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Chapter 532 of Book 3 is in the queue

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This week with Arlene and Jeff:

...The interceptor barreled toward the first platform at many times its relative speed, which would have caused someone not accustomed to the inertialess drive to have nightmares as the interceptor approached its target. Suddenly, they had matched speeds and orbital vectors, and were almost within touching distance as Jeff initiated the data dump to check the platform's readouts. "Dimensional power channel operating at one hundred percent. Targeting acquisition showing optimal. Stealth at one hundred percent. Shields optimal. All weapons on line. Friend or foe working properly, double-checked because it did not fire on us, although its AI detected us soon after our launch. Earth's satellites are also showing on the platform's board as friendly."

"Go," Jeff ordered even as Arlene left at maximum, only to stop shortly at the next platform, although it was several hundred miles away and thirty degrees out from the first platform's orbit, the positions of the platforms staggered in order to give maximum coverage for their weapons. Again, Jeff's analysis took only seconds as he repeated the process. "Go."

Each platform was roughly twenty feet across, a skeleton network of girders and dimensional power accumulators backing its twin beam weapons and its shields. Each weapon could fire independently, if need be, but would normally fire as part of a dual system, each firing in rotation. Each platform had limited movement to facilitate its survival if targeted by an enemy. Although its weapons would, presumably, do little against the aliens' mother craft, its concentrated fire should be able to destroy a Paladin if the system managed to lock on for a few seconds - at least, that was the theory.

In a lower orbit, the platforms would be closer to the Earth, and their concentration, therefore, denser, but that would mean that the aliens would be much nearer to the planet before the weapon platforms could engage them. The farther out the platforms were positioned, the better chance the Paladins could be destroyed before entering Earth's atmosphere, if the aliens came within range of the platforms. But… that would also mean that the platforms would be much farther apart, giving the aliens room to sneak between without the platforms being able to engage the enemy. A tradeoff that Jeff had to decide.

Shit, Ship needs more time. If she had a year, she could put up an almost impenetrable barrier of weapon platforms. If… if… if...

Have a goodun;