UEES Artemis, Elysium System, Emergency Bridge
Captain Shaw paced around the emergency bridge alone, lost in thought. His plans to rush to Earth have hit another snag. Towing the large Bengal class carrier through the jump point had put massive strain on the UEES Centurion. Several systems on the escort were down and it was having thruster difficulties. Shaw knew he couldn’t risk another jump in the current configuration, yet before the jump to Elysium the sensor feeds from the Centurion indicated that there was some large ship, possibly a corvette sized ship, on an intercept course. While the Centurion was far more powerful than a corvette, a corvette was a credible threat, especially in their now weakened state.
Shaw knew he needed a plan. There was only a dozen crew members left on the Artemis, the rest transferred to the Centurion with just a minimal skeleton crew remaining. The combat craft that were flyable and had crew available were all in flight on extended patrol around the Artemis. In the quiet solitude on the emergency bridge he reviewed the details of the damage to the ship as well as the charts for the Elysium system. As he reviewed the data on the local system, he perked up. Elysium III had an antimatter reactor production facility and a large ship repair facility design to handle super freighters. While it would not be optimal, a freighter reactor will at least allow the Artemis to be under its own power and allow the Centurion to be far more combat ready. The only questionable part of this plan for Shaw is if any reactors were available and how long it would take to install. Shaw walked to the communication station and keyed up long range in system communications.
“UEES Artemis to Elysium III, we have taken serious damage and need emergency reactor replacement to return to Earth for dry dock. Please advise us on your ability to accommodate us.” Shaw put on a façade of pleasantness. Inside he was full of anger, wanting to lash out at someone, just to watch them squirm and retreat like a dog running away with its tail tucked under itself. However, he knew he could not do that and get what he wanted. He would work on finding O’Brian and punish him… slowly… for how much he has disrupted his plan.
The communications station crackled to life “Elysium to Artemis. We are used to large vessels, but have never worked on a Navy vessel before. We can accommodate you, but it will probably cost much more than our usual fare. We can strap a reactor to the outer hull and run conduit fairly quickly. A full statement of work will be transmitted to you immediately. I hope this is agreeable?” Shaw smiled, of course it was agreeable; the cost will be billed to the Empire, not to him, so what if billions of people have to pay a little extra in taxes.
“Artemis to Elysium, we will divert our course to your orbital facility. We will arrive in nine hours. Artemis out”. Shaw then keyed up the Centurion and relayed the orders. To make better speed he instructed the Centurion to lower its shields and divert full power into engines and thrusters. It was going to be a long nine hours, and it would take at least a day to setup an emergency reactor by strapping it to the hull and running the connection down through the blasted out hole in the hull to the proper connection conduits. It would be vulnerable to attack, but at least functional. He had a sneaky little ace up his sleeve that very well may hold off any attack, at least prevent it long enough to get to safety. He knew the Empire had dispatched an emergency fleet to provide escort to Earth. The fleet consists of the UEES Nelson an escort carrier and the UEES Dubai and UEES Bulgan, both fast frigates. It was not a first line fleet, but it was certainly way more than an Idris could handle. This fleet was expected to arrive in system in roughly seven hours. He needed to prevent an attack just long enough for those ships to arrive and then join his fleet, and that is where his ace came into play.
Shortly after the Artemis was crippled he sent a message to one of his private couriers in Cathcart. The message gave instructions to fly to the Artemis at maximum velocity with a “special package”. So long as this package was on the ship, he knew that he would not be attacked. He grinned at the thought of O’Brian riding on his rescuer’s Idris seeking his revenge but unable to because of the contents of the package. Thinking of the anguish he envisioned O’Brian feeling improved his mood greatly. It was then that his glas beeped and indicated a new message. It was his courier. It just arrived in system and would reach the Artemis in four hours thanks to the courier’s 350R’s impressive speed.