The Alexanderov Federation
Book 1 The Grendarl War
Part Four - The Ambush
The Bumblebee crew was beginning to feel the
tension. They'd moved quietly across a small but by no means
insignificant portion of a solar system on silent running,
all equipment tuned to emit no detectible radiation, all passive
scrambling systems run to their most efficient settings. Continuing
on silent running they had released 52 of their 60 homing
mines into position, but they only had four to go since the
convoys were of 28 ships apiece (a number of significance
in Grendarl religion). Soon they would retire to the asteroid
field to allow the Grendarl to pass and become ensnared in
The devices were surprisingly small, but very powerful. A
recent development of the Federation's R&D department,
these devices could be lifted and moved around by an average
human without undue strain, and were small enough to comfortably
carry one in one's arms. They utilized a new form of explosive,
the same as in neutronium missiles, but these were specially
reformulated to be used as shaped charges. The device could
gravitationally grapple onto a hull and, with that accomplished,
it could then direct all explosive force towards breaching
the armor and damaging whatever was inside.
Meanwhile, on the Grendarl freighters, most of the crew were
preparing for a shift change, when one of the sensor officers
on the lead ship noticed something odd.
"Sir!" he said, calling his superior's attention.
Actually, he said, "R'T'ol!", the actual rank of
his superior, and thanks to the gutturals and the general
elephantine roar of their voices, it came out as a sound few
humans could reproduce. His superior came over, upon which
he said something that roughly translates to, "Sir, I
am detecting a mass anomaly ahead. No energy readings, however,
it is on the extreme edge of my sensor range. The computer
thinks it's just a small asteroid out of place, and if so,
it poses no threat at all due to its tiny size, but I am not
"Accelerate slightly for 5 time units to get into better
range, then use active scanners to identify and catalog."
"Approved. Helm, increase by .5 for 5 units."
Turley, of course, noticed the acceleration immediately.
"Captain! One of the Rrk'g'kreglin ships has accelerated
ahead of the others. It will be in range to scan us in 5 minutes!"
"Why have the others not accelerated? If they see us,
why aren't they all attacking?"
"They probably don't see us at all sir. I think they
probably detected a mine and didn't know what it was, and
they've accelerated to get into active scan range faster."
"Grek those smelly pieces of troz! Tannert! You have
one minute to finish up, we have to get under cover!"
Tannert didn't bother to acknowledge or close the channel
immediately, so Goodman heard the following drift back over
the channel. "Great, just great. Toss the last two through
the field now, we'll let them drift into position! Hurry!"
An indistinct yell was followed by, "Yeah, but it'll
be closer than it would be if it stayed inside the ship. Do
it!" Then, realizing he still had an open channel, "Oh,
sorry Captain. Alright we'll be done in another 5 seconds,
you can get us in motion... now!"
"You heard him, Ensign!"
The Bumblebee, fortunately, had a rather small mass (and
thus very little inertia to overcome), so they were able to
make it behind an asteroid before the Grendarl opened up with
full sensors... but with only about 3/10ths of a second to
spare. But since they did make it, the Grendarl found nothing
but a bunch of tiny drifting asteroids. Though they were brave
warriors and strong laborers, their intelligence was quite
lacking, and they saw nothing odd about pieces of an unexpected
asteroid that just happened to be drifting in their convoys'
paths. As each ship in turn passed through the general area
where the mines had been laid one mine adhered to each ship,
each of them guided by their internal sensors and maneuvered
by microscopic thrusters so perfectly that all but one landed
directly above the most vulnerable spot on each ship -- the
engine room / power plant. The final ship actually collided
with its mine, and the mine adhered to a spot very close to
its target, but not quite where it had been programmed to
'want' to be.
Morse reported these results to the Goodman, who promptly
nodded and then said, "Wait until they get far enough
away that we will not be caught in the blast of radiation.
We can't raise shields until we are sure there are no sensor
platforms around to detect us."
"That will be in 86 minutes sir. They will be about
halfway from here to the jump lane, and there will be nothing
in the area that could possibly cause the destruction. They
will probably never figure out what happened."
"Which is precisely how Command wants it. We want to
hurt these bastards, but we need the moral high ground of
not actually starting the next war. They may suspect, but
if they can't prove it, we retain the upper hand on the Senate
Of course, none of them knew just when the next war would
be, but after 15 years of on again off again fighting with
Grendarl, none of them had any illusions that peace would
come before one or the other was destroyed. The negotiators
had tried the first few times to establish a just peace that
both races could live with. The Grendarl simply weren't interested
in peace. And these days few humans were either.
87 minutes later, the largest identifiable pieces of any
Grendarl ship in the system were barely any bigger than the
mines that had caused the destruction.
Today you got to learn some human bastardizations of
Grendarl profanity. For those who don't speak 3,000th century
English, here is a rough translation. Grek (originally G'rYc)
is a rather foul imprecation involving a genetically impossible
form of procreation. Troz (originally d'R's) is an insult
involving genetics and crippling mutations, which if a Grendarl
uses in reference to another, one of them will not live to
see another sunrise.