Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tales of A Confederacy: Triumphant Sun Chapter One. Rewrite.

Nearly a Century ago, the Eradication Wars raged all across the galaxy, xenophobia ran rampant as aliens rose up against the more oppressive empires that forced their laws upon them, those conflicts were often bloody and dragged on for centuries, many ended in complete genocide.

The Great Library, a massive collection of knowledge in the center of the Galaxy was fought over in several conflicts that made up the Eradication Wars. Prior to that, access to the Library was open to every race but was highly limited as the authorization codes had been lost millennia ago. Several copies of the Great Library were scattered all over the Galaxy and contained technological data of the empires that owned them, those were called 'Lesser Libraries'.

When the Confederacy of United Suns--a massive collection of unions that were bound by the Rights of the Sentient--finally had enough of the wars, they swooped in and destroyed the reason for the conflicts while sacrificing their own Lesser Library.

When the fighting died down, the Confederates signed a treaty that forced all participants to destroy their most advanced weapons: Planet Breakers, Nova Inducer Bombs, Subversion Mechanisms, Replicating Nanites and Phased Beams among the massive list. More civil advancements were also erased: Cloning, Wormholes, Intergalactic and Fast Jump Drives, Planet Builders and the planets that were created, Atomic Replication, 'Seeder Devices' and the famed 'Genisis Drive'.

82 Years after the Great Intervention, the Confederacy of United Suns assumed the role of protecting less-advanced, younger empires from invasion. Pirates and slave traders were hunted down with great efficiency by SpecOps commandos.

The Confederacy's Capital Planet and Homeworld, Nova Armeston was a sphere of water and land slightly smaller than Earth. It was lightly populated with only 2 Billion people scattered across two massive continents. One was called Windplane, the other was Heightfires. In the Confederacy's infancy, before the discovery of spaceflight, both continents were their namesake. Millennia later, the planet had been transformed into a temperate climate with tropical areas around her equator: flora and fauna had been engineered and modified to cope with the almost-sudden change in climates.

Twenty Seven years later, the fires of war are about to engulf the galaxy once again as the Empire begins hostilities with the Confederacy. The Confederate Navy is being readied for the task it had been given millennia ago: Defend Her and Her Allies.

Kazimir sighed as he pushed his datapad away: he had just signed the contract that committed him to 4 years training in the Navy.

A pang of uneasiness shot through him. 'What if I die in a Live Fire accident?' he thought.

Dying in battle was generally accepted, but dying in a Live Fire exercise was seen as stupidity on both ends.

He pushed the thought away and downed a glass of water in once gulp. The datapad pinged and Kazimir picked it up. The device automatically detected his biometrics and unlocked itself, allowing him to view the file that was being sent to him.

Seconds later, the download was complete, and he had everything he needed to know about the training process. A transport would arrive for him within the week.

A Week Later

Laerana Miroslav hugged her son, Kazimir with tearful eyes. His father, Abram 'Abe' Miroslav stood beside Laerana, his eyes red and puffy. Once Lae had broken her embrace, Kazimir saluted his father, who was an Eradication War veteran.

While cloning had been abandoned, cell regeneration was still available at a high price, theoretically allowing people to live indefinitely.

His sister walked down the stairs leading to the Master's Suites, a small nanocloth bag dangling from her hand. His brother, Jared followed, the Miroslav Family crest in his hand.

“We'll meet again Mom,” Kazimir said “I'll promise that. And Dad, my medals won't come posthumously.

“Through fire and ice,” Gerson replied “freedom will reign free, son.”

“Come on guys.” Kazimir said, “It’s not like it’s the last time you’ll ever see me again.”

“Kaz,” one of his brothers said “you're an idiot, you always were. But you've got what it takes.”

“Same as always, Jared.” He replied with a smile “Keep mom safe.”

“'Course I will.” Jared said, hugging his brother.

“Take this,” Jared said, pressing the crest into Kazimir's hand “it'll save your life. Probably in some barfight somewhere.”

Kazimir laughed and nearly missed the thrum of anti-grav units hovering outside. 

“I guess it’s time for me to go.” Kazimir said “Jera ‘kai!” Farewell.

Kazimir took his belongings and stepped outside. The day was bright and cloudless. To the far north he saw an aurora dancing, and he thought that it complimented the sight of Nova Armeston’s twin moons: Charity and Piety. A military transport contrasted the sight; its paint was chipped and scratched and the mass of metal hovered a foot above the neatly groomed grass lawn of the Miroslav Family Mansion. The frigid winter winds blew on his face and a shiver ran down his spine.

Kazimir waved goodbye to his family, which returned the favor through the window, he also greeted the gardener a good morning and climbed into the transport. 

The dimly lit rear of the vehicle was dank and smelled of dried vomit, blood and sweat. The uncomfortable looking plastic seats were chipped and broken. The vehicle had obviously seen some action before being sent to pick them up. Kazimir placed his things in an overhead storage bin and sat down. 

Ten other people were in the transport, they were silent, and seemed depressed. Kazimir looked at their eyes and saw a lust for vengeance combined with sorrow, they had obviously lost someone to the war. He had seen that look all too many times in his friend's eyes.

Armeston's most massive spaceport, Firepath Keep lay in the distance. Freighters and dropships lifted off from numerous gantries and hangars or touched down on black Quicksphalt landing pads. Fighters patrolled the skies, leaving white trails in the serene blue sky.

A ribbon of quicksphalt snaked through a checkpoint. Drab gray army vehicles squatted along the road, their weapons panning the area.

A soldier battle armor stood ahead of the transport and ordered it to stop. The soldier walked to the side of the transport and pointed a scanner at the driver's eye before walking to the back and pulling the door open.

Kazimir winced as bright light flooded the cabin, momentarily turning everything black and white. The soldier motioned for them to come out and they complied. They were led to a narrow hallway where various scanning equipment operated, at the end of the hall was a shimmering repulsor field.

One-by-one the group passed through the field, where a man in black dress uniform briefed them. A scant minute passed and a sleek, angular shuttle descended from the sky. Wind tossed Kazimir's mop of black hair around, making it more disorderly than usual before the shuttle touched down on its landing skids.

A ramp on the shuttle's rear dropped to the quicksphalt with a thud as a hatch slid open, exposing the shuttle's cabin.

The cabin contrasted the dark and smelly interior of the transport, the shuttle was almost-naturally lit and smelled faintly of pine. However, the nanocloth seats seemed only slightly more comfortable than the ones in the transport.

The shuttle fired its drives in one long burst and rocketed into the sky. Minutes later and they cleared Armeston’s gravity well, people who didn’t fasten their harnesses were suddenly floating around and were scrambling to get back to their seats before the gravity came on.

Kazimir had just laid a hand on his armrest and was about to pull himself in when the artificial gravity activated, slamming him to the floor.

He got up with a crazed grin plastered onto his face. It was supposed to hurt, but Kazimir found the experience very fascinating.

The shuttle dropped them off at a Troop Frigate: FFT-5053 Imel, where they began their journey to the Desert Moon of Agnicephas--meaning Fire Stone--where training would begin.

He did just fine during Academy. That is until his NCI was installed.

“Morev-damned doctors,” he cursed “this NCI itches like the Inferno.”

He winced as another spike of pain lanced through him.

“It ain’t pretty ain’t it?” Sergeant John Hopkins observed “Ya’ got lucky kid, most people will hurtin’ like the ‘ferno at the first week.”

Kazimir passed by the medical wards, Hopkins trailing him.

“Gah,” he heard Brynna say “take me now Morev! I don't need this damned NCI.”

A nurse turned to administer some painkillers before remembering that the NCI is plugged directly into the brain.

“Don’t- ah, fuck!” Victor cursed.

Kazimir chuckled at his friend’s misery. Brynna had been a childhood friend of Kazimir, and was his closest. Victor however, was Kazimir’s cousin.

Brynna gasped as she tried to sit up, pain tearing through her body. She said “Godsdamned, I think Morev is punishing me for something.”

Morev was the Armestonian Goddess of the Arts, including War. 

Victor chuckled, and then coughed. The intercom sputtered “All personnel, please report to the simulation area for NCI conditioning.”

“Gods no!” Brynna yelled in shock.

- - -

Kazimir sat down on a water-filled chair and winced as technicians plugged a cable into his NCI port. He found himself swimming in a sea of blackness, he felt nothing, he seemed to be nothing.

'Gods!' Kazimir thought 'Is this what it feels like to be a God?'

He suddenly found himself sitting inside the bridge of a warship but he could not move. Instead, various sensor feeds filtered into his consciousness, he felt as if the ship had become his body he knew it was a Heavy Cruiser designated Kalef.

Kazimir sent a mental command and the ship's drives flared, pushing her forward. He killed them with another command, particle bolts cracked through space at his whim and the ship responded eagerly to every maneuver command.

'Once you are done familiarizing yourself with the interface,' a voice echoed into his head 'an Imperial warship will be brought in for target acquisition practice.'

'I'm game!' Kazimir replied excitedly.

He felt a slight tugging at his consciousness as a jumprift opened into space and spat an Imperial Destroyer into space before collapsing in a burst of radiation. It was marked on the sensors as 'Aka'.

It registered as hostile in his consciousness and he opened fire with the main gun: a turret mounted Heavy Particle Beam Cannon.

A thin shaft of lightning cut a ragged trench into the Aka's gray hull, atmosphere exploded from several compartments and a turret vanished in a ball of flame as its capacitors were cut open.

The Aka returned fire, several kinetic rounds streaked towards the Kalef as a bubble of energy enveloped the Imperial ship.

'20 kliks and closing,' Kazimir thought 'PD is green.'

Artificial lightning reached for the kinetic shells and vaporized them as Kazimir fired another beam at the Aka. The shaft of lightning smashed onto Imperal shields and electric arcs rippled over the bubble.

He increased the beam's output slightly and the shields rippled, a sign of stress. He fired the particle cannons and more ripples spread throughout the shields. A final salvo pierced the bubble and smashed into armor plates.

Particle bolts tore jagged, partially melted holes into the gray hull while beams raked over several turrets as kinetic shells smashed into the Kalef's shields with a display of electric arcs.

The Aka spun on its axis and fired as the Kalef closed in for the kill. Dazzling red beams cut space into geometric shapes as they ate Confederate shields away, kinetic rounds and plasma lances threatened to overload her shields and vaporize her hull.

Kazimir snickered as he warmed the main cannon and brought it to bear on the Aka's drive assembly. The beam tore through the relatively flimsy armor and sliced through vital components, specifically the containment bottle.

A shockwave rippled throughout the Aka as it listed away from the Kalef. With a final burst of weapons fire, the Aka took the Kalef's shields down and tore its starboard launch bay to shreds.

Kazimir felt part of himself go numb and sighed as he put several beams through the Aka's reactor. It broke in half as the reactor detonated in a brilliant flash of light, shockwaves rippled through space and washed against the Kalef.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tales of a Confederacy: Triumphant Sun Part Two

Kazimir looked outside the viewport, the Inevitable Retribution was a sorry sight; Cabins were still decompressing, throwing equipment into space, armor plates flew off as the occasional capacitor exploded. Finally, she split apart with an agonized groan.

Victor saluted the ship as she died, Kazimir took something from his pocket and inspected it. The object was a bottle of Speed, Brynna's mood brightened slightly at the sight. Her clan-the Vaantov-loved strong drink and long drinking bouts.

Vic eyed the bottle and took a set of shotglasses from his pocket as Kazimir decorked the bottle. He poured several shots and passed them around, raising his in a toast.

“For Retribution!” Kazimir said.

“For Retribution!” the bridge crew replied, smiles forming on their faces.

The other lifepods clustered around their pod, transmitting SOS signals. Sara began to stir, she picked sat up with a groan, rubbing her neck. She seemed far more subdued after the ion blast. Victor secured a pair of cuffs around her wrists and returned to drinking his Speed.

Kazimir downed his Speed in one gulp and poured himself another one.

“Want some?” He asked Ynah between gulps.

“No thanks.” She replied “I don't drink.”

“Okay,” Kazimir said with a slight grin “just don't complain about the wait. I'll bet a thousand creds that it'll take a day for help to come.”

Victor slapped Kazimir's palm, leaving behind a thousand credit bill.

“You're on.” Victor said

Brynna dropped another thousand bill into Kazimir's hand.

“I'm in!” she said excitedly.

Brynna accidentally hit the overhead storage cabin and several bottles of Speed fell onto Kazimir's lap.

“Ah,” Victor said knowingly “now I know where you stash your Speed.”

Kaz made a crazed grin and shrugged.

“Dunno where that came from.” he feigned, Brynna quirked an eyebrow “Fine. That's my Speed. At least we can have drinking games...”

- - -

“What shall we do with a drunken sailor early in the mornin'?” Kazimir sang thrice.
“Way hay an' up she rises!” Brynna continued “Armoh' plates 'o different thickness.”

“Way hay an' up she rises!” Victor sung drunkenly, a grin plastered onto his face “Early in the morn'!”

“Sling 'im in the 'pod till he's sober!” Everyone save for Sara sang, Ynah just hummed to the tune since she didn't know the lyrics, taking a small sip of Speed.

Soon enough, everyone's voices were sore from singing and they were exhausted. Bottles were recorked and stowed away, then everyone went to sleep.

Ynah awoke to the eight-note singsong tune of a Naval drinking song, Hardships. She shook Kazimir awake and gestured to the comm. The commander groggily shook his head and took a moment to recognize the tune.

“We fight the war from the old 'Bell and set off for the jaws of Hell.” Kazimir responded a slight slur in his voice.

“Ah, Comrade.” Petrov replied “I can hear that you have been drinking. Would you mind sharing some when we come to pick you up. We will be there in two days.”

Groaning, Kazimir went back to sleep. Ynah settled back down and closed her eyes as Sara whimpered in her sleep, struggling against her cuffs.

- - -

“I'm telling you!” Grigory argured “There's no way the Imps are gonna take Armeston, we've got Sovereigns and Vanguards.”

“So?” Lina replied “Their ships are using Council tech, so the Cappie says. And I trust his word.”

“To be frank,” Somtov interrupted “they can take our home but with many losses. Capp'n Kaz has got some tactics up his sleeve, and even the Brass are using them! You've seen the sim of Elsima, he's taken out how many Oortimi Sovs while taking only scratches.”

“You've gotta be kidding me Lin,” Paul interrupted, shifting in his seat “they can't take Armeston, it's their cradle too.”

“Shut up Paul.” Somtov ordered “So what if it's their cradle? They'll use propaganda to make the people believe that taking it is the best thing to do.

The life-pod bumped against another with a small crunch, Somtov stood up and looked into the other pod's viewport.

“Oi,” he said, surprised “it's the Capp'n and his crew. I don't remember seeing the other one though and why is the XO in cuffs?”

He heard Paul growl, his face plastered to the viewport.
“The blondie's hot.” he commented.

“Careful,” Lina warned “she's best friends with the Captain. The Cappie's gonna be mighty pissed if you do something wrong.”

“Fine then,” he spat “what about the short-haired one?”

“Dunno.” Somtov said, grinning “I'll be careful around her if I were you.”

“Wait...” Lina said “She's from engineering and I've seen her handle in a barfight. Trust me, those power wrenches are not just good for screwing nuts in...” she said, quirking her eyebrows.

“Engineering?” Paul asked “I thought the regs said that that pod is for bridge crew only.”

“The Captain must have ignored that, and maybe that's why the XO is cuffed.”

The Captain suddenly jerked awake. Seeing the other life pod stuck to his, he stood up and rapped the viewport. Since both craft were in direct contact, the sound could be heard inside the tiny vessel.

Somtov nodded in acknowledgment, and then Kazimir started rapping on the viewport in dashcode.

“He...wants-us-to-fuck?” Paul translated “ah, no. Dock.”

“Well then,” Somtov grunted “how do we?”

“There's a command panel on the starboard side.”

“So, what are you waiting for?!”

Paul-wanting to save his ass-scrambled for the command panel as Lina shared a high-five with Somtov.

Paul booted the console up and nudged the ship into a docking position with the maneuvering thrusters. Soon, both ship's docking rings touched each other and the locks activated.

- - -

Kazimir watched as the lifepod's access hatch slid open, it contained a squad of very rough marines. 

“Sergeant Somtov,” Kazimir asked, feigning formality “Am I correct?”

“Da,” Somtov replied, not even mocking formality “I saw the asskicking.”

At this, Kazimir instantly dropped his mask of formality. He took something from his pocket and tossed it at Somtov, the Sergeant caught it and saw that it was a bottle of Speed.

5 Days Later

Kleola Orbital Shipyards; Kleos II
1200 Hours SCMT

Kazimir entered the Assembly Hall, a hundred voices melding into one incomprehensible background chatter flooding his ears. He was handed a briefing packet and read it completely in a few seconds; his ocular and neural implants processing the information faster than any human un-augmented human could.

He sat down on an empty row and waited for the meeting to begin. Brynna, Victor, Ynah-who had recently been promoted to Ensign for playing a crucial part in taking a mutiny out, and then Alisha sat down on the empty chairs.

The room suddenly went dark as a holoprojector activated, casting a dim light into the massive hall. The Confederate Crest-a Phoenix with wings spread clutching a sword in one claw and a scroll in the other-proudly flashed into the screen. And then a massive battle over Armeston filled the entire projector area.

“Three days ago,” a deep male voice narrated “the Imperial Navy launched an assault on our Homeworld. Since it is their Homeworld, it is unlikely that they will bombard the planet. However, our forces are locked in a stalemate. In order to break the siege we will need to acquire technology from before the Eradication Wars, specifically a Sovereign Class Warship.”

The scene changed, this time to schematics of an ancient Sovereign, the Unrelenting. She was known for being nearly indestructible, even during the height of the Buildup Conflict-the peak of technological advancement in the galaxy. 

Her weapons were rumored to be able to lay waste to entire star systems and her shields were never taken down.

“Recovering the Unrelenting will require an entire battlefleet,” the voice continued “a battlefleet that will be crucial in maintaining our defense. That is why you are chosen to crew an experimental warship, a Battlecruiser christened 'Triumphant Sun'.

The holoprojector switched to another set of schematics, this time of a sleek, angular warship. As with all Confederate military craft, she had a narrow, bladelike profile. Two 'prongs' made up her bow and the split between them housed the main cannon.

“The Triumphant Sun is a modular warship. In theory, she can manufacture and mount multiple upgrades. One of our scientists suggests that she can be modified into a Titan class warship.” the voice stressed.

Several murmuring broke out, several were eagerly discussing the implications of such technology. Some were more cautious and decided to listen. Kazimir on the other hand, grinned crazily.

“However,” the voice warned “there is a lack of experienced crew. Most, if not all of the veterans were shipped to Armeston to help in the defense. So the warship will be placed in the hands of one 'Kazimir Miroslav'.”

Everyone cheered as Kazimir stood up and accepted his new stripes.

“He will be given the honor of picking his own Bridge Crew.” the voice announced as the lights flicked on, bathing the hall in their gentle white light.

The voice belonged to none other than Admiral Petrov.

“Congratulations Kazimir. ” he said “Triumphant Sun crew, dismissed!”

- - -

Excited chatter floated from the mess hall, much of it was directed towards the Triumphant Sun and the new crew. Much of it was speculation on who would be chosen as the command crew, the rest was directed to the ship herself.

However, a small group huddled in one corner. They were discussing the effects of Sara Desmond's actions on their clan, Ynah was apparently the daughter of their clan's Vas.

“This 'Sara' nearly killed the Vas' daughter,” one man asked “was any action taken by her commander?”

“Yes.” a woman replied “He demoted the woman and gave her rank to the D'vas. Sara will be facing a court-martial in the Navy and a Trial of Reason within her clan.”

The man smiled.

“Good.” he said, his serious tone momentarily fading “I'll make sure the D'vas won't get into any more harm than necessary. That is until she is ready for the... Operation.”

“Make sure she is safe.” the woman replied, taking out a rail-pistol and clicking the safety off “Or you will pay. Exa.”

“Don't worry Nita.” 'Exa' consoled “I will.”

- - -

Kazimir grinned crazily as he entered one of the shipyard's bars. A flashing holoscreen proudly displayed the words 'Slippery Dock' in quick succession. The deep bass of shockmusic reverberated through the air, walls and floor in a rapid beat.

Kazimir was wearing black pants and a black shirt that read 'Craziest Captain in the Confderacy', a gift from Brynna. Victor was sitting on a stool, chatting with a cute Dagger pilot while Brynna was having fun irritating one of the marines that came from the other lifepod.

Ynah however, seemed nervous. She was sitting alone near the back of the bar and she glared at anyone who dared ask to sit. Kazimir walked towards her and she glared, she suddenly realized who was approaching and her expression softened.

She giggled at the shirt's print.

“That's right Kaz,” she said “you're crazed.”

“Anyways,” Kazimir said, steering the topic away from craziness “why kill the party?”

Ynah looked around, she seemed eager to join in but something held her back.

“Bloody idiots are about,” she said, mocking an Imperial accent “they'll do anything to get on your good side.”

Kazimir ducked as a shoe flew over his head followed by Brynna firing off an extremely long series of curses. Paul had apparently done something wrong.

“Tell me about it.” Kazimir murmured, sitting down beside her.

A drunk swaggered by, his eyes suddenly fell upon Ynah.

“Hey cutie,” he slurred “wanna pla' army tonight?”

Kazimir cursed under his breath.

“Want me to handle him?” Kaz whispered in her hear.

“Oh,” he said “maybe your boyfriend wanna share?”

Ynah glared at the drunk and nodded at Kaz.

The commander suddenly stood up and sent a series of punches flying. The first punch landed on his gut, knocking his breath out. The second punch landed on his chin, knocking him off-balance. And the third punch was aimed at his throat, the man choked and fell to the deck with a thud.

Kazimir heard Ynah scream and he turned around. A musclebound man was holding her arm behind her back, she winced as he twisted. She feigned submissiveness and brought her hand to her pant's zipper, the man relaxed his hold, she winked at Kazimir and quickly moved her hand to her belt. 

She drew a multitool, flicked the blade open and stabbed it into the man's arm in a single move. He let out a ragged yell and clutched his arm, blood already seeping from between his fingers.

At that, Kazimir drew his sidearm and combat blade. He pointed the tip of the blade at the man's throat and the sidearm at his crotch.

“Make a move and I'll shoot you where they can't grow it back.” he warned, venom dripping from his words.

At that instant, the man's friends jumped into action. Kazimir fired the ion pistol at the man's foot and turned around, launching a lightning kick at one of the gangster's kidneys.

The attack connected and sent the man to the floor, where he curled up into a fetal position.

“Bring it.” Kazimir challenged, panning his ion pistol across the room.

The gang hesitated, realizing that they were not dealing with just a rookie, and then walked away, dropping their weapons. Security moved in and took the gang away, the muscular man being dragged away by two people.

Kazimir ordered a bottle of Firestorm-a very strong drink-and paid for Ynah, who had ordered a glass of Envara Juice.

Kazimir rubbed his forehead and took his datapad out. He unfolded the silver projector and gave it a shake, the device promptly came on-line. The commander fished around in one of his pockets and pulled a stylus out...unfortunately, it was broken.

“You have a spare?” he asked Ynah casually.

She pulled her own stylus out and handed it to Kazimir, she noticed with great irritation that the band had stopped playing. The party also seemed to have stopped, many were staring at the two with fear and respect in their eyes. Somtov seemed delighted about something, so did Grigory.

She shot the musicians a look that could have burned through a foot of Lattice-Steel and they began playing for their lives.

Their drinks were set down by a waiter, who promptly scampered away from the two like a dog with its tail between its legs.

Kazimir took a swig from his drink and nearly choked as plasma seemed to run down his throat, he checked the label and threw an irritated groan. The waiter had given him Plasma Lance instead.

After finishing his drink, Kazimir stood up and bid her goodnight.

- - -

Kazimir however, didn't go straight to his quarters on the shipyard. He boarded the Triumphant Sun and headed straight for the bridge. He was amazed at what he saw: a platform stood inside a massive projection sphere. The command stations were enclosed within Temperglass bubbles, wherein even more holograms flickered to life.

Kazimir hovered his hand over the bubble that enclosed the Command Chair and the temperglass seemed to liquify, allowing him to get inside. As soon as he settled into the chair, the projection sphere activated and showed him a complete view of the space surrounding the ship. It looked so real that Kazimir felt that the bridge was actually open to space, but that illusion was shattered as sensors data was projected over the image.

- - -

Kleola Shipyards Command Center
1250 Hours SCMT

“Sir!” a tech officer reported “The Triumphant Sun's come on-line.”

“Don't worry about it,” his CO, Commodore Echer replied “the captain must be inspecting the bridge.”

“Reporting several jumprifts forming in killboxes A5 through B2.” the sensors officer breathed “Imperial designation!”

“Red alert!” Echer ordered “Launch all capable ships and have them cover the Tito-Sarn.”

Alarms immediately went off as officers and crewmen boarded their craft, launch bay doors slid open as electromagnetic catapults extended into space. 

Frigates broke free from their clamps and pushed into space, followed by their heavier brethren. Strike-Craft swarmed into space, numbering in the thousands.

The Triumphant Sun's crew boarded the ship in minutes, thanks to the numerous docking tubes and large hangar bays.

BCR-0515 'Triumphant Sun'; Bridge
1252 Hours SCMT

“Inevitable Retribution bridge crew,” Kazimir ordered “report to the bridge!”

The doors slid open once more and Kazimir's friends charged in, there was no time to inspect the bridge. Ynah looked around as the officers filled the stations they were accustomed to. There were still three stations that were not occupied.

“Ynah,” he said “Fill the XO seat for now.”

Ynah sat in the XO's station, activated the consoles and waited.

“Report!” Kazimir barked.

“All green.” everyone replied.

Kazimir keyed the docking clamps to an emergency undock and listened as umbilicals forcibly separated, boarding tubes slide shut and retract. Her drive covers were blown away by explosive bolts, and then the launch doors followed suit, exposing the mooring to vacuum.

The Battlecruiser fired her drives and broke the holding clamps securing her in place. She emerged from the relatively dark bay and into full sunlight.

Energy flowed into the weapons banks as shields materialized around the ship, cocooning her in a shell of energy.

“This Kleo control to Trumphant Sun,” Echer's voice blared through the speakers “we'll hold them off, now jump!”

“Sir,” Bernard reported “the FTL drive's still charging! It'll be 10 till we can jump.”

Kazimir cursed under his breath, and then fired the drives once more as a wall of Imperial frigates smashed into a Confederate frigate lance, explosions bloomed as weapons fire slashed into both formations. 

A Light Cruiser spotted the Triumphant Sun and angled towards it, firing its forward guns. Plasma beams slashed across space and washed over the angular warship's shields. She retaliated viciously; particle bolts tore into the conical ship's shields and threatened to overload them.
AI controlled PD guns swatted any incoming strike-craft and missiles out of the skies, popping like fireworks as plasma flak, shatter-rounds and particle bolts smashed through them.

Kazimir brought the ship closer to the Light Cruiser as its shields overloaded, he switched some of the PD guns to offensive and peppered its gray hull with light fire. Turrets were consumed by balls of fire as viewports shattered, exposing compartments to vacuum.

Brynna and Victor fired the secondary beam cannons, white-hot beams carved deep trenches into its armor as electric arcs played over its hull. Gunnery crews fired into the trenches, further thinning the armor. And then Kazimir fired one of her main guns: a turret mounted Light Antimatter Beam. A pencil-thin shaft of light reached into the ship, whatever it touched vanished in a burst of energy as matter annihilated antimatter.

Radiation alarms quickly spread throughout the ship, only to be silenced by the waves of electromagnetic radiation that followed. Men and women fell, blisters covering their skin before popping in grotesque showers of blood.

Cracks spread throughout the cruiser's hull, structural members cracked and snapped while cabins and corridors decompressed.

The Imperial ship bent and twisted as the beam slashed across its hull, explosions peppered the gray surface and the ship split open. Moments later, its power core detonated in a blinding flash.

Debris slammed into the Triumphant Sun and her shields held. Completely unfazed, the ship moved on to the next target: an Imperial Destroyer. It vanished as antimatter lances split it wide open.

Weapons fire slashed across space, Imperial and Confederate ships were consumed by explosions, tactical jumps started and ended in flashes of light; nearly indistinguishable from antimatter reactions.

The Triumphant Sun dueled with an Imperial Battleship, its massive kinetic guns leaving rippling shockwaves as the magnetically accelerated slugs tore through space. Her shields rippled from the barrage as she retaliated with her heavy weapons: Heavy Particle Lances and Particle Beam Projectors.

The Triumphant Sun's shields were on the verge of giving out when the Battleship's shields failed in a brilliant display of electrical arcs. A salvo of kinetic slugs smashed through her shields and tore into her armor, leaving small craters behind. 

Kazimir fired a full broadside and the entire Starboard flank erupted, a wave of energy reached for the Battleship and tore into it. He watched as the ship slammed into a wall of Imperial Frigates, explosions blossomed as several separate structures merged with the Capital Ship's form. Drives still active, the Battleship plowed into an Escort Carrier and both were consumed by a brilliant explosion as the tumbling mass was finally speared by an antimatter beam. 

“FTL at full charge,” Victor reported “plotting course now.”

“Do it.” Kazimir said.

The Triumphant Sun plunged into a jumprift.

End of Chapter One.