As Promised, today I will begin posting excerpts from a previously unpublished book, The Omega Gambit, this story is the first story I wrote and is set in space about 450 years in the future. I hope you enjoy it, and please feel free to leave comments at the end.
Earth year 2465 was the beginning of a new adventure for the class of cadets at the Earth Force Elite Academy. All of the new recruits would be here for four years learning all the skills and education necessary to become part of the Earth Forces that were exploring the galaxy. In the class of one-thousand, there were some exceptional prospects who had tested higher on the entrance exams for consideration of appointment to the Academy.
Among the recruits, were four young men who were excited as well as amazed at the technology they would be using. Sean Regis, John Shaughnessy, Bashan Rivan, and John Michaelson. They had scored higher than any of the other cadets, and their aptitude rating was off the charts. Regis was a history buff, especially ancient Earth Military history, tactics and strategy, he was also an avid fencer. Shaughnessy was an engineering major as well as an exceptional navigator, Rivan was a communications major, engineer, and astronomer, and Michaelson was a weapons expert, a novice fencer, astronomer, and strategist. The four cadets were excelling in all of their studies, and had moved to the top of their class.
They were about to start pilot school and had scored extremely high in the simulators used to test the abilities of cadets prior to assignment to different shipboard disciplines. They had all scored well above the others in the simulators; this gave them the opportunity to learn to pilot all sizes of ships from one-man fighters, to the largest frigates and destroyers. Acceptance into pilot training meant early deployment into space, which was the goal of all four young men. They had all talked about the possibility of being assigned to the same ship on their first assignment, but had made a pact that the first one to make command would bring the other’s onto their crew. It was one of those pacts that young people made when they had made fast friends. Regis and Michaelson had excelled in astral navigation, charting, and interstellar principles. Shaughnessy and Rivan were right behind them, with Shaughnessy having an affinity for engineering, and Rivan the best communications and navigation cadet; they could see themselves travelling together, four comrades fast in arms, travelling to the far reaches of known space and beyond.
They had finished their studies and once they had graduated, they would receive their first assignments. They were all Ensigns and had earned the respect of the captains and commanders who were looking to fill crew slots on their ships. The toughest captain in the fleet had selected all the four young men. Colonel Seanon was known as the toughest and fairest Captain, and he was so successful that he got first pick of new ensigns for his ship, the Amadeus. It was a Star Class Destroyer, with Quad Star Drive, and the best armaments that Earth Forces had built. It had a crew of five-thousand, and had the largest number of Star Fighters on any ship. They were all brought in as fighter pilots, the quickest way to advancement and command. They also worked on the bridge as navigators, communications officers, and weapons officers.
In the first six months in space, they were heading to Epsilon Nine, the newest space station that had been built. They would be going to Bellatrix Prime first, and stopping at Bellatrix Command Station for supplies, and additional crewmembers. They would be taking on three regiments of Earth Force Elite Space Marines, and would all be given the opportunity to train with the Marines, and go on missions to different planets. Seanon believed that to be the best that Earth Forces had to offer, all of his officers had to cross-train into every discipline on the ship. Regis and Michaelson were excited, they had wanted to make rank as Marines, and Shaughnessy and Rivan went along with them for career advancement. They each displayed unique personality traits, Regis and Michaelson were the most reckless, they had landed their fighters at the last second, went into hyperspace as close to the Amadeus as was allowed, and dropped out the same way. They had endured a Captains Mast as discipline for pulling the hyper-drive stunts, and had learned a hard lesson for Seanon.
He did not go for heroics, grandstanding, or showing off, except when necessary for a battle, then anything was game. However, they were in friendly space, and he told them to hold the showing off and grandstanding until they needed the skills. No more stunts. They accepted the punishment, and learned from it. Neither of them wanted a spot on their record, and standing for a Captains Mast, would not show up on their record. It showed how much potential the Colonel could see in them. Being given the choice, between shipboard disciplines at the Captains discretion, or taking a mark on their record that would prevent them from advancing in rank, was how discipline was carried out in deep space.
The mast involved having their hands tied above their heads, where they were forced to rise up on their toes, and given thirty lashes with a whip. They took their punishment and endured the whipping, once they were cut down; they were taken to sickbay for the ships doctor to apply disinfectant and to clean the wounds. The doctor was not allowed to use plasti-skin, or apply any other form of medical treatment to close the wounds and remove the scars. Part of enduring the mast was to carry the reminder upon your back so that you wouldn’t repeat the offense again.
They were given medication to speed the healing, but not to stop the scarring. They had returned to limited duty for three days and then full duty afterwards. Colonel Seanon was impressed by the fact that they didn’t complain about the punishment, or ask for exceptions from duty to be made on their behalf. Once they returned to full duty, they didn’t shirk from their assignments, and it actually became something the four of them would occasionally joke about when in their quarters. They had been sharing quarters since the first day at the Academy, and they were fast friends who shared in each other’s adventures. Shaughnessy and Rivan had become exceptional navigators, and Shaughnessy was as good an engineer as the senior engineer on the ship was. He was the first to receive a promotion. He was now a second lieutenant, and was the third shift engineer. Rivan was next being the best astral navigator on the ship. They both had opted to remain in the quarters with Regis and Michaelson. It wasn’t long before they were promoted as well. They had taken their fighters and attached tow cables to a freighter that was falling into a star, and towed it back to safety. Seanon promoted them for their quick thinking, and for following protocol.
They had remained pilots in the Star Fighter Wing, The Flaming Dragons, Regis’s call sign was Inferno, and Michaelson was Smoke. They were the best fighter pilots on the ship, and soon were promoted to Lieutenant, as well as the others promoting as well. It was after making the rank of Lieutenant Commander, that they went from flying fighters, to being part of the Command staff. They had been in the force now for six years, and were the youngest Lt. Commanders in the fleet. Rivan and Shaughnessy had risen in rank as well, and when the Senior Engineer and Astral Navigator were promoted off the ship, the duties fell to them. They all were part of the Bridge Command. Seanon was pleased with their abilities not only to work together, but also to take independent responsibilities and work within the command structure of the Amadeus.
Their mettle was about to be tested. They were sent to Vega, to land and update information on Vega Colony, and to make sure they were well supplied. Vega Colony supplied the Fleet with exceptional electronics and optics for their ships systems, and engines. It was one of the richest colonies and in Earth space and it was one that was neutral. Most space faring races wouldn’t attack Vega because they provided parts for ships electronics and engines. They didn’t manufacture weaponry of any kind, and wouldn’t deal with any hostile races.
This would be Regis’s first command as a Space Marine. He was to take a landing party, enter the ship hanger on Vega, requisition the needed parts, and take readings and do some reconnoitering to make sure that the Vegans were safe. The Vegans themselves were taller than humans, by fifty centimeters; they had silvery skin, no hair, and had three fingers and a thumb on each hand, and soft pad-like feet. It was difficult to distinguish male from female, and they all wore identically styled clothing. The Vegan Colonists were humans from Earth, mostly engineers and production designers, and the agreement between Earth and Vega was that no military forces were allowed to be stationed on Vega. They could visit, they were allowed to keep space safe and peaceful, but they weren’t supposed to take any military action on the planet. No weapons were allowed on the planet, and any group who landed on the planet with weapons were turned away.
Regis and Michaelson brought the Shuttle in for a landing, it was one of several unarmed shuttles on board the Amadeus, and none of them was armed. If they needed support, the fighter wings were available, and the Amadeus was armed with Phase Cannons and Plasma Torpedoes, their armaments would deter most of the races they had met. Once planet side, they enjoyed refreshments and a meal with the Vegans and the Colonists, and then once all the proper etiquette had been observed, they would present their supply requisition, and would be on their way.
It was a very polite and businesslike society. They didn’t delve into off-world politics, and they kept the conversation to engine designs, and computer enhancements. They had a good report with them and once they had made the requisitions, they would load the items, and then leave the planet to rendezvous with the Amadeus. They had just finished loading the shuttle and made their farewells, when plasma torpedoes began hitting the surface and the cities. They were galvanized into action, they launched the shuttle, and made for orbit, they were hit twice but their shields held. They were down to sixty percent shields when they made orbit. They fired their plasma engines and sped towards the Amadeus, she had her shields up and this would be a rough landing.
Once they were within five hundred kilometers of the ship, the shields lowered a small window that would allow them to enter the ships hanger. They got inside after getting hit two more times and completely lost their shields. The Amadeus began firing her phase cannons and scored several direct hits on two of the five ships. They launched plasma torpedoes, struck the other two, disabling four of the five ships, the last ship was more heavily armed and shielded, and this would require fighters. Regis and Michaelson ran to the launch tubes and climbed into their fighters. They were launched before anyone else had gotten into space. They flew straight at the remaining ship, their fighters were armed with four phase cannons each, and when they fired on the ship directly, they hit the shield generators, and the shield went down. Two torpedoes hit the hull and the ship exploded.
Please tell us what you think in the comments section:
- What do you think of the story so far?
- Can you identify with any of the characters of the story?
- Can you see the story as you read, does it give you a mental picture of the story subject?
I look forward to reading your comments.