We have a possible situation
I was walking slowly along the passage leading to the elevator on my way back to the bridge when the First Officer’s voice broke my thoughts.
“Could you come to the bridge; we have a possible situation.”
“On my way.”
A ‘possible situation’ for Number One that could mean almost anything, from an engineering calamity to a standoff with 100 alien battleships. I was hoping for the calamity in engineering.
When I arrived on the bridge it was calm. Was I expecting panic?
Number one stood, relinquishing the captain’s chair.
“On screen,” he said as I crossed the deck to join him.
A magnified vision of three alien spaceships appeared ahead.
“Between us and the Princesses home planet. If we can see them, they can see us. I suspect they knew we were coming. I’ve slowed down to give us some preparation time.”
Of course. Given her reservations about going home, the time she’d been away, the fact she had been living with the enemy, and the changing of power, it was not dissimilar to events that had happened through history on our own homework.
Was it too much to expect things would be different, and better than what we had?
“What do you think, friendly or hostile?”
“We should treat every encounter as hostile until proven otherwise. A friendly response would not be three ships blocking our path.”
My sentiments exactly. “General and team to the bridge.”
A few seconds later, “Acknowledged.”
“How far away are they?”
“We could be there in 30 minutes,” the navigator said.
“Can we scan for life signs, weapons, anything?”
“Not until we’re closer. From here all we can see is their ships.”
The General and three others that made up his bridge attack team arrived on the bridge.
“What do we have?” He asked as he crossed to his station.
“Three ships waiting for us.”
“Same as the last vessel we encountered?”
“We have to get closer. You better get ready for a fight. I don’t think these people are going to be as friendly as the others.”
“You have information on these people.”
“Only from what the princess told me. They have been constantly at war with themselves and others, with ever-changing governments.” It had painted an interesting picture and one that might leave them battle-hardened or battle weary.
“Same old same old then.”
It was, at times, no different from where we came. Even with lessons learned from the past we still had pockets of war between stronger and weaker countries, these days mostly over dwindling resources.
“Let’s just hope their weapons are not superior to ours.” It was a thought that I should have kept to myself.
“I’m sure we are as well-equipped as we possibly can be, given we had no idea if or what we would or could be up against. The weapons are far superior to anything we have back home.”
Which had been the reason why in the first instance we didn’t know about, and once out here, could not get close enough back in each orbit to use them. Our masters had theoretically considered everything.
Those weapons included nuclear-tipped torpedoes designed to travel through space, high-intensity laser beams that would cut through almost anything, including the alien alloy that this ship was constructed of, and a defensive tool, the ability to absorb shock waves and explosions and laser beams, what might be called shields.
The limited tests back home showed they worked, but out here in space against aliens with superior technology, w we were you to prove their worth.
Perhaps today would be the day.
“You have the bridge Number one. Stay on course and speed and let me know when we are either hailing range.”
That would give me about a half hour. I had more questions for the princess.
© Charles Heath 2021-2022