Colonist Diaries for Chapter:
In Defense of Liberty.

10. In Defense of Liberty

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by The Historian

It is many years since I wrote chapter 10 of the History of Alchibah. Needless to say, many of us survived. Some, it pains me still, didn’t.

We know much more now, than we did then.

But, as usual, I think it best that the colonists tell their own stories. These are tales of bravery, strife, survival, and most of all a belief that Liberty must survive at all costs.

No Second Chances

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by The Benjamin Family

Liberty Township Hall
From the Various Log Files

Alchibah Day 981

…And Les said, “Alright. All Councilmen into my office. We’ve got to organize — NOW! Bart, Kellerman, you come, too.”

“Stop! Everyone! Quiet now!” The roar of Bartlett’s voice cut through the din in the heat of the buildings confines. “Listen up! Everyone not going into this council meeting, if you live in town pack a bag, only one! Warm clothing and a few canned goods if you got em. Militia members, get your gear. Be back here in fifteen minutes or less. If you are staying at Hanna’s or are just in town for the night go to the Inn and pack what you got. Anyone with dogs, leash them quick and take them with you. We are going to have to evacuate and no time to argue. Walt, Karl, you come with the council.”

“Lisa, Kaiya and I will stay here to watch the kids,” Elana added in a commanding voice, “They’ll be safe here, so everyone just get back here as quick as you can with what you can carry.”

“What’s this? “ Frank Turner said.

“Not now Frank, no time to talk, just do it,” Bart said. He turned to his wife. “Janie get to the Dora and power her up. Bring her back here and land out front as soon as she’s warm enough to fly. I’ll talk to you when you get back but get it done.”

Janie had her snowshoes on and was first out the front door even before Bart, Kellerman, and the Council members made it into the small meeting room. Just before they went inside Bart caught Rocco’s attention and said. “Big man, better get the cargo bus warmed up and ready too, I‘m afraid we are going to need her.”

They all sat at once and Les looked at Bartlett said, “Let’s hear what you have in mind Bart. You must know something I don’t.”

“Don’t know anything Les but this is what I think. Somehow, someway, the Goonies are on Alchibah or in orbit. The destruction of our communications makes that a certainty. We hand no warning of ships in system and that is very bad. How they evaded our detectors is something we’ll have to find out later. But they are here! So what do they do next? We don’t know their numbers but if it were me I’d set down in front of Township Hall and send the troops out to secure the place. We can’t be here when that happens.”

Just at that time an emergency message came in over the low power town net. “Sabbu here. We have just seen an IR signature showing a ship coming out of orbit and landing a couple miles from town out by Bob Sarra’s place. Nothing else at this time.”

“Proven wrong again,” Bart said shaking his head. “I can’t figure that one out but it really doesn’t matter. We have to get our people away from the city and to places that aren’t so obvious. We don’t have the people to defend any known target against a regular military force. We’ve got to get most everybody to the caves that Sinopa and Chavez have fortified and stocked and see what happens next.”

“Caves, what caves?” Les asked incredulously.

“Sorry Les, we needed to wait until the absolute last minute to make sure the Goonies didn’t catch wind of the backup plan.” Bart replied, then continued, “While you people do that I intend to get in touch with Joe Fortson make sure he‘s on the same wavelength as the rest of us. Then Sin and I need to go out and look at that landing site.”

“I’ll go with you Bart,” Karl Nash said, “It’s my job after all.”

“I’m afraid not Karl,” Connor interrupted. “And you too Bart. This is a military matter now and as commander of the ground force that’s my job. Andy trained up a small stay behind force to do the ugly fighting while the militia protects the civilians. Myself, John, Elana, Lisa and of course Sin and Chavez are going to stick around and deal with that ship to give you all time to evacuate. Like Bart said, sorry about the secrecy.”

Bart gave Connor a long look. “I knew that old dog was up to something else. All right then, go do your thing, we’ve got this. Just buy us half an hour.” He snapped a strong salute, which Connor returned in kind. “And Connor, I’ll see you soon. And ask Kaiya to come in here. She’s been training too, hasn’t she?” He got a short nod in reply as his friend quickly ducked out of the room.

“Ok, so here’s the plan,” Bart started as Connor’s wife entered. “Karl, you, Kurt and Kiyoshi will go with the first round of folks to the caves. I’ll stay back with Rocco, Kaiya, Walt and Joe to cover the landing area until the shuttle can get back here and pick up the rest of the civilians. We split the forty other militia members down the middle, twenty with the first wave, twenty with the rest. Any questions?”

A minute earlier, in the main room of Liberty Hall

Connor walked out of the council room looking grim. The Parkers had just arrived back from packing their few things at the First Inn.

“Hanna, Linda, can you and the girls watch the kids? I’ve got to go grab some things from your place.”

“Yes, of course. It’s always a pleasure to take care of them,” Hanna replied.

“John, Lisa, go get our gear from the room in Hanna’s. I’ll join you in a second. Sin, Chavez, Elana, secure the building. Jules, JJ, hold the door from the inside. No one you don’t recognize gets through, understand?” The two men looked surprised to be taking orders from Connor, but nodded hard.

Liberty Hall Council Room

“Not much of a Council President am I,” Les said as Bart hurried out into the main room and the door swung closed behind him.

“Don’t sweat it Les,” Karl Nash said, “There’ll be plenty of time for that later. Five minutes are gone out of the fifteen everyone else has. Let’s all get packed make sure we’re ready when the bus and shuttle are.”

Connor Benjamin
Outside Liberty Hall

I commed Joe Fortson on my way out of Liberty Hall. He was already packed and on his way to help with the evac. Sabbu’s message had reached him too. I made a dash to Hanna’s and scanned the crowd. There was R. Eddings, right where I left him.

“Come on Ed, I’ve got a job for you. Wait for me outside Liberty Hall. ” Ignoring the questions coming from all sides I touched base with John and Chavez, and grabbing the rest of the gear we had stowed here for just such an occasion we left the inn and ran back to Liberty Hall just as Janie was landing the Dora. The noise of the landing ship brought Bart and Karl outside into the whistling wind. A light snow was falling again.

“What are you going to do Connor?”

“Suit up and ship out. Bart, I need you and Janie to drop Sythe, Peepers, Fox and Wraith – that’s John, Lisa, Sin and Chavez – off at the far side of Jack the Blade’s old freehold. That’ll put them between Bob Sarra’s cabin, where the Goonie ship came down, and the rest of the township. Take R. Eddings too, he’ll be good for recon. Then get back here and act as a guard for the bus while you and Les head up the evac. Two trips to the caves, no more, then get the bus under cover. It wouldn’t stand a chance in a fight. Dolphin (Elana) and I (Stonewall) are headed up to Fort Stuart to get the active defenses going.”

“Great minds think alike my friend, I said almost the same thing to the council just a minute ago. Luck,” Bart replied and, after clasping hands, he headed into the Dora with Jaine and the better part of Strike Force rear, who were still suiting up.

As the ship took off I turned to Rocco, who had gotten the cargo bus up and running, and Joe, who had just arrived.

“Bart and Janie should be back in five minutes. When they are, take off with the shuttle and cargo bus without waiting for the ones who haven’t made it back yet. Stop at Hanna’s and get everyone ready there. Make sure to announce that there is only going to be one more trip. Janie will stop at the communications shack and load up Sabbu and whatever he has that’s portable then fly guard on the last busload. Oh, and don’t wait for us. We’ll give you the time you need. Keep everyone safe.”

John Pierce
The Dora, en route to Jack the Blade’s abandoned freehold

“Low Babe, keep her down,” Bart said as I and the other three SF members finished suiting up. The Chameleon suits were really something else, though I’m sure Sin and Chavez with their experience and white combat suits would be damn near as hard to find.

“If I were any lower the trees,” –Janie started to reply, and then I felt a thud and we started to tip sideways as she corrected– “trees would be getting sheared off by our wings.”

“Better keep her where she is,” Bart said while swallowing hard. A minute later he put the dot of the weapons laser on the touch down point. It was outside the cleared tree line of the forested ridge. On the other side about a hundred fifty feet lower than the ridgeline was a quarter mile of open ground that we had used for wheat last summer. Bob Sarra’s place was a half a mile into the woods on the other side of the cleared swath.

Janie got within a few feet of the ground and we piled out, R. Eddings first (and least gracefully, I might add). Janie was heading back before we got into the trees.

Sin took command as soon as we hit the snow. “Sythe, Peepers, go 100 yards south and find a spot that overlooks the grain field and dig in. Wraith and I will do the same fifty yards north. Keep line of sight open so we can use the IR communications and stay off radio frequencies. R. Eddings, circle around and head through the field and see what you can see. Implement recon and evasion subroutines. Let’s do this.”

All four of us were on the slopes south side but I had a remote camera relaying the view as Eddings, looking like nothing so much as an ant sized black dot, made his way across the field. Distance and snow cut off the visible signal but he was still easy to make out in infra red. Ed was relaying his view via IR lightbeam and I switched my display over to his signal. I had the Chameleon suit fully engaged and it was eerie knowing I looked like nothing more than an imprint in the snow.

Safely across the farmland, Eddings continued through the forest, switched to narrow beam directional radio for communications placing a couple of relays along the way, and then slowed down as he neared the Sarra’s cabin. “Ok Ed, very slow now, keep low and be ready to draw back,” I gave the final go-ahead. I saw first the cabin in then the ship come into his field of view. “What the hell! That’s no Goonie ship. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before! Get back Eddings!” I ordered as a burst of light lanced out missing the robot by inches.

“Reviewing the images sent back.” Sin relayed to us. “I couldn’t get a good look at the shapes but I count over fifty bright IR signatures. Much brighter than a human would have been. We need to break radio silence and let the rest of the colony know what we’ve found. Get ready for the shit to hit the fan people.”

“Sending now.” Just as she hit her wrist comp a low roar started in the distance behind them. The four strike force members looked back and saw another two skull like ships screaming in over their heads, towards Liberty center. This day was just getting started.

On the eve of war

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Richard Redmond

I. UN Heavy Cruiser Orion
Alchibah system asteroid belt
Alchibah Day 980

“But how do you know they are even out there? St James thinks they will be dug in on the planet”

Richard Redmond was beginning to lose his patience, something he had little of to begin with “Dickenson, I’ve told you already, Captain St. James doesn’t know these people like we do.” He went on “These aren’t your typical tax dodging asteroid miners, these criminals twice attacked UN warships while escaping from the solar system. I guarantee they will come out to meet us. What you need to do…” he was interrupted as the door to Orion’s briefing room opened, and Hunter St. James made his entrance.

“I apologize for being late” he said “but we have some very tricky work, synchronizing the task forces comm systems and I’m pretty busy”

An outside observer would notice that despite the forced politeness none of the inhabitants of the compartment much liked each other. Each man felt himself to be the rightful commander of the task force, Trent Dickenson the designated “Ambassador” to the colonists from Earth, Captain Hunter St. James UNWG “Commodore” of Task Force Alchibah” and Richard Redmond 1st Undersecretary to the Secretary General for military affairs. In reality each of them was equally wrong.

Redmond was quick to reply “I understand your devotion to naval procedures and routine, but let me remind you that our mission is to bring the lost colony back into the fold of human civilization”

St. James voice had a trace of irritation in it “keeping these ships functional is more important than another meeting…and I don’t know why you keep referring to them as lost colonists; they’re not our colony at all, and they got lost quite on purpose.”

Dickenson, always the diplomat, stepped between the two flaring tempers “Gentlemen certainly we can agree that we would like to reach a peaceful reconciliation with our fellow humans, let’s focus our energies on that”

Redmond continued to glower; St. James visibly relaxed and then walked across the compartment to the liquor cabinet. Dickenson continued “I’ve changed my mind; I believe we should broadcast an invitation to begin dialogue with Hamilton and his people. The profiles I’ve studied all indicate these are intelligent people who should be able to see reason”

Redmond was still fixated on St. James “you shouldn’t drink on duty” he said “‘it’s bad for morale”

St. James tossed the tumbler of scotch back and slammed it down on the counter, ” Well it’s good for my morale, so you two can make all the broadcasts you want, but I have work to do” and so saying, he strode out of the room.

“Typical Neanderthal mentality” said Redmond “We don’t need his help anyway, lets finish the plan to contact the rebels”

II. On the Bridge

Hunter St. James settled into the command chair on Orion’s bridge, outwardly calm inside his thoughts were dismal “four years on board the ship with that man” he thought “if it wasn’t for the fact that Redmond had spent most of the trip in cold sleep I would probably have walked out the airlock”

Hunter was not the kind of officer who would spend time in hibernation where he could not protect his ship. He had remained awake the entire trip many times spending weeks as the only conscious human in the fleet.

“What am I hearing?” he thought suddenly. “Oh” he chuckled softly to himself, the communications tech was quietly humming the banned song onward goonie soldiers…”Redmond would have a cow!”

He looked at his 3-d radar plot, “oh just great”
“Blake open a channel to Trident, if you please”
“Aye aye skipper” the young tech replied “Trident on secure 1″

“Captain Heinrich, I hate to mention this, but you are about 15 kilometers off station”

Trident didn’t acknowledge but immediately began to slide back into position; Hunter couldn’t help but wince when Trident almost passed directly through UNLC Falmouth’s exhaust plume. Even the new shields wouldn’t protect her from that. Hunter lets his breath out slowly “perfect move Karl” he thought “do it just like that”

Orion’s executive officer Lieutenant Guy Anselmo had observed the close call from the other side of the bridge. “Capitan, this is maybe forth time trident is off station; maybe we should have Trident run the navigation diagnostics… yes?”

“No I don’t think that’s necessary” Anselmo’s face showed doubt “Relax number one…at the academy you must have missed the lecture about the old randomly drift out of formation maneuver” Anselmo was now clearly lost

Anselmo’s eyes suddenly got wide “Oh Capitan! a joke! Of course ha! ha!”

Hunters thoughts returned to the problem at hand “A heavy cruiser should have a full commander as XO” he thought. But Orion wasn’t really a heavy cruiser. No Orion was really an old bulk freighter converted to naval service, she had the drive and shield upgrades and all the new sensors, but not much in the weapons department.

Now Trident, Falmouth and Canberra, those were real warships, the best in the UN fleet, Hunter had commanded powerful ships just like them for years before being promoted to command of this rusting heap of junk on this God forsaken mission.

The intercom screen lit up with the Image of Trent Dickenson. “Commodore may I have word with you?”

Hunter switch the device to privacy mode “Of course sir, but I must ask, are you feeling Ok?” indeed Dickenson was pale and shaken, looking quite ill.

“I’m all right Hunter, really I am… it’s just that… Redmond took me in to see HIM”

Hunter shook his head “What a bastard! I’m sorry; he just does that to upset you”

On the screen Dickenson seemed to pull himself together “Look, Commodo…Hunter, I know you don’t think the rebels are out here in the asteroids, but this is their best chance, I can’t bear to think what will happen if they try to fight, I’ve seen enough… too much” the man was choking up ” Too much death, please can’t you try to help?”

“This is not going well” thought Hunter “Mr. Ambassador… Trent, you misunderstand, I do believe they are out here…that’s the problem. I wanted to come in high over the belt and approach the planet from open space. With all this ionized dust, our sensors are degraded so bad we can barely see our own tailfins.” He went on “All we know is that Hamilton has a ship that looks just like an asteroid and a couple of captured UN cruisers, but he had 20 years to plan this thing, he might have anything and this soup we’re in is just the place for him to try something crazy. Believe me I want a peaceful resolution as much as you do”

“Oh I hope so. I’ve done some raw thing in my time at The UN… but I thought I was working for the good of man… I thought I was a good man…” the ambassador was sweating now, his hand clasped in front of his chest clutching something within, he continued “And then THEY came, and I learned what I really was, Oh God! Nothing changed except that there was nothing holding us back. THEY let us become what we really were all along… and I’ve had enough… please Captain, don’t let them make me do this!” and the screen went blank

“Yeah that was bad” Hunter wished he could get a drink now, just before the image faded he saw what was in Dickenson’s hands, a six pointed star, something not seen on Earth for years. He keyed the switch for the surgeon “Doc, do me a favor please, go to Dickenson’s cabin and give him a trank”

Dickenson was right, we all became what we really were all along, it just rides some of us harder.

Anselmo came over “pardon me Capitan, but we have lost the laser link to Canberra and if you look at the plot…”

“I see it. Thank you number one… Well at least Falmouth can stay on course for more then 10 minutes at a time.”
“Blake, Signal the fleet… My regards and please execute formation Tango on the next time hack.”

Message to the Colonists

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Richard Redmond

My transmission to Col Stuart was as masterwork of deception even for me; of course I’ve made a life of outwitting fools in uniform, now the trap is set again.

I glanced at what was left of Ambassador Trent Dickenson, the Rogon Master on this ship had not eaten for weeks that I knew of but…he was more than making up for it now, tearing the flesh off the pompous ass… ha ha, literally. I had hoped to put Dickenson in his place myself, but this was just as well. The fool had almost ruined our chance to lure the rebels to their deaths, but I’ve given Stuart a taste of what he must have been dreaming about all these years…a chance to get back at the man who had eliminated his beloved “commando corps” and driven him into retirement, proving again the immortal truth… the pen really is mightier than the sword.

The Rogon interrupted his feast just long enough to demand a report “ssspeak ssslave” the Rogons were not what you would describe as talkative. This one could remain motionless for days, faceted eyes, never blinking; you could almost imagine it was dead except for the tiny movement of the small antenna behind its ears. The Rogons must be an ancient race; they look like something from Earth’s pre-historic past. The skin was made up of tiny scales, mostly brown, but with just a hint of orange streaks ( in some members of the Rogon race the orange coloration was quite prominent) The body was smooth from the head to the tail bulging out to about a meter in diameter at it’s widest, The torso was protected by armor plates that did not seem to interlock and Redmond had come to realize that there were air pockets between the armor and the body itself that the Rogons could would carry objects in, weapons and tools. The four legs were more like tentacles, apparently made of many bones, strong but flexible. Claw/feet were useful for manipulation but you wouldn’t want to be kicked by one. The four arms were smaller but equally flexible, not needing to walk on the claw/hands; they were much softer and quite capable of using tools.

“Great Master, It is as I surmised, the enemy forces are led by Col. Andrew Stuart, a man I have know long and well. He relies on his muscles more than his mind and is certain to attack without thinking. He will leap right into our open jaws”

The Rogon made no reply but continued devouring what remained of the hapless Dickenson. I took that as approval of my report and walked across the cabin to the intercom “Captain St. James prepare for an attack” St. James reply was typical of the ego inflated pretentiousness so common among navel officers ” That’s Commodore St James Mr. Redmond , and I’ve monitored your transmission” a slight pause “yours and Dickenson’s. If the rebels fall into the trap, now I will be amazed”

That was just like St. James, always wanting to second guess his political masters, not that he’d be willing to back talk to one of the Rogon’s, no, they were all afraid of the Rogons. “Listen St. James, I know this man, he’s like a dog on a bone. You may not want a fight, but Stuart will attack, and you had better be ready” For all their posturing the military mind was always preoccupied with death and full of fear. Of all the humans in this fleet, only I the master diplomat could face the Rogons as a man.

Of course I’m right Stuart will think our shields are weak, but our Rogon shields will stop whatever puny weapons you have, and soon, very soon I will get to see my Master, Shintok; maylock-A sink his fangs into you.

The Belt Round One

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Andrew Stuart

Deep Space, Inner Belt, Alchibah

“Ghost to Reaper, what do you think Cuz?”

“Reaper to Ghost, how can you tell if a Redmond is lying?”

“Ghost to Reaper, according to Dad and you…His Lips are moving!”

“Reaper to Ghost, just so. BREAK. Cold Steel, I assume you disobeyed the ACHE drive order; how close are you?”

“Steel to Reaper, we are there. I need one minute for some of my crew to clean the puke out of their helmets then we are ready.”

“No problem Al, give them five to clean up and let the other side think they have us cowed down. When you are ready give us a five second count down and then we go.

“Steel, Main Battery fire on the left hand warship. Pour it in till she blows, drain the cap banks if you have to. BREAK.

“Ghost, when the left hand ship blows I will go play target for the right hand ship. Get in their six while they are worried about me and put the boot to them.

“Everyone else, when we blow that right hand sucker go for the converted Transport.

“Do Not Kill IT, disable the drive and leave it on a ballistic trajectory. We can come back and deal with it later. The slaves who don’t want to be here are on that bad boy, we take that one!

“Capt Steel on your count Strike Force attacks. CLAN ALCHBAH SHALL NOT FALL!”

Bridge of the Dancer

Corrine Williams turned in her seat as she was wiping the front of her suit, “Is he for real Boss?”

Al Steel had to grin as he watched her mopping up. “That He is girl, that’s the guy that RJ Hamilton picked to defend Alchibah. Because of that in four minute’s we are going to take the most heavily Armed Warship ever built right into the Bad Guy’s face. You might want to keep a Diary, it could be a real history find one day.

“Me, I just want to end this and chase a Redhead over Martinis at Hanna’s Place.”

LT Williams continued mopping her front until a thought hit her, “The only Redhead he knows is me!”

Any thoughts were broken by the transmission, “Cold Steel to Reaper, we go in five, four, three, two, one, SHOOT!”

Strike Force

Everyone waited on the results of Dancer’s first strike and the results were both visible and informing.

They had put in some kind of particle shielding, a Goonie ASRS would never have stopped the first crowbar. This thing stopped the first two cold; the third caused the shield to glow in the visible spectrum. The fourth caused black spots in the outline of the shield, numbers five and six went home.

Number Five expended it’s entire load of kinetic energy against the heavily armored Anti-Meteorite Shield blowing it to molten metal.

Number Six drove straight through until it encountered the fuel tanks and engines. The resultant explosion was a short lived sun.

Seven and Eight were an afterthought into a cloud of gas.

“Ghost Now!” Andy Stuart threw his fighter into full ACHE drive and began a dance across the front of the right hand warship as Mariana fought to hold consciousness.

Strike Force 6

Marina fought the G forces, even with her brain slowed by two Jumps she knew she had to keep her left hand on that grab bar and her left thumb above the button. The ship was lurching in three dimensions as Andy used the acceleration rates of the ACHE drive to confuse the enemy gunners.

When he grunted “Shoot”, she slammed down her thumb. The problem was they were only getting two shot’s in per firing pass. If this thing could take four 5 CM’s, then two 2 CM’s were but a pinprick. We just kept ranging across their front stinging them. As we did so, I suddenly felt awareness coming back.

The longer we were in the heightened adrenaline state of Combat, the faster I recovered. Metabolism was the key to BOD drain. “Get Em Shooter!”

Strike Force 5

“Now Love,” came the voice of Ghost. Digger slammed down her thumb and the string of 2 CM crowbars went home on the stern of the last Warship. Without thinking she slammed down her left thumb and sent the stream of 100 MM’s in also.  As the two projectile streams poured in and impacted the engines and fuel tanks the ship blew into another small sun that Ash had to dodge to avoid joining it in destruction.

Strike Force 6

“Hot Damn Ghost, give Digger that Kill Pin. To All, disable that damn freighter.”

Strike Force 3

“Oh Natasi, put me on his tail. I have something for Him”

Natasi wrapped the Fighter in a 7 G perceived Immelman right on the tail of the freighter. She noticed that everything that She could pull did not even phase the veteran Spacer Glendai.

“That perfect Natasi, we screw him now!” Glenda was grinning as she sent a stream of 100 MM’s right up the open aft aspect of a Dee-Hee drive.  Glenda  shooting only HE rounds and at an angle, merely created a normal explosion as the engines departed the realm of the working.

“Natasi to Reaper, He be ballistic. He has no drive left. Tell Monroe I am a better shot than He is!”

Strike Force Six

“Glenda, if you have the guts, tell him yourself.   The growing tradition of the Female Half getting the bad guys continues. BREAK

“To All, ACHE for the Mayflower at best speed. Whatever you think your crews can handle, Firebird needs help! BREAK.

“Enemy Commander, this is Andrew Stuart. You just keep on coming on your ballistic trajectory. We will be back to deal with you later.

“Redmond, I hope you are alive. I so want to do you myself! BREAK”

“Strike Force, ACHE now!”

The work never ends

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Kara

Day 980

My mind keeps going back to the other night…well, several nights ago now. BJ & I, some beers, and a game of backgammon. We have been hanging out a lot lately, and we finally took it upstairs. I finally like someone enough to touch me…but I had to leave it at that. I wasn’t ready…it has been so long, and it never came easily like it does with everyone else…and it had been so long. Plus, my mind kept wandering.

BJ wants a poodle???

You might as well not have a dog. I’m not crazy about dogs, but I figure around here one would come in handy, to watch your back and all. But the thought of hearing a poodle bark for warning, and the little thing running around…well, that just ain’t right.

[chuckles] Poodles.

Of all the things to be thinking about, on a day like today. The trip back to Liberty City is smooth, and I guess I’m not ready to face what awaits for us when we get back. I need something to keep my mind away from death and destruction.

But still, I should be thinking about something more important than that. But, really, a poodle? Good grief.

Death of a Lady

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Richard Redmond

I. A rude awakening
UNHC Orion

The sound of blaring sirens woke Richard Redmond from a deep sleep. It seemed like he had only laid down a few minutes before and in fact it had been only 15 minutes. He half rose from the full size bed and swiped at the intercom switch.

“Captain, Will you please stop that infernal noise” he pleaded, the reply was rather abrupt

“That is Battle stations, we are under attack, Mr. Redmond, and you need to put on your pressure suit and assemble on the mess deck ASAP.” Came the voice of Orion’s Captain “Now if you don’t mind I have other concerns”

Redmond bolted from the bed, and ignoring the suit hanging by the cabin door, ran down the passageway still dressed in his silk pajamas. He had almost reached the wardroom door when the ship lurched violently beneath him and sent him tumbling 30 feet back the way he came. Before he crashed against the bulkhead the lights dimmed and then changed color from white to red, at the same moment the artificial gravity derived from acceleration suddenly ended.

His head was still spinning when the wardroom door opened and Shintok; maylock-A emerged carrying a cylindrical container “Human” he roared ” Come I have need of you” The big alien moved quite effectively in weightlessness, aided by the fact that he had eight limbs to pull himself along with.

Redmond clumsily hurried after, bouncing off bulkheads and stanchions “Master, Where are we going? What is happening?” but the Rogan must have decided he had spoke to his slave enough, and there was no answer.

II. A little too late.

Hunter St. James did a half somersault, perfectly timed, so that as he was able to kick off the bulkhead just as he reached the junction of two corridors and the result was a 90 degree change of direction.

“There’s only one handgun on this ship” he thought “secretly brought on board and hidden, and it’s about time to take some target practice” He was almost to his cabin when the ship lurched again, not as badly as before, but enough to cause his head to hit the hatch combing. “Damn! Damn it all!” he spoke aloud, a trickle of blood from his scalp, beads floating away like a string of black pearls in the red emergency illumination. “I’m too late”

The shock could have only been one thing…the explosive bolts blowing the hanger bay doors clear of the ship. That was in fact exactly what had happened and a strange angular craft emerged and immediately accelerated away from Orion at over 100 Earth gravities.

Hunter changed course and launched himself down the axial corridor, guns now forgotten he quickly reached the mess deck.

Most of the crew were here, the Surgeon had collected a number of injured men on one end, LT. Anselmo prominent among them, a big clamp-on splint over his pressure suited right leg. Hunter turned to Mr. Welsh the ships engineer, “Give it to me straight, how bad are we hit?”

Devon Welsh had seen a lot of battle damage in his 40 years in space, his voice was calm and crisp “She’s a freighter, Captain, whatever they blasted us with ripped holes halfway through the ship, the worst of it they tore up the starboard fuel trunk, that’s where Ivanoff and Griggs bought it, I don’t know if they took fragments, but the HE3 froze em solid”

St. James knew from that, the ship was lost “what about the reactor?”

Welsh went on “I tried to shut her down but we lost all control when the superconducting ring arced, it set Mobutu on fire!” The mans face began to contort
“Oh God! Captain I’m sorry… he was screaming, I hit him with a spanner… clubbed him! I had to, he begged me… begged me to kill him, I swear”

This was bad. “Welshie! Listen to me! You did the right thing, what a man has to do, now finish your report”

Welsh took a deep breath “The HE3 s mixed with the air everywhere south of bulkhead 30, most of the ship…temperature back there is about 90 below”

St. James thought about that “Ok but at least we have good air up here right”

Welsh replied “like I said, this is no warship, when we got hit the whole ship twisted, it’s the electrical ducts… every joint will leak, the HE3 will make it up here and in a day or two all the air will leak out to space, there’s nothing we can do”

“That’s bad, but we got some time” Hunter said, “Fraid not Captain” a new voice interjected.

The ships Doctor, Jim Marlow was from Texas and had a pronounce drawl, he was tall and lanky and had the hands of… well a surgeon.

“Explain yourself doc” Hunter said, and the Doctor obliged “A Fella in cold sleep takes a breath every 10 minutes or so, the respirators on them capsules back there will let that hot helium in, and it takes 10 minutes to exhale… two, three, four breaths at the most, and the lungs are gone”

“But don’t the capsules have oxygen backup?” Hunter asked “Sure do” replied Marlow “And it’ll work in a fire or vacuum… but it won’t switch over for that stuff, and we got 245 so called passengers in the hold”

“Ok, so we need to vent the back of the ship right now, how do we do that?” Welsh responded “We can’t, we don’t have damage control, there’s no way to do it”

Hunter tried to relax his mind “Yes there is, I can open the number 3 airlock from the outside, that’ll do it” Welsh was shocked “But Captain! That’ll” but Welsh didn’t get a chance to finish what he was saying as Guy Anselmo place a hand on his shoulder “Excuse me Capitan, but at the academy, when they told about the old blow the airlock maneuver, I did not miss that day” he paused “Please, Capitan, I know my duty” and slowly Anselmo’s eyes became windows into his soul “Capitan, one thing, Please, when you get back to Earth…tell my Carmencita…you know what to tell her”

The Captain wrapped his arms around Anselmo’s shoulders and spoke softly into his ear “I will tell her… I promise amigo… now go with God” and with that Anselmo left the compartment.

“OK people; let’s get the wounded into the lifeboat, that’s the only place that will hold air.

III. Alone with HIM
Rogon shuttlecraft

The inside of the Rogon shuttle was eerie, almost nightmarish. Controls made to be operated by flexible claws, Displays that could best viewed with faceted eyes and something else… a framework with hundreds of micro fine wires stretched across it and little moving beads on each wire.

Those humans who had the most experience with Rogons had come to realize that the Rogons had some kind of other sense, something like a bat’s echo location; sonar it you will, they could feel things at some distance. Most people believed that was the function of the small sausage like antenna behind the ears. Redmond had come to think that the Rogan “sonar” was even more acute than Rogon eyesight. One thing was for certain, you can’t sneak up behind a Rogon.

“Was that bead and wire thing something it could read? Oh who cares about any of that where is he taking me?”

“Master, May I ask? Where are we going?” It didn’t seem to bother a Rogon if you spoke to it; they just ignored you unless they wanted to speak to you. So Redmond was surprised when the Rogan answered his question “We go to place, Urruth sships come. Shintok follow, Shintok go to Urruth not, Urruth sship is not. Slave fear is not, Come back to Urruth sship is”

“Well that was just about the longest conversation I’ve ever had with a Rogon, especially this Rogon” Redmond thought “Now what did he actually say”

Shintok was part of a Rogon name and seems to be some sort of family or tribal name. A high percentage of the Rogons who had conquered Earth were Shintoks although there were several other names as well, the Sheen, the Horta, and the Missal. Rogons never seemed interested in explaining such things to humans and we still haven’t figured out how to tell what sex they are…or if they even have different sexes.

They occasionally mention something about coming from eggs, but no-one can quite figure out what they are talking about. It would make sense since they are obviously similar to reptiles in most respects. Of course no-one has been allowed to dissect a Rogon so how could we know.

Urruth is Earth, and we think Urruth not, is the Alchibah planet since Alchibah is not Earth
Strangely enough, Rogons are easiest to understand when they say the least.

Redmond could see out the big porthole like window in the front of the shuttle, and suddenly the starry background was whirling, “we must be turning” he thought, but now something out there was blocking the stars, something very big.

IV One question left
UNHC Orion

The group had almost reached the lifeboat when a clunk was heard and about a tenth of a gee acceleration pulled the group down to the deck.

“Hold up” said hunter “that’s the ships air shooting out airlock 3, pushing the ship like a jet, it’ll go away” and it did, dropping off in a couple of minutes. No-one spoke, everyone knew the tremendous force of the contained air would carry away everything moveable with it including whoever opened the airlock door.

“Mr. Welsh, you are in charge, get these people settled in the life boat. I have something to check on”

St. James moved off through the red glow, moving cautiously until he reached the wardroom door. The Wardroom had been occupied the entire trip by the Alien. Hunter had tried to avoid unnecessary visits there, but there was something he had to see.

Even with what had happened it seemed strange not to see the Rogon in his customary place He couldn’t help but shudder as he noticed several bones on the deck, human bones, all that remained of Trent Dickenson, but Hunter ignored them and went to the corner behind the bench thing that served the Rogon as furniture.

When the Orion and the other ships of the task force had been fitted with Alien Technology, as the Commander he had been given an overview of how the systems worked. The screen he was looking at might have provided incredible amounts of detail to someone with jewel like eyes but Hunter only needed to see one thing… The symbols for the weapons systems for all four ships, showed the weapons were locked out at this, the master control. Weapons a hundred times more powerful than any UN ship had had before. And the Rogon had disabled them “Why? Why?

“Ok, time to get the gun”

Cross The Brazos at Waco

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Andrew Stuart

Strike Force Units at Best Pace to Mayflower

I looked at the plot and as I figured only Gabe was staying with me. Mariana had gulped her anti-nausea pills and was groaning in the right seat under 12 G’s Perceived. We were screaming back towards to Mayflower at 120 G’s Real.

Ash and Digger along with Natasi and Bugbee were cranking along at 10 Perceived and 100 Real.

“Ash whenever you get them figured, send me the turnover points for all ships. It’s important that we match velocities when we get to Mayflower and I need a status brief on some of your projects.”

“OK, ya Old Lady.” Ash drawled, “Bursts going to Natasi for a cross-check then to each vessel. What projects you talking about?”

“First, the rebuild of the Lancer II or whatever we are going to call her. Second, the 5 CM’s for the Fighters along with the sighting systems. Third, the double layering of the shields because I think we are going to need that. Forth and maybe most important, changeover time for Dancers new armament.”

“Hey,” came Al steel’s jovial voice. “I just dusted a Cruiser for you and you are gonna take away my weapons?”

Even Mariana managed a sick grin as I replied, “Al, when your crew gets to where they can be coherent again tell them I said nice shooting. No, I am not taking your weapons; I am gonna upgrade em. You want to trade your pair of 5 CM’s at .6 C for a pair of 10 CM’s at .75 C?”

The whoosh of air followed by a rapid intake could be heard over the Comm link; “Actually Andy, I think I could live with that. What are we going after next, a damn planet?”

“No Al, Aliens and I have no idea what they have.”

“Andy, does your paranoid planning have no end?”

“I’ll take that one Hoss,” came Ash’s best drawl. “Al, you have heard over and over Andy’s declaration the ‘He would Defend Alchibah’; when did you ever hear the qualifier ‘against Earth’?”

The pause was long and pregnant with meaning, “Can’t say as I ever did Ash. Can’t say as I ever did, which is a dumb ass on me Right?”

“Nah Buddy, it went right over most everybody. He has been planning Logistics development against everything me, Hibbs and Chandler could think of. Not to mention when him, Travis and Monroe would get lit up and spin horror stories.

“Al, we are where we are because Hibbs, Chandler and I really can get out in weird ass mathematics and Theoretical Physics that make most peoples heads hurt just to be downwind.

“Whoever loves us somewhere in Space and Time gave us Travis, Monroe and Andy. Three Engineers who can build any damn fool thing we come up with. OK, I know the common concept of Travis and Monroe are two Spacers who learned to run the Belt and evade taxes; while Andy is a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal Assassin, who cares.

“One taught the Military Art at the War College, the other two hold the Honor Sword from Seattle Space Academy. All three are classically trained Engineers who are not afraid to get their hands dirty.

“And Sir, the reason I sound pissed at you is that you also wear the Honor Sword from Phoenix Academy which ain’t no hunk of Cabbage. You also have a Masters in Information Sciences, I need that software patch you put in for the sighting system for the 5 CM’s so it can be used on the Fighters.

“Time to Fish or Cut Bait, Sir.”

There was a long open pause, “I guess you are right LTC Andrews. Software bursting to you as we speak. Where are we on those projects anyway?”

“Ah at last,” Ash drawled again; “an intelligent question!”

Corrine Williams rolled her head and grinned at Al Steel, “Make mine a double, very Dry.”

All Al could do was give her a long wistful smile as Andrews began to speak.

“On the Lancer refit, that is Larry Monroe’s project. All parts from the surface had been shipped up, so it depends on how much Robot labor he had to use.

“The parts for the Dancers New Weapons are up on the Mayflower. If we can use the Main Bay it will take two Hours per weapon. If we have to do it in Space, Six hours per weapon.

“The dual layer shields are dependent on Chandler running up the new exciter circuits in the Mayflower Spin Axis. That should have been done while we were in upload; one hour per Bird to upgrade, excluding dock and undock Time.

“The System Drive update Exciter circuits are ready, they were done just as we were leaving. Fifteen minute’s per Bird and we have 25 to 1 Reduction.

“That’s all we have. We need some development time for the next crap!”

Al chimed in, “What the Hell could be next?”

Ash lapsed back into the drawl, “Dammed if I know Hoss! The Math makes my head hurt and we got no idea where it goes.”

Andy broke in, “then we go with what we got. We have to win here or there is no later!”

Mariana turned in her seat, “There is something out there. Something that hates you and it ain’t Human.”

“Good,” Andy replied; “better it comes for me!”

Andrew William Walker Stuart closed his eyes and sent unto the Universe the first thought that came to his Mind, “SLAVE FEAR NOT!! COME AND GET ME ASSHOLE!!!!”

It Used To Be Our Town

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by William Bartlett

Evening - Alchibah Day 981
I said softly, and much more calmly than I felt, “The bus is lifting Janie.” She could see that as well as I could, but it gave me something to say and used up a fractional amount of my nervous energy.

The cargo bus continued rising slowly to a height of fifty feet directly in front of the First Inn and went –bus like–northeastward, keeping low, maintaining altitude, and then out over the open water of the river. Linda Parker made sure that all the children were onboard first and that their emergency supplies went with them. I think a dirigible filled with hydrogen gas would have made about the same pace and as good a target as the bus but that was probably just nerves again.

The corona surrounding the pointed blue flame coming from the small jets at the vehicle’s rear was readily visible even without using the light enhancing gear onboard the Dora, and would make a pretty picture seen from the ground. Chemically fuel only so no electromagnetic signature.

I keyed the mike and said, “Low and slow Laura, an extra minute saved in a five minute trip and they still won’t be ready for us with all of the gear packed when we return for the second load.”

Laura Seaworth sent back by light beam, “Low and slow it is.”

A mile and a half northeast of Liberty City, the cliffs overlooking the river were honeycombed with caves. Leached out when the water levels were much higher, most of the entrances were blocked with fallen stone but we discovered a few and had started to make them habitable. Not enough provisions inside to last all winter, but if we could get everyone inside without being seen it would be a hell of a lot safer inside them than in town. Or so we hoped.

This evacuation flight had been practiced time after time. Landing in darkness on the ledge halfway up the cliff face was close to second nature.

Three minutes from touchdown the bus was in the air again and heading back for a second and final load.

Over the com, from Sinopa out at Bob Sarra’s came a message, “Two ships heading south towards the City! And whatever they are, I don’t think they’re human. Watch yourself. We’ll be in touch.”

“You copy that Joe?”

“Got it,” Fortson said, “The bots up north just picked them up. Estimated two minutes till they arrive.”

“Damn! No time for the second load. Laura, take the bus down behind windmill hill and shut her down. It’ll take an overflight to see you there.” Then back to Fortson, “Joe, get everyone at the Inn dispersed then send all who are unarmed towards the bio-lab. We’ll see what we can do to distract them.”

“You want to switch seats Babe?”

“I got it Bart. Take care of the weapons and we might just live through this.”

The Dora was well east and south of the two approaching Shuttles. Who—or what—in the hell could they be, and what was going on?

“Back over the cliff and circle west Janie. If they don’t see us getting there they’ll be surprised to find someone on the flank.”

Before we lost the optical link with town I commed Les Reye. “Les, try and get in touch with the Guardians. Maybe they know what this is all about.”

We were getting visual updates from the Mayflower now. No time to talk to them but at least they were still up there. We were a mile north of the cliffs and about the same distance east of the skull ships when Janie made a course change pointing us west and in their general direction.

Either they chose to ignore us, or our stealth systems were working. With luck it was both. Some low hills were still keeping us from direct visual contact but that would change in a matter of seconds. I pickled off two of our ship-to-ship missiles and then sent a reload. Immediately after leaving the launcher all four of them broke sharply north and at mach 6 began a gradual curve so they would come in directly behind the skull ships. I wanted to make it look like they were being launched from the Stuart compound. We had four more of them left but I was going to save them for till I saw how the first four performed.

“Uh-oh.” …The weapons display that had been showing just a large blob for each of the attackers now showed a fuzzy globe of light surrounding them. “Some kind of force screen just went up, Janie; keep us out of visual till we see what happens.”

Janie cut our speed some more then curved south, paralleling the two ships but still out of their sight line. I watched as the points of light that were our missiles neared the enemy ships. The two shuttles were flying in formation but separated by about 200 yards. Their force screens seemed to almost touch one another. Two missiles closed on each ship. At almost the same instance the first two of our interceptors merged with the fuzzy light of the force shield and detonated. We could see a flash of light reflected off the low hanging clouds but the weapons display showed no change in the attacker’s course. They were still heading straight towards Liberty City and only a minute out.

I couldn’t redirect both of the remaining missiles in the couple of seconds left till they would collide with the force screen, but I did have time to get a signal relayed that nudged one of them into a path sending it into the force screen of the nearer ship at the same relative point where the first missile exploded.

That second shot didn’t make the hull but must have gotten close. The skull ship bobbled a moment, then recovered, but slowed down appreciably. The other ship continued on course and started pulling away from its companion.

“That’s our target Janie,” I said highlighting the ship falling behind. “Pop us up and get us a visual.” I said that while punching new course instructions into the weapons guidance computer.

The Dora went arcing up to 500 feet taking us above the intervening hills, and less than a mile away we were looking down at the rear most enemy. I now had my first good look at what we were fighting. Easily three times ours size. It would have had to be in order to bring fifty troops down to the surface and yes, it was shaped vaguely like a reptilian skull.

I fired both tubes and when then one of the reloads, saving the last for later, providing we had a later. The skull ship started to turn in our direction at the same time the first missile exploded against her screens 200 yards out. The second went through the fireball and detonated also. The ship lurched very noticeably. The third, following a similar direct path, made it to the hull and exploded on contact.

I just had time to say, “Watch it Babe,” when the flash automatically darkened our viewscreen and the blast sent us tumbling. It must have been the drive letting loose. If we hadn’t been moving upwards when it hit us Janie would never have had time to recover but as it was, she caught us before we hit the ground.

We switched channels to a feed from town and saw the first ship flaring out and landing right in front of Liberty hall. A close up gave us a good look at the armored figures pouring out of the shuttle. The alien figures were not as snake like as I’d imagined, and most of those exiting were humans in UNWG military gear. Things kept getting weirder and weirder.

I could see the ships force field was down. They probably couldn’t land or unload with it in operation and as Janie closed the distance I sent off the last one of our missiles. Steaks of light were rising from the landing area and heading in our direction. Janie pulled a high gee turn and kicked in all the acceleration we could stand, then a bit more. My field of vision was getting narrower and narrower and I was graying out by the time she eased off. The streaks were short range, shoulder fired, ground to air, and we had out run them but were now miles from town and headed in the wrong direction as Janie looped us back around.

She had almost finished the turn when the visual showed a launch and the weapons display showed two large points of light slicing through the clutter and heading at us.

“Those are no shoulder fired missiles! Get us on the deck and run like hell!” I fired a string of flares followed by chaff and then flares again. They provided enough distraction that we got away but were going in the wrong direction and away from town again.

“What next Bart?”

“I don’t know Babe… Take us south and come up behind windmill hill we’ll see when we get there.”

The camera showing the view from town was now down but we could hear garbled static and briefly Joe Fortson’s unmistakable voice, before everything got swallowed up in electronic interference. We even lost the feed from the Mayflower. What a furball, but the night was still young.

A strange new Urruth

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Shintok

Sarra farm
Alchibah day 981

Shintok; elron-A leaped through the hatch that dilated open in the base of skull ship 2, he landed in water that had been snow melted from the heat of the ship. Splashing through water his feet instinctively moved in a sweeping motion that was almost like paddling. The ground underneath was like nothing he had ever encountered, it felt like crunchy mud… only cold. As he reached ground that was not covered in water the crunchy sensation got even worse as did the cold

elron and his three broodmates were among the last to get off the ship, it was very dark but there was light coming from a strange geometry in the open field. Could this be some kind of hive for slaves?

There was a slave who was being torn apart by Rogans, just at that moment another slave emerged from an opening in the geometry and quickly met the same fate as the first. Although elron could understand and speak some human language the high pitch noises made by these slaves were not part of his vocabulary.

“ wrong is “ elron said to his broodmate huk “Sheen obey not, Sheen hunger is not, Shintok obey, hunger is“”

In fact elron’s complaint was justified , Shintok: cantor-S, the nominal commander of this band of Rogans had given orders not to kill any slaves unless they fought back. Unfortunately those Rogans who were Sheen had decided to ignore orders and grab a meal, elron being Shintok could not participate.

Several of the Sheen had gone into the strange geometry and returned with what could only be slave younglings, again these slaves must speak some human language other than what elron had learned. On second thought, as dark as it was elron decided that one of the creatures might be what is called a dog.

“elron” said huk ”keening is” huk pointed with one arm into the darkness, elron turned his head and bowed both keens, he could just keen something far out across the open field shaped like a slave but it was something else.
“Artifact is, slave is not, artifact moves, danger is’” with that elron reached under his torso and remove the long pipe like object which was attached to some clamps, with two arms holding and one to work the trigger, he let loose a blast of energy that came very close to hitting the distant robot. huk argo and teth, elron’s broodmates also commenced firing and soon they had scored several hits on the artifact, which separated into pieces and dropped to the ground.

The four Rogons were enjoying the heat radiating from their weapons when the voice of Shintok; cantor-S boomed out “Order is, movement must be, slave hive is not, obey “

The big Rogons began walking towards a tree covered hillside on the edge of the Sarra farm, and the Rogon band followed. Five broke off and headed through the forest towards the side of the hill. Even the Sheen obeyed, although many were carrying leftovers from the feast they had been forced to interrupt.

A strange new Urruth part II

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Shintok

The alien band was making slow, but steady progress up the side of the ridge when disaster struck.
A Rogan’s personal shield on low power would create a bubble of warmth around his body, but it ended at any physical barrier

Shintok; elron-A had learned that every step he took his claw feet sank into strange ground and he felt cold. That was not too bad, but the ground was not consistent, sometimes it was hard and would just compact down a little, but then it would be soft and a leg would sink halfway into the strange muck not-muck.

After this happened a few times, he realized that he could walk on three legs holding the affected limb up until it warmed. Using hands, and sometimes feet to grasp trees as he passed, gave needed leverage, and aided the climb .

Elron failed to notice that the rest of the band had apparently made the same discovery, so the group was moving slow, but holding together. It was even possible, though difficult, for a Rogan to travel upright on two legs, but definitely not a good idea for walking uphill.

Near the head of the column upslope, one of the Sheen was attempting just that, when he lost his footing and tumbled over backwards. He hit a companion, who likewise lost his footing, and then landing on his back, began to slide downhill headfirst.

Thus began a chain reaction that affected 42 of the 60 Rogans. The lucky ones wold be knocked down and slide a few yard before smacking into a tree or rock, others were less fortunate.

elron both saw and keened another Shintok fall and slide fully ten yards, before hitting poor elron like a trick shot in billiards. elron landed in a snow drift, and sank in untill he was almost completely buried.

“Cold is!, Colds is!, Cold, is!” he wailed aloud. Instinctively he tried to swim but the forward movement simply compressed the snow, preventing any escape. Without the bubble of warmth his body temperature began to plummet, at the same time slowing his metabolic rate “cold cold… cold “ his voice growing weak.

Suddenly a pair of claws grasped him and then another soon he was being pulled out of the snow by his broodmates, argo and teth. The renewed warmth of the force shield was a pleasure he had never imagined.

“Warmth is” he declared “cold was, but cold is not, cold memory must go, cold must go”

huk, argo and teth were silently appreciative of this remarkable dissertation. Of course it never occurred to elron to thank his broodmates for saving his life, such is not the Rogan way.

Those Rogans not affected by the alien avalanche, were by now, far ahead of the others. elron and his broodmates soon began to follow the path to the crest, along with a dozen or so other stragglers. Those Rogans injured or stuck in the snow would soon succumb to the cold and die.

None of the Rogans yet realized, that for them, the conquest of Alchibah was not going too good.

Used To Be Our Town Two

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by William Bartlett

Liberty City
Evening - Alchibah Day 981

Janie and I came up on the backside of windmill hill and saw the cargo bus parked just beyond the entrance to the medical center. Janie’s landing was a bit rough, but I could understand that, and while I was still locking down the controls she toggled open the hatch, and skipping her part of the shutdown, made a beeline for the door.

A minute later, with everything powered down and safe, I ran after her. When I got outside she was down on hands and knee, gagging and throwing-up into the snow. Stepping behind I cradled her head and tried to steady her. The Jeep was standing there at a loss for something to do.

“It’s Ok now Babe, hold on.”

Emily Parker came rushing from the dug in med facility with a towel and started helping Janie clean herself up. Laura Seaworth exited the bus and came over as well. Between the three of us, we got her inside and seated. I’d never seen her look so ghastly pale and shaken.

“I’m falling apart,” she managed to say as shudders wracked her body.

“I’ll get her a sedative,” Emily said and was back in a moment with a hypo.

“No!” Janie blurted out. “I’ll get over this.” And with some kind of effort of will that was hard to imagine she stopped shaking and her color began coming back. She looked at me and said, “Bart go and see what’s happening in town.”

It was only a couple of steps to the lab’s com screen and a new camera was broadcasting. I could see the com links were being relayed through optical repeaters with two of the labor pool bots standing in for a couple that showed blank on the board. We hadn’t seen what happened with the last missile but it must have been close. There was a small crater to the rear of the skull ship and a rent in its side had steam spewing upwards till it blended in with the lite snow and the clouds above. I didn’t think she would be going anywhere for a while.

No bodies by the blast and there were lights on inside the ship. The ramp was still down with suited and armored figures moving in and out. Some of what I would learn were Rogons but mostly human.

“Joe? Les? Anyone? This is Bart. Anybody there?”

A moment later I heard the voice of Karl Nash. “Thank God you made it. Where are you?”

“At the lab. Fill me in.”

“The first group out of the ship went straight into Liberty Hall. Lucky for us there was no one there. Then what must have been your missile exploded at the rear of the ship and we had a few moments when everyone ducked for cover. Everyone but Joe. Joe got a dozen or so colonists to move with him out into the woods west of town. Right now they are going building to building in town looking for us.”

“Where are you Karl?”

“In the basement of the Inn. I got R. Fletcher and Bligh with me. Pam’s trying to make her way with the rest of the noncombatants to your location.”

“Did Les get in touch with the Guardians?”

“Can’t say. I don’t think so but I haven’t heard anything since he left with Joe.”

“You got to get away from the Inn Karl. That’s where they must be heading next.”

“I’m staying for a while. I will post out the bots and see if we can buy the rest of you some time.”

There was nothing much I could say. He was making the best of a bad bargain. “Keep the faith Karl. We’ll try to find some way to help.”

I heard the lab door open and the first of the people from town entered then a new link channel lit up and I heard Fortson’s low grumble.

“Good to see you and Janie are still with us.”

“That goes double from my end. What’s the plan?”

“What ever you do Bart, keep the Dora and the bus on the ground. These things out here have offloaded some weapons of some type that look to be ground to air and they have a perimeter set up around the ship. They got the launches spaced out in four locations around their ship. Which, and good shooting there, looks to be grounded.

“We lost six or seven people when they landed but the rest should still be headed your way.”

“Felicia Ortega just walked in.”

“Good to hear. Gene Washburn is heading towards town from the boatyard with R.Krebbs and another couple of bots. When he gets into position we will be able to harass them whatever direction they choose next, but for my money it‘ll be the Inn. With the ship locked in place you should be able to get the rest up to the caves if you stay well south and east. We just got word from Connor that Kara and BJ are manning Fort Stuart and he’s headed back into town from the north to help. Sin’s crew went dark a while back but the bots have been picking up sustained small arms fire from that direction, so they’re still with us.”

“Gotta go Bart, we have warm bodies heading cross the field toward out position. Check back in a bit. Out.”

“Laura, Franklin, Felicia, start pulling everything from the lab and med center that isn’t bolted down and get it loaded into the bus. We are going to have more room than we planned on.”

While the three of them went into a flurry of action I went over and sat beside Janie. “How is it Babe? Pullin’ through?”

“I’m under control except for when I think about Tammy.”

Our three month old daughter went with the children on the first busload into the caves. We had both been trying not to think about that but it was just not possible. “She’s as safe as she can be with Linda and EmyCee watching over her and it’s our job to make sure she stays that way. It’s not going to get any easier soon I’m afraid.”

“Yeah Bart, I can handle it. What’s next?”

“Check the bunker behind the lab. There are at least two missiles out there, so get some help and get them loaded. I’m taking the Jeep with me and going up on top of the hill to see what we can see. When you’re done with the Dora try and get in contact with the Mayflower. We need information.”

While Janie went to load munitions I went back into the Dora and stripped of my gee suit and donned one of the two Combat suits Joe and I had taken of the Goonie cruiser almost six years ago. The Jeep helped me into my snow shoes and I helped him into his. We climbed to the top of the hill and going past the single tower still in use, and when near the northern edge, slid forwards until we could look into town and the fields surrounding it.

The hologram projected on my helmet visor showed even more detail than the Jeeps built in sensors revealed. I saw the hot spots of the perimeter guard and a group of four heading across the colony farm towards where I knew Joe was waiting. I made sure the view was on our net so those in the woods could tap into the view. The energy bloom at the shuttle and around the outlying weapons positions stood out like candles on a white iced birthday cake. Some how or other we were going to need to blow them out.

A squad of ten was heading towards Karl Nash and the First Inn. I could also see stragglers making there way toward the south side of the hill. No chase was evident and the last ought to make it to the bus and bio lab before the Inn came under fire.

I was turning from a scan towards the river trying to pick out Gene Washburn with no luck, when two plasma bolts darkened my visor and I saw the sparkle of small arms fire from out of the woods to the west. All four men?—Were down and two rockets from one of the skull ship’s weapons platforms homed in on the IR and crashed into the woods sending trees toppling and a billow of debris into the air.

No one was gonna survive that strike I thought… “Joe? You there?”

“Live and kicking,” came the response.


“Both bots and the plasma rifles. I’m sending Rocco and Kaiya north to meet up with Connor and the rest of us are fanning out here. Get everyone to the caves as soon as you can make it happen.”

“What about Karl?”

“Keep praying for him. It’s all we can do and it can‘t hurt.”

The Jeep and I went back to the lab and piled into the Dora. Shadowing the bus we circled south then east and made it to the caves without, so far as we could tell, being seen.

An Impromptu Snowstorm

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by The Benjamin Family

Strike Force Ground, Ridge overlooking the Saras’ farm

After R.Eddings had begun his retreat and the two new ships had passed overhead the four strike force members had moved to the ridgeline, and they now had a clear view of the Saras’ farm.

“Fuck,” Sin muttered as the bot crumpled to the ground, having taken multiple hits from some sort of energy weapon. Then the figures emerged from the woods around the Saras’ farmhouse into the open field.

“What the fuck are those things?” John asked over the visual spectrum com link. “Fox, you transmit?”

“That’s affirmative Sythe. They must not be scanning those frequencies. Damned if I know why. Hold one.” Sin paused as she zoomed in on the scene. Fifty or so of the alien figures were slithering (although that wasn’t quite the right word) across the farm field, towards Andy’s compound. As far as she could tell the last few had just entered the field. And…

“Fox, Peepers. They’ve got the Saras’ kids – two of the last five…snakes in line.”

“Peepers, Fox. Confirmed. And it looks like several of them are eating fresh human remains. This is not a hostage situation. Peepers, Sythe, if they so much as twitch like they’re going to hurt those kids take them out hard. Looks like they’re heading our way. Wraith and I will set up our side of their projected path. Once we’re in place and can watch the kids you do the same on yours. Once the line is mostly past us and the ones with the kids come even we take out the back ten and then you two go to work on the rest. We’ll get the kids.”

The Strike Force members slowly, silently got into position, hiding their bodies under the snow. That, combined with Sin and Chavez’s camo and John and Lisa’s chameleon suits was more than enough to hide them from the snakes, who were slowly picking their way up the hill, still headed in a beeline towards the Stuart Compound. Their walk was somewhat amusing. It seemed like they didn’t like snow all that much. And then something funny happened. Something you would expect to see in one of those old time Marx Brothers movies, but certainly not in the middle of an alien invasion. Just went to show that stereotyping never did anyone any good. Not even stereotyping alien invaders.

The fourteenth snake in line, while doing the little dance they were all doing (Sin guessed to let their “feet” warm up) overbalanced and slowly but surely toppled backwards into the snake behind it, and that one into the snake behind it, and so on. When the absurd domino effect was done (missing only four snakes behind the first one to fall) the aliens were scattered all over the hillside. Most were slowly getting up, although some seemed more than a little sluggish and a few incapable of moving at all. And the oddest thing was that very few of the fallen snakes were helped at all by the aliens that hadn’t lost their footing. They just kept on trudging up the hill as if nothing had happened.

One of the snakes that had managed to keep its footing was the one holding the Saras’ two children, a eight year old boy named Tony and a five year old girl, Faith. The one holding their dog (the very last one in line) had gone sprawling, flinging the shepherd into a snowdrift. It launched itself back out of the drift at its one-time captor, instinctively going right for the alien’s neck area. Dark green and purple fluid sprayed everywhere, soaking the snow below. And the snakes just kept on marching up the hill.

And then, just after the first dozen or so had passed over the top of the hill all hell broke loose.

The snake holding the two children started to pull Faith’s head towards its mouth. Before it could move an inch it had a bullet in its head and John had reloaded and fired again as the other three members of Strike Force Ground began to rapidly pick off the snakes, starting with those around the children. The snakes that had already crested the hill turned quickly, startled, causing two of them to topple over, down the hill. They began to open fire in the direction the bullets were coming from, their energy beams melting gaping holes in the snow. Lisa hurled a grenade at the cluster of ten just as a beam seared across John’s arm, causing the chameleon suit to flicker and short as he roared in pain. The explosion sent snakes and snow flying in every direction.

“Peepers, you take care of those. Sythe, Wraith, cover me. I’m getting the kids.” Sin shouted, charging down the hill amongst a flurry of energy beams.

John, Lisa and Chavez were making sure they had something to think about other than making toast out of the would be rescuer, pouring shot after shot into the snakes. As she ran Sin was kicking up massive amounts of the light, powdery snow that rested on the top as she sent bullets ripping through any snake that dared move towards the children, who were running into the woods. The shepherd (Paint, Sin thought his name was) had lunged at the next snake in line at the back and had wrestled it to the ground, where it quickly ceased moving among the flurry of snow the struggle kicked up. For some reason the aliens didn’t seem aware of the fight going on behind them, or perhaps they just didn’t care.

Sin got herself between the kids and the snakes and sent burst after burst from her battle rifle into the snakes until she took a glancing hit that burned clear through about an inch of her side, exposing and searing her ribs. She stumbled forward into the snow, sending a flurry of flakes into the air. And all of a sudden the incoming shots got a lot more erratic. Sin glanced in the direction of Paint, who was on his third snake and also engulfed in a little impromptu blizzard. And they still hadn’t noticed him. She smiled through her grimace of pain and primed a concussion grenade, tossing it into the snowbank fifteen feet in front of her.

Three, two one…

Snow flew thirty feet in the air, swirling all around the snakes to cries of “Cold is! Cold is!” And the blasts coming towards her trailed off, with the few snakes still firing sending their shots in every which direction.

Sin got up, charging into the woods after the kids. And, of all things, Paint followed her. She yelled into her com, “The snow confuses them! Drop flash-bangs and run like hell. I’ve got the kids, let the snakes go for now!”

As she reached the children she heard two more bangs from the ridge. Good. Without breaking stride she swept the kids up in her arms, grimacing at the searing pain in her left side. As she reached a small drop she hurled herself over it into the snow ten feet below, with Paint following right behind. The three humans and one very loyal canine landed with a thud and another plume of snow.

Sin put her finger over her lips, silently motioning the kids to stay quiet. Their eyes were pure horror and they were trembling uncontrollably, from fear or cold or both it was impossible to say. But they nodded and stayed quiet, as, shockingly, did Paint. Sin whispered into her com.

“Sythe, Fox. Report.”

“Fox, Sythe. We’re on the Sara side of the ridge, just downhill from our original position. We took out sixteen before falling back. I don’t think they’re following us. Sythe out.”

“Sythe, Fox. That makes twenty three, so they’re at about half strength, assuming the ones that tripped themselves up are ok. I’m fifty yards downhill of you. I got hit and need to pull out. I’m going to double back and head for the Saras’. The kids are with me and safe, but they’re not going to make it much longer outdoors. Wraith, you’re in charge. Drive them to the Fort. You know what to do. Fox out.”

“Fox, Wraith. We’ll be back for you. Out.”

Setting Up Shop, Part I

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by The Benjamin Family

Stuart Compound

Connor Benjamin

Elana and I had just arrived at Fort Stuart from Liberty City. Good lord I’d never been happier for PT than I was at that moment. We sprinted the over half mile across deep snow from Hanna’s to make sure the Fort was set up asap. Kara and BJ were probably five to ten minutes behind us.

I hit the buzzer. “Sally, it’s Connor,” I said as the lock quickly disengaged.

I rushed through the door with Elana close on my heels.

“Elana, downstairs. Get the systems up and running. Sally, the goonies are on their way. We need to activate the Fort’s defenses. Kara and BJ are right on our heels and they’ll be taking over, but you’re going to be needed at the lab. Somehow they got through our Travis and Andy’s perimeter – there’s already one ship landed.”

“I’ll get the kids downstairs,” she replied, heading for the nursery. “Could you grab my pack and equipment? They’re in the closet.”

Elana com’d up to him as he got Sally’s bag and arms out. “Defenses are up and running. No one within range…wait, there’s something coming in from the west.” Then Sin’s voice came in over the military com channel.

“Two ships heading south towards the City! And whatever they are, I don’t think they’re human. Watch yourself. We’ll be in touch.”

“Well, that’s different. Doesn’t change anything though.” Connor said into his wrist comp. He turned as Sally led his two girls and six robots carrying six adorable babies out of the nursery.

“Come on girls, take the kids downstairs,” he told Aya and Arra. “I’ve got to talk to Sally for a minute.”

“See you soon girls,” Sally waved goodbye to the twins as they waved back.

“You good to get to the Lab?” Connor asked.

“As good as I’m going to be. It’ll be a trek through this, but no two ways about it.” She snapped a salute which Connor returned. Then he put his hand down and hugged his friend.

“You be careful now, you hear?” he told her. “We don’t know what’s out there, and we’ll kick it’s ass, whatever it is, but in the meantime you be careful.”

“I will, don’t you worry. And remember, you owe me a drink for taking care of the twins!”

Connor laughed as she strapped the light pack on and shouldered her CAW.

“See you soon Stonewall,” she said over her shoulder as she jogged into the night.

Setting Up Shop, Part II

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Kara

Stuart Compound

Connor Benjamin

The buzzer sounded. “Connor, it’s Kara and BJ,” came in over the speakers as he buzzed her in. He headed up the stairs.

“Right this way,” he ushered the two down into the command center. Elana passed them going up the stairs and went to secure the door (not that anything was getting anywhere near it).

“The system’s up and running. It’s just like training. Remember, the computer needs human approval to for the towers to go active, but after that anything that moves, dies. All colonists know to stay away from here, and everyone’s skipping town anyway, so that shouldn’t be a problem. You’ve got a hardline to Liberty Hall, Hanna’s and the Lab, but other than that stay dark. If anything changes I’ll be in touch.” He paused, looking at her. “But…?”

“I already know all that. We’ve drilled this dozens of times. We’re good, now do what you’ve got to do.” Kara responded.

Connor laughed. “I suppose you did. I’ll see you soon,” he extended his hand towards Kara’s partner, “BJ.”

Connor turned to his two girls, kneeling in front of them.

“Aya, Arra, I’ve got to go work for a while. It’s dangerous work, but I want you both to know that I love you sooo much, and I always, always will.” He hugged them both close, kissing them tenderly on their foreheads.

“We know Dad,” Arra started. Aya continued, “you’re going to fight, to protect everyone. Be safe,” then Arra finished, “ok Dad?”

“I will, I promise. I’ve got to go now. Look after the little ones.” He was looking his daughters right in the eyes, on the verge of crying himself.

“We will. We love you Dad,” Aya said, with Arra ending, “very, very much.” Then they both kissed him and hugged him, and then turned and went to watch over the babies so he could leave.

He stood slowly and, looking over his shoulder just once, ran up the stairs and then into the night and the beginning of his second war.


“I can’t believe I agreed to this,” Kara said aloud, to no one in particular.

“It’ll be fine,” said BJ, “we’re safer here than anywhere else.”

“I know. I just can’t it’s with the kids,” Kara muttered.

BJ looked puzzled. “What? What’s wrong with the kids?”

“Huh? Nothing,” Kara replied, hoping it was said smoothly, as if she had meant nothing by the comment. “I’ll check on the computers,” she said as she moved towards the control room. “Good one, Kara. All you need ,” she thought.

Everything looked in order at the computers. She took her time reviewing all the screens, and then admitted she couldn’t stay away any longer, so she went back to the common room. She stood staring at everyone, trying to take it all in. What they had all been preparing for was finally happening.

Kara’s stomach was in knots. She was physically exhausted from the trek from the Inn, mentally exhausted from worrying about what was happening “up there,” and terrified of what was happening “down here.” Goonies, an enemy we know, would be bad enough, but now aliens too? Who knows what they’re capable of. “Frak” was all that could come to mind.

BJ came over and put his arm around her. “I think one of the kids needs changing.”

“You’ve got to be kidding. I can’t worry about defending this place and change diapers at the same time,” she said as one of the babies started crying. “I can’t believe…” she let it trail off this time. Lucky for Kara & BJ, Aya and Arra tended to the crying baby, talking to him in their quirky fashion.

Kara breathed a sigh of relief. “So,” BJ started, “not big on the kids are you?”

“That obvious?” Kara asked.

“You look as comfortable as Andy would in a tutu,” BJ surmised, which started Kara laughing.

“I didn’t even think those two words could go into the same sentence,” Kara said through her laughter. As they stood watching, Kara asked, fearing the answer, “So… that a problem?”

“Well, I never imagined life without a family of my own.” BJ started, while Kara’s stomach knots grew worse. “But then, I never thought I’d be living on another planet, 8 feet deep in snow, with aliens attacking us with the help of humans, and everything else that’s happened. If there’s one thing I’ve learned since agreeing to this trip, it’s to take life as it comes, and to give up all expectations. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and worry about kids. Hell, nothing personal but I don’t know if I want to even marry you yet!”

“Yeah, good, ’cause I don’t know if I’d want to marry you!” Kara sassed back, noticing that BJ’s arm was still around her. She leaned into him, and just tried to enjoy what they had, while they had it. “Now all we need is a poodle.”

A Greater Love

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by EAB

Evening - Alchibah Day 981:
“I love you Pam. I can’t say that too many times or make it any clearer. I wish I could, and I wish you could hear me saying it one more time.

I am looking out of the window of the First Inn now and I see the light signatures of eight or ten men, I think they must be men but some of them look odd. The numbers keep changing. It changes every time I look. They are coming partially on the road and also poking up from the riverbank but still they come. I am strangely at peace and this is good because to be in a state of agitation would help nothing. And I am thinking of you.

“Bligh and Fletcher are sending in views from outside the Inn so I will not be surprised from whatever direction the final assault comes.

“I am beyond surprise, and want to say one more time, I love you. I wish we had a voice link now but I can’t seem to get in touch with anyone. I will keep talking into the recorder hoping that it will survive even if I don’t. The colony must survive and I don’t have a clue about what is going on out there now. I just know too many have died already for us to fail.

“You will think I should have left the Inn when the communications went out. Maybe I should have, but they could have turned on again and now it is too late.

“Looking back the only thing I regret is we never had any children. We should have used the tubes as soon as we had the chance.

“I need to say that except for when you said you would marry me, it was the second happiest and proudest moment in my life, when Bart and Janie asked us to be Godparents to their daughter. In a way, I’m doing this for her.

“Whoa! A big explosion west out in the forest. I pray it is us and we are doing some good.

“They’re almost here now. I have Hanna’s pressure cooker filled with water and am going to hide the recorder inside. The data chip is almost indestructible so maybe it will be found. I just told the bots to go north and reach the Stuarts. I am going into the cellar now, and when the door is forced I will explode all the military stores down there and take as many with me as I can.

“I have to go now Pam. I wish we could do it all again. I love you.”

—Editors Note: The data chip this was recorded onto was found two years after the explosion of the First Inn and Karl Nash’s death. It is released by permission of his widow Pamela Nash. A thorough examination of the debris shows conclusively that four humans and one of the Rogons perished with him. He did not die in vain.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
—John 15:13

Ride Hard, We Can get There By Dawn

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Andrew Stuart

“Gabe, lets back it down to 1 G. I am having a hell of a time breathing with this crap. Break.

“To All, as you catch up come to 1 G and pick up formation. Is there anybody in this outfit that did not get near that Damn Dog?”

Corrine Williams was the first to speak, “Yeah, Jeff and me. We have been on ship the whole time working on the new gyro’s for the sighting system, why?”

Andy had to finish a hacking, coughing attack before he could answer clearly, “Because those of us who have been using adrenaline and metabolic control to hold back the symptoms of that damn flu have a a hell of a price to pay.

“Gabe, how you doing over there?”

The answer was a groaning raspy voice, “About the same as you. Shitty! Explain it to the Girl!”

“We can kinda make Mama Nature stand in line but sooner or later She gets Hers. We have to stand down for a while sooner or later,” Andy finished with another racking coughing fit. “So the question is are you Deep Space qualified as a Pilot?”

“Yes and so is Jeff, Al would not take anyone who could not at least fly us back. What is it you want us to do?

“We are going to get everyone in formation and then slave our controls to yours. Can you and Jeff handle this while we rest up?”

“Yeah Andy, we can split the time and get some rest ourselves. We are not fighting that damn flu after all.”

“Good, BREAK. Ash, how long can we stay at 1 G acceleration?”

“Wish I could say more Cuz but, three hours till flip-over then three hours more. Then we got to kick em hard again to match vectors. Besides Jai’s gonna need some help!”

Andy groaned, “Agreed on both counts. Six hours it is then. Everyone get fed up, take the treat the symptoms medications and most importantly get some sleep. We won’t get there as fast but a least we’ll be worth a damn when we do.”

“Six Hours then we Ride Hard till Dawn!”

Who’s that at the Front Door?

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by The Benjamin Family


Jaisa Benjamin

Waiting on the Mayflower for something to happen, for someone to need help, was not exactly how I had figured my involvement in the goonie attack at first, but by the time push came to shove I was fine with it. They had four cruisers, we had a small special forces contingent a few dozen militia and several shuttles. We would be needed, it was just a matter of when and where. Truth be told I think all of us on the Mayflower – Summer, Mike, Kaye and I – were hoping against hope that no one would have to call on us. After all, even if that meant we didn’t see any “action,” the fact was that it also would likely mean fewer colonists died. And that was infinitely more important than any childish need to be in the fight.

I was pacing back and forth in the staging room we had set up for SF Reserve just down from the main bay, fiddling with my battle rifle. The room was just off of a long hallway that lead up to the cavernous main entry room which all the elevators from the docking bay fed into. We were relying on Monroe to feed us back anything we needed to know from the bridge, as this room didn’t have access to any of the sensors. We had drilled this hundreds of times and by now our two teams could be into our shuttles and out the front door of the Rock in under two minutes. Of course we weren’t already in the shuttles on the off chance that the Mayflower itself was hit. That we had drilled too, though far less. We were just waiting on the call. Then Monroe’s voice came through the com.

“Andy, Steel, anyone? Alchibah under attack. Mayflower under attack. Three unidentified ships have approached us from behind. Never saw anything like them. One is heading down through the atmosphere of Alchibah. Seems headed to land just west of Liberty. The other two are coming after the Mayflower. These are not Earth ships. Andy, if you can hear me, that must be why the Goonie ships traveled slow — these skull ships came after them and needed time to circle around. Strike Force Rear is launched to intercept.”

I hit the com. “Bridge, Firebird, what the frack is going on? We’ve got two skulls incoming?”

“Firebird, Brige. Make that three, with three more headed to the surface,” came the response. “One’s trying for the back door. I’m going to catch it in the engine blast once it gets close enough. The other two are headed your way, straight in the front door. I don’t know what the hell they are, but you’re going to need to hold the entry room – whatever they are, they’ll be coming down the elevators. They’re starting docking now, so eta is five minutes.”

“Understood. You and the doctors stay on the bridge. We’ve got this. And get a robot crew down here asap. We’re going to need backup choke points like we drilled. Firebird out.”

“Will do Firebird. Good skill, and don’t get dead. Bridge out.”

Compiled from various log files

She turned to the other three teenage Strike Force members. “Thorn, lock the elevators. Dustup, set frag charges around the entry room. If they’re not human maybe they won’t recognize our explosives. Grinder, grab that crate. Help me barricade the hallway.”

She commed Monroe again as Summer sprinted out the door and Kaye grabbed a small crate of explosives and followed her. “Bridge, you give the robots their orders remotely, I don’t have time to coordinate them. Have them set up three choke points down the left fork and retreat. We’re going to blow the right fork. Firebird out.”

“Understood Firebird.” You could almost hear him wince through the com. “Don’t hurt my ship more than you have to.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it.” Jai laughed, grabbing the other side of a heavy metal crate and helping Mike haul it into the hallway as she let out a gigantic sneeze.

“Great, last thing I friggin need right now is the goddam FidoFlu.”

“Tell me about it,” Mike said, sniffling.

It had been two minutes.

Summer sprinted back down the hallway.

“Elevators locked. Orders?”

“Blow the right fork back there,” Jai nodded down the hallway behind her where the bots were setting up the second choke point. “Just enough to bring it down. And be careful not to hit the bots.” Summer was already grabbing the charges out of the staging room as Jai finished. The last crate was in place just as Kaye ran up to them.

Then from behind them Summer shouted, “Clear!” just before a enormous blast shook the walls around them and a cloud of dust erupted from the formerly clear passage heading to the right at the end of the hallway.

“Carrigan!” Jai shouted down the hall, “You and the other bots get up here and take all the ammo you can carry to the other choke points. And then get the hell back to the bridge, no point in you getting fried too.”

“Confirmed,” replied R.Carrigan, “and thank you.”

“My pleasure,” she turned back to her friends. “Dustup, Thorn, you think you can rig those light fixtures about fifteen feet from the opening of the hall with concealed charges? I’d like to pull the roof down around their ears when we have to fall back to the next choke. Plus, it’ll give us some time to regroup.”

Summer grinned. “Can do boss.”

“We’ve got a minute and a half before they’re knocking on our door people, let’s move!”

A Room With A View

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Shintok

I. A room in space

The room in question was in fact quite spacious, far more so than any obvious need would require. So dimly lit that you or I would be hard pressed to determine it’s exact size and shape. The walls and area nears the walls contained a great number of devices that were obviously meant to provide information to somebody of alien intelligence.

there were four such somebodies near one side, the most prominent occupants of this room, resting on padded frameworks that could be made to swivel and tilt and had all the executive functions., And rightly so , because these four comprised the leadership council of the Rogon expedition to Urruth-not, aka Alchibah.

Without any motion or sound on their part, the great interior volume of the room was suddenly filled with strange lights. To you or me these projections looked like streaks of colors with multiple ghost images or echoes of the same, but to multifaceted alien eyes the projection was a perfect three dimensional representation of four UN spaceships some 5 million kilometers away in real space.

More than just a holographic image, a being with keening sense could actually feel the cylindrical bulk of UNH Orion, or the lean weapon laden bodies of her companions. Even the high velocity plasma of the exhaust plumes could be felt.

As they watched four more ships quite suddenly appeared in the field of view, one large and three smaller, although apparently of human construction, they were of no type previously seen by the Rogons. As they accelerated and made their attack runs, from keening, it was clear that no human ship could perform like that.

Symbols appeared near the UN warships, signifying that the task forces advanced Rogon weapons systems had been locked out.

‘Shintok; maylock-A, wise has acted” said the first Rogon, Ossog; sespes-AP “yes “ replied the next “ship, Chewpess is!”

Ossog; sespes-AP disagreed ”likliness is not, certainty is not, certainty must be”

But as they watched the tragedy play out nothing was revealed to solve their dilemma; one thing was clear, this was resistance unlike any they had ever encountered.

As they mysterious warships retreated from the field of view Shintok; petok-S brought up an unpleasant possibility “dragon heads, same is?” sespes was adamant “ same must not! Dragon heads to speak, Urruth-not, Chewpess must not, waiting is ”

The image above was one of crippled ship and spreading debris, a Rogon shuttle accelerated madly from the scene. And the view changed completely, in a different direction but not so far away was a lone shape, as it grew into view all that was seen was a featureless ovoid.

Nothing more was said.

II. A view to a kill

Shintok; elron-A, along with his broodmates had climbed high across an open field, and were just entering the tree line below the crest, when the impossible happened. Well below them where the last stragglers, a group of hapless Sheen struggled upslope with their captive burdens, came the unexpected sounds of strange weapons and death.

He could just keen the shapes of the human younglings, and the creature called a dog moving freely about, but there were places he could not keen, as though someone had placed walls in the field below where no walls had been when he passed.

A group of adult humans was among the Rogons, but he could not count them as they passed behind these strange shifting walls. To test this theory he aimed and fired his weapon at an area of blankness, but the wall was not knocked down.

Not far down slope, a group of Shintok began firing at targets that elron thought must be humans, when another unexpected thing happened, something was flying slow and high toward Shintok, just like a bird.

Alone among the Rogons, elron understood, for he had seen this bird not-bird before. On Urruth, at a place called Bogota, elron has seen the thing called a grenade.

“Shields must” he cried out, but no-one heeded, his own shield as it came to full strength pressed against the trees and even pushed his brood brother teth into the snow. Elron was locked in a vice of his own protection, when the swarm of fragments impinged upon his shield in a fluorescent green display.

The Shintok below were decimated , but elron could keen nothing as a wall of blankness obscured everything particles reached his shield and be found himself sprinkled with warm water.

Elron had little time to enjoy this as a certain number of grenade fragments had passed by his shield and streaking through gaps in the trees had hit his brood brother huk resulting in serious injury to what we would call his right rear hip. The individual wounds were numerous and deep, and blood was flowing.

Further upslope the lead group of Rogons had stopped and the four broodmates began climbing in that direction helping poor injured huk along.

When they arrived they found a group of perhaps 20 Rogons centered around Shintok; cantor-S, who was using a communicating device.

Just then the dragon head ship which had brought them to Urruth-not rose from the farm field down below and rapidly climbed to just above the ridgeline where is made a hard turn to the south. In the valley beyond missiles and cannon shell were fired in a great volley at the alien vessel. The dragon head’s shield expanded to a globe and as it reached the near by hillside several acres of trees were blasted to splinters. The ship angled up and accelerated instantly causing an immense sonic boom that shook trees and set off avalanches of snow up and down the ridge

To elron and his broodmates teth and argo trying to help huk, and control bleeding, the up blast of snow blocked both keening and vision just like the end of the world, for the first time in their lives, they felt a sense of hopelessness, stranded on this terrible world and now their ship had left.

In fact the departing dragon head had made a wide turn south and now was on a northward course rapidly descending to land in liberty city between the mangled dragon ship 4 and the still smoking crater where the First inn had until recently stood. The human settlement had sustained tremendous damage and the area all around was strewn with bodies, human and Rogon alike. Survivors… UN troops, Rogons and some colonial prisoners streamed to the ship. Shots continued to ring out from the forest surrounding the clearing and more brave Rogons and more UN slave troops died. A few minutes and much returned fire later she rose and departed to the south rising steadily away from the planet.

Less than a minute later dragon head 7, having been recalled from the Mayflower assault, came streaking down towards the city center and unleashed a hellstorm of fire at the crippled dragon ship and destroying Liberty town hall in the process. The shock wave hurled up tons of snow and loose objects of every description, even tearing limbs off trees as it reached the distant forest. When everything had settled the ship was long gone.

On the ridge above Sarra’s farm Shintok; cantor-S roared out the command ”Shields up! Shields up!” and as the Rogons all brought their shields to full strength the welcome sight of dragon head ship 8, also having left her assault team behind on the mayflower, came streaking in from the south firing a barrage at anything that was not a rogon shield.

Strips of trees were literally turned into matchpicks, and as she settled down the entire slope below was engulphed with a cloud of descending snow.

Elron was overcome with emotion as he helped pull huk into the dragon head ship “safe is! Safe is!” he said to everyone and no one “safe is’

And so the Rogons left Urruth-not, retreating into deep space, but not before learning a terrible and costly lesson: Real men (and women) will fight for home and Country.

Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Richard Redmond

The Alien Starship
Alchibah day 982

The gravity in the Rogan ship was about 2/3 of Earth normal. Richard Redmond was able to move freely, but he still had to run to keep up with Shintok; maylock-A. They emerged from the side passageway into a large tunnel that seemed to run the length of the ship.

The big Rogan was waiting for something and in a few seconds Redmond saw what is was. An oval shaped plate approached and stopped in front of them, about four meters long and two wide it stood about 8 inches high and was indistinguishable from the floor itself. There was no visible gap between it and the floor not even a crack

As soon as they stepped on the oval it began moving and they were soon speeding down the big main corridor. There was no discernable feeling of motion or wind resistance. They had traveled well over a kilometer, when the platform came to a halt. maylock stepped off with all four legs and motioned for Redmond to follow. They approached a large rounded door of the kind Rogons seemed to prefer and as it opened before them, maylock gave one simple order “inside”

As soon as he entered, the door slid closed behind him and Redmond was shocked, first that the Rogon had not entered as well, but more so for the fact that the room was filled with people.

The compartment was obviously very large, both wide and with a high ceiling, but it appeared as though someone had partitioned most of the floor space into a maze of rooms, using standard lumber and wooden paneling. The area immediately in front of the doorway was open, but off to the sides were what appeared to be lounge areas equipped with sofas, chairs and small tables, it was here that the humans were gathered.

Although most were male, there were a few females among them, and all were young and fit. The most common mode of dress was matching blue shorts and T-shirts, but some wore what were commonly called sweats and a few wore mismatched article of military uniforms.

It spoke volumes about Richard Redmond, UN first secretary for military affairs that he was totally unfamiliar with how soldiers dress in their leisure time.

He was immediately noticed and one of the young soldiers called out “Captain! We’ve got a visitor” a moment later a man in the work coveralls of a UN Peaceforce Officer approached from within the maze.

“Hello” he said “I’m Captain Lew DeWalt of the UN 21st peace brigade… and whom might you be?” his eyes gave just a hint of amusement at the man before him, oddly dressed in red silk pajamas and slippers.

“I am Richard Redmond, in charge of the United Nations expedition to Alchibah and Governor General of the colony there” Redmond replied in his haughtiest tone of voice.

DeWalt was not flustered; at least he didn’t show it “I see sir… Yes that was in my briefing, but you left on the Orion years ago. May I ask what you are doing here and obviously in some distress?”

“The Orion has been destroyed… Destroyed by traitors and criminals, and I was lucky to escape with my life” somehow he felt that was not enough “I was able to take a Rogons shuttle and escape while the pirates murdered her crew, but I will have justice! I swear!”

Such an outburst was a little overwhelming so DeWalt beat a hasty retreat “That’s terrible sir, but lets find you some quarters and suitable clothing, after you’re settled in we can get you some chow and let you see the Doc. First Sergeant to the parade deck!”

And so Richard Redmond was made a guest of the slave soldiers aboard the Rogon starship Deathfang.

UNHC Orion

Hunter had eaten one too many hot dogs but the oncoming tummy ache was not going to spoil this moment, because this was the seventh game of the World Series and his hometown Tucson Tigers were taking it down to the last out.

“Come on sport, this could be it” said George St James as he lifted Hunter up on his shoulders so the boy could see over the crowd. With two outs and the bases loaded, the Tigers had a chance to take the lead and bring the championship to Tucson for the first time since they had come to town, after the Dearborn nuke drove them out of Detroit in 2011.

On the mound the Yankees star reliever Andy Stuart began his wind up…

“Captain, wake up”

The patented Stuart curveball reached the plate and the batter swung…

“Captain, wake up please we got trouble”

“Oh what is it? What’s happening?” Hunter opened tired eyes and tried to focus “Sorry sir, Blake called from the bridge, he needs you ASAP”

Hunter put on his helmet and made his way through the lifeboats airlock, there was still pressure in the ship, but it was not safe to breathe. On the bridge, Blake had been keeping watch on the instruments that still worked, almost without rest since the battle.

“Captain, something’s on the screen, its coming right at us and I don’t know what it is maybe an asteroid.” Blake said. Hunter examined the plot “No, unfortunately that’s no asteroid. That’s a Rogon Medusa, and she’s coming to our rescue”

They were called Medusa’s because each one carried 12 to 20 dragon head ships on the bow. A multiheaded monster over 2000 meters long. Four years ago 50 such ships had entered the Solar system braking at an incredible rate, all the while broadcasting demands that humanity surrender. As they rounded the sun they passed close to the planet Venus, and it was there they demonstrated their awesome firepower.

Each ship fired salvo after salvo at the planet, each shot causing a plasma eruption in the planets atmosphere miles across. As millions of cubic kilometers of the Venusian atmosphere were super heated past escape velocity the planet developed a tail and coma like a comet. By the time the Rogon armada was finally past, the surface of Venus was visible from Earth for the first time in eons, a surface pock marked with hundreds of vast lava pools, the result of the final Rogon bombardment.

When the fleet of Medusa’s reached Earth, no further demonstration was needed.

The Alien Starship part II

Whenever the door to the Earth soldier’s compartment would open, curious eyes would appraise any new entrant, but all were surprised when they saw who their latest visitors were. “Attention on Deck!” was shouted out by several soldiers and all present snapped to attention.

“Stand easy” said Hunter St James for although he was visibly tired and weary and suffering the internal agony of the loss of his ship; the traditions of 30 years of naval service ran deep and he still wore the uniform.

Lew DeWalt burst out of his office upon hearing the commotion and was amazed to see a UNWG Navy Captain, with the star patch of a flag officer no less. His salute was crisp and sharp. “Captain DeWalt, senior officer of the 21st Peaceforce brigade, at your service sir!”

“Relax captain, senior officer you say?” Asked Hunter. “Yes sir actually I’m XO of the brigade and CO of Bravo Company, But Major Watson is on a mission”

Hunter took all that in “We can discuss all that later. Do your troops have space armor?” he asked.

“Yes sir”
“Good” said St. James “because we have 245 people in cold sleep capsules on the Orion, that we need to transfer over while the Rogans give us time”

Now it was DeWalt’s turn to express surprise “I should a known” he said “MR. Redmond said Orion was attacked by pirates, it sounded fishy at the time”

“Redmond is here” said Hunter reflexively reaching for his pistol. He bowed his head and closed his eyes, struggling for control. For a man such as St James duty always comes first “Captain we need to get moving on that work party… but I will deal with Redmond later”


Richard Redmond was sitting in a comfortable upholster chair, and enjoying a cup of hot tea. His new quarters were. Primitive to say the least, they were also private and Redmond was the sort of man who seeks status and privilege to set himself above those around him.

The door to the small room was flung open and none other than Captain St. James of the ill fated Orion practically leaped into the room.

“Redmond… You bastard!” he began “I’ve got some questions for you, and you damn well better have some answers!” St. James was almost shaking was he faced the other man.

Rising from his chair Redmond appeared calm with only a slight quivering of the tea cup to give away his inner feelings “Don’t take that tone with me Captain!” he said “If anyone has questions to answer it is the one who lost his ship to common pirates!”

That was probably the worst thing he could say, and hunter began to lunge at the career bureaucrat, and would have certainly hurt him, had not Lew DeWalt rushed through the door and interposed himself between the two antagonists.

“Please Sir! I can’t allow violence, If there is justification I can convene a board of inquiry” DeWalt knew he was on shaky ground, but he could not stand by and allow his superior officer to commit a criminal offense.

“Nonsense” said Redmond “The man is obviously delusional and should be confined he has no reason to attack me”

“Reason! I’ll give you reason, I searched your cabin Redmond… I found the report on the first expedition… The warning to humanity…. The warning You covered up! The warning humanity ignored and brought on the Rogon invasion. Redmond you will pay!”

“Captain please, this is not the time” DeWalt said as he began to guide St James out of the room “Lets do this right” and with such words of wisdom he was able to coax St. James into the hallway, and from there to his own office.


Once there, Hunter related the story, hidden for so many years:

It started routinely enough 28 years before… The Stingray and her sister ship Remora had been sent to investigate some suspicious activities in deep space.
Far beyond the orbit of Pluto they had witnessed a small vessel vanish into what would become known as a wormhole. With a light speed delay of 8 hours it had taken days of messages back and forth to Earth before they received the order to follow that ship into the unknown. Another 3 years to track down the elusive vessel and the Earthlike planet it had found, that’s when the nightmare began.

Captain Rostov of the UNSS Stingray, along with 4 other crew had gone down to the planet leaving the second officer Lt. Leonard Jacoby in command, Rostov reported back that they had apprehended one “Brandon Carter’ a prospector for Hamilton industries on the planet, but there was more; Llama like aliens that used tools and weapons, and spoke fluent English, and then contact was lost. After that, things just got worse, Jacoby reported a large egg shaped vessel that came from nowhere and destroyed the Remora. The explosion of the Remora at close range caused extensive damage to the Stingray. With the Stingray tumbling in orbit around the planet, her crew frantically trying to extinguish fires and patch holes; the alien mysteriously appeared on her bridge, warning them to “leave and never return”.

Jacoby and the two remaining crew members put the broken Stingray on a course back to the wormhole, when twenty days later engine tech 1st class Hans Gephardt, for some unknown reason murdered ENS. Rutledge.

Jacoby had no options, no brig for the prisoner, no courts marshal, no way to operate the ship by himself, for 3 years going back he lived and worked with a man who might kill him just as suddenly as he’d killed Rutledge. The UN doctors theorized that just before their return through the wormhole, Jacoby put Gephardt out the airlock with no suit; Jacoby said it was a suicide.

There is madness in deep space, Hunter St James had faced madness and death in the infinite gulf between the stars, but even a madman can leave a legacy.

Jacoby had been the first man to return from another world, he was the man who brought back the news, that WE were not alone in the universe.

And Richard Redmond had squashed the story to save the UN embarrassment!

Ambush at The Lab

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Kurt Kellerman

From the Logs of Sally Kellerman RN APRN

I entered the Lab to find only Chris Petersen rigging the computer system up in Defense Mode and Kurt was nowhere in sight. “Where is my Husband?”

Chris looked surprised, “He went up to the caves with all of the vaccine except for the two he left us. We have been so busy sticking everyone in sight we forgot to do us!

“So, and I love being able to say this once; drop those pants and bend over CPT.”

As I glared at him at my anger was lost in that big open smile, He and Robby were two of an irreverent kind. As I complied I reminded him, “Just remember I get to do you next!”

“Oh Shit,” Chris exclaimed, “Message received, CPT.”

After we had finished sticking each other, Chris broke out his rifle and complained, “The Boss built me this perfectly good piece but, all I have is two mags of ammo.”

I watched him pull out a MK 1 .338 Lapua variant and just had to grin. I walked over to the well hidden compartment and dropped it open to reveal the MBR that Mariana had given me. “Think you can use some of these Mags?” Tossing him a bag of ten 20 round .338 Hollow Points mags, I quipped, “Our Andy been a busy little Boy.”

Just at that point the computer began softly chiming. Chris looked at the screen and said, “Here they come, two Aliens and Five Goonies. You wanta take the other door?”

I just nodded and went through the new door to Treatment. Walt and John had put that in after winter started and keeping with Andy’s original design intent, it was built like an airlock even though it was standing open now. I moved through Treatment and to the new lobby door with it’s firing slits, Chris and I were now 90 degrees apart facing Andy’s killing field. I plugged my headset into the intercom jack, “In position and ready!”

Chris spoke quickly, “What say we take the aliens first. I got the one on the left, in three, two, one, now!”

We both squeezed at exactly the same time and the two aliens seemed to almost explode. Then Chris’s voice rang over the loudspeakers, “You arseholes want to see the dawn, drop them shooters and get face down.”

Naturally the young looking LT. Had to try it. The two rounds from the poor mans .50 that was the .338 literally tore him in half. The other four were face down before another breath.

Chris and I took turns going out the doors so that the four were always covered.

Chris cheerfully announced, “Gentlemen, you are now Officially Prisoners of War to Strike Force Alchibah. If in your limited education you have ever heard of the old US UCMJ, just live by it and you live. If not the CPT. over there has quite the reputation for how to deal with assholes.”

I was actually able to not grin as Chris moved amongst them, searched them and tied them up. I heard one, I could not tell which mutter, “Thank Fracking God, that’s over with.”

Fifteen minutes later with them safely strapped on Treatment tables, I was able to ask, “What the hell was that big boom?”

Chris looked up, “I don’t know but, the land line to Hanna’s Place is down!”

Breathing Room

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Les Reye

Just After Midnight - Alchibah Day 982:
Sabbu looked up from his display and spoke to Les Reye hovering at his shoulder. “It looks like they’ve packed up and gone.”

“Nothing much left of Liberty City is there?” Les forced himself to continue. “Get all the bots in looking for survivors. Then get a hold of everyone you can contact. I want a list of casualties, who needs medical treatment, and what we have to provide it with.” He turned to Bartlett. “Get the Dora ready for ambulance runs, and I will alert Linda Parker to have her gear ready for loading.”

“We’ll be sitting ducks if they come back.”

“You turning down the flight Bart?”

Bartlett jerked back as if slapped. “Not at all Mr. Mayor. I’m shocked you could even think it. I want to help at least as much as you do. But if they come back and we lose the Dora on the ground while dealing with our wounded, we are going to lose all of the outlying colonists as well. We should use the cargo bus for medical, and have the Dora fly guard.”

Reye blinked slowly. He did it three times then took a deep breath. “Your right Bart, sorry. I’m not cut out for this job.”

“Maybe so Les, but you’re what we got and we are not about to be holding elections anytime soon. Get the other council members, Histy, Kara, and Connor if you can reach him. You are the civilian authority in charge of all the military and civilian forces on the planet, so get some advice and come up with a plan.”

“You saw the pictures the bots sent from the First Inn, Karl is dead and Fortson has always said he had no intention of commanding the guard.”

“Don’t ask him Les, tell him he’s it. Joe will do what needs to be done.”

Sabbu interrupted, “We have people injured in the ruins of the church. The bots are digging them out. Better get moving Bart.”

“On my way. Laura, let’s help load the bus we came in on. Good thing the other one survived as well. Les, send out Linda with her stuff as soon as she makes it from the infirmary. Have someone give her a hand and send a couple of bots to take care of the stretchers. We will lift off as soon as were hot.”

The snow had stopped for the time being and the clouds were drifting away leaving streaks in the sky where the stars shown through. Light from the primary reflected down from the moon Carter and the contrast between light and dark was stark. A landscape of blacks and whites. Fires burned sporadically in the city added reds and yellows which stood out amidst the background. A few dark dots, robots moving amongst the wreckage, were as they neared the burnt out center of the city.

Laura Seaworth landed the cargo bus in front of what was once the church while the Dora climbed to 10,000 feet and orbited the city.

One hour later - Windmill Hill:
The medical facility and bio-lab buried under the south side of the hill south of town had survived unscathed. Eighteen people had chosen refuge in the church. Ten were dead and two of the others were unlikely to survive. There were only another five people waiting in town for pickup and transfer. The final bombardment of the city had been devastating. Kellerman, told Laura to take the injured to the lab as that was where the planets best medical facility and only functioning hospital except for what was out at the Stuart Compound. Flying out that way could still be dangerous until all of the attackers were accounted for.

Judith Reye watched and wept as her husband stood up and left the terminal. He glanced at her and gave a weak acknowledgement showing that at least he knew she was in the same room.

“I have to get around and talk to people. That’s what us politicians do best dear. Sit here at the terminal and let me know if anything changes.

North of the city:
“You see that Joe?” Gene Washburn was up front and sending his view back to Fortson with the main group.”

“Got it Gene. Hold there and I will come up. Don’t move or give anything away.”

Here in the hills above Liberty City the snow was three foot thick on the slope. It would have been like walking through quicksand without the snowshoes and even wearing them each step in the fluffy powder sank in most of a foot and the constant effort was much worse than walking up a flight stairs with the treads too far apart. But that’s what it felt like.

Fortson was wearing the second of the two UNWG combat suits from the Mayflower days. He crouched down besides Washburn at the top of the hill. Dialing up the magnification showed a false color image of six warm bodies clustered at the base of the hills opposite side about a quarter mile down slope and Joe could hear a low buzzing sound from his helmet headset. Five in the field of view were humans dressed in UN gear. The other was something else, with extra arms and legs. Too many extra arms to be a Guardian.

Gene had his rifle pointed, “We could take them now.”

“That we could Eugene, but we need information more than body-count and we got no time to waste.”

Joe sent word to the rest of team, telling them to spread out and start encircling the group below. “While our people get in place I’m gonna close with those gommers. I can hear the background from their open com units. They’re still using the same short-range channels this suit is set for so they will hear me when I start broadcasting. I need to get in under fifty yards to make sure they get my signal. As soon as I yell stop! I want you to take out one of the humans away from the alien thing. If they go for their weapons take them out. But remember, we want prisoners. Pass the word to the others while I get into position.” And with that, Joe disappeared into the night heading towards the cluster below.

“Stop!” and the sharp crack of a high-powered rifle broke through the wind noise interrupting the sounds of blowing snow and rustling trees. One of the men dropped to the ground motionless. The others, even the alien, froze for an instant then the humans dove for the ground while the alien remained stationary.

Joe fired off a rifle grenade that exploded in the snow twenty yards on the other side of the enemy combatants. The snowpack ate up the fragments and muffled the blast but a large white mass filled the air and started blowing away to the east.

“Throw out your weapons, all of them, or the next eight rounds are all airbursts, six feet above ground level and right on top of you. You are surrounded and all of your friends are dead and gone. Unless you do what I say right now, you have about five seconds more to live.”

Joe watched through his visor and relayed the view as rifles and smaller pieces of equipment, things he couldn’t identify at this range but must be military hardware, started showering out from the troops still fifty yards away and below him, then landing in the snow outside of their perimeter. The big alien continued standing motionless, throwing away nothing. “I wonder if he is unarmed.” Joe thought as he ordered his squad to close in.

“Everyone stand and get your hands up, and that means you too,” he directed at the alien, adding, “whatever you are, standing there already.” As the humans complied the alien put his hands straight out. Evidently reaching upwards wasn’t in its range of motion but at least it understood the command. Joe started slowly forward, giving the rest of his men time to get close, but not too close.

Twenty feet from the standing figures Joe halted and looking at the alien said, “What’s your story fella?” Getting no reply, he let loose a round that hit only inches away from front most of the four legs.

“Future sslave. Meat yet not meat unimportant is, ssaying nothing. To warmth take, sspeak no more.

“What the hell does that mean?” Joe turned speaking to the closest human dressed in UN gear like his own.

“They’re Rogons, most of them understand us but none of them speak real good. Some times they don’t speak at all.”

“I know what your up to but what’s he doing here?”

“It’s a long story but the Rogons own Earth and all of us as well. The trip to take care of you and this planet is a just a small detail, for the Rogons—just an afterthought. I don’t know why they bothered, but you haven’t got a chance in hell at stopping them, all of Earth didn’t have a chance, and we outnumber you by millions to one. We learned pretty damn fast that resisting only made things worse.”

Joe thought about that a moment then said, “We’ll see about that later.” Then he said to those with him, “Get down here everyone. I see we have some data links up again so I’m gonna call and try for pickup. We’ll start for town but might end up at the Stuart compound if that makes more sense. Gene, stay with Krebbs and RoDan and gather up the weapons, then follow us in.”

They hadn’t gone far when they heard Bartlett talking to Laura on the bus, and giving instructions about staying low and heading north.

Get Me Up There

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Kurt Kellerman

I was so tired from doing sticks that my hands and fingers were numb. But, everyone in the escape caves had been vaccinated. The only problem now was up where I should have been.

Dammit, even Mariana was up there and here I was to borrow a phrase from Gabe “Stuck Like Chuck,” there was not even anyway to get the vaccine up to Mayflower and the Strike Force.

“You done good Doc,” came the voice of Joe Fortson from behind me.

“Two years ago I would have given you a snooty answer and blown you off. Now I just haven’t done enough.”

“Duty and Honor are a Bitch aren’t they Doc?

“By the way, your Wife and SGT Petersen just called on the land line and they have us four Human prisoner’s, one of which does not seem to be at all happy to be here. I think you have done everything Andy asked you to do!”

“No Gunny, Karl did that. How many did he take with him, do we even know?”

“No Kurt, and we won’t for quite a while but, he hurt them big time! Connor and his crew are stinging them and a bunch of them tried Ft. Stuart. I understand that wasn’t pretty. Bart can’t put the Dora up with this kind of crap going on, so it’s a ground fight down here.”

Suddenly the sky split with two new Skull ships flashing in, I was stunned until Joe spoke.

“That’s a Dust Off. They are pulling out, Why?”

“Just a little higher you Asshole,” he breathed as a Skull skimmed the South Ridge just below the line of sight from Ft. Stuart. The .50’s and the 25 MM’s hammered the air but, the ship never got high enough for the main armament to fire. “They are pulling out and we have nothing that can get to Space.”

“That’s not exactly true Gunny,” came the voice of Jan Christopher from behind us. “Ash and JoAnn were fairly adamant about that if I was going to be Alchibahs first commercial Pilot, I was going to be Classically trained. Ash and Andy put a full blown System Dive in my Cargo Bus. So Doc, if you can stand the G’s we can get to the Mayflower!”

Gunny Joe just stared at me, “What the hell are you still doing here Doc?”

The Welcoming Party

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by The Benjamin Family

The Mayflower

Complied from various log files

There was a final metallic grinding as the second set of elevator doors was forced open. The sound of boots, human boots, echoing as the enemy forces boarded the Mayflower proper was overwhelming. How many were there? And were there really aliens with them?

Thoughts raced through the heads of the four young soldiers crouched behind the heavy, sandbag filled metal crates that were now blocking the hallway leading into the rest of the ship, set about fifty feet back. They had been loaded onto the asteroid-ship for just such an occasion. Kaye’s finger was hovering over the detonator that would set off the fragmentation charges he had planted all around the entry room while the other three had their battle rifles at the ready. Orders were being called out from down the hall, some in human voices, others in voices that were clearly not.


Jai bellowed down the hall. “This is Lt. Col. Benjamin with Strike Force Alchibah. You have ten seconds to surrender. I suggest for your sake that you oblige. Ten!”

One of the deep, non-human voices responded, though it didn’t seem directed at her. “Slave-soldier is, resisting is,”


The voice continued, “Resisting must not,”


“Resisting must not!” the voice barked angrily. Now that was directed at her, and it seemed almost annoyed.

“Seven!” she responded.

“You’re outnumbered and outgunned,” came a gruff human voice.


“Surrender now and you’ll be treated humanely.”


“Hunger is,” another (barely audible) alien voice muttered.


Then a volley of bullets slammed into the other side of their makeshift barricade, and another. Jai looked at Dustup and nodded grimly. He twitched his thumb and the entry hall exploded, the dozen charges he placed minutes before ripping through air and flesh indiscriminately. Cries of agony, both human and incredibly alien, could just be heard over the din.

Twenty minutes later

The wounded had all either died or been moved back up the elevators, though it was hard to tell which in the dim, flickering light that now filled the entry room. Jai and the others were taking turns, two at a time, sniping anyone stupid enough to enter their view down the hallway. There hadn’t been much noticeable movement or noise to speak of for quite some time, with only the occasional soft boot-step or shift in rubble to break the silence. What Jai wouldn’t do for a remote camera.

Then suddenly Summer yelled, “Down!” pulling the others to the floor just as a rocket of some sort streaked towards them and slammed into the wall just in front of their barricade, sending a billowing cloud of flames barely over their heads and showering them with rubble. Two more followed in quick succession. All four of them were bleeding, and Mike had a gash above his right eye that was simply pouring blood.

And then they heard, of course, the last sound they wanted to hear at that moment; rushing boots, and lots of them.

“Cover!” Jai roared, not knowing if her companions could even hear her let alone fight. She went into overdrive like Gabe and Andy had taught her shot to her feet, a Mk II submachine gun in both hands, shrugging off both the rubble covering her and the pain throbbing through her. The scene in front of her slowed to a near standstill as she rose, dust and debris falling off of her. She was aware of each speck of what had mere seconds ago been the wall next to her falling slowly toward the ground as Summer and Kaye inched to one knee to cover her. Mike was not moving.

There were more than a dozen WG troops charging in slow motion down the hall towards their position as she finally snapped into position, arms outstretched in front of her. She pulled first one trigger and then the other, sending three round bursts at the invaders as they fell, one by one. A few managed to get a shot off, though between herself, Thorn and Dustup not many managed even that.

“Retreat!” she roared, though mostly for the goonies’ benefit. And, sure enough, as Kaye and Summer hustled Mike’s groggy form around the corner and she sent stray bullets back the way they came another contingent of troops, this time accompanied by several many-limbed, vaguely snake-like creatures. Just as she was rounding the corner one of them sent some sort of concentrated plasma bolt towards her, narrowly missing and instead turning part of the wall’s metal sheeting molten.

She gave the signal to Kaye.



The walls trembled and a cloud of dust flew out of the hallway they had just left. Assuming Kaye and Summer had done their job right the ceiling just collapsed on most of the contingent following them, leaving the few survivors trapped on the inside of the cave in and the majority of the boarding crew forced to dig their way through to continue the assault. Jai could hear coughing and groans coming from the around the corner. She motioned for Kaye to continue to the next barricade with Mike as she and Summer readied to take the remaining troops.

She inched closer to the corner, her back to the wall and her battle rifle ready. Summer was crouched just in front of her, ready to spring if the time came to kill the remaining soldiers on their side of the rubble. Hopefully it wouldn’t.

Jai shouted around the corner, turning her head towards the sounds of the survivors. “You’re overmatched,” she yelled, “and you don’t have to die here. Throw your weapons to our end of the hall and raise your hands above your heads. If you can’t do that put your hands on top of your head. Anyone not complying will get one between the eyes. Understood?” She heard a small commotion and several solid thuds, and then a half a dozen rifles and a slew of pistols came skittering down the hall.

“Lt. Col., we’re ready to be taken prisoner,” came a strong voice. “The Ro- the aliens are unconscious.”

Summer nodded, and the two young women shifted quickly around the corner, prepared to take out any soldiers that hadn’t complied. There were none. Four WG soldiers stood with their arms raised, one sat slumped against a wall, bleeding badly, with his hands trembling on his head, and one lay face down with his fingers interlocked on his head as well – one of his legs was pinned under the rubble. And then there were two of the unfamiliar, alien figures lying unconscious on the floor. One was bleeding (if that’s what it was – the liquid was green) from what looked like a hard blow from the butt of a rifle. Jai raised an eyebrow at the rather young, chiseled Lt.

“Been wanting to do that for a long time,” he smiled sheepishly. “Lt. Beckett. Now if you don’t mind me askin’, could you get on with it and frisk us? Issacs here,” he nodded towards the soldier laying against the wall, “ain’t gonna last long without some medical attention.” Jai nodded, keeping her rifle high, and Summer slung her rifle over her back, pulled out a sidearm and started doing just that.

“They’re clean.”

“Good. Now you four,” she gestured towards the soldiers still standing, “get your buddy’s leg out from under the rubble. Summer, take care of Issacs here.”

There were some vague sounds coming from the other side of the pile of rubble, but only a word here and a word there were actually audible. Then, just as they freed the soldier’s (Miller’s) leg form under the rubble, what sounded very much like an argument broke out.

“Foxx Pak is!” one alien voice insisted, the first of the conversation that Jai could make out.

“Foxx Pak is not!” a second voice disagreed.

“Foxx Pak is. Rebellion must be! Dangerous is, rebellion must be!” the first voice shot back.

“Foxx Pak is not! Green Mow’ntaan Boys is not! Rebellion is not. Worse is, worse is! New, likelihood is,” the second voice replied, agitated.

Jai laughed softly. Looks like the old gang back on Earth was still up to no good.

“Come on, march. You two, get Issacs. Beckett, help Miller. And I don’t need to remind you boys, no funny business or sudden moves. I’m right behind you. Summer, lead the way.”

Two hours later

At first the Rogons (as Beckett said they were called) tried blasting their way through the rubble, until they realized that was only bringing more down on top and making their job harder. Since then the sounds of them steadily digging away had been echoing down the halls to the second choke point they had set up.

Mike’s head was bandaged and he was fine, and the rest of them were all a little banged up but still in working order as well. The prisoners had been put in a small supply room a little ways back from the barricade. Isaacs was getting feverish, though Summer had bandaged him up and given him a hit of quick heal, and Miller’s ankle looked broken. The other four goonies were doing fine, and the two aliens were (with a little encouragement from Mike) still unconscious.

The funny thing about the whole situation was that while Jai knew that the UNWG troops were in with the aliens, now that they were captured and no longer shooting at them it felt like they were actually on the same side. Maybe it was that they were humans. Now that there was another species gunning for their ass it was a little harder to look at the goonies as, well, goonies, and a little easier to look at them simply as other humans. And of course it didn’t hurt that Beckett had slugged the two Rogons with his rifle, and then, after being tied up, proceeded to tell everything he knew about the Rogons, their current plans and the invasion of Earth. Though unfortunately that second part was the least informative.

“Lt. Col. Benjamin,” Beckett began, after he had answered all the immediate questions Jai had, “I would like a word with you in private. As the commanding officer of the prisoners I have that right.”

Jai nodded and shouted over her shoulder for Summer to take over watching the prisoners. She untied the lieutenant from his chair and then nodded for him to follow her.

They walked down the hall to the next door and Jai pushed it open.

“After you,” she placed her hand on one of her pistols, “I insist.” He went inside.

“So, what is it?” she asked. “And why so formal? That was the first time in two hours you called me Lt. Col.”

“That was mostly for the others. They’re not overly fond of the Rogons, so telling you what I did was safe, but I wanted to make sure they didn’t think too hard about why I wanted to talk with you alone.”

“All right, you’ve got my attention,” she replied. “Have a seat and tell me what’s on your mind.”

He sat down on a crate in the cramped storage room and grinned.

“You’re Jaisa Benjamin, the daughter of Connor Benjamin, aren’t you? Niece of Angel, good friend to Fox and Wraith?”

It was her turn to sit. She collapsed onto a crate opposite him, stunned. How the hell did he know those names?

“You ever met Lion?”

She stared at him. “The leader of the European Resistance. Irish guy. Yeah, I met him a few times. Why?”

“He spoke very highly of you. He was impressed that anyone your age could handle what you were handling. I didn’t get involved in the movement until I was seventeen.” She looked at him questioningly. “Eamon Lyons,” he awkwardly extended his hand, which was of course tied to his other hand, “Galbraith Lyons’ son. Or as you know him, Lion.” She took his hand and shook it, still in disbelief.

“How?” she started.

“How do you know I’m not lying?” he finished for her. “My da told me to tell anyone out here that was in the resistance, if I ever got a chance to, the Lion howls at the moon and the Fox travels in a pride.”

“And the Angel watches over all,” she finished, trailing off.

“We’re gonna have company!” Mike bellowed from the hall. Jai raced out the door with Eamon just behind her.

“Kaye, tie this one up and lock the door.” She turned back to the barricade. “Mike, what’ve we got?”

“Sounds like they broke through. They’re still shifting rubble, but you can hear at least a few on this side.”

“Time to dig in then. The hall’s long enough and I think that corner’s tight enough that they shouldn’t be able to pull the missile stunt again. And try to not kill the humans if you can avoid it. Don’t take any chances, but disable when you can. They don’t seem all that thrilled to be here. It seems the Rogons are the real enemy now.”

Kaye jogged back to the barricade and the four young soldiers crouched behind the makeshift barrier, rifles at the ready, waiting for the next wave to come. When they came the four fought with bullet, blade and body, teeth bared into the storm. Lord knows they were ready to die. But they wouldn’t, not that day.

Summer was wiping the green blood from the most recent wave off her knife as Jai’s radio erupted in her ear, “Firebird, Reaper; Talk to me Girl!”

Steel, Cold Steel Shall be the Master of Them All

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Andrew Stuart

Compiled from various Logs

We were driving hard in Decel but keeping it to three perceived so we did not lose what we had gained in the rest period. My concentration was broken by Ash screaming in my ears.

“Reaper, the ships are leaving; it looks like a Bug Out!”

“Crap, why would they be doing that? Do you have any Comms from the Mayflower yet?”

“Pardon me for pointing out that you are driving the Command Ship that has the steerable dish on it,” Ash drawled.

Fortunately, Mariana hit the kill switch on the transmitter while I turned the air blue and swung out the dish.

“Firebird, Reaper; Talk to me Girl!”

Broken and garbled through the mass of Mayflower came the reply, “About damn time Boss, we are getting pushed back here. They have some damn kind of shield. If we catch one by surprise we can splash it. Second shot don’t work worth a damn, Summer’s killed more with her knife than her guns.”

“And you got how many?” I drawled.

“My share Boss, my share!”

“Hold what you got Firebird, the ships have done a Bug Out and we will be there in ten. Stay Alive Girl, I don’t want to have to explain to your Father.”

“Reaper, Firebird; hurry, we are FidoFlued out the ass and we don’t have much left!”

I knew my voice sounded grim, “Inbound Firebird, keep your head Down. BREAK!

“Angel, you and I break and burn hard to match velocities. I would love to have a couple of Prisoners, think you might be able to handle that Big Guy?”

“If we can last long enough against this shit, no problem. What are you going to do?”

I turned, “Give me your knife Mariana. Gabe; Steel Cold Steel shall be the Master of them All.”

From the speaker came, “I think you are stealing my call sign but, give em Hell,” came Al Steel’s cold voice.

Mariana and Kat fought us down to the docks as Gabe and I readied to launch. We found the upper docks unoccupied and grabbed two separate Elevators down to the Main Bay. We launched out of the elevators behind a double Flash Bang toss. The place looked like the Middle Tail Race of Hell. Rubble was everywhere and the hall leading into the belly of the Mayflower was blown to Hell and only partly dug out. Alien bodies were everywhere as well as many Humans.

“Angel, let’s go get our Girl; OK?”

Gabriel Benjamin stared into the face of Death Incarnate, “OK, we need a couple of Prisoner’s Right?”

“Yeah, you take em; I am going to find Firebird.”

Angel moved up the corridor behind the wave of destruction. An Alien stuck his or it’s ugly head out of a side corridor. Gabe grabbed it and slammed it’s head against the corridor wall; “OK, not quite that hard Gabe,” as the brain matter oozed down the wall.

Gabe ran up the corridor, stopping only to slam the occasional Alien head into the walls with what he knew now was the appropriate force while, he tried hard to follow the Angel of Death. Andy was in The Reaper mode for sure. Gabe had only heard about Tehran and had seen Asteroid 5488 up close and personal. Andy had gone flat fracking Berserker. He was going to Firebird though all of Hell and the Devil stood between.

Guns holstered and rifles slung, The Reaper went up the corridor with Energy Knives in hand and the carnage was a sight to behold. It made no difference if you were Goonie or Alien.

Stand and Die…. The Reaper had come for you.

There were a couple of live Humans and Aliens laying in the corridors arms wrapped about their heads whimpering, Gabe just let them stay where they were for Ryu and May to deal with.

Suddenly he stopped, “LT Colonel, you had better assume Command. I think my Ass is out of it,” Andy grunted.

At that point in time he passed out!

Gabriel looked at Jaisa Benjamin (soon to be Pierce), “So now you know how Andy got that call sign!”

Jai’s voice rang out, “Medic, the Boss is down!” As she turned to look up the corridor she heard a thump and spun back to see her Uncle Gabe also in a heap on the deck.

Then she heard the greatest thing she thought she had ever heard.

“Kellerman here, two minutes from the dock. All I have to do is clean the puke off.”

“Kurt Hurry but, I am already here,” said Mariana as she stepped through the bulkhead. “Kat, Ryu and May are back there tying up the smart ones.”

“The smart ones?” Jai asked with a quizzical look.

“The one’s who dropped their weapons and quit,” Mariana said as she hung the IV bag. “Damn I wish he would not do this; both of them.”

Jai stared, “What drives them this way? I didn’t think that either of them were capable of that much hate.”

Mariana turned dumbfounded, “Hate, Girl hate can’t make Men do this. Hell Andy only truly hates one person in the universe and he passed on a chance for him to get back here. Listen to this?”

Mariana took the Comms recorder off of her belt and manipulated the controls until she had the stream where she wanted it. Then she held it up for Jai to hear.

It was a pair of voices that Jai knew all to well but there was a tone in them that she had never heard.

“Angel, let’s go get our Girl; OK?”

“OK, we need a couple of Prisoner’s Right?”

“Yeah, you take em; I am going to find Firebird.”

“Jai, did you hear any hate in there?” Mariana asked.

Jai had her turn to be stunned, “They sounded worried, even scared. But those two are never scared.”

Mariana gave her that Teachers look, “Not for themselves no. But for what they love, they live in fear. That’s what makes them Wolves and what lets them live in the Garden.”

Mike Reye came in to see a sight he had never seen, Jai “Firebird” Benjamin with tears rolling down her face being hugged by Mariana “Magic” Stuart. He decided to just leave.

And We went Where!

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Kurt Kellerman

From the Kellerman Logs

Chris sat down and looked at Sally, “Do we leave them there or strip them and lock them in the back room?”

Sally gave that low evil chuckle that was her specialty, then leaned over and flipped a switch on the console. “If we leave them where they are at we can listen to them.”

Chris turned on the recorder, “I knew there was a reason I liked you. If your husband wasn’t so damn fast I might have to make a pass.”

“Yeah, he was a pleasant surprise after he came around. He’s probably the tenth fastest I have ever seen.”

Chris choked on his drink, “Tenth are you kidding me?”

“Nope and here comes number Seven. How’s it going Connor?”

In treatment the voices were going on tape. Voice One, “What the hell did we walk into?”

Voice Two, “It wasn’t the Valley nor the desert, but more than our Hoge en machtige Lords en de Meesters were ready for. That’s for Damn sure!”

Voice Three, “Damn it Ari you are gonna get us in trouble again.”

Voice Two, laughing, “Trouble? Trouble? With who? In case you missed it, Genie, our Adon-vervloekte Keepers and that verkakte tuchas lekker of a LT are history. Or are you referring to that wiry assed kerel. . ..” Voice one interjected “Dammit, Ari, speak English.” Voice One continued, over him, “with the Luitenant-Kolonel tabs on a fracking uniform that’s not supposed to exist anymore?”

Then two more of those impossible uniforms came in practically carrying a slightly Indian looking female.

Voice Two whistled softly, “Well I’ll be. Intel School may have bounced me like a bad Dinar, but if that doesn’t look like Sin Blackfeather, then slap me silly and stick me back in my Abba’s tents as an immature pup.”

The three turned and came into the room where the four where strapped and they got to see the Chest Patches all wore.

Voice One “Those are not supposed to be, it’s a crime to wear one of those dammed SF Patches.”

Voice Two “Clint, you always were a schlemiel, you know. I don’t think they give a shit what the Caliphs, Sultans, Presidents, or Governor-General of the UN calls a crime. The real question is do we, do I, want to know just how far this rabbit hole goes, or have we just jumped out of the fire into the frying pan? Only one way to find out.” A deep breath. “Hey! Hey, you eben ahbés! You just going to leave us tied up here? I may be crazy, but I’m not this kinky! If I’m getting reamed, at least kiss me!” A barely audible grunt. “Well, mijn lads, we’ll know now one way or the other.”

The big rangy female came over and smiled like a wolf. “You can call me Peepers, Asshole.

“If we should happen to get formal, it’s Major Davies, Strike Force Alchibah Rear Heavy. You don’t want to get formal because then you get to meet Scythe. The big guy in the corner and that’s damn near as bad as meeting Angel or the Reaper.”

Suddenly she grabbed his chin and locked his head in place and her eyes met his. Ari felt like his soul had just poured out through his eyes and she asked one question, “Do you want to live free?”

Locking on to her eyes, Ari felt things were finally getting somewhere. “Does a Camel shit in the Desert; because this one does. You’re damn right I want to live free.”

“Let him up Sally,” Peepers said. “He’s an asshole but, he’s our kind of asshole.”

Still looking into her eyes, Ari grunted a question. “What about these tipeshi? They may be schmendriks, but they’re harmless if smacked a few times. They’ve held my back fairly decently, so consider them.”

Peepers grunted, “They get to wait for Magic, I don’t have the time.”

The Second Book of Hosham

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Jedediah Dobswell

On A Plain Darkly:

Oh how she has come to sit solitary;
the city that was abundant with people!
How she has become like a widow,
she that was populous among the nations!
How she that was a princess among the cities
has come a vassal.
And weeps bitterly in the night…

Lamentations 1 - {Aleph}

A streak of light and a low-pitched rumble. It woke Aaron from an uneasy sleep and he went outside of the tent to scan the predawn sky, but instead saw his father poking at the fire. “Did you hear that father? Did you see anything?”

“It was the Satan; he has come to claim his own. There was one ship flying southwest towards the Yelsig. I think it will land there. After you went to sleep, I saw a similar light in the sky. I stayed awake and turned on the communicator. I heard broadcasts from space and from the city. Lester Reye sent us a message—listen.”

Dobswell tapped a spot on his com unit’s screen.

“To Jedediah Dobswell, or anyone on the southern continent; listen, this is Les Reye speaking for the Liberty Council. We have been attacked and suffered many deaths. The city is destroyed. The attacking forces were the UNWG troops we expected, but they were under the control of an alien race called Rogons. Except for information we are getting from a few captured UNWG forces, we have no certain knowledge of their ultimate intent. They are not Guardians though we have no way of ruling out whether or not they are directed or in league with them. To this point the Guardians have failed to answer our messages.

“In spite of our losses the Rogon’s and UN have withdrawn from the area around Liberty City, at least for the time being. This message is a warning and an offer to help you, should that prove possible. Watch the video and you will see why, even with our differences, I make this offer.”

Reye’s voice cut out and Aaron watched the display screen that his father had turned so they could both see the display. The video was disjointed and episodic but totally convincing. Explosions, fires, UN troops and pictures of a captured alien inside of a cave somewhere. The possibility of it being some kind of a fake was negligible. Then the voice came back.

“We fought a battle in the asteroid belt with some success but in the end had to withdraw to an inconclusive ending; the Mayflower was boarded but is still under our control. If they go your way and you surrender, it is our belief that you will be taken prisoner. You saw how the Rogon’s treat prisoners. I can promise you nothing right now except that we will continue to resist and I implore you to send no communication signals that would be traceable to your location. We are working on a way to establish a secure link.

“This recorded message is being sent from an unattended site, well away from wherever we might be. It will keep repeating until the batteries run down. Knowing you couldn’t even get along with us in the city, I have little doubt you will not freely join with the Rogons and UNWG. Until we can establish contact then, speaking for the Liberty Council and all free humans on Alchibah I say: Good luck and God Bless.”

The communicator went silent for a few seconds then the message started repeating as Jedediah hit the off button.

“What are we to do father? And Brother Edwards, does he know of this?”

“Brother Edwards has gone to speak with the Agorah. I asked that he bring Agorah and Hosham here to talk with us and he just said. “We will see.”

What a strange new world Hosham thought fleetingly, as one of the sentries awoke him from his sleep. The Soessossins had used sentries ever since the Guardians took them to this world the Humans called Alchibah, but they were only for protection from animals at night. No one was in over all charge of the camp area as he was now. Agorah, the aging leader of the tribe Agorah had become strangely silent and withdrawn. The recent changes to his world did not sit well and the Guardians no longer offered guidance. Even his wives were affected by how coldly aloof he had become.

A long lived society, consensus driven; it was seldom that the leadership changed. Since returning from the Tulari, Hosham had been consulted by the others more and more often concerning the tribe’s daily operation. There was an inevitability about the process that a being more introspective than he would have pondered. As it was, Hosham slipped into his new role without fanfare or ceremony. In a deeper sense however it seemed that the Humans, with their new ideas, especially the concept of religion and a higher power, a reveled truth, were on the verge of sweeping away all of the old ways and replacing them with something that was both exciting though still disturbing and as yet nebulous.

The organization of the newcomers impenetrable, Jedediah Dobswell was the titular leader, though his son Aaron, without challenging his father had a greater moral authority that Jedediah differed to. Cotton Edwards’ role was inexplicable. It was almost like he was actively seeking to undermine the others, though not always and Hosham could tell there was more to it than that. He was bending everything to point where he wished it to end. The limited ability the Soessossins possessed, which let them see into the hearts and minds of others, showed that Aarons vision burned bright, and in as strong a fashion, Edwards vision burned dark.

The fact that he was escorted to Hosham rather than Agorah did not seem to surprise Edwards in the least. He started right in. “Watch this Hosham,” he said, playing a copy of the recording sent from Liberty City.
Hosham was watching for a second time when a steak of light flashed across the sky heading in the direction of the camp of Yelsig and the tribe of Yelsig. It was a second ship.

* * *
Shintok; maytok-S, cradled in the observation station watched the UN crew working at the modified controls of the skull ship. They worked efficiently, carrying out his orders and the ship was a direct extension of his will. The Sheen handling punishment details would have little to do if things continued as they were. The attack have a planet away had gone poorly; there would be an additional price to pay. ‘maytok-S saw the working of fate, and insofar as he had not been involved was little concerned. Nothing would go wrong on the southern continent.

Information, reluctantly provided by the new slaves—they would learn— revealed the location of the major Soessossin encampment, and also the knowledge that two claws worth of Humans were also down here somewhere. The honor of taking the first slaves from a new race would be his and another primary broodline established. The skull ship landed at the Yelsig’s camp and slave troopers went pelting down the ramp.

Yelsig, leader of the Yelsig, pressed the gemlike center of the pendant he wore as a necklace and symbol of his leadership of all the Soessossins, a leadership increasingly in tatters. Once again, as each time he had done the same for half a year and more, there was no response. What had become of the Guardians? Could it be true, as was whispered, that Jehovah, God of the Humans, had banished them to someplace else, someplace so far away that they were powerless to intervene, or even to reply?

An amplified voice boomed from speaking instruments controlled from the ship. “This is Major Putnam, UNWG, acting under direction of Master Shintok; maytok-S. You are directed to lay down all weapons and submit to his authority. The leader of your race and clan’s presence is required at once.”

* * *
It was dark inside the ship, little brighter than the night outside, the air reeked with the smell of oil and decay. The smell of too many living beings, cooped in too small a space, for too long a time. Yelsig’s spear was taken from him but he was permitted to keep the contact device. A scan of some sorts was performed, Yelsig felt nerves and muscles twitch, and then a pentagram of Humans, one in front and two on either side and behind, led him out of the entry compartment. They went down a short corridor, up one level and to a room, roughly ovoid and twenty by thirty feet in extent. The air here was both hot and humid and the smells even more pronounced. Yelsig, ordered to stand at the room’s center, watched as two large beings, shaped more like Soessossins than Humans, entered from the front and the larger came towards him and stopped only feet away.

“Kneel sslave,” hissed the voice. It was strangely high pitched comming from such a large creature.

“We have done you no harm,” Yelsig began, when with a small movement of a claw on the lower, larger set of arms, caused the second Rogon to point a small device. And though he did not see it activate, a wave of pain rushed through Yelsig’s body, as he lost control and collapsed to the deck.

“Lesson one. Obedience must!” When Yelsig could again will his eyes to focus, the Rogon held a two foot long object, ending in a forked point and looking similar to what the Humans called a ‘fork’, and with it touched the end to the top of Yelsig’s head. And here came a second shock as powerful as the first, but this time without the pain. Yelsig could sense no thoughts whatsoever.

“Say you—‘sslave to Rogon, sslave to Shintok; maytok-S’.”

Yelsig said nothing and a wave of pain that put the first to shame wracked his body again.

“Say you!”

Silence once more and the pain continued. Five times the procedure was repeated before Yelsig broke and said the words.

* * *
Hosham watched the streak in the sky fall below the horizon then turned back to Edwards and said, “So what are we to do now?”

“We pack up, break camp, and move out in small groups, no more than ten should travel together. These Rogons look to be a bigger problem than the rest of the Soessossins or the people left on the other continent. Send Aram and Ephraim to help the old man and Aaron.” Edwards handed over a small com unit. “Have Joseph and Micah travel towards the Yelsig and warn any they encounter along the way. Make sure all the rest of the tribe do the same.”

Hosham thought for a moment then said, “Agorah, our leader, is old and confused; he will not take us into the wilderness.”

“Then I guess you’ve just become new leader of the tribe of Hosham then haven’t you?”

“No…That can not be. We will become the tribe of Aaron and the Lord Jehovah shall lead us.”

Cotton Edwards went back to his tent, packed, and with the help of Joseph and Micah, got his wife Helen and the others on their way. Three hours later, when the skull ship arrived, there was just one old Soessossin standing where the camp had been, silent and alone.

Hello, Now Bend Over!

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Kurt Kellerman

Mayflower Post Attack

“Don’t panic Jan, just get me down there. It’s not as bad as it sounds.”

Jan Christopher gave me one disbelieving look then returned to her controls. “How could it get worse? Aliens plus Goonies, the Colonel and the Master Chief down; Aliens doing crap we don’t understand and Karl dead. Why should I not panic?”

As we waited for the Dancer to dock, I tried my best to do what Clan Stuart had done for me. “Jan, our two best are down for this damn Flu and you know we carry the cure for that.

“Karl, if Andy is to be believed is, sitting in Fiddlers Green with a drink in his hand watching his Honor Guard march into Hell and it ain’t no small one. Ash and JoAnn are clearly down there working on the Command Circuits for the Docks and Mayflowers Comms.

“The Aliens bugged out because Strike Force and Karl kicked them right square in whatever passes for their teeth and they don’t know what they bit off. Then while that was going on, Jai and her Reserve Force were bleeding them Dry on Mayflower. How they did it I don’t know, like you, I am not a Warrior.

“I am a Doctor who learned to be a Sheepdog. What those people do is beyond my comprehension but I know this much; The guy you and others call ‘The Boss’ has never asked anyone to do more than their Job. You are a Pilot and I am a Doctor, get me to where I can do my job.”

Jan just nodded and put the Bus down next to the Dancer. Before we could draw down to vacuum, the Dancer crew was out in the main Bay and by the time our door opened we were well behind on the short range comms.

Ash and Al were working like a well-oiled crew and Ash saw us. “Jan, you ought to stay up here and help us. Doc, please tell me you have a cure for this damn flu?” He kept moving till he could trip in the line-of-sight infrared’s, “Keep telling me about the flu on normal channels and listen. I am going to keep Jan up here for one reason after the other. I do not want that Young Girl going down there, I know how Andy was going in and it ain’t gonna be for a Sheep to see.”

I had learned, my voice never wavered as I told everyone that they were going to have to come to pressure to get their shots and turned to Jan. “You are going to be more help up here than down there Pilot. Hell, you might even learn something.”

I went into the elevator and stepped out into Hell. Jai had obviously blown up a bunch in Her fighting retreat, I climbed over the rubble and things changed. I was glad Ash had stopped Jan on the upper dock. I had spent the equivalent of two Earth years learning to be a Combat Medic, add that to my Shock / Trauma experience and this place read like a book.

I knew now in my bones why people were afraid of Angel and The Reaper. I could tell you fairly confidently who had gotten whom. I got to where the destruction and trail of bodies ended quite easily and it stopped suddenly. Just on the other side of the improvised barrier lay the two most dangerous men alive, floored out by a simple dammed bug! I saw Mariana hovering over them with two IV’s already going.

“What you have up?” I asked.

“D5W and Ringers Lactate and shunts in both lines if we need more!”

“Great,” I grinned. “In all the years we have been doing this, there is nothing better for first response!” I pulled two syringes and popped them into the shunts as a push. “And there is nothing better as a transport for this, they will make it. This stuff is the gift from Kara’s skills, how she found that correlation I will never know.

“Now Doc, drop those pants and bend over, you don’t have a line in you so the best way is IM in a large fleshy area.”

“Kurt, if you even act like you are enjoying this; you will find out why I am Andy’s partner!”

“All I care about is getting somebody else healthy enough to do simple sticks. I know you have BS problems but, you should still be able to do simple sticks. Pull up your pants and just set and monitor these two.

“Now LTC, your turn to drop those pants.”

Main Dock

“Bridge, Ghost; If you give it a try I think you might be able to close the doors now. Working in air is a bit nicer and easier.”

“Ash, Monroe here. Not to mention that when we get them closed I can go see what your pack of young pirates did to my ship.”

“Monroe they ain’t mine. Andy and Glen came up with this plan. BTW any luck on tracking Glen’s ship?”

“We lost it when it went deeper into the belt, what we do think is that the shield was holding when we saw it last. What Andy is not going to want to see is the data on that damaged freighter you guys left out there. Something real damn big came and retrieved it and it was fast.

“Here comes the first try on the doors, BTW the status indicators are not working.”

“Got that Larry, looks like the sensors are shot and we need to be pressurized to fix those. The doors are closing but they are a bit slow. We might have lost a couple of motors. What happened here, I thought you were going to leave the doors open?”

“We did Ash but those things just popped out shooting kinda blindly. Those damn energy weapons can do some damage.”

“Yeah Larry, tell me about it. We have full closure indication, wantta trying bringing up the pressure real slow?”

“Sure, the pressure repeaters are still working so we can monitor from here. The damage up there is totally random, OK pressure appears to be holding. Get to work on the Comm links, my crew will come finish the mechanicals.”

“Good, make sure your people see Kellerman on the way up, he has a friendly needle waiting on them. I need to rotate my people down except for Jan who’s already been stuck.”

Port Side Main Corridor

Larry Monroe had moved quickly from the Bridge to here only to be stopped by Kurt Kellerman.

“Sorry CAPT Monroe, you don’t get past here without getting your vaccination.”

Monroe stared at a man that once had been almost universally disliked. What he saw was a haggard tired figure in the Black and Silver of Strike Force with the proud symbol of a Combat Medic on his chest. “Doc, if you even look like you are enjoying this.”

At that point a wavering raspy voice came out of the corner, “Don’t worry Larry; even in this shape I am faster than he is.”

Kellerman and Monroe turned to see the figure of Andy Stuart using his hands and heels to force his back up the wall to a sitting position. “Damn,” he rasped, “I need a drink.

“Kurt get Jai and Natasi up to speed, They have a SAR mission to fly!”

Monroe stared, “Andy, we don’t even know Glen is alive!”

Andy glared at him, “Then they bring me a body. Did you think ‘No Man Left Behind’ was jingoistic Bullshit?”

Gabe Benjamin groaned and said, “Andy, you have to stop finding these parties. The hangover is getting old!”

Pecking Away

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by The Benjamin Family

Liberty City

Compiled from the log files of Connor Benjamin and Elana Pierce

Connor waved Elana to get down as they reached the edge of the forest north of Liberty proper. They were about three hundred yards from Liberty Hall and a little more from Hanna’s. As they sighted in Connor couldn’t help but think of how many times he had been in this situation back on Earth. Only this time it wasn’t some goonie military base they were casing, it was his home, and that made all the difference. He didn’t care what aliens were there or what kind of technology they had, this invasion was not going to stand.

“How many you count?” he asked Elana.

“Fifteen, maybe twenty in sight,” she replied.

“Same. Target?”

Hanna’s Inn exploded in a shower of debris and fire. What had a second before been the largest standing structure on the planet was now matchsticks and kindling flying through the air in every direction. A half a dozen goonies who were standing too close got flung into the snow around them and Connor had seen several more, along with an alien figure, enter the Inn just moments before its explosion.

“Target,” he repeated in a grim voice.

“The alien looking around the side of the Hall. The one that’s gesturing. Range 300 yards, wind nil.”

“Affirmative.” He slowly squeezed the trigger, paused, and then finished the stroke. The shot from his .50 rang out across the town, echoing off the nearby hills. A puff of green and purple mist blew out the side of the aliens head and the outside of Liberty Hall got painted with a splotch in the same colors.

The pair got up and ran, crouched low, to their next position to take their next target. This was going to be a long night.

After several rounds like this – take out a target or two, regroup and move, take out another target or two, repeat – they heard a roar coming from the northwest. Looking back they saw one of the skull ships heading rapidly south. After passing well over town and nearly heading out to sea it banked sharply back north and headed for a rapid decent into Liberty City.

“We’re running out of time shooter,” Elana said, “They’re not going to stick around for this turkey shoot. We’re not the only ones that’ve been picking them off, either.” Throughout the night they had heard other shots coming from the west and southwest of them. It looked like Rocco, Kaiya, Joe and the rest of the militia were holding up their end of the bargain just fine.

“You’re right, they’re bugging out. Do your worst.” And with that they went to town, pumping round after round into the aliens and WG troops in their line of sight. Some missed, most didn’t. Their barrage pretty quickly attracted some unwanted attention. A shell of some sort landed not fifteen yards in front of them, erupting in a blaze of fire, and then another crashed into the trees to their left, sending branches and splinters flying.

“Move!” Connor barked, running full tilt back into the woods with Elana just in front of him, though running was probably a generous term to describe what they were doing given the snowshoes they were wearing and the three feet of snow they were moving through. Luckily though, whatever tracking system the aliens were using was crap at this range, or maybe crap for some other reason, but the important thing is that it was crap and nothing landed close enough to cause them problems. Then the shells stopped coming.

After retreating behind a small, exposed bedrock outcropping and quickly sighting in again the pair saw the alien ship come around for another pass over the town. The resulting firestorm was unlike anything that they had ever seen. It leveled the entire town center, the resulting shrapnel flying far into the river and as far as the tree line, ripping branches clear off.

Connor sighed, shaking his head. They had won, driven off a superior force with what by all appearances was superior firepower. But how many friends had they lost in the process?

“Come on, let’s go look for survivors,” he said. “And battle rifles out, there’s no telling if they left anyone behind.”

Tough Talk

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Richard Redmond

On Board Rogon Starship

Alchibah Asteroid belt:
Richard Redmond waited outside the recessed doorway. He was not accustomed to waiting, but that couldn’t be helped. Suddenly the door opened “enter” came the Rogon voice from within.

The room was large and there were just three Rogons in the near end. Redmond was glad to see Shintok; maylock-A, but somewhat shocked to see the second one, the distinct lack of a neck hair identified this Rogon as an Ossog.

Redmond knelt down on one knee and addressed the Rogons “Masters, your obedient slave awaits orders.”

Ossog; sespes-AP was not impressed “enough is! Clear speak is!”

Shintok; maylock-A took over the questioning “no slave speak… straight talk only is…first view” the room darkened and a large 3-D presentation filled much of the volume. Redmond realized he was watching the battle between UNWG task force and the Rebel pirates the little raiders move fast and precisely firing quickly but accurately. Redmond was not a trained naval officer but something was obviously wrong… then it dawned on him.

“The cowardly traitors didn’t fight back never even fired back… while I’ll have all their heads” he said, without thinking that the people in question were already dead.

“Silence” said Ossog; sespes-AP ‘cowards not, too high acceleration is… view again.”

The scene repeated itself and this time it was obvious to Redmond that the pirates were much too quick and agile. What could explain that?

As the room lights came back up sespes was first too speak “slave ships acceleration too high is… explain must.”

Redmond had only one answer “the UN was experimenting on an advanced drive; those criminals stole the secrets and have had all this time to get them to work. That’s was why we were planning to come here when the Masters arrived.”

“Enough! Truth is?” said the big Ossog. maylock answered “truth is not… lying again, this slave is… krett explain must!” Redmond began to sputter “Master truth is…” when the 3rd Rogon spoke he was shocked into speechlessness.

“Human slave, we will not tolerate any more lies. If you don’t know something… say so. Keep making up self serving lies and your usefulness ended will be…so cut the bullshit!” This third Rogon was Shintok; krett-N after a lifetime dedicated to studying Humankind and the last 3 years dealing with them directly he was not going to put up with any nonsense from one such as this.

“Forgive me Master; I gave only reasonable answer… I will not make any more guesses.”

Humiliated and scared Richard Redmond was still incapable of admitting what was so obvious that even the alien could see it.

sespes spoke again ”Enough is, continue the view.”

The projected images now played out the events from the planet Rogons being ambushed on a mountainside, another lightning fast fighter destroying a dragon head ship, a strange fight in primitive snow covered town and then explosions… many explosions.

When the lights came up again Shintok; krett-N resumed the interrogation, for interrogation it was. “Our dragon heads were landing with defenses set low…we were told not to expect a resistance… You, told us not to expect resistance. How do you explain that?”

“Please, master I had no way to know the criminals would fight, they fled from Earth… We had a plan… to kill them on the asteroid; I didn’t know.”

Richard Redmond knew one thing, he was arguing for his life here, he would say anything to placate this horrible creature who spoke and thought like a human.

“You should have known… these slaves had been fighting you for years, why would they not fight here? You have much to explain” said krett, and the questions went on and on and on.

Questions and Answers

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Shintok

On the dragon head Ship Swift-Strike

Southern Landmass:
Jaric; tilmer-N had spent most of his early life studying this strange animal that called itself ‘Human”. He was the youngest of his study group, small, with only two claw hands worth of members when all but Master Riel and his assistant were instructed to leave home and travel with the expedition that would finally and officially bring the new planet into the empire.

He had no formal training in military matters excepting the standard year eight that all received. A brief instruction in shipboard procedure and he was through the wormhole and on Earth. With the almost bloodless occupation completed, and that was how they were supposed to run, tilmer-N’s youth, dispensability, and superior linguistic skills, (he could speak a half dozen of the native languages with the ease of a native), led him to be selected to travel with this minor mission to the Alchibah star system.

Things had not gone as well here. There was bound to be a lopping and blunting of claws over this but tilmer-N was well clear of any responsibility. Alertness to the danger and overwhelming force would make quick work of things now that force rather than persuasion was to be employed.

When the Swift-Strike, as it’s human crew called it, landed in the south there was no opposition, nor had there been to the first ship. The Yelsig were realists, spears against armed and armored human soldiers was not a winning situation. He would tell them what was required of them soon enough. Right now he needed to interview the captive plucked from the north before the destruction of the city.

Escorted by two UN troopers, an average sized middle-aged male was brought in front of him and shackled with a short chain to a recessed ring in the deck. “Your name slave!”

No response except a look of defiance. It had been a long time since tilmer had seen that expression on a human. No matter, it would not last. He raised his controller, set at low power, and reached out brushing the human’s neck. The man withered in pain but remained standing. “Name slave!” Again no reply.

Increasing the power and another touch. This time the man went to his knees and a gasp escaped through his clenched teeth.

“You will answer me—or you will die. Again I say, Name slave!”

This interrogation would need to be recorded and circulated for the edification of all the Rogon. In the hundreds of interviews tilmer-N had conducted on Earth this set a new record, futile of course but revealing. One more notch and the human would have died. As it was all tilmer got was the name Erbert Neilson before the man lay still, unconscious, on the deck, and was dragged away.

“Bring him back when he recovers; we will start again.”

Three hours later, drenched from repeated buckets of icy water, the man was once more chained to the deck and still looking defiant.

“Now Mr. Neilson, you see how hard you made things for yourself? I have read your UNWG dossier, you really are small potatoes you know, and I must say your continued failure to answer all of my questions fully and completely will only bring more of the same punishment. Perhaps you think you are protecting your friends of your brother Lars. Be aware that unless you cooperate when we do bring in your brother, he will be put to the touch and beg for death while you watch powerlessly.

“You will supply me now with all that you know about the splinter group you call the Leviticans. As you can see, you are not our only source of information. Any lies will be evident, if not now later and a price will be extracted.”

“What a waste of time,” Jaric; tilmer-N, said to the ships captain an hour later. “The slave knows almost nothing about the group of humans called the Leviticans except the member’s names and physical descriptions. Nothing at all about what they have been doing or their plans and intentions.”

“Interview you will a Yelsig next. Information vital is.”

“No experience, have I with the Chewpess’s client species. But think I, they will react to pain as all organism react.”

Yelsig was troubled as he had never been before. In the past there was always the Guardians to call on. Now they were silent. Could it be the new religious cult turning so many of the tribe from the old ways? What could these Rogons possibly want from the people? To travel years in time and light-years in space for slaves and meat animals, it made no sense. He was being taken to the second skull ship and perhaps something would happen to reveal the inner workings of the mystery.

“You will speak to me and answer all questions.” The voice of the Rogon was much smoother, more like the earthman Yelsig had become accustomed to, than the Rogon who addressed him when the first ship landed.

“Why would I do anything else?”

“A willing slave? This is indeed a surprise.”

“The Yelsig bow to the inevitable in all things.”

“I know the purpose of the medallion you wear. We have blocked its ability to transmit or receive along with any other such device in this system.”

Whether that information disturbed the Llama like creature tilmer-N could not discern. The tribes body language was unknown to him, perhaps somewhere in the ships database. Given time he would learn.

“Explain to me what the humans are doing on this continent and whatever else that you know about them.”

Again, and to Jaric; tilmer-N’s amazement, the slave told without further prompting a story about strange beliefs and religious conversion. Human religious belief was something tilmer was very familiar with, but not, that as a client of the Chewpess, the Yelsig were susceptible to change. The war starting up between the factions was something no Rogon would have predicted. There was much to ponder in this revelation and time while other things happened.

“You will order all of your followers to search out the humans on this continent and report their position back to us. You will have them relay this information to all other members of your race they come in contact with. You will do this at once.”

One of the human troops entered the chamber. “Master, we have made contact with the one you spoke to us of.” And looking at Yelsig said, “Am I able to speak freely?”

“Wait,” the Rogon said. “Take this slave away first. He is of no further use to me and has no time to waste.”

Burt Buchanan sweated even in the sub freezing temperature in the hold of the colony’s freight ship, pulled ashore for winter outside of the Neilson brothers’ boatyard. For some reason neither the ship nor the boatyard building itself had been touched in the attack on Liberty City. There was a lot of valuable materials left in the frozen boatyard Burt was doing a little salvaging, actually some might call it stealing, but he needed to survive the winter. Then the fighting, fires, and explosions, started happening in town. From the elevation of the ships deck he saw Lars and Erbert Neilson, rifles in hand, head towards the city.

Listening to his personal com unit, he tried to make some sense of what was happening. This was nothing like he had envisioned. He went into the ship’s hold where after taking this guard job, he had placed his other com unit, the one no one but he knew existed and the one whose signal he had been assured could only be detected by a similar device. Activating it for the first time since training on Earth, Burt plugged it into a jack on his usual unit and saw the dim green all working and proper light, but no sound or text on the small screen. Now he had a real problem. Stay here? Or seek cover until the fighting is over?

Paralysis overcame him, try as he might he was unable to make a move in any direction. Not able to leave the darkness, and wholly imaginary safety of his surroundings, he huddled in a corner of the hold until the sounds of fighting finally faded away. He stared all the while, fixated at the com screen, until nothing else existed in his universe. He was going slowly insane and was watching every step. It was well past dawn when the device came to life and barely coherently, with fumbling fingers he was able to complete the security password exchanges. After years of waiting he would finally get everything he had earned and deserved.

An Observation

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by The Guardians

“Such arrogance. To think that the one who calls himself Tilmer-N actually believes he has thwarted our devices. You’d better intervene.”

Three of the Guardians stood on a hill overlooking the two Rogon ships on the southern continent. With their screens set, they could not be seen by those below them.

The one called The Observer said, “Not just yet. They haven’t actually harmed Yelsig or the other Soessossins. If they do, they will cease to exist.”

“What of the humans?” the third said.

“Ah. We are not guardians to them. I am interested in seeing how this all plays out. So far, this has been a battle between two species we have no sympathies for. Still, if the Rogon mothership decides to engage, it will clearly effect the Soessossins and I will put a stop to it.”

The first said, “I feel some pity for the Humans. No, not this fanatical bunch here on this continent but rather the ones whose city has been nearly destroyed in total. All they wanted was to live free and it seems one tragedy after another afflicts them.”

The Observer said, “I confess to some feelings for them as well but they are a violent species and when you live by the sword. . . .”

The third said, “It would be better if this battle was conducted someplace else.”

“I suspect that will be the case. Both sides have some wounds to lick for the present.”

Life’s a Bitch and Then You. . .

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Captain Travis

The first sensation was an incredibly painful throbbing in his head. Then, nausea. Then, searing pains began reporting in from various locations. Captain Glen Travis thought to himself, “well, that went well.”

He tried opening his eyes and saw only darkness. Perhaps he was blind now. Then, a few blinking indicator lights came into focus — all of them red and of the dire-warning kind. So he wasn’t blind. Nor was he dead. That might or might not be a good thing.

He turned his head and saw that, floating along with him in the cabin was a variety of shuttle parts, most looking broken, many of them structural. The light was dim, provided only by the warning lights and one computer console monitor that — miraculously — was still functioning. He felt a wall behind him and used that to turn his body so he could see elsewhere. It wasn’t pretty. One side of the shuttle was literally ripped open so there was obviously no air on board. He was living on his suit’s oxygen supply and that must be running low. He felt cold and knew that the suit’s battery must also be running down.

He gave a cough and that, with the nausea caused him to spit up. He was thankful he’d missed breakfast that morning. Turning still further, he saw the suited figure of Steven Fallon and pushing off the wall, floated over to it. Fumbling with the belt on his suit, Travis retrieved a small flashlight and aimed it at Fallon’s face plate. That was a mistake. The face plate was cracked and his crewmate’s head had ruptured at several orifices. Quick-froze blood coated the inside of Fallon’s helmet.

Travis released the suited corpse and suppressed another wave of nausea as he turned back to inspect his ship. Making his way to the storage locker, he grabbed another battery pack and exchanged it with the nearly dead one on his own suit. Examining some dials on one wall, he noted that one of the shuttle’s oxygen supply tanks was still intact and he connected an emergency line from it to an auxiliary port in his suit. At least he had an air supply although how long it would last was anyone’s guess; the content dial had been smashed by something during the collision with the asteroid.

He floated back to the gash in the side of the shuttle. Stars, asteroids, dust; all glittered or reflected outside the rent opening. There would be no repairing that.

Following another coughing fit, he made his way to the one remaining computer that still operated. He typed in a few commands and what came up on the screen wasn’t good. Most of the shuttle’s systems were down. Navigation was out. Well, Travis had expected that. Life support was history. Communication was mere scrap. The engines were toast — no, wait! The primary DeHe was gone, as was the ACHE drive, but the BOD engine showed yellow. Damaged, but not destroyed.

Looking out of the Zirconium windows, what was left of them, told him nothing as to his whereabouts. He knew he’d been thrown quite a ways by the blast from the Gorgon ship but how far, before he’d slammed into a rock, he didn’t know. It mattered not, he decided, since he really had no way to propel his ship at the moment.

He sucked some water from the “hamster tube” inside his helmet and tried to recall what he could of the theory and construction of the BOD engine he’d gleamed from talks and instruction with the Mad Scientists. Then he retrieved a tool box and went to work.

All seemed to be going well. At least it looked like he could repair the damage to the strange mixture of coils and other components. He poked here and there, soldered this and that, replaced a few parts. He glanced over at the computer monitor but the BOD status still blinked yellow.

It’s a funny thing about being in space. Drifting. You have no sensation that you might be hurtling rather quickly through it and it lets your guard down. So it was that the shuttle struck another rock without warning. This time, the damage included the one remaining oxygen tank for the shuttle. Not that it mattered because upon impact, a twisted structural beam severed the line from Travis’s suit to that tank. His suit automatically shut the port and went back on the nearly depleted bottle in his suit’s pack.

Travis estimated that he had about ten minutes to live. Oh well, he thought, it’s been quite a ride.


Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Andrew Stuart


I awoke with a screaming headache, and realized I was in a bed; so why was I in full uniform? The memories came crashing in as I rolled upwards and saw Mariana on the other side of the bed.

“Guess that’s all the rest we get Uh?” she drawled.

“I hope so,” I replied noticing that there was no longer a rasp in my voice or a wheeze in my breathing. Looking at my wrist comp I cursed, “Damn another six hours. It’s well into Day Two down there and we haven’t even started back. This damn thing is way beyond anything I expected, those Aliens change everything.

“What went down while I was out of it?”

Marianna paused for a moment, “We got everyone stuck. We put Ash and Digger down about an hour after you along with Dragon and May. I joined you an hour later. Monroe is rotating his people through rest cycles, Jai and Natasi along with their Wizzos are in a rest cycle. I will certify Strike Forward as ready for duty as soon as you and Gabe get through depleting the Emergency Rations. Summer and her Wizzo are already up, they also had a light case.”

I paused in thought, over the years we had developed a habit of slipping in and out of Official Mode and I knew I had just heard a report from the Chief Medical Officer. I had to think for a few moments. “You know this is worse than we thought, the smart thing might be to surrender. There is no way we have a population base deep enough to fight a long or protracted war.”


I came off of the bed and right into Andy’s face. I grabbed his chin in both hands and stared into his eyes. “Andrew William Waker Stuart. I have gone to War beside you, and I love you more than life itself. I have borne you two children that I thought could never be. Do not tell me for one second that you would consider allowing those gifts from the Gods to live as Slaves!”

I felt the weight shift and moved to grab him under the arms. In my mind I felt the war going on in his mind; I was a ringside viewer to something that the Psych Pukes said could never happen. I watched and felt a split personality heal before my eyes. It was like nothing I had ever seen or felt before. Suddenly the weight came off my arms and the big SOB I had married was staring me back. Only the eyes had changed. Shit they might even be more dangerous!

“You know,” Andy said. “This would put us in to a win or die situation. Are you truly prepared to live with that?”

It was my turn to leave reality! I came around with those big damn hands holding me up; for the first damn time I was Magic and Mariana at once. “I am! Is the rest of this crowd?”

He grinned at me, “Let’s find out!”

In Due Time

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by The Pierce Family

Strike Force Ground, Ridge Overlooking Sarras’ Farm

Compiled from the log files of Okanai Blackfeather, John Pierce and Lisa Daives

“Fox, Wraith. We’ll be back for you. Out.”

Chavez rolled onto his stomach and peered back in the direction they came. He could make out the alien shapes through the slowly settling snow. He counted maybe fifteen clustered on the ridge top, though the darkness made getting an exact count impossible.

“What now?” Lisa whispered.

“Now we wait. It’s their move,” he replied as softly.

As the three lay there the remnants of the lead group Lisa had taken on made their way up the hill to join the other survivors, and they didn’t look to be in good shape. The now twenty or so aliens were clustered in a tight circle around one of the figures. One good explosion and they were all dead, Chavez thought. They might have powerful weapons, but these were no soldiers.

Then from the farm below the aliens’ skull shaped ship rose slowly into the air, blowing billowing clouds of snow (much of which immediately melted from the heat) into the air. It rapidly accelerated over the ridge and turned sharply south. An immense volley of fire came at it from the direction of the Stuart Compound, peppering its shield. The ship returned fire indiscriminately, blasting scores of trees on a nearby hill as it shot upwards and southward, away from Andy’s Fort. The shockwave left in its wake sent snow in every direction, shaking tree limbs and dislodging snowbanks nearly from the Sarras’ to the Fort.

A short time after that the ship rocketed out of Liberty City, only to be replaced less than a minute later by another skull ship streaking towards Liberty City, sending a barrage of plasma and energy beams hurtling towards the city below. The night sky glowed red.

“Can we kill them now?” Lisa growled quietly.

“Due time. You’ll get to kill more than a few, don’t you worry,” Chavez replied just before another ship tore through the night sky, this one towards them.

“Aw fuck,” John groaned as in the distance the aliens raised their personal shields.

The three soldiers flattened themselves into the snow as the ship opened up on the hillside, blasting everything in sight except the area right around the aliens. By the time the smoke cleared the ship was taking off again with the remaining aliens in its hold. Mercifully the bombardment hadn’t quite reached their position, though what it did hit was a wasteland of shattered, smoldering trees. Many were burning.

“What you said,” Chavez spat through gritted teeth, grasping the fragment of a branch jutting out of his shoulder as the snow around him turned red.

“No wait, don’t!” Lisa started as he yanked it free, “Don’t pull it out,” she glared at him, grabbing her med pack.

“I don’t have time to run around with half a tree sticking out of my back,” he grunted. “Just hit me with some quick heal and patch it up so we can get on with this. And John, deal with that,” he gestured with his other arm at the nasty burn his friend got early in the fight. “No point in being tough for tough’s sake.”

John chuckled quietly as he pulled out the steel syringe and injected his upper arm with quick heal. He wrapped it in with the makeshift gauze they had been provided and got to his feet, shouldering his rifle.

“Gonna take a looksee and find out if they left any of their own behind. Any alive at least.” He crouched low and slowly made his way back towards where the aliens had been, wary of the possibility of a trap or ambush, though there wasn’t much left to hide behind in the remnants of the forest they had just ran through.

Sure enough, there were seven alien bodies untouched by gunfire, grenade fragments or dog’s teeth scattered downhill, towards the Sarras’. They were still where they had fallen in the odd domino collapse of their line. Clearly this was not a species that valued loyalty to ones’ comrades very highly. They also seemed not to be very fond of the cold.

Not knowing how to tell if they were alive or dead John cautiously walked up to the nearest unmarked body. He gave it a sturdy kick. No answer, just dead weight. He moved to the next and got the same lack of reaction. And the next, on down the hill. It was almost like they were afflicted by some sort of instant, fatal hypothermia.

He reached the last one of the seven, about fifty yards down the hill. It was laying against one of the aliens that the Sarras’ dog had gotten to and was covered in its “blood,” if that was the right term for the thick green and purple liquids oozing out of the carcass. Or as best John could see it was all the other alien’s. This one didn’t appear to have been hit.

Just as he brought his foot back to kick it made a soft noise. It wasn’t quite a groan, though if iguanas could groan John thought it might sound something like this. Whatever the sound was, the thing wasn’t dead.

“We’ve got a live one!” he shouted up the hill. Getting this big bastard back to Liberty was going to be a chore and a half.

Allies and Others

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Jedediah Dobswell

Joseph and Micah traveled rapidly in a westerly direction. The land inhabited by the Yelsig was two weeks away at their best rate of speed. Joseph, due to the expedition to the Tulari, was versed in rapid travel over hostile terrain. They carried most of the supplies they would need. Dried meat did not give the same mingled sense of power and magic that blood from warm flesh gave, but it still provided far more energy than the totally vegetarian diet they used to consume.

Joseph set the pace and chose the course, he had spent more time training with the new weapons introduced by Edwards than Micah and even had been trained in the use of, and entrusted with, a rifle. With that new weapon, and the speed and strength resulting from their protein-enhanced diet, there was nothing to fear from encounters with small groups from any of the other tribes.

Micah had spent almost all of the time, since the Humans arrived, studying under Jedediah or Aaron. He had traveled with Aaron doing missionary work, and was very successful and persuasive when it came to converting the Soessossins from simple acceptance of the Guardians natural authority, to the wonder and majesty of the Leviticans brand of Christianity. He knew what worked, and the key was that once a member of the tribe had his metabolism augmented and enhanced by meat consumption, the new message of purification by faith and fire resonated with a part of their psyche that previously had been hidden.

The first week of the journey went by rapidly as they encountered only twice others of their species. In both cases a few conversions were made and seeds were sown. They gained no knowledge concerning the Rogons and Humans who had landed at the camp of the Yelsig and kept going, drawing ever nearer.

Sister Martha, Sister Ruth, and the Dobswell women, Miriam and Ruth, kept to the center of the traveling party. They rode for the most part, as members that rotated in and out of the duty. As such Martha was sure everything they talked about was known to all and especially Jedediah and Brother Edwards. Edwards kept his wife Helen with him most of the time as he rode at their front with Jedediah. Aaron, as new head of the tribe should by right have been their also but he instead traveled amongst the other dispersed band, reinforcing his religious message and raising their spirits and bringing in a few more converts every day. His new stature did not seem to affect him much from what Martha could see, but then he had always seemed a bit unworldly in her view.

“How many of us are there Husband?” Sister Helen asked.

Edwards gave a short grunt and then replied, “Couple of thousand by now moving west. By the time everyone gets the word we’ll have twice that number.”

“What will we do when we finally reach the Rogon and Yelsig?”

“Aaron thinks he’s gonna have a giant revival and tent meeting. He figures to convert the Rogon and Yelsig, me, I’m just along for the ride.”

“That does not sound like you, being just along for the ride.”

“You just keep that kind of thinking to yourself now Ruthie dear, wouldn’t want anyone else getting’ ideas—now would we?” With that, Edwards slapped his scabbard then turned back to watching the route ahead.

Thinking… “He called me Ruthie instead of Helen,”… his wife tried to figure what that might mean.

* * *
Tulari, leader of the Tulari, faced Hosham, though they did not see eye to eye. Since the last encounter with the Agorah, the clan had gathered its strength, and along with their allies the Richirty, had moved ever closer to the Agorah’s main camp until only days separated them. The numbers at first were overwhelmingly on the side of the Tulari and Richirty but someway or another the Agorans had been slowly siphoning members from the combined group and Tulari could see nothing short of war that might stop the trend.

The former Agoran, who now claimed to be a member of the tribe of Aaron, stood a head taller and outweighed him by at least three hundred pounds. There was a muscular harshness to his form that was disquieting. Tulari was not prepared to go into mind-to-mind communications with the other as would have been usual. Too many times, in others, that had resulted in uncontrollably seditious thoughts and separation from the tribe. Tulari did not believe he would be susceptible but was taking no chances.

“I am told you bring a message.”

“A message and an electronic record.” Hosham held the viewer in his lower pair of arms and activated the playback.

When it was finished the Tulari leader spoke again, “The lights we saw in the sky, they were the ships of these creatures?”

Hosham answered, “Of that much we are certain. One of those ships came to our camp the next morning; after we had already fled, and inspected what we did not take with us. The Humans took hold of Agorah, who had stayed behind, and took him back to the ship. I will play the recording of what happened next. I will play this at a fast rate of speed but will slow down and repeat should you desire.” He turned the screen on again.

The view was from long range but still clear enough to make out most of the details. A Rogon came out of the ship and appeared to question the Soessossin Agorah and in the process touching it once with a short wand like thing. A few moments later the Rogon touched Agorah again and he fell to the ground. A fire was prepared and a feast ensued, the Rogon who had conducted the interrogation and a second one from the ship ate first, and then even a few of the Humans once the Rogons went back inside.

Tulari, normally unemotional, as were all Soessossins, felt so shaken that he had a hard time bringing himself to speak. “This is where your new ways would lead us to. This is why you must not prevail.”

Hosham was ready for that condemnation; he had heard its variants even before the Rogons arrival.

“The Book tells us what may be eaten and what is unclean. The Prophet Aaron teaches that it is an abomination to classify thinking lifeforms, those suitable for religious instruction, as animals. What you have seen is a great evil and we must do everything in our power to stop it. That is the reason the tribe of Aaron is now traveling towards the home of the Yelsig.

“I am here, doing the Prophets bidding, and asking that the Tulari and Richirty come with us to end this threat if the Lord should will it so.”

“And would you seek to convert us to your ways if we should travel together?”

“Aaron has said that we will not. Your own eyes will convince you once you see what the leadership of the Lord can accomplish.”

“Go and speak to Richirty of the Richirty, I will discuss this with the rest of my clan but I think, for a time we will go along with you.”

Hosham traveled to the camp of the Richirty, and in an uneasy alliance, all three tribes marched westward towards the captive Yelsig.

* * *
They were stopped for a short break when Cotton Edwards felt a slight vibration coming from a pocket sewed on the inside of his shirt. He looked over to Jedediah and Aaron said, “I am going to walk out to that rise up ahead to see what comes next. I’ll wait for you at the top.”

“You need your rest also Brother Edwards,” Aaron said.

“Don’t worry none, I’ll get mine and be waiting for the rest of you to join up.”

When Edwards was out of sight he took the small device from his shirt and plugged it into a port on his com unit. He punched through the security codes, almost at once the picture stabilized, and he saw for the first time in many months the face of Burt Buchanan. Before Buchanan could say a word, Edwards said. “Damn Burt, what the hell is going on!”

Buchanan was stammering he was shaking so hard, “You’ll never believe who I have been talking to.”

“Try me.”

“Richard Redmond.”

Tough Talk part II

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Richard Redmond

On Board Rogon Starship
Alchibah Star system:

Shintok; krett-N paced back and forth in front of the prostrate form of Richard Redmond.

“Report slave” the Humanologist from an alien world commanded.

“Master I have made contact with my agent on Urruth not. He will do my bidding, and help to bring the rebellious slaves to our rule”

krett was not impressed “you may call this world Alchibah, its inhabitants do. We have interrogated quite a few of your rebels by now; your spy had better be able to provide superior information than that of the captives. We do not wish to be disappointed with you again.”

Redmond bowed even lower “Do not worry master I will not fail you this time”

The Rogon scientist bowed down himself, his cruel reptilian face close to Redmond’s, “No you won’t…we have studied you humans for thousands of your years, and always there have been men such as you, men consumed with hunger for power over others. In the time of the Pharaohs, during your inquisition, the rise of communism, creatures such as you made themselves our slaves, to satisfy evil ambition. No we have no doubt you’ll serve us well”

“Master! I swear I wish only to serve the great Rog…” But he had no chance to finish

“Silence!” roared out the Rogon, only inches from Redmond’s ears, “Obedience is!” krett regained his composure and spoke quietly again”
We who study you, understand your morality, in fact we find much to be admired in what humans have learned, A Rogon like Shintok; maylock-A sees you as just another slave, but I understand why your fellow slave despise you, and I agree, but that is why you are useful to us. Do not try to fool me with empty flattery”

Richard Redmond was not used to such abuse, but in his twisted mind these words were reassuring. As long as the Rogons needed him they would let him have power over the other humans, and the enjoyment over such power would be even sweeter.

Meanwhile, On the bridge:

“You see Captain, the snakes, err Rogons that is… they seem to be an all volunteer outfit; So when they decided to send this big mother through the black hole, none of em wanted to come” The person speaking was a short red headed woman in her late 20’s, dressed in the coveralls of a UNWG naval officer.

Hunter St. James leaned over the handrail of the balcony and looked down at the room below him, a dozen people manned consoles and instruments of human design while most of the bizarre alien machinery was unattended. Only one Rogon could be seen and he was apparently meditating. “What do you mean, none of them wanted to come, what exactly did they want to do?” he asked.

“Ensign Taylor’s right Captain,” answered Lew DeWalt “After the initial conquest, a lot of the Rogons developed a fascination with cattle ranching; half their invasion force is playing beef inspector in Argentina”

“So your saying this ship is totally manned with our people” Hunter replied

“Not exactly sir,” began ENS. Taylor “The Rogons could run her if they wanted to, and most of the operation is automated, but yes, right now it’s an all human crew.”

“So what’s the total naval compliment?” ask St. James

“We have 175…159 ratings and 16 officers, LT CMR. Antonovich being senior… until you came that is” she paused briefly “Anyhow we need a minimum of 80 to man the Deathfang and 10 to 15 for each dragonhead with 6 medical personnel that left us a little short…again until you came along sir”

St. James thought about this for a moment “One more question…why do they call her Deathfang?”

Ensign Wendy Taylor of the UNWG Navy turned a shade of bright red “Actually they don’t sir, the Rogons don’t name their ships, or if they do they don’t tell us…We sorta had a contest”

“I see” said St James, although he really didn’t “Very well Ensign you have the bridge, carry on. Captain lets adjourn to my cabin”

“Aye Aye, I have the bridge… Captain off the bridge”

The Awakening

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Andrew Stuart

Complied from Various Logs

Gabriel Benjamin

Kat and I were shoveling down canned Slizzard like it was the only food we had ever seen when Andy and Mariana came into the room. Their movements were almost machine like and purposeful. They went to the bar and grabbed not Booze but, Coffee; to which Andy added a heroic amount of sugar.

Strangely they went to an unoccupied table in the corner and both of them pulled padds out of their cargo pockets and were working on them as they started eating. Kat, beside me gasped so loud I could hear it. I asked her, “What?”

She looked up at the ceiling for a moment and then answered in the coldest most level voice I had ever heard her use.

“Gabe, I am not in Mariana’s league when it comes to the Mental side of this crap we all share that’s been proven. But, I can sense MPD personality splits every time. Those two have somehow reintegrated.

“The problem is that I have studied up on this stuff; I worry about you people OK? The only thing that the Big Brains think can cause a reintegration is a threat greater than the Trauma that caused the split in the first place. What the hell happened to them?”

It was my place to sit stunned, there was only one thing. “Kat, how bout a threat on their Twins?”

She sucked in breath and held it for a moment, “These Assholes scare them?”

“Welcome to the Real World Kat, they are in full time Wolf Mode. I think it’s going to be a wild ride around here!”

Andrew Stuart

I stared at my padd like it was an Oracle as it poured forth data. I tried to integrate it as I shoveled in food. This was a damn nightmare that seemingly had no end. What we had from initial interviews from captured Goonies painted a picture of an unbeatable enemy. But, as I paused maybe that was the one edge we had. If they believed that also, maybe we did not have to win.

Maybe all we had to do was crack that shell of confidence. Maybe all we had to do was make them believe what we were prepared to do. An old song Grandpa had played for me began to echo in my brain; “How Many of Them Can We Make Die?” was like a loop tape in my mind.

OK it’s the longest shot I have ever played but, at least it’s a plan. Crap, it might even work. I stood and motioned for Gabe and Kat to come join us. They both shrugged and gave me a grin I didn’t understand. While they were gathering up their stuff to move over Ash and JoAnn came in and loaded up at the bar and began coming our way as Ryu and May entered the room as well.

I waited until everyone was starting to slow down on the food intake and began to brief the situation. I pulled no punches over what it looked like we faced. Then started on our side and my glimmer of a plan.

“But, stop and consider what they have seen. We blew their earth built contingent, even with what had to be new shields, out of space so fast I hope they have it on tape so they can slow it down to look at it. We have to have hurt or at least stung them down on Alchibah or they would not have bugged out. And we know for sure they are never going to hear from the crowd they left here, unless we want them to. So, how do you call it Ash?”

Ash rolled his eyes and stared at the overhead. You never knew what you were going to get when he did this. It might be the Wild Child Fighter Jock, the theoretical Mathematician who was going to make everyones head hurt or the Worlds Worst Poker Player. We got the Poker Player.

“Well Cuz, we know the other guy has to have at least Cowboys in the hole. The flop is coming down and he cannot know that we don’t have Bullets in the hole. Bump Him and see if he blinks. Just for god’s sake don’t make me play the cards, we’ll lose.”

Al Steele and Corrine Williams slid into the open seats as Al quipped, “Thank God you ain’t playing them Ash. I am pretty sure Andy is our face at the table. You are talking a flat out Rourke’s Drift stand aren’t you? What if they call your bluff?”

Mariana was the one who answered, “What if We are not bluffing Al?”

Al’s jaw dropped. “You are talking about Kamakazing that SOB aren’t you?”

I stared him in the eyes, “If that’s what it takes Al, you can bet your Ass!”

Questioning is!

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Shintok

Planet Alchibah
The southern sky

Dragonhead ship 8 was streaking downward through the thickening atmosphere of planet Alchibah. Her approach path was almost due north having begun over the southern pole. A green nimbus of energy over 400 yards across surrounded her producing extra drag and a fiery wake to help reduce her velocity. As she reached her destination, she came to a complete stop and then gently settled to the ground just outside of the Rogon camp on the southern landmass.

The body of the ship glowed slightly and the sound of hull plates crackling from re-entry heat could be heard as portals dilated below each stubby wing. Strange multi-limbed creatures emerged and began to move to the camp. A careful observer would have noticed that of the two dozen or so, aliens, four held close together apparently to help one of their number whose ability to walk on so many limbs was obviously impaired.

As the aliens by ones and twos and the four passed through openings in the protective energy screen enclosing the camp, the sinister looking ship rose again into the air and returned to space the way she had come.

Shintok; elron-A was not the kind of reptile to question his world, but lately strange things had been happening to him, things he somehow needed to understand. He and his broodmates had come to this world, Urruth-not, for adventure and to help return these lost slaves to their rightful condition of Rogon domination.

But the slaves had done the unthinkable; they had attacked elron and his fellow Rogon soldiers, actually hunting them like prey! The most impossible thing of all, fragments from a slave thrown grenade had struck elron’s broodmate huk, seriously injuring his right upper leg socket.

Try as he might, elron could not imagine why anyone would try to hurt himself or his broodmates. Deep in his sub conscious fearful memories of his pre-childhood, an amphibious stage of life when he had been hunted by predators in the warm seas of Rogoss were trying to emerge.
Every Rogon kept such memories buried deep, very deep.

The Rogon doctor had done good work to repair huk’s mangled leg joint, but huk would still need time to heal. After finding space in one of the tents for huk and his broodmates, elron proceeded alone to the main dragonhead ship to find some answers.

Pipes and cables of all sorts had been brought out of every portal and opening in the ship, feeding power to the shield generators and various other equipment in the camp. Elron made his way into the ship to a particular compartment within and activated the security mechanism that would permit him entry.

The space beyond the door was empty with one exception, a naked slave was lying in one corner curled in upon itself, a short cable connecting the slave to a cleat on the wall. Erb Neilson jerked upright as soon as the alien entered. He quickly retreated into to corner, as if to squeeze into a hole that wasn’t there, his hands instinctively covering his manhood.

“Get away from me! I told you everything! Keep away! Please don’t hurt me again” His words made no sense to elron, this was just more strangeness.

“Slave attack Shintok, reason is?” elron began “huk hurt is, huk slave hurts not, human word…why is?”

Neilson’s fear only increased “Oh God! You’re crazy! I don’t know anything, let me alone, I…Don’t…Know…Anything!”

elron had had enough contact with humans to know that something was wrong with this one; his keening sense could feel the slave shivering and his muscles tensing and twitching. elron moved closer bending down towards the slave, all four arms reaching out in case the slave attacked.
“Slaves fight Shintok… slaves kill Shintok… slaves hurt huk… human word… why is?”

“Noooooo! Don’t touch me! Don’t touch me! We’re not slaves… we’re not slaves, damn you! This is our home. Go away! Please just go away”

Suddenly a new voice, a commanding voice was heard (in rogonese) “Slave away from must, obedience must, slave valuable is, damage not!” For this was the voice of Jaric; tilmer-N and he was accustomed to being obeyed. “Shintok… withdraw beyond portal, answers to me is”

And then, as both Rogons left the room and the door closed silently behind them; Erb Neilson slumped to the floor and began to cry.

Tough Talk softly spoken

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Richard Redmond

On Board Rogon Starship
Alchibah star system:

Lew DeWalt settled deeper into the chair “My, that’s some good scotch much better than any we’ve got” The mug in his hand, although designed for coffee, was quite suitable for a double malt scotch on the rocks.

“One thing we had on Orion was plenty of cargo space, and we stocked up for a long voyage” Hunter St. James continued, changing the subject “I can’t believe they couldn’t come up with a better name than Deathfang, anything would be better than that.”

“You have to understand sir, they’re all kids…hell, I’m really still a kid” DeWalt began to explain “When the snakes came, I had just graduated from OCS; Your fleet was already preparing to go to the black hole… So the UN surrendered, and you left…what? about 30 days later” The Navy Captain simply nodded to the Army Captain, DeWalt went on

“At first things didn’t change much, people just kept watching tri-V and didn’t notice.” He took a drink before continuing “The first problems began in the Muslim states, the Rogons began to purge all the UN leadership and the Muslims had the most to lose. Peacekeeping turned to reprisals, it got real nasty. There was, and still is, lot’s of trouble in South America, and the Alliance of Independent States is in open revolt, but it’s guerrilla war… on again, off again. Anyway, the Rogons cleaned out all the top brass too, army majors on up, navy about the same; You’re not just senior officer here… You’re senior officer anywhere.”

Hunter pondered this information; he posed his question carefully trying not to show his anxiety “So was the whole world in revolt? Wasn’t there quiet anywhere?”

“Oh sure in India they got practically delirious…seems eight legged gods are part of their religion, they love the Rogons. And North America and Europe aren’t nearly as messy as some places, though there are rumors that the Rogon brass are actually having the most trouble behind the scenes there. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I’ve heard they’ve had some serious problems with the anti-UN rebel groups.”

“Anyhow the result is a young military with a lot of police actions under our belts; things had quieted down a lot most everywhere but the AIS by the time we left… just over two years after you.”

St. James pounced on that “Two years how could you get here that fast”

The Army captain explained “It actually took us about 10 months I’m told, but most of that was at light speed. Time slows down, so it seemed like about 10 weeks, we’ve been dogging you the last 4″

“Right I should have figured that out myself, but I’ve had a lot on my mind” But what was on St. James mind was calculating the trip home.

It was a bad time for an interruption as an UNWG corporal popped open the door “Snake coming sirs!” he said “It’s the one that talks”

DeWalt came up out of his chair “Be ready for anything sir, this won’t be good.”

At that point a Rogon entered the room, St James sensed a smoothness about the alien unlike any he’d met before, but he totally unprepared for what happened next.

“Captain St. James” the being said “I’ve waited so long to meet you” hunter was speechless but the alien didn’t seem to expect a response ” I am Shintok; krett-N, but call me krett…I’ve studied your race my entire life; so naturally when we planned this trip I made it a point to look up your file. I was so impressed I made a little project of studying you, what an amazing career you’ve had… the man who crushed the Ceres rebellion, and now I get to meet you”

Hunters head was spinning “That was a complicated, unpleasant mess I never wanted it to turn out the way it did” he said

“Of course not” replied the alien humanologist “But you did your duty as a man of honor will. We Rogons share that quality with the best of your kind…knowing where duty and loyalty belong”

“Well thank you I guess” Hunter began, but the Rogon was not quite finished “While I was studying your life, I made a little trip to San Diego, to visit your family”

For a second, the universe froze…time froze…the infinite blackness of space closed in…but just for a second.

“Sharon?” his voice was barely a whisper, the alien seemed not to hear for by some magician’s sleigh of hand, he produced a glass ball between two claws.

“Oh don’t worry, they are just fine, take a look” and from the little globe a perfect hologram was projected into the air between them.

Blue sky met the blue sea and waves gently broke on a sun lit beach. In the distance a green finger of land extended into to sea. He knew this beach, it was Coronado Island with Point Loma beyond, but he wasn’t concentrating on the background.

In the center of the field of view a pretty blond woman stood with two teen age girls, the girls were waving furiously and he could see they were speaking, without sound, he still heard their voices “Hi Daddy” they were saying in his head. A Rogon moved into to picture—It was krett.

The scene collapsed, the Rogon reached out and dropped the ball into Hunter’s shaking hand “It’s your’s” he said “Now perhaps we can talk about your mission?”

Into the den.

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Ari al-Yaram

One of Ari’s worst fears was the inability to protect himself. Being captured then tied down, even in “escaping” the UNWG, exacerbated that fear. Listening to the inane chatter of his teammates, and what their remaining devotion to the Goonies could do, Ari knew it was time for an intervention. He just hoped it was fast and merciful if not good.

“Hey,” he shouted, thinking ‘In for an Agorot, in for a Shekel.’ “Hey, you eben ahbés! You just going to leave us tied up here? I may be crazy, but I’m not this kinky! If I’m getting reamed, at least kiss me!” Looking at his team, he softly continued “Well, mijn lads, we’ll know now one way or the other.”

The big rangy female came over and smiled like a wolf. “You can call me Peepers, Asshole.”

For a split second, Ari considered answering her but thought better of it as she launched into a more detailed introduction. He tuned her out, weighing the possibilities that this was a good turn of events, and if not, how to best get loose and fight back. His internal dialog was interrupted as she suddenly grabbed his face, forcing him to look into her eyes. They bored into him. “Do you want to live free?”

Locking on to her eyes, Ari felt a weight lift from his chest as things were finally getting somewhere good. “Does a Camel shit in the Desert; because this one does. You’re damn right I want to live free.”

To Ari, time seemed to stand still. Still locking eyes with Peepers his awareness expanded; the silent stares of his squad, the actions of the Colonists, the sound of melting snow dripping onto the floor, the smell of charred flesh and clothing. Clint, a UNWG True Believer, with his slack-jawed stare at the exchange, while Tomas and Alex tried to make themselves as inconspicuous as possible while still tied to the examination beds. Tomas was useful, a savant, but always a beat behind in picking up on the unobvious. Alex was competent, but otherwise a blank. Across the room, Blackfeather was having a bandage wrapped around her torso and receiving injections, while her teammates bandaged each other. ‘Interesting,’ Ari would later think, remembering the scene, ‘mixed doubles.’ The four, Blackfeather, Peepers, and the two males in old US military uniforms, would be gone in less than a minute, once Peepers made her decision. Time snapped back into motion, almost audibly.

“Let him up Sally,” Peepers said. “He’s an asshole but, he’s our kind of asshole.”

Thirty minutes earlier.

“You, Corporal, are an asshole.” Lieutenant Tregar didn’t vocalize that statement, but thought it very aggressively towards the team leader standing in front of him. Tregar had finally had a Rogon talk to him – something he dearly wished for, as it held the promise of more – only to find out that backstabbing son of a bitch platoon sergeant had already dispersed Second Platoon. “I’ll have to recommend to our Masters to abolish the multinational forces; I am positive my Dutch sergeant deliberately left me with this problem Dutch-Arab mongrel and the shittiest fire-team of the whole platoon,” he decided, as Corporal (recently demoted, if one did not take into account stasis-time) Ari al-Yamar threw a sloppy salute.

“At ease, Corporal. You and your team are to accompany me with our Shintok Masters,” Tregar, while a fine specimen of a sycophant, was unable to distinguish between one Rogon and another, “to the southwest where there is some type of bunker. I’ve selected you especially for this task so Don’t. Screw. Up. Do you understand me?”

Ik begrijp en zal niet tevredenstellen. Boerelul.

“What was that, Corporal?”

Jawohl, Luitenant.” Ari threw out his left arm, clearly enjoying Tregar’s agitation.

“Corporal – if you make it out of this alive, so help me…”

“Follow,” the lead Rogon hissed, and began the trek towards the colonist’s bio-lab. Quickly, Tregar fell into place, with Ari’s team more than a few steps behind. “Hurry UP, Corporal!” Ari hand-signed for his team to move at full speed, all the while wondering “what the hell am I doing with these nebbishes?”

“Ari, how is it that you of all people get to be untied?”

Ari sighed and rose, not turning to look at his teammate. “Stuff it before I shove a sock in there, Clint. You really are a schmuck, aren’t you?” ‘Now,’ he thought, ‘what to do to be useful without looking suspicious doing it.’ His squad, still bound where they lay, hissed quietly among themselves. ‘I’m going to have to kill that one before he gets the others killed,’ he silently resolved. Looking around, Ari gained his bearings. There was activity around some of the wounded; Blackfeather’s team brought in some children that were apparently injured in the attack. Still more were being brought in by others, or more were about to be if he overheard right. There were already some twelve or so bodies already there, in death’s embrace.

A body off to the left moaned, one of the few wounded amongst the dead. On moving closer, it was a man, badly burned and bleeding. While there was an IV drip in what was left of his arm, as far as Ari could make out it was only a palliative, a morphine drip. “What did the klojo do to you, kerel?” Ari whispered. Second and third degree burns covered the body, or what was left of it. The left hand, and most of both legs below the knees, were gone, the burns all but cauterizing the amputations. The stench of burned hair and clothing clung to him, assaulting Ari’s nostrils.

“Karen,” the man moaned, mishearing Ari, “Karen…” He started moving, threatening the IV’s tenuous hold on his vein. “Easy now. She’ll be all right,” Ari tried, hoping to calm him, “Just hold still, the medics are coming.” There were women, or so it appeared, among the burned dead. Without more information, the safe presumption was she lay dead. Not for the first time that day, the thought ‘Vervloekte Rogons’ crossed Ari’s mind. Looking around, he saw a canister piled amid the supplies. Whispering a prayer, Ari grabbed it, and was rewarded with his find; a gel burn blanket, ready for use. “Neuken! Hold still,” he told the whimpering form while trying to get the blanket to cover him without disturbing the IV. When Ari was reasonably satisfied that all was secure, he crouched next to the form. “Hey, guy… hey kerel, what’s your name.”

No answer – no moans either.

Ari leaned in, barely an inch from the man’s lips. No sound of breathing. Maybe a feel… no, too much air movement in the room. He was gone. With a sigh, Ari stood. “I’m sorry. I tried. I’m … I’m sorry.” He looked around; not more than a few minutes had elapsed through it all, everyone else was engrossed in their own tribulations. “Well, Kerel, it’s just you and me. I don’t know what you believe, but I’ll give you what I can. “Yis’ga’dal v’yis’kadash sh’may ra’bbah…”

Reality….What a Concept.

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Andrew Stuart

Complied from Various logs

Kat Jamos

The table had pretty well recovered from Mariana and Andy’s flat declaration and plans of immediate actions were being made. Just as we started to break up Ash as usual drawled out the question of the moment.

“Iffen we are going to Huff and Puff like some mangy ole Cur, ain’t it time some people around here showed their game?” He was pointing to his ten and JoAnn’s five Kill Pins as he said it.

Andy, Mariana and I cursed him softly and I was the first to speak intelligibly. “I hate to say it but he’s right. If you are going to run a bluff it don’t hurt for the other guys to see some cards!”

We all three popped out our short sleeve knives and Corrine cracked, “Damn, Boss who are these Guys?”

Al leaned back with a great big grin, “Why knuckle dragging simpletons of Commandos, didn’t you get Redmond’s memo?”

It was her turn to chuckle, “Was that before or after we used the stuff these Guys built to blow his ship out of Space?”

Every shaggy dog has a punch line and Al delivered with a perfect straight face, “That would have been just before we shot their asses off. There might have been a slight problem with e-mail delivery about that time of course.”

About the time the laughter died down Andy, Mariana and I had finished pulling off the cloth strips covering our pins which, tradition said were never active devices but always solid metal. My three, Mariana’s four and Andy’s six ran the total up pretty fast.

Al said it best, “As best I recall there were only fifty-four of those thing ever awarded in all Services and I am looking at twenty-eight of them…. is there a pattern here that I don’t get? At least as a civilian, I don’t have to worry about those things.”

The whole table groaned, Al had just stepped in it big time. Andy leaned over and reached into his gear bag; coming back up he flipped a small box at Al. “Wear my Patch, live by my rules remember? Put it on Al, if anyone ever deserved one it’s you. Now there are fifty-five, we are going to have to have a long talk about Ghost and Digger’s kill. We may have to go back to the old USAF and USN model where the Pilot and the Wizzo both get a pin but that Cruiser was yours Al. We of all the people in two worlds know what it means to bet your ass on a weapon that has never been tested against a defense you have never seen. Wear the damn thing Al, you fracking deserve it. And yes there is a pattern, we have some Sheep that came to Alchibah, we have some Sheepdogs but, of the Wolves we got the cream of the Crop. Those bastards may have swallowed Earth but, Alchibah is gonna stick in their throat.”

Corrine took out the pin and pulling open his flight suit put it on his right breast. Closing his suit she grabbed his head and kissed him, “Remember, you Cheap bastard; make mine a double and very Dry.”

Andy shook in laughter, “What the Hell am I running a Military Force or a damn Dating Service? Get off your duffs and get to work.”

Ash Andrews

We had been working in the main Bay for about forty-five minutes when I told Andy that the Command bird was ready.

“Good, get on the horn and have Jai and her Wizzo meet me in the briefing room downstairs.”

Andy was moving for the elevators before I could even start to talk. He had something on his mind for sure.

Jai Benjamin

River and I were rested and ready but, the Boss looked grim as hell.

“Your bird is ready but, I want you to see this first. Larry Monroe got it from a combot sweep. You tell me what you think it is?”

We had to watch the loop on the briefing room display twice before we nodded at each other. “That looks like someone either dumb or damn brave opening one of those suicide hatches the UNWG still uses. If what came out was H3, he would have to be called real brave.

“We must have hit that thing harder than we planned.”

“What I think happened,” Andy said, “was we put a golden BB in his H3 tank and it ruptured internal to the ship.

“So, tell me girls; think that guy’s worth saving?”

May and I could not get the “Frack Yes” out fast enough.

“OK, Jai you are taking the Command bird. It’s got the best electronics and commo gear we have. Natasi’s bird down checked and will take too long to fix so, you are going out single ship.

“Here, catch this file on your wrist comps. That’s the vector we could compute for him; the code is one that will cause Emergency Locater to start talking if the UNWG hasn’t changed that. And finally, that countdown timer is our best guess at how much air he has left.

“Maybe we can get lucky and the goonies might have improved the air tanks on their suits and buy him a little more time. Don’t bet on it though, ride hard and get there fast.”

At that point his wrist comp went off.

Mariana Stuart

Having lost the toss with Kat, it was my turn to be the Bad Cop. Entering the room we fond Dr. John Chandler among the Spacers present. “What in the World are you doing here Doc?”

Chandler grimaced, “Well we needed someone here to honcho the Linguistics program on the computer and Gabe told me that if I touched another wrench he was going to bend me into a pretzel.”

I was watching one alien in the corner cringing and muttering something in their native language. “What’s that one doing,” I asked?

“I am not sure Mariana, he does that every time somebody wearing a Strike Force uniform comes in. We have the second word figured out it’s ‘not’, so he is saying ‘thespis.osso’s not’.”

“How are you getting what you have,” I asked?

“Mostly by listening them talk amongst their selves before they answer a question. They think we are stupid for letting them do that. It’s enough that we are starting to get some hits to various Earth languages. They are not exact matches but, we are finding that context wise they are quite enough to work.”

“Doc,” I had to grin, “did it ever dawn on you that Gabe may have made that threat just to get you to where you were needed most?”

He grinned, “Why yes! I have been informed by several around here known collectively as the Young Guns that that was actually preferable to the Colonel ‘Ripping a Strip off of My Ass’.”

Both of us were interrupted by his console chiming and we looked to see that it had hit a new correlation. Blinking on the screen was one line.

“Confirmed: thespis.osso’s Equate Spanish ‘El Diablo’.”

Chandler chuckled, “So they think someone wearing Black and Silver is the Devil Incarnate. How quaint.” But the smile never made it to his eyes, “Dear God, I am no interrogator but, we have to be able to use that!”

It was my turn to give that Wolf’s grin, thumbing the secure infra-reds: I asked Kat, “Wanta go right past Good Cop/Bad Cop right straight to Good Cop/The Devil Himself?”

Kat turned and gave a grin that just might be more dangerous than my own, “That sounds like a table bet. You got an idea?”

Just and that moment the hatch opened as Natasi and Summer came in with a couple of loads of parts for Doc Chandler, Kat quickly noted the reaction of all of the aliens to Summer’s uniform. “Never mind,” Kat laughed, “I think I have it figured out.”

“Reaper, Magic: get your ass to Interrogation, STAT.”

Andrew Stuart

The two young Officers had heard their orders. I just started grabbing gear and flew out the hatch. I was headed through hatches like my tail was on fire. To come so far to get an Emergency Call from my life. If she was hurt someone or something was going to die this Day. I bounced off the outside wall of the last corner to see her leaning against the wall almost unconcerned. She bounced up and grabbed me.

“Hold on to it Love. We need to use that rage and hate that everyone in sight can feel. Listen!”

Mariana Stuart

I came back into the compartment and signaled to everyone, counted to five and waited for the Fireworks.

When that hatch opened everyone even the special sense dead Chandler, knew The Reaper had just entered the room. Summer locked her heels and her back as did Kat and I. Chandler with Natasi and the rest of the Mayflower crew straightened. The Rogons freaked out, they started huddling and the translator just kept spitting out “El Diablo is; El Diablo have not (unknown).” The latter resolved rapidly to one line again.

“Confirmed: El Diablo have not Please.”

Natasi won the day, maybe it was her Russian background but she knew at some gut level exactly what to say.

“Snake, want Diablo have Not. Tell me true. Lie Not. El Diablo have not.”

“Tell True. Lie Not. Have not.”

I muttered under my breath, “Get the Hell outta Here Andy. You done your job and we found the perfect interrogator.”

As he turned to leave he muttered on secure, “Wrap your and Kat’s part up fast. Our birds are ready, time to go home.”

Coming Home

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Andrew Stuart

Alchibah, Dawn A+3

Andrew Stuart

Gabe and I had poured on the coals very carefully. We were not going to show the Rogons anything more than they had already seen. Firebirds ship I was not worried about, UNWG standard procedure was for SAR birds to be stripped down and fast. Any of their human advisors would tell them that, hopefully that would move her well down any threat list. It was up to the rest of us to annoy them enough to make that true.

Mariana quipped, “Before you two really open these things up I need some more anti-nausea pills.”

I turned grinning, “Why does it never bother you during a shooting match or when you are driving?”

She laughed, “Try adrenaline, it beats lots of things.”

“Well, you can pick up your pills at the Lab, burn over there as fast as you can. Dr. Wood has to be overwhelmed and you know that place better than he does. Hell, you and Kurt just built the place.”

We flared in killing the ACHE at 20 ft and sat down on the under jets. When the main drive cut Mariana was moving for the hatch and before I could unbuckle, she was gone.

I had seen the destruction from the air and started up the hill from the landing site. The first person who got to me was Connor Benjamin and it was the Father not the LTC whose agonized face I saw.

“Connor, She and River are flying a SAR mission. We might have lost Travis and Fallon, plus there is one Goonie floating up there we want a chance to save. And before you ask John, Summer will be down around mid-afternoon. She and Mike are going to fly cover for the Bus with Jan and Kurt.”

Scythe still looked concerned, “She has no real dogfighting time, what if one of those Dragon ships comes over the Horizon?”

“John, their top cover is Ghost and Digger!”

Joe Fortson’s voice came from uphill, “And that’s that tune in one note Major.”

I turned and grinned, “Ain’t no way they were gonna get you. What you got Gunny?”

“Nothin’ particularly good, and a lot of the other stuff. And in my old age I am beginning to worry some. Just from the little I’ve seen it looks like the Rogon’s could swat us like a bug and I wonder why they don’t. Beyond that there is the whole problem with the Guardians. We have no explanation for why they aren’t talking and no idea what they were really up to in the first place. And then there’s the destruction of so much of what we built up over the last year and a half. Makes a grown man want to cry.”

“Don’t know if you heard yet, but we found Robbie McMaster’s body out by the crater where the First Inn used to be. He was stretched out beside a Rogon that had somehow got hold of McMaster’s knife and must have decided to try a little acupuncture to cure a sudden heart problem. Guess that don’t work any better here than it did on Earth. We’ve lost a lot of good people and we’re going to loose some more. Maybe all of us before this is over. We better make sure it was worth it.”

“Yeah, I hear you. What about the people in the caves and on the southern continent, Joe?”

“Not a damn thing yet and that worries me too. We saw a ship head that way but have no way of knowing till we start getting scans from the Mayflower it she went there or it was just coincidence. We have too many balls in the air and too few hands. Hell we got balls up we can’t even see, mush less catch.

“Les is getting ready for a council meeting but we better have a private session first. Make sure we have a united front and plan. I think that is going to be a problem too. Buchanan somehow has convinced a few of the weaker sisters to try and bring off a Peace at any Price scenario. Kinda walk out in front of the caves and reach our hands up to the sky begging for forgiveness and mercy. I’d kick his ass from here to Bombay if I had a choice but I don’t. We got a constitution and rules, with Nash gone I’m the one who’s handcuffed so I do what I must. I just hope when the day of reckoning comes I get my licks in first.”

“ Tell you what, if we can prove Buchanan Dirty; I’ll grit my teeth and let you have the lead, that way I can swear he tripped a few times. Besides we have to get this place off of a War footing. The Rogon’s aren’t coming back to here because we kicked their Ass Flat up there.

“If there is anymore fighting, I think we can keep it out in Space where it belongs.

How’s Bart making it?” Andy asked.

“Same old Bart. You probably heard about the excitement that first night. But the Dora ain’t doing much flying now. Energy and fuel, our reserves went up with the town so he’s kinda watching things in the caves for me to make sure no one does any thing they’d regret later.”

“I’d ask about your day but I’ll save it for later at the planning session. See ya in a few hours, gotta go see a man about a dog.” And with that Joe trudged back towards the ruins of Liberty City.

“OK, here’s what we do! Stonewall, release any Militia attachments you acquired during the fighting and tell then to find the Gunny. Then, take your pure Strike Force assets and do a perimeter sweep for stragglers. Use those suits hard, we don’t care what the damn Goonies know now.

“As soon as you finish that sweep, you become Councilor Benjamin again. Find Les and inform him that at the very least Mariana will be available via teleconference for a Council Meeting. Offer him the Briefing room up at the Ft. if he needs a place.

“Scythe, likewise as soon as you finish you are John Pierce the Contractor again. Find out whose homes were destroyed or are unlivable and get with Kara about getting them into those spare bungalows up at the Ft.

“Kat, hike it up to the Dam Complex and open up the throttles. Start the Liquid H & Liquid O cracker back up, get with John and light this town back up. Unless the Rogons have a fool for a Science Officer, they know they have stumbled into an Industrial Base that ain’t Stone Age. Better yet, you and Gabe take your bird up there. While you are working you are our Alert+5 crew.

“I am going to take a look at town center, then go try to get the Comms up. I just hope Tim stayed holed up like I told him instead of going out and playing PBI like Robby.

While the crew was having a fast huddle and coordination meeting. John looked up the hill to the edge of what used to be Hanna’s. “What’s the Boss doing?” he asked.

Gabe turned slowly and gazed, “Wait till you know him a few more years and you will understand. The Laird always cries alone!”

We are so dead

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Kara

Stuart Compound, Morning A+3

“Frak!” Kara yelled.

“What now?” BJ tentatively asked.

“Frak frak frak. Frakin’ frak. FRAK!”

“Uh, Kara sweetie, I don’t understand the Frak language. Could you please translate?” BJ asked in his nicest voice.

“Where are the god dammed diapers? How the frak can we be out of frakkin’ clean diapers? Who used the last one and didn’t say anything?”

BJ heard trashing noises and muttered to himself, “Frak.” Then he thought to himself, “I’ve been holed up with Kara too long. Her sailor mouth is rubbing off.”

“See if you can find some somewhere,” she yelled.

“Are you kidding me? I’m not snooping around Andy’s house!”

“Which is worse, him knowing we looked around for clean diapers, or him coming home to naked bottomed kids? They’re going to be home very soon, we have to do something, all the clean ones aren’t dry yet. And where are the twins? I bet they’re just loving this.”

“I think they’re hiding from you.”

“Why?” Kara said, still yelling.

“Oh, no reason, hon, they’re just being kids,” BJ said knowing full well the girls were now frightened of Kara, who had been becoming increasingly agitated as time passed.

BJ was now in the room with Kara, who was holding Terry up in the air, and rushed over to help. “Oh, I see the problem.”

“Yeah. I’ll carry Terry while you hold the towel underneath and we’ll run to the bathroom. We can at least get him cleaned up. Then we can search for something to use as a diaper.” Kara was finally calming down.

When they got to the bathroom, Kara handed Terry over to BJ and grabbed the shower head. BJ’s eyes got wide. “Are you serious? What am I supposed to do?”

“Just hold Terry still while I spray him off. And just watch out for….stuff.”

“Kara, I can’t believe we’re doing this. Whoa, watch the water!”

“Just keep him still, dammit!”

BJ thought to himself, “Andy better not be taping any of this.”

“Incoming!” warned Kara.

All BJ could say was “Frak.”

OK, GrandPaw

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Andrew Stuart

Alchibah A+3

Andrew Stuart

I finally came back into the real world with one knee on the ground and icicles hanging off my chin. Par for the damn course, I stood slowly and stared around. Two years I had worked myself and almost everyone around me to near exhaustion to try and prevent this.

I had worked to win a War with one fast knockout punch, and fate had thrown me Aliens no one could have predicted. If Earth had not faded like a piker.  Hell, if they had just had the guts to purge their data bases; these fracking Aliens would not be here. No way though, not while slime like Redmond cared about their Power and personal comfort more than anything else.

Damn this is just not worth it. Then a voice flared in my head, “ Andrew William Waker Stuart. I have gone to War beside you, and I love you more than life itself. I have borne you two children that I thought could never be. Do not tell me for one second that you would consider allowing those gifts from the Gods to live as Slaves!”

I knew where Mariana was so that was memory and was stunned when another voice slammed into my head, “I’m expendable. You guys are the warriors. Let me see what they want. I’ve got guns. If they snuff me, you all haven’t exposed yourselves and you can still show-and-tell.”

I sank to my knees, I had not asked for this. How much could the Universe ask of one Man. “Boy I know you can shoot, can you make the Shot?” I looked up and in front of me was GrandPaw. “Can you make the Shot when Fire and Flames rage around you; when Lives you love are on the the line? Are you a poser or are are you a Damn Warrior or maybe just another wannabe?” I also heard in my mind the answer to GrandPaw that Day when I was only eight years old. “Grampa, they get me or mine when I am dead!”

“So stand up Boy, make em face a Celt!”

I stood and wiped the snow and mud off of my knees and headed for the Communications Control Center.

Up on the ridge to Ft. Stuart Hanna Parker had stopped and was staring down upon the town. “What drives that man?”

Jules Parker smiled, “Some will tell you hate, but they are wrong. Love and Duty are the whips that drive him.”

Hanna turned, “I thought you did not understand Him?”

“Never said that love, said I could not follow Him. He needs a special kind and we ain’t it. Let’s go, people need to feel like they have a chance!”

Communications Up!

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Andrew Stuart

Alchibah A+3

Andrew Stuart

I went over Windmill Hill to the west side where the Communications Bunker was. Stopping well outside the perimeter I adjusted my Mil-Spec wrist comp to the frequency I knew Tim was waiting on. “Tim, it’s Andy. Allee Allee Oxen Free. The cats in the cradle and the cow is in the moon.”

Hearing the agreed upon code Tim started shutting down the defenses, secure that I did not have a gun to my head. After a few minutes Tim opened the door, “Man, the way we got hit I never thought I would see you again.”

I gave him that graveyard stare, “Tim, we won the one we had planned for. These damn Aliens weren’t in the play book. I saw the the old L-3 Windmill Tower was still up, ready to get back on the air?”

“Crap,” Tim exclaimed, “how could we get cables to it and what do we do for Antennas and Power Amps?”

“The cables are already in place and the replacement active components are stored in secret compartments here. Our paranoid Buddy here planned for everything but those damn Aliens.” The voice of Subbu Akai filled the room. “Tim, why don’t you make sure the Lab is ready to take the feed?”

“Sure,” Tim replied, “I’ll be back in about 10!”

As Tim left Subbu turned to me, “Joe and I saw that scene at Hanna’s or the hole in the ground that used to be Hanna’s. Andy are you OK?”

“Subbu, I was 7.62 nanoseconds from loading Mariana and the kids and all the supplies I could grab on a MK V and seeing just how close I could get to light speed the hell away from here. Hell I was hallucinating, I was having a conversation with my Grandpa.”

“Oh really,” Subbu grinned, “and what did he have to say?”

Andy gave him that sick grin, “Get off your dead rear end, find the bad Guys and kick their rear ends. What we are going to do is replace the master Repeater and put up an omni link for deep space. Mayflower is hiding in the Belt. No way we want to give away her location by using a tight beam up. She will tight beam back to us. I would like to have this up before Ash, Summer and Jan come into orbital range.

“Once I get back up to the House, I will throw up the repeater already installed there. That should cover the town and the Caves. We can tie them together through the buried landlines.”

Subbu grinned, “If you are dumb enough to climb that ice covered piece of crap, I am dumb enough to ground dog you.”

We had just finished getting the gear together when Tim came back in, “Any more useless errands you two need done so you can talk?”

Subbu shouldered the pulleys and ropes and grinned, “Nope, we are good. Be ready to power this crap up!”

OK, Now What?

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Andrew Stuart

Deep Space A+3

Strike Force 7 SAR

“Jai, you know this guy is running out of time don’t you?” May said from her Wizzo seat. “Isn’t Travis more important?”

“May, just keep the main dish on the sweep of the belt and the secondary array on this guy. I am not ready to give up on him until that counter goes plus 15 or we get a solid hit on the Capt.”

“Has anyone ever told you that you sound more like the Boss every day?”

Jai grinned at her, “And get away with it? Only John and he’s the pot calling the kettle black!”

May leaned back and laughed, “Yeah but, what’s it like knowing the man you love is the Boss’s hand picked Assassin.”

Jai’s face got serious, “Given my family background, how would you like to know in your heart that the man you love is not real likely to suddenly get dead on you anytime soon?”

May’s face drained of humor, “It would mean a hell of a lot. I know I worry about Ryu even with him by my side as my shooter. Oh Shit, ping. Forward 100.000: Port 15: Nadir 30. UNWG suit Beacon, no telemetry.”

Jai barked as her hand flew on the keyboard, “Hang on, the Boss ain’t going to like me!”

May’s vision tunneled, then Grayed, then blacked out as Jai threw the MK V into 10 G’s perceived deceleration. The stars blurred as the fighter slowed at 250 G’s Real. Until it was in juggling range of a suit that they could see with the naked eye. May slowly came back into the real world with Jai dancing on one side then the other of 1 G as she fought to match vectors.

“Still with me River, get ready to go get Him or Her.”

“That Suit is a fracking Short Range UNWG POS, it’s a Him and yeah. But what if he don’t wanta come in?”

Jai stared at her, “Then do your signature Dance on his head till he’s ready!”

May startled, “What?”

Jai rolled back her eye’s, “Bring him in River, whether he wants it or not. ‘For we are WinterBorn’, remember?”

“I forget sometimes OK, he comes in!”

Jai fought the fighter to a match as the mid-line air lock popped open and May went out on her tether trailing a tether and an airline. She snapped the tether into a buckle and snapped the airline into his life support as Jai looked at her countdown clock, which said 4 min. May was crawling back up her tether with a form that was not resisting at all. She heard the airlock open and May’s shout over the comms.

“He’s out already, was the guess wrong?”

“Frack if I know, get his faceplate open and secure him on his side in case we have to do some crazy stuff. I would really hate to spend all this effort then loose him because he drowned in his own puke. If he cracks some ribs one of the doc’s can fix that. Hit him with a shot of quick heal just in case.”

May ripped open his faceplate and reached though it to the soft spot just under the collarbone that Mariana had made them all find in their sleep and drove the Emergency shot home. She finished strapping him in so that he could not reach the buckles and was turning for the bridge when he spoke.

A soft voice asked behind her, “Are you an Angel?”

Jai’s irreverent influence overcame her, “Hell no, He’s a Black guy about yeah tall.” She said reaching towards the roof with one hand. “Crap, I can’t reach that high. Just pray you never meet him on a Bad Day.”

May slid back into the Wizzo’s seat as Jai asked, “Think he’ll behave?”

“Pilot, I would not be a bit surprised!”

Three and a half hours later they were still running cold. May asked, “Think our guy in the back might be hungry?”

Jai laughed, “I am for sure, let’s call a break and stretch some. I’ll throw us in a holding loop for a while” Both reached for the CAWs and slung the friction rigs. Moving into the cramped rear area Jai asked, “First, what ’s your name and Second, if we untie your hands so you can eat are you going to give us any trouble?”

Guy Anselmo looked up. He had seen women in uniform, some of them very tough. But never with so many unfamiliar weapons and that look of a natural born killer in the eyes of the one wearing the LTC rank tabs. “Anselmo, Guy Anselmo and no; I won’t give you any trouble. I knew I was dead and I have no idea why you Gals would come find me.”

Jai answered in a heartbeat, “We have sensor tapes of that damn suicide move you made with that UNWG hatch. The Boss is not going to let that kind of guts go unrewarded and neither are we. Don’t confuse that with us trusting you yet.”

Anselmo said the only thing that seemed smart, “Understood, Colonel!”

May chimed in, “Well our choices are canned Slizzard or canned Unicow.”

Jai was quick, “Make mine Unicow, cold Slizzard just don’t cut it! What do you want Goonie?”

Guy was a little shocked by the vehemence in that voice and the question itself. “Since I have no idea what you are talking about, you tell me. How does a substance level refugee society produce anything canned anything?”

Jai snarled in his face, “We aren’t Refuge any damn thing, you have no idea what we are. May, what is the Boss’s favorite saying?”

May looked like she was going to puke, “Logistics, followed by Logistics; then more Logistics. Amateurs talk Tactics, Pro’s talk Logistics.”

Guy looked stunned, “If it’s not classified for a POW who the hell is the Boss?”

Two voices chimed at once, “COL Andrew Stuart. Ex US SOCOM, currently Commander Strike Force Alchibah!”

Guy’s voice echoed surprise and disbelief, “Impossible, he is dead. I have seen the pictures!”

Two voices rang again as one, “Not hardly, tell my bruises!”

Suddenly a chime started ringing from the cockpit. Guy was still shoveling down the best beef he had tasted in a long time as the two females scrambled back up front.

“What you got, River?”

“One MK IV at 120,000: Zero on: Zenith 10. Looks like it’s beat to shit. Shield is at 5 percent, BOD at 25 percent. Everything else is dead as a doornail.”

“Roger, got it. Strap in Goonie, we are going for our own!” With that Jai threw the ship into a series of sharp High-G maneuvers as she threaded deep into the belt.

Rivers voice rang true, “Damn the hatch is still good we can dock!”

“Got it River,” came Firebirds cold official voice.

May just hung on and watched as the Woman described by Ash Andrews as the Second Best Fighter Jock alive fought them into a dock with the most beat up piece of shit May had ever seen.

“Let’s go River, Button up Goonie. We might lose pressure through that damn hulk.”

Guy pulled down his faceplate and noticed his life support read 100 per cent and thought, “Who are these people?”

On board the MK IV Firebird exclaimed, “Damn the frame is still good. The shield held but a DEHEE dive got overwhelmed. This Bitch took a lot but got hammered up against a rock.” Then she got to the cockpit.

“Oh God, River we are going to need a body bag. Looks like Fallon. Do you see any sign of Travis?

“Nope Firebird, not a damn trace.”

‘”Great we are bringing Fallon home, where the Hell is Travis?”

River waited then replied, “What did Ghost say just before we left?”

Firebird replied coldly, “The Galloping Ghost of the Belt ain’t dead till you see the body.”

“Right.” River replied. “So, where the Hell is He?”

Going Home

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Ari al-Yaram

Andrew Stuart

I was back up to Main Dock, still a little pissed. It was for a good cause I guessed but, still. “What you got for me Ash?”

“Two birds ready to go and uprated. Summer and my bird’s are gonna take a little work. We are on schedule for Dancer and the parts for the Dora are on your bird. As well as detailed Instructions for the Drive work I might add.”

I just had to laugh, “I will never claim I know more about the Drive than the “Mad Whackos’, Are all the Weapons parts cross-loaded?”

“Yep,” Ash grinned, “what do you want us to do?”

“Load all those Emergency rations on-board Jan’s Bus and when you and Summer are ready to fly; fly cover for the Bus back down. How long do you think that will take?”

Ash thought for a moment, “We can get you down early morning of A+3, we can be down mid-afternoon of A+3, best we can do.”

“Good enough, BREAK.

“Capt. Monroe, Stuart: I can not give you Orders Sir but, can I highly suggest you keep the Mayflower hidden here in the Belt as a SAR base and put your efforts into the Lancer II project.”

“Andy, Larry: That sounds smart for all concerned. Be advised it is under serious advisement, as in that’s what we are going to do! One question, Lancer II is not what you and Glen were really going to call her, is it?”

“No Larry. Get her flying and christen her the RJ Hamilton. You have seen her Guns!”

“Uh, yeah Andy, that I have!”

“Gabe, Kat and Marina; Let’s go Home!”

Mariana Stuart

Five Hours Later at the Lab

I walked into the Triage from Hell, the first thing I saw was some asshole in a Goonie Uniform praying over what I thought was one of ours in really bad shape. I went there first thing.

“Get out of my way Boy!” I saw him rear up and suddenly see the light.

Y’hay shlomo rabba min sh’maya . . ..” Ari turned, tensing for an instant at the imposition. Quickly his eyes scanned the intruder. While his face remained mostly impassive, the movement of his eyes betrayed his checklist. Non-UNWG Trooper, check. Armed, check. Not physically threatening, check. Officer, check. High ranking, check. Banned US. Special Forces patch, check. Female . . . interesting. “Na’Aam?

“Don’t ‘Ma’am’ me, just get out of the way and let me look at him.” Mariana bent over the burnt form, the called out “Chris, Sally, clear some space – this one’s still with us.” Simultaneous “Yes, Doctor,” and “Yes, Colonel,” came from across the room. Still focused on her patient, she questioned the troop in front of her. “You; did you put this blanket on him?”


“Good thinking, even if you were giving him last rights. Linda, get me three shots of that new Regen Compound. If there has ever been a better test case, we’ll never see it. He’s gonna die without it. Whoever you are, grab that blanket and heave on three. We are going to the open operating table.”

Ari moved to the other side of the bed, and grabbed the blanket. “Ready, Ma’am.”

“We lift on three. One, Two …”

Zanek!” Ari muttered. Mariana started at that; as a result the lift was rocky. The body moaned at the indignity and the pain it caused. “Gottenu, at least he’s with us,” he continued. They moved the rest of the way to the operating table in silence.

As the body was placed on the table more gently than it was listed, Mariana caught Ari’s attention. “Sorry Tzair, I only fly with pro’s. You don’t cut it Rookie!”

Ari paused, letting the meaning sink in. Then he drew himself to attention rendering one of the few proper salutes during his military career. “Ariel Samal Meir al-Yaram al-Bedu, at your service, Colonel.”

Almost Home

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Richard Redmond

Alchibah System North of the belt

From the depths of space came a torch. Plasma heated to tens of millions of degrees, electrons protons and neutrons, too hot to combine into atoms streaked through the vacuum of space at just under light speed. The source of this artificial solar flare was the passenger liner New Palmtree, backing into the Alchibah system, shedding the velocity that had carried her between the stars.

Paul VanWert was the officer of the watch, in fact the only officer who could stand watch, as every other member of the Palmtree’s crew and her 213 passengers were down in the main hold in cold sleep capsules.

In the 3 years since passing trough the wormhole he had been thawed out to stand a three week watch once each year. Now this solo watch would be the last, in 2 more days, he would wake the Captain and the rest of the crew and the old Palmtree would make its final approach to their new home.

“Do not blame the messenger” Paul whispered, for the messenger of bad new was what they were.

The New Palmtree had been in dock at Ceres free port, when they got the word; The UNWG was mounting an expedition to go after R.J. Hamilton and his flying asteroid. And so the old mans final orders had been executed and from all the scattered rocks came the rebels of the belt, wanted and unwanted 213 men women and children, everyone a season fighter in the belts struggle for freedom.

A struggle that had seen hard times of late. When Hamilton left so suddenly and ahead of schedule the funding for the war against Earth had gone with him. Anti-ship missiles and mines don’t come cheap, and the rebels had to hoard what they had when the money dried up. That amazing hoard of weapons was down below with the frozen colonists.

But these thoughts barely passed through Paul’s mind. Eighteen years, he had been on the Palmtree, but as a cargo officer; and so he’d never got used to the glory of the god’s perfect universe, and certainly not as he saw it now.

Riding high above the plain of Alchibah’s ecliptic, facing back the way they’d come was a sight that defied comprehension. The rarified gas and dust of Alchibah’s asteroid belt flickered and glowed like a neon rainbow 30 degrees wide from one side of the sky to the other waves of color swept through it almost like the Aurora Borealis he had so rarely seen from his native Holland. Paul’s imagination wandered, he could see shapes and images in the

BRRaaaCK! … BRaaaCK! The belt was singing. BRRaaaCK! Paul thought he should have gone to sleep in the captain’s day cabin. And not have to listen to that noisy BRRaaaCK!… Collision Alarm!

“Mien Gott!” he exclaimed as he jumped out of the reclining couch and staggered to the offending radar screen. “Must I wake the Captain?” He asked himself aloud. And hit the silence button.

The story on the red glowing display told too much and not enough; this was no near miss from a meteor, whatever this was had come on them fast and was enormous, dwarfing the ship itself. Even as he watched the threat of collision ended and the mysterious object came to rest in space relative to the Palmtree.

“Of Course!” he said “It must be flying asteroid” Paul fumbled his way to the unfamiliar docking controls and turned on the ships powerful landing lights.

What he saw was not StelCo’s flying asteroid that had departed Saturn years ago. Filling the viewport, looking like some vast brandy keg was the biggest ship he had ever seen. He could make out markings on the oddly shaped hull that were in no Earthly script. Strange misshapen projections cast grotesque shadows against the hull. In the floodlight beams small shapes could be seen approaching…Space monsters!

The navigation radio broke the terrifying silence, “Attention Rebel Ship!” the voice blared from the speakers.

On Board…Deathfang

“This is Rogon Battlecrusier…Deathfang…Captain St James Commanding, prepare to be boarded and taken as a prize, under United Nations law.” Hunter said into the microphone “offer no resistance and the navy will be lenient, no-one will be hurt”

“Do you think they will fight sir?” asked Ensign Taylor.

“No, they probably would, had we given them time, but whoever’s awake over there obviously didn’t see us till we were right on top of them. They didn’t even turn on their floods till we were 3000 meters off, that’s pretty lax”

The bridge of Deathfang was deep within the ship; no glass portholes offered a view of space. Instead 3-D holographic displays provided a visual representation far superior than any viewport Hunter had ever seen. Somehow it wasn’t the same.

The young officer stood with Hunter as they watched the tiny figures of UN marines and navy crew enter the liners many airlocks. “Eighty people in space armor should be enough to take the ship even if they resist, and we have a second wave ready just in case.”

Hunter had been tempted to send the second wave if only to let the troops practice boarding ops. Eventually he decided not to because such training would have been unrealistic, and therefore ineffective. It was almost 15 minutes before they were contacted by the boarding party.

“Prize is secure” Came the electronic flavored voice of Lew DeWalt “All crew and passengers in deep freeze…except one officer… we found him under his bunk”

From the private log of Hunter St. James:

….The ship is loaded with weapons, not the kind of thing I would have wanted to see fall into the hands of the Colonials. I can’t bring myself to call them Rebels…I can’t blame these people for wanting to remain free, I have to question my own actions, for all these years I’ve accepted the idea that peace and security justified the suppression of dissidents, now I’m not so sure. I sense that a majority of my people would go over to the Colonial side…If they could.

My new People are young but professional with the exception of Antonovich. I feel sorry for him having to deal with the pressure from the Rogons all this time, but he let his crew down, I will have to make an example of him.

The Rogons masters had ordered me to come up with a plan to stop the rebellion, but they tie my hands. They’re keeping me out in the belt and using the deathsheads for frivolous purposes. I will have to make demands of this Rogon krett, that will be a dangerous gambit, I have too much to loose.

I am still having disturbing dreams; I’ve had such dreams before…dreams that came true. Now this Col Stuart haunts my sleep, a man we all thought dead…more of Redmond’s never ending lies. I know he is trying to reach me, I can almost hear the words, but I wake up too soon. The last dream was the strangest, Stuart was on a boat… a boat with sails, on a blue ocean, and the wind blowing…and Sharon was there.

Private Council

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Liberty Council

Castle Stuart: Alchibah - Day 885
Four days after the attack on Liberty City and things had quieted down. We had communications back with the Mayflower and to the best of our knowledge all the Rogon and UNWG forces in the area were accounted for. That is to say we had a couple of dozen prisoners and the rest had left. Some to the southern continent the rest back to their ships.

Except for pickets in the belt and in the near planet space most of us were in Liberty City area at three locations, the caves to the north east of town, at Castle Stuart, or in the med facility under Windmill hill.

Les Reye had put off a town meeting for about as long as he could get away with, pleading the lack of information, and lack of enough council members to make a quorum. Much as he dreaded a general meeting, which might just turn into a gripe session, he knew that he owed these people what their Constitution promised. First though he wanted to talk to all of the Council members in private, he was hoping for some kind of a united front and a measure of hope rather than the litany of disaster that the bare facts seemed to support.

It was impossible to have a private meeting in the caves, too many people, not enough room, so the principals were all at the Stuarts. It had survived petty much unscathed. The attendees aside from Reye himself were, Andy, the Historian, Connor, Kara, Mariana, and Joe Fortson.

Les began, “Histy will be recording everything we say here for the record but I am going to move that we don’t publish the minutes until we can be sure that we won’t ruin morale. It’s fragile enough but we have to be honest, brutally so if required, amongst ourselves. The way I would like to run this thing is for each of us to sum up in as few words as possible what you have done and seen in the last four days. We all know fragments but I want to make sure we aren’t missing anything. I’ll go first.”

“Around midnight four days ago we were attacked without much in the way of warning by UNWG troops under the control of an alien race called the Rogons. A few hours of fighting and we beat them off loosing fifteen colonists and 21 bots in the process. Most of the town was destroyed. We know that there are now Rogon and UN forces down south. We have not heard from the Guardians and we find that very troubling.”

“The people from outlying areas have come to the caves, where we are crowded but have supplies enough for three months anyway. Let’s hope that’s enough. We are short on fuel for the Dora and Cargo bus and our only ground to space defense is here at Andy‘s”

“Who wants to go next?”

“I’ll take it,” Connor started. “I know we probably all know this already, but just for the record we have twenty nine human and six Rogon prisoners - eight of the humans and two Rogons are here and the rest are in space, though two of the humans probably shouldn’t be described as prisoners, per se. Eamon Lyons and Ari al-Yaram are both confirmed members of the resistance. For now Ari is helping us in the Lab and Eamon is still back on the Mayflower with the majority of the prisoners. Eamon also provided quite a bit of information on the Rogons.

“Questioning by Lisa and Mariana indicates that seventeen of the other twenty seven prisoners can safely be integrated into the colony. I’ll let her elaborate. And I guess the last thing I have to say is that no children died in the attack. Not one. And that’s not nothing.”

“How is it going up above Andy?” Reye asked.

“The Military situation is this.” Andy started. “The fight we saw coming we won and won big. A SAR mission is ongoing for Travis and Fallon. We are in the middle of significant upgrades to both our drive systems and weapons. Ash made a ‘Weather Pass’ yesterday so we have a fair picture of the Southern Continent. The Aliens have established a compound and have grounded one their two ships there. From the high orbitals it appears to be tied in as their power source, they still have one active. There is still one more Large Alien Vessel out there; Capt. Monroe on the Mayflower is tracking that from out in the belt.”

“We are ramping up power and fuel production and are refitting the Dora. The second shuttle will be modified to a full System Drive sometime tomorrow. This means we can save all H3 for use on planet. The Nift tankers are making a run, skimming the gas giant low and slow, as we speak. Upon their return they will be upgraded with new Dives and Shields. Mayflower is good for H3 so both tankers will deliver here. All Strike Force Ground personnel have been instructed to report to Joe and if you need anything from the rest of us; you have but to ask.”

“Histy? Kara? What do you have on the combined enemy strength and casualties?”

They looked back and forth at each other and the Historian said. “This is very preliminary, we still have more data to gather and some of this is unconfirmed by multiple sources.”

Then Kara started reading. “Estimated enemy losses: So far we count 3 skull ships destroyed; 1 Skull ship shot down by Bart all aboard, about 60 we think dead; 1 Skull ship destroyed on the ground with 8 captured and about 40 killed and something in the high teens or low twenties rescued; 1 Skull ship destroyed in the Mayflower attack with, again, about 60 killed, including Major Watson who was the regimental commander of the UNWG force. On the Mayflower there were 21 UN troops (including Eamon) and 4 Rogons captured and 39 humans and 26 Rogons killed.”

“In the Liberty City and Sarra Farm raid we estimate Rogon and UN casualties as something over 55 dead and wounded with 8 humans and 2 Rogons captured.”

“How many Rogons and Goonies still out there?” Fortson asked.

“At the low end it could be 500 Goonies, 500 Rogons. At the high end four or even ten times as many. We just don’t know.”

“Thank you all. Histy would you make a summary of what we have said to this point that leaves out anything that could be militarily useful so that the colonists can see it before the general meeting?”

“Censorship? Isn’t that something we are all opposed to?” the Historian said.

“Histy, I am than near 100% certain there are traitors amongst us, at least one and maybe more, not any of us here but in the colony at large. So write up enough so we can have our general meeting. Give it to me first and I’ll do the cutting and take the fallout for it afterwards should that become necessary.”

“So what do we do now? What can we tell our people to give them some hope?”

Andy was quick off the mark, “We can tell them that even after catching us with our pants down we gave as good we got and now it’s our turn.” And with a hint of a rueful smile, “We just leave out the details. Joe you talked to me about a plan for down here so why not spill it now.”

“Ok, Listen Up. Our first priority has to be to beef up the defenses for the people we got left in Liberty City, try to make sure any other landing attempts get stopped cold. But defense ain’t enough so I think we ought to try and help out Brother Dobswell if we can.”

“Hold on, hold on,” he said as a couple of the others started to break in. “I know he’s an asshole and up to no good. Still the enemy of my enemy applies here. The data Ash brought back shows a bunch of the Llamas heading towards the Rogon base down there with humans, and that means Dobswell, in the van. They’re in a damn hurry and armed to the teeth, at least for a bunch of Soessossins. I sure can’t figure out why but it looks like they are going to war. That being the case we need to try and help them.”

“You said it yourself Joe,” Lester said holding up a hand, “Our first duty is to protect Liberty City. I can’t see how we can spare anyone for anything else.”

“We don’t send soldiers Les but we can ship them a bus full of weapons that are a darn sight better than bow and arrows and spears. That and give them all the info we have and can gather about the Rogon and Goonies, locations, movements, that kind of stuff. Andy has quite an arsenal built up. Seems he left the production of things more or less up to the bots and they decided that every man woman and child in the colony needed both a couple of rifles and shotgun of their very own along with enough ammunition to fight a small border war. That’s what we send down to Dobswell, that and a few bots to give them some remote eyes. And by giving them bots to use we can make sure we know what’s going on as well.”

“You’ve almost convinced me. Say again how we get these weapons to them?”

“With the cargo bus, maybe Bart and the Dora as well, Andy and I are still working out details but we can be ready to go before another day is done.”

When Joe was finished Les looked around waiting for objections. When none surfaced he said, “Ok, your plan has the Councils blessing but this is another thing that needs to stay with us. Nobody in town with the exception of those making the delivery hear a word about this. Joe, I’ll have Sabbu, issue you a couple of bots from the labor pool to do the loading and go along.”

“Thanks Les but I think we should keep even Sabbu out of this for now. I’ll send my bot RoDan and try and talk Bart into letting the Jeep tag along. Both of those bots have an extra bit of programming and hardware not built into most of the others.”

“Good enough for now,” Les concluded, “Histy write the meeting up and give it to me when you’re done.”

“Got it already,” the Historian said pushing the send button on his com unit. “Time to get back to the caves and set up the general meeting.”

Done Here, Let’s Go Home

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Andrew Stuart

Mayflower A+3

From The Logs of Ashcroft Andrews

Finally we had the birds ready and I had done everything I needed to do for the Hamilton. It was time to go back Home. Funny how that phrase sounded, I thought Andy was crazy when he started using Clan Alchibah. I watched as Thorn and Jan came off the elevator trailing Sawbones and I knew he was right. This was the true family fate had never let me have, suddenly I understood, I like Andy would die before I let these people live as Slaves. From behind me came a voice.

“Figured it out did you love,” said Digger in that accent; “you at least had a semblance of a family and you at least knew your Father. I never did, He and Mom both died when I was two in the Jihad strike on Melbourne. This place is the first family I have ever known. I saw this coming long ago, do you seriously think Mariana will let that man quit now?”

I just had to ask, “You know the gamble Andy is fixing to pull and neither of us know if it’s going to work? Trouble is that I agree with him. We just cannot huddle down on the planet and get Alamoed by those Aliens. ”

Digger just grabbed me and kissed me, “I married the craziest damn Fighter Jock anybody has ever seen. Like an idiot like that would never take a chance, Saddle Up Love; let’s go get em.”

Summer Pierce looked at Mike Reye, “Guess that means we have three crews that won’t back down.”

Mike sighed, “Five if you are thinking. Steel and Williams will not back down and you clearly forgot Jai and May. I am almost willing to bet you can make it six with Natasi and Glenda. The only question left is, do we make it seven?”

The face that looked back at Grinder was clearly Thorn, “I guess we do. Crazy aren’t we?”

“Did you think the Boss kept anybody who wasn’t. Ask Laura! Nobody wearing this Patch is going to quit!”

I yelled hard enough for all to hear, “Saddle Up. Let’s go home!”

As we cleared Main Dock I asked, “Jan what can you guys take?”

Her laughter was like a breath of fresh air, “Ask Sawbones Ghost, he is the limiting factor.”

Kurt’s voice was right behind her, “I got my nausea pills and Ghost gave me a set of speed jeans. It’s not like I am real necessary on the way down anyway.”

I had to finish suppressing my laugh before I spoke over the chuckles on the General Channel, “OK Jan, you set the pace we will match you. When we get there Thorn, follow Jan right straight down, then I will pull out and do two high orbital passes all the way around for a weather check.” The replies were laconic.

“Thorn, Right.”

“Jan, oh sure!”

Digger stared at me, “Weather, like they believe that!”

I gave her my best dumb Fighter Jock grin, “Sounds Good for the Guardians ya know!”

Evening at The Lab

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Andrew Stuart

Alchibah Early Evening A+3 (Day 884)

Compiled from various Logs

Mariana Stuart

Things had really improved when Kurt got back in here. He really was a better Cutter than me and faster. We had this situation under control and it seemed our test case was even going to live. He was not going to out of here anytime soon, but he wasn’t going to leave in a body bag.

Kurt Kellerman over to the coffee pot where I was, “I don’t think they needed us, they really held their own.” he said.
Sally wandered over, “That’s all we were doing, Dr. Wood is good but he ain’t the A-Team. We just could not find the bleeder on that Christopher kid and Kurt comes in. Damn we were ready to close in five minutes.”

I had to ask, “How did Rich get hurt anyway, I thought he was staying up at the caves?”

“He volunteered to escort the sick and wounded down here,” Sally answered. “They got jumped by three Goonie stragglers who hadn’t got the message they were beat.”

I grimaced, “How abut the stragglers?”

Sally grinned, “Rich got em all three on the way down, Then drug himself the rest of the way here. He would not let us touch him till we had checked everyone in the convoy. That kid is Black and Silver material for sure.”

“Oh Great!” I said, “That is so not going to make Andy’s day. He promised Chris’s parents he would try to keep him out of Strike Force. Oh well, you have any other problems?”

Sally plopped in the chair, “Well, we have the prisoners. The Cpl you seemed to have pegged and the one that everyone says seems slow, I checked him over and it’s strange. He appears to be slow but the EEG shows intense activity during the pauses.”

“The Cpl popped an old Mossad recognition code that Andy had taught me. We put him on a loose leash until Andy or preferably Connor can grill him. Let me take a look at the other one!”

Sally led me over to a exam table that had a Goonie private strapped to it. “What’s your name son?” I could feel the lie sliding into place. It was either probe him deep and maybe break that controlled mind or go the old fashioned way. I waved Chris Petersen over, “Would you mind covering this jerk while I search him cause he is lying out his ass.”

Chris pulled out that Kimber in one smooth move and locked into a cold stance, “Just don’t cross my sight line Doc.”

“I may have done this once or twice before Chris.”

I watched the kids eyes as I searched him and he was hiding something. As I continued to shake him down I could feel the worry as I got to the right breast area. Zeroing in it took only a few moments to find the hidden pocket that had the laminated picture in it. “OK kid, what’s this picture got to do with anything and what’s your real name?”

The truth came rolling out at once and I could feel the relief. “My Dad told me never to tell anyone that except the other guy in that picture. That’ll never happen now he’s dead.”

“OK, what’s this picture got to do with it?”

“My Dad is the guy on the left.”

I turned away, and motioned Kurt to follow me calling over my shoulder, “Tie him back up Chris.”

Around the corner I showed the picture to Kurt. He grinned, “Well as I live and breathe, SFC Andrew Stuart slightly potted. Wonder who the girl is?”

“That’s the second thing I want to know. Get Andy on the land line and ask him to come down here. Keep it quiet if you can.”

Andrew Stuart

I had just started thawing out and Tim was just finishing checking out the new gear when the call came in. “Damn, I was just ready to go up to the house; now they want me at the Lab quiet like.”

Tim grinned, “What was it you said, ‘No good deed goes unpunished’, seems like that has come home to roost.”

“Tim, one of these these days; one of these days.” As I reached the door, I heard the laughter peeling behind me. As I reached the Lab I walked in saying, “There had better be a cup of coffee here!”

Mariana was standing in the back corner with a large mug in her hand waving me over.

“Keep it down,” she said, “would you please explain this?”

I took the offered photo and had to grin. “Shit, where did you get this, that’s old Tommy Moore and the Sabra he married.”

Mariana stared, “Sabra, and why is she hanging on you?”

I grinned, “Well, I was single. A Sabra is a native born Israeli. This was ten years before I meet you, it was the night before we went Op-Secure for Second Tehran. She was the waitress and the tab was in my name. Next question and I repeat; where did you get this? Kurt said you had two problems, what’s the second?”

It was Mariana’s turn to grin, “Well, I have the kid who had this photo who claims the guy on the left is his Father. He also claims that his Dad told him to give his true name only to the guy on the right. Funny though he thinks that guy is dead. Second I have a middle eastern looking guy who gave me that old Mossad first level code you gave me.”

“Well, the easy one first. I’ll turn my back and finish this coffee, you bring in the man who passed you the code and let me play it.” With that I went to work on the mug of coffee. It took about three minutes when I heard a scuffling sound behind me, then the voice of Kurt “Colonel” I dropped the mug and spun and in one smooth motion grabbed the guy by the collar and stop cocked the defensive swing.

“Pop Quiz, asshole. Timed count. What sees all, knows all and rules the fracking night? Five, four.” At that point he croaked, “Mossad.” I set him down, “OK kid, I don’t know anything past the second level code. You stay here till our resident expert on the resistance gets here. My XO Ground is the resident guru. Till then, try not to get in trouble. He’s yours CPT.”

“Now Mariana, untie the other kid and let’s see what happens when I take him by surprise.”

Mariana disappeared around the corner and about four minutes later, Sally looked back and waved. I went around the corner with my best Hammer of God look on my face. The kid was setting on the edge of the table and looked up. Then he caught us all off guard.

He jumped up off that table and locked his heels and snapped the best salute I had ever seen a Goonie give.

“Sir, Robert Thomas Stephan Moore reporting, Sir!”

His eyes were as wide as saucers and Mariana was giving me the sign that said he was not lying. “And how did you get that name Maggot?”

“Sir, Robert for Robert Louis Stevenson, Thomas for my Father, Stephan for my Mothers Father and Moore because that’s who I fracking am!”

“Not only that asshole,” I replied, “you are the absolute spiting fracking image of Tommy Moore the week after he graduated Boot. Mariana please record for the Council.” I waited till she signaled ready.

“Kid, here is how it is going to be. We are going straight to Ft. Stuart from here. You will get into civilian clothes ASAP. You will present yourself to my new Intelligence Analyst, as soon as she accepts the job; as her Military Advisor, you will keep your ass low for at least two years. You will blend into the background until everyone trusts you like I do. Understood recruit?”

He snapped even tighter, “Sir, Yes Sir.”

“Mariana, please inform the Council that I personally vouch for him. I owe his Father. Anyone who cares to dispute that is welcome to meet me for Coffee and Pistols at Dawn!” With that I grabbed the kid and drug him out.

Kurt looked at Mariana, “Guess that picture meant a hell of a lot?”

Mariana grinned, “I want to hear that story. It has to be a good one.”

Making Myself Useful

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Hanna Parker

The Caves: Alchibah - Day 885

Janie Bartlett sat at the back of cave holding the cloth wrapped bundle with a gurgling Tammy Jane Bartlett inside. A hundred feet inside of the hillside it was cold but quiet. No sound of the storm outside could penetrate this deep and the other children were all asleep. The baby, after being fed, had stopped crying and her eyes were open, blue grey, the same color as Bart’s, but many shades lighter. No longer hungry, she was quiet now, but that wouldn’t last for long. The Jeep stood at the room doorway, squared up and with a proper door finally installed. He, expressionless as only a robot can be, said quietly, “Bart says the meeting is about to start so you should hurry up.”

“Thank you JP. Let him know I will be out in a min. See if Hanna is clear to take over for a bit.” Janie set the infant into the small crate being used in place of a cradle, the one the folks in the furniture shop had made as a present was in the nursery in their home on the point. She added blankets and instructed the nursery bot to keep an eve on her then followed the Jeep from the room. In the small connecting room she saw Hanna and gave a pleased smile.

“Glad your here already. I hate to leave the babies with just a bot watching. And by the way, I can’t get over how you and Jules have changed. You both look twenty five years younger than you did before slizard serum reset your clocks. And I sure am glad it didn’t reset your personalities the same way.”

“Yes we were both thankful for that,” Hanna said. “Experience and maturity in a young body, the best of all possible worlds. And a good thing the regression stopped when it did, I was worried we would keep getting younger until we were children, then babies, then… I can’t bring myself to even think of being any younger than that. They told me at the Biolab that the age reversal stops where your mind thinks your body ought to me. They added some mumbo jumbo but I know it came as a surprise and wasn‘t like they were predicting this in advance.”

“I understand that part Hanna, I’m kinda’ happy Bart and I Haven’t had to take any of the stuff yet, it seems creepy but it is good to know that it’s there. Have you gotten over the destruction of the Inn yet?”

Just then Bart walked in, gave Janie a hug, and said, “Got tired waiting for you Babe.” Then he said to me, “And good to see you too Hanna.”

“Why thank you dear, I didn’t think you would even notice little old me.” And then on a more serious note, “Janie just asked me about the Inn and yes I miss it, but it’s only bricks and mortar. If we get through this thing we can rebuild again. It’s the people that really matter. Do either of you know what Les is going to say? And have you heard anything about JJ?”

“Don’t know more than anyone else about what Les has up his sleeves and all I know about JJ is that he is still alive, we are expecting to hear details when Les gets the meeting underway. And that means we gotta’ hurry Janie. And thanks again Hanna for taking over the nursery.”

“My pleasure, glad to be of use. I would have nothing much to add, certainly nothing that’s new, and if a vote comes up I can push a com button here as well as anywhere else so I’ll watch and when you and Jules come back you can all fill me in about what the people grumbling in the back were saying.”

Public Council

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Liberty Council

Alchibah - Day 885.
Les Reye looked at the colonists, all those seated and standing, waiting to hear his presentation. It was cold and dark in the thirty by forty five foot cavern; not enough power for heat unless a lot of insulation went up on the walls, they didn’t have it and they hadn’t strung all the lighting as of yet. The meeting was restricted to adult citizens only, no children would be eyewitness to this little bit of history. Not really enough room even for the eighty adults. And he was missing his gavel. He saw when Bart and Janie arrived and stood in one of the two entrances and figured he had best get the show on the road.

He raised his voice to cut through the din. “Quiet everyone! Quiet! I call this Council session to order.” The babble subsided and he began. “Everyone with a com unit should have read the download we sent out earlier today already. I am not going to repeat anything we said there but I will answer questions at the end. Remember much as we would like to answer everyone there are many things that we just don’t know and others that we will not comment about.”

“What do you mean you won’t comment about,” Lars Neilson called from the rear, “We’re all citizens here and have a right to know what’s going on just as much as you or anyone in the military does.” There were murmurs of support from a half a dozen others scattered throughout the room.

“Please, no interruptions, but I will answer that point. It is possible that our enemies have means of finding out what we say. This will come as a surprise to most of you, and I apologize for holding it from the colony, but we have known for some time the Guardians had the ability to watch and overhear pretty much whatever they wanted to. The Rogons may be able to do the same thing.”

“More than a few of you have asked if there might be spies in our midst. All I can say to that is it is a possibility we cannot afford to ignore.” Les paused a moment and watched as most of the people in the room started turning their heads and looking at their neighbors. “If the evidence is strong enough we will not hesitate to arrest and restrain anyone we suspect. So I don’t want any of you getting an idea and taking things into your own hands.”

Les paused again to let that sink in. He wasn’t going to say in the open about there being strong suspicion and circumstantial evidence pointing straight at Burt Buchanan and that they had decided instead to watch him closely, hoping he might do something that would let slip some information that could help the colony’s defense. Buchanan sitting up front looked fidgety and nervous but not all that much different from a lot of the other folks here.

“To all of you who have lost family I give my heartfelt condolences but this is not the time for a memorial service and I must move to other things. The only monument we can raise to those that have lost their lives is to make sure that Liberty City survives. This must be our only focus. And yes, we may fail. But we are sure to fail if we let anything get in the way of working towards that end.”

“We are working on a number of things now. Some I can talk about and some I can’t or will not. There is one thing though, that is so pivotal, I must tell you all about it and bring it to a vote.” Les paused again, marshaling his thoughts before continuing.

“Every one of you should know that the Guardians have warned us about interfering with the Soessossins. We have tried repeatedly to get in touch with the Guardians and all of our efforts have been met with silence. For some reason they have left Jedediah Dobswell and his band of Leviticans alone, and have no doubt…They are interfering in a big way.”

“When Dobswell left we had a choice about whether to leave him be or bring him back. For better or worse we left him alone, but using our orbital cameras kept an eye on him and waited for the Guardians to handle the problem. No such luck. Now there are Rogons and Goonies down there with him and it looks like some kind of a battle is shaping up. Our choice is to try to help him or to stand aside and watch him and the Llamas with him and on his side die. Because with the kind of power the Rogons command, and we’ve seen first hand what it can do, he has no chance at all.”

“Let him fry!” came a voice from the back.

“No interruptions!” Reye said. And before anyone else had a chance to jump in Les spoke again, “That’s a damn popular sentiment and not one I am sure I disagree with. But… Any of the Rogons and UN forces he can tie up are that many fewer that we have to deal with. And with that in mind the military people have stated that we need to do what we can to help that misguided band of religious fanatics in any manner we are able. So…what does that mean?”

“It means we send them weapons, rifles and ammunition, grenades. At the Stuarts and here in the caves we have far more of that kind of thing than we can use and with our numbers. And with our low numbers it‘s mostly too low tech to bother the Rogons and Goonies that we face. But on the southern continent, it looks like the Llamas siding with Dobswell vastly outnumber the Rogons, Goonies, and Llamas on the other side.”

“Of course when we judge the military quality of spears against energy beams we find they don‘t count for much. Rifles and explosives just might. And I recall hearing once that an old time military man, maybe Napoleon, said ‘Quantity has its own kind of Quality.’ We run a risk here in that the Rogons detect us making delivery or that the Guardians see that kind of aid as the last straw. And except working on our defenses here, at least on the planet, there is not much else we can do right now.”

“I will answer questions on this point, nothing else, and then we vote. When that is out of the way I will open the floor to general questions. So…Anyone have something to say about aiding the Leviticans.”

It was almost like she was primed and ready. Michelle Seaworth jumped to her feet and in a voice tinged with palpable fear, said, “You can’t do that. We need everything we have to protect us here and my daughter isn’t going to risk her life again by driving the cargo bus anywhere.”

“Mother, be quiet!” Laura Seaworth’s soprano, icy cold compared to her mother’s tone came through sharp and clear. “I will speak for myself thank you!”

Les spoke rapidly, not giving time for an argument amongst family members to break out, “Mrs. Seaworth, we have made no decision about how we move the weapons and certainly none considering who does the job. Your daughter is a full citizen and you fail to honor her or the memory of your husband when you speak for her in this fashion. If that sounds hard then so be it. We know where you stand so please be seated and let someone else take the floor. And try to think about what is at stake.”

Les Reye was almost thankful, no that wasn’t strictly speaking the truth, he was relieved, or maybe just reacting to previous training when Mrs. Seaworth made the comments that set the rest in motion. He watched without alarm as she slowly deflated, just to sink silently back into her seat. And he was more than grateful Laura had cut her off in mid stride. Just maybe he could make sure that the debate was based on the merits of the plan and leave out the emotions. Les had pretty much used all of his emotional reserve up by now. He hoped that those emotion were buried and couldn’t somehow recharge on their own. He needed time to face them. It was like pulling teeth but finally had convinced his wife Judith to say nothing and support the council’s position.

And then came a torrent of questions.
“Who will you send?”
“I can’t say.”
“When will you send them?”
“I can’t answer that either.”
“How do you know they even want our help?”
“No comment.”

Frank Turner spoke, “If any of us has another plan I think he or she should say what it is now or else we just get on with the vote.”

“Thank you Frank. Can we do just that?”

Burt Buchanan had been biding his time and figured now was the moment. “Mr. Reye, I would call you Mr. Council President but you are shredding the constitution to such an extent that I cannot bring myself to refer to you by that name, under what used to be the constitution, what gives you the right to withhold information from us in a public session? How can we be expected to vote on such an all-important matter without all the facts? What you are really saying is ‘Trust me, do what I say is best,’ and that kind of attitude and behavior is what we all left Earth to avoid.”

“I for one will vote no on any proposal when the details are kept by a cabal of the anointed, be it the Leviticans, or you and your precious Council. And every one should take a good look around and see how well things have worked out so far following your lead. Yes, I call for a vote too, and I say, protect Liberty City and to hell with the Leviticans.”

Reye ignored Buchanan and addressed the room as a whole, “Well there it is. Tie ourselves up in knots and wait for the Constitution to come to our rescue. Back on Earth there were a lot of people who said that the U.S. Constitution held our guiding principals and was not a suicide pact. And that was true until it wasn’t. That Constitution got stretched and nicked, and then chipped away until it meant whatever those in power wanted it to mean. And for all I know it’s still there getting reinterpreted back on Earth even as the Rogons run everything instead of the UNWG.”

“I won’t lie to you. I won’t say that withholding information is justified by our Constitution, but I will say that I will not stand idly by again and watch our Constitution, the one we worked so hard for, replicate the one we had on Earth and become another suicide pact. Mr. Buchanan, in so many words, is accusing me of turning into a tyrant.”

“Taking any kind of chance, doing anything that might possibly weaken Liberty City in order to help the Leviticans and Soessossins wasn’t my idea, but I have come to support what we propose now, and so does every other member of the council. You can see, we are all here, none are drugged or being held in a cell somewhere waiting for our marching orders. So let us get on with it.”

“Do I hear a second for Mr. Buchanan’s motion for a vote?”

It was a lot closer than any of us thought it would be, but the vote came home. We were going to the aid Jedediah Dobswell. The rest of the session seemed anticlimactic and I was more than happy to have the other Council members do most of the talking.

How About a Challenge Master Chief

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Andrew Stuart

Ft. Stuart, Alchibah Late Evening A+3 (Day 884)

Andrew Stuart

I had just gotten Bob Moore settled into one of the single bedroom bungalows and was walking towards Stuart House. Gods, what would I have done if he said his Dad had called him Robbie; that wound was still too fresh. Still finding Bob here was a load off of my mind, keeping him alive could pay back several old debts. I walked in the front door to find Hanna Parker setting in the main room.

“Damn Hanna, I expected to find Kara in here screaming her head off from what I had heard.”

Hanna Parker

“And well you might expect that. Those twins of yours could try a Saint, much less a fragile soul like Kara. Especially when neither she nor BJ could figure out the pictographs for the diaper closet. Not to mention the washer and dryer room.”

I watched some gleam of humor come back into those eyes as he asked, “They totally missed those?”

I was blinking back tears, “Went right over their overeducated heads. When I pointed them out I thought Kara was going to have a breakdown. Until I pointed out that the kids were all alive and healthy. I managed to convince her that that was all a bunch of rough and tumble Soldiers were going to care about.”

I thought Andy was going to convulse, “Alive, reasonably clean and not too many boot prints on their arse’s sounds about right for those two.” He laughed.

I had to laugh with him then ask, “Did you get that young man settled in? During the hour you had your Wrist Comp turned off, Mariana relayed your declaration. The Council Comm voted to let you handle him but lots of people are wondering what brought that on?”

“Hanna, I either owe his Father or hate him beyond belief; I have never been sure which. But I will not pass the hate to the Son. Wait, Hanna; let me finish. Tommy Moore saved my Ass at least three times on the road to Tehran and if He had not The Reaper would never have been Born. He got me to the point where I got to see my third spotter die, as useless as his ass was, and my Brother-in-Law go down to a Missile that had to have been sold to the Hadj’s by a Traitor. Something inside me broke that Day and for it my Soul is going to burn in Hell.

“Yes, I am an Agnostic and I have no quote Religion unquote. But, no version of God is going to forgive what I did that Day. Hanna, there were 275 Human Souls in the Khandar Palace that day; and in 48 minutes I killed every Damn One of Them. No God wants to see me at His or Her door. For as the Rogons up on the Mayflower said, I am El Diablo. And I don’t deserve those Kids.”

Jules Parker

“That has to be the biggest load of self depreciation I have ever heard Colonel. I just came from talking to Gabriel Benjamin about what you did up on the Mayflower and it sounds about the same.

“Andy, you know Hanna and I are Religious. What I want you to do is look me right in the eyes and tell me you have ever killed when it was not absolutely necessary. Tell me that you have not Killed but, that you have Murdered.”

Andy’s face was tortured, “Jules, I can’t. But, what God wants to see a Soul like mine?”

It was my turn to grin, “The Bartender at Fiddlers Green, I understand Karl Nash has the First Round.”

Neither Hanna nor I were prepared for the melt down. Andy slumped on the desk and the tears rolled again. None of us noticed the two forms that appeared by his side. “DaDa not cry”, from two barely one year old children who should not have been able to walk much less talk. Those shoulders rolled and two arms snaked out and tenderly lifted those children.

The face which came up was the same but, not. The voice was soft beyond belief, “You two need to be back in bed, Daddy’s OK. Believe me. Jules, Hanna ; I will be right back.” He walked around the corner with a small head on either shoulder.

I looked at Hanna, “As I believe God loves us, let there be a man like that in that crowd up there. We just might have a chance.”

The chime on Andy’s desk unit sounded and I reached out to answer, “Ft. Stuart, Jules Parker here.”

Tim’s voice was clear, “Andy around? I have some stuff from Mayflower he needs to see.”

“He’ll be right back Tim. Daddy’s a little busy right now.”

Tim actually laughed for a change, “About damn time, make sure he looks at these three files when he gets back. FYI, Mariana is headed your way.”

Andy walked back into the room and Hanna stood and motioned to me. With her best dimpled smile she told Andy, “You’ve got mail!”

Andrew Stuart

I had listened to Monroe’s file and watched the two Sensor files when Mariana came in.

“Where are my children?” She asked.

I had to give her that snarky grin. “In bed but, if they are asleep yet they are deifying the Laws of Nature.”

Her high octane smile could have melted steel, “I’ll be back!”

“Master Chief, Col Stuart; sorry to bother you but, could you come to my place for a moment?”

When Gabe came in it was with a question, “Why so damn formal Andy?”

I spun the monitor towards him, “Watch these and give me that exalted NCO Opinion!”

Gabe watched intently and then spoke slowly. “They have not drilled lately but, those are Pro’s. I would guess that the vessel they were boarding was Hamilton’s last Ace in the Hole.

“They have had the boot put to them real recently. There is a PRO up there who just maybe is as good as you. What are you going to do, are you going to stop the arms deal Bart is talking about?”

“Hell No Gabe, first I believe in what he wants to do. Second, who gives a shit about 2 or 3 hundred MK I’s in 30-06 when everyone has .338’s to take their place. Crap, you can’t break those things anyway. It just might give the Llama’s a chance.”

“Gabe, I want that damn mobile Dragon Head and I want it where the Snake’s can see it. But, more importantly I agree with you. There is a PRO up there. Get with Ash, Tim and Subbu; find me a way to talk to Him.”

Military Council

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Richard Redmond

On board Deathfang
Alchibah system A+4

There were no friendly faces, smiles, or polite greetings as Richard Redmond entered the mess hall, which had been appropriated for the UN Alchibah joint command staff conference. Perhaps the chilly reception was caused by the Rogon scientist who accompanied him…or perhaps not.

Hunter St. James had taken his place at one end of the table, so the Rogon settled himself at the opposite end. Like antagonists in an old Army/Navy game the officers of each separate service faced each other from opposite sides. Because there were several empty spaces on the army side Richard Redmond sat on that side next to the big Rogon.

Orderlies distributed water glasses and coffee about the room and then withdrew as in by some secret signal

Hunter looked about the table ”Everyone seems to be here except for Lieutenant Commander Antonovich is he tied up somewhere?”

Ensign Wendy Taylor of the UN Navy spoke up ”The Commander is…indisposed sir” Hunter accepted this fact without question “Very well we can proceed without him“ He tapped a spoon on his water glass to gain attention.

“I’ll begin with an overview of the historical background and move on to an appraisal of the loss of taskforce Alchibah, If anyone has critical information feel free to interrupt… otherwise hold your questions for later” Hunter looked around the table, and with the exception of the alien everyone seemed to accept the rules.

“When Taskforce Alchibah was organized four years ago the primary mission was to enter this solar system, locate the StelCo asteroid ship and bring the crew and colonists under the authority of the United Nations. A secondary mission was to deliver additional colonists, and establish a permanent peacekeeping presence in the system.”

“Obviously the Rogons arrival in our Home system forced us to modify those plans. The decision was made to continue the mission under Rogon supervision.”

“We now know that the planning was inadequate due to the suppression of information in two areas” he continued “The first of these was knowledge of a previous mission to this system, in which one vessel was destroyed and a second was badly damaged by an advanced alien race known as the Chewpess or Guardians”

Richard Redmond sprung up out of his chair “The man was insane, a murderer, we couldn’t believe his story”

“Mr. Redmond please sit back down” Hunter said stopping the rant “You also had the Stingray, any close examination would have revealed the extensive damage was the result of hostile action” Redmond slumped back into his seat “Of course we now are monitoring the Guardian ship stalking us as we move about this system”

“The second and more serious area of faulty intelligence was regarding the flying asteroid, we now know as the Mayflower” Redmond was clearly squirming in his chair but he did not interrupt again. Hunter went on. “It has become painfully obvious that Hamilton had loaded the Mayflower with weapons and personal familiar with their use. It would have been a big help had we been told that these people actually fought there way out of the Home system beating off two attacks by troops from the political directorate…despite the fact that PD had infiltrated Hamilton’s organization.”

Hunter took a sip from his water glass and continued speaking “Had we been able to anticipate the Colonials would attempt to meet us in space, we would have plotted a course to avoid the electromagnetic interference that virtually disabled our sensors in the belt.”

One of the ubiquitous 3-D projections appeared above the table. The destruction of taskforce Alchibah was replayed “As you can see the enemy ships appeared without warning”

The Rogon, krett made a motion with one clawed hand that immediately got everyone’s attention “The sudden appearance of these rogue slaves, was not the fault of your sensors, the Chewpess use a 12th dimensional transposition drive that allows them to bypass normal space, these human ships obviously were equipped with that drive. Shintok; maylock-A wrongly assumed they were Chewpess vessels. We regret that maylock disabled your weapons systems and caused the destruction of your ships.”

Hunter was a bit taken back by the Rogons apology “Be that as it may; the destruction of Taskforce Alchibah was caused by a third failure of tactical intelligence which occurred at this point” Hunter took another drink of water “This ship and the firepower it represents had caught up with The UN taskforce two weeks ago and were following at 5 million kilometers unbeknownst to us. This represents a serious violation of the strategic principle of Unity of Command. When the Colonials attacked the main Rogon force was conducting independent and unrelated operations that failed as a result, Captain DeWalt, will now make his report about the failure of these other ops.”

DeWalt came out of his chair and went to the head of the table, opting to give his presentation standing beside the Commodore “16 days ago we began launching high speed recon drones past the planet.” He began “signals analysis indicated a major concentration of human activity on the northern landmass and some minor activity on the southern one.”

“No evidence of human habitation was found on the Southern continent, but we obtained very good images of several occupancies on the Northern mass concentrated in one area about 20 kilometers across, only one structure evidence any military value” the image projected above the table didn’t have the 3-D quality of most Rogon displays, but the clarity was excellent, “From the air it looks like a classic stockade from the American west, although obviously upgraded with anti aircraft mounts on these platforms, also the communications tower and radar dishes are out of place, when I throw up a side view penetrating radar scan, it gets interesting…although nothing is visible you can see the uniform compression lines, obviously something very large is buried here, something very carefully hidden”

“The major decided the best way to deal with this location was to drive 2 penetrating 10 megaton warheads into the reverse slope of the adjacent ridge. That would have dumped a couple hundred meters of lava on top of this place while minimizing fallout. Unfortunately the Rogons overruled that plan.”

Shintok; krett-N spoke again “It was thought that your Mr. Hamilton might likely be at this fortress a request was made that he be captured alive”

St James was suddenly alert “And who made that request?” He asked

“Why that was from Mr. Redmond of course”

“Just a minute” St James was half out of his chair “Are you saying that Redmond was in contact with this ship two weeks ago?”

Redmond stood up “Hamilton was a criminal, terrorist and enemy of the state, it was a priority of this mission that he be brought to justice

Hunter suddenly realized how the Rogon scientist had set up Redmond, he visibly calmed himself “let’s play this out he thought”

“OK table that for now, please continue Mr. DeWalt”

Yes sir” DeWalt continued “After that Major Watson refused to allow UN troops to attack the fort. The fort is in a valley that has a dog-leg just south; the all Rogon force was supposed to land just beyond the dog-leg
and attack on foot.

“The attack on the town was more straight forward, two ships would approach from the south, landing right alongside the shuttle pad on the southern edge of the town. The town would be swept house to house from one end to the other”

Both operations were to commence while the Mayflower was on the opposite side of the planet. The Asteroid was to be hit with a low yield nuke to disable her engines and two larger nukes to burn off all her antenna and surface airlocks.” DeWalt was obviously trying to hide his amusement.

Hunter was grinning as well “Sounds like that battle of Ceres all over”

“Yes Sir, Commander Antonovich had studied all your battles. At any rate the Rogons overruled that one as well, no doubt for the same reason”
DeWalt continued “The actual execution of the plan left much to be desired, the attack began approximately 43 minutes early, a reconstruction of sensor data indicates several small explosions on the surface at that time. Dragonhead 2 the unexpectedly left formation and began her approach several minutes before the others.”

Wendy Taylor raised her hand “Do we know what the explosions on the planet were?“ she asked

“From navy reports filed by survivors of Dragon head 4, it seems Major Putnam had been in contact with a UNPD agent on the ground, and instigated the sabotage of certain communications equipment.”

“Wonderful” said St James “Putnam jumps the gun to cut comm. links when waiting for the Mayflower to pass around the planet would have accomplished the same thing”

“Yes sir, at any rate Dragonhead two landed on the wrong side of the ridge to the west of the target, and failed in its mission because of insurmountable terrain, snow and some unexpected local resistance”

The holo projector began showing two dragon heads in landing mode when suddenly a fast shuttle moved into the display and began firing missiles. Lew DeWalt began to explain

“The Reb…colonials had enough warning to get their small craft into the air, as you can see this one was far more dangerous than we had anticipated” One of the Dragonhead ship was destroyed in the display and the other received minor damaged “At this point Maj. Putnam instructed the pilot of Dragonhead 4 to land in the center of the colonial town”

Hunter asked the obvious question “What were his reasons for that change of plan?

“Major Putnam has not seen fit to answer our request for an after action report” Richard Redmond had to speak up in justification of his minion

“Political Directive Officers are not required to answer to line personal”
He stated, again Hunter was quick to slap him down “They are when they take it upon themselves to make tactical decisions, we will deal with the major in due time, please finish your report Captain”

“Because the attack was in the center of the town the Rogons and the Troops supporting them split up and lost all semblance of military organization. When the explosion occurred serious damage resulted to Dragonhead 4, and the ground force was totally demoralized”

“The attack on the Mayflower started with an unfortunate acident, that being the loss of Dragonhead 6 and Major Watson when Mayflower fired her main engines. The attack was apparently going well, but failed after Dragonheads 7 and 8 withdrew to rescue the ground force”

Again Hunter had a question “Was that Putnams doing again?”

“No sir, that was a Rogon decision, although obviously the ground forces could have retreated to the safety of their ships, and effected the evacuation using Dragonhead 2 alone… That concludes my report”

Hunter stood up to stretch “Very well in the absence of Commander Antonovich, Ensign Taylor can report on our current situation”

Young Wendy Taylor was obviously nervous as she stood up to speak but her voice was strong when she began ”We are currently traveling accoss the system well above the plane of the ecliptic towing the capture liner New Palmtree, we are now inside the orbit of Alchibah Prime about 25 degrees behind her orbit, we have transferred the munitions to this ship and are in the process of moving the rest of the cold sleep capsules form the Orion into her hold…although I don’t understand why”

Hunter had resumed his seat “ I will explain that, we can’t tractor the Palmtree at anywhere near the accelleration of this ship without destroying her so we are going to put all the cold sleepers on board and turn her loose under a prize crew”

He went on “After this meeting Captain DeWalt will see to it that there is no trace of wine or liquor on board that ship, and then place Lieutenant Antonovich on board to command the prize crew, She will eventually arrive at the planet and if the Colonials wish to waste effort trying to take her back so be it, Ensign do you have anything else to report?”

Wendy was ready now “Only this sir, all of our Dragonheads have been dispersed by the Rogons and we don’t know why”

“Thank you Ensign, I would like to add a question of my own for our invited guest Master krett, What is the Rogon force on the planet trying to accomplish with this operation on the southern landmass”

If he was offended by being questioned by human slaves in this fashion Shintok; krett-N gave no indication he rose a little and answered in perfect English ”both questions are related, our earlier probes had detected large amounts of what you would call heavy metals and transurananics on the southern landmass, we surmise they are the result of a long ago asteroid strike. Many of our crew have departed to be involved in the recovery efforts”

Hunter was momentarily speechless “Are you saying the Rogons are interrupting offensive operations to go looking for gold?

“Yes Commodore, essentially that is correct” replied the humanologist

“Master krett, with all due respect I must protest, this system is occupied by Humans who are far better equipped and organized than we expected. If we wish to bring them under Rogon/UN control we can not afford to waste time with side issues, so far we have had one disaster after another, we must begin effective operations against the colonials as soon as possible”

krett was not disturbed by this criticism “I agree with you wholeheartedly, I admit that it was Rogon incompetence that cause most of problems so far, and I wish to inform you that the leaders of this expedition place their full trust in your command…unfortunately we can not easily stop our volunteer crew from visiting the planet if they want to, however in the interest of assisting with your plans I believe Mr. Redmond has something to offer”

Redmond was unprepared for this move by his new master “That’s not.. I mean…what I mean is that… yes, I have information from my spies on the planet, The rebels have been driven from there home and are hiding in caves north of the city, they plan on sending weapons to the religious fanatics in the south thereby weakening there own position”

“And just how do you know this?” asked St. James

“I have an encrypted commlink to my agents that’s how” said Redmond

“Exellent” replied St James “You will make that link available to miss Taylor so that our naval Intel can monitor It.”
“ Never! You can’t give me orders! That is a UNPD link and…“ but Redmond couldn’t speak due to the sudden constriction of claws around his throat.

“Everything will be as you wish” said Shintok; krett-N, master of humans.

No Pressure No Pressure

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Kara

Evening Day 885 Ft Stuart


I watched as Kara entered the room with great trepidation. I could tell she was thinking “What’s he going to drop on me now?”

“Don’t worry Kara, I am not going to drop the world on you. But, I do have a little pop quiz for you.

“Imagine you are a Science Officer on a Rogon ship approaching a planet you have never seen before. You are approaching what appears to be a very low technology planet except, for one structure. It has high energy signatures everywhere, a large void underneath it that you cannot scan and structures at each corner that appear to be perfect for some kind of weapon placement.

“What do you tell your Capitan?”

“Uh, that I can’t tell her what that structure is, but it doesn’t look good so get the frak out of there…?” Kara said in an “isn’t it obvious so why are you asking” kind of way.

“Pretty well sums up why we never got a shot at those ships. Add that to the way you chased down that RNA strand for Doc Kellerman, plus your database work at the Lab sorta reads like a job description. One that I had planned for Robby McMaster until he decided to get too close to Hanna’s.

“He was supposed to be an Analyst, not running around playing line Infantry.

“Kara, I want you to take his job. And if you come out of that office, you don’t even want to think about where I am going to put that boot!”


“What was that all about?” BJ asked.

“You’re looking at Andy’s new Intelligence Analyst,” Kara said with a triumphant grin.

BJ had a worried look on his face. “While I am sick of being holed up with you, Kara, I still like you and don’t want anything to happen to you. How much do I have to worry?”

“No worries, Beej. It’s an inside, holed away in a safe place, type of job. Apparently he’s going to give me some military person to help me out, so I won’t be all alone either, which is nice. I basically get to analyze the data they send from the field and connect the dots.” Then Kara’s face slipped a little. “No pressure or anything. What the frak did I just get myself into?” She then sat next to BJ on the couch.

“No pressure. If anyone can connect the dots it’s you. Don’t sell yourself short, Kara.”

“Yeah, well, it wasn’t like I was his first choice,” Kara replied, still with a worry in her voice. “Mmmmmph.”

BJ laughed. “And Andy wouldn’t give it to you if he didn’t think you could do it. Now quit your whining!” he said while going for the tickle.

“Hey! BJ!” Kara giggled, which quickly turned to terror as she heard one of the kids heading their way.

“Don’t worry,” BJ said with a smile and a giggle, “Hannah and Jules are here, and I have a feeling they won’t let them near you for a while.”

To which Kara relaxed. But only a little.

“Just think of this new job of yours. Puzzle solving. Computers. Far from everyone else.” BJ coaxed.

To which Kara relaxed, melting into his arms.

Got The Bastard!

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Andrew Stuart

Alchibah Late Day 885 Ft Stuart

Andrew Stuart

I had just finished the joint mission planning session with Bartlett, Christopher and Seaworth when the line to the Comm Center chimed. Oh Great, what now. “Stuart here!”

“Master Chief Benjamin, Sir I need the Commander Strike Force and the Chief Communications Engineer at this site, HYPE!”

I was boiling out the door screaming on the short comm to Marina before he blanked the screen. Frack the snowshoes it was downhill any way, I grabbed the Nordic skis and poles and flew. I would not have thought that Gabe Benjamin would have used the highest alert code we had for anything short of a Nova.

Three minutes later I walked into the Comm Center and what looked like a staging area for a raid. Angel, Scythe and Grinder were geared up and ready to go. Gabe began in the most formal of manners.

“Sir, we have all indications of a active spy in the process of communications. Request that the Communications Engineer confirm and the Commander authorize a surface Covert Action.”

I did not answer just moved to the analysis console, “What you got, Tim?”

“I have this solid and located, I just don’t know what it is.”

I studied the waterfall display and glanced at the Spectrum Display. “That’s because you have a UNWG 37B/A-4 Secure, oh so loved by the Political Directorate. Master Chief do we have an ID on the suspect?”

“Yes Colonel, Sensor systems indicate only one person could be in that spot: Buchanan!”

“Master Chief, Strike Authorized. You will assume the lead due to experience. ROE 2 approved. No way you will save the cypher key but get me that radio and Buchanan alive. HYPE!

“Tim, get me Joe Fortson and Les Reye on secure fiber. No copper and no radio!”


“Got them Line 4.”

“Councilor Reye, Sheriff Fortson; Colonel Stuart, are you secure?”

“Come Mr. Stuart do we have to be…”

“Shut the Frack up Les, Sheriff Fortson are you secure?”

“One moment,” came Joe’s voice. “OK we are now secure and a gun I trust has the door. Your floor Colonel.”

“Thanks Sheriff, this is your formal notification that Strike Force Alchibah has a Covert Surface Action in progress. We have a known Traitor in direct communications with an Enemy Force. As such he constitutes a Direct Military Threat. Upon recovery of his transmitter system and apprehension he becomes a Civil Problem. Sheriff are you prepared to assume custody and jurisdiction at that point?”

“Yes Colonel, I am. Who is the suspect in question?”

“Merry Christmas Joe—-, it’s Buchanan! Les, this is how Military and Civilian authorities are supposed to work. The next time you poor mouth me you Officious Bastard, Andy Stuart is going to punch Lester Reye right square in the mouth and Official Titles ain’t gonna have Frack to do with it. Joe, I’ll call you as soon as I can. Stuart Clear!”

Gabriel Benjamin

We were moving in on the location down in the shipyard. Pity poor Buchanan that two of Ash’s surviving cameras still covered this area. What was amazing me were Scythe and Grinder, they were as good as any I had ever worked with. They were not Wildcat or Magic and God’s forbid not the Reaper but, they were Pro’s. I once told an old Air Force puke that given time Andy could train a rock. These two were not rocks.

Coming to the door I decided to try the old SOCOM sign language, I gave the signs for Scythe to kick the door and clear out and Grinder to back cover. To no great surprise on my part I got immediate “Understood” from both of them.

Scythe flashed across the door with one big right foot reducing it to splinters, I went to overdrive and drove in. Nothing could have stopped Buchanan’s thumb from coming off of the deadman’s switch for the cipher key. But, there was no way his thumb was going to get to the destruct for the Radio.

As Buchanan’s unconscious body bounced off the far wall I heard the comments from outside.

“Scythe, did you happen to see that train go by?”

“Nope, I blinked. BREAK, Reaper Target Secured!”


Posted in In Defense of Liberty by William Bartlett

With Help From the Various Logfiles

Early Morning Alchibah - Day 886:
“They sure didn’t waste any time getting this plan in motion did they Bart?” Janie said while bringing the preflight checklist up on her screen. For this little jaunt she would be the one operating the weapons station.

“Not a bit,” Bart responded while the automatic sequencer went through its motions and he double checked as all systems came up on line. “The little ad hoc add on and tacked to the end of the mission seems a bit risky though.”

“Yes, I was thinking the same thing myself. Everyone says these new shields are near perfect. I hope we don’t get the chance to find out.”

“Right. I couldn’t agree more. Especially after we got the goods on Buchanan. Those Rogons and UNWG people got to know we’re on our way. But maybe it is better this way. They would have detected us anyhow and now they think the flight is going off tomorrow and not today and if the shields do work as advertised we still will have surprise on our side. How about checking with the cargo bus and see how close to being ready they are?”

Janie switched open the low powered ship to ship comm link. “Cargo One, status report.”

“Five minutes till takeoff,” came the reply. Laura Seaworth was taking care of the communications but Jan Christopher was going to be doing the piloting. Jan had had all the training and flight time on the new ships system and Laura, much as she wanted to be the pilot in charge knew that time spent running simulations wasn’t the same as time in air and space. “Looks like we are going to start out at 12%– no make that 14% overweight,” she said as the last crate came onboard. “Until we drop the load we’re gonna’ have all the maneuverability of a bee in a bottle.”

“Good line, save it for the after-action report. Get ready for the final flight detail.” Janie sent the data away with a gloved finger touching an icon on a small screen set into her armrest.

“My that is low isn’t it,” Jan’s voice came through clearly.

“One hundred feet all the way,” Bart answered. “It’s not that I don’t trust the shields but keeping below the radar horizon is another layer of protection. As soon as we go feet dry we will separate some and your job will get tougher. Fifty feet over rolling terrain, even with the comps to help out is nothing to laugh about.”

“Bart, If you hear any laughter look somewhere else cause it won’t be me. I am going to have Laura fly the last four hundred miles till we make shore so I’m rested when we hit land.”

“Sounds good. We are lifting now. When you pass we’ll take station behind and to your right. No communications at all from this point on. If this thing works out we will be having a drink together in about eight hours or so. Until then, good luck to all.”
Jan Christopher lifted the overweight Cargo Bus from the Stuart Compound and said to Laura, “Damn this thing flies like a… Like a…”
“A Bus?” Laura said slyly.”

“Thank you very much my dear, after that comment you certainly will be the one that writes our after action report, what with your way with words and all.”

It was dark and overcast as the bus swept past Liberty City and the Dora matched course behind and to the right. The Dora at least was light and maneuverable. Aside from the weapons load the only cargo aboard were the two robots, Jeep and RoDan, and they were more like crew. Timing was the key to making the whole thing come out as planned, and a complicated plan it was. Especially for one thrown together on such short notice.

* * *
Joe Fortson watched as Burt Buchanan was frog marched into the small room in the Biolab that he was using as a temporary holding cell.

“He sent the message, no doubt about it. We watched him and have it on tape.”

“Any read on just what he said and who he sent it to?” Joe inquired.

“Nothing on that score. Ash has the intercept but he says that he can’t break it without a key or the sending device. We sent him the sending device; it was a little gadget that plugged into a standard personal com unit. But we blew it with Buchanan, or that device was a heck of a lot more sophisticated than anything I ever heard about. It was nothing but melted plastic and charred cinder by the time we pulled it from the com unit. You’ll have to see if you can make him talk. He hasn’t said a word since we collared him.”

“Thanks. In some kind of perverse way I am actually looking forwards to this.” And with that statement Joe followed the prisoner into the lab.

“Stretch him out,” Fortson said to Gene Washburn who was assisting.

“You can’t do this!” Burt Buchanan wailed, “It’s against all of the rules of civilized warfare!” His terror at the sight of the two inclined planks with straps attached had broken through his former silence.

“Sure it is Burt,” Joe said, with a back hand on the side of Buchanan’s face for additional emphasis. Buchanan groaned then glared and Joe spoke again. “All you got to do is tell us what we want to know and we will stop. The choice is yours Burt, all Yours!”

“Strap him down Gene.”

Gene with the help of Frank Turner wrestled the struggling Buchanan onto the planks and tied him in place. “Last chance asshole,” Fortson sneered. After a few seconds of no reply Joe said, “Ok, Let’s get on with it.”

A rag was stuck into Buchanan’s mouth, not tight enough to stop him from breathing but enough so that his mouth would stay open. Gene stretched a sheet of thin, clear, flexible plastic film over the face and nose and poked a hole into it and through to the rag so that Buchanan could breath, at least for now. Joe picked up a bucket of water and was starting to pour it in through the small hole when Kurt Kellerman ran into the room.

“What the hell is this!” he screamed, “You can’t do this, I order you to stop!”

Joe continued pouring and looking over towards Kellerman said, “Kurt, I think you ought to get out of here for now. Maybe we need you later and maybe we don’t. But this bastard is going to talk and Gene is gonna take you out if you try and interfere.”

Kellerman turned and saw Washburn had a hand gun pointed right at his center of mass.

“Don’t worry Doc, it’s set to stun,” Gene said in a more pleasurable tone than the situation seemed to merit.

“Kellerman froze fore just a second then said, “You’ll pay for this later Fortson, mark my words, you’ll pay!”

“I’m sure I will Kurt…I’m sure I will.”

And then Kurt calmed right down reassessing the situation. “Ok, call of your dog, no offense Gene, or at least not much. I can see this has to be done but! I am going to stay and make sure it’s done right. We both may have to answer for this later if we live so long.”

* * *
“How are you doing Bart?” Janie asked three and a half hours later and a couple of hundred miles from the South Alchibah shoreline, “Want me to spell you for a few?”

“Sure thing, thanks Babe.” Carter the innermost moon was just sinking below the horizon and with Oliver long out of sight the only light was from the sky glow. At least down here the weather was clear with no cloud cover to interfere with visual navigation. They could make out the bus still ahead of them Keeping the EM signature down was important and getting more so by the minute. “I hate to be dealing with Jedediah on this but it beats dealing with Edwards. If Joe hadn’t gotten Buchanan to talk this thing had no way of working at all.”

“How do you think he did it Bart?”

“I’m not sure we want to know Babe, I’m just thankful he did.”

Fifteen minutes later came the signal sent by light beam. Feet Dry! No need really, they were only a few hundred yards apart but would soon be splitting up. Jan was going to take the weapons and drop them of at a prearranged spot. There would be no direct contact with either the Leviticans or the Llamas, too risky was the determination. The Dora would sneak in, and if it looked like they were undetected, and it seemed safe, drop off the two bots who would remain behind and act as eyes and ears both for the Leviticans and the colonist.

The Dora would stay low and fly a racetrack pattern between where the Rogon/UN forces were camped and the weapon drop point. If all of that went off without a hitch, a pretty big if, then the second and more dangerous part of the plan would begin.

Laura Seaworth saw the Dora for only an instant and then it was lost behind a small range of hills. She concentrated on her display, only passive detection, and felt her stomach lurch as Jan jogged the still overloaded bus up and down, avoiding only by feet the terrain and treetops they passed over. She would have liked to say something, compliment Jan on her piloting, but now was not the time for distractions.

“This’ll do it Bart,” Janie said as they came into sight of a small landing spot nestled in the hill covered grassland about fifty miles from the Rogon Camp.

Bart set the ship down light as a feather and Janie popped the hatch. The Jeep and RoDan were outside in a flash and the hatch closing as Janie whispered, “Good luck boys.” Of course there was no answer.

Jan set the bus down, “Light as a brick,” she said in disgust.
“Hey we made it this far and I don’t think even Ash could have done any better. I’m going to unstrap and see if I can help with the unloading. The sooner were out of here the more I’m gonna like it.”

Ten minutes later Laura was back in her seat and Jan, after sending out a short burst of static, was streaking back towards Liberty City in a much more maneuverable vessel. But what the heck, it was still a bus and wasn’t going to add anything to the rest of the mission.

“They’re on the way back,” Janie commented.

“Great,” Bart said without taking his eyes from the windscreen and the heads up display shining in its surface. “We’ll draw back a bit and give them some time to clear the area before we show ourselves. This has gone entirely too smoothly so far. The easier things seem the more I worry.”

“You just make sure that you run for all your worth when we get spotted and trust the rest of the team to handle their part.” And then, “Uh-oh, I think they got us.” Janie finished, as red alarm lights started flashing on the ECM and threat displays.

“Off to the races,” Bart said engaging full power and screaming skyward, away from the chasing Skullship and enemy camp, going up and eastward as rapidly as the Dora could manage. “Now we see just how good these really shields are.”

It seemed like only seconds later when Janie said, “Skins getting hot and they’re gaining.”

“I’m watching it Babe, Good thing they know where we are and we don’t need to worry about the heat signature.”

“Bart! I can’t believe you said that!”

“Hmm,” he said, “Didn’t mean for it to come out just that way,” and then, “Hold on!” as the new defensive screen took the first hit and the Dora shuddered under the impact and Janie started ejecting counter measures as a defense against what looked to be incoming missiles that had tripped another alarm.

one summer night

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Shintok

Shintok: elron-A had never been one to question life and the circumstances that he found himself in, until now. He had been unable to sleep and so he had left the shelter and his Broodmates; left the Rogon camp entirely and gone for a walk, across the plain that had until recently been the home of the Yelsig.

But the Yelsig (or ponies as the humans called them) were staying away from the Rogon camp. That suited elron fine, the humans were disturbing enough. Humans…he couldn’t call them slaves anymore. Elron had been taught the human speech, but he had seldom actually spoke to humans, or thought much about them…until three days ago when he had confronted the human prisoner, and now he was awake thinking about him and his words “We’re not slaves… we’re not slaves, damn you! This is our home”

elron didn’t understand this at all, “how could humans not be slaves” he asked himself, it went against what he had always known, but somehow he felt it was true. Jaric; tilmer-N had tried to explain, but it made no sense, the Rogon scientist had arranged for elron and his 3 brothers to serve as guards for the prisoners, at least until huk’s injuries were fully healed. elron had begun to approach the human soldiers and question them but this had simply added to his confusion, and amused the soldiers.

A warm wind was blowing through the grass; elron could smell the sea in the breeze, not the sea smell of the Shintok islands of Rogoss, but the sea nevertheless. Suddenly lights and noise erupted from the distant Rogon camp, elron turned around to see the green luminescence of the energy dome of the shield collapse and then Dagonhead 2 rise up and begin to fly toward the distant mountains, moving faster and faster until it disappeared beyond the moonlit peaks. The green dome reappeared above the remaining Dragonhead ship but elron paid no attention as he ran back through the tall grass as fast as his four legs could take him.


Posted in In Defense of Liberty by William Bartlett

Alchibah L2 Lagrange Point Day 886

From Various Log Files

Andrew Stuart

As the current position of the moon Carter masked the L2 point we decided to loiter there and were waiting for the show to begin when Ash chimed up.

“You know,” he mused, “if Bart can stick to the plan He’s gonna come through Point Luck at about 150 K/sec and still digging. Angel and Wildcat are going to have about a 9 second shot at that snake. I agree they have enough missiles down there it should work, my question is why are we stooging around up here?”

“Because I promised Bart that I would protect Janie. That Ash is why we are ignoring the 100’s and the damn useless missiles. We go with the Rail Guns, if the missile barrage fails; we show our hand and go get the Bastard!

“I would like however to not show our hand right now. If the missile storm works, it is a conventional attack and won’t raise any short-hairs. If you and I go tearing out of here at 300 G’s and smack that snake with 5 CM Railers, someone is going to have to notice.

“I don’t want that Pro up there in a position to guess my hole cards.”

“OK, Kat got the sequence?” Asked Mariana.

“Keyed in, what do we use as a clock start?”

“Here you go Kat, that’s a point on Bart’s projected route that I am designating Point Wolf. We hit the key at Wolf and you guys launch at Luck. That should give you the full nine second window.

“Andy’s not going to use those missiles for anything else so no reason to save any.”

“Heads up guys,” I said, “here comes Bart with a Snake on his ass. 4 min 50 to show time.”

William Bartlett

The augmented shuttle/lander Dora streaked up and eastward, away from the Rogon skullship that was following closely on its tail. As she got higher, above 100,000 feet. and started leaving the atmosphere and it’s heating effects behind, she sped up further until the Rogons were no longer gaining; they might even be losing some. Once the Rogon ship cleared atmosphere that was likely to change.

“Hold her straight for a bit Bart,” Janie said. “Our shields aren’t being stressed and the Rogon fire is slowing down. They must have determined that at this range they can’t hurt us. We sure can’t get into a dogfight with that thing but if I can get the timing right I just might be able to cut the shields long enough to kick out a couple of anti-ship missiles.”

“What good will that do Babe?” Bart asked while he continued plotting the path that was taking them over the horizon from the Rogon base. “Were going far to fast for those missiles to turn around and lock on to the Rogons.”

Before she had a chance to reply the fire from the Rogon energy weapons cut completely out and Janie immediately killed the shields for an instant then started them back up and repeated the process three more times in rapid succession. Between the second and third shutdown she ejected two of the four small homing devices. All the while she was kicking out chaff and flares and driving the EM scrambler at max variability. “That ought to make it look like we are having problems with shield stability. I set the missiles guidance computers to just let them coast until the Rogons fly by. If they don’t twig to what’s happening we could get a couple of shots in.”

It was not to be. Scant seconds after the missiles separated from the Dora, Rogon plasma weapons locked on and vaporized them. It happened so fast there wasn’t even time for an explosion of the warhead. Phett, phett, and they were gone.

“Good try Babe; we picked up a few more seconds. Do it again when ever you’re ready; we need every bit of lead we can manage. Carter should be coming into sight about now! Yes there it is. Keep them damn snakes guessing.”

“Here we go Janie,” Bart said as the Dora shuddered in reaction to a hit on the shield. The Rogons had made up all of the distance the had lost earlier and the shields were being driven almost to failure.. “We’re almost in an overload condition so this had better work!”

Rocco Williams

“There she is,” Rocco Williams thought to himself as he picked up the Dora on visuals. Ever since the chase started he had been monitoring the com channels, no point in Bart and Janie trying to maintain a black-out. He was a little surprised they had made it this far. Maybe the plan works after all.

Rocco had been on the inner moon for over half a day, more than one full orbit. It had taken that long to get everything set and in place. But here his experience onboard the Mayflowers in it’s previous life as a mining asteroid, and the help of the mining bots to do the heavy lifting, paid off. He made it with time to spare. In fact he had finished up the last of his part working on the side of the rock facing away from the planets surface even before he was passing over the Rogon camp on South Alchibah.

Two of the bots were finishing up the final wiring and signal circuits when he returned to the inflatable tent on the side of the moon that faced the planet. The com gear and other electronics were the easy part. Keeping this kludge of a Radar running was harder. Then in his ear came Mariana Stuart.

Rocco listened to Mariana and watched as Bart took the Dora as close to the moon’s surface he dared. He passed directly over side of the moon facing away from the planet and changed course at once, now driving towards the darkness of the planet below and getting the moon between him and line of sight of the Rogon skullship.

* * *
“Distance must close,” the Rogon commander of the skullship Dragonshead 2 ordered as the Rogon pilot started to drift wide from the moon for more clearance. “Follow in line. They will be back in sight soon, we will give away no distance. For human ship the end is at hand. No chance do we take that they make atmosphere before we complete mission and finish with weakones our dealings. This effrontery is not tolerable and end must.

“Aye, aye, Master Sir,” the pilot replied in a weak mimic of what a human might have said and readjusting the ship’s trajectory so that it would fly over the moon’s rocky surface almost as closely as the ship fleeing in front of him. This chase was about to end.

Strike Force Forward; COl Andrew Stuart, Commanding

“He appears to right on track and that Snake don’t look like he is going to quit any time soon. Watch the screens and get ready.” Andy called out.

At about 30 seconds out everyone heard Mariana in that low evil voice she could get, “Here, Kitty Kitty Kitty.”

The screens flashed Wolf and the sound of keys going home was rapidly replaced by Luck. All six multi-Barrel missile launchers flared in a clear show of overkill. I have no idea how many of that Barrage actually got the frontal collision impact we were looking for. That’s what slow speed playbacks are for. But the cloud of gas and debris moving on the ballistic track where a Skull Ship had been said that it had been enough.

“OK, let’s wait for Bart to get back and it should be just about time for Firebird and River. Let’s go pick up Angel, Wildcat and Rocco while we are waiting.”

Bart’s voice came over the comms, “We will be back in a few. We have Firebird on sensors. We will lock up with her.”

We loitered till Bart and Jai joined up, than went into a 4 ship V. Once we were in unison I slid out into the spacing for a 5 ship V with one empty hole and we started the spiral down at one G. We made one pass over Liberty and settled onto the landing field still in that formation.

Fool me once…

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Richard Redmond

Command Deck Rogon Ship Deathfang:

“Captains on the bridge!”

Hunter St James strode to the watch command station in Deathfang’s human modified control room. “What do we have Wendy?” he asked the young officer who had assumed the duties of his chief of staff…

Although Ensign Wendy Taylor was young she was smart and efficient in all things, “Long range scans of the planet are picking up some ship movements.” She activated the main 3-D projection, “At 161 light seconds, we loose a little detail, There’s definitely a hot pursuit going on.”

The big screen above showed time stamps in human base 10 and Rogon base 8 numerals, Hunter ignored that and concentrated on the active symbols. A red triangle was leading a green skull and crossbones symbol at a high rate of speed across the face of the planet “Very cute, now zoom out.”

The scene abruptly changed so that the planet became a 2 foot ball suspended in the vast field of view. “Now project the vectors,” Hunter directed. Suddenly two lines appeared almost superimposed on each other, extending from the ship icons to a small white ball about 4 feet from the planet. “Ok show me the current plot,” again the view change with the ship symbols moving half way up the two colored vectors towards the small moon. “Order the Dragonhead to break off pursuit, they won’t, but send it anyway.”

The message was promptly sent to Dragonhead 2, 161 seconds away, “Your analysis Miss Taylor?”

Wendy Taylor was becoming used to such questions from the Commodore, He expected his officers to think about problems and have quick answers.

“Sir we expected the Colonials to make their supply run to the southern landmass two days from now, apparently they have jumped the gun and were detected by the Dragonhead which is now chasing them into space.”

Wendy was sure she was correct but also thought she should have had more to say. Hunter was reasonably pleased but felt some more instructive questioning was in order. “OK 2 questions, one, if they advanced their plans what doe’s that tell us? and two, why the close pass of that small moon?”

A piece of the puzzle became suddenly obvious, “They must have caught the spy…and decoded his message…but… I’m sorry sir I don’t know why they are going past that moon.”

Hunter was satisfied with that, ” So far so good…passing that close to the moon is no coincidence, obviously they have some kind of trap set, that’s why I sent the recall order. It probably won’t arrive in time, and even if it does the Rogons will ignore it but it is a chance.”

They watched silently as the chase played out above when the two icons reached the moon suddenly a confusing group of red triangles and arrow symbols appeared, in seconds the green skull began blinking and then disappeared.

“Isn’t there anything we can do sir?” she asked in a diminished voice.

Hunter had already discarded the one option but he felt it only fair to explain, “We could order Dragonhead 3 to cut anchors and assume a blocking orbit… she might catch a couple of those ships but probably not.”

Wendy didn’t quite understand. “But Sir” she stammered, “Aren’t two ships better than none?”

Hunter gave the young officer a sad smile, “Sure two ships are better than none, but a smart commander would split his ships up and risk a couple for the chance to slam the planetary base, I’m not prepared to take that bet.”

They watched as the red ships maneuvered on the screen “place two recon drones in very high orbits on opposite sides of the planet…Oh and keep a continuous watch on the spy channel, they will either begin filing false reports or try to contact us direct, either way I want to know.”

After a few minutes the red ship symbols began their return to the planet, the display zoomed in till they filled the screen. As they made the final approach their formation subtly shifted.

“What was that Sir?” Asked Ensign Taylor in a slightly confused tone.

Commodore Hunter St. James stared at the 3-D for a long moment. “It’s called the Missing Man Formation. It’s the way Combat Pilot’s have honored one of their own who died for generations. Those with any sense of honor that is. Somehow I doubt that honor is missing down there.”

First Contact

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Andrew Stuart

Alchibah Space Day 887

Andrew Stuart

Tim was hesitant. “Are you sure you want to do this without talking to the Council?”

“Yes Tim, this is a pure Military Decision. Getting Politicians in the middle of this is the one thing that might Frack it up. Fire it up and let’s talk. Kara be ready on that database, it was accurate as of the Day we stole it off of that Cruiser.” I calmly waited as he flipped the switches and waved at me.

“Good Morning, whatever you Goonies are calling yourselves these days. We are in the clear I have nothing to hide.

“If I am talking to Political Directorate, I strongly suggest you get Naval Intelligence on the line. If I am talking to Naval Intelligence, I am the local Commander and I am declaring a Case Zulu. I suggest you get your Boss on the line.”

“OK Kara who answers will be our first hint of what’s going on.”

After almost a minute a woman’s voice came from the speakers.

“Ensign Taylor here, the Commodore is in route; please hold one.”

“Bingo Kara, NavInt. Now I am willing to bet the Commander is on that three name short list.”

“My pleasure Miss Taylor!”

Tim looked stunned, “You were right.”

“Tim, there is a real life pro up there. I am gambling that I can connect to him or her!”

“Commodore Hunter St James, Task Force Alchibah, Commanding. To whom am I speaking?”

“Kara, I have heard that name, dump the file to my screen ASAP! I’ll tap dance him. At least we will have a couple of minutes to think”

“Colonel Andrew Stuart, Strike Force Alchibah, Commanding and might I add the only Commander authorized by the legitimate Government of Alchibah to use that title. Yours Sir, is the title of a would be Conqueror.”

“Good job Kara. That’s who I thought it was. Hang on boys and girls I gonna jab and weave and see how he is thinking. If he doesn’t tell me to go straight to hell, we have a chance.”

Commodore St. James

“Colonel Stuart, I’m not going to debate legalities with you, I know your record, and I respect you. But you of all people know what will happen if we go at it. No matter how well equipped and trained your people are…you’re going to take casualties.

“The difference between us is that the families of me and my people are safely 49 light years away, and yours are with you in the combat zone”

St James closed his eyes and squeezed the glass globe in his hand “I have to pretend that’s true”, he thought, “or I’ll never get home.”

Hunter continued, “Colonel I didn’t come all this way to make war on civilians, but I’ll do what I must to complete my mission.

“Now I’m prepared to offer you and your uniformed personal full military recognition, complete amnesty for any and all previous crimes under UN Law. Those who wish will be offered full recognition of service and incorporation in the UNWG Alchibah garrison.

“I can offer you a 72 hour truce to take counsel of your officers, and for further negotiations…

“Sir, I know your honor as a warrior will compel you to reject this offer, I hope you sense of loyalty to your troops and duty to the community you’ve built here will let us find a peaceful solution here.”

Colonel Stuart

“Sir, I also know the butcher of Ceres by reputation and expect you to take this calmly.

“First, I have your young LT Anselmo in our Hospital. His physical injuries are mostly bruises from the original incident and not being in an acceleration seat on the way down. He is under observation for the mental affects of being found when He was down to four minutes of air.

“Second, the people I have promised to defend intend to never be slaves to any system whether, it be human or alien. The UNWG exists by enslaving people and we will not stand for that.

“Sir, if you think you will get close enough for one of your patented Nuke Strikes; I am afraid you are wrong.

“There is one difference between us Commodore, I will die in the doing if necessary; but you will not make slaves of my children.”

Commodore St. James

Onboard Deathfang St James had to think fast, “Guy alive?” he thought, “well prisoner release will take care of itself in another couple weeks, best not to think about it now” He keyed the mike:

“Colonel, you know as well as I do that the conscience of a soldier is often sacrificed to the needs of the state. In all the years since that terrible day there is not a single time I could look at my own daughters and fail to think of those children, but to save the lives of many, a warrior must sometimes foul his soul with the blood of a few.

“In the last Century governments on Earth Killed 100’s of millions of innocents in war and peace; I’ll admit to you that the leaders of the UN are corrupt and immoral, But the United Nations World Government has provided peace and safety to all humanity since its inception. I have spent my life serving the ideal of a peaceful world, that is what I am trying to offer to you and yours.

“Just say the word and I will send food and medical supplies to the colonials hiding in caves, we will help rebuild your town, you can live the life of a gentleman farmer and spend the summer on your sailboat”

Wendy Taylor looked at her Commodore with wide eyes “Sailboat sir?”

St James answer came from far away “verifying Intel Ensign, just a test”

Colonel Stuart

“Should we ever get the chance we can exchange stories about our respective Ghosts. You can tell your efficient sounding young Ensign to look for Second Tehran, Khandar Palace; I will be listed as an SFC, my Officer record is all Black Ops you won’t find anything there.

“Sir, tell me without lying though your teeth that your job here is not to make that piece of Human Excrement Richard Redmond the Political Governor of Colony Alchibah. You speak of honor but you take orders from that scum. At least do me the favor of putting that asshole in the jump seat of the next sacrificial Skull Ship you send this way. At least that way when the main fleets meet, I can at least die happy.

“What would you do if I were standing between you and your children? Dear God, I would fight my way through all of Earths slave soldiers to save yours.

“Would you want your daughters to live in a city ruled by Richard Redmond? I sir would fight to the death before I’d let my daughters live on the same planet as that bastard. Shit St James, I don’t want to fight you.

“But, fight we must unless you have a way of getting the damn Guardians to talk to either of us; the only thing they ever told us was ‘Stay the Hell away from the South Continent!’ St. James, I have had three of the greatest Physicists and Mathematicians Earth ever produced working their ass off for two earth years getting ready for this.

“You have no idea what I am capable of. I hope to the Gods we never have to find out.

“Just what kind of Man are you Sir?”

I winked at Tim and went for the downs. “You missed one thing though. I don’t farm, I run an Industrial Complex and I make Booze. My sailboat is a Bluenose Class Open Water Schooner named Cuchulainn. Come on down I’ll give you a ride in the spring.”

I chopped the mic and stared at the room. “Now we wait and see!

“This may just be the longest few minutes of my life.”

The Cold River Valley

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Jedediah Dobswell

Cold River Valley

In My Fathers Eyes:
“In league with the devil I tell you, in league with evil incarnate,” Jedediah said or ranted to his son Aaron as they turned inland heading for the pickup point where the Liberty City colonists had left the weapon supplies.

“In more ways than one father, but we are free of the serpent in our midst. When I confronted Edwards with the truth of his perfidy he laughed then turned his back and rode off in the direction of the Rogon camp. Aram, Ephraim, and Joseph went with him. The rest obeyed my commands. I think now I might have ordered those with me them to give chase but at the time I was not so sure where everyone’s loyalties lay.”

“Take not the council of your fears, the Lord will provide; and the provision of weapons was certainly unexpected. I see you are not carrying a rifle yourself my son. Why is that?”

“The Lord is my strength and my shield. I need naught else. Sister Martha has taken to riding with me since Edwards left and in any case; she is armed enough for the both of us. Have you spoken yet again with those we left behind?”

“I have not. Joseph Fortson, who is speaking for them, said that communications would be limited unless and until we come under attack. The landing party that left us the guns also he says left behind two robots. He did not tell me where they are; only that they are somewhere up ahead of us. They are to act as forward observers but are not under our direction. We shall trust in the Lord and all will be as he desires.”

* * *
Standing outside of the milling herd, no it was a crowd, herd was used for animals, Sister Martha watched as the two large Tulari, Enoch, and Belsethar, as they began passing out the rifles to the waiting Tulari. Each Llama next went to either Hosham or Micah and in seconds received all the training they would get in one mental transfer. After all the guns were passed out and over the next few days Marty would visit the rapidly dispersing groups and make sure that each one of them fired enough rounds to zero-in the rifles. It had been a very pleasant surprise when she saw that the Agorans, Marty could not bring herself to think of them as Aarons, with their four footed stance and stability were amazingly good shots.

The combined tribes, Agorah, Tulari, Richirty and now Piridem, the first of whose members had just arrived, were going to keep marching towards the Rogon camp all the while and She would travel with Aaron and Jedediah; acting as their voice when required. They were sill at least three weeks from reaching the landed party but contact could happen at any time. With Edwards gone, and that was all to the good, the ‘Generalship’, from the human side at least, had fallen on her shoulders. How very, very, strange. ‘Martha the Warrior Princess’, no that wasn’t right, ‘Martha the servant of the Lord’.

* * *
Cotton Edwards was traveling as rapidly as he could manage, so much so that his wife was suffering visibly. She said nothing but the hour upon hour of walk then ride with scant rest had dulled her perception. Even the three Soessossins traveling with them were showing the strain. Helen had given up asking any questions or even talking to her husband, it was too much effort. Cotton had said they would reach the Rogon camp in a week, and from time to time he would say they were still on track. He made no effort to conceal his contact with the Rogon/UN force any longer. He had been assured the humans back in Liberty city were no longer a threat. He was sorely puzzled by the fact that he had to make the march at all and that a shuttle was not just sent transport his party to the camp in minutes rather than the days it was taking.

RoDan and R. JP, sheltered in the tall grass of a hillside watched the party of five pass. They followed for a day until it was certain that the destination was the Rogon camp. While Edwards was still approaching them the bots had picked up the fringes of the directed com signals. Now, with the party beyond them that was no longer possible. But it wasn’t very important either. Most of the communication was one way; Edwards telling all he knew about the Levitican and Soessossin plan with no information going in the other direction.

In the Cave and in the Stuart Compound the infrequent signals, relayed whenever the moon Carter was in a favorable position, were monitored around the clock.

“I almost wish I were there,” JJ Parker said.
“Sure ya do,” Joe Fortson replied. “You got ‘Hero’ written all over you.”

JJ’s face reddened and he answered, “You’re right Joe, I’m not all that much younger than you. The both of us are too old for that kind of thing. The waiting is what is getting to me and I’m not the only one. The Rogons must know all about these caves by now, what with Buchanan telling all. Is there anyway we can move from here to a new location that is secret?

“Not much chance of that JJ. Whatever is going to happen it will play out one way or another long before we could find and rebuild in another place. If I were you I‘d be getting with the prisoners and trying to learn a little Rogon. No matter how this turns out it could be of use.”

“What are you going to tell the Jeep and RoDan to do?”
“I just sent word for them to fall back towards the Levitican main party and to stay about a day ahead of their travel but make sure and stay out of sight. When we see what the Rogons and UN decide to do we can figure what comes next.”

* * *
Ten days since the march began and the tribes were almost all in place. Aaron no longer spent all of his time reinforcing the faith of the recent converts. He spoke mostly to his inner circle and they spread the word. His mother and sister were being raised to near deity level as the Soessossins interpreted and reinterpreted all that Aaron or his father Jedediah said and mixed it into their understanding of the biblical text. According to his father heresies abounded and Jedediah was free in condemnation and correction. Aaron’s approach was much milder and in tune with the gentle creatures nature. Or it had been; but the continual search for dietary protein that fueled the march was turning the once pacifistic creatures into something much closer to an angry mob.

The colonists at Liberty City, from time to time, contacted Jedediah and advised that they give up the march to the Rogon camp and scatter into the wilderness. When his father spoke to Aaron concerning the matter, Aaron had mildly rebuked him saying, “We are of the Lord and he is of us. Our faith is both our armor and sword and whomsoever shall stand in our way shall perish thereby.” Jedediah accepted the words, though reluctantly. For the Soessossins they became a prophesy and battle cry.

Communications with Liberty, however infrequent, would give some warning should the Rogons chose to do anything but wait for their arrival.

As everyone else in the group was drawing deeper and deeper into the religious fervor, Sister Martha was beginning to have doubts. She had traveled with Aaron whenever he went away from the main group and saw how much the Llamas were changing. That was something that was easier to do when contrasting the new converts with the Agoran who had been with them from the start. It seemed to her that the Soessossins were no longer out for salvation but out for blood. There was nobody to talk to about this, Sister Ruth was too young and Jedediah’s wife Miriam was a captive to her faith or perhaps in thrall to both her husband and son. Doubts and all, she had no out, so would make the best of it.

“The Yelsig may be useless but they will accompany you Shintok; petok-S,” said Jaric; tilmer-N. “Our Overmaster has so demanded. I have spent much time reading and researching the military histories of these Humans and there is a term they refer to which covers this situation. Such soldiers are called ‘Cannon Fodder’; a wave of ineffective troops that both distracts and attempts to overrun an opposing force. They are not expected to survive nor are they trained in military virtue and tactics. They also need no motivation beyond the fact that should they fail to advance, or when engaged flee to the rear, they will be shot by the forces behind driving them forward. Ineffective they may be but the cost of using them is nonexistent.”

“You will take no time investigating for mineral deposits until all of the clients of the Chewpess are subjugated. Upon expeditious completion of your mission your reward will be commensurate with its success.”

“Submaster-tilmer, I claim no special knowledge concerning the strength of these slaves to be, but would not it be advisable to use the Dragon’s Head to end this thing at once?”

“Obey Must! Policy is not for such as you! You will take the Edwards creature with you but no other Humans, your masters find reason to question their subservience. You will take also your underlings and in particular elron-A and his broodmates argo and teth and the damaged huk, I find they annoy me. You will remember that a live slave is more valuable than a dead slave and conduct yourself accordingly and as directed!” Jaric; tilmer-N gave not a second glance to Shintok; petok-S as he walked away from the lesser Rogon. Appearances must be maintained.

Liberty City:
“They’ve sent out a force,” Subbu Akai said to Fortson and Reye who were waiting to see the latest download from Rocco from his tent up on the moon Carter. All Rogon, no UN people in view. Can’t tell exactly how long ago but when I get the speed of the march calculated I’ll let you know. Must have been a few hours ago anyway.”

“Any vehicles?” Fortson asked.

“Only a couple of skimmers that I can locate and they are off to the sides. Think they are herding in the Yelsig and trying to get them out front. Yes that’s it. Sabbu said that after fast forwarding ahead in the data stream. I see a few Yelsig bodies down and on the ground. Looks like it took a bit of convincing to get them moving.”

Les Reye spoke up, “If the Guardians are ever going to interfere now is the time. I am at a loss to explain why they are waiting.”

“Not our problem,” Fortson said. “Les could you put out a call for some of our military brain trust and we can try and work out their intentions and figure what to tell Dobswell and where to send the bot’s”

Reye sent a query… “Andy is with Bart and Connor at the castle. Let’s send them the download and then we’ll see.”

“Give it another day,” Andy said. “Until we know the rate of advance we don’t know where they meet. But we should give Dobswell a heads up and show him the best spot we can find for him to make a stand. He sure as hell can‘t go up against them in a set piece battle. Hell he can‘t go up against them in any fashion and expect to win against competent leadership. But the Rogons thus far haven‘t shown much of that now have they?”

Progress reports made after Carter completed two more orbits showed the two groups would meet on a vast open plain in six more days. That was the kind of terrain Dobswell needed to avoid if he were to have any kind of a chance. Fortson sent a brief message advising of the fact and suggesting they halt their advance while still in the foothills the plain abutted.

Looking at the downloaded views they saw a likely spot just before the Levitican led Soessossins would breakout into the flatlands. It was nicely hilled and partially forested with a small river running through from east to west. The river came from deeper inside the continent and was fed by mountain snow runoff. Just as it broke out of the hilly land it fed what looked to be a large impact crater forming a lake just beyond the point where they advised Dobswell to stop. It took some convincing but finally Dobswell agreed that he would halt just before he reached the plain and lake and prepare for battle there instead of rushing madly onwards.

Joe directed RoDan and the Jeep take up positions on either side of and in front of Dobswell. They would have a somewhat distant, but with their advanced optics, still ringside seat for the coming engagement.

Here We Stand!

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Andrew Stuart

Ft. Stuart, Late Evening Day 887

Gabriel Benjamin

I had rounded up the whole crew that Andy had asked for and everyone had just finished attacking the Bar when Andy walked in. I was stunned for a moment then yelled at the top of my lungs “Detachment, Attention!”

I snapped off the first well meant salute since the day I had left this man’s Command at old Coronado to the sight of that Star replacing the Eagle on the collar of Andy’s jacket. I could not help but gloat, “Mine was the first General; you owe me. I might even forgo my Silver Dollar for the story of how the Council hung that Fracking Star on you, for I know that you took that about as willingly as I would a Commission.”

Andy returned the salutes of the room with Professional Cold Precision, “Carry On, Master Chief; One of these days!

“Anyway when the Council broke it to me they had a member of the Council and an invited Observer with their sidearms already out with the safety’s off.”

I had to laugh, “And who were those brave souls? Two on one has never stopped you before that I know of.”

Andy’s head dipped like someone who had a straight flush turned on him. “Gabe, it was Mariana and Jai!”

I could not help it, for the first time since this had started; I totally cracked up. The only two people in the Universe old enough to hold a weapon that Andy would absolutely positively not take out, drawing down on him…. priceless!

Andrew Stuart

“All Right you group of reprobates settle down and we will brief the situation.”

Then from the back corner came the voice of Connor Benjamin, “But first a toast for Histy. The only man on this planet who has ever been able to snake trap the Boss!”

I heard the room explode in laughter and high fives and just slumped in my chair. Mariana came by from her trip to the Bar, “Let them celebrate love, this is what you have built. They will follow you into Hell itself computing the loot they are going to bring back. They just might deserve a laugh on the Boss every so often!”

I waited till the commotion started to die down then stood with the tears of laughter still visible on my face. “If you turkeys are ready to quit laughing at the Boss, we do have some business here. Gabe, Connor; rest assured I owe you one.

“OK, here is our status. Ash, Walt, Tim and Subbu are working their tails off on the cockpit upgrades to the MK V. The MK V-A is going to be a single Pilot bird. Every Wizzo who is qualified to be a Pilot is now on the duty rotation for the Cockpit.

“Jai, your bird will be ready by dawn. Move it up to the Dam Complex so we have our assets split. You and River are 10 and 10 on that bird.

“Ash’s and my birds will stay here. We will have two bird’s on ready 5 at all times. I am going to spend tomorrow putting up the two Radar Towers we had ready but just did not get the time to put up. We are going to surveil and defend this globe.” I threw it on the projection screen.

“This is the area that Commodore Hunter St. James would have to enter to launch a Nuke Strike against Liberty. It is my intention to send this projection to Him tonight and inform him that we will likewise not attack outside that perimeter. Remember, every hour we buy is one more that the Mayflower crew has to complete their upgrades and finish the Hamilton. I do not want to go up against that damn Rogon mothership without the Hamilton. Any questions?” The room was amazingly quiet.

“Then finish your drinks and get some sleep. Major Pierce a moment please?”

John Pierce came over, “John as of tomorrow morning you go back to being a General Contractor. Of course Hanna’s is the first major project in the pipe. But, I have one personal request. The Council approved Strike Force’s claim for the 440 acres around where we buried Steve Fallon and Robbie McMaster. I would like this Arch in wood placed over the center of the Southern edge please.”

I showed him the rough drawing of a simple, non-pretentious arch with the simple engraving.


Phoenix Rising!

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Andrew Stuart

Ft. Stuart, Evening Day 888

Andrew Stuart

I settled into the chair groaning, the shower had helped but from before Sunrise to after Sunset building towers hurt. It was something that had to be done and done fast but, it still hurt. Note to self, Teach someone younger Tower work. My desk unit chimed and it was Tim at Communications Central.

“Andy, those lists you asked for are ready and are in common database files ready to transmit. Are you sure you want to do this?”

“Tim, I kinda have to. It’s all part of feeling out that crew up there not to mention that one file. Those Guys and Gals went down like Soldiers not thugs and deserve better than an unmarked grave. Shit that LT at the Lab made a dumb as hell move but it was a gutsy one and one you would expect of a leader. Good or Bad, you can’t ask much more out of a young 2LT.

“So, cue up the files for my signal and put me through to Task Force Alchibah.

“Task Force Alchibah, General Stuart Strike Force Alchibah on the line. I have data and a request for you!”

The obviously tired voice of Ensign Taylor came on the line. “Congratulations General and what can we do for you?”

I heard the suppressed giggle in that young voice and just had to ask, “Have my troops been telling tales out of school?”

You did not need video to see that smile across all the miles, “You have to admit Sir that that story is going to make the rounds of the lower ranks in any service.”

“Yeah Right, at any rate I have three database files for you. The First is those Soldiers we have captured or wounded who have been able to give us their Rank and Name. Anyone who made it to our Hospital is on that list. The Second is a list of wrist comp serial numbers; if you can tie those to the baby raping, back shooting and looting bastards who were wearing those, I have burial locations for them. The Third is pictures, where I would want anyone to see them, and fingerprint files for a bunch of Kids who went down hard as Soldiers.

“I would like very much to get Names, Ranks and Birth Dates for that file. I will later amend that file with appropriate plot locations for those. Those kids deserve better than an unmarked grave. At any rate here come the files.” My hands flicked the key signal to Tim and I waited out the delay.

Command Deck, Deathfang

Wendy Taylor turned towards the Commodore in what she thought was starting to be a habit, “Sir, what do I do?”

Hunter St. James stared at the overhead for a moment. “Send him the data Ensign. I think our new General down there is going to give those people Military Honors. Like I said, if anything is lacking down there I don’t think it is Honor.”

Communications Central, Liberty

Tim’s voice rang in triumph, “Got a correlation running message. How did you know?”

I picked up the drink that had been waiting, “Tim, I can not tell you that I will like that man if I ever get the chance to meet him. But, I can tell you right now I will not hate him. The man is a Professional Naval Officer, which of course means there will be some friction. Look up the traditions of the old Army-Navy Game. Remember four months after that game those Kids went to War together. Cripes that would mean a four boat race, shit!”

Tim killed the Microphone and pointed his head at the roof and let the tears and laughter roll. Just days ago Alchibah had been reeling slightly as the rock they had counted on to carry them though this War almost seemed to be crumbling. Suddenly out of the ashes had come this new rebirth. Joe, Bart and Rocco were dealing with the South. Andy was snapping Commands in all directions. Ash, Hibbs and Chandler were burning bandwidth in cryptic mathematics and Hanna was smiling.

Tim was just a Comm’s and Data guy but, this sure seemed to be a bad time to be a Snake.

No more fooling around

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Richard Redmond

For four years Commodore Hunter St James had been working under the watchful eyes and ears of the Rogons, he hoped his two subordinate officers could act with enough restraint to satisfy those that listen.

“We are awaiting a full accounting of our loses from the Colonials, at least they were decent enough to give us the names of POWs’ I’m honestly beginning to regret that we are at war with these guys” Hunter place a small glass globe on the table in front of him, he considered it for a moment and began making decisions.

“OK, of the four Dragonheads lost to date 3 were operated by Rogons all under questionable circumstances, from this point on all Dragonhead flights will be manned by UN navy personal. Secondly from now on dragonheads will operate in pairs at a minimum. Now, tell me how long it will take to implement this order.”

Ensign Taylor consulted her clipboard, “Well sir, we currently have 3 heads docked, 2 inbound and two approaching the planet, with one permanently grounded. Of the two approaching Alchibah one has a Rogon crew.”

Hunter was pleased by this “Fine, send orders to the Navy detachment ashore to take over operation of that vessel and that both ships will return together, we will send detail flight instructions later. I’m certain the Rogon crew will want to go off fortune hunting with the rest of the Rogons, so there should be no problem. And send orders to the army as well, all personal are to be embarked on those ships for return to Deathfang. Only those who volunteer to remain with Major Putnam may do so, no one will be forced to stay.”

Hunter went on to the next item on the list “Speaking of fortune hunting do we know how many Rogons have assembled on the planet?”

Wendy Taylor hesitated briefly, “Well sir, obviously the Rogons come and go as they please. I don’t think the Rogon command even knows how many have left…That said I would estimate that including those on route, close to 400 Rogons are at the base camp.”

Lew DeWalt, silent to this point spoke up, “Excuse me, Sir, Miss Taylor, but I have taken the liberty of ordering my men to keep a running tally I can get that information for you, but if anything Miss Taylor is guessing lowl”

Hunter St. James thought this over for a minute “So on the other hand, do we know how many Rogons remain onboard?”

“No sir,” replied the young Ensign, “Our best guess would be a little over 100l”

“Well that won’t do, In the event of an emergency, we need to know who’s onboard” Hunter was obviously speaking as though unseen ears might be listening “I want to encourage some inter-service co-operation.”

“In the event I hold a surprise, being overboard drill, it will be necessary to rapidly account for all personal human or Rogon. Miss Taylor you will develop methods to rapidly locate and count all Rogons on board. Captain DeWalt, you will designate certain NCOs’ to train with the Navy in conducting search parties to locate missing or injured Rogons.”

“Next on the list; Miss Taylor, did I not see some UN fighters on the lower boat deck when I conducted my last walk through?”

Wendy Taylor answered enthusiastically, “Yes sir you did, we have 16 F-91 Stiletto fighters completely upgraded with Rogon-tech, most officers and Non-coms are qualified on them and let me tell you sir they are sweet.”

“I should think so, I checked out in the Stiletto when they came out about 10 years back and they were super hot birds then; I can imagine what a couple hundred extra gees would do…Make up a pilot list of 15 qualified persons and we will start doing work ups for eventual combat air patrols…and no, Miss Taylor you are not to include yourself on that list.”

Hunter ignored Wendy’s obvious disappointmen,t “Oh yeah, going back to the would be gold miners ” I will inform our Rogon Masters that I will send one more pair of Dragonheads to the planet for the purpose delivering Rogon prospectors, after that we will go to a full war footing.”

“Captain I want you to begin planning for a full regimental ground assault on the cave location. It may be necessary to drop in some distance away so do a feasibility study on a hovercraft assault over the sea ice…Lord knows we have the equipment for it; when you make contact you’ll have 7 Dragons 16 fighters and the Deathfang overhead, if that ain’t enough we can all forget going home… I expect an outline in two days.”

Wendy spoke up, “16 fighters, sir?”

“That’s right Miss Taylor… It’s traditional that the first bird in an air wing is reserved for the carriers Captain.” Hunter knew how bad the young officer wanted to prove herself; he couldn’t just shoot her down without building her back up.

Hunter rolled the glass globe between his fingers, “I know I’m asking a lot of both of you; sometimes duty requires everything that you can give and then steals what’s left,” He paused again looking at the globe, “Once the Troops return from the planet we will hold a full command formation on the upper boat deck, Captain DeWalt, I am appointing you Regimental Commander of the 21st, and promoting you to Major” St. James smiled at the expression on the Young Captains face “Oh and you, Miss Taylor, had better have your best uniform laid out, It’s not every day an Ensign gets bumped two grades to 1st Lieutenant.”

A Southern Strategy

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Shintok

The Rogon had been marching for two of the Unruth days now. Order was being enforced and close to being maintained. Shintok; petok-S has stopped worrying about the big things and was concentrating on the small. With that in mind he summoned elron-A, who was directing his broodmates and a squad of twenty others, to report to him in person and immediately. This was an order to which the lesser Rogon wasted no time in responding.

“You are handling your duties well and have your squad is performing in a fine military manner. But I must ask you elron-A, why did Jaric: tilmer-N insist that you and your broodmates must accompany me and say that he found you annoying?”

“The Submaster said this? I had no Idea. This is not good,” elron wailed in an almost plaintive tone. “I only went to the academician for advice and was very surprised when he sent me away. But annoyed? I never ever even suspected.”

Shintok; petok-S felt an urge to lash out at elron for failing to answer the question directly and fully, but instead, and this was why he was an up and coming leader ready to close with the top of his profession, merely roared, rather than rage about and take to throwing things, “Answer the question! What was it that you asked of him?”

“It had to do with nicknames Master.”

“Yes, the humans give all their warriors ferocious sounding military names like Firebird and Angel and Wildcat. These names must somehow increase their stature and make them fight as if they were two people instead of one. And I was thinking we could do the same thing. Like for instance, and I tried it out on my broodmates, we could take names that would make the humans fear us. Names that would, once they heard of them, cause consternation and fear. Names that would weaken their resolve and cause them tremble and consider the fate of all slaves of the Rogon.”

“An imaginative idea. You should have approached me with this first, but tell me, what were the names and what did tilmer-N say?”

“Knowing how the humans abhor the notion of becoming food, I can’t explain why this is so but I have seen it over and over, I suggested argo become ‘Pork Chop’, teth become ‘Banana’ and huk, due to his injury be called ‘Drumstick’. For myself, and since the main enemy military commander is known as ‘Reaper’, surely relating to gathering grain for later eating, I would call myself ‘Harvester’! My first choice was Butterball but I think I got the spirit right with that one.”

“I told all of this to Jaric; tilmer-N, seeking his guidance and assurance of proper word choice and pronunciation as I am still learning the humans tongue. When I did this the Submaster closed his eyes and said nothing for a time. Finally he stared at me and then motioned me out of the room. Next thing I knew I was ordered under your command for the march against the Soessossins. I thought it was a mark of favor. Perhaps I was wrong?”

“Dismissed Shintok; elron-A. I do understand now and no nicknames until I so order.”

Shintok; petok-S went on to the next small matter he needed to deal with. He was in charge of almost 450 Rogons who would rather be staking claims on the continents mineral resources than fighting a battle with Humans and Soessossins so there were plenty of small matters to handle.

Somehow or other his supply master had failed to bring along enough food for an expedition expected to last several weeks. Half of the skimmers that should have held food instead were loaded with claim stakes and metal locating equipment. He had enough claim stakes to mark half the continent but food for only one more day. The Yelsig were food on the hoof but petok-S was certain once any were put to that purpose the rest would make every effort to distance themselves and he still intended using them as shock troops.

Several Rogons had already damaged themselves, either by mistake or out of boredom, playing with and firing the heavy energy rifles they carried slung under their bellies. They had in each case discharged without being sure the barrel was extended and their front legs were spread and clear of the beam. The muzzle of the weapon was supposed to be thrust several feet forwards before firing but some young idiots thought it fashionable to emulate what they saw on dream tapes and never learn except the hard way.

Petok-S would have gladly made an example of those soldiers but Rogons did not eat their own except on planetary holidays. He would dump the assay gear and claim markers and send the cripples back to the skullship and have food enough loaded and brought back on the return trip.

Even Shintok; petok-S was not immune to temptation and was having a hard time keeping his mind off of the riches he would posses in a few short days. Such prospects of wealth were impossible back home on the Rogoss except to those born to great family and power. The single-minded drive that put him in charge of this force was being tested to near the breaking point. It should never have been disclosed that the scan upon their arrival of the water filled meteor crater, towards which he was heading, had taken the detectors off scale. Unfortunately that kind of secret was impossible to maintain.

He needed to hold the troops together until he encountered the opposing group of Soessossins and break them by superior force of arms. Based on what petok-S observed concerning the essential pacifism of the Yelsig nature, this task would go smoothly. What would be more difficult was once victory was assured keeping them from scattering and running off into the interior. Shintok; petok-S spent what little time he could spare from the little details thinking about how he might accomplish that.

Shintok; huk-T was driving one of the skimmers. He was mostly recovered from the injuries he suffered in the fight up north but would have been hard pressed if he were forced to march like most of the force. All in all huk was happy to be here. If he could just get out of elron’s sight for long enough to plant his own markers his future was assured; elron was playing the military game rather than looking out for his own future and that of his broodmates.

Stick together broodmates must, so huk would make sure that after his claim was secure and afterwards he would help elron in securing one for himself. And to that end when the two skimmers sent back for supplies were unloaded, huk had grabbed a portable locater and several armfuls of the claim markers and dumping the tools from his skimmers storage chest loaded the newly acquired items inside and away from casual detection.

Shintok; petok-S called his subleaders together for a final briefing in a secluded location away from the main encampment. Only thirty of the Rogons had deserted when they passed around the side of the impact crater lake. Of those there were ten he would bring up on charges of desertion and some might even suffer for the act. The others had too much family power at home to be held accountable but petok-S was going to punish them none the less by making sure if he had any say so the first levies paying for the occupation came from the richest sections of their holdings.

“The plan is very, very, simple,” the Rogon leader began, “and as such all of you should be capable of understanding it.” In petok’s experience a vote of confidence was always the best way to keep the command structure together. “We, along with the enemy are on the south side of the river and its narrow floodplain. The Ponies and a small number of Humans are in the hills overlooking the natural battle field.”

The Rogon had a simplified map of the area that he pointed to as he described the salient points. “We will split into two forces. The first, larger force will lead the Yelsig behind the hills, and when all is ready send them into the enemy camp disrupting them.

The easternmost portion of this force will drive to the river and seal off escape in that direction while our heavily armed forces follow behind the Yelsig and push all in front of them off of the hills and onto the river plain. Our second force under my direct command will come in from the west completing the encirclement. They will be trapped and helpless between us and the river and forced to surrender.”

Shintok elron-A was not really thinking about the plan; he was thrilled to be here and that was enough. He was by far the most junior of those present and if not for his luck in commanding the small skimmer force would never have seen the masterful performance. It was with the same sense of shock and outrage shared by all of the gathered Rogon that caused him to blanche in response to the ceremonial request for questions and comments, the Edwards creature, almost forgotten in the back, spoke up. He must have been following the map directions for surely he could not follow the spoken language.

“Are you sure,” Edwards started–before cries of silence!–and respect must!–and menacing glares–brought him abruptly to a halt.

On a hill not far away, with only a head and optics above ground and while sensors picked up all the conversation, R. JP watched and recorded the entire meeting.

Yahoo for Goohoo

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Kara

Ft. Stuart, Morning Day 889

“Hey Kara? I’m having trouble with the intel database.”

Kara ran over to Robert, taking over his keyboard. “Ooh, yes, of course you are. I’m still working on it, but let me link you to the new starting page for the intel area.”

The page came up and Kara slowly nudged him aside. “OK, there are so many different databases currently housing intel data, and I’m in the process of consolidating them. For now, though, I’ve cross-referenced most of them and you can just use this page to search what you need. Let’s use St James as an example.”

Kara punched in his name and many lines came up. “So now when you go into one entry, you’ll see the areas that are cross referenced. Use this key and it’ll automatically open any of the hyperlinked words into tabs behind the entry. Hit the key again and they all close.”

Moore stared at Kara as she worked, thinking that he hadn’t seen someone get this excited about databases since Harry Kim at University.

Kara continued, pausing just long enough for some air. “You’ll see with this St James search that it is pulling information from the colony’s public journals also. It isn’t finished, of course, but it is getting there.”

Kara realized she had taken over his workspace and had been rambling. She moved aside. “Sorry, Robert, I guess I got carried away.”

“I take it this is what you’ve been working on these past few days?” Robert asked.

“Yeah. It has been fun working with databases like this again. If you can’t tell, I kind of like them,” Kara said sheepishly.

Robert thought to himself, “You don’t say,” but instead said aloud, “It looks like you’re making great progress. Did you write all this yourself? Using C+9?”

Kara sat back at her workstation. “I brought some of my tools with me from Earth. I’m using an IBM MDM overlay, but their engine is a bit weak, so I replaced it with OTS Goohoo enterprise engine. I used this setup back on Earth with good results, and so far its working pretty well. Just some more manual referencing left to do, and the first stage should be done in the next day or so.”

“Is that the Goohoo 2.0 engine? That’s very outdated now. I’ll see if I can dig up the latest in my files. If not, I know some of the fixes they made, and I might be able to tweak the 2.0 code to fix some of the security holes and add some features. Let me know when you’re done and I’ll take a look.”

“Be still my beating heart. Someone else on this rock who knows they’re way around the back alley of computers. There aren’t many of us, and few have time for this stuff. Glad to have you on board, even more than I was yesterday.” Then Kara got back to work.

Robert smiled. “Making new friends here might be easier than I thought,” he said to himself.

Can I Trust Him?

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Andrew Stuart

Ft. Stuart, Alchibah Evening Day 889

Ash Andrews

I walked into Andy’s place to see him with his feet up and a drink that had not been touched. It was fairly obvious that he had just sat down. I knew he was working hard but at this moment I had little or no sympathy. “OK, Cuz. All of the birds are converted, the Dora is completely up-rated and I even have two of the old 2 CM’s in each of the Cargo Buses. They are not offensive capable but, at least they are not defenseless anymore.

“The only thing keeping me from my twins is that Kara said you wanted data on Capt. Hunter St. James?”

Andy looked at me like a stranger, “It’s Commodore St. James these days and do you know him?”

“I know of him duty wise and showed him the best places to find bootleg steaks a couple of times when he was down at HQ for Commanders Conferences. I was the Deputy Plans and Training Officer remember. Besides after the UN fully took over he was the only other guy in the room with an IQ higher than a fracking rock.”

Andy leaned back, “Well pour yourself a drink and tell me about him.”

I fixed the drink at the bar and sunk into a chair. “Well, he’s an Academy grad from before the UN abolished the Honor Code. Knows his shit for sure, had he been a die hard believer he would have been on the short list for Admiral. Ruthless Bastard for sure but, no worse than you in that department. If killing a hundred will save a thousand, he will pull the trigger.

“Married, got a wife he loves enough he will not cheat on her. Couple of kids, girls I think, that the universe revolves around. Scotch drinker, prefers Single-Malt when he can get it. Holds it pretty well also.

“Come to think of it the person he reminds me the most of is you General Cuz.”

Andy leaned back in his chair and just stared into space for a few minutes. “OK, Ash I know you have a touch of Mariana’s shit thanks to your Dad, just as you have a load of mine thanks to your Mom. You have looked this guy right in the eye. Million Dollar question, can I trust him?”

“Andy, if I had to go back to fighters I had fully intended to wrangle my ass under that man. He was the only person in that room I even vaguely trusted and for one reason. The mans word is his bond. If he says he is going to do something, he means it.”

Andy took a long pull on his drink, “I can live with a gut feeling. Go hug your kids Ash, you deserve it.”

Mistakes Were Made

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Shintok

Fortson and Reye watched the tight-beam laser feed showing the beginning of the Rogon attack on the southern continent while seated in the communications room at the cave complex. The rest of the citizens watched, either on their own com units, or seated with others in the common areas.

The Rogon troops snaked between the hills staying on average about 2000 yards from the rivers course. The rapidly moving force got occasional glimpses of Soessossins between themselves and the water. They moved unopposed and with growing confidence in what looked to be, from all they knew, a lopsided conquest. The plan itself showed they were in a hurry to get the one-sided war over and move on to better things as rapidly as possible. At least that’s what Fortson thought considering the fact they were making no effort to investigate what might be on their exposed flank.

“Send what you got Joe,” Les Reye authorized. “I doubt they can intercept us but even if they do what with the relays they won’t know where we are sending from.”

Fortson merely nodded then said, “I would bet better than even money the caves are no longer a secret Les, the Stuart compound sure isn’t, and that’s the first relay point.”

In the common dining hall Bill and Janie Bartlett along with the Parkers and a dozen other colonists at first made idle chitchat as the drama played out on a large screen set against one wall of the cavern. Later the mood became much more somber and Fortson’s voiceover comments came more often as the circle closed. All attention became riveted on the screen. On a hill another 500 yard further from the river, some of the Leviticans and their allies had a much closer view.

Jedediah and Aaron said little or nothing; all of the direct commands and statements of advice, were given by Sister Martha. Ruth and Miriam Dobswell held themselves off to the side on a blanket, holding hands and silently praying for the best through all that was to follow.

“We wait,” Martha said in response to Hosham who was eager to begin moving the mass of the Soessossins closer to the half-deployed Rogon troops. “Another few minutes and we make sure that those with rifles are spread out equally. Those behind at least.”

The Llama’s had two different sexes, but except for birthing and a few months of early child raising there was little to separate one from another. Their reproductive organs were hidden from sight, at least as far as humans were concerened, and even after more than an Earth year of contact none of the humans could tell one sex from the other except at birthing time. And that was something that happened rarely.

It came as a surprise to Jedediah when some of those he assumed to be male turned out to be female instead. Because of the Soessossins actual gender equality in most respects, more than 80% of them were ready for and became active combatants.

The bulk of the ‘Native’ force, some 3500 soldiers, 300 of them armed with projectile weapons supplied by Liberty City, were strung out parallel to the Rogons route of march. but concealed in the hilly ground behind them. The Llamas visible to the Rogon, about 200 in total, those between the Rogon and the river, were stationed as a lure and showing themselves only enough so as to insure the much larger force behind the encircling soldiers remained undetected. The inept Rogon leadership was turning this simple ruse into a masterful strategy.

RoDan and the Jeep remained motionless dug into their holes at either end of the western flank where Shintok; petok-S waited for all his soldiers to get into position. When petok-S moved inwards the bots would follow. For now the risk of exposure was too great to justify the risk involved. At present the moon Carter was above the battleground but she would be below the horizon in another hour. From that point on the information relayed to Liberty City would become very scarce. The hope was the Dobswells and Marty could send information to the bots who would do all of the transmitting back to the north. Rodan and the Jeep would rely on movement and burst mode to keep from becoming targets.

* * *
Shintok; elron-A, with argo as his second, were on one of the skimmers and huk with teth on the other. They waited along with the western force and would do whatever petok-S ordered. The Rogon commander, true to his reputation as an original thinker, had hinted that if the fight went well he might even use the skimmers to retrieve wounded troops and bring them back for timely medical care. Elron could scarce believe one might dilute the rewards of victory in this fashion and was not happy his role might be minimized, but still as leader of the transport team, his reward would be greater than that of any common soldier.

Shintok; huk-T was more than pleased he was out of harms way. As soon as an opportunity presented itself he was going back to the crater lake and start staking out a claim. What foolish ness, hauling around wounded soldiers, after the fight was through petok-S would find his career was too. Even teth his second conceded the very thought of assisting failure and cutting the spoils went against everything the Rogon stood for. How could a Shintok fall so low?

* * *
The viewscreen flickered, showed random bursts of static, and then went dark, all within a few seconds as Carter went below the horizon. Fortson announced, “From here on in no more pretty pictures. We will keep the voice feed on but I think we can tell what happens next.”

“The Rogons will make a mass charge along their front and drive the Llamas against or into the river and use their vastly superior fire power to kill enough of them so that surrender and slavery become the only option. As soon as the Rogons are committed to that plan the rest of the Soessossins behind them will be on their heels and attempt to do the same, but with the Rogons as victim. Against good leadership the Llamas don’t stand a chance.”

“All the Rogons need to do is wait until the attack from the rear starts, then halt and hold their ground. Weapons range and the relatively open terrain and the Llamas can’t get close enough to hurt them. The Rogons uncommitted and in the west start rolling up the flank and the battles over but for the body count. I don’t think it’ll turn out that way due to how we’ve seen the Rogons perform in the past but once the fighting starts all bets are off.”

“There is a third option Joe,” came Andy’s drawl from Ft. Stuart. “If the Rogons turn and run too soon and with what we have seen of their normal control; this could turn into another Concord Bridge. Those MK I’s are a bit better than smoothbores dontcha’ know!

“Depending on the first round of targets the Llamas pick, this could get ugly for the Rogons and fast.”

* * *

“And all of the people of war who were with him went up.
and they proceeded to camp in the north…
with the valley between them…
And it came to pass as soon as the King saw it…
The men of the city rose up and went to meet Israel in battle,
he and all his people at the appointed time.”

Joshua 8:11-14.

“Father, Sister Martha, all of you who are the Lords people,” Aaron Dobswell said, “Let us pray.”

“Thus was it recorded,” said Jedediah Dobswell, “And the King is the Rongon, and Joshua and the Israelites are as us, and with the help of the Lord of hosts, Joshua defeated his enemies, as so shall we…”

“It is starting,” Hosham said to Marty as they watched the Rogon begin to move with a lumbering gate towards the river.

“Go tell the ones with Jedediah and Aaron, They will want to be here when we start moving ourselves.”

“Things are going well,” Shintok; petok-S said to his staff watching the displays from the front. One in nine of his soldiers had equipment for visual communications and the view was both impressive and gratifying though tending to flicker in and out as the repeated plasma bolts caused the optics to automatically dim in order to keep from burning out.”

“Send a message to all leaders that I only want intermittent fire unless they can see the enemy in front of them. There is no purpose in expending energy on dangerous rocks and plant life.” It was the right command but petok-S would be happy if even a scant majority of the Rogons complied. Obedience and discipline in the heat of the moment was an uncommon virtue and not one he expected.”

As the Rogons neared the crest of the various hummocks and ridges the Llamas were hiding behind, flights of arrows began to fall amongst them. Few hit anything and the lack of success and fewer than expected numbers caused a general speed up in the rate of advance. Only two Rogon were hit and down by the time those first positions were overrun and from the heights the flight of the retreating Soessossins was clear to all.

Marty gave the order to move just as the Rogons hit the ridge and the Dobswells arrived. The Rogon by now had vanished and were out of sight and below the first set of hills by the time the Soessossins could start to get underway. In war—especially in war— time waits for no one.

“It is time, we advance now and close the trap,” Shintok; petok-S said with more certitude then he felt. Something was wrong here. He wasn’t seeing as many of the ponies as he expected and he hadn’t heard any reports of the ancient projectile weapons that Edwards had talked about being used yet. Still it was time. He told elron to circle behind and start picking up the wounded then took his position in the rear as the western portion of the line went into motion.

Shintok; elron-A was moving almost at once, driving his skimmer in the start of an arc so that he would come into the battlefield from behind. Anything else and confusion would be the result. He looked behind to see how close huk was and couldn’t locate him anywhere; nor was there any reply when he tried to signal him. Communications equipment failure was his guess…well… it was more like a hope.

“Off we go to make our fortunes,” huk-T said to his broodmate teth as he turned around and sped back to the crater lake. His descendants would praise him for this and he might even become an ‘-S’ himself.

The Jeep and Rodan followed behind the flanking petok-S careful to remain hidden but sending occasional updates to Liberty City; still pictures only keeping the bandwidth down. They had seen the skimmer and kept out of sight when it passed between them going the other way. If nothing else it was one less enemy to worry about.

The Rogons could already see the river and the fewer than two hundred Soessossins crowded on its bank when they became fully aware of the problem behind them. “Damn you stupid assholes,” petok-S heard Cotton Edwards exclaim as he saw the same picture stream the Rogon leader was looking at.

“What mean you by this?” came the imperious challenge. “Speak must! What have you been shielding from your betters Slave?!”

“If you frackin’ morons had the brains god gave a duck you wouldn’t need to ask!”

That was all he could take, Shintok; petok-S triggered the plasma rifle slung beneath his belly and Edwards literally vanished in a cloud of steam and a puff of smoke. A waste of meat but such insolence must not be tolerated.

Turning to his second in command he said, “Yes the major part of their strength is behind us. Send instructions to stop the advance and destroy them before any more damage is done!”

All too predictably the orders went unheeded. Those in the rear continued to drop and those in front kept firing and rushing towards the river and the helpless prey upon its banks. Before more than a tenth of the Soessossins were killed the others had plunged into the water and were swimming towards the opposite shore, which at most points was less than a hundred yards away. Most of the Rogon were by now down on the rivers narrow flood plain with the Llamas holding the high ground behind them.

A few Rogons turned around and started to fire at the protected positions on the hills above the river. The rest just followed the Soessossins into the water, weapons and all, ready to finish off the easy ones first. —And got a surprise—They learned why in the future the river would be called the ‘Cold River’. It was ice even at this time of year. The channel was deep and filled with melt water from high up on the mountains from inside of the continent. The water never got closer than ten degrees above the freezing point until it had a chance to fill up the crater lake, settle, and warm in that larger body before finishing its journey to the sea.

It only took one or two to start firing the plasma rifles, now submerged, to get the others, those not so numb they had lost control of their musculature, to fire also. Steam rose, seals leaked, and explosions rocked the water. As many as a dozen made it to the other shore where they lay, still numb, exhausted, and helpless, as the once pacifistic Soessossins finished them off with spears or arrows or sometimes with knifes and bare hands. Those who stood their ground on the other side, outnumbered forty to one fared no better.

Shintok; petok-S ordered retreat. He called for elron-A to arrange a pickup and only afterwards did he find out what had happened to the missing Liberty City rifles… None on the Rogon side survived. Twenty Soessossins would join them in hell, or wherever the dead in battle landed.

By the time Shintok; elron-A circled back the massacre was complete. Four hundred fifty Rogons against a weak and backwards foe. Hardly worthy of being a slave race and yet, until he found huk and teth at the crater lake, elron was convinced that he and argo were the only survivors. This whole mission was one disaster after another. There was nothing to do but return to the grounded Dagon’s head and await whatever was in store. Those on board had seen the record. Except for acknowledging his call they weren’t saying anything else.

With his skimmer in the lead, elron-A was only five miles away from the grounded ship and base-camp when the darkening sky ahead lit up with the glare of a hundred suns. The SwiftStrike was leaving the planet, and leaving without him.

The time to chose

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Richard Redmond

ON Deathfang:

Hunter St James woke from a deep sleep to the sound of the intercom alarm; 30 years of reflex brought his hand to the receive button, “What is it?” his gravelly voice croaked.

“Something happening on the Planet sir,” came the voice of Wendy Taylor, “You need to see this.” St. James rolled out of his bunk and pulled on his coveralls, “Doesn’t that girl ever go off duty?” he thought.

The Bridge of Deathfang was only a few feet from his Day cabin, when he reached the command station Wendy wasted no time, “The Dragonhead Swiftstrike has taken off and is heading this way at max acceleration,” she said.

“Try to contact her,” said St James. LT. Taylor went to the comm. station, “Something coming in now…it’s from the planet… on speaker.”

The voice of Major Putnam was one of desperation, “Calling Deathfang! We need immediate evacuation… Ambassador Redmond left us here… the Rogon weapons have all stopped working… send air support… please hurry… the ponies are going crazy killing everything… we need help now.”

“Shut it off,” Hunter said, “Send this: ‘Message received, help is on the way.’ ”

“Do you want me to launch the alert fighters?” Wendy asked.

“No just send the message…oh and since I’m up at this late hour…let’s run another being overboard drill.”

Wendy Taylor couldn’t hide her surprise, “But sir,” she began to protest…

Hunter cut her off, “You have your orders Lieutenant.”

Throughout the giant Rogon Battleship Deathfang alarms blared a message first in English and then in Rogon .


On the bridge of Deathfang the few Rogons and unnecessary humans left to report to there assigned mustering stations. As Doorway opened the Rogon scientist Shintok; krett-N entered.

“Another drill Commodore?” He asked.

“Surprise is best for this sort of thing, last time we had to go looking for 35 Rogons lets hope we can do better this time” Hunter said “ I will now go down to the lower boat deck to supervise the search party…Carry on Lieutenant.”

* * *
The lower boat deck was a cavernous chamber crowded with shuttles, fighters and all types of land vehicles belonging to the 21st, crates full of supplies and equipment were everywhere. One end was cleared and the UN personal were lined up in neat rows.

Major Lew DeWalt snapped a crisp salute, “The bridge and engine room have reported, including them all hands are accounted for.”

“Excellent Major lets see how many snakes we have to find.” Hunter spoke into his comm unit, “Where are the Rogons Lieutenant Taylor?”

The reply was prompt, “57 on the boat deck sir, and master krett is here, that leaves 27 who didn’t feel like showing up.”

“Very well stand by.” Hunter put the comm. unit in his pocket, “Everyone form a circle.”

He waved his arms as if to draw everyone in. “For 30 years I’ve served the UN World Government,” he began, “I’ve obeyed orders without question and done my duty, whether I liked it or not. I took an oath and a man of honor doesn’t go back on his word…But I didn’t make an oath to serve a bunch of damned reptiles!”

“The people we’ve been fighting came a long way to live in freedom; I won’t be the one to put them in chains, and I won’t wear them myself.”

The faces around wore expressions of shocked amazement and something more…the yearning for freedom.

Hunter continued, “Major DeWalt arm the search teams with MAC-15’s and 5 magazines of explosive rounds each, then take as many men as will go with you to the upper boat deck and clean out that nest of snakes. Search parties…Good hunting!” With that he saluted the men and to the sound of cheers began the long walk back to the bridge.

On Dragonhead ship SwiftStrike:

Richard Redmond was mad…mad and confused “How could this be happening,” he thought, “everything was going so well and then the Rogons managed to walk into a trap set by a band of bible thumping animals armed with spears and clubs.”

Well he’d teach them, “Once I get back to Deathfang, I’ll order that coward St. James to turn that rebel town into a sea of lava, I’ll have my colony with the slaves coming in on the New Palmtree.” Visions of a palace filled with obedient slave women filled his imagination, and a wicked smile came to his lips.

At the control console, Ossog; sespes-AP conferred with Shintok; maylock-A, they were obviously in communication with a Rogon on the Deathfang, when the voice abruptly was silenced.

“Slave! Explain!” came the imperious voice of sespes-AP.
Redmond snapped out of his reverie,“Yes master how can I serve you?”

Slave soldier on Deathfang rebel… kill Rogon masters! What know you?”

“No Master… It can’t be! They wouldn’t dare! They must obey!”

But Redmond knew it was true. “That bastard St. James did this, Oh I’ll make him pay!”

“Enough” said the Rogon Commander “other space is” and with that he operated a strange device set behind a protective shield and the SwiftStrike went somewhere outside this Universe.”

On the bridge of Deathfang:

Wendy Taylor was relieved to see her Commodore walk in through the doorway “sir we detected a transmission from within the ship to SwiftStrike and now SwiftStrike has vanished from our screens.”

But St James attention was not on her. He stood square in front of Shintok; krett-N, “You never should have gone to see my family you lousy snake,” he said, and then the roar of the big .50 caliber auto was all anyone would hear for some time.

15 minutes later:

“Sir the last search party has reported in, all Rogons are accounted for.”

“Very well Lieutenant, open that channel to General Stuart now, in fact broadcast over all the colonial channels.” He waited until the light on the mike turned red, “General Stuart, we have just exterminated the aliens infesting this ship and I am speaking to you as a free man for the first time. The war is over… your people can return to their homes…it’s time to put down our weapons and rebuild what we’ve destroyed.”

“My offer to help stands…this time without conditions… we’d like to join your colony if you’ll have us, I for one am looking forward to that sailing trip.”

‘Round the Bend

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Ari al-Yaram

Late Day 888, Alchibah, Main Lab

Ari al-Yaram

‘‘At your service’, indeed. Ari, mijn lad, the verdict has returned: you are a schmuck. What did Abba say about volunteering, hmm?’ I leaned against one of the now-empty lab beds. Wounded came in, the easily-healed went out; the seriously wounded went to a different room, usually with my assistance as newly-in-residence junior assistant Gopher. Not that I minded overmuch; it certainly looked a lot better than getting herded wherever the overt prisoners went to. The conspicuous lack of gunfire told me that no matter how many guns were going to get shoved up my nose during this, surrender was an honorable choice among honorable warriors.

All the activity and running around I was put through did nothing to prevent me from taking notes. ‘Let the ears record while the body works,’ Ari recalled his university adviser. ‘Poor old klojo; how was he to know the UNWG wouldn’t like old-school social academics like him if they didn’t have the right fiscal outlook. There wasn’t enough time alone to get a peek at any computer records, nor figure out exactly what the structure was like outside of the areas I’d already been, but the pattern was the same. The hustle of people with Jobs To Do is unmistakable.

I closed my eyes. Tuning out the actual words, and English instead of the polyglot of Hebrew, Arabic, and the smidgen of Dutch in Abba’s tents, this all had a familiar feel to it. A discussion of a battle, a raid, so similar to the one on the slavers across the Red Sea. The Goonie leadership were taking a personal hand in helping ‘relocate’ people no one would miss, presumably for their own puerile benefit.

I realized I’d slipped too deeply into nostalgia when a hand grabbed me, and someone’s barrel found its way into my nostril. Trying to calm myself, I opened my eyes and resolved to let the command here know my vervloekte nose was not a convenient muzzle break.

Kurt Kellerman

The figure of Connor Benjamin looked beat to hell as he walked through the door. Of course after what he had been through, who the hell would blame him.

“Damn Connor, why so glum. Master Kyoshi is working on Jai and River’s Gold Pins for the save. Your future Son-in-Law looks like he will turn your hair gray before anybody gets him and the twins are healthy as all get out. What do you have to look glum about?”

He gave me a patented sick grin and said, “Backlash I guess, do you know how close we came to losing this. I thought Andy was just being his normal paranoid self when he set up Strike Force Rear. Damn we were just barely enough and I thought at one time we had lost it. Right up until my future Son-in-Law as you describe him, started knocking them over like tenpins. I still don’t believe he is that good!”

It was my turn to pontificate at last, “Connor, you nor anyone else and that includes Mariana got to see his medical records. You have no idea how often he was in here after a late night clandestine training session with Andy. That Boy went through hell to get where he is. There was a reason Andy did not ask you to be in on his Q course, nor Jai for that matter. Don’t worry about your Grandkids, nobody wants to frack with Scythe, much less Firebird.”

Connor actually gave me a dumb-ass grin, “I guess you are right but, I just got handed a problem.’

“You mean Cpl. Ari don’t you? He’s a weird one, helpful as all hell but; neither Andy nor Mariana will fully vet him. They say he knows passwords they know but, not the right one’s.”

“Yeah Kurt, I know stuff they don’t. There was a class of people out there who were not resistance that fought the UNWG tooth, hook and nail. He might be one of those, he’s middle Eastern so one for sure will ID him. Just try not to intervene, OK?”

“LTC, last time I checked you outrank this lowly CPT.”

Connor reached down and unsnapped the speed rig on his hip and rolled into treatment like the Warrior he was. His left hand snaked out and grabbed Ari like the head of a striking snake. The right hand shoved the muzzle of a issue .45 up his nose. “Tell me fast boy, what can never happen?”

Ari did not even blink and replied faster than he had to Andy, “Masada shall not Fall Again.”

Connor sat him down gently, holstered his sidearm and said; “Talk to me Brother.”

Ari al-Yaram

I regarded the Colonel silently. Raising my left hand, palm forward, to show no malicious intent, I fished a slim packet out of my cargo pocket. The colonel had no idea what I was doing, and remained perplexed when I tore the package open to reveal laffa. “Sit, please, Luitenant-Kolonel, anywhere.” Seeing no real suitable place, especially where we could remain uninterrupted, I went to the far side of the observation bed, faced the still-confused colonel, and sat on the floor. Reluctantly, he followed suit. “Theoretically,” I told him, “Our positions should be reversed.”

“Oh?” He still had not figured out what I was doing.

“Yes. This is more your house than mine. Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha’olam ha-motzi le-chem min ha-Aretz. Amayn.” I tore the bread in two, handing him one of the chunks. “May you, through me, be welcome in the tents of my father, Avram ibn Mordachai, emir of al-Yaram al-Bedu. We are brothers-in-arms; we fight the same enemy, for the same reasons. Israel, Massada, has never fallen, besieged as we are.” I looked at the uneaten laffa in his hands, and pointedly took a bite of the piece remaining in my hand.

Benjamin looked thoughtful, then muttered to himself, “Well I will be a sheep-dipped asshole. If there were more that 10 or 15 of the old Desert Warriors left running around, it was 20 more than I knew about.” I didn’t think he meant for me to hear, so I waited passively for him explicitly respond to me. He appeared to catch on to what I was waiting for, deliberately eating a bite. “Just how long have you been in hiding,” he asked me.

I looked at him with a ghost of a smile, “Hiding? When did you choose to hide here, rather than back home?”

“Well, it was before I got my ass taken down by a Female and a Medic. That’s for sure.”

“Touché. Granted, you’re Runners – but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have security leaks. And yea, even some of us lowly grunt types know that. What I know or can guess at, in the wrong hands, might lead to heap big trouble. Then again, I’m an asshole and what I know – if I don’t shade it this way or that – is at least three years wrong. Abba always was fond of quoting Magnus: “trust, but verify.” And be ready to kick ass. I’m not in position to do the latter, but the former would give this camel a warm fuzzy feeling.”

He nodded, then shot something out of the blue at me. “Know anything about carpentry?”

“Carpentry? It’s a family secret that we’re closely related to one carpenter…” I chuckled, not thinking he meant anything theologically, “but I’ve done some as barracks-punishment in a place called Coronado.”

“OK, drag your carcass up to Ft. Stuart in the morning. Look up a guy by the name of John Pierce, I’ll let him know you are coming. He is the General Contractor around here and soon to be my Son-in-Law, also with him around nobody will worry much about you. You’ve seen him before, the Big Major who was in the chameleon suit. Pay’s better also.”

I stood, offering my hand to him as he rose. “One thing on orientation: I didn’t do too much sightseeing before this interview. Where’s Fort Stuart from here?” What it was, I figured, will be shown once I got there, whatever it was.

“When you exit here, head around to the north-northwest.”

“Thank you.” I took a couple of steps towards the door, and then stopped. This was going to take some getting used to, after all. I turned back to face him. “Sir.” Rather than wait for the responding salute, I head back into the cold. The landscape looked just as I remembered – white, with more white coming. Beurt, just what I need for a walk.

I struck out of the hospital area in the direction Benjamin told me to head once I got my bearings. After trudging through the thick snow, seeing nothing of any other life, I made out a wall in the haze ahead of me. “Finally. I’d be pissed if this was some joke.” However, when I reached the ‘wall’ instead of finding human construction, I found a cliff face. “Ha Ha. I hope he’s laughing.” I checked my wrist comp for an area map. If the vervloekte thing was to be believed, this ridge leveled off to the west. Only one way to be sure. Fortunately, the snow had thinned considerably by the time I got to the end of the ridge-wall. I could see a structure off to the north, more or less where I would have reached had I not had to detour around the geography. After another few minutes of slogging, I came across a proverbial beaten path. There had been enough traffic along this path that, being charitable, I could imagine Benjamin believing I already knew about it. If I were being charitable. Either way, I made it to the palisade in short order.

“Stop and identify yourself!”

“I am Ari; Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin told me to come here and ask for a John Pierce.”

“Hold one.”

I waited, and then an equally bundled figure approached. “You said you were sent to find me.”

“That’s right. I was told you were in need of a carpenter. Well, now you have one.”

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Andrew Stuart

Ft. Stuart, Alchibah

Andrew Stuart

My head felt like it had just hit the pillow when the comm alert started screaming. Tim was screaming in my ears, “You have to hear this Boss, you best case just came true!”

I listened to Commodore St. James’s declaration of open revolt. Damn this was everything I had ever wished for. “Ash are you on the link?”

“Yep Cuz, before you ask; that’s the Hunter St. James I know. I’ll fly the first contact bird if you want.”

“Screw that Ash, my gut is screaming at me. Are we ready to execute OPLAN Romeo?”

“Damn Andy, I can not say yes till we talk to the Mayflower. But if you want me to bet on Monroe, Hibbs and Chandler; I’ll go All In!”

“Tim, cut me into the All Hands circuit; I want everyone to hear this. I mean to include the South and the Damn Guardians.”

Tim’s voice quavered a bit but was firm, no silly questions to calm his nerves this time. “All Hands Up, you are on.”

“Commodore St. James, General Stuart. FYI, I go by Andy and welcome to Alchibah. Let’s keep this Military to Military for the moment. Hunter, can you send me info on where your family’s are being housed, read that held, on Earth? I told you once in passing that I would fight through all of the UNWG to save your children. That was not a throw off line, I meant it. I will need to borrow some of your pilots to make it work but Sir; given your co-operation…. I can raid a single point on Earth in six hours from Mission Start. What say you Sir?”

“Connor, you in the loop yet?”

“Yeah Andy, not quite up to speed but I am here.”

“Good deal, get your politician hat on Connor. Get the Council together, offer them the conference room up at FT. Stuart as that will be the easiest way to stay informed. If St. James cooperates we can plan this thing but, the decision to launch has to come from the Civil government.

“We are out of the Defensive phase now so the Civilian side has to be in control. The military always has to plan for everything but, the decision to launch an Offensive operation has to be a Civilian decision. Just try to make sure that Les gets the two votes from Mayflower involved. They have maybe more to loose than Liberty.”

“Tim, relay to Mayflower. Capt Monroe, it appears that there is no longer any reason to attempt to hide the Mayflower. In my considered opinion the Military threat is over and you may move at your discretion.

“Tim, end the relay. I am going to bring up the back-up tight beam from the Fort, it will be coming at you on fiber 3. Can you cut into the grid, as soon as the Mayflower talks it will lock and track on her? Damn Son, I think we just lived through this.”

Tim screamed in my ear, “Reply coming in.”

Hunter St. James

“You don’t play for the small pot do you Andy? At any rate we have not had time to sweep this vessel for Rogon listening and transmission devices. I would feel less than happy to talk Tactics over any of our circuits until that can be done. Any ideas? Because I do think that we need to talk.”

Andrew Stuart

“Hunter, you have to have a small vessel capable of a planetary landing. Load you and a couple of your trusted Staff and come on down to Ft Stuart for Dinner. Just before the orbit of the Inner Moon which we call Carter, contact Liberty Control on old 121.5 MHZ and we will shoot you an IFF code that will clear you the rest of the way in. I have a place we can talk that I guarantee can not be heard from.

“Be advised that I plan on putting the ultimate lie detector on you, my one year old Twins!”

A young voice split the air, “Are you the guy Dada been waiting for?”

Hunter St. James

Hunter laughed and replied, “Yes Young Man, I hope I am. Andy, what’s for Dinner?”

Going Nowhere

Posted in In Defense of Liberty by Captain Travis

He tried to remember where he was. Or why. He’d been on a blasted shuttle. Right. Nothing was working but the BOD engine. Right. He’d fixed it, right? The air in his suit was nearly depleted. Minutes left and that was stale.

Travis felt as though he was trying to conjure up memories from his early childhood. Those ones from birth to around three-years-old that no one ever remembers. But deep inside he knew he must.

There was no sensation of anything reaching him but his injuries. All around him was blackness. Was he blind? Was he even alive? Or is this what death is like? Nothingness. But he felt aches and sharp pains. His private hell, designed specifically for him by an uncaring God? Would those pains and lack of sensation be his eternity?

Then, a thought. He’d jumped! He’d reset the BOD engine so that instead of creating a hole that the shuttle could be pushed into, it was refocused to a lotus surrounding him only. It must have worked. Or killed him.

One thing was certain. He was out of air, gasping and coughing at the same time. Working on the assumption that he was alive and in the beyond, he tried to think of what Hibbes and Chandler had told him about this region that lays between the branes of the multiverse, sort of the insulation between all the parallel universes.

No rules! No laws of physics. Could that be it? If there are no rules, then there’s nothing to break, or rather, prevent him from breaking them. Of course! Think of something and it happens. Think of somewhere and you are there. Exiting is easier than entering. He’d remembered that since the two trips he’d made prior.

“I don’t need air,” he decided. Suddenly, he stopped gasping. But that’s impossible! And with that, he gasped and realized he did need air.

How much time had passed? The mind was fogged-in. Not working. “Think of somewhere,” he pondered but it was getting difficult for his brain’s synapses to function. Think of some place. . . .

Colony: Alchibah is a science fiction blog novel.
Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Probably.

All Contents (written or photo/artwork) not attributed to other sources is
Copyright (C) 2006 - 2011 by Jeff Soyer. All rights reserved.