Next Colony: The Expansion Chapter 4, Page 15

in nextcolony •  last month  (edited)


It was raining violently on Starbase Genesis1. Not the usual kind of rain you would experience on Earth. The howling of the Shield Generator was heard heavily across the mud tracks marked by deep furrows. Landcrawlers, with wide crawler tracks, used the runway several times a day to transport raw materials from the Mines to the spaceport, as well as supplies from there to the settlement.

Landcrawlers are huge truck-like vehicles 8-10m in width, 10-20m in height, and over 100m in length; mostly consisting of a tractor on two pairs of tracks, a semi-trailer with another pair of tracks, as well as another trailer consisting of a semi-trailer with an additional track drive as coupling to the front semi-trailer. Why Jack Steel volunteered for the safety team that secured the track, he couldn't say today. When considering the long week, the pay was moderate. It had been raining for 4 days without a break, and the construction of the game barrier along the perimeter was more than sluggish.

One could not say that Jack Steel was particularly attentive after an uneventful week in the increasingly colder air from the coming winter. Something in the corner of his eye suddenly caught his attention! Adrenaline washed throughout his body in a moment of shock...

Commodore Curione?! Chief?! What the hell brings the two of you to the underworld?! Quickly, over here, take shelter!... I'd shake your hand Sir, but I'm covered in mud. It's an honor to meet you!"

The honor is mine Mr. Steel. My Chief Science Officer speaks highly of you; says your one of the colony's best volunteers.

Thanks Chief! How's it going?

  • Things are good Mr. Steel. I've brought the Commodore here today to have him look at the Shield Generator as it's finally moving to Phase 20!

That's right Commodore, we've been working hard here to protect our resources. Take a look over there, isn't she a beauty!


Very impressive Mr. Steel; this is my first time seeing her in person. You've done an excellent job Officer Brady.

  • Thank you Sir; credit also goes to the Operations and Resource Officers, as well as Mr. Steel.

Thanks Chief, but these tracks and this game barrier is not that big of a deal.

  • Everything here serves an important purpose Mr. Steel.

Right Chief! Did you explain to the Commodore how the Shield works? Go on, break it down, I love when you talk that cool-ass geek talk!

  • Perhaps some other time Mr. Steel. The Commodore just wants to see the Generator to get a general idea of how it's coming along. Why don't you give the Commodore a simple idea of how we've situated things here.

I'll do my best Chief, but you handle the nerdy stuff. As you can see Commodore, the Shield Generator is surrounded by our 4 Depots, one to the north and the other 3 to the east, south and west. When we activate her, she throws off some kind of impenetrable force field around the Depots, and those bastards that keep attacking us get nothing! Speaking of which, I'm really sorry Sir, that we're all under such oppressive conditions. I see those enemy ships flying over every day, and when the Shield is charging, it's sad to see our resources pirated away. Makes me want to become a pilot myself, and fight back!

I certainly understand your frustration Mr. Steel. We all feel the same way, but until the Interstellar Research Community helps us create better defenses, we will solely focus on protecting our resources.

  • Commodore! Good man! You've reminded me of something that slipped my mind. You were wrong about Ambassador Deliah' not being aware of the of the galactic-wide problem of lacking defensive technology.

You've heard from the Ambassador?!

  • Not quite, but the subspace chatter indicates that the Head of the Interstellar Research Community is working on some very monumental technologies that could be a game changer for us!

Well what happened Officer?

  • What we in the science community are calling a "Disrupter Pulse" was sent out from Earth in the past few days which has somehow disabled the "Collective Fleet Phenomenon". No longer are fleets able to form a collective Shield, Armor or Structure, as was the case in the past. Some kind of subatomic frequency, that we can't measure, is pulsing from the Earth throughout the galaxy which disrupts this "Phenomenon".

Don't you just love that geek talk, Commodore?!

Actually, no Mr. Steel!

  • Right you are Commodore; I always forget. Put simply, ships now battle as individuals as opposed to one collective force.

Sounds interesting Officer, but does it change our circumstances?

  • At the moment, no. That's the bad news. But we are certain that the Ambassador is working on many more surprises to come in the near future.

By the sound of your tone Officer Brady, you seem very optimistic.

  • I am indeed Commodore!

Me too! Even though I didn't understand a damn thing that the Chief said!

That makes two of us Mr. Steel! Gentlemen, let's get back to the issue at hand. What can we expect from this Shield Generator, and when?

  • Well Sir, you'll be happy to know that Phase 20 will be complete in the next several days. And when fully active, she gives us 48 Estimated Earth Hours of 100% protection! The downside is that it takes twice that amount of time to charge her up again, so we will have to formulate some other strategies to protect our resources during that downtime.

Yes, we're working on that already with Captain Dixon's task force over at Starbase Genesis2. The Bunker still needs to be Phased Up, but we've also agreed that the Depots are just as important; Phasing them Up indirectly augments the Bunker technology.

Wow, sounds like some really exciting stuff! You guys have certainly made my day. It gets really boring here lately.

If you're looking for more excitement Mr. Steel, go speak with Lieutenant Maxwell, and we'll start you on some pilot training.

I don't know Commodore? I don't have any experience.

  • Nonsense! Jack Steel is our best volunteer Commodore, for the simple fact that whatever task we put him on, he does the grandest job!

Hey thanks Chief, that's real nice of you!

You think about it Mr. Steel. I need to go now gentlemen. Will you accompany me back to the Control Room Officer Brady?

  • Of course Sir!

Mr. Steel, it was a pleasure.

Commodore Curione, the pleasure was all mine! I'll think about your offer... Good day Chief!

  • Good day to you as well Mr. Steel. Keep up the good work!

As the Chief Science Officer and Commodore Curione slowly faded into the distance, Jack Steel felt a warm sensation throughout his body that caused him to forget about the cold wind that accompanied the wild rain. Visions of heroic fighter pilots flooded through his mind as the Shield Generator continued to buzz with the music of protection. As if a sign from the heavens, Jack looked up and saw a fleet of enemy ships flying over. Anger flooded into his bloodstream! "I can't just continue to sit by and do nothing!", Jack thought, "Tonight I'm going to seriously reflect on the Commodore's offer!"


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