View Full Version : [Fic] One for Arcesious
12-25-2008, 06:55 AM
One of our members, Arcesious mentioned in a thread that he liked space battles between large capital ships. I thought, you know so do I. I was thinking about doing a fanfic, needed a little break from a WW2 story I've been working on for the last year. It was as good a hook as any. Set a few centuries before the Galactic Empire.
She wasn't real pretty but had a big chest and that seemed important for most of the crew. I loved her but it was one-hundred percent about personality. Well it had to be, she wouldn't listen to a damn thing anybody said to her. Go to lightspeed.
Sure, I'll think about it.
We'd been through some tough scrapes but she'd held together. Come too close to a nova that wasn't on the charts, it happens. Went galavanting outside the beacons, over past Carmacks Loop near Wildspace (searching for a wayward mining crew, long story and a sad ending), but even a class four radiation cloud wasn't about to spoil our day. Picked up the bodies, rebuilt the engines again and came home.
Of course the Arcesious tended to run a little odd these days. Truth is she was one, ancient bird. Put together back in the pioneering days (once upon a time a deepspace scout cruiser I think) and fitted with a successive series of avionics and hyperdrive upgrades. Republic Engineering Mark X, Corellispace Mark VI, some recent owner even managed to scrounge the credits for a Mandalmotors Mark III. That one had been heavily modified. I mean it wouldn't outrun a tramp freighter, but it was quick.
Weapons, now that was some fun stuff. Had 'em classified as "meteoroid defensive shielding" somewhere along the way and the licensing was still good. In actual fact some nutjob had gone and taken the Arcesious to war at one time or another, she had the full range. Reinforced blaster turrets, percussive launchers, concussion missiles and ion batteries. Shielding was wired right into the main reactor, I'm talking military grade hardware and she had capital class hyperalloy plating welded right over all the important parts. It didn't look spit and polish but did the job.
Registration said, "Survey vessel" but the Captain's Log said "warship." She was as tough as any Frigate. Had about a year's worth of consumables too, I mean you could lose yourself in this thing. She was our home away from home. In a sense, for the twelve of us she was our home.
I'd picked up the signal four days earlier. Some little rich pecker got a new starship from daddy and thought he'd go roaming around the Rim outside the beacons. There's rare minerals out there, people would say. There's lost civilisations, alien technologies. It was all rot. There was dead stupid people who didn't stay within the charted hyperroutes. And there were fringers, pirates, criminals and gangs of people who have plenty of reasons not to make their lairs among the charted settlements. Gangs with big, tough warships and a penchant for ransoming rich little hostages they happen across, and adding shiny new spaceships to their raiding fleets.
Life was rough and ready out on the fringe. Don't kid yourself, it wasn't all romance and starry skies. Most settlements got stolen from somebody who lived there or worse, somebody who lived close by and had starship grade technologies. The ensuing, "Oops but we're taking it anyway," left enough bureacratic holes for criminals to slip through. Nobody wanted to know about policing the Rim. If you want to get lost you go out to the fringe. Want to raid rich mining settlements, the fringe. Want to steal the purses of core worlders on galactic cruisers, run off and hide afterwards in the Rim. I mean the bigger the Galactic Slice got, up went the crime rate. Not exactly something you hear about on CoruscaNews. Go to the Rim they'd say, spread the seed of civilisation. Yeah, well it was core worlders who typically got educated out on the Rim.
I didn't like taking these jobs. For me really, going out and dealing with pirates was something for the regional militaries to worry about, only they didn't want to do it unless it was one of their own that got nabbed and even then you'd have all sorts of problems in the Senate about exerting authority on the galaxy at large. Unfortunately you really needed the military to deal with some of the pirate groups and raiders these days. Here was me, ex-Ranger with more scars than I can count and a mixed bag of misfits with entirely too much confidence in a very old, if well armed vessel. If I thought a recovery mission involved a serious criminal element, generally I gave it a miss and sort of forgot to mention it to the others.
But this time the future head of Blastech had been taken, well "gone missing" somewhere around the Goriah mining colonies. And we hadn't had a decent paycheck in two years.
(to be continued)
12-26-2008, 08:02 PM
"I've traced the transponder to the second planet," Vheras the Cyrillian mentioned from her bridge consol.
"-Nothing active in system. No settlements."
We'd lost the signal only hours before. It was still fresh enough to follow the ion trail and its signature transponder sub-frequencies hardcoded into all Republic registered vessels. Few ships smaller than a full sized deep cruiser had the kind of sensor suite fitted to the Arcesious...we could probably track a planetbound speeder from outside the system given enough information about its repulsorlift model and build date. It was once used to scout hyperspace routes in the first place, after all.
"Run a search on the ancient microwave frequencies. Look for radiation signatures.
"Bring her up, Devon. All stop, shut down the redundant systems. Run quiet for now."
"Radiation signatures?" Vheras, who was quite attractive for a reptile was incredulous.
"-Nobody uses that old tech anymore..."
The Arcesious' Bridge was a large, well protected central deck running from mid hull to just short of the frontal weapons bank. Command stations lined its interior and were linked into each of the subsystems slave circuits. A heavy degree of automation had been integrated into the old frigate over the years, dramatically reducing the original crew compliment of a vessel this size from over a hundred to a dozen, which was a bonus in one way that there was plenty of room amid the 115-metre, multistory structure for everybody and then some.
"Something about cancers and poisoned planets," Devon laughed from the cockpit station.
Oklar, a jocular Bimm looked up from the nav-station,
"Better than fossil fuels. Now that's old tech."
Devon called through the intercom to the Engineering station at the rear hull, passing on my instructions.
"Oh yeah," Vheras sighed, having adjusted her consol instrumentation.
"-A microwave field surrounding the planet. Looks like a network between five small satellites. Possibly a defence network...I wouldn't have picked it up."
"Pirates sometimes use them," I explained.
"-Most military vessels or anything worth worrying about isn't tuned to recognise 'em, so your AI thinks it's just static and meanwhile they're targeting your ship's vital systems."
I thought it best to wave Devon off, he's a bit of a hothead behind the wheel,
"Keep your distance, mate. Make a lateral heading and use manoeuvring thrusters."
Most of the crew listened to me without question. Those who didn't, personally know my past heard it from the others, and listened up whenever it counted. That was important for a tight ship and it's what we definitely were, we may have looked like a sordid and undisciplined mob to somebody like an uptight core worlder but truth was, when action was required we were like a well oiled machine. And I was its head, I kept a well modified blaster handy and an ancient laser sword hanging around my belt to ensure this was unquestioned...but I'd never had to enforce the rule.
12-29-2008, 05:06 PM
"Ion mines!" Vheras warned.
We were at General Quarters, about a million kilometres from the planet and moving perpendicular.
Ion mines were highly effective defenses, designed to detect and move towards power sources by automaton, exploding to render electrical systems, everything from avionics to life support useless. Until they powered up in response to something they were very difficult to pick up on sensors unless you were looking for them, or found yourself in the middle of a field.
"Twenty kilometres, off port," the Cyrillian answered.
We were in the middle of a field.
"Uh Captain, I'm tracking a cruiser at point three," Oklar mentioned,
"-Ten thousand kilometres and closing."
Running quiet as we were, we might not have been detected yet but it was definitely a difficult situation. Powering up the ship's defences meant attracting the ion mines, which was a bad idea. Letting a cruiser get within 9000 kilometres with your shields down was an equally bad idea.
"I can get us out of here," Devon claimed. He was a good pilot, but probably not that good.
"This isn't pirates," Vheras stated the obvious. Oklar nodded in agreement, his catlike eyes wide with concern.
"Plot us a course," I told the Bimm.
"Oh you're not serious," Devon cackled in a hollow voice.
"-Let me try. You can't hyperspace your way out of a minefield."
I was more concerned about that cruiser. A minefield meant sensor buoys, which meant it was only a matter of moments before the distant starship had targeting information on the Arcesious, let alone knew we were here.
But Devon was right, navigating through a minefield was difficult enough at minimum power. It was suicide to try lightspeed.
"Range on that cruiser?"
"Nine-thousand kilometres," Oklar replied,
"-Heading one-five. Still at point three."
"She's turned," said Vheras, still intently searching her consol for more mines.
"Let me give it a shot," the pilot repeated. He was Corellian, in other words pretty stubborn.
"Oklar, plot a course: point three-two, six-thousand kilometres.
Vheras, I want targeting information on any mines in our path.
Devon, adjust heading."
I flipped the ship's intercom open and hit the alarm.
"Oh crap," Devon panicked, adjusting thrust geometry on the Arcesious.
"You're going to try a mini-jump?" the Cyrillian gasped.
"-Can it even be done over this distance?"
Mini-jumps are used to cover distances within a star system, typically between planets. Millions of kilometres, not across a few thousand kilometres.
"We'll be okay," I guessed.
"-How we doing, Oklar? I want us right off the bow of that cruiser, well within weapons range."
"Captain there's a margin of error in thousands of kilometres whilst the sublight drives kick back in, you know that."
"You'll do fine.
Engineering, power up weapons and shields.
Vheras I want targeting information."
"Mines are powering up, Captain," Devon advised, still bringing the Arcesious around.
"-Cripes, the whole board's lighting up. There's hundreds of them."
"Two targets," said Vheras, entering a firing solution on a pair of mines just ahead of the ship and transferring it to the weapons stations. There were three manned banks on each side and two at the front.
"Captain!" Devon urged.
"-They're coming in on all facings, picking up speed."
Bow Stations, clear us a path."
I could see the mines through the viewports now. Growing pin pricks of reflected starlight racing towards the ship.
There was a vibration that could be felt through the deck as the frontal weapon banks opened up. The multiple barrels of twin heavy blaster turrets recoiled with each energy discharge, tracking bright particle accelerator bursts onto their targets and desintegrating them in bright flashes of metallic vapour.
"Whenever you're ready, Oklar."
The feline Bimm hit the consol's data transfer key, sending instructions to the Engineering Station's computer and pulled the hyperdrive actuators. There was a whine from the Arcesious' engines, then a penetrating, deep tone as the stars outside the viewports began to elongate.
Almost immediately the navigator switched back in the sublight engines to the sound of an automated collision warning, avionics interpreting his command as per the calculations he'd entered. But it was too unorthodox a manoeuvre to begin with, and a massive feedback pulse from the tremendously powerful hyperdrive engines overloaded the ship's energy systems, sending sparks and alarms throughout the vessel and knocking any standing crewmember off his feet.
The navigator pulled his arms back as his consol shorted out and the internal fire suppressors released.
"We've lost avionics!" Vheras shouted above the alarms.
"Helm's down!" Devon added.
I checked my own consol. Nothing.
"Should I raise a white flag?" asked the Bimm.
Right outside the port window loomed a massive Khurgan Battlecruiser.
12-30-2008, 08:06 AM
The frigate's gravity-well hit the 700 metre battlecruiser like a concussion missile. Collision alarms sounded throughout the ship and crewmembers scrambled from the frontal shield generator stations, as their projectors shorted with the impact. At the bridge an Elom commander was fuming.
"What the hell's going on? Damage report!"
"Enemy vessel is now six-hundred metres off the bow, my Lord."
"Shields are down on the front arc. They must've micro-jumped."
"All stop! Engage thrust reversers! Damn idiots, what are they playing at?"
The commander returned to his seat and flipped some consol switches.
"Get those shields back up. Standby main batteries," he barked.
"Lord Markov, they're within critical range," his weapons officer informed.
The Elom slammed his fist onto his consol, cracking its plexiglass cover and leaned over it towards the crewman, a menacing snarl pursing his lips.
"Then target them with secondary weapons."
"They're hailing, my Lord," the sensor-communications officer reported.
"Ignore it. And get that gizka Sturges up here."
* * * * * * * * * *
Arec Sturges was busy enjoying himself with a pair of Elom females in his quarters when the buzz of the cabin door finally became too much of a distraction even for his remarkable libido. Tickling one of the laughing prostitutes he leapt to his feet and grabbed a pulse-blaster from the bedside table. With another grin at his company, he took a towel from the back of the shower stall and headed across the room to answer. It was one of Markov's bodyguards.
"What do you want?" the youthful human demanded. He might've been in bed with these Elom in more ways than one, but he hardly trusted any of them.
The bodyguard glared. He'd like nothing more than to cut this arrogant core worlder to pieces with his vibrosword, but for the moment recognised the human's necessity to his Lord. Arms dealers weren't usually in the habit of supplying dangerous aliens with contemporary equipment.
"Your presence is required upon the bridge," the bodyguard informed him curtly.
"Required..?" Arec ventured, tightening the grip on his weapon. He honestly had no idea his arrogance was in fact sheer stupidity.
"Requested," corrected the bodyguard, yellow eyes narrowing. He cast his gaze past the human to the prostitutes within the room, snorting and tilting his head, signifying the human would not return shortly and they should probably leave.
Arec stepped back inside and threw on a pair of trousers, his boots and holster and a jacket whilst the bodyguard waited.
"Alright, let's go then."
He followed the alien to a set of turbolifts at the end of the corridor, who placed a hand on the bridge access panel.
"Lighten up," the human joked,
"-Your face isn't that bad, honestly."
The doors opened and the pair stepped out onto the bridge.
"Lord Markov," Arec mocked with an exaggerated bow.
"Friends of yours?" the commander demanded, motioning towards the viewport and the stricken frigate floating a few hundred metres beyond it.
"-I told you nobody was to know the location of this base."
"I've never seen them before. They must've tracked me," Alec replied warily,
"-Sent by the Corporate Authority, no doubt."
"Target their subsystems and fire at will," Markov instructed his weapons officer,
"-I want prisoners."
* * * * * * * * * *
The backup generators had brought life support and communications online. I called through to Engineering.
~ "We're working on it, Sir. This is going to take a few minutes." ~
"We don't have a few minutes. Get on it.
Vheras, hail that cruiser. Buy some time."
The reptilian woman gave an excellent impression of a frown.
"Just how do you suppose I should do that?"
"I don't know. Stall them."
"Fire control is down," Oklar told me.
"Tell the crews to target blasters manually. C'mon, it's not like they could miss at this range.
What about shields?"
"Still nothing. Uh...Captain, that cruiser just locked weapons onto us."
Devon stared at an otherwise useless helm, double checking our limited passive sensors.
"Hey, they don't have their bridge shields up. If we could target..."
"No fire control, remember?"
The Corellian pouted.
"I bet I could hit their bridge from a turret."
"Wait a minute," Oklar interrupted,
"-A concussion projectile at this range wouldn't need precise targeting. All we'd have to do is disable the arm-safe protocols and point it in their general direction."
He was right, though at point blank, with our own shields down the resulting blast could do as much damage to the Arcesious as the enemy warship. Still, with no time to waste I flipped the intercom.
"Fire control, load the port tubes and disable safety protocols.
All crew brace for impact."
The reply was immediate,
~ "Sir, are you serious?" ~
"Just do it."
Blaster fire began emanating from the battlecruiser, double and triple mounted heavy laser cannon. Explosions began ripping across the Arcesious.
"Dammit, fire, fire, fire!" I ordered into the intercom.
"Well at least it isn't turbolasers," the Bimm winced as he was knocked sideways.
There was a deeply vibrating tone which could be felt through the deck, as the main reactor and engines restarted. A bright series of flashes through the viewports signified the launch of concussion weapons.
"I've got helm!" Devon shouted.
Some maintenance panels in the roof broke free as internal piping ruptured with the damage and released pressure. This caused more electrical shorts but fortunately they were mostly redundant systems, like deck heating and the lights.
"Bring us around, point three-four and climb!" I instructed.
"-And angle the deflector shields!"
"Already on it, Captain," Oklar bellowed, gripping his consol. Devon didn't even answer, he was busy manoeuvring the frigate and trying to put some space between the two vessels.
A massive explosion unfolded across the bow of the enemy cruiser, the three cold-fusion warheads sending a tremendous shockwave back onto the Arcesious, barely three-hundred metres distant. Durasteel plating shuddered, hyperalloys bent. My Captain's consol was alight with damage warnings.
"That had to hurt 'em," laughed Vheras.
"Open up on the port turrets!
Vheras, get me a firing solution on their weapons system. I don't want them giving us a broadside once we get a little distance."
"You got it Captain!"
(to be continued)
01-01-2009, 09:53 PM
01-03-2009, 06:45 PM
The huge battlecruiser listed with the tremendous force of the explosions on its front hull. Striking as they did, with no ion-particle shielding to protect them from it the concussion damage penetrated deep into the Khurgan midsections, destroying several weapons batteries, crew stations and power generators.
At the bridge a large, durasteel screen slid immediately across smashed viewports, returning pressurisation before it had been completely lost and undoubtedly saving the lives of the command section.
"Hard to starboard!" Markov had been shouting just as the warheads hit and that order was still being carried out. Most of the bridge crew and anybody else had been tossed several metres like rag dolls with the impact, only the helm, whom were strapped in remained seated.
Arec Sturges was also pulling himself to his feet.
"So let me get this straight: your front shields were down and you thought that would be a good facing to have a space battle?" he mocked sarcastically.
Adjusting his armour, Markov glared at him dangerously before turning his attention back to the crew, barking,
"Forget prisoners! I want that ship destroyed! Fire all batteries! Launch fighters! BRING ME THEIR HEADS!"
The Elom commander regarded his human passenger with a sneer,
"I'm going to hang them in my trophy room."
The Arcesious continued its climbing turn as the larger vessel rolled, its laser cannon batteries continuing their devastating fire as each new mounting found the frigate in its firing arc and a comfortable point blank range of a kilometre. Twin blaster turrets returned fire. Both vessels were now in a position to use their shields to best advantage, deflecting the bulk of energy with angled facings of magnetically suspended subatomic particles. The amount of discharge which continued through the fields however was still enough to shudder durasteel and damage ships systems.
Amid the shaken bridge the crew continued monitoring systems and working the consols.
"They're opening hangars," Oklar advised.
I stood from my seat, transferring the Captain's station to the Corellian.
"Take over, Devon. I'm heading to the observation deck."
"Roger that, Captain. We'll keep 'em tied down."
Six, small vessels emanated from the cruiser. Triangular and needle-like they were fast, tremendously manoeuvrable and as comfortable in deepspace as they were in atmosphere. One large ion engine powered them, with two lateral thrusters on S-foil extensions. They were equipped with weak shielding and respectable triple blasters, with strong sensors for their class and a concussion projectile launcher for close support and attack work. There was nothing weakly about a snub nosed fighter, this particular model popular among mercinaries and small system militaries.
The Flight Leader, a veteran Elom spacer named Garm had achieved many successes in the type and knew how to use them well.
"Scimitar Flight, set Eight and Two-seven High. On me. Standby for the strafing run."
A handful of light blaster cannon and small missile turrets comprised the Arcesious' starfighter defenses and these began firing, attempting to form a shell of impenetrable fire around the frigate, which was by now some five kilometres from the battlecruiser and accelerating. Meanwhile the two capital ships were still exchanging heavy weapons fire between themselves.
I exited the turbolift at the Arcesious' observation deck and headed directly towards what appeared to be an escape pod entry. It wasn't. Through the transparisteel dome I could see the fast moving, bright specks of enemy starfighters moving around the ship and bright bursts of particle energy streaming throughout the darkness.
Sitting in a fairly plain, exposed cockpit protruding through the deck, I rested my hand on a DNA encryption panel to bring the systems to life. Holographic screens flickered and told me the power batteries were fully charged as I strapped in and closed the armoured canopy. Hull paneling was already retracting to expose the body of an assault shuttle, as I placed an intellectual interface band on my forehead and ran the preflight check. The observation dome began withdrawing across the length of the Arcesious, giving me a clear launch path and I hit the converters for my thrust-boosted triple ion engine assembly.
Once clear I extended the weapons pods, armed the laser cannon, powered shields and lost myself in the holographic digi-flight system.
"By the blood skies, what is that?" Scimitar-two radioed.
"Enemy starfighter, point ten. Two on me, the rest of you begin the attack run," Garm instructed.
I was at two kilometres and hit a relative acceleration of 300 metres per second coming out of the ship's cradle. At twenty metres across I wasn't exactly an easy target.
The lead pair of Elom starfighters turned on an intercept heading, trying to cut the distance between us and already well within weapons range at any rate. But it was a mistake to assume they had the manoeuvrability edge as my cockpit and weapons vanes simply rotated around the hull to target them, the engine cluster automatically redirecting itself in accordance with the new heading.
In the split second it took for Garm to realise just what he was up against a hail of pulse-blaster, laser cannon, ion and missile fire from my little assault vessel was upon him. His wingman desintegrated in a brilliant explosion right beside him and he broke off his pursuit immediately, ricochets and near misses scoring the starfighter's light alloy hull with carbon burns and small holes.
"All craft abort attack!" the Elom panicked,
"-We've got an assault shuttle to get rid of! Five and Six come around point-two and flank. Everybody else on me! Angle deflector shields and watch those weapons banks."
I had great sensors, tons of power reserves, plenty of speed and enough armament to take out a corvette. Plenty of combat experience too, I probably knew what the enemy starfighters were up to before they did. To put it simply I trumped them on every count.
I saw two coming around for a flanking manoeuvre and the other three boring on a direct heading. I took out one of these with long range laser cannon, whilst his wingman managed to deflect the bursts aimed at him. Then onto the next target indication on the holographic field surrounding me in the cockpit. Weapons types, pod and thrust geometry, shield angling and flight control were all selected by a combination of avionics calculation, MRI-interface and pilot input. It was a highly advanced, extremely expensive system but what the hell, I never paid for it.
I selected ion and concussion weapons for the lead flight. Autoblasters kept the other one I'd missed at a distance. Quick as I could think, weapons were firing on target, shields were correctly set, power systems expertly proportioned. Overall heading returned towards that battlecruiser.
Oh I was coming. I was coming for their hostage but it was likely I might just take out their starfighter force along the way.
01-03-2009, 10:18 PM
Whoa, you're punching out these chaps quickly.
I'll admit I'm not one for reading space battles, but this is written pretty well, nicely done :thumbsup:
01-04-2009, 03:54 AM
Cheers mate, thanks for the compliment :)
Next instalment hasn't come yet. But you know what'll happen...I'll be making a coffee sometime in the next day or two and my mind will wander, then I'll race over to the keyboard (by race I mean sometime later that day I'll walk over)...
I'm really meant to be working on my first published novel but heck, best to go where the fun is. And one gets that little bit more experience to bring to the table, I mean the cool thing about fanfics is somebody else has already done most of the work, it's a joy :D
01-07-2009, 12:31 PM
Oh lol I just came here and I see my name in the title of a thread... I had better read this story... It'll probably be pretty cool. :D
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