SOL Part 2
-365 Days Afterward-
“General Barron, sir.” spoke a young private on radar duty, “we are detecting faster-than-light radiation from the Kuiper Belt satellites.”
The General set his pad down slowly onto one of the lit stations in front of him, he veered his gaze towards a panel on his left. He closed his eyes as to clear his mind, yet all he could think about is how the panel confirmed the private’s readings. Admiral Thronn had brought his fleet back to Sol. “Hail the Triaga fleet on the Neptunian orbital station, alert them to a possible Asterran invasion force.”
“Should we apprise Earth Command of the situation, sir?” asked Lieutenant Kriss.
“Yes, of course. Do this now.” Barron said with his voice trailing. He knew they were going to return, he could still picture the last battle he commanded on this base. Titan’s methane seas had stirred vigorously as our ships were shot down one after the other, and yet we held our ground to secure Sol. To secure Earth.
“Raise the ships! Activate the new defense permitter around Titan!” Kriss yelled as her long hair fell over her shoulders. Officers on the bridge began tapping away furiously at their consoles carrying out orders.
“Bring the Valiant out of the sea, raise her into upper orbit.” the General said as he walked to his chair. The hull shifted from the sea docks as the steel chains snapped back and slammed against Titan’s floor. The Valiant burst from under the methane sea and the green liquids dried away from the hull as she rose quicker into the atmosphere.
“General, the Mars Shipscourt has been apprised of the situation and they are sending twenty more ships to join the Titan fleet. They should be wrapping around Saturn’s orbit within a matter of hours, sir.” announced the lieutenant enthusiastically as the Valiant rose into Titan’s upper orbit.
“Understood.” spoke the General reflexively, “Order the fleet into formation. Do we have reports from the Triaga fleet yet?”
“No sir, the scout pods haven’t reported back yet.” replied the young communications officer.
Kriss stopped what she was doing on one of the science consoles, “Well officer, we need answers. Send more pods out if you have to, we need to know what the hell is going on out there!”
“Yes ma’am, deploying four more scouts right away.” the communications officer pounced away on his helms’ station.
Thirty-two ships that comprised the Titan fleet formed a pentagonal helix formation with the Valiant forming the backward point vessel. The ships captains all hailed in signaling the ready, tension and anxiety filled the long corridors. “Lieutenant Brin, please return hail to the USS Braga.”
“Yes sir, General. Hailing the Braga.” the communications officer had a pip in his voice as the General remembered his name.
“Aye Barron, you rang?!” shouted an overbearing and jovial voice over the com system.
“Indeed Captain Marringouin. I trust the Braga is at her best?” The General hadn’t been so pleased to talk to a friend in a long while.
“Why of course she is my good friend. I toured her entire deck just moments before, inspected her hull and gave toast to her crew!”
“That’s grand to hear. If the Valiant doesn’t make it, you’ll be taking over as fleet general. Are you up for that old man?” the General roared with a kindred chortling.
“Aye your grace!” started Marringouin in his awfully sarcastic tone, “You keep that ship together Barron, you hear? The Valiant is too stubborn of a ship, and her crew too damn good to be taken down by the likes of Asterra!”
“General, one of the scout pods just reported in.” interrupted Lieutenant Brin. “The Asterran fleet is advancing, they’ll be within sensor range momentarily!”
“So soon!” roared Marringouin, “How’d they stop the Triaga fleet so quickly!”
The General rose from his chair, “Kriss, signal the fleet to move forward. Three-quaters fusion pulse, steady.”
“Yes sir. Fleet is responding.” Kriss moved her hands again over a panel and the large view screen flickered on. The rest of the fleet’s engines lit up like a star, and the ships jarred forward. The Valiant’s hull shivered slightly and the crew jolted backwards as the inertial dampeners kicked-in sluggishly from the vessel pushing off with the rest of her fleet.
“Ships coming into view, General!” shouted Brin. Alarms began to sound and the entire bridge flashed a dull red, an extreme contrast to the bright view screen that shimmered a blue hue from the engines not too far off in front on either side.
“Magnify, helmsman.” the view screen pinched larger and zoomed onto the fleet that was closing in on Titan. There she was, the Maelstroma. The flag of Asterra and their prize Admiral, Thronn. The General easily remembered their last encounter, barely a year before and just a few hundred meters above the hydrocarbon sea on Titan. Their hulls glowed a tone-deaf green from the methane below, and he had given the order to shoot down the Scaranvara. The General’s greatest regret was not targeting the Maelstroma first.
“All vessels, fire at will!” roared General Barron.
The USS Cortana was the first to deal a blow to the Asterran invasion fleet, 2 large cannons fired antimatter warheads across the empty void of space and pounced against the shielding of one of their lead vessels. The Rantravice fired back onto the Cortana piercing it’s defenseless hull with biphasic beams.
“General,” began Kriss as the Valiant shook from nearby explosions, “They’ve take out six of our ships! Should we activate the Attenuation scramblers?”
“It worked before, let’s lower their shields and get this war on an even footing.” commanded the General.
Several green lights emitted from the satellites on the Valiant’s hull directly at several Asterran ships. The artificial intelligence systems worked away at scrambling the ships on board computers, their shields did nothing just as the last battle a year ago. Within moments the enemy shields were down and weapons targeted on them.
“Fire! Fire! Fire!” the General’s voice shook with furry as the Sol ships of Titan ravaged the hulls of the now defenseless Asterran vessels. The cannons’ lasers of the Valiant rammed against the Rantravice tearing her frame where the engine was unfortunately located, and the containment breach took down three other of her nearby Asterran vessels.
The Maelstroma veered into firing range of the Braga and her cannon banks unloaded on Maringouin’s ship, breaking her keel where the Alcubierre ring met the forward hull. General Barron watched as his comrade’s ship was engulfed in a firestorm as its precious antimatter extinguished the very engine it helped to power. The General starred at the Maelstroma’s long slender hull, no large ring to take out or engine fin to fire on. Just a large ship that Barron knew had to be taken out of this universe if it was the last thing he did, he passed a chance to destroy it last time and he can’t let it slip by again.
“Brin, are the shields still down on the Maelstroma?” the General asked walking towards the helms console.
“Yes sir, but we’re too close to fire on her, the explosion would catch us as well. The Vancorva is within firing distance however.”
“You’re relieved boy.” the General stood over Brin.
“Yes sir.” Brin got up in shock and walked to a science station to assess damage.
“Sir, what are you doing?! Halt engines!” Kriss shouted at the other officers on the bridge as the Valiant moved towards the Maelstroma.
“Delay that order. Stand down Commander Kriss.” roared General Barron as he continued to point his vessel towards that black ship of death.
Within seconds the two ships met, metal on metal. The Valiant pierced the Maelstroma like a sword, pulling apart Thronn’s ship in the middle. The forward hull of the Valiant buckled in and pieces of shrapnel and metal sprouted out in every direction along with the parts of the Asterran’s flagship. The two vessels held together in space, neither one’s engines ruptured and neither one able to move.
-“Attention Asterran Forces. This is Fleet Admiral John Karlsson of the Mars Shipscourt. You’re out numbered 2 to 1. Stand down.”-
The transmission played on all channels as twenty Sol ships swung around Saturn’s gravitational pull.
“Sir, we’re getting a hail from the Maelstroma.” Kriss spoke as she had managed to pick herself up off the bridge floor and to the nearest panel, “They want to discuss a ceasefire, something about wanting to revive peace talks.