Rising Titans – Chapter 50

+15 Minutes

The Canada

“Can this thing fly?” Shouted Pankin as a rattling howl began to echo through the ship, the crew members on what was now the ceiling tightening their straps as objects that had been floating began to rattle on the floor as the ship dove deeper into the atmosphere of the planet. The plasma shockwave already starting to form as the speed of the battle began to bleed off as friction.

In the late 20th century ships returning from Earth’s moon had gone through much the same process, although at the time the fastest they had been moving was 11 km/s. One of the fastest object Humanity had ever produced an launched in the same era, the Voyager 1 probe had by utilizing the power of several gas giants managed to attain a respectable speed of nearly 17 km/s.

The Canada diving into the atmosphere of the planet had been going nearly 40 km/s fast enough to travel between Earth’s moon and low orbit in less than three hours.

“We can fall with some amount of control,” said the man at the helm of the ship as he fought to retain some amount of control.

“Assuming we don’t ablate! The hull heat is still rising! We’re at 2700!” shouted Derrick from engineering.

“What’s the maximum heat tolerance of your hull?” asked Pankin.

Stagg glanced over at him, “2,900. The hull is designed to absorb heat and funnel it away while being cooled back down. It allows us to absorb energy weapon barrages, it’s not designed for atmospheric entry at these speeds!”

“3000, we’re going to start burning through the outer hull!”

Derrick’s warning was accompanied by the deep creaking sound of rending metal, a sound that was accompanied by the sound of what the humans could only say was akin to a decompression event, but was in fact the thin upper atmosphere of Chront being shoved and compressed up against a remaining bulkhead.

Stagg glanced down at the structural readout of the ship, usually used to show where impacts from batter were and any damage that had been sustained. The forward four compartments of the ship had been breached and were now exposed to the atmospheric forces and effects.

“We’re losing our profile!” shouted the pilot.

Pankin glanced at the man and then at the controls.

“Pull up slightly, don’t keep all of the heat on the nose! Try and spread it onto your belly!”

The pilot glanced at him, “Captain?”

“He knows these skies,” growled Stagg as her hands sunk into the armrests of her chair.

“Yes sir!”

Pankin glanced back at Stagg and then quickly undid the straps holding him into his chair, moving across the bridge with the sure footedness of someone used to the gravity and turbulence on ships inside of atmospheres he sprinted across the bridge.

Another explosion caused him to stumble, and falling to his stomach Pankin grabbed at the co-pilot seat and hauled himself up into it.

“Pankin!” warned Stagg.

“I’m not going to fly; I need access to our radio frequencies! If I can get a fix on our location I can try and guide us towards a landing strip!”

“We’re coming in a little bit faster than any of your birds!”

“I’m aware, can you tell me where we came out, coordinates?”

“We didn’t get a conversion of the coordinate system. Nor do we know how to read yours’s it’s day time?” Offered Derrick his voice shaky.

“Here, your transmission standards have been loaded on this!” said the Pilot of the Canada as he handed over a small backup headset to the alien.

Pankin took it and frowning looked at the disk and then around at the humans.

“Slap it onto the side of your helmet!” said Stagg.

Pankin did so and looked around again, “the transmit button?”

It took Stagg a moment to recall her old history about human communication being only one way.

“There is none, it’s automatic!”

Pankin didn’t hesitate, “This is Crewman Pankin, of the Certus Kingdom nuller transmitting! I need an immediate landing vector for the HSB Canada! The Human ship Canada is crash landing, I need coordinates and vector’s for landing!”

The line was static, with no response.

“We’ve still got a bow shock of plasma around us. No transmissions at the moment! 3,300 C!”

“Are we going to burn up?” asked Stagg.

“I’m rerouting the coolant usually reserved for the reactor up through the life support systems. It’s isolating the damage to those compartments that have already been breached.”

“You couldn’t have done this earlier!?” shouted Anil as another loud bang went through the frame of the ship and the pilot began to swear.

“The coolant is corrosive enough to eat through most of the wiring and the outer layer of our suits. Not to mention it’s something I can’t replace. The more I use up here the less I have for the reactors so the less energy I can output without the fusion reaction having a chance of punching out of it’s magnetic bottle. Then we have no reactor!” shouted Derrick.

“We just lost another forward compartment!” growled Pankin as he looked at the layout of the ship over the pilot’s head as the man continue to wrestle with the controls, attempting to fly a vessel that had been constructed and built for space through an atmosphere.

“Temperature is holding steady at 33, we should start dropping in a moment.”

“Derrick, I’m going to need all power you can reroute to the chemical thrusters. Do me a fovar and set them all to bypass mode as well, going to wreck them but they should last for at least ten minutes right?” asked the pilot as his hands moved away from his controls as he typed in another string of commands attempting to trim what little control he had over the brick of a flying machine.

“Already planning on it. We lost some response from the forward thrusters, I’m going to route power to them anyway and hope it’s instrumentation that’s failed. You’re going to have to determine how much kick they have left after ablating.”

“Got it.”

“When should I start transmitting?”

Pankin’s question was answered as a trio of Empire aircraft flashed in front of the Canada’s bow, looking as if they were on a trajectory to take them up into space.

Just behind them, moving far more slowly were several smaller jets similar to the ones that had moved to escort the shuttle to the surface of the planet. Upon seeing the Canada the jets spun and afterburners flared. Slowly the moved to take up points in front of the ship as the fire on the outside of it slowly died.

“Let’s help them out,” ordered Stagg.

The Weapons officer nodded and turning to his console, directed the point defense guns upwards. The guns fired for only a moment.

“Targets eliminated.”

Stagg nodded.

“This is Crewman Pankin, of the Certus Kingdom nuller transmitting! I need an immediate landing vector for the Canada, please respond!” repeated Pankin.

A brief static played over the bridge communication systems for a moment.

“Canada, the tower was taken out by enemy attacks. We’re on your bow.”

The forward jet did a roll signaling who was speaking.

“Understood, can you guide us in? We can’t pick up on any of the navigational beacons.”

“Closest landing strip will be at the capitol, and we’re still trying to clean that up. These bastards can pull maneuvers that would leave us as paste in our seats.”

Pankin glanced back at Stagg. She nodded.

“We’ll be able to help you with them on our way down,”

“Got it, we’re a few [klick’s] out.”

“We can’t really stay in the air. This thing is meant to fly in space, not the air.”

“Got it, we’ll start broadcasting emergency landing needed, but that’s what the majority of the air force is yelling at the moment.”

“Here’s hoping a giant alien space ship falling through the air will be a visible enough priority.”

The Singer

[Vann] looked at what remained of the fleet. What had been nearly fifty ships, was now five, ten if he counted the vessels that were drifting with only life support and FTL systems available. Of the five that were capable of still fighting the [Singer] was the one with the least amount of damage and considering the bridge of his ship was bathed in emergency lighting that wasn’t saying much.

The single remaining Human ship had moved away from the fleet, rending a hole in reality that had put them deeper in the gravity well of the planet. The ship’s trajectory now had them on a direct collision course with the Singer, moving up from below.

The second Human vessel, and the first one that had greeted him in orbit of the planet was now diving through the atmosphere of the planet below, apparently making an emergency landing. Considering the antimatter weapon that had just detonated in the midst of his fleet and the shield dampening technology, even the old commandeered ship was still a threat.

Even if the one human ship was out of the battle, [Vann] did not fancy his odds, and he wasn’t about to let more of his men die for nothing.


The bodyguard stepped forwards, “Sir?”

“What orders did [Marcus] give you in regards to this battle.”

[Reece] was silent for a moment.

“I was told to discourage you from any attempt at making peace with the C1764’s. Above that is my mandate to not allow you to die, that is not an order that the Consul gave.”

[Vann] nodded and turned to the analyst.

“When can we jump [Sam]?”

The analyst glanced up from her burned out console, reaching up she dabbed at the injury on her head and shrugged. “[five minutes] or so, that antimatter burst coupled with the atomization of several ships released another wave of radiation. It’s at such high levels now that without shields I’m afraid some people might exhibit radiation sickness.”

[Vann] frowned and turned away from her, his eyes falling on his own aide, “[Syn] could you hack into the ship over an open communication?”

[Syn] looked taken aback, “No.”

“Why not? It’s in the training that you’ve been getting,” said [Vann] turning to glare at her, “They’ve been able to get into our systems!”

[Syn] stood and stepped towards him, “I can’t hack into an alien computer system on request! I don’t have any idea how their computers work at a fundamental level, they have obviously had samples of our technology to study and reverse engineer!”

[Vann] glared down at her for a moment, the shorter woman met his gaze not backing down, “That’s priority then, assuming we make it out of here.”

“All we’ve got are the transmission’s between their ships and…” [Syn] trailed off as [Vann]turned his gaze back to her.

“and I look forward to the challenge of understanding primitive computers.”

“Their should be samples of their tech on their planet. Assuming the Admiral didn’t destroy all of it,” said [Sam].

“You’re not going to make peace with them are you?” asked [Reece] ignoring the other two as [Vann] turned back to the tactical display.

“Make peace with class C’s? They’re not something you make peace with [Reece]!”

The man held up a hand, “Alright, then your plan?”

“Stall for time. [Sam] order all escape pods to vessels that have FTL capabilities to get a lock, any ships that are disabled are to be abandoned and scuttled. The crews are to take their shuttles and jump on my order.”

“Yes sir!”

[Vann] turned to look at the approaching ship.

“[Syn] open a communication channel.”

The Russia

“We’re not going to be able to keep this up, I’ve already taken the engines offline to cool. We’re coasting on inertia and unless we want to wreck the second set of engines on this ship they’re going to have to remain offline for another twenty minutes. We can bring them online if we need to but after that they’re toast,” reported Megan.

“So that’s the bad news, what’s the good news?” asked James.

“That was the good news, bad news is that the inner armor layer is gone. The part that was designed to dissipate and disperse the heat from their weapons. I’m going to have to start rerouting fusion coolant into the hull if we keep this up. Meaning we’re going to have less power to the main weapons. On top of that the antimatter drive calculations are drifting, I’ve compensated but as a consequence we’re using more and more antimatter each jump.”

James growled in frustration.

Alpha let out a disgruntled squeak as well, “Why are these issues not being compensated for?”

“Ship’s usually get a dry run after coming out of construction, there are about a thousand other small things that are the result of battle damage and errors in construction that are showing up in front of me right now! They’re just not important enough to mention, for example we’re on the auxiliary lighting and communication network for the ship already. We’ve only got one more redundancy. The first system burned out when we fired the main gun. Where the issue is in the power systems is I have no idea.”

“Could we keep fighting?”

“Yes, but we’d wreck the ship beyond repair, again.”

James slowly nodded, “Repair as much of you can for now, remain at battle alert.”

“Got it!”

Closing the connection to engineering James turned to the display showing the bridge of the Valiant. Yellow red lights were flashing and it looked as if a wall of computer consoles had exploded on one side of the bridge. Edie had a gash down the side of her face and was bleeding onto the deck.

“What about you guys? If we get back into range with the ACE could you finish them off?”

Edie opened her mouth to respond, something behind her exploded in a shower of sparks and the communication cut too black and then static for a moment before returning.

“No, we’ve lost the main weapons capacitors, and the shield generators have been fried over half of the ship. Not to mention most of the diagnostic sensors were on their last legs to begin with so I’m sure we’ve got more issues then we can actually detect at the moment.”

The woman, who had been on the bridge and conferring with Edie for much of the battle looked up at the camera as well her ears going down in a gesture which James had quickly identified that it was the ears more than the facial expressions that gave the aliens emotions. So far most of the ear movements lined up with what a dog would express.

“We could fight but it the Valiant would be disabled. The loss of one ship for my people is already catastrophic, two would be devastating. We have no planet or base; these ships are our homes. The civilians from this one have been moved to another in our fleet, but they cannot be sustained there easily.”

Edie frowned and in a low voice said something in the alien tongue. The woman whipped around her ears going up, and she growled something in response.

James whistled, pausing the argument as both women on the other ship turned to raise eyebrows at him, “I was asking. We’re in no shape to fight, if we can get them to retreat and then destroy the beacon I’ll call this a victory.”

Edie looked away form the woman and slowly nodded, “Agreed, it’s going to take them another five minutes or so to be able to lock onto the tachyon beacons of any vector given the large amounts of radiation we’ve been tossing around.”

“So if they don’t leave in that time?”

“Then they want to continue fighting.”

“Then let’s see if they’re smart enough to leave.”

“You think we’ll be that lucky?”

James didn’t respond and instead waved his hand relegating the transmission from the Valiant to another display.

“Alpha, would you do the honors.”


James rolled his eyes, “Open communications to the Empire ship.”

“Ah, understood.”

The alien tapped out several quick commands, the Empire fleet signaled a reply and the communication opened.

James was somewhat disappointed to see that the bridge of the [Singer] looked the same as it has when they had first seen it, but the young ‘Emperor’ did not.

James had to give the younger alien some credit, either he was a psychopath uncaring about the thousands of men he had lost or his poker face was impregnable.

The boy blinked, and James saw the anger and worry underneath his features for a brief instant. So a good poker face, but still young. In a few years the ‘Emperor’ would be a force to be reckoned with if those eyes were any indication. He wasn’t supremely self assured like the Admiral had been, they were the eyes of a tactician who had a whole life ahead of him.

A whole life to learn from.

James drifted up from his seat moving towards the screen.

“Surrender and I won’t blow what remains of your ships out of orbit.”

The Emperor looked at James for a moment, “I’ll admit you put up more of a fight than I anticipated. Those blinks are something of an unfair advantage don’t you think?”

James said nothing continuing to stare at the young red skinned alien through the transmission.

The Emperor fell silent as well glaring back at him through the communication.

Their two ships continued to fly towards one another. Both Captains stalling for time, it clicked for both of them at that moment what the other was doing, but even so they each had a role to play.

“Surrender your ships, disable your weapons and I won’t destroy you,” repeated James.

The Emperor slowly nodded his head, “Despite the fact that you’ve lost two of your ships? You cannot face us alone.”

“I’m sure we can, but I don’t want to fight the rest of your Empire, not yet at least. You attacked and killed us, the ten billion souls of the dead are justification enough to kill you here and now. But as much as I want to do that, I can’t.”

The young Emperor kept his face impassive, “Why not?”

“Humans learned a long time ago that killing, just to feel better is wrong. Something your Empire hasn’t figured out apparently. You’re afraid of us, and you cloak the fact in a holy righteous mission. Humans have done that before, and it’s easy enough to see here. So I’m going to be nice, surrender now, power down your ships, and I give you my word in front of those ten billion you killed that I won’t blow you from the sky.”

The Emperor looked taken aback for a moment. He turned glancing at something outside of the view of the transmission.

“I, will not surrender to a class C.”

James looked at him and slowly nodded, “Weapons prepare to fire.”

“But I am merciful, and you have proven that even class C’s are not something to be underestimated Captain. We will leave this system for now,”

“I’m giving you the chance to surrender, not retreat from this battle Emperor. You are the ones who attacked us, to my knowledge the only crime we have committed is existing. You do not get to choose when the fighting is over, you do not get to be the one to try and call off this attack.”

The Emperor slowly tilted his head, “I agree, however I must ask if you are going to fire on ships and men who have no ability to fight back. At this moment I am moving to retreat, I give you my promise that we are leaving. You have won, I simply wish to save as many of my men as I can.”

“Weapons prepare to fire!” said James turning to his weapons officer.

_”So you are monsters.” _

James slowly turned back to him, “The monsters are the ones who kill without discrimination. These men might not be able to fight, but they were complicit in an attack against a planet that has done you no wrong. They are part of the government that destroyed my species. I feel that even in the annuls of history my actions are justified.”

“That is what makes you class C, to you everything is a bloody calculation, to you everything is a legacy. I care for my men, and you will not be allowed to kill them to sate some primitive need for revenge! All ships jump!”

The transmission was cut and the ship disappeared in a flash of red and blue light. A moment after that several other Empire ships and several of what looked like nothing more than a loose collection of floating debris did the same.

One ship made a half-jump, it’s hull and the space around it flashing red blue, before it collapsed and the pent up energy that was supposed to accelerate it far past light speed backfired. The ship seemed to shrink down to half of it’s normal size for a moment before it detonated, James winced as it did so.

The wreckages of a half dozen ships, and one that looked like it has suffered only superficial damage continued to orbit the planet.

With a sigh James went limp in the air, had he been on a ship with artificial gravity he would have fallen back into his seat.

“Well they don’t want to fight it seems.”

“You’re not kidding, it’s a little strange though.” Said Edie from her ship, the Valiant communication moving back to the main screen.

James wearily glanced at her.

“In what way?”

“The Emperor, actual acknowledging class C’s as an opponent? I’ve been going through their history or at least as much of it as the Vakurian’s have been able to piece together that’s not pure propaganda and let me tell you, that has never happened.”

“I don’t suppose something like a false surrender might be a faux pa or was that pride?”

“Well it’s a little different in their history. They’ve never used it to attack again, that goes against the rules of war they have against one another. Rabbiting to FTL after surrendering though? It’s been done and isn’t really frowned on more so than anything else. This is when they’re fighting one another though.”

James perked up at that, “They fight one another?”

“A civil war of some sort breaks out every 100 years or so, seems to be more of an excuse to continue military development than anything else if I’m being honest. They’ve only ever gone all at it once, about 500 years ago.”

“So no large portion of the Empire ready to rise up and help us?” asked James smiling slightly.

Edie snorted, “No, and even if they were every faction of the Empire simultaneously fears and hate’s class C’s. We’ve been the boogymen they’ve used for thousands of years to justify expansion and military technological advancement. Apparently, did you know this class C’s will on occasion brutally attack and eat their children in droves.”


James turned and pushing off of the ceiling of his craft drifted back down to his seat and slipped into it.

“You alright?” asked Alpha looking at him with some concern.

“No, maybe. I don’t know we beat the hell out of them, but I was hopping we would have a few more years, a generation or two perhaps to build up before deciding to go to war.”

Alpha tilted two of his heads to one side, “War never should not be a goal.”

“No it shouldn’t be, still. That kid, he’s going to be deadly.”

Alpha shifted in his compartment, “you felt that as well?”

“I’m surprised you did.”

Alpha let out a low warble, “We’ve been learning how to read humans, your voices are more expressive than you know. Apparently the same skills can be applied to the Dorvakian. That Emperor, is a predator.”

James let out another sigh and wearily nodded in agreement. Resting for only a moment the Captain of the Russia keyed his Comm, “Megan FTL jump to the beacon yay or nay?”

“Yay, although once we’re out them could I at least have an hour to realign the antimatter drive?”

“No more antimatter jumps if we can help it.”

James turned to the Valiant feed, “Disengage your tachyon drive, dampen it, whatever it is you have to do to stop the thing from transmitting. We’re going for the beacon.”

“Roger that, you jumping back?”

“No we’ll accelerate up to interplanetary speeds, be back here in a few days. No point wasting the antimatter. If we have an emergency sure. Once we’re back we can jump your ship out if you need us to but please no tachyons.”

“We should still be able to make a jump out.”

“We’re not kicking you out,” said James smiling slightly.

Edie smiled and looked around her bridge, the look falling from her face, “We’ll start the cleanup here.”

“Roger that, Megan?”

“Ready now, we’re going to have enough antimatter for eight or so jumps after this, just as a warning.”

The Russia tore a final hole in space-time and dove into it.

On the Engineering deck Megan turned to Ben, “Well?”

“You did it.”

Megan held up her hand, “Fuck yeah?”

Ben smiled, and moved to slap his hand down on hers, “fuck yeah.”

The Russia returned to normal space before he made contact and Megan stared at the bulkhead for a moment.


The Canada

Derrick annoyed glanced over at the handholds, the ladder now that gravity was present on the ship and pulling himself up hit the emergency release on the fusion reactor coolant tanks.

“We’re on the last of the coolant, I’m starting the reactor power down sequence. We’ve got ten minutes of power left in the capacitors from the main gun, I’m re-routing that around the ship. Chemical thrusters will remain operational.”

“Understood! What about landing systems?”

“We’ve got none, I’m preparing to shunt all the power I can to the inertial dampening systems that I can when we hit the ground. Still going to hurt and I would recommend everyone get out of the lower compartments.”

“Already being done!”

Derrick still hanging on the ladder glanced at the altimeter, 10,000 feet already and falling. They had made it past atmospheric entry, and he didn’t even want to think about the amount of damage that had no doubt been inflicted on the nose of the ship. If he had to guess the entire thing was a charred hunk of metal and composite. If anyone had been in the compartments then they were nothing but base organic compounds smeared across the wall.

“Will the power usage of the point defense weapons be of any significant drain?”

“No, put them onto chemical backup rounds though. Why?”

“We’re going to help our friends take back the sky on our way in.”

Derrick opened his mouth to point out that the armor of the Canada was already at it’s critical failure point, but reconsidered after a moment as he glanced up at the small ‘window’ in the engineering compartment.

The alien city was in full view now, the rising sun behind the Canada it was for a moment a still painting. A violent, burning painting, but nonetheless beautiful.

The skyscrapers of the capital were similar to what Derrick knew of the first technological revolution on Earth, around the advent of the computer. Tall angular buildings that were simple boxes reaching towards the sky, unlike the dull gray facade popular on Earth the buildings here were covered in metallic designs, that were reminiscent of gothic architecture on Earth. The dull colors were however replaced with vibrant silvers and untarnished metal.

Taking all of this in at a glance the next thing Derrick noticed were the large airships above the city, and the aircraft moving around the structures.

Empire aircraft were screeching down from the higher atmosphere and Derrick winced as bolts of energy lanced out from one, punching clean through an airship her winced expecting an explosion as the lifting hydrogen ignited. Instead the giant aircraft, larger than anything that had ever been used on Earth remained afloat.

“Helium you think?”

The Canada remained silent, it’s resident AI dead.

The jets leading the Canada peeled away with a roar, moving towards the city.

“Light them up!”

Derrick felt the vibrations in the frame of the Canada as the point defense guns, usually weapons of defense and close quarter combat lit up the morning sky.

To someone in the city, the Canada had to look like she was flying out of the sun, her guns ablaze, nose still burned slag, her hull pitted and further scarred by the impacts of debris and plasma.

The point defense gunners, utilizing computers far more advanced than the combined computational power of the entire planet didn’t have to fire tracer bullets or flack rounds to hone in on a target. The Empire craft were able to pull maneuvers that would kill normal aircraft, but even so they had to obey inertia in some fashion.

The computers predicting them, the gunners needed only to pull the triggers.

Humanity rarely fought inside the confines of an atmosphere anymore, but they were by no means any less lethal. Once Humanity learned to fight somewhere, it was not a skill that was forgotten. Derrick shook himself and turned back to the readouts.

They were still falling like a rock, and the majority of the energy from the ship was being drained keeping the nose up and pointed at the edge of the city. Quickly zooming in his display, annoyed for a split second that Arik hadn’t done it for him Derrick looked at the landing strip.

It was flat, and had a barrier at it’s end. Still, it couldn’t’ have been more than 2500 meters long, and the Canada was most certainly going to tear up whatever it was made of. The ship’s original designs had her hardened for physical impacts, but modified for plasma weapons Derrick was dubious over how she would fair.

“Derrick, I’m going to need everything you can push out of the forward and lower thrusters when we touch down, burn them out!” said the pilot on the bridge.

“Got it, just get us on the dirt!”

The man didn’t respond, and Derrick didn’t blame him as the lateral thrusters fired righting a small roll that the ship had started to go into.

The Empire ships were now in full retreat, or were at least further away than the effective range of the Canada. The guns died down and for a moment the ship was silent, or rather as silent as a ship was on the surface of a planet. Through his helmet Derrick could hear the air whipping past. It was a silence that was instinctually calming, whereas the pure vacuum of space always elicited a strange feeling of foreboding.

“Everyone hang on! All hands brace, all hands brace!” shouted Stagg.

Derrick took one final look at the readouts for the ship, routing all of the emergency power and propellant into the forward thrusters he collapsed into his harness.

The landing was a crash, the belly of the ship hit the tarmac with a terrific screech. Derrick, unprepared and in one of the most heavily shielded compartments was momentarily dazed as his head was slammed forwards, tasting iron and feeling the entire ship vibrate around him the engineer closed his eyes.

The pilot fired the thrusters, and the nose of the ship slammed into the runway. Hitting it and far surpassing the tolerances it had been built to withstand the Canada dug into the foreign earth.

Sliding along the runway now Derrick winced and opening his eyes looked at the small pool of blood inside his helmet, he had bitten his tongue and he was fairly certain an incisor was loose in his mouth.

Shaking and bleeding off inertia the Canada slid down the runway, alien emergency vehicles quickly pulled up along side her as she continued to throw debris into the air. Slowing slightly Derrick glanced at the display showing the aft view and winced. A two-meter-deep hole was down the exact middle of the runway, and around that perfect gouge in the earth were hundreds of pieces of his ship. At the impact point was most of her armor, around that bits and pieces of forward compartments.

Fuel and other materials were on fire. The emergency response crews were already expertly dousing the flames with foam, putting out all but the most exotic materials.

The ship continued to dig through the landing strip, and Derrick felt the resonance began to deepen, and with a final creak the Canada stilled.

For a moment Derrick stunned, looked down at the hole in the bottom of the engineering section, dirt, road material, and the ration packs from the galley were now his floor.

With a final pop the AI module, strapped to the ship’s reactor fell from the wall. The cables connecting it to the computers trailing with it. Hitting the dirt, the small cube settled on a piece of grayish tarmac.

Hitting the release on his straps Derrick dropped to the floor as well, momentarily forgetting their was gravity he stumbled. Unable to breath he spat out a globule of blood and slowly crawled through the refuse to the cube.

“Derrick respond!”

Derrick ignored the Captain for a moment, and reaching down carefully picked the cube up. Sitting down and holding it in his lap Derrick closed his eyes. Reaching up and disengaging his helmet Derrick spat blood onto the dirt. The second time he had spilled blood on the planet.

_”_Web good, bit my poung.”

“Secure the ship.”


9 Years, 6 Months, 14 Days After Eridani Landing


[Orin] glanced over at Diana and then back at the controls for the transport, for the fourth time in nearly as many seconds.


“The city, we’re just leaving?”

Diana turned to her, “I’m leaving. I have the access codes to Sek’s shuttle. You can stay here if you want, but I’m not betting on it turning out well.”

Orin glanced down at the burning city again, and at the people who were running from the burning and collapsing structures. As the two watched another skyscraper fell, falling with a terrific crash to the ground bringing down another building next to it as well.

“You’re just going to leave all of these people? You’re the reason this is happening!”

Diana slowly turned to [Orin].

The other woman rolled her eyes, “You said it wasn’t class C’s attacking. That means it’s the Empire attacking to make sure you’re dead.”

“I’m sure the Empire wants me dead, but I seriously doubt they would go to this much trouble, if they are I’m flattered. Still I’m betting it’s an excuse for something else.”

“An excuse?”

“Well they’re broadcasting that class C’s are responsible for this, what’s that mean coupled with that announcement a few days back?”

[Orin] thought for a moment, “Well, it makes the threat of class C’s real. It’s been a far off threat for generations. No one has ever seen class C’s.”

She trailed off, “meaning they need everyone to be absolutely afraid, terrified of you!”

Diana nodded in agreement smiling, “Are you not afraid of me?”

[Orin] huffed in annoyance, “Yes because your dumb enough to violently kill the person flying.”

Diana shrugged and slapped the inside of the transport, “Crashed enough of these things already. I’m willing to bet I could survive another.”

“Please, let’s not do that.”

The two fell silent for another minute.

“It means we’ve done something,” said Diana as she looked down at the people at the edge of the city.

“We’ve done something, and the Empire wants to blame us. Class C’s come back as a real threat, and something happens.”

“Like?” asked [Orin]

Diana shrugged, “I have no idea. I barely understood the politics between the two class C planet’s my species had. I’m not going to try and guess what the political motivations are between a few thousand. All I know is that the fear of the class C’s will be used to justify, something.”

[Orin] slowly nodded, “Makes sense, are we going to try and fix that?”


“You don’t want to fix how people see your species?”

“That will take generations, I don’t have that long. I don’t much care about what the Empire thinks of my species, I’m willing to bet once I have enough power it won’t matter what I look like, where my genetics come from.”

[Orin] again nodded, “right.”

She angled the craft down towards the air field, Diana glanced back at [Hal] as they moved towards it.

“Which one?” asked [Orin].

“Oldest looking one, I think.”

Diana pulled out the communicator she had liberated from Sek and holding it up quickly accessed the command codes and protocols stored on the device. The ramp of the small shuttle furthest from the official looking complex opened.

[Orin] dove towards the craft as the throngs of people who were milling about the entrance and the main building noticed that one of the craft that could possibly get them off of the planet was starting up.

“Damn it, think this thing will fit?” asked Diana.

[Orin] glanced over at her, “think so.”

Diving down closer to the ground [Orin] flattened the transport out, and sweeping along the ground moved in towards the small shuttle. Slowing only as she came to the ramp quickly drove the transport into the back of it’s cargo section and shut it off.

“Close it!” said [Orin] as she turned to treat [Hal].

“Got it!” said Diana as she jumped out of the transport, and running back to the ramp hit the controls. The ramp snapped shut and the shuttle went quiet, the sounds of the city falling apart outside muffled.

Looking around the shuttle Diana saw a few signs of habitation, some tablets, a few pieces of equipment, other odds and ends.

Moving past the transport and into the main cockpit of the ship Diana looked around, apparently the thing was constructed so that the transport could fly with the cargo bay depressurized if the door was anything to go by. The cockpit was built to maintain a crew of four or five, if the number of bunks in the wall were any indication.

Looking at the two chairs in front Diana slowly sat down in the left one and set Sek’s link down.

[Orin] walked into the cockpit, “You know how to fly this?”

“Do you?”


Diana turned back to the controls, “well how hard can it be?”

“Please don’t blow us up.”

“No guarantee’s.”

Previous Chapter

Sweetness – Love and Kiing (NSFW)

CopRit Empire, Halfil Sol 14 Of Race 4 Year 4958 Frostal Secondary, New Baltimore Sitting down in the chair across from the Principal’s desk I nervously swallowed and tried to calm my heart. The Principal could probably hear it, and smell my perspiration. Which was only making me more nervous. “Thoomaas,” squeaked the principal from

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Next Chapter

Sweetness – Love and Kiing (NSFW)

CopRit Empire, Halfil Sol 14 Of Race 4 Year 4958 Frostal Secondary, New Baltimore Sitting down in the chair across from the Principal’s desk I nervously swallowed and tried to calm my heart. The Principal could probably hear it, and smell my perspiration. Which was only making me more nervous. “Thoomaas,” squeaked the principal from

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Sweetness – Chapter 4 (NSFW)

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Sweetness – Chapter 3 (NSFW)

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Sweetness – Chapter 2 (NSFW)

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Sweetness – Chapter 1 (NSFW)

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Adam, Artemis, Atlas, & Icarus Part 1

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 4

Date Point: 16y1m AV Dataspace adjacent to Mrwrki Station Entity The Entity understood the concept of boredom in an academic, abstract way. It could even vaguely summon up Ava’s memories of being bored. But understanding the idea and actually feeling the emotion were two different things. The closest it could get was the sensation of

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 3

Date Point: 16y2w AV Air Force One, somewhere over Asia, Earth President Arthur Sartori “…You want to give us a Farthrow generator.” Daar’s image was janky and low-resolution thanks to the vagaries of current wormhole comms, but the audio was a lot clearer now. Technology marched onwards. “It’s loaded up on a train and ready

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Good Training – Pecking Order

13y, 8m AV Operator’s Barracks, HMS Sharman, Folctha, Cimbrean Officer Regaari (Dexter) of Clan Whitecrest “I got an idea, Regaari.” Regaari flicked his ears forward in annoyance. “This again?” “Well, yeah. I gotta win that bet, Cousin!” Regaari duck-nodded wearily. Not long after Daar had received the SACRED STRANGER briefing, he’d sulked off to think

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Good Training – The Champions – Tidying Up

Messier 24 Mission day: 3 Sergeant Daar (Tigger) The third day was always when things settled into routine. Daar didn’t really know why, ‘cuz that was prol’ly some complicated psychology stuff (maybe he should read up?) but he did know how it worked, practically speaking. Daar always pondered morning thoughts like that when he was

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 2

Date Point: 16y2w AV Weaver dropship, Gaoian space Sergeant Ian “Hillfoot” Wilde “So in all the excitement, we clean forgot about these things. That’s what you’re telling me.” Champion Meereo made a sound that was half a sigh and half a chitter. “…That’s more-or-less exactly right, yes. We had… well, bigger priorities.” Wilde had to

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Rising Titans – Chapter 43

9 Years, 6 Months, 28 Days After Eridani Landing Bellona “Ready?” asked Alpha from where he sat on top of the Captain’s chair. “I’m good!” said Red from where he sat at the controls for the ship. It hadn’t taken much to convince him to pilot the vessel. James glanced down at his own console

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 1

Date Point: 16y AV Yukon–Koyukuk, Alaska, USA, Earth Zane Reid The cold didn’t hurt anymore. At first, it had been like forcing his way through a wall made of knives that cut through his clothes. Zane’s every breath had blinded him as it billowed and steamed in the air, and when he’d experimentally licked his

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Trigger Part 5

Date Point: 16y AV Camp Tebbutt Biodrone Internment Facility, Yukon–Koyukuk, Alaska, USA, Earth Hugh Johnson Snow. Of course, snow in January in Alaska was hardly surprising, and this one threatened to be heavy. At first, Hugh had thought it was probably just an seasonable dusting that’d add a couple of inches to the foot or

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I had made my way through the tournament, but most of my matches had been won by the skin of my teeth, and I had only the advantage of being evolved from a pursuit predator to thank for it. Our great endurance had been the one boon that had kept me going, and I was

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Trigger Part 4

Date Point: 15y 10m 1w AV HMS Violent, Rvzrk System, Domain Space The ground battle churned on for days. That was the problem with Hunters. There was no surrender involved, it was a kill-or-be-killed fight where smashing their will to engage in war simply didn’t achieve enough. Any Hunter left alive would just keep murdering

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Good Training – The Champions – Doom and Gloom Part 4

He awoke to a pleasant smell. “…Eggs?” Hoeff detangled himself from Natalie and the sheets and stumbled towards the kitchen. Daar was busy in front of the comparatively little stove and fridge, humming some terrible Gaoian tune to himself. Seriously, their music was like Chinese opera with extra pain. Some Humans liked it, though…but “atonal”

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Rising Titans – Chapter 42

9 Years, 6 Months, 15 Days After Eridani Landing The [Singer] The explosion hit and [Vann] watched at the lights on the main hologram and different panels flashed a blinding white light, before dying and plunging the entire bridge of the [Singer] into darkness. “What were we supposed to do?” asked someone near the weapons

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Day 1. I’ve made it on board the human trading vessel! They didn’t detect my presence, and I’ve managed to smuggle myself into their engineering bay, and disguised myself within a cluster of cables! My small, serpentine body makes me indistinguishable from a thin, grayish cable, and the Humans won’t notice my existence until it

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Trigger Part 1

Date Point: 15y 10m AV Camp Tebbutt Biodrone Internment Facility, Yukon–Koyukuk, Alaska, USA, Earth Hugh Johnson Camp Tebbutt wasn’t actually a bad place to live, if you didn’t count the fact that it was essentially a prison for innocent victims. Hugh understood why he was there, and why he couldn’t leave… but after eleven years,

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Good Training – The Champions – Doom and Gloom Part 3

Firth Regaari chittered, “It is difficult to imagine you ‘humbled,’ Righteous.” “Heh,” Firth chuckled. “You do know most of my attitude is straight fuckin’ bullshit, right? Adam and John know why.” Regaari looked over at John, who shrugged massively. “He’s a scary dude. Being ridiculous kinda takes the edge off, y’know?” Regaari duck-nodded. He was

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Rising Titans – Chapter 41

9 Years, 6 Months, 13 Days After Eridani Landing Jikse Moving down the hallway Diana paused at the double doors, carefully she moved forwards into it’s threshold and they slid open. A woman in an orange smock looked up from her Comm for a moment, and then going back to look at it did a

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The Good Samaritan

I felt a white-hot pain in my back as I was stabbed. Once, twice and then three times. I fell to the ground clutching my new openings, and for a moment I couldn’t grasp what had just happened. I had walked through an alley as a shortcut back home, and then suddenly someone had grabbed

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Homefront Part 6

Date Point: 15y9m3w AV Mrwrki Station, Erebor System, Unexplored Space Darcy “Does it seem… different to you lately?” “What?” “The Entity. It’s actin’ different, dude, I swear it is.” Darcy sighed and set aside her work as Lewis sat down. She was sitting drinking a Moroccan Mint tea in the station’s rec lounge, with its

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Rising Titans – Chapter 40

9 Years, 6 Months, 13 Days After Eridani Landing Jikse Popping the restraints off of her legs Diana swung herself off of the table, the two class A’s still in their isolation suits were pounding at the door of the room the three of them were in. “It’s out! Open the door!” shouted the man

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Good Training – The Champions – Doom and Gloom Part 2

Master Sergeant Christian (Righteous) Firth The end of the movie came and the ladies were fast asleep and prolly too tired to head home with any comfort. The other bros were asleep, too, and Firth was tangled up with them pretty good. Oh well, both ‘Base and ‘Horse were heavy-ass sleepers and only danger or

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Hell. It’s a completely Human concept. The concept of a realm of eternal torture, to which you are sent depending on the whims of one deity or another, is something only found in Human fiction. And it’s not an isolated occurrence. Almost every human culture since the dawn of humanity itself has had it in

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Homefront Part 4

Date Point: 15y9m2w AV HMS Sharman (HMNB Folctha), Cimbrean, The Far Reaches Senior Master Sergeant Christian (“Righteous”) Firth “Hey, fuckers! Guess what hit the newsstand today!” Adam looked up from his needlework for a second and raised an eyebrow. “Imma guess Coombes’ centerfold spread with Ava?” Firth deflated, somewhat flummoxed that ‘Horse had stolen his

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