Epoch of Twilight

Chapter 504 - The First Interstellar War (III)

"Mayor!"

"Mayor!"

Luo Yuan nodded as he walked into the central control room. It was three in the morning but there was still staff on duty. He walked hastily to the console.

"What’s their status now?" Luo Yuan asked. The spaceship’s artificial intelligence system was intelligent enough to even identify unclear instructions.

"Yes, captain." The artificial intelligence system replied.

The screen in the middle of the room changed to show the image of the battlefield. It seemed chaotic and it was either due to interference or excessive distance that caused the interstellar beast to look blur on the screen. However, it was clear that there was fire on its body and clotted blood that floated in the air like precious stones. It was injured.

The interstellar battleships were powerful and the results of the electromagnetic bullets were proof of this. Each bullet had as much power as 4,000 tons of TNT. Compared to a nuclear bomb that was similar to 10,000 tons of TNT, it may seem insignificant but compared to a missile, its power was 6,000 times higher. To top it off, the electromagnetic bullets were made of extremely dense metal, weighed only one kilogram and was slightly smaller than a marble. Once the bullet was shot, regardless of the defense or strength of the interstellar creature, it would be like a piece of paper.

It was made of a powerful, dense metal that had a high tolerance to heat. It was an extreme metal. As the name suggests, the metal was in a state that was between regular metals and supersolid metals. It was created by compressing millions of tons of regular metals and the use of other techniques to stabilize its form. The gap between atoms was smaller to the point where the gap between atoms and electrons were compressed. The density of its final form was two to three times higher than regular metals. At the same time, its physical characteristics changed as well. Its toughness was beyond human imagination and even a diamond was like tofu compared to this metal. Its melting point was more than 10,000 degrees Celsius and was far beyond regular metals.

It was the highest level of metallurgical technology owned by the Glassians and this nanomaterial was the foundation of their strength. However, the same type of alloy had different uses and performed differently depending on the ratio of elements used in the compound. For instance, the spaceship hull was made of ilmenite where its density was 42 grams per cubic centimeter, more than twice the density of gold. Most importantly, its high tenacity, toughness and melting point was very high and could go up to 50,000-degree Celsius. Also, its has promising absorptive properties which made it a great choice for humankind's interstellar battleships and megastructures.

On the other hand, Glassian aircraft was built for speed so they utilized aluminum since its density was only 12 grams per cubic centimeter. The electromagnetic bullets, on the other hand, were made of tungsten which had a density of 98 grams per cubic centimeter. Its tolerance towards collision allowed it to remain stable as it entered the atmosphere. With its toughness, a hit by the bullet would cause a stunning amount of destruction. It did not only cause explosions on the surface but also internal explosions.

The tricky part of this battle was because the interstellar creature was too big. No matter how much damage they did to it, it felt insignificant on its gigantic body. Its will to live was terrifying as well and Luo Yuan knew it all too well. To a certain extent, such interstellar creatures were almost immortal. As long as its energy crystal was intact, it would be difficult to kill it off completely.

Of course, Luo Yuan did not expect the battleships to completely kill it. As long as they managed to destroy its brain like the previous one they fought and stop it from wandering around, the mission was considered to be completed. However, the brain was not even affected even after they started using the electromagnetic bullets. Perhaps, such creatures were sensitive to danger and although its gigantic body prevented it from moving too fast within limited space, it could still avoid critical hits. It seemed to be worn out and bleeding but in reality, they did not manage to injure it at its most crucial parts.

"How long has it been?" Luo Yuan looked for a while and asked.

"2 hours, 45 minutes and 35 seconds!" The artificial intelligence system replied.

Luo Yuan frowned when he heard that. Though the interstellar battleships were equipped with a significant amount of ammunition, the high frequency of shots fired would clear out 1.2 tons of ammunition per hour and they only had another hour or so before they ran out of bullets.

"We should've have the battleships bring along antimatter bullets." Luo Yuan thought to himself. However, it was just a thought as antimatter was precious and it would be devastating if it destroyed the energy crystal.

Perhaps the attack did not harm the interstellar creature or maybe, it was just pretending not to be affected. Whatever it was, the distance between the battleships and the creature was getting closer. This was especially so for one of the battleships as it got increasingly closer to the creature.

Suddenly, there seemed to be an accident as a noise was heard from the flight department.

"What happened? Why is the screen black?"

"Mine too, I can’t connect to the battleship."

The pilots did not know what had happened. It was the same for the leader Yuan Guoqing and he was in a blur as well. He attempted a few more times but the miniature computer showed a message - connection failed. He sensed something was wrong. Suddenly, one of the pilots shook him and pointed ahead and it was only then that Yuan Guoqing noticed the mayor coming. He took off his helmet and stood up anxiously before he sprinted to Luo Yuan.

"Mayor…"

Luo Yuan heard their conversation, he waved his hand, "Go check out what is going on. Don't be stressed. Go on!"

To humans, getting a couple of battleships damaged was nothing. With the high manufacturing rates, such battleships only require five to six days to build. In less than a month, they could easily be replenished. The only problem was their lack of resources.

Yuan Guoqing returned to his with a look of unease on his face. Luo Yuan looked at the screen but everything seemed to be normal. He frowned as he looked at the battleships that did not stop their approach on the beast but continued their attacks. He knew very well that as the spaceship was too far away from the battle so the video that they were watching on the screen was delayed by a few minutes.

As time passed, the battleships on the screen grew closer and they were now less than 10 kilometers from the creature. In outer space, such distances were considered to be risky to both the beast and the battleships as it would only take then less than a second to collide into each other. Luo Yuan's eyes did not leave the screen as he used his foresight to foresee accidents that would happen. Perhaps it sensed that its life was being threatened as it finally realized something was attacking it. The glow in the beast grew brighter and before long, it opened its mouth wide and shot a blue ray into the dark space.

All the battleship engines died, even the one that was quite a distance away.

"Investigate the damages on the battleships!" Luo Yuan commanded the artificial intelligence system in a serious tone.

"Gamma rays were detected and they lasted 15 nanoseconds. The radiation was 100,000,000 MeV and this was without a doubt, the reason why the battleships lost contact. The radiation levels were close to what a supernova that exploded 60 years ago would give off."

Luo Yuan was shocked, knowing full well that this pathetic figure was not the true impact of the gamma rays as the figure was measured from ten million kilometers away. If its power was measured at point blank, it would be beyond human comprehension. After all, interstellar battleships were not meant to fly outside of space as they were made with the consideration of the environment they were meant to fly in - space. Its defense toward radiation and electromagnetic waves were quite strong and regular gamma rays and solar wind could do nothing to it unless it was beyond its defensive limits.

Luo Yuan noticed that the initially blur image of the interstellar creature on the screen that was initially blur due to interference was now clear. Its body was riddled with holes that were caused by the electromagnetic bullets. Blood was collecting into balls that floated around it, looking like pieces of precious stones. The interstellar creature seemed to have used up all the energy its in body which caused it to be completely silent now. Not only had it depleted its layer of energy, it did not even move any further. It looked like a dead body that floated around in space.

Luo Yuan stared at the gigantic beast for a long time and had an epiphany. He asked the artificial intelligence system "Can the spaceship’s laser hit it?"

There were four main particle cannons, four main electromagnetic cannons and 125 laser cannons on the spaceship. The first two was not suitable for long-distance attack. Although the particle gun could use the help of an accelerator to reach sub-light speeds, but particles were not as easy to control as photons. Since electromagnetic cannons were too slow, by the time the weapon was ready, the target would have left its original point by a few thousand kilometers.

Though the beast did not seem like it was moving, everything was actually moving in space. Be it the sun or the planets nearby, the gravity of the planets would move it an a stunning speed.

On the other hand, laser cannons would mainly serve as backups whose main purpose was to destroy small asteroids that were blocking the way. Its strength was weaker than the former two but it was sufficient to kill an interstellar creature that had lost its strength.

"Captain, unfortunately, the probability for the laser to hit the target is only 0.000167%!" The artificial intelligence system replied.

The probability was no difference than zero.

The artificial intelligence system then explained, "The target is near the sun and its gravity would distort the light. I've detected the target and its actual location is estimated to be 12’ to 35’ [1]. Moreover, the star surfaces seemed violent and fluid like it could explode at any moment. The unusual changes in movements would cause small changes to gravity which in turn will cause the data to be unpredictable. However, if we are within one million kilometers, the success rate would go up to 1.45%."

        

Luo Yuan instantly disagreed with the artificial intelligence system's suggestion in his mind. First of all, the first test flight had just ended and it was not wise to travel again. Even if he decided to fly there, it would take a long time to reach the destination. As the spaceship was not an unmanned craft, he had to consider if others could take the pressure of acceleration which had to maintained at 1G because they were human. At that rate, they would need three to four days to arrive and by then, with the strong Will the interstellar creature had, it would already have recovered. If they were unlucky and the creature decided to release another burst of gamma rays, their spaceship might just stop working.

  

Luo Yuan was solemn as he looked at the motionless interstellar creature. It was a rare chance and if he was to miss this opportunity, he had no idea when would be the perfect time.

"Please open the top cabin. I’ll be going into space." Luo Yuan said to the artificial intelligence system after thinking for awhile.

"Copy that, opening the top cabin…"

Soon, he left the spaceship and ventured into space. He turned around to look at the spaceship as he initiated his space-time bubble and left.

Translator Notes:

[1] Unsure of the measurement unit the author is using so it is maintained as 12' to 35'. Likely that the author is talking about degrees.