Here's the next chapter for you all, questions will be answered and others will be asked. Note: I only own what characters i create, the names and places i invent and the ships and vehicles i seem to be designing in droves for this single story.
I would like to thank AlexanderD for all his help and i strongly recomend reading his story New Dawn. I hope he likes the character named after him Admiral Alec Xander.
For those of you interested in what some of the ships featured in this story look like here are a few sketches on photobucket: albums/ae166/Senrab_Nomis/
Please review and i will respond. Or alternatively post in the thread for this story in my forum. topic/84023/35075481/1/
AlexanderD: For now indeed. The Aror is effectively designed like a battlestar as it stands, minus the hangers. On Celestia they have accepted that people are going to die so they'll fight to keep as many alive as possible.
BIG Z1776: The strength of a Wraith, none of the weaknesses and blindly obedient. Oh yeah reapers are nasty.
Shadows of Realm: And to think the Aror hasn't even entered combat yet.
Cdoctor: Here they are.
Oddliver: Space battle, land battle, cyberspace battle, you'll find them all in this one.
Phantom1s: Thank you.
Alterra: Glad to hear it.
s-david-m: I went back and fixed that, it was a sentence i failed to delete properly.
Frobond: I think after reading all of this so quickly you are entitled to forget one or two things. If you ever have any questions shoot me a line and i'll answer them.
Kevin Trevino: There is just one of me, two of me would be worrying. I update every Wednesday so keep an eye on your calender. It is impossible i'm afraid for me to publish this as a novel. For one thing it would probably infringe on so many copyright laws i would end up with a court order preventing me from writing. Also this is getting so long that putting it in just one book would be out of the question, we're looking at a set. Enjoy the latest though.
Zarasian Flagship – Computer Core
Sovaer strode confidently up to the firewall and located the access code entry point. As the wall shimmered into solidity he noted the unusual shape for the individual blocks. Unlike the other walls he had encountered the three in front of him were all made of octagonal blocks instead of hexagonal ones, which suggested a much stronger firewall. Probing the access point he found his assumption had been correct, he would need to come up with a different ten digit alpha numeric code for each one. Sighing he set about entering the first of the three trillion possible combinations and got to work, settling into a meditative state he worked on crunching through them all as quickly as possible.
Eventually he managed to break through the first of the firewalls and then he decided to play one of his hidden trump cards. Pulling out another of the programs from his data chip he activated a pathway lock program. The program essentially established a stable, and more importantly locked open, system pathway. The only weak point in initialising the program was that it required the system pathway to be in the state you wanted to lock it in first but now that he had it open though he could keep it that way. It might draw attention to him when he broke through the last of the firewalls and into the next repository but there was only so long he could keep this up without bringing the entire security system down on top of him. When he attempted to break through the second firewall and the first attempted to slam closed on him a ring of energy surrounded him and held the encroaching blocks back, leaving a man sized hole in the firewall that looked ready to snap shut at any moment.
The second firewall eventually fell, and he extended the circuit lock to include it, followed by the third and suddenly he was through. Spurred on by the thrill of finally being in sight of the victory line he charged at the four anti-virus programs that were bearing down on him and started blasting. His pistols appeared in his hands a split second before he had raised them to point at his targets. As he duelled it out with the four orbs he felt like all the weariness he had been feeling had disappeared. He felt renewed, more than that, he felt empowered.
Under the onslaught he dished out the orbs fell like flies and for the moment he was alone, surrounded by the primary systems. He didn't waste a second, immediately accessing the hyperdrive subsystems. If he did something as blatant as activating communications and broadcasting a distress signal on all frequencies, or even Averian frequencies, then he would immediately draw attention to himself. This would put him in danger and more importantly Jakose in danger and he wasn't about to allow that to happen. So he quickly scanned the readings coming from the active hyperdrive and looked for a way to sabotage the hyperdrive and force them out of hyperspace. It took him a moment but he found it, in one of the primary power conduits no less. The conduit was running hot, probably because of the fact that the hyperdrive was running at maximum power, but was not operating at its maximum. This meant that he could dial it up and that was exactly what he did. The hyperdrive that was already taking in as much power as it possibly could found itself with more power than it could do anything with and began to heat up as it started to overload. As the hyperdrive started to go critical the safeties cut in automatically and the power flow was cut off at the source. Without the constant power flow the hyperdrive automatically opened a window and the flagship dropped back into normal space. With the hyperdrive automatically disabled to give it time to cool off the flagship, despite still having sublight, was left dead in space.
With the flagship stuck in normal space, his beacon broadcasting and who he hoped were allies catching them up he moved on to the next task ahead of him. Ignoring the other anti-virus programs around him he decided that subtlety was not something he could keep up at this point, not after the hyperdrive had decided to fail. It was already a miracle to have gotten this far as it was.
He shook his head. Two trump cards in the same computer core, he might just be losing his edge. Still he hadn't used all his tricks yet. Once again he accessed the data chip and pulled out something a little more special than a circuit lock program. This one had an actual shape in this world and took the form of what looked like a cross between an energy cannon and a very big bazooka. Lining up his shot he pointed it right at the distant firewall while simultaneously locking onto each of the anti-virus programs around him. Rather like his energy pistols this particular device wasn't what it appeared. When he fired it a large tendril of black energy shot out of the barrel, careening straight towards the firewall. Half way through its journey the one tendril split into over a dozen smaller tendrils surrounding one fat one. The largest smashed straight into the firewall while the others curved away, wiggling through the air until they hit the anti-virus programs. The octagonal blocked firewall put up some resistance but the same could not be said for the more fragile silver orbs, the tendrils pierced them like a hot knife through butter. With their targets destroyed the tendrils arced to meet up with the larger one and together they pounded into the first of six firewalls. Under the full force of the virus cannon the firewall shattered into its individual blocks as it succumbed to the effect of the virus. While the weapon he was using appeared to be an anti-anti-virus launcher platform like his pistols it was actually much simpler. It was in fact a single powerful and deadly virus that spread throughout cyberspace to destroy its target, which made it much more noticeable to the computer cores security. With the effects of the black virus now focused entirely on the firewalls they succumbed to the onslaught that much sooner. The second fell, then the third and soon there was only the sixth left and even that eventually collapsed. With the final barrier in front of him gone he pressed a button and the progress of the black virus ceased.
Looking around he surveyed the damage that the black virus had wrought on the computer core. Numerous subsystems were in disarray as a result of the data coding being corrupted and deleted. No doubt the crew of the ship were running around trying to work out what the hell had just happened to cause so many systems to suddenly fail. There were backups no doubt and the systems had only been scrambled and could be rebooted to be brought back online but the important thing was that he had a way to the secure database. He could have continued to use the black virus to attack the other anti-virus programs but that would have risked compromising the data he planned to steal. Viruses were very good at destroying annoying coding, but unfortunately the most powerful ones he had at his disposal would destroy everything in their path. Still their was nothing to stop him from letting the black virus run wild after he had gotten everything he could. Letting that thing loose after he had infiltrated some of the deepest parts of the computer core would probably provide enough of a distraction for him and Jakose to get off this ship alive once their allies, hopefully, arrived.
The time for thought about the future had long since passed though, even if all these thoughts had crossed his mind in the blink of an eye. He needed to get what data he could while he could. The door was open but it wouldn't stay that way for long. It was time to move.
Summoning his two pistols out of thin cyberspace he charged towards the firewall, through the holes that he had rather unsubtly created and right into a group of system defence orbs that were coming the other way. Oh yes, he thought as we dived to dodge a torrent of shots, this was going to be interesting.
Jakose had better not bother him now.
Zarasian Flagship – Bridge
"I want an explanation now!" Zarin yelled at the panicking bridge crew. "What is happening to my ship?"
Across the bridge, and as it happened most of the Doom Bringer, the lights were twitching between full and dim and screens were flickering. Even the glow coming from consoles seemed to be fluctuating somewhat and the bridge crew were in a flurry trying to find out why this was happening. A minute ago the ship had unexpectedly dropped out of hyperspace. Then the entire bridge had been plunged into total darkness for a full five seconds before, for no apparent reason, everything had suddenly switched itself back on. With only the faint glow from the reapers cranial implants to illuminate them the crewmen had looked at each other, puzzled, too shocked to even speak. Then the lights had come back on and everyone rushed to find out what had happened before they felt the wrath that Zarin would swiftly deal out if he didn't get answers soon.
"Something seems to be affecting the power grid sir," said a crewman stammered.
"I can see that," Zarin snapped, causing the crewman to flinch. "I want to know why."
"Something appears to have scrambled the power flow regulator programs," said another crewman, who was rapidly typing at his console as he spoke. "Back-ups have kicked in to restore power and primaries are being stabilised."
"Why did we lose power?" Zarin asked in a calmer voice.
"Power was shut down to automatically to prevent overloads once the primary regulators were compromised," the crewman explained. "Back-ups then kicked in to patch up the primaries and restore partial stability to systems but the corruption appears to have infected them as well."
"What is our status?"
"There isn't any damage to the hardware itself but the power grid is still stabilising," said another crewman. "Back-ups are responding are we are picking up the slack until the primaries are fully restored. But we dropped out of hyperspace because there was a power surge and the hyperdrive automatically shut down to prevent an overload."
"What did this to my ship?" Zarin demanded.
"It looks like a virus in the computer core that simultaneously knocked several of our system defence programs," said the second crewman. "The progress of the virus has halted and anti-virus programs are responding to the threat. The power surge to the hyperdrive occurred before the virus's appearance though."
"Where did the virus come from?"
"According to these readings the virus suddenly appeared in the primary systems section of the computer core started expanding before stopping. The computer cores defence systems are currently trying to track down the source."
"The only way this could have happened is from someone on the ship," surmised Zarin. "What is the status of the prisoners?"
"Sensors show that Minister Jakose is in his cell," said a fourth crewman.
"What about the other one?" Zarin demanded, when he realised the crewman had nothing more to say.
"Sir?" the same crewman asked hesitantly. "Only one captive was expected."
"There were two captives," Zarin stated flatly. "The Minister and his bodyguard."
The crewman started hurriedly typing at his console.
"Logs show only one prisoner being placed in a containment cell and only one cell is occupied."
"Two of the reapers from the capture team took the extra prisoner to a cell, find out what happened on him," Zarin ordered.
"And check on the Minister," Zarin added.
A minute later the rest of the Zarasian fleet had regrouped with the flagship. But more importantly Zarin had the first of his answers, and he wasn't happy.
"What do you mean the Minister isn't in his cell?" he half asked half yelled.
"There was only a reaper in the cell, alive but paralyzed from the neck down," explained the fearful crewman. "Its spinal cord had been severed."
"How did this happen?"
"Umm," said the crewman hesitantly. "We found the two missing reapers as well. They were in a supply cupboard with their throats cut. It looks like the Ministers bodyguard killed them and then left the reaper alive in the cell in order to trick the sensors. Its also possible they're responsible for the virus."
Zarin slammed his fist down on the arm of his chair.
"Find them! Now!" he ordered. "They may not be able to escape but I will not allow them to sabotage this ship."
"Sir!" said a crewman manning the sensor console.
"What?" Zarin snapped.
"A hyperspace window is opening! Sir, it's massive!"
"Bring our shields and weapons online now," Zarin ordered.
From a single massive hyperspace window emerged a strange fleet of ships. Hulking great smooth silver behemoths, fractionally smaller grey bulks and small black predators. They were of course O'Neill's, Pegasus's and Night Fury's of the allied fleet. The 100 Zarasian ships found themselves facing off against 20 O'Neill's, 25 Pegasus's and 96 Night Fury's. Take into account that the Night Fury's were easily superior to the slightly larger Zarasian ships that made up ninety nine percent of the Zarasian fleet and the Zarasians odds for survival were not looking very high. Things weren't looking good for them unless something changed quickly.
Fate however has a strange sense of irony and behind the Zarasian fleet a series of smaller hyperspace windows opened and deposited three hundred additional ships.
On the bridge of the Doom Bringer Zarin smiled a predatory grin. It wasn't going to be as easy as they thought it would.
The Zarasian ships were durable, on par with Averian warships, but would only last half the time a Night Fury would. Then there was the power of the ships themselves. The Night Fury's were easily far more powerful and would win a two to one engagement against the larger Zarasian ships without breaking a sweat. But that was just the smaller ships, the larger Pegasus and O'Neill class ships were easily capable of dispatching multiple enemy vessels with a single volley. Zarin may think he had the advantage but in reality it could actually be quite easily matched depending on how this played out.
But the surprises weren't finished yet. One last hyperspace window opened amongst the allied lines a single ship emerged. The ship was bulky, long and despite initial appearances was actually quite powerful. It was of course the Kalen Aror which meant that the Averians had come looking for their lost leader.
Over their subspace communications the Asgard and Tau'ri ships received a message.
"This is Admiral Xander of the Kalen Aror we are ready to assist in the rescue of our Minister."
"Admiral Xander this is Lt Colonel Lorne of the Weir I have been advised to cede you command of the allied fleet. However be advised I will reclaim command if you place our ships in unnecessary danger."
"Acknowledged Colonel and thank you."
On the bridge of the Aror the holographic display table initialised and a three dimensional picture formed as the sensor readings were processed by the battle computer. The holographic display included numerous details regarding the ships, including the power readings emanating from the ships and the apparent shield strength. The IFF readings from the individual ships marked the battle groups and the ship names, allowing for Xander to better co-ordinate the allied forces. The Night Fury's had been grouped into their hunting packs so they would work to support each other, which made them easier to co-ordinate in the heat of battle. It was one less thing off his mind if he didn't have to worry about small ships being cut off without support as they were swarmed by the enemy.
He was confident that in a battle, against even four hundred ships, the allied fleet could deal with them easily enough. From what he could determine if they co-ordinated their strikes and even if the Night Fury's only targeted one ship a piece, the Pegasus's five and the O'Neill's just three, they could disable nearly three hundred ships in a single volley. Of course this was only in an ideal situation where every one of their shots was dead on the mark and given the difficulty of hitting a moving target with bolt. At the best they could take down the shields of those ships and maybe even disable a number of them. The real problem though was that they would have to disable the enemy flagship in order to rescue Jakose and Sovaer, as indicated by the distress signal emanating from it.
If they could deal with the rest of the fleet first though then he could focus on bringing down the flagship under their terms. So with the flagship marked as an off limits target for the mean while Xander started distributing orders for the attack. In the few seconds he had been processing his thoughts F-302's had been deployed while the Zarasians launched fighters of their own. Battle was about to commence.
The hallways rang with the sounds of gunfire. Plasma, energy and projectile weapons filled the corridors with deafening noise as the allied forces faced off against the reaper horde. The reaper horde had been descending on the gate room with the sole intent of crushing anything that stood in their way. Then the allied forces had hit them with their own attack and the reaper forces had stalled their advance.
Hundreds of reapers lay dead or dying on the deck plating but the casualties were just as bad on the allied forces, the Wraith forces had taken a beating while the Tau'ri forces were valiantly still fighting on with their more advanced armour allowing for them to survive hits that would otherwise prove fatal. The battle net was bustling with activity as people hastily gave out orders and called for support as they became overwhelmed by the forces they faced. The initial attack had allowed the allies to gain an advantage over the enemy and most of their casualties were just from light to moderate wounds with very few deaths. But as the combat began to intensify the casualty list started to rise as the two forces clashed.
Throughout the station small skirmishes had broken out as the lines of battle began to shift and falter. Wraith and Tau'ri found themselves fighting in close quarters as the reapers weathered the storm and fearlessly pressed forwards in an attempt to overwhelm their opponents. Unfortunately it wasn't a strategy without its merits. The reapers possessed a physical conditioning that set them apart from the humans and Wraith they were fighting. They had been bred to be at the peak of physical strength and endurance, the very limits of what could possibly be achieved through genetic manipulation. Even Wraith drones did not undergo such a process when they were created and arguably they were born naturally, unlike the reapers. The allies may have been able to pick a few of the charging reapers off but there always seemed to be more behind them ready to dive into the melee or resume firing from where their predecessors had left off. An enemy without fear charging right at you and firing all the way does not make for an easy kill, especially when you value your life enough to take cover to avoid the incoming fire.
In one small section another one of the countless skirmishes was under way. A small force of Tau'ri and Wraith had ambushed a squad of reapers as they made their way to join the main cluster. The reapers though, instead of doing what any sane opponent would do and taken cover, had continued forwards and used their superior numbers to pile into the allies before they could cut them all down. Now the Wraith and Tau'ri were desperately fending off their opponents in hand to hand combat, and they were struggling. As a reaper charged a lone marine it let loose several blasts from its plasma rifle, several of which struck the marine in the chest. The force of which was sufficient to knock the poor marine to the decking dazed but alive, luckily the trinium/polymer chest plating had held but just barely. As the poor marine attempted to come to her senses the reaper stalked forwards and slammed her back down to the decking when she tried to get up. When it levelled its rifle at her more vulnerable helmet, ready to deliver the finishing blow, it suddenly reeled backwards as two energy blasts struck it in the chest. These blasts were quickly followed up by a blow to the head from a Wraith warrior with the butt of a spear rifle rendering the reaper just as dazed as the unfortunate marine had been. An ironic blast to the head and the reaper was out of action. As the Wraith warrior turned to help the marine to her feet she suddenly pulled out her sidearm and fired repeatedly. Behind the Wraith a reaper slumped to the decking, its head riddled with bullet holes.
As the Wraith warrior helped the marine to her feet the two shared a nod of respect, then both turned and started firing at the next wave of reapers. Around them lay the still bodies of friend and foe alike.
Across the station similar scenes played out as the Tau'ri and Wraith were bonded by the heat of battle.
Around the gate room the defending forces had formed a bottle neck, luring in the reapers to the gate room itself while the ground pounders formed up on mass around the control room and the surrounding corridors. Meanwhile mixed teams of Tau'ri and Wraith had been dispatched to whittle down the approaching forces as well as the stragglers. The bottle neck seemingly opened up to the wide space of the gate room but in reality the bottle had been plugged by the five Titans that had been unable to move out of its confines. Between them the five Titans turned the reapers to a pile of pin cushions as they were pricked by thousands of plasma bolts. The mass of bodies in front of the entrance began to get so high that the Titans were forced to take a few steps back just to allow more reapers to actually get in. With barrier/capacitor shields active though the reapers could not bring enough firepower to bear to tax the shields to the point of failure. If the shields of one Titan began to falter it would step back to allow the others to take more of the hits while its shields recharged to an acceptable level.
The battle was hard fought but it did seem like victory was in sight. Luckily it was the allies that could see it.
The ship shook as plasma round after plasma round impacted her shields. On the bridge Xander's face was a mask of concentration as he worked to co-ordinate the mixed fleet, counting on the ships crew to keep the ship safe. The Aror may have been taking a pounding but she was certainly giving far more than she was taking.
Plasma beams fired in pairs shattered shields while ion bolts smashed into armour plating and the Zarasians responded with a torrent of green plasma bolts.
The O'Neill's and Pegasus's, along with the Aror, were soaring along the outskirts of the Zarasian fleet mass picking off what ships they could while attempting to avoid the hailstorm of plasma rounds directed at them. The Zarasian fleet firing on mass was enough to fill the skies with a wall of green. That amount of firepower was enough to bring down even the advanced shields of the O'Neill's with ease. The only way for the big ships to survive was to scatter and avoid a mass of directed firepower while the much smaller Night Fury's were flying in their hunting packs and had actually dived in amongst the enemy fleet numbers. Slipping in between the enemy ships in attempt to avoid the incoming firepower was the only way for the Night Fury's to have a shot to survive. With the enemy ships pulling closer and closer together though it was becoming harder and harder for this tactic to prove effective as they found themselves unable to keep together and fit between the smaller gaps. But the Zarasian ships were apparently not above scraping shields to score a hit of some form.
The fighter battle was even more intense with the F-302's outnumbered by the Zarasian fighters by nearly double. Dogfights had broken out across the entire battlefield as the 302's fought to keep their larger counterparts from dive bombing the capital ships and boarding them. To counter this tactic the 302's had begun to target the Zarasian warships with their heavy ordinance forcing the Zarasians to target them in return. Despite their more impressive weapon suite the 302's found themselves having difficulty taking down the heavy Zarasian fighters without multiple successful strikes. It sometimes took as many as six fireflies to neutralise an enemy fighter but luckily the NPD's were proving to be more effective one hit kill weapons.
Unfortunately the Zarasian flagship, while deemed off limits as a target, was proving to be a more tempting target by the second as it went hunting after the enemy ships after Zarin apparently realised that his ship was not being targeted.
So far the allies were winning, with their capital ships picking off Zarasian warships at their leisure while the fighters easily achieved positive kill ratios by fully utilising their impressive array of missiles.
Unfortunately Xander was still worried about losses on their side. Whenever a ship looked like it was about to lose its shields Xander ordered the ship to pull out of the battlefield to recharge its shields. In some cases this meant entire groups of Night Fury's were forced to pull out and even though they had taken no ship losses their fighters weren't proving as fortunate. Several of their ships had even been forced to perform a hyperspace jump to avoid being destroyed outright as they sustained heavy damage from multiple strikes.
The reason for this strategy was because of the potential for reinforcements to arrive to aid the Zarasians. With their power reserves diverted to shields the Asgard and Tau'ri ships had no warning from their advanced but energy intensive sensors as to approaching ships in hyperspace. Zarin had already displayed the ability to summon up a fleet of three hundred ships out of nowhere so who knew how many other ships he had in their fleet or even on their way.
Xander's concentration was momentarily broken as warning signals flashed around the Zarasian flagship. Until a moment ago the ship had been chasing after an O'Neill but now was moving erratically through space until the lights from the sublight engines died and the ship began to drift.
Intense power fluctuations registered on sensors until all energy readings from the ship dropped to the point that they were barely detectable. Shields, weapons and engines were all were offline, seemingly for no reason at all. As the Tau'ri would say though you do not look a gift horse in the mouth and Xander knew this was too good an opportunity to simply pass up, especially with a cluster of warships moving to cover the crippled ship.
"All ships prepare to pull out on my order. Lone wolves move to the Zarasian flagship and beam out Jakose and Sovaer once you have a lock on their subcutaneous transponders. Hunters and fighters run interference."
Night Fury's and 302's were suddenly chasing after the Zarasian ships as they moved to protect the flagship and their illustrious leader while the Zarasian fighters attempted to block them. Meanwhile the heavier Tau'ri and Asgard ships closed in and one of them plucked the Minister and his bodyguard from the bowels of the flagship.
With the Minister and Jakose back in safe hands Xander smiled a predatory grin.
"All ships pull back and initiate Silver Storm manoeuvre."