Monday, March 4, 2013

The Lost Command

The Lost Command


Ed Benjamin

The supreme commander of the expedition looked about the command vessel and lamented.  One expected losses, but the losses in arriving at the target planet were very significant.  Their home planet was 640 light years from their objective.  Each group of 350 craft had been encapsulated into modules so that the invasion force of 1400 ships could survive the jump through the space warp.  After the entry into near space had been completed, the control center had determined that two of the modules had broken up in hyperspace and the fleet had lost all 700 ships. 

The next calamity occurred when the remaining two modules had entered the target solar system and one capsule spun out of control crashing into the frozen wastes of the eighth planet from the star.   The remaining squadron had proceeded toward the objective, the third planet from the sun. 

This journey through the solar system continued at a slower pace.  The trip from the eighth planet to the third planet took approximately three times as long as the trip through the wormhole. 

The intelligence section spent its time wisely.  The analysts studied the broadcasts of the microwave transmissions received in the lower communications band.  Apparently the occupants of this world had not yet mastered the intricacies of higher band transmissions.  These transmissions did indicate that the inhabitants were on the verge of creating a viable civilization.  The planet contained the raw materials that the commander's home world needed to alleviate the overcrowding that threatened their existence.  Once determined that this planet was suitable, the leaders made their decision.  They would invade, destroy the life forms ruling the planet, and colonize it.

The mission proceeded.  As the capsule prepared to loose the remaining squadron of 350 ships into the waters of the ocean, a fire broke out and only a hundred or so ships managed to escape into the depths of the planet’s ocean.  Radar did not detect these craft because the home world had miniaturized the attacking ships.  Size did not matter to the success of this mission. 

Once in the water, Phase II of the operation commenced.

After some confusion, the commander was able to rally the ships into a recognizable formation and require them to adopt the disguise of small marine crustaceans that abounded in plenty in these northern waters.  In looking over the remnants of the squadron, the commander found it hard to distinguish his ships from the other crustaceans that frequented the same waters.  That settled, the commander began preparations for activating the Incubula.  This incubula, once activated and dispersed through the atmosphere of the planet, would carry the seeds of destruction for every living being on the planet.  Then, his fellow travelers from home could make the journey and colonize the planet in earnest.

As the commander began to prepare to give the activation orders, he noticed that the formation was becoming very ragged.  He gave orders for the ships to align in a chevron formation.

All of a sudden, the command ship began to roll and it tumbled through a fine mesh-like affair.  Then the ship and all the other ships of the squadron traveled down a long dark space.  The occupants of the craft began to scream as a powerful acid ate through the walls of each ship dissolving it.  All the ships were destroyed before the incubula could be activated.  The mission had failed.

The planet, that its occupants called Earth, was saved.

The two whales swam side by side.  One whale let out a powerful belch.

"What's the matter?" one whale asked.

"Dunno, must have been a bad bunch of krill."

"Do you think they could have been something else?"

“If it was, it was something very similar to it." 

The End