20 September 2019

Shooting Up Professional Pirates

Classic William H. Keith Corsair Drawing from Traveller Wiki
            “Challenge sent sir, once they were a blip on the sensors. We should have had a response when you came in.” BM3 Zabiayh’s explanation began.
            “Send it again, and man battle stations.” Lieutenant Brickley ordered, as he started prepping his gear for strapping in. “The captain has the deck and the conn.”
            “Aye-aye,” the Boatswain then gave the announcement, getting the entire crew to their stations.
            “Helm, get us to an interception. Sensors, what can you tell about the bogie?” was the next set of orders.
            “Laying in course, sir.” Zabiayh responded.
            “Working on resolution, sir,” responded Sublieutenant Hassan as he strapped into his chair. “I’ve got some basic information from passives, but nothing yet. It’s going to be a long time to close enough for details.”
            “Understood. Keep signaling, though.” Brickley responded.
            The two ships spent much of an hour slowly closing. Every signal from the Kangaroo was ignored, but the rules of engagement forbade shots. Finally, Hassan announced, “Got him! Looks like about 400 tons.”
            “Keep on him. Let’s get a good lock,” was the Captain’s reply.
            “Get a lock, aye,” was Hassan’s fully voiced reply, followed by a thought. Lighting this SOB up with a missile ping just tells him he ain’t trusted! “Can’t quite get it!” as time passed.
            “He’s trying to break our lock. Still got a good hold on his position.”
            “Keep going. We’ll get one soon enough.” The range continued to close
            “Lock is good. We’ve got him where he’s wanted, Cap’n.” was Hassan’s tired announcement. Looking at the readouts for the crew, he could see that many were snoozing at their posts, with Chishan’s section III completely asleep.
            “Good. At this point, he’s responded to my hails with an ancient song about professional pirates. Prepare to open fire. He’s a confirmed hostile now.” Brickley reviewed reports from the Orbital Complex showed the ‘ready flight’ was nowhere near ready, the customs cutters out of position for this fight, and the Adzel in an extended refit. Also, the Naval Station was said they were recording it, with them giving him subtle approval and back up. Evade selected for the system.
            When the ships closed slightly more, he gave the order to open fire with the triple laser turrets. The dorsal turret hits, and the ventral narrowly missing. The corsair’s return fire was more accurate than expected given the range, with two of them hitting the Boxing Kangaroo. “Brand! Get on that!” Brickley ordered. He directed the computer to load the Fire Control software; his ship’s best advantage.
            Closing, he had Chishan join in with his missiles. Conventional warheads only, as there was too much in the area to use the nukes. The first flights and the lasers impacted on the corsair, destroying hull, and damaging the drives, the return fire ineffective. He noted Brand’s continued efforts on the repairs, ensuring this ship would not fall. The fighters were now forming up, but not ready to go. The next round of fire, the indications were the corsair had repaired its drive, and was getting ready to run. Where in the system though? The Oort cloud for a frozen slushball the crew could refine and then jump out with? It would be hard to outrun the couriers eventually. The Kangaroo’s fire at short range gutted it quickly, with the corsair breaking up in orbit from a final missile volley.
            “Boat away! Inspect the wreckage, and check for survivors!” Brickley ordered. The routine task of launching the ship’s boat was easily accomplished. Afari skillfully matched the orbit the debris field had taken. A light blinked a few minutes later, indicating an incoming message from the Joey.
            “Boxing Kangaroo, this is Joey. I have some good news.” Valdez’s Banadsani accent came through.
            “Joey, this is Kangaroo actual. Go ahead.”
            “Kangaroo, Joey, we have found ten crew here, with one survivor. We’ll send him over to be questioned, and the rest for the morgue. And we got an ID. Sollies out of Smade’s Planet.”
            “Rodger, Joey. Come on back, and we can get refilled on ammo.” After surrendering the prisoner to the authorities, the rest of the week was quiet when they jumped out on 072-1120, bound for Loki.