Cutlass - 'Unknown Bounty'
Three weeks had passed and like clockwork, each week, the Idris jumped in system launched a single 300i. The fighter proceeded to downloaded data from the probe then return to the Idris which then launched out of the system.
Matthias had the team set up various surveillance buoys 1500 meters out in each direction, but with pinpoint tracking to the 100 meter area around the collection array. It was far to risky to have their ships under the noses of the Idris for reconnaissance so they used a host of space cameras and long range sensors to watch the general area. Far easier to do now knowing the location to watch.
Today would be different though. The team had been itching to strike back at the Shadow Advocacy for months now. Finally, they would get a chance to go on the offensive.
Matthius Looked over the cargo bay, his Special Forces team was fully fitted in Class VI Marine armor and ready to go. He really didn't want to know where it had been acquired, but it was a nice perk they found on the Merchantman Relen's father so generously donated to him. Sitting at the helm of the Cutlass, the rest of the team was spread out in the system. Relen Gedion piloting a stealthed Gladius was shutdown and parked in the same location, he and Matthius had first encountered the Idris. 'Hopefully they won't be watching again this week.' Matthius thought, hating Gedion sitting about 50 meters from the area the Idris would appear. Saskai was once more sitting within the Course Correction and parked on the other side of one of the planets. She'd use the DUR's sophisticated sensors to collect data from the buoys and scan for any unexpected hostiles. One never knew when a pirate fleet might decide to ruin the whole plan. Finally, hiding out in the asteroid field again was Karen's squadron of Hornets. All sitting opposite the drop site and hovering or landed on various asteroids in wait. Matthius was to big to fully hide so the power was set to minimal and the ship was just drifting amongst the roids. 'Were all ready.' He thought as he returned to the cockpit chair.
--- Hours Later ---
Right on schedule the Idris jumped in system and practically on top of Gedion's Gladius. Patiently waiting, Gedion sat still on minimal power. Finally, the cargo door opened and the 300i headed off in the direction of the satellite array. Instantly, he added power to the CPU and started furiously inputting numbers and patterns into his mobi-glas. The hacking attempt was critical to the plan and if he wasn't able to disable their engines the team wouldn't get a chance.
Gedion continued trying to gain full access. Meanwhile the 300i was now beside the satellite and the Idris appeared to still be unaware of the hacking attempt.
Saskia watching from afar, got the readout just as the others did. The Satellite array fired a quick pulse of energy at the 300i. The data had been sent, it was now or never.
Just as Matthius was about to issue the startup order, Gedion felt the jolt. Gunfire from the Idris struck near his Gladius and all around the rear of the frigate. They apparently couldn't see him but knew his general location due to the source of the hacking attempt.
"Bug out!" Matthius ordered Gedion, simultaneously powering the engines. "NOW!"
Six Hornets lept off their asteroids and began racing towards the Idris. Not far behind, the Unknown Bounty burned G's to reach the target in an attempt to beat the 300i.
The eight hundred meter trek seemed to take forever and the Idris didn't immediately respond. It's gunners and sensor techs apparently were so invested in finding the hacking vessel, that they hadn't seen the war party off it's bow.
The 300i however had noticed and was frantically turning to begin a burn towards the safety of the Idris's hangar bay. It only needed 200 meters, while Matthius and company needed 700 meters. 'We'll never make it.' He thought to himself, pressing the speed stick harder despite it being tapped out.
As the 300i closed, 150 meters, 100 meters, Gedion watched as the Idris suddenly launched a massive blast from it's zestroyer rail gun, right through the satellite array. 'They'll never come back again.' Gedion though, as they had suspected. Under heavy fire, he needed to buy the team some time. Shifting the Gladius underneath the Idris and raced towards the 300i.
Matthius and the fighters were now 600 meters out and closing. With the shifting of the gnat behind her, the Idris focused the full bore of it's AA weapons on the incoming fleet.
Gedion's appearance and gun fire caught the 300i pilot by surprise, but he took the bait. Gedion jumped on his tail and forced the pilot into evasive maneuvers.
Matthius could feel the rumble of the flak cannons hitting just off the Cutlass's bow. One of the hornets had already been disabled and was limping back to the safety of the asteroid field. The others pressed harder and closer. Now 500 meters out, Matthius was surprised more fighters had not left the Idris hangar.
Gedion juked and turned trying to force the 300i away from the Idris. It had bought the team time and about 50 meters as the 300i circled out to avoid laser fire from the smaller craft.
Three hundred meters out now, the attackers the AA guns had knocked out another one of the F7Cs but the team refused to give in. Still the Idris hadn't launched fighters and the 300i appeared to be ignoring Gedion and making a dart for the hangar bay.
Gedion unloaded for what felt like an eternity straight into the rear of the 300i. Fifty meters out, he finally penetrated a vital engine component. Without warning, Relen jolted the Gladius to one side as the collision indicators screamed at him. The 300i was dead in the water. Shooting past the vessel by a clear 50 meters, Relen turned to head back at his foe.
The original plan called for disabling then boarding the vessel but Matthius knew that wouldn't happen now. Gedion's attempt wasn't successful but he had bought them valuable time. With the 300i critically wounded, the Idris doors began to close. His crew were just 200 meters out now and he had to act fast.
As Relen started for another pass at the 300i, a huge explosion ripped through the air. Sensors went haywire and the small craft went into a spiral away from the action. "The destroyed their own!" Saskia's voice could be heard in his headset. Gedion quickly turning green from the Gforces, turned his attention to straightening out the Gladius and evaluating the damages.
"Cover pattern Omega Sierra Rhino" Matthius belowed into the comm channel pushing the ships engines beyond max safeties. Flicking the radio over to the internal channel. "Hold on boys, it's going to get real bumpy."
Now racing against the clock, as the Idris was prepping for jump, Matthius pressed the afterburners despite a less than perfect trajectory. He knew this was their only hope. They had destroyed the listening post and their fellow pilot. They wouldn't come back to the system.
Gun fire rattled the Cutlass ripping valuable armor off her belly. Matthias ignored screams from the ships computer. The door was closing on this Initiative and it had to be successful.
Dodging AA guns, Karen Shoemake turned and raced towards the Idris once more. She wouldn't have believed it if she'd hadn't seen it. Apparently they had caught the crew with their pants down. Shields never came up but they were powering the jump engines. The Cutlass barrelled into the front docking bay and disappeared as if swallowed by the Capital ship, then the Idris jumped. Both the Idris and the Cutlass were nowhere to be seen.