at least cripple this bitch for them. Go to full power, and let's kill us some bugs!"
As Charlene went to full power, the rest of her pilots acknowledged her orders.
Charlene looked through the canopy at the huge ship. As her craft passed the hundred-mile mark, she pressed the fire control for the huge missile. It dropped away as she also keyed her Galahad missile packs, which started unleashing their cargo of death.
"Fire Odins and Galahads, now!"
The huge Odin missiles dropped from the fighters. They, and their companion Galahad missiles, sped towards the enemy ship, at top speed. Twenty-one Odin's hurtled through space at the huge ship. The enemy ship finally detected the attack, and opened fire with hundreds of defensive laser batteries. Seventeen of the missiles, and sixteen of the fighters, blew up in the white-hot barrage of fire. However, the last four missiles slammed into the shields that surrounded the huge enemy ship. The combined explosions shattered the local shield generators. The remaining five fighters and the two bombers flew in through the gap that had been created in the enemy shields. Lining up, the bombers each launched their six antimatter torpedoes. Then they tried to get away. Eighty heavy lasers ripped the bombers and fighters to shreds.
However, the damage had been done.
The twelve torpedo missiles, originally designed for ground saturation bombing, worked beautifully against the enemy ship. The missiles impacted on her portside, and turned a ten-mile area of the ship, fully one-third of its length, into molten slag. Hundreds of weapons platforms, defensive stations and shield generators disappeared in the resulting explosions.
Two light years away from Terra, three Terran ships were heading for Alpha Centauri, to help boost the defenses of the last colonies of the Terran Federation.
Captain Charles Windsor sat in his command chair. He watched as the stars flew by on the main screen. His thoughts were on his home, and his beautiful wife. They'd had an argument when he had left. As usual, it had been about their daughter. The daughter that 'was no more' to him, for what she had done to his career, and to his life in...
Suddenly his thoughts were interrupted by a voice he hated.
She stood there watching her crew do their duty. She was the ship's AI, the ship's soul, the ship's life.
As she watched, the emergency com system chimed for her attention. She activated the relay to examine the message. It was 'Code Omega'. That was the ONLY code that was NEVER to be ignored. She quickly walked across the deck to stand by the captain's chair. Even though she knew he hated it when she bothered him, she knew that she had no choice.
"Captain, I am sorry to intrude on your thoughts. However, I have received a 'Code Omega' from the council."
Charles straightened in his chair, his orders snapped out to the crew.
"Lieutenant Sanders, contact the Dolphin and Dachshund. Notify them we are dropping out of fold. They are to set coordinates for an emergency jump back to the Sol system. Banks! Bring us out of fold, and set course for home."
"Aye-aye, Sir," replied Lieutenant Lisa Banks, as she went to work at her navigational board. Her light brown hair, though tucked into a ponytail, kept falling over her shoulder as she worked.
'Damn it, I should have cut it.'
"Captain, I have notified the Dolphin and Dachshund. They are dropping out, now," Lieutenant James Sanders reported from his communications station.
"Captain it's going to take about two hours for the fold home," Lieutenant Banks reported.
"Thank you Lisa. Commander Gomez, I want all pilots ready to launch..."
He stopped as the AI interrupted him again.
She was receiving a data stream from Pluto's sensors and brought it to Captain Windsor's attention.
"Sir, I am receiving telemetry from Pluto on the threat. Do you wish to see it?"
"Yes. Put it on main screen," Captain Windsor said as he looked at the AI with more than a little annoyance.
The main screen changed and the images of Pluto, her five defense stations, and her small space dock came onto the screen. In the distance, the T'Lari menace appeared. First the destroyers, and a few cruisers came into view.
Then the huge battleship appeared. Everyone who was viewing the screen gasped in shock. Across the status bar at the bottom of the screen, the telemetry feed wrote the size and statistics of the ship. Though they all read it, they could not believe it.
The crew watched as the huge ship approached Pluto's stations, and opened fire. Fighters and bombers burst from the stations on Pluto. However, they were smashed out of space by the cruisers, even as they opened fire.
With her fighters and bombers gone, the five space stations separated, to engage the enemy ships. A trio of destroyers hurled themselves at one of the stations. The first blew up when all five stations hit it with lasers. The second slipped through and slammed into the shields of one of the stations. The resulting explosion dropped the shields. The third destroyer smashed into the ten-mile wide station.
The resulting explosion hurled parts of the station, and the destroyer, into two of her sister stations and back onto Pluto. The remaining stations quickly went down under the T'Lari fire. Then the battleship turned on Pluto. Her entire bow opened up with more laser firepower than any of them had ever imagined. That was the last image received from Pluto, as the screen went black.
As the crew sat in shock, the AI shut the feed link down.
"Oh! My! God! AI you're dismissed," he said, and watched her disappear.
Then he took a deep breath, and started issuing orders.
"Commander Gomez, we will launch all available fighters and bombers. If any T'Lari destroyers or cruisers survive, those will be your only targets. If the rest of the fleet can't take that battleship out, I will not sacrifice you against it."
"Thank you, Captain. Truthfully, going against that monster would scare the most experienced of my pilots. They would do it, but it would affect their performance."
He shook his head to clear the image from his mind. He continued, saying, "I am ordering all fighters to be loaded with Odins and with Galahad missile packs. The bombers will carry six D-95 antimatter torpedoes and four Galahad missile packs."
Standing up from flight ops stations, he spoke as he walked to the doors, "I'd better get down to pilots briefing room, and get everything ready to go."
"Thank you, Timothy. Lisa? Are we ready to drop out?"
"Yes, Sir," replied Lieutenant Banks at her navigational station and responding to the Captain's orders, "Sir, exiting fold in 3... 2... 1 ... Now!"
The ship lurched and dropped back into normal space, as the emergency gate formed around them. Then they were cruising through empty space.
Lisa typed commands into her console, causing the ship to start turning. Bringing the ship around, the two destroyers were now on her flanks.
"Sir, we will be ready to re-enter fold in fifty seconds."
Opening a communications channel throughout the ship, Captain Windsor addressed the crew that he had known for over two years.
"This is the Captain. We have exited fold for a reason. We have received a Code Omega from the Council, ordering all ships home. This means the Sol system is under attack. My fellow crew, I warn you. It does not look good. I will have the AI replay the battle we saw. Make your prayers for our loved ones. They will need them."
She listened to his statement, and screamed out silently, 'Loved ones! I have no love in me!'
Down in the launch bays the ground crews rushed to load weapons and missile pods onto the waiting fighters. For the next two hours, the crew readied for battle. They made sure all the weapons were ready. Then they ate a meal, and prayed for victory. Two hours later, the three ships dropped out of fold into a graveyard of destroyed and mortally damaged ships.
Captain Windsor rose and walked up behind Lieutenants Banks, and Sanders.
Shaking his head, he could not believe the size of the debris field.
Looking down at Sanders, he asks, "James, where are they?" Lieutenant Sanders activated his scanners. He looked at the main screen and then down at the small screen before him.
"Scanning for them now, Sir."
James watched his sensors reach out and find the few remaining beacons, as he absently rubbed a scar on his right arm with his left forefinger. The sensors quickly reached out, and found the enemy ship.
"Got them, Sir. They are near Mars orbit. Sir they are under attack by Federation fighters."
"Thank you, James," Charles placed his hand on Lisa's shoulder and said, "Lisa, prepare to take us into fold. James, contact the destroyers and tell them we are doing an in-system fold. Tell them the co-ordinates. We will engage the enemy ship as soon we come out of fold." Lieutenant Sanders quickly relayed the orders to the destroyers.
"Sir! The destroyers have been notified. They will fold when we do." James reported as he sat back in his chair, again rubbing the scar with his left forefinger. It had been caused by the bite of one of the bugs. Now it was payback time.
Charles looked once more at the destruction of the defensive stations, "Lisa, fold us now."
"Sir! I am engaging fold, now."
The ships disappeared. They reappeared, forty thousand miles off the T'Lari battleship's flank, and deployed their fighters. They also opened fire with their heavy laser weaponry.
Around the planet Mars, the last battle was about to take place between the three surviving ships of Terra, and the T'Lari battleship sent to destroy all Terran life.
The T'Lari ship was thirty miles long. It mounted two hundred laser cannons and a thousand missile launchers per side. It had taken the T'Lari over five years to build the massive ship. It was 'manned' by a crew of over one hundred thousand.
While the T'Lari fleets had sought out, and destroyed all the Federation ships that could be found, the T'Lari had built this massive ship. They had depleted three solar systems of resources, for this one mission: destroy the planet Terra. It was commanded by a nine-foot-tall T'Lari, named S'Haarla. His six armored arms moved around his command tub, reaching out, and pressing buttons and touching video screens.
His eight-inch mandibles chewed on a piece of dried and salted human flesh, as he sent more missiles towards the helpless planet called Mars as they went by once more.
'Once all the Human worlds are destroyed, I will be promoted to the Royal Guard and allowed to metamorph. Then it is a short step to Royal Concubine and Leader of the Race. But only if I destroy Terra, and all her sister planets, and bring glory to my name, ' he thought to himself.
One of the minor T'Lari warriors turned from his sensor tub array, and said, "Sir? Three Terran ships have appeared out of hacklar space. They are two destroyers and one of their puny battleships."
Admiral S'Haarla did not even look up as he issued his orders.
"Open fire and destroy them. I am busy destroying their home world. Keep them away from the damaged flank."
He sent orders to his missile bays, and another thousand missiles belched out towards one of the human's home worlds.
The weapons officer locked his weapons onto the enemy ships and replied, "Opening fire, now ... What a waste of good meat."
As he started targeting the human ships, the pair of destroyers opened fire and caused minor damage to the shields. Suddenly, the battleship opened fire with her lasers. Their shields dropped to forty percent, and then to twenty percent as he returned fire. He watched the energy smash against the enemy shields.
"Shields are down to twenty percent. I am recycling energy to them, now. Sir, minor damage to the destroyers, and several hits on the battleship."
Captain Charles Windsor grasped the shoulder rests of his helmsman's chair. The ship lurched again from another direct hit.
On the secondary screens, Terra burned under nuclear and chemical bombardment. With over seven billion dead, she was effectively a dead planet. The few who still lived, would shortly wish they had not survived the holocaust.
"Keep her steady, Lisa. We are almost in range."
He turned then looked at the weapons officer.
"Lieutenant Pruett, arm torpedoes, and target the T'Lari battleship, we must stop her."
Lieutenant Lisa Banks typed some commands into her control pad.
"Holding her as steady as I can, Sir. But that last hit just damaged the forward portside thrusters. They are jammed wide open."
"Then fire all portside thrusters, let's push her sideways," Charles said calmly.
Lieutenant James Pruett looked up from his screen as the ship took another hit.
"Sir, torpedoes are armed and locked on target."
James checked the range between the ships and noted that they were down to twelve thousand miles.
"Firing all thrusters, Sir," Lisa said as she finished tapping on her command screen.
Captain Windsor walked back to his chair and sat down. He looked at the image of the huge ship on the screen, as he issued his orders.
"Fire all weapons. Hang on tight, people! This will be a rough ride. Lieutenant Pruett, how long until we are in range to use the railguns on her?"
The ship lurched. Another hit punched through the shields and into the medical deck, killing the more than three hundred wounded, and all the medical staff. It continued its path of devastation, and punched through the bottom of the ship, destroying the number one hanger and fifty Devastator-class fighter-bombers stored there. The bombers became miniature bombs, blowing the bottom of the ship out, and damaging the surrounding compartments.
Ensign Kim looked up from her damage-control board, and shouted to the captain over the screeching damage alert siren.
"Sir, Medical has been hit! Everyone is dead down there, and fighter bay one has blown up. We have additional damage to crew quarters, pilot briefing room and hydroponics."
James checked the range to the enemy battleship and an evil grin flitted across his face, "Sir, we will be in range in fifty seconds for the railguns. I am spinning them up now with a full antimatter spread."
"Shut that damned siren off," Captain Windsor shouted. He listened to the reports, and issued his orders.
"Thank you, Ensign Kim. Please issue the orders to the repair spiders in the area. See if they can do anything about the damage."
Across the bow, four giant missile tubes opened. The weapons that rested on them slid to the side. Small force fields popped up to protect them. Missiles burst forth from their hidden launchers within the ship.
Laser fire covered the path of the missiles, and hit the enemy shields. The missiles flew across space. They were 'ship class' Odin missiles, and were almost four hundred feet long. They were so big, in fact, that only the command battleships could carry more than one.
"Lieutenant Pruett, open fire with the forward railguns."
Fifty, four-barreled railguns came online. Their onboard sensors searched for the target, and quickly locked onto the huge ship. They started firing over thirty-two hundred rounds a minute, at near light speed. The miniature antimatter warheads detonated along the enemy T'Lari's shields. The shields flared and went down, as the energy overloaded the remaining generators on the starboard side. The missiles then flew through the hole, before another generator had time to cover the breach.
The four antimatter warheads detonated against the hull of the giant T'Lari battleship. She heaved as the antimatter began to react explosively with the ship, causing the hull to disintegrate where it touched. The T'Lari battleship turned and opened fire with sixty of her forward lasers. The Terran destroyers and fighters were blown up as they were overwhelmed by the multiple hits. The T'Lari ship then turned her weapons on the Washington, and started to fire at her. The Washington's shields took the pounding, and then they crashed down, on the last three hits.
Aboard the Vaskat, Admiral S'Haarla looked at the view screen. The human's home world burned under the ten's of thousands of weapon hits he had delivered. Their mighty space stations had been destroyed, and their fleets were destroyed as well. All that was left was this small unit of three ships.
"Target the human ships and fire!"
Beams of death shot from the ship and tore the two smaller ships to scrap metal. The larger one shrugged off the single hit that punched through its weakened shield, and continued to close with the Vaskat.
'You are mine, human! I will destroy you! Then I will be a Royal Breeder for what I have done here today. Sha'Karia, you shall me mine.'
'Only if you destroy them. Now do so, ' Queen Sha'Karia thought to him.
A much-chastened Admiral responded, 'As you command, My Queen.'
Suddenly, the enemy ship opened fire with all its forward weapons. First were its death dealing laser cannons, and then the missiles were launched. Laser fire hit the shields and the T'Lari's starboard shields went down.
"Fire defense lasers, destroy..."
The T'Lari ship lurched as the Terran laser fire chewed up the defensive lasers, weapons ports, and launchers. One burst punched through the ship, and hit the hacklar generators. The generators began to power up, and then quickly become overloaded. Suddenly, a fold gate started to open, inside the huge ship, tearing it apart.
Just then, more missiles and railgun antimatter rounds exploded inside the T'Lari ship. The power from these hits flowed into the solar generators, which fed the energy into the main generators. Deep inside the thirty-mile long hull, the hackler generators sucked ever more power from the damaged systems.
No one noticed that the command computer had shorted out. Nor was it noticed that the hacklar generators were building up to open a gate. The generators jumped to over one hundred times the power that was needed to form a normal gate, and the ship rapidly started to disintegrate.
The abnormal gate opened, and grabbed the two ships. It yanked them towards itself. The T'Lari ship shuddered as she was ripped in two. Both halves of the ship started tumbling towards the gate. The stern drifted closer into the gate.
As the gate opened, the bow of the T'Lari ship exploded. All over the Terran ship, pieces of debris from that explosion punched through the Washington's hull opening the compartments to space. Then the USS Washington started tumbling towards the enemy ship, and towards the gate.
The crew grabbed anything they could hold onto, as the ship tumbled. The ship smashed into the stern of the disintegrating T'Lari battleship. Men and women everywhere died from lack of air, or were smashed into the bulkheads like rag dolls.
Trapped on the bridge, the crew hung tightly onto their chairs or their computer stations. The ship plunged through the gate following the hulk of the T'Lari vessel.
Captain Windsor felt his body react to the gate, as it tried to send him in multiple directions at once. He crawled back into his chair, in spite of the pain of his injuries. He flipped on his com unit.
The hologram appeared on the deck, she was still as beautiful a woman as the first time he had seen her. She did a quick sensor scan to bring herself up to date before speaking.
"Yes, Captain?" she said as her image shimmered a little, and then firmed up. "Sorry, Captain, I had a little interference there. What may I do for you? Hang on! Distortion wave in five seconds!"
Charles hung onto the command chair as the ship lurched from another distortion wave.
"What the hell is happening? This is not a normal fold gate."
The ship's AI examined the ship's sensors, ran several checks through her memory core, and went through her data on gates.
"Sir, it seems that due to an energy overload, and a form of energy backlash, the enemy's primitive fold generators have overcompensated. Our ship is being thrown back through time. Already we have traveled roughly two hundred years into the past. Each second we are in fold, we drop another ten years." The AI checked the ship's speed and added, "Captain, it seems as though we are slowing down. If our rate of deceleration stays constant, then I estimate the ship will come out of the gate at approximately 800 A.D."
Suddenly, an explosion on the bridge, threw the bridge crew across the room. The metal of one of the bulkheads screamed as it was twisted like tissue paper, and collapsed. A tear appeared along the portside ceiling; the room's force shields came on, but quickly winked out. The air started to be sucked out into space, taking everything with it. Lisa screamed as she was picked up by the tornado-like winds and sucked out into the cold void of space. One of the overhead beams crashed down onto the weapons station, killing Lieutenant Pruett as he tried to get out of his chair.
Captain Windsor grabbed his chair, as he was not belted in. He caught it with one hand. Moving quickly, he grasped the harness restraint and twisted the material around his right hand, as the air was whipping around him, he shouted out his last orders to the ship's AI.
"Activate protocol sierra, delta, alpha, niner. Repair yourself, save the human race and Terra for me."
He felt his body being lifted up and pulled out of his chair. His fingers on his right hand snapped under the strain.
"We must survive, or else the universe will be food for the T'Lari. AI, tell my dau..."
The last Captain of the Terran Federation was gone, sucked out through the hole in the side of the ship.
The ship's AI solemnly watched. Her holographic tears fell to the deck in tiny bursts of light.
"Goodbye, my captain. I will do my best to tell her."
The ship finally came out of fold. The AI watched the screen, as she started her repairs. She sent the repair spiders to the bow thruster room, and to main engineering.
Then she began to try to slow the ship down.
Around the ship, stasis fields popped up around critical units, to try and preserve them.
One such field was around the main computer. It was both a force shield and stasis field. It was designed to preserve the room and its contents: the AI. On the bridge, the AI watched her death approach. If the repair robots could not get the thrusters working in time, the ship would crash into the Earth. Neither stasis nor force shields could save her, in that case.
The ship was hurtling towards Terra at just under ten million miles an hour. No human could survive the G-forces, were it not for the ship's compensators.
Suddenly, the bow thrusters started firing! The ship was a bit less than seven million miles out. Every compensator failed, throughout the remains of the ship.
Every human on board flew across whatever room they were in. They smashed into walls, furniture, or whatever else got in their way. All of them were killed when they came to that almighty sudden stop.
As the ship slowed to less than twenty thousand miles a minute, she punched through the atmosphere above the South Pole. Her engines were in full reverse along with her bow thrusters. Her passing through the atmosphere created a massive shock wave that was heard around the world, as she headed towards the continent that one day would be known as North America. When she slammed into the largest canyon in the southwest of what would in the future become the United States, she was traveling at less than one thousand miles an hour. Her shields snapped online, just moments before she plowed into the bottom of what we now know as the North Rim.
The AI transferred all shield power to the bow and bridge shields. She fired her lasers into the ground in front of the ship, as the thrusters and engines slowed the ship. The massive lasers ripped holes up to a mile long, in front of the ship, as the force shield reinforced bow impacted the soft rock.
Finally, the ship stopped.
The debris from the ship's impact was hurled a mile into the sky. When it crashed back down, it buried the entrance tunnel under twelve hundred feet of rock. On the surface, all life was wiped out within a ten-mile area.
As the main power started to fail, the emergency backup generators came online. The AI ordered the spider bots to start the repairs to the ship. She uploaded the schematics of the ship to the spiders.
She ordered that if any humans were found near the ship, they were to be brought to her.
Spiderbots flowed out of the ship and reinforced the ships hull with emergency shield generators, to keep her off the ground. The main shields had fused the rock into a cavern just under seven miles around and nine hundred feet high.
Behind the ship, the entrance tunnel collapsed, sealing the ship into darkness. The spiders continued to work. Time passed and hid the visible scars of the ship's traumatic entombing into the Earth.
Edited by Tenderloin
Additional editing by Ilox and MsBoy8