Mark docked the shuttle as fast as he could, he'd been taking readings all the way back to King Rufus's planet. It had only been 5 days since he'd talked and given the plans to the leader of the Imperial Space fleet, if he'd listened to Mark then the first ships should be there soon.
Mark was just praying that the Styrox delayed a little longer so they could arrive. From everything that Mark had seen and read after talking to the fleet leader it wouldn't be much longer now before they attacked. Going over everything that the king had implemented plus a few things Mark had added, Mark knew that eventually they would fall but not for at least a week.
At least from everything he saw it should be a week especially with him there. Mark went before the King and advised him of what he'd seen, all aspects of their weapons, defenses and the few weaknesses he'd seen. The king listened with rapt attention calling out an order every few minutes, though Mark knew they might not survive this, he at least knew they had a fighting chance.
Mark had finally finished explaining everything to the king, he was about to leave when the king asked him a simple question. "So Mark, what do you think our chances are?" Mark wasn't one to lie, looking Rufus straight in the eyes he replied, "Not that good, they have power, numbers, and time, honestly?
I give us a week with no help, even with help alot of shit is getting destroyed." Rufus shook his head affirmative, "I thought that was what you might say, I've already evacuated over 3/4 of the planet." Mark smiled, he remembered his earlier dealings with Rufus, of all the Royalty, Presidents, and Generals Rufus had been his favorite.
"I hope you don't mind, I've added a few things over the years that we were able to integrate with your systems, here," Rufus said as he led Mark behind the throne to a control room. Mark's smile got even bigger, Rufus had a few thermal nuclear missiles, anti-matter drones, and even a few plasma cannons, nice!
"I thought you might like these," Rufus chuckled at the look on Mark's face, "I don't know why, but something you said years ago prompted me to purchase them. " "Something I said?" Mark asked. "Yes, let me see I think it was, oh yes! Now that everything's working try to keep it that way. So I got a few students of the central school to help, plus, I added a lot of goodies to help keep them that way." Rufus responded. Here, Mark thought the planet was completely defenseless, well the Styrox were definitely in for a surprise.
Mark and the King hurried to the planet shield array, at present the Styrox could blow it away without even an after thought. Mark looked at all the readings calculating the amount of increase he'd need to keep the Styrox at bay till help arrived.
The rest of the day well into the night Mark, Sam, the ten and fifteen year students worked on the planetary defense systems. Nissie her Red hair no longer dull, the joy apparent on her and Sam's face, took notes while watching Arthur and Catrina.
The next morning Mark was finally ready to test everything he'd done to improve the system, everyone held their breath when Mark re-started the system. Mark's smile started to grow wider when the shield out put rose to twice what it had been, a few adjustments and it was soon at 3 times.
Still not satisfied Mark had everyone readjust their settings again, his smile grew even wider when the shield output hit 4 times almost as powerful as the shields on the ships. Implementing the rest of his plan he turned and started to explain, "I have the shields strong enough to resist almost anything that they can throw at us." Pointing to 4 new switches Mark went on, "Activating these four switches will boost the shields for an hour maybe 2, during that time nothing will be able to penetrate them, any longer than that would destabilize the shields and we'd be defenseless.
This will also increase the power of the weapons but remember they are seriously limited, plus the extra drain on the power plants might cause them to fail." Mark had to take a rest he'd talked entirely too much. Nissie stepped forward, leaning down, she whispered in Mark's ear. Looking up Mark smiled and began to whisper back, nodding Nissie straightened up, "Mr.
Mark says that all of you need to constantly monitor these systems, one mistake and they'll go down, then we're all dead." Not entirely surprised by their reactions, Mark watched as everyone went to their posts.
Damn, he hadn't realized just how tired he was, looking over another system it seemed he was having trouble keeping his eyes open. Walking up behind him, Nissie and Sam both finally got his attention, "Mark you need to get some sleep, you're going to pass out, if I remember right you haven't slept in four days, you're going to kill your self." Finishing, Nissie crossed her arms over her ample breasts, a look of concern and love dominating her features.
"I have to re-check all the systems," Mark breathed out, "they have to be." "What damn good will they do us if you're dead, before they get here!" Nissie almost screamed at Mark, her eyes a fire with a passion Mark hadn't seen in quite some time.
Almost bowing his head to her, Mark knew she was right, it wouldn't do to have him missing anything. Looking at everyone mark whispered to Nissie. Nissie's eyes grew large then she nodded before speaking up, "Mark said examine everything twice, if you find something that doesn't look right no matter how small, write it down and I'll give it to him when he gets up.
Everyone nodded a look of relief on everyone's face. Mark went to lay down more tired than he'd felt in years, damn he hoped he had enough systems enhanced to keep them alive. Out as soon as his head hit the pillow, Mark was hoping for restful sleep.
Mark was in a dark room, he could hear Nissie and Sam sobbing uncontrollably, both started to scream the closer he got. What the hell? He opened his mouth to speak and Tantka's voice came out! Again both of his women screamed as he tried to tell them it was him Mark, but they just fled as they pulled weapons.
Running away as fast as he could, he finally lost them, looking at his reflection he saw Tantka's reflected back at him. Looking up he saw Tantka with his arms around Sam and Nissie, they were snuggled up to him, looking straight at Mark, Tantka smiled an evil smile as he drove a knife into both of the women.
Mark started to scream, then suddenly jerked awake still screaming both Nissie and Sam came running, both holding him while he violently shook. Both tried to calm him, "It alright Mark, we're both here, nothing has happened to us or the children," Nissie said as she and Sam held him tight. Mark finally stopped shaking and got up and started to check on everything that was written down from the others.
He had to admit the 10 and 15 year students were a lot better than a most of students he'd seen. Mark had just finished checking everything for the second time, having readjusted many systems again, it had been 6 days since he'd warned the Imperial space force leader. Mark had just added a new update to all the equipment when a proximity alarm went off. Checking his drone Mark now saw that the fleet was starting to advance, sighing Mark knew they'd start attacking at any moment.
Smiling a moment Mark activated several commands, looking over the readings Mark nodded to Sam as she also started to activate several commands. Suddenly there was a hissing crackling noise over the space com, "Rufus planet," came a sing-song voice, "you have a galactic hour to surrender before we attack, you are surrounded, you have no chance, resist and we will reduce you planet to a smoking ball of debris." They heard Rufus growl before he answered, "This is King Rufus, attack us if you dare!
You will find us far harder to defeat than you think!" With that Rufus snapped off the com and activated several buttons, they all watched as the first 8 ships shimmered then exploded, nearby 8 others were damaged the fleet fired on the 8 damaged ships destroying them instantly as punishment for being damaged.
Mark's mouth dropped open, "and when were you going to tell me about the pulse cannons?" Mark said, as they watched the front line of the fleet move into a more defensive position. "I told you I had a few goodies, thought you liked surprises?" Rufus said as he fired again destroying another 8 ships damaging 2 others that were destroyed almost as fast. "Sure, I like pleasant surprises, but I like to know as much as I can first," Mark replied.
The king laughed, then the fleet opened up on the planet, many in the fleet were angry and surprised when their weapons not only didn't penetrate the planet's atmosphere but actually bounced off a few times striking a few more of the fleets ships destroying them instantly. Mark could have sworn he'd heard Tantka issuing orders when the leader of the fleet was talking.
Tsking the king smiled at Mark, "before you came Mark we had no chance, at least now we can take as many of the bastards with us as we can. I know, I know 20 ships out of 5000 is really nothing but I feel better knowing I killed a few hundred or thousand of those bastards." Mark smiled, same old Rufus always full of surprises, as was he. The fleet started to take positions around the planet when another 20 ships on the far side of the planet exploded including one of the big command ships.
The king looked over at Sam and Mark his mouth agape damn it took his cannons two tries and he hadn't gotten that many. The debris scattered as another 30 tried to take their place and were destroyed, this time many in the fleet fired at various points destroying most of Mark's drones, smiling Mark was glad, they'd done their job well.
Though they were only down 80 ships, it was the one command ship he'd wanted to take out. If he remembered right from the information he got from the Imperial leader, the Styrox needed all their leaders though they could go on without them. Mark was hoping that they were a little disorientated, any advantage was a delay that would help them last longer.
Finally the fleet pulled back to just out of range of the pulse cannons, good Mark thought they are unsure, he hoped Tantka was also, this was unlike Mark's usual tactics.
An hour later the com hissed and crackled again, "You will pay for the deaths of the Styrox you have killed, we know that you," the leader pointed at Mark, "are the reason that these pitiful humans are able to resist us." Join us as your associate has and we will spare this planet and all there." Mark had been gathering readings, finally, he had what he wanted and pushed a button, "I have only one answer for you," Mark answered, the image on the screen shook as Mark's drone slammed into the rear of the ship destroying on of the 4 engines.
The Styrox leader hissed pointing an insect appendage at Mark almost screaming as another explosion shook the ship it seemed that 2 engines had gone up. Laughing Mark saw Tantka in the back ground rushing around adjusting machinery.
"You son of a bitch!" Tantka screamed at him, "how dare you destroy machinery!
you've broken the creedo!" "Hey you ass!" Mark was screaming back at him, "you broke creedo, you have been wiped from the memory of the school you are nothing but a COMMON criminal, the empire will hunt you forever for what you've done!" Tantka's face turned blood red, "It won't matter after all of you die here, I think they should call it fart boy's last stand!
You can't hold out forever I will get through!" "That's funny after you're defeated, I think they will call it Tantka's folley!" Mark laughed as hard as he could though he knew that till the Imperial fleet arrived it was only a matter of time before the systems started to fail. The rest of the day Mark and Sam went over the second part of the plan, he just hoped that the few drones he had left out there were finding enough materials to work with.
The few he got readings from indicated that they were ready but Mark didn't want to tip his hand too soon. The start of the seventh day was no different than the day before, looking over his readings Mark decided to commit half of the drones that way he still had a few out there to watch things. The fleet had started to bombard the planet again and though they weren't even near to getting through Mark knew that they would soon, nothing could keep the shields up for a week long under this type of bombardment without serious power output, which they didn't have.
Later that day Mark got a message from his lead drone, sighing he realized that it wasn't enough but it would have to do. Gathering the King, Sam and Nissie, Mark, wanted to know what they thought.
Whispering to Nissie her eyes grew large as she started to argue with Mark, Sam and the King knew this had to be serious if Nissie was arguing. Finally Nissie turned to them, "Mark says that he has a few hundred thousand drones out there loaded with a small bit of anti-matter." Here Nissie sighed, "He plans to use them to destroy part of the fleet but it might cause a chain reaction as close as they are to each other." Sam looked at her brother as if he'd lost his mind.
"Anti-matter? Are you out of your fucking mind? you start a chain reaction out here it would mean the end of this system, hell! Maybe the end of the sector!" "Sam," Mark started. "Don't you even start that!," Sam yelled, "I love you Mark and I have almost complete belief in your abilities but we are dealing with anti-matter! One of the most unstable substances in the empire!" "I know that Sam, I've done the equations here look," Mark said pulling out a comp showing her the data he'd gathered over the past 2 years, though impressed she still wasn't too sure about this.
Opening her comp she waited while a familiar old man's visage appeared on the screen. "Hello sir, " Sam said, " I think you need to talk to Mark, he wants to use anti-matter bombs!" The old man's eyes went wide then he look at Mark, "so you finally told her huh?" "WHAT!? you knew about this!" Sam said incredulous, "I ought to kick both your asses! You do realize th." "I've taken every precaution I am only using a micro gram in each," Mark finally interjected. "Mark even that much could set off a chain reaction, "Sam replied.
"I know, but we have no choice, if they get past here then the empire is screwed, even with the improvements I gave them to make to the fleet." Mark replied with a heavy heart. "What has the committee said about using the anti-matter?" Sam asked the head master. "They've looked over his data and computations, as he said every precaution has been taken and a few others that no one had thought of," the older man added as an after thought.
"I'll be the judge of that!" Sam said as she sat and started to go through his calculations. An hour later she could truly see that her brother was a genius, every thing that she could think of going wrong Mark had covered one way or another.
"Alright she told the head master but I want to go on record as saying I am still against this, even after seeing all the data." Mark shook his head, this was almost as bad as when he wanted to use the eradicator virus. he'd worked every night for almost a year to find out what he'd done wrong when he'd written it. "Alright," Mark told everyone there, "I am going to deploy them, we won't get them all but possibly enough to help the Imperial fleet when they arrive." Everyone watched tensely when Mark began to move the drones, the first indication they were there was when 40 ships exploded.
Mark hovered over the comp readings watching as the rest of the drones started to close in. Another 40 ships went up, causing the fleet to momentarily stop, perfect Mark thought another command ship exploded taking 20 smaller ships with it. Finally the entire fleet began to fire in every direction in front of them, by chance they got a few of the drones but the last of them found their marks. As the next 60 ships vanished there was a momentarily panic as some of the ships in front tried to run.
Mark watched with satisfaction as the Styrox began to destroy their own ships. Then just as fast it was over, mark calculated that they'd gotten 241 of the Styrox ships but as Rufus said before, it was satisfying to know they'd killed a few hundred of the bastards maybe even a few thousand.
Mark went over everything that he could, the power levels were still good, but they were fluctuating a little, the fleet had once again opened up on the planet. Mark watched all day as the fleet continued to pound the shields, pulling the king aside he advised him to get as many people from all the outer cities as close into the central 5 cities as he could. Mark was afraid that when the shields started to go they were going to lose a lot of people if they weren't close.
Nodding Rufus started the evacuation into the 5 central cities. The beginning of the 8th day had Mark worried although over 75% of the outer cities were close now, he was afraid they were going to lose a great many people.
The shields were still fluctuating and as he had been afraid the outer shields were starting to weaken. Mark told Rufus that he needed to hurry his people or they were going to die. Many faced with this new message, redoubled their efforts with a great many helping those still out there to evacuate faster. They had 99% of the populace within the central shield when the first shield went down. From what Mark saw the Styrox had no interest in prisoners, wasting no time levelling every structure within the shield grid area.
The com hissed then Tantka's face appeared on the screen, "what's wrong fart boy? Your tech not good enough all the lives lost in that area are on your head!" With an evil laugh he continued, "the next area they will take prisoners, the Styrox are hungry and have a craving for human flesh.
I will so enjoy watching you fail as I knew you would!" The connection broken, Mark's face screwed up in anger, damn it! He'd like nothing better than to twist Tantka's conceited head off his body.
Watching Mark soon saw that almost everyone had been evacuated, good thing too Mark thought as another shield grid area went down.
The Styrox began landing many looking through the abandoned buildings. At on point a man was found hiding laughing the Styrox quickly left the surface with their only captive. An hour later The com hissed the leader of the Styrox appearing with the captured man. "Soon all of the weak humans will feed the Styrox," the leader said as it and another 20 of the lizard type creatures began to rip skin, then organs from the man.
Mark's anger rose to an almost fever pitch, the screams of the man echoing through the room. "I," Mark began in a quiet voice, "will destroy your race," the leader laughed as it swallowed the heart of the man still beating. "We await your response human," the leader said, "yours will be the most tasty of all." Laughing again it ended the transmission. Clinching his fists Mark vowed out loud, "This will not happen again!" TO BE CONTINUED