Chapter 2

LOCATION: grid 3549829.11
PLATFORM: United Global State Warship/Fourth Kingdom Beon
CATEGORY: medium munitions hunter/killer
CURRENT ASSIGNMENT: search and destroy/grid 3549829

Commander Goth Hentson stared down at the screen beside his command chair in which he was sitting. A schematic of the Beon was displayed, along with information about various systems of his choosing. Their last exchange of fire was with a terrorist tribe in the ninth district, or otherwise technically referred to as grid 3549829.9. Although the fleet of sixteen ships were no match for the Beon platform with her teeth bared, the terrorists did manage to deplete quite a bit of ordinance from the hunter killer's silos. Kinetic weapons were still high on ammo, but the drivers were not operating at full effeciency. There seemed to be a bug the weapons engineers couldn't flush out.

The tactical officer's voice disrupted Hentson's musings about the platform's weapons systems. "Commander, either there's a glitch in our feelers, or we have a possible situation." Hentson looked over at Liuetenant Commander Adon Fitzjerolt. Without saying anything, the commander got up from his chair and walked over to the tactical group. As Henston approached Fitzjerolt, the officer pointed to a small holographic projection in front of him. "We've been tracking contact 322 for about sixteen hours, Commander. She's a big one. Heavy munitions and carrier combine category juggernaut, identified as the Chernobyl. She went off the half-lights for about thirty seconds, and now she's reappeared."

Hentson didn't look at the holoprojector for long. "Get DCH online," Hentson commanded as he walked back to his chair. The communications group didn't waste any time. Before Hentson even sat back down in his chair, Directions and Coordination Headquarter's was on the viewer.

The image of a woman in a navy blue uniform was filling the viewer. Her blue eyes might as well have been glass---cold and lifeless. The image of the woman was lifeless, because it was really just an AI responding to the Beon's call, using a female human's image. "DCH responding to Platform 87797.3," said a human voice with no humanness to it.

Hentson waited a moment before replying. "Half-light scanners have been tracking a military platform for the past sixteen hours. She's been holding position in grid 3549829.3. Several minutes ago, she dropped out of detection for at least thirty seconds, and then reappeared. We're sending you telemetry now. Advise."

Now DCH was silent. After only a few moments, though, they responded, "Hold position and await communications."

Hentson nodded. "Of course," he muttered. "Tactical, give me that telemetry on my screen." Within a few seconds, the screen next to his chair lit up with the requested telemetry. It was a schematic of the Chernobyl. She was a brute---well known for her kill score. The Fifth Kingdom put her into service about five years ago, and since then she has seen eight campaigns. Between the eight, she has a record of 56 kills, all military platforms, including three ops platforms. And these were not joint efforts. No, she killed all these plates singlehandedly. The juggernaut's biggest teeth were her four unfixed type 2 mass-particle drivers and a single type 4 static mass-particle driver. According to the radiation signatures detected around her missile pods, she had Helkenns' at her disposal. Helkenn missiles were heavily shielded and had abrasive armor, and rated at 3,000 megatons each. One direct hit from those, the Beon would be disabled severely, if not complete toast.

There was no aggression between the Fifth and the Fourth Kingdoms, but they weren't exactly cuddling, either. 4K has always been on edge with 5Ks. This little "glitch" in the scanners didn't feel good to Hentson. There was a bad scent to it. Something in his gut told him that a plate with the Chernobyl's reputation doesn't dissappear off the grid for thirty seconds and then reappear.

"Commander, DCH is on the line," the comm supervisor announced.

Hentson nodded for her to answer the call. The AI with cold eyes popped up on the viewer. She didn't waste a second. "5K has granted permission to approach the Chernobyl. Power to weapons will be twenty five percent, and polaric aversion fields at fifty percent."

A few heads turned to look at the commander after the AI had announced the terms of approach. Hentson would've felt irritated upon hearing the terms, himself, but the emotion correctors were doing their work. That didn't hinder his computation abilities, though. "Am I correct in assuming that 5K is aware that their ship is armed with Helkenn nukes?"

"5K shows no Helkenn-class thermonuclear missiles in the Chernobyl's current ordinance issue."

"Our telemetry shows that it does, DCH."

"Your telemetry has been reviewed. Commence approach."

Hentson was not about to place his crew under what he considered to be an unreasonable risk. "Requesting supportive escort from any nearby destroyer or cruiser platforms."

"State the reason for your request."

"Our half-light scanners are at one hundred percent efficiency and we detect Helkenn missile signatures around the Chernobyl's silos. This is a major security risk for my platform and crew."

"Request denied. Deployment of a reconnassaince drone is permissible."

The commander pondered on whether to retort or not. "Understood. Beon out." The attractive and lifeless AI dissappeared off the screen. Hentson turned his attention to Fitzjerolt. "Lieutenant Commander Fitzjerolt, you heard the magic eight ball. Harvest an E-type drone. Attach a distress response signal to it. I'm not going in there blind."

To follow the story, see Here be the Giants Chapter 3!

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