Beginning of the end Chapter 11



The Warfire is a beautiful ship; I got talking to an engineer on her way through the hall, she explained a Titan class firepower is so powerful that it would take five destroyer class to match one of these vessels. It wasn’t just built for war either, they had several launchable mini bases they could send into the atmosphere, to provide aid or in orbit for defense, with a whole deck dedicated to medical bays for a crisis on most planets and leisure decks to keep the crew happy while on long haul tours of duty through space it truly was a home away from home.

According to the Colonel now and then the crew would set into port taking a real break from work, having the rundown on a Titan class vessel was an experience you didn’t even feel the hyperspace jolt when moving in and out, such a smooth transition.

Varak slept on the journey over, mother and father walked among the crew helping where they can. Father helped in the starfighter bays helping with repairs. I caught my mother in the tech bay working on a new gadget or equipment for the ship. The day voyage to get to Rolshar was short but by the end, our family got integrated with the crew, everything seemed to go smoothly.

The Warfire came out of hyperspace the world in front, Rolshar, a beautiful aquamarine world. A lieutenant kindly gave me a brochure about the places we could visit upon arrival, which I took back to my room. Browsing it gave me some insights into the Rolshar culture. Rolshar had very little landmass and most of the populace lived under the water in domes of glass, the water people that lived among the reefs are called Skujins or as the lieutenant mentioned a nickname ‘Gillies’ he also said not to say it to their face.

Suddenly the klaxon blared, calls sent through the ship tannoy system calling everyone to battle stations. This made Varak jumped out of his cabin bed while I concentrated to find father using Kensei ‘father what’s going on are we under attack’ I said,

‘No its Rolshar, Pirates are attacking, stay in the cabin,’ he responded quickly.
On the table, in our room, the middle Icons started to glow. I pushed one and a holo display appeared in the middle; it was a similar tactical net that we had on the Stormbreaker so I had no problems navigating. The Warfire was in the center and as I moved the image out encompassing the planet; it showed them both in green, on the far side above the planets north pole ships materializing from hyperspace, these icons quickly changed and display red. The tactical net started placing icons on the five ships. Three cruisers and two dreadnaught class these ships are bigger than the cruisers carrying more starfighter and have heavier armor, this would help them take on bigger vessels without losing too much speed and maneuverability.

The pirates came into orbit holding back the dreadnaughts it must have caught them off guard by the Warfire looming on the other side. The cruisers headed to lower orbit over the planet, launching shuttles and starfighters while the dreadnaughts held the high ground holding the upper stratosphere so they could escape once the pillaging is done.
The Warfire already moving into high orbit while deploying starfighters in front of the two cruisers. Their direction headed towards the planet in search of the enemy.

******

The Marauder made its way through hyperspace on its way to Rolshar. I sat there on the bridge of my dreadnaught rubbing the sleep from eyes catching my reflection in the screen in front of me, I nearly didn’t recognize myself from pushing harder than usual, I need a shave after this even without this beard I had no redeeming features some might say common. I smile at my musings, it was sometimes useful not to stand out in the crowd, especially in my line of work.

Maybe I should give up the privateer life, it was good pay and good hours, especially the hours, it is my ship, I pulled my gaze from my crew and rested them on my best friend Gunther a short stocky fellow with a lot of muscle. I met the man many years ago, before the great war while getting repairs in his garage Gunther job at the time was to rebuild ships into racers for the games on Tark, he could rebuild anything, that’s where most of the advanced systems on board the Marauder came from, he was always tinkering with something even right now before a raid.

Starting life was simple back on Tark pickpocketing the locals and any tourist stupid enough to come for a holiday, later with Gunther I started running guns and robbery’s and then there was the war which allowed privateers with a bit of ingenuity to make a nice profit, but even though the crews got larger and the ships bigger, it felt like more cost to run the whole show, with the bonus of infighting within the crews.

The rivalry that happens onboard can drain a man dry with exhaustion. One such problem was a big ugly lizard named Stram from Trankar he was a classic case always stirring things up, throwing his weight around.

Trankars where good muscle for business, but Temper and aggression is their main way in life. Stram looked strong enough to rip an airlock of its hinges, his race came from a desert planet. Their entire race made homes in caves and underground hives, every time the Trankar spoke it had a slimy hiss to it.
‘Howz long until we reachez our targetez Talesse’ Stram hissed, pulling me out of my thoughts I looked at the chrono.
‘Not long have you checked the weapon systems’ Stram turned his slit eyes on me they creeped me out even after all this time I still can’t get used to them.
‘Weapon systemz operational, your Tech friend shouldez know hez installed them,’ Classic Stram always tries to make a ruckus.

Gunther turned around nothing could make him turn faster than someone saying his engineering wasn’t up to standard
‘You’ll appreciate the only reason this ship runs better than an empire ship is because of Gunther, unlike you who can’t even seem to calibrate a laser torch and am asking, nicely,’ I stared back hiding my disquiet, with a grumble the lizard moved to check the weapons.
Gunther looked at me, I gave him a small nod and he went back to what he was doing.

The chrono for hyperspace started flashing time to get started ‘gentlemen, if I can bother you to be ready, let’s do a bit of privateering’ the pilot at the flight controls pulled us out of hyperspace three cruisers and our dreadnaughts appeared. The planet Rolshar, beautiful. Blue and ripe for taking and then alarms ‘what the hell’ I said surprised to see creeping around the planet, a Titan Class ship damn of all the things that could happen, ‘we need to keep our rendezvous with Marcus get the cruisers down to the surface now while we’ll keep the empire busy’ the cruisers sped off into the atmosphere each knowing time was now critical their sublight engines glowing brightly as the hit the atmosphere ‘what’s the signature on that thing out there’ I looked at the sensor officer trying to remember his name Garv I think, new to the team, a bit of slouch always snoozing on the job especially on long trips, he seemed very focused now considering what loomed outside.

‘Ship identified, the Warfire she’s launching starfighters plus two cruisers’ his voice trailed off staring at the main viewer.
‘That’s big’ I heard another say.
‘Where are the starfighters and cruiser going’ I order, snapping the crew back into focus.
‘Heading to the planet on an intercept course with ours’ Garv had the what do we do now look? Damn is all I could think of right now there was no way we could fight the Warfire but maybe we could try to keep the planet between us and its heavy weapons.

‘Move us away from the Warfire keep the planet between us. I don’t want to be taken down by their weapons, it would hurt the profits’
I sat back down in the command chair, hoping starfighters weren’t coming from the other side, I reached for the private comm’s in my chair, but hesitated over the button to activate, it’s not wise to call when someone could track your signal plus the man on the other side isn’t the most congenial of people but this was an emergency. Time to call Marcus, hitting the button the reply was instant he must have been waiting ‘see there he is, coming to pick up the merchandise. I am sure once this deal is complete and shipped, we will all be wealthy’.

Slimy toad face didn’t you see what’s in the sky ‘you realize there is an Empire Titan class pointed right at us’ I restrained my voice it was Marcus after all ‘yes, we detected the vessel but that shouldn’t be a problem for you would it Talesse.’
Marcus could have sent us a warning I thought now we have to deal with the empire instead of some scared Skujins.
‘Landing party have reported back, making a run on the main city, also taking damage from the empire, team two peeled away to the rendezvous they should be there soon the Captain assures it won’t be long for pick up,’ the comm’s man updated us, tension in his voice.

‘Noted’ in response ‘Marcus we may have to back out, for now, theirs too much giant empire ship getting closer to the Marauder’ to emphasize the point a forward battery cannon from the Warfire shook the ship, in the background, I heard it was minimal damage shields still holding, both of our dreadnaughts started to open fire using similar long-range beam canons trying to throw off the enemy steady advance.
‘Am sure nothing this important would impede our deal now would it Talesse,’ Marcus replied in a tone that his patience was wearing thin
‘I’ll do my best. The captain of my cruiser will be there soon he is reliable he knows where to go after,’ I said, watching more starfighters joining the battle, keeping track of them all was becoming difficult
‘Very well Talesse don’t make a mistake’ with that Marcus signed off, I knew from experience that his threat shouldn’t be taken lightly, I wish I quit and ran a small shop with Gunther.

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About the author.

Albert is an ex-royal air force photographer. He is passionate about novel writing and creative arts, his work can be seen on and . Albert enjoys gaming with his son and records them to replay on .

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