The Liberty alarms were blaring, yellow lights were flashing filling everywhere with it. It really made the entire place feel like there was a sense of urgency.
The Liberty had only just begun moving when the Myrmekes arrived. They came out of warp and didn’t care that they were in a system when they did. The explosion of fast-moving particles came flying out from them as their ship slowed. We watched as asteroids, along with the one we were going to hide in, getting obliterated in front of us.
The Tuhingan responsible for focusing the viewscreen on important events was doing a fine job showing us all what was happening outside. First the Myrmekes coming out of warp, then the destruction of the asteroids. All of this while there was the sound of explosions rattling throughout The Liberty as some high-speed particles hit us.
“We’re out of here!” The Rehew woman announced.
“Wait!” Caroline said.
“Leave them. We have more pressing issues!” The Captain said to Caroline. The Rehew woman ran out from The Bridge with the rest of her crew. “As soon as they have boarded their ship, vent the hanger and allow them to leave!” The Captain said to one of the Tuhingans sat at the side of the bridge.
“Yes, Captain!” The Tuhingan responded.
The Captain surprised us all at how she refocused herself in this crisis. She became herself and took control. “How are people with condition yellow?” she asked another Tuhingan.
“They are panicked and not ready for this, Captain!”
The Captain gave a deep breath as we could see her trying to control herself.
“Captain, The Core requests you release every restriction in place to control The Liberty?” Caroline asked the Captain.
“What, why?” Caroline just stared at The Captain for a moment. “Come on Caroline, stop getting advice from The Core and just tell me!”
Caroline took a deep breath. “To increase our chances of survival.”
The Captain sighed. “Ahh, so it’s come to this… Okay, I give permission for The Core to have full access to all the Liberties systems!”
“Thank you, Captain!”
The Captain then looked around the room. “Does anyone know how we can fight this thing?”
“Captain, the people are struggling to get the rail guns operational!” One of the Tuhingans said.
“Captain!” said The Translator.
“What is it?”
“My hobby is dealing with the ancient systems within The Liber…”
“Could you hurry and tell me something useful?” The Captain said, cutting him short.
The Translator took a deep breath and then said, “I have been working on some old Rehew fighters and got them operational!”
“What!?” The Captain said, surprised. “How many people do you need?”
“Well, Captain, as many as you can give!? We have the ones I made operational, but you know The Liberty is full of these old vessels. Never touched. A lot of them left in a vacuum and left in great condition! We can keep throwing people into the different airlocks that they lay in and if they can’t get some working, they can soon move on to the next one!”
“Best idea I have heard all day. Take everyone off of the bridge and get them into the cockpits! I will send more from The Centrifuge!” The Translator just stood there looking as though he was in a panic. “What are you waiting for? Just go!”
He took a deep breath as he turned and we all followed him. We came to an old pod station, rusted and been in disuse. “This is the old pod station designed to give direct access to the various fighter hangers spread throughout the outer shell of The Liberty! Every hanger has a number, everyone materialise a space suit from this EMC, pick a random number and check the fighters in that hanger. Everyone except for Caroline, James, you, you and you.” He said, pointing at us.
Drones came with more EMC turrets. I chose the same suit I used when I went with Periclum to The Nkri Cargo Ship. He put us through the EMC first. We were soon ready to go. Me, Caroline and two others got into a pod. The doors closed, and we were sent a message through our BCI.
‘Go to hangar 3875 and I’ll meet you there!’ This pod looked old, the tunnel ahead looked dangerous. We held our breath after Caroline had entered the destination on a pad at the front of the pod. We were soon away.
The pod began increasing speed and was vibrating violently. We would spot a hole in the concrete that encased the tunnel we were in. Make us all feel sick. The pod would slow down and speed up at random times. We didn’t know what it was going to do.
“Are we going to survive this trip?” One of the Tuhingans said through his suit communications as he sat at the back of the pod. None of us replied. Instead, we all sat there in silent terror as our ride felt like it was going to fall apart at any moment.
We were all thankful when we arrived and took our seatbelts off. We all jumped out of the pod on the platform, only to float out into the room.
“Damn it, why didn’t he mention there wasn’t gravity here?” One of the Tuhingans said.
“Well, I guess we should have guessed, considering the state of the pod!” Caroline replied as she pushed herself off a wall and engaged her magboots, sticking her to the floor. The rest of us did the same, trying to push ourselves off of various objects. Pushing on the ceiling and walls to steady ourselves, grabbing anything we can for control. Caroline sent a mass message warning people, so none of the others end up floating as soon as they exit the pods.
We arrived in this room in darkness. However, using her helmet torch, Caroline found the switch to turn on the lighting. It amazed me to see ten small ships all lined up in front of us. Five on the floor we were standing on, five on what we considered the ceiling that looked like another floor. All of them fixed to rails and facing doors.
They looked like something from Earth. Like fighter jets without wings. Something you would find in Battlestar Galactica. A pod arrived behind us and The Translator came out with the other Tuhingan.
“Thankyou for the update, Caroline. I forgot to warn people. James, your ship is 3875-4, up there!” He was pointing at the ship above me. I bent my legs and as I was about to jump, I released my magboots. I was a little too enthusiastic and hit the ceiling, or other floor, hard.
However, no one was paying attention since The Translator was busy placing everyone else in the rest of the ships. Me and Caroline got into our ships, whereas the others needed to wait while he changed them for their size. I figured out how to release the cockpit with a switch on the side. They labelled it with visible writing, explaining the switch was to open the cockpit.
I went to sit inside and put my harness on. Completely manual, which surprised me considering I was on The Liberty. Then I looked in front of me and all I saw were switches. I looked up and could see Caroline had got in the ship above me, or below me. Depending on how you look at it.
“How do we do this?” I asked, looking at her.
She looked back up at me with her cockpit also wide open. “Trust your BCI, James! It’s all we can do right now!” She began flicking switches. A warning light came on and she realised she needed to close the cockpit. She then closed herself inside and I did the same.
This shouldn’t be hard. I enjoyed that simulation when I was sick. It was in one of these ships. Just looking at it in real life isn’t as intuitive. Or so I thought. My BCI kicked into action and began labelling the surrounding controls. There were labels everywhere, then I focused. It highlighted a single switch I needed to flick to open the door.
I did just that, and the door in front of the ship slid open. Flicking another, the little ship began moving forwards into the airlock. I looked up just before I went in and saw Caroline struggle a bit and then move as well. I felt so nervous sitting there as I saw Caroline disappear behind the bulkhead. Silence filled my cabin.
I flicked another switch to close the door behind me. There were yellow lights flashing in the airlock as I did. Then they stopped flashing and stayed on. The door in front of me slid open and as soon as it opened fully, the lights turned blue and it forced me to the back of my seat. My little ship came launching out down this long tunnel, blue lights flashing past the ship as I went down. I could feel myself speeding up faster and faster until I was out of the tunnel.
Looking around, all I could see were asteroids and stars. In the distance, I could see the blob, which was the Myremekes. The sight of it made me feel sick, and it scared me. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I went into The Pebble.
I told Periclum what was happening. He, of course, already knew. He was already researching on how to defeat the Myremekes when I arrived. The Liberties sensors showed how small our tiny ship and The Liberty were compared to the size of this blob. It dwarfed the image on the hologram over the table. We were astonished to see openings that looked to be launchers. But before we could get the sensors to give us a closer look, The Pebble suddenly shut us out. Periclums AI announced The Core was accessing all systems on The Liberty and we were at risk of being caught. It was an automatic disconnect.
It panicked Periclum and then he seemed to attempt to not care. He told me he could connect to the fighter I was in instead. We can go at this together. He went through the books in his library to find the original fighter schematics and looked them over. With The Pebble in my pocket, he realised he could connect and control the ship. Able to monitor everything around the ship. He was still going to let me fly and fight, but he could feed me tactical information as I fought.
It sounded like the perfect plan and when I came out of The Pebble, I felt more ready. Excited, even. I turned the little ship towards The Myremekes and sped up. Caroline wasn’t that far behind me, communicating with me through the BCI. It felt as though I was hearing her through a very good surround sound system. Then I also had Periclum voice coming through as well.
We were all ready to battle.
It took us a while to get across, since the distance between The Liberty and the Myremekes was still quite vast. In that time we saw several missiles launch from The Myremekes and hit The Liberty. It took chunks out of The Liberty every time we saw one hit. Caroline was afraid it may hit one of The Liberties many weak points. It was surprising to see it continue to survive.
Periclum drew my attention to the Rehew ship leaving. It edged its way out of The Liberty, then manoeuvred away from the battle. The Myremekes fired a few missiles and hit the Rehew ship’s ion thrusters. I saw as the blue light dimmed and the ship began tumbling towards the asteroids.
The Rehew ship attempted to steady itself with many blasts out of its small jets placed all over the ship. However, it didn’t help, and they soon slammed into an asteroid. Bits of the ship began floating off in different directions and the ship just sat there.
The Liberty fired, and we didn’t know as the missile invisibly glided through space. All our eyes were on the Myremekes just as there was a blinding flash and it was clear it was a nuclear explosion, a powerful one. The systems on the ship were warning me of a radiation field lying ahead of me. I ignored the warnings as I continued on with the rest of the fighters.
There were quite a few of us at that point, mostly Tuhingan with the occasional alien. All talking amongst themselves. I could tune in and out of conversations about being afraid. The Tuhingan instinct is to run during danger. Many were talking about doing it, but it was surprising to see that they didn’t.
It worried Periclum that the fear would get too much for them. He knew they would run as soon as the battle started and was hoping he was wrong. As soon as they would run, they would be destroyed by the enemy. I took a deep breath, realising that I may die, and was surprised to find myself at peace with the thought. Even though I knew it was unlikely we would rematerialise again after this one.
Everyone had a great sense of dread that annihilation was coming. Another nuclear explosion on the Myremekes and then Periclum asked me to fire a missile into nothing.
“Why?” I asked.
“Just do it! I think I saw a blip!”
“A blip?” I asked.
“Yes, a blip, just fire on these coordinates!” he said as the computer in front of me had targeting coordinates set in. I manoeuvred the ship the best I could to aim for whatever it was and fired. Small missiles came out from the fighter and went straight for the target. I watched in anticipation as I heard Caroline over the radio asking what I was doing.
Just then, I hit something. Then Caroline changed her tone to a sense of panic. “Oh no, they’re on top of us.”
“James! Now it’s time for action!” Periclum told me.
I grabbed the joystick and manoeuvred around to avoid some incoming missiles. As I turned, I saw that many of the fighters had turned and fled towards The Liberty. “Cowards!” I heard Periclum say. “James, hard left. There is a missile on course to you.”
I did as Periclum asked, narrowly missing destruction and seeing another Tuhingan ship explode next to me. The missile destroying it. The bits hitting my fighter and I realised I was flying in something so fragile.
“This thing is going to break apart at any moment!” I announced.
“Yes, but at least we have some excellent weapons!” Periclum said. “James, target here, here and here…” He said as I saw markings appear to where ships were in space. “I will keep sending you targets!”
He did. I was barrel rolling and pulling massive g’s as I manoeuvred around taking these ships out one by one. I almost felt as if I was playing a game and forgot that I could die. Even though there was a constant reminder as fighter after fighter was being destroyed by these invisible demons. All I saw was the occasional glimpses of black metal as something exploded or my ship lights caught it.
Caroline was fighting impressively alongside me and then she was caught in the engine by a missile. She tumbled into space and hit another fighter, causing both to be ripped apart. She ejected from the fighter before it hit. However, she was an easy target in space. “JAMES!” I heard Periclum say as Caroline’s destruction distracted me. I turned just in time to see the missile coming towards me. Then Periclum ejected me into space.
“James!? Are you okay?” I heard Caroline say.
I was still trying to get my bearings as I felt myself still sick from the sudden acceleration. “Eh, yeah. I think so.” I said as flashes were blinding me for a moment as the fighters were being destroyed. There was soon only one fighter left, and a missile destroyed even that. I looked over to The Liberty and was just in time to see an explosion hit a weak spot.
The Liberty had these counterbalances that prevented the whole thing from tumbling. One had weak shielding after it had had a quick repair job a hundred years before. There was only some thin plating there to protect it. As soon as that was hit, the explosion got inside to the counterbalance. The counterbalance stopped, and it caused The Liberty to violently flip.
As it did, not all The Liberty came with it. The centre of it bent, buckled, and broke under the stress. Bits of The Liberty came spewing out from here. I watched, astonished and upset. Tears formed in my eyes as I watched water, bits of housing, pods and people spew out of The Liberty like sand in an hourglass. It froze me, not knowing what to do.
“James! James!” Caroline was calling me. I did not know how long she was calling me.
“What?” I said.
“James, I can’t hear The Core!”
“Oh no, no, no! Don’t leave me out here alone!”
“I’m sorry, James! Send out a distress message and upload what happened here. I hope those missiles finish this.” Caroline said out of breath.
“What missiles?” I asked.
“I’m sorry, James, I love you!” I looked across and saw her reaching out to me, floating there without thrusters. Her eyes became vacant and then I realised she had passed.
There were bright lights forming next to me. At least thirty nuclear explosions were ripping into the Myremekes. Bits of biological mess were spewing out into space. My suit’s visor became dark to deal with the brightness of it all.
“It looks like everything has been destroyed!” I heard Periclum’s voice say. “There is nothing left of The Myremekes except for these weird fighters. If The Stilla were flying them, they would die without The Myremekes!”
I cried, “Periclum, what are we going to do?”
“Send all the data we have on what happened here to The Galactic Union!”
“Then what?” I asked.
“Do you want to try that roller thing, to go down hills in New Zealand?”
The explosion from The Liberty was blinding at that moment. I had to cover my face with my hand even though my visor had darkened. After the bright light had settled, I saw the ship had completely disintegrated. After a short time of saying nothing, I laughed and then entered The Pebble. Leaving all this destruction and mess behind.
Thankyou for reading Star Jump Book One. It hasn’t got a name yet, but I am sure I can think of something epic before I publish it. It has been a hell of a journey this past year and a half writing this and I have enjoyed it. There will be some samples being released in two weeks that are samples of Book Three, if I ever get round to writing it. Hope you will enjoy it, I’m excited to present it to you. Keep an eye on Starjump.nu for updates on my future projects as well. I may even include an entire section dedicated to them.
Ohh I do love my feedback, how can I improve?
Tell me what I can do better!
Where do my challenges lie? Please, tell me.