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I Icatus

Part Seven - A desperate move

The battle ebbed and flowed like a tidal wave crushing itself onto shore. The space was so thick of the light from the powerful beam weapons fired, that it illuminated the ships held in reserve as the three forward long ranged task forces exchanged fire with the out of sight enemy ships. Like thunder it delivered salvo after salvo as Nesh and his flotilla danced around the Antarans like vultures circling a prey.

The antarans ability to avoid and maneuver had to do with that larger ship holding itself out of reach, almost invisible in shape as the light curved itself around it’s sleek form. It must have thought itself invisible but Nesh’s fighter could pick it up on the new improved sensors. The Raas had a similar technology, no doubt procured by observing these demons living so close.
“Cover my six Squad three, the rest keep us clean”, he finally ordered, firing his engines towards the ship.

At first it must have looked as he tried to flee as he immediately managed to put some distance between him and the rest of the fight. But as he closed, the vessel fired it’s main engines, all to slow at first and he noticed in his rear monitor that the antarans had more or less broken free from the battle and followed suit. “Hold them off”, he ordered the rest of the squad who broke and sprayed the forward elements as they came on. What was a tactical advantage was now followed up by a hasty pursuit that reduced the antarans maneuverability. And it was clear to Nesh that these ships were more valuable to the New Orions then the rest of their fighters as they hardly tried to avoid the Evon fighters skirmishing their rear echelon.

But they were faster.

On red Nesh took a chance – the low tone in his ear piece warned him to fire at this distance, but if he didn’t the enemy ship would in all likelihood manage to escape. Greenish fire from the antarans on his six missed by no more then 50 feet and he rolled as another salvo came closer, but with the skill from someone that had been fighting for so many cycles, he squeezed of a long salvo, glancing of the rear of the ship and managed to knock one of the engines out of commission. The other three sputtered and caused the ship to lay dead in space before the engines fired again. “Dammit”, Nesh muttered as another salvo depleted his rear shields by 40%.
“Get them off my six before I turn into dust”
“Ay, ay, skipper” he heard a familiar voice over the intercom, followed by a shriek over the broadcast channel followed by a set of muffled explosions vibrating through nesh fighter as the closest enemy ships evaporated.
His cross hair turned yellow before a beam of light emitted from the ships mid section. First he thought it was some kind weapon and swore before he banked, swayed off from target and then back on, but none of his shields got hit, instead his instrument panel sparkled and fried as some kind of high frequency field burned through his targeting computer.
“You bony little…” he didn’t finish the sentence as smoke filled the cockpit. He closed the visor to the helmet and avoided inhaling the burning plastic before ordering his unit to hold off, keeping the antarans at bay as he struggled forward. Through the haze from the smoke filled cockpit, the enemy ship started moving forward and he knew he didn’t have much time.
“Computer, ventilate the cabin and reroute the targeting to manual”
“Just do it and let me deal with the bill” and immediately he felt the cabin depressurize, filling the cabin with vacuum and the outside cold of space crept in as the heated inside poured out like a trail of gray dust after the fighter.
He pushed a button and a primitive mechanical crosshair rose up from the front to cover portion of the glass.
It looked stupid but it served it’s purpose well.
“Lets see if this low tech stuff will do it’s job.”
He aimed, accounting for speed and distance, only able to guess and his fighter shook as plasma streaked out crossing over the ships bow and then slashing across it’s mid section knocking out it’s shield. Ripples went through the cloaking device as the light bending technology flared out. As soon as the plasma reloaded he fired once more and as the ship accelerated away he caught the rear of the ship in his sight and poured accurate fire into the engines, exploding one and seeing the shock wave ripping through the other three. Completely without forward thrust the enemy ship started a slow uncontrolled spin around it’s axis, unable to focus any weapons at Nesh’s craft as he continued riddle the ship with plasma, seeing fire searing through the hull and exploding from within. He fired a last salvo before forcing his fighter into a steep climb as the enemy ship exploded rocking Nesh’s with the shock wave.

The antaran fighters were left without guidance and communication. In confusion the antarans tried to regroup but Nesh ordered the rest of his flotilla to go in close, eliminating the advantage of the more mobile Antarans. With the one scout ship left and the unbroken communication with his carrier his squadron hammered the fledging antarans into dust. Damaged as his ship was, the primitive cross air served him good as he fired point blank in the reducing mass of antarans until the last of them left a blazing spot on his retina.
Battle won around him, the warning from malfunctioning instruments beeping in his ear and the rigid cold as the computer kept the smoke out of his cockpit.

“I think I’m going to need a lift” he said to tactical as he assessed the losses.
At 65 percent, his whole flotilla had lost most of second and third squadron. And sadly enough, there were relative few damaged ships. In all his other battles there had always been more wounded and damaged ships than actually completely lost. But the antarans left very little to salvage.
Even worse was the forward situation.
Back on deck, jumping out of his cockpit, the stern look on the flight officers face told him everything he needed to know.
“Our carrier armada’s just fine. We managed to knock the arrows out after you depleted most of them, but second and third armada is no more and then some from the others. 80 ships.” Nesh jaw dropped.

The Evons most advanced fleet had just seen the first combat against the Antarans.


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