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TTC: The Cygnus War, Part 11

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By Durkee341   |   
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Published: September 20, 2006
The Tessa Chronicles: The Cygnus War #11 (Against All Odds) By Earl S. Wynn

Tessa cursed.

Or at least she tried to.

There was blood in her mouth, welling up from somewhere inside her, making it hard to breathe. The pain in her chest returned, getting worse with every throbbing wave that hit her, shooting hot tendrils through her flesh on cruel breakers of agony. A headache was already building in the back of her skull, pounding forward through her sinuses, nausea hot on its heels. Reality threatened to go black, flickering at the edges. Too many G’s back there. She stifled a wry laugh, blood flecking her lips. That was dumb, Tess. That was really dumb.

Cordova was still screaming; Izzy was trying to talk him down, trying to get him to stop panicking. Phoebe and Davidson were silent. Not dead. She told herself. Phoebe’s passing through atmo and Davidson’s blowing holes in Coralates. Or was it the other way around? Rapier A5 rockets blasted two more Cygnan rigs to silvery confetti. She couldn’t remember.

Which two had she sent on and which two had she kept back? It would have made sense to keep the tried and true pilots behind and spare the newbies the fighting... Yeah, definitely. That would make perfect sense.

But there sure are a lot of pretty lights blinking on the panel.

“Stop it.” She told herself, shaking away the dreamy numbness that held her brain like a walnut in the ever-tightening maw of a cruel vise. She couldn’t lose it now, she had to concentrate, had to focus– things did matter, and a pilot in her squadron was in trouble. As senior officer, she had to act, and fast. Her squadron needed her, and it needed her now.

“Cordova.” She managed, spitting blood in the pause to clear her mouth. “What’s the situation? How bad is it?”

“Oh my god LC! It’s bad! It’s really bad! It’s–!” she cut him off.

“The damage, lieutenant,” She barked, stifling a cough. “Stat!”

There was a pause. “Uh... yes m– I mean... I got clipped by a beam from that damn battlecruiser... I’m burning, it’s... there’s a breach in the containment on one of the hotcoil pods... sublight’s... er... well, sublight’s totally flitzed. I can’t... the controls are almost all locked up... it’s all fucking scrambled! I’m still just on the outer edge of the atmosphere, but I’m dropping like a... oh god, LC. I’m gonna die. Why did it have to be here? Why did it have– ”

“Shut up!” Izzy cut him off. “Tess, you alright? You sound funny.”

Tessa blinked. It was getting harder and harder to keep the darkness at bay. Only about half of what Izzy had said caught in her mind, the other half lost in what felt like the rapidly dispersing fragments of a waking dream. Momentarily, she seemed to forget where she was, why the stars were so bright and the sky so black, but everything came back in the next instant. “What was that, lieutenant?”

“What’s wrong, Tess?” Izzy asked immediately. She tried to hide it, but concern threaded its way through her words– Tessa almost smiled, but lost it an instant later in a fit of bloody coughing. “Tess?”

“Uh, hello?” Cordova’s voice shot across the silence, demanding and sharp. “I’m the one whose rig is burning here!”

“Shut it regs-boy!” Izandra growled back. “Tess!”

“I’m all right, Izzy.” Tessa managed. “I’m sure it’s nothing the doctor can’t set right planetside.”

“I don’t like the sound of that, Tessa.”

“Doesn’t matter.” Tessa brushed it off all too casually. “What matters now is getting Cordova and his rig on the ground safely. Any ideas?”

There was a pause, then Izzy’s voice came across the channel again, softer now, more professional. “Cordova, what still works?”

Silence. She almost clicked the mike again, but Cordova beat her too it, voice crackling with static. “Uh... the radio works...”

“Really? Imagine that.” Izzy shot back harshly, voice cracking across the channel like a bullwhip. “And here all along I thought you were using a cup and a couple of really long strings–”

“Izzy, that’s... that’s enough.” Tessa managed to sound gentle, then spat blood again in the pause, sputtering against wracking coughs. “Cordova,” She winced, cleared her throat, thumbed the mike again. “What else works?”

“Well, I’ve got about sixty percent of my retros, LC. Probably just about enough to maneuver my rig a little bit here and there, but not enough to fly or glide in with. Uh... I think the Agere still works...” Another pause. “Yeah, the Agere works.”

“I don’t think we’ll need it, but thanks anyway.” Tessa kept her tone soft; if she flew off the handle at him for the little things, it would only make things worse for everyone involved. “Any of the S-vectoring panels still operational? Maneuvering fins? Flaps? Slats? Resident AI?”

“The AI’s shot. I think it’s gone nuts and then some. The displays are all showing snow and spewing lots of garbled bits of nonsense text. I’m pretty much flying blind as far as instruments go, uh... The panels, slats, flaps and fins...” He paused again. “Nope, something’s definitely burnt out between here and those systems too.”

“Damn.” That was Izzy. More silence. Tessa considered their options for a moment.

“Did they teach you about power-off atmo approaches Earthside?” Phoebe asked suddenly. “Y’know, cut throttle, orient the nose, wrestle through the burn, then glide in to a slow power-off landing?”

“Yeah, but I don’t see how... I mean,” He paused. “Lieutenant, I don’t think this rig will glide without at least the Schrödinger vectoring panels or the conventional drive working...”

“You won’t need to do any gliding if this works.” She said quickly, voice rich with excitement. “Lieutenant Commander, I have a really class idea!”

Tessa shifted in her seat, smiling despite the pain. “Alright, let’s hear it.”
© 2006 - 2020 Durkee341
Full title: The Tessa Chronicles: The Cygnus War #11 (Against All Odds)

I was born at 11:11. *laugh* And I’m 22! Imagine that. I have a friend that says this makes this year a magical one for me. Another friend says it’s gonna be one of the hardest years of my life. So far, I’m kinda leaning toward the latter.

But hey, keep on trucking, right? *laugh* Things are good right now!

Anywho– Tessa!
Lots of burbling and gurgling and bloody spitting going on. Cordova’s the king of panicking, but Phoebe’s the real star of this one. “Lieutenant Commander, I have a really class idea!” Class indeed! Stick around for the next exciting episode, where we see the true extent of Phoebe’s genius!

Progress report: Finished 16 a day or so ago, finally finished 17 like right now. I have to say, 17 is my favorite chapter so far. I think it’s a masterpiece. 16 & 17 really go well together, and I can’t wait to post them! Beyond that– I’ve got about two sentences on 18 and a few ideas for it, but that’s it for right now!

Anywho, this is the eleventh installment of TTC: The Cygnus War. You can find the previous episode here: [link] The next episode, “Against All Odds, part 2” is done and scheduled to be released first thing next Wednesday (September 27th, Pacific time.)
Comments8
anonymous's avatar
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langsam's avatar
langsamHobbyist General Artist
sp: vise breach
Durkee341's avatar
Durkee341Professional Writer
Coolness, caught it.
M4dLeprechaun's avatar
Yay, happy birthday! Mine was the 22, roffle. Omg conspiracy.

Not really.

Wow, blood and borderline passing out. It's one of those chapters that makes me cringe yet I can't look away and I anticipate the next installment!
Durkee341's avatar
Durkee341Professional Writer
hehe. Well thank ya!

Actually, my B-day was way back in May, but eh...

It's hard not to just jump and post them rapid-fire! Everytime I do the final revisions on an episode and post it, I so badly want to just post the next one! It's through luck alone that I manage to restrain myself!
M4dLeprechaun's avatar
I'm just fashionably late. e_e

I can imagine such restrait! Guess it's one of those things, you know, to torture your readers into mindless yearning for silver conffetti explosions. Bwehe.
Durkee341's avatar
Durkee341Professional Writer
hehe. I've done alot of studying on the best way to torture readers into yearning for episodes. *laugh* I haven't gotten it down completely yet, but I'm working on it. Keeps them coming back. *laugh*
M4dLeprechaun's avatar
Pssssh. Yeah, well, it's working. Haha.
Durkee341's avatar
Durkee341Professional Writer
hehe. Yay!
anonymous's avatar
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