“They’re closing Sir!” said Ensign Harrington pointing out of the bridge window.
“Looks like they are up in the stream,” added Lieutenant Johnson putting down the viewer. “We are still climbing, and they will be on us before we can maneuver.”
“I see them Mr. Johnson,” replied Captain Harris calmly.
“All crews to their guns. I want full power to the Newton’s, tell Mr.Willis to prepare to drop the chargers at my command. Helm maintain the current heading.”
“Aye Sir,” chorused the Ensigns, echoing the Captains orders down the brass speaking tubes.
The deck plates shifted under the bridge crew’s feet as Rally’s Newton’s strained to push the Frigate higher into the sky. Taking the viewer off Johnson, Captain Harris looked at the darting images of the pursuers, “We must have something they really want, those are Sturmhawks they are sending after us.”
“Mr Johnson, would you please call General Quarters.”
“Yes sir!” Lieutenant Johnson put a speaking tube to his mouth, “Mr Carter prepare your Marines, all crew prepare to repel boarders, Sergeant at Arms open the smalls arms lockers. Battle Stations! Battle Stations! Battle Stations!”
As he spoke brass bells and the snap of a drum beat could be heard across the ship and a grim smile played across the Captain’s lips, “This is going to be rough, but we should endure, those Hawks only have a limited range and operational time. It’s their base ship in the stream beyond that will cause us a problem.”
Turning to face the weathered Air Ranger and his charge, he spoke, “Gentlemen, you may want to go below and secure your quarters.”
“I can help you fight them,” motioned the Ranger.
“You may have no choice Mr Severn, although your first responsibility will be to your charge?” said the Captain indicating a pale-faced Daniel standing just behind the Ranger.
“He is,” replied Severn. “But I can help you defend your ship.”
“At your pleasure Sir,” replied the Captain nodding his head.
The bulkhead door opened to the rear of the bridge and a young girl with blonde hair and blue eyes dressed in Navy Whites stepped through handing the Captain and Bridge crew service pistols, “Ah, Yeoman Knightly, please show our guests their quarters and then attend your station.”
“If you excuse me Commander, I have to deal with the situation at hand,” The Captain reached for his speaking tube. “Gatling crews, suppression fire 200 yards. Gun Captains fire pattern three, canister shot, break up their formation, do not let them group up.”
Severn led Daniel from the bridge, which was secured by its Marine guard and followed the Yeoman into the steel and dark wood corridors.
“Don’t worry Sir, you are quite safe, Rally has never been boarded,” as the Yeoman spoke, the chattering of Rally’s steam-powered Gatling guns could be heard through the iron bulkheads.
“I don’t doubt it Miss Knightly,” replied Severn, as he spoke the floor lurched under him, forcing the trio to grab the brass handrails.
The walls shuddered again, the sound of a thunderclap hit them and ship felt like it skipped to one side as an air-burst slapped at them.
“My God,” said Knightly pale face, “Their firing through the Sturmhawks! What are we carrying that they will disregard the lives of their own men for?”
“Hope,” replied the Ranger looking at Daniel, “hope.”