TTC: The Cygnus War, Part 9

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The Tessa Chronicles: The Cygnus War #9 (Abandoned) By Earl S. Wynn

“No. Freaking. Way.”

Izzy’s words echoed across the suddenly silent channel. Tessa tried not to stare at the empty stretch of star-choked vacuum that hung where the Von had been only a moment before, but her eyes kept wandering back, hopelessly held by disbelief. She thumbed her mike shakily, forced herself to speak. “We’re not out of this yet, Izzy”

“I can’t believe that dickhead Hilleboe would just drop us in the freaking hotseat like that!” Izzy was furious now. Someone else was talking, trying to relay orders, but that just pissed her off even more. “Fucking white-glove command asshole! Typical...!”

Tessa was already ignoring the other woman; there were more important things to focus on. The Coralate warship was still firing, hot lances stabbing through the endless night, fruitlessly chasing fighters while the Cygnan rigs still operational broke off and made hard burn back toward their waiting hangars in the belly of the beast. “Minerva Squadron, regroup! Switch to Fingers and sound off A-sap.”

Someone said “roger,” but it didn’t matter; Tessa was already flicking over, getting the soft static of a dead channel, some distant stellar whisper barely audible in the background. Five seconds passed, more than enough time for everyone else to be on the same page. “Copperfield?”

“Still alive.” Izzy shot back.


“A-Okay, LC!” Phoebe sounded too cheery; didn’t matter, two to go.


“Present, rig undamaged.” She almost sneered at his response– having a pilot like Cordova in Minerva squadron might get old before too long. It wouldn’t have been the first time she’d had to deal with pilots like him, either– being conscious of the regs was always a good thing, but what pilots like Cordova always seemed oblivious to was the fact that the regs were written by lawyers and white-glove command assholes, to quote Izzy, and not actual, strapped-in-the-cockpit pilots burning hard into the razor-edged maw of death. In combat situations, your entire focus had to be on survival and completion of the mission at hand– any other distraction, no matter how small or trivial, could cost a pilot her life.

The final insult, though, came when he ended the check-in call so formally that it practically made her teeth grind. “Ma’am.”

“Right.” She bit down, barely managing to keep her tongue in check. “Davidson?”

Dead silence.

She blinked, waited a moment, thumbed the mike again.

“Davidson? Harley Evinrude Davidson?” Still nothing. For a split second, she felt her hackles rise, felt the tingling of fresh sweat playing across her skin. Her tongue flicked anxiously to the left and right, dancing across teeth. Probably just on another channel. She told herself. He might not be dead. He might have gotten out of this alive. It seemed impossible, considering his background, but then, if Cordova had survived, then there was a shot Davidson had too. It was her only hope, and she clung to it desperately. She swallowed nervously, eyes flicking across the panel before she thumbed the mike again. “Phoebe, pop back over to standard open, check for Davidson. Izzy, you’ve got ICE, Cordova, pop into HI, I’ll check Triple-A.”

A chorus of affirmation echoed across the frequency, silenced suddenly as she adjusted the receiver.

Dead on Triple-A, not even comm chatter from fighters. Her thumb trembled edgily over the comm button, then mashed it mercilessly. “Davidson?”

No response. Tessa waited a moment, counted to five, then cursed, eyes flicking worriedly across the panel again.

- - -

Phoebe scanned the standard open channel for a split second, listening for Davidson. Nothing, just chatter from Hera and Zeus and a lot of static. Glancing absently at the flight stick, she clicked the mike. “Davidson? Yo! Davidson!? Are you still on this channel?”

Nothing. She fidgeted, glancing at the comm button. More chatter, none of it from Davidson. Her gloved fingers stretched toward the knob.

“Yeah, uh... I– ” She stopped. Davidson!

“Hey!” She all but shouted, “why aren’t you on fingers? Didn’t you hear the LC?”

“W’yeah, I did, but uh– ”

“You didn’t fall asleep again did you?” She sighed loudly and shook her head in frustration. “Are you like, narcoleptic or something!?”

“No, no, I’ve been awake, honest, it’s just– ”

“Well, what’s the problem!?”


“Yeah, honestly!”

“Well, uh...” He paused. “Y’see, uh...”

“Spit it out, JG” She interrupted, straining the fact that, despite the his lieutenancy, he was still beneath her in rank, a junior grade lieutenant.

Davidson paused again. Static-laced argument between assault-rig pilots filled the gap. “What’s fingers?”

Phoebe blinked, pausing, then rolled her eyes and clicked the mike again. “Dude, Davidson... fingers! 123.5, Fingers.” She said again, holding up her hand to illustrate, index finger down, then realized he couldn’t see the gesture. She narrowed her eyes at the heads-up-display. “Didn’t you learn that frequency during your Earthside training?”

“Actually, they uh... only stressed the top three.” He responded sheepishly. “Triple-A: 111.0, the standard Naval open channel: 121.2, and ICE: 93.5"

“Figures.” Phoebe muttered, eyes flicking across the panel. She flexed her fingers against the stick anxiously and thumbed the mike. “Well, the LC uses Fingers a lot, so remember it, okay?”

“Yes ma’am!”

“Just uh... just call me lieutenant, or, um, Jenkins, okay?” She grimaced, gesturing again, then grimacing again as she caught herself. “I mean, ma’am? Come on! It makes me sound like an old lady or something!”

“Sorry, uh... lieutenant.”

“Hey!” Izzy’s voice cracked across the frequency, slicing in cleanly behind Davidson’s transmission. “Pheobe, Harley-boy– Tessa wants you two dialed in on Fingers yesterday, so stop the ice cream social hour and click over.”

They practically tripped over themselves thumbing mikes. “Yes ma’am!”

Izzy grimaced. Ma’am? She wasn’t that old.
Full title: The Tessa Chronicles: The Cygnus War #9 (Abandoned)

Just kind of a humorous quickie before the longer, heavier hitting stuff.

Progress report: Finally finished 13 today! (Well, still got to revise it between homework assignments tomorrow, but yeah!) 14 is fragmented, little chunks and whatnot. 15 is done, polished, and ready to be posted, sixteen is little bits and pieces, nuts and bolts, and everything after that is still just a dream. I’ve been kicking around some cool ideas lately.

Anywho, this is the ninth installment of TTC: The Cygnus War. You can find the previous episode here: [link] The next episode, “Burn” is done and scheduled to be released first thing next Wednesday (September 13th, Pacific time.)
© 2006 - 2022 Durkee341
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lwcldylan's avatar
do you have plans on sending this to publishing?