The Soarian Crisis- Chapter 5

Source:  The Soarian Crisis- Chapter 5    Tag:  soarian system
Chapter Five

Alex and his two chiefs had split the crew into three watches so that they could always have a skeleton crew on duty while making sure that both guns could fire at a moments notice. Alex had just come off of his watch when the GQ klaxon went off. Alex rolled off of his bunk while slipping on his boots and ran down the hallway glad that he had not had time to take his combat suit off yet.

“What’s our status,” he asked when he entered the calm interior of his turret control room.

“Both guns are manned and ready to fire,” CPO Shaw replied from the fire control station, “ten reloads are on hand with more on the way from the magazine sir”

“Sir, weapons control for you on the CIC circuit” Seaman Brown said from the communications station.

Alex walked over to his spot at the fire control desk and put his battle helmet on and turned the headset to the active position. He then looked at his display screen to set it to the CIC channel before returning the call.

“Turret three is ready to fire sir” he began incase the status had not been sent to there yet.

“Roger that Alex, we are nearing the lead elements of the Yorktown group” said Cmdr Coffee from his station in the CIC where he kept watch over all of the ship’s weapons systems, “Be ready to engage any unidentified capital ship, save the smaller vessels for the other batteries on the ship.”

“Aye Sir”

“What is your ammo status?”

“We have ten rounds for each gun plus more coming from the magazine now”

“Good, the captain is going to try and maneuvers so that all of our guns will bear on the targets make sure to watch the targeting displays for friendliest in your targeting box.”

“Aye sir”

“Good hunting Alex,”

Alex called up the targeting screen on the large plasma screen in front of the fire control desk and sat down next to Chief Ortzel. He changed his headset channel back to the turret’s button to brief everyone in the turret about what he was just told.

“We are coming up on the Yorktown group; we will fire on any Soarian who get’s in the range of our guns.” Alex said with his voice rising in excitement. “Remember your training and seal up your battle suits.”

The CIC was a mass of activity as the ships departments were all talking into their own comm. channels. The captain was sitting in there, while the XO was conning the ship from the bridge, he smiled when he thought of the tradition that went into this ship’s design. The newer classes of ships have done away with the CIC and have all stations run from the bridge, but these older ships were built to function like the old blue water navies on earth.

“Sir” the Tactical Officer said drawing his attention to the main screen “we have targets coming in range.”

“Can you tell what type yet?”

“Yes sir, we are getting their IFF’s” Lt Cmdr Lorrin said while looking at the data pad in her hand. “I show the Yorktown, Indiana, San Francisco, Honolulu, Halsey, and the Carroll.”

“Who was with her in the 7th fleet?”

“Four Frigates, three Destroyers, six Corvettes, two Battleships, two Cruisers, and the Carrier.” she said as the remnants of the group swept between the MAG and the Task force 33.

“I hope there are more stragglers out there, I hate to think that we lost half the fleet in the first engagement of the war.” Captain Sessions said to Cmdr. Coffe on a private channel.

“I have a feeling that the severely damaged ships were left in the running fight that they have been in.”

“Bandits coming into range in sector a,” said the Cmdr Lorin, “fighters mixed with capital ships.”

“Order all weapons to fire.” He said to Cmdr Coffe “cover the stragglers if possible but protect the Carrier.”

“Sir Message from the Reagan,” The communications sailor said, “The Mag to stay with the Yorktown with us and the Hawaii to join them for fire support. They are going to go around on the flank and attack from there.”

“Send an acknowledgement the Reagan.” he said “Maneuvering plot a course to join the Mag.” while he was talking the vibrations of the ship increased as the main guns began to fling their shells towards the enemy ships. He new that it would take all of his training not to show the anger that he felt about Admiral Underhill’s decision to cut the Battleships loose and try and take on an enemy unit with less than the 7th fleet had at the beginning of the conflict.

“Sir the Iwo Jima has launched the Black Sheep (VMF214) to give us some fighter cover while we are joining up with them, and the Kuwait City has launched the Mud Rats (VMF201) to cover the Yorktown, which only has half a squadron left in operations right now.”

In turret three, Alex watched as his guns went through their firing as if they were in a drill. So far it has been no different from the training simulations that they have been thru since they sailed. Gun one fired at a Sorian Destroyer they had targeted, as soon as the shell was flung away by the electromagnets, another one was being put into the firing chamber. “A hit to the starboard side” called out the gunner for number one.

“Chief, how many rounds do we have left up here?” Alex asked watching the rate of fire, as both guns fired at the same destroyer again.

“We have twelve rounds left for each gun, with the magazine elevator running at full speed”

“How are we doing on our rate of fire?” he asked the chief “do I need to change the targeting sequence or anything?”

“No sir, the bous are doing just as we trained, that will get us through this now.”

“We got it!” Screamed the gunners mate while the gun crews yelled in satisfaction.

Alex looked at the video feed from the muzzle cameras and saw the flash and exploding cloud of debris, which was the destruction of the destroyer that they had been shooting at.

“Target the cruiser coming up on the left of It.” said CPO Shaw at the tactical station.

“Got it” cried both gunner’s mates as they lined their guns up on it.

“Fire” CPO Shaw cried

Alex watched the path of the shell, because of the tracer unit in the shells, and saw the impact on the cruiser.

“Fire” said CPO Shaw after both guns were reloaded.

Just after the guns fired, the men were thrown to the deck as the ship was rocked by the impact of the cruiser’s return fire.

“Ensign are you ok?” asked Master Chief Ortzel

“I’m alive” Alex said,” not quite sure if it was an answer or a question. He noticed that his right arm wouldn’t work before he felt the pain. He used his left hand to wipe his head and noticed that it came away bloody. “How is the gun?”

“No damage to the guns but we have some minor injuries among the crew.”

Alex got to his feet as Chief Ortzel led him to the chair and strapped him down at the tactical station. He noticed that the crews at the consuls were fine having been strapped in. Alex looked at the video feed to the turret floor and saw the gunners struggling back to their feet in obvious pain. He then looked at the gun camera monitors and noticed that the cruiser was gone.

“What happened to the cruiser?” he asked

“He moved out of our fire arc, but the Hawaii and turrets two and four are going after him.”

“Why have we stopped firing?” Alex asked looking at the screen.

“We have no ships in our firing arc at this time sir”

“Chief has the injured report to sick bay while we have a chance.’

“Yes sir, will you need help going down the ladder on your way to sickbay?”

“No, I need to stay to help fight the gun.” Alex said with determination

“Sir we are pulling out of range and won’t be able to fire for awhile yet get fixed up now so that you can fight when the time comes.”

“Right chief” Alex said in defeat “how do I make it down the ladder with only one arm?”

“We lower you down with a rope sir”

“CPO Shaw is in charge” Alex said over the intercom system.

The action taking place in theca was also moving at a frantic pace as multiple targets were tracked and engaged.

“Damage report” asked the Captain.

“We took a hit up forward” the damage control officer started, “turret one is out as well as laser batteries one, five, seven, nine, and ten. We have a hull breach on decks four thru six on the upper port side.”

“Casualty report”

“Nothing solid right now sir”

“Any reports from the Reagan yet?” asked the captain as he glanced at the tactical display showing the local space around the Illinois.

“No sir, but they should have engaged by now” said Cmdr Coffe

A sailor from the communications room came over with a message from Fleet Headquarters on Earth. He handed the data pad to Captain Sessions and waited while he read thru the message.

“Confirm with the Mag that they received this message.” Captain Sessions said while handing the pad back.

“Aye sir”

Captain Sessions then walked over to the Engineering station to check the status board. “How are the reactors?” he asked

“No damage sir, we are running at 98%” said Cmdr Jones

“What will the hull damage do to your ability to enable us to stay on station?”

“The inner hatches are being welded shut for a short term fix, but we should have no problems continuing in the fight.”

Captain Sessions then walked over to the Weapons control, “What’s the status Mr. Coffe?”

“Gun one in turret one is being repaired gun two is destroyed, as well as the amidships laser batteries.” Rick said while scrolling thru the reports coming in on his computer screen, he then turned around to look at the Captain. “We have massive causalities from the crews who were handling the shells, as well as the ones in the laser batteries that took the hit.”

“We have been ordered by the CNO to hold our position at all costs. The 6th Fleet has been mobilized and heading toward us.” Captain Sessions told him, “I’m waiting for word from the MAG about how they want to proceed.”

Captain Sessions walked back to the tactical screen while asking over the CIC comms, “Anything on the Reagan yet?”

“The last message from them said that they had made contact with the enemy, and that they were driving them back.”

“We are in command of this group now correct?” the captain said looking at the communications officer.

“Yes sir, that is what the Admiral stated when he detached us and sent us to the MAG.”

“Ok, send this latest message from Fleet HQ to all ships,” he said locking at the tactical screen, “and get the Marine commander on the line.”

“Sir, I have general McGill on the scrambled line”

“I have been ordered to hold this area of space against all odds.” Captain Sessions said

“I saw the communication, what do you want from the Marines? He asked curtly.

“Make an assault on the planet to our rear and secure it, make setting up your SSM’s (Surface to Space Missiles) a priority. I’m not sure how much time we will have before the enemy returns in force, so make it as strong as you can. We will also need to set up the MASH units quickly so we can get the casualties off of the ships before our next action.”

“Rodger that, are the bases to be a temporary one or will we be turning it into a permanent one?”

“My theory is that if we can hold it, then it would make a great place to stage our fight into

Sorian territory.”

“I agree with that, any time table for the assault?”

“No, I’ll leave the ground fighting to you; you will be the planetary commander while I protect your transports until the admiral makes it back.”

“Rodger that, Iwo Jima Out”

Captain sessions than began to issue the orders to the rest of the MAG’s ships to position them to cover the assaults around the planet.

“Sir, admiral Doby of the Yorktown is on channel two.”

“Admiral Doby, this is Captain Jack Sessions of the Illinois how can I be of assistance.”

“We received the same orders from command to not retreat, so we are joking with the MAG. I’m assuming command as senior officer and will keep the Yorktown as my Flag. I heard your orders to the MAG and concur with them.”

“Thank you sir, I’m sure that the Marines will love having more firepower at their backs when they move on the planet.”

“Pass on my congratulations to your go crews for me that was some fine shooting.”

“Yes sir, your son Alex is in charge of one of my gun turrets. He was wounded but I heard that he refused to leave his station until the action was decided. He has had his head bandaged and an arm splinted but went straight back to his gun against doctors orders.”

“Thank you for telling me, I knew that he has graduated but not had time to find out what his assignment was going to be.”

Alex watched the ALC’s (Atmospheric Landing Craft) and their fighter escorts streaking away from the MAG ships heading into the atmosphere of the planet that the Marines are calling Montezuma, while sitting in the turret’s control room. He was reading an e-mail from his father, while his crewmen were re-filling the ready fire racks with shells. They were also finding more ways to store extra shells, since they fired thru the ready rack so quickly last time. The chief came up with the idea, and Alex decided to let him and the gunner’s mates run with it, because he knew that they were due for another big fight.