Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Transfer of Power -- Part One

Lucas turned back to his console, but continued to eavesdrop on his commaning officers. He too felt nervous about the upcoming battle, and yet somehow hearing the arguement between the Admiral and his second-in-command helped to calm his nerves. Had they been arguing about the survival of the BlackHawk, he would have grimly faced his doom despite the nervousness, but today did not feel like a good day to die. Somehow the two officers arguing about the fine points of the current battle plan calmed the butterflies in his stomach. Never once did either of them hint that the plan might not succeed; the conversation revolved entirely around whether different plans might work better. ShadowHawk never argued about the fine points of battleplans she deemed failures from the beginning. Running his eyes over the weapons console, he could still hear their heated debate.

"If you won't let me reprogram the laser cannons, then why can't we at least increase their power?" ShadowHawk questioned fiercely.

"The power increase would drain from our shielding. As long as we maintain our redundant shields we should be able to hold off on this attack," Jake explained. "The longer we hold off this attack, the higher the chance of success from the second part of our plan." Lucas nodded, agreeing with Jake's wisdom. The shields would hold, ShadowHawk had gone over them herself. And the gunmen would succeed without the need for automation - they were very good at their job. Why was the Commander insisting on a different strategy?

"But I'm saying we won't even need the second half of our plan. Increase power to the laser cannons, to provide more damage for each shot. Triple the shielding around the cannons to protect them from attack by Raventhorn's forces and then we can --" Lucas wondered about this second phase of attack ShadowHawk was arguing about. Still, if Jake thought it was necessary, Jake would know better than anyone.

"And where is all this power coming from?" Jake interjected.

"Decrease the power to the main shields." ShadowHawk stated this with so much conviction, Lucas was taken aback and stopped his work to watch the conversation unfold.

"Decrease the... You can't be serious, where would that leave us?" Jake blinked hard, keeping a steady gaze on his apprentice. "That would leave us ripe for the taking."

"That's not the best cruiser in Raventhorn's fleet. If he was going to pick one, why this one? Simple. It's not the best for attacking firepower, but it is best for a boarding party." Lucas sat up in his chair. A boarding party? Why would she think that?

"A boarding party?" Admiral Jake could not believe his ears. "Why would he want a boarding party? Raventhorn is a very busy Warlord - his other cruisers are most likely on other missions or in need of repairs. And even if he did want a boarding party, why would he need one if he can just destroy us all all a group once we lower our shields?"

"Maybe because he doesn't WANT to destroy us?" The Commander was obviously thinking quite deeply about this, Lucas believed - he could almost see her brain churning out the answers. "We've been his worst enemy for the longest time - why send an inferior cruiser after us, in his chance for ultimate victory? No. He is a Warlord, with a quest for power. He has obviously thought this through. What would really help him with his plans to gain dominion over the galaxy?"

"Us?" Jake stepped back a little, and sank into a nearby swivel chair. "Are you suggesting he wants to conquer us and force us to serve him as part of his own military?" ShadowHawk nodded once, confidently. "No... I can't believe that... He wouldn't." Lucas slowly nodded in affirmation of Jake's statement. Why would anyone want to conquer the BlackHawk, but not destroy them?

"Why not?" ShadowHawk challenged.

"I have been on Raventhorn's bad side far longer than you have," Jake answered, "and I would hesitate to think that you know him better than I do. As soon as we lower the shield, we're dead." His glare brooked no arguement, but ShadowHawk had one more left.

"Let me go with you."

Admiral Jake firmly nodded his head no. "It's too dangerous, and one of us has to stay here. Besides, who is going to take command if something happens to me?" ShadowHawk offered no answer, but from her expression it was obvious she wouldn't surrender her demand without a fight.

"Lucas," Jake called softly; the grizzled old chief weapons officer was quick to obey.



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