They attached tow cables to the remaining four ships and towed them into the main landing bay, it was a huge dock, and they approached the ships with fully armed space marines, ready to destroy the ships if needed. They opened their coms, and demanded the crews surrender and to exit their ships. The crews complied, but had set the self-destructs on two of the ships to take out the Amadeus. The spike in power on the ships gave the plan away, the deck crews pushed the ships out of the hangar, and once they cleared, the plasma engines took the Amadeus almost five thousand kilometers away in a second. The inertia was nauseating, but necessary.
The crews were from the Taurus sector of space and were known to the Earth Forces as Marauders. They were humanoids of average size and build; they had very yellow skin and covered in tattoos. They had black eyes, and black hair, those that wore hair, and their ears were small, almost too small, and their noses were just two nostril slits in their faces.
When questioned as to why anyone would open fire on Vega, a planet known in the galaxy not to involve themselves in any conflicts and only produced electronics and engines for a multitude of races. The leader of the Marauders told them he was not interested in their questions, Marauders were Marauders, what they did was take what they wanted, and they did not pay anyone for anything. They were taken to Bellatrix Command Station to be sentenced. The Amadeus was back on its routine mission and on the way to Epsilon Nine once again.
The Marauders inhabited an asteroid belt near Bellatrix, and they had no homeworld that anyone knew of. It was apparent that they were all of the same race and planetary origin, but they never told anyone about their history. They were a blight on the systems around the Orion Constellation and had caused more than a small amount of trouble for all of the different forces that were in the area. Earth Forces were the newest to the area and they were just as troubled by them as anyone else. If nothing else, they had given the different space faring races a common enemy, and had actually help form the planetary alliance that all of the systems now benefitted from.
Colonel Seanon had been in this sector of space for over fifteen years and had many encounters with the Marauders. So far, no one had been able to pinpoint the exact location where the Marauders called home. They had been chased into the asteroid field on many occasions but for most of the other ships, entering that asteroid field was dangerous. Their ships were too large to navigate the belt in normal space, and in hyperspace, they could not chase them. The Marauders had older, slower hyper-drives, and they didn’t have the newer plasma engines most of the other fleets had, that made the only possible way to chase them limited to star-fighters and shuttles, neither of which were an actual danger to their ships. They had excellent shield technology, and could navigate the asteroid belt with relative ease.
Seanon wanted to outfit a small fleet of Star-Fighters with heavier shields, and hotter pulse cannons, but so far, he could not get Earth Force Headquarters to agree. This latest incident might be the catalyst needed. The Marauders had never attacked Vega before, and all of the fleets depended on Vegan technology to continue exploring space. He sent a priority one message to Bellatrix Command when they had started for the Station to deliver the prisoners. When they had arrived in space dock, they were met by the admiralty and they told Seanon he would have his new ships as soon as they could be built.
The new ships were two-man ships, they required a pilot and an operations officer who operated the shields, communications, and kept the armaments ready for the pilot to fire. The new fighters were twenty percent larger than the Star-Fighters, and carried Phase Cannons and Plasma Torpedoes. This kind of ship Seanon felt would be able to take the fight to the Marauders. He had two crews ready made for the new fighters. Regis and Shaughnessy for one, and Michaelson and Rivan in the other, the rest of his twenty new ships he would find crews for and have the four of them train the others to make a task force that was going to be on a long reconnaissance mission and take the fight to the Marauders. They had no desire to wipe them out; they were survivors and had proven to be apt crews in space. They would rather bring them peacefully into the group of fleets that were present in the area and have them join them in surveying, and peaceful exploration.
It was not a guarantee that they would eventually join, but they were going to give them the opportunity to see that continued piracy, would only get them killed. This approach was not always fruitful, and the Marauders were not easy to engage, but they had to try. They were the best asteroid navigators Seanon had ever seen, and before you could plan a hyperspace jump, you needed Intel so you did not drop into an asteroid field or meteor shower when dropping from hyperspace into regular space.
Regis had presented Seanon with a battle strategy. He wanted the twenty new ships to form a flying wedge with each ship having a detachment of ten fighters and the Amadeus following them as they cut through the asteroid belt. Seanon was intrigued by his senior officers’ tactical abilities; and decided they were going to follow this strategy. They would be taking out a huge obstacle that made travelling through the area dangerous. Once they got through the field, they would then station the Amadeus on the other side, and it would be the command center for the ships to go into the field and seek out the Marauders.
Once they committed to the action, they would not be able to turn back, they would need to get through the field before turning back to address the Marauders. The Amadeus had extendable shields and could help provide shield protection for the smaller ships, which should get them through unscathed. However, not everything followed according to plans, and they needed contingency plans for any eventuality. They started their run and once they entered the asteroid field, they kept the guns hot, and pulverized the asteroids in their flight path. They were halfway through the field before the first Marauder ship appeared on their scopes. The asteroids were heavy with nickel and iron, and could disrupt their scanners, but clearing the asteroid field had made their scanners much more effective. They had made it three-quarters of the way through the field when the Marauder has started firing on them. The shield generators were holding, and with the exception of some minor hits, the armada was travelling through clearing a sector wide path for their ships.
The front ships had cleared the field when the Marauders approached the Amadeus from the rear and began heavily firing on her, forcing the part of the ships to form a rear guard facing them. They had gone from a wedge formation to a diamond formation and between the rear guns of the Amadeus and the cannons of the smaller ships, they had taken out at least fifty Marauder ships so far, and they did not seem to be letting up. When the Amadeus cleared the field, she turned one-hundred-eighty degrees about, and brought the full power of her forward batteries to bear on the Marauder ships. It was a slaughterhouse. They had reduced the Marauder forces by three hundred ships, and now had the upper hand.
They had lost four of the new ships, and a dozen fighters, and the rescue shuttles were out picking up life pods and pilots to bring back to the Amadeus. Seanon called for the Marauder’s surrender, which after several more days of fighting, they finally did. This was the first time any force of ships had brought the Marauder’s to their knees. This was a day to remember for all of the peoples in the Bellatrix sector to celebrate. The Marauders were not paraded as prisoners. They were brought in to Bellatrix Command and given the offer of joining them in the future exploration of the area.
A small contingency of the Marauder has refused the offer, and stated they would rather die than join them, the rest of the Marauders were compliant and actually were taken to Academies of several of the different races to be indoctrinated into their fleets. The ships were dismantled though, and the remaining Marauder ships were let go, after their weapons were removed from their ships.
that’s the first chapter, look for more tomorrow, and leave comments or ask questions, your input and observations are appreciated