Author: EnderWinner PM
Commander Tristan Marieux wasn't sure about his new command and station. The ship was quirky, the CO was a prick, and someone in system wasn't friendly toward the Lyceans. Yet he never expected that the biggest problem he would face, would be her.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Chapters: 4 - Words: 8,855 - Reviews: 18 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 01-24-07 - Published: 12-28-06 - id: 2296784
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
UPDATE!!!!! Stupid school, finally I actually had a few spare hours to work on this. If it's rough, send me what is up and I'll fix it later. Be happy, all 4 people who have actually read the entire story! Hopefully it'll become more interesting as time goes on. -Ender
Tristan sighed and pushed the bill of his hat back up irritably. Why couldn't they make the hats fit his head? He thought as he allowed himself to be led through the maze of corridors that extended from the station's docking ring to the central hub of the command center. The type three outpost wasn't much to look at, but it suited the backwater system.
Tristan licked his lips. The humidity settings must have been set to match Hebron's normally arid climate. And it was a bit warmer than on the Forest Knight.
"Sir, the captain will see you now." The lieutenant said, indicating a hatch just outside of the station's command center.
Tristan nodded. "Thank you, Lieutenant." Removing his hat, he pressed the admittance button.
"Enter," a voice commanded, and the door slid open.
The room inside was dominated by a large observation window, overlooking a third of the station's docking pylons. The desk seemed to have been strategically placed as to allow for one to work, but also be able to look out into the black from the corner of the eye.
A tall, balding man turned from the window to face Tristan.
Tristan snapped to attention. "Commander Tristan Marieux, reporting sir."
Captain BenAsher waved him down from attention. "Greetings, commander. You're late."
Tristan's eyebrows flew upward before he could control them. He shifted his hat in his hands. "Late, sir? We arrived in system three hours ahead of schedule, and that was even with the coil problem that put us one system away from here."
BenAsher grimaced. "You are later than I'd like. I take it you noticed the damaged freighter at pylon nine? Had you been on station a few hours earlier than you arrived, you would have been able to assist in the recovery efforts."
Tristan frowned. "My apologies sir. My chief engineer reports that the Einichre coil problem has been resolved. In fact, the only issue that remains is the catapult. If you need help investigating now, the 215 crew members of the Forest Knight and I are more than prepared."
BenAsher nearly said something, but the door buzzing cut him off. "Enter!" he ordered.
A pair of lieutenant commanders strode in, and saluted.
"Commander Gibbs, Commander Kingly, this is Commander Tristan Marieux from the Forest Knight." BenAsher said, nodding to the young commanders. "He will be assisting in our little operation. Now if you'd be so kind as to join me, I'll begin briefing you."
Tristan shook hands with Commander Kingly. The young woman smiled, and Tristan blushed self consciously when her eyes lingered on the scar on his left cheek.
"So you were in the war?" she asked, seating herself.
Tristan nodded, and focused his attention back to the station commander.
Captain BenAsher activated the holo-display. He jabbed a bony finger toward several blinking dots.
"Ladies and gentlemen, these lights indicate the points where several freighters have been attacked over the last few weeks. All were severely damaged, but were not boarded." He explained.
Tristan frowned. Typically, pirates boarded disabled vessels and took their cargoes and other valuables. The lack of any boarding action suggested that whatever was out there was definitely not a pirate ship.
"As you have probably guessed, this isn't the work of normal pirates. Had the strikes been against one shipping company, I would have figured the vessel to be a mercenary ship, however the attacks appear to be indiscriminate." BenAsher paced about the situation table, stopping behind Kingly. "So far, no freighter has been able to identify what type of ship we are looking at. They were all attacked from extreme ranged missile salvoes. I don't think I need to tell you that most freighters lack the point defense capabilities to withstand more than a few strikes."
Tristan raised a finger, and BenAsher nodded to him. "Are you thinking this vessel may be from another star nation? Perhaps a light corvette that was equipped with a cap-ship missile launcher?"
BenAsher frowned. "That is quite a jump to conclude that it isn't one of ours, Commander." He said, giving Tristan a hard gaze. "However I don't believe this to be an act from a power outside the Lycean Coalition. We are too far from Claxar space to be bothered by the Cats."
Tristan nodded in agreement. "I understand that sir, but we are awfully close to the Centaurs boarders. And there are a few tribes that don't agree with their government's close association with Lycea." He shrugged. "However, I'd have to look at the sensor records to know what we were looking at."
BenAsher looked frustrated. "Commander, how about I go on with the briefing before you continue jumping to conclusions without us?"
Tristan noted the dangerous shift in his new CO's tone, and silenced himself.
Gibbs raised a finger. "What sized missile salvos are we talking about, Captain?" he asked. "Because it might give us an idea of what is out there." He continued as BenAsher nodded to him. "In all honesty, I haven't been able to access the sensor records from the freighters we've escorted in. If we're talking about a large missile wave, we may be in a bit of trouble, because the two frigates and a ranger aren't going to stand well against any cruiser."
"You're exactly right, Emanuel, and that brings us to the next part of the briefing." BenAsher said, moving the holo-screen forward. "I believe it is a small vessel. Much like Commander Marieux's corvette. Most of the recorded missile strikes only involved three missiles per salvo. The Forest Knight alone out guns that attack power, and both of the frigates can match it."
BenAsher leaned forward, and began to speak softly. "I know that all three crews are rather green, but I think that you can handle this. We'll do it by the book. Standard search patterns with three vessels." He instructed.
Tristan raised his hand again. "Is that wise sir? We would be leaving Outland at risk. Would it be possible to recall a corvette from Hebron?"
BenAsher shook his head. "No, I will not expose Hebron to this threat. And we do not require any outside support on this one. Outland houses a squadron of Vampire-class bombers, and two squads worth of Lancers. We are quite well protected without the mobile attack platforms the Forest Knight and frigates represent."
Tristan nodded, sufficiently pacified by that answer. "One more thing sir, are you sure by the book is the best option? Frankly . . ."
BenAsher made a quick chopping motion. "Listen. We go by the book. It's safer that way. No hot dogging out there, I want this mystery ship disabled and in my custody. Is that clear?" he asked, glaring at Marieux. Tristan nodded.
Kingly raised her hand.
"Yes Estelle?" BenAsher asked.
"Should we offload some of the defensive cluster missiles onto the Forest Knight?" She asked. "I know that both the Grey Paladin and the Midnight Tempest are both equipped with them to supplement the PDL batteries and ECM."
BenAsher frowned. "How much time would it take to offload a partial supply of Atlas Missiles, Commander?" he asked, turning to Tristan.
Tristan grimaced. "More time than I would like, sir. The designers built in a flaw that requires any ammunition transfers to take place from the mass driver loading stations. It would take several hours."
BenAsher nodded, looking disappointed. "Then you may have to go out without the cluster missiles." He said thoughtfully.
Tristan nodded. "If the salvos are no larger than you've described, I believe that the point defense and armour should be able to handle it."
BenAsher's mood soured. "Don't be too confident, Commander. People get killed that way."
Tristan tried to not glare back. "Yes sir, I'll keep that in mind."
BenAsher's gaze lingered on the young commander a moment longer before he spoke. "All right, I want you all to move out. Remember, by the book. Dismissed."
Ensign Cormac held her hand to her ear bud, then nodded. "Yes sir, all stations report readiness, and all off duty crewmembers have reported back in,"
Tristan nodded. "All right, here we go. Mr. Reynolds, take us out!"
The Forest Knight disengaged herself from the girth that was Outland station. Forming up beside the smaller Grey Paladin and Midnight Tempest, the trio of vessels lit their engines and set out into deep space . . .