Author : Roi R. Czechvala

“You’re sure these ships are safe?” Admiral Chekov asked, as he cautiously approached the tiny matte black fighters. They reminded the Admiral of the ancient projectile points used by the aboriginal people of the Siberian steppes.

“Of course Sir,” the squirrelly little doctor rung his hands nervously on the hem of his formerly white lab coat. “The organics of these ships were chosen from among the finest of the volunteers in the psi-ops programs from all three states of the Great Union.” Here he paused deferentially. “The Mark VI Psi Fighter is unparalleled. Nothing the Alliance has can rival it. Not even the best equipment of our own fleet can track it.”

“I’ve read the specs, but give me a rundown of the operations.”

“As you’re aware, all pilots must be unmarried volunteers and score in the top three percentiles of their psionics exams. After an intense training and indoctrination period they undergo a procedure whereby the central nervous system is removed from the body and placed in the interface cartridge, the “brain box” if you will,” he smiled nervously at his joke. The Admiral did not smile.

These ships, though small, have the most powerful long-range friend/foe scanners available in the fleet. The pilots brain activity is routed through the PK, that is the psychokenesis amplifier, into the ranging equipment. The pilot analyzes the long range readings, identifies an enemy ship, matches coordinates, and makes a psychic jump. As near as we can tell, the speed of thought is almost instantaneous. The ship appears out of nowhere, unleashes a full salvo of 140 rounds of combined nuclear and solid projectiles, and returns. Since the entire ship is PK controlled, there is no need for a propulsion system. The only energy needed runs the onboard life support systems, and the PK amp.

In their off time, the pilots live in a virtual simulacrum of their own choosing, but of our making of course. That way it doesn’t become stale and predictable as it would had they created it.”

“What is this pilots name?” the Admiral asked, gesturing to the nearest fighter.

“Sir, most of the pilots prefer not to use their human names, and generally go by their designation number.” He pointed to a flat white stenciled marking on the side of the craft. “This is RY038. His name is First Lieutenant ‘Ray’.”

“Can he hear me?”

“I can hear you Admiral,” a dull monotone voice responded. The Admirals face did not betray the sudden shock he briefly felt.

“Where are you from son?” He felt a bit odd talking to a fighter ship.

“Gladewater Sir. Texas. State of America,” the ship responded in that same sharp metallic monotone.

“How do you like your…um…duty Lieutenant?”

“Beats the alternative Sir.”

The Admiral was startled. “And that would be what, Lieutenant.”

“I could be married Sir.”

The General suppressed a smile. “May I ask for a demonstration?”

“Of course sir. Excuse me a moment.”

The outlines of the small fighter blurred, and just as quickly refocused. The ship suddenly seemed to be giving off a great deal of heat. “SIR. Mission complete. Threat neutralized. Orbit Secured, SIR.” underneath the mechanical vocals there seemed to be the hint of a shortness of breath.

The Admiral stared for a brief moment unable to say anything. “But, but I didn’t say…”

“Begging the Admirals pardon, but the Alliance ship in GeoSync orbit above the Europa colony has been neutralized” Lieutenant Ray stated flatly.

“But…but…how, I didn’t…,” Admiral Chekov spluttered.

“I’m sorry Sir,” the little doctor intervened, “didn’t I mention they’re telepathic as well?”

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