2 of 5 | Chapter 15

 

“Then the goal is to have a much stronger DCG sphere?”

“Partially yes,” cut in Steersman, “there are several solutions that address that issue, but we have our limitations. That's why we are looking into other options. The angular acceleration of the core is not sufficient anymore, that is why an increase in core density will probably be the best choice.”

“And the timing? Why is it important?”

“Besides power, the timing scheme is just as important. We will replace a continuous power delivery system with a pulse system, that will be timed to expel material at a greater speed,” Gibbs explained patiently. “A space vehicle will have to be equipped with several types of mobile drives that provide reserve capabilities for a variety of situations. Being based on anti-gravity technology, the ships surrounding environment is important. It is not all the same whether the vessel is in a strong, weak, or almost zero gravitational field.”

“A commander piloting a ship must be aware of all of the options for using the available resources to the best possible advantage,” interjected Steersman. He then steered them onto the next topic.

“I'm planning a training program at university post graduate level. We need a strong management staff to manage space fleets and defense divisions.”

“At PrEUST?” asked Karen.

“No. It won't be at PrEUST. We will have to set up a new institution based on the PrEUST system, yet independent of it, where we can create a commander faculty specializing in training, action and expedition planning and execution.”

“Must candidates have a PrEUST degree in order to be admitted?”

“Not at the beginning, but in order to become a commander the candidate will have to have expertise in at least one technical discipline to be able to direct either specialized mechanized troops or a whole fleet.”

“Who will train these leaders?”

“We will,” said Steersman, looked around at each of the participants. “Everyone here knows what is needed and what it takes to do this job. During training, we'll subjecting them to high pressure situations so that we can gauge how they're able to keep there cool and handle pressure that would make most people crumble.”

“The current staff and training center will be enlarged and two simulation bases will be added, where candidates will spend most of their time practicing,” added Murinko, who had already been through the details with Steersman in an earlier discussion on training needs. “Later on, they'll be expected to familiarize themselves with specialized equipment in the Enforcement Pole training practice facilities.”

“One of the main goals of this training is for us to screen candidates and make sure that they have the endurance and can bear the load without cracking. Only the strongest will remain. I'm pretty sure no one wants an unstable commander in control when the shit hits the fan. We certainly don't want anyone who will fold under pressure,” argued Steersman.

“That would certainly cause a hell of a lot of damage,” agreed Trenerry.

“Yes, it would.”

Steersman looked around as a reflective silence edged into the discussion.

“If I understand everything correctly, in summary, the prerequisite for creating a military body is the deployment of a global sensor networks sixty thousand kilometers away in space, which can only be done with space vehicles, the prerequisite for which is the development of a DCG based drive that will actually work in space and not be the size of a small moon. This drive is currently at an advanced stage of development, but not yet ready, and along with the necessity of training staff, we need to implement a training facility that does not yet exist, and train people who have already graduated from PrEUST!” Karen, stopped for a moment and looked around. “Have I left anything out?”

Steersman thought for a moment.

“No, that sums it up rather nicely,” he responded with a smile.

“And then, there's the other thing,” said the astrophysicist Martins, who had been sitting quietly at the far end of the table. It was surprising enough that everyone turned to take heed of what he was about to say.

Steersman got in ahead of him. “Ah yes, thank you, Dr Martins.” Everyone present felt that he going to say something important, and all paid careful attention to him.

“At the time of their accession to ASEC, Dr Martins and his team shared with us some rather …” Steersman hesitated, cautiously selecting his words, “… interesting discoveries. Their work is quite specialized. Specifically, they're working on deciphering a series of communication.” Steersman seemed to dwell with rapt attention on each of the details, as the astronomer's comment had been rather cryptic. “But, so far, the communication is one-sided, isn't that so, Dr Martins?”

“Sadly yes.”

“What communication?” asked Trenerry, impatiently.

“What are you taking about?” demanded Karen, joining the fray, as murmuring began to spread around the room.

“We are certain that we have received a message which we now genuinely regard as having been sent from a neighboring star system in another part of our galaxy,” said Martins.

A stunned silence greeted his statement. None of them looked around, they all remained frozen as they were.

“Could you perhaps explain it more fully, Dr Martins,” requested Steersman.

“Our solar system lies on what we know as the Orion-Cygnus spiral, in the Milky Way galaxy.” He used gestures to outline the spiral arms. “The message was sent from one of the planets found in a star system on the Perseus arm of our galaxy. This means that their star system is even further from the center of the galaxy than our own,” explained Martins.

“The question is not whether the message is genuine, as it most certainly is, but rather, have we been able to effectively send an answer to our neighbors, and have they understood it,” Steersman once again took charge of the meeting.

“What was their message and … what did we answer?” asked Karen curiously.

Steersman looked towards Martins. “Dr Martins! Please tell us how you made your discovery.”

“The majority of our work is focused on looking for radiation anomalies in the background radiation noise of the universe, which we've always been certain contained artificial or non-natural recurrences. Some discrepancies drew attention to themselves because of their irregular behavior compared to radiation patterns that we had already analyzed. When we analyzed these new anomalies, we found that there was a transmission that contained a significant amount of repetition in it that was also very regular. After we had broken the sequences into their base units, we then spent several years decoding, during which time we jointly developed a rather complex algorithm capable of translating these units of code into meaningful expressions. The algorithm essentially works as a language translator …” Martins looked back at Steersman.

“Sean, what was the message?” Karen asked again, noticing that the astronomer was slowly beginning to betray his excitement.

“The part of the message that has so far been deciphered says, ‘we are waiting for you’,” he said finally.

Eyes widened around the room.

“What the hell!” whispered someone in the back.

“And what was our answer?” Karen repeated doggedly.

“Ah yes,” said Martins. ”If I may, Mr Steersman. We used the algorithm to generate a message asking for their location.”

“Fuck!” murmured the same voice from the back of the room.

 

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CHAPTER 1 | EXCOLOPOLIS
CHAPTER 2 | MACHINES
CHAPTER 3 | A NEW TECHNOLOGY
CHAPTER 4 | ATTACK
CHAPTER 5 | THE SOURCE
CHAPTER 6 | THE SCIENCE CENTER
CHAPTER 7 | UNIVERSITY CITY
CHAPTER 8 | GLIDECRAFT
CHAPTER 9 | SECTOR TWO
CHAPTER 10 | THEY KNOW WE ARE HERE
CHAPTER 11 | GRAVITOR
CHAPTER 12 | INSTALLATION
CHAPTER 13 | ENERGY WAR
CHAPTER 14 | AFTERSHOCKS
CHAPTER 16 | PREPARATION
CHAPTER 17 | DEFENSE CORPS
CHAPTER 18 | TRUTH
CHAPTER 19 | BEYOND EARTH