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For Want of a Nail

#1
"Coming up on cruise-drop point in three, two, one..." the astrogator announced, and all aboard the assault transport Mostly Harmless braced when the light in the corner of every room aboard ship went red. Outside the bridge viewport, the streaking stars became points once more, and for a moment the ship's inertial compensator couldn't quite handle the load, and a few people in the bridge looked like they were about to lose their lunch when the g-forces of end-transit worked their magic on them.

Captain Amber Hall grumbled, her stomach churning, and looked to her astrogator. “Very well done, Mr. Townsen. Very well done indeed.” She said, and the young PO had the good grace not to preen in front of God and everybody. The captain refocused her attention on the blue-swathed marble ahead of her, eyes picking out the gleaming glints of orbital fortresses ringing the world. That’s the gauntlet we get to run. Oh, frabjous day, she thought to herself sourly.This is going to be just wonderful.

About her, the rest of the Republic’s fleet shimmered into existence, disengaging their cruise drives at the edge of the planet’s mass shadow. Destroyers and cruisers hundreds, even thousands of meters long rode their drives in as far as they dared go, and then with a flash of light to rival a starburst, returned to normal space. But for all their impressive display, not one of them held a candle to the monster lumbering along in their wake. Ten kilometers of space suddenly blazed with nova fury, and then were still. In place of the near-emptiness that the space had held just moments before, lay a truly immense ship.

Ten kilometers long from stem to stern, the beast looked like the bastard child of a dagger and a tuning fork. Engines bigger than one Amber Hall’s transport glowed a clean blue, pushing the megaton-weight ship forward with the fleet at a lumbering pace. Fighters and bombers began to pour from its bays, and then the tuning-fork split in the front kilometer of the ship’s spine flashed with an instant of fury, sending a shell the size of a frigate screaming off into the void, flying towards one of the defense platforms ringing the planet. The RNS Patton had arrived.

On cue, the rest of the battle-line units of the fleet unleashed their spinally mounted mass drivers, sending thousands of pieces of white-hot multi-ton tungsten streaking towards the planet Aurilus’ defenses, and the fleet began to advance.
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LT's resident storytelling fighter pilot.
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For Want of a Nail

#2
There had been a time when the Sidemar Republic and the Aurilan Federation had been friends. That had been long before Amber Hall was born, but it had happened. They had fought a few wars as allies, and all had been right with the world. But then the Aurilans had begun to rot from the inside out. Their internal policies had taken a nosedive, their unemployment went through the roof… After a few years, the revolution began. The conflict had raged across that world’s surface for a decade before the bloodspilling finally stopped. In place of the Federation, came the People’s Republic of Aurilus. And the new masters of the incredibly mineral-rich star system bore no love for the Sidemarians.

~~~~~~~~~~

The Aurilans were, understandably, unhappy about seeing the battle fleet that had just showed up on their front lawn. The platforms ringing the planet returned fire in earnest the moment the Republicans’ weapons flashes reached their sensor arrays. Long-ranged missiles tore through space at an alarming rate, each weapon the size of a fighter or larger. One specific bonus of system-defense platforms versus ships is that the platforms had mass to spare for larger weapons, which could go faster and farther than anything even a supercapital like the Patton could throw.

All this meant to one Amber Hall and her crew was that it was time to get a bit creative with their evasive maneuvers. “Ms. Thatcher, set a course for the edge of the Aurilan atmosphere and execute Evasion Two-Six. I do not want to have a head-on with one of those brutes.”

“Aye aye, Skipper.” The CPO replied, and the Mostly Harmless spun into a wild corkscrew as the afterburners lit off, sending the assault transport streaking towards the planet. Crimson lights blazed in Amber’s holo-tank, marking everything from enemy ships to incoming missiles. The sheer number of the latter was… frightening. But she made herself look away, hands held loosely together behind her back, projecting an air of confidence to her people as they made their descent into the inferno.

The 3rd Fleet’s fighters engaged their Aurelian counterparts, and dozens of furballs erupted wherever the twain did meet. Just as quickly, fireballs appeared, as pilots on both sides lost the struggle for supremacy. Missile frigates, riding fast on the coattails of the fighters, belched anti-fighter munitions from the stubby snouts of their missile tubes, and the number of fireballs grew.

A huge formation of Sidemarian bombers flew onward, their escorts ignoring the enemy where possible and destroying them where it was not. Each of those bombers bore a multi-kiloton warhead, and they were all planet-bound at velocity.

But the entire fleet was a sideshow for the real attack, and the assault transports of the 1st fleet’s invasion element bounded forward behind their screen of frigates and fighters, making their way towards the planet’s outer atmosphere.
LT's resident storytelling fighter pilot.
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Re: For Want of a Nail

#4
nickgreyden wrote:I just have to lol at the "Mostly Harmless" as well as this typo
and dozens of furballs erupted wherever the twain did meet
Other than that, I've enjoyed it.
So, what was the typo? A "furball" is a fighter-jock term for a mass dogfight involving multiple fighters on both sides coming into contact at once, forming a "furball" of twisting planes each trying to kill one another.

Thanks, though!
LT's resident storytelling fighter pilot.

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