The Orpheus - Chapter One
So I know I began by posting 500 word parts of my story, however I have now decided to post chapter by chapter otherwise there would end up being hundreds of posts all for one story.
I will add chapters as I finish them.
I hope you enjoy reading this and any comments are welcome, just bear in mind this is a first draft.
The Orpheus appeared in orbit above the alien outpost on Erelia, with The Lazzerus and The Star of Orion following closely behind. The two ships quickly began to manoeuvre into place alongside The Orpheus as it made it’s approach towards the lush planet ahead. The planet was almost entirely covered in dense jungle, broken only by the occasional body of water and the solitary grey spot where the outpost lay, giving the planet an eerily green glow through the viewing screen.
“Captain, we are almost within firing range of the alien outpost,” said Commander Kaitlin Mills, “we will hit our optimum range in less than two minutes. The Lazzerus and The Star of Orion should be in their positions not long after.”
“Ready the bombardment cannons,” said Caius Richards, Captain of The Orpheus.
Caius winked and smiled at her as he gave the command, the same cheeky smile he would always give just before a battle. Kait shook her head at her Captain before returning the smile.
Kait then turned to the Gunnery Sergeant and said, “prepare to fire the cannons on my command. Once the other ships are in position we can begin our assault on the outpost. We expect heavy resistance from the surface once they realise we are here.”
The Gunnery Sergeant turned to his console and began keying in the sequence to prepare the cannons. The two bombardment cannons immediately began to spring into action. The huge gun turrets mounted at the fore of the cruiser class vessel turned towards the small grey blob on the surface of the planet.
“The cannons are locked on target and ready to fire Commander,” said the Gunnery Sergeant.
“Good,” said Kait.
She turned back to Caius and once again he had that cheeky smile on his face. The man was more like a child than the Captain he was supposed to be, jumping into the fray without showing an ounce of fear or even a thought for his own safety. She had to admit that even when he got like this things always seemed to work out for him. She could never decide if it was just plain luck that kept him alive, or if he could see things during those moments that no one else could.
Kait turned her thoughts back to the attack as the other two ships moved into position.
The Communications Officer place a hand to his ear “The Lazzerus and The Star of Orion are in position and ready to begin the assault.”
“Good,” said Caius, “then I’d suggest we get on with this.”
“Fire!” shouted Kait, knowing full well that was Caius’ way of giving the command to fire.
The Gunnery Sergeant nodded and activated the cannons. The turrets fired their charges towards the outpost on the surface of the planet, leaving two trails of light behind as they made their way towards the target. The other ships simultaneously fired their cannons. Kait watched as the trails disappeared into the atmosphere above the outpost. Small flashes of light became visible as the charges hit their marks, making Kait wince as she thought of the lives they had just extinguished at the push of a button.
“Direct hit Captain,” said the Gunnery Sergeant, “it appears we have managed to wipe out their entire defence network. I’m not detecting any signs of weapon emplacements anywhere in the outpost.”
“None at all? Surely we couldn’t have taken out all their defences in one hit,” said Caius in shock.
The Gunnery Sergeant shrugged his shoulders in response, “like I said, our systems are detecting no weapons placements at all. Either they had no defences to begin with, or we destroyed them.”
Caius had no time to think on this as the viewing screen came to life.
“Captain, The Lazzerus is hailing us,” said the Communications Officer.
“Put them through,” said Caius.
The bridge of The Lazzerus appeared on the screen. In the centre of the screen stood the ship’s Captain. Samuel Webb was a striking man. He stood tall, with his back straight and his hands clasped firmly behind his back. His hair was cropped in the standard fashion of a soldier, and he wore his full formal Captain’s uniform. Kait couldn’t help but compare him to Caius. Next to him, Caius looked like he had just been dragged out of bed. His Captain’s coat had faded over the years, and was now more grey than blue. She couldn’t even recall a time that he had bothered to button it up. Caius’ hair fell down to his shoulders and looked like he had simply run his hand through it to make it look more neat.
“Captain Richards, further orders have come through from command,” said Captain Webb through the viewing screen, “we are to cease the orbital strike and head down to the surface to check for survivors. Any survivors we encounter are to be eliminated.”
Caius shook his head in response, “doesn’t that seem a little over the top to you Sam? Surely we should look to be taking prisoners.”
Sam glared at Caius through the screen. Kait tried to hide her amusement at Captain Webb’s annoyance. She knew how much it irked the Captain when Caius acted so informal around his crew. Caius and Sam were childhood friends, and had even gone through the academy together. Caius only acted the way he did because he knew how much it annoyed his old friend.
“An order is an order, Captain,” said Sam through gritted teeth, “they came direct from Admiral Drake. We are to make an example of these terrorists. If you have any issues with the orders, then I’d suggest you take it up with the Admiral, Captain.”
“Then we do what we must, old friend” said Caius with a bow, trying to get a rise out of his friend.
Sam slowly shook his head and said, “I give up. Just get a team together and head down to the surface. I will oversee the battle from here. If we receive any more changes to our orders then I will let you know.”
Sam closed the connection before Caius could reply.
Shrugging his shoulders he turned to Kait, “get together a team, we head down to the surface to mop up the rest of the alien force. I’ll meet you by the drop ship.”
“Yes Captain,” said Kait as Caius left the Bridge. Turning back to the rest of the Bridge crew she said, “Commander Adams, the Bridge is yours. Keep the engine running, we won’t be long.”
With that she left the bridge and made her way to the elevator.
“Armoury,” she said as she entered the elevator.
The elevator doors swished shut and began to descend through the ship. Reaching into the pouch on her belt she pulled out a small communicator.
“Arinus, do you copy?” She said into the communicator.
“Loud and clear,” said Arinus, “I heard the orders. My team are ready and waiting by the drop ship. Caius should arrive any minute.”
“Good. I will pick up my kit and meet you there in the hanger,” she said before closing the communicator.
The door to the elevator opened and Kait stepped out into the armoury. She rushed over to her storage locker and placed her hand on the front. The lock clicked and the door swung open revealing a plethora of weapons and gadgets.
Kait rifled through the locker and pulled out a small rectangular bar. She pushed her thumb into the indentation on the side of the bar, and it began to open up into the shape of a bow. Kait then pulled back on the bow string and a blue arrow made entirely of energy appeared between her fingers and the shaft of the bow. She slowly moved the string back to it’s resting position and the arrow vanished. Removing her thumb from the indentation the bow folded back into a bar which she placed in a holder on her belt.
Next she pulled out a small circular disc, along with several grenades and placed them all in a small pack on the belt. She checked the locker for anything else that she could use before closing the door. The lock clicked back into place as soon as the door had shut. Kait then rushed back over to the elevator and made her way down to the hanger bay.
When the elevator reached the hanger bay she walked over to the drop ship where Arinus were waiting. Arinus was tall and very well build, a common trait for his people, the Krugans. He wore only a pair of grey trousers, and a tightly fitting vest, which accentuated his muscular body. Hanging out of the pocket of his trousers were a pair of thick leather gloves, which he said were to protect the only weapons he would ever need.
“Well met,” said Arinus as Kait approached.
She could never get over how friendly Arinus was with everyone. Krugans had a reputation for being extremely aggressive and reckless, a by-product of their upbringing, but Arinus was different. He would very rarely get angry, and even when he did, he managed to keep control of himself. Kait assumed that was the reason he had been cast out from his tribe. The harsh life on Kruga left no space for those who were weak, and his kind nature would certainly have been seen as a weakness.
“Good to see you too,” said Kait, “is Caius already on board?”
Arinus nodded his head, “yes. You know how he is, ever eager to jump into the fray.”
“Then I guess we’d better get on our way. We don’t want to keep the Captain waiting,” said Kait.
“I agree,” said Arinus.
Kait followed Arinus into the drop ship and sat down beside the pilots seat where Caius had planted himself. Caius was swinging his chair from side to side as he waited impatiently for Kait and Arinus to strap themselves in.
“Finally ready to go are we?” Asked Caius.
“Always,” said Kait sarcastically in response.
Caius shrugged his shoulders and turned his seat back to face the console. He powered up the drop ship and began to line it up with the hanger bay doors. The doors began to open as he finished manoeuvring the ship into launch position, revealing a translucent forcefield between the hanger bay and the vacuum of space outside.
“Let’s do this,” said Caius as he pushed the throttle forward.
The ships engines fired up, sending it flying towards the forcefield. Kait was flung back into her seat from the force of the ship’s acceleration, banging her head on the headrest behind her.
“Ouch!” She said, “watch how you fly this damn thing.”
Caius laughed in response as the ship passed through the forcefield and out into space. Kait shook her head angrily at Caius before noticing him staring intently through the windscreen of the drop ship. Kait turned to see the green planet appear from the corner of the windscreen, eventually filling the entire screen as Caius finished aligning the ship towards their destination. No matter how much time she spent in space, or how many planets she visited, the views like this always managed to take her breath away.
“Beautiful, isn’t it,” said Caius, breaking the silence.
“I know. I don’t think I will ever get used to seeing this,” said Kait, “it’s just a shame that we are going down there to fight. I wish it didn’t always have to be like this.”
Caius looked at Kait and sighed, “maybe one day we won’t have to fight. As much as I make out I enjoy it all, there are times when I think what’s the point in all this. We are fighting a war that will never end. There is always someone, or something out there we perceive as a threat to our existence. I hope we can reach the point where we no longer have to fight, a time where we can just go out and explore the vast reaches of space without fear.”
“But?” Said Kait.
“But I don’t think that time will ever come. I mean look at what we are about to do. Something doesn’t quite sound right with these orders, or even the attack itself. We should have had some kind of return fire by now, not be able to fly to the surface completely unhindered, and when have you ever heard of us having to completely destroy our enemies,” said Caius, “anyway, I’m sure it’s nothing. We will be entering the atmosphere soon, and we can find out exactly what’s going on when we reach the outpost. Until then we should just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.”