It was over from the moment that the two ships met. The captain recognized this even as he watched the slip streamed design of the “Al-koura fired it’s guns. His ship was out classed and overmatched, but was still trying to land a hit. The other ship had the advantage at every turn. He was determined to hit the ship that was killing his ship, but everywhere came the sounds of his ship dying.
He had outmaneuvered the other captain to ram his vessel into their killers. But even as he said “Ram that bastard!”, it maneuvered outside his range. That bought his crew a few minutes at best. His was the “Euless” a scouting destroyer.
And his attacker was a cruiser named “Al-koura” it had followed them from one system to another. It was if the captain knew where he was going to run to. This was very disconcerting, because he was trying to elude his ships killer. But no matter where he’d run it would always find him.
“Engines at 57%” said a serf excitedly “shields at 35 % and dropping captain” he said. “Fire another broadside at him, ensign” called the captain. “Then look like we lost our engines. Divert a portion of the power to the shields and the rest in reserve.” The ensign did as he was told quickly. He fired a starboard broadside and then he feathered the engines back till they were dead in space.
The Al-koura closed in for the kill, all the time firing with it’s forward guns. “Twenty-two thousand meters and closing.” the master of ordnance said with a tone that told the captain this was their last gamble. When the Al-koura closed within ten thousand meters they were practically nose to nose in space terms. The captain gave the order to fire. “Fire all batteries!” The shorter batteries of the Euless fired ripping the forward gun bay’s from the Al-koura devastating it in a few short bursts. Now it was their turn to hunt the Al-koura down and destroy it. And hunt it they did, across the star system Vega 9. And it was there that just a few years ago that a comet crashed into the third planet annihilated most of the life on the planet. Vega 9C was the home planet of the Euless before it was almost destroyed.
The Euless had a port on Vega 9D, and returned to her home port on Vega 9D. Back on Vega 9c the people had dug tunnels for themselves. Miles and miles of tunnels, and that where they lived now. Fortunately they had Vega 9D for support and trade. The first few years were almost the death of them. There had been tremors that nearly shook the planet apart, but there were metals on the planet that couldn’t be found anywhere in the solar system. So they toughed it out and before long the planet quit it’s usual rumbling and mining had resumed., but on a smaller scale than before.
Now they were being responsible about how and where they mined, where as before whole swaths of surface where mined. They had to be very careful about where and how far they could mine. Vega-9C had about a century left in the mining operations then they couldn’t mine anymore. Then it was up to them whether they would stay or leave for another world, and let droids mine what was left. It was the council’s decision on where they would go if the whole colony where to be transplanted. The council was deciding between three planets or moons to be exact they would relocate to.
There was an idea going around the council about leaving the solar system entirely. It was an idea that was born out of necessity, that there wasn’t enough food being grown to accommodate the growing population. This is the real reason behind the move, but the council knew that if people knew it that there were some who would be proposing a sterilization plan would be for the best.
In fact they had a sterilization plan before and had gone horribly wrong for the population, the gene pool was getting a bit too pure, so they had people transported to Vega-9C. That was generations ago but it still haunted them. But the fact still remained that the population was growing to rapidly for the food supply. So far they had found only one planet that seemed capable of sustaining life on a broad spectrum.
That planet so far away, that even if they left right then it would take them a thousand years to reach it with the technology they had existing. So the scientists worked feverishly on making a better engine all the while agriculturists worked on creating better plants to feed more people. And all the while the Euless was being repaired and resupplyed for another patrol. There was a small fleet mostly made up of old merchant vessels who were called back in service for a defense fleet. But they were so old that most of them were from ancient times, so the weapons on them were lasers. The Euless was top of the line and only one of her kind for now. The Farragut was being built but the going was slow. She was about twice the size of the Euless and was a light cruiser. She would be crewed by the next generation of cadets. And she possessed the latest in shields and weaponry with torpedoes and lance turrets.
When the Farragut is completed they’ll expand the shipyards so that they could start production of the Farragut class of cruisers or more destroyers. But for now there was only the Euless, and the rest of the outdated fleet. “I hear the Farragut is going to travel to the outer rim and explore the unknown sectors of space.” said one of the junior officers.
“Well I hear different, I hear the Euless will be doing the exploration.” said another junior officers. “And I heard it from the Captain of the Euless.” stated the junior officer as to put it to rest. “Where did you hear it?” asked another. “I was on the bridge at the time.” stated junior officer.
The conversation turned to what they were supposed to, like ordnance, crew placement and how they would respond in case of an emergency. The Euless was going to be under crewed so they would be able to explore farther.
The Euless was being prepped for launch when the captain told the crew that they were not going to do the patrol as planned but they were to explore the outer rim. It was like the crew exploded relief to be away from patrolling. It was a necessary thing, but they had been on patrol for five years. And it was exciting to think about the outer rim cause they always wanted to know what lay beyond their borders. Everyone knew what the probes had sent back, but it was only when people explored the outer rim that it would be fully explored.
As the crew had settled down, the captain gave the order to fire braking thrusters in preparation to leave space dock. In the next dock was the Farragut as it was constructed the crew of the Euless that they were the only vessel with a chance of exploring the outer rim. With excitement and a little anxiety the Euless left space dock and headed out to the system’s jump point. All the while the Al-koura’s
mother fleet was searching for it’s lost ship. The movement of the fleet would take them right thru the Vega system.
Even with the Euless and the system’s defense fleet, they would be over matched. But the only thing was they did not know about the destruction of their ship. The battle had been two sectors away. But they would find out soon enough and their anger would be furious. Their’s was a warrior society and they had never been beaten before that built their ego’s up to levels that they actually thought that they were the top of the food chain until now.
They were an insect society who had a hive like mind. They called themselves Anarchinides, they didn’t have eight legs but four. And they spun their ships, not with steel and circuitry but with a web like substance. And their ships look like they were your worst nightmare come to life.
One of their scout’s was the first to find the wreckage of the Al-koura. It immediately sent a call out to it’s fleet. The sound was like someone was running their nails across the blackboard. And the other’s of it’s fleet knew that something had happened to it. The vessel’s was the “Gilgamesh” it was a likened to the Euless it was a scouting destroyer, but with more punch. It was armored in living skin-tech like all their ships. Another heavier version of it arrived, it was the “Ninsum” it was a cruiser and it stronger weapons than the “Gilgamesh” . The rest of the fleet waited in hyperspace to conceal their numbers.
Meanwhile in the Vega system the scientist’s
made a significant scientific discovery “Hyper space Engines” it was a great jump in travel, because they were used to using sub-light engines. They had fitted a probe with the hyper space engine and found that it traveled to the outer rim in less than three weeks. So they fitted the Euless with the engines, even though it added to her mass.
The hyper space engines would help a great deal in exploring the outer rim. And it will help before they even left the sector of space.
As the Euless left for the edge of the system’s new jump point they moved out of the range of the alien’s sensors range. Because if they had not moved to the new jump point, The aliens would’ve seen a new system to conquer.
At the behest of the Euless’s captain, the council chose the start a line of destroyer’s . It was called the Pathfinder class of scouting destroyer’s. The very first one called “Pathfinder” it was the first in a long line with that name, but she was the proud of her name as all ship’s should be.
As the first few ships of a new fleet were being built, the enemy fleet passed through the system oblivious to the fleet being built. They either didn’t see them or didn’t see them as a threat.
While Euless was in hyperspace they came to a point where several hyperspace streams came together at a point and they we’re thrust along a new path. It was to a sector of space that they have never explored before. That sector of space was old even before mankind walked up right on his own world, but there was something dark about this region of space. But the captain couldn’t put his finger on, he just knew it. It was like rolling over in your grave and discovering it to be occupied by someone else.
The first system they came across was uninhabited which wasn’t surprising at all cause of it being a single star with a gas giant orbiting too close to the star. They named it 2220A-Democile, just to name it was like the greatest undertaking. Because they had a name for every system that they cataloged and they were not sure where they were. The only star cluster that they recognized was a star cluster that was so far from they’re home, but it was in the wrong position. The star cluster which they named “The Mariner” on they’re world was in the left hand quadrant of space, was now on the right hand quadrant.
That meant they had traveled farther in a few days than in a year of traveling in normal space. Now that they had a quicker way to get around. They could if possible to start looking for a new home. They settled on three possibilities of a new home world, the first a desolate old world with strange technologies, second was a new world unspoiled by anything artificial and the third was a paradise world.
The only thing was the rocks were mostly made of crystalline structure and sung in their minds, with a light blue star.
They settled for the paradise world because it was in a remote section of their section of space. And they started building an Ark ship to bring all their people from Vega 9D. With all the support ships already constructed since they departed it was a hard task to start. First of all they had to research all they would need and obtain the materials needed to start building. When the Euless arrived back in system they saw all manner of space stations in orbit. They saw the Ark ship being built around their moon. They were having to mine the surrounding star system planets and even the next system.
As the Euless orbited their home world, the word came down from fleet command that the Euless was to be retired and decommissioned. But the Euless’s crew would be given a new ship. The Artemis was a new class of scouting destroyer. She was a Pathfinder class and was sleeker than the Euless, with more fire power and heavier shielding.
The crew seemed reluctant to hand the Euless over to the scrap heap. But in the end it couldn’t be saved. Because all of the defense ships outclassed her. And the class of ship she was went out as only three ships were built. The was the Euless, the Farragut and the Sunrunner and both of those were built after the Euless left system for scouting the outer rim.
And the Ark wasn’t even conceived yet, but it a thought in the back of someone’s mind. The Artemis was a true path finder, with shields that can manipulate light and bend it where she was almost invisible. She could run across a sensor display and she would look like an asteroid.
And her firepower was formable for her size. The only drawback if it could be a drawback was her lack of space. The crew had just enough space for themselves and that was it, the rest was engineering, weapons and a small space for cargo.
So with their new ship they set off the planet of Paradise so they can start patrolling close to paradise and secure it from any would be colonizers. And with the Artemis went the Halcyon, a supply ship it’s duty was to start the colony process and re-supply the Artemis while they were patrolling the system.
The journey was uneventful and quick, but on the outskirts of the system called Tarnia-547 an alien fleet had been gathering. And that system was only two jumps from their destination. The Artemis and the Halcyon had to divert from the planned route and go around that system.
It was called the exodus from the Vega system, but really only one planet was being evacuating while the other planet was fine. They could wait for a few decades before they were to be evacuated by the Ark. Like seventy years, before their mistakes from earlier mining made their planet become unstable. But the Ark would be back for them long before then.
The “Wrath of Achillies” a heavy cruiser was the first to make contact with the strange new alien fleet as she patrolled deep space around the system’s edge. As she patrolled a ship of unknown origin was making it’s way thru the system and immediately attacked the Achillies.
It wasn’t even a fair fight, the Achillies outclassed the smaller ship. Though the smaller ship had speed on her side she wasn’t as heavily armored. Though the Achillies was five times her size and though her captain Cassianus Junius held his fire, she kept on firing her guns at the Achillies.
The captain had held their fire but by the fifth pass he was tired of exposing his ship to fire of obviously hostile ship. So Cassianus had ordered to the weapon officer to open fire on the ship that was attacking his ship. The weapon officer opened up on the smaller vessel with lasers to try and teach the vessel some manners. But that didn’t work, so he opened up with everything they had. The vessel was destroyed and they collected the ship’s remains.
It was when they got it back that they found that it was from the same alien race that the Euless encountered. And they didn’t have seventy years, they had only forty years and that go have to be away from here. Because of the size of the craft it suggested that the aliens were looking for them.
As the Artemis and Halcyon were entering the system, Wrath of Achillies was fighting the alien vessel. But Artemis and Halcyon didn’t know this and they far away too far away to change the outcome of the battle. Anyways they had their own mission to go ahead with. They headed for the planet using sub-light engines and proceeded to make ready the colony for the Ark.
The scientists back home were picking over the debris that the Wrath brought in with them trying to study the ship and the aliens left. The Wrath went to the repair bays having taken little damage, The Wrath’s crew could see the Ark’s construction progress. In a few more months the crew would be aboard and the process of selection would begin.
New vessels were being prepared for either patrolling the system or escorting the Ark to their new home. The battleship the “Iron Duke” was already patrolling the outer system. She was captained by Iunius Titianus a good commander and friend of Cassianus Junius. They had come up through the academy together. But as soon as the Ark was finished and all were aboard they would be escorting her to the new colony, as well as others.
Was it wrong to be jealous of Iunius Titianus having to escort duties, thought Cassianus Junius, as he saw the Iron Duke’s lines. She was so sleek and beautiful he couldn’t help but feel a little jealous. But so was the Wrath so was it wrong to feel this way. Or was he jealous because had a heavy cruiser and his friend had the battleship?
He was promised a battleship as soon as the Iron Dutchess was finished and crewed up. Then his first officer would take command of the Wrath, of course he would be taking some of the crew with him. But that was still a far off thought as of now. The shipyards had just finished Iron Duke and was laying down the keel to the Iron Dutchess now.
1st Officer Eldon Franklin was a great first officer and would as good or better captain. In Cassianus’s opinion he was a little young for such a senior position but he was sound and unflappable in his duties. And the way he captained the Wrath while his captain was in route to the bridge was flawless.
He was one of once in a lifetime officer’s who’s born to greatness, but with the humility of a saint. The Wrath would be in great hands when his time came. The only thing Cassianus would give him grief over was he tended to be a little aggressive if left alone. But a natural none the less and he was gaining so much experience while on board that he was learning to be a great.
When the Wrath was ready to leave space dock the ship took on a new second officer to move up when the captain was promoted. But he would never get to move on. An alien battleship called the “Maahes” was traversing the system. And found the system’s defense force, taking on supplies, a warning went out to the whole fleet. To battle the “Maahes” and her escorts.
When the Wrath was leaving space dock, she picked up an escort of her own, two destroyers and a heavy cruiser. The destroyers were the “Hermes: and the “Persues” and the heavy cruiser “Vindictive”. All three vessels were under crewed but still went out there. All three had new shields that the Wrath didn’t have so they were in front of Wrath as they headed straight for the enemy.
Cassianus never made it to the bridge one of the Maahes’s escorts sneaked past the Wrath’s escorts and made a run on the Wrath. The ship was hit amidships and since she had no shields it hit with all the force that escort had. Captain and forty crewman died when the escort made a hit and run attack. Luckily another ship came to the aid and helped destroy the escort. When the battle was over they would repair and give the Wrath shields, but for now they would have to battle on.
When the battle was over they had lost the “Vindictive”, the Wrath and the Hermes was severely damaged and the Persues was damaged. It would take almost a full year of repairs to get the Wrath space worthy.
The Hermes and Persues were in space dock for six months but would need new shielding. As for the Wrath she had shields now and she was ready to escort the Iron Dutchess to the proving space. Now with her captain dead the First Officer was bumped up into the captain’s chair. If he could prove his worth then he would be the new captain and if not there were others.
As for now the Wrath of Achilles was back on patrol duties with some escorts of her own. So it went on until the Ark was finished and crewed and as many of their people as they could hold without compromising their journey they made their way. The Ark was made for one planet but in light of the new danger they more people on board.
As for the new ships they would have to be redesigned and outfitted to carry more people than ordinary. But the building of ships went on coolly and calmly, with just a few minor adjustments . Whenever a problem came up the engineers and scientists talked it over and came to a resolution.
But only a few people would be left behind and that didn’t sit well with the council. Everyone had to go, not one soul should be left. So they worked though the month until they came to a solution. The Artemis would be recalled with the Halcyon when the main fleet with the Ark show up.
With a skeleton crew on both ships they traveled the hyperspace lanes. They met the Ark and her escorts almost immediately and part of the Ark’s escorts turned around and escorted the Artemis and Halcyon back to their worlds to get the rest of their people out to safety. So when the alien fleet got to their worlds, they would find that the population had already fled. So long ago that even if they had shown up early the population was long gone.
But it was not to be, as the Artemis and her escorts were getting ready to leave a scout showed up. And the fleet was almost half a hour behind it. There was going to be a battle to get out of the system, the “Imperious” a fast battle cruiser held the line with the Hermes and Persues and the Ark Royal a carrier ship, against half the alien fleet. While the Artemis and her escorts fled the system. And the hunt was on from there, with the Ark Royal followed them hunting down stragglers of the alien fleet. First was the light cruiser Ocyrus she went down in a flaming wreck over a dead world. Next was the Qetesh another light cruiser, she went out in a spectacular explosion in space.
But the size of the rest was too much for a carrier to take on alone. So she jumped ahead and joined the rest of Artemis’s fleet. But she had drawn off most of the fleet by then, they were hunting her so the fleet got the hell out of the next two systems.
The Ark Royal didn’t escape unscathed, she lost almost all her fighters and bombers. The port launchers were out and there was a partial enemy fighter wedged in the starboard side thruster. It would be a couple of month’s repair work ahead of the repair teams they had on board. Captain Lucretia Prisca told her repair teams “ I know your weren’t thinking about repairing so soon but now is a good a time while in hyerspace. Just get to work on the most important systems.” So the repair teams went to work.
Quick as shot a little boy ran between these massive capacitors for the lance armaments. He was heading to a meeting of the number one lance team. He was a part of the team that manned and swung the massive lance weapon, he’s job was to grease the weapon’s gears and joints.
He’ll be only living at lance number one in the next battle, but only because he went to get more oil and grease. His name is “Callahan Laverne” and he’ll live on but he’ll regret it more than he knows.
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