An Arrow for an Olive Branch; A Sci-Fi Short Story, Pt5

Updated on February 3, 2018
cam8510 profile image

Chris has written more than 175 flash fiction/short stories. Working Vacation was 21st out of 6,700 in the 2016 Writer's Digest competition.

Source

Later that evening, following the President's speech, people across the nation took to the streets after hearing of Ghar's ultimatum. People were afraid for themselves and their families. While violence wasn’t unheard of, more often, candlelight vigils spontaneously popped up as a way for people to express their feelings.

Some demanded the President release the military to attack the aliens preemptively with nuclear missiles. But the President stood against this pressure, refusing to expose the planet to the dangers of Earth's own weapons in addition to those of the enemy.

#

Very Large Telescope, South Africa

Source

On day one following Ghar’s ultimatum, while the governments of Earth considered the threats and demands of the alien robot, Ruth was keeping track of Ghar's ark by monitoring data from a variety of sites around the world with powerful telescopes. It was during this time that Ghar moved his ark from its orbit around Jupiter to a geosynchronous orbit with Earth above Washington, D.C.

For two days, world leaders debated how to respond. Many believed, that even though the aliens might defeat Earth militarily, it would be impossible for them to occupy the planet with a limited number of robots. Others countered that the constant threat of annihilation would deter any global rebellion.

On the evening of day two, one-hundred-ninety-six nations voted unanimously to surrender and accept Ghar’s terms.

With Toshu serving as a communication medium, President Golden delivered the decision to Ghar and requested that the governments of Earth still be given the third day to make preparations. Ghar fell for the ruse. While the nations of Earth appeared to be waving a white flag, they were not throwing in the towel. All recognized that, since the alien craft was holding its position near Washington, D.C., the United States would likely bear the brunt of Ghar's retaliation once he learned the surrender had been a deception.

Early in the morning on day three, the NSC met in the Situation Room with Toshu in attendance. She told the Council that she was defecting from her master and seeking asylum on Earth, in the United States. She offered her services as an advisor and requested that she be allowed to return to the alien ship as a spy if it proved to be beneficial at some point.

Toshu also informed the NSC that the alien robot had a single weapon with which he could annihilate the Earth. Tunneling beams would bore holes into the core, then matter-antimatter collisions would produce an explosion engineered to break the Earth into pieces. In Toshu's opinion, if Earth did not surrender, Ghar would attack with his robots rather than destroy the planet they so desperately needed.

#

Source

Mid-morning on day three, a team of scientists met in the White House Situation room. Ruth and Toshu participated by video while en route to another location where their expertise was needed. The group consisted of Astronomer and team coordinator, Dr. Richard Smith, Theoretical Physicist, Dr. Anton Ferris, Laser Physicist, Dr. Theodore Raiman, Meteorologist, Dr. Roger Pike, as well as Ruth, an astrophysicist, and Toshu, a communications specialist. Their assignment was to conceptualize a weapon and develop a strategy by which the military would defeat Ghar's forces. This creative and unexpected approach was a frustration to the Pentagon and baffled Congress.

Dr. Smith directed the first question to their alien guest. "Toshu, tell us about the robots, their number, their capabilities in battle."

"When we left our planet, there were more than two hundred arks, each carrying ten thousand people and one thousand Rhonks. We had been traveling for over a year using Earth's accounting for time when the arks began to disappear one by one. Ghar was unwilling to impede our progress toward your solar system to search for them until finally, only two arks remained, Ghar's and another under Commander Rhall, which began to drift as we drew near to your planet."

Something incapacitated the Rhonites on each of the lost arks, and the Rhonks failed to take over navigation. As a result, Ghar lost ninety-nine percent of his robots, meaning that approximately one thousand will exit the ark when they attack Earth. If the Rhonks aboard Commander Rhall's ark are still functioning, that number will rise to two thousand. Individual propulsion tubes will carry them through the atmosphere and protect them from the heat and radiation. Once through, they will discard the casings and descend using anti-gravity."

"Why don't our fighters just blow them out of the sky?" said Dr. Raiman.

"You would destroy some of them, no doubt," said Toshu. "But the Rhonks would be more than a match for your aircraft. The robots have exceptional maneuverability, and their lasers are precise and deadly. Your jets launch missiles that twist and turn as they chase down the enemy. The robots' lasers travel at the speed of light. On the ground, I once saw a laser used as a sword. It swept across the battlefield and severed the bodies of ten thousand in one pass. In the end, the robots would win in the air and on the ground. Make no mistake. One thousand Rhonks are more than enough for Ghar to defeat Earth."

Source

The room was silent as the scientists dealt with the impact of Toshu's words.

"As daunting as that sounds,” said Dr. Smith, "We are looking for a point of vulnerability.”

"They'll be most exposed while descending. The next several days will be completely overcast," said Dr. Pike. "I'm wondering if there is a way for us to use the weather to our advantage."

"Mr. President, Gentlemen," Ruth said, interrupting the discussion. "Toshu and I have arrived at our destination." The scientists all focused on the video screen on the wall. It showed Toshu and Ruth inside the small ark where they had been participating in the meeting by video.

"Ruth, Toshu, be careful." The President stood to speak. "No heroics beyond what you are already doing. I want to see you both back here as soon as possible. Ruth, I still can't believe I let you talk me into this madness."

"Mr. President, as a scientist, I can't pass up the opportunity to see the derelict spacecraft up close and personal. Toshu knows her way around."

“Toshu,” said Dr. Ferris in his slow, shaky voice. “Is there any possibility that Ghar will send Rhonks to take over Rhall’s ark?”

“No, He doesn’t have to protect it from anyone. You don’t have the ability to gain entrance to the ark, and Ghar doesn’t yet suspect that I would assist you. The primary danger is that he will have the Rhonks attack Earth directly from here. That is one of the reasons I decided to go on board. I must find a way to remove this threat.”

“You'll know soon enough what’s going on inside that ship," said the President. "May God protect you both."

#

Source

Ruth examined the outside of the spacecraft referred to as Rhall's ark, the same craft that had struck the moon and nearly sent her and Joe to the bottom of Erlanger crater. She decided to use this time to get to know her alien friend a little better. "As a communications specialist for an evil, alien dictator, you have an enormous amount of scientific knowledge. Are you simply a voracious reader of scientific journals, or what?"

"Before I worked for Ghar, I was a physicist. I gave that up to take the position I hold now because it keeps me close to him. The closer I am to him, the more he trusts me. The more he trusts me, the more damage I can do to him when the time finally comes."

"How close can you get to a robot?"

"I was in my apartment one evening. I had just finished my steam bath and was drying myself. My communication terminal was on, and Ghar was watching me. And I let him watch because if he felt that I trusted him that much, he might trust me even more."

Ruth wrestled with her emotions as a woman and with her interest as a scientist. "It seems that artificial intelligence was only a first step in the evolution of the Rhonks. Is curiosity the second?” Ruth pondered the idea. Or is it more than that?

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        Chris Mills 

        11 months ago

        Lawrence, you are asking the right questions. Yes, answers are on the way.

      • lawrence01 profile image

        Lawrence Hebb 

        11 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

        Chris

        Great story, though part of me doesn't fully trust 'Toshu', I'm still wondering at her motivation.

        Also, we don't fully know what caused the other ships to breakdown, are they still on the way?

        Oh well, only one way to answer that.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        12 months ago from Flagstaff, AZ

        Linda, chapter seven is on its way.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        12 months ago from Flagstaff, AZ

        MizB, Toshu will be called on again. Will she continue to support the people of Earth. We will see.Thanks for being here.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        12 months ago from Flagstaff, AZ

        Peg, how could you not trust such a sweet woman? But I'll say no more about her here. Thanks for continuing to read and respond to these chapters.

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 

        12 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        This is another interesting chapter. I'm enjoying this story very much.

      • MizBejabbers profile image

        Doris James-MizBejabbers 

        12 months ago from Beautiful South

        Intriguing, hope they programed a little basic human desire into the robots. Nothing like a pretty girl to turn heads. I'm not sure I trust Toshu yet, but she seems like their only hope.

      • PegCole17 profile image

        Peg Cole 

        12 months ago from Dallas, Texas

        I like the web of deceit you're weaving with Toshu's defection and double agent role plus her ability to attract Ghar's interest. Not sure I quite trust her yet. The story is developing nicely into a multi-faceted adventure.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        12 months ago from Flagstaff, AZ

        Hi Nikki Khan. Thanks for visiting and for the comment. I'm posting part six right now, as a matter of fact. Welcome.

      • nikkikhan10 profile image

        Nikki Khan 

        12 months ago from London

        Interesting story.

      • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

        Gypsy Rose Lee 

        12 months ago from Riga, Latvia

        The interest peaks looking forward to more.

      • manatita44 profile image

        manatita44 

        12 months ago from london

        An interesting woman Ruth. Let's wait for the Government's response and hope that it's not 'daddy's. Noble effort.

      • Larry Rankin profile image

        Larry Rankin 

        12 months ago from Oklahoma

        Interesting read!

      • Ericdierker profile image

        Eric Dierker 

        12 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

        So cool. I think riveting is the right description. Maybe just cut the head off the snake. The votes are the greatest human deception ever. And about this voyeurism?

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, letterpile.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://letterpile.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)