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Authors: Michael McCollum

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McCollum - GIBRALTAR STARS

GIBRALTAR STARS

 

(A Novel)

 

 

By

 

Michael McCollum

 

SCI FI - ARIZONA

A Virtual Science Fiction Bookstore and Writer’s Workshop on the INTERNET

www.scifi-az.com

 

 

ISBN 1-934805-29-7 /
978-1-934805-29-9

390
pages

Copyright 2009 by Michael McCollum

 

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States of America by Sci Fi - Arizona, a virtual science fiction bookstore, and writer’s workshop located on the INTERNET at www.scifi-az.com.

 

 

 

Michael McCollum

Proprietor

Sci Fi - Arizona

PO Box 14026

Tempe, AZ 85284-0068

[email protected]

 

01312010

The Rock of Gibraltar

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Prologue
       vi

The Duodecimal System
       vii

PART ONE:
       1

PREPARATIONS FOR WAR
       1

Chapter One
       2

Chapter Two
       7

Chapter Three
       13

Chapter Four
       16

Chapter Five
       19

Chapter Six
       23

Chapter Seven
       27

Chapter Eight
       31

Chapter Nine
       35

Chapter Ten
       40

Chapter Eleven
       43

Chapter Twelve
       48

Chapter Thirteen
       52

Chapter Fourteen
       56

Chapter Fifteen
       60

Chapter Sixteen
       64

Chapter Seventeen
       68

Chapter Eighteen
       72

Chapter Nineteen
       76

Chapter Twenty
       80

PART TWO:
       84

UNTO THE BREACH…
       84

Chapter Twenty-One
       85

Chapter Twenty-Two
       89

Chapter Twenty-Three
       93

Chapter Twenty-Four
       97

Chapter Twenty-Five
       101

Chapter Twenty-Six
       106

Chapter Twenty-Seven
       110

Chapter Twenty-Eight
       114

Chapter Twenty-Nine
       118

Chapter Thirty
       121

Chapter Thirty-One
       125

Chapter Thirty-Two
       130

Chapter Thirty-Three
       134

Chapter Thirty-Four
       138

Chapter Thirty-Five
       142

Chapter Thirty-Six
       147

Chapter Thirty-Seven
       152

Chapter Thirty-Eight
       157

Chapter Thirty-Nine
       163

Chapter Forty
       166

PART Three:
       172

LET SLIP THE DOGS OF WAR
       172

Chapter Forty-One
       173

Chapter Forty-Two
       177

Chapter Forty-Three
       180

Chapter Forty-Four
       185

Chapter Forty-Five
       189

Chapter Forty-Six
       193

Chapter Forty-Seven
       196

Chapter Forty-Eight
       199

Chapter Forty-Nine
       205

Author’s Biography
       208

Sci Fi - Arizona
       209

WWW.SCIFI-AZ.COM
       209

NOVELS
       210

Non-Fiction Books
       213

 

Prologue

 

“No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy.”

 

—Field Marshall Helmuth Carl Bernard von Moltke, Prussian General Staff

 

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the ancient wisdom of our profession. Despite this axiom, few military officers are truly prepared when they come face to face with the enemy in battle. We make our plans, array our forces, build vast logistics trains, and worry about the smallest details of the most unlikely scenarios. Yet, when the moment of truth arrives, we find it nothing like we imagined. A prime example of this is our recent campaign against the implacable alien foe.

As others have pointed out, we were incredibly lucky during our first encounter with the Broa. Had things gone just a little differently that day, this planet would now be enslaved, or barren. Having been present at the initiation of the current conflict, I can tell you that we felt many things that day, but “lucky” was not one of them.

I was in my cabin when we felt that first gravity wave pass through
Magellan
. A few minutes later, sensors reported a battle in progress between two alien ships that had appeared out of nowhere. What we didn’t realize was that we would soon become combatants ourselves.

It all happened so quickly that there was no time to plan, no plotting of move and countermove. That first battle was fought with instinct and wild improvisation. It is only by the Grace of God that we survived to bring home the news that humanity was no longer alone in the universe.

Later, when the First Expedition confirmed that there was indeed a race of hostile alien overlords in the next galactic arm, the human race found itself in a quandary. We knew about them, but they were, as yet, ignorant of our existence.

You all remember the Great Debate. Many well-meaning people thought discretion the better part of valor. They counseled a policy of retreat from the stars and a reduction in our electromagnetic emissions at home, all the better to hide from our new enemies. Many were attracted to this point of view. It was only after events proved such ‘safety’ to be an illusion that we decided to face the danger squarely and begin preparations for war.

For six long years, we spied out the enemy’s weaknesses. We invented new weapons and technologies, built vast flotillas and manned them with the best of our young warriors. We established secret bases in the heart of the enemy domain, moved vast mountains of supplies, and did all we could to get ready for the inevitable day when we would finally confront the Broa.

Yet, when that day came, our preparations were incomplete. Some of our plans had not worked out as expected. Many of our most important fleet units were still under construction. Like every other fleet/army in history, we went into battle when circumstances forced the battle, not when we were prepared for it.

Yet, to date we have been successful. This is not primarily due to our planning and staff work, although these are essential precursors to victory. No, we carry the fight to the enemy because of the diligence, competence, and sheer guts of those who ride our ships into battle.

These, ladies and gentlemen, are your predecessors. I know that when the time comes for you to take your place beside them, you will carry on in their tradition and that of the Terrestrial Space Navy!

 

—From a Commencement Address to the Naval Academy Graduating Class of 2358, by Admiral Daniel Landon.

The Duodecimal System

The duodecimal system is widely used by species that possess six digits on one grasping member and which are laterally bisymmetric. Chief among these are our adversaries, the Broa.

 

 
Decimal

1 = One

2 = Two

3 = Three

4 = Four

5 = Five

6 = Six

7 = Seven

8 = Eight

9 = Nine

10 = Ten

11 = Eleven

12 = Twelve = Dozen

10x10 = 100 = Hundred

10x10x10 = 1000 = Thousand

 

Duodecimal

1 = One

2 = Two

3 = Three

4 = Four

5 = Five

6 = Six

7 = Seven

8 = Eight

9 = Nine

A = Ten

B = Eleven

10 = Twelve = Dozen

10x10 = 100 = Gross (144 decimal)

10x10x10 = 1000 = Great-Gross (1728 decimal)

 

 

PART ONE:

PREPARATIONS FOR WAR

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter One

One piece of space looks like any other
, Lisa Rykand, thought morosely as she gazed at the shrunken star more than a billion kilometers below.

Lisa was a petite blonde with green eyes and a nose that turned up at the end. She wore her hair cropped close in a microgravity style. Her mouth was a bit too wide for her face, and her cheeks had a tendency to dimple when she smiled. She wasn’t smiling at the moment.

For more than a year each successive mission had taken them farther out along the Perseus Arm of the Milky Way and deeper into enemy space. Sol was too small and dim to be seen from her current vantage point. Had it been visible, the photons detected would be brother to those that once illuminated a small village destined one day to become Babylon. The constellations were another reminder of how far they had voyaged. None were remotely the same as those named by the ancient Arab astronomers.

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