Story: Tenchi Muyo: Conquest (chapter 32)

Authors: Shanejayell

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Chapter 32

Title: Chapter 32: One's Own Honor 7

Tenchi Muyo: Conquest! One's Own Honor: Seven

"Honor," Ryouko looked up with a grin as she said dramatically, "help save me from this!"

The blue haired Empress of Manticore waved toward the thick piles of papers that cluttered the desk in her office aboard the Washu's Revenge even as Honor walked into the room. Nimitz eagerly leapt down from Honor's shoulder to join Ryo-Ohki, the two exchanging conversation made up entirely of 'Bleeks' and 'Myahs.'

"Sorry, ma'am," Honor Harrington said, the slim brown haired woman fighting back a little smile, "I think you're stuck with doing at least some of it." In the many months that had passed since the peaceful merger of Manticore and Basilisk Honor had gotten more used to her leader's casual style, but it still felt... a bit odd.

"Maybe I can foist some of this on Minagi," Ryouko shook her head. She brightened slightly as she drawled, "So how's Michelle?"

Honor felt her cheeks reddening slightly under her amused gaze, it was quite obvious that Ryouko had heard about the scene the two of them had made down at the boarding docks. Michelle had just gotten back from a long patrol assignment and she had gotten a wee bit carried away in her greeting Honor. Not that Honor had been too restrained, either.

"She's still asleep," Honor murmured, thinking of everything they had done last night, not to mention this morning.

"Ah honeymooning," Ryouko chuckled. A bit more seriously she said, "I asked you to come here for a reason, Honor."

"It's time to move against Kagato," Honor didn't even make it a question.

"I think so," Ryouko nodded. She rubbed at her eyes tiredly and Honor realized that she probably hadn't slept. "How have the fleet exercises been going?" she asked.

"Very well," Honor answered, "we're pulling together nicely. Overall ship efficiency is in the ninety percentile range with a few vessels nearing one hundred."

"Like the Nike," Ryouko named Honor's ship with a grin. Her smile disappeared as she continued, "But we both know how powerful Kagato is."

"I heard about the Galaxy Police's attempt to bring him in," Honor agreed.

Only a few weeks ago a powerful fleet of GP cruisers had attempted to engage Kagato's ship the Soja in battle and it had been a complete disaster. The cruisers had been far too overconfident in their Jurai provided technology, waltzing in to try to hammer at the Soja, but the massive ship's shields easily held them all off. The powerful weapons array of the Soja wiped out the ships with ridiculous ease, the remnants swept aside like so much garbage.

Ryouko made a face at the mention of the GP but she nodded slightly. "The GP aren't pushovers," she said, "anyone who can defeat them so easily isn't to be taken lightly."

'Guess the GP still has a price on Ryouko's head,' Honor noted silently. "But we're much better equipped," Honor answered her aloud, "thanks to Washu's designs and our two homeworlds' ship-building capabilities."

Ryouko shook her head, her eyes narrowing slightly. "Sorry for fretting," she said, "we've been working towards this for so long that it's a bit strange, finally being ready to go." Ryouko made a face, "Not to mention mother's latest innovation."

"Oh?" Honor prompted.

"A powerful new ship design," Ryouko said, "with both improved shielding and weapons capabilities that she calls Swordbreaker. The problem is that bringing it into production will take us several months, at least."

There was a soft tapping from the doorway and Minagi sauntered inside, her sleek black bodysuit hugging her form. She looked almost the same as Ryouko did, only the two bold scars on her cheeks making her different. "Yo," she casually waved as she flopped down on a chair, "did you tell Honor about the fighters?"

"Just about to," Ryouko said, clearly cross about Minagi spilling the beans.

"The light armored combat units?" Honor sat up in surprise as she asked, "You were able to make the design work?"

"Actually Basilisk's tech boys were pretty close to a breakthrough," Ryouko pointed out, "we just took their work and built on it."

"Washu's got the prototypes ready to test," Minagi said, "but it'll be a month before we're ready to go to full production."

The Light Armored Combat unit or LAC was something Basilisk had been trying to develop, but the technical difficulties had stopped them. They couldn't come up with weapons systems or drives that would be powerful enough to make the small craft effective in battle. Obviously, Washu had been able to solve those problems.

"We'll need to recruit pilots, too," Honor murmured, a slight frown on her face. The pilots of the fighters would be facing grave risks, she knew, and the casualties would probably be high.

"I'm already looking into volunteers," Minagi said seriously. She leaned forward slightly, "Have you decided what we're going to do about Kagato?"

Ryouko got up from her desk, walking over to the viewport to gaze out at the stars. "As much as I'd like to take more time to ready our fleet," she said seriously, "I think it's time." She turned back to look at the others, "Contact Washu and the fleet commanders, we need to prepare our tactical options. It's time to deal with Kagato."

"Damn it!" Nagi loudly cursed. The floor of the bridge seemed to heave up beneath them, the Nike rocking with the force of the blow but the cruiser recovered quickly. Around the bridge the crew worked efficiently, handling emergency alerts and maintaining ship's systems.

Honor nearly chided Nagi for her language but restrained herself. The light blue hair framed the other woman's face, the former bounty hunter rather uncomfortably wearing the fleet's uniform. Honor's regular second in command was in sickbay, badly injured in the initial assault, so Nagi had stepped up to do the job.

"Fleet status?" Honor barked.

"We've lost a quarter of our ships," Hudson reported, sounding much more confident than when Honor had first commanded him months ago, "and the Soja's shields are holding fast."

"And Michelle Henke's Dauntless?" Honor asked, keeping her voice even. She had seen the explosion a few moments ago, and prayed that....

"No answer to our hails," Yuri said from communications, the black haired woman looking over at Honor in sympathy.

Honor closed her eyes a moment, feeling as if she wanted to die, then she banished all emotion to focus on the task at hand. "We keep going," Honor said firmly.

On the viewscreen the Washu's Revenge and the Soja floated in space a ridiculously short distance apart, the two massive vessels exchanging weapons fire at point blank range. The Soja loomed even over the Revenge but the smaller ship survived all it could dish out even as Washu's unique weapons designs beat it back. All around them the Manticore fleet floated in a spherical formation, throwing firepower down continuously against the Soja.

"I almost wish that GP ship would finally do something," Nagi murmured from where she stood by Honor's side. The Galaxy Patrol vessel hung back out of range, obviously using it's sensor systems to record the battle for any useful data.

"Later," was Honor's reply. She studied the tactical display a moment, "We've got to move in closer," she said grimly, "increase the intensity and cohesion of our attacks. We might break through, or at least distract the Soja enough for the Revenge to break through."

Nagi nodded bleakly as she said so softly that only Honor would hear, "We'll be under greater fire but I think it's a good call."

"Thanks," Honor smiled just slightly. She raised her voice, "Yuri, get me the flagship, we need to let Ryouko know what we plan...."

A squeal of feedback ripped across the bridge and Yuri swiftly bent over her controls. "A Fleet wide communication," she reported, "coming from the GP cruiser."

Honor and Nagi exchanged a surprised look. "Put it on," Nagi ordered.

Two women appeared on the screen, the cockpit of the GP cruiser with a black haired young woman and a quite clearly annoyed looking redhead sitting beside her in the co-pilot seat. "This is Galaxy Police officer Kiyone," the black haired woman said.

"I can't believe you're doing this," the redhead scowled.

"Save it, Mitsuki," Kiyone answered crisply. She turned back to say, "There appears to be a momentary weakness in the Soja's shields when he launches an attack."

"Confirm that," Honor barked to her tactical officer as the GP cruiser moved in to take up a place in their line of battle.

"Now that she's brought it to our attention," Hudson shook his head ruefully, "I can see it."

The next time Soja launched an attack the Washu’s revenge and the cruiser fired almost as one, rupturing the massive ship’s hull. The enemy’s weapons were quickly disabled as the ships moved in, Honor helping direct the mopping up.

As Honor worked she watched the communication feed as Ryouko hailed the GP cruiser. “Thank you for your help,” Ryouko smiled. More seriously she said, “I and my sister Minagi are going in after Kagato.”

“I wish I could go along,” Kiyone said as she saw Mitsuki glaring at her, “and I wish you good hunting. That bastard’s killed more than a few GP officers over the years.”

“We’ll get him,” Ryouko smiled, and the transmission cut off.

Nagi shook her head, her expression grim. "I hope the Marshal of the GP is in a good mood," she said, "or that officer is in big trouble."

"We've got our own problems," Honor answered.

It took a few hours before they found out the results of the battle, Ryouko and Minagi slaying Kagato on the bridge of the Soja. Honor didn't care much about that, instead her efforts were focused on the recovery of the lifepods. The medical bay was busy as they were cracked open, injured men and women pulled out one at a time.

The clear gel the pods used to protect their contents glistened as the woman struggled to get out and Honor felt a moment of purest relief. "Michelle," she breathed, rushing to her lover's side.

Michelle smiled weakly, the dusky skinned officer leaning against Honor's easy strength. "The Dauntless?" she asked weakly.

"Gone," Honor answered, "but we've recovered most of your crew."

"Thank god," Michelle slumped, exhausted.

To be continued....

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