The Alexanderov Federation
Book 1 The Grendarl War
Part Ten - The Battle for Tamarian (IV)
Meanwhile, on the surface of T-III, the Grendarl
forces were making a serious mess of the Federations's new
colony. When the Trillarian and Human ships arrived, they
quickly finished off the last four ships in orbit, but orbital
bombardment was not much of an option.
The Human marine units quickly arrived in the areas where
the Grendarl were and began to engage them. But, constrained
to try to avoid hitting civilians, they could not fight nearly
as effectively as the Grendarl, who didn't care what they
hit. The casualties mounted quite quickly for the humans.
Even the arriving marine units from the orbiting ships (each
Federation ship carried a small detachment) were not enough
to turn the tide. Over a million casualties mounted up before
the Grendarl made their deadly mistake. They started hitting
the Rhea too -- not entirely by accident, nor completely deliberately,
but they managed to kill a few of them.
Needless to say, the Rhea, which until that point hadn't
particularly liked the human 'space invaders' and had been
quite recalcitrant workers, suddenly decided they liked the
Grendarl less. They tore into these new invaders with their
bare hands, farming instruments, laser welders, and whatever
else they had handy. And given their strength, size, and extreme
toughness, they quickly turned the tide of battle for the
humans and wiped out over half the Grendarl force in 15 minutes.
One of the Rhea actually picked up a Grendarl marine and ripped
him in two. That sight didn't do much good for the Grendarl
Near T-I, however, the slower missiles continued their approach.
Goodman closed his eyes briefly and reflected on his life.
He wasn't especially eager to end it, of course, but he had
a duty to his people and he would do his duty no matter the
cost. The civilians on the world below, as well as the more
expensive ships in the fleet, had to be preserved at all costs.
"Give us a countdown, Turley. Attention all hands. We
are, apparently, the last line of defense for our fellow officers
and the planet below. We have all but carried the day entirely
now, but the missiles on approach must be stopped, and the
only means we have left to accomplish that is to place ourselves
in their path. It has been an honor serving with all of you.
Goodman out. Lewis, include my commendations for all crew,
and then eject the message log."
"15 seconds, sir," Turley counted. "14...
13... 12... Sir? This is weird. I'm picking up a hyperspatial
distortion deep inside the system! It's like a jump lane,
but it's moving towards us at incredible speed."
"On screen." The distortion was barely visible,
but it tore right up to them at well over light speed. The
only way they could see it at all was the way the sensors
converted the raw data to a representation he could understand
and process. As soon as it got to about a hundred kilometers
away, it suddenly vanished in an explosion of energy so bright
the screen entirely turned off to avoid damaging the crew's
eyesight. Turley, fortunately, had not been watching the screen,
and thus saw the result that nobody else could, that of hundreds
of ships suddenly appearing out of nowhere.
"Sir! It's the Raas! They are firing on the missiles
and detonating them. Warn the crew, shockwave in 6 seconds!"
"All hands, brace yourselves! Shockwave impact in 3
seconds!" he spit out so quickly that the crew, had they
not already been bracing themselves on the outside chance
the ship survived the missile impact, would never have understood
or been able to act in time. Fortunately, however, they already
were bracing themselves.
The shockwave buffeted the Sharktooth like a old-style sailing
ship in a hurricane, but she held together... barely. A few
small hull breaches appeared but were quickly sealed by the
automated systems. Aside from a large number of bumps, bruises,
contusions, and a few broken bones, the crew came through
without serious injury.
"All sections, damage report."
Morse collected the reports quickly and distilled them for
Goodman. "Sir, we're dead in space, all combat systems
out, engines out, several minor hull breaches which have been
sealed by the air shields. But we're on backup power, we will
have to abandon ship in three hours if we can't restore the
"Will evacuating and sealing the areas with the breaches
help extend our reserves?"
"Only slightly, sir. Three are in engineering, and people
have to be there to work on restoring power."
"Well, do it for the areas we can."
Goodman then turned to Lewis. "What's the status of
Lewis finally smiled. "The Raas have turned the tide
completely in our favor. All the remaining Grendarl ships
are now debris fields floating in space, sir."
She wasn't quite right, however. And with Sharktooth's sensors
down, Turley couldn't try to verify the reports from the Raas.
He couldn't have anyway, however, with the radiation from
the missiles clouding up the area, no surviving human warship
was in a good position to do a full scan of the debris field
to look for stragglers. And the scout vessels had not been
ordered to abandon their listening post role.
On the one remaining Grendarl ship, the command 'fighter'
of tR'c'N'S, the few surviving Grendarl officers surveyed
the situation. All of their capital ships were destroyed.
Their ground forces had not accomplished their goal, and were
now being slaughtered by the Rhea. tR'c'N'S had three options.
One, he could attack whatever he could find with his fighter
class weaponry, and die without accomplishing anything. Two,
he could try to sneak away, return home, and be executed.
He chose option three.
On the carrier cruiser Alexander, Admiral Stockert's command
flagship, the sensor officer suddenly noticed a surprise detonation
of a nuclear device. "Sir! An extremely powerful, and
very dirty nuclear bomb has been detonated amid the debris
of the Grendarl fleet. I do not know the cause, but whatever
it was, it vaporized a significant portion of the debris and
heavily irradiated the rest. We'll have to capture and clean
all that up, we can't afford to let it fall into the atmosphere
of any of the planets around here."
"Very well, we'll attend to that as soon as we can.
Order the support vessels to being working on getting repair
crews and medical teams to the ships in need. We'll deal with
the future threats when we have taken care of the survivors."
The battle was over. The Humans had defended their new system.
But the price was terrible. Over 2 million casualties, over
200 ships as well over 1000 fighters destroyed, and a significant
portion of the infrastructure on Tamarian III was in ruins.
On the plus side, the Rhea were now very much on the Human's
side. Their support would prove invaluable in the years ahead.