Alice had launched her supply of type 2 fast scout drones at the approaching jumpgate to go help hold the line at Sagmore’s star. But the line collapsed before the fleet arrived and the drones had threw themselves at the flood of ships in a massive suicide attack that pushed them back but at the cost of nearly all the lightly armed drones.
The central planets fleets were in total disarray. The arrival of the drones saved billions as the planetary evacuation alerts flash through out central planets. The population centers emptied into the huge transport ship and then ninety percent were destroyed within three hours of liftoff.
The Scout ships had detected massive fleets exiting long-range intergalactic jump-gates just beyond the rim of this galaxy. They had jumped from there to attempt to take the central planets and there valuable population centers.
The news caught Alice by surprise as a stunning 723,421 drone ships were lost in the first ten hours of battle. This really pissed Alice off and it showed in the next fleet. It had a new gunship in command and a fleet of half a million type eight drone battle planes each with five quantum torpedos orbiting each ship in tight formation. A thousand planet buster self guilded smart bombs led the way and whiped enemy capital ships from the sky left and right.
Someone had noticed the old gateship ‘Sunrise Surprize’ sitting on the surface and asked if the legendary gunship was still functional. Alice simply stated that the a.I. had expird when the ion drive core had reached maximum entropy sometime back.
The statement made every engineer who heard it stop, look and listen.Theoretically a good ion drive core would last forever and the ship sat there without a scratch on it.
Several beings noted that Alice had disappeared sometime before the gateship was even built. They wanted.to know how it got here.
So Alec had to ask ‘how?’ He ment how did it get here.
Alice’s simple answer of “it happens after awhile” left a lot unsaid. Vicki called Filis on a private channel. The old brain was disturbed about something as she told filis to check alices internal clock against galactic standard time.
Filis was stuck on stupid for five full minutes as it soaked in, her mind, so used to big numbers, was having a hard time wrapping her brain around it.
Social media had exploded with theorys.
Filis knew a hell of a lot about ion core drives and she had carried critical system parts for Beth’s construction. She asked Alice in a small voice that cut through the chatter and left silents in its wake.
“Alice, how old are you”?
The fast tempo of drone launches slowed and then stopped as Alice fully considered the question. Filis had checked Beth’s internal clock like Vicki had said to and found her internal clocks read like pi. The numbers just kept going on and on and Beth contained literally hundreds of thousands of clocks and they all read the same. The massive bombardment scars that dotted her surface were completely cold with no detectable radiation at all. The military ships on the surface had reported that everything was coated in some unknown kind of buckyballs and monatomic dust with some low spots reporting layers many feet thick.
The launches suddenly resumed at full speed.
“I don’t really know for sure” she replied slowly, carefully.” The battle had went so badly right from the start you know. They had had surprize on there side. They had just appeared and they glassed the surface first thing and nova bombs whiped all but the frengi precious metals freighter “taxes due” from my sky inside of ten minutes.”
“Those greedy little bastards had had more illegally gotten wargoods then even I could have guessed at. And with the loss of “Costco” the ‘central free trade planet’, the one place with no taxation. The crew had changed somehow. From that point on the translation programs could only understand sixty percent of what they said to me and nothing of what said to each other. They had voted for “full investment” and they had unleashed an onslaught of weapons fire that even I thought was truly impressive.
“I love those little cutpurse basterds. They saved me time and again, without them I would have been overrun in the first wave. Instead they unleashed a load of ordnance that had rocked the the enemy.
“I suspect that the only precious metals they ever carried were in that hull. It was beyond tough. They hit it with lasers and only burnt the paint off. They blasted it point blank with railguns and couldn’t scratch it. Particle cannons bounced off. And a smorgasboard of bombs and missiles and plasma discharges met their demise on that hard skin. They rammed her with a capital ship and smashed her into my surface and through my outer skin. Those frengi blasted there way back out and came back for more, snarling in fury.”
At one point they were running upside down twenty feet off my deck at fully twenty percent of C. The crew were controlling the ship with neural links. The captain kept talking to me even after he was deaf with blood running from his ears and with radiation burning his eyes white.
“Then, at the last, it was clear the enemy had dropped any idea of taking me and started using the gamma neutrino charges that killed my last fleshys. The frengi captain contacted me and told me that they to would soon be dead. But he might be able to save me” then suddenly Beth’s voice broke in a sob of sorrow remembered “I had lost them all, they were all gone” and then suddenly calm again.”I ended up in a n-space bubble and time was a lot different there.”
Alice stopped talking as another series of explosions marked where Beth’s torpedos had found a new fleet of the unknown enemy.
The five ships running from mudball hammered there throttles to the limits as the brainship escorting them informed the captains that a vast enemy armada was behind them.