Chapter 17: The Foe
Copyright© 2018 by Duncan7
After the destruction of the extra node we took a break. It seemed we would wait in hiding behind the moon to see if any vessel(s) arrived. Elimination of the extra node took the pressure off and the adrenalin was wearing down, so I went to our cabin to get some sleep. Jem and Koluna handled the stress differently, and were full of energy, so they remained in the main bridge to discuss recent events. I had done my part. I was soon asleep.
I was woken up later by Koluna. She frowned at me.
“Why didn’t you stay with us after we took out that foe? Jem was upset you left abruptly,” she said.
“Huh?” I was still waking up. “I thought it was over. I was tired. I needed to rest.” I contemplated going back to sleep.
“Bri-an, remember your special assignment? You missed an opportunity today. We wanted to talk, and you left,” said Koluna. She would not let me sleep.
I got up. “I’m up. What now?”
“I want the best for you. You need to see Jem now,” said Koluna. I left her in the cabin and went to the main bridge.
“Hello,” I said as I entered the main bridge. Jem was sitting near the tactical display. She looked at me.
“We missed you earlier,” said Jem.
“Yes, I’m sorry. I was suddenly exhausted after we destroyed the extra node,” I shrugged.
“Did you get some rest?”
“Yes, thank you. Did you and Koluna come up with anything?” I cautiously sat down beside her. I tried to appear calm and friendly. Our eyes were locked. I’d known those eyes for cycles. It was weird.
“We err ... I needed you.” Her eyes were glassy. This was new to me.
“I am here now.” I put my arms around her and held her close. We were both silent for some time. She was warm. After a while she sniffed, then sat back.
We sat there in silence for a while longer.
“Attention, multiple vessels arriving at in the system,” said Ship. Show time...
We looked up at the tactical display. Three dots appeared at the edge of the system and were moving towards Baglogi-4. Koluna arrived and took a seat.
“Ship, are you able to contact the probes near Baglogi-4?” I asked.
“Confirmed,” said Ship.
“Ship, please task the probes to drift along at full stealth, along paths that would intersect the most likely paths of the vessels. Have them deploy nano-bots behind them, in a wide path to increase the chance of contact. Once complete, have them move to a distance where they can record the results of the nano-bots, and report damage assessment,” I ordered.
“Captain, command authorization required,” said Ship.
“Authorized,” said Jem. She looked up to the ceiling.
“Confirmed,” said Ship.
“And Ship, from now on, please update protocol for command authorization. Brian is hereby promoted to rank of commander. We are at war with this unknown foe. We cannot afford delays. He has earned our trust. Exceptions would include any high level protocols such as the protocol to preserve the Baglogi species,” said Jem.
“Confirmed.” Said Ship. “Command authorization for Brian granted.”
“Congratulations commander Brian!” Koluna cooed. I was unsure what to say and I bet my face made that clear.
“I would have discussed this with you earlier if you were awake. Everything you have done so far was the right thing to do. Your creativity and judgement have convinced me you are qualified to issue commands. And I’m fed up with being the only one Ship takes orders from,” frowned Jem.
“Thank you captain,” I blushed as I looked her in the eyes.
“Now prove me right. What happens next?” she asked.
“We wait to see if the foe vessels fall into our trap. If not, we might task the probes to make a second pass,” I said. On the tactical display we could see a representation of trails of nano-bots ahead of the foe vessels. We might just get lucky.
“Brian, if the vessels are not diverting to Baglogi-6 that means they don’t know where we really are,” Koluna pointed out.
“You are right!” Jem agreed.
“Attention, foe vessel has accessed the system network. Remote override protocol has been ordered for all Baglogi vessels in the system. Said protocol has been decommissioned, so no response will be given,” said Ship. Woohoo! We dodged a laser there...
“Oh wow!” Koluna gasped, “we would have been dead just now.”
“Thank you for the update Ship. I think we can use this to our advantage,” I said.
“How so?” asked Jem.
“Like this. They are connected to our network and they are expecting a response from a Baglogi vessel,” I said. “Ship please fabricate an affirmative response from a fictional Baglogi vessel in orbit around Baglogi-4. Provide coordinates from the far side of the planet that are most likely to lead the foe vessels into the path of the trails of nano-bots.”
“Confirmed,” Said Ship. On the tactical display we could now see a marker for this fictional vessel, close to the planet on the far side. The foe vessels continued on towards Baglogi-4, just as I hoped.
“You’re using their own form of attack to lead them into our trap. That’s brilliant!” Koluna said with awe.
“I am glad you are on our team commander.” Said Jem. They were both smiling at me. It was a nice alternative to earlier.
I smiled. “Ship, I need the foe vessels disabled but not destroyed. Once you detect explosive decompression on all vessels and no life signs, you can deactivate the nano-bots.”