Red Day, Ere the Sun Rises – Chapter 6

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Chapter 6: Suns of War not Slaughter.

The Galahad’s bridge was quiet as Zuri explained Hal’s plan. Her lack of confidence was evident in her delivery.

“They want us to distract the ships so they can fight our battle?” Bart asked in complete disbelief. His tail wrapping around his left leg.

“We can’t win this one,” Alexandre said emotionlessly.

“Bah!” Bart said, and scowled.

As the others discussed it, Nessa stayed silent. When the conversation transitioned from frustration to grudging acceptance, she finally spoke, “It’s a sound, strategic plan.”

Zuri heard the hesitation in Nessa’s voice and asked, “But?”

“I’ve met commanders like him before. More interested in avoiding casualties than winning the battle. They are all martyrs and egoists. He’s going to get a lot of people killed because he has more respect for life than our enemies,” Nessa said.

“Should we leave? It’s not our war,” Alexandre asked.

Bart guffawed and said, “Run from a fight? Not me.”

Nessa nodded and said, “I’m not running from a fight. We can help. We just have to make sure we’re ready to make up for his weakness. Zuri, can you do the sun bomb detonation?”

Shaking her head, Zuri replied, “I know how, and I have the power, but channelling all that would burn me from the inside before I could finish. He’s right that it needs all three of us. I’m also firm on not wanting to slaughter trillions.”

Nessa sighed and said, “I have never been a fan of senseless death. I’m not sure the Sun fleets are going to hesitate at the idea of the sun bombs. What we need is a way of distracting them.”

“I could tap dance on the bow?” suggested Bart, which got everyone chuckling.

“No one would see it unless we projected it…” Zuri trailed off before exclaiming, “That’s it!” When everyone looked confused she added, “We need to make ourselves look bigger. As if we have more ships. If we project the image of ships on the asteroids from the inner and outer belts, then we can make it look like we have millions of more ships.”

“The mass of the asteroids would fool the sensors and the visual projection would fool their eyes. What about these psychic powers they seem to have?” Alexandre asked.

“They’re not perfect and so far from their suns, it might work.” Zuri hoped she wasn’t being too optimistic.

It took her a few weeks to work out the energy cost and the technology needed. It was an exciting puzzle with concrete math and goals, something she’d missed ever since arriving in the Sol system. She appreciated being the reincarnation of Arthur and the knowledge that came with that, but this situation felt like an impossible task.

She’d just finished transmitting the technical specifications to the rest of the fleet when Hal suddenly appeared beside her. They’d barely spoken since the big meeting.

“Hey,” he said as if it was normal for gangly older men to appear out of thin air.

“How did you get here?”

“I’m not. I’m sitting comfortably on my ship. I just projected myself into your mind. Some of the telepaths can do it amongst themselves so I decided to try. Hold on, let me get Diamond.” His face contorted into a weird shape, and suddenly standing next to him was Diamond.

Zuri always felt a little flustered around Diamond. He was the handsomest man she’d ever met. “Hi,” she said, trying not to blush at thinking of him in her mind.

“I hear you went off on your own and worked out a clever plan,” Hal said, looking pointedly at Zuri.

“I did, but—”

He cut her off and added, “Good job. I need you two to work on your own plans. Three times the meddling and maybe we’ll see the other side of this.”

“It’s quite clever. Good job kid,” Diamond said. “Is this secure? Can the others hear us?”

Hal shrugged. Zuri wondered if the older man exaggerated his movements to seem less of a threat. He replied, “If you mean from your crew, yes. If you mean from other psychics or Sun Speakers, I have no idea.”

He barely finished when Sol sent them all a vision. The fleets were almost there. They had less than an hour before they were horribly outnumbered.

“They’re early. Let your crews know and let’s get our welcome party ready,” Hal ordered. Zuri didn’t like the fear in his voice.

The Galahad, the Hey Sunny, and The Revenge flew out to the edge of the solar system and got ready to meet the enemy. The enemy’s wormhole generators got less accurate the closer to a sun they tried to exit, which meant they usually attacked from just outside the system.

“The foreseeable future is terrifying but we have each other, several decent plans, and Sol protecting us. In the darkest moments of the coming battle, remember that we are born of Sol and we die in Sol.” It wasn’t the most inspiring speech but it made Zuri feel better.

Surrounded by the cyborg Myrddin ships, they waited. When the ships arrived, it was like watching heavy rain falling on a calm lake. Each drop was another ship competing to block out the blackness of space. 

The ships were all the same basic black matte but they varied in size and in the colour of the insignia. They appeared and didn’t do anything until one larger ship arrived.

The ship was three times bigger than any of the others and had a black sigil. “I am Gerald the High Speaker of Spica, Voice of the Conclave of Suns. You are outnumbered, outgunned, and out of time. This fleet isn’t here for the servants of the Rebel Sun, we are only here for the sun. Stay out of our way and we’ll show you leniency.

Zuri saw in a vision the death they had planned in the name of compassion. She couldn’t let that happen.

Read Chapter 7 (July 2024)

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