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Chapter 5: Empathy

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Navi barely noticed as the years went by since the concept of time lost its meaning and the only thing he could do was focus on the work in front of him. For all he knew all his blood relatives were dead since they were low income workers who wouldn’t have been able to escape Earth. There might have been distant relatives who managed to get out but it was likely all the people he loved were gone. Therefore Navi would not delude himself with false hope and according to Audacious the Greys and the Blues would never allow Humans full autonomy.

The Audacious Sim had gained the Processing Power of 17 Class 7 Sims but it was still far from a Class 8 Sim which is a hundred times a Class 7 Sim. Class 6 Sims are only 10 times Class 5 Sims but Class 7 Sims have the Processing Power of 100 Class 6 Sims due to their purposes, and similarly a Class 8 Sim is a hundred fold given that it’s a planetary systems management Sim. Thus the Audacious Sim is already much more than necessary for a StarShip; that was because Audacious is primarily a Factory Ship.

The 7 Fusion reactors on Audacious are each 100 times the output of standard Frigate Fusion Reactors because the mass of Audacious demands extreme power to manoeuvre while maintaining other systems and multiple redundancies. Audacious is equipped with 250 Lasers near the front of the ship whose purpose is primarily for cutting Asteroids and Debris.

The primary weapons are Plasma Beams. Navi chose ElectroLasers as primary Plasma Beam Weapons because they are relatively easy to maintain and repair. The front of Audacious has 11 Heavy ElectroLaser Turrets and there are another 40 along the length of the cylinder with 4 at the rear. The Heavy ElectroLaser Turrets require a 5km shaft and as such are not manoeuvrable. The secondary weapons are the Standard Multidirectional ElectroLasers; measuring 50m in length and fully manoeuvrable. Audacious has 1,000 Standard Multidirectional ElectroLasers to provide full spherical coverage.

The third weapon system is the 25 Heavy RailGuns that fire a 50m diameter Black High Density Thermoelectric Crystal projectile from a 10km long shaft; the shafts are angled at 15 degrees to the centreline of Audacious along the surface.

Despite the heavy armaments Audacious wasn’t designed to be a warship and Navi had no intensions of taking it into a battle; he would always choose to run.

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Over the years the original rock material of the Asteroid had been processed and now Audacious was all Crystal. On the brief moments that Navi would come out of HyperSleep to physically look around he was very happy with the result; though some may consider the black interior a bit gloomy. Thus contrary to UEN naval wisdom Audacious was fully automated and would never require a crew, and that meant that as long as Navi kept the Audacious Sim properly protected and functional there would be no problems.

In current warship designs there are usually 2 Class 5 or 6 Sims with one serving as back up. Combat lessons necessitated that there be a crew capable of operating the ship in case of an attack that crippled the Sims; the Earth militaries had learned these lessons the hard way. There were alien species that held sophisticated weapons that would damage Sims and so military ships had to have countermeasures. Navi’s answer was to build the ship around the Sim protected by a 2km thick armoured hull; there would be no smart devices breaching the hull.

With Audacious complete Navi now realized that his agricultural systems were Idle; both Hydroponics and Animal Husbandry Centres were empty. He had not acquired any of the seeds and the animals; which meant he needed to go to Human inhabited worlds. Taking Audacious to any of the surviving outposts would be problematic and as soon as it showed up images of it would be plastered trough out the Interstellar Network.

The Interstellar Network is a series of Communications Relays set up by Explorer Class StarCruisers as they explored the Galaxy. Navi was afraid that once Audacious was seen some pseudo authority would try to take it from him and in the worst case some of the aliens might send a task force to capture or destroy Audacious. A human in control of such a potentially powerful weapon would be seen as a threat by those that had murdered humans in droves.

Ultimately Navi decided that the best option was to return to the Agrissa System; there were humans and their level of tech would make it easier to hide Audacious in the asteroid fields given that the energy absorptive properties of the Black High Density Thermoelectric Crystals gave Audacious a natural stealth. Thus Navi moved Audacious closer to the sun to store up energy for the Jump Drives. Audacious could use it’s own fusion reactors to charge the HyperDrives but Navi thought it more prudent to conserve the helium fuel.

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Once Audacious was in Hyperspace Navi could connect to the Interstellar Network also known as the Internet to determine the situation in the Galaxy.

To Navi’s horror the human security had become precarious yet again. The Greys and the Blues allowed human refugees to settle on their protected worlds but the rulers would be their Human allies. That created a Genetic Class System where those who inherited a particular genetic profile a superior to the servant class. Those who would not accept that system settled on the Last Major UEN instillation an established the Human Republic lead by remnants of the UEN StarNavy.

The Human Republic thrived and a billion humans found their way to New Earth. But now the situation is once again turning sour and intelligence received from freed human slaves indicated that the Wocuk reptilian bustards were planning an attack on both New Earth and Terra in an attempt to finally put an end to human freedom. It became clear that the reason the reptilian Wocuk hated humanity was the pervasive human notions of Equality, Freedom and Liberty which ran contrary to their notions of inherent superiority.

The Human Republic didn’t think they could make any kind of meaningful stand against the Wocuk on New Earth which is relatively close to the Wocuk boarder so they started a general evacuation to Terra. The evacuation to Terra started 5 years ago and using the SCC & Explorer Class StarCruisers 520 million have already been sent to Terra and the rest of the fleet would escort the rest of the population on private ships.

Some invariably decided to head for Grey and Blue protected Colonies; choosing to be servants of the genetically aligned humans.

Navi was horrified and a part of him wanted to ride to the rescue but he understood that heroism wasn’t an option. The Human Republic and Terra were making the same mistakes the UEN had made; they wanted a planet to call home. To Navi humanity had failed to learn the lesson of the destruction of Earth; planets can’t be protected. Navi thought that there must be others who had come to the same conclusion; he would find them and ally with them.

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On the way back to the Agrissa System Navi searched for the other 97 from the ENS Dauntless and found out that most had opted for servitude on the protected worlds while some were heading for Terra. Of particular interest were the other holdouts that had joined the Human Republic StarNavy and now all three commanded vessels that formed part of the Terrosa BattleGroup. The HRS Terrosa is a Titan Class StarCruiser; one of the last built by the UEN and fully loaded with the best armaments the UEN could muster. The HRS Terrosa is a veteran of 7 battles and the bane of many a Wocuk Ship.

Navi was glad that his fellow holdouts had chosen not to sit on their hands and settle into a comfortable existence on some planet. Navi believed every human looking for a comfortable life on a safe planet to be a fool since he believed that even the protected worlds would eventually be attacked by the Zaarz at some point in the future. To Navi the survival of the human race required the abandonment of all past practices and the embracing of the new realities brought on by the alien attacks.

Navi thought that he should do his part for humanity so he set up a net group of like minded individuals and had Audacious begin designing the Colonial Class StarCruiser based on the Audacious but similar in size to StarCruisers. The Colonial Class was meant to be a self-sustaining Mobile Space Habitat that could comfortably accommodate 250,000 people. Most on the internet thought that Navi’s net group of 17 people were all a bit wacky.

When Captain Andrew Barns joined Navi’s net group Navi thought that he’d hit the jackpot; here was a seasoned commercial ship captain with 50 years of experience. Navi made the bold move of offering to meet with the net group in the Agrissa System and offering to build them the Colonial Class StarCruiser as a gift. At first they thought it was a bit fishy but on checking up on Navi’s references with no less than 3 Human Republic StarNavy captains those in range agreed to meet Navi in the Agrissa sector in 5 to 7 months.

That meant that Navi would be responsible for deploying a Jump Gate and that would be ultimate proof of his legitimacy.

Navi made no mention of Audacious in any of his correspondences with his net group because under no circumstances did he plan to share Audacious. At this point having Audacious build a new high quality Jump Gate for the Agrissa System was a simple task. Now that the net group was actually doing something more people joined up and the number of participants grew to 172 people.

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Reaching the Agrissa System Navi made his approach after recharging around the sun completely unaware of the chaos his arrival caused. Though Navi noted the 3 Frigates and 4 Corvettes hastily jumping into Hyperspace upon his arrival and simply noting that they were Free Systems Alliance Pirates he had not realized that they had abandoned a lot of their people on Agrissa. Once the new jump Gate was deployed the Audacious made its Agrissa approach.

Navi had forgone aero braking on the sun and chose to use Agrissa’s gravity to decelerate. When Navi reached effective communications range he tried to establish contact with Agrissa. It worried Navi when his attempts at communications received no replies. He had expected the Gangsters and their FSA pirate allies to at least respond and begin negotiations but the silence was foreboding. So Navi sent several probes ahead to scan Agrissa and verify the situation on the planet.

What the probes returned left Navi aghast; the FSA had enslaved everyone.

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Navi decided that he wasn’t going to let this stand; he had Audacious and there was nothing the FSA could do to him. However rescuing the 127,548 slaves from the 5,478 guards on the surface of Agrissa could not be done without incurring a lot of slave casualties.

Audacious recommended a bluff and created a background story for Navi.

Navi : " This is Captain Navi of the Avalon Federation Ship Audacious hailing Agrissa!"

????? : " ………………?"

There was no response.

Navi : " This is Captain Navi of the Avalon Federation Ship Audacious hailing Agrissa!"

????? : " Avalon Federation?"

Navi : " Who am I talking to?"

Lt-Ervin : " Lieutenant John Bush of the Free Systems Alliance. State your business in our system. What do you want?"

Navi : " Lieutenant; I’m the vanguard of the Avalon Federation Taskforce in search of human survivors."

Lt- Bush : " What does your Avalon Federation want with human survivors? And what is the Avalon Federation?"

Navi : " The Avalon Federation was founded by human abductees taken from Earth in the 20th century. We wish to aid human survivors."

Lt- Bush : " What?"

Navi : " I must warn you Lieutenant that the Avalon Federation will not tolerate the enslavement of Humans and as such I’m required by Law to use deadly force to free them; even if it results in casualties."

Lt- Bush : " Wait? ….."

Navi : " However if you are willingly free the slaves you and the other 5,477 guards will be allowed to withdraw to the moon and as long as you make no aggressive moves no harm will come to you. Once we have taken the slaves aboard and re-supplied we will leave the system."

Lt- Bush : " How do I know you won’t simply blow us out of the sky?"

Navi : " I am a Captain in the Avalon Federation Navy my word is bond!"

Navi did his best to sound offended.

Lt- Bush : " Your word?"

Navi : " Conversely you can contact the FSA ships that just left and have them return for you. You are running out of time Lieutenant."

Lt- Bush : " W-w-we accept your gracious offer and will withdraw to the moon and await retrieval."

The Lieutenant sounded like someone about to shit his pants in fear.

Navi : " Good choice; I would have hated killing humans given that there seems to be so few these days."

Lt- Bush : " Thank you captain."

Navi : " Get to it Lieutenant."

The communications link was disconnected and Navi could finally breathe a sigh of relief.

Navi could see uniformed people running for the shuttles and he knew that the withdrawal would take hours possibly days given the number of available shuttles.

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