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The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye (Cover Art)

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Chapter 51 - The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye[]

Blackjack System, Lyran Commonwealth - August 3050

CJF White Aerie...

Black Lion II Class Battlecruiser (Underway)

Black Lion Class Battlecruiser a Black Lion class battlecruiser that left the yards for the first time with the name SLS Trossen. This was the name the vessel had when she was taken by Aleksandr Kerensky's forces on Operation: Exodus.

Among other things in the intervening centuries, SLS Trossen's digital-handshake transponder was left alone, while her audio/encrypted and visual data transponders were updated after being prepped for service with Clan forces, specifically Clan Jade Falcon, during the forceful end of the Pentagon Civil war (aka Operation: Klondike).

Why this was done this way, instead of changing the entire identity packet, is lost to history and Clan Traditions.

Delta Galaxy's conquest of the world of Blackjack was in two waves-the first being the combat elements of the formation, the second, being the follow-on occupation forces, currently idling at the system's Zenith point, waiting for Delta Galaxy to give the all-clear and advance calls.

Nobody's looking too closely at the non-standard Jump Points.

Civil traffic has dried up, there isn't a reason to watch for pirate insertions.

Well, there wasn't, anyway.

"We are being hailed, ovkhan." Star Captain Alain Von Jankmon hasn't had so much as a simulator battle since Operation Revival started. the absence of any Naval opposition at all has frustrating, especially after incidents on the Smoke Jaguar front. The closest thing he's had, is one scenario chasing fleeing dropships, and some JumpShip board-and-seize missions early in wave two.

Galaxy Commander Samantha Clees looked up from her planning board. "And?"

"And they are...picking a fight, ovKhan...with us."

"Well, we expected that-"

"No, ovkhan, not with Delta galaxy...with US. My ship." his tone underlined his words, "Using the old Star League name for this vessel."

she stood in the single-gee of thrust, "Let me hear this..."

They entered the CIC, and he nodded to the comms tech, "Play it."

<<"Attention to all boys and girls and ships at sea, this is the Coast Guard broadcasting to the current commander and crew of the stolen Black Lion class vessel SLS Trossen. You are in possession of stolen Star League property, you are instructed to heave to and surrender that property or you will be destroyed.">>

"Stolen?" Samantha frowned, "Who is this 'coast guard' and how dare they insult..."

"We have a visual."

There were two of them. The warbook flickered in trying to identify the type. "Those are...|Type Fifty One gunboats? What museum did they loot to grab those?"

"There are inconsistencies in the configuration, maybe a kludge design or refit." he asserted, "What we do know about the Type Fifty One, is that it makes three gees under maximum thrust, and carries capital missile armament."

"Huh...are they in engagment range?"

"Neg...but they are closing."

"You may have just gained the chance at both honor, and Glory for the Clan!" she smiled at him. "Accept their batchall and blow them up, if you will."

"Emergence waves detected!"

"What??" both Clan officers turned to the sensor tech.

"I said, we just picked up two more emergence waves...and there is the third- aft of our formation and closing at three gees, and she is...bigger."

"Bigger? how much bigger?"

"Lola class, should be in visual confirmation range in two minutes, but the transponder squawk identifies her as a 'Coast Guard Heavy Cutter, KCS Tabiranth with a homeport identifier as Kowloon."

Samantha frowned, "Why does that sound familiar..?"

"Long range telescopes have a visual."

"Show me!"

On the holoscreen the partial reconstruction image appeared.

"Orca rampant...huh. Mercenaries maybe?"

"Doubt it, no lucrewarriors so far have shown up with that kind of iron." Clees dismissed. "How does this change our tactical profile?"

Lola III Class Destroyer (By Matt Plog 2016)

Lola Class Destroyer

"Enough firepower to take down a Battlecruiser of this type, but they will suffer extreme losses-even the Lola is not armored sufficiently against catastrophic hits from our main guns."

"Bold." she frowned. "Fight the battle. We can sift the wreckage after for the true identity of these...Coast Guard."

Aerostars on CAP were recalled to rig for anti-shipping as additional stars were launched.

The Naval battle for Blackjack, the first fleet action in centuries, was about to kick off.

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