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Galactic Enterprise Lob Book - page 10

The Second Captain

Some Years Later…

Two for the price of one, John thought as he looked at the monitor, a whole star-base gone! And it was gone, gone without a trace gone. One moment it was there and the next, everyone panicked; except John and Sharon of course, they knew the trick. He had flipped the switch that made them invisible. A cloud of sparkly things; it was all very technical, you really don’t want to know how we got that kind of information stuff, so stop asking, ok?

It was Company ideas being built by someone else. The military got two starbases, and the third belonged to the Company. I don’t see what the fuss is all about, John thought. After all, it’s not one of their star-bases that’s missing.

Decker offered a place onboard the Starfire-1 to those that made that first trip on the Galactic Enterprise. Only colonel now General Kessler and his wife took him up on it. A lot of robots asked to go too, so it was a surprise when Pax and Rez said they were staying. Tony took over the Company’s Research Department. John and Sharon had both spent time in the Instruction and Installation Department where they literally went out and rebuilt towns. Decker gave everybody what they wanted and vanished in a puff of smoke. John looked out the observation deck window at that puff of smoke now. He got what he wanted too. He got to be Captain of the Galactic Enterprise.

There were brief moments where he could see the Starfire-1 reconfiguring for star-flight otherwise the illusion was perfect. Four people and 143 androids and 35 robots fleeing to the stars to die; at least that’s why the people were going. There was a faint glow as the ion drive fired. The force from the engine scattered the cloud of sparkly things, and now a whole region of space looked like a giant black hole.

The Starfire-1 was doing a test run of her engine out beyond the Moon when she just vanished or so all the news broadcasts said. The Military went around screaming aliens for a while. That got the Galactic Enterprise an overhaul, and some armor plating and a beefed-up central core. That also got us a ring of satellites looking for, “the enemy in space.”

The enemy never came, and as it turned out, we were looking the wrong way. It came at us from out of the sun. A chunk of rock twice the size of Texas that was so hot it looked like a plasma stream being spat out from the sun. As the meteor cooled it cracked and shattered creating walls of debris around a molten core. This was a planet killer, and it was going to hit us. The walls of debris around the meteor just kept growing.

The lack of workable ideas to save the planet galvanized people all over the world into action. Some dug into the earth and built underground bunkers, others fled to the stars in anything that could fly. Mostly the people of the Earth prayed for a miracle.

Colonel Charles Blaine had taken over Starfighter Command when Kessler had vanished with Decker and the Star-Base. Now he sat studying pictures of the meteor that was just months away from destroying all life on the planet. The core had finally cooled, and the debris field about the meteor had remained stable for the last few weeks. If I could just get a few nuclear bunker-busters into the core, he thought. Six ships and the Galactic Enterprise to get us there… “I need to talk with the captain,” he said out loud. His personal assistant jotted down a few notes and then ran off to arrange a meeting with the captain of the Galactic Enterprise.

John sat at a large conference table surrounded by a lot of important people. Colonel Blaine sat in the chair to his left. “This is our only option,” he said. “The Galactic Enterprise is the only ship that can get us to the asteroid fast enough and still provide logistical support for the mission if needed.”

“Colonel, the Galactic Enterprise would have to stand off quite a bit to survive the blast from the bombs. So I don’t see what help she could be logistically beyond getting you there,” one of the several generals sitting at the table said.

“The Galactic Enterprise can get us in pretty close and will be in a position to pick up our pilots once they have delivered their bombs,” Blaine replied.

“If they survive,” someone at the table said.

“That is why all our pilots are volunteers,” the colonel said. “The ships that will deliver the bombs have beefed up armor and everything else we can think of to give them their best chance of surviving the mission. There are a lot of unknowns given the fact that we have never even detonated a nuclear weapon in space. We have no idea what will happen when we do, but we assume it will get the job done. One bomb should be enough, but we are sending six ships with 2 bombs each just in case something goes wrong.”

“Well, there is not much left to discuss,” the general said. “How long before the Galactic Enterprise will be able to get underway?”

“The Galactic Enterprise could technically leave right now,” John replied. “However, we are evacuating all non-essential personnel, and I expect that to take another few days. By the end of the week, we should be ready to leave. The modifications that have been made to the Galactic Enterprise make it able to handle higher speeds than it used on her maiden voyage to the planets. That also makes us more maneuverable so we should be able to get in and get out of the way, and then get back in quickly to pick up any ships that may survive. My only concern is no matter how far away we stand off waiting for the bombs to go off we will probably still sustain some damage by fragments thrown off by the blast. How much that will affect us when it comes time to pick up any surviving ships will be the telling factor of how effective we will be logistically speaking.”

“I have faith in you, Captain. Short of having Decker himself here, I doubt that the Galactic Enterprise could be in better hands,” one of the generals said.

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