The Adventures of Whirlwind
Warfare in the Thirtieth Century
Chapter 9 Riona
Riona OSullivans vivid green eyes almost seem to glow in the reflected light of the long range scanners. Her nimble fingers played a melody on the console in front of her. At last, she murmured. She had been tracking her elusive quarry for months and now he seemed within her grasp. She readied her weapons. It would be best to strike quick and hard. Time and again the wary buccaneer had managed to surprise her and find a way to escape, and this time she was going to make sure of her adversary before he had a chance to disappear into hyperspace.
She would have to be careful though. The band of pirates she had been chasing were as resourceful a bunch as she had ever encountered. Time and again she had thought them cornered only to find that they had anticipated her. Twice she had almost been caught in a trap and had suffered serious damage to her ship. On three other occasions she had avoided being destroyed only by the purest exercise of her considerable piloting skills. She thought ruefully of the time she had chased the fleeing pirates into a minefield. She had been lucky to get out of that one alive.
But now she had them. She had chased them halfway across the Illurian Confederacy, and this time, her instruments detected no mines, homing torpedoes, or guard satellites. The pirates seemed wide open for attack, and she was not going to give them any chance to escape.
She had a visual on the pirate ship now. Like hers, it was shaped like a large globe. Jutting from the hull at right angles were four stubby wings that mounted the engine pods. Spaced about the hull were laser and particle beam turrets. She counted eight in all. That was quite a few for a pirate vessel and accounted for a good deal of the pirates success. Any ship it could not outrun it could usually outfight. But this time Riona was sure she had him.
She brought her weapons online. In just a few seconds she would be within range. Then her eyes narrowed. There was a second ship right next to the pirate vessel. She had not seen it at long range, as it was much smaller than the buccaneer and its mass was disguised by that of the pirate. But it was there, nevertheless. She swept her long red hair over her shoulder in a nervous gesture.
Now she wasnt sure what to do. Was the other ship a second pirate vessel, or one of the pirates victims? She had planned a devastating attack. An all out long range bombardment with her main armament that would have shattered the pirate before it had a chance to respond. But that plan might mean that the vessel would explode. If the ship next to it was a victim, it would be destroyed along with the pirate. She couldnt take that chance. She would have to try and disable the pirate without destroying the ship. But that would mean attacking at close range. He long rang weapons were not accurate enough to put the pirate out of action without demolishing the ship and everything around it.
But this is what she had trained for at Starfleet Command. After all, hadnt she finished first in her class in every category? She was Riona OSullivan, the first cadet to score in the 90th percentile in all areas of space combat, and the most accomplished cadet in the history of the Illurian Confederacy. She would carry the battle to her quarry, hoping the pirates were napping and hit them before they even knew she was there.
Her ship was well equipped to handle most situations, being armed with two long range fusion cannons and an array of lasers and particle beams for close in work. Most pirate vessels would have had no chance against such armament. And even if she encountered more than one adversary, the ships defensive shields would have stopped most of what they could have thrown at her. But the ship she was attacking was different. It was at least as well armed as most warships, and it was considerably larger than she was. That meant its defensive shields might be capable of turning back most of what she could throw at it except the fusion cannons. Nothing could stop those monsters. They were capable of evaporating a meter of arachnisteel armor as if it was so much candle wax. But they were not particularly discriminating weapons. Hence they were most useful at long range to completely obliterate a target. At close range she would have to rely upon more precise weaponry, at least until she could be certain that the other ship was not a pirate vessel as well.
She locked her safety harness into place. It would not due to go floating around the cabin if the artificial gravity was knocked out. Her fingers flicked over the command console. She felt the ship surge as she began her run. At that moment a red light blinked on and a sharp beep sounded. She was being scanned. The pirates had spotted her. The fun was about to begin.
A brilliant point of light lanced toward her from the pirate ship. Fusion cannon! Where had the pirates gotten such ordnance? She had never heard of a pirate vessel possessing such formidable weapons. There was no chance for her to avoid the intense beam of energy, only her speed and maneuverability afforded her any protection. The trick was to vary the speed of her ship, causing her attackers to either overestimate or underestimate where she would be. Riona excelled at such tactics. In over a hundred practice combats she had never suffered serious damage. But this was not practice, and her enemy was throwing everything he had at her.
Bright green, blue, and red lasers struck her shields, sending colours cascading about her. Alarms sounded as her defensive shields absorbed and deflected the barrage of energy hurled toward her. And then she responded, sending her precise beams of energy at the enemy. With a feeling of satisfaction, she watched one of her particle beams rip open the hull of the enemy vessel like a can opener slicing into a can of beans. A few more hits like that and the battle would be over.
And then the ship
shuddered. The voice of the alarm
The pirate vessel seemed to erupt in flame as her weapons tore into it, but Riona knew that most of the energy of her attack had been absorbed or deflected by the ships shields. However, the fusion cannons had not been stopped. Fragments of the badly mauled pirate exploded outward as it reeled under the devastating power generated by the twin beams. For a second she thought she had won, and then her world seemed to explode.
The impact of whatever had hit her ship tore her seat loose from the floor. She found herself bouncing off the walls of the control room as her ship spun out of control. But the restraining straps held her in, and the shape of the seat protected her from the impact with the ships walls. All around her was chaos, as fragments of the ship swirled about her. The ship seemed to be disintegrating. Riona held her arms over her head to protect it from the flying debris. The artificial gravity was gone and she felt her stomach lurch in the unaccustomed weightlessness. The crazed disorientation seemed to last forever, but it could not have been more than a few seconds. Fortunately, the integrity of the control room held. She was not faced with the prospect of the air rushing out of the sealed compartment. If is had, her seat would have enclosed her in an emergency capsule, but she would have been unable to move. With air in the cabin there was still a chance that she could regain control of her ship and continue the battle.
The pilots seat stopped its mad bouncing and Riona released her safety harness. Allowing herself to float free. In a sealed compartment in the control room was a suit of power armor. From it she could continue to control the ship and perhaps continue the battle. She propelled herself across the room and tapped out the code on the door of the compartment. It swung open. That was a good sign. She was glad that she did not have to bother with the manual unlocking mechanism. She was in too much of a hurry to want any delay.
She slid into the suit, entering from the back. It was designed to fit her body perfectly and as soon as her arms and legs were in place she closed the back of the suit and powered it up. The suit had its own propulsion system and it moved backward out of the compartment under its own power. Even as it moved she checked the miniature control panel that hung right in front of her eyes. Her heart sank. Even a quick glance told her that her ship was damaged beyond repair. Almost every system was down. But what of the pirate? None of the ships sensors were functioning so she would have to maneuver the power armor until she could catch a glimpse of it, and that meant moving to a view port that was turned in the correct direction. She manipulated the touch controls of the panel in front of her. There was enough room in the power armor for her to move about a little. It was actually like being in a very tiny spaceship. The suit had mechanical arms that she could manipulate from inside and a small array of weapons. They small lasers and particle beams could do little damage to an enemy ship, but might help her fight off an attack from anyone trying to board her ship.
The suit drifted across the shattered control room to one of the view ports. Her ship seemed to be rotating slowly, as the outside view shifted continually. She waited until the rotation took her toward the enemy vessel. Turning up the magnification on her view screen, she zoomed in on the enemy vessel. She smiled grimly in satisfaction. An enormous gash showed where her weaponry had punched a great hole right through the enemy vessel. But then her smile faded. The smaller ship beside the pirate vessel was moving. Then the rotation of her ship took away her view of the enemy.
Riona propelled herself across the control room. She had to get out of the sip and fast. The movement of the smaller ship could have only one meaning. The pirates no doubt had a crew on board the smaller vessel as might be expected. With the parent ship disabled they were closing in for the kill on her apparently helpless vessel. Even as she gained the door she felt the first salvo strike home. She just barely escaped. Behind her the control room literately exploded. The pirates had targeted the control room and with the ships shields offline every energy beam had struck home.
Quickly she maneuvered her power armor through the ship. Her only chance was to exit the vessel and hope that the pirates were so intent on blowing her ship apart that they might not notice her tiny vessel amongst the debris floating about the ship. She trained her weapons on the escape hatch. There was no time to fiddle with the manually operated controls. Silently the escape hatch exploded outwards as she fired her lasers into it. There was no sound in the vacuum of space. Immediately after she darted through the opening and into the emptiness of space. Immediately after what was left of her ship was torn apart by a frightening salvo from the second pirate vessel. She found herself in the midst of a mass of swirling wreckage.
Riona shut down most of her systems. She was helpless against the superior firepower of the pirate vessel. Her only hope was that she would not be noticed amongst the wreckage of her ship. It proved a vain hope. She felt the tug of a tractor beam. She had not escaped the attention of those on board the pirate ship. With a sinking feeling she watched the vessel hauling her in grow larger and larger in her view port. There was nothing she could do. The weapons possessed by her power armor would be useless against the firepower of the larger vessel.
The pirate ships cargo doors swung open and she was swept into the hold. Lining the walls of the cargo bay were the massive forms of the huge fighting robots known as mechs. She wondered at this. Pirates were not known to go in for ground assaults, but clearly this was a ship equipped to stage planetary landings. Then her attention was diverted as the tractor beam moved her to the centre of the hold. The cargo doors closed behind her and she was deposited on the floor. She could hear the air whooshing into the hold.
A voice cracked over the ships speakers. You have ten seconds to exit the armor. After that it will be blown apart.
Riona hesitated only a second. She knew that the threat was not an idle one. Space pirates were hardly known for their patience or merciful natures. Powering up her suit, she opened the exit hatch and stepped out.
Well Ill be damned, exclaimed the voice over the intercom. The galaxy is full of gorgeous women this week.
Riona had no idea what the pirate was talking about. She only knew that she was totally at the mercy of those who had destroyed her ship. And there was the worrying thought that she had also destroyed the larger of the two pirate ships and probably a good part of the crew. The pirates would certainly not be happy about that and she had a very good understanding of what happened to those who fell into the hands of a bunch of vengeful pirates.
Her fears were confirmed a few seconds later when several heavily armed men swarmed into the cargo hold and completely surrounded her. Riona slowly raised her hands, fully cognizant of the fact that her tight fitting jumpsuit outlined her exquisite figure to perfection.
The expressions on the faces of the men about her were grim. It was clear that most of them would have liked nothing better than to gun her down where she stood. It was the way their expressions changed as they moved closer to her, however, that caused her the most concern. There was no mistaking that they realized they had caught the most beautiful cadet to graduate from Starfleet Command in the last twenty years.
The pirate captain strode up to the stunningly attractive woman who stood in front of him with her arms raised high. He could hardly believe that the tall high breasted redhead who stood in front of him was the one who had inflicted so much damage on his ship, but his scanners had detected no other life forms on board her spacecraft. His eyes swept over her, taking in the luscious curves of her body and her long shapely legs. Already in his imagination he pictured himself lying between those lithe thighs.
Full pouting lips, a strong jaw, a pert freckled nose, and almost luminous green eyes drew his attention to her face. What would it be like to feel those soft inviting lips wrapped around the end of his engorged member? He licked his lips in anticipation. But first there was something he just had to do.
It was just you in that Star Command attack ship? he asked. He kept his voice calm even though he was seething inside. The attack on his vessel had killed and injured half his crew and rendered his ship useless. He would have to transfer to the ship he had captured from the mech pilots and that would certainly cramp his operations for awhile.
The redhead nodded silently. She stood with her legs slightly apart, and even though she had her arms over her head she looked as if she was expecting something. He nodded to the members of his crew standing behind her. They immediately moved in on either side of her and seized her arms.
Riona stiffened. The men holding her twisted her arms painfully behind her completely immobilizing her. The pirate captain stepped forward. His first blow hammered into her exposed gut. She had only a split second to tense her diaphragm before the blow struck. The pirates fist struck with a thunk, like a hitting a heavy punching bag. The breath was almost knocked from her body. Only her intense martial training and superb conditioning allowed her to survive the blow without having the wind knocked out of her. The next blow was more telling.
The pirate aimed for her face. He struck her open-handed, probably so as to not shatter her jaw or cheekbones, but the blow snapped her head sharply to the side and for a second she saw stars. The third blow was directed at her midriff, and this time she was not ready for it. The breath was driven from her body. He hit her in the same place again, and Riona felt her guts convulse. Suddenly she was tossing her last meal onto the deck of the cargo hold.
The pirate captain waited until she was finished vomiting and then hit her again. This time his open left hand struck the other side of her face, whipping her head to the right. This was followed with a second brutal slap and a third. Each blow was hard enough to have knocked most women unconscious, but somehow Riona remained awake. She was, however, barely cognizant of what was going on around her. Her legs buckled and she gasped in pain as her painfully twisted arms protested at holding her weight. Then the pirate slapped her twice more. Her senses swam. Black spots danced before her eyes and she slipped into oblivion.