"General Quarters, General Quarters, All hands -- Man your Action Stations! Up and Forward to Starboard, Down and Aft to Port. General Quarters, General Quarters!"
The Klaxon rang jarringly in his ears as the Teruvian Male sat up abruptly, his small size saving him from beaning his skull on the rack above him. As he blinked the sleep from his eyes, rolling out of the rack and dropping to deck deck among the scrabbling shipmates about him he went over his mental checklist; Skinsuit - Check. Helmet... not check. He reached out to grab it, hanging above him where he had been sleeping and clipped it on. Check. Sidearm, check. Oxygen-set, medkit, check. He turned and partly stumbled, partly jogged along with the mass of crew rushing from #4 forward Berthing to get to his station.
Down and Aft, he rushed down the Port side, keeping with the correct traffic as he slipped into the Dropship bay to view the Humpbacks that were getting immediately prepped by the ready crew as reports came rolling in;
"All hands, this is your Captain speaking; The CNV Aubrey Noir reported Enemy Contact at approximately 0355. Contact was lost with the Noir soon after. The Vessel's EPIRB went off after communications went dark. The Patrol has been ordered to divert, and sweep the area for hostiles and search for survivors. This is not a Drill, we have friendlies dying out there!"
He woke up. This wasn't some simple drill, another monotonous call to stations. The Aubrey Noir had been steaming off their flank for the last day and a half, professionally keeping their position in formation. Thoughts rolled through his mind; Memories of watching the survivors coming pouring in from Abraxis IX as the IDI chased them off planet. Had they chased them here? Did they even have a chance?
He grit his teeth and looked over his console, Even if they didn't have a chance, he would be damned if those demonic creatures were going to find him simpering in a hole. This ship wasn't going down without a fight.
Coalition Naval Vessel "Caer'Ullen"
Ship's Deck Log (excerpt)
0425 Called to Action Stations, Material Condition Zebra Set throughout the ship. Captain on the Bridge.
0430 Changed Course to Match CNV Vaughn C'Ratt, increased speed Slip-8
0432 All Stations Report Manned and Ready
0455 Enginerooms #2 & #3 Report overheat to Plasma Conduits, EOW requests Engineroom #4 brought online to alleviate strain on #2
0505 Engineroom #4 Energized, rigged for Steaming. Enginerooms #2 & #3 report lowered strain.
0525 Reduced Speed, Slip-2, called to flight quarters. CNV Xenophon, CNV Impellor prep for launch.
0530 CNV Xenophon, CNV Impellor clear of Parasite Racks. Assumed screening position ahead of our course. Increased Speed Slip-6
0545 CNV Vaughn C'Ratt orders Crash-Exit to Sublight.
0546 Reduced Speed, Sublight. Obtained Lidar Contact on 24 Hostiles.
0548 CNV Caer'Ullen cleared for action, Commenced Fire.
Task Group 134.2, Coalition Navy, tasked with Revenue Service, entered the area abruptly and with little to no warning. Already prepared for combat, already rigged for action, the dropped from Slipspace 50 Kilometers the wreckage of the Aubrey Noir. An Arrow formation of 19 ships, the Vlaew Class Light Cruiser (Destroyer Leader) sitting in the middle behind a screen of five Warspite Class Destroyer Escorts, and ten Coriolis Class Gunships. Almost immediately the Fighters began launching from the Vlaew, Warspites, and the Coriolis Class ships.
Lidar, Subspace Active Arrays, and a flood of Electronic Countermeasures went active. Gravitational and Ionic decoys were launched from the ships to be towed by tractor beam to mimic the engine output of the Coalition Vessel that launched them. Then, as one, Task Group 134.2 spoke. Charged Particle Cannons and Heavy Railguns thundered in a sudden rippling barrage of death.
Cruisers were the Priority, the Warspites and the Vlaew focused on those. Specifically, they focused on the single Capitol Cruiser. It was, after all, a unique vessel on the field and therefore drew the most attention from the Vlaew's Combat Information Center. However, this was not all they shot at, the Screen of Coriolis Class Gunships broke off, leaving the true line-fighting to the Warships. They, instead, gathered into three packs of four Gunships... each one picking at Shadowguard Cruiser to target with attack runs, most notably being the one over the gutted hull of the Aubrey Noir.
As the gun war Erupted, the CICs of all of the ships involved began calculations for the initial launches of HVSDLs. The crews of the 250 Meter Vlaew Class and the 130 Meter Warspites were rather amazed at the sheer scale of the enemy vessels, having trained to hit high speed, high maneuverability targets of their equivalent side... hitting something taking up a full Kilometer or... three... would be like trying to hit a Titan. -Easy-.
The Task group, holding a careful tight formation quickly began putting on speed, cutting to port and starboard, as well as up and down at 'random' intervals to throw off enemy incoming weapons while keeping the screen relatively intact through each maneuver.