Story: Tenchi Muyo: Conquest (chapter 19)

Authors: Shanejayell

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Chapter 19

Part Eighteen

        The bridge was almost silent as Ruri simply lay her hands just above the large control panel, an odd light appearing in her wide, dark eyes. "Preparing for transit back into normal space," she murmured to herself softly.

        "How rough is this going to be?" Mitsuki asked Rhione softly as they stood to one side of the ship's bridge. After the two day trip she was almost eager to get to work.

        "Normally real-space transit can be rough," Rhione quietly admitted, "but I understand that Ruri is remarkably skilled."

        "Aproaching re-entry point," Ruri announced.

        "Confirming status with Ryo-Ohki," Rei spoke up softly from her communications post, "entry point confirmed."

        "Shields to maximum," Minagi ordered.

        "Shields ready," Asuka worked her own set of controls smoothly, "tactical systems ready."

        "Re-entry to normal space in five.... four... three.. two, one!" Ruri reported, even as the stars reappeared in viewports across the ship.

        THOOM! The ship rocked under them as something detonated outside the ship. Minagi held onto her command seat, "Tactical, report!"

        "Sensors are still off from transit," Asuka worked quickly, then turned to the others on the bridge, "Get somebody looking out viewports!"

        Mitsuki ran to the nearest one even as she wondered why she hadn't thought of that herself. "There's a pitched battle outside!" she reported.

        The primary screen showed a burst of static for a moment, then an irritable looking Ryouko's face appeared. "Ryo-Ohki's sensors have recovered enough to show that the Earthers appear to be launching an attack on the Moon Kingdom," she said to them grimly before adding, "and they're doing it using old Juraian ships."

        "Looks like we've come to the right place," Minagi admitted.

        "We're moving in to support the Moon Kingdom forces," Ryouko smiled grimly.

        "After we get all the fighters deployed, we'll be right behind you," Minagi confirmed. Just before Ryouko disconnected Minagi grinned, "Good luck!"

        Ryouko grinned back, "Luck is for amatures." With that, she was gone. In seconds Ryo-Ohki was supporting the Moon Kindgom ships, laying down a wicked suppresion fire.

        Before Minagi could even ask Rei said, "Yamamoto Yohko reports that all fighter pilots are ready to launch."

        "Then let's do it," Minagi grinned, "prepare to drop shields."

        "Drop shields?" Rhione repeated softly, surprised.

        "Swordbreaker's been carrying the fighters in it's shield envelope," Mitsuki explained, "we have to drop shields or they can't get out."

        "Sensors are back up,"Asuka reported to Minagi as she gave Rei a look, "We're only going to drop the shields a few seconds at most. The timing's got to be perfect."

        "It will be," Rei answered cooly.

        "That's my Rei," Asuka chuckled. She and Rei tied their control systems together, Rei communicating softly with the pilots as Asuka prepared.

        "Drop shields," Minagi ordered.

        Almost simultaniously the seven fighters shot forward, quickly escapting the shield envelope and taking up their formation. Three were arrayed on each side of a larger, blood red craft.

        On the Swordbreaker's bridge Yamanoto Yohko's face appeared. Focused and intense she reported, "Ready, ma'am. Request permision to move in and engage the enemy."

        "Tactical update," Asuka brought the battle up on another screen, "the Moon Kingdom forces are badly outnumbered, nearly two to one." A slight smile, "Numerically at least we won't make that much of a difference."

        Minagi gave a viscious smile, "But we outpower every other ship on the battlefield." She looked up at Yohko, "Let"s try to bring everybody home this time." At the young woman's grave nod she said to her simply, "Go."

        Yohko lead the charge into the enemy formations, her fighters bobbing and weaving madly through the massive wooden ships of the enemy forces. Targeting primarily weapons and defensive systems they softened up the ships of the enemy line, allowing the Moon Kingdom and Ryo-Ohki to pick off the damaged vessels.

        Right behind her Swordbreaker opened up with her main guns, throwing waves of power into the enemy fleet. But the Earth ships were maneuverable, and only by closing the distance could they guarentee the kills.

        "Ryo-Ohki," Ryouko cried from her own bridge, "another barrage!"

        "Myah!" Ryo-Ohki agreed quite cheerfully, throwing another red swath of energy that cut an Earth ship in two.

        "Can you open a communications link with the Kingdom?" Ayeka asked.

        In seconds a screen opened up, and a very tired looking Lady Mercury snapped without looking up, "No I can NOT send you tactical support!" She looked up and saw who she was talking to and went beet red. "I'm so sorry," she started.

        Ayeka raised her hand in a calming gesture, "It's all right. I just wanted to inform you that we've deployed fighters, so please caution your forces to choose their targets carefully." Her eyes widened in alarm as she saw that Mercury was alone in the command center and she worriedly asked, "Where's the Queen?"

        Mercury smiled slightly, "Using her sceptre to shoot down enemy ships."

        "I've seen it in action," Ryouko said with a smile, "it can do it." A devilish smirk, "Amoung other things it's useful for."

        Ayeka looked at the smirking Ryouko and the suddenly blushing Mercury and sighed, "I don't think I want to know."

        Washu stepped up, "Do you need medical or technical assistance down there?"

        "Both," Mercury agreed quite reluctantly.

        Washu met Yume's eyes, then looked over at Kiyone and Mihoshi. "We'll take a transport sphere down," she nodded to Mercury and cut the transmission.

        "Wait a minute," Ryouko started.

        "I designed that transport bubble myself," Washu said softly, "it can take anything that class of ship can throw at us." More quietly, "The people of the Moon are a proud race. They wouldn't admit to needing help unless they were in grave trouble."

        "Kiyone, keep an eye on her," Ryouko ordered.

        "Got it," Kiyone agreed as she and a suddenly serious Mihoshi grabbed medical kits and followed Washu and Yume off the bridge. Not long after the scarlet shere detached from Ryo-Ohki, dodging every shot as it swiftly dove for the Moon's surface.

        "It can take whatever they can throw at us," Ryouko imitated Washu almost exactly before continuing in her normal voice, "so why are you ducking, Mom?"

        "Better to be safe than sorry," Ayeka chuckled.

        "Agreed," Ryouko nodded. She looked out at the mass of enemy ships and with a dangerous smile said, "Let's go do some real damage."

        Ayeka's grin almost mirrored hers, "Oh, yes."

        Mitsuki left Rhione standing to the side of Swordbreaker's large bridge and approached the tactical station. "Are there any fighters onboard Swordbreaker itself?" Mitsuki asked Asuka tentatively.

        Without looking away from her controls Ayeka snapped, 'We've got two Deathscythes and a Wing Zero in hanger three."

        Mitsuki turned to Minagi, "Request permission to take out a Deathscythe."

        "I know you're qualified on the simulators," Minagi said, having obviously read her Galaxy Police personnel file, "but how much real experience have you had?"

        "Enough," Mitsuki answered shortly. Quietly, "Even with our technical superiority the odds still don't favor us. We need every ship we can get out there."

        "Don't get yourself killed," Minagi said to her quietly before loudly proclaiming to the bridge, "Permission granted."

        As Mitsuki was running off the bridge Rhione reached out to take her arm, "Be careful."

        Mitsuki smiled wryly, "I'll try, but this isn't really a situation where careful applies." She pulled free, and was gone down the hallway.

        The halls were eeriely quiet as Mitsuki ran for hanger three. She was flung up against the wall as the ships's shields took another hit, but still held firm. 'In a Galaxy Police ship, we'd be toast by now,' she thought grimly as she keyed the door open.

        "Lights," Mitsuki commanded as she stepped into the hanger.

        The ships rested in their launch cradles, three sleek vessels of destruction. One was edged in silver, two others decorated in black. The Deathscythes were sleek, deadly shadows, ready to be unleashed against their foes.

        Another blast shook the deck, and Mitsuki decided to be poetic later. She clambered aboard, locking herself into the command chair and pulling on the flight helmet. "Communications check?" she asked as she ran through the preflight checklist.

        "Communications go," Rei answered back dryly.

        "We're taking heavy fire," Asuka came on the line, "but I should be able to get a window to launch you in about a minute." Softly she added, "Remember to disengage the locks holding your fighter down to it's cradle."

        With a blush Mitsuki realized the lock was still engaged, "Thank you." She finished her checklist in under a minute, then held her breath.

        "Launch window opening," Rei started...

        ... then Asuka finished, "Now!"

        A burst of thrust kicked Mitsuki back into her seat as she soared out into the darkness of space. Weapons fire nearly tagged her right then and there, but a swift turn bought her a moment to get her bearings. The display on her console showed her the mass of enemy ships, and for just a moment felt a chill, but she banished it.

        "Time to get to work," Mitsuki murmured before joining the fighter squad in harrasing the enemy formations.

        In the Palace of the Moon Kingdom Washu and Yume worked to bring the powerful shields that protected the city back on line. Next door, Mihoshi and Kiyone had set up a emergency medical station, treating the most seriously wounded.

        "How's the situation look?" Washu asked Lady Mercury.

        "Your ships have turned the tide," Mercury said in honest relief, "it looks like we're actually going to win this one."

        "Then we'd better get this shield back on line fast," Yume said grimly.

        Lady Mercury nodded slightly, "A desperate enemy might choose to do something drastic."

        "Exactly," Washu agreed.

        "Shit," Mitsuki cursed softly as she saw the damaged ship moving on a collision course with the Moon's surface. She patched the information to Yohko, Ryouko, and Minagi and hoped they had a better idea than she had.

        "We're tied up here," Ryouko growled angrily.

        "Primary weapons are temporarily offline," Minagi cursed, "our secondary batteries aren't powerful enough."

        'No time,' Mitsuki thought even as she said over the communicator, "I'm going in." Pulling a turn that would have destroyed a fighter in an atmosphere she was off.

        Mitsuki came up alongside the ship, then in a burst of speed got ahead of it. She pointed her nose at it's falling bow and opened up, throwing the fighter's entire stock of missles at the falling vessel. Fires bloomed on it's surface, gasses pouring out into space, but it's fall stayed steady.

        The energy cannons flared to life, Mitsuki threw streams of destructive power at it. "Primary weapons over heating, autromatic shutdown in..." the computer reported.

        "Override," Mitsuki barked, knowing the risks she was running.

        The vessel flaked off armor and hull, interior portions venting into space. But the core kept on falling. "Second warning, catastrophic overheating in the fusion core will occur in .." the ship's monotone voice reported.

        Mitsuki looked back, knowing there wasn't much time left. "One thing left to try," Mitsuki sighed. "Emergency thrust, activate," she gave the command, the sudden force of it hammering her back into her seat.

        The vessel swelled in Mitsuki's viewport, then the two ships came together...


To be continued...

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