From the Inside Flap
Gallant thought . . . Finally, we can engage.
"Helm, come left to new heading 090, mark 2."
When the maneuver was complete, he let the Warrior take the first swing, "Open fire!"
The weapons officer fired, and then again, with increasing effectiveness while the enemy destroyer prepared to fire missiles in return.
Then the enemy ship threw its first punch--a salvo of two missiles.
In a high pitched squeaky voice, Midshipman Stedman reported the tactical range from CIC.
Gallant waited tensely as the incoming missiles approached. When his strained senses indicated that the moment was right, he ordered, "Launch Mongoose one and two."
Two Mongoose anti-missile missiles left the Warrior. As a captain who knew every quiver of his ship, he could feel a slight vibration.
Roberts reported the trajectory and updated their progress. "The anti-missiles have destroyed one of the incoming missiles."
Gallant ordered, "Weapons; train laser and plasma weapons on the remaining missile."
"Aye aye, sir."
He ordered, "Helm, hard to starboard."
The Warrior twisted through space spewing out energy and plasma bolts to eliminate the remaining threat while the ship recharged its high energy cannon.
Thankfully, the Warrior's medium weapons eliminated the Titan missile.
The ship had responded magnificently, having evaded their first exchange of fire. Now it was in a favorable firing position.
"FASER ready, Skipper," said a restless Roberts.
The energy blast glanced off the enemy destroyer's hull, inflicting considerable radiation damage, but not seriously diminishing the destroyer's capabilities.
Roberts said, "Skipper, now would be a good time to enter stealth mode."
Gallant said, "No. The energy requirements would make the ship vulnerable during the transition."
CIC reported, "Tango-One has fired another salvo."
He ordered the release of counter measures including radar confusing material and decoy drones, but this time one enemy missile came so close that he imagined he could hear a 'SWISH' as it went past, before exploding harmlessly in space.
Again the Titan maneuvered and fired. This salvo was dead on course causing the Warrior's collision detection alarm to flash red.
Gallant asked, "Sensors; range and bearing to the target."
"Range 2 light-seconds, bearing 100 mark 3."
"Lock plasma and laser weapons on target and fire."
"Aye aye, sir."
Gallant ordered, "Helm, correct our intercept course to match the enemy's maneuvers."
"Aye aye, sir."
The Warrior swung slightly to minimize its angle. By virtue of its superior accumulated speed, they closed rapidly.
He squirmed in his chair to get a better view of the screen.
The Warrior scored another superficial hit on the destroyer's hull.
Gallant ordered another course change, "Helm, hard to port."
He thought . . . We're closing fast which will give the destroyer a momentary advantage when we pass through its optimal missile range, but once we emerge past it, we can block its access to Elysium. Then if it attacks, we can coordinate our counterattack with the planet.
His train of thought was derailed by two explosions.
The Titan missiles had exploded very near the Warrior--one to port and the other to starboard--close enough to bracket the ship. The multiple warheads exploded around the ship. It seemed as if the heavens were caving in. The proximity of the powerful warheads produced radiation that overwhelmed the Warrior's shields, penetrated its titanium hull, and shocked its inertial dampers. The overlapping explosions rocked the ship--shaking it like a child's rattle.
As the powerful radiation blasts splashed against the ship's hull, Gallants instinctively grabbed the support bar. The radiation caused such heat that several internal fluid tanks exploded. There was a blinding flash and some fire damage which produced a smoldering display on the bridge. An acidic stench of smoke and ash invaded his nostrils, forcing a spasmodic cough.
There was damage to many areas of the ship and reports began coming in to the bridge. A fitful red glow appeared on one bulkhead. The end result of the thermonuclear fury was damage to the ship and several wounded crew members. Major piping and pumps flex on their mounts. A ruptured pipe sent hydraulic fluids onto the deck. The deafening noise of the internal ship explosions required the crew to respond with damage control teams dashing about. The injured crewmen were thrown about, but they were quickly tended to. A fire broke out in the operations compartment and smoke enveloped the bridge. The automatic fire suppressing equipment fought back and several crewmen struggled to keep the damage from interfering with the ship's ability to continue fighting.
Gallant could feel the Warrior shudder.
Despite being securely strapped into his acceleration chair, Gallant felt as if he were being pulled away. Breathlessly, he relied on his tight-fitting pressure suit for survival from the large G-forces. He held on to a control panel, but he was rocked back and forth so hard he suffered a mild concussion. He struggled to gather his senses. He touched his forehead to wipe away blood, but he was unaware of how he had cut his head. His overwhelmed senses forced him to shake his head. Sound buzzed in his ears.
Almost at his feet, a member of the damage control team was overcome by smoke and collapsed. Quickly a med team took him for treatment. A ruptured hydraulic line sprayed fluid across the bridge area and several of the view screens were lost. The AI continued to operate and reported the status of damaged areas, but the controls were a shamble. The bridge power failed momentarily, causing all lights to go out. In the brief second before the emergency backups came on, there was an ink-black shadow--producing a momentary stab of fear to the bridge crew's psyche that only blindness can engender.
"Are you OK, Skipper?" asked Roberts.