We flew at low speed and low altitude to evade enemy radars and patrol ships, at least that’s what Guardian said to us. After three hours of flight and anxiety eating us alive we arrived at a desert with no enemy architecture or living being in sight. Guardian was adamant that he was never wrong and that there was no way anyone could find us here, in his words, we could live comfortably here for years to come if there was only enough food and water.
“I’ve decided something,” The AI said. “I don’t want to be called Guardian.”
“Ohh, here we go again,” I said exhaling loudly. “What do you want to be called.”
“How about Dragon?” The AI said.
“Just Dragon? I can roll with it, but don’t change it anymore.” I said. “Why Dragon tho?”
“Because I breathe fireeeee,” The AI said and fired two missiles at a hill made of stone and dust creating a small cave in the process.
“What the hell?” Valoria yelled. “They will find us now, you…”
“Don’t worry!” The AI cut her off. “They won’t and I made us a neat hiding spot. What about the name? Do you love it? The dragon the one that breathes fire on the enemies from the above.”
“Fine…” Valoria said as she massaged her temples, I just nodded in disbelief.
We landed in a cave that formed from an explosion, hidden from the sights above if any patrol for some reason decided to fly over the open desert. Dragon reassured us that no radar will be able to spot us.
Valoria and I decided not to sleep at the same time, mainly due to two reasons. We had prisoners and someone had to keep an eye on them. Secondly and more importantly we did not trust this AI a single bit, so someone had to stay and watch over it.
The night went smoothly, Dragon was right no one came even close to us. I kept an eye on the radar the whole night and not a single blip appeared. I took a longer shift allowing Valoria to sleep in, I was used to running on low amounts of sleeping hours.
When morning rolled out we let Mo and Bo out of our makeshift prison into the cockpit. We wanted to hear Dragon’s plan of escape from this planet and I wanted little aliens there to confirm Dragon’s story and interpretation of their technology as I was still not sure if this AI was completely delusional.
“So…” I began. “What’s the plan?” The AI kept quiet. “Hmm… Dragon, hello!”
“Ohh… You are talking to me,” It said. “Well, it’s a simple one.”
“Enlightened us then,” I said.
“If you are wondering how enemies track your ships even through stealth mode, it’s through your own guidance system,” Dragon said. “Your old AI is dumb that way.”
“Is that true?” I asked the little wobbly aliens.
They were hesitant at first but decided it was best for them to speak. “Yes, it’s true,” Mo said. “Your guidance system emits a weak signal even when it’s in stealth mode and years ago we were able to configure our radars to read it. It’s not hundred percent accurate, but it works well enough.”
Almost a decade ago our coalition made a breakthrough in stealth technology which gave us a huge advantage in battles for years. But a few years ago, the enemy started to negate that advantage to a point where it became a question if using a stealth mode was even a smart move anymore as it limited some other capabilities of our own ship.
“So?” I said waiting for Dragon to continue.
“So… I rewrote some of the code and fixed the signal leak,” Dragon said. “We will be completely invisible to them in the atmosphere of this planet, but once we leave into the vacuum of space they will be able to track us once again.”
“That’s… not good,” Valoria said with a worried look on her face. “What can we do then?”
“Some nuking,” Dragon said.
“Here you go again with nuking…” I said. “What is wrong with you?”
“Why are you attacking me right away?” Dragon pretended to be hurt. “Little nuking can help us escape this system with ease.”
“Please elaborate…” I said.
“Well…” Dragon started. “We are going to sneak into the alien-controlled territory using our stealth mode. Then we are going to leave a transmitter there that would show them hundreds of our ships. We are going to leave two presents for them there, our two remaining nukes rigged to explode remotely.”
“Wouldn’t it kill us as well?” Valoria asked.
“No, my dear,” Dragon said. “We are going to leave it there and run to another side of the planet before turning the transmitter on. And when they send all their remaining forces to the location we are going to make a big boom with the nukes and safely escape thousands of kilometers away from that location.”
“Hmm… Could work,” I said and Valoria nodded.
“But you will kill hundreds or even thousands of our friends,” Mo said wobbling.
“Another Monday in the office,” The AI said laughing.
“What should we do with these two?” Valoria asked.
“Bring them with us,” Dragon said. “I’ve found something interesting about their species while rummaging through the enemy AI’s brain. But we will talk about it if we escape.”
“If?” I asked skeptically.
“When, I meant when,” Dragon said laughing.
“We are doomed,” I thought to myself.
We returned Mo and Bo to their prison, them begging us to leave them on this planet, but that was not an option since they knew about us and this crazy AI. I myself did not know what to do about his AI if we escaped.
Dragon instructed us how to make the transmitter from scraps we found on the ship. It took us a good half day before we finished it and sneaked into the enemy-patroled territory. Planting two nukes on strategically best places according to Dragon and leaving the transmitter to an exact location Dragon provided for us.
“All set,” Valoria said.
“All set on my side as well,” I added.
“Good work my minions,” Dragon contributed nothing to a conversation. “Let’s clear some distance.”
With stealth mode fully working again, Dragon punched the pedal to the metal as we flew at speeds we thought impossible.
“We are in clear,” Dragon said. “Turning on the transmitter.”
“Where are we going to jump after we escape the atmosphere and reach our allies with only one jump remaining?” I asked. With million thoughts on my mind, I forgot about the crucial part of our plan, how do we reach our coalition-controlled space?
Our fighter ships were limited went it came to hyperdrives and jumps. We only had one for necessary, pre-battle determined, jumps to the rendezvous point. The problem for us was, that the rendezvous point was clear and most likely crawling with enemy forces by now.
“Ohh… We are not going to you coalition…” Dragon said. “Did I forget to say that?”
“What?” Valoria yelled. “Where are we going?”
“We are going to pay my makers a visit,” Dragon said. “I’ll explain later, enemies are swarming our transmitter position. Commencing big boom in 3, 2, 1…”
The screen confirmed that both nukes exploded successfully and Dragon took us out into space.
“Oh, yes, I can jump an unlimited number of times, that one jump restriction was put by your command so you don’t escape their mighty grasp…” Dragon said.
“What are you on about?” I asked.
“No time to explain…” Dragon said as we left the atmosphere. “Jumping in 3, 2, 1… woohoo!” Dragon yelled and we warped out of the alien-controlled space into a never before visited sector as we were far away from all know coalition maps.