The psychic shockwave arrives while you’re still beyond the heliopause, falling through the speed and the bright, stellar wind on the rickshaw fields and white noise on the laser link, mean boltzmann density is rising with the quantum foam and you’re already too late to save anyone. Another colony dies, you still weren’t fast enough, once again there will be no survivors, better luck next time.
Impulse. Response. Message from fleet admiral. Concordance. Brush conduit links with your sisters through the entangled singularity in your heart. No one has even seen them, only the devastation they caused. Thirty seconds to bow shock, raise fields to combat readiness, charge beam projectors and load relativistic accelerators, arm all missiles and wake all drones, sound battle stations and secure all hatches and airlocks. You’re going to get a look at them. Adjust angle of attack. Verify fleetnet signal routing. Almost time now.
You feel their presence while still in the bright, a shrieking teeth on a chalkboard reverberation in spacetime growing louder and louder in an endless a reality shredding dissonant chord. You’re falling into the maelstrom. Fifteen seconds to field effect rupture, you can almost taste the black. Draw swords, it’s time to waltz.
An inverted star rushes up to meet you, twelve worlds and hundreds of moons, millions of panicked distress calls and radio signals, thirteen worlds and a vast disk of molten and burning debris, eleven worlds and a..wait what is that? Twelve worlds and a branch collapse error, causality is catching up, no time left now, brace for the higgs slip–armor plates strike the surface of spacetime, reality snapping into existence out of a burst of cherenkov glow, vast molten splattering of what once had been a lifebearing planet hanging rudely beneath your engine bells, world sized mass of definite wrongness and fleshy mouthlimbs slowly feeding off the wreckage, sensors coming back up. Rise and shine stardust, it’s time to dance.
IFF handshake complete. Tactical datalink online. Quantum downlink activate. Battlestation handoff to central fleet command. Two minutes to receipt of carrier signal from origin. All you need to do is survive. Release of all packets authorized. Open red locks. Prime Sigil channels A-G. It’s already reacting, superfluidic sonar is picking up thousands of incoming, tens of thousands. Brace for high gee maneuvers. Keep scanning them, keep learning, predict their motions, take them apart in your mind.
Wings spread, your song goes out into the void, a million blades and turrets and sensor eyes hang poised as your fleet falls towards your enemy. The call goes out: all weapons free. A myriad of scorching lasers scalpel off your rickshaw fields. You have met the enemy and found him lacking. Now waltz.