Peter's Flight III-The Battle for Luminary (pt. 1)
Here is a biggy. I'm going to post it in parts for the boards pleasure, and for my own sanity. Beware of offensive language, and some violence. Enjoy.
Joseph Sady's office was flooded with the unique sunlight of New Ireland. The yellow rays caused the floating dust to shimmer brilliantly. I took a seat in a red chair in front of his desk, questioning all the while whether it was real leather I was sitting on.
"Ye like the chair, lad?" he asked, "And no, it ain't real leather."
"I should've known," I said, "What did you call me hear for?"
Joseph went behind his desk and sat down. "It be happenin' now," he said somberly.
"What's so damn important?" I said, quite angry at his usual vagueness.
"The Evlei fleet started the blockade of Luminary, ye fool! Ye mean you don't know?"
"No, when did all this start?"
"Evlei 'as 'ad a resource crisis, since it rejoined the Federation. They say that ol' Loom nees' to be brought back into the Federation, so they sent their fleet to Loom, and the Federation refuses to 'elp o' course jus 'cause Loom ain't part of the Federation. Understand?"
I just kind of stared blankly at him before muttering, "Sure."
"'Ere's the tricky part,"Joseph began, "Your going to 'elp a convoy through."
"I figured that's why you called me down here-"
He cut me off, "An your takin' one o' them 'combat correspondents' from Earth, an' your keepin' em alive."
"Are you out of your Goddamn mind!" I barked, "The damned idiot would be cryin' for his mother after the first five minutes."
Joseph got up from his chair, and grabbed me by a shoulder. He shoved me into a wall and said, "I don't give a bleedin' hell wot ye think, this is from above me, way above me, even above your father, so shutup. Now get the hell out of here!"
I stormed out of his office with more rage than I had ever had. I walked to the hangar where my sweetest lady lay, Clover. I stepped inside the almost sacred halls of the beautiful machine. It was hard to believe that the ship was almost forty years old, but she still was lethal. I remember thinking how much I wished I could look that great when I'm that old.
"Captain Locke?" came an unfamiliar voice from behind me.
"Yes, I assume you're the reporter," I said with impatience.
"Actually, it's a combat correspondent. The name is Ernie Lyle," he said, at a vain attempt to be smart.
"Whatever, get in we need to meet the convoy in orbit."
"Oh, okay. Where do we sleep?"
"There's some cots in the cargo bay for you and your camera man."
"I'm really looking forward to this," said the camera man.
"They all are," I muttered under my breath.
"What was that?" said the reporter.
"Nothing, I said nothing."
We received permission to launch after only ten minutes. The "correspondents" seemed to be amazed at how fast the atmosphere left them, and the emptiness of space consumed them. They kept on asking me questions about being a Goose, and such other nonsense.
"Doesn't a D Class starbridge have railguns?" asked the reporter.
"Yes, but my father sold them off."
"For the speed, and he was always too close to his enemy to use them anyway."
The comm cackled to life, "Peter? Ye ready te go, sar?" asked a voice that was thankfully familiar.
"Yeah, Tom. Let's meet up with the cargo convoy."
"Roger, moving into rendezvous formation and speed."
The seven ships, including myself that were three thunderheads, two Wild Geese lightnings, and Tom's and my starbridges. We moved into a chevron formation as we approached the rendezvous point. The convoy was already there. It was an odd assortment of pegasusi, IDA frigates, terrapins, and modified starliners. I switched my comm to channel two as I neared the convoy. "Luminary Convoy, Luminary Convoy, this is Geese Flight lead, joining your formation to escort you to Luminary."
"Ah, roger Geese Flight lead. Destination Luminary. We have hypergate clearance, so route will be to HJG-1034, to Nerse Secondus, hyper to Kerella, hyper to Nerse Primus, to Aldebaran, to Petra, to SPC-2421, to Varden, over."
We cleared the hyperlimit after we laid in the course. "Prepare to enter hyperspace on my mark," I said, "3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . mark . . ."
We entered the world of white, and the two reporters just stared at the sheer blankness of the world around them. They simply gawked out the windscreen and the cargo bay windows.
***15 Days Later
The entire convoy exited into the Varden system at once. All the ships shot into realspace with a sub-light 'boom' and immediately slowed to cruising speed. I looked to the planet to see it surrounded by a fleet of Federation warships. Huge carriers and destroyers were sitting still in space while a circus of patrol boats, scout ships, vipers and anacondas buzzed about.
"Dear Christ," uttered the camera man quietly. I only nodded in return.
"Wild Geese ships, shutdown your ships and prepare to be boarded!" commanded a deep voice at the other end of the comm.
"Sorry, sir, I have to follow orders, and my human compassion, which you seemingly lack, will not allow me to let you board us," I spat back, with a few bouts of laughter on the side of us Geese.
"Then your ships will be taken by force," the comm clicked off after that, and the fighters lunged toward us at an astonishing speed. Then the entire situation became nothing but a hellish inferno of blaster fire and missiles. I whipped onto the tail of a patrol boat and opened up with all my batteries. The patrol boat's shields held as it broke downward, and away. I followed in pursuit and fired a last burst into it's engines, causing them to detonate and sending the remaining hulk tumbling through space. Blaster bolts pinged off my shielding. I pulled up to the left, only to face an anaconda face on. I launched four missiles and turned my head in time to see the small fighter disappear into burning chunks of metal. I broke downwards and saw a trio of railgun pellets smash into, and through the bridge of one of the destroyers. It lopped over lazily, but kept firing it's defensive batteries. Blaster fire came from my rear as two vipers sat on my tail. I pushed the stick forward, and lunged down toward the main body of the convoy. I looked over my shoulder to see a Lightning fire it's light cannons through the cockpit of the first fighter. I saw one of the carriers above me and accelerated straight towards it.
"What the hell are you doing?" yelled the reporter.
"Shut up, and buckle up!" I yelled back.
The defensive batteries of the carrier lighted up the space around my craft with an eerie sort of candlelight. I dove away from a salvo from it's quad light blasters, and watched as the last viper was pocked full of hole from the bolts I had dodged. I sent my ship into a right skid as I reapproached the carrier in time to see the lances of a thunderhead rake the port side. The venting oxygen from the newly formed hole caused the carrier to list over several degrees before a railgun pellet slammed through the midsection. The magazines detonated with a white flash and white hot metal zooming through space.
"PETER, GET THE HELL OVER 'ERE!" screamed a voice, that had some semblance of Tom's.
I turned to see a patrol boat with an ion cannon ripping into Tom's ship. I accelerated to attack speed, and began firing at 200 yards. The blaster bolts smacked into the patrol boat, and when I was on the verge of hitting it, it detonated around me.
"Thanks," came the exasperated voice of Tom.
A pegasus exploded off my port side, sending shards of fiber steel into the side of Clover to the shock of the reporter. "All right lads," I yelled into the comm, "fall back towards the planet."
All of the ships followed me down into it, but only a sad few were left. We landed at a large space port where thousands upon thousands of screaming people were crying for the supplies we were carrying. The reporter and his camera man filmed the entire event, causing me to almost lose it.
"I hope you get this you sumbitch!" I shouted.
"Come on man, it's just a living," he replied.
"F-ck you lad," shouted Tom over the noise of the crowd, making many heads turn, "A bloody livin' is wot these people do daily," he shrieked while he pointed to the crowd, "You ain't even above scum."
Tom stalked into the port terminal. I turned to the reporter with the simple words of, "He was wrong." Before I followed Tom into the terminal. I found him sitting in a chair next to the exit towards the landing pad with his head bowed and wet spots on the carpet. He looked up at the ceiling with his bloodshot eyes, and snot dribbling from his nose.
"I'm sorry, sar. I jus' nee' a tick."
"It's all right, Tom. Knock it off with the formal bull****," I said making Tom giggle in nervousness, "The bright side of this is all the Geese made it through."
"Too many others did . . . not . . ." his voice trailed off as lights arched from orbit, which turned out to be missiles and blaster bolts. A few moments they began to destroy buildings, ships, and people. The total war had begun.
(This message has been edited by moderator (edited 04-07-2003).)