UR Talenti, a Peacekeeper Class Destroyer, dropped out of hyperspace just outside the
Creysys System followed by the three Freighters she was escorting. The Captain looked over his status monitors. Everything showed green. He nodded to the helmsman
“Aye, sir; Proceeding in-system” replied the helm.
Within a few hours this escort run, his final mission, would be over and he would finally be able to retire. A beach house on Andromeda, the twin suns ushering beautiful sunsets. The smell of coffee in the morning and waking up next to that which he loved most in the entire universe, his wife.
An alarm went off. “Sir, we’ve detected incoming signatures out of hyperspace. One…no…make that four; inbound port side,” said the sensors operator.
The Captain leaned forward and took a deep breath. Daydreams about Andromeda would have to wait. Retirement and the love of his life would need to wait. An easy assignment he had thought; my final assignment. But nothing was given in the service, everything had to be earned. There were no gifts even after almost thirty years in the fleet. The Captain gathered himself, stood up straight and gave his orders.
“Helm, maintain initial course. Keep us between them and the freighters. Are they moving to intercept us?”
“Communications coming in,” said the Comms Operator.
“On screen,” replied the captain.
The main screen of the deck hung above the Captain’s chair. It lit up in green letters with a simple message.
Surrender the Minister Dalenn or you will be fired upon.
Captain Daemyn studied the words muttering to himself. “That doesn’t make any sense. Minister Dalenn isn’t on board. We’re escorting a shipment from …” He stopped as he realized. The shipment evaluations, the route he was required to follow, consistent mandatory status reports; all of it began to make sense. He was too focused on finishing the mission to take notice.
“We are being actively scanned now. They are plotting a course for the freighters.”
“Sound the alert,” he ordered, then to himself “treacherous bastards. This is not how it ends.”
A voice boomed over the ship’s internal auxiliary communication system and the lights dimmed as Klaxons sounded off: “RED ALERT! RED ALERT! This is not a drill. Combat personnel to battle stations. All non-essential personnel please move to designated areas. ”.
Daemyn felt his heart continue at a steady pace. His vision sharpened. Auditory signals fired with crystal clear precision. He gave his orders.
“Hail the Freighters. Tell them to accelerate and keep us between them and the enemy. Switch sensors from passive to active and find out what we’re fighting.”
The Peacekeeper Class is a heavy ship, heavier than ordinary destroyers in its class. With a 600mm pulse cannon on its hull, twin fore-torpedo cannon and twelve Heavy Laser cannons lining both its port and starboard sides, it’s a force to be reckoned with. In close quarters, The Peacekeeper can tear apart a good number of small vessels without initiating a cooling sequence.
The sensor operator’s voice broke in.
“It’s a Crimson Class Battleship! Only one, the others were decoys. They’ve identified us and, if they maintain their speed, they will be entering their maximum weapon range in a few moments.”
The Captain gritted his teeth. The Peacekeeper could handle four vessels in tight even if they were pirate skiffs. A Crimson Class Battleship, however, was a different story. More firepower, thicker shields and a range that doubled his own ship’s capacity meant he was going to need to get close if he wanted to do any real damage.
The Captain barked his commands with a methodical punctuality that only a seasoned officer could maintain in such a tense situation.
“Helm, bring the engines to full burn and swing us thirty degrees port-side. Get in close so we can light ‘em up. We need to buy a little more time for the Freighters to get deeper in-system. Send out a distress beacon, aim all cannons fore and brace for fire. I want the six-hunda- mil ready to rock in twenty seconds.”
Twenty-nine years in the fleet had shown him that it wasn’t always about the numbers. In a fight where one was outgunned it was the courage of the crew that prevailed. He had once been aboard a ship that had been picked apart by a cruiser that didn’t even appear as a blip on the sensor scan. While floating through enemy space, running out of oxygen, his men rallied together and found a way to stuff thirteen men into a seven man life-pod. That life-pod made its way, undetected, to a local fleet battle-station where they geared up and orchestrated a successful demolition operation on the same cruiser that took apart their ship. The Captain had faith in his crew and they had faith in him. Staring this Battleship in the face, though, he knew he would lose. He knew he was going to need to sacrifice his ship for his convoy to escape and his mission to be completed.
After Twenty-nine years, that was a sacrifice he was definitely willing to make.
“Captain, we’re in position,” said the Helmsman.
“Good.” He replied. Hold Fast.
The UR Talenti rocked as it was hit with Heavy Laser fire from the battleship, exactly two times further than The Peacekeeper’s range. Still, he was not about to budge. Another few hits shook the ship and warning alarms sounded indicating a critical system had been damaged. The Damage Control Team on the Talenti was one of the best he had had the privilege of serving with; he knew they would be on top of it. As long as the major systems didn’t get hit, they could keep fighting. He never went down without a fight. Another damage alarm sounded after a second volley.
Not much left on the port side. Daemyn thought.
“We’re in range sir, but they are changing course for the Freighters. They might be counting us out,” the helmsman said.
“Hold fire.” The Captain paused. “Give me another full burn. Roll the ship and bring us about behind her. Brace for combat maneuver.” He took his chair and strapped himself in. He only hoped it wasn’t too late.
The helmsman pivoted the ship just as another spray of Heavy Laser fire peppered the hull of the Talenti. He rolled the ship putting her upside down, and swapping the port and starboard sides. The next volley nailed the starboard side bringing the shield levels down but keeping the ship intact and allowing the freighters to gain space between the attackers. The massive battleship passed on the starboard side. The rumble of the engines shook the battered hull of the Talenti and some sparks flew out of a control panel on the main deck. The helmsman pivoted the ship 180 degrees so that it faced towards the aft of the Battleship.
He wasn’t going to get a better shot.
The Talenti Heavy Laser fire spat violently and two proton torpedoes slammed into the enemy ship.
The Weapons Officer reported.
“Direct hit but they’re still pulling away. We are down a couple Heavy Laser turrets. Damage Control hasn’t been able to get them repaired yet.”
“We have also lost our auxiliary sensors,” replied the Sensor Operator
“Get everyone suited up and start sending non-essential personnel to the life-pods. It doesn’t look like we’ll be making it back to port, but I’m not going to let him get the freighters. Give me whatever we have left in the engines, we have to change our velocity towards him. And where is my six hundred?!” Daemyn shouted as he gripped the command chair tighter.
He could feel the inertial dampeners begin to fade out as the ships main engine accelerated in its final burn.
“600 mike mike on stand-by, Captain,” reported the Weapons Officer. “The gun is at a hundred percent but our stabilizers are shredded. I don’t know if the ship will hold when we fire, sir.”
She’ll hold the Captain, thought. “Where are we at with those life-pods?”
“Final pod just deployed. Non-essentials will be clear of the combat zone in ten seconds.” reported the Comm Officer.
Another volley of Heavy Lasers spat out from the Talenti but The Peacemaker’s Heavy Laser fire wasn’t enough to crack the shell of the battleship.
Daemyn narrowed his eyes on the target. “On my mark, convert our reserve shield energy to the hull and fire the 600.”
“Aye, sir,” replied the Weapons Officer. Daemyn thought for a second he heard hesitation in the man’s voice. Understandable. If the hull’s shields didn’t stabilize the ship from the force of the pulse cannon underneath, it would be torn in half.
“Final Pod is away,” said the Comm Officer.
“Convert shield energy,” ordered the Captain.
“Energy Converted.” Replied the Sensor Operator
“Let ‘em have it.” The Captain gripped the chair and clenched his jaw. A low hum filled the main deck as the 600mm pulse cannon initiated its final charge. A second later, a bolt of thick, blue pulse energy flashed toward the Crimson Class and connected in a bright blaze of electric orange causing the accelerators on the battleship to sputter. The blast from the cannon shook the entire ship dislocating scaffolding, upending chairs, and sending crewmembers sprawling to the ground. Internal fires erupted and small explosions could be heard throughout the interior of the ship. The Damage Control Team Leader was saying something over the intercom but it was separated by static. No one could answer him.
The Weapons Officer used his control deck to prop himself back into his chair. He had a large gash on his face and the electrical system that connected most of his instruments had fried and burned his hand. He took a look at the main reading, miraculously undamaged, and gave his report
“Enemy’s main drive is failing; velocity slowing. Not sure where we’re at, but the Freighters are out of range and have made the jump in-system.”
The Comm Officer chimed in. Her bun had fallen out and her hair was a heap of uncontrollable blonde waves. “Incoming jump signatures; The UR Osiris and Calypso are here, they’ve locked on to our beacon. I’d hail them but our main communication system is down. What do you recommend, sir?… Captain?” The Comm Officer turned around. Captain Daemyn was hunched over unconscious, blood dripping down the side of his face.
Edited by Shinlocke