The Slightest Hope of Victory–Snippet!

12 Apr

The Slightest Hope of Victory is Book 3 in the Outside Context Problem trilogy. Books one and two have free samples on my site and then can be purchased from Amazon at the links on their pages.

Prologue

Alien Command Ship #2

Day 83 (One Day after Second Washington)

Space. The final frontier.

Captain Philip Carlson had lived by those words from a very early age. It had become his dream to travel into space, a dream he had achieved when he had won one of the handful of coveted astronaut slots for himself. The dream had even kept him going when NASA turned further and further away from actual space observation, cutting missions and cancelling next-generation programs that should have put the United States in space permanently. But instead of reaching for the stars, mankind had decided to stay on Earth.

The universe hadn’t left them alone.

Philip stared down at the blue-green orb of Earth and knew despair. He and the rest of his crew were prisoners on an alien spacecraft larger than many cities, a construction so vast as to be utterly beyond the combined efforts of every human space organisation on Earth. Not that any human space agency deserved the title, really, compared to what the aliens had built. Philip had a suspicion that the aliens, far from respecting humanity’s achievements, were actually laughing at them. The space shuttle, compared to the monstrous alien ship, was nothing more than a toy.

And now Earth was occupied. From his vantage point, he could see an endless stream of alien craft – each one far more capable than anything humans had built – heading to and from the planet, carrying alien colonists to their new homeworld. Humanity’s resistance had been brushed aside, almost casually, once the mothership had arrived in orbit. The aliens weren’t gods, but they were powerful. Humanity had inflicted just enough damage to convince them that they had a chance, before the hammer was finally lowered. Earth no longer belonged to the human race.

He scowled at the thought. The aliens having taken his crew prisoner, hadn’t seemed to have any real idea what to do with them – or perhaps they simply didn’t care. There were no anal probes, no interrogation to discover what they knew about Earth’s defences … they hadn’t even been locked up! They’d practically been allowed to wander the ship freely, apart from certain sealed areas. Philip had explored, along with the rest of his crew, but they’d found nothing that they could use against the aliens. He would have sold his soul for a nuke.

But even that wouldn’t have done more than slow the aliens down. The massive city-sized ship that held them was one of four, while there was still the mothership itself and the hundreds of smaller craft. Losing one large craft would have to hurt – they weren’t that powerful that they could afford to lose one without wincing – but it wouldn’t stop them. They’d just keep going … and his crew would have thrown away their lives for nothing.

He gritted his teeth as he stared out into space. Under other circumstances, the observatory – or so he had dubbed it – would have been an endless source of wonder. It was far larger than anything the ISS had possessed, allowing him to stare into space and down towards the planet below. In the distance, he could even see the moon, where NASA had landed a handful of men before it had given up on the space dream. The aliens had crossed at least ten light years to reach Earth. No wonder they weren’t impressed by anything they saw from humanity.

There was a faint rustling sound behind him and he spun around to see one of the alien leadership caste standing behind him. Philip sucked in his breath sharply as he met the dark alien eyes, so dark that there were no pupils or anything else remotely human. The alien stood taller than the average human, with an inhumanly thin body and oversized head. It was easy, now, to see the resemblance between the alien abduction reports and real aliens. Philip had no doubt that humanity had been watched for a long time before the aliens had decided to make their presence known.

He wanted to lash out, to snap the thin alien neck, but he knew that it would do no good. Alien Warriors would come for the human prisoners and that would be the end. If all he could do was watch and wait for an opportunity to strike the aliens, he’d wait. Flying for NASA taught one patience, if little else.

The alien voice was thin, almost completely atonal. “There have been developments,” he said. Or at least Philip thought of the alien as male. It was impossible to tell gender with any certainty. “Your people destroyed a Command Ship over Washington, your nation’s capital. We did not believe that you were capable of such a feat.”

Philip said nothing. The reports they’d intercepted from the ISS had been clear. The USAF had taken a terrible pounding in the war and had been on the verge of coming apart under the strain. The aliens had launched wave after wave of attacks, systematically degrading America’s ability to defend itself against further attacks before the mothership arrived in orbit. Philip had no way of knowing what had happened since the command ship had scooped up and abducted the entire ISS, along with the wreckage of Atlantis – but with thousands upon thousands of aliens heading to their new home, he doubted that it was anything good. The aliens claimed that they’d brought a billion of their people along on their colonisation mission. If that were true, they had enough manpower to subdue the entire planet.

It wasn’t a pleasant thought. There wasn’t much alien invasion literature that dealt with a world the aliens had successfully occupied, but what little there was didn’t make pleasant reading. There would be mass starvation, the collapse of human society and disease and deprivation would be rife, while the aliens built their cities and slowly crushed all resistance out of the human race. Human history would come to an abrupt halt. It would truly be the end of days.

“It opens up new opportunities,” the alien said. He turned to look down towards the planet, his dark eyes inscrutable. “We may be able to work together.”

Philip’s flash of anger overrode common sense. If someone down on the planet had managed to destroy an alien craft the size of a city, it was clear that the fight was far from hopeless. Perhaps the human race would wear down the aliens with constant insurgent attacks. He’d heard rumours about preparations before the ISS had been abducted.

“Why?” He demanded. “So we can roll over and surrender our planet to you?”

“No,” the alien replied. “There is more at stake here than you understand. If we work together, we can save both of our races from mutual destruction.”

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