Chapter 2: Ray of Hope(Continued)
System: Delta Serpentis
May 15, Year 2371, 17:02 hours.
"So that is it" Simms thought looking out in front of the Vega.
The Aurora subspace portal loomed ahead. While like the Knossos, it was also quote different, built of several rings with two stations attached. The larger of the two and the main control station codenamed "Lighthouse" was on the right side at the bottom, while the smaller station used for monitoring and recording, was on the left codenamed "Floodlight".
Besides the portal and surrounding stations, the space was filled with three other destroyers, the GTD Heart's Desire, the GTD Temple, and the GTD Flawless. Along with the destroyers were two Deimos class corvettes, the Torrent and the Mythic, and three cruisers, Freelance and the Tyrant, both Leviathan class, and the Creative, Aeolus class.
Simms sipped his coffee.
The bridge elevator opened and Hanley stepped out.
"It's confirmed, start up procedure begins at 10:00 hours tomorrow morning, and we have scheduled full testing to begin at 12:00 hours."
Simms set his cup down on the balcony rail, and turned to face Hanley.
"So you think it will work?"
"I think we both know that answer, it had better, lots of resources, time, money. But, I'm confident it will perform admirably."
"More ships are present than I expected."
"Yes, Commander of Science Paul A'thor has approved extra ships for extra precautions."
"Unlike him, I remember he used to be quite conservative with using resources for these types of ventures."
"All things change, of course, he has actually sent one of his chief personnel to oversee and report back to him. You remember Lt. Colonel Terrence Hall."
"Yeah, thinks himself to be hardcore, and wouldn't smile if you paid him. Definitely someone you would not want to invite to a party."
"He is actually on the Temple, under Madden. But, honestly the reason why he is here means very little, as long as he reports good information back to his superiors."
"I'd bet, SOC really took a gamble about thinking we knew enough about the Knossos to re-build one."
Something about Hanley changed for only a second, but Simms caught it, but didn't know what to make of it, then Hanley was back to being himself.
"Yes, we did take a gamble, but I can assure you, it will pay off."
"Good to hear"
"Well, I must leave you to your work while I continue mine. I must go contact the other vessels and update them with the latest information.
Hanley saluted and walked back to the elevator.
Hollis was standing on the command deck itself, but still heard some of the exchange.
"What was that about" He thought. "Normally Hanley is very twitchy, and sometimes very unsure of things, always questioning and making sure everything goes off with out a hitch. But, this time, there was no hesitation at all in his voice, like someone who has no doubt whatsoever in their plan. Which is extremely odd for him."
Hollis shook his head, before returning to watching his subordinates at the many stations.
May 16, Year 2371, 11:47 hours.
Aurora Control Station "Lighthouse"
Kate Harrison focused hard to concentrate, the bright twenty-three year old tried to block out the excitement and chaos around her, including her own. She glanced up at a clock on the wall, ten minutes and forty-three seconds before the first official start up of the portal would commence. "I deserve to be here", she thought, obviously SOC did as well, picking her out of over ten thousand potentials as she placed first in her class in astrophysics.
A buzzer screamed as the clock dripped under ten minutes.
Someone walked up and set a piece of paper on her control surface. She glanced down before turning her eyes back to the monitor, typing furiously. The room was filled with close to one hundred staff, people running in between stations, elevators, officers yelling information, absolute chaos.
An alarm went off, On her screen, a diagram of the station showed that reactors one and two, now yellow, signaling that they were turned on and warming up.
Aaron Yates, a forty-six year old senior officer, still he could not get over the amount of younger crew members. However, they were holding up very well and performing great, while showing a lot of promise. He looked over the shoulders of the younger crew members checking their performance. Harrison flinched slightly as looked over her shoulder, but she did not look back, trying not to show intimidation. She breathed out as he passed her station without complaint.
Bridge: GTD Vega
Simms with his hands on the balcony, stood silently.
Hanley standing behind him looked at his watch.
"Start up in three minutes"
Tension and excitement mounted. Diagnostics showed reactors one through four were at idle. Steelh Waldrop, commanding officer shouted.
"Floodlight responding that all systems are good and we are cleared to proceed" A lesser officer responded.
He looked at the clock as it dropped under one minute.
"Alright, proceed, increase reactor power."
"Reactor power increased to one hundred percent"
"Engage magnetic generators"
"Magnetic generators engaged.
Bridge: GTD Vega
Simms, along with the rest of the bridge crew stood motionless as an energy spark flashed from "Lighthouse", and very slowly the pieces of the ring began to move.
"This will be a day long remembered in the GTVA" Hanley spoke.
Simms silently agreed, one way or another it will be remembered.
"The fighter wings in position?"
Simms asked over the balcony.
"Yes sir, they are at a dead stop approximately one klick from the station along with the fighters of the Temple, and Flawless."
The pieces were spinning very fast now, with each piece that passed a small vibration shook the station.
"Sir, we have a temporal distortion, it's holding, we did it, it's holding!"
A tech officer exclaimed.
A cheer rose up, with handshakes and people patting each other on the shoulder.
Waldrop slowly sat back in his chair, clapping his hands slowly.
"Get Reactor control up, ask for for status update.
On the screen in front of him, a person appeared.
"What is the status on the reactors"
"Everything is in green and performing at expectation."
Gunfire sounded behind him.
"What was that?" Waldrop demanded.
He watched the officer on the screen run over to the rail as the gunfire intensified, running back to the terminal.
"We have a prob.."
Blood splattered over the camera lens and the officer dropped.
"Get Command up, tell them.."
The lights went off in the control room.
"We've lost all power and communication." someone helplessly screamed.
Panic ensued, people running blind. Some tripped over to the power boxes, trying helplessly to get back up power on with no avail.
Harrison was knocked down in the panic, and hit her head on a chair. She got up on her knees and rubbed her forehead, it was wet.
"Must be blood" she thought
Someone forced open the door letting in a little light from the hallway.
"We've got to get to the backup systems."
Some crewmen pulled out their firearms and started walking down the hall.
Harrison dizzy from the blinding pain in her head slowly walked out the now open door, feeling her way down the hall, around the corner, and into another hallway. She walked into an open first aid closet and sat down due to the dizziness. Reaching for the first aid kit, she pulled out a wet cloth and placed it on her head. Something flickered on the wall, standing she walked and peaked around the medical enclave only to see flashlights running into the control center, then nothing but automatic gunfire, screams and bodies hitting the floor. Putting her hand on her mouth, she sank back into the closet trying not to cry.
After a few minutes she regained her poise. She knew what she had to do, sneak down to the auto-powered terminal on section D, and send out a distress signal. She pulled out her sidearm, and after checking the clip, she started walking slowly down the hall. Her heart was pounding, and she was breathing very heavily. Holding her gun up she flipped around a corner into another hallway, it was empty. Quietly she crept, the main lights out, only the red backup lights were on at the top of the corridors. She could barely see, but her senses were on overdrive, she twitched and jumped on every sound. But, at least her head wasn't hurting anymore, adrenaline caused that to cease.
After what seamed to be hours, she walked up to the terminal. Holding her breathe she flipped the switch. Relief followed at it started up normally, the bright light straining her eyes. Trying hard, she tried to type out a coherent comm. message, but her shaking hands made it hard.
Two distant gun shots made her jump, causing her heart to jump up in her throat, her head hurting badly again with the dizziness becoming worse. She turned back to the terminal, only to be dumbfounded. It was splattered red, instinctively she put her hand to her stomach, pulling it up before her face, she saw it was covered in blood, as was her uniform. Somehow she felt no shock or pain, but dizziness hit her. She stumbled back, sliding down the wall leaving a trail of blood against it. She slumped on the floor, it was becoming very hard to breathe, her legs cold and numb as were her fingertips.
Using all her strength she looked back into the hallway, and there was a man sliding his sidearm back into his holster. Gray filled her eyes, as she watched him walk and step over her, and turn off the terminal. He didn't even glance down, he just stepped over the dieing crew member again and walked down the hall.
Bridge: GTD Temple.
"Sir we have lost all communication with Lighthouse and Floodlight."
A crewman shouted.
Admiral Madden turned to Terrance Hall.
"Whats going on?"
"I don't know, try a different channel, the subspace portal may be scrambling transmissions."
Madden turned back toward the balcony before hearing a click behind him. A gunshot rang out and he hit the floor. The bridge crew turned around.
"The operation is a go gentlemen, proceed" Hall said as he slid his sidearm back into his holster.
Bridge: GTD Vega
"Communications still down."
A tech shouted.
Simms looked over the balcony, trying to look unfazed.
Hollis ran up below Simms.
"We just got communication from the Knights, the fighters of the Temple are attacking them! Our fighters along with the wings of the Flawless are trying to repel, but the Heart's Desire has launched all their wings in hostile formation."
"Issue an alert, launch all remaining fighter and bomber wings, try to intercept them!"
"The Temple is charging up main beam cannons!"
A Tech screamed.
Simms watched a brilliant beam of light from the main cannon of the Temple raked across the hull of the Flawless.
"Incoming transmission from the Flawless."
"Simms, what is going on, we are being attacked by our own forces." Turner screamed through the audio feed.
"I'll tell you when we figure that out!" Simms replied.
"We are opening fire, however IFF...s...fren.ly..." Static filled the transmission as another beam ripped across the hull.
The Vega lurched.
"What was that!" Simms yelled over the balcony.
"The Mythic is attacking us!"
Simms looked to the screen on his upper-right. He watched the Mythic fire another beam across the hull of the Vega, and the vessel lurched again.
"Power up all beam cannons, turn that ship into debris." Simms said as he pointed at the Mythic.
Confusion, it felt like seconds ago Heirden was watching the subspace portal power up, and now he was in the fight for his life. His own forces had attacked him. He had taken a harpoon in confusion of the first few seconds. His shield had taken most of the impact, but some shrapnel penetrated his starboard engine, disabling the afterburner but otherwise causing no serious damage. Now he was taking revenge, he shredded the Perseus fighter in his crosshairs. He looked at his sensors, the traitors were destroyed, but at the cost of over half of the Vega's fighter wings. Now a mixture of both fighters from the Vega and the Flawless tried to collect their wits. Many of the craft were heavily damaged.
Pike looked up to see the Vega tear through the Mythic with it's main bean cannons, four klicks away. The vessel lurching and then snapping in two under the intense firepower, before detonating. He looked on his sensor board, four full fighter squadrons from the Heart's Desire were closing, sensors showed that they were powering up weapons. A steady beep sounded in his helmet, a sign of a sensor lock. He looked back at sensors, sixteen friendlies against thirty-two enemies. He cursed, he knew they had no chance. He thought about issuing the order to make a intersystem jump, but he dismissed it. No doubt some of the damaged friendly fighters had navigation computers knocked out, maybe jump drives. The able fighters jumping out would leave them sitting ducks. That would not happen under his command.
"To the death!" Yelled Crazy Eights leader Mark Fuller.
The three remnants of the once elite squadron pulled out in front toward the enemy.
Pike tightened his helmet strap, and with the rest of the Knights, fell in behind them.
Bridge: GTD Vega
Simms wasn't satisfied with the debris field that was the Mythic. The Vega now a full speed surged out toward the Flawless, which along with the Temple had fire spewing from multiple holes, with large tracks cut deep into both vessels from the beams impacting the hulls. The Blood Hearts were pounding the Freelance and the Tyrant, with the Tyrant exploding in a fireball soon after. The Creative was certainly holding it's ground with the help of the Vega's bomber wings.
Simms watched as another beam tore into the back of the Flawless, her engines flaming out and exploding, the Flawless now was slowly turning completely un-powered. The Heart's Desire provided the shot and was now bearing down on the Flawless.
Simms gritted his teeth, the Vega was almost in range to return fire.
Another lance of light from the Temple ripped into the Flawless, this time tearing completely through the vessel. The bridge crew of the Vega watched in horror as multiple decks we ripped out of her side, explosions now spewing out of her armor.
A communication barely came through in the static.
"Looks like you won't have to pay that debt after all." Turner chuckled. "Godspeed"
The transmission became entirely static.
The Flawless snapped in two pieces at the mid-line, large explosions ripped though both pieces. Then the rear section exploded in a flash of light, it's shockwave ripping through the remaining front section. The whole bridge of the Vega lit up.
The crew didn't say a word.
Simms just watched, his view transfixed on screen.
"Sir, the Heart's Desire has targeted us and is approaching. Orders sir."
Hollis ran up the stairs.
"With all due respect, we cannot take on two destroyers!"
"They are deploying their bomber wings, ETA three minutes! a tech shouted.
"I will not leave our fighters!"
Simms slammed his fist on a terminal.
"We've have no choice, we can't fail the ten thousand crew members on this ship. We must engage intersystem drives!"
Hollis was right in Simm's face.
"Orders, sir" the crewmen asked.
"Recall bombers, engage drives upon return. Simms turned from Hollis, defeat heavily evident in his voice.
The bomber wings raced back, away from the Freelance, which was rolling on it's side, flaming, totally out of control and touched down in the hangar. The Vega sped up and disappeared into blueish light. The Creative right behind it.
It was a furball again, the Vega's fighters now down to nine against twenty four enemies
Pike's spirit sank as he watched the Vega jump into subspace.
"They are leaving us, we've got to jump" a pilot yelled over the intercom.
"Jump where?! We don't have those coordinates! We can blind jump, but we still die when we run out of air. It's a one in a trillion chance of guessing the right coords and reaching an allied base, and we don't have the time to calculate anything!" Pike yelled.
The pilot jumped anyways on a blind subspace route.
Pike cursed, while dodging the laser shots of a pursuer. His mind raced. Then he had an idea.
"All pilots head for the portal."
"Are you crazy?! We don't even know if it is fully safe. It's a one in a million shot" Heirden screamed.
"Would you rather stay here? A one in a million is a lot better that a one in a trillion.
Pike pulled his fighter straight toward the Aurora.
Heirden cursed, but then followed in line behind, as did the six remaining fighters. With the enemy right on their tail, they jumped into the unknown.
Bridge: GTD Temple
"Tell all fighters to break off pursuit, let them run." Hall said.
"Hail Lighthouse, tell them to shut down the portal."
"Acknowledged." an officer replied.
Hall walked toward the elevator.
Chapter Two End