The complete alliance acts
Doom Cloud first came within range of heavy weapons from the moon. It’s own forward momentum drove long-range weapons deeper into itself than anything the awful giant had yet experienced. An eruption of surprised rage rose outward as terrifying storm waves reached to engulf and then smother the unexpected new adversary. Defenses on the moon would have been overwhelmed almost immediately without the sudden and even larger following broadside from the delfinian heavy weapons platform. Doom Cloud’s attention turned to the new and greater threat. Its long silence was broken by screams of agony followed by hysterical laughter. “You cannot stop me,” echoed from every molecule of ship, moon, and planet.
Doom Cloud had no real battle plan. Nothing had ever survived its direct overwhelming onslaught. It conquered by rapid advance of superior strength, surrounding and then controlling its victims as a resource to fuel further growth. This mindless advance next ran head-on into heavy weapons firing from the planet. Doom Cloud had impaled itself on a mighty one, two, three, punch of directed joy beams from Pacifica, it’s moon, and the delfinian battle platform. The fleet fought on as tenaciously as ever. When Planet Pacifica’s joy beams joined the battle, Doom Cloud had screamed again, and then stopped. “You could have been my servants but now you will die.” Doom Cloud’s insane screeching was an ugly noise with only vaguely understandable meaning that nonetheless was ignored by no one.
Combined power of Human and Delfinian joy beams evaporated the cold darkness of doom and left a huge chasm stretching from Planet Pacifica to the moon and almost as deep. Doom Cloud had been gashed so deeply by the powerful land-based weapons that an inner central structure was sometimes visible between dark swirling storms aggressively flung outward. Seven warmly glowing spheres were occasionally visible deep in the center. The spheres were entangled in tornado swirls of smog resembling blood vessels feeding rank and rotten meat. It was now clear that Doom Cloud also used joy as a source of power; it was an incorporated capitalist parasite that survived and grew by sucking the Joy of Being out of captured planets and whatever life they nurtured.
What might happen at the bitter end of an enslaved planet’s life was so repulsive it spurred both Humans and Delfinians to heroic struggle far beyond the simple will to live. Everyone now knew without doubt they were fighting to be free of a chained austerity and enslaved consumption far worse than death.
Doom Cloud stopped before its heart was in range of the defender’s weapons. Hours passed and it didn’t move. Joy beams directed by human crews in frantic battle were hacking off huge billowing chunks that drifted alone as dangerous debris before being cleaned up by the fleet or gradually evaporating into empty space. The sun helped mightily with its solar wind.
Then, slowly at first, Doom Cloud began stretching the gap their weapons had opened. It began stretching outward, closing around them like a giant clam. The growing outer edges were being fed by huge rivers of polluted flowing darkness that inexorably spread beyond and behind. Eventually the surrounding cloud extended to where weapons couldn’t reach, this left only the fleet hacking away at the thinner lip edges attempting to join and engulf the defenders. The land-based weapons had reached a maximum distance and could do nothing against Doom Cloud’s cold and empty inner vastness. The battle fleet eventually became scattered and spread so thin it couldn’t stay close enough to the Delfinian ships to maintain full weapons charge. Doom Cloud’s surrounding vice closed a little tighter every time a group of ships came close enough to the delfinian battle platform to recharge.
Admiral One had just recharged and was returning to the struggle when part of the swallowing gap slammed shut on a group of fighters. Sequoia’s cruiser banked sharply and cut the fighters free. The fighters escaped but a large wave doubled inward from the clam-like mouth and snatched the cruiser from sight. “It’s got Sequoia!” Eddy yelled.
His first impulse was to hack with his joy beams at the darkness surrounding Sequoia. Instead, he moved the controls into a hard turn aiming straight at Doom Cloud’s heart. He noticed that Rima had somehow learned to anticipate his moves and was able to maintain perfectly timed navigation projections a split second before he actually needed them. Eddy tapped deep space drive ever so lightly and blasted toward the bound golden spheres. Sliding in long sideways arcs he cut through one after another of their bindings. Rima maintained serene concentration at navigation and Eddy was free to fly. Ink black gas spewed from the severed chords. Doom Cloud roared and began squeezing inward toward Admiral One.
Eddy saw the imprisoned anguish of the beautiful golden spheres. His pity for their loss of freedom and the stark austerity of Doom Cloud’s enslavement swelled into a song of anger. That was the moment all Melodians had been waiting for. They joined in directly, a warm life-glow totally surrounded the Admiral One. “Star Song!” Eddy sang without words. “You are here!”
“I told you I would be near. Sing your battle song now. Both of you. Cut the ties that bind the singing spheres. Do it fast, Young Warriors, we can’t hold Doom Cloud back for long.”
Admiral One darted, dodged, cut and hacked. Then the still entangled golden spheres started spinning, slowly at first, but quickly gaining speed. The spinning spheres wound their remaining bindings into a twisted rope pulling Doom Cloud inward as the twists grew tighter. The rope became too thick for the joy beams to cut. Eddy rushed directly to the awful binding and flipped Admiral One so the engines were up against the monstrous tangle. They were so close as to be actualy touching. He briefly glanced at Rima wondering how she was able to navigate so precisely at speeds he himself could barely register but had no time to ask her.
Bondage ended for all seven captured planets the instant Eddy applied full power to both deep space drive joy generators. Admiral One rocketed out of the gap of Doom Cloud’s mouth, not far from the Delfinian battle platform and Sequoia’s cruiser, which unknown to Eddy had been freed when the captured planets wound their bindings tight. Though Admiral One was moving too fast to be seen by the eye or instruments, Eddy did not yet realize the spheres were free and remained a busy fighter pilot. One Young Human Warrior cartwheeled back around for another attack as the second charted their course.
And then it was over. The singing spheres were free at last. Floating on their own song, they slowly changed from golden yellow to an iridescent brilliance that simply evaporated Doom Cloud from within. Their song ended as they faded to a silver transparency and then visibly disappeared into primordial waves that merged with the wave pulse of cosmic powered biology underlying all life. Everyone saw it happen.
As soon as Eddy realized he was still alive and had pulled out of deep space drive, he cut back over planet Pacifica. They were there just in time to see the shining spheres disappear. He looked at Rima, tears were streaming down her cheeks. “Do I look as bad as you do?” He asked stretching his back and neck muscles, and then letting out a long sigh.
Rima bit her lower lip and then smiled. “Oh, Eddy, they were so beautiful. Those singing spheres were pure joy. I could actually see how happy they were to be free.”
Eddy frowned, “Yeah, I know. Why did Doom Cloud enslave the joy of life and turn it into the dirty pollution of unending growth and power? That is such a weird idea.”
A startled gasp choked off his thought. The settlement was still there, as were the river, the bird nesting island, grasslands and rolling hills. The distant mountains were what was different. They were gone! Eddy dropped the ship down to where the mountain chain had been. In their place was a vast inland sea surrounding a tall and perfect volcano. I thin wisp of white smoke trailed gently from the peak.
“Star Song!” Eddy cried. “The Melodian world is gone!” He carved into a tighter spiral and circled the top of the volcano. “This must be where the observatory was,” he said in shocked dismay. “The Melodians sacrificed themselves to beat Doom Cloud and set the singing spheres free.”
“They also saved the Delfinians and our colony on planet Pacifica,” Rima offered, after a moment’s silence. Sensing his shocking loss of a friend, she placed a quiet helping hand on his shoulder.
Eddy searched the volcano for signs of life knowing in his heart that nothing could survive such a cataclysmic moment as volcanic formation from the cauldra of a collapsing inner world. He thought of himself walking with Star Song like a child again, briefly holding a grown-up giant person’s hand like parent and child. He felt the warm security of Star Song’s leg as he leaned against its awesome strength after he had looked at the flowers. Grief broke within him like the waves against the new volcano that had become Star Song’s tombstone. A choking sob wracked through him even as he straightened his back as he had to do to keep flying.
Eddy realized he wasn't Star Song’s only child. Star Song had fought Doom Cloud so that a new kind of Human could sing with the stars and help guard the planets in alliance with Delfinians. He knew this was true and reached for the intercom, “Admiral, is everyone okay back there?”
“We are alive and well thanks to you two and Star Song,” the Admiral answered, his voice was clear and strong.
“The Melodian inner world is gone,” Eddy said.
“Yes, we can see that on our monitors,” the Admiral responded.
“There are no survivors in sight,” Eddy said. “They must all be dead.”
“We don’t know that, Eddy. Melodians are very old and mysterious creatures.”
“I’m fine, Grandfather.”
“Did you successfully download all the ship sensor logs into your data files?”
“Good. Well, there’s not much we can do here for a while. Is the course setting for Earth still in the computer?”
“Yes, it is.” Rima answered.
“Then I suggest we get a move on.”
“Yes, sir!” Eddy answered, flying an upward spiral around and then above the volcano they quickly left the planet’s atmosphere.
continue to the Return to Earth Chapter 27