The Betrayal RW Chapter 8 snippet
“Energy reading, Skipper!” Malone shouted suddenly. “Port side aft!”
“Hard to starboard!” Kate ordered. “Flank speed!
Damn it, she thought. She’s here!!
“Hard to starboard, aye!” Williams said.
“Captain!” Paul shouted. “She’s firing!”
Commodore Glenn Anderson licked his lips like a lion heading in for a kill. Before him lay Almir’s cruiser, and she didn’t know they were there! Damn, he reflected, their alien tech was so far ahead of theirs that it was almost like dealing with magic!
Ah Almir, he thought to himself. Revenge is a dish served cold.
“Lock weapons on target,” he said softly. “And fire!”
An invisible hand reached out and threw Brooks to the deck. A horrible roaring sound filled her ears. The screams of her crew echoed in her head. With a loud pop, her ears equalized as the room lost pressure. Only one thing could cause that she knew as she climbed back to her feet.
Hull breach! She thought, trying to grasp what happened.
The air was escaping the compartment with a loud scream. A silence fell over the room as the damage control force field’s fell into place. She moved as the light flickered, main power fluctuating. Stumbling through the chaos, she could feel blood running down her cheek.
“Direct hit from frame three fifty to three sixty!” Lieutenant Wilson Groves, her top assistant, yelled.
A secondary explosion rocked the room. Smoke started to fill the room, the odor of destroyed circuitry wafting up her nose. Grabbing an air mask, she pulled it over her mouth. Breathing clean, fresh air, she started to move.
The screams of the wounded started to reach her. With her section the epicenter of the damage, she had her hands full. If she couldn’t get power back up, they were going to die. Whoever hit them; she reflected with rage, they knew exactly where to hit them!
“Main power is down, sir!” Ensign Tina Jenkins said.
The blue lighting of the force fields showed the carnage. Blood and guts covered the control panel Jenkins worked. Behind her, the shattered bodies of the engineers assigned lay. Beyond the force field lay the vacuum of space.
”Get it up!” Brooks yelled. “Or we’re all dead!”
On the bridge, Kate had her hands full. The first blow had sent a power surge through their systems. Circuits had died and a fire had broken out near the life. Thrown to the deck, she and everyone else clawed their way back to their stations as the cruiser heaved in agony. Overhead, a cacophony of sound came from multiple departments calling the bridge.
“Report!” Kate cried, pulling herself back into her chair.
“Damage to engineering, Skipper,” Marie said. “Multiple casualties!”
“Tactical,” Kate shouted over the chaos. “Can you target that ship?”
“She’s throwing up seven kinds of hell of electronic warfare, Skipper,” Malone said.
“I don’t care what you have to do,” Kate snapped. “Fire a missile at her, now!”
“Skipper,” Malone said. “I have Chief Brooks on discrete.
“Chief,” Kate said into the speaker on her command chair’s arm. “What’s the situation?”
“Main power is down, sir,” her voice sounded muffled, was she on a throat mike? What the
hell happened back there?
“We need to be able to jump, Chief,”
“We have the power, sir,” Brooks coughed. “Barely…”
“Incoming!” Malone shouted.
Kate whipped her head up in time to see the beam strike them. Heeling over to port, twenty then thirty degrees, she fell from her chair. The lights failed, plunging them into darkness. The emergency lighting came on with only half intensity.
“Get us out of here, helm!” Kate yelled as she climbed back into her command chair.
“I’m trying!” Williams said. “She won’t answer! I can’t get power!”
“Sir!” Malone said. “The forward fusion reactors are going critical.”
“The mechanisms are damaged, sir!”
Jordan Fry knew he was dead. The compartments on both sides of him were gone. The rain of splinters had cut everyone down, killing the Lieutenant in charge. He kept his hand over a gash on his side, the blood pouring between his fingers. The pain was excruciating.
However, the reactor had fared worse. With every cooling and control line cut, it was going critical. There was no way for the bridge to eject it, he knew. Only one person could save the ship now: him.
Grasping the eject control in a blood soaked hand, he smiled. Despite the pain, a sense of joy filled him. He had served his captain, and ship well.
He depressed the button before collapsing to the deck. The last thing he heard was the explosive charges ejecting his compartment before everything went black.
“Sir!” Marie shouted. “The forward reactor has been ejected!”
“Hard to starboard!” Kate snapped, “Give us everything we got!”
Responding sluggishly, the cruiser answered her helm as the engines gave their all. The reactor exploded, barely outside the hull. Raking the cruiser’s starboard flank with fiery plasma, her hull was scorched to the bare metal. Compartments were penetrated and people died. Some were quick while others lingered in damaged compartments that medical teams couldn’t get into. Those who died their lonely, agonized deaths would haunt Kate for years afterwards.
“Captain,” Brooks said. “I can have power back to the mains in a few minutes!”
“We don’t have a few minutes!” Kate snapped. “We need it now!”
“Sir,” Paul said. “I’m got a lock on the battle cruiser, missile tubes, six through ten are ready to fire!”
A brief dimming of the light occured as the missiles launched. The taxed stabilizers were showing their strain as they fought against the launches. Normally the launches wouldn’t have been felt by anyone but now the entire ship felt them. If they didn’t get away from their foe soon, Kate mused, then they were going to suffer the same fate as Janice Long did!
“Helm!” Kate snapped. “Get us the hell out of here!”
“Coming about, Skipper!” Williams shouted.
The bridged leapt like it was trying to commit a high jump. Sparks exploded everywhere as the lighting failed. A horrible screeching sound made Kate look to her right as the entire starboard side of the bridge was opened to space. In one horrific instant, Marie and her entire station disappeared into space.
Splinters ripped through the bridge, killing people in their wake. Screams filled the air as a piece of metal decapitated Malone. A spray of blood flew through the air from the dead tactical officer. Williams was bowled to the deck as a splinter caused the navigation station to explode.
A larger splinter raced down the port side of the bridge. The environmental controls officer was cut in half. Paul was spitting and gagging as he tried to get the blood and bodily matter from his mouth. The damned battle cruiser was eating them for lunch; if they didn’t get away, they were all going to die!
Leaping to her feet, Kate stepped towards the helm. A mighty hand slammed into her right shoulder before landing a glancing blow to her temple. She landed on the deck, blood running down into her right eye. She watched Paul racing towards the helm as unconsciousness wrestled with her.
Seeing that someone needed to be on the helm, Kate leaped to her feet. She took a step forwards before a huge fist slammed into her right shoulder and then into her temple. The impact sent her to the deck, blood running down into her right eye. Trying to get back to her feet, she saw the main power come back online as Paul raced over to the helm.
“Jump,” she whispered as the mains came back online. “Jump…”
Anderson watched the cruiser before him disappear into h-space with a loud curse. How could she have gotten away from him, damn it! If that was how she wanted to play it, he could track her down in h-space then. Oh no, he mused, you weren’t getting away that easily Almir!
No, I’m afraid this time you’re going to die! He thought as he opened his mouth to give the command.
Anderson spun his command chair around to face his tactical officer. They had incoming missiles from Almir’s cruiser? How was that possible? When did she get a chance to launch with the pounding he was giving her!
Before Anderson could give his orders, the missile exploded, their laser’s tearing deep into his ship’s armor. The giant battle cruiser lurched around him, systems on the bridge screaming as they overloaded. He looked up to see the lights on the bridge flicker and then go out, only to be replaced by the auxiliary power.
“Damage report!” he bellowed.
“Sir!” com reported. “Engines are down! We won’t have them up for several hours!”
“Goddamn it!” Anderson pounded the arm of his command chair, knowing that Almir had eluded him. “She did it again!”
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