Personal Journal Serene Falk:
Captain HMMS Broadside
- Mission parameter – Hunting Ghosts
- Classification Secret – Captains eyes only
Pushing my own and Broadsides pain to one side it became apparent that what had hit us was far more complex than the simple tactical nukes used in our own Mark IV’s. The alien device had somehow utilised the same phasing mechanism that had made our auto defences useless and bypassing the ships heavy grade armour plates it detonated ten metres within the Broadsides air shell. It was the old textbook example of the explosive cap in the closed hand, as opposed to an open palm that we had been schooled in as junior officers. In the closed hand the potential for damage is one hundred-fold that of simply sitting a charge on the surface and without the emergency last minute manoeuvre by Bonnie and Clyde the torpedo would have phased into existence inside the starboard fusion core, and that would have been that. As it was the torpedo had detonated on the starboard plane ripping into crew accommodation and one of the hydroponic decks. Surprisingly first accounts were estimating a fatality quotient of only fifteen percent as unbelievably the next shift were en-route away from accommodation to relieve those at their posts. Even so fifteen percent, that was roughly one hundred and twenty souls, and those left in accommodation mostly consisted of young children and parents.
Alien Bastards, I felt the heat of anger rise and feed off the adrenalin already in my system. Closing my eyes to control the rage, I made one of those indisputable internal promises and filed it away for a more appropriate time. We would have our revenge, no one touches my crew family and gets away with it. Deep breath, calm, bastards, bastards, bastards.
The repair drones were already welding and reforming the gaping hole in the exterior of the starboard plane as I headed away from the bridge down the Zero Grav shaft toward what was left of the starboard accommodation plane. As I stepped out of the shaft the waft of burnt metal and diffused bio fluid assaulted my nostrils. Turning the corner, I stopped dead as where there should have been a small friendly concourse leading into the crew’s accommodation there was nothing. I mean nothing except empty space and stars visible through the slightly warped lenses of the bulkhead field that the Broadside had deployed to save the air shell.
As I stood and stared at the scene for what must have been some minutes. I became aware of someone softly coming up behind me. The husky Trans Venusian accent of Mar Skyla the Emergency Operations Chief quietly said what I was thinking.
“At least death came quickly, the impact explosion would have seen to that” I nodded looking at the orange skinned Venusian officer. For most spacers, the thought of slow suffocation was always the monster in the room and an instant death was some consolation at least.
Dirt streaked Mars’s face and what looked like dried blood matted her hair, the sleeves of her jacket were ripped and rolled up to reveal more oil dirt and grease that stained her arms and hands. I didn’t want to think what horrors those hands had dealt with in the hours since the attack. I watched as the young officer swayed slightly clearly fighting physical and emotional exhaustion. Her, eyes briefly closed, and I prepared to catch her. Then she steadied herself and her voice dropped to a whisper as tears cast rivers down the dirt on her face.
“I was just returning to see my daughter Carra when the Impact Alarm sounded”. Her words broke and halted, but by some incredible inner strength she finished the sentence,
“Then the bulkheads came down and I couldn’t get through”. In weak frustration she pounded the invisible bulk head that stood between us and empty space sending jelly like quivers along its length. Collapsing as a tide of grief and sorrow exploded out of her, I caught her and pulled her close. In between the gasps of pain, she just kept asking why, why are so many little ones gone?
I had no answers yet, but I would fucking well get some.