Red Day, Ere the Sun Rises – Chapter 5

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Chapter 5: Obligatory boardroom and planning scene

“Denebola,” I (Hal) said, hoping to get a rise out of someone. It was the sun that the Sun Speaker on the Robinson had said he represented before I flew our ship into Sol and let the plasma work it out. 

The entire crew of the Revenge did a complicated gesture over their hearts. “Let me guess… God of your people?”

It was Diamond that answered, “No. The God of Black-Sun is Spica. Denebola is the god of devouring in the Pantheon. He is the one that eats the rebel suns. His Speakers are twisted and lead armies of Void-Beasts.”

I saw the look in Diamond and Zuri’s eyes a split second before the vision hit me. Our three ships were flying toward the edge of the system when the Denebola fleet arrived. They were the ships I’d been having nightmares about. They were black and shiny like they were covered in tar, their angles were wrong and seemed to shift as I watched.

The Sol fleet had already been decimated by the Sun Fleet. This new influx was the last straw, and I saw them retreat through a portal near Mars.

The Denebola ships started to attack the other sun’s ships, the planets, and anything between them and Sol. By the end of the vision, there was nothing left, the Sol had been extinguished.

The meeting room on the Hey Sunny had really comfy chairs for when this happened. The three of us woke up to our friends looking worried. 

“That was concerning,” I understated.

Zuri ran to the corner and threw up in the garbage. Her captain brought her some water to rinse her mouth, and the girl came back.

I had an idea but I needed more information first. “Zuri, your ship creates an FLT-bubble and moves space around it?”

“Yes. But it takes a lot of energy,” she replied.

“Diamond, you use a jump drive? With a wormhole generator for long distance trips?” The jump drive was similar to the way my ship and most of the Sol system ships worked.

The man nodded. 

I turned to our last guest, Captain Jan, and asked, “You have an actual sun inside your ship, and it propels you how?”

“My people have been using stardrives for millennia. We use the sun’s natural resonance to move the universe around the ship.”

Adric, Zuri, and all the other tech heads started asking questions at the same time. When they’d calmed down, I asked the question I’d been dreading since I’d heard of the stardrive, “Can you make more non-sapient micro stars?”

The captain looked confused as she replied, “Yes, but they’d be useless for stardrives. The mind of the sun is what does all the calculations.”

“I don’t want to use them as stardrives. I want to use them as bombs. We can manipulate the plasma levels in the sun and cause it to go supernova. If we can make enough, I can create a chain reaction that would take out most of that fleet.” 

“Hal! Channelling that sort of energy would kill you!” Suzie exclaimed.

Taking her hand gently, I replied, “It would but I’m not alone anymore. With three people, it’ll be a lot easier.” Turning to Adric, I said, “Can you retrofit the ship to have a stardrive and a wormhole generator?”

“Yeah, with some help,” he seemed confident but overwhelmed. We all were.

“Okay. Captain Ng. How many non-sapient suns can you create in a month?”

She looked over at her crew and spoke in their language before turning to me and saying, “If we can use Sol for extra power, we can probably have a few thousand by that time.”

“Excellent. Let’s all get ready.” Dismissed, everyone started to leave. When there was only me, Suzie, Zuri, and Diamond left, I cocked an eyebrow and asked, “What is it?”  

It was Zuri who spoke first. She tried hard to sound confident but years of being looked down on showed in her tone. “I don’t like the idea of killing trillions.”

“I don’t like the Suns but it seems harsh to kill them like that,” Diamond added.

I gave a theatrical sigh before asking, “What other options do we have? They’re not going to offer us the same courtesy.”

“I don’t know but there has to be another option,” Zuri said and her attitude was like looking into a mirror.

Diamond nodded and his lower lip jutted out in a stubborn pout. I swear the man could have been a male model.

Earlier the three of us had exchanged information in a wholly new way that involved sharing our history together through a telepathic connection. I showed them everything I had learned about being a Sun Speaker, Diamond showed us all the training a Black-Sun Sun Speaker received, and finally Zuri shared her multi-lifetime experience as the reincarnation of King Arthur. It was fascinating to see the difference between everyone’s training and how varied the powers they accessed. One of the reasons me and my predecessors had such short lifespans was that we spent a lot more energy and power than was safe.  

“I’m glad to hear that,” I said and tried to smile reassuringly. “I’m hoping the micro sun bombs can be more of a deterrent until the Denebola ships arrive. If we can keep the Sun’s armies busy without hurting them, they’ll have no choice but to help face off against the void-beasts and their masters.”

“What?” all three of them said at the same time.

“We saw those ships attacking everything. I’m guessing that the Sun fleet has a sense of survival. We just have to delay them until the real nightmares arrive and then hope we can take whoever survives.”

Suzie chuckled and said, “That’s the most Hal plan I’ve ever heard.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment,” I replied.

She chided, “Don’t. It’s still very risky and depends on us being able to distract a fleet of bloodthirsty zealots.”

“Distracting is what I do second best,” I said with as much confidence as I could.

“What do you do first best?” Zuri asked suspiciously.

“Getting into trouble,” I replied. 

Suzie rolled her eyes and the other two Sun Speakers walked out of the meeting room.

“I know you’re keeping something from the rest of the group. Why?” Suzie asked, and I loved her all the more for not asking what.“I’m not sure how much the enemy Sun Speakers can see or how much control they have. If I could watch them planning, I know I would. I want to keep as many surprises as I can.”

Read Chapter 6 (June 2024)

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