The Breaking of Chemical Bonds

The Breaking of Chemical Bonds
Product information
Type Short story
Author Steven Mohan Jr.
Pages 19
Publication information
Publisher BattleCorps
First published 30 January 2007
Era Jihad era
Timeline 19 April 3065—12-13 March 3068
Series Case White (series)

The Breaking of Chemical Bonds is a short story by Steven Mohan Jr. that was published online on BattleCorps on 30 January 2007 as the second installment of the Case White series. The entire series, including this story, was also published in print in 2013 in the fourth BattleCorps anthology, Fire for Effect.

Teaser text[edit]

Knowing what comes when they reach Terra, the crew of the CSS Vision of Truth is spending the night before running last-minute drills, making sure that newbies and old hands alike are prepared for the battle to come. But what starts as a simulation of fire in an engine room sets Paul Ridge's mind in motion. He's seen the power of fire. He's seen the breaking of chemical bonds. He remembers...

Plot summary[edit]

Adept Theta IX Johann Karlsson is overseeing damage control drills on the Vision of Truth in anticipation of Case White tomorrow, but his charges react poorly to the simulated mainspace fire. Adept Theta IV Paul Ridge is so nervous that he drops a fire extinguisher, which turns into a missile and injures a fellow sailor. Karlsson notes that Ridge seems to be breaking up under the stress, but he fears that pulling him off-duty will break him completely.

Flashback scenes show that Karlsson and Ridge were involved in a real mainspace fire three years earlier following an explosion. Through luck and skill Karlsson saved Ridge and the entire ship, and although he was essentially just tailing Karlsson, Ridge was also hailed as a hero afterwards.

During the Case White space battle on 13 March, Ridge leaves his post to meet Karlsson in engineering. He tells Karlsson that he feels Karlsson is a good man and that he's sorry before he knocks him down. Then Ridge triggers an explosion to the engine like he already did three years earlier, knowing that this time, there will be no hero to save the ship.


  • The Vision of Truth suffered an explosion to its number two engine during Case White (implied to be Ridge's sabotage act), followed by a broadside from a friendly vessel due to another act of sabotage in what may or may not have been a concerted action. Together, these actions crippled the Vision of Truth and led to its destruction.