Friday, February 14, 2014

Assault on Station 39

“We have to hold out just a little longer!” Commander Moore shouted out above the sound of explosions.  “They’re almost finished.  We have to buy the enough time to get Codename Destroyer completed.  No matter the cost.” 

His men were exhausted.  Somehow word had leaked that their remote outpost was where the work was being performed.  Nobody knew how it had happened, as only the very top personnel of the military were even aware of Codename Destroyer, much less its whereabouts.  Regardless, the Kardin Fleet had descended on them three days ago, and Commander Moore and his forces had been under constant fire since then.  If he was honest with himself, he didn’t know if they would last much longer.  But, he knew that his men needed his confidence, even if it was inauthentic.

“They should be running low on energy.  They won’t be able to hold up this assault much longer – Lt. Anson, I need the shields to hold just one more hour!” 

“Sir, I don’t know how they’ve lasted this long!  It’s only a matter of time before they collapse; and if I put any more energy into them, they might take the entire station with them when they do,” Lt. Anson shouted back through the comms.

“Lieutenant, I don’t care what you have to do, and I’d rather this station be blown to bits than for Codename Destroyer to fall into Kardin hands.  Just do it!”

A high pitched whine became audible throughout the station as Lt. Anson’s last bit of fission generated power was pushed through systems that were no longer able to handle the strain.  But, as long as the troops on Station 39 were able to hear the whine, they knew that they were at least alive, so nobody complained.

“Commander Moore, we’re losing men everywhere.  When will reinforcements arrive?”  This time it was Doctor Yang crackling over the comm relays.  He had been in battle before, but it always made him sick to see this many men dying – and for what?  Some science experiment; that’s all he got to know.  That’s all any of them got to know.  Commander Moore, knowing full well that they were on their own, chose to ignore Doctor Yang’s pleas.

In the lab, the scientists were frantically trying to keep Codename Destroyer intact, while also desperately trying to finalize the last steps needed to bring the power core online.  There were so many parts that hadn’t been tested that they had no idea what would happen.  Frankly, they were throwing pieces together so quickly, that they were certain that they had made some mistakes.  And they knew that any mistake at this juncture would be fatal.  There simply was no time to fix anything.

“Shields are down, sir – and they’re not coming back up!” Lt. Anson called back through the comms.  “We’re sitting ducks; they’ll be boarding us shortly.”

Almost on cue, Kardin shock troops immediately could be heard cutting through the side of the station.  Commander Moore and his men all pulled out their sidearms.  “You – you go and protect the lab!” he shouted to all of the other men on the bridge.  They hesitated briefly, knowing that if the Commander stayed, he had no hope of surviving this fight; yet they conceded and retreated through the spiderweb of hallways that led to the lab.

Just as they were leaving earshot of the bridge, they heard gunfire.  A few targeted shots of a hand weapon followed by the repeating explosions of the shock troops’ weapons.  Then nothing but the clang of heavy boots slamming against the ground.

The Kardin troops were filing through the opening that they had made in the Station by the hundreds.  The only thing between them and capturing Codename Destroyer was the empty hallways and the small handful of troops that had left the bridge under Commander Moore’s orders.  It was only a matter of time. 

In the lab, the scientists heard a few shouts.  They were muffled through the blast doors, but they could hear enough to gather that the base had been compromised.  They continued their frantic work, and very soon the muffled shouting turned to the explosions of weapons.  Then clanging on the blast doors as the Kardin troops began cutting through the final layer of protection.  And, just as theyfirst shock troop stepped through the newly penetrated doorway, they heard a deep bass sound booming through the lab:  “Codename Destroyer online.  Awaiting orders.”


  1. I'm not sure what you're aiming for here in some places... in some places it almost reads like a parody of high tension doomsday machine sci-fi. If you're doing that -- great! If not, try pulling back some. The tension you want to create is best drawn through a sieve of restraint. Cut back on adverbs and adjectives. Let the action do the telling.

    Is there more to this story? If so, let us know more about Commander Moore. In the first bit, let us stay with him a little longer. Paragraph 2 shifts to omniscient third person too quickly... third person is ok, but leave us in his shoes a little longer. Let us think as he thinks. -- "The men were edgy before this had started. Someone leaked their location -- someone Moore planned to throttle in his sleep some day. Codename Destroyer was above top secret. Only a few even knew the remote outpost existed, and fewer why. That hadn't stopped the Kardin Fleet's arrival three days ago... the last time Moore had any sleep before the constant barrage of rockets cratered the surface of their camouflaged armor plating." And so on. More details! And details that Moore would think to add.

    After introducing Moore, don't use his rank title every time you mention him. Mix it up a little. If you keep hammering it, it makes it seem like the "Commander" part is an unusually important part of his identity. If he can be "Moore" or "Rex" (just making up a manly first name) or even just "Commander" when a subordinate refers to him, each of these names tells us more about him, how he thinks about himself, how others relate to him.

    Same with "Codename Destroyer". Things that have codenames usually are not referred to by the fact that they have codenames on every mention. Eventually, you just call the thing "MKULTRA" or whatever, and drop the "Codename" part of it, unless there's a secret reason to keep calling it "Codename". Then in that case, carry on, and deliver on it sooner rather than later .

    Also, consider: codenames are often meant to be oblique or even nonsensical references (unless they're thinly disguised PR names like "Desert Storm"). I mean, we don't yet know if this is a destructive thing ... maybe it's a future aibo? But if it is, consider naming it something that's a reference to its background or creation. Where it's from or some facet of its creator. Building in little backstory bits like that pays off in the third act.

    Keep going. Some foundation is laid now. Build.

    1. Thanks. This story was really just me trying to play around a bit with sci fi, and not sure what I was doing. ;) You've got some good suggestions. I'll probably abandon this story and try again with sci fi in the future, and try to incorporate your suggestions in that one.