LETTERS FROM ISCANDAR
By Edward Hawkins
Prologue - Part One
: Prologue :
alarm after another began to squeal its high pitched cries. Flickering lights
and sensors dazzled the operator, his hands moving at a feverish pace to manage
all the excitement. He frantically cried out;
"Enemy fleet! Bearing A260 by Z144!
The operator adjusted a small knob, and flipped a switch, then continued.
"Range … Twenty seven cosmo meters and closing!"
His excited voice rang throughout the cabin. He looked around for acknowledgement from his superior. He could see other operators around the large command deck, just as occupied as he was.
There, centered on the deck, stood a tall muscular man. He looked at his impatient operator and gave him a nod. The operator went back to his control panel and frantically managed all the lights and switches begging his attention.
The man standing firm, receiving information from his subordinates, wears the uniform of a Captain. He's youthful in appearance, but the crew has shared with him the battle experience which has made him a veteran.
The young Captain looks out of view ports, surrounding the command deck, searching to see the enemy.
The Captain searches in vain for the enemy, knowing he's still too far away for visual contact. Behind him, in the rear of the command deck, a set of doors slides open, to reveal a slender officer. The new figure steps onto the deck, and smartly marches forward.
"Lt. Krytzer … We're approaching the enemy."
The Captain still appears to search through the portals.
"Make ready all weapons, and contact the squadron ... We'll stay in formation until I give the order."
The young officer snaps to attention.
"Aye aye Sir."
The lieutenant swiftly moves to one side of the command deck and issues orders to the crew. The sense of excitement has become overwhelming to those in the room. A sense of 'the hunt' spreads from crewman to crewman. They know they are undefeated, with one of the best Captains in the fleet.
Eagerness and the taste of blood fill their senses. Any moment now they will be upon the enemy, fighting for their homeland and defending the honor of the greatest leader in their history ... Supreme Leader Deslar.
: Part One :
small planet of Pluto, not far from the racing fleet, a small force of loosely
formed vessels, also are preparing for battle. Large, bulky Earth ships,
brightly colored, all surround a single larger vessel.
"This is the Isokaze! Radar Contact! Enemy Force closing!"
The static charged message was received throughout the rag tag fleet. It also was received by one of Earth's most experienced Officers … Captain Juzio Okita, aboard his command battleship.
Okita stood tall, but age had etched the weariness of war sharply into his face. To hide his regrettable rewards of battle from the everyone around him, he grew a thick, full faced beard, which had turned white from his vast experience as an officer.
As large as Okita's battleship was, the bridge was very small. Only a few men occupied the cramped space. Reaching down to the communications panel he lifted the intership microphone.
"This is Fleet Commander Okita, all ships close in … Today, we face the enemy. We -must- be victorious for the sake of our mother Earth, for the sake of humankind…"
He wanted to say more, something that would rally the men, but he knew the dire situation as well as everyone else.
"… Good Luck." ... Was all he could muster.
He returned the microphone and looked out of the main bridge window. He could see small dots moving swiftly towards him … Of all his battles with the enemy … He knew this one was going to turn out badly.
Lead Gamilas battle cruiser. The radio man was commanded to repeat himself.
"Okita … He said his name was Okita."
The Captain paused in thought. Krytzer approached his side.
"Yes!" The Captain cut him off.
"Since the day we found out he lead the raid on sector seven … Leader Deslar has wanted him captured."
"Captain Eland …" Spoke the Lieutenant. "You were there that day … Weren't you?"
Eland turned slowly to his second in command.
"We thought we had defeated them. We were sure they were going to surrender."
Eland paused in thought.
"We had just started setting up the forward base, and from nowhere, the Earthers attacked. They wiped out the entire base, only a few of us got away with our lives."
Eland began clenching his fist, as the memory overcame him.
"We had just broken their frequency codes, and we could hear them reveling in the victory like gluttons, praising Okita's name over and over."
Krytzer knew the Captain's story very well.
Eland continued; "I swore, that I would …" He was cut off by the unique sound of the proximity alarm.
"Report!" The Captain commanded.
"Planet bomb approaching … Directly behind us! On a heading to Earth!" cried out the radar man.
Eland's frustration was blatantly visible.
"EVASIVE MANEUVERS! ... Damn that Shultz!"
Krytzer broke in. "Sir, I notified him that we would be in this sector." Worry washed across the lieutenant's face.
"He's an idiot! His own stupidity is going to get himself killed one day."
Eland tensed as a bright, fiery ball approached his ship. Several alarms now became deafening, as the weapon of mass destruction flew by the Gamilas squadron.
Turbulence began to rock the battle cruiser, everyone aboard grabbed onto anything they could hold, to not fall over. The blazing ball of fire passed without incident, much to the everyone's relief.
"Lieutenant, get me a damage report!"
The humongous planet bomb, designed for thermonuclear destruction, sailed through the solar system approaching the small human space fleet.
"Captain Okita! Another planet bomb!" The Radar man blurted in fear.
Okita showed no emotion, and replied. "It will be close, but we're not in danger from it … Just be sure the fleet stays together."
The aging Captain watched the fire bomb pass by his small fleet, anger gripped his heart, and a silent tear formed as he thought to himself;
"My precious Earth … I can't bear to look at it anymore. Once green with silvery lakes and streams, is all gone. Only a burning desert is left ... Contamination everywhere."
Okita could see the Gamilon fleet much clearer now, he knew it wouldn't be long before his crew was put to the test once again. He continued to ponder in thought;
"We live like rats now, because of those damned planet bombs … How can we survive?"
Okita looked at his crew, all of them were so young, just children. He realized, he didn't even know some of their names. Some of the crew had never seen battle before, yet they seemed so eager. Okita wanted desperately to return to Earth, his thoughts became apparent in his eyes.
"This single battleship … Alone against the evil Gamilon war machine. Only -WE- stand between them and Earth. We -MUST- win, we are Earth's last defense."
Okita's thoughts were interrupted by the radar man's cries.
"Gamilon fleet confirmed! Six Space battleships, eight destroyers and over a dozen escort ships!"
Okita commanded his crew with ease and authority;
"Make ready all laser artillery!"
"Lockdown all space tight doors!"
"Align targeting computers!"
Aboard the Gamilas battle cruiser, Captain Eland could make out the silhouettes of the Earth space fleet.
"Lieutenant … I want you to send a message."
Krytzer approached swiftly. "Yes sir …"
Eland looked at the approaching ships through the portal.
"This Okita … I want him alive. He has to know he's outnumbered and outclassed. Advise them to surrender, and that we will not bring them harm."
Krytzer saluted. "Aye aye sir."
The Lieutenant moved swiftly to the com station and relayed the message to the Earth fleet, while Eland began the preparations for battle.
"All crew to combat stations!"
"Charge laser generators!"
"Open all target scopes!
Krytzer stepped back to Captain Eland. The young lieutenant had a dumbfounded look on his face. He looked down at the message pad and then back at the Captain.
"Sir … We have a reply from the Earthers."
Eland saw the confusion on Krytzer's face.
"Well? What is it?" The captain insisted.
Krytzer Looked again at the message.
"Sir … I don't understand this reply … It simply says -idiots-"
"Idiots?" Eland exclaimed.
"Yes sir … That's all." Krytzer reported.
Eland clenched his teeth, a thousand thoughts went racing through his mind.
"Such ignorance!" Eland blurted.
He turned to the navigator and commanded; "Range?!"
The navigator hastily made his report.
"Just outside effective firing range, sir!"
The Captain had become impatient and stepped forward to the view port.
"FIRE! FIRE EVERYTHING!"
Lieutenant Krytzer turned swiftly to the gunnery officer and cried out;
"ALL GUNS OPEN FIRE!"
Eland watched has the main laser turrets of his ship rotated immediately towards the Earth fleet, then unleashed streams of highly charged energy beams.
The lasers from the Gamilas cruiser harmlessly passed over the Earth battleship. Reflections of the light they created, seeped into the bridge where Okita was commanding his crew.
"Captain Okita! The enemy has begun firing!"
Okita looked at the young face that reported the obvious, then commanded to the artillery officer;
"Set Target Scope! Adjust to Zero Lock!"
The artillery officer made adjustments to his computer station, turned knobs and watched several confirming indicators light up and flash with readiness. The artillery officer turned to the Captain and cried;
"All guns ready to fire!"
At the top of Okita's lungs, he commanded; " F I R E ! "
Large volleys of laser fire erupted from the Earth battleship. The death beams plowed directly into the side of the lead Gamilon cruiser, then bounced off harmlessly.
"Report!" Demanded Eland.
Krytzer looked over several monitor screens, then faced his Captain.
"Sir! The anti-electron generator, deflected ninety percent of the enemies laser power … No damage to report!"
Eland smirked, then cried out; "RETURN FIRE!"
Another round of laser beams shot from the Gamilas turrets, piercing the hull of the Earth battleship. Displacing large metal plates and sharks of torn fragments into space. The high energy bolts wreaked havoc within the bulky space battleship.
- End Part One
- Edward Hawkins - 1988