This is the twenty second section of the second chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.
“You know I’m not sure you’re really getting into this simulation” commented Gwen.
“Well as you said it’s a simulation. Isn’t part of the point of these things to encourage you to treat combat as part of the daily routine. You’re supposed to be calm.”
“Indeed, it’s just unusual for me to see someone so blase about these situations.”
“Let’s see what happens when the shooting starts shall we?”
“There’ll be shooting?” asked Gwen
“You tell me.”
“How can I? There are unknown aliens. They could just be friendly and misunderstood.”
“Or knowing military scenarios whatever way I treat them then they’ll be the opposite.”
“Well we’ll find out soon enough, they’re coming to match us in orbit”
“I’ll leave this to you.”
“How big are they then?”
“Volume wise about ten times our size. Mass wise about three times.”
“Big then but not gargantuan. Shame the Kurchatov didn’t make it, it would have dwarfed them.”
“It does look to be more habitation space than weapons placements. Depends what those weapons are though.”
“Still trying. There’s no obvious places to fire the comms laser and they’re not responding to radio traffic.”
“Any ports we could send someone over to dock to?”
“Not that we can see.”
“Okay can we do anything to make our docking port more obvious.”
“Okay, got it” continued Malka “Get two marines to suit up. Get them out an airlock, no better yet the cargo bay with a door and waving towards it, then get some spotlights or something to light it up.
“That’ll be exposing our soft underbelly to them.”
“True, but we’ll also have our finger on the trigger too. If they can rip through us on their first shot at this close quarters then we never stood a chance anyway.”
Malka leaned back in her chair lost in thought.
“You think you have this covered don’t you?” asked Gwen
“Nope, but I think you’re going to get me somehow. Sometimes the best thing to do with an ambush is to walk straight into it.”
“They could just be playing the friendly if ignorant visitor card to lull you into a false sense of security. Especially since you have no backup, you are Earth’s only defense.”
Malka ignored her, “How many propulsion units do we have left in the hold?”
“A couple of thousand.”
“Good, that’s all that matters then.”
“What are you thinking?”
“Can we jettison a few dozen? Low velocity but away from us?”
“Should be able to”
“Can we remote activate them or do they have to be timed?”
“Remote is possible but it would have to be them all at once.”
“Perfect, do it, deploy them I mean, not activate them. Try and get a wide spread around their far side.”
“If they realise what you’re doing.”
Malka interrupted “And they’re friendly then it’s no problem”
“Marines are in place Sir” reported the first officer.
“Good, set them to it”