Chapter 1 - Genocide
Eradicating all life on your home world and massacring your people was not something most military officers planned or attempted. Leading the enemy forces to commit murder was not a career move that officers generally made but any job that Sonya was assigned she planned to excel at, no matter how unpleasant or despicable.
The planet Everette was located in the 11 Leonis Minoris system. A star located thirty seven light years away from Earth in the northern constellation of Leo Minor. The star was a G-type main sequence star which was more massive, but not nearly as bright as the sun humanity grew up under. Another star, a red dwarf was another key component of the system. It was much dimmer than the primary and had a very eccentric orbit that ranged from four astronomical units out to around sixty three. Right now it was around forty AU out.
Everette, against the odds, was a planet nestled into the very narrow Goldilocks zone between the two stars. The moon named Olive acted as a line backer, intercepting and otherwise protecting the planet from the interstellar flotsam that wandered her way and provided just enough pull to give the temperate world tides. What it could not protect against was a swarm of torpedoes moving at extremely high velocity and still trying to reach light speed as the warships and defensive stations of Everette began to detect the incoming assault.
With the attack coming at such a high speed the defenders would have little response time. Minutes maybe, milliseconds if they were napping.
A spy drone in orbit around Everette gave Sonya real time information through a tachyon link. While the range was not unlimited, tachyon links allowed for faster than light communication. Each one of her torpedoes had a tachyon link so it could receive targeting updates and adjust to a potentially changing situation.
To her senses it looked like she was standing in space. Swirling icons and ghostly planets hovering around her. With her eyes and fingers she could zoom into scrutinize anything or bring up a small tab for that object that contained relevant information. Her real body was ensconced in an acceleration couch, already armored in case of an attack. This VR instance allowed her to ignore anything in the real world that might distract her, like acceleration or weapon impacts against the hull.
The forces defending Everette were not napping, but they didn’t detect her torpedoes until they were ready to launch. She could almost hear the panicked responses from the defenders as they saw a thousand torpedoes appear on their sensors and then begin to deploy their missiles. Few missiles had warheads, most were nothing more than engines attached to steel rods, or packets of metal pellets that would achieve kinetic kills. At those velocities a grain of sand could be lethal. The engines were only there to provide minor course adjustments as the steel rods locked onto targets.
Thousands of tonnes of chaff and sand were thrown into space to try and blunt the attack, but it was too little, too late. The writing was on the wall. The end results were a forgone conclusion the only real question was the details.
The various space stations scrambled to use their station keeping engines to accelerate into an unpredictable direction, a sad attempt to avoid the destruction coming their way. Some were boosting so hard they would have fatalities as people, unprepared for the sudden acceleration and gravity increase, would be slammed to the appropriate surface with bone shattering force. Tens of thousands were dying aboard those stations, maybe more millions would be injured, and those were optimistic odds. The planetary population was only around three hundred million, which made the planet seem almost uninhabited compared to Earth, but in orbit there were on average around ten million.
Behind the first wave of torpedoes was a second wave of torpedoes. They were not moving at such a high velocity because Sonya didn’t want their payload of metal pellets to hit the planet at such high velocities. They would serve another purpose which would be just as devastating as the first.
Around Everette military warships were boosting for space.
Some of the missiles aimed at Everette decelerated sharply which eventually caused their payload to shatter, spilling billions of small metal pellets into space. Any space station that did not flee to the other side of Everette and any ship still in the path had a high probability of being hit by one or more of the pellets. Those unlucky ships would have time to see the primary kill missiles zip by before they died.
Sonya refused to listen to the panicked screams on the civilian bands as she watched ships and stations accelerate at life threatening speeds to try and escape the tsunami of death that was about to fall upon the beautiful blue and green orb. She also refused accept any communications from the defense forces. There was nothing she could do to stop the wave of destruction anyways and she wasn’t one to gloat, not when she wanted to weep. Many people would have less than a minute to understand they were going to die. They would have been going about their day, living their lives, going to class, playing their games, enjoying time with their children and then suddenly they would see they were going to die and there wasn’t a damn thing they could do.
The primary strike missiles began to hit, sowing devastation at almost light speeds across the planet and moon. Precious few escaped the second wave of destruction. The planet side facing the torpedo attack was a glowing ruin within seconds as the kinetic strike missiles attempted to shatter the planetary crust, throwing up millions of tons of dust and ash into the atmosphere which would end up killing everyone on the other side of the planet eventually.
The secondary strike torpedoes released their payloads of missiles and a minute later those missiles decelerated and released their payload of nickel pellets.
Billions of pellets slid into orbit around Everette. They would create a shell of fast moving projectiles, rocketing around the planet in an ever changing and lethal shield that would endanger anyone trying to leave or land on the planet.
Sonya turned off the displays, surrounding herself with the now empty view of the Leonis Minoris system. Everette was now effectively dead, the only thing left to watch now was the slow dying.
She stood there for an hour. In her minds eye she could see the dying. The fearful looks to the sky as people recieved notifications. The frantic last call to loved ones, crying as they said their final good byes. The despair of the Fleet forces as they realized they had failed their nation and their families. The heartbreak of parents as they looked at their children for the last time.
When the hour was over Sonya found it hard to open the channel to what remained of the Everette defense force. Now they would be detecting the three reinforced battleship squadrons. They would not see her troop transports or support craft because they were still lurking in deep space, lost in the system Kuiper belt.
“Attention Everette survivors and people of the Leonis Republic,” Sonya said, playing her role as commander of the Union of Enlightenment forces.
“This is High General Blackwell of the Union of Enlightenment forces,” Sonya continued. “Your greed has enslaved you, your disrespect to your fellow humans has brought this on. We will not attempt to conquer such an unruly, disrespectful, hate filled, bigoted, oppressive and immoral people. We have determined, after much debate and with heavy hearts that for the greater good of humanity you must be destroyed. We are not without mercy however. If you surrender unconditionally we will attempt to re-educate you so that you can be a part of the greater good and join you bereaved brothers and sisters in peace and harmony. We sincerely regret the deaths and horror that have been inflicted on you but you have given us no other choice. We are the Union of enlightened humanity. Please, we ask you, with tears in our eyes to surrender immediately. Let us end this horror of war. Help us to save any survivors that want to be saved. Think of the children.”
Sonya stopped the transmission and turned on the display.
Statistics and numbers scrolled across the screen and Sonya wanted to be sick. She had placed ten stealth drones in orbit around Everette and prepared for the devastation as best they could be, but now only two remained. Perhaps the defenders had discovered some? It didn’t matter now and the after mission logs would reveal that answer.
Looking at the survivors Sonya saw that so few warships remained, thrown together in an ad hoc squadron only two battleships had survived and a smaller host of cruisers, destroyers and frigates. There would be more throughout the system but they wouldn’t arrive in time for this one sided battle and there would not be time to prevent Sonya’s escape from any retaliation. Thousands of automated missile platforms were spread around the solar system to defend Everette from a large attacking fleet, but now the only thing left for them was revenge.
Sonya opened the channel to the survivors.
“This is High General Blackwell,” Sonya said. “You may now speak.”
“Damn you Colonel Blackwell,” General Keating, commander of the Everette defense forces shouted. “What is your god damned problem? What kind of bullshit are you trying to prove? This is not testing our defenses, this is god damned genocide! That was not your mission. You were supposed to get into their minds, plan like they would, conduct operations like they have. Are you trying to destroy fleet moral? Make us look like worthless buffoons?”
Sonya remained silent as she listened to the General. Telling him that her goal was to get people to wake up might not go over well right now.
“Fine,” General Keating said when she didn’t reply. “End simulation. Get into my office right now.”
Sonya disconnected from the VR and opened her eyes to look at the operations room around her. Several people were sitting up with their helmets off, staring at her. Most likely horrified by what they had just witnessed. Taking off her VR rig and then helmet, Colonel Sonya Blackwell refused to meet their eyes as she stood on shaky legs, tucking her helmet under her arm, with head and eyes forward she started her march to General Keating’s office. He was very old school and preferred a physical office to a VR one.
When she had been given her mission to test Everette defenses and simulate a Union of Enlightenment attack on Everette she had known it was going to anger the General. He had wanted a scenario where the defenders bravely and effectively fought off a UE invasion. The UE’s were not stupid and war was a democracy where the enemy got to vote too.
This meeting was inevitable, it was the details and the outcome she wasn’t sure about. The cold war with the Union of Enlightenment could go hot at any time. Too many intelligence analysts were convinced the cold war was just the Union of Enlightenment’s attempt to rattle their saber and clamp down on internal dissidents. They were almost a year away. What possible motive could they have for launching an attack on the home world of the Leonis Republic?
If their culture was falling apart at the seams, a good war was the best way to consolidate power. If their ideology was failing then the only way to justify the continued existence of the rulers was to blame that failure on someone else. There were so many examples in history to show how successful that could be, the only real question, is how far would the Union of Enlightenment go? Could they keep control without a concentrated effort to destroy those they called enemy? Would their people and their generals let them use lesser measures or would they be pressured into using the most extreme measures because of their rhetoric?
The real question now was would she get a slap on the wrist, or cashiered and kicked out of the military in disgrace?