CHEVALIER DE LA

CROIX NOIR

                                                     By 

                                                  Arthur 

 
CHAPTER 6


BY ARTHUR




TO CONTACT AUTHOR:

Artcart65@gmail.com


We continued to vary our attacks, as yet the Navy had not got itself
together which made our job a little easier, they were just not used to
being under attack from small fast moving targets, I thought it was more
likely they just did not believe anyone would be presumptuous enough to try
it, their tactics just did not cover this type of assault.

We decided to slow our attacks, as we watched from the cover of our stealth
systems, the Navy slowly began to sort itself out, as predicted, they went
right back to their old tried and true defensive lines, by now there were a
large number of their smaller craft turned into derelicts, while they were
trying to send rescue craft out, others were almost looking over their
shoulders for more of the guerrilla attacks, we did not want to disappoint
them.

Now it was time for our Frigates to come in as our small unit got out of
the way, for the Navy it was just more confusion as they saw very fast and
well armed Frigates appear from out of the blackness cannons and lasers
blazing, not only were they now under attack from slightly larger ships,
they were being attacked from three sides, again their old fashioned plans
did not cover this sort of fast attack.

The Frigates caused more mayhem and then turned and disappeared into the
blackness before the Naval ships got off more than a few shots at the fast
moving ships, as they tried to get some sort of order into their thinning
lines and their rescue ships were now under a greater weight, Santos sent
in both the Cruisers and larger and better armed Battle Cruisers.

There was only one thing the Galactic Navy could try and that was to flee
as they saw the mass of heavy ships appear on their screens but it was
already too late, as our heavy, fast, well armed ships tore into the
remains of the Navy, the Frigates returned and tore into those trying to
escape, the battle field turned into a slaughter house, there would be a
lot of salvage from this little battle.

The larger force had now been reduced to three battered and broken
Cruisers, as they looked on their screens all they could see were the
debris of the battle and five very large Battle cruisers aiming their large
Plasma Cannons at them, the senior officer had no alternative, over the
general channel he called out his surrender, the fear in his voice could be
heard over the space waves.

Santos took over as our sole Admiral.

"This is the F.F.T. ship Sargasso, I am Admiral Santos, officer in command
of the Federation forces, you have breached the protocols governing the
immunity of our Diplomat, as of this moment you are all subject to the laws
of the Federation, we accept your surrender, all crew will trans ship to
the rescue craft, you will be allowed to go free and return to your
planets, all senior officers will stay on board their vessels until further
notice, your ships are to shut down all drives and no transmissions may be
made until further notice, any attempt to send or receive messages and we
will open fire, do you accept these terms?"

"Yes Admiral, we have nothing left to fight with, we will abide by your
conditions."

"I want all senior officers above the rank of Flight Lieutenant to gather
on one ship, all other junior officers may go with the crew members to the
safety of the rescue craft."

As we watched, all three of the Cruisers shut down their drives, there were
then a number of small shuttles in the air heading towards one Cruiser,
others were seen heading towards the rescue craft, as the shuttles came
close to the single Cruiser, all our forces became visible, I could only
imagine what the senior officers were thinking as they saw how small our
real force was compared to what they had had in their Battle Fleet, as yet
Santos had not uncovered the Sargasso, that was being kept under wraps
until needed.

We let them wait for over an hour, as the rescue ships began to disappear
into space with the survivors, Gareth sent a message to the Rim for a fast
ship to carry over a thousand droids to come and get started on the
salvage, they would arrive within the day.

When Santos thought the officers had waited long enough, he called for his
personal ship, he would have plenty of room on it to take the officers back
to the Sargasso and they would not be able to see the Jump Ship as it had
stayed in stealth mode so they would not see anything until once inside and
there they would then be led to the command centre where they would only
see a small fraction of the technology and size that made up the Jump Ship.

I flew my ship alongside the Sargasso and had Tiger fly it into one of the
vast number of empty cradles, from there I made my way to the main control
room, Santos sat in a large operations chair, the group of captured
officers were being held in a group by a number of armed men from the Jump
Ship, there were thirty senior officers, among them five Admirals, the rest
were either Captains or Commanders with a gaggle of lesser ranks, none of
them looked happy with the situation they now found themselves in.

Santos looked as though he was enjoying the situation, he gave a slight nod
to me and then turned all his attention on the group, it was better they
did not know who I was, there were still planets out there that I needed to
go too.

"Gentlemen," Santos began, "You are now prisoners of war, your actions
against our representative of the P.U. who had full Diplomatic Immunity,
has left us with no option but to declare war on the Galactic Corporations
and their armed wing, the Galactic Navy, you will be taken from here and
interred on one of our planets, there you will wait until all this
nastiness is over, any attempt to escape from our custody will mean the
death penalty for all of you. You will now be escorted to one of our
Cruisers for shipping to the Planet, do not cause any trouble or you will
never see your home planet ever again, is that clear gentlemen?"

The stunned looks on the senior officers faces told their own story, just
the fact they had so easily been defeated was enough of a shock but to now
be standing in the control room of what looked to be a far superior ship
left little doubt in their minds that the Corporations could be in trouble,
only one Admiral had something to say.

"Admiral Santos, I remember you well and also your downfall, you will not
get away with this, if this is all you have to fight with then you will be
vastly outnumbered, even you know the Galactic Navy can put more than
twenty Battle Fleets into action, there is no way you can defeat that many,
especially if they are out hunting for you en-mass as they will be after
this."

"Ah yes, Admiral Coates, I remember you sitting on the board when they
decided to rail road me out of the service, how does it feel to be on the
other side? Even if they do find us they will have their hands full, this
is only a small fraction of what we have available and you have already
seen what even these few can do to one of your Battle Fleets."

It was just like Santos to lie to the man, as is said, if you need to lie
then make it a huge one and be done with it, we already knew the odds but
we also had far superior ships and the training of the men and boys was
going fast and with precision, it was time to send these captives to the
Rim, Santos had turned one of his moons into a temporary prison for any
captives, they would not be sitting around, they would be put to work in
the fields and mines to help our own effort, a fact they were not told of
as yet.

All the captives were herded aboard one of the Battle Cruisers under armed
guard, it was the last we saw of them until the end of the war, there were
to be many more join them over the next Months and Years, in all it would
take us quite a while and a lot of fighting before we brought down the
Corporations and their ilk.

Once the Battle Cruiser had jumped from the battle site, we all set our
ship for home, the small fighters went into the converted Freighters for
the jump and the rest of us followed along, only the salvage droids and a
soon to arrive convoy of empty freighters from the Rim would be left at the
site, with luck they would gather a lot of the wreckage before there was
any sign of the Galactic Navy, they did not have our advantage of Jump
Drives and it would take a long time for the rescue craft to make port,
even if they sent out signals it would take the Navy quite a while to
arrive at the scene.

Home Base was a scene of jubilation as the returning heroes were welcomed
by those who had stayed behind, Santos took most of the Fleet back to the
Rim and well out of the way of any searching Navy, we were greeted back by
Android Gareth with Ellis close by his side, the young boy never seemed to
be far away from the little Droid and I would often see them looking at
each other with blank stares, it was a while before I found out they were
communicating through the Positronic minds.

I had not asked Ferris how things were with he and his little brother but
when watching the two of them, all seemed good, they played like any two
brothers and often were to be seen trying to tickle each other, it was a
thought that perhaps for the first time in his life, Ferris had someone
with a mental capacity to keep up with his own, even if the boy was his
little brother.

For two weeks there was little for us to do apart from watch the production
lines go back into full swing, the amount of salvage gotten from the battle
was staggering, a large number of the hulls were good enough to be rebuilt
and those that had too much damage were used to supplement those being
fixed, Gareth also advised all crew men that they would have to visit his
huge infirmary, he was going to tag their side arms with their genetic code
so they could only be used by the owner, that way if anyone lost their
sidearm it could not be used against them or anyone else, the Navy still
only had ballistic side arms, we did not want them to get their hands on
our small lasers.

Over the news broadcasts we heard all about the Battle from the perspective
of the Corporations, half truths, misdirection's and downright lies filled
the space waves, the declaration of war on the Corporations by the
Federation was made front page news, Kratos had, as instructed, walked into
the open forum of the P.U. and declared he had been fired on by the
Galactic Navy and therefore in breach of the Diplomatic Code of the P.U,
the Federation was now at war with the Corporations and the Galactic Navy,
while they were shouting and yelling at each other, Kratos made his escape
and disappeared into the void before they even realised he was gone.

Kratos arrived back at the Base with a wide smile on his face, he
immediately picked up Ellis and sat him on his knee, it looked as though
Kratos had decided the little boy need a big bad daddy to look out for him,
the boy just smiled and snuggled into the big bear of a man, Ellis looked
like a little toy doll next to Kratos huge size.

"Well Kratos, looks like you are out of a job, I don't think they will like
Federation Diplomats anymore, we will have to find something else for you
to do."

"I'm not in a hurry, I'll find something in time, besides now I have my own
fancy ship I may be able to go out and start a fight or two and be rescued
by the great Federation Navy, the scourge of space, ha, you should have
seen their faces when they heard a full Battle Fleet had been lost to some
virtually unknown Federation Fleet, did they get a look at the Sargasso?"

"No, Santos kept that one hidden; they should be in for a shock when he
decides to use it."

"How did the salvage go, is there anything useful left of the old fleet?"

"Yes, quite a bit, our pilots did a lot of good work and took out mainly
only the drives and communications arrays, we should gain at least another
one hundred full ships out of it all, they had to leave some behind as the
Navy nearly caught them with their pants down but they all got away just in
time, Santos has the Rim workshops in full swing and Gareth has had his
going day and night."

"So what now?"

"We sit and wait, the Knights will be going out soon to stir up some
trouble but Santos wants us to wait until he has a couple of Cruisers to go
along as backup, they will stay hidden but close by, we are going to hit a
couple of the CEO planets, that should stir things up, this time we are
going after some of their office complexes, another hit and run job just to
keep them off balance so they don't know where or what we will go after
next time."

"Sounds good, what has Santos got up his sleeve?"

"I wish I knew but it must be something, he has been training a lot of the
new young teens for ground attack, seems Gareth has been holding back in
the armoury, our Red Knights are going back out in the field to try to
recruit some more of their fellow friends, they're sure there are still a
lot who want to join us but we did not have room to transport that many, I
think Gareth plans to use augmentations to turn them into ground troops so
we can hit the planets."

"This thing is getting pretty big, Sargasso."

"Yeah, it's a lot bigger than I thought it would ever be, but then maybe it
was needed and the only way to get some change going, those Corporations
have held absolute power for far too long."

"I won't disagree with you on that one, ok time for me and the little
feller to have some play time; what do you think Ellis, think you can fire
my rifle yet or you going to stay with that little pop gun Gareth made for
you?"

"I like the pop gun, it has a nice blue light when I fire it and it makes
things really sizzle when I hit them."

"Gareth; what pop gun?"

"Commander, knowing that this event was going to get bigger, I thought it
wise to have my little Brother armed, therefore I have had a special
Starlight Laser Rifle made for him so he can defend himself if the need
arises, his new Poppa has agreed to teach him to use it safely."

"Brother, Poppa?"

"Yes Commander, as Ellis is now attached to me through his Positronics he
is my first Brother so now he has two families to keep him safe and look
after him, Representative Kratos agreed to make him his adopted Son so he
had a new family as his older Brother is busy with the operations of the
base and of your endeavours."

"I see, well I suppose it can't do any harm as long as he is trained
properly so, it's all on you Kratos and I don't want him shooting everyone
he sees in the base."

"Don't worry about that, if he does shoot someone they won't get up to
complain about it, just relax, the boy has all of Gareth's knowledge
remember so don't get your panties in a knot, just remember who taught you
to shoot."

"Yeah I do, that's what worries me."

"And what does that mean, if I remember rightly I told you not to try to
shoot a Skerrit with that little pop gun you had, but oh no you had to go
after that fucking thing just to make a point, one, I might remind you,
that almost cost both our lives."

"Oh come on Kratos, I was only eleven at the time."

"So, is that meant to make me feel better that I had to take a dive into
that bloody swamp with you under my arm and nearly lost my own rifle in the
process, if I say Ellis is going to have his rifle then he's going to have
it, so don't you start trying to throw your weight around or you will end
up in the same place you did last time you didn't listen to me."

"I think you might have a bit more trouble getting me over your knee
nowadays Kratos."

"Huh, you can keep on dreaming boy, now I got things to show my new Son so
stop your yammering and go fight the bad guys or something that will keep
you out of trouble."

I turned around and saw my three Brother Knights smiling widely if also
somewhat smugly.

"So tell us Sargasso," Brutaria asked as he smiled wider, "Just what sort
of rifle did you try to shoot a Skerrit with?"

"None of your bloody business."

"Come on, we're all Brothers here."

"Ok, it was a 125, Kratos said if it had only been an 85 the Skerrit
wouldn't have felt it but the 125 was just big enough to piss it off."

"A 125, you really tried to shoot a fucking big Skerrit with a 125, no
wonder you ended up in a swamp, of course it could have been inside the
Skerrit so I think a swamp isn't that bad."

The sound of loud laughter filled the large common room as I turned and
left to look for Scorpion, I had some heat to relieve and he was just the
right tight fit to do that for me.

A week later and the Red Knights were ready to leave for Terra once again,
that is, all except Snake, I had decided he would stay behind and could
fill in as my Co-Pilot if anything came up, the fact he was good on the eye
and very talented in bed also went a long way to having him stay.

Snake was unusual in that he had been genetically enhanced at birth, he was
a member of what were called Mennonites, they had some very strange
beliefs, when a man reached 25 Terran years, he was given two wives, one
was marked as the first wife, she would be responsible for the home and any
children born either by her or the second wife who was responsible for the
gardens, animals and anything to do with working outside.

For them, once they had born two children each, they would be sterilised,
the husband could still have his sexual rights but with no fear of any more
mouths to feed, in the case of the other children, daughters were kept in
the house until they were old enough for marriage, only the first born son
stayed home, any other sons were placed in a special hospital at birth and
given genetic enhancement, this was done to make them more attractive to
widows or single men when their wives had passed away.

Snake had been a third son and so now he had all the advantages of his
enhancement, he stood 5'11" in the Terran measurements , even now with his
nanite extras he was still slender but wiry, his muscles were evenly formed
and flowed under his very dark skin as though highly glossed by some magic
oil, between his legs he was huge, that had been what the genetic
enhancements were really for, these enhanced boys were all traded among the
Mennonites so they could comfort any women who had been left as a widow or
a once married man who had lost both wives.

These enhanced boys were treated very well as they were seen as a special
commodity for the betterment of the community, unfortunately the
Corporations had seen another chance to make more profit and had made their
type of life illegal, they had then taken over most of the Mennonite land
and, as luck would have it, the Corporation decided the boys could be used
elsewhere, that was the reason Snake had ended up in Juvie.

Snake had made friends with a small boy from the Terran Latin Union, the
boy was sixteen but very small for his age, he looked like one of the small
boys that rode on animals in races back in the twentieth century, he was
fully in proportion but just of small and slight build, how Snake ever
managed to enter the slender butt of the boy was beyond me until I got the
chance to see them in action one night, the smaller Latin boy had talents I
could never dream of.

He stood no more than 5'3" tall and I could easily place two hands around
his narrow waist, his butt was two very small tight globes that would
barely fill a man's hands, Snake was however very well endowed due to his
enhancements, on the first night I took him to my bed I had decided to
measure him just out of interest, he had measured 30cm. When fully erect
and I had trouble placing my hand fully around his girth, a real monster,
fortunately for me, Snake had no trouble being a bottom when I wanted him.

After the other Red Knights had left to find more recruits, Snake asked if
he could bring his new friend to bed with us, now I have never been a prude
and it would also give me a chance to see how Snake performed with the much
smaller teen, after this night I would never again say I had seen
everything.

It took little effort for Snake to have the teen stripped, he was so slim
but wiry and everything reminded me of a living doll, he had shaved himself
so only his head and eyebrows had hair, everything else was in proportion
with his small slender size, Snake quickly disrobed and his huge dark piece
of meat began to instantly react, the young teen, who I was soon to learn
was called by a very old fashioned name of Raul, immediately went to his
knees and began, much to my amazement, to swallow centre metre after centre
metre of that thick long rod until his lips were brushing the Pubis bone of
Snake, Raul's throat was distended beyond belief as that thick rod pushed
it to its limits, I could hear Raul breathing through his nose with
practiced ease as he swallowed time after time to massage the thickness in
his throat.

Snake stood above the boy with his eyes closed, a look of bliss on his
young black face as Raul worked on his enhanced rod, it took only seconds
for my own meat to react to what I was watching in my bedroom, Snake opened
his eyes and smiled as he indicated I should strip and then kneel in the
centre of the bed, once there, Snake easily picked up Raul without ever
pulling out of the hot throat, somehow turned him around until the boy was
now laying on his back on the edge of the bed, his throat still distended
beyond belief.

Snake reached over and drew the thin coltish legs back until Raul was
rolled up like a boy ball, his knees right back by his own ears, he was now
wide open at both ends, not being one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I
quickly used a little lube and pushed deeply into the hot hole now opened
before me, Raul grunted then went back to swallowing and massaging Snakes
huge weapon.

Once I was fully in the hot place and holding tightly to Raul's knees,
Snake reached down and took the boys head in his hands, he then began to
slowly withdraw until only the very tip of his glans was in the boys mouth,
with seemingly little effort, Snake started to feed him the full length all
over again, as he did so he held Raul's head still as I watched the boys
throat expand and throb as Snake went deeper until he was once again fully
inside the boys throat.

For some time Snake kept up the slow work on Raul, each time he bottomed
out inside the boy, he would push him down onto my own hardness, Raul
became like a small slim piston being driven back and forth from both ends,
not once did he grimace or try to stop any of this strange game Snake was
playing, it soon became obvious that this was not the first time Snake had
been with Raul, from then on the night only got more interesting as Snake
showed me positions I had never seen before, by the time morning came
around both boys were well used and both were dripping a lot of juice,
Snake had particularly liked being the meat in the sandwich with Raul under
him and I on top.

The next month passed quite pleasantly and then the other red Knights
returned, with them they brought more than four thousand new recruits,
Gareth went into over drive checking and starting a short dose of
enhancements, every infirmary was full and the base was now becoming full,
over the next few months the boys went into training as ground troops, each
was supplied with a Laser Rifle and side arm, as well as these they also
were issued with another little surprise "Accidently" left on the last file
on the Jump Ships construction plans, another present from the non
combatant Councillors.

These were anti grav skimmers, they were powered by a miniature pulse drive
no larger than your hand, they were an elongated platform about four feet
long and two feet wide, at the front were mounted a pair of Starlight
Lasers, the operator drove the skimmer through an interface which Gareth
had implanted at the back of their skulls, it was a small socket no larger
than 3 millimetres in diameter, the rider plugged the almost invisible wire
into the socket and drove the skimmer hands free allowing him to carry his
rifle at the ready or use his side arm in an emergency.

All the operations of the skimmer were governed by their thoughts, they
could either stand or kneel on the boards or, if they tucked their legs up
they could lay down, the skimmers moved very fast and the riders boots were
attached via a magnetic strip which clamped down on the sides of their
boots, they could fly upside down and not fall off although that position
took them a while to get used too.

The last piece of equipment, the plans also supplied by "Accident" were the
artillery gun platforms, these would in the long past have been called land
tanks, they operated just like the skimmers but used six anti grav units
under their hulls, the tanks weighed in excess of 150 tonnes, in a small
cockpit at the front were the pilot and navigator, they were separate from
the gunners and, if hit could eject their pod away from the damaged tank,
an unlikely event due to their high density armour.

The gunners were in three turrets, the central turret held a pair of 350
Pulse Cannon, these were operated by a spotter and gunner, the use of
Plasma Cannon on a tank would be foolhardy, below the big guns were two
smaller turrets with a pair of Starlight Lasers, each covering an arc of
180 degrees and operated by a single gunner, the gun platforms could travel
not only forward and backwards, but also sideways, the six anti grav drives
giving them a manoeuvrability that nothing would keep up with, they could
also climb and fly at ten metres or as low as only a few centre metres.

The trained ground forces now numbered five thousand, most were young but
there were enough older hands from those who had once been Naval Marines
under Santos, to watch over and train the youngsters, the first time they
went to war would be interesting to say the least, especially as nearly all
of them came from places few in the normal world would be able to survive
in and had scores to settle.

While all this had been going on, out on the rim and in the main workshops
of the base, the salvage of the first battle was quickly being converted to
our own use, there were now a plethora of fighting ships coming to the end
of their refits, as well as these there were now many of the old freighters
converted to either fighter or troop carriers, these were also modernised
gunships.

Over the months, as all this was going on, we Knights had been out to cause
as much disruption as we could, we would hit one head quarters planet on
one side of the Galaxy and within a week be on the other side doing the
same thing to a different Corporation, there were also times we had to play
hide and seek with Galactic Naval units but with our stealth modes it was
more of a game than anything really dangerous and it kept them from going
out to search for our own headquarters on the Rim or get lucky and find
Alpha Base.

Twice we hit Terran bases of the Chase Corporation, the first time was by
using all of our four ships to attack from the air, when they called for
assistance from the Navy, we disappeared but then came back the next night
and did the same thing all over again until the Navy showed up then we
jumped, leaving them in confusion and at best very, very angry.

Mitsubishi also got hit, we followed that up on the other side of the
Galaxy with a ground attack on two of the senior executives of Lloyds
Corporation, another jump and then it was the turn of Kramer Corporation,
we left one of their main mining stations in ruins, their main office block
was just a pile of rubble as we jumped out of the area before any Naval
help arrived.

These were all small hit and run attacks to keep them off guard, a tactic
they still did not seem to understand, five more attacks either on land or
from the air and the Galactic News casts were in an uproar, no one was safe
and, as yet they had found no trace of the so called, Free Federation
Traders base even though they had six Battle Fleets out looking for it.

Because of the need for speed, we had not let our boys bring their
fighters, they were all with us as passengers but were involved with all
aspects of our guerrilla raids, all four of our ships were drifting along
in an asteroid belt as we watched a very large Battle Fleet flying by, they
were definitely not taking it as a joke as the Fleet was nearly twice the
number than normal for a Battle Fleet, at any one time they had close to
five hundred fighters out in a screen around the large Fleet, it made me
think of what the Jump ship could do to them all but, it was time to slink
away and return to Alpha Base, the time for a large battle was nearing once
again.

On our return, I was to find that Santos had not been idle either, he had
made use of his ever increasing number of fighting craft and, with the
assistance of Gareth, attacked over eight money ships, he had been so
effective all Corporations had stopped shipping their money for the time
being, I was sure that by now they realised they were responsible for
financing their own demise, the vaults on upper level four were now close
to overflowing, with Santos using his three moons to provide as much food
as they could along with Gareth's synthetic foods, everyone was kept well
fed and happy, it did not go unnoticed that every man or boy in the
F.F.T.'s new military was now getting paid from the healthy vaults and with
the auspices of the Corporations money ships.

It was now six months since the first Battle, all this time Santos, along
with a number of his old friends who had held rank when they were also in
the Galactic Navy, had been planning the next big strike on the Navy
forces, along with Gareth they had come up with a new plan to shorten the
odds against us, this time the Navy would get to see the Jump Ship in
action, for those who survived, they would have something to tell their
Corporations.

It was more than a week later when we got our first opportunity, all the
Knights had been out to Calysto where the President of Sunderland
Corporation resided; this time we let the Red Knights go indoors while we
four Black Knights looked after the outer guards, by the numbers of outer
guards, the Corporations were running scared, just the situation we wanted,
the attack and clean up took over an hour but in the end we left quite a
mess for the authorities to find the next day.

The large compound was left like a dump site, the purpose of which was to
show them we had little interest in their wealth or ability to defend
themselves, now, with Sega Corporation revealing who we were and what we
had been trained for, the uproar for our hides went up another notch.

After we returned to our base we saw the results of our little foray, the
news services were full of the horrific attack and continued to show what
remained of the compound, there was even a judicious few shots of some of
the bodies to stir up the blood of those watching, the next day Ferris
intercepted the Corporations plans for the Galactic Navies hunt for us.

The Navy would combine two Battle Fleets into one single Battle Group, this
would give them a force of well over one thousand assorted ships plus all
their fighters, even with all our new ships they still outnumbered us by
three to one, of course they did not have a Jump Ship nor did they have
Battle Cruisers, it was time to do a little hunting ourselves.

It was our technology that always gave us the edge and we did not let it go
to waste, our idea for the attack on Calysto had an underlying purpose,
only ten thousand kilometres from Calysto was the Ganus Asteroid Belt, it
was a very wide and deep belt that held many large lumps of rock and other
floating debris, just the perfect place for some rebels to hide away in or
that was what we hoped the Navy would think as Calysto was a long jump from
anywhere else in the Galactic Corporations space, the possibility of rebels
hiding in such a place was too good to be true, it was there we wanted to
meet the new Naval Group.

Santos also came up with a plan to cause more disruption, we would also
have another attack on the other side of the Galaxy, on Sega 5 no less,
this one would be lead by none other than our Esteemed Diplomat Kratos, it
was also the fact he had lived there for so long and knew almost every
blade of grass on the planet, it was to be our first land attack using all
our new forces so the new recruits got some actual battle time and had a
chance to put into practice what they had been learning for the last six
months.

The modified troop carriers would also act as overhead gunships when the
ground troops were on the planet, they could hover over a battle field at
ten thousand metres and cover anything going on below, between the four
hundred Artillery Platforms and the thousands of Skimmer troops, it would
be a good battle, most planets had only local militia or small contingents
of Naval Marines as well as Corporation Police and Security Guards, apart
from the Marines most would not be able to stand against what was coming
their way.

Although the news casters had tried to keep a lid on things, there were
still murmurings of dissent on some of the outer planets, this had never
happened in the three hundred years of the Corporations reign, it could
only go a long way to helping us and we hoped the ground attack on the
outer planet would give a little more credence to the general population
that they had a chance to change things, this had indeed got a lot bigger
than what I had had in mind nearly two years ago.

With all the fighters tucked away in the gunship carriers, the F.F.T. fleet
got underway for the Ganus Belt, all were as usual in stealth mode as they
made the long jump into the area, they did not have long to wait for the
Battle Group to start to show up, the Knights had elected to go with Kratos
to Sega 5 it was only through the reports of Santos that we all heard about
what happened in the biggest Battle yet.

The boys fighters had been loaded on the gunship carrying the Artillery
Platforms as it had space to take the small ships, we only had to have a
few cradles added to the bay to hold the little fighters, they would take
part in the ground battle as mobile attack craft above the Skimmer troops,
the Artillery Platforms were quite capable of taking care of themselves as
well as having the large gunships hovering overhead just in case of
surprises.

It was the weapons and defence core that notified Santos that there were
only seven hundred ships in the Battle Group, with his intimate knowledge
of Naval practices, Santos knew it was meant to be a trap, with his innate
ability to change plans in an instant, Santos set the Core to tracking down
the lost ships, it took the Positronic core only minutes to find the
missing forces, the Navy had finally understood the guerrilla tactics we
had been using and was trying to counteract them.

The three hundred ships not in the formation were situated on the other
side of the Asteroid Belt, obviously waiting for an attack and then coming
in on a blind side to assist, Santos was not about to let that happen, with
quick commands he split his force in two.

Santos sent five hundred fighters into the belt where they would play hide
and seek with the smaller Naval group, he then jumped three Battle Cruisers
and fifty Frigates in behind the waiting force, the idea was simple, the
fighters would dodge in and out of the belt using the Asteroids as cover as
well as their stealth modes, they would distract the smaller force and
tempt them into coming after the ships they could see, once committed to
the fighters, the larger ships would hit them from behind, with luck the
attack would also distract the larger Battle group and make them commit to
going after the smaller F.F.T. force on the other side of the belt, it was
then Santos would attack from behind and off to one side of the main force.

The Jump Ship would be positioned only five hundred kilometres from the
Battle Group, for the Jump Ship it was like rubbing shoulders with the
enemy, at such a close range his heavier and better armed ship would
literally pulverise anything the Battle Group had, with him would be five
Battle cruisers, in the rear party would be all of the remaining Battle
Cruisers, Cruisers and Frigates, the mass of fighters they had available to
them would set about any fighters the Navy managed to get out of their
hangers.

Santos had sat off the port side of the Battle Fleet as the attack on the
other side of the belt started, even at that distance it was possible to
occasionally see flashes of fire in the darkness of space, the large Plasma
Cannons on the Cruisers left no doubt as to what was going on over there,
as he watched the Battle group with his own forces still in stealth mode,
Santos saw the gradual turn to starboard, it was time for him to interfere.

Keeping all his other forces in stealth mode, Santos let the Jump Ship
appear to the forces now turning away from him, on their screens they would
see a blip that would look like a small force, the Jump Ship left a very
big blip on any radar screen, to Santos eyes it looked as though the Battle
group suddenly became a little disjointed as the turn became somewhat
disorganised and his ship was spotted on the screens.

To eyes that had never seen such a large ship, the blip would have been
mistaken as a squadron of ships flying close together, as the Navy settled
back around towards the new threat, Santos opened fire with all his Plasma
and Pulse Cannons, those who saw the opening salvo said it was like some
great blue, green and red knife had sliced the Naval Battle Group in half,
where there had once been innumerable large Cruisers and Frigates, after
the blinding light show there was just empty space.

In the awe inspiring opening and, as the last beam of pulse light
disappeared, Santos gave the order for his other forces at the rear of the
shattered command to attack as he went back to his own guns, the once
mighty Battle Group was now nothing more than the scattered remnants of a
Naval Force as they tried to defend against an enemy that had weapons the
likes of which they had never seen before.

It did not take long before the Naval ships began to shut down their drives
and drift as a sign they were surrendering, as the last Frigate saw the
hopelessness of fighting on and shut down his drives, Santos took note of
the time, it had taken less than forty minutes to destroy the Battle Group,
although there was still fighting going on at the other side of the belt,
it too seemed to be lessening, it had once again been a well planned rout,
it was now time to count the cost and to accept the surrender of their
enemies, there would be a lot of salvage from this Battle as there had been
from the first one.

On Sega 5 it was just before dawn when the gunships dropped their cargoes
off, Kratos had taken them right up to the frozen North, he knew there
would be no one up there at this time of the year, it was the perfect place
to begin his staging, there would be many kilometres to travel before
coming to any enemy held territory but it would give the troops time off to
acclimatise to Sega 5, the nearest enemy base was five days away but our
Skimmers and Artillery Platforms could move a lot faster than a normal
transport could, Kratos led them off into the barren whiteness, the almost
noiseless hum of the anti grav drives barely noticed in this white land.

We Knights flew in our ships, the boys in their fighters, we were all at
one kilometre above and in stealth mode as we followed the fast moving
columns below us, it was quite a sight to see them all formed up in five
long lines, at the front was one of the Artillery Platforms, or, as Kratos
called them `Tanks', behind each `Tank', was a platoon of Skimmers, they
also were in five lines across and twenty Skimmers deep and then another
`Tank' followed by another platoon.

The Riders had on white smocks over their Kevlar Armour which was heated by
attaching a thin lead to the Skimmer and drawing heat from the small drive,
their helmets were closed and the face plates not only protected their
faces but they had a heads up display if needed, both the Skimmers and the
`Tanks' were also painted white, for anyone not knowing they were there it
would be hard to make them out in the barren whiteness of the vast wastes
of Sega 5.

Our first target was a mining complex, it had a small detachment of Marines
as well as the normal police and security guards, it was the furtherest
complex on Sega 5 and would be good enough to be able to blood the young
teens on their Skimmers, once the first engagement was over they would be
better prepared for what was yet to come.

Two days later and it turned out to be somewhat of an anticlimax, one look
at the forces arrayed against them and after only a token fight by the
Marines, the complex opened its doors and surrendered, an attack by land
was the last thing any of the Corporations had expected and they were just
not prepared for such a thing, our losses were only one Skimmer and its
rider was only marginally injured, he was taken into one of the `Tanks' and
would be able to continue his fight from there.

We did not have a lot of time to waste, the defenders had not got any
messages out so we had to take advantage of the situation, after disarming
all the guards and marines, we called all the miners together and told them
what was going on, as they now held the power over the mine we left them in
charge, most wanted to continue mining, it was their way of life but now
the profits would have to be paid to them, their guards were given the
chance to join the miners of become workers down the mine, the miners had a
lot of anger built up over years of slave wages and bad conditions, we left
them to sort out their own new lives.

Next on the list of complex's was a larger town or more likely a small
city, this was one of the many central administration towns of the Sega 5
Northern command, it was responsible for most of the Northern mines and had
been the ones to make Kratos redundant from his one love, Skerrit Hunting.

Using every ounce of speed we could safely, we drew close to the town the
following morning, observing from the top of a rise only a few kilometres
from the town, we saw they had not received any warnings, the normal guard
houses around the town still seemed to be quiet and nothing untoward was
apparent as we watched the morning guard change over.

The guard houses were armed with the old fashioned lasers but the houses
ringed the outer limits of the town, to the best of our knowledge there
were over one hundred thousand occupants in the town and some two hundred
Marines along with a thousand police and as best we could work out, there
was a civilian militia of around five hundred, we could not take this towns
defences lightly.

Sliding back from the top of the low rise, Kratos issued the orders for the
taking of the town, the `Tanks' would move quickly to encircle the town but
stay below the level of the ridge until they were all in position, the
skimmer troops would spread themselves out with the `Tanks', the main
objective of the Tanks would be to eliminate the guard houses as well as
back up the Skimmers when they went in, our boys would fly low in their
fighters to watch for any reinforcements and to persuade them to find
cover, my Brothers and I would fly top cover and watch for any surprises,
all ships were to stay in stealth mode until Kratos told them it was safe
to appear, one never knew what a town this size could produce when forced
to.

In less than an hour our troops were ready and Kratos gave the order for
the `Tanks" to open fire, the sizzling sound of the Pulse Cannon filled the
morning air as the opening shots were fired, it was all that was needed to
utterly destroy the many guard houses ringing the town, the smoke and
explosions filled the ground around the town, their first line of defence
was no more, as the Marines not caught by the sudden barrage tried to make
their escape deeper into the town, the Skimmers appeared and began to roll
down the ridge, the `Tanks' close behind.

As I watched from my place higher above the battle ground, Panther called
and told me he could see what looked like Artillery being hauled out of the
barracks where the Marines were quartered, I gave him and the others the go
ahead to work on wiping out the reinforcements, while the towns lighter
Pulse Artillery would not be able to do much damage to the `Tanks', they
could cause devastation to the boys on the Skimmers.

The battle was now in full swing as the town began to erupt with armed
Police and what looked like Militia trying to form up, it was a rag tag
looking bunch of defenders that tried to get to their position as the
Skimmers came in at speed, the light Lasers flashing as the boys saw a
target, slowly the towns part time defenders began to settle in but the
speed of the Skimmers made it hard for them to follow their targets.

As I watched from above I saw what looked like a large group of fighters
trying to get into the air, this was a job for my Brothers and I, diving
from our superior height we set about the fighters as they tried to get
into the air, as we were still in stealth mode they had no targets to fight
back at and they were soon quickly over come, those that remained, returned
to their base which we then set about making unusable.

The fighting in the town had got to the stage of being a hunt through the
narrow streets, every corner was now fought over as the defenders tried to
keep a hold of their town, it was getting to be a down and dirty fight, it
was time to call in some new power that should scare the hell out of the
defenders and save some of our Skimmer boys.

I called my Brothers and the boys to come out of stealth and start air
attacks on the positions trying to hold out, at the same time I called for
the `Tanks" to begin levelling the central town area, with luck the leaders
of the town would see they had nowhere to retreat to and were now caught
between the `Tank' fire and the Skimmers as well as now having us appear
overhead.

The surrender came only minutes later, someone in the town had some common
sense, as the sounds of battle faded away and those who had tried to defend
the town began to lay down their weapons, I told the boys in their fighters
to stay just above the town and keep a watch as we looked for a place to
land.

Kratos called for the town leaders to assemble in the central square, the
Skimmers also began to round up the defenders and usher them in the same
direction, within half an hour the square was full, Kratos stood on the
steps of what looked like one of the administration buildings as the
townsfolk filled the square below.

While the townsfolk were assembling, our Med-Droids were hard at work
looking after our wounded, it had not been a battle without losses, we had
seventeen dead, eighty six wounded and lost twenty one Skimmers, other
Mech-Droids were busy cleaning up the pieces of the broken Skimmers and
placing them in the cavernous hangers of the now landed Gunships outside
the town limits.

As I watched Kratos begin his directions to the massed crowd of people,
Gareth came over my Sub-Space com unit.

"Commander, there are two Battle Fleets headed your way, one from the North
the other from the South East."

"How far out are they Gareth?"

"The closest one is two days, the other will be about three if they keep
going at the pace they are now, which to my knowledge is almost full power
for their ships."

"Thank you Gareth, we will be out of here in a few hours, contact the two
battle Cruisers above us to go out and lay mine fields in their projected
path, that should slow them down even if we are not here."

"Yes Commander, the order has been sent."

"Thank you Gareth, now we have wounded, please make ready the infirmaries,
we may also be bringing some new recruits so we will need training rooms
and barracks ready for them."

"They will be ready when needed Commander."

I closed off my unit and turned back to what was going on in the square, as
Kratos talked to the now silent crowd, I sent Panther and Brutaria's boy
Kabbit, off to the central administration building, they knew what they had
to do, Gareth had built a small unit for them from one of Ferris designs,
they would penetrate to the lowest levels of the building where the main
cores were, hook up the unit and it would strip and send everything in the
core to the waiting Ferris via a Sub Space channel set aside for just that
purpose.

Two hours later and we were cleaned up, there was now only the need to see
if we were going to get any recruits from Sega 5, as Kratos was explaining
what was available to those who wished to join our new Federation,
something in the back of my mind began to build, it was not a good feeling,
as though in slow motion, I could see and hear everything around me, it was
this that saved me, never one to ignore my mentat skills, I twisted to the
left as something solid struck my chest, as it zipped past it left a deep
gouge in my Skerrit armour, brushed across my forearm and struck a stone
wall some fifty metres away and exploded, there was little sound apart from
the explosion from the contact with the wall.

I immediately went into stealth followed closely by my Brothers, the two
boys on the ground activated their Shadow Suits, we all moved away from our
last position, there was only one thing that could have done that sort of
damage to Skerrit armour and I did not want to give them a second chance,
contacting the boys still up in their Fighters, I sent them in the
direction from which the shot had come from, they were to stay in stealth
mode and, once they find the target to stay above it and not let them know
they were found.

Using our personal com units I explained to the others what had happened,
it was moments like this I thanked my lucky stars for our mind abilities,
whomever the marksman or marksmen, were they were well trained, it was a
pretty good guess they were a military unit, if so the boys should be out
looking for two men, once they found them they were to start to look for a
second pair, the military snipers always worked in units of two pairs.

Tiger found the first pair out at 3.5 kilometres, as he sat above them the
others went in search of the second unit, the military snipers used the
same type of .75 rifle Kratos did for Skerrit hunting only they also used
depleted plutonium rounds, it was the only thing that could penetrate
Skerrit armour, it had been a close call.

For the snipers to take the shot at 3.5 kilometres was not out of the
ordinary, these men were trained since being very small children, there was
a shooter and a spotter, they worked together in a symbiotic relationship
and had done so since being not much older than four or five years, the
spotter was totally subservient to the shooter, he had been genetically
enhanced at a young age, for its time it was a marvel of genetic
engineering, the shooter had also been enhanced but in different areas.

We were now on full alert as the search went on for the second pair, I had
no doubt they were out there, the military had not changed that much, why
they were here was beyond me, this was a backwater as far as most mining
planets went so why would they have a sniper unit on this planet, had
something changed that we did not know about as yet, we had to capture them
to find out, it was another hour before the second unit was found just one
kilometre away but unsighted of those in the square, it was time to make
some captures.

This was not a job for our boys, these sniper teams were very dangerous, my
Brothers and I set about planning how to capture them unharmed, we need
information from them but did not want to make ourselves targets, we paired
up and each took one unit, we would use one of our darts to immobilize them
then take them with us when we left the planet in a couple of hours.

The pair I had sighted out at the 3.5 kilometre mark turned out to be not
what I was expecting, I soon learnt that the other pair were the same,
these were not hardened sniper pairs, they were not much more than
youngsters, the oldest was no more than twenty years old and his spotter
was only about eighteen or nineteen, just kids, we darted them and took
them with us to one of the troopships, they would be held there while we
made our way back to the base, there I would question them, it was one more
small blow to the Corporations.


TBC.


Artcart65@gmail.com


 

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