TTC: The Cygnus War, Part 27

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The Tessa Chronicles: The Cygnus War #27 (The Wu Ang Hok) By Earl S. Wynn

“Harrison, what’s the status on Bast and the Assault squadrons?”

The Admiral pushed off the back of Anderton’s chair and stumbled over to dig her fists into the headrest of Harrison’s. Captain Lazar was useless, staring slackjawed at the shimmering wall of Cygnan fighters closing inexorably on the Wu Ang Hok, unable to move, unable to speak. Only the Admiral could pull things together, only Faith could save the Hok and her crew before the Coralate could light them up and burn them out of the sky.

Harrison struggled through the numbers scrolling across the holographic face of his console as she came up behind him, dark eyes already hunting through the data for the information she needed. The young officer’s mouth worked as he manipulated the weave of alphanumeric coding in the pause, collating, organizing, digging. He hesitated, glanced once at the cloud of mercurial fighters, then swallowed quickly, forcing back the rising tide of panic. Projected leads meshed, moved, and a twitch of the fingers was all it took– in an instant he had what Faith wanted, fishing the results out of the terminal with all the skill of pulling a stitch of thread from a quilt.

“All undeployed fighter squadrons–” He licked his lips, fingers tapping in air, working through the holographic interface “Bast, Isis, and Amon-Ra are currently lining up for launch from both active vector pads.” He looked up, forcing himself to meet the Admiral’s eyes, the dark fire that brewed there silent and strong, intense, but tempered by a will as hard as folded steel, a will that kept the Hok and her crew alive, kept the fighting edge they needed if they had any chance to turn aside the Coralate offensive. She made a noncommital noise in response, spun away, eyes swinging across the deck to light on the hunched and busy form of the Comm officer.

“Baker!” The heat in her tone shook the young woman out of her stunned and fearful silence. Pale green eyes darted up reflexively to lock with the Admiral’s for an instant, then fell away again in a bloodless wash of self-consciousness.

“Y-Yes Ma’am?”

Faith softened her tone, managed the edges of a reassuring smile. She needed Baker live and aware, but traumatizing the young Comm Officer would only have made things worse. “Any word from our fighters already in the thick of it?”

“Ah–uh, Lieutenant Commander C-Cavalcanti reports that Anubis Squadron is currently moving to intercept the Coralate fighters.” Baker managed. Her jaw worked in tiny, silent twitches, thumb and forefinger darting, tapping across subdermal lights for an instant before she met Faith’s eyes again. “Contact in fifteen seconds.”

“And the Recon squadrons?” Faith shot back.

“Glars and H-Harker are in place at just b-beyond minimum range and are synced with the ship’s resident AI assembly. They say they’re uh, ready to act as spotters for triangulation of uh, anti-fighter and ship-to-ship weaponry on your command.”

Faith nodded once, turned quickly, already wheeling on another young officer working frantically, his fingers stabbing and twisting in the depths of his holographic console. “How do things look, Kerrigan? Can we fire?”

“Tactical banks on warm standby and ready to fire as per your orders, Admiral”

“Good.” She turned back to Baker. “Give Glars the go-ahead, but tell Harker to reroute his squadron to what’s left of the planet and start focusing on deep scans to locate survivors. Anyone still alive out there is probably crippled or running silent–”

“Admiral! I’m picking up a Coralate Warship moving this way, bearing three-four-eight mark four.” Harrison spoke up suddenly, snaring the Admiral’s attention and bringing her dark eyes back to his console immediately. “She’s charging onboard ship-to-ship weaponry! Time to firing range, fifty-three seconds!”

“Are Bast and the Assault Squadrons clear yet?” She asked quickly. Harrison hesitated, threaded nervous fingers through projected data, shook his head. Faith stole a glance at the wall of silver outside. “I need an ETA, Harrison!”

“Uh...” He struggled with the console again, shot a glance back at her. “Thirty– maybe thirty-five seconds?” Fingers flew, eyes darting. “Lieutenant Commander Eckdahl reports Bast Squadron as clear,” He glanced up at her again “Scopes show two more fighters each from Isis and Amon-Ra waiting for pad access.”

“We need to get the pads clear before the firing starts.” Her eyes met Baker’s again. “Get on the horn to Novikov and Mondego and tell them to hurry it up! I want them out of the hangars and punching to maximum burn as soon as humanly possible so they can get clear the instant they’re in the black.”

Baker nodded quickly, swallowed. “Y-Yes sir.”

“Twenty seconds to firing range!” Harrison.

“I want you to start firing as soon as we’re there.” A quiet affirmative came in from Kerrigan, and the Admiral turned back to Harrison again. “Are we receiving telemetry from Horus Squadron yet?”

Fingers wove quick through projected lines of indigo data. “Yes sir, Glars’ rigs are live and transmitting. Triangulation with tactical achieved.” A quick grin flickered across his face. “Ten seconds to firing range. We’re gonna burn them to a crisp.”

“Hang on to that youthful enthusiasm.” She said absently, looking up to watch the sheet of silver as it spread apart like pixels on a page, fighters getting closer, and behind them, the long, mirror-chrome, whale-shaped bulk of the Coralate warship. It was going to take a stroke of luck for Harker and Osiris Squadron to skirt around or through that. Things were going to be close. If only we had more fighters, more rigs.

“We’re not going to get another shot at this.” She said quietly to herself, watching as Harrison counted down the seconds and Kerrigan triggered the ship-to-ship batteries, filling the starry void with massive beams of blue light that ate through the darkness and carved into the hull plating of the Coralate warship, vaporizing a handful of Cygnan fighters as it passed. In an instant, they were scattering, sleek arrows of silver darting in a hundred different directions to engage the Naval forces. Fierce blue light stabbed back, scorched deep lines into the skin of the Hok. “Baker, open frequency, standard Naval channel, wideband, maximum transmission power.”

Baker nodded, worked quickly with the subdermal implant, then pointed silently in a gesture that was clearer than any go ahead. Faith spoke instantly. One shot. Make it count.

“All units, this is Admiral Faith Minear of the TCGND warship Wu Ang Hok. If there are any survivors from the Von der Tann IV Seindrive squadrons out there, we’ve got hangar space and a reconverted cargo bay to house your fighters, but you’re going to have to get here quick and watch yourself on the way in. We’re currently engaging a Coralate warship at range, so getting aboard without getting caught in the crossfire might be tricky. You might have to come in hot and land under manual guidance. Squadron LCs, coordinate approaches with control on Triple-A, 111.0”

“And if you want to frag a few blueskins on your way in, we’d really appreciate it.” She added. “There’s a lot of silver in the sky tonight, and we’re only one warship out here.”
Full title: The Tessa Chronicles: The Cygnus War #27 (The Wu Ang Hok)

Author Blurb: Some of you are probably like “OMGWTF?” but don’t get your hopes up. University isn’t just cutting into my writing time, it’s butchering it, dicing it into roasts and selling it to the public at discount rates. I don’t know if I can keep up with TTC, but I’m gonna give it a shot. At the very least, I’ve got a months worth of weekly episodes (4) done and ready for posting.

Pink Carbide’s fourth installment, Lithium Liederkreis, is on hold at 17 chapters, and I don’t think it’ll be out in time for the 2009 release. But it is coming, eventually, and I even included a sneak peek of it at the end of the third book (Carbon Aria), which is in process of getting it’s own ISBN as of now. Actually, it’s available for purchase right now if you want to get an early, limited release, pre-ISBN copy ( [link] ) from Lulu. It’ll probably be as early as Friday when I plug in the ISBN, so if you’re interested, get it quick! Haha. It’ll also be available through all the normal channels, including Amazon by about February 2009, and I’ll be sending out an email to people letting them know once it hits the shelves. If you’re interested in a reminder, drop me a note or a comment and let me know! :)

Progress report: Episodes 27-30 are done, and I’m currently working on #31. No guarantees I’ll go any further, but we’ll see. I figured that, at the very least, I owe you these complete episodes.

Anyway, this is the twenty-sixth installment of TTC: The Cygnus War. You can find the previous episode here: [link] The next episode will appear on Wednesday, November 12, 2008 (PST)

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© 2008 - 2022 Durkee341
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M4dLeprechaun's avatar
Oh God it's been so long whyyyyy. I need to re-read things. I thought it was some fabulous mirage when I opened my DA inbox thingy.

Congrats on your other projects though, it sure sounds like it's been running as smoothly as it can get despite pesky things like ISBNs and holds..har har.