Author: David Broz

A warship never took the same route twice, to or from battle. As the joke goes, it’s because they usually disintegrate on the way there or on the way back.

By all accounts, The Ebenezer was the luckiest starship in the Earth’s fleet, probably because the captain was no scrooge when it came to using the NeoNukes.

The captain had brought us to and from battle not just once, but half a dozen times. We had decapitated six planets, and we ourselves had not been disintegrated even once!

The WormDrive made space travel fast and easy, which of course meant that humans, in their great and infinite wisdom, decided that interstellar warfare should also be fast and easy. And so we went to war.

The plan was to find and attack every alien species we could, figuring that the best defense was a good offense. Those in their ivory tower reckoned that any alien we encountered would end up coming for our planet’s resources sooner or later, so let’s nuke them first just to be safe.

And so we built warships.

By sheer chance the development of a new weapon, the NeoNuke, happened at the same time as the WormDrive. It was a match made in heaven – or hell, depending on your point of view. With the NeoNukes, we could rain destruction down upon a planet without having to wait 10,000 years for the radiation to dissipate afterwards. After we blasted a planet back into the stone ages, we could, theoretically, go back and use the planet as we saw fit.

Our strategy was simple and horrible at the same time. We Wormed randomly around the galaxy, the ship’s computer jumping us from solar system to solar system, the computer looking for Goldilocks planets when we come out of Worm. The scan-and-plan takes only seconds. If the computer finds no Goldie, we jump again.

But should a Goldie be found, the ship instantly calculates a decapitation attack strategy. Its fast and decisive, targeting the city most likely to be the planet’s capital. In a single rain of hellfire and brimstone, we launch all of our weapons and follow them down into the atmosphere to finish the job with close range weaponry. We leave a message and a warning. We can come back if we want to, if we need to.

After one of our ships was followed back to earth somehow, our leaders made adjustments. The planet Earth itself was Wormed to another solar system from time to time. Complex algorithms known only to the ship’s computer knew the earth’s location, to prevent us from being followed. The second-to-last Worm always ended with a pause amongst a bevy of attack ships who lay in wait to ambush any follower.

We’ve just come out of Worm, in another random, unmapped solar system. We don’t have to look around. There’s a Goldie here, right here. It fills our viewport. The ship lurches forward.

As we tear down through the heavens, amongst the raining hell of our NeoNukes, we recognized the statue of liberty, all too late.

We had not been stingy with our nukes.