Gender: Male Age: 54 Location: Las Vegas, Nv
|Introduction: Capital kill|
Two weeks in the station and the Norse were still screaming about acts of war. Of course we were also sending them a formal war noticed since they had allied with the Saints. The Saints had tried sending in a few warships to several systems but Fleet had just shuffled ships around and caught them.
Fleet intel was refusing to give us anything and acted like we were Saints. In fact they had been almost hostile and refused to give any information. We had been very quiet about the ship but captain Jennings, now commodore came for a visit. I was looking at three possible systems and glanced up from my desk when he stepped through the open hatch.
I sat back and he cleared his throat, “new ship?”
I smiled, “the other one had an accident.”
He nodded as he crossed to the desk, “it would not be what the councilors are blabbering about?”
I grinned, “I would not know about that.”
He snorted and touched one of the systems I was looking at, “this is the Saint capital system.”
I glanced at it, “so it is.”
He looked at me carefully, “are you thinking of taking a ship there?”
I shrugged, “since your intel people are no longer willing to provide us with information we are picking blindly.”
He looked back and sat in one of the two chairs, “I told you Fleet was doing a little rearranging.”
I leaned forward, “and we have given them a lot they did not know as well as vital technical information. Now they want to treat us like we are spies?”
I touched the maps, “after this mission we will be taking the colony credits we have earned and leaving. We almost died taking the damn yacht and the councilors and what did we get from you or Fleet? Not a damn thing and we killed two cruisers before we lost the ship.”
He nodded, “and I fought for your people over that. The new system admiral is not accepting your word or your data proving you have destroyed anything.”
I shook my head, “he wants what we can do without paying for it.”
I sat back and looked at him, “we will no longer retrieve data or pass it along to fleet. We will not inform or give any new tech cargo to fleet. As of this moment I am giving you notice, fleet has broken their contract with me. I will be filing a breach of contract note with the crown when we return.”
He leaned forward, “you can not do that.”
I smiled, “actually I can and I will. You tell your admiral I intend to have his ass and his braid.”
He stood, “and if we declare you a pirate now?”
I stood and leaned over the desk, “right now the contract still covers and protects us. You and fleet can say anything you want and I will shove that damn contract down your throat in any court.”
He turned and walked out and I sat before finally opening the ship intercom, “Peter?”
Within an hour we were separating from the station. I was in the pilot seat as I began to plot skips out of the system. We ignored fleet control but contracted the civilian system control. When we reached the heliopause I carefully plotted our jump and we came out a week beyond the Saint capital system.
I turned to start moving towards the system as Edgar began to scan. Peter sighed when the scan return started coming in. I smiled as I glanced at it and kept going. He cleared his throat, “what makes you sure Fleet will not try to blow us to hell when we return?”
I knew the others on the bridge were listening as I glanced back, “I gave a copy of the contract with all our mission logs to a solicitor. He has filed them with the crown ambassador with a letter of intent.”
I grinned as I sat back and relaxed, “by now the system commander is sweating and I am sure the emperor is hoping the newsies do not hear about us.”
He chuckled, “fat chance the newies will not find out.”
Just inside the system three full fleets patrolled. One was always close to the jump points into the system and all ships coming in stopped and had to wait for a boarding party. It was just over a week and I was thinking we needed to try another system. At the moment one of the fleets was around and halfway into the system.
Another was on the far side and would take at least an hour to reach us by skipping. The last had spilt up, half going to the north pole of the system and the other half going to the south. A wormhole appeared and a new cargo ship jumped out very close to us. I sat up and then grinned as I switched the SFT and hit the general quarters.
I brought everything alive and accelerated towards the ship, “keep the scan updated Tana and tell the... Tinker to stand by for a boarding party.”
She grinned and nodded as I let her open the comm and tell the ship to stand by for a boarding party. I watched the scan as I slowed and started to dock with one of the other ship’s airlocks. Tana began jamming as I secured the docking clamps and that was when things started to change.
The boarding crew rushed into the other ship and since we had not done things like normal they were waiting. At least my people were in hard suits and protected. I was nervous as the fleet to the north and south continued to skip towards us, “Samantha when they are a skip away fire. Start with the largest ships first and work your way down.”
She nodded as she turned and went to active scanning. By the time we had the cargo ship the two fleets were closer and then Peter called, “they did something to the control boards.”
I cursed, “we do not have a lot of time.”
I checked and the boarding crew was back aboard so I undocked and moved ahead of the other ship. Samantha growled as I watched the scan repeater and every gun fired. The two fleets had just emerged from a skip and suddenly four vanished as they were ripped apart. I tried to follow the others as they continue to move while they plotted the last skip to us.
I did a skip plot just in case and looked at Lorenz, “we will need power to the shields.”
I glanced at Tana, “when they come out of skip kick out the decoy forward of the ship.”
She nodded as every gun fired again and moments later I looked at the scan. Six more ships exploded and the others finally skipped. Time seemed to slow as I opened the comm, “Peter any luck with the controls?”
He growled, “yeah we found out what they did and are fixing it.”
The enemy ships came out of skip and we both fired. I braced myself as I saw the missiles streaking towards us. The destroyers and cruisers that had been left suddenly vanished in explosions that tore their hulls apart. I stiffed as all the missiles hit the shield and the whole ship bucked and shook.
The shields held and when the scans cleared we were still floating in front of the cargo ship. I relaxed a little and looked at the scan and then sat up, “replay the system scan from a couple of minutes ago.”
I watched as Tana replayed the scan and turned, “incoming fleet! Decoys out! Shield at full! Prepare to fire all guns!”
The fleet that had been on the far side had skipped far enough to get a read and then jump. I accelerated, “decoys and jammers Tana!”
I started a skip plot and waited and the rippling wormhole opened as their entire fleet jumped out. Samantha fired all guns as I opened a wormhole and skipped. I was preparing another skip to one side as soon as we came out. I turned and rolled and we fired everything again. Half the fleet was just wreckage and the other half was doing a skip run.
I skipped as explosions began ripping their ships apart. I plotted another skip and glanced at Lorenz, “they may skip in ahead of us so keep the power to the shields.”
She nodded as I glanced at Samantha, “how is the magazine?”
She snorted, “we are down to forty percent.”
We came out and I turned to head back to the cargo ship. Four cruisers fired as the rest of their fleet emerged from skip. Samantha split her fire as the decoys and jammers sucked most of the missiles away. The cruisers exploded long before the missiles reached us. The shields flared and the ship bucked and shook again.
When we could see again the wreckage of the ships were where the fleet had been. I turned as the cargo ship finally started moving and the last three ships from the fleet appeared, a battleship and two destroyers. Samantha fired as the battleship fired and a moment later it and the other two ships were just floating wrecks.
The other fleet had skipped but I saw them moving in and around towards the planet as if to protect it. The missiles were sucked away by decoys and jammers and I watched as Peter finally jumped out. I sighed as I began our jump plot, “I am getting to old for this.”
Lorenz laughed as Tana grinned at me, “you and me both boss.”
We jumped and I watched the scan repeater until I saw the cargo ship and headed for it. I relaxed, “let everyone know to stand down Tana.”
Samantha laughed, “want the enemy ship count?”
I smiled as I switched our SFT, “sure.”
She grinned, “four battleships, twenty cruisers and another twenty destroyers.”
I winched, “how...”
She chuckled, “the rounds from the guns come out against their hull and not through their shield.”
I nodded and turned to open a comm as I switched my SFT, “Mr Surie please.”
It was a minute before he was on and I was closing with Peter and the cargo ship, “Mr Steel?”
I smiled, “we are back. I will turn over the scan tapes when we get in.”
He chuckled, “send me the ship invoice and I will notify fleet and find a buyer. I also have the credits from your last mission including the colony credits. Fleet is demanding you turn over the pocket battleship. They claim it is intelligence on the enemy ship advancements.”
I snorted, “not going to happen. I intend to send it into the sun before we dock.”
He sighed, “at least give them the ship schematics.”
I shook my head, “no. They made the point that they do not have to pay for intel. That we were civilians with no military clearance and could not be trusted. The fleet system admiral even called us possible Saint spies and traitors. As far as we are concerned they can all go to hell. This was our last mission and we are leaving as soon as we get rid of the cargo ship.”
That proved easier said than done. We had almost a full fleet arrive and move close to escort us. We did move everything out of the battleship as we got closer to the station. They tried to block us but I kept the cargo ship on course until the feet warship had to move or be hit. An hour away I sent everyone aboard the cargo ship.
I separated the battleship before starting an automated program. I ran to the life pod and injected just before the ship skipped into the sun. I guided the pod to the cargo ship and ignored the fleet screaming. When I led the way off the ship after we docked the system admiral and a dozen fleet soldiers were waiting to take us into custody.
What he did not plan on was the crowd of newsies with my solicitor or the imperial marshal. I faced him as my people shoved through the fleet soldiers, “I will trade the plans for the ship for your braid.”
I pushed past him and walked to the newies talking to my people. I handed the scan tape to Mr Surie, “from the last mission. Four battleships, twenty cruisers and another twenty destroyers.”
The newies started asking questions at the same time and one finally asked the one I was waiting for. “What system did you attack?”
I glanced at him, “The Saint capital.”
They went silent and I glanced at Mr Surie, “if you will excuse me. The admiral and fleet still want to charge us with being Saint spies. We have a runner that will take us out but we need to pack.”
We got out before the public went crazy over the total number of ships we had destroyed. The system admiral was recalled to answer questions on why he had misused an asset that had proved extremely effective against the enemy. Of course that was when they found out I had offered the ship plans for his braid, the Saints and Norse surrendered two months later.
I swam through the brightly colored coral until I reached the sand. I stood and looked at the beach a few dozen meters away. I started walking out and smiled at the lovely woman waiting for me. I ignored commodore Jennings who was with her as I lifted the net bag for her see. She waved and grinned as she ran into the water while I continued to walk.
She hugged my arm when she reached me and turned, “that man really wants to speak with you.”
I nodded but ignored him to look at her, “so did you get the power plant working?”
She laughed, “yes and the power lines to the garden domes.”
When we walked out of the surf she took the bag of bright shellfish and headed up the beach to the house. I looked at Jennings, “well?”
He sighed, “first I want to apologize. Our last meeting was not one of my best or proudest days. Admiral Gilbert has been relieved and retired. The emperor has personally reviewed your logs and has asked his court to issue metals...”
I opened my mouth and he held up his hand, “he has on his own authority issued an apology for how you and your people were treated. He is asking... asking, for the plans to the pocket battleship.”
I snorted and started for the house, “see that was not so hard.”
He followed, “you will give them to me?”
I smiled, “of course.”
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