But it would be pretty interesting, if the NTF strikeforce would somehow end up in Delta Serpentis
The 19th Battlegroup was lined up in front of the Sol Jump Gate in Delta Serpentis in a tight formation. As always Crusader Squadron would lead the way, followed by the 1st Corvette Squadron, consisting of the Po, Scott and Yamamoto, which formed a protective formation around the Edric.
Clustered around the Pheonicia were the 2nd Corvette Division accompanied by the Sardaukar Squadron, while the 3rd and 4th formed a protective cordon around the Norma and Cenva, together with Atreides and Arrakis Squadrons.
The two Anemois were on the flanks of the Vengeance, which in turn was flanked by the 5th Corvette Division, with the Aurelius huddled beneath the carrier.
Aboard the bridge of the Pheonicia Admiral Schulz paced around like a caged lion. This Deployment sat ill with him. It was one thing to fight and kill fellow Terrans in brushfires, but this… And on top of that he was to follow orders of Admiral Steele. He sighed and went back to his seat. It was an old habit of his, but smoking helped him. It had advantages to be in charge.
“Message from the Malta Sir, Captain Oliver reports he is ready to go.”
Christopher signalled his acknowledgment with a curt nod of the head.
“Open a channel to the Malta.” He could do that himself, but he was loath to skip his assigned Officers. As the screen resolved into the image of Captain Oliver, the Admiral cracked a grin.
“Captain Oliver, lead the way. And don’t try to break my ship!”
Captain Oliver nodded and broke the connection. It was no secret that the Admiral treasured the Malta more than other ships. Granted, Christopher thought, he had other and longer postings, he had served ten years as commanding Officer aboard the Heisenberg, compared to the two years of the Malta and yet…
“Sometimes I think you love this old bucket more than your children or your wife…”
The voice sounded sarcastic, even without the face to match it, but the Admiral smiled non the less.
“Well Vice Admiral Syrgalla, my one and undying love is my loyalty to the GTVA…”
Finally the upper body of Syrgalla was seen on the main monitor.
“You know, I should’ve let Admiral Koth burn the Malta to ashes in Regulus… would’ve safed me a lot of trouble… like raising three children while my husband served on Vasudan ships”
Unusual as it was, Admirals Schulz and Syrgalla were the only married couple in command position of the GTVA, serving in the same Battlegroup.
The Admiral opened his mouth to reply, but was interrupted by his Sensors Officer.
“Sir, the Malta reports that she is unable to initiate the Subspace Jump!”
One eyebrow raised the Admiral flipped the information on the main screen.
“What are you talking about? Crusader Squadron is…”
And there it was… the data showed quite clearly, that the seven ships to jump as first wave had reached terminal velocity but failed to open the jump windows and had overshot the Jump Gate.
“Have them run diagnostics… Nimitz, no wait… we won’t disrupt the formation any further…”
Clicking his fingers, the Admiral thought this through. It could be a problem with the jump drives, but on seven ships, with the Yamamoto being a top-notch Diomedes this was highly unlikely. Maybe the Feds had finally played their card and severed the node?
“Contact Centaur Station and…”
Again he was interrupted, this time by the blare o an alarm siren.
“New contact, unknown classification!” Now things were getting interesting, Christopher thought with a sly grin. The image shown on the main screen was grainy, the ship looked like nothing the Admiral had ever seen, though it looked suspiciously organic.
“Imagine that thing in red and it looks shivan…” Someone on the bridge remarked.
“All ships, red alert, scramble fighters! Crusader Squadron, 1st Corvettes, get your butts in gear and get back here!”
Was it possible? Had the Shivans somehow disabled the Jump Node and send in a scouting ship?
The scanners couldn’t quite make sense of it. Bigger than an Aeolus, but definetly smaller than a Deimos… With a final flick he opened a com-channel and switched it to broadcast on all frequencies.
“This is Admiral Christopher Schulz, 19th Battlegroup, GTVA. Unknown ship, identify yourself!” Setting the message on a loop he turned to watch the slow ballet of the battlegroup unfurl. The logistic ships slowly turned to port and made to bring distance between them and the unknown ship. They were accompanied by Arrakis Squadron, while the three Asasiyun ships pointed their bows menacingly at their potential target. In fact, every ship formed up and around the two destroyers. Satisfied Christopher noted that every ship knew it’s place, so the drill had worked.
Taking his place again and lighting just another cigarette, he waited…