reply to post by Studious
Luder stood up.
"Colonel! We don't know who in the nine hells are flying those ships out there, all we know is that they are in fact Federation fighter craft and
as long as they are shooting at us, they are a threat! I'm just as well opposed to fighting our own people as you are, but if they have been
compromised, I can't risk the safety of our crew as well as their crew, can I? No. We're going to disable their ability to fight and retake that
ship. Now get your boarding craft ready at once!" Luder turned to the science station, where Lieutenant Varlas was clearly agitated.
"Captain, we're picking up a new group of signals, four wings of centaurian ships bearing down on our position, fresh out of AC 1."
Things were starting to pick up into a hurricane force. Another message came through from Colonel Studious. A chemical agent? Luder was confused.
He took into account the recommendation for the new alert code, but had already taken steps to protect sensitive areas on board the ship.
"What proof do we have of this? A chemical agent? We don't know if or who's been infected, if at all. Unless you have some blatant proof what
you are saying is true, I need you to get those boarding craft spun up, Colonel. We have to get this carrier back."
He activated his private communicator and contacted neno.
"Neno. I want you to send a contingent of men and find Chief Medical Officer DJMessiah. He has failed to report in since we left port and as far as
our records show, he is on board. I'm not saying arrest him, just figure out where in the blazes he's holed up at. We're going to seriously need
the medical staff very shortly."
Luder needed time. Time he didn't have. The seconds were indeed ticking by on the ship's chrono, but there was no way to slow the battle down. He
mulled over retreat. Retreat? No. It would be more costly than the battle they'd already committed to. They would have to drop shields to let the
fighters back on board, change positions and spin up the wormhole drive. All that alone would take over 5 - 10 minutes, the majority of which would
be with shields down. He couldn't risk it.
"Varlas, how many triangles do you read coming out of AC 1?" Luder asked.
"We're reading four wings of six, so twenty-four acquisitions, sir."
"How long until they get to us?"
"Thirty minutes, Captain."
Luder watched the tactical monitors as the fighters danced their deadly dance in the maelstrom swirling about in between the two carriers. Luder knew
he couldn't very well expect Studious to launch the boarding craft through the fighter screens, but what if...?
"Colonel Studious, have your craft ready to fire their rams as soon as I give the command. We're moving in."
Luder took the navigation controls, where Fooks had been sitting up until..... wait... Fooks was JUST on the bridge, wasn't he? He was the
navigator who'd put the ship into the Alpha Centauri system in the first place. How was he dead in a cargo hold? Questions that would have to be
Attention all hands. We are moving in directly alongside the Nimitz. Prepare for boarding operations.
"Studious, I trust your judgement, but we don't have time to investigate at the moment. Get your troops ready with the order NOT to kill anyone
over there, am I clear? We need to sort them out after we retake that ship. If there is some type of chemical or other threat, we'll figure it out
after this battle. One emergency at a time."
Luder took the controls and set a course right alongside the port bow of the Nimitz.
"Engine room, I need all excess power diverted to the forward shields and weapons arrays. The ride is about to get a bit rough."