Chapter IX - A Scrambled Day (Reconstruction)


Unknown Enemy
Ok... I don't see any point waiting in vain hope for the thread to come back by itself, so...

[First Post]

All right then. Well, I'm not exactly ecstatic about this chapter, but I'll leave it as it is... and if anybody even suggests that it was rushed...


IX. A Scrambled Day.
Charging towards the hatch, Weaver popped another energy pill into his mouth, and then put on his helmet. Every few seconds, Lawrence felt the floor vibrate as the Kamekh struggled to fight the enemy off with its flak cannons.
His tired mind was filled with images of Javelin, Browning, and Drakhris dripping with blood. He was almost glad that the real Kilrathi interrupted his sleep. I guess it’s just that so much happened today, he decided as he quickly slipped down the tunnel, and finally dropped into the Ferret’s cabin. Even before he was strapped in, he’d already pushed the button that sealed the Ferret off. A moment later, he was flying.
“All right Krak’ni’hra, I’ve launched… shit!” Weaver pulled the flightstick to one side as a Gothri heavy fighter swept past, almost colliding with him. “Krak’ni’hra, how many of them are out here?” He looked at his radar. It was only showing this one, but the others could have been on the other side, shielded from his radar by the corvette itself.
“We’re tracking seven of them.” Captain Burkheimer told him, in what was a surprisingly calm voice – considering the situation. “Two directly above, one in front, one to port, and the others are on our tail. Dammit, that one’s firing at the bridge, and there’s only one flak gun over here!”
“Laddie, you take the one in front – quick-time. I’ll entertain the ones on the rear. But hurry!”
What? Weaver turned his head to look back towards the airlocks; sure enough, the Scimitar was already veering away from the ‘lock, as was the Broadsword. “Paladin?”
“Och, I’m certain Hharak and Talon can handle the Krak’ni’hra. And you’ll probably need my help.”
Lawrence grinned. Well, it was always good to have an extra ship on your side, particularly when defending a corvette against seven heavy fighters. “All right, I’m on ‘im!”
“Andh I shallh thakh the otherrss!” Rhe’dhi threw in.
“Now, now, Rhe’dhi. Don’t be greedy… there’s enough for everyone.” Weaver said, burning towards the bridge. The joke might have been inappropriate, but it helped relieve some tension. He heard Paladin and Talon chuckling.
“Thenh I shallh lheevh themh allh fhor yho, likh iss prrop’rr.” Rhe’dhi replied in a very serious tone.
“What?” Lawrence blinked in surprise. “I don’t want them…” he was about to explain that it had been a joke, but Rhe’dhi interrupted him with a wide grin.
“I knhowh… andh yho sholdh hhav sseen yhor fhaess!”
“Why, you furry… I’ll get you yet!” Weaver laughed, even as he raced past the tip of the corvette, making a u-turn to fire upon the Gothri. Fortunately, the Kilrathi was busy trying to take down the Krak’ni’hra’s powerful shields to notice Weaver. Don’t let those fool you, Terry told himself in his head. If he gets past those shields, he only has to put one missile into a bridge window, and… don’t think about it. Just stop him.
Somewhere behind the Krak’ni’hra, he could see the Scimitar weaving in and out, blasting away at three other Gothri; Paladin’s fighting style was not so much about killing as it was about making sure the enemy can’t kill, he realised. And he’s trying to keep them in the line of flak fire.
But I’ve got my own enemies to fight, he reminded himself while he charged right up to the Kilrathi ship. As he neatly adjusted his course to avoid the Gothri’s turret fire, he noted that the crack on his forward fuselage had been covered over with a new plate of armour. Who did that, he wondered. Then again, it really didn’t matter who as long as it had been done, Weaver decided as he pressed the gun trigger. A stream of mass driver bullets spewed forth from the Ferret’s single gun; however, most of the volley merely raced past the Gothri’s flanks. God… I need sleep. Proper sleep, Lawrence thought with a grimace. Come on, you must try harder.
He shook his head violently, trying to coax his mind into waking up. Soon the energy pill would start working, but until then, I must concentrate…
“Shit!” Weaver exclaimed as the Gothri’s turret fired off a well-placed blast of neutrons. Fortunately, the series was rather short since the Kilrathi ship had to take a sharp turn to avoid an exploding round of flak. As Weaver also turned away from the small explosion, he caught a quick glance of Rhe’dhi pumping a series straight into another enemy ship, shredding the cat’s rear armour and knocking out the turret. Lawrence grinned to himself. Soon enough, that would be one less Gothri to deal with.
“I hhav khillhedh one!” Rhe’dhi suddenly called out, as if to confirm that theory.
“Well… that’s something, anyway.” Weaver replied, making a hard turn to get back on the Kilrathi’s tail. Speed was of the essence here, since Paladin would undoubtedly need help with the group attacking the engines. Another half-roll to get out of the way of an incoming flak charge, and he was back in position behind the Gothri. The enemy fighter, Terry noted, seemed to be heading back into the asteroid belt.
Good! Maybe if I can distract him… he held down the trigger, firing at the Kilrathi as many mass driver blasts as his overworked power plant would launch. Yes! The stream from his cannon ploughed through the enemy fighter’s shields. I guess these new Gothri aren’t as well shielded as they ought to be, the analytical part of Weaver’s mind decided. With a deft roll, he easily avoided the fire from the Kilrathi’s rear turret.
And suddenly, the Gothri started sharply decelerating. “What…” Lawrence exclaimed. Though he also cut off the engines, the Kilrathi was already slower. Terry had no choice but to fly straight past him, accelerating the Ferret back up to full thrust. He charged on, making a rapid twist as the enemy fighter fired off a series from its forward cannons. Engulfed in a stream of mass driver and particle charges, Lawrence kicked in the afterburners, gently looping back towards the Krak’ni’hra so as not to fly into the asteroids.
A warning alarm went off, as a hot blast of particles eradicated his rear shields. “Dammit, these things are too bloody manoeuvrable.” Weaver muttered. It seemed as though the Gothri was somehow attached to his Ferret’s tail.
There! The corvette had fired two or three flak charges in this direction; the shells were moving towards their general area. Lawrence pulled another half-roll, which the Gothri promptly followed. All of a sudden, Weaver dove straight towards the Krak’ni’hra, and the Kilrathi turned with him. Before the enemy pilot realise the danger, a flak round struck his fighter’s belly. As the flak exploded, the Gothri was rapidly propelled towards the rocks. An instant later the Kilrathi ceased to exist, his ship breaking into several sections upon an asteroid.
“Thanks for the flak, Krak’ni’hra.” Lawrence said with a sigh of relief. “Who would’ve thought those things are so damned manoeuvrable?”
“In this line of work, you’ve gotta expect the unexpected.” Talon replied with a grim smile.
“I’ll keep that in mind.” Weaver told him, even as he moved back towards the Kamekh in search of a new target. “Dammit, Krak’ni’hra, you’re blocking half my bloody radar… how many are there left, and where?”
“We’ve just taken down a third one. So there’s still one left above, but Rhe’dhi’s keeping him at bay. As for the other three…”
“Just get over here, laddie!” Paladin interrupted them, a look of intense concentration on his face. “These three buggers are pumping all they’ve got into the Kamekh’s engines!”
“On my way!” Lawrence replied, kicking in the afterburners as he turned towards the Krak’ni’hra’s rear. The Ferret rapidly swept along the corvette’s underside.
At last, Weaver slid out into the chaos behind the Kamekh, looking around wildly to get a stock of the situation. And it didn’t look good. Paladin was firing at the three Kilrathi almost constantly, his ship weaving an intricate pattern between them – as if begging for a collision. His Scimitar appeared to already be badly damaged; several plates of armour were gone from the ship’s flank, and some more from the wing surface. What was worse, there was an exceedingly wide and irregular trail of ions emerging from the Scim’s engines, indicating that those too, had been hit.
But worst of all, the three Gothri were still focused on the Krak’ni’hra, letting their turrets take care of Colonel Taggart. Indeed, the three neutron turrets were altogether sufficient to keep Paladin at bay – and in the meantime, the corvette’s rear shields were almost completely down now. Time and again, blasts from the Gothris’ guns struck the crackling shields; every once in a while, some of the energy would penetrate far enough to leave blackened scores around the Kamekh’s engines. And the flak cannon that was sitting between the engines didn’t seem to make much of an impression on the Gothris – they were too nimble.
A good design, Lawrence thought with a grimace as the Ferret charged into the scene, gun a-blazing. But their armour seems a bit weak, compared to other Kilrathi heavies… an extended volley from the mass driver finally penetrated the forward shield on one of the enemy fighters. The Kilrathi pilot turned his craft towards him, ready to face this new threat. Good, Weaver decided. If he’s firing at me, he’s not firing at the Krak’ni’hra…am I insane, he thought with a grim smile. But he knew that that was the right thing to do. The Ferret could move fast enough, but the Kamekh couldn’t. He pulled a hard right to avoid an incoming stream of fire, and afterburned right in-between the other two Gothri.
“Come on, you sa’guk!!” He yelled into the comms, transmitting on all frequencies. “Let’s see how you do against a real enemy!”
Suddenly, his comm system started receiving several messages all at once, resulting in pure gibberish. He flicked a switch that turned the auto-sequencer on, and the system started playing them one by one.
“…Utak! Yho eeth seweegh, Hhumhann!” A Kilrathi exclaimed, mixing Kilrathi and English.
“Tuka!” Another Gothri pilot added.
“Seweegh nar Nak’tara!” The third pilot yelled.
“Oh, shit.” Weaver exclaimed. It looked as though his taunting had worked too well… all three Gothri were now firing at him. I oughta get some less offensive insults from Rhe’dhi, he thought. But who would have thought that a single word could be so bloody effective? He continued on his course through the enemy formation, burning towards the asteroids behind them.
“You really shouldna broadcast like that, laddie! Next time you feel like insulting a Kilrathi, use tight beam comms!” Paladin threw in, half-shocked by Weaver’s actions, half-amused at Weaver’s tone.
Lawrence was now on the other side of the group of fighters, subject to heavy turret fire even as all three of them turned to face him again. Sparing a quick glance in Paladin’s direction, he saw that Colonel Taggart was wasting no time – already, the Scimitar was blasting away at the Gothri. But would he do enough damage to save him?
A streak of purple energy flew past his ship, burning away at the edge of the shields. He quickly rolled to the side, but already he felt the impact of another series. Suddenly, all the warning systems started screaming at him – rear shields were down, heavy damage to armour. And missile lock! Already going as fast as the tiny ship could manage, he performed a tight u-turn, then ninety degrees back… the missile warning finally stopped. A flash in the corner of his eye told Weaver that it had smashed into a rock on the edge of the belt.
“Anotherr khill!” Rhe’dhi announced.
“Good! Now get over here!” Lawrence replied, his voice tense. He pulled another sharp manoeuvre as the Kilrathi fired volley after volley at him. At least they weren’t firing at the Krak’ni’hra, he thought. The corvette’s shields would have some time to recharge… I just hope I’m still there afterwards…
The three Gothris continued single-mindedly blasting away in his direction as he skirted the edge of the asteroids, noticing how many of them seemed to break up in his wake, showering his ship with tiny rocks. If the Kilrathi kept this barrage up, there won’t be an asteroid belt left, he thought with a grim smile. But it would only take one larger chunk to knock him off course. This isn’t going to work, he realised. If I wait for Paladin and Rhe’dhi to get them… I might just die.
Weighting his options, in an instant he made his decision. “Krak’ni’hra, get ready with those flak guns of yours, because you’ll need to use them!” He yelled, turning towards the Kamekh. During the chase, they’d moved away from the rear towards the flank of the corvette. In this direction, both the topside and the underside flak cannons could reach them. “This has to work!” Lawrence told himself.
At full pelt, he streaked towards the great ship, watching with satisfaction that already, the Krak’ni’hra was launching flak shells – lots, and lots of flak shells. Deftly, he manoeuvred in between the charges; he knew the Kilrathi wouldn’t be foolish enough to fly into them, but perhaps Paladin might force them to make a mistake. And somewhere on the other side of the corvette, he caught a brief glimpse of the Broadsword’s tail. Rhe’dhi would be here soon.
Suddenly, there was an explosion behind him. One of the red blips disappeared from the radar.
“Dinna worry, laddie!” Paladin announced. “I’m still ‘ere, an’ shooting as fast as this old tug can manage!”
Weaver smiled, but the smile quickly faded. A loud beep told him that his forward shields were halfway down – a blast from one of the Gothris’ had set off a flak shell right in front of him. “Just a few more seconds.” He told himself, gritting his teeth as he finally dove right under the Krak’ni’hra. The Kilrathi were still behind him, but they had to slow down, their ships being less manoeuvrable than the Ferret. By the time they reached the underside of the Kamekh, Weaver was already climbing steeply up along the corvette’s other flank.
And then Rhe’dhi’s Broadsword rolled into position – it had been waiting just metres from where Weaver’s ship had passed, hidden behind the Krak’ni’hra. The two Gothri flew right into an accurate volley from the Broadsword’s triple mass drivers; within seconds, one of the Kilrathi lost his forward shields – then several mass driver charges pierced his cabin, and the ship was rapidly engulfed in flames. The last enemy fighter managed to avoid Rhe’dhi’s first volley; but the Scimitar was still behind him. Caught in a deadly crossfire, the Gothri finally succumbed to their guns.
Suddenly, there was total silence as the three pilots breathed a sigh of relief.
Weaver flicked on the visual. “Damn, that was close.” He said, wondering if they could hear his heart beat – it certainly seemed loud enough to come across the comms. “Thanks. Looks like I owe you guys my life… again.”
“Whe wholdh nev’her leth yho dhye.” Rhe’dhi told him. “Bhessaidhs, yho hhav alsso ssavdh mhy lhife thwaiss.”
“I did?” Weaver asked, still trying to calm down. Must every mission include such a close call? “Oh yeah… I did too. Well, I guess that’s what wingmates… and hens… are for.”
“Whath?” Rhe’dhi looked perplexed, and even more so when he heard Paladin chuckling.
“Oh, ‘tis of no importance, laddie.” James told him, still laughing. “Right, lads. Hharak, I believe it is time to leave this system, don’t ye?”
“Thath wholdh h’appeerr to bhe ah korrekth choiss.” The Kilrathi replied. “The bhesth jhamp rhouth frrom hher iss…” he paused, as he looked at the nav map.
“Through Epsilon Prime.” Paladin threw in. “We can’t risk going back out through Canewdon, after all. And going through Epsilon, we might catch up with the Concordia in Morpheus… hopefully. Well, let’s get a move on then. The three of us will fly point until we’re clear of the asteroids. Then, I think we’ll have to get back aboard for a while.”
As the Krak’ni’hra rotated itself in the direction of the Epsilon Prime jump point, the three fighters were already clearing away the rocks.
“Hey, Rhe’dhi?” Weaver suddenly asked while firing at an asteroid that had been threatening the corvette’s upper left flank. “What does utak mean?”
Rhe’dhi laughed. “Ifh I thell yho… yho mhight use ith inh khombath. Ith wholdh nhath bhe kindh of mhe to allhow yho to endangher yhor laifh in ssuch manh’nerr.”
* * *
“All right… so a tuka is somebody who is really weak in spirit and mind – basically, a coward?” Weaver asked, and Rhe’dhi nodded. “Utak means someone who cleans the, uh, sewers – and it was considered a grave insult to be even touched by the shadow of an utak?” Again, Rhe’dhi nodded as he affixed a new armour plate onto Paladin’s Scimitar.
“Hang on… they’ll fight me to the death if I call them tuka, and they’ll fight me to the death if I call them utak – and they’ll fight me to the death if I call them sa’guk. Don’t you know any insults that will only annoy them… a little bit?”
Rhe’dhi pulled the box with spare parts towards him, growling in annoyance as the cable linking the box to the Krak’ni’hra’s airlock stretched to its limits. It looked as though he would have to keep moving back and forth between the fighter and the box, then. He turned towards Weaver. “Yho mhasth undhersstandh… the Kilrathi dho nhath takh inssultss vhery whell.”
“You mean… your people will fight to the death about ANY insult?” Lawrence gave Rhe’dhi a startled look, trying to figure out if the Kilrathi was joking again. But the reflective glass of his helmet concealed Rhe’dhi’s eyes.
“Nhath khwaithe.” The Kilrathi pilot replied, as he carefully inspected the exposed wiring sticking out of the Scimitar’s flank. There were several broken wires in the guidance systems, but spare wires they had aplenty. He glided back to the box and started rifling through its contents. “Ith iss permhissibhl to inssulth inh jhest, andh nho offhenss shall bhe thakhen. Andh of khorss, ifh a cublingh inssultss yho, thenh yho whill mheerhly phanish hhim. Alhsso, ith iss imhproprr to challhenghe a fhemhale – theyh brringh lhifh, andh mhast bhe resspekhted. Bhat… yhes, other thanh thath – h’an inssulth almosth alhwayss marhkss the sstarth h’ofh a duel…”
Wow, Weaver thought. They do take politeness to a new level. “What happens if somebody decides to apologise? Will that stop the duel from taking place?”
“Yhess… bhat hhe whill lhoss fhaess. Thath iss why mhosth arrghumhentss arr dhonh ihn prrivate – sso thath one khan bakh dhownh withouth lhosingh fhaess.” He quickly moved to help Lawrence, who was trying to mount a new gun – the only spare one they had – onto his ship. The Ferret was indeed in a rather sorry state – by now, its original paintjob had been replaced by the dull metallic grey of unpainted armour plates. Given the amount of damage the ship had taken over the last few missions, it was surprising that it still worked properly. As the two pilots struggled with the cumbersome gun, they quickly forgot about their conversation.
From where he floated - fixing the Scimitar’s wing – Paladin looked at the two pilots with a tolerant smile. Weaver seemed to have started his studies of the Kilrathi language with insults and swear words. But then, James thought, the first word I learnt in French was ‘merde’… rapidly followed by ‘bouffon’ and ‘imbécile’. Wasn’t my fault though… Angel should have known better than to put those papers next to my beer. He grinned, surprised that he even recalled the silly incident. Those had been great times, back on the Tiger’s Claw. Briefly, he wondered if Colonel “Angel” Devereux still remembered that particular event. It had been so long ago, way back when she – just a Lieutenant then – first came aboard the ‘Claw… in ’49? Or was it ’48? We vets from the ‘Claw really should all get together one of these days… he sighed, reminding himself just how few of them there was left.
But never mind that. Right now, there are more important things to do, he decided. In four hours – hopefully – they would get to the Epsilon Prime jump point. So far, we had really been quite lucky, James mused. After all, the Krak’ni’hra had only been attacked once, and thanks to Weaver’s quick thinking, the Kamekh had sustained only negligible damage. Who knows what would have happened had he not thrown that insult at them – as stupid and suicidal as it was. But, had even one of the corvette’s engines been crippled… that could be the difference between getting out of here alive, and not getting out at all.
“Well, good enough.” He said, as he shut down the laser welder. The wing wasn’t exactly as good as new, but at least the fuel tanks were no longer exposed. Colonel Taggart turned to look at the Ferret; they had finally managed to weld the gun on, and were in the process of testing it.
“All right. The acceleration chamber works a hundred percent.” Weaver announced when the new gun fired a spurt of bullets, somewhere in the direction of the jump point. “And the sync mechanism…” he pressed a switch on the control pad he was holding in his hands. “Works perfectly,” he finished, watching the two guns fire in the exact same instant.
“Good work, lads.” Paladin congratulated them both; indeed, as a team the two of them were more efficient than many of the professional fighter repair crews he’d met over the years. Then again, nobody in his right mind would do a sloppy job fixing a ship that he himself was going to fly. “Well, let’s mount the missiles on these beasts, and get back inside the Krak’ni’hra.” He grimaced. “We’re going to sweep through Epsilon Prime without stopping… I don’t know if we’ll have much time to rest once we’re through that jump point.”
“Eh, who needs sleep anyway?” Weaver grinned, while stifling yet another yawn. He looked ruefully at the Ferret, without any doubt that most of the latest damage had been an indirect result of not having enough rest. Without proper sleep, the next encounter with the Kilrathi could well be his last…
* * *
“Two minutes to the jump point.” Talon announced, slightly nervous. The Krak’ni’hra had fled across the Deneb System without any further encounter. I suppose I should be happy, Jeffrey thought. But I feel certain that there’s something waiting around the corner… or rather, in Epsilon Prime.
“Weaver? Rhe’dhi?” Paladin spoke over the ship’s internal comm system. “You two had better board your ships now… no telling what we’ll find on the other side of the jump point.”
“Roger that, Colonel.” Lawrence replied. Indeed, he was just buttoning up his flight suit, already standing at the hatch. “Have you worked out the flight plan yet, sir?”
“The nav map is ready for you to download into your system, lad. A straight route to the Morpheus jump point would be too obvious, so we’re taking a roundabout route. We’ll first head for the seventh planet – a particularly large gas giant. Once there, we’ll perform a slingshot around the planet, and head straight for the jump point. The velocity we gain in the slingshot manoeuvre ought to make up for the time we lose by taking the scenic tour.
“However, if there are no enemy ships in scanner range after the jump, I want you to abort the flight. I want you two to be at one hundred percent, so you get the rare privilege of spending the next several hours onboard… hopefully, anyway. At any rate, as long as we’re flying in open space, the Krak’ni’hra’s radar should give us enough warning for you two to hop into your fighters, so we’re not risking anything.”
Weaver grinned. It seemed as though he’d only just fallen asleep when Paladin woke them up as they neared the jump point. Of course, those four hours had helped a great deal – this time, he had been too exhausted to be bothered by nightmares – but another few hours was always good.
“But then, if we do encounter enemy fighters…” Lawrence said to Rhe’dhi with a shrug.
“Ihf whe dho, thenh whe shall desstrroy themh, as alhwayss. Andh ihn plenthy of thyme forr dhin’nerr.”
Weaver looked quizzically at the big Kilrathi. “In plenty of time for dinner? Where did you get that from?” This wasn’t the first time that Terry heard his wingmate using one of those odd little phrases.
Rhe’dhi gave him an amused glance in return. “Yho hhavyn’t sseenh the Enghlish lhernhingh diskhs Konfed ssent uss, hhav yho?”
Lawrence slapped himself in the forehead. Trust Confed HQ to mess up with something as simple as language disks. Now everyone on K’arakh will ‘bravely sally forth to fight the enemy’ – and ‘come home in plenty of time for dinner.’ I wonder if Rhe’dhi uses these stupid lines when speaking Kilrathi? That would be unusual, to say the least.
Finally, Weaver opened the hatch and climbed down into the Ferret. Before the hatch closed above, he heard the elevator door close as Rhe’dhi descended into the airlock.
“Krak’ni’hra, I’m ready to go.” Lieutenant Lawrence announced as he strapped himself in. A few Seconds later, he heard Rhe’dhi add his own announcement of readiness.
“About time, lads.” Paladin answered. “Initiating jump sequence.”
Wonderful, Weaver thought with sarcasm. THIS again. He closed his eyes as the harsh light filled the cabin. Epsilon Prime, here we come.


Ok, let's hear the comments.
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[At long last, Quarto said]

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial">quote:</font><HR>Huh? heh heh heh Middle East? This Lawrence thing isn't going to your head now is it?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I dunno... I just don't see... er, hear it, myself.

1. Ok.
Well, the Kilrathi must have a sense of humour, right? Cats have one... even if it's rather odd.
3. One of the first two? You mean fighter, or fired? Confused...
4. You know, when I wrote that, I thought - now that's something he'll mention.

5. Yes, sorta. I think I might remove the second half.
6. Yes.
7. Why not?
Haven't used aft yet.

8. Dunno. Are you sure?
9. Ok. But how about if I move already to after damaged?
10. I don't know... I'd have to do some research about ion drives (which do exist)... but then they'd probably go and invent a new type.

The cannon or the Gothri?

12. Perhaps, but a sneer is derisive, and a smirk is... hmm... well, it's difficult to define a smirk. All in all, I see your point but it will have to stay.
13. Yes, it explains a lot, non?
14. Unless of course the pilots were Thrak'hra (nobles). That would mean that they don't need to be skilled to fly Gothri.

15. Why, the little bugger!


17. It's a racial flaw, apparently. It explains why they have a strong clan system - so that there's a leader to bang their heads together and restore peace. It's all derived from the hostile environment of Kilrah - as you know, environment has a vast influence on culture.
18. You know...
I have no idea. I figure he'd have picked a few words up, considering the way Angel threw then into conversations so frequently.
19. I'd have to make the rest of the incident up first... maybe later.

20. Nope. This whole incident was something I made up; but there's no date about Angel's assignment to the 'Claw. About all I could go with was her age (28) in '54.
21. Hmm?

23. Hey, you've got microwaves the world over in space.

24. What's wrong with a slingshot? I find it hard to believe that the Navy would totally ignore the various positive and negative aspects of gravity.
25. I wish it didn't fly when I'm sleeping though. In fact, it should slow down to half-speed.
26. Och, aye...

Yes, it was slightly shorter than normal... but chapter X is a lot longer than normal, so it makes up for it quite nicely. In fact, it's so long that I'm thinking about restructuring part of it into chapter XI... but that probably won't happen - unless I decide to pull a Dralthi5, and leave y'all biting yer nails off in suspense.

No, it definitely wasn't rushed. It took two or three weeks. If you thought this battle was long enough... hmm... the next one is quite a bit longer. In fact, it's about the lenght of this entire chapter. There's a lot happening.

Prima? &lt;studies wcum.jpg at x3&gt; Why, so it is. Will make the necessary changes.

[Matrix said (An' it took him a while

[Parts of the post removed due to sheer laziness]

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial">quote:</font><HR>The funny thing is, several people have asked me if I'm from the Middle East...<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Huh? heh heh heh Middle East? This Lawrence thing isn't going to your head now is it?

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial">quote:</font><HR>just wait till I start creating new Kilrathi words. It's about time somebody did more with the Kilrathi language.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Quite, and what better person for the job.

I'm in a
mood so watch out.

1. &gt;He was almost glad that the real Kilrathi interrupted his sleep.&lt; - Had interrupted.
2. &gt;“I knhowh… andh yho sholdh hhav sseen yhor fhaess!”&lt; - Oh, now who's going overboard!?

3. &gt;fighter fired off&lt; - Consider a synonym for one of the first two words...and no, not Ferret.

4. &gt;It seemed as though the Gothri was somehow attached to his Ferret’s tail.&lt; - Heh. On a Ferret there is a tail to attach to.
5. &gt;The corvette had fired two or three flak charges in this direction; the shells were moving towards their general area.&lt; - Hmm. Saying a similar thing in both parts of the sentence.
6. &gt;Before the enemy pilot realise the danger,&lt; - Realised.
7. &gt;turned towards the Krak’ni’hra’s rear.&lt; - Not sure why, but aft would be better here.
8. &gt;to get a stock of the situation.&lt; - I think the a is unnecessary.
9. &gt;His Scimitar appeared to already be badly damaged;&lt; - Sounds better if you move already before appeared.
10. &gt;an exceedingly wide and irregular trail of ions&lt; - Hmm, I wonder what they are ions of?
11. &gt;And the flak cannon that was sitting between the engines didn’t seem to make much of an impression on the Gothris&lt; - And pretty soon it would be just that - a mere impression.

12. &gt;he thought with a grim smile.&lt; - Perhaps too many grimaces and grim smiles. Maybe have Terry sneer or smirk once in a while.
13. &gt;turned the auto-sequencer on,&lt; - Good idea.
14. &gt;But who would have thought that a single word could be so bloody effective?&lt; - Yes, especially against well trained pilots. I mean I doubt they give Gothri's to just anybody.
15. &gt;Paladin threw in, half-shocked by Weaver’s actions, half-amused at Weaver’s tone.&lt; - That first comma might be a dash in disquise.

16. &gt;Well, I guess that’s what wingmates… and hens… are for.”&lt; - *chuckle*
17. &gt;the Kilrathi dho nhath takh inssultss vhery whell.&lt; - No kidding.
18. &gt;James thought, the first word I learnt in French was ‘merde’…&lt; - Does Paladin even know francais?
19. &gt;Angel should have known better than to put those papers next to my beer.&lt; - Care to elaborate?
20. &gt;first came aboard the ‘Claw… in ’49? Or was it ’48?&lt; - Masking an indiscrepancy?
21. &gt;We vets from the ‘Claw really should all get together one of these days…&lt; - A little close to home?
22. &gt;“Eh, who needs sleep anyway?”&lt; -

23. &gt;something waiting around the corner…&lt; - Heh. Corners in space. "Go 50AU that way, and turn left. You can't miss it."
24. &gt;we’ll perform a slingshot around the planet,&lt; - Uh...oh-kay.
25. &gt;It seemed as though he’d only just fallen asleep when Paladin woke them up&lt; - Time flies when you're having fun.
26. &gt;but another few hours was always good.&lt; - It always is.
27. &gt;Now everyone on K’arakh will ‘bravely sally forth to fight the enemy’ – and ‘come home in plenty of time for dinner.’&lt; - Hee hee.

WHAT!? That's it? Where's the rest?

It certainly wasn't rushed - or at least it flowed too well to show for it. I thought the battle was good too. A few details less won't hurt for a change and it was sufficiently long to keep the tension up.
I liked the sleepy thing. It is bloody hard to concentrate on the matter at hand when your mind just refuses to function - energy pill or not.
Incidentally on the map it's Epsilon Prima, not Prime.


[Skipping several off-topic transmissions]

[Klaus said]

Damn good!

[Rest of the post removed due to off-topicity (yes, I know that's not a word)]

[Quarto said]

There are plans for that, Klaus
. There are plans... but first, I should finish at least one book, non? What d'ya think of this chapter?

[Klaus said]

Och, 'Tis a trilogy then.

It would be good if you had a page or place to put the whole story together, like Vondoom did.

[Quarto said]

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial">quote:</font><HR>Book 2? It's going to be like an epic.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Och, 'tis no epic. Just three books, is all...

[Dralthi5 said]

I'm not saying you should get rid of the accent, but just don't bring it to such an extreme. But, it's your story, I'm just giving a suggestion.

Book 2? It's going to be like an epic.

[Quarto said]

Tsk, tsk. I would expect Matrix to show up by now
Dralthi5: Well, I'll try to keep the sleep thing down, although I'm worried that if I reduce it, it will seem like he's no longer so. BTW, it's not just that he's sleepy... he's bloody exhausted
As for Rhe'dhi's accent... I'm sorry, but you're just gonna have to bear with it. Believe me, it takes ages to wear down an accent. And even then, you find that people still notice your accent - generally mistaking it for another accent. The funny thing is, several people have asked me if I'm from the Middle East...

And yes, the battle was less descriptive than those earlier ones. I'll keep that in mind when I get around to writing the next combat scene. In fact, the next combat scene will have to be the (second) best in the book, or else...

Those insults were all from standard WC sources... just wait till I start creating new Kilrathi words. It's about time somebody did more with the Kilrathi language. Of course, that will happen in Book 2, which is 3-5 chapters from now.

Slow? The fight wasn't enough for ye?

[Dralthi5 said]

Yet again, pretty good, though the battle was not as descriptive as some of the earlier ones, in my opinion. And the sleep thing is getting overdone a tad. He's sleepy, we got it.
Also, Rhe'di's accent gets hard to read sometimes, you might want to tone it down just slightly.
I liked Weaver's little lesson in Kilrathi insults. But my favorite Kilrathi insult is still, " Bugs Bunny screws yer mother!" (End Run reference.

A rather slow chapter, but that's perfectly all right.
Overall, good as always. Keep it up.

[This message has been edited by Quarto (edited April 08, 2000).]
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Story... check.
Dralthi5's comments... check.
Klaus' comments... check.
Matrix's comments... check.

Checklist complete. Awaiting further posts.
2. Sense of humour okay, but "You should've seen your face?"
3. Yes, a synonym for fighter or fired since "fighter fired off" is effy.

4. Oh dear. I'm becoming predictable.
8. I think either way will do, but personally I'd remove it.
9. Well I think it's better to hav the emphasis on the appearance of damage, rather than on the damage itself.
10. Aw leave it be. I'm just wondering is all.
11. The cannon. Otherwise I'd have said they would be just an immpression. Hmm, Gothri already sounds plural.
13. Auto-sequencer explains a lot?
17. Environment and genes. They are feline after all.
18. Mais oui.

21. Replace vets with TISOLites and the Claw to TISOL.

23. Huh? What have microwaves got to do with corners?
24. Down with gravity! Down with gravity!

25. But sleeping is really fun.

Battles are long enough when there is sufficient action to keep the interest of the reader - as long as the writer can keep it fresh.

x3? Heh. Maybe I should scan in my map and send it to ya.
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2. It's no sillier than the stuff you have
3. Hmm... fighter is now ship. I was going to make it a vessel, but that term is really more appropriate for big ships.
4. Must be getting old.

8. Hmm.... then I guess I'll leave it. Can't let you win them all.

9. Yeah, I guess.

&lt;shakes his head violently&gt; Why am I so sleepy? All I had today was two exams in the space of five hours. It couldna have exhausted me that much...

10.Well, I'd like to know too, but there's not too much information about ion drives. Hell, I think they've only built one spaceship that uses them - so far.
11. As a rule, I use Gothri as both singular and plural. Just like Dralthi.
13. Yeah, it explains the way all those messages in WCP came one after another.
17. Well, with the sole exception of Eryk, all the cats that I've met so far simply get up and leave. They never challenge you to combat... like I said, except Eryk.

21. Interesting idea.

23. Absolutely nothing. It's just that you also used a silly metaphor.

Yes, this ought to be fresh enough.

I've actually got an 8mb .bmp of the map somewhere, but the .jpg is just so much more convenient.
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4. Oh I've been old for quite a while.

8. Nope, sure can't.
11. In that case you have an slight anomaly in &gt;And the flak cannon that was sitting between the engines didn’t seem to make much of an impression on the Gothris&lt;.
13. Or the fact that sound buffering is often done with queue's.
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11. Whoops. I'll check that out.

Hey, I went and checked up on Ion Drives. They use Xenon ions. These engines are actually slower than normal chemical rockets, but ten times more efficient.

Why did I bother?
It happened almost by accident. One minute, I'm reading about wormholes, and the next, I'm looking at an ion drive. Hmm...
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You spelt maneuver wrong, I think.

I like the story, had a bit of trouble understanding what was going on since I haven't read the last like four chapters of it.

I'll be going to Montreal next week, so I'll ask Koko for his story then.

Oh yeah, some of the worse insults in French are things like Colis and Tabernaque. Nobody really says Imbecile or Bouffon. You hear Merde all the time though.

[This message has been edited by Cricket (edited April 15, 2000).]
No, I actually spelt manoeuvre right
. Except that I use the correct, British spelling.

If you have time, it would be nice if you went back to the other chapters; comments are always welcome

So what does Colis and Tabernaque mean?

BTW, thanks for remembering about Kokonut. Highly appreciate it
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Ach, just forget what was here. Just a bunch of nonsense. Sorry, too few hours of sleep have their toll.

[This message has been edited by klaus (edited April 16, 2000).]
Okay I didn't know that about the spelling. Damn Americans screw everything up

Tabernaque is something to do with a church, but I haven't been in one since I was like five so I don't remember. I don't think Colis means anything.

Colis is about the same as shit, and merde is like saying damn. I don't think I'm alowed writting what Tabernaque is like, but you could proabably figure it out.

Yeah it's no problem about Koko. I just hope he's home when I call.
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