"Put it on." Kazimir said
A holographic display flared up and showed a man in his late ages, his hair was streaked with silver and he wore a short beard. From what Kazimir could see from the dim lighting, his hair was blond and he had gray eyes.
"This is Confederate Naval Warship BCR-2298 "Sol Invictus"," Kazimir said in a loud clear tone "State your designation and affiliation."
"This is Commander William Turner of the Independent Colony-Shipyard "Haven"." the man answered "And A tip, if I may captain."
"It is unwise to jump when the storm is near; she'll tear you apart and spit you back out in the form of individual atoms."
"I request permission to dock for repairs and supplies," Kazimir said "the fleet tenders were lost in the storm. And our slipspace drive was destroyed in the transition."
"Permission granted son." Turner said
"NAVCOM," Kazimir ordered, "close in on the station and engage a mooring sequence."
"Aye sir!" the officer said
Kazimir felt the ship tilt and he was pressed into his seat by the acceleration.
"Your ship is fast, son." Turner commented
Kazimir nodded and smiled.
"She's also as durable as a battleship." Kazimir replied
Turner whistled appreciatively
"Hell, I expected a destroyer command when we returned, not a Battlecruiser." Kazimir smirked, "Have you heard about the raider outpost Guardian Fleet stonked?"
"We found the outpost and took out a few sloops and cutters." Kazimir said, "We also sent in Guardian."
"Shouldn't a militia fleet be more suitable for that?" Turner asked, "It's only a raider outpost."
"Well, if they have enough firepower to heavily damage a frigate." Kazimir answered, "Then they must have enough firepower to merit a Colonial Defense Fleet."
"Ah." Turner said "We've clamped onto her. Extending boarding tubes."
A small tremor rocked the floor as the boarding tubes snaked towards the docking points on the battlecruiser's hull. We're loading some spare food and schematics for a fabrication module onto your ship.
"Wait," Kazimir asked "fabrication module?"
"Your ship is modular," Turner explained "and with some modification, we can add a fabrication module onto your ship."
"How did you know this ship is modular?" Kazimir asked, he became suspicious
"Sensor scans." Turner said bluntly
"Sir!" the Sensors officer reported, "I'm picking up jump signatures, they're using Nodeline drives!"
Nodeline drives are slow and energy inefficient, but they have the added benefit of making the ship using them immune to Slipspace storms.
Flashes of light signaled the arrival of several ships.
"Raiders!" Turner shouted, "The food can wait until later."
The boarding tubes disconnected from the ship as the docking clamps released her. The ship slid away from the station and maneuvered so that her flank was facing towards the raiders.
"Launch Typhon flights A through E using the catapults." Kazimir ordered, "Arm the Strelka-295 KKMs and use profile Theta."
KKMs, or Kinetic Kill Missiles had no warheads, only a solid block of metal. They converted into a plasma jet upon impact and an explosive warhead actually lessened the damage output. Profile Theta was a simultaneous launch pattern.
Missiles slid into their tubes as the hangar doors opened to allow the catapults to extend into space. Bombers were loaded onto the catapults and were hurled into space with tremendous force.
"I have three raider Hestia class Destroyer lookalikes escorting a raider Cruiser." the sensors officer said "No signs of shields."
Kazimir nodded, a three-dimensional tactical display activated to his right, the angular profiles of the Hestias contrasted the blocky raider Cruiser. Opposite them were the station and the Invictus.
"Fire main weapons on my mark." Kazimir ordered, he waited for the raiders to close, "Mark!"
Particle bolts left their accelerators with low rumbles, reminiscent to that of a bass guitar. Missiles sped out of their barrels and streaked off into space with several 'whooshes'. The steady thump of the larger caliber mass drivers provided a beat to the Symphony of Death. The smaller particle beams gave a high-pitched whine, while the larger ones had a deeper, sinister sound.
A pair of KKMs caught one of the destroyers; armor was torn and crushed while the force of the missiles pulverized decks and bulkheads. The plasma jet started several fires in her compartments, some of which were quickly put out by the lack of oxygen that soon followed. The same destroyer was buffeted by a stream of mass driver rounds, some ricocheted off her angular hull but the rest tore into her armor and ate into her superstructure. The destroyer returned fire with its own plasma cannons, which dissipated harmlessly on the battlecruiser's rippling energy shield. One of the Typhon bombers unloaded its compliment of torpedoes onto the flank of the vessel. Some of the torpedoes were shot down by the destroyer's point defense, other flared out prematurely and those that were left slammed into the destroyer's hull, detonating in dazzling fireballs.
Particle bolts tore into the cruiser's hull, melting and tearing armor and bulkheads alike in the process. A Strelka caught the cruiser in the comm array and sent pieces of it flying into the void, the plasma jet ignited a missile rack for one of her missile launchers, secondary explosions began to blossom as a chain-reaction shook the lower decks of the vessel, crew and equipment were sent into the void alongside pieces of its hull. The cruiser however was tough, and like the Halcyon class Cruisers being built in a galaxy seeded by the Confederate's ancestors, it was incredibly hard to cripple, let alone destroy. The entire lower deck was burnt away, but the cruiser continued to function.
The raiders' Demeter drones were swarming the Sol Invictus, her point defense struggling to defend the ship. The Demeters had slipped past her shields and were now trying to burn her weapons away, small portions of her hull were beginning to glow red-hot, a plasma bolt entered the barrel of a mass driver and melted it from the inside, the mass driver round was fused to the barrel and the gun was soon shut down.
The second pirate destroyer had her flank torn away by an asteroid riding on a graviton beam as mass driver rounds tore into her command center, an AP/HE round smashed through an armored bulkhead and entered its bridge, destroying it. The decapitated destroyer pitched down as its engines pushed it forward. The wayward destroyer broke up in a cluster of asteroids.
Several torpedoes that had slipped through her point defense and her shields struck the Sol Invictus. Several compartments decompressed and fires spread around their impact points, a small portion of her weapons banks detonated as the quantum capacitors and missiles stored in their racks and mounts detonated. The Battlecruiser listed slightly as lights flickered erratically, atmosphere streaming out of the breaches in her hulls before blast doors slammed down to prevent more from escaping. The Battlecruiser flipped over and turned on its axis, allowing a fresher slab of armor to take the brunt of the assault, but this time her Sectional Shielding System units were focused on the sections most likely to be attacked, meanwhile on the other side of the ship, repair drones were working on placing patches to cover the damaged sections.
The raider cruiser was in for a surprise when the Battlecruiser maneuvered with the agility of a frigate, it along with its remaining compliment of heavily damaged destroyers charged the Invictus, their mass drivers, pulse guns, plasma bolters and particle cannons dissipating harmlessly on her shields. The Battlecruiser begun to maneuver so that her fore was facing towards the cruiser a glow began building up in between her prongs. Several radiators folded outwards, the sections facing towards the enemy vessels were plated with several meters of Hubnester, the radiators gave the impression of bristling fur. The glow reached its climax and erupted into a stream of energy, piercing into the raider cruiser; as the beam worked its way through the ship, the beam began glowing progressively brighter until it was bright enough to completely drown out the stars and turn everything into silhouettes. The beam dissipated and revealed a neat tunnel dug from the fore and straight through the aft, straight through its power core. Several secondary explosions began blossoming throughout the ship as capacitors and munitions detonated. The front half began to break away from the rear and then the rest of the ship broke away from its frame. The destroyer captains began to hesitate, but their decisions were confirmed by the bursts of pure energy that shot from turrets mounted on the Invictus' fore. The energy bursts tore straight through the CnC compartments of both vessels. Both ships then winked out of existence as the last command relayed to the jump drives was carried out.
"Captain!" a raider said, "I have two Hestias bearing in, they appear to be transmitting our ID codes."
"Hail them!" came the reply
"They're not responding," another raider replied "wait, something's burnt through their CnC!"
"Disable them and tow them back to base." The station's apparent commander said
The remaining compliment on both destroyers had been reduced to babbling wrecks, they spewed mostly incoherent sentences but a few coherent ones were extracted from the less broken crew. Analysis of combat records also confirmed the raiders' fears. The Confederacy was at war once again.
"That's one pretty powerful ship you got there!" Turner commented, "Now we have to get her repaired properly."
Several tugs had been launched and began towing asteroids to the massive ore processors mounted underneath the station; the products were then directed to the fabricator arrays and produced several weapons banks, ammunition, armor plates and other supplies. A fabrication and processing module for the Sol Invictus were also underway. Both repair drones and tugs were swarming the warship, moving weapons into place, disconnecting several sections and modules or feeding asteroids to the massive processors, valuable metals were contributed to the construction of both modules and soon, the projects were done and mounted onto the Battlecruiser. Test run after test run followed, and after considerable improvements to both software and hardware, the Battlecruiser could produce not only Corvettes and strike craft, but also almost anything from scouts to Cruisers.
"Sir!" the Communications officer reported, "I'm picking up several contacts, silhouettes are similar to raider and pirate vessels.
"Okay," Kazimir said, referring to the NAVCOM officer "Jenna! Have the frigates move into defensive positions around the station and then move us nearer to the contacts."
The frigates assembled into a sphere formation around the station, the AI on-board the Invictus controlling them remotely.
The Battlecruiser had been transformed into a Sovereign in only a few days, a second pair of drives allowed her to preserve her speed and maneuverability without sacrificing armor or weapons, and her weapons had been upgraded. A couple of Point Singularity generators were fitted to the ship, which allowed her to nearly double her weapons loadout on one flank and increase her SSS units by nearly twofold. An Antimatter beam projector replaced her main particle beam cannon (which had been fired earlier), she also carried ten antimatter cannons, nine more than her original loadout. Her mass drivers were also enhanced to the point that they could fire rounds a meter across and reach .4 C, a feat that only entire battlestations built around one could fire. Two of the lighter antimatter beam turrets that had been fabricated were mounted on either side of the ship in such a way that they could fire straight up and down and also focus on a target directly in front and behind the ship.
The enhancements were worked out by the six sentient science AIs aboard the Sol Invictus, they had accidentally been left there during her evacuation and had only revealed their presence until after the initial attack.
The raider fleet composed of two cruisers, ten destroyers and a multitude of sloops and cutters. Remarkably, a heavily damaged Confederate carrier appeared in the rear of the formation.
As the Sol Invictus neared the formation, the raiders opened fire on her. The ship slowed to a stop and turned broadside, which allowed her to bring most of her guns to bear. Her launch catapults began to extend. The fabricator arrays began manufacturing KKMs, ones that were too large to fit inside the launch tubes mounted onto the ship. Her weapons began to charge, and then all hell broke loose. Mass drivers thumped as the antimatter cannons gave out a shriek that would put a banshee to shame. Explosions blossomed left and right as both sides exchanged fire. A secondary raider force jumped in opposite to the main battle, the frigates maneuvered to intercept.
The Invictus opened fire with her antimatter beams, pencil thin lances of pure white light lanced out towards the Carrier, carving huge chunks out of its hull. Several KKMs slammed into her destroyer escorts, sending them spiraling out of the immediate battle. Raider fighters and corvettes dueled against their counterparts. Lasers and particle beams lanced throughout the clouds of strike craft like lightning,
A raider cruiser lumbered towards the massive Battlecruiser-turned-Sovereign to get a better aim on the ship, a trio of kinetic kill missiles slammed into her engine block, shearing them off and sending the cruiser tumbling into a destroyer. Both superstructures merged into each other and then a shot from one of her antimatter cannons forced the cores to overload and both ships detonated, sending fragments of hull and armor tumbling into space.
A raider destroyer found itself being pounded by mass driver rounds as particle bolts tore into her hull, as it desperately fired its PD arrays at incoming missiles and rounds, two KKMs ambushed it from 'below' and like a massive uppercut, the destroyer was sent tumbling. It fired its guns erratically before smashing into a large asteroid.
The Invictus' shields were beginning to feel the strain of combat, torpedoes and missiles slammed into her shields as plasma and particle bolts and mass drivers pounded the shields relentlessly. The fabricated frigates were not faring very well; a couple of them fell to the smaller raider attack force, three more were damaged and leaking coolant.
A tractor beam latched onto one of the fabricated frigates and smashed it into one of her sister ships. The two ships locked together and vanished in a spectacular compound explosion.
A particle bolt speared straight through a cutter and into a sloop, causing both to explode, one of the raider destroyers had itself launched into the carrier's maw by a KKM, the detonation of the destroyer's power core resulted in a chain reaction that climaxed in an intensely bright flash of light as the Carrier's antimatter core lost its containment. A torpedo slipped past the shields of the Invictus and vaporized one of her mass driver batteries in a flash of light. Munitions were set off in a chain reaction that spread fires across several compartments.
Inside the bridge of the Sol Invictus, things were not very different from the chaos outside, reports and orders were thrown around like so many raindrops in a storm, but for every storm. There was an eye of calm, and that eye was Kazimir.
Kazimir thought for a moment "WEPSCOM!" he shouted through the noise "Give them an Alpha-Strike, level Omega."
The ship tilted as she maneuvered, the weapons on the port side of the warship fired, tearing through the void and into the raider vessels. As the bow came into alignment with an enemy, the antimatter beam charged and fired and a foot thick beam of antimatter lanced towards the raider formation. The ship's bow moved over the formation and the beam dissipated, the starboard side came next, and the stars were drowned out, and the Sol Invictus achieved her namesake. All of her weapons had fully recharged by the end of the maneuver, and the movement placed her right in the middle of the raider formation. All of her weapons fired simultaneously, unleashing a wave of light that was brighter than the sun.
The battle was over in a couple of hours, the frigates have defeated the raider force, the station had sustained minimal damage and that was being repaired. The slip space storm had dissipated and it was now safe to jump.
"We don't know where the Titan is," Turner said "But we know someone who does."
Kazimir nodded, the coordinates to this 'someone' were uploaded into the ship's databanks.
"Thanks for helping us out." Turner continued, "We owe you our lives. Feel free to stop by."
"Same with you." Kazimir said, giving Turner a salute, and he was replied in kind.
The connection was cut and the Sol Invictus set off into the void before vanishing in a flash of light, using the same energy that cleansed a galaxy 100,000 years ago