Meteorite cluster attack
Yamato completed a 1,000 light year jump and was suddenly left floating in space. It was as if the ship was enjoying a moment of rest, watching the flow of the majestic Milky Way galaxy off its port side.
Sitting in his control box, Okita stretched extravagantly.
“We did it, Mr. Tokugawa.”
“Yes. Of course, it was also due to Shima’s deep insight into the course correction. First off, I was about to say that it was an auspicious start.”
“Hmm. Anyway, we have advanced 1,000 light years. With 147,000 light years still to go. Gentlemen, we’ve just begun. Continue to do your best…!”
Iscandar was still an enormous distance away. Despite Juuzo Okita’s shout of encouragement, the crew was consumed by deep anxiety and frustration. It was then that the shadow of a meteorite was caught on the main radar.
“Meteorite to starboard! It’s rushing toward our ship! Distance, 15,000 kilometers…!”
Daisuke Shima’s instructions flew quickly in response.
“Course correction! Minus 4.5 degrees!”
“Minus 4.5 degrees, modification complete!”
The main radar supervisor raised his voice again
“Meteorites above us and to port! A large number! Is it…a dozen? No, two or three dozen! Again, headed right for us!”
“Rocket engine, full power! Straight ahead!”
“Understood! Rocket engine, output 100 percent. Straight ahead!”
Before long, meteorites passed Yamato on the right and left as if to graze its hull. Daisuke let out a heavy breath.
“Whoah…! This is a dangerous place ”
The main radar supervisor looked to Okita and cried out for help.
“Meteorites closing in from above and below, from the right and the left! A large number, all headed for us. What’s going on?”
Okita’s expression was tense.
“Gamilas…! These aren’t just meteorites. They’re obviously being moved artificially!”
“They’re closing in! Distance, 10,000 kilometers!”
“All right! Kodai, blow them out of space!”
Now they couldn’t think pessimistically about the future. They couldn’t spare any thoughts in the midst of a Gamilas attack. Susumu lunged forcefully toward the panel as if to bite into it.
“All gun turrets! Destroy those meteorites before they can get through to Yamato! Repeat—”
The cluster of ordinary-looking meteorites was concentrated like shotgun shells fired toward Yamato.
“Sanada! How much energy is in the Wave-Motion Gun?”
Sasuke Sanada looked frustrated.
“It’s at half-capacity, not enough yet to be useful.”
Before long, each gun turret fired its Californium atomic projectiles at the meteorite group, causing a tremendous chain explosion. But more meteorites continued forward, unhindered.
“Again, more incoming projectiles of the meteorite type! At this rate, they’ll…”
Okita charged out from behind his control box to stand behind the radar supervisor.
“What’s the status to the rear?”
“Nothing abnormal there at present, but…”
The third radar supervisor turned his head sharply.
“But what’s that!?”
“There is something. Actually, there’s a black shadow that hasn’t moved at all.”
Indeed, there was a vague black shadow in the lower corner of the third radar.
“It’s too big for an enemy squadron…and it doesn’t seem to be moving. It could be a cloud of special gas, but it’s inconclusive.”
“Can you tell how large it is?”
“Yes, almost 10,000 times the size of Yamato.”
“About 100,000 kilometers. It’s not visible on the video panel.”
“Hmm…it may be a small gas nebula. Well, there’s no other way. In this state, we’re bound to be damaged by those meteorite missiles. The ship will retreat!”
Daisuke shouted and Yamato began to move rapidly backward.
“Understood! Full speed retreat!”
The meteorite swarm continued on its course toward Yamato, but before long, it miraculously halted. Yamato had already retreated almost 100,000 kilometers, then stopped at the same time as the meteorites and prepared for a followup attack. For a moment, a sigh of relief spread through the first bridge and Susumu Kodai bucked up his courage.
“You Gamilas! Are you frightened by the power of Yamato when we show up where you weren’t expecting us?”
But immediately afterward, a cry echoed out from the third radar supervisor.
“C-captain! The v-video panel!”
With a shaking finger, the third radar supervisor hit a switch to send his picture to the video panel. The view on the screen was incredible.
The video panel screen was completely filled with a massive Gamilas battalion looking down at Yamato. Yamato looked pathetically small, like a mouse surrounded by hordes of cats numbering in the tens of thousands – literally countless Gamilas space squadrons. Juuzo Okita could only gasp in utter amazement.
It wasn’t strange at all to have mistaken such an overwhelming army for a gas nebula. As expected, the alien Gamilas were a fearsome enemy. Not even Okita knew their strength, but this was far more than anyone expected.
Daisuke screamed from his sub-control box.
“Captain! It’s useless. We can’t win this time no matter how hard we fight!”
Okita had no answer.
Okita nodded and switched his panel mic to shipwide broadcasting.
“Gentlemen of Yamato…this is Captain Juuzo Okita. It seems we have already met our fate. Now Earth will go completely extinct as well. However, gentlemen! I have no intention of going down quietly before the enemy! If I am to fall, I intend to take down 100 or 200 of them with me! Gentlemen! Will you fight with me in this last, decisive battle?”
A simultaneous, heartbreaking cheer broke out inside Yamato.
“Let’s do it, Captain! We trust you with the Earth and our lives, Captain!”
“Well, thank you. Kodai, you may avenge your older brother to your heart’s content, too!”
Susumu’s entire body trembled with excitement.
“All hands to combat stations!”
However, Yamato was completely surrounded, its life no more than a thread in the wind. Sasuke Sanada slammed the energy gauge with a groan.
“If only we could use the Wave-Motion Gun…!”
But then a strange thing happened; one corner of the Gamilas formation showed mysterious movement and fell apart. The reason was understood immediately. It had been disrupted from behind as a single space ship pushed through the crowd. It also caused Okita to cry out.
“What’s that? ”
It was the same space ship that had saved Yamato from the mass of ice lumps, the mysterious vessel modeled after a sailing ship that had suddenly disappeared. The Gamilas legion was surprised by the sudden intruder, but soon recovered and opened up a counterattack.
White light reached out from the Gamilas ships to pierce the mysterious spaceship one after another. But what happened next?! It absorbed all of the white beams and rendered them completely ineffective. Before long, the mystery ship closely approached Yamato and sent a strange communication.
“… Yamato, follow me in the Phantom! Do what I do! Yamato! Hurry, Yamato!”
The metallic voice that flowed out of the speakers on the first bridge was unmistakably Japanese.
“Hurry, Yamato…follow my Phantom!”
Okita decided quickly.
“Well, let’s do it as he says!”
Yamato‘s hull took intense fire from the Gamilas and continued to desperately fight back as it followed he space ship called Phantom. The enemy formation had completely collapsed from Phantom‘s surprise attack and the angry Gamilas forces began a furious chase of both Phantom and Yamato.
Behind Phantom and Yamato, the Gamilas forces swarmed and chased them like hornets. Yamato had no other option now but to follow Phantom.
“Yamato, this is Yamato. Phantom, reply…!”
On board Yamato, an unnerved crewman repeatedly called out to Phantom.
“Captain, it’s no use. There’s no replay on any frequency!”
Phantom merely flew on silently. Gradually, an awesome sight appeared in front of them. A huge black circular cloud, about ten kilometers in diameter, opened up as if to swallow Yamato.
“What is that?”
“Some kind of nebula!”
As Phantom sped straight toward the block cloud, the first bridge buzzed with uncertainty. And suddenly, the voice from Phantom rang through Yamato.
“This is Phantom…the huge black object ahead is not a cloud. It is a kind of space cave, a fault in space. I call it a black hole. We are plunging into it. Follow my Phantom.”
True to these words, Phantom soon disappeared into the dark hole. Daisuke Shima cried out in a voice that seemed about to burst into tears.
“Captain! What do we do? ”
There was no trace left of Phantom after it entered the black hole, and there was no clue to the outcome. Daisuke’s fear was entirely natural. Besides, the true identity of the Phantom itself was still unknown.
“It doesn’t matter! Keep after Phantom!”
Okita decided to stake everything on Phantom. Anyway, the alternative was for Yamato to be annihilated. Besides, the Gamilas horde was approaching from behind.
“Then we go in!”
At Daisuke’s instructions, Yamato soon submerged into the darkness. The black hole allowed no light to escape. All of Yamato‘s lights were absorbed into its darkness, an alternate dimension of darkness itself. Again, the voice from the Phantom emerged from that darkness.
“First, cut your engine. There’s a mysterious dark flow inside the black hole. Allow it to take over and it should carry your ship out into space before long. When running with this flow, it’s impossible for the Gamilas to track us. You can be confident in finding peace again…”
The low voice from the darkness continued calmly.
“My name is Captain Harlock …think of me as someone praying heartily for your safe passage. Yes…soon my Phantom will pass through the darkness. Goodbye, gentlemen…goodbye Yamato…”
The voice soon faded away. Who was this Captain Harlock? Why was the Phantom coursing through boundless space? Within Yamato, not a voice was heard in the wake of this rapid succession of mysterious events.
Before long, a starry sky in the shape of a celestial globe appeared in the dark before Yamato. It shone brighter as it approached.