Hello Dear Readers…
I completely forgot to write a serial story chapter in April. I’m extremely sorry and the usual punishment will apply. I will write an extra chapter for this year. As of now, my plan is to write 3 chapters for May.
Enjoy the belated Chapter 4
Chapter 4: Ships Shaped like Stars
“Is there supposed to be a planet there?” Annie asked. She’d gotten to her second job just as the alarm went off. She’d run back and jumped into a fresh fighter and joined Echo squad as they were being deployed.
“Welcome, Echo 2,” Echo Leader said. Jason was a man in his late eighties and had been on clean and protect crews for most of his life.
“Glad to be here, Echo Leader. We dealing with the same pirates?” She couldn’t keep the smile from her voice. He’d been the one who recommended her for flight training.
As they deployed, tower replied for him. Annie’s brother said, “Echo team, you’re taking the stern and protecting the ship if they get through Alpha and Beta teams. We have no idea who these people are, but they’re not answering hails and are here in larger numbers than we’ve ever seen. Stay frosty.”
They arrived at their designated patrol area and tower said, “All teams ready, pirates are almost here.”
At first it looked like the stars themselves were moving towards them. There were thousands of ships, each shaped like tiny eight-point stars. They glowed brightly. “What in the black is that?” asked Echo Leader.
“Echo Leader and tower, this is Echo 2. Just so we all know, those are not the same pirate ships as last attack.”
“Copy, Echo 2.”
Nothing else was said on the coms as they watched the approach. The ships stopped just outside weapons range and sat there. Annie was going to say something, but Jason beat her to it. “Any idea what in the name of the great Mother they’re doing, Tower?” After a pause with no answer he said, “Tower, do you copy?” A few more seconds and he said, “Hokulua Station, do you read? Anyone?”
“Did we lose contact with tower? Is that even possible?” The voice didn’t sound familiar.
“Team Leaders, please sound off,” Echo Leader said. There was a series of sound offs as Alpha, Beta, Charlie, and Delta Team Leaders sounded off and then each member of their teams did the same.
There were eight members per team and it took a long time to get through them. The ships didn’t move. Annie scanned the station and interrupted Delta team. “Sorry to cut in. My scans indicate that the station has lost shields, weapons, coms, and engines.”
The Team Leads swore. “Alpha 4 here. If the station has lost engines, why are we still moving at top speed?” The radio devolved into chaos as everyone checked their scans. They were still compensating for the station moving at top speeds.
“What do we do, Echo Leader?” Alpha Leader asked; the question from Alpha leader firmly appointed Echo Leader as the overall leader until the station came back.
“We do our jobs. Shut down any nonessential systems and get ready for a long standoff.” Their ships could hold position for almost twenty-four hours before needing to refuel. The gravity from the station’s micro-star made it so they were being pulled with the station instead of trying to keep up.
“Oh Mother-of-Stars… DO SOMETHING!” yelled a voice over the com after nearly two hours of waiting.
“Stay off the com or I’ll shoot you down myself.” Echo Leader sounded grumpy. “Have these things moved at all?”
Annie had been scanning them and killing her fuel while doing it, but wanted as much information as possible. She replied, “They have stayed at the exact same relative position since we started this. I also can’t find any signs of bio-life so either they’re AI or like nothing we’ve come across before.” Artificial intelligent life wasn’t common, but the Children-of-the-Stars had come across a few different species. “They’ve basically created a wall behind the station. I think they might be using it to coast the way we are.”
“So we don’t know what they are, but we’re fairly certain that they’re just hitching a ride?” Echo Leader sounded almost relieved.
Just as Annie was going to respond yes, the ships moved in towards the station. She said, “They’re moving closer. The only reason for that is…” she cursed. “Prepare for Voidspace.”
The space between galaxies was called Voidspace. It was filled with remnants of dead galaxies, crushed into fine dust. The result was an extremely bumpy ride and all sorts of radiation that could play havoc with any and all systems.
All the fighters did the same as the mysterious ships and got closer to the station. Voidspace was absolutely beautiful; with most stars too far away, the only light came from their ships and the station’s micro-star. The light danced and reflected off the galaxy dust in fantastic splashes of colours that put to shame any planet’s aurora-borealis.
The colours were so mesmerising that all ships were equipped with light dampening shields for travel. Even through the shields Annie found it hard not to lose herself to the beauty. It could have been seconds or hours that she stared out at the colours before the station appeared in a small clear area of space.
They were still in Voidspace, but the dust was being held back by something and the station had stopped moving. Thankfully their fighters were built to automatically compensate or they would have all crashed into the station. The dust was pushed back in a perfect sphere and it looked like they were in a giant soap bubble.
There was only one other thing inside the bubble.
“Is there supposed to be a planet there?”
While you wait for the next chapter, check out previous serial stories: