Contingency – Chapter 4: Readiness

Two months after the Vancouver Incident

It seemed that everyone human on Babylon had decided to follow Drake’s lead for now at least. He had started first by having everyone start back through basic training, getting the combat capability up for the troops under his leadership. He had tasked a Russian Army officer by the name of Yuri Chekov the duty of integrating everyone’s individual training. From there they would work towards getting everyone on the same page.

SSgt Brooks was in charge of engineering. Both getting the Bladed Claw flight worthy as well as research and development into weapons and armor for any kind of offensive action. They had to take into account not just the needs to protect the body from injury of weapons, but potentially a zero-atmosphere environment, aka space. SSgt Brooks had mentioned he was going to have to base some ideas on fiction due to time, but that was fine.

The former crew of the Bladed Claw had been moved to a permanent facility off the ship. The Gravity kept them from being too active, while their injuries continued to heal as best as Cranex could care for them with the available medical supplies. Hshrif had decided to be helpful as his resources were all they had to survive on and most of his crew didn’t expect to survive on a planet like Babylon even in perfect shape.

The Bladed Claw had boasted a military grade fabricator on board, allowing them a wide range of uses so long as appropriate material was available. It would require some work, but it had already had some pre-programmed items in its system storage.

Armor was not something that had been designed in a man portable configuration. It seemed no one in the galaxy had bothered with anything related to ballistics. Cranex had taken the moment to explain that due to the evolutionary paths most if not all other species had taken. IT had led to most species being unable to handle the force of recoil from hand held black powder weapons. This had led to no development in the field of ballistics or defense against ballistic objects.

The kinetic pulse weapons on board had been the tried and true weapon for every species in the galaxy. No recoil, lethal to most every species in the galaxy that wasn’t Human, and most of the standard variants programmed to reconfigure themselves for the species they are being handled by. With all the strange appendages and hands the crew of the Bladed Claw had, it made sense for a weapon to be designed for multiple species use.

The armory was full of them, and none were usable. Since humans were not in the database of species they pulled from, they remained useless lumps. The same could not be said of the large supply of fusion weaponry on board. Apparently fusion weapons were designed for cutting instruments instead of using the energy in a ranged weapon. The Armory was being taken care of by a mid-level bodyguard from one of the Mexican Drug Cartels by the name of Juan Salazar.

That had been another problem. There were thirty four abductees, but only thirteen had been military or law enforcement. The rest were a combination of civilians, terrorists, and criminals. The only thing that kept everything together at the moment was the shared desire to either return home, or avenge Earth. Drake didn’t know just how long that would last.

Oddly enough of that group the one he was least worried about were the five Islamic Militants. They were educated, even if he disagreed with their politics. Hell, they were probably the best among the group when it came to figuring out several problems that needed to be solved. It been these five men he had tasked into researching and developing the tools he would need to accomplish their mission.

Everything from explosive devices that could be secreted into locations without being seen as explosive to simple designs for habitation. They were the best among the group at figuring out a solution with what was available. Drake hoped they could figure out some of their equipment concerns.

He had no idea of how they would go into combat in a situation where the air could just stop being there. Space suits were bulky things and easily damaged. They wouldn’t be the best things to fight in. Hell, they’d barely be the best things to walk around in if the gravity in that ship went off.

HE shook his head when he tried to think of the Bladed Claw as a ship. It was more of a flying brick then anything that looked like it should be space worthy, or even fly. IT was something to do with fields and gravity manipulation. Drake thought these aliens were far too dependent on their tech.

He shook his head. Plenty of time for coming up with human space ships. Time to start the slow process of building the shield to protect the world. Time to ensure the future of humanity.

Classified Star System: Code Named Forge Corti Military R&D World

Granth paced in his office, annoyed. Hshrif had failed to return, and the Confederacy quarantine of the Human’s home system had gone up nearly a standard week ago. He had been certain Hshrif would have been able to get him his specimens without getting caught on that death world. Though logically after the Hunter attack the Human’s military would probably be on a heightened state of readiness.

He had humans in stasis, several of his colleagues did. However more and more were ending up dead due to Human’s getting lose and showing their… displeasure with the Corti research program. The recent events that had propelled them to Galactic notoriety would only cause more problems. Granth frowned as he continued to work through variables in his head.

The Humans had been used as weapons before. Corti in his position knew about the one Human that had fought about 10 standard cycles ago for the Dominion against the Celzi Alliance. While his fate was not truly known, his impact on the war at the time was. The Humans had the recovered tech of the Hunter drop pods to work from, that alone would advance their technology by centuries.

What that truly meant didn’t matter. The fact was that the galaxy had for all intents and purposes gave them more than enough reason to go to war. They were too great a threat to the galaxy. Granth knew that. His superiors knew that.

Granth was no fool, he had wanted trained Human Soldiers for a reason. Every Human that had made an impression on the Galaxy were untrained civilians. Ordinary people in extraordinary situations. What horrors would trained soldiers, masters of the arts of war be capable of?

Granth shook his head, he turned to the intercom on his desk and contact his assistant, “I want a full read out on everything currently known about Human physiology and theoretical potential curves we have. Then I want a full team to look into ways to test against these things.”

“Yes Sir.”

Granth nodded, knowing his orders would be carried out and activated a secret relay in his office. The room darkened and a red hologram appeared over the desk. The hologram was nothing more than 07 – Audio Only.

“What is your status?” 07 asked, his voice masked under digital interference.

“My specimens never arrived. I am assuming this means Human military capability may be greater than first anticipated,” Granth reported.

“You are assuming a threat?”

“I always assume a threat,” Granth replied. 07 understood, it was what made Granth such a good weapons designer.

“Very well. Current events prevent us from taking more direct action. Proceed with you current projects. Our obligations to the Dominion and the Alliance must be fulfilled in spite of this threat. We believe the actions of the Confederacy may buy us some time. You will proceed in finding a way to create an answer to the Human problem,” 07 said.

Granth nodded and said, “Understood. I will report with my preliminary results in approximately one standard month. Granth out.”

The hologram faded away. He had loyally served 07 and the hierarchy for as long as he had been able. He would continue to do so, for the Greater Good of the Corti.

Epsilon Eridani Three – Babylon Two Months, One Week, Three Days after the Vancouver Incident

It was mid-afternoon and the heads of the various groups were meeting near the fire pit to discuss their status. Drake was sat on a log next to Claudia Dresden. For the last week they had all gone through what might have been considered Special Forces training. Of course everyone was required to take part, even those who were civilians on Earth.

“Okay, first thing is where are we supply wise?” Drake asked.

Jamal Abu Siad was doing double duty as the supply clerk and head of the R&D group. It made sense as they needed to know what they had in order to figure out what the group could use in order to accomplish its goals. Jamal was an MIT student that had left school in order to join an extremist group in Syria. He was a true believer in the cause of his movement, but he was also intelligent enough to put that aside and get the job done. This was bigger than the cause. This was THE cause of all time.

Jamal pulled out a notebook he had used the fabricator to create and turned to a small page of notes, “We currently have enough food for every human on the planet. Our hunting parties have managed to get us some pretty good sticks, and we’re doing all we can to preserve that food for the long term. Our prisoners only need one of those nutrient balls a meal in order to be alright. Better them then us with those things, it takes four to fill you up and tastes like crap.”

Everyone nodded, they had all tried them in the first few days. MRE’s were better, and that was saying something. Jamal went on down his list and brought up the next item, “We also figured out our communication problem. All communications seem to be based on Quantum Entanglement theory. This makes communications extremely secure, however very difficult for those of us who haven’t figured out Quantum Mechanics. With some help, and some programming from a Corti Neural Translator I’ve managed to create a headset for everyone to wear. IT will let us keep in contact, as well as provide the same functions of a standard Corti Implant without having to trust one to install it.”

He flipped another page, “We have made some progress on the Zero-Atmosphere Combat problem. Prior to our unscheduled departure from Earth I had read an article on work happening at MIT towards next-gen space suits. First you have to understand that current NASA Space Suits are bulky mostly so that they can provide support for cooling, heating, and to maintain an appropriate amount of air pressure on the body. Seas Level pressure on Earth is about fourteen point six three pounds per square inch, one atmosphere. Now, our skin is pretty good at keeping our insides… inside. But if we are going to potentially be fighting in zero atmosphere we need something that will provide pressure on our bodies from one atmosphere down to an absolute minimum of point one five atmosphere.”

There was a murmur around the group, no one had known that. “The Human body can adapt to extreme conditions, we’re planning on the suit providing minimum extreme protection as a safety concern. Just in case. Getting back to what I was saying though about MIT’s work, they started working on the idea of replacing Air Pressure with Mechanical Pressure. A suit that would be skin tight and exert a mechanical pressure easily enough for a Human to survive in space. The problems with this originally was that the suit had to be so tight it was almost totally impossible to put on. However, with material sciences having advanced as they had the last thirty years they had a new idea. I’m planning on using this idea as a base for our needs.

“Also, there IS an Exo-Frame in the database that can be built on for our needs as well. It was actually based on the Human body, and designed for fighting a non-sapient species known as the vulza. Everyone one here however will recognize them by the name of Dragons. The shell was built out of a material based on Human bone, and muscle tissue knitted under the bone plates in order to enhance the wearer’s strength. We’ll see what we can do with these designs and hopefully cut development time.”

Capt. Drake nodded at the report, “Good work, let us know what else you guys come up with. Where are we on weapons and ammo?”

Juan Salazar grimaced and said, “We only have maybe enough for one clip for all the 9mm we have. Your M4 is our only assault rifle, and you know how much ammo you had for it coming out of that firefight. I’ve tried programming the fabricator to create usable rounds from what we have, but apparently military grade out here doesn’t cover black powder. And I’m not trusting any of those plastic piece of crap the rest of the galaxy calls a gun. My ex-wife hit harder than that thing… literally. I will say the guy who stocked the armory really liked his swords. Those things have been very well taken care of.”

Drake thought for a moment, “Can we do something like scan some gun powder into the fabricator?”

Juan shook his head, “Tried that. Apparently, anything that explodes is too dangerous for a space ship, even a military one. All I can get are just the slugs, no propellant. Then I had a thought.”

Juan held up his fist for everyone to see, “Now, when one of those pulse weapons fires it sends out a softball sized and shaped force field. That mostly just obliterates anything in its path, except Humans. TO us it’s like me punching you. I hit you in the chest, it hurts but you can just punch me right back. Now I take that same force and use a knife instead, then you aren’t getting back up that easily. Same amount of force on a smaller area. I’m going to look into seeing how we could make the emitted pulse form these things hit a single point instead of punch it. No promises though.”

No promises, there never were.

He turned to DuFrane and asked, “What’s the situation with our medical supplies?”

DuFrane sighed and said, “We’re using most of the stock on the ship and what we can get from the Fabricator on the original crew. Dr. Cranex is trying to put together some cybernetic replacements for the crew that lost limbs from the missile attack. We’ve also got a lot of medicines that I honestly don’t know how it would effect any of us. One is called Cruzzire, it’s a cellular regenerative according to Dr. Cranex. It’s basically rapid healing in a tube, but it was designed for what is basically the galactic standard. Human physiology blows that out of the park in pretty much every area.

“For the time being I’m going to recommend we NOT use any of their meds until we can determine they can be used safely on us. Cranex tells me we can reliably fabricate medicines we have, but in some cases we might just have to block it out and power through.”

There was some grumbling about that but no one wanted to end up with two heads and three arms. Yuri however spoke up, “What are the concerns with these drugs like this Cruzzire?”

DuFrane looked over and said, “From what I can tell most species can handle it just fine, it goes in, causes rapid cell growth until it works it’s way out of the system, then that’s it. Humans already have an event that is close to this. It’s called Cancer. I’m concerned that if this stuff got into our blood stream it would kick start massive tumor development through out our bodies. Something meant to save lives would end up killing us in one of the most painful of ways. Or we could end up like some comic book super hero. It’s 50/50 either way.”

Yuri nodded in response. Drake turned to DuFrane and said, “See what you can do with the Doctor to determine how safe his stuff will be with us. Does anyone have anything else?”

Drake looked for a moment, when no one had anything else he called the meeting to a close. They were far from ready for what the galaxy would throw at them, but they would adapt. And then they would take what they learned back home.