Rumors of Glory (The System States Rebellion Book 1)

Rumors of Glory (Book One of the System
States Rebellion)

By Dietmar Arthur Wehr

 

Copyright 2015 by Dietmar Arthur Wehr

 

 

Other Military SF series by Dietmar Arthur Wehr:

The Synchronicity War Series (Part 1 is free)

 

 

 

 

Introduction:

Rumors of Glory is a 44,300 word novella, that sets the
stage for a multi-book series about an interstellar civil war that lasts more
than 10 years and takes place in a volume of space that is over 1 million cubic
light years in size and includes over 500 inhabited planets. Regardless of
whether you’re a fan of space fleets or space marines, you’ll find the kind of
action you’re looking for in this series. Rumors of Honor, the next (full
length) installment in the series is expected to be published before the end of
April, 2015. Underlined words can be found in the Glossary of Terms.

You can join my mailing list
here
and
be notified when I publish new books in this and other series. I would also
like to apologize for any inconvenience that cancellation of the pre-order may
have caused. I felt I had no choice but to cancel the pre-order when it became
clear that I would not be able to have the final version ready by Amazon’s
January 21
st
deadline due to a very painful and debilitating
illness. If I hadn’t voluntarily cancelled the pre-order, Amazon would have
done it the next day.

 

 

 

 

 

Contents

Cast
of Characters:
2

Glossary
of Terms:
2

Prologue:
4

Chapter
One
..
5

Chapter
Two
..
14

Chapter
Three
..
21

Chapter
Four
.
27

Chapter
Five
..
38

Chapter
Six
..
52

Chapter
Seven
..
62

Chapter
Eight
71

Chapter
Nine
..
81

Chapter
Ten
..
89

Chapter
Eleven
..
101

Chapter
Twelve
..
115

Chapter
Thirteen
..
122

Chapter
Fourteen
..
130

Chapter
Fifteen
..
136

 

Cast of Characters:

System
States Union:

Nathan
Belloc, SSU Chancellor and President of Sparta

Frank
Shaw, SSU Secretary of Industry & Trade

Mandy
Sorensen, SSU Secretary for Defense

Mykhel
Janicot, SSU Chief of Space Operations

Cptn.
Obrist, Aerospace Defense Command Duty Officer

Lt.
Ortega,

Cmdr.
Yamaguchi, missile boat commander

Cmdr.
Grant, missile boat commander

Cmdr.
Roland Drake, missile boat commander

Cmdr.
Powell, Head of SSU Naval Security

Bret
Murphy, former Federation navy officer

Morgan,
electronics technician

Cptn.
Soroya, freighter skipper

Captain
Cate Foster, FED naval officer and SSU spy

 

 

Federation
of Planetary States:

Admiral
Sergei Chenko, FED Navy Chief of Staff

General
Frank Masterson, FED Army Chief of Staff

General
Jonn Trojan, Head of the Joint Army/Navy Planning Group

Commodore
Stacker, FED Navy

Captain
Corvosier, Commanding Officer of FED Navy cruiser, Coral Sea

Captain
Stevens, Commanding Officer of FED Navy cruiser, Kursk

Captain
Korigan, FED Army

Lieutenant
Lorelei Remington, FED Navy

Senior
Lt. Gus Connor, courier pilot, FED Navy

Sylvia
Santiago, Assistant Colonial Secretary

 

 

 

Glossary of Terms:

Kps (Kilometers per second)

Klicks (slang expression for kilometers)

FPS (Federation of Planetary States)

Maser (Microwave version of laser)

HE (High-explosive missile warhead)

KE (Kinetic-energy missile warhead)

SecDef (Secretary of Defense)

CO (Commanding Officer)

XO (Executive Officer)

WO (Weapons Officer)

LO (Logistics Officer)

 

Prologue:

 

In the second half of the 21
st
century, a
breakthrough in faster than light technology was achieved. A multi-national
organization was set up to explore for colonizable planets. Over the next five
centuries, hundreds of suitable planets were discovered, although most were
separated by considerable distances. Average transit times between Earth and
the colonized planets were 3.4 months. The furthest planets were over eight
months away. Due to the uneven distribution of suitable planets around the
Earth, most of the colony planets were located toward the center of the spiral
arm. Not all the colonized planets were equally hospitable. Some were more
attractive than others, and their populations grew faster.

 

By the mid 26
th
century, there were a dozen
worlds with the same level of technology as Earth and populations of half a
billion or more. The organization evolved over those five centuries into the
Federation of Planetary States. Due to Earth’s higher population, it continued
to dominate the FPS Assembly, which passed laws benefiting Earth-based
corporations at the expense of the inhabitants of the planets those
corporations exploited. The FPS Navy (referred to by colonists as the FEDs)
consisted mainly of lightly armed but unarmored patrol cruisers designed mainly
for anti-smuggling and anti-piracy duties.

 

By 2535, several of the more developed planets began
secret discussions to form closer economic ties, with the possibility of a more
formal political arrangement. A year later, they and six other planets signed a
treaty forming a customs union, along with agreements on technology sharing,
mutual investment and the establishment of their own shipping company to compete
with Earth-based shipping monopolies. Those shipping monopolies pressured the
FED Navy to harass the colonial freighters with frequent inspections and
citations for technical infractions. Late in 2537, the heads of the signatory
planets met secretly and agreed to form the System States Union and secede from
the FPS. The new SSU government, headquartered on Sparta, began to organize
itself and its armed forces in secret. Sparta’s newly announced Planetary
Defense Force (legal under the FPS Constitution) provided the cover for
training the core of the SSU Navy. The plan to take over FED Navy and Army
assets was set for day 31 of 2539.

Chapter One

 

Day 31/2539

It was just after dawn by the time Senior Lieutenant Roland
Drake arrived at the System Defense Force gate. The guard at the gate had a
grim expression as he waived Drake through, and he understood completely why
that was. It was less than an hour until H-hour, the moment when military
personnel loyal to the new System States Union would put green armbands over
their black uniforms and seize control of all Federation navy and army assets
on the planet Sparta. No one knew if they could pull it off without any
shooting. In theory they should be able to. Most of the junior and middle
officers of the Army’s Tank Battalion, and a considerable minority of the
infantry battalions’ officers were part of the conspiracy. With control of the
armory and tanks in SSU hands, it should be easy to sort out who among the
enlisted ranks were sympathetic to the Cause and who had to be placed under
guard. The Navy was a little different. Only one Patrol Cruiser was on the
ground, and it happened to be the Yorktown, which Drake knew was only partially
infiltrated. The plan was to use a platoon of contra-gravity tanks crewed by
SSU army people to surround the Yorktown and force the Federation loyalists to
turn the ship over to SSU control. And in the unlikely event that the Fed
loyalists tried to use the Yorktown to either escape with a warning to Terra or
fire on the SSU army units, it would be up to the Spartan System Defense Force
to stop them. That meant that the one and so far only Missile Boat, of which Drake
was Executive Officer, and which was only 70 meters in diameter, might have to
slug it out with the 300 meter diameter Yorktown.
Of course
, he thought
to himself as he parked his groundcar in the base parking lot,
size wasn’t
everything
. The Yorktown was hyperjump capable, while MB101 was not, and
the Anderman hyperdrive took up a LOT of space on the larger ship. In terms of
ordnance, his missile boat was almost equal to the cruiser. Eight missile
launch tubes versus ten for the Yorktown, and the missile boat actually had a
very thin coating of collapsed matter armor, while the Yorktown had none at
all. All things considered, he’d rather be in the missile boat than in the
cruiser.

 

Drake pulled his carry-on bag from the cargo compartment
and walked briskly to the SDF Base main building. When he entered, he saw that
MB101’s small crew, except for her Skipper, were already assembled in the Ready
Room. They greeted him with friendly but serious expressions. Everyone in the
SDF knew about H-hour since they all had been handpicked for not only their
skills but, first and foremost, for their loyalty to the people of Sparta.

 

Lt. Davidson, the Weapons Officer nodded to Drake and
said, “The Skipper called ahead to say she would be delayed but would still
make it here by ah…the deadline and that we should wait for her by the
deployment truck.”

 

“Fine. Let’s all take our gear outside and wait by the
truck.”

 

The vehicle that would carry the crew out to MB101, which
was standing over a mile away, was far enough from the main building that they
would have a good view of the FED Navy Base, which was adjacent to the SDF
Base. When he got close to the truck, Drake pulled his pair of electronic
binoculars from his carry-on bag and braced his arms on the truck to take a
look at the navy base. As he zoomed in as close as possible, the transceiver in
his ear, which was set to the SDF operations frequency, clicked to life.

 

“NC233 eta is now 5 hours, 45 minutes.”

 

NC meant Navy Courier, and the approaching ship would be
secured after it landed, assuming that no one got off a warning message before
then. It was unfortunate that a courier was inbound at the same time the
planners had chosen for H hour, but since couriers did not keep to a fixed
schedule, it was a case of just plain bad luck. In his field of vision, Drake
saw the Yorktown sitting on her landing pad with her main ramp extended and no
apparent movement nearby. He turned 90 degrees to look at the Army Base that
was also adjacent to the Navy Base. This time he did see movement. Tanks and
other armored contra-gravity vehicles were moving around. As he lowered the
binoculars, he heard the distant wailing of the Navy Base’s alert siren. That
wasn’t supposed to be happening, at least not this early. Something wasn’t
right.

 

Drake turned to the others, speaking quickly. “Everybody
climb aboard right now!” Throwing his carry-on bag into the cargo area, he
climbed into the cab and looked at the driver who looked back and shrugged,
obviously just as confused as he was. Just as Drake decided to use the truck’s
radio to call the SDF Operations Center to ask what was happening, he heard the
voice over his transceiver again.

 

“Attention all SDF personnel. Execute Dropkick now! I
repeat…execute Dropkick now! MB101 to initiate emergency liftoff!” The order
repeated but Drake was no longer listening. He was yelling at the driver to take
them to the boat.

 

In the back, Davidson asked, “What about the Skipper?”

 

“There’s no time!” yelled Drake. Operations must have a
reason why they wanted the 101 off the ground as fast as possible. It only took
a few seconds for the truck to reach the boat and screech to a halt, but it
seemed much longer.  Drake jumped from the truck, reached in to grab his carry-on
bag and ran for the boat’s ramp. As soon as everyone was off, the driver took
off. Whatever was going on, he clearly didn’t want to be caught in the middle
of it out in the open. Drake ran up the ramp and over to the main elevator that
would take them up ten levels to the Control Center.

As the others piled in behind him, Drake said, “First
stop is the CC! Other levels afterwards! Got that?” He heard someone
acknowledge the order.

 

The elevator doors closed and the ship’s computer asked, “Level?”

 

Drake answered with, “CC code red!” Immediately the
elevator rose faster than usual. So fast in fact that a couple of the enlisted
men looked like they might throw up when the elevator suddenly started to
decelerate just as quickly. Drake was glad when he was able to get off the
elevator and into the CC. Davidson and two other crewmen followed, the rest
stayed on the elevator, which took them to their stations on other levels. Drake
ran over to the Command Station which Commander Yamaguchi would have used had she
made it on time.

 

He settled into the chair and began to speak. “MB101
Comp, this is XO Roland Drake. As senior officer on board I am assuming command
of MB101. Do you acknowledge that I have the Con?”  

 

“Voice pattern confirmed. The Executive Officer has
control of the ship.”

 

“Initiate emergency power up procedures and advise when
ready! MB101 to SDF Ops! We are preparing for emergency liftoff. What’s the
situation?” With the channel to Operations now open, he could hear background
chatter that sounded like a crisis was in progress.

 

“Ops to 101. Word of the takeover must have leaked. The
Navy Base went on alert and we detected a transmission to NC233, which has
changed course and is now accelerating away from the planet. We believe it’s
attempting to jump away and warn the FEDs. Your orders are to lift off ASAP and
intercept NC233. Use all necessary force to prevent it from jumping away.
Repeat…all necessary force.”

 

“Shit.” Drake was being ordered to fire missiles at the
retreating courier. Couriers weren’t designed for combat. They were small,
compact craft, which if hit by either a kinetic energy or chemical explosive
warhead were likely to be critically damaged, with a high probability of fatal
injuries to its minimal crew. He had hoped he wouldn’t have to shoot at any
former comrades today, but it now looked like he would. Keeping the new System
States Union a secret from the rest of the Federation for as long as possible
was vital if the SSU were to have any chance of building up its defenses before
the Federation could strike back. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he was
aware that he might go down in history as the man who ordered the first shot
fired in the first civil war the Federation had ever faced after almost 500
years of peace. He put those thoughts aside before speaking.

 

“Order received and understood. Liftoff is imminent! What
about the Yorktown?” There was a pause before the Operations voice responded.

   

“Status of the Yorktown is unknown at this point. We have
unconfirmed reports of small arms fire at the Navy’s main building. Our tanks
are on their way to secure the Yorktown and the Base. We’ll keep you advised if
the situation becomes clearer. You’re cleared to liftoff. Good hunting, 101!”

   

“Acknowledge clearance for liftoff. 101 out.” Drake
checked the Systems Status Board on his Command Station main screen and saw
that most of the major systems were showing the green light indicating ready
for operations. When the last red light shifted to green he heard the ship’s
computer speak.

   

“Power up procedures complete. The ship is ready for
liftoff.”

   

“Give me ship-wide intercom,” Drake ordered, and then
waited for the two tone signal that a ship-wide announcement was about to be
made before continuing. “XO to crew. Stand by for high G liftoff! Intercom off.
Computer, liftoff will be at 5Gs! Initiate liftoff now!”

 

Even with the inertial compensators taking most of the
strain, Drake felt himself being pushed down into the padding of the Command
Station seat. At 5Gs, the ship would reach supersonic speed in 5.5 seconds. He
hoped that anyone out in the open back on the ground had ear protectors on when
the 30,000 ton missile boat broke the sound barrier relatively close to the
ground. The sonic boom would be deafening. Almost immediately he heard the
computer.

   

“Mach one…Mach two…Mach three…”

 

When the steel hull started to heat due to friction, Drake
said, “Reduce speed to maintain hull temperatures at safe levels, then
accelerate back to 5Gs when the ship clears the atmosphere.” He felt
acceleration disappear as the ship’s engines put out only enough lift to keep
the ship’s speed just low enough to prevent friction heating. With Sparta’s
atmosphere almost 100 kilometers thick, it would take the boat over three
minutes to reach space.

 

After checking to make sure that all systems were
functioning properly, he said, “101 to Ops. Where’s the bogey now?”

 

“Ops to 101. We’re uploading our data to you now. Bogey
has turned off her transponder, so our latest data is based on orbital radar
only.”

 

Drake looked at his main screen and saw it shift to a
tactical plot of the space near the planet. The navy courier was accelerating
laterally to shoot past the planet as the quickest way to break out into deep
space again. Its velocity was just under 400 kilometers per second and Drake
knew that a navy courier’s maximum acceleration was 10Gs, compared to his
missile boat’s maximum of 5.5Gs. Courier ships were designed to get a message
to the destination as fast as physically possible. Of the courier’s interior
space, 99% was devoted to power plant, hyperdrive, maneuvering drive, life
support, communications and astrogation equipment, with only the remaining 1%
available for the use of the crew. She was still over 4.25 million kilometers
from Sparta and was now frantically trying to get back out beyond the 5.5
million kilometer hyperzone boundary. Drake manipulated the tactical display
and swore under his breath.  Interception would be iffy at best. Even though
the courier could out-accelerate his missile boat, it had a lot of momentum
carrying it towards Sparta. By accelerating laterally, it was trying to convert
that forward momentum to a sideways vector, rather than decelerate to a dead
stop then accelerate back out in the opposite direction again. Drake knew that
his boat’s missiles had a maximum powered range of just under five million
kilometers and their tremendous acceleration of 350 Gs would in theory catch
the bogey before it broke past the zone boundary. Whether those missiles would
be accurate enough at the speed they’d be travelling to hit their target was
another matter entirely. By the time they reached the projected interception
point, the bogey would be traveling sideways across the missiles’ path, which
was exactly the most difficult kind of interception scenario. He’d have to
launch his missiles almost as soon as he cleared the atmosphere, and the
distance to the target at that point would be over 13 light seconds. The
missiles would have to be aimed at the point where the boat’s computer
estimated the bogey would be by the time the missiles got there, which meant
that if the bogey changed course radically enough and soon enough, the missiles’
terminal guidance radars might not see it in time to adjust their own vectors
to compensate.

 

Drake looked up and said, “XO to Weapons.”

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