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The Alexanderov Federation
Book 1 The Grendarl War

Part Eleven - Charelton IV, and the aftermath at Tamarian I

The Tamarian system had been defended by only a few hundred ships for a reason. That had been every ship the Federation could spare, because the majority of their fleet had been traveling off-road to attack Charelton IV, another new colony of the Grendarl, one very close in spatial terms to the Federation capital world of Kitjef II. Charelton IV was a pretty worthless world to the Grendarl, so its colonization could only have meant one thing -- a jump-off point for a strike at the heart of the Federation. Fortunately, for the Federation that is, the crisis in the Tamarian system caused the Grendarl to be forced to move before they were ready, and now the Federation would eliminate the back-door threat. They had timed their arrival to be only a few days after the Grendarl attack in Tamarian, so they would again have the moral high ground of retaliating for an unprovoked assault. Or at least they could claim such in the Senate.

The Grendarl scanner technology once again proved to be their Achilles heel. With only a month's warning of the approaching fleet, they were only able to build a few extra missile bases and another 15 carrier frigates, not yet knowing that they were merely building cannon fodder instead of useful weapons. This side of the Federation's fleet, which included a full 500 PD frigates, over 200 missile destroyers, 125 long-range-beam light cruisers, and 50 carrier cruisers, quickly overwhelmed the pitiful defense fleet commanded by k'D'S, and then reduced the surface to nothing but smoking, lifeless ruins.


In the Wasilkoff system, the Psilons were definitely not interested in attempting to invade even a fledgling Grendarl colony, so after destroying the defensive emplacements that had delayed their arrival in the Tamarian system they simply continued on their way.


The Raas, who had actually passed through Wasilkoff as well, had managed to avoid fighting any defensive emplacements because they simply had not been detected. The wormhole they had taken to get to that system let them out a short 15 minute trip from the jump point to Tamarian, which at the time had been on the exact opposite side of the system from the Grendarl colony. Then, realizing they were running late, their commanders had attempted a dangerous stunt to arrive at the battle on time. Their engineers had simply not turned off their jump engines until they were literally right on top of the fight. Since they had been using a jump lane, they essentially dragged part of the jump lane with them until they no longer needed it. The dangerous part came when they finally turned off the jump engines and the jump lane segments violently dissipated. The experiment had destroyed 15 of their ships, and heavily damaged 25 more, but the remaining 60 had been fully operational and had been more than enough to detonate the missiles and assist the Federation in wiping up the damaged remnants of the Grendarl fleet.


Meanwhile, on the Sharktooth -- or rather, what was left of her -- the chief medical officer, one Lieutenant Jason Jones, noticed the problem first. The bomb detonated by the Grendarl at the tail end of the battle had initially appeared to be nothing more than a suicide device designed to create a mess for the humans to clean up and prevent any surviving command personnel from being captured and interrogated. While those were, in fact, goals fulfilled by the detonation of the device, it had one other effect nobody thought of at first. Many of the Human fleet's vessels were unshielded in the waning moments of the battle, and their crews took a lethal burst of radiation. Doctor Jones noticed the radiation contamination through the initially inexplicable destruction of one of his running experiments. After a few minutes of pondering the problem, he pulled out his medical scanners and discovered the problem. Ahah! he thought. Perhaps now that fool of a Captain will see my value to the crew and give me the respect I deserve!

Goodman, frustrated at this point by the continued failure to restore power to his ship, and not particularly looking forward to a trip in a cramped evacuation pod, no matter how brief, didn't exactly take the news too well, especially considering the barely respectful tone it was delivered in. "You mean we've got to inoculate every member of the crew before we let them evacuate?"

"If we don't sir, they may not make it to the planet surface alive. We've managed to get off without a casualty, I'd hate for us to start having them now when it could be prevented."

This was, of course, a direct slap in the face to Goodman. Goodman hadn't particularly cared for the egotistical doctor from the beginning, but this was definitely beyond the call of duty, to have to put up with insults like that. He resolved then and there to make sure that Jones got a nice discommendation in his file, and to start looking for a new CMO. This one was getting fired at the first available opportunity. "Very well, doctor, begin dispensing the treatments, beginning with bridge crew and engineering personnel. They need to be in top shape to continue the effort to restore power until the last possible minute."

Jones didn't think too much of the upstart Captain either. 15 years Goodman's senior, and bitter to be taking orders from a 'baby', he snapped back, "I don't need you to tell me how to do my job."

Goodman smiled, and it wasn't a sign of humor. "That's right, you don't. But the beauty of the fact that I'm the Captain and you're the Lieutenant is that you get it, whether you want it or not. So do as I have instructed you or I will fire you out the nearest missile tube and you can have the honor of being the first crewmember killed in the line of duty on a vessel under my command."

Jones colored briefly, then snapped out a very insincere, "Aye, sir!"

By the time the soon-to-be-ex CMO left the bridge, Goodman had cooled off. This was important news. "Lewis, get me Admiral Stockert."

"Aye, sir." She began working her panel. "Sir, the Alexander reports that the Admiral is in a conference and left instructions not to be disturbed."

"Ask for bridge duty officer, then."

"Aye, sir."

A second or two later, Commander Charlie Oren's face appeared on the screen. "Goodman, I'm quite busy, make it quick." Technically, Goodman outranked Oren, but due to the Commander's position as duty officer in temporary command of the fleet, it was not a breach of protocol.

"As you wish. The Sharktooth appears unsalvageable. We will probably need to evacuate soon. But before we do, we felt you should know that a significant portion of our crew was exposed to high levels of radiation. It appears that bomb the Grendarl detonated at the end of the fight had an additional purpose, to kill the crew of any nearby unshielded ship."

Oren looked surprised for a second, then covered it with a few blinks. "We've received notifications of other ships taking decontamination precautions, but nobody has yet put two and two together. Good thinking, Captain. We'll get the word out ASAP. Oren, out."


Meanwhile, back on Rrk'g'kreg III, the unnamed Grendarl emperor was discussing the news with Y'th'S'kaz. "So, our fleet has failed, and now Charelton IV has fallen."

"Yes sire. It is not the fault of tR'c'N'S or k'D'S, however. They both did an excellent job causing as much damage as they did, all things considered. The Humans have simply come up with a counter for our fighter superiority that worked extremely well."

"So, now what?"

"Next they will come here. We probably have a year or two to build defenses, but no more than that. They will move to consolidate their gains as quickly as possible and then come to finish us off."

"And again our fighter superiority will be useless."

"Probably. But we have learned something that perhaps we can use to our advantage. The Humans have built their fleet around defeating us."


"So, let us rebuild our defenses around defeating them!"

The Grendarl face was not built for smiling, so the emperor did not smile. But Y'th'S'kaz knew that he liked his suggestion anyway.




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