The Illuna Paradox: Temporal Shift

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Mysteries Within

One full day had passed. Gable was still in critical care within the infirmary of the ‘Procules’.

The ship's automated repair system had been activated whilst the rest of the crew were away from their stations. The system could easily function on it's own; yet Dares sought the bland distraction from her worries about Gable, and chose to monitor the repairs remotely. It was the first time that the prototype equipment had been used in this manner and she wanted to assess it's effectiveness.

Whilst she was already at it; Dares also made the effort to continue running every system diagnostic in the book on the ‘Insuperable’.

The crew on the other hand, were now inside the winding hallways of the beast that was ‘Insuperable’. They were exploring it's many wonders with the help of the fearless marines.

The work itself was in some ways tedious and frustrating due to there being such a giant leap in technology from their own.

At this point their technology had seemed to be far more primitive than what was being discovered; the boarding team were learning fast though. Well except for some of the team that is.

‘Private Dustin! What are you doing?’ Colonel Conrad questioned.

Dustin made the best attempt to stand at attention as he could ‘Sir erm...well Sir...’ he tried to reply.

‘Out with it marine, what’s going on?’ Colonel Conrad commanded looking around, at the now sniggering marines who were under his command.

Looking even more distressed now at the unwanted attention, Private Dustin replied hesitantly ‘Sir...I...I dropped my rifle Sir...down there’ Dustin pointed sheepishly with his head down.

‘Damn it marine! If I were the enemy you would be dead already!’ Conrad fumed.

‘I know that Sir, sorry Sir, it won’t happen again’ the Private apologised.

‘I know it won’t! Because you would be dead by now! Get down there already! Marines watch his back! Go!’ Conrad ordered.

Private Dominic Dustin was now running for his life at this point, the last thing that anyone wanted to do was upset the Colonel, and he did just that.

‘Go on Dusty! We got your back!’ one marine sneered whilst Dustin began leaping down the stair case taking what seemed to be far too many steps at a time.

‘Oh c’mon, you have got to be kidding me! Go and get him will you!’ Colonel Conrad asked of his ‘reliable’ marines as they headed down the decrepit stairs themselves, taking much more care than their comrade in arms.

They arrived seconds later to pick up the now sprawled body of Private Dustin. Even the crew members of the ‘Procules’ who had joined the boarding party were now enjoying the entertainment, despite their ill-concealed concern for the man’s well being.

Out of the ‘Procules’ crew members present; it would have seemed that Kenny Haynes was enjoying himself the most. The man struggled to regain his composure following what he had most certainly deemed to be a hilarious event.

It would seem that Dustin had taken far too many steps at once. The reckless soldier tripped after his first flight of stairs, and then tumbled quite dramatically down the rest of them, crashing against the railing of the staircase at the bottom.

The bruises that he now displayed would suggest that he also repeatedly banged his head off of the actual steps themselves during his clumsy fall to the bottom.

The other marines, including Haynes were barely holding their laughter in check.

If the lad didn't have bad luck he would have no luck at all, as the saying went.

‘How did that man become a marine Captain Wood?’ Colonel Conrad asked shaking his head in amazement.

‘I know Sir, Private Dustin can be a little clumsy, but he is the best demolition expert that we have with us, even the President recommended him Sir!’ Wood replied.

‘Only a little clumsy?’ Conrad asked still smiling, waiting a few seconds to answer his own question.

‘Well then I guess that we are lucky to have him with us, you never know when we might need to make something go boom! Right?’ Conrad finished.

'Let's just hope that with his current track record, he doesn't make the wrong thing go boom!' Conrad thought cautiously; he would have to change the topic of conversation sooner rather than later, lest it come true.

‘Okay just keep him alive will you, he is an accident waiting to happen...or should I say an accident that has just happened!’ Conrad said with a chuckle.

One seriously battered Private Dustin began to stand up shakily, holding his rifle tightly close to his chest this time.

‘Sir I’m okay Sir, tripped a little that’s all...I got my weapon though!’ Dusty Dustin declared with a goofy grin.

The man posed dramatically with his now bruised head held high, and his rifle in the air as if he had just won some great victory.

‘You’re killing me Dustin! Get back up here will you!’ Captain Wood ordered.

‘Yes Sir! On the way!’ Dustin replied, after finally rejoining the rest of the boarding party at the top of the stairs. They each patted him on the shoulder acknowledging his triumph of sorts.

‘Alright marines, look sharp! Let’s continue with the exploration now that Private Dustin has graced us with his presence once more!’ Conrad ordered, organizing his units following the unexpected delay.

The boarding party were now off again; ready to discover just what else ‘Insuperable’ was hiding.

The second day had been filled with just as many countless new discoveries as the first, and now that day was drawing to an end.

They each started heading back towards their temporary quarters that were situated just outside of the ‘Insuperable’.

No one would be able to get a good night’s sleep tonight, if they were to sleep aboard the beast.

This was an already a now annoying argument put forward by many of the marines during the first day. They had instead argued for everyone to rest in between the three vessels, yet still remain closer to ‘Insuperable’ for exploration purposes.

'Kiera you are not going to believe this! One last discovery of the day I think... and it’s a good one, it appears that ‘Insuperable’ has its own docking bay. Wait for it...this docking bay is even big enough to hold ten ‘Procules’ if she wanted to!’ Hicks reported, the excitement pouring out of him.

‘Excellent work Mickey. That will be of great use to us should we encounter larger groups of hostiles in the future!’ Which we probably will! Landon thought.

Nearing the end of the second day aboard the ancient facility; it was eleven twenty three in the evening inside the facility, and most of the crew were sleeping solemnly in their bunks.

Kiera Landon was the exception naturally; maybe it was due to her near death experience against the alien armada of ships. It could have just as equally been due to the general excitement of discovery, or perhaps it was even the heart wrenching thought of losing Gable who still remained in a coma within the confines of the infirmary aboard ‘Procules’.

Pacing restlessly around the bridge of the ‘Procules’ and unable to place a measure of calm over her nerves Helena Dares strolled heavily towards the infirmary to pay a visit to Gable.

'Professor... can you hear me? We made it into the ‘Insuperable’ today and we found all kinds of new technology. It’s an amazing sight Professor, just wait until you see it! One may even call it dreamlike...we all need you back Professor and don’t worry we’ll be here when you wake up!’ Dares whispered to Gable, before heading back to her quarters to turn in for the night.

It was now four thirty seven in the morning aboard ‘Procules’ and the ship had been wallowing within a lingering darkness for hours now, as the lonely cold air flurried throughout her hallways.

It was terrifyingly quiet as Dares lay sleeping when a slow, long and very loud scratching sound began filling the speakers of each communications system throughout every compartment within the ship.

This unsettling disturbance was accompanied by the deliberate and crazed heavy breathing of an individual; followed by frantic whispering.

‘’re all going to die...!’ the terrorizing voice echoed.

Dares awoke in a startled panic when fear got the better of her; a few minutes later she made an effort to contact the ‘Insuperable’ boarding team.

‘Kiera this is Helena, did you guys hear something over your comms, what the hell was that? it sounded...wrong, it’s a little unnerving really, especially since the last time I checked we have no personnel aboard this ship or outside of your boarding team for that matter’ Dares cried.

‘Yeah...we all heard it, some of the guys thought that they were being messed with until you called, Helena, I want you to find out where that broadcast came from and how the hell it gained access to our secure communication channels!’ Landon requested.

‘I’m on it now Keira!’ Dares replied.

Only five minutes had passed when Landon received a call back.

'Kiera...I have ascertained that when our teams were aboard ‘Insuperable’ they had to activate the communication systems on their end in order to make contact with the ‘Procules’. What we were not aware of is that this improvised link actually remained active between both ships... along with every area throughout the entire facility...there is someone out there still!’ Dares reported back, still completely terrified.

“K...Kiera...that individual did broadcast through the still active communication link, however they did it from the opposite end of the facility. They must have waited until we were off guard to reveal themselves to us!’ Dares added as ‘Procules’ received the incoming data stream.

The ‘Insuperable’ boarding team were all awake now in disarray. Fear now saturated their minds, while many of them were waiting to be briefed about the continuingly distressing situation. Finally their prayers were heard.

'Attention people, as you are all aware twenty five minutes ago we were all caught off guard by an utterly disturbing message. We have just found out that the message was broadcasted from an somewhere towards the other end of the facility. We have since located that area and I feel that in order to prevent further danger, as well as distractions from our current objectives aboard ‘the Insuperable’ we must seek out and identify this threat!’.

‘Doctor Parks? You’re going in alone....!’ Conrad said, curious what the shy doctor's reaction would be.

‘Wha...?’ he began to cry out.

‘Relax Doc, just kidding!’ Conrad replied, laughing quietly.

One hour later, they were all gathering their belongings together. They could not be fully prepared until they knew who was leaving the ‘Insuperable’ boarding party.

'Doctor Parks I need you and your fellow scientists to remain on board the ‘Insuperable’ analysing her main systems. This includes her weapons, Worm-hole drive, propulsion units along with the shields in particular. We need her warp space ready let alone battle ready...just in case!’Conrad requested.

‘Kiera, I am leaving a sizeable team of marines as your escort while the others come with us, good luck!’ Conrad directed.

The crew of ‘Procules’ along with half of the marine boarding force headed back towards the three ships. This time around though, they would only need to take ‘Procules’ and one marine transport vessel for support. Or so they had hoped.

Following a small sigh of relief Dares reported to the reformed ‘Insuperable’ team.

'Colonel Conrad; the crew is back aboard the ‘Procules’ and your marines are aboard Star Hunter, I am sorry to say that you have the scientists once again!’ Dares mocked.

‘Very funny Dares, good luck out there! Give Gable my best!’ Conrad said.

‘I will do, thanks, Dares out.’ She replied, ending the call.

Back aboard the ‘Procules’ now, Hicks headed straight for the engineering compartment while everyone else headed for the bridge.

‘Hey Helena, thanks for keeping an eye out, I will let you take her out this time!’ Landon announced out loud for the rest of the crew to hear.

‘Really? Thanks!’ Dares said, smiling wickedly.

‘Alright then let’s get this done! Pull the ship out slowly will you? According to our readings, the signal was sent from this area!’ Landon ordered as she pointed at the formulated map of the interior of the facility.

‘You see this area here...stemming from the Port-side section, just after junction alpha where we first arrived through the entrance bay’ she pointed.

‘I got it, taking us out!’ Dares said confidently, the adrenaline now flooding over her. Ever since coming aboard ‘Procules’ she had wanted to pilot her, but there was never an opportunity to do so, until now anyway.

‘It appears that the signal’s location is getting stronger Helena’ Landon reported back to her.

It felt strange for Landon, she was used to giving the orders and flying the ship now.

‘Thank you Kiera’ Dares replied.

Looking at the updated route on the mapping system, Dares turned to face Landon once more.

‘So I will maintain our current course and speed, take the first turn to port, and then at the junction take us straight ahead this time passing where we had originally came in!’ Dares repeated, merely ensuring that her sense of direction was accurate enough.

‘Pivoting the ship ninety degrees to Port and then maintaining our current course!’ Dares said out loud so that if she were to make a mistake, Landon could correct it for her.

‘You’re doing a great job Helena!’ Landon said making Dares blush at the praise

‘Thanks Kiera.’ She replied.

As ‘Procules’ sailed peacefully through the large corridor like an ancient ship of the sea; the flooring was littered with debris and the first signs of past-human presence were now apparent.

Human remains lay still and frozen through countless years of being subjected to the cold anaerobic conditions that were a result of the hard vacuum of space. The sight before them was unsettling to say the least.

Haynes sat at Dares' station this time around, it had been a quick shift of roles aboard ‘Procules’ and the crew were handling it very well.

‘Guys...I can hear a repeating broadcast that would have been set to loop over and over again. According to our records, it has been playing or rather should have still been playing but our improvised communications linkup must have interfered with its process!’ Haynes reported.

‘Let’s hear it Kenny, it may give us some clue as to what is going on he... hang on how come we didn’t detect this message before we created the linkup?’ Landon asked, the question suddenly appearing before her.

'No idea Kiera, my best guess would be that our communications link set up on board the ‘Insuperable’ in conjunction with ‘Procules’ and the rest of the station would have placed the broadcast in a form of queue behind our own priority channels. It was only through sheer luck that we found it; since we are now fully monitoring for such broadcasts after the infiltration into our improvised network.'

'Since we are also drawing closer to the precise location of the most recent transmission, a distress call it seems, I have discovered it hiding there in the message queue. The message appears to be dialogue only, no visual Kiera!’ Haynes confirmed as he forwarded it to ‘Star Hunter’ as well.

’[Screaming] this is Professor Jason Creedy aboard the Gallactic Scientific Research Facility ‘Aurora’ declaring emergency code 1. I do not have much time, approximately twenty minutes ago this station succumbed to an unprovoked attack by an unknown enem...[screaming]...We have no clear indication into what they are after. We can only assume that it is our research into advancements in weaponry and revolutionary spacecraft. We have heard rumours of human colonies [explosion] attacked at random across the entirety of the Republic but this facility is supposed to be a secret. We were recently ordered by the deep space government to begin construction of the Behemoth-Class [static] ‘Insuperable’. We do not know why we were told to begin its construction at the last minute but it would seem that those rumours are true. If you are hearing this, please help us we are under siege. It’s been four days now, we have two thousand souls on board the station...I’m talking families, children with no cha...of escape in shuttles...request [static] immediate assistance. [Screaming, weapons fire]

The entrance...breached...Defences......hold...longer...plea...’ [Transmission end].

Horrified at hearing the pleas of help from humans in what may have just been their final moments, made the crew spooked and certainly more upset than anything, all of those people, dead.

Landon for one felt sick to her stomach as her mind drifted in questioning thought.

'Were they rescued? Or were they left to the mercy of the same threat that we have recently faced; it would certainly explain...' she thought.

In a startling jump of frightening realization, Landon faced the others.

‘Guys I think that we can now confirm, these aliens were indeed here first, before us that is. They attacked these other humans, perhaps our descendants, our children, let’s keep going!’ she announced.

‘I think you may be onto something Kiera. If it was indeed the same aggressors that has been present during both attacks, only with a lot more firepower the last time around, it would certainly explain a few things. It would explain why they were here, as if they were conducting a routine defensive patrol of the facility and immediately targeted us as a threat!’ Haynes replied.

Taking in everyone’s opinions it was Dares turn to contribute to the conversation now.

‘I'm just speculating here...I wonder if this all out attack actually began here, in this star system. We had discovered remains down on the planet that looked to be from a long time ago, perhaps we were here at one time in the past and we were chased out. Perhaps we have seeded a colony here in the future, after what we had discovered it would make sense. This could be among the first targets to have been hit, they may have been coming here anyway!’ she predicted, listing out all of the possibilities with the rest of the crew.

‘Yeah! If this system had already been conquered in the early stages of the attack...then it may have been a bold move to construct a facility here behind the moon, in the future, a place where the enemy would least expect, who knows?’ Landon added as she sat still, once again in deep thought.

It had certainly been a lot to think about for the crew as they approached the transmission’s originating location.

'Well I concur; the ugly question now is what else we have not discovered yet. We know for certain that the Professor’s reference to ‘Revolutionary Spacecraft’ is certainly aimed at ships like ‘Insuperable’. Although there is another unsettling fact, how many more of those 'Behemoth' class ships were in this facility before? Did the hostiles take them? And were they looking for the final ship that was left behind in the future?'

'Another possibility could be whether or not the aliens had even known about this new type of spacecraft, or were they merely besieging the complex in the hopes that they would discover something special?’

Haynes shook his head; there were so many possibilities to consider.

‘We were supposed to be answering at least some of our questions, but now there are million more to be answered.'

‘On the bright side, the area that we are now heading to at the opposite side of the facility is sure to answer at least some of our many curiosities. This including whether there are any other hidden agendas of the hostiles, along with their unrelenting interest in this facility,’ Landon assessed.

‘Speaking of curiosities, the area up ahead is said to have almost fully functioning life-support; certainly more than enough to sustain life!’ Haynes noted, having to look twice at his data console

‘Wha..! The frightening question is what kind of life, right? It’s been a countless number of years since this broadcast was issued. Although...the unwelcomed radio broadcast did sound rather human...there is no way to tell yet...besides, what could have possibly survived that long without supplies?’ Landon reflected looking at her nails.

‘Well I guess we’re going to find out soon enough Kiera. Let’s take no chances though, lets brief the marines so that we are ready to move in twenty minutes. We will arrive at the upcoming hatch entrance in approximately thirty minutes!’ Dares said, immediately contacting ‘Star Hunter’ afterwards.

After calling ‘Star Hunter’, the presence of Major Olso appeared, she was someone who was very close to Colonel Conrad, certainly someone that he trusted enough with this particular command.

It had taken Dares a little over ten minutes to fully brief the marines on the updated situation; and they were now making the necessary preparations for the investigation.

‘Alright Dares, me and my marines here have got your back. We will meet you outside in twenty minutes!’ Olso declared in an enthusiastic tone.

‘Kiera, I don’t believe it, our systems are detecting movement within the boundaries of the area just beyond the hatch!’ Dares announced.

‘What the hell! Major Olso, are you reading this as well?’ Landon asked.

‘Affirmative Landon, we are ready to go, I would recommend that you stay aboard your ship this time around, it may be dangerous!’ Olso suggested dryly, she clearly did not know Landon very well.

Landon appeared to be truly shocked at the suggestion that she should stay aboard.

'I appreciate the offer Major, but fear has never stopped me before. I will accompany you and your team. My crew will keep an eye on all of us from aboard the ‘Procules’... okay?’

Olso laughed at the absurdity of Landon’s request.

‘You asked for it Kiera! Alright we will meet you outside!’ Olso said.

‘How come only you get to go Kiera?’ Dares rounded out.

'I need the best to keep an eye out on the Professor and the ship, besides if we all go, whatever is out there may slip aboard either ship, right? Keep an eye on ‘Star Hunter’ too. I’m talking motion sensors, everything okay?’ Landon requested.

‘We’re on it Keira, stay safe!’ Dares replied.

Landon headed down to the docking bay to meet Hicks now.

‘Hicks keep working on repairs, and get our ship up to one hundred percent will you?’ Landon said.

‘Yes Sir, Yes Sir!’ Hicks replied hastily.

‘Kiera, Dares here. We are landing now, five minutes!’ Dares reported from back up on the bridge.

‘Thanks guys, be careful!’ Landon said.

‘You too Kiera!’ Haynes replied.

The soldiers entered cautiously through the fire torn hatch of the room; they were donning full protective equipment with energy breathing apparatus once again.

They were unsure as to what they would encounter here after all.

As an extra precaution, Keira Landon remained within the centre of the team, along with with Major Olso. This had been something that she did not mind at all, given the fact that they did not protest against her decision to come along in the first place.

As they walked further into the eerie corridor, lights began flickering which had temporally illuminated the otherwise dark and gloomy section of the facility.

The all too brief shockwaves of light impulses steadily highlighted the route that they would be taking.

Faulty Lighting failed sporadically in various places, where circuits and fuses were being tested for the first time in centuries.

The route was still otherwise partially illuminated anyway, although it was still far too dark up ahead. With a startled gaze, Major Olso held up her right hand to halt her marines. Captain Wood noticed Olso first and with quick succession he began to pass along her orders. There was something up ahead.

The team now began walking cautiously through the smaller corridor. With his eyes blinking rapidly to identify what he thought he perceived to be true; Captain Wood saw three human skeletons hanging carelessly from the ventilation shaft on the roof.

Heartbeats raced dramatically. As if that wasn’t enough to arouse a set of horrified looks; the team of marines stood still in what appeared to be the centre of the chamber, unable to move.

One of them was shaking in a frightened shellshock, as he followed a trail of what appeared to be near fresh blood. The crimson blood trail had somehow appeared to have been dragged along the sides of the ancient rusted walls, and then back down across the flooring into another small office room.

‘Marines look sharp!’ Wood yelled.

Doorways and ventilation shafts were being cautiously checked for any sign of booby-traps or danger of some kind.

Suddenly the marine team noticed one doorway that appeared to be slightly different, unlike the others, this doorway was not locked. In fact this doorway had been left open on purpose it seemed.

A clearly frightened private had begun to open to small office door; gradually noticing the deep scratches that were visible on the inside of the door as he did so.

‘What the hell, I have a finger nail here!’ the private yelled in shock.

‘What was that Gowland?’ Captain Wood asked in reply to the sudden shriek by the private.

‘Sir, sorry Sir, It’s just that...well I found a finger nail stuck in the door!’ Gowland cried.

‘So I see, it seems that something wanted out of there for damned sure! Honestly though I don’t know whether it being a human finger nail is a good thing or not!’ Captain Wood replied, looking very unhappy now.

Chain of command or not; this was something that would have to go straight to the top.

‘You getting that Major?’ Wood asked.

‘Affirmative Captain and I agree...everything about this is painting a very unattractive picture!’ Olso added.

‘Yes Sir! It looks bad either way doesn’t it?’ Wood asked.

‘It would appear so Captain, but we are prepared for this kind of thing! I will inform the Colonel as well!’ Olso insisted with an appraising smile.

‘Yes Sir! Thank you Sir!’ Wood replied.

A moment later after receiving some more vital information from a group of the marines kneeling next to her; Olso delivered the updated data to Conrad.

'Sir, we have determined that there are a few possibilities for what is happening here. Number one...Either a human being was trapped inside here, trying to get out and then they finally did some time ago. Number two... someone let the individual out of there recently.'

'Number three...this is the final conclusion, which is an even worse one I must add Sir. We have to consider that the scratching on the doorway, accompanied by the damage done to the door opening mechanism; could suggest that someone...or rather something...was powerful enough to break out of there, and recently!'

'Like I said, any one of those conclusions could be a possibility at this moment in time Sir!’ Major Olso informed.

One of the Privates, who had briefed Olso a moment ago, shared a worrisome look with her now.

‘Alright then Major, be on the lookout for anything odd, and stay safe! Conrad out!’ he said.

‘Will do Sir, we’re moving in, over and out!’ Olso finished.

They were now clear to proceed into the estranged entrance.

Private Gowland had been the first to enter as he was the closest; this was something that he no doubt regretted immediately.

Despite being afraid, Gowland powered forward showing no signs of that consuming fear.

This was the true mark of a marine.

Private Gowland slowly walked further into the section, followed by a number of marines, including Captain Wood.

Major Olso and Landon were also ahead of the rest of the team; staying alert as they checked every inch of the place.

They were probably more alert now than ever before; considering all of the unknowns that the place had presented thus far.

The illusion of movement up ahead forced Gowland to freeze in mid-motion for a moment; he quickly signalled the others to do the same.

Gowland slowly began to pivot his eyes across the enclosed perimeter of the smaller area that they were now occupying; hearing further disturbing noises coming from above them this time.

Captain Wood and Landon immediately stared up at the ceiling with the rest of the marine detachment following in quick succession; they all panicked at the incomprehensible sight, some more so than others.

‘Son of bitch! What the hell is that is that?’ one marine screamed, visibly trembling in fear.

‘No it cannot be!’ Captain Wood cursed in a distressed tone.

‘I guess...I guess we found the end of the blood trail...damn it!’ he added.

Following the disturbing discovery of countless bloodied and somewhat gore stricken, devoured human corpses; Private Gowland began to speak quietly as if he was trying to prevent waking a sleeping beast.

‘Sir what could possibly cause such a mess that could still be here?’ he asked.

A booming voice blurted out, despite Gowland’s own attempt at remaining silent.

‘It couldn’t be those damn aliens could it?’ one marine asked, drawing the attention of her fellow comrades.

Captain Wood could only stare, unblinking at the soldier with a look of regretful belief in his eyes.

‘Colonel Conrad this is Major Olso, over. Sir we have located no further signs of movement within the large entrance room of the attached complex.'

'I regret to inform you, however that we did discover at total of sixty seven mutilated yet...mysteriously preserved human remains scattered across the floor in random piles. Sir, they were dumped here, and giving the environmental conditions I don’t know how they have remained intact for so long...unless...’ Olso began, stopping mid sentence at the discovery of something new.

‘Sir, we have just discovered another near fresh trail of blood leading up and along the walls into a small office up ahead. I am told that there are severely disgruntled remains of a single human there. Sir, the majority of these remains look to be fairly recent...I don’t mind telling you Colonel...this is not filling me with confidence about who or what has been left lurking throughout the rest of the facility, requesting further instructions Sir?’ Major Olso asked.

‘Major, unfortunately we may need to spend more time within this facility in order to complete essential repairs for both ships. I regrettably require you and your team to do a further sweep for any potential life signs in the area. From the information that you have provided me with Captain, I am allowing your team to deal with the situation using any means that you have at your disposal. How you proceed, abiding by my orders of now your call Captain! Good luck out there, Conrad out’.

‘All right marines you heard the Colonel; move out and commence a full compartment sweep within this area go, go, go!’ Olso commanded.

‘Major, I will stay and see if I can find out anything new from the remains...don’t worry, I will catch up!’ Landon insisted.

‘Fine I won’t try to stop you; I wouldn’t stand a chance would I? I am leaving two marines with you though, Carr, Buckley, you two keep a lookout for her will you?’ Major Olso mocked.

‘Yes Sir’ Buckley and Carr replied in unison.

‘Good job, alright let’s go!’ Olso ordered.

As the squad now darted up what was a narrow corridor checking each compartment one by one; an eerie silence filled the air with an occasional sound of hissing pipes where one hundred year old damage lay unchecked.

Captain Wood had stayed close to Landon throughout the entire mission so far, whilst Major Olso led the other marines.

This was something that Landon appreciated considering what was happening, but now Wood moved ahead with the other marines.

Private Gowland taking the lead; once again to his dissatisfaction held his hand out in forestalment to the team. Close proximity motion sensors suddenly picked up ten unknown heat signatures, of which appeared to be taking cover up ahead for some unknown reason.

Gowland looked back to Captain Wood for further orders; realising that any noise would give away their position. Wood signalled the team to swiftly proceed into the gloomy, yet once again somewhat larger area up ahead of them.

The soldiers hastily crammed into one corner of what looked like a large research lab. As they all sprinted for the suspiciously dark area of the research lab, the lighting systems began to activate just as they had done so earlier on, within the section where the ‘Insuperable’ once lay dormant.

‘What the hell! Cap’n! Are they human? Oh for Aurelia’s sake c’mon!’ One soldier grounded out of horror and disgust which had no doubt been exactly what all of the others were thinking at that moment.

Hearing the excessive shouting and profound cursing from the other marines up ahead; Landon and her two bodyguards came dashing towards them.

Landon spoke a few seconds later, as she slid to a halt in front of the creatures before her. It only took her a moment of studying to form sort of an understanding of what they were all seeing.

Perhaps she could shed some light onto the increasingly chaotic situation that the team had found themselves in.

‘Guys...I think that they were human once...but these experiments; what monsters could do such a thing?’ she asked.

Silence reigned for a few moments following the shocking question; and then a possible answer came from another Sergeant, Sergeant Dunn.

‘Captain Wood sir, those aliens said they were here don’t think they were the ones who...who did this?’ Dunn asked in fear at the terrifying possibility.

Wood caught on to exactly what the Sergeant was beginning to say.

‘It can’t be; the aliens came to occupy this facility...and later conducted freakish experiments on those who were left alive? But how could they survive so long in an active state?’ he contemplated.

Then it hit him, as Wood peered distastefully at the ten stasis chambers that were mounted on the walls.

‘I guess this explains the cages over there then, they were kept in these stasis chambers...and when they weren’t...they were put back in these cages! Poor bastards!’ Captain Wood examined shaking his head in disgust.

Wood then began to inspect each cage in horror. He exchanged looks of worry and pity from the mixture of lively to incapacitated inhabitants in front of him.

The inhabitants appeared to be grossly disfigured and showing signs of severe mental instability.

‘This is bad!’ Wood burst out, looking over at Olso after concluding his examination of the cages.

‘Right, marines watch out! it appears that one of the secure holding cells is open which may just explain what caused the mutilated corpses that we have found...this day just keeps getting better and better!’ Olso added to Wood’s outburst.

‘Colonel Conrad, this is Major Olso over’ he reported.

‘Go ahead Major, what’s happening?’ Conrad asked.

‘Well sir we...we have something of a...a situation over here! We believe that this entire section was used as some form of experimental research facility. Genetics Colonel...these humans aren’t even humans anymore!’ she cried over the communications network.

‘Sir we have also found out where the rest of the inhabitants went to...well at least some of them anyway!’ Olso continued.

‘Go on Major’ Conrad asked, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

‘Sir...their gorged remains are spread’s bad in here Sir! When I say everywhere, I mean everywhere...up the walls and everything!’ she almost yelled.

‘I...see Major, keep looking will you?’ Conrad asked, visibly trying to shake off the disturbing image.

‘Yes Sir, there is more though...we have accounted for most of these things I believe, except one cage is empty, we are going to look with your permission Sir?’ Olso asked.

‘You have it Major, go get it, It hasn’t attacked us yet but given what you have told me about the former residents of this facility...well just be on guard okay?’ Conrad cautioned.

‘You got it Sir, Olso out!’ she replied.

After receiving a thumbs up from Major Olso, Captain Wood immediately turned towards the entire party now scanning across their faces.

‘Alright guys, let’s move...’ he began.

‘Where the hell is Dustin...oh for crying out loud...anyone?’ Wood asked shaking his head at the headache that was now forming because of Private Dustin.

‘Sir he was here five minutes ago...’ one marine replied.

‘Alright go get him someone, you four go check!’ Wood ordered the four closest marines standing next to the staircase.

Just as the order was given everyone heard screaming, not the kind of screaming that you would hear when someone was afraid. This was somewhat different; whoever it was they seemed to be riving in pain.

‘Forget it! We are all going! Hernandez, take point!’ Wood ordered, immediately correcting himself without hesitation.

‘Yes Sir!’ she replied.

‘I will stay here with Landon, Captain...stay safe!’ Major Olso nodded abruptly to the swiftly departing marines.

The team was moving at an alarming pace; with the fear that the individual screaming was indeed Dustin.

‘Crap it’s him! Take that thing out now!’ Hernandez yelled, firing first.

With Landon safely positioned at the rear of the team now, they all began to fire their automatic weapons at the pulsating monstrosity of a creature before them.

The thing was literally savaging the still alive body of Private Dustin.

‘Sir this creature is different than the others; it’s much more violent for starters!’ Gowland reported.

‘Noted. Now kill it will you!’ Wood ordered.

A few seconds later and they did just that.

‘No! Get that damn thing off him! Hernandez, how bad is it?’ Wood asked the medic.

‘Not good!’ Hernandez replied looking depressed.

‘I can’t...I can’ burns... Si!’

Poor kid I can’t let him look down, he has no damn legs and his chest...well. Wood thought.

Wood would have to try to keep Dustin focused on his face.

Looking down shaking his head in remorse, the creature may have been dead; more over killed than anything really, but Dustin was dying, very slowly.

'Sir...I’m [cough] give...!’ Dustin tried to say, coughing up blood.

Captain Wood stopped him from moving his hand giving that his immobility was the only thing holding his body together at the moment. All of the medical care in the known galaxy could not cure this particular ailment.

‘C’mon Dustin, stay with us damn it! That’s an order...c’mon who are we going to go chasing after if you go?’ Wood asked solemnly, kneeling down to face him.

Coughing up far too much blood, Dustin attempted to laugh.

‘Thanks...Cap’n...guys...sorry...I’m...klutz!’ Dustin barely managed to say.

Another marine approached this time.

‘Yeah you are Dustin...but in truth, you keep us together...our merry band of soldiers... right guys?’ the marine asked.

‘Right!’ they all added in perfect unison.

' you this [cough]...for mom...oh and...Here...found [cough] this on...desk!’ Dustin said, handing over the blood stained documents.

The first item was a personal note addressed to Dustin’s mother. The second item was a report of some kind.

Taking the document from Dustin; Wood immediately handed it over to Sergeant Dunn, of whom was one of the intelligence geeks. Dunn could look at it later; but when Wood turned back, Dustin was gone.

All that Captain Wood could do was bear witness to the life leaving one of his marines. Closing Dustin’s eyes he whispered a short prayer for the departed.

‘May the guiding wind take you and the blessed light watch over you, friend’ Wood said, resting his palm on Dustin’s forehead for a moment.

‘Sir this was Dustin’s last act...and it was a good one...well good intel...bad news I’m afraid!’ Dunn reported, waiting for Wood’s attention.

‘What is it Dunn?’ Wood asked quietly.

‘Sir, it’s a research report of some sort, I can’t identify the writing, but in short it is showing how many of these humans were experimented on. Sir there are well over one thousand of those things!'

'Some of them may be like the others within their cages but...if one broke out...’ Dunn left off that last part knowing that Wood and the now listening marines would catch on immediately.

'Any one of them could do the same' someone finished.

‘We gotta get the hell out of here! Let’s get moving back to where we came in okay, I’ll contact the Colonel to let him know what’s going on!’

Now sprinting back towards ‘Star Hunter’ and Landon; the marines would not dare to look back.

Some could argue that they simply remained focussed upon getting back to the entrance; but they were secretly awaiting the sudden ambush of thousands of these once human creatures.

‘Colonel Conrad, Major Olso, I have you in conference mode, I have to be quick....not much time...Private Dustin is dead, killed by one of those creatures.'

'He found evidence to show that there are thousands of them things being experimented on throughout various sections of the facility! Of course they may all be in cages...but if the one that we encountered before is any indication, they can get out and they can do some serious damage...especially considering how fast they are!’ Wood reported.

‘That’s a lot to take in there Captain...okay this is too dangerous...have you learned anything on your end Olso?’ Conrad replied.

‘Yes Colonel, I was trying to contact you too just now oddly enough. I am putting Landon on, Olso out!’

‘Colonel, Major, this is Landon here, I have managed to communicate with two of the humanoid creatures. One of them is severely depressed, she keeps asking me to kill her and the other...fully lucid and he even remembered his own name!'

'His name is Professor Jason Creedy, born on Julos, sound familiar?’ she asked, seeing if they recognised the name from somewhere.

‘No way! The guy from the facility distress call! What are the chances! He must have tried to hold off the attackers like the rest of the people here that have been experimented on!’ Wood answered almost immediately.

‘Exactly Captain, he just told me the same story...but get this, the aliens did attack this facility, in the year four thousand five hundred and eighty nine!’ Landon declared, taking pleasure at the looks of their faces after hearing the unbelievable news.

‘The damned future!’ Conrad yelled.

‘Right again, he was just as surprised when I told him what year it was now, he had more to say than that though!’ Landon teased.

‘Go on Kiera!’ Conrad asked after having to wait; he had taken the bait.

‘He said that evacuations of the facility were totally impractical giving the impossible situation that they were facing. He reported that the massive hostile fleet had them surrounded. They destroyed all of the facility’s defences first, and then they began to siege the outer hull of the facility in an effort to get inside...we saw that part...they got in eventually though!’ Landon began.

‘Did they see what they looked like?’ Conrad interrupted.

Instantly brushing off the sudden interruption Landon continued to speak.

‘Sadly not Colonel, He said they landed hundreds of troops inside the facility; just past the area where the hull had been considerably weakened by the constant barrage.'

'They were wearing heavy body armour though. They were very tall and lean; and their armour black and with the kind of plasma weaponry that he described to only took the hostiles a week to break into a facility!' That is a facility which was believed to be impenetrable. After one week, no help came!’ Landon confirmed.

‘Hold on a second, one week is more than enough time to send in reinforcements to this system!’ Conrad protested.

‘Ah yes but what the Professor did not know at the time, was that the hostiles were attacking over half of the Republic's star systems while he was broadcasting the distress call!'

'No one was there to help, because they were participating in conflicts of their own. By the sound of things, they had the fight of their lives!’ Landon said, looking upset.

‘Hell...I understand that the hostiles must have attacked multiple systems throughout the Republic, unfortunately for us, for humanity I should say. It is a sound tactic, I regret to admit. It would have effectively isolated the colonies from each other, cutting off any contact between them, what happened next?’ Conrad asked.

‘Well Colonel, the Professor said that they eventually lost all contact with all of the star systems belonging to the Deep Space Republic. At first they thought that it was their own communications playing up. Then they heard emergency broadcasts being sent out from all over the place; there was mass panic, hysteria, it must have been awful for them!’ Landon assessed.

Colonel Conrad now holding his head in his hands looked back at Landon.

‘Where and when did it start? Did they hit the rest of the Republic Kiera?’ he asked, hoping that they may have a chance to organise a surprise defence.

Landon shook her head at the question whilst Conrad was still talking.

'Colonel, all that he knows is that they lost contact with all other deep space colonies by the year four thousand five hundred and eighty nine. That’s only two years away!'

'Anyway this facility was supposedly completed a year from now and ‘Insuperable’ was actually constructed as a last hope for the Deep Space Republic. This is what they were told when other colonies were being attacked!’ Landon stopped talking for a second to catch her breath.

'He said that no one knew why the facility had been ignored for so long; that it must have been its secret location behind the moons of this star system that kept it hidden. While everywhere else was under attack.'

'He also said that it was more than likely that the energy output from the ‘Insuperable’ was what had attracted the attention of the hostiles in the end,’ Landon finished.

'Alright! Get back out here on the double! We will get ‘Insuperable’ prepared to leave, I will inform ‘Procules’ and ‘Hercules’ as well, Conrad out!’

‘Wait Colonel! What about the prisoners within this facility? There are some humanitarian issues here!’ Major Olso asked as fast as she could, after Landon handed the communications linkup over to her.

‘In short...there is absolutely nothing that we can do for them right? We risk our lives and the fate of the Republic if we continue to search for prisoners. The prisoners' that we have found already have asked to be killed right? What about Creedy?’ Conrad asked, desperately trying to simplify his options.

'Sir he does not wish to leave this facility, he believes that the aliens will discover the facility once again and continue their experiments on them and that the aliens not discovering ‘Insuperable’ the first time around was a miracle!’ Olso admitted.

'Colonel, Creedy maintains his belief that the classified information aboard this facility cannot end up in the hands of the enemies of the Republic. He is firm in his belief that we should just take the information and destroy the facility.'

'It feels wrong but...I am in agreement. If this facility is indeed constructed in one year’s time, then the event may very well repeat itself in the near future. The only difference being that we will know exactly when the hostiles are supposed to arrive and what they will hit the facility with!'

'The only downside is that we still do not know when the aliens' will begin the opening attack and where. We only know when this facility was attacked really. We don’t know when the war is set to begin!'

'Now we can summarise that the vast majority of our fleets and star systems within the Deep Space Republic would most likely take over a year to conquer, which is something. Major Olso reported.

‘So then, they could be here today for all that we know!’ Captain Wood noted in clearly distressed tones, as he keyed back into the conversation.

‘Don’t even say it Captain! Alright let’s get out of here, we must destroy the facility! I have had one of our marine tech geeks check up on the previous inhabitants of this facility, including Creedy and they are in fact, all of them still alive. They are completely human I should add, in our time as far as our records say!’ Conrad informed.

‘How will we destroy it Colonel, our explosives won’t dent it and I’m guessing that the facilities power core is just as protected!’ Captain Wood asked shrugging dramatically at the impossible task ahead.

'A good question Captain, the answer would be ‘Insuperable’...’ Wood and Landon were now grinning with anticipation at the Colonel, and his excellent plan.

‘Yes! The weaponry on that thing would be enough to destroy a planet!’ Landon mocked, speaking over Olso’s shoulder.

‘Alright Colonel, we will be there momentarily, we will be pulling out when the others get back here,’ Major Olso finished.

‘Keep moving guys, almost there!’ Captain Wood promised the marines. A few minutes later they were back at the entrance to the experimental research lab.

‘Professor Creedy Sir, thank you for your help!’ Major Olso said.

‘I am glad that you could get it, although I am still baffled as to how you found us, divine intervention perhaps? Anyway please don’t let this happen! Don’t let those bastards destroy everything that we have accomplished over the thousands of years that it has taken us to get here! Promise me!’ Professor Creedy pleaded.

‘We promise Professor! You have my word and my honour! We have got to go and get this information back to both governments, thank you...goodbye’ Olso said patting her hand gently on the side of the cage.

It was sad that Creedy was giving his life, but there was already a Professor Creedy living out there somewhere; within this timeline.

‘Alright everyone, move out, let’s get back to the ships on the double!’ Olso ordered.

The team sprinted for all that they were worth, taking only a fraction of the time that they took to go in, to get back to the ships.

Finally Landon was back on board ‘Procules’ now and the marines onboard ‘Star Hunter’ with Major Olso. The exception was a small team lead by Captain Wood who were to accompany the ‘Procules’ crew back towards Conrad and the others.

Dares began to conduct continuous surveys of the surrounding areas throughout the facility as they raced back towards ‘Insuperable’. Those same surveys kept picking up movement within the darkened areas of the facility, the uncharted areas where they dare not go.

'You seeing this Captain? I think we were wise to pull out when we did! We are reading a lot of movement out there, I will inform ‘Insuperable’ and ‘Star Hunter’ now.'

It had not taken them long at all too once again traverse the abandoned corridors from where they came from. They now knew what to expect; and most importantly where they were heading to.

'Kiera, Captain Wood, I have remained aboard ‘Insuperable’ as her commander with my marine team here, we can handle her! but we could use you too Captain. This ship is so damn big, keep the small detachment on board ‘Procules’ but I need you here!’ Conrad ordered, although it did seem more like a request.

Wood smiled at the offer; secretly hoping for nothing less than to head back to Republic Space mounted upon a giant like beast such as this.

'I would be honoured Sir, I see that you have parked ‘Hercules’ inside the docking bay of ‘Insuperable’, I will inform ‘Star Hunter’ to do the same, five minutes out!’ he replied.

The crew of ‘Procules’ were finally at a standstill, parallel to where ‘Insuperable’ remained in a silent slumber as the ‘Star Hunter’ headed for an intercept with one of the docking platforms within the Behemoth class vessel.

Captain Wood had already transferred aboard earlier on a very short shuttle ride, making the process a lot simpler now.

'We are only five minutes out from docking with ‘Insuperable’ Kiera. When we get out of here, you guys traverse the outer edge of the bay here before coming in behind us, the last thing we want to do is squash you guys okay!’ Major Olso joked, openly grinning.

That brought laughter from the bridge of ‘Procules’ and a somewhat serious display of fear from Mickey Hicks in the engineering compartment.

‘Not my ship! We will get as far away from you as we can when you begin to move that monster!’ He challenged, leaping to the defence of his ship.

Landon laughed at how defensive Hicks was being right now when his beautiful construction of a ship faced certain peril; even if that peril was not actually there, yet.

‘Okay just let us know when?’ Landon asked.

‘I will Kiera, but you know I won’t need to, you will hear this baby’s thrusters fire up before you hear me. Give us ten minutes, Conrad out!’ he replied with a wink before severing the communication linkup between the two ships.

'That’s it people let’s get everything ready, ten minutes, and let’s see what happens when ‘Insuperable’ lights of her main thrusters for the first time since...her construction...the construction that is not due to happen for another two years...this is weird! Let’s go do this!’ Landon cheered.

It was finally happening. The pivotal moment had arrived.

‘Procules’ began her pre-planned manoeuvre around the edges of the facility hanger; where ‘Insuperable’ was now firing up her main engines. This was an event that would be of historical importance.

'This is Landon, I would like to say something on this momentous occasion'

' The ‘Insuperable’ is one of our own ships, a ship that was supposedly constructed two years in the future. Unfortunately it could not be used to save humanity then; simply because we were already beaten and could not know it!'

'Now the ship has a second chance! A chance to fight! We will be there on the frontline awaiting the enemy with her! Let it be known that we do this for all those who were left behind here, in this facility.'

'We do it for the protection of our homes! We do it for the Cideen Republic!'

'For all that we love in our small corner of the galaxy! Let’s go get those bastards!’ she roared, giving everyone onboard ‘Procules’ the determination and courage that they sorely needed right now.

The message had been broadcasted throughout every communications network within ‘Procules’, ‘Insuperable’ and throughout the entire facility.

It had been a message to mark the maiden voyage of the ship to be sure; yet it was also a farewell message to all of those who were wronged by the hostile creatures who had taken the facility.

The message would lighten the hearts of anyone who did not or would not make it to see a brighter future; including the late Professor Jason Creedy who had requested to be left behind with all those people that he loved.

‘Let’s get out of here once and for all!’ Dares added.

‘Right, listen to that, she’s arunnin!’ Haynes remarked smugly, listening to the sweet rumbling purr of the ‘Insuperable’s’ engines firing up for the first time.

‘That’s it, we are lighting up our engines but I guess you already knew that right?’ Conrad informed Landon, laughing loudly at his own joke.

‘Was that what I heard just now? It was a little too quiet!’ Dares shot back.

‘Moving out now!’ Conrad finished.

‘Insuperable’ lurched forward now with a great animosity about her.

In a mythological setting ‘Insuperable’ would have played the role of a feral creature possessing an insurmountable power and the hostiles; they would have been her pray.

Their only hope would be that this time around; ‘Procules’ and ‘Insuperable’ together, would somehow be able to prevent the impending devastation that lay ahead in the not too distant future. Or that they could at least make a difference in what could be humanities’ last chance for survival.

‘We have to stop this from happening!’ Dares stated flatly shaking her head.

‘We will Helena, now let’s go!’ Landon reassured her, bearing a fierce grin; not a grin to frighten but a grin that would ignite the bravery and hope in one’s heart which would allow them to fight that much harder.

‘Hell Yeah!’ Dares replied, cheering back at her.

To the crews aboard both ships it would have appeared that it was their very faith and determination in the mission ahead that drove them forward and out of the facility.

‘Insuperable’ slowly began to gain more speed as she cleared the docking area heading back towards the entrance from where they had originally came in.

‘Is it just me or is the entire facility shaking Helena?’ Landon asked as Dares began checking her equipment once again.

They could not take anything for granted in this place; especially not now.

‘Hmm it appears that the hull integrity of the facility is destabilizing’ Dares announced throughout the ship, before continuing with her report.

'If I had to guess...I would say that ‘Insuperable’ was definitely rushed into service...or rather, rushed into storage, service pending.'

'Therefore they must not have had the time to reinforce the facility’s hull for the preparation of ‘Insuperable’s’ initial departure!’ Hicks concluded, joining in the conversation from the engineering deck.

Listening intently to Hicks’ most valued input on the subject, Landon began to speak again.

‘Well then, the facility trembles in her wake! That may cause the eventual destruction of the facility anyway...but it’s still probably a lot safer to proceed with the planned destruction ourselves upon our exit!’ Landon finished.

‘Landon you read?’ Colonel Conrad asked over ‘Procules’ communications system.

'I’m reading you loud and clear ‘Insuperable’ Landon replied.

‘Landon we are exiting the facility now; keep trying the communications systems will you? I don’t need to tell you how important it is that we get the word out about our impending doom to the government and the rest of the Republic for that matter!’ Conrad requested.

‘Agreed, I will keep trying them! Landon out!’ she replied.

Both ships were now clearing the huge entranceway and as big as it was; both crews still feared that ‘Insuperable’ would not fit through it. At least without receiving a few nasty scrapes in the attempt.

The drifting wreckage around that area would remain a hazard until they could get rid of it, it seemed.

Procules’ as her nimble self on the other hand; would be able to navigate the debris field with relative ease.

‘I am sure that her shields will hold...they have to!’ Dares prayed.

‘She’s not gonna fit, damn she has a fat ass!’ Mickey called up to the bridge.

Those were the kinds of sentiments being shared across the bridge of ‘Procules’ right now and no doubt similar observations were also being delivered aboard 'Insuperable' herself.

The floating debris glanced relatively harmlessly off of ‘Insuperable’s’ mighty shields; yet the ever narrowing entrance ceiling of the facility was something else entirely.

‘Insuperable’s’ topside began scraping and shuddering violently off of the ceiling.

It would have appeared that the hostiles' had decided to have another go at trying to destroy the facility with the humans still inside; or so the crew of ‘Procules’ were thinking.

‘Insuperable’ was actually bringing about the collapse of the facility herself. The destruction was proving exactly how accurate the data was that ‘Procules’ managed to collect on the way out through the large; yet increasingly unstable hallways of the superstructure.

‘And we’re out!’ Colonel Conrad reported in a joyful tone to Landon on ‘Procules.’

‘That was one hell of a tight squeeze Colonel, how bad is it?’ Landon asked.

‘System diagnostics show that we have suffered minor hull damage on our topside but nothing serious; and shields are holding out too!’ Conrad replied, looking somewhat relieved at the good news.

‘Well then, I call this one a success!’ Landon replied smiling.

‘Yes, this one was a win Landon...but how about the next one?’ Conrad replied, only emphasising the struggle that lay ahead.

‘What was I doing...Oh right...the communications!' Landon remembered.

'Stay on the line Colonel, we need to conference call if we can!’ Landon said.

‘No problem, staying on the line!’ Conrad replied.

‘Mickey, you got through to Sophia yet?’ Landon asked, multi-tasking now.

‘I am trying but no joy yet; she’ll kill me if I don’t anytime soon though!’ Hicks pretended to mock, whilst barely managing to hide his own inner turmoil at the thought of his fiancé being in danger.

‘Stay on it Mickey! I am going to try the government again but...’ the blaring alert of an incoming distress call interrupted what Landon was trying to say.

The message was considered to be urgent; from Cairnes star system; her attempts were no longer necessary.

‘Cairnes...we could not get through to them, but they can get through to us...weird!’ Haynes reflected.

The entire crew now sat on the bridge of ‘Procules’ while she slowly sailed out and away with ‘Insuperable’. They were proceeding into a safe orbit around the facility from where they would be able to destroy it.

The short journey would only take around ten minutes to complete; which was more than enough time for both ships to listen to the urgent distress call that they were now receiving from Cairnes star system.

‘To all, this is ambassador Kimberley Raddle...Deep Space govern... [static]...Cairnes under attack...unknown enemy...destroy...commun...hubs... [static]...President now at least...request immediate military...lost Eren...station...escape impossible...surrounded...say again...all..Cairnes star us...we...damn... hitting... last communications...relay...[explosion]...Eren...full attack...hurry...we can’t...[end transmission.]’

‘Hell No!’ Dares yelled in frustration.

‘Those bastards!’ Landon agreed shaking her head in resentment.

'Anyone else hear the ‘lost Eren station’ part?’ Dares asked across the bridge.

‘Yeah, I heard, they have taken out Eren station. That thing is huge so they must have a sizeable force with them. I don’t know about you guys but my money is on it being the same hostiles that we encountered! They did threaten us after all!’ Hicks announced, slamming his fist into the nearby vacant chair.

‘So then, the aliens are attacking the most important star system in this entire half of the Republic, you know that this is just the start right! Everything that the Professor we met told us is coming to pass.'

'I just can’t believe it’s happening this quickly!’ Haynes said shaking his head in disbelief.

‘Well believe it Kenny! We may be the only vessels close enough; or rather the only vessels who could actually make a difference there!’ Landon added with determination.

‘Just trying to make sense of that distress call...they say that they are surrounded; and that all communications equipment is being destroyed. They say that...the capital city of Saffron Bay on the main planet Cairn is now under full attack also; following the complete destruction of Eren space station!’ Haynes repeated.

The crew were now terrified; contemplating any and all possible options left to them.

‘The hostiles intend on gaining a foothold in Cairnes star system...think about it! If they captured this place they would have access to almost every star system within the sector!'

'It would be a springboard to eventually hit Earth; when we have fallen...I am beginning to wonder what actually happened in the future!’ Landon said flinching at her own words.

‘You’re absolutely right Kiera, we need to get there now but it will take us far too long unless...’ Hicks broke off, a distant thought now coming to him.

Landon looked back to Hicks now in hope; hope that Hicks had once again pulled a new trick out of the bag.

‘Unless what Mickey?’ she asked impatiently.

‘Sorry, unless...our beloved scientists are able to activate the untested wormhole warp drive, using a fleet controlled network where we can both jump at the same time!'

'If it works, we would get there almost immediately!’ Hicks promised.

’Yes! I will get them on the job right now! First things first though ‘Insuperable’ needs to destroy the facility; and in the process test her experimental weaponry for the first time!’

'We hear you loud and clear ‘Procules’ Those damn alien bastards! Anyway I have got the scientists working on the worm hole warp drive as we speak. According to our systems, we are far enough away to fire our weapons with an appreciative margin for safety, we are gonna unleash hell now! Conrad out’.

Under any other circumstances they may have had the luxury of ordering a test fire beforehand.

These were particularly unusual circumstances however; where time was the very factor that could mean life or death for countless people.

The scientists on board ‘Insuperable’ certainly would have loved to analyse the weapon data, and then analyse it again some more.

It would have been a very interesting project for anyone to work on; but for now half of those scientists would have to settle with focusing on the similarly untested wormhole warp drive.

For the other half of the group of scientists; this was the moment where they would finally realise the true potential of the super weapon.

The crew of the ‘Procules’ had the perfect vantage point to witness the firing of the weapon; and they did not hesitate to use that.

The crew stood looking out at the facility from the observation tower.

Landon on the other hand chose to monitor the events down in the ships infirmary with Gable.

‘Hey you, you know this would be a perfect time for you to wake up well then...I will wait here!’ Landon whispered gently.

She wiped away crystallized tears; and look around the compartment in desperation. She was also searching for anyone else who were planning to visit him.

She was alone this time though; as the crew had been taking shifts to visit him everyday.

‘Oh look Benj here it is!’ she said.

‘Insuperable’ began to consume and draw upon the huge regenerating energy supplies that she had fitted throughout the entire ship.

In doing so; a fixed hard point on the forward section of the warship began to shift in position, in turn revealing the presence of four large cannons which increasingly began to build up charges of burning green and white light.

The cannons began firing repeatedly at the facility, as it tore the superstructure asunder.

Huge fragments of debris began tumbling outward in all directions; some of them crashing into the moons, whereas other sections began impacting the primary planet.

In a sense they were doing the hostiles' job for them; but instead of leaving the star system without anything to show for their struggles, they now had access to a futuristic warship.

They also had in their possession; some finely detailed intelligence which they had gained from a most unlikely source.

There was nothing left of the once human beings now. The aliens would have to pay for the crimes that they were committing; and for those that they were going to commit.

They would especially pay dearly for the savage experiments that were performed upon the inhabitants of the facility.

Scattered waves of debris still continued to pummel the surfaces of the planet, and the moons, whereas other fragments of charred material continued to tumble away into the eternity of space.

‘Kiera this is Conrad over’ he said.

‘Go ahead Colonel what is it?’ Landon replied.

'Our geeks our reporting that there are actually two settings for ‘Insuperable’s’ weapon systems. The one that you saw was more of a siege mode, which has proven to be ideal for facilities like the one that we have just destroyed.'

'Then there seems to be a free target mode which allows for the use of smaller yet still large weapons platforms across the entire hull of the ship.'

'These platforms are located throughout twenty different sections of the ship; we also have point defences spread across the topside of her hull and the bottom side for that matter.'

'There are missile batteries and rail guns, she has it all Kiera. I just thought that you should know!’

Conrad beamed after hearing the impressive data being repeated once again.

‘Wow is that all?’ Landon mocked.

‘Well at least we can put up one hell of a fight when we get to Cairnes! Speaking of which, Colonel any progress?’ she asked.

‘Yes actually, I was just getting to that. The process is quite simple really, more proof that it was of our own design.'

'I still find it hard to believe that we will have come so far in merely two more years; when we would have originally constructed her. I am guessing that we have a long road ahead of us Kiera!’ Conrad said.

‘Yeah no kidding!’ she replied rubbing her forehead.

‘Back to the task at hand anyway, we are good to go! And I would suggest going sooner rather than later!'

'Using a wormhole warp drive will literally allow the user to dive instantaneously into a specified location; which of course you may know.'

'Bear in mind that we will be entering warp space from a star system where there are already sporadic temporal anomalies popping up all over the place...’ Conrad left off at that moment allowing Landon to foresee the potential danger that using such a device would present.

She looked back at Conrad directly a few seconds later. Her concern was clear; yet they would have no choice.

‘It could jump us anywhere in the galaxy; or dare I say universe! We have things popping up here that have literally fallen out of the future, the past and other far away locations!' Landon said.

Let’s get the hell out of here! We are ready, I will tell my crew to strap in, see you on the other side Colonel!’ she added before ending the call.

'If there is another side!' Landon thought, closing her eyes for a second.

Back on the bridge after ensuring that Gable was one hundred percent secure within his bed in the infirmary; Landon began shouting out orders which the others obeyed to the letter.

The crew had her respect as a friend; and they all knew that they needed her to keep things together.

‘Everything looking good down there Mickey, Kenny?’ she asked.

‘You know it Kiera, we have got some people to save right?’ Hicks questioned in an uplifted spirit.

‘Hell yeah we do!’ Haynes agreed cheering.

'Alright then off to Cairnes! I hope’. She said.

Dares caught the last remark and worried lines shadowed her face.

‘Helena we got this! Keep checking on those survey scans okay, it is going to be a mess when we get there but you can do it!’ Landon said.

Dares nodded, licking her lips in concentration.

After a few minutes of drifting in place both ships began emanating their own auras; of which covered the entirety of each vessel.

It had no doubt been a safety precaution during a wormhole warp, where regular shielding would simply not suffice but fortunately the huge amassed energy supplies of the ‘Insuperable’ had provided enough for both of the ships to draw upon.

It was the keening sound of tremendous energies being called forth; which provided both crews with a heads up that they would soon be departing the star system.

There was a lot of noise on the the bridge of ‘Procules’ which had immediately brought back memories of the past.

Some of the crew were praying; others were silently hoping for a safe journey into the unknown.

The strange sounds bore disturbing similarities to the extreme turbulence that they had once experienced within the gas cloud near to this star system. One could even say that it was like being back in Warden star system for that matter.

It was also different though; in the sense that they were not feeling the effects at all. The terrifying sounds of incalculable energy being discharged were getting louder and louder though; drowning out everything else in reality as it continued to torment the crews of both ships.

'Oh crap this is it, please work, please don’t drop us in a moon!, please, please, plea...' She prayed.

Next there was a huge clatter across the starlit space; accompanied by a successive flash of bright light.

It was the unnatural effects of the wormhole warp drive that had taken effect; causing both ships to disappear in place, leaving nothing but a ripple of dust in their wake.

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