Read Escape 2: Fight the Aliens Online

Authors: T. Jackson King

Tags: #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Science Fiction, #Military, #Space Opera

Escape 2: Fight the Aliens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FIGHT THE ALIENS

 

Book Two of the Escape Series

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

T. Jackson King

 

 

 

 

Other King Novels

Mother Warm (forthcoming), First Contact (2015), Escape From Aliens (2015), Aliens Vs. Humans (2015), Freedom Vs. Aliens (2015), Humans Vs. Aliens (2015), Earth Vs. Aliens (2014), Genecode Illegal (2014), The Memory Singer (2014), Alien Assassin (2014), Anarchate Vigilante (2014), Galactic Vigilante (2013), Nebula Vigilante (2013), Speaker To Aliens (2013), Galactic Avatar (2013), Stellar Assassin (2013), Retread Shop (2012, 1988), Star Vigilante (2012), The Gaean Enchantment (2012), Little Brother’s World (2010), Judgment Day And Other Dreams (2009), Ancestor’s World (1996).

Dedication

To the 15 SEALs of SEAL Team Six who gave their lives in service to America. See
https://www.facebook.com/pages/RIP-Seal-Team

Acknowledgments

First thanks go to scholar John Alcock and his book
Animal Behavior, An Evolutionary Approach
(1979). Second thanks go to the scholar Edward O. Wilson, whose book
Sociobiology: The New Synthesis
has guided me in my efforts to explore a future where humanity encounters life from other stars.

 

FIGHT THE ALIENS

© 2016 T. Jackson King

This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this novel are either fictitious or are used fictitiously. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except for brief quotations for review purposes only.

 

Cover design by T. Jackson King; cover image by Luca Oleastri via Dreamstime license; back image of Carina Nebula, courtesy of Hubble Space Telescope

 

First Edition

Published by T. Jackson King, Santa Fe, NM 87507

http://www.tjacksonking.com/

ISBN 10:  1-63384-375-0

ISBN 13:  978-1-63384-375-2

Printed in the United States of America

Contents

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

It’s hard to watch your wife argue with her boss. Especially if the boss is the Marine general who is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Jane had one advantage, though. She’s the captain of the starship
Blue Sky
, which was orbiting 200 miles above Peterson Air Force Base on the outskirts of Colorado Springs. The starship was something the JCS chairman wanted badly.

“Captain Yamaguchi,” growled the four star general who filled the holo to the right of Bill’s Ship Weapons control pillar, “you are still on active duty in the United States Air Force! You
will
obey my order to land that spaceship at the airport field next to this building!”

He winced at the man’s tone. While General Paul J. McAuley had seven lines of ribbons on the left side of his Dress Blue uniform and had led ground attacks on the Islamic State capital of Raqqa, still, the man was treating his lifemate as if she were fresh out of flight school. Although the friendly Aliens who crewed stations at control pillars to Bill’s right knew little of Earth’s military, they understood the man’s tone of voice. The black skin of the walking snake who was Time Marker grew a yellow electrical nimbus as the critter in charge of their engines showed his reaction to the man’s tone. If a former SEAL could have projected an electrical charge, he would have done so. Instead, he checked the reactions of the rest of the crew.

To Bill’s immediate right stood the naked form of Bright Sparkle, the human-like woman whose Megun race spoke by changing the color bands that covered her skin. Color-cast speech was how the Megun had survived on a jungle world filled with dino-like critters who ate anything that made a sound. The woman looked his way, her expression puzzled.

Bill made a calming gesture her way, and hoped the rest of the Command Bridge crew would sense his intent. Beyond Sparkle and Time Marker were Long Walker the eight-legged worm, Wind Swift the scaled kangaroo, Lofty Flyer the flying squirrel, while further back were Builder of Joy, their other squirrel person and Learned Escape, the second Megun on board. Those five showed expressions of puzzlement, curiosity or worry. Hopefully they would see his calm manner and understand things were being handled.

Looking back to his station, he made a quick check of the system graphic holo on his left. It showed their ship was the only moving neutrino source within the Solar system. While Earth’s hundreds of low orbit and geosync satellites also showed in the holo, they meant nothing. None of them carried laser or antimatter weapons. Nor were there any weapons on the ISS space station, or the Russian and Chinese space stations. So said ship sensors. Which he believed completely thanks to their superb functioning during the space battles at Kepler 443. Ahead of him the Weapons holo held an outline of
Blue Sky
with its laser, plasma, MITV space torps and antimatter weapons showing operational status. The true space holo next to it was filled with the blue and white surface of Earth below, while the silvery twinkle of the ISS station lay 49 miles above and ahead of them. The comlink holo on his right showed the JCS chairman. He looked past it to directly view his wife.

Jane Yamaguchi sat in a metal seat that overlooked the bridge from its position atop a six foot high gray metal pedestal. Vertical holos surrounded her command station, with control pillars in front of every holo. Each holo depicted a vital function of the starship. In front of Jane was her own comlink holo that showed General McAuley, who sat at a table in the Space Operations Center of the Air Force Space Command HQ at Peterson, his manner impatient. The faces of the other Joint Chiefs were impassive, except for the black face of General Harriet Poindexter, the Air Force Chief. Poindexter had a thoughtful frown on her face. Which fit the woman who was in direct control of the 21
st
Space Wing, the 1
st
Space Brigade and the Space Command at Peterson. His wife’s pale-skinned face showed tight-clenched muscles as she faced down the nation’s top military adviser to the president.

“General McAuley, you and your fellow chiefs possess the vidcam records of how I and Executive Officer Bill MacCarthy fought the Aliens of this Collector ship, took command of it, returned other Alien captives to their home worlds, and fought several space battles against other Collector ships,” she said tightly. “We sent those records, and vidimages of my crew on this bridge, to you upon our arrival just beyond the orbit of Pluto. That was 53 hours ago. I requested a meeting with you at Peterson since that is the headquarters of the Space Command.” She gave a nod to each JCS chief at the table. “Gentlemen and madame, the stars are a wonderful but dangerous place. The slave-taking Aliens of the Buyer society run things in our part of Orion Arm. I deem it my duty, under my oath, to retain control of the
Blue Sky
in case our Solar system is again visited by a Collector starship!”

“Bullshit!” McAuley exploded, his face going florid. “Those records just prove the utter necessity for this
Blue Sky
to be run by a squadron commander with
real
combat experience! And we need to know the tech secrets of its construction before you disappear into deep space on some godforsaken ‘mission’ that you
choose
to pursue! Fulfill your oath. Obey my orders now!”

Jane sat back in her seat and rested her arms on the arms of the flexmetal seat. Her ‘command persona’ was not just in charge now. It was all she was. She blinked dark brown eyes. “General McAuley, may I remind you that under the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986, you are not in
direct
command of any active duty person. When I worked at Peterson in the 21
st
Operations Group, on satellite monitoring duty, I reported to the colonel who was in charge of Peterson. He reported up the chain to the Chief of the Air Force. General Poindexter. All of which you know.” Jane held up a hand to forestall McAuley’s reaction. “As you also know, we run this ship in collaboration with its self-aware AI. Who goes by the name Star Traveler.” She looked away from the holo and up to the soft white glow of the bridge ceiling. “Star Traveler, collate the complete mech and tech specifications for this ship’s fusion reactors, its artificial gravity units, the inertial damper, our CO² lasers, our plasma weapons, the Magfield normal space drive and the Alcubierre FTL space drive.”

“Understood. Collated,” the AI’s mech-toned voice said. “What do I do with this data?”

Jane licked her lips. “Transmit everything I just listed to Building One below, on the official encrypted microwave frequency I gave you earlier.” In the holo that showed the JCS chiefs, with nearby staff watching and listening from their function posts, the impassive expressions of most JCS chiefs changed to quick smiles. Poindexter’s dark face gave a nod and a lifting of one eyebrow. As if she expected more. “In addition to the transmission to Peterson, transmit
only
the Alcubierre stardrive specs to the internet, our global data-sharing network. All of humanity deserves to know the secret to star travel.”

McAuley’s face, which had shown a grim smile at Jane’s first command, now went florid again. “Captain Yamaguchi! That data is beyond Top Secret Unit Protected! How dare—”

“General?” interrupted Poindexter from her position next to the JCS chair. “I sense that Captain Yamaguchi has distinct reasons for every action she takes and has taken. May I join this discussion?”

McAuley pulled his hand out from under the touch of the Air Force chief. “Yes.”

Poindexter folded her slim fingers together atop the tactical display table around which the chiefs sat and faced his wife, a woman who wore many hats. “Captain Yamaguchi, let me be the first to say Thank You for your amazing efforts at capturing this Alien starship, and in now sharing the remarkable secrets of its construction and function. For myself, the video history of your efforts after being captured is worthy of being added to the Air Force Museum’s displays at Wright-Patterson. And I support your decision to first return other captives to their home worlds before returning to Earth. Under Article 3 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, every commander of a military unit must do their best to remove non-combatant civilians from the field of battle.” Bill liked what he was hearing. He liked better that McAuley, ever the Marine, was clearly impatient with the Air Force chief’s conversational manner. “Your decision to attack the home system of this evil slave-taking culture was also a reasonable decision, in view of the threat posed to Earth and humanity by other Collector ships.”

That comment drew intense looks from the JCS Vice Chair admiral, the Army general, the Chief of Naval Operations, the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Chief of the National Guard Bureau. And behind the chiefs table there were gasps from some onlookers.

Jane sighed softly. “General Poindexter, thank you. These last nine months have been hard for me, for XO MacCarthy and for my crewmates as we weighed this interstellar threat to all intelligent peoples. Deciding what to do next has been . . . very challenging.” His wife looked his way, her face moving to a quick smile. “But my service oath and my promise to XO MacCarthy after the last space battle caused me to head home to Earth. That is, after we obtained vitally needed ship repairs at the star system of the Megun people. They are near duplicates of humanity except for their chromatophoric skin. Which is how they talk among themselves.” Jane gestured forward. “Chief Bright Sparkle, who runs our fusion power plants, belongs to that race. She helped me obtain the repairs we needed after fighting and defeating four Collector ships at Kepler 443.” Jane pointed at the other crew. “To her right are our Engines master Time Marker, our Collector Pods manager Long Walker, Wind Swift of Life Support and our Navigator Lofty Flyer. To my right and left are Builder of Joy and Learned Escape. To you, they resemble a color-banded human, a walking snake, a giant worm, a scaly kangaroo and a flying squirrel. But
they
are my crew and my allies.”

Poindexter glanced quickly at her table’s flat screen display, which showed the Command Bridge of the
Blue Sky
and its crew, then faced back to Jane. “Captain Yamaguchi, you have made allies of Alien peoples we never knew about. You have accepted them as part of your ship crew. And you have traveled 2,500 light years out from Earth. A voyage that I envy.” Several chiefs nodded slowly, as if they also wished to travel the stars. “You returned here, to Earth, in compliance with your service oath. Which of course was your duty as an active duty member of the United States military forces. What else does your oath say you should do now?”

Ahhh
. Bill had been wondering why the Air Force chief was being so butter smooth with his captain, lover and wife. Now it was clear. The chief was inviting Jane to share her motivations with the Joint Chiefs rather than try to dictate behavior to a woman who commanded a starship hovering 200 miles above their heads. He gave a thumbs-up to Bright Sparkle, a gesture she’d come to know during his dates with the Megun woman. The other crew on the bridge also understood the gesture, since it was part of the sign language he’d trained them all in during the weeks of small unit combat training he’d given them prior to the Kepler battle. The yellow electric nimbus surrounding Time Marker grew smaller. The two black eyes of Long Walker blinked acknowledgment. The silvery scales of Wind Swift shimmered as she signed back. And the arm flaps of Lofty Flyer flared as she showed excitement that the human to human confrontation was resolving. Or so Bill hoped.

Jane gave the black woman a salute. “General Poindexter, you are also the US NORTHCOM unified combat commander. As such you are the head of my chain of command. I hereby report to you my observations and recommendations from active duty service in defense of the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic!”

Poindexter’s face went command formal. “Captain Yamaguchi, report!”

Jane tapped the nearby pillar for the ship’s Library. “At present, the enemy slave-takers consist of 61 Market worlds where intelligent people are bought and sold to 841,333 Buyers from 413 star systems. Captives are found and captured by 89 Collector starships, which is my estimate of the number remaining after their combat losses. I am sending you a graphic of every star we visited, the locations of the 413 star systems with Buyers, and the several Alien peoples who became our allies. Including the Megun, whose space industry abilities greatly exceed ours.”

Even McAuley looked shocked by the graphic that appeared on the flat screen display that lay in the middle of the table at which the JCS chiefs sat. Poindexter grimaced. “America and Earth face a terrible enemy. Proceed with your report.”

“The nearest enemy Market world is located at system HD 128311, which is 54.1 light years distant from Earth,” Jane said, gesturing at the graphic she had transmitted to the chiefs. “That is a two day trip thanks to the Alcubierre FTL stardrive. Which means the enemy is just two days away!”

Every member of the JCS stiffened and looked alarmed. “We have to prepare for an attack!” grunted the Army general who, like Jane, was of Japanese-American heritage.

Poindexter’s middle-aged face went neutral smooth. “That is too close for comfort. Captain Yamaguchi, what can America do to defend against these Collector ships?”

“Adjust the sensors on your SBIRS geosync sats to detect moving neutrino sources,” Jane said bluntly. “That is the only way to detect a Collector ship. The hull of the
Blue Sky
is made of material that wraps external EMF radiation around it, so it cannot be seen in normal light, and our infrared, electrical, radio and other emissions cannot be detected by any passive or active system, like the AN/SPY-1 phased array radar on Aegis cruisers. Or the SSPAR, PAVE PAWS and PARCS radars of Space Command.” Frowns showed on the faces of the chiefs. “However, the fusion plants that power our Magfield and Alcubierre spacedrives emit neutrinos at a density greater than what comes from deep space. The emissions are not as dense as those coming from the Sun, of course, but any moving neutrino source
is
an enemy Collector ship! And thereby a target.”

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