The Aftermath 2 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The next morning Jim was on his way to the hospital when he recieved a strange call. "I'm trying to reach a Captain Stock, I was there years ago when he and his family liquidated the Krong race." "I don't go by that name anymore, not many know who I really am and I'd rather keep it that way," Jim snapped annoyed that someone realized who he really was.
"I apologise Captain, but I'm afraid that you didn't elimidate them all those years ago." the man replied. "WHAT!? you have to be joking! There was a count done afterward, 389,000 ships, 1 world ship of all those they had 1000 carriers, 5000 crusiers and destroyers in support I think we destroyed them," Jim said incredulously. "No Captain, that was about a third of their full force, I just returned from their space they still had a force twice the size of what you destroyed," the man said almost whispering.
"We have to meet, they have mind slaves everywhere, they thought this empire would be easy pickings, they didn't realize that your tech was as advanced as it was. We have to meet, they want your tech and are prepared to destroy everything to get it." A little shocked but wanting this information Jim agreed, turning and walking away from the hospital Jim didn't see Mary enter from a path nearby.
Jim took a speeder to the place they had agreed upon, getting out Jim looked around wondering what was going on. A man appeared a moment later and motioned for Jim to follow, entering an underground bunker Jim wasn't unprepared.
The man stopped a moment later, turned and fired, Jim's shields bounced the blast as if it were nothing. Really pissed off Jim pulled a weapon, about to shoot the man dropped his gun and raised his large hands."So I see the stories I heard are true, you have been improving your tech," the man sighed. Still pissed Jim gripped his weapon tighter, "You have about 30 seconds then you're dead!" Jim yelled.
Smiling the man sat, "I apologise Captain, I had to make sure you weren't one of the mind slaves, they would have let me destroy them ." Holstering his weapon Jim looked the man over, he looked like a deep space freighter worker, dirty clothes, need of a shave, the smell of weeks of confinement.
Shaking his head, Jim sat across from him still trying to take in everything the man had said so far. "Ok, so say I believe you, what do you expect me to do? It'd take weeks to refit the station." Sighing the man held out a small video device, "I assume you saw the ships when they attacked your station? So you'd know if what I'm about to show you is real or not." Jim nodded taking the small com. "These were taken a few weeks ago, a week before our jump into the empire's territory." Jim watched the scene of thousands of the Krong's beetle shaped ships humming past on the screen, Jim was taken back a moment years ago when this was live.
"We have to warn the empire," Jim started, the man just shook his head. "No, they have had years to infiltrate the court, I am sure they have spies throughout it, they are no stronger than they were, they just have more, alot more numbers it's how they invade. I have to warn you, the last time you destroyed one of their queens, they are very upset about it. They have taken these years to increase their numbers, instead of bringing the rest of their forces, they intend to take your station and all your tech, with it they would be unstoppable." The man was nervous looking around every few seconds.
"We are protected, no one can hear us, there is a shield around this building," Jim assured the man. "Thank you, though I am probably dead after I leave here, I had to warn you, you were a good man back then and I think you are now.
As strong as your tech appears, they are really no match for you." The man shook his head, "I don't mind dying, I got to see the mighty race of the Krong afraid of just one man, you. I find that truly satisfying, besides if anyone can destroy them for real it's you." With that the man left and was gone almost as soon as he went around the corner.
Jim sat there for a few moments rewatching the video damnit! After all these years to have those slimy bastards attacking again. Sighing he was glad he'd worked all those years to get the station as advanced as he had, guess he'd not be going home tonight.
Across the city Mary walked into the hospital heading to her mother's room she saw the same man from before turn and walk the other way as fast as he could, smiling, good she thought, she didn't feel like killing ass holes right now. Walking in the woman looked up from reading the comp screen in front of her. "Ah! you're awake, I had to get a few things I promised to give you if I ever found you, plus they are proof what I say is truth." The woman nodded though still confused.
Taking out 2 small boxes, Mary handed the first to the woman. Taking it she looked at Mary who only nodded and smiled, upon opening it tears of joy started to fall from her eyes.
"I was told if I ever found you I was to give these to you, I don't know what they are so I haven't a clue why she wanted me to give them to you." The woman's eyes now full of tears reached in grasping the blanket with the Stock royal seal. Beneath she found the necklace her husband had commissioned a jewler to make when the girls had been born.
They also carried the royal seal, true to her word she hadn't told of the family's secret, though she was the last who knew. "This was the blanket that Ann was laying on that night I put her and Mary asleep. This," she said holding up the necklace, "was to be given to Ann when she reached 21." Tears started anew as she realised that it had been so long since she'd seen either of the girls. Mary was shocked, these necklaces weren't just for show they had royal significance but try as she could she'd never found out what it was.
Opening the other box the woman took out the other blanket and necklace, "these were Mary's they were both so beautiful, it took us a few years after they were taken, before I could think of trying again.
I'm sorry I didn't mean to bore you with ancient history. I thank you for bringing them to me, at least I know they weren't killed when they were taken, I just hope they were happy." Mary had a million questions to ask but wasn't sure she was ready yet, starting to walk out, she stopped and asked, "I hear you're out of here in a few days, I may have more for you where can I reach you?" "I'll be at the Stock estates, it's the only place I have to go, for now." the woman said.
Mary nodded and headed out for the palace, she wondered how far Jim had gotten, once he got up. Mary was amazed that Jim wasn't there when she arrived, plus nothing had been done. 30 minutes later Jim arrived and he and Mary started in on the distance MTM again. Jim was unsure who he could trust with the news, he had to find a way to be sure, about half the day gone, Jim again for the hundreth time, looked over the data from the comp, suddenly an idea hit him and he pulled a scanner from the desk.
The readings he got of the Krong had specific brain waves, if he could isolate them then he could get a reading from someone who was a mind slave. Scanning his self then mary he got the normal readings. Walking out he started to scan everyone he passed but got nothing, arriving in the palace he was scanning the guards when a maid passed and Jim's scanner went off.
Pulling his stunner he followed her till they were alone. Unconscious the readings were off the scale, looking closer he saw that the brainwaves were close to Krong brainwaves.
Sighing he pulled a device he'd never used from back before the war. Attaching the nodes to the woman's head he checked the readings again the turned the extractor on, at first there was no reaction. A few minutes later the woman screamed but the voice was that of a Krong, "What have you done human! YOU! NO!" Another scream and Jim knew that the mind of the Krong was now inside recorded. He could imagine where the Krong was, that there would be nothing but an empty, brainless body.
Smiling Jim began to read all the information the mind gave up having no choice now that he controled it. Smiling for a moment, then Jim was made aware that they would know that he knew, sighing he was going to have to tell Mary. Walking in Jim told her everything that he'd found out. "I received information that years ago when the Stock family took out the Krong, the empire thought it was wiped out, the information shows that the attack years ago was only with 1/3 of their whole forces," sighing Jim waited for her reaction.
"I kind of figured that, from the description I got of them they are alot like insects, swarming in more than one direction," she replied. "I've also been told there are coming back to finish, this time with their whole force," here Jim sighed, "I heard that 5 people with advanced tech took them out, I don't have 5 people or the tech they had but I think mine will do.
I think I could take them." "Hey! what do I look like!? I can fire faster and better than you, don't even think of going without me! she shouted. "From what I got from this Krong mind they will move up their time table and attack sooner, "Jim said. 2 days later Jim and Mary had perfected (to a point) the distance MTM, Dickie had taken over the space station and constructed the recieving point, going through the whole staff Jim had found 10 more spies hidden within just the staff.
Everyone in the palace was scanned 5 personel guards, 10 soldiers, hell even the cook had been one. Sighing Jim knew that the Krong would be more than pissed now especially when Jim destroyed the minds in front of one still attached to its Krong body. Though Jim didn't kill if he didn't have to, this time he took an almost perverse pleasure to listening to the dying screams of the Krong.
Hell even Mary had been shocked at his reckless abandon of it all. Knowing that they didn't have time to find them all, Jim and Mary decided to go to the station alone. Mary wasn't the sure, after all a few enemies were one thing but over half a million ships was a different thing all together.
Uncloaking the space station did a little more than raise a few eye brows, especially when it had been parked in orbit around the planet.
Jim told Amber what was going on and what and how he'd found out, to say that she wasn't happy was an understatement. "You do realize that if you get killed, then I'll have to resurrect you so I can kill you myself," Amber breathed out, she'd just found him a year and a half ago and she'd be damned if she was going to lose him now.
They'd moved to the lab about to transport when Jim remembered something he wanted to take with him. Mary looked curiously at him and the small black box he was holding, there was something familiar about it, damn what was it? The way he clutched at it, it was something extremely important. Once aboard they set out for the coordinates near the border of Krong and Imperial space. Jim knew they weren't too long from a full out battle and suggested they sleep, to which Mary readily agreed.
Laying down she thought she heard Jim an hour later ordering Dickie to build as many as he could till the attack started, build? What the hell was Jim up to now, it must have to do with the little black box. They sat in almost silence for 5 days Jim had brought all the plans he and Mary had worked on improving shields, power consumption and increased power output.
Looking over everything Mary was impressed at the sheer magnitude of power that these new shields, that Jim worked to incorporate into the exsisting system, a bountiful power house in their own right. The plasma turrets were so powerful Mary was having trouble calculating exactly how powerful they really were. Jim worked almost tirelessly checking everything at least twice a day, on the last day before the attack Jim actually disappeared for a few hours and try as she might she couldn't pick the locks well enough to get all that far.
Then just as suddenly he reappeared, when she asked, he just said he was checking the back up systems, smiling Mary had known him too long to not know when he was and wasn't lying. The next day starting like the rest, was abruptly interrupted by a loud wailing of several alarms. Outside Jim and Mary saw a huge rift open, thousands of beetle shaped ships spilling through increasing by the second.
Turning the guns on Jim and Mary ran for their central positions. Jim smiled not this time, his shields were a thousand times more powerful, his weapons had 3 times the power and an endless system of self- perpetuating power sources, to say he wasn't ready was the understatement of the millennium. The Krong were still pouring out of the rift when an insect like face (if you could call it that) appeared on the screen. "I know that you can understand me, we give you one of your hours to surrender, or then you die," the Krong commander said.
"Then I have a message for you, come then and your race is finished, you are nothing to my tech." Jim spat out the hate apparent on his face.
As if to answer, Jim fired at the lead ship and watched as several hundreds of ships disappeared. Smiling Jim was pleased the gun was better than he'd hoped. A few hundred ships attacked and were blanked out by Mary's gun just as fast. There was an almost palatable thickness to the situation as the Krong fleet broke into 4 parts and moved into attack positions.
Jim jumped up and started syncing up all the guns around the station to act as one.
Within minutes the fleet started to attack for an hour they wiped out wave after wave of the Krong, then there was an even louder alarm going off. "It's about time," Jim said, pointing out to Mary, "that's a world ship but I know there's more than one I suspect there are 3 more out there. Keep alert I've got a surprise for them." With that Jim started flipping switches and a few moments later ships all around the station started to disappear not blown up just vaporized after 10 minutes of this they actually backed off.
All that is but the world ship, It was eating up space at an alarming rate, Jim could see that they were going to try and ram the station, smiling he pressed another button and the world ship exploded in a titanic show of debris and lights.
"Well, that's one, still got a ways to go though," Jim shouted, "we should be seeing the others soon." Mary just nodded her head, there were debris everywhere and still they kept coming, it was just as she'd seen in the woman's mind. Mary could swear that they hadn't thinned at all, the next 2 hours they were still destroying the beetle ships when another alarm went off, this time on the opposite side of the station, Jim had been expecting this arming the second planet killer he saw the sudden build up of ships that started firing at the shield.
Damnit! After 2 hours the shield had started to weaken in one spot, firing the weapon early, everything was wiped out within 2 miles of the station.
Sighing Jim saw that a fourth of the world ship was left well, he thought at least it was useless now. Running to the sheid generator he saw that part of the circuit was fried, Damnit! switching to the back ups would limit the amount of back up later.
For another 2 hours they fired, the Krong coming in wave after wave, though Mary had been expecting it, to her human mind it seemed as if they'd never stop coming.
The third world ship had moved in much faster than Jim had thought it would, still he'd been ready catching it within a mile of the station, rocking them, Jim had run making sure everything was still working 4 of the 10 reactors had shut down to recharge taking in more outside energy before they could restart.
Down almost half power Jim estimated that in 5 hours they'd eliminated half of the fleet but he couldn't be sure, plus he swore that he could feel 3 more world ships out there.
Another 2 hours Jim was starting to feel the fatigue, he was sure Mary felt it also, the fourth world ship came in blasting with everything it had, destroying it, the alarm continued to go off, the fifth had attacked thinking his weapon had to recharge. Smiling Jim flipped the second set of switches and watched it go up in an amazing display of destruction. Jim knew that the battle might go on for a day or more, sighing he tried to think of a way to speed up the battle.
After 7 hours of continuous firing the Krong had backed off just out of the station's range, Jim breathed a small sigh of relief. The Krong didn't know it but they'd sealed their own fate they were giving the reactors time to re-energize, Jim was a little worried and had worked briefly on the back-ups getting one set ready to go again though he didn't know just how long they would last.
For maybe an hour the Krong held off giving Jim and Mary time to eat and rest a bit. ""Dickie status," Jim asked of his AI "We are experiencing a loss of 20% of full power, at present I have marked the destruction of 1 million 300 thousand 851 Krong ships including 5 world ships, I am not detecting much beyond the front line of ships.
I suggest we finish the battle soon, as you and The Willow are showing first stage signs of severe fatigue." It quiped. Jim was a little amazed that they had taken out that many ships, but by his estimates the Krong had started with well over 2 million ships.
Damnit! If what he felt was right, there were at least a million more out there and no less than 3 more world ships. Almost an exact hour later the Krong started in again but Jim could see that they had changed tactics, these attacks weren't random and they were once again targeting two spots on the shields.
All reactors operating near 90% Jim was still thinking of a way to speed things up. "Dickie, how many vapor drops do we have now?" Jim asked "I have just completed the latest batch, I now have 100,000 not nearly as many as before when the battle started." Dickie droned in monotone. "Load all four DMTM's, set the controls to my com, charge the third planet killer, continue to make what repairs you can to all systems and monitor shields and all attacks for any weak points in the shields," Jim instructed.
"Compliance," Dickie replied Once again Jim and Mary started firing wiping out ships left and right, Jim was keeping his eyes alert for the world ships as they could seriously damage the station if they got close enough, another hour passed.
The reactors were starting to strain a little but nothing Jim hadn't seen before, The Krong were actually starting to get a few shots partly through the shield but not close enough to do any real damage. 11 hours after the battle had started the Krong commander was starting to get impatient, screaming at all the fighter ships, he commanded them to ram the shield over and over til it was obliterated, loyal to a fault the fighters joined in mass and started suicide runs at the shield.
Jim figured it out almost too late, barely wiping out the three world ships as they advanced on the station, the blast of all three shook the station with a force enough to knock out 4 reactors for an hour. Knowing that they really had no time at all, Jim worked to get as many systems back online as he could, besides the reactors they'd lost 2 of the three planet killers. Jim wasn't sure that the shields could take another blast like that either.
Mary was starting to feel the fatigue setting in, Damn! she was glad she worked out each day and obviously Jim did also, but it was still starting to take a toll on her. Finally 12 hours after it had started the Krong forces weren't as thick as they were before. Jim almost had the 4 reactors online when 2 more went done, Damn!
a few more minutes and they'd be set. The power down 60% Jim was rushing to get them back on but he wasn't sure he could in time. 10 minutes was all he needed, 5 if he pushed it. Not sure he should push or not the decision was made for him 2 minutes later, a huge shape was moving forward, Mary's mouth hung open it appeared to be a world ship but was impossibly huge.
To say that it could swallow a sun and have room for alot more was the best way she could put it. "Dickie status of vapor drops," Jim asked. "There are approximately 230,000 in all 4 DMTM rooms, they are can produce enough enough destructive force to equal the force of almost 2 planet killers at the same time but only in activated at the same instant." Dickie droned on.
Jim knew he'd only have one chance at this, rapidly adjusting, calculating Jim flipped switches taking safeties off setting the reactor to full, increasing the output of everything to well past dangerous limits, Jim told mary to prepare this might not go as well as he would hope it to.
The huge World ship had started to accelerate towards the station, Jim hit several buttons and watched as a small chunk at the back of the ship flashed out, undaunted the ship kept coming. Cursing Jim hit a few more buttons, this tims a section of one of the engines blew apart, crippled the ship continued to advanced a minute later it opened fire on the station.
Snapping the shields up Jim drove the 4 reactivated reactors up to the brink of explosion. The world ship's shots weren't getting through but it wouldn't be long now. Rapidly adjusting everything he could Jim activated the last of the vapor drops, checking his calculations a last time and adjusting one last time Jim hit three banks of switches and said a prayer.
The night of space was suddenly lit up, the world ship flashed 5 million voices screamed as the energy tore the ship apart and everything within 200 miles of the station. The resulting blast pushed everything that Jim had worked on for years to the brink of exploding, wisely dropping radiation shields Jim was running for the room that Mary was in when the blast reached the station.
Damnit! Jim thought I'm not going to make it, grabbing a bulk head Jim could only hang on as the station was tossed to and fro.
Bashing up against the wall Jim was about to lose consciousness when he thought he felt a hand pull him into an anti grav safe room. Trying to look up he thought he saw Mary with tears in her eyes her hands, arms and chest covered in blood, looking around Jim thought, I hope that it worked or we're fucked, that took everything, they'd barely have energy to breathe for 8 - 10 hours.
Looking at Mary he tried to smile and raise a hand to her face, funny he was so tired and felt so heavy. One last look at Mary and the world started to go black damn! could that woman scream! Shit it made his head hurt. With that darkness took him all he could think about was amber and the children they ougt to be safe now. Amber and the Imperial fleet were only 3 hours away when the instruments on the bridge went crazy, holy shit What the hell had that been?
The scientists on board said it was the same intensity of a super nova the temperatures were almost as hot. They'd been trying to raise Jim and Mary for 12 hours now. Amber understood the reason he and Mary had gone but a few more people wouldn't have hurt.
For hours since they'd picked up the energy readings, they could only guess at the status of the battle. 2 hours later they dropped out of light speed, what met them was something of a nightmare. As far as the eye could see there was wreckage, parts of bodies, ships, star drives nothing was left intact. Moving closer they saw what appeared to be a planet most of it blown away. Amber didn't really care about anything she saw, where the hell was the station? The closer they got to the signal the station was sending out the thicker the debris grew.
Mary had managed to stop the bleeding but Jim had passed out, she was afraid he'd slip into a coma, moving Jim to the infirmary, she hooked up her spare power packs to the bio bed and equipment, barely enough to heal she looked at the readings. It had barely repaired a fraction of the damage to his brain, but as far as she could see, he wasn't bleeding on his brain. Adjusting a few more settings the healing started to speed up but it would only prolong his life there wasn't enough energy for a proper healing.
Cursing she went to the reactor room and adjusted more settings getting, finally 1 reactor on line. Feeling the air starting to clear she rushed back to Jim. The bio bed had finally gotten enough power but it'd take far to long at this rate. Damnit! She tried again to get the reactors online but the configuration was unlike anything she'd ever seen. 2 hours had passed though the one reactor had helped very much, Mary was afraid she was going to lose Jim.
Crying for only the third time in her life she cursed Jim for sending her so early, had she been closer she'd been able to get him in sooner. Sighing she consigned her self to wait till the reactors were back up. A half hour later a proximity alert went off.
What the fuck? She thought they were all dead she'd not had a life reading in hours. Getting to a window she saw the imperial fleet baring down on them.
Amber was staring at the station, the outer ring was severly damaged, massive damage to the central spire, forget trying to move both light speed and conventional drives were wrecked, all six hanger bays were damaged. Yet, through all this Amber was reading 2 life forms onboard the station, WHAT!? 2? That's all? Locking into an emergency portal Amber and her troops moved into what was left of the station, heading for the central command Amber stopped short screaming when she caught sight of Jim in the bio-bed and Mary covered in blood.
TO BE CONTINUED