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Chapter 43 - The Absolute Zero[]

LCS Tatyana Steiner
Frederick Steiner-Class Battleship
Raslhague Dominioni

Nah-hay Y'all.  Anyone en thar 'lahve?"  the rest of her battlegroup were spread out in the system in a pattern that centered on the Dreadnought, GBS Alshain.

Leviathan (Delranes Fighting Ships 3061)

Leviathan-Class Dreadnought, CBS Alshain

"This is Ghost Bear Warship Alshain, have you come to finish the job?"

"En a mattah o'spekken. Ah...I'm Rear Admiral Elizabeth Anh MacAulliffe, Lyran Commonwealth Navy. Looks like you're in a spot of trouble there-did you guys really try to crack that comet without the right training?"

"What? what about it?" questioned the Star Admiral

"I just wanted to let you know, the Cynthia Steiner Battlegroup intercepted your supply convoy-they aren't coming...geezus, who taught your guys to bag a rock? Kindergartdners?  Look, ah...Star Admiral? I know it's rude to mess with an opponent when they're doing something stupidly self-destructive, but one intact ship is better than thirty six hours of rescue operations."

"What are you proposing?" asked Ghost Bear Admiral.

"Ninety six hour cease-fire and I lend you some help destrangin' your refueling rig and repairing it so you don't starve to death over the next month while the politicians discuss things." she said succinctly,  "The way you have that set up, the first pocket of volatiles you hit is going to blow your tankage right the frell apart and it'll be a finagle damn miracle if it doesn't kill a large chunk of your engineering crew, spot me dirtyfoot? You set it up wrong."  She leaned back,"That's door Alpha, by the way. Door bravo is we shoot holes in that messed up rig and kill a few of your crewmen, but you at least have a drifting hull with pressure until the big-bosses decide we're done fighting, then I gots to tow you to a yard we haven't blown the unholy smeg out of."

"We retain our claws, Plaguey." the Ghost Bear officer snarled
"Yeah, I can see your fighter wing's running on fumes from here.  I'm offering to fix your ship so you don't die out here.  Look, see that sun? that's a white dwarf, low end, carbon-oxy white dwarf.  nobody lives here, I can see the tatters of your jump-sail, you have to fusion hot-charge if you want to leave..and if I let you make the mistake you're making, you ain' gonna without someone comes by to give you a ride.  Ah ain' askin' yoah surrendah, Ah'm askin' y'all to let us help you go home."

"Why are you offering this help?"

"Because few things: sooner or later wars end." she said, "Second, it's dark and cold and silent out here. People die when they asn't intent on killin' each othah' wit' cap'tal weapons, Thuhd, y'alls is warriors what happens t'be in space, Mah folks is spacers what heppens t'fight fo' a livin', but thet's a sometahmes thang fo' us, an' seein' a grand old vessel gone wrecked on account of a badly rigged hydrogen-crakkin setup constitutes a sight lahk seein' a child playin' in an airlock. Tragedy come right quick a'hind et..." she sighed, "An' fahn'ly, 'sometimes you get more for bringing ammunition home'."

"That is bad strategy."  the Ghost Bear officer commented.

"Ayeh, it is." she agreed, "I have four cruisers and sixteen destroyers backing me up. Plus comms with 24 cutters and a link to two other battle groups within one jump of this system.  Your entire fleet as of this morning are four thousand POW's on Lyons and one ship with no fuel in an uninhabited system forty seven lights from the Lyran border.  I think I might have the strategic advantage here, but rendering you aid does give you a brief tactical window to maybe take one of my ships before I can stop you.  Would you like hard numbers on your chances of surviving that?"
"Why? why are you offering this?"

"If you have to ask why, you don't understand and I can't explain it.  Will you take the ceasefire or not?"

"I can not." he said.

"I guess we're doing this the hard way." she turned, "All units, weapons free. Terminate the Alshain. Physics packets are explicitly NON authorized. Conventionals only, cutters stand by for search and rescue and all SAR personnel to your stations."

"Mum, you left the channel open..."

"Ayep. Ah did." commented MacAulliffe

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