Digging through my hard drive the other day I came across a story I had written for the dead Ares project VI. So, I just decided to post it here.
All was quiet in the control room of the Free Worlds I-136 Interceptor. Captain Taylor was relaxed in his seat, listening to soft classical music. Not much happened on these patrol shifts. Today was no exemption. The pirates had been silent lately, not many attacks had taken place in the past few weeks. Taylor lifted his head and looked at the front screen. These screens had long since replaced the traditional glass cockpit, they allowed the control room to be placed anywhere on the ship, a higher resolution then the human eye, zoom and target identifiers. A small gaggle of eight freighters was leaving Jados. Probably carrying food to demeter he thought.
He slouched back down in the seat, board to death and hoping his shift would end sooner. He thought back to his wife and kids on Jados, he was going to be taking them on a family picnic that afternoon. I wish that the pirates would just come out now and get it over with! he thought.
Heads up, multiple targets inbound The targeting computer on his interceptor cackled. Taylor jerked up tearing off the headphones and instantly glued to the screen. Twentyfour wireframe boxes popped up to the right, the screen zoomed in till the vessels could be clearly seen. Pirates! 24 of them! Taylor swore under his breath. Base, this is Alpha Blue, 24 pirate ships bering 250, 160 kilometers out, 3 degrees. Request to engage.
Alpha Blue, this is Base, targets already spotted, permission to engage granted, the boys on the ground are being scrambled.
Taylor nearly leaped with joy, he would finally get to see action. In a few minutes, most of the military would also be in space, fighting the enemy. Taylor flipped the cloak switch, and a loud whine reverberated throughout the hull, his ship slipped into darkness. Twisting the throttle, the Ion engines kicked in pressing Taylor back into the seat.
On the tarmac of the Free Worlds primary Navy Base, things were hectic. A Cruiser was having trouble engaging the engines, powering them up, only to have them stall at high speed. Now they were just trying to get it off the runway so other ships could take off. Inside the command center, top officials were gazing at plotting screens. The pirate ships are ignoring the freighters! Major Ryan spoke what everyone could now see. But they have always gone for the freighters in the past, its what they are as pirates. Commander Taloc answered. Not this time, they are heading right into orbit around demeter. Ryan replied.
Maybe, but they have no ships large enough to hold troops.
What if the transports are cloaked?
We can detect ships even if they are cloaked
What are they doing then!!! Taloc nearly screamed in frustration.
David Namor sat smugly in the cockpit of his L-27 BOA fighter. He let out a chuckle as he saw the interceptor start coming towards them. Today, the tides of victory would be tested against that which had for so long thought itself invincible.
Their baiting us Ryan whispered in amazement.
Commander Taloc came around the table. But why? They know we have better ships
Maybe, they have a new weapon they want to test out. Ryan spoke after a pause.
Sacrifice ten fighters for the price of gaining a little information? I wouldnt think that they would be stupid enough to do that kind of thing.
Yet what if this weapon is powerful, what if they have found a way to adapt nuclear weapons. Should we call back our guys? Ryan questioned
No, let them think they have us, we will take their offer hook, line, but not sinker. Warn the people on their way, and send two extra war cruisers and a missile boat. Taloc answered.
Taylor's interceptor reached the enemy several seconds before the cruisers. Tearing through with a high speed pass, he launched two firefly missiles at the nearest target, a missile frigate. One hit the armor plating on the left side and bounced off exploding harmlessly in space, the other struck home directly on the cockpit opening it into space.
As the interceptor turned around for another pass, a small pirate fighter locked onto the speeding interceptor and the muzzles of its quadlinked chainguns flashed rapidly. The interceptor simply melted into nothing.
Chainguns dont do that!! Commander Larson thought. His cruiser warped into the scene of action. His trigger finger went into action, blowing the boa in front of him into infinity.
The CF2 Cruisers began to systematically pop out of warp and blow every pirate ship to pieces. Yet not without losses, the boas quickly picked themselves up and returned fire. Then the new weapon that the pirates had developed truly began to show its effect, the shields and armor of the cruisers melted like water under its power.
Shields 20% sir, a junior officer spoke up. No way! Larson thought. We are goners at this rate. Thankfully the pirates dont have very good armor/shields. His cruiser demolished a third fighter. The fourth one returned fire as he shot it, and both ships were utterly destroyed.
Things were beginning to say a little in the favor of the Free Worlds. After 10 minutes, the Free Worlds military clearly had the upper hand over the pirates. Then, a new factor appeared.
Free Worlds Commander Gerys cruiser had claimed its fourth fighter, when the pirate cruiser uncloaked. The pirate ship opened fire turning the Gerys cruiser into a ball of fire before turning to the right and doing the same to Commander Dalens Cruiser. The CF2 ships knew they were doomed unless they escaped, the remaining CF2 cruisers warped away. Some of the interceptors and crafts without warp tried to make a break for it while the rest fought to the death. Very few of the craft ever made it back to base.
Back in the headquarters control room, both Ryan and Taloc sat stunned at the visual screen of the action and the reports coming back. Impossible Ryan whispered
Taloc was silent, he had just sent his men to their deaths. He hadn't foreseen this, and now he would have to pay the consequences. Most likely court martial and banishment. They had just made the greatest mistake in the entire history of the Free Worlds Military.