“I’m on it,” Case replied and started to type furiously as her companion started to project a virtual net around her.
“Now, I wonder what is in those missiles?” Colin said,
“Not worried about the security intrusion?”
“If Case needs us, we’ll do something, and if she can’t keep them out of our records, I suspect a couple of missiles will be the least of our worries. Now, I suggest we fire the rail cannon at these points.” He indicated a few locations on a graphic.
“Why?” Vivek looked at the image on his own screen with a raised eyebrow.
“Because those are the best guesses of where that mothership may be at those points in time,” Yori said.
“Indeed, and the lumps of metal hurled out of our mass drivers are far more difficult to deal with then the missiles that they’re launching at us.”
“I wonder if they’ll detect our little surprise?” Yori turned to face Colin.
“I doubt it, what’s the story on the fighters?”
“They’re closing faster than the main ship, judging by the range they hit the probes at they won’t be effective until they’re under a minute away and I doubt they’ll ever get that close.”
“We’d have to be asleep to miss them, are our anti-missile defences prepped and ready to go?” He asked while looking at the Case who was hard at work countering the intrusion.
“It’s interesting,” Yori muttered.
“Well that the translators were able to adjust for the language so easily, it would imply that there were a lot of points of correlation in the records.”
“Yeah, I did think that was strange,” Vivek twisted his seat to look at the two of them.
“Just one more weird mystery to add to the pile,” Colin looked up and thought for a moment then shook his head and returned to watching a screen where the projections kept updating. On the screen were a half dozen inert dots and the alien ship was seemingly on a course between two of them.
The vrrrt sound of the Ushingi’s anti-missile system rang out three times each one shorter than a second but firing almost a thousand shards of metal at hypersonic speeds creating clouds of lethal shrapnel whose job was to eliminate the rapidly closing fighters thirty seconds later the first fighter was intercepted by a cloud. The slow-moving small metal shards interacting with the attack craft that was travelling a significant percentage of light speed resulted in vast amounts of energy transfer, the first couple of impacts created a blindingly white flash of energy as some kind of barrier absorbed and dispersed the energy, the third impact though hit the surface of the fighter. The resulting impact left pieces of fighter hurtling towards the Ushingi, which increased its thrust to avoid the cloud. The scene was repeated several more times leaving fighters and missiles alike shredded clouds of molten metal hurtling through deep space.
Onboard the Ushingi they had confirmed that there was little risk of a remote systems incursion and had set about the more urgent business of carefully shooting down missiles and fighters.
“And another missile down!” Vivek announced, “Wait a second, it’s set off a massive electromagnetic pulse.”
“Ah, heck.” As Colin said that the pulses bathed the ship. The lighting flickered.
“Long-range sensors are down.”
“Keep the visual on the mothership. Case get the long-range sensors back.”
“On it.” She started unscrewing a panel, pulling electronic cards out from behind it and, looking each one over for damage.
In space there close to the where the aliens were transiting two bright flashes that turned into rapidly expanding spheres of devastating energy were identified. Vivek reported it to the other crew members immediately as the long-range sensors came back online to reveal that the large alien vessel was hurtling through space its thrusters off and a number of the towers and antenna that were previously visible had disappeared.
“Open up a channel to the ship,” Colin instructed Vivek, and the channel opened.
“To the Alien vessel that has launched this attack on us, we see that you are in trouble and we would like to offer you the hand of friendship.” The others looked at him lopsided smiles on their faces as the pig man appeared on the screen again.
“Banned species, we of the Pigonian Sties will never bow to accept help from such a diabolical foe as yourselves we would rather die in honourable combat!” The creature turned and appeared to shout at crew members in the background who looked like they were trying to put out fires.
“I would ask you to reconsider, we would like to find common ground on which we can build a long-lasting relationship.”
“The only relationship we want is to see your punny ship pulverised and your home planet a burning mass of flames!” The creature had stood up and punched its fist into the air.
“We simply don’t understand why you are so hostile?” Colin’s frustration was seeping through.
“There is nothing to understand the Kelaxu tell us to eliminate you, we eliminate you, this is the joy of freedom,” creature roared and as it did the static appeared on the screen a moment. The creature looked at something off to the side and shouted.
“Reading an impact, it’s one of the mass driver packets from earlier.”
The creature looked at the screen, and then it went blank.
“Should we give it another salvo, I doubt it’s going to be able to get its thrusters back on in time.”
“No, we aren’t an army bent on destruction, there’s no fame in killing a helpless foe. Let’s just get the hell out of this system, and recall any surviving drones, let’s hope that nothing is waiting for us on the others side of this red giant.”
“I couldn’t agree more.” Yori tapped a few buttons on the console and started to slow to a more easily controlled speed.
When they got to the other side of the red giant, they identified the signal of the jump gate. The ring was about half the size of the one in the IL system and appeared to have been jury-rigged and kitbashed together. Or at least it had undergone a great many repairs by people with very different ideas about the process of repair. They were burning their engines to slow the Ushingi’s approach.
“Well, that looks like it’s had quite the pain job.” Colin squinted and leant forward, an energy bar in his hand. Yori nodded.
“There’s an incoming message from the station.” Vivek looked at Colin who pointed at the screen, and he put the image through.
“We surrender!” What looked like a random collection of geometric shapes held together by sugar cane was on the screen apparently surrendering most strenuously.
“We are abject cowards, and abhor all conflict, please we surrender, if you wish us to snivel at your feet for all eternity we shall do so, ooo universe forgive us for evoking the wrath of literally any being that has invented rudimentary tools!” The different objects that appeared to make up the alien flashed different colours.
“I’m sorry, who are you?”
“Oh, no! We have invoked even more of their wrath no doubt you will take my name and cast me down into the annals of misery and torture for being such a wretched being not even worthy of being stood upon by your mighty boots.”
“I think we may have got off on the wrong foot,” Yori was starting to chuckle, and Vivek had a sparkle in his eye.
“Yes! A foot, a foot so large and handsome that as it crushed the cylindrical receptors of our frail and fragile bodies would no doubt hardly twitch even the littlest hair on its smallest toe!”
“Ah who am I to suggest that one so awe-inspiringly powerful had feet! Surely you levitate with the gravity of your amazingly powerful might!”
“Is everyone else in the galaxy insane?” He looked at Yori who had broken out into a fit of giggles, he shook his head.
“Yes, the universe is insane, and we are but a measure of that insanity as we spin around and around and around. Is anyone else feeling dizzy?”
“Shut up!” The alien stopped, and the lights that seemed to make it up blinked slowly, in a way it reminded Colin of a fancy Christmas tree you might see in a fashionable shopping centre. “Now, who are you?”
It blinked on and off.
It continued to blink.
“Answer my question!”
The blinking got faster. Colin closed his eyes.
“You may speak.”
“Oh yes oh powerful and violent yet most benevolent one, I am Tulok, the base administrator. Had I mentioned that we surrender unconditionally?”
“Yes, you had.”
“Oh, good. We are very averse to being killed in the bright white heat caused by explosions.”
“That’s good. So, who are you?”