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Love and War Among the Stars Chapter 7
....In the bright flashes of the ion storm an injured battleship spun lazily, end over end, while continuing to rotate out of control in the gaseous formations of the Henries Nebula . Puffs of atmosphere and water vapor could be seen leaking from the stricken hulk and parts of the ship looked to be open to space.
“Get that hatch secured and get the medical teams in here,” yelled the Chief leading the damage control party into the confines of CIC. The smell of atomized work stations and burnt flesh forced him to snap his breather in place. He could hear the moans of the injured and the grunts of someone trying to lift something heavy as he surveyed the damage under the faint light of the emergency lighting.
“Captain, Your Highness.” Called the Chief over the sounds of his team cutting debris out of their path.
“Over here Chief,” coughed the Captain. “I'm alright, just pinned under this station, find the Prince, he should be over under that section someplace,” said the Captain as he point off to a pile of debris.
“Aye Captain, will find him and have you out in a minute,” said the Chief as he motioned for two of his people to start scanning the debris for the Prince.
“GOT'EM, his right under that bulkhead between two workstations. Looks like he's fine, but it's gonna be a bitch to cut him outta their Chief,” said the crewmen as he pointed to his scanner display.
“OK Tomm'san, get repair 7 up here to help you.”
“Chief, how bad are we?” asked the Captain as he stood next to the chief brushing himself off.
“Bad Cap'n. We have no power through most of the ship,we are on backup life support, gravity is hit and miss in some areas,no communications except personal communicators, several compartments were opened to space, and I don't know if Repair 3 or 5 have reached Engineering yet.” Said the Chief as he used hand signals to direct his team's efforts.
“How many casualties?”
“42 wounded and 27 dead, confirmed sir. Unconfirmed is around 200 dead.”
“Wonderful. Any contact at all with Engineering?”
“No sir, nothing.”
“Have a team check out the Auxiliary Power Station forward, that was down for repairs and should have been off line, that may give us some power to work with,” said the Captain as he pulled a data pad from the debris littered everywhere around him to start taking down information.
“Aye sir, I'll send a runner to Damage Control Central and have them check it out,” said the Chief as he turned away to give the order. “We'll have His Highness extracted in about 30 minutes Sir,” the Chief said over his shoulder as the crewmen headed out the hatch.
“Very Well. I'm heading for Auxiliary Control, pass the word to send all reports there Chief,” said the Captain as he made his way to the hatch.
....Star Shadow was gliding along behind Hammerhead as the Queen and Val Thomas were escorted to the bridge. Val whistled appreciatively when the lift doors open to reveal a high tech state of the art bridge.
“I see you like our little test bed...” said the Queen as she waved around the bridge. Indicating that Val could walk around and look.
“And nobody even thought there would be anything like this in the Fleet,” said Val with awe in her voice.
“To crew this ship is a career assignment. You never get transferred to another ship after you have served here,” said the Queen as she followed Val around the command deck pointing out various improvements and new items as they stopped at an unusual station.
“What is this?” asked Val as she peered closely at the control panel.
“Prototype shield generator control station. We can project a limited circular shield a 100 meters in diameter out to 2000 meters. Nothing can penetrate it, but we can't hold it for longer than 80 seconds before the generator burns out and it has a 10 minute recharge time.”
“Can you shield the entire ship or just one spot?” asked Val as she was already looking towards the fire control station.
“Just one spot. Proper execution is crucial to it's use, that's why the separate station.
Moving over to fire control, “What is that? A phalanx system?” asked Val as she studied the Defensive Weapons console.
The Queen chuckled as she punched up the display. “That is one of six quad Very Rapid Fire Proton Cannons, each tube fires 1200 times per minute.”
Val just looked at her in shock. “Thats 4800 rounds per minute.”
“Yes. We nick named it the firewall,” said the Queen with a devilish grin.
“OK, I'm impressed. What other toys do you have for me to play with?” asked Val with a smile in her eyes.
“Weapons wise, just a pair of 90mm Rapid Fire Proton Cannons at 80 rounds per minute.”
Val emitted a low whistle while she thought of the destruction they could reap on an enemy ship. Damn, the numbers I saw on the 75mm test cannon were outstanding and these are 90mm's twins, that would put their destructive power about equal to a current 152 mm mount.
Val stood up straight and turn to the Queen with a serious face. “Emperor Queen Steska Corvan, I do hereby request and besiege you to return me to active duty and place me in overall command of this vessel,” said Val as she stood at attention awaiting a reply.
“Captain, please take us to the preplanned staging area,” said the Queen over her should.
“As you wish, Your Highness,” said the Captain with a feral grin as he turned to give the orders.
The Queen turned back to Val with a wink. “It's your ship, you've been reactivated since you first stepped aboard Shadow Star, Vice Admiral.”
....To someone standing on the surface and unfamiliar with the Polarian Battleship Anaconda, you would think she was typical Battleship, on a comfortable cruise while she passed by the asteroid 9758qr. When in reality she was much farther away than one would think and moving much faster.....
“Mi'Lord, we are nearing the Human solar system. We should arrive at Earth in approximately three hours,” said the small holograph image of the Captain on Duke Sarnow's desk.
“Very well. Have Battle Stations manned in two hours. Also power up the Hyperjump systems in case we need it,” said Sarnow as he looked at his calculations again.
“Hyperjump Mi'Lord, that would pull a substantial amount of power out of our combat readiness availability,” questioned the Captain.
“I'm aware of that Captain. I want to keep my options open.”
“Yes Mi'lord. All will be as you requested,” said the Captain signing off.
Duke Sebastian Sarnow leaned back in his chair to ponder the events unfolding. I'm not sure what has me more nervous, the Republican's, seeing Aaron or meeting Aaron's father. I wonder how Aaron would take learning about my wife, assuming that we both have feelings for one another beyond our friendship...
“You must be thinking about this Aaron again,” chuckled the Ambassador as he looked on in amusement at Sebastian's discomfort as he struggled to sit up.
“I was and you startled me. What can I do for you Ambassador SinTock?” asked Sebastian with his face flushed.
“I just thought maybe I could do something for you actually,” replied the Ambassador.
“Me?” asked a confused Sebastian.
“Well, you don't see anyone else in the room do you?”asked SinTock while making a display of looking around the room before continuing. “Sebastian, I've known you since you first started to walk. I know you have things you want to talk about with someone and I know you don't really have anybody to talk to right know. So I am willing to listen if you want me too,” said SinTock as he leaned back in his own chair making the hologram readjust it's view of him.
“I don't know where to start. I'm becoming very attached to Aaron and I don't want that to change. I want more though, and I'm afraid our relationship will change and not for the better,” Sebastian finished with a sigh.
“Because of Aaron not accepting Katara or Katara not accepting Aaron?” asked SinTock with a knowing smirk.
“Both probably. I know Katara loves me and would probably allow me a second wife, but allow me a husband, if our relationship came to that point? I don't know.”
“I will admit that it is unusual to have both a wife and a husband, while some families have two wives or even two husbands, it is not unheard of,” said SinTock.
“I've heard that too. I just don't know how Aaron will react,” said Sebastian as he sighed. “I am developing feelings for Aaron that I have only felt for Katara. I'm afraid that if I act on those feelings everything will come crashing down on me.”
SinTock sighed as he leaned forward on to his elbows. “Sebastian, love is hard. Life is hard. Nothing worth having is easy, but if you take it one step at a time you will conquer all of your fears and have what you desire.”
“Age old advice my friend? Giving me the wisdom of your years?” asked Sebastian with a smile.
“I never had a son Sebastian. I've always let you fill that void in my life,” he stated solemnly, “So yes, I am giving you the wisdom of my years as you call it,” said SinTock with a smile.
Sebastian felt the emotion flowing through him as he replied, “Thank you for treating me as a son,” as he felt the wetness gather in his eyes.
“I must go now. We will be a Earth in a few hours.”
“Rest well, Sebastian.”
“As should you, Ambassador.”
....Back on board Hammerhead....
“Any idea where they are?” asked Haines.
Lennon waved a hand at the star scape replying, “Out their somewhere.”
“Thanks smart ass,” said Haines grumpily.
“My pleasure. Now back to business,” said Lennon pulling up a chart on the Nav grid. “We are coming in at the perfect angle. Earth may not be able to see them coming, but they can't see us that easily through the asteroid fields either.”
“Something in our favor at least,” said Haines faintly distracted.
“Josh, the boys are going to be fine.”
“Enough Haines. We have a job to do,” said Lennon curtly.
“Right,” said Haines as he turned to a workstation and pulled up Hammerheads weapons arcs and overlayed them on the Nav chart. “We don't have the fire power for this operation,” he said as he studied the charts.
“I know,” said Lennon tiredly. “I was hoping you would come up with a good idea to get us out of this mess in one piece.”
“We'll just have to take as many of them down as we can and hope they pull back long enough for reinforcements to arrive,” said Haines slowly as he punched in firing vectors for torpedoes and his main guns.
“Sir, CC56 is at the outer marker and moving into formation,” said a young OOD.
“Very well,” replied Haines.
“A Cruiser and two Destroyers,” said Lennon absently.
“The more the better,” mumbled Haines as he added their weapons arcs to the display. “Hopefully Star Shine can join us. That would even out the odds.”
“Flash traffic from the Admiralty sir,” said the Com's Officer.
“What have you got Com's?” asked Haines.
“They say they have sent the emergency sortie signal to surrounding sectors, but don't think anybody can reach us in time to link up sir,” replied the grim faced Com's Officer.
“Thank you,” nodded Haines absently as he looked over the display. 2 cruisers, 4 Destroyers and one CVE....I wonder what she's packing.
“Captain Mayain, Captain Lennon, any ideas on what that CVE is carrying?” asked Haines as he looked to them for answers.
“Fleet Commander, I have a priority flash from Shadow Star, Admiral Thomas,” said the excited Com's Officer.
Haines shot straight up and growled to the Com's Officer, “I'll take it at my station.”
Haines no sooner sat in his command chair when the screen came to life and Vice Admiral Valerie Stalter-Thomas stood in full battle dress, rank and all.
“Fleet Commander Haines,” started Val before he could open his mouth to yell. “As of now I command the special operations team aboard Shadow Star. You will retain your command of the 101st Task Group as I do not want to effect their command efficiency. I am send you the latest intelligence from Shadow 1. Be advised, before you say anything to a superior officer, that the twins will be just fine over here,” said Val with a mischievous smile as she sought to head off the explosion she saw coming.
Joshua couldn't believe what he just heard as he opened his mouth, “...PPlease leave.”
“NO! End of that discussion Joshua,” ordered Val. “We will not enter the battle, but we aren't leaving either. Check your new information. You have a Republic Battleship and three Light Cruisers linking up with that Task Group.” She watched as Joshua digested that information before continuing, “Rose put out the signal. We will have help, but it may not get here in time. We just need to delay them Joshua. Now you have the information you need, I suggest you get to it. Thomas out,” said Val as the screen went black.
Haines rubbed his left temple as he stood to move back over to plot. A BB and 3 CL's, not what we needed. Delaying action...
“Right people, as you can now see we have new intelligence. We will be fighting a delaying action, while the Fleet converges on our position,” said Haines quietly while looking in everyones eyes.
“Then I suggest we take out that CVE before they can launch whatever they are carrying,” said Mayain.
“You could be right. They could be carrying anything from anti-ship weapons to planetary bombardment munitions,” said Lennon thoughtfully as he look up at Haines.
“Centerline cannon at extreme range would be our best bet,” said Mayain.
So long as we don't miss. If we do it will take 30 minutes to recharge the main capacitors and that pulls a lot of power from the rest of the ships weapons and it will be like yelling, “Hello, anybody home,” inside a packed church during Mass. “OK. Have WEPs begin charging the Centerline Cannon,” said Haines then adding with a grin, “Tell WEP's if he misses this shot he's fired.”
“Aye sir,” said Mayain with a smile.
“Star Shine is approaching the outer marker Josh. That will help,” said Lennon.
“Correct, but I'ld still like to see an old Battleship or three joining us. We'll make due with what we have,” said Haines. I hope.
“Fleet Commander we will be in range in 20 minutes. I recommend going to Battle Stations,” said Mayain.
“I agree Captain,” said Haines as he turned towards the young OOw.
“Lt. Whitten, sound Battle Stations if you please,” said Haines as he pulled his Battle Suit from it's rack.
“Aye Sir,” was cut of by the general annoucement and klaxon.
“ALL HANDS MAN BATTLE STATIONS, ALL HANDS MAN BATTLE STATIONS.”
Lennon chuckled as he passed Haines, “Must have had his figure on the button.”
“Ya think?” laughed Haines.
Haines finished suiting up and slid into his command chair.
“WEP's, Centerline status please,” asked Haines.
“62% and climbing steadily sir,” replied the Weapons Officer automatically.
.....Deep within the confines of a dark passageway of the dead ship Star Burst, Warrior Prince Rian Corvan was shedding tears of sorrow for the destruction he had caused. The Captain had told him it wasn't his fault. The best they could figure was the Port Drive pod had a faulty coil that had attracted a stray Ionic Lightning charge that destroyed the drive and walked along the hull destroying everything it touched. 187 people dead including most of the on duty Engineering section, another 240 injured out of 970 crew members. No power, no communications, life support on backup, they lost most of the Battle Suits to damages so if backup life support fails only 137 crew members could survive. And worst of all, he failed his Joshua. Rian slid down the bulkhead he was using to hold himself up and slumped to the floor in tears as the ship buckled and groaned with a series of loud metallic clangs. He felt the ship's movements change as the noises got louder.....he began to sob from deep within. 'I tried Joshua, I'm sorry,' he said to the dark confines around him.
End of Chapter 7. Hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for all the e-mails.... that's what keeps writers going.