As promised in the last entry, there will be an except from the first novel in this entry. See the last entry, Exodus, the Science Fiction Journey, for basic background to the series. I have big plans for this series. There will of course be the primary story of the Emperor Sean Ogden Lee Romanov and his trials of uniting the disparate interests of the Empire and their alien allies against the threat of the invaders. There will be a number of other characters, captains of warships, admirals, ambassadors, scientists, and ordinary citizens, who will tell their tales during the primary story. Other races will take advantage of the turmoil the humans find themselves in, and will strike while the chances are good that they will get away with it. But there will be spin offs that are already in the planning stages, a mission to save an alien race in danger of dying from a supernova explosion, the reemergence of the machine intelligences who had threatened Imperial worlds in the past, the continued exploration along the frontiers in a search for the secrets of the ancients, expeditions to the Magellanic Clouds and the Galactic Core, and others. The great station used to generate wormhole gates will feature in many parts of the tale, along with emerging technologies to take advantage of the holes in space. And the mystery of the ancients, who experimented with time travel only to disappear from the Universe, will be revealed.
Again, I am trying to make this a hard science fiction tale within limits, meaning that every tech has weaknesses as well as strengths, and the strategy and tactics follow from these effects of the tech.
I decided to make the humans of this Universe long lived, over two hundred years in the normal life span, but not immortal. I felt that immortality would change the culture of humanity so much that it would not even be recognizable, and that was not the story I wanted to tell. So though human life span could be extended, there was a limit to the extension. And clones and uploads are missing something. What cannot be said, but the clone or upload did not have a conscience, and so was not the same person as the original. Only outlaws use those technologies in the Exodus Universe. All genetic disorders are gone, removed from the gene pool, and humans as a species are enhanced from the original stock, but are in no ways equal in their talents from each other.
I hope that people enjoy this series. It may take off from the first book, or it may take awhile, but I am sure that it is something that lovers of true science fiction will enjoy.
And thus follows an excerpt from a battle scene between an Imperial destroyer and two similar class pirate vessels. Please bear in mind that this excerpt is from a first draft of the novel, and there may be some serious glitches in it that will be corrected in later drafts.
The ship rocked again and Lt Commander Maurice von Rittersdorf cursed under his breath. The tactical display showed that the two functional privateers were ranging to either side of him. Smart, he thought, since the HIMS Johann Peterson (DD 26575) was weak on one side’s shields thanks to a couple of lucky hits in the early stages of the battle. So the ships were attacking from opposite sides, forcing him to absorb the attack of one of the one hundred twenty thousand ton ships on the weak side instead of rolling the ship to face them with strength.
“We might still be able to outrun them,” chimed in the exec, Lt. SG Katherine Schuler, from the CIC.
“We’ve lost too much to guarantee that,” said the Captain, looking at the schematic representation flashing red with damage. Including two of the stern impeller units, the spatial grabbers that propelled every Imperial vessel. She’d had a good seventy gee advantage coming into the fight, which was how she had run them down in the first place when they had broken away from the tramp freighter they were in the process of taking as a prize. “And we would have to run away with our stern to their fire for a good hour if they decided to pursue.”
The one bit of good news to this fiasco was the third enemy vessel that was floating dead in space. The old Johann Peterson‘s gunnery had been good enough to take her out of the equation with one good volley of all three laser rings, followed by a pair of hundred megaton warheads to the hull.
“Ship A is firing,” yelled the tactical officer, as the tactical screen colored in the invisible beams of photons converging on the two hundred thousand ton destroyer. The vessel’s computer adjusted the electromag field to intercept as best as possible. One of the incoming beams hit the field at the perfect angle and was bent around the destroyer and radiated in the opposite direction, nearly striking Ship B. The other hit dead center, and was spread from a fifty centimeter pinpoint to a ten meter diameter spotlight. Heat was pumped into the hull, some armor boiled away, but much of the beam was reflected back by the nanoparticle skin which shifted to the proper alignment for that particular wavelength.
If only Fredrickson were here, thought the commander of the warship. But her consort destroyer had made for the nearest military system with a malfunctioning Hyperdrive generator, only able to creep along in Hyper III. And von Ritterdorf, as senior commander of the pair, had decided to continue the patrol on his own, against common sense. And then the encounter with three privateers. At that point there was no choice, as the protection of civilian shipping was the primary rational for this kind of patrol, even to the point of sacrificing his ship and crew.
“Returning fire,” yelled Ensign Lasardo, the tactical officer, as two strong beams from the A and B rings struck out at the ship. The double hundred megawatt beams, slightly less in the B ring which sustained some damage, struck the pirate perfectly along its engineering section. Superheated alloy and atmosphere gushed from the enemy’s hull, followed by a bright secondary explosion as energies were released.
“Missiles,” yelled the Captain “and bring all lasers to fire on Ship B.”
“Aye, sir,” called the tactical officer, sending the commands to the firing batteries. The three side tubes facing the enemy belched hundred megaton missiles that accelerated at five thousand gravities toward the enemy, followed in three seconds by another trio. The enemy launched counter missiles and a salvo of her own offensive weapons. Just after the enemy missiles left their tubes the human warheads arrived. One was taken out by the enemy counter missiles, winning the duel of electronics against a single Imperial weapon. Point defense took out another, but the third struck dead onto the damaged engineering section and detonated, sending waves of heat and radiation into the enemy ship. A couple of small secondaries followed, then a titanic detonation of the enemy vessel’s power plant that turned half the mass of the ship into plasma and sent the rest out in pieces large and small at a significant velocity. The twin enemy missiles were intercepted several thousand kilometers out in bright points of nuclear fire.
“At least their missile and counter missile batteries are not to modern standard,” said the exec over the com. “Probably the best the Lasharans could get on the black market to equip with probable deniability.”
“Their lasers are good enough,” said von Ritterdorf, as Ship B let loose with another blast of beams as the destroyer rotated her hull and her strongest shields in the way. But shields do not normally stop light amp weapons, only attenuate their effect. And enough energetic photons made it through in their trillions, super heating the cold plasma layer, to pump heat into the hull.
“Emitters seven and eight on ring B are down,” said the damage control officer. “Heavy casualties on weapons deck 34B.”
“Hit them with everything we’ve got,” yelled the Captain, slamming his fist on the seat’s arm, the armored gauntlet pushing deep into the pad. The lights dimmed for a moment as the ship complied with the order and funneled all available power to weapons.
Peterson‘s three laser rings opened with a pulsing power as the starboard missile tubes flushed a trio, then a second trio of hundred meg warheads. Particle beams followed suit with the lasers, sending charged particles (in this case antimatter) and uncharged normal matter into shields of the enemy at near light speed. The antimatter was stopped for the most part while sapping some of the shield strength, especially the thin layer of cold plasma on the inner section. The uncharged particles slid through the field as if it didn’t exist, which it essentially didn’t to them, and struck a heavy blow to the armor girding the enemy vessel.
The destroyer pivoted at it fired, bringing its forward tubes to bear as the C Laser ring lost lock. The two forward tubes spat a pair of fifty meg warheads, and then the forward plasma torpedo fired as it bore. A quarter ton of superheated plasma, wrapped in the strong magnetic fields of the follower capsule, headed at .1 C toward the enemy vessel. A close in weapon in the best of times due to slow speed and quick dispersion, they were still retained on Imperial ships for situations such as this. When maximum fire power was needed in minimum time.
Half of the missiles made it through to the target, exploding in waves of radiation near the hull, in two cases directly impacting the armor. The hundred twenty thousand ton bulk of the vessel shuddered from impact as pieces of armor and laser ring broke off and ejected into space. Great gaps opened in the hull as atmosphere spewed out.
Warships, even the patchwork ships used by privateers, were tough beasts with redundant systems. While critically injured the ship may still have survived the massive assault. Until the lumbering plasma torpedo struck and splashed on the damaged hull. Plasma plunged through the rents of armor and into the interior of the ship as its magnetic fields released and the superheated gas expanded. In an instant the heart of a sun lived for a brief moment in the center of the ship. And the ship died a fiery death.
As the containment systems failed on antimatter storage and missile warheads, they interacted with matter and detonated, blasting the ship apart into pieces, none of which weighed over a hundred tons. The destroyer moved away as the computer interpreted the threat. Laser and point defense projectile weapons swept space near the ship clear of threats.
“Casualty figures are tabulated, sir,” said the exec over the com. “Thirty one killed and another forty-six wounded.”
Out of three hundred and eighty naval and marine personnel, thought the Captain, visualizing the faces he would no longer see through the hallways of the ship.
“We’re down to six of the fifty meg warheads,” continued the exec. “Maximum accel is about one hundred thirty gees, but we can still use Hyper VI to get home.”
“And we will have prisoners to interrogate,” interjected the tactical officer, nodding toward the screen and the remaining enemy vessel floating dead in space. A small dot that suddenly expanded into a brilliant flare.
“I guess they didn’t take much to the possibility of interrogation,” said the exec. “Or didn’t fancy giving away their point of origin.”
“Navigator,” ordered the Captain. “Plot a course back to the nearest military yard. Maximum speed.”
“You noticed the date now,” said the exec as the Captain rubbed his temples in his chair.
“Goddam,” said the Captain. “I’ve forgotten.”
“Well happy thirty-eight birthday anyway sir,” said the exec. “Hell of a way to celebrate it though I must say.”