Author : Greg Lowry
Waving his antennae in amused confusion, the Commander responded, “That is a preposterous demand. I don’t know where you strange, primitive humans got that ship, but my task force has you outnumbered both qualitatively and quantitatively. Our scientists have determined it will take at least a century for you to develop wormhole travel on your own. You’re even farther from developing anything like our energy beams for offense. In fact, you’re still using ion propulsion and lasers.” He rubbed his mid-leg segments together in derisive chortles. “You are our lawful prey and we will do what we want with your kind.”
“And that’s where you’re wrong”, the strange biped on his communicator’s screen replied, the corners of his eating orifice turning downward and the fibrous growths above his visual sensing organs bunching in the center. “You may control this area outside our solar system right now—probably until we do develop that wormhole system you have, but you will not do what you want with us. You have caused enough slaughter among our people and we will no longer allow it. I repeat. Surrender your task force to me, now.?
The Commander paused a moment in thought, his amusement sliding into annoyance. Surely this unnatural biped couldn’t be serious. It didn’t matter where his people had bought or stolen their ship—there was no way it could attack his task force and survive. The puny kilometer-wide sphere couldn’t house a wormhole drive, power generators, and serious weaponry. He allowed his antennae to straighten in severity. “There is no way your tiny ship can house a wormhole drive and enough weaponry to matter. I fail to see why I should do anything but destroy you.”
“Commander, I already told you that we haven’t developed a wormhole drive, yet. Your species had better examine its assumptions about us. You have only one of our minutes left before we attack. What is your decision?” The human asked.
“What do you mean, you have no wormhole drive? Then how did you get out here, beyond your solar system?” His amusement was returning. These humans might say anything. It was going to be entertaining until their destruction, after all. “The heliopause and bow shock around your solar system are impossible to survive and the thrust to push through the gravity waves is inconceivable. You would have to be able to be able to create nearly indestructible armor and generate nearly infinite power.” He rubbed his mid-leg segments together, chortling, again.
“Well,” said the human on the screen as the counter at its top ticked to zero, “you should have researched our species a bit more. While we haven’t figured out your wormhole drive, we’re pretty close on both of those.”
The Commander’s amusement metamorphosed into shock as his instruments detected immense energy readings and then overloaded as a blast of coherent electromagnetic energy bridged the distance between the human sphere and one of his own ships, burning through its armor and vaporizing it in milliseconds. Automated weaponry fired on the human ship immediately, but the powerful energy beams didn’t affect it at all. A sense of confusion and fear lashed the Commander’s brain—he hoped his species would be ready when the humans developed the wormhole drive—and then, to him, it no longer mattered.
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