A Bigger Hammer...


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Post A Bigger Hammer...

#1  Nik 25 Dec 2007 21:29

Place-holder for short tales...
 



 
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Post Re: A Bigger Hammer...

#2  Nik 25 Dec 2007 21:45

These are only the *short* stories, some forming bridges between my longer written or WIP tales...

'City Of Lincoln' introduced The Others, self-name The People. A prial of their Tagglis --think StarDestroyer-- 'bounced' that Convention City-Class starship near Tau Ceti, but came off worse.

'Soft Target' described how a similar prial then attacked under-developed Trilorn in nearby, Eps Indi system, where their under-estimation of RockTugs' throw-weight left them as road-kill.

Now the fun is over...


Intro
---

Deep space.
Convoy of assorted freighters, about half are generic 'Liberty Ships'.
Alert, shark-like escorts in layered defence, two Heavies on guard.
A harsh burst of blue Cherenkov radiation, two more, as big ships erupt from Overspace.
The three Tagglis stoop on convoy. Light escorts engage and begin to die.
Both Heavies position themselves.
Thrice three smaller war-ships emerge, swarm the light escorts while the Tagglis gate-crash the convoy.
Heavies come into range, begin trading fire with Tagglis, secondary weapons and freighters' point-defenses target those smaller raiders.

A vast burst of Cherenkov blue--
A BMF has joined the fray.
Convoy scatters.
BMF swats minnows, beats upon heavies, targets fleeing freighters.
One defending Heavy spends itself as a road-block to let further wing of convoy escape Tagglis. Other stands against BMF, is smashed to scrap for scant effect. A few escorts and the convoy rump flee into night.
Stragglers claw clear or perish in atomic flame.
BMF departs, almost unscathed
Two Tagglis and their escorts leave, one Taggli trailing gas etc from significant damage. Third Taggli and a prial of small escorts police debris:
They leave nothing of their own, and no salvage...

Cue lights.

Speaker has tabs of MarineCorps' LtColonel. He looks very young, but his eyes are old.
"And that, GentleFolk, is how The Others make war." He waits for the Civilians' muttering and murmurring to fade, "This is part of the extensive Intel pack we've received from the Sylvans, 'Smitty Jones' people. An aside: Their self-name means 'Those of the Trees'-- Please do NOT refer to them as 'TreeHuggers', lest it offend."

A few chuckles.

"MarineCorps strategists have reviewed the records of your interception off Trilorn, and I agree with their findings. You all performed beyond any reasonable expectation. My sincerest compliments. Sadly, the only official citation I can write is for our small liason team who devised, instituted and maintained your emergency protocols, never expecting them to go live..."

Heads nod...

"Second, you were *damned* lucky. You sucker-punched three Tagglis, and got away with it. Yes, they have a 'glass jaw'. They are over-gunned for their armour, but they are still very, very dangerous, especially in groups.Because your three were Recon-In-Strength, they split up and became vulnerable. Battle-groups come with escorts and a BMF. As you've seen, a BMF is a very big, very, very bad Mother. Suffice it to say that, after watching this vid, our strategy team went out and got drunk."

No-one dared laugh.

"The Others have now lost several prials of Tagglis in this sector, gone without a trace. As far as they know, eaten by Giant Space Bats. The Sylvans' data suggests such out-right loss is very rare. Certainly, the next bunch will come armed for bear. You have seen what one battle-group can do. We must anticipate two, possibly three--"
Gasps and swearing from audience.

"We have lucked into a genuine interstellar war, one not of our making nor choosing. We are not equipped for sustained heavy combat, we lack the shipyards, the ships, the personnel and materiel, the training and
protocols..."
A quiet, considered look around.

"What we have is what we are. We are The Convention. We clawed our way back from the HotFlu's wrack. We rebuilt our world as a better place, and we kept going."

Wary nods.

"We have a dispersed and empowered society. We have a tech edge. We can use our Exponent Drive significantly deeper within a g-well. Our Fields are superior to their Shields. We have better power generation systems, are not reliant on anti-matter fuel, with all the production and containment issues.
Our laser and beamed-energy technology have taken a different path. Neither the Sylvans nor The Others have RockTugs as we know them..."

"But, all that means is The Convention has the potential to militarise, tool-up and ultimately win. Our estimate is several decades of terrible, brutal fighting punctuated by civilian mega-deaths before it is done.
Meanwhile, you occupy a salient on the front-line-- Think Stalingrad."

He looked around. They understood.

"You will appreciate that the Marine Corps cannot promise miracles. Neither RockTugs nor Corvettes can go toe-to-toe with a Taggli, never mind a BMF. Our heavier ships --And we do have some !-- have been allocated to defend Nova and Sol System. Sankey, it seems, made prior arrangements..."

A few quiet chuckles rose.

"Quite. The Sylvans were delighted to trade MilSpec Intel for Bio, another field where The Convention is ahead of both protagonists. And, they send their sympathies. After a century, they have barely fought The Others to a standstill. They know what we face. They hope --Hope !-- to provide some war-ships. Dependent on exigencies of warfare, of course. Given the attention we have attracted, The Others may now press less on other fronts.
Or they may not..."

Nods...

"We have a handful of ships to rival a Taggli, nothing comparable with a BMF. We may go that route in a decade or so. Meanwhile, we must survive. The key is stand-off weaponry. The Rock-Tugs' Boules were the first step. Essentially an improvised system, they bought valuable time, provided further Intel. We have brought Corps CAD files and software for several other weapon systems of increasing sophistication and consequent lead-time. We also have a 'Goodie Bag' from Sankey. We... We are Professional military,
we had our doubts as to the efficacy of Civilian weaponry designs..."

He looked around.

"You may note I said *several* prials of Tagglis ? There has been a second incursion at Sankey. This time, there was no City-Class to distract them. As here, the Tagglis saw a sparse system, made a direct run. Again, the defenders made hard-kills, without losses. Preliminary analysis suggests some of their, um, unexpected tactics may work against a significantly superior force."

A sigh.

"We have no 'Silver Bullet', GentleFolk, but we have a fighting chance to hurt The Others very badly, to bleed them dry... Let's get to work."
 



 
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Post Cutter Action...

#3  Nik 25 Dec 2007 21:47

Cutter 3619 nestled in a cave hacked from a runt comet some-where in Epsilon Indi's Middle Oort. Out in the dark lurked ninety-some sensor buoys and four message 'torps, watching and waiting...

The Cutter's crew were on the books as Pilot / Commander, Co-Pilot / Flight-Eng and a Weapon Systems Operator. Those formalities, like their smart Academy uniforms, were a dozen light-years away.

Jack, Joe and Jeff: Just three lonely, scared young men, content to be bored unto tears. Their craft was a standard deep-space work-pod --a fat barrel lumped by over-sized FieldPoles-- with a mini-hab in tow. Six hard-points carried ferry tanks, six more had ordnance pods. Quite how or why MilSpec just plug'n'played with the Civilian design was a source of quiet debate...

The three rotated Duty, Standby, Sleep between themselves. They ran drills, did maintenance, self-tests. They kept up their studies, grumbled at the food, wondered what madness had made them volunteer.

Their mission profile ran to twenty close pages. Their Captain's hand-written orders were simpler, phrased with a refreshing, if brutal clarity, 'Watch the Pass. If rumbled, run. You call the shots. Take Care.'

Five times in forty days, alarms sounded. Three were fleeting cosmic rays. Two correlated as VELA GRBs, no doubt of interest to Trojan Forward's astronomers when peace returned...

Jack, Joe and Jeff were counting the twenty-some days until relief. At shift-change, Jeff noted that this week's Chicken MRE required more condiments, and the self-test on Snake-eyes Pod#3 now ran 5% slower than #1 or #2--

The comet ice lit blue, then strobed twice more--
"Cherenkov--"
'Skipper' Jack had helm, his visor down. Joe eeled into the Co-couch, closed his locks. Jeff made the first report before he'd drawn a breath.
"Break-out-- Large ships. Estimate three. Confirmed by nearest buoys. Fourier suggests Tagglis. Now smaller spikes-- Five, seven, eight plus/minus two, buoys confirm nine Escorts--"
The ice lit again, brighter--
"Uh, that went off-scale, probable Super-Heavy."
"BMF." Joe nodded, "We just took a week's Rad ration. Systems okay."
"First Alert's off ?" Jack wanted.
"Go-code's sent." Jeff nodded. A light-second out, they had two more 'torps, plus a 'perhaps' fourth which kept glitching, "Vector's the same as--"

The light show replayed, but fainter.
"Two battle-groups--"
And again, fainter.
"Three groups."
"Intel guessed right." Jack nodded.
"Holding the second 'torp..." Jeff puzzled, "Ah ! Two groups heading in-system, one staying put-- They're parked in our back-yard ! Tetrahedron of Heavies, six Escorts in sphere with three scouting-- One's in-bound ? Confirmed-- And they're sharp, we've lost Buoy #25. And #24. Active sweep. That scan brushed us. Again, more power. They've not made us, we're stealthed on that wave-band. Just an Oort lump..."
"They're paranoid." Jack opened a guarded switch, "They might whack it to be sure. Okay, Hi-g alert. And keep that data spooling."
"Good call, Skipper, we've just been pinged. Pinged hard. That's weapon-lock. A launch--"
"We go." Jack pressed the guarded switch, pushed his throttles to the stop.

Their tiny comet burst to bergy bits. The Cutter fled in fog and diamond ice.
"Two more launches. Stay-behind Decoys coming up--"
A flash lit the fog.
"Strike one."
Another flash--
"Strike two, third is in-bound." Jeff's hands danced on his panel, "Aft laser's tracking. Lock, and tag."
A third flash.
"Spectrum of ice, Road-Kill. Triple launch. Second Escort's flanking."
"I'm on it." Joe stated, "Jack, steer this vector. Not optimum, so should throw them."
The Cutter lurched. Jack asked, "Those three in-bound ?"
"We're cooler than debris, they're struggling--"
A flash--
"One ate a rock. Third decoy's acquired, gone active--"
Flash !
"Gotcha ! One still running, request 'Weapons Free'."
"Release logged." Jack nodded.

"Snake-eyes Pod 1, #1--" The Cutter trembled, "And #2 away. ECM hot, they look like Ship Killers-- In-bound is re-targetting--"
Flash !
"1-2's acquired the Escort. They've gone evasive, point-defence throwing the kitchen sink. ECM has lock on their IFF. Point defence frozen. Escort turning, hard boost--"
The small flash was followed by something much larger.
"Anti-matter breach !" Joe stared at his instruments, "Hard kill !"
"We've annoyed them." Jeff stated, "Flanking Escort converging. Another Escort and nearest Taggli  are boosting. Flanker's launching, triple, triple. And triple. Counting down to intercept."

"We're clear of the ice-cloud." Jack noted, "g-Gradient falling, but too slowly. Buy us some time."
"Fore and Aft lasers tracking. Tag, tag, tag. First prial are ballistic, minimal threat. Snake-eyes Pod 2, #1, #2, Pod 3, #1, #2 away. Flanker's swerved off. 2-1's drawing fire--"
F-Flash !
"Fratricide. 2-2's past--"
F-Flash !
"They're taking no chances ! Taggli's boosting. Beam-weapons heating--"
"Just a jump to the left..." Jack hummed, stirring his side-stick, "VIFF down and ease to the right..."
"3-1's running on the flanker--"
Flash !
"They took down their IFF to kill it !" Jeff gasped, "3-2's jinking-- And through ?"
Flash- WHOOSH !
"Hard kill !" Jeff gulped, then "Taggli weapon lock-- Break left !"
Jack flicked the side-stick, the Cutter danced. Blue flame poured by to left and right.
"Straddle." Jeff warned.

"Vent the Dirty Tank. And ping those 'torps."
"Dumping now."
"Go-codes sent-- Break right !!"
"And a vector thrust..." Jack spun the Cutter right, "To drive them insane--"
Blue flame licked the hull, the temperature jumped 20 degrees.
"That was too close--"
"Mass meter's green !" Joe called.
"Bringing up the Exponent--"
Behind them, the ice-cloud lit like a vast flash-bulb.
"Now would be good !" Jeff warned.
"Four, three, two, one--" The Cutter's Field Poles warped reality to a Limaon of Pascal. Real Space went away for a few moments, and then again.

"Two light-second hops zig-zag, we're clear." Jack stated, "Damage reports ?"
"Rad pills all round." Jeff grumbled, "Aft laser's cooked. Half the Snake-eyes expended. Others show greens, but I'd bench-test them."
"Ship systems ?"
"Too close..." Joe reported, "Ablative's charred, we've lost stealth. Field stood up to heavy fire-- Vernon Preventer held the phasing together, of course--"
"Of course !" Jeff chorused, without taking his eyes off his board.
"Beyond that, nominal." Joe took a shaky breath, "What's next, Skipper ?"
"Zig-zag the Lo Roads to Oort-4's branch, then coast in."
"ETA ?" Jeff wondered.
"Three or four days... We pulled some wild turns, Jeff, could you check for breakages ?"
"On it, Skipper."
"Joe, there's a zillion data-points to organise, reports to write--"
"I'll get my VR set--"
"But first you'll paint our two Escorts by the air-lock !"
 



 
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Post Re: A Bigger Hammer...

#4  tda42 25 Dec 2007 21:48

I have an Idea. With such really good writing why don't you use Poser to show a visual of your story.    
 




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Post Re: A Bigger Hammer...

#5  Tormie 25 Dec 2007 22:08

Why don't help him making some visual of his story ...
 




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Post Re: A Bigger Hammer...

#6  tda42 25 Dec 2007 23:26

Who me?  
 




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Post Re: A Bigger Hammer...

#7  Tormie 25 Dec 2007 23:40

I'm too lazy , and here we're only two ...
 




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Post I Am No Artist.

#8  Nik 26 Dec 2007 01:06

D'uh, I began using Poser (P3) because FloorPlan v6, then my preferred design program, could not handle detailed imports, choking on 3DS meshes of more than about 100kb. It could not use UVunwrapped textures, could not use bump maps, alpha channel for transparencies etc etc. And, naturally, could not *pose* people...

I am no artist, I used FP to build a virtual Medieval-ish caravanserai as a set for fantasy tale I was writing. As it developed, I learned rudiments of architecture, logistics etc, kept having to revise plan. I never did use free P3 or full P4 for close-ups, but I kept the option open by ensuring props were compatible. At first, I just tweaked downloads in Draw3D. Then I began making custom props in TurboCAD...

Got to FP v10, but file and program bloat hit 32-bit OS and program limits. My FP was disk-thrashing, despite nearly 2Gb still-vacant RAM. My plan and tale went 'on hold'. FP v11 was no better, wonders were expected of v12.

Well, FP_12 was announced, but as 'TurboFloorPlan' (TFP), with new CAD_Soft core-code, an Envisioneer 'look&feel', and no way to read 'Classic' FP plans. Oh, and it could NOT use my custom Medieval-ish doors & windows-- At least not without extensive re-work of their meshes. (Think 'Dynamic' vs 'Conforming'.)
You may imagine my language...

At the moment, I do not have time to explore TFP 12.0 'Free Trial' download. Also, the .0 has a bunch of bugs. I'm hoping forthcoming .1 includes the 'Classic' FP import facility...

With my 'Fantasy' tale on hold, I went back to The Convention. 'City of Lincoln' was a decade-old tale that *begged* a sequel. I'd already made three stabs at 'Soft Target', but this time it came together. It is too long to post here, but spawned 'A Bigger Hammer', which I'm writing as short stories...

Between times, I wrote others. 'The Curious Case Of The Days In The Night' was a surreal Victorian pastiche. Its first, bizarre sequel is set in a pastiche, slightly-retro mall, remains WIP. I'm now trying to visualise parts with Poser. Protagonist Joe is 'Everyman', P4M. Michelle suits a gamin P4F, probably scaled 'adolescent', but I've yet to match my mental photofit of her 'Brum Tomboy with a Chinese Gran'. D'uh, Aiko is *too* Oriental, and too-high polygon, besides...

And, like I said, I am no artist...
 



 
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Post Re: A Bigger Hammer...

#9  Tormie 26 Dec 2007 01:17

No problem, writing is a form of art   And we were searching for someone who could fill a little our "short stories" department !        
 




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Post Re: A Bigger Hammer...

#10  cordelia024 09 Aug 2016 08:56

Tormie wrote: [View Post]
No problem, writing is a form of art   And we were searching for someone who could fill a ---Spam removed--- little our "short stories" department !        


Hello,
I totally agree with you!
It's true that writing is an art model !
And it is also a way to archive the history to be recalled to the right vieu time in the future!
Goodbye!
 



 
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Post Re: A Bigger Hammer...

#11  ahjah 09 Aug 2016 22:34

The Madagascar Spam Connection is still alive ... but I got a big hammer
 




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Post Battle Group Blues.

#12  Nik 15 Aug 2018 00:11

This took me a decade to figure the 'hook', an hour to write...
===


Out, around and back...
Out, around and back...
Out, around and back...

Three little ships circled just out of range of the The People's rearguard battle-group's imposing tetrahedron.

Though Battle AIs lacked emotion, those three craft lit circuits that should have stayed dark. Each, two rings of spheres linked by chubby tubes, with a central hab or cargo can, they looked like toys. But, given the way one tiny, fleeing picket ship had destroyed two Escorts and escaped, apparently unscathed, they were Unknown Unknowns.

After much calculation, flanked by three Escorts and four prials of Interceptors, a Taggli went to chase them off.

The little ships scattered. An Escort and an Interceptor prial accelerated after each. Then, as soon as the little ships were beyond range of the Taggli's weapons, they slowed. Armed with two powerful laser turrets apiece, they carved up their pursuing Interceptors, turned on their Escort, whittled that to scrap. Explosions and vanishing IFF tags confirmed the imposssible truth.

Modest extrapolation suggested these three little ships could swarm and mission-kill an unsupported Taggli. Hastily, the lone Taggli and its remaining Interceptors reversed course, returned to the comparative safety of the battlegroup. Now reduced to seven Escorts, the three Tagglis and their BMF moved into a closer formation for optimum fire support.

Without a fuss, the three little ships returned to their station.

Out, around and back...
Out, around and back...
Out, around and back...

Then there were four. This one was different. It had four rings of spheres, a longer central can, big boxes mounted on the outside. Slim things slowly emerged.

Missiles ? From that range ? Still, the battlegroup went to high alert.

Without warning, all four craft left at high acceleration.

The AIs had just enough time to wonder why when their ships' interior spaces were flooded by blue light. Hardened sensors reported intense Cherenkov radiation. It fried their wet-ware crews. It cooked most sensors and weapon systems.

More blue pulses came, the mounting dosage causing data errors, killing shield generators, corrupting fuel management. Yet more blue pulses came.

One Taggli's fuel-feed glitched. Anti-matter squirted into a reaction chamber that now lacked stable containment. It met the vessel wall, exploded. That ruptured the fuel store. Its massive explosion ruptured other fuel stores. The Taggli dissolved in nuclear fire like a rat in a blast furnace.

The other two Tagglis and the BMF had been hard hit, but this was the last straw. Their close formation for mutual support proved fatal. The second Taggli blew, then the third. The massive BMF's damaged AIs fought an exponential cascade of system failures, lost.

As that great ship disintegrated around it, the last Battle AI realised a dreadful truth: these aliens had weaponised their Overdrive...
 



 
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