The cold, emotionless void of space outside a quiet, peaceful planetary system lay silent, unaware of the short and brutal war that would soon rampage just outside the borders of the body of planets.
A system of seven planets had been discovered by a scientist on a comfy chair on his home planet of Earth. Four of which have been deemed possibly habitable. With this find so close to Earth, relatively speaking, and the reality of an already overpopulated planet, the Emperor, under a veil of secrecy, sent a small fleet of seven ships to probe the system and confirm whether or not they are indeed habitable for human colonisation, of which they indeed were. The Emperor kept the mission a secret, known only by the crews of the ships and their command counterparts stationed on Earth, Knowing, if this information was fed to the over populated throngs of people, riots would ensue and a mad dash for the colony ships would result in many deaths, and much more damage to the infrastructure than could be afforded. The people of Earth were desperate. Food and water were in short supply, natural resources; almost spent. And wavering loyalties amongst the governors of the various countries and continents that lay beneath his shield of protection. This, would appear to be the miracle he needed to secure his rule and stamp out the rebellions.
The lead ship’s command bridge had the soft green glow from its control terminals, light had been reduced to a minimum inside during the travel of their final jump. The Axiom is a proud ship of the Human fleet, complete with a shining silver hull with a single navy-blue stripe down the centre of its beautiful slender frame. The Axiom swam through the void, bringing the ten thousand souls to their latest mission. The long smooth silver ship ran two kilometres in length, The Pride of the expeditionary force sent forth.
“Captain, we will be leaving Jump Travel within ten minutes, all other ships are alerted.” said the chief helmsman. Captain Smith nodded his aged head in acknowledgement, standing proud in his clean and pressed uniform, at an age of seventy, he had a long and pristine career where his long years of service will not be soon forgotten by the people of Luna, Earth’s moon. Captain Smith was the primary officer involved in crushing the Luna rebellion some years ago. Losing many, many lives in that dreadful conflict, but saving, so many more.
Returning to his luxurious chair, to await the empty void of space surrounding the designated Merriden System, he lazily watched the countdown to their new home, which had been ‘confirmed’ to support no civilised life by high command.
Nothing could have prepared him for what really awaited the expedition fleet. The reports Earth prepared, were wrong. Very wrong.
The White walls of the Space station early warning outpost orbiting the fourth planet gleamed as The Gryph aliens worked away at their almost transparent consoles, their long slender paled blue frames dressed in soft blue cloth that clung to their bodies. Their eyes oval and a light blue, darting across their consoles, occasionally calling out numbers and requests.
“Governor Arden! A moment, please!” called out a paling Gryph who’s electric blue eyes edged closer to his consoles, sweeping back his thick cream-coloured dreadlocks as the Governor approached his station.
“Governor, we have seven space signatures, subject to enter near the northern hemisphere of the planet.”
“Alert the defensive fleet, send a formation to intercept the co-ordinates.”
“Commence Security Procedures.” said Arden flatly and coolly, rubbing his oval eyes.
The command floor momentarily fell silent before security teams entered the room, strapping on long helmets to cover their oval long heads, and the aliens at their consoles began barking out dispatch orders to their corresponding ships. The walls began to dim, it was the walls that provided the light in the circular command room. The glass roof, no longer reflecting the chaos of the command floor and scurrying Gryph. Now the lights had dimmed, the glass became transparent, and the endless cold embrace of space could be seen. An orange circle bearing a timer had positioned itself on the glass where the space signature readings would show themselves.
The Axiom command bridge buzzed with excitement as Captain Smith dialled another ship that was riding along side. “Axiom to Divergence. Danny, it’s nearly time, we’re here. This will be an enormous winner for us! Be sure to get your dress blues cleaned, this will be a grand retirement for me, and a brilliant career step for you! Axiom Out.” and with the good Captain cutting off the message to the Divergence’s Captain, the chief helmsman called over his shoulder, “Sir, we are exiting warp, in three...two... one... mark.” The Axiom glided through the warp void as graceful as an angel followed by its six-cruiser fleet. The Axiom, Divergence, Faithful Hand, The Spirit of Terra, The Wyre, The Jenny Lee and The Hammer Head, all left the warp together in a perfect triangle formation with the Axiom at the spear head central point.
All that the Captains and Bridge crew saw when their ships steadied, was the battle-ready armada that lay waiting for them, however the comms remained silent. Captain Smith stood blinking at the floating emerald uniform ships, at least seventy strong, and all had their weapons aimed directly at his small party.
After what felt like hours, was merely seconds. The Helmsman placed his headphone receiver into another port to make what he was now hearing to be put onto the speakers in the bridge.
“Jenny Lee, moving into defence formation Delta, priming weapons, Hammer Head, take the left, Wyre, take the right, Spirit, you go high, Axiom and Divergence, go low! Let’s try outflank their weapons, and get out of here!” came a muffled static voice from the Jenny Lee as The Axiom remained still. Captain Smith should have foreseen the actions taken by The Jenny Lee, her Captain was always nipping at his heels, but this surprise was an utter shock to the old man. An old man expecting his retirement to be waiting for him on a silver platter, but was presented with a group of thugs, attempting to rob him of his one last final great achievement. The sickening reality sank like lead in his stomach. He would not be the one to save humanity from overpopulated extinction. He would be just another fallen name upon a marble pillar in the halls of remembrance, like so many before him.
With the sudden, aggressive movement of the six human ships, The Lead Gryph Ship fired a single shot.
A massive blue gel like ball left the Gryph charged weapon and sailed through the silent void with hellish speed. The first round penetrated the fore-port side of The Spirit of Terra, and exited through Aft Starboard, followed by the horrific explosion of the warp reactor. Captain Smith’s face glowed with the fire of The Spirit Of Terra, awed with shock, his mouth soundlessly muttering.
“All Ships, this is Captain Daniel Arburrow, I am taking command! All Ships open fire! Open fire! Cover the retreat!”
The remaining five active ships opened fire. Dozens of cannons unloaded everything they had; their muzzle flashes could be seen from the Gryph space station. But, before their first projectile could hit the Gryph ship, their counter measures had destroyed most of the missiles. Only six of the Gryph ships answered the insult of fire. Six more blue gel balls entered the void, heading straight for the Human ships.
Captain Smith’s brain finally entered action. “Reverse sub-light thrusters, hard to port!” the bridge quickly began to shudder with the sudden violent movements of the craft. The Hammerhead drove just below the Axiom in a plot to avoid the oncoming blue plasma, however, the ship did not move fast enough, The blue plasma gel smashed into the aft starboard of the ship and pummelled its way through the interior of the interstellar cruiser, instantly incinerating any crew that befell it’s murderous path until it exited the ship on the aft port side, leaving a gaping wound spilling out debris from the Hammerheads body. The Hammerhead’s shell very quickly fell apart as a chain reaction from the sub-light engines engulfed the ship in a hell-fire. The Captain could not even order an evacuation before the ship was obliterated. The shock waves from this explosion forced The Axiom upwards in a gut wrenching jolt, Captain Smith was thrown with the rest of his crew suddenly towards the front of the room. His head colliding with the helm console, the warm wet blood now flowing from a fresh gash on his forehead, his white hair now showing a crimson streak. Unable to regain his footing, the old man’s vision became impaired, blurry figures danced around him, rushing from console to console, shouting out reports. Captain Smith felt a sensation he had not felt in more than three decades. He felt drunk. With another sudden jolt the Captain was pulled from the side of the helm console by a shadowed figure and dragged to the rear of the room where he was propped up against the cold metal wall. An unfocused face was now inches from his own, a dull voice echoed through his ears, unable to focus, unable to hear, Smith blinked, shaking his head, hoping this would allow the crew member to understand his words could not get through.
The Bridge soon did not glow with the green hint from the consoles or the flashes of the weapons, but quickly grew blue.
“Sir! Plasma incoming! Brace for impa... Evacuate the bridge! It’s heading straight for us!” cried a tactical officer in a breaking fearful voice. Captain Smith tried his very best to regain focus in his un-bloodied eye, only to see the electric blue gel impact the reinforced glass of the bridge’s skin that held only for the briefest of seconds and turned into fire as it engulfed the once proud ship and it’s crew.
The Junior Aliens stood in awe as they observed the scene of carnage, security teams stood silent and still, years of discipline forcing them to stare only forwards, awaiting their next orders, ready to move into action at the first sign of trouble or a word from the governor, but remaining as stone statues until then. Governor Arden stood limply shaking his head as he watched the final ship burst into a fire ball of orange and blue. The Jenny Lee fell apart with all hands, just like all the other ships, wreckages drifting through the once again silent, peaceful void. The Senior Communications team stood by the blue glowing consoles with their long mouths drooping open as Governor Arden approached them.
“Find out where they came from! send a message, we will not tolerate any bullying from any race! I want all available information about our new enemy! Send search parties to the wreckages. Use extreme prejudice.”