Star Force: Retribution (SF60)

BOOK: Star Force: Retribution (SF60)
8.49Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub



June 19, 2674

Unnamed System
(lizard Core)

Low Stellar


The first few hundred H’kar battleships sat around the
incoming jumppoint, sniping the lizard cruisers throwing themselves at the
invaders before most of their insane number could get into plasma range. Their
destars had about six times the firing distance before the photon slurry
destabilized and disintegrated into small, spherical
of intense light, which would do damage on its own, but the nature of the
weapon gave it a medium range that still outdistanced the lizard weapons,
making for easy 1 or 2 shot kills against the cruisers as the H’kar covered for
more of their ships to enter the system.

This wasn’t a stealth entry, so the H’kar had their
active sensors scanning the moment the first ship arrived and they could see
the disposition of the nearest enemy fleets. The cruisers hitting them now were
merely the scattered elements closest to the star and were trying to disrupt or
poach the incoming ships, which the H’kar already in place were not allowing
them to do…but the mass of ships heading their way was an entirely different

They were moving towards them in the hundreds of
thousands, coming in from 5 different planets and various deep space positions
around the system. Those were delayed, for they didn’t have the gravity
intensity required for a standard microjump, but the ones coming directly off
the planets would be within weapons range before the whole H’kar fleet arrived,
thus it was up to
ship and the others already
on station to buy them the cover they needed.

was one of the
battleships’ commanders and a seasoned veteran, having spent over 120 years in
his race’s navy and the past 6 years fighting in the raiding fleets along with
Star Force and their allies. He’d learned a great deal about fighting the
arch nemesis from the Human commanders, but today
they were not involved. This was payback time and a strategic strike against
one of the Li’vorkrachnika’s strongholds, which Star Force scouts had finally
been able to locate. Now that they had a big target to hit the H’kar were going
to do what they did best and punch the enemy in the face, metaphorically

But to do that they needed their full fleet, and
and the others had to hold position long enough for
the long jump convoy to arrive. With every minute that passed more warships
entered the system and strengthened their lines, increasing the destar fire
going out and picking off the enemy cruisers like the inconsequential gnats
they were, but at the same time the number of enemy ships was rising faster
than the reinforcements were coming in, meaning that
had his work cut out for him.

Standing on the command deck of his ship the H’kar has
his four pointy legs inserted into small depressions in the floor to allow him
to stand firm while working the controls around him. His pod was a solitary
one, for the rest of the crew were located out of sight and sound while still on
the main floor, leaving his central compartment completely shut off from them
so that he could think clearly without any background distractions. His orders
to the crew were carried out remotely, with his six arms working the controls
in a mixed flurry of motion and moments of stillness as he studied the
battlefield around him and made adjustments to their tactics accordingly.

While the crew fought, flew, and made ready to repair
damage he was left to think and see clearly what was happening around them,
with his pitch black quartet of eyes tracking the bright streaks of destars as
they leapt out instantaneously to pierce the yellow/tan hulls of the enemy
ships. Mentally he was feeling out their numbers rather than counting and he
could already sense the tide shifting. There were more cruisers arriving than
they had destars to fire, meaning that the enemy was now getting some ships in
through the growing debris field and into firing range.

ship was taking some
hits, minor as they were, and the only way the Li’vorkrachnika could get
through their Nexus-built shields was with sustained damage from a high number
of targets. That intensity wasn’t present yet, but the battleship commander
knew it was coming and the bloodbath that would result. He didn’t know if he’d
live out the day, but he was confident that the others would take down their
target…which was the giant shipyard ring circling the third planet.

mental counter reset
as one of their behemoths arrived in a blur of braking motion and began to
reposition over to support the screening fleets, which were engaged in three
different positions. The massive vessel was fortunately coming to his,
increasing his odds of survival as more and more cruisers began chipping away
at his ship’s shields. Secondary defenses were firing back at them, but they
didn’t have the kill power of the destar conduit, meaning it would take time
for them to burn through the cruisers’ shields and hull armor before doing any
real damage.

But the H’kar commander had learned in his time with
the raiding parties that he had to protect his main weapon, for the enemy liked
to target it specifically. To decrease the odds of them landing the pinpoint
plasma attacks necessary to knock it out prior to shield collapse, he had the
helm keep moving the ship around while about two thirds of the others merely held
position and fired on the enemies that came closest to them.

knew they were old
school commanders who either hadn’t been part of the joint operations or those
who hadn’t learned from the mission reports coming back to the empire. Those
battleships that were maneuvering about were commanded by those who had, and
they were giving the enemy a constantly shifting formation to line up against,
adding a little bit of uncertainty as to where they should hit the hardest.

He input a few more navigational commands, tapping
buttons and sending the orders off to others who would carry them out as he saw
one of the neighboring battleships turning back and retreating from the
lines…while its shields were still up.
knew that
would infuriate some of the other commanders but his group commander had spent
even more years fighting with Star Force than he had and wouldn’t condemn the
act as cowardice. The battleship in question had been getting picked on harder
than the rest and its shields were in danger of dropping, hence it was pulling
back to recharge them prior to reengaging in battle.

The old school H’kar philosophy would have had it sit
and continue firing and do as much damage as it could up until it was
destroyed, and as
watched he saw a portion of the
enemy fleet disengage from other vessels and go after it, intending to knock
its shields down whether the H’kar liked it or not.

immediately gave new
firing orders, having his ship rotate around to port and target one of the
chasing cruisers. Several other battleships did as well, sniping some of the
pursuit as the retreating ship gained speed and pulled back towards the
let the rest of the cruisers go after
it, for more of the reinforcements were coming their way and adding to the sniping,
insuring that the weakened ship would get clear and have a chance to recharge
and come back into the fight at nearly full strength again.

That little maneuver alone had cost the enemy at least
15 cruisers, and it was small tweaks in strategy like that that had given the
raiding fleets such an impressive record.
wished one of the Human warlords was here to guide this battle as they had done
many others, but this was the
payback for
centuries of defeats that had amounted to trillions of deaths. That made it
more personal than the other battles he’d fought, though this one was also a
Nexus affair.

As the H’kar battle near the star continued to
escalate to the point where some of the chess pieces were beginning to
reposition away from the planets and head towards the fight, a second jumpline
on the other side of the star opened up and additional ships started pouring
in…but they weren’t H’kar, they were Gfatt.

These didn’t stick around to fight, nor did they
transition over to assist the H’kar. They were here for one purpose and one
purpose only…and that was to get to the giant ring. The H’kar were the bait and
distraction, with the hammer blow going to come from the more technologically
advanced race.

They’d been planning this assault for the past 12
years after getting the
from Star Force. Since
then other ring shipyards had been discovered in different systems, but this
one was the closest to the H’kar border and the others were much better
guarded. As it was this attack was not a system-conquering one, nor even a
battle to destroy the ships in orbit. There were too many for the H’kar and
Gfatt to take out and they knew it, but they’d finally assembled enough
strength from both their fleets to be able to deny the Li’vorkrachnika one of
their big prizes.

The hourglass-shaped Gfatt warships came in multiple
sizes, but all had the same basic design and tore through the out of place
defending fleets around the third planet when they began making microjumps in
to it immediately. A long trail of their warships stretched across the system
as the first few to arrive didn’t delay, knowing that their presence was going
to be detected immediately. As soon as they hit planetary orbit they went
straight for the nearest enemy warships and unleashed a torrent of Haxtrel
blasts at multiple targets simultaneously.

The light show was emanating from the narrow point of
the Gfatt ships and sending out squirt gun-like streaks of multi-colored light
that had a visible delay in hitting their targets, unlike the destars in the
H’kar fleet that traveled at the speed of light. The Haxtrel beams were matter
that had been broken down into subatomic particles and forced into an unnatural
state that had it recombining or breaking apart en route to the target, which
produced the light show.

Some beams were designed to produce particles or
energy bursts that would drain shields, while others were meant to rip apart
matter by destabilizing its molecular bonds with a switch out to the new
particles incoming. Still other beams had different functions, some working
like mini explosives on contact and others that compromised hull integrity by
altering the structure of it into something less robust. Last of all was a
white beam that was purely for cutting, structured much like a plasma stream
only much more exotically lethal.

The Gfatt were firing at the surrounding ships with
every Haxtrel they had whether it was the prime moment for it or not trying to
do as much damage as they could, for when the bulk of their ships arrived they
were going to ignore the defending fleet and go straight for the ring shipyard
regardless of how much damage they took in the process.

The Li’vorkrachnika’s defending ships didn’t stand a
chance at first, but others nearby began to reposition and group up to come at
them…with several pairs and trios of the hourglasses moving off from their
rendezvous point to engage them before they could get clustered up to dangerous
levels. All the while the H’kar were taking the brunt of the attack in near the
star, with their fleet still yet to fully arrive.

If the enemy pulled back from that engagement to fight
the Gfatt then they’d signal the H’kar to jump into the planet to assist them
in making the run for the shipyard…if not the H’kar would fight and die as a
distraction while the Gfatt made their dive for the target. Either way the
shipyard was going down, it was just a matter of how many ships they’d lose in
the process. This was not going to be a clean victory and they knew going in
that it would be messy, but this was the first big target the Li’vorkrachnika
were known to have and the Nexus was going to take it from them one way or

Once enough Gfatt ships arrived they sent a scattering
out as skirmishers while the bulk headed straight for the shipyard…with a huge
defense fleet standing in the way that included multiple invokers and even an
assault pillar, though the latter’s primary weapon would be next to useless
against moving targets…which is what the Gfatt were, for they didn’t stop to
engage the fleet, instead choosing to run right through it firing as they went
and counting on their superior shields to get them through the loose but
otherwise intimidating blockade.

They made sure to avoid the invokers’ energy arcs,
diverting around them like a school of fat fish evading a whale, then the Gfatt
ships decelerated hard just above the 12-mile wide ring and started firing blue
streaks down into it and disrupting its thin defense shields. As they did the
Li’vorkrachnika’s slower ships began to catch up to them, as did their plasma
weapons, but the Gfatt ignored all but the invokers, moving to keep out of
their attack range while maintaining fire on one piece of the ring. Additional
Gfatt ships entering planetary orbit followed the others in, making a long
river of continuously moving warships that the enemy attempted futilely to

They were weakening shields and doing hull damage in a
few cases, but they couldn’t prevent the Gfatt from getting to their target.
When they did arrive they were sitting ducks for the Li’vorkrachnika to shoot
at, but the attackers didn’t care and hammered away at the shipyard shields
until they finally dropped over a mile-wide segment. When that happened armageddon
unleashed and a slew of missiles raced down to the surface of the shipyard and
detonated in a continuous firecracker string that lasted over five minutes.

BOOK: Star Force: Retribution (SF60)
8.49Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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