Gray Panthers: Earths Revenge (21 page)

Arizona Space Ship Beater in deep space

6 September 2128

Short Blade was on his way to the mess after getting off duty. The last few days had been some of the best in his life. Each pilot he had assisted during the last three days had practically nothing to do so they had spent time training Short Blade on all aspects of being a pilot. While he had extensive experience on the ship, it all ended at the hatch to the flight deck. Short Blade had surprised himself at how quickly he picked it up and how simple it really was.

Andrzej Worchol was feeling miserable for numerous reasons. He had been on duty for six hours and was feeling the effects of the FTL from the first hour. The little alien had been a surprisingly good companion for that time and he had enjoyed giving him tips on being a pilot. Andrzej had the next six hours he would spend alone now that Short Blade was gone, that was a new sensation since he was one of triplets. He looked down from the Captains’ chair to make sure the pail was still there if he needed it reassured by its presence. Two hours later trying to stay awake after having nothing to do Andrzej had an idea, “Beater, please show yourself,” he asked. “Thank you, Beater, Do you have any documentary material on space battles we can view?”

“There are only a limited number of clips. Unlike humans, other species are usually offended by anything to do with war and refuse to even view military videos even when they are not graphic. What are you trying to learn?” Beater asked.

“For the moment I’m just trying to stay awake and not be sick. I’m also wondering what we can find ourselves up against and how we would fare."

“Lt. Worchol, your apprehension is normal and healthy. I have run numerous simulations of what can happen. The Beater was victorious in all scenarios. If you are primarily looking for an activity to keep busy I will teach you how to play chess,” Beater offered.

“I’d like to see that, Beater, bring it on,” Andrzej challenged. Six games later Andrzej was bored and smarting from being soundly trounced.

Gray Panther Head Quarters Arizona

7 September 2128

General Black was looking at the Army on paper. Everything seemed to be focused on the fleet and he felt that something was missing for the Army. The basic premise of the Army was light mobility centered around the shuttle. The shuttle delivered ten man units. The shuttles were used in groups of three to make up a flight. Once the men were delivered the shuttles were both the air cover and provided logistical support. The infantry were well armed, but what would happen if they came up against a superior foe that controlled the air? He needed to get with Abby about light weight anti-air defense. Black was also thinking about the faeries. That was the name he had given the tiny sensors that were able to track a person from a foot away and not be seen. They had been used to devastating effect exposing dirty politicians when the old regime was uncovered for its corruption. Similar units were used on Gray Panther space ships to repel boarders. Black was thinking they would be ideal to locate enemy and even attack them. The last item he was thinking about was some form of forward base defense if they found themselves not in control of the air.

 

Arizona Space Ship Beater in Deep Space

9 September 2128

Commander Johnson was feeling the nausea as it seemed to be building. There was five minutes until they dropped out to normal space and it felt like an eternity.

“Lt. Horton, I don’t know what we are going to find, or what’s going to find us so be alert. We have one minute till normal space; all hands man your stations.”

The effect on the crew was immediately felt on the return to normal space. There was nothing nearby as the Captain had the crew stand down to fifty percent alert.

“Lt. Horton, any idea where we are?”

“Sir, I estimate we are 60 light years from home. I am scanning to see if we can get an exact location.”

“Scan for a red dwarf system with a gas giant please.”

“Beater have you found it already?” Johnson asked.

“Yes Sir, since you asked the lieutenant I did not interfere. If there had been any danger or more emphasis on your part I would have volunteered the information…”

“Found it, sir, estimate 4 hours distance using thrusters at heading 360 elevation 20 degrees,” Lt. Horton answered.

“Beater do you confirm range and speed estimate?” Johnson queried.

“Estimate is accurate, sir,” Beater answered.

“Commander Poland, set a course for the gas giant max thruster.”

“Aye, Aye sir, heading for the gas giant at max thruster, ETA 4 hours.”

“Beater, let me know when it is safe again to engage the FTL drive. I also want a probe ready to find out everything we can about the moon in orbit around the gas giant. We will stop on the way back to get the readings from the probe.”

“Captain, since we will be as close as we are to the gas giant we launch a probe to study it also. If it is comprised of helium 3 it will be easier to mine from a gaseous state then it is from a solid state as we do from the moon’s surface,” Beater suggested.

“Request approved, Beater. You may launch both probes at your discretion.”

Three and a half hours later the ships pilot was the first to report to the Captain.

“Sir, we are experiencing some gravitational fluctuations between the moon and the gas giant. Recommend we change course slightly so the moon is between us and the gas giant,” Commander Poland recommended.

“Adjust course at your discretion Commander Poland until you can get us in a high orbit of the moon.”

“Captain the FTL drive is ready to be engaged. Both probes have been launched,” Beater reported.

“I guess we will have to wait for another day to play explorer. Commander Poland please set course for League of Planets Space. Then engage the FTL drive. We will return to our previous rotation until we are back in normal space. I will see you gentlemen in five days.”

 

Gray Panther Head Quarters

13 September 2128

Abdul was not sure what he should do. Reports had gotten to him that extra parts that had been made in Vietnam, Thailand, and Taiwan had found their way to China and were being disassembled and copied. The Chinese were building their own shuttle program from stolen technology. “Grub, what do we know about the Chinese manufacturing plants that are producing copies of our technology?” Abby asked.

“It appears it has been restricted to a single factory. Even in China, factories are not above stealing from other factories. They have not yet gone into production and are instead still studying the components they have managed to procure. I can access the systems there and cause the factory to overload its electrical system. That should be enough to cause a catastrophic fire. It appears everything has been compartmentalized in their networks so I can easily destroy all records and backups of the data,” Grub offered.

“Have they made any modifications to the equipment or have they kept it all original? If they have made any improvements I’d like to know. Meanwhile let’s find the sources they got the parts from so we can close the leak,” Abby ordered.

“Abby, it appears that the parts were all taken off the assembly lines by quality assurance and tagged as unserviceable and unrepairable. In all three cases it looks like the head of quality assurance has become particularly well off financially,” Grub stated.

“Dan, how about a working lunch? I have some stuff to go over with you,” Abby commed.

“Sure, noon in my office. I’ll see you then,” Dan replied.

At noon, Abby walked into Dan’s office and was not surprised to see General Black there as well. The two were sitting at a conference table with a couple large pizzas. Both men were drinking beer. Abby sat down and grabbed a slice for his plate.

Black nodded then said, “Afternoon, Abby, I hope your day is going as good as mine. I had a couple ideas I wanted to go over with you. Everything we have based our Army on was on the assumption we have control of the air. I want to be prepared for the worst case scenario in which an enemy controls the air and the units are forward without any support. I want the infantry to have a light weight anti-air defense unit that can also reach into space if needed. I’d also like to see faeries adapted to locate the enemy and even attack them. I want to see that ability at the squad level. The last item I was thinking about was some form of forward base defense if they found themselves not in control of the air. Counter artillery or laser, maybe a force field generator,” the General suggested.

Abby has listened patiently and remembered a few times when the Iranian Guard had attacked his village with helicopters and there were no defenses against the airborne slaughter. “I will see what I can do General, I agree it should be looked into before we deploy off planet. The forward base defense you want I think should be built into the shuttles since it would be too big to be man portable.” Abby then turned to Dan and continued, “Dan we have a problem with the Chinese. They are stealing from our factories to make their own shuttle. I would bet they are on their way to making their own reverse engineered ship as well. Can you imagine the shit we will get from our government if that happens? We will be forced to give them the same technology and we will have a new all out arms race.”

“That will not be happening if we have to have another act of God with a meteor crashing down from the heavens the same way North Korea lost its leadership,” Dan stated.

“At the moment it’s all confined to one facility. We can wipe out their records of it and can remotely overload their facilities and possible burn it to the ground. We need to send a strong message to deter them from trying again in the future though as well. I would like to chat with their premier the same time we take out the facility. I think that would drive the point home. I would use that time to reassure him that the fleet we are building is no danger to China, but it could be,” Abby stated.

“Abby, you are no statesman; you’d probably shoot the premier in the kneecaps as a warning. I don’t want to pussy foot around with them either. If I have you get in contact with the premier it appears low level and that I don’t consider it a big deal. OK, go ahead and have a chat with the premiere and take care of the problem,” Dan said smiling as he took a deep swig of beer.

Abby took a bite out of his pizza savoring the flavors then reassured Dan, “Trust me, no problem.”

Abby’s smile made Dan and Black both shudder as they had seen that same smile when Abby was committed to getting something done. Dan worried he had just let loose a world of hurt on China.

 

Beijing China

14 September 2128

The Communist General Secretary Bo Gu was annoyed with his assistant for accepting an appointment to receive a phone call from the number two man of the Gray Panther Army, but conceded it may be interesting. Americans were so weak and easy to see through he would have fun toying with this “ghost.” The phone rang and Bo Gu told his assistant to put the call through to his office. As soon as he picked up the phone an apparition appeared in his office.

“Good evening, General Secretary, I thank you for taking my call. I thought you would appreciate seeing me as we talked so you can see my sincerity for this call. I apologize if the surprise annoyed you.” Bo Gu recovered from the shock quickly.

“That is not a problem Mr. Bahadur, had I known you had this capacity I would have projected myself to your office as well. We have had this technology for a while as I’m sure you are aware. I am aware of the traditions of most Americans of “getting to the point” so I will dispense with small talk. What can I do for you?"

“I thank you for your brevity, General Secretary. I just wanted to apologize for the fire that destroyed the facility that was housing Gray Panther ship components. If the components are not properly grounded they can interact with the local electrical system of where they are stored. Had I known you had the components I would have warned you sooner,” Abby said not even trying to hide his smile.

“Thank you for your courtesy in this matter but I do not know what you are talking about,” Bo Gu replied keeping a straight face not knowing if his anger was visible by the damn ghost before him.

“Mr. Secretary, if you look out your window across the Forbidden City you can see the smoke I believe,” Abby suggested.

“That is fine, Mr. Bahadur. Is there anything else you have contacted me for?” Bo Gu asked trying to keep his voice neutral and from rising.

“Just that and to let you know Jesus is coming and he is pissed. Our God destroyed the Godless North Korean leader with an asteroid setting free the people of the yoke of communism. He told me he would have a message for you. He said you should ask the commanders of the three subs off the American coast if they have seen anything interesting. Mr. Secretary I am the staff of my lord and if you fuck with the Gray Panthers I will strike you down!” As Abby had been speaking his apparition had continued to grow until he disappeared in fire and smoke.

Bo Gu stood frozen in shock from rage and fear. No one talked to him the way the American did. Bo Gu also realized that the ghost had been speaking flawless Mandarin. He immediately went to the window to see black heavy smoke coming from the other side of the Forbidden City. Anger rose as he also realized the fire must have started during his scheduled call from the ghost. The other things the upstart has said now popped back into his head as he called for his assistant. “Chen, get with the secretary of the Navy. I want to know if the submarines on Americas west coast have had anything to report immediately!” Bo Gu sat at his desk waiting to hear what his assistant had to say upon his return.

“Mr. Secretary, we had reports from all three subs that they had witnessed small asteroids crashing into the sea less than a mile from them.”

“Get with the Strategic Force Command have them report to you the origin of those asteroids or whatever they were. I also want the science commission to report on the origin of those asteroids. I want that information as soon as possible or heads will roll!” Bo Gu shouted. This was one of those few days he missed being an agent of the
Ministry of State Security. Bo Gu was seething in rage when his assistant reported back to him three hours later.

“Mr. Secretary both agencies have confirmed the origin of the asteroids was indeed from space. Both agencies are adamant there was no source for them to have been launched from Earth because of their trajectory."

“Very well, have
Ministry of State Security continue to monitor the Gray Panther Army, but do not take any more samples of technology without my direct authorization,” Bo Gu ordered, as he reached into his cabinet for his bottle of Jack Daniels and noticed his hand was shaking.

 

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