Star Guardian
Chapter 21: Refinements

Copyright© 2018 by Duncan7

While Ship took care of the cleanup after the last ambush, Koluna joined Jem and I in the main bridge.

“Well done Brian. We defended this system against nine foe vessels,” said Jem. I worried her enthusiasm would bother Koluna. I also did not want to take all the credit for mass killings.

“Thanks go to Ship more than me. I came up with the plans, but Ship did all the work,” I replied.

I paused before continuing, “I’ve been trying to figure out the foe strategy. From their point of view this system has been dormant for centuries. Then their extra node sends a signal that a whole fleet of Baglogi vessels had arrived. I bet that was rather disturbing news.”

“Agreed. So they send three of their biggest baddest vessels to deal with the threat,” said Koluna.

“What they didn’t realize was we were not as easy to defeat as Baglogi of long ago,” said Jem.

“Fortunately, you are correct. But then they send three more vessels every two days. I don’t know if this is their standard protocol for dealing with an enemy. I really don’t understand their thinking,” I said.

“If the first wave fails to eliminate the Baglogi threat, then reinforcements arrive every two days. Eventually they would have the numbers to overwhelm the enemy,” said Jem.

“They didn’t realize their vessels were coming into a kill zone,” said Koluna.

“Soon it is about to get interesting,” I replied.

“What do you mean?” asked Jem.

“Travel from their system and back is about eight days. If the first wave finds nothing of interest, they will return or send a message to arrive after at least eight days. Think about it. Day zero, wave one leaves. Day two wave two leaves. Day four wave three leaves. Wave three just arrived on day eight. Soon the foe is expecting a response from wave one. When they realize something is wrong, they will change their approach,” I said.

“Which we can expect sometime after day twelve, or four days from now,” said Jem.

“Exactly,” I said.

“Where are you at with the permanent system defences?” asked Koluna.

“Not nearly ready,” I replied, “the manufacturing facility is getting established on the remote planetoid. Once it is ready, it will take a while to build everything we need. Until then we have to fight from the shadows.”

“Not good enough. You come up with such good ideas. Come up with a way so we don’t have to keep killing. Get them to stop sending more waves of vessels. If they don’t keep arriving, it gives you time to finish your defences,” replied Koluna. I looked at Koluna; I so wanted to do something for her. To make things better for her. Then like something in my head went click! Yes!

“That is an excellent idea Koluna! Yes! Why didn’t you suggest it sooner?” I asked.

“What? What idea?” she responded, looking confused.

“I have to send an interstellar message to the foe and ask them to stop sending more vessels. It’s so simple,” I said.

“Are you feeling all right?” asked Jem. I guess I sounded a bit loopy right then.

“Oh yes. Ship, tell me you have worked out how the foe would send a response back to their home system,” I said.

“Confirmed. Interstellar communication is possible. Although I have a limited understanding of their language as I already informed you,” said Ship.

“It does not have to be complicated. We need a simple message like ‘no Baglogi vessels found’ or ‘all clear in the system’ or whatever you have words for,” I said.

“Confirmed. Searching deciphered vocabulary ... How about ‘Baglogi system empty, zero vessels, previous report invalid’?” asked Ship. I could hug Ship if it had a body to hug.

“Captain, I think we should send this as soon as we can. In four days when they receive our message, hopefully they will delay sending more waves of vessels,” I said.

“Ship, send the message,” said Jem.

“Confirmed. Message sent,” replied Ship.

“Koluna, that was a great idea. It could save lives and buy us more time,” said Jem.

“Yes. Thank you Koluna. There may be two more waves in the next four days if their pattern holds. After that we will see if the message worked,” I said.

I felt like I had gained some reprieve with Koluna by sending the message. I knew I needed to do more though. Ship continued the cleanup around Baglogi-4 while we retired to our cabin to have a meal together.

“Tonight I’d like to share a Baglogi favourite of mine,” said Jem as she went over to the food dispenser. Soon were sitting around the table enjoying some kind of fish dish with vegetables. It got me thinking. This food was a synthesized replication of a dish from over two thousand years ago. Who knows if the fish or the vegetables in this dish still existed on the planet surface? It tasted good though. Perhaps when things calmed down, we could go back down to look for fresh ingredients and make something from scratch.

Over dinner I offered a theory I’d had, “perhaps long ago, the foe somehow captured a Baglogi fleet admiral. The foe learned about the Remote override protocol and used it to defeat all the Baglogi.”

“That would fit the limited data we have so far,” answered Jem.

We finished our meal and got some rest.

I awoke to hear Ship give us an update:

“Attention, derelict vessels and debris from the third wave have been cleared away. I have repositioned on the far side of Baglogi-4,” said Ship.

“Thank you Ship,” said Jem to my left.

“Ship, how long until the next predicted arrival of foe vessels?” I asked.

“About seven hours until arrival,” said Ship. It had been over a day since we wiped out the last one. I got up and did my usual ritual. I was drinking a hot beverage at the table waiting for Jem and Koluna to rise.

“Ship, I need to come up with a more non-lethal way to disable a foe vessel. We’d have to take out their weapons, shields and propulsion. What can you offer?” I asked.

“I can fire a phased pulse weapon, tuned to their shield frequency. It will bypass their shields. It could be directed at their rear propulsion to disable their movement. Once the foe vessel can no longer move, we can target their weapons. There is a risk of possible chain explosions with each shot fired,” replied Ship.

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