Krag’var walked into Emperor Thun’kun’s throne room, trying to stop shaking at the thought of being executed after presenting his report. He looked at the members of the Emperors entourage and saw them averting their eyes, knowing his fate. As he approached the Emperor he knelt and waited for permission to speak.
“Speak.” announced the Emperor impatiently as he has been waiting on this report for several cycles.
“I have completed the investigation into the failure of the Sol conquest your eminence.” Krag’var said without looking up to face the Emperor.
“It is about time. Now, who do I blame and are they still alive so I can execute them?” the Emperor said angrily.
“There is not a single individual to blame your eminence, but it was multiple failures that all seem to be due to complacency.” Krag’var meekly said hoping to get the chance to explain before being killed in a fit of rage the Emperor is known for.
“Explain!” yelled the Emperor suppressing his rage at the first failure of his species in thousands of generations.
“As you know, the subjugation of the humans went as planned and without any surprises. Our ships entered orbit and destroyed all the major cities and military complexes resulting in the destruction of half of the population, as per the standard invasion plans. This is where the first point of failure occurred.”
“Point of failure!” the Emperor erupted. “It was a complete success, the humans capitulated when they realized that they were no match for our superior might. They fell in line and were used for twenty of their solar rotations without any significant resistance. How was there a failure!”
“We destroyed their military complexes, but we failed to destroy all of their weapons.” Krag’var said knowing that correcting the Emperor usually results in immediate death.
“The reports said that we destroyed all the weapons they used against us. Are you saying that General Mrap’gan lied on the reports?”
“No your eminence, we did destroy all weapons that were used against us. My finding is that they had so many weapons, that after the first ones failed they did not try any others.”
“Their weapons were useless against us, so what if we did not destroy all of them.” the emperor said as he leaned back and waved his hand as if to brush aside the notion.
“They did not use them against us directly, but found other uses for them.”
“How did we not detect what they were doing?” the Emperor asked becoming curious as to how such a primitive species could get the upper hand on his great empire.
“That leads us to the second point of failure. As you said, the humans capitulated quickly and we were able to send down the exosuit plasma drillers and ore haulers to get the deep mining started right away. There was only one major counter attack in the first solar rotation, and it was quelled quickly and, as required, we executed one hundred thousand humans as punishment. They seemed to learn the lesson and there was no more resistance. For five solar rotations everything was proceeding as normal.”
“Yes, yes, I know all this. Get to the point of failure.” the Emperor said exasperatingly.
“As with all of our conquests, there are always pirates and contraband peddlers that will evade our detection and expropriate some local goods to sell, usually just rare items wanted to fill some rich connoisseurs collection or some kind of local food or drink that is part of the latest fad. There are these fruits that cause a burning sensation and can cause death in some cases, but the young generation are willing to chance it to try and one up another on who can eat the hottest.” Krag’var looked up at the Emperor and saw that he had placed his hand on his mace, and he realized he better get to the point quickly else his death would be near. “Because it is so common, most of these incursions are ignored, but in one instance it was noticed when one ship left with a plasma driller. That is not unheard of, but rare, so it was reported, a new one requisitioned, and everything continued on. It was twenty cycles later before the ship was apprehended and they found the transponder to the plasma driller embedded in the contraband they had onboard. Their failure was that they did not notify General Mrap’gan that they only found a transponder, not a complete driller so he did not know the humans had it.”
“Why did we not detect the humans using the driller and where were they storing the material they removed if they were using it?” the Emperor asked.
“Without a transponder, the drillers are hard to track and the humans tunneled deep under a large deposit of uranium which interfered with our scanning signals. This showed the third point of failure. Once a vein of ore is mined out, we never scan that vein again. The humans were able to put the material they were removing into the old veins so we never found it.”
“It is too hot for humans to survive at that depth without an exosuit and they only had one, so what good did their digging do?”
“That is the fourth point of failure. We take some of our basic technology for granted, but the humans did not have access to it before and it allowed them to advance their abilities. Something as simple as the cooling systems we use is far advanced from their current capability, same for the magnetics that we use in the plasma control systems. With these advancements, they were able to create a tolerable environment to work in.”
“Even so, what did they do with the tunnels?”
“Not just tunnels, but larger caverns that they set up manufacturing equipment and even a foundry. That brings up the fifth point of failure. We carefully watched the humans construction projects and any equipment that was created to make sure where they went and what they were being used for, but we failed to pay attention to the parts they were making. The humans were having parts made all across the planet and they were being smuggled into the tunnels to create equipment. I do not have an exact time frame, but I estimate that it took five solar rotations to create all the manufacturing processes needed.”
“What were they manufacturing?”
“First they created more plasma diggers, although their design was primitive and not as durable as our design, they were able to create them quickly. With the diggers they created deep tunnels all around the world to move supplies, deeper than our scans could pick up. Using our designs for the exosuits, they also created an army armed with rail guns they were able to create with our magnetic and cooling technologies. They mined uranium and created aluminum projectiles with uranium tips and cores. I have estimated they built these weapons for ten solar rotations”
“Even with that kind of weapon, if they attacked they would be destroyed from orbit, so it would do them no good.”
“Yes, which leads us to the sixth failure.” Krag’var said, extremely surprised that he has not been killed yet. “Despite protocols, our orbital patterns were predictable over long periods and the humans figured them out. They dug deep pits below large rock formations at strategic locations, lowered the nuclear weapons we failed to destroy into the bottom of them, then filled them with water and set off the weapons sending the rock formations directly into our ships.”
“We would have detected the detonations and our shields would easily stop them. How did that fail?” the Emperor asks growing weary of the excuses.
“For twenty solar rotations, there was no activity and the captains grew complacent, so there was no officers on the bridge of four of the ships during the attack, which would be the seventh failure. The fifth ship had only one officer on the bridge, but he was not close enough and familiar enough with the shield controls to activate them in time, exposing the eighth failure in making sure all officers are fully trained on all equipment.”
“How was he an officer without being trained?”
“He was promoted because of nepotism, his father was the captain. The only ship to survive was General Mrap’gans flag ship. He had a full complement on his bridge and they got their shields up in time and moved partially out of the way, but they still incurred damage from the hit that restricted their movement.”
“By protocols he should have ordered a full evacuation and started glassing the planet!” yelled the Emperor.
“He did your highness. This gives us the ninth failure. The humans used the army they created to take over several of the shuttles and managed to fly them to the generals ship. Our systems are so easy to use, the humans did not need any experience to fly them and we do not have any safeties to stop them from using them.”
“Let me guess, the next failure was that we did not detect them in the shuttles.” the Emperor said being pretty sure he knew what was coming next.
“Correct, that was the tenth failure. They managed to get on board and exposed the eleventh failure. Usually there are enough guards in the landing bay to handle any kind of incursion like this, but they had gotten lax and only a minimal number of guards were on duty and they were quickly overwhelmed. Then the humans did something we had never anticipated exposing the twelfth failure, they used the plasma cutters to weld the doors shut. When the rest of the guards arrived, they could not get in until they could get the doors cut, but it was too late. The humans had used the plasma cutters to breach the engine cores of the shuttles and detonated them destroying the ship and the general with it.”
“Suicide mission, at least they died as warriors instead of cowards. That I can respect, as for the rest, we will send a new fleet and destroy the humans…”
As the Emperor was giving orders to insure the same mistakes were not made, Krag’var received a new message on his data pad. “Your eminence, the is one more failure to report.”
“Who could be responsible for another failure if everyone is dead?” the Emperor asked in a resigned tone.
“This failure would be mine. It appears I led the humans here to our homeworld.”
As soon as he finished that statement, a blinding flash was the last thing they saw when one of their freighters, fully loaded with mined material and ore, slammed into the planet at maximum speed.