The Whisper of Damkina Part Thirty Nine

October 8th, 2014  |  Published in Whisper of Damkina  |  5 Comments

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The first leg of the trip from Talis to Corona went off without a hitch and the Whisper and its

escort emerged from hyperspace at the waypoint they’d designated before the jump in order to

swap navigators and check for messages.

 

“The remaining Vaian ships have gone very quiet,” Niobe said. “They think that means they are

regrouping. The situation on Vaia remains unchanged.” She listened some more and a frown

spread across her face. “The Talis computer and our own scans have indicated that the rail gun did

send a message to its creators and it seems while they can’t enter hyperspace they do have

superluminal communication capability.”

 

“Well, it is normally developed first,” Amanpreet said. “As a precursor to developing jump

capability.”

 

“Possibly, but the Talis computer says that its creators were of the opinion that their

communication technology was not their own creation. That they must have stolen it from some

previous victims. It was too different apparently.”

 

“It scarcely matters,” Amanpreet said. “They’ve got it. That’s all we need to know which means we

can assume they’ll be coming. What does the Council say?”

 

“Let me see.” Niobe listened to some more of the message and her frown turned to a look of

horror. “Oh God!” She took several breaths but her voice still shook as she continued. “They’re

having all inhabited systems checked for things like that railgun. They’ve already found a couple of

things and at least one has activated. A barrage was mostly deflected from the Mez planet Acularia

but they lost an entire city to what slipped through..”

 

“Bloody hell!” Amanpreet exclaimed. “That’s awful.” Then more quietly, “And into the rabbit hole

of war we go.”

 

“So now we’re thinking the might have booby trapped the entire region of space?” Vanna said.

Niobe just nodded.

 

“It makes a certain amount of sense,” Vanna said. “They can’t get back here fast enough that we

can’t prepare for them.”

 

“Yes,” Niobe said. “I wonder why they’ve been so determined to keep our area of space clear of

space­faring species for so long. Sweeping through an area every few hundred years seems

extreme.”

 

“I can’t think of any situation where genocide isn’t extreme,” Amanpreet said. “Let’s hail our escort

and see what they think.”

 

“Captain Amanpreet.” The escort commander gave her a strained smile. “Not good new is it.”

“No,” she said. “I never thought I’d see a war.”

 

“Neither did I,” he agreed. “And I’m in the military. I’m not even sure we remember how to fight a

war any more. The odd skirmish with pirates who’ve decided to form a fleet is the closest we’ve

come.” He shook his head. “We need to take a diversion though. There’s system en­route that has a

level four intelligent species of its own. They’re no where near spaceflight yet but they are

industrial enough to be detectable from space. The council want us to sweep through the system

and check for enemy weapons.”

 

“You mean Valhr?” Oni’s voice came over the intercom from where the scientists were patched

into the conversation from the dining room.

 

“That’s right.”

 

“Now’s there’s an oddball world. It’s the closest planet to a red dwarf, tidally locked and extremely

windy as a result. How it has sophont life I don’t know. I’m amazed it got beyond unicellular life.”

“I’ve heard that it’s strange,” the escort’s commander said. “But the check does need doing and

we’re closest.”

 

“I know,” Oni said. “We could do without losing any more time. Especially since Corona is

probably in worse danger if there are such weapons everywhere, but it does have to be done.” He

hummed to himself. “Could we split the escort and send some to deal with Valhr?”

 

“Well we could,” the commander said. “But I’m concerned that the Vaian’s may still be looking for

us. The search will only take a couple of hours off our schedule. I doubt that’s enough time to

make a difference either way if they do have a weapon in the Corona system.”

 

“That’s fair,” Oni said. “And Acularia is about the closest inhabited world to Talis. I wonder if it

was triggered by the Talis gun directly?” There was a pause. “I wonder if this means there was a

sophont species there as well.”

 

“Let’s let the Mez mourn before we start digging one of their planets up,” Amanpreet said.

“Yes, of course,” he said. “We’d better get going and check Valhr. I want to get this done because

I’m really worried about Corona.”

 

When they jumped into the system the escort ships started scanning the system looking for

weapons immediately. Amanpreet has the Whisper start scanning as well but a moment later Oni’s

voice came over the intercom again.

 

“Excuse me, Captain,” he said. “But since we’re here could I impose on you to do some

atmosphere readings, please? We could do with some new data points on how their early

industrialization is effecting their atmosphere.”

 

“I can’t see that being a problem,” Amanpreet said. “Niobe, send a message to our escort and let’s

head in system.”

 

Niobe didn’t have time to respond because moments later the Whisper’s proximity alarms went off

and she was thrown from her seat as the Whisper took evasive action to avoid colliding with a

huge asteroid. Amanpreet managed to avoid flying out of her own seat and immediately began

checking the object’s trajectory. Her mouth went dry as she saw the readings.

 

“Was THAT heading for the planet?” Vanna asked from where she was helping Niobe up.

 

“It was,” Amanpreet said. “And it’s moving far too fast to be natural.” She took a breath and pulled

herself together. “We’ll go after it and deflect it with the asteroid busters. Send information on its

trajectory to the others so they can track it to its source.”

Prompt Post 39 is here. Come and leave a prompt.

Comments welcome

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5 Responses to “The Whisper of Damkina Part Thirty Nine”

  1. mjkj says:

    Outch…

    Between an asteroid and a hard place…
    😉
    I hope they will make it and save that planet.
    😕

    PS: Typo:
    But I’m concerned that the *Vaian’s* may still be looking for us. => Vaians without the apostrophe

    PPS: Formatting:
    There are too many hard line breaks here – that spaces out the text too much

    • Rebecca Sutton says:

      Yeah, it is a rough situation.

      Thanks for the spots. 😀

    • mjkj says:

      PPPS: Typo:
      “So now we’re thinking *the* might have booby trapped the entire region of space?” => *they* => “So now we’re thinking *they* might have booby trapped the entire region of space?”

  2. torvawk says:

    wow, saved my quote for last! I knew I should not of given you that quote. Dang. Now I have to wait a week. Oi and I have a twist to give you as well. I am not going to like the next one either :)!!

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