Author : Connor Harbison
“Lieutenant Chen, let out the mainsail three degrees. I want to ride this solar flare between the two cruisers. Please alert the dorsal and ventral batteries they may fire when the enemy is within sight.”
Captain Aguilar smiled as the solar sails bloomed. The Barracuda had always been a quick and responsive sloop. That would mean the difference between life and death in this fight. The two hostile ships loomed ahead. Either cruiser outweighed the Barracuda on its own, but put together they had close to thrice the tonnage at Aguilar’s disposal. Nobody would fault Aguilar for turning tail and fleeing. But that was not in the cards.
“Reef those sails and hold until the batteries get off their volleys,” the captain barked as the tip of his bow crossed between the twin enemies.
The Barracuda’s movement slowed relative to the two cruisers. Guns on either side of the sloop lit up, silent in the vacuum of space. They pounded away at the enemy, stripping armor and vaporizing sensors. The two ships responded, but their heavier guns took longer to aim and fire.
“Open her up again, I want a full press of sails,” Aguilar said. The bloodied ships began pulling away, faster and faster, but this was an illusion. In truth the Barracuda’s sails worked overtime, accelerating her out from between the two ships.
Aguilar glanced aft at the two cruisers. Their heavier guns had finally come online, but the Barracuda was no longer in the firing zone. Both ships fired almost point blank into one another, through the holes in the armor that the Barracuda had opened. Aguilar was sure there was no shortage of casualties on either vessel.
“Lieutenant Chen, status report.”
“They gave us a few holes in the sails, nothing fatal. No hull breaches, thank the lord.”
“Very good. Bring her about and run alongside the port destroyer. Prepare to board.”
The Barracuda glided in a loop and pulled up to one of the ships, positioned so the massive hull protected the smaller ship from fire. Aguilar watched as grapples shot across the void between his ship and the enemy, followed moments later by the Barracuda’s boarding party. This was the moment Aguilar hated most. Maneuvering the Barracuda in battle, he was in control. But now he could only watch and wait.
The minutes ticked by. Aguilar paced the deck furiously. The midshipmen had a running joke that the captain was trying to grind through the floors. Anything to ease the tension and pass the time. Aguilar absently noted the other cruiser was limping away from the fight, abandoning its comrade. Finally, the console lit up with an incoming message.
“This is Lieutenant Chen to Barracuda. We have taken control of the Goliath. Captain Aguilar, the ship is yours.”
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