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MIDSHIPMAN HENRY GALLANT IN SPACE
By H. Peter Alesso
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MIDSHIPMAN HENRY GALLANT IN SPACE
By H. Peter Alesso
As the last star
fighter in squadron 111, Midshipman Henry Gallant is on his way from Jupiter to
Mars. With the United Planets' fleet on the verge of annihilation, he can
expect no help as he passes through the asteroid belt and threatening aliens.
With so much uncertainty about the aliens’ capabilities and intentions,
analyzing the captured computer equipment in Gallant’s possession could prove
The fate of Earth
could rest on the abilities of Midshipman Henry Gallant. Unfortunately, it is
his abilities that have been much in doubt during his tour of duty. In an era
of genetic engineering, he is the only Natural (non-genetically enhanced)
officer left in the fleet. His classmates and superior officers have all
expressed their concern that he will not be up to the demands of the space
service. Only bright and attractive junior officer Kelsey Mitchel has shown any
sympathy for him. Now as his navigator on the last fighter in squadron 111, her
life as well as a good many others, depends of Henry Gallant.
Please enjoy this excerpt
Gallant prepared to press the firing button to launch an antimissile into the center of the damaged saucer, but then he paused. He suddenly realized that he had the opportunity to discover important information about the aliens, if he could get inside the saucer and relay what he found to Captain Caine and GridScape.
“Kelsey, we’ve got to dock with that saucer and board it. Once we’re inside who knows what we'll discover?”
Kelsey grew alarmed, “No, no, no. Henry; is that even possible - in the middle of this chaos?”
“It’s an opportunity we can’t afford to pass up.” He abandoned caution and committed himself to the risky venture. Kelsey stayed silent and motionless for several long seconds. Then any reservations she had faded. She calculated the course to dock, matching the saucer's speed, course, and orientation so that they would be relatively stationary.
"Kelsey, you’ll have to remain with the fighter and use the lasers to cover my spacewalk, but if things go badly, I want you to break off," said Gallant, strapping on his gun. "I don’t know if the ship’s crew will offer any resistance."
"I’ll inform Repulse what you’re attempting. Maybe they can provide covering fire if needed," she said.
“Great idea. I’ll send a video feed from my suit comm pin to our Eagle. You can let Repulse follow my progress and record everything that happens for intelligence analysis.”
With the aftermath of the violent space battle around him, Gallant prepared to spacewalk to the saucer. He sealed his mirrored armored suit and exited the fighter through his overhead hatch. The suit included an oxygen generator pack that maintained an appropriate atmosphere for him to breathe as he traveled in space. He traveled along the surface of the fighter using short bursts of gas to propel him and then released his umbilical line. Using his propulsion jets he propelled himself forward into the darkness. He looked for a way to enter the alien ship.
Gallant maneuvered the jetpack deftly. His suit shielded him from incredible extremes of temperature—up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit on sunlit surfaces and down to 150 degrees below zero on the shady side of the fighter.
Propelling himself forward, he tumbled and then straightened up. By using the communicator to connect to the fighter, he relayed information directly to the ship’s AI. He could also access the ship’s monitoring capability to see how the battle was progressing. Suddenly, the communicator notified him that an alien saucer was approaching. He could see laser shots flash near him. For a moment he couldn't breathe, and then he let his training take over and found the strength to go forward.
He heard Kelsey call the Repulse, her voice desperate with apprehension. "We’re under direct fire! We need immediate support!"
Was her anguish because of me? Gallant wondered.
“We can fire a…missile at…but with the solar interference hitting…would be pure luck.” A broken message came from the officer of the deck on the Repulse.
“If you fire a missile with external laser guidance, we can ‘paint’ the target with my fighter’s laser,” responded Kelsey.
“Will do; stand-by.”
The Repulse fired, and Kelsey used her neural connection to the fighter to light up the target saucer. The result was a satisfying explosion, and the alien ship disintegrated in a sea of debris.
“Fantastic!” exclaimed Gallant. “Thanks Repulse! Thanks Kelsey!”
After what seemed an eternity, he finally entered the alien ship through a massive hole that had been torn in its hull by an earlier missile blast.
About the Author
As a scientist and author specializing in technology innovation, H. Peter Alesso has over twenty years research experience at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). As Engineering Group Leader at LLNL he led a team of computer scientists and engineers in innovative applications across a wide range of supercomputers, workstations and networks. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a B.S. and served in the U.S. Navy on nuclear submarines before completing an M.S. and an advanced Engineering Degree at M.I.T. He has published several software titles and numerous scientific journal and conference articles, and he is the author/co-author of six books.