Sword of the Dajjal
A Novel of the Terran Alliance
C. Scott Saylors
Copyright 2007 by C. Scott Saylors, all rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated, copied, or transferred without written permission of the publisher
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This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and locations are fictitious or
used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or people is coincidental
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"The lapse of ages changes all things - time, language, the earth, the bounds of the sea, the stars of the sky, and every thing "about, around, and underneath" man, except man himself."
Lord George Gordon Byron
* * * *
Terran Standard Date: Friday, May 15th, 2617 CE
Terran Standard Time: 09:30 hours
Location: Terran Legation Compound. Al-Miraj
* * * *
The Terran Legation was a bastion of security: the walls, bombproof gates and power-armored marines meant safety to its occupants. As the limousine rolled out of the compound all that protection evaporated.
Frustrated beyond tolerance, Moncho looked out the limo's tinted window into the park and fountain in the square. A half-dozen boys fought over a kite flying overhead. One good thing about this wreck of a world. There's always a wind aloft. Sand blew everywhere, but kites were an art form. Businesses flew kites to advertise. People described their address by the unique kites in the neighborhood. Everywhere you looked, ornate kites filled the air. It gave John a great deal of pleasure to drive through the city and watch the aerial display.
"It'll be good to get back aboard Diligence." He said to the petty officer sitting across from him.
"That's right, Captain. Hell I don't get it down here either." The petty officer was old enough to be the commander's father, and he knew where he belonged.
Moncho was senior officer for the two frigates in al-Miraj space, in effect a commodore though his rank was a lowly Lt. Commander. In space he knew what he was about. Down here with the diplomats he was clueless.
That arms shipment he'd intercepted settled the issue for Moncho, but the Emissary was right. Most of the weapons in the shipment he had intercepted were from the Hegemony, but not all. No judge could conclude guilt from the facts presented. Just like they could not prove the Islamic Republic, along the eastern border of the House of Saud, was the drive behind the insurrection here. If it could be proven, then the Alliance could act. As it was, they were out of luck.
* * * *
Around the corner and a block away, Amin Bilal sat in a coffee shop. To outward eyes he was talking on his phone link, and conducting his business. No one noticed that the display on his handcomp showed the video feed from the kite the boys in the park flew overhead. Nobody could know that he conducted an assassination.
"The package is leaving the shop, my friend, and on its way to you, just as promised. You can stamp 'PAID' on the account."
A kilometer away, two men uncovered a mortar tube to execute their fire mission. Elsewhere along the route to the aero-spaceport, two drivers started their vehicles, one a beat up panel truck, the other a sedan manufactured on earth by Mitsubishi.
Amin continued to talk conversationally as if the subject were simple business. "The shipment is en route now. You should have it in moments." The display showed the two insurgent vehicles pull across the traffic in front of and behind the legation limousine.
The panel truck's side door opened and a light gauss machine gun blasted the limousine. In five seconds it delivered one hundred and fifty, armor-piercing rounds into the windscreen and radiator of the target, destroying the hydrogen turbine under the hood. The driver threw both hands up and dove for the floorboards, but he never made it. His corpse was pinned to the seat as the bullets lashed the passenger compartment.
As soon as the gunner emptied his weapon, the panel truck roared off at high speed--horn blaring to clear traffic ahead of him. Behind the limousine, in the sedan, assassins rolled down the rear, right-side window and chunked ten grenades from the stubby muzzle of a grenade launcher, alternating armor-piercing and incendiary-rounds. Then the sedan too rocketed down the street, swerving amongst the traffic.
From his seat in the coffee shop, Amin said, "We can always air-ship it if it does not arrive." The mortarmen took their signal from Amin and dropped a dozen high explosive mortar rounds into the legation grounds and across the entryway to the compound.
Amin waved his hands in the air with exuberance about his business call. "Good, Good! I promised the delivery would be made and I am a man of my word. Goodbye, my friend." With that he finished his glass of hot tea, left a tip on the table, and shut down his handcomp. He moved off, passing easily amongst the crowd, as they stared at the flames and smoke of the funeral pyre in the street.
* * * *
Terran Standard Date: Friday, May 15th,
2617 CE / Terran Standard Time: 09:50 hours
2617 CE / Terran Standard Time: 09:50 hours
Location: Ecuadoran Altiplano, Terra
* * * *
Midshipmen might mistake Commander Malcolm Javier Cristobal for one of the statues in the Academy main quadrangle. Locked in contemplation, he was as still as stone. Before him was the best view in the world of man's greatest construction achievement--the Western Hemisphere Orbital Beanstalk--towering eighteen hundred kilometers upward to the Geostationary Orbital Platform. Its grandeur was totally lost on Cristobal. Today he would deliver a lecture to the academy class about the action at Wolf 1061 where a close friend had died under his own command. Maybe there would be some catharsis in it, maybe not.
He played the holorecord of the battle on his handcomp, watching a tiny box of light.
They'd entered the Wolf 1061 system with their Bennings-Fujowara star drives a flaring beacon to any warships waiting for them. The big gas giant in system promised a gravity well deep enough to quickly discharge the static energy flickering along the ship's skin.
As acting flotilla commander, the sweat on Malcolm's forehead belied the supposedly perfect temperature and humidity. "FLOTCOM to Resolution and Prosecution They might be laying for us in orbit around the gas giant, let's spread out and deny them any freebie shots."
The destroyers spread out in a line, each ship separated by a thousand kilometers--by the book, they approached the planet's spectacular rings. Cristobal launched two of his three sensor drones ahead of his ships. Once they attained ten thousand kilometers range he turned to the sensor officer. "Set'em to pinging active, Packer. They gotta know we're here just by passive traces."
The female lieutenant acknowledged. Thirty seconds later she reported a contact. "VAMPIRE, VAMPIRE! Four 'Flicker' signatures 50,000 kilometers out from Resolution, sir, dead across our heading. They lit up their drives and sensors . . . Make that four Serpent anti-ship missiles tracking on radar and ladar."
"Pass that contact back to the commodore in the flagship, Packer." The commodore was too far back to have any hand in this action so far, but that would change. "Captain Conklin, are you getting our data transmission?"
'Hot Shot' Conklin had been his buddy since the academy. "Indeed I am, Skipper, I'm deploying my defensive particle screen, now." The reflective screen would diffuse incoming laser shots.
"You're a little out of your envelope for that new fangled anti-missile defense system, Mal." Malcolm heard Conklin pass the order to his weapons system officer, "Weapons, assign two point defense lasers to each of the closest 'VAMPIRES.'"
"Lt. Packer find me the ships that launched those missiles NOW!" Cristobal knew he shouldn't yell, he should be tranquility personified. Doing it was harder.
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