Chapter 37 snippet (rewritten)
The giant defense forts in orbit over Fargo floated like giant gems. Reflecting the light of the blue primary star, they gave the appearance of blue quartz constructions. Only two protected Fargo, being so deep within the sphere of Fleet control.
Equipped with more firepower then a dreadnaught, they were imposing obstacles. However, without any real maneuvering ability, they were sitting ducks to a determined foe. For all the firepower they had, overpowering them was just a job of sheer numbers.
Commander Justine Garcia lounged on her bunk. In her hands, she read an electronic book. Even though her shift had ended hours ago, she had gotten herself engrossed in her novel. Still dressed, she knew she had to set it down to sleep. However, once she started a novel, it was almost impossible for her to set it down.
Some people find a weakness in booze or other activities, she told herself as she stretched. I’d rather have a good book instead…something to exercise my mind with.
Without warning, the lights dimmed. The Action Stations tone sounded. Leaping to her feet, she let the book fall to the floor. At a dead run, she placed her headset on her head.
“Report!” she yelled.
It was going to take her a minute to reach her action station. Commander an anti-missile battery, her mind was racing. Why would they be calling an Action Stations now? There were no alerts scheduled for today!
“Sir,” her second in command said. “We’ve got a fleet of inbound ships moving in, their engines signatures matching Fleet vessels.”
“Fleet vessels?” she asked, racing towards her station.
“Yes, sir,” he said. “They’ve jammed all communications and launched a full spread of missiles at us, sir.”
“How many ships?”
“I’m on my way,” she said, already knowing it was too late.
Planetary Governor Tina Tomson was a gregarious sort; unable to find a situation in life she couldn’t laugh at. Her ability to keep her head in a crisis made her beloved. Re-elected four straight times, everyone knew what to expect from the relationship. People, she told her cabinet, like a leader they trust and know will keep a level head.
A smile wasn’t one her face today, though. Standing in the Planetary Commander Center, her blood ran ice cold. Tears tried to well up in her eyes as she watched the plot. The orbiting cruise liners were the first to disappear, their loss kicking her in the gut. Closing her eyes, she said a silent prayer for the lives that had been lost.
All attempts to communicate with their attackers had been ignored. They had even sent repeated surrender messages, and those had gone unanswered. Who ever was behind this, she mused with a single tear running down her cheek, were committed to murdering everyone on the planet. And with the firepower they had at their disposal, it was not even a question whether they would succeed.
I just wish I knew who was behind this, she thought, watching the missiles target her last fort.
The first missile struck as Garcia reached her post. Laser heads exploded, sending beams deep into the fort’s armor. Whole compartments were sliced open to space. People died as their stations decompressed or from the laser beams. Those who survived only had seconds left to live.
The first missiles did their job: they carved holes in the thick armor. Following their cutting brethren, the nuclear missile slammed into the damaged compartments. A brilliant flash, like a star, filled the Fargo sky. The matter/antimatter stores ruptured, adding to the nuclear blast. In less then thirty seconds, Garcia and ten thousand others were dead.
Their murderers sailed on, unharmed.
“The forts and orbital stations are destroyed, sir,”
“Target all the civilization centers and bombard them,” Anderson said.
A sad sigh escaped Tomson’s lips. Looking at everyone in the command center, she nodded thankfully. They were doing everything they could, she reflected, and that was their duty. Even though it was useless, no one had given up trying.
“It’s confirmed, Governor,” her Chief of Security said. “The Fleet above is Fleet in origin.”
Why is the Fleet destroying out planet? She asked herself, nodding weakly. Placing a hand on everybody’s shoulder, she let him or her know how much she appreciated him or her.
The missiles were inbound; she would have just enough time to reach her balcony. Stepping through the center, she reached for the door. There was no way she was going to cower down, she told herself, no, she would face it like the leader she was.
Opening the door, she stepped outside. Looking across the city, she watched blue sun start to ruse. For last sights, she mused, there could be worse. If only people know whom their killers were!
She lifted her head to the sky, imagining she saw the inbound missile. It was a fallacy of course; the human eye couldn’t keep up with the swift weapon. Only computers were able to track something that fast.
A missile exploded over the central square, one block from her palace. The brilliant flash of the nuclear-warhead filled the sky. Nothing built without a battle shield, could withstand that blow.
Annihilated in the heat and radiation, Tomson never had time to feel any pain. Fifty million people did with her at the same time, the massive mushroom cloud rising over their city their only funeral marker.
The blue orb below turned murky as he watched. Brilliant flashes from the nuclear bombardment added to the cloud cover. This wasn’t a bombardment, he mused, forcing the guilt from his mind. His orders were to systematically murder Fargo, and they were doing so.
I hope they don’t forget my promised promotion for completing this mission, he thought, keeping any distaste from his face.
“Sir,” Richards said. “All vessels report their missiles have been launched.”
“Okay,” Anderson said. “Break off the attack. All unit make best speed for the outer marker.”
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