Fiction Sanctimonious - Ongoing 3306

1st October 3306 – Baal System.

‘You’re a WHAT?’ exclaimed Davie.

The crew of the Krait, Sanctimonious II, were sat around a table outside a restaurant in the Coriolis station. Having spent the last week transporting goods for the funeral of the Late Mad Prince Harold Duval to the Baal system, they had decided to celebrate with an expensive meal. Their waiter’s deferral reaction to Mooka had surprised both Mac and Davie, so much so she had shown her latest ID card update to her adoptive fathers to explain.

‘It’s also expected that when we’re docked at an Imperial port,’ she said, with a mocking high Imperial Accent. ‘One expects that you refer to one’s self by the proper Imperial title!’

‘Do we have to doff our caps to you as well?’ Davie threw his arms up in the air.

Mooka looked over at Mac, who was sniggering behind his hand. It was obvious to her that the commander of the crew found this situation hilarious. In the six years, she had known him, she had never seen Mac laugh like this before.

‘OK, how do we address you now?’ he said between snorts of stifled laughter.

‘Actually, I don’t know,’ she admitted. ‘But, enough of the laughing! I’ve worked hard to get this title.’

Mac stopped laughing as he realised that she was a lot more serious about her Imperial title than he was. She felt a tinge of pride having achieved so much. Since gaining her imperial citizenship, she’d risen in the Imperial Naval Reserve to the rank of Baroness.

‘We’ve missed something here,’ Mac said. ‘How did you get that title so quickly?’

‘Well, I did a lot of work for “The Senator” while you and Davie were frozen in those escape pods,’ She explained. ‘I even got as high as “Knight”.’

‘That’s impressive,’ interrupted Davie. ‘But how were you able to gain rank when you re-joined this crew?’

Mooka looked sheepishly at the floor.

‘I signed the entire ship up when we were rescuing the people off Makenzie Relay during the terrorist attack,’ she said.

‘WHAT!?’ both Mac and Davie cried in unison.

She raised her head and looked at her adoptive fathers with a small embarrassed smile.

‘The Empire thanks you for your service?’ she said, bracing herself for another outburst.

‘I don’t believe this,’ Mac complained. ‘We did hundreds of rescue-runs getting people off that station.’

‘And every time,’ continues Davie. ‘We got people to safety; they promoted us?’

‘Not every time,’ admitted Mooka. ‘Only when we’d run a certain number of missions.’

‘Hang on, did we leave other people behind and only rescued imperial citizens?’ Mac asked, his expression going darker.

‘You chose the missions to run,’ Mooka shot back, trying to head off where this was going. ‘I never chose who we rescued.’

‘Look, it was an Imperial station,’ Davie quickly interjected. ‘It makes sense that most of the people we rescued were Imperial.’

‘I suppose,’ Mac admitted. ‘I’ve been taught to rescue people dependant on their needs, not their politics. I just took the first missions off the top of the board. I hope we didn’t leave anyone behind who should have been a medical priority.’

‘The situation was manic inside those stations,’ Davie tried to reassure Mac. ‘We had to be in and out before the ship fried. You helped rescue thousands. Just take that as a win. Which reminds me…’

Mooka watched Davie as he checked his ID on his wrist terminal. Mac just continued to look at her in shock. She had hoped that they would never find out, especially Mac. He’d retired from the Federal Military having reached ‘Post Captain’ and now he’d just found out he’d been working for the Empire for the last couple of weeks.

‘Hey, I’m a Master,’ exclaimed Davie. ‘That means I can buy one of those sleek Imperial Couriers. Mod those engines and nothing in the sky can catch you!’

Mac slowly checked his details on his wrist terminal.

‘I’m a Knight!’ he said flatly.

‘Does that mean everyone in the Empire has to refer to me as Master Thronton?’ Dave said excitedly.

Turning to look at Mac he asked, ‘So, do we call you Sir Mac or Sir Duncan?’

Mooka saw Mac throw Davie such a dirty look that the tall co-pilot quickly turned back to her.

‘Hang on,’ he said as realisation struck. ‘That means they’ll let you buy an Imperial Clipper! Oh man, I’ve always wanted to fly in one of those.’

It struck Mooka that despite Davie’s height, powerful physique and that glittering smile on a handsome face, he sometimes came across like an excited puppy who was discovering a new squeaky toy. Meanwhile, Mac sat back in his chair, a melancholy smile on his face.

‘Davie, I think we have to accept that our little lady is all grown up now and might be flying solo soon.’

‘No,’ Davie cried. ‘We can’t break up the dream team.’

‘Do you know how much a Clipper costs?’ Mooka tried to reassure Davie. ‘I’ll be years before I can afford one of those. Besides, I’m not ready to break up the Dream Team just yet.’

The waiter arrived with everyone’s food order and everyone was stunned by the quality of the dishes that were placed in front of them. Mooka thought back to her first couple of months on the old Sanctimonious, when she was eating rations out of the old Asp Explorer’s emergency supplies. She never could have imagined she would be eating like this one day.

She picked up a small starter and took a bite, allowing the taste to overwhelm her. A moment which was completely ruined when her comms unit buzzed alert, which was quickly joined by both Davie and Mac’s buzzing as well.

‘Well, your dear Emperor has decided to interrupt our meal,’ Mac sarcastically said, looking up from his comms unit.

Mooka reluctantly put down her cutlery and picked her unit up. There was a call for all imperial pilots to report to Eurybia system.

‘What the hell’s there?’ Davie looked back at the announcement. ‘The system sounds familiar but I can’t place it.’

‘The Empire must be going after Liz Ryder,’ said Mooka flatly.

‘They must think she made those bombs,’ commented Mac, scanning through the summons.

‘So what do we do?’ asked Davie.

‘Well, they’re requesting volunteers,’ stated Mac. ‘So, unless our Ladyship here has a compelling reason, I say we sit this one out. Besides, we know Liz. She’s got no problems making missiles for commanders to blow each other up but attacking stations? She’d never build anything to hit stations. ’

‘Master Thorton agrees with Sir Duncan of MacTaggart,’ Davie announced with a very bad impression of a High Imperial Accent.

‘I wasn’t wanting us to get involved,’ Mooka replied. ‘However, if Master Thorton decides to continue to mock my station, my rank does allow me to have him executed.’

Davie started to laugh but it tailed off when he realised that neither Mooka nor Mac were laughing with him.

‘You are joking?’ he said.

‘It’s one of the laws of the Empire that a higher ranking subject can order a lower-ranking subject’s execution, as long as they have sufficient reason,’ said Mac, in a sombre tone.

Mooka managed to keep a straight face when she saw Mac winked at her when Davie wasn’t looking. Mooka and Mac began to eat their meal while Davie just looked at each of them with a worried expression.

‘Seriously though, she can’t do that,’ he whined. ‘Right?’

Author's Note :- I'm going to try and put all the Sanctimonious Stories which relate to the present plot lines in this thread. Hopefully I'll be able to keep up better than I did with the Interstellar Initiatives.
18th October 3306 – Witch Head’s Nebula

Mac rubbed the sweat from his hands for what felt like the twentieth time. With the distress call signal source getting larger in the view-port, he glanced over the ship’s readouts again.

I can’t believe we’re going to do this,’ came Davie’s voice from the gunnery chair behind him.

Mac didn’t reply, concentrating on the approaching signal source. The ‘Sanctimonious II’, their Kriat, had been equipped with the most advanced weaponry he had ever seen. Davie had control of two plasma chargers and a Flak launcher. Mooka could fly either a Tiapan or a trident fighter, while Mac hoped he’d calibrated the two fixed guardian gauss cannons to the right range.

With a flash, the Krait appeared in realspace in the middle of a large green gas cloud. Ahead, hanging in the centre of the cloud, was a huge survey mega-ship, fires burning along its length.

‘This is the mega-ship – Achilles,’ the ship to ship communicator blared, ‘We’ve been attacked by Thargoids and we have multiple failures across the ship.’

‘Attention Achilles,’ Mac announced into the comms. ‘This is the Sanctimonious II. We stand ready to assist you. We have collection limpets to recover your escape pods.’

‘Thank you Sanctimonious but that isn’t going to help,’ came the panicked voice over the communicator.

‘We can take on survivors,’ Mac responded, slightly puzzled. ‘How’s that not helping?’

The mega-ship didn’t need to respond, as from behind one of the habitation rings, movement caught Mac’s eye. A black shadow emerged from behind the Achilles, forming the shape of a large Thargoid interceptor. The Alien ship was shaped like a flower with eight petals wrapped around a central stem.

It’s black colour, with hints of red all along the petal-like wings, reminded Mac of unhealed scars, of blood clots and open wounds. The Kriat shook as a green beam of light was thrown out by the Alien vessel, a low note of sound reverberated through their ship, as the Thargoid scanned their ship.

‘Oh Flux,’ shouted Davie. ‘It’s a Basilisk.’

The Thargoid didn’t even wait to finish it’s scan when parts of the Alien’s glowed an even deeper red and small fighter like ships emerged in an elliptical pattern from behind. Mac hit the controls to deploy their weapons, while poured power into the engines. He pulled the ship around in an evasive pattern away from the Alien ship.

‘Crap, Crap, Crap, Crap,’ Davie was frantic. ‘We’ve never managed to take out a Cyclops before! What chance do we stand against one of these?’

Fighting down the urge to slap his co-pilot, Mac turned the ship through the cloud of Alien fighters. There were small shudders as their weapons impacted against the shields.

‘Keep it together!’ He snarled, knowing he had to help get Davie’s panic under control. ‘We can do this! We’re not in an Asp anymore. This ship can take it.’

He glanced over his shoulder at the big co-pilot. He seemed to have controlled his nerves.

‘Mooka,’ Mac ordered. ‘Launch the trident and keep the big ship’s attention off us.’

‘Aye Aye Boss!’ She acknowledged.

‘Davie! Use the Flak cannon to take out as many of those Tharglets as possible. ‘

‘Aren’t they called Thargons?’

‘The only thing I want to call them is dead! Get shooting!’

‘Aye Aye Sir!’ Davie replied in a mocking tone.

The starfield span with a sickening motion through the viewport as Mac threw the ship in a desperate attempt to avoid the incoming fire from the cloud of small Alien craft. The Sanctimonious shuddered as hundred of little impacts slammed into the shields. Individually, they were insignificant. However, when there was this many Thargons, even Mac was shocked at how quickly their shields were stripped away.

There was a ker-chuck sound as Davie fired the Flak cannon. Mac was a little concerned but his co-pilot knew what he was doing. Davie triggered the flak shell just as was in the centre of the Thargon swarm. An explosion enveloped the whole swarm in a single shot.

‘Aw, Deadeye!’ exclaimed Davie.

‘I can’t keep the Basilisk off me!’ exclaimed Mooka.

‘I’m on it!’ Davie yelled, aiming the turrets at the flower-like ship.

The plasma turret’s blue bolts slammed into the Alien vessel, gouging deep wounds into the blackened skin. Almost immediately, Mac could see those holes beginning to heal, when a spot on one of the petals of the Alien began to glow brighter and flash like a lighthouse beam.

‘We’ve got a heart exposed,’ yelled Davie.

Mac turned the Krait to face the Thargoid and tried to line up the gauss cannons. With their slow charge up time and the fact you had to be pinpoint accurate with your aim, only experienced pilots could get a gauss cannon shot on target. Ignoring the incoming fire from, Mac focused on that throbbing spot of light and fired once at distance.

He got a glancing hit. The Thargoid continued to advance, this time it’s full attention on the Krait. The two-second recharge for these gauss cannons felt like forever. Mac fired a second shot, this time scoring direct hits with both cannons on the Alien’s heart. As the huge vessel got closer, Mac counted down the seconds and then squeezed the trigger.

‘Heat levels critical,’ announced the computer.

The ship communicator blared an inhuman sound from the Alien. As they passed their enemy, the petal with the glowing heart, broke off. The debris narrowly missing the Sanctimonious’ bridge. Mac was forced into his seat, as he ignited the afterburners to give himself some space. A new blip appeared on the scanner in front of him.

‘More Thargons,’ announced Davie.

‘They’re your target, Davie!’ Mac ordered.

He also noticed the scanners were showing shields around the Alien mothership.

‘Mooka? Status?’

‘The fighter is ok, I’ve taken a couple of hits but I’m still in the fight.’

‘Try and knock its shields down, while we take out this new swarm, ’ Mac commanded. ‘Don’t worry, if you lose a fighter. We have plenty of them in the hangar, just remote link to the next one.’

To Mac, the fighter bays were small engineering marvels. Each bay held a single fighter, which a pilot could remote control by telepresence. Having flown the fighters himself, the telepresence software fooled you into thinking you were actually in the smaller craft. This technology had not used when he was in the military because back then the control signal was too easy to jam. However, these days, the encryption was that good that no-one had been able to break a telepresence link.

The other advantage was if the fighter was lost, the bay would construct a new fighter in just a couple of minutes. Each bay normally had enough spare parts and material to recreate several times. Mac had made sure that the Sanctimonious had the top of the range, double fighter bay fitted. Which meant that a fighter could be launched without having to wait on the rebuild time.

Mac snapped himself back to the present; he noticed the ship’s heat was far too high. That was the problem with these new guardian based weapons, they generated so much heat, it could melt some of the ship's systems if they were used too much.

‘I’m going to drop a heat sink,’ he reported.

There was the now-familiar ‘Ker-chunk’ sound as Davie fired the Flak Cannon again. He swore as the shot appeared to explode outside of the swarm. According to his readouts, Mac noted there were 60 or so of these little ships. A second Flak shot had better luck, taking out a lot of Thargons, but there were at least still 20 left as they made their first pass over the ship.

The Krait shuddered as multiple hits bounced the ship around. The shield indicators dropped to almost zero. The bridge lit up as yellow lightning reached out from the Thargoid mothership and enveloped Mooka’s fighter. A couple of seconds later the small craft disappeared in a small explosion of white and blue.

‘Launching a second fighter,’ she reported.

‘Belay that,’ Mac ordered.

As the heat sink was triggered, All heat from the Sanctimonious’ systems was pulled from the ship’s system. The Thargoid and Its swarm seemed to lose sight of them. Both the Swarm and its mother ship began to perform a search pattern. This gave Mac a few seconds of respite to consider their next move. The yellow shield indicators around the Thargoid had almost gone and their own shields had begun to build up again.

‘What the…?’ He exclaimed in surprise.

Davie looked at him quizzically.

‘It’s the hull integrity estimate,’ Mac quickly pointed at the readout. ‘We’ve lost 15% of our hull.’

‘It’s the Thargoid weaponry,’ explained Mooka. ‘The shields are only stopping seventy per cent of the damage.’

‘Aw Fluxing hell,’ swore Davie. ‘Do you want me to call for help?’

‘They’d never arrive in time,’ replied Mac. ‘This interceptor has to be taken down. Otherwise, no one is getting off that mega-ship.’

Mac looked at the readouts, the heat levels in their ship were beginning to rise again and it won’t be long before the Aliens would detect them again.

‘Same plan as before, ‘ he ordered. ‘Davie, take out the swarm, then concentrate on the Mothership. Mooka, run interference in the fighter. If you get a shot at the heart, you take it.’

There was a roaring sound from the Sanctimonious’ comm unit.

‘I think they’ve spotted us again,’ gulped Davie.

‘Launching fighter,’ reported Mooka.

Mac turned the Krait towards the swarm, hoping to give his co-pilot an easy shot. The Flak cannon, exploded in the centre of the formation of the small craft, wiping out most of them.

‘Concentrate on the Interceptor,’ Mac ordered. ‘It will just launch a new swarm if you wipe all of them out.’

‘Aye Aye Boss!’ Davie Acknowlweded, this time without the mocking tone.

The large plasma turrets on the top of the ship opened up at the misshapen flower-like craft. It shuddered as the blue bolts slammed into it. Mac watched in amazement as he saw the hull readout on the interceptor drop, just as their own heat levels were beginning to rise to dangerous levels again. Suddenly a pulsing glow appeared on another of the petals.

‘We’ve exposed another heart,’ exclaimed Davie.

‘Our heat levels are too high to use the gauss cannons,’ said Mac.

‘I’m on it,’ reported Mooka.

While the interceptor had been focused on the Krait, it had ignored the small blue and white trident fighter. Mooka had found herself in the perfect firing position. The blue plasma bolts from the fighter hit with pinpoint accuracy. Mac watched the readouts of the heart plummet as each of Mooka’s shots hit.

There was another shriek of pain from the ship communicator, as with a small explosion, a second petal flew away from the Thargoid. Mooka, made the fighter dodge aside, avoiding the reams of fire that came from the damaged vessel. Alerts flared all across Mac’s viewscreen.

‘It’s launched Caustic Missiles,’ reported Davie.

Mac immediately threw all available power into the engines and shields, pitched the ship down and activated the afterburners. The Sanctimonious had a point defence turret, which was great at shooting down human missiles and pirate limpets. However, against Thargoid missiles, it was nowhere near effective. The only hope was to avoid and outrun.

Three green streaks flew just above the Krait, quickly turning and realigning to follow. Although the Sanctimonious had built up quite a distance, the missiles all completed their course adjustment and began to chase the human ship. Mac hit the boosters again, keeping the speed of the ship high. He noticed that Mooka was also firing her boosters, to keep the fighter within broadcast range of its mother ship.

The point defence turret had locked on to the closest missile, it’s green bolts of light hitting the missile. However, it was not damaging it or knocking it off course.

‘300 metres,’ Davie reported.

Mac fired the afterburners again.

‘250 metres.’

They could hear the point defence turret run out of ammo, with the familiar clicking noises as the auto reloader tried to replenish its supplies.

‘150 metres.’

Mac gritted his teeth, preparing himself for the impact.

’50 metres.’

Mac tried to activate the afterburners again, but there wasn’t the power left in the capacitors.

‘Brace,’ Mac ordered the crew, pulling the ship up in a high G turn.

However, there was no impact. The missiles, having run out of fuel, carried on in a straight line, unable to turn to continue ther persuit. Allowing himself a momentary sigh of relief, Mac turned the Sanctimonious back to the Thargoid vessel. According to the readouts, it had generated another set of shields and Mac knew that it still had three hearts left.

However, he had a sense that the Alien ship was getting tired. It was hard to expend that level of energy without all its hearts working.

‘Ok, you two. I’m dropping a new sink,’ Mac announced. ‘Let’s go to town on it.’

With new confidence, the Sanctiomious and it’s trident fighter bore down on the damaged vessel. The heat from the plasma turrets and gauss cannons was funnelled straight into the heat sink, so shot after shot hit the enemy craft, without causing the Sanctimonious any problems. The yellow bands of the Alien’s shields quickly vanished from the readouts and again huge wounds appear all over the ship. A third petal started to glow as they passed the Alien vessel.

Mac switched off the flight assist mode and flipped the Sanctimonious 180 degrees, flying backwards at full speed. As the Thargoid began to turn, he fired three full shots from the gauss cannons and yet another petal fell away from the huge vessel. Again the Thargoid screamed and once more, missiles launched from it straight at them.

Mac was ready this time and, using the lateral thrusters, dodged the Krait to the side. The missiles flew past them, So Mac boosted back towards the Alien again, hoping to give his crew another firing pass as they tried to outrun the missiles again.

Mooka’s fighter was darting around the huge ship, avoiding the fire that it was sending her way. It completely ignored the Sanctimnious as Davie fire shot after shot of blue plasma bolts into it. Again the enemy shields collapsed and another heart was exposed. The Alien ship turned to pursue the Sanctimnious again, allowing Mooka to copy Mac’s previous manoeuvre. With the fighter flying backwards, Mooka’s salvo of fire had no trouble taking out the exposed heart and the Alien howled again in agony.

‘It’s doing something different this time,’ reported Davie. ‘There’s some kind of energy build up.’

‘It’s going to EMP,’ Mac said.

He was already flipping through the ship’s loadout of weapons until he found and armed what he was looking for.

‘Unknown energy field detected,’ announced the computer.

Thargoid EMP bursts were the Aliens biggest weapons against human vessels. These EMP fields were known to disable the big capital warships of the Federation and the Empire, leaving them sitting ducks for the caustic missiles and other forms of attack. They’d used with great effect to attack human space stations all over human space.

Mac counted to three and activated the EMP countermeasures. A blue shockwave, spread out from the Thargoid, hitting both the Sanctimonious and the Mega Ship. Protected by the countermeasures, the Sanctimonious was unaffected by the pulse of energy but they could see the lights on the Megaship dim and then switch off.

One of the issues of the countermeasures was it could only block the pulse around a certain radius. There was enough range for ships like the Krait and it could even protect ships as large as the Imperial Cutter or Federal Corvette. However, the radius was too small to protect anything bigger, so in one fell swoop, the Aliens had negated mankind's most destructive weapons.

‘I’ve lost control of the fighter,’ reported Mooka.

‘Stay put,’ replied Mac. ‘Hopefully, they’ll ignore you!’

‘Right, let’s get that last heart,’ Davie said grimly while gripping the controls more tightly.

With the Sanctimonious’ shields barely registering and the ship integrity indicator down to just above 50%, Mac knew this was still going to be a difficult fight. He flipped the ship onto it’s back to get the Thargoid back into view. As the Alien ship appeared in front of them, it launched yet another wave of Thargons.

‘Get the swarm,’ ordered Mac.

Without Davie responding, Mac heard the Flak cannon’s unique sound as the co-pilot engaged the swarm. Mac lined up the gauss cannons and fired shot after shot. The Thargoid tried to close, trying to jink out of the way of the Krait’s shots. Yellow lightning jumped out from the Alien, catching the Sanctimonious and surrounding their ship. The power from the shields dropped and for a second mac though the engines had been lost.

‘Shield’s down,’ reported the computer.

Mac struggled with the controls, as the Thargoid tried to hold them in place. The yellow lightning was draining power from their systems, making it difficult to escape. The capacitors showed just enough power to fire the ship’s afterburners. He clicked the boost command but there was no response. He clicked them again, still no response. He altered the power priority to move from any power from the shields into the manoeuvring system and tried again. He felt himself being pressed back into his seat as the Sanctimonious ripped itself out of the Alien ship’s draining grip.

‘Fighter has power,’ exclaimed Mooka. ‘I’m moving in.’

Davie had abandoned firing at the Thargon swarm and opened up with the plasma cannons into the mothership. It didn’t take to long to expose the final heart. Mooka took full advantage of it and her fighter’s plasma weapons made short work of it. The final petal broke away, leaving the misshapen Alien ship peeling away, obviously in pain.

‘Caustic missile launch,’ reported the computer.

However, there was no time to react properly. Mac threw the ship into a desperate barrel roll. The first missile passed harmlessly above them, the second passed under the right-wing. However, the third struck them amidships on the top of the ship. Red lights appeared all across the dashboard.

‘Caustic damage detected,’ reported the computer.

‘We’ve lost the Flak cannon,’ reported Davie.

‘Never mind that, just get that Basilisk,’ ordered Mac.

Mac turned the ship back to face the Alien ship. The swarm was going to come in for another pass but as they had nothing to counter it, they were going to have to try to finish off the mothership before the swarm would destroy their ship. Blue plasma bolts slammed into the black ship, blowing huge chunks of the Alien into space. Mac fired the gauss cannons, smashing through the centre of the Thargoid’s remaining petals.

He then noticed the caustic missile’s was dissolving the top of their ship. The hull integrity was falling fast.

‘We’re going to overheat,’ exclaimed Davie. ‘We can’t burn the ship out.’

‘Keep firing,’ ordered Mac. ‘We need to take it out.’

‘But what about the heat!’

‘You get that Basilisk,’ Mac shouted. ‘I’m hoping the heat will burn off the thargoid gunk.’

The heat indicator told mac they were close to 120% of the heat capacitors, If they kept firing then some of the ship’s systems would start to shut down. Mac was taking a a chance, he’d never done this overheat trick before but he’d heard about it working for other commanders who’d fought Thargoids. He fired a couple of gauss shots into the Alien, watching the heat levels increase to almost 180%.

He saw the swarm coming back into range. Their shields had gone, the hull integrity showed 30% and dropping fast. Mooka’s fighter had just completed a firing pass, Davie’s last salvo missed due to the Alien dodge to the side again. He lined up the Sanctimonious up and headed straight for the Thargoid in a massive game of chicken. He fired another gauss shot and another, the Thargoid began to crumble and a loud shriek came over the ship communications.

Mac fired the boosters again, just as the Thargoid seemed, for a second, to contract as if it was taking a huge breath and then it vanished in an explosion of green and white light. A green gas cloud expanding from the blackened remains of the enemy vessel. The Thargon swarm was almost on them but the withering array of fire did not arrive. As the swarm passed over them, each of the little ships disappeared in a little flash of green and white light themselves.

‘Caustic substance has burnt off,’ reported Mooka.

The sudden silence after the fight was deafening. Mac looked over at Davie, who smiled back sheepishly at him. Mooka took the transference headset off and grinned like an idiot. Mac turned back to the ship readouts and saw that the ship’s integrity was holding at about 20%. Mac allowed himself a second to relax into the pilot’s chair and then flipped the ship communicator.

‘Sanctimonious to Achilles, you can evacuate. The Thargoid has been neutralised but we can’t stop another one if it turns up.’

‘That’s OK Sanctimonious,’ came the reply over the communicator. ‘We’ll get everyone away before the bugs can come back. By the way, the captain’s authorised a payment to cover all your repair costs.’

‘That’s appreciated Achilles, we’ve got a lot of holes to patch. Sanctimonious Out.’

The mega-ship opened a lot of hatches and a swarm of capsules emerged from the huge vessel. Each of the pods aligned themselves and then started to fly in the direction of the closest safe harbour.

‘Message from the Pilot’s Federation,’ announced the computer.

Mac looked quizzically between his two crew members. Davie just shrugged

‘Play it,’ Mac said.

‘The Pilot’s Federation credits Commander MacTaggart with a Basilisk Thargoid Interceptor kill. We award the Commander a bounty of 6 Million Credits.’

‘Whoa,’ Davie said but Mac waved him quiet.

‘In addition, with the destruction of the Alien vessel, Commander MacTaggart has reached the combat rank of Elite. Right On Commander!’

‘Now you can “Whoa”, ‘ said Mac grinning to both of his crew.

Author's Note :- I know the 'defend/rescue the mega-ship' scenario wasn't available in the Witch Head nebula event but you can find these scenarios in Maia and Kamadhenu (there are others but I don't know where they are). They were left over from the last time the Thargoids had a big offensive and haven't been removed from the game. I would recommend giving them a try because they are a nice twist on the Thargoid fight scenario.
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