Invasion By Betrayal
By Ron Lugge
Invasion By Betrayal Index
Part FourteenA large number of ships swarmed around the leviathan. General Godzilla prepared his troops to board the crippled leviathan in an attempt to capture it. He knew well that the Terran Federation and its allies desperately needed whatever technology they could get. The Ithkul armor, in particular, was dangerous to the allies, as their own armor was less than a third as effective. Also, the allies' armor had one other flaw compared to the Ithkul. The harvester's armor didn't lose its structural integrity fields immediately after power failure. Instead, the fields remained intact for a few minutes after power was cut to them, allowing for an increased resilience against battle damage. The Terran Federation hoped that they could refine that ability, and allow the structural integrity fields to survive at full strength even with reduced power in some of their craft, such as the underpowered fighter classes. Also, they desperately desired the shield technology, as the rough initial details their analysts could gather suggested they might be far superior.
While the preparations were underway, Admiral Kane went down to Yevon to talk with a physics professor there. Professor Mictian was more than a simple physics professor; he was perhaps the most brilliant man in the entire Terran Federation, with cross-degrees in mechanical engineering and the experimental field of energy-field engineering. He had refused a personal evacuation, saying that he would share the risks of the rest of the colonists despite his "value" to the war effort, but Kane hoped that even he couldn't refuse the opportunity to study the Harvester technology first hand. Kane walked into his classroom, and waited to be recognized. He'd deliberately come down in semi-dress uniform, knowing that anything less could be taken as an insult. He didn't like doing it, it felt too much like blowing his own trumpet, but he could NOT risk losing Mictian's help. Kane listened to Mictian's lecture, wondering how he had learned so much so fast about the harvester's shields.
"Scans indicate that the Ithkul shields do not operate on the same principles as our own. There are several major differences, which we will address in a point-by-point manner. First of all, the Ithkul shield shape. Our ships generate spherical shields, using gravimetric lenses to then reshape that shield into an oval that fits more usefully around our ships. However, the Ithkul ships are not stuck to spherical or sphere derived shield shapes. This allows their ships to take on different dimensions, whereas ours are almost always in an ovoid shape." The professor's voice was even, and rang out clearly despite a lack of mechanical augmentation. He was one of the few humans who could, and would, use the full capacity of his voice and lungs without additional training. Kane smiled, remembering the incessant lessons in the academy on how to project your voice. You had to open your throat, and push from the diaphragm. It allowed an officer to yell much louder than most enlisted would ever believe. Mictian seemed especially good at it. His slim build gave him a disadvantage, but his height seemed to make up for it. Mictian's hands gesticulated as he explained, and a scaled down hologram of the Ithkul ship and its shield geometry helped give a visual reference.
"Second, they do not generate one shield, or use shield layers. There really isn't an easy way to describe this, but they seem to use a system similar to medieval scale mail. They generate plates, which overlap each other and allow for slightly weaker [I]individual[/I] shields but a much stronger shield overall. Some of you may recall that early Terran Empire ships used a similar system, often referred to as "serpant's scales". However, the Terran Empire ship's shields were subtly different. They consisted of a band of stressed space, where incoming fire was diverted away from a ship. Each blast that was bent away drained some of the energy that stressed the space, and thus weakened the shield. Such approaches were dropped with the creation of the Terran Federation's current Edon approach. As you all know, the Edon approach creates an energy field that acts as solid matter. Any material or energy impacting on it causes a minor power surge into the shield generator, as well as sapping the strength of the shield itself. This allows much stronger blasts to be deflected away from the ship, regardless of range, and is also stronger than the old approach. This helped to offset the disadvantage inherent in having only a single shield facing, and is why we use it today. The Ithkul however, use the Edon approach WITHOUT having to give up the scale-mail approach. This puts us at a disadvantage, as each of their shield facings are just as strong as the shields on one of our ships, and they have a great deal more of them. There is also a third point, however." Mictian's voice was still just as loud, and Kane began to frown. Even with the lessons he'd been given, Kane would have been at least a little out of breath by now. Mictian wasn't even showing any signs of lack of air, despite the fact that according to the schedule he must have been doing this for several hours!
"The Ithkul shields are not half as powerful as they appeared to be during the combat. Post-combat analysis of the data suggests that their shields can absorb up to 60% of the weapon's power thrown at them, and shunt that back into the shield itself. This means that their shields can only be brought down by overwhelming them with so much power that the absorbing circuits are overloaded, or by somehow bypassing the shields and striking at the emitter directly. Also, post-combat analysis of the data suggests that the energy-absorbing circuits are vulnerable to such direct attacks, causing a fatal feedback into the local power grid. I watched the battle using the university's deep-space scanner, and believe that that is what brought the shield facing on the first leviathan down. Admiral Kane," Mictian turned his head to look at his visitor, "would you care to comment on this?" Mictian's sudden recognition of his visitor took Kane by surprise, and he took a few seconds to respond. When he did, his voice was calm and anyone who knew him would know he was making an effort to be amiable. He could [I]not[/I] afford to insult Mictian, or lose his help in any way.
"Unfortunately, I was knocked unconscious early on in the battle, and can't give a very detailed analysis to your class. However, from my review of the combat logs, I would have to agree with your analysis. But there is one thing you seem to have overlooked-the initial shield failure that caused us to focus our firepower on leviathan one. I'd suggest that in addition to the possibility of overloading the energy absorbing circuits it might be possible to bring it down another way. I believe the current theory is that the absorbing circuits have the potential for random failures, though there may be other explanations. Indeed, that is why I am here, as you are recognized as the best mechanical and energy-field engineer in the entire federation. Though, to be honest, you are the ONLY person whom possesses any recognition in both fields, as most mechanical engineers feel that energy field engineering is a waste of time, and most energy field engineers feel that mechanical engineering is outdated."
"Why would that make me so important?" Mictian's voice now held a note of interest. Most people just scoffed at his energy-field mechanics degree and theories, including the military.
"Because we have confirmed from the wreckage of the Ithkul ships that they do in fact use at least some mixed energy-field mechanics in their construction." Kane's voice was level, but it defiantly got Mictian's attention.
"WHAT!?" Mictian shouted in excitement, jaw going slack in excitement as he dropped his holo-remote. Kane repeated himself, slowly and clearly. Mictian whipped around, facing his class, and shouted out instructions. "Class will end early today. Go through your syllabus and study everything we didn't get to; you should have received an updated version before class. If you didn't, query my computer for one. I want an analysis on the difference between Edon state shields and space-stress band shields from everyone, and I want the Honors students to analyze the nature of the Ithkul shield readings, query my computer for them, and try and determine how they are vulnerable, and the whys of any vulnerability you discover. Be sure to examine both the vulnerabilities found in combat, and any possible vulnerability that weren't found in combat. Remember, as honor's students you are NOT only examining previously known info but also constantly attempting to expand on what is known! Class is suspended for one week; I'll let you know if a longer delay is necessary. Check for updated syllabuses daily!" Mictian turned and faced Kane. "When do we leave?"
"Assuming you don't want to pack anything, we can leave now. We can provide you with food, clothing, and whatever instrumentation you desire."
"Then what are we waiting for? LETS GO!" Mictian shouted, and then ran out of the classroom. Kane ran and caught up, then lead the professor to his shuttle. The professor was quite fast, and once Mictian realized that Kane could keep up he ran at his full speed, which was almost as fast as Kane's sprint.
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