Nequam95 Avatar
A science fiction story by


Submitted Oct 15, 2016, 3:26:46 PM

The ghost of time - Chapter 2

First of all, I'd like to thank everyone for the previous reviews, I really appreciate your help! :) I thought a lot about beginning this story again, I have quite a few ideas about it, but first I'd like to roll with the story for a while. I want to know what needs to be fixed about the next few chapters, so I could be sure what to include (and what not to include) in the new beginning :D

I hope I didn't confuse everyone with this. You can find the next chapter below, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

{b}Chapter two:

The hangar bay was as peaceful as ever. I was sitting there all day watching the repair robots putting together my old ship. Piece by piece, the Invisible Judgement became whole again. I couldn’t wait to sit in the cockpit and launch myself into the darkness of space, but I knew it would take some time before I could do that. Right now the ship was nothing more than a pile of hastily crafted components that would fall apart at the very moment the Judgement attempted to take off.

"You plan to sit here all day?” Synthia asked. She scared me a little, I didn’t know she was standing beside me. I would never get used to the way she kept appearing and disappearing at will.

"Maybe,” I nodded, "why didn’t you do the job while my body was floating in the tank?”

"You told me no such thing.” She shrugged.

"And you didn’t think it would be useful to build it anyway? Come on, how much time did it take you to regrow my body? Five months? Maybe six?”

"Four-thousand and forty eight hours; plus a week until I managed to upload the data from your memory chip… Which I almost didn’t receive, since you have managed to destroy the only part of your body that is necessary for keeping your personality intact.” She loved to emphasize that every time I had failed a mission. Sometimes I got angry, sometimes I didn’t, now I decided not to respond at all.

"So you had plenty of time to do it,” I concluded.

"I didn’t think you like to lose ships so much.”

"Since when do I lose my ships intentionally? I fly in, they shoot it down, I have no say in it,” I explained to the MI.

"And you are still wondering why you can’t bring me on one of these missions of yours?” She spoke in the name of the timeship once again. The Demetreus was more advanced than anything humans ever built. But Synthia knew this was the last reminder of an ancient race that died out a long time ago, and she struggled to keep the Demetreus in one piece with every fiber of her mechanical being. If it were up to me, we would travel to the Kegare through time and space and blast it apart with the Demetreus. But the MI would never get the ship in any kind of danger.

At least not intentionally.

"So what’s the plan?” she said a minute later.

"I go in, and I kill him, easy as it is,” I told her, referring to Admiral Imahara Kotara, commander of the starship Kegare.

"And how do you plan to do that?”

"You really care?” I examined her face, she really did look curious, I had to give her that.

"Of course I care! Human thinking always fascinated me... At least it did ever since I watched your kind being exterminated from planet to planet over a hundred years,” she explained trying to imitate some empathy. I was surprised she said that; Synthia rarely spoke about anything in connection with the race that obliterated both of our species.

Maybe this time I will get to know something about this {i}spectacular{/i} civilization.

"Why? How much did it take them to exterminate your people?”

No answer came. At least not within an instant.

"More than you could comprehend,” she told me after some consideration.
"Oh, come on. You can tell me!” We both knew this was nothing but a cheap excuse. Synthia shook her head regardless.

And here was I thinking, computers didn’t have emotions. Imitation or not, her creators really did know how to make these things a pain in the ass.
"So what’s the plan?” she asked me like nothing happened in the past few minutes.

I looked at the half-finished Judgement, then I gazed at her once again. We couldn’t talk about what I wanted, but we still had all the time in the world for a conversation.

"Alright, let me start at the beginning…”

The Demetreus made the time-jump; I flew the invisible Judgement out of the hangar bay and went straight ahead. I had to make another jump to reach the Kegare; fortunately the hyperdrive was functioning at full capacity.
After I entered the new navigation coordinates, I looked back at the timeship. The long, grey vessel disappeared within a cloud of white light. I guessed Synthia didn’t want to expose herself more than necessary, and she traveled back to our {i}home-point{/i} in time and space – a long forgotten place in a long forgotten era.

The hyperdrive repeated the green light. I snapped out of my thoughts, and pulled the handle, launching the Judge straight into the chaotic dimension of Hyperspace.

Without the mighty law of physics, I reached Kegare rather fast. I knew what would await between the distant stars, yet I couldn’t take my eyes off the colossal star cruiser and the fleet surrounding it.

They were ready for a fight; Imahara’s flagship glided swiftly at the center of the battle formation. The long, wide, robust starship carried the biggest guns in the world; they could blow apart any ship in the Coalition within minutes. But no ship was capable of taking on a fleet alone, not even this magnificent beast. For this purpose, my target brought seven Amata class cruisers and eighteen Yamashi corvettes with it's enormous self.

These ships could take apart pretty much anything in their way; no wonder the Coalition assembled a strike force thrice the size. I remembered the reports about the casualties we had suffered in this battle; or the casualties we will suffer if I would fail my mission. I could warn the Coalition about what would happen, just in case, but it wouldn’t change anything.

Thing is, we didn’t lose the battle because of the Kegare or the fleet surrounding it. We lost because we didn’t know the Kegare was the only ship in battlefield. All the others were projections created by a space fighter class that we had never seen before. Imahara had no intention to fight us. He lured the fleet in here, released a black-hole bomb from the Kegare, and then he jumped away, knowing it was too late for our forces to escape.

But if someone would activate the bomb while it was on the Kegare, the mini-black hole would rip the ship apart and close itself before the Coalition fleet got here. I didn’t have to get close to Imahara. I just had to get near the bomb and blow it up while it was still inside the ship.

It was a great plan, aside from one tiny little thing. I had to make sure the bomb blew up, thus I had to stay with it until it exploded. Synthia would mock me for eternity if I succeed by death, but I guess that’s how things go in here…


Approaching the Kegare was nearly impossible without a good cloaking field. The Judge was spotted before it got anywhere near the Kegare. It didn’t matter how fake the other ships were; the flagship was real and it had the most advanced point defense system in the world. Those lasers blasted the hastily crafted Judge apart within twelve seconds.

Well… That went well…

It was a good thing I told Synthia to build another ship; now the second Judgement could step into action. With my upgraded cloaking field, no one could spot me near the Kegare. The colossus opened its massive hangar bay to send out some scavenger ships; while they left to inspect the remains of my other ship, I flew in the open hangar doors. Once I got into the enormous place, I couldn’t help to look at all the Japanese starships filling it… Although I snapped out of my amusement rather quickly.

I had to be really mindful about my next move. I deactivated the cloaking field most cautiously, then I started to blast everything apart with great care. The first shots left the twin-cannons placed in the front of the vessel, blowing the soldiers into pieces – alongside their fighters. As the narrow, black terrors became a pile of burning debris, the ship’s crew suddenly became aware of my presence. The Kegare closed down its hangar bay, defense cannons emerged from the ceiling, and by the time they started to shoot, the Protectorate's soldiers also opened fire at my ship.

I activated the shields. The first laser bolts scratched the duranium plates on the side, but the blue energy field stopped them as it conglomerated around my vessel. It acted like a brick wall, stopping everything that approached it and limiting a great many things that I could do in here. If it weren't for the resonation frequency, I couldn't even have seen through the shield. But in this way I was able to see my targets to shoot back at them. Resonating in the same frequency, the plasma projectiles went through my shields, obliterating everything in their way.

The enemy got into an impossible situation. They couldn't hurt the Judge until their shots drained all energy from my defense matrix, but I could kill any of them by pressing a button. I shot out the hangar's defense cannons, then I turned toward the soldiers shooting at me from below. The fighters came next. I wanted to blow them apart with some rockets, but there was no way on Earth, they would get through my shield without the necessary equipment – which I didn't have. Thus I continued to destroy the fighters with the twin-cannons.

I was done with them within a minute. The enemy didn't dare to send reinforcements, I would have slaughtered them within an instant. Knowing I didn’t have the firepower to destroy the Kegare from within, they must have been waiting for me outside the hangar. I knew they would send some fighters from the other hangars eventually; so like it or not, I had to give up my position, and proceed with my plan.

There were two roads ahead of me. I could put down the Judge and go towards the front of the ship – then I could reach Imahara and shoot him dead. Or I could go towards the rear part of the vessel, getting to the black-hole bomb, and killi everyone on the ship. I knew where I wanted to go, but Imahara didn't, thus I chose a third option.

Turning the Judge toward the front, I deactivated the shields and started shooting with everything I had. Plasma beams and rockets went into the massive wall of the hangar bay, obliterating everything in their way. It wasn't a major damage for the Kegare, but it killed off the soldier’s waiting for me on the other side, opening a route for me towards the bridge.

Now Imahara had every reason to assume I was going for him. I had nothing else to do other than put down the Judgement and complete my deception.

Going through the ruined hangar, my path led me straight through the opening. Burned corpses and molten metal surrounded me on the way; the Judge left no survivors, no opposition around me. I went towards the bridge, indicating my intentions clearly for Imahara. After a few paces, I activated my jammer, hiding my presence from the Kegare's sensors.

I knew the admiral was paranoid enough to get every available personnel around him; by now he must have issued the order. Now I could turn around and go towards the black-hole bomb. Despite my diversion, I knew there would be some guards on the way. I checked my personal shield; it worked exactly at my gun's fire frequency: none would have a chance against me.
It didn't take long, until I came across a few guards. They were marching straight toward the bridge; I heard their footsteps from a mile away. I saw another hallway a few feet from me. I leapt there within an instant, hiding from the sight of the approaching enemy. Standing close to the wall, none of the soldiers noticed me as they ran towards the bridge. I could have attacked them, but I didn't want to make a fight out of this. They would die anyway, just as I will.

The sound of footsteps fainted second by second. They were far enough. Turning to the right, I stepped to the hallway once again. I was ready to go forward, but then I heard a shot. The laser beam headed straight towards the back of my head, then it reached my shield, igniting its blue sphere as the projectile faded into nothing.

I turned around within an instant, pointing my gun at the enemy. A lone soldier stood in front of me; he froze, realizing his defeat.

"Well, that's awkward," I told him in a calm manner, then I burned a hole into his skull with a well-aimed plasma bolt. That’s what you get if you try to kill a man from Massachusetts.

I had to hurry up, once they found the body, this section of the ship would be filled with enemy soldiers. Quickening my pace, I headed straight toward the black-hole bomb. I kept my pistol in my hand, expecting another confrontation.

But there was none.

This meant one of two things: I was either incredibly lucky, or I was walking straight toward a trap. Knowing my luck, I was sure I would be blown to pieces within a few minutes. But it didn't matter anymore; there was no turning back at this point, and I was going to die anyway.

I reached the aft section of the ship with no resistance. The black-hole bomb was waiting for me on the lowest level of the Kegare, standing on an airlock that could drop it straight into space within seconds. I was quite shocked when I reached the room.

It was almost completely empty. No enemy, no furniture, no crates, there was nothing there, but a large, narrow rocket-like bomb in the middle of the place. Looked like this was my lucky day. Avoiding the airlock's narrow line on the floor, I walked straight towards the bomb. I found a small terminal on the side of the bomb, which was armed, set to blow within fifteen minutes. The Coalition fleet wasn't far away; the time had come to stop this madness once and for all.

I knew a thing or two about these bombs. Serving ten years in the Fleet and six more in the Agency, I knew the Japanese placed a small steel plate beneath these consoles. Just like in the movies, one could easily remove it to find a green in the red cables in it. If I were in good old American movies, I could defuse the bomb by cutting the green one, and I could make the countdown go faster by cutting the red one. But I was in the real world, standing in front of a bomb designed to blow up brainwashed Americans. It didn't matter which cable I cut, the bomb would blow into my face within an instant. Which is exactly what I wanted...

"Don't you dare!" A man yelled at me from the left.

Turning around, I noticed an entire regiment of soldiers in front of me. Imahara Kotara was standing before them; the tall, bold, well-built man glared at me like I was already dead.

How did I miss this? I guess, I started to lose my edge; too bad it didn't matter at this point.

"Sorry, but I have to do this..." I responded in a calm, yet determined manner. "And I actually feel like it a little..."

"You think you will accomplish anything with this?" Imahara raised his voice. He was furious as no one ever before. His black uniform tightened and softened with his rapid breaths. His cold, black eyes wished my death a thousand times in every single second.

"Yep." I locked eyes with him as I raised my gun straight to the cables under the terminal.

"Kill him!" The admiral yelled, then he disappeared.

By the time I realized he was a hologram, the enemy soldiers opened fire at me. I didn't have to do anything in order to avoid the deadly laser beams, my shield protected me – although it lost energy rapidly.

I decided to end it. Pointing my gun to the cables, I pulled the trigger, expecting the black-hole bomb ripping me apart within an instant.

I felt it once again. The anticipation of death tightened around me as I took the shot, just as every other time I managed to get myself killed. But why would I fear it, if resurrection was a certainty? Thing is, it wasn't. It was up to Synthia to recreate me; she could easily decide not to, dooming me for eternal non-existence. But even if she wanted to save me once more, there was a chance the next Michael wouldn't be me anymore.

This made me fear death just as much as anyone else. But I had to be brave, I had to be strong if I wanted to save Sylvana. I was willing to die for her a thousand times, and it seemed like this is exactly what would happen.
Thing is, it didn't...

The bomb didn't blow up after the shot separated the cables. The countdown went forward without any problem. I was shocked, this couldn't have happened, it shouldn’t have... I knew everything about these bombs, even Synthia confirmed this would work. But then what in the Seven Worlds happened?

I had to give a lot of thought for this matter once I got {i}home{/i}, but right now I had bigger concerns. The enemy didn't stop firing, I quickly leapt away from the console, and ran for cover while I was shooting back at the bastards. With three plasma bolts, three Protectorate bodies dropped dead on the floor. Nine targets remained.

The other end of the bomb created the perfect cover for me. Grabbing a plasma grenade, I leant out of the weapons massive rear, throwing it straight between the soldiers of Takeda. They shot back with everything they had; my shield protected me for a while, but then it didn't. As the cover of the blue plasma faded away, a laser beam went straight through my neck.
I grabbed my throat, I collapsed on the ground desperately trying to breath. But I couldn't. The grenade exploded, killing everyone in the room except me. Struggling with the lethal injury, I reached for another grenade. If I could blow it up next to the bomb, maybe I could still succeed.
I tried my best, but death got the better out of me...

The inactivated grenade rolled out of my hand. I seemed as dead as I could be. But it wasn't over, I was just very close to it. Funny thing about death is that your brain shuts down a bit later than your body. This gave time for the chip in my head to transmit everything to Synthia that is necessary to resurrect me with all of my memories – including this failure as well. While that happened, I could see the dark tunnel with the white light once again.

I always wondered what lies at the end of it. Maybe I always got through it into another life, or maybe that was the end of the current me, and the beginning of another man thinking himself to be me. I couldn't know that, the only thing I was capable of was this short period of desperate wondering.
What would happen with me after this? Would I live again, or would Synthia abandon me after this failure? I could only guess at this point. But one thing was sure. If I lived again, I would find out who did this to me. Because this wasn't just a coincidence. Someone sabotaged me, someone stood between me and saving the love of my life.

And if a man dares to that, then he won't just die once as anyone else. He will die a thousand deaths until he is begging for the final end...

Thank you for reading my story, I hope you liked it! Don't forget to write a review :)


Don Roble Avatar

Don Roble

Commented Dec 11, 2015, 6:52:02 PM
“A ghoul,” he said, “is a human who is given a drink of vampire blood. We never get fed on, but once a month a vampire gives us some blood. After three feedings, we are heavily addicted and bonded to vampires. We do stuff for them. Help them. Get them things. Protect them. We serve. You would never know it, but I am sixty-five years old. And the vamp blood helps us heal. I will heal pretty quick.”

Oh my. What a concept.
Madhatter Avatar


Commented Feb 20, 2016, 1:19:44 AM
Yes, I agree with Don. The ghoul is a nice addition.