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Fall of Tarsonis, Part IIIEdit

Daniel walked down the corridors of the battlecruiser without any more problems. Along the way, he admired the beauty of the vessel, as well as its size and self-sustainability. By and by, he came to the bridge of the ship, the heavily armored room near the core of the ship which controlled the rest of the vessel.

He opened the door, and came face to face with four marines clad in full armor. Daniel smiled, struggling to keep his fear down. He had no guns, no armor and no route of escape. If they got suspicious it would be the end of him. One of their number narrowed his eyes, but it could not be noticed behind his reflective visor. "The security code?"

Daniel's mind stuck up into the guard's mind and sensed: The Security Code. Now that's more like it, Daniel thought.

"The security code is the security code."

"Nice wisecrack, but no, you're wrong," said the lead guard, raising the harmful end of his burst laser rifle. The ship took several hits, and Daniel could feel the vibrations travel from his feet up his spine.

Daniel decided to try again, this time peering into another guard's mind. Is he going to say it again? he found the guard thinking. Then Daniel realized what he must do. "The security code is 'the security code', really!!"

The lead guard nodded, and motioned for him to pass. Only then did Daniel realize how fast his heart was pumping.

Inside the bridge, he found the commander of the vessel (not the commodore, who was still ignorant of what had transpired and was still at the bridge), and approached him. None of the officers in the room seemed to take notice, so caught up were they by the demands of battle.

The admiral, however, instinctively sensed something was wrong and turned around, ready to call for help, but found Daniel's dagger blade already at one of the tender veins of his neck, the superior vena cava--and decided he'd rather have his life.

"Don't try anything, admiral; I'm telepathic," Daniel hissed at him warningly. He didn't need to use telepathy to notice that the man was terrified; his bulging eyes gave it all away. By now the other officers on the bridge were starting to look at the source of the commotion. Quickly prying into the admiral's mind, Daniel quickly identified where the admiral knew his two hidden revolvers were, took them out and aimed it at at Sons of Korhal adjutant who was working the main control panel, while keeping the dagger blade right at the admiral's throat. "Lock all entry to this room!" he ordered, and the death-fearing adjutant quickly did so. The marines standing guard outside, noticing the commotion, were just about to rush in when they ran into the final doors and found them locked, leaving the guards clueless as to what had happened. They banged against the door in frustration, but to no avail. Meanwhile, Daniel probed the minds of the rest of the officers in the bridge, quickly shooting dead the three officers who were courageous enough to consider firing at him. All three toppled over, dead, and the rest dropped their guns and were herded into an empty part of the room.

Letting go of the terrified admiral, he kept a gun pointed in the general direction of the too-stunned-to-move officials while he sat down at the main control panel, freeing the jail cells where his fellow Red Wolves were kept and sending out a welcoming transmission to the part of the fleet that was loyal to him. Then Daniel issued a distress beacon at a distant part of the ship, luring away the marines still guarding the bridge. Within the minute the Red Wolves had arrived and were granted access to the bridge. The cowering Sons of Korhal officials were soon handcuffed helplessly to the walls of the bridge.

Just as I planned, he thought, looking at the monitor at the front of the room. His dropships were docking, his followers were convincing those in other ships to break away from the inhumane and uncaring Sons of Korhal, some Valkyries and a battlecruiser had already pledged allegiance to Daniel's cause, and soon the guns of the battlecruiser would be manned by loyal soldiers. Meanwhile, he had already converted the bridge into his command post, giving commands to his followers...

Red emergency lights flooded the halls of the battlecruiser. Sirens screamed in an endless, unbearable pitch, easily muffling frantic sounds of rifle fire and the thumping of boarding parties rushing into position.

Daniel's Red Wolves quickly secured Hyperion's well-fortified bridge as more and more allies boarded the vessel from another frigate, joining with his team of Red Wolves to establish firm control over the ship. From right beside him the leader of the Red Wolves sat at the ship control panel, holding a crew member at gunpoint and forcing him to systematically lock down various Sons of Korhal controlled areas of the ship. From the bridge, Daniel sighed as the ship-scale battle tilted heavily into his favor. With the next docking of a Dropship frigate, his loyal friends James, Sarlena and Christopher joined him, bringing with them the now restless Michael. Behind them came a large squad of disillusioned ex-Sons of Korhal marines ready for combat, quickly setting off along the hallways. Daniel's personal adjutant, the blonde officer who had been with him since his takeover at Antiga Prime, took over the Red Wolf captain at the main control panel as another team of Neosteel-armored marines rushed down the corridor. Several grenade blasts and bullet rounds later, the last pocket of resistance aboard the ship had surrendered.

"Colonel, resistance on the ship has been neutralized," the adjutant duly reported as the sirens abruptly ended and the flashing red lights were replaced by the welcoming normal lighting.

"Good, now set a destination that brings us away from the space battle and order the rest of our allied forces to follow."

"Yes, colonel." Over the course of several seconds the Hyperion rotated to face away from the planet, then launched its Quantradyne engines. Behind them, several large trails of flaming gold quickly pushed the war vessel away from the thick of battle. A final series of glaive wurms struck the belly of the vessel, sending shuddering reverberations up and down the hallways and rattling the crew numb.

"Adjutant, I want an overview of what we have aboard this vessel immediately," said Daniel as he took the admiral's luxurious seat at the center of the bridge.

"Yes, colonel."

"Oh, and that reminds me, since I AM at the top of the new hierarchy, I am promoting myself to Admiral. Of the newly named Harbinger Fleet." He chuckled to himself at the prowess he had just exhibited in engineering the takeover of a top-of-the-line battlecruiser. He had gone a long way since Artifact station - a very long way. Smiles crept up the lips of his pals as well.

"Of course, admiral," replied the adjutant with an askew glance. She launched into her report. "This ship, the Hyperion, is the first of a newly-designed ship class that goes by the same name. All Hyperion-class vessels are capable of the same gravitic warp travel that other starcraft possess, but have a lesser thrust-to-mass ratio which translates into slower acceleration, both translational and rotational. All this is powered by a series of six reactor cores, all your standard tokamak fusion power generator. The naqahdah fuel pods are enough to get us some 40 light years when coupled with our gravitic drive and our Quantradyne engines. The Battlecruiser is 5000 ft. long, 3500 ft. wide at the maximum and has four accessible floors. It has living space for up to six hundred, though a minimal operating crew has only 144 personnel members. The weaponry we possess are: one Yamato cannon which takes five minutes to recharge, 12 turbolaser turrets, 48 burst laser turrets, 4 magazines of 80 Halo rockets each, 6 magazines of 360 Apollo missiles each, a trio of Longbolt missile platforms each with standard detectors and a magazine of 200 Longbolt missiles, and two nuclear warheads."

Christopher smiled. "So I take it this vessel can take on a full wing of hostile Wraiths and come out victorious. Wonderful."

"Approximately 15% of the ship is dedicated to necessary equipment, armament space and resource storage bays; another 20% is for crew living quarters. Yet another 40% is the ship's hangar bay, which can hold a full wing of 72 Wraith starfighters, of which we currently have none. The remaining 25% of the ship is its battlecruiser production facility, which can at maximum speed produce Behemoth-class Battlecruisers one every two weeks."

"Whoa... wait a minute, wait a minute... You mean to say we have a whole Starport up on here?" Christopher was amazed.

"Not exactly," corrected the adjutant. "A typical Starport can service two cruisers and simultaneously produce a third cruiser or an Explorer-class, and has factories for Wraiths as well as Valkyries. Those would be about three and a half times the size of our ship. It is only possible for the Hyperion to have a cruiser facility because the Hyperion-class has twice the volume and mass of a Behemoth-class. Nevertheless, it would be folly to take this ship into combat if anything is currently under production, because the sensitive cruiser facility can easily be destroyed from light enemy fire while anything is under construction."

"I see. I got the idea; thanks. Well, it seems like we have found ourselves a trophy well worth being called a flagship. Heck, we can probably even take out half the Zerg around here," he gloated.

"The one problem is, our hull integrity is at 20%, and our ship integrity at 50%. A few hits and a reactor core could blow." And Daniel knew very well what would happen if that were ever to occur: the ship would blow up.

"Send a crew down to repair the weapons systems," Daniel ordered as he reclined on his seat. He needed to know the current state of the space battle if he were to stand any chance of surviving out here, alone with but a crippled following for company.

A glass table in front of his seat, the size of a billiard table, had an assortment of buttons along the front as well as a remote control. At each corner were an array of lasers. Though he had never been aboard a cruiser before, he recognized it instantly as the ship's primary hologram desk. Christopher and Sarlena, noticing their admiral's attention, took seats beside the table, to Daniel's right and left, looking on with interest. Soon Christopher had worked out the controls. The three-dimensional, multicolored light display that was a live tactical of the planet-wide battle appeared over the table, slowly rotating, its innumerable dots constantly updating. There were Confederate forces marked in dull brown, Sons of Korhal forces marked in blue (always the color of one's own party), Zerg swarms marked in the increasingly feared red, and another entity marked in yellow which he immediately recognized to be the golden fleet he had seen back at Antiga. Each dot marked at least one vessel or flier to as many as a squadron of them.

A flight of Wraiths tore away from the Hyperion's hangars, rushing toward the second of the three adjacent space platforms, the one with the Ion Cannon. The platform was peppered with missile turrets and guarded by Wraiths and a solitary battlecruiser. They immediately broke out into combat against one another.

Daniel gave the orders from his heavily fortified Operations Center while the breakaway dropships rushed for Platform One to drop their payload of Mjolnir siege tanks and defending Goliath walkers, along with a complement of marines and reapers. The defense opened up with Longbolt missiles, Gemini missiles from the Goliaths, and streams of burst lasers--only to find most of them strike rather futilely at a massive abandoned vespene gas refinery that had lifted off and now spearheaded the landing attempt.

The Mjolnirs were immediately decimated by the worried master sergeants driving them on Platform Three, their powerful bunker busters driving a hole into the platform plating to the far side of the platform (which also had its complement of defenders). The invaders began a solid engagement with the forces on Platform Two, while the now nearly destroyed refinery drifted onward, in a direct collision course with Platform Three.

"Hijack the siege tanks on Platform One!" shouted Daniel, and the marines responded by heading over to the siege tanks nearby, who were unable to fire back at such a close range. The dropships rapidly landed on the platform, one of them blowing up in the process.

The flight of Sons of Korhal wraiths sped directly for Platform One, turning invisible and then smattering it with streams of burst laser fire. The helpless invaders on Platform One were subsequently slaughtered by both the Wraiths and the heavier laser weaponry of the enemy Battlecruiser.

"What is the most powerful armament this Battlecruiser has?" Daniel asked a Red Wolf who was standing beside him.

"Yamato gun, sir!"

"Is it powerful?"

"It can blast a big hole into a Battlecruiser, sir!" Daniel looked with amazement at the visual in front of him--the other Battlecruiser was turning around, obviously preparing to fire. He could not allow it to impact--

Then use it against that Battlecruiser, mister!" shouted Daniel, with mounting apprehension as the starfighters hovering around Platform One practically exterminated Daniel's invasion force, except for the hijacked siege tanks which did not register to them as the enemy.

Daniel thought furiously. The battle was not going well, and many of his men were dying. But I still have my psi emitter, he recalled. It's time to use it. "Someone bring the dropship to near the ion cannon, then activate the thing by pressing 'programme one'!" Several Red Wolves immediately rushed to carry out the task, not knowing that it would doom them--

"We have a detector aboard this ship?" Daniel asked, and Christopher, now aboard, uttered, "yes", and directed some of the energies of the vessel's generator toward supplying the detector. Suddenly the coordinates of the enemy Wraiths were visible, circling around and getting free hits...

The marines and walkers, finally having obtained the coordinates of their foes, began firing with submachine gun fire, burst laser, and hellfire missiles, taking out one Wraith after another. Meanwhile, platforms two and three continued to pommel the underside of Platform One, reducing much of it to waste, while the enemy Battlecruiser unleashed its volleys at the Hyperion, which was sustaining damage all over from several other starcraft entering the fray and was firing away at Platform Two.

"Yamato gun firing!" one of the Red Wolves shouted out, depleting the ship of power to its engines and turbolasers as the swirling energies coalesced in front of the ship's armored front, then struck away at the enemy battlecruiser.

It cracked in half, its two large pieces and many smaller ones flying about, as a blue-hot explosion sent shockwaves traversing up the sides of the craft, combusting and melting it away.

"Mjolnirs ready, sir!" said one of the master sergeants controlling the hijacked Mjolnirs.

"Good work, now fire all of them at Platform Three," Daniel ordered, and watched as the swiftly launched rockets drilled massive holes into the platform, flinging enemy bodies away. Both platforms one and three now resembled pieces of swiss cheese...

As the opponents on those two platforms continued to duel it out, the dropship with the psi emitter had sneaked up to Platform Two, with a floating command center taking the brunt of the enemy attacks. Debris was everywhere, as were explosions.

"Keep firing at Platform Two, but don't hit the Ion Cannon, and order all allies to abandon the region and head outward," Daniel decreed, sitting on his seat but shifting uncomfortably with the strains of conducting the battle. He was giving orders constantly--

Daniel turned to the nearest Red Wolf. "You know the story of the sirens in the Odyssey, right?"

"Heck yeah," he replied gruffly. "Why?"

"You've got to pin me down in a moment like they did to Odysseus," Daniel replied.

"Activating psi emitter, sir!" shouted the dutiful Red Wolf who was alone in his dropship, and suddenly, Daniel felt an overpowering sense of lust, the direction of the psi emitter.

"Hold me," he managed, while his body was rushing toward it--and he had to be restrained by the others (all rather shaken by his response to the psi). "Bring the battlecruiser to the ion cannon! I want the psi emitter, I need it!!" Daniel shouted, his mind being overrun by the lustful desire that was entering his head psionically.

The crew members around him were about to alter the ship's trajectory when the Red Wolf captain shouted, "Don't do it! Daniel told me this would happen, and that we have to restrain him!"

The screen indicated various other Sons of Korhal ships, including more Battlecruisrs, converging on their location, ready to save the ion cannon, or else destroy it... He had to get to it now...

Daniel struggled... "Let me go!!!" he shouted, while the others (some of which were stronger than him) quickly bound him back to his seat, writhing futilely.

The full brunt of the Hyperion's turbolaser guns, though more importantly the thousands upon thousands of flocking Zerg mutalisks, soon bombarded Platform Two into a hole-filled wasteland. Just before they converged on the Ion Cannon, however, the Red Wolf aboard the dropship had already docked and had rushed into the Ion Cannon past countless dead guards and a broken iris-scanning door---

"Fire the Ion cannon at Tarsonis!" shouted Daniel, the inhuman lust and desire power overtaking him and temporarily eroding his humanity. He shouted the command without regard for the fates of many people who were thus doomed, without regard for reason...

...and now the Red Wolves aimed the mechanism at Tarsonis...

And Fired.

A little projectile arced gracefully down to the planet surface. None would have expected it to be so deadly, looking at its slender design--simply beautiful to the sight.

It disappeared unhindered into the planet, and almost instantly, the entire planet's atmosphere began to bubble, glowing blindingly bright in the process. Zerg and others alike, realizing the imminent devastation, flocked away from the surface, forgetting all battles for the moment, bare seconds before the molten planet killed all that remained... Turning the entire celestial orb into a superheated, planetary fireball...

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