Fleet Commodore Marquise Zarjana’s own flagship, the destroyer ITS Obliterator confidently entered hyperspace. Its two and a half kilometer long, turtle-shaped hull was covered with multiple long-range particle-beam cannon turrets and surrounded by her personal, hand-picked squadron of corvettes. That fool of an adjutant of hers tried so desperately to convince her, that she needed proper escort ships.
Her Obliterator was the ultimate weapon of war in these here backwater parts. What use would she have in some weakly-armed, tiny starships? Besides, the huge hangars of the destroyer had plenty of “Double Edge” starfighters, of whose superiority she was already convinced after reading a couple of G-net articles. The lengthy, boring, but otherwise eye-opening read instructed taz’aran commanders to use these modern fighters as a screening force, nothing more. Even pitiable tiny craft had their uses expanding a Marquise’s sphere of influence and her power!
“Your Ladyship! Our sensors have detected the presence of a hyperspace inhibitor in this system. Shall we correct our hyperjump exit coordinates?” – reported the Ops officer.
“What? No! What could it do to us? Weren’t you Captain, the one who told me that this ‘Coalition’ of ours is in control of the system? Continue on our present hyperspace course, on my responsibility!”
“But... your Ladyship, the Terrans have already attacked the system, apparently landed a huge invasion force on Gaour Prime and are... ummm... winning.” – dared mumble back at his Commodore the destroyer’s captain.
“Winning?! You cannot be serious, Captain! Terrans are not advanced enough to win. They are simple low IQ, backwards barbarians, who use unregistered and genetically defective clients in battle. The only way those degenerates could ‘win’ against the forces of the Imperium, is gross negligence on our side. Besides, the fool Terrans who attacked Pion base were lucky I wasn’t there to greet them! I would’ve, of course, easily crushed the weaklings.”
“Yes, of course, your Ladyship is correct, as always.” – muttered half-enthusiastically the captain of the Obliterator, his eyes shooting a quick look at the nearest escape pod.
The executioner standing guard there glared back at him with his best intimidating look and the captain, nervously gulping, turned his head away. With a commander such as the “Illustrious” Marquise, he, and as a matter of fact, every single one on board of the Obliterator was most probably doomed. Who needed enemies when that fool of a woman insisted on crippling their strike group from the get go?
Even the daftest Border Count knew – you needed escort ships since the bloody Terrans used mostly fighters and bombers. Their pilots and machines were far superior to what taz’arans had, despite what those propaganda queens from Sec-Nav blabbered about, every star-minute of every day. Higher ranking taz’arans knew exactly what was happening despite all the wozzie crap Sec-Nav agents were spewing on a regular basis. Nobody who survived and prospered, risen through the ranks of the Taz’aran Navy, was that daft.
Nobody but the Marquise, apparently.
“Your Ladyship, we are being pulled from hyperspace prematurely! It is the hyperspace inhibitor, Commodore Zarjana, someone is using it to drag us near the Coalition’s asteroid base!”
“What?! You incompetent fool! I told you to be careful so, so many times... Now take responsibility for your failure, Ops officer! Executioner, shoot that slimy failure, now!”
Without giving the innocent young officer even a chance to bargain for her life, the nearest executioner, his sidearm unholstered, blew a hole into her head and pulled the corpse away from the Ops station. The shaking replacement, an officer from comms, took her place, uniform pants now sticky and covered with smelly taz’aran blood.
Meanwhile the Obliterator exited hyperspace. Drifting, the huge warship came immediately under fire by the asteroid base’s heavy beam emplacements. None of her escorts were anywhere near and Zarjana stomped her feet, slapping the arm support of her command throne with tiny fists.
“This is Betrayal! No, a Conspiracy! Sec-Nav will hear of this and heads will roll!”
The ship shook violently.
Despite its thick shielding, the destroyer was not invulnerable and the guns, which were taz’aran issue and most gracefully loaned to their Jaern Coalition partners, unleashed beams with the thickness of grav-trucks. A couple of seconds later, the asteroid’s powerful tractor beams, apparently used by somebody creative, began bashing all sorts of debris and even small meteors into the shields of the taz’aran destroyer. The ship’s captain looked desperately at the command holo and eyes wide, well imitating surprise, shouted:
“They are launching bombers, your Ladyship! We need to deploy our fighter screen, which I am willing to personally command from the front! Your safety is my primary concern, Marquise. The High Command will never forgive any of us if we allow you to suffer harm.”
“Go then, Captain. Find a way to blast this asteroid if you can. I shall order the fighters to sacrifice for me, by ramming themselves into its surface!”
“Aham... I shall go at once, your Ladyship!”
This was an excerpt from my third Starshatter book, Treads Of Vengeance.