The Warrior (part 2)
Posted By: Chris Cox<Spheira@netscape.net>
Date: 03 December 2000, 9:22 pm
>Reopening log from entry:-04.1.7.0242 [ent/(DE H c-2)//173-104-925-ADM]
>Reading three records...
>Open entry:-04.1.7.0242 [ent/(DE H c-2)//173-104-925-ADM]
We have remained in this obscure system for more than two weeks now, completing the destruction of the colony and hunting down the survivors of the human fleet. I have passed much of the time in a remote command holograph net, directing the flights of aircraft that we have dispatched to eradicate the remaining humans on the surface. The tedium and detachedness of it made me squirm in anticipation of actually reaching the surface to fight, but I know that restraint is necessary. Such is the responsibility of leadership.
In all truth, I have missed little by remaining on board the Purity of Spirit, as the remnants of human resistance have been too sparse and disorganised to warrant any ground contact. The main settlements were destroyed by orbital bombardment in the hours after our arrival, and since then the whole exercise has been a case of searching out the remaining enemy and directing aircraft strikes or orbital weapons fire to their location. Collateral damage is irrelevant here. Nothing on this world is of any worth to us. They taint whatever they touch.
To alleviate the monotony, I accompanied one of the reconnaissance flights yesterday, deferring command of the operation temporarily to Amgac. It was satisfying to gaze on the fruits of our work: the leveled cities, the shattered vehicles, the landscapes cleansed of the evil forever by our fire and faith. Yet I have a haunting feeling that this battlefield may have been our easiest, and that victory in this war will cost us more than victory over this rock.
Our sweep of the system has successfully located all but one of the remaining human vessels. The Esteem has just reported sensor contact with the last one, which has been evading our scouts in an asteroid belt for over a week now. When it is destroyed, it will take us no more than a few days to finish our tasks here and prepare to move on to the next target. I hope that our battle there is more of a challenge than this one has been.
>End of entry:
>Open entry:-04.2.7:1352 [ent/(DE H c-2)//173-104-925-ADM]
Fate has proved me right about our ease of victory here. It has made us complacent, and now we have paid the price.The last human vessel waited until the Esteem was almost within firing range, and then folded out of the system. Before any attempt could be made at tracking the jump, the vessel reappeared beside the Reverence, which was isolated from the rest of the fleet, and opened fire at near point-blank range. The element of surprise served them well.
After the destruction of the Reverence, the Esteem moved to intercept the enemy, this time with the support of several of our capital ships. The human vessel fled into the asteroid belt again, but with so many vessels in pursuit I was sure that it could not hide from us. Yet again the humans demonstrated our complacency as they detonated a set of thermonuclear charges attached to a cluster of smaller rocks through which they had led the Esteem. Many angry words were spoken of this, but our lack of caution was ultimately to blame. We will learn from our mistakes and our retribution will be all the more deadly.
After a brief chase within the asteroids, the human vessel was finally forced to leave its cover by the skilled maneuvering of the Penance and Sacred Promise. Apparently unwilling to face our larger warships, it then folded out of the system on a course presumably leading to human reinforcements. Exercising caution, Maugur assigned the Penance, Sacred Promise and Divine Message to hunt it down before it could warn anyone of our location or strength.
Then, for reasons which are as unclear to me as they are to almost all here, the circle of prophets aboard the Purity of Spirit began divining warnings of what these humans would do if not stopped immediately. Neither Maugur, nor I, nor any of the leaders could get them to disclose exactly what they were afraid of, yet they were adamant that we should employ every resource at our disposal to ensure the destruction of this vessel. As confusing as this message was, we may not disobey the instructions of the Gods, that our priests are gifted with relaying to us. The whole fleet folded out in pursuit of this one, small vessel an hour ago. Against a force of such strength they cannot hope to prevail, whatever obscene plan they are hatching.
>End of entry:
>Open entry:-04.7.7:1658 [ent/(DE H c-2)//173-104-925-ADM]
What began as a purge has become a hunt, and our quarry is an elusive one. The human vessel folded into a planetary nebula in the vicinity of Arculba, in an unimportant part of the galaxy with no nearby populated worlds and no particular significance. Their choice of destination puzzles me, unless it is some ploy to tie up our fleet searching for them in this cloud before they escape and seek reinforcements. Perhaps they are trying to return to their homeworld, although I doubt very much that so cunning a foe would lead us to our final goal so readily.
In any case, they will never have the chance to return to their home. The fleet arrived in a standard dispersed pattern across the less dense volumes of the nebula, and the Truth and Reconciliation achieved a sensor fix on their position almost immediately. Her commander signaled the enemy's location to the rest of the fleet and then moved to engage. Their weak firepower and lack of shielding will put them at a grave disadvantage against so large a vessel. They cannot hope to succeed here.
Yet still the prophets convey their warnings. We are taking no chances: all available vessels are converging on their position. No trick will save them today.
>End of entry:
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