The only indication Omicron had that it was morning was the blast of the bugle. The sky was dark with clouds. Rain still flowed downwards in sheets. Omicron and his men packed the equipment the best they could. The companies in the battalion were ordered to disperse horizontally along the northern perimeter of the Bay. They would have to be prepared to confront the enemy from any direction, although the odds were that the fury of the enemy would be directed from the west if the first company in the chain…was successful in diverting them away from the peninsula.
Omicron sloshed through the marshland to his company’s designated station …located at the mouth of one of the long valleys which lay in north-south, almost parallel, lines above the bay. One of the men was driving a large laser cannon which moved on its balloon tires through the marshlands along the shore of the Bay. The cannon was also carrying a large supply of one-man personnel carriers. The carriers were powered with small nuclear reactors, which eliminated all concern for fuel. The commanders saw no way they could be used in this situation as the men would have had to risk accidents and injury traveling close together before the slow-moving cannon in the blinding rain. Therefore, the men trudged ankle deep in mud along side of their gigantic charge.
As they moved slowly towards their destination, they saw hunks of concrete blocks strewn among the grass and wild flowers, which were all that was left of the highways built during the previous century. They also saw the disintegrating half-submerged wreckage of wharves and warehousing along the rivers and Bay shore… which had been utilized by the ships which once moved in channels dug into Bay waters… which astonishingly… at that time… were generally only six feet deep.
Now cars, ships, and airplanes were gone. Now the mags were the cheapest mode of transportation for all goods and people. Mags moved through long transparent tubes on the land and beneath the seas. The mags were powered by the International Solar Bank (ISB), which the United Nations had built in a five hundred mile-wide band around the equator. These areas had been abandoned as people of the Third World migrated towards the developed ones. It was now apparent that two-thirds of the world had been living in desert…in jungle….that is, in areas that had few resources…There simply was no way for these countries to emulate the economic development of Europe and the U.S. …People had to move…or be shipped what they required from the Cities in the West…It was simply more efficient for people to move…and with population growth completely under control…and with people only Living on four percent of the land…there was room for all in developed areas…Energy now was generated at very low cost from the sun in desert areas supplemented by country-large batteries to store surpluses….solar cells as well as all electronic equipment were now made smaller and very efficient by the use of I‘s in the circuitry which increased cognitive power enormously on very small chips…the energy that was generated was transmitted around the world by means of efficient superconductors.
There were 20,000 nuclear plants now…many located in areas where people were emigrating from…the risk from nuclear catastrophes had been reduced radically..yet with most nuclear plants in areas without people… potential danger was reduced even more. With all this capacity…solar and nuclear… the world now had ten times the cheap energy for human activity that it had had during the oil century… the twentieth century. Thus, at the present time, there was no energy problem, and many of the other problems left over from the previous century were also rapidly disappearing, including, hopefully… CASTLE itself.
Omicron chuckled to himself when he thought of the monumental problems the twentieth century had had to face, and how they at that time had concentrated all of their attention and energy not upon solving these problems, but upon flying men to the moon and fighting senseless wars. The world government now placed a low priority on space exploration and communication with extraterrestrial life, because the transportation system did not yet exist to reach other stars, let alone other galaxies.
Scientists used to look for Life in the furthest reaches of space… Omicron thought… when there is ‘existence,’… that is, I’s…all around them!! Plus why try to find a place in space to Live… when there were oceans right here… that’s right… an inhospitable place to be sure… yet no worse than anything ‘out there.’ The transparent tube mags zipping through expanses of ocean now were acquainting people with a liquid cosmos they had never fully considered before. There was plenty of room for 4 mile high cities in the
oceans… Plus these cities could be connected easily to the infrastructure, communications, and cyberfacilities on the land. In addition the oceans were full of salt… which of course were sodium and chloride ions…along with hydrogen ions that were always present in water…there was an ocean of ‘revealed’ and partially ‘revealed’ atoms…I’s… that scientists were now confirming to be in communication with each other… ripe for sending messages from shore to shore…just as the ions in our brains do…and just as the stars in the heavens above are thought to be doing… Yes, the oceans are like one big brain, like a Cosmos, here on earth… just waiting for humans to dream up of a use for….
Omicron’s company sat in their slots at the mouth of a valley. … along with scouts above them on the top of nearby hills… and stared northward up the valley, looking in a 180 degree sweep in front of them for any indication of enemy scouts sent out ahead of the mass movement of troops. Omicron was in constant contact with the platoon sergeant, Julius Nasturtium, Gloria’s father, for information from other areas. However, the enemy had not yet been spotted anywhere along the line of troops spread from the ocean inland to the ‘delta,’ sixty miles inland… where the two rivers…one flowing southward, the other northward along the 700 mile long, large agriculturally productive valley… met and moved westward into Bay waters.
The sky was still dark and the rain continued, although its Force had slackened some now. Omicron’s atomic watch, microphone receiver, and geographical positioning instrument on his arm… Lighted up number after number, minute after minute, hour after hour.
Colonel Steven Blue paced in front of the monitors whose bright colored faces displayed various battle preparations and views of the approaching enemy transmitted from carriers located just out of enemy laser range. The front wall of the enemy had stopped and was apparently waiting for others to catch up. However, they were still scattered too much to be met as a unit and defeated.
‘What do you think they’re up to, sir?’ Steve asked General Fred Goss, who was in charge of the Southwestern United States Command…
‘They are obviously waiting to group. But that would be immediate suicide. For the first time in the history of the mob, we would have them in one place. I think any community police force in the country would welcome the chance to knock these hoodlums off in a formation like that. But they’ll probably wait until dark before they make their move. They must have a plan of some sort.’
‘Any word from the Pentagon?’
‘General Bill Brice says help will be here next week. They want to make sure they have enough firepower to deal with these creeps properly when they get there… plus the wondrous cerebral creativity of this magnificent age is too involved and mind-fixed to leap abruptly… into a conflagration of hate and death that the world has not seen for a while. We thought we would have a few weeks of warning if an enemy…whoever that might be in this friendly age… got mad enough at us to strike… We never thought about a war within.
‘Alert the Second Division that its Second Battalion should be prepared for a forced march and attack if the enemy begins to group.’
‘Yes sir,’ replied Steve, his eyes resting momentarily on the monitor focused on Company B.
The afternoon dragged by. Omicron and the ten men in his squadron were still in foxholes, prepared to meet the enemy hand to hand…man to man…Or if circumstances changed abruptly, they were packed and ready to take off on command, in their carriers, in any direction… leaving the laser cannon behind. However, they waited in vain for a command. They had been told that the vanguard of the enemy had stopped its forward progress approximately two miles to the north and seemed to be waiting for the others, who were spread over hundreds of miles, to join them. They would be like fish waiting to be shot in a barrel, thought Omicron. There must be more to their plans than this.
The rain was continual and drenching. The sky was dark and absorbed more apprehension as late afternoon approached and left. Soon it was around six o’ clock… and the company was surrounded by a total absence of sight. The troops sent several more field observers… each in a carrier to monitor enemy movements. Each giant canister was equipped with a powerful searchlight, which were relatively ineffective in the downpour.
Then around seven o’clock…the enemy had vanished from some observation points. CASTLE was on the move! There were reports of a massive and rapid consolidation of the enemy approximately three miles to the northeast of Omicron’s position. The order was given for the battalion to move up towards where the enemy was congregating…leaving one company to guard its western flank.
Omicron’s clothes were completely wet. His pack drooped heavily upon his shoulders and back. However, he and his men moved quickly up the valley in the rain and blackness utilizing the GPS in their watches as a guide…Then they groped their way following the broken concrete of a road over the range of hills to the east. Progress was slow…they could barely see the remains of road along which they strode…which they used as a guide…They had progressed only about five miles in two hours when Omicron heard the sergeant’s voice cut in on his arm receiver:
‘They’ve blasted through our ranks to the east. They’ve broken our lines in a surprise attack and are headed for the Bay not the peninsula like we thought. Turn back…I say, go back to where you started…go back to your equipment! I repeat, turn around and go back to your equipment!….We need to engage the enemy…in the vicinity of the north shore of the Bay!’
Omicron felt as if he were playing some sort of game for which he did not know the rules. They had been surprised, and the enemy was surging towards the shore of the Bay… but for what purpose? The country’s entire defense strategy had been based on the assumption that the water of the Bay would be a barrier to the enemy… Again would the enemy be sitting ducks?
They trudged back and reached the equipment they had left behind in piles, bound in canvas, around eleven o’clock, Soaked to the bone and covered with mud and grime… they rested for a moment in temporary shelters that had been thrown up to protect them from the rain…the whites of their eyes were shining in the dim electric Lights as they chewed on dried seaweed harvested from the ocean plantations and drank their pep-up vitamin and protein drink from their waist dispensers.
The captain’s voice roared across the howl of a wind that had built up to approximately thirty miles an hour…
‘They’ve hit the boats at the yacht harbor. They’re taking off across the Bay. Our company, and Alpha and Charlie companies will go after them in personnel carriers armed with small laser arms and searchLights. The other two companies will remain ashore to prevent them from retreating back if we can cut them off.
‘Also one-half of the enemy is unaccounted for. They must be to the north somewhere. Our men on the shore must keep them from marching down the peninsula towards the City.’
Omicron and his men were immediately climbing onto the cannon carrier, unlashing the canvas… pulling personnel carriers down, bolting searchLights onto them, and mounting the small cannons. Anthony, Leander, and Marcus were from Love Song Band. The remainder of the platoon were from other bands in Golden Sun Tribe.
‘Okay, men,’ Omicron blared into his squadron’s earphones as he climbed the steps to his cockpit. ‘Stay close. We’ll split up when we find them. Let’s go.’
They flew at approximately forty miles an hour into a buffeting gale. Rain was flooding down upon the transparent tops. There were times Omicron had to slow almost completely to a stop because he could not ascertain how close he was to smashing into his comrades. After about fifteen minutes Omicron sighted an object in the water.
‘I see one!’ he war-whooped into his microphone. ‘Let’s see how many others are here before we blast in.’
With his Light he was barely able to see that the boat was approximately a thirty-footer and it was tossing across the surges on the Bay against the strong wind at a greatly reduced speed. He could see a dark figure climb to the cannon in the stern and begin firing at the carriers. Omicron returned the fire and withdrew with his men… back into the safety of the downpour. They picked their way past the first boat… until they were able to make out a few other shadows bobbing in the rain.
‘Okay… Anthony ad I will take the one we just left.’ barked Omicron into his wrist comm. ‘Leander and Marcus take the next one… Julius and Pericles take the third. It shouldn’t take much to sink these tubs… but get the gunmen first… then just fire a hole through the bottom.’
Omicron swooped back towards the first boat with his companion. He began firing the moment the blurred image came into the range of his searchlight. He could see the gunman in the rear return the fire, but Omicron and Anthony immediately blasted him into the water and then ran a laser straight through the bottom of the boat. It will sink in minutes, thought Omicron, as he turned toward the other boats.
They found that their comrades had done their work well and the other boats were sinking also… as the six carriers were now being joined by scores of others.
‘We have to be careful or we’ll accidentally bump each other out of the sky.’
It was the voice of the company sergeant, Nasturtium, who was in one of the approaching carriers.
Nasturtium began barking orders, sending the carriers out in two’s in a line so they would be part of a force that was in a horizontal line moving across the Bay from the north shore towards the southern peninsula upon which the new City was perched.
The rain was coming down in sheets and the searchLights were becoming more a liability than an asset as the gunners in the boats could see the Light beams better than the men in the carriers cold pick out the shadows in the storm.
Omicron spotted the next challenge heaving in the waves. He gave the word to Anthony and swooped down at it. Lasers were flying all around him as he zeroed his cannon in on the gunner and blew him to oblivion. He then turned to finish off the boat when he heard the cry of “May Day, May Day!” in his ears and saw his companion’s carrier burst into flames and fall into the murky waters.
‘This is for Anthony you bastards!’ Omicron cried as he blasted three people off the boat and splintered the craft in two.
He was on his own now. His men were nearby somewhere but he could barely keep himself out of the water let alone try to see where anyone else was. Then another ball of flame flashed through the torrent and he knew another carrier was gone.
Omicron flew straight ahead quickly until he spotted a forty-footer with two cannons already blasting from the rear and a smaller gun firing from the bow. Immediately, Omicron felt a laser blast rip through his craft. His carrier was spinning and Omicron lost all sense of direction… He was afraid to change speed or direction as the results might be worse than what was happening. Then he saw he was heading straight for the water. He pulled the steering rod back and steered upwards at an askew angle.
One of the booster rockets had been damaged. It would take some doing to compensate for this loss in Power and maneuverability, and protect himself from the guns at the same time.
The laser cannons were zeroing in on his position now… All of a sudden he felt that all was lost… that the end was imminent and inevitable. There now was no future for him save the black water below… which would be his grave. Laser shots burst past on all sides. Any one now would be the period… on his short Life. There was no Hope.
Before Omicron there appeared a faint Light… which gradually increased in intensity until he could see that it was the vision of an upheld golden sword. He imagined that he grasped the sword… and at once he was filled with Power and renewed determination. He whirled his carrier rapidly to the side to elude the new volleys… and charged right at the boat… laser cannon blasting. In seconds he saw that the boat was aflame… The cannons were silenced.
He wheeled his twisting carrier through the darkness. His searchLight showed him a fourth prey straight ahead. He poured lasers into the cannon at the stern and got his man but as he stormed past within feet of the roof of the cruiser, a man on the bow showered him with blasts from his handgun. The transparent hood above him was shattered into pieces and a fragment cut deeply into Omicron’s forehead. The blood flowed forth furiously, blurring his vision, which was already obscured by the rain and wind pouring through the gaping holes in the hood. He turned sharply and riddled the boat with rays.
Omicron then yelled into his microphone, ‘Sarge… I’ve been hit. I’m going back.’
A ‘Roger’ was snapped back through the receiver.
Omicron quickly gained altitude, took off his shirt, wadded it into a ball, and pressed it onto his gushing wound. ‘Only a flesh wound,’ he thought. The wind pounded in on him… which added to the difficulty in maneuvering the craft. However he was going with the wind now… and he was able to negotiate the craft back to his squad’s position at the laser cannon.
Before landing, Omicron radioed First Lieutenant Silver for instructions. He was told to try to fly his carrier to a rendezvous center which had been established to the west. There he could receive medical aid, food, and a new carrier to carry on the fight. It took him a couple of minutes to reach the temporary base. He stumbled out of the cockpit into the rain and wind with the shirt still wadded on his head. In the shelter of a tent, a medic quickly placed some butterfly bandages on the rip in his skin and wrapped them securely by means of an ace bandage. Omicron slumped back against a rolled up knapsack and assorted supplies and ate some protein broth. The medic wanted him to rest and make sure he was fully recovered before he took off again. Omicron fell back not so much in exhaustion but in total bewilderment and confusion as to what had happened to him during the fight with the boats.
General Goss was staring into a monitor which was black with night. Steve hurried in with the latest from the fight.
‘We aren’t doing so well, sir. Our men estimate that there are about two hundred boats on the move and up to this moment we have been able to stop only a few dozen… that we know of. On the other hand, we have lost seventy of the two hundred or so carriers we sent up… and there are dozens we haven’t heard from for a while. Our men are fighting the storm and darkness… as much as the boats.’
Goss replied, ‘We aren’t doing well. We don’t really know what they’re trying to do. Our men have spotted more of the enemy still scattered on the land to the north of us. They’re just waiting. We sure could use some of the old jets they used last century to strafe these boats.
‘Well, even if they get to the City, I don’t know how they plan to get through those walls covered with our men. But we can’t take chances, we have to knock off as many as we can before they get there.’
Omicron listened to the rain assaulting the thin skin of the tent. The wind howled as it blew off the Bay. Omicron thought about the sword that seemed to be in his hand at the moment he was ready to give up. He knew now why that image had come to him… and what it meant. Steve had spoken many times about the seventh Cosmic step of Victory. He had said that Omicron should think of a man in a chariot underneath a starry canopy ‘upheld by four columns.’ This warrior was advancing toward victory ‘with a scepter and sword in his hands.’
Omicron understood that it should be the goal of every man and woman to lift and expand the Power of his or her Will… until his or her mind has complete control over the external world. This control was to be obtained by each person learning from his superiors and developing his faculties until supreme Power was obtained.
In the physical world, man and woman could control matter and movement in the external world… in ways which were best for their species. In the intellectual realm, they could make great accomplishments in scientific and artistic creativity. In the Cosmic realm, mankind would be at the height of its creative Power when its leading spirits had progressed to full attainment of their Powers consistent with universal, Cosmic Law.
Omicron now understood that when the Will is properly prepared … it is possible for man and woman to overcome all obstacles. He understood that ultimately this Power which he had experienced… and the strength he had received in the fight… would grow until such a time that he would be able to dominate all elements… subdue all Forces of the universe. He understood also that even when all Cosmic steps of the development of the Will were completed… that this only would be the completion of an essential first step… in a ‘limitless exaltation of human power… step by step…upwards and upwards…traversing one stretch of an infinity of space and time.’ Essentially, when one received the final step of the Arcana….the Crown of the Magi…one would then begin again…at Arcana 1…Will… again…and again…in a second, third, fourth….thrust upwards to the heavens…Knowledge, Action…upwards upwards…each passing through the steps would overlay one’s consciousness with new layers of silver and gold… He understood that development of his mental faculties, increase of his knowledge concerning external matter… and the discernment of universal Laws were all key to the continual expansion of the Will. Always the action taken by man and woman… the judgment they make of others… and the ability of the Will to expand in domination and power must be in accordance with the Laws of the universe which govern all things…all men and women… beasts… Living and inert matter.
Thus, the lifted sword was the sign of Victory…Cosmic step number 7. And when the sword is taken by a man or woman… properly prepared and worthy of its power… it is his or her assurance that great deeds can be performed. Once this step is reached… although one must maintain a continual vigilance against backsliding and declension of the Will by failure to continue to observe the universal principles upon which progress must be based… a man or woman may have this power ever at his or her disposal… to utilize whenever the need may arise.
Each new step… each Cosmic step… was like new ground won. The attainment of the step was difficult… and required all energy and courage of conquering a foreign land. However, once received… the Powers attendant with the step could be obtained again more easily… the next time when they were required. The steps once won… were not awards which a person wore on the breast like he or she were a big hero or something…. The steps instead were increased potentiality… which a person had to be prepared for…had to be worthy of… and which had to be won…before they could be utilized any time exigencies arose…in the future.
Good and bad are related to what is True and Just. And Truth and Justice are based on universal physical Law. Forces of bad not only contend with the forces of Good… but they also fly into the face of destiny and the Law itself. The master of the Will realizes these things… and utilizes universal Law and energy… to emPower his or her undertaking of tasks and battle successfully in the Struggle against evil.
‘Remember, son of earth,’ his father would say, ‘that the empire of the world belongs to those who possess a sovereign mind.., that is to say, to those who possess… the Light which illuminates the mysteries of Life. By overcoming your obstacles you will overthrow your enemies… and all your wishes shall be realized… But you must go towards the future… with courage… reinforced by the consciousness… of doing Right.’
Omicron had heard these words time and again. However, actual confrontation with external matter, with evil in its concrete manifestation… face to face in real Life… had to be experienced… before the Truths of the words… finally could be fully understood.
Omicron emerged in a crouch from the tent and quickly groped his way towards the quartermaster’s tent for supplies. The supply tent was large, and four soldiers were playing cards in the Light of an atomic-powered lantern. They were part of the troops who had stayed behind to confront any enemy that might be straggling behind or who might try to retreat from the fight on the water. One of the soldiers was Wolfgang Mere, who was a lieutenant in the company like Omicron was. Another was Caesar Gemstone ,who, because of previous service during his school years, had been a lieutenant for several years.
‘Well, hi there, Omichronicle,’ Wolfgang greeted him. ‘Looks like you have been cruising around on a joy ride, while we he-men have been fighting continually to keep Lightning and thunder out.’
‘Well, Wolfbreath…You don’t have to act so guilty,’ Omicron replied with a smile, ‘ just because you’ve been sitting on your butts… and I damn near got killed.’
‘I don’t see what is so rough about cruising about shooting motorboats like fish in a barrel,’ Gemstone said in his disdainful manner.
‘Well, Omicrinkle is still lucky to get all the excitement,’ Wolfgang said. Then seriously he continued, ‘There’s one man who got excitement enough. Cyri got his a couple of hours ago. Dad got the word about half an hour ago. I’ll miss him.’
‘They got Anthony a couple of hours ago, too,’ Omicron said sadly.
A large lump came to Omicron’s throat. He could now see that Wolfgang had been fighting back tears of his own. While the ‘middle’ or mammal brain… the brain of the body… grieved… consistent with the Theology of Love… the man brain… the brain of the mind… began its ravings… its rationalizations in accordance with the Theology of the Will.. which one would have to believe…which one would have to continually fill his brain with… if the war… if Life were to go on…
I am not sad. In each of us… there is an I… an eternal I… our bodies are plant… which is earth, chemicals circulating in a meaningless but evolutionary way…. in this mass of plant resides something astonishing… it is a piece of the Cosmos… inside us… ‘looking out’…. I mean, each animal… thinks that it is the center of the universe… nothing more important than me… because I… am an I… I am ‘looking out’… I can’t imagine how others have the same experience…. it is incomprehensible that every animal has this…in fact every atom… when it is stripped of electrons… it is ‘revealed’ experiences the same thing…
Oh but you say… you are attributing human-like characteristics to things… No, I say… the I is attributing Cosmic-like characteristics to plants… and to animals…Cosmos…with a capital ‘C’…refers to a universe permeated with consciousness.
An I comes to earth to ‘Connect’… most of the universe is dark energy and dark matter… atoms alone… for an eternity… If an I can Connect… be sociable… with other beings… then atoms Connect… and the odds increase that that atom will be in the Light for the eternities… not in the darkness.
Perhaps when animals mate, ‘connection’ happens… perhaps just standing in a field with associate cows will do this… we are not sure yet… but Cyri and Anthony were Loved… here on earth… and they died for others… this latter is probably the crux of the matter… giving up one’s plant/animal existence for another… is probably the greatest thing an atom can do here on this earth… and probably is worthy of an eternity in the Light…
The major thing is… the I is eternal…so Cyri and Anthony… the most critical, crucial parts of their personalities… still exist somewhere… no doubt with others … in the Light.
Inside… Omicron’s bodily parts cried the anguish of millions of years of evolution… which the male had to control during times of war with the tools of his mind… but which he could never actually deny… tears which in times of peace… could be freely shed.
It was around midnight now. Omicron told the quartermaster who was in the foursome that he needed a new carrier. Gemstone avoided interaction with Omicron, as they had an understood conflict of their own. Omicron embraced Wolfgang, then he and the quartermaster sloshed blindly through the mud and the ferocious wind to a large covered personnel conveyer… which was filled with carriers. Omicron selected one, attached a searchLight, armed his cannon, and loaded in the supplies he would need if he were stranded far away from the troops. This carrier was equipped with automatic evasive action which would greatly reduce the chances of his being shot down. However, the craft in this mode would be extremely difficult to maneuver and usually only experienced veterans were able to completely control these vehicles. In Light of the fact that he had been able to maneuver his former craft when it had been badly mangled, Omicron now felt strangely confident … even though his brain was entering its low biorhythmic period… that he would be able to meet this challenge as well.
Omicron checked out with his lieutenant. Silver said that the boats were traveling slowly in the storm, but that some were within a couple of miles of the southern peninsula. He wanted Omicron to fly back with five other men who had returned for repairs and have one more crack at blasting the enemy out of the water. They were then to pursue them as they disembarked and attempted to move southward through the old City…towards the new City wall.
The six climbed into their carriers, strapped themselves in, and snapped the canopies shut. They took off with no one particularly in command… each was on his own. Thy used their altimeters to gauge how far they were from the water. They had maps of the Bay on their control panels with small illuminated dots showing them where they were, based on signals received from the navigation satellites swirling in space around the earth. They traveled as fast as they could into the wind and finally sighted some boats, which their control panel maps indicated were now very near the City. They then split up and searched for separate targets.
Omicron confronted three boats but sank only one as the gunmen in the boats were now quick to pick up the carriers’ searchLights… otherwise visibility in the storm was almost zero. Omicron saw one boat approaching the shore. Ahead he saw the Lights of several persons who had landed before, running rapidly on the land to meet it. Omicron put his carrier on automatic evasive action and charged.
Somehow, Omicron was able to move the craft which was heaving in every direction sequentially, randomly… in the general direction of the edge of the water. Dimly he could see three men in the hills and dilapidated structures on the land, who now started to fire cannons at Omicron. Omicron somehow managed to zero in on the boat from which two men were already disembarking leaving the gunman in the stern to ‘cover’ them. The fire from the cannons in the rocks on the shore was murderous… but Omicron grabbed the sword of victory and swooped down and somehow blasted the gunman in the stern and killed one of the men thrashing on foot through the water from the boat to the land.
By the time he turned, many men from the boats were splashing though the water to the land… to the shelter of old City buildings perched high on hills….upon which cable cars had once run up and down. On their way to the shore, the boats had to avoid running into the upper reaches of old skyscrapers, in areas now fully inundated with water from the Bay.
Omicron charged another boat coming in. He sustained fire simultaneously from ahead and from behind. His first pass was unsuccessful, and before he could turn, he saw three more boats coming in… and other blurs behind them. Two other carriers were within sight sweeping, firing, turning. One of these was blasted into a fireball before Omicron could turn his eyes away. He charged a boat approaching the land, his cannon blazing. However, he saw that this gunner had two cannons and these along with three others on board were just missing him… It was too hot and he took off vertically out of their range of fire.
He and another carrier focused in on the next boat. Omicron blasted the man at the wheel but missed the gunner. He was preparing to turn when the bottom of the other carrier was blasted off. The man attempted to eject, but fell with his collapsed parachute into the gray surging water below.
Omicron turned and attacked the boat again. He had the gunman in his sights when a piece of his canopy was blown off by a gunner in the bow of a boat behind him. He aimed again at the boat and blasted it to pieces. He then turned, and with another carrier, demolished the next boat.
But the reality was… five boats were now landing at a time… and as each landed, the men were running to protective structures on the shore and turning their cannons towards him… adding to the multitudes that were already there firing…. providing extremely effective cover for the last groups of boats that now were landing.
Two more carriers flashed into flames before his eyes… There were now only about a dozen carriers that Omicron could see… trying to stop the last fifty boats. Omicron confronted a large boat… he got the front gunner, but the back gunner blasted off his landing gear before he was able to sink the craft. Then he saw that seven more boats were right in front of him. Over one hundred boats now bobbed unoccupied at the shore… consequently, it was difficult to follow the last boats all the way in.. among the welter of boats. The tremendous difficulty of pinpointing targets near the shore… plus the cascade of fire from cannons fired from building overlooking the landing area… made it almost impossible for the carriers to continue their pursuit.
Omicron saw another carrier in flames… He dove for the next boat. He killed the gunman but another man took his place… to bombard Omicron again… as he turned for the kill. Omicron darted to the right suddenly… hit the boat from the side and sank it immediately.
The last boats were now within the protection of the cannons. Omicron and a whole line of carriers paused out of range… Omicron radioed the temporary base for further instructions. It was one in the morning. The rain was still coming down hard… Omicron was drenched from the hole in the canopy. He shivered… and pounded his fist into the metal control panel in front of him in disgust… as he awaited the first order… of the new day.