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Resolute Omnibus (The War for Terra)
 


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Resolute Omnibus (The War for Terra)


  Resolute Omnibus

  Containing the First Two books in

  The War for Terra

  By James R. Prosser

  Resolute Command

  Book 1 of the War for Terra Copyright: James R. Prosser, Jr.

  First Published: July 28, 2013

  Resolute Stand

  Book 2 of the War for Terra Copyright: James R. Prosser, Jr.

  First Published: August 25, 2013

  Cover Illustration by: James R. Prosser, Jr.

  Publisher: James Prosser

  This book is entirely a work of fiction created by the author. Any resemblance to any person or character, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

  The right of James R. Prosser, Jr. to be identified as author of this Work has been asserted by him in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

  All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in retrieval system, copied in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise transmitted without written permission from the publisher. You must not circulate this book in any form.

  Table of Contents

  Resolute Command

  Prologue

  Three Years Ago

  1

  Now

  2

  3

  4

  5

  Three Years Ago

  6

  Now

  7

  8

  9

  10

  Two Years ago

  11

  Now

  12

  13

  14

  15

  Four Months Ago

  16

  Now

  17

  18

  19

  20

  One year Ago

  21

  Now

  22

  23

  24

  25

  Three Years Ago

  26

  Now

  27

  28

  29

  30

  Later

  Resolute Stand

  Prologue

  Then

  Ch’Tauk Home World

  1

  Now

  Planet Alzerack

  2

  3

  4

  5

  Ch’Tauk Dreadnought

  6

  The Sweet Liberty

  7

  8

  Battleship Resolute

  9

  10

  Ch’Tauk Dreadnought

  11

  The Sweet Liberty

  12

  13

  Battleship Resolute

  14

  15

  Ch’Tauk Dreadnought

  16

  The Sweet Liberty

  17

  18

  Battleship Resolute

  19

  20

  Ch’Tauk Dreadnought

  21

  Cruise Liner Terran Hope

  22

  The Gilbert’s Luck

  23

  Alliance Carrier Zeus

  24

  Battleship Resolute

  25

  Ch’Tauk Dreadnought

  26

  The Gilbert’s Luck

  27

  Alliance Carrier Baal

  28

  Cruise Liner Terran Hope

  29

  Battleship Resolute

  30

  Ch’Tauk Home World

  About the Author

  Resolute Command

  Book 1 of

  The War for Terra

  By

  James R. Prosser, Jr.

  For my wife, who is my editor, my critic, my reader and my friend.

  I couldn’t have done it without you.

  And

  For the teachers of students and the students who teach.

  The world belongs to you, even if it doesn’t know it yet.

  Prologue

  Three Years Ago

  The bridge of the Confederacy Carrier Baal had always been a model of efficiency and Admiral Hathaway liked it that way. His crew silently monitored their stations and recorded their data from one area of the fleet to another. In his opinion, his decision to staff the bridge of his flagship entirely with humans seemed to be the only way to ensure the ship would run smoothly.

  In the centuries since humans had left Earth and travelled out into the galaxy, they had become the dominant species among the races they encountered. Hathaway himself had been a crewman during the first contact with the Ch’Tauk Empire almost fifty years prior. Since then, they’d resisted Terran control and flaunted their independence to the entire galaxy. The Confederacy finally decided that it was enough. They ordered the fleet massed in a secret location and readied for the final invasion of the Ch’Tauk home world.

  The admiral’s confidence that the victory would be swift and efficient would not be challenged. In its infrequent clashes with Confederate forces, the Ch’Tauk people rarely demonstrated any strategic ability. Their weapons were low powered and their tactics spoke more to flat-land strategies than the three dimensional battlefield of space. Humans repeatedly proved themselves better than most other species in combat.

  “Mister Raynor,” Hathaway began, “how much longer until we are assembled and ready to begin operations?”

  Below the command deck walkway, the operations pit brimmed with able young crewmen. One of them, a young blond man, snapped to attention at the sound of his name. He looked to the handheld monitor board that he carried and confirmed the information on a nearby console.

  “Sir, Baal reports ready for operations. Thor is awaiting the arrival of the engineering cruiser Edison to her group.”

  Hathaway nodded, understanding that the Corps of Engineers’ ship would be delayed while the last of the researchers gathered the weapons that might prove essential to the invasion. Personally, he doubted anything the mixed human-alien teams came up with would in any way be needed. Terran Confederacy weaponry would be more than a match for the task.

  “How are our preparations coming within the Baal group?” he asked, looking at the projected view towards the purple-hued planet below.

  He could just make out the locations of the battle task force that moved with the enormous carrier. There were two Mars class heavy assault cruisers, each carrying two hundred landing craft for the ground invasion. Two Gettysburg class destroyers, capable of burning a continent if needed, flanked his own Zeus class carrier. All of these were accompanied by various support and logistics ships. There were supposed to be two Hector class battle cruisers as well, but there was only one. Instead, he had been assigned an aging Independence class battleship with no captain. He could not see the ship on the screen.

  “Raynor, where is the Resolute?” the admiral asked, slightly perturbed. It had limped out of mothballs from some Confederacy junkyard, pressed into service by a politician who felt the need to interfere in military operations.

  “She’s fallen behind,” said Raynor, once again looking at his tablet. “Apparently her thruster control room caught fire when they tried to adjust course. No casualties, but they are unable to turn starboard at the moment. Estimate repairs at thirty minutes, sir.”

  Hathaway pinched the flesh between his eyes and shook his head. The antique ship had been a headache since its arrival. He almost believed it would be better to leave it behind, but knew that action would be career suicide.

  “What about the rest of the fleet?” he asked.

  “Sir,” replied Raynor, “
Zeus and Tlaloc are set to leave from Earth orbit within the hour for rendezvous. They should be bringing the new captain for Resolute.”

  Hathaway nodded and turned away from the view screen. They were getting an untried captain for the battleship. It looked more and more likely every day that the battleship would be more of a liability for the coming battle than an asset.

  The admiral returned to his command seat at the rear of the raised deck. The bridge of the Baal contained a wide collection of sensor screens and data readouts. Wider than it deep, there was a lower deck, called the pit, which housed most of the logistics and sensor packages. Above the pit, a series of walkways allowed command officers to stand above the crewmen manning their posts. At the rear of the command deck sat a small raised dais that held the command chair. A series of holographic displays showing data from around the fleet normally surrounded the chair, but Hathaway did not have them on.

  The Baal did have a captain, but Hathaway had assigned him logistic duties while commanding the bridge. The admiral did not like competition to his authority while in command. Simple, quiet, and efficient was the best way to run his ship.

  The voice of an ensign from below crashed through the calm of the bridge. “Sir, I have an incoming jump point forming between us and the local star.”

  Hathaway stood quickly from his chair, striding over to the ensign. She was concentrating on her screen with rare intensity for one so young.

  “Is it Zeus or Edison?” the admiral asked.

  “I can’t tell, sir,” she replied, still not looking away from her screen. “It doesn’t look right for one of ours.”

  Hathaway looked at the big screen for any sign of the characteristic blue spiral of a jump point.

  “Put it on the big screen,” he commanded.

  A moment later, the screen swerved to face the star that the Baal was parked near. The glare from the unfiltered view momentarily left spots in his eyes before the sensor officer darkened the image. In the bottom corner of the screen, a vortex was forming, like someone had pinched the fabric of space between all five fingers and twisted, revealing a blue light beyond.

  A ship poked through the ripple and immediately oriented itself towards the battle group. Hathaway strained to make out the shape of the oncoming ship that was back-lighted against the bright star.

  “Sir!” said the young woman, standing from her post and staring at the screen. “It’s Ch’Tauk!”

  Hathaway looked right at the image and realized she had been right. It was a small ship, not much larger than one of the fighters his ship carried.

  “It must be a scout,” he said, turning to face his bridge crew. “Scramble fighters and begin jamming communications.”

  Immediately, the intensity on the bridge doubled. The silence from a few moments ago was replaced by a hum of activity and movement. The admiral saw the weapons officer begin activating the ship’s shielding and charging the plasma cannons. A thrill of pride swelled through the admiral as he witnessed the efficiency of his crew in action.

  “Sir,” announced the voice of the young woman again. “He’s not alone.”

  Hathaway turned back to the screen to watch the jump point expand. An enormous alien ship was squeezing through the jump vortex. It was at least as big as Baal, and plated with armor bands and weapons. In the back of his mind, Hathaway thought it looked like a horned beetle, but with cannons where the long proboscis would go. After the ship passed through the point, hundreds of smaller ships blasted through the still open vortex.

  “Activate all fighter squadrons,” the admiral ordered. “We are under attack. Get Thor on the line, Raynor. Time to wake up.”

  “Communications are being jammed, sir,” said the voice of his communications officer. But not by us.”

  The admiral raced down the walkway to his command chair. Just as he approached, the ship rocked and pitched him to the polished deck. He looked up to face a frightened-looking lieutenant looking back from the pit.

  “We took a hit, sir,” said the weapons officer from behind him.

  “They’re out of range,” he replied, clambering to his feet. “How could they have hit us from there?”

  “Sir, another jump point opened behind us,” said the young woman again. “Two more of those … things came out. We just didn’t see them, sir.”

  Hathaway climbed into his seat and activated the holographic displays. The shadowy blue images flickered to life. He called up the situation map and his heart ran cold.

  “Sir,” called Raynor. “I can’t reach Thor on any channel.”

  Hathaway knew they wouldn’t either. His situation map told him the story. Thor was adrift on the other side of the planet. He was seeing not just a few jump points opening, but hundreds. Gigantic insect-like ships had appeared from nowhere and surrounded the two carrier groups. Thor’s battle cruisers were being picked apart by the alien battleships. He stared at the display, aghast at the destruction.

  “Why didn’t they surround us too?” he asked himself.

  An answer came from Raynor, who rushed to the weapons console and now looked at the same situational map Hathaway was looking at.

  “Sir,” said the man. “It’s Resolute. She’s further back and must have intercepted the call from Thor before communications were jammed. She’s broadcasting a jump blocker. They’ve powered up her engines and weapons and are coming in, sir.”

  So, Hathaway thought, the old soldier still has some life left in her.

  He watched the display as the lone Confederacy battleship closed on her battle group. One of the Gettysburg class destroyers, the Trafalgar, was trying to flank the big Ch’Tauk ship, but was taking heavy damage from oncoming fighters. The other, Austerlitz, was moving to defend Baal. Ikenga and Mars, the two cruisers, were trying to deploy their battle platforms in their defense. All of the support and logistics ships moved in closer to the Baal for protection. The battle cruiser, Achilles, moved ahead in attack posture.

  Baal shuddered again as the rearward attackers landed another hit to her engines. Hathaway realized that his forces were too spread out to defend on two fronts. His mind raced to find a strategy.

  “Sir,” cried Raynor, “Thor’s battle group is gone!”

  Hathaway looked back at his display. To his horror, the bright green dots that should have indicated the other ships were gone. In only seconds, over a million lives had been lost to the invading Ch’Tauk forces. Hathaway’s confidence in the superiority of humanity was shattered. He looked to his own battle group again; the lead destroyer was burning in space. He could see tears in the thick metal skin of the powerful ship. She was listing on her axis and twisting in space, still under fire from the smaller enemy ships.

  Hathaway noticed that the big ship had still not opened fire, but the smaller escort ships began moving away from the long cannon at its bow. He looked at the display and recognized the strategy the aliens were going to use.

  “Order Achilles to take evasive action,” he yelled to his bridge, not caring who carried out the order. “Tell them to get out of there!”

  On his display, Achilles moved in front of the carrier to defend the bigger ship. The alien cannon began to glow with a fiery orange light. A flash blinded the admiral as he looked through the forward screen. As he blinked and tried to focus, he looked to the display again. Achilles was gone. He looked at the view screen towards where the big ship should have been, but saw nothing. Not even debris.

  “Sir,” a voice asked from the pit. “What do we do?”

  Hathaway looked at the crew below him. His mind was blank. The destruction of so many ships had made him nearly catatonic with fear. His lips quivered, not able to form words in his panic.

  “Sir, Resolute has opened fire on the attackers behind us. They are turning to intercept her,” Raynor announced. “Sir, they will tear her apart … sir?"

  Hathaway looked back at the display, his mind racing to formulate a strategy. He could see no way forward in which they survived. He
looked back at the faces of his crew, searching him for answers or salvation. His mind finally engaged and a plan formed.

  “Raynor, warm up the jump engines, any direction,” he ordered. “Engineering, give me all power to the jump engines. Raynor, recall fighters and tell the remaining group to come in tight. We are leaving.”

  Raynor looked to his commander, disbelieving. He had served with the man for a decade and had never heard him order a retreat. It was inconceivable to him that the situation had spiraled out of reason so quickly.

  “Raynor, now!” said the admiral, snapping his second out of immobility.

  “Yes, sir,” answered the man. Raynor began issuing orders, rushing to confirm the return of the small fighters and organizing the logistics ship around Baal.

  If we’re going to retreat, the officer thought, at least we can do it efficiently.

  Hathaway returned to his chair, sinking into the plush padding and staring at his display. He hoped that whatever the Ch’Tauk had used on Achilles took time to recharge. He looked for the two cruisers on the situation map. Mars was collecting her battle platform, but Ikenga sat motionless.

  “Scan Ikenga,” he ordered. “Find out what’s going on over there.”

  “Her engines have been destroyed, sir,” said the sensor officer. “She’s flashing her running lights.”

  “It’s a code, sir,” said the communications officer. “She’s volunteering to cover our retreat.”

  Hathaway had never respected military men who spoke of sacrifice. He’d always considered sacrifice as part of the job. When he was at the Academy, one of his instructors had tried to teach him that he may be called upon to sacrifice his life for the Confederacy. He’d taken the advice to heart and considered it a necessary price to pay. With the sacrifice of Ikenga, though, he felt another jolt to his core beliefs. This day seemed to be trying to break down his soul like no battle had ever succeeded before.

  “Jump engines are on-line, sir,” said the engineering officer. “We are ready.”

  A great explosion of fire erupted from the pit. Hathaway was thrown back off his chair to land against the back wall. He shook his head rapidly to clear the buzzing in his ears. Any commander fears fire in space. It sucks valuable oxygen and destroys vital personnel and components. Hathaway had only encountered fire on a ship once before, when an accidental weapons discharge had detonated a fuel cell on his first ship. That incident had marked him for life with a fear of fire, but this was worse.

 
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