As stated in my last post, a very big weekend is coming up for the Exodus: Empires at War series. For those who have not read the series, there are currently five books out, and they have sold over 58,000 copies between them. Not in the range of David Weber, but pretty damned good for something I have had to self promote. There are over 550 reviews worldwide, mostly on Amazon US and UK, and an overall rating of 4.4 stars. They have been compared to Weber, Ringo and others, and I have developed a very loyal fan base that includes physicists, mathematicians, ex and current military, and even an astronaut, as well as science fiction fans old and young. I am very proud of the series. Could it be better? Most definitely. One improvement could be the covers, and I have gone ahead and made that improvement on book one.
On April 25th through 29th Exodus: Empires at War: Book 1, will be available for free download on Amazon. I made up a new cover for the book, something I think is more colorful and attractive. For those who haven’t read this series, this is the chance to get in on the ground floor for free.
On April 27th the 6th book of the series, The Day of Battle, will be released. I will be uploading the book to Amazon on the evening of the 26th, and it will probably be available by 2 or 3 AM eastern time. I couldn’t imagine this before it happened, but there were some fans who actually stayed up late to snag the book as soon as they could. Unlike the last volume, this novel will follow the main storyline. It will be the most action packed book of the series though. Some people liked the ground action, so there is plenty of ground action, including a tank battle and several spaceship and station boarding battles. And most said they wanted more space battles. I think there are over a dozen, from several page shorts to a massive action at the climax. I think it is the best book of the series. Of course, I don’t get to make that determination. That’s for the fans. I can only hope that the people who read this book like it as much as its predecessors. And now for an excerpt:
“They’re heading this way, sir,” said Lieutenant SG Lasardo, the Tactical Officer of the destroyer, and a man who von Rittersdorf had handpicked for the position. “No surprise there.”
“Nope,” replied the Captain, looking at the tactical display that showed the overwhelming force coming toward him. “No surprise.”
And why the hell did I have to tell the Commodore that this was a good idea. His was the only hyper VII capable ship in the escort, and the only ship likely to get away if they ran. The three hyper VI destroyers might make it, while the VI light cruiser wouldn’t have much of a chance. He was in charge by dint of being a squadron commander, though the rest of his squadron was with the Commodore. That, and the fact that his ship was equipped with a wormhole com. I wish I had some of the other stuff he Commodore’s ship has, he thought, knowing that such would not be wasted on a mere destroyer.
“Get me the Commodore on the com,” he told his Com Officer. It’s about time to make sure everyone is on the same page.
* * *
The Commodore stared at the holo, watching the movement of every ship in hyper V. Her own command was superimposed on that holo, sitting in normal space, coasting at point two c to the point of entry, while the timer ticked down. Everything was set into motion. Her force was tracking the enemy both through their hyperdrive emissions as received in normal space, and the tracking information of von Rittersdorf’s vessel coming through the wormhole. She had unprecedented tracking capabilities, and hopefully weapons that were beyond the wildest dreams of the Cacas, especially in a knife fight like she was developing.
“All stations report readiness status green,” said the Com Officer, looking back at the Commodore.
Mei looked over at the com station, noting the holo of an officer above the board, the Com Officer on one of the battle stations sitting over a thousand light years away, orbiting the Supersystem black hole.
“The stations are reporting that they have fifty missiles in each tube,” said the Com Officer. “They’ll be up to max velocity in one point three minutes.”
“What about the PBs?” asked Mei.
The Com Officer went to her board for a moment, then looked back. “All particle beams are fully up and ready.”
“Let the force know we will go on the mark. Philippi and Dauphin will follow our lead. Targets are designated as…” The Commodore pointed to the target icons on the holo and assigned them to her vessels. “We jump in forty-three seconds.”
The Commodore stared at the holo, watching as the icons of her force, eleven battle cruisers, four heavy cruisers and fourteen destroyers, closed to superimposition with the enemy force.
“Jumping, now,” called out the Navigation Officer, looking over at the Helmsman.
The lights on the bridge dimmed for a moment as all available power was transferred to the hyperdrive projectors without tapping into the battery backups. With the transfer came the nausea, for most only a second or so. And then the stars of space were replaced by the red backdrop of hyperspace splattered with the tiny black dots of the distant gravity wells that were stars.
The tactical holo updated with real time information in less than a second. Before the next second ticked off every ship had opened fire, well before the enemy could react.
* * *
“The enemy ships are opening fire,” called out the Tactical Officer, as hundreds of red icons appeared on the tactical holo.
“How are they getting so many missiles into space?” asked the Task Force Commander.
“Their commercial vessels are also sending missiles our way,” said the Tactical Officer. “From their velocity I would guess they don’t have acceleration tubes. I don’t think they will be much of a threat.”
The Task Force Leader sat back in his chair and grinned. The enemy was getting desperate. But desperation would not save them.
“We have translations,” yelled out the Sensor Officer.
“Where,” yelled the Task Force Leader, coming out of his seat.
“Right on top of us,” yelled the officer, as the icons of enemy vessels appeared on the tactical plot.
Something flared impossibly bright on one of the viewers, which stepped down the intensity in an instant. Two of the icons on the tactical were blinking, one of his battleships, and a scout ship of the enemy. The biggest problem with the icons was they were right on top of each other. Which meant an enemy scout ship had translated right into the path of a battleship, if not directly inside of it.
A side viewer showed the debris of a twenty-five million ton battleship fading from hyper in a series of catastrophic translations. Not that it mattered to any of the crew of that ship, who were most decidedly dead. And then the flagship shook from the hits of an impossibly powerful particle beam, while damage klaxons went off and the lights dimmed again.
* * *
Mei Lei grimaced as the enemy force appeared on the viewer. Not just because they outmassed her force. She was very close to the enemy task force, a lot closer than most captains would be comfortable with. Something flared on the screen, and she grimaced again as she watched one of her destroyers come out of hyper halfway inside an enemy battleship. Both ships fell apart from the combined forces of objects trying to occupy the same space at the same time, and the difference in velocities and vectors that tore at them.
In the cold calculations of war of attrition, she should have been happy with that result, trading two hundred tons of warship and two hundred and fifty lives for twenty-five million tons and many thousands of the enemy. But all she could think about were the brave men and women of that ship who hadn’t even had time to realize they were doomed.
“Firing,” yelled out the Tactical Officer, and the ship bucked as she fired all weapons at the nearest enemy vessel, a battleship.
All of the vessels in her force opened up with lasers and particle beams, tossing missiles at the same time, giving the enemy some extra targets to deal with. All but three of the ships were equipped with standard weapons loadouts for their classes. Jean de Arc and her two sisters had the normal loadout, with the exception of the two wormhole weapons’ ports each carried.
The three battle cruisers each let loose with a pair of massive particle weapons, the pairs of beams all striking a different battleship. The enemy ships were moving at point three five c, while the human vessels were moving at an almost parallel vector to the Cacas at point two c. The beams were from accelerators much larger than the battle cruisers would have been capable of carrying without dispensing with most of their other weapons. Those accelerators were actually over a thousand light years away, on purpose built battle stations in orbit around the Supersystem central black hole. Each accelerator massed over four million tons, half the mass of the ships they were feeding. Protons, or in this case, antiprotons, were accelerated up to point nine nine nine nine c, and fed through the wormhole to the projectors of the battle cruisers.
A ton a second of ultrafast particles fired from the two projectors on each ship, while the battle cruisers engaged their grabbers at full power to compensate for the recoil. All three eight point five million ton ships actually lost forward velocity in the classic action-reaction formula.
Jean de Arc’s twin particle beams ripped into the side of one of the battleships, antimatter exploding as it powered into the material of the hull. The enemy ships hadn’t deployed cold plasma fields, and their electromag fields were not at full strength. Huge pieces of hull blew off into space and translated away, while the beam dug deeper into the vessel. There were seven seconds of firing time for each beam, which was about what the opening distance and the time the material of the beam could exist in hyperspace would allow anyway.
Smaller explosions sparked on the surface of many more enemy ships, and Mei knew that more deadly interior explosions were also rocking those vessels. All of the warships carried quantum teleportation devices, and were taking their best shot at sending more of the deadly substance into the enemy vessels. The loss of weapons fire and targeting of many of those vessels showed that the strategy was working.
Two battle cruisers and a heavy cruiser were gushing atmosphere, and one of the battle cruisers blew up in a flash and disappeared. Several destroyers were also taking a pounding while they continued to take the nearest enemy ships under fire. Enemy missiles were closing at relatively slow velocity, most to be taken out by defensive fire, though several got through to blast gigatons of explosive power into the hulls of light vessels. The defensive fire of the Ca’cadasan ships was proving too much for the human missiles, which, with a few exceptions, were being blown out of space.
At seven seconds the particle beam fired died, and the Commodore sweated for the thirty seconds it took to move the wormhole at the other end to access the next weapons system. Two savaged enemy battleships continued on, one so badly damaged that it was not able to alter its vector of velocity. And one ship flashed into catastrophic translation, gone.
“First missile due in twelve seconds,” stated the Com Officer, as the Tactical Officer gave a thumbs up to the Commodore, indicated that the hole had been mated at the other end.
“Light them up, Tac,” ordered the Commodore. The officer smiled back, looked back to his board, and started sending firing solutions to the first missiles to come through.