Two large shells flew through space, accelerated to high speed by the explosive force of the IDF Jinar’s main guns. The vessel’s smaller guns were still out of range, but these two shells slammed against the enemy destroyer’s shield, exploding in a brilliant fireball of flame and shrapnel. The destoyer’s shields shimmered, but held through the initial blast. It did not return fire, and continued to close on the smaller vessel. The two cruisers loomed behind it, lumbering along at a slow pace. The Jinar’s main guns fired again, along with several of her smaller guns. The second salvo hit the destroyer head-on, and their front shield shattered into an arc of lightning. Several of the smaller shells arrived late, passing through the collapsed shield and exploding along the hull. Armor plates blew off into space, and a fire started along the ventral hull.
“All guns, fire at will. Focus fire on their bridge. Helm, keep the destroyer between us and those cruisers. Make them risk hitting their own ship if they want to strike at us.” The Captain stood in front of the main viewscreen. She paced back and forth, like a caged animal. Suddenly space lit up around the Jinar, several heavy shockwaves rocking her. Power flickered on the bridge, and Prallan felt his weight shift as the artificial gravity shifted. “Damage report.”
“Shields holding, ma’am. Receiving reports of minor injuries throughout the ship. All systems operational.”
“What hit us? The destroyer?”
“No, ma’am, she still hasn’t fired a shot. The Light Cruiser behind her fired a salvo of missiles, but they had some trouble tracking around the destroyer. They shook her up more than us.”
“Keep close to that destroyer and keep lighting her up. We need them to waste as much time playing with us as possible.”
The Jinar poured salvo after salvo into the destroyer, ripping its hull open with each shot. The battle was looking more hopeful. Then the destroyer opened fire. Purple beams of energy converged on the forward shields of the Jinar. Prallan heard the engines scream as power was pulled from them. The console in front of him seared his hands, the surface of it hot from the electrical flow being pulled into it. The beams stopped as suddenly as they had started.
“Report.” The Captain said, picking herself off the floor.
“It was some sort of energy drain, ma’am. Main power is at thirty percent, forward shields are down, but coming back up now. Tying in auxiliary power systems into the mains to get the shields back up.”
“How are the engines?”
“Badly damaged. Top speed has been cut down by twenty percent, maneuvering by thirty. I don’t think we can keep the destroyer between us and the cruisers anymore, ma’am.”
“I don’t think we want to. Whatever the cruisers have, it can’t be worse than that.” She paused for a moment, in thought. “Put that auxiliary power into the engines, and reinforce rear shields. We’re going to make a run for it.” The helmsmen stared at her in disbelief. “Weapons, keep firing at that destroyer, I don’t want to give it an opportunity to use those guns again. Helm, set a course for the defense station.”
“Captain,” the Commander interjected, “The defense station is just a hulk in space. The outer shell isn’t finished yet.”
“Yes, but they don’t know that, and I have something better in mind as well. Comms, tell those fighters to scramble and take up a position near the defense station. Tell them they better be ready for a fight.”
Prallan looked down at the chronometer. Four minutes had passed since the message had been received from fleet command. Now, engines damaged and horribly outgunned, they had to hold off three larger ships for another twenty-six minutes.