Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Excerpt - Short Fire (Working Draft)

What follows is an excerpt from the book I'm currently writing.  This represents a work very very much in progress, and may not represent anything about the final product.


Captain Inga Mironovna
"Pull in close, find cover," Inga broadcast to her remaining frigates.  Each quickly maneuvered to match her trajectory and fired their primary propulsion.  As they continued forward, each drifted close to the Drückend, taking position between firing arcs of the dreadnaught’s powerful weaponry.  The Protectorate frigates had no defenses that could withstand the sheer energy output of a dreadnaught, and had no chance but to retreat for the moment.

"Captain, with a slight adjustment we’ll have a shot at the Chronos," spoke up an Ensign at tactical.  He opened up a display that Inga could see, and tossed it over to her for inspection.  She saw their current trajectory, saw the Ensign’s recommended course adjustment, and recognized it as a clear shot to hit the Chronos directly on his port starboard quarter, just along the ventral line as he drifted upward for a clear shot at the only dreadnaught already on station at the giant station behind them.

She couldn’t tell if the Chronos had a shot just yet, that wouldn’t become clear for another few seconds, but she didn’t have time to find out.  What she did know was that hitting the Chronos would force the Protectorate dreadnaughts to turn and face her, when what she wanted was to push them closer to the target that none of them wanted to hurt.

"Negative, Ensign," Inga said, and dismissed the new holo-display with a wave of her hand.  She spoke to the Drückend then.  "Drift port, eight degrees, turn starboard three, up two, tell me when you have a firing solution this cruiser," she pointed at the main holo-display.  Her finger touched the image of a fleet cruiser hovering just above and behind the three Protectorate dreadnaughts that was supporting them with a blistering wave of missiles against the CSN defensive group.  "Tactical, fire cannons one and four the instant Drückend reports we have a firing solution."

"Aye Captain," the lead tactical officer replied, and even as she spoke she sat up straight in her seat.  "Incoming heavy!"

"Brace!"  Commander Graves shouted, but the order was unnecessary as everyone saw the holo-display of swarms of missiles coming in.  The frigate group had mustered their efforts and fired a single barrage of missiles all at once.  Watching the Drückend maneuver to fire on its sister ship, one of the Protectorate missile cruisers had also added its firepower to the mix; launching more missiles alone than the frigates managed all together.  Everyone on the bridge grabbed onto something, Inga held onto a bit of railing with a firm grip.  She and Graves exchanged a look, and within a heartbeat the ship began to rock with heavy missile fire.

The Drückend bristled with many point-defense cannons, but there were simply too many missiles to pick off all at once.  Deflector arrays served well, sending some missiles careening off into space, but still some got through even that.  Nuclear fire erupted across the ship’s armor, billowing out in massive spheres of white-hot energy.  CSN frigates were already peeling away to escape the blasts, but some caught enough of the blasts to suffer considerable damage, and the Drückend rocked heavily.  The ship’s armor held, but all throughout the ship crew that hadn’t braced were thrown about like trash, some bulkheads and decks buckled, and alarms began to scream through the corridors.

"Firing solution," the Drückend announced calmly above the din in its hybrid voice.

"Fire!"  Inga shouted above the din of explosions, even as the tactical officer was already slamming her hand on the firing ring.

Just as the ship had rocked under the missile explosions, now it surged with the energy of firing two of its main guns.  Every person on board felt the power of just two of the Drückend’s six cannons as it hurtled from the aft engines through the length of the ship and out the nose; bright white light erupted from the ship’s front as two of the charged-particle rails launched their payload.  So incredible was the force of the launch, that the dreadnaught’s forward momentum was severely reduced.  Inga’s eyes never left the points of light that launched from her ship, watching as they streaked across the battlespace, incinerated a small cluster of Protectorate fighters, and ripped into the enemy cruiser.

The cruiser’s defensive shields failed, its deflector arrays were ignored, and its armor plating buckled under the sheer energy and impact of those two shots.  The ship practically imploded, knocked to the side by the impact and folded nearly in half as the shots caught it amidships.  Less than a second later the ship’s reactors erupted, and all that remained of the ship burst into a bright blue ball of energy that sent chunks of the giant starship careening through the stars.  Other nearby craft were blown away from the ship by the force of the explosion, or turned away in fear, as all were bombarded by pieces of armor plating, interior structure, and shredded chunks of crew.

"Adjust heading, fire at will!"  Inga cried above the din, pointing her finger at the missile cruiser that had launched its salvo at her ship.

The Drückend’s port and ventral particle cannons opened fire, sending a withering barrage of energy at the offending missile frigate, while the starboard and dorsal cannons followed suit and ripped into the Protectorate frigate formation.  Still holding strong against the barrage of missiles, the dreadnaught began to turn toward its new target.


Copyright 2012 J.L. V'Tar
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