Natasha Might | Orbital Battle | Butcher Bay Arch | Universal Jungle: Dark Sentinels
The short story takes place 15 years before the start the book. Captain Natasha Might and her wolfpack ER bridged into the system. Might is the Captain of the starfrigate the No Luck. This story takes place right after the story “Inside the Beast” featuring Major Yosef Amir.
The 12th Stellar Group was a component of the anti-slaving taskforce “Freedom Watch”. A portion of that taskforce was ordered to support the rapidly developing conflict at the human settlement known as Butcher Bay. Captain Natasha Might couldn’t believe that she was prepping her SF-99D starfrigate for combat against aliens. All stations reported ready for combat, but Captain Might felt that her crew was not ready for this.
Pale skin, freckles, and fiery red hair matched the bright red color of the Astro Corps uniform and bridge. Twelve officers sat in crash couches strapped into tactical terminals, mentally controlling the frigate into combat. The starfrigate, No Luck, emerged from the hull of the bridgestar frigate carrier. Five more frigates followed No Luck in formation toward the enemy. The wolfpack accelerated toward the Poveen cruisers in orbit above the planet. Poveen cruisers broke orbit and moved toward the incoming assault force. Six wolfpacks of six starfrigates approached with 3 dreadstars, a starcarrier, and multiple support stars toward the aliens.
“No Luck, this is what we have prepared for. Weapons hot, shields up, engines burn lock, point defense active, crash couches locked, and it is time to fight. I am sending the vector to target alpha and prepare to engage,” communicated Captain Might to the wolfpack she commanded. Sweat dripped down the side of her face inside the helmet. No Luck was already in full battle mode. The atmosphere was pumped out of the compartments to prevent explosive decompression and fire. Artificial gravity and life support were deactivated, except for select regions of the frigate. All energy was redirected to shielding and weapons systems.
“What is the sitrep? Where do our forces stand? I have nothing on my HUD. Who is destroying those cruisers?” barked Might at the operations officer. The fog of war clouded the battle. Poveen cruisers were exploding, but Might couldn’t acquire any human starships in local space. The elements of 12th Stellar Group had ER bridged so close to combat that they struggled to get an accurate update on the battle. The speed of light was too slow and as they closed the distance, the readings scrambled due to interference.
“First indications are that the cruisers have been destroyed by Comet Corps soldiers. The explosions originated from inside the cruisers. We are also picking up distress calls from breechstars and dropstars. Movement in the debris fields also indicate active Comet Corps battalions on vector toward the other cruisers,” said the officer.
“That’s crazy. Who is the commander of this system?”
“Sub Commander Malcom Masters. Sir we have tactical information arriving from the planet.”
Might quickly accessed the data stream as she read the information flooding into her frigate. Might quickly took the recommendations of the commanding officer on the planet and constructed a battle plan.
“30 seconds until contact. What are your orders sir?” yelled the weapons officer.
“Okay. Wolfpack Colorado, it is time to hunt. Launch two full barrages of chaff at 10 seconds and 15 seconds post mark. Ready mark. Next ready three spreads of SM-12 Hammerheads and launch at 20 seconds post mark. Ready mark. Vector all missiles away from the chaff on my approach vector.”
“Sir, I want to make sure I heard you correctly. We will not fire any missiles behind the chaff?”
“Yes, and execute.”
“Launched sir,” said the weapons officer. The five other frigates in the wolfpack followed the strange orders. As they approached the first Poveen cruiser, it fired on the chaff and ignored the missiles racing for the hull of the craft. 144 SM-12’s accelerated at 90 gs toward the cruisers. It continued to fire its arched energy weapons at the chaff. It burned through the gas and metal quickly until the chaff was gone. The cruiser quickly turned to fire on the missiles. They intercepted most of the hammerheads, but some made it through. 42 missiles slammed into the inner shields and hull of the cruiser. The kinetic warheads exploded once inside causing massive damage, but the cruiser was still in the fight.
It fired a blaze of arched energy at the starfrigates. No Luck took evasive maneuvers as the long energy bolts reached out to touch the starfrigates like long fingers. Two of the starfrigates of Wolfpack Colorado were struck by the arched energy and were destroyed.
“Damn, our shields can only take one direct hit from the primary weapons system. Fire two more barrages of chaff. Fire two barrages of SM-12s. This time, fire one outside the chaff and keep one behind,” barked Might.
With precision, the wolfpack fired the second assault. The Poveen cruisers focused on the missiles on a vector away from the chaff. Once the missiles were destroyed, it focused on the chaff. This time, hammerheads streaked out the chaff to slam into the cruisers. It listed to one side as secondary explosions could be seen by the sensors. It reached out and struck two more of the starfrigates in anger.
“Damn it. How much can that thing take? Ready the SM-11. Target the largest hole in its hull and get those nukes inside,” yelled Captain Might. The weapons officer prepared a fire solution and launched a barrage of the smaller but faster nuclear-tipped SM-11 missiles at the cruiser. The remaining starfrigate in the wolfpack fired as well. The missiles raced toward the cruiser, but they were all intercepted before they reached the target. The two frigates closed within 50 thousand meters and they opened with rail cannon fire. The damaged Poveen cruiser could not maneuver well and it took a beating as both frigates rolled, dodged, and evaded fire from the cruiser. The tungsten, uranium, and depleted neutron-tipped rounds slammed into the cruiser. The kinetic energy of the rounds travelling near the speed of light tore more holes inside of the cruiser, but it kept firing.
Aid arrived in the form of a three starfighter wings. 48 fighter craft swooped in on the wounded cruiser like vultures. The Poveen cruisers point defense systems were extremely compromised by them, but were still able to pound the fighters. After three passes of the cruisers, only 13 remained. They broke off the attack to regroup. In that time, the remaining starfrigate was also destroyed.
“Sir, I have received a fire solution from the planet directly from Sub Commander Masters,” yelled the weapons officer.
“Use it. We are out of time and options,” yelled Captain Might. The weapons officer entered the fire solution. No Luck bucked and twisted directly toward the Poveen cruiser. They fired the quad rail cannons at a section of the alien craft near the massive sphere that dominated the cruiser. The rounds ripped into the hull of the craft and pierced the sphere. Within a couple of seconds, the gravity implosion sucked in the outer section of the cruiser. It collapsed on itself.
No Luck turned to return to the carrier. It was badly damaged and needed to rearm its missiles. It took a second for it to dawn on Might what had just happened. She had lost her entire wolfpack and a lot of her own crew. If not for the fire solutions, they might all have been dead. Captain Might vowed that she would find Sub Commander Masters if she made it through the conflict and thank him. Then she would do everything possible to get an assignment under his command. Humans were winning a conflict against the Poveen for the first time in human history. If she was going to fight aliens, she wanted to do it with the best of them.
Natasha Might appears in the book Universal Jungle: Dark Sentinels Learn More