Katna Erru was drinking her coffee. She stirred it to cool it off, although with seemingly no effect. She stared at its swirling red surface for a while, and tasted the spicy taste on her burned tongue. She looked at the stars behind the window of the bridge. The blue and green balls of light looked as beautiful as ever. She looked the other way and saw the sun, nearer than ever, burning bright. She tasted her coffee again, and kept herself from showing anything as the liquid burned her tonque in both the physical and the chemical sense. An alarm went off, and she left the cup floating. She didn't remember what that specific alarm was right away, ad she had to check it from the screen. As she read the whirly interlocking letters of the Naryan script, she felt pure horror. She turned to the mike, and shouted.
"Battlestations! Radar picks up a Sunian cruiser! Engines to slow!"
She felt like she could hear the collective gasp of the crew through the hull. The vessel quickly slowed down, and the constant hum became hard to hear. The ship had slowed to snail speed. Each individual crewed system gave her the indication they were ready. She opened the screen, and zoomed in to the contact. For a while she saw only black space. Then she saw the cruiser passing the mistline, black and red surface glowing.
It looked like a piece of rock, too natural to move. Rumours said one of those could just melt through a fleet without even launching its destructive weapons. Nearly indestructible, not going down until being cut in half. Some even go so far as to say it just keeps moving after that, like it didn't even care. She asked the system to send a bottle to the nearest friendly world. It was fairly common. Infraterric space had its dangers. She would have to engage. There was no way she could get away with Minerva. It was light for its class, but the Sunian cruisers were notoriously fast once they noticed a prey. It would happen any second now. The cruiser turned towards her, and she flinched from the speed. She shouted.
The hum turned to a roaring as the propellers started rotating faster than she could see. The coordinates started changing faster. The acceleration was incredible for a vessel the size of Minerva. It wouldn't be enough. The red dot of the Sunian started coming towards the blue dot of Minerva in the graphical representation. Two kilometers. One.
"Missiles, rods, lasers: open fire. Waves, surge guns, fire at will. Firedust, start spreading. Whistles, full pressure."
The screen flashed to life as the beams and trajectories filled the screen. The cruiser didn't counter, but the constant barrage of explosives and pure energy didn't seem to scratch its surface. The aether shockwaves pulsated through the cruiser.
Then, it attacked. Colourful balls of fire appeared from under its surface, like it was bleeding them, and blasted forwards aether combustion flares shining white behind them. The whistles popped, and slightly slowed the balls.
Katna wasn't particulary religious, but now she prayed. "Vanna kia, elen va..."
The balls turned, and started flying around Minerva in a chaotic pattern. The vessel was flying straight towards the wall of the sphere. Katna stopped the prayer suddenly.
"Full reverse! Don't ram the wall!"
The vessel came to a halt. The screen noted a radio transmission. "Receive it." A song radiated from from the cruiser, instantly recognised as the same prayer she had stopped moments earlier. The cruiser had stopped, and so had the balls.
"My gods, let me die fearless and brave, your kingdom in my mind, spear in my hand..."
Something caused her to feel uneasy. Then she understood it. It was her voice.
When the prayer ended, the balls flew back towards the cruiser, and they exploded to bright lights, destroying it. She just floated there for a while, staring at the black rock, that once was a feared enemy.
She flinched when an object touched her hand. It was her cup. She tasted the coffee.
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