1997/98 The Armageddon Factor PBeM: The Search


1st Lieutenant
Forward: Was digging through some really old CDRs I had kicking around in a box and found my old PBM from the early days of the CIC... 1997/98 PBeM... if any of you guys who collaborated on this are still kicking around, I'd love to finish the story with you... it'd be interesting to see how our writing styles have changed and/or matured.

This story branch starts shortly after Chapter 2 of the main TAF story

Here's a groovy story thaty I FINALLY wrote. Here we go.....

= TAF: The Search; Part 1 =
= By Drew "Burst" Mann =

= Captain's Cabin =
= TCS Kinshasa =

Captain Linda Rondoh inserted the small wafer into her private
computer, and watched the message flash onto the screen: "CLASS AAA
Linda's eyes widened, in shock. She had (until now) no clue of what
was on this disk. All she knew is that Admiral Richards had handed it
to her at the end of the Jutland's debreifing, with instructions not
to let anyone else see it. She could now see why. Keying the screen
to go on, she suddenly saw Admiral Richard's face appear and begin:
"Ah, Captain Hubert. I'm sorry I couldn't deliver this briefing in
person, but I have many pressing duties to take care of. Since we
can't exchange pleasantries, I'll get straight to the point. Your
ship has been selected for a covert ops mission. "As you know, the
Jutland just returned from a disastrous engagement with a Kilrathi
battle fleet in the Eltanin 7 system. We have very good reason to
believe that the cats are protecting something or someone that they
really don't want us to get our hands on. We need you
to find out what that something is.
"By 1400 today, a team of eight covert ops code breakers will be
coming aboard your ship, carrying with them our most advanced short
range cracking equipment, which I can't go into detail about for
security reasons. Let's just say, these people are the best. "When
they finish loading, you'll be heading out, with the TCS Hercules, (a
fueler,) and a detachment of four Broadswords. " As he explained the
ships the Kinshasa would escort, the screen changed to a sector map
with icons representing the two capital ships and the Broadswords
superimposed over the fleet's current system.
"You'll be heading a round about course through three systems,
systems were you won't run
into any kitties, finally hitting a previously uncharted jump point
into the D'tark 3 system, where the kitty fleet is holing up. This is
were the fueler will turn back, and you'll go in with the
The icons moved along the sector map, finally hitting the bright red
dot of the
D'tark 3 system. The screen then changed to a close up view of the
system, showing the suspected position of the battle fleet and a large
asteroid field.
"Two Broadswords will jump in single file, with you right after them.
Then, the other
two 'swords will jump in. They well get in as close formation with you
as possible. Of course, your ship will also be equipped with some
heavy duty jamming systems, that will keep the kitties from getting
any readings on individual ships. All that will show up on their
screens is a large area of fuzz in your current position. But the
thing has a short range, and eats power like you wouldn't believe.
"You'll be heading straight for the 'roids, at max speed. If you run
into any resistance, the Broadswords will take them out before they
can report exactly what's in the system. It will be tricky, because
the Broadswords will have to stay within the jamming threshold. "Once
you hit the 'roids, your ship will head straight in, and go passive.
Three Broadswords will peel off, and make a hasty retreat. 1 will
dock with you, as a little added muscle which you will need to get
out of the system. Hopefully, the Kilrathi will just think it was a
failed torpedo run on their carriers or a heavily armed scout
mission. You'll stay passive in the asteroid field for three days, a
week at the most. If the covert people haven't completed their
mission by then, you'll pull out and come home. If you have any
questions, the covert people have had much fuller briefings, and your
ship's computer is now being uploaded with more technical details.
Good luck, I trust we'll see you soon." Linda looked at the screen
blankly, in shock. To make sure this wasn't a nightmare, she played
the message back again. Oh yes, it was real. She reclined in her
chair, looking at the ceiling of her spartanly furnished cabin,
trying to gather her thoughts. Taking a quick glance at her wall
clock, she saw it read 1235. The covert ops guys would be there in an
hour and a half. Sighing, she walked over to a small cabinet set in
the wall. Extracting a bottle, she quickly poured herself a glass of
bourbon. She needed it.

= Shuttle J45 =

Commander Bert Jenkins sat in the cramped seating area of the D-3
class hauler, or "octapig" as most people refered to it. The name was
correct, the hauler looked a whole lot like a pig with 8 legs. The 8
legs were for additional storage space. But the D-3 wasn't designed
for style, it was for hauling equipment. And boy, did he have a lot
of it. He was in command of the Confederation's top code cracking
team, the self-named "Cyphers." a non-creative name for a group of
non-creative people. That was a must on this job,
you had to be able to interact with machines. People skills, artistry,
and creativity were secondary issues.
His team had been together for five long years, and had helped to
crack three Kilrathi fleet codes wide open. They were tightly knit,
partly because they sometimes worked side by side for fourteen hours
straight, and partly because there were only three of them: Jenkins,
Lt. Commander Lauren Bussjuball, and Lt. Jane Joos. Bussjuball was as
plain and mousy as they come. Nothing at all distinguished her from
any other girl you might see at a bar, but she was a great cracker
and completely tireless. Bert had read over her fitness report, which
showed she needed only four hours of sleep a night, due to something
out of whack in her metabolism. Joos was strikingly beautiful, with
an infinete depth to her eyes. Many would wonder why she was doing
such un-glamorous work, while she could be a model or an actor with a
snap of her fingers. But that wouldn't satisfy her, she was the rare
combination of beauty and brains. But Jenkins had no such thoughts
about her, he was a calm, detached professional. He'd been with
Confed all his adult life, and if there was one thing he'd learned,
it was never to get involved with ANYBODY with a war on. A beep
sounded, signaling the docking was about to take place. The "octapig"
slowly moved up alongside the TCS Kinshasa, extending a small arm
into the frigate's port side airlock. It cut all speed, the arm
pulling it towards the airlock, until the two ships were side by
side, their air locks perfectly lined up. Bert looked over at the
airlock entrance, and saw the lights cycle from red to green, the
pressure equalized. Motioning for his companions to follow him, he
picked up a small packet and a Confed issue duffel bag, and strode to
the airlock and keyed it open. He suddenly found himself face to face
with the imposing figure of Captain Linda Rondoh. He quickly turned
and saluted the ship's colors, painted on the wall. With that, he
turned and faced the Captain again, saluting and stating: "Permission
to come aboard, sir." Rondoh dryly replied: "Permission granted."
Rondoh was indeed an imposing figure. At 6 foot 5, she had to duck to
get through most of the ship's corridors. She had salt and pepper
hair, and steel gray eyes which looked as if they could cut a hole
straight through durasteel. Her face had numerous burn scars about
it, which (as Bert had read) were aquired when she had been caught in
the destruction of the Formidable, an Exeter class destroyer, ten
years ago. The Captain just stared at Bert for a moment, and he found
himself tightly clutching the small packet he held in his left hand.
Suddenly remembering his duty, he thrust the packet forward and said:
"Admiral's orders." Rondoh read over the orders quickly, and her
heart fell. They required the transfer of six enlisted men and one
officer off of the ship, to make room for quarters and storage space
the covert people needed. The reason this upset her was one of the
enlisted men was their cook, Mandara Sull. She could make the most
spectacular Vegan meals anybody had ever tasted. A note said the
reason Mandara was transfered off was they needed the galley space
for equipment. This meant nobody would be able to cook, they would
have to live on the hideous dehydrated standard rations.
"They'll be carried out." Linda said simply, and then, "When
will your loadout be complete?"
"About four hours, faster if you can spare some crew members for
hauling." Jenkins replied. "I've got a few that can be spared.
Anything else?" Rondoh said, with a bit of an edge to her tone. Bert
gulped. "No sir." "All right then, I'll be on the bridge." said
Rondoh, as she abrubtly walked off in the opposite direction. Bert
exchanged meaningful glances with his companions, and set about his

= Bridge, TCS Kinshasa =
= Four Hours Later =

Linda felt a surge of pride as she surveyed her bridge crew. They all
efficiently went about their tasks, not a single one of them green.
She hated breaking in green crew members, especially going into a
combat situation. One "beginner's folly" could cost her entire crew
their lives. "How long 'till we get underway?" Linda bellowed to the
young tech. Linda made it a point to always talk loudly on the
bridge, it kept the crew on their toes. "Engines at 89%, estimating 2
minutes sir." the tech replied. Linda nodded and sat in her command
chair, reflecting on the current situation. The transfered crew
members had left without protest on the hauler that brought the
covert people over. She had delegated a few crew members who were
competent enough to handle sensitive equipment to haul the code
cracking gear on board. By now, about a third of the ship was taken
over by arcane gadgetry that did god-knows-what. But that didn't seem
to effect the crew, and so far there hadn't been any wild rumors
about the mission they were undertaking. "Engines at full sir." the
tech announced. "Signal the Hercules to set course for jump point
37-B3. Set us the same course, engines at full, let's go." "Aye,
Captain." The mighty frigate sped away at a good clip, suddenly
disapearing in a purplish vortex. They were on their way.

Comments, criticism, pipe bombs, first born children welcome.

Hello, Aces.

I'm stopping the writing of my INDY PBM - "The Simirat". Another guy that
will soon join the aces will continue it. His name is Lev Kerjner, and I
think his nickname will be "Hotshot".=20
Instead of the "Simirat", I'm joining to an other PBM - TAF.
So, from now on, I'm going to write the "TAF: The Search"'s.=20

So, this is it:

TAF: The Search, Part 2

TCS Kinshasa
Captain's Cabin=20
Dillas System=20
0925 hours

"Hello Captain Rondoh, there is something I have to tell you about."
Jenkins sat down on the couch near Rondoh's desk.

"Yes, Commander, what did you want to tell me?" the Captain sat on her

"Well, as you can see, Confed is very worried about this Kilrathi weapon.
And they told me and my men to do all that is possible for the success of
the mission." Jenkins' voice sounded confident.

"What are you trying to say, Commander?"=20

"I'm trying to tell you that Admiral Richards himself, gave me full
jurisdiction aboard the Kinshasa." Jenkins sounded very pleased.

"What?!" Rondoh was outrageous.

"Captain, you are still the commander of this vessel, it's just that from
now on, you take orders from me." Jenkins stood up. "If I will encounter
any resistance from you, captain, I have the authority to lock you up."

Jenkins left the room, leaving captain Rondoh shocked and confused .

TCS Kinshasa
Ship's Bridge
Dillas System

Captain Rondoh was very upset when she left her cabin. She planned to stay
in her room and think how to block Jenkins' orders. The only reason she
left her cabin was the call from the bridge. She took the elevator and in a
few seconds she reached bridge.

"What's going on, Martinez?" She asked the communications officer.

"Captain, our radar and communication systems are malfunctioning." Martinez
was confused.

"What is the reason for these malfunctions?"=20
Jenkins entered the room.

"The reason is pretty simple: All our radar jam equipment. It makes our
radar fuzzy too." Jenkins treated Martinez like an inferior human, only
because of the 2nd Lt. Rank he had.

"But these malfunctions started when the Broadswords arrived=85" Martinez
stopped talking when Jenkins started laughing.

"2nd Lt. Martinez=85 Don't you think that we started activating the radar
jamming equipment when the Broadswords arrived? Or you are not thinking at
all?" Jenkins humiliated Martinez.

"Commander Jenkins! Don't talk to my crew like this! Don't forget, that I'm
still a captain and you are still only a commander!" Rondoh was furious.

"Captain Rondoh, would step a side for a moment." Jenkins and Rondoh left
the room.

"What do you think you are doing? Humiliating my crew=85"

"Captain, don't forget our little chat in your cabin. I do what I want on
this ship, until I'll get other orders. Understood?" Jenkins entered the
bridge again. Captain Rondoh went back to her cabin.

"Martinez=85 Never mind=85" Jenkins sat down on a chair in the Bridge.=
when will we arrive at the 3rd nav point?"

"We will arrive at the 3rd Nav point in 12 minutes and 23 seconds." The
navigation officer was still stunned from the control demonstrated by

"Thank you."

TCS Kinshasa
Ship's Bridge
Dillas - Zor'kah Jump point.

"Martinez, ask the Broadsword leader when will he be ready to jump."
Jenkins was sitting on the Captain's chair while Captain Rondoh was in her

"Defender, when will you be ready to jump?" Martinez asked.

"Me and Polaris will jump to the Zor'kah system immediately when you will
close this communication channel." Defender was calm and ready.

"Roger, Defender. Kinshasa out." Martinez closed the communication channel.
Defender and Polaris opened 2 jump holes and entered in it.

"Initiating jump sequence." Rasal the Nav. Officer said.
The Kinshasa opened a jump hole and entered in it. A few seconds after
that, Sharp's and Valiant's Broadswords entered their own jump holes.

"We are in the Zor'kah system, Sir." Rasal said.

"Dolpas, call the captain." Jenkins said "Martinez, where are we exactly?"

"We are in the edge of the Zor'kah system. Zor'kah's gravity is very weak
here. And we are very far from the ideal places for a fleet in the system.
I'm sure that if there is a Kilrathi force blocking our way to the asteroid
field, it will be in the dark side of the 5th or 4th planet. And from this
kind of distance their sensors can't detect us." Martinez was pleased that
Jenkins stopped bothering him with his insults.
Jenkins stood up while the captain was entering the room.

"Captain." Jenkins welcomed Rondoh with a fake voice.

"Commander." Rondoh's pleased voice was fake too.=20
She went to the comm. Console quickly. Rondoh pressed a few buttons and
Defender's face were on the comm. screen.

"Ah, Captain it's good to see your face for the first time in this
mission." Defender didn't like Jenkins (like every creature in the radius
of 20000 km's).

"Hello Defender. It's been a long time since we last met." The captain

"Yeah=85 The last time we met wasn't so cheerful, huh=85" Defender started
remembering the destruction of the Formidable=85 The great explosion=85 The
'Mayday' calls for help=85

"Well, let's try to make this mission more=85 Happy." A tear dropped on
Rondoh's cheek.

"Hey, Linda=85 It's all gone. Try to forget it and go on with your life,=
at me. Today, I'm the best pilot around. Ha!"

"Defender=85 You are still modest as ever. Let's get to business: The
Kinshasa going to fly to the asteroid field, while you and the other
Broadswords fly really close to us. If we will come under attack, you will
break formation and kill the attackers. Don't forget that we can't give you
reinforcement except for two Epees. Understood?" Rondoh was eager to finish
the mission as soon as possible.

"Sure. When was the last time I didn't understand orders, Linda? Ha!"=20

"Kinshasa Out." Rondoh pressed on the "end transmission" button.

"captain, you can return to your cabin. I can take this situation from now
on to my hands." Jenkins said.

"Commander, I prefer staying here in MY bridge and sit on MY captain's
chair, if you don't mind."=20

"Of course, captain." Jenkins smiled, a fake smile.

TCS Kinshasa
Flight Deck
Zor'kah System

"I will not let you do this!" Captain Rondoh was angry.

"But mom! You know I'm the best pilot on this ship!" 1st Lt. Trevor Rondoh
was angry too.

"The Broadsword pilots can take care of themselves. I don't think they will
require an Epee, and besides, I think you will only cause them trouble."
Rondoh didn't mean to let her son to fly the Epee in this mission.

"Quit it, Mom! I know you are just trying to protect me, but I'm no longer
a kid. You know that additional firepower won't hurt the Broadswords. And I
can take Colt with me. That way we will cover each other's back. Please=85"
Trevor 'Wrath' Rondoh was a stubborn man. He planned to fly the Epee even
if his mother won't let him.

"Okay, Okay=85 But, you will launch only if the Broadswords or the Kinshasa
are in trouble. Okay?" the captain was sure that Kyle 'Defender' Haverson
and his men will do a good job and her son won't have to risk his life in
the Epee.

loudspeaker said.

"Trevor, I don't want you to do anything stupid. You will launch only if I
will tell you to, Okay? Bye." Captain Rondoh started walking towards the

"Yeah, Bye." Trevor said to himself.

TCS Kinshasa
Ship's Bridge
Zor'kah System

"What's going on?" the captain asked.

"Martinez, tell her the exact details." Jenkins didn't say Rondoh's rank on

"Well, Captain, our sensors detect a Kilrathi fighter team, even though
they are still malfunctioning. They are heading to our position, and at
their current rate, they will reach cannons range in less then two minutes.
What are your orders captain?" Martinez was nervous.

"Tell Defender and his Broadswords to attack. Get ready two Epee pilots in
the flight deck but don't launch them yet." The Captain didn't want her son
to fly, yet.

"Are you sure about that, captain? You're not doing it from personal
considerations, aren't you?" Jenkins sounded like the devil himself.

"No, Jenkins, No."

"Then you won't mind if I put your son out of the flying roster for this
battle, won't you?"=20

"No, Commander."

Jenkins started pressing some buttons on a console near him. He put Colt
and Powers on the flight roster.

"Satisfied, Jenkins?"=20

"Yes, captain."

The 4 Broadsword approached the Kilrathi fighters.

"I see 5 Sarthas" Sharp said.

"I see 2 Jalkehis too." Polaris said.

"So what? They are only 7 and we are 4. As usual, we are gonna kill 'em."

Defender was confident, as usual.

"You inferior Humans. You shall taste the power of the nar Caxki clan!" One
of the Jalkehis fighters said.

"Come on guys, Let's fry some kitties!" Defender said.
Polaris and Defender started attacking one of the Jalkehis. They both used
their triple mass driver cannons. Almost all of their shots were accurate
and in a few seconds, the Jalkehi blew up.

"I need help, guys." Sharp said.

"Coming to the rescue, Sharp." Valiant said.

"What will be our next target, Defender?" Polaris asked.

"This Jalkehi!" Defender started shooting on a unique Jalkehi - This
Jalkehi was painted with a green color.

"Maybe it's recycled=85" Polaris said while he was shooting with his mass

"No, no, no. I'm going to recycle it right now!" Defender turned his
Broadsword, and started shooting his fast right side cannon. In a few
seconds, the Jalkehi was destroyed.

"One less Kilrathi!" Valiant said after he destroyed a Sartha that was
chasing Sharp.

"Thanks, Valiant." Sharp loaded a Pilum FF missile. "eat this, kitty!" he
fired the missile and the missile hit a the last Jalkehi. The Jalkehi was
neutralized, and couldn't move faster than 20 kps.=20

"He's all yours, Valiant." Sharp smiled, then locked on another fighter.
Valiant moved to an attack position near the Jalkehi.

"Thank you Sharp, I think I'm gonna fry a Jalk=85" A Heat-Seeker missile=
Valiant's Broadsword, and destroyed all of his back shields. Then, two
Sarthas arrived behind him and started shooting on his exposed armor. In a
few seconds, the Broadsword blew up.

"Kinshasa, this is Defender. Valiant is DOWN. I repeat, Valiant is down.
Shit! End transmission." Defender started shooting at the Jalkehi. In a few
seconds, it was destroyed too.

"You hairy Kilrathi!" Sharp fired his 2nd FF at a Sartha, and destroyed it.
Two Epees arrived at the battle scene.

"Hello, Broadswords. We are Colt and Powers." Colt said.
He started in a pursuit after a Sartha.=20

"Kaboom!" He destroyed the Sartha quickly with his Particle cannons.

"two more Sarthas are out there. You can do it guys!" Martinez announced in
a message to all of the pilots.

"Hey, I'm in trouble. My front and rear shields are down, and they are not
regenerating. I don't know what to do!" Powers sounded very panicked.
Defender destroyed another Sartha with a FF missile.

"Well, now there is nothing to be afraid of, Powers." Polaris said while he
destroyed the last Sartha.

"Return to the Kinshasa, pilots. The battle is over." Martinez didn't know
about the Kilrathi battlegroup that was hiding in the asteroid field=85

To Be Continued=85

That's all.

Ilan "Fireball" Rosenfeld

and my favorite quote:=20
- "How much do you hate the bloody romans?" =20
- "A LOT!"

- Monty Python, "The Life of Brian"
Part 3 is missing! So here's part 4

Hello Aces!

I want to start with an annoucnment about my new site - "The Fey Space
Station". It's at:


The site tells about the Lyra sector, Rim Trading Inc, a new sector that I
invented and a lot more. I will soon mail you all the PBMs I wrote over
there. Don't forget to drop by and sign in the trading log.

Oh, the site isn't approved for clubwide PBMs yet, so if you want it
approved, say something, do something or say your opinion! :)=20
I think that most of the site could help the aces (more PBMs opportunities
- In the Galar sector, Spider Order, etc.).

But now, I want to get into the more important part of this e-mail - TAF:
The Search, part 4.
Sorry that It took me so long to mail the 4th part of The Search. But here
it is, enjoy...

TAF: The Search, Part 4. By Ilan "Fireball" Rosenfeld
Send all comments about TAF: The Search to rose@rannet.co.il=20

TCS Kinshasa
Ship's Bridge
Zor'kah system

"Commander Jenkins!" Martinez said.
"What is it Martinez?" Jenkins touched his new scar on his cheek.
"I received a message from sickbay. The Captain is gone." Martinez was sad.
"Then I'm assuming command of this vessel. From no on, the TCS Kinshasa is
under my command." Jenkins said.
"Yes, sir. May I tell 1st Lt. Rondoh about the captain?" Martinez asked.
"Yes, Martinez. If you'll need me, I'll be at the temporary barracks."
Jenkins stood up and left the bridge.
Martinez was left alone in the bridge. He pressed on a button and Wrath's
face were on the screen.=20
"Hello, Trevor." Martinez said.
"Martinez, what's going on in the ship? Is the launch deck repaired yet? We
are out here for already two days." Wrath said.
"The flight deck will be repaired in the next few hours." Martinez
"That's what you said yesterday too!" Wrath shouted.
"This time I'm not lying." Martinez laughed. "Listen, I have to tell you
"What is it? you sound bad." Wrath started to worry.
"It's your mother. She isn't with us any more. She's gone, Trevor."
Martinez said.
"NO!" Wrath turned his Epee and started firing at the empty space.
"Wrath, calm down. You knew that this option is possible. Try to face it
without hurting anybody else. I lost my best friends in this battle too. I
felt the same you feel right now when Sharp and Polaris died. But I
controlled myself." Defender said.

TCS Kinshasa
Flight Deck
Zor'kah system

"At last! Martinez, thanks! Now we can dock. Come on Wrath, we are going to
dock." Defender moved his Broadsword into the flight deck. He landed his
Broadsword quickly, and a few moments after him, Wrath landed his Epee too.
They both got out of their fighters. Martinez waited for them in the flight
"Hello, my friends. I have to fill you in with the latest news. OK, we are
23 people including you two. The new captain is Commander Jenkins. We don't
have a jump unit, and the only 3 engineers that are still alive estimated
that they could improvise a jump unit only in a month, if their plans will
go exactly as planned. The "good" point is that we are in a very long range
from home and without a jump unit, we can reach home only in 32 years. But,
we can move to the near systems because they are very close - half a day of
cruising between a system to another system. So, our plans are: trying to
maneuver between these systems and avoid Kilrathi forces, and that way
surviving a month - until the engineers will create a jump unit." Martinez
"Only 23 men?!" Defender started thinking.
"Who invented this plan? Commander Jenkins?" Wrath asked.
"No, as a matter a fact, I didn't tell him about it, but I'm sure he will
accept it. It's the only logical way to act." Martinez didn't think about
this point.

TCS Kinshasa
Ship's Bridge
Zor'kah system

"So, Commander Jenkins, do you accept this plan?" Martinez asked.
"What?! But, commander, it's our only option!" Wrath said.
"No! we are going to finish this mission. We have orders from Richards.
What we are going to do is very simple: We will cruise through the systems
in the area, until we will find what we are looking for: The thing that the
Kilrathi are guarding. Understood?" Jenkins asked.
"Yes sir." Defender, Wrath and Martinez said.
"Martinez, how long before the Kinshasa will be ready to set a course to
the Anshar system?" Jenkins asked.
"We can start moving even now, sir. We will arrive there in approximately
13 hours, sir." Martinez said.
"Set a course to the Anshar system." Jenkins left the bridge, leaving
Defender, Wrath and Martinez upset.

TCS Kinshasa
Ship's Bridge
Anshar system

"Sir, we are now in the Anshar system." Martinez said.
"Scan the system for enemy fighters and capital ships." Jenkins said.
"Sir, our long range sensors were destroyed during the battle at the
Zor'kah system. We have only short range sensors, that reach only to the
15th planet." Martinez said.
"Why didn't you tell me?!"
"You didn't ask, sir."
"Okay. let's start moving toward the 6th planet." Jenkins said.
The Anshar system contained 19 planets, that moved in a unique pattern. A
year took 421 days on all the planets! The more a planet was far from the
sun, it's speed was faster. As a result of this, the planets moved
"we are now getting close to the 12th planet." Martinez said.
"looks like this system is empty, huh?" Defender mumbled.
Suddenly, Martinez's face were all pale.
"Sir=85 I'm reading a great amount of energy near the 8th planet." Martinez
started to shake.
"Martinez, what could be the cause for this energy readings?" Jenkins
"I don't know=85 probably more than three Dreadnaughts=85"=20
Silence took over all of the bridge.
"I think we just found what confed-intelligence wanted us to find=85"=

TCS Kinshasa
Ship's Bridge
Anshar system

"So, what are we going to do? Any suggestions?" Jenkins asked.
"I think we should go in there quickly, discover what's going on, and go
back home." Defender said.
"Commander, one Dreadnaught is setting a course to the 10th planet. They
could have noticed us if they were trying to look, but I think they didn't,
because they are moving in a path that will make them vulnerable. Anyway,
if they will get to the 10th planet, they will discover us, if they want
to, or if they don't want to." Martinez said. There was a lot of cold sweat
on his forehead. He wanted to retreat, but the new captain=85 He will=
tell him to attack.
"Martinez, Set a course to a point that we can hide in." Jenkins said.
"Wh=85 What? Ah, All right captain." Martinez was surprised to see that the
captain thought the same way he did.

TCS Kinshasa
Ship's Bridge
Anshar system

The Kinshasa was hiding behind the 16th planet. The ship's edge was
revealed near the edge of the planet, so the crewmen could see what is
happening near the 10th planet.
"Come on=85" Jenkins started shivering. He knew that the Dreadnaught is=
to do something=85But what?
"Captain, the Dreadnaught stopped moving."
"Did they detect us?" Jenkins' voice was quiet. 'If the Dreadnaught
detected us, we will die, and our mission will be a failure' he thought.
"No, captain they didn't detect us. But they are releasing some king of an
object from their ship=85"=20
All of the crew members saw a long missile moving out of the Dreadnaught
toward the 10th planet.
"What the hell is that?!"=20
"It has the same structure as a Torpedo missile=85 but it's really large=85=
Martinez was barely standing. He felt like he is going to die.
"I think that we will find out what is this thing soon enough." Jenkins
They saw the missile entering the planet's atmosphere, and then, they saw a
little explosion.
"That's it?! They need a Dreadnaught to make this little explosion?!"
Defender was confused. For the first time in his life, he couldn't do
anything to save his mission because he didn't knew what's going on.
"This explains it." Martinez looked at his console with a grim look.
"What?" Jenkins asked.
"Our sensors detect huge quantities of Narlosium and Varinium spreading all
over the planet. In this rate, the planet's atmosphere will be 99%
Narlosium and Varinium in 9 minutes." Marinez sat down on a burned chair.
"Martinez, what are Narlosium and Varinium, exactly? Is it some kind of a
poison?" Jenkins didn't understand a word of what Martinez said.
"Narlosium and Varinium are recently discovered gases. They are breathable,
but they are creating a Hyper Greenhouse affect."
"So?" Defender asked.
"So, the heat inside the planet will stay there, and will get more heat
from the sun. Eventually, in a few hours, this planet will be cooked,
melted, and then, vaporized" Martinez left the bridge and went to his
temporary quarters. Wrath moved to Martinez's console and replaced him.
"Now, can we go home?" Defender asked Jenkins.
"I think not, Defender." Wrath said.
"Why?" Jenkins asked.
"The Dreadnaught detected us." Wrath said.

TCS Kinshasa
Ship's Bridge
Anshar system

"Suggestions?" Jenkins asked.
The bridge was full of silence.
"Then, I'll have to make the decision I didn't want to make. Defender, we
will fill your Broadsword with extra fuel instead of missiles. Then, the
Kinshasa and it's too Epees will stall the Kilrathi until Defender will
jump out of the system. Defender, you must get this information to confed
HQ. You know we don't have many chances here. You will have enough fuel to
jump to the Dillas system, were you will have to hope that the Hercules is
still there. Understood? The data is being transferred to the computer on
your fighter." Jenkins finished the quick briefing.
"But, Captain, I can't leave you here to die!" Defender said.
"That's an order, Defender!" Jenkins never faced death before, but now he
was ready.

TCS Kinshasa
Flight Deck
Anshar system

Defender climbed into his Broadsword.
"You're cleared to take of, Defender. Good Luck!" Martinez said.
Defender took off and started moving toward the jump point to the Zor'kah
system. He saw the Dreadnaught getting closer to the Kinshasa. Two other
Dreadnaughts were very far, but got closer to the Kinshasa too. The Two
Epee pilots - Wrath and Colt started engaging enemy fighters.
'Wow, this jump point is very far - about 40000 km. It will take me about 2
minutes to reach there in full speed. They will catch me=85 shit!' he
"No! Colt is down!" Wrath shouted. He knew that he doesn't stand a chance.
'I gotta help him=85 the kid will die=85' Defender thought. But he knew=
that he
has to keep on with the mission. Only 29000 more kms.

"What's going, Martinez?" Jenkins asked.
"The Dreadnaught launched two cap-ship missiles, And we don't have any
missiles or laser turrets. Hit in 6 seconds." Martinez said. The death was
getting closer as they spoke.
"Shit! Evasive maneuv=85" Jenkins stopped talking when the huge explosion
ripped his head off.
After two seconds, only some metal plates were floating were the Kinshasa
was, a few moments ago.=20
Wrath destroyed one Sartha. Then, two Jalkehis destroyed his Epee. He
didn't eject.

Defender was very close to the jump point. 'Only 10 more seconds, I can do
it!' He thought. 4 fast Sarthas arrived behind him and started attacking
He saw that his rear shield was destroyed, and the Armour was beginning to
fall apart.
'Yes! Here is the jump buoy! Buzz off Sarthas!" He started firing with his
rear Neutron Bolts cannon. He destroyed one rookie Sartha.
He was in only 100 Meters from the Buoy, when he felt an explosion behind
him. The Jump unit was hit, his damage control unit was destroyed.
'Nooo!' He thought. He reached the jump point. He knew that the jump unit
was hit, but he didn't know if it still works. He pressed on the 'jump'
A purple vortex opened in front of him. He entered in it, and the Sarthas
after him.

A Terran Confederation Broadsword

'What a headache!' Defender woke up and found himself lost in space. The
Broadsword had no shield, engines, and it's armour suffered critical
damage. 'The Sarthas must have been destroyed during the jump' he thought.
'And now I'm a sitting duck, and even my ejection system doesn't work!'
He waited a few minutes, and then saw a vortex opening 6000 KMs of him.
'Now, I'm going to die=85' he thought. Closing his eyes.
He waited a few moments, and understood, that the vessel didn't fire on
him. He felt that his Broadsword was moving, even without engines.
He opened his eyes slowly, and saw the TCS Garius, towing his Broadsword
into it's flight deck.

After a few moments, he landed and got out of the ship.
"Hello, pilot." The captain said.
"Uh=85 what system am I in?" he asked.
The captain laughed for a few seconds and then said: "You're in the
Landreich system=85". Defender started walking, and in a few moments he was
in the rec-room, drinking ale.


Hope you liked it,
Ilan "Fireball" Rosenfeld