From: (Dave Hemming)
Newsgroups: talk.bizarre
Subject: FTSD: Out of Olympus III: Eppo Si Muove
Date: Wed, 01 Dec 1999 23:16:11 GMT
Organization: remove all your clothes to reply
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This is sort of a sequel to a post I made a goodly long time ago (the
file on my HD is dated 20/08/98). I've tried to make it at least a
little accessible to first-time readers, but I suspect it'd be better if
you read the former... The title was probably Out Of Olympus II, if
you're playing with Deja, or it's up on my webpage. I'd be interested to
know how well I succeeded new-reader-wise, actually. Anyway, enjoy!


We Fell back into Literal Space less than two hundred kloms from the
Dahut Fleet. That was bad. These were the race the A'asud had run from;
we had no better answer. Of course, the A'asud had had one mother of a
grudge against the Lateral Space entities who called themselves Gods,
and had roamed the galaxy banishing them... It was inevitable that the
Dahut, with a quadrant-spanning culture that tapped those selfsame Gods
for power, would be pissed at them. Unfortunately for us, after they had
run the A'asud clear out of the Local Group, they'd extended that
animosity to we Younger Races.

"Executing evasive manoeuvre Omega!" We grabbed the hard toggles; this
was going to get messy. The grav compensators were only so good, and the
whole point of Omega was to second-guess computer predictions of course
change. Even with the hook-in to Nav, Env was pushing the envelope to
keep us whole. We rolled dice, picked cards, whatever our personal
homage to Murphy. And we prayed, though we knew we shouldn't.

Up on the bridge, the chaos was more immediate. The _Bad Attitude_ was a
freighter, not a combat vessel; the Captain had limited options.
Whatever she was doing, it was working for the moment - we weren't

"Switch manoeuvre in 5 - let's try Alamo." It was in within three, a
whole new ballgame. On the mark, the _Bad Attitude_ flipped end over end
and raked the pursuing Dahut Dreadnought - the only ship that was
pursuing us from their fleet, it should be noted - with bomb-pumped
X-Ray lasers and the two VSmart Antimatter Missiles we were carrying.
Those last two were supposed to be cargo, but what the hey? If they
caught us, it was all dead weight anyway.

I was up on what was going on from the start - I'm Quartermaster. That,
and the hard toggle I went for is right by the GenUpd Platter, and as
Senior below, I've got the codes to access the Bridge functions. After
the first hard manoeuvre, you can bet I plugged straight in, to see what
was shaking. That's how I knew we were fucked. I'd served under the
captain for three years though, so I figured there was a plan somewhere.
There had to be more to it than what we'd just done to the pursuer - it
had slowed, but it was still coming, and the original fleet was turning
ponderously towards us. Then came the stomach-flipping lurch of
Apotheosis, and we were back in Lateral Space once more. Whatever it was
that had corrupted our theobola, we were out of range of its effect. It
was a start, but the Dahut could outrun us here; even the dumbest
elemental knew to steer clear of a Dahut SpiritCatcher, so they could
Ascend hard and high. We needed a miracle, but I was careful not to
think that here. 

And there it was. Maybe. As I swiped through General Functions something
caught my eye, and I paged back. We were a short hop from Havelock
Station, and that had tripped an old memory. Something was gnawing at
me, something I'd seen a long, long time ago. Havelock was an Open
Station, in orbit around a gas giant no one had got around to naming; it
wasn't even armed, so why did I think it was the answer to the prayers
we weren't saying? 

Then I had it. Safety protocols had come a long way since then, but it
was worth a try. I patched an alert up to the bridge, tersely noting the
co-ordinates, and released the breath I hadn't realised I was holding as
Nav updated. Then we Fell again, and the stars came back.

(0835GST Havelock Station) 

"Whoa! We have an unscheduled inbound, 32 up 7 right. What've we got?" 

"It's a freighter... Independent... Weapons armed - and discharged
recently... Very recently... CRAFT IS HOT! I REPEAT, CRAFT IS HOT!!!"

"Oh shit... Wait! I have another bogey trailing Contact One. Designate
it Contact Two... CompIdent running... I have a positive lock on a Dahut

"Aaah... Oh, fuck. Can we take them?"

"Are you on medication? Shit, Jim, this is a trading station, not an
orbital fortress. We have 6 meteor masers and an obsolete CoNie[1],
which ain't gonna do jack shit to a Dreadnought. The capacitors are at
eighty percent capacity, which... lessee now... Comp estimates we'd
decrease its effectiveness by a whopping six percent before it turned us
into spacedust, even routing everything we have into the defences.
Microwaves and coherent German philosophy just aren't going to cut it
this time."

"Fuck fuck fu... Wait. I'm getting something from the Independent."

(0841GST, Bad Attitude)

That they were monitoring our communications was a given. Bitter
experience, passed on from the ill-fated Krishna Fleet, told us they
could even tap and decrypt whisker lasers, which ought to be impossible.
So this would have to be something they wouldn't understand, but the
station could. I'd thought it through, and I just hoped they were up to
date. The captain was going to be really pissed, but if it worked I
figured she'd understand. Tapping the GenUpd platter, I overrode the
bridge lockouts and opened a channel to the station.

  "What the - Independent, veer off! We have over four hundred civilians

  "CFV seven-four-two-two-five." That was it. Now it was in Murphy's

(0843GST, Havelock Station)

"What the hell was that all about?"

"Not sure... Hang about, here it is. CFV seven-four-two-two-five -
Revision to Safety Protocols Concerning Deployment of Magnetosphere
Taps... Odd. It's just a page and a half of revisions to deployment
procedures. I'll check the reasons... Maybe - Oh."

"What? WHAT??"

"Ooh, that's nasty. It might even work, too. Yes, I can re-work the
datastreams to go round it."

"Murphy take it, if you don't tell me what you're talking about, I'll
walk you out of the nearest lock!"

"Here, take a look for yourself."

"It's just a report of an accident on a - ooh, that is good. Can we do

"Yep. I've already bypassed the revision."

"And will it do any good? I mean, that's a Dahut ship."

"What choice do we have? We'll need to move them - a little - bring the
Independent about."

(0845GST, Bad Attitude)

I was ready for a bawling out from the Captain, but she didn't even have
a chance to get started before the course correction came in from
Havelock. Credit due, she made the manoeuvre without argument, though it
would slide us along the side of the Station at barely four hundred
metres. I noted, not without relief, that the Dahut changed course to
match us. Now it was all up to them.

(0846GST, Havelock Station)

"They're on the mark... Come on, come on... Woah! Kiss the Lateral Six
Antenna Cluster goodbye... Dahut ship closing on Point Alpha!"


"Ready. Aaaand... Now!"

A procedure was activated, and spawned six datastreams. Five were
delayed in transit by an intractable logic problem before
self-correction could adapt and discard the foreign code. Too late; the
remaining stream had already reached its destination. Microthrusters
fired, spurred to new heights by a priority override that Comp had
failed to spot. A hexagonal section of the endcap surged out and away,
centrifugal effects rolling the station out from under it. The AI
assessed its options and discarded the five tardy streams, rather than
throw good money after bad.

Whatever was in charge of the Dahut Dreadnought had fast reactions, give
them that. The ship twitched as the projectile accelerated outwards, but
almost immediately resumed its pursuit as it became clear that the
ejected object would miss it by a wide margin.

Then the ship attempted to stand on its tail, as the filament attaching
the silica-composite slab to the station snapped taut and radically
changed its vector. Part of the station's magnetosphere tapping
hardware, twelve hundred metres of hyperconductive monowire - under a
velocity barely within its safety margins - whipped round the alien
craft and buried itself deep into the shielding. The end section
spiraled inexorably inwards.


    "You think that's good? Watch this." 

Fingers flickered across the System platter, and four GigaFarads
discharged from the station's capacitors down that single pathway. Two
Station Controllers watched in awe as, one by one, Wards overloaded and
collapsed. Within ten seconds, the monomolecular strand reached
hullmetal and the station segment at its end slammed into the side of
the Dreadnought at an appreciable percentage of the speed of light. As
if in slow motion, the vessel lurched and broke in two, before its
momentum ran the aft-section through a white-hot cable one molecule
thick. Then it blew up. When the visuals recovered, there were just
fragments, none more than a cubic metre. The control room was utterly
silent as they stared at the destruction they had wrought, jaws slack.

A chime sounded as a message burst arrived, and a rich, accented
contralto seemed to fill the cramped control room. "Bad Attitude to
Havelock - I think we owe you a beer or two. If you'll excuse me, I have
to have a long talk with my Quartermaster, but I'll see you when we
dock. Bad Attitude out." The two Controllers exchanged grins, and were
gearing up for the mother of all high fives when the Inbound Alert
blatted again. 

As CompIdent implacably processed energy signatures, fourteen generic
tags resolved themselves into seven Dahut System Scouts, five Dahut
Destroyers and two more Dahut Dreadnoughts.

"Oh fuck." 


(c) Dave Hemming 1999
[1] CoNie = Coherent Nietzche Generator. God is dead, and all that...
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