XO Winsley gave the sitrep. "Sir, the 4, strike that, 3 Victory Star Destroyers are staying in formation and pounding the hell outta the Representative. She's been hitting the Super Star Destroyer hard with her Null Space weaponry at long range, keeping the SSD out of the fight so far as well as trading short range firepower with the Victory SD's, destroying one. Incorruptible Light reports damage repaired and is being shielded by Representative for the moment. The two frigates are holding position in the debris field and waiting for an opportune moment to strike. Fighter cover is as ordered, and holding. The enemy TIE fighters are at 30% strength, and our X Wings have taken minimal losses and are mopping up the last of them. We are fine, no damage from the explosion of the Imperial SD. Shields are at 80%."
Ford watched Representative through the main windows trading blows with the Victory SDs. "Representative needs some serious help. She's a fine warship but that's just too much firepower for any ship to handle, especially when she is doing so much damage to the SSD. Is the Sword of Retribution moving into battle at all?"
"I don't know sir, she's gone quiet and we can't get any word out of her." Winsley replied.
"WELL BUGGER THEM THEN! Deploy all four bomber squadrons and two of the X Wing squadrons to Representative, I want our bombers to hit those bloody Victory SDs and help Admiral Helfaunt out! Send our A Wings to eliminate all remaining TIE fighters, and get the six remaining X Wing squadrons attacking the Imperial SD off our Portside!"
"Yes Sir!" Winsley said as he ran to the Air Group station to give the orders. Ford turned his attention to the Imperial SD, and began issuing orders to the gun crews.
"Portside Main Battery, Target the enemy Bridge and the two shield projectors on it! FIRE AT WILL! All Portside point defence turbolasers are to focus their fire on the enemy turbolaser turrets! FIRE FOR MAXIMUM EFFECT! HIT THE ENEMY SHIP WHILST HER WEAPONS ARE STILL OFFLINE!"
"CAPTAIN! Incoming message from Admiral Helfaunt! He asks if he hits the bridges of the Victory SDs will it take them down?" Comms shouted.
"Tell him it'll cripple them, but if he can start an explosion there with enough firepower it'll start a chain reaction down the main powerlines to the anti-matter reactor and annihilate them! Also radio him and tell him that he needs to break the back of the SSD, causing damage to the superstructure of it won't kill it. He's only really killing crew quarters and about 5 years of supplies and storage space." Ford responded.
Just then the Imperial SD got its weapons back online and hit Gracemeria with a full Ion Cannon broadside. Gracemeria shook violently as her shields took the brunt of the blast and then failed in a flicker of yellow light. "SHIELDS ARE DOWN! WHAT DO WE DO???" Weapons screamed out, showing his fear for the first time in the battle. Though Captain Ford and most of the senior officers were battle hardened, most of the crew were not.
"HOLD STEADY AND KEEP FIRING!" Ford shouted. Small explosions from enemy turbolaser fire peppered the front hull of Gracemeria as the Imperial SD moved in for the kill.
"YEEHAW!" Shouted a crackly, grainy voice over Gracemeria's speakers. Proton Torpedoes and laser cannon fire erupted all over the enemy ship as nearly 100 X Wing fighters of Gracemeria's Fighter Wing swooped in from above. "Sorry to keep you waiting Captain, we had to finish up our little dance with some old friends first. It's been hectic out there and I think the CAG bought the farm, so I've taken command of the fighters. Commander Windhover, 15th Squadron reporting in sir. Now, let's see if we can't fix this Star Destroyer problem of yours!" The lead X Wing radioed in.
The crew cheered in delight as the fighter's onslaught dropped the Imperial SD's shields. "NOW! CONCENTRATE ALL TURBOLASER FIRE ON THEIR BRIDGE! ALL GUNS, FIRE AT WILL!" Ford shouted, happy his trump card had worked. Explosions rocked out across the Imperial SD, and then a lucky shot from one of Gracemeria's heavy dual turbolasers broke through the enemy hull and hit the main reactor. A giant explosion wracked the enemy ship, and Ford ordered all fighters and Gracemeria away from the dying ship. "Get us away from that wreck before it explodes. Divert all power from the guns to shields, I want them back online ASAP! Helm, move us to support Representative, gods knows she needs the help. Comms, get me Captain Typhor, I want him in there and beating the crap outta that SSD YESTERDAY!!!" Ford's orders were punctuated by the explosion of the second Imperial Class Star Destroyer in the background.
"Your men shall be protected Captain I'll have them help boost the reactors power level." Artia said while simultaneously telling the engineers to boost the power output on the reactors. "Jump us in behind the lone star destroyer." Ma said and with a blink they were behind the destroyer "launch all boarding craft" with that the a fleet of 100 boarding craft were launched and a cover of fighters to boot. Ma was in flight "Artia you there?" "yes i am" she responded " Go into my personal files and there should be a folder with an old band from Earth called Korn, mind putting on my playlist? its fun to kill things to." "Done" and in the craft, containing Ma, 6 spec-ops elites and a pair of hunters, music started playing also through Ma's in-helmet speakers.
They hit the ship and once they got through the hull, the spec ops elites dashed out and killed anyone in the area, then the hunters jumped out and formed a protective barrier around Ma. "Artia please let the others know not to attack this ship for i am inside it." Ma Ordered "This is Artia, please with-hold fire from the Star destroyer the Incorruptible is near, for we are boarding." Ma was dashing down the hall with Elites and hunters in tail, slicing through anyone he came across heading towards the hangar bay. a few doors away form the hangar they encountered a group of heavy storm troopers and were pinned down. "Nell and Theo go forward and distract them i'll flank around and take them from behind." and then a laser flashed passed his head "Time to go." and he took off down a corridor and a few seconds later he was next to the squad, with beautifully dangerous grace he easily chopped off their heads. "lets go" and the squad resumed following him to the hangar. once he stepped through the door he saw other squads already cleaning up the remnants around the hangar. A spec ops elite came up running to him and Ma pauses his music "Ma all squads report having set up position to defend the hangar." "Good lets start bringing in all of the rest of the troops." I also just received reports that almost all weapon batteries have been cleared of men." "Excellent hold the perimeter at all costs." "Artia start sending the main troops over in Phantoms." ma said.
10 minutes later there were at least 600 troops in the bay now, almost all elites with about 20 pairs of hunters. Ma stood at the head of them "We are facing an unknown amount of hostiles, listen to your commanders i'm going to the bridge to personally slaughter the captain himself." he then grabbed a Active camo off a crate nearby and vanished. 20 minutes later he was in the bridge, completely unnoticed. he drew his swords and uncloaked "You have been fair opponents. I salute you, those about to fall." he then sliced the helmsman in half vertically, flowing into cutting 3 comm's men heads off. The large elite was moving so fast around the room there was barely time for anyone to react. He proceeded to kill everyone in the room but the captain, moving from person to person so gracefully it could be considered a form of art. he stopped infront of the captain, "I think I'll save you for Ford." ma said then bound the man to his chair. he went over to the bloody comm station and sent a message to the fleet " This is ma, i have taken the bridge of this ship and my troops are moving through the hull taking out any resistance. it will take a while to fully have control." he then took a seat and relaxed.
The Representative ceases fire on the SSD and the ship Ma boarded, before twin beam-bursts blast the hulls of the two other SDs engaging, causing damage and many explosions from the hulls, although they continue to broadside Helfaunt's vessel. Meanwhile, the shielding of the Dreadnought became one layer thinner after quite a bit of broadsiding from the Star Destroyers, and life signs within become slightly weaker in some areas, where said signatures are all moved to areas on the ship, presumably med-bays.
"This is Admiral Helfaunt, I can take that SSD if someone can distract these support capitals long enough for me to tactical hot-jump the mothership. further scanning revealed a prime target, and I've managed to upload it's co-ordinates into the comm-net. It's a structural weakness we managed to blast open that, if hit with one full salvo of my gunnery, I can blast that thing in half with enough spare energy and barrage to make it roasted to taste."
the Null Space gun starts hitting a specific area HARD while the railguns join in, shielding Plasma Missiles from what's left of the point-defense guns, and the scanner plans and fire-pattern estimates spread throughout the comm channels, the Representative's fusion beams continue to hammer down on the Victory class SDs, hitting the bridge towers before they simply shoot them off, and flying past the now unmoving warships, moving out of heavy weapons reach, meanwhile, the SSD seems to finally maneuver towards the equally massive and approaching dreadnought, which is rapidly regaining shield strength while it pounds the SSD as hard as it can, it's fighters using the unorthodox tactic of shooting energy weapons downwards while grating their shields against that of the Star Destroyer, rapidly destabilizing large portions of the protective field. The SSD seems to be taking on quite a bit of damage but both behemoth's defenses are holding, most shots missing or being channeled around Helfaunt's damaged shielding, seems he redirected power into misdirection and alternative defense systems until his shields can recover.
"We see you coming to our aid, Gracemaria , we sincerely say thank you, and I'm sure the Admiral would be detailing what the gifts he said he'd rain on you later were, were he still able to stand. His last orders were to simply follow your orders until he's again capable of direct command, he also said he'd promote you if he could for sending those fighters. You have the Representative , Captain Ford. Orders, sir?" a voice particularly good-memory'd individuals would remember as Commander Catherine, Head of Tactical from her meeting the captains in Ma's ship.
an elite ran up to the bridge an approached Ma "we just got confirmation the last enemy soldiers were killed." "Good"Ma saidd , then took a sip of the coffee he had made himself on the bridge and spit it out "horrible tasting."
He then contacted Artia "You have control of the ship, free to engage hostiles."
"Stand back boys and lets show you how the big girls play!" with her directly in the ships computers and the boosted reactor power. The ship jumped near the SSD and unleashed a full broadside including 6 plasma torpedoes an energy projector and around 400 point defense lasers the SSD's shields quickly fell from the combined might of The Incorruptible and Representative firing on it. She then had the ship Jump just above it and unleash both energy projectors along with nearly 1000 PD laser turrets, cracking a hole right where Helfaunt sent the co-ordinates. then warping away from the ship to engage the remaining enemies.
"Artia to The Representative you are clear for the shot, i repeat you are clear for the shot."
Ignore this post, was a placeholder but ToxicPiranha appeared and posted the end of the SSD.
Typhor watched as the pure chaos of a space battle began, "Target the lead vessel, the super star destroyer it was called, Bring our dorsal lances to bear. I wan a full spread of Melta Torpedoes on them as well, get our fighters up and put the marauders on a bombing run, get us alongside and open up on them with our broadside!" As Typhor ordered his men calmly to attack the great bulk of the Sword of Retribution moved into firing position, it paid little heed to the small ships nipping back and forth around it. Typhor endeavored to avoid getting in to the firing lines of it's allies. 6 beams of light flashed across space, impacting on the abused SSD's shields, the lance blasts had been concentrated, Typhor grinned as the enemy shields held and then overloaded under the force of the blasts. Following up behind the lance blast came a wave of 30 foot long torpedoes, armed with melta warheads they were designed to turn a ship to slag. The 12 heavy rounds slammed into various regions of the flag ship including the bridge, the Flag ship which was almost three times the length of the Sword. As the torpedoes detonated miniature suns bloomed into existence, the superstructure of the enemy ship literally melted like wax under the ordnance. The Super star destroyer disabled, The Sword of Retribution Slid along side, hanging a few miles out from the stricken vessel and began pounding the living crap out of the ship with massive broadsides, Sword of Retribution was a retribution class battleship, designed specifically to hand out vast amounts of punishment in little time. With a final volley the Super Star Destroyer's reactor went critical, the blast wave rolled over Sword of Retribution the big ships shields flared as they prevented the blast from damaging the ship.
Ford listened to the Fleet chatter between Ma on the captured Victory Class SD, Artia on the Incorruptible Light and Helfaunt and Commander Catherine of Representative as he moved closer to the 3 Victory class SDs. He radioed Artia on the Incorruptible Light. "Gracemeria to Artia and Representative. Well fought, retreat for now and take care of your wounded and repairs. Gracemeria and her X Wing fighters will clean up the last ship and assist Ma with piloting the captured Victory, and our Y Wings will make the strike on the Super Star Destroyer. Commander Catherine was it? I hope the Admiral pulls through, he has fought gallantly and we would have had a lot of trouble without both him, his crew and the Representative herself." Ford turned to XO Winsley and motioned at the 2 remaining Star Destroyers. "Which one is Ma on?" He asked.
"The one to our starboard, Captain. The other one is in major damage control mode without her main bridge and is firing sporadically, not really hitting Representative. I've already vectored the X Wing squadrons onto it, they're making their run about now." Winsley replied. A cheer then went up from Comms.
"CAPTAIN! The Super Star Destroyer is gone! Captain Typhor and his battleship came through and flattened it after Artia and Helfaunt's strikes! YEAH!" The bridge crew, and the entire ship roared in sheer delight at the news. Ford pumped the air, then gave another order. "Send this to the Fleet! We have won the day through all your valiant efforts! All ships are to reform the Fleet around the captured Victory Star Destroyer, with damaged ships in the center and the frigates out front on patrol."
Ford turned back to Winsley. "Prep the Marines and half of our engineers, most of them know how to repair and crew a ship and it's not like they are needed here. There is no way I am letting Ma keep that Victory SD, not with that UNSC frigate as well. Besides, he doesn't have the crew or the knowhow to pilot that ship, and his Sangheilli will never fit on it, because it was designed to be crewed by humans. It'd be like crewing it with Wookies, and cruel in the extreme. I will personally lead the men, so you have the ship for now Commander Winsley."
As Ford turned away, the last enemy Victory class Star Destroyer exploded in a giant ball of fire, the chatter of the X Wing pilots confirming their win. "WOO! I've always wanted a Star Destroyer kill mark!"
"DUDE! YOU ROCK!" said one pilot.
"The Force was with you all the way!" confirmed another.
"Colonel Avalanche, nice shot!" said a third pilot.
"All pilots this is Avalanche, rejoin the formation and re-establish a Combat Air Patrol around the Fleet. CAG is still MIA, Commander Windhover is lead fighter." Avalanche said, his voice as happy as could be but still professional.
"Avalanche, Windhover here, confirming CAG still MIA. I have the lead. Windhover to all fighters! Form by squadrons and commence flypast of Gracemeria for inspection and confirmation of combat losses. Sound off on closed channels and squadron leaders report to me by the numbers. Windhover out."
Ford smiled as he made his way to the hanger bay, listening to the happy chatter. Marines and crew bustled through the hallways, preparing to transfer to the captured ship and tear it apart for spares and repairs. He jumped in his X Wing and flew over to the captured Victory. He greeted the Sangheilli standing guard at the doors and made his way to the bridge. The New Republic had quite a few of this class of ship in service still and he knew his way around easily. Meeting Ma in the bridge Ford shook the big Sangheilli's hand. "Ma, congratulations on taking a Star Destroyer with nearly 10,000 Stormtroopers and crew on it! However, I'm not sure you will want to keep it, as it was not designed with your height and size in mind, and it would be painful for you people to crew it. Also, this ship should have two working Class 1 Hyperdrives, and Admiral Helfaunt and Representative need one of those to stay with the Fleet, and I would like to have my engineers rip one out and install it for him, as a gift for his efforts in battle today. I have just enough Marines and spare engineers to crew this ship for the time being, if you'll let me have her. I will also bring this to a Council vote as to what we should do with the ship in the long term." Ford said, beaming from the victory of defeating an Imperial battlegroup without heavy losses.
Catherine was more than slightly displeased. Her CO, was in surgery for internal radiation burns, and even if he said this Ford guy was good, she'd have to believe that herself.
Trasporting near Captain Ma and acting-Admiral Ford, she stood at attention and saluted "Status report from Representative . Casualties, twenty seven. No dead. Doctors say all will be back on duty within the week. Serious casualties, one Admiral Helfaunt, currently in surgery to deal with internal radiation burning. Currently he is using his neural net to go around the systems of the fleet and repair what he can from there. Assigned Ford acting-Fleet Admiral until he can get back on his feet in a few days, he will act through me or the computers until he can retake command and he's up on his feet."
She takes out a data-pad and holds it out to Ford "Gifts of thanks for helping us out of the hotspot. Contained here is the design and cargo manifest of us moving over a Crystalline defense device called an Energy Refractor, which refracts 30% of all energy going towards it's occupant ship with each device, once it's turned on. We managed to throw together a couple of spares and decided you deserved one. Also, we are offering you some improved sublight engines. Admiral will have to wake up before he can give you whatever he had in mind. Computers and my neural net gives him only so much."
Meanwhile... in the computer systems of the fleet, Admiral Helfaunt 'walks behind' Artia in the simulation his mind created "Pleasure to meet you, Artia, was it? Which way to the Incorruptible Light? I need to be at the council of the fleet to cast my vote.
Ford promptly returned Catherine's salute, then listened to her reports and studied the data-pad given to him. "That is good news that you lost no crew in the pivotal role Representative took in the battle. I have never seen a ship take that much fire and come out on the other side with no deaths. I must thank both you and the Admiral for these gifts, they would prove excellent if you could fit them. Gracemeria's design is not a spectacularly fast one, she was built for war and cruising in battlefleets, not as an escort or patrol cruiser. If you would take it, I have a gift for you as acting-Captain of the Representative. This ship we are on has two hyperdrives, one as a standby whilst the other runs, and every six months they are changed over. This ship also has a backup Hyperdrive on top of that, and I would like my engineers to pull one of the main Hyperdrives out and present it to Representative, giving her intersystem hyperspace capabilities. Of course, no harm is done to this ship should the Fleet wish to keep it. Ahh, that reminds me. Excuse me for a minute Ship Master, Commander." Ford finished as he excused himself and went over to the Comms console. Hitting a few buttons he sent a transmission to the Fleet.
"This is acting-Admiral Ford to the Captains of the Lost Fleet. I am calling the Council to order. Please meet in the prepared room off the secondary hanger on the Incorruptible Light as soon as possible. The Council will vote on the spoils of war and the Fleet's next move. That will be all." Ford radioed, then mentally sighed as he realised he still had to finish talking to Ma about bringing his crew over and Ma's going back to their ship.
Staying on the task at hand, Ford turned back to Catherine. "Sorry about that, I tend to forget things so I do them as they come up. It's also the reason why I have an XO, he keeps me straight, ha. Though I know nothing of your medical facilities, I have a wondrous medical fluid called bacta that completely heals all physical wounds, internal and external. I would be able to send you a tank of it and a medical droid if you wish. I want to shake Admiral Helfaunt's hand and share a whiskey with him over dinner sometime, he is a good man. If that is all Commander Catherine, Thank You, and I'll see you at the Captain's Council." Ford said to Catherine as he stood to attention and saluted, awaiting her responses, if any. New Republic doctrine stated that junior officers always initiated the salute, and if the senior officer initiated the salute it was a sign of respect.
"Well done everyone i have to say that's the youngest i've felt in years! Also such a responsive ship, so much power and grace!" Artia broadcasted out to the fleet in general over bundled with joy.
Ma was over on the destroyers bridge and used the Comms once again "Ford i have two gifts for you, one being this ship and the other being its captain." Ma said then sat back down and looked at the bound Captain "You look like a nice guy. if you weren't trying to kill us, we could of been friends." he then left for the bay to return to the incorruptible. In a few minutes he was back on in the council chamber. He used his comms again "Please join me in the Incorruptible's council room, i'll have an elite show you here."
Catherine returned the gesture "Saluted by an Admiral? Thank you, Sir. I'll be there, Sir. Until then, I need to coordinate repairs. Those Ion Cannons had unforseen effects on the systems of our ship, I would recommend anyone that got hit to check their electronics and reactors. we've had to med-bay several of our engineering officers who had to contain a reactor stutter, which is why some of our shielding faltered during the battle. Ford, send whatever help you have over when convenient, we'll be ready for it. Might want to warn your engineers, ours... look slightly different, they aren't all human, and some of them could be said to... used to have been human. Cybernetics are heavy in Engineers, because they need it almost as much as soldiers, and sometimes more. Just make sure your people are prepared for some surprise on our ship."
With final salutes to both Ford and Ma, although Ford's was more ceremonial, she warped off
Catherine warped into the meeting room, occupying a comfortable Admiral's chair and looking slightly more pleased, and plugging scanner reports into the displays, no matter how pleased she is, you can visibly see her frown at the reports, as she waits for the others, sighing as she sees the mass "I hope to my lucky stars, that those aren't warships."
"Ox i need you back under my command and docked in the bay." Ma then turned to T'hel "I need a salvage team to go out and collect about 12 of those heavy Laser turrets from the star destroyers. Also tell the engineers i got some new toys for them to play with. They'll be in the bay shortly."
Artia popped up in front of him as a life size holo. "I produced the suit while warping around and while you were boarding" You will like it, built in Active camo and shields on top of the suits armor." She then popped up on The Gracemeria's comms display looked at Ford "Pleasure to meet you sir." and she bowed, then back at the Council room looked at Catherine "I'm assuming you're the temporary Captain of the Representative, a pleasure to meet you Madame." Then curtsied.
Ford stood on the bridge of the captured Victory and wondered what he would do with its captain, an old clone captain, loyal to the Emperor and no-one else. "Hpmh, I'll airlock the bastard when I get the chance. Okay, so Ma's gone, and his forces are transferred out." Ford mused to himself. He then walked over to the Comms station and gave the order for his Marines and secondary crew to transfer over and begin refit and repairs. Thankfully, the ship had taken light hull damage and small internal damage through plasma fire from the Sangheilli assault. He also ordered XO Winsley to begin sending some of Gracemeria's remaining engineers, droids and medical equipment over to the Representative to help with her repairs. They wouldn't mind seeing cybernetic implants, it was bio-implants that creeped his men out.
As Ford overwatched the skeleton crew bring the Victory back online, two X Wing pilots entered the bridge. Ford turned and greeted them. "Colonel Avalanche, you have my gratitude for leading the fighters in battle after the death of Colonel Black. It's a harsh way to become the CAG, but that is war, unfortunately."
"Yes sir, it is. Thank you sir, I was just doing my job and leading the boys and girls home safely." Avalanche replied sombrely. "We lost 18 good souls today sir, a full squadron of A wings and a single Y wing that didn't make it out of the explosion of the Imperial Class SD. The A wings were lost in the mop up ops, straying too close to the AA fire of the SSD. But morale is still sky high from the win sir."
"Sad news, indeed. They fought and died for our freedom, and paid the highest price. Were it not for you, our losses would have been much higher. Good job Colonel. You are dismissed, I have some things to discuss with the young Commander here."
"Yes sir." Avalanche said, saluting and leaving. Ford returned his salute before focussing his attention on the young pilot.
"Commander Windhover, you've sat your bridge command test and passed, correct?"
"Yes sir, I had hoped to graduate leading my squadron and then apply to captain a frigate."
"Well, I don't have a spare frigate lying around, how about this Star Destroyer? I've already got my own ship, you see..." Ford said to the young commander.
"But.. Wha... Sir! Yes Sir! I'd love to take her!" Windhover replied, shocked and amazed at once.
"Good, all the crew onboard are yours, Captain Windhover. This ship doesn't have a name, but she has a captain and crew enough. Promote your best pilot to your old position, and prepare your hanger bays because I'm giving you two X Wing and one Y Wing squadrons. Also, I expect you to be at the Captain's Council meeting as soon as you get this ship on its feet. You won't get a vote as you have to report directly to me as New Republic Navy, but I'd like to have you there for the experience you'll get. If the Council votes you in, I'll let you have free reign. Sound good Captain Windhover?"
"Yes sir! Sir, I already have a name for her. I'm calling her Marigold, after my first love, the girl of my dreams. She passed away from cancer 3 years ago, and with no family I've devoted my life to the Navy, hoping to make a difference. This ship is my second dream girl, my second love, to have my own ship. Marigold and I won't let you down Admiral!" Captain Windhover said.
"Good man! I'll see you at the council, Captain." Admiral Ford finished, saluting the new captain, then heading for the hanger and his X Wing. He had to go to the council meeting himself.
As Ford walked into the Council meeting room he nodded to the others present, then grabbed a cup of coffee and sat down. He had been on his feet all day and he relished just being able to sit down.
"Helfaunt is in one of my neural A.I. slots. He'll be casting votes through me. Also, the Deep Space Sensors, usually incapable of reporting with any accuracy ships within a system this far away, clearly report a large mass of ships in a vessel, important in our universe. This system was the diplomatic center of the Protectorate. Our senior staff all agrees it is worth going there and seeing if the Amon'Krie feel helpful. Just put that on the agenda. The pure mass of ships in that system is consistent with what it was in our universe, but then it was primarily Protectorate Navy defensive cruiser and battleship battlegroups lead by dreadnoughts. So if it's consistent, then we might end up staring down an Adversary IV fleet supported by smaller vessels. I should be able to convince them to back down, if not, the Admiral knows more escape methods from that system than any other person in the Protectorate did back home, which is why he thinks we should take the opportunity." Catherine pulicized the sensor readings, opening twenty different types of readings, with more loading "We've been scanning since we arrived in this universe, we just now got results."
"If they don't stand down then its my guess that we'll all be in for one hell of a ride if we don't get out of there quickly enough." Ma said a little bit concerned.
Artia spoke up now "Ox has docked and the salvage team has collected the turrets."
"Good, Have the engineers mount the two largest on Ox's ship, he needs the fire power, and mount five on the sides of hull and 5 on the underbelly." Ma then looked at Ford "If you have engineers, i'd like to have them help me if you could spare them to install the turrets, it would be a huge help."
"The Admiral believes it is worth the risk, and is willing to have us take point. We also need to pull back the engineers we gave you, Ma, we need them, with teams off on the Gracemeria , Representative's systems are being neglected. We'll leave a team behind, Ma, as a technological embassy of sorts."
After destruction of their target, the Black Hand had turned to support the rest of the fleet only to find that they had everything well in hand. With her assistance unneeded, she'd gone on a bloody rampage among the deployed enemy fighter and bombers.
John smiled; it had been a good fight. They'd taken a few hits from bomber launched photon torpedoes, but had suffered no real damage or injuries. "Well done people" he said. "Take us back to our kill, Rez you know what to do." Transporting to The Incorruptible Light, he walked into the Council Chamber with a big grin. "I haven't been part of a fleet action since the war, it was kinda interesting to see ships fight in a broadside engagement. Don't know why they bothered with the strike craft though, they were just fuckin' target practice."
Typhor had the Deathwatch thunderhawk take him to the The Incorruptible Light, his standing orders to his crew was to salvage any materials they could use for munitions and repairs from the wreckage of the Super Star Destroyer, any material found in reasonable order they were unsure of was to be passed on to the ships techpriest for analysis.
Entering the Council chamber, Typhor took a seat that had been obviously designed to take a larger bulk, wearing his armour made Typhor excessive in size. He sat, the seat creaking. "Hello gentlemen and Lady, that battle was fun" he inclined his head to the gathered captains.
"I am a woman too" Artia said popping up in front of Typhor as a life sized holo. "I may not have a physical body but i am a being and i have a personality." She then popped up to the main holo display in the center of the room. "I have analyzed the data Catherine so kindly gave us and i've come up with this display of what it should look like when we get there." Above her a display popped up of around 700 hundred ships and support facilities."Judging by the readings there should be around 700 ships, give or take about 100. I say we jump but only if The incorruptible leads."
"You sure you want to lead into a battlefield you don't know?" Catherine watched closely "Representative could jump the fleet in behind the outermost planet, a large rock composed mainly of superdense metals and radioactive elements for a core, and we could use our fleet-command suite to co-ordinate fleetwide scouting sensors, that should go unnoticed. We don't want anyone else taking on our responsibility, Admiral Helfaunt was adamant that the only way he'd let someone else take point is if they had a reason they'd be better off there." Catherine's tone about the Admiral was partially irritated, but mostly respectful and trusting. She would make sure his orders were carried to the letter.
"If you'd like to make your case, he's in the computers, listening."
"If they see you with similar tech to them and you are not on any of their registries, they'll consider you either pirates or rebels, If i had The Incorruptible jump in first with the rest of the fleet and you waiting behind said rock to jump in incase anything happens, we would be more likely to have successful negotiations." Artia said "Also Ma the installation of the new turrets are complete on both ships."
"Negotiations are not on our minds. We think it's an old enemy of the Protectorate, we're running off old records from the First Galactic War, wherein records had trouble not getting fragged. But the shape of their positioning is different than we think. We are assuming the Amon'Krie still own the system because they were at a stalemate for decades before anything happened, Humanity is what tipped the war in the Krie's favor after nearly being wiped out, our counter pushed the Xi-Chung Subordinate Conglomerate Armada off side. If our initial assumption that these are Krie are wrong, we don't want to risk others because of our mistakes. If you're going to do this, know we are warning you now of this possibility." Catherine looked the A.I. in the eyes, looking for any signs of anything she could see in the other woman, while trying to watch for other captains indicating anything
I can't believe I'm going to do this. John thought as he sat forward. "Here's a thought, if you tell me what to look for, as to whether or not these guys are hostile, the Black Hand could drop in covertly have a look and be back before they knew we were there."
Catherine gazed at the pirate surprised "You'll be facing a massive battle-group, and while the Lost Fleet could probably sit outside the system to back you up... It would be rather helpful. What angle are you playing, Captain? We'd be willing to help you out a little for your efforts."
Catherine obviously found it hard to trust the pirate, but was giving him a chance
"Regardless of what happens, Me and ma have discussed it during my conversation with you and we're prepared to deal with anything they can throw at us. I just need access to everyone's computers to warp the fleet in." Artia then sat down on a chair she created "John if anything goes wrong i'd be happy to warp in and cover the escape."
Ford listened to the ideas bouncing around when his communicator buzzed. "Catherine, I must thank you once more for the upgrades and help with repairs your engineers have given me. THey report all is done and they are transporting back to your ship, and some of my best engineers are heading over with them to help with your repairs. Captain Windhover on the Captured ship has taken command with just enough crew to run her at battle operations, and he has named his new ship Marigold. He won't get a vote in this council, but he is his own man and won't always agree with me and follow my orders. As for the Fleet jumping to this place, I believe the whole Fleet should jump in behind the planetary cover, scan teh system whilst Captain John takes Black Hand in covertly. Gracemeria has a good scanner/sensor suite, and I gladly offer them for Fleet use. Ma and Artia, this is not your fight and you don't have the heaviest shields or hull, let Representative lead. It's Catherine and Helfaunt's system, they know the ins and outs. We can't afford to lose any ships, especially against an enemy of that size."
"What angle, you say? It's simple, the less all out conflict that this fleet engages in, the greater chance of me getting my ship home." John said, casting an approving look at Catherine. "You don't need to bribe me to get my help in this, although the sentiment in appreciated, self-interest is more than enough."
Turning to the A.I. he smiled and nodded. "Thank you for the offer, hopefully we'll be in and out without being spotted, but it never hurts to have a backup plan." Frowning, he walked over to where Artia was 'sitting' and waved his hand though her shoulder. "Here" he said pulling out a datapad. "Full specs on Federation holo-deck systems. It'll allow you to be more interactive with your environment. If you run into any problems adapting it, give my chief engineer a call."
Catherine briefly smiled, de-spacing out "Admiral Helfaunt just finished his surgery, his last natural lung was just successfully replaced with Admiral-level cybernetics. He'll be back on his feet with aid before tomorrow. Also, he's putting together a manifest for things that the entire fleet will receive, specifically Artia and Ford. Make sure you warn your people about ours. Now, as my first and hopefully last time on this council I'd like to say that this is one of the best fleets I've served with that wasn't a academy class that stuck together. Success to the Lost Fleet!" she smiled as a sweet-tangy sort of brandy appeared on the table using transport systems "This is from the Admiral's personal store. One of five bottles he received after the battle of Alpha Centauri."
Catherine seemed happy for her friend and superior, pouring the celebrative liquid "Captain Typhor, you still haven't cast your opinion." Catherine started handing out glasses
"so when shall we jump?" Ma asked the rest of the council.
"if there is any sign of threat from that fleet we'll cover the Black hands retreat." Artia in Ma's helmet "I know" he said in response, barely vocalizing the words.
"with those new laser turrets we salvaged from those Star destroyers, we have more firepower." Ma announced.
Catherine looked around, then system maps, from her universe and from this one, all with tactical data and full calculation matrixes, and new jump angles appearing by the hundred
"All the crewmembers and the ship have significant parts of their personal and ship A.I. working on this, and rechecking it. You can trust every single one of these hotdrop strategies are good."
Catherine seemed proud of the ship and crew