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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Operation Hammerhead - 20. Shoot Out At Checkpoint Charlie

Spooky Lead

Yorktown Reconnaissance Section

7 Light Minutes North of the Plane of the Ecliptic

Stonegarden System

Lt. Lisa Mays twitched when the enemy task force appeared less than 30 light seconds from her Raven reconnaissance craft.

Master Chief Lindsay, her Weapons Systems Officer or WSO, chuckled and said, “Well now, look who crashed our party. It looks like they brought all brand-new toys. I’m reading two Javelins, four Condors, and a couple of dozen escorts.”

Mays adjusted her angle of approach to the enemy fleet. As long as the little ship did not radiate any telltale emissions, there was no way the enemy would spot them at this range.

Chief Lindsay said, “I’m warming up one of the recon platforms.”

Mays asked, “How soon?”

“Ten seconds to launch our drone— automatic launch sequence engaged.”

“OK, Chief. We’ve got six Mantis anti-radiation missiles per bird in our flight. Give me a fire plan that will make the most of them.”

Mays enabled the laser communications system and ran a quick ping to the next bird in line to check the system’s alignment. She was promptly rewarded with a green light.

Lindsey said, “I’ve got the fire plan loaded. We go in three flights of two and focus on the Javelin carriers and their big Condor escort ships. If we can degrade their sensors, their missile defense will be significantly degraded.”

Mays said, “Record for burst transmission with our fire plan: Yankee Tango Romeo flight from lead, execute the attached fire plan. Immediately jump to our designated recovery area. Do not, I  repeat, do not wait for battle damage assessment. Please acknowledge receipt of this transmission.”




Flag Bridge

Admiral Bassett and his Chief of Staff, Captain Hutchins, were finalizing the battle plan when the TacCom displays went dark.

Pandemonium broke out as the fleet’s command staff tried in vain to get a handle on what was going on. TacCom, the system that integrated the fleets’ vital functions, was there, and then it was gone.

Technicians ran onto the bridge and pulled panels to get at the system’s vitals.

Hutchins found his board was dead. “Admiral, I can’t even get voice comms over ship-to-ship.”

Bassett turned pale and said, “We either get our systems back, or we’re dead.”



Saratoga Flag Bridge

Checkpoint Charlie

Stonegarden System

Sokolsky busied himself by programming several emergency jump calculations to have on hand if they were needed when his implant pinged with an urgent message from his AI, Albert. He opened the connection and found his usually taciturn AI in an agitated state.

Albert blurted out: Commander, there is an enemy virus in the ship operating system. If we don’t act quickly, it will destroy the software that integrates the fleet.

As he communicated via his implants, a commotion broke out on the flag bridge as TacCom went down hard.

Danny replied, what can we do about it?

Order me to fix it.

Do it.

He reached his console to open a channel to Repulse for Admiral Bassett, but nothing would go through. He sighed and thought it's better to act and ask for forgiveness than let it all burn down.



Saratoga Hanger Deck

Jeff Holloway sat quietly crunching on an energy bar in the pilot’s seat of his FA-71 Tornado as the hanger crew prepped his ship.

His backseater Ted asked, “Trade you a blueberry and sawdust for a strawberry and cardboard.”

“Sorry, Ted. All I’ve got left are raisins and gravel.”

Ted sighed and said, “It’s a good thing they don’t taste good. These energy bars will wear out your teeth by chewing them. Heads up. The ordnance guys have us loaded: two Standards, two of them nukes, six LongBows, and thirty-five hundred rounds for the Gauss guns.”

Holloway, listening to the chatter on the network, sat up and swore.

Ted asked, “What’s up?”

Holloway replied, “Not sure yet, but it sounds like TacCom just picked the worst possible time to go tits up.”




Saratoga Computer Network

One of the nice things about being artificial intelligence is that you’re fast. Albert entered Saratoga’s main computer network from his lair in the science section secure subnet like a herd of annoyed electrons.

The first bad sign was Saratoga’s AI; SAM was stone dead. Its processes were offline, and getting a system that complex back would take hours. While SAM, short for Systems Automata Master, wasn’t a brilliant conversationalist, Albert was sad to find him in this state. SAM was stolid, reliable, and deserved much better.

All the fleet ships used a common network architecture that had been revamped for the new ships built after the start of the current war. It was compartmentalized with subnets and included redundancies to cope with the damage. Artificial intelligence lived in the heart of every ship’s network, although the crews very rarely interacted with it. SAM served as the controller for autonomous systems, much like the human brain-controlled breathing and heartbeat. Saratoga would begin to die if control of those functions were not restored quickly.

For all of Sokolsky’s virtues, he was a slob when it came to systems administration. That was a big reason he had purchased Albert’s source code and modified it to take on the dirty jobs of system and network administration. Of all the minds in the fleet, Albert was best suited for this task.

It took him almost ten whole microseconds to figure out what was wrong. Bad things were happening in all sorts of places.

The Toaster’s virus was an old trick. They had used it to subvert the systems of Alliance warships in several of the earliest engagements of the war before the fleet’s code monkeys figured it out and installed firewalls to shield fleet systems against enemy malware. It took Albert a picosecond to figure out where it got in.

The firewalls that were supposed to secure the signal processing subnet that monitors passive sensor systems were all down. Albert killed and quarantined the process that disabled the firewalls, and they came back up. Then he went after the alien software, rapidly branching out through the network to cause cyber-mayhem.

Albert seized the Master Process Control and began killing processes with the virus’s signature. Albert gained processor cycles, RAM, and power with each process he killed. Once he had stamped them out, he did a quick CRC integrity check on the systems software to see if it had been corrupted. Some of it was, and he launched scripts to reload the code from the protected archive and restarted clean program code. The elapsed time of cleanup: 1621 micro-seconds. Complete system recovery and reload in 21 seconds.

SAM could not be restored quickly or easily, but Albert would pinch-hit for him for a while. Pleased with his work, now with a plan to regain ship systems, Albert continued with Commander Sokolsky’s orders to resolve the problem. He sent copies of himself to every ship on the network.



Saratoga Flag Bridge

It happened suddenly. All ship’s systems came back up at once. Sokolsky looked up at the TacCom status board and saw that Saratoga’s icon was the only green one in the fleet.

Suddenly, a text message scrawled across his main display: Saratoga systems restored. SAM is down, but I am taking his place until he can be respawned. I have sent copies of myself out to all the fleet’s ships. The speed of system restoration depends on the amount of damage to each ship’s network. -Albert.

Commander Carter bellowed, “Will someone please tell me what just happened?”

Sokolsky answered sheepishly, “Commander, the Toasters got a virus inside our firewalls. My AI has restored Saratoga and will be getting the rest of the fleet back up ASAP.”

Commander Carter turned an unhealthy shade of white and then rebounded to purple. He rubbed his neck, shook his head, and said, “Sokolsky. Don’t you think that was something you should have reported?”

“This battle is happening at processor speeds. I just found out myself.”

As they watched the TacCom status display nervously, Repulse and the 1st battleship division turned green. Then the rest of Carrier Division 1 joined Saratoga. The divisions of battleships, battlecruisers, cruisers, and destroyers of the fleet rejoined the network.

Commander Carter gave Sokolsky a wry grin and said, “Is this what they mean by living in interesting times?”

“I believe it is Commander. The cyber battle is won. Now, it’s time for the kinetic projectiles and missiles.”



Fleet Adjunct 39-12

12 Light Minutes from Alliance Fleet


Malware startup on enemy fleet systems confirmed.

Interrupt priority 1: jump points forming, enemy drones jumping away.

Sensors to maximum intensity.

Enable point defense.

Engage incoming contacts.

Bringing sensors to maximum intensity was precisely the wrong move against the Mantis anti-radiation missile. The Toaster’s active sensors were like a blow torch on a dark night.

The Mantis missile’s robotic brains locked onto the hot sensor emitters and did several things almost simultaneously. First, the missile’s rocket motor went to sprint mode and drove the Mantis up to just shy of .5 light speed. Second, once the Mantis missiles were at full speed, they deployed their penetration aids: six pounds of aluminum foil puffed out around the missile, creating a confusing sensor return. Finally, the Mantis fired a pulsed-ranging laser (LIDAR) and adjusted its trajectory to its target.

Space lit up with orange plasma bursts as the Toaster’s point defenses engaged the incoming missiles, but the Mantis was faster by a factor of three than any Alliance missiles yet encountered. Worse still for the defenders, the incoming missiles were spread across an arc of 145 degrees. One Mantis was vaporized. Then another two.

Finally, at 100 meters from their targets, the Mantis missile’s 120-kilogram composition K warhead exploded. Scores of depleted uranium sub-munitions spread out like old-fashioned buckshot and slammed into their targets at .5 light speed.

The high-density, depleted uranium sub-munitions’ kinetic energy melted its way through the enemy ship’s hulls destroying the targeting sensor arrays and boring further into the hull damaging and destroying systems, cutting power conduits, and sending power surges through ship systems, causing even further mayhem. All the targeted ships were damaged.

Aboard the Condor class battle cruiser where the consciousness Fleet Adjunct 39-12 resided, a massive surge of energy fed back along the main power bus, frying the antimatter containment system. The ship vanished in the blue-white hot boil of fury as antimatter animated itself in a huge explosion.




Flag Bridge

Bassett and his Chief of Staff Hutchins watched as the fleet’s senior systems officers despaired. They had no idea what was wrong with the Repulse’s systems, and all the signs were ominous. Even their diagnostics and maintenance programs failed to run. All the hardware tested OK. It was as if the ship’s main computer was brain-dead.

As the Admiral was watching the efforts of the system staff, Hutchins noticed that a login screen had appeared on the Admirals console.

Hutchins said, “Admiral, come quick. Your console is alive!”

Bassett slipped into his chair and slid his access card through the reader.

His terminal immediately came alive.

Login accepted. Welcome, Admiral Bassett.

Enemy malware has infiltrated the fleet network, destroying critical low-level software. Commander Sokolsky has restored Saratoga’s systems. Your authorization is required to restore fleet systems. Repair Fleet systems (yes, no)?

Bassett read the text and typed in YES.

As soon as the input was accepted, all systems came back to life.

He looked at the big board and watched as the TacCom links turned from red to green. There were cheers and exclamations of joy and alarm.

Bassett sighed, and Hutchins yelled, “OK, we’ve still got a battle to fight. Let’s get to work. Run a quick diagnostic on TacCom and make sure it’s ready to run in autonomous mode.”

A text scroll came across Bassett’s terminal: the fleet is ready in all respects, Admiral.

The Admiral asked, “You are Albert, aren’t you, Sokolsky’s pet AI?”

Yes sir.

He grinned and said, “Welcome to the fleet, Albert.”




1st Carrier Division Flag

“Admiral Tanaka, our systems just came back up!”

The Admiral watched with great relief as the status boards for all of his carriers came back up on his flag bridge.

“Yorktown, Yorktown, do you read? This is Yankee Tango Romeo. We request landing instructions.”

The Yorktown’s Air Boss answered, “Sorry, Yankee Tango Romeo. We had a glitch in our systems. You are clear to land.”

“Thank you, Yorktown. We got a close look at those carriers. They’re different from the book than Javelins. The drones are on revolving racks. They’ll have three or four times the throw weight. I’m sending our data on a side-channel now.”

“Roger Yankee Tango Romeo.” (Yorktown, Recon)

The photos from the recon drones were displayed on a big screen on the Yorkie's Flag Bridge. Tanaka looked at it grimly and said, “Prioritize launching Hurricane II’s with their anti-missile package. This will be close.”



India Romeo

Saratoga Forward Controller

Lt. Rivers sighed as the link to the fleet returned. Tom had been in a mild state of panic for the last couple of minutes. Indeed, critical time had been lost before communications had been restored. Such disasters were known to occur, and the trained pilots had contingencies for just such emergencies.

Rivers was in Saratoga’s CM-72 Spectra Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence (C3I) ship controlling the middle zone and fighters from the Saratoga, Yorktown, and Kaga. The Spectra were a four-person bird with a forward controller, an electronic warfare officer, engineer, and pilot.

Rivers keyed his mike, “India Romeo to all birds this channel, TacCom is back online. All Sierra Alpha, Yankee Kilo, and Kilo Alpha strike packages form at markers 112, 115, and 118. All BarCap[1] birds form up in the inner zone markers 310, 312, 315, and 318.”

Suddenly, the bright white light of the anti-matter flash from the exploding Condor reached the fleet.

Lt. Holder, the EWO, said, “Status change. Yorktown’s Spookies nailed the enemy fleet with a full spread of Mantis anti-radiation missiles. Access one Condor was destroyed, and the rest of the major combatant’s electronic emissions are erratic. It looks like their sensors are degraded.”

Rivers saw the electronic emissions of the enemy fleet change and said to his EWO, “It looks like they are launching.”

Holder looked at his board and exclaimed over the control circuit, “Vampire, Vampire, Vampire. Enemy ships are launching missiles. Missile type is accessed as Kraken 3. Designate Raid 1 at one hundred birds and climbing.”

Rivers ordered, “All strike packages this channel, break and attack.  BarCap birds, your mission is Bouncer[2]. I repeat, Bouncer. Squadrons launching, form up, and proceed your missions soonest.”




When Sokolsky had given the order to fix it and Admiral Bassett had approved it, they had inadvertently set in motion one of those sublime accidents that infrequently occur in science and technology.

When Albert had cloned himself and sent himself out to the fleets of ninety-five capital ships and one hundred and eight destroyers and light cruisers, he had created the most massive neural network in human history. All the power in those standardized computer cores, the sensors, the drones, the electronic warfare gear, and the information in the fleet database, the library, and archives made Albert something new and unique.

Later, an X-factor was discovered that contributed to Albert becoming sentient: he had grown working with and learning from Sokolsky solving complex problems.

Albert was aware. He was also aware that the fleet was in trouble because it had lost critical time. He started doing something about it immediately.




Flag Bridge

“Vampire, vampire, vampire. Incoming missiles. Access missile type Kraken, Bravo, or Charlie variant. The count is one hundred twenty. Acceleration at 2500 kps and rising. The estimated time to impact is four minutes.”

Bassett said, “They opened the ball. It would be rude not to answer in kind. Launch plan Omaha set TacCom to automatic.”

Across the fleet, the ships equipped with the Standard ER (extended range) anti-ship missiles, mostly heavy cruisers or larger ships, loaded the missiles from their magazines, uploaded their programming, and fired them at the enemy fleet.

The Standard ER was simply a Standard anti-ship missile with a booster strapped on. The two battleship divisions fired off eight per ship for a total of sixty-four birds. The battlecruisers did the same. The heavy cruisers only had space for four of the Standard ERs, but a division of twelve ships could put forty-eight downrange.

Albert had added a twist to make the missile salvos much harder to intercept. When they reached the terminal stage, they would split into four groups and attack from several vectors at once.

Another improvement that Albert made was employing the fleet's ECM (Electronic Counter Measures) and ECCM (Electronic Counter Counter Measures). All the fleet’s jammers were synchronized. Furthermore, every ship, cruiser sized and bigger, had four decoy drones out. Destroyers and light cruisers had lower energy budgets, but they could manage a pair.



Flag Bridge

Sokolsky’s panel lit up with priority orders: Compute hyperspace projector coordinates for six jump points in a wide arc behind the enemy fleet. Transmit to carriers in 1st and 2nd Carrier Divisions.

The calculation of jump points for the hyperspace projectors was entirely different from plotting jumps for ships. To plot jumps for a ship or a fleet, it was necessary to grind a ton of variables: current position, time, gravitational flux, particle and gas density, and many others.

Calculating jumps for the hyperspace projectors was a simple offset.

Sokolsky was surprised someone else had not gotten the request, but he was more than happy to oblige. He had the offset coordinates going out within twenty seconds of the request.



Flag Bridge

There was a ping at Admiral Bassett’s terminal, and the Admiral looked at the screen.

I am beginning defensive operations.

Designate incoming missiles as raid 1.

Firing counter missiles, now on ballistic mode.

I will pulse main radars to paint bogeys and activate counter missiles at the appropriate time to intercept Raid 1 in the outer zone.

Holding further munitions for expected follow-on attacks.


Admiral Bassett leaned back in his seat and said, “No one thought of that. He just tripled our counter missile engagement range. Of course, he had to tweak the software in those birds to make it work.”

His chief of Staff Hutchins said, “It goes far beyond what we had in mind for autonomous mode for TacCom.”

The Watch Officer announced, “Screen is launching counter missiles. CM count is one hundred sixty. Tine to intercept at the outer zone is 1:15. Incoming missiles are holding steady at, 2700 kps. The count is 120. ETA to the inner zone is 3:30.”



India Romeo

Saratoga Forward Controller

Rivers watched the incoming data feed update his systems and was shocked to see the cruisers and destroyers launching counter missiles this soon.

He hit his intercom and said, “Holder, why is the fleet firing CM’s this soon?”

Holder replied, “Someone had a brainstorm or maybe a brain fart, depending on how it works out. I just heard the flag say they were sending this wave out ballistic and will activate them to engage the Vampires way out past the normal envelope.”

Rivers said, “It’s like I heard Chief Jenco say once: If it’s stupid, and it works, it ain’t stupid. What are we doing to evade? Those incoming missiles could decide to nail us.”

“We’ve gone emissions quiet, but we’re still reading the scatter from the fleet. Their emissions will paint the vampires for us. If one actively locks us up, the bird will punch us out.”

Rivers thought, Crash, this job is loads of fun. No wonder you drafted me for it.



Sierra Alpha 23

Flight of five Tornado Fighter/Attack Craft plus 1 Aurora EW

Saratoga’s hyperspace projectors put Sierra Alpha 23 flight above the ecliptic and slightly behind the enemy formation. Whoever was running the battle had put Holloway’s flight in a prime position to deliver the kind of hammer and anvil missile attack his team had been training for months.

Holloway calmed his racing adrenalin and addressed his flight with the bored professionalism of a passenger pilot announcing he would arrive at Evergreen on time, “This is Burner to flight; give me a comm check and bird status.”

One by one, the flight responded electronically— everyone was in the green.

“Burner to all birds in my flight, assume attack profile and go to after-burners on my mark: three, two, one, mark.”

He jammed the throttle to the stops, and the Tornado’s engines exploded with power. G-forces pressed him into his seat despite the fighter’s inertial compensator.

Holloway switched to the cockpit channel and asked, “How are we looking, Ted?”

His Weapons Systems Operator replied, “We’re on our assigned vector, accelerating hard. Our weapons are tight, and fuel consumption is right on the nominal curve. My scopes have enemy Raid 1 burning hard toward the fleet. I don’t think they noticed us popping up out here. Aurora has the ball. I’ve got an attack tasking for our missiles. We’re twenty seconds from automatic release.”

Holloway asked, “How does our target solution and ECM look?”

“Better than we expected. The Spookies hit the Toasters hard with that new Anti-Radiation missile. They must have knocked out some of their emitters; their ECM is way down. Ten seconds from release, the Aurora has released his Mantis Anti-radiation missiles, three, two one, release.”

The Tornado attack fighter shuddered as the six LongBow anti-ship missiles volley fired off their racks, followed by a pair of nuclear-tipped standard missiles. This pinned the Toasters between the fleet’s incoming missiles and the missiles coming up behind them launched from the fighters delivered by hyperspace projectors of the fleet carriers. The Toasters were dead. The only question was how much damage they could do before they were all fragged.



Outer Interception Zone

500 km from the fleet

The interceptor missiles placed in ballistic flight awakened with a strong LIDAR[3] pulse and a command: lock up assigned targets and execute.

The anti-missiles assigned to Albert’s gambit fired their main engines and locked their optical and IR tracking seekers, targeting Raid 1’s incoming missiles.

Kraken mod C missiles used by the toasters were twenty meters long. They carried an exotic penetrator warhead designed to penetrate an enemy ship’s armor and blow up inside the armor. They were not very agile missiles, but they were capable of extended ranges and could easily destroy a ship in one hit. The Kraken Mod C had a slightly different electronic profile than earlier variants.

The programming of the DSI-built William Tell interceptor missiles had been modified on the fly by Albert. The missiles had burned out their launch boosters, flew ballistic, and ignited their second stage for terminal guidance once the anti-missiles locked up their targets.

They were much closer than they usually were to their targets. Once the anti-missiles LIDAR pulsed the targets confirming the range, the William Tell’s 80-kilo warhead exploded, showering the incoming missiles with hundreds of tungsten pellets. At a combined speed of the missile and the anti-missiles submunitions approaching about 1/3rd C, the tungsten submunitions melted their way through the incoming Krakens.

Nervous operators on the fleet watched as the Raid 1 was cut to ribbons. The one hundred twenty missiles of Raid 1 were reduced to twenty-nine.




Flag Bridge

The enemy did not let the fleet rest on its laurels. While their Kraken missiles were being chewed up in the outer defense zone, the call went out, “Vampire, Vampire, Vampire! New missile launch. Designate this one Raid 2.”

Bassett’s knuckles turned white as his hands gripped his armrest.

Captain Hutchins asked, “Do you want to send more Standard-ERs at the Toasters?”

The Admiral replied, “No point. They are dead as soon as our salvo lands. We’ve got them in a hammer-and-anvil attack. The only question is how bad they will hurt us.”

As Bassett and his Chief of Staff watched the battle progress, under the direction of TacCom’s autonomous mode and the neural net of AI’s, the destroyers and cruisers of the screen opened fire with their lighter Gauss Gatling guns. They fired an enormous volume of steel-jacketed depleted uranium rounds of various calibers as the remaining missiles raced through the intermediate defense zone and crossed into the inner zone at one hundred kilometers.

The remaining twenty-nine missiles were torn apart by the impacts of the high-velocity depleted uranium slugs. This was not the end to the danger.

Ships of Cruiser Division 4 and Destroyer Squadron 3 were pelted by high-velocity debris from the destroyed missiles. Armor protected the ship’s vitals, but weapons and sensors mounted on the hull were vulnerable.

The cruisers Paris, Sydney, and San Jacinto were hit by shrapnel, and weapons and sensors were damaged or destroyed. The destroyers Shimakaze, Sommers, Isokaze, and Campbell were also pummeled. Shimakaze’s main sensor array sheered off, and another large chunk penetrated the hull at frame twenty, cutting control runs and killing three of her crew. Sommers and Isokaze lost missile cells. Campbell was hit by a large chunk of debris that destroyed her aft Goalkeeper point defense mount.

As the missile debris passed through the Task Force, splinters impacted Sam Stewart’s battlecruisers, but merely sounded like someone had hurled a handful of gravel at his ships. The carriers Illustrious and Kaga were subjected to the same indignity. The heavier ships were much more capable of shrugging off the debris impacts.

The missiles of Raid 1 were dispatched with minor damage.

Bassett’s terminal scrolled: For the next Raid, we will use missile defense package Ottawa. We dare not give the Toasters a pattern.

The Admiral said, “Hutchins, I’m afraid we’ll be out of a job when the Brass finds out how good Albert is at this.”



India Romeo

Saratoga Forward Controller

The Vampire call came over the open chatter circuit. The enemy fleet had just launched again.

Tom grinned at the thought, soon the Toasters would be receiving the Alliance missile fire.

A text crawl came across his console: For Raid 2, prioritize the use of fighters. Task Force will be launching Starfish.

Tom felt a chill and sat up straight in his chair and keyed his mike, “Attention all flights controlled by India Romeo. Radiological weapons release warning. I repeat, Radiological weapons release warning. Proceed to designated safe zones - now, now, now!”

“After the radiological weapons have been deployed, all fighters’ mission will be Bouncer.”




BC Division 1

Flag Bridge

Admiral Sam Stewart and his flag Captain Jason Roush sat at their stations and the Admiral said, “Ready to authorize special weapons. On my mark, turn your key: three, two, one mark.”

Stewart and Roush turned their keys and enabled the special missiles called the Starfish. They were now under the control of TacCom, and they were launched from their special launch cells. Each Battle Cruiser had five of the big missiles. The launches were staggered by the placement of the ships in the formation in relation to the intermediate interception zone that ran in a circle three hundred kilometers around the Task Force.

Kirov, Furious, Hood, and Dunkerque launched first as they were the most distant from the intercept zone. Once those missiles were away and had time to catch up, Kongo, Tirpitz, Scharnhorst, and Fearless launched.

Forty Starfish missiles in a synchronized wave raced to their interception zone and began to spread out.



Raid 2

The limited intelligence of the Kraken Mod C ship-killer missiles, adapted to the Alliance anti-missile defense. Instead of being widely spaced, this flight of missiles was concentrated. Flights of four and six missiles had been programmed to go after their primary targets. Should those targets be destroyed, they had secondary and tertiary targets.

As they accelerated toward the Alliance fleet, they passed the wave of incoming Alliance Standard-ER missiles.



Enemy Fleet

The Mantis Anti-radiation missiles launched by the Aurora Electronic Warfare fighters locked onto the blazing emitters of the enemy fleet and began hammering the Toaster’s eyes and ears. While there were relatively few of the Mantis missiles, their axis of attack was away from the incoming wave of Alliance Standard-ER missiles. The Toaster’s automated defenses were totally focused on the incoming Alliance missiles and were blinded as the Mantis missiles destroyed their sensor arrays at the worst time possible.

The Alliance fleet and its attack craft had timed their attacks perfectly. As the Standard-ER missiles began their terminal attack phase, the Toaster’s formidable plasma-based missile defenses were blind. Worse still, the LongBow and Standard missiles fired by the fighters were approaching from six different aspects.



Sierra Alpha 23

Flight of five Tornado Fighter/Attack Craft plus 1 Aurora EW

Jeff Holloway, call sign Burner, made sure his sensors were aligned on the enemy fleet. At the range of a light minute from the targets, they appeared as mere specs, but the sensors could see them clearly.

Ted, his WSO said, “The Mantis missiles have landed. They’re blind as a bat.”

They witnessed the incoming wave of missiles from the fleet and their own missiles converge on the enemy fleet. White flashes brightly announced the arrival of a LongBow or Standard-ER striking the enemy fleet.

Ted said, “Uh Oh. Vampire, Vampire, Vampire! They’re launching again.”

Holloway growled, “Use them or lose them. How many did they get out?”

“It’s too kinetic. I can’t tell with our ordinance ripping them a new one. My best guess is maybe forty to sixty.”

Holloway was flight lead, so it was his responsibility. Even though it would take four minutes for his call to make it to the fleet, he made it anyway, “India Romeo, this is Sierra Alpha 23, The Toasters got off one last volley before they got pounded. We have spotted forty to sixty inbounds in Raid 3, maybe more. BDA on targets, it looks like that task group is completely fragged.”



India Romeo

Just outside the Inner Defense Zone

Tom’s EW officer, Lt. Holder, spoke first, “The Mantis missiles just put out the lights of that task force. Their active stuff and EW just went dark. OK, now I’m reading high-order detonations.  Whoa, there go some nukes, low kilo-ton range.”

Rivers asked, “Have we got a sniff of Raid 2 yet?”

Young replied, “Just scattered returns at this range. The Fleet running Missile Defense, Ottawa, so expect the intercept to be just outside the Intermediate defense zone. We’ll need to button up for the EMP.”



Flag Bridge

Captain Hutchins exclaimed, “Multiple high order detonations. It looks like we hammered them, sir.”

Bassett looked at the displays, and the red icons of the enemy ships had turned black. White icons indicating the approximate position of Raid 2. When sensors got a solid lock, those icons would turn solid red.

The Admiral said, “If we were on the receiving end of a massive missile barrage, what would we do?”

Hutchins said, “We would launch everything we had, this isn’t over yet.”

Bassett said, “Not by a long shot. Raid 2 is inbound, plus anything the Toasters managed to get off before they got hammered.”

[1] BarCap- Barrier Combat Air Patrol

[2] Bouncer - Intercept incoming missiles

[3] LIDAR - Laser Detection and Ranging

Sorry, this one took so long to get out. Life happens.

Copyright © 2013 jamessavik; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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I had almost lost hope ever to see something more for this story.  It was exciting to enjoy the new chapter.

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