Author : Patricia Stewart
Conflict (‘kän-,flikt), noun: The opposition of persons or forces that gives rise to a dramatic action or struggle resulting from incompatible or opposing needs, wishes, or demands.
“Captain,” announced Lieutenant Harriman at the Tactical Station, “sensors have detected four Omicron warships heading toward Rigel V.”
“Red alert!” ordered Captain Garrett. “Helm, plot an intercept course and proceed at maximum warp.”
“Aye-aye, sir,” replied the helmsman as she entered the coordinates into the navigation console. The ship made a quick turn to port, and then lunged forward into the warp field. “ETA ten minutes,” she reported.
The captain walked over to the Tactical Station. “Can you identify the class of ships, Mr. Harriman?”
“One Constellation Class Battlecruiser, and three Deep-Space Destroyers.”
“Whoa, we’re in over our heads. Any chance of getting some support?”
“The UES Ganymede and Sedna are an hour away, sir. It looks like we’re on our own.”
Captain Garrett returned to his command chair and activated the ship’s intercom. “Battle stations. This is not a drill. Repeat, this is not a drill. Sensors have detected four heavily armed Omicron warships heading toward our colony on Rigel V. Our objective is to engage the enemy and defeat them. If we can’t defeat them, we’re to inflict as much damage as possible. At the very least, we need to buy time for the colony. Report immediately to your assigned stations. We may be boarded, so I want everyone armed. Sick bay, prepare for causalities. Let’s show the Omicrons what we’re made of. Captain, out.”
As the minutes ticked away, the crew prepared for battle. “Sir,” reported the communications officer eight minutes later, “we’re being hailed by the Omicron Battlecruiser.”
“Put it on the main viewer.”
The image of slender female reptile in a crisp military uniform appeared on the viewscreen. Her yellow scales shimmered in the low intensity orange-red light of the enemy bridge. She was sitting in the command chair with her legs crossed. Her tail swayed rhythmically behind her head. Clearly, the alien commander did not consider the Earth ship a threat. “This is Captain A’Kovck,” she hissed. “Stand down, and prepare to be boarded.”
“This is Captain Garrett of the UES Titan. I was just about to offer you the same option, Captain.”
Her deep red eyes narrowed, and she balled her claws into fists. “This is not a joking matter, Captain Garrett. We didn’t ask for this war. Earth attacked us. Your raiding parties destroyed hundreds of our nurseries. Millions of un-hatched infants were ruthlessly slaughtered. Three of my own eggs were among the murdered.”
Captain Garrett stood, and clasped his hands behind his back. “With all due respect, Captain A’Kovck, that’s not the way it went down. As we’ve tried to explain…”
“Enough!” interrupted A’Kovck. “Surrender within the next five seconds, or be vaporized.” Her image disappeared from the viewscreen and was replaced by the head-on approach of the four Omicron warships. The three destroyers peeled off to flank the Titan.
“Send a subspace message to Rigel V,” Garrett ordered. “Tell them to prepare for hostile guests. Okay, men, we have a job to do. Shields to maximum. We may not be able to win this battle, but we’re sure as hell going to give them a fight. Attack sequence Delta. Target the Battlecruieser. Fire all weapons.”
Courage (‘k?r-ij), noun: The mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty in the face of overwhelming odds.
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