A Military Science Fiction Short Story
People thought war would end once mankind made it into space. Idiots. Once the fighting started, subspace ships took the brunt, sinking ships from hiding. Deadly dangerous work.
When the USS Flasher surprised an enemy task force, Ray Honeycutt knew they might die, but they could strike a blow to end the war, if they sank that carrier. If they were smart and lucky. Could they do it and live?
"Bogey One has dropped out of supralight right on target," Zucker said.
Honeycutt trained the periscope in the direction of the lead ship and waited for the data to reach the scope. Unlike subspace waves, normal space data was limited to the speed of light so it took thirty-three seconds to reach him. That was why they dove before the bogey could've emerged. Now he could look all he liked, but there was no visual evidence of the sub for him to catch.
When the ship appeared in his scope, he centered it and increased the magnification. The image of the ship snapped into focus and confirmed the XO's guess—definitely a Shogunate destroyer.
"Confirmed visual," he said. "The XO must be psychic. One tin can sniffing around before the convoy drops out of supralight. ETA on the convoy?"
"Two minutes," Zucker said.
"Helm, assume they'll follow in Bogey One's tracks and see if you can nudge us into a more favorable shooting setup that leaves us some evasion options. You bet your ass there'll be more than that one tin can riding her on a convoy that size."
"On it, Skipper."
The seconds seemed to creep by like cold molasses while they waited for the convoy to drop out of supralight. He chided himself for his impatience, but it didn't help. Hell, in a normal situation they might have to stalk the convoy for days just to get a shot, if they were even able to manage one. He'd seen some juicy targets slip by because he couldn't generate a decent setup and that always sucked.
"The convoy has dropped into normal space," Zucker finally reported, breaking the silence and raising the tension in the air. "Sixteen additional targets designated Bogeys Two through Seventeen. They all emerged at the same location as Bogey One and appear to be following his course."
Honeycutt tapped his foot and waited for the speed of light data to come in so he could see exactly what they would be dealing with today. The electric sense of excitement that he could feel amongst his shipmates made his heart race.
As the ships started popping up visually, he zeroed in on each one to make an ID. A cold knife seemed to dig into his guts. He hadn't expected this.
Zucker's voice came across cool and professional, undercut with excitement. "Identifications are coming in. Six destroyers, four light cruisers, four heavy cruisers, two battlecruisers, and one carrier."
"Holy crap," Gorman muttered. "That's not a convoy; it's a carrier task force!"