God Hunters

Writing Prompt: We spread throughout the stars. But our enemies are not alien races, exterminator machines, or extradimensional invaders. No, our enemies are the gods, for humanity is the last, and only remaining mortal race in the universe.

***

“Sharpen your blades, gentlemen.”

Commander Dovken paced the tube past the bunks, hitting at the railings with his old policeman’s baton. “We’ve got us a bogey,” he shouted.

Lieutenant Dennis stood at salute by the vending machine in the thoroughfare. In a brisk follow, said: “We think it’s a class A2, commander. One of the biggest in the sector.”

Dovken held back a skip. “You don’t say,” he mumbled through his moustache, broad smile on the up. Finally, he thought. An A2. After 11 godforsaken years in the shit, his very own Moby Dick. Lickety fucking split. He sped to a charge, caught his reflection in the metal sheen of the wall. “Time to shine,” he said.

“I’ll try my best,” said Dennis on the follow.

“Wasn’t to you, idiot.”

The bridge was a frenzy gone frozen as he entered, a dozen wide-eyed officers held breathless in wait for the order. “What are we waiting for? To stations!” yelled Dovken. “And Johnson, fetch me a kipper.”

“Right away, sir.”

Now at the radar: “Keggles, where is she?”

“A hundred knots past Bertha, commander.”

Bertha was the second largest asteroid in the belt and the only nearby object that was bigger than their prize. Strategies rushed through Dovken’s head to a flush. You bloody ripper, he smiled.

“Your kipper, commander,” said Johnson, returned.

The unlit kippercigar to a corner chew, Dovken went to the captain’s chair, his own since Captain Worr had succumbed to the fever.

“Raise us over the crest, Draymond.”

“Roger that.”

The turbine spun to a whir and the rudders went to the straight, and the vessel rose quick through the vacuum up the rocky curve to the near blinding across the way from the binary sun Sirius.

The SS Crabstick was a fine spacemarine, Dovken reckoned. Biggest of her class, quicker than a marlin-astral, with more firepower than a sundragon. Very fine indeed, he’d muttered, stroking the chair leather.

Corporal Keggles jumped from his seat. “It’s coming right for us commander,” he said in a panic.

“Torpedos on the ready, men. It’s showtime,” said Dovken. “Johnson, the window tint. Can’t see a bloody thing.”

“Aye aye Captain.”

Commander.”

“Commander!”

The crew twisted on their chairs and edged forward for a better view. Dovken tried lighting his cigar, but it was too wet with saliva, and from his leftward toss it hit Doctor Robbins square in the ear.

Movement ahead, the room went silent. Big shadow rose slow at Bertha’s horizon, shape hard to make in front the sunlight blue. Then an eclipse: and it was a body, silhouette fuzzed at the edge, limbs on the towering rise, three red eyes centre the moon-sized head.

“I’ll be damned,” said Robbins, still wiping the spit from his cheek.

Jehovah

whispered the awe-struck crew.

“Mother of God,” gritted Dovken, squeezing the armrests as he pushed the chair back and forth in feverish elation. The men faced forward with skipping heartbeats, rapt, and it was only Dennis whom noticed Dovken’s erection when he stood.

Jehovah brought down a gargantuan hand hard to the surface and from there a shockwave rippled over the ship, its full mass then exposed as it pulled itself up, four-armed, three-legged, to a several hundred kilometre stand, arms in a muscular flare, mein of lightning-hair brightening to a dazzle, its dangling front-tail dragging smooth a mountain-flattening mile-wide trail.

“Fire!” said Dovken.

Staggered torpedos stocked with devil-blood shot from the ship fast though the airless shadow, the creature bare able to pivot in time. Six landed fair the shoulder, which quick turned a burning green. A mortal wound. Jehovah swayed and clasped itself and then fell to its knees with an almighty thunder, eyes crying white with pain, its booming scream spread deafening and cosmic.

The crew erupted in cheer. Dovken, beside himself, turned away with a fist-pump.

“Johnson, fetch me another kipper,” he said. “This time, a real one.”

“The fish, sir?”

“That’s right, the fish. Make sure it’s smoked. We’ve got celebrating to do.”

***

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