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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Imperial Destiny Page 5

                The Jinar screamed towards the drifting destroyer.  Over half of the enemy running lights were out, and plasma fires burnt in several places.  Prallan hoped that their weapon relays were damaged.  The plucky frigate couldn’t take much more and hope to keep fighting.
                “Time” Braton said, leaning over the helmsmen’s station, watching the navigational readout.
                “Fifteen minutes, ma’am.”
                The plan they had formed seemed as suicidal as a direct charge, but while planning they had lost half of the fighters that were swarming over the enemy cruisers.  That had forced them into this desperate move.  While the Jinar, like most Imperial ships, was sleek and much longer than she was wide, the enemy vessels were more boxlike, almost as wide as they were long, with long spikes poking out of every side where weapons and sensors were located.  The enemy destroyer’s shields were down, so the plan was for the Jinar to approach from the side opposite of the cruisers, using the destroyer as a shield, blocking the view of their approach and preventing any direct fire from the cruisers.  The smaller guns would open up on those spikes, blowing out any weapons remaining on the approaching side.  The larger guns would hit the reactor as hard as possible as the Jinar passed, and hopefully outrun the explosion it caused.  That maneuver would only get them two-thirds of the way to the cruisers, and the last sprint would be within the enemy’s optimum range.
                The Jinar’s guns fired, shredding many of the destroyer’s spikes, causing another fire to burst out.  One of the surviving spikes pulsed with energy, arcing purple lightning along the front shield.
                “Burn it, Prallan, kill that gun, we can’t waste shield power.”
                “Yes, ma’am.” Prallan aimed one of the main guns at the base of the spike, and fired.  The shot shredded the armor, and sent the spike spinning off into space.  The energy pulse died, but the force of the explosion caused the destroyer to drift.  An indicator lit up on the console.  “Ma’am, the shot caused the destroyer to drift, and one of the cruisers is trying to lock on to us.”
                “Helm, increase our transversal velocity.  Ensign, how long until we are in range?”
                “On our new course, two minutes,” Prallan reported.  “Blowing the destroyer.”  He unloaded the rest of the ready guns into the destroyer, as the Jinar flew away from it.  Secondary explosions triggered throughout the hull, spelling the end of the ship. 
                “Time.”
                “Thirteen minutes, ma’am.”
                The ship shuddered as long-range shots began coming in from the forward cruiser.  Only one hit, sending blue lightning along the starboard shield.  They couldn’t afford to get hit more than a few times.
                “Helm, we need to get into gunnery range as quickly as possible.  I don’t like getting shot at and not being able to fire back.”
                Prallan watched the distance counter tick down towards the main guns maximum effective range.  Another volley of enemy shots landed in the meantime, but none hit the frigate.  The effect of their new course had confused the enemy gunners enough to avoid damage but that luck would not hold out.  The gun indicators went green, indicating their reloading was complete, almost the same instant that the range indicator ticked down into range.  “Guns ready, ma’am.”
                “FIRE!”
                The two heavy guns thundered, shaking the frigate.  The shots streamed towards the heavier ship, and exploded dead-center.  At maximum range, their sensors didn’t have the resolution to see the damage, but there were no fires, and the enemy shields still held.  The cruiser returned fire, and two blue energy bolts struck home.  The starboard shields collapsed, and lightning arced along the hull of the Jinar.  A heavy explosion rocked the ship.
                “Report.” Braton commanded, eyes not leaving the sensor display.
                “Damage reports coming in from E deck.  There’s a fire in the secondary fuel storage bunker, and two corridors are depressurized.  Emergency bulkheads are closed around those sections, and we are venting the fuel out of that bunker.  Medical bay reporting main power failure, they are operating on backups.” Potole was working the command console on his chair vigorously, issuing orders to deal with the damage.
                “Are the corridors to the medical bay pressurized?”
                “The main corridor is not, but the secondary corridor is.”
                “Get engineering teams to seal those breaches.  We can’t lose access to the medical bay.”
                The Jinar shuddered again as Prallan fired the main battery again.  The shots landed dead center again, and when the flame from the explosion dissipated, a smaller flame remained.  At least part of the explosion had breached the enemy shield.
                “Helm, roll the ship, give them our port shields to play with.  That will give us a chance to seal the breaches and reestablish the starboard shields.”  Before the helmsman could comply with the order, the cruiser fired again, and blue lightning headed for their unshielded starboard side.

                “Brace for impact!” Potole yelled.

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