30 November, 2011

[SFAP] Chapter 14:14

This is the fourteenth section of the fourteenth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.

Gwen glared at the screens in front of her that showed the engagement with the fighters. “Shit we just weren’t designed for this. They got their asses handed to them.” She started to bark an order but the floor underneath her sifted knocking her off her feet. “What the hell”  she started to exclaim then the floor slammed up into her again and again as propulsion bombs detonated in rapid succession far faster than had been used during any previous propulsion phase. then finally the hardest smack she had felt. She wasn’t sure if it had broken her ribs or if they were bruised but they were not right “Who the hell ordered that?”
“The AI Sir” came the reply “the engagement is over.”
“The hell it is, what happened?”
“The Compton and the Halban are both out of commission. they were unlucky, we were very lucky. The AI swung us around so the pusher plate protected us and detonated the propulsion bombs as fast as it could. As the missiles the fighters had dropped headed for us all they reached the expanding cloud of high energy plasma from the rapid bomb detonations stripping the surface of the missiles off and slowing them down.”
“And you say we were lucky?”
“The timing of the last bomb was almost perfect, it spread the missile out into its own cloud of plasma that gave us the final kick.”
“Status of the Compton and the Halban?”
“Their shock absorbers are damaged, they were overloaded by the force of the impact they’ll be fixed soon enough though, give them a day or so”
“And the Oppenheimer?”
“Plate and ship is badly punctured. Will be up and running in a few days, hopefully.”
“And us?”
“Aside from a bruised crew no appreciable damage. The fighters tried to attack us side on, but the last second manoeuvres by the AI got us out of the position they expected us to be in”
“What damage did we do to them?”
“One seems to have been hit by one of our railguns otherwise their bombing of Earth looks to be successful they’re carrying onto their next target. None of our other bombs seem to have had an effect.”
“The hell they are, we’re going after them. They’re off to Saturn aren’t they?”
“Looks like it, via Jupiter but we’ll never catch them there. Either that or they’ll do their Jupiter bombing run and then bomb Saturn and then go back to the asteroids.”
“Well there’s enough troops at both the asteroids and Jupiter to look after themselves, send them all our data and get us to Saturn. At least we’ll be able to clean up after whatever they have planned even if they beat us there.”
“Get on with it. Get us to Saturn, best speed.”
“What about cleaning up here?”
“Leave the Compton to deal with that, get the Halban to go help out the Oppenheimer. If they were softening up a landing spot then there’ll be a troop craft hidden somewhere. Get them to find it and take it out, we have other business.”

29 November, 2011

[SFAP] Chapter 14:13

This is the thirteenth section of the fourteenth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.

“We’ve missed Sir, they appear undamaged”
“Damage reports coming in Sir, two of our fighters are out, correction they’re on fire. Hydrogen fires all over the ship Sir.”
“Jettison the damaged fighters now!” shouted Malka “Can we chase them?”
“Standby just reloading the bomb launcher for propulsion.”
The ship lurched forwards knocking everyone off their feet. Damage sirens sounded.
“Report!” shouted Malka
“Atmosphere loss reported on all decks. Pusher plate damaged. Checking now.” the crewman paused “There’s a hole in it.”
“Sir” interrupted a Lieutenant “it’s a straight line stopping at the top armour. It’s a relativistic missile again, or at least a lump of rock one of the fighters was carrying. Sealing decks now Sir but the plate is going to be out of commission until we can patch the hole and fix the shock absorbers.”
“How long?”
“Have we reported this to the Teller?”
“Too late sir, they’ll have already engaged by now.”

28 November, 2011

[SFAP] Chapter 14:12

This is the twelfth section of the fourteenth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.

The battle was over for Malka before it had begun, the screen showed the mine bombs detonating and soon the x-ray laser bombs detonated. The design for these came from an early orbital weapons program where they were able to use the nuclear weapon to pump the laser. Each of the potential lasers were directed at the predicted position of each of the fighters. They all missed.
The flight path of the fighters was covered with debris from the various weapons the Oppenheimer had deployed but missiles deployed by the fighters had impacted the clouds and speeded up the debris enough that the armour of the fighters was able to absorb the damage.
As the fighters flew past the Oppenheimer they reached the last desperate measure of its crew, the hail of gunshot and railguns. With no accurate targeting information this was at best a forlorn hope, which wasn’t fruitful.
The Fighters however had a very good idea of the position of the Oppenheimer and used their own guns and missiles to good effect. The outside of the Oppenheimer was shot, irradiated and ruptured. The outer coating of ice was boiled and ruptured. The pipework and outer coating was badly damaged leaving effluent and other none essential liquids venting into space. under that the armour was damaged and some bulkheads ruptured. All along the outer edges the Oppenheimer bled into the vacuum of space, less than a quarter of a second had passed since the start of the attack, but already it was over the Oppenheimer lost and the fighters carried on.

25 November, 2011

[SFAP] Chapter 14:11

This is the eleventh section of the fourteenth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.

Thrusters all over the Oppenheimer fired to swing the whole ship around so that the pusher plate faced the oncomming fighter-missiles. Bombs were thrown out of the back again this time some were detonated far away to create a debris field that would be deadly to the incoming fighters and and others were left as a mine field themselves. Other bombs with other purposes were left in wait.
“How long now?” asked Malka
“Seconds. Guns are ready and firing, bombs are going to go any second now.”

23 November, 2011

[SFAP] Chapter 14:10

This is the tenth section of the fourteenth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.

“You know AIs really were not the best idea, never send a robot to do a man’s job”
“Humans would have never survived the acceleration needed to get them there in time.”  responded James “Hang on, you said you know what these things are, what are they?”
“Well I guess it’s no secret now, those battleships you’re up against were designed as a last resort to an invasion. Before the Habitat they’d have never got approved, but with most of the Earth population leaving, the environmental concerns about the fallout were lessened; especially for such a desperate measure as this.”
“What the hell are they?”
“Nuclear bomb driven warships, throw a bomb out the back and then ride the blast wave. It’s about the only way you can build very big ships, at least until we get these AM drive ships mass produced, and even then Orion beats it on so many fronts especially for a big heavy ship. Even the small ones of these could give the Freedom a run for its money”
“Yeah but we destroyed that.”
“Quite, but these have a few other tricks up their sleeve that the Freedom didn’t have”
“They’re ancient technology.” said James, his voice dismissive.
“So’s a spear, that doesn’t mean it can’t be deadly though.”

22 November, 2011

[SFAP] Chapter 14:9

This is the ninth section of the fourteenth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.

The Oppenheimer continued to gain speed and altitude it’s companion ships slowed down their acceleration and formed a battle formation in a medium orbit. Being the first ship the Oppenheimer carried on to rendezvous with the incoming fighters.
“So we’re the guinea pigs then?” asked Malka over the radio. She waited for the reply, fractions of a second at the moment but it would grow soon enough.
“They’re almost on top of us though,” came the reply after a short delay ”we’ll have literally seconds from your engagement until we have the last chance to stop them.”
Malka looked at the displays of her sister ships, they may have been a lot bigger than hers but they were still the same design at heart. The heart of the ship looked like the outside of a chemical plant. Covered with pipes and water tanks and various bits of shielding. No crucial systems, leaving them below the plate of armour underneath that. The main feature on the outside were the fighters. In themselves they were massive ships but they were dwarfed by their carrier craft. At the front of the carrier was a thick steel dome. designed to protect against stray fire and could probably even withstand a single nuclear explosion, although it would have to be a small one. Primarily it was envisaged to hold up to short bursts of laser attack.
The rear of the ships were most evident though. On huge shock absorbers was the pusher plate. It was this plate that was pushed forwards in bursts by the shockwave from the nuclear bombs that were thrown out of the back. Over the course of the program huge strides had been made in making shaped nuclear charges that would direct most of their force along the axis of thrust. Mounted to the pusher plate were huge tanks of water that in the atmosphere had been acting as extra absorbing mass to cushion the extra energy the atmosphere had imparted to the pusher plate. Over their now brief coasting period the water was being pumped around the ship to form a primitive shield both from debris, lasers and small missiles. As the water flowed into place it quickly froze forming a shield against most small particles. It could later be dumped or re-used as reaction mass as the mission required.

[SFAP] Chapter 14:8

This is the eighth section of the fourteenth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.

“Oh god, what the hell are they doing?” Screamed James “It’s bloody obvious they’re a threat, kill them!”

18 November, 2011

[SFAP] Chapter 14:7

This is the seventh section of the fourteenth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.

As the ships rose into orbit the bombs used grew larger and more frequent, although the occasional bomb failed to fire properly this no longer mattered and they continued to power into orbit heading out towards the incoming attackers.
The AIs on the fighter missiles pooled their knowledge to decide how to deal with this unexpected problem. The plan had called for them to destroy both known orbital defences and any orbital systems that opened fire on them. These as yet had not and it was not certain to the AIs that these constituted a threat. With this in mind they prioritised the known weapons platforms and military space stations and set loose missiles to attack those.

17 November, 2011

[SFAP] Chapter 14:6

This is the sixth section of the fourteenth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.

“What the hell is going on there’s a four of them now” James suddenly sounded relieved “Oh they’ve stopped blossoming like that. They’re rising into the atmosphere”
Interesting, thought Laurence, they built about thirty or so over the years, or so goes the rumour, so they weren’t showing their full hand. Not really surprising. Besides this was hardly a full invasion just an unexpected attack.

15 November, 2011

[SFAP] Chapter 14:5

This is the fifth section of the fourteenth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.

The first ships to launch were the smaller test vehicles that had been developed first. These had the advantage of being expendable and having a smaller crew. They had the disadvantage of having to use smaller dirtier nuclear bombs as their propulsion. As the first had risen to the surface from its underwater vigil it’s pusher plate still partially submerged as the first bomb detonated the crew onboard waited. The first bomb was not the worrying part, the second and third were the more worrying. As the first ship rose into the sky its bombs getting more and more frequent as the control mechanism confirmed that all was working within parameters and the engineering was holding together and corrosion hadn’t caused too much damage. This first ship, the Oppenheimer, was rising onwards its occupants pinned to their seats by the ever more frequent blasts pushing them forwards.
As word of the success was reported around the world other ships were launched from their various hiding places. The largest ships were able to use sufficiently clean bombs that were closer to the populated centres, but still located in remote areas.

14 November, 2011

[SFAP] Chapter 14:4

This is the fourth section of the fourteenth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.

“I don’t get it” James stared at the screens in front of him “a nuclear explosion in the same spot, every few seconds getting more and more rapid over the Indian ocean, what the hell is going on. Shit, now another one over the Pacific ocean.”
Laurence smirked, his company had been asked to quote for the refit of a number of what he thought James was seeing. While intelligence believed that multiple countries had them it was something of an open secret that they existed. Or maybe that was from his past life, kids these days maybe missed out on this. Before the Habitat had arrived the nuclear deterrent for most countries consisted of ground launched nuclear missiles or nuclear submarines; as it had done for a couple of centuries. However with a real space based threat appearing a number of countries had decided that in secret they’d build some sort of credible space defence system. However their hands were tied by treaties and even in cooperation with each other publicly stating their plans would have caused significant problems. So with no small amount of cooperation the Orion fleet was built. Designed to protect against a future invasion they were built in secret, their construction hidden amongst stories of a new test submarine fleet, of submarine exploration vehicles, drilling rigs, underwater habitats, test orbital vehicles; any excuse that would hide a variety of programs.
When completed the vehicles were either partially sunk: hidden in the largest oceans or disguised under other facilities whose only role was to be destroyed when the call came.
The largest of the these vessels weighed in at over a hundred thousand tons, the smallest a mere twenty thousand tons. The drive in question though made weight an advantage, a larger mass would cushion the blow. This much he knew from the requests his company had received. What he didn’t know were the details, how many there were, where they were, what circumstances they’d be deployed for, tactics, armaments all things that would have come had he got the contract, but as fate had turned out he hadn’t. Apparently his young upstart company was getting too powerful for the entrenched players and so he’d never got the contract. Well it would be interesting to see what he had missed out on.

11 November, 2011

[SFAP] Chapter 14:3

This is the third section of the fourteenth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.

The dozen ex-fighter ships now mostly missile carriers having barely begin their journey yet already almost at Earth released their first volley of payload. Simple lumps of rock but carefully aimed to strike a small area of an inconsequential part of Africa. Sterilise the area was the plan so that the carrier craft could drop the troops. Sensors on the fighters turned towards the unexpected detonation in the Indian ocean still being a number of light minutes out the details were hard to determine, but that had definitely been a nuclear explosion and it was followed a second or so later by a second at the same location. The AIs on the fighter-missiles bundled up all the information they had and sent it back to their base. They knew that any response would take over fifty minutes, far longer than the planned length of the attack, but procedure was procedure. Whilst this was happening they carried on gathering information on this unexpected phenomenon.
Continuing on with their programmed plans the first of them started their braking manoeuvres so that they would arrive in a staggered formation.

10 November, 2011

[SFAP] Chapter 14:2

This is the second section of the fourteenth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.

James at at the command console. Around him displays showed the flight plots, light cones of the information being relayed to him and projections of expected flight paths. Screens rose and fell from the floor and ceiling to bring information up depending on what was happening. The information was over half an hour old because of the light speed lag but he could still watch the battle unfold as if in real time.
“Nice system” remarked Laurence.
“I thank you.”
“You should, I supplied it.”
“Very efficient of me then, now if you don’t mind I’m kind of occupied”
“What’s that?” asked Laurence trying to peer at the screen displaying the Earth defense status. “ It looks like a nuclear bomb exploding in the Indian ocean. What are you attacking there?”
“Will you shut up! That not my bomb.”
“Oh Ho, you’ve got them pissed now then.”
“What are you talking about?”
“One good thing about being a defence contractor is you do get to see some interesting projects that happened in the past. I thought this was public knowledge but it’s clearly news to you. I would be breaking a dozen official secrets acts and international treaties if I told you this at any other time, but since it has already happened thirty minutes ago then I’m only telling you what’s about to happen that has in fact already happened.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Oh no” said a smug Laurence “Now that I remember what you did to me earlier it’s more fun to watch you sweat. I wouldn’t want to spoil the fun and you told me to shut up so here I am zipped.” Laurence mimed zipping his mouth closed.
James saw the look on Laurence’s face and decided to ignore him. Must have just been a stray warhead he decided. Odd though his forces hadn’t launched any yet, that was due to happen shortly but not quite yet.

09 November, 2011

[SFAP] Chapter 14:1

This is the first section of the fourteenth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.

Malka strapped herself in as the final alarm finished sounding then waited for the inevitable pounding from the launch. The first one was always the worst she told herself. Of course this would work. It had to work. If it didn’t work she wouldn’t last long. She felt a shudder as the craft broke free of its underwater restraints and felt oddly light and seasick as it bobbed on its way to the surface. The whole ship lurched as the Oppenheimer broke the surface from its submarine hiding and rose above the waves. Seeing daylight for the first time since she was sunk all those years ago. Would this work, would the salt water have damaged the shock absorbers? Her maintenance crews insisted they would be fine. Any second now she would know. The pusher plate was just still submerged, only seconds left. She looked out at the display showing their support platform. In a few seconds time that would be nothing but flying debris. What a waste she thought. But better than launching from land though.
Half way through her next thought her every organ shifted inside her. They were off.

08 November, 2011

[SFAP] Chapter 13:4

This is the final section of the thirteenth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.

“Malka you heard the call?”
“Yes I’m just on my way” she replied back to thin air. She still didn’t like this shouting at nothing but it must have been the fashion when this place was built.
“Good” came Gwen’s voice over the comms system “it might not be aliens this time but they need us.”
“Something we haven’t really prepared for” with this Malka grabbed her back and charged out of the room down the corridor towards the transport tube.
Gwen’s voice followed her “What have they told you so far?”
“Just to get to the Oppenheimer.”
“Well you’re the Captain of that now. Some good troops been assigned to you.”
“None of us though.”
“Don’t worry they’ve been trained with the simulator as well they’re as good as any of us.”
“Because we’re up against humans” she was starting to get out of breath now but had almost reached the transport tube.
“They should be more predictable.”
“Where will you be?”
“I’m taking the Teller, there’s also the Compton and the Halban.”
“No-one else?”
“No we’re holding those in reserve. Can’t show all our hand yet especially with these relativistic craft”
“What? How?”
“Don’t ask, but they’ll be going nearly ten percent light speed when they pass Earth”
Malka ground to a halt at that“You sure they’ll pass?”
“If they hit then there’s nothing we can do to save Earth.”
She started running again, “we’ve got to get up there.”
“You’ll be the first, the Oppenheimer is the closest to this base.”

02 November, 2011

[SFAP] Chapter 13:3

This is the third section of the thirteenth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.

Given the nature of this next section and how it has to flow from one part to the other I've posted almost all of the rest of this chapter together. 
[Spoilers] There's a certain style often used where our heroes always figure out what is going on from the clues they have been given and explain it all to the reader, every story needs this section. However why does the hero never get the wrong end of the stick? [/Spoilers]
Anyway since we've used up almost all of the chapter in one go there will be no more posts this week.

Tom entered the room and saw Jane busy at her terminal, “Jane have you a moment?”
“Not really.”
“I saw your report you sent, I’m not an idiot you know”
“Everyone says that they’re not an idiot, you also need to prove it though.” Jane glared at Tom “Wait how did you see the report?”
“I’ll ignore that for the moment, look I’ll level with you now, who likes a smart arse?”
Jane waited in the pause. “and?” she replied.
“And what?” asked Tom “What else is there to say, if you’re not bothered about achieving the highest career points, but in being approachable to people what more is there?”
“So what have you to say?”
“I’ve figured out what’s going on, those fighters to Earth are a distraction, Earth isn’t the real target, we are.”

“I’ve figured it out” said Laurence, “You’ve welched on the deal, you’ve got your eyes set on something bigger haven’t you? You’re not after Jupiter at all are you, you’re after Earth”

“Look at the fighters going to Earth, sure they’ll do an awful lot of damage, knock out most of the planetary defences, probably be able to bombard a good number of land based defences too, but they’ll never be able to take and hold any land, and it doesn’t do them any good either. No that’s a distraction I guarantee once those fighters have built up to speed some will make a slight course correction and head right to us. Look at the alignment between their launch base, Earth and us.” continued Tom quite frantically “They’ll swing by Earth stir up lots of fear, bomb a few places then carry on to here, with the current planetary alignment it’s almost a straight line. If you use Jupiter for a slight course correction.”
“Sure, you want people to think that you’re not big enough to go after Earth, but this isn’t about land or holding it, it’s about power at the bargaining table; you want to make a powerful first strike, knock out Earth’s defences then go and hold some land until your demands are met. You’re going to use the same trick you used to capture the Contrafibularity again and have a troop ship go un-noticed except the booster ship we thought was a cast off will actually be filled with troops. You’ll have planned it so that its return burn takes it past Earth. We and the AIs will have ignored it because it has served its purpose, but it hasn’t has it, not yet anyway?”

“Sure” continued Tom, “with the pieces on the board where they are, they could still make it to Jupiter or us, and there’s the military base already being built at Jupiter that would make a great target if you’re interested in capturing strategic targets. I don’t think these people are after that, I think they’re playing a much newer game, they’re after civilian shields and industrial capacity. The best place to get that is here at Saturn.”

Laurence looked around trying to read their faces. “So once you’ve got your bargaining tools you’ll get your independence for a while, it’ll all be relatively bloodless, but you know as well as I do that the military won’t let you survive here for long, they’ll recover their strength from your Jupiter attack and when they get an excuse they’ll start a guerrilla war that you’ll win because out here in the asteroids as long as you keep your profile low you’ll be able to rapidly increase in strength until you’ll be a force to be reckoned with, you’ll out breed them. As long as you keep your heads low for long enough political will will be lost and you’ll be the only people here with facilities and numbers; space will belong to you, you’ll capture the automated facilities that you expect to dominate space by that point and then you’ll out produce the Earth powers and in a hundred, maybe two hundred years you’ll totally control space. Those on the Habitat will carry on not giving a shit about anything.”

“Of course if they’ve been planning this as long as they clearly have, that relativistic weapon must have been launched over a decade ago, then they’ll have other long term plans. I bet they’ll have assets already in place here. Whether that is human assets in our staff, or weapons and ships secreted around the Saturn system I don’t know, but I guarantee you they’ll be there and they’ll have been building them up over the years under cover of the mining shipments they sent to us. That’s the other advantage of the Saturn rings, not just lots of water for propellant, but far too many targets to track for an extended period; anything could be hiding in those rings waiting for us. Those fighters will arrive here depleted of fuel and weapons, but they’ll have more ships and resupplies waiting in the rings probably planted by supply ships years ago. I bet anything they’ve been using their supply trips to here to subvertly sneek supplies and men into the rings where we’d never be able to track them.”

“There’s only one thing I don’t get” said Laurence “Why did you support my initial plans, sure I gave you all the fighters and arranged the engines for you and supplied you with the relativistic weapon prototype, but why change the plans so significantly? If you’d have stuck to the plan and attacked Jupiter you’d have had military control of all of space. You could have gone on and took Saturn, and even Mars if you’d have sustained minimal losses; you’d have a much stronger strategic position, why did you give up on that plan?”

“There’s one thing I don’t get” said Tom “What’s their exit strategy? This way they’re sandwiched between Mars and Jupiter in their homeland, and cut off out here on the other. I can only think they’re planning to resist the spread out resources of Jupiter until they can get the factories here up to full production and then attack.”

James sat and waited for a moment to make sure Laurence had finished. “I guess I owe you this much, but it’s not about power and you should know that. Personal gratification can be found on the Habitat by anyone; it’s no great achievement. This is about reminding people that humanity means something. That we don’t have to accept the cards we’re dealt and be good little boys and play nicely. Ever since the Habitat arrived all humanity has done is live up to the little plan a race we’ve never even met chose for us.”
“You’ve killed or are about to kill hundreds of people for an idea, put the solar system at the edge of war for what?”
“For the one thing that matters, human spirit. All over the system now people are going to be wondering who I am and why I would do this. They think that only the factories and machines can produce anything of note yet here is a small group of miners – totally insignificant to their minds that are suddenly the greatest threat humans have seen in over a century and they will be reminded of what we are, or at least what we were. And you know what will happen, everyone with a commercial or political interest in space will come looking for us. You’ll make a fortune out of all the new ships they’ll have you build for them, your initial plan for supporting us will certainly be successful all right, but you’re thinking too small. Your previous technological future will be reached all the faster – why do you think Joseph here supports this because despite all the deaths it’ll get humans more advances in space faster and that’s all to the plans of the Habitat and it’s masters. Or at least they think this will advance them. I say that a reminder of the most important thing any human can do is to say ‘no’ is just what we need.”
“So you turn yourself into an outcast and be on the run for the rest of your life?” asked Laurence.
“I’ve had enough life, more than any man previously. Besides I quite like the idea of giving the greatest of humanity the run around for many years. And if I get bored I just retire to the Habitat and see just how much it sticks to its declared principles. There’s nothing like putting someone else you hate in a position where their principles are in conflict with one another. And if the Habitat has to offer me sanctuary under it’s declared principles whilst I have destroyed all of its plans then that is a happy retirement for me rubbing its nose in it.”

Jane looked at Tom for a moment “But what if there is no exit strategy”
“How can there not be one?” asked Tom.
“If they think that what they’re doing is more important than themselves, if they’re willing to die for their beliefs and they believe that what humans need is a good bit of trouble then their deaths may be immaterial to them”
“How can anyone live like that?”
“Ah I forget the youth of today, you’ve known nothing but this little utopia that has been dropped into our laps. Check your history and there’s plenty of people who were willing to die for their beliefs, or at least plenty of people who could persuade others to die for their beliefs.”
“But we’ve come so far since then”
“It’s only been what? Three generations? Two or even one if you look at me. Society and people don’t change so much in so little time, especially if there is someone at the centre of this who has studied the old ways or even more scary who remembers how things used to be.”
“But it’s been nearly three hundred years”
“There’s a reason I’m so familiar with Laurence I’ll have to explain to you sometime and he’s not the only one. Put it this way they may not have been alive in the years before Habitat, but I’m sure there are people who learned the lesson of history even if people today don’t believe it’s possible.”
“They might do today now they have seen this”
“And that might be just what our protagonist or antagonist or whatever he is is hoping for. No material or political goal in itself just reminding everyone quite what humanity was.”
“You can’t be serious?”
“You’re telling me you’ve never met anyone who has said that humanity is getting soft, that things were better when we had a real challenge, reminisced fondly for the days when we had to fight tooth and nail to survive.”
“Yes but they never really meant it, it’s just talk.”
“My point is, what if we’ve finally found someone who did mean it.”

01 November, 2011

[SFAP] Chapter 13:2

This is the second section of the thirteenth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.

It was over an hour before the light from the flight plumes of the fighters reached Saturn where Jane was watching for any activity from the last known location of the Freedom. Nearly a dozen new stars in the sky and even without knowing anything about the fighters it was possible to calculate the rate of acceleration. Over thirty G of acceleration rules out manned fighters so there was only one possibility. Missiles. Much cruder than the relativistic missile carrier of the earlier attempt but much more deadly. In under nine hours they’d be at Earth travelling at a good few percent of the speed of light  either to drop missiles or to just ram the Earth directly. Ramming the Earth would send Earth back to the stone age and there was nothing she could imagine that could stop them short of the Habitat. Time to see what the motives of the Habitat really were.