Alone In The Night

Chapter 2

On the bridge of the IWS Emperor's Wrath, Admiral Jerec DuGalle sat comfortably in the command chair. The vessel had originally been under the command of Captain Hernando Benitez, before the unfortunate and untimely decompression of the main shuttle-bay, but the good admiral was there to heroically assume command after the poor captain's accident. The orders for vessel while it was supposed to travel to Mars had been for strict radio silence, making it very easy for DuGalle to proceed with his own personal mission. Jerec brought the ship to a pre-arranged point at a pre-arranged time to meet with the Voltath flagship and, if possible, negotiate a truce. If it worked, he would appear the hero who avoided an interstellar war. However, if negotiation was impossible or unsuccessful, he intended to open fire and destroy the Voltath flagship with weapons specifically chosen for that purpose, forcing a military settlement on the enemy, and still being the hero.

So far in his dealings with the Voltath Primarch, diplomacy had been peaceful, but nothing concrete had been accomplished. The two vessels sat at relative rest 3 light years inside Voltath space, sitting like two tigers waiting to pounce. It had been two hours since DuGalle had delivered his ultimatum to the Voltath. Presumably the Primarch was waiting for a response from the Governing Council on the Voltath homeworld, and DuGalle looked forward to that response. As the scene on the bridge became too stressful to just sit, DuGalle began to slowly pace across the bridge. When even that became unbearable, he retired to the ready room and a hot cup of coffee.

He had been resting for over an hour when a call came from the bridge for him to please come. When he sat back down in the center chair, and the viewscreen was activated, he was once again face to face with the Voltath Primarch. Had the Emperor's original mission gone according to plan, this man would now be face to face with Colonel Xander Hort. But thanks to the interference of DuGalle, the operative never even landed on Voltath Prime. The Voltath fleet intercepted and destroyed his shuttle before it even reached the home system. With Xander out of the way, DuGalle was now free to finish this with honor, the way it should have been done to begin with.

The Primarch stared at him with all six of his compound eyes, intent on winning this contest of wills. His great mind was considering possible outcomes if negotiation failed. Thought he figured it unlikely that DuGalle would destroy them outright after all the trouble he had gone through to set up the meeting, he had no intention of allowing this upstart race to push around a civilization with more than 15 million years of recorded history. The Terrans had still not seen the full extent of Voltath technology, and were about to pay for their lack of intelligence and imagination. Though their weapons were on an even level with those of Terra, excluding the proton cannon, the Voltath had developed a technology that enabled them to create temporary pockets within the space-time continuum itself. These pockets, which they called spatial folds, were undetectable to any scanning device, even to the Voltath themselves, and served as a perfect hiding place for ships that did not wish to be seen. 1,500 kilometers from where the two vessels were sitting nearly nose to nose, fifteen Voltath warships were hiding in a spatial fold, armed to the teeth and ready for battle. At the Primarch's order, these vessels would emerge from the spatial fold and, if necessary, mercilessly butcher this pitiful vessel if the Terrans even made the hint of a provocative move.

The scene was tense and silent for almost five minutes before DuGalle finally broke the silence. "Primarch, you have been given your final chance to end this peacefully. I now ask for the last time: What is your decision?"

The great orator that he was, the Primarch always considered his words carefully before he spoke. He was only newly familiar with the primitive Terran tongue, but he could make his point very clear when needed. His voice was riddled with rasps and clicks as the large insectoid slowly formed the words he had chosen for this moment, "Admiral DuGalle, you have deliberately invaded our territory, murdered our citizens, and even while we have been speaking, Terran warships have completely destroyed five of our colony worlds. And now you have the audacity to ask us to acquiesce to a peaceful solution? I now give you your final chance to end this peacefully. Your emperor will publicly declare what has transpired here, and issue a formal apology in front of a full session of the Coalition of Unaligned Worlds. He will also order remuneration for our lost territory and equipment in a fashion to be determined at a later date. If that occurs, we will allow your race to continue its existence. Do it not, and we will make it our purpose in this galaxy to erase all evidence of the existence of your civilization."

As the Primarch's harsh words sunk in, DuGalle suddenly feared he may have made a mistake. He was about to give the order to fire and end this, when the security board lit up like a Christmas tree. Fifteen Voltath heavy assault ships had suddenly appeared where before there had been only empty space. He weighed the options in his head quickly and barked out his orders. He had learned in his long and glorious career to be prepared for anything, even that which could not be predicted.

"Brush fire scenario, code blue!! Full implementation!! Engage!"

As the enemy ships swooped in like vultures, the Emperor's Wrath made several sharp maneuvers. She turned violently and assumed a heading in a relatively straight up direction and engaged the ion engines at full power. She then released 5 remote controlled photon charge mines, each with a 25 iso-ton explosive yield. Once the "mines" were safely away and the ejection port was closed, the ship then engaged its hyper-dimensional drive systems and was gone, moving at a speed Einstein had theorized impossible.

As the Voltath tried to figure out what had happened, the mines slowly worked their way to their targets. Equipped with the latest in shadow technology from the Halcorans and painted jet black, the deadly charges maneuvered undetectably and attached themselves to separate vessels to wait for the countdown to reach zero. Five minutes after the Terran warship had left, the charges detonated. The vessels to which they were attached were completely atomized. All the other ships were completely destroyed, leaving only an intense photon signature, and debris from the vessels.