Empires II: Dark Messiah

Discussion in 'Worldbuilding' started by DonMegel, Jan 18, 2007.

  1. Trainzack

    Trainzack Member

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    This had better not be dead.
     
  2. Empty

    Empty Member

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    Roflol
     
  3. Vulkanis

    Vulkanis Banned

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  4. Sprayer2708

    Sprayer2708 Member

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    Is DonMegel dead? I somewhat liked reading his story... even a second time
     
  5. Empty

    Empty Member

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    Megel left empires a while ago.
     
  6. Trickster

    Trickster Retired Developer

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    I sent him an email recently but no reply yet.
     
  7. Ikalx

    Ikalx Member

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    Isn't he like getting married an' stuff :confused:
     
  8. Trickster

    Trickster Retired Developer

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    Yeah he is.
     
  9. Trickster

    Trickster Retired Developer

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    " In the digital realm I have been writing a great deal more, several chapters for the “Empires II” story line that I will post up in the Empiresmod forums soon."

    From Megel's website.
     
  10. Sprayer2708

    Sprayer2708 Member

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    yay!​​
     
  11. DonMegel

    DonMegel Member

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    -- 4 --

    "Report!"

    "They've jumped away Captain," came the quick reply, "minor damage on aft sections. Damage crews enroute."

    The weightless bulk of the mighty Borodin slowly righted itself within the endless sea of black. Streams of energy and random "knockers," or dumbfire explosives, had pushed the Imperial cruiser over, if there was such a direction in space, and down. As had been the case two times past, the origin of the irritating, for they were little more agasint such stout defenses, munitions quickly jumping to light speed after each volly and, in turn, saving its self the reprisal of the Borodin's main batteries. The tactic, know as "Streaking" was used primarily by quick, under armed and otherwise exposed vessels, thus the name.

    Captain Gardener had been "streaked" before.

    "Helm!" He bellowed over the halpless alarm klaxons, "All stop, prepare for maximum speed."

    Before the scentence was complelte the pair of helmsmen flanking the Captain had finsihed thier order, thier controls instructing the massive gravitational coils on the vessels sides and rear to fill with energy and warm up for use. In moments the beheamoth would be ready to streak away from its attacker at several times the speed of light. All that was needed was a heading.

    "Course Sir?" One of the Ensings finally braved after several moments passed without direction.

    "Right here" Gardner replied as another "streak" rocked the deck benith him. "Set course for where we are."

    The helmsmen, one of which was a woman, exchanged confused looks but were content to follow thier order without objection. Gardener's second in command felt no such obligation.

    "Sir?" He inquired from his work station no more than a meter and a half from his Captain.

    Gardenr frowned, "It's a Factionalist trick," he explained with an obvious attempt to contain his irritation. "Or don’t they teach this in the Academy?"

    Smyth displayed a frown of his own. Indeed it had. "Aye Sir, but doctrine dictates-"

    "Weapons?” Gardner asked, ignoring the inexperience of his subordinant. “Bring all batteries online. Signal weapons free.”

    The first officer, giving a confused and somewhat distraught look, slumped back slightly in his chair. Unconvential tactics and strategies had been one of his least favorite classes five years ago but he remembered the prescribed method for combating the Rapid Assault and disengagement munver, the proper name for “Streaking,” was to blanket the area in explosives rigged for proximity detonation and then engage the target when it was disabled. Powering up the GSW would only make the engines more vulnerable to a lucky shot. That’s what he had been taught.

    Captain Gardner’s plan was indeed more dangerous to his vessel; with the GSW nacels powered up a single round between the plates or off the rim of an exaust manifold could disable to entire system for days and strand the Borodin in deep space. The tactic, discouraged for the aforementioned resion, also had the desired side effect of disrupting the fabric of space and preventing any other GSW from operating in the area. It may be more dangerous but was also highly effective and much, much quicker.

    “Target sighted!” Came a call from an excited Lt. manning the tactical sensors a few moments after the Captain’s orders. “Incoming!”

    As before, the Borodin shook under the impact of numerous but ultimately harmless barrages. Only this time, as the Oznerk turned to streak away once more it found her engines less than cooperative.

    “Fire at will!” Gardiner exclaimed, a strange look of youth and excitement illuminating his worn face.

    At once the main batteries of the Borodin unleased a hail storm of unrivaled furry on the stranded Republican destroyer. As programmed, the Oznerk’s defense grids each chose incoming missles to track and destroy but such was the sheer number of projectiles they soon became overwhelmed. A single flash of white fire brought day to eternal night as one such turret lost its struggle, a small but gaping hole erupting in the armor platting to replace its previous tenant. This hole soon mulotiplied as the weakened net of defense turrets failed to compensate for their increased load. Quickly the holes pot makring the silver hull spread further and began to link with one another and formed new, larger, craggy canyons of destruction. Like water flowing from a failed dam, ordinance greedily invaded the ruptures until one envidably discovered an unsheiled power relay or powder magainze. The result was a spectacular flash of blinding light and a rainbow of colored gasses and flames that, were they not mared by the death toll that accompanied them, would have been quite beautiful.

    The whole event took place in less than sixty seconds.

    Captain Gardiner surveyed the expanding wreakage with grim satisfaction while his first officer sheepishly examined unimportant readouts from his display. Gerdiner had presided over countless battles and yet each still filled his lungs with air and drove his heart like he was a young boy vying for his first kiss. He didn’t think about the hundreds of lives he had just extinguished, after all, they had attacked him first. Besides, that would ruin the moment.
    *
    “Secure weapons” Smyth finally ordered, remembering his place on the bridge. “and general quarters. Contnue persute course at best possible speed.”
    *
    Gardiner smiled, “I’ll be in my ready room” He announced as he stood from his chair and almost jogged towards the door. “Let me know when we’ve got the Ramman on sensors.”
    *
    -- Delta 9 Sector, Imperial border—
    *
    A Gravitation Space Warping Drive, or GSW as it is abreviataed, operates on a very basic principle. The fabric of space is composed of limitless layers above and below the “visible” rheml; the layer plaents and ships float in. This fabric is bent and manipulated by gravitation fields and keeps planets circling their suns, blackholes consuming everything near them, and comets orbiting solar systems. GSW drives bend this fabric into a wave that pushes a space craft. As with any fabric, once bent, it forms ripples, points, stresses, hills and vallys that extend out for thousands of kilometers. If enough gravitation forces are applied to a certain area of this fabric it could tear and expose layers of under or over space.
    *
    With only a dead crew to take notice a tiny warning light began to blink frantically as the small freighter’s engines came to life. The Issus-Ton’s course had already been set by the same black clad Jekotian visitors who had ended the lives of the crew days earlier. Two decks lower in the engine room, more lights began to plead with men who would never see them. REO operatives had taken care to disable all of the safty and automatic triggers that might avert the fate that they had in mind for the little vessel. Still, unware of the events that had transpired, scores of little indicators came to life in an attempt to warn their users of the impending disaster.
    *
    One explained that the safties had been disabled while another proclimaed that the engines were running at overload capacity. Other lights, these red with a full paragraph of text, warned that the Issus-Ton was creating an improperly configured GSW field, yet, they were not moving. Had anyone remined aboard who could look at and interpret these hopeless blinking icons they would have seen the GSW had been locked into overdrive and the field had been realigned to create the maximum amount of stress on space as possible.
    *
    Around the Issus-Ton the fabric of space warped and creased in an increasingly tight ripple. Along the perrifery of the field tiny vortexes appeared for only fractions of a moment as normal space began to buckle and repair itself hundreds of times a second; still the forces increased. The light from limitless stars beyond the embattled vessel began to smear and run along the edges of the field that had become strong enough to alter the course of light itself.
    *
    Back on the source of the disruptions, molecular welds started to pull apart under the stress created by their own engines. After only three minutes, bulkheads along the mid section buckled and vented the conetns of their decks into the chaotic space outside. Quickly the deceased men and women along with data pads, chairs, desks and anything else not fastened securely, were siphoned into the creases of the GSW field and broken down into a tiny steam of atoms thousands of meters long before being spewed out the back.
    *
    When the stress generated by the GSW on the surrounding space reached a point were it could no longer maintane its integrity, it tore. An entity akin to a crack in the glass of space ripped like paper across the night, bursts of green blue light escaping from under space along the way.
    *
     
  12. PwnedYoAss

    PwnedYoAss Member

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    DonMegel! Gasp!
     
  13. DonMegel

    DonMegel Member

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    "It just ends"
    *
    "Then where are they?"
    *
    The Ensign shook her head. "I don't know Sir, but their GSW signature ends at these coordinates."
    Commander Smyth pulled the corner of his mouth into an perplexed smirk. "How about other trails?" He asked after a few moments of thought. "maybe they swapped vessels"
    *
    "We aren't picking up any debris fields, Sir" came an unsolicited rebuttal from a science station in the rear.*Smyth looked down and ran his hand through his dark hair in quiet exasperation. The last thing he wanted to do was to wake the Captain to give him bad news. His appointment to the Borodin had been a result of a great many family favors designed to boost his carrier and hasten his captaincy. A gruff, sour old*commanding officer and a wily Jekotian opponent had,*unfortunately,*served to frustrate those plans.
    *
    "Aside from our own," The ensign sitting below*the Commander*explained, apparently having finished her scan, "Gravitation fields throughout this region are in fluxuation but it looks like the only trail within two light years*is friendly."
    *
    Smyth*turned and walked away from the navigation station, hand resting mid stroke in his now disheveled hair. He sighed. "Could he be masking our sensors?" He asked with hope.
    *
    The Lt. paused to consider the idea. "I doubt it sir, even if he could fool the array he can't disappear. Visual displays confirm nothing is here but dust."
    Letting his hand complete its rearward motion before sliding down to his tensing neck, the first officer turned and slowly strolled back toward the navigation station. "What would you do?" He asked himself under his breath.
    *
    "Sir?" The ensign asked looking up. She hadn't heard the whole question, only enough to make her curious.
    *
    Commander Smyth*shook his head, "Nothing, I-" He stopped, his eyes darting back and forth as his mind conjured possibilities. "Wait, what is wrong with the gravity in this system?"
    *
    The Lt. checked his display. "There has been an accident a few light years from here" he replied looking over the orders sent to the various vessels. "some sort of rupture in space."
    *
    "What is the nature of the rupture?"
    *
    "Unknown. Several vessels have been sent to investigate and render aide."
    *
    A pause. "From the boarder patrol?"
    *
    The Lt nodded, "Aye, from this region."
    *
    Smyth*snapped his fingers in triumph as he walked over to the captain's chair. "That's where he is going to slip through."
    *
    Ensign Summers, who had rotated around from her station to follow the first officer's train of thought, looked puzzled. "But they aren't here."
    *
    The Commander*smiled, "They were here, but they've gone. Commander?" he asked, looking in the direction of the engineering station. "Could the Ramman be mimicking a Imperial vessel's engine signatures?"
    *
    Lt. Commander Flynn considered the idea for a moment before responding. "its possible.* But an analysis of the gravitational field or a visual inspection would give them away."
    *
    "Unless," the adjacent science officer continued, "the normal fabric of space time had been disrupted."
    *
    Summers picked up the string, "by a rupture?"
    *
    Smyth*sat in the large chair with confidence, his face no longer burdened with perplexed thought and agony over failure. "By a rupture." he completed the circle, "Set a course for the friendly GSW signature. Maximum speed."
     
  14. DonMegel

    DonMegel Member

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    "How long!?"
    *
    The scream of alarm klaxons and cracking of automatic fire drowned out the crewman's inquiry; not that the question would have made much difference. A REO worked as fast as possible no matter the situation. Being pinned down in an enemy research facility while an enemy heavy cruiser blasted away at your planned exit was just as much incentive as a stop watch during a test. Quickly the REO's fingers traced paths over the glossy computer terminal, each tap producing a tiny eruption of color. Much was going on in the back of the Sergeant's mind: the time since mission start and until the next stage, the algorithm working to unlock the targeted database, the constant throb of pain pulsating from the gunshot wound in his arm, the location (determined by sound) of the Imperial forces pressing hard on their position, and, what was going to be for dinner.
    *
    *** An explosion nearby sent up a fountain of debris that rained down atop the living and dead alike. The site was in every way surreal. Nothing about the sprawling facility spoke of a mindset of war, aside from its construction within an asteroid. Every surface professed cleanliness with a sparkling coat of gloss. Chrome, glass, white plastic, various combinations of alloys, everything was as bright, shiny and light as possible. The lines forming the walls and corridors, in typical Imperial fashion, were smooth and gradual; not quite organic, but rather hinting at a society and culture that had advanced beyond the notion of 'manual labor' or 'dirt.' This was a place of thoughts, of ideas, of foundations for the future.
    *
    *** At least, it had been. The REOs and security detachments from the*Ramman had used a shuttle to blow holes through walls and bulkheads to allow a lighting type assault on the facility. Once the heavy lifting had taken place the teams had overridden the environmental controls to return oxygen to the areas exposed to space. The air, of course, quickly rushed out but was replaced with more from other parts of the station. Eventually the entire facility would be completely devoid of the gasses needed to sustain life but the idea was for the*Ramman, and her teams, to be long gone by that time.
    *
    Not everything was going according to plan.
    *
    "Report!" a staticy voice demanded.
    *
    Sergeant Six-Three tapped his ear piece. "Security is breached, data upload complete in 4 minutes."
    *
    Outside was a situation more perilous than that of the embattled crewman and REOs. Having thundered into the area during the final stages of the*Ramman's assault, the Borodin was making up for lost time. What had been empty space was now filled with an endless array of missiles, tracers and lasers. Every ounce of the massive Heavy Cruiser quivered with the incredible power that it was unleashing at a constant rate. Her Captain had had enough with finesse and had chosen instead of overwhelm the battered Ramman with a swarm of death. 4 minutes could be an eternity.
    *
    --*RSS Ramman --
    *
    "Port side regulator is out!"
    *
    "Damn!" Paterson exclaimed, holding onto his bulky captain's chair the keep from being thrown. "This is getting absurd"
    *
    "Bring us about!" Jonathan exclaimed, "Evasive pattern Bruce 29, keep our starboard side facing them!"
    *
    "Sparks!" Patterson shouted after pounding on the communicator mounted in his chair, "Port missile defense is out-"
    *
    "Yew thynk aye don't know that?" the voice spat back, interrupting the Captain, "Gimmie half a teek"
    *
    Patterson inwardly grimaced at the explosions he was hearing over the com. His ship was taking one hell of a pounding. "You've got a quarter of a tick, that's all I can spare"
    *
    The com clicked off just as the ship jolted a couple of feet to the left, knocking a crewman off their feet and*ramming their head into a console. Stumbling under the bucking deck, the first officer reached the bleeding youth moments after impact to begin administering aide. Another sharp jolt threw him too*from his feet and onto a shattered panel.
    *
    "Jon?" Patterson yelled after hearing the exclamation from behind.
    *
    "I'll live" the commander replied, examining his blood drenched hand. "Sickbay!" He then bellowed, obviously intending the computer to recognize the emergency word. "We need medical support on the bridge!"
    *
    "Power fluctuations in the portside array sir!" came a voice from the engineering station. "we're loosing laser defense"
    *
    "How're they hitting the port-" Paterson began before being interrupted by the answer.
    *
    "Guided munitions sir, they are swinging wide into our lame wing"
    *
    "They'll chew the port side to pieces" someone observed unnecessarily.
    *
    The Captain slammed his fist down on his chair once more, "Strike teams! Come home now or there won't be a home to come to!"
    *
     
  15. DonMegel

    DonMegel Member

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    -- Strike Team 2 --
    *
    "Times up!" The "lead" security officer announced after hearing the Captain's words.
    *
    Sergeant Six-Three didn't budge. REOs, when on mission, adhered to their own code of conduct.
    *
    "You hear me soldier!?" The Lieutenant shouted after seeing the REO continue his work.
    *
    Still no reply.
    *
    "All teams," the officer continued, temporarily ignoring the black clad Recon operative, "emergency departure, move! move! move!"
    *
    "30 seconds" the REO finally offered, the tiny gray storage device in his hand blinking wildly.
    *
    "In 30 seconds I am going to be looking at this place from the outside."
    *
    In accordance with the "emergency" departure plan, explosives had been rigged to a nearby bulk head in order to create a less hostile exit. Moments after the crewman rigging the charges screamed "clear" the wall disappeared behind a billowing plume of fire and smoke. At the same time, crewman holding off Imperial personnel at the proper entrance popped smoke and explosives to mask their withdrawal.
    *
    The REO hadn't flinched.
    *
    "I'm fine*with you staying you mutant sunova bitch" the lieutenant began, "but that little box" he motioned to the blinking storage device. "and I are leaving, now."
    *
    "15 seconds"
    *
    Clearly having lost his patience, the Lieutenant reached for the blinking box perched on the REO's knee. Moving only his arm, the REO snapped the officer's wrist and forced him to the ground with a loud thud. Seeing what was taking place, a pair of Ramman crewman rushed to the scene, bringing their weapons to bear. With an equally fluid and effortless motion, the REO flipped a maintenance panel up from the floor and hurled it in the approaching men's direction, sending them diving for cover.
    *
    "You...bastard..." the Lieutenant forced from behind clenched teeth.
    *
    From the corner of his eye Sergeant Six-Three noticed what he considered the sprawling lieutenant's final mistake; he was drawing his side arm. Without hesitation the hand that had broken the officer's wrist grabbed the pistol, turned it into the Lieutenant's chest, and squeezed twice.
    With horror the two crewman watched their leader jolt from the shots and then go limp, the smoking side arm then falling with a clink from the REO's hand. Both men quickly returned to their feet, each fixing their rifle on the kneeling REO.
    *
    "Recovery complete" Six-Three said without emotion, "Returning to base"
    *
    The rapid pop-pop-pop of automatic fire again filled the air as the first of the Imperial defenders braved their way through the smoke. While the first two rounds went wide, the third, fourth and fifth hit home with deadly Imperial accuracy. Seeing his comrade fall, the second crewman, in*a flash of fear and anger that had over taken him, believed the shots had come from the Sergeant and opened fire. Simultaneously, the approaching Imperials opened fire, cutting the second crewman down in another string of tap-tap-tap.
    *
    Inwardly the advancing guards must have felt flush with victory, having dislodged the Jekotians from their fortress and dispatched a pair of the intruders without consequence.
    *
    This feeling for victory was short lived. Six-Three, a Jekotian bullet now lodged in his left lung,*demonstrated the over confidence of his Imperial attackers with three precise shots; one for each. Not waiting to see the trio fall to the deck, an oozing hole gaping in their foreheads, the REO leapt to his feet and darted out of the exit made only a minute earlier.
    *
    --*RSS Ramman*--
    *
    "Strike teams 1, 3 and 4 on board Captain!" a new ensign proclaimed. Although Patterson prided himself on knowing a great many of his officers, this young woman's identity evaded him.*Have we lost than many officers?
    *
    "What about two?" He asked aloud. Strike team two had been tasked with retrieving the data on the shield itself.
    *
    "On approach" came the snappy reply, she must have been anticipating the answer Patterson noted, "ETA 30 seconds"
    *
    "Make our course 91683 Mark 2- Maximum speed!"
    *
    A pause. "Sir," the young ensign replied hesitantly, "that course will take us deeper into uncharted space-"
    *
    "We'll never fight our way through all of the Brenodi space" Jonathan answered, knowing what his Captain was thinking, "at least out there they will be at as much a disadvantage as we are."
    *
    "SWD is reading offline Captain!" The engineering station seemed to profess only bad news.
    *
    "Sparks!" Patterson yelled without missing a step, "We need faster than light in 30 seconds or we're all dead!"
    *
    Nothing.
    *
    "Sparks!-"
    *
    "This is Major*Lajita" returned the steely voice of a REO over the intercom. "Commander Sparks has suffered fatal injuries. I have assumed temporary command of engineering"
    *
    The Captain and first officer exchanged concerned looks at the connection of "fatal" with the name of their friend and colleague. Each inwardly hoped there had been a mistake, that reports of the quirky engineer's demise had been premature, but at the same time they knew he was gone. There would be time for mourning later.
    *
    "Major" The Captain said at last, a hint of sadness under riding his words, "I need*the SWD operational now!"
    *
    The Major's response was level and measured, not a trace of the chaos surrounding him detectable in his words. "SWD is down due to severe damage to the port nacelle. We could possible-"
    *
    "I don't care" Patterson bellowed, "Just do it so we can get the hell out of here!"
    *
    "Yes Sir"
    *
    Almost on cue, the*Ramman jolted upward atop the shockwave of energy from missile detonation. The Borodin had found another hole in the missile defense grid. Holes that were becoming all to numerous.
    *
    Outside the*Ramman limped around behind the station, using it as a shield against the torrent of fire coming from the enraged*Borodin. The final strike team, a few men lighter than when it departed, hurled toward the open shuttle bay at a speed far higher than recommended. There was not the time for safety checks and computer guided approach. The shuttle craft*Victory*jammed its reverse thrusters*hard to bleed off some speed just before slamming into the waiting hanger. As the comparatively tiny craft tore through the makeshift barriers erected to catch it, the Borodin was steaming at maximum impulse in an effort to reacquire its wounded pray. As Patterson had hoped, the massive vessel took the shortest distance between two points, a straight line, rather than swinging wide to avoid the station. While not close enough for an impact, the Heavy Cruiser came as close as possible, within a few hundred meters.
    *
    "Now!" Patterson exclaimed as soon as the SWD came online.
    *
    The work of strike team three became apparent. Buried deep within the assaulted research station the anti-matter powered reactor suffered a series of devastating attacks courtesy of explosive charges left behind by the*Ramman. In a chain reaction that took fractions of a millisecond, charged antimatter particles broke free of the magnetic field holding them in place and collided with the walls of the containment bunker. The energy released from the annihilation of matter and anti-matter was on a scale of magnitude much greater than that of any fusion bomb. With a bright flash the research station vaporized in a cloud of pure white energy that tore the entire asteroid into large craggy boulders. As had been planned, the Borodin too was caught in the blast, with fire and melted metals tearing from her shining hull before being pummeled with molten rock and debris. In the event of a anti-mater containment failure it is recommended any vessel be at least five thousand meters in distance. The*Borodin was only 500.
    ***
    Simultaneously the*Ramman came to life, bending the fabric of space around its smoldering hull and jumping into the directon of uncharted deep space. Seconds later the massive Borodin blew through the cloud of fiery gasses and super heated debris, the entire starboard side scarred and ablaze. The blast had torn the hull across a dozen sections, exposing the contents of the ship to space. Along the top and bottom, long streaks of black scorch marks traced the path of explosions and impacts, both from the station and the Borodin herself. Only the port side, shielded from the blast by the rest of the ship, looked clean and new. A visage the rest of the*Borodin would likely never again obtain.
     
  16. aaaaaa50

    aaaaaa50 Member

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    Guys, the lack of posts here is disturbing. This is professional-level writing (although if this was to be published [yes I know that's not gonna happen] it would have to go through an editor first) *ahem* professional-level writing that is being given for free. There should be a excessive amount of posts praising DonMegel's fun and creative fiction. There's only one person gasping when there should be a dozen. Comon people, show some support! I want you to make word-based hypnosis and convince DonMegel to post some more awesome fiction!
    [​IMG]
     
  17. DonMegel

    DonMegel Member

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    The body of Lt. Commander Cobb Sparks lay unceremoniously atop a brushed metal slab. Blackened flesh soaked in red blood covered much of the engineer's body, the rest wrapped in what remained of his crimson uniform. It too had been torn and burnt nearly beyond recognition. In a manner not befitting the man nor those around him, other bodies had been placed in the same room; on tables, on chairs, on the floor, most covered in sheets with tiny bits of red showing through but others just laying bare, formally living lumps of flesh just taking up space. Beyond the tiny death filled room the medical bay was awash in noise; cries of the wounded, cries for help, cries of pain, cries of the dieing. Doctors and nurses racing from one mangled body to the next, a life saved releasing them only to desperately try to do the same on another.
    *
    *** The scene beyond the room faded from view as Captain Patterson looked down upon his friend, tiny pools of water forming in his eyes. He had lost many shipmates during his years of service, many of them friends, but never did the pain subside or lesson. The sharp stab in the throat, the bottom falling from the stomach, the urge to vomit, scream, cry and break something all fighting to get out; a stoic facade barley keeping them in.
    *
    *** Sparks had died fulfilling his order, they all had in one way or another, but Sparks did so after a personal order from the Captain. After clicking off the com unit he had gone to repair the broken regulator. Not trusting the task to a subordinate he had climbed down the shaft and made the repairs in record time. During his trip back to engineering a plasma conduit ruptured and burnt him to death. Thankfully the death was instant. Sparks most likely did not even realize what had happened. It was a small comfort.
    *
    *** The Ramman shuttered as the gravitation field around the ship fluctuated. The three hours that had passed since jumping away from the research station had not been the smoothest. Major Lajita had pulled off a miracle that would have made Sparks proud in getting the GSW online but the work had not been pretty, nor was it sturdy. The coils in the port nacelle were partially operational but the regulators and distribution apparatus had been destroyed. The Major's work around involved using a half dozen subsystems to channel and regulate the power to the coils but none of them could handle such a huge influx of energy. Relays and resisters had been failing at such an alarming rate that the Ramman had only another two hours at faster than light speed before spare parts ran out.
    *** Sparks would have an off the wall last minute fix, Patterson had thought during the Major's briefing, Using pantyhose and coke bottoms or some damn thing. The thought drew a sad half smile across the Captain's unshaven face. He hadn’t slept in nearly 72 hours.
    *
    *** "Bridge to the Captain" a voice announced from the ceiling.
    *
    Patterson walked over to a nearby wall and tapped the com button, "Patterson here"
    *
    "We have a sensor contact. You are needed on the bridge."
    *
    Patterson, surrounded only by the dead, visibly sighed. This mission had already cost far too much and he and his crew were nowhere near home. "I'll be right there."
    *
    Jabbing the white button with his thumb, Patterson turned to look once more at his friend before almost jogging out of the door.
    *
    ---
    *
    "What do we have?" Patterson asked stepping off of the lift.
    *
    Commander Bruce turned to look at the approaching Captain, "Hard to tell with the damage we've sustained but-" He paused.
    *
    "But?"
    *
    Jonathan continued, "It looks like the Borodin"
    *
    Patterson's face fell as his eyes widened, "You must be joking"
    *
    Jonathan shook his head, "She’s a couple hours behind us and gaining. Even if we could maintain this speed she would over take us in 10 hours. As it stands now engineering says-"
    *
    "I know" Patterson said cutting off his taller friend. His initial shock had melted into deep thought, one arm across his chest, the other placing his hand over his chin. The Ramman was barley holding together in space. She could not survive another fight. "Astrometrics?" He asked without altering his stance. "Any thing of interest within a couple hours? Present speed?"
    *
    A gray haired balding man swiveled around in his chair. "A black hole and a pulsar star cluster." he responded in a raspy voice. "but the latter is about two and a quarter hours."
    *
    "The singularity might confuse the sensors." the First Officer offered, using the more technical term for Black Hole.
    *
    Patterson shook his head, "Nothing to hide behind. Make for the cluster" The Captain dropped his arms and walked toward his office. "Get me everything you have on that part of space and let the Major know we need a little bit more time from the GSW"
    *
    The last words tailed off behind the metallic thud of his office door but the Commander knew what the Captain was trying to convey. He had to come up with a plan.
    *
     
  18. DonMegel

    DonMegel Member

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    -- ISS Borodin --
    *
    "Auxiliary life support is at 73%, Auxiliary water stores are down to 52%, starboard side hull armor is at 3% on sections 5 through 15, 7% on 16 through 19,-"
    *
    Captain Gardiner rubbed his brow as the damage report droned on, a thick pounding within his head trying to drown out the Lieutenant’s words. Captain Saber had all but said a lesser ship would have been crippled or destroyed from the incident. The laundry list of damage was small considering what the ship had absorbed. The fact that the nacelles had escaped major damage was given up to fate, a navigational quirk of the helmsman who had banked the vessel at the last moment and thus shielding the engines. The Borodin was still structurally sound with good engines but almost everything on the starboard side was scrap metal. No armor, no missile defense, no laser banks, dozens of compartments open to space, 212 dead or missing.
    *
    Gardiner was tired. Tired from lack of sleep. Tired of embarrassing surprises. Tired of chasing some Jekotian pri*k.
    *
    *** Fleet Command was, of course, outraged that not only had security been breached at one of their most prized research stations, buried deep in Brenodi space, but it had been sacked and destroyed as well. To make matters worse, the Borodin had nearly been lost when the station exploded. While it would have been commendable, the Admiral had gone on, that the Borodin*managed to intercept the Ramman, the loss of the station and its technology was deplorable. Every available vessel had been dispatched to recover, or destroy, the stolen shield data but were, in the best case,*nearly four days from reaching the remote area. Had that not been the case, the Admiral had ended with, the Borodin and her Captain would be on their way to the nearest port for reprimand. If Gardiner wanted to be able to hold his head high in the fleet, much less be able to retire with honor, he had to bring home Patterson's head on a platter.
    *
    *** "Thank you Lt." Gardiner said aloud, interrupting the younger man, "How much can we have repaired and how soon?" His head was still angled downward so that his arm could rest on the conference table while still massaging his forehead.
    *
    *** "Not much I'm afraid" Captain Saber offered in the Lieutenant’s stead "She’s going to need time in dry dock. We can seal the open compartments if we drop out of FTL but we only have enough material onboard to restore maybe 30% of offensive/defensive capabilities on the portside. We were never meant to deal with such a catastrophic blow."
    *
    Gardiner sighed. "Any good news Max?"
    *
    Maximillion Saber tilted his head as if to say "on the other hand," "the rest of the ship is in pretty good shape. Repairs in those areas should be complete long before we reach the target. Just keep them off our flank."
    *
    "I think we can work with that," the Captain replied looking up, "Tactical?" He turned to a young woman sitting as straight as possible. Only the dark circles under her eyes betrayed the hectic day and a half they had all just been through. "What kind of condition is the Ramman in?"
    *
    "I've been going over the data" she began, glancing down at her tablet to check the numbers, "and I believe we gave better than we got." The dark haired Lt. Commander swiveled around in her chair as the large conference room view screen flickered to life, a combat shot of the Ramman instantly filling its space. "Notice the impact marks here" she motioned with a pointer, "here, here and here. Her missile defense grid must be down to 50% or so, much worse on the port side." The image flicked over to another shot, this one mid explosion. "At about 11:32;14 I think we disabled the entire flank. Perhaps a blown array or regulator. It was after this impact that the Ramman began favoring her port side. Subsequent impacts with guided munitions found little, if any, missile defense in that area."
    *
    "So we both have limp wings" The first officer observed optimistically.
    *
    "There’s more" the woman went on, the image changing a second time*"This shot was taken just before the Ramman made it around the station and we lost sight of her. Notice the port nacelle" a portion of the image flashed then grew to fill the screen, "its badly damaged. Its astounding they managed to jump at all"
    *
    "Max?" Gardiner asked looking over at his chief engineer.
    *
    Squinting in order to bring to light every detail, Captain Saber inspected the damage. "The coils look alright from here but there is no way the distribution system is operational. Not with that kind of damage."
    *
    "Then how did they make the jump?" Gardiner asked skeptically.
    *
    Maximillion let out a sigh, relinquishing his squint and leaning back in his chair. "Hard to say from the picture. If the coils are operational then its just a matter of playing with the energy. A light cruiser in the Ramman's class would have very few ways of doing that; all of them harmful."
    Commander Smyth sat forward, hands folded, eyes crunched into an interested but inquisitive crease. "Harmful in what way?"
    *
    "Well," Saber elaborated, "All GSW drives are unique in that they handle an immense amount of energy. Their control and distribution grid is set up for this. Other systems on a ship can be configured to look and act*like a GSW network but the hardware itself would not be able to handle the juice. You would constantly be melting conduits, blowing out boards, having to replace components."
    *
    "But you would be able to make the jump?"
    *
    "You would, but you could only stay at faster than light as long as you had parts to replace those you were destroying."
    *
    "A finite time" the first officer concluded.
    *
    "But how long a time?" Gardiner asked rhetorically. "Have science work up anything of astronomical interest within-" he trailed off looking over at his engineering chief,
    Saber understood the unspoken question, How long till the Ramman runs out of parts? "Three, maybe four hours"
    *
    "Four hours" Gardiner continued, "of the Ramman's current speed. In the mean time," he said standing from his chair, "Put my ship back together and maybe we can finally nail this sonova bitc*"
     
  19. DonMegel

    DonMegel Member

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    "30 seconds!"
    Why do these things always come down to the wire? Patterson mussed. The bridge of the Ramman reverberated with the strain of high speed combined with intense gravity. Everyone held fast to their station, white knuckles and gritted teeth providing just a little extra glue to keep them in place. Patterson was no different. What few people understood about being in command is that, once the word is given and the orders carried out, the Captain is just as helpless, just as subject to the outcome, as the youngest crewman. They were all at that place now. The preparations had been made, the decisions carried out, the orders given. Now all that remained was for Patterson to cling to his Captain's chair, jaw locked, silently praying that God would show him favor one more time.
    *** As the Captain, and many others on the tiny vessel, begged to be delivered from their impending peril, the Ramman shot towards its destination; right between a pair of binary stars. Had the crew not been undertaking a near suicidal maneuver they would no doubt marvel at the astronomical spectacle before them. While not uncommon in the galaxy, binary stars did posses a wide range of ages; from the very young and thus far apart, to the very old and thus almost colliding. This particular grouping was old; perhaps the oldest ever discovered. The astrometrics report now vibrating off of Patterson's desk predicted the stars would begin the final stage*of their collision some time in the next*few hundred years; the briefest of moments in a life time that lasted millennia.
    *** Already the outer atmospheres of the giant stars had begun to mingle. Fiery plumes from the sunspots of one twin licked the surface of the other, creating ripples of fire and gasses in the process. The larger star, nicknamed Teddy by the astrometric lab, was siphoning the super heated gasses of its twin, Bitty, and collecting them into a massive cloud of fire expanding out in many directions. From edge of gas trail*to edge of gas trail*the entire phenomenon spanned nearly a half light year. Yet it was the center that the Ramman was aiming for; right between the two immense infernos.
    *** The plan was simple. Use the two stars like a slingshot with the Ramman as the pebble. Gravitation Space Warping Drives perform their namesake by using a series of special coils to form a powerful gravitation field capable of bending space/time. Stars also bent the fabric of space but rather than doing so with technical wizardry they simply used their incomprehensible size. By streaking through the gravitation fields of not one but two stars at just the right place going just the right speed with their own field configured in just the right way the crew hoped to be "catapulted" at nearly twice the speed they would otherwise be able to achieve. The other option was that the Ramman would be turned into silver confetti. Since 'could be dead,' while pulling a crazy stunt,*was better than 'certainly dead,' standing up the Borodin, Patterson had chosen to roll the dice.*
    *
    **Always resourceful, Major Lajita had*maintained the Ramman's GSW by bypassing the overloaded circuits*with cables*salvaged from lesser systems and then linking them*directly from one point to another.**With the flow of energy no longer bound by breakers and fuses the conduits carrying that energy would quickly over heat and melt, shorting out the entire ship's power grid. For this reason the lines had to be constantly monitored when the GSW was in use and power routed to cooler areas before turning the conduits into molten metal. To maintain the perfect speed and simultaneously not destroy the ship, the engineering crew had to reroute power no less than every 90 seconds.*
    *
    "15 seconds!"
    Patterson closed his eyes and began to whisper. "My God..."*
     
  20. DonMegel

    DonMegel Member

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    --- ISS Borodin ---
    *
    *"They're gone" the tactical officer said with a tinge of disappointment.
    Commander Smyth*busily tapped on his panel, "Did they make it?"
    "Hard to say" the Lt. Commander responded, looking inquisitively over his own readouts. "The gravitational forces in this area are too strong to read a reliable course."
    "How about debris?" In light of the Captain's growing irritation at his apparent inability to capture the Ramman, Smyth had become a bit more vocal on the bridge.
    "Nothing so far but an edie could have drug most of it into one of the stars."
    Gardiner spoke up, "I need something more than 'they're just gone' dammit
    "Captain?"
    Gardnier stood from his chair and turned to look at the tiny voice emanating from one of the science stations. A thin, red haired, freckle faced Ensign was staring back. "We can predict thier course using what we know about 'star shot's' combined with their entry course and speed." Her voice quivered every so slightly addressing the older man. Emily, while very bright, had always been incredibly shy and her meek demeanor was in every way contrast to the older, booming appearance of the gruff Captain below. "but we'll need to get to the other side of the binaries in order to pick up the trail."
    "How long?" he snapped, not turning to look at the helmsmen who would answer his question.
    "Approximately 12 hours if we go around or 2 if we go through the middle." he replied without hesitation. Most of the crew were accustomed to their commander's temper and took little offense.
    Gardiner gave the young woman a tiny nod in appreciation and assurance of a job well done before returning to his chair. "Straight through, make it happen."
    A pair of "aye-aye"*s* echoed his commands.
     

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