Here are seven short chapters from my novel Nu Book 1 – The Esss Advance that describe a Test that humanity ran against the invading Esss. The Esss were sampling various locations around the globe and we decided to see how serious they were.
Air Force Colonel Salma Okello was the Alpha group leader. Her wing of four Chinese F-12 fighter jets was airborne out of Mwanza Airport on the shores of Lake Victoria, based upon a warning from the United Space Navy that they might have alien visitors. The wing would be on duty for the next four hours, at which point Beta group would take over.
The only problem Okello had was that her orders were still vague. They were to monitor the aliens if they landed. That was easy. They were to carry a full load of ordinance, including air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles. Their wings bristled with offensive weapons. Unfortunately, there were no rules of engagement. There had been an intimation that further orders might be forthcoming if contact was made, but that was little consolation to this commander with full team responsibility.
When the call came in, she placed all of these thoughts into the background.
“Alpha leader, this is Mwanza Control. We have confirmed inbound traffic heading toward the northern part of the lake in Ugandan territory. You are cleared to proceed at best speed to intercept and monitor activity.”
“Roger that,” Okello replied. “We are proceeding on a heading of zero degrees.”
She passed the orders to the rest of the wing, and they executed a ninety-degree turn to the north. They would reach the northern end of the lake in less than fifteen minutes. Hopefully, they would pick up the bogey on radar by then.
Fleet Admiral Brooks had anticipated the freshwater landing in Lake Victoria, and his warning to the ground-based air forces in Africa had been heeded. Now the fruits of that warning were about to be realized. One of the alien ships was approaching Lake Victoria and would probably be landing on one of the islands in the next few moments.
“Get me the Secretary,” Brooks ordered from the flag chair on the Invincible.
“Secretary Miller, sir,” Commander Santos replied.
“Secretary, they are about to land somewhere in Lake Victoria, as I anticipated. What are my operational guidelines?”
“The Council has authorized direct interference with the alien intelligence gathering. Any craft released to the surface of the lake from the main ship is fair game. They want to provoke some kind of response without actually firing directly on the alien vessel.”
“Thank you, Madam Secretary. I will keep you informed of our progress. I am also authorizing full defensive retaliatory strikes if our ships are fired upon. I can’t leave them hanging out there to dry without the ability to protect themselves.”
“Fair enough, Admiral Brooks. You have my authorization for full self-defensive measures.”
Scout one was inbound to the largest lake on this land mass for its next collection run when the call came in from the scout leader. This landing was not going to be as uneventful as previous ones. Apparently, the locals had dispatched four flying craft toward its anticipated landing site on an island in the lake. This should not prove to be a problem. It just had to be prepared for a little sport with these primitives if they chose to interfere with its duties.
Colonel Okello had already picked up the alien craft on radar when the next call came in.
“Alpha leader, this is Mwanza Control.”
“Mwanza, this is Alpha Leader. Over.”
“Alpha Leader, your engagement orders are as follows. Do not engage the alien ship. If it releases any kind of craft onto the surface of the lake, you are to destroy that craft once it has cleared the alien vessel. I repeat, destroy any released watercraft after it has cleared the alien vessel. Acknowledge.”
“Mwanza, we are free to destroy any released water craft once it has cleared the alien vessel.”
“Alpha Leader, you are also cleared to go in weapons hot in full defensive mode. If the alien vessel engages any of your team, you can go weapons free. Acknowledge.”
“Mwanza, we are weapons free to defend ourselves if attacked.”
This was much better. Clear rules of engagement were a blessing for the team leader. Now, where was this thing going to land? It appeared they were headed to an island south of Mayuge, Uganda.
“Alpha team, this is Alpha leader. Make your heading thirty-five degrees on my mark. Let’s beat this bastard to the landing zone. Mark!”
The wing of four F12s came about crisply on the new heading just as the alien vessel cleared their horizon from the northwest, coming in at a steep angle to the surface.
“Mwanza, this is Alpha Leader.”
“We have the bogey in sight and are anticipating a landing on Nainaivi Island. Please alert local Ugandan authorities. We will establish a circular pattern around the island, recording and transmitting video to you in real time. Once the bogey has landed, we will make regular passes over it from multiple directions. Over.”
“Copy, Alpha Leader, we confirm receiving all four live video streams.”
Now it was a waiting game, if you could call cruising at over 1,000 kilometers per hour a waiting game.
Scout one went for the northern tip of the island. Four of the local aircraft were already flying around the landing site when it executed its landing. So far they had not interfered.
Once the scout vessel had settled just off the point of the island, scout one began its normal procedure of releasing the water-sampling craft out into the lake. Unlike the day before, there was no rush to get the craft back before the locals arrived. They were already here and watching. Therefore, it started lowering the ship between its landing legs.
Since there was no rush, it settled for the standard distance from the ship for the measuring point in this body of water. The readings did not need to be clouded by the actual landing.
As it was preparing and dispatching the sampler, it kept its attention on the four local aircraft. They were buzzing around the ship like angry pests. Well, maybe it would get a chance to swat a few of these pests today.
As team leader, Colonel Okello held back from making any of the flybys like the remainder of the team. Her responsibility was to command the team and remain in contact with Mwanza control, and that could be handled best from a distance. Because of that, she did not see the small watercraft exit from under the alien vessel and head out into the lake. It was Lt. Benjamin Yambasu who first spotted the craft on his flyby.
“Alpha three, as spotter you have the honor,” Okello said. “Weapons free as soon as the craft reaches five hundred meters from the ship.”
“Roger, Alpha leader,” Yambasu replied as he made a sweeping turn to come back around and attack the small watercraft at an angle perpendicular to its direction of travel. He designated the watercraft on his targeting system and spun up his air-to-ground CH-19J anti-ship missile, which was certainly overkill for such a small boat. Then, from two kilometers away, he released the missile.
“Missile away and on target.”
Those were his last words as two powerful laser beams sprang from the alien ship and tore apart both his aircraft and the missile.
Colonel Okello caught the whole sequence from her nose camera as well as through the jet’s canopy. This was the first true action she had seen firsthand as an air force pilot, and she was stunned by the brutal force displayed by the alien ship. However, being in command had its responsibilities, and the rest of the wing still needed her guidance.
“Alpha one and Alpha two, withdraw to twenty kilometers. Keep evenly spaced in a circle around this bastard. We are going to unload everything we have at the same time from that distance and see if we can’t break through that defense.
“Mwanza control, this is Alpha leader,” she continued. “Alpha three is down with no survivor. I repeat, no survivor. We are going weapons free in three minutes from a range of twenty kilometers on the alien vessel.”
“Alpha leader, this is Mwanza control. We copy weapons free in three minutes. Good hunting.”
Scout one was very satisfied with its limited response to their attack on the sampler. There was no way these locals were going to interfere with the survey. In fact, the other three aircraft had withdrawn a considerable distance from his ship and had stopped their annoying flybys.
The sampler was now in place and drawing a sample from well below the surface of the water. In just a short while, it could pick up the sampler and go to the next body of water, a long, slim lake nearby. That’s when the purple warning light started pulsing its warning.
Scout one turned to the console and saw that these upstarts were now attacking its ship directly. All three had released weapons that were closing rapidly. In this case, there was nothing for it to do. The program to protect the ship had already been loaded, and the six laser pods came online automatically, spitting laser fire at both the incoming missiles and the three pesky aircraft. At the speed of light, twelve missiles and three aircraft exploded and plummeted into the water as little more than burned out junk.
When the sampler was winched back aboard, the scout craft rose above the lake and veered slightly to the southwest for the next sample collection. Meanwhile, scout one organized its report for the scout leader regarding this latest contact.