Ensign Carl Anthony huddled over his keyboard stating deeply into the display in front of him. Now that they had emerged into the space around Garnax, the Captain would want to know if there were any Ascendancy ships along their planned trajectory.
He heard the order go out to Helmsman Cooper to set in for a highly elliptical orbit that would allow them to transfer to a low orbit quickly, but Carl was too busy poring over various sensor readouts looking for signs of Ascendancy ships. If they were willing to expose themselves by transmitting radar, they’d know the situation immediately, but the crew of the Hornet were under orders to limit emissions as much as possible. After 10 seconds of searching, Carl saw the residual terahertz radiation wake caused by a violent maneuver by a ship. The dispersal of the wake indicated the orbit the ship had moved into. After switching to infrared sensors and scanning along the hypothetical course, he saw two bright spots.
At that moment, less than 30 seconds after arriving at Garnax Prime, Captain Webster asked Ensign Carl Anthony: “What’s our current status on sensors?”
“Sir, I’ve got at least one, but probably two contacts up ahead, about 10 degrees of inclination off of our current orbit. One of the ships made a really violent maneuver about half an hour ago. Looks like an intercept to me.”, Carl informed the Captain and the rest of the bridge.
“Alright, let’s check this situation out.”, Captain Webster said to no one in particular. “Ensign Stewart, listen to their communications and see if you can pick up anything.”
A few minutes later, Ensign Chuck Stewart, at the communications station, spoke out.
“Captain Webster, after pointing our narrowbeam radio antenna in the direction of the targets, I was able to pick up their conversation. Our contacts are an Ascendancy frigate that has intercepted a freighter fleeing their raids on Garnax Prime. They are preparing to board it and seize the ship”
Captain Webster sprung into action and began assigning orders:”Ensign Anthony, send their location and course to Lieutenant Commander Cooper and Cooper, lay in a course to intercept them during our insertion to low orbit. Lieutenant Deacon, prepare to launch a torpedo in their direction. Anyone who thinks that Ascendancy ship might know we’re here, let me know immediately.”
After sending his information over to the helm, Carl stared at his screen watching for any signs of maneuvers. So far, there was no sign the presence of the PSS Hornet had been noticed by the other ships.
A few minutes later, Lieutenant Bruce Deacon gave the word that the torpedo was ready to launch. Captain Webster gave the order to launch and Carl switched his view over to the torpedo’s sensors. For ten minutes, they showed nothing at all. Then, the torpedo’s lower resolution infrared began to show a definite blur in the direction it was heading. After another twenty minutes, the torpedo had gotten close enough to the targets for both ships to clearly be in the torpedo’s hyperspectral imager.
Carl busily swept through various image frequencies scanning each of the images to try and uncover a weak spot in the Ascendancy frigate’s exterior. Finally, as the torpedo swung around to the frigate’s port side Carl saw a bright spot in one of the near-infrared frequencies.
“It must be some sort of exhaust vent off of the reactor, that spot is probably the best one to hit”, Carl thought to himself.
He spoke up: “Captain, I’ve got the target for the torpedo. Sending it over to Lieutenant Deacon now.”
Captain Webster asked: “Lieutenant Deacon, how long till we are within firing range of the main cannons?”
Deacon replied “About two minutes and the kinetic cannon will be in range”
Captain Webster announced, “On my mark, engage the torpedo.”
Two minutes later the torpedo plowed directly into the bright infrared patch, causing a huge multcolored plume to erupt from the side of the ship.