Thursday, October 31, 2019

We Has Met the Enemy Part Five

With General Buckner en route to the Triumph, Megan Detwiler sought to make the most of his carte blanche. The Flying Dutchman base had a number of tractor/ repulsor engines studding the surface, the better to aid docking and ping stray asteroids away from more expensive equipment. She quietly began supplying these with independent power cells, and it wasn't long before the engineers in the power department noted her activity. That and the fact she wanted them working triple shifts to get it done NOW! The other preparations were by the structural engineers who were Megan's old crowd. She knew them and scared them and they kept their mouths shut even as they worked.

The Martian battleship Enforcer approached the Flying Dutchman from a highly inclined trajectory. It had swallowed a lot of its heat to get that far that quietly. It also banked on beamed power from Mars. They picked up the metal beast while it was a half hour from weapon's range. The Triumph was 45 minutes out, but space battles seldom lasted that long.

The strategy of the Martians was clear -the base was the highest priority. Knock out the fuel and repair facilities and you would cripple the Earth Fleet. If the Enforcer had sustained little damage from the attack it would turn on the Triumph, which would be in need of refueling and unlikely to fight a lengthy battle. Chasing their new prideful warship away would teach the Earth and Moon dogs to stay in their kennels.

Commander Oyade was the acting commander of the Dutchman, a high honor he would rather not have. He desperately wanted the Triumph to have a base to return to. He raised repulsion fields and alerted all personnel to get their heads down as Martian drones were reported inbound. Earth flak guns and pressor beams did their best to keep missiles from hitting surface targets,

The attack wasn't the knockout blow the Martians had hoped for. Docking bays were damaged, fueling masts crippled but the Martian commander knew the real facilities were far underground and he needed a full strength nuclear strike to reach those. He brought the Enforcer close enough to the base's defense shields to begin overwhelming them with the power of his own engines. The pyrotechnics were incredible to behold, The Terrans didn't see it they were otherwise employed,

Next to Commander Oyade, Megan looked over several readouts and nodded. Oyade shouted, "Power up! Disengage supports! All hands to shelters!"

On the surface the Enforcer was treated to a final flash of light as the base's Feld powered down. then several more flashes of light from the asteroid's surface. The base commander can be forgiven for thinking for a moment that they were missile impacts. Then he realized something was wrong as a dozen heavy tractor/repulsor beams turrets detached from the base. Locked on the Martian battleship they closed the distance rapidly, gaining speed and momentum by the moment. The small caliber missile defenses of the battleship did not amount to much against a multi ton armored turret and each turret's power supply was brutally sufficient. The Martian might have lived to fight another day if he immediately tried to pull away and max out his acceleration. The Enforcer was turning to do just that when the first turret hit. Much like the old prototype lasers, they didn't have to work as designed. You just had to drop them on the enemy.

Six turrets hit the Enforcer with the force of  bombs. One penetrated the ship entirely. Flying Dutchman would not have simulated gravity for quite a while in its outer sections. A number of docking and fueling facilities were offline but the Martian goal of total destruction failed. The unspoken goal of not losing your damn battleship was also shot to the ether.

Even the most hardened military types had to admit the engineers won this one. The few surviving Martians swore to it

Commander Oyade summed it up," The Martians merely had a battleship. We had a woman with a Masters in Engineering."

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