This week I am promoting a talented author, Ian Smethurst
Ian J Smethurst
About the author
Born in Cheshire, England in 1981, to a traditional family, my mother is a housewife. And my father worked in Industry and now is a Heavy Goods Vehicle driver. I developed an affinity for science fiction and fantasy at a very early age, and was reading various fantasy and SF novels from the age of 10. Then the phenomenon that was star trek, star wars, and various science fiction shows came to my attention during my early years in high school. And it is here where my creative writing really began.
I would dream of creating my own series of star trek and wrote endless little stories in my own little star trek world. My english teachers would from time to time give me the occasional creative writing exercise to complete, and I always loved doing these, and excelled at them. The teachers noting that one of my major strengths was in fact creative writing.
As I grew older and the world of work beckoned, my writing began to wane somewhat, although the ideas were still there bubbling under the surface. It was during this time when I began to come up with the idea for E.D.F chronicles, which would linger in the back of my mind for nearly a decade.
Finally in 2007, after considerable upheaval in my personal life, I began to take up writing seriously, and penned the first draft of the Krenaran massacre in just three months while I spent some time out in Bulgaria with my family. Although it took almost 2 years for it to become a fully written manuscript.
My current projects include editing the draft of the sequel to the Krenaran massacre, E.D.F resurgent, as well as several over fantasy and science fiction works in progress.
I was shortlisted for the writers reign short story contest in 2008, with ‘Just ten pounds’ a modern day contemporary tale, telling of the dangers of Knife crime within the U.K. A subject which was very close to my heart.
Captain Wainwright, the grizzled, experienced commanding officer of the E.D.F.S Ulysses, strode confidently onto the platform, carrying a black leather bound book. It was again depicting the symbol of the E.D.F Navy.
“Gentlemen, please be seated.” The softly spoken Captain announced.
The men all sat down at once.
Although Michael had never actually spoken to Wainwright himself, he knew from what others had said that the good Captain was one of the best in the fleet, and that this was his second command. Rumours had been also circulating recently among the lower ranks that he was also considering his retirement after commanding the Ulysses for nearly nine years.
“What you are about to hear is highly classified information, it does not leave this ship. Exactly the same briefings are being held throughout the fleet. Do you understand?”
The crowd shouted in unison, “yes sir!”
“Good, then the briefing can begin,” the Captain replied. “As of 09:00 hours the carrier E.D.F.S Montfort, which you may know if you read the news was stationed near the Agemman system. The ship was attacked by an unknown alien force and destroyed with all hands, resulting in the deaths of 740 men and women.”
The crowd let out an involuntary gasp at the seriousness of the information.
“I knew it,” Dylan whispered to himself triumphantly.
“All the information we have is contained in this communication, sent by the Commanding Officer of the Montfort; Captain Reynolds before he died.”
The Captain motioned to another officer at the rear of the room, and a projection was played. It contained sensor data from the Montfort, as well as an onboard video of the bridge crew.
Three small almost wedge shaped black and silver coloured vessels were slowly advancing toward the huge elongated triangular shaped carrier. The first communication came from the Montfort.
“Unknown vessels, this is Captain Reynolds of the E.D.F.S Montfort; you are in violation of E.O.C.A territory. Please identify yourselves, we mean you no harm, repeat, we mean you no harm.”
Next there came a communication from the alien vessels, “on mulv varash a’lahun, al orash vak kroluth.”
Another bridge officer, this time a female said, “our translators are completely baffled sir.”
“Try your best, Lieutenant,” Captain Reynolds replied, as he quickly turned in his seat and said to another officer. “Send out the universal greeting, all frequencies.”
“Yes sir,” a young officer replied.
Then there came another communication, over the speakers, “On vak drovath lok al Krenarii aden!”
A man turned bearing a Commander’s rank insignia. “I don’t like the sound of that, Captain; recommend we go to general quarters; sir.”
“Do it, but don’t power any weapons, we don’t want to appear threatening,” Reynolds replied.
There was a small, tense pause on the bridge of the carrier, as the alien vessels continued to close with the E.D.F carrier. Reynolds focused intently upon the viewer, as though trying to fathom just what these aliens’ motives were?
“Back us off, ensign, put some distance between us and them, reverse thrust, 20% power,” Reynolds ordered stroking his chin thoughtfully.
The twin forward thrusters blew, the super heated gases slowly began to overcome the weight of the vessel, and it gingerly began to reverse.
A third communication came over the speakers. “Al Krenarii mulv brolis, al orash vak kroluth!” The voice screamed in pure anger.
“Holy; wait a minute, Captain, I’m reading massive power spikes coming from those ships sir!” A panicked voice announced.
Reynolds turned toward the officer, “What? What kind of power spikes?”
“Unknown, Captain, but they’re off the scale,” the officer replied.
Reynolds shouted, “full alert status, get those fighters back here right now!”
The Commander announced in sheer terror. “Too late Captain, look!”
Reynolds spun back toward the viewer, just in time to see a bright green glow steadily increasing in its brightness, at the lower bow of each of the alien vessels.
“Oh my god, lord save us!” Reynolds said as he realized his fate.
The three alien vessels then unleashed the built up power into three bright green energy beams, which hurtled towards the Montfort with incredible speed.
The beams smashed into the forward section of the ship, almost tearing a hole right through the sloping forward section of the carrier, sending debris and flames blossoming out into space.
The bridge was a scene of utter desolation; bodies, horribly mutilated lay fallen, mixed with the broken remains of consoles and shattered support girders. Acrid smoke filled the air, and flames licked out of half a dozen smashed consoles.
Reynolds quickly came to, after he was almost launched from his chair. Blood trickled down the side of his face from a gash caused by a piece of flying debris. The broken body of his navigation officer lay motionless at the base of his chair.
Over the roar of the flames, and the crackling of broken power conduits Reynolds shouted. “Full reverse, get us the hell out of here!”
Another officer groggily tried to pick his way through the debris littering the bridge floor, and sat at the former navigation officer’s console.
One of the still functioning thrusters fired for all it was worth as the interim navigation officer shunted every last ounce of power remaining. The Montfort desperately tried to turn away from the small nimble alien craft that it dwarfed. However the alien ships possessed a speed and agility that the huge lumbering carrier could not hope to match.
As the E.D.F ship gradually began to turn, the ruined frontal section was clear to see. Flames continued to burst out into space, as the fires onboard fed off the oxygen venting out. And the twisted wreckage of half a dozen decks could be seen jutting out of the carriers’ external armour like shattered bones poking through flesh.
However, the carrier did manage to turn slightly, and its primary inter-system boosters began to glow as they slowly began to power up. Just as two of the alien craft swung around and together launched multiple bolts of bright white light at the carrier.
The bolts hurtled toward the carrier at a horrific speed, and smashed into the partly powered up boosters, tearing through armour and shredding the main engines entirely. The massive impacts rocked the entire E.D.F ship. All along the rear of the carrier pieces of twisted, blasted, hull plating were simply torn off the ship by the force of those energy bolts. Replaced by more fires and twisted wreckage.
The stricken carrier was still making a brave effort to escape its assailants. However, in the end, the carrier was simply too large and too slow, and eventually, like a pack of rabid wolves, the alien ships began tearing apart the E.D.F vessel.
Their powerful green energy beams sliced the carrier to pieces, until ultimately its inter-system fuel supplies detonated, and the carrier blew itself apart with an almighty explosion. And then the video went blank.
All this footage happened within the space of a few minutes. The hall was totally silent. The crew of the Ulysses were stunned by what they had just witnessed.
Michael was equally stunned, especially since his cousin had served aboard that ship. A pang of grief welled up inside him. Captain Wainright looked over the assembled crew, seeing the shocked faces, and gave them a few seconds to let what they had witnessed sink in.
Slowly, almost whispering; he spoke. “Make no mistake gentlemen; we have hereby made contact with our first alien species. E.D.F intelligence services are trying to translate the alien messages as we speak. However, judging by what we’ve all just witnessed, we can assume they are a hostile species, and represent an immediate threat to E.O.C.A citizens. I will now hand you over to Lieutenant Commander Hudson.”
The Captain stepped to one side and motioned for the Ulysses chief engineering officer to take to the stand. He was an older looking man than Wainwright, jovial, balding, but also possessing of a keen intelligence. “Although the information we have managed to gather at the present time is somewhat thin. From the sensor data, and video we have received so far, we can be certain of the following facts.”
The projection showed a rotating three dimensional representation of one of the alien ships. It had intermingled black and silver panels on its hull, just like in the video. The vessel seemed to be shaped like a triangular wedge, with a large cannon like protrusion at the lower bow of the strange ship. It had another thin; yet broad protrusion, towards the widest part of its hull at the top of this wedge.
Michael studied the image. It had very few windows or running lights, suggesting that it had a limited crew, he thought.
As the representation panned around to the rear of the alien ship, it revealed a large, thin, bright blue strip that ran almost across the entire width of the vessel.
Lieutenant Commander Hudson continued. “They must be using some sort of stealth technology, which would explain why our fighter patrols, or the Montfort, couldn’t pick them up until the alien ships were almost on top of them,” Hudson paused to allow the assembled masses time to let this sink in.
“The protrusion at the lower, forward end of the ship, must be a weapons system of some kind, since that’s where the ‘green energy beams’, for wont of a better word; come from. The smaller triangular protrusion near the top of the vessel, must be another weapons system, since the white energy ‘bolts’ originate from there.”
The projection panned over to the rear of the ship once again, showing the bright blue strip.
“We think that this could be some sort of unknown propulsion system, similar to our own inter-system boosters and turning thrusters,” he took a short breath.
“However, whenever the vessel performs a maneuver, the engine seems to glow brighter. We have no ideas of the numbers of crew aboard, or even if it is unmanned. We do know however, from measurements taken of the vessel, that it is 140 meters long, by 60 meters high, at its widest point,” he said, pointing at the projection.
“The vessels maneuverability; as shown from the video; is astonishing, comparable to our own God-hammer bombers.”
Captain Wainwright replaced the engineer once again. “Our orders are to rendezvous with task force six, at 22:00 hundred hours, comprising of the Gandhi class destroyers Alberta and Yukon, the Mandela class light cruiser Endurance, and the Alexander class medium cruisers Invincible, and Europa. Fighter support will be supplied by the Montgomery class carrier; Furious,” Wainwright explained.
“The Ulysses will be acting as flagship for the task force. However the Furious will be delayed, as it is in the process of replacing one of its Peregrine fighter wings, with a bomber wing. So for around 12 hours we will be operating without fighter support; so everyone needs to be extra vigilant,” he allowed the crew time to reflect before making his next point.
“We all know the threat this new species represents, and I can vouch for everyone here that we will all perform our duties to the best of our abilities, and we will not rest until the safety of our territory is restored. We depart in one hour, Thank you gentlemen.”
And with that Captain Wainwright retrieved his book, and left the hall.
A young female Lieutenant quickly mounted the stage. “Lunch is available from the ships galley, which is open now.”
Finally a whistle blew, and again as one, the crowd stood to attention. The whistle blew a second time, and the men fell out.
“Well, what do you think of that?” Dylan asked turning to Michael.
“I think we are in deep shit,” Michael replied, “if those ships can slip in and do that to a carrier; then they can do it to any ship in the fleet.”
“And running without fighter cover makes me nervous. I suppose we are just going to have to blow them out of the sky before they get a shot off,” Dylan added.