The Cimalian Princess: Invasion
by AJ Marks
Randy looked down at the scanner indicating how far away the fleet was from Serria. The Starhopper had finished its mission sending information about what ships were present around the planet. It appeared there were three Cimalian battle-cruisers along with a dozen and a half other ships. The Strike Fleet consisted of four battle-cruisers, six cruisers, and eight destroyers to go with the four scout ships.
“What do you think admiral,” Kim asked. He looked up at the large screen indicating where every enemy ship had been, their orbits and predicted paths for when the fleet arrived.
“if nothing changes then the Warspite and Victorious will dropout here,” Randy said highlighting an area near one of the enemy ships. “The Bismarck here, and we’ll take on this one over here. Cruiser group one and three, your job is to keep the smaller ships busy. Group two will help out the Warspite and Victorious. Remember to try and stay within fifteen clicks of the enemy battle-cruisers. If we drop out of hyperspace out side of fifteen clicks close the distance as rapidly as possible.”
He watched as the different ships acknowledged his orders. He had decided to try and take out an enemy ship as quickly as possible giving him a better chance to survive. He had thought about having the Bismarck and Akagi attack the same target while Cruiser group two attacked the other battle-cruiser but rejected that. The cruisers wouldn’t survive as long and could mean more losses.
“Everyone, good luck,” Randy said to the fleet. “From here on out its radio silence.”
The one thing that concerned him had been the scanning ability of the Cimalian fleet. If they spotted the Strike Fleet too far out then they could reposition the fleet to ambush them. It hadn’t happened at Vernada, but he doubted the Cimalians had been expecting a counter-strike so soon.
“Twenty minutes, all ships report ready,” Yvette said.
Randy nodded his head as he glanced around the bridge. The crew seemed calm, as he did as well. He figured that had to be because the veterans of the crew who knew their job. He knew that many were still afraid, but they also knew the enemy wasn’t impossible to beat either. He was more worried about the crew of the Victorious. The crew of the Bismarck along with the Akagi had seen combat at Pacifica, and at Vernada. This would be their third combat mission.
Experience had also taught him one other thing, to be flexible in combat. Have a plan but be willing to flex. That determined in his mind the ability to live or die in combat. He thought about his equivalent wondering if he knew they were coming. He guessed he’d know in a few minutes. Randy continued thinking of different possibilities and outcomes in the upcoming battle. When to retreat and when to push any advantage.
Jezic had sat down when another call for him came in. Admiral Ordex from the 1st CF was calling into see how things were going.
“Admiral Ordex, we’re preparing to leave for New Zeus now,” Jezic replied.
“Then I won’t keep you long admiral,” Ordex said. “High Command has reported Meia hasn’t been eliminated yet. I’m sending you a file that is to remain confidential at all costs. It will explain why they are so interested in her.”
“All right, but I was one of her trainers at the academy” Jezic said.
“I know,” Ordex said. “I also know what your mission was that day.”
Jezic thought about that. The admiral knew about his mission to kill Meia’s mother.
“I’m the one who recommended you,” Ordex said. “But I think you’ll find her history very interesting, and give you a bit of heads up.”
“All right,” Jezic said glancing down at the screen. It indicated the file had been received. “Is she really that dangerous, I mean she’s a great pilot and all, but.”
“Greater than that,” Ordex replied cutting off Jezic. “Just be sure to look into it,” he said, then signed off.
“Well Meia, what do you have that has them so scared,” Jezic said.
“Admiral to the bridge,” Diern said.
Jezic sighed closing the screen again. Locking the screen he figured it had to be that the fleet was ready. He’d come back to this in a bit, for now though he had a job to do.
The Alliance Strike Fleet appeared in the space around Serria quickly engaging the Cimalian fleet. On board the Akagi Rear-Admiral Randy White watched with interest the opening engagements carefully.
“Open fire, launch all fighters,” Randy ordered. The crew raced to carry out his orders as quickly as possible. He looked down to see that the Akagi was moving to within fifteen clicks of the enemy battle-cruiser. The one thing that bothered him was the fleet wasn’t fully up on fighter pilots. The Akagi only had twenty-seven pilots and thirty fighters instead of the normal complement of thirty-two.
“All fighters have been launched admiral,” Yvette said a minute later.
Randy felt a bit relieved that the hangar had been designed for maximum launch capacity. It had paid off now as the fighters were now all away.
The main weapons of the Akagi opened fire on the enemy ships as indications of enemy fighters came in.
“Enemy hasn’t opened fire yet,” Kim said from where she stood. “Bismarck and Victorious have exited hyperspace on target, the Warspite missed by a few clicks but closing the distance now.”
Randy acknowledged the information knowing that the opening move had played out rather well. Either the enemy didn’t have long hyperspace scanning ability or were overconfident in their abilities. He hoped it was the later.
“Fighters beginning attack runs,” Yvette said.
Several fighter squadrons had been singled out for strafing runs on enemy ships damaging them hopefully before enemy fighters appeared in mass numbers.
“Energy spike, enemy weapon systems firing,” Yvette said again.
“Damage control teams standing by,” Kim reported.
The Akagi shook a bit as enemy weapon fire slammed into the shields.
“Shields holding,” Kim said. “No damage reported.”
Randy had a feeling that such good news wouldn’t last in this fight but he hoped it held a bit longer.
“Status of the other ships?” Randy asked.
“All ships have engaged, so far no enemy missiles have been fired,” Yvette said.
“Enemy fighters heading towards sector eleven,” Kim reported.
“John, heads up, you’ve got company,” Randy said.
“Copy that skipper,” John replied. “Moving to engage now.”
Randy watched the scanner as two groups of fighters moved to engage each other. He also knew each time a dot disappeared it meant one life had ended. He just hoped all of his crew survived.
Meia felt the ship rock a bit as the first hit occurred on the Akagi. She’d understood more since the fainting spell she’d had not long ago. Many things were now becoming clear to her.
The biggest question she now faced seemed to be who the real enemy was. She’d been taught all her live that the Alliance was evil, wanting nothing but to destroy the Cimalian way of life. Now that she’d met some of the Alliance, talked to them, she no longer thought what she’d been told was accurate.
Making a decision she walked out of her quarters headed towards the bridge. Maybe she could help again.
John turned his fighter in a tight turn feeling the g-forces press him further back into his seat but he lined up behind the enemy fighter. A quick burst of weapons fire and the enemy fighter shattered in a small explosion. It was his third kill of the day so far in the beginning of the battle.
Another enemy fighter appeared opening fire on him. He quickly turned his fighter avoiding the barrage either though luck or skill, he wasn’t about to rule either out at the moment. He turned his own fighter hard truing to line up another shot in a rolling maneuver.
He’d almost completed the roll when the glint of sunlight caught his attention. Another enemy fighter had joined the battle. He moved his fighter into the opposite roll as the other enemy fighter roared past him without taking a shot.
“Hades,” John gritted though his teeth. Now he seemed to be fighting two elite pilots. He had lost his wing-mate early in the battle and now he could really use one. His eyes narrowed in concentration as his new mantra became destroying these two enemy pilots and staying alive in the process.
Randy watched on the scanner as John appeared to be in trouble. He felt helpless as watching knowing there was little he could do. Switching the screen to the bigger picture he took in to see how the fleet was faring. So far the enemy hadn’t surprised him, yet.
He scrolled though the damage reports pleasantly surprised by the light damage so far. The Cimalian battle-cruisers appeared to be moving to where they could fire the missiles.
“Missile launch,” Kim’s voice said.
“Which ship,” Randy asked. He looked down but so far didn’t see it.
“Sector 4,” Kim replied.
Randy switched his screen quickly noticing the faint indication of the missiles. He noticed that the ship which had fired it was currently engaged with the Bismarck, but the Bismarck didn’t appear to be the target.
“Do we know who the target is yet?”
“Working on it admiral,” Kim replied.
Randy had hoped to destroy at least one enemy battle-cruiser before they adjusted to the tactics. Now it seemed the one advantage they had was gone, and he needed another one quickly.
“The Warspite,” Kim finally said.
“Anything we can do,” Randy asked.
“Nothing yet,” Kim said.
“John, can anyone accept a new mission?” Randy asked.
“We’re a bit busy right now,” John’s strained voice said.
Randy could have ordered one of the men but he doubted they wouldn’t been able to make the mission. “I need suggestions, now.”
“There is still manual control, but it’d take all weapons off-line for a while,” Yvette said.
“Take out the missile launchers,” Kim said.
Randy thought about that one. Looking around he noticed the crew didn’t have any other suggestions.
“Target the missile launchers,” Randy said.
The weapon’s crew raced to carry out the order. No one noticed a figure near the entrance walk away.
Ben looked over at Jean and her crew as they worked getting ammo and fuel ready for the next fighter that came in. His own crew had worked hard as the next fighter landed. Ben looked back at his own crew noticing the fighter not far away. It had been armed and fueled, a dangerous thing, but it was in case a damaged fighter landed.
Ben began handing ammo to the person next to him as they armed the fighter. Another crew member topped off the fighters fuel tanks. Most fighters that were landing had run out of ammo and were no where in near close to being out of fuel.
The whine of engines starting up caused him to turn. He barely saw the fighter that had been ready launch. He looked over at Jean noticing that the pilot there was still in his fighter.
“Bridge, hanger,” Ben said in the communicator. “Who just launched?”
“We don’t know, hanger,” the bridge replied.
“It’s fighter one five five,” Ben said.
“We’ll look into it.”
Ben placed the communicator down and with a last look at where the fighter had been went to work with the fighter in front of him. He’d let the bridge crew handle the unknown pilot.
“Admiral, problem from the hanger,” Hans said.
Randy turned to see Hans looking at him with a strange face. “What happened,” Randy said, he wondered what it’d be this time.
“Fighter 155 just launched without permission,” Hans said.
“What do you mean,” Randy said his brow furrowing in confusion.
“The hangar reported that it just launched, and it bypassed launching procedure,” Hans said.
“Confirmed admiral, one over-ride,” Yvette said. “Orders?”
Randy wondered what was going on now. Things seemed to be getting worse.
“New missile launch, I think same target,” Kim said.
Randy sighed at that. The previous missiles had impacted on the Warspite causing damage to the ship, not badly but something Randy hoped to keep to a minimum.
“See if you can raise pilot 155, if not inform John,” Randy said.
“Yes sir,” Hans said.
“Prepare to turn weapon systems to manual,” Randy said. He had to have a way to defeat the missiles.
“155, heading towards John, still no response,” Yvette replied.
“Let John know, we might have a rebel pilot,” Randy said.
He wondered what would happen next.
John continued to twist and turn his fighter avoiding the enemy fire. He figured he was against at least one, possibly two of the Cimalian elite pilots. He’d run out of tricks some time ago and now was running on pure luck.
“John, Akagi, be aware that the unknown pilot is heading towards you,” Hans said.
“Great, just what I needed to hear,” John mumbled banking his fighter again. He blinked his eyes trying to rid the sweat dripping down his forehead from getting in his eyes.
John dodged another barrage when he noticed the fighter heading right for him. Its weapon systems opened up in what appeared to be right for him. Stunned for a few seconds he barely had time to notice the weapons fire went past him. The fighter then went past them continuing on its way.
Glancing at his screen he noticed that now he only was facing one enemy pilot. Now the odds were even.
“All right you little bastard, you’re mine now,” John said. He yanked on the joystick pulling the fighter into a hard tight turn. The enemy fighter couldn’t keep up with the turn as John pressed his fighter advantage. He found an opening and fired but the enemy pilot banked as John turned again to try and remain on the enemy’s tail. The enemy pilot was indeed good as the enemy fighter twisted and turned avoiding John’s fire.
“You’re good, but not that good,” John said to the enemy pilot. He’d been watching what the enemy did. The next time he fired then quickly turned in the opposite direction. The enemy fighter made a hard turn one way then the other leaving John with a clear shot. “Now,” he whispered to himself. Pressing down on the trigger he watched as the fighter was destroyed.
He looked down to see the unknown fighter heading towards the missiles. Turning the put the engines to maximum burn to try and catch up. He watched amazed as the pilot took out first missile easily. The second quickly joined the first one as the fighter turned to intercept the two missiles headed towards the Akagi.
John was closer to the missile but he noticed his targeting computer refused to lock onto the missile. He looked up, lined up a shot then fired. The shot missed as he turned his fighter slightly firing again. The first shot missed by the second hit the missile followed by a second hit. The missile exploded in a larger explosion than he’d been expecting.
Glancing at the other missile he watched as the pilot opened fire hitting the missile with precision destroying it easily. Reports of new missile launches came in as both he and the mysterious pilot turned to target the new missiles.
Randy watched the scanner as the unknown pilot destroyed several missiles. John had joined in the interception which had minimized the amount of damage the Alliance fleet had taken. It also meant they didn’t have to switch the fire control over to manual allowing them to continue firing.
“Missile launchers,” Randy asked.
“We’ve disabled two, the Bismarck reports one and the Victorious reports all four,” Kim replied. “The Warspite however took four missiles causing considerable damage to several systems.”
Randy nodded his head as the reports came in. The enemy battle-cruiser the Warspite and the Victorious were fighting seemed to heavily damaged as well. As he looked he noticed the blip disappear.
“One enemy battle-cruiser destroyed captain,” Kim reported.
“Continue firing, have Victorious help out the Bismarck,” Randy said. They were holding their own, especially consider the Cimalian missiles were no longer as much of a threat.
“Third missile launcher disabled,” Kim reported.
Randy looked over to see how the cruiser squadrons had done. They’d lost a cruiser and a destroyer but the enemy had lost four ships now, including a battle-cruiser.
“Enemy ships retreating,” Yvette said.
Randy noticed the enemy fighters retreating back to the battle-cruisers. The enemy ships were already moving to enter hyperspace.
“Let them go for now, we’ve hurt them a bit. Right now we need to repair and rearm,” Randy said to Kim. “CAP around the clock, leave nothing to chance and damage reports on my desk ASAP.”
“Yes sir,” Kim said.
“I’m heading to the hanger to see our mysterious pilot,” Randy said. He didn’t say he had a feeling about who the pilot was.
What bothered him was how easily security had been bypassed to launch the fighter. That would be something to look into in the future, but for now things were different. Peace time had allowed security measures to become lax, something to bring up to his father as well.
He entered the elevator as he thought about the fleet. The Warspite had been damaged, that meant a quarter of his battle-cruisers had been disabled depending on the damage. The Akagi had also taken several hits as well, and he hoped the damage wasn’t too severe. He didn’t want to have to switch flagships.
The door opened allowing him to watch the hanger operations. To him it just seemed like people were running around in a chaotic way. But he knew that each person had a job, and if everyone did their job then the hanger would be safe.
“Admiral, what brings you down here,” Ben said walking over to him.
“Waiting for 1-5-5 to land, I think I’m going to have a talk with the pilot,” Randy replied.
“Both of us then,” John’s voice said from behind Randy.
Randy briefly wondered if this would be a good idea, but perhaps it would work out.
“Do you know who it is,” John asked.
“I’ve an idea,” Randy replied as John stepped up next to him.
“Good, because you can promote that guy to pilot on the spot,” John said. “I’ve never seen anyone fly the way he did. That was some of the finest shooting I’ve ever seen in my life. I almost didn’t survive that encounter if it hadn’t been for that pilot.”
“You did your share John, probably saved some lives as well,” Randy said.
“But if he hadn’t show up I’d be floating in space as well,” John replied. “Should security be here?”
“Nah,” Randy said watching as another fighter landed on the hanger deck.
“1-5-5 is next admiral,” Ben said to them.
The group watched as the fighter landed in the hanger bay answering another question that Randy had. The fighter came to a stop as the mechanics raced over to clear the fighter. Once clear the canopy opened allowing the pilot out. Even from this distance Randy could make out the feminine features of the pilot. The helmet came off but Randy already knew the hair color of the pilot, blue, as Meia began her way over to where they stood.
“You knew,” John asked as they watched Meia walk across the deck in the safe area.
“I had a suspicion, yeah,” Randy replied. A grin came to his lips to mirror the one on Meia’s face. “Well, you took a chance,” he said when she reached them.
“I had to do something,” she replied. He glanced down at her as she didn’t back down from him. John interrupted their staring contest.
“I figured you were good, but, Hades that was different,” John said.
“I just do what I do,” Meia said. “Though you’re not bad either.”
“Yeah right, there’s elite, then there’s the elite of the elite, which you are,” John said.
Randy noticed a slight blush cover Meia’s face as John praised her.
“Well there’s some question that have to asked and answered along with the normal debriefing of the pilots so there’s still quite a bit to do,” Randy said turning leading the group off the hanger. His office would provide the perfect place to ask the questions.
End Chapter 16
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