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TOPIC: Ballista

Ballista 1 year 9 months ago #58653

  • Falnore
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Okay, full disclosure: this is not a Star Wars story. It's just kind of a generic sci-fi/space opera thing. It's the first novella that I've ever seriously attempted. I've had ideas for other stories, but I've never pursued them as far as I have this one. That being said, what follows is not a very large excerpt, although it does run c800 words. This being a forum filled with sci-fi geeks, I thought I'd put it out there and get some opinions. Primarily, I'd like to know if everyone thinks that there's a good enough story here to continue. I'm already aware that there are some typographical errors and syntax edits that need to be implemented, but this is just a VERY rough draft. Anyhow, on to the (hopefully) good stuff:

A klaxon blared it’s dissonant song, a two-tone clarion call to battle coupled with the sound of tearing steel and titanium. Marines rushed frantically up and down the ship’s corridors, trying desperately to man their stations. Three decks had already been breached by the enemy’s coil guns and were venting atmosphere; technicians were struggling to patch the hull against cold, silent death. Through the ship’s comm system, Captain Stephen Kimber’s voice rang out over the tumult. A voice of reason pitted against a siren’s wail.

“All hands, this is the Captain! Condition red! I repeat: Condition red! All hands to stations.”

Sensors had detected a volley of missiles inbound. There were less than seven minutes to impact.

“Tactical, ready chaff!” Kimber bellowed across the bridge. “Helmsman, prepare for a 47 degree full burn to starboard on my mark! O’Malley, get a team of marines prepped for the Lancet. Launch as soon as you’re ready, then contact me directly.”

“Aye!” replied O’Malley, before he turned and left the bridge.

“I need updated LADAR readings and a SITREP, in that order!” said Kimber, pulling up his tactical holo screen.

“Pushing it to you now, sir. LADAR detects fourteen hostile craft. Eight of those are short-range fighters, but they’re flying escort for four bomber/interceptors. The other two contacts are a Charon-class escort carrier and a Cerberus-class destroyer” reported the comm officer.

“Captain, this is Briggs in engineering. We sustained breaches across decks four through six. Four has just been sealed, and my boys are starting work on deck 5 as we speak. The only section on deck six that was compromised was the Galley, so it’s not top priority. I’ve got the blast doors in place until we can get to it.”

“Good work, Briggs. Let me know when deck five is ready. We have rail gun emplacements on the fore half of that deck that are in desperate need of marines. That first missile volley took out our targeting computer on that deck, so we’re down to manual target acquisition. If you can find time, try to get those components replaced.”

“Umm, sir? We lost Jenkins on deck four. He was our computer specialist.”

“Understood, Briggs. Do what you can and keep me posted.”

“Yes, sir!”

“Tactical, do we have a firing solution?”

“Almost, sir. We need another thirty seconds” replied a young cadet, fresh out of the Academy.

“What’s the time to impact of those missiles?” asked the Captain.

“Impact in five minutes, forty-two seconds, sir.”

“Notify me when we have one minute to impact and prep the point defense cannons.”

"Aye, sir!"

“Helmsman, show them our ass and give me one-quarter thrust. Buy us a little time, but not too much. Cadet, I trust that you have the firing solution now?”

“Yes, sir! We can fire when ready!”

“Sir, this is O’Malley. The Lancet is prepped for launch with all hands to stations. Your orders?”

“Launch and maintain the Houston’s speed and trajectory. On my mark, break to port at a 47 degree angle under full burn, and I mean haul ass. Once you’re clear of immediate danger, set a course back to Jupiter.”


“That’s an order which you will follow to the letter, marine. Let New Texas know that the D’Ranth can see through our stealth tech. Every one of our ships is now at risk of detection. Your only mission in this miserable universe is to get this tactical information back to New Texas. Is that understood?”

“Absolutely, sir.”

A klaxon blared it’s dissonant song.
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Ballista 1 year 9 months ago #58657

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Fantastic read, Falnore :) Really good balance of action and plot, with subtle exposition of the important elements and characters. And a Texas reference never hurts.
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Ballista 1 year 9 months ago #58692

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Falnore, my interpretation upon first reading was poetic. Like a scenes fade-in, the text was IMO reminiscent to the verses of a Poem telling a nostalgic setting. The intensity with the Commands delivered snapping as reflexive actions greeted by the activity aboard the decks. Commencing with a blaring klaxon and concluded with a fade-out of the very same. The read was enjoyable, Thank you. If you do continue with this writing, I for one would be an audience to it, much as I am to the Writings of Borommakot and Kered.
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Ballista 1 year 9 months ago #58738

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Nice! I liked it. I would like to read more. And as I Texan myself just helps bring it closer to home
The force is strong in this one.but the dark side is always there
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