Ronnie squinted at the sky. They weren’t visible yet, but the warships would soon arrive above Polumnus II.
In preparation for the event that might spell doom and Sharia Law for all 3,000 inhabitants of the mining colony, Ronnie took another sip of mint mocha frappucino. Having carefully considered his options, he placed his tiles on the scrabble board. “Fixture,” he said. “That’s good for 42 points.”
Elaine put down her crocheting and scowled.
A loud thump broke her concentration. A gust of wind followed, carrying the honeysuckle scent of the flowering Martinside trees that dotted the scrubby landscape. Three more thumps followed, knocking Elaine’s tiles off their tray.
Elaine glared over her sunglasses at her husband. “You could’ve warned me a salvo was firing,” she grumbled.
Ronnie slouched and sipped his frap. “Sorry about that.” He looked off into the distance, not really seeing.
The golf ball-sized supercomputer embedded in his skull performed all the heavy work, communicating with the thumping mass drivers. In Ronnie’s mind’s eye, he knew when the giant electric cannon prepared to fire another package of mined metals into orbit. He knew the exact location of the 32 Catcher’s Mitts, satellites standing ready to receive packages and shuttle them to the orbital processing facility.
The sum of information passing through all the facilities from mining worms to packagers to mass drivers to orbiting catcher’s mitts would likely cause the human mind to explode. The supercomputer in Ronnie’s head simplified everything to human-understandable chunks. Ronnie managed a $16 trillion/yr mining operation while slouching in a lawn chair and playing scrabble.
He took a bite of bacon-wrapped roasted jalapeno stuffed with cream cheese, all synthesized to perfection in the green nanotech food processor beside the patio table. Bits fell to the ground where ant-like nanobots carried away the useless trash. They carted off a candy heart dropped by Elaine as she examined the scrabble board.
Two more thumps sounded. Elaine glared. “Ronnie!”
One mile away, the twelve-unit battery of 13-story mass drivers worked, sucking in the packages and firing them into the sky. Their great bronze barrels stood like giant tilted redwood trees. Beyond them a pall of smoke rose from the crash site of a Caliphate of Mohammed’s Holy Worlds attack shuttle. The pilot’s dream of receiving a government-sanctioned rape card over the vanquished dashed in a fiery explosion. The defending corvettes, all the colony owned for defense, made short work of the small attackers. Unfortunately, they stood no chance against the three CMHW battlecruisers entering low orbit.
A flitter landed nearby, and pudgy Jerry Lambert ran (waddled enthusiastically) up to their patio table. The mayor of the colony stood before them, red-faced from the exertion of running 15 yards. “What you are DOING?” he shrieked. The politician spoke in capitals often.
Ronnie sipped his frap. “Playing scrabble.”
“Are you INSANE? We’re under ATTACK!”
“Never could slip anything past you,” squinted Ronnie.
Jerry flipped the scrabble board off the table. “What are you DOING about it?”
“Shit, Jerry!” grated Elaine. “I was about to place ‘flippant’ on a triple-word!”
“Thanks, Jerry,” sighed Ronnie.
“Their battlecruisers could SMASH the facilities!”
“Oh relax,” soothed Ronnie. “They want the facilities intact.”
“Absolutely. That’s nothing to worry about.”
Jerry heaved a sigh.
“Their next move is to attack the colony, murder a third of us, and ‘pacify’ the remainder.”
Jerry spluttered, “That’s STILL BAD!”
In his mind, Ronnie insured the fire-control dishes never pointed at the battlecruisers. The vessels would detect the emissions and realize what Ronnie planned. Instead, low-powered comm lasers from the Catcher’s Mitt satellites triangulated the precise location of the starships down to the millimeter. They sent these locations down to Ronnie. He programmed all twelve mass drivers to fire their 300kg packages at once at over 400 gravities. Four times the usual energy level.
“So what are WE doing about it?”
“WE, are letting my husband handle it,” admonished Elaine.
Ronnie looked over his glasses at Elaine. “Salvo!”
Thank you, mouthed Elaine. All twelve mass drivers fired simultaneously, shaking the house.
The battlecruisers detected the incoming objects, but the kilometer-long ships dodged too slowly. Each warship received two kinetic strikes into their armored hulls. The pure nickel packages hammered home, each with the equivalent of 3-gigatons of nuclear fire. The mighty warships vaporized. Giant explosions lit the sky of Polumnus II.
“See?” said Elaine, turning to Jerry. “My husband has…oh. Jerry fainted.”
Ronnie looked down. “Think the nano-ants will carry him away?”
“We can only hope.”
Mass drivers are electro-magnetic cannons. They could be used to send product into orbit cheaply, or as weapons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_driver
Ah! It feels good to write straight-up Scifi once again. I needed that. This story is my answer to the weekly Mutant 750 writing challenge at the Grammar Ghoul Press. This is for challenge #20. The splash image at the start of this post is the media prompt. The word prompt for the week is “Crash.” Look here for more stories answering the prompt: http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/gg-writing-challenge-20/