Friday, August 2, 2013

Imperial Destiny Page 6

                Prallan was thrown from his chair by the force of the impact, the world going dark for a moment.  Someone helped him to his feet, and he got a view of the damage the last volley had done.  Several other officers were picking themselves up off of the deck, and the main lights were off, shrouding the bridge in the dim haze of the emergency lighting.  Several of the bridge stations were dark, including his own console.
                “Damage report.” Braton said, helping the helmsmen up and to his station, which thankfully was still active.
                “Shield generators are down, ma’am.  Some of our comm lines were shattered by that last volley.  Communication with the medical bay and engineering section are down.”  Potole reported.
                “Weapons station is down, ma’am.  We have no communications with the armory.”  Prallan tried to get the console restarted, but it was beyond hope of a field repair.
                “Ensign, get to the armory and continue firing from there.  Give them everything we’ve got.”
                “Yes, ma’am.”  Prallan headed for the main corridor.  During battle, everyone was at their stations, and the corridor was empty.  He jogged down to the lift section.  Standard procedure was to shut down the lifts during battle, and utilize the accessways built into each deck.  It was a minor inconvenience on a small ship with only seven decks, but on a battleship with forty or fifty decks, it became a good reason to stay in peak physical shape.  With one turret, the armory was located on B deck, in close proximity to the guns, but below several inches of armor plates that would prevent a lucky shot from exploding the magazine.  Prallan took hold of the ladder, and began his climb up.  The ship shuddered violently as he climbed.  The impact wasn’t nearly as hard as the one that threw him to the floor on the bridge, and he hoped that meant it was a near miss rather than an actual hit.  Without shields and with damaged engines, it was unlikely.
                Stepping off onto B deck, Prallan spotted a crewman slumped down against the bulkhead.  Her left arm was covered in blood and cuts covered her face and exposed skin.  A panel had been removed from the wall opposite of her, and the circuit housing was charred.  He grabbed a medical kit out of the accessway hatch, and knelt beside her.  Her skin was very pale, a sign that she had already lost a lot of blood.  “Crewman, can you hear me?  I need you to tell me what happened.”  Her head moved a little as he talked to her.  Prallan retrieved a pressure bandage from the medical kit and wrapped it around the gash on her arm, activating the pressure seal once it was in place.  “Crewman, wake up.  That is an order.”
                Her eyes opened, and she looked around the room.  “I…what…what happened?”
                “I was hoping you could tell me.  Do you think you can stand?  I need to get to the armory.”
                With some struggle, he helped her to her feet.  As she tried to put weight on her right leg, she nearly fell.  “I don’t think I can walk.  I think my leg is broken.  Leave me, I can wait for a medical team.”
                “You’ll be safer and someone can start treating you in the Armory.”  Against her protests, he picked her up and carried her, apologizing whenever he jarred her leg or arm.  The armory was only a few hundred feet down the corridor.  As they reached it, he set her down in one of the chairs, motioning over a medic standing nearby.  “The medic will take care of you.”  He said before heading over to the armory chief.
                “Sir, communications are cut off from the bridge.  We have been able to shoot down some of the incoming missiles from the second cruiser.  Main guns are ready at your command.”  The chief was old to still be serving, but in times of peace it was as difficult for an enlisted man to reach the rank of specialist chief as it was an ensign to get promoted to Captain.  The chief would soon be in his forties and, unless some miracle allowed him a promotion to the officer corps, mandatory retirement.

                “Return fire.  Load Pyre rounds and fire when ready.  Aim dead center, their shields are down and I don’t want a wasted shot.”  The chief nodded and ordered his crew to adjust and fire the gun.  Prallan moved to one of the terminals nearby, trying to establish communications with the bridge.  The ship shuddered again as the frigate’s guns returned fire.  This close to the turret, the recoil was as violent as the direct hit suffered earlier, except that these shots would be causing damage to the enemy.  “Chief, I want those guns loaded like your life depends on it.  Load and fire as fast as possible.”

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