As antimatter propelled shells rained down on the Tromvoyan ships, they immediately split and began to outflank the Mirandan warships. Remi and Marina felt helpless at the controls of their puny weapon. But they fired at the Tromvoyan vessels nonetheless. As the Tromvoyan vessels split up, they outflanked their Mirandan rivals and began to encircle them.
“It’s a pincer maneuver”, said Bernvar, “We have to get out of here, we’re fish in barrel like this!”.
But before he could do anything, the Tromvoyan vessels fired on the four remaining Frigates and decimated them completely: Leaving only the three battleships encircled and the convoy defenseless. Without any warships protecting the convoy, the Tromvoyan vessels resumed firing on the freighters, destroying one with each shot.
“I thought we were shooting them!”, shouted Bernvar, “why the hell aren’t we causing any damage!?”
“They’re releasing a pulse of some kind, sir”, said an officer, “it’s throwing off our guidance systems and we can’t get a clear shot”.
“Is the ship’s armor plating holding up against their firepower?” asked Bernvar.
“Yes”, said the officer, “for now, it’s holding on the Battleships, but it didn’t hold on the Frigates”.
“One of us has to try to get out of this so they can protect the convoy”, said Bernvar, “we can’t do anything while they have us pinned here. Captain Drumpf, we have sustained the least damage of all the ships, we should help the Matalan or the Farandella get out of here so they can complete the mission”.
“And leave us trapped here with them? NO WAY!!” shouted Drumpf.
“They’re going to kill us here eventually”, said Bernvar, “How’s it going to be? Let them slaughter us here like animals? Or sacrifice ourselves to help them get away?”.
Captain Drumpf thought long and hard about what course of action to take.
“Captain!”, shouted Drumpf, “I need an answer!”
“I don’t know!”, shouted Drumpf, “You take command! I didn’t sign up for this!”
Right away, Drumpf ran back to his cabin and locked the door behind him and an officer approached Bernvar.
“What are your orders, Captain?” petty officer Yorgensh asked Bernvar.
“Contact the other Battleships”, said Bernvar, “Let’s see if we can save the others in the convoy”.
Immediately, Bernvar ordered the officers on the bridge to send out a coded signal using Triumphant’s strobe lights. Using the lights to communicate, he ordered the Battleships into a V formation with Farandella in the middle.
“This is what we’re going to do”, said Bernvar, “As soon as we find an opening, we’re going to gun the engines to full power and break through their containment maneuver. As soon as we’re through, Triumphant and Matalan will make quarter turns and fire full broadsides to cover the Farandella as it returns to protect the fleet. Farandella will stay at the back of the fleet, acting as a shield, to absorb their fire until they are clear of the nebula, and they can safely return to hyperspace.”
As the officers communicated Bernvar’s plan to the other battleships, crewmembers worked to reload the weapons. They knew the Tromvoyans weren’t going to let them break out easily, and they were going to put up a fight to keep them contained.
“Do you think the armor plating will hold up?” Yorgensh asked Bernvar
“Let’s hope so”
Almost immediately, they found their opening and they gunned their engines to full throttle, nearly colliding with one of the Tromvoyan vessels. Right away, the Tromvoyans saw what Bernvar planned to do, and they focused their attention on the three battleships that were trying to escape. Their energy beams ripped across the battleships, but unlike the frigates, their armor was holding up, for now.
Almost as soon as the Tromvoyans opened fire, Matalan and Triumphant turned in unison and began to fire full broadsides as Farandella returned to the convoy and escorted the surviving Freighters away from the nebula. Minutes later, they jumped back into hyperspace.
Enraged that the convoy had gotten away, the Tromvoyans intensified their fire on the Matalan and Triumphant. Almost immediately, the tough armor plating that had protected them was starting to give way.
“Captain Bernvar”, shouted an Yorgensh, “there are decompression alarms going off in areas 19, 71, and 80”
“There are decompression alarms going off in areas 24, 56, and 79” shouted another officer.
“What now Captain?” asked Yorgensh.
“Why the hell haven’t we fired anti-ship cruise missiles at them!?” asked Bernvar as the ship rocked with explosion after explosion.
“Sir”, said Yorgensh, “they’re releasing a pulse of some kind, our missiles aren’t able lock on to them”.
“Get on the helm and get us out of here”, said Bernvar, “get us in the nebula. We couldn’t see them hide, maybe they can’t see us in there. They’ll lose us!”.
Right away, Yorgensh took control of the helm and moved Triumphant into the nebula, Matalan soon followed suite. The Tromvoyan vessels soon pursued them into the Nebula. But as the gas cloud got thicker, their ability to aim and fire weakened. They even began to miss the battleships altogether. Eventually, the firing stopped and the two battleships were deep inside the nebula.
“We lost them skip”, said Yorgensh.
“We have indeed”, said Bernvar, “a good job, to all of you. But as harsh as it sounds, there is no time to celebrate. We lost 5 warships, thousands just died, not to mention we lost 8 Freighters to those beasts. And now, we’re lost in heaven-knows where. If we leave the safety of the nebula, they’ll find us and we’ll die. If we stay here, we’ll run out of food, water, or fuel, whichever the case, we die. I need to talk to Captain Warren on the Matalan. Maybe she can come up with a more brilliant plan than me”.
After hiding in the nebula, Triumphant and Matalan docked together so Bernvar could talk to Captain Warren. Bernvar walked with Remi and Marina in the docking tunnel in case they could be of any assistance. Captain Warren soon boarded the Triumphant, Bernvar extended his hand to help her on board.
“Captain Drumpf I presume?” asked Warren.
“No”, said Bernvar, “Captain Drumpf was relieved of command”
“On whose authority?” asked Warren.
“His own, I’m afraid”, said Bernvar.
“Pity”, said Warren, “I assume you have a plan to get us out of this mess?”
“I assumed you had one, captain”, said Bernvar, “or at least one better than mine”.
As Bernvar and Warren talked, a small explosion rocked both ships. Remi and Marina looked at each other in confusion. Bernvar looked at the sight of the explosion in horror. A small Tromvoyan vessel flew around the two ships while they were docked and then crashed into the side of Triumphant. Captain Warren looked on in confusion.
“Was that a suicide attack?” asked Captain Warren.
Bernvar didn’t respond. He looked on in fear.
“Oh no”, said Bernvar.
“What is it?” asked Warren.
“We’ve been boarded. Lock down the ship!” shouted Bernvar as he drew his Erisil swords and ran towards the crash site.
As the bridge locked down the entire ship, Bernvar walked slowly with his swords drawn: Remi, Marina, and a small group of Marines walked close behind him with assault rifles.
As they walked slowly, they heard the sound of footsteps heading their way. Reacting instinctively, Bernvar killed all the lights. Unable to see where he was going, he put his hand on the metal walls hoping to sense just a tiny bit of electricity from a nervous system. As a Mirandan, he is able of naturally creating electricity and thrusting it out of his hands in the form of lightning. The Erisil Guard helped him exercise, strengthen, and apply that natural gift in combat. From emitting powerful lightning from his hands, to electrocuting his own muscles to increase his physical strength. He also learned to detect the electrical signals coming from the nervous system all living things produce whenever they were pressed up against metal surfaces.
As they walked along the now dark narrow corridor, Bernvar kept his hand pressed against the wall, hoping to sense the tiniest electrical trace of a nervous system. Suddenly, he stopped, and he pushed Remi and Marina down to the ground as a giant ax swung overhead and nearly decapitated them; barely missing them. Remi and Marina looked up in horror. They saw the claws gripping the ax, the scaly skin that ran from the floor and near the ceiling, and the dark soulless eyes that stared down at them. They looked in fear as a Tromvoyan looked down on them. But before the Tromvoyan could make the next move, another group of UTR Marines found them at the foot of the Tromvoyan and opened fire. The Tromvoyan didn’t hesitate. He slammed the group of marines against the wall and picked up one of them and threw him down the hall.
As The Tromvoyan prepared to strike down the killing blow on the group of marines, Bernvar got back to his feet and drew one of his swords to the Tromvoyan and slashed him across the waist. The Tromvoyan roared in anger and swung his axe towards Bernvar; Bernvar barely blocking the strike with both of his swords. As the Tromvoyan and Bernvar dueled in the narrow corridors of the ship, Remi and Marina got back up and fired on the Tromvoyan. Eventually, the wounds from Bernvar’s strikes and Remi and Marina’s firing wore down the beastly warrior, and he was quickly subdued. Within moments, The ship that crashed into the side of Triumphant, reactivated and took off. The other marines quickly regrouped with Bernvar.
“Was that the only one who boarded us?” asked Bernvar.
“It is indeed, sir”, answered one of the marines.
Remi and Marina walked up to Bernvar, still in shock of the Tromvoyan who attacked them.
“It doesn’t make any sense”, said the Marine, “why would they send just one of them against us?”.
“Maybe they didn’t send him to use against us”, replied Bernvar, “I think he was a scout: reporting back to the main fleet of our presence here”.
“So they know we’re here?” asked the Marine.
“They know we’re here in this nebula”, replied Bernvar, “but they don’t know exactly where”.
“How do you know?” asked the Marine.
“Because we’re still alive” replied Bernvar.
“So they can’t see us, and we can’t see them. Perfect, we can wait out until we run out of food” said the Marine.
As Bernvar and the Marine were talking, Remi got an idea.
“Wait”, said Remi, “I think there may be a way of seeing them, without seeing them”.
The Marine and Bernvar looked to Remi curiously.
“Seeing them WITHOUT seeing them? What do you mean kid?” asked the Marine.
“We might be able to listen in and hear them”, said Remi.
“Well”, said the Marine, “I’d give you points for originality but we’re in space kid. A vacuum, sound doesn’t travel through a vacuum”.
“We’re also in a nebula”, said Remi, “we’re surrounded by gas that can carry sound at very low frequencies. I’m sure this ship has microphones on the outside. If we can adjust them to listen in on these low frequencies, we might be able to listen in on the gas displaced by the Tromvoyan ships, and from there, calculate where the sounds are coming from so we can take them out with our cruise missiles”.
Bernvar paced around, unsure of which action to take, and also thought long and hard about Remi’s plan, and if it would actually work.
“Very well”, said Bernvar, “we’re following the recruit’s plan. Contact CIC, tell them to turn on every microphone on this ship and to tune them to listen in on sounds 45 octaves below middle C”.
Soon, Marina and Remi followed Bernvar to the Control Room, where controllers and officers worked to tune every microphone down to very low frequencies. In the middle of the room, a large map of the nebula was displayed on a hologram, showing the exact positions of Triumphant and Matalan within the Nebula.
Petty Officer Yorgensh joined in the Control Room soon after.
“Which sensory devices did you want us to turn on sir?” asked Yorgensh.
“All of them”, said Bernvar, “turn on microphones, electromagnetic detectors, infrared and radar. Everything”.
Soon, every sensory device on the ship was turned on and looking around the nebula to see if they could find any traces of the Tromvoyan ships. But as time went on, they found no signs of the Tromvoyan ships. No one was even sure if they were even still in the Nebula. All eyes and ears focused on the sensors, and occasionally stared at the clock as time went on.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a ping was picked up by the microphones near the bow of the ship. Captain Bernvar immediately went to a computer to investigate.
“What do you see?” Bernvar asked Yorgensh as he worked at the computer.
“I’m picking up some disturbances in a patch of gas about a few thousand clicks in front of our bow” said Yorgensh.
“What kind of disturbance?” asked Bernvar.
“I don’t know”, replied Yorgensh, “but whatever it is, it’s coming out in a constant pattern”.
Bernvar immediately pointed out the area in front of the ship on the Map displayed on the hologram.
“That’s a ship”, said Bernvar, “Controllers, fire cruise missiles in a straight path towards the quadrant in front of our bow. Calculate to strike in the area of the disturbance.
The controllers wasted no time in carrying out Bernvar’s order. Right away, they fired four cruise missiles towards the area where the disturbance was detected. All eyes turned to that area as the missiles flew towards their projected target. But as the missiles flew near their target, the disturbance suddenly stopped.
“What happened?” asked Bernvar.
“I don’t know”, said Yorgensh, “we lost the contact”.
But almost as soon as Yorgensh said those words, the disturbance was redetected once more.
“Wait”, said Yorgensh, “It’s back. It changed direction”.
“What’s their heading?” asked Bernvar.
A look of fear came over Yorgensh’s face.
“It’s heading towards us”, said Yorgensh.
Bernvar immediately began shouting out orders.
“Return fire!”, shouted Bernvar, “don’t stop until it’s a hit. Tell the bridge to look out towards the area of disturbance, to give us visual confirmation if we hit or miss”.
As Triumphant fired another round of missiles at the Tromvoyan ships, other disturbances were soon detected in the nebula, all flying towards Triumphant’s direction. Bernvar wasted no time in ordering the firing controllers to fire at the incoming Tromvoyan ships. As Triumphant fired another set of missiles, the Tromvoyan vessels returned fire; narrowly missing Triumphant and Matalan.
“Cease fire!”, shouted Bernvar.
“Sir?” asked one of the firing controllers.
“Cease fire!”, replied Bernvar.
As soon as Triumphant ceased fire, the Tromvoyan vessels began to slow down, to assess what threat the Mirandan battleships still posed.
“Wait for it”, said Bernvar.
As they waited, the Tromvoyan vessels began to get near them closer and closer. As the Tromvoyan vessels neared Triumphant and Matalan, electrical equipment on board started to fail from the pulses released by the enemy spacecraft.
“Captain?!” cried out an officer.
“Light them up!” shouted Bernvar.
Within seconds, Triumphant fired a fury of cruise missiles at the Tromvoyan warships. The Tromvoyan ships were soon ablaze as the warheads on the cruise missiles detonated in an anti-matter explosion, reducing the Tromvoyan warships to scrap metal in seconds. Cheers and cries of joy soon echoed on Triumphant and Matalan as the Tromvoyan warships erupted in flames. Bernvar looked over his crew proudly. They had performed to the best of their ability and took down four seemingly indestructible enemy warships.
As the crews of the two battleships celebrated, Petty Officer Yorgensh soon broke through their cries of joy.
“Sir”, said Yorgensh, “I’m picking up another disturbance in the nebula. It’s a big one too”.
Bernvar soon rushed over to Yorgensh and looked at the computer monitor.
“Friendly?” asked Bernvar.
“I don’t know sir”, replied Yorgensh, “but it’s heading in our direction…”
“What is its ETA in our location?” asked Bernvar.
A horrified look soon came over Yorgensh’s face.
“Any moment now, sir”
Right away, Bernvar rushed back up to the bridge, with Remi and Marina following closely behind him. As they made it to the bridge, they saw a large, dark object come out of the Nebula. Every pair of eyes on the bridge looked on in disbelief. They had only heard rumors about vessels like this one, but had never seen one with their own eyes: It was a Tromvoyan Command Vessel. All eyes on the two Mirandan Battleships looked in disbelief.
“Captain”, said Yorgensh, “what is your order?”
“Retreat”, Bernvar said calmly, “all engines full reverse and retreat”.
Within moments, Triumphant starting moving backwards deeper into the nebula as the Tromvoyan Command Vessel opened fire. Captain Warren soon ordered her ship to do the same.
As the two battleships retreated deeper into the nebula, the Tromvoyan Command ship ceased fire.
“Something isn’t right”, said Bernvar.
“What do you mean?” asked Yorgensh.
“They aren’t pursuing us”, said Bernvar, “under the circumstances, they should be trying to kill us all. The last convoy that went through here, they didn’t leave any survivors, yet they’re letting us go”.
“What are you thinking?”, asked Yorgensh.
“It’s a fear tactic, I’ve read about it before”, said Bernvar, “I read about the ancient Jaborians massacring large amounts of captured Erisilians and leaving behind a small number of survivors so they could go back and tell their comrades of what happened. To spread fear and terror, but it just won’t work.
“Maybe”, said Yorgensh, “but I don’t think so”.
“Do indulge me, petty officer”, said Bernvar.
“A ship like that isn’t travelling alone”, said Yorgensh, “whatever its travelling with, we aren’t worth pursuing if its protecting something important.”
“Maybe”, said Bernvar, “we should contact the hangar decks and set out a fighter to scout ahead”.
“Right away captain”, replied Yorgensh.
Petty officer Yorgensh wasted no time in carrying out the captain’s order. Immediately, a fighter left the hangar and flew towards the direction where the command vessel was seen. As it flew out of sight of the Triumphant and Matalan and drifted further into the nebula, it started to pick up disturbances from a large number of contacts.
“Scout”, said Captain Bernvar on the bridge, “report. What do you see?”.
The pilot struggled to maintain communication with the battleship. The interference from the disturbances had begun to interfere with his radio.
“I’m picking up a lot out here”, he could barely say to his ship, “whatever they’re hiding out here, there’s a lot of them. And they’re big too”.
As the fighter flew further into the nebula, he entered a cavity in the cloud of gas and dust; an enormous one. There, inside the open space, sat an entire Tromvoyan armada. The pilot looked in disbelief at the sight of all the hundreds of warships that drifted before him. They ranged from fighters like his own, to landing craft, and battleships like the Triumphant and Matalan.
“TSS Triumphant”, said the pilot, “this is scout. You’re not going to believe what’s out here”.
“Pilot”, said Bernvar, “report”.
“It’s an entire enemy fleet”, said the pilot, “an invasion fleet perhaps. Some of these ships resemble landing craft”.
Bernvar, and everyone who listened stood in disbelief.
“Triumphant”, said the pilot, “do you read me? Over”.
“Pilot we read you”, said Bernvar, “get out of there now and head back to the ship”.
Bernvar looked around to his crew who all stood awaiting orders.
“You heard him”, said Bernvar, “we are at DEFCON 1 now. That’s right. Our government hasn’t declared it yet, but we are now at war. Anybody that’s still in their racks, get them out and send them to battle stations. If there are any communications systems still operational, do everything you can to contact Titan. We need to warn the rest of the UTR of the danger we face. If we can’t do that from here, we need to get out of the nebula and until we can get close enough to send a message”.
“Captain Bernvar”, said Petty Officer Yorgensh, “we just got a message from Captain Warren. She’s advising that they may be tracking us in the same way we tracked them. Even if we managed to get out of the nebula, she’s reported that her long range communications were damaged by their pulse attacks. Ours probably are too. Even if we could get out of the nebula, we’d have to fly all the way to the nearest system to warn everybody. They’ll likely shoot us to pieces as soon as were out of the nebula and in open space”.
Bernvar paced around, unsure what to do next. He looked at Remi and Marina who had both served him faithfully.
“I have an idea”, he said coldly, “you’re not going to like it. Maybe we can’t all get out of this Nebula safely, but maybe, one of our ships can. We can escort the Matalan out of the nebula, we go behind them and close to them. Between them and the Tromvoyans, acting as a meat shield. As soon as they’re clear from the Nebula and back in hyperspace, the rest of you can head for the escape pods. They might be too small to be targeted by their weaponry, and they’re so numerous, they might not bother with you at all. And they can carry enough supplies to last until the next convoy passes through to rescue you”.
“What about you captain?”, asked Marina after stepping forward.
Captain Bernvar looked at her coldly, thinking how to respond to the young recruit’s question.
“Under extreme circumstances”, said Bernvar, “this ship, and it’s main guns, can be operated by one occupant. It is very difficult, but not impossible. After you guys are in the pods, I’ll pilot this ship by myself and draw them away from you guys”.
“But Captain”, said Remi, “they’ll kill you”.
Bernvar looked to Remi coldly and looked to all his crew, who stared at him in silence.
“If that is the price that must be paid for our freedom, and all our freedoms”, said Captain Bernvar, “then so be it. You have all served well, and I am very proud to have served along side you. With me in the battleship alone while you’re out in the pods, I can help buy you some time”
“And I can help you double that time”, said Captain Drumpf as he left his office to join them.
Bernvar smiled at Drumpf, then nodded in respect.
“Well you all know the drill”, said Bernvar, “Petty Officer Yorgensh, use our strobe lights and send an encoded message to the Matalan. Let Captain Warren know our plans. The rest of you, battle stations!”.
Without hesitation, the entire crew moved to their designated posts as Petty Officer Yorgensh use coded light signals to inform Captain Warren of their plans. As the two ships got ready for battle, they started up their engines.
“You know”, said Captain Drumpf, “once we start moving, they’ll be able to track us. Come Hell or high water, they will blow us to pieces”.
“They have to catch us first…” he replied.
“Captain Drumpf”, said Petty Officer Yorgensh, “awaiting orders”.
Captain Drumpf looked at the Petty Officer and smiled.
“I am no longer in command”, said Drumpf, “Captain Bernvar is.”
Bernvar looked at Drumpf in disbelief.
“It’s your area of experience”, he told him, “It’s your call”.
Bernvar smiled again.
“Alert the engine room”, said Captain Bernvar, “all engines ahead flank”.
Right away, Yorgensh ordered the engine room to start up all their engines to full power and they began to move forward. It wasn’t long before the Tromvoyans began tracking them and they began to fire in their directions.
“Recruits Balavar and Castova”, Captain Bernvar addressed Remi and Marina.
“Yes Captain”, they both replied.
“Didn’t I order you to shoot anything that wasn’t part of our fleet?” he asked them.
“Yes Captain”, they both replied.
He smiled at them.
“Well then”, he told them, “what are you waiting for, get to it!”.
Right away, Remi and Marina got back in their AA gun and began firing in the direction of the Tromvoyan vessels, as did all of Triumphant and Matalan’s aft batteries.
“You know our planned sacrifice won’t hold them off forever, right?”, Drumpf asked Bernvar.
“That doesn’t mean we can’t delay them”, replied Bernvar, “so in the meantime, we show them what we can do and we give them Hell”.
As the two battleships departed the nebula, Triumphant took all the hits as it shielded the Matalan to cover its escape.
“Triumphant, this is Matalan”, said Captain Warren over the radio, “we are clear from the nebula but we need to get past the hyperspace disturbance around it before we can start up the Warp-drives”.
“Copy that”, said Captain Bernvar, “Gun crews, cease fire. Load all batteries. After you do so, proceed directly to the escape pods. Everyone else, go to the escape pods now. Do not leave until the gun crews join you. Now!”
Right away, nearly every crewmember left their posts for the last time as they made their way to the escape pods. Remi and Marina looked at Bernvar and Drumpf as they took control of the ship, the two of them alone. Bernvar looked at them proudly and took one of his two swords out of his holster.
“It was an honor to serve alongside you two”, he told them as he saluted, then handed over his sword to them.
“Take this to the headmaster of the Erisil Guard”, he told them as he handed over his sword, “our people need hope”.
Remi and Marina saluted their captains for the last time and made their way towards their escape pod just as the last gun crews had boarded them.
“They seem like nice kids”, Drumpf told Captain Bernvar, “do you really think the Tromvoyans wont hunt down those pods?”.
“Knowing those animals”, replied Captain Bernvar, “they’d rather let them starve to death in those pods than kill them quickly. They’ll have a better chance out there than here with us”.
As the last escape pods departed Triumphant, Captain Bernvar pointed Drumpf to the Bridge Gun controls.
“We don’t have the luxury of broadsides anymore”, said Captain Bernvar, “we have 72 inch guns to fight with, 96 of them total. We no longer have gun crews to reload them so every gun fired, it’s one gun we are not going to fire again, so make every shot count”.
“Yes Captain”, replied Drumpf.
As the Captain Drumpf took control of the guns, Captain Bernvar took control of the helm and positioned Triumphant to fire on the pursuing Tromvoyan vessels. The Tromvoyans focused all their firepower on the Triumphant while the Matalan made its away unpursued further and further away. Triumphant’s guns did their job making short work of the pursuing Tromvoyan cruisers. But just as soon as the Matalan was about to be cleared from the hyperspace disturbance, the Tromvoyan command ship made its way out of the nebula. All eyes looked on in awe and fear as a large energy beam began to build up on its bow.
“They’re preparing to fire their primary weapon!”, shouted Drumpf, “I’m pointing my remaining batteries at them!”.
“How many left!?” asked Bernvar.
“14!”, replied Drumpf.
Bernvar sighed, “that’s not enough. Hang on tight!”.
Suddenly, Bernvar made a U-turn and pointed the Triumphant straight at the Tromvoyan Command ship.
“What are you doing!?” asked Drumpf.
“You know our armor is at our thickest at the bow, right?”, asked Captain Bernvar.
“Yeah”, replied Drumpf, “why?”.
“There’s a reason for that”, he replied as he gunned the engines to full throttle.
The Triumphant began approaching the Tromvoyan Command ship faster and faster.
“What are you doing?!” asked Drumpf.
“Hang on tight!” shouted Bernvar.
Suddenly, their ship roared and moaned as it collided and rammed the Tromvoyan Command Ship. The Tromvoyan Command Ship was pushed so far to the side that when it fired its main weapon at the Matalan, it missed harmlessly but barely to the side, just as it had cleared the hyperspace disturbance around the Nebula.
“We’re clear to make the jump”, said Captain Warren over the radio, “thank you Triumphant…”
Right away, the Matalan started up its Warp-drive and took off into hyperspace, out of harms reach and on its way back to the UTR to warn of the planned Tromvoyan attack. The Tromvoyans on their command ship, infuriated that their cover was blown, unleashed their wrath on the Triumphant. The whole ship rocked with explosions as the Tromvoyans took their revenge.
“I’ve got fire and decompression alarms going off all over the place!”, shouted Drumpf, “the ship is doomed!”
Triumphant drifted slowly away from the command ship, with many of its critical systems no longer operational and with no more weapons to fire.
As the Tromvoyan Command Ship prepared to fire a full broadside on the Mirandan battleship and deliver its killing blow, Captain Bernvar walked up to the window and looked at all the Tromvoyan weapons that were about to rain down upon them and unsheathed his sword from his holster and stood in a defensive stance, accepting his fate. As Captain Bernvar and Drumpf closed their eyes to receive the killing blows, the Tromvoyan Command Ship rocked with explosions. When Captain Bernvar and Drumpf opened their eyes, they saw the battleship Farandella off in the distance firing a full broadside on the Tromvoyans. Then suddenly, they picked up radio contact from their friends.
“Triumphant, this is Farandella, come in, over”.
“Farandella, this is battleship Triumphant, reading you loud and clear, over” replied Drumpf.
“Nice to see you guys still in one piece, more or less”.
“Likewise, what do you say WE back you guys up this time”
“Affirmative”, replied Drumpf, “but rescue our guys and girls in the escape pods. They must be pretty terrified right now”.
“Will do. We’ll give you guys cover fire while we do so. You are cleared to proceed, get out of there now and get outside the hyperspace disturbance”.
Within moments, Captain Bernvar got back on the controls of his ship and piloted it away from the Tromvoyans. At the same time, the Farandella picked up the survivors from the escape pods while it fired its main batteries at the Tromvoyan Command Ship. Within minutes, all the survivors were picked up by the Farandella and both battleships cleared the hyperspace disturbance.
“Farandella to Triumphant, you are clear, commence your jump”.
Within moments, both ships started up their Warp-drives and took off into hyperspace. On the Farandella, aid was immediately given to the Triumphant’s survivors. But thanks to the actions and selflessness of Captain Bernvar and Drumpf, Triumphant suffered no fatalities. While some survivors were injured, none of them were fatal. Remi and Marina reunited in a hangar deck on the Farandella and embraced each other.
“I’m glad you’re ok”, he told her.
While they embraced, Petty Officer Yorgensh approached them walking with crutches.
“I understand you guys care about each other”, he told them, “but you ARE still in uniform, so…”
Immediately, Remi and Marina let go of their embrace and saluted Petty Officer Yorgensh, he in turn let go of one of the crutches and did the same.
On the Triumphant, Captain Bernvar and Drumpf shook hands, officially setting their differences aside after facing overwhelming odds in the face of a dangerous adversary.
“It’s been an honor to serve alongside you”, Captain Bernvar told Drumpf as he saluted him.
Drumpf saluted him in return.
“Looking forward to serving alongside you in the future”, Drumpf told Bernvar.
“The feeling is mutual”, Replied Captain Bernvar.Days later, the Farandella and the Triumphant arrived in the New Miranda solar system on the outskirts of the Titan Galaxy. As the two ships made it into the orbiting space port above New Miranda, Remi and Marina walked up to a porthole and saw their ship, the Triumphant, be towed into a hangar off in the distance. The damage their battleship sustained was enormous: whole chunks of the ship had been blown off. While their battle wasn’t a victory, it was successful in that the convoy made it to the Pozona galaxy and the Matalan was able to warn the rest of the UTR of the impending danger. Neither the Triumphant, Matalan, or Farandella could have warned the UTR of the potential Tromvoyan invasion from afar as their long range communications had been knocked out of order. While their ship was damaged intensively, it was fixable and once repaired, would rejoin the fleet. Remi and Marina stared out at their ship, as it stood in the dock proud, and Triumphant.
AFTER CENTURIES OF CONFLICT AND ECOLOGICAL DAMAGE, MIRANDA WAS MADE UNINHABITABLE AND THE SURVIVING NATIONS OF MIRANDA RELOCATED TO TITAN, A NEIGHBORING PLANET.
A PEACE WAS AGREED UPON BETWEEN THE NATIONS, ENSURING THAT THE PROBLEMS THAT MADE MIRANDA UNINHABITABLE WOULD NOT FOLLOW THEM TO TITAN.
BUT THE PEACE WAS SHORT LIVED…
ANOTHER GLOBAL WAR ERUPTED. DESPERATE FOR A SOLUTION, AN ARMISTICE WENT INTO EFFECT SO THE MIRANDAN LEADERS OF TITAN COULD MEET.
AFTER MONTHS OF DEBATING, THEIR SOLUTION CAME FORTH.
ALL OF THEIR GOVERNMENTS WOULD UNITE UNDER ONE, ESTABLISHING A UNITED TITAN REPUBLIC, SO MIRANDANS COULD LIVE TOGETHER AS ONE AND NEVER KNOW WARFARE AGAIN.
BUT AS THE MIRANDAN POPULATION GREW, TITAN BEGAN TO REACH ITS MAXIMUM OCCUPANCY.
THE UTR’S SOLUTION WAS TO EXPAND OUT INTO SPACE, INTO SORROUNDING STAR SYSTEMS IN THEIR MICRO GALAXY OF 100 OR SO STARS, AND BEYOND.
BUT AS THEY LEFT THEIR MICRO GALAXY AND TRAVELLED TO OTHERS, THEY CAME INTO CONTACT WITH OTHER ADVANCED RACES.
SOME ASSISTED THEIR NEW MIRANDAN ALLIES IN HELPING THEM COLONIZE.
OTHERS WERE NOT AS FRIENDLY…
AS THE UTR EXPANDED TO OTHER MICRO GALAXIES, AN ANCIENT CIVILIZATION KNOWN AS TROMVOYA THREATENED THE UTR CONVOYS THAT DELIVERED LIFE-GIVING SUPPLIES TO ITS COLONIES.
WITH AN INTERGALACTIC WAR IMMENENT, THE PACIFIST UTR HAD TO FIND A SOLUTION.
THE UTR NAVY, AT FIRST, SENT FRIGATES AND DESTROYERS TO PROTECT THE CONVOYS OF SHIPS THAT TRAVELLED TO THE OUTER COLONIES.
BUT THEY WERE SOON OUTGUNNED AND OUTARMOURED BY THE MORE ADVANCED TROMVOYAN VESSELS.
MIRANDAN CREWS SUFFERED STAGGERING LOSSES AGAINST THE SUPERIOR ENEMY VESSELS.
WITHOUT OPTIONS, THE UTR NAVY BEGINS WORK ON ITS NEXT GENERATION OF WARSHIP: THE HUNDULASILIAH-CLASS BATTLESHIP.
MORE POWERFUL THAN THE VESSELS IT HAD REPLACED, THE NEW CLASS OF BATTLESHIP WAS SENT OUT TO PROTECT THE MERCHANT CONVOYS, AND ACT AS THE FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE SHOULD A WAR WITH TROMVOYA BREAK OUT…
Length: 2400 meters
Beam: 250 meters
Height: 320 meters
Tonnage: 72 million tons
Propulsion: x12 Central Catarae Electric M4-G2 antimatter turbines, x4 warp-drive generators.
Manufacturer: Akire and Ashad Shipyards, Pozona Solar System.
Length: 500 meters
Beam: 70 meters
Height: 85 meters
Armament: x24 32 inch guns (antimatter propelled), x20 missile launchers, x8 railguns, x64 AA short range guns, X4 EMP emitters, x20 anti-missile lasers.
Propulsion: x8 Koburn and Wolffe M12-G2 Antimatter Pressure Engines, x2 Warp-drive generators.
Manufacturer: Mankelreihm shipyards, Catarae Solar System.
Length: 700 meters
Beam: 100 meters
Height: 120 meters
Armament: x32 40 inch guns (antimatter propelled), x24 missile launchers, x12 railguns, 88 AA short range guns, x8 EMP emitters, x24 anti-missile lasers.
Propulsion: x10 Medina Electric Antimatter turbines, x2 Warp-drive generators.
Morning, it came the same as any other. While day and night on Titan was 24 hours, it was not the same for Remi Balavar, who had volunteered to join the UTR Navy after finishing Secondary School. While Titan was not a bad place to live, it wasn’t the best. It had become overpopulated. Almost everywhere where there was dry land was urbanized. There were hardly any patches of green left. Remi got up out of his rack. He had trouble sleeping in the cramped confines of the military space port orbiting Titan. This was not his first time travelling off world. He had travelled and lived on Ashiva, a world in a nearby system under control of the UTR. Unlike Titan, Ashiva wasn’t as urbanized. It was a lush, green world full of life. To any Mirandan, this was the dream. To live on an untouched world that hadn’t been ecologically destroyed by their industry. He also had travelled Morduvar, one of Titan’s four moons, for his basic training after he enlisted in the UTR Navy.
He had his fair share of travelling off world, but it was never like this before. Instead of the spacious hotels and apartments of the civilian spaceports orbiting Titan, he had to settle for the cramped confines of a military docking station. Soon, he and his bunkmates were awoken with loud knocking on the doors. Remi got into his uniform and walked down the hall with other recruits. He looked around and saw all of the expressionless faces, mindlessly walking down to the docking station, where their ship would be waiting for them. For the most part, Remi tried to blend in with the other recruits. He was at the very bottom of the social caste in terms of rank: he was barely a spaceman recruit, or B-1, with no insignia on his shoulder.
As Remi walked quietly along the confines of the hallway, he at last made it to the docking hangar. There, inside of the docking hangar, stood one of the largest things he had ever seen. He had heard stories, but had never seen it himself with his own eyes. He was looking at his ship, an Hundulasiliah-class battleship.
“Are Mirandans really capable of building such things?” Remi thought to himself.
But his attention soon went from the sight of the gigantic ship in front of him, to a petty officer screaming on one of the gangways that led up to the ship.
“Listen up recruits, listen up!”, shouted the petty officer, “I am Petty Officer Yorgensh, the rules have not changed since you left training. You will not address me as ‘petty officer sir’, you won’t even call me ‘sir’. If you are addressed by someone, you will address them back according to their rank, am I understood?”
“Yes Petty Officer”, shouted all the recruits in response.
“I saw some of your faces when you first laid eyes on this ship”, said Petty Officer Yorgensh, “Well take a good look. This is the TSS Triumphant, the newest of our Hundulasiliah-class battleships. I want you to take a good look because you’re going to be calling this ship home for the next few months. This ship is brand new. Straight out of the shipyards in the Pozona micro galaxy. I’d like to keep her looking new when our patrol is over. This ship is the newest of our next generation of warships. She has all the firepower needed to prevent a war with our Tromvoyan rivals, or if it comes to it, fight one”.
Remi felt a shiver of fear with the officer’s last words. Ever since the UTR came into contact with the Tromvoyan Empire, relations with them have only been getting worse. What started off with Tromvoyan and Mirandan ships harassing each other quickly escalated to them opening fire on one another. Although these skirmishes were brief and often deadly, they were still limited to space. They hadn’t yet tried, or dared, to attack a planet or system controlled by the UTR. But no one knew how long that ‘peace’ would last for. If a war came to the UTR, they needed to be ready to fight. And that ability to fight depended on the convoys of Merchant ships being able to travel safely to their destinations.
As Remi boarded the Triumphant, he looked around and above and saw the mighty battleship he was about to board. He had to look around to be able to see it from bow to stern. He saw the giant, heavy caliber guns that the ship sported both on its top and bottom. The Turrets where the guns sat were so large, there was barely any room for the bridge, which was where Remi was to be stationed, helping to man one of the ship’s many AA guns.
It took Remi a while to find his station. His ship was so big, it took him more than an hour to find his station. His station was on an AA turret that fired 2-inch projectiles that were propelled by antimatter. The whole ship was powered by antimatter. Everything from the engines and warp-drives, to its weapons. It was all powered by antimatter. He sat in his turret and looked down back to the dock where he first boarded.
Down on the docks, workers prepared to get the Triumphant out of the dock and back out into space. Smaller spacecraft clamped themselves to Triumphant to tug it away from the dock. Soon, the airlock in the giant Hangar where Triumphant was resting was unsealed, and the Hangar doors sprang open. As Triumphant drifted out of the hangar, lines of smaller ships cleared out of the way to make way for the massive warship. Back on the spaceport, crowds cheered as the Triumphant slid out of the hangar and back into space.
While the spaceport celebrated with Triumphant’s departure, the ship itself was far from joyful. On the bridge, officers and enlisted worked to start up their massive, complex ship. Remi looked at the men and women working on the bridge as they worked to get the ship out of the system. But in an instance, they all stood fast and stopped working as the first officer yelled out “captain on deck!”.
Remi didn’t hesitate for a moment. He didn’t dare be the last one to stand. But as he looked to the captain, he was surprised. His name was Beniveus Drumpf. He had expected the Triumphant’s captain to be an older man, with experience on the battleship. Captain Drumpf didn’t look like he was older than 35. How could someone that young be a captain, let alone, be in command of a brand new ship? First Officer Radley Bernvar seemed like a better choice for captain. He had already been in the UTR Navy for most of his life. The Amlereihm coat of arms on his shoulder and the two Erisil Gladiuses he sported in a holster from his belt showed that he was a member of the Erisil Guard, the UTR’s elite warrior caste.
“I wonder why he isn’t in charge of the ship”, he murmured to himself.
“I know why”, said fellow gunner Marina Castova, “Captain Drumpf was born into a wealthy family. Commander Bernvar was originally going to be the captain. They were even about to promote him to captain just so he could have this ship under his command”.
“So what happened?”, asked Remi.
“Drumpf wanted to join the UTR Navy”, said Marina, “and his family put in a lot of influence just so he could be in command”.
“So they robbed Bernvar of the opportunity for leadership?” asked Remi.
“Pretty much”, said Marina.
“So our captain has no experience whatsoever?” asked Remi.
Marina rolled her eyes, “none at all”.
As Captain Drumpf paced around the bridge, he finally ordered the rest of the crew to be at ease and to return to work, First Officer Bernvar immediately went up to greet him.
“Captain Drumpf”, said Bernvar, “come to see that the crew is working well?”
“No”, said the captain, “I’m here to make sure you know your place, all of you. I’m in charge, and you will listen to what I say”.
Bernvar didn’t look pleased with the young captain. “You make your point quite vividly, sir”.
“Good”, said Captain Drumpf, “it is time we rejoin the rest of the fleet. There is a convoy that needs to travel to the Agila Micro-galaxy. The convoy will disembark from the New Miranda System, on the outskirts of the Titan Micro-galaxy and will head to its destination from there to deliver vital supplies to keep our colonies going”.
“Very well”, said Bernvar, “we will proceed. Helmsman, turn to starboard at 2.5 degrees and angle the bow downwards at 1.5 degrees, let’s try to avoid colliding with other ships”.
Captain Drumpf was less than pleased.
“Belay that order, Helmsman”, said Captain Drumpf, “maintain heading, four central engines full ahead”.
The Helmsman was confused. He looked to Captain Drumpf, then back to first officer Bernvar.
“You heard him helmsman”, said Bernvar with an annoyed tone in his voice, “maintain heading and four central engines ahead full”.
Right away, Triumphant’s engines began to warm up and the ship started moving faster and faster, narrowly avoiding colliding with other ships orbiting Titan, both civilian and Military. As soon as the Triumphant was clear of Titan’s orbit, the crew made preparations to jump to hyperspace.
“Bridge to engine room”, said First Officer Bernvar, “we are ready to make the jump, what is the status of the reactor core?”
“Engine Room to bridge, Reactor core is stable. Commence your jump”.
Within moments, the entire ship moaned and roared as it made the jump to hyperspace and headed to the New Miranda System, on the outskirts of the Titan micro galaxy. Remi looked outside the window as he saw all the stars and galaxies elongate and then disappear as the ship entered hyper-light speed.
“On our way to the New Miranda System Captain”, said Bernvar, “ETA 4 hours”.
As the ship continued to the New Miranda System, Remi could sense that there was a lot of friction between Bernvar and Drumpf. Bernvar worked hard to earn the position of captain, but instead, Drumpf had bought it. It was a four hour flight to the New Miranda system. At one point, this flight would have taken years, or even many lifetimes. The Warp-drive technology that was developed had become so advanced, trips like these could be performed regularly. As Remi and Marina sat in the turret of their AA gun, they could hear arguing coming from an office behind the bridge.
“I can tell these two aren’t getting along any time soon”, said Marina
Remi laughed a bit. “I guess not”, he said, “Bernvar is always frustrated and Drumpf is arrogant and has too much pride. They’re like an old married couple”.
“But even an old couple that can’t get along can bring down this ship. Let’s hope war doesn’t break out while they’re in command”, said Marina.
“Let’s hope so”, said Remi.
As Triumphant traveled at its hyper light speed, it was suddenly hit by a gravitational disturbance and was forced to exit from hyperspace. Captain Drumpf and First Officer Bernvar immediately returned to the bridge to see what the problem was. The whole crew of Triumphant saw what it was. A rogue star had come across their path, and the ships emergency systems had safely slowed the ship down out of hyperspace, on the outskirts of the Titan micro galaxy. Captain Drumpf looked at the rogue star with an irritated face.
“This star is going to slow us down”, said Captain Drumpf.
“It already has”, said Bernvar. “Helmsman, turn to port at 4 degrees of our current heading. I don’t want us getting too close to that star. It looks very unstable”. Captain Drumpf was less than pleased with his First Officer’s order.
“Belay that order Helmsman”, ordered Captain Drumpf, “maintain heading and do not adjust course”.
“Captain?” asked Bernvar.
“I will not allow this star to delay us any further”, said Captain Drumpf, “We will continue on our current route. That is an order”.
“Sir”, said Bernvar with a frustrated tone in his voice, “if we pass too close to this star, we could get hit by a solar flare. It could cripple our ship”.
Captain Drumpf ignored Bernvar’s warning. He simply repeated his order to keep the Triumphant on it present course. As the ship got closer and closer to the rogue star, it started getting hotter and hotter inside the bridge, and the rest of the ship. The ship started to moan and creek as the girders in its skeletal structure began to expand from the heat.
“Captain”, said Bernvar, “This is too close, we need to move away, now!”.
The captain ignored his suggestion.
“Maintain course helmsman”, said Captain Bernvar, “That is a direct order”
Suddenly, the Triumphant was thrown violently to the side as a solar flare erupted and struck the ship on the starboard side, knocking everyone in the bridge down. Water began sprinkling down on them and fire and decompression alarms echoed throughout the ship. Immediately, Drumpf and Bernvar struggled back to their feet.
“Bridge!”, shouted Drumpf, “Damage report!”.
Immediately, an officer got back to her chair and looked to her console.
“We have fires in areas 71, 84, and 93”, said the officer, “and several decompression alarms going off in areas 19, 52, and 29”.
“How bad is the structural damage?” asked Bernvar.
“We’re looking into that right now”, said the officer as she struggled to bring the alarms back under her control, “Captain, what are your orders?”.
Immediately, all eyes turned to the captain, including Bernvar’s. The crew had expected their captain to give out an order right away, especially in their emergency situation. Instead, they received only his silence.
Not wasting any time, First Officer Bernvar immediately took command.
“Helmsman!”, shouted Bernvar, “Turn to port at 25 degrees of our current heading and rotate our X-axis a half turn counter clockwise. We need to keep the damaged area facing away from that star!”
The helmsman did as the first mate instructed. The ship made a half turn and the damaged area faced away from the star. Bernvar kept his eyes down to the star, calculating when and where the next flare would hit. Suddenly, he saw an energy build-up of energy on the surface of the star.
“Engines!”, shouted Bernvar, “Full reverse!”.
Immediately, Triumphant’s engines fired in full reverse. At that moment, another flare erupted from the surface of the star, narrowly missing Triumphant’s bow.
Within hours, Triumphant was free of that star and the damage was brought under control. First Officer Bernvar was congratulated by everyone on the bridge for his quick thinking that saved the ship, and their lives. Almost everyone.
“Commander Bernvar”, said Captain Drumpf, “Report to my office at once”.
A nervous and fursterated gaze fell on Bernvar’s face as he went into Captain Drumpf’s office. He looked around his office and saw all the pictures and artifacts hanging from the walls. He saw pictures from his graduation from one of the UTR’s most prestigious schools, and his certificate of Captaincy, filled out on the same day that he had joined the UTR Navy.
“You wanted to see me sir?”, said Bernvar as he walked up to Drumpf as he sat in his desk. Drumpf didn’t make eye contact. He simple pulled out a pen from a drawer and started writing in his log.
“Our ship has been damaged”, said Captain Drumpf, “we must return to port to have those damages repaired. I already reported to command that our ship was damaged, and you will be court-martialed upon our return for recklessly moving our ship too close to that star when you knew it was unstable”.
Bernvar immediately turned red with anger. Anyone would’ve exploded at hearing such an unprofessional comment coming from such a high ranking officer. But Bernvar’s Erisil heritage taught him grace under pressure, and he worked hard to restrain himself. Captain Drumpf ignored Bernvar’s reaction while he took a bottle of whiskey out of a safe hidden behind classified documents.
“Captain”, said Bernvar, “moving us close to that star was your idea. I tried to instruct the Helmsman to move away from that star but you belayed that order. Moving us close to that star was poor leadership, and trying to blame me for the trouble is just plain weakness.”
“Don’t forget who you’re talking to!”, shouted Captain Drumpf as he stood from his desk and pounded it in anger, “I am in command of this ship. I say what goes on in this ship! And I decide what’s taken place on this ship! You ordered, while inebriated, our helmsman to stay on course as we passed close to that star and set off fire and decompression alarms! The UTR Navy will launch an inquiry into this, and you will be relieved of command!”.
Bernvar calmed down. No matter what happened, he wouldn’t let his anger get the best of him. Captain Drumpf poured some whiskey in a shot glass and drank it in front of his first officer.
“You are right”, said Bernvar, “The UTR Navy will launch an inquiry into this. And after they interrogate the Helmsman, what do you plan to do next when they figure out the truth? Or better yet, what do you plan to tell them as to why this ship didn’t escort that convoy to the Agila Galaxy because it was damaged?”
Captain Drumpf’s face went cold with fear. He finally realized that he had not thought his decision through thoroughly, and slowly put down his shot glass.
“Now”, said Bernvar, “You don’t like me. And that feeling is mutual. Let’s just get this ship repaired as quickly as possible, join the convoy, and work all hours we can, and hope we don’t ever cross paths again after this mission”.
Captain Drumpf sat and stared at his desk, unsure of what to say. But eventually, he nodded in agreement. They would have to work together if they didn’t ever want to see each other again. After making their temporary truce, Bernvar walked out of the captain’s office and Drumpf put his bottle of whiskey back in the safe intended for storing classified information.
Eventually, Triumphant stayed on its course until it arrived at the New Miranda System, on the outskirts of the Titan Galaxy, and intergalactic space. Remi and Marina looked around in awe. Not just at the tiny galaxy of 100 or so stars that their race called home, but at all the other galaxies that they could see from intergalactic space. Nearly every speck of light that they could see was an individual galaxy. They saw New Miranda, a world that seemed full of life, but was actually in the process of terraforming by Mirandans to be made habitable.
“Do you think the terraforming is finished?” asked Marina.
“No”, said Remi, “there’s water on the surface, there’s plenty of oxygen to breathe, but the atmosphere still has too much carbon dioxide. We still can’t breathe there freely”.
Marina looked around at all the galaxies in awe. Most of them were gigantic, consisting of billions of stars. But some of them were tiny star clusters, floating freely in intergalactic space. Many of these micro galaxies were colonized by the UTR, in an effort to create new homes for the excess population of Mirandans. But with the threat from Tromvoyan raiders, those colonies were being denied vital supplies. Those supplies ranged from terraforming elements, to weapons to fight back against the Tromvoyans if they ever declared war. But Remi and Marina weren’t too worried about a war. The sight of the countless galaxies mesmerized them.
“Do you think we will ever travel to those big galaxies?”, asked Remi.
“I think we already have”, said Marina as she pointed to one of the largest galaxies she could see.
“Why haven’t we tried to colonize it?” asked Remi.
“I think we sent an expedition there once”, said Marina, “and only found it to be under chaos at the time, so we just stayed away”.
“Are you enjoying the view?”, asked First Officer Bernvar as he entered the gun turret.
“Commander!” shouted Marina and Remi as they stood up and saluted him. Bernvar laughed knowing he surprised them.
“At ease, recruits”, said Bernvar, “I just wanted to see how my crew was doing”.
“We’re fine Commander”, said Marina as she lowered her hand, “And yes, we were enjoying the view”.
“Well”, said Bernvar as he put his hands on their shoulders and looked out, “take it in. You won’t get a view more beautiful than this. This is why I joined. It feels so free to be out here, and look out into the great unknown”.
Remi and Marina looked to each other. They couldn’t believe that one of their commanding officers would take the time to see how they were doing. As they looked outside and saw the amazing view, an officer burst into the gun turret.
“Commander Bernvar”, said the officer, “you’re needed in the bridge”.
“Well”, said Bernvar, “it was nice meeting you two. Keep up the good work.
Right away, Triumphant flew to a docking station orbiting New Miranda to repair the damage the solar flare had left on the ship’s hull earlier. As dock mechanics worked to fix the damage, other ships entered the system. Some of them were warships: Catarae-class Frigates that were going to help escort the Convoys. But soon, other ships followed. Large Merchant freighters, carrying everything from life giving supplies, to war materials. The Convoy was enormous: more than 40 ships. As the convoy gathered and prepared to leave for the Agila Galaxy, two more ships entered the system. They were Hundulasiliah-class battleships, just like Triumphant. Their names were Matalan, and Farandella. In total, 3 battleships and 5 frigates would escort the convoy of 40 freighters to the Agila Galaxy. As the Convoy assembled, the warships assembled in key locations to act as the defense for the convoy.
“I don’t understand”, said Remi, “We’re going to be travelling safely through hyperspace, why do they need us to escort them?”.
“We won’t be in hyperspace the whole time”, said Marina, “there’s a hyperspace disturbance on the way to the Agila Galaxy, and we have to move at sub-light speed to get through it. It is there where we will be at our most vulnerable”.
After all the ships assembled, all the warships checked in with each other.
“Frigate Alvareen checking in”
“Frigate Serenity checking in”
“Frigate Melreihm Star checking in”
“Frigate Morducen checking in”
“Frigate Courageous checking in”
“Battleship Farandella checking in”
“Battleship Matalan checking in”
“Battleship Triumphant checking in”, said Bernvar from his seat in the bridge as he turned to Captain Drumpf, “We are ready to jump sir”.
Right away, all 48 ships took off into hyperspace as they flew off to the Agila Galaxy. Marina and Remi looked in awe as the all of the ships took off into hyperspace on the way to the Agila Galaxy. As the convoy flew through hyperspace, Remi and Marina’s watch had come to an end and other crew members came to relieve them of their watch.
“Well”, said Remi, “I guess I’ll see you tomorrow”.
“Will do buddy”, she said as she fist bumped him farewell.
After they parted ways, Remi went to the galley to catch a bite to eat. He watched as the line cooks dumped food on his tray which didn’t look all too appetizing. The largest item on his tray resembled beef, but there was too much sauce on it to tell what exactly it was. It didn’t taste all that good either. But at this point in the journey, any meal was better than no meal. After finishing his ‘delicious’ meal, he went off to his rack to go to sleep. On deployment, the ship was now on 18 hour shifts. 6 hours on, 12 hours off. 6 hours of work, 12 hours for eating, sleeping, study, and recreation. Although Triumphant had a swimming pool, it was far from luxurious. Without any formal staff, clean up was done by the crew. Although cleaning the ship and swabbing the decks was a custom that every crew member needed to undertake, not every part of the ship was required to be cleaned every day, including the pool. Not surprisingly, the pool was empty, and it smelled weird from lack of cleaning. The Recreation facilities were no different. In the end, Remi went into his rack and shut the curtains to isolate himself from other crew members. It had taken him awhile to find his rack, which was hardly surprising considering the ship was over 2400 meters long. It was a gigantic maze within its massive hull. As Remi went to sleep, he wondered what his journey would bring. He wasn’t too worried about coming across Tromvoyans, so far, there weren’t any sign of them. But they kept vigilant nonetheless. The ship never slept. 1/3 of the crew was always active at any given time. So they weren’t worried about the Tromvoyans launching a surprise attack on the ship: even less when they were travelling through hyperspace.
On the next ‘day’, Remi got out of his rack, got breakfast, and got ready for his workday to begin. As he made his way back to his gun turret, the master alarm started going off, calling for everyone to report to their battle stations. Remi wasn’t on watch yet, he couldn’t go to his gun turret with Marina. So he jumped into the nearest escape pod, along with several other crewmembers until the alarm went off. Fortunately, it was only a drill. But it was still nerve wracking nonetheless. They were trained to treat every master alarm as if it were the real thing. As Remi returned to his Gun Turret, Marina was not far behind him. Soon after, the ship started shaking heavily and it pulled out from hyperspace. Captain Drumpf immediately returned to the bridge to investigate.
“What in the Hell is going on?” asked Captain Drumpf, “Why did we pull out from hyperspace?”.
“We’re approaching the Metaveer Nebula”, said Bernvar, “There’s a hyperspace disturbance here so we had to pull out. Plus it’s a checkpoint to get us to the Agila Galaxy”.
“Let’s get out of here quick”, said Captain Drumpf, “I don’t want to be around when the Tromvoyans find us here”.
As the Convoy maneuvered around the intergalactic Nebula, Remi saw something off in the distance in the corner of his eye that caught his attention. When he took out his binoculars to see what it was, he was surprised to see another ship. It looked like a Mirandan ship by the look of it.
“Commander Bernvar”, said Remi over his radio, “I think you should see this”.
Immediately, Bernvar joined Remi and Marina in their gun turret.
“Alright”, said Bernvar, “what are you kids up to?”
Right away, Remi handed Bernvar his binoculars and pointed to the Mirandan mystery ship that was drifting off in the distance.
“There”, said Remi pointing to the ship, “35 degrees off our port bow”.
Bernvar saw the ship off in the distance. It was definitely a Mirandan ship, a warship of the UTR Navy, but he sensed something was wrong. UTR warships traditionally fired warning shots away from each other to prove that they weren’t a threat. The Triumphant fired a single shot out of one of its massive 72 inch guns, as did all the other ships in the convoy. But the mystery ship made no such reply. It wasn’t responding to the gun salutes, it wasn’t even responding to any of the communication messages the other ships were trying to send. It simply drifted there motionless, unresponsive.
“Something isn’t right”, said Bernvar.
As they drifted closer to the ship, they were able to get a better look at it. It was clearly a Catarae-class frigate, no different than the five frigates that were helping to escort the convoy, and they were looking at its starboard side. But when they moved over to its port side, they made a disturbing discovery. A huge portion of the ship’s port side was missing, as if it had been blown off violently.
“Bridge”, said Bernvar over the radio, “contact UTR Navy Command. Tell them we found a missing ship”.
Right away, the bridge responded with something Bernvar didn’t want to hear.
“Sir”, said an officer on the bridge, “we’re unable to reach Command, we’re even having trouble reaching other ships in the convoy”.
“Oh no”, said Bernvar.
“What’s wrong commander?”, asked Marina.
“We’re not alone out here”, said Bernvar, “they’re jamming our signals. You see something that isn’t part of the convoy, I want you to shoot it. That is an order!”.
Remi looked up through a window in his turret, and he soon wished he hadn’t. He was immediately horrified by what he saw, so was Marina.
“What is it?”, Bernvar asked them.
Remi and Marina didn’t respond. They simply pointed outwards towards the window. Bernvar was petrified by what he saw. He saw an entire convoy of Freighters, reduced to nothing but scrap, just like the unlucky frigate. Bernvar didn’t waste any time. He ran back to the bridge. It wasn’t long before Captain Drumpf ordered everyone to their battle stations. Remi and Marina got into their decompression suits and loaded the 2 inch antimatter guns that sat in the turret. Throughout the ship, and the rest of the convoy, sailors and marines got ready for battle. Triumphant’s weapons were loaded and all eyes were looking outwards, looking for whatever enemy was still out there. Crew members peered through every region of space they could see. Something powerful wiped out the previous convoy. And it was still there.
Suddenly, a bright flash of light emerged from the nebula and headed straight to the frigate TSS Serenity. In seconds, the flash of light and energy ripped through the ship and tore it in two. Eyes from the entire convoy looked in disbelief as Serenity was destroyed in an instant.
Seconds later, 4 dark massive arrow-shaped objects emerged from the nebula: they were Tromvoyan warships. As Drumpf looked in disbelief, Bernvar sprang into action.
“All hands, battle stations!”, shouted Bernvar, “Helmsman, move us between them and the convoy, it is crucial they make to the Agila Galaxy. All Batteries, open fire!”.
Right away, Triumphant moved between the Convoy and the Tromvoyan warships and began to open fire. The other warships soon followed suite. It wasn’t long before the Convoy was able to move away safely. But as much as the UTR ships were firing, they did little damage to the Tromvoyan ships. Soon, they fired again and destroyed 4 of the Freighters as they were trying to get away. Crewmembers saw in disbelief as the massive freighters were reduced to little more than scrap metal.
Not wanting to lose any more ships, Bernvar immediately grabbed the helm and took control of the ship. He gunned the engines to full throttle and positioned Triumphant to fire a full broadside on one of the Tromvoyan vessels.