The Writer

 

The United Galactic Alliance had sent Torak, a man with 33-years of service as a top spy and ace pilot, on a reconnaissance mission to investigate a new galactic threat.  The newly formed United Array of Solar Systems had made first contact with a supposedly aggressive race of humanoids called the Dar’tonak.  They were technologically inferior, but were well versed in the art of war.

The UASS had been building the Dar’tonak capital-class ships and training them in their use.  What Torak and Arvok had discovered was that the United Array had helped the Dar’tonak central government destroy the rebels they faced in an embroiled civil war.  By honor, the Dar’tonak would now help them defeat their own enemy.  Torak and Arvok were on their way back to Earth Prime when they were mysteriously pulled from warp.

The mystery would not last long, somehow they had been found out and a super-massive gravity ship had been deployed to pull them out of singularity.  The threat itself, however, was not the gravity ship, but the three dozen fighters and Hangar-class carrier vessel looming “above” them as they were ejected from warp.  Immediately sensing the danger, Torak dove away from the gravity ship and the fighter squadrons.

“Re-route all auxiliary power to the the rearward shields!” Captain Torak yelled across the bridge.

“Aye, captain, re-routing auxilary power,” Lieutenant Arvock replied hastily.

The entire ship shook violently as dozens of laser blasts struck their ship’s shields.  The lights flickered, but returned to normal lighting.

That bitch must have sold us out!  Torak thought to himself  How else would they know our route?

“Arvock, were not going to be able to get away.  Send out all available emergency messages, on all channels.  Try to get these bastards on screen with us after you’re done with that!”

“Yes, sir!  Shall I prepare the warhead?”  Arvock asked, scrambling to get his harness strapped as the ship was rocked yet again.

The Armistadt was an over engineered Corvette-class reconnaissance vessel that was more than fit for some damage duty.  It’s nearly two dozen auto-turrets would be able to keep the fighters busy, and the four capital-grade plasma engines were powering shield systems that could outlast most carriers.  And it was equipped with a secret weapon: Nuclear Missiles.

“Computer!  Clearance code Alpha-Red-Nine-Five-Iota-Mu,” Torak addressed the ship’s computer directly, sending in an authorization code to bypass any safeguard warnings the system was intended to ask prior to arming the ship’s weapon systems. “Arvock, arm the warhead!”

Just as Arvock quickly snapped in some manual commands to the ship, the entire array of auto-turrets came alive and began to take targets, causing the ship’s third engine to sputter for a second.

“Fucking engineers need to do something about that,” Torak muttered to himself, “If I get out of this alive I’ll make sure to reiterate that.”

Regardless, as the array came online, the squadrons chasing their ship had to split formation and pull away.  Several of them were unable to pull away in time and exploded into nothingness.

Torak adeptly punched the engines into gear and pulled the ship into a gracefully arcing flip.  He pulled up the manual turrets sytem online on his secondary controls and set about clearing a path to the monstrous Hangar-class.

Even at full speed Torak estimated they would need about 10 minutes to get within a safe distance for a successful warhead launch.  In a time of the post-nuclear era, ships were built with both high-density radiation shields (the kind that stopped laser blasts) and with low grade physical shields which were a sort of anti-matter rejection system.  The low grade shields could fend off most sorts of kinetic strikes, but shields in modern fleets were not prepped for the sort of physical force a nuclear warhead would present.

“Arvock, run a survival simulation for the warhead release at 100 KM.”

“Yes, sir, running simulation,” he responded, punching in a few commands to the computer, “30% survival rating, 40% warhead success.”

Not enough, Torak thought.

“Decrease the distance to 50 KM, and include a 10-second perpetual laser lock on their forward shield array.”

“Sir, that will blow at least one of the plasma engines.”  Sustaining a laser blast longer than a second caused severe stress on the cooling systems.

“I’m aware of that, Arvock.  We’ll place the stress completely on engine three and then eject it as we pull up.  Now, shields forward and prepare to engage that cruiser!”

Engine three was the engine that kept failing on start-up procedures, but Torak intended to use it to his advantage.

Warning, target-lock, level 3 Omega class laser,” the friendly female-voiced computer system warned.

“Their warming up the big dog, Torak,” Arvock echoed the warning.

“We can take a few hits, let’s just hope they don’t have any surprises for us.”

The fighters surrounding them were laying down heavy fire, but a level 3 Omega blast was akin to the power of a solar flare  – even if it was only for a millisecond.

“Blinders on,” Torak commanded.

“Blinders on,” Arvock repeated, as the bridge’s window was physically covered by a metal clamshell.  In its place, a screen flickered on, providing a camera visual of the outside.

“Sir, they’re hailing us now.”

“Onscreen.”

The enemy’s captain came onscreen, a figure Torak was not familiar with.

“Galatic Alliance ship, I am Captain Allen Falsted.  Disembark from your current path and prepare to be boarded.  You will treated fairly as a prisoner of current Galatic Law.”

“You ASS-holes all say the same thing, I know your prisoner protocol.  We’ll be shot on sight!” Torak responded defiantly.

“You’ll be dead soon anyway, Torak,” Falsted replied, and the screen went blank.

“Arvock, how long -” Torak started.

BOOM!

The Omega-class laser struck their ship with full force, and some of the overhead lights exploded.

“What the fuck was that Arvock?  They shouldn’t have been able to prepare the laser for another two minutes!”

“I don’t know sir, they must have been able to compensate somehow for the diamond crystal heat-up time.  Think, Arvock, think!” Arvock scolded himself, and then his head shot up to his own laser array. “Sir!”

“Yes, Arvock.”

“I’ve checked out their laser array and compared it to ours.  They have an enormous ring-like chamber around the firing barrel.  I think they’re loading up pre-excited crystals, and discharging them on the fly.”

“Shit, that’s worse than I thought.”

“Yes, sir, but if we concentrate our firepower on the loading mechanism, we should be able to blast that thing to all hell!”

“Great thinking, Arvock.  Run it through the simulator and get everything prepped.” Torak looked back at him and winked.  “I knew I brought you along for a reason.”

BOOM!  The ship shook again, the firing interval for their Omega-class shockingly short.  They could only take a couple more of these hits.  Two more minutes, two more minutes and we’ll be out of this.

Concentrating on loading up their forward laser battery, Torak routed all the energy through from the third engine, and prepped the nuclear warhead’s release coordinates.  They would have only a few second window to get this all right.

“Simulation ran, Captain.  Chance of survival 5%.”

“I’ll take that any day, Arvock.”

For a minute they just sat their quietly, taking another hit from the Omega laser.  Arvock could be heard muttering a few prayers as he tapped in the last commands into the weapon system’s main functional circuits.

Just as their firing window came into play, Torak launched the warhead, and began the perpetual plasma-assisted laser shot.  Torak counted to himself as the shot reached the crystal-loading mechanism on the carrier ship.

10…

9… the laser broke through their main shield, nothing could withstand such immense firepower.

8…

7… the carrier must have realized what they were attempting to do, and ordered the fighters to get in its path.

6… the fighters were quite literally evaporated by the powerful blasts and in succession sacrificed themselves

5…

4… the loading mechanism began to visibly glow red

3…

2…

1…

0…

Nothing, no explosion, no drama, just silence.  But Torak was not done yet.  Quickly he turned off all engines and spun the ship 180-degrees using compressed air thrusters.

“Eject engine 3!  Shields fully rearward!” Torak commanded Arvock.

“Ejecting!  Shields rearward!”

They were on a collision course with the capital ship, within mere kilometers of it, and the Hangar-class would not have enough time to shoot the discharged engine with its own shield array down.  It was headed right for the crystal loading system.

Firing the engines back on fully, Torak and Arvock were exposed to immense gravitational forces that the ship and their flight suits could dampen to only a lesser degree.  By the time they forward momentum was obtained, several explosions could be heard.

But both pilots had already passed out.

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