“Dismiss me like that will he?!” bellowed Admiral D’artan, his face reddening from his anger. If he kept this up, his skin would soon match his hair. “I’ll show that braggart that I am not one to be trifled with!”
He marched down the stairs to enter the pit where the ship’s controls were located. His crew scrambled back and forth, some in control of the laser fire destroying the smaller ships, while others monitored the defensive shielding. Still others were involved in the more mundane tasks of keeping the ship in orbit, filtering in oxygen and filtering out the spent air. Others ran about, trying to make onboard repairs, and putting out fires when a torpedo managed to actual score a hit.
Then there were those in control of jamming all the Doom fleet’s radio frequencies, while others monitored the airwaves, in case Lotor did have some way of getting through the brownout and calling for help. They also eavesdropped to see if any orders were being issued from the one man fighter ships. They couldn’t completely block those from the communication grid. Their radios were smaller, and the ships were in constant flight, making a location impossible to pinpoint. But…the size was to a disadvantage as they certainly did not have enough power to broadcast far. They wouldn’t even be able to radio help to the planet closest to Arus.
It was odd that they didn’t communicate with each other, didn’t call out battle plans. Lotor’s boast of his men knowing how he would think echoed in D’artan’s mind, but he quickly dismissed it. They couldn’t be attacking so well all on a hunch on how their young ruler might think!
“The damn fool is going to get them all killed with his recklessness!” D’artan muttered. Sure he could make allowances for the man’s youth. Demos believed in the impetuous nature of the young, but this…this was too much! “We wouldn’t even be in this situation if he had been wise enough to see what an advantage it would be to marry our princess!” D’artan scowled. He was fast becoming convinced that the Drule Prince was definitely NOT worthy of Princess Corral. But…he had his orders…or did he…
Admiral D’artan approached the crew that was frantically working on zapping away all enemy ships that got too close. “Let’s try a new approach.” He said, thoughtfully stroking his hairless chin.
His men looked at him relieved. They had grown unaccustomed to losing, and seeing so many of their comrade go down, when not even a handful of Doom’s ships had been destroyed was rough. This battle was definitely wearing them down, lowering the fleet’s morale.
“I want you to readjust that Ion cannon to these coordinates.” He rattled off some numbers, and two soldiers hastened to move the cannon to the new position.
“Ah…sir…” One man nervously spoke up. “I don’t mean to overstep my place but…”
D’artan looked at him. “Ah, aren’t you’re General Baltizar’s boy?”
“Yes sir.” The man nodded. “Trent Baltizar at your service!” He saluted, clicking his heels together.
“Yes, I know your father quite well. We used to serve in the same division.” D’artan replied. “You’re…studying to become a navigator aren’t you?”
“Yes sir, and that’s why…” Trent hesitated.
“Go on. I encourage all my men to speak freely here.” D’artan urged him on.
“These coordinates concern me. Do you realize you will be aiming directly at Prince Lotor’s ship?” Trent asked. “Most likely hit the command area?”
The Admiral encouraged them to speak freely. It didn’t mean he had to actually listen to what they say. “Yes I am aware of that. It’s merely a bit of friendly fire to get them to surrender quicker.”
Young Trent looked doubtfully at the Ion cannon. No one ever used that weapon as a friendly gesture! “I thought we were to capture the prince alive…” He trailed off as he noticed how icy the air around him seemed to have become.
“Are you questioning my orders private?” D’artan demanded, his tone so cold, Trent felt a chill shiver down his back.
“No sir…I uh…I was just confused over our mission statement.” Trent stammered.
“Well don’t be.” D’artan reassured him. “I know what’s best for my men. I wouldn’t lead them into anything even remotely treasonous.” He nodded, and one soldier climbed up into the Ion cannon’s seat, finger already sliding over the trigger.
“Now…fire when ready.” D’artan ordered, already planning how to break the tragic news to King Anador and his daughter over the death of her fiancee.
“Now, we’re going to hit them fast and furious.” Lotor said, leading his remaining men out of the command deck. “Bring down as many as we can, before we try to make a retreat.” He sighed. “It’s regrettable that we must abandon ship, but they’ll not get off so easy either. We must knock down all of Demos’ battle carriers…”
Suddenly the ship rocked from an explosion. “Hmm…” Lotor had managed to remain standing. “Sounds like our hull has been breached…as I was saying…”
Suddenly another explosion, this one much closer hit, knocking them all down to the ground.
“What the…” murmured one young man.
“That…that came from the deck!” exclaimed another, his feline eyes going pupiless, the Drule version of “showing the whites of their eyes.”
‘If…if we had lingered another moment longer…” Another fearfully trailed off.
“We’d be dead.'” Lotor said calmly, rising to his feet. “Looks like they’re playing for keeps now.”
“How can you be so calm?” One asked, half awed, half frightened. Were they being led by a man who had a death wish?!
“Private…” Lotor’s brow furrowed as he tried to place the face. “Cossack is it?”
“Yes sire…” The man was amazed the prince knew his name.
“Cossack, this is your first time in battle is it not?” Cossack nodded, and Lotor continued. “I’m not so much as calm, but being practical.” He explained. “There is no time to dwell on what ifs. If it’s our destiny to die here today, then we will go out fighting, taking as many as we can with us! But…” He smiled. “I don’t believe it’s our time yet. Who here does?”
No one spoke, and after a minute Lotor began speaking again. “You see Cossack…you either have the blood of a warrior in you, or you don’t. If you’re going to be plague by doubts, it’s best to get out of the game now. Before the game takes you out.”
“Live by the sword, die by the sword…” Cossack murmured.
“Hmm…” Lotor cocked his head to the side. “Yes…I suppose that is fitting. Where did you learn that?”
“Oh…it’s an old Earth saying my father used to mutter all the time.” Cossack replied.
“I like it.” Lotor smiled, patting his sword belt. “I like it a lot.”
Another explosion rocked the ship, again situated in the deck, and flames spilled out into the hallway. “Time to move out.” Lotor said, briskly walking down the corridor that led towards the ship’s hangar. The men hurried, the heat of the flames licking at their backs.
“The flag ship’s down!” shouted one of D’artan’s men.
“Excellent.” D’artan smiled, eagerly watching the scene unfold on the monitors. “Now we’ll see what Lotor’s men do once they are leaderless. Will they stay and fight, or run away, their tails between their legs.” He shrugged. “It matters not. We’ll pick them all of, one by one.”
He watched as the Doom Flag ship slowly began sinking, no longer able to maintain altitude. Fighter jets from both sides buzzed about, Demos’ ones increasing the ship’s falls by further blasting it, while dodging blasts from Doom’s defenders. A gleeful smile spread across the Admiral’s face, as the ship’s outside flamed up, as the center split open, with loud groan. One half, which looked to be where the command deck was located, rapidly began falling towards’ Arus surface. The other half, still floated but barely. It soon would be brought down as well.
“MWA HA HA!!” D’artan’s laughter startled his crew. They had never heard the man laugh in battle before! “Let’s see Lotor survive that!” He felt a buzz, almost akin to the pleasure he received during lovemaking as he view the downed half give off one more explosion, obliterating all it’s remains into tiny pieces.
Suddenly there was excited murmur as two dozen ships flew out of the other half of the broken ship. “BLAST!” shouted D’artan. Survivors! Well no matter…”Lotor has surely perished! He’s too high and mighty to actually get his hands dirty in battle!”
“I believe you’re confusing me with you.” Lotor’s voice came over the radio, though it wasn’t the clearest transmission ever. “But then…how could anyone make that mistake? I’m younger, handsomer, smarter, and certainly better in bed than you, Admiral!”
Lotor’s mocking laugh was drowned out by D’artan’s howl of fury. “GET HIM!! I WANT HIM DEAD!!” He scrambled out of his command chair. “I’LL DO IT MYSELF IF I HAVE TO!!” He rushed towards a cannon, eager to kill the prince.
As for Lotor, he was in what many had nicknamed his bat plane. The one seater was certainly shaped like the mammal. It had a very sleek and slender body, with large wings, that were slightly curved, it’s tips sharpened to a point. It had incredible maneuverability, and several different types of lasers. It, like many of the other Drule one man ships also had the rare feature of being able to fly over long distances. Unlike the Alliance or Demos ships, who were only good for battles, needing huge carriers to carry them back and forth across the galaxy. The Drule ships were superior in this manner. It wouldn’t be a comfortable trip, but they would be able to make it all the way back to Doom.
But first, they had a mission to carry out. “All ships focus on the five carriers.” Lotor issued his orders in his native language. They had to bring down those monstrosities before heading for Doom. To leave even one meant they could regroup and catch them out in the middle of space. With a smile that some would say looked blood thirsty, Lotor ordered several ships to accompany him as he moved to take down the Admiral’s flag ship…