Saturday, November 25, 2006

I Won!

I Won!

It's official now. Check the neat-oh winner's icon!




OK, not even close to 1,000 words. But I will post some more excerpts later to make up...

Saturday November 25, 2006 - 12:10pm (EST) 

Monday, November 20, 2006

50,000 words, 18 days!

Well, it has been almost a month since I posted anything, but if you have been reading this I am sure that you can understand why. I have been devoting all of my writing energy and time to my NaNo Novel: “Not Today Piggy…” and I can finally return to you, faithful reader because I have won. 50,000 words in 18 days. I haven’t spent much time reviewing the novel, as this is against NaNo doctrine, but I am positive that it is rather horrid. It is missing an entire scene in the middle, since I just didn’t want to work on that part for now. Nonetheless, I am happy to have accomplished my goal.

I tried to tell my wife that I was going to go for 100k, and she almost hit me. OK, maybe just 75k…

Now, to make my 1000 word promise, here is an excerpt from this year’s NaNo novel. (2290 words actually…)

The battle was going well for Overlord Kandelko. As soon as the enemy traitor made contact, and transmitted the transponder codes they had begun their attack in earnest. The first victims were a team of interceptors which had begun pursuing the traitor. The transponder codes allowed them to target their attacks with horrifying accuracy. They didn’t even have to take time to computer speed and trajectory, they just locked the missile guidance system on to the transponder beam and let them go. They followed the beam right in to an easy kill.

Knowing that it was only a matter of time before the fleet discovered their disadvantage and moved to scramble the signals, twenty four missile ships began disgorging their payload as fast as the launchers could cycle. Priority was given to the command vessels and missile ships, to cripple the command and control and long range strike capability. The battle cruisers were still quite daunting, but Kandelko was confident that they could take them in a head to head battle, especially with an impaired command structure. The damage assessment reports began flooding in, and the news was all good. Nearly fifty vessels were destroyed in a matter of minutes, until the transponder signals began shutting off. This impaired their pinpoint precision attacks somewhat, but friendly fire began working in their favor as well. Without the transponder signals, the Terminus Confederation ships were shooting blind. They had to run active sensor sweeps of any suspected target, which served to both alert the target that they were under attack and provide them with a good location of the attacker.

On the Emdeean command ship, Overlord Kandelko was meeting Commander Olbandan for the first time.

“Commander Olbandan, your timely assistance is greatly appreciated by the Emdeean forces. The Supreme Leader herself has relayed her gratitude to you for this information.” Kandelko spoke in formal tones, belying the disdain in which he held the man before him. Olbandan was aware of the disdain that he must certainly be inspiring, for no fighting man or woman could ever fully trust someone who had betrayed their fellow fighters. No matter, he was now overlord of an entire planet, and would have the respect he was accorded. However, he needed to be sure that this battle was a spectacular success. He did not want to begin his career by witnessing any of the heroic comeback victories that the Terminus Confederation was famous for.

“Take me to your battle command center. I will oversee the rest of the battle from there. I will not have some incompetent ruin my triumphant entry into the Emdeean empire.” Olbandan commanded sharply. Kandelko was taken aback, and a row of spikes implanted in rows on his head began rising in anger.

“You dare to command me? You traitorous wretch! What makes you think you are anything but a stupid pawn in Her Supreme plan to annihilate your entire race?” Kandelko roared back. Olbandan was unfazed; he had a trump card that would ensure that he received all that he asked.

“You miserable, insignificant tyrant. Do you really think you can defeat the confederation defense just because you surprised them at the beginning? Already they have figured out what happened, and have shut off their transponders…” Kandelko interrupted proudly,

“And are butchering each other blindly while we continue to destroy their command cruisers!” Olbandan stepped forward until he was mere inches from the huge toothy face of Kandelko and spoke quietly, but loud enough for everyone in the room to hear.

“And any second now, they will have reconfigured the transponder codes, changed the frequency range, and turned them back on. When they have their sight back, how then will you defeat them?” Kandelko’s mouth froze in an intended retort. He did not want to give way to the human, but the possibility that he was right was too great to disregard.

“Andung! Check the status of the enemy. Do their transponders appear to be working again?” He snarled, his eyes remaining locked with Olbandan’s. Olbandan grinned, his eyes not flinching a bit.

“Confederation Space Forces battle doctrine says that the fleet should be able to reconfigure and recode transponder signals within five minutes. By my calculation, it has been six.” He hissed.

“Overlord Kandelko! The enemy is indeed mounting a successful counter attack. They are forming up and firing at only our vessels once again.” Andung reported. Kandelko sat back, his hard and angry features softening up slightly. He realized that this traitor had not yet outlived his usefulness. Nonetheless, he vowed to himself that he would see him disembowled and would select a souvenir to be grafted to himself as a reminder to never underestimate one who would betray his own.

“Commander Olbandan, what do you propose we do to counter this action?” Kandelko sneered. Olbandan stepped forward another half step, and stated in a cool and even voice:

“First, you will address me properly. I am now Overlord Olbandan, by decree of Her Supreme Leadership NikkOll herself.” Kandelko and all of the others on the deck gasped in fear as Olbandan dared to speak her proper name.

“Second, you will surrender control of this battle to me, or die.” Olbandan knew the strict cultural taboo of speaking their leader’s name, and had purposely done so in an attempt to break through the hard shell of Kandelko’s demeanor. His gamble was risky, but successful. Kandelko worked hard to maintain an attitude of haughty dismissal, but the possibility that this human actually had the blessings of the supreme leader to take control was something he dared not question. Certainly if he dared invoke her proper name, he had the authorization to do so? Assuming an air of idifference, he challenged Olbandan one final time.

“And who will be dealing death to me, here on the deck of my own battle cruiser? You?” He asked, and laughed nervously. With a speed that was unimaginable in the minds of the Emdeeans present, Olbandan’s hand flashed to his side and came up with his blaster pistol. Kandelko had enough time to realize that he should have had his visitor searched as soon as he landed before the plasma bolt exploded his skull into a thousand steaming fragments. Olbandan did not hesitate, but reached up with his free hand and grabbing the now lifeless body by the front of his uniform, threw the body from the commander’s chair, and without hesitation, turned and sat there himself.

The deck crew were too stunned for a moment to understand exactly what had just happened. Before they had time to formulate a possible response, Overlord Olbandan began barking orders as if nothing had happened.

“I need an update on the status of the battle. Give me a display of the battle space, with all of our remaining vessels and their status. Also, open up a communications channel on the emergency sub space frequency.” Reaching into an inner pocket, he tossed a small data disc to a startled Andung who fumbled and caught the disk.

“You, those are the algorithms used by Federation crypto techs to create the transponder beams. Do you have anyone with enough intelligence to use that data to intercept and match the beams so that we can blind the enemy once again?” Andung nodded weakly, but stayed frozen in one spot staring at his new apparent commander.

“Well TAKE IT TO THEM BEFORE WE LOSE THIS BATTLE DUE TO YOUR BLATANT STUPIDITY!” Olbandan screamed at the startled officer, who at once jumped and ran towards what Olbandan desperately hoped was the equivalent of a crypto tech. Settling back into the commander’s chair Olbandan exulted in the ease with which he had just deposed Overlord Kandelko and taken his place. It had been a grave gamble, but he was aware just how long he would have lived after the battle had he not taken some action to ensure that he was more valuable alive than dead. Gesturing at another officer who was still standing in place staring he pointed to Kandelko’s body on the floor at his feet.

“And get rid of that. It is stinking up my command deck.”

Admiral Stafford allowed himself to breathe easy for a few seconds at least. For the first time since he noticed Olbandan’s ship streaking off towards the enemy, he felt confident that all would be well. The command cruiser had sustained considerable damage, but the shields were holding and they were starting to give back some of the damage inflicted while they were blinded by the transponder hijack. He was proud of his crypto techs who had performed above requirements and produced a new signal encryption and frequency range scheme in only two mintes. Another five minutes and all ships were once again transmitting successfully. Control over his fleet restored, the experienced battle officer had immediately regrouped the survivors and counter attacked. Most of the Emdeean ships were still transmitting the old transponder signals, either out of ignorance or stupidity he did not care. He was able to begin attacking the enemy ships with the same deadly precision they had battered him with minutes ago. He did not know how long it would last but he intended to take advantage of it. He had lost the entire 201st interceptor squadron since they were closest to the enemy and bore the brunt of the shocking attack. Several command cruisers and missile ships had also been destroyed, and he worked to replace the command structure while cursing the loss of long range attack capability. Bringing up two more interceptor squadrons, he instructed them to single out a missile ship and swarm it to over whelm their defenses. Once it was destroyed, they were to move on to the next. The missile cruisers he had remaining he kept in reserve. He would need them later, and could not afford to lose any more right now. The battle was now between the battle cruisers and the interceptors. Each battle cruiser was given two squadrons of interceptors, and assigned a line of attack through the enemy lines. Each line of attack was at a different angle, in order to disrupt the enemy’s travel path as much as possible. The tactic was going well, and once the first two Emdeean battle cruisers had been destroyed, he began to feel a little relief. Then, an aide looked up from his console.

“Sir, we are being hailed on the emergency channel. The caller claims to be an Emdeean Overlord named… Olbandan…” The aide’s voice trailed off as he realized why that name had sounded so familiar even with the unfamiliar title. Admiral Stafford felt his blood boiling and wanted nothing more than to simply order the aide to ignore the signal. But perhaps he could buy some time and save some lives by pretending to negotiate some sort of truce with this madman.

“Put him on my private display Andrew, and record the conversation. I want Central Command to hear this.” He ordered evenly. The order was quickly obeyed, and soon the familiar face of Olbandan appeared on the screen. He was seated in a commander’s chair with what appeared to be blodd spattered across the top, and sneering arrogantly at the picture of Admiral Stafford on his own display.

“Admiral, it seems that you have discovered my little gift to my new people. I finally got tired of serving underneath people who were inferior and jealous. Now I have finally found someone who recognizes my abilities and is willing to exploit them. Would you like to surrender now, or will we have to destroy every one of your ships first?” Olbandan sneered.

“I am afraid you are mistaken.” Admiral Stafford replied calmly. “You really should pay more attention to what is going on. Our ships are methodically destroying your fleet as we speak. Transponder frequencies and codes are easily changed. You caused nothing more than a temporary setback. When you are captured, if caught alive I will see to it that you spend the rest of your life in the spice mines at Kessla for your treachery.” Olbandan’s face was growing ever more gleeful as he listened to the admiral’s speech. At the final threat however, he laughed out loud.

“My dear admiral, you are right. Frequencies are easy to change, if you have the algorithms for the encryption they are also easy to intercept.” As he said this, he reached off screen and touched a control. Instantly, the situational awareness display changed from a moving flow of red and blue icons to all red. Olbandan watched for the Admiral’s reaction, and then touched the control again. All of the icons blinked blue again, then disappeared.

“Admiral, it has been nice knowing you. You had a chance to save the lives of your troops, but have lost that chance. Prepare for annihilation.” Overlord Olbandan proclaimed gleefully, and then closed the commo link. Admiral Stafford’s face went gray, and before he could even think of anything to do, an Emdeean cruiser a thousand miles away used the encrypted transponder beam to take control of the ships defensive systems. It was then a simple matter to shut down the shield generators, seconds before a barrage of missiles impacted the Arclight and the nuclear energy reduced the mighty battle cruiser to so much space debris.

In a few hours, it was over. The defense of the Maradras system had failed, and the Emdeean fleet moved in and razed all human civilazations who put up even the merest resistance. The rest were instantly enslaved and relocated to prison camps throughout Emdeean space. And Overlord Olbandan, formerly of the Terminus Federation became a battle hero of the Emdee Empire.

Monday November 20, 2006 - 10:51am (EST)© 2006 Tyler Willson. All rights reserved