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This series will include detailed
descriptions of sexual encounters between a human male and other males from various alien races in a science fiction setting.
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About the story:
series tells the story of an ordinary man who's life is near its
natural end, but who suddenly finds himself, at the moment of the
unexpected destruction of his world, the victim of an alien
abduction with a bizarre motive, that ultimately opens the entire
universe to him and propels him into a life of adventure that he'd
imagined was even possible. He eventually finds himself thrust
front and center into events that could, both figuratively and quite
literally, change the shape of the entire known universe.
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Favors of the First Ones - Chapter 20
moaned around Jake's cock as Srythryn slurped the head of the young
bull's thick tool into his long mouth and sucked it with abandon.
The croc worked his own throbbing penis with one hand while
jacking the leathery base of the bull's shaft with the other.
was a huge fan of voluminous seed and he never got tired of sucking as
much of it out of Mak as the young bull could produce. The bull,
of course, could produce a lot, and he could do it often. Jake
had been modified by the First Ones to do the same so, needless to say,
Srythryn felt that he was the luckiest siskreth in the universe now
that he had both of them as lovers.
Mak was on his back and the
muscular croc was between his legs enjoying himself at Mak's crotch and
the young bull's big hands were on the back of Srythryn's head trying
to push the croc further onto his cock.
Jake was straddling
Mak's head and had the full length of his cock shoved down into his
throat. They had put several pillows under the bull's upper back
and neck to lift it up so Jake could fuck his face while on his hands
and knees, and Mak simply needed to tilt his head back to accept his
lover's long tool. The young bull's evolutionary adaptation was
the same as Jake's artificial one and it allowed Mak to breath freely
though his nose even while having the full length of Jake's thick,
twelve inch tool shoved down his throat.
Rhokki had maneuvered
over top of Jake from behind and inserted his cock into his lover's
rectum and was hunched over the man with his back curved and his pelvis
thrusting at Jake in short, hard jabs while he panted and drooled with
his eyes glazed and half closed. When Rhokki mounted Jake there
was no one else in the room as far as the big cat was concerned.
He lost himself in the ecstasy of being balls deep inside the
love of his life. It was something he'd never thought he would be
able to do given the soft tissue wrecking adaptation of his penis that
allowed it to only be used for the original purpose for which it was
intended, the insemination of a female rhuxus.
that had been made to Jake's rectum in order to strengthen it against
the massively thick tool of his enthusiastic young match turned out to
also make it strong enough to withstand Rhokki. The rasp-like
head of the big cat's amazing tool was almost too hard to take at
first, but over time he'd gotten used to it to the point that it was
now a source of intense pleasure.
Each time Jake pulled his hips
back while humping Mak's face, Rhokki's cock would plunge deep into
Jake's rectum. As Jake moved his hips forward to thrust his cock
down Mak's throat, Rhokki's cock would pull back in his ass and the
barbs on the bulbous head would rake across the sensitive rings of
muscle inside Jake's rectum and send powerful jolts of electric
pleasure through his body. He had come to love being fucked by
Rhokki more than by anyone else. The sensation was way over the
top and would drive him to the most powerful orgasms he'd ever had.
could fuck no one else, so it suited him fine that Jake liked it so
much. Jake was all the big cat craved. The beautiful, dark
charcoal grey lion could never get enough of taking his man and he did
it as often as he could.
The four lovers grunted and groaned,
whimpered and moaned while they rode the sensuous swirls of pleasure
that were dancing through their bodies as they bucked against each
other with abandon.
Jake couldn't take it any more and he began
to spasm with powerful convulsions as his orgasm slammed into him.
He grunted loudly and began to shoot jet after jet of cum down
Mak's throat as his big balls bumped against the young bull's wide,
Jake's anus pulsed and clenched hard around
Rhokki's thick tool in rhythm with the shooting of his seed and that,
combined with the rhythmic pulsing of the rings of muscle all along his
rectum, sent Rhokki sailing over the abyss and the massive lion roared
as he bucked hard against Jake's ass and shot his load deep into
The chain reaction continued as Srythryn began to suck as
hard as he possibly could, driven by his increased arousal at the sound
of Jake and Rhokki's pleasure. Mak pushed even harder on the
croc's head and drove his hips up as his orgasm hit him and his massive
balls tightened and the first thick spurt of cum rushed up his long
shaft to erupt into Srythryn's mouth. The croc moaned his
pleasure as his mouth began to fill faster than he could swallow.
was so turned on that his orgasm hit him right along with Mak's, and he
shot his seed out onto their sleeping mat as he rapidly jacked his own
The four continued to buck and grunt as their bodies were pummeled by their orgasms and they shot every bit of semen they had.
Finally they began to come down and they slowed to a stop.
stayed in Jake as usual and allowed all of his seed to ooze out into
him while he waited for his cock to begin to go down and the barbs to
soften so he could pull out completely.
Srythryn continued to
gently suck at Mak's massive tool until it retracted into its base
simply because he didn't want to miss a drop. Even after the head
of the young bull's cock disappeared into the base, Srythryn chased it
in with his tongue to enjoy the taste of him just a bit longer.
Jake held his cock shoved right down Mak's throat until it finally began to soften and shrink, and then he pulled it out.
They all pulled apart and then collapsed in a heap of sweaty, smiling, panting bodies on the mat.
was lying on his side and Jake crawled up onto his warm, soft, furry
lover and buried his face into the huge lion's jet-black mane and
nuzzled at his neck and scratched at his chest and behind his ears
while the big cat lay there with his eyes closed and purred his
No matter how often they all made love, Jake could not
get over how lucky he was. He couldn't imagine a better life than
this. He had the three best lovers in the galaxy to lay with
whenever he wished. He was head over heels in love with all three
Rhokki was a lion through and through. When he
took Jake he owned him completely and the others had learned not to try
to get between them in any way while Rhokki bred his man. The cat
would lose control and his instincts would drive him to roar and
threaten any competition away. When he wasn't buried deep inside
of Jake he was the sweetest, most caring and lovingly attentive male
Jake could possibly hope to be with.
Srythryn was the epitome of
the perfect mate. He was sweet and loving, yet a strong,
intelligent and determined leader. He had more self confidence
than anyone Jake had ever known and he was generous to a fault.
Nothing ever seemed to phase him and he could face any challenge
that was put in front of him. He was muscular and masculine yet
spoke with a gentleness and kind humor that kept Jake smiling non-stop.
His only weakness was Jake himself. The croc loved him so
much that if anything were to happen to Jake, it would likely kill him.
was the absolute best example of what it was to be a male as far as
Jake was concerned. The young bull exuded not only inner strength
but completely over the top muscular power as well. He was
massively muscled and covered in a beautiful chocolate brown hide with
extremely short, soft hair mottled with darker brown and black
patterns, and a lighter brown down his front and the insides of his
arms and legs. His tackle was massive. His feet and hands
were thick and powerful. He smelled amazingly masculine and
musky. There was absolutely nothing about Mak that didn't curl
Jake's toes hard, but above all he loved the bull's personality.
The two of them clicked perfectly and Mak was the closest thing
to a true soul-mate that Jake had ever had. They laughed and
joked all the time. Mak kept Jake feeling young, but there there
was really no reason for him to feel any other way anyhow. He was
sixty-eight years old but inside he felt like a twenty year old.
That worked well since, thanks to the First Ones, his body was
now that of a twenty year old as well.
As Jake looked around at
his three wonderful life-mates with love in his eyes, he was still
blown away by how none of this really felt strange to him and never
really had. For sixty-eight long years he was just another guy
who eventually became a business executive in the big city and was
close to an early death, another victim of the rat race. Now he
was lying naked in a loving pile with a lion, a bull, and a crocodile
and he'd just made love to them all repeatedly. He loved them all
to bits and he could not be happier.
It seemed as though it
should be strange that he was so drawn to what would appear to be
animals. To Jake they were simply wonderful people with the most
wonderful souls he'd ever known. Their shapes suited their
personalities perfectly and he was physically drawn to them more than
he'd ever imagined he could be to anyone. The fact that they
looked like animals in some way almost made them even more alluring.
had even developed a crush on Chet. He often fantasized about
what it would be like to be fucked by the wonderfully furry, snow
white, giant of a bear. The massive polar bear was fairly stolid
and stoic and was very outspoken and pragmatic. He could seem
almost abrasive sometimes around most people but when he was with Jake
he seemed to soften right up. When the two of them got together
in the fighter simulators he would cut loose and they would have more
fun than Jake had ever had doing anything else in his life. Chet
was immensely fun and Jake enjoyed his company to no end. He
loved the beautiful white bear and he wished he could get closer to
him, but they had never been in any situation that would ever allow for
it and Chet had never made any advances of any sort. His match
had been a female and from some of the things the bear had said, Jake
knew that Chet had never been attracted to a male and that
homosexuality generally didn't happen with his people. Jake was
certain he'd seen Chet eyeing him from time to time as though he found
him attractive in some way, but the bear had never given any indication
that he might be interested in sex with a male, so Jake had never made
any moves of any sort. He didn't want to jeopardize their growing
friendship in any way.
In any case, it was all Jake could do to keep up with the lovers he already had.
all been at it since just after breakfast. They'd been making
love more and more each day lately. They weren't sure what the
future held and they wanted to enjoy each other as much as they
possibly could, while they could.
had been five weeks since they'd 'copied' Srythryn and his duplicate was about to
emerge from his resurrection aboard the Slirkstrith and hopefully react
to their taunting message exactly the way they wanted.
happen within hours.
Shadow's Claw had snuck up to the Slirkstrith and
stealthily parked very close to her as planned.
Instead of going alongside they'd decided the safest course was
to come up behind her, near the shuttle docking access. That way,
if the Slirkstrith made any unexpected maneuvers that would spin her
around, the Shadow's Claw would not be in danger of being hit before
they could react. They went as close as they could without
allowing their shields to come in contact with the Slirkstrith's.
If their shields bumped they would be detected immediately.
They'd been matching their acceleration to hers and, to their surprise, she had not jumped anywhere the whole time.
knew that Thriststris would do as his captain had wished and would have
continued on to the miquanowan system if he could, so he
theorized that the Lawkeepers must have intervened and decided to keep
the Slirkstrith in interstellar space until such time as the stealth
ship was located, so that she would be ready to jump and already going
at great speed to intercept. It had been a wise move and somewhat
unexpected and could have caused them serious problems, but due to the
brilliantly simple idea of 'skitching'
alongside the ark ship, their speed was identical to hers and they
would be in perfect position for the encounter the moment the ship
jumped to the siskreth system.
The zeths had completed the
modifications to their network infiltration technology and instructed
Srythryn on its use. They'd also prepared a portable,
version of their device to kill the QECH photons so that the favors on
the ark ship and in its population could not be used against them in
retaliation. Both devices used the zeths' radio-shielded
QECHS system for their own communication. Since the entangled
photons use a wormhole
link to communicate, the Slirkstrith's shields would not block them.
They would maintain their link with the Shadow's Claw even once
Srythryn brought them inside the ark ship's shields. Srythryn
himself would also be carrying a personal communicator based on the
QECHS tech so he could keep in touch with the Shadow's Claw throughout
would not need to be concerned with activating the device to cut off
the favors in the ark ship, it would be remotely triggered from the
Shadow's Claw. In order to make the device powerful enough to
cover the entire length of the Slirkstrith, it ended up being a bit
larger than they'd hoped. They had to remove the entire guts of
the pressure and environmental control systems from the hard backpack
of Srythryn's space suit including his oxygen generator, but he would
only be in the fighter briefly so he wouldn't need them. They
wanted him to be able to emerge from the fighter suited up to prevent
anyone from seeing who he was, so it really served no other purpose
than to disguise him and allow him to carry the large device aboard
while looking like just another fighter pilot. He would only
throw his helmet on just before he emerged from the fighter onto the
ark ship so he could slip past any crew who were there.
need to take the suit off before proceeding into the lackeys' area, as
there would be no reason for him to be moving around in the ship with
his suit on and he would look conspicuous. They also worried that
if anything happened to Srythryn, he would not be able to activate the
device or it may be destroyed and the ark ship would be at risk, so
they preferred not to have him carrying the important device around
with him. Once he was aboard the ark ship, Srythryn would remove
his space suit and lock it up in one of the utility rooms and the zeths
could trigger it at any time from the Shadow's Claw to cut off all of
Right now, the suit and the infiltration device were being kept in the yanking room and waiting for Srythryn.
were as ready as they would ever be for the encounter with the
Slirkstrith and they were anxiously waiting for any sign that the ark
ship was going to jump.
four lovers decided it would be best to clean up and head down to the
mess hall to eat some lunch, then perhaps meet once more in the
briefing room to go over everything one last time.
They showered in turns and finally, when everyone was ready, they left the room and started down the hall toward the elevators.
hadn't made it far before the captain's voice came over the intercom
and she said, "Jake, Srythryn, the Slirkstrith's thrust cones have just
increased in length ten fold. They have increased to combat
acceleration. The other Srythryn must have emerged and taken
command. They will likely be executing their hot jump at any
moment. Please come to the bridge immediately."
They all rushed the rest of the way to the elevator and went directly to the bridge.
"Has she spun around yet?" Srythryn asked.
"No, she has not begun to decelerate," Sintas said, "She could do it immediately or just after she jumps."
but she will do it. They will want to begin to bleed off their
speed immediately so they can settle into orbit around our world with a
minimum of hard braking. We should mark the time that they
increased acceleration. The other Srythryn would order Thriststris to plan the
maximum braking burn to begin as soon as everyone can be evacuated to
the emergency section and they are safely in their acceleration seats.
He would give them precisely three hours. That is the most
likely time that they will begin to execute their hard braking burn and
we must be ready to engage them just before then," Srythryn said.
"We've marked the time," Sintas said, "Can someone tell me what time they will be executing the burn?"
"Three hours from the marked time would be twenty-two thirteen by universal standard time," the communications officer said.
"The other Srythryn will warn everyone to be
in their seats by twenty two hundred. We should show ourselves at that time. That will
ensure that everyone is in their acceleration seats and they will not
be able to launch fighters quickly," Srythryn said.
Sintas nodded and said, "Computer...display a countdown to twenty-two hundred."
saw a series of symbols display in the corner of the main screen.
He had spent some time learning the universal numbering system
that was used throughout the collective so he was able to read the time
as it counted down.
"Captain, they're spinning the Slirkstrith." the sensors officer said.
retros to bring us sideways to starboard before her forward scopes come around. Accelerate forward slightly to put
us just beside her once she's turned. We need to be able to spin ourselves and
match her deceleration rate without her forward telescopes seeing our
thrusters," Sintas ordered.
"Aye, Captain," the helmsman said.
waited as the Shadow's Claw was moved sideways and the Slirkstrith
completed her maneuver to bring her about. The helmsman then
positioned them alongside the ark ship as close as he could without
intersecting their shields, and then spun the ship around and matched
their deceleration rate precisely.
"We're in position, Captain," the helmsman said.
our deceleration slightly," Sintas said, "I want the Slirkstrith to slow down at
a greater rate so that we slip more towards her aft end again. As
soon as we're near it, match her rate again to keep us there."
"Why are we positioning ourselves at her aft end?" Jake asked.
scopes are now facing backwards, where we've been instead of where
we're heading, but her cannon is facing that way too. We want
her to see our thrust cones when we're ready to reveal ourselves so we
need to be out in front, but
we have to be out of range of her cannon. That means we'll have
to increase thrust to maximum and run alongside her whole length to
bleed off as much speed relative to her as possible, and then cut
thrust completely to hide our cones as we drift
well out past her nose and into view of their scopes. She will
essentially shoot past us and leave us behind. We should
be able to get out of range of the main cannon before we need to engage
our thrusters again to show ourselves. They won't be able to fire
on us and they will have to cancel their emergency braking burn or risk
us blowing right past them. We'll wait out there until she
launches her first wave of fighters. At that point we can spin
disappear, and accelerate hard towards her before she can get a proper
fix and fire on us. We'll come up alongside her again before she
can launch anymore fighters," Sintas explained.
Jake nodded his understanding.
waited quietly and, after nearly ten more minutes, the sensors officer
said, "A massive wormhole is opening well ahead. They've begun their hot
was a long pause while they waited to slip through the Slirkstrith's
wormhole right along with her. This was the first time
Jake had actually been aware of the exact moment they went through a
to travel across the gap between the ends of space that had been
severely bent. He closed his eyes and focused to see if he would
feel something. He realized that it would likely be impossible to
detect anything. Even when he'd been yanked up into the Shadow's
Claw there was nothing in between his being there, and then being here.
There simply couldn't be. The ends of space that were being
bent so closely together weren't actually moving through space.
That would be impossible. They were actually moving through
non-space. The tunnel linking the ends of the wormhole was also
in essence outside of space. Without space, there can be no time.
The two are linked into space-time and cannot be separated.
That means that if you're outside of space, you're outside of
time too. As such, there's no possible way to 'experience' a
wormhole. You only know what happened just before you went
through, and what happens just after. Everything changes in a
Still, he couldn't shake the idea that he should somehow sense something.
waited to see if he would feel anything at all as they jumped the gap and the
massive warp in space snapped back with them at their destination hundreds of light years away, but
he felt absolutely
nothing and then sensors said, "We're through. They executed it
perfectly. We're just outside the siskreth system and coming into
their heliosphere fast."
nodded and said, "There's
nothing more we can do for the next three hours while they allow
everyone to evacuate to acceleration seats. By twenty-one fifty,
I want Srythryn in the yanking room and in his suit. We'll need a
security detail to help with the very confused siskreth who will be
yanked aboard as there will be no time for Srythryn to explain things
to him properly. Jake, I will want you here with me on the
Mak, I will need you to assemble your squadron and be ready to
launch in case we need fighters out there. Rhokki, bring Voph to
the bridge as well so he can keep us abreast of what's happening with
the zeth technology once Srythryn gets aboard the Slirkstrith.
You are all dismissed. Be in your positions by twenty-one
Jake, Mak, Rhokki and Srythryn decided to go ahead and
have the meal they had been heading towards when they'd been called to
They made their way to the mess hall and ate lightly, and then went over some of the details of the coming encounter once
again to be sure they weren't missing anything.
The time approached and they all went to their positions.
Rhokki went off to find Voph and bring him to the bridge.
Mak had gone to assemble his
squadron so they could all get suited up and get into their Stiletto
fighters and be ready to launch if they were needed.
went to the yanking room and donned his space suit. He kept his
helmet off and held it in his hands. He wanted the siskreth
fighter pilot who was going to be rudely yanked from his ride to see his face clearly so that he could calm down as quickly as
possible. Srythryn would only have enough time to briefly explain
to the pilot that he was safe and would be returned to the Slirkstrith
as soon as possible, but that he would have to stay with the security
detail for the time being. All of the air inside the Juggernaut
would be sucked into the chamber, leaving the fighter's cockpit in
vacuum. That meant that once the fighter pilot got out, Srythryn could immediately step into the
chamber and be squirted into the cockpit without the need to pressurize the chamber higher than normal first.
time, they'd molded a large piece of foam to the shape of the seat of
the cockpit and placed it in the chamber. The pilot would have a
comfortable landing, but that wasn't the reason for the foam. It
was actually necessary so that Srythryn would fit properly into the
cockpit. Both ends of the wormhole had to be shaped the same way
and have exactly the same orientation. It was impossible to do
otherwise, and there was no mechanism to 'turn' Srythryn so that he
could fit properly in the cockpit. If he'd been standing, there
would be no way to generate a wormhole that conformed to his shape
within the confines of the cockpit. He had to be roughly in the
right orientation with his body bent into the right position so that
the Srythryn-shaped wormhole could be generated in the middle of the
open space in the cockpit just above the seat. He would be
squirted over, and drop a few inches into the seat. Srythryn had
assured them that the active foam that was used in the seats constantly
monitored the pilot and once it found him gone, it would relax back to
it's normal, soft state. Srythryn's landing would be comfortable
Jake no longer worried about the yanking technology.
He had finally been convinced of the safety of the process.
It had been explained to him a bit better. He realized now
that there was no force involved in the process other than the
difference in pressure. Even if there was something in the way
inside the fighter when they tried to squirt Srythryn over, like a
floating object of some sort, the croc would not be 'merged' with it or
anything, he would simply slide in and it would be forced away from the
space he would occupy. If the object happened to be immovable,
Srythryn simply couldn't go across. The force of the pressure
difference is not enough to damage his body in any serious way.
In any event, none of those things were ever likely to happen
anyhow since their scanners could detect any solid matter in the way
and position the wormhole wherever it needed to be in order to allow a
clean 'squirt'. If it wasn't possible, they would know before
they even began.
Even if the wormhole were intentionally
misshapen to leave some part of Srythryn behind, such as an arm, he
simply wouldn't go across. The rest of his body would try to jump
across the wormhole but because his arm is still attached, it would
stay behind and the croc would stay behind with it. He would feel
a strong tug at his arm that would amount to nothing more than if
someone were to grab your arm to pull you back onto a sidewalk you had
just stepped off of in order to prevent you being hit by a speeding
bus. He would be held in place by his arm while the vacuum tugged
at him and the wormholes would collapse with him still right where he
was. There was simply no way a person could be seriously injured
even if the process failed somehow.
Jake made his way to the bridge to join Captain Sintas and, shortly after he'd arrived there, Rhokki and Voph entered as well.
They were all in position and ready.
had earlier ordered the helmsman to increase thrust to maximum to slow
them down hard as the full hundred-plus mile length of the Slirkstrith
began to speed past them. It was still only decelerating at
combat rate, much less than the Shadow's Claw. Just before
they would pop out in view of her telescopes the captain had ordered
the thrusters shut down and the ship spun about so they would be facing
the Slirkstrith and invisible. They'd shot out behind the ark
going at a much slower speed, so they drifted further and further
It had been timed so they would be well out of cannon range
by the time they exposed themselves. The Slirkstrith would
continue to decelerate while the Shadow's Claw simply coasted at their slower speed.
This meant that they would eventually match speeds again with the
Claw well out behind, but then they would slowly begin to gain on the
ark ship once again while it continued to decelerate. Just before
they would come back into cannon range they would fire their thrusters
to show themselves clearly and the encounter would begin.
"Thirty seconds to thrust, Captain," the XO said.
"Acknowledged. Computer...patch an open line to the yanking room."
waited for acknowledgment and then she said, "Captain Srythryn, we will
be showing them our thrust cones in just over twenty seconds. I will keep
this comm open so that you can hear everything."
"Roger," Srythryn said.
XO counted out the last ten seconds and then Sintas said, "Spin us
about and increase
thrust to match theirs. We want our cones just bright enough to
show ourselves but we don't want to gain on her nor lose too much
ground. Whatever they do
with their thrust, change ours to match to keep us just out of cannon
range. We want to force her to launch fighters at us."
"Aye, Captain," the helmsman said, and he brought the ship around and then engaged the thrusters.
I've detected a directed scanning beam. They are attempting to
scan us. They've seen us," the sensor officer said.
hold as we are for the time being. Give them some time to react.
They will see that they can't get into range with us so they will
scramble to launch a strike force. Communications, order everyone
in the comms room to begin scanning all open channels of the
collective and the siskreth home world. I want to know of any
indication that word of what we are attempting is spreading."
communications officer followed the order and then the sensors officer said, "They've reduced to
"Matching," the helmsman said.
allow us to drift very slowly towards them. Let us give them the
feeling that they may get into cannon range eventually without braking any harder
to ensure they don't harm the life in the ark. Sensors, keep an
eye out for any fighter launch."
They waited a while with nothing happening and Jake asked, "How long will it take before the first squadrons can launch?"
replied over the intercom, "It won't be much longer. The first
teams will be given priority and they'll be scrambling while the others
remain seated in the emergency section so as not to get in the way.
Only when all of the first squadrons are seated in their fighters
will the rest of the crews begin to make their way to theirs.
There will be a long gap between launches of strike craft.
The first groups should be ready within a few more minutes."
Several more minutes went by and then finally sensors said, "Fighters are away. I count three squadrons of Juggernauts."
"Acknowledged," Sintas said, "It will take them some time to begin to make their way towards us. Hold steady."
was another long pause then then sensors said, "Two more squadrons have
launched. These appear to be Rapiers, Captain. They've
already blown past the Juggernauts and are accelerating hard towards
will be the ships sent to harass us into firing our
disrupters and draining our buffer," Sintas said, "There will be a long
gap before more fighters are ready to launch as the pilots slowly
funnel out of the emergency section. Continue to hold
"The Rapiers are gaining on us fast, Captain," the sensors officer said.
"Acknowledged, hold steady," Sintas said.
They all waited for the captain to give further orders.
spin us about, but when we're at ninety degrees and they can't see us,
kick our main thrusters hard to send us spiraling out and away from our last
known heading. When we come around fully, increase thrust to
maximum and charge in to bring us alongside the Slirkstrith but at a
distance far enough away to put the Juggernauts between us and the ark
"Aye, Captain," the helmsman said.
A minute went
by and the helmsman said, "We are charging towards the Slirkstrith
captain. The Rapiers are still headed to our last known position.
They will be completely out of the fight before they finally see our cones well behind them."
"We'll be spinning around again before they see our
cones. Weapons control, ready the satellite warhead and the
starboard disrupter tubes."
The weapons officer acknowledged her command.
cut the thrusters. Weapons control, launch the satellite warhead
at the planet, but do not engage its thruster yet. Let our
increased momentum carry it away without them being aware of it."
"The warhead is away, Captain."
kick our retros hard. Bring us down closer to the Slirkstrith and
part way around the cylinder. I want us in a completely different
position so they won't know where to look for the satellite warhead.
Sensors, let me know the moment we're coming up to the
Juggernauts' position," Sintas said.
The officers acknowledged the captain's commands and followed them.
There was a long pause, then the sensors officer said, "We'll be alongside the Juggernauts' position in three seconds, Captain."
"Launch the first volley of disrupters. I want a wide spread of three to cover all three Juggernaut squadrons!"
"Disrupters away, Captain."
I'm detecting one of the Juggernaut squadrons well out of position.
For some reason, the ships have turned and are pushing hard
towards the planet. They've dropped shields to divert all power to thrusters."
someone out there is on the ball!
They've guessed our intention to launch the satellite warhead and
they know their only chance to catch it is to begin to build up speed
Keep the warhead's thruster off for as long as possible.
They likely still don't know we've launched it and they'll have
more trouble finding it if we don't light it up
until we have to and we need time to get the fighters out there to
intercept," Sintas said, "Computer...patch me through to
There was a 'bong' and the captain said, "Mak, launch
your squadron. I need you to try to reach that lead squadron of
Juggernauts and disable them before they can locate and destroy the
warhead. Do your best to minimize casualties,
but under no circumstances are you to let any of them reach that
warhead! The siskreth home world is at stake!"
"Aye, Captain. We're on our way," Mak said over the intercom.
waited anxiously for the next orders. Jake was impressed by
Captain Sintas' ability to think at high speed and juggle the entire
encounter in her head flawlessly. It was clear why she'd shot up
the ranks to captain her own ship.
a second volley of disrupters at minimum velocity, give the fighters time
to react and get behind the ark ship's shields so they aren't vaporized," Sintas ordered.
"Second volley away," the weapons officer said.
the first volley has detonated and caught the other two squadrons. I'm sending the coordinates of a
Juggernaut that is still fully maneuverable to the yanking controller,"
the sensors officer said.
"We have a lock. We're yanking
the pilot aboard...," said one of the technicians over the intercom,
"...We have him."
Through the open comm link Jake heard a familiar voice say, "Captain Srythryn? What the hell is going on?"
is no time to explain, Striss. You are safe and we'll ship you
back to the Slirkstrith soon. Stay calm. I order you to
stay with these men until you hear back from me," Srythryn said.
"Aye, Captain," Striss replied, sounding completely taken aback.
smiled at the thought of how confused his friend must look right now.
He wasn't even aware that Striss was a pilot. He wished he
could rush down there and see him, but it would have to wait.
The yanking technician said, "Captain Srythryn is getting into the chamber...
They waited briefly, then the sensors officer
said, "I see the Juggernaut turning and heading back to the Slirkstrith
at speed, Captain."
The communications officer said, "Captain,
we are being contacted through the zeth QECHS communicator.
Patching it through..."
"Captain Sintas, this is Srythryn.
I am on board the Juggernaut and will be docking with the
Slirkstrith in less than one minute."
"Good. Weapons, you
are free to launch repeated disrupter volleys towards their fighter
launch ports. Keep the suppression fire going to stop them
launching any more ships. Anything they try to send out will pop
out past the ark ship's shields and be vaporized, so they won't risk it. Give the captain time to
disable their fighter launch controls."
all waited for word from Srythryn, and within minutes he said,
"Captain Sintas, I am aboard the Slirkstrith without incident. I
have locked the other Srythryn out of the fighter launch and weapons
control systems and I am shutting them down now. You may cease
firing disrupters. I will be locking the suit away and heading
straight to the lackeys'
section immediately when I am done here. It is a very short
distance from the shipping bay and I will be inside within minutes."
"Thank you, Captain Srythryn. Weapons, cease fire," Sintas said.
They waited again for word from Srythryn.
passed and then he came on and said, "I am in the network chamber.
I have attached the zeth infiltration device and it has begun its
operation. I will await word from you on the results."
Helm, spin us around again. Fire thrusters to match our
speed to the Slirkstrith and bring us right up alongside her," Sintas
ordered, "Weapons, ignite the thruster on the satellite warhead, full
Rhokki said, "Captain, Voph tells
me the infiltration program has managed to connect into the First Ones'
computer network and has already made some progress. It is still searching for the QECH hub that
controls the favors, but it has managed to locate the database
of all of the memory maps and genetic sequences for those with
resurrection contracts. He wishes to know if the information
should be destroyed. His recommendation is to do so."
The captain thought about it and said, "Srythryn, Jake, what are your thoughts on the matter?"
maps will become useless if we succeed, and they can be recreated
through the original destructive process for those who wish it if we
fail," Srythryn said over the intercom, "I can see no down side to
they'll be useless, and the maps and DNA sequences might become a
weapon they can use against us even if we succeed.
They could resurrect anyone they wanted to, including world and
military leaders, and use them to infiltrate governments and military
and cause havoc. The people they resurrect would have been cut
off before the truth got out and would still think the First Ones were
benevolent and had somehow been betrayed. They could be told any
story and convinced that they need to help out to get the First Ones
back in control. I say we wipe the databases out to give them
less to work with," Jake said.
"Agreed. Voph, destroy the information please," Sintas said.
was a pause and then Rhokki said, "Voph says it is done. He is
pleased that the first serious blow has been dealt to the First Ones at last."
smiled and said, "Let us hope the next one comes soon. They will
not be happy now. Any progress on locating the QECH hub?"
said, "Not yet. Voph says the First Ones have detected the breach
and are attacking the zeth program while trying to locate its source. The program is attempting to morph and move
further into their systems."
"Captain, the squadron of
Juggernauts that was headed toward the planet has changed course to
intercept the warhead. There is a small chance they will reach it
in time," the sensors officer said.
"Mak, what is your status?" Sintas asked.
closing on them, Captain. The Juggernauts are not as fast as our
Stilettos. They can't outrun us. We'll be in
weapons range in a few minutes. They'll be forced to raise their
shields and they'll lose a ton of thrust because of it. We'll
stop them before they reach the warhead," Mak replied.
suddenly grunted in anger and said, "Voph tells me we will
not be able to destroy the QECH hub's communications. The attack
is a failure.
The zeth program has been located and destroyed by the First Ones
and they are attempting to track it back to its source. We must
activate the device to cut off all favors and QECH photons in the
"Shit!" Jake exclaimed.
Sintas cursed and then said, "Activate the device, Voph."
After just a moment, Voph indicated the device had been activated. The Slirkstrith would be safe from retaliation.
did you read that?" Sintas asked, "There's nothing more you can do
there. Don't take the time to retrieve the infiltration device.
They'll be looking for you! Get out of the lackeys' area,
"I am already on my way out. I will be heading to the bridge to try to explain the
situation to the other Srythryn."
am sorry for this
failure, Captain Srythryn. The warhead is on its way to orbit and
will deploy shortly. Your home world will be safe in just
Sintas said, "Voph, is there anything more that can be done with the
waited for a response but he shook his head and said, "No, captain.
He says the moment he activated the device to cut off the
favors the zeth infiltration unit lost contact with the First Ones'
network just as the lackeys did. There is nothing more that can
be done. He did say that the program managed to capture some data
that may help. They are attempting to fully decipher it now. They think it
may contain the physical location of all of the QECH hubs."
be something at least. We may be able to reach the one for the
favors and destroy it with our cannon,
but we would not have much time to act. The First Ones will be
doing everything in their power to shore up its defenses if they know
the data containing its location was compromised," Sintas said.
the comms room says they are beginning to pick up chatter on the
collective network. Our presence here has been detected by
telescopes on the planet. Word is spreading that the stealth ship
responsible for destroying worlds is now in the siskreth system," the
communications officer said.
"I want all radio frequencies jammed with maximum power," the captain ordered, "I
don't want those lackeys to be able to communicate with the planet or
acknowledged the order and Sintas sighed and said, "It was only a
matter of time before the word of our attack started to spread.
Any collective warships that were already in interstellar space
will begin to jump here within minutes to hunt us down. We will
soon be in over our heads. Voph, are the zeth forces on their
way?" Sintas asked.
Rhokki said, "He says they are preparing to
jump. They will be arriving just outside the heliosphere and will
be taking positions to defend the planet."
went quiet as they waited for word on the satellite warhead. It
was the last major piece of their plan still outstanding. It had to deploy successfully
or the planet might be lost.
I have some bad news,"
Srythryn said over the intercom, "I have made it out of the lackeys'
section, but there was some commotion after I left. I tapped into
the computer to find out what had happened. It appears the other
Srythryn headed in to the lackeys area to investigate our attack.
He found the zeth device attached to their network and attempted
to remove it. He
was caught with it in his hands. The lackeys put two and two
together and realized the captain was the only one with the necessary
access to take control of the ship and to enter their secured area and
lower the shields around their network chamber. They attempted to
take him into custody but his team moved to his defense and a firefight
ensued with several Lawkeepers armed with energy weapons. He was
killed. It appears my XO has locked them away in their section so
they will not be a threat to this ship, but they may attempt to contact
planet and send word to the First Ones that the siskreth are involved
in an attack against them."
"We've already jammed all radio
transmission, Captain Srythryn. They will not be able to
communicate with anyone. The satellite warhead will be in range
to deploy in just under five minutes," Sintas said.
immediate pang of loss at the word of the other Srythryn's death even
though his own version was still safe. It was a small consolation
to think that the other Srythryn had been essentially asleep for the
last five weeks and had only awakened a few hours ago. His
version of Srythryn had been living contiguously the whole time so, in
a sense, his was the real one and the other was just a copy.
Srythryn 1 was still alive and well, and Srythryn 2 had been lost.
he thought of it that way, he had no problem seeing himself as the real
Jake too, and the other as the 'fake'. This Jake had been living
contiguously since he was sent down to Mak's world while the other had
been cooking in a vat for three months during Jake's big adventure on
the sacred planet and then aboard the Shadow's Claw. He wondered
where Jake 2 was right now. He was most likely still in the
emergency section with the rest of the population.
"Captain, we're in range of the Juggernauts. We're engaging them now," Mak said over the intercom.
There was a long pause and then Sintas asked, "Sensors, keep us abreast of the status of those fighters."
back row of the Juggernaut formation was caught completely off guard and is disabled or destroyed, Captain. No
casualties yet, though some are adrift in their suits," the sensors
officer said, "The Juggernaut squadron leader is not wavering from his course.
He has not raised his shields and still has all power focused on
thrust. The rest of his squadron is engaging ours to keep them
off him. Komakwa's fighter is gaining on the squadron leader and will be in range of plasma weapons in seconds."
waited anxiously. The warhead had to deploy, and soon. The
First Ones probably still weren't clear on exactly what was going on,
but they must know by now that the Slirkstrith was the source of the
attack on their network. The signal to dissolve Srythryn's home
world could come at any moment.
"Captain, I know who their squadron leader is!" Mak exclaimed,
"He turned to launch his torpedoes at me to force me to deal with them
and I saw his face in the zoomed view of his cockpit. It's Jake!"
Jake's heart skipped a beat. Jake 2 was in the lead of a fighter squadron?
Sintas grunted and said, "I have to say I am not surprised. He must be the
reason that squadron broke away from the rest and raced inward.
Clearly their Jake is as clever as ours. I am sorry, Komakwa. We cannot allow him to succeed in stopping that
warhead. Do not take any chances. You must stop him."
slowed me down a lot by forcing me to deal with those torpedoes and
then I had a tangle with one of his wing mates. The guy was a
hell of a pilot but I managed to take him out. Jake's too
far ahead now. I won't be able to hit him hard enough with plasma
weapons in time. I have to launch missiles, but he has no shields
and he'll be blown to bits! I don't think I can do
"Mak, you have no choice!" Jake shouted, "He'll never
forgive you if that planet gets destroyed by the First Ones because
you let him stop the warhead! Launch your missiles! Don't
give him a chance to destroy it! Srythryn's whole world is counting on you!"
"Can't you shut down the jamming just long enough for me to talk to him?" Mak asked desperately.
We cannot risk even a second of clear radio transmissions.
The lackeys aboard the Slirkstrith are likely desperately trying
to get word back to the First Ones to let them know that the siskreth
are the enemy now. Their QECH communications are no longer
functional so they'll be trying to use radio to get through. We
would risk the immediate dissolution of the siskreth home world before
the satellites can deploy. We just can't do it. I need you
to fire on that ship and stop him!" Sintas ordered.
Captain," Mak said with the
sound of defeat in his voice, "He won't be in range to take out the
warhead for almost a minute yet. I'm going to try to contact him
beam first. If I increase the gain to maximum I might be able to
break through the jamming from this range. If I can't get him to
stand down, I'll
Sintas sighed and shook her head. She
was not pleased that Mak was taking this risk and not acting
immediately, but she realized there was no point in arguing with the
impulsive young bull. It would take longer than just letting him
do what he wanted to out there.
Mak had left his comm channel
open and they could hear him as he spoke into his radio, "Jake, you
have to stop. It's me, Mak. Please listen, Jake. You
have to stop trying to destroy that warhead. If you don't turn
around you'll leave me no choice. If you don't stop I'll have to
destroy your ship."
He paused briefly as he waited for a reply,
"Please, stand down! Srythryn's world will be destroyed if you
stop that warhead from launching its satellites! I can't let you
shoot it down! Please, for me, stop!"
Another short pause, but still there was no reply.
spoke again but this time he sounded defeated, "If you can hear me, I
want you to know. I'll love you forever. I'm so sorry, but
I have to do this..."
They all waited anxiously
and finally Mak came back on and quietly said, "Missiles away. He
wouldn't disengage. He's not raising shields. He doesn't
stand a chance."
They all waited quietly and the sensors officer
said, "Jake's ship is destroyed. The warhead is breaking open and
deploying the satellites. They will be in orbit shortly."
There was another pause and then
Mak came on again and in a very small voice for such a massive bull, he said, "He's dead. Jake's dead.
The second missile hit him. I killed him."
heard the anguish in the
young bull's voice and he said, "Mak, I'm right here. You didn't
kill me. I love you and I'm waiting for you to come back so I can
If he were here and I were there he would tell you the same
thing, and I would want you to have done exactly the same thing.
You did what you had to to protect Srythryn's home world and all
of the people on it. He gave you no choice.
It's not your fault he's dead. He could have chosen to
raise his shields at any time. Come back to the ship and
I'll meet you at the fighter bay."
"Roger, out," Mak said, sounding no less devastated than before.
satellites have activated, Captain," the sensors officer said, "The
favors have been cut off planet wide. I am detecting no activity
indicating the favors were commanded to dissolve the world. They are
"Captain Srythryn, did you read that?" Sintas asked.
of it, Captain," Srythryn replied, "I have to say, this has not been as
much of a success as I had hoped, but at least my home world and the
Slirkstrith are safe for the moment. In the end, I'm glad the
Srythryn was killed. He would have likely not survived the loss
of his Jake. I will be reaching the bridge shortly and assuming
If you could send a zeth contingent over at your earliest
convenience, I would like to have the Slirkstrith outfitted with their
QECHS system so that we may more easily maintain communication with the
will have it taken care of immediately," Sintas said, "Voph, if you
would pass the request on to your people. We'll have a shuttle
readied to send over to the Slirkstrith."
please coordinate the rescue of all of those floating in suits or
disabled ships out there. I want them back aboard the Slirkstrith
The XO acknowledged the command and went to work on the recovery of the siskreth fighter pilots.
suddenly became excited and said, "Captain,
Voph has told me they've deciphered the data they were able to extract
and it does indeed give us the physical location of the QECH hub that
controls communication with the favors. He says that it is
located somewhere inside of a very dense nebula. They know which
nebula, but they do not have the precise coordinates of the hub itself
within it. The data does describe the location of the hub so it
should not be difficult to find. There is a binary star system
made up of a neutron star in a high-velocity orbit with its red
giant companion. The hub is hidden within the accretion disk
formed as the denser neutron star draws the mass off of the red giant,
and it is powered by the heat of the disk."
"Could we reach it quickly? How far is the nebula?" the captain asked.
replied, "He says the nebula is a very short jump away from us, but due
to the expansive size of the gas cloud, it would take us
several weeks even at our current high speed to reach the center of it
if we jumped in just outside, and the entire cloud appears to be
defended with automated turret systems littered throughout the cloud."
"Would the Shadow's Claw stand a chance?" Sintas asked.
waited for Voph's response and then his shoulders slumped and he said,
"No. The defenses are too thick. They are arranged in a
volumetric matrix that fills the nebula with hundreds of millions of
turrets. They are long range plasma
cannons and they are arranged such that we could not get close enough
destroy even one of them without putting ourselves in
range of hundreds more of the turrets. Due to the level of
radiometric interference in the cloud, the turrets
have been designed to use optical targeting systems, so even our
sensor suppression would not help us against them."
the Slirkstrith?" Jake asked, "She can take a beating because of her
almost endless supply of energy for shields. Couldn't she make it
through those turrets?"
Rhokki paused, and then said, "Voph
insists that even the Slirkstrith
could not possibly hold out against them even with her massive
antimatter buffer soaking up the damage. She would likely not
even get past the first wall of turrets and there would be thousands
more walls to get through yet while searching for the hub. It
looks as though the defenses were designed to stop even combined fleets
of warships long before they could get anywhere near the hub. The
First Ones clearly understood the significance of the hub and realized
it must be protected at all costs. He cannot think of any way to
get around the defenses."
"There has to be some way to defeat those turrets. They're only machines," Sintas said.
said, "Captain, comms has been monitoring chatter on the
collective channels and
have determined that a large number of warships from the races that
have been doing
mercenary work for the First Ones are making their way to the
nebula to aid in its defense. Any that were already in
interstellar space and could immediately jump are massing there and the
call has gone out for any that are available to join them. There
are over a hundred warships already there and more are jumping in as we
speak. They must know that we might make
an attempt on it and they will be ready to stop us before we can even
approach the cloud."
"So that's it then," Sintas said, "We've failed utterly.
We can't possibly approach the QECH hub to destroy it. By
the sound of it, it would take several fleets of Slirkstriths to get
through those defenses."
we've detected several hundred warships appearing right at the edge of
the heliosphere and driving in hard. There are a few dozen huge
capital ships and the rest are large corvettes, frigates and
destroyers," the sensor officer said.
"Is it the zeth force?" Sintas asked.
They are Jinvhon ships. More are jumping in behind them!
They're coming in from every direction around the heliosphere!"
"Voph, where are the zeth ships? We need them!" Sintas exclaimed.
Rhokki could even process the zeth's response, the sensors officer
spoke again and said, "The zeth ships have started to jump in, Captain.
They are beginning to appear outside the heliosphere as well.
They are rushing to engage the Jinvhon but they are well behind
them and were likely not expecting them to be going so fast. It
looks as though the Jinvhon ships had already been accelerating in
interstellar space and waiting for a sighting of us, so they'd built up
"Shit, we should have seen that coming,"
Jake said, "It's essentially the same thing the Slirkstrith did.
Will the zeth have any chance of catching them?"
The Jinvhon will be able to reach the planet within a few hours.
The zeths had built up some speed in advance as well, but by my
calculation it will still take them nearly a day at maximum
"It's as I said when Ausku's world was destroyed
and the First Ones blamed us for that and the destruction of the ark
ship as well," Sintas said, "The Jinvhon were the worst possible enemy
we could have made and that is why the First Ones dissolved that ark
ship. The Jinvhon have the single most massive fleet in all of
the collective and the First Ones wanted to give them incentive to hunt
us down. They likely began to assemble their forces that day and
headed into interstellar space to begin to accelerate to build some
speed so that they could intercept us wherever we might appear, just
like the Slirkstrith did. The Jinvhon are tenacious and nearly
unstoppable and they are extremely skilled at combat tactics. It
appears they intend to catch us like fish in a net. It's unlikely
we could slip past them if we wanted to."
Srythryn's voice came
over the intercom and said, "Captain Sintas, I am on the bridge and
have assumed control of the Slirkstrith. The Jinvhon are looking
for the Shadow's Claw primarily, though by now they've been told the
siskreths are their enemy too. There is nothing you can do
against that size of a force. It is in your best interests to use
your stealth measures to try to escape if you can. They know
where you are and they may be able to track you with their telescopes
now. If they can reach you, they will destroy you. It may
already be too late for the Shadow's Claw. The Slirkstrith may be
able to hold out long enough for the zeth forces to come to our aide if
we focus all of our antimatter capacity on shields, but we will not be
able to hold out for long against the entire Jinvhon fleet so it will
be close. They not only have sufficient numbers to eventually
destroy this ship, but they also have enough to bombard our planet into
dust and we must do what we can to try to protect our home world.
If you don't mind, I would like to have Jake on my bridge with me
"Agreed, he may be needed there more than here
now," Sintas said, "Please transmit your shield harmonic codes to our
engineering so that we may tune ours to match and we'll squirt him
over. We'll do our best to get the Shadow's Claw to safety.
They've seen us now and will be able to track us optically just
as your ship was able to in Ausku's system. We may not be able to
reach interstellar space and jump away in time since more of them are
coming in at the borders to stop us. Our shields are not up to
that amount of cannon fire and our disrupter suppression will be of no
use against ships of that size. I'm afraid we are doomed."
if we can get our shields in tune, can't we keep on skitching like
before, but closer?" Jake asked, "We're like a mosquito in size
compared to the Slirkstrith. Could we bring the Shadow's Claw in
close enough to get inside the Slirkstrith's more powerful shields and
take advantage of her capacious antimatter buffer?"
Granth's wilted whiskers! That's an excellent idea, Jake!"
Srythryn shouted, "We can extend our shields a bit wider at very little
additional cost of energy, but they will be easily large enough to
envelope the Shadow's Claw if you attach yourself to our side. We
have standard docking ramps with anchor points near the aft end of the
cylinder just ahead of the fighter launch section. I will
transmit the location of the docking points to your helm's control
Sintas smiled and said, "Agreed. Brilliant
thinking, Jake. Helm, maneuver us through the Slirkstrith's
shields as soon as we are in tune and bring us right up against her.
Once we're in position engage the docking clamps. That way
we'll also have the benefit of moving freely between the two ships
through the ramps."
"Aye, Captain. It will take at least thirty minutes to maneuver into position to dock."
"Jake, I would still like you aboard the Slirkstrith with me where you belong without further delay," Srythryn said.
could hear the worry in his sweet croc's voice. They were down to
one Jake and one Srythryn now, and neither one was immortal. Jake
realized immediately he would have to decline Captain Sintas' offer to
be her second in command. There was only one place for him now,
and it was aboard the Slirkstrith.
He turned to Sintas with a
look of chagrin on his face, but before he could even speak she smiled
and put up a paw, and said, "You don't need to say anything. I
know what you must be thinking and I understand your decision and,
though it is a serious loss to me and my ship, I must agree with it.
You belong with your captain. I believe it may be best to
transfer Rhokki and Mak over there as well. You should all be
together. Voph should go too. We will need a zeth presence
on the Slirkstrith. She will be the primary ship of the
resistance from this point forward, if there is any resistance left
after all of this plays out. The Slirkstrith and the Shadow's
Claw will likely be joined at the hip from this day on so we will all
be one happy family in any case."
Rhokki suddenly became quite
excited and said, "I will be transferred to the Slirkstrith? That
is wonderful! When can we go?"
Sintas smiled and said, "I
think it best if we all go over right now. We have a few hours to
talk strategy before the Jinvhon are upon us. I can be yanked
back at a moment's notice if I'm needed here. For now, XO, you
have the ship."
"Captain Srythryn, Jake
and I will be coming aboard along with Rhokki and Voph. We won't
wait for the docking procedure but will come over in a shuttle
immediately. We will join you in your briefing room as quickly as
we can to discuss our next move. Please inform your people that
we will be coming, and that we also have several ships collecting your
pilots and they will be bringing them to you as well," Sintas said.
I will inform our shuttle bay of your impending arrival and the
medical crew will be on hand for the pilots. Srythryn out."
"Computer...patch me through to Komakwa," the captain said, "...Mak, what's your status?"
"I'm on my way back. I'll be docking with the ship in three minutes."
divert to the Slirkstrith. Her docking bay is at the aft end of
the cylinder. Her shield codes have been programmed into your
system by now. Once you are inside her shields you will be free
of the radio jamming and you can contact her for landing permission.
Jake, Rhokki, Voph, and I will all be transferring there shortly
by shuttle. We will meet you in the Slirkstrith's shuttle bay."
before they left the bridge the sensors officer said, "Captain, I'm
reading more ships jumping in. There are three other races
sending in warships now. They did not come in hot so they've only
begun to accelerate. There are still more zeth ships jumping in
and they have begun to engage the others at the boundaries of the
heliosphere. It's getting crowded out there in a hurry."
tried to imagine the mess it must be. Hundreds of Jinvhon
warships were driving in to this location, squeezing their net closed
to catch the Slirkstrith and the Shadow's Claw, and to destroy the
siskreth home world. Zeth ships were racing in behind them to try
to defend the world. Dozens more ships from other races were
jumping in by the minute and engaging in battle with the additional
zeth forces that were still jumping in. This may be the site of
the largest battle the collective has seen since the early days of the
war with the zeths and the people on the siskreth home world would
still be wondering why the hell they suddenly found themselves at the
center of it all.
If only they had anticipated the move by the
Jinvhon and had got the bulk of the zeth forces in to the heliosphere
in front of them things would be a lot different.
Jake realized that they couldn't have risked the zeth presence any
earlier in any case, or it would have signaled to the entire collective
that something was going on here and placed the siskreth home world at
risk of annihilation by the First Ones before the satellites were in
place. It was just unfortunate that the Jinvhon had made such a
clever move and started preparing their forces weeks ago. With
all of the zeth forces and the Slirkstrith in a fortified defensive
position they could have held out for a very long time, but as it stood
now, with nothing between them and the massive fleet of powerful
Jinvhon warships rushing in, they may last only hours.
Communications said, "Comms has intercepted a universe-wide
transmission from the First Ones declaring the siskreths to be an enemy
of the collective. They have indicated that they are in league with us
and must be destroyed at all costs."
Sintas grunted lightly and said, "Computer...patch me through to Captain Srythryn aboard the Slirkstrith."
"Yes, Captain?" Srythryn asked.
assume you are aware of the growing number of forces at the fringes of
the heliosphere? It looks as though we may ultimately be facing
bulk of the collective's military in time. Your planet and your
ship are at serious risk. I know what your answer will be but I
must ask; have you given any consideration to the possibility of
evidence of the First Ones' atrocities to the collective? If they
the truth they could not possibly turn against your race, and your
would be saved."
Jake shook his head. There was no way Srythryn would agree to that.
I will not allow the entire collective to be put at risk for the sake
of my own race! Should that information get out now with the link to
the favors intact, the First Ones would need only press one button
to dissolve every world and every ship and every person of every race
in the known universe! It is simply not an option!"
Captain. Thank you. I needed to make sure you had considered it. We will be joining you shortly," Sintas said.
all made their way quickly toward the shuttle bay to head over to the
Slirkstrith. Srythryn would be the captain calling the shots from
now on and his ship was the only one that could remotely stand a chance
of holding out for at least a while.
The massive ark ship with
its capacious antimatter buffer, powerful main cannon, and large
contingent of fighter and strike craft, was the single most formidable
ship in the universe, but even she had her limits.
already lost their chance to destroy the QECH hub for the favors so
there was no hope of protecting the universe from the First Ones.
Now they had to focus all of their efforts on saving the siskreth
race and what was left of the resistance.
Their chances of surviving this did not look good.
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