Posted on 08/06/2016 @ 10:09am by Captain Xeletos & Emma Daystrom & Chief Warrant Officer Third Class Rib Bunkerbuff & Sorella/SYSTER [P: Emma]

Mission: Mission E06: Starship Troopers
Location: Singosh Star System


USS Harbinger waited until close proximity to Singosh before decelerating. There would be no drop into normal space within the solar system. Asteroid debris was far too dense. Indeed, even with skillful helming, it would be a strain on the navigation deflector to make progress.

SYSTER announced, ==Optimal attack curve, plotted. Awaiting orders for aggression-evasiveness balance.==

Capt. Xeletos ordered, "We have no data on weapons other than plasma. Optimize for attack."

A tachyon flare probe launched at a slow speed setting. It led the starship, brightly illuminating everything in its path. ==No sign of mines, Captain. Target One will be in range in twenty three seconds.==

"Weapons are clear to fire."

Chief Bunkerbuff stared down into a Tac scanner, "Bug plasma!"

Large comet-like projectiles lit up in the distance. SYSTER cautioned, ==Enemy plasma batteries are more powerful than the ones that struck USS Omar Bradley. In addition, the energy bolts appear to be guided.==

Ens. Decker couldn't help but exclaim, "Guided? How?"

Bunkerbuff looked to the center chair, "Change to elusive attack path?"

Xeletos shook his head as he stared at mainscreen, "No. Continue our planned attack run. Engineering! Auxiliary and emergency power to the Resistance Field."

"Aye, Sir. Outer deflection is now burning at full intensity."

The first energy ball splashed across Harbinger's repulsor field. The force of impact caused it to momentarily compress and shrink in diameter, but the brilliant blue-white plasma didn't reach ship's inner deflectors.

Chief Bunkerbuff nodded, "Rather than using a hard shield, we use a thick, soft one!"

Xeletos nodded in a smile of relief and hope. "It's working."

The skeptical Bunkerbuff couldn't feel at ease, "Until the bugs innovate changes."

In her attack pass, USS Harbinger waited until close range in her attack pass to fire. The planned combination of quantum and photon warheads spewed out of burstfire launchers. The former cracked the armor shell, allowing the latter to detonate inside the hive transport. There was no immediate dramatic effect, but scanners and eyes kept close watch. Minutes later, fiery secondary explosions ruptured the superstructure.

==Approaching Target Two.==

"Engineering, defence status!"

"Sir, emergency power to resistance is working, but we can't expend this level of energy indefinitely."


==All hands, brace for plasma bolt impacts.== Once again, USS Harbinger heaved from blazing plasma impacts. ==Firing second salvo, now.==

Xeletos asked as he watched the devastating barrage pierce the mega-transport. "Probability of escape by the other hives?"

==Nil, Captain. These transports have ungainly sublight thrusters. They have no on-board FTL drive. They depend upon external gravity gates. Approaching Target Three.==

"Chief, analysis of other forces in the system."

"Captain, this zone is saturated with bugs. They have a presence on just about every asteroid of any size."

Xeletos ordered, "Main phaser banks, fire at any targets of opportunity as we pass." The familiar hiss of main phase discharges ensued.

The Clendathu tried desperately to adapt to this new threat, but they could do little more than intensify bug battery fire. The Federation starship systematically ripped the heart out of their invasion force and then weaved a destructive exit course.

USS Harbinger exited the solarian plane from above and then began a recon sweep at warp two. Chief Bunkerbuff wasn't at all happy, "Why are we leaving? We could destroy far more of the enemy than this!"

Emma offered the explanation, "Rib, we're a long way from home and the enemy has more targets than we do torpedoes. We don't have enough energy to destroy them all or stave off all of their weapon attacks."

Xeletos swiveled his chair to glance over at engineering, "Report?"

"Dropping all systems back to normal levels, Sir. It'll take a few hours to restore maximum energy. Resistance Field was not over-stressed." He sighed with relief, "The ablative defence philosophy works."

The captain nodded and then swiveled toward the Com station, "Ensign Decker, code our battle log and patch it off to StratCom."

"Aye, Sir."

Chief Bunkerbuff nodded with approval, "Quick battle... no friendly casualties... ship intact... and a crippled enemy. Now this is more like it!"

Xeletos' tone was sober, "This is only round one of what could be a long and bloody war. One way or another, I expect them to sacrifice themselves in an industrial grade slaughter to overwhelm us."

"Orders now?"

"We remain outside the system in readiness to intercept new jump gate openings."

Sorella opened her eyes, easing up on her communion with SYSTER-self. Feeling apprehensive, she approached the center chair to speak quietly, "Captain... what now?"

He explained in confidence, "The Clendathu now realize that they've lost their ability to harm starships. They must either innovate a new weapon or else adjust strategy to avoid direct combat."

She pursed her lips, staring at mainscreen, "They're going to keep coming at us."

"They're bugs, Sorella. It's the only thing they can do."


Capt. Xeletos
Chief Bunkerbuff
A.I. Emma Daystrom

USS Harbinger