Thursday, July 6, 2017

7/6/17

Final Days
By David K Scholes


Unified Earth Command Centre
One Mile Underground
North of Canberra, Australia


“They are still coming!” whispered Earth’s Air Space Commander “despite everything we have thrown at them.”

“Planetary energy reserves?” I asked, trying to appear unflappable.
“The Planetary Grid is down to 10%” offered the Primary Energy Coordinator.

In the early days we had been confident of victory. Our psi Uni-Mind comprising millions of Earth’s best minds had offered great promise.

Yet the Trorne put everything we threw at them through the meat grinder. I had my suspicions they could have come in much faster and just taken us. That they, malevolently, preferred to make it a slow agonising death for all of the worlds they eventually conquered.

“Let’s go over our options again,” I asked, looking at my remaining senior Commanders and Coordinators and hoping for an original idea.

“Can we lower the conscription age?” the voice of a General came from the back of the bunker.
“It’s 9!” I replied, aghast at the thought “if we have to lower it any further it’s a blatant admission of defeat and we can only do it in areas still loyal to us.”
I wasn’t going to be responsible for sending 7 and 8 year olds against an enemy that could scare the pants of even our best Special Forces. “It stays at 9,” I replied, the anger in me welling up.

“The crim zone – we could bring them all back from their down-time imprisonment in the Pleistocene Period,” offered my senior Ground Commander, “plenty of manpower there.”
It was not a new idea and I said as much. It did have appeal, but there was a problem. “The inter-temporal energy requirements are too great,” I replied “it would exhaust the Grid.” Theoretically it made some sense. Yet no one knew the present condition of the crims – in their bitterness would they even care about what was happening to us?

“The unused clones in the central storage bays,” suggested my Primary Naval Commander.
We’ve released those we can,” I replied “but the others have to be held for when they are needed. When key people like those in this Command Centre die.
My mind raced at the thought of two or three cloned versions of myself or others present being despatched to the frontline to be slaughtered.

“The Urban Pacifier teams still loyal to us have been militarised,” said the nominal head of the diminished World Police. “Likewise the City Demolition teams too, those still loyal to us. As ready as they’ll ever be.” I thought of their monstrous nuclear fuelled dozers, their contracting force field machineries and their city stripping energy weapons. They would give a good account of themselves.

Someone rattled off a load of Earth Cities and major Regional Centres. “We’re giving up on all of these,” he said “no loyalty left for Earth Central Command, they are on their own.”

Would things have been different if Earth were less divided? I wondered. Knowing the answer as soon as the idea came to mind.

* * *

Then the Trorne ramped it up. The star ships orbiting above multiplied and the steady stream of shuttles and armoured figures heading planet ward increased exponentially.

“They’ve stopped toying with us,” I said – “now it’s the end game.”

“Planetary Energy Grid projected to go down in about an hour,” yelled the Primary Energy Coordinator.
“Remove all energy shielding from protected installations, including this one” I said. If my actions kept the Earth Grid going another day our sacrifice was worth it.

* * *

The battle for Earth raged for longer than I would ever have thought possible.

Our underground bunker, minus energy shielding, was attacked several times and eventually laid waste. By the time the fighting subsided I was on to the fifth and last cloned version of myself and most of my Commanders and Coordinators had died after running out of their clones. Yet Earth Central Command had become peripheral to the conflict.

Someone had got the Crims back from down time possibly using the released energies when the Grid went down. The Crims had only gone into the cities no longer loyal to Central Command.

The cities loyal to us were taken fairly easily but the remaining cities were another matter. That’s where the real fighting took place. The millions of released Crims had learned things downtime and they teamed up with the tough Urban Pacifier and City Demolition units and their super heavy equipment.

Foolishly the Trorne sought to take these renegade cities block by block and it had ground them down. The race that was expert at grinding down its opponents was in the end ground down itself.

We all of us thought the Trorne would planet bust us when, exhausted, they left Earth.
Yet they didn’t. I’m told that a hastily assembled second Uni-Mind comprised of more than one million criminal minds had dissuaded them.

The original Uni-Mind had been comprised of many of the purer minds of Earth but the second Uni-Mind was comprised of minds much more malevolent, much less pure and the departing Trorne knew this.

How strange that our victory of sorts had been achieved not by the great and the good but by those once thought of as the scum of the Earth.


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The author is a science fiction writer with eight published collections of short stories and two science fiction novellas (all on Amazon). He has been a regular contributor to the Antipodean SF, Beam Me Up Pod Cast, and Farther Stars Than These sites. He has also been published on 365 Tomorrows, Bewildering Stories, the WiFiles and the former Golden Visions magazine.

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