The Doomed Voyage: Part 7

Read previous installments here. From the logs of Kyber Myla Bronson: I stared down at the system coming up on the navigational scanners. Scylla. From there it would only be a couple weeks to Ithacor.

Read previous installments here.

From the logs of Kyber Myla Bronson:

I stared down at the system coming up on the navigational scanners.

Scylla. From there it would only be a couple weeks to Ithacor.

If we made it through alive.

Despite it’s proximity to our home, there were no outposts or colonies in the Scylla system. Not that none had been attempted, but they never lasted. No one had ventured through this sector in generations—not since ships were built capable of traversing deep space.

Rumors about the system ran rampant through the military academy. Ranging from the mundane—Scylla’s sun was volatile, periodically throwing massive solar flares that knocked out electronic systems—to the bizarre—the system was haunted by the ghosts of a dead civilization who took vengeance on any who tried to pass through their space. If the real story was known, it was classified above my pay-grade.

All I knew was Scylla was off limits to all ships.

Yet there we were, only moments from entering the system. I gripped the flight controls a little too tightly. But we’d already been through so much. I wasn’t about to be scarred off by ghost stories.

“Entering the Scylla system now.” I announced as the Odyssey approached the outermost planet.

“All hands to duty stations.” Brigadier Martel called through the intercom.

General Calix Weston nodded. “Good call, Zane. We should be ready, but there’s no need to jump at shadows.”

“Sir, I’m picking up an interstellar mass ahead.” Hoplite Asher said.

I double-checked my scans. “It’s not showing up on navigation, are you sure?”

“See for yourself.” He shifted the tactical sensor data over to my display.

Sure enough, the readings were faint, but something was out there.

“It’s too small to be a planetoid.” The general looked at his console. “Thoughts?”

“Could be another ship.” The brigadier offered.

“I’m not getting any energy readings from it.” Asher said.

“An asteroid then?” I compared the readings to the navigational data. “There’s a belt deeper into the system, it might have just been pulled out of orbit.”

“By what? Nothing’s been in this system for a hundred years.”

“Whatever it is, let’s keep our distance. Kyber Bronson?”

“Aye, Sir.” I shifted our course so we’d pass on the far side of the planet from the thing.

For a moment, the planet’s magnetic field disrupted the tactical scanners and we lost sight of our little anomaly. Part of me hoped when we came back around it would just be gone. But we weren’t that lucky.

“It’s back, and moving toward us.”

“And gaining speed.”

“Evasive maneuvers, Kyber.”

I pushed the Odyssey into a spiral that the inertial dampers easily corrected for. Maybe it’s not following us, just going this way.

“It’s still on us.”

Or not.

I pulled up hard on the controls and felt the artificial gravity buckle slightly to ease the strain on our bodies. The thing overshot us and plowed into the thin atmosphere of the outer planet. The fireball that followed was almost blinding on the scanner display.

“I’ve lost contact.” Asher ran another tactical sweep.

“I’m not surprised.” General Weston stroked the stubble on his chin.


“That was an old seeker mine. What we just saw wasn’t a vessel burning up in re-entry, it was a low-yield atomic detonation.”

“Atomic? But no one’s used weapons like that in….”

“About a hundred years. The last time anyone was in this sector.” The general leaned back in his chair. “We’ve just stumbled into a century-old minefield.”

“What are your orders, Sir? Do we turn back?” I eased the Odyssey into a slow turn to re-correct our course after the evasive maneuvers.

“And go where? There isn’t another system close enough to approach Ithacor from for months—maybe years by the time we back track enough to reach it.” Brigadier Martel said.


“No, he’s right.” General Weston said. “We’re this close, we can’t turn away now. Kyber Bronson, take us into the system, slowly. But plot a course that keeps us as far from the planetoids as possible.”

“Aye, Sir.”

It made sense, if this minefield was indeed a hundred years old, the higher gravity around the planets was likely to have collected at least some of the loose mines.

“Hoplite Asher, keep those sensors at full range, I want to know as soon as possible if there’s another of those things.”

“Of course.”

The bridge fell silent as we eased our way deeper into the system. I kept my gaze glued to the navigational readouts. Any slight deviation in the scans, and I shifted the Odyssey well away. At that rate—and with a small amount of back-tracking—it took us about an hour to reach the heart of the Scylla system.

Just when I was starting to wonder if the mine we’d encountered was the last remnant of the field, Asher spoke up, “I’ve got another mass on scanners.”

“Where?” I tightened my grip on the control rods instinctively.

“Port side, at the extreme range of the tactical sensors.” He shifted the data to my display.

I began to veer to starboard, but the brigadier called out another mine in that direction.

“Pick up speed, Kyber, they’re old, maybe we’ll be able to slip right between them.” General Weston said.

I complied. The Odyssey hurtled past the Scyllan sun. On the far side, there were no planets anywhere near our desired exit trajectory.

“More mines on scan, Sir. Four, no five, in a grid directly ahead of us.”

“Take evasive action, Kyber.”

“On it.” I rolled the Odyssey around to follow the orbit of the star for a moment longer and slingshot out away from the mines.

“Too late, we’ve got one tracking us!”

“Increase speed, let’s see if we can outrun it.”

I pushed our ship to the limit of what the engines could handle that deep into a solar system.

“It’s still with us, General.”


“Unless you want to bring it home with us, this is all we’ve got.”

“Change course, bring us back along this line.” The general sent a schematic over to my display.

“Sir, that will take us back into the mine field.”

“That’s the plan.”

“Aye, Sir.” I pulled the ship around. Because I couldn’t afford to reduce speed, the inertial dampers struggled to keep up with even an easy turn.

“Hoplite, I want to know as soon as we’ve attracted another mine.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Bronson, when I give the word, I want you to take us hard about, understood?”

I nodded. A maneuver like that at this speed…we might be better off with the mines.

He keyed the intercom. “All hands, brace yourselves.”

“New mine incoming!”

“Now, Kyber!”

Gritting my teeth I leaned my whole body-weight back against the controls, forcing the ship into a tight turn up and back. Blackness filled the edges of my vision—and I’d trained for high velocity maneuvers. Most of the crew must have passed out almost instantly.

As I leveled the Odyssey back out, I caught the flash of another atomic explosion on the sensor screen.

Behind me, the general groaned. “Well done, Kyber. What’s our status?”

I shook my head to clear the remaining black spots and ran a quick scan. “It looks like we’re in the clear, Sir.”

More groans as the others recovered their feet.

“In that case, set our course for Ithacor.” General Weston smiled. “Our next stop is home.”

To Be Continued…

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