The war against the Kachalot has been going on now for eight years, we’re losing ships and outposts quickly now. The Kachalot have seized control of or destroyed all of Earth’s colonized worlds beyond the belt of Orion, it won’t be long now. Their vast armadas have gained the upper hand, their technologies have seemed to grow from nothing and now they stand ready to devour and destroy everything humankind has achieved.
The supply ship Greenling is making its supply run to satellite outpost UR#32 near Uranus, it’s almost halfway between Jupiter and Saturn, it should take about five days to reach the outpost.
Then what? Who knows?
The Greenling is an old stellar cruise liner, converted over to military use now. Not much in the way of armament or weapons, just enough to keep pirates and rouge Kachalot fighters away. It doesn’t have the Lextron drive that the big military battlewagons have, it only has solar sails and Ion drive. It’s just a supply ship about 1/8 mile long, that’s all, not much compared to the newest H. Allen battle carriers, that are a mile long and have all the newest technologies Earth could put on them and carry 1,800 MK47t Ion drive fighters, the fastest things Earth could design for battle in the blackness of space.
Over the radio, the Greenling can hear what’s happening on the military airways, not the top secret ones of course, just ship to Earth and ship to ship, dark days, victories for the Kachalot and battles lost for us.
Sssssshs…. “Captain I think I have something over the radio.”
“Lets heard it, put it on the speakers.”
Sssssshs…. “This is Captain Hallock, Earth command can you hear us….sssssshs Mars station…….”
“Can you boost the signal?”
“I’ll try sir.”
Sssssshs….. “…have engaged the Kachalot near Saiph….12 degrees starboard….ing all rail guns on line… 4 degrees down…Fire…. Can you……launch tyolon missiles…..” sssssshs…..
“I’ve lost em sir.”
“Keep trying, Hopwood how far away are they?”
“Unknown sir, I can’t get a fix, too far out.”
“Damn, I wish……”
“I’ve got something sir.”
Sssssshs….. “…ost the Starranger… Earth can you hear me? Ensign Zedong boost the signal we….warn earth… up 14 degrees...Fire…. ooks like the whole….. fleet….. fire…. out of tyolon……ir…..bring us closer….fire…..imperial destroye…..emperor’s shi……….” ssssshsss…
“No sir, just static now.”
“Keep listening anyway.”
“Who’s this Captain Hallock, what ship?”
“I have him sir, he’s the captain of the Stardevil, fleet commander of 3 H. Allen battle wags and their support Cruisers. It's the newest ships we have sir.”
“Yeah, I know that, Lidder…I know that.”
“If they can’t stop em what can?”
“Shut up Lidder.”
“Hodge meet me in my cabin in ten minutes.”
Captain Fenris is sitting at his desk, looking over the holographic star charts, his cabin is twice the size of everyone else’s but still it’s not very big, only 18 x 18 or so. On the bed half sleeping is Garrulous, part Sheppard and part Wolf, Captain Fenris always thought it was a funny name, kind of like some kind of Roman gladiator or something, but Garrulous was really just a push over and wouldn’t hurt anybody. The room is cluttered with books and left over halocharts from previous supply missions, there’s a round port window that gives just a small view into the blackness.
Not much to see really, but it’s there if he wanted to dream about Earth and going back home.
“You wanted to see me sir?”
“Sit down Hodge, and cut out that sir crap, we’ve known each other too long.”
“What do you think John?”
“Looks like that’s it to me.”
“Yeah me too, wouldn’t take em long to get to Earth, and the remaining fleet is over somewhere near the Draco cluster, checking out reports of destruction of the mining colonies there. Bad intel, damn brass hats, don’t know nothing, never have.”
“What’s the rest of the crew think? What are they saying?”
“Time to get out of here and make a run for it, find some other planet and make a new start.”
“What? With just the 40 of us?”
“That’s nuts, it could take years to reach somewhere safe, this bucket is a snail on wheels, we can’t out run the Kachalot, and I doubt we have enough supplies.”
“We could break into the military supplies and use that.”
“Yeah, I just checked the manifest, it's maybe enough for 8 months, just a
bunch of space ‘D’s, a lot of spare parts and 14 containers of atomic detonators.
Not going to get us very far with that.”
“What about surrender?”
“You know better than that, they don’t take prisoners.”
“Yeah, I know…just thinking out loud.”
Sssssshs… “Captain I’ve got something over the radio.”
(click)….“Yeah, what is it?”
Ssssshs….“I think it’s an ultimatum from the Kachalot to Earth, sir.”
(click)….“OK, we’ll be right there.”
“Put in on Jenkins, let’s hear it.”
Sssssshs… “…uman, surternfer og wil destrou ou…two cirgles respond onlt….two cirgles”…ssssshs
“That’s it sir.”
“Not very good at English are they?”
No laughter, just worried faces of the bridge crew.
“Clausewitz how long before they can reach Earth?”
“Best guess sir is about 14 days.”
“How long before the main fleet can get back from Draco?”
“About three weeks sir.”
“Sir, they’re going to slaughter everyone, we have to get out of here.”
“Shut up Lidder, keep your mouth shut, or I’ll shoot you myself.”
“How long before they reach us?”
“About eight -nine days sir, what now?”
“I don’t know, I’ll think of something.”
Captain Fenris has made his decision, he’ll stand there and delay the Kachalot fleet as much as he can, no where to run anyway. All the escape pods where jettisoned by the rings of Saturn, he hoped the Kachalot would think they were space mines and slow down a little. Captain Fenris has positioned the Greenling behind Callisto, maybe the Kachalot sensors wouldn’t pick them up easily, nothing to do now but wait, this is it, the last stand of the Greenling. Hopefully, it will buy just a little time for Earth and its defenses, not much hope tho.
(click)….“Hodge are you there?”
(click)….“Get down to my cabin right away.”
“Come in, damn it.”
“John, I have an idea.”
“Have the engineers rig explosives to the atomic detonators, and give me the controls.”
“You’re going to explode the detonators?”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
“They wouldn’t make much of an explosion, you need the hydrogen missiles for that.”
“Yeah I know, I have something else in mind, could be quite a bang.”
Days of waiting are almost over now, the Kachalot have gotten through the fake mines around Saturn, it slowed them a little, but not much. Captain Fenris sits in his cabin, giving Garrulous, as many treats as he wants, the best ‘person’ Captain Fenris knows. The detonator control is nearby, all he has to do is flip the switch and a second later his ship and everyone on it will be vaporized in a blinding flash.
Ssssshs… “Captain we’ve got Kachalot fighters now.”
(click)….“OK…time for the big show. Maneuvering jets only, keep us as close to Callisto as you can.”
“We could surrender….we have got to get out of here.”
“Shut up Lidder.”
“We have got to get out of…..”
“Get that piece of sh** out of here, I never liked him anyway, it’s too late to run.”
“Kachalot battle cruisers now sir.”
“Ok…wait… get ready to deploy solar sails and fire the Ion engines at full thrust.”
“Imperial destroyers now sir.”
“Bring us around to the Jupiter side of Callisto. Easy, easy.”
“They’ve spotted us sir, Kachalot fighters approaching.”
“Deploy the solar sails aft.”
“Fire the Ion engines, full thrust.”
The solar sails burst immediately into a blinding flash as the Ion engines ignited, hopefully blinding the Kachalot sensors, just for a few moments. It was all Captain Fenris needed, he hoped. The Ion engines quickly reached top speed and the Greenling was fast approaching the giant gas planet of Jupiter. The imperial fleet made every attempt to lock on and destroy the small freighter. Jupiter’s massive gravity now took hold of the Greenling and there would be no turning back, no stopping them now. Wait, wait, Captain Fenris kept thinking, wait until the last possible second before flipping the switch for the atomic detonators.
An explosion not seen since the beginning of the solar system took place then. Jupiter with its hydrogen atmosphere erupted into a mini Sun, the imperial Kachalot fleet was instantly vaporized, the rings of Saturn were blown apart by the shock wave of the explosion. Mars was knocked into a new orbit around the Sun. Moon stations #6, #12 and #3 were destroyed by debris from the explosion and the Moon itself was almost cracked in two.
Earth received massive damage from the concussion and the blast created solar wind. One and a half billion died. The sky was blackened for 14 months, but the human race survived. It would not have, had the Kachalot fleet arrived.
The final option that Captain Fenris and his crew performed was indeed a final last option, an option that saved the human race from total destruction.
Mankind rebuilt and once again went out into the stars to explore and find out what is out there. A small glowing Sun now rises where Jupiter used to be, it’s called the Greenling Sun in honor of that final option, so many centuries ago…................