30 November, 2011

[SFAP] Chapter 14:14

This is the fourteenth section of the fourteenth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.

Gwen glared at the screens in front of her that showed the engagement with the fighters. “Shit we just weren’t designed for this. They got their asses handed to them.” She started to bark an order but the floor underneath her sifted knocking her off her feet. “What the hell”  she started to exclaim then the floor slammed up into her again and again as propulsion bombs detonated in rapid succession far faster than had been used during any previous propulsion phase. then finally the hardest smack she had felt. She wasn’t sure if it had broken her ribs or if they were bruised but they were not right “Who the hell ordered that?”
“The AI Sir” came the reply “the engagement is over.”
“The hell it is, what happened?”
“The Compton and the Halban are both out of commission. they were unlucky, we were very lucky. The AI swung us around so the pusher plate protected us and detonated the propulsion bombs as fast as it could. As the missiles the fighters had dropped headed for us all they reached the expanding cloud of high energy plasma from the rapid bomb detonations stripping the surface of the missiles off and slowing them down.”
“And you say we were lucky?”
“The timing of the last bomb was almost perfect, it spread the missile out into its own cloud of plasma that gave us the final kick.”
“Status of the Compton and the Halban?”
“Their shock absorbers are damaged, they were overloaded by the force of the impact they’ll be fixed soon enough though, give them a day or so”
“And the Oppenheimer?”
“Plate and ship is badly punctured. Will be up and running in a few days, hopefully.”
“And us?”
“Aside from a bruised crew no appreciable damage. The fighters tried to attack us side on, but the last second manoeuvres by the AI got us out of the position they expected us to be in”
“What damage did we do to them?”
“One seems to have been hit by one of our railguns otherwise their bombing of Earth looks to be successful they’re carrying onto their next target. None of our other bombs seem to have had an effect.”
“The hell they are, we’re going after them. They’re off to Saturn aren’t they?”
“Looks like it, via Jupiter but we’ll never catch them there. Either that or they’ll do their Jupiter bombing run and then bomb Saturn and then go back to the asteroids.”
“Well there’s enough troops at both the asteroids and Jupiter to look after themselves, send them all our data and get us to Saturn. At least we’ll be able to clean up after whatever they have planned even if they beat us there.”
“Sir?”
“Get on with it. Get us to Saturn, best speed.”
“What about cleaning up here?”
“Leave the Compton to deal with that, get the Halban to go help out the Oppenheimer. If they were softening up a landing spot then there’ll be a troop craft hidden somewhere. Get them to find it and take it out, we have other business.”

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