Space Cruiser Yamato: End Of An Empire

by Chris Morin

Chapter 2 - A New Enemy

    As Desslok recovered from his wounds, Wildstar suspended the Yamato's mission and called an emergency executive meeting in his quarters. General Talan was the guest speaker and the assembled group listened as the Galman General told his side of the battle.
    "It all started when a Bollar battleship entered an uncharted solar system and mistakenly discovered a new race. This species, which we've named the DNA Hunters, is a peaceful race. But when they are disturbed, they react violently. The Hunters brutally attacked the Bollar battleship. During the battle the Bollar vessel was boarded and DNA was lifted from one of the Bollar soldiers. The Hunters then destroyed the ship along with everyone on board. Afterwards, the Hunters began to systematically hunt down and wipe out the entire Bollar race using the soldier's DNA as a sort of homing beacon. Their last stop was the Bollar home world.
    "The Bollar Federation's defenses were weak and they were no match for the Hunters. Before the battle was over, a ship carrying the last of the Bollar race tried to escape the planet. Unfortunately one of our spies was on the Bollar vessel when the Hunters boarded it. The Hunters kept our spy alive until the last Bollar soldier was killed. They then lifted our spy's DNA, killed him and then came after Planet Galman.
    "But before the Bollar ship was boarded, our spy sent a message to Galman headquarters with some very important information. The Hunters only kill the race that trespasses in its system and any other race they come in contact with while trying to achieve that goal. Once that race, or in this case races, have been destroyed, the Hunters will return to their system to live in peace. If our spy had not been on that Bollar ship, the Hunters would have destroyed the Bollar Federation and left us alone. Instead, they attacked Planet Galman. We fought bravely but we were hopelessly out numbered.
    "Fearing annihilation, we fled Planet Galman with a small group of male and female Galmans. But they found us. The battle was nightmarish and the Hunters boarded our flagship. To escape the battle and to give us hope of survival we performed an emergency space warp. That was when we made an important discovery. It appears as though the Hunters physical makeup cannot handle the rigors of a space warp. The warp killed all of the intruders. Only Leader Desslok and myself survived the warp.
    "Captain Wildstar, as far as I know we are all that is left of the Galman race. If the Hunters find us with you, they will kill us, steal your DNA and then go after Earth!"
    "So that is why Desslok wanted to be left on his ship." Wildstar replied.
    "Exactly." Talan answered.
    "So how do we stop them?" Wildstar asked.
    "We were working on a new plan to fight the Hunters." Talan answered. "It was a machine that would cloak our DNA signatures. Our theory was that if the Hunters couldn't trace our DNA then we would be safe and the Hunters would return to their home. Unfortunately, we weren't able to finish the machine before Planet Galman was attacked. However, I have the plans for the machine on this disc."
    Talan handed a small crystal disc to Wildstar. The Captain took it and began to turn the disc over and over. It was strangely familiar to Wildstar. He knew the type of substance the disk was made of but couldn't place it. After a few moments it dawned on him. Wildstar had seen crystal like that before.
    On a planet called Iscandar.
    "What do we need to do to build this machine?" Wildstar asked.
    "The machine itself is very simple and you should have the materials on the Yamato to create it." Talan answered. "The machine takes DNA and injects it into a small microchip. We then have to implant the small microchips in our brains. The microchip will then work with our brain to make the minor modifications to our existing DNA. But in order to finish the experiment we need Iscandarian DNA."
    "That's not possible General." Wildstar said. "There are no surviving Iscandarians. The last died a few years ago when my niece Sasha was killed in battle."
    "And she was only half Iscandarian." Sandor added. "What about using Earth DNA?"
    "Although we do look alike," answered Talan, "we are actually very different beings. Our bodies couldn't handle the Earth DNA and we wouldn't survive the experiment. Even using Sasha's DNA would have proven fatal. We need Iscandarian DNA."
    "I have an idea." Wildstar said. "Queen Starsha's sister Astra is buried on Mars. We can get the DNA from her body."
    "Captain Wildstar, I'm not sure heading back to Earth is such a good idea." Reemer said.
    "I agree with Reemer." Venture said. "We don't want those Hunters anywhere near Earth."
    "Something else to consider as well Captain Wildstar." Talan said. "Our weapons were virtually ineffective against the Hunter ships. I cannot imagine the Yamato's will fare any differently if we're attacked."
    Wildstar pondered the situation for a moment and then turned to his Executive Officer and good friend for advice. Although Reemer was technically second in command, it was Sandor who Wildstar trusted the most. He trusted him enough in fact to allow Sandor to raise Derek's niece and only surviving family member as his own daughter.
    "What do you think Sandor?" Wildstar asked. "Any ideas?"
    "We would need to create new weapons to deal with this threat." Sandor answered. "If these creatures cannot travel in a warp environment it will give us an edge. Remember the weapon the Gamilons used against us on our first journey to Iscandar? They used a warp mechanism that would instantly transport fighter jets from a remote location to the Yamato to attack us at will. If we could use that same technology and convert our main guns, it may work."
    "I also suggest that we travel in warp as much as we can to avoid the threat." Venture suggested.
    "Captain Wildstar," interrupted Reemer, "we also have another issue to deal with. What if we are boarded or one of our crew members is captured? We cannot afford to have our DNA lifted."
    "Good point Reemer." Wildstar answered. "We're also going to need to create some sort of weapon that would completely vaporize a crew member."
    "Is that absolutely necessary Derek?" Nova asked.
    "It may sound cruel but I think the alternative is too risky." Wildstar answered. "One of these devices should be placed on every crew member. We should have the option of being able to detonate them remotely."
    Wildstar paused to see if there were any objections to his statements. The room remained silent for a few moments as each person thought about their new mission.
    "Venture, plot a course to Mars." Wildstar ordered. "Homer, call Earth Defense Headquarters. Let them know what's going on. Sandor, get to work right away on the conversion of the main guns and the personal explosive devices. I want updates every two hours."
    An alarm sounded in Wildstar's quarters. The Captain pressed a small button on the control panel on the conference table and Eager's voice sounded over the loudspeaker.
    "Captain Wildstar, we have unidentified ships approaching fast. They do not match any known ship in our data files."
    A feeling of dread enveloped the room.
    "Battle stations!" Wildstar ordered. "All hands to battle stations! Navigation, prepare for an emergency warp!"