Monday, 24 October 2016

Battle At Satan

I am losing count of David Falkayn's moments of realization. Here is another:

"Wait! Drag that thought by slowly. You'd started playing with it before, when Chee interrupted -
"Falkayn sat rigid, oblivious, until the Cynthian grew nervous and shouted into the intercom, 'What ails you?'
"Oh.' The man shook himself. 'Yes. That. How're we doing?'" (David Falkayn: Star Trader, p. 507)

He has just realized how his single ship can defeat a fleet. We are about to read about yet another space battle. See Battle In Space, Hell Rock and The War Against The Seven In Space.

Gahood of Dathyna arrives near Satan with a fleet:

he and his single human assistant are in a large spherical battleship, its shape obscured by towers, pillboxes, derricks and emplacements;
Gahood also controls nineteen streamlined robotic destroyers and three shark-like robotic cruisers;
all twenty three vessels bristle with guns, missile launchers and energy projectors.

How much damage can Falkayn and Chee Lan in Muddlin' Through do to all that? Quite a lot. Muddlin' Through, controlled by the consciousness-level computer, Muddlehead, has small arms, light guns, four heavy blast cannon and four nuclear torpedoes. Falkayn, invited aboard the Dathynan battleship to be interrogated by Gahood, goes booby trapped and barely escapes with the human Hugh Latimer as a hostage. Chee Lan gets the Dathynan coordinates out of Latimer's brain. When Gahood realizes that he has retrieved from space not Latimer but his empty spacesuit, he attacks. Muddlehead leads the nineteen destroyers into a Satanic hurricane which destroys them utterly. The cruisers, orbiting Satan against possible space attack, which Falkayn has led Gahood to expect, are attacked by Muddlin' Through. Two are destroyed by torpedoes but a countermissile intercepts the third torpedo so Falkayn launches his fourth which has a near miss and badly damages the one surviving cruiser. Gahood retreats and returns home, not knowing that he can now be followed. You win this time, Earthlings!


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Commenting on your last paragraph: one conclusion I drew from this is how risky it would be to depend mostly on computers and robotics on managing a fleet. The best computer programs can only do what it was PROGRAMMED to do, and they will be lacking in imagination, ability to react quickly to unexpected strategic changes, etc. I don't think warships with LIVING captains and crews would have entered so dangerously violent an environment as the atmosphere of Satan.


    1. Sean,
      The trader team members make this point!

    2. Kaor, Paul!

      As did Flandry and various other Terrans in the days of the Empire.