“Are you sure Uncle?” the Queen asked.
“We haven’t had any report regarding the Sigma Scorpii sector.”
“I am certain my dear and am very sorry to bring you this disturbing news,” Salazar answered.
“But there must be close to a million or so colonists in that sector,” said the King incredulously.
“A million three hundred and thirty eight thousand to be exact Majesty,” announced Rexius.
“And they are all gone?” asked the Queen.
“Yes, niece, all gone,” said Salazar.
“Along with the infrastructure all of it wiped out in a matter of days.”
“That’s over a million of our people,” the King said.
“Yes, Sire,” he replied.
The Queen held out her hand to her husband who gently enfolded it in his as they both wept.
Uncle Salazar and Coronado sat in silence until the Royal Couple completed their brief grieving period.
Then the Queen looked down at her uncle with fire in her eyes.
“What do we do next, Uncle?” she asked.
“I’m sure you didn’t only come here to tell us this news without offering us a solution?” she further asked.
“Because of the new stealth scout ships, we were able to gather intelligence regarding the attack on the Sigma system,” Salazar informed them.
“We were able to brake down the data, analyze the Deintus battle strategy and noticed a number of holes that we can exploit,” he declared.
“But how can we do that?” asked the King.
“We have no star ships that can attack the Deintus,” admitted the King.
“You are right, Sire,” said Salazar.
“We have no starships now,” he explained.
“Please go on Uncle, I do believe you are leading us to something,” the Queen requested smiling.
“Ah, you know me so well, my dear,” replied Salazar smiling.
“As we were designing the scout ships, I began to wonder about the weapons that my dear grand niece created for Alphina,” he began.
“And?” the King asked.
“It occurred to me that we can use those abilities, increase their size and fit them onto existing space crafts,” Salazar informed them.
“You can do that?” the Queen asked.
“We already have,” Salazar admitted.
“We placed working models on the stealth craft that went out to the Sigma sector.”
“They did not use them but they had them just in case,” he declared.
“Tell me if I’m wrong but doesn’t Alphina’s weapons system have to deal with ground based weapons?” asked the King.
“You are not wrong Sire,” Salazar stated.
“But again your wonderful daughter provided us with a small hint that got us to thinking,” he said.
“Please continue, dear Uncle,” requested the Queen.
“Because space has no atmosphere,” began Salazar.
“Alphina’s weapons would not have the penetration power it has down here,” explained Salazar.
“In other words, we need a space born weapon system that will penetrate a ship and do significant damage,” he added.
“Something like the mines, Uncle?” asked the Queen.
“Something, just like the mines,” he said smiling.
“We can reconstruct the nuclear, x-ray and gamma ray elements the mines use and array them on a new space based weapons system,” he finished.
“But wouldn’t they have to be mobile Salazar?” the King asked.
“Quite correct Highness they will have to be,” Salazar replied.
“How can we make them more mobile?” the Queen asked.
“There are various methods we could use, but that’s not what I am suggesting we use, Majesties,” her uncle explained.
“If not the mines then what Uncle?” asked the Queen.
“I suggest we use another form of self defense, niece,” he replied.
“What did the Deintus use on Sigma?” asked the King.
“That is a good question, Sire and moving along the lines of what I think we should be using,” he said smiling.
“At Sigma, they used giant projectiles, called missiles.”
“They also used a light beam weapon the Rths knew as lasers,” he finished explaining.
“Light that can be used as a weapon?” asked the King.
“In a concentrated form,” Salazar began.
“Yes, light can destroy objects by slicing through them like knife through butter, Sire,” Salazar informed him.
“My God, we really aren’t prepared for these creatures, are we?” asked the Queen.
“How can we battle them with what little we have?”
“That’s why I have been called out of ‘retirement’ my dear,” he said smiling.
“The Rths knew I would be needed one day.”
“I have been awakened to help our Empire wage war against the Deintus and destroy them,” Salazar said with steel in his voice.
“So what do you need from us Uncle Salazar?” asked the King.
“You need to make an Empire wide proclamation that calls for every commercial fabricator to be reprogrammed to construct war material,” he suggested.
“We need to mass-produce our own missiles and their platforms.”
“We can make both space-based platforms and land based ones,” he advised.
“We also need to reconstruct all naval spacecraft with either missile launchers or laser emitter weapon’s systems, Sire.”
“Finally, Majesties we have to fabricate new starfighters that will incorporate the offensive capabilities that your daughter gave to Alphina,” he concluded.
“That’s a big order Salazar,” said the King.
“Do you want to save your kingdom or not?” Salazar asked him pointblank.
“Of course,” stated the King.
“Then we need a Royal Decree, Sire,” advised Salazar.
“It also needs to have the Vatican’s stamp of approval on it as well,” he added.
The King and Queen did not have to wait for the Vatican to have the Papal Blessing put on their own governmental fabricators, the Royal Couple just ordered it done and it was.
As half the fabricators were beginning to turn out wartime material such as the nuclear and x-ray/gamma ray missiles, the other half was fabricating launchers to be placed on older space ships.
Using secure commo channels, the King and Queen spoke with former military personnel who were now industrial leaders and asked them to volunteer their fabricators.
They contacted close personal, friends that were commercial or industrial magnates and asked them to volunteer their company’s fabricators as well.
All of the fabricators the Royal Couple secured to help with the war effort numbered into the hundreds.
Even before they went to the Black Pope with their request, the King and Queen obtained half of the Empire’s fabricators.
The fabricators began churning out thousands of newly made missiles, their launchers, and starships on a weekly basis.
The King and Queen commanded all the military shipyards to begin refitting the new missile launchers and offensive laser arrays onto as many ships as they could.
The ships arrived at the shipyards and within a few days a newly outfitted ships would leave the shipyard loaded with the new weapon systems and ready for battle.
Each ship’s officers received a quick course on the new battle weapons while their ship underwent refitting.
The ship engineers learned all they could on how to maintain the new equipment and then trained others.
The military brass got involved vigorously recruiting all able-bodied citizens and starting a training program to cover all the newer weapons.
The military officer training academies began gearing up and quickly graduated their senior classes.
They began to fast track more potential officer candidates to get them registered in the academy.
Everywhere in the Empire, the sleeping giant began to awaken and stir.
The citizens could sense something was wrong.
They could feel the tension in the air around them and they could see that the military and the government were on the move.
People began to ask questions, and the news services began to speculate about the growing excitement and unrest.
The King and Queen were in the throne room holding court when the Black Pope and a group of priests entered the audience chamber.
“We are pleased that you could spare us a few minutes of your time, Eminence,” the Queen said.
“I am always at your deposal Your Majesties,” de la Medida said.
“How can I be of services, Highnesses?” he asked.
“We are going to announce a Royal Decree in the next few days ordering all fabricators in the Empire to begin producing war material,” advised the King.
“I have noticed that a great many fabricators are already being used at that capacity, Sire,” the Black Pope stated.
“I can certainly understand why you moved so quickly Your Majesty after hearing the sad news regarding the Sigma system,” he said.
“Yes, we were indeed saddened by the loss of so many lives, Father,” the King said sadly.
“I pray nightly for their souls, Sire,” he admitted.
“But didn’t you started this mobilization several weeks ago?” de la Medida asked.
“Yes, we did, Father,” answered the Queen, “and your question?”
“Well, my Queen we had just heard about the loss of life only a few days ago,” he admitted.
“It would seem that the throne had prior knowledge of the attack before we did,” he said.
“Why would that surprise you Father?” the Queen asked.
“It should not, my child,” he said smiling.
“We wonder if your uncle had anything to do with your prior knowledge?” he asked.
“Our dear Uncle Salazar is a very fine and trustworthy subject, and a very close relative, Father,” answered the King.
“He is indeed a wonder if he was responsible for your information, Sire,” the Black Pope said.
“I thought as much,” he said gravely.
“Your words are spoken with deep regrets, Father,” said the Queen.
“Regrets, no,” he stated.
“But with great trepidation,” he added.
“And why are you so alarmed Father?” she asked.
“Because of what the Dominicans will try to do once they find out that your intelligence source was your uncle, my Queen,” he informed her.
“We have heard the rumors and innuendos that have been spread about my uncle and we are not amused,” she stated flatly.
“You say you have first hand knowledge that these attacks upon our dear Uncle Salazar come from the Dominicans?” asked the King.
“Direct knowledge, no Your Highness they are much too smart to have it linked directly to them,” de la Medida stated.
“But your order has kept a wary eye on them for a long time and you see their hand in this personal attack?” asked the Queen.
“I do, Your Majesty,” the Black Pope stated.
“And what could possibly be their end game, Father?” asked the King.
“More than likely to cast a dark shadow over your uncle’s awakening and for those responsible for it,” he suggested.
“We are responsible for my uncle’s awakening,” the Queen said standing up.
The Black Pope shrugged and bowed.
“The public would never doubt you Majesty, but they would question those advisors that surround you,” he stated.
“What?” the King said laughing.
“I believed the learned Father is talking about us, Sire,” Rexius said.
“Which would only make sense,” Reginus said.
“Your chief counselors advised you to awaken Salazar and their judgment is suspect not yours,” she added.
“If we were dismissed,” began Rexius.
“It would leave a vacuum for the Dominicans to fill,” advised Rexius.
“With counselors ready to advise you both on what the Dominicians would have you hear,” added Reginus.
“Never,” the King stated flatly.
“Do the Dominican’s not know us?” asked the Queen.
“I don’t follow your meaning Majesty,” admitted Father de la Medida.
“I mean Father that Miguel and I listen to advice but we and only WE decide,” she declared in a clear voice.
“Furthermore we have no problem accepting the blame should something we have done or ordered ends up wrong,” she stated.
“I could never place blame on Rexius or Reginus by deflecting it from me.”
“How could I call myself a good Catholic if I did that?” she asked.
“Indeed how could you my child?” the Father asked.
“I do believe the Dominicans miscalculated your Royal Oath to your subjects and to God.”
“And for that they will pay,” said the King firmly.
The Black Pope concluded his meeting with the Royal Couple by telling them about what he and the Drone Council had decided was the best plan for Uncle Salazar.
He also said that he would take their request to the Pope himself regarding the Papal Decree regarding the fabricators.
He assured them that the Pope would issue this decree within a short period.
As he left the Throne room on his way to pick up Salazar, he was humming to himself.
His aides saw this as a good sign because whenever he hummed, he was happy.
His thoughts were on what the Queen had acknowledged regarding their stewardship of the New Spanish Empire.
He was relieved that the Empire was in the capable hands of Monarchs who cared.
He was also pleased that all the back alley dealings and smear campaigns that the Dominicans employed to get their men inside had come to nothing.
But he knew that the ‘Hounds’ would not stop, they would keep coming at the Royals in any way they could to change the balance of power into their hands.
He knew they truly believed they were the only ones in God’s favor and therefore were the only Order that knew what was best for the Empire.
The Pope met with Uncle Salazar and found him to be one of the most interesting people that he had ever met.
The Pope found Salazar to be a devout Catholic and wondered why he had to recite the catechism with such a deeply religious man.
The Pope found it odd that he sign a document stating Seńor Salazar’s standing as a solid, upstanding Catholic layperson.
When the Pope later found out why all these extraordinary steps occcured to secure his view on Salazar de la Caterina’s Catholic faith, he chuckled to himself.
No doubt, one of the Church’s Orders is playing some kind of political game, he thought.
He gave no more thought to the matter regarding Seńor Salazar because he had other thoughts that were fighting for his attention.
He knew the Empire was under attack from an outside source that seems to be killing New Spanairds left and right.
He also knew that the Empire’s ability to fend off these attackers was becoming a problem; therefore, he signed the Papal Decree imploring all businesses and manufacturers to turn their fabricators over to making wartime material.
He thought he should even go one-step further and preach a series of sermons on how God wanted the citizens of the New Spanish Empire to volunteer their time and labor for the good of all humanity.
He did not want panic running through the streets of the Empire but he did want everybody to realize that God’s help begins when God’s people worked together.
The King and Queen were pleased that the Pope and the Vatican supported them.
They were surprised when they heard that the Pope was going to preach sermons dealing with every citizen’s responsibility to help pitch in with the wartime build up.
They were also pleased that the Pope invited them to the Vatican to be present when he began his first Papal Sermon regarding the Deintus.
Production increased as all the fabricators in the Empire started churning out weapons and weapon systems.
The ship fabricators went into full fabrication mode as they began building the new starfighters.
The shipyards had their hands full putting together the larger of the starship designs until the common citizenry started showing up in droves begging to help with the work.
Therefore, the shipbuilders and engineers put them to work building the newer larger Capital ships of the line.
One in fifty of the new capital ships were a new type of ship created to house and launch thousands and thousands of starfighters.
These new Capital ships were called “El Capital Base de los Barcos” or Capital Base Ships and were created as the new Flag Ships for the Admiralty.
The Spanish citizens not only turned the tide regarding the manufacture of war material, they also volunteered by the hundreds of thousands for active duty in all the military services.
The greater need for naval personnel was at the forefront of the recruiting process so the majority of volunteers became space navy recruits.
The new addition to the naval ranks caused a minor glitch at the beginning but they solved that when more naval recruitment camps grew in number.
By the end of the first month of recruitment, the naval ranks grew by a million and a half new recruits with the officer recruitment side growing by thirty five thousand.
After a few short weeks, the New Spanish Space Navy was well on its way with added personnel and new starships to meet the deadly threat.
As the Abaivarapatish finished another session with the Song Master of the Fleet, he decided that the Graffias System was next the system targeted for total destruction.
He wanted to know why some of his ships never returned from their mission to that area and he was going to find out the answer in force.
He gave the order and all ships moved to the Graffias System to set up and await his arrival.
As the 32nd Spatiotemporal Exploratory Aggregation left the Sigma Scorpii System, they left with a few more ships then they originally came with.
The scanning equipment the Deintus had did not detect the cloaked ships, so the battle group had no idea they had picked up unwanted hitchhikers as they left the system.
Of the nine Empire starships now cloaked in the Sigma Scorpii System monitoring the sector, four of the scout ships kept in constant communication with the throne’s hidden base to update them on the enemy’s movements.
As the Deintus battle fleet slipped into their version of hyperspace, the base plotted their next possible target with data uploaded to them from the scout ships.
The other five skirmish attack cruisers specifically built to harass the enemy decided to attack the remaining Deintus’ ships.
As the enemy fleet left the Sigma System, Deintus’ starships on the outer fringe of the formation came under attack.
No one from the remaining battle fleet knew because the New Spaniards activated the dampening field mines.
Their plan of attack was simple; slip dampening field mines in, targeted the ship and kill them before they could leave.
They destroyed the targeted Deintus’ ships quickly and moved onto their next set of targets.
A few things happened in the Graffias System when they heard the Deintus was on their way to pay them a visit.
The first was the Spanish Army deployed as many troops as they could spare from surrounding systems to help shore up the Graffias’ ground defensive grids.
They slipped into the Graffias system through the back door because they did not want to alert the attacking ships.
The transport ships dropping off the defensive Spanish troops left the system as quickly as they arrived.
The Spanish Army was under the command of Generalissimo Ferdinand de Aragon.
He ordered them to set up quickly and camouflaged all of their battle preparations from any spies in the sky.
The next thing that happened involved the Naval Command.
They ordered as many naval vessels into the Graffias System to act as defensive shields against the invading enemy.
The King and Queen appointed Grand Admiral Jose de la Gallicia to be in charge of the New Spaniards Naval Forces in the area.
De la Gallicia also recruited commercial space vessels refitted with defensive weapons as a second line of defense against the Deintus.
He ordered several dozen tankers refitted at one of the naval space yards with multiple missile launchers and then had them re-launched into the system to act as decoy tankers.
The Queen and her uncle designed these special decoy tanker/missile carriers so that the ships would deploy their special missile packages hours before the Deintus attack.
The tankers went up, launched their loads in specific patterns and waited for the inevitable attack on their ‘helpless’ tankers.
The crewmembers of these ships knew they were sitting ducks.
The special missiles they deployed were loaded with some of the highest yielding x-ray and gamma ray weapons made so far.
Any ship caught within its kill radius of five kilometers would be cosmic dust.
The only problem that all of these first generation missiles had were that they needed to be close to the object in order to maximize their lethal potential.
The good thing that these missiles had was their stealth capabilities.
The missiles left the tankers quickly and then cut off their propulsion drive to drift in space like any other space debris.
Then when their drones inside the missiles detected an enemy ship within a thousand kilometers, they would go ‘dark,’ track the enemy ship, slide up alongside it and self-destruct.
That was not the only trick the Queen and Salazar’s group had up their sleeves.
With the help of Alphina and Coronado, they came up with a missile design made especially for groups of enemy fighters attacking a fixed position.
The missile acted as a giant shotgun shell and would launch from ground-based positions or in space.
As the missile came to within ten kilometers of its target, it would fire tens of thousands of lead and thallium shot directly into the approach of the attacking fighter group.
The drones concluded with so many small, undetected objects in front of the approaching fighter group, they had no time for evasive maneuvers and would die as they ran into them.
The enemy could move out of the shotgun missiles way by shifting their attack pattern.
That is why the King and Queen demanded the use of no less than twenty shotgun missiles launched directly into the enemy’s face to ensure the destruction of their formation.
As he sat and moved his ships around the sector, Grand Admiral Jose de la Gallicia was confident that the colonists in the Graffias System would give the enemy a good fight and bloody their noses.
Finally, the last defensive item that needed finishing before the Deintus arrived was the redeployment and resupply of the minefields guarding the Graffias System.
The defenders had an idea in which direction the Deintus were going to invade their system and decided to lay the heaviest amount of mines in that approach vector.
Salazar wanted more nuclear mines made and distributed to the outer sector far enough away that would not cause too much destruction to the inner planetary system.
The object was to rid the Empire of this menace, not kill everything in the process.
Salazar and the Queen devised another strategy that used as many drone activated antigravity stealth mines as they could make in the limited amount of time they had.
Utilizing as many fabricators as they could, they made a little over two thousand of the drone-activated mines in time.
Salazar ordered them into stealth mode and located them in the outer fringes of the system near where the Deintus were to enter the Graffias System.
The Queen came up with a clever idea to hold them in reserve until all the Deintus’ ships were in system and in the thick of battle.
With the enemy battle fleet distracted by the colonist’s defensive measures the order would go out to those hidden mines to attack the fleet’s vulnerable rear flank.
The Queen knew that when the Deintus’ blood was boiling and their eyes were on targets in front of them, a surprise attack from behind would be devastating.
She wanted these vermin to die.
She wanted to extract the full measure of all the countless deaths that they had heaped upon her kingdom.
She wanted them to pay for it right here and right now.
While bathing in his sumptuous mud bath, The Abaivarapatish was pondering why they were not at the rendezvous spot.
He was about ready to contact a subordinate when an alarm klaxon went off near his quarters.
He hurriedly got out of his soothing mud bath and got dressed.
An aide was waiting for him as he exited his bathing quarters and informed him that they were under attack.
The aide had no idea how many ships attacked them or what form of weapons they used.
The Abaivarapatish was not pleased by the attack or by this toady’s lack of information.
When his personal guard arrived to help escort him to a secure place on the ship, he had them toss the aide out the nearest airlock.
As he got to his secure battle command center in the middle of the ship, another toady informed him that the attack had already been repelled.
He asked for a quick status report on damages done to the ship and was appalled by the amount of damage done.
In a short time, his command ship had lost two landing bays and one fifth of their point defensive batteries on the starboard side.
The damage report also included over two hundred starfighters when numerous nuclear missiles struck the ship’s landing bays blowing them out in space.
Even though The Abaivarapatish’s Flag Ship sustained some damage, the New Spanish Empire had lost a system.
That fact gave The Abaivarapatish some pleasure but in the back of his mind, he was shocked by how quickly and effectively he came under attack from these curs.
The brave men and women who served aboard the five-skirmish attack cruisers already knew their mission was complete.
Now they wanted to extract some revenge.
They had no idea who was on board one of the bigger ships that waited for the others to jump to hyperspace.
All the crewmembers cared about was that a clear target of opportunity presented itself in front of them and they wanted to find out how much damage they could do using these new shipkillers, so they attacked.
Days later when the action reports funneled back from the Sigma System, the sacrifice that the skirmish crews made in order to strike a blow against the enemy stood out.
So impressed were The King and Queen by the genuine sacrifice made by the skirmish crewmembers to the Empire, they had family members of the crew brought to the palace.
The Royal family hosted an honor’s banquet and awarded Imperial honors to the grieving families of the crews.
News of the skirmish cruisers battle and sacrifice touched every Imperial citizen.
Nightly in every home, cantina or place of business where the New Spanish citizens gathered their epic story reached new ears and touched new hearts and minds.
The Abaivarapatish continued to feel uneasy, even though he did not show any outward signs to his men, as they finally slipped into the outer fringes of the Graffias System.
He made sure all of his ships had reported in and was shocked to find that another one hundred ships had gone missing from the trip between systems.
No matter, he had over seven thousand ships left to defeat this system.
The outer picket ships and mines detected the entrance into the Graffias System by the Deintus and reported the data.
In total, the Deintus had seven thousand two hundred and twenty five ships that were forming up into attack formations just outside the outer markers of the Graffias System.
The scouts reported and uploaded all the data of the Deintus’ battle formations and battle groups patterns to the appropriate sources.
The Flagship gave the signal to proceed into the sector, kill every living thing, and destroy all structures and ships.
The seven thousand two hundred and twenty five ships of the 32nd Spatiotemporal Exploratory Aggregation sent from the Achird sector of the Deintus Conglomerate entered into the Graffias System with blood lust.
All systems were a go and all ships were in the green as they pushed into the system.
The Class 1 and two, Marauder Groups led the attack and at two hundred thousand kilometers into the Graffias System, the Marauder Groups started suffering their first casualties.
As Salazar and his grand niece anticipated, the invaders had no defense against the camouflaged nuclear mines that made up the first layer of the Spaniard’s defensive grid.
The cloaked mines did their job as invader after invader died using up the limited amount of mines deployed in that sector.
Out of the two thousand fighters that made up both Marauder groups, only a thousand survivied the first layer of the Spanish defense.
The Abaivarapatish ordered a halt of the Marauder Group’s advance because he was appalled at the number of ships he lost by these undetected weapons.
He called an emergency meeting with all heads of his attack force to discuss how they could find and eliminate the new defensive weapons.
His Intelligence Branch offered their opinion as to what these weapons could be.
They concluded that the new weapons could only be a stationary object that did not emit a signal or energy signature before they took out their target.
They suggested one way to defeat the undetected weapons would be to flood the area in front of the Marauders with material that would harmlessly use up these new weapons.
That suggestion met with the approval of the Abaivarapatish and put into action.
The Deintus’ engineering staff refitted Landers normally used to transport troops onto a world’s surface to accommodate the new anti-ship killer material.
This new Deintus tactic only worked for a short while until the newer drone antigravity stealth nuclear mines sought out the troop Landers and destroyed them.
The drones did their duty and stopped the advancing Deintus once again.
However, in utilizing the strategy De la Gallicia used up all of his antigravity stealth mines.
It was a game of chess played on a galactic scale with both sides winning and losing from time to time.
As the Deintus forces advanced through the second layer of the Spaniard’s defensive grid it costed them an additional one thousand ships but now they were closer to the colonist’s inner planetary core.
The Abaivarapatish once again ordered a halt before continuing any further into the system to consider their next move.
What did he have to show for losing fifty percent of his battle fleet? He wondered.
A few meager victories and the death of an outlying system, he thought, so was this system worth more losses to his task force?
He would decide his next move after the destruction of this system.
He ordered the Class 3 and 4 Marauder Group’s into the system to hunt down and kill all remaining space traffic.
Judging from the reports he read from his Intelligence Section, Grand Admiral de la Gallicia smiled at the job his defensive lines were doing on the enemy.
His Intelligence Department estimated that the Deintus lost approximately two thousand ships as they slowly advanced into the heart of the system.
The Grand Admiral sent out a silent prayer for those brave souls holding the line.
The Second High Ahazarapatish leading the remaining fighters of the Class 4 Marauder Group saw the fat, slow tankers making their way back into the inner system and decided that they were going to make easy targets.
Therefore, he ordered his group into attack formation and headed for the easy prey.
The civilian captain in charge of the four tankers saw the attack formation heading their way and said a silent prayer while her crewmates were cheering on the advance of the Deintus ships.
On they flew as the Second High Ahazarapatish made sure all of his ships were in a tight attack formation.
The captain watching the monitor kept counting down the moments when she knew the invaders would fly into their trap.
The first indication that things were not as perfect as the Second High Ahazarapatish thought they were was when he started losing communications between his ships.
Then one by one, his ships started disappearing from the screen on his battle plot.
He could not understand what was happening to the eight hundred ships under his command.
Suddenly he stopped wondering, thinking or living as his command ship slammed into a wall of gamma ray radiation that ripped him, his ship, and his entire command apart.
After seeing the destruction of the eight hundred Deintus’ ships, the decoy tankers plotted a course for their home world.
They got under way leaving in their wake the dead and broken fighters of what was the last of the Class 4 Marauder Group of the 32nd Spatiotemporal Exploratory Aggregation.
When the Abaivarapatish heard of the total destruction of the Class 4 Marauder Group, he went crazy.
He yelled and screamed at the top of his lungs about the incompetency of the battlefield commanders that kept killing his men.
After his rant subsided, he ordered the fleet to stop its advance once again.
He got up from his command couch, walked back to his quarters and spoke to no one.
He needed to think and the best way to get his mental juices flowing was to sit in a hot, home scented mud bath.
He needed to soak, dream and plot his next move.
After six hours, the Abaivarapatish emerged from his quarters, went back to his command couch and gave orders.
Then he sat back and watched.
At zero three thirty, they woke Grand Admiral de la Gallicia and told that the Deintus advance was once again continuing.
By zero four thirty hours, the Graffias System knew they were in deep trouble.
The Abaivarapatish inwardly smiled to himself as his advanced continued without any significant loss of any more ships or men.
The plan he came up with while soaking was to load all the heavy cruisers or battlewagons with atomic missiles and detonate them in front of his advancing fleet.
He also wanted more troop transporters fitted with the smaller material to flood huge areas of space before his advance ships.
The transporters would scoop up small ore samples that lay in their way and fire them out at high velocity to flood the areas ahead of them.
His idea was to jump frog one with the other thus using the less expendable weapons.
The plan was perfect because the only thing that it consumed was time and they had plenty of that now that they were not losing ships.
The atomics were another story they did not have an unlimited amount of them lying around so as they advanced into the inner system, they used less atomic missiles saving them for higher yield targets.
Grand Admiral de la Gallicia saw this unwavering advance continuing and had no idea how to stop it.
He and his staff panicked as they saw all those Deintus ships pointed at them.
De la Gallicia began to get a sick feeling growing in the pit of his stomach when all of a sudden he threw back his head and laughed aloud.
The room got quiet as most of the officers present thought the old Admiral was finally losing it.
Then the Admiral slapped the counter in front of him and yelled.
“Come on you slimy, sick, disgusting maggots!”
“I got you just right where I want you with no way to escape!” he exclaimed.
He looked over to his commo officer.
“Captain, please inform Seńor Salazar that he can unleash his outer most drone squadrons on these vermin and may God have mercy on them,” he ordered calmly.
As soon as those words sunk in through the minds of the terrified military personnel operating their stations, a loud shout of approval went up.
The Grand Admiral sat down heavily in his chair thanking God for their deliverance.
Salazar, Coronado and Alphina were all agonizing as they waited for the Grand Admiral to contact them.
When the call finally came through Salazar let Alphina do the honors of contacting her fellow drones.
Alphina signaled the group of antigravity stealth drone nuclear mines to proceed with their mission.
Another signal alerted the dampening field mines to proceed ahead of the cloaked mines into the rear of the enemy’s position.
The assumption was that the dampening field mines would break up communications between the last ships in formation and those in front of them.
The Spanish Naval Forces did not want the Deintus ships in front to have any warning of this sneak attack from their rear.
As good soldiers should, the dampening field mines left their designated hiding areas and paved the way for their fellow drones into combat.
The Abaivarapatish could sense, for some unknown reason, that something was not right.
His advancing forces were sweeping the hidden little destructive devices out of their way, only suffered a few causalities but he had a nagging feeling in his honey combed bones that he was missing something important.
His thoughts went back to how a few enemy starships incurred so much damage to his command ship in such a short amount of time in the other system.
His Flagship was lucky to have escaped that system and his escape still shocked him.
It also taught him a valuable lesson; make sure you are very aware of your entire surroundings.
Then what was nagging him about this situation finally hit home.
The fleet was so concentrated on the foreground of their attack that they were not paying attention to their flanks or their rear guard.
When he finally gave the order to start scanning their vulnerable flank and rear area he was amazed that the enemy had infiltrated behind them and were in the process of chewing up his rear guard.
He had already lost six hundred fighters with this attack at his back and before he could order any changes, he lost an additional one hundred more.
He ordered that his rearguard to turn about, face the enemy, and fight for their lives.
As soon as Grand Admiral de la Gallicia saw changes in the strategy from the Denitus’ Commander, the Admiral ordered all the shotgun missiles held in reserve launched at the approaching invaders.
The huge field of deadly lead and thallium projectiles shot from the shotgun missiles quickly destroyed what was left of the Class 1, 2 and 3 Marauder Groups as they ran headlong into them.
The Abaivarapatish who was keeping a watchful eye on his fleet’s advancement into this unimportant system realized his forces were dying before his very eyes.
He was already down another six hundred fighters and they were not even close to approaching the inner system where all the killing was waiting for them.
He considered what this defeat would cost his family and he became worried.
Worry became desperation and desperation led to panic and so the Abaivarapatish decided his only option was to run away.
He commanded the Ahazarapatishs that were in the front lines of both attacks to hold steady while he took the rest of the fleet and left the system.
The Abaivarapatish drew upon their loyalty to him and the Deintus Conglomerate to give him time to escape with the rest of his forces.
His vowed to them was that he would sing their Song of sacrifice throughout the Conglomerate.
As his last forces were dying while holding the line, the Abaivarapatish with only twenty eight hundred ships left of his command left the Graffias System.
Shortly after, an aide informed Grand Admiral de la Gallicia that the Deintus Commander with the remaining twenty eight hundred ships of his battle fleet left the system.
De la Gallicia looked at his Lieutenant Commander.
“Mop up the rest of these vermin at our convenience and let’s not lose another man,” he ordered.
“Send in what’s left of the drone mines and pick them off one by one,” he instructed his commander.
“What about prisoners, Admiral?” the Commander asked.
“What about them?” de la Gallicia asked.
“I’m sorry I meant to ask, are we taking prisoners, Sir?” the commander asked again.
Grand Admiral de la Gallicia blinked his eyes a few times.
“Why would we do that?” the General asked.
“They came into this system to kill us, we are just returning the favor, Commander,” he replied.
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