It took only seconds for the situation to change from unusual readings from pockets of cosmic dust to all hands on deck. The crew of the ICV Wight hurried to their stations as the interstellar carrier ship, loaded with colonists and supplies heading to a new settlement, came under attack.
“Portside central shield emitters are offline.”
“Multiple hostiles approaching from portside.”
“Portside fore and aft shield emitters are at condition yellow.”
The Commander’s senses were being assailed by the calm reports from the Wight’s automated crew, the scrolling reports on the screens around them, and the barrage of data coming through his command implant’s in-vision display. Pushing through the tide of data, he rattled off his orders.
“Target portside hostiles, free-fire for all available weapons systems. Dispatch first and second Fighter units, launch and split Microfighter unit one between the fighters. Pincer formation. Launch Microfighter unit two, have them reinforce our portside. Send a priority alert for assistance!”
Bays and compartments on the Wight, a long and wide ship with a utilitarian design, started to dispatch their defensive payload of swift Fighters and nimble Microfighters. They were ideal for the situation at hand, armed enough to take on the attackers while retaining speed and maneuverability.
“Portside hostiles are targeted. Eight weapon systems have a clear lock, beginning free-fire.” Lieutenant Adnams called back from her station. The Wight’s weapon systems fired out their first burst simultaneously, streaks of energy slamming against the incoming group’s shields. “Minor damage, hostiles have linked their shield emitters together and are continuing their approach.”
“Transfer power from starboard weapons systems, Lieutenant. I want their shields as soft as possible.” The Commander ordered. “Ensign, what are their idents?”
“Hostiles identified as the Ladoshan Lampreys, Commander.” Ensign Sapphire Wight’s voice was measured, the rocking of the ship from repeated energy blasts of no importance to the gynoid. “Hostiles comprised of five fighters, ten Microfighters and one mining ship.”
“Lampreys?” Adnams swore. Combat had only just started and her crop of blonde hair was already slick with sweat. “Commander, if that gets too close to us it’ll breach the hull.”
“I can confirm the Lieutenant’s statement, Commander.” Sapphire added. “The mining ship has been retrofitted for this purpose.”
“Ready Servitor units one and two for dispatch with hull maintenance load-outs.” The Commander ordered, adjusting the collar of his uniform jacket. “If that thing touches us I want them on it.”
“Hostile Microfighters have broken away to engage our response team.” Adnams called out. “Main hostile group are only targetable by four of our weapon systems. Hostile Microfighters are scattering from our weapons. Microfighter unit 2 has been destroyed by the main hostile group. Two fighters have broken away to engage ours. Three fighters have docked with the mining-”
The ICV Wight jolted, groans of metal screeching through the vessel, as the Lamprey slammed against it. The high-pitched whine of the modified asteroid mining bits whirring their way into the hull reverberated throughout.
“Seal off the bulkheads in that section!” The Commander shouted. “Lockdown the hold too, we’ve got to protect the colonists. Autocrew have permission to arm themselves, head for section PC6 and prepare for close quarters combat!”
Sapphire’s chair slid back from her console, the machine interface on the headrest of the chair sliding out from the ports on the back of her neck.
“Ensign?” The Commander asked. His face and his bald head were glistening, the steady pulse of red lightning reflecting off his perspiration.
“I am carrying out my orders, Commander. I will arm myself and proceed to PC6 for-”
“Commander, I’m reading unusual energy readouts in PC6, hostile ship is… disconnect! Everyone disconnect!” Adnams yelled, her machine interface popping out from the back of her neck, the Commander’s soon following.
Sparks flew from the ports on the bridge’s autocrew still connected as power surged through the connections. Errors were cropping up on the screens around them, even as the main lights shorted out.
“Lieutenant, what the hell just happened?”
“Energy surge through our systems, Commander. The damage is… I’m struggling to find out what still works, but at least the colonists are all right. The hold is still in lockdown.”
Surveying the damage on the bridge, the Commander’s eyes fell on Sapphire.”Ensign?”
“Yes, Commander?” Sapphire asked, standing attentive and alert.
He gestured to himself and to the Lieutenant. “We’ll need some weapons.”