Chapter 12: An Imposible Mission and a Conclusion?
The Techno-Mage ships sat in space like darker versions of themselves. “What are they waiting for?” Jan asked. The ships had arrived almost an hour ago and seemed idle.
“The Techno-Mage had said about a day and it’s only been half that,” suggested Annie.
“Okay. That means we have less than half a day to get us a way out of this. Any thoughts?” The Captain rubbed his bald head as he asked. The man was a decorated stations captain and this was supposed to be his last command. When Hokulua Station was finished inspections, the real captain was going to take over and he was going to retire to a cushy quarters.
Seren raised her hand. The senior crew looked at her father and he shrugged. She started by explaining a little about the repository, “The repository runs like a translation AI for the Mother-of-All-Suns just like Hoku does now for our micro-sun. Hoku proved that they can take over some of the stations systems and that was before they had complete integration with the AI. Now they could take over any system they want.”
“So it can kill us at any time? How can we trust it?” the Doctor asked, sounding incredulous.
Annie laughed loudly enough to stop people murmuring and said, “I can kill you at any time too. Any of us is capable of murder. Why would a micro-sun be more inclined?”
“Yes, but we enslaved it.”
“We can either give up space travel or take the suns at their word that they don’t hold a grudge and won’t kill us,” Seren said before going on, “The only reason that Hoku was able to communicate and take us here was because of a glitch in the AI that let them access it. The changes we’ve made since to help relieve their pain, give them better control, and better communicate are all easy software updates.”
Mr. Plentyn smiled and added, “She’s right. It’s a small update and could easily be applied to other ships. The update would also allow the station’s suns to talk to each other. What my daughter is suggesting is that we upgrade the Techno-Mage ships and let their micro-suns take over.”
The Captain smiled, “We’d have to leave the Techno-Mages to the mercy and justice of the Mother. Great, sounds like a plan. Push the update to them.”
“Well…” Mr. Plentyn started but trailed off.
“We’d have to push it locally,” Seren finished.
“You’re telling me you have the perfect solution but we have to somehow get onto each of those ships to implement it? That’s suicide.” The Captain sat down.
“It can be done by drones but they’d still have to get close.”
Annie stood up, smiling, this caused her brother and her flight group to groan and look worried. “I can get the drones there. The new ship has limited stealth tech. All we would need is a distraction.”
“Can the repository make more of those ships? Or maybe a cruiser?” the Captain asked.
“I’ve already requisitioned a dozen. They’ll be ready within the hour but that’s the best it can do. It only has that design because of Annie’s help.”
Standing up again and looking not at all confident, the Captain said, “You all have until those ships arrive to be ready. Commander, with Annie’s help, prepare a dozen pilots for the new ships and a battleplan that the Techno-Mages won’t expect. Plentyn, get everything ready to deploy. The rest of you, prepare for combat.”
As they were leaving, the Captain stopped Mr. Plentyn and Seren. “The Techno-Mages have a reputation of being all knowing and able to hijack computers. Are you sure they don’t know what’s coming?”
“When we linked up with the repository I had it and Hoku scan for bugs, trojans, and any back doors. We cleared them out before the meeting.”
“So you’re sure?”
“As much as I can be.”
The next hour on the station almost made it feel like it was fully crewed. People were rushing everywhere and getting everything ready. When the ships arrived and it was time to go, Seren brought Annie the drones.
“You have four drones per ship. Try to space them out…” Seren trailed off looking worried.
“Don’t worry. I’m the best pilot here.” Annie took Seren’s hand and kissed it. “I’ll come back.”
The hardest part of the mission was being quiet. Annie missed the radio chatter, but she had to disable her coms both incoming and outgoing in order to avoid detection.
The trip was quiet and space felt bigger than it ever had to her, despite the relative smallness of that solar system. When she arrived at the first ship, she gently dropped her charges. She expected resistance but her stealth tech seemed to be working. The same near boring procedure occurred for the next two ships.
On the way to the last, and furthest ship, she wondered if she should have started on the far end. Her thoughts were interrupted by a blast to her aft. A small pirate ship had seen her and now she was being chased by a squadron of fighters.
She dodged and evaded the ships and thanked the Mother for her shielding. One impressive dodge also had her avoid a direct shot from the last station. Had she not avoided it, she would have been destroyed. The Techno-Mage ships had weapons that could implode a sun; her shield meant nothing to it.
It was starting to look and feel useless. Every time she got close, the station would fire and she’d have to move back. She was about to retreat when the other stations started firing at the last one. They took out all the guns and Annie was able to fly down and drop the drones.
As she flew back towards Hoku she saw hundreds of fighters and escape pods leave the stations. It seemed the Mother-of-All-Suns was feeling merciful and they weren’t shot out of the sky. By the time she made it back to the station the cloud of pirate and Techno-Mage ships had left the system.
Seren was waiting for Annie when she landed. They hugged and both blushed. Jan rolled their eyes at their friends.
The Captain came by and shook Annie’s hand. “With the stations and Hoku no longer blocking coms we reached the council and given them all our information. I think the Techno-Mages are done. The council has also agreed to work with the Mother to make things right.” He smiled and sighed. “Alright. You two get some rest. We’re headed back on our original course. We have a few million crew to pick up.”
Surprisingly, it was Jan who spoke up, “Sir. Are we leaving a team to work with the Mother and the Repository?”
“Yes we are. A small engineering group, some archeologists, and a fighter wing.” The Captain smirked.
All three of them started volunteering at the same time.
Thank you for reading.
If you’d like to read more serial stories please have a look at the previous years versions.