Fighting above an alien sky

By the time the Orchid breached the atmosphere the battle was in full swing. A few ships were under assault by boarding parties, and one smaller Imperial ship was already plunging planetwards, burning brightly as she hit the atmosphere without shields. There was a ship-wide wince as her fuel tanks exploded, scattering debris in a glowing mushroom across the skies, combined burning and asphyxiation was a nasty way to go.

The Orchid reached operational altitude quickly, and Silas and his helmsmen fired up the back engines, and threw their ship into the fray, slamming a full broadside into an Imperial battlecruiser and slipping out of range before the huge ship had time to react. Flitting between the giant metal hulks, Silas sped through the tangled melee, dealing broadsides to enemy ships as opportunity presented, hiding behind larger, slower allies when enemy guns trained on them, and generally manipulating the battle field to suit their medium sized, fast and lightly armoured craft. Fighters buzzed around in every gap, not threatening any of the larger ships individually, but breaking up enemy bomber formations that might cause serious damage to external systems. As the Orchid raced through their packed masses they would part and regroup, like swarms of extremely violent flies.

The bigger ships had a million weak spots that a fast ship could exploit, if they had an experienced commander. Most tried to reduce the exploitability of these by cladding them in armour that the lighter guns of the faster ships couldn't break. Such strategies reckoned without ships like the Orchid. With her powerful engines, she could carry far heavier guns than her speed and manoeuvrability would suggest.
This was brought painfully home to the captain of the IBS Glorious, when the Orchid managed to slip through her gunfire and throw a full broadside directly into the viewscreens of the command bridge, blinding and crippling the ship, and killing the majority of her officers. Nearby OSA ships rapidly took out her remaining defences, and within half an hour had gained full control and captured her remaining crew.

All Silas heard about this was a short burst of congratulation over the comm channel. But he didn't need to know how well the rest of the fleet was doing. He lived for the individual fight.

The End

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