Chapter III - Death of the StarLance

Slug took a deep breath. "Battle alert. Engage stealth shields." The bridge went from it's well-lit light to a dark Indigo. "Transmit to the attack force: 'Darkk and Drion Nerec: move into position'" The computer beeped to confirm the transmission was sent.

"This is the Phylydia II, Captain-on-duty Nerec reporting. The StarLance is making a move for us. We are compensating by shifting to port yaw 45 and repositioning the fleet."

One of the bridge officers spoke up "Trans-space bolt rods online and fully charged."

"Nerec here: Our matter compression guns are fully loaded and in condition blue."

"Mag here: we're ready."

"Pharris reporting. Battle alert standing."

Slug grinned. His entire life had been in anticipation of this moment. "Commence the ambush."

Those who make up the rules, do not play the game. We, however, do.
-Imperial Captain Alexi Darvonsal

Klaxons rang throughout the Mariposa.

Captian El Spamo leaped onto the bridge. Pharris looked at him questioningly. "Aren't you supposed to be somewhere else?"

"The starlance got here too soon. I've assigned the assault team the bio-agent. I think they'll know what to do. Maybe you'd like to get back to the barbarossa?"

Pharris nodded. "I'll fly your wing, cover each other."

Spamo agreed, and Pharris left and a minute later was aboard the Barbarossa.

Through the Com-channel, Spamo addressed his fleet.

"All ships, form a screening pattern around the Gateship, configuration Alpha-Foxtrot Four Nine. Engage. Group Sierra-Seven, form up with the Barbarossa and Mariposa. All hands, battle-stations."

Through the main viewer, Spamo could see the hordes of Salrillains cloaking. His own ships formed up in a screening pattern designed to draw fire away from the Gateship. Elite ships, including 8 lightings, Captain Patrick, and various other mifit yet powerful craft formed around the Gunships Mariposa and Barbarossa, which formed the core of the group.

To group S-7: "Gentlemen, the other ships are going to provide a distraction for the Starlance. We're going to clear out the Gaitori, and once they have been neutralized, engage the Starlance.

To All ships: "Everyone has reviewed the plans. Commander Slug, all commanders, all ships are in place and ready. We are go. Standby for my mark."

The Starlance grew ever larger...


Ne Cede Malis Sed Contra Audientor Ito

(This message has been edited by El Spamo (edited 11-02-2000).)

The 8 Lightning-class fighters, five Escorts and Elejeetian Cruiser drop into the system, under heavy stealth. 8 Lightnings makes an in-space transfer from the small Endurance to Lightning 1, as Subcommander Nitrik on the Elejeetian Cruiser Eagle sends to him this message:
"Sorry I'm late..."


*** Lightning never strikes the same place twice. But on occasions...eight times... ***

Explosions ring throughout space as the Nijayias fleet throws itself into the Gaitori Force. Onboard the G.C.S. Dramaticus, a Gaitori in high thresh (their equivalent of an admiral) stripes barks orders.

"Launch all wings of bombers. The Nijayias are in for a little surprise." A salvo of concussive bullets shreds a wing of fighters as the carrier gets into position. "Send the following transmission:"

Salrilian Admiral: We know what you're doing and will stop any attempt on the StarLance. We were enemies during the battle for the ringworld and we are enemies once more. We will destroy your armada with extreme prejudice.

"End transmission."
"Thresh! The StarLance is in range!"
"Signal overlord Darvonsal we are in position."
"Aye sir!"

The first disruptor blast shot out from behind the carrier, where the StarLance was, and seared the hull on the Phylydia II.

The High Thresh grinned. "I'm baaaaaaack......"

"Gunnery, target that Gaitori carrier and fire forward compression cannons."
"Aye, sir." The Phylydia II's forward cannons spat projectiles that slammed into the carrier's hull, ripping it apart. The carrier was still functioning, but its weapons and shields were completely gone. "Long range turrets, fire on the Starlance." Several heavy turrets rotated and started blasting away at the Starlance. It wasn't having any visual effects, but it was something. A trio of Kiojeas roared in and took out the carrier and its escorts, before moving deeper into the fleet. Nerec patched into the all-Phylydions comm system. "Fleets one, two, three, four, five, engage the Starlance and protect the other ships engaging it." A huge group of ships peeled away from the main formation and headed for the Starlance. "Release all squadrons." From the bellies of the Phylydia and Phylydia II poured many squadrons of fighters, Jackal Squadron being the first out. The Jackals headed for the Gaitori fleet.
"This is Jackal Leader. All fighters, attack mode, shields full. Let's rip up some carapaces."


Originally posted by gei'buht:
Explosions ring throughout space as the Nijayias fleet throws itself into the Gaitori Force

(There isn't a Nijayias fleet. I only sent equipment and some people to operate it. The Militia wouldn't be able to do much.)

Me: You ******* IDIOTS!! That planet was INHABITED!!!
Them: Ooops
Me: Let's resume this disscussion near airlock 13.
(immediatly following the first disrupter missle test)


Originally posted by Slug:
**Darkk and Drion Nerec: move into position

(Weren't you listening either? My militia is pulverised. I couldn't bring anything but some prototypes to bear on Starlance.)

Me: You ******* IDIOTS!! That planet was INHABITED!!!
Them: Ooops
Me: Let's resume this disscussion near airlock 13.
(immediatly following the first disrupter missle test)


The call goes out over the entire comm-network, and the thousand ships leap into action. Had sound traveled in space, a tremendous roar would have sprung up. Thousands of missiles issued from hundreds of ships fireing in volleys. Each ship had it's own target input into the guidance of the missiles. As the long range cruise missiles closed on their targets, more were launched from behind. The fleet was blanked out by the massive clouds of exhaust gases and debris from missile launches. Finally, the cruise missile magazines ran out just before the first wave impacted.

A tremendous flash emanated from the vicinity of the Starlance. 5 Gaitori Carriers were falling in thier death throes, and the debris of 4 more was slowly disappating. Cruisers and Gunships fell to the onslaught as more of the cruise missiles pursued their targets. Some missed and flew on into deep space. Most of them hit with terrifying results. The Gaitori fleet was bloodied. The Starlance, which had nearly 400 missiles targeted to it, had it's shields flicker, then return to full power once again.

"Group S-7, commence attack. Defense fleet, reform to intercept those approaching Gaitori. And for god's sake, watch out for the Starlance!"

Battle Group s-7, commanded by the Mariposa, and seconded by the Barbarossa fell upon the charging Gaitori. Fighters fought furiuosly, with both sides destroying each other. The inferior technology of the Gaitori was pushing the battle against them. However, the battle group was slightly outnumbered. For the fighters, this was a boon, and the Gaitori's squadrons fell in droves. The capital ships on both sides were taking heavy casualties.

Meanwhile, the Starlance was occupied with another fleet, and was slowly advancing inwards, closer and closer to the point of ambush. Slug would strike soon.

(Enough for one post.)

Ne Cede Malis Sed Contra Audientor Ito

(This message has been edited by Sargatanus (edited 11-03-2000).)

A large group of Gaitori gunships moved out from around the Starlance. They then fired randomly into the battle, with a high-speed projectile weapon that Mag couldn't see too clearly. Flak explosions filled the area where the projectiles were targeted. The Gaitori had invented ship-mounted flak cannons!

"Spitfire Squadron, engage Gaitori 'Heavy Gunships.'" Mag engaged the superlight boosters and headed in, and the gunships continued to fire more flak. They noticed the squadron, but it was too late. Spitfire Squadron dropped out of warp in the middle of their fleet, and began decimating them. However, the remaining heavy gunships scattered into the battle, and began covering large areas with flak...

"You can get much further with kind words and a loaded gun than you can with kind words alone."
- Al Capone

Unaware of it's silent stalkers and with the Gaitori Fleet engaging it's guards, the StarLance moved in on the Phylydia II. Drion Nerec saw his mistake in positioning his fleet -- it was too late to correct it, the StarLance was approaching at blinding speed! "All compression cannons: fire!" he screamed into the terminal. A series of pulsing flashes of varying size and partical streams shot out for the StarLance. They all bounced off it's ablative shielding harmlessly.

"This is the StarLance: you're only making it more difficult for the both of us, Nerec."

In a leap of logic that only those in a desparate panic would understand, Nerec formed a plan. "Set a course for the nearest celestial body, best speed!" It might just work.

"G-type proto-star." A voice replied. "Aye sir."

The Phylydia II shook and it's hallways echoed as a disruptor blast scorched the hull. "Chief here: she's taking a mighty beating. I dunno how much more she can handle!"

"ETA for the star?" Nerec asked coolly.

"We're entering the corona now. Hull temperature at 50 degrees." Nerec smiled. The new armor couldn't hold up to the disruptor blasts worth a damn but at least she could go diving into a star. The StarLance pursued in it's typical bloody-mindedness.

"Take us nine hundred kilometers deeper!" Netec hoped the radiation at those depths would neutralize the shields on both the Phylydia II (which were mostly nonexistant by now) and the StarLance, logically enening the playing fields.

Another dusruptor blast rocked the ship, damage-control sirens activated all over the ship.

But then the StarLance stopped just outside the corona. Nerec frowned in thought. What could she be doing?

- - - - - -

Captain Darvonsal stood in the cathedral-like engine room, grinning proudly, his chief engineers by his side working their terminals furiously. "Core at ninety percent." They said in stereo.

Darvonsal was hoping this would work. The StarLance had been roaming the dimensional planes for years, but this would be the first time it had done something like this. He watched the enormous ChronoKinetic Core change from a dark swirling blue to a brilliant yellow.

"Core at one hundred percent!" One of them said victoriously.

Darvonsal grinned an evil grin. " Fire "

- - - - - -

The Front of the StarLance glowed a blinding yellow, comparable to the sunlight itself. Then, with a mighty release of energy several million times more powerful than a fleet could generate, a brilliant blast shot forward.

The Star stopped erupting. The StarLance stopped in the middle of it's lurch. The Phylydia II halted it's desperate descent into the star. The Armadas froze, even laser shots hung motionless in space.

But the yellow ChronoKinetic Blast still moved outside of time, traveling for the Phylydia II. It made a silent impact. Then time cought it's balance again, the fighting among the fleets continued, and a massive shockwave rattled the Phylydia II to the bone. Hull plating flew off, the half-lifes of the elements comprising the outer secions of the ship were reduced to seconds and they all boiled away into space. The electric forces generated by several seconds of lost time, all focused into the Phylydia II destroying a great portion of the ship.

On board the bridge of the Phylydia II, Drion Nerec (covered in blood from losing the outermost atoms on his body) stammered. "Run away! Run away!" He ordered in a confused daze. One moment the StarLance let out a huge flash, the next moment the Phylydia was nearly destroyed!

"Aye sir!" The Phylydia II began it's climb out into open space, trailing a mist of unidentifiable debris, bodies, and sparks. "Sir! The StarLance is gaining on us! We can't escape!"

Nerec's breaths had become rapid, frightened. Then a second idea sparked in his brain. "O-o-order the compression cannons: target the region of the star directly below the StarLance and fire in a coordinated volley." Only three pulses hot out this time, as opposed to the hundreds that Nerec was used to seeing. The pulses seemed to disappear into the star, then there was a large combined explosion as they rapidly decompressed, displacing an awful large amout of plasma that shot straight up! The StarLance was brielfy engulded in a massive stream of stellar plasma which was traveling at nearly the speed of light! It's shields became an opaque blue as they strained to keep the plasma away from the hull.

Nerec siezed the opportunity he had created. "All omnidrives engage, maximum speed!". The remnants of the Phylydia II jumped from the system, the StarLance unable to pursue.

Those who make up the rules, do not play the game. We, however, do.
-Imperial Captain Alexi Darvonsal

The gateship had snuck up on StarLance from the rear, being slightly faster than its foe.

The Nijayias had provided the ship with 2 disruptor shots, slightly more powerful and longer range that those of the StarLance, but aimed with huge dificulty and 2 shots, 3 if they would risk an explosion for uncertain results, to the StarLance's infinite.

Darkk's freighters had also brought it a captured stealth field, which helped it hide while Phylydia II took the brunt of the attack. Sensor-baffled thrusters fired constantly as it struggled to get Starlance within the tiny point of sky that would be scorched by the beam. Finally, the lock was achieved. The gun was aimed perfectly. And the Nijayias engineer pushed the fire button down.

The huge violet blast shot out and went right up the engine ports of StarLance. In the engine room, Darvonsol was thrown head over heels as the room filled with sparks, and the displays flickered for a second before redundant systems brought them back online.

"WHAT THE Ϩǰ WAS THAT?!?!?" Darvonsol shouted, enraged. For the first time ever, StarLance had suffered, however repairable, significant damage.

"Shields holding at 45%, rear armor 76%. That was a disruptor blast!" cried the chief engineer that hadn't been shocked out of his senses. "Engines will be out for ... 5 minutes," he added unhappily.

"Well," Darvonsol mused, "we'll just have to sit here. That inefficiant Nijayias gun - I can tell it's those acursed Nijayias - won't manage enough shots to knock us out before it burns out, and the others haven't a hope of marring the finish."

To anyone not on his side, Darvonsol's grin would have seemed diabolical. Then the gateship cloaked in preperation for another attack from a different angle, and Darvonsol frowned for a second, then grinned again.

Me: You ******* IDIOTS!! That planet was INHABITED!!!
Them: Ooops
Me: Let's resume this disscussion near airlock 13.
(immediatly following the first disrupter missle test)

(Just a note, Slug: Compression projectiles ordinarily don't work by actually decompressing, but I see why that works here. Ordinarily, they are only compressed so that their density will make them do much, much more damage when they strike something.)

While the Phylydia II had taken damage from the Starlance, her predecessor and sister ship, the original Phylydia, approached. The Gaitori had been smashed, and were no longer a threat. Two fleets were still fighting them. Cicion was on the bridge. As the bridge crew watched the gatship fire a disruptor shot that made the Starlance shudder, they let out a collective, roaring cheer. "Gunnery, give them everything we've got! And I mean EVERYTHING!"
The super heavy compression guns, flare bolt guns, and all of the turrets fired simultaneously. The rapid sounds of the bolts and projectiles defeaned them. "Tell the main heavy assault fleet to engage the Starlance."
"Aye, M'lord Taeskor!"
"DON'T CALL ME THAT! You're not a bureaucrat on Dominus, you're a soldier."
"Aye, sir."
A force of thirty Kiojeas sprung forward and strafed the Starlance's hull. When the Starlance returned fire on the retreating ships, three were damaged and one had to leave the fight. They continued to fire along with the Phylydia. "Shields at full! We won't be taken by surprise like the Phylydia II was!"

-Traek Cicion of the Taeskor
"Never tell me the odds!"
-Han Solo
"Then we'll do it real quiet-like."

(This message has been edited by Taeskor Cicion (edited 11-03-2000).)

The battle against the Gaitori was going well. Several assaults on the main distractionary force had failed, and there were minimal losses to the Starlances disruptors. Captain El Spamo commanded the Mariposa from above most of the battle, and directed the fray below.

"Squadron Rho, turn to 203."

A group of cruisers swung around, evading a flurry of shots that angled through their previous position. Another squadron loosed their longbow SRMs at a stumbling gaitori HVD. It's hull cratered, and atmosphere spewed out of some holes. It stopped thrusting and began to drift.

Suddenly, a bright violet flash emerged from the Gateship, and struck the Starlance in its arse.

El Spamo did not hesitate.

"Tallyho! Group S-7, fighters, cruisers, all ships follow me!"

The Starlance stood immobile whilst a swarm of tiny ships clustered around its backside.
The Gaitori were helpless to attack, as they were engulfed with other ships as well.
"Sir, the Starlance still has some shields. Our shots have no visible effect!"
The ensign was right. Hundreds of shots were pouring into the Starlance, but nothing was penetrating the shields.

"All ships, clear for the Gateship's second shot!"

The ships moved aside as another violet beam lanced into the rear flank of the Starlance.
Shields buckled and caved in. The fading energy of the disruptor beam burrowed into the armor of the starlance, leaving a glowing scar in its backside. The Starlance had been bloodied.


The Starlance managed to get it's engines back online to 40% efficiency. It began to turn.

Meanwhile, El Spamo lead his ships back in again.
"Alright, this time we're in! All ships, concentrate on the Starlance! Boarding vessels, standby for boarding."

Spamo flipped over to a different comm channel. "Commander Slug, if there was any time to spring your ambush, the time would be now."

Spamo flew his ship low over the Starlance, energy weapons lancing out into it's armor, leaving blackend streaks where they impacted. Missles, stiletto SRMs, Longbow LRMs, cruise missiles, and packets of pure energy lanced into the Starlance leaving craters and scars where tons of munitions blasted away.

Things were turning agaisnt the Starlance. The Gaitori were nearly routed, and the Starlance itself was beginning to die...

Ne Cede Malis Sed Contra Audientor Ito

(Don't make Darvonsal scream -- he would never snap like that )

The battle was going against the StarLance, or so it seemed. The massive craters on the surface and the upper disruptor battery which had now been laid waste to all made the StarLance look crippled, but deep inside the dreadnought things were still very much well.

"Status of neutron armor?" Darvonsal asked frantically.

"A buckle has been detected on Alpha Engine. We won't be able to escape untill it's fully repaired."

"Hold repairs. Concentrate on battle damage. Shields?"

"All but finished. Our ablative shields are starting to fail too!"

"Modulate the frequency. I don't want anything getting through! Charge ChronoKinetic array and stand by on nukes."

"Nukes?... err, aye Sir"

But Darvonsal wasn't listening. Even if the shields were to completely fail, the interior was protected by a stronger layer than those shields could offer: Neutron Star Matter.

- - - - - -

The Vengeance and her armada destealthed, laying out a perfectly ordered plan. Immediately the ships sprang into action. All seventeen Heavy Destroyers charged full speed at the StarLance, drawing huge amounts of turret fire and clouding it's shields with laserfire. They split in a blossom formation, and the turret angle fire followed. Four of the destroyers exploded violently as they were overwhelmed with turretfire.

The split in the defensive fire had left a gap in the StarLance's defenses! Three carriers proudly sailed forward and pounded the general with T-space bolt fire, causing minimal damage to the shields. Slug was on the Vengeance 's bridge. He smiled slightly.

"Very little damage is better than no damage."

"Sir! Our destroyers are taking heavy damage!"

"Order them to regroup and return to the fleet. Port yaw of forty degrees, send out our squadrons of fighters."

"Yes sir!"

The destroyers came about and grouped into a star formation, for only five were left now. Suddenly, one of them exploded! A pair of Gaitori destroyers had entered the scene! There was a gap in the destroyer formation, their captains moved to retaliate against the Gaitori ships, but forgot the StarLance. Darvonsal, taking advantage of the gap in the formation, brought the StarLance to bearings.

The entire formation of Slug's destroyers disappeared as two simultanious disruptor blasts reduced them to their basic elements. Slug swore.

"Damnit! Everyone's afraid of moving in close quarters with the StarLance. If we attack together, we can swamp it!"

Pharris' voice came in over the static. "Can't.....Gaitori...regrouping!"

Slug began a response when his sensor officer interrupted him. "Sir! It's happening again!"

Slug could see a bright yellow glow coming from the StarLance......

Those who make up the rules, do not play the game. We, however, do.
-Imperial Captain Alexi Darvonsal

On the gateship's main battle display, the sphere representing maximum range of StarLance's known weapondry was getting somewhat too close. Even at 40% engines, it was fast for its size, and the gateship was not. Fortunantly for its crew, the StarLance couldn't see through its stealth fields.

Suddenly another gateship-sized object appeared, this one moving rathar faster.

"Greetings," the image broadcast to the fleet, "Fleet Admiral Spammo." It looked like Darkk, but was obviously computer-generated. "This is StormBreaker. The AI of that name. Darkk wanted me to put a shot into Darvonsol for him. Although he couldn't come, I'm a part of him, so he's here in thought and spirit."

"Wouldn't mind some help, even from an AI. Even from Sargatanus, if he'd send it. StarLance is down but not out." That part was true. The engines were moving, and it would take a awhile for the neutronium armor to be breached, for the disruptor had fired its last shot, power coils completly disintegrated, capacitors blown, crystals cracked. And Darvonsol's disrupters still worked fine, as evidenced by them ripping into a Cantharan Carrier that got too close.

"Well," StormBreaker said, "his little 1.2k nuke attack destabilized some sensitive systems, and my focusing array isn't going to do much for another day, self repair on that is really slow. But jamming still works, and it's preset for a disruptor missle. But only 1 shot, repairs are taking way too much energy. Fortunantly next time it'll take a lot more to knock out my gadgets. Clear this crevice."

A point on the StarLance was indicated to the computers of Spammo and Slug's fleets, and they cleared it just as a disruptor missle faded from nothingness in a bright, white glare under StormBreaker. It shot foreward and flew down the vent, resulting in gouts of fire and further creases in the rear of StarLance.

"That's all for tonight folks, I'm almost out of energy. You can mop that madman up." With those words StormBreaker , still suffering from the earlier beating, jumped out, feeling the sweet success of revenge flowing through it - but Darvonsol wasn't out yet.

He had a plan - it wouldn't give him immediate revenge, or even victory here, but StarLance would fight another day, and return, stronger than ever, in short order. First he would repair and restructure, which, due to the perfection of his ship, would only take 3 days. Then he would test it out on some Sals, which except for Slug he found highly inflexable. If he could just get away...

Me: You ******* IDIOTS!! That planet was INHABITED!!!
Them: Ooops
Me: Let's resume this disscussion near airlock 13.
(immediatly following the first disrupter missle test)

(It appears we posted simaltaniously, Slug. Can both posts fit, or should one be edited, or deleted entirely? Tell me first, please, you being a moderator and all.)

Me: You ******* IDIOTS!! That planet was INHABITED!!!
Them: Ooops
Me: Let's resume this disscussion near airlock 13.
(immediatly following the first disrupter missle test)

(They can work together, Slug's first and yours second. I guess the charge up takes a long time.)

All ships and weapon shots stopped once again, and the Starlance's ChronoKinetic Blast traveled straight into the carrier on Slug's left, blowing it entirely away.

"Get us the hell out of here!" yelled Slug. His carrier's superlight boosters kicked in, rocketing him away from the Starlance. He'd been foolish to get that close to the Starlance with such easy targets, and decided not to do it again. "Order all small vessels to close in on the Starlance and fire with everything they have!" The salrillian cruisers and gunships closed in and started violently firing at the Starlance, with very little effect, save lighting up the shields.

"Sir, we're picking something up on our scanners!"

"What is it?"

"It seems the Audemedon decided to come!"

A large fleet of Audemedon ships dropped in from a jumpgate, and headed for the Starlance.


"Sir, Pharris is requesting help with the Gaitori. They got reinforcements."

"Have half of the Audemedon fleet help us with the Gaitori."

"Aye, sir." The ensign typed on his computer console. "Something's wrong, sir. The Audemedon ships aren't changing course, or acknowlaging our messages."

"What? None of them?"


As the Audemedon ships got closer, it became apparent that they were headed towards Slug's carrier, and not the Starlance.

"Take evasive action!" His carrier rolled to the right and began it's turn, but the Audemedon ships were already on him. Two carriers started firing on him, while the rest of the Audemedon ships flew past him, towards the rest of his ships. A message came over his screen:

"We shall soon be rid of the Prophets of Salril, our enslavers. Prepare for the end."

His shields began to fail...

"You can get much further with kind words and a loaded gun than you can with kind words alone."
- Al Capone

An Audemedon ship flashed past his viewport, and Spamo's heart leapt.
"The auds! They've arrived. 'bout time."

"Sir, they're attacking the Salrillian ships!"

"What!? Hail their main ship."

The comscreen was blank except for the Aud insignia. A mechanical voice answered the hail. "What do you want?"

"Why are you attacking the Salrillians?"

"They are the enemy."

"The Starlance is the enemy!"

"The Starlance is of lesser importance. The Salrillians must be destroyed."

"The Starlance will destroy every single Aud if you don't help us!"

"The Salrillians are of greater importance."

"The Starlance destroyed some of your systems."

"We have no records."

"Ensign, transmit the logs of the destruction of the Aud ships."

Ensign: "Transmitting sir."

Auds: "Processing data...complete. Fabrication...0% Accuracy...90%."

There was a long pause as the battle rage on, the Starlance manuvering to flee, and the mass of ships that clustered about it, exploiting the gaps in the armor about the engines. Spamo took the pause to tell a few of his ships to concentrate their assault on the disabling the drives of the Starlance.

"Human. Your data is correct. The Starlance is of greater threat. The Salrillains must be eliminated. The Starlance must eliminate the Salrillians, and we shall destroy the Starlance."

"You idiot robot! The Starlance will destroy you before it destroys the Sals.!"


"Can you at least not attack the Sals until this battle is over?"

"...Agreed. We shall not interfere with the battle."

"What about a few ships to help blast the Starlance?"

"Negative. That is not part of the agreement."

"Can you do it out of the goodness of your heart?"

"We posess no hearts. Transmission ended."

The audemedons withdrew from the battle, leaving most of the Salrillian ships unharmed. Meanwhile, the Starlance pushed forward, diverting most of it's power to it's engines.

"Boarding teams, have you penetrated the Hull yet?"

"Negative sir! But we've gotten nearly through! It's getting awfully hot around here, do ya think we could get some relief?"


The Mariposa began a run against the few remaining Gaitori that were harrasing the boarding crews. It's turrets fired and 4 fighters burst apart into flakes of debris. A cruiser fell to a missle, and another to the pulse cannon. The crews on the Starlance hull worked on.

"Sir, the Starlance is nearing it's exit point!"

"Boarding teams! Engage the auto-borers! Plant the bio-weapon in it, and hope to god that it does it's work!"

"Yes sir. Borers planted, beginning work. They should be through in another minute or so."

And it was all a matter of time...

Ne Cede Malis Sed Contra Audientor Ito

The boarding team finally finished the drilling, and emerged from their cramped pods into the massive corridors. "Secure the corners, find firing cover."

"Roger roger." The armored troopers each split into teams and stealthily moved down the hall with military prescision. "Where is everybody?" one of them asked in a surprised tone.

"I have a bad feeling about this, Pharris."

"Me too." Pharris replied. "I hope this isn't....." He trailed off. He raised his rifle and shot a pulse down the three-mile hall. It traveled for several hundred feet, then burts apart. "Crap! Internal security fields! Abort! Abort!! "

"You heard the man! Get back to the pods!"


"Units one and two: respond!"


They heard a slight click behind them, and turned to find a face full of blaster rifles. "Hold it right there, alien scum." one of the lead security officers said. "Captain would like to see you."

- - - - - -

The two massive blast doors opened and Pharris, stripped of all his gear and wearing nothing but a flightsuit, found himself pushed into the massive bridge. Between the two crewpits on each side of the hanger-like room, he could make out a figure with his hands behind his back facing the large windows that went all the way up to the high ceiling. Pharris stood in awe at the sheer titanic proportions of this ship. The figure turned around.


"Well, we meet again. I have captured all nine of your assault teams; the bio-specimin is making a very good meal of them as we speak." A flash of evil crept accross his face. "Come, Pharris. Witness the final obliteration of your resistance."

"Why are you doing this, Darvonsal?"

"Call me Alexi."

"Why are you doing this?"

"A... personal vendetta. In my universe humanity found itself on the losing side of a war against a perticularily nasty alliance of aliens called The Comar. During the key battle, the aliens managed to open a dimensional rift, so they could invade other realms. With our fleets obliterated and humanity in ashes, we had no choice but to send the StarLance through, into the unknown. We have spent the last twenty years roaming the dimensional planes, shifing from universe to universe. In each one of those universes, we obliterated all alien life and put humanity there in the top order. However, when we arrived in this universe, we discovered that Humanity here was nearly the dominant species. We intend to finish it."

"You mean..."

"Yes, Mr. Pharris, you can destroy this ship but there will be other StarLances."

Pharris gasped. "No...."

"Humanity in those other universes were more appreciative than it is in this universe. There are fleets of StarLance-class dreadnoughts in the other dimensions, just waiting for a dimensional recall. All the infighting in this universe has made all of your factions pathetically weak. You would be completely unprepared for such an invasion."

"Then you have failed. We have united against you and your evil, Darvonsal. You can conquer us, you can annihilate us, but you will never fully win over us. You have no means of bringing your fleets here."

Darvonsal's right eye began to twitch in anger. Then he smiled and laughed. "Oh, but we do have a way, Pharris."


"The Audemedons."

Those who make up the rules, do not play the game. We, however, do.
-Imperial Captain Alexi Darvonsal

(This message has been edited by Slug (edited 11-04-2000).)

"Our superior computers managed to thoroughly chew up their systems. We have the aliens believe that the Audemedons are acting on their own will. How wrong they are."

Darvonsal keyed a short sequence. One of the Salrilian Carriers erupted in flame as it was surprisedly impaled in a violet beam. An Audemedon Carrier flew through the explosion while the rest of the Audemedon flet remained motionless.

"Oh, but that must be a coincidence, now mustn't it? After all, maybe that carrier was looking treatening to the Audemedon ships. Let's pick another target....." Darvonsal keyed in another short sequence. An Ishiman Frigate was engulfed in omni-electric fields and ripped apart as a barrage of insa fire impacted it.

Pharris turned to Darvonsal in disgust. "You need the Audemedons and the Gaitori to win, don't you?! You are too much of a coward to engage us gung-ho!"

Darvonsal didn't reply. A disruptor blast tore into another one of Slug's attacking ships, leaving it as if a giant zerbilite had taken a bite out of it.

Pharris continued his verbal assault. "Darvonsal, you're no better than those freaks who shoot up school yards."

That provoked a response. Pharris found himself sprawling on the floor with a sore jaw. Darvonsal strode over and picked Pharris up with his right arm. Good god this guy is inhumanly strong! Pharris thought as he was thrown accross the room and landed in a heap in the corner. "What..... what are you?!" Pharris choked.

"I've never told you about the eugenics wars on my Earth, have I?" Darvonsal lifted Pharris nearly four feet off the ground! "We won." He said as a glint flashed across his eyes.

Pure madness.

"I... will... never... submit to... you!" Pharris spat on Darvonsal's face.

"Security, take this man to his boarding pod and eject it into space. After we win the battle, destroy the pod."

"You will see the end, Darvonsal!" Pharris managed to shout as he was dragged off down the hallway. "You will see the end."

"Beware of our Audemedon...." Darvonsal keyed in the final sequence "....friends. They're pissed now."

Pharris caught a final glint of evil before the blast doors closed.

(This message has been edited by Slug (edited 11-04-2000).)