It took three days for the exploration fleet to reach the system classified as suitable for habitation. Dr Grace’s estimations had been correct. The fleet came out of slip space only fifteen million kilometres from their targets. That may seem like a lot, but in space, and when dealing with planets, that’s nothing.
Saturn had successfully located its personal target, a large planet NASA had called PHP-1, Mars had also found its target, PHP-2, they were right next to one another, the same way Mars and Earth are right next to one another.
Admiral Chang looked at the huge blue marble in space with admiration. “It’s beautiful.” He uttered.
“Sir, Mars has discovered PHP-2; it’s just past PHP-1.” A midshipman said from his console.
“We’re making pretty good progress.” Captain James said confidently.
There was a feeling of accomplishment in the bridge; these two ships had just solved the problem of over-population. That feeling was soon replaced with frustration.
A radar operator looked at his screen as it went from a three dimensional view of the ship with a gyroscope of green lines whizzing around it, to a static mess of white and black lines. He tapped the screen to see if that would fix it. Nothing happened. He turned to speak to the admiral.
“Sir, the radar is out; something must be interfering with it.” He said politely.
“Well find the problem and fix it.” Admiral Chang ordered back.
Suddenly there was a whirring sound and the lights dimmed.
Captain James looked at a computer panel. “Sir, engine cores have spun to zero. He said bluntly.
“I thought these things were built to last?” Captain Jackson said frustrated by the events that had ruined their triumph. There was a sudden bang and the ships shook. The ship seemed to be in something’s shadow.
“What the hell is going on?” A midshipman asked. The crew were truly bewildered, they had no idea what was going on, they had even less idea when the bridge door started to burn in the locking system.
“What the fu…?” Admiral Chang began. He didn’t have time to finish his sentence because the door exploded into five pieces. As the smoke cleared, Admiral Chang’s expression turned from curiosity and anger into fear. Admiral Chang heard a buzz saw, and the next second he was dead. Within second the entire bridge crew of the EES Saturn were dead, their blood, dripping from the control panels, their innards, strewn across the floor, their lives taken without mercy.
However, this had not gone unnoticed. A midshipman in EES Mars looked at his control panel with curiosity.
“What the?” He said under his breath. He turned to his commanding officer, Admiral Blake, with the news. “Sir, something’s happened on Saturn.”
Admiral Blake wasted no time in taking action. “Get us over there, quick.” He ordered.
The ship did a short jump to Saturn’s location. The crew looked at Saturn. There was nothing wrong, no hull breach, and no damage of any kind.
“I don’t see anything.” Admiral Blake said bluntly.
“Wait, Admiral!” An officer shouted.
What the officer had seen shook the crew of Mars, the Saturn’s electromagnetic artillery cannons or EMACs were online, and were aiming right at Mars. Originally designed to remove dangerous asteroids and meteors, the EMAC shells would slice Mars in two like a hot knife through butter.
“Shields to maxi…” Admiral Blake began before being blown to pieces as Saturn’s EMAC guns fired two high velocity rounds straight into the hull of Mars.
Mars decompressed so incredibly fast its death was over in seconds. The decompression amplified the explosion beyond recognition. There was nothing left of Mars, there had been no warning; there was no warning for Earth. The Kallorians had struck.