Amun and his small crew head towards Lake Toba to stop the Tlalocs
Amun sat at the navigation console streaking to Earth from Sol thinking of his conversation with Namazu. He left her at the Temporal-Portal in the common lounge having a cup of tea.
“See the gray creature with armor plates?” She had nodded towards a Chava.
He looked in her direction.
“They’re all female.”
He saw two Tiamatu talking with three cyborg Amelu. A tall, muscled Chava female stood at a bar, having a drink. She looked down at the surface of the liquid in the glass, as if she were analyzing its components. A Tayamni woman dressed in clothing appropriate for the current year, 1962, played a harpsichord.
They sat at a table near an Alexander Calder mobile. A silvered triangular shape balanced on a metal pole slowly turned above his head. On the table in front of them was a tea pot from the 19th century. The Tayamni considered it immoral to attack an adversary, unless they had been attacked first. Now, at Namazu’s order, he would act contrary to that practice. He looked at Namazu, as she sat there, looking into space. He knew she was planning strategy.
From the moment Tayamni begin their education, they are taught taking a life is a grievous wrong. Even the lives of insects and small animals is against the moral code.
He knew the survival of humanity, the success of his life’s work, depended on the success of upcoming battles. Yet, he was ambivalent. Since first inhabiting his body and coming with the Matriarch to Earth eons ago, he had been more concerned with spiritual matters, with right and wrong, than with any other pursuits. His primary guide was the Moral Code, his God, Anubis, the jackal headed God who took the dead to be judged for the good in their hearts.
Fighting, violence was against his nature.
He felt a gentle touch, and looked into Namazu’s face.
“I have not thanked you, my brother,” she leaned forward and kissed him gently. “I know that sometimes, I can be difficult.”
Amun shook his head.
“Don’t give me that!” she interjected. “I can be a first class, A-Number-One Bitch, and I know it.”
Amun tried not to laugh.
“I just want you to know,” she continued, “how much I appreciate your helping me, during my,” She didn’t complete her sentence.
She looked to her right for a moment, then back into his face, changing the subject, “I know that the life of a warrior is against your nature.”
Amun looked down at the floor thoughtfully.
“But, I also know there is no one I would rather have with me now, than you.”
Amun was surprised, was that a tear in her eye? She lifted her left hand to wipe it away. “And, if you tell anyone that I cried,” she smiled broadly, “I’ll kick your ass!” Then, she stood looking towards the short stairway leading up to a platform. She bent down towards him and continued, “Thank you for comforting me during my,” she paused and looked aside with embarrassment, then bending down to him whispered, “…breakdown.”
Amun laughed out loud.
Standing, he looked up to the docking bay entrance.
He and Namazu walked together, slowly, as if they could delay the onset of battle. They proceeded up the steps to the exit door. It swirled into curving patterns and opened into a tunnel connecting her ship to the Portal. Vibrations and flashes of light, the arrival of allied ships, were so frequent, he no longer noticed them. Looking back down to the common area, he saw people wearing varying kinds of environmental suits. Allies sat on chairs and sofas. Others were at tables and the bar. Some spoke in the old language.
Most here were female. He knew men were physically stronger, but women made the best warriors. Their ability to be gentle and ruthlessly vicious mystified him. His wife was young, but he saw her developing the same hardness, the emotional toughness she would need. He reminded himself, she was stronger than he knew. He continued walking to his own ship, the Sirius.
Once on board, he stood looking at his crew, Taharqo at the weapons console, Ptah, at navigation, and three females, Tayamni martial artists with genetic modifications. Excited, eager to use their skills, they talked loudly.
He would only need a small crew for this first mission. They would return afterwards to join Namazu.
Amun sat at the navigation console with Ptah. They mapped the route to Lake Toba at Earth. Now, the route appeared on the animation floating above.
Ptah was a topographical specialist. The crew took their positions, talking excitedly, sending images to each other. Amun took the Captain’s chair, and announced with a gentle baritone, “Let’s get underway.” They grew quiet as they concentrated on tasks.
“Withdrawing docking tubes,” Ptah announced. Rushing gases of pressurized compartments sounded. Sprays of oxygen entered the bridge, bringing the atmosphere to equal that of their home world, Mussara. He breathed sweet, rich air.
Ptah shouted, “Mappings are loaded.” Amun looked back and nodded.
He looked at Tarharqo, running tests on weapons systems.
Amun saw the Portal moving away. The windows of the ship darkened, they were close to the Sun. The ship moved slowly, broadcasting its route ahead, so any allied ships nearby could avoid their path.
“Receiving mappings, Captain,” the communications officer announced. The ship would read locations of other ships, facilitating communications. Picking up speed, they saw other ships moving past. Then, with a sudden burst, the Temporal Portal, the ships hovering around it, and the Sun itself, were gone, receded into the distance as they streaked towards Earth.
Amun sat in the Captain’s chair, and thought about settlements around Lake Toba. They would not wait till nightfall. They would be seen by local populations. He was brought out of worry by Taharqo, suddenly standing beside him.
“Captain,” Taharqo asked, trying to soften his strong voice.
Amun looked up. Taharqo continued, “I heard the Miti, the cold blasting weapon, has not been tested underwater.”
“It has not been,” Amun responded.
“I calculated the blasts of cold we plan to fire at the Tlaloc base will produce a column of ice a meter in diameter.
“Get as close as possible,” Amun responded, hoping to minimize ice produced. “We’ll activate shields, and move quietly into the water.” He looked forward at a screen then back at Taharqo. “Let’s minimize chances they’ll see us. They don’t know our plans.”
“Understood,” Taharqo responded, walking back to the console.
Amun looked at the screen again. They would appear above the Lake at 2:13 PM, local time. The sun would be high in the sky. He looked at Taharqo and saw concern on his face. “Captain,” Taharqo began again, “We know so little about Tlaloc technology. I advise we have blasters to supplement advanced weaponry. Their shielding is probably electron sheets, lasers and carbon.”
They bolted towards Terra. Amun could saw a yellow star in the distance, Venus. He knew soon, the second planet, Sol II, would be surrounded by an armada of Amelu ships. On-screen ahead of him, to his right, he saw the message he and Namazu recorded to be delivered to the entire mission.
Taharqo modified configurations, then, an image of a Lake on the display. The distance they would fly from the clouds to the Lake would be short, minimizing the time they would be seen. Another display showed footage from underwater, sent from sensors left on their initial visit. He saw a tall, vertical structure, the color of earth, embedded into the wall of the caldera, camouflaged, except for large windows from which yellow light shone into clear water. He enhanced the image, zooming closer. He didn’t see anyone inside. The two Tlalocs maintaining the station could have been sleeping or working in a laboratory. The temperature of the structure was warm, around 40 degrees Celsius. The Tlalocs liked to keep their environment hot. Suspended underwater, but docked to the station was a small ship. He sighed with relief, realizing they did not expect to be attacked. In another view, he saw pumps, at least 100 of them, pumping water at extreme force into the Sumatran fault.
“We’re approaching, Captain,” Ptah instructed. Ahead of them, through sheets of transparent metals, Amun saw Earth, covered with clouds.
“Make a slow, gentle approach,” He instructed Ptah. “They don’t know we are coming. We need to keep it that way. Activate shields.”
The ship slowed. Soon, they saw expanses of water beneath them. They were over the lake. In no time it seemed, the ship came almost to a stop, and then slid gently under the water. He was surprised at the clarity. The ship moved through water, slowly, effortlessly.
“No shields, no weapons,” Taharqo announced as they approached the Tlaloc base.
Amun looked down. He knew they were attacking by surprise, breaking the Moral Code. But, he reminded himself of the treachery and surprise attack the Tlalocs launched at Yellowstone. He brought to mind, images of devastations delivered by nuclear weapons in ancient times. He remembered the reason they were here, the pumps, working continuously to cause an extinction level event on the planet. They intended to wipe out most of the three billion humans on Earth at 1962.
He raised his face and looked through the windows towards the structure in front of them. “Fire the Miti at full force,” he instructed.
Suddenly, the structure was covered with white ice. As the beam continued, the ice grew thicker. “Can you detect life signs inside the structure?” He looked at E5, “What’s the temperature inside the station?”
E5 looked up at Amun, sensing the sorrow and the determination he felt. “Life signs have ceased, Captain.” He and Amun were looking into each other’s faces, “The temperature is 23 below zero, Celsius.”
“Fire the blaster,” Amun instructed.
An orange beam of light shot from the ship to the station. Their ship vibrated. The ice-covered structure burst into millions of fragments. Pieces of metal, plastics, fabric, and other materials swirled around them. Chunks of ice hit the windows, bouncing away through the water.
“Do you detect organic material?”
E5 looked at him again and announced, “Only fragments, Captain.”
Suddenly, Taharqo looked down at his display. His fingers flying over controls. “Captain, the Tlaloc ship was undocked. It’s flying away.”
“After them, ” he ordered, as their ship spun around under the water, and began a trajectory towards the small green craft.
“Tell the Elders, send someone to disable the pumps,” Amun commanded, looking at the communications officer.
The ship lifted out of the water. Amun looked at his display and saw debris, including irregular pieces of ice floating on the surface of the lake. He shook his head, and commanded, “On screen.”
“Communications?” Amun asked a young woman.
“Gishkim, Captain,” she looked at him, happy to have his attention.
“Is the vessel sending messages?” he asked.
She looked at her console, touching several indicators with her fingers in quick succession. “Yes, Captain. Intercepting.”
“How’s the new translator coming?” he asked, referring to a project Gashan was working on.
“Downloading latest version,” she responded.
Then, the crew heard a series of clicks and hisses. Amun had a sickening feeling, the same one he had during the temporal anomaly, when they were able to hear and understand the Tlaloc language; then, a few translated words, “…dead…” more hisses, “…frozen…” static and hisses, “…fleeing.” Then, the transmission dropped.
“We need a better translator!” Amun shouted. “Tell Namazu, the enemy will be forewarned at Venus,” he commanded.
The woman at communications nodded, and spoke into a small device attached to the skin near her mouth.
“Taharqo, can you disable them?” Amun asked.
“Destroy them, Captain?” he responded.
“Do as you must,” Amun ordered.
Taharqo, spun around in his chair, punching lighted areas in the display as if the pressure he applied would equal the force of the weapon.
Ahead of them, they saw an orange beam from their ship, strike the Tlaloc ship. The blue light of an electron sheath force field activated around it. Then, the Miti fired. The white beam struck the Tlaloc vessel, again, activating the electron sheath.
“Captain, their shields weakened the blast, but did not entirely protect them,” E5 announced, as he monitored the conditions inside the vessel in front of them. “The temperature of the ship has fallen.”
Just then, the Tlaloc vessel arched sharply upwards, picking up speed.
More crackling sounds came from speakers around them. “…no shields…” hissing, then, several loud clicks, “…fading…”
“Hit him again with a continuous beam, Taharqo.” Amun commanded.
Another white beam shot from their ship, striking the green and gold vessel ahead of them.
“Yes, Captain,” Taharqo responded. A third beam shot from their ship, only this time, it was not a burst, but a continuous beam. The ship ahead slowed. As they approached, Amun looked towards Taharqo.
“Yes, Captain,” he responded, “he’s unconscious, life signs ebbing.”
By now, they were above the atmosphere.
“The blaster,” Amun commanded.
The orange beam shot from their vessel, striking the slowing craft in front of them. It fell into small pieces, some of which struck their ship. Again, Amun looked at Taharqo.
“He’s dead, Captain.” He looked at his displays once more. “The Tlaloc vessel is no longer transmitting.
Amun looked at Ptah, “Back to Solar Station.”
“Yes, Captain,” he responded, as their ship traced an arched trajectory to the right.
“Captain!” Giskim stood with alarm.
Amun looked at her sharply.
“A message from the Admiral,” she sat back down.
“On screen,” he commanded.
Footage of Namazu, her brows furrowed, her face pale, materialized. “My brother,” she began. “We need you at Luna, as soon as you get this message,” she looked to the side. “The Base is under attack.”
Amun slumped back in his chair. “Change course …” he began.
Before he could complete the sentence, Ptah interrupted, “Done, Captain.”