Anyways, here is chapter 1 of part two. Maybe someday I'll write about the war, but for now I'm finishing the story.
The agent stood on the bridge of the Redeemer. It had been a long year. Four years of killing, fighting, nothing. More of what he had been trying to escape. The only positive that he could see was that he had so far managed to hold the Earth Council back and that no more members of his team had died.
His team really had become a team. They worked as a unit, anticipating each other, working together perfectly. Each and every one of them knew what was expected of them in combat, and filled that role.
He felt Kral by his shoulder.
“Another mission Kral?” He was one who had turned out so very well. When the team had first formed Kral had been ready to put a bullet through his head, convinced that he was working for Callion. Their first fight, with Callion’s private army when still hunting Sho had begun to change Kral’s mind.
The four years of commanding the team and leading them to victory again and again had convinced him fully. He was now the agent’s adjutant and second command, in fact if not in name.
The agent turned to look at Kral, who had something between a grimace and a smile on his face.
“You asked to be told as soon as Callion made his move. Hes made it”
“He tried to take control of the Arc? What’s happening? What’s the status?” he spun past Kral and marched straight for the nearest screen.
“Computer: Pull up all recent reports on the Arc”
“No, don’t worry boss. Its not that”
“Then what? You said he had made his move”
“He has. You know how all the Arc’s resources have been going into that top secret construction project lately? We thought he was building a private fleet? We weren’t far wrong”
Kral swung a portscreen over to the agent and tapped it to awaken it.
“Its his flagship. His new flagship. She is a monster”
The agent stared at the screen. Kral was right. The ship was a monster. Ten kilometres long, every inch bristling with guns, torpedoes, missile launchers, and shield nacelles.
The agent shook his head. Shields. He still couldn’t believe that those had been invented. The ability to stop things from hitting the ship? Incredible.
But even more incredible was the scale of the ship, the Annihilator. Twice the size of any other ship out there with four times the firepower and triple the shield to mass ratio. There would be a massive power drain from all that shielding, but it was still incredible. Almost nothing would be able to penetrate those shields.
And with that much firepower and shielding nothing would be able to stop it short an entire fleet. It was going to destroy the Earth forces.
“Its called the Annihilator. Callion had it built in secret using his own funds mostly so that he could keep it after the war ended”
“With that much firepower privately owned he could basically take whatever he wanted”
“Thats right. And have you seen the carrying capacity? Three full fighter wings. Almost all the extra space is devoted to generators, but what’s left has more than enough room for the extra two fighter wings”
“Does it also have triple the ground vehicles and landers?”
“Actually no. Those are carried in this” Kral swiped at the screen and a new image popped up.
A round bellied ship with virtually no weapons, but bristling with shield nacelles. It was again the size of a regular ship.
“This is the new Super-Carrier Class that he had designed. The Belt facilities are producing exclusively these and fighters. Each of these can carry one hundred landers, two hundred assault tanks, two hundred bombers, and four thousand ground soldiers. In power armour”
“And I’m assuming that these also carry fighters?”
“Yes. Two wings. And the truly odd thing is that they have modular interiors. So, spend a day or two in space dock, and they can switch out their ground forces and landers for an additional fighter wing, or their fighter wings triple the ground forces. The two wings and ground forces are the standard configuration”
“How are they going to get the pilots for these things? Thats ninety new pilots for the Annihilator and another sixty new pilots for each of the Carriers they produce”
“Another ninety actually. As soon as they get them built they are switching them out for all fighters. But they don’t need that many pilots. Of course Callion took only veterans to pilot his fighters, but the rest are using the new fighter design”
“How many new designs are there?”
“There are, so far, five. The Star Dreadnought, that’s the Annihilator, the Super-Carrier, the Annihilator’s fighters, the Annihilator’s bombers, and the Super-Carriers fighters. The bombers and fighters belonging to the Annihilator just have better everything; advanced shielding, better weapons, and faster top speeds. Better armour and more agile too.
“But the fighters for the Super-Carriers are all remote controlled”
“Thats right. The fighters themselves have rudimentary A.I.s inside them that tell them when to fire and control the juking dodging and things like that. But the main actions are controlled by pilots via remote”
“And then when the fighter is destroyed those pilots don’t die and further learn from their mistakes. This is going to change the ace of warfare”
“It may not be as good as you think. Callion is still throwing hundreds of green and untrained pilots into combat situations. Losses are going to be catastrophic. And to make it worse as soon as a pilot’s ship survives a battle they get promoted to handling two ships at once. The two are basically linked together, so when one jukes, the other jukes, when one targets something, the other also tries to target it. But its going to be chaos. Pilots will be thinking with the one and so the other will collide with allied ships”
The agent shook his head “You are right. I don’t know what Callion is thinking. I wouldn’t be mad except that he is risking the lives of the pilots of actual fighters, not to mention those of every crewer aboard a capital ship”
“I know, I know. I makes no sense”
“How long until the first of these reaches the battlefront? The sooner they get here the sooner we can start to integrate them”
“There is more bad news about that unfortunately. They won’t be coming in waves. Callion is assembling them all into one massive fleet double the strength of any previous fleet”
“And he is going to bring that in as a massive hammer against the Earth forces?”
“Haven’t we already proved that thats not how to fight them? Show them a massive force and they just retreat only to harry you from the sides”
“Callion said in the press release that this will be different. He’s going to get us to infiltrate their fleet and assassinate command crew right before his fleet arrives, hopefully leaving them in disarray. Further, he says that he is taking his fleet straight for Earth. They can’t ignore him then. They’ll need to face him before then, or at least at Earth en masse as a fleet using fleet tactics or he will pound Earth from orbit and head on to Venus”
“He said all of this in a press release?”
“Some of it was sent to the other commanders in private documents. I might add that they are no happier about being kept in the dark about this than we were”
“Remind me to tell Alexander good job”
“Actually it wasn’t Alex this time. The other commanders forwarded these messages to us even though Callion expressly told them not to”
“So either they dislike being bossed around or they appreciate what we do and know the value of keeping your elite strike force updated as to the state of events”
“My guess is a little of both”
The agent put down the screen, which was now showing estimated deployment patterns and possible tactics using the new ships, and walked back to the window. The spiral of a distant galaxy floated before his vision, magnified until he could see the spiral with his naked eye.
“Clear screen. Resume normal”
The image of the galaxy vanished and was replaced by drifting debris and bodies. They had fought a small band of Earth raiders not too long ago and the debris from both sides was still floating thick. It had not yet been long enough for it to drift with the currents of space. The entire force of raiders had been destroyed, but they had inflicted heavy damage on the agent’s fleet and taken out a carrier and a destroyer in exchange.“What are you planning Callion? What are you planning?”