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Strategos (A Great Captain Roberts Tale!!)

Chapter 22 - Conflicting Value
[]


"You go to war…


…with the army you have, not the army you want," Larry argued. "DO you have control, Captain?"

"I do," Amanda said. "For now."

"Then you need to be up in CIC, being the Great Privateer Captain, not sulking in a locked brig room."

"Emergence?"

"Two hours ago at the Nadir point, telescopes say she's an Essex II and not one of our friends either."

"Marines back aboard?"

"Yeah."

"Oh-kay…a dedicated destroyer with more firepower on one facing than we've got in our whole hull," she sighed. "No pressure. How many gees are they pulling?"

"Spectral and image indicates they're pushing one-point-five."

"Then we still have a couple days…" she headed for CIC.

"You have a plan?"

"More of an idea for a plan. What's ETA on Kappa's group?"

"Three more days charging at the last jump point and they'll be in-system, why?"

"So we need at least three days… to buy time… on…" she paused, catching the back of the command seat, and pulled herself around. "Helm?"

"Aye?" Mister Samuel looked up, "You're better?"

"Better enough, set course for the planet/moon L1 point at one Gee…and dump some extra fuel to make the drive plume brighter."

"Ma'am?"

"We want them to think we're running hard, because I want them to turn around, go back to the jump point, and initiate an in-system hop that burns up their reserve battery, or dump fuel and endure heavy accel trying to race us to it. They're already pulling one and a half gees, let's see if I can either make them have to hot-charge their jump drive, or pull full overthrust for a day or so before we have to fight."

"Wear them out?" Larry asked.

"If they're tired or fatigued they won't shoot as well, if they're low on fuel they won't maneuver for long. We're going to play 'keep away' with a gunboat that can cut this hull into confetti…and we're going to do it for the next three days minimum."

"What makes you think he'll play along?"

Her voice and cadence shifted, "Naval doctrines since the twentieth century-pursue decisive battles-well, if he catches up to us, it becomes decisive pretty damn fast, and not in our favor unless we can impose…handicaps. That means everyone who's off shift had better be sleeping, eating, shitting or relaxing until he's a lot closer, because I bet he won't be pulling hard gee thrust…and as long as we're HERE, he has to react to us, seeing as we're the reason HE is here."

"Fresh crew versus fatigued," Larry said. "That might not work if they're issuing stimmies."

"Stimmies also degrade judgment, I want that enemy crew to be impaired." she said savagely. "I want them frustrated and I want them to make mistakes or we're sca-rewed."


"Identified, it's a Bonaventure class…

…and she's pulling hard for the L1 between the colony and the gas giant."

Bonaventure Corvette (Underway)

Bonaventure Class Corvette

"They saw us." Bart said.

"Sir, we have orders-"

"I know our orders. We're too far off the jump point for a reverse, increase thrust to one hundred percent safe thrust, all hands batten for heavy endurance thrust." If they get away, I don't have to stay here.

The traitorous thought he quashed. Bring them to decisive battle and I don't have to stay here!!

It's going to be painful, and exhausting, but that's why you drill. He nestled into his command couch, and let the gee bladders in his uniform help deal with the strain. "Ex-Oh, have all off-duty personnel resting, we don't need accidents until we've closed range."

"Aye, sir."


"They've increased their thrust, maybe that's one without the LF install?" Samuel noted.

Amanda shook her head, "Negative on that one mister Samuel. Look at the markings. That's a ship assigned to an SLDF Royal Regiment, Terran Hegemony, Cameron Household troops don't get anything but the very best gear. She's got at least an LF battery."

Cameron Star (Insignia of the Star League)

Star of House Cameron

Amanda enhanced the image so the others in the CIC could see it more clearly. "See? Cameron star, sure, but this one's outlined in purple where the paint hasn't worn off over time. That ship will have the very best structure and hardware out of the yards, including tech updates that require cutting the damn thing in half to remove. She's got an LF battery, why her CO didn't use it is anyone's guess."

"Too far from the point on a turnaround is my guess," Larry commented. "He was pulling one point five when he saw us, that puts him having to decelerate early for turnover, then have a harder time getting to the jump point…so he's gambling he can overthrust in newtonian and get to us that way, because it's safer than an in-system jump, and he was already committed."

"Helm, alter course for the fourth moon's L1," Amanda said. "I want him to have to burn hard to keep an intercept vector."

"Same thrust?"

"Affirmative," she said. "He'll have to overcome more velocity to make the course shift. Let's use that. We're playing 'frame of reference' games here."

"He'll have more energy," Mister Bedwyr noted.

"This isn't a dogfight…yet," Amanda said. "Right now he's got to close to intercept us, and I want to wear his guys out as much as possible while keeping ours fresh."

"He's still not pulling his full overthrust," Larry noted.

"Hm..yeah, I want him to burn more fuel," Amanda frowned. "Lori, spool up the FTL commo, I want to hail this son of a bitch."

"Taunt him?" Larry asked.

Amanda grinned wide, "Yo Ho Ho."


…HPG tactical channel sixteen."

Sixteen? Bart sighed, "Put it on." They have our frequencies!

The HPG signal was video as well as audio. <<"Attention ladies and gentlemen and all ships at sea, this is The GREAT Captain ROBERTS!!">> the girl on screen was younger than he'd expected. Hair askew and grinning maniacally, <<"May I have the name of the men I'm going to kill? And do you happen to have six fingers on your left hand?">>

"I am Lord Captain Bartholemew Inslee, of the SLS Lynnwood, you are ordered to stand down!!" he hoped he looked more authoritative than he felt.

<<"Hi Bart, can I call you Bart? Of course I can. There's no way this is going to work out for you, you know, I'm not just 'the great', I am 'The Greatest you've ever SEEN’. Why not surrender now, before I prove it?">> She was smug.

"I have more firepower than that tinfoil corvette you're in, Roberts, surrender and I don't have to destroy it, think of your crew." Bart argued.

<<"We're allergic to slavery…oh, and you DO have six fingers!! 'Tis like unto Samhain AND Yule!!">> she wasn't just smug, he realized, Insane. Unbalanced… Mad.

"Girl, you have no idea what you're up against!" he tried.

<<"Slavers and pirates in stolen or salvaged gear, looks like. Come Get Me, Slaver.">> she undid her harness and stood up, comfortably in one gee, turned, lifted her long jacket, and pulled down her pants, mooning him, <<"'Neener neeener neeeeeener!!">> he could hear her crew laughing in the background.

He sputtered, "You-That's-"

Transmission lost.

"They cut the link."

"Increase thrust by fifty percent and adjust our vector!" he growled. "We're taking that…person…down!!"


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