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Galactic Enterprise Log Book - page 11

John stared out the window. The window shutters all over the ship would be closing soon, and he wanted one more look out before that happened. They were about to flip the Galactic Enterprise around, fire the anti-matter engine for braking, and bring the big ship to a stop in the middle of space. Stop is such a relative term here as slowed down and waiting might be a better description. From here John could see the wall of fragments surrounding the meteor. It looked like a giant crystal ball of black glass had exploded and been frozen in time. No, it looked more like an onion shedding layers, John thought as the window shutters began to close.

The Galactic Enterprise would pace the meteor and get in as close as possible before launching the fighters. They would spend a couple of days studying and mapping the meteor and its debris field to give the Starfighters their best chance of success of planting their bombs and getting out alive. Then the Galactic Enterprise would drop back behind the meteor to pick up any survivors and observe the success or failure of the mission. Failure was not an option with the fate of the planet hanging in the balance.

Keep her in the wind, John thought. The Command Section was heavily armored and would protect the rest of the Galactic Enterprise from a major impact. The habitat section had zero rotational motion and was locked in 0-gee. All solar panels and external sensors were retracted and stored.

“All core locks in place.”

“All doors sealed.”

“All automatic sealing systems are reading green across the board,”

“Sections near the outer hull decompressed and now holding negative pressure.”

John listened to the voices of the men around him. “We now match the meteor’s velocity,” one of the men said.

“Ok, hold us here a moment,” John said. He was about to push his way through part of the debris field surrounding the meteor with a spacecraft. “Take us in real slow. All we want to do is make a good impression.”

The Galactic Enterprise nudged the back edge of the meteor debris field ever so slowly pushing ever deeper into the outer layers of crystal shards that surround the meteor. “Hull breach in the habitat section,” John heard someone say.

“All stop,” John said. A moment later the forward ion engines fired bringing the big ship to a stop within the debris field. “Extend the sensors. Let’s see if we can get a better look at this thing.”

John watched the growing 3D map on the main screen. The field of debris continued to slowly expand out and away from the central core of the meteor. There was no clear way in as the map still being generated on the main viewscreen indicated. John pushed a button on the arm of his chair. “Colonel, are you seeing this?” he asked.

“Yes, but giving up is not an option, is it?” the speaker in his chair replied.

“I can stay here until you launch your ships if that will help,” John said.

“I certainly could use the Galactic Enterprise’s sensors for as long as possible,” Colonel Blaine replied.

“Then you got them for as long as possible,” John said. “Be advised we do have at least one hole in the ship. We can handle a lot more before it becomes a problem, but if the field becomes unstable, I will have to back out at some point if we still want a ship to go home in.”

“Do what you must, Captain,” Blaine said. “You’ve already done more than I thought would be possible. I thought we would have to fight our way through the whole field. I didn’t expect you to push as far into the field as you have, so we are ahead of the game.”

Six ships launch from the Galactic Enterprise’s two landing bays. They were built like tanks, and all of Earth’s hope rested in the hands of their pilots. As the ships slowly began to weave through the debris field that surrounded the meteor, the Galactic Enterprise began to back away from the meteor. The big ship picked up a few more holes in the outer hull before it finally got clear of the meteor. The hole made by the Galactic Enterprise on the backside of the debris field became the base of operations for our would-be saviors.

On their first attempt, they tried six different routes that offer the best chance of reaching the meteor. It had been argued that would be the best way to ensure success. Six tanks in space trying to penetrate the ultimate tank trap. For nearly a half a day they tried to push their way through the debris field that surrounded the meteor. One by one, torn and bleeding air, the ships were forced to turn back. Once in the clear, they regrouped for a second attempt.

Even more slowly they went back in and a few million miles away a world hoped and prayed. A day past and they struggled with all their might to reach the heart of the monster, but in the end, it repelled them again claiming the lives of three of our brave knights. We were at a loss for what to try next.

Blaine did not want to admit defeat. Sure the Galactic Enterprise could support those that remained on the ship until they died of old age, but the world on which they lived would be dead. There was a brilliant flash of light on his monitor for just a moment. He hit the button on his desk. “What just happened?” he asked.

John had watched the whole thing. For a moment it looked as if the pilots were giving up, but the three remaining ships flew out and around the debris field to get in front of the meteor. John could see on his screen they were all leaking air to one degree or another. Already one of the pilots had switched to his emergency air supply. “You think you got us beat, bullshit,” John heard one of the pilots say on the radio. The pilot applied full thrusters and took the meteor head-on. “Victory or death you mother f...,” was the last transmission followed by a blinding flash of light.

The sensors only confirmed what John already knew, one of the pilots had used his nukes to clear the debris field from the front of the meteor. “We lost another ship, but he managed to clear the debris field from the front of the meteor,” John replied to Blaine’s question. “The other two ships are setting up for their run on the meteor.”

Things seemed to happen pretty fast after that when one of the two remaining Starfighters made his run on the meteor. He fired both missiles in secession and managed to clear the area before the first missile hit its target. It was like lighting a firecracker against a concrete wall. Neither missile seemed to have any effect on the meteor.

The last Starfighter placed his ship in front of the meteor and seemed to be keeping pace with the big chunk of rock headed for our world. It looked like a race of sorts with the little guy out in front. This little guy, however, was flying backward in front of the meteor, and the massive rock was gaining on him ever so slowly. Earth’s last hope stayed just out of reach of the planet killer racing toward our planet. All attempts to communicate with the ship went unanswered.

Colonel Blaine stood next to John watching the events unfold on the main bridge monitor. “What’s he waiting for?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” John replied. “He’s seen two nukes bounce off that thing. My guess is he is looking for an opening.”

“We are coming up on the terminal line, and he’s been pacing that thing for 30 hours now. We’re running out of time here,” Blaine said.

“There is nothing we can do but wait,” John said. “Right now the future of our planet is in the hands of that young man.”

Thirty-three hours and seventeen minutes the Starfighter waited, and then his ship came alive. Using up the last of its fuel it raced forward to embrace a death meant for us all. For a moment we held our breath when nothing seemed to happen. A moment, and then it was over; the blast scattered the rock in every direction.

“Full power to the ion engines,” John ordered after the shockwave had passed the big ship. “We got a Starfighter to pick up.” He was too close to use the anti-matter engine. You couldn’t just turn it on and turn it off like that; you had to flip the ship 180 degrees before you could put on the brakes. That took time, more time than the Starfighter had air. He’d have to risk burning out the ion engines to reach the Starfighter before his air ran out. “Rescue crews on standby.” It didn’t help that the fighter must have lost its navigation system, headed in the exact opposite direction.

It was a race, a race the Galactic Enterprise lost by only a few minutes. John tried, and it cost his ship its ion engines. They were just a little too far away to reach the Starfighter in time. They brought back one body and what remained of his ship. The world would mourn the lives of the six men who sacrificed themselves for all of us; six graves, one body.

A very grateful world repaired and refitted the Galactic Enterprise with new more advanced ion engines. Also, some system upgrades, a few new additions to the ship, and a couple of custom modifications were made before the big ship resumed its educational mission with an ever watchful eye for new enemies that might be on the horizon.

There were secrets; things passed only from one captain to the next. Traditions and urban legends too became a part of the big ship. The petty squabbling on Earth remained on Earth. There was no place for it in the vacuum of space, and we learned how to co-exist with one another. Unlike Earth, onboard the Galactic Enterprise androids were treated with the same respect due any human and they began to evolve into a new lifeform. The Galactic Enterprise became a shining beacon of hope in the heavens for humanity and to those to whom humanity had given life.

John held the reigns of the Galactic Enterprise for many years until his wife died. He passed the torch to his second in command William Jefferson Taylor and took up the cause of android rights something his wife, Sharon, had fought for in the latter years of her life.

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Starfighter Command is a pending trademark of R. B. Chandler and the Galactic Enterprise - Copyright: 2001, Last Revision: 2018 R. B. Chandler

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