The third book in the Meddlers In Time series. The adventures in the 35th Century continue, with this second book in that series. In this episode, the story is told of how Jenny DeVries infiltrates the Empire under very deep cover, with the help of the Free Company 'Wotan's Fury'- Wayne Jamieson's command.
The ship's intercom sounded 'One hour warning- all hands secure for N-space running'
Commander Hendrik glanced at his readouts, in particular the subspace mass detectors which were now starting to register the presence of his prey- a huge 'Caravan' class bulk freighter. Also on his screen were other vessels- a cruiser and four frigates- but these were for 'Wotan's Fury' and the other frigate 'Blackbeard' to deal with.
This was always the worst time- the waiting just before exiting sub-space. But at least he had the advantage of a sub-space detector far in advance of anything else found in this time. The minutes counted down seemingly getting faster as the time approached. Then there was no time left for a last check of all stations and the 'Jolly Roger' was in normal space- now the work really started.
Space battles are won and lost by intelligence. Whose ship had the best sensor arrays, signal processors and fire control- and more importantly- the advantage of surprise. The small flotilla had used the advantage of their sub-space instruments to come into normal space behind the freighter and her escorts- where their sensors were at their least effective. Before the cruiser had even gotten a firing solution, Captain Jamieson's gunners were pouring fire into the cruiser, while the 'Blackbeard' held off two of the escorting frigates with equally devastating fire.
Hendrik directed his gunners to support the other two vessels as he closed on the freighter and gave the order for his cutters to start their runs. At 50 kilometers out, he directed the secondary weapons operators to start burning out the freighters sensors and communications. As he did so, a violent flare of incandescent light caused the camera screen to momentarily flare out, telling him a torpedo had taken out the cruiser with a nuke- something they seldom used, being in the business of taking prizes. Glancing to the XO's screen, he saw tracery indicating that the 'Fury' had already redirected it's quick-firing lasers to the remaining escorts.
Now they were clear to grapple with the freighter and board.
As the Sailing Master took the frigate in, Commander Hendrik watched the teams from the cutters burning through the hull, forcing an entry for the heavy infantry in their active armor. They would be creating a diversion for the main thrust, consisting of Hendrik's light infantry who enter through a soft-seal.
As the frigate approached the hull, the Remora docking pod locked into position on their ventral aspect. The Sailing Master would close the last few meters at low speed, driving this hardened cylinder, which looked like the end of a hypodermic needle, through the hull plating. A crushable collar filled with expanding sealant would caulk the breach.
A faint shudder told them that the hull had made contact.
"Mag-grav locks engaged Sir", said the Remora operator. "We have soft-seal". He activated the hydraulic rams that would clear the penetrator and deployed the cutter arms. Where needed, cutting lasers would slice through plates, wreckage and bulkheads. While it is true that most thing on-board ship do not react well to gunfire or cutter beams, it is also true that wherever possible, such items are kept away from the outer hull wall.