Friday, March 29, 2013

Into The Black - Part 12 - The Battle

Fiction Friday! Escape pod is here with some truly scary mathematics regarding the Caldari Prime titan crash.

Into The Black - Part 12 - The Battle

Dorn, Kara and Asia stared in silence at the view-screen as the bridge crew were shouting over each other. A vast capital-ship battle was raging between the Caldari and the Gallente and they had just jumped into the middle of it.

"We've been uncloaked! Evasive manoeuvres! Can we get back to the gate?" the captain yelled.

"Negative captain, the route is blocked! The gate is behind THAT!" the ensign pointed to the screen which was almost completely filled with dreadnoughts and carriers. A Caldari Navy Phoenix class dreadnought exploded under fire from several the Gallente Moros', lighting up the screen.

"Acknowledged. Set a course for the Villore stargate and get us into warp! We'll make a run for it."

The strategic cruiser started to slowly align. Suddenly threat indicator alarms went off.

"Who's locking us?" asked the Captain. There was no reply.

"Who's locking us ensign?" the captain asked again, louder with more force in his voice.

The young bridge officer turned as if snapped out of a trance.

"Sir? Everyone is sir!"


The Caldari assassin was on the bridge of the Tengu. The small cruiser was weaving around the massive carriers and super carriers who were engaging each other at point blank range. The huge dreadnoughts sat still, the substantial power from their engines diverted to the siege module powering their huge guns and missile launchers, raining death against the enemy capital ships. Battleships manoeuvred slowly around the fight whilst swarms of single pilot fighters and fighter-bombers delivered their deadly ordinance against their adversaries All around ships were ablaze and wrecks slow spun in the void.

Finally the Tengu rounded a Nyx super-carrier and had a line of sight to the Proteus.

"There it is!" the Agent said menacingly.

They could see the Proteus was already caught. A number of Crow class interceptors had warp disruption modules activated against it. It was also surrounded by a mass of graviton beams. The Agent smiled, the Proteus was trapped.

"Excellent. Captain. Initiate a PB manoeuvre onto that Proteus, I'll be in the tube." As she turned to leave he answered.


The bridge went quiet and all eyes fell on the Captain and the Agent.

"Excuse me captain" she said without turning.

"I said no. I don't care what authority you have. I am not risking this ship by engaging a PB manoeuvre on a ship that is under fire by an entire capital task force. I am still captain of this ship and I will not endanger this crew."

The Agent stood their for a few seconds with her back still to the captain. The tension in the room was at breaking point.

"Captain. The State appreciates your concern for your ship and crew. However, you will engage the PB."

"Then you'll just have to replace me." the Captain said smugly folding his arms. The agent still remained facing the door.

"Oh I will if I have to. And I am sure whoever I replace you with will carry out my order without question."

"Is that so? I think you may have underestimated the loyalty of my crew."

"No, I think you have over-estimated the loyalty of your crew. Because I won't just relieve you of command, I'll place you under arrest for treason. You'll be tried and executed the same day. However, with the head of the family a traitor, surely the rest of the family are surely suspect. How long do you think your wife and daughter will last on Tartoken Five Three penal colony?."

The Captains face went red. Everyone on the bridge had heard the rumours about that place. It got its name from the asteroid belt it was located in. Tartoken solar system, planet 5, belt number 3. It had the worst reputation of all the penal colonies in the State. Only the worst of the worst went there and very few ever returned. Those that did spoke of a brutal prison where the guards were no better than the inmates. Whilst there was supposed to be segregation rumours were told of incidents during the frequent riots like urban legends or ghost stories.

"That is of course after I've thoroughly questioned them. I would so enjoy questioning Kia, I might even take a few days doing it."

The face of the captain was now nearly purple at the mention of his daughter.

"I am sure your wife will be happy to confess to anything I suggest as she is forced to watch. Don't you think your wife will admit to anything to get me to stop? I don't think we'd even need a trial. A few days of questioning, a signed confession and straight to Tartoken.  Now I assume you'll take a few seconds more to think about your options, realise you have none and will order the PB manoeuvre. Thank you captain."

With that the agent left the bridge as the Captain sat there in silent rage. Intelligence Officer Garrett had left with her.

"Ma'am, if I may speak freely." he asked.

"You may not." she replied "Send an official order that the captains wife and daughter be detained on suspicion of treason. Have them sent to our secure facility on Vasala to await my questioning."

Garrett stopped in his tracks.

"Surely you don't mean to....."

"Yes I do. And I've also changed my mind on the captains trial and execution even though I am sure he is ordering the PB right now. I will holographically recorded everything that happens whilst interrogating his wife and daughter in ultra-hi-definition. Then I will lock that piss-ant captain in a secure holo-suite and let him live the rest of his life watching it on repeat 24 hours per day."

Garrett felt sick.

"But he was only protecting his crew, the wife is innocent. And the daughter, please ma'am, she's only 17......"

"How is your wife Garrett?" she snapped back. "Because I'm starting to get a bit suspicious of you now in that you are not following my orders."

Garrett fell silent and stopped in his tracks as the agent continued down the corridor.

"Good. And make sure the techs start the daughter on a course of stims as soon as they arrive at the facility. The petite ones pass out too quickly for my liking."


"Tac Station, report!" the captain barked.

"Sir. We're scrammed and webbed by half a dozen interceptors. I cannot count the number of ships firing upon us. However, the friendly fleets logistical projections are massive sir. Shields are holding even under this barrage, never mind the armour. We're OK for now, but we aren't going anywhere."

Asia moved over to a console and typed in some commands. Dorn noticed the Captains disdain in his look. Obviously the Captain wasn't a fan of having this agent on his ship. He turned his attention back to Asia who was chatting to someone on the comm link.

They were in the middle of a pitched battle and this agent appeared to be gossiping with a friend. Dorn shook his head and almost laughed at the absurdity of the situation.

"OK see you soon!" Asia finished on the console and returned back to Kara and Dorn.

"I've booked us some more roomy transport. They'll be here in a minute." she smiled.

"Sir we have an incoming vector!" announced the helmsman. "175 mark 231 intercept in 90 seconds sir. It's friendly, looks like one of the Nyx is on an intercept course!"

Asia nodded at the Captain who for the first time smiled back.

"Sir, erm, we have a second incoming vector. 110 mark 090. It's hostile and will intercept in 30 seconds sir."

The bridge fell quiet.


The Tengu swooped down on the immobilised Proteus.

"PB manoeuvre initiated captain." one of the bridge officers said "Lock on in T-minus 12 seconds. We have a Nyx class super-carrier bearing down on us. They will be on us in 35 seconds."

"Understood" said the captain, his voice one of resignation. "Carry on with PB manoeuvre."

The Tengu rolled over as it approached the Proteus and lined up careful above. Powerful thrusters matched the speed and trajectory of the target vessel before a final boost pushed the two ships together and powerful locking clamps fixed to the other ship.


There was an almighty crash as the two hulls came into contact.

"Sir! A Tengu just bumped us! But.... I....."

"Calm down lad. Report!"

The Ensign double checked his console.

"Sir I cannot get a read on the Tengu. It hit us and vanished from sensors. It's like it cloaked but no cloaking device can operate in that close a proximity."

"No Ensign it cannot. The sensors cannot see it as the computer doesn't see a separate ship. It's latched onto us."

The Captain leaned into his chair to the comm unit built in to the armrest.

"All crew, all crew. Prepare to repel boarders. We are being boarded by hostile forces."

Asia turned to Kara and Dorn.

"Come with me." she said.


The Caldari agent was stood in a clear tube in the upper deck of the Tengu. A countdown flashed before her eyes showing her the progress of the PB or "piggy-back" manoeuvre  This Tengu had been retro fitted with powerful docking clamps and a dozen breach tubes like the one she was stood in currently. The other eleven were occupied by heavily armed soldiers.

The red countdown hit zero as the crash of hulls resonated through the ship. The countdown reset and changed colour, now rather than red it was orange and counting down from 10. At five it turned green, the assassin knew the lasers had cut into the opposing hull and the passageway was pressurised. As the countdown reached one she pulled her two pistols out and braced for the gravity switch. The countdown hit zero and the hatch in the top opened. The gravity inverted in her tube and she plummeted upwards into the hull of the Proteus where it's own artificial gravity pulled her down into the Gallente ship. Before she landed on the deck she had opened fire and killed two Gallente crewmen.

The other soldiers slammed onto the deck either side of her. She tapped her comm link.

"Move out. I need the two fugitives alive. Kill everyone else.


The intruder alert alarm sounded as the three headed down the corridor. Asia was in front with Kara close behind her. Dorn brought up the rear, his pistol in his hand.

Asia stopped at a security station and keyed in a code. The hatch hissed open and revealed a stack of assault rifles in a rack.

She pulled two out and tossed one to Dorn.

"I think you'll need a bit more firepower than that little pea shooter" she said whilst winking. Dorn caught the rifle and slid his pistol into his holster.

"You'd be surprised how many scrapes that this little pea-shooter has got me out of."

"Well make sure its to hand then" Asia smiled, I think we have a few more scrapes to get through yet!"


The Caldari assassin wandered through the ship firing on anyone she saw. Garrett was monitoring her through the security cameras on the Proteus. One of the first actions of the boarding party was to install a transmitter and software virus into the internal security systems of the enemy ship. His datapad lay on the desk with the orders to detain the captains wife and daughter. It had not been sent.

Garrett felt trapped. He had his loyalty to the State but deep down he considered himself a good person fighting for a righteous cause. But this was not the way things should be done. He looked at the screen as the assassin gunned down two more security crew, shooting them in the head as she passed for good measure. He knew disobeying her orders would mean his wife was arrested. This angel of death that was his superior but seemed to thrive on pain and suffering. He watched her progress as she turned a corner and almost collided with a medical technician rushing to help someone. The assassin caught her by the throat and lifted her off the floor with one arm.

"Please.... I...... I'm..... unarmed" the medic gasped.

The assassin grabbed the knife from her belt and punched it into the medics stomach. She released her grip and let the medic fall to the floor. The young Gallentean hit the floor with a thud. Her hands pressing against the knife wound to stop the bleeding. The Caldari then picked up the fallen medi-pack and continued down the corridor tossing the pack into a waste compactor. It took Garrett a second to work out what she had done. Why had she only stabbed the medic rather than shot them in the head like she had the others. Then it hit him. Rather than kill another crew member, she had severely wounded the medic and taken her medical gear. Now any reinforcements chasing would stay and help the injured woman who now was screaming in pain and fear. That would slow down any pursuers. Garrett shook his head at the act. Tactically it was genius but it was also evil and sheer brutality.

Back on the Proteus the assassin checked her wrist mounted computer. She was there.


"Sir we've got reports coming in of casualties throughout the ship."

The Captain sat in his chair wondering what to do. His internal security teams were struggling to contain the heavily armed and armoured boarding party. The proximity warning alarm went off.

"Switch view-screen from front to view to remote camera drones!" the captain ordered.

The screen flashed from a forward facing view to one showing the Proteus locked together with the Tengu. The bridge fell silent as the massive Nyx bore-down on them.


Asia looked through the small viewport in the door, it looked clear. She hit the controls and the door slid open. There in the small modified hanger was the shuttle Dorn and Kara had used to get off the planet earlier.

The three entered the dimly lit room and headed towards the shuttle. As they approached the door slid open to reveal the Caldari assassin stood in the shuttle with her guns pointed.

"Get down!" shouted Asia as she fired at the assassin. The assassin fired back whilst taking cover inside the craft. Asia took position behind some cargo crates and kept firing on the open hatch of the shuttle.

Suddenly there was a terrifying shriek of metal grinding and tearing. The artificial gravity on the Proteus failed and suddenly everyone was tumbling in every direction.

Back on the Tengu it was the same as Garrett tried to hang on to his chair that was now crashing around the ceiling.

Kara and Dorn were holding onto a metal column as the ship rolled over again and again. Lose cargo containers rolled around the hanger and the small shuttle shook violently, held in place by its docking clamps.

Then everything went black.

.... to be continued....

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