From the Begining|
The Story of Icara
Written by Starhawk.
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It is the year 2400 and the Human colonies have all declared for independance and have formed their own "star nations", with recent discoveries in technology for the first time in history space based warfare has become possible and so an arms race has begun, each star nation has decided it's time to expand their frontiers and with those frontiers their military power.
It had been two months since construction of the first Icaran colonyship began and finally work was finished and the kilometer long grey hull with the massive blue oval of the colony module was the most beautiful site Praetor Leonidas could recall since the birth of his first daughter 5 Icaran years (nearly 8 Earth years) ago.
"Majesty?" Countess Percilla Torry bowed nerviously behind her Praetor, she would be aboard the colonyship when it launched and in fact become the first governor of an offworld Icaran province and was more then a little nervious about her new posting.
"Relax Percie, it's just you and me here." Leonidas smirked as he turned around and saw the flush in the young woman's face as she nerviously squared her shoulders. She was the daughter of Leonidas best friend and as such he often afforded her a much less "formal" stance then he would have taken with any other Icaran Noble on the planet.
"Yes your highness." the young woman's voice still quivered but she feigned a smile and accepted the hand Leonidas offered her and followed him to the vid-window that was showing the final stages of the boarding of CS-R-1/1 (named Brandenburg by the crew after the colony's official name).
It was indeed a wonderful sight and the young Countess' eyes lit up as she saw "her ship" waiting to take her to a new life, away from the Courts and their pomp, away from all the formalities of "parties" with men like Baron Chesterfield who would drool over her as she was the youngest girl in the room.....at least away from all that for a little while.
A real frontier settler she thought to herself, just like she had always dreamed of!
"Well miss Percie, I'm afraid I have an appointment with Admiral Hallice about the formation of our first Royal Navy crews and then I have an appointment with the House of Lords comission on the subject of a naval budget and I'm sure you don't want to sit through those meetings." Leonidas smiled warmly at the young girl (only 16 Icaran years old) and led her to the door. He wished he had more time to talk to her but with all the new things Happening in the world today he would have to be satisfied with the few moments he had.
"I suppose I should be getting to the Brandenburg anyway Highness, afterall I have thirty-four million people that are going to have to be billeted." She smiled again and bowed respectfully to the man who had been like an Uncle to her, for her whole life and she felt a lump in her throat as she realized it would be a very long time before she saw her father or Leonidas again.
Leonidas patted the young woman's arm, then suddenly looked as if he'd forgotten something and rushed over to his desk drawer. After a few seconds of rifling through a mess of paper work he walked over again and handed her a small golden plaque baring the name of her colony and an old Icaran motto enscribed underneath the engraved starship.
And then he patted her arm again as she walked through the door and on to her new life on the "frontier".
2400.2 Landing Day
The first interplanetary colony established by the Icarans was settled on the only other planet in the Novor system that could sustain a large population without the need for domse or breather masks.
Countess Percilla Torry daughter of Duke Mark Torry was proclaimed governess of the new stellar province of Brandenburg.
And already Icara's shipyard was constructing CS-R12 for it's mission to establish a mining colony on the small methane world of Novor II and tap it's rich mineral resources for the good of Icara.
The Naval Bureau of Ships was already working on designs for the first Icaran Royal Navy ship that was expected to launch in 3 months time.
2400.5: The Launch of HMS Saber
His Majesty’s Starship Saber was a small ship compared to either of the gargantuan colony ships which had launched from these very shipyards nor was she spacious on the interior as she was packed with cannon and missile, yet to her Captain none of that mattered, she was the queen of the stars to him.
The 150 officers and Ratings of her crew stood in parade formation wearing full dress uniform in the massive loading bay of the Icaran shipyards as Admiral Lord Alexander Hallice ascended the podium that had been erected for this very event. Press swarmed all around taking holo images of the ship, the crew and anyone who looked important.
Dozens of nobles were also present at the commissioning ceremony, and Captain William Ross remembered that the whole event had taken three long wearisome hours as he waited to board his new command and see to her final inspection tour before launch.
Finally Ross stepped onto the bridge of Saber and looked around with a grin, twelve stations sat fully manned and his Exec, Lieutenant Commander Sarah Pallins waited by his command chair.
Suddenly Ross heard the traditional marine sentry beside him callout as he noticed his Captain step on bridge and the piercing shout of “CAPTAIN ON DECK!” brought the entire bridge crew to attention and he took note of the click of their boots with satisfaction before he returned the salute.
“As you were.” Ross’ baritone voice hid his nerves and excitement as he took his command chair.
“All hands ready for deployment sir.” Commander Pallins said as she looked over the status board one Last time to make sure all systems were operational.
“Very well Commander.” Ross double confirmed her readings as was traditional, then he stood clasped his hands behind his back in as casual a manner as he could manage and walked over to the helm station.
“Helm take us out heading nine-zero-five by two….straight for the closest warp node.” Ross’ voice was as emotionless as ever but he felt exhilaration unlike any he had known before as he felt the ship’s drives activate, and the light pulsing feeling on the deck plating as she began to move towards the nearest warp point and into the great unknown...
Captain Ross sat in his command chair, eyes fixed on his displays as they focused on the Telcosus warp point, named after it’s discoverer Dr. Paula Telcosus of the Icara university for Astrogation. It was an amazing site as the scanners bombarded the normally invisible warp point with rays designed to make it visible to the crews of starships, it was a massive blue funnel that swirled and shimmered brilliantly in the displays.
“Helm take us in, Pallins dispatch a messenger drone to Icara, inform them we are about to enter the warp point.” although he was calm Ross’ was tense, his ship would be the first Icaran starship to enter a warp point in two centuries and no one of present generations even knew what the effects a warp point would have on the crew of a starship.
“Sir…..transition into hyper-space in five zero seconds.” Commander Pallins said as she looked up from the astrogation station she looked excited and yet she was as professional as ever.
“Helm deploy grav field” Ross’ didn’t take his eyes off of the nav display as he watched the small green dot of his ship approaching the massive yellow light that represented the warp point.
A small hemispherical module deployed from the prow of the frigate and another deployed from the aft portion of the ship just above the engine housing, as the ship got closer and closer to the warp point the two modules began to glow and the gravity field that allowed transition between real and hyperspace without turning the crew into a pile of so much sludge as had happened to the test animals first sent through warp points centuries ago. And which happened to more then one colony ship who’s grav field generators failed.
But technology had improved drastically in that department and it was believed that no field generator would fail for at least 50 years and that made Ross only moderately moer comfortable as the outer gravity field met with the warp point in a brilliant glowing wave.
“All hands prepare for jump in five…….four……three” the computer counted down as the ship’s after grav field entered the vortex of the warp point and then all time blurred and a wave of nausea swept over the crew of HMS Saber like a shockwave.
“Tactical…..status?” was all Sarah Pallins could mutter before a brilliant flash and then the transition into normal space thumped into reality and in an instant the nausea was gone and al stations began reporting in……they had made it with no damage, though clean up crews be at work in some of the areas of the ships were crewmembers had….not kept composure.
And before Saber lay the vast expanse of the Telcosus nebulae it’s glowing gas clouds and golden hew covered the entire expanse of what had once been a star system millenia ago it was beautiful but utterly useless to the expansion of Icara as it had no resources or planets to colonize.
“Alright, plot a course for the next warp point helm, Comns launch a messenger drone to inform command that we have found nothing of serious value.” Ross smiled at Pallins and she nodded, it was the beautiful but more then that it was the first interstellar distance any Icaran starship had traveled in centuries but Ross had to remain professional even though he did want to explore the nebulae.
“Sailing Master ETA next warp jump?” Chief Petty Officer Horowitz seemed startled by Pallins and nearly jumped out of his skin as he quickly looked over his station.
“Ma’am ETA next warp jump, is 2 weeks at full thrust ma’am.” Horowitz flushed as he realized just how squeaky his own voice sounded as he replied to his senior officer.
“Thank you Sailing Master, Helm set course maximum thrust.” Pallins voice was harsh but understanding, he was a young man at only 12 Icaran years but he still needed to be prepared and that little display was not professional at al……but they would have 2 weeks to work on that before their next jump. Pallins thought to herself as she looked over to her captain and noticed a slight grin on his face.
Meanwhile the HMS Warrior which had just been constructed and manned headed toward the Swift system and discovered not one but 2 fully life sustaining worlds that would be perfect for Icaran colonists. As well as several resource rich worlds that could be domed and mined to expand on the resource gathering abilities of Icara.
HMS Warrior under Captain Thomas walker had warped into the Vaktor system and discovered a nebulae much like that in the Telcosus “system” and her crew marveled at the sight before setting a course for yet another system. She had already charted one close to home and had traversed the entire Norvar system again before warping through Vaktor and after such a long trip her crew was a little disappointed.
Messenger drones from all three ships brought back interesting astrological data but unfortunately most of it was of limited use to Icara, though two colony ships were already planned to colonize the new worlds.
Meanwhile Ross and his crew had explored another Nebulae named Belican and set course for yet another warp point.
HMS Saber proceeded from the Telcosus nebulae to the Licha In, warp point to make her second exploratory jump.
“Approaching Licha In warp point…..ETA three minutes.” Helmsman Johan Burke announced in a bored tone as he watched the chronometer on his panel count down the minutes to jump.
The sensors were showing that wondrous blue vortex growing in size fast as the Saber closed in at 6 gees.
“Thank you helmsman.” Commander Pallins was bored as well, it had been two weeks spent in this nebulae and although it was a beauty it was useless to the expansion of Icara and the crew was getting frustrated with the constant monotony of day after day of nothing but soup in the visual displays and nothing but battle drills and card games to keep them busy for two weeks.
The lift door slid open and Captain Ross stepped onto the bridge still buttoning his tunic and wiping the sleep out of his eyes desperately trying to look like three hours of sleep was enough as he took over the Last few minutes of the watch so he could oversee the warp jump personally.
Three minutes later the grav field began to glow against the warp point and the familiar nausea swept over the crew for the moment they were in warp space, seconds later the Licha In system lay ahead of them.
Licha was a massive system by Norvor standards with 15 planets of varying size and Ross felt a massive wave of relief come over him as he noticed the readout, finall something for his crew to do after weeks of boredom, now they could do their job and survey the planets of an actual star system.
Meanwhile in Icara’s shipyards the massive form of another colony ship set course for the Swift system to colonize one of her two inhabitable worlds, and shortly after their launch the keel for HMS Repulse was laid, and her crew completed their training..
A month later HMS Repulse launched from her berth and took up stationary orbit of Icara to protect her while the other two frigates of her class explored star systems in an effort to expand the Icaran’s borders.
The massive colony ship entered Sparta's atmosphere and formed a massive fireball as her heat shielded mass met the higher then normal friction of Sparta's thick atmosphere.
Duke Leonard Panowsky had used his own personal wealth the massive colony ship and he didn't let colonists or his peers forget it.
As he strode onto the command deck of the massive vessel he sneered at the privately hired civilian command crew, they were little more then ants to him but for the moment he needed them and he hated needing commoners to do anything for him and they knew it.
But as he saw the surface of the planet as the ship broke through the cloud layer he couldn't help but smile, not at it's inherant beauty for Sparta was rather devoid of any attractive land features as it was mainly rock with a few "forests" that were little more then moss covered oxygen producing swamplands, no he was smiling because this ugly world would be all his it would give him prestige to back his "honorary" dukedom not to mention an actual realm to rule over as back on Icara he was little more then a merchant and was looked down upon by the land owning nobles but no more.
An hour later the massive colony ship landed and squads of heavily armed scouts left her bays on ground effect speeders to make sure there were no predatory creatures near their landing zone. Meanwhile armed engineering crews began loading up the prefab defense walls onto the large Anti grav trucks so that when their scouts reported back they could construct the perimiter of their new city.
Sparta city would be unlike most cities on Icara for three reasons, the 36 million inhabitants was larger then most Icaran cities housed, it's buildings were all prefabs, not a single one of them bore the distinctive stonework of Icaran architecture and the third reason was that her perimiter would be surrounded by a three meter thick bLasteel wall with automated defense laser cannons to protect the city's inhabitants from the many predatory animals that were spotted during the initial surveys of Sparta including the elephant sized beast known as the Kraken after a mythological beast of old Earth.
The charting of the Tempel and Akritri star systems brought new possibilities for Icara as several colonizable worlds were discovered, mostly they would need domes but they were all rich in minerals and other resources vital to Icara.
Sparta's sister world New Caldonia was colonized by a government funded "pathfinder" expedition to establish military and resourcing facilities on world as soon as possible.
Exploration continued but nothing of major value occured within the Spartan heald territories. The colonies reported their first "homeworld" births and exciting reports of new resources began to pour in to Icaran Merchants and government agencies back home on Sparta.
2401.8 New Discovery and a New Threat
HMS Repulses' Captain and crew were were expecting a routine jump as they entered the Fornax Warp point so most of the crew was off duty or asleep.
Captain Bradley's crew had proved themselves many times to him and he thought proudly they had proved themselves to the Admiralty by charting not one but two star systems so he always allowed non essential personal to relax when not conducting drills or charting worlds especially during the late hours of the night like this.
As he looked over the Last shift's report Bradley felt a slight twinge in his stomache and noticed that they must have entered the warp point's field, Bradley was one of those few people that was not effected by the warp jump effect and by the way some of his crew had described the experience he was glad of it.
As HMS Repulse slipped out of the warp point all hell broke loose on the bridge as the lights turned red and alerts hooted throughout the ship, computer controlled tactical systems suddenly displayed not one but two sources of energy in system and without needing orders the tac officer swung into action running advanced scans.
"Tac what the hell is going on?!" Bradely snapped as his executive officer and the marine Seargent ran onto the bridge at the same time.
"Sir I am reading a vessel in system, as well as a planetary source of energy." Tactical officer Leona Simmons said coldly as she fed her scanning information to the Captain's display.
An energy signature that could only belong to a ship of moderate size was at a distance of 10 light minutes out from his own frigates' position but more worrying there was a world that was only 1 light minute out that was showing signs of habitation.
"Helm lay in a course for that world, I think we should try to make contact.....Commander Ripley launch a messenger drone to inform Naval command that we have a first contact situation." Bradley took note of the energy signature and swallowed hard as he realized that no human power plants could produce that signature, at least none that he knew of and that likely meant that this really was a first contact and not simply a contact with another Human group.
Twenty hours and twelve minutes after Repulse had set course for the unknown colony they were in communications range.
"Comns open all frequencies." Bradley's voice was steele and to his suprise he felt no anxiety or fear, afterall this was his job, he thought to himself.
The comn officer nodded to him and Bradley stood up to make the speech he had been tought back in the academy but just as he was about to speak an alarm at the tactical station buzzed, as he jerked to face Ensign Simmons, the look on his face made her wince as she punched a few buttons.
After a moment the young woman looked up at her Captain oviously fearing his wrath "Sir, they have accessed our communications database, I tried to put up firewalls but I've never seen anything like this before." she looked down again and kept punching in codes frantically.
Bradely didn't doubt that she was telling the truth about it being nothing she had ever seen before but he also found the "covering my ass" tone oddly amusing.
Just as the alarm stopped and Simmons sighed in relief beleiving she had finally blocked the access the comn officer just about jumped out of his seat as he set the comn net to bridgewide.
A very alien voice began to echo across the bridge and the entire command crew sat stunned as the eery voice made it's demands.
You have entered Phong Federation space and violeted the boundries of one of our outPosts you will stand down all engines and weapons and turn yourselves over to us at once, if you do not we willl destroy you.....you have five minutes to decide your fate.
"I'll be damned first." Bradley snapped to himself as he personally cut off the comn circut.
"Cocky sonofabitch isn't he?" Commander Ripley said in a grim tone as he sat his station next to the Captain's command chair.
"Indeed mister Ripley, I think we can safely assume that ship we detected is a warship." Bradley's voice was as cold as ever but his eyes burned with anger, how dare they demand his surrender, he'd be damned to the lowest depths of hell before being the first Icaran navy captain to surrender his ship to anybody much less an alien race.
"Tactical officer I want to know what that outpost has right now." Bradely said as he nodded to Commander Ripley to sound general quarters.
"I am reading thrirty-six million I repeat three-six million inhabitants, multiple mining operations and nearest I can guess a spaceport faciltiy sir." Simmons hands moved skillfully over her controls as throughout the ship klaxons and drumrolls brought the 130 navy officers and Ratings and 20 marines running to their stations.
"Gunnery crews report ready, missile tubes loaded, all hands reporting ready at battlestations Captain." Ripley announced with a satisfied tone.
"Very well, aquire targets on surface....and get me an ETA on that warship." Bradley continued issuing orders as his crew perpared for the first combat action of an Icaran starship in recorded history.
"Sir, they say our time is up!" Comns announced hoarsely as the alien message came in.
"Sir ETA on that warship's intercept is 200 hours." Simmons said as she aquired target locks on planet.
Captain Bradley restled with his emotions, killing 36 million people would ensure that his ship and crew was safe but it was 36 million sentient beings...he looked around at his bridge crew, from young face to young face and then considered the billions back home that could be threatened by this race, and his duty to the Praetor became clear.
"All guns fire, missile tubes one and two fire, level that planet!" At his order the crew silently snapped into action, all three cannons and both missile tubes fired.
As the three ultra high speed cannon rounds slammed into the surface outpost massive craters were cut into the domed facility inflicting heavy losses on the populace but even that was nothing compared to what happened when the two fusion missiles slammed into the planet's surface...massive spheres of energy plumed from the city laying waste to miles of buildings and killing millions n their immediate vicinity. Thousands more would have died of radiation poisoning had they had the chance, fortuneately for them they would not get the chance as the next volley of cannon rounds leveled more buildings and killed hundreds.
After five minutes and a third volley of cannon fire the second volley of missiles was on it's way and then a fourth cannon volley.
The Last few Phong that had survived the initial onslaughts were massacred as the second wave of missiles blew the Last parts of the outpost away....the only question now was what would the enemy frigate do?
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Written by Starhawk.
Copyright © by the author, posted with permission.
Published on: 2005-04-02 (32895 reads)[ Go Back ] - [ Fan Fiction ] - [ Content Home ]