“They are moving away.” Bob the nomad said in his usual lifeless manner.
The screen that covered the entire surface of the spherical chamber showed the Sadeeni fleet’s giant flagship and more than two-thousand smaller ships turning in formation.
Peter the Ace grinned. “They’ve figured out what we’re planning! They must be defecating in their boots!”
Ross Mental had arrived back at the chamber and was standing next to Peter the Ace. “Yeah, disgusting fuckers!”
Peter the Ace turned to the nomad. “When can we activate the pulse?”
Bob peered at the complex matrices of data on the right side of the huge screen. “In seven seconds.”
The screen displayed the Sadeeni fleet’s continuing retreat. The energy emissions from the ships indicated that they would soon enter subspace.
Peter the Ace checked another part of the screen that displayed an image of the giant hanger bay. He could clearly see three ships: the Blenheim, the Horizontal Assassin and the Pig, safely inside. He turned to Bob. “Now would be a good time.”
Bob turned to the two nomads that were sitting silently at the console at the chamber’s centre. “Initiate the ultra-space gravistatic pulse.”
The two nomads nodded simultaneously and then, with well synchronised choreography, their hands passed smoothly and silently over their controls.
The screen shimmered, and then the chamber was plunged into darkness.
It spread with unseen menace; an expanding sphere of invisible force travelling a million times faster than light. Folding and stretching the very fabric of existence, the gravistatic pulse oscillated wildly as it tore through the fleet of Sadeeni ships, bending, splitting and shattering bulkheads and hulls like brittle layers of super-fried batter, and vibrating to boiling point the fleshy furry beings within.
Many of the Sadeeni ships were the entering subspace when the pulse hit. Many did indeed make it into subspace, but not in one piece. Their remains – nothing more than clouds of powdered debris – entered subspace for a brief moment before returning to normal space in a spray of unnoticed dust.
In a time span of a few seconds almost all of the Sadeeni ships were destroyed and their crews cooked and shredded.
Only the three largest ships survived; their density and their gravity shields providing some protection. But still the damage they endured was tremendous.
Sovereign Dug Tihsadeen was pressed hard into his command chair, his body automatically restrained by several large clamps. Chaos reigned all around him on the ship’s vast bridge. Many panels from the ceiling had fallen, crushing several rows of operators, and the floor had split in two locations, sending dozens more of the crew plummeting down into the depths of the ship. The moans of the injured and dying mixed with the sound of sirens and alarms into a disturbing cacophony of fear and despair.
The sovereign’s two Nin servants gripped tightly onto the sides of the chair to keep their balance. Fear was their only expression.
With the huge screen at the front of the bridge out of action the sovereign had no idea what was happening. Struggling against his restraints he leant forwards and looked down at the damage control engineer who was back at his station. “Give me a report!”
The engineer nodded and looked at his personal screen. “Most of the fleet has been destroyed, sovereign!”
The sovereign forced himself to remain calm. “What remains?”
“Just this ship and our two support cruisers.”
“What’s the condition of this ship?”
“The hull has been completely stripped off, and the damage extends hundreds of metres into the ship. More than 15,000 crew members are dead. We have lost subspace capability.”
“What about sublight?”
“Sublight engines are functioning.”
“Then go to maximum sublight velocity. And assign all engineers to repair the subspace drive!”
The engineer nodded. “Yes, sovereign.”
The sovereign frowned and sank back into his chair. He thought for a moment, and then yelled. “This is all the fault of Yug Evahsadeen!” He slammed his fists into the arms of his chair. “His suffering and humiliation must be increased!” He activated his communicator. “Surgeon Gahsadeen!”
The reply was initially garbled. “Yes, sovereign?”
“What is your progress with Yug’s gender reassignment? I hope recent events did not affect you.”
“They did not. My location near the centre of the ship obviously gave me and my staff plenty of protection. What has happened?”
“Never mind. What about Yug?”
“We completed the operation a couple of minutes ago. He is being stitched up as we speak.” In the background regular and shrill screams could be heard. “Hormones and healing fluids are being injected now.”
“The maximum dose?”
“Yes. As ordered, sovereign.”
“Good. When will he be ready?”
There was a loud crash as another section of the ceiling slammed into the floor of the bridge near Sovereign Tihsadeen. Four more crew members were crushed like melons.
“His healing should be complete within the hour. His transformation to a female will then essentially be complete. His, or should I say her, new organs will be functioning normally within two hours.”
“Very good, surgeon. Have him – I mean her - brought to my quarters as soon as she’s ready.”
Above, yet more of the ceiling was cracking and buckling. The noise, like the snapping of giant femurs, echoed all around.
The damage control engineer spoke. “This bridge is in a critical condition, sovereign. I recommend you evacuate to the crisis bridge as soon as possible.” As if to illustrate the seriousness of the situation, a large metal bolt the size of a tractor wheel dropped onto the engineer, tearing off the left side of his head and crushing his left shoulder down to his hips. The remains of the engineer’s mouth hung open with shock, and he hissed as air was forced out from his lungs. With blood gushing from several torn arteries the engineer slumped to the floor.
Having seen enough, Sovereign Tihsadeen activated a control on the right arm of his chair. The Sovereign, his Nin servants, and the platform they were all on, descended at near freefall speed into the floor.