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TTC: The Cygnus War, Part 46

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By Durkee341   |   
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Published: March 18, 2009
The Tessa Chronicles: The Cygnus War #46 (A Few Lives) By Earl S. Wynn


...found traces of a stealthy EV-11 class modular virus that punched a hole in the security barriers and mainframe defense walls of the AI’s hard memory and left a trojan to hold the breech before it tried to wipe itself from the system. Traces of remaining coding looks like Coralate technology, judging from the way the secondary descriptors interact with the Seindrive AI’s primary algorythmic enhancements in the base level of identification protocol subsets (specifically those in section 33, function 19.5, under the filebase: CDN-1748), the configuration and C-Tech specific iso-arrangement of the linear...

Faith let her face drop into her hands, let her eyes rest in the cool darkness of her palms. The report the Lieutenant had given her was detailed, extremely detailed, to a degree that only a technician with a love for coding could truly appreciate. It’s length made her eyes hurt as much as the content and the implications made her shoulders seize up with stress and knots of cruelly tensing muscle. Someone back on Earth would have a field day with the information– her own AI techs were likely already breaking it down into individual problems with specific individual solutions, solutions that would have to come into effect immediately, kinks that would have to be ironed out before the fighters went up against the Coralate again.

Faith sighed. The constant need to adapt to new enemy tactics was part of war, a part that got tiresome and frustrating, especially when it came to the Coralate– they were so driven, so on the ball that they kept the fleet on its toes almost constantly. Sure, the information she had in her hands might save a few lives, but somewhere else, some other Admiral was probably looking over a similar report about a completely different exploit in the AI systems of the Navy’s Seindrives that would have to be transmitted back to HQ, processed, and posted on the network for every AI tech in Commonwealth space to pore over. Of all the men and women in the war, it was Non-Com Officers like her AI technicians that were kept the busiest.

Lazar’s technicians, she reminded herself, then quietly switched off the display. She’d done her part, she’d done her favor for Virek, she’d flung the Hok into the Tarsis system, she’d gotten his pilots out, and now there was a collection of atoms vibrating in specific, high-speed binary oscillations in the QE transmitter, slowly tapping out the complex information of both her report for the high brass Earthside and the report that the Lieutenant from the Von had brought her. Lazar was chomping at the bit to have his ship back, to be the master of his boat with Faith as little more than an advisor again, a backseat driver who let him do the driving, instead of seizing the steering wheel and leading the Hok and her crew off into the thorny depths of the unknown. It was his command, after all. He deserved to be the one to make all the big decisions. Faith breathed a sigh, stared across her desk at the door at the opposite end of her office.

I just wish he wasn’t so damn green.

She’d left all mention of him out of the report she was sending back Earthside, and despite the fact that even her good word played piggy back for a stern but respectful rebuke of her actions and orders that had been hurriedly tapped out by the Captain himself, she felt no anger, no disgust, just the traces of a cold feeling that clung to the inside of her gut like a stain that would not go away.

We were never ready for this war. She closed her eyes. She still remembered the day the call had come in, the day she’d hurried from a dismal little town on the rimworld of Abel-Gray to the starport five clicks down the road, the looks on faces as the same ten seconds of fractured battle footage blasted across every screen in the port. We’re at war! the headlines had cried, and she knew, averted her eyes and flashed the ID that would get her a fast ticket to the outpost in orbit, and from there to the Grandbois, a fast and subtle Vandermeer class already armed and ready to plow into the front lines. Sure, the Commonwealth had learned its lesson after the Centauri Uprising, but a small fleet of ships kept on hand in case of a single system police action wasn’t enough to fight a war with, not when the Coralate had come screaming into Terran space with a hundred fold as many ships within the first hour of the war. Humanity had spent too much time following the peaceful examples set by distant neighbors like the Imnigradi and the Gnarians to have built anything larger than the tiny fleet they’d had, but the day the news broke, infecting every information node and transmitter channel in the Commonwealth, support for the arms industry in popular opinion polls had skyrocketed and military infrastructure had responded in turn. Seindrive alone had kicked every automated factory under their control into gear and left them working beyond safety limits to get rigs to the front lines as fast as they could, filling the void with steel and teeth even as Humanity’s loose allies among the stars had pulled slowly away, drawing themselves back into their shells to watch this war between the blueskins and the spacebound primates of the Sol system. Now, humanity was alone, and even as they rushed to play catch up, the war had turned into little more than a series of attempts by the commonwealth to keep from losing ground to the ravenous Coralate. Faith hardly read the reports anymore– they came in hourly on the QE, a flood of death and destruction in which only one or two carried news of human victories, and most of those marginal at best.

Anything to keep the morale up, I guess. Came the unwelcome thought. It didn’t help any knowing that her smash and grab tactics at Tarsis had probably already been snapped up by spinsters and immediately hailed as a heroic victory, likely the only one that would come with the next burst of bad news. Faith buried her face in her hands again, breathed a shaky, tired sigh. Years of war had already taken its toll on her, and there wasn’t much left to give.

But, at the very least, she reminded herself with a shred of irony, I’ve managed to save a few lives.

For now.
© 2009 - 2020 Durkee341
Full title: The Tessa Chronicles: The Cygnus War #46 (A Few Lives)

Author Blurb: Saw my 84 year old grandfather this last weekend in Oceanside. I’m worried about him. He’s like the patriarch of the family, the godfather who brings us all together.

I’ve also been trying my hand at extreme flash fiction. Check out my guerilla (experimental) art project at [link]

Progress report: #48 is gorgeous. I love it. I think it still needs a little spit and polish, but it’s done and it’s just plain beautiful. #49 is in the works, probably going to work on that one today, even as nervous as I am about rapidly approaching midterms. I really don’t want to have to write an eight page paper on Johannes’ Schmidt’s Wave Model and how it compares to the standard language tree diagram.


Anyway, this is the forty-sixth installment of TTC: The Cygnus War. You can find the previous episode here: [link] The next episode will appear on Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 (PST)

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purpleduckling's avatar
Yay! Backstory! which is always good.

Third paragraph: I believe the phrase is "pore over". It's an odd one.
Durkee341's avatar
Durkee341Professional Writer
Oops! Thanks for catching it!