Saturday, 22 January 2011


Rakapas system - 07:52

The pilgrim 'Denial of Interest' hovered two hundred away from the Home Guard Assembly Plant. Sensors licked out from the ship as it hid under it's cloak. Somewhere in the area the backup covert ops frigate was waiting, also cloaked up. Integral systems in the pilgrim, backed up by those worked by the crew worked on everything of interest. The locations and courses of comets, asteroids and floating space debris were located, plotted and a course indicated in phosphor lines across the pod display to avoid accidental decloaking. Most of the unimportant comms traffic the pilot filtered out, but a few kept recurring.
...spike in local gravimetric and tachyon emmissions...
...pulse signal, source unknown, too quick to locate, request....
...increased activity amongst concord forces in the region....
The pilot directed increased resources to the scanners and changed the vector towards the outer marker, with a course plan laid in to the jump zone.

The local area was quite, the few capsuleers docked. The pilot watched a large cruise ship decelearate to the outer marker and begin heading in.
"Denial Prime to Homebase. System is stable, no visible threats. Can drop cyno when necessary, just give me the word."
"Homebase to Denial Prime. Acknowledged, standby."
She cursed, why won't they just hurry the hell up. Flexing in the pod she accesed thruster controls and changed the vector. External sensors picked up a distortion in space and passive sensors were redirected to survey. The crew began animated chatter and the pilot noticed data was pouring in from the probes that had been launched hours earlier.
...emmissions increasing exponentially...
...We have a local alert being broadcasted by concord....
...By the maker, we have a wormhole forming 214 mark 67, range 300....
...Sensors are down, recalibrating....
The pilot listened to the chatter and swivelled the external optics and watched the wormhole forming. Great swirling eddies swept away from the eye, several warning sigils flashed and were dealt with.
"Nothing to worry about," she thought,"Just a wormhole. They happen all over the place, all the time."
A whisper filled her pod, DANGER, her ghost warning her. Biosystems flagged up increasing bio-feedback,DANGER, and subtly altered the fluid in the pod.

She slammed the ship into a hard bank and accelerated as much as she could. Moments later a trio of ships emerged from the wormhole. Their unnatural design, the spikes that adorned them, the gaping maws of the laser batteries, the sun glimmering on their hulls, Angelina watched, slightly in awe as the phantasms appeared. Sansha had come to Rakapas.

The covert ops frigate watched the unfolding scene as the three phantasms flew in an attack vector towards the cruise ship. Across the board alarms could be seen as local network went ballistic. Still the frigate stayed on post. This was not part of the plan.

Angelina stirred in her pod. The sansha cruisers would be in firing range on the cruise ship within a few minutes. From memory of her pirating days that cruise ship could carry upwards of four thousand people. It was a ship like that that Kim was on when she was taken. Sansha, she cursed, at least with the Blood Raiders there was a chance of living. With the Sansha.....

The pilgrim moved on an intercept course towards the three phantasms. The crew looked at each other as the red alert flashed up. Power systems for the energy destablisers and vampires whined into operation, the hull creaked as the hardeners were activated. In the drone bays automatic systems loaded ammunition and loaded fully charged powercells. Several more phantasms exitted the wormhole and warped almost instantly away.
"Denial Prime to Homebase. Minor Sansha incursion underway. Will inform of conditions."
"Homebase to Denial Prime. Do not engage. Repeat. Do not engage..... ackhowledge and respond."
She watched as the first beams impacted the shields of the cruise ship which was powering to the station as fast as it could go. Not fast enough, not fast enough by far.
....confirmation cruise ship Freedom's Grasp is carrying 5204 passengers....
Freedom's Grasp.... an omen, DANGER, no! NO!
....pulse signal is activated, unable to lock down while in cloak....
....Nightmare class detected in system, engaging local milita forces....
....Freedom's Grasp is relaying a mayday....
"Denial Prime to Homebase. Fuck you. Angelina Ballentyne to the crew. We are engaging the Sansha threat to rescue the cruise ship. Deactivate cloak, acceleate to attack speed, deploy the drones....."

The Captain of the Freedom's Grasp looked at the screens and despaired. There were no ships within range to help him. Navy and militia forces were already engaged and he was under attack. With luck he would be able to get within the range of the defensive. The shields were falling steadily but would last. With luck they would last. His crew, the passengers depended on it. Falling to the Sansha was worse than death.
"Captain, we have recon decloaking behind the phantasms. Pulling the ident codes now.... aaah hell she's a pirate! Damn those vultures!"
"She's not targetting us. Repeat, she is not targetting us!"
"By the seven moons... what is she doing?"

The drones that tore through space bore little resemblence to the valkyries that they once were. Adapted beyond belief with the technology of the rogue drones they were a more dangerous entity. AI's on board scanned the phantasms down and pinpointed weaknesses, firing point blank as they passed. The Phantasms noticed the pilgrim and locked her, but their weapon systems failed to track properly, beams of laser light falling past the recon. Arcs of lightning flashed between the ships as energy was absorbed and destabilised. Onboard systems boosted the drones abilities and the pilot of the phantasms changed their attack. A new prey had been found, one they needed to kill.

The covert ops decloaked with a scream as it's lasers fired into the frey. Too fast by far for the cruisers to target it, and it flew straight through the exploding mass of the first phantasm, it's sheilds screaming. Scrambling systems caressed the spiked cruisers and forced them to stand and fight while the recon pounded them into oblivion. But even they were shocked when the nightmare decelerated almost right on top of them and began targetting.

"For the love of God Angelina we have to retreat, we can't fight a Nightmare!"
"Just keep it busy, make sure it doesn't leave!"
"Denial Prime to Homebase... request carrier support.... Homebase? Come in Homebase?"
A quick check of the systems, signals being jammed. Wide band jamming signal and unknown interferance. Pulse signal stronger, directed at the battleship from the recon. Treachery?
"You can dodge the battleship, it's no where near capable of catching you, you're too fast!"
"Goddam you Angelina......"
The last phantasm exploded in a silent fire ball moments after the covert ops. The recon turned to face the Nightmare, coming between it and the cruise liner. Heavy fire lashed out, slamming into the ship, tearing it's sheilds apart and renting the armour. Systems whined to take over and when the second hit slammed in they were still trying to repair the original damage. Red sigils flashed across boards, the Pilgrim was mortally wounded. It was dying.

"This is the Pilgrim Denial of Interest to the Freedom's Grasp. Are you in range of the station defences yet?"
"We are. Thanks to you, now get out of there!"
"Negative. As long as you and your passengers are safe that is....."
The transmission cut and the captain looked out the window at the Pilgrims wreck. It turned in space, gaping holes burned into it from the Nightmare. Escape pods fired away from the doomed ship and after a few more attempts to contact it the hull exploded. He watched in horror as the Nightmare tractored the pod that was floating in the debris into one of it's cavernous bays.
"May the seven moons protect that capsuleer. Even if she was a pirate, that was the most noble soul I've ever seen. She doesn't deserve what is coming to her."

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