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The Skylands

Pt.3 Charger's resolve

By Andy ortegaPublished 3 months ago 5 min read
2

My mouth hung open as I watched the Ranger split in two. Its fiery corpse descended into the skies below us.

“Did anyone see life rafts leave the Ranger?” I yelled out.

The bridge was silent, everyone was staring at the destruction of our sister ship in shock and horror.

“Sailors!” I roared as I shot up to my feet. Everyone on the bridge visibly flinched and stood at attention.

“To your stations!” I yelled, I gave each one of them a stern look. “And if I'm met with silence again after asking a question I’ll relieve every single one of you!”

“Yes Ma’am!” they all replied as they hurriedly readied their stations.

“Captain Hesta! Ma’am, there are no signs of life rafts having been launched from Ranger.” one of my Bridge officers reported.

I slowly sat down and closed my eyes, “Very well,” I said. Rest in peace Captain Letore.

“Captain,” my communications officer called out, “Fleetwide call from the Admiral.” he handed me the receiver for our radio.

“All ships,” the Admirals static voice said. “Conduct constant evasive maneuvers, it’ll strain our turbines a bit but we can’t afford to lose another ship to that long-range cannon of theirs.” I put the receiver down and called out my orders.

“Helmsman, keep our ship in a state of constant evasive maneuvers, I want to remain with the fleet but slightly alter our trajectory every fifty seconds.”

“Conducting constant evasive maneuvers, Aye captain.” My helmsman replied.

“We lost over three hundred good men and women just now.” I said aloud, “We will not let their deaths be in vain!”

“Yes Ma’am!” the bridge replied in unison as they all focused on their tasks.

“Observation officer” I called out.

“Here captain.”

“Find out which ship shot down Ranger.”

“Aye Captain.”

“Lieutenant Vacha!” I called out to my communications officer.

“Captain.”

“Put me through to the Admiral.”

“Aye Captain.” After only a few moments he handed me the radio receiver.

“Admiral.”

“Captain Hesta, what do you need?”

“I request that my ship be allowed to take on Ranger’s killer sir.” There was a long pause, he didn’t outright reject my request so that was a good sign.

“Your ship would be shot to pieces before it reached its target. We haven’t found it yet but I'm guessing that long-range cannon is in the center of their fleet.”

The pirate's long-range canon had been firing this entire time. Despite our ships constantly evading they were either lucky enough or skilled enough to land another hit. A large explosion erupted on the aft of one of our cruisers.

“Brawler has been hit ma’am,” one of the officers yelled out. “Her main cannons are destroyed but her turbines seem to be undamaged.”

I nodded and continued to speak with more urgency.

“Sir The Charger was built to take a hit, the city council and higher military command are all looking for excuses to scrap my ship. Let us prove our worth sir, please.” There was another long pause before he replied.

“Do you have a plan?”

I smiled, “Yes sir, we’re coming up on the beginning of a stratus layer.” I gazed at the blanket of clouds that we were about to fly over.

“We will dive and position ourselves right under them, with the cover of the clouds they won’t see us. We will then climb and spear their long-range cannon ship, I will send my garrison along with the Sky marines to commandeer the ship. If that's not a viable option, they will blow it up from the inside.”

“They’ll see you diving Captain, they will send ships to intercept you before you ever reach them.”

“Even with the loss of Ranger our fleet is too dangerous Admiral. They will not send any force of significant strength and risk them not coming back in time to support their mother fleet.” I stood up and walked toward the front window on the bridge.

I could now make out most of their ships, roughly seven destroyers, three cruisers, and one battleship. That battleship must have the cannon.

“I doubt they will let a ship place themselves into an ideal position beneath them, they will send a force after you.”

“I agree sir, but I would bet it would be no more than two destroyers or one cruiser. My ship can handle the firepower of a couple of destroyers, and if it's a cruiser it won't be fast enough to prevent us from spearing through them.” I let out a deep breath.

“Sir Captain Letore was a good friend of mine, without her outspoken support Charger would be scraps right now,” I said while clenching my fist.

“She went down without even being allowed to fire a shot, let me avenge her.” A few minutes went by without the Admiral saying a word.

It felt so long that I was starting to think he didn’t hear me. As I was about to speak again his voice came through the radio.

“Very well, considering the nature of this assignment you will be allowed to act independently from the rest of the fleet. Your signal to begin maneuvers will be our first volley. Good luck Captain.”

Even though I knew he couldn’t possibly see me, I stood at attention and saluted, Thank you, sir.”

As soon as the line went dead I switched over to the shipwide channel.

“Attention Charger, We have been given the opportunity to avenge Ranger,” The busy activity on the bridge quieted down as I spoke.

“With opportunity comes not only risk, but weight. If we fail then we could die, if we live then our ship could still be decommissioned. But the weight of that failure would be letting those bastards get away with the destruction of Ranger, the deaths of all of her crew, our comrades, our friends!”

I looked at the officers on the bridge, I imagined myself looking out at the entire crew of Charger.

“We will not fail,” I said with all the certainty in the world.

For a second time, I could hear cheers echo throughout the ship. Except this time they sounded closer to battlecries than cheers.

“All hands strap in and prepare for diving,” I said as I buckled myself into my command chair.

“Helmsman, as soon as our battleships loose their first volley you will dive immediately.”

“Aye, captain.”

Fire and smoke shot out from the main cannons of the huge battleships. The sound of the booms reverberated throughout The Charger.

“Permission to commence dive Captain.”

“Permission granted.”

As soon as the words left my mouth I felt a strong pressure force my body into my seat. Whoever wasn’t strapped in was now being thrown about the ship right now. I looked up just in time to see the entire fleet let out a barrage of cannon fire. My smile grew as I saw one of the main cannons of Brawler shooting. Looks like they wanted some payback of their own. Give em hell Brawler, we will join you all soon.

Magical RealismScience FictionFictionAdventure
2

About the Creator

Andy ortega

I love writing fantasy and sci-fi but I also write the occasional heartfelt drama. I hope to connect with many writers on this platform and write amazing stories for everyone.

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  • Jennifer David3 months ago

    Wow! Caught me off guard with a woman captain. I love it

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