“Are you certain it isn’t just a sensor fluctuation?” Commander Potole asked, looking over the sensor officer’s shoulder. “Have you checked with the communications satellite in the Jirus sector? Is it reporting anything unusual?”
“No, sir, I’m not getting any readings from it. It has gone completely silent.” Several red lights lit up on the displays. “Confirmed, sir, another vessel just jumped in. It’s fairly small sir, destroyer or light cruiser at best, maybe some kind of light transport ship.”
“Comms, hail them. Does the specification match anything in the database?”
“No, sir, but we are having trouble with the sensors. We are tying in telemetry from the space traffic control on the surface, but their sensors aren’t calibrated for much more than telling that something is there.” Another set of lights lit up. “Sir, another ship just jumped in…cruiser class or better. They are both approaching our position at a high rate of speed. Intercept in five minutes.”
The Commander hit a button on the console. “Captain to the bridge.” Releasing the button, he returned to the middle of the bridge. “Keep monitoring those incoming ships. Let me know when they are close enough to get a read with our own sensors. Comms, contact space traffic control and have them scramble whatever fighters they have available.” The doors to the Captain’s quarters opened, and Captain Braton stepped onto the bridge.
“Commander, report” she said, taking her seat.
“Two unknown contacts just jumped in from Jirus Sector, ma’am. We haven’t been able to get a read on them.”
“Sir, a third ship has jumped in. Cruiser class, and it is giving off some strange readings.”
“Comms, send a message to fleet command, tell them that we need assistance. Raise shields and load all weapons. I have a bad feeling about this.”
The main viewscreen showed a grainy image of the three vessels closing in. The front vessel became clearer by the minute, revealing itself to be a destroyer of an unknown type. A shimmer around the ship belied that it had shields and that they were up. Prallan looked down at his console, and saw the frigate’s own sensor data start to stream in. He ran the same mental calculations that he was certain the Commander and Captain were running in their own minds. The IDF Jinar might be an even match for the destroyer, but with two other ships it was looking hopeless.
“Still nothing from the unknown vessels, ma’am. Fleet command reports that they can have a support fleet here in thirty minutes. We have been ordered to hold and defend the colony until then.”
“Sensors, where is the main settlement relative our location in orbit?”
“One quarter rotation behind us, ma’am, in synch with the defense station that is under construction.”
“Is that station operational yet?”
“No, ma’am, it is an empty shell in space.”
“Space traffic control reports four squadrons of QT-2 fast attack fighters are launching in the next two minutes.”
The destroyer was quite clear in the viewscreen. In another minute it would be in firing range.
“Weapons, fire as soon as they are in range. If we can’t hold them off, then they will have free reign on the colony below. Let’s show them how soldiers of the Imperial Navy fight. For the Emperor!”
“For the Emperor!” The rest of the bridge crew shouted. Prallan watched the range count down on his console, finger raised above the button that would fire the frigate’s main battery, waiting for the destroyer to come into range. The console lit up, and he hit the button. Two large cannons on the forward turret fired, shaking the entire frigate. The battle had begun.
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