ENIS:Story/Episode 1: A Summer Storm
Prologue: The End of the Beginning
It is the 221st year of the Federal Calendar. The reach of the Federation of Allied Planets extends through thousands of light-years of space, from the homeworld of Earth to independent worlds like Valkyrie, a frozen mining world on the edge of human space. Sharing its name with the bright white star which it orbits, Valkyrie is a wild and dangerous frontier world, yet incredibly wealthy and important enough to require a permanent posting of the Federation Spacy. Its people live in a smattering of massive cities in giant ice caves and thousands upon thousands of small nomad camps, their lives devoted to the massive mines which keep Valkyrie alive.
The bridge of the mining rig was dark, lit only by the dim blue glow of the bridge displays. Eight large screens, mounted in an oval around a central dais display telemetry, sonic feedback and other forms of data from the dozens of sensors embedded in the rig's hull. On the dais, the captain listens to the reports from his crew as they scan the surrounding earth, searching for the density data that would lead them to the motherlode. A quiet murmur of report and counter-report fills the room.
"Captain, this is Echo-3. I've got the update on those thermal readings, and it's looking good. If we can get a mining team on this node here, we could turn a tidy profit."
"Good job, Jackson. Flag it and send the data to Crew Division. Echo-1, how's that density echo you're tracking?"
"Still holding strong, Cap'n. Density rating is now .64 and continuing to rise, thermal rating is .011 angstroms and decreasing at a rate of .001 per meter. We're getting close to the explodium deposit alright. If it's as big as it sounds, we could be here for years!" A wide grin spread across the face of rig Captain Kobayashi's face. A captain who could found a mine would find himself paying off Jita Corp. in short order and setting up his own operation. One where he could take risks, build actual farms, command his own mining captains...
"All right! Drill, full stop! Scale engines, full stop! Com, get Division up and running! I want Team 2 to take the lead, Teams 1 and 3 on support."
"All stations, batten down and prepare for seismic changes! I want any reaction to be relayed to the teams immediately!"
"Yes sir! I won't let you down, Commander!" Gandagarah Gubalgash slapped the com-panel with his armored palm, blacking out the stern face of the mining team commander. A grin on his face, his bleached forelocks whipped as he turned around to a crowd of black-armored miners.
"Jenkins, get your guys into the
In Valkyrie's brilliant star-filled sky, untainted by light from giant surface cities, a new star appeared.
In orbit, between Valkyrie's largest moon and the planet itself, a maelstrom of blue lightning and warped space burst into existence. For a brief second, it lit up the planet in a blaze of transdimensional energy, before winking out like a snuffed candle flame. From the roiling chaos of melding realities, a comparatively tiny mote of metal fell towards the planet.
On a more developed world, it would have been intercepted by a roaming debris satellite or targeted by a squadron of Federation Spacy ships. On Valkyrie, its appearance in the system from transdimensional space was noted and logged by the planet's simple monitoring satellites and a note was sent to the garrison of Federation vessels patrolling the asteroid belt. The mote glowed as it entered the planet's atmosphere.
"What was that!?"
"Sudden tectonic shift! We're getting vibrations of level 5 and increasing!"
"Pull the miners back! The explodium's gonna blow!"
Ohta struggled to his knees.
"Hey! Everyone alright?"
It was pitch-black
Chapter 1: All Caught Up
"Enemy ordinance approaching. The barrage is washing our sensors in radiation; Data estimates a wave of sixty-plus thermonuclear warheads."
"Well, they aren't holding back. Shall I give the intercept command?"
"Hold on. Let's see what they do..."
"Our formation is being broken up! We can't maintain our battle line!"
"Regroup! Form the destroyers being pushed to our left and right into new wings, but have them do it slowly! We don't want to let the humans know we're moving them into flanking position! Status of your sensors?"
"They've been scrubbed clean! We need to move out of the radiation clouds and reacquire locks!"
"Then let's do it! Center wing, charge!"
"We've broken their line! Two-thirds of their fleet is fall back, but the central cluster is charging into us! Discerning several dozen mecha signatures!"
"Missile batteries, lock individual targets."
"Targets locked, Admiral."
"Estimate ten minutes to attack craft range."
"Then let's soften them up a bit. All batteries, fire!"
"Chemical projectiles eh? Hmph. Guns! Strike them all down!"
"Negative negative! All targets intact! The intercepted all our missiles!"
"What!? Impossible! Now intercept system is that good!"
"Gun crews, fire two broadsides then engage at will! All fighter wings, keep those mecha off our ships! Missiles, ignore the cruisers and swarm their mecha formations and destroyers! We're not letting a single one of them through!"
"Admiral! We're being flanked!"
"Main cannons, fire!"