Zodiac : Alpha Fleet (Prologue Sample)

Zodiac : Alpha Fleet (Prologue Sample)

A Story by Ross W Arrowsmith
"

The prologue to book one of a science-fiction trilogy, the Zodiac star-ship adventures, called 'Zodiac: Alpha Fleet'. The year is 2090 - the Zodiac starship must search and rescue 'Space Fleet Alpha'.

"

Ioneye, the peaking hot sun on the deep edges of the Milky Way shone its bright light rays across the large field of asteroids, slowly bobbing through space in a formation similar to a Scottish highland rabble.

According to scouts in their small ships �" it was a place common to communication blackouts and signal jamming. Nevertheless, no matter what danger lay ahead, Space Fleet Alpha’s orders were to explore the nearby areas around ‘the new planet’.

It had begun just over a decade ago.

The European Space Commission along with many other countries had no other option than to send a space fleet out in search of a new planet, as resources on Earth dwindled alarmingly quickly.

Space Fleet Alpha �" at the time a formidable distance going force with enough resources to set up a base had been launched.

At the bulk of the forces, the capital ship, ‘Haleway One’ carried all of the high command, several ground vehicles and a small hangar bay for light, Infinity class cruisers.

Now �" the capital ship and four heavy frigates sped their engines through the ‘Cocoa’ asteroid fields.

Having already landed and set up a supply link from Earth to the ‘new planet’ they had discovered �" the Space Commission’s next move was to send out an exploration mission. The ‘new planet’ itself had taken four years to reach, and many strange things had happened. Light frigates had gone missing, as well as several fighters.

Constantly strange sightings were reported, though Commander Henderson tried to beat it off his mind and convinced himself it was nothing �" despite having seen some strange things himself.

So far, eighteen thousand citizens and workmen had been successfully moved over to the ‘new planet’ and many structures had been built since. Tiger class transport freighters were still on convoy routes back and forth, collecting new civilians and bringing back supplies for the people of Earth itself.

It had been a planet scientists and astronomers had had their eyes on for years now �" pointing expensive telescopes at it and running feasibility checks.

The most difficult part �" the funding and resource gathering had taken almost two years. In the harsh conditions of 2080, the Space Commission managed to rake in enough money, and Space Fleet Alpha had been successfully launched with seemingly no trouble atall.

After the mysterious and winding journey �" Space Fleet Alpha were out on the search again, exploring the nearby areas for life forms, asteroid impacts with the new planet and anything else they could find.

The staff on board ‘Haleway One’ were happy to be out again on mission �" most of them found it a tedium to be writing out long winded reports for pure bureaucracy and political reasons.

Although, this had severely reduced since the early 21st Century. Countries and continents had been forced to work together much more. Many countries in Africa and around the Middle East had finally set down their weapons and combined borders �" Europe had become much tighter knit, as well as tensions between the USA and China had become much friendlier.

It had allowed for the Earth to almost work like one team, one country �" but mostly because they had to, in order to survive.

Now that the ‘new planet’ had been found, political discussions had been on an uproar about which country could occupy where. The planet itself was about twice the size of earth, at a slightly colder climate, back like in the early 21st Century.

Commander Ian Henderson, when Space Fleet Alpha landed on the planet was the first to step outside and test the oxygen.

The moment was so tense, as all of the crew members watched from the windows and the man in the space suit slowly picked up his arms to remove the helmet. The tests had shown positive, and it was give or take the same amount of oxygen as on Earth.

Now,

Henderson, personally glad to be away from all the political babble and constant talk about transport freighters going missing �" in his opinion which was to be expected �" was just happy to be cruising space again.

He stood in his European, Navy blue space uniform, his silver epaulettes and breast pocket badge showing his rank as leader of the fleet.  Keeping to officer’s tradition, he carried a pistol in a holster on his left hip, and a hat, similar to that of the admiralties back on earth.

Staring out into the vast depths of space and the ‘cocoa’ asteroid fields, directly behind him sat about thirty officers, each calculating trajectories, running scans, plotting the ships course and relaying signals to the other support frigates, sat at advanced computers and desks, much like a pre-second world war classroom. Henderson had his own small office which he liked to retreat to on a regular basis. But since being a child he had always liked standing up high somewhere, admiring the view.

Towards the lower part of the view, he could see the pencil like front of ‘Haleway one’ and as his eyes traced closer to the command bridge, the ship showed a much more bulky hull, equipped with several weapons and heat-resistant metal cladding.

Subconsciously he ran a finger across his growing moustache, to the armed forces regulations, probably one that needed to be shaved.

Being in his late thirties meant the first signs of greying hair showing through, although he knew everybody respected him no matter what.

His eyes swivelled over a purple-ish tint towards the left of the fleet. On the left and right, the Leopard class frigates kept up to speed in good formation, as well as one directly ahead of Haleway One at the spear point of the fleet.

‘Watching the six’ was another Leopard class cruiser. Personally, Henderson thought their crew were some of the bravest amongst the whole fleet.

He glanced round at this officers, all busy, their heads glued to their monitors and control panels.

After turning back round, his eyes became focused on a distant green sparkle, that looked like a firework. It swirled, almost like a missile, seeming to come closer. He chanced a look round to see if any of his officers had seen anything.

He continued to then stare into the strange green sparkle, flying in such an odd formation. The sparks it let off in its flight path seemed to turn more into a smoke like

Trail as it seemed to draw closer.

‘I have something here!’

Instinct forced Henderson to shout.

Immediately an officer looked up to address his call, and seemed to notice himself.

‘That green trail like thing sir?!’ Asked the officer across to Henderson.

‘Yes! Has anyone got a track on it? A space ship? An asteroid?!’

A sudden wave of panic seemed to sweep through the control room as officers bustled to try and find out what the strange thing was.

Henderson turned back towards the windows to see the progress of the strange thing. He had no idea of the size, and couldn’t make any bearings to how far away the strange green thing was.

He turned to bark another order to contact the other frigates, but before his mouth hinged open, a nearby monitor flashed with incoming calls.

Henderson saw to it himself, taking long and fast paces over to the monitor-microphone.

‘This is Leopard One. We have a visual on something strange here, but we can’t seem to get a lock on.’

‘Roger Leopard One’ replied Henderson. ‘We see it too �" it doesn’t look like anyone here’s got anything. Contact the other frigates and try to get a position for it.’

A pause came.

‘Yes sir’ said a voice from the speaker.

Henderson watched another monitor warning of an incoming call from Leopard three stop, as Leopard One passed on the news.

‘Prepare combat systems’ Henderson announced.

A distant officer punched away at a few buttons and Henderson turned to see several turrets rotating and locking into a defensive position.

Soon that all went out of view, as a thick green smoke substance began to engulf the view. Within the next twenty seconds, officers looked in awe at the view, as a thick green smoke began to cloud over the whole fleet.

All communications reported as negative function, though the cloudy smoke was reported as a normal water vapour type smoke.

Henderson wondered what the other frigates would do. ‘Cut the engines’ he said, though he sensed that had already been done �" and not by anyone on board Haleway one.

All of a sudden, sparks flew from panels and the lights cut off, leaving the room in an eerie darkness. Henderson watched the afraid crew, as the only light, with a green tint from the window shone over them. They were alone. Distantly a humming space ship sound could be heard.

It must be the other frigates

Though it didn’t sound like it, thought Henderson.

There they were �" Space Fleet Alpha, in less than two minutes had been disabled and was now helplessly bobbing through space. No lock on targets, any substance analysis, just one visual thing.

The light rays from Ioneye offered no help.

They were on their own.

© 2012 Ross W Arrowsmith


Author's Note

Ross W Arrowsmith
Does it open the novel in a mysterious way?
Please point out grammar mistakes.

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Added on November 11, 2012
Last Updated on November 11, 2012
Tags: Science-Fiction, Space, Star Wars, Milky-Way, Earth, Zodiac, Battles, Intergalactic Wars, Atmosphere, Aliens, Invasion, Advanced, 2090, New Planets, Asteroids, Gerry Anderson, Ross Arrowsmith