Invasion, p.1

Invasion, page 1

 part  #6 of  The Adventures of Christopher Slone Series

 

Invasion
 



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Invasion


  Invasion

  The Adventures of Christopher Slone – Book VI

  By Donald Nicklas

  Copyright © 2019 Donald A. Nicklas

  All Rights Reserved

  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without written permission from the author.

  Other titles in the Adventures of Christopher Slone series:

  Book I - Voyage of the Hayden

  It is the 32nd century and Earth is no longer the center of humanity. After the last war on Earth, all governments have fallen and known space is ruled by the huge mining corporations that had previously served the needs of Earth. The corporations have waged periodic war on each other but there have been no corporate wars for over a century. One of the most powerful of these corporations is Sinclair Corp., headed by Horatio Sinclair. On one of the corporation’s far-flung mining bases a distress signal is received from a yacht registered to Sinclair Corp and carrying Horatio Sinclair’s youngest daughter, Alaya, on her honeymoon cruise to the galactic rim. It falls to Captain Christopher Slone, newly appointed to the helm of the star cruiser SS Hayden, to investigate the distress signal and attempt a rescue if possible. The Hayden and her crew look forward to anything that will break the monotony of guarding a mining colony from sporadic pirate attacks, but nothing could prepare them for what lay ahead. . . .

  Book II - Nova Romae

  It is the 32nd century and the Dragon’s Claw sailed through the energy paths between star systems called slipstreams. These highways of energy were the only way to go faster than light. With the proper sails to catch the energy, and the right ship, one could travel as fast as two light-years per hour. The Dragon’s Claw was a state of the art mining scout ship from one of the most powerful corporations in human space, the Sinclair Corporation. After the last world war on Earth, only the space based mining corporations survived and for the past 800 years, they were the only political power the humans knew. Only the ship and her crew were no longer part of the Sinclair Corporation. They were thought to have died along with the entire crew of the star cruiser SS Hayden on a mission to the Andromeda galaxy. Among the seven survivors traveling aboard the Dragon’s Claw, there was the captain of the ill-fated Hayden, Captain Christopher Slone. Also aboard was the youngest daughter of Horatio Sinclair, the owner of the corporation, Alaya Sinclair. Since she was the result of an affair between his wife and another man, she was considered expendable. He thought he had sent her and her scouting crew to certain death to cement an agreement. Alaya Sinclair was shattered when she realized he thought of her only as a chip in a big business deal. Alaya’s biological father was a man named Strabo, the leader of the Nova Romae pirates, in the Matsua Rim arm of the galaxy. The Pirates called themselves the Romani. The Dragon’s Claw was moving ever closer to the pirate territory; Alaya was moving closer to the father she had never met …

  Book III – Serpents and Vipers

  It is the 32nd century and the treaty between the Romani and a reptilian race they call the serpents has been in force for 300 years. It had started with an act of kindness by the humans towards dying serpents in a derelict ship. This compassionate action so impressed the serpents that they sent a diplomatic ship to the Romani home world, Nova Romae. Unbeknownst to the Romani, serpents had been watching humans evolve since first visiting Earth when humans were at the dawn of their civilizations. They attempted to make contact then, but humans were afraid of their own reptilian species and did not trust the serpents. This distrust was heightened by the fact that serpent speech had a hypnotic affect on humans. After the final world war in the 22nd century, Earth was abandoned and only in the last millennium had people returned to make it an open-air museum for tourists. All power now rested with the seven major and ten minor corporations Earth had founded before her demise. The Romani lived outside of corporate space and were the descendents of the intellectual and dissident castoffs of the corporations five centuries ago. They dreamed of someday exacting revenge on the corporations for the injustice done to their ancestors. Romani space lay between corporate space and serpent space. One of the largest corporations is the Sinclair Corp and a small group of citizens of that corporation has been thrust into the world of the Romani. This group, led by Christopher Slone and his wife Alaya, found a home among the Romani after being treacherously abandoned by Alaya’s father, the CEO of Sinclair Corp. Alaya’s mother told her that she was not the true daughter of Horatio Sinclair. Her mother had had an affair and Alaya’s biological father was the leader of the Romani, the Consul Strabo. The former Sinclair citizens were now fully Romani and commanded one of the great dreadnought starships that made up part of a Romani legion. The Slones lived comfortably in a lakeside villa on Nova Romae and they were enjoying their new role as parents to their daughter, Olivia. They also befriended a serpent assigned to their scout ship named Sly. The gift the serpents gave the humans was a cloaking device that rendered their ships invisible, but only serpents could operate it. Therefore, every Romani military vessel carried a serpent crewmember. Life on Nova Romae was good. As the Slones and their friends were enjoying valuable family time, a strange ship was about to enter the Nova Romae system and bring with it a summons, which would change the human serpent relationship forever . . .

  Book IV – Rising Star

  It is 3122, and things have been quiet. Two years have passed since the serpent civil war ended. After the half year spent in serpent space, much was changing in serpent-human relations. The serpents are a reptilian race, which has been allied with the Romani for three hundred years. However, only in the past two years did the two species actually make a real attempt to understand each other. This was the result of a civil war, which almost ended the alliance. The serpents were now fully integrated into the civilian and military aspects of Nova Romae, the home world of the Romani. Most of human space is governed by seven large and nine small corporations on whom all human government fell when Earth destroyed itself in the last world war. It took centuries to repopulate Earth and that only to make it a museum planet for tourists. When the corporations took over governance of human space, they ran their territories with the same autocratic zeal as they ran their companies. As a result, the CEOs became warlords and they would not accept any dissent. Eight hundred years in the past, they began exiling their dissenters, whistleblowers and intellectuals, towards the edge of the galaxy, in decommissioned ships. Many died along the way and the survivors called it the Great Spinward Exodus. Those outcasts who survived found a gem of a planet outside corporate space. Being intellectuals, they founded a republic modeled after the ancient Roman republic. They call themselves the Romani and they named their new world Nova Romae. The republic grew into 386 member systems with one goal: to exact revenge on those who cast them out. Activity along the border with corporate space would soon give them the chance...

  Book V – The Sakkara

  Deep in corporate space, the Romani freighter Castalia is returning from delivering a cargo of rare wood to the Highline Corporation. They were taking the profits from the sale to their next destination to buy more cargo for delivery. The ship was not what it seemed but was also a sophisticated spy ship that was one of a fleet of cargo haulers the Romani sent out to keep an eye on the corporations. As she was passing through the N9723 system, she picked up a degraded telemetry signal. The Romani intelligence service loved to while away the time deciphering random signals. You never knew what you might come across. The signal was corrupted but contained the partial name of a ship lost eight centuries before du
ring the Great Spinward Exodus. This was a time when space mining corporations first became the powers in human destiny. Earth was gone as a factor after the last World War, and became a museum planet when the radiation finally dissipated. The corporate CEOs ran their parts of space like warlords and would not tolerate dissent. As a result all intellectuals and dissidents were banished eight centuries in the past and many of them did not survive the trip. Those that did formed a new civilization outside of corporate space. They based their civilization on the ancient Roman Republic and called themselves the Romani. One of the vessels that never reached the end of the Great Spinward Exodus was the Sakkara and she held a secret that could prove devastating for the future of human space. It was now up to the Romani to investigate and they gave the mission to their most trusted captains, Christopher and Alaya Slone. What they would discover was beyond anything they could have imagined...

  CONTENTS

  Prologue

  Chapter 1 - Complacency

  Chapter 2 – New Chicago

  Chapter 3 – Highline Corporation

  Chapter 4 – The Defense of Saint John

  Chapter 5 – Border System 13

  Chapter 6 - Brandenburg

  Chapter 7 - Munich

  Chapter 8 – Senatus Consultum

  Chapter 9 – The Saltic Fleet

  Chapter 10 - The Liberation of Brandenburg

  Chapter 11 – The Battle of New Berlin

  Chapter 12 – Hard Choices

  Epilogue

  Human Space with Corporate Borders

  Prologue

  Grand Admiral Bartholomew Finn stood on the deck of his flagship CI Melbourne, the pride of the Coreward Industries fleet. A naval intelligence operative named Macgruder came back from the distant Knowles mining outpost with a wild story of an unknown fleet that came out of an energy field. This enemy fleet then proceeded to destroy five freighters and the base, after which they simply vanished back into the energy field. There was no talk about them using the slipstreams. The admiral would have chalked the whole thing up to a drunken bender, if Macgruder had not had a video log of the incident. Later examination by techs revealed the destruction. When identification of the remains was finally achieved, there were found to be 137 people missing among the bodies. No amount of searching for them or their parts was successful. This was a mystery and suggested that the enemy had taken them. No ransom messages were received and the base was now being rebuilt. Due to the remoteness of this mining base, the events Macgruder was reporting on happened almost a year ago. Now part of the fleet was sent out here to make sure there were no further attacks. The admiral had been on station for two months and it was becoming nothing but a big bore. The Melbourne may be the pride of the fleet but that fleet was far from top notch and the admiral knew it. His mighty flag ship was only a cruiser and the rest of his fleet consisted of some destroyers and two other cruisers that were long past expiration. The only dreadnought owned by the corporation was the private ship of the CEO. The CEO of Coreward Industries, Alexandra Steward, was the worst of the worst. She inherited the corporation from a father who was untrustworthy and she tended to blame everyone but herself when things went wrong. Her husband was the head of the secret police and he made sure everyone stayed in line. She kept most of the money the corporation made and relied on Highline Corporation as a protector. The problem with the current situation was that the Highline fleets were all farther Spinward fighting a corporate war against the Brandenburger Corporation. It would take them a year to redeploy this far out and that left it to the Coreward fleet. If they were attacked, the admiral could see a disaster in the making.

  “Keep the fleet together, no picket ships at the slipstreams,” the admiral ordered and the captain of the Melbourne passed the order to the ships of the fleet. If Macgruder’s information was correct, whoever this enemy was, they did not use slipstreams so there was no use guarding them.

  “Captain, I’m picking up a large energy field forming near the center of the system.”

  Both the admiral and the captain perked up. “How old is the information?” Captain Petit asked. He was asking how far away it was and that would determine how old the information was since signals can only travel at the speed of light.

  “The information is five hours old; if they travel at our speeds their transit time would be just over ten hours.”

  “Then we have time,” the admiral said. “Put the ships at rest for the next eight hours and let me know as soon as something comes out of that energy field.”

  “Admiral, signals are coming in now. There are two vessels coming out of the energy field. Mass displacements suggest one about the size of a cruiser, but the second vessel has a mass several times greater than an automated freighter.”

  Everyone on the bridge looked at each other. “Perhaps it is a freighter. Any telemetry?”

  “No captain, if they are transmitting identifications, we cannot decode them.”

  The admiral thought about this situation and wondered if they could contact the enemy and resolve this. “Send standard hails on all frequencies.”

  “Yes Admiral.”

  “Set the fleet at rest until the enemy is an hour out, then call battle stations.”

  “Yes, sir,” and the admiral left the bridge and signaled the captain to follow. They went into the admiral’s quarters and he offered Captain Petit a drink. After they were both settled into some threadbare chairs, the admiral was the first to speak.

  “What do you make of this, John?”

  Captain Petit took a sip of the bourbon the admiral gave him. “In all truth, Admiral, I have no idea what to make of it. What corporation has the ability to travel outside the slipstreams and what kind of ships are they? We also have no idea what the energy field they are coming from has to do with any of this. Could these be aliens?”

  The admiral almost spit out his drink and after finally swallowing it, he burst out laughing. “Aliens, there are no aliens. Whoever these people are they are from a corporation. Somehow they made a breakthrough and can move between systems without slipstreams. We must capture that technology at all costs.”

  They both sat in silence for a short time and finished their drinks. They had not seen action for many decades and they both knew their fleet was ailing. They were running short on fuel and years of cost cutting also meant little maintenance and every ship was short on ammunition. They were simply not equipped to handle a long battle. Some would say they were not equipped to handle any kind of battle. The captain returned to his quarters and both men, along with the rest of the ship went to sleep for a solid eight hours as the strange ships were bearing down on them. Most of the crew woke up two hours before contact, since they were all on edge about the coming combat. There had been no response to the hails and when the hour before contact came around the klaxon went off and the fleet was brought to battle stations. The admiral ordered the fleet to form an open skirmish line. This meant that the three cruisers would form a loose triangle in the center with two destroyers in front and two behind. This formation was used when dealing with a small number of unknown vessels. Usually this was employed against pirates. The admiral ordered the lead destroyers to attack the smaller of the two ships, which was running about a half hour ahead of the large one. As the destroyers neared the enemy, they fired their single forward cannons and both forward missiles as soon as they were in range. These shots went unanswered and all shots and missiles hit the enemy. On the video feed the admiral could see the effects and the damage that was done to the vessel. He also had a chance to finally see the ships and they were not like anything the corporations had. They were the same rectangular cuboid shape as seen on Macgruder’s video log. This was then the same enemy.

  The destroyers closed to half weapons range and managed to get off another volley of missiles and cannon shots. Again there was damage but it did not seem to bother the attacker, who kept coming. Then, to the admiral’s surprise, bursts of light came in clusters from the
front of the vessel and a few from the side also fired as the destroyers started to pass on either side of the enemy. When the light bursts hit the destroyers, they penetrated deep into them, since destroyers were lightly armored. Suddenly one destroyer simply exploded as the energy burst must have hit the fuel bunkers. The second destroyer lost an engine and began to spiral out of control from multiple bridge hits. On the combat channel both the admiral and the ships captains could hear the confusion and panic aboard the destroyers.

  “Seal the bridge,” Captain Petit ordered and the armor went up to cover the bridge bubble. All further combat plots and visuals would be projected onto the front of the bridge bubble.

  As the admiral watched his remaining forces moving into position, he saw one of the rear guard destroyers suddenly break off and head at flank speed for the nearest outbound slipstream. This one act of cowardice resulted in a panic that broke up the fleet and caused a mad dash to the exit.

  “Cowards!” the Admiral shouted into the combat channel. “You are leaving the colony defenseless. Come back here and fight.”

  “Admiral,” the sensor tech suddenly said, “There is a power surge developing on the large enemy vessel and the smaller one appears to be continuing to engage the damaged destroyer.”

  The admiral looked at his tactical map to see that he still had his cruiser and one of the others with a destroyer. The other destroyer and cruiser ran. May they rot in hell, the admiral thought!

  “All ships attack the large vessel.”

  The remnants of the fleet came in against the large vessel and for the first time they saw how huge it was. “Admiral, the power surge has stopped on the enemy vessel.”

  “Then whatever they were charging must be charged. I wonder what it is.”

 
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