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Ambush At The Aurea Cluster

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William Mologger woke up on what he thought would be a normal day. After dragging himself out of bed and down to the door, he began walking the terraformed surface of the Ceres colony, while not a colony anymore or even the only city on the dwarf planet of Ceres, the name had stuck from the early days of life on the surface. William was on his way to class when he saw his friend Jess Gornon.                                                                                                                        “How ya doing this fine day Will? Did you remember to study for the earth history exam?” asked Jess                                                                                                                                                      “Is that today?” shouted William “I completely forgot! I ended up studying for astromechanical engineering!”                                                                                                                                                                                                           “That’s a boy” replied Jess laughing “I just wanted to scare you a bit, don’t worry the earth history exam isn’t till next week, but the astromechanical engineering exam is today.”  William and Jess got to their class and waited for the teacher to arrive. Nothing seemed out of the ordinarly Their teacher had a habit of being a bit late to class, nothing was out of place and everyone was doing some last minute review for the exam. The door slammed open and everyone turned expecting to see the teacher but instead walked in a large, muscular, naval Major.                                                                                                                                                                        “Hello students, I have come here to recruit volunteers for the Union navy.” Said the Major. Everyone stared in complete shock, but then a few students got up and signed the tablet he was holding. “Anyone else? Come on do your service to the union, before I have to do mine!” yelled the Major. A few more students signed up. About a minute passed without any more volunteers. “All right looks like none of you are willing to volunteer, however I have a draft list” and the Major began to list off names and William only half paid attention until he heard the Major yell “William Mologger!” shocked William looked at Jess and then the Major, who handed him a paper. The paper informed him he was going to Ceres Naval training base D04, and that he was leaving tonight. After the drafting of half his class, William couldn’t think straight on the exam but that didn’t matter now he was drafted, he would be granted admission to a top school after his service came to an end, so what whatever grade he got on that exam would be meaning less in a few hours. When he got home, Jess and his other friends texted him goodbye. 
William boreded a shuttle that flew him all the way to the base where all the new recruits were given a welcome by the instructors in the form of a massive physical test. William just managed to pass the physical so he moved on to the mental test were it was decided that he would be an engineer. Three hard months later he graduated from the naval academy and Lucky for William he had made a friend in those three months by the name of Greg Wickins. Greg was a gunner and a good one too. In many of their training simulations, Greg was in the top ten most accurate and usually had the most hits on target. After the graduation ceremony, William was given his post it was on a Heart blade class light cruiser called the S.C.S Columba. William asked Greg where he had been posted and when Greg told him the S.C.S Columba he felt a burst of joy stronger than one he had felt in a long time.  A few days after getting assigned the Columba came with in shuttle range and William, Greg, and about a dozen other new naval officers crammed into a military transport shuttle which took them from the surface of Ceres up to low orbit where they docked with the Columba. After boarding the ship, they were given the warmest welcome they had received in a long time. The Captain of the ship, Captain Silkman gave a great speech and told them about their first mission. They were to wait at Ceres for a month where the fleet would gather and then they would head for the Aurea cluster where they would set up an ambush  for the enemy fleet who would be heading to Pluto from Titian and the Aurea Cluster would be the perfect ambush position. After hearing what they would be doing the crew erupted in cheers that echoed throughout the ship.                                                                                                                                                 “Long live the USC!” chanted the crew.                                                                                                                                                      “Yes, yes, we will end this war before too much damage can be done” said the captain “however most of you need your posts” the Captain then began to read of names and where they were to report. William was assigned to chief engineer Benajic. William began walking down the cramped metal hallway on his way to his post when he saw Greg.                                                                                                                                                                “Some plan they for us, huh Greg?” asked William.                                                                                                                                                “Yeah I was assigned to the main battery’s third  lower gun as the gunnery commander.” said Greg with excitement “I hope to blast some of those ALC ships back to where they came!”                                                                                                       “I am heading to my post right-“ William  was interrupted by a senior crew man yelling at him,                                                                                                                                                                                            “Quiet down you don’t need to be so loud you two are right next to each other,  I bet people on the surface can hear you” bellowed the officer “where are you two even headed!” he asked angrily.                                                                                                                                                   “Lower main battery, third gun” replied Greg                                                                                                                                            “Well you’re not even headed in the right direction, you need to take a turn way back there” yelled the officer.                                                                                                                                                                                                               “Ah, thank you sir” said Greg as he began running to his post.                                                                                                                 “And you” ask the officer                                                                                                                                                                                 “I am heading to Chief Engineer Benajic for assignment” replied William.                                                                                         “well looks like you Found him” said Chief engineer Benajic “first thing you need to know don’t refer to me as chief engineer just say chief or chief Benajic will do, the second thing you got to know is follow my rules and I will get you home” William followed Benajic to the engineering cabin “welcome to your new home, say you're one of the first newbies to get here do you happen to know how many new engineers will be coming my way?”                                                                                                                                                                     “Well there was only 20 people in my class and at least Ten of them were only in engineer school because they were loaders and they need to pass as an engineer to be a loader and I am not sure how many of the rest of my class was assigned here.” Replied William. Chief Benajic then informed William of how understaffed the engineering section was and that the Captain had asked for more engineers but command couldn’t provide.  Over the rest of the day five more engineers showed up but that was all.
The month waiting for the fleet to build up went by fast. Between duties and sleep William had almost no free time, but when he did have some he would look out at the fleet. When he looked most of the ships looked the same, they were long with a bulge just behind the nose which tapered up into the main body which connected to a large brick with three engines and at the bottom of the brick was a large fin extend below the ship, the deck was covered in guns and solar panels grew from its sides. so he asked what class they were and the response he got was one of a large laugh followed by that’s a Heart blade class the class of ship you are currently in. William felt embarrassed by not knowing what the Columba looked like but that all passed when he saw a new ship form up with the fleet, the large hexagonal structure with the two triangle shaped nacelles sprouting from its sides each carried 4 large engines and guns larger than any of the Columba’s covered its surface solar panels bristled from its sides it was the flagship of the fleet the dreadnought S.C.S Blood Rose. With the knowledge that the Blood rose would be with them William thought the mission could never fail.
Not long after the Blood Rose joined the fleet the whole fleet fired their engines in the same direction all plotting an intercept course with the Aurea Cluster. William began his daily routine of checking the engine pressure and the fuel flow rate and then adjusting the monitors to show if the gun turrets needed any repairs when he saw that the only gun that needed repairs was the third gun in the lower main battery William got excited because that meant he would get to see Greg a surprisingly rare occurrence. When William got to the gun and said hello to Greg, the Capitan came on the coms and said,                                                                                                                                                “We have reached the Aurea cluster sensors show some contacts in the cluster, likely just a scout force but be on the lookout.” In the background of the bridge someone yelled                                                                                                    “Capitan a large amount of new contacts just appeared! We are showing multiple torpedo launches on screen!”                                                                                                                                                                                                                     “All crew to battle stations!” yelled the captain. Greg quickly started ordering his gun crew around.                                                                                                                                                       “Jacobson Get on the sensor panel! Blake in loading position now, Lisa get on the gun and find me a target!” shouted Greg “Will is the problem critical, can we still fight with it?”                                                                                         “Yes, it was just a small electrical short, you should be able to fight at full effectiveness!” replied William                                                                                                                                                                  “Get on it and try to fix it fast! The ship is about to have a lot of bigger problems in a few minutes,” said Greg. William pushed past the loader, Blake, and began working on the electrical system when the captain came on the coms again.                                                                                                                                                                              “All crew, brace for impact!” the ship shook violently and sparks flew everywhere.                                                                                      “Is everyone alright?” asked Greg then, after seeing that everyone was fine, he asked “Will is there any more damage?”                                                                                                                                                                                                       “No, all that was just a few fuses blowing everything has been rerouted and I fixed the short” replied William. William looked at the engineer's panel in the turret and looked out side to see the fleet being pounded with rounds from railguns and torpedoes.                                                                                                                                        “Commander!” shouted Lisa “I have a shot on an enemy torpedo frigate, permission to fire!”                                                                                                                                                                 “Yeah I see him, Blake load an armor piercing shot, Lisa fire on my mark” said Greg                                                                               “Round loaded commander” said Blake. ZZZZZZZZZRRRRRRRRRRRRRRT! The sound of the round leaving the barrel shocked William but he recovered in time to watch the round rip through the hull of the torpedo frigate which then had a small series of internal explosions.                              “Good hit Lisa I am detecting a large amount of systems failures aboard the ship including life support! That’s a kill!” shouted Greg. The next thing William saw was another heart blade class cruiser explode in front of them.                                                                                                                                                                                                                           “NO!” shouted Jacobson “that was the SCS Caducus my brother was aboard it”                                                                                       “Keep it cool man I need you to focus and help find more targets right now!” said Greg in a calming voice. BOOM! And explosion erupted down the hall and shrapnel hit Blake.                                                                                         “He’s dead” yelled Lisa                                                                                                                                                                                         “Will I need a loader, can you load for me?” asked Greg, William didn’t answer he just got into the loading position and awaited an order.                                                                                                                                                          “We have been ordered to a rendezvous point, Beta, all batteries cover our retreat focus fire on the battleship at 140 degrees to the port” said the Captain over the coms.                                                                                                     “You heard him, Will load AP, Lisa hit him hard” said Greg                                                                                                                        “Yes sir” replied William and Lisa. William kept throwing shots into the breach as fast as Lisa could shoot them after what seemed like hours of loading the battleship exploded from the constant fire of the fleeing ships Greg then ordered them to fire at a cruiser which was near the battleship by the time it exploded the Columba was out of gun range. Looking back at the site of the battle William saw mostly USC ships lying in wreckage nearly a third of the fleet must have been destroyed thought William.
Twenty minutes of burning into a new position the captain came on the coms and said that the fleet would attack from a new angle that hid them behind an asteroid until they were on top of the enemy fleet. The Columba would be acting as the starboard flank guard to the SCS Blood Rose. William loaded the next round so they could fire as soon as they came around the asteroid, William could see the Blood Rose just outside and ahead of the ship on his view screen heading toward the asteroid. A few moments later the ships came around the side of the asteroid and began to open fire on the enemy.                                                                                                                               “I got a Battlecruiser just ahead at 60 degrees port” said Lisa then Greg gave the open fire order and after a few aimed hits the Battlecruiser was nothing but a bit of debris. The battle went quickly the enemy fleet was caught by surprises and routed after losing the majority of their force. When the battle ended the Captain came on the coms and congratulated the crew on the success of the mission, at this point William noticed he was bleeding so he headed down the halls to the med bay. In some areas there were dead crew members and debris but he felt sad when he realized that one of his fellow engineers had died. His comrade’s body was limp and laid on the cold metal floor of the ship. At the med bay the doctor told him the ship was heading back for repairs at Ceres and that the crew might get some shore time, which exited William with the hope of seeing some of his friends and family. When he returned to the engineer's quarters he found out that not one but three engineers had died in the battle including  chief Benajic. William then asked who the Chief was, now the two other engineers looked at each other and then said you are, giving him a pin badge to show his new rank. William put on the pin and went to sleep dreaming of shore leave and an end to war.




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