The epic space opera, the Legend of Galactic Heroes, is based on a series of novels and short stories written by Tanaka Yoshiki from 1988 to 2000. The novels have been published in Chinese and English, and there is (at present) no indication of an English-language publisher picking up this fantastic series.
The following English translation is entirely unofficial. The text was originally translated from Chinese to English by Peter Tan, and edited by Jeremy Naidus.
Iserlohn Fortress was the Galactic Empire’s most important military stronghold. It was positioned 6,200 light years from the imperial planetary capital of Odin. Here existed a lone, mid-aged star, Althea. Thirty years ago, an artificial moon, with a diameter of sixty kilometers, was constructed, the Iserlohn Fortress. It became a base for the Galactic Empire only due to its geographical importance.
If looked at the Milky Way Galaxy in a bird-eye view, Iserlohn’s position was near the triangular belt in which the power of Galactic Empire could extend into Free Planets Alliance. This belt was known in space travel as the “Demon Triangle” and also was the space graveyard in which the founders of Free Planets Alliance had lost many of its people. This fact also satisfied the leaders of the Empire and strengthened the intention of building a space stronghold to intimidate the Alliance. Thus Iserlohn Fortress was born.
Variable stars, huge Red Dwarfs, abnormal gravity ….. Among these densely packed stars, there was a small strip of safe passageway and Iserlohn sat right in the middle of it. If one didn’t want to pass here to travel from the Alliance territory to the Empire territory, there was another path which will require to travel past Phezzan Dominion. But then, this path didn’t allow any military use. These two paths were called “Iserlohn Corridor” and “Phezzan Corridor”.
Out of these two corridors, could there be other paths that could connect the Empire and the Alliance directly? For this, the Alliance’s politicians and strategists researched endlessly, but due to incomplete star maps, and both the Empire and Phezzan’s intricate influences, they never were successful. In Phezzan’s view, since it profited from the trade from both sides due to its corridor, it didn’t want the Alliance to discover any “third corridor”.
Because of these reasons, the Alliances invasion of the Empire all became battles for the Iserlohn Fortress. Within four and half centuries, there were six big battles and the Alliance failed each time. This caused the Imperials to sprout a slogan: “Iserlohn Corridor is paved with the bodies of dead rebels”.
Yang Wenli also participated in the latest two of the Iserlohn Fortress battles. In the fifth battle, he was a Junior Lieutenant. In the sixth battle, he was a Captain. He knew, after these two horrific battles, that directly attacking the fortress was fruitless.
Attacking Iserlohn Fortress from the outside is impossible, Yang thought as the Alliance retreated, if so, is there any other way?
Iserlohn, beside the fortress itself, also has a so-called “Iserlohn Guardian”, a fleet with 15,000 ships. Both fortress commander and the fleet commander are Admirals. Between them, is it possible to slip through the cracks?
This time, Count Lohengramm also used Iserlohn Fortress as a forward base for his invasion of the Astate System. This extremely disadvantageous stronghold for the Alliance must be taken at any cost. But Yang only has half a fleet. “Really, I didn’t thought that you really accepted this order”.
Rear Admiral Cazellnu said while flipping through some military books in his Logistic building’s office. “The Defense Minister and the minister here have ulterior motives ….. The flip side of this you should know already”.
Yang sat in front of him, smiling but not answering. Cazellnu put down his documents, unconscientiously tapped the desk and curiously looked at this former junior classmate. “Our military had attacked Iserlohn six times, but all had failed. And you think you can win with just half a fleet?” “I think I should try at least”.
After hearing Yang’s reply, his eyes narrowed further. “Looks like you think you can win. How are you going to accomplish this?” “It’s a secret”. “Even to me?” “This kind of thing should keep others guessing so they’ll come back for more”. “You are right. What do you need? I’ll help you anyway I can.” “Then, I need a Imperial ship, one of those that was captured before. Also please prepare two hundred enemy uniforms”.
Cazellnu narrowed eyes grew larger. “Time limit?” “Three days”. “….. Although it is embarrassing to ask you for my overtime, at least you can buy me a cup of high grade brandy.” “I’ll let you have two. That’s right, there is something else I need your help on”. “Then I can drink three cups. What is it?” “It is about those ‘Patriotic Knights’ radicals.”
Since Julian would stay at home alone, Yang asked for military police to patrol near there. Originally he wanted the boy to sleep at someone else’s place, but the “Hold-the-fort Commander” Julian didn’t agree no matter what. After replying he would immediately take care of this, Cazellnu suddenly thought of something and looked at Yang again. “Oh yes, high level official from Phezzan recently wanted to know about your information.” “Oh?”
Yang had a slightly different interest about the existence of Phezzan. The person who constructed that “Autonomy” was the great merchant, born from Earth, Leopard Lapp. But his personal experience, the source of his wealth, and many other aspects were still a mystery. Who and for what reason let Lapp to construct Phezzan? Yang also thought about this before. Of course, he never mentioned this to anyone. “Phezzan’s Black Fox seemed to have taken an interest in you. Perhaps he wanted to hire you!” “I wonder what red tea of Phezzan taste like?” “Perhaps it is mixed with poison to get its flavor. Oh yeah, how’s your fleet’s preparation?” “Almost finished. For everything to go according to the original plan is very difficult, but then again, if there isn’t a plan, then cannot do anything”.
Yang stood up, as he knew there was still a mountain of work to be done.
The thirteenth fleet not only had ships and personnel half of a complete fleet, its officers were mostly from the badly defeated fourth and sixth fleets, and soldiers were mostly inexperienced new recruits. The new commander was also newly promoted Rear Admiral and a mid-twenty years old youth ….. The older commanders were all surprised, shocked, and talks of mockery also reached Yang’s ears. “It’s like a weak baby, empty handed to fight with lions. It should be interesting to watch. The one who gave the order must be crazy, and the one who accepted such order must be stupid enough …..”.
Yang didn’t felt upset. He thought that those who didn’t suspect the success rate of the coming battle were either too optimistic or crazy.
The only person who spoke in defense of Yang was the fifth fleet’s commander, Vice Admiral Bucock. He is seventy years old, with a head of white hair and famous for his stubbornness and impatience. If a young man like Yang salute him, he probably would express a “who is this young buck?” in his eyes while answer in an irritable tone. This “scary grandfather”, while in high military officer club the “White Stag”, told those who thought Yang as the commander of the thirteenth fleet was a joke: “I hope you will not embarrass yourselves. You only saw an infant staged baby tree. If you mock that he will not grow up, perhaps it is you who are stupid!”
Everyone else quieted. They thought about how Yang showed his talent in the Battle of Astate and even before that. These commanders felt their own insecurities and embarrassments and left early after drinks.
After hearing about this, Yang didn’t make a special trip to thank Vice Admiral Bucock because if he knew that if he did that, the white haired old commander would dismiss it with contempt.
The commanders’ strong dislike of him had been somewhat eased, but the whole situation wasn’t getting any better either. The cold hard truth of using half a fleet, formed by soldiers from the remnants of defeated fleets plus new recruits, to take down a stronghold that beaten multiple previous attempts still existed.
Yang paid much attention to selecting his officers. He chose the experienced Commodore Fischer from the fourth fleet as his Lieutenant Commander. Commodore Murai, although lacked a creative mindset, was chosen to be his First Deputy Aid for his precision in managing affairs and correct sense of judgment. Second Deputy Aide was given to combat hardened Captain Patorichev as he was talented in inspiring and leading the troops.
Yang wanted Murai to suggest a few common sense judgments for the purpose of creating a battle plan and resolution research. Patorichev was ordered to inspire the soldiers. Fischer and his strong and perfect ship formation was another reason why Yang chose him.
Now the main positions were satisfied, the commander assistant was a bit harder to find. When asked Cazellnu to give him an “excellent young officer”, his friend passed back to him: “a 764 year, graduated second place in the academy, and so much better than you, honor student. Current position is a Logistic Intelligence Analyst” answer, which made Yang felt humorous in a dry way.
Appeared before Yang was a natural curly brunette, light tanned skin, and lovely woman. The black and ivory, simple designed military uniform made her seemed extravagant. Even Yang, who took a small nap on his chair in his office, took off his sunglasses off in surprise and quietly looked at her. “Junior Lieutenant Frederica Greenhill, ordered to be Vice Admiral Yang’s assistant, reporting”.
That was her greeting.
After seeing Yang’s shocked look, this young woman felt strange and asked: “What is the matter?” “Oh ….. No, its nothing”.
Yang put his sunglasses back on to cover his expression and thought: Cazellnu must be hiding a devil’s tail in his pants. This cutie must be Logistic’s undersecretary Admiral Dwight Greenhill’s daughter. She is famous for her amazing memory.
Thus, the commanding personnel of the thirteenth fleet were now completed.
Universal Calendar 796, April 27, Free Planets Alliance’s Thirteenth Fleet’s Commander, Rear Admiral Yang, began his march toward Iserlohn Fortress.
This operation’s official report was to begin a huge military exercise for the new fleet in planet systems right next to the Empire’s territory. So first used 50 times light speed Powell’s Rapid Space Jump toward the opposite direction from the capital to Iserlohn. Then after continuing this for three days, the course was adjusted and began a series of eight long light speed jumps and eleven short light speed jumps. Finally, they reached Iserlohn Corridor. “Twenty-four days to travel 4,000 light years is not bad at all”.
Although Yang said “not bad at all”, this newly combined fleet can get to the destination at the same time without losing a one ship was commendable. Of course this was all credited to the talented Lieutenant Commander, Commodore Fischer’s skillful hands. “Must be because the Thirteenth fleet have famous people on board”.
Fischer boasted. Since Yang let this area under Fischer’s command, no matter what he said, Yang could only nod in agreement.
Yang’s mind was totally concentrated on the plan to take the Iserlohn Fortress. When this plan was told to the three commanding officers of the fleet, Fischer, Murai, and Petorichev, he got a shocked and silent response.
Between the silvery haired, seemed slightly older Fischer, crazily thin and tall, middle aged Murai’s round face, and portly-bodied Petorichev, none of them seemed to be able to react. They only silently looked at the young commander. “If failed, then what?”
After the silence, Murai asked. “Then we would have to retreat in defeat”.
Yang answered. “But, this is just …..” “Don’t worry, using half a fleet to take Iserlohn Fortress already was too difficult a task. The only persons embarrassed by the result would be Minister Sitolet and me”.
After he told to leave temporarily, he called in his Commander Assistant, Junior Lieutenant Frederica Greenhill.
As an assistant, Frederica knew about Yang’s plan earlier than the other three officers, but she didn’t raise any questions or shown any worry. Quite the opposite, it looked like she had even more confidence than Yang about succeeding. “Why are you so full of confidence?”
After he felt very strange about this, he couldn’t help but asked. “Eight years ago, in El Facil, didn’t the commander succeeded?” “This maybe too farfetched”. “But at the time, the commander already was successful in planting the utmost trust in a young girl’s heart”. “…..?”
Seeing the uncertainty in her commander’s face, the brunet female commander assistant smiled then said in a serious tone. “At that time, I was with my mother on El Facil since my mother’s family was there. I still clearly remember that young junior lieutenant, who didn’t have time to eat a proper meal and was only eating a sandwich while directing the escape operation. But did the junior lieutenant forgot that when his sandwich was gagging his throat, a fourteen years old young girl gave him a cup of coffee?” “…..” “Do you remember after drank that life saving coffee, what did you say?” “….. What did I say?” “You said, ‘I don’t like coffee, a cup of red tea would be nice’”.
Yang almost laughed so he coughed to get rid of it. “Did I really say such impolite words?” “Yes, you did. And you even broke the cup …..” “Really? I’m sorry. But, your memory should be used in areas that are more helpful”.
Although it was said seriously, Yang was only using it to cover his “defeated” situation. Frederica found out six conflicting holograms about Iserlohn Fortress out of 14,000 already proved that her memory was used in a more helpful area. “Please send in Captain Schonkopf”.
Captain Walter von Schonkopf appeared before Yang after three minutes. He was the leader of Alliance’s ground assault unit “Rose Knights”. He was slightly over thirty years with a clean look, but other males considered him as a “thorn in the eye”. He was originally born from an Imperial royal family and should be wearing an Imperial uniform while standing on the battlefield.
Looking at him, Yang thought about the time when he asked Cazellnu to place the “Rose Knights” under thirteenth fleet’s command and how Cazellnu’ was so surprised that he literally jumped out of his chair. “What! You want that ‘troubled group’?”
“Rose Knights” was created out of outcast Imperial royalties that went to the Alliance. It had a half a century of history and had an incredible battle prowess. It had bright spots in history but also had its darker aspects. There were twelve leaders. Four died for the Alliance, two retired, six had escaped back to the Empire. While some escaped in secret, others turned right on the battlefield. Schonkopf was its thirteen’s leader and exactly matched the name of the this newly created Thirteenth fleet.
“Thirteen” was an unlucky number, so he could be the number seventh turncoat, some people thought. Why thirteen was an unlucky number? No one was sure. Some said that people of Earth was almost destroyed by the now forbidden nuclear weapons in thirteen days. Others said that it was due to some forgotten religion’s creator was betrayed by his thirteenth disciple. Even more, some said that there was an ancient monster that ate people on the thirteenth day. “Walter von Schonkopf reporting”.
Respectful tone and that not prudent expression seemed so paradoxical. Looking at this, older than himself three of four years old, Imperial royalty, Yang thought to himself. Maybe expressing this kind of attitude is his way of getting to know people. “Please sit! I have something to discuss with you”. “Is it important?” “Perhaps. It is about how to take over Iserlohn Fortress”.
Schonkopf’s eyebrows were raised and he intently looked at Yang’s face for several seconds, seemed to be looking for something. “This is a very important task! Will it help to discuss this with me?” “I must discuss this with you or else it will not work. I hope you listen to his carefully”.
Yang began to explain.
….. Five minutes later, after the explanation. Schokopf’s brown eyes expressed much curiosity and seemed to be tring to suppress his surprise. “Let me explain first, Captain. This really isn’t true fighting, but more of a deceitful plan. No, it should be called a small manipulation”.
Yang said this as he took his black military cap down and playing it in his hands. “If we want to take down this hard to defeat Iserlohn Fortress, only this plan will work. If even this plan didn’t work, then this task is beyond my abilities”. “Yes, perhaps there are no other alternatives”.
Schokopf stroked his strong chin. “Living in a sturdy fortress, the enemy can become careless. Then the success rate of this plan becomes greater. But …..” “But?” “If the rumor proves correct that I am the seventh traitor, then this whole thing would be for nothing. How will you treat that?” “Very troublesome.”
Looking at Yang’s serious expression, Schokopf cannot help but smiled a little. “It will be very troublesome indeed! But do you only feel difficult? You should have thought of some plans to take care of it right? “I did thought about this before”. “And …..?” “The result was I didn’t thought up anything. If you betray me, I can only surrender. There is no other way”.
His cap flew out of Yang’s finger and dropped to the floor. This former imperial picked it up, dusted off dust that wasn’t there, and returned it to the commander. “Sorry”. “No problem. So you will trust me completely?” “In truth, I’m not confident”.
Yang answered frankly. “If I don’t trust you, then this plan will never succeed. So I trust you based on that”. “I see”.
Although he answered like that, Schokopf’s expression didn’t seem to show that he understood it completely. The commander of “Rose Knights”, using his half prying, half introspective look, start to judge this young commander anew. “Can I ask you something Commander?” “Yes?” “The task given to you really doesn’t make sense. Taking half a fleet, never mind with a weak bunch of soldiers, to take down the Iserlohn Fortress. Was it all because of this plan that made you to accept? But I want to know what else is in it for you. Is it for fame? Or for promotion?”
Schokopf’s with his mercilessly and piquant look, looked at Yang. “I think it wasn’t for promotion”.
Yang answered very easily and looked like the question didn’t bother him at all. “To be called Sir before thirty years old is enough. And if I’m still alive after this battle is concluded, I plan to retire”. “You want to retire?”
Schokopf; full of interest, used a surprised tone and asked. “Yes, No matter what, I can get pension and retirement pay ….. It is enough for another person and I to live a simple life. It should be sufficient”. “You mean to retire under this condition?”
Yang smiled at Schokopf’s wondering voice. “If we take Iserlohn, then it will cut off the Imperials only invasion route. If the Alliance doesn’t do anything stupid like invading the Empire, they will not cause any conflict. At least, nothing big.” “…..” “After that, we will have to see how the Alliance handle its diplomacy. In a military advantageous position, perhaps a satisfactory peace accord for both sides can be made with the Empire? Then I can retire in ease”. “But can this peace last forever?” “In mankind’s history, there is no such thing as forever peace. So I do not expect this to happen. But it can get a few decades of peace. If we must retain some heritage to the next generation, I think peace is the best gift. And to maintain this heritage of peace, will be the responsibility of the next generation. If each generation can remember their responsibility for the next generation, then perhaps they can maintain peace longer. If they forget the past lessons and waste what the previous generation had given them, then mankind will have to start all over again. Well, that is not too bad either”.
Yang put his cap back on. “Most importantly, the few decades of short peace that I hoped will be ten thousand times better than a tenth of this war right now. I still have a fourteen years old boy at home. I don’t want to see him on the battlefield. It is as simple as that”.
Yang closed his mouth and was silent for a while. But this period didn’t last long. “I’m sorry Commander, but if you are not too honest of a person, then you can be said as the greatest sophist since Kaiser Rudolf”.
Schokopf’s laughed happily. “In short, I have the answer that I had hoped for. Let me do my best for this not forever peace”.
Since both didn’t have that emotion or interest to clasp hands, they quickly went into the detail of this plan.
Iserlohn Fortress, positioned between the Galactic Empire and the Free Plants Alliance, was a conflict-ridden place.
Iserlohn Fortress’ diameter was 60 kilometers. Its surface was a thick liquid metal shell. This was a huge six billion tons artificial planetoid. Also, it had a weapon, commonly recognized as this universe’s most powerful cannon, the “Thor’s Hammer”. As long as this fortress existed, it is impossible for the Alliance to cross into Empire’s interior territories.
Iserlohn Fortress had two Imperial admirals. One was fortress commander Admiral Thomas von Stockhausen, the other was the guardian fleet commander Admiral Hans Dietrich von Seeckt. Both of their ages were over fifty and both had a big body frame, but Stockhausen was smaller, in shape, than Seeckt.
They were not close, but not for personal reason. It could be said as a tradition. It would be strange if at the same place, two commanding officers with the same rank do get along.
Their emotional opposition also affected their troops. The fortress soldiers thought the fleet soldiers were shameless dependents, which if faced dangers outside, would come and hide in this safe haven like a loser. The fleet soldiers thought the fortress soldiers as space moles who hide in their home for safety while playing war games.
What held them together were the pride that Iserlohn Fortress always won, and their unified hatred of the rebels. In truth, although they were scornful and like to scold each other, when the Alliance attacked, they fall head over heels to do their best to out do the other, often resulting in huge victories.
Several times, Military management propose changes to the command structure to let one person command both the fleet and fortress, so that the command system would be unified. But, they were all rejected since one less commander position would be a big problem for high-ranking officers and also because the current opposition never caused any fatal examples as of yet.
Universal Calendar May 14th.
Commander Stockhausen and Seeckt was in a sound proof meeting. Since they both didn’t like to go to each other’s room, they had to chose a middle place right between their respective rooms.
The past couple of days, the communications around the fortress were being jammed, which usually indicate that the rebels were near, but there were still no attacks upon the fortress as of yet. Today, they met together to discuss how to take care of this situation, but their conversation wasn’t constructive at all. “You said that the enemy is here and you want to attack, but you don’t know where the enemy is. Then you cannot attack something if you don’t know where!”
Stockhausen said this, to which Seeckt countered. “That is why we need to go out to seek out where the enemy is hiding. If this time the rebels attacks, would they have brought more forces?”
Stockhausen nodded confidently to Seeckt’s question. “Then they will be defeated once more. The rebels attacked six times and failed six times. If they come here again, they only will fail the seventh time”. “This fortress is so mighty”.
The fleet commander replied: “That isn’t because of your ability!” “Never less, the enemy is closing in. We should send the fleet out to investigate”. “But since we don’t know where they are, how do search for them? We should wait a bit longer”.
Just as their conversation started to circle back to previous topics, the communication room contacted them. The discovered a rather strange transmission.
The interference was great so the transmission was skipping. They manage to hear enough to figure out what did it said.
“To relay an important message from the Imperial capital, a Bleiman light cruiser was dispatched to Iserlohn, but it is under attack within the corridor. They are trying to escape and are asking for Iserlohn’s help”.
The two commanders looked at each other. “Although we don’t know the exact location, seems that we have to move out now”.
Seeckt’s voice came out his bloated throat. “But will that be good?” “What do you mean? My subordinates are different than those space moles that only concern about their own safety”. “What do you mean by that?”
Both of them appeared together in the tactics room with unhappy expressions. Seeckt told his deputies to order the fleet to rescue the light cruiser. When his speech was finished, one of his deputies stood up. “Please wait Sir! “You are Captain Oberstein …..”
Admiral Seeckt said without an ounce of gladness. He strongly disliked this new deputy’s look. His half white hair, bloodless face, and his fake eye that gave off occasional brightness, all of which made the admiral feel very uncomfortable. “You have an suggestion?”
Toward his superior’s cold attitude, Oberstein, at least on the surface, didn’t seemed to care. “Yes!” “All right! Let’s hear it”.
Seeckt hurriedly urged him. “Then I will say it. I believe this is a trap”. “Trap?” “Yes, the enemy’s goal is to draw out the fleet from Iserlohn. We should temporarily not move out and analyze the situation”.
Seeckt replied unhappily: “You are saying that if we move out, we will fall into an ambush and if we attack we will lose?” “I didn’t mean it like that …..” “Then what the hell do you mean? We are soldiers and battle is our duty! For our personal safety, shouldn’t we attack the enemy? Besides, it is shameful to disregard ally forces in a dangerous situation”.
One the one side, his rebuke was to Oberstein, on the other side, was to fake a pose to the jeering Stockhausen. Seeckt himself was a type of ferocious soldier who would battle if ever saw an enemy. To make him wait in the fortress for the enemy didn’t fit his character. He thought that this type of waiting would weaken the fleet’s value. “Commander Seeckt, your deputy has some good reasons. No matter friend or foe, if we don’t know the exact location, it would be too dangerous. How about wait a bit longer?”
Stockhausen’s suggestion hardened Seeckt’s decision to move out. “No, after one hour, the fleet will move out!”
Soon, the 15,000 strong guardian fleet, made up of big and small ships, began to move out of the space docks of Iserlohn.
Stockhausen looked at the spectacular formation of the fleet moving out on the view screen in his fortress command office. “Hmmph! I hope they feel some hardships before returning”.
Stockhausen cursed. He wouldn’t say words like “die!” or “defeat” even when joking. He knew when to have some restrain with words.
Six hours later, another unclear transmission came. This was from that Bleinman light cruiser. “We scarcely escaped near the fortress but the rebels are still pursuing. Requesting fire support …..”
While Stockhausen ordered the gunners to be ready for fire support, he felt very unhappy and thought: Seeckt is so incompetent. Where the hell is he? It ok to talk big, but he couldn’t even rescue a lone ally ship? “Ships are appearing on the screen!”
The subordinate reported. Commander Stockhausen ordered to magnify the image.
The Bleinman light cruiser was moving toward the fortress like it was drunk. Behind it, were many light spots which represented the enemy. “Prepare to open fire!”
But just as the enemy fleet reached the fortress main cannon’s range, the Alliance ships all stopped and cowardly looking at that invisible boundary. Only when it was confirmed that the Bleinman light cruiser was under the fortress’s tractor beam and being towed inside, did they turn around and leave. “They are a smart bunch. They know not to mess with us!”
The imperial soldiers were laughing. The feeling of being one with the power of the fortress fully filled their mind.
After the Bleinman light cruiser was inside the dock, its miserable condition was apparent.
Just looking on the outside could see more than ten ruptures. The white foam like material between the outer cracks was hanging out like intestines. The number of smaller cracks was so numerous that it wouldn’t be enough even using one hundred soldiers’ fingers and toes to calculate it.
A nuclear powered truck full of sympathetic fleet service crews drove near the ship.
The door of the light cruiser was opened and a bandaged young officer appeared. Although he seemed handsome, his greenish face was messed up by dry blood spatters. “I am Captain von Larkin, I need to see the fortress commander”.
It was clearly a common imperial language. “Understood, but what is the situation outside the fortress?”
A service crew asked what everyone else was wondering about. Captain Larkin gravely sighed. “We aren’t sure either since we came from Odin, but it looks like your fleet was annihilated”.
Looking at those shocked and motionless people, Captain Larkin shouted as loud as he can. “Looks like the rebels thought up a way to bypass the corridor. This is not only Iserlohn Fortress’ problem, but the whole Empire’s existence is at stake. Take me to see the commander immediately!”
The requested was granted instantly.
Admiral Stockhausen waited in the command officer. When he saw guards escorted five light cruiser’s officers into the office, he stood up and said. “I am the Fortress Commander von Stockhausen. Quickly tell me the situation. What had happened?”
He quickly walked closer, using an unnecessary loud voice. If what they say is true and the rebels had found a way to bypass the Iserlohn Corridor, then the existence of Iserlohn Fortress would be in doubt. It is very necessary to counter rebel movements.
Just because Iserlohn Fortress couldn’t move, therefore a guardian fleet was given. But Seeckt, that brave but dumb guy! ….. At this point in thought, Stockhausen couldn’t calm himself anymore. “It happen like this …..”
Captain Larkin voice slowly became weaker. Stockhausen naturally got closer to hear him. “This is what happened. Stockhausen, you are now my prisoner!”
Everything froze for a second, but melted immediately. Curses were heard and the guards took out their pistols. Captain Larkin’s arm was now around Stockhausen’s neck and had a non-metallic pistol pressed to his temple. “You …..”
Command officer chief guard Commander Lemula’s red face reddened even more. “You are rebel sympathizers! How dare you …..?” “I’ll let you know, I’m the leader of the ‘Rose Knights’, Captain Schokopf. My hands are currently busy so I cannot take off this disguise to greet you”.
Captain laughed out loud. “I never thought that this could be accomplished so easily! I even made a fake ID, but it wasn’t even checked ….. No matter how mighty a system, people run it. Take this as a good lesson to you all!” “Who will be taught a lesson?”
With a seething hatred, Captain Lemula pistol fixed on Stockhausen and Schokopf. “You think you can use him as a hostage? Don’t think imperial soldiers are the same as you rebel scums. The Commander’s reputation is above life and death. He do not want to become a shield to protect your lives!” “The Commander must be perplexed at your exaggerated evaluation of him!”
Schokopf mocked them loudly, and then he gave a signal to one of his four officers with a look. That officer took out a palm sized round object from under his imperial uniform. It was also non-metallic. “Do you know what this is? This is a Jeff Particle Creation Device”.
The atmosphere in the room seemed to flow an electric current after Schokopf talked. All the imperial personnel involuntarily trembled. The understood what a Jeff Particle Creation Device meant.
Jeff particle was a chemical material invented by Karl Jeff for planetary mining or engineering. Its main characteristic was that it could cause a methane gas like explosion within a controlled area by using a specific amount of heat or energy to cause a chain reaction. Of course no matter what kind of engineering technology, mankind always found a use for military purposes.
Commander Lemula’s face darkened. Energy pistols couldn’t be used now. If opened fire, then everyone would die. Once Jeff particles in the air were lit, everyone in the room would be burned to a crisp. “Comm… Commander …..”
One of the guards cannot help but called to him. Commander Lemula could only looked at Admiral Stockhausen helplessly. Schokopf loosened his arm a bit. After two huge breaths, the Fortress Commander relented. “You win. We have no choice but to surrender”.
Schokopf felt a deep relief inside his body. “Ok, everyone continue the plan accordingly”.
The subordinates of Schokopf began to change programming of computers to disable the defense systems. Then using air conditioner system, they spread sleeping gas all over the fortress. Out of Bleinman light cruiser, technical soldiers swarmed out and proceeded to do the above operations. Only a few were discovered, but by that time, Iserlohn Fortress was like a cell being invaded by cancerous cells and lost all its functions.
Five hours later, the imperial soldiers woke up and discovered, to their surprise, that they were now prisoners. The imperials, including military, communication, supply, medical, service, management, technical, and other departments were totaled over 500,000. It also had huge factories for things like food production to fully supply, including the fleet personnel, over one million people’s environmental and other equipments. It was easy to see the Empire wanted to build Iserlohn into an everlasting fortress.
But, as of now, everywhere was Alliance Thirteenth Fleet’s troops.
So, the blood sucking demon-like Iserlohn Fortress, with no one hurt, changed its owner.
In the corridor that was full of dangerous obstacles, the imperial guardian fleet still was searching for any signs of the enemy.
Communication officers tried very hard to restore communication with the fortress. After shutting out interferences, a channel finally was established. But, the contents in a transmission from the fortress were so hard to believe that the officers’ faces were drained of color as they pass it to Commander Seeckt. “Some soldiers have mutinied. We need assistance”. “There is a mutiny in the fortress?”
Seeckt was too surprised. “Stockhausen is so incompetent. Can he even control his own subordinates?”
The subservient tone of the transmission made Seeckt felt a wave of superiority. If he can help him as a favor, then it would indeed be very pleasing. “The fire underneath the foot should be put out first. All ships return to Iserlohn Fortress at once!” “Please wait!”
That dark and cold voice again, Seeckt thought, as he looked that officer with a face full of loathing and dislike. That half white haired, bleach faced, and illuminating light from an artificial eye, it must be that bothersome Captain Oberstein! “I remember that I didn’t ask for your opinion, Captain”. “I know sir, but I have to point out something”. “….. What else do you want to say?” “This is a trap, I think we shouldn’t go back to the fortress”.
The commander quietly raised his chin, scowling at this subordinate who with an unpleasant voice were saying unpleasant things. “In your eyes, everything looks like a trap!” “Sir, please listen to me …..” “Enough!”
Seeckt mercilessly cut off the conversation. “All ships return to base. Use the second battle speed toward Iserlohn. This is a good chance to gain a big favor from those space moles”.
Oberstein walked away. “There is nothing to say to a temperamental flunky without any courage”.
After a cold and belittling insult, Oberstein walked out of the bridge. No one stopped him.
Using voice activated, officer only elevator, Oberstein passed sixty decks of this huge vessel all the way to its bottom. “Enemy fleet, within firing distance!” “Fortress main cannon ready to fire”. “Target in sight, prepare to fire at any time”.
A mix of voices full of excitement and nervousness rang out in the Iserlohn Fortress’ command office. “Let them get a little closer”.
Yang said calmly. He was sitting on Stockhausen’s command desk, not in his chair, using a posture unfit and impolite for a man of his rank. He intently watched the big view screen as the unprepared groups of light spots came closer and closer. After a little while, he breathed deeply. “Fire!”
Yang’s order wasn’t particularly loud, but using earphones, the gunners heard it loud and clear.
The button was pressed.
Gunners watched that white and blinding light shot toward that groups of light spots. The view fiercely impacted every person’s heart and mind in the fortress.
Hundreds of Imperial ships in the front formation vanished after the main cannon of Iserlohn hit them directly. Extremely heated and dense energy didn’t even let them to have chance to explode. All mechanical and biological matters evaporated with nothing left.
Those who exploded where the second forward positioned ships in which some were not directly hit. Those ships on the left and right flank were shaking unevenly due to the residual energy shockwaves.
The remaining Imperial ships that survived the first hit were heard in the communication relays shrieking and yelling. “Why are they attacking their own?” “No, it must be those mutineers inside the fortress …..” “It’s also possible that the rebels are in control now!” “What do we do? We cannot fight against it. There is no way for us to ran away from the main cannon”.
The Alliance soldiers within the fortress were all focused on the main view screen. It was the first time they ever saw the so-called “Thor’s Hammer”, the main cannon of Iserlohn, destructive power.
Terror permeated through out the Imperial personnel. The once angelic protector-like main cannon had become an unblockable evil sword, cruelly stabbed their throats. “Hurry! Counter-attack! All cannons fire!”
Admiral Seeckt’s voice exploded.
Toward this explosive order, the confused soldiers went to work in a trance-like condition. White-faced gunners manipulated the controls, lock on the target with automatic aiming system, and shakily pressed down the button. Hundreds of energy beams cut through space and flew towards the fortress.
But to damage Iserlohn Fortress with the power of the ship cannons was impossible. The outer wall of the fortress deflected all the energy beams.
The shame, failure, and terror that were once Alliance’s were now being tasted by the Imperials.
At this time, an energy column that was ten times wider than those combined energy beams fired again from Iserlohn Fortress. And again, it caused huge destruction and damage. The Imperial fleet now had a hard to fill gaping hole with broken ship hulls and fragments around it.
With only two attacks, the Imperial fleet was paralyzed. Everyone who had survived lost their will to fight, though they still maintained their position.
Yang looked away from the view screen and felt his stomach was uncomfortable to the point of almost throwing up. He thought: must we win like this?
Beside him, Captain Schonkopf, as his eyes still were watching the view screen, loudly coughed. “This is not a battle anymore Sir. This is a slaughter”.
Yang looked back toward the Captain without anger. He suddenly felt very tired. “….. You are right. We don’t need to copy the Imperial’s bad habit. Captain, tell them to surrender and if they don’t like that, tell them to run away. We will not pursue”.
Schonkopf interestingly looked at his young superior. Of course, tell the enemy to surrender was done by other officers in the past, but no one ever said to the enemy “run away!” That was never heard of. Toward this rare strategist, Yang, is this count as one of his good points or bad points? “Commander. A transmission from Iserlohn”.
The Imperial bridge communication officer reported. Red-eyed Seeckt slightly glared at him. “Read it!” “The Alliance, no the rebels, did take over Iserlohn. They are using a Commander Rear Admiral Yang’s name. It said that no need for unnecessary bloodshed, they want us to surrender”. “Surrender?” “Yes, also it said that if we don’t like to surrender, then we should ran way. They will not pursue”.
Suddenly, a sense of hope appeared in the bridge. Yes, we can still escape. But this hope was chased away by a fierce voice. “How can we surrender to the rebels?”
Seeckt’s military boots scrapped the floor. Iserlohn Fortress is now in the enemy’s hands. Half of my fleet is lost as well. Will I bear this defeat and go back to see his majesty? Toward Seeckt, he couldn’t do this. He wanted to preserve his final reputation so self-sacrifice was his only way. “Communication officer, reply this back to the rebels. It is this …..”
After hearing Seeckt’s reply, all soldiers around lost their colors. The commander’s fiercely looked upon their faces. “All ships move forward to Iserlohn Fortress. There will be no cowardice”.
No one replied. “The Imperials has replied”.
Yang’s face darkened when he heard Schonkopf’s report of the reply. “You do not know my warrior’s heart. I can only die so that my reputation is preserved. I am no coward nor want to disgrace myself”. “…..” “This moment on, all ships will move forward to repay his majesty’s grace. This is what the transmission said”. “What ‘warrior’s heart’?”
Junior Lieutenant Frederica Greenhill felt anger in Yang’s voice. In truth, Yang was angry. Self-sacrifice to repay defeat is all right, but why doesn’t he kill himself? Why does he need to force his subordinates to do the same?
It is because of this type of person that war continues, Yang thought. He had enough of this guy. “All enemy ships approaching!”
It was the connection officer’s voice. “Gunnery! Can you locate the enemy’s flagship? Concentrate your fire on it!”
It was the first time Yang transmit a sharp order like that. Frederica and Schonkopf looked at the young commander with different expressions. “This is the last cannon shot. The enemy will run after they lost the flagship”.
The gunners carefully aimed. The Imperials fired another volley, but still without any effects.
At that time, out of the Imperial flagship, an escape pod was launched. It vanished into the black space.
Perhaps someone noticed. But a third energy column cut through the dark space, fired from Iserlohn Fortress.
It looked like a circular column with the Imperial flagship as the focal point. Admiral Seeckt’s big body, with his angry voice, became space dust along with his unlucky subordinates.
The rest of the Imperial commanders understood the situation and all turned around and began to retreat out of Iserlohn Fortress main cannon’s range. Since the Fleet Commander had been killed, there was no point to continue this one-sided slaughter.
Captain Oberstein’s escape pod was also among those who retreated. Using half manual control, he looked at the huge silvery fortress.
Seeckt probably still yelling “Long Live his Majesty” just before he died. That is so useless. Only when alive, then have a chance for revenge.
Hmmph! Oh Well! Oberstein thought to himself. With my wisdom, and add good leadership and abilities, Iserlohn Fortress can be taken back at any time. So let Iserlohn stay in the Alliance’s hands! If the Alliance’s is destroyed then Iserlohn will not have any more value.
So whom should I pick to do this? There are no talents within the royalties. Looks like there is only that blond haired young man – Count Lohengramm Rheinhard as there are no other better candidates.
Passed by the scattering ally ships, the space pod flew toward the stars.
In Iserlohn Fortress, happiness and excitement exploded within. Songs and laughter can be heard everywhere in the fortress. The only ones who were quiet were the Imperial prisoners and the director, Yang Wenli. “Junior Lieutenant Greenhill.”
After Frederica replied, the black haired young commander jumped down from the desk. “Connect to Alliance headquarters. It is finally done and really impossible for me to repeat this. You take care of everything else. I have to take a nap. I’m tired. “Magician Yang!” “Miracle Yang!”
As he returned to Free Planets Alliance capital planet, Heinessan, those crazed, near ear-shattering shouts greeted him.
The not so long ago defeat at Astate system was forgotten. Yang’s strategy and Grand Admiral Siolet’s brave recommendation of him was the source many beautiful words of praise from the people. After the prepared ceremony and the grand feast, Yang saw his virtual images flying in the air and felt a strong dislike.
With a burdened expression, Yang finally was freed and returned home. He put brandy in Julian prepared red tea. But the youth seemed to think he put too much. “They completely don’t understand!”
The hero of Iserlohn took off his shoes and sat on the sofa. While drinking the red tea with brandy, he complained. “What ‘magic’, ‘miracle’? These are said without knowing how hard the others had endured. I just used some ancient tactics to separate the enemy’s main force and their base. Then destroy them one by one. It worked but it’s not some magic at work! If I don’t control myself and becomes too prideful, next time, they might ask me to take over the Imperial Capital empty handed.”
He didn’t say anything about “retirement” though. “But, everyone finally started to praise you!”
Julian said this as he naturally moved the brandy to a place where Yang’s hand couldn’t reach. “People honestly is excited and that’s normal!” “They only praise when someone is victorious.”
Yang purposely looked worried and complained. “If I continue to fight, one of these days, I’ll lose. How will they treat me then? If it isn’t about me, then I will be interested to see their reaction. But ….. Julian, could you at least let me properly drink the brandy?”
The history of the Milky Way had flipped over another page.