The destruction of Mayflower and Orinoco

Destruction of Mayflower

A number of flamboyant arch-criminals saw the writing on the wall, and formed a combination for mutual defence. The leader was Jorge Luis Bertillion, King of Orinoco (a ‘conqueror’). Massing their strength at Orinoco, the pirates launched a raid in force on Mayflower. Distracting the major defences with feints, they overwhelmed the missile defences with decoys, and succeeded in detonating a catalytic thermonuclear warhead in Mayflower’s atmosphere.

On the 23th of September, 431 ATD Mayflower went the way of Old Earth. 1.17 billion people were killed.

Bertillion’s raid killed Eichberger, the board of his foundation, and the high command of the Patrol. It destroyed Eichberger Spaceways’ largest orbital port and largest shipyards. But that was not even a tithe of the wealth that supported the Eichberger Foundation. Losses to the Patrol were (at least numerically) inconsequential.

All Bertillion achieved was to waken a sleeping giant and fill it with a terrible resolve.

Destruction of Orinoco

News of the destruction of Mayflower arrived at Aeneas four days later. The most senior Patrol officer present was Commodore Kobayashi Thomas. His parents, wife, daughters, and grandchildren had been on Mayflower. Kobayashi assembled a scratch squadron consisting of all the Space Patrol enforcement vessels that could be got ready for quick departure, and gave chase to 54 Piscium, where Bertillion took refuge on his stronghold, Orinoco.

Arriving at 54 Piscium on the 3rd of November, Kobayashi’s squadron first attempted a rush at the planet, hoping to get within range to destroy the pirate ships in orbit before they could escape. Unfortunately the pirates were alert, and within hours hundreds of pirate ships were accelerating for the warp zone.

Desperate to curtail the careers of these villains, to avenge the deaths of his family and homeworld, and to end the ‘war’ that New Aachen had started, Kobayashi determined on a dreadful plan. Dismissing those ships that were not required to neutralise Orinoco’s orbital defences, he rushed the planet with the others. Kobayashi rammed his ship into the atmosphere of Orinoco and detonated its Eichberger device, producing a catalytic thermonuclear explosion.

69 million people were killed. The pirate ships were destroyed by the blast of radiation. So was most of Kobayashi’s squadron.

Renewal of the Foundation

The rest of the Patrol and the Eichberger Foundation were stunned and horrified by the destruction of Mayflower and Kobayashi’s reprisal. About 15% of the personnel gave up. The rest had their sense of purpose doubled by this overwhelming evidence of the danger of Eichberger devices in untrustworthy hands.

The only surviving trustee of the Eichberger Foundation was Eichberger’s daughter Lara. She appointed a new Board, with one new trustee from the Bounty Hunter’s Association, two from the Space Patrol, three from ‘soft’ divisions of the Foundation, one from Eichberger Spaceways, and seven chosen from among eminent supporters of the Foundation on leading colonies. The reconstituted Board promoted new managers, and appointed the most talented of the Patrol’s commodores, Julius MacArthur, to be Admiral of the Fleet.

On the 18th of April 432 (the anniversary of the Destruction of Earth) the senior managers and new Board of Trustees of the Eichberger Foundation, and the Central Command of the Space Patrol took an oath: that they would dedicate their efforts, their wealth, their lives, and their posterity to preventing every catastrophe to Mankind that it ever came in their power to prevent. Admiral MacArthur arranged that on the following 23rd of September the personnel of the Space Patrol should take the same oath, and most employees of the Eichberger Foundation did so at the same time.