February 11, 3306
Swoilz AW-C d125, planet 2
Phil Talbot knew his instinct was correct, when the reports from the ships above, reported only animal heat signatures. Phillip’s question made the crew on the ship above, look at one another. A request for information had been made, and they answered; regardless of how dumb it sounded to them.
They reported two animals moving at a leisurely pace, away from their current location, 5km distance. This made Phillip smile. Most animals would be warming under the sunlight above, not moving away at a leisurely pace. With all the noise above, an animal moving so close to their position, would not be taking their time about it. Looking up at the ships crisscross patterns, and the associative sonic booms, Phil began counting.
Aboard the pirate ships above, alarm began to set in, as their screens turned into random spoke lines, and broken static; they were being jammed, which meant a hostile. The patterns above began to break from their search patterns, with the explosive sounds, reverberating below, of engines boosting; heavy contrails racing towards the far horizon.
Phillip’s eyes narrowed, as he broke into a jog, towards the direction of the contacts. The Promba Clan pirates all looked towards their captain, who was cursing and pointing back towards the ship; Phil was left to hunt on his own, as the pirates rapidly followed their captain.
The Ankh guard ships had a known location, from the previous day’s transmission; Poppy and her cold theatrics with the pirate captain. The ruse to lure the bulk of the pirate fleet away, had worked better than hoped for, leaving the planet with only a token force of ships; some in the air, others just lifting off from the ground.
The limpit EMP drones, worked better inside of the planet’s atmosphere, as gravity would cause effected ships to fall to the ground. To that end, four of ten ships were headed towards the ground in just such a manner, as other drones rapidly approached the remaining six ships. Only a couple of the pirate ships were equipped with close in point-defense systems (PDS). These were rapid fire plasma turrets, designed to shoot down incoming missiles; though work well against limpits as well.
Pirates normally replaced these with manifest scanners; better to see the cargo of a targeted cargo vessels; usually not equipped with missiles. Their error in ship configuration was coming to haunt the majority, as one ship after another where heavily damaged, by exploding limpits; showering them with high velocity flechettes.
The two undamaged pirate ships, realized quickly that the odds were stacked heavily against them, and broke ranks with their stricken brothers; boosting away from the planet. The Ankh guard ships did not pursue, as the mission was one of rescue versus decimation. Those pirate ships which had been stricken, and either fallen to the ground below, or landed due to damage, were ignored.
One of the stricken ships broke through the tree-tops, landing close to Tzebra and Poppy. It was a small Dolphin transport; smoke slowly rolling from holes in its hull. Not a dedicated combat vessel, this was used mainly as personnel transport. Useful on planetary settlement raids, it also served to hold the numbers required, when conducting searches. Due to the nature of its damage, the majority of the personnel on-board had been either wounded or were rendered beyond help.
The main hatchway opened, with personnel immediately staggering out in a variety of conditions. Some were being supported by others, while still others were being carried. Tzebra and Poppy briefly looked to one another; beginning movement towards the ship. Now was not a time for finesse, as their approach was bold and direct. The crew had already been through one major trauma, and would not likely to be looking for an immediate second.
Their approach was spotted by one of the pirate personnel, who initially mistook them for others of their type. Only when he sighted the rushing Ling Langs, did he realize the error. His attempts to raise the alarm were cut short by a burst from Tzebra’s Ceres Arms Striker Carbine; this caught everyone’s attention, as many of the wounded pirates panicked. The few who maintained their wits, realized their situation, with some attempting to escape, while others knelt to surrender. Only a handful attempted to resist, and were set upon by the Ling Langs. This display immediately broke the pirates will.
Moving rapidly onto the ship, Tzebra took the lead; quickly clearing the entrance, then working his way rapidly towards the bridge of the ship. Poppy was quick upon his heals, with the Ling Langs charging up the ramp, and working their way through the corridors.
Phillip broke through the tree-line, rushing towards the ship. He immediately knew what had taken place, by the appearance of a few prostate pirates, with others openly weeping. The sounds of the Dolphins wounded engines spurred his intent, as he barely made it through the hatch, just before it closed.