Interlude: Stella
November, 2012
Interlude: Stella

You’re streaking beneath the flak cloud of the Clan cruiser, strafing everything that looks like a weapon, your hand cramping from holding the flight channel open with your thumb and the trigger down with your index finger.  You’ve been firing your main drive non-stop since Agamemnon took off, and at the edge of your vision you’re watching the reaction mass indicator plummeting towards zero.
“We’re heading to 179 once we’re clear of these cruisers,”  Summerville’s voice is all business, but relaxed.  You feel her behind you, a mile-long behemoth, burning from a thousand wounds, hurtling through the battle with no regard to her own safety.

There are fewer and fewer voices on the flight channel.
“Normandy just bought it!” cries Flannery.  Soon after, she too goes silent.

You clear the cruiser and come to 179.  There’s something in the way.
“Destroyer.”  You call out.
“We’re going through it,” replies Summerville, infuriatingly calm.
You decide to go around, expending the last of your autocannon ammunition against its dorsal anti-torpedo guns.

Then there’s nothing left but clear sky between you and the mass driver.  You give the throttle a nudge, even though there’s nowhere for it to go.  Agamemnon lets out a massive broad-spectrum burst transmission, the local EM spikes as she fires her hyperpulse generator for the last time, like a battle-cry.  As your ship’s communication system tries to disassemble it, your reaction mass runs dry.

Agamemnon, still accelerating, rockets past you – the forty-meter-tall letters streaking by just meters from your wing.  You miss the rotation of the centrifuge by a hair, her long body streaming past, and finally the massive transit drives.

The computer blurts out the part of the transmission meant for you.

You sit…stunned…as Agamemnon crashes into the mass driver.  Stunned…as your ship follows a ballistic trajectory into the expanding cloud of debris.  Stunned…as chunks of metal the size of small villages hurtle around you.  Stunned…as your ship rockets out the other side of the explosion, none the worse for wear but for some minor dings.  Stunned…as you watch New Samarkand getting bigger and bigger in your view.

“Ship…repeat last…”

Becker’s voice, “Tell the fighters thank you from the Agamemnon.  And thank you, major.”

Finally, “Did that sanctimonious bitch just promote me?!?!?!”


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