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The Alexanderov Federation
Book 1 The Grendarl War

Part Nine - The Battle for Tamarian (III)

The mayday from Tamarian III reached Stockert quite quickly. Fortunately, the corporal in charge of the planetary ground troops recognized the maneuver for the feint that it was, and reported on a private channel. He calmly reported the problem and told Stockert the civilians were being killed, but that since so many were members of the reserves they were not going down without a fight. Stockert responded that he agreed it was a feint and decided not to tell anybody just yet, to avoid distracting his troops.

But some of the civilian news agencies weren't so restrained.

The news updates reached the fleets about a minute after the Sharktooth had fired her fourth missile volley. The Grendarl were down to about 500 fighters, of which about half were still engaging the surviving human fighters, the rest engaging the PD screen, but the humans had suffered severe losses as well. Of the original 218 PD frigates in the main fleet, of which 150 had been system ships hurriedly created for the battle, only 19 system ships and 48 interstellar ships remained. And now they were out of missiles.

Lewis was a competent professional, and though her heart was pounding and her ire was quite severely aroused, she managed to say in a level voice, "Sir, I've just received an unconfirmed report that the Grendarl are attacking the civilian population of T-III."

Goodman scowled and then quickly forced his face back to a neutral mein. "Those graktoz bastards. Well we have our orders. We can't afford to be distracted. We'll deal with that problem as soon as we are ordered to, but until then we focus on the real threat, the surviving Grendarl fighters. Continue fire, Morse. Destroy all of the bastards you can."

"Aye, sir."

And Stockert, as expected, did indeed respond to the changing conditions quickly. "Attention all ships. The Grendarl have made an extremely dishonorable attempt to distract us from this fight. We must not be divided. All ships currently engaged with the Grendarl, continue the fight. Reserve group and Trillarian ships, please head for T-III at maximum speed to support the defense effort there."

The Grendarl ships had also taken a pounding. The enemy missile cruisers were now all gone, and most of their PD screen had sacrificed itself to intercept the third planetary missile volley. Their carriers had also been ravaged severely. tR'c'N'S still commanded, however, since he had been in a small fighter-sized craft that could easily dodge any ponderous capital-ship missile fired at it. His orders were to win at any cost, so he had to keep fighting and hope his distraction would yield fruit soon. Retreating was not an option. He decided it was time to reveal the hidden capability of his carrier craft, because if he didn't he would soon not have it to use at all. He had hoped not to have to use it at all, of course, but those doznab humans and their miniature missile craft had almost completely negated his numerical superiority in fighters.

Turley blanched upon reading the information on his scanners. "Sir! We've got trouble!"

"What is it?"

"Those carrier frigates are also missile ships, sir! They've just launched about 1000 missiles at us!"

"Redirect all fire to those missiles! Full power, maximum fire rate Morse!"

A few seconds went by as the PD screen redirected fire at the missiles. The long-range beam cruisers, of which most were still intact, fired on the fighters to keep them occupied while the PD screen was distracted, and together with the efforts of the 100 or so surviving human fighters, managed to finish off all but a few stragglers. But 1000 missiles aren't destroyed by 67 ships very easily. The missiles began to detonate perilously close to the PD screen, and though in the end only three more screen ships died, most of the remainder lost weapons function. And there was still a slower group of 20 missiles left.

"Sir, we've lost all weapons. And there are still 20 missiles left. They seem to be larger caliber, sir, perhaps nuclear bombs to irradiate the planetary surface, or perhaps just aiming to bypass us and seek out targets of opportunity in the main fleet."

"Are you sure?"

"Well, not 100%, but I'm pretty sure sir."

"Set a collision course! We cannot allow those missiles to get past us."

Stockert gulped slightly, but quickly responded, "Aye, sir!"

As the Sharktooth somewhat sluggishly began to move towards the approaching missiles, 15 of her sister ships began to follow her. The others had all lost engine power... or at least claimed to have.

Doznab is another human bastardization of a Grendarl word. Originally T'S'n'Ob, it literally meant 'mammal', and by connotation meant 'one who is not a part of us'. The humans stole it and redefined it to be an adjective which meant 'mutated freak of mad scientific experimentation'. Both sides feel the new definition is an appropriate label for the other.




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