Science Fiction The Oracle
#51
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiEDvIlndEs


Episode 30 - Flight


The jolt of the maneuver engine jostled Ardelle to wakefulness. She blinked bleary eyes, yawned, then tapped a button and zoomed in on the tactical map.


“What is it?” Elliot asked also coming awake. Emerging from the darkness, he joined her under the soft blue glow as she hunched over the tactical map. She heard the sounds of soft breathing coming from the cargo bay as chameleons and marines slept or tried to.


“Just hoping for a miracle,” she said as she studied their approach to the blinking dot.


“Is that the Oracle?” Elliot asked, pointing at the dot. “How did you--”


“It might be. These were coordinates I found in some ancillary data from the brief connection you had with them. Like I said. I’m hoping for a miracle.”


“Ma’am,” the pilot called over the comms. “We’re approaching rendezvous with target.”


She looked out the view port and saw that they rose into a massive ice field formed by comets or asteroids passing near the planet and getting caught in its gravity well. Ice crystals as large as glaciers on earth drifted by. She blinked against the bright sun reflecting from and refracting through the crystal-like ice structures.


“Good. Continue on course,” she said and then keyed the internal comms to both shuttles, “Listen up,” she said. “We’re coming up on where we think the Oracle is located. We don’t know what’s out here, but we think she’s hiding from something. Everyone stay buckled up but remain sharp.”


Do they spot the Oracle right away?


(Somewhat Likely | 4[d10]) Nobut...


But it might spot them...? 


They were close. But where was it? Their passive sensors had still not detected anything. She gripped the console, knuckles white as the numbers counted down. “Come on,” she whispered. Without active sensor sweeps, it would be nearly impossible to locate she knew. Visually spotting it was worse than a needle in a haystack. It’d be a needle in an ice-stack. It had to be along their current trajectory...


“Lot’s of ice up here. Plenty of places for it to hide,” Elliot said. “I’m sure it’s here. Just hiding.”


“If Oracle is hiding in this field, that means it had to move off its previous drifting course or risk smashing into something, right?” Ardelle asked. She leaned back and massaged her forehead. “If it was the Oracle to begin with. What if I grabbed some random numbers from something completely unrelated and created this out of whole cloth?”


“You did what you could,” Elliot said, touching her arm. “Don’t be hard on yourself. You saw something in those numbers.”


“If it’s hiding behind miles of ice, would passive sensors would be able to sense it through these fields? How close would we need to be?”


“As long as it’s emitting something, passive sensors should be able to at least detect--”


“Ma’am, something has pinged us with active sensors!” The pilot said and Ardelle could hear the tightness in his voice.


“Is it--” but she couldn’t complete her sentence, the pilot jinxed so hard she and Elliot floated for a moment and when other thrusters kicked in the motion threw her against Elliot, slamming both of them into the interior bulkhead.


“We’re being fired on!”  The pilot shouted.


An ice mountain exploded next to them sending smaller chunks spraying out into their path. Some of those chunks were as big as their shuttle and the glistening chunks headed straight for them.


“Hang on!” 

TN 6 to pass.
3 = 3[d6] 
3 plus pilot of 3 = 6 success


The shuttle twisted, and she and Elliot once more slammed into one of the shuttles walls before the pilot leveled the shuttle out again.


How is the Egg Crate faring?


Punish / Love


Sounds like it took some punishing damage when it veered away to avoid a crash with Seraphim? How bad is the damage?


(11 = 11[d20]) Minor Damage: Largely superficial; degrades performance, but not disabling.
Not that punishing... Smile


“Who’s shooting at us? The aliens?” She asked as Elliot helped pull her to her feet. She felt bruised all over. She buckled herself into her seat and motioned for Elliot to do the same. He sat down with a groan next to her. “I hurt all over.”


“I don’t know ma’am,” the pilot said. “With only our passive sensors, it’s hard to--”


“Forget about that! Whatever is shooting at us already knows we’re here. Ditch the passive sensors! Do an active sweep, full sensors! Now!”


“Aye ma’am, full active sweep!” There was a brief pause, and she heard him pressing controls. “Sensors are still screwy, but we’re close enough to get some data. Coming on tactical now.”


Her eyes darted to the holo-tactical and her heart fluttered as the stats came in on the scanning results. The holo image flickered, winked out and then came back on its digital image hazy.


“It’s not an earth ship...” Elliot said as she pulled up the information on her own console.


“No, it's not.” she exhaled a sigh of relief. “Not from earth. But it is clearly a human ship. I’ve seen the type. From the size and engines, I’d guess a light cruiser class,” Ardelle said.


“Bigger than Oracle then?”


“Yes,” she said. “It’ll have shields, about triple the amount of weaponry...”


“Great,” Elliot groaned.


She pointed to the console next to her. “Take over on sensors so the pilot can focus on his job. See if you can find the Oracle.”


“Aye ma’am,” Elliot sad sliding into the console next to her and looking over the sensor data.


She keyed the comms to the other shuttle. “Egg Crate, how’re you doing?”


“We’re okay for now ma’am,” the pilot said in a confident drawl. “Some ice messed up our paint job. Minor damage that could cause problems in atmo. Other than that, we’re good.”


“Good.”


The pilot jinxed the shuttle again bringing them around the other side of a large ice rock.


“You’re not going to believe this,” Elliot said studying the scanning data coming in.


“Try me,” she said.


If the bug aliens aren't in space here, the only thing I can think of is that there's an unknown possibly hostile ship of human origin. They could have managed to detect Oracle’s route to the jump point to Spenalk. Makes sense that there could be another hostile ship out there. It could be one from the Independent Coalition of Colonies (ICC... or abbreviated as TICC for those from earth / sol system).


Is that what it is?


(Likely | 9[d10]) Yes


Is the human ship larger than Oracle?


(50/50 | 6[d10]) Yesbut... +Event: Change / Intrigues


Yes but not by much. It’s a ship class larger. It’s been modified and its presence is a mystery (intrigue).


“It’s a ship from the ICC!”


“What’s a tick ship doing way out here?”


He shrugged. “Want me to patch comms through to them so you can find out?”


“Is case you haven’t noticed, they aren’t much in the mood for conversation,” she said.


Does the other ship spot their approach to Oracle? I'll say SU given the sensor situation in the system.


(Somewhat Unlikely | 10[d10]) Yesand...


Great... AND the trajectory of the shuttle leads them to locate the silent-drifting Oracle. They'll have to dock quickly and get out of there. There are a lot of asteroids meteors etc in this system. So lots of debris and things to hide behind or run into in a chase scene. Should be fun...!


And once it locates the Oracle does it attack the science vessel?


(Somewhat Likely | 5[d10]) Yesbut...


But it's hampered by targeting systems getting screwy with the cosmic storm and asteroids, meteors etc, causing issues.


So, it'll be a race to see who can get to Oracle first and who doesn't get pummeled by the meteors.


“They’re firing again! Two missiles inbound!” the pilot shouted and again jinxed and chaff and countermeasures streaked out behind them. This time she and Elliot were buckled into their seats, but the motion slammed her teeth together anyway and brought tears to her eyes. 


“They missed?” Ardelle asked.


“Don’t...think so,” the pilot said. “I’m doing what I can, but you know how good targeting computers are, especially at these slow relative speeds.”


Elliot shook his head as the missiles streaked onwards and beyond them. “No... they’re targeting something else! Ahead of us.” 


The tactical readout showed two missiles... zipping past them. Through the camera feed on the viewport she saw their contrails arc and twist as one slammed into a frigid asteroid ahead of them. Thousands of ice shards spread out in a glowing shimmering cloud. The other missile zipped through the expanding ice cloud continuing onwards.


Seraphim raced through the cloud and Ardelle heard the plinks of ice on the hull and felt small shudders as larger chunks struck their armored surface.


Elliot said. “I’m picking up energy readings ahead of us. Weapons fire! Not at us... two pulse shots just struck the ship behind us!”


She saw the readings on her tactical display. 


“Something shooting it? Is it the Oracle?”


“Bringing it up now on tactical...Yes! We found her!” Elliot said.


The relief in his voice sounded as palpable as her relief felt. Like the sun had emerged behind a dark cloud bank during monsoon season on Spenalk 3. When she saw Oracle on her tactical, she almost whooped. But her relief drained away, and her leg started jogging up and down as she tracked the missile continuing towards Oracle.

Oracle tried to use her directional thrusters to edge behind an asteroid, but the missile had too many smarts for that. It arced around the large ice rock and an orange explosion erupted in front of them.


“No...” Elliot gasped.


“She’s a tough ship. She can take more than that. She has class 3 armored hull. She can take more than a single missile strike.”


But Ardelle knew that Oracle wouldn’t be able to stand toe to toe with a light cruiser class for long. Even if Oracle hasn’t been converted from a military destroyer and had her full complement of original weaponry, she’d still be outgunned. It’d be a closer fight, but in all the combat sims she’d been a part of, a light cruiser class was simply a heavier ship. Slower yes, but able to dish-out and withstand more damage. 


Their only option was flight.


She jammed the comms button. “Oracle? This is Ensign Ardelle Leathe! We see you. We have critical information that needs to reach High Command. We’re coming in fast... Open the landing bay doors!”


They streaked around another asteroid, keeping it between them and the Light Cruiser behind them. The enemy ship that would be in medium shooting range of Oracle shortly. Another missile streaked passed them towards oracle and impacted off its armored hull.


The comms crackled and flared to life in her ear. “Ensign Leath,” it was one of the watch standards on the bridge. The voice sounded nervous. Tense. “We’re in a combat situation and cannot--” 


Ardelle dug her fingernails into her other arm. “Who’s in charge?”


“That’d be Lt. Garcia, Ensign, and he said--”


“Connect me to him on the line! Now!” She shouted into the comms. Elliot looked at her his eyebrows climbing his forehead and then shifted back to his console. 


“Wait one,” the comms officer aboard Oracle said. 


While she waited and ground her teeth, she shifted her attention to the pilot of Seraphim, “Get us to Oracle! All possible speed! We must get board that ship!”


“The landing bays doors aren’t open,” the pilot said. “They’re not ready to receive us.”


“Just do it! I’ll get the doors open.”


“Aye ma’am!” 


She felt the after burner kick in and gripped her console as the shuttle darted past more hulking blue asteroids that shimmered rainbows in her eyes.


A slender older man with gray hair, a gray handlebar mustache, and piercing blue eyes appeared on her holo-display. The picture shimmered, pixelated and then came back a little clearer.


“Ensign. Lieutenant Garcia here!” a voice like scraped gravel barked, and the holo display in front of her flared to life to show the interior of the Oracle’s bridge. “We’re in a bit of a situation as you can see,” He sat in Captain Alestranda’s chair his rail-thin frame taut with tension. "What's the emergency?"


“They just took another hit ma’am,” Elliot said. Ardelle registered the red damage markers that flared to life around the Oracle’s display on the holographic tactical map and Lt. Garcia swayed in his chair. She zoomed in on the Oracle. Seraphim’s own cameras were updating her own data. The ship was still in one piece. More armored hull blown off and probably some minor damage inside.


“Sir,” she said. “We are inbound. ETA 3 minutes. I need those doors open and ready to receive us!”


“Ensign. Get off the comms, and get me Captain Alestranda. We’re being fired upon. I need her orders, and I needed them yester--”


“Both she and the XO are dead!” Ardelle said, shoving the bluntness of the fact full in his face.


“What? Dead?” Lt. Garcia whispered and he seemed to teeter on his chair. In his mid fifties, she had thought Lt. Garcia was already ancient, but now he seemed to age another ten years before her eyes.


“How...? No. Nevermind, I need you to--”


“They died in combat on the surface!” She swallowed as the bitterness rose within her. “You are right that we have a situation, but trust me, it’s much more than just this one ship.”



Does Lt. Garcia listen and open the doors?


(Somewhat Unlikely | 5[d10]) No



He straightened in his chair, “I’ll be the judge of that.”


“Sir, you have to listen to me!" she said and knew anger tinged with desperation had crept into her voice.

"No I don't. The situation is critical. Now get off this channel!"

So many more dead if she failed now. "Sir, I’m ordering you to open the doors! Under authorization code--”

“You’re ordering me?” Lt. Garcia gave a mocking laugh, but it was humorless and icy cold. He leaned forward looming in the display. “You listen to me, Ensign, I am your senior officer, and you know the line of succession goes to the next highest ranking line officer. And that’s me! When you get on board, you’ll be court martial-ed for insubordination. Now clear this channel! I have a battle to run.”


The comms went dead. A battle? Ardelle slammed her fist on the console and jammed the comms button again. No answer from Oracle's bridge. Elliot glanced over at her. “A problem?”


“Is he really thinking of going toe to toe with the light cruiser?”


“Ma’am?” the pilot’s urgent voice came over the comms.


“Stay the course,” she said.


The shuttle twisted between two asteroids that collided in a shower of crystalline shards behind them as a missile joined the mix in a ball of light.


“Elliot, know anyone in Engineering that’s good with computers?”


“Good? No. But scary-crazy? Yes. Crewman Marisella Libby,” Elliot said.


“Scary-crazy works for me,” Ardelle said. “It sure beats dying out in an ice field from a crazed ICC ship,” she muttered. “Get her on the horn.”


“On it!” Elliot said.


A few seconds later, a short and stout woman of Asain descent appeared on the holo-screen.


“Crewman Libby here. Oh... hey Ell?”


“Mari,” Elliot said. “We need a favor.”


--

How is the Light Cruiser modified?


Fight / Portals




First thing that comes to mind if boarding pods.




*is




Is that it?




(Likely | 9[d10]) Yes +Event: Heal / Power




I'll ignore the Heal / Power...




So it sounds like it's basically a pirate ship, designed for speed and to get in close and launch boarding pods.




Is it unshielded?




(Somewhat Likely | 3[d10]) No




We'll see if it hits the Oracle.




Oracle is hiding strategically behind ice. I'll say that adds one to the defense.




Is the commander of the ICC ship a skilled commander?




(50/50 | 2[d10]) No




What about Oracle?




(Somewhat Unlikely | 6[d10]) No, but...




No, but better than the ICC commander. Well, that's something.




We roll initiative. Oracle gets Quickness of 8 plus Command of 2, plus die roll:




3 = 3[d6]




So 13 total.




Thunder gets Quickness 6 plus Command of 1, plus die roll:




1 = 1[d6]




So 7 total. Oracle acts first.




Artillery skill of ICC ship:




1 = 1[d3]




Shooting skill of ICC ship:




3 = 3[d3]




Shooting skill of Oracle:




2 = 2[d3]




So Oracle is being targeted. They rotates weapons and shoot first.




Str 9 + Shooting 2 = 11 -- That's an automatic hit on the cruiser without rolling any dice. Hmmm. Not sure I like that.




What about Thunder shooting at Oracle:
Str 11 + Artillery + 1 = 12 -- Modified defence of Oracle is 12
Sound like the dice rolls aren't going to be used at all? What am I doing wrong?




Let's see what happens:




5 = 5[d6]




So if they roll a 5 to hit Oracle. They get a 17. Oracle takes 5 damage...?
So it's down to 23/28.




But oracle would have hit it first:




11 +

4 = 4[d6]



15 total vs Defence of 11. So 3 damage. It has shields of 5 so the pulse shots don't break through the shields...




I'm not crazy about the spaceship fighting system in OneDice. It doesn't seem nuanced enough for me. If I do a season 2 of this story, I'll be switching RPG systems.

So once the shooting starts everyone sees each other.
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#52
Episode 31: Landing

“Ma’am, we’re at T-45 seconds. Oracle’s still sealed tight,” the pilot said. The tactical display showed the Oracle’s blip drawing closer and closer.


Pulse shots and missile fire erupted around them crashing upon Oracle’s hull and splashing against the light cruiser’s shields. Oracle’s armored hull held, but portions of it were flaking away. Others had already buckled. How much longer before the ship took serious internal damage?


“Stars...she’ll take a beating...” Ardelle whispered, clenching her jaw and gripping the console. 


“Mari will get those doors open,” Elliot said.


“She didn’t seem too excited to help,” Ardelle looked at him. “What changed her mind?”


He shrugged. “A few schematics of the ancient tech from the Chameleon’s old colony ship. The chance to study some alien tech before anyone else goes a long way with these code monkeys. It also didn’t hurt that I reminded her that if I got spaced out here she’d never see the 25 grand I owed her.”


“Remind me to ask you about that if we get through this.”


Her display showed the doors on the Oracle began opening and relief flooded into.


“Told you,” Elliot smiled.


She shouted as an ice crystal the size of a frigate rear up erratically in front of them. 


The pilot attempted to jet around its edge. He succeeded and luckily only barely nicked the ice-rock. But the force that slammed into the ship felt like a hammer from an angry titan. Ardelle’s head slammed into the console, cracking it and an angry bruise began welling up on the side of her head. The lights flickered back on. Flickered again and then went dark. Then the red emergency lighting began blinking on and off.


The enemy ship that bore down on Oracle could not avoid the massive ice rock, and the collision with it did what Oracle’s weapons could not.The light cruiser’s shields suddenly buckled as the jagged crystalline rock broke under the collision and spun apart in a dozen large pieces. The light cruiser veered off at an angle away from Oracle and above it.

Does the enemy ICC ship hit any space ice? That might help even the odds?

(Somewhat Likely | 9[d10]) Yes

How much damage does it do?

Is it a huge rock?

(Somewhat Likely | 7[d10]) Yes

Okay so I'll say 1d10

5 = 5[d10]

5 - 3 remaining shields = 2 damage. Health is now 28-2 = 26/28

Nothin' crazy yet.


The twin pulse cannons on Oracle slammed blast after blast into the enemy ship’s underside, but the fusillade was only just getting started on the other ship’s armored hull. Ardelle knew that the ship was far from out of the fight. In a slug fest, the Oracle would still lose.

Plus two more pulse shots on the ICC ship for 3 more damage = 23/28

“Sorry,” the pilot muttered. “Just a paint scratch.”


“Let’s try not to get any more scratches,” she replied.


“Roger!”


“I’d hate to see what real damage looks like,” Elliot muttered, coughing and wiping blood from a scraped forehead.


“Ladies and gents. Buckle up! we’re coming in hard and fast and the landing might get a little rough.”


“Aren’t we already buckled?” Elliot said.


She glanced at the display and saw Egg Crate had also taken some damage in the aft section.


“You’re hit,” she asked them. “What’s your status?”


“One engine non-responsive!” the pilot of Egg Crate barked through the comms. “Cutting speed now!”


“They’re going to come in too fast!” Ardelle said. The visual display showed both shuttles approaching the same landing bay, Seraphim coming in first, Egg Crate lagging behind.


“Beginning counter burn... now!” the pilot of Seraphim said. The main engines swiveled to their forward position, and the ship shuddered under the massive thrust punched out by the twin engines. 


Pulse shots streaked past them from the Light Crusier slamming into Oracle, cracking and buckling armor plating.


Ardelle groaned against the gees that threatened to press her eyes out the backside of her head as the counter-burn continued, the forces inside of her growing. Oracle loomed ahead of them. 


Then they were there and slammed down into the spherical landing bay, skidding and scraping in a half circle, sparks erupting beneath them, one landing gear buckling. Ardelle groaned and sat for a few seconds, letting the blood continue its normal flow through her. She dizzily got to her feet, one hand against the shuttle’s wall support. Her head felt like it’d been through the ship’s heavy-weight kickboxing match.

Seraphim will try to dock lickedy-split. This will require a contest of piloting of shuttle vs TN of 8 to dock without damaging the shuttle or Oracle.

Piloting of 3 + ... DIE ROLL:

6 = 6[d6]

Boo--freaking--yah! Shuttle pilot is definitely getting a promotion from that!


She started to unbuckle. “Egg Crate is inbound!” the pilot breathed. “Hangar Bay 1...”


That was their hangar.... She watched the ship approach on the camera feed, a plume of flame jetted ahead of it and smoke billowed out from one of the engines, pouring out around the ship, as orange flames burned away at leaking oxygen. 


“How often do you fit two shuttles in one bay?” she asked Seraphim’s pilots. It seemed a little tight to her.


“First time will be today,” the co-pilot said.


“Might want to start praying if you’re a religious sort,” the other pilot said.


She sat back down and re-buckled then slapped the comms to everyone in the cargo bay. “Everyone stay put! Stay buckled up!” Then she watched the closed-circuit camera feeds showing the incoming Egg Crate.


It dove and spun seemingly out of control, then righted itself at the last minute and slammed down on its belly snapping all three landing gears. It skidded towards them, looming larger and larger.


Elliot closed his eyes and gripped his chair handles.


A loud scraping sound tore into her ears as the two hulls came together and Egg Crate slid past Seraphim, sparks spinning out in wild array. 


It slid to a stop, a wounded bird. The two sides of the external hangar bay doors met above them, clamping shut as atmosphere and smoke flooded the hangar bay.

Does Egg Crate make it?

3 = 3[d6]

So that's piloting of 3 + 3 = 6. That's 2 less than 8. So I'm going to say it slams down into the docking bay, but hard causing damage to itself, it's crew, and Oracle.


It's coming into the same hangar bay. Is it going to slam into Seraphim?


(Somewhat Likely | 9[d10]) Yes



Great. How bad is it going to be...?




Damage to the shuttles (I'll say 1d20 + the 2 for the failure)


(3 = 1[d20]+2) Negligible: Nick/Scratch/Dent.



Woah super lucky! Rolled a 1!



How hurt are the crew of Egg Crate (a new roll but against fleshy beings).



(13 = 11[d20]+2) Moderate Injury: Hampers action significantly; will require first aid/medical attention.


About what I would have expected... The ship took less damage than the crew.


“Crewman Walker and any able-bodied marines,” Ardelle ordered to both shuttles. “Gear up, and form on me! On the double! Leave any wounded and the Chameleons!” She unbuckled and opened the rear cargo door with a hiss, the ramp extending. Kalxons blared above her. The ship was in full red-alert status.


Behind her, marines grabbed weapons as she teetered down the ramp, still dizzy from the rough landing. She coughed as acrid smoke smelling burnt composites and melting electronics enveloped her.


Medical personnel raced towards the two shuttles, pulling out the wounded and shying away from the Chameleons with gasps of obvious awe at encountering an alien race for the first time. 


The pilots could explain that; she had a ship to save.
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#53
Episode 32 - Mutiny

Are there any marines that want to cause them trouble?
 
(Somewhat Unlikely | 8[d10]) Yes
 
Sounds like there might be a few marines following orders to bar her progress along the ship.

They raced down the hallway to the engineering section, four marines around her and Elliot all decked out in battle gear. No one stopped them as the entire ship seemed to be in a state of chaos but at the door to engineering a marine corporal in full battle armor stood and raised his weapon. 

The marines around Ardelle did the same training them on the marine corproal. Ardelle’s own weapon was trained on the man's head. This could get ugly... 

“Stay where you are, Ensign! Hands on your head!” The massive pulse rifle was pointed right at her, his face plate was up.

“Corporal, what are you doing?” She demanded.

“Lt. Garcia says you are to be taken into custody for insubordination. I’m only following orders ma’am. No offence. Now, drop your weapons before I’m forced to open fire.”

“No. You listen to me Corporal,” she said. “Sergeant Remy is dead. Captain Alestranda is dead. Lt. Morgan is dead. And we will all be dead unless I'm allowed to continue. I’ve been given provisional command authority of this ship, and I’m ordering you to stand down!”

He hesitated, but finally shook his head sadly, and his weapons suddenly hummed. “Final warning ma’am.”

Does this section of engineering get damaged giving them and advantage?
 
(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and...
 
Nice. It completely catches him off guard. 
 
After that, how bad will the damage be in this section?
 
(5 = 5[d20]) Negligible: Nick/Scratch/Dent.

That’s good. Won’t need to go zero G and don survival suits just yet.

Without warning, the bulkhead shook and frayed wires splashed sparks from the wall to the right of the corporal. Some damage no doubt caused by some external shot from the light cruiser. But it didn't look too bad. The corporal backed up, raised an arm in distraction, and his gun lowered for just an instant.

Ardelle gritted her teeth. She hated firing on her own, but she did fire. She heard the four marines with her shoot as well, and the Corporal slid down against the wall as pulse shots slammed into him. He sank to the ground. She hoped his armor prevented him from death. He was a good soldier, only following orders. You couldn't fault a soldier for that. But he was following the wrong orders.

Pvt. Krissa kicked aside the marine’s weapon and trained her own on his head. Ardelle was relieved to hear him groan in pain. The corporal leaned back against the bulk-head in obvious pain, his face an ashen white, one hand gripped his midsection where the armor appeared the most buckled and scorched.

“See to his wounds, but don’t let him contact anyone.”

“Yes ma’am,” Krissa said.

Elliot keyed the door and they walked into Engineering. Marisella was there right where Elliot had said she would be.

“Mari,” he said with a warm smile. “Boy, you’re a sight for sore eyes. Thanks for opening the hangar doors!”

One hand was on her sidearm at her hip, a look of confusion on face. “I... I heard shooting,” she questioned. The three other marines took up defensive positions around them.

“A marine disobeyed a direct order in a combat situation,” Ardelle said bluntly.

“Ma’am?” she asked confused.

Ardelle leaned closer to the shorter woman. “I need you to listen to me, and listen carefully. Captain Alestranda gave me provisional command authority over Oracle. Her last order to me was to ensure that High Command received the information about the alien threat. I cannot do that if Oracle is destroyed by Lt. Garcia’s pride and foolishness. You know ship schematics. You know this ship cannot withstand a toe to toe fight with a light cruiser.”


Mari nodded, her eyes wide.

“And you’ve seen the alien schematics Elliot sent you?”

“Yes ma’am,” she whispered her lips parting. “It’s... They’re amazing!”

“Then you know we’re not lying. There’s an alien threat. Now, transmit this override code to Oracle’s main computer, then give me full access to the ship’s systems from this console.”

Oracle shuddered under another hit, and sparks exploded from a console nearby blowing an engineer backwards into a wall. Two others dragged him away and put out small fire.

“Do it! Before this ship is torn apart!” she coughed.

“Aye ma’am,” Mari swallowed and tapped into her console, her hands shaking a little. “What is the code?”

Ardelle felt the metal pendant cylinder in her pocket, thought of the stored information about the violent history between the two alien races she had met. Her hand gripped around it tightly. She remembered the blood dripping down around Captain Alestranda and Lt. Morgan. She heard Captain Alestranda’s voice in her head as she repeated the code to Mari.

Delta niner foxtrot tango.”

Mari typed in the command. The console flickered and then came to life with access to the ship’s systems. “It’s done.”

From her console, Ardelle first locked down the bridge consoles so they couldn’t access anything other than comms. She keyed in a course for Spenalk 2, tapped the auto-pilot button, and then engaged the main engines.

The ship shuddered as Oracle began a slow turn-and-burn towards the system’s second planet. It’d take time to clear the ice field with the AI navigating, and it would take time to get up to top cruising speeds, but it was the best she could do without full access to the bridge. 

The ship shuddered as more shots slammed into Oracle. She only hoped the engines didn’t take a direct hit. Their ship was faster and more maneuverable--she only prayed they would have enough time to .

It was a matter of seconds. “Engineering, what in the blazes is happening!? We’re in a battle! And our consoles just went dark! And the main engine just lit up!” Lt. Garcia fumed across the comms.

“This is Ensign Ardelle Leathe, and I’ve relieving you of command.”

“You can’t do that! This is mutiny.”

“It is already done. Call it what you may, but this is for the good of humanity. If you don’t do anything stupid, you might live long enough to understand what’s happening.”

“You have no idea who you’re dealing with Ensign! I swear on my ancestors that I’ll have you before a firing squa--”

Ardelle ignored him, killed his comms, and locked him and the rest of the bridge out of the comms as well as the other systems. For the time being, the bridge would only be able to receive comms. It wasn’t perfect, but it should give her the time for what needed to be done. 

She tapped the button for ship-wide communications.

This is Ensign Ardelle Leathe, the sole bridge crew science officer. Pursuant to Earth Naval Regulations, section 1008 and Captain Alestranda’s final command before her death...and to my sacred oath of service, I’m taking command of Oracle and relieving Lt. Garica of command. I order all marines loyal to earth’s navy and loyal to honor and duty to join me. This fight against the ICC ship is unwinnable, and the information gained planetside must reach high command. We must retreat to the jump point.” 

She pulled out the cylinder still covered with flakes of dried blood and inserted it into the computer console.

“I am transmitting to all consoles and screens shipwide the true nature of the threat we face from this sector of space. You will see for yourself what killed Captain Alestranda and Lt. Morgan.” Alien schematics and a video feed of the vicious aliens and their final attack on the Chameleon city flared to life.

It would take time for all that to sink in, and she hoped it would grant her the needed legitimacy she needed from the two platoons of marines. If it didn’t, they had already lost. This wasn’t how she had planned to start her own command, but she had little choice.

“Zip-tie him," she said to the drugged and medicated corproal. "Then with me!” Ardelle said to Krissa and the other marines. “We have a bridge to take.” 

Pvt. Krissa nodded, tied up the corporal, then jogged to catch up, leaving the groaning wounded semi-conscious marine in the corner of the passageway.
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#54
Just a hunch, but I don't believe this ship is making it home.  Undecided
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