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Empire Zukenov Invades! Part 2 of 6

Written by AUphoric :: [Monday, 02 May 2022 06:30] Last updated by :: [Saturday, 07 May 2022 09:03]

Part 2 – Continuation of the naughty space opera in the Aurora Universe!

Series starts here with Part 1.

Annabeth Lessian and Chan’g D’artha turned to face each other. They ignored the warship’s crew. She floated closer and pushed herself onto his hardness. They kissed deeply, as he swung his hips back and forth through the air to pound into her. Sparks of lightning came out of the edges of her pussy and out of both their mouths.

They had their eyes closed. As she came with a screaming orgasm, they both opened their eyes and gazed at each other. Her breasts were now even larger and brighter.

After a moment, their bodies separated. They held hands as they both turned to face the Captain. Chan’g D’artha still had his rock-hard erection pointed straight ahead.

The last drop of Chan’g D’artha’s cum came out of the end of his cock. It fell down on the writing desk part of the vacant console below him. With a loud pop, there was now a five inch hole in the desk. The remains of the papers that had been near the drop were now smoldering. The metal of the floor hissed until the last of the drop evaporated, as a three inch wide dent dimpled into the floor. Annabeth Lessian and Chan’g D’artha seemed completely unconcerned about any of this.

Annabeth Lessian said, “It’s more interesting to have a conversation in person, Captain, don’t you think? Sorry about your broken window and the bump in the bow. We would have used your airlock behind the bridge. But there were some rather rude and unwelcoming people back there. They didn’t want to let us in.”

Captain Evril Fahenti just stared, shocked.

Annabeth Lessian said, “It’s not a good idea to assume that words you don’t know don’t matter. You now get to learn what a Velorian is, and what a Bih’Zah’Ro is. To put it simply, we’re both part of the next evolution of humanity beyond people such as yourself and your crew. We’re compatible for having sex with your kind if we do so cautiously. Well at least I am, he’s way too acidic for frails.

“As you see, we both can fly, and we’re invulnerable, and we can store energy. My breasts store it as orgone. He stores it as mass. First it enlarges his genitals and hair until their storage capacity is full, as you see they are. Then additional energy is stored in his muscles.

“I receive energy input through heat and directed kinetic energy when it comes my way, like your GAR and your bomb. Feels especially nice when the energy goes right into my pussy. My compliments on your targeting precision. Or when Chan’g charges me up as only a real man can do. He pulls out energy and heat using his eyes and mouth, like from your engines and fuel supply.

“As we mentioned, breathing is optional for us. We’re quite happy living in space. Now, in addition to all that, we’re really rather nice people when you get to know us pleasantly. Good choices to enjoy a polite chat about military matters. But one thing we dislike, are invaders trying to conquer a wormhole we’re guarding.”

A science officer called out, speaking very fast, “They have organs right behind the breast on each side, just behind the ribs, that are powering their flight! Taking those out should bring them down!”

The science officer and the Sergeant both grabbed their sidearms. The science officer had a handgun that fired a series of metal projectiles. He stood up and fired his weapon at the middle of her chest. The bullets all bounced harmlessly off of her. The ricochet put bullets into a couple of nearby consoles that caught fire. The crew quickly put out those fires.

The Sergeant had a GAR rifle in his hand, starting to bring it up to his shoulder. Chan’g D’artha opened his mouth wide. From his eyes and his mouth, that stream of - not a beam - just emptiness - connected with the GAR. In a moment, the Sergeant had to drop the rifle, which was covered with frost.

Annabeth Lessian said to the science officer, “Didn’t I just tell you we’re invulnerable? That was some impressively fast science work there, but astoundingly stupid tactics! Shooting metal chunks at a Velorian is only likely to get bystanders killed, especially in a spaceship! You’ll learn eventually about the science of volatai, but not by dissecting your visitors!”

She breathed out with a focused expression, and a gale force of wind hit the officer and knocked him out of his seat to the floor. She stopped her storm breath and said, “Sit down!” The officer scrambled back into his seat.

She faced the unused console next to him and breathed out hard again. This time, an icy cold burst between her and that console made the air crackle as water vapor turned to icicles, and then the entire console was too cold to touch, and covered with icicles. She said, “If you don’t behave yourself, I’ll need to consider whether your console access privileges should be put on ice!”

Chan’g D’artha said to the Sergeant, “Your rifle was a nice little energy snack. A pleasant dessert after the main course of your engines. Now that was really delicious and filling, with the energy from your fuel supply and auxiliaries as the side dishes. I left your ship’s fusion cells running since without them, you’d be too dead now for us to be continuing this most intriguing conversation.

“Your personal weapon is now too cold for you to safely touch. It has no energy left in its power cell. I recommend you wait until it warms up to room temperature in a few hours. Until then, walk around it, unless you want to shatter it. Don’t bother trying any other energy weapons on us, either. They won’t help you any more than this one did.”

Annabeth Lessian said, “Captain and Admiral, we need to ask again, since you didn’t answer us earlier. Haven’t your people - any of them, on any of your worlds in your Empire - heard of invulnerable, flying people before?”

Captain Evril Fahenti said, “No. What you two are doing is unprecedented and impossible.”

Annabeth Lessian said, “It’s nice to hear it’s unprecedented for you. It’s fun to do something new, isn’t it? Like we are today, enjoying the energy gifts your ship has already provided to us. But as you are discovering, your ideas of impossible are too small.”

Captain Evril Fahenti was silent.

Annabeth Lessian said, “Tell me a little more about your role as Admiral. Are you the only Admiral? Who is your boss? Do you have many other ships in your fleet? Any others as grand as this one?”

Captain Evril Fahenti said, “I am the Chief Admiral and report only to the Emperor. I have other subordinate Admirals to assist me in managing the Imperial fleet of six thousand, three hundred, fifty-seven ships. This flagship is by far the biggest and best of all of our fleet. It surpasses the five ships in the next best class by more than tenfold in every way.”

Annabeth Lessian said, “Thank you, that’s interesting. Where is your Emperor?”

“On the homeworld, across the wormhole.”

“Was it your decision as Chief Admiral to take your flagship into unknown new territory without even sending an automated probe or shuttle or something?”

“This is the way the Emperor and I have always jointly chosen to do it. No real warrior hides behind a screen while a robot goes before them. No worthy officer sends someone else to lead the capture of the territory the officer is responsible to seize. I lead my own battles, seeing for myself what is the situation as it unfolds. Until today, we always won no matter who we encountered on the other side.”

Annabeth Lessian said “Now, I can respect the courage, even if the master strategy is stupid. Nine wins, one loss, doesn’t matter that much when the last loss is of your freedom, your command, and your citizenship, isn’t it. I am removing your citizenship in the Empire effective immediately. All of you.

“Your Emperor sounds like the kind of leader who has no use for such massive losers as all of you. Meanwhile, until I figure out what to do with you, you’ll be responsible only to me. You are all my prisoners of war.”

Captain Evril Fahenti glared, but said nothing.

The Shuttle Control officer grabbed another GAR rifle. He aimed it at Chan’g D’artha. Chan’g D’artha turned in the air to directly face the officer. From Chan’g D’artha’s penis, a hot and bright energy beam came out, went through the officer’s forehead and out the back of his head, continued through the console with some sparks, and out the wall of the bridge behind the console. Then the beam stopped.

The officer dropped the rifle on the floor as he fell forward, dead, with bloody steam coming out the smoking hole through his skull. Safety lights showed that another force field had come on to patch the hole in the outer wall.

Chan’g D’artha opened his eyes and mouth wide. The blankness lines appeared for just a moment, going to the just dropped rifle. The blankness lines stopped and the ice-cold rifle shattered into a pile of tiny little frosted metal bits.

His constant erection unchanged, Chan’g D’artha turned back to face Annabeth Lessian and lovingly smiled at her. He calmly said, “As you were saying, sweetie. Perhaps nobody else will interrupt what you wish to discuss with the Captain.”

Annabeth Lessian said, “Evril Fahenti, as you are a brave leader of your ship, I will let you continue to serve as Captain. But you are relieved from your position as Admiral. I am now your Admiral, and you no longer have a chain of command going to your former Emperor. Admiral Annabeth Lessian is now giving your orders that you are to follow without question, Captain. Is that clear?”

Captain Evril Fahenti was silent a moment. Then he quietly and sadly said, “I hear and I obey. For myself and the lives of all of my crew, I unconditionally surrender. I follow my new Admiral Annabeth Lessian. I thank you for allowing me to continue to serve as Captain.

“My crew and I will serve you faithfully, with them reporting to me on this my previous flagship Glorious Hostilities with me as Captain here. Or in any other assignment or mission you have for me or for them.”

Annabeth Lessian said, “Good, that’s more like it. Science knowledge, diplomacy, and the opening of trade negotiations would have been even better for a starting point. But at least we’re salvaging a most contentious and unsatisfying argument into a more useful dialogue, now that your attitude is improving. Chan’g D’artha is not in your chain of command, but if he gives an order when I am not present, you will follow it as though it came from me.”

Captain Evril Fahenti said, “I hear and obey, my Admiral Annabeth Lessian. What title am I to use for Chan’g D’artha?”

Chan’g D’artha said, “You can just use my name, Chan’g, that’ll be fine.”

Captain Evril Fahenti said, “As you wish, my Lord Chan’g, subject only to my devotion to my Admiral.”

Chan’g D’artha said, “That works for me.”

Annabeth Lessian floated down to stand on the floor. She said, “Captain, stand up, next to me on the floor here.” He did. She looked up to his worried face and said, “We have resolved your career change at this time. Now for personal matters. Are you married, or involved with someone? Do you have children?”

He said, “Admiral, I was married, but am now widowed. My wife and all our children were killed in a random industrial accident nine years ago. I have poured all my energies into my service to my military Emperor since then, with no further personal entanglements.”

She said, “I am sorry for your loss. But it gave you time to develop your career, which led to your meeting me. Now, what do you think of me as a woman?”

He stared. “You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.”

She said, “Are you just saying that because I could kill you instantly?”

He said, “No. If I did not think you were so attractive I would not have said such a thing. I would only have remarked on your warfare power and negotiation skills, your resourcefulness, your leadership, and not mentioned your body. I praised your body because doing so is the truth.”

Everyone on the bridge stared. Then Annabeth Lessian and Chan’g D’artha both laughed out loud for a moment.

Annabeth Lessian seriously said, “Very well. It will be good for you and the rest of your crew to be fully honest with Chan’g D’artha and myself always.”

She looked to a blank section of wall on the other side of the bridge. “I don’t want, for example, to be told there are six emergency locator beacons in the supply cabinet of the Sergeant’s office…” Brief red bursts flared from her eyes one, two, three times. There were three pairs of holes in the metal, with smoke coming out from inside the cabinet.

She said, “… Only to find that there are actually only three usable beacons in there, plus three useless steaming piles of hot molten slag.”

She looked back at him. Her eyes had a hot red glow. She said, “So, accurate and honest communication is what we will enjoy going forward, would you agree?”

The terrified Captain Evril Fahenti said, “I do as my Admiral says in this and in all matters.”

She said, “Very good decision there. Now, I see that your body, which I also find appealing to behold and to contemplate, is consistent with your words.” She put her hand on the stiffly tenting fabric of his pants.

Her eyes returned to their blue color.

Annabeth Lessian looked at a crew member standing next to a metal panel built into the wall. She put her hand down from the Captain’s pants. She floated back up as she said to the crewman, “Is that a gold rope inside that cabinet?”

The crew member just stared. Annabeth Lessian’s eyes glowed for a moment, there was a red flash, and a small fire flared up for a moment on the floor next to the crew member’s feet. Annabeth Lessian said, “You can stomp that out.” The crew member did so then stared again.

Annabeth Lessian said, “Your Admiral had a direct question for you, crewman. Is that. A ten foot long gold rope. Inside the cabinet. Next to you.”

The crewman said, “Yes, Admiral. But how did you…”

Annabeth Lessian said, “Oh, I can see into and through things. Very useful to stop mutinies or conspiracies and so forth. But fortunately, you’re not packing any hidden firearms down there, only some underwear you’ll need to change when you’re off shift. And that cute fifty unit coin in your pocket with the picture of the trees.

“Now tell me what the rope is for. After all, gold is not that strong to hold a weight, compared to many things that a rope could be made of on a warship.”

The crew member said, “Um, Admiral, the rope is not for holding things, it is an emergency power distribution conduit since gold is such an excellent conductor of electricity. If we have a power outage at a ring of workstations, we can route power and data from another console.”

She said, “Is this a standard item routinely carried on all your ships?”

He said, “Yes, the exact storage location is different from one ship to another, but there are several of these in any ship. One is always somewhere in the bridge, one in engineering, also…”

Annabeth Lessian interrupted, “That’s enough on that topic for now. Very well. Is your trees coin some kind of collectors item or personal keepsake?”

He said, “No, uh… Admiral, Ma’am. It’s just a coin I happen to have.”

She said, “Toss it up with a flip. When it’s in the air, call heads or tails.”

He took the coin out of his pocket, put it on his thumb, and flipped it up. He said, “Tails.”

A quick burst of her red eye beams vaporized the coin into nothing, before it came back down. She said, “There’s a fifty unit fine today as first offense, for not answering your Admiral promptly. If you had said heads, I’ve have just melted it and let you keep the lump. You don’t want to know how the penalty increases for repeat offenders. Now, open the cabinet and bring the rope to me.”

The crewman quickly and nervously did so. Holding the coiled rope, he stood perplexed and terrified under where she and Chan’g D’artha hovered, as he looked up at them in shock and awe.

Annabeth Lessian floated down to stand on the floor next to the Captain’s throne. Chan’g D’artha continued to hover a little further back.

Annabeth Lessian said, “What is your name, Crewman?”

He said, “Electrician First Class Inis Jadarth, Admiral.”

She said, “Well, Inis Jadarth, put that rope over my head so it rests on my shoulders in some loose loops that keep it off the floor.” She lifted up her arms so her hands were pointed at the ceiling.

He stared and said, “Ma’am?”

She said, “I’d like to not lose another bridge crewman today. Wrap that rope around me like a long scarf.” He hastily did so.

She said, “That’s nice. You may return to your station.” He did so, very warily. There was soon a little yellow puddle on the floor beside his shoe.

She turned to the Captain. She unclasped his belt buckle so the ends were loose, unzipped his pants and pushed them down, then pushed down his underwear to free his cock. “Oh, standing at attention with a full salute. I like that. Would you like to know your new Admiral’s body?”

He said, “In the Empire, fraternizing with a superior is a court martial offense punishable by death. I admire your body and wish I could say yes, but I have to say no. I would rather die with honor to a warrior’s ethos than live knowing that at the very end, I disgraced the uniform.”

She said, “Now I admire that devotion to your duties. In your new fleet, you are free to love your Admiral if you wish and it will not affect your service record. What then do you say?”

He said, “I would wish to know your gorgeous spectacular body, but I fear that thighs that could withstand Chan’g D’artha and a space mine explosion, after they withstood our primary GAR blast, would kill me instantly.”

She said, “I’ll be gentle enough for you to withstand.”

“What about the… acidity… of Lord Chan’g?”

She said, “That’s already dissolved completely once it was inside me.”

He asked her, “Will Lord Chan’g D’artha kill me for impudence?”

Chan’g D’artha said, “No, that’s fine. She’s got the energy to love plenty of people, whoever she chooses. That’s her own business, no concern of mine.”

The Captain said, “In that case do it! But can we go to a private room?”

She said “No, that change of venue won’t be needed.”

She squatted on one knee and wrapped her mouth around his cock. He came within seconds, which didn’t surprise him.

Usually he lasted much longer, but usually he was not dealing with a goddess with the power of life and death. To his amazement, he was immediately hard again as she swallowed.

She stood up and said, “Now, that’s quite delicious. We certainly do come from compatible branches of human physiology.”

She wrapped her arms around him above the waist and pulled him into her. She kissed him hard as he came again… two… three… four times.

She gently took a step back from him.

Gasping, he said, “How is that even possible.”

She said, “Velorian Protectors are quite good at sex with frails. You can put your pants back on now.” He quickly did.

She said, “Don’t worry about unwanted children. Velorian women can control our ovulation.”

She took the gold rope off, and tossed to slide it across the floor to the electrician. “You can put that away in the cabinet now,” she said to him. “I find it pleasant and will have you make of it a permanent gift to me, a little later.”

She turned to Captain Evril Fahenti and said, “You probably need to sit down after all that. You may get dressed and be seated.” He pulled up his pants and collapsed onto his command throne.

Jus Kadeen

She looked around the bridge and said, “Who’s the communications officer? Raise your hand to identify yourself.”

The nervous Communications officer raised his hand. She flew over and landed just behind his chair. She put a hand on his shoulder. She turned around to face the Captain.

She said, “Oh, by the way, my Captain and lover. The name of this system is the Jus Kadeen system. Jus Kadeen Four is the homeworld and headquarters of a coalition that includes Jus Kadeen Six, the other planet that can support human life, and also three affiliated worlds in other systems.

“All of them are part of the Velorian Enlightenment which, as you have seen, we are quite serious about protecting from any would-be enemies. It’s not just a job. I myself am from Velor. I take it personally when people attempt to presume upon our peace.”

She turned back to look at the Communications console. She said to the officer, “Show me a spectrum analysis of your available hailing frequencies. For reference comparison, show me overlay lines of hydrogen, oxygen, and gold subnuclear resonances.”

He tapped at his console and a series of lines appeared. She used her eye beams at low intensity to light up a portion of the screen without damaging it. She said, “We’ll use this one. Phase two hundred seventeen degrees, cosine thirty-five positive. Don’t send anything until I tell you to.”

She moved her eye beams to the empty writing desk to his side, intensified them, and etched a trigonometry diagram into the desk to illustrate what she had just said. Her eye beams stopped.

He tapped at his controls. The diagram carved into the desk was now matched on his console’s screen. “I… I can use this setting with my equipment for both audio and video, Admiral.”

She said, “Good. Can you display two way video across your front windows display here?”

“Yes I can, Admiral.”

Annabeth Lessian floated up and hovered above the Sensors console. She looked down at the terrified operator and said, “It looks like you have sensor control there?”

He managed to gasp out, “Yes.”

She said, “Pull up the targeting you did to wipe out that demonstration planetoid.”

He tapped and a display of the outer edge of the solar system appeared, with the wormhole and the ship’s current position highlighted.

She said, “Are there any other planetoids close by with larger mass than the one your weapon destroyed?”

He said, “Yes, two.”

She said, “Show me.”

He tapped and two planetoids were highlighted.

She said, “Can you get a good view from here of a human figure at those planetoids?”

He said, “Yes, uh, we have hundred micron resolution on the surface, eight millimeter resolution out to a hundred thousand kilometers.”

She said, “Not as good as my vision, but excellent for a ship as underpowered as this one for trying to invade here. Put up a nice view of those two planetoids, one on each side of your forward viewer here.” He did.

She turned to Chan’g D’artha. “Interested in splitting some big rocks with me, honey?”

He said, “Sounds like fun, but too easy.”

She said, “Well, let’s see.” She flew out the front window and he followed. The two of them were at the planetoids within a minute, him floating in front of one, her floating in front of the other fifty miles away.

She turned to her side and her eye beams lit up… the planetoid in front of him! As she continued to pour bright red heat from her eyes onto the planet’s surface, it started to boil. A geyser of lava exploded up, then a deep canyon formed, then the planetoid entirely cracked in two.

Both halves exploded into a shock wave and dust cloud that blasted past them. It had no effect on the two of them at all, but it rocked the ship hard when it hit. Her breasts were now a little smaller than they had been just a minute ago. Her eyes continued to glow red hot.

Chan’g D’artha then turned to face the planetoid in front of her. From his still constantly erect penis, a white beam shot out. After about twenty seconds, the planetoid was entirely bright red and then it exploded. The beam went out and his cock continued to be erect.

She whirled around the dust cloud fast enough to become a blur. The cloud collapsed back in on itself, the pulverized dust forming into a tight ball half the diameter of the original planetoid. No shock wave reached the ship.

The bridge crew stared in terror at what was on the screen, the view and the stream of sensor data and inset close-up images.

The two planetoid busters flew back into the bridge and hovered again.

She turned to Chan’g D’artha and said, “Well, honey, if some people are rude, we’ll split something more interesting than a boring little planetoid. But for now, let’s see if some people would like to cooperate.”

The crew stared in even deeper terror.

She eyes still red hot, she turned to Evril Fahenti and said, “I’m nicely topped off on energy thanks to you. That looked and felt to me like a few hundred megawatts, like I was saying before you got all rude about it.

“If I didn’t want to keep this ship, a duel between your primary weapon and mine might be a nice little bit of fun. I think your ship and I are about evenly matched for firepower. Isn’t it interesting that Glorious Hostilities and I both fire from near the nose?”

She turned to the Sensors officer. “You can turn off the planetoid dust display.” He did.

She turned to the Communications officer. “Send a communication request now on that frequency. I will tell you when to open the channel.” She and Chan’g D’artha again flew above the head of the Captain and stayed there. The two intruders turned to the front viewscreen overlay just inside the window.

The Communication officer said, “Request received and acknowledged. Jus Kadeen Four is ready to talk.”

Annabeth Lessian’s eyes had returned to normal. She said, “Visual onscreen, with sound.”

The view of a conference room appeared, with a dozen political and military leaders. The woman at the head of the table stood up and smiled broadly as soon as she recognized them. She said, “Annabeth and Chan’g! I am glad you two are okay. In fact, you both are looking quite beautiful and well charged up!

“Remote sensors showed some kind of apparent battle at the wormhole. We are repositioning some orbital telescopes. I’m not sure whether they will be able to see the wormhole first, or if Messenger Lars Mentissi will reach your position first. He is flying there now with a mobile holo-recording kit. We tried to call your BOOTH but could not make a connection. Where are you?”

Annabeth Lessian said, “We are fine, Madame President. The BOOTH is destroyed, but that doesn’t matter. Put another one in planetary orbit and I will bring it here when convenient.

“I have just added a new part-time job! I am now Admiral of this warship Glorious Hostilities, previously flagship of the Invasion Force of Galactic Empire Zukenov, which seems to run a collection of planets on the other side of the wormhole. It is quite a respectable warship, although now in need of some major repairs.

“I let Captain Evril Fahenti here stay in charge of the ship, now reporting to me. He’s pretty talented at being the boss. And kind of cute, once you get rid of the whole invade and conquer stick up his butt. After some interesting conversation with Chan’g D’artha and myself, we mutually agreed that Evril Fahenti and his crew would rather report to me here than to his previous Emperor back home, who doesn’t need to bother with such losers as citizens any more. Some casualties on the former enemy side, none on our side.”

Madame President grinned as she said, “Well done you two! Are there any other military incursions headed our way?”

Annabeth Lessian said, “Actually, that’s a good question we hadn’t got around to discussing yet.” She looked down. “Captain? Answer the President.”

Captain Evril Fahenti said, “The approach has always been to send in the flagship. Conquer first to spread terror by conquest only needing one ship. We then notify the Empire that the subordinate Admirals may send their follow up ships through the wormhole, to establish the Imperial Administration.”

Chan’g D’artha said, “That sounds like a fleet of bureaucrats, not warfighters.”

Captain Evril Fahenti said, “They are both, my Lord Chan’g. Our best fighters are on the flagship, but the rest of the fleet is a very capable military force. You are right that they have far more administrative specialists on board than we do, sufficient to absorb a planetary government into our own.”

Annabeth Lessian said, “Do they come on their own if you don’t check in with them after a while?”

He said, “No. They wait for word, standing by as long as it takes for the flagship to clear the entry area around the wormhole. They are waiting now, eager but not impatient.”

Someone at the planet’s conference table said, “Captain, how do you communicate with your fleet to tell them to come through the wormhole?”

The Captain said, “With every wormhole so far, sir, we’ve been able to establish a subspace audio and data link through it. But not with this one. It seems entirely opaque to our technology.”

Annabeth Lessian said, “Ours too. That’s because it’s a one way wormhole. You’ll need to find a different route home.”

The captain and crew were shocked and silent.

Madame President said, “People, we have some fascinating new science data here. It appears that with the transit of the wormhole and whatever those energy bursts out there were just after the transit, all that somehow slightly changed its parametric structure. It is now a two-way wormhole!”

Annabeth Lessian said, “Well, then, it seems then that a message to the waiting portion of the Imperial fleet will be suitable to deliver in person. You are not to attempt any data transmission or send anything through the wormhole until I order it. Captain, can one of your shuttles withstand a trip through the wormhole immediately?”

Captain Evril Fahenti was silent a moment. Annabeth Lessian said, “Well?”

He said, “I had to think about that for a moment. I don’t know, I haven’t reviewed the data from our transit yet to find out if we’ll need to supplement its shielding. Once we know that, we can do the upgrade if needed and then launch.”

A crew member stood up. “Captain and Admiral, I have been able to examine the data we have so far. Shielded or not, a shuttle will be good for a single transit through the wormhole, but not sturdy enough for a return trip. A new shuttle of the same class could be used for a return trip, but in turn it would also not be able to go back.”

Captain Evril Fahenti said, “Thank you for your analysis, Physicist Tun Xario.” He looked up. “Admiral, does that answer your question?”

She said, “It does. Tun Xario, you may be seated. Continue your analysis and speak up immediately to let me know if you find anything further that is relevant.” She turned to Captain Evril Fahenti. “Captain, how many shuttles do you have on board? And what is their capacity for a one day trip?”

He said, “Four standard shuttles. Each can take eighteen people, if provisions and cargo don’t need to be carried. Then my own command shuttle, which seats six including myself.”

She said, “Do you have an ample supply of shuttles in your fleet waiting at the other side of the wormhole, for your word to come through?”

He said, “Yes.”

She turned to look to the back of the ship, then down at the floor of the bridge. She said, “Your primary weapon’s focusing lens is twenty-three decks below us and five hundred nineteen meters behind us, near your warship’s center of gravity. Without that focusing lens assembly, even if your main engines were online, the weapon could not concentrate the laser ring nor accelerate antimatter pellets. It would be useless.”

He stared at her.

She looked back up at him and said, “That’s the same way I knew about your determined expression. Who’s your chief engineer? You can let me know I’m right about that.”

The Engineer said, “You don’t need me to tell you that, Admiral Ma’am, but of course you are right.”

She said, “Open the side hatches for the heat dispersal tunnels from the lens to each side of the ship.”

Captain Evril Fahenti said, “Engineer! Do so!”

The Chief Engineer worked his console. He said, “Hatches open. But the heat from our earlier firing has already completely dissipated. The lens doesn’t need to be cooled at this time.”

Annabeth Lessian said, “That’s informative, but not relevant. Captain, you and your crew are to just wait here and not do anything. That is, unless you’d like to chit chat with the President about the weather and other such non military facts about her world. Chan’g D’artha and I will be right back.”

She flew out the window and Chan’g followed. She suddenly turned and flew around below the ship and out of their view, Chan’g D’artha following her.

They were all silent. In a moment, they heard an enormously loud rumble. Then there was a giant crash that shook the ship, almost hard enough for them to fall out of their seats.

In another moment, Annabeth Lessian and Chan’g D’artha flew back in to the bridge and hovered over the Captain’s throne again, looking just as they had looked before, except that her breasts were a bit smaller.

Annabeth Lessian said, “Engineer, report on the primary weapon status.”

The Engineer said, “Energy blasts a third the total output of our main engine hit the lens from each side, coming in through the cooling port tunnels, and vaporized it.”

She said, “Any other damage to the ship or crew?”

He said, “No, Admiral.”

She said, “Are other weapons systems powered by the main engine?”

He said, “Yes, most of them.”

She said, “Disconnect them from main engine power so that they are not functional even if the engine comes back up.”

He pressed a button on his console. “Engineering, this is an emergency order from myself and your Captain.”

Captain Evril Fahenti got up and walked next to the Engineer’s console. He said, “Captain Evril Fahenti endorsing the authenticity of your new orders.”

The engineer said, “Pattern 48 Bravo, 17 Delta, 65 Charlie. We are disconnecting all weapons systems from the main engines. It is too dangerous to have them connected until we know what we are dealing with for an engine rebuild. Authorization Nine Alpha Priority.”

Captain Evril Fahenti said, “Confirming Nine Alpha Priority. Get those weapons disconnected immediately. Report as soon as done.”

A voice from the console speaker said, “We hear and obey. What’s going on up there? The main engine cut off and all fuel stores now contain no energy! We have no outside visibility either from down here!”

Captain Evril Fahenti said, “We will brief the entire crew when the situation has stabilized. For now, get those disconnects processed. We will fill you in later.”

The voice said, “Yes sir! We will send out four teams. It will take one to two minutes. I’m in motion now to 17 Delta. Will update you. Out.”

Annabeth Lessian said, “Now that’s some nice efficient teamwork from my crew. I like it.” She looked up to the viewscreen. “Madame President, does Lars have one of those mobile audio prototypes with him?”

The President said, “Yes, he does.”

Annabeth Lessian said, “Let’s find how well it works. Call him now and include the audio with our conversation, please.”

In a moment, a man’s voice said, “Lars Mentissi here, Madame President.”

The President said, “I’m in a conversation now with Annabeth and Chan’g. There was an attempted invasion at the wormhole. The invader has surrendered to them and they are dealing with the operations of the damaged invading warship.”

Lars Mentissi said, “Understood. Good work, lovely Annabeth and Chan’g! As there is no Scribe in the system now, I will need to interview you about this, of course, as soon as possible. Your choice, honey, of in an office, or in my bed.”

Annabeth Lessian smiled. She said, “Yes, but first we have some things to resolve here. Please return to the planet now. Chan’g and I will be there, probably within a day, for a war conference with the President. Then there will likely be a need for some messages to be delivered.”

Lars Mentissi said, “Very well. Turning around now. Anything else?”

Annabeth Lessian said, “No, that’s it for now. See you back there, honey.”

Lars Mentissi said, “Alright, signing off and you can call me again of course.”

Annabeth Lessian said, “Engineer, how much power do the main engines require for your maximum safe cruising speed within a planetary system?”

The Engineer said, “That speed is 0.72 C and we need the equivalent of Element 517 with a 36 degree clockwise spin.” Some lights flashed on his console. He glanced at it, then back at her. “Also, I have just been notified of success at the weapon disconnects you ordered. All our ship weapons are now disabled.”

Annabeth Lessian said, “How long can you run the engines at that maximum speed?”

He said, “About five hours.”

Annabeth Lessian said, “What’s the maximum speed the ship could withstand if pushed by a strong enough tug?”

He said, “Still the same, point seven two. The Empire does not build ships with capacity that their engines can’t fully exploit. That would be inefficient for conquest.”

She said, “I see. Could the engines receive energy in beam form from behind the ship, coming in through the main engine stack tubes? Would that damage them?”

He said, “No. I mean, no damage. Yes, it would let the engine run. But I don’t know where to get beams that strong. Even what we’ve seen from you is less than a third of that. Even if you two somehow could produce that much energy, you’d melt into nothing but loose atoms.

“But if beam sources of that kind were somehow obtained, and went into any of the main tubes? That would be sufficient to start the reaction cycle. It would allow the engines to operate at their full capacity as long as the source beams continued. Do you have some kind of technology that would let you generate such beams to power our ship until it can be repaired?”

She said, “We do, actually. You can reflect a moment on my telling you it is organic technology and currently in this room.”

She enjoyed the terrified silence for a moment. Chan’g D’artha had a completely indifferent, blank expression.

She looked at the viewscreen. “Madame President, how long would it take us to reach the planet at point seven two?”

The President looked to one of the people at the table, who was typing furiously into a tabletop computer console. He looked up and said, “Seventeen minutes if no need to buffer G forces.”

Annabeth Lessian said, “Engineer, what are your maximum tolerable G force acceleration parameters that don’t harm the crew or risk damage to the ship or equipment?”

He said, “Fifty-three G acceleration or deceleration.”

The man at the conference table looked up. “I’m sorry, fifty-what?”

The engineer repeated, “Fifty-three G, both directions.”

The man typed some more. “Forty-nine minutes, then.”

Annabeth Lessian said, “What if you round down to 50 G?”

The man said, “Fifty-eight minutes.”

Annabeth Lessian said, “Engineer, do you have some kind of signal or warning lights at the back end of the ship, visible from behind while engines are going full?”

The engineer said “Yes, we have signal lights bright enough for that.”

Annabeth Lessian said, “Connect them up with green light now. Turn the light yellow at 40 G’s, that’s four oh. Red at 50 G’s, five oh. Make the lights blink when it is time to switch from acceleration to declaration.”

The engineer tapped at his console. “Done,” he said.

Annabeth Lessian said, “What about your force field for the bridge atmosphere?”

The engineer said, “Oh, that’s not the limiting factor. It holds to the limit of the testing we’ve ever done, which is about 500 G. We would need it repaired before the ship goes through the wormhole again, though.”

Annabeth Lessian said, “I’ll be right back.” She flew out the window and around to the side. In a moment she flew back in. “I see your green lights back there just fine.”

She looked up at the viewscreen. “Madame President, Admiral Annabeth Lessian requesting permission to bring my flagship to orbit over Jus Kadeen Four and have it contain my prisoners of war for now. Estimated time to arrive is about an hour from your approval.”

Madame President grinned again. She said, “Bring your ship in, Admiral. We’ll have a warm friendly welcome for you, your boyfriend, and your new buddies. Advise your Captain that if there are any weapons malfunctions on the way, our welcome will be hotter but less friendly.”

Annabeth Lessian looked at the Captain. “Did you get that, Captain?”

Captain Evril Fahenti was pale. “Yes, Admiral.” He looked up at the screen. “Madame President, if I may speak. We will appreciate your warm friendly welcome. Thank you.”

Madame President said, “Looking forward to meet you and your crew, Captain, we have much to discuss. Anything more for now, Annabeth Lessian?”

Annabeth Lessian said, “No, I’ll meet you privately as soon as we arrive.”

Madame President said, “I hope that’ll include some time for my husband and me to love you again, Annabeth.”

Annabeth Lessian sighed happily. She said, “I hope so too, darling. But business first. Once I’ve got my new ship sorted out, I’ll stay over for a night. Communications officer, you may end this conference now.”

The screen faded away. The broken windows once again showed the clear view out the cratered front of the ship.

The terrified crew wondered how their new captors would get them to Jus Kadeen Four. Many times before, they had arrived at a new planet across a wormhole in conquering triumph. Now they would be brought in defeated, their lives subject to instant execution by impossible people with whom there was no appeal.

The crew tried to imagine how it would happen. None of them could imagine how much it would soon happen in a way so much worse than they could ever expect.


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