Friday, March 06, 2009


“Good Lord, no. Oh, God, no. What living creature could do such a thing? What demon of Hell could imagine this?”

M’Kal M’Jar watched in horror. The dreadnaughts and super-dreadnaughts approached the plant, carrying what appeared to be nothing more than asteroids in their magnetic fields. Occasionally some of the shielding would lapse, and a faint glow as space dust, plasma and assorted gasses from the solar wind would whip across their surface, revealing their true natures.

“Mass drivers!” hollered the Lieutenant in the SkyRipper class 1 ship to his starboard side. Over the comlink, M’Jar heard him, and shook his head.

“Try again. It’s worse. Anti-matter mass drivers.”

“Oh, God, no!”

M’Jar looked as the few remaining ships defending the planet were being torn apart by the onslaught. It wasn’t enough that the Kregdorians destroy his world. For the sin of standing up to them, they must completely obliterate his planet, removing all traces of the fact that a civilization had once lived there.

Four billion Mlellians were still on that world. The final attack had been too quick. Two hundred million in the remaining colonies and stations, and another fifty million had been evacuated. But the bulk of his race were facing their doom. That day, their extinction would begin, he realized. Once Mlellia was destroyed, there would be nothing preventing the Kregdorians from hunting the last remnants to the ends of the universe.

M’Jar steeled himself for what had to be done. The plans had been set up. The planet that they would try to make their next stand on was prepared. The plans had been made, the infrastructure had been set up. Twenty-five million light years away. At photolog 9.0, that would take approximately five or six days – M’Jar shook his head – ten or eleven days. He needed to start thinking in terms of the cycles of his new home.

He thought about the current Kregdorian expansion. It was so fast. A galaxy or two every day. It wasn’t, by historical standards, that quick, considering that over about seven hundred years they had conquered three million galaxies, an average of about twelve a day, plus the five hundred thousand they had started out with after the end of the Great War. But usually it had occurred in bursts, for a year or so every twenty. Now they were conquering constantly, and everything suggested that the next burst would occur within three years. The next burst could mean that instead of two-hundred forty or so galaxies falling under their thumb every day, five hundred or a thousand could be conquered – or more. And it was likely that the next burst would be for two or three years instead of just one.

What could one backward planet, in a backward galaxy, do? What could this silly little plan of his accomplish?

He would find out.

“Men, retreat.”

There were shouts of disbelief.

“We cannot stop them. We must retreat,” he demanded.

“My wife is down there!”

“My husband and daughter1”

“I want to die with Mlellia!”

“No.” M’Jar sighed. “We can die with our world, or we can live an avenge it!”

At that, most of the protests died down.

“Retreat! Glagnarn formation!”

Half of the ships formed a wall against the encroaching Kregdorian dreadnaughts. The other half gathered behind them.

There was a faint sparkle of light, and a glowing, amorphous two-dimensional blob began to open up. The inside shimmered, as if made of some glowing plastic that was being pummeled by the wind. Glowing scraps seemed to emanate from its edges.

“Enter hyperspace!”

One by one, the ships in back disappeared into the strange hole. After all of the ones in back had gone, the ones forming the “wall” began to leave the wall, entering after them. Only a few of these made it, though, before the rest were completely destroyed.

The glowing hole in space vanished. The dreadnaughts carrying the antimatter boulders hurled them at the planet below. Not wishing to witness the huge bursts of energy that would follow, the Kregdorian craft retreated. As they did so, small sparkles of their own lit up, extended into lines, those lines opened up like fans into circles, and the centers of the circles retreated, forming three-dimensional funnels. There were three such funnels, and the Kregdorian craft entered them, after which all of the funnels shrank into their centers and vanished.

One by one the boulders made contact with the Mlellian atmosphere, and then the planet’s surface. An unbelievably bright light shone in four places, and then the planet below exploded. To the outside observer, it would appear that it had happened in slow motion, due to the great distances actually involved. But to the Mlellians below, it happened so quickly that none of them were able to even feel what happened.



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