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Orioni

The Rods of Amilaki

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Enjoying hazy light of the distant San.

The SS Prophet is an interplanetary exploration ship of the stellar navy.  The ship is part of the "Sanar Warden" program. The GEOS Space Navy operates three of such science ships.

Like all other ships of her class, she is sleek and cigar-shaped with geodesic domes above, below, to the left and right and on both ends of it. Comparable in design to one of those underwater submarines of old. The Prophet is just over 300 metres in length, longer than two football fields placed end to end and nearly as long as an aircraft carrier. She is built for long periods at high-g. The first ships were produced by a joint venture between some of the top aerospace manufacturers within GEOS, including Vickers.

GEOS ensured to describe its mission as one of "exploration and science" rather than military conquest. But the same can be said about all conquerors, including the early Ivericans, Variotans, and Orinese explorers, who revered themselves as also being "explorers".

The GEOS and AATAA have been mutual superpowers in the Sanar System. Tensions are escalating constantly, but without resulting in a hot war.

After receiving a distress call from an asteroid miner halfway between Mars and the asteroid belt, the Prophet is dispatched to investigate what happened and pick up the survivors. But it finds everyone dead. The computer cores have all been destroyed. The captain orders a long-range scan of the surrounding space.

Klaxons are sounding an alarm. Captain Cyrus enters the bridge and sits in down the command chair.

Tactical officer Iboshi: "Sir, three drones have appeared on our radar and are approaching the ship."

The Prophet is rocked by a blast. Cyrus pushes the intercom button: "This is the bridge. We have three contacts."

Navigation officer Tiri rushes to the guidance console. "Sir, the propulsion system is offline.  It'll take a few minutes to get it back online. Until then we only have manoeuvring thrusters."

The ship is rocked again by another direct hit.

Cyrus: "Who the hell is firing on us?"

Ibochi: "Sir, Tiri is working on it. Sensors are detecting a massive build-up of energy coming from the drones."

The Prophet begins a 180-degree turn towards the drones, which are still firing on it.

Cyrus commands: "Fire!"

Ibochi fires on the drones with kinetic weapons. One of the drones explodes in a small fireball.

Cyrus: "Keep firing on the other drones."

Ibochi: "Sir, two new contacts just appeared on sensors."

Cyrus: "Son of a bitch. It must be the bloody AATAAA'ns"

Another hit shakes the ship hard.

Tiri: "Reports of damage, front and rear, on levels 1, 5 and 6."

Cyrus: "Evasive manoeuvres! Fire at will! We have to..."

Too late to say anything else. All four drones simultaneously fire upon the Prophet. The hull is breached. Crew members are sucked into the vacuum of space. With no air and almost zero pressure, the human body doesn't last long without some form of protection. Cyrus is holding his breath. But the loss of external pressure causes the gas inside his lungs to expand, rupturing the lungs and release air into his circulatory system. He should have known better. Now he'll die a horrible death.

But anger never dies.

The ship's AI had calculated the chances of survival. When the missiles hit the ship and imploded, the AI only needed a nanosecond to activate its emergency procedure. The AI estimated not enough time to send a backup of itself back to Eurth. There wasn't enough time for that. Left with no other process to run, the AI came to its cold and logical conclusion: time to enforce condition zero and send the final emergency message.

>>> Send code: SH-10151

Several hundred kilometres above the Eurth. Cloud formations are slowly moving across the blue marble below. A pair of lonely satellites are orbiting. The shape of a large minivan. One satellite functions as the targeting and communications platform. The other carries an exceptional weapon. The encrypted message from Prophet 60091 is received.  The communications satellite comes alive.

Listening...
>>> a = 60091
Receive buffer... Done.
Tracing PRPHT60091... Done.
Processing SHA256 key... Done.
Challenging SHA256 key... Done.
>>> Confirming SHA256 key
Starting INIT (process 1)... Done.
Running FOREL Kernel 2065.6.24
Accessing /init/host... Done.
Autoconfiguring device... Done.
Loading unified filesystem... Done.
Enabling power management functions... Done.
Enabling DMA acceleration SH10151... Done.
Coord Trx Base SSYS 113...

The communications platform has received and confirmed its instructions. Ig transmits the targeting data to its silent partner. The targeting satellite commands its partner to drop one of its tungsten rods: up to 6 metres in length and 30 cm in diameter. Much like a telephone pole. With short fins on the end.

Six guided rods are launched and allowed to fall back to Eurth. Gravity does the rest. Protected by a Teflon thermal coating, the rods fall back to Eurth at a speed comparable to that of a meteor. By the time they reached the surface, they're travelling at a speed of 11 kilometres per second. The rods carry the destructive force of a nuclear warhead, with none of the radioactive fallout. And all of the fun.

The result: complete devastation of the target infrastructure. Even one AATAA structure that's buried deep underground.

As proof of what has been and what will come.

(OOC: This was just a one-post short story. There are no plans of taking this anywhere.)

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