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The Armada (Chapter Cover Art)

Chapter 24 - The Armada[]

LCS Tranh Truk Ngo
Landmark Class Destroyer
Clan Space
August, 3169 CE



"We need to test it." Captain Michael Nguyen said, "Have the rest of the crew departed the system?"

"Aye sir."  Belinda Cafree was a Warrant this morning, but putting the rest of the crew on the last transport out of the danger zone. This afternoon he made her his new Executive Officer, leading a skeleton crew of volunteers who'd already had kids, donated sperm, or ova back home.

Celeste was also here watching the shadowed face of the gas giant they were sheltering behind.

Mike climbed down and took over the RTO station, setting the Black Box array to continuous linkage with the onboard sensors.

"You could've gone with your people, Star Colonel." Mike noted.

"I could have." Celeste agreed.  "I opposed your evacuation effort. You captured me alive, you did not hand me over as a Prisoner of War. You are remaining here to help any of my people who failed to escape."  She turned, "How could I live with the dishonor of not stepping forward for this mission?"

"Glad to have you anyway.  Mind sitting the sensors at gunnery two? We're front-row here to see if hyperspatial distortion has real-world physical signs, and then to see if we can make it out in one piece after the wave front passes."
"If we can not?" Celeste asked.

"Then we survive and keep recording. Sending information out so that someone super-duper clever can figure out how to compensate." he said,  "We're the lab rats, Celeste. Succeed or fail, we send the data in hopes someone else can learn how to make it.  One of my ancestors was in the first team on Arluna during the outbreak, he wasn't a direct-line. I'm descended from his sister, but Pol Nguyen went down there knowing he'd likely die just to gather info that let us eventually beat the virus-and thousands followed him."

"An admirable man." she said approvingly.

"I think of him as the pace-setter." Mike noted, "Clock time shows good, our HPG is still bouncing signals with Fleet. Coordination and time clocks are synched."

PO Wylie spoke.  "Neutrino detector just red-lined, sir."

How many massless particles does it take to rock a starship?

"HPG Down! Thermal spike in the core, dumping coolant!"

The lighting flickered and shifted to emergency battery power as the fusion powerplants...ceased fusing. Then coughed back to life with a shock like a hundred guns.


  • Author Note: Think "subatomic particles that will trigger a neutrino detector".  Remember, there's still a lot we (and in setting we) don't know about how the universe works.  The subspace shockwave is several months ahead of the realspace blast wave at this point, some of that will reflect in the shifting of phenomena that are observable-like pushing the neutrinos back into a star system at a greater speed than they departed.
    Along with deflecting any that were in the way, along with any weakly interactive massive particles that were also in the way (Dark Matter).


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