Five Minute Fiction – Sacrifice

A wise teacher once compared the chaos of battle to the search for harmony in an orchestra. Every section had its piece of the symphony, but had to be controlled with precision and order. In order to complete each movement, there had to be a carefully constructed plan with an omnipresent conductor, else the formation would fall apart.
And at the center of their formation, trying desperately to achieve that harmony, was their conductor, the dreadnaught Trinity. The culmination of human ingenunity and desperation in the face of the Bri’nell. Over the fiery eruptions of Proxima Centauri, the shining sword of mankind and her fleet of a hundred of the bravest warships was to meet the enemy and stop their advance on Sol. It would be messy, bloody and frantic. If the Bri’nell brought the fleet that their intelligence suggested they could field, it would have been a successful stand. Their defeat would be glorious and give humanity that spark they needed to rally on.

Only they brought far more than that.

“…Bomber Squadron Nine has been destroyed! Squadron Twelve, move to engage…”
“…Destroyer Ankara has taken critical damage, reactor breach impending…”
“…enemy artillery focusing on carrier Vahalla! Reporting major damage to hanger section…”
He gripped the railing around the command platform until his knuckles were white. The discord of voices and cacophony of destruction was far more than he’d ever imagined. Even while the stark white of Trinity’s beam turrets cut through approaching enemies and her missile batteries still spewed fire, they just kept on coming. The entire ship shook as their main trump card, the asteroid-busting Tri-Beam Cannon fired again into the heart of the Bri’nell force, creating a second sun’s glow within their ranks. Still, they kept on coming.

“Admiral, we’ve lost Excalibur and the Genbu! Our starboard line is coming apart!” To punctuate the point, two small supernovas lit up brighter than the star they were over as whatever was left of a thousand lives began to plummet to the inferno.
Standing tall, Admiral Kar Rinkasha could think of no other hope for Earth, no other path for his men except the inevitable than one. “Rotate the bow thirty degrees, target the core of the star! Signal all able ships to fall back to Sol perimeter! We’re going to burn their entire fleet with the power of the heavens themselves! And our names will be remembered by who look up at the peaceful night sky!””

Silence fell over the bridge as his crew exchanged surprise. Until that moment, there had been hope, or at least belief in hope. Now, they understood the desperation and the hopelessness of this fight. But fear turned to understanding and resolve, as they swore to their own reasons to become hope for someone else.
“Trinity to Battle Groups Two and Four, set heading one-eight-zero by…”
“All fighters RTB! Repeat, all fighters…!”
“Cancel all rescue shuttles and shunt energy systems into stardrives…”
“Bridge to weapons control, divert power from ventral cannons into Tri-Beam feed…”

He could hear the confusion, the resistance in the voice of his other crews, and he couldn’t blame them. The Admiral had just condemned two thousand people to die in a gamble, and an untested one at that. Yet what was gained by dying here in glory and not ensuring the survival of their homes? If this failed, at least they would make it back to regroup and reform the line.

“Tri-Beam power approaching peak levels, ready to fire in”
“Negative!” Kar announced over everyone. “Hold fire until critical power! We have to get the most out of this shot!”

Trinity rocked and groaned as a small squad of Bri’nell beam frigates focused on her bow, cutting a violet swath of wrecked metal and fire across her face. Ivory beams from the dreadnaught’s cannons bit back once, twice, four times in a moment, taking at least two frigates as payment. Still, under that kind of bombardment, they wouldn’t last long,

“Tri-Beam power now at 25% over maximum, the capacitors and batteries are beginning to melt!” Indeed, lightning and wrath were arcing from the cannon’s focal point, distorting their view of the red star in their path.

May the gods watch over our kin so that they may forgive us… “That will have to do! Lock on and fire!”

So, way back when I first heard of NaNoWriMo, this was the story I started to think about. The last hope of humanity, the sacrifice of what it would take to beat overwhelming odds, and the sword they would need to save the world. And one day, even if it takes me a few more NaNos, this is the one I feel like I will finish.

I hope you all enjoy.


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