17 Apr

Warrior

Ship's log, 15:12, 30 June 2214
Location: Feras orbit, Lambda 1 system
Status: Evasive manoeuvres, sublight transit

 

I’m surrounded by a mess of ships. They’re all fleeing from the area where we set off bombs, spraying away like debris. They rub and jostle at each other, as if the expanse of the solar system is suddenly too crammed to hold them all. Sparks spit and metal flakes off; thrusters cough as they try to haul themselves away from each other. The vacuum of space keeps their collisions silent, but the transmissions bouncing between ships more than makes up for the lack of sound. They rake at each other with language as colourful as Elliott’s and throw blame around with liberal mouths.

I feel bad for them. It wasn’t our intention to damage their ships. On the other hand, it’s not really my fault if they can’t fly without hitting something.

I can’t worry about that now. I have to trust them to look after themselves. My focus is on the Narwhal: a scarred old tug is chugging towards the artificial planet below us. We believe it holds the backups of the company’s data, including the data from the project that built me. To eradicate all traces of the project, we have to destroy that ship.

Between it and me, five little fighter-class ships complicate things, so small they’re like something that broke off one of the freighters surrounding me. They’re knives, sharp and glistening, and they’re trying to throw a net around me. Their weapon ports are open; they bristle with ordinance. But we’re surrounded by civilians. Surely they wouldn’t risk it…

I can’t think that way. Of course they would. They think I’m responsible for the explosions deep within Feras and the ones out here that caused all these ships to flee. And they’re right. But they can’t know that I’d never fire on the ships around me right now.

I am armed. I am the best pilot they’ve ever seen. And I’m going to get to that tug without letting these civilians pay with their lives.

I weave through the tailfins of the ships, up and over and back down again, twisting between a chunk of someone’s hull plating and the burn of a shuttle’s sublights. Dodge left and angle towards the colony below us. The fighters move to intercept again.

 

Location: Bridge

CAPTAIN: (eyeing the ship’s avatar) Starry, can you get us past them?

STARRY: (armoured up, she watches the hologram that tracks the fighters’ movements in the centre of the room) Trying. Making a break from cover in five seconds.

ROSIE: Can’t we just shoot them?

CAPT: Not in this traffic; when we’re clear.

HALF-FACE: They’re opening fire! Missile incoming.

ROSIE: Fuckers!

CAMERON: Countermeasures away.

CAPT: Evasive manoeuvres!

STARRY: What the hell do you think I’m doing?

 

I’m passing between a freighter and a scout, both of them refugee ships, and one of the fighters is shooting at me. There are civilians here! Helpless refugees! I was hoping to use the ships’ panic for my own purposes, but they weren’t supposed to be shot down. They weren’t supposed to be casualties in this.

I spray bleating countermeasures behind me and dive around the belly of the freighter. The missile confuses my signal with the ‘measures and detonates, and the concussion knocks the freighter off-course. It’s all I can do to prevent losing a wingtip – a wobble and I yank myself out of danger.

Another missile, snaking around the ship towards me. I spin and pull my nose down, curving back to where I started. The cloud of countermeasures is only too eager to jump into the line of fire for me.

I jerk left and duck behind another ship, knowing it’ll break the fighter’s target lock. A laser swipes through the dark behind me, cutting off a chunk of the civilian ship’s wing and the tip of my tailfin. I have to get out of here. I think the other ships are yelling at me but I don’t have time to listen.

The open space left behind by evacuating ships yawns, wide and dangerous. Exposing. I can’t afford to stay out there for long; they’ll cut me to pieces. I have to get to cover. I have to get to somewhere where I can even the odds.

Feras. The planet. Its surface isn’t smooth: covered with docking apparatus, cranes, half-built ships, access hatches, launching tubes, temporary construction shelters, cargo pod access, antennae, and robotic arms used to build the ships too large to be assembled inside the factories. I can use that, and I don’t care much if the fighters shoot at the scenery. Also, that’s where my target is.

I find an opening between the fleeing ships, turn myself around to face it, and punch all of my sublights at once. I shoot out like a fat bullet, but I only have a few seconds’ surprise on my side. I roll abruptly to the side and a laser cuts through where I just was. Behind me, fighters emerge from the morass like needles from a tapestry. Three of them launch missiles. The other two run high.

My hull shifts and I bare my teeth. Plates slide aside, laser muzzles prickle outwards, and missile launchers rise into place. My smooth shape is studded dangerously, like a puffer fish.

My SecOffs are quick on the weapons: laser bursts take out the missiles. I’m not too worried about them, but the fighters’ lasers are a problem: they can cut me up before I see them coming. My only defense is not to be there when they reach me. It’s all about the flying. I lost a thruster with the tip of my tailfin, but I can compensate.

I jink and twist, bouncing about the open void like a pinball in an invisible game. No more than two seconds on a single trajectory. Cannot be predictable. Keep moving, keep changing direction, flip, spin, burst sideways, spray countermeasures, cut down the ordinance chasing me. The forces involved make my inertial dampeners run hot but I’m not creaking yet.

I try not to think about the last time I stepped through the star here. I caught a glimpse of an explosion in this system; a very large explosion. I wonder if it was me, or one of these fighters, or something else. But I can’t think of it right now. Focus on what’s happening right now, Starry.

What I wouldn’t do for an industrial goddamn mirror to reflect these lasers right back.

The fighters are herding me, trying to push me away from the planet. Or at least away from that tug; they’re definitely defending it. Well, that’s not going to work. I cut back towards them, shortening our range. My SecOffs are on my weapons, trying to cut them up in turn. Lasers light up the dark; the fighters dodge around. Missiles punch out of ports along my sides; the fighters slash them down. I aim myself directly for one of the little bastards, knowing that the smaller ship can’t risk a collision. It panics and ducks aside, but its laser scores down my side. One of its friends slices through my right wing. I bleed into the void.

 

STARRY: (tensely) Chief, I’m taking over the repulsors.

CAMERON: We can handle the weapons…

STARRY: Not going to use them only for that.

CAMERON: (nods.)

 

Gonna have to time this carefully. I bring myself around so that I have my back to the planet, and line up the repulsor on my nose with a fighter. It’s too far away for me to damage, but that doesn’t mean I can’t punt the sucker across the system. Wait until that perfect split-second when the fighter is in my sights, and then kick.

The little fella is thrown across the void like a fastball special. I’m spun in the opposite direction and sent hurtling towards the planet. I let my tumble look uncontrolled, cutting engines as I ‘fall’. The remaining four fighters take the bait and use the opportunity to reposition themselves.

I have time to catch my breath.

 

ROSIE: (swallows as she tries to keep track of the targets on her console. The display lurches and spins.) Starry, you keep this up, I’m going to hurl.

CAPT: (watching the avatar closely) You can get us out of this?

STARRY: (grinning) You bet.

 

As I tumble, my SecOffs manage to get a couple of missiles away. One of them detonates close to a fighter, knocking it away. It’s not long until he’s back in formation, though. They’re trying to surround me, so they can cut me up with lasers.

Two can play at that game. The Lieutenant is scowling intently at his console, at the fighters lining themselves up around me. His lips move as if he’s counting. Abruptly, he activates all of my forward lasers, just as I spin and spray them across two of the little ships. One of them turns aside just in time; the other is sliced clean through, going from purposed ship to three drifting pieces of debris between heartbeats. First blood is ours!

 

ROSIE: WHOO-HOOO SUCKER.

HALF-FACE: (grins abruptly, plastiskin pulling over the metal side of his jaw.)

CAMERON: (smiles to herself without taking her eyes off her display.)

 

The pilot falls clear of the ruined fighter, missing a leg. If he isn’t dead now, he will be soon. I try not to look for his other leg in the wreckage.

Can’t afford to; his friends are pissed off and coming at me again. But I’m reaching the outskirts of Feras’s surface at the southern pole. I swoop out of my fall and down into the forest of antennae; suddenly, the stakes are a little more even. This is scenery I can use against them. Better yet, there’s a trench that runs up towards the northern pole: a valley of metal full of protrusions, robotic arms, and partially-built ships. A chaotic mess to fly through, which is exactly what I need.

Two-thirds of the way up that channel, a small tug is coming in to dock.

A missile explodes beside me, knocking me sideways. My hull creaks. I lose a missile battery on that side; it’s not responding. Rosie swipes a laser angrily through the tree-sized antennae; she misses the fighters but she does slice through the metal. I lift my tail and fire the rear repulsor, sending the severed spikes out in all directions and flipping myself over and over. My inertial dampeners groan as I pull myself away from a collision and into a dive towards the channel.

 

CAPT: Starry, are you planning to…

STARRY: Yup.

CAPT: Chief, are you seeing what I’m seeing?

CAMERON: Yes. Brasco, let’s see if we can’t cut up some more of their equipment. Laurence, I want you on concussive duty.

 

Suddenly, I think of Swann and how he helped us get out of a jam with well-timed missile detonations. He would know exactly what my Chief of Security meant. What a time to miss him. The Lieutenant looks confused, so I put the missile controls on his console for him. Now he seems to understand. Rosie is having fun, slicing up the struts and pipes and metal claws as I dip down into the trench. The fighters are following me, which is exactly what we want. They must think we’re panicking, shooting at anything in the hopes that we’ll get them.

Their lasers cut far too close to me. Not much room to evade in here. I squeeze through a gap between a bridge across the trench and an empty dock. Sparks spit from severed power lines. The fighters chase me down, trying to get a clean shot so they can send a laser right up my ass. The Lieutenant fires a missile and buries it into the western wall. Waits a second. Detonates it the moment the first fighter comes abreast of it.

Debris sprays everywhere. I punch my sublights to avoid the wayward bounce of a shard. A fighter explodes, adding its pieces to the mix, and Rosie cheers noisily. One of its friends wobbles as a chunk of hull bounces off his side.

Two left chasing my tail. There’s another one somewhere, sprinting back to the fight after being punted across the void. The channel is a mess of obstacles as I push to keep moving, but that’s okay. That’s what I wanted. Time to see how well they can fly.

I remember testing this fighter model. I remember how its frame sheared under a certain pressure at a certain angle. It’s time to see whether or not they ever fixed it. It’s time to let them chase me.

 

STARRY: Chief, I need them to stay in the trench with us.

CAMERON: (frowning) You want us to stop firing?

STARRY: Just don’t make them hop out of here.

CAPT: What do you have in mind, Starry?

STARRY: Gonna lead them up the garden path.

CAMERON: (glances at the captain, who nods at her) All right. Brasco, Laurence, let’s not repeat that last trick just yet. They’ll be expecting it.

ROSIE and HALF-FACE: Aye aye, ma’am.

 

Good. My people know what they’re doing. So now I pile on the speed and see if these pilots can keep up. I twist to get my wings through a tiny gap, dodge around a strut, duck into the mess of supports under a docking tunnel and back out again. I spiral through a shipyard and the ships docked for repairs.

Behind me, two knives follow, still trying to get an angle on me so they can shoot me down. One of them is moving to follow me, trying to emulate my manoeuvres. The other takes another route to try to catch me out, but there are only so may ways to go and I have a head start. Missiles try to close the gap but another spray of countermeasures deals with them.

Come on, keep up, little fighters. Surely one tubby scout can’t fox you? You can fit through smaller holes; you should be using that to your advantage. Come on. Fly.

I can feel it. The music in the chaos, just like the melody that I can’t quite hear when I open a portal. We’re weaving a dance here with quick feet and out-flung arms. With lasers strewn like ribbons and debris rising to swirl in our wake like skirts. Explosions like fireworks on a night sky. There’s a pattern here, carried in the code of my sensor data like a melody on a breeze. It tells me to move right and a laser punches through where I just was.

I feel the rightness of the pattern, like a beam of sunlight just out of reach. I strive for it and let my avatar blink out on the Bridge. Give myself over completely to the flying, to the dance. I run, headlong, and swirl, and dance.

This is no tango; there will be no sexy surrender at the end. This is a war-dance, with a stirring beat and the rattling of weapons. This is the chant of a thousand throats, rising in unison to the detriment of their enemies. This is rock music and the pounding of hearts and booted feet. It promises battle and a hard end.

Abruptly, there is a wall. We’re almost at full sublight speed. I spin and punch my engines to turn sharper than ninety degrees. My frame creaks and I hurtle away from a collision.

The fighters behind me are not so lucky. The one closest to me tries to make the turn, but that’s the angle that doesn’t work, not at that speed, not with their inertial dampeners. I can’t hear the metal screaming but I can see the needle-like body of the ship warping under the strain. The pilot ejects a split-second before the ship tears itself in two.

So they didn’t spend the money to fix the problem, after all.

The second fighter is smarter: it bounces its belly off the wall, using the scenery to make the turn he couldn’t do otherwise. He’s damaged but still coming. I duck over the top of the wall and drop into the trench on the other side.

The fifth fighter! Waiting for me on the other side of the wall where my sensors couldn’t find him. A missile strikes the top curve of my hull. Three weapon batteries are down. Hull integrity is struggling. I weave and head for the trench’s depths again. SecOffs fire blindly. Two of my boys head into my upper corridors to deal with the damage. Sensor feeds re-routing.

 

CAPT: (gripping the arms of his chair) Starry, damage report?

STARRY: (voice only) Lost a couple of missile tubes and lasers. Hull’s not breached yet.

CAPT: Can we make it?

STARRY: We damned well will.

 

The tug is just a short way ahead. It’s at the mouth of a docking tunnel, about to head inside the planet itself. I have less than a minute before the tunnel closes behind it and our chance is gone. Less than a minute and two fighters still trying to pick me apart at the seams. It’s starting to work.

 

CAMERON: Brasco, Laurence, let’s cut and punch again.

ROSIE: (more grimly now, her eyes locked brightly on her display) You got it, ma’am.

HALF-FACE: (nods.)

 

The fighters are coming at me with everything, trying to turn our own tactics against me: if their missiles can’t find me, they’ll blow up the scenery near me to try to hit me with the debris. I grit my teeth and surge forwards, skating past the severed ends of struts and spears of metal intended for my ribs. Something scrapes down my side but I ignore it.

The Lieutenant is using the missiles to clear the debris coming towards me and send it back towards those damned fighters. At this rate, I’m going to run out of things to fire. I send Casper to get the ordinance out of the damaged missile arrays and transfer them over to the working launchers.

The fighter that bounced off the wall is showing its damage; it’s dropping back. I hear it bleat a distress signal. I don’t answer.

One left, and thirty seconds until the tug moves out of reach.

 

CAMERON: Captain, that ship is very close to the colony. Do you still want to use the nano-gun?

CAPT: (frowns) That was the plan, but… no. We can’t risk taking out the colony’s systems as well.

CAMERON: Are you sure? Using conventional weapons is not a guarantee.

STARRY: (reforming her avatar) We’re not here to kill the entire colony. (She glances at the captain for support.) Are we?

CAPT: No. Obliterate the ship, Chief, but not with the nano-gun.

 

They were going to use the nano-bots to eat the backup ship’s systems; it would definitely destroy any data the ship had. I dread to think what that would do to the colony, which is entirely dependent on its systems to keep its people alive. Nano-bots are indiscriminate. No. We’re not here to take all these lives. We’re not.

I still wish I knew what that explosion I saw was, or will be.

Ten seconds. The one remaining fighter is frantically trying to cut me off, slicing up the trench around me, ahead of me, everywhere. I push forward, refusing to be put off. A chunk of metal bounces off my left wing, sending me spinning, and I nearly hit the wall.

No, I’m done being pushed around by these people. I had started to wonder if the Narwhal really was the ship we’re looking for, if it was just heading into the colony to tow something out, but the closer we get, the more the fighter seems determined to stop me. He’s defending it. The tug is definitely the right ship.

It’s at the mouth of the docking tunnel. I can’t get a clean shot from the low angle I’m coming in at. I have an idea, though, and head for the struts around the tunnel.

 

STARRY: Rosie, we need to take out these supports.

ROSIE: With pleasure!

 

She slices them to pieces gleefully as I pass through. Behind me, the fighter helps. It has no idea, too busy trying to get to me. I swerve around to the top of the tunnel and punch a repulsor to collapse the supports on that side. With nothing to hold it back any more, the tunnel mouth is yanked abruptly upwards while I am propelled away. The tug collides with the metal tube surrounding it and is pulled off-course. My SecOffs see their opening and fire everything at the little ship.

Missiles whistle into the open tube, everything explodes, and it’s hard to know exactly what was hit. Debris sprays and chokes up the trench, pinging and bouncing off the sides as I tumble towards open space. So much dust, lit by flares of light that die quickly. A laser rakes my hull. I weave and duck around a chunk of sharp plastic.

 

CAPT: Starry, report.

STARRY: Waiting for clear sensor data, captain. Also busy dodging this goddamn fighter. (The avatar frowns, concentrating.) Okay, got a look at the site…

(An image comes up before the central hologram, showing the burst end of the docking tunnel. It is covered in fresh scorch-marks and its edges are ragged. A jet of flame from further down in the tube shows where a conduit has ruptured. There’s no sign of the tug; just debris rapidly bouncing around the area from the force of the blasts.)

CAMERON: I’m picking up pieces of the Narwhal‘s hull among the debris. Nothing big enough to be useful. It’s gone, sir.

CAPT: Good. Starry, get us out of here.

STARRY: (smiling) Aye aye, captain.

 

That one fighter is still harrying me; I’m dodging around to avoid being hit. I flip over to aim my nose at the north pole, and punch away from the Narwhal‘s last position. I curve up and out of the trench, back towards open space. Oddly, the fighter doesn’t seem to be chasing me quite so enthusiastically.

I’m receiving a transmission. Oh god, it’s…

 

STARRY: (beaming) Captain, I have Wide Load!

CAPT: (sits up straighter) What?

STARRY: He’s with Lang Lang. They’re leaving an airlock west of here, right now.

CAPT: In a ship?

STARRY: No, she’s suited up. They need a pick-up.

CAPT: (finding a smile) Let’s go get them.

STARRY: (expression faltering) Wait… oh no.

CAPT: What? Are they in trouble?

STARRY: No, but we are. (She points at the central hologram.)

(From the northern pole, a cruiser-class ship is coming around the curve of the planet towards the Starwalker‘s position. The one remaining fighter rises out of the trench behind her, effectively putting the scout between two armed ships.)

CAMERON: (grimly) The Judiciary were bound to notice at some point.

STARRY: And there’s another ship leaving the colony. It’s… I… they didn’t….

(To the east of the Starwalker, a blip rises away from the planet’s surface. The display zooms in on the little ship. It’s a scout-class ship with a configuration that is more than familiar, from the placement of the stubby wings to the filament lines that streak from nose to tail over its hull.)

 

They built another one. I’m the prototype and they built another one. They gave up on me. They didn’t think I could do what they wanted me to do.

They replaced me.

 

External comms

CRUISER: Starwalker, this is Patience. By the authority of the Judiciary, you must cease fire. Stand down and heave to immediately, or you will be destroyed.

 

Its name is Celestial Strider. They even gave it my name, just with bigger words.

 

Location: Bridge

CAMERON: Captain, if we don’t take out that other prototype, this was all for nothing.

CAPT: I know.

CAMERON: Dr Cirilli’s sacrifice…

CAPT: I know!

ROSIE: (glancing uncertainly between the captain and the chief) But Lang Lang…

CAPT: (staring furiously at the hologram in the centre of the room) I know.

 

We can’t fight a cruiser. I’m cut and creaking. We have to surrender or run. We have to pick a direction.

We can’t do both. My captain has to choose: east or west. Our people or our mission.

And he has to do it now.

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15 Responses to “Warrior”

  1. Melanie Says:

    Here you are: it’s a monster post, but it’s done! Roughly double what I usually try to do in a single entry. I thought about cutting this one in two, but you guys deserve an extra-fat offering, and it just seemed to want to come out this way.

    Thanks again for your patience, lovely readers.

    Also: wheeeeee. πŸ˜€

  2. mjkj Says:

    Wow, quite intense πŸ˜€

    And yayy for early update πŸ™‚

    Go Starry!!!

    I just hope they will find and destroy that other ship…

    mjkj

    PS: Typo suspected:
    “It’s not long *back* he’s back in formation, though.” => the first *back* does not fit…

  3. Melanie Says:

    mjkj – glad you enjoyed it! πŸ˜€
    Whoops, that first ‘back’ should be ‘until’. Fixed! Thanks!

  4. Marcus Says:

    A wonderful update, well worth the wait for you to be on the mend.

  5. Jostikas Says:

    The Celestial Strider is not much to worry about, actually… They don’t have Starry piloting it, they’ll just burn the first time they even try to jump. They don’t have any way to navigate the void and appear anywhere meaningful before being eaten by it either. Of course, the instability of the star used is a factor… plus all the business of another accidental time travel. But they fixed them, right? The stars’ll probably survive one attempt. I hope,….

  6. Medic Says:

    Me thinks that Strider contains more than the cargo and Step engine. Thanks to a certain doctor that discovered it. I’d say it’s time for deus ex machina, but Starry kinda fits that description πŸ™‚

    Although, if they used a copy of the data from the first fried AI, then perhaps there is a Celest who is wondering what’s going on as much as Starry did when she first came into being.

    I know Melanie, you won’t say. You never say. You just sit back and laugh as we all scramble to figure out what’s going on in that devious mind of yours. πŸ˜€

  7. Charles Says:

    Wow. I’m glad you’re back, and this chapter was everything I’d hoped for!

  8. Melanie Says:

    Marcus – I’m happy you think so. πŸ™‚ Thanks!

    Jostikas – all good points. But do they dare take the chance? Hmmm.

    Medic – all good ideas! I’m just gonna sit here and cuddle my cat, okay? πŸ˜‰

    Charles – yay! That was the reaction I was hoping for. πŸ™‚

  9. Jono Says:

    Fight or Flight… What a great delimma you have put the captain in. It was quite an intense post. Looking forward to your next.

  10. Belial666 Says:

    A few points;

    1) Ships surviving hits by missiles in a space-age setting? Even a 20th century hundred-megaton bomb can blast over a mile into the Earth’s crust, slag a mountain, crush railway cars a half dozen miles from ground zero and cause third-degree burns over a hundred miles away.
    A gravity-pinch fusion warhead or an antimatter bomb -the kind of bomb to expect in future settings- has an output of 10+ megatons per kilogram of ordnance (20 for antimatter). A ton of antimatter suspended in a 2-foot magnetic bubble in a missile’s warhead could slag the entire state of Texas in a 10-gigaton blast.

    2) I wonder if ships have gravity-stabilized armor. With the ability to generate artificial gravity, one could compress the outer hull of a ship and stabilize it with way stronger forces than the material’s own atomic bonds. Depending on the power of the gravity-stabilization, a material’s physical properties could be enhanced almost indefinitely.
    This process occurs naturally in the universe – such as in white dwarf stars. There, gravity crushes the star’s material to such an extent that despite achieving temperatures of dozens of billions of Kelvin, the material remains fairly stable. It even undergoes nuclear fusion while remaining in such a stable state.

    3) Why didn’t Starry charge up her filaments and use them as a weapon? The “gravity net” she created a couple chapters ago was powerful enough to draw up a huge torrent of matter out of a star and rearrange said star’s entire system. Why not simply focus the kind of gravitic field needed to punch through spacetime on a nearby target instead of a star? I seriously doubt even a full-up superdreadnought (if this universe has such ships) would have the kind of defenses to resist being crushed with, say, a hundred thousand times its own weight.
    (100.000 Earth gravities is about the strength of gravity on the surface of the average white dwarf star. Since white dwarf stars don’t accidentally punch holes in the universe, I’m guessing that’s less than the Step drive can manage)

  11. Medic Says:

    Belial,

    To address point one:
    You have to remember that these missiles are in a vacuum. There is nothing for the detonation of a warhead to compress. It is the debris (much like a bouncing betty or claymore mine) that does the actual damage. Unless, of course, the missile makes physical contact with the target. Storage of anti-matter is dangerous period. All it would take is a temporary failure in the mag bottle and there would be no more ship. Good idea on the grav-stabilization armor. I could see it on a warship, but due to the nature of Starry’s design, it would be counter productive (her filaments would get damaged by the grav forces or there would be gaping holes in her armor).

    Point two:
    Starry needs to be danger-close to the corona of a star in order for the filaments to charge. Think of them like a solar collector. But instead of photons, they collect gravitons. Once there is a full charge, then all that collected energy is released. Given what that collection process does to the stars, Starry’s not going to weaponize her drive system. (I would have to assume that the collection process suffers from the same exponential drop off rate as a star’s gravity since effeciency is key to the process. Planets, moons, and other bodies just do not produce enough ‘oomph’ for the system to work.)

  12. Belial666 Says:

    Relativity weapons cause damage with a lot more than just debris due to the high-energy radiation they produce.

    A near-miss by a hundred-megaton warhead in space by, say, half a mile when your ship is a couple hundred meters long means you eat about a petajoule’s worth of energy in the form of radiation.
    Since a megajoule vaporizes a pound of iron, that would vaporize half a million tons worth of ship. This is probably bad.

    As for antimatter storage, you don’t store it in a standard magbottle. You build a physical bottle with a lasting positive charge (lots of ways to do that) and you store antiprotons in it; the antiprotons being strongly positive, they will be repelled by the material of the bottle and won’t come into contact.

  13. Medic Says:

    While you math may be right (I can’t remember the fall off rate for distance off the top of my head and don’t feel like looking it up), Starry has a rad refective/ablative paint job. Again, as I said, the missile would have to be very close when detonating. Close enough that anything that could put out that kind of damage in radiation would be priority target for anyone with a military background. Besides, heavy elements are going to be rare and usually found in older star systems.

    Your solution negates using it as a weapon unless you use something similar as a cork. Now we’re back to what happens when that cork pops off due to material failure or other accident. Again, not something the usual civilian agency is going to want to mess with. Not to mention finding and trapping natural anti-matter as artificial anti-matter has a half-life. (currently its in the fraction of a second lifespan, but I figure by this time they could have found ways to extend that by the time Starry was built)

    If you wanna keep debating this one (I love these kinds of discussions) you can reach my mail at acefalcon at yahoo dot com. It may take me a day or two to respond as that’s my oldest email account so I have to sort through a lot of junk mail to find ya) Put STARRY, STARWALKER, or some such so I know where your sending from.

  14. Kunama Says:

    “out of the damage missile arrays”
    damage -> damaged

    Woosh~
    Part of me wants a side story later where they’re all sitting around winding down from all the stress, watching stuff recorded from sensor data and bragging about all the cool moves they did in that fight.

  15. Melanie Says:

    Phew, catching up on comments!

    Jono – thanks! Glad you’re enjoying it. πŸ™‚

    Belial666 – good points! From a story perspective, the main reason that the missiles aren’t a one-hit wonder are because it’s far less fun to write a scene where no-one gets hit (or everyone dies). From a practical perspective, the ship is pretty heavily armoured and protected, particularly from radiation due to her need to fly close to stars.

    As for why she hasn’t used the Step drive as a weapon, there are a couple of reasons. First, it hasn’t occurred to her (or her crew), mostly because they haven’t been desperate enough to work outside of their existing weaponry. Second, she would need to be very close to a ship to be able to draw off its artificial gravity. That hasn’t happened yet. Which isn’t to say it won’t. πŸ™‚

    Kunama – whoops, typo fixed. Thanks!

    Hee, Starwalker movie night with real-time playback? That sounds like a lot of fun! I love it.