The small research robot from the KSS Aqua
approached the hull anomaly. As it did, it could see that the bulge had practically disappeared. The scientists assigned to its controls were visibly disappointed as valuable research data had gone down the figurative drain, and into the very real spaceship. Sadly for the researchers, however, the robot would not be able to get into the hull breach, as it had been tidily sealed by the automated breach-seal systems of the Khaganate. (These breach-seal systems work much like how a human body would repair wounds. At the first sign of a hull breach, a 'scab' would be made by the shield generator systems of Khaganate vessels, shielding the breach and making sure that no pressure loss or further damage would happen. Next, the Nanite auto-repair systems would
efficiently repair the breach, closing it completely.)
As usual, it took some time for First Gamma Palin to respond. Captain Schmidt started considering his options on what to do about the hull anomalies. It was then that he received the message from the Sporn. Quickly recognizing the message as a threat, he ordered:
"Power up all available weapon and shield systems! Surround our civilian ships with military vessels. Set status to red alert and summon all crew members to battle stations", Erwin said, speaking as admiral of the fleet, rather than the captain of the Nova
The twenty-nine Khaganate ships became a flurry of activity as men and women ran to their designated battle-stations. Engineers checked the weapons, shields and other systems to make sure they were ready as soldiers and marines gathered their equipment to prepare for any hostile boarding actions. The civilian ships raised their shields and point defense weapons as the Khaganate Navy ships encompassed them. Fighter and bomber pilots got in their strike-craft, preparing to launch. The only areas devoid of activity were those that had been affected by the hull anomalies. All ship-to-ship traffic had shut down.
"Shields are raised and weapons are fully charged, captain. All systems are nominal, except those in the affected areas."
"Admiral, I detect hull breaches on all fleet ships. It would seem that these breaches are at the location of the hull anomalies. The Quatis fleet is also suffering from the same hull breaches. The automated breach-seal protocols have negated the pressure loss from the breaches, but they are still present"
"Activate Nanite Repair Systems on all fleet vessels. Make sure every vessel is fully repaired before we get into any conflict."
"Captain, I received a message from the Quatis fleet," the officer in charge of communications, who had not completely come to terms with Erwin's sudden change in demeanor.
After those scant few minutes in which so much had already happened, the Khaganate fleet finally got Palin's response. Captain Schmidt listened intently, his mind racing as he heard of the assault on the Quatis fleet.
"Captain, I can confirm what the First Gamma said," the Communications Officer stated, "A group of unknown objects are currently in transit towards this star system."
"Rendezvous with the Quatis," the captain ordered, "and charge the wormhole drive while we are en route. Make sure to target a nearby star system so we can make a quick escape if needed. We are only here to protect the civilian ships and get back to the main fleet, and we can't do that if we're dead."
"Captain, hostile ships approaching! Their weapons are being charged and they're trying to surround us. They should be visible on the main screen now."
Admiral Schmidt looked at the main viewscreen, and indeed he saw the centipede-like ships from the Sporn approaching the Khaganate fleet.
"Set course for the Quatis, NOW!"
The Nova's propulsion systems roared as they started to move the ship towards its destination. The other ships in the Khaganate Secondary Fleet started to move as well. Spacetime itself was bent and curved as the Khaganate fleet activated its Superluminal Propulsion Systems, or SPS, (a way for Khaganate ships to travel faster than light in-system, works by expanding and contracting space similarly to an Alcubierre Drive) to move even faster towards the Quatis fleet.
"Do we have anything capable of boarding other ships at the moment?"
"As far as I can see, captain, all we have are boarding pods, MCES mechs, and dropships. No stratocruisers are currently present, so that's all we've got, and there's only a few of them. We also have teleporters, but we wouldn't be able to conduct large-scale boarding actions with those."
Admiral Schmidt then replied to Palin:
"First Gamma Palin. We're coming over to you. Do you need help taking out the robotic entity on your science vessel?"
Only a few minutes after the admiral had given the order to travel to the Quatis fleet, they had arrived there, the curvature of spacetime returning to normal as the SPS was turned off.
Luckily for the Omega Order soldiers that were busy investigating the strange hull anomalies, the breach that had recently formed in the general vicinity had already been closed off almost instantaneously by the breach-seal shield. Moreover, the very brief and sudden change in air pressure they had experienced was completely negated by the magnetic boots and the powered exoskeleton beneath the rest of their uniform that were a standard part of Omega Order task force equipment.
The leader of one of the first Omega Order Task Forces to arrive at the area they had been sent to, Sergeant Marica Tanner, raised her hand as soon as she saw the man. The Omega Order soldiers halted in their tracks. They kept their hands on their weapons, just in case, but didn't immediately aim at the civilian. Marica scanned the entity, confirming its identity as one of the civilians that had already been evacuated from that particular part of the ship. Something strange is at work here,
Sergeant Tanner thought, there's no way that they would've just left someone behind. Unless...
"Operation Command, this is AXE-1. We have discovered a male civilian in containment area B-7. Curiously enough, this civilian has already been evacuated from this area, so we know that Bravo-Six was succesful. The entity shows no life-signs. We suspect that somehow some kind of entity present in the hull anomaly replicated the appearance of this particular civilian, but we are not sure. How do we proceed? It is clearly anomalous, but it's not acting with any hostility either."
"Try to approach it and see if it communicates. Only use violence in the most dire of circumstances."
Marica raised her hand, waving at the civilian. "We are from the Omega Order," she said, "who are you?"
"Operation Command, did you get that? The entity claimed itself to be a god," James noted.
"Positive, PA-1. It is as we suspected earlier," Operation Command replied.
It was then that the ship suddenly started to shake again, like it had before when they tried to recontain the entity. While the powered exoskeleton they wore underneath would've normally prevented the Omega Order soldiers from being thrown off balance, this time the ship shook so hard that the task force Phalanx Alpha had difficulty staying upright, and James feared that the ship would break if the shaking continued for too long.
Sgt. Maleski could do nothing as he saw the entity phase through a wall and escape. "Operation Command, we've lost the entity. It phased through a wall. Current location unknown."
"Understood. We'll try our best to find it again and recontain it. Get some rest in the meantime."
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________@HokumWhere the hell am I now?
, former general Katie Anderson thought, I feel like shit.
General Anderson tried to remember what had happened, but all she could remember was being strapped to some kind of table.
The darkness all around her made way for the light as power was restored to the bridge of the Genghis. The former general felt her legs collapsing beneat her, too weak to stand up. Is this the bridge of the KSS Genghis?
she thought, as she quickly catched a glimpse of the surrounding environment. What happened to Arman? What happened to the other officers?Ouch, that hurt.
Katie felt someone pick her up and turn her over. I have no idea who this is,
the general thought as she looked at Dino He doesn't look like he's from the Khaganate.
She tried to raise her arm to punch him so he would stop holding her, but was ultimately unsuccesful as she was too weak. Can't even hit someone when I want to. What happened to me?
"Admiral Gavon, please let go of my general." Katie heard from somewhere to her left. She turned her head to look at the source of her voice. Of course, my Khan is on this ship too, and those men standing beside him must be the Kheshig.
Katie looked the other way. She could see the vice-admiral, Jens Knaggs, laying down on the ground, hands on his groin with tears in his eyes. Luckily, one of the crew members was already calling for medical aid.
As the ship started to shake and Dino was knocked on his back, general Anderson's attention was drawn to something far more interesting. She could see three cylindrical spaceships pull away as a strange crimson wormhole opened near the Genghis, sucking in the ship. Immediately, all hell broke loose inside the bridge as the ship started to move like a boat entering rapids in a river and subsequently falling down a waterfall. The automated balancing systems of the Khaganate ships could do nothing to compensate for the turbulence. It took only less than a minute before the Khaganate fleet was sucked in.
"Status report," Katie could hear Khan Yuri order from some distance behind her.
"Uhh, Sir, it appears that two of our missing officers have arrived on the bridge, and our fleet has been sucked into a wormhole of unknown making. As far as I can see, none of the ships are..."
The person speaking got no chance to finish as one of the many screens in the bridge started broadcasting a signal coming from the KSS Borealis. On the screen Katie could see a bearded, white-haired man kneeling, with his clenched fist on his chest, showing his loyalty to the Khan. Arman!
Katie thought He must've made it back to his stratocruiser after I disappeared.
She could see a very brief flash of surprise in General Nurzhan's eyes as he saw her and Jens, but that went away quickly as he directed his eyes to Khan Yuri.
"Gur Khan, I have returned, and General Anderson is here apparently as well. I have reclaimed leadership of my Army, and we are at your command."
The Khan, who still stood up from the amazement he had when General Anderson and Vice-Admiral Knaggs had suddenly appeared on the bridge, let himself fall back down to his throne. "Of course, General Nurzhan should appear as well. Stand up, no need to kneel at the moment. Right now we're in transit to an unknown location by a wormhole not of our own making. Get ready for any nasty surprises that might be awaiting on the other side."
Katie saw Arman give a small nod before the broadcast ended. It was at that moment, to all of the surprise of the bridge crew, that Fanny May walked out one of the walls of the bridge.
"You're pregnant!" was the last thing Katie heard before she blacked out.
The medical personnel hurried away, carrying General Anderson and Vice-admiral Knaggs on stretchers. Khan Yuri Lanist was fascinated by the new arrival. He had ordered the Kheshig to stand down, but they still looked at Fanny visibly uneasy. "Contact all ships in the fleet, order them to be ready for anything that could be on the other side of the wormhole," the Khan quickly said before turning his attention to Fanny.
"So, you must be Fanny May," the Khan said, "What business did you want to discuss?"
The general of the 7th army of the Lanist Khaganate was exhausted. Only now did Arman Nurzhan realize that he had not eaten or slept since he and Katie had escaped from the medieval planet that they had been stranded on after the Khaganate fleet mis-jumped. He left the room and went to his quarters to get some rest.
On the way, he met Legate Septima. "Sir, what are your orders?" She asked. Legate Aquila Septima was the general's second-in command, and he entrusted her with carrying out his orders in the way she saw fit. It was one of the reasons why she was chosen to be general in his place while he was gone.
"Make sure the ship is ready for combat," Arman replied, "We are in a wormhole that is not of our own making. We need to be prepared for any eventuality. Tell the captain to warm up our own wormhole generator in case we need to jump out."
"Understood, sir, there was also something else I wanted to discuss."
"What is it, legate?" Arman asked, without his usual stern demeanor.
"You've changed, General. I notice that you don't speak with the usual lack of emotion or disregard for that of others. Why, if I am allowed to ask?"
"Several years of solitude do that to a man, Legate. But that is a story for another time."