The Arm of Ageddon
Part 2: Gravity

By Michael Chungkun Chen

Author Notes:  Please give feedback if you enjoyed or disliked the two-part techno-tale.  This is my first posted Ficlet, and any comments would be welcomed.  Join Enterprise1701_d’s yahoo group where I am active at, and read all his stories too.  Since the majority of this part refers to references from his stories.

Years passed after the great battle. As a race the Amphians did not find their position acceptable at all. The final battle with the Ulian had wiped out their single most powerful weapon, the planet killing battle moon. Roughly half of their fleet was wiped out in that very same battle. Many would argue they had deserved it, but the Amphians would never accept that. Though the Amphians tenaciously held on to their power in the part of the galaxy they had influence over, they were unable to expand without their large military.

The Ulian council was fair minded and allowed the Amphians free reign as long as they did not bother the Ulians. The Amphian had allowed the indignity of their defeat to go unchallenged for five years, since they had no other choice. Deep within the bowels of the Amphian Alliance there was a stirring.

Far on the other side of the galaxy, where the Ulians paid no attention, a small but advanced shipyard silently sat. Still moored to the Amphian construction dock, a new vessel awaited its crew. The dark hull appeared to absorb the very light around them. Though the vessel was small, the job assigned to it was huge. They were to seek out new resources and potential weapons that they could use against the Ulians.

Since this galaxy had already been well traversed, they would have to venture beyond their galaxy. No ship had ever ventured outside the galaxy because of the finicky nature of hyperspace. The relative distance a ship could cover in hyperspace was highly dependent on the gravity fields within the local region. The gravitational density within the galaxy was great enough to cause hyperspace to be much closer together than normal space. Once a ship traveled far away enough from large gravitational influences like the galaxy, hyperspace began to expand until the relative distance became equal to that of normal space. No ship had yet to travel to another galaxy for it would still take them centuries. Light speed was still the maximum theoretical speed within normal space.

Of course the Amphians had finally made the breakthrough. They found an alternate mode of travel, one far less dependent of the local gravitational fields than hyperspace. They termed it the brahne-tunnel drive. Years of quantum study combined with their expertise on magnetic fields had allowed the Amphians to break through the limitations of space and hyperspace. Whereas hyperspace existed outside of normal space and was still three dimensional in nature, the brahne-tunnel drive allowed travel to occur in seven dimensions. Like an electron which may randomly appear anywhere within a certain range of the nucleus during its quantum travels, the new brahne-tunnel drives allowed a ship to travel in quantum space and reach basically anywhere within a matter of moments. The only drawbacks were the charge up to build enough energy to pull apart space itself to allow extra-dimensional travel. Of course due to the dangers of tunneling into solid matter, reusable mapping probes are first sent to ensure a good location can be located for the exit point.

The first order of business was to look into a galaxy over two million light years away. A spiral shaped galaxy. The hyper spatial sensors they employed picked up some strange readings from that region. This was the same kind of hyper spatial sensors that allowed them to triangulate the Ulians and launch a planet killer at them from within hyperspace based on gravimetric eddies. They had detected large gravitational fluctuations in that faraway galaxy; a gravitational force that large must have been from some kind of weapon. The largest priority was to find the cause of that gravity and determine if they could harness it as a weapon. They had never had the ability to check out that disturbance, but now they can. Something capable of generating that much gravitational force would be valuable to the Amphians in their hidden campaign against the Ulians.

The galaxy seeker class ship was a new design, it still had the tried and true plasma based shielding that all Amphian ships used, but the hull was redesigned to absorb energy. They noticed how Ulian bio hulls were able to absorb their magnetic blasts and developed their own version. At first they went about the task trying to reflect the energy but found that it was inefficient. The reflection process actually caused more stress on the hull with certain weapons. When someone finally discovered the carbon pressed lattice structure, they were able to use it on the ship. Any energy weapons that hit the lattice structure would cause the electrons in the carbon atoms to excite forming a region of conductivity. The underlying wire structures would then experience an induced current and charge up a battery. The momentum of the electrons from the beam would then become stored electrical potential. Though the new armored hulls were slightly more resistant to projectiles than the older hulls, it was not a main concern because the plasma based shielding still effectively dealt with matter based attacks.

The weapon system experienced the greatest upgrade; they effectively extended their range on the rail cannons by many folds. The rail cannon became too inaccurate and took too long whenever the target was beyond one light second or so, so their range was limited. The new version tunneled the slug through hyperspace before it hit the target. A small hyperspace portal was opened at the exit of the rail cannon, and a secondary hyperspace portal would be opened near the target after using their hyperspace sensors to align the trajectory. The rail cannon would be fired the instant both portals open, and the slug would travel a very short distance through hyperspace before entering normal space and hitting the target. The cosmic forces that would alter the projectiles path and the time it would take to hit the target, giving it a chance to evade were drastically reduced.

As the day passed, the selected crew of the Redeemer was slowly coming on board. The best and the brightest of the Amphian race were gathered there. Top scientists were there to quickly reverse engineer any new technologies they may come into contact with. The best fighters, leaders, and engineers all gathered to embark on their mission.

The launch of the Redeemer was not a widely known event; there was no ceremony, no commotion. Just the designers and builders gathering to see the fruits of their labor detach from dock and push off on sub light drives. Being a secret ship on a secret mission sure did take the fun out of launching a new ship. But the crew knew their mission, and the need for secrecy. Once the ship was clear of the construction yard, it slowly began to overcharge all the batteries. Surprisingly the majority of the ship was dedicated to energy production and storage, the brahne-tunnel drive required a gigantic supply of power when trying to open or enlarge the brahne-tunnel. In fact, so much power was required that the process to travel far distances required two charging cycles to produce enough power. The further they wished to travel the larger the energy requirements were.

After a half hour of full energy generation, they had enough to activate the fold coils. A split moment later, the Redeemer engaged its brahne-tunnel drive to create a miniature portal to the unexplored galaxy. Two reusable telemetry probes were sent through the portal to map and chart the most favorable entry points. As little power was needed to keep the small portal open once it was formed, the standard operating procedure was to maintain the portal and recharge the batteries until the probes returned with results.

Ten minutes was all it took before the first probe returned filled with astrological data. The second probe came back not too long after with even more data than the first, which only happened because the second data set was more compressible. The location the portal opened to was good, it was just outside a star system with very little activity. There was no asteroids charted that would past through that area, and there were no sensor nets nearby.

Quickly, the ship pumped all it’s energy from its antimatter chambers into the space fold coils. Driving the portal to grow steadily until it was quite large. Once the portal was twice as large as the Redeemer, the portal stabilized and the Redeemer started forward.

The transition between galaxies was amazingly smooth, considering the ship traversed over two million light years in a blink of an eye. In fact, at one point the ship had existed in both galaxies simultaneously. The brahne-tunnel drive was like that; it brought the destination closer to the starting point through altering the quantum properties of space. Of course over a short period of time, space would return to normal, and the tunnel would close, but it lasted long enough to allow the ship to travel vast distances almost instantaneously.

The Redeemer had entered a new galaxy; quietly, under stealth mode, the Redeemer glided through space on their sub light drives. The Redeemer’s hull allowed most electromagnetic energy to be absorbed, and without the energy bursts from their sensor sweeps, it was pretty near invisible in space. The first sign of activity came from a neighboring star cluster. Broad microwave transmissions could be detected, and showed another alien species that developed communication ability. Risking detection, the Redeemer brought its impressive scanner suite online for a brief second and obtained as much details as it could from the newly detected civilization.

The system that was in question was a small one. It had one planet that could support life, and a gas giant further out. Two moons orbited the habitable planets, and four orbited the gas planet. The Redeemer jumped to hyperspace to try and observe the system from a closer distance. First thing they noticed upon entering hyperspace was that the hyperspace boundary was much harder to punch through. It took them twice as much energy as normal to enter hyperspace. Apparently the there were no hyperspace capable ships in this galaxy; with no ships to constantly transition into hyperspace and out, the boundaries grew stiffer and it required more energy to feed the transition coils. Less hyperspace travel actually made it easier for the hyperspace sensors to function, with fewer disturbances, less computational power was needed to re-plot the path of every stray photon and gravimetric disturbance.

In the system with two planets, H.S.A. Infinity was quietly docked at the refueling facility of Kenyar Prime. The Infinity was an advanced scout class vessel primarily built for long reconnaissance missions. Its gravimetric drives was state of the art, its sub light speed was only limited by the amount of energy it had. Though it could reach a quarter the speed of light within ten seconds, it took longer the faster they tried to go. But it could continually go faster. Within two minutes, they could travel at three quarters the speed of light. However for intersystem travel they relied on the more robust subspace drive. Subspace travel was unique in that it created a pocket of subspace around the ship in which normal physics were circumvented. Everything traveled faster within subspace, even light. So generating a subspace shell around the ship as they accelerated caused the ship to speed off to the far reaches of the galaxy with little or no trouble. The discovery of subspace centuries ago had spurred a golden age of technology.

The first advancement with subspace technology was in the field of pure science. No longer were they theorizing about limits to elements, subspace bombardment of two super heavy elements usually resulted in elements more massive than the sum of the two elements separately. The kinetic energy from the multiple light speed bombardment actually formed into matter due to the lack of other possible ways for the energy to bleed off. Prior artificial elements were short in life due to the fact that little or no energy was added to the atom to increase it’s strong nuclear force. The lighter elements were able to draw in other forms of energy to supplement, but once they tried to form the heavier elements, there was not enough energy floating around to allow the heavier elements to become stable. Subspace bombardment allowed this to occur, the extra energy from the easily boosted kinetic energy was able to provide the extra energy.

The new elements were actually quite stable outside of subspace and held amazing amounts of energy. The advent of advanced battery technology came from these super energized elements. A single battery the size of a C battery would be able to supply enough energy for laptops to run for days with a full processing load. Though the batteries did weigh twelve pounds, the energy density made up for it. A new class of shielding material was created from subspace bombardment; it was heavier, and capable of blocking even gamma radiation. A one-millimeter thick wall of octcentainum, element 800, was capable of stopping nearly all gamma radiation from nuclear reactors. With newer elements to play with, many new structures and tools were made.

Other uses were found for the amazing subspace field. Someone realized that if everything sped up in subspace, then a computer within a subspace field would ultimately run much faster as the electrons would be able to go past the speed of light in subspace. A simple test with a simple cheap laptop in a subspace bubble showed the world that it was capable of outperforming computer clusters with thousands of computers. The shift towards stability and durability in the field of computing followed. Though that laptop ran many times faster in subspace, the extra wear upon the circuitry was enough to burn it out within a year under constant use in subspace.

But the new elements gave rise to better durability. Room temperature superconductors were created with the new elements. The large number of protons in the nucleus allowed for many more orbitals to be used. The valance electrons of some of the larger elements didn’t even need any force to just fly off and become a free-floating electron. In fact, most of these new super-conducting materials were positively charged while no current flowed in them. And with these materials, super conducting computers were made. Millions of times faster than semi-conducting circuits, and billions of times longer lasting; the super conducting transistors were based on tiny magnetic fields caused by charging another of the new elements. The magnetic fields could disrupt, enhance, or induce current depending on the polarity and direction. With superconductor circuits, the generation of heat was gone, power usage drastically dropped, and speeds reached unheard of numbers. Speeds of thirty gigahertz or so were common operating in normal space, with the models that included subspace boosters; thousands of Yottahertz (10^24) were considered the low end.

Architecture complexity also increased by a few hundred-folds. No longer were they limited by heat generation and transistor size, a few atoms of the new magnetic elements along with some room temperature superconductors were all they needed. The circuitry of thirty well-networked computers could now be fit into a device the size of a watch. Nowadays more processing power was lost between seat cushions than the combined processing power of the world before the advent of subspace.

No one had yet to measure the true speed of light in subspace, the instruments were just not precise enough. Though the field of subspace lenses and prisms allowed focus and manipulation of EM radiation like never before. Finally true invisibility could be reached. Using the principles of fiber optics and multiple overlapping fields of different densities of subspace, it was possible to guide the light coming in from three hundred and sixty degrees around a sphere to come out unaltered on the other side. Any objects within the sphere became undetectable with any instruments that depended on EM radiation. Of course within the sphere, nothing could be seen except for darkness. Of course further advancement in this field allowed them to use splicing fields to withdraw a minute amount of light and direct that towards the center of the sphere, allowed whatever was inside the invisibility sphere to see outside.

Then someone came along and found that within subspace the same amount of energy would move objects much faster than in normal space. A new generation of subspace enclosed electricity generators were formed. What was old, from steam engines to fission powered nuclear plants; once again were useful when surrounded by a subspace field. Just using a plain alcohol-burning boiler, the heat energy from that was able to create enough pressure to drive a turbine and generate enough power to power a large country. A single liter of alcohol, and a subspace field could generate enough electricity for a country for a day. The subspace field itself did require a lot of energy, but nowhere near the amount of energy that a country uses in a day. Many scientists theorized that it was due to the differing densities of zero point energy in the two differing spaces. That the energy produced in a field of higher zero point potential would contain much more energy than if the same process was used in a lower zero point potential region.

Personal, and vehicular shielding became a large craze. A subspace field allowed electrons to move fast enough to present a physical barrier to objects from normal space. Combined with tightly focused magnetic fields, and using two subspace fields to create an oval shell, electron shields became able to withstand impacting bullets, rocks, and all sorts of projectiles. Cars were standardized with a built in shield to prevent scratching, keying, denting, and even the occasional collision.

This was about the same time they found the second breakthrough, artificial gravity. From inertial dampeners inside vehicles, to hovering cars, they had it all once the technology was mature. Space travel even became economical, as the gravity drives expended no mass and allowed for continual acceleration only needing energy. Gravity technology had allowed continual advancement and brought the stars within reach. But about a century ago, before they had fully understood the extent of the power of gravity, a major accident involving a planetary gravity drive developed in the outreaches of explored space at the time. The theory was sound, to move a planet around to different star systems, able to escape the eventual case of a star dying. Using subspace-shielding technology to protect the planet from outer system travel. Lots of studies and tests were done, but they did not realize the instability in the planet’s structure. On the day the final test were to commence, where the planet would exit the star system it was born in, the calamity happened.

A solid support structure in the underground caverns was attached to solid ground itself. While the support structures all remained strong, something vital was overlooked. The ground itself gave way to the stress induced by the gravity drives. One side of the engine sunk into the earth while the other side held longer; the planet began to move out of orbit only to start angling towards the orange star. The remote shut offs did not respond; the drive was too deep within the planetary core by now to receive signals. It was hilarious how quickly the planet disappeared into the star. Seconds later the gravity shockwave from the exploding planetary thruster as the shielding melted altered all the orbits of the other planets. Some of the smaller natural satellites were knocked out of the star system; other planets had their orbits changed into an elliptical one. A few gas giants became solid cores of iron after the gases were blown away. Though the disruptions in that system were the greatest, gravity as a force was long reaching, and before long the whole galaxy would experience a slight shift. Centuries later, the same shockwave would cause an alien vessel to be sent from another galaxy to investigate.

The H.S.A. Infinity had many of these technologies as part of its systems. Those discoveries centuries ago were still quite useful. As the ship finished refueling and restocking supplies, they undocked and shimmered out of view with the new cloaking shield.

As the H.S.A. Infinity left, on the outskirts of that system a hyperspace hole formed as it deposited the Redeemer back into normal space. The Amphian crew was surprised; their instruments were behaving erratically. Some times it would show a small ship moving away faster than the speed of light, and other times it would show a large virtual mass on the other side shrinking, but the whole time their eyes saw nothing. Theoretically nothing can move faster than the speed of light in normal space, yet their instruments showed the small mass do so. This new race was rich in interesting new technology, and the Amphians wanted it.

Now that the Amphians moved behind one of the uninhabited moons of the inner planet, they were hidden from most sensors and began a more detailed scan of the planet and the star base orbiting it. The large planet contained a few small groups of a hundred or so people, and seemed to have been recently colonized. New animals and plant life only found near the colonies showed the selective introduction of the plants and animals that the colonists were used to did not take hold yet. There were still living in habitation modules from the disassembled colony ship, and had not begun to build any buildings. The population had not expanded enough to require additional buildings to be built. The vacuum-sealed storage module still contained food that was not found anywhere else on the planet. The planets had not yet been mined, but the fabrication center still contained large quantities of refined ores.

After two days of intensive scans and studying the data, the Amphians decided it was time to go down to the planet and capture some devices and perhaps a specimen to conduct studies on. A small stealth shuttle flew out of the ship bay and proceeded to follow a strange course that would keep them out of the scanning range of the star base and the few sensor stations on the planet and in orbit. As the small shuttle entered the atmosphere, the darkness of night engulfed them. The sleek dark hull material similar to the material of the Redeemer’s hull was hard to see at night. Slowly the shuttle descended taking great care to avoid detection. As they continued to scan for stray individuals far away from other people, their sensors found a town with enough tools and data that would allow them to gain as much information as possible while at the same time allowing them to enter and exit without being detected.

Slowly the small shuttle landed near the outskirts of the town and five Amphians began their stealthy trek towards the center. The environmental suits they wore maintained a humid atmosphere to allow the Amphians to operate at full capacity. Their skins were quite sensitive to the cold dry weather, and their lungs preferred the air at ninety five percent humidity. They could survive in colder dryer atmospheres, but it would be torturous agony for them to do so. Their suits allowed them to work in almost any environment, and provided augmented strength and speed. The positive feedback controlled hydraulic systems amplified their speeds by a factor of ten and their strength by a factor of a hundred. It took a full year of training before any Amphians were qualified for the environmental suits, and many choose to wear the suits nearly continuously.

Soon the group had reached the town and scans showed that most people were within the habitat module, and the other modules were empty. Detecting no scanning devices in the uninhabited buildings, the Amphians decided to enter. Two of them set toward the computer center while the other three each took a different building each, conducting extensive scans of all the equipment and casually taking small devices that would not be missed. They continued to do this until they had covered all the uninhabited buildings. The two Amphians that were in charge of the computer center were still there. They have discovered the computer systems incompatible with their own. Though they were able detect the central storage device and took great care to do a molecular level scan of that system. Hopefully they would be able to decode all the information back aboard the Redeemer. They had detected a wireless interface and had scanned that system as well hoping to find out how to interface with it next time they encounter a computer system. With the collection of data and devices completed, the five Amphians went back to their ships to find a suitable specimen. The habitation module was full of detectors at the entry points and would no doubt cause an alarm if they tried to abduct someone from there.

The five Amphians dumped their devices and data into the shuttle. They lifted off the surface and flew at low altitudes, counter to the planet’s rotation. As they were moving slightly faster than the planet’s rotation, the local time zone they were in was becoming earlier and earlier. Soon they were detecting various groups of people away from their towns gathering things. And a few single individuals were located also. When they detected a single individual far away enough that any sounds made would not be heard by anyone else, they decided to take that specimen to study.

Slowly they landed the shuttle off the path that the specimen was walking towards. Once they were down, one stayed behind to man the flight controls and kept the engines on a silent idle. The other four exited the shuttle and stalked the specimen. Apparently the specimen was heading towards the small body of water for some reason. As soon as the specimen reached the site of the water, it curiously removed its thin protective garments and entered the water. The Amphians were very puzzled for this was the first time they detected any individual from this specie to enter water. Similar to the Amphians the specimen showed the ability to survive in both arid cold air, and the slightly warmer water heated by geothermal energies. Yet, the specimen did not show any signs of discomfort in either environment. They have found a species that was highly adaptable.

Quickly, they decided that while they specimen was in the water without it’s clothing, it would not have any weapons nearby. Three of the four Amphians silently stalked the specimen, while the fourth quietly gathered up all the clothing that was dropped. Suddenly the three Amphians jumped at the specimen and one Amphian muffled the protest of the specimen with a hand over its mouth, while the other two focused on immobilizing the four limbs. The four walked back carrying the struggling specimen.

As soon as the Amphians were aboard, they set the specimen in the restraining field and activated it while starting the preliminary scans. Quickly the shuttle lifted off and head back to the Redeemer through the strange course that was designed to evade detection. The initial scans of the specimen showed that the specimen was mammalian and female. The warm-blooded creature had an internal gland that stored eggs and seemed to release it cyclically. Very fine hair appeared to grow all over the body except for the top of the head, there very long dark hair seemed to grow out and flow down to the shoulders, between the lower two appendages there was also slightly coarser but still fine hairs. The specimen seemed to have stopped struggling against the restraining fields and have lost consciousness.

Once aboard the Redeemer, activity began all over the place. Various equipment stolen from the colony were distributed to the different science and engineering departments. The data from all the scans were sent to the massive computers and analyzed and sorted. The female specimen was sent to the biolabs to do an extensive workup of the physiology of this specie.

The large medical bed contained a restraining field allowing the xeno biologists to work on the female without fearing her escape. After the myriad of internal scans, they had found an extensive nervous system with many nerve endings throughout the whole body. There were regions of the body that had a disproportional amount of nerve endings. The Amphians set out to determine the purpose of so many nerves. With a metal probe ending in a small sphere charged with a slight static charge, they set about a thorough probing.

They slowly traced the facial region of the female; though unconscious, the Amphians were able to determine the amount of reaction the female exhibited. Slowly they traced around the cheeks and nose and lips. Finding that the lips were the most sensitive. Doing more probing they found that the tongue was quite sensitive to the probe also. When they withdrew the probe they found that it was coated with saliva, likely to be some predigestive enzymes. Once they cleaned the probe, they continued to test the skin of the neck and found it to be less sensitive than the face, but still quite sensitive. They began to examine the unusual upper appendages. The arms seemed to be less sensitive but grew more so the closer they got to the hands. Amazingly these creatures had individual digits instead of webbed hands. Even more interesting was how sensitive the tips of the digits were. These creatures seemed to be extremely dexterous with their fingers.

The Amphians returned to the torso and continued to probe. The female creature began to stir as the probe started on the mammary area, especially near the tip of the area. It must be a very sensitive region to touch. Further down they traced the outer side of the lower appendages and down to the sole of the foot. Apparently the bottom of the foot was a very sensitive area for the creature awoke and began to giggle uncontrollably. They had analyzed enough to be able to give the creature a sedative to return it into slumber. After much study of the foot, they found that it was more sensitive than the rest of the body but not as sensitive as the hands or lips. Here the digits extending from the feet were quite short and not independently movable. As they returned back up, they probed along the insides of the lower appendage. Here they found that the inside was more sensitive than the outside. When they reached the top of the appendage they found that the juncture between the two lower appendages were quite sensitive. A liquid substance was beginning to form as they found it to be another large orifice that their instrument could enter. Amazingly the large cluster of nerves they detected was located near this region and direct contact appeared to cause pain. Indirect stimulation of those nerves apparently caused many endorphins to be produce within the brain. This reaction proved quite interesting and the Amphians continued to extensively study the reactions for an hour. The female had awoken many time during the examination and tended to grunt and moan before they added more sedatives to her bloodstream.

The Amphians themselves laid their eggs outside of their body, so the internal hatching process astounded them. The female Amphians normally goes to a pool of water at body temperature. After a small drink to ensure there were sufficient nutrients available, the female would then lay a handful of eggs. Hours to days later, the male Amphian would find the same pool from the sense of smell, and deposit his genetic materials, and the two would mix and the egg would fertilize and develop into little squirmy things. After a month the squirmy things would have absorbed much of the nutrients and water, legs starts to grow and these things would begin to crawl around in the humid air. By that time their air breathing organs would have developed enough that they would not depend on their aqueous breathing organs. By the time these things crawl out of the water fully they would be baby sized. So seeing a warm-blooded creature with internal nesting abilities astounded them. They surmised that the large nerve clusters at the entrance to the internal nest the creature carried allowed the creature to experience little pain and great pleasure as the young were birthed into this world. It probably also produced this pleasure during the insemination process to ensure higher rates of reproduction. Finally they had finished probing the nesting entrance and began to move on.

Near the end of the probing, they had found yet another orifice that the instruments could enter. At first they had thought it to be a larger than normal sweat pore. Then the probe slipped in as they put slight pressure at the entrance. Apparently this was the main waste output, and the entrance was capable of enlarging greatly to allow large pieces of waste to come out. After more extensive examination of this orifice, they extracted samples of the waste for examination. From the sample they were able to determine that the creature was an omnivore, though heavily relied on vegetation as a primary source of food.

The extensive biological examination of the creature allowed the Amphians to produce many different and effective bio-agents. Some that would render these creatures unconscious, others could cause paralysis or death. The extensive examination of all the devices brought aboard greatly helped the computer to decipher the encoded data they scanned from the computer in the colony. Providing great detail of the creature’s history, technology, system maps, and other general information. Though incomplete the information allowed the Amphians to better understand the technology of these Mamians as they called themselves.

From the weapons and personal shielding devices that the Amphians stole from the colony, it appeared that these Mamians focused their attention towards exploration and science, and had limited weapons and defense systems. The amazing computational ability of their hand held devices was comparable to the computational power of the Redeemer itself. At the same time the personal shield generator was useless against their magnetic based weapons. And the weapons they gathered were all chemically propelled kinetic weapons. The Amphians did not realize that the only weapons the Mamians needed on a colony were ones to keep the wild animals away and to cut woods and foliage to make a clearing.

When testing against the Amphian environmental suits, the Mamian weapons barely caused a scratch. Though the disproportion of the amount of propulsive powder versus the actual kinetic speed the projectile shot out at confused the Amphians greatly. With no experience with subspace, the Amphians just couldn’t understand how the subspace chamber where the projectiles were activated would magnify the force of the bullet without needed unsafe amounts of gunpowder. Without the subspace chamber, there was probably enough force for the bullet to come out of the gun barrel and fall to the ground three feet away. But even with the subspace field on maximum, the bullets itself were not hard enough to damage the Amphian suits. The results of shooting Amphian environmental suits with the Mamian weapons were akin to shooting a wall with water; no matter how fast the water comes out, there just isn’t enough mass or penetrating power to damage the wall.

Apparently Mamians prefer to use a digital binary system, their wireless interfaces were based on radio frequency transmissions, using some simple but robust protocols. Though the Amphians did not understand how the devices these mammals used were operating so fast because by the Amphian computers calculated that the circuitry and materials within the hand held devices had physical speed limitations, which all the devices were surpassing. The subspace fields generated within the devices were too small for the Amphians to study or even notice.

Though the information gleaned from the computer records on the colony gave a general idea on the various technologies, it did not go into specifics such as how the shielding technology or weaponry works. One thing the Amphians finally learned was that the gravitational wave they detected so long ago was actually caused by a failed experiment. A so called traveling planet that would have used gravity drives to allow the planet to seek out new stars whenever its current one was not suitable, or to modify its orbit to produce the climate the people on the planet desired. The experiment ended in such a debacle that it was associated with the first attempts at cold fusion, which caused the whole scientific community to shun a viable technology for thirty years. Apparently the composition of a planet did not provide a durable enough platform to allow one drive to push the planet. Perhaps over time, constant weak forces would be enough to move the planet, but it would make traveling tedious. New proposals such as thousands of miniature gravity drives spread around the whole planet to all simultaneously thrust in the same vector would have worked, but the funding and public pressures forced them to focus on different venues for gravity research.

Within the stellar cartography section of the data they stole, the Amphians found that the Mamians called this galaxy the Hastar Revior and had numerous planets rich in ores and fuel. About thirty percent of this galaxy was under the control of the Hastar Space Alliance. Mamians bred like crazy and the ability to colonize the stars allowed them to continue procreating like crazy. The Amphians saw the Mamians as future slaves, and were already dreaming of using this galaxy to enrich themselves. The Amphians had pretty much strip-mined their part of the galaxy, and this new source of raw materials would be very useful for the hidden campaign against the Ulians.

Of course there was an encrypted part of the data, which confused the Amphian scientists. They had never dealt with a subspace encryption algorithm before, requiring a subspace field of the right densities in the right spots as a key to interact with the processing computer and allow the correct bits to arrive at the right time.

With this bounty of information, the Redeemer opened up brahne-tunnel back to the space dock back home, and sent a small probe holding all the information though, along with the data, they also made a strong recommendation to gather the fleet in preparation to conquer this galaxy. Once the data probe entered transmission range, it quickly uploaded all its data to the space dock, and received new orders. With the exchange complete the probe returned through the brahne-tunnel, which the Redeemer kept open.

The new mission for the Redeemer was to observe the colony, continue to reverse engineer as much as possible, gather tactical data, and locate a suitable staging area and continue to update central command as needed. Without further delay, the Redeemer quietly landed on the dark side of the moon after launching some data probes to monitor and redirect the communication streams they detected. With the study of the devices, they were able to enable their probes to decode the Mamian communications.

Meanwhile back at the SpaCECoB in universe 004, the PSS Dvoràk silently docked within the station. It was time for the first annual checkup and tune up and the crew was allowed to make use of SpaCECoB’s facilities. Due to the fact that SpaCECoB was a gathering place for multitudes of dimensions, and dimensional travel was available to civilians with proper authorization, many exotic shops and restaurants were opened on the station to provide the crew and families a community. There were no import restrictions to universe 004 due to the fact that there was no economy or life in that dimension before the ESMF built the SpaCECoB there. And very reasonable export tariffs and restrictions were placed on certain dimensions to protect that dimension’s economy. The restaurants on the station housed the finest chefs from many dimensions. And the shops contained many exotic items that were just too complicated to be replicated. Jewelry, exotic pets, trinkets were imported from many dimensions. The arboretum contained actual trees, not just plants, and somehow a menagerie was built nearby. Despite all these places that some may consider excessive on a space station, the SpaCECoB still had plenty of empty rooms, holds, and bays sitting there waiting to be allocated for some use.

“We’re docked Captain,” announced March Dhondt who was currently manning the helm.

“Very well, ready the ship for repair and maintenance mode. All hands, we are now docked and your leave for the weekend will begin when the maintenance crew relieves you.” Captain O’Connor ordered with the ships systems automatically announcing ship wide the second part.

“All systems are entering diagnostic modes, computers will have minimal functionality while the optimization code runs. Estimated time to finish will be about thirty four hours,” a holographic crewmember manning Ops replied. The usual officer on duty for this shift was an athletic young ensign who had sprained her ankle while delivering some operation reports to Engineering. A child had left one of those toy anti-grave shuttles hovering on the ground in the common walkway. Stepping on something that small, hovering, and not designed to support the weight of an adult caused the ensign to twist her ankle and fall. A quick transport away, and the superior mental healing abilities of the medical staff onboard allowed the ensign to be back on her feet and heading back for the bridge within half an hour.

“Captain, the propulsion systems are on standby, zero point generators are idle,” the chief engineer announced over the COM.

“Ship is in maintenance mode, bridge crew and non-essential personnel are now on leave,” announced Commander Peter Lesnik, the first officer of the Dvoràk.

One by one the junior officers shut down their station and began to leave the bridge. The ensign who sprained her ankle had just gotten out of the turbo lift and caught the first officer’s attention. With a shrug and a wave of goodbye the young ensign got back in the turbo lift. Everyone was cheerful and in a good mood because of the shore leave. The holographic crew member discretely left the bridge and returned to the computer as her hologram disappeared.

“So what are you plans for the weekend Marc?” Kathy O’Connor asked the helmsman.

“My wife and I are going to check out as many fine dining establishments as we can. We didn’t get a chance to do that the first time we were at SpaCECoB, we were too busy settling in on the Dvoràk.”

A grin appeared on the Commander Lesnik’s face as he suggested, “The Four Chefs is one of my family’s favorite places. They literally have four chefs that are each top culinary experts from their dimension. I heard that even the top chef from universe 48 works there as part of their chef exchange program. There’s nothing that they can’t cook up; they can even make the ice water there tasty.”

“That’s perfect! We’ll try that tonight,” Marc said before he remembered, “both of you free tomorrow evening? My wife has been excited all week about trying that new dancing and dining place they just opened on SpaCECoB.”

“You mean the one that opened last week?” Peter asked.

“Yep, that very one, I heard that they even serve some fancy interdimensional drinks.”

“That convinced me; I’ve been dying to try out a Fromthefield Hole on Rocks, and I’m sure my wife would love the dancing part.” Peter said while continuing to grin.

“So what do you say? You bring your boyfriend along and we all get slightly intoxicated after a good meal and have some fun on the dance floor.” Marc urged Kathy.

Kathy mused while trying to hide a smile, “seeing how I was going to ask you two to join me and Jonathan at this place, I can’t see how I can say no. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised if we see a lot of people from the Dvoràk there.”

Peter nodded, “yeah, this place was popular the moment they started the idea.”

“Hey Capt… I mean Kathy, sorry forgot we’re on leave right now, we still on for our morning sparring?” Marc asked happily.

“Definitely, we have to make sure we work off those extra calories from SpaCECoB’s finest restaurants. See you at 0700?”

“Sounds good, I’ll call you two for dinner tomorrow, I’m off to meet my wife,” answered Marc as he headed for the turbo lifts.

“Have a good time,” replied the Captain

“Enjoy yourself!” said the first officer.

“Can you believe that it was only a year ago that we first set out on the Dvoràk to explore the different dimensions?” Kathy asked.

“Quite amazing, seven whole dimensions, and not once had we needed to use our weapons or shields against another life form. Exploration during peacetime is definitely a luxury I cherish, but it takes some getting used to after those two wars we were in,” reminisced the Peter.

Kathy smiled at the comment. “Yeah I still get jumpy sometimes when we enter a new dimension.”

“Maintenance crews are in place, PSS Dvoràk on standby,” the computer interrupted since Linda was busy synchronizing the databases and her personality matrix with her counterpart on the station.

“Looks like there’s no more excuses we can find to stay on the bridge,” Commander Lesnik cheerfully said.

“Guess not, shall we?” Kathy asked as she indicated the turbo lifts.

“Of course, after you captain,” Peter said with a smirk.

“Why thank you, commander,” Captain O’Connor replied with a grin.

Back at the exploration command center, an anomaly in space happened to catch the attention of the officer monitoring unusual events. Large emissions of tachyons in differing quantum states were detected. What appeared to be a quantum level wormhole had opened for five minutes local time, and remained stable. A quick double check, and he found another one had formed and remained stable for thirty minutes within the same vicinities. This phenomenon appeared artificial in nature and the database indicated that dimension to be devoid of life. The dimension summary sheet did not mention any more details, so this phenomenon would bear some investigation.

Quickly the officer messages Frederic about the phenomenon in dimension 43-88-21-98-11-44. As soon as the message left the console of the unusual events station, Fred was notified of a new message through the direct mental connection with the computer that was active. Frederic decided a little distraction from his session catching up with reading reports would be welcomed. Though reading would be a strange term for it was more of a direct access of the information, which occurred in less than a nanosecond. The sheer volume of reports that Frederic had to digest because of the complexity and size of the multi-verse meant that catching up with reports would usually take ten or fifteen minutes each day. Once Frederic read the initial event and relevant data reports of the strange phenomenon, he sighed to himself regretting that he was not free himself.

Using Frederic’s unique ability to interface with the computer, his thoughts were automatically converted into text as he prepared to send a message back. "Damn, I wish I had the time to go myself,” pausing slightly to pull up the ships roster instantly with a mental command, “but I really can’t right now. Send the Dvoràk on Monday,” pausing again to check the reason for the downtime, “when the check-up’s complete. It’s not necessary to disturb their shore leave."

All of that occurred within a tenth of a second due to the immense speed Frederic’s thoughts operated at and his direct neural interface to computers.

The officer who sent the message was completely surprised to find a message back from Frederic a second after he hit the send button. The short message was straight forward, and the officer quickly pulled up the assignments database and assigned the PSS Dvoràk for exploration of the unusual phenomenon in dimension 43-88-21-91-11-44 after their shore leave was over.

Back in the universe with the dimensional coordinates of 43-88-21-91-11-44, the Redeemer quietly sat on the dark side of the moon. The Mamian female they had captured was under constant observation since the month that they landed. It appeared that her body was beginning a process to release a fertile egg once again. The last time this happened the Mamian started bleeding for no reason and the egg was wasted. The Amphians could not understand why Mamians would do such a thing. During the month of reconnaissance, the Amphians were able to decode and translate the Mamian’s language. The primary doctor who had done the initial probing entered the room with the new translator module.

“We do not wish to hurt you,” the doctor said as she placed her hands on a sensitive location on the Mamian female.

The Mamian just whimpered for she was scared. It was true that the aliens never actually hurt her physically. Every time the doctor visited her, she would always find the doctor trying to calm her with gentle but invasive touches. The humid atmosphere caused her skin to be covered by a layer of slick moisture. She still wasn’t given any article of clothing, for her clothing that they brought with them was constantly wet in this environment, and none of their uniforms or environmental suits were shaped for a Mamian body.

“Be calm and enjoy my touch. We know it releases many endorphins when Mamians are touched. Know that we are sad that you felt the need to waste your egg last time, and we see that you are beginning to start another egg. Please wait a few more days for we have sent another team to pick up a male of your species. You will have a chance to hatch your egg this time,” the Amphian doctor stated while still gently trying to comfort the Mamian by light caresses.

The humid atmosphere was quite difficult to breath, but it contained enough air to prevent the Mamian from drowning. Under any other circumstances the feel of cool amphibian skin gliding across her slick wet skin would have been soothing or even pleasurable. But she had been abducted and now perhaps will be forced to carry a child against her will. It was all very frightening to her, and she was too tense to enjoy any care that the Amphian was giving her.

After the hour of physical contact to make sure the Mamian did not die of loneliness, the doctor left for the rest of her duties. They were not certain how Mamians would behave in isolation, but they were not done with the behavioral studies, so they needed the Mamian creature healthy. Some animals in isolation died and were not very good pets, so the Amphians decided it was better to be safe and give the Mamian captive some attention each day.

The Amphian shuttle was returning from its expedition to capture a male Mamian, among any other thing that they could find of use. They had avoided capturing tools and devices and purely focused on finding the heavier weaponry. They had spent a full planet rotation to make sure they had covered every town on the planet under the cover of the night. The Amphians had a hard time finding any heavy weaponry that they did not already capture. Of all the towns, only one had a locked up bunker that contained some heavier weapons.

The easiest thing they were able to obtain is the male specimen. With the new sedatives and knockout gases they had developed after studying the Mamian female, getting a male Mamian was easy. One of the first towns they went to had a lone male working in a workshop alone. The Amphians tossed the tailored gas capsules into the workshop and five seconds later the Mamian was out cold on the ground.

Once the shuttle was aboard the Redeemer, the stolen weaponry was transferred to research, while the male Mamian was moved to the medical lab. The same doctors that conducted the extensive study of the Mamian female repeated the procedure with the male.

After an extensive probing session with the male, the Amphians found major differences between the male and female Mamians. Males had external reproductive systems, and different musculature. The males also lacked hair atop their heads, either through removal or genetic inclinations. Despite the differences there were also many similarities, the dietary habits of the male was similar to the female, so were most of the nerve mappings of their bodies.

The male they had captured was at the prime of his health, and would be suitable to allow the female to hatch her young. An hour later the male was rolled into the female’s cell on a gurney. They left the still sedated male Mamian and the female, while they turned on all the sensors in the cell.

The heavier weapons that the new expedition brought back fascinated the Amphians, especially the handful of metal spheres with buttons. Apparently if the cover was slid off and the button is pressed, fifteen seconds after tossing it, the sphere would explode and send some kind of liquid out piercing through most things. One of the researchers accidentally triggered it when examining it and the researcher died a quick but painful death. The grenades the Amphians happened upon were rigged with an internal subspace generator. Once triggered, the device charges, and begins to melt the shell. Just as the shells loose shape, the deformation triggers the subspace bubble and detonation. Of course having a subspace field allowed the detonation to accelerate the liquefied shell to speeds nearing light quite instantly, once the subspace generator is destroyed in the explosion, the liquid fragments still remain traveling quite fast but not as fast as before and spreads out in a sphere to destroy anything it can. The lab with the accident was a mess, chemicals and blood was spewed all over. The liquid from the grenade punched through the soft tissue of the scientist and left him full of holes. The blood had sprayed out from each individual exit point and left the wall covered in red and metallic patterns. The lab itself was ruined, the bimetallic furniture was pocked marked with holes, the glassware containing various chemicals was shattered letting strange combinations of chemicals mix. A large collection of electronics was destroyed by the encompassing liquid shrapnel, which was also conductive and shorted out whatever circuits it couldn’t pierce. Luckily the walls of the room were thick enough to halt the spray of destruction. The only good thing was the room wasn’t burning.

After the accident, the Amphians were very wary of all the other weapons brought aboard. The CAT scan of the device had sent billions of random EM waves of varying frequencies into the device to allow the computer to map the internal structure. No one had expected one of the sequences of frequencies chanced upon the remote detonation code of the grenade. Luckily the other thirty grenades they found were in a weapons storage facility and did not get triggered.

Among the new weapons were also many types of enhanced hand-to-hand weapons. There was an elegant looking sword with a contact activated handle. Just sitting there the sword looked durable and sharp, but once someone holds the handle, the true power of the blade would activate. The Amphian didn’t really understand how the subspace field generated by the sword would enhance the edges, and allowed the sword to emit very focused electrons from the edges in excess of the speed of light. Once passing through enough air, those electrons would be harmless and scattered. But near the blades edge was another situation, the concentrated levels of electrons moving at greater than the speed of light allowed the cutting edge to be one electron thick. No material in the universe could naturally survive the edge of the sword if enough force was behind the slash. This field and electron edge also gave the sword a glowing shadow since light bends funny in a subspace field; occasionally the sword would discharge as the flat of the sword would suck in the free floating electrons from the surrounding air. This kind of technology was built into knives, axes, and many other cutting instruments.

Back in the cell the female Mamian was held in, the male finally began to show signs of gaining awareness. The first thing he noticed was that it was incredibly humid and wet and he was naked. Without much clue as to where he was or how he got there he slowly opened his eyes to find the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. What was more surprising was that she was also naked like him and studying him from timidly atop her bed, which looked more like a low table. He rose slowly and tried to shake the last fogginess caused by the knock out drugs he had been subjected to.

“Where am I? Who are you?” The male Mamian asked as soon as he was able to move his mouth.

“I, I’m Alissia,” she stuttered, ”We’re on some alien ship, I think.” She paused slightly before adding, “They captured me.”

“Where did my clothes go?” He asked gently seeing that Alissia was in distress.

“I don’t know, it wouldn’t do any good here,” she said with a frown, “they keep getting wet.”

Carefully sliding off the gurney while covering his private regions, “sorry, I’m Linel, didn’t mean to be rude.”

“No problem,” Alissia said in a whisper.

“I guess there isn’t much to do, and since we look healthy, I don’t think there is much to worry about for now Alissia. At least we can keep each other company. Why don’t you tell me about how you got here?”

“Um, okay,” she said.

The two Mamians began to tell each other about the events leading up to their capture and the vague dreams they had of their examinations. As they continued to share their experiences, Alissia began to grow more relaxed around Linel.

Linel’s confidence despite the unusual situation was very comforting to Alissia. The conversation began to change to their respective lives, and personal philosophies. Alissia felt drawn toward Linel ever since they started talking. As Linel sat on the edge of the bed to rest his legs, Alissia scooted next to him and sought the comfort and safety he represented. Her own kind, from a nearby town it turned out. The stress of the whole abduction was too much for Alissia and she finally broke down in his arms.

Linel just sat there comforting Alissia, telling her that everything would be all right.

Elsewhere on the Amphian ship, the doctor was concerned. The two Mamians have not mated yet, and it had been hours since the male first awoke. The two Mamians had just been talking the whole time, and the female had collapsed crying into the male’s arms. Perhaps the trauma of being abducted had affected their mating patterns, or perhaps what the doctor was now seeing was the typical mating behavior. It was all very fascinating to the female doctor as she continued to closely watch the two Mamians through the ship’s surveillance.

The next day, things were looking brighter for Alissia Furbrough; she had finally been able to get a good nights sleep in the arms of Linel. For the entire month that she was captive on board the alien vessel, she had trouble sleeping for every time she started to doze off horrible sensations of tingly electricity coursing through her most sensitive parts would jolt her awake. Though the feeling of electricity had faded, it did not get better. The sensation of electricity was changed to the sensation of slimy slippery fingers rubbing over those areas. The lack of sleep and isolation from her family and friends had left Alissia very depressed. One evening talking to Linel and having him hold her while she slept allowed her to finally sleep deeply. The sound sleep did a world of wonders for Alissia, she had not felt that relaxed and calm for over a month.

Linel Hutchinsen was quite high-spirited when he woke up. He had met a wonderful person and it felt good to give the woman the comfort and safety she desperately sought. Whatever the alien races had done to the poor girl had kept her on edge. She was constantly stressed and on alert and she showed signs of it. After a few hours of talking last night, Alissia opened up and Linel and was able to calm Alissia down. After crying in his arms, Alissia simply fell asleep for she was finally able to relax after a month of being on alert. Linel had not wanted to disturb the girl, so he continued to hold her and leaned back against the wall and fell asleep himself. Though he was uncomfortable, meeting Alissia had brightened his life considerably. Even making the whole ordeal with the aliens worth it.

He was saddened that Alissia had to suffer and had been subjected to this for a whole month. He remembered news of a missing woman from a neighboring town, and after two weeks of searching the wilderness surrounding the local towns, they had presumed her dead from some animal attack. He was sad for her then because it was the thought of someone’s twenty two year old daughter or sister lost in the wilderness and dieing of starvation or animal attack made him sympathetic. Now that he has found this missing person, he made a vow to return her to town and reunite the grieving family.

The morning that had started out great only made the rest of that day that much worse. After they took turns in the bathroom to clean up and attempt to dry themselves, the Amphian guards came in when Linel exited. Without a word, both Alissia and Linel were grabbed forcefully by two guards each and forced to march to the medical lab. Both Alissia and Linel had horrible yet vague memories about the lab. The violations of their body while they were unconscious only registered on their subconscious level and this caused both of them to become nervous and edgy when they saw the lab again.

Both Linel and Alissia were led to separate metal tables and strapped into them. The doctor came into the room with her translation module as soon as the two Mamians were strapped in. “Why have you two not fertilized the egg? The medical scans show it to almost be wasted. We will have to medically fertilize it to make sure it does not die.”

Alissia just started to whimper as the doctor were passing some scanning devices all over her.

“Wha...? You can’t do that, release her; do whatever you want with me, but leave her alone.” Linel futilely struggled against the thick belts that held him down. The words the doctor said had not sunk into the two Mamians yet.

“Well, I will leave her alone now and do whatever I want with you,” the doctor said as she finished her scans. “I have just enough time to do this right once. I am not familiar with the procedure of your species, but I will follow my scans.”

The doctor walked over to Linel. “Raise your insemination organ.”

“Huh?” Linel replied completely confused.

“Fine, this will be more difficult,” the doctor said as she inserted a flexible tube the width of pencil lead.

To Linel it seemed like one moment he was in confusion and the next moment he was in a world of fiery pain that kept creeping inside deeper and deeper in his urinary tract. The world quickly blacked out as Linel yelled in pain before passing out.

Linel’s scream startled Alissia and made her feel even worse. She was already feeling vulnerable, and to hear Linel in pain and too far way to comfort her made her even more scared. Moments passed before Alissia noticed that Linel wasn’t screaming anymore and the doctor had walked away carrying a small plastic bag with a thin wire from it. With this odd looking item the doctor confidently strode towards Alissia. Alissia was scared numb, there was no more feeling anymore, if that little thing caused so much pain to a strong healthy person like Linel, she had no hope.

Mutely Alissia gaped silently at the doctor, unable to bring forth any words. The fear in her eyes saddened the doctor for the doctor felt that she was helping Alissia fertilize her egg so she wouldn’t have to loose an offspring. Passing it off as fear of alien beings, the doctor calmly said, “it’s alright, we are helping you fertilize your egg, we won’t harm you.”

The doctor quickly clasped some larger tubing around the metal tube from the bag. The guiding tube would help the doctor control the movement of the insemination device. A large patch was stuck on Alissia’s skin near the hips but to the front. Then, without a word the doctor inserted the device that was now a finger thick. It was so sudden that Alissia had no time to react to the discomfort. She was shocked that there really was no pain other than being uncomfortable with an alien device inside of her. As the doctor inserted the tubing deeper while watching a display of some sort, the doctor kept on twisting the wire, and turning knobs on the guiding device. Soon the doctor gleefully shouted, “I found it!” And she squeezed the bag, causing the contents to be jetted out through the metal tubing.

The sudden sensation of something hitting her insides shocked Alissia, then the patch that was applied earlier began to make her feel warm and relaxed. Alissia fell asleep and the room was left with two unconscious Mamians.

A few days later the Mamians finally woke up in their cell sleeping in separate bunks. Slowly the realization of what had transpired fully hit both of them, as Alissia instinctually traced her stomach with her hand. Alissia didn’t feel any different but somehow she just knew that in 6 months, there would be a little child being born.

Linel was unsure what to say, on one hand he would do whatever is right to help support the poor girl, on the other hand he didn’t know if she would welcome that or not. There was a residual lance of pain as it reminded him how the aliens had extracted the genetic material to fertilize the egg.

Linel began to quietly say, “Do you think your,” only to trail off leaving the last word unsaid.

“I must be, they were pretty determined,” Alissia replied.

“What are you going to do?” Linel asked before he realized she probably was stressed enough not having to decide what she needed to do.

Suddenly Alissia buried her face into Linel’s chest and started to cry. “I don’t know.”

Linel held onto Alissia wishing that there were something to make her feel better. “Shhh, don’t worry, I’ll help you with any problems. We are together in this, we will be here for each other and that would make everything alright.”

Back on the SpaCECoB, the crew had made good use of their leave on SpaCECoB. Many had brought new interesting trinkets aboard the PSS Dvoràk, a few even bought rare and exotic animals to bring aboard the Dvoràk as pets. The children and teenagers were able to purchase newer episodes of their favorite holo-shows, and some were even able to get some cool tech toys. Everyone was in good spirits from the good food and entertainment the station had to offer. SpaCECoB was truly becoming the hub of the multiverse.

On the bridge of the Dvoràk, Captain Kathryn O’Connor entered from the turbo lift and headed toward her chair. All the ships systems were back up in operation, and they were wall running near one hundred percent efficiency. Everyone was busy doing a final check in preparation for departure. The primary, secondary systems and their backups were all thoroughly checked to ensure safety. Kathy approached her command chair with a slight hesitation, not even knowing why she was apprehensive she cautiously sat down in the captain’s chair. As soon as the creak sounded, the Captain visibly relaxed. The creak had become a comforting constant in their exploration of the different dimensions. The familiar creak from the chair was slightly annoying, but deep down, a little part of her was glad that the accustomed creak was still there.

“Report,” Captain O’Connor said.

“We’re ready to set out again Captain,” Commander Lesnik replied excitedly.

“Ready for departure then, take her out, Mr. Dhondt.”

“Aye, Captain,” Marc replied immediately, “Docking beams released, backing her out at a quarter thrusters.”

The captain quietly read the new mission for the Dvoràk as she left the ships navigation in the capable hands of Marc. From the times they’ve served together on Fred’s early ships, Kathy knew that Marc’s piloting abilities were excellent.

“We’re clear and away from SpaCECoB, Captain,” the ops crewman said.

“Good, set course for the dimensional coordinates 43-88-21-91-11-44, and engage.”

The PSS Dvoràk quietly slipped out of dimension 004 with a flash. On the other side of the flash, in dimension 43-88-21-91-11-44, the Dvoràk appeared out of nowhere.

Marc puzzled over the dimensional coordinates after they entered the new dimension before he remembered, “Captain, isn’t this the dimension that the Entity was fought in?”

Quickly the captain called up some supplementary files on her console, “it is, and that’s not the only thing. The Phalanx’s records show this dimension to contain no sentient life.”

“Captain. I’m showing elevated chronotron levels throughout this whole dimension,” alerted Ensign Janna Sills at ops station.

The science officer quickly ran some projection programs through the computers, “Apparently there is a state of temporal acceleration in this universe. It had been experiencing this acceleration for one of our years. By the declining rate of acceleration, I’d say that the time here is almost done slowing down to our normal time. Right now I’d say every month that passes here would cause one day to pass back in universe 004.”

Captain O’Connor quickly perused the initial report filed by Frederic when he came here about a year ago. “Any dangers in this dimension?”

“No, the dimension is stable. Just the normal dangers of space travel here.”

Captain O’Connor’s eyes widened slightly in amazement when she got to a certain part in the supplementary information. “Apparently the Phalanx brought this dimension back to the beginning of time, to about one hundred million years after the big bang. And it seems to have been accelerated back to the present by some force.”

Most of the crew was amazed; some were unable to comprehend the magnitudes of the feat Frederic had accomplished. To reverse time of an entire dimension to the beginning, not just to travel back in time; but force the fabric of temporal space to bend to ones will and revert back to earlier times. And Frederic had not gone half way, he did not reverse time back to a hundred years ago, or thousand years ago, but he went all the way back to the beginning.

After a moment of shocked silence, Kathy finally brought everyone back to the task at hand, “The chronotron activity in this universe may be interesting, and our Phalanx definitely had something to do with it, but we are here to investigate strange readings of quantum level wormholes. Two instances of this quantum wormhole was detected two days ago our time; they appear artificial in nature. Anything could have happened, it has been two months or so in this universe.”

“Captain,” the young ensign who at ops spoke, “I’m detecting faint and erratic tachyon trails. The tachyons passed by this region about a month and a half ago.”

“What’s so erratic about these trails ensign?”

“Normally tachyon trails picked up by our sensors are straight, from the source radiating outwards. The process of traveling faster than light leaves a slight wake in the fabric of space that slowly fades away. According to the scanners, the trails appear to phase in and out at strange intervals. Making a dotted line in a sense,” ensign Sills explained.

Commander Lesnik asked, “Can you determine the source of the tachyon emissions?”

“Not from this location, due to the speed, we’ll need to travel for some time in an anti-parallel course to the tachyon vector.”

“How far do we need to go?”

“A few thousand light years at least, it would depend on how fast the tachyon particles were traveling, and we’ll have to use our Quantum Displacement Drives.”

The captain looked curiously at Janna, “why is that ensign?”

“The readings from the tachyons here are so faint if we used our wormhole drive, the normal tachyon emissions from our wormhole would cover what readings are left.”

“If there is no way around that then we’ll have to take our time. Mr. Dhondt, plot a suitable course at maximum cruising speed if you will, and engage when ready.” The captain finished.

The PSS Dvoràk engaged its Quantum Displacement Drive and the ship shot off at 300,000 lights.

Back aboard the Redeemer, the Amphians were continuing to study the Mamian technologies. Their last transmission probe back to headquarters had informed them that the Remaining Amphian fleets left over from the Ulian war was mobilized. All they had to do was open up a large enough brahne tunnel back and they will send the fleet through.

The final preparations to open up the tunnel were underway. In over two months in which they were there, they had started mining the dark side of the moon for fuel ore. The ore used to be quite abundant in their own galaxy, but their constant expanding and building had depleted all the resources; this is a big reason why the invasion was being planned. This new galaxy had so much raw materials lying around, that the Amphians were gathering this fuel ore from the moon only using shovels. They had plentiful energy reserves, and their food stores had enough to feed the crew for a year.

The ores they used contained two things they needed antimatter, and matter for their plasma based shielding. The antimatter existed in minute amounts, almost undetectable, and securely locked into the material. The magnetic properties of the ore allowed little magnetic bubbles to be through the ore and these bubbles were able to hold clumps of anti-helium isolated from normal matter. Once the anti-helium was extracted from the ores, the antimatter goes through an atomic level splitter. The anti-helium is split into anti-hydrogen, which was the optimal type of antimatter to use because of the free-floating space hydrogen. The left over matter and waste is fed into the plasma generator systems, and the antimatter is fed into the magnetic fuel tank.

The ship had been on high energy generation for quite a while, every spare capacitor and backup capacitors were hooked up to help provide enough instantaneous power to enlarge the brahne tunnel to the point where they can allow the fleet through. Even with the massive energy storage capabilities of a ship whose hull is designed to act as a giant battery itself was not enough. The ceiling and decks of each level was alternatively positive and negative metal plating, insulated to prevent premature discharge. The humid air was actually filled with a natural liquid that tended to float in the air and not settle down as water; otherwise, ninety five percent humidity would easily condense into water on any cooler surface. This natural liquid promoted positive health for the Amphians, and as a side effect, the liquid was also an excellent dielectric medium. This effectively turned the ship into a gigantic capacitor.

Even so, a brahne tunnel large enough for the invasion fleet would need more instantaneous energy. By itself, the ship could only store enough energy to open a tunnel large enough to allow roughly ten or fifteen ships through at one time. With a fleet of thousands of ships, the process would take too long. So once the Redeemer reached eighty percent charge, it lifted off the moon in order to find a suitable battery. Added to the fact that in front of the Mamian outpost was not the best place to open up a vulnerable doorway to bring an invasion fleet across. Their scans and charts they’ve created or stolen over the two months had allowed them to find a nice asteroid field. Surely they would find a suitable asteroid to convert into a quick discharge battery.

Quickly the Redeemer lifted off the dark side of the moon, and retracted its landing struts. As soon as the struts were secured, the ship sped away under the shadow of the moon. Once it reached the limits of Mamian scanning technology, they veered towards the asteroid fields and were underway.

Aboard the ship, the two Mamians remained in their cells; still naked as the day they came onboard. No one was able to feel the Amphian ship moving, but the initial takeoff gave a jolt and the lock down of the landing struts made the room tremble.

Alissia looked around fearfully once she couldn’t feel any more motion, “I think the ship is moving.”

“You’re right, it’s okay, wherever they take us, we will be together. You’re not alone in this,” Linel said in a reassuring voice.

“But we’ll never see Kenyar Prime again, our families, our friends, all lost to us.”

“I have never told you, but the day I met you, I had made a vow to make sure I get you home safely to your family and friends. If there is any way that I can send you home, I will find it.” Linel said with resolve.

Alissia moved towards Linel, and let him embrace her. “I hope you will, I hope you will.”

The two stayed there lending each other emotional strength and support. The two of them have grown very fond of each other over the month that they have known each other. Though the baby that was due in about five months was forced upon them, they both had accepted the baby as theirs and already extended their own love towards the baby.

The occupants where lost in each other and did not feel the room slightly shake as the ship landed on the perfect asteroid for the Amphians to use. The asteroid was twenty times the size of the Redeemer, and floated about just outside the Mamian system they just left. The large asteroid was pretty much a large chunk of unprocessed iron with some impurities. With the magnetic technology that Amphians excelled at, a chunk of unprocessed iron could be turned into a very efficient capacitor. All they needed to do was place enough magnetic region isolators configured in the correct shapes to cause the structure of the iron clump to layer up into conducting and dielectric zones. Then some conducting wires could simply be wired through the different regions to create a very nice capacitor. With the surface area that the cross sections of the asteroid could provide, and the minimal separating distance between plates due to the focus of the magnetic fields, the asteroid would definitely be able to store enough charge to enlarge the brahne tunnel large enough for hundreds of ships to come through.

The crew of the Redeemer exited the ship and began to tug large devices to different locations of the asteroid. These magnetic field projectors needed to be placed upon opposite sides of the asteroid spaced apart so that the whole asteroid would be covered. In the middle, an electric transfer station was set up to allow the energy generated by the ship to be beamed down into the asteroid and then have the energy from the asteroid beamed back up to the ship.

Meanwhile the H.S.A. Infinity was finally returning from it’s routine charting and mapping runs. As it docked at the space station to refuel and resupply, a disturbing report of missing equipment and missing people. Linel, the captain’s cousin had disappeared one evening a month ago. A two months ago a female from a neighboring town also disappeared. The locator beacons that both wore vanished off the sensor nets the nights they disappeared. All colonists were required to wear the locator beacons, which doubled as a communications device, when not in their room. The beacon allowed people to be located and contacted on the sparsely populated world. The girl had vanished in the night, and her family reported that she normally took a nighttime swim by the nearby lagoon. Linel however was seen entering a metal workshop, but when a boy was sent to get him because his communicator wasn’t working, no one was there. Linel tended to stay in town and did not wander into the wild.

Once the H.S.A. Infinity was released from dock, the captain insisted on scanning the planet for the missing people. People did not go missing from colonies; there were too few people and everyone was too important for them to let that happen. Many different kinds of technology were provided to enable tracking, and distress calling from all over the planet. Satellites that orbit the planet were programmed to monitor the life signs of everyone on the planet, any one stranded or in danger would trigger a multi purpose search and rescue team from the star base. The colonists provided the star base with many agricultural products, and the star base housed the manufacturing plants. In this way the planet remained pollution free, and still enjoyed the benefits of mass industry.

The only reason the Amphians were able to abduct Linel and Alissia from the planet without triggering any of the warning systems was because the shuttle the Amphians used were well shielded and did not appear at all on the sensor nets. The Amphians environmental suits masked the life signs so they did not show on the sensors. The two Mamians simply disappeared on the sensor nets when they entered the shuttles; this confused the sensors algorithms and were recorded as an error and ignored.

None of the evidence was enough to allow any of the Mamian to arrive at a conclusion to what really happened. It was all luck that the H.S.A. Infinity swung nearby the path that the Amphian shuttles had taken to avoid the sensor nets. Microscopic debris picked up by the shuttle when it landed on some soft soil had fallen off and left a trail through space. Though most of it drifted back towards the planet, trace amounts stayed in geosynchronous orbit. The H.S.A. Infinity picked up the planetary particles in orbit, and that was all it took for them to become curious.

The debris led the Mamian reconnaissance ship to the dark side of the moon. There they found a large landing imprint of what had to be a space ship. None of the Mamian ships they knew would leave a landing imprint that matched, so the only conclusion they had was alien visitors. Up until that moment, intelligent life forms other than Mamians were a laughable concept. They had simply not encountered any within their galaxy, though some theorized other galaxies might contain sentient life. Other galaxies were just too far away; even the closest one was 2.2 million light years away. Though the Mamians could reach it within a few decades or so, it was just futile to try. What is the use in exploring another galaxy when theirs was still just partially explored?

The H.S.A. Infinity immediately activated its robust sensor systems that were primarily used to chart and map start systems. Now the sensor systems will have a chance to be used to search out an alien vessel.

Back aboard the PSS Dvoràk, the ship dropped out of Quantum Displacement Drive after two days of travel. Having gone almost forty thousand light years, they had enough distance to be able to triangulate the direction and distance of the source of the tachyons.

The young ensign at ops finished her calculations and reported, “Captain, we’ve located the source. Bearing 153 mark 47. It’s a small system with two planets.”

“Distance?” Captain O’Connor simply queried.

“Its eighty three thousand light years away, near the other side of this galaxy.”

“Is there any reason not to use our wormhole drive this time ensign?”

“No captain.”

“Wormhole drive it is, Mr. Dhondt, plot course with the wormhole drive at maximum speed.”

“Aye, captain. Bearing 1-5-3 mark 4-7 plotted in, wormhole drive on standby.” Marc replied as the PSS Dvoràk swung to orient itself with the direction of travel. “Ship is in position captain.”

From the COM system the voice of the engineer came through, “Energy particle has been created and in containment. Wormhole drive ready.”

Kathy O’Connor leaned back into her captain’s chair causing it to creak slightly in protest as she gave the command, “Engage.”

The energy particle was released from the containment fields at a point in front of the Dvoràk. The space in front of the PSS Dvoràk grew an artificial wormhole that was generated by the energy particle. Unlike the Amphians who needed a lot of time to charge up enough energy to break through the dimensional barriers, the Dvoràk’s use of the energy particle was enough to open up a wormhole in space. The bluish white vortex opened up to engulf the ship. The ship smoothly flew in as the hyper-spatial dynamics equation the Dvoràk was shaped from reduced the quantum drag. The world darkened on the ship and they would have been completely blind if not for the advanced spatial sensors that provided the helmsman the ability to navigate. At the speeds the first level wormhole drive provided, normal sensors just wouldn’t be sufficient. The view screen was filled with images that were reconstructed from the advanced sensor’s data stream.

“Captain, we have reached our threshold speed and are holding at five hundred thousand lights, level two propulsion are ready,” Marc announced.

“Engage level two!” Captain O’Connor ordered in excitement.

Suddenly, the PSS Dvoràk shot ahead to extreme speeds, which caused everyone sitting to be pushed back against their chairs; the inertial compensators could not keep up with the acceleration. The automatic restraint systems activated for those who were standing, holding their torsos in place allowing them to reposition their arms and legs to prevent falling after they were released. In the chairs, the automatic restraint systems only activated for those who weren’t facing straight forward. Again the tuned automatic restraint systems held only their torsos to allow freedom of movement for their arms so they could continue to control the ship. There was some minor trembling as the reduced quantum drag was not enough at extreme speeds such as these.

It was not often that the PSS Dvoràk had a need to travel at extreme speeds the wormhole drive provided, so whenever the Dvoràk needed to, the crew was still excited about it.

As Commander Lesnik felt a slight thrill as he took in the sight, “What is our E.T.A.?”

“At current speeds, we’ll be there in five hours,” the ensign Sills replied.

“I sure hope we don’t get side tracked,” the Commander stated to no one in particular.

Back at the site of the asteroid, the Redeemer was back in space hovering near the converted asteroid. A wide energy beam could be seen between the ship and the asteroid’s energy transfer module. By then a day had passed since the completion of the asteroid’s conversion. Ever since the completion, the Redeemer had been sending the excess charge into the asteroid. The asteroid was almost at capacity, with that much energy; it would only be a matter of time to open up a brahne tunnel large enough for hundreds of ships to crossover at once.

That was when it started. The Redeemer reoriented itself towards their home galaxy as they breached through quantum space and opened up a brahne tunnel back. The small initial hole took quite a bit of energy, but nowhere near what they had stored up over the days of charging the ship and the asteroid. Quickly a small probe was sent through to notify the incoming fleet, and the Redeemer switched its power banks to dump the majority of ship-stored energy into the portal. Instantly the portal enlarged because of the massive discharge. What was big enough for one person to fit through now became large enough to fit a large asteroid. The brahne tunnel was large enough for fifteen ships to fit through at one time. This larger hole required the whole generating capacity of the Redeemer to maintain, so there was not enough energy to charge up the ship for a secondary expansion. As soon as the energy generators stopped providing energy to the ship, the converted asteroid began its job, the power transfer beam reversed and the asteroid began to charge the ship.

Silently, groups of fifteen ships streamed through the hole from the other galaxy, soon the first group of fifteen Amphian ships came through. Thousands more waited to transition into this galaxy.

Silently from within their subspace cloak shield, the H.S.A. Infinity viewed the events unfolding. At first they were just observing a single alien ship sitting there, generating massive amounts of power, then they saw the portal open up and a group of ships came through. The Mamians knew this was bad; unlike the Amphians, the Mamians weren’t clueless. Quickly the H.S.A. Infinity dropped the cloak and activated their normal shields and fired their matter beams.

Within the forward cannon barrels of the Infinity, two cannon rounds were accelerated past four hundred times the speed of light within a subspace field. As soon as it left the cannon’s field, the short inverse subspace field gap allowed the matter traveling well beyond the speed of light to instantly transition into energy. Matter is not capable at traveling faster than light in normal space, and within an inverse subspace field, the speed of light is drastically reduced. So once the cannon rounds at four hundred times the speed of light enter a region where physics only allows matter to travel at a tenth of the speed of light, the cannon round had no choice but to convert into pure energy.

The mass of pure energy lanced through space towards the unsuspecting Redeemer. Faster than light, the energy mass gave the Redeemer no time to react as the energy glanced near the fold coils. Luckily the new hull armor of the Redeemer was designed to absorb energy, however it was not designed to absorb matter transitioned energy. Sheer chance that the attack only hit the primary communications array allowed the bulk of the blast to pass the ship, while the small part that struck was absorbed into the hull. The communications array was gone; the matter-transitioned energy pulled the array off the ship and transitioned it into energy due to the speed. Luckily the short lifespan of matter-transitioned energy meant that the attack would dissipate before it would hit anything else in the vast emptiness of space.

The Redeemer could not operate its shields when maintaining the brahne tunnel; it is one of its major weaknesses. Though the shields would not have mattered, because matter-transitioned energy isn’t affected much by plasma or magnetic fields. The only thing that stops matter-transitioned energy was enough matter, or time. Fortunately the fifteen Amphian ships that came through saw this and instantly reacted by attacking the Mamian reconnaissance ship.

The H.S.A. Infinity was outnumbered. The captain knew this, and with fifteen ships gunning for it while guarding the portal generating ship, the Infinity would not be able to line up a shot to take the Redeemer out. Briefly the captain noticed the unguarded asteroid. Previous scans had shown the alien ship charging that asteroid with insane amounts of energy, and now it seems the asteroid is returning the energy to the ship. Without hesitation the captain ordered all the gravimetric missiles launched at the guarding ships as a distraction and the ship’s cutting edge to be charged.

The next instant everything happened very fast. Sixteen gravimetric missiles sped towards the corvettes. At the same time, the H.S.A. Infinity shot off towards the converted asteroid at a hundred times the speed of light using subspace. Fifteen more Amphian ships exited the brahne tunnel. The brahne tunnel began to enlarge slowly because the tunnel was so large and the rate the asteroid could return energy was limited. The Infinity plowed through the converted asteroid ten times the size of the ship; leaving a cloud of iron debris behind. The sudden destabilization of the magnetic regional isolation fields and the physical destruction of the asteroid caused all the pent up charge to detonate in a destructive burst of light. The brahne tunnel suddenly expanded due to the burst of energy the surge from the exploding asteroid caused. Now without any additional energy feed, the most that the Redeemer can do is maintain the brahne tunnel at its current size. Being as large as a large asteroid, only thirty or so ships could come through at any given moment.

The gravimetric missiles had finally closed in on their targets; all but three of them had been picked off by the magnetic beam weapons of the Amphian ships. The last three had slipped through and encountered the plasma shields of their respective targets. The plasma shields bounced off the gravimetric shielding of the missiles for a little bit. Two of the three missiles were overwhelmed and discharged ineffectively away from the ships’ hull. One of the missiles were able to penetrate through all the plasma shielding while maintaining integrity and embedded itself within the corvette before going off. The resounding implosion warped the hull of the corvette and sheared off a small section of hull.

The missiles were simple in design, an extremely strong directional gravity generator coupled with a subspace generator allowed the missiles accelerate to high speeds, once the missiles obtained cruising speeds on the final run against the target, the subspace generator would invert itself. The inverted subspace field would do opposite what a normal subspace field would do. Large forces would not be able to influence small masses as much. So the small mass of the gravimetric missile would provide enough momentum to cause much more damage. The internal systems would charge up the gravimetric generators to prepare for a final blast of gravity until it neared the target. A slight gravitational shield would engage to shield the missile from premature destruction. This allowed the missile to penetrate some hulls before detonating. The moment the missile nears zero velocity, the detonation sequence would occur. The subspace generator would once again revert to normal so the destructive force would be magnified, while the gravitational blast would trigger. The gravitational blast would draw whatever was in its area of influence in towards the epicenter. Most ships were designed to contain a high-pressure environment within an extreme low-pressure environment. Most of the structural supports only handled outward pressure. When the sudden inward implosion hit, most ships would suffer a great deal of damage.

With the destruction of the asteroid, none of the Amphian ships expected the H.S.A. Infinity to survive a head on collision. Amazingly out of the space debris, a single beam of matter transitioned energy seared out and bore through one of the smaller corvettes. The plasma shielding was completely bypassed. The beam had bore through the ship, though not hitting any critical systems. The breached sections were contained by bulkheads and the small corvette continued to fight.

The H.S.A. Infinity appeared from the cloud of debris without a single scratch. The H.S.A. Infinity was a sharp vessel, both literally and figuratively. All Mamian ships were designed to turn the ship itself into a physical weapon if need be. The whole ship was crescent shaped, the forward portion of the hull tapered off to a sharp edge. The whole front edge is lined with heavy reinforcement metal, directly attached to the front edge was the four primary engines. Instead of the traditional push from the back type propulsion, the Mamian ships all operated on a pull from the front basis. Since gravity drives provided no exhaust, and the super heavy elements like octcentainum provided adequate shielding from radiation; the gravity drives were housed deep within the ship connected to transfer momentum directly to the reinforced leading edge of the ship. The small cross section of each engine, and the development of gravity transparent shielding materials allowed the engines to direct a tightly focused beam of gravity pulse straight out the back of the ship without wasting much space.

Such protection was necessary for the engine because in cases where the main weaponry becomes disabled, the ship would still be able to run, or use its last defense weapon. The last defense weapon system lay in the leading edge of the ship. The edge was tapered in such a way that it ended razor sharp. With the electron edge technology using subspace fields, the Mamians were in control of sharp axes that were the size of space ships, and had the sharpness of surgical electro-blades. The direct transfer of momentum to the leading edge meant that very little stress was placed on the rest of the hull when the ship sliced through objects.

The Infinity had used its ramming edge to destroy the asteroid. As the Infinity came back through the debris, sixteen more gravimetric missiles followed closely behind before seeking out the Amphian ships. The missiles streaked past the H.S.A. Infinity as they acquired separate locks on the targets. As three of the missiles penetrated the plasma shielding, only one damaged the Amphian ships enough to take it out of the fight. The other two hit some non-critical systems. Almost in a synchronous moment, ten of the Amphian ships fired both their rail cannons and their magnetic beams. Of the massed armament, all the projectiles harmlessly smashed itself into the subspace electron shield, but the three magnetic beam weaponry easily bore a hole in the shield. Two of the beams glanced off the side of the hull, causing some metallic parts of the ship to deform. One of the beams hit the leading forward edge of the Infinity and fried the electron edge generator. Luckily the heavily reinforced cutting edge was made of non-conducting, non-magnetic material. So the direct hit by the magneton beam did not tear out a chunk of the ship. Unfortunately the electron edge generators were tied into their main systems, and power levels all over the ship dropped. Quickly the Infinity fired a distraction shot from its matter beams and veered sharply away for the nearest reinforcements. Letting the Hastar Space Alliance know about the threat was the top priority. The Amphian ships broke pursuit for a moment to evade the beams, and it was all the Infinity needed to activate their cloak. As the H.S.A. Infinity disappeared off the EM scanners of the Amphian fleet, the fleet dropped pursuit and began patrols. None of the Amphians had thought to glance at their gravimetric sensors, which showed the Infinity and a counter mass blipping in and out due to the interaction of those sensors and the gravity drives.

The Redeemer continued to maintain the size of the tunnel, a few of the ships that had extra generating capacity had linked up with the Redeemer, but it was not enough. There was only enough juice to prevent the minute shrinking that had started. So slowly, more and more ships came through the tunnel.

Back at the Dvoràk, over four hours passed. Alpha rotation was nearing the end, and Captain O’Connor, and Commander Lesnik were in their chairs on the bridge.

“Captain! I’m detecting a cloaked mass moving at many times the speed of light. They are using some sort of gravity assisted subspace drive, but they appear to be damaged.” The young ensign at Ops reported.

“Disengage the wormhole drive, can you hail them?” Kathy said.

“Dropping out of the wormhole, all systems stable.” March Dhondt replied.

“Channel opened,” the communications officer followed.

Captain O’Connor stood up in a formal pose, “This is Captain Kathryn O’Connor of the PSS Dvoràk from the Earth Strategic Mental Forces. You seem to be damaged; can we be of assistance?”

The view screen activated at the other end began transmitting. The tall Mamian that stood at the center resembled the humans a lot. There were a few differences; one being that the Mamian was slightly furrier but not by much. The captain had a bald head, as did all the other males on that ship. “This is Captain Podenklov of the H.S.A Infinity, there is an invasion force of unknown aliens, and they have captured two of our civilians. Our ship was recently damaged by some kind of magnetic beams, and our energy reserves are at a dangerous low. Is it possible for you to provide energy while we repair our systems and shut our reactor down?”

“Ensign Sills, is our technology compatible with this process?” The Kathryn asked.

“I believe so, the schematics they transferred show that they can extract power from high energy EM beams. The easiest way for us to do this is to take one of our communications arrays and bypass the data modulation so we could pump enough energy directly through it.”

Kathy once again returned her attention to the view screen, “we will be glad to help, we will also render assistance to rescue your civilians. Kidnapping is something that we frown upon.”

The figure on the view screen looked grateful, “Thank you kindly captain, our systems are ready for external energy feed whenever you are. We are curious to where your ship came from? We had thought this galaxy to be void of other sentient life.”

Captain O’Connor turned to Ensign Sills, “transfer power when ready.” Then she sat down in her command chair and relaxed as the muffled creak sounded. “Captain Podenklov, we are interdimensional explorers. The galaxy that we originally are from is inhabited by humans. We have traveled to this dimension to study an unusual phenomenon.”

“That would make much sense. Our mission is one of exploration like yours, but ours are limited to this galaxy. Our technology has not advanced to your level, but we offer any information we may have in gratitude for your assistance. For now, our tactical data on the invaders are being transmitted.”

“Thank you Captain Podenklov, we will review this information. Contact us when your repairs are done and ready to return to rescue your civilians.” Kathy said diplomatically.

As the communications channel was closed, the Ensign Sills announced, “Captain, I’ve been detecting a new source of quantum fluctuating tachyons since we exited our own wormhole. It appears another wormhole has opened up, and this one is big. It appears to be stable and in the direction from where the Infinity came from.”

“I may have an answer for that Captain, the tactical records and recordings from the Infinity shows a large portal of sorts that an invading fleet is entering this galaxy though.” The tactical officer responded.

Captain O’Connor asked, “What is their defensive and offensive capabilities?”

“Their shields appear to be plasma based, capable of neutralizing most matter based weaponry by detonating them prematurely or converting them into plasma and rerouting the kinetic energy. Some of their hulls seem to be partially absorbent of certain kinds of energy. There are two kinds of weaponry that was used, a rail cannon type, and a magneton beam weapon.” The tactical officer answered.

“What is the risk assessment?” Asked the captain.

“Our zero-point shields should have no problem with the rail weapons, but it may not be one hundred percent effective with the magneton beams. Our Annihilators should be quite effective through their shields.”

“And transporters?”

“The plasma shield should not be enough interference to prevent transporting,” the security chief answered.

The captain was satisfied as the ensign informed everyone that the power transfer was initiated. Everything would go slowly until the natives fixed their ship. A small communications probe was launched from the Mamian ship toward a large star system quite a way off. It contained a tactical report and a warning to prepare to fight off the invasion if the Dvoràk and the Infinity could not repel these alien intruders.

Only half an hour later, the Infinity was done with the repairs. The only debilitating damage was the fried electron edge generator. The Mamian crew simply physically removed the generators from the power main to remove the short in the circuit.

“Captain, the Infinity is hailing us,” the communications officer announced.

“On screen,” said the captain.

The view screen switched from an image of the Infinity to captain Podenklov’s image, “thank you captain, we are under our own power again, you can stop the power transfer.”

“Of course,” Kathy said with a slight nod towards the ops officer who then cut the transfer. “Shall we be underway?”

The Mamian captain nodded, “Yes captain, our ship can travel eighty thousand times the speed of light, the invasion force is only a few hours away at that speed.”

Soundlessly the H.S.A. Infinity blinked off back to the Kenyar system at eighty thousand times the speed of light, and the PSS Dvoràk soon followed easily under her QDD. A few hours turned into three as the Amphian ships came up on the advanced scanners on the Dvoràk. The two ships were still out of range of the Amphian scanners, the Infinity having activated her cloak, and the Dvoràk naturally providing a low sensor profile due to the advanced design made both ships hard to detect unless the right equipment was used at close enough distances.

The Ops officer frowned, “captain, we’re in range for spatial relocation, but I can’t get a lock on the two Mamians aboard the lead alien ship. The quantum level worm hole is bending space in a very strange way.”

“Transporters?” Captain O’Connor asked.

“We just came into transporter range, no lock either, the room they are in is heavily shielded. A very advanced faraday cage is built into the cell, and it’s disrupting our confinement beams.”

“There goes the easy way, can you transport a team nearby?”

Ensign Sills at ops tapped a few commands, “I believe so captain, we can beam into the corridor next to the detention cells. The rest of the ship provides no complication to transport, just the detention cells. We’ll have to extract the two Mamians before we can transport them back.”

The captain turned to face Commander Lesnik as she said, “very well, Commander, I want you to take a team over there and cut through and pull our Mamian friends out of that cell, and we’ll transport you back. We’ll engage the enemy in the meantime to keep the invaders busy.”

“Aye, Captain,” Commander Lesnik replied as he turned to the security chief, “I want a team of three black cats with me.”

“Team ready sir, awaiting transport,” the security chief replied.

“Energize,” Peter Lesnik said as he among three other members of the crew transported directly from their locations to the Amphian ship. As part of the transport, the Dvoràk team was equipped with the proper weapons and tools. Though they had a transporter room, time was important and they did not want to waste precious time walking.

The instant they transported to the Amphian ship, the black cat team encountered two Amphian crewmembers in environmental suits. The battle was quick and fierce. The Amphians had drew their weapons but before they could raise it to take a shot at the intruders, two of the black cats closest to the Amphians had already closed the distance and knocked the weapons out of their hands. Not wanting to risk a firefight and draw the attention of the internal sensors, the black cats went hand to hand.

The painful strikes and blows the black cats dealt did not seem to faze the Amphians the slightest. Once the Amphians began to recover from shock, they started lashing out punches. The black cats naturally evaded and dodged, but one of the Amphians got lucky and a kick threw the black cat back fifty feet. The black cat absorbed the attack pretty well and did not break anything; the augmented strengths from the environmental suits of the Amphians could have shattered a normal human’s ribs. As suddenly as the attack started, the fighting ceased. The Amphians simply slumped to the ground as if all their strings have been caught.

The third black cat who was still standing with the commander looked sheepish, “Sorry guys, took me a while to get used to their alien minds.” He turned back towards the wall he was scanning. “Two Mamians in there,” he indicated to the commander.

Commander Lesnik pulled out an energy torch designed to melt through any material, with an adjustable size energy sphere. Soon he began the arduous task of melting the heavily reinforced wall with a hand held torch. The black cats stripped the Amphians of weaponry for later study, and mentally locked down the Amphians into a comatose state for a few hours. The black cats stood watch at both ends of the corridor while the Commander continued to deform the wall.

Meanwhile, the PSS Dvoràk had engaged the Amphian fleet in battle. The Dvoràk zipped in under QDD and launched a volley of antimatter and quantum torpedoes at the group of Amphian ships hovering around the Redeemer. There was no time for the Amphian fleet to react before the torpedoes detonated upon the plasma shields. Half the shields were literally blown away in one blast by the concussive force of the matter/antimatter detonations. Much of the plasma was actually thrown against the hulls of the Amphian ships causing much scorching and singeing. Only the fact that the Amphian hulls were designed to repel and withstand the heat of plasma allowed the ship to remain intact. The ships that were struck by the quantum torpedoes were less fortunate. The quantum torpedoes were magnitudes stronger than the antimatter ones. The quantum detonations rippled through the plasma with no hindrance. Hulls nearest to the blast suffered massive matter destabilizations as the quantum blast swept through. Since the targeting systems were controlled by both the tactical officer and Borlan, and the two of them correcting each other if necessary. Each and every shot hit a ship near their critical systems. In one wave of torpedoes, over thirty ships were disabled; a few of the smaller ones were outright destroyed.

As one, the whole Amphian fleet, which by now reached thousands in number, turned towards the Dvoràk and opened fire with everything they had. Eighty percent of the fire missed harmlessly as the Dvoràk easily evaded, but with that much firepower, some of it was bound to hit. Of attacks that did hit, all of them impacted upon the shield. The zero-point shields were basically a volume of zero point energy so dense that it presented an impenetrable physical barrier to most weapons. As the Amphian rail slugs hit the shields, the zero point energy simply crushed the matter into zero point energy which was dispersed back into the shield and reinforcing it. The magneton beams that did intersect the shields were scattered and diffused by the high-density zero point energy region. Zero point had been revealed as the source of all forces, the grand unifying force of everything, the final piece to the puzzle. As such, all forms of force, energy, matter, and everything else is subjected to zero point interactions. Thus the zero-point shield presented the ultimate barrier to any weapons short of a star going nova on the shield. Only the sheer amount of power of a nova is able to overcome the shield. In short, the Amphian ships are not even insects to the Dvoràk.

Getting tired of waiting, the Dvoràk opened fire on the largest of the Amphian ships. The huge juggernaught class ship had to travel through the brahne tunnel by itself. About fifteen times larger than the Dvoràk, the heavily reinforced juggernaught also packed quite a punch. Though nothing the juggernaught had hit the Dvoràk with yet had even affected the zero-point shields. An example needed to be made, and that juggernaught was the perfect opportunity for one.

One single annihilator beam on a high overcharge setting shot out of the Dvoràk. They had to make sure there was enough anti-energy to make sure it would destroy a whole juggernaught. The juggernaught was a slow ship and could not evade. Most of the time it would not have needed to evade, the triple redundant plasma shielding followed by the more ancient force field shielding, followed by five layers of ablative hull plating would be sufficient to withstand any weapons shot at the juggernaught. The annihilator beam sliced through the plasma shielding. Some of the energy from the annihilator beams reacted violently with the plasma shield and caused explosions along the way before the beams pierced through the force shielding. Being made of anti-energy, the annihilators simply ignored normal forces. The anti-energy has a way with reacting with normal matter much more violently then normal energy. Once the annihilator beams hit upon the hull of the Amphian ship it caused a chain reaction, which consumed the whole ship very slowly. The annihilators from an explorer class ship like the Dvoràk was a toned down version, so the destructive reaction was very slow since there were limited amounts of anti-energy available in one shot.

Anti-energy when interacting with normal matter would first destroy the matter, creating massive amounts of energy, and when the energy released met the anti-energy. The interaction of anti-energy and energy is a catalytic one. The anti-energy would convert the new energy into anti-energy, while the anti-energy itself would be spent on an explosive display. The new anti-energy would continue the reaction and create more anti-energy. There is always a little more anti-energy created than destroyed, so in the end, a cloud of anti-energy sat in the middle of space where the juggernaught used to be. Luckily space itself was an effective medium to store motionless anti-energy, for there was no easily accessible energy or matter in the vacuum of space for the reaction.

Upon seeing the unbelievable sight of a single beam demolishing a huge juggernaught, while all of the Amphian attacks only served to strengthen the shields of the Dvoràk, the Redeemer shut of it’s fold coil system and allowed the brahne tunnel to shrink while the Redeemer charged up its own weapons and defense systems. Taking careful aim of the Dvoràk while it was busy picking off the thousands of Amphian ships ten, twenty, even thirty at a time. The Dvoràk was using very well aimed shots, given how the advanced targeting systems that the Dvoràk had, every shot they made was either a kill or disable shot. Even the hundred of thousands of little stinger fighters that were launched to occupy the Dvoràk had no luck. No matter was getting through those shields, and the Dvoràk easily picked of masses of fighters with the built in antimatter fighter defense systems. Just more time, that was all the Redeemer needed, as soon as the brahne tunnel was small enough to prevent the Dvoràk from passing, the Redeemer would slip out unnoticed. 

The new hyperspace enabled rail cannon’s may actually do some damage to that ship. And only the Redeemer had the technology installed. So as soon as the brahne tunnel shrank to the right size, the Redeemer let loose fifty rapid fire rounds into hyperspace with the exit hole in the middle of the Dvoràk. There was no way the Redeemer was going to chance that the advanced ship had weak hulls. Even so, it was a futile attempt. As soon as the projectiles neared the Dvoràk within hyperspace, the zero-point shields neutralized the threat. Zero-point energy extends through all the dimensions in a single universe, so there was no way anyone was going to slip matter through that shields no matter what plane of delivery they choose.

At that moment Ensign Janna Sills noticed the Redeemer slipping towards the portal, “Captain! The ship with our away team is getting away.”

“Emergency beam out! Get whoever you can!” Kathy O’Connor ordered back.

Back aboard the Redeemer, Commander Lesnik had just finished breaching the walls so that one person could fit through at one time; a larger hole would take too much time and just wasn’t needed.

The commander looked at the nude Mamians, “We are here to help, quickly come out and we can take you to safety.”

Without a word, Linel guided Alissia to go through the hole in the wall first, knowing that these people would get them home safely. The moment Alissia passed through the whole, the group of four ESMF officers and Alissia shimmered away in a glitter of lights. In that moment, the Dvoràk beamed the people they could off the Redeemer, but was unable to lock onto Linel because he was still within the confines of the cell. A split instant later, the Redeemer itself slipped through the portal and was out of reach for now. Linel stared numbly for a moment before rushing through the hole, but nothing happened to him. Not knowing what happened to make them leave him behind, Linel quickly looked around for the best means of escape.

Upon seeing the two unconscious Amphians in environmental suits, Linel decided that an ill fitted suit would not bother him the least. Quickly he disassembled both environmental suits from both Amphians and placed one set upon his own body. The pieces interlocked together, and as soon as the helmet slipped into place, he felt the suit activate. It was quite uncomfortable; there were portions of the suit that pressed into him, and portions that left too much space for his liking. But it was bearable, and would do for now. Carefully Linel gathered the components for the other suit finding that movement was awkward with the suit on. Eagerly Linel started to stride forward only to wind up kicking out and cratering into the ceiling and then falling to the floor. The strength augmentation system was new to Linel. The impact did not hurt at all as the environmental suit absorbed the energy since it doubled up as combat armor. Slowly and very carefully, Linel began to get up, collect the pieces of the other suit again, and gingerly walk. Though a little clumsy, Linel was able to make it into some empty quarters. It was like learning to walk all over again, and Linel knew he needed lots of practice if he was to effectively hide from the Amphians.

The Redeemer was gone; they had fired and split without even watching the results. Soon the tunnel was too small to fit a single person through. By now there was only two hundred or so Amphian ships left, the majority of them taken out by double shots of antimatter torpedoes, or high intensity annihilator beams. The Dvoràk did not have time to overcharge their annihilators, and a well-placed annihilator shot meant that lots of Amphian warships were floating helplessly as anti-energy reactions consumed the ship slowly. The only thing they could do was launch in whatever escape pods or fighters that was not damaged, and hope they were far away enough from the reaction. The smaller Amphian ships were taken care of by antimatter torpedoes, after the Amphian ships lost their plasma shields, the second antimatter torpedo would easily destroy large portions of the Amphian ships. The H.S.A. Infinity had been flitting around avoiding all the weapons and taking a few shots of their own. As long as they weren’t hit, their matter transitioned energy beams actually dealt out quite a bit of damage. Within twenty minutes, there were no Amphian ships still capable of fighting. After the battle, the Dvoràk went from cloud to cloud of anti-energy. Slowly using the Zero-point shields to crush the anti-energy back into zero point energy, releasing it back to the fabric of the universe. It would not have been very safe to leave anti-energy lying around.

The Dvoràk doctors had questioned Alissia after she was rescued to see what kind of mental or physical trauma she had suffered. The report of sexual abuse and force impregnation was shocking to say the least. Quickly the information was recorded in a report and sent to the Captain.

In the ready room, Captain O’Connor began to read the report. Soon a furious captain strode onto the bridge, “Commander, I want you to gather the senior officers, we are going after the alien ship that slipped through that portal. Ensign Sills, you’ve been studying the portal the most, I want you there too.”

Five minutes later, the senior staff was assembled.

The captain started the meeting with a question, “what is the situation with the portal?”

Janna Sills spoke up, “our scans of the portal show it to be some kind of wormhole that tunnels through quantum space very similar to our wormhole drive, yet different too. Their wormhole seems to pierce through a few more dimensions than ours. It’s allows ships to traverse great distances in a few moments. Apparently the energy requirements needed forces the aliens to charge for long durations. Throughout most of the battle, the ship that held the Mamians was focused on maintaining the integrity of the tunnel. All non-essential systems on that ship were shut down or in low power consumption mode.”

“Is there any way to find out their destination or to reopen it?” The commander asked.

“I was able to get brief scans of the other side through the portal, it appears to be 2.2 million light years away.”

“By the gods! That would take almost a week to travel using our wormhole drive,” March Dhondt exclaimed.

The chief engineer began, “I may have another option. I ran the scans Ensign Sills sent me through our wormhole drive simulator, our drive system is somewhat compatible with their portal. The quantum structure through space may not let matter though anymore, but it is nowhere like it should be. Space is still folded over in a way, and all we would need is to launch another energy particle at the exact center of the wormhole to open it up. But it might not allow us through even with a tunnel opened. There might be residual quantum barriers that are mending through the fabric of space.”

Marc shot a surprised glance as he got an idea, “what if we ran through the wormhole with our QDD? The quantum displacement drive was designed to break through quantum barriers.”

“That would possibly work, I need to do some simulations before I can say for sure.” The engineer replied as he started to furiously tap at the portable console pad he held.

The captain asked, “what about Linel, the other Mamian who’s still onboard the alien vessel?”

“Linel should be out and about the ship now, when we were transported away, we left a hole large enough for a person to walk through. Hopefully they hadn’t had the chance to capture and put Linel in a new cell. But I don’t think Linel is in any danger other than being abducted and experimented on.” Commander Lesnik said.

“How is Alissia, our Mamian guest?” Kathy asked the doctor.

“She is doing well for someone who’s been abducted and put through the torture she’s gone through. I think having someone to share the pain with this last month has helped her heal a lot. She also wanted to request that she stays aboard when we rescue Linel. I don’t see how it would hurt, and she’s safer onboard the Dvoràk than anywhere else in this universe.” The doctor replied.

“Tell her she may, and we’ll notify her the moment Linel is onboard the Dvoràk.” The captain replied in complete understanding.

At that moment, the chief engineer broke into a large grin, “Captain, it will work. We will have to get through it as quick as we can, there will be some discharges that might collapse the tunnel completely after we enter. But we’ll be chasing after that invader in no time at all.”

“Good, lets get to work people!” Captain O’Connor said as she dismissed the meeting.

Quietly, the brahne tunnel was coaxed into reopening as the wormhole drives generated an energy particle at the center of where the aperture was. Once the containment was released, a shimmering bluish white vortex opened up. Soon an unsteady wormhole stood there, distorting in shape every now and then. The quantum barriers that were starting to heal up space made the wormhole unsteady. The PSS Dvoràk began to charge up it’s engines to do an immediate jump to three hundred and fifty thousand times the speed of light under quantum displacement drive. The burst of speed should easy enough for the Dvoràk to handle, as the Dvoràk did not need to sustain it for very long. A moment later, the drives engaged and the Dvoràk tore through the wormhole. Without the Dvoràk at one end of the wormhole to sustain it, the wormhole quickly collapsed upon itself. Luckily the Dvoràk was already on the other side.

Linel awoke in strange surroundings; it took him a few moments to realize that he was in the room he had snuck into. He spent hours practicing the use of the environmental suit within the privacy of that room, and he had finally gotten to the point where he could move relatively well. Linel would still stumble at times, but that happened less and less. The strength augmentation system allowed Linel to lift some pretty heavy things, but at the same times, his normal movements would have to be feather light and precise to prevent the armor from getting out of control. The practice was tough and Linel had drifted off for a few hours. The spare suit he collected still sat in a pile in the corner of the room hidden behind some furniture. The only reason he took it was to prevent the aliens from thinking he was still on board masquerading as one of them. Hopefully they will think that the aliens who took Alissia also took both suits.

Suddenly the door swished opened to reveal another Amphian wearing an environmental suit. “What the hell do you think your doing? How many times do I have to tell you lackeys that you can’t just take a nap in some unused quarters during your shift? We had some intruders who stole our test subjects on your shift!”

Linel did not understand a word the Amphian said, but from the tone Linel figured that the Amphian thought he was a soldier caught napping on the job. Linel simply lowered his head as he stood up slowly from bed.

“You’re going to be punished for this, along with the other two lackeys who let the intruders steal their suits and weapons.” The furious Amphian turned around as Linel got up.

After a few paces to the door, the Amphian felt that Linel wasn’t fallowing and turned around and continued to rant, “Are you stupid or something? Waiting for an invitation? Follow me now!”

The harsh tones of the Amphian startled Linel, but the waiting Amphian seemed to want Linel to follow him. So Linel followed the alien. Soon he joined the two naked Amphians that he had stolen the suits off. Luckily all the environmental suits were identical, so the two naked Amphians did not notice that Linel was wearing one of the suits they lost.

The three were marched off to the nearest shared bathrooms and given the task of cleaning it up with nothing but a rag.

Meanwhile, back aboard the Dvoràk, Kathy O’Connor stood up, “Any sign of the ship that slipped through?”

Ensign Janna Sills replied, “Nothing on ships sensors, we detect massive amounts of residuals from thousands of ships that were stationed here, but they are all gone.”

“Any way that we can track where they went?” Commander Lesnik asked.

The ensign looked back at ops then replied, “Nothing is showing up on scans, they are using a less common way to get around. There are many rips in hyperspace in this galaxy, perhaps that may be their mode of travel.”

The science officer added, “Tracking through hyperspace is always messy, especially if hyperspace is a common way of traveling in this galaxy. We better find another way to locate that ship.”

“Any unique signatures from the previous scan of that ship?” Captain O’Connor asked.

“Perhaps, I recall that their drive systems generated a unique energy reading while it was maintaining the portal, and after the portal started to collapse the readings were still there, but in smaller magnitude.” The science officer replied.

Kathy turned to Ensign Sills and ordered, “do what you can, bring all available sensors online to help you look for the signature.”

“Aye, Captain,” replied the officer at Ops.

Hours passed until suddenly a faint trace of the energy signature bounced off a random sensor cell on the hull of the PSS Dvoràk. After some processing, amplification, and noise removal, the signature triggered the search parameters. Instantly the normal of the censor cell and the gradual gradient of the other cells were calculated to return the vector from which the signal came from.

“Were getting a reading, bearing 197 mark 042. Too faint to tell the distance, but they couldn’t have gotten far, even in hyperspace.” Ensign Sills announced.

Captain O’Connor sat up and said, “good. Mr. Dhondt, lay in a course at maximum QDD. Ensign Sills, keep an eye for Mamian biosigns, we’re going to relocate, or beam the Mamian off the first moment we can.”

The PSS Dvoràk swung around to align towards their destination, and engaged their quantum displacement drives.

Meanwhile aboard the Redeemer, Linel had finally finished cleaning the bathroom along with the two Amphians. Right then the one who was in charge came back and started shouting.

“You call this clean? I’ve seen compost heaps cleaner than this! For this you get to do hull repairs, you two grab some spare suits.”

Linel had no clue what was going on so he simply followed the two naked Amphians quietly. Soon they were at one of the weapons depots, the two Amphians quickly donned one of the spare suits, and grabbed some hand weapons. One of them yelled something and tossed one of the weapons to Linel. He clumsily caught the gun and carefully slipped it into the holster that was part of the suit. Then one of the Amphians rummaged around the back and brought out three packs. Linel took one and put it on his back noticing that there was hardly any more weight, the suits strength augmentation systems must have compensated.

Newly equipped with hull repair packs, the three walked down to the nearest escape hatch. The three pressure-cycled at the same time, and they found themselves on the outside of the ship as the outer hull slid opened. The suit automatically synchronized itself to simulate gravity based on the magnetic field outside the ship that supplied the plasma shield controls. Though the actual plasma was shut off at the moment to allow for repairs.

The three in environmental suits lifted themselves to the surface of the hull as they reoriented themselves. They began to walk at a brisk pace to the site where the communications array was blown off the hull. Most of the damage seemed superficial; the anchor spots for the array seemed to have taken most of the damage. Linel was worried about what he would have to do, which may blow his cover. As soon as the repairs started, they would know that he knew nothing about space ships.

As the two Amphians headed towards the damaged array, suddenly Linel was whisked away by a relocation beam. Neither Amphians noticed the missing crewman. To Linel, the sensation was strange; in an instant the scenery changed, instead of the vast emptiness of space viewed from the hull of the Redeemer, Linel saw a warmly lit room with a few people about. The people looked similar to Mamians, but had slightly thinner body hair while many of the males had a full head of hair. It was quite confusing and Linel had trouble distinguishing between female and males because they all had hair. The good thing was that these aliens looked just like the ones that rescued Alissia, so perhaps they came back for him. Quickly he released the catches on his helmet, which disengaged its systems and caused Linel to fall promptly on his back; the hull repair pack was too heavy when the suit wasn’t compensating. It took a few moments to unstrap the pack and remove the parts of the suit that was nudging against his body. The majority of the suit he left on to preserve his decency in front of these people.

Just as he got back to standing up, the doors opened to reveal Alissia. She happily ran to Linel and gave him a big hug. The parts of the environmental suit that Linel kept on made the maneuver awkward, but they made it work.

On the bridge of the Dvoràk, yellow alert showed around the ship, and the crew was busy in preparation for the upcoming confrontation. Captain O’Connor stood up and walked in front of the view screen.

“Can we hail them?” Asked the Captain.

“Attempting to do so, the adaptive communications protocol is scanning their ship to determine their communication technology and protocols. One of their communication arrays was damaged in the battle, their backup array is better shielded.” The communications officer reported, and then paused for a few moments before continuing, “Captain, we have isolated their backup array; it’s utilizing V-band communications. Attempting to interface now.”

As the officer interacted with the communications suite, the software was rapidly exhausting through the list of possible communication protocols to interface with the alien craft. Most of the time, races from most dimensions develop similar communications technologies that the correct protocols are already programmed and ready. This alien race however had an unusual protocol, which required extensive reverse engineering for the ship to negotiate a protocol. Luckily the processing ability of the Dvoràk made this task very simple and was done in a few moments.

The communications officer looked up as the protocol was established, “Captain, we have it, channel is opened.”

Kathy turned around and faced the view screen, “This is Captain Kathryn O’Connor of the PSS Dvoràk from the Earth Strategic Mental Forces.”

The screen flashed from the image of the Redeemer to show the Amphian features of the captain, “You! You have ruined our master plan of domination! We with you gone, we can enslave those pitiful Mamians, and from there we will have the resources to defeat the Ulians! You shall pay, and your precious Earth shall suffer too, no matter what galaxy you are from we will find it and crush this Earth of yours.”

Kathy O’Connor was beyond angry. The single-minded aliens had not only thrown common courtesy out the window; they blamed and threatened Earth. At first, Kathy had been willing to allow the Amphians to live after they extracted an agreement to remain in their corner of the galaxy. Now Captain O’Connor wanted nothing less than to wipe the existence of that particular captain’s off the face of the multiverse. Of course being an ESMF captain required some restraint, so Kathy held herself together long enough to reply.

“I am going to give you one chance to agree to never bother the Mamians, completely stop all slavery and experimentations you have on other races, and to stay within your established borders.”

“I think not, captain,” the Amphian on the view screen replied with disdain. “You may think you’re indestructible behind your shields, but we have analyzed it and found that we can overload it.”

Suddenly the channel cut off and the view screen returned to the view of space with hyperspace portals opening up all around the Dvoràk. Literally thousands of ships were jumping into normal space, and more kept coming.

“Full power to shields,” the commander ordered instantly.

“Captain, there are no life signs aboard those ships! They must be controlling it by remote.” Ensign Sills announced.

“Fire everything you got, disable or destroy as many as you can,” ordered the captain.

The PSS Dvoràk let loose with everything all her non-restricted weaponry. The Annihilators rapidly disabled and began the process of destroying one ship after another, some of the smaller ships collided into the clouds of anti-energy left behind by the destruction of larger ships, which instantly destroyed the smaller ships. All of the ships were unmanned and remotely controlled by the Redeemer, which made it difficult to avoid such things as clouds of anti-energy. The antimatter torpedoes raced out to meet targets as fast as the tubes could be reloaded; the same with the quantum torpedo tubes. The strangest thing was that none of the Amphian ships were firing upon the Dvoràk.

Soon the reason was revealed as Janna Sills shouted, “Captain! All the ships are starting to overcharge their power cores, those ships seemed to be filled with some sort of explosive compounds.”

“Captain, the amount of explosive force of the combined detonation may actually overload our shields. We should get out of here but they’re swarming all around us. There is no clear path out,” the tactical officer added.

“How’s our forward shield?” Captain O’Connor asked.

The tactical officer responded after checking, “At full power… you’re not going to?”

“We don’t have a choice, Mr. Dhondt, get us out of here, full speed ahead! Ignore any ships in the way, it’s us or them.” Captain O’Connor ordered.

“Aye, Captain. Hold on to something! It’s going to be a rough ride!” Marc replied as he keyed in the command.

The PSS Dvoràk shot out of the cloud of Amphian ships at full speed, the zero point shields obliterating anything in the path, but due to the turbulent nature of absorbing matter into zero point energy, the Dvoràk buffeted around a little before they finally broke free of the cloud. Many things happened at that exact moment which would have ended in a total disaster if Marc had been an instant slower. The PSS Dvoràk plowed through the Redeemer right as it cleared the swarm of Amphian ships. Everyone had forgotten the fact that the Dvoràk was pointed right at the Redeemer before the swarm came into normal space. The termination of the remote signals from the Redeemer triggered the kill-safe of all the automated ships. The horde of Amphian ships began their detonating sequence. As March Dhondt saw the Dvoràk clear the edge of the swarm he plotted a quick and dirty course away at full speed under QDD. The first Amphian ships began to explode; soon all the other ships caught up and started to explode. As the explosion kissed the shields of the Dvoràk, Marc hit the engage command, and the ship zipped away from the explosion. Soon, after the Dvoràk was a safe distance away, she slowed down and turned to face the scene she left.

As the light from the explosion caught up to them, the view screen showed a really bright intense flash, it was almost as if a small star went supernova. The near fatal incident shook most of the bridge crew.

“What in the name of the Gods is that? Those Amphians are crazier than a pre-Phalanxial era mental institution!” Marc exclaimed from the helm.

“Why would anyone destroy over ten thousand ships just to destroy one starship? We couldn’t have destroyed that many that fast,” Commander Peter Lesnik said.

“We’ll have to establish some relations with someone in this dimension, if nothing else but to keep an eye on the fanatic Amphians.” Captain O’Connor continued.

“Captain, we’re getting a Phalanx energy signature heading this way,” Ensign Sills reported.

“Phalanx? Linda, confirm location of all known Phalanxes.” Captain O’Connor asked the AI.

“Frederic Fromthefield is currently in his office at SpaCECoB, BorgFred is in the main research lab at SpaCECoB, and Freda is currently in another universe on a diplomatic mission,” Linda listed off after confirming their locations.

“Unless there is a new Phalanx in this dimension, I don’t see how we can be detecting one heading our way,” Kathy mused. “Bring us to an intercept course.”

“Aye Captain, we’re on our way,” Marc said as he brought the Dvoràk closer to an approaching ship.

Soon an Ulian ship could be seen on the view screen. Both ships came to a smooth halt and the view screen switched to show an Ulian captain.

“Greetings, I am Captain Tirlo Ozorlan of the Ulian vessel Ageddon. We have detected a large energy spike from this direction and are investigating.”

Captain O’Connor straightened and replied, “Greetings, I am Captain Kathryn O’Connor of the PSS Dvoràk from the Earth Strategic Mental Forces, we may be able to help explain. We just came from over there, and it’s not a good place to be right now.”

“I see, so what happened over there?”

“Apparently the Amphians are bent on domination of the galaxy…” Captain O’Connor started to say.

“Those Amphians! Sorry Captain, our race has had unpleasant dealings with the Amphians in our history, please continue.”

“Simply put, we stopped them from taking over a galaxy 2.2 million light years away, and they didn’t like that fact so they decided to blow us up using enough explosives to rival a small nova.”

“Another galaxy! In the name of the one armed, how is that possible?” The Ulian captain asked.

“Apparently they’ve developed some kind of quantum tunneling wormhole, which lets them travel millions of light years almost instantly. They had kidnapped some Mamians from the other galaxy, and brought one here. We had to follow to rescue him.”

“Very noble, a cause to be cherished. Are you stranded in this galaxy now? We can force the Amphians to hand over any technology or research now that we know about it. They have been quiet of the late, and generally avoiding our diplomatic relations.”

“We would be grateful if you could, though we can get back in a week, our primary mission was to determine the cause of the quantum wormholes, and the research generating that would definitely help.” Kathy said.

“We are curious, what is the other galaxy like? We have pretty much explored the limits of this galaxy, but due to the nature of our drive systems, we are limited to less than the speed of light once outside the gravitational influence of our galaxy.”

“Honestly we aren’t sure, our home is in another dimension; we are interdimensional explorers.”

“Fascinating! We must arrange for some cultural and technological exchanges. I feel that we may both benefit from such an exchange. Of course I understand that some technologies may be held back as we do have some classified information also. Our standard species exchange library should be transferred right now.” Captain Tirlo said as he gave a nod to one of the officers.

“That is an wonderful idea, one moment please,” Captain O’Connor said as she turned to the communications officer. “Transfer the exchange packet, key up the one for unidimensional, interstellar, FTL, ally.”

Kathy continued back to the view screen with the Ulian captain, “we are transferring over a packet now. You should also receive some schematics, which will allow you to construct an interdimensional communications device; we would like to remain in contact with you. We are curious if you have a Phalanx aboard, our sensors detect the energy signature of such a being.”

“Phalanx? What is that?”

Captain O’Connor turned to the Ops officer, “Send them the coordinates of the signature.”

“Why Captain, that is the arm of our one-armed god. He has blessed us with our existence and has helped us through troubled times.” The Ulian captain replied.

“What happened to the rest of your god? How did you come about to possess the arm of a god?”

“Ah there is quite the story behind that, you see it all started when our first space faring members happened upon an arm floating in space. Through our dating technologies, we have found that the arm existed since before time, we’ve even done some tests and found ourselves to be linked genetically to the arm. It appears the arm belongs to our god who made us in his own image, and sacrificed a part of himself to save our species. Before the arm, we were a troubled race, always warring and fighting, generating pollution, and destroying the planet and ourselves. Once we found the arm, the studies of the arm gave us technologies that allowed us to save ourselves. As a race we began to grow and exist in peace and harmony with our surroundings. The arm had even saved our race in the war with the Amphians. The statue of the one-armed god stands proudly on our home world, here is a visual.”

As the Ulian captain finished his abridged version of Ulian history, the image of their god flashed on the viewer in split screen mode. The whole bridge of the Dvoràk was stunned into silence. There on their viewer was Frederic Fromthefield, sans arm, standing proudly in the middle of the town square. After a longer examination they began to notice that the image was of a lifelike statue.

After the shock wore off, Kathy began to speak, “Captain Tirlo, that is our commander, our Phalanx. The one who started it all, we have a story of our own to tell.”

So Kathy began to tell the Ulians the official version of the Phalanx story. After the long oratory, Kathy said, “but that still doesn’t explain everything. Perhaps the Phalanx himself will know more, we shall inform him of all this when we get back.”

“Of course, we are always curious about our god, and will welcome any chance to hear from him or his representatives.”

“We do have one favor to ask of you, would you be willing to keep an eye on the Amphians for us? They are too violent to be allowed to go unchecked.” Captain O’Connor asked.

“We will gladly do that, we have always done so, but after their little incursion into other galaxies, we will have to keep a closer eye on them. While you wait for us to retrieve the Amphian research, would you like to tour our home world? I’m sure many would love the chance to have our god’s representatives see how they live. We are proud of race and hope our god would approve of us.”

Captain O’Connor gave a brilliant smile, “Of course, we would be honored to see your home world.”

The coordinates were transferred, and both ships set course and left for that destination using their preferred means of travel. As the faster ship, the PSS Dvoràk had to slow down to allow the Ulians to get there at the same time.

Weeks later, Captain O’Connor was in her ready room preparing her reports to send back home. It was definitely one of the lengthier reports with many attached appendixes. The week it took to travel back to the Mamian galaxy, the Hastar Revior, was uneventful. Kathy made use of the free time to prepare her reports; all she needed was to make sure nothing else happens before she gets back.

“Captain, we are back at the Kenyar system, we’ll be able to return Alissia and Linel home soon.” The commander said over the COM.

“Thank you, I want to say goodbye to our friends before they leave,” Kathy replied.

During the weeks that they spent touring the Ulian home world, and the week of travel back to the Mamian galaxy, the captain and most of the crew have become good friends with the two Mamians. The two couples were strongly attached to each other, and the baby developing seemed to be very healthy. They had contacted the Mamian star base when they were in range and exchanged cultural and technological data. They gave the Mamians a similar exchange packet as the Ulians, and in return, the Mamians did the same. Luckily within the packet was biological data, which the medical personnel used to make sure the baby and the two Mamian guests were healthy.

The captain arrived at the transporter room and entered. Linel and Alissia were standing on the transporter holding hands. They were dressed in some clothing they found in the replicator databases.

“I wanted to catch you before you go, here is a communicator if you ever need to contact us, keep us updated on how everything goes. We want to be hearing from the little darling when he’s born,” Kathy said as she handed them an interdimensional communicator.

“We will; we can’t ever thank you enough for what you have done. If you ever are in the neighborhood please visit,” said Linel.

“Of course, are you ready?” Kathy asked after a brief moment.

“Yes we are, goodbye and farewell,” Alissia said as Kathy gave a nod to the transporter operator and the two Mamians transported to Alissia’s hometown.

Later, Captain O’Connor entered the bridge and headed for her chair. Calmly she ordered, “Mr. Dhondt, please make sure we’re a safe distance away for an interdimensional jump.”

“Moving out of orbit, we’re cleared for transit captain,” Marc replied.

“Set destination for Universe 004, engage when ready,” Kathy ordered.

Once again the PSS Dvoràk powered up it’s QDD for interdimensional travel, and slipped out of the dimension with a flash of bright light. In Universe 004, the Dvoràk appeared out of nowhere after the bright light disappeared and slipped quietly into the universe. Quickly, the full reports were all sent with two separate databases of Alien technologies.

Back at the SpaCECoB, in Frederick’s office, he was sitting in his chair mentally connected and reading reports when suddenly a new report came in. The higher priority of this report reflected that it dealt with more interesting or urgent matters as deemed by Linda in the filing stage.

In the millisecond that it took to complete reading the current report, he had already opened the new report. Quickly he digested the new report and repeatedly referencing the two alien libraries. The moment Fred finished reading the report he was stunned; for a full second, all the other tasks were halted. While he digested the implication, there were alien races in a dimension that was devoid of sentient life only a year ago, and one of them worshiped him as a god.

“The Ulians worship me as a God? That’s just great,” Fred muttered sarcastically. “Like I don’t have enough on my plate as it is!”

“Wise one, I have some questions,” Fred announced out loud as he pulled away from the neural interfaces.

“Yes Young Gerius I believed that you would,” the Wise One said as he appeared to the side of Fred discretely.

“So care to explain where these alien races came from? I would have noticed them when I drew upon the life essence of that universe during the battle.” Fred calmly asked.

“They were not there then, but they are there now. In short they came from you.” The Wise One answered cryptically.

“From me?”

“Yes, when you brought that universe back to the beginning to resurrect your wife, your severed arm came along for the ride. You were pretty tired after the fight and you all left that universe forgetting to clean up. We had to pool all our powers together to accelerate the universe back to when it should be, but there were some unforeseen consequences,” the Wise One started to explain.

“Would these consequences be the aliens?”

“Yes, we were so occupied pooling our powers that we did not notice your arm had remained behind. As the energy from the big bang continued to spread, the genetic material from your severed arm was flung across the universe seeding the universe with life.”

“So all those races have ancestry that can be traced back to me?” Fred asked.

“The Mamians are quite similar to the human part of your genetic code, the Ulians are the closest to your current state, while the Amphians seem to be derived from the amphibian ancestry of your Ketari influences. They don’t match exactly, they did have an eternity to evolve.”

“How do I deal with the worship? Any advice as a God?”

“Ah, that you will have to learn on your own Young Gerius. Just remember, you can’t stop them, they won’t listen.” The words lingered on the air with a touch of humor as the Wise One disappeared sensing that Fred was satisfied with the answers for now.

Quietly Fred mused over what the Wise One told him before he mentally reconnected to the systems to finish reading the other reports. As an afterthought he quickly sent the alien library of cultures and technologies to the research labs.

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