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Old January 7th, 2006, 06:48 AM

Siirenias Siirenias is offline
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Default Through Shiva\'s Eyes

Thomas rose from his command chair on the bridge a moment before his tactical officer turned to him to inform him of the current status of the Iron Thunder.

"Skipp, we've made the jump from Ibsunk to Perdition without any trouble. Still getting our bearings, but the surrounding area looks a little more...barren than we had projected."

"What do you mean 'barren,' John?" Captain (JG) Thomas Freika asked the obligatory question, even if he already knew what was coming. While running highly stealthed through Ibsunk, he and his chief tactical officer had worked out an estimate of at least 7,350 kT of shipping within 300 ls to this sole entrance to a system of such high priority to the Amonkrie. If there had been just a fifth of that predicted tonnage, they would have been taking fire the instant they entered the system.

"Well, Skipper...there's nothing here," the CTO had turned back to his terminal for a moment before turning back to see that his captain had walked up to his holotank. "I just did a check, and it looks like the sentries all up and went in-system at full military power, judging by these unabashed ion wakes. It's hard to say how old they are because of how much a hurry these bandits were in."

"John, I want a good estimate on where they went and how long ago as soon as you can. your first priority, however, is to get us back into stealth and away from the warp point, just in case our friends come back."

"Yes, Captain. I'll have an estimate in an hour."

Thomas walked over to his busy communications officer, and cleared his throat behind the mousy tech.

The CCO jumped a little and turned his chair around, but Thomas stopped him with a raised hand before he could scramble out of his chair and salute him. Lieutenant (First Grade) Samuel Gibson was a GIC communications specialist who had been assigned to the Iron THunder for this delicate operation. He specialised in passive intelligence which the GIC deemed..."crucial" seems like too week a word. Sadly, this was a civillian in uniform, and was unaccustomed to Navy courtesy.

"Save it, Gibson. Just tell me what you know."

The CCO blinked a half dosen times then replied, "Something very strange, indeed. The system is full of chatter, Captain Freika. We're too far away from the source, but I'd guess something big is happening in-system."

"Very good, Gibson. Once you get a good look, tell me," Thomas looked away suddenly as his CTO called his name. "John, what do you have for me?"

As Thomas arrived at the tactical station, his chief tactical officer stated carefully, "Still fuzzy on when that garrison left, but I have a pretty clear answer to where and why..."

Thomas looked toward where in the holotank the officer pointed, and he jumped at what he saw.

As if to prevent detection, Thomas whispered, "Has that destroyer spotted us?"

John produced a mirthless smile, "Look closer, Tom."

That is the moment that Thomas' face started to go pale. The Amonkrie destroyer on the screen was 120 light seconds to the Iron Thunder. It was not leaking atmosphere...because it had already bled it all away. Its drives were still operational, but the destroyer wasn't being piloted. It careened, as if stopped in the middle of a low-velocity maneuver. The part that paled the captain's face came from the fact that its weapons had gone into emergency shut-down...which meant that the weapons were left running hot too long. That either meant that the ship's people were evacuated...or were all dead.

"Helm, take us closer. I want a hull-mapping, and check for life signs."

Intense moments pass, until they come within 30 light seconds from the ship, and ping the hull. The tactical officer's face darkened.

"Skipper...this ship is lucky to be in as many pieces as it is. The holes in this ship are beyond anything short of something ramming it...and I don't know what can do that. All its life pods are in tact. It''s dead in the water, captain," the tactical officer sounded sick.

Thomas whipped his head to his second in command, "Lisa, sound General Quarters! Go on active EW. Harris, take us on a shortest-distance route to the large return in the middle of the system. Now, people! Move!"

The carrier lurched as it swerved and its high-end quantum drives went to full military power. Weapons came on line, and fighters warmed their drives.

They passed a few more hulks before the activity around what was thought to be a space station bacame clear. At this moment, the remaining blood left Thomas Freika's face.

What they were witness to was no battle. This was a massacre. Strange, exotic ships were pounding what once could have been an impressive flotilla of Amonkrie cruisers and destroyers to pieces. There were still two dosen Amonkrie crusier in that mix, fighting strange, almost fanged ships, some of which battleship in size.

Thomas shook his head and made a decision that could be viewed as brave, stupid, or both. Likely, both.

"Take us close to the portal, and let's do our sweep. Deploy defensive fighters to cover us, and if one of those new ships get in our way, pour our main batteries into them. Both bogie forces are occupied, we should be able to do it. Astrogation, we're going to need an escape plan as soon as we're finished. I don't know, nor want to know, what killed those worms. Let's not stick around long enough to find out. Execute!"

Story forthcoming. I didn't want to forget, so this is a reminder for me to write.
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