Author : Roi R. Czechvala, Staff Writer

Captain William Dietz shuddered in revulsion every time he mounted his aircraft. It was a tiny lifting body. Its short, sleek swept wings blended seamlessly into the fuselage halves. He lay ventrally in an exact Dietz shaped depression in the lower fuselage while the upper half, complete with a Dietz dorsal impression, was lowered atop his naked form. The two halves sealed together leaving no trace of suture.

Thousands of tiny needles penetrated his body, relaying his neural output to the fighter’s airframe and weapons system. Longer probes penetrated the speech and optic centres of his brain “This really sucks,” Dietz thought to himself.

“What was that, Cap?”

“Nothing. Just talking to myself.” He had forgotten that he was plugged into the squadron freq. He could hear the rest of the fighters being prepped for launch by the flight deck officer.

“White One Ready?”


“White Two, ready?”


The sound of the artificially generated voices of the pilots always bothered Dietz as his squadron called out their level of readiness. They sounded emotionless, dead.

Finally. “White Leader, Ready?”

“Ready. SQUADRON,” he thought bellowed, “To tyrants,”

“We’ll not yield,” they replied in dry unison.

Ten tiny matte black fighters, nearly invisible in the blackness of space, were ejected from the aircraft carrier Jefferson Davis and screamed down through Jupiter’s dense atmosphere.

A plasma shield projected before the ships allowed them to slice through the nearly liquid atmosphere with ease. Dietz slipped into a barrel roll, silently alerting his men that he had the target on instruments and visual.

Bobbing gently before them, dangling from an aluminium buoyancy compensator, a ‘balloon’ filled with vacuum, hung the battleship U.S.S. Sherman. A combination of their small size and the plasma shield rendered the flight virtually invisible to the ships sensors.

“YeeeeHAW,” yelled 1st Lieutenant Stuart, an Atlanta native.

“Maintain Silence,” Dietz snapped, though he smiled inwardly at the young mans enthusiasm.

Twin rail guns dropped from the craft as they orbited the main body of the ship several kilometres below the balloon. Standard firing procedure dictated that the guns fire alternately. One gun loaded with iron/tungsten projectiles to puncture hard armour, while the other fired a nanosecond later to plunge singularity devices through the hole the armour piercing round made.

“Stuart,” Dietz called abandoning radio silence, “care to take point?”

“Boo-Howdy. Yes Sir.” Despite the emotionless quality the neuro translator imparted, Dietz could hear the almost palpable enthusiasm of the young Lieutenant’s thoughts. The lieutenant buzzed the ship one more time before breaking hard right and streaking straight up.

“White One, what the hell?”

Before Dietz could finish his sentence, the young pilot opened up on the ships BC. Opened up with only one gun. The left gun. The armour piercing ammo. The thin aluminium float imploded and the Sherman began slowly, very slowly, to sink.

“Why the hell did you do that, Stuart? Why didn’t you use an SD? Now they’ll just sink to… The Confederate captain’s words trailed off as sudden realisation dawned. Dietz could imagine the grim smirk on the young officer’s face.

“Yeah…,” Stuart said, finishing his captain’s thought, “to crush depth. Slowly. I reckon about four weeks. Plenty of time for them to think.”

Lieutenant James Ewell Brown, “Jeb”, Stuart’s laughter echoed across the ether.


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