Battle of AgriaEdit
Moments later, as Daniel gazed out the window into deep space...
"All Harbinger Fleet vessels are accounted for. The Hyperion-class battlecruiser and flagship Hyperion I is fully prepped. Behemoth-class battlecruisers the Mengsk's Pride and the Flannum's Legacy are fully prepped. All five Valkyrie-class rocket frigates are fully prepped. All twelve Dropship-class transport frigates are fully prepped. All 86 Wraith-class starfighters are fully prepped and docked to the battlecruisers. All Fleet ships are within twenty kilometers of the Hyperion I. Preparing for hyperspace jump... " The adjutant pressed a button and the blinking drive activated. Everyone aboard took a deep breath and hoped for their lives to be spared--
The next moment a kaleidoscopic window to warp space opened up into an expanding circle at the edge of the gathered fleet, and readily swept across the void of space and across their ships. The vessels before them winked out as the window swept past them. Then, the window touched the Hyperion. From bow to stern the ship vanished one meter at a time as the window passed by. Daniel felt himself suddenly dying as his body was disintegrated. The next thing he felt, he was still standing at the same spot on the ship, and quite clear-headed. Behind him the window continued moving, bringing the rest of the ship into existence, meter after meter. As the window moved further and further away from the ship, others winked into existence until finally the window closed.
The adjutant reported, "Hyperspace transit complete. Time in hyperspace: One minute five seconds. Distance traveled: 7.5 light years."
Stunned silence pervaded the room. Though all had the sneaking suspicion that the new warp drive aboard the Hyperion was going to be a significant improvement over the original, few had expected just how different a league this drive was in compared to the Confederate gravitic drive. With the ability to achieve such speeds, travel would suddenly become unimaginably faster. Moments later, Christopher was the first to react. "Holy shit! How fast was that? Let me think - That's over a tenth of a light year per second! We could cross the Milky Way within ten days with this thing!"
"Hold on a moment," said Daniel futilely as the whole room burst into raucous conversation. "Are we actually where we are supposed to be?"
"Scans are showing the Char colony to be within twenty thousand kilometers from our position," reported the adjutant as she brought up real-time imagery of the super-volcanic planet before them.
"And is the rest of the fleet with us?"
"Getting tracking beacons from the rest of the fleet. All ships are present and fully operational. No tokamak meltdowns reported."
"Wonderful! This is the greatest leap humanity has ever made since the computer!" cheered Raynor.
"Good then, we can go greet the colony," Daniel re-emphasized their mission.
"Actually... that won't be necessary..."
"Huh? What do you mean?"
"The planet's covered by Zerg," replied the adjutant, bringing up the hologram in the center of the bridge. All over the planet were red blips. There were no blue ones.
"For all that speed, we're still too late," muttered Sarlena as tears appeared on the creases of her eyes. For a moment everyone in the room was silent in mourning for those who were lost.
Daniel narrowed his eyes. "There's too many; we can't fight them all. Let's get out of here before we're too late. Set warp destination coordinates for Agria."
"Coordinates sent. All ships on stand-by for warp transit. Preparing for hyperspace jump..."
"Sir!" shouted a private to his superior at the Agria observatory, causing everyone to jump to attention after a night of diligent work. "Multiple unidentified objects have been spotted within twenty thousand kilometers. Requesting a more complete scan..."
Intrigued, the sergeant walked up. "What have you got?"
"Sir, they are Confederate vessels, but they are broadcasting signal beacons that mark them as 'Harbinger'. Perhaps a new terrorist group much like the Sons. They certainly aren't expected here any time soon, as a check of the transit records has revealed. Whoa... this is very strange," said the private as he stared at the results on the computer screen, alarmed. "Their warp drive signatures are totally unlike anything ever seen before and I have no idea where they came from. Suggest placing the colonial military on immediate alert!"
"Sir, they are hailing us!" shouted another private.
"Patch them through," ordered the sergeant. Upon the mainframe, live video of Daniel appeared in front of the backdrop of the Hyperion. "You are not broadcasting on Confederate military frequencies. Who are you?" he inquired, trying not to be alarmed.
"I'm Admiral Travincal, of the Harbinger Fleet--"
"Harbinger Fleet? Never heard of it--"
"Never mind who we are. We are here to save your butts from an alien crusade. Tell your superiors that everyone on Agria must prepare for immediate evacuation."
"What the heck? You expect me to do WHAT?"
"Agria will most likely fall from the first Zerg offensive."
"Our colonial military will be able to handle it."
"You're kidding!" Daniel paused, noticing that the clueless sergeant was most certainly not kidding. "Sorry, but you have obviously not been well informed regarding the fate of Tarsonis. It's been destroyed, by the Zerg. Now if you're smart you'd trust me and get yourself and everyone else you possibly can to the Agria Starport. We'll be landing to pick you all up."
The private was flustered. "Okay, let me get this straight. One moment you don't exist, the next you're suddenly here and requesting permission to dock? You must be out of your mind!"
"No; I'm SERIOUS."
"Oh, right, as if you'd know if the Zerg are going to overpower us anytime soon. We've been well here for quite a while already. And we'll stay that way, unless you're a harbinger for trouble yourself."
Ominously, right after that sentence a massive portion of space not far from them seemed to contort and swirl into a spiraling vortex ringed with dense stellar dust. From within the wormhole came a stream of alien starships.
"We've got incoming!" screamed the private back at the observatory, rushing to pull the klaxon. Red emergency lights flared throughout the building as ear-splitting screeches resounded down the hallways, waking up people left and right. Soldiers jumped out of their beds and rushed to the nearest parked CLCS-300 or -410 combat suit. In the middle of the observatory, before a horrified sergeant, a hologram sprung up right in front of the table, showing a swiftly growing mass of red blips making their way toward the planet.
"It's the Zerg!"
"A whole fleet of them!"
"Them bastards! They and their harbingers of disaster!"
"NOW do you believe us?" muttered the portrait of Daniel.
At the same time, a stunned Admiral Travincal and a ring of his closest advisors were staring at their own hologram, showing the Zerg fleet very quickly proceeding to meet the Harbinger Fleet. The bridge of the Hyperion I was flooded in red warning lights, though thankfully a soft trilling sound replaced a wailing alarm.
"How did the Zerg get here?"
"I don't know, we were probably just very lucky, or unlucky," replied Sarlena.
"I don't know how much of a fleet the Zerg are, but I wouldn't put it past them to have enough weaponry to wipe out the colonial defenses," stated the admiral.
"Daniel, the only way we're going to rescue anyone from the planet is if we stay here and fight off the Zerg while the Dropships go planetside and start the loading process."
"Agreed. Adjutant, dispatch all Dropships to Agria Starport. If we cram three thousand civilians onto each frigate we should be able to get their entire population out of there, and then some - maybe SCV's. The rest of the fleet is to assemble into claw formation, facing the Zerg fleet, and prepare to fire on my mark. Launch all Wraiths and have them assemble a fighter screen in front of the capital ships. "
Within moments the fleet had split in two, the Dropships quickly falling toward the colony, while the military vessels prepared to open fire.
"We have scanned the approaching Zerg fleet. Multiple Zerg unidentified-class entities identified in addition to overlords, dracolisks, and scourges," reported the adjutant. "They seem most similar to the dracolisks but have a different flight pattern as determined from their anatomical differences, and seem to have sacs very distinct from that of dracolisks." A 3-D image for a moment replaced the hologram.
"Label them damselisks," Daniel ordered, and the hologram then reverted to an image of the Zerg fleet with the newly-christened damselisks extra-bright. "I don't know what they are but as we can handle the rest, I want these to be the first taken out."
"Admiral, all combat-capable vessels reporting as battle-ready. Permission to open fire requested," stated the adjutant in a much-needed calmness of voice.
"Mark!" Daniel practically shouted.
From the Valkyrie rocket frigates, streams of Halo rockets launched toward their targets; from the missile platforms, Longbolt missiles streaked into the void; from the battlecruisers' magazines, clusters of Gemini missiles rushed to greet the foe; all around them, Wraiths launched their flurry of Apollo missiles. In the same volley, triple-bursts of laser beams shot forth from the Wraith screen, intermixed with the much stronger turbolasers of the Valkyries and battlecruisers.
Many of the lasers were evaded by the Zerg fleet; many more struck their targets, slashing at the incredibly tough Zerg flyer carapace. Scourges detonated prematurely, put to an end before they could explode on the surface of any of the Harbinger Fleet vessels; dracolisks were shredded into pieces by the concentrated fire, spilling their nasty entrails through the infinity of space as the rest of the Zerg pushed onward toward the planet and the fleet assembled to defend it. The Zerg opened fire, many of their glaive wurms impaling and corroding many of the missiles launched at them. However, more managed to reach their targets, exploding with deadly force against the hulls of overlords and still more dracolisks or, alternatively, striking down columns of scourge.
The next moment all hell broke loose as glaive wurms imploded upon the hulls of detected Wraiths and the slightly thicker ones of the Valkyries and the battlecruisers. Explosions ricocheted from hull to hull, causing massive fireballs to erupt from the crafts' power conduits and causing two of the frigates to hang dead in space, unable to escape or avoid more incoming fire. Explosions scattered across the field of battle as lasers and missiles intercepted and were intercepted by glaive wurms. The dracolisks demonstrated their swift maneuvering abilities as they swung in dogfights with their Wraith counterparts, each chasing after and being hunted by their enemy.
"Destroy those scourge at all costs!" Daniel exclaimed as he saw a hundred of them hurtle through space, detonating against missiles and being shredded apart by laser fire while all the while closing on the fleet's vessels. "Take them down!" Daniel repeated. The ships redirected fire at the wave of scourge, rending many of them nothing but bloody space debris. The dracolisks' glaive wurms continued to rain down, a storm of fire that detonated all over the vessels and Wraiths. Daniel could do little but mutter in dismay as the pictures representing the Wraith complement of the fleet winked out one after another with surprising rapidity. "Damn it, you Agrians hurry up down there!" he muttered with a clenched fist as a series of explosions rocked his ship.
"Hull integrity at 82 percent and dropping. Ship integrity at 99 percent and holding. The lateral Gemini magazine has gone missing from the wireframe."
The two fleets had now merged. Wraith and dracolisk chased each other in unending tactical maneuvers and extended chases, while the exploding scourge came ever closer to the fleet. The scourge were almost wiped out by the time they hit - almost. The first detonated with a green energy bomb that took with it a clean quarter of the nearest Valkyrie frigate; it simply disappeared from this reality, shifted to a different part of the time continuum. Another struck a split second later, causing another portion of the frigate to simply vanish. It was now simply the bow part of the ship that remained - but not for long. The reactor core had failed and a moment later the entire vessel was engulfed in a massive explosion.
"Damn it!" cursed Daniel out loud, before being knocked off his feet by another glaive wurm impact. The wireframe that showed the condition of the Hyperion I had gone from being originally all green to part red and the rest yellow.
"Hull integrity at 66 percent and dropping fast. Ship integrity at 95 percent and holding. We lost the aft missile platform," reported the adjutant. "Valkyrie 2 reports severe damage. They can't hold out much longer. Valkyrie 5 has lost all rocket magazines."
By now the Zerg fleet had been greatly reduced in number. We can win this fight yet, calculated Daniel. The last of the scourge were gone, blowing up a second Valkryie frigate in the process. The greater half of the Wraith fighters had been wiped out. In the heat of battle Daniel didn't even have time to mourn the dead, for the damselisks were now opening their sacs and releasing some kind of purplish cloud on yet another Valkyrie. It was suddenly covered in a creep that quickly spread from port to starboard. The creep gradually burned through the armor and entered the interior of the vessel, to the horror and dismay of all those on board.
"Valkyrie 6 reports subversion by nanites," reported the adjutant. "They are warning us that the Valkyrie might fire on us if we don't destroy their vessel immediately."
"Order the damselisks destroyed immediately! Bring up their display!"
The next moment the mainframe depicted the bridge of Valkyrie 6, now filled with chaos as the crew futilely tried to shoot something... Then he saw it, something like a black flood pouring into the bridge, killing and disassembling the corpses of anyone it touched. "Admiral, you've got to destroy this ship! Don't worry about us - just do it!" shouted the captain. The screams crescendo-ed as the crew realized that they were doomed, then all was quiet as the room was filled with the creepy substance. The video blinked out.
"The Flannum's Legacy reports loss of their fore turbolasers. We have lost contact with Valkyrie 6..."
The Valkyrie was turning in space, bringing its turbolasers to bear on the Hyperion. They lashed out with unanticipated fury on the Hyperion, immediately destroying a missile platform and its dorsal Halo rocket magazine.
"Hull integrity at 52 percent and dropping fast! Ship integrity at 90 percent and holding. We lost the last missile platform and our second Halo magazine. All damselisks confirmed destroyed," reported the adjutant.
"Charge up the Yamato Gun and fire on that Valkyrie ASAP," Daniel ordered.
"Redirecting energy to Yamato Gun... stand by..." For three seconds the the vessel's turbolasers went silent; the next moment a pulsating pink orb of light grew at the front of the Hyperion. It then struck out, enveloping the subverted frigate in a brilliant blossom of flame.
By now the battle had nearly come to an end. The Zerg dracolisks were almost gone, and the lumbering overlords were being hunted down. All but one frigate from the planet surface had returned to the fleet, and the last one was almost done loading. Battle reports were starting to come in.
"The last dracolisk is down. The enemy fleet is destroyed and retreating. Victory is ours. The Hyperion I has sustained moderate damage. Ship integrity at 91 percent."
"Mengsk's Pride, sustained moderate damage. Ship integrity at 89 percent," another captain broadcast on the comlink.
"Flannum's Legacy, sustained moderate damage. Ship integrity at 82 percent."
"Valkyrie 2, sustained critical damage. Ship integrity at 22 percent."
"Valkyrie 4, sustained heavy damage. Ship integrity at 60 percent."
"Valkyrie 5, sustained heavy damage. Ship integrity at 55 percent."
"That's all of them?"
"We lost the other three frigates."
"Tell all Wraiths to dock and all vessels to enter sphere formation around the Hyperion."
The next moment an alien wormhole opened up right before them, creating a vortex of stardust. Red blips immediately started coming through. "Oh shit... We have incoming!" screamed the adjutant. Soon the fleet appearing before them had grown larger than the one they had just vanquished.
"How much longer can we hold out?" asked Daniel.
"The Agrians have sent all they have as reinforcements. Even so, we wouldn't hold out for twenty seconds if we engage the enemy."
"Then we can't fight them. We will be able to take the Dropships back in time, right?"
"ETA of the Zerg fleet is fifty seconds. ETA of the Dropships is forty seconds. ETA of the final dropship is sixty seconds."
"Damn it!" cursed Daniel again. "Prepare us for warp travel. The moment the first eleven dropships get here were are leaving."
"What about the last one?"
Daniel shook his head slowly in woe. "There are civilian casualties in war. I would save them if I could, but all our capital ships and frigates are greatly damaged. They won't last ten seconds in another fight."
"All ships stand by for warp travel."
The fleet had aggregated around the Hyperion once more, this time reinforced by the minuscule Agrian fleet, which was a single Valkryie frigate. The moment the first eleven dropships entered within range of the blinking drive, Daniel gave the order.
"Starting hyperspace warp..." The circular window to hyperspace opened up before them and swept past the Harbinger Fleet, leaving nothing but the lone dropship in their wake.
"What the heck?" shouted the startled people on board that last transport vessel.
"Has the fleet forsaken us?" cried the civilians in dismay, their only hope for salvation lost. The Zerg fleet approached. A hundred glaive wurms struck the ship. In an instant, ship integrity fell from 100 percent to zero. A thousand lives were instantly lost, vaporized in the cold voids of space.