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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Imperial Destiny Page 4

                The Jinar approached the hulk of the partially constructed defense station.  The destroyer was keeping pace with her, but the smaller ship danced just out of range of its energy-draining beams. A volley of missiles from the smaller cruiser exploded nearby, shaking the Jinar violently.  She fired back, hitting the destroyer with pair of heavy shells, that exploded across her stern.  The destroyer’s engines flickered out and she drifted in space.
                “Captain, the destroyer is dead in space.  That missile salvo did a number on G deck.  Multiple fires and heavy casualties, ma’am.  Sealing off those sections now.”
                “Time.” Captain Braton said, still pacing along the forward viewscreen.
                “Twenty minutes until the fleet arrives, ma’am.”
                “Comms, tell those fighters to swarm as soon as we reach the station.”
                “Captain,” Commander Potole said, looking up from the console on his chair.  “I have something interesting.  A destroyer matching that design was spotted two months ago in the Jirus sector.  Very little information was recorded before it jumped out at the Arcton Jump Point, but the hull design is identical, and power signature is very close.  If it isn’t the same ship, it is definitely of the same class and origin.”
                Braton walked over to the Commander’s chair and looked down at the screen.  “Do we know anyone that uses energy draining weapons and missiles?  It is an odd combination, but effective.”
                “No, ma’am, at least not that I’m aware of.  Most alien species we have encountered outfit ships similar to ours: conventional firepower with perhaps a few tricks.  Like us, they don’t waste an entire ship on one trick.”
                “That one trick may very well win this battle.  A small ship should be able to avoid anything these larger vessels can throw at us.  With this engine damage….it makes things uncertain.  Comms, tell the fighters their priority target is the enemy engines, followed by their bridge and sensors.  We will slow them down, then blind them.”
                The Jinar reached the defense station, sliding past the mass of girders and partially-finished armor plates.  A look out the viewport showed that it was nowhere near finished, but the enemy cruisers were still giving it a wide berth, perhaps looking for a trick.  Their patience was rewarded with a swarm of fighters.  A mass of QT-2 fast attack fighters flew through the empty space between the station and the two cruisers, their afterburners lighting up the dark emptiness.  As they closed the gap, the void was filled with bright energy from dozens of guns on the cruisers that had yet to be fired.  Pinpricks of explosive force dotted the void, but once the fighters got in close, the explosions became a rarity. 
                The QT-2 fast attack fighter was a cheap alternative to mainstream military fightercraft.  Cheap to produce, and ideal for stopping pirate raiders, it was a standard garrison force on new colonies, like Lo-Lorrane.  What it lacked in firepower and durability it made up for in raw speed.  It had closed the gap between the station and the enemy vessels in mere moments, a speed a standard fighter couldn’t hope to match, and when a fighter meets the energy beam of a cruiser, no amount of extra armor would save it.  Speed had kept those pilots alive, and their work had just begun.  The dozens of fighters that survived now poured shots into the enemy’s shields, hoping to get a shot through them to hit the engines or other critical systems. 
                “Engineering, status on the engine repairs.” Braton called over the comm system.
                “We’ve restored partial power, ma’am” A void called over the comm.  There was a lot of static, and no image appeared on the screen, implying damage to the relays across the ship.  “There aren’t a lot of other repairs we can make to the engines without going EV.  If you can get me twenty minutes of enemies not firing at us, and the ship not moving, I can get you full power.”
                “If I had twenty minutes I wouldn’t need the repairs.  Repair what you can with the engines, then get me as much shield power as possible.”  Braton turned to the Commander.  “Got any ideas?  Those fighters aren’t going to last long without our help, and they are the only thing stopping the cruisers from firing on the planet.”
                “We are in no condition to charge two cruisers, Captain,” Potole said dryly. “There doesn’t seem to be many other options, though.”

                “Find me one.”

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