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#3 - Tragedy in Space – Or Anyone for BBQ Rat?

PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 4:11 pm
by vemlich
“Commander we have reached the location in which we are supposed to meet an ally.” Stated ensign Grantis after approaching and saluting Admiral Xanton.

“Good. Now we need to have the fleet remain on red alert as we are in enemy territory. If any fleet appears that does not activate our alliance detector we will attack.”

Pacing up and down the helm Admiral Xanton glanced out the view screen and into space wondering from which of the millions of stars the attack was going to be coming from. Waiting is not one of Xanton’s strong suits. Looking into space can be so relaxing and at the same time stressful. Never knowing if and when you are going to encounter an uncivilized race. Or worse yet a cyber. No reasoning with a metal head. Scratching one of his antennae with one of his 4 hands Xanton turned from the screen and focused on the plans – what they were.

Ensign Grantis knew the admiral was anxious – he never paced except before a fight. This was the fifth battle that we were going to be in together. Luckily most have been minor encounters against other fleets or planetary attacks. In all cases Admiral Xanton had come out on the better end of the encounter. That is why he has the medal of The Mandible presented to him by Twain Antus II. The second highest medal in the Phantatwain Empire. What made this battle so different was that the admiral was having to rely upon an unknown, and yet to be identified ally.

“Grantis, have we heard word from Alpha Mound as to who we should be expecting?” asked Admiral Xanton turning sharply to stare at him.

“No Admiral. Nothing yet. I am sure that we will be informed shortly.”

“We better, as our invasion fleet will be approaching the planet in 5 trisecs and we can’t have our ally shooting them – can we?”

“No sir we can’t. I’ll make another request sir.”

“Get Lieutenant Rhiant in here.”

Yes, sir.” Ensign Grantis spun and scurried off to get the lieutenant.

Entering the communication pod Grantis found Lieutenant Rhiant flirting with a female junior officer.

“Lieutenant, the Admiral would like to see you.”

“Okay, I stop by in a minute.”

“Now Lieutenant. The Admiral is anxious about the upcoming mission and wants you in the helm now.”

“Okay, okay. You then, will have to go through the pile of communications that have come in over the past half trisec,” said the Lieutenant.

“Why haven’t you done it?”

“I was busy training this lovely JG on communications.” Lieutenant Rhiant said as he walked out the door.

As Admiral again stared at the screen trying to see if he could detect anything out in space that their sensors might be missing Lieutenant Rhiant entered the helm and approached him.

“You requested me Admiral?”

“Yes. Are we prepared for this attack?”

“Yes, Admiral. It should be a cake walk. We have 200 ships of various sizes with over 250,000 firepower. If the ally arrives with a similar sized fleet we should have no problem with anything that the planet might have or any fleet in orbit. Besides we have 2,000 marines on another fleet scheduled to assault the planet and take it over.”

“What is the fleet orders?”

“Near Melee, sir, like you ordered.”

“I don’t like this. I just don’t like having to wait on an unknown ally to join us for a coordinated attack.”

“Admiral, we can go without them. I believe that we have the firepower to handle any known fleet in space.”

“It is the UNKNOWN that I worry about Lieutenant... it’s the unknown.”

It was at this time that alarms started sounding and the red lights started flashing.

“Warning. Warning. Unidentified fleet approaching fast. Warning. Warning.” Blared over the intercom.

“Has the system identified them as an ally,” demanded Admiral Xanton.

“No sir. We must attack sir, the invasion fleet will be arriving in 3 trisecs.” Responded Lieutenant Rhiant.

“Give the fleet wide order to attack. Attack Now!!!” ordered Admiral Xanton.

Then all hell broke loose. The enemy ships came pouring into solar system orbit ***1232 and opened fire. This was quickly answered with lasers and proton torpedoes from the Phantatwain fleet. The Phantatwain ships quickly moved to intermix with the enemy fleet. This tactic makes it harder for the opponent to fire upon the Phantatwain ships without the risk of hitting their own. The only species that don’t care about this tactic are the cyborgs. Metal heads care less about loses.

Battles in space can be awe inspiring. Besides having to deal with tactics on a three dimension, it is the explosions and colors. It is almost like the celebrations held on the Twain’s birthday with fireworks and colored smoke and streamers up on the surface of whichever mound Xanton happened to be taking his R&R on. Only the explosions are much bigger and there are the serious connotations when one of the explosions happens were a Phantatwain ship was a just moment ago. Some people ask if you can hear screams in space. No, you can’t. But you can hear them in your mind. Yes, in the mind of Admiral Xanton he will be hearing the screams of thousands of lost crewmen for months to come.

The battle went on for over 2 triscs. Luckily, well not so much luck as skill and overwhelming firepower, the Phantatwain fleet drove off the enemy fleet before their invasion fleet appeared. And STILL no ally fleet appeared.

“Admiral,” Lieutenant Rhiant beamed. “You have just won a great battle.”

“We won a battle – yes. Great I am not so sure.” The Admiral replied.

“Sir, we need to attack the planet before the invasion fleet makes its approach. You know if there are any fighters or forts left on the planet and they get a couple of lucky hits they could kill all of our marines that are onboard the assault transports.”

“Yes…yes, we must get to that right away. And come back in investigate the enemy hulks later to see who they were.”

The orders were then given for the Phantatwain fleet to achieve orbit around planet ***12325. After a short encounter with some forts and fighters the planetary defenses were destroyed opening up the opportunity for the marines to land. A half trisec later the invasion fleet came barreling in and invaded. The invasion fleet never knew that there had been a fleet to fleet battle in solar system orbit just a half trisec earlier that could have wiped out their covering fire fleet. Such is the precision planning of an invasion.

Returning to solar system orbit the Phantatwains sent teams over to the different enemy hulks to see if they could find anything out about them.

“What were our losses,” inquired Admiral Xanton now that he had a chance to take stock of everything that happened over the past 3 trisecs.

“Reports are 25 ships destroyed and anther 21 badly damaged but can still operate, sir.” Lieutenant Rhiant replied.

“Do we know who and how many we destroyed?”

“Initial reports had that we were attacked by 100 ships. Of which we destroyed 84. The away teams are still investigating. It does sound like we might have some fresh meat for a while though. The teams are requesting the galley to send over containers and staff to help pack up the remains of the enemy. That means that they were not cybers, sir.”

“When the away team leader returns I want a full report.” Stated Admiral Xanton. “I’ll be in my quarters.”

He then turned and retired to his quarters. He had a lot to think about. Twenty-five ships full of lost crewmen. Not counting the ones lost on the damaged ships, and the wounded that might not survive. Who ever said, so many eons ago on some long forgotten planet, that ‘war is hell’ was right.

A couple of trisecs later there was a knock on Admiral’s Xanton door.


In walked Captain Jhacant, leader of the away team, followed by Lieutenant Rhiant and Ensign Grantis. Captain carrying a bulging bag of what smelled like BBQ meat.

“Well, report.”

“Sir,” started Captain Jhacant, “we found no survivors. We did find that they are tasty. Have a sample.” Holding out the bag for the admiral to take a piece out of to eat.

“Hmmm, you are right they are tasty – whatever or whoever they were. Order the galleys to provide this as part of the meals as a reward for an effort well done.” Leaning back in his chair Xanton waited for the report to continue.

“Yes, sir. The crew has already started enjoying the meat as they normally do after vanquishing an enemy.” Stated Lieutenant Rhiant quickly.

After a bit of silence Xanton glared at them and said “Well?”

“Yes…the report.” Stammered Captain Jhacant. “It seems that the race that we fought was of the rat ancestry sir.”

“Who were they!!” demanded Xanton.

“That is a little more tricky sir…” started Captain Jhacant.

“Yes, sir. There seems that there might be an issue in reporting this battle to the command,” broke in Ensign Grantis.

“What kind of ISSUE?”

“Well, sir, the race is called Mutos of Rhatisbahn. We believe that they are smugglers or some other low life species.” Captain Jhacant wrung his 4 hands and cringed.

“Okay, so how is that an issue?”

Ensign Grantis spoke up, “Sir, it seems that just after the battle we got communication from the diplomacy corps.”


“Well, sir, it seems that Mutos of Rhatisbahn were to be the specie that we were to coordinate our operation with.” Ensign Grantis immediately dropped to four limbs trying to make himself smaller.

“S-s-so you are telling ME that we just destroyed an ally fleet and ATE their crewmen?!?!?” Raged Admiral Xanton.

“Yes, sir.” Captain Jhacant said dropping to four limbs and dropping his antennae in submission. It is never good giving the admiral bad news. And this is not bad news – it is DISASTROUS news. Images of being put in command of a garbage scowl, or worse yet an explorer that has the “privilege” of making first contacts (normally once) flashed through his head.

“My career is over,” Moaned Xanton.

“But sir, you had a great fleet victory and we were instrumental in taking the planet.” Beamed an optimistic Lieutenant Rhiant. “They have to give you credit for that sir.”

“We attacked an ALLY you SIMPLETON!!! Raged Xanton. What I would do to Lieutenant Rhiant if he was not related to the Twain thought Xanton. Why did he get saddled with a Twain relative that would sooner be in some dwelling of ill-repute than on at the helm of a warship. The only saving grace is that he can’t be punished too severely because they would also have to punish Rhiant.

“Technically they were not an ally when we fought them sir.” Piped up Ensign Grantis. “We did not get the notification and our alliance database was not updated until after the battle. If anyone is to blame for this incident it should be the Diplomatic Corps sir. They were the ones that did not relay the information to us in time to avoid this accident.”

Spinning around in his chair Xanton stared out the porthole into space – a debris filled space of hulks from a species that they were allies with. And he stared. And stared some more. The silence from him got to the officers waiting in his cabin. Waiting for something, anything from him.

“Sir, what do you want to report back to the Alpha Mound? I am sure that they are waiting for our report.” Ensign Grantis spoke up.

“Huh…oh, yes – the report,” Xanton replied. Spinning back around he was ready to take full command of the situation again. No since in waiting for the high command to fire the first shot. Need to get the first shot in now and prepare our defense of the action.

“Send of the report that we engaged an unknown fleet and destroyed it. Suffering 25 lost ships and 21 heavily damaged. Enemy loses were estimated at 84 ships destroyed. When away team searched the hulks they found no survivors and “properly” deposed of the bodies. No need to mention that they were served up for dinner, now do we.” Xanton stared at each in turn.

“No, sir,” all said in almost unison.

“Report that after the battle and capture of the planet we were notified by the Diplomatic Corps that we were now allied with Mutos Of Rhatisbahn. It was at this time that we realized that we had engaged our ally and destroyed their fleet. The alliance notification came after the battle and we had no prior knowledge that they were our allies because of no message and our alliance detector did not alert us to the fact. Make sure that you emphasis the lack of timely communication from the Diplomatic Corps.”

Send that message Ensign. Turning to Captain Jhacant. “Get all the fleet captains on the telecom for a fleet meeting. We need to make sure that there is no leak of having BBQ Rat for dinner. I’ll be in the telecom room in half a trisec. Now, all of you get out while I think.”

As the officers left to go about their assigned tasks Admiral Xanton spun back around and looked out the porthole.

It’s going to be a long trip home. I’m getting too old for this. It’s been a long time since I was last home. And there are getting to be too many screams from lost crewmen in my head. Thought Xanton.

As he watched the stars and wondered where next he will go – if anywhere. and what next will he encounter – if anything.