This is a little further down the story line from the first part of the John Mathews story. Eventually when both parts meet up, I will remove this series and make it into one whole story. But for now so people can read it.
UNSC CAPTAINS LOG – JOHN MATHEWS AUTUMN’S RETRIBUTION CH.1
United Naval Space Corps
Standing on the mostly deserted bridge, I configure my council to record a last message to my parents. The red emergency lamps put out a pulsing red hue across the empty stations. All the one hundred crew members aboard the Autumns Retribution where foolishly ordered to abandon ship once the main propulsion was destroyed. Their evacuation foolish, as soon as most of the escape pods where clear of the ships shields and preparing to make a slip space jump to a preprogramed gather point, the picketing drones started picking the pods off one by one, effectively slaughtering most of the crew.
And who ordered the entire ships crew to slaughter? I only had myself to blame, but I would have to live with the losses and accept the few that survived. That is if I even survived the next half hour.
Pressing the record button, I start the camera and broadcast the video over every known frequency and protocol.
“Mothers, Father. If you are receiving this broadcast, it means that I don’t have much more time to live… and will not be returning home. Because of my failure in establishing a fleet to protect the planet Terra, otherwise known as Earth, I request that you gather our family and friends and escape the Sol System.”
A shot from one of the picketing fighters cooks off a magazine below decks, shaking the deck and interrupting my message.
“Over the past five years I have been working with the United Naval Space Corps to establish a fleet at the Terran system to protect our home world from the Kirrix infestation. Over those five years, a small yet mighty fleet of unknown ships has been picketing the Terran globe fiercely. Our experts have deduced that these ships are in fact alien in design and are not from any of the Terran governments. However, their fleets numbers and strengths will not be enough to protect Terra.”
I flick my fingers across the touchscreen, pulling up data on the picketing ships.
“These ‘Terran Defender’s’ are more technically advanced than anything in the UNSC fleet, and pack quite the punch. In trying to avoid a costly battle next to Terra, the top brass decided to not push resources to the requisition of Terran space, rather using those forces to stop the Kirrix invasion across the galaxy before they reached Terra.”
I next pull up the data on the Kirrix and their ships.
“The Kirrix is a parasitic race that was responsible for erasing life from the galaxy once before. Due to their insect like biology, their lack of fear, and massive numbers, they are a nearly unstoppable force that spreads across the galaxy, wiping out all life on planets, using the biological lifeforms as incubators and a food source for their spawn. To date the Kirrix have destroyed six frontier planets and over thirty-four Allied Races planets. The loss of life across the galaxy has been uncountable, with astronomical numbers of victims.”
Another shot from the picket ships rocks Autumns Retribution harder, causing and electrical surge, knocking out power to a quarter of the ship. The lights dim as a circuit overloads behind me, showering me with sparks.
“As for escaping Terra’s doom, in my room is a holographic artificial intelligence computer. Take the main command module out and bring it to the North American Pacific Naval base and show it to the guards. They will escort you to a warp capable space craft that will be able to evacuate the entire family and then some. As for where to go, please let the AI decide on the destination. She will get you to safety.”
Three more blasts rock the ship as they punch holes through the armor amidships, hitting approximately where the reactors and slip-space drives reside. Thankfully the shots must have missed the reactor casing, as the reactor didn’t rupture.
“Please remember that I have always loved you all, even if there where secrets between us. Please do not mourn my passing, as I will die trying my hardest, however ineffective that may be. This is UNSC Captain John Mathews, Captain of the Autumns Retribution, signing out for the last time.”
I turn towards the stars and salute as I watch a manned picket fighter line up for another gun run. The fighter suddenly slows to a stop in front of the ship to watch the ship die as I feel the deck start to buckle beneath my feet.
With a tremendous roar, the reactor overloads and goes super nova. Releasing extreme amounts of energy into space. Suddenly I feel the deck shift like a slip space jump as a fireball rips through the bridge, throwing my body into the navigation station knocking me out.
Its just my luck John sent his death note to my phone. I don’t know if he did it on accident or meant to do it. But watching and listening to him apologize and say his good byes has brought me to tears, reducing me to a sobbing mess.
John is a noble person, or rather he was, as I watch the fireball rip through the bridge, tossing his body into one of the stations like it was a rag doll before the video feed cut out.
In receiving his message, I also get the hidden message I feel he is implying.
“He knows I’m down here. I know he want my help.” I say to no one in particular, voicing my thoughts to keep calm.
Quickly without wasting another moment I make my way towards the company motor pool. Checking out a particularly powerful SUV from the pool, I make my way towards his house.
After a particularly long six hour drive I finally make it to the Mathews residence. Making an excuse that I was sent by John to retrieve something from his room, as he has sent me before, I make my way up to the house.
Because of the warming spring temperatures and the melting snow, more of the residents and guests of the house are leaving their vehicles parked outside. Noticeable today by the amount of trucks and SUV’s parked in the parking spots in and around the driveway, and from what I could count it looks like most of the family’s friends are in town visiting.
Leaving my SUV running in front of the side door, I enter the house, not bothering to take my shoes off as I make my way through the house.
“—about the message Ship intercepted? It was like it was broadcasted on every frequency? It was even received in the Interceptors.”
“I don’t know where it came from, but it’s probably some form of psychological attack.”
“You mean because it was John?”
“I mean because it was someone who looks like John.”
“How do we know it’s not- “
I could hear part of their conversation as I rushed past the kitchen. Noticing that their conversation suddenly cut short as soon as they realized that I was nearby. Without saying a word, I continue towards Johns room, Dashing up the stairs two at a time.
I burst into Johns room, immediately seeking out the AI Hollo table in the center of the room. Situated in the base is a yellow handle. Grabbing the handle, I twist counter clockwise and pull a long cylinder out of the base. Four lines of green glowing lights run down the cylinder, indicating the backup power charge.
Turning back towards the door to make my way out, I find my way blocked by Sarah. Her eyes red, and tears streaming down her face, its obvious to tell by her expression alone that she heard the news.
“John’s possibly dead. We need to get out of here, Earths no longer a safe place to be, and we need to find John.” I break straight to the point, sparing no feelings.
“According to my records of his communicator logs, it appears that his bio signal just suddenly cut out. I need more information on what happened to his ship before we can assume what happened.” Calara pipes up from her cylinder.
“John’s dead… John’s dead… John’s dead…” Sarah whispers to herself as she collapses to her knees in the door way.
Grabbing Sarah in a princess carry, I try to calm her down. “We don’t know that he’s dead just yet. He very may well still be alive. We need to get out there and find him.” Looking down the hallway towards the stairs I find the rest of the family. Each with shocked looks on their faces.
“Carrie. Where is John.” John’s father demands, blocking a majority of the hallway.
“John’s last known position was in outer geo stationary orbit between the moon and earth. Due to earths gravity well, I am unable to plot the exact stellar coordinates for FTL travel.” Calara comments from her processor cylinder Sarah’s holding.
“It doesn’t matter where he is now. We need to get off this planet as soon as possible. The twenty seventh fleet is not going to be able to hold back the Kirrix. Earth has maybe days left to live before the invasion.”
“DON’T GIVE ME THAT SHIT!” Jeff explodes, slamming his fist through the drywall of the hallway, leaving a much bigger imprint than he should have.
“John wouldn’t have left that message for nothing.”
“How do you expect us to leave earth? A rocket? And where would we even go?” Arlene asks from Jeff’s side.
“I just need you to trust what John has asked.” I desperately try to calm them down and get them to follow me.
Suddenly Salina steps through the crowd in the hallway. “I’ll go with you. I can tell that Sarah will to.”
“Salina!” Jeff reaches out, just missing Salina as she runs over to stand with me.
“Any one else?” I ask.
Most of John’s younger sisters step forward under Jeff’s arm. Now my group totals over a dozen and a half.
“I’m not letting you leave.”
Grabbing everyone I can, I make sure we are all touching. “Well try and stop me.”
Pulling out what looks like a thick red chemical light, I break it in half with my teeth and feel a tug behind my navel as the entire group is suddenly teleported outside. Shaking my head, I guide the girls into the SUV, directing Salina to drive.
“You can teleport?” Salina asks me, with very little surprise in her voice.
“Nope. I used an orcalium jump stick to warp us outside. We’re all in, so drive. Take us to the parking lot at the bottom of the hill. I have a friend waiting for us.”
Salina pins the gas pedal to the floor, the tires of the big SUV screeching in protest as the SUV begins to rocket towards the beginning of the driveway. A loud pop comes from the house and a spiderweb of cracks appear in the back window.
“Damn. Trying to headshot the driver. I should have counted how ruthless he can be sometimes.”
Reaching into a bag behind my seat I pull out an assault rifle. Instead of the UNSC standard issue metallic thermoplastic firing rail gun, it’s a standard model AR 15 style rifle.
Once we reach about three quarters of the way down the driveway I lean out the window and pull the trigger towards the guard shack, laying down plenty of suppressive fire. The bulwarks blocking the driveway suddenly start lowering, most likely from Calara’s intervention.
Pulling out onto the street we make our way towards the bottom of the hill.
“Queen Bee, this is Sister Bird. I’m showing three vehicles of hostiles following behind you.” A voice comes from my cellphone, doubling as a radio.
“Are they from the house?!” I shout back into my cellphone.
“Negative. They appear to be from a military installation further up the road.”
“Slow them down, then meet us in the parking lot.”
The sound of a Gatling machine gun roars out above us as a transport helicopter roars over us. Looking up, I watch the helicopter bank away, and make its way down the mountain towards the meeting place.
“Let’s hope that stopped them enough.” I say to Salina as she pulls into the parking lot and pulls up to the waiting helicopter that just landed. Opening the doors on my side of the car, I usher the girls out and into the waiting helicopter, with Salina doing the same on the other side.
Quicker than I thought, each of the girls file into the helicopter in a single file line, each sitting in the opposed bench seats lining the walls. Just as Salina makes it into the back of the helicopter I see the first of the armored vehicles tear into the parking lot. Grabbing a gauntlet hanging from the inner wall of the helicopter, I slip my hand into it and hold my arm horizontally in front of me as if I where holding a shield. Just as rounds start slamming into the back of the helicopter, a transparent blue disk forms in front of me, stopping the lead bullets in their tracks.
“GET US THE HELL OUT OF HERE!” I yell while pressing the button to raise the rear door. With a lurch the helicopter leaves the ground, bullets harmlessly slamming into the armored sides and underbelly of the body.
For the first hour of the flight I try to calm down John’s sisters. All of them in hysterics because of the thought of losing their brother. The next hour I spend explaining to them everything that John had neglected to tell his family.
Finally, with most of the girls silent from exhaustion, I slump into one of the empty flight crew seats and instantly fall asleep from the twenty-four hours of pure exhaustion.
“Carrie! Time to wake up!” A gentle shaking disturbs my sleep. I try slapping the offending hand away, but its persistent in its efforts to wake me from the dead.
“Lieutenant Hensworth! We made it to the Naval base!” The mans voice gets louder, desperately trying to get me awake.
Opening my eyes, I remember that I am still aboard the transport helicopter with part of Johns family. Getting up, I immediately start directing special operatives to carry John’s sisters who are asleep to the ship.
“Did you get enough sleep?” Salina asks me, helping me from my seat.
“Not really, but there is no time to complain. Can you designate someone to manage everyone? I’m going to need you on the bridge. Something’s fishy, and I need your help to get to the bottom of it.”
“Sure. Ill let Alysa handle it. This isn’t anything dangerous is it?” Salina asks.
I grimace at her question. “Relatively speaking, fleeing Earth is the safest option we have however, I don’t know what opposition we are going to face when we break atmosphere. Not too long ago we lost several ships that where boosted by conventional means. This time we are launching with everything we have got.” I lead Salina across the gang plank stretched across the opening in the docking bay, making our way to the bridge.
“Carrie Hensworth! I have some good news and some bad news for you!” A loud voice rings our behind me as the bases general tries to catch up.
“I’ll take all of my news later General, I need to speak with the captain.”
“That’s what the news is concerning. We no longer have a captain. He was supposed to arrive with the crew from the Autumns Retribution, however he was killed after abandoning ship. So, I’m making you the captain. You have plenty of recorded experience, and I know you have a good amount of unrecorded experience.”
“You have got to be joking! I’m no where’s near ready to be a captain!”
“To bad Hensworth. As of now, I hear by promote you to the rank of Captain. Congratulations Captain Hensworth.”
“The only experience I have is from sitting on Johns lap as he lets me steer!”
“And that’s a hell of a lot more stick time than anyone else around here has. You learned from the best, its just a pity that that best isn’t here to see you now. I swear, if those aliens survive the Kirrix, I am going to personally petition fleet command to bomb the living shit out of them.” The General spits out the last line venomously.
Salina wraps her arm around my shoulders. “Don’t worry, I’ll be here if you need some support.”
“General, what is the status of the ships loading?”
“All souls accounted for. She is ready for launch. You will be lifting off according to normal takeoff procedures, there are no speed limits in effect currently.”
“I need more information on the ship. What will I be piloting?”
“The Winged Serpent is a new Earth built Serpent class destroyer. She is a bit light on heavy weaponry but has a durable hide and plenty of point defense and medium caliber weaponry. As per the name, she excels in maneuverability and speed mainly due to the light chassis and large engine combination.” The General explains the Winged Serpents capabilities to me as we step onto the bridge.
Dismissing the crew who were already standing at attention before we made it onto the bridge, I sit down in the captain’s seat and start through the control lists, familiarizing myself as I go along. Noting the round AI slot in the side of the captain’s console, I slide Calara’s core in.
“Good evening Captain Hensworth. Due to a no contact protocol, your AI authority level has been raised to class nine. I am pleased to be working with you.” Calara greets me with my new rank.
“You’re always listening aren’t you Calara?”
“Yes Captain, I am.”
“No need to be so formal with me. Treat me very much like you would with John. And I am assuming that the no contact protocol is your instructions incase John die’s?”
“Your wish is my command. And not necessarily. I have this protocol incase John in some sort or fashion is unable to respond. Could be caused by anything. We will just need to find John to ask him about the details.”
“It’s nice to hear that you haven’t given up on him.” I let out a sigh of relief, comforted that at least someone hasn’t given up on him.
“I don’t think something like that will kill him.”
“Crew! Prepare for departure!” Immediately the crew gets to work preparing for the ships take off.
“Salina, I need an extra hand with radar. You just need to spot any incoming forces.”
“You got it captain. Do you need any assistance with navigation also? I happen to know a little about galactic navigation?”
“Calara is handling navigation. We don’t even know where we are going in the first place. Engineering are we ready for startup?”
“Yes captain! Ready to startup the reactor at your word! Core has already been warmed by the warming pumps!”
“Then fire them and bring up power to the thrusters.” I tap my fingers on the controls, getting used to the design of this ship.
A massive explosion rocks the ship in its cradle, followed by an enormous hum.