Saturday, April 3, 2010

Dawn of the Dragonsworn-Part 9

The Dragonsworn cruisers assumed a cone-shaped formation, meant envelop the Patrol dreadnought, moving as if controlled by a single mind. As the Dragonsworn ships came into range, the Kinneson opened fire with all of her primary batteries. The volley of fire focused its payload upon the focal ship at the point of the cone, vaporizing it out of existence in a single shot.

Despite the show of horrific force, the Dragonsworn cruisers pressed their attack and moved englobe their foe. Aboard theKinneson Admiral Smith laughed.

"Clear the space before and behind. Let those around us suck on our jets as we punch through."

The Dragonsworn vessels returned fire, throwing beams force and power comparable to the Patrol's compliment, but did not reckon on the strength of its screens. Those a brilliant and colorful display, they held fast and not much worse for wear; this was not so for the Dragonsworn, who found themselves confounded by tractors grappling a target into place before gunners manning primaries and secondaries focused upon and blew out the held target. Dragonsworn gunners hurried to identify and use needle-like precision fire to knock out the Patrol gunners, or the tractor beams, but it was too little and too often also too late. Despite superior numbers, the lost of the focal ship destroyed their ability to coordinate action ship-to-ship.

Then came the coup-de-grace, the thought-bomb that Homsar implanted into one sailor's skull, and in a fit psychosis he surged at his ship's pilot and steered his vessel into a ram attack- an attack easily and handily turned into a seized ship and a boarding action. By the time the crew put down the madman, the Dark Spear marines had already latched a boarding tube and burned into the ship to assault it.

General Zuzu lead the attack, bursting through with the two space axes in hand. In a moment they came upon the hastily-erected chokepoint with semi-portable blasters in place. Without breaking stride Zuzu charged the guns, knowing full well that the screens installed in Patrol marine armor can hold against such weapons long enough to make contact, and the marines of the Dark Spears followed right behind.

"WE BRING THE PAIN TO YOU!" they cried, as one, at the top of their lungs just as Zuzu breached the Dragonsworn line and buried one axe in each of the two hapless lizardmen sailors doomed by their captain to man them. Zuzu cleaved through those two skulls, spraying black blood and reptilian brain meat across the bulkheads, and then cut a third in half before that fool could level his blaster at the general. Through the breach poured Zuzu's fellow marines, each wielding another such space axe and cutting down their foes with ruthless abandon.

One sailor, in the back, fled for his life upon hearing the war cry of the Dark Spears and the utter slaughter of his crewmates. He fled, screaming all the way to the bridge, whereupon the captain--viewing the action through a remote camera--turned and blasted the man's head clean off. As the now-headless crewman's corpse slumped to the deck, its neck smoking, the captain picked up a comlink.

"This is the captain. You are on Death Ground, men. If you want to live, kill them all. Those that flee shall be shot."

The men around him immediately drew their weapons, fired upon him from all sides and killed him several times over. When General Zuzu arrived, he found the bridge crew quite ready and eager to surrender, which was fortunate as they were the only crewmen still alive- and the only enemy personnel.

Meanwhile, Admrial Smith's expert and veteran spacers destroyed each ship in turn by applying the same fix-focus-fire technique that worked so well early on. Within a half-hour, the fight was over; only the one boarded vessel remained, and the bridge crew that surrendered soon found themselves under interrogation by Smith directly- the sole Agent immediately at hand.

On the surface, Homsar enjoyed similar success. Leading the militia on a wild chase, and despite the fact that he was in Patrol armor, he ran throughout the Dragonsworn complex at will. He's ambush a group, wipe them out and then fade before reinforcements arrived. This seeming incompetence greatly displeased both the Dragonsworn leaders and their mentor/master, the latter of whom lost control and began ranting without stop in a stream of invectives and obscenities that proved to be telling to Homsar- because part of this lost control included the ability to not broadcast one's thoughts to all what could receive them.

It was a specific turn of phrase--"recycled monkies"--that sparked an unpleasant memory, of the Algolian Occupation during the last war, the event that put Homsar on the path to becoming who and what he is now. Just before the Terran Navy returned to liberate Earth, Homsar partook of a raid against an Algolian prison camp said to be where most of the disappeared people went. It turned out to be an experimental facility, the place where new Algolian Jannisaries came from- it was here that he (and everyone else) discovered that the Algolians turned their enemies into their slaves through genetic and eugenic manipulation- they literally recycled people into the war-thralls of the Algolian Empire.

It was also the first time that Homsar buried an axe into an unarmed man's skull, for that man was one of the scientists responsible for turning his family into such war-thralls- family he had to put down himself. That villain's master escaped, and now he returns like this? Having lied to the survivors of the Sixth Hospital and conned them into becoming these lizardmen thralls?

"Admiral!" Homsar said, "The leader of the Dragonsworn of is the head of the War Thrall facility during the Occuption."

"Gabriel?" Smith said, "Here?"

"Yes. I'm going to split his skull and burn his corpse to ash."

"We've got space cleared out and will be there shortly. What about the others?"

"Same as it ever was."

"Understood. Captured part of a crew, and interrogation confirmed what you reported. We've got space cleared and will be planetside shortly."

"Hurry, Admiral, or you'll have nothing to do but clean up the mess."

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