The Enemy within the Rings

This story had been written for on of my blog battles, but in my usual way had bitten off more than I could chew. So this is the longer version of the story that I had originally envisaged:

The Enemy within the Rings

“Slowing the ship to enter Saturn’s orbit” was Hudson’s voice in Commander Scott’s earcom.

“Bring us as close as is safe to the rings, if there’s someone lurking out here then I don’t want to make our arrival too obvious” Scott had already gone over this approach when planning this mission, but he thought it  never hurt to re-iterate.

Commander Scott was the commanding officer of the Earth Corps frigate called the Achillies. She wasn’t the biggest, fastest or most powerful spaceship in the corps, but he knew how to handle her when it mattered. Space pirates were always problem, but there was something different about what was going on here. Three mining vessels had disappeared in the last month in Saturn space and Achilles was the first ship on the scene to investigate the disappearances. The next spacecraft wasn’t due for a week, until then it was down to him and his crew to find out what had happened and secure the area.

“Do we have any unauthorised spacecraft in the area?” Scott was now walking along the spartan metallic corridors back to control. He wanted to make sure that this was done right and he had an uneasy feeling, this kind of thing hadn’t happened before.

“Nothing sir” came the reply from his operations manager. This was flight officer Gina Carella’s first mission and was young and new, but she was very good. Scott knew he could trust her to carry out a thorough job. “All I have on sensors are the mining ships M305, M370 and M42 is just leaving Saturn space.

“Good, I’m just on my way up, let me know if anything changes” Scott replied.

“Will do sir”

It was as soon as he had heard this that suddenly, for no perceivable reason a rising sense of tension, almost fear rose within him. He started running where he has been walking, the crew that saw him coming moved, the others that didn’t weren’t so lucky. Pushing them to  one side or other he made his way to the access tube for the control centre. It was then that it happened, thrown from his feet to the deck floor, a massive explosion and the sound of grating, tearing metal reverberated though the ship.

The ships inertia was forcing Scott down, struggling up he made it to the access tube. The lift wasn’t functioning so he pushed his way up to reach the ladder, struggling with each step as the ship reeled. The control centre was only two decks up, but right now it seemed like a mile. He climbed the ladder, one step after another not stopping until he reached the level for the control centre.

Scott forced the door to the control centre slowly slid open,  it open. He gasped as he entered to utter carnage. Hudson was on the floor, dead. His head had been shattered by shrapnel most of the rest of the control crew were seriously injured, only Gina was left unhurt, Hudson’s body must have shielded her.

“Sir!” She called over, trying to compose herself, as Scott approached she fell apart “I – I’m sorry… I saw nothing, it came from nowhere… Hudson”

“flight officer Carella… Gina” In a firm gentle tone he talked her back “We don’t have much time and I need your help. We have to take control and see this through, I’ll take Hudson’s place, I’ll be right next to you. Take a breath, get control, I’m here and we have to get these guys to survive and I need you to help me do it!”

Shaking, she returned focus to her controls “ok… ok… I can do that” Scott manned the controls on Gina’s right.

” I’m taking us close to the rings, hopefully they’ll give us cover” Achilles lurched, the ship groaning as the weakened metal structure stuggled to cope. Scott powered the and guided the ship to the millions of pieces of rock and Ice that made up the rings. “Power up the weapons” Scott commanded.

The sound of power engergising the weapons filled the control room, it was reassuring to Scott as it meant they were stil operational “Weapons powered and ready, but I don’t have a sensor target” Gina was starting the re-gain her composure, her willingness and eagerness returning. In the control centre medics and damage control had arrived and were helping the injured off the control deck, or taking take of fires. A few standby crew were manning positions that were still working. The chaos was blocked by the two officers now in control of the Achillies.

“There’s still nothing out there?” Scott asked with surprise, maybe they’re enemy was invisible to them which would explain a lot.

“Nothing, I can’t see anything Sir.” Gina reassured Scott, anxious that she may have missed something.

“You don’t need it – fire a wide spread directly behind us” With that, Gina let loose a fury of plasma fire directly behind them and out into space. Gina and Scott watched as the damaged but functional rear view screen showed the plasma rays lancing out, hitting nothing until, one beam hit an invisible object, a huge an monstrous shape emerged from the nothingness. It was glowing blue and white as it’s invisibilty shield collaspesed. The two officers looked on in horror at the monstrous ship charging straight at them”

“Let the auto targeting system take over now, we’re at the rings” Gina set them going, the exchange of fire was blinding between the two spacecraft, their enemy unable to distinguish Achilles from the rock and ice of the rings, but the huge enemy providing an easy target. Pounding their hull with blinding white beams of power. Scott guided Achilles through the ring debris, their eager enemy hunting them out.

Scott was manoevering the Achillies hard between the rock and ice that made up the rings, their enemy was closing fast, forcing him to increase the ships speed. Over and over Scott steered Achillies throught the obstacles and avoided the huge lumps of rock and ice, trying to get some distance between the Achillies and their enemy. “We’re not going to get rid of them like this!” pulling the ship down, Scott took Achilles down through the rings, hoping they wouldn’t follow – but to their horror they did. tearing through the rings, scattering the rock and ice in all directions as the relentless hunter powered ever closer toward them.

“My God, these guys want blood!” Gina shouted, “What now?”

“I’m going closer toward the planet!”  Scott answered, swinging Achilles around the engines powering the craft at full speed. They both looked at the rear view screen again as a huge door opened on the monstrous craft. Despite it’s size it was easy to see that ploughing through the rings had damaged it’s outer hull. Scott was hoping that this could work in their favour… somehow. For what seemed like an age Scott was powering Achillies toward a collision with the gas giant, it was filling the forward screen more and more, the ships hull groaning as it tried to hold together.

“They’re almost on us!” Gina shouted, they were running out of time and power. The automatic firing computer was concentrating on the enemy, hitting them with a salvo of burning plasma.At that point a blast came from the enemy ship, rocking the already weakened Achillies.

“The albative armour had failed and we’ve lost power!” Gina yelled out. The control centre crew were furiously going about trying to re-route power back to the weapons.

“Look Carella!” Scott shouted ” They’re burning inside!” As the monster approached ever closer it was now easy to see that inside the enemy craft, the open door had given them the weakness they needed and was now engulfed in flames.

“Are the weapons still charged?” Scott asked Gina, with desperate hope in his voice.

“They are, but they don’t have much left!”Gina reported.

“Concentrate all weapons on that doorway, I have an idea.” Gina tapped away on the controls, focussing all the weapons on the one point.

“Ready!” she told Scott. All the control crew were no wathcing the events taking place. There was nothing more could be done.

“Give it to them!” Scott shouted. Achillies shot it’s plasma weapons like fire from hell into the now terrifyingly close enemy spacecraft. a huge explosion erupted from inside it just as it was closing on Achillies. They passed through into the cavernous ship, the inside totally ablaze and disintegrating. Still it passed over them, Achillies colliding with several obstacles and was thrown around until suddenly… the huge hulk of a ship was now in front of them. They were in free space again, watching as their enemy powered their way still closer toward Saturn.

“You’re not getting us!” Scott shouted, he pulled this ships engines into full reverse. The wash from the huge enemy engines rocking the Achilles. The metal of Achillies hull was grinding as she backed away, further out into space.  Commander Scott,  Gina and the control crew watched, waiting, hoping they’re gigantic enemy wouldn’t turn. Hoping the damage they had made was enough to have disabled them. They didn’t seem as monstrous now, ever smaller it glowed in the planet’s atmosphere, ever brighter a long trail of burning vapour followed it. The monster was now a large brilliant white spot… until a huge flash and a ball of flame scattered itself over Saturn planet scape. meant it was over. Whatever it was… whoever it was, had gone.

Scott and Gina breathed again. Looking at each other for a moment.. “Well done Flight Officer Carella” Scott said to Gine “inform command what has happened. Give them the casualty numbers and complete ships status. I’ll take us back to the rings.”

“Yes sir. Thank you” Gina replied, despite the victory, she couldn’t smile. Both her and Scott looked on as Hudson’s covered body was carried off.

Scott looked at the rest of the command crew “Well done people, let get the mess cleared up best we can.”

The Achilles returned to the rings, to await assistance. Commander Scott look out at the beautiful rings outside his viewport. Scott’s cabin was in a state with equipment, books and wreckage all over the floor, his ceiling had a hole in it big enoughfor him to easily fit through. He pressed a touch button on the computer desk in front of him.

“Ships log, 19.7.2374. We have survived the attack from the unknown spacecraft, the Achillies is broadly functional with signifacant structural damage at later quadrant 16, 17 and 18 and Ventrical quadrant 7.

Weapons systems and most functions running off the main power are either not operational or not functioning to full capacity. Main power is being worked on to try and restore these systems, but it is doubtful this can be done out here. I have therefore ordered the ship is to run on an energy ration to keep life support running until the Titan arrives, hopefully in five days.

20 crew are known to have died, only four bodies have been recovered and are in storage. 20 crew are injured, most seriously.

Commendations for Flight officer Gina Carella and chief engineer Dax Osman, Gina Carella is hereby promoted to flight officer second class with immediate effect. Her courage and resolve is noted, Dax is injured after being burned keeping the lights on during the thick of it.”

Scott sat silent for a moment, thoughts washing over him before he spoke again.

“Whatever that thing was it wasn’t made by humans, it would have wiped us out and looked round for more. we had no way of finding their vessel from a distance, it’s cloaking technology is something we haven’t mastered yet. It’s intentions were in no way benign, I just wonder what they wanted, what they were after. I just hope to hell there was only one of those things, we cannot possibly fight off another one in the way the Achillies is now.

I Just hope the Titan hurries up and get’s here soon it would be good to see the Intrepid and Endevour too. If word gets to them soon enough they’re fast enough to be here in two days. This waiting is murder. Commander William J Scott signing off”

Scott ended the log entry, sitting back in his chair he pushed some garbage off the desk and then stared at the rings, watching like an eagle eyed sentinel, hoping not to see anything. But knowing that even if there was, he wouldn’t be able to see it.

Simon 🙂

Copyright 2016 Simon Farnell

No ownership claimed to pictures

 

Who is Rachael Ritchey?

Who is Rachel Ritchey?

Why do you as bloggies need to know?

Simple answer is Rachael Ritchey is a story person. She writes, them and encourages other to write them. She supports, helps and nurtures those who take up their metaphorical pen to write. Rachael runs the weekly Blog Battles where writers pitch against each other to write a 1000 word story that includes the key word for the week. If you’re a writer or want to write and don’t take part I strongly suggest you do as it’s very helpful for honing your skill and it’s fun!

captive hope

If you’re a reader of anything fantasy or a writer of anything at all you NEED to know. Rachel is someone who to me at least is inspiring, taking her writing passion and on her own getting her work out there. Her second book Captive Hope is to be released (according to her website) on the 22th of January… 8 days ago. What? You haven’t got it yet? Go, what are you waiting for? While you’re there get the Beauty Thief too. Seriously, these aren’t expensive and the work she has put into them has been immense, you’re getting a hell of a good deal for the price of one or two coffee’s depending on how many vanilla shots you have.

What I’m doing is not subtle, I’m helping her to push Captive Hope. I’m not ashamed, but Rachael being the kind of person she is will not blow her own trumpet – so I’m doing it for her. But if anything all I ask is this – go have a look at her site: http://rachaelritchey.com/

Go and see for yourself. How hard is that?

Simon 🙂

 

 

The Language of Star Wars(Aurebesh)

There is a language used in Star Wars that I hadn’t realised until recently. Well really it’s an alphabet which converts English. It’s called the the Aurebesh alphabet and you can see it below:

This is so geeky and cool, I want to find a font for it so that I can write a short post or two in Aurebesh for those geeky enough to want to translate it!

Have a great day!

Simon 🙂

No ownership claimed on any images or the Aurebesh language.

NASA’s Van Allen Probes Revolutionize View of Radiation Belts

There’s nothing like deep space discovery to excite. But when we look closely at our own world, we get surprises too. Things don’t work quite as we thought they did and expand our understanding.

The Van Allen belts are more complicated than we thought they were and I love the analogy of music used to decribe how the different elements of the Van Allen belts appear differently.

Simon 🙂

Credit: NASA

http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/nasa-s-van-allen-probes-revolutionize-view-of-radiation-belts

On the Brink of Midnight #BlogBattle # Scifi

planet city 2

This weeks blog battle carries on where we left off.  The blog battles are a short story clash of the bloggers run by Rachael Ritchey. Go look at her blog, read about it and join in if you like.

Rules:

  1. 1000 words max
  2. fictional tale (or true if you really want)
  3. PG (no more than PG-13) Content – let’s keep this family friendly!
  4. Your story must contain the word(s) from the theme and/or be centered around the theme in a way that shows it is clearly related
  5. Go for the entertainment value!
  6. State the Genre of your story at the top of your post.
  7. Post your story on Tuesday, by 11:59 PM PST
  8. Use the hashtag #BlogBattle when tweeting your story, put a link back to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section of this page, and/or include a link to this page in your own blog post (it creates a “ping-back” which will alert me and our friends to your #BlogBattle post)
  9. Have fun!

Word for this week: Indian

https://universeofpossibility.wordpress.com/2016/01/03/on-the-brink-of-midnight-blogbattle-scifi/

https://universeofpossibility.wordpress.com/2016/01/12/on-the-brink-of-midnight-blogbattle-scifi-2/

https://universeofpossibility.wordpress.com/2016/01/19/on-the-brink-of-midnight-blog-battle-scifi/

Part 4:

Sela and Tars rushed over to the central control console in the middle of the room, Tars was puncing in commands, trying to bring up the Mira sensor array.

“I’ve got it!” he said with a sense of victory.

“Have a look at sector 42, quadrant 7, that’s where our visitors should have been.” Sela anxious now. There were other energy accelerator on Mira, but the others may now be out of use, there was no way to tell yet. The large screen flickered a small irregular shape appeared just off centre.

“Magnify as much as you can onto that shape.” Tars instructed an operator. Just then the head of security surrouned by six armed men all in black walked in and presented their weapons at Sela and Tira.

“I’m here to take you to answer for the destruction of the energy accelerator to Chancellor Galvor” Sela looked around him.

“Why do you need six armed men to secure two unarmed people? Get your weapons away from Tira or I’ll…”

“You’ll what? The clearly angered security heard barked at him”

“I’ll make life very difficult for you. I’m sorry about the accelerator. I had no time to explain to anyone and no choice. The planet is now, hopefully saved as you can see” Sela took the secuity head to the window to see the sun almost set against red sky, a sky like it had never been seen before even in the Indian summers as they turn to Autumn. The secuity head ushered for the weapons to be lowered.

“What happened?” He asked in a whisper.

“A Draconian space cruiser had somehow put a quantum sigularity onto the planet, time was moving very slowly for us, we needed the accelerator to get the sigualarity away” They stood there for several minutes watching as the sky turned dark.

“Where has it gone?” The secuity head asked.

“Where do you think I sent it?” Sela replied with a wicked smile. The security head smiled back.

Tars spoke up “It’s all true sir – Doctors Diemos and Phoelan have saved the planet, they only just got back with their lives”

The security head was about to speak, Sela cut in “No time, let see what’s going on with our Draconian friends out there” Striding off, he stopped by Tira, taking her hand he walked her to the control console “Are you alright my love” clearly upset she nodded, sitting on a chair she brought her knees to her chin and hugged her legs.

“There it is, well done Tars!” The image of the Draconican cruiser filled the screen.

“How long will it take to get there?” Tars asked.

“It will certainly be travelling at a sublight speed, I’m not sure how fast. But unless I missed totally it should only be a few minutes now, it was launched about 30 minutes ago” Sela was thinking, had he missed? What would happen if he had?

“Open me a channel to them Tars”

“What? You want to talk to them?” Tars was shocked, not certain this this was a good idea.

“Trust me, it’s the only way to know for sure” Sela reassured him.

“Channel open” Tars told Sela.

“This is Doctor Sela Diemos of Mira science council. Can you please explain your presence in our space?” For a moment there was silence as everyone listened for a reply.

“Leave now or you will be destroyed!” Sela’s voice was demanding now. For a moment there was silence before a crackle was heard and a rough, tortured voice came though.

“Make us – Mira scum” It finished with an even more tortured laugh and the channel went dead. For a few more moments there was just watching.. waiting…

“I don’t know about everyone else here” Sela announced “But I wish something would happen, I’m tired and want to get some sleep. Destroying accelerators and Draconian cruisers is tiring work” Sela looked across at Tira, she was slumped in the chair asleep from exhaustion.

“Something’s happening!” Tars announced. for that moment they all watched as the cruiser started to move, turning slowly towards Mira, it weapons powering up and deploying. In that instant mid part of the outer hull crumpled and disintegrated, a split second later a huge ball of metal and fire exploded out of the other side of the huge spaceship. The fireball shot into space and in seconds was gone. Everyone stood for a few moments as the cruiser foundered, it’s structure collapsing and deteriorating around itself, finally the fuel tanks ruptured and it was engulfed, every atom annhiliated by the released anti hydrogen.

The room was silent, just the beeps and whirrs of controls could be heard.

“Oh, so that’s what happens when a warship meets a Quantum Singlarity!” Sela blurted out amongst the silence. With that his walked over to Tira, picked her up and held her to his chest. “If you don’t mind now I’m going home, tomorrow is another day!”

With this he walked through the doorway, arriving at his rooms he walked into the bedroom. He laid Tira onto the bed and covered her in a blanket. Laying next to her she snuggled up to him, her arms around his chest. Sela lay there thinking, unable to sleep next to his sleeping lover. We was excited, but worried also… what would happen next time they came?

Copyright 2016 Simon Farnell

No ownership claimed on images.

The Pink Earphones

I’ve written this as a story submission for Georgie Girl’s writing competition. I hope you all enjoy it, it’s a bit of a deviation from my usual stories:

The Pink Earphones

Working in an office has always been dull for me. Sure I love what I do, but I can’t sit in the office all day. If I do, then I feel tired and I don’t work as well during the day. Really I should have been a farmer or the ranger of a nature reserve, instead I work on spreadsheets, trying to solve the many problems that we face trying to make our next microchip better. To clear my head I nearly always go for a walk during the lunch break and this is where my story begins!

The walk I go on is circular, so I end up where I began. There are the usual mix of people who do the same thing, there are naturally more during the summer than winter. I’m always amazed what some people wear, or rather don’t wear during the winter months though. I don’t feel the cold much, but while I’m shivering under my long winter coat there are those in just a shirt or the odd office girl in a tight blouse and mini skirt. But one person stood out, it wasn’t because she was outrageous, in face she was quite ordinary. She mostly wore jeans and had blonde crinkly hair. Often wearing sunglasses and listening to music with her pink earphones.

One day I realised one thing, I always saw her. No matter when I walked (because my schedule was erratic) I would always see her in the same place, walking towards me in front of a white building. The woman always seemed blind to the world around her. One time she was wolf whistled and told she was sexy by an old builder doing some work across the road. “Damn animal” I thought to myself. I made sure I reported him, but at the time the woman didn’t seem to notice, she carried on walking, her pink earphones plugged in.

I wanted to get this woman’s attention I decided, so I started off with small gestures. Smiling at first, nothing too cheesy a smile full of teeth can be very off putting. It was hard to say if she noticed, I couldn’t see her eyes behind those big sunglasses. She must have seen me though surely? I tried something more obvious, I smiled and said a little “Hi” or a subtle wave. But the blonde woman kept on walking as if I wasn’t there. Almost every lunch break I saw the woman, I was beginning to think she was blind or something. One day I was walking towards her, I had eaten a rather spicy curry the night before and I could feel it building as I got close. I clenched, trying to keep it in, but I knew this could make it worse. Just as I reached her *Parrrrrp* it was long and loud, I’m sure she heard it as I swear I  heard a chuckle. I stood watching for a moment as the woman walked on without a glance back.

Months went on, the leaves turned brown and fell, rains came as they always did, I took my walks and so did she. It gold colder and the rain turned to snow it was at this time that we met. She was walking toward me, the pink earphones in place and suddenly in a split second she was on the floor.

“Shit” I heard her curse as I ran up to her. I was amazed, four people walked by and didn’t stop. I got there to a mess of frizzy blonde hair, the pink earphones were sprawled over the floor and her palm was cut.

“Here, let me help you up” I said, offering my hand out. She reached out her unhurt hand, I took it and helped her up. There was a bench just next to us, I sat her on it and went back for the pink earphones. I walked back and sat next to her, offering her earphones back.

“These are yours I think”

“Yes, they are. Thank you” her hand was hurting, she nursed it as I drew out a clean tissue. Taking her hand, in mine I turned it over. There was some blood but the cut wasn’t bad.

“Let me clean this a little” I said to my surprise she let me. Her hand was cold and white, I gently dabbed to remove the blood. “How are you feeling? Did you hit your head?”

“No, I’m fine… thank you for stopping and helping.” She said. I sat down next to her, she started shivering so I took my coat off and put it over her.

“Thank you” she said again “Don’t I know you?” She asked.

“Not really” I answered “I’ve been trying to catch your attention for a while though”

“Ah, yes. You’re the goofy guy that pulls funny faces” She smiled as she said this “Do you also often randomly wave at people?”giggling as she asked.

“I didn’t think you had noticed. You never seemed to.” I answered, trying not to look her in the eye.

“Of course I did, I’m only listening to music, I’m not blind.” I could tell she was having great fun making fun of me. It became obvious I had completely underestimated the effect my action over the months had on her.

“Well now I have your attention, my name’s Greg and I’m pleased to meet you.”

“Well, Greg” She answered “Greg with the goofy smile, I’m Lucy and I’m pleased to meet you. But I need to get back to work”

“Can I walk you back?” I asked

“You’ll need to if you want your coat back.” smiling as she answered. I hadn’t seen her smile before. We got up and walked the short walk back to her work. When we got there, she turned around, slipped my coat off and handed it back to me.

“Well this is me goofy Greg” Again grinning, It seemed I was going to be permanently known as goofy.

“I’ll see you soon?” I asked.

“Perhaps”Lucy grinned I took this to be another tease at my expense, she kissed me on the cheek, her lips were cold, but the feeling behind the kiss was warm. Lucy then turned around and I watched as she went back into the building. I slipped off the coat and went back, when I had reached my desk, I put my hand in my pocket. There was something in there, pulling it out I found I had a music player and a set of pink earphones.

“Oh well” I thought “I’ll give them back next time I see her.”

The next day I didn’t see Lucy. Or the next day, for over a week I never saw Lucy, but the music player and the pink earphones were in my pocket. The weather had warmed a little on this particular day, I was taking my daily walk and decided to wander into the building where Lucy worked. In from of me there was a long curved receptionists workstation, a young lad y with long brunette hair smiled.

“Good afternoon sir, how can I help you?”

“Good afternoon” Reaching into my pocket I pulled out the music player an earphones “I have something belonging to a Lucy who I believe works here. She left this with me and I want to return it to her.” It was as I said this and put the music player and headphones onto the workstation that I realised something was wrong. The young girl’s face dropped and went sheet white. She composed herself enough to ask in a whisper “Where did you get that?”

Surprised at this reaction I replied calmly “From Lucy, tallish girl, slim, blonde frizzy hair. I bumped into her last week.” Trying to understand I asked “What’s the problem?”

“You can’t have got it from her last week.” The young girl was failing at holding back her tears.

“I did, I watched her walk into this building.”

“She died over a year ago.” The young girl struggled to get the words out, but finally I understood. I was standing there, dumbfounded, like an idiot. I didn’t know what to think, let alone say. For what seemed like an age I stood there, watching the young woman as she stared a me in disbelief, fighting back her tears. Without saying a word, I turned and left and never dared go to the building again.

I still took my walks, but I never saw Lucy again. I have tried to work out what happened and why, but at the end of the day maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe one day I will find out. Whatever happened, for brief time I shared that friendship with her. For a brief time I had caught her attention and I hold that time special to me.

Copyright 2016 Simon Farnell

No ownership claimed to image.