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Thread: Gnosis (A Sanctimonious Story)

  1. #1

    Post Gnosis (A Sanctimonious Story)

    More stories about the Sanctimonious Crew can be found at https://www.edwtrb.com/

    Gnosis

    Now.

    ‘We have 12 incoming bogies,’ The comm’s speaker blared. ‘Launch the Alert Fighters!’

    Commander Duncan ‘Mac’ McTaggert tried to calm himself. He could feel the arms quiver as the adrenaline began to work his way into his system. Recalling the first thing that was drilled into him at the Federal Flight Academy; he had to stay cold. The first things to burn in a dog fight are the pilots with the hottest temper.

    The Asp Explorer ‘Sanctimonious’ started to move forward on the launch pad of the Mega Ship ‘Gnosis’. Mac glanced down at Davie, who as manning the newly fitted AX cannon turrets, and back at Mooka, who sat at the engineering station, calmly adjusting the controls. Thirty-three minutes, they were sending in fresh waves every 33 minutes and it was the Sanctimonious’ turn to help defend the Mega Ship.

    ***

    Then.

    ‘We need a break.’ said Davie.

    ‘You mean some shore leave?’ Mac replied.

    ‘No.’

    Davie took a deep breath.

    ‘Look I know you’re still upset about Cmdr Harper but I can’t handle constantly going after Thargoids all the time.’ He explained.

    ‘You’re wanting to leave?’

    ‘Don’t want to,’ Davie couldn’t look at Mac. ‘but we ‘re pushing our luck out there.’

    ‘What do you want to do? Go back to exploring?’

    ‘Yeah, Why not? We really enjoyed exploring those Guardian Ruins and got paid some decent cash. We’re not the saviours of the Galaxy.’

    ‘What would you suggest?’

    ‘The Gnosis.’

    ‘Canonn?’ Mac knew he sounded incredulous ‘Join up with those tin foil hats?’

    Davie suppressed a smile.

    ‘We couldn’t have retrieved all that data for Ram Tah without their help,’ Davie explained. ‘But Canonn’s big research cruiser is heading out to somewhere that’s permit locked. That could be different. A nice, relaxing and boring exploration run.’

    Mac sighed to himself. For Davie to threaten to leave the ship; it showed how worried he was. Maybe he was right, they’d been pushing their luck and there had been too many close calls lately. Maybe a relaxing exploration trip might be exactly what they needed.

    ***

    Now.

    The launch pad brought them up to the surface of the Gnosis. The superstructure of the mega ship tailed off into the distance with a single planet close by. The Sanctimonious wobbled as the ship was set free from the magnetic clamps. Suddenly Mac was thrown forward in his harness, as something hit the ship’s rear shields.

    ‘Ship is under attack,’ announced the Ship’s Computer.

    ‘Stating the fluxing obvious,’ Mac muttered to himself.

    He let his hands dance over the controls, raising the landing gear, deploying weapons and igniting the afterburners to get the Asp moving. He glanced down at the scanner, which showed twelve red triangles, four of which were flashing. He let out the breath he was holding and yanked on the piloting controls. The stars in front of him swirled as the Sanctimonious lined up with closest of the red dots.

    ‘Davie,’ he yelled. ‘Fire at Will.’

    ‘Aye Aye Sir!’

    ***

    Then.

    ‘That’s a lot of Ships!’ Mooka had shouted out in surprise.

    Both Mac and Mooka were looking out from the upper bridge deck as the ‘Sanctimonious’ was being parked in a reserved bay. The docking mechanism was carrying them over hundreds of parked ships in the cargo bays below.

    ‘Yup,’ confirmed Mac. ‘We’re one of the last to arrive. They’re going to jump the Gnosis in a few hours.’

    ‘I’m surprised they managed to fit us in.’

    Davie burst onto the bridge, he was grinning in anticipation.

    ‘I don’t know about you,’ he said, manically rubbing his hands. ‘But I’m going to hit the bar.’

    ‘The Sin Full Skin Full?’ Mac grumbled. ’You be careful. I don’t want you bringing anyone or anything back here.’

    Mac tried not to smile to himself, he knew that Davie was heading off to his own ‘target rich environment’ and made a mental note to give Mooka some earplugs, just in case the vivacious co-pilot brought someone back.

    ‘Wow, there’s an awful lot of Anti Xeno Initiative ships here!’ commented Mooka.

    ‘Really?’ replied Mac, his interest peaked.

    She pointed to a vast number of anacondas, corvettes and T-10s with a common logo on them, all parked together in a section of the mega ship.

    ‘That’s interesting!’

    Mac felt the hairs on the back of his neck begin to prickle. He leant over and activated the ship to ship comms. There was a ping on the board as a connection was made.

    ‘This is Gluttony Fang.’ came a voice over the comms. ‘What do you want?’

    ‘This is McTaggert from the Sanctimonious. We met on the Vanguard a couple of weeks ago.’

    There was a pause from the other end.

    ‘Oh Yeah, The Ex Federal Captain.’ came the reply. ‘You out here to give the bugs a good kicking too?’

    Mac could feel the twitch in his face that happened every time someone got his old rank wrong. He forced himself to ignore it.

    ‘Yeah, that’s the thing,’ Mac said. ‘I was under the impression that this trip was going to be Thargoid Free?’

    ‘You’re joking, aren’t you?’ the other commander laughed. ‘The Cone Sector is right in the middle of their suspected territory.’

    ‘Oh Flux-stain!’ Mac swore.

    ‘Seriously, you didn’t know?’

    ‘No.’

    ‘It gets better, the eagle eye has painted the Gnosis as a potential target and there are rumours of some new kind of new Thargoid ship out there.’

    ‘New kind of scout?’

    ‘Ha, you wish.’ The other voice started to laugh again. ‘It’s something that makes the Medusa look tiny.’

    ‘Which is why you lot are here?’

    ‘Hell Yeah!’ Gluttony Fang sounded almost gleeful. ‘Will you be joining us?’

    ‘If what your saying is correct, I might have no choice.’

    ‘Excellent, get yourself packed with decom and repair limpets.’

    ‘Will do,’ Mac Confirmed. ‘Thanks for the heads up.’

    ‘No problem,’ The other commander said as he signed off.

    Mooka looked over at him with concern.

    ‘You think he’s right, don’t you?’ She said.

    ‘I don’t know,’ Mac pondered the situation. ‘But I think in this case; it’s better safe than sorry.’

    ‘We’re leaving?’ the girl asked.

    ‘No,’ confirmed Mac. ‘I’m hoping that Fang and his A.X.I. buddies are wrong but I just think we should be a good boy scout and be prepared.’

    Mooka looked at him sceptically.

    ‘It’ll cost a fortune to have the anti-Thargoid weapons and equipment transferred over here before the Gnosis jumps,’ Mooka commented. ‘And Davie will go mental when those things arrive.’

    ‘You know what?’ He said, smiling at her concerned face. ‘I’d rather lose the money than facing the Aliens armed with just a discovery scanner.’

    ***

    Now.

    ‘Break left, Break left.’

    Mooka was yelling. Mac had never heard his adoptive daughter sound this panicked. He didn’t question her advice, he just yanked the control column and saw two caustic missiles pass just by the bridge window. He shuddered to think what would have happened if they had hit. He cut the forward speed and the saucer like shape of a scout ship flew in front of the cockpit. It seemed to hang there for a second, as if taunting him. Mac pulled the trigger on the fire control, sending blue lightning from the newly fitted Guardian plasma cannons into the alien vessel.

    The Thargoid ship sparked blue for a second and then seemed to retract into itself. It exploded in a flash of green and yellow light sending lethal debris of caustic gasses and ship fragments straight at them. Mac twisted the controls again, skirting the outside of the expanding ball of gas and the ship levelled out.

    ‘Close one,’ Davie called out below them.

    Mac glanced at the scanner which was still displaying eleven red triangles and the two green. The green ones represented the two corvettes of Cmdr. Elensar and Cmdr. NSR2. One of the red triangles started to flash. The Asp started to shudder as projectiles from the hostile vessel hit the shields. Mac started to pull back on the controls, the Sanctimonious began to pitch up in response.

    ‘Davie, can you get that one?’ Mac said.

    ‘Yep,’ the big copilot replied. ‘No problem.’

    The dull repeating thuds of the Anti-Xeno turrets began to replace the complaining screeching from the strained shields. By the time Mac had managed to complete the turn, the second Thargoid vessel has disappeared in a green and yellow flash. The huge structure of the Megaship came into view.

    ‘That’s another one for me!’ announced Davie.

    He was interrupted by the ship’s computer.

    ‘Caustic Missile Alert!’

    Three blinking white dots appeared on the scanner

    ‘Aw Flux!’ yelled Davie.

    Mac ignored him and activated the ship’s afterburners. All three of the crew were thrown back in their seats as the Asp’s huge engines blasted them forwards to the mega ship.

    ‘We’re not going to outrun them!’ Mooka said, flatly, ‘Our point defence can’t handle them!’

    Mac wondered at how cool she sounded, even as the three white dots rapidly began to close.

    ‘We don’t need to!’ he said.

    Just as he finished spoke, light spewed forth from the mega-ship as it’s point defence system opened up. One by one, the three white dots disappeared from the scanner.

    ‘Did you know they’d fixed those?’ Relief was evident in Davie’s voice.

    ‘No,’ replied Mac. ‘I was just praying that they had.’

    ***

    Then.

    Mac couldn’t stop clenching and unclenching his fist. Looking back at Mooka, he noticed she was staring at the engineering station, unconsciously chewing her nails. Davie was not talking to him. Once he’d discovered that Mac had paid to have the Anti-Thargoid weapons transferred here. He’d proven Mooka right by ‘doing his nut’ as their daughter would say. It had taken all of Mac and Mooka’s negotiation skills to stop him leaving the ship right there and then.

    They could hear and see everything from the Gnosis Bridge, thanks to a media feed which was broadcast from there. Mac also noticed that they had the A.X.I. linked in on a conference call. He recognised Captain Delmonte (Davie referred to him as ‘The commander who always likes to say Yes.’) sat in the command chair in the centre of the Bridge, surrounded by other crew members sat at their work stations.

    ‘Attention All Commanders,’ the ship to ship comms blared. ‘The Gnosis will jump in 5, 4, 3…’

    Mac grabbed the flight controls in a futile gesture as he watched the Mega Ship’s Bridge feed. The Sanctimonious shuddered as the Megaship’s Massive
    Hyperspace engines powered up.

    ‘2,’

    ‘Here we go.’ Mac muttered to himself.

    ‘1.’

    He knew something was wrong as soon as the hyperspace tunnel appeared.

    ‘Oh Flux!’ he said.

    ‘Can they do that?’ Davie breathed. ‘Can they Hyperdict something this big?’

    ‘I’m swapping in the AX weapons,’ Mac stated. ‘Dave, do you want the AX Turrets or the Plasma Turrets.’

    The was an awkward pause.

    ‘AX.’ Davie’s voice sounded tight.

    Normally when a hyperdiction took place, the victim would find themselves on the outskirts of the system they were trying to jump from, surrounded by Thargoid Interceptors. Mac realised, this is how the Aliens managed to destroy so many of the Empire and Federal Capital Ships. These ships were just too big to use the countermeasures.

    ‘Hyperdiction in progress.’ one officer reported.

    ‘Navigation, prepare an emergency Jump.’ ordered Captain Delmonte, sounding remarkable calm.

    The normally brilliant white and blue of the hyperspace tunnel was turning a sickly green and yellow. Mac began to count down, knowing that it wouldn’t be long before they’re return to real space. The Sanctimonious shuddered violently as the Mega-ship completed its jump.

    ‘Damage report,’ ordered the Gnosis Captain.

    ‘No significant damage, Sir.’

    ‘Several contacts Sir. Big Ones.’ reported another crewman, his voice climbing during his report. ‘Unknown Vessel type.’

    ‘Start the emergency Jump!’ Delmonte ordered.

    ‘EMP Pulse detected!’

    ‘Countermeasures!’

    Mac looked through the external camera feeds from the Mega-ship. There were eight huge Thargoid vessels, dark green and much bigger than even the Medusa type.

    ‘Ladies and Gentleman,’ Gluttony Fang commented on the AXI Feed. ‘Those are the new Hydra Interceptors. We’re going to have some fu…’

    All the lights in the Sanctimonious, the docking bay and the all the ships that were visible from Mac’s point of view, went out.

    ‘Fluxing Hell,’ He heard Davie swear from the Lower Bridge. ‘We’re trapped in here like sardines in a can.’

    There was a gentle rocking. First to the left and then to the right.

    ‘What’s happening?’ asked Mooka, her voice rising.

    ‘Best Guess,’ Mac replied. ‘The Gnosis is under attack and it’s taking hits; probably around the hyperspace engines.’

    There were no sounds and only vague outlines of other ships were visible in the darkness. He’d heard about this when the Thargoids had attacked Space stations. A minute of unable to do anything, while the aliens systematically take the place apart. The Mega-ship began to shudder some more.

    There was a bleep from the control console and the Sanctimonious began to come alive again as power started to flow through the ship again, lightening up the hud and the rest of the workstations. Ships all around began to power up all around them. Even the monitor came alive with the feeds again.
    Mac noticed that the launch mechanism was being activated. Three Asps, similar to the Sanctimonious, were put on the pads. He could see the launch bays open and the pads lifted them to the Mega Ship’s surface. Before the pads had locked into place, they could see the explosions from where they were.

    ‘Oh No.’

    It was Mooka’s voice but not as Mac had ever heard before. He quickly turned and looked at her. She was just starting at the Launch pads, all colour drained from her face. He watched in horror as some Diamondback explorers were lifted to the Launch Pads. He quickly scanned those ships. No armour, no shields, no weapons but packed with scanners, jump drives and fuel scoops.

    ‘They’ve got no chance,’ Davie whispered.

    Seconds later Davie’s tragic prediction proved true. Mac’s attention was drawn back to the Gnosis bridge feed.

    ‘Turrets offline, Shields offline, Hyperdrive has been hit.’ One crewman was reporting. ‘We’ve got the backup hyperdrive but they’ll need a couple of minutes to charge.’

    ‘Sir,’ another Crewman cut in. ‘they’ll rip us apart before then.’

    ‘Options people?’ yelled Captain Delmonte.

    ‘Have you got any Meta Alloys onboard?’ asked Gluttony Fang calling the Bridge.

    The captain looked around the crew. One of them nodded.

    ‘How many aliens are there?’ asked the Captain.

    ‘About 8?’

    ‘Drop sixteen meta alloys!’ ordered the Captain. ‘and drop a new one, every time they scoop one.’

    ‘Do you think that will work?’ asked Mooka to Mac

    ‘I hope so,’ replied Mac. ‘I’ve always suspected that there’s some kind of basic instinct or programming driving those big ships.’

    ‘It’s like if you threw a steak at an attack dog,’ Davie observed. ‘They’d forget about biting you and go for the steak every time.’

    ‘Wow Davie,’ said Mac, genuinely taken aback by the accuracy of this insight. ‘I’m impressed!’

    ‘It’s working Sir!’ reported a crewman on the Bridge feed. ‘They’re going after the alloys!’

    ‘Navigation,’ ordered the Captain. ‘Get us out of here ASAP.’

    The Gnosis Jumped again. The jump tunnel remained white and blue.

    ***

    Now.

    ‘Two left.’ reported Davie.

    Mac scanned them, one Thargoid regenerator type and a single standard Marauder scout. The other two vessels were going after the Regenerator, knowing that it could both repair itself and its sister vessel if it was left alone. It left them vulnerable to attack by the other scout. Mac targeted it.

    ‘Blue two and three,’ Mac called into the ship to ship comms. ‘I’ll keep that last scout off your backs.’

    Acknowledgements came back from both Cmdrs Elensar and NSR2

    ‘Anytime you want to Davie.’

    ‘Aye Aye, Sir.’

    Mac ignored the rising irritation and just focused on the remaining scout. The enemy ship hadn’t seemed to even acknowledge that Sanctimonious was there. It was too busy firing on Cmdr Elensar’s corvette, the Talyn. It was a simple matter of lining up behind it and letting Davie turrets turn it to ash. Again, Mac pulled up to avoid the corrosive debris cloud. He saw out of the corner of his eye, the regenerator disappeared in a flash of light as well.

    ‘Target Down.’ Reported NSR2

    ***

    Then.

    The Gnosis hung in space, not far from a terrestrial planet with an ammonia atmosphere. They’d only jumped 12 light years. It wouldn’t take long for the Thargoids to find them. It had been decided that the onboard ships would be split into four groups. The first group would make a run back to human space and let everyone know about these massive new alien ships. The second group would explore local space and see if they could find materials to repair the Gnosis. The third group was made up of ships dedicated to the defence of the megaship itself.

    The final group would go looking for the Hydras, to create a diversion. Not surprisingly the AXI had volunteered for that one. Mac knew that the Sanctimonious wasn’t up to the task. The three of them, sat around the table in the Kitchen area of the Asp, trying to decide which group to join. Mac cleared his throat

    ‘We’ve got a choice to make.’ He said to the others. ‘What do you want to do?’

    ‘What do you mean?’ asked Davie.

    ‘Normally, I’d make the call because I’m the Commander,’ Mac replied. ‘But this is different. It’s the worst situation we’ve ever been in. My instinct is to fight but I can’t make that call, knowing that it’s probably suicidal and you two didn’t sign up for that.’

    ‘Way I see it,’ said Davie. ‘They’ve got us! We fight. If we try and run, they’ll get us anyway.’

    ‘I’ve been thinking over the possibilities,’ observed Mooka. ‘We’ve probably got more chance by sticking around the mega-ship. I think we should only run if the Gnosis is destroyed.’

    Mac looked between his two crew members, his family. They both looked scared but there was something else there, determination to survive. He called up the Gnosis’ communication officer.

    ‘This is Sanctimonious,’ he said. ‘We volunteer for squad three.’

    ***

    ‘Scopes are clear.’ reported Davie.

    ‘Gnosis to Sanctimonious.’

    ‘This is Sanctimonious,’ replied Mac. ‘We’re clear for the moment.’

    ‘Good Job. Get yourself in, repair and rearm for the next wave. ETA 25 mins.’

    ‘Acknowledged, Sanctimonious out.’

    Mac sighed in relief as he guided the ship back.

    ‘Why do they attack every 33 minutes?’ asked Mooka.

    ‘Bricks or Feathers?’ replied Mac.

    He heard Mooka’s snort of incredulity but he didn’t care.

  2. #2
    Hutton Orbital Radio interviewed a number of commanders in the bar

    GnosisBar.mp3

  3. #3
    Great stuff. Thanks. Though we all know an asp called "sanctimonious" would have no weapons. Hopefully making all this canon will help heel some wounds

  4. #4
    Really nicely done! I'm afraid I was on the unshielded DBX side of that story. Is the 33 minutes a reference to Battlestar Galactica?

  5. #5
    Originally Posted by CMDR Forest Red View Post (Source)
    Is the 33 minutes a reference to Battlestar Galactica?
    Yup. Have a gold star.

    I did feel the whole event had a Battlestar Galactica feel about it.