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Offline Lord Palatine

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Arkangel: Battlestations
« on: May 16, 2009, 03:09:17 AM »
The vessel looked as if it travelled at a stately pace, but in truth it cut through space at nearly ten thousand times the speed of light, they’d passed through hyperspace into an area of physics called phasespace.  Simply speaking, by creating an energy field around the ship of the correct properties it created a bubble of space around it where light travelled faster than in normal space.  Hyperspace raised the maximum theoretical speed from speed from C to 1000C, and phasespace raised that to 10,000C.

The Confederation vessel CCV Arkangel, classified as a cruiser of 200,000 tons.  A crew of a thousand, heavily armed, armored and shielded it patrolled a section of the borders with the Haldoran Star Empire, to date it had been a quiet cruise, with scarcely a shot fired to date.  Their patrol carried them from buoy to buoy insuring that the border was unbroken.  Twice they’d seen Imperial patrol vessels similar to their own in size and displacement, but they were scarce this trip.

“The junction beacon is down, Sir,” a tech studying a scope reported.

Colonel Sergei Czilikov looked up from his position in the command center.  “Can you put eyes on it yet?”
“No, Sir,” Staff Sergeant Quill replied.  “But there is a haze around it, small debris, I believe it took a meteor strike.”

Lieutenant Colonel Cobb, Deputy Commander, turned toward his own console and studied the image.  “I see radiation,” he said, thinking aloud.  “Heat and sensory radiation, but no transmissions.”

“Yes, Sir,” Quill replied.  “It has power and its sensors, but no transmitter array.”

“If it had no transmitter array I wouldn’t be able to read sensory output, it uses the same array.”

“Pilot,” Czilikov looked up to the primary control station.  “Shift to normal space so we can make a better observation and approach, standard braking thrust.”

“Sir,” Cobb turned to address the commander.  “Lets use this as target practice and build a replacement, we have all of the parts needed to replace the thing.”

Czilikov took a deep impatient breath.  “Not unless we can’t repair it quicker, I don’t want to burn time or stores.”

“We have plenty of both, especially if we start now,” Cobb pressed.

This was the last thing that Czilikov wanted right now.  Cobb was a ceaseless pain in his ass, always pushing for more drills, always looking to spend more than was required to accomplish a task, in time, stores and manpower.  “My order stands,” Czilikov insisted.  “You’re off duty Colonel,” he rose.  “Major Yi has the watch, he won’t benefit from your hovering, you can return to your quarter, the rec hall or come with me to inspect engineering, but stay out of the way until your own watch.”

Cobb, as in ‘rough as a’, bit off a retort, his hundredth this tour and left the command center and stalked the corridor to the firing range, where he often worked out his frustrations.  He belted on his combat harness and checked his sidearm, a M10AP Ranger Magnum and filled his cartridge pouches before injecting a clip into his pistol and holstered it and entered the range.  Tech-One Millburn seemed to be expecting him.  “Human silhouettes on the first three ranges,” she grinned.

“Ease us in close,” Major Yi instructed the pilot.  “We’ll use the grapnel and tow it in for evaluation, per commander’s orders.”

Captain Tournemine rolled her eyes, too many limp dicks on this bucket, she glued her eyes to the screen and used the thrusters with a master’s touch.  “Any changes?”

“None,” Cobb replied.  “No wait, change in scan frequency, we’re painted.”

Tournemine didn’t hesitate, she slammed throttles to full ahead and cranked in a hard turn that caused the artificial gravity to fluctuate as the inertial dampeners fought to reestablish control.  Cobb cursed and dumped his half-used magazine and loaded another before holstering and bolting for the bridge.

“Incoming!” Quill shouted.

Yi turned to look at the defense screens and saw them go white.

“Nuclear detonation, danger close!”

The rear of the vessel was driven downward in relation to deck orientation and then a second jolt, an actual concussion, noise was transmitted through the fuselage, warning lights flashed on across command center, lights and gravity failed as Cobb reached the inner hatch. 

“Report!” he shouted.

“We’re under attack!” Yi shouted back over the noise.

“Secure all sections!  Condition Delta!”

As emergency power came on in a patchwork across the vessel alarms triggered and internal bulkheads closed. 

“Reactors offline.”

“Maintenance section is breeched and vented!”

“Shields and hull power is offline.”

“Rad detectors going off in all aft sections including primary defense batteries.”

“Very well,” Cobb raised his voice.  “All reports through to command station,” he said as he seated himself and fastened his lap and shoulder harnesses.  “Get the crew into suits, reduce atmospheric pressure to minimum, gravity to 75%.  Lets get this tub into fighting shape.  Whatever isn’t resetting automatically do it manually.  I need eyes.  Do I have thrust?”

“Negative, Sir, I only have status on half of the engines and they’re all in reset.  I have emergency thrusters, on battery power and they’re firewalled.”

“Good job, Minnie, get us the hell out of here,” he turned to Defense.  “Get me shields and plates charged, first priority!  Damage control, make that happen!”  He turned to the comm. board.  “MX command,” he hit the emergency comms.

“Maintenance, Chief Killebrew.”

“Killer, what have I got left?”

“Fuck if I know boss, the Zeroes were doing a dog and pony show in MX Prime when we got hit, I’m still suiting up, I have air in here but I’ve sucked up a lot of rads, we’re all going to need flushed ASAP.  I can tell you this, Reactor One is gone, direct hit, but it vented outward.”

“Killer, I need power, shields and engines!”

“You’ll fuckin’ get them too Boss, let me do my job.”

“Roger that, Chief,” he sighed.  “Any chance on command?”

“Breathing vacuum or dust.”

“Understood,” he turned to his monitors, many of the ships functions had emergency power and they were coming up.  “Shit!  We have an Imperial Assault cruiser, ten thousand clicks out, just finished dumping to normal space.  Weps, talk to me!”

“We can’t launch fighters, but we have about half of the batteries up on emergency power.  That won’t give us much on beam weapons but we have missiles and torps.”

“Lay down a barrage,” he snapped, referring to his procedures screen.  “Weapons free, anything in range is a target.  SOP 12, I want everything we can pump out between them and us.  How many special batteries have we got up?”

“One sir, SpecBat Two is lined up on them,” Lieutenant Farouk reported.

“Full spread of Excalibur-N’s.”

“Sir,” Yi rose quickly.  “Colonel Czilikov’s standing order is not to release those weapons without his personal permission.”

“Until he says otherwise Czilikov is dead,” Cobb retorted.  “Unless you’re a medium that’s the last word I want said about him until we’re out of shit city.”

“Sir, I must…”

Cobb rose and flipped the flap of his holster open.  “Am I going to have the slightest bit of trouble out of you?”

“No, Sir,” Yi submitted.

“Man the primary status board, get me a report of what we have and what we can salvage and don’t move from there unless I say so!”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Sir,” Weps reported.  “We’re firing.”

Missiles went first, the longer range weapons, then the short range torpedoes.  He hated calling them torpedoes, too navy.  He wasn’t commanding a puddle paddler on some planetary puddle, he now held the reins of command of a long range space craft.  He watched them streaking away, some hopelessly out of range, but even their detonations would obscure them from enemy sensory suites.  It was the Excaliber-N’s with their nuclear payloads he was relying upon.  His ship carried only a tenth of the shielding of the Imp tubs, and that wouldn’t change until he got one of the Nova Enterprises refits.

“Enemy is maneuvering, Sir,” Quill reported.  “I’m picking up hyperspace generators.”

“Not much good there,” Cobb said grimly.  “The Excaliburs can go all the way to phase, if they have the range.”

“They’ve made the jump,” Quill reported.  “So have our missiles.”  Then a few seconds later the Haldoran vessel tumbled back out of hyperspace, venting flames from several spots.”

“At least two hits,” Weps reported.  “I’d guess half of them fried their shields first.”

“Command to all stations,” Cobb said after he tapped the comm piece in his ear.  “We have an Imp sitting almost two hundred thousand clicks away, they’re in bad shape but not out of the fight.  The ones that win this will be the ones back in the fight first, lets make sure that’s us.”
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 12:51:27 AM by Lord Palatine »

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Re: Arkangel: Battlestations
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2009, 02:00:46 AM »
Cobb turned his attention to the various screens before him.  They color-coded everything for him; green, yellow and red, much as would be expected, but there was a disturbing number of black squares as well, meaning status unknown or unavailable.  He’d rather see red quite frankly.  Ten percent of the ship reported full power, thirty percent was running on backup generators, twenty percent on emergency batteries, and forty percent was powerless, or unknown, or both.  The Command Center was on auxiliary power, it had its own small reactor, as did a few other sections, such as the hospital and several outlying infirmaries, several defensive positions, life support and gravity.

He observed the arrival of a pair of security troopers, in BattleMaster V(SC)s, full Combat Vac Suits, visors open and holding Typhoon Automatic Assault Shotguns at port arms.  The Arkangel may be hammered, but the crew knew its duty and responded as quickly as they could. 

“Send for runners,” Cobb directed Major Yi.  “At least a dozen, cooks and bakers will do.  If they aren’t up on comm., go get them yourself.”

“Yes, Sir,”

He needed eyes dammit.  The group commanders were doing their jobs though, reporting known and suspected casualties and statuses, Chief Killebrew the first to report.  Major Tanaga along with two of his captains and seven lieutenants were lost along with a third of the maintenance group.  The off-duty shifts had reported but the inspection had drawn many of the senior technicians to appear for Czilikov’s idiot parade.  Well, he amended, Czilikov was the idiot parading.  He was studying the status boards when comm. flickered.   

“Command, MX chief.”

“Command, let me have it Killer.”

“We have half the engines back online, give us ten minutes and we can get you throttle control.”

“Killer, can you put the engines online without Command direction?”

“We won’t be aimed,” Killer warned him.

“We’re pointed away from trouble,  just give me ten percent thrust and give me room,” Cobb directed.

“You got it boss,” Killer heard him give the orders necessary.  “Intertial Dampeners are down in a third of the sections, we’ll have to pull people out of them if we plan to use anything over quarter power.  Reactor Two is at low output right now, we’re replacing power conduit, the main trunk is burned through, give us an hour on that, I can’t go faster without a supply of body bags.  The primary command trunk is broke and both secondaries are burned, we’re worrying about thrust and defense first but at least that we can do piecemeal.”

“You know what I need, Killer, if any of the officers get in your way throw them out, on my orders, you’re the MX Prime until I say otherwise.”

“I’ll do it for you, Boss,” he promised before clicking off.

“Sir,” Yi said upon his return.  “We need to deploy fighters!”

Cobb looked up, his expression hard and unpleasant.  “Major,” he sighed.  “We have ten of the old Alpha IV series fighter bombers, correct?”
“Yes, Sir, they could hold off the threat until we can clear this sector.”

“We have them because they are obsolete for combat, they are fighter bombers without bomb or missile racks.  They have minimal offensive capability.  They are lifeboats, and in our present conditions we may just need them for that purpose,” Cobb explained.  “Put them on standby and have the external pylons loaded with missiles, but we won’t be sending them off to die just yet.”  He glanced at the tactical screen.  “They’re still out of action, concur weps?”

“Yes, Sir,” Staff Sergeant Crispus nodded.  “No emanations of any kind, which does not rule out optical scans or sighting.”

Cobb’s reply was cut off by a hard jolt and vibration through the fuselage.  “Command, MX Prime.”

“Go,” Cobb replied.

“Reactor One fire is beyond control, it took out a lateral thruster and an anti-missile defense station.”

“Cut the reactor loose,” Cobb ordered.

“That’ll vent several decks.”

“That’s why we have suits chief,” Cobb replied sternly.  “Get that bastard out of my fuselage and continue repairs.”

“I’ll make it happen boss, what’s the tub doing?”

“Sitting there right now, we’re out of range to hit, but in range to get hit, so keep the wings flapping.”

“Good enough, Boss, but expect anything while we get this done, put the entire crew into suits or bubbles.”  Killebrew warned him.

“Roger that, Killer.  Command out.”  He flicked from the discrete channel to all-call.  “Command to all sections, all crew into vac suits or survival zones immediately, we are jettisoning reactor one, its burning beyond control.  This could weaken or depressurize the fuselage.  All sections report when complied.”

He stepped to the suit locker on the bridge and found his, donning it quickly, Sergeant Fisker stepped up and insured his seals were all correct then transferred the command insignia and the associated gear from the suit reserved for Colonel Czilikov to Cobb’s, he also transferred the sidearm for him.  One of the privileges of rank, he supposed.  The commander wasn’t supposed to know how to deal with things on his own.  Fisker was the Emergency actions NCO for the Command Center, and especially the commander himself.  The only good thing he could see right now was that he could drink coffee in the suit.  His was similar to those worn by the security forces assigned to the craft, a lesser version of the BattleMaster in combat durability, but enhanced for communications and unsupported duration.

This just wasn’t right, he was in command of a combatant craft of the Carriadian Confederation Defense Forces at Condition Delta and he could barely muster any offense, and none of that ability could threaten the enemy they were edging away from at partial power.  He remembered reading the ancient classics in his day, and now he was struck by the similarity to an ancient novel from Old Earth, the Hornblower Sagas.  Odd to think of a spacer reading a naval book, but it made a good point.  He’d keep his enemy in sight and race to be the first to resume the fight.

“Comm,” he glanced at the status boards.  “Status of repairs?  Anything that can get word out to friendly forces?”
“I have a thought,” Sergeant Fisker interrupted, hoping the boss was feeling generous.  “If we get to another buoy we can trigger a sector alert, and we might be able to use those transmitters to make contact.”

Cobb looked at him and back to Lieutenant Baum.  “The range of the Alphas’ comm. Packages won’t do anything, they can’t even transmit from one buoy back to us, but patch them in to the buoy emitters and they can reach back to Force Headquarters.”

“Yes, sir, they could,” Baum agreed.

“Send a three man CommTech team to Hangar Control,” Cobb thumbed a comm. Control.  “Transport, Command.”

“Transport, Chief Hong.”

“Chief, I want an Alpha hot and ready to launch in 10 mike.  Load it heavy for defense, it’ll be taking out a tech crew.  Tap Lieutenant Baum for orders.”

“Yes, Sir,” Hong replied agreeably as the channel was switched over.

“Keep thinking Fiskar,” Cobb glanced to him as he checked over the remainder of suits in the CC.  The grin he received told him that those words would be remembered years from now.  Foolishness, he reflected.  But vital for any good officer to remember the little things when the world was falling apart around them.  His officers and NCOs appeared to be doing their work calmly, and if he was the weak link in the chain the whole thing would fail at all levels.

“I have throttle control,” Tournemine reported as the light went from red to amber on his status board.  “Primary only, no backups.  Guidance is in self-test, we’ll know in about a minute if the data conduits are patched.”

Cobb nodded.  “Very well, best speed toward the next buoy, aim us with engines until you have directional control.”  Finally, good news.  Now they needed power, shields and weapons.  The status boards reported that the crew was in suits and all non-essential personnel removed from sections without gravity.  He could use the engines a little more robustly if he needed to, and that need would have to be dire to use it before they had guidance restored.

“Missile launches from Tango One,” Defense reported.  “Long range, I think they’ll be heavy shots.”

Heavy, nuclear, fanfuckingtastic.  “Pilot, best speed on a bearing away from those things.”
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 12:52:07 AM by Lord Palatine »

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Re: Arkangel: Battlestations
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2009, 04:14:09 AM »
“I have basic steerage,” Tournemine reported.  “I can hold a rough bearing, but we don’t have enough thrust online to get us clear.”

“Weps,” Cobb turned.  “Counterfire, target incoming, begin engagement at extreme range. “

“Extreme range, copy,” Weps replied automatically and scrambled to direct the functional emplacements to comply.

“MX Prime, Command.”

“Command, MX Prime, Killer.”

“Status on jettison?”

“Last charges are set and being primed, supports are cut away, three minutes more,”  Killebrew reported.  “We’ve run new power lines in soft conduit, it won’t hold up in battle, but it’ll get more thrust online.  Call that ten minutes for half power, thirty for full power, engines are cold and took a helluva shockload when we were hit, it’s a bitch resetting them.”

“You know what’s at stake?”

“I do Boss,” Killer assured him.  “We tried to rush one as a test, its fragged, burned every chip and contact out of the sucker.”

“Very well, all emergency batteries over to defense, Command out.”

“MX Prime, out.”

Cobb’s mind was scrambling as he studied his boards.  “Defense Prime, Command.”

“Command, Def Prime, Chief Buford.”

“Byouf,” Cobbs was relieved to hear a competent voice.  “Status on skin and shields?”

“One third of both fragged,” Buford replied.  “Those along the blast lines of the hit.  Every computer in the system is in reset, half of them failed the first boot and are trying again.  If they keep failing we’ll have to uncouple the status and power grids and connect them individually.  We’re doing everything manually, our damage control systems are slagged.”

“Who’s DC is closest to yours?”

“Hull integrity,” Buford replied.

“Take their secondary, make it fast,” Cobb ordered.

“I checked, their primary is down, they’re using secondary, their tertiary is stuck in reset.”

“Then take the tertiary,” Cobb ordered.  “Get the pointy-headed kids in computer maintenance to get it online after you’ve moved it.  Command out.”

He turned and made annotations on his screens with his finger.  “Sir,” Defense turned to him.  “There is a DC for Command Section Shielding, if they take that we can have things back up faster.  Its just standing orders not to touch Command systems.”

Cobb smacked his forehead for overlooking that observation.  “Call Buford, change my orders.”  He turned to the screen, watching the missiles grow closer, then saw more lights green up and the thrust power slowly climb as Tournemine slowly added power to keep from slagging the engines.

“All Stations, MX Prime, ten seconds until reactor jettison.”

He saw people involuntarily grab for something solid as the countdown continued, then the hard shaking of the Arkangel as the reactor was cut loose and pushed out with explosive charges.  “Command, MX Prime, its clear, we’re rigging structural supports and jury patches to the outer skin.”

“MX Prime, Command, well done Killer, you know what I need nest, right?”

“Everything, but thrust and shields come first,” Killer replied.  ”MX Prime, Out.”

“Launching at extreme range,” Weps announced.  “Twenty-four Excaliber N’s.”

For the thousandth time Cobb wished he was in one of the refits.  Even the latrines were advanced on those buckets.  3rdGen electronics, redundant everything, Beta series fighters, but too late to hope for that.  Arkangel was likely to fill a slot in the boneyard to be stripped and recycled.  More green on the board.  Inertial dampeners at full capacity, guidance as well, neither had functioning backups, too many systems cannibalized to get the primaries back online.  He felt somebody at his side and saw it was Fiskar plugging in a hydration cartridge into a secondary fitting.  The small secondary screen below his nose flashed the word ‘coffee.”  He smiled gratefully and turned his head a fraction and sipped, hot and it tasted wonderful.  He watched the massive reactor containment unit drift and tumble, spewing fiery molten metal in all directions.  Good, maybe he'd only lose a third of the maintenance section to rad poisoning.

It was a race now for missiles, already 7 of twenty four were coasting without power, their seeker heads alert for something to take out with its blast radius.  The rest continued on, rapidly approaching the end of their thrust.  Then the detonations began, massive waved of heat and force extended from them.   A dozen fell to the longest flying Excalibers, then eight more to the ‘minefield’ of those that didn’t reach. 

“Nine remaining,” SSgt Crispus, at the defense station, reported.

“Command, Flight ops, the Alpha is launched, ETA four five mike.”

“Very well , Command out.”

At least they’d get the warning out, but it could be at the expense of hundreds.  Nine missiles still coming, the second line of missiles launched to thin the odds further in the most deadly of races.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 12:52:44 AM by Lord Palatine »

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Re: Arkangel: Battlestations
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2009, 02:18:38 AM »
“Aspect change on the Tango,” Weps reported.  “They have restored at least partial propulsion.”  Cobb hadn’t even had a chance to swear yet when the next report came in.  “Launches, two…three…four, four fighters, Nazgul class.”

Another wrinkle:  named for the infamous creature of legend the Nazgul were a class of hunter-killer, heavy on weaponry and not much else to boast of except they were ominous-looking craft.  “Command to all stations, incoming Nazgul, stand up all batteries.”

More bright flashed as the shorter range missiles scored against the incoming missiles, the last obliterated scarcely 200 meters from the center fuselage.  Radiation alarms whooped, but there was no blast.  The Nazgul were coming fast, slow but their massive jamming suites added more than any speed or maneuver could provide.  Some of the tracking systems weakened by the action to date kept dropping off resetting.  “Do we have power to the big bow?”

“Yes sir,” Weps replied at once.

“Hammer Yankee Search, relay results to all stations, engage at will.”

Big Bow was a massive sensory bulge used for extreme long range scanning and to form an anti-missile network when joined with other vessels.  Hammer meant to pump full power through it in pulses and let the computers build a threat model.  Lights and screens fluctuated through the Arkangel and then came back normally.  Several batteries opened up then particle weapons when the tracks were relayed.  It was more of an area saturation than precision tactic, but it bore fruit, shredding two Nazgul, one veered away hard, but the fourth crossed over the Arkangel and hammered her with everything it could muster.  Pressure alarms sounded and all visors snapped shut.

“Life support systems offline!”
“Shielding  is down.”
“Structural integrity compromised, center fuselage is vented.”
“Battery fires in Section 3, Right Fuselage defensive stations.”

At least Section 2, Center Fuselage would be nearly empty, it was crew quarters and the crew was at their stations, or dead.  Fires, power failing, he commanded a dying tub.  “Pilot, can you maintain bearing and speed?”

“Yes sir, but maneuvers are out of the question, too many main structural supports are gone, we could tear in half.”

“Noted, give me every click this bitch can muster, turn us toward the Tango.  The Arkangel can’t get us out of here, it can’t get us away, and it can’t sustain us until rescue arrives, so its time to fight it out,” Cobb ordered.  “Break out assault weapons and battle armor, we may just have to take that bastard and wait for friendlies, or at least close the whole in the picketline.”

He thought about it for a moment.  “Weps, pull the safety locks off of the Planetary Bombardment Battery Silver Shots.  Prepare to engage at extreme range.”

It was risky.  The safety package restricted speed and maneuvering of the missiles to prevent them from exceeding their structural limits.  It also prevented them from detonating too close to a any craft with a friendly beacon.  It was mostly quiet now, casualty reports painted a grim picture, a quarter of his crew remained at stations, half was dead and the rest unfit for duty.  “Load the medical staff and injured into the Alphas,” he ordered.  “Get them clear, non essentials are ordered to assist in loading and will evacuate with them.  All sections, keep what you can’t spare and send the rest away, monitor comms in case we pull off a miracle.”  He looked around the command Center.  “Who can we spare?”

No answer.

“Very well, emergency speed after we launch the Alphas, heat up the nukes.”

“Nazgul coming back for seconds.”

“Steel rain,” he ordered.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 12:53:20 AM by Lord Palatine »

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Re: Arkangel: Battlestations
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2009, 04:12:23 AM »
Steel Rain was Cobb’s codename for a particularly daunting, and simultaneously desperate gambit of laying down an encircling globe of explosive munitions.  It was overkill, he knew this, but if he was looking at fires in the emergency batteries for some of his weapon stations he needed to make the best use of the last gasps of those sources of power.  Besides, this way he wouldn’t have to jettison full missile racks to prevent them from being consumed by flame, they could take half of the fuselage in a series of uncontained explosions.

The new Nebula ships has containerized ammunition to avoid that particular disaster, but once again he acknowledged he was unlikely to every hold such a command.  Any command or even continued service was unlikely, except possibly as a heroic footnote in a last stand.  “Mx Prime, Command.”

“Command, Prime.”

“Be ready to cross over power from all engines except those we need for maneuvering to shields and weapons.”

 Killer considered the options.  “As soon as we reach their outer range I’d recommend diverting ten percent of that power to shields.  They’ll hammer us into paste if we don’t.”

“Very well,” Cobb agreed.  “Its going to get bad killer, and you’ll be the primary target.  Don’t be afraid to evacuate forward, once the engines are cut back it’ll be a short fight and than it’ll probably be a boarding action, one way or another.”

“I have my kids in battle armor,” he replied.  “We’ll stay here as long as its smart and then we’ll play warrior.  Prime out.”

“Command out,” Cobb agreed.

It was an unpleasant sight, a glowing ball of high energy explosions for a target, but the Nazgul had their orders, attack and destroy.  They were even ordered to let the Alpha’s depart unmolested.    They flew wingtip-to-wingtip, two together could use brute force to break through and finish the propulsion compartments, cripple it and finish what the fires didn’t take.  Their barrage was short and brutal, clearing a momentary gap in the rain of munitions.

“We’ve hit them!”  A weapons officer on the lead fighter-bomber reported.  “At least a tenth of their thrust is gone!”

But the engines snapping off was Killer’s idea, not the design of his enemy.  Emergency full power to the rear shields erected a defense of pure energy that slowed, almost stopped the deluge of munitions expended their way.  Neither Nazgul was able to withstand the renewed defensive barrage, high-powered and short-range weapons that brutally incinerated them.  They were able to get off one final report that the Arkangel was closing on drift alone, they claimed credit for cutting all engine power.

More red status lights as the last shots of the Nazgul tore through the maintenance spaces.  A skeleton staff was pared down further, but they bravely held on venting spaces to suppress the flames and jettisoning mangled equipment to reach what could be saved for the final fight.  Chief Killebrew slowed down only long enough to allow a torso splint to be strapped on, his back was horribly wrenched in the impact of the missiles, but he continued to direct the maintenance activities, including rigging a remote power diverter before he finally ordered maintenance abandoned and he and the survivors went forward at last.

Cobb flinched at the flashes of detonations on his shields, but with a reactor operating at 125% with only a few engines left to power he could absorb a fearful beating, but the green scale was slowly decreasing as they traded shots.  The Haldoran vessel was playing it conservatively, its commander expected to live, Cobb didn’t entertain such fantasies.  “I don’t want anything but small arms rounds left on this tub when we hit them.”

“We’re going to ram?” Captain Tournemine asked.

“We’re the biggest weapon we have,” Cobb replied.

“We’re losing interia,” the pilot reported.  We don’t have the constant micro acceleration that would give us a hard hit.”

“I can switch power back to the engines at the last minute,” Killebrew announced from the door, he hobbled in painfully, followed by a pair of techs carrying the control panel for switching engine power back.

Cobb nodded and took in the brace on his chief maintainer, but let it go at that.  “Best tactic to ram?”

“We have a reinforced sensory keel running the length of the fuselgage,” the pilot replied.  I can use that as a guillotine and if we deploy the mooring gear it might work like grappling claws.

“Potter on the Macedonian?”

“Exactly, Sir,” Tournemine replied.

The battering continued on both sides, perversely the power gauges climbed fractionally as shield generators were pounded offline, leaving more power to be diverted elsewhere.  They were in range for their energy weapons now, particle projection cannons and electromagnetic cannons unleashed their fury at the enemy shields, then Cobb gave the order that none of them expected.  “Launch two specials, target the center of gravity.”

Unexpected or not they complied.  Nuclear weapons at this range was at best risky, both sides would absorb fearful amounts of radiation.  Their hulls anyway.  The hulls of Carridian Confederation craft were provided a thick anti-rad layer to reduce the threats of higher space travel, his gambit was risky but sound.  “Bring everyone we have left to command center, immediately.”

Now it was less than a few minutes and the hammering was telling on both.  The last of the munitions in the functioning launchers were depleting as they closed the final distance, they had no idea what the Haldoran’s had left, but fire was slacking drastically.  “Emergency power to engines,” Cobb ordered.  “Brace for collision.”  Alarms sounded and the hatches all closed and locked down.

Tournemine counted down gravely as she brought them together, a loud noise resonated through the skin, impact and then a hard grating sound as the pilot used thrust to hold them together, but the Haldoran maneuvered, dropping its rear and trying to slingshot behind its smaller opponent. But the aft mooring gear held briefly, leaving the full heat and force of the engines at emergency power within a few meters of the outer skin, which disappeared in a molten spray, the full fury of the engines vented the hull and when they separated the Haldoran vessel was ablaze, the Arkangel’s drive plasma had enveloped the reactor, leaving the massive vessel drifting dead in space.  Tournemine dialed back engine power and fought to regain control, but in the end they were drifting at partial power, sixty seven surviving crew in the command section.

"If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined." Cobb quoted Pyrrhus.  “Well, ” he said grimly.  “We won, but I think we’re more fucked than the ones we just killed.”  And as he spoke a series of explosions engulfed the broken enemy.  “Their troubles are over.”
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 12:53:58 AM by Lord Palatine »

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Re: Arkangel: Battlestations
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2009, 03:28:32 AM »
Activity bustled around him but Cobb wasn’t always aware of it.  He stayed at his station in the command center, dozing occasionally and relishing the limited freedom of removing his helmet and gloves at least.  The rest worked and slept in shifts keeping activity at a brisk pace around him and through the ruins of the Arkangel.  The battered patrol vehicle crept along at a tenth of its normal speed but received some news of cheer.   Major Yi and his repair crew returned and confirmed they’d not only made a report but assistance was on the way.

“How much assistance?” Cobb wondered.

“They did not specify,”  Yi shrugged.  “But there is no assistance that will do this wreck any good.  It’s been beaten into pieces.”

“Arkangel has been pounded,” Cobb corrected, pretending not to notice the offended expressions around him, “but not beaten.  We left a heavy assault craft beaten to slag.  We may not look pretty but don’t paint loser on us.  Bloody or not, we fucking won.”

Yi held his thoughts to himself, nodding inscrutably and letting that go, but couldn’t resist a dig.  “I’m sure the court-martial will agree.”

Cobb snickered and nodded.  “Oh they will, of that I have no doubt.  As I said, we won.  Go get some rest Major, I’m sure your mission was trying on you, I have no plans to leave my station anyway.”  He shooed him with a flip of his hand.

“We got trouble,” Killer reported later, sitting heavily and sipping at a mug of steaming coffee.  “The skin and structure is deforming and showing signs it will buckle just forward of propulsion and the reactor.”

“If that goes we’re a floating hulk.”

“It will go, I don’t have anything big enough left to reinforce.”

“When that goes we lose the last two Aplhas.”  Cobb sighed.

“Yessir.”

“We can evacuate sixty of eighty, including stretcher cases, that leaves twenty of us behind,” Cobb calculated.  “You, me and Yi remain.  Minnie will pilot one Alpha and command the flight, send a copy of the databank with her.  Pick the rest that will remain behind, volunteers first.”

“We won’t have a pilot left.”

“I think I remember a trick or two,” Cobb assured him.  “Volunteers only, we’ll keep rolling the dice, the rest leave in an hour.  Maximum everything on the Alphas, even if it shorts us.”
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 12:54:28 AM by Lord Palatine »

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Re: Arkangel: Battlestations
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2009, 06:05:13 PM »
Arkangel's back was broken, major structural supports broken and buckled so any real need for a pilot were severely limited as anything but the most gentle corrections of attitude to keep their receivers pointed toward home resulted in more structural distortion.  Activity was minimal, lost sleep was made up, stations monitored and Killer and a few chosen tech worked to rebuild the comm center from borrowed and bastardized parts.  It took them a few days but finally they boosted incoming signals and Cobb sat listening to them, carefully tweaking the gain to hold certain communications.

"The first evacuees have been recovered," he said at last.  "By the Nebula Empress, that big refit facility."

"Lucky bastards," Killer sighed.  "That tub is at least fifteen clicks long, five wide and three tall, if I've heard right.  Restaurants, bars, brothels, casinos, and if they started the recovery they'll be headed out for us too.  Lots of veterans working for them, and they'll get a nice payday for salvaging us."

"How fast will they get here?"  Major Yi asked.  "They hold all of the speed records, so it should be soon."

"Not that soon," Cobb replied.  "Scanners and sensors don't work well in phase or gray space, they would if we had a multi-space beacon, but they are all burned out, so they'll have to stay in normal or hyper space and send ahead scouts ahead to sniff around.  That takes time, but they know our rough location so that'll speed things."

"We'll have a multi-space up soon," Killer promised.  "We've scrounged a fighter transmitter and we'll have it tacked into main power soon, we just don't want to burn the sucker out."

"They'll find us," Cobb said thoughtfully.  "We just have to make sure we're still here when they find us.  Weps, flares every half-hour, and keep a close eye on the environmental processors."

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Re: Arkangel: Battlestations
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2009, 10:05:30 PM »
He finally found sleep, six uninterrupted hours.  It wasn't that much of a conversation, he hadn't slept in nearly ninety-six hours before that so even in the command center and the hub of activity in the manned sections of the ship he found a marvelous unconsciousness.  His last nap had been plagued with dreams of wires and circuits and resets and hard boots and cascading system failures.  This was a black sleep, untroubled by anything.  Sleep was ripped from him, gravity went from crushing to nonexistent, lights failed and then emergency reds flashed on.  His eyes snapped open to a blank status board and a red dot in the corner that indicated the computers were in a hard fail.  His hands flew over the controls and nothing happened, re opened the guard plate and mashed the hard reset with his thumb.

"The main reactor went," killer reported.  "Its burning and was heading toward critical when we lost everything."

"Can we jettison?"

"Negative, we have nothing."

"Into suits, seal down completely," Cobb ordered as he locked on his own helmet.  He donned and locked his gloves and purged his waste bladders and topped off his oxygen and water reserves before he pulled his umbilical.  Thankfully these were closed battery systems.  "Manual checks on ejection pods."

The rumbles transmitted through the plating was ominous, explosions were chewing up what was left of the Arkangel.  "She's dead boss," Killer reported.  "A few hard-wired emergency detectors are all we have, the fire is ten thousand degrees, higher because that's as hot as they read to.  The reactor is fully aflame and we're likely going to be the center of a major event of physics soon."

Nuclear explosion is what that meant, runaway reaction, the fires didn't need oxygen, anything that the heat broke down fed them.  "Evacuate," Cobb ordered.  "Get to the ejection pods."  He opened the console before his work station and unlocked and removed the emergency recorders and carried them to the commander's pod and plugged them into empty sockets in a side panel and locked them in place.  He flicked on his comms.  "Eject, eject, eject!" he ordered and felt the smaller rumbles of the pods being jettisoned.  "All clear," Killer reported as he entered the pod and slapped the door closure.  He threw himself into the seat and dragged down the restraints as Cobb blasted them clear of the dying craft.  They could see fore and aft as the small escape engine shot them clear.  It was a rough, high-g ride than pinned them into place.

The fires had engulfed the entire after section, maintenance, weaponry, batteries, power, everything was going up.  The demonic looking flames even ate the metal and composite plating of the outer skin.  Then the impending end of the engine's service life caused the jettisoned pods to seek each other out and all of them were coasting within yards of each other when the engines faded.  They were programmed to seek out certain hub pods, including the command pod.

"Fiskar loaded a dozen extra pods with emergency supplies," Killer reported as Cobb used the tiny maneuvering jets to link them together with a few unmanned pods, then others joined on him.  Five linked to him, then others to those linked and soon they looked like a slightly deranged atomic model.

"Bless his paranoid little heart," Cobb sighed.  "Confirm locks and seals through the cluster before we crack a single hatch."

 

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