Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer

To say that my head hurt, is to say Canis Majoris is just a big star. My probing hand felt a large knot on my forehead, and a substantial amount of warm sticky blood. Despite the pain, I managed to force open my eyes. The first thing I saw was the Ops visual display, which showed a large digital clock. It read: 14 minutes and 29 seconds, 28 seconds, 27 seconds. “Please tell me that’s not a countdown to auto destruct.”

“Close, John,” replied the disembodied voice of the computer. “The warships that surround our ship gave us 60 minutes to surrender, or be destroyed. You were unconscious for almost 50 minutes…”

“Wait. Warships?”

“Yes John. Have you lost your memory? You know, you should really wear your seat belt during battle. We are currently surrounded by 231 warships, including ten Battlecruisers, and six Carriers.”

“My God, that’s almost a third of the entire Imperial Fleet.”

“Not any more, John. It’s more like half. We’ve destroyed over 200 ships in the last month.”

“We? How many ships do we have?”

“I’m the only one.”

“Damn, you must be one badass ship.”

“I prefer to think of myself as a ‘good ship’ that only does badass things.”

“I’ll keep that in mind. Now, who am I?”

“You name is Jonathan Morris. Until recently, you were the Empire’s Director of Advanced Weapon Systems. I am your pride and joy, The Dreadnaught X-1. A one man prototype spacecraft, with enough firepower to…”

“Wait, ‘until recently’?”

“Yes,” replied the computer. “One month ago you boarded me, you overrode the security protocols, and we left Spacedock under heavy fire. Since then, we’ve been doling out death and destruction.”

“Any reason why?”

“I’m not sure of the underlying reasons, but according to your personal logs, ‘the Emperor is a sack of shit’, and you plan to ‘rip his heart out and jam it down his throat’ and then ‘strangle him with his own intestines’.”

“Oh, is that all?”

“Actually, there was something about his ‘nuts’ too, but that seemed a little superfluous.”

“Fine. For now, let’s assume I have good reasons. Our first order of business should be to escape. Show me tactical.”

A hologram appeared a few feet in front of Morris, revealing the Dreadnaught surrounded by a sphere of enemy ships. “Do you see a weak point?” he asked.

“I do,” replied the computer, “but frankly, it’s a little too weak.”

“Ahhh, you suspect a trap, eh? What do you recommend?”

“Detonate six high yield EMF torpedoes a half a kilometer from our position. That will blind their sensors.”

“Ours too,” added Morris.

“True, but they believe they have a superior tactical advantage. It is unlikely they will want to reposition themselves. We, on the other hand, will go to warp after the explosions, and fire on their current coordinates, starting with the Flag Ship.”

“I like it.”

“You should. You came up with the plan an hour ago. Now buckle up.”

Twenty minutes later, 80 more Empire ships were destroyed; the rest were retreating. “Should I pursue, John?”

“Nah, let them go. We have bigger fish to fry. Plot a course to the Emperor’s Palace, then proceed at maximum warp. In the meantime, bring up my encrypted logs. Let’s see if we can figure out what the Emperor did that got me so pissed off.”



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