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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 trap.

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 sure."


"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."

"Aye, sir."

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!"

"Aye sir."

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 floor."

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.




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