Shai: The War Continues
First Fleet had been devastated. Overconfidence and sheer stupidity had led
Iffley to decide to attack the enemy head-on. The frontal assault had achieved
little, except the destruction of half of the First Fleet. The remaining ships
had retreated and regrouped, waiting for the Domain to make the next move.
Iffley mentally kicked himself: How could he have been so stupid?
me, Captain." It was Mr. Thorpe. He could be so annoying at times.
Silently, Iffley gave the now-what-do-you-want? look. Mr. Thorpe proceeded
with his question, "Captain, are you familiar with a game called
Mr. Thorpe. Get to your point."
Captain, it seems that our enemy is playing poker with us. While we hold some
of the high cards, he has all of the low cards. While we are trying for a
royal flush, he is beating us with four-of-a-kind...."
Mr. Thorpe. He is not playing poker. He is playing klitik. Are you familiar
with it? Go down to my cabin and bring my set up here."
the Nemesis is hailing." The communications officer touched a
button, the screen shifted and showed an impetuous, young man.
Iffley, I am Captain Arthur Waite of the Nemesis. I was wondering when
you were going to allow us to join the battle; you apparently are in a great
need of help." He brushed back a lock of blonde hair that fell in front
of his eyes. His red uniform was ruffled, as if he hurried had put it on.
Waite, I suggest that you follow orders, unless, of course, you wish to be
Waite glared at Iffley, "Yes, SIR," he said with an exaggerated
emphasis on the epithet. "Nemesis out."
Thorpe, carrying the klitik board, entered the bridge. He placed the game
before Iffley. Iffley stared at the board. A circular base housed the first
level of the game. Alternating bands of gold and silver seperated one
territory from another. Four anti-gravity discs floated serenly above the
hurriedly set the game; he did not want this explanation to take any longer
than possible. He placed the Infantry on their appropriate rows. These pieces
were not only the most numerous, but also the least valuable. Next, he placed
the Cavalry, knights on unicorns. The Cavalier, a knight on a winged horse,
was positioned between the two pieces of the Cavalry. This was a very
important piece, for it could utilize the floating Platforms. The Chaplain was
placed perpendicular to the Cavalier. This piece moved in a circular path
around the board. The Necromancer and Emperor were placed last. Each piece
could occupy the Platforms, a most desirable position.
Thorpe, the Domain is playing a game of klitik with us. He is using a tactic
known as Fwo Cresso. This strategy involves overcoming a large force--here
represented as an attacking Chaplain, Cavalier, Necromancer, and Cavalry--with
a more numerous, smaller force. The end result is a victory for the
Infantry." Andrew Thorpe nodded in agreement. Seeing his understanding,
Iffley continued, "The four Platforms are the most important territories
in the game. The most powerful pieces control these areas. One strategy, known
as T'el Shai, has been very successful. It involves occupying the two
Platforms behind your opponent's area." He demostrated this by placing
the silver Necromancer and the Cavalier on the two Platforms behind the gold's
line of defense. Thorpe could easily see how this strategy would be
successful: a few well-planned moves would win the game. "By doing this
we can by-pass their fighters and attack the carriers. The fighters will lose
their base, and consequently will run out of energy. With all the carriers
destroyed, we should have an easier time in this battle." He turned to
the communications officer. "Hail the Phoenix, lieutenant. Tell
Admiral Barrymore to bring the Second Fleet around Saturn and come up behind
the enemy. They are to shoot the carriers, repeat, only the carriers."
The lieutenant nodded and accomplished her task.
Mr. Stone interrupted, "I have the figures on the scanner scramble you
asked for earlier. The enemy cannot accurately scan any vessle in operating
range. Any damage to a vessel will probably not show up on their scanners or
sensors. Of course, they somehow may be able to break our electronic
counter-measures, but as of yet, they don't seem to notice. Hopefully, the
scrambler will last throughout the entire war."
thanked his navigations officer for his informative report." Mr. Thorpe,
I have a little job for you. It's time we utilized the Rebellion for
our advantage." He gave very specific instructions to his first officer.
Andrew nodded, then left to accomplish his task.
the Domain is advancing again!" Mr. Stone's eyes bulged out as he stared
at the screen.
fighters swarmed over the remnants of the First Fleet. The Scimitar rocked
with the impact of several lasers. "Number-four shield down, the next hit
will be internal!"Seconds later, a violent explosion echoed throughout
the ship. "Seal off levels six through eight. Damage control to deck
the ship around, protect our damaged side." Iffley ordered, his heart
racing with the extra adrenaline.
accomplished, Captain." Andrew Thorpe said as he entered the bridge.
you, Mr. Thorpe. Mr. Stone, release the tractor beam." I hope this works,
* * Infantry * *
Rebellion floated silently across the void. A squadron of fighters
circled it, and fired at it. The shots, unable to penetrate its protection,
bounced harmlessly away. More fighters converged on the ship. These, too, were
unable to damage the vessel. Borers arrived on the scene, but these too
the Rebellion exploded. The hundreds of tons of explodents, placed by
the crew of the Scimitar inside the wheelhouse, blew up. Since the
Rebellion could not be damaged, the entire strength of the explosion
was forced out of the open doorway. Two score and five fighters were
instantaneously vaporized. Another score was severly damaged. Its job having
been completed, the Rebellion drifted slowly into the distance.
Enchantress, Cutlass, and Spectre opened fire on the lead
ship, the TGTS Uruapan. In desperation, the Uruapan shot wildly;
One shot missed completely; another hit the Enchantress, damaging her
number-two sheild; the third struck a fighter directly in front of her,
damaging her own front deflector. The Cutlass took immediate advantage
of the fluctuating shield. The explosion impacted directly on the command
center. The Enchantress and Spectre followed suit, completely
disabling the vessel. The Uruapan rocked as a series of internal
explosions errupted. Finally, the entire ship exploded in a fantastic array of
smiled to himself. They still could win the war; T'el Shai would be the
deciding factor. He hoped it worked as well in reality as it did in
* * Platforms * *
Second Fleet moved into position behind the carriers. The Xanadu,
newest, largest, and most powerful ship in the fleet led the way. She was
flanked by the Phoenix, Troubadour, Labyrinth, and the
Nemesis. Bringing up the rear were the smaller ships, the
Aurora, Corona, Cygnus, Ambrosia, Sphinx,
and the Centaur.
TGTS Adena was the first to discover the dramatic move made by the
Alarians. She hurried launched the remainder of her fighters and attacked the
Phoenix. The Phoenix, commanded by the elusive Admiral
Barrymore, ignored the attack, and retaliated. The TGTS Archie,
Aven and the TGTS Aquamarine turned to join the fight.
the Nemesis broke from formation, drawing the fire from the three enemy
ships. The Xanadu, Ambrosia, and Troubadour concentrated
their attack on the Adena. Unable to withstand the attack, the
Adena exploded. The Ambrosia, however, had strayed too close.
The explosion weakened her shields, and she retreated to the back of the
Nemesis, Sphinx, and the Labyrinth directed their attack
on the Aven. Several shots destroyed her shields. One precise laser
destroyed her engines, sending her reeling toward the Aquamarine.
Sensing the inevitable impact, the Aquamarine turned her attention from
the enemy to the unstable ship. She continually fired at the other ship in
attempt to destroy it before they collided. The attempt, however, was too
little, and too late. The Aven impacted with the Aquamarine. The
collision was more punishment than the damaged ship could withstand. When it
exploded, the Aquamarine went with it, creating a gigantic
Act, holding its own at Greenpeace, was unable to help her sister
ships. She fought like a cornered cat, striking again and again at the nearest
enormous ship zoomed into the battle. The word Madison was stenciled on
its bow. She aimed at the Archie and fired. The energy arced into the
air and struck the ship broadside. The Archie exploded and imploded
simultaneously, as the energy ripped through her hull.
the Scimitar, Bronson's eager face stretched across the screen. "I
thought you might need some help, 1ffley."
you, Bronson. I will appreciate any help that I can receive. Scimitar
out." Iffley smiled again to himself, T'el Shai had worked even better
than he had expected. He was confident that the war would soon be over. But he
felt that the Domain had not given up yet. What would be their final move?
| ||© 1985, ||K. Blaire, L. Charles, D. Conrad, Enad the Great, J. Pierce, B. C. Randolf, and T. G. Taft|