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BY: DANAE CONRAD

THE SHOT HEARD ROUND THE WORLD

"Captain, Greenpeace is hailing again."

"Put them on, Lieutenant."

The commanders of the two vessels appeared on the screen. "Captain, it looks like trouble." The images faded to receive the void of space. It wasn't empty, however. Looming in front of the blockade, the Taft Fleet was rapidly approaching the blockade line of the Alarians. "They aren't stopping, sir," Commander Caxton was disturbed.

"Give them a warning shot over the starboard bow, Commander." Orders were given and all watched in silence as the bolt of energy leapt and arched toward the invading ships. The charge bounced harmlessly off the ships' deflection shields. However, they stopped in space.

"I think you have done it, Captain."

"Wait, Commander Caxton. The battle has only begun." The image faded back to their side of the blockade. Everything seemed to be in order. Adena chewed her lower lip restlessly. "Give me their side again." Her brow furrowed. "Caxton, open a line to them, please."

"Aye, sir."

She paused before addressing the alien craft. "We mean you no harm. We only protect what is our own. You are the aggressor in this conflict. Please stop your motions and return home. WE WANT NO FIGHT WITH YOU."

"You are chicken," was the quiet reply.

"Captain!" Lieutenant Lapo was obviously insulted.

Adena turned to face him. "Are you willing to risk galactic peace over a name?"

"No, sir."

"Excellent." She turned to face the screen once again. "Enemy craft, please identify yourself."

"The T.G.T.S. Victoria. Who is addressing us?"

"The Enchantress. Commanded by the same." She paused hoping that her reputation would stave off a conflict.

"Terrific. We'll wipe you all out with one swoop." The air buzzed with a cut transmission.

"Captain, the accelerating up again."

"Hold your course, Divad. Caxton, take the Emerald around behind her and work back up."

"Aye, sir."

The Enchantress' bridge watched quietly as the huge ships manuvered into position. Greenpeace held its ground; periodically, it threw harmless low charges to the shields to warn them away. The foe however kept coming.

"Sir, there in range of destruction and so are we."

Adena was about to give a pull back order when a huge explosion riveted everyone's attention to the screen. The Divad was disappearing in a aurora of color and heat.

"She's hit, sir! Nothing left to pick up! They hit directly on the engines!"

"Protect your engines, Caxton!" She grimaced in distaste with her next statement. "Defend yourselves!"

"Aye, sir!"

Adena slumped into her captain's chair. There was really no time to mourn the dead, but a brief silence in respect wouldn't hurt. How she hated war! and death and separation! Looking back at the screen, she saw the enemy backing off slightly as her fleet roared into pursuit. She let her heart sing with a little pride as they defended their home and lives.

"Captain, the Emerald reports that it's homing in on the Victoria, the one that hit the Divad."

"Hold fire, unless necessary." That last order had been moot. The Victoria had fired from the stern, glancing off the Emerald. The Emerald had returned the blast and had apparently crippled the other ship.

The Victoria, however, wasn't going down without a fight. She fired again as the Emerald whizzed by her silent hulk. Caxton's temper had probably run out at this point, for he quickly turned on the vessel and fired. She exploded, adding the debris to a vacuumed battlefield.

"We hit her, sir!" He paused and added, "Sorry."

"Good shooting, Caxton. Watch yourself out there. Captain out." Adena rubbed her face with a worried gesture. They were committed; there was no pulling out now. She got up and began to pace. She checked systems and dispatched another ship to Greenpeace.

"Captain!!!" It was Caxton, sounding shamed, furious and scared. "The T.G.T.S. Forerunner got through Greenpeace while we were distracted. She is headed straight for you, sir! We are coming in for backup."

"Right, Emerald! We're ready!" Adena tensed for the fight, her blood pounded in a fever of mixed emotion. The the Forerunner zipped into view. It drew up quickly when it saw the size of its opponent. "Weapons console, stand ready!"

"Weapons at the ready, sir!" The young officer was sweating nervously. Greenpeace was supposed to be able to hold any ship. They hadn't really anticipated a deep line fight against the flagship.

"Forerunner is coming around again, sir. She's firing!" The Enchantress hardly moved with the charge.

Adena breathed a small sigh of relief. "If that's all she can do, we're sitting pretty." But, of course, the Forerunner was just revving up for the battle.

She swung around again and approached the Enchantress head on head. She fired and pulled up. "That blast was definitely stronger. Reenforce shields! The Emerald should be here momentarily."

The Emerald, as if on cue, swooped in from the left. It warned the Forerunner with a sturdy blow on the front decks. The Forerunner ignored the Emerald totally and returned fire on the Enchantress.

"They cannot get much stronger. Engineering, how are we holding?"

"Fine, Captain. Everything is okay down here."

The bridge crew cheered as the Emerald swooped down and blew away a good section of the Forerunner.

"He blew it up too close!!! Bring shields up to 700 miv. intensity!" Adena had given the order none too soon. As the Forerunner began to implode, it suddenly released its engine power and exploded very close to the Enchantress. The space warped and waved around the high intensity explosion. The Enchantress rocked violently, but due to Adena's quick order the personnel were only thrown around the ship not out into the void of space.

"...Captain! Captain! this is the Emerald, come in please!" Adena pushed herself off the deck and shook her head firmly. Nothing seemed to be broken. The bridge crew was helping itself to its feet and reports coming in from the ship sounded favorable.

Adena went to acknowledge Caxton's call. "Caxton! What did they teach you at the Academy???!!! You are on our side, remember!"

"Thank goodness, you're alive, sir!"

"Alive?! Yes, alive. It still doesn't exempt you from nearly blowing us away with the enemy! "

"I'm sorry, sir."

"Good. See to it that it never - repeat - never happens again."

"Aye."

"Get back to Greenpeace. Try to keep them from getting through."

"Yes, sir."

"Lieutenant Lapo, how did communications hold?"

"Not well, sir. Short range is stable, but long range will need some work."

"Can you do it?"

"Yes, sir."

"Then get with it!!" Adena acknowledged deck reports. Except for minor damages, the Enchantress was okay. She knew that she was completely alone in defending T'Mir. She hoped that she would do it well.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

"Captain, we are having trouble picking up the progress. The battle has apparently started; heavy ionization has hampered communications. "

"Keep me up on what you can, Lieutenant."

"Aye, sir."

Iffley stared blankly into space. Adena was an excellent captain and a strong fighter. She probably had decided she didn't need him by now.

"Captain!! The Divad - it's destroyed, sir. We've retaliated - took one of their pacemakers. The Emerald scored the hit."

"Sounds like it's progressing well." He stood and paced the deck. He almost resented missing the excitement of battle.

"Captain, the...I cannot hear too well...Enchantress!! she's been hit. The Emerald is trying a defense manuever. The Emerald just blew up part of the enemy. It's exploding too close to the flagship!! If they don't have up heavy shields, they won't make it!! It's done two rotations ...I cannot get any more transmissions, sir!!!"

"What do you mean?! Enhance frequency!"

"I've tried. I can't!"

"Helm, push her for everything she's got!"

"Aye, sir! 1

Adena, I hope I'm not too late.


 © 1985, 

K. Blaire, L. Charles, D. Conrad, Enad the Great, J. Pierce, B. C. Randolf, and T. G. Taft

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