A new entry for the Omicron Matter – the Battle for Juthjath. Rachael deals with the communications between Millicent and Smith and between Smith and the Guild battleship. The battleship is crippled and crew have started to evacuate. But the AIs have not yet secured the computer core of the battleship. Without that core, the ship will be useless and valuable intelligence will be lost. Smith finds a way to force the matter.
I a friend who used to fly in military intelligence planes. After a particular incident involving one of US’s planes being forced to land in China, he talked about how the crew would be tasked with destroying anything valuable before the Chinese could get on board. I am guessing that, as critical as a computer is to the operation of a space vehicle, shutting it down would be a much more time consuming process.
Elan Mudrow has been a loyal reader for a while I have been following Elan Mudrow and the Ridges of Intertexuality. This is a blog on poetry. I will admit that I cannot tell the difference between good poetry and bad doggerel. I am really more of a prose guy. However, his imagery is evocative and he has a recent poem on “Perspiring Happens” that is amusing and fun. He connects his language with vintage image. The language is current and yet timeless.
After Millicent called to say the AIs were trying but that the core dump was proceeding, Smith asked, “Do you have anymore of your special missiles?”
Rachael rubbed the back of her neck. “I needed three drones done before. I can send more, but I would need to program more drones with Camille’s help. And, if we target the battleship, we will need to move everyone away.”
Smith frowned, “Be ready to program them. But I want that battleship whole.” He tapped his fingers. The Menanggung battleship was targeting defensive guns on the Guild Battleship. Several of the Menanggung cruisers had left the area and were pursuing other Guild ships. Rachael looked at her console. The Battleship was bursting with smaller craft and it had stopped moving.
The Guild Captain came on, “Smith, call off your ships. We are surrendering.”
Smith smiled, “And the admiral’s objections?”
“The Admiral has been escorted to an escape pod.”
“How forward thinking of him. Stop your engines. Stop your defensive guns. Lower your shields. Open your data ports.”
The captain whined, “The data ports?”
Smith snapped, “Do it or we will continue firing.”
The captains image nodded. Rachael reported, “The engines have stopped. The ship has stopped firing. Shields are lowering…slowly.”
Smith said, “Miss Weiz. Tell our Menanggung friends to pause their fire for a moment.” He waited, “Camille?”
Camille said tensely, “Still blocked. We are catching the small dumps, but the data breakup is getting worse. We will have a empty hulk shortly at this rate.”
Smith said, “Tell our fleet to resume fire and target the broadside midship.”
Rachael listened to a frantic hail from the Guild ship. She said, “The Guild Captain is angry.”
Smith said, “Put him on.”
The captain spoke frantically, “We are complying. Stop your firing.”
Smith said, “I said open your data ports. I am tired of waiting.” He pressed some buttons and the ship defensive systems fired. The targets disappeared from Rachael’s screen.
Rachael said, “Three escape pods hit. Debris left only.”
The captain shouted, “You bastard. They were defenseless.”
Smith turned to the image but spoke to Rachael, “The data ports are closed. I get control of that ship or your crew dies. Rachael, Tell the Menanggung captain to target the escape hatches.”
The captain cried out, “Wait”
Smith said, “Data ports or we get revenge for just one of the stadiums.”
The captain shouted to a crewman, “Do it. Dammit. Yes… it is an order. Stick my name on it if you have to. And then find an escape pod.”
Camille said, “We are in. We have stopped the data wiping sequence.” There was a pause and she said, “We will have to see if we caught all the packets. Currently the computing core is about 70% complete.”
Smith squinted at the captain, “Captain, that pause in compliance of yours could be costly us. You should hope it was not.”
The captain jutted his chin, “I was doing my duty.”
Smith snarled, “Your duty killed over a hundred thousand people on the surface and would have killed millions.” Smith stood and rubbed down his suit and hair, “My experts will be assessing the damage to your computer core. The degree of damage will determine how many escape pods will be retrieved.”
The captain paled and pleaded, “That …that is monstrous.”
Smith said, “I could kill everyone of you and it would still be fewer than everyone who died on one of your refugee camp attacks. Do NOT lecture me on monstrous. Now evacuate your ship, immediately. You have 10 minutes before I open all the airlocks.”
“But your threat to the escape pods…”
“My promise about your escape pods holds. You have 9 minutes and 45 seconds. And your best hope is that we can recover that data core completely or you and your crew will wait an eternity for rescue. Sign off Miss Weiz.”
Rachael cut the connection and blew air out through her cheeks. Neville eyed her sideways narrowly.
Smith sat in his chair, “Two serviceable battleships, a dozen or so cruisers and their fighters, and the data cores from flagships.” He smiled, “A little costly, but not a bad start.”