Blood ran from the open gash on the admiral’s scalp.
The pungent scent of smoke and dust gave her an idea of the damage they’d suffered.
“Give me the defence status report.”
“The surface is under heavy bombardment,” said the second officer. “The orbital hub is destroyed.”
“How many ships survived?”
“Six, Admiral; four of them are civilian vessels. One transport and three freighters.”
“Where did they come from?” she said to her XO, Commander Gill.
The right side of his face was a bloody, burned mess, but he remained at his station, despite the obvious pain.
Even though the military command centre was buried beneath kilometres of bedrock, they had been hit hard. Half of her staff were dead or critically injured. She could only imagine the extent of the devastation to Dulcinea’s settlements on the ground.
“They are employing some kind of stealth technology, Admiral,” said Gill. “We can’t see them to shoot back, and I have never seen anything like the weapons they are using.”
“Nor I, and I spent six years at the Tactical Research Centre on Earth.”
“Where would one of the factions get tech like this?”
“They want to separate from the Confederation, not start a war,” she said. “None of the dissenting colonies have shown military aggression before.”
“Well, then who could they be?”
Another violent earthquake shook the reinforced foundations.
“That was a big one,” said the admiral. “What the hell could they be using to bombard the planet?”
“Sir,” said the second officer. “The Revenge and Victory are destroyed.”
“That’s the last of our orbital defences,” said Gill, “and they are picking off our surface installations from orbit.”
“Did you reach the governor yet?”
“No, ma’am. The Parliamentary Palace is gone. We must assume every cabinet minister is dead.”
“That just leaves me,” she said. “Send out a general broadcast. Announce our surrender.”
“The attackers don’t respond to any of our hails.”
“What other choice is there?”
Another blast knocked everyone from their feet. A trickle of dust fell on the admiral’s face as she lay on the floor, stunned.
The reinforced ceiling cracked under the strain of kilometres of overburden.
Everything crashed down on her.
D.M. Pruden’s stories will take you across space and time into a future that will amaze and confound you. Battle space pirates in the asteroid belt, join the last defenders of a dying empire, or roll with the antics of a space faring conman. These sci-fi adventures and more await you.
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