Page Twenty Nine Chapter 5 The Rescue
Long range Sensors aboard the King Charles had detected a large explosion in deep space in the direction of the Achin Home World, naturally it was known that it was most probably the collision
with Irnash and the Moon but was not known was if it had been a success or a failure .
Adam had been trying to raise Vash on the wireless for what seemed like hours but has no reply , he was becoming concerned about his new friend and hoped he was safe.
The General meantime had shuttled down to the Planet to asses the damage and the reconstruction needs , the domes had housed many thousands of people for a short time but would not be able to sustain a long-term viability .
Plans had to be made to reconstruct and it needed to be done soon already the weather patterns had changed so drastically it was alike to the onset of winter in many parts , whilst in other usually cold climate areas there were now temperatures that were akin to the rain forest at the peak of summer.
This meant that one half of the Planet people were on the verge of freezing to death ,and on the other half roasting alive it was a difficult problem but the technology was still there to deal with it he thought .
Workers on the ark ships had already started basic food production from hydroponic gardens , grain , soya and fruits being their main products giving protein and vitamins .
There was still two large IMP ships in orbit The Roosevelt , and the King George both had been converted to house hydroponic labs and also had room to take many passengers if the need be , but they two now had their place in the scheme of things .
Without these two old relics of the space age food would have been much more of a luxury than a necessity, they did their jobs well and as before when the Washington produced tons of life-giving grain for the populace of Earth at least they wouldn’t starve.
The animals of earth had not been forgotten either most if not all had been beamed into suspension, this meant they could be re-released on Earth or if the need be a new Planet like mankind to start again . This was achieved by a marvellous piece of Achin technology yet again and it was called Vemchack .. this was an artificial intelligence like nothing seen before Vemchack had personality and an ego although a machine he or she was almost human .
It was that very ego that allowed Vemchack to perform it’s tasks with such precision it would not allow itself to fail it’s program and that was to serve to nurture and protect , back on Achin it’s counterpart Bavchack was responsible for many of the day to day running of the Achin equivalent to a planetary eco system administrator, the word Chack in Achin means Mechanical brain or Computer . Bav means to serve and Vem means to protect so thus the computers names and the fact was they did extremely well at whatever they put their mind to so to speak , as for Vemchack it’s primary function was to direct precise beaming for the animals and the people .
This it did with an efficiency to be envied not only did it detect any life on the planet it identified it catalogued it then beamed it into either suspension , or to one of the waiting ark ships if it was human .
Back on the Diana Adam had decided that it was needed to know what had happened to the Pashitz , he contacted The general who was taking a meeting of the leaders of the different world leaders , “ General I am increasingly worried about the Pashitz it has been out of contact now for almost two days , Vash must be in some sort of trouble or we would of heard from them Sir permission to take the Diana and Investigate Sir “ The General did not answer Adam at once instead he turned to the leaders and said “ Gentlemen you heard the Captain Meerat Vash has been out of contact for far too long I think we should see if Irnash was stopped or the Pashitz destroyed , but I will only send one of our ships if you all agree “
For a few minutes the leaders talked amongst themselves it was Anwar Patel who spoke first “ General if you think this is a thing we must do we are all in agreement with you , however we are thinking a time limit must be put on any search or possible rescue mission “.
The General nodded his head and turned to the radio and called Adam , “Command to Rowkesh command to Captain Rowkesh come in please ” static and white noise filled the room while they waited for a reply ” Rowkesh here go ahead please General Sir ” The General asked his colleges again if they were sure they all were .
“Captain this is General Asterholm you have clearance to take the Diana to search for the Pashitz , but Capatain we have little time to waste you have 3 days in which to complete your mission then you must return to Earth completed or not do you understand Captain”.
Adam was sure he would be able to do what he had to do in that time , he would at least know if Irnash was destroyed or not.” Yes Sir understood Rowkesh out “.
Helm course 237.5 speed standard by half ” the helm officer responded smartly ” Yes Sir 237.5 standard by half Sir ” .
The huge ships engines purred as they accelerated into the void leaving our solar system on it’s mission to find the Pashitz or it’s ruins , Adam hoped his new friend was still alive and that his crew were safe they had risked much for us and we owed them he thought to himself big time ! .
It had been almost 18 hours and still no answer to calls sent out to the Pashitz , Adam hoped it was just a case of radio communications failure and nothing more sinister.
But he recalled the last time he had seen Meerat Vash, he had told him that their transmitters would easily be able to reach Earth. Plus with the modifications his technicians had carried out to the Earth systems they should have no problems receiving either.
Adam was sure in his mind that radio was going to be the least of their problems ” Sir long range sensors have detected a large mass travelling at sub light speed the mass is approximately 26 kilometers across by 60 kilometers long Sir I believe it to be Irnash ” said the science officer .
Adam sat in his chair and ordered ” All sensors scan for the Pashitz or any life signs maximum spread”. Tense minutes passed while Adam waited to hear the results of the scan , then ” Sir we have found them 02.7 degrees starboard about 6000 kilometers …Sir there are no life signs ” Adams stomach pitched as he thought that they could all be gone ” helm intercept maximum speed ”
It took just 13 minutes to travel the distance but it seemed like hours sensors confirmed the none life signs reading , ” prepair a shuttle full protective suits for myself and four others have them meet me in bay 2.
Page Thirty One
Adams number one stood up and protested that as Captain he should not be going on such a dangerous mission to inspect the Pashitz, he was the captain and should be on the bridge.
Adam froze as he was about to step into the corridor off the bridge “yes you are quite right number one the captain should be on the bridge, but my friend is out there and I mean to find out where he is, so consider yourself temporarily promoted Captain ” then he left the bridge.
They geared up and set out from the hangar bay the shuttle approached the bow of the Pashitz, the damage was extensive and the cannon was totally destroyed nothing but molten metal where it had been.
“Take the shuttle as close to the bow as possible helm and we will jet pack across to the cannon room, see if we can enter there and keep the motor running till we get back”.
Adam and the remaing men stepped into the airlock. The air lock hissed as the air escaped into space allowing the four men inside out into it’s darkness, the small air jet packs on their backs whispering short spats of air as they controlled their passage across to the Pashitz .
Not a single light could be seen on her vast hull thousands of window ports that had once glowed like jewels were dark there was no sign of any life at all. They made their way to a door at the rear of the cannon room, it was half open and Adam could see inside with his torchlight.
The inner corridor was sealed at the end by a bulkhead emergency door.
This must have sealed when the cannon was destroyed he thought, working together they managed to open the door the rest of the way.
Once inside they closed it shut behind them and applied a liquid sealer the sealer was an acid weld and as it burnt into the metal sealing the door a device on Adams belt was registering the if it was totally sealed air tight. Once it gave the all clear signal, they opened their helmets and proceeded to the next door. This time Adam spread the weld paste around the inside of the door and the welding acid burned through , they kicked the door and it fell in. Foul air rushed past them it stank of smoke and burning they walked to the next door.
“Sir this one has power we can open It normally” the crewman pushed a switch and the door slid back they could now see almost all along the length of the ship the hallways were clear no bodies , that was at least a good sign thought Adam.
If they had been caught off guard he would have imagined the hallway, would have been full of the dead that had tried to find safety.
They pushed on to the control room ” Get this ships lights on at least crewman we need to get air and life support Back”. The engineer looked at some dials and at the position of the switches on a nearby panel, He then said ” Don’t have to Sir it is on all of, it just on very very low settings Sir “.
Adam turned and walked back into the corridor ” we must get up to the Bridge if there is anything to explain this it will be there “.
The artificial gravity on the Pashitz was greater than on Earth vessels, with all the safety suits on they found it tough going and progress was slow from bow to stern the pashitz was more than one and a half kilometers long. They eventually made it, David entered first and looked around he was expecting something but not this empty. No bodies no signs of a fight no damage to the bridge Nothing?
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Adam walked over to a consul near the door of the bridge it was the only one showing any lights , he called his engineer over to look at it .
“ What do you make of this “ the crewman looked over the panel and took a small book from his suit pouch it had Achin symbols on it with translations written by the side of them .
After a few minutes he said “ this symbol is Chack it means computer this is wrax it means Light “ Adam asked if this was the lighting system computer “ I don’t think so sir It looks far more complicated than the lighting maybe some type of storage device ? “ it was then that Adam knew what was going on here .
With an excitement in his voice he said “ Quick look about the ship you are looking for a room filled with silver cannisters about half a meter in length quickly go “ the crewman looked at Adam with interest “ What are those Sir and why are we looking for them “.
Because man they are the crew “ Adam had realised that Vash knew his ship could not sustain his crew with the power loss they must have suffered when the cannon exploded , so it was now obvious what had happened .. he had beamed them all into stasis and they had to find those pods before the power was gone completely .
Adam radioed the Diana “ Number one bring the ship along side the pashitz and open the number 3 landing hatch , get two engineers suited and have them run a power transfer cable to the pashitz and hurry I don’t think we have much time left “ Adam was right there was barely enough power on the Pashitz to keep life support on even at the levels they had been reduced to, without power to sustain them the Stasis containers would degrade their precious contents lost .
Suddenly Adam heard on the com “ I have found them Sir six levels down first main door hundreds of them Sir “ sure enough the chambers had been activated all had the tell tale green light atop the cannister that meant they were occupied so to speak.
The Diana had now birthed alongside the Pashitz and had run the cable they were now just finishing the final adjustments to bring power back to the ailing craft , “ Number one to the Captain we are ready for power transfer on your command sir “ the engineer on the flight deck gave a thumbs up to Adam “ Commence power transfer Number one and prepare to receive guest’s “ back on the bridge number one smiled and said “ Yes Sir many guest’s Sir or just a Few “ he was fishing to see how many had survived “ Oh I would say at least 600 of them Number one at least ? “ a cheer went up on the ship as this news was relayed to her crew . Many of the crew on the Diana had friends in the Achin crew ,our species seemed to get on exceptionaly well both eager to learn about each other and both very similar in many ways the mood on the ship was high .
The time it took to recharge the Pashitz power cells seemed like an eternity but full power had to be restored before any reintegration could be attempted ,what was left of the cannon had been taken off the power grid so as not to drain any more from the ship . From the ships logs it was seen that the Pashitz had tried to stop the segment of Irnash with the Particle Cannon, but enormous forces had ripped the cannon from its mountings causing an explosion that drained the ships power reserves. It had been Vash who ordered all the crew to be put into suspension, hoping that they would be missed and someone would come to their aid.
It was thought the best thing to do was to power up the Pashitz engines then they would keep power to the main cells , the Diana could then be disconnected and take up a safer distance two ships this close never a good idea .
Full power had now been stable for at least 2 hours on the pashitz engineers had been reintegrating the crew for the past hour and transferring them to the Diana , Adam was waiting to get news of Vash the crew that had been reintegrated had told them most of the story as they knew it but he wanted to see his friend and hear it all .
Adam decided to beam back to the Diana there was nothing he could do here his crewmen had everything in hand . other members of his crew had boarded to complete essential repairs to the Pashitz and everything seemed to going well .
He had been back in his ready room for about 40 minutes when a knock on the door startled him , nobody ever knocked the Captains door always he was commed if people wanted to see him , he went to open the door expecting to see some green behind the ears rookie who had no idea of ships etiquette “ Vash he exclaimed “ he was overjoyed to see his friend and gripped him in a what can only be described as a Big Hug .. Vash smiled “ I take it you’re pleased to see me my friend as I am you “ laughing and a little embarrassed Adam said “ Na I knew you’d be fine “ .
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Vash turned and walked back onto the bridge of the Diana ” We failed Adam a large part of Irnash Is still heading for your planet. Hopefully the gravity of any planets it will pass on the way, may alter it’s course but we believe they will not. We think it will impact the region you call Australia, we have slowed it considerably but it will still hit your Earth”.
Adam showed Vash a Computer Pad ” We already saw that Vash we have come to the same conclusion, it should impact in 2 months at its present speed .
We have estimated its mass at approximately 150,000,000 metric tonnes speed 127,000 kilometer an hour and the core is of an undetermined composition “.
Vash looked at the pad ” Yes we are in agreement, the core is made of Aunk a metal harder than your Diamond and Highly Radioactive, even if your weapons hit it the debris would still impact your Earth making it un-inhabitable.
This data indicates it will hit and in doing so will have enough impact momentum to crack your Planets upper mantel, causing a massive implosion of your Earths core. But if you destroy it the radiation on your planet will last for thousands of years, and no life will be able to survive there.”
Diana and the Pashitz were now ready to return to Earths system, as they sped the miles between the galaxies they passed the Irnash Asteroid, knowing there was nothing they could do to stop it.
The only possible way to survive now was the Ark ships, they had to be ready it was the Human races only chance.
Whilst in flight constant updates of the asteroid were being taken, Adam was on the bridge when Vash approached him with a computer tablet ” You should see this Captain “.
Vash only called him Captain when it was serious news, Vash and Adam contacted the General and told him of a new situation that was now becoming evident.
“Your sure that this is the only chance now Vash, to evacuate and look for another Planet to settle on “.
Vash took the Microphone off Adam and spoke quietly ” I am afraid it is so General and the only way now is to beam the survivors into stasis and I suggest you don’t tell them “.
Asterholm was startled by what Vash had just said he had always said that it would be a personal decision for those who wanted to avoid stasis.
“Did I hear you correct Vash Don’t tell them, why so when it was you who said they had a choice”. Vash looked at David and handed him the microphone “You should tell him Adam now ” . Adam held his breath and said ” Sir we have just done some recalculations of Irnash, and its trajectory, the present course takes it past Jupiter. As it does then Jupiter’s gravitaional effect will exert a greater pull on the Asteroid as it approaches, accelerating its speed by a factor of Ten Sir. You will have two weeks until Irnash strikes Earth not two months as we first thought “.
The silence was deafening ” My God I see I understand if they knew the panic would be “, the General stopped mid sentence ” I agree Vash we do not say anything we just do a total beam out.
Can the chack computer you left us handle such a feat successfully, ” Vash turned to speak to his science officer forgetting for an instant he was not on the Pashitz, he looked at Adam who moved his head to one side in the gesture of expecting an answer. ” Truthfully General I would hope so but to be honest I don’t know, the Vamchack on the Pashitz can easily accomplish the task, of that I am sure and the one we left with you is of the same type, so yes General I believe it will “.
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The General asked “Vash is there no way we can stop that thing from hitting us any way at all.“ Vash looked at Adam and shook his head,
“ I am sorry General but with the Red particle Cannon destroyed there is no way to stop it, the asteroid has still far too much mass and is travelling much too fast.
If there was General I would have told you and if I find a way I shall“.
David Asterholm’s head sank as he accepted that soon the Planet would be either destroyed or made un-inhabitable .
“Thank you Vash for all you have tried I know it has cost you and your people dearly“.
Vash moved by what the General had said replied
“ General we have found that the Earth and Achin are kindred spirits, two races just trying to survive the maelstrom of space. It was of our doing that bought this tragedy to your Planet, and we will not disregard the blame“.
Back on Earth David was shaking his head “ No Vash it was not your fault, Irnash was about to destroy your World you did what we would have had the circumstances been reversed.
I just don’t think this Planets governments would have tried to warn others like you did, and for which you paid such a high price. We owe you much Vash and your people we thank you”.
Vash sat on the corner of the consul and as he spoke to the general Adam could see that he was deeply troubled, “ General you are too kind but facts are facts and in our ignorance we endangered your Planet, the price we have paid to save our Planet has been born by you not us and we thank you. In the event that Earth could not be saved Achin sent out exploration craft in to our solar system to find what you call an M class planet suitable for your species. We found one only a light year from Achin, and we invite you to be our neighbours and allies“.
David’s spirit lifted at hearing this “I thought we would be looking for years to find a planet to settle, and now you tell me you have found us one that is wonderful news.
I shall tell the leaders of Earth this, it will go a long way to settling fears about our situation thank you Vash“.
The general signed off the radio and started to prepare for the task ahead four ships had been built and had just to have the final drive sections of their engines installed, the work crews had been going around the clock.
Great strides had been made in ship design and build techniques thanks to the Achin’s guidance.
Ships that previously that would have taken years to build had been completed in months, now all that remained was to finish them off and crew them.
After his meeting with the remaining World leaders the general ordered the commencement of the stasis beaming. It had to be done in one go, if mass panic was to be averted. Otherwise it would soon be evident, as people started to simply disappear in front of peoples eyes.
The quicker it was achieved the less damage and loss 0f life there would be , hopefully they would have no chance to panic. The last hydroponic ship in orbit the King George was designated as the animal sanctuary all animals from the Earth would be beamed into stasis and stored there.
The four new ships had been towed to a safe distance from earth, as they had yet to have engines fitted, but still within the beaming range. The first ship to be finished had been the AUC Rushmore then the CEF Beijing.
Beaming had commenced on Earth it was dark in the southern hemisphere and this is were it was thought, most people would be asleep and never know a thing. They would be awoken hundreds of millions of miles from Earth, on their new home Planet Safe and ready to start a new life.
Safe from the carnage that was Earth hopefully mankind would have learned a few things, and this time make a better job of building the New Earth.
Within the next week two more ships had been towed into the safety zone the DPE Karl Marx, and the BNDA Churchill, all ships were now receiving beamed stasis passengers.
There were just six days left the Pashitz had been in the repair dock for four days, and was now ready to take her position she was already beaming survivors up twice as fast as the King Charles, soon the Earth would be empty of all life. Everything that was living, breathing ,crawling, flying, was now aboard 16 ships that had reached the safe zone.
The Irnash Asteroid was clearly visible as it approached now growing bigger and bigger by the hour, Asterholm gave the order for all ships to travel to the far side of the Planet Mars, as it was now the turn of the Mars colonists to be beamed aboard. Many did not want to leave but it would have been impossible for them to survive without their supply lines from Earth.
Mars was barren and dry and without the regular shipments of supplies there was no way the colony could survive.
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There now was not a creature left anywhere on the Earth or indeed Mars , no life except for the Earth’s natural vegetation, empty worlds. Only the deserted cities evidence that it has once been bustling with life, every human, animal, and as many different species of insect that could be found, had now been put into stasis, samples of all the Earth’s plant life had also been harvested, ready to be transplanted on to our new home world.
The Pashitz was the last to join the fleet the General And Adam along with the heads of state from all the Earth countries, had been gathered on the Pashitz to witness the end of their Planet.
From the observation window on the leisure deck they watched Irnash bearing down on our home, a voice called out over loud speakers “8 minutes to impact lowering gamma shields” the pink glow of a forcefield appeared over the window.
Vash explained that a substantial amount of Gamma radiation may be released when the two bodies collided, the shields would protect their eyes from the glare “Now 3 minutes to impact”.
It could already be seen that huge fires were appearing on the surface of the Earth as gravity from the Asteroid Irnash caused massive earthquakes and eruptions , and then they hear’d “ 8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1, impact“.
A bright light filled space for a few seconds then darkness eyes had to re-adjust and as they did tears filled most of them at the sight that greeted them, Earth was gone just a ball of flame as the oxygen in the atmosphere was burning off. It looked like a mini Sun shining in the night sky flames shooting high into space as Irnash consumed it’s prey, they sat for hours watching as the planet burned and glowed in the emptiness of space.
Millions of years of History pain suffering glory hope victories memories being consumed before them, Vash stood and walked across to Adam “ I am so sorry my friend I wished we could have saved your World I would have given anything “
Adam turned and looked up at his alien friend and saw he too had tears in his eyes,
Vash placed his arm on Adams shoulder and both turned their gaze back to the Earth.
It had now been 20 days since the Earth had been destroyed it had cooled somewhat and no longer had an atmosphere, no fires were burning and the surface was black and charred.
The seas had gone no land masses where visible it was as if the whole planet was covered in a level layer of ash no sign we had ever existed there.
But then one person still at the observation window shouted out “I see, yes I see it, look” pointing to the planet one sign just one piece of evidence that man had been on this cinder . With the aid of an antique telescope the man had bought with him under the guise of technical equipment he saw it, The Great Wall still visible still proud marked across the burnt charred skin of the Earth.
A crowd gathered to take turns in looking through the telescope, it raised the spirits a little to see not all of man had been erased.
An announcement made them all scurry back to their post’s “This is Captain Rowkesh speaking I have just had word that all ships are now flight ready, prepare to leave Mars orbit all visiting crewmen return to their ships. Engineers to flight control squadron 5 drone fighters prepare to depart for escort duty“.
David now back aboard the King Charles watched as the orders for departure were carried out, as the flotilla of humanity prepared for it’s most critical voyage ever.
The Diana slid past him and then the Churchill followed closely by the Rushmore “ Helm signal the Pashitz and make course for Achin“.
The journey to the Achin home Planet would take 4 months give or take a couple of weeks , barring breakdowns catastrophic failures or some other unforseen event beyond the Generals control.
Silently he saw the ships pass the debris that was once our home Earth a green and blue jewel nestled amongst the stars, in the so called Goldilocks Zone the optimum position for a planet to survive “ Boy did they get that wrong “ he said to himself.
He turned to leave the bridge “You have the Com Number one just follow that ship to the first star on the left and straight on till morning“.
His 1st officer smiled and said “Yes Sir“ and saluted his commander and then said “Commanding officer leaving the bridge“ at this the crew stood turned towards him and saluted.
David smiled saluted back and said “ you’re good lads all of you thank you“ and left.
As he walked down the corridor the General watched his crew there were Human and Achin on the ship each doing there part like a well oiled machine, he reached his quarters he was feeling particularly tired, he hadn’t slept in three days taxing on a younger man more so on a man his age.
The immediate crisis was over and he relaxed for the first time in months, he lay down looked at the date August 24th he realised “ It’s my Birthday “ and chuckled. He closed his eyes and on his sixtieth birthday, General David Asterholm Commander of the Ist Fleet of new Earth died at peace.