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Prohibition of Interference. Book 1

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Prohibition of Interference. Book 1
Max Glebow

Prohibition of Interference #1
Lieutenant Irs' squadron of space fighters guards the scientific base of a highly advanced space civilization stationed on the Moon. Scientists at the base are researching an evolving civilization on planet Earth.

However, a rebellion breaks out in the republic, which owns the lunar base, and this revolt quickly escalates into a full-scale civil war. The base is attacked by a rebel cruiser, which destroys it, but also dies in the battle itself.

Irs is the only survivor. His fighter jet is damaged, and he has no choice but to land on Earth, where World War II has already begun.

Max Glebow

Prohibition of Interference

Book 1

Chapter 1

The high-speed elevator carried me to the flight deck, making a quiet rustling sound. The howl of the alarm did not contribute to my mental equilibrium, and the occasional tremors that were felt in the elevator, even through many meters of ground and armor, suggested to me that the base was still holding on only by some miracle. It looked like the protective field hadn't died down completely yet, and the shuddering of the cabin floor was just the vibrations of the warhead explosions that hit the peripheral infrastructure of the lunar base, which was not covered by a defensive field. Otherwise, the elevator wouldn't be going anywhere.

I could only guess what was going on on the surface and in space right now, but there was clearly something bad going on. The elevator came to a halt. It happened much more abruptly than I had expected, and I was literally thrown into the hangar, where my fighter was standing alone. The whole squadron had already gone into battle, and the alarm caught me on the lower deck of the base, which probably saved my life in the end.

I jumped into the cockpit of the fighter and connected up its interface, and then I realized with horror that my comrades were no longer alive. Apparently, they died in the first minutes of the battle, trying to prevent the enemy, who was still unknown to me, from shooting the base with impunity from low orbit. I still couldn't see what was going on in space. The data from the scanners was not coming in, and I was afraid I understood the reason for this phenomenon. When I started the engine, I lifted the fighter above the deck and immediately went into afterburner mode, thus cynically violating all the flight instructions. There were no other machines in the hangar besides mine, and I saw no point in caring about the safety of the base equipment in light of the events taking place.

The deck, walls, and ceiling of the hangar became a blurry shadow to me. The flaps of the outer gate slid open to the sides, and above me opened the blackness of space with bright dots of stars and numerous bursts of rocket and missile explosions.

I barely made it out of the hangar in time. The scanners of the rear hemisphere dispassionately recorded the moment the heavy shell hit the hangar from which my fighter had just escaped. The instruments could no longer see the protective field above the station, so nothing interfered with the projectile, and the hangar turned into the mouth of an erupting volcano.

The full picture of the battle finally appeared before me on the tactical projection in all its ruthlessness. Our moon base was attacked by a rebel cruiser. It was quite unclear to me how this cruiser got here, in this wilderness, since only a few hundred scientists and military in the Sixth Republic knew of our base. But it didn't matter now. The cruiser loomed over the base and struck at its facilities not only with its major caliber guns, but also with its plasma cannons. At least the natives couldn't see the fiery bacchanalia that was going on in their natural satellite since our base was on the back side of the Moon.

The thought came into my head automatically, apparently due to the fact that I had spent the last year on a research station that was observing a new human civilization that we had recently discovered. Given the level of development of the locals, the Central Republican Academy categorically did not welcome any interference in their affairs, and we tried in every way to avoid showing ourselves.

Through the crackle of interference from the cruiser's electronic warfare systems, someone from the base command finally contacted me.

“Seven, can you hear me? This is Colonel Niven.”

“Seven's on the line. I can hear you, but not very well.”

“Make him shift toward the fifth anti-space defense battery. This is the last thing we have left. I need to reduce the flight time. At any cost! I don't know how you're going to do it, but it has to hover right over the launch silos, or it's all for nothing. You got it, Seven?”

“Roger that. I'm on it.”

What an order! How am I going to make a cruiser shift? It's a cruiser, and what am I? A cricket compared to it. Especially since the rebel scanners have already spotted me, and now they will start pounding me with short-range missiles, since they can't reach me with their anti-aircraft guns yet. All I have against them is speed and maneuverability. It's a good thing they didn't bring an aircraft carrier here, then I'd be finished. But my comrades had enough of this cruiser, I remembered, noticing the places where the wreckage of my squadron's vehicles fell to the surface of the moon.

I went back into afterburner mode. I don't care about the overhaul life – it's clear that this fight will probably be the last one. A fighter can only do something to a cruiser by coming in from the stern. The ship's delicate propulsion systems are, of course, covered by armor to the max, but plasma emitters cannot be hidden in an armored cocoon, so I have a slim chance. I don't need to damage the cruiser, I just need to threaten it and make it maneuver in the direction I want it to go.

Our base was dying. It was quite obvious, but Colonel Niven was not considered an experienced officer for nothing, and he knew how to wait patiently, when combat situations demanded it. I imagined him trying not to lose control of the few surviving systems down there on the lower level of the bunker, among the crumbling ceilings, and I increased my speed even though it seemed impossible. This lunar base was, of course, built as a dual-use facility, but it was primarily designed as a research base, not military, so it couldn't withstand cruiser fire for long, I knew that very well.

I think the commander of the cruiser quickly realized that I was going to attack his ship from behind, but it wasn't hard to guess. I went around the enemy in a big arc from the side of the fifth battery, which was still silent and undetectable, which is why it was still intact. The most logical action of the rebel ship, if it ever saw fit to react, would be to reduce the distance between us, and as a result dramatically increase the efficiency of all its anti-aircraft systems. I really hoped that the rebel commander would do that, but he stubbornly continued to fire on the base, not wanting to be distracted by such small things, like my fighter.

I had to provoke the enemy somehow. In principle, there was another way I could have gotten behind the stern of the cruiser, besides the evasive maneuver I was now taking, which would have been even faster, but there was almost no chance of success with that option. If I pressed close to the hull of the enemy ship and flew along it in afterburner mode, the guidance systems simply would not have time to track the fighter, because it would be in their range for too short a time. But to do that I had to break through to the side of the cruiser, and that, in fact, was the main problem. In squadron combat such maneuvers are not uncommon, but there the enemy ship is attacked by dozens of fighters and torpedo bombers at once, and the attention of anti-aircraft assets is distributed among them. Here I was alone, and the entire arsenal of the cruiser's short-range defense would be firing on my fighter, so it wasn't worth trying, but I could demonstrate my intent.

I sent the fighter into a sharp turn, and I approached the cruiser myself. The rebel anti-aircraft gunners, delighted with this gift, greeted me with a concurrent rocket salvo. At this distance, it wasn't very scary yet. The fighter's electronic warfare equipment were sufficiently reliable in suppressing the enemy's homing systems, and the maneuverability of my machine allowed me to dodge from missiles that were not too accurate. Nevertheless, this dance could not last long. I understood that, and the commander of the rebel cruiser understood it, and it more than suited him.

I jerked the fighter a few times chaotically in different directions, simulating panic as another wave of missiles approached, then I turned around again and rushed away from the cruiser, as if in desperation, trying to increase the distance. Sensing an opportunity to quickly solve a small but unpleasant problem, the rebel commander decided not to let me get away from the cruiser, and the warship started heavily following my fighter.

“Seven, you're good,” the communications system carried the Colonel's voice to me, “but it's not enough! Keep dragging it.”

Every second of delay could have been my last. It is one thing to taunt a cruiser by moving on parallel courses and evading its missiles with sharp maneuvers, it is quite another thing to run away from it when it is impossible to jerk sideways without a significant loss of speed. Of course, I should have gone into afterburner mode and quickly moved out of the effective range of enemy anti-aircraft fire, but then the cruiser would stop pursuit and all would be in vain. I gritted my teeth, but I endured it. A hail of projectiles whipped at the fighter's thin armor after a near missile explosion. A damage alert beeped and the tactical projection displayed a list of failed systems in front of me. Nothing fatal has happened yet – the most important components of the fighter are duplicated, sometimes repeatedly, but a couple more of these gifts and the damage will become critical.

I changed thrust vector sharply and went sideways, making the Split S maneuver, so I lost another few hundred meters of distance, but dodged another wave of missiles. A little longer and the anti-aircraft guns will start hitting me, and then – that's exactly the end, and missiles at this distance are much more effective.

And then something changed in the picture of the battle, and I did not immediately understand what it was. I didn't really care about what was happening on the surface of the Moon, or anywhere else for that matter, except for the small patchsection of space where my fighter was doing a death dance. Meanwhile, a lot has changed. The cruiser tried to change course sharply toward outer space, and then shuddered violently several times, cracked and began to fall apart.

“Seven, can you hear me?” The interference disappeared, but I could hardly hear Colonel Niven's voice, it was so weak.

“I hear you, Number One. Observing the destruction of the rebel cruiser. The debris is captured by the gravitational pull of the Moon and falls to the surface.”

“I'd like to congratulate you on your victory, Lieutenant, but there's nothing to congratulate you on – everyone lost in this fight. The base is gone, you have nowhere to go back to. I've got a couple of minutes left, it's all going to collapse here.”

As if to confirm the Colonel's words, I heard a rumble and a shriek from the communications system. Nevertheless, a few seconds later, Niven was back in touch.

“Most likely, no one will come here for years to come, maybe never. The civil war in the central worlds of the Republic has taken on far greater proportions than those you have been told. Chaos ensues, and no one will remember this far-flung base for decades to come,” the Colonel coughed heavily, “I don't care anymore, but you have no reason to die. If it had been like before, I would have introduced you to the Order of the First Consul – you've earned it. Except, I'm afraid, there will be no one to write the recommendation or put a resolution to it. I authorize you to land on the planet and lift the ban on interference in the lives of the natives. People there are just like us, and maybe even better, given what's going on in the Sixth Republic right now. Hopefully, with your help, they can avoid what we got into, if, of course, you see fit to help them do so. Part of the network of scientific satellites survived in orbit. I've already given your machine's computer the access codes to it. That's all I can do for you. Goodbye, Seven.”

The Colonel's last words were barely audible, and after a few seconds I heard the rumble of the collapsing ceilings in my headphones again, and the signal was gone for good.

I disobeyed the Colonel and landed on the surface of the Moon, but I couldn't find a single intact entrance to the base. I found nothing but piles of debris and many meters of rubble. The rebels even managed to destroy the Fifth Anti-Space Defense Battery, which finished off the enemy cruiser, before being annihilated. If there were any survivors on the lower levels of the base, I couldn't help them. After standing over the ruins of the base for a few more minutes, I returned to the fighter and started the engine.

After circling the Moon, I steered the fighter toward the planet. Half of the blue balloon was in shadow, and I adjusted my course slightly to enter the atmosphere over the day's hemisphere. I was neither a historian nor an expert on evolving civilizations, but my year at the station and my close acquaintance with a very pretty research assistant awakened my interest in this subject, and I even picked up some knowledge. It's a good thing Letra left for the central worlds a month ago, and I was so worried… Who knows how her fate turned out in the chaos of the rebellion, but at least she's not now lying under tons of moon soil and slab debris in the ruins of the lunar base.

Down there, according to the local chronology, the 20th century was approaching its midpoint. Electricity, oil, mechanical and electrical engineering, the internal combustion engine, automobiles, tanks, propeller aviation, the recent great war and the next one, by all indications even larger and more destructive, already knocking at the door…

Hello, my new home!

Chapter 2

I faced an unfriendly welcome from the atmosphere. A space fighter is not designed to fly in a dense gas environment, especially if it has combat damage. Of course, fighters are quite capable of landing on planets in an emergency, but in doing so they exhibit the gracefulness of an ancient flatiron and overstress the engines by operating in extremely erratic modes, which leads to their rapid deterioration and sometimes failure.

I tried to pilot my flying machine as carefully as possible, but already at an altitude of 60 kilometers above sea level the fighter's computer started beeping angrily, reporting new damage caused by the abnormal use of the march and maneuvering engines. Holes in the thin armor, punctured by the strike elements of rebel missiles, prevented the oncoming airflow from flowing normally around the fighter, which, at my speed, severely overheated the hull and the technical compartments directly beneath it, where important communications ran. The fighter was losing control. The computer was giving a very disappointing prognosis. I could count on no more than a couple of minutes of more or less controlled flight, and then the fighter would just start to fall apart.

Now the vast forests of the eastern part of the largest continent on the planet stretched below me. When I was putting the fighter into the atmosphere, I was planning to land much to the west. More populated areas began there, but it was still possible to hope to land unnoticed. Now I had no choice, so as I descended a little more, I ordered the computer to eject the escape pod.

A sharp jerk, an excessive overload, which caused my seeing red, a brief loss of consciousness… After all, the ejection system of a space fighter is not at all designed for throwing out of a capsule with a pilot in the dense layers of the atmosphere. The roar of the disposable braking engines, the crackle of the breaking tree trunks, the violent impact that shook the capsule and knocked me unconscious again. However, the battle suit quickly brought me to my senses by injecting the necessary cocktail of stimulants into my bloodstream.

I don't know what happened to the computer that ejected with me in the escape pod, but for some reason it switched into voice communication mode. Although, maybe it was stipulated by some regulations and instructions, I do not remember.

“Lieutenant Irs,” it sounded from the helmet's earpieces, “you made an emergency landing on the planet Earth. The escape pod is damaged on impact with the surface. Hull integrity is compromised. The life support test failed. There is no damage to the communication system. The power plant is functioning normally. External conditions are suitable for life. Your body condition is satisfactory.”

“Where did the fighter crash?”

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