Battle Cruiser floated in stratosphere, awaiting all cohorts to board in and blast off on long voyage to the conquest. Almost eight hundred years passed as our forces wage wars on distant systems, and we supplied them with fresh blood. In battalion, directed for grenadine with plasma cannons are boys from Zaria and Konia. Those are big guys, strongly motivated to step in bloodshed with aliens in the endless dark of universe. We count thousand upon thousand men, nearly twelve cohorts, which is ten times more than first Cruiser that went into the void.
We were thought with basis of astronomy and astrophysics so things wouldn’t seem abstract up there; further training is in the hibernation. Daily we train motoricty, automaticity of movement, handing the equipment. Biology couldn’t be hacked completely. Our blood boils of excitement while we wait last minutes until countdown. Yesterday I came through the last checks before the departure and finished treatment which prepared us for a life in the silence of vacuum. I managed to spend the rest of the day with the family. Wife even allowed me some sexual fantasies. I’m leaving the planet so calmly, knowing they will be taken care off when I go away, it was in the contract; commander explained it to me in detail.
Up there, on space ship, crew members, engineers are setting the ship for our arrival, and when we get settled, platforms will detach and travel will begin. My position on the Cruiser is smaller jet fighter interceptor and flank cannon on left burner, right on the plating that watches on the starry mist. I looked forward the position of spotter on the biggest and the best combat Cruiser ever made. I also have her holographic poster from recruitment above my dormitory bed, just next to the picture of wife and daughter. It said on paper with big blue letters IBC Kotadar XXI, and right in the middle was my ship, floating around planet, ready for blood match. When I got my notification to answer at 42-nd Paramilitary Artillery Legion, I took my wife for a dinner and saluted to better future. It’s a miracle how years fly.
I am walking in glorious parade and watch the crowd along the road. From the balcony are thrown heroes flowers in celebration of our mission. I wave with my hat to the bystanders that smile when turquoise reflection of a star on my shoulder hits them. Unfamiliar people call me happily „Undying“ and offer me fruit, and me, I’m moving pass them with pleasure to reach transferring terminal. Young recruits salute me firmly shaping circle on their heroic chest, while I’m moving with picked steps into the hangar where transparent blue anti-gravitation ray beamed to the sky. I stormed in the facility with my comrades, stopped near capsules and took position so the drones can easily thread the traveler’s suit on me. That battle flame could be smelled among us, burning in harts of these young men, thirsty of glory. They patiently wait in line to get up there and blast something into dust. A robot gave me injection for long sleep, because traveling in conscience is dangerous. According to the last information we got, flight till the portal will take up to 720 years, and on the other side, it’s not known how much we need to leap in the void until we find first battle lines. The only thing we know for sure is that our guys need help out there. They will wake me up just before the battle, where I need to grab my position as fast as I can.
Hiber-shot injection kicked in. I placed myself in the cavity, then before my hazy eyes, capsule closed along with electronic stretch. Course was set and ship pushed away, followed by the sound of fanfare and Zarian war drums. While we are trapped in subconscious state with other soldiers and officers, computers and operators run the IBC Kotadar from the motherland, where on the other side of the portal, auto pilot take over with designated crisis operator on board. They have sent twenty operators to drive the ship, and that is twenty times more than the first Cruiser. Our readiness was trained daily through the program for vital function control. When I reach the other side, I will be experienced like I waged every war in the history book. Pictures of war tactics, fire fights, and country loving and patriotic songs fly in front of my eyes as I dream. Every military achievement is shown to me and every feeling considerably amplified to make me a killing machine. I understand more and more about space objects and phenomenon, but I have a fear of waking. My daughter got married by now, she probably has grandkids. Maybe one day I will greet one of my bloods on the other side so we could charge the enemy shoulder to shoulder. Aw, that would be great. Behind us is new Cruiser traveling, holding twice as more soldiers than us, they must have made her already. How does it looks like and what kind of new technology and weapon did they put in, I wonder? Are we going to be in ability to communicate with them? They must have been too advanced for us.
Red alarm sounded off. The light shivered in front of my sleepy eyes, while soldier’s steps hoofed as they took battle stations. Capsule opened with a hiss, I am watching a calendar, and it said 4. 11. 13 286-th year of traveling. Alarm blares, we are under attack, and I am dizzy, disoriented.
– What is going on? – I ask around, but no one answers.
I walked clumsy to grasp the end part, feeling sick during falls. Years of experience drew me to reach the cannon and show these bustards how we war in Ildok. So help me Kotadar, they don’t know with whom they are messing with. I approached the metal door and typed in the password, door opened wide presenting a seat with safety strips. I belt in as fast as I could, smashed the button when door closed and vacuum pulled me to estimated gunners place. In a second I found myself in a dome where only darkness was visible. It was strange, because I have always imagined seeing a star in the void, but it wasn’t there. Fire of the burner was partially illuminating the tree legged muzzle that unfolded when I started defensive system in the Cruiser back. Information’s and report lined up on hologram helmet visor, and triangle crosshair came to load, readying first projectile. All systems were active. My war can begin. It is quiet, in space was always quiet, but not as much. A heavy silence spread around me. Letter wrote the monitor, Cruiser is stacked with people, but I don’t hear a thing. Near my feet I saw fire in the distance. That is the enemy. The fool thought I wouldn’t see him. With a little tap, the cannon rotated toward blue like flames, and then another ship revealed itself near the first one. This is an invasion. They waited for us to show up, but they haven’t had this kind of enemy. We will kill them all in the name of Kotadar and Ildok.
Second ship was respectably larger, but my cannon will shrink him if needed. I drew my arm and cannon settled on the bigger space ship. They are moving away from us, running. I knew it, cowards, I would be afraid too if I had to face the force like this. Third ship appeared above me. This class was widely weaponized with cannons pointed down. Why are they aiming at their own? One more ship disrupted our safe zone. I demanded a go, but the orders didn’t come through. All communications went in radio silence until we determine with whom we are fighting. They wanted to make a contact with our boys in vicinity. Did the portal throw us behind enemy lines?
Lights flashed strong on the fourth ship, presenting beautiful letters IBC Aramon over the bowl which shined in grey tone alloy he was made from.
– Yes! – I thought, – Our reinforcements have arrived. What you gonna’ do now, bums? Our forces are equal. They don’t have where to go. They only float lazy in space, forcing distance. Why? Do they have so little courage and respect for themselves?
– Attack, you fool! Give me a reason! What are you waiting for?! – I screamed passionately.
Tree more Cruisers came to our aid, and Intergalactic Battle Cruiser Kotadar XXI, outshined in rays from nearby star. More than hundred new ships began shining in dark that consumed us. They glided proudly into the endless silence like a herd of whales beneath the sea surface. I was able to scout for shapes of the enemy ships and search for a weak point. Luck follows us in victory.
I wanted to see from where does this magnificent light comes from, so I moved front camera and saw live feed of command bridge filled with scientist and crew members. Before us was a Super Nova blast that sucked dark out of the vacuum. It seemed frozen in time, and then I moved my cannon at the first enemy craft. Letters on him said IBC Kotadar I under turquoise star near cockpit. That was the first ship we launched for thousand and four hundred years ago. Time dilatation has thrown us ALL in the moment when first Ildocian ship went through portal. This Super Nova slowed the action and stopped its destructive expansion, which could happen, only if the detonation was million time bigger from creation of black hole portal. The more force she deposited in the blast, that more reactive force it held itself not to fall apart. Space around us was filling with ever more Battle Cruisers, when some of them came in collision with fire bursting in silence. Pieces of ships flew like comets in the pink mist made of busted human bodies. They snapped from great pressure of vacuum affected. Burner of long Cruiser broke away and rotating like police car blinker slapped the plating of its ship. Communicator buzzed in shouts, cries for help and teary mumbling from hundred and thirty trapped ships.
Million soldiers with me stared at their last moments. Gravity was dragging us to the glowing center. In vain we tried to pull up. Force of the star wasn’t letting us go. My training, this ship, this flight, war… all of it was for nothing. On the other side was no enemy. There is no battle that gives glory. There is nothing, but us who die in muttered cry for salvation, aware it will not come. I unbuttoned my belts and removed hand from controller, made cannon stop whir with compiled energy. I sat there and watched the magnificent fleet as bravely runs to its demise with a tear slid down my cheek.
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