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Wolfrum Waylay - A Reyna Hevn Story (Chapter 9)

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Birdie_Sparrow

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Wolfrum Waylay - A Reyna Hevn Story (Chapter 9)

PostTue Dec 05, 2017 8:10 pm

Rigged for silent running the “Impaler’s Retribution”, a Scourge Strix class light cruiser, and her escorts slowly began to increase power to their engines. Per Scourge doctrine, numerous small battlegroups were “seeded” outside of the main battle area. Their mission was to harass outlying enemy ships to not only inflict damage, but also keep the enemy guessing as to where an attack would vector in next.

It had been eighteen hours since the accursed PHR had Folded into the Wolfrum system. The enemy fleet had quickly established a perimeter over a specific area of the planet. Scourge forces currently engaging the UCM in a vicious battle on the other side of the planet meant the PHR were relatively unopposed. “Unopposed” though did not mean do not engage.

Bleed them… echoed through the silent consciousness of Scourge communication.

Having detected a PHR battlegroup on the extreme flank the Gestalt consciousness of the cruiser came to a swift decision. Two of the frail “pure” Scourge left the Seam in a flurry of tendrils through the pseudo-biological conduits that riddled all such vessels. They were needed closer to critical function nodes for the coming battle.

The Seam was more than a bridge being the very real nerve center of the cruiser. From here, the Pure’s were tapped into the ship as synapses in the brain. This allowed a frightening level of control that made even PHR AI controls seem cumbersome by comparison. Arrayed within the Seam were also Hosts – humans melded with pure Scourge doing tasks best suited by such beings. Unlike the Pure’s who resided in the black ichor of the ship, Hosts were seated in recognizable if nightmarish control stations.

Scans indicated the PHR group were three Andromeda’s. While their bombers were of concern not overly so. The Strix and her two Harpy class frigate escorts should be able to cripple or destroy two of the Andromeda’s before their bombers could launch. At worse, one of the Harpy’s would face destruction while the Impaler also faced damage.

Acceptable loss…

As the inbound force drew closer reaction thrusters were used to firm up the attack vector. As one the Scourge vessels mimicked each other’s movements. Satisfaction rippled from the Pure’s when the scanners indicated the PHR would be caught by the tail. The only deviance noted was the PHR was in a V-formation, not their normal echelon that allowed each ship to cover another with their broadsides.

Inexperienced leaders…. Potential damage to us lessened… Weakness to be exploited…

Orders were issued. All ships to maximum thrust, when in range all weapons engage the enemy. The group would then pass the lead Andromeda. An assessment of the initial pass would determine follow-on orders as they circled around to finish off what remained.

Consorts target the left carrier…. Impaler’s will take the right… Accelerate after attack to avoid bombers…

As the Scourge overtook their targets, the PHR began to maneuver too late. The stalk by silent running then sudden charge did not give their prey enough time to react. The Gestalt briefly mused those onboard must be bracing for their destruction.

At mid-range, the searing purplish-green of the Oculus beams lashed out. One Harpy missed while the other scored a direct hit. The Impaler’s Revenge also scored direct hits though the Andromeda’s armor shrugged off one beam. Both PHR vessels had partially vented indicating solid hull hits.

The Scourge flashed past within close action range with both sides opening fire. One Harpy caught between the broadsides of both Andromeda’s emerged badly damaged. The Strix also received minor damage, easily ignored, as it passed the opposite side of one carrier.

However, the PHR faired much worse, the Harpy’s return fire crippled the left ship as fire could be seen erupting from its side. A sheet of sickly colored weapons fire bathed the right carrier under an almost full plasma tempest barrage from the cruiser. The Andromeda tore itself apart under multiple explosions whose position was marked by an expanding debris field.

Behind the Scourge the crippled carrier had begun to launch bombers. Their vector showed them to be targeting the damaged Harpy which lagged behind. Meanwhile the lead Andromeda had not yet even begun to launch their assets.

Attack success positive… potential loss of one Harpy inconsequential… enemy launch assets less than expected… Fear has paralyzed one enemy ship…

The Impaler’s Revenge command crew within the Seam began to issue new orders assuming the force would be down one Harpy. This assumption was confirmed when the wounded Scourge frigate turned from a solid circle into fading snow on the scanner. Then the remaining Harpy followed suit.

In space, the surviving Harpy had one of the maneuver fins severed as mass driver rounds impacted the hull. Sub-light engines bore the brunt of impact, drawn within the hull as a turtles head disappeared into a shell. This was swiftly followed by the bow tearing open to vomit out ichor, biomechanical parts, and other detritus that were the internals of the ship. The husk of what remained flew off into the cold black.

Confusion flooded the Gestalt within not only the Seam, but also the ship as whole. Multiple mass drivers destroyed the Harpy! Hurried scans detected no additional PHR ships lying in wait so where had the attack originated? One of the Hosts flowed into the conversation indicating the mass driver path emanated from the lead Andromeda as the source. The Gestalt was momentarily awash in a babble of competing voices.

NewweaponNewclassIsitandromedaAppearsandromedaHowtoattack

Eventually one voice overrode the others to help form a consensus. In hindsight, the full power retreat after the attack seemed prudent as a means to outpace any bombers. Now it had increased the ships signature. Against a foe that was not supposed to have long-range weapons this meant little… now what this meant was up for debate. The one positive was the lead Andromeda appeared to not carry launch assets as none were detected.

The cruiser finished a sweeping turn. Beginning a new attack run orders flowed to target the unique ship. The destruction of a ship with further unknown capabilities was paramount. The cripple would destroyed after.

Not as easy as calculated…

The cruiser rang with the impacts of multiple mass driver rounds. The unknown ship had used the power spike to their advantage by firing as soon as they achieved sensor lock. The Impaler’s Revenge was still out of range. Damage was again light except for a few systems showing degraded status.

We will soon be in range… remain bow to bow… limit their broadside ability… without launch assets they remain weak… calculations show enemy mass drivers cannot appreciably damage us…

Closing rapidly the lead PHR ship fired again as did the Strix. This time the Scourge armor deflected the two shots that hit. In return, both Oculus beams hit biting deep into their adversary’s armor. Scanners indicated penetration to the hull did occur even with no visible damage.

However, protruding from the bow of the unknown ship a very visible ring of fixed mass driver barrels hung above the erstwhile launch bays. Inflowing data indicated a reduced firing arc - a slight course correction would take the cruiser out of danger effectively rendering the enemy ship defenseless.

Unwise the PHR… A carrier without assets… Restricted arc easily avoided…

The Scourge altered course thus removing themselves from the mass drivers danger zone. Destruction of this new enemy ship was certain. The other Andromeda had fallen behind to the point that her bombers would not be able to aid her sister. What passed for smug satisfaction washed through the Gestalt. Until the modified Andromeda disgorged a squadron of bombers.

Panic set in onboard the cruiser. The Strix was typically more than a match for most light ships especially one on one. The plasma tempest close action system was one of the most devastating weapon systems in the Scourge armory. However, this was useless against bombers. Compounding this problem was that emplacing the tempest meant stripping almost every point defense system from the ship.

The Impaler’s Revenge attempted to withdraw to evaluate other options. The Aethon bombers easily caught up to the Scourge cruiser. The point defense was inadequate, the bombers targeting too advanced, and the pilots too grimly determined to avenge their losses.

Multiple high yield missiles impacted, cracked then split open the cruiser. While not detected by the PHR, within the Seam the Pure’s raged at the reversal of fortune. Before one of the missiles detonated deep inside destroying the Seam the Gestalt joined us one. With their combined strength, they transmitted data on the battle and the unknown ship to Scourge vessels fighting around Wolfrum. They would ensure such data flowed to the Scourge as a whole.

*****************************

Captain Reyna Hevn commanding the Accipiter, an experimental Andromeda Interdictor class carrier, sat back in her command chair. Rubbing her chin thoughtfully she mused.

“Huh – maybe this strapped on piece of cobbled together parts is actually useful."

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