The fate of us all

Today’s #RichardWrites comes from Tyche’s Deceit. The Tyche has uncovered an alien nest … on the moon, yo. There’s a lot of bugs. I mean a lot of bugs.

As the Tyche stalked across the hard black towards the moon, leaving mother Earth and the Torrington behind her, eyes looked out from the flight deck. The holo stage brought up hostile action, a storm of rocks leaving the moon’s crust. These were unlike those the Tyche had dodged back on Absalom Delta, dumb missiles thrown into the dark. These were guided, agile like fighter craft. They moved towards the Tyche, accelerating as they came, but without the telltale drive plumes of human craft.

The Torrington appeared to take this in, and then the ship shivered and blinked away, an Endless Drive whisking her to safer waters. The aliens on the moon took in this data, certain that the cowardice of humans was showing its face again. Understanding humans was difficult for their alien minds. They were used to working as a cohesive unit. Mind to mind, will to will. They never doubted, never altered their purpose. There was no dissent. They had come across the dark void between stars, eating civilizations as they came, until they found just one more. Humans. Weak, soft, and cowardly.

Except for this one tiny ship. The fighter craft gained visual on the Tyche, but for a species used to fighting their opponents on battlefields both physical and mental, it was difficult to track. They didn’t understand this piece of metal without a mind, didn’t know how to target it except with crude kinetic weapons. But they had plenty of those, and it was only a matter of time before they filled the skies above this planet with enough rock to end all hope.

If aliens could be confident — and they could — this was the moment where the confidence was at its highest. The government of these people was weak. While the alien outpost below had been destroyed, it was a temporary affair. They could install new agents, and they would as soon as the immediate threat was removed. This threat was one they had picked up by sifting through humans on the Torrington, and it focused the efforts of the Ezeroc.

The Tyche didn’t slow. She came on, sailing soft and easy as she did it. If anyone — human or Ezeroc — had been watching, this was the moment where they would have finally bet against the Goddess of Luck. They would have thought she had overplayed her hand.

Space rippled, blurred, and the Torrington snapped back above the planet. It was possible her crew had rethought cowardice, realized that without the Earth there would be no home to return to. Weapons were online, coherent light stretching across the void to touch those stony fighters racing toward the Tyche. Those ships were hunks of pure moon rock, rough on the outside, heavy and thick, and the lasers deployed against them were having no effect on their targets. Masers were brought to play, with better effect. And torpedoes were launched, smart rockets with heavy payloads.

But one destroyer against an alien fleet on the moon? It was a laughable proposition, if aliens could laugh.

The aliens still didn’t understand humans very well, nor human technology. While the Ezeroc could speak mind to mind without speed of light complications, the humans were limited by basic relativity. The Torrington had needed to jump to where the rest of their fleet lay. A paltry handful of ships, but built with human hands, to protect human worlds. First and foremost they were build to protect humans against themselves, but now they had found a new, beautiful purpose. And that purpose wasn’t allowing fucking aliens to wipe out humanity.

After the Torrington arrived, another ripple in space announced the arrival of her sister Lucidity. Moments later, the Confidence jumped into space above Earth. Three destroyers, the second largest craft humans built, deployed above the Earth. They stood between the Tyche and the approaching fighter craft. They stood against the end of the world.

One more ship joined them. Her crew called her the Defiance, and she was a carrier. The largest craft human hands had built. Her crews were already scrambling attack craft of their own, tiny gnats launched from the great ship.

Things had gone from being unbalanced to more equitable. The Ezeroc attack ships changed vector, bearing down on the newcomers to the battle. The new ships responded in kind. While humans fought each other to the death for land, for power, and for money, they were united in one thing: no aliens would take their world. Resistance and Republic flew in the sky above the cradle of humanity, and they fought for the future of their race.

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