Wednesday, December 5, 2012

War Angel: part eighty-four

K’alat wiped blood from his brow and flung it away, splattering the floor next to his chair. “Fire! Fire weapons! In the name of all the dead in Erestia, eradicate that ship!”

The Omegan at the weapons console turned to face his commander. “Unable to lock on target. The debris between us is –“

The Serr’Donn’s commanding officer jumped out of his seat and sprung himself at the weapons officer, grabbing him by the throat and choking him. “Then. Guess. Fool!” K’alat released the warrior, the younger man quickly turning back to his station. “We cannot allow that ship to do any further damage to this vessel.” He stood tall and looked around the bridge at each officer. “Is that understood?”

To a man, they all nodded assent.

“Firing!” the weapons officer announced, his voice rasping for air.

“Hold onto something!” Gina yelled. “Engaging thrusters… mark!” She pushed a button on the helm, and suddenly the War Angel went straight up. The thrusters propelled the ship for little more than half a second, and then reversed direction for half of that, stopping the ship dead in its tracks before it hit one of the upper decks of the Kan’Tar. As it did, blue bolts of energy passed directly below the War Angel, tearing through areas of the Kan’Tar that the Angel had yet to start destroying.

Richard vomited.

Kate, who had braced herself, looked over at Richard and shook her head in disgust. “Not cool, Clover!”

The young engineering wizard looked over at her, wiping away vomit and spittle from his lips. “Not a fan of motion sickness, F.A.” He then straightened himself and began studying the sensor field. “They missed. Did some of our work for us.”

“It was a nice move, Hime. What else do you have in your pocket?” Kate asked, her own mind racing furiously. Gina shrugged and stuck out a thumb, moving it from up to down position and back again. “Right. Which will only get us so far.”

“They’re preparing to fire again,” Richard cut in. “Their sensors are trying to lock on us. I don’t think they can, but a decent guess will…”

Kate snapped her fingers. “That’s it! Clover, what is our shield strength?”

“92% and holding steady.”

“Excellent. Gina, on my mark, this is what I want you to do…”

Sarah watched their exit hole carefully. “I think that last blast missed the Angel. Nothing got back to us, at least. Nothing too heavy, I mean.”

“No ‘splosions, either. Ship’s still safe.”

“For now,” she said softly.

“Right. Move closer to the exit? I kinda want to see the show,” Jack rasped. She nodded, and they began sliding toward the end of the tunnel.

“Almost have them in lock!” the Omegan gunner howled with near-delight. “Firing… now!”

“Now!” Kate yelled. Gina’s fingers swept across the helm and the War Angel instantly moved at maximum thrust, taking a curving course through the open damage of the Kan’Tar’s insides, first moving downward… and then moving in a straight line right at the Serr’Donn.

As the ship moved, the Omegans’ weapons once again missed their target. For eight seconds, the War Angel carved a path back the way it came, crashing through the debris it had stirred up and hitting full stop less than one hundred meters from the Serr’Donn. At that speed, and in these circumstances, Kate knew, the Angel would have been almost invisible to the enemy ship, and it would take a full second for them to register the War Angel’s presence at point blank range.

Plenty of time.

“Missed!” the Omegan gunner howled with agony. “They are gone from my scanner! They are –“ His head snapped up and his eyes went wide as he looked back at K’alat. “May we all hunt well in Erestia.”

The Omegan commander offered no reply, save bowing his head.

“Suck on this, you ugly, purple bastards!” Kate released all four of the War Angel’s cannons on full power, pounding the Serr’Donn with eight total blasts. Blazing red energy bolts tore through the Omegan craft, melting the hull, destroying everything in their path, including the ship’s power core. Within seconds, the Serr’Donn exploded into millions of pieces, unable to withstand the point blank destructive power of the War Angel.

The explosion rocked the Angel, sending shockwaves through the decks, but the shields did their job and protected the crew from the worst of it.

“That was amazing,” Gina said, letting out a low whistle.

“I need to vomit again,” Richard added.

Kate stepped back from the weapons and smiled at the two of them. “Belay the vomiting, Clover. We have a rescue to finish. Gina, take us back to where we left off, please.”

“With pleasure.”

Sarah and Jack stood on what was left of the platform at the end of the tunnel, watching the aftermath of Kate’s maneuver against the Serr’Donn. “Gotta admit… pretty impressive…” Jack said, coughing between words. “Wish I’d thought of it.”

“Not something we can do every time, though, right?”

He shook his head. “Worked here because of the terrain, which confuses sensors.”

“Too bad.”

They saw movement at the far end, and soon enough, the War Angel was making its way back in their direction. The ship moved at a steady pace, taking care as it approached so that there was a buffer between it and Sarah and Jack. As it settled near them, the rear of the ship shifted and pointed towards them, and the loading bay door opened. Standing there waiting was Doctor Gray.

“Anybody need medical attention?” she asked with a wink.

Jack coughed and spat blood on the Omegan deck before stepping into the Angel. “I could use an aspirin or two,” he said with a grim smile. “And maybe a new spleen.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” the doctor replied.

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