Eyros jumped around and pounced on some of the ships, shattering them
Caleb let out a tiny gasp, staring at the actual battle happening before his eyes. On screen all the little flashing lights made lots of sense, they were fast, but understandable. Out here, in the void, with actual ships, being piloted unpredictably, nothing made any sense. There was too much possible human (or alien) error, too many variables to track to get an accurate read on the battlefield. The transport in the center of it all though.. That was steady, it moved at such a snails pace, not able to outrun its nimble pursuers. It reminded him of a cow being dragged down by a pack of wild dogs, trying to flee.
The green lion's pilot saw that Romulus was looking at his plans, instructing the others to attempt and follow them. Caleb's eyes widened, mildly surprised he'd taken his suggestion, a tiny smile crept onto Calebs face, delighted that his suggestions were being taken. For the most part, the lions were incredible at shielding their riders, they reacted if anything got too close and you could simply ask the beasts to strafe anything that got too close, essentially having the guns on autopilot was incredibly useful if your attention was divided between multiple tasks. Ione was handling anything that got too close to them, though that was rare since the short paladin had found himself somewhat near the back.
A stray ship zoomed by, gunning at the lions and Romulus immediately jumped into action, while Caleb was still calculating the ramifications and trajectory of the missile it had launched. Sitting up straight in the control chair, Caleb's anxiety spiked as Romulus began giving out orders, his mind fuzzing the words not applicable to him, almost tuning out orders he didn't need to think about.
"Caleb, that transport is going to need their shielding boosted, it's starting to flicker. If I can get you in close, can you do that?"
..Could he? Provided he was within range of the transport ship, and they were willing to let Ione and Caleb into their systems, it was.. Possible that he could do something for their shielding. He glanced at the ship, the tell-tale signs of flickering, making it look like the ship was marbling before their eyes. But- He didn't know what was wrong? What was damaged?? Caleb took in a deep breath, realizing he hadn't answer Romulus yet.
"I- I can try. But I need to be close, almost parallel with the ship." He kept his voice steady, burying his nerves. Caleb's voice was still calm sounding, quiet and soft. With a flick of his wrist, Caleb began sending messages to the transport, asking them to send him schematics, any damage reports, power levels, really anything that would help him help them. He also began sectioning off some of ione's emergency energy reserves, the transport would need to be linked up with the lion just in case they weren't actually damaged, just suffering from a shut-down, their shields not being able to stand up to the constant barrage. He trusted the lion to handle most of the incoming attackers, which might not be wise during a battle, but he trusted the other paladins to make sure he didn't get spaced.
Now.. What model was the transport? Did they have updated shields? What year and make did they have? Caleb shook his head, like someone trying to free cobwebs from rafters, most models all had similar power cores and shielding had stayed highly consistent across ships of this size. They couldn't afford to innovate much if the risk was blowing up several tons of precious cargo. He could do this.. He could do this. People were counting on him.
Brows furrowed in concentration, Caleb began skimming the reports the transport ship had frantically sent him, Ione doing its best to translate them into a language Caleb understood as they came in.One of their auxiliary power cores had been damaged, and two of their server rooms were down, essentially disconnecting them from the lower-left side of their ship. If he got close, Caleb could probably get Ione into the systems, restarting the core and jump starting it with the lions own energy. It could work.. Provided every one else didn't die first.
(Haha, I forgot about this. I’ll reply later in the day. Probably in the afternoon)
(Sounds good, Cinnamon)
Romulus nodded as Caleb replied.
"I can get you there." he said, his voice even.
Romulus had made a few changes to Remus over the course of the last month. One of the first things he had done was bulk up the lion's armor and shielding, with Caleb's help.
The next thing he did was make weapon upgrades.
The other lions, in fact most of the space-faring universe, used energy weapons. Photon torpedos, dual-phasic lasers, phazer beams, concentrated particle beams, neutrino streams- all of them very powerful. But they had a flaw that Romulus disliked. They tended to leave the target intact, meaning there was usually a ship, a body, or a target of some kind to clean up after.
That was why Romulus had always preferred kinetic weaponry.
It left nothing in your path, and for a guy who was often the trailblazer, the guy clearing the way, that was incredibly usefully. Like now, for instance.
He began firing 4-inch thick railgun rounds into the swarm. The Galran fighter craft could shrug typical energy weapons, even survive torpedo fire, but physical hyper-dense collapsed deuterium rounds moving at a decent fraction of the speed of light?
They popped like over-full balloons, leaving gaps big enough for Remus to fit through.
"Stay close!" Romulus called, focusing his fire in a concentrated circle. If Caleb stayed with him, they'd pull even with the transport in a couple seconds.
He did his best to shield the green lion from any incoming hits, trying to conserve its power for what he'd asked Caleb to do. Once they got into position, he would do the same thing, and hope they could guard the transport long enough for Eyros and Codie to decimate the swarm.
(Or maybe now lol. I have lunch)
Codie felt he was falling behind again. His support system had fallen silent and he was focused on the wrong things. He looked up to see yellow lion shielding him from potential death. That’s when his heart beat quickened. He didn’t know what to do. He was useless. A useless kid with horrible anxiety. His hands became clammy, and the controls slipped from them. Regaining his breath, he followed the blue lion’s lead in eliminating the swarming fleet.(?)
(do you have a question, Cinnamon?)
Eyros was starting to get overwhelmed by the number of bots that had gained on him
“ guys! My lion can't keep up!”
(No, that's just me questioning if I got it right. I've been reading the replies fast so details get lost lol)
(looked good to me. Sci-fi battles can get kind of confusing but you followed it fine :) )
Romulus growled quietly, his frustration ramping up. The swarm was relentless.
"Eyros, go to auto-pilot and focus on your fire patterns. You can shoot them down quicker if you're less worried about juking them out." The blue lion pilot was an excellent pilot, but he tended to get distracted by the thrill of flying.
Romulus punched through the swarm, pulling even with the transport and leaving a shielded spot for Caleb to pull in behind him, very close to the transport. The green lion could probably stand on the hull if Caleb chose to.
He began focusing his fire in a widening cone, slowly clearing the area. He noted the red icon pulling its weight and smiled a little, before offering Codie some help.
"Codie, you copy? Ask your lion to turn on point defense, so you don't have to work so hard to shoot everything down. It'll auto-fire the weapons along its sides, so you can focus on what's in front of you." He softened a bit. "If you need help, holler at me, I can clear your tail."
He didn't pester Caleb, not wanting to interrupt the brilliant tech's train of thought.
Caleb was absolutely ecstatic, the yellow lion was functioning exactly as he'd always imagined it would. Of course, he was confident in his designs and Romulus was an absolutely brilliant engineer, able to execute and innovate on instructions in masterful ways. But there was always that first thrill of seeing something you'd help make.. Actually work! The yellow lion was able to take hits that would have destroyed a lesser vehicle, and was dealing catastrophic damage to the enemies.
If there was one thing you could count on humans for, it was their love of turning thing that should not be weapons, into weapons. Anything that could be turned into something deadly was done. And humans seemed to have a particular fondness for kinetic weapons, an old favorite from swords to guns. Nothing beats an object going really, really fast. Caleb was still amazed they'd gotten a railgun to work so effectively, the navy back on earth had given up on them years ago, preferring less expensive and temperamental guns.
As Romulus cleared a path, Caleb stuck closely behind, letting Ione deal with any stragglers that managed to avoid the yellow lion. The green lion was much less heavy in both armor and firepower, but Caleb made up for it with speed and flexibility. Ione had less weight to carry and was maximized for speed as well as the more delicate, small maneuvers that a larger ship might struggle with. He kept one eye on the flashing lights that indicated the battle going on, his mind running it as a background task, while his conscious thoughts were focused on the issue at hand.
Caleb nudged Ione closer, practically pressed up against the side of the transport, which shielded the right side of the lion as an added bonus. The paladin began to tune out the noises of battle, even the coms, he hummed quietly, now that he was in range he was able to connect Ione directly to the ships systems. Flashing error signs popping up on his screen, just as quickly to disappear and be replaced with a different problem. The crew on the ship were panicking, worried by the loss of power, having most of the energy concentrated on life support, prioritizing keeping everyone alive. It'd slowed down their ship, letting the Galran crafts swarm them. By prioritizing life-support they'd almost doomed everyone aboard to death anyways. It was irrational. A better decision was to gather the crew in a main area that was smaller and easier to keep alive, and thus freeing up more energy to engines and shielding…
But that was in the past, now it was Caleb's job to fix it. He sent a few rapid messages to the people inside, telling them of his plan. He'd move the green lion near the bottom of the ship, and they'd have to send somebody outside to couple the ship to the lion, and from there Caleb could give them Ione's emergency power reserves, which would fix one of their issues. The white haired man was staring hard at all the screens around him, filling his vision and completely blocking his outside view of space. He was effectively out of the battle until he could find a way to remotely reboot the ships systems, without shutting down anything important. The schematic were an absolute mess! Someone hadn't been running routine programs to keep everything up to date, and upgrades had been made without prior notice. The ship also wasn't in the greatest shape, a few pictures he'd requested on some of the engine rooms showed rust and verdigris on the wiring and wall. It was an old ship, but able to haul massive amounts of raw resources with it, so it hadn't been updated, probably a bureaucratic issue. Red tape and economics. Caleb frowned slightly, trying to understand the jumble of numbers and figures.
The problem would keep him occupied until the transport sent someone out to link the ships, Caleb muted his com, the last noise being heard from him was a mumble, something about disorganized files?
Eyros nodded and let his lion lead, “ show me how little buddy.” he decided on just calling the lion buddy for now
( @Anxietyfilledcinnamonroll do you want Codie to react? if no that's fine, just wanted to give you a chance to respond to Romulus's tip before I jump in again)
(Err, yeah. Sorry, I keep forgetting I’m in this..)
( XD it's all good, you've got a lot going on)
Codie, on the other hand, was still shaken up. Getting swarmed by persistent aliens wasn't on the to-do list today, nor was it on the to-do list of any other days. In fact, getting overwhelmed by a bunch of little fleet ships made his anxiety swell. This was one of the reasons he was about to get honorably discharged at the age of 24— his onset of problems related to anxiety (Sorry if that wrong, I'm not too acquainted with military practices). But he couldn't let that shake him. He heard the voice of the yellow lion's paladin speak to him. Honestly, Rom's voice got a little grading, but he couldn't deny help. "Uh, yeah, I copy— I can try.." Codie stared at his lion's controls and pressed a button, begging his lion silently to turn on point defense. The lion obliged, doing what it did best, make Codie freak out. But it did its job effectivity, shooting the missiles in its line of sight, so Codie could semi-relax. He still thought he wasn't fit for this job. He couldn't be a good paladin. Codie place his head in his hands, feeling like a screw-up yet again. The lion jolted, throwing Codie's head back into the seat as if to say, 'focus and stop whining.' And that's what Codie did, he focused.
Romulus took a deep breath as he checked the situational markers. His armor was at 70% and stable, Caleb had gone silent on coms, Eyros and Codie were both focusing better and working in tandem. Things would be ok as long as this continued.
He switched from the cone he'd been coring to a more single shot approach, gutting some of the bigger fighter ships. Some seemed to be seating two pilots, rather than one, and he focused on this. An fight slapped by a railgun round was dropped quickly, and Rom could see an end to the horde.
Eyros was moving and spinning and ducking, the blue lion a blur, and a lot of the fighters were trying to follow him and tag him. Codie was less mobile, but was definitely putting out more fire power, and their lions must have synched up, because every time the blue lion looked like it was about to be overwhelmed, it would pass close by the red lion, which would thin the herd considerably. It was a good strategy, and put the two paladins strengths to use.
Caleb seemed to be making progress, and was focusing hard, if his coms escape was anything to go by. Romulus glanced over, making eye contact with the green lion out his viewscreen. They were close enough for him to see the physical cables making a connection to the transport. Its shields were holding, but barely, flickering ominously now. Rom had full confidence in the quiet tech's ability to handle it though.
Things were going fine, and that set off his instincts. Things never went fine.
It was at that moment that a Galran light cruiser decloaked in the empty space behind them, dwarfing everything but the transport.
“Ah, rom! I think we're fucked!” eyros yelped and rounded back around to protect the red lion
Caleb had started lightly humming as he worked, his brain finally having switched him out of his normal mode of thinking and into a work flow that he was much more comfortable with. If it wasn't for the occasional noises he still overhead from the coms, it was likely the green lions paladin would have forgotten that he was involved in a battle entirely!
The interior of the transport wasn't as much of a mess as he'd initially feared and the crew was being wonderfully accommodating with getting the cables hooked up to Ione. Almost as if their lives depended on it, aha. Caleb shook his head, trying to avoid gallows humor, his step-mother had often scolded him for it as a child. But when one's life is in question it becomes all to easy to talk of nothing else, and even that needed some humor to lighten it.
He'd just succeeded in getting the transports lights to hesitantly turn on and had remotely instructed some of the still functioning maintenance machines to begin rewiring things in a more efficient way. The paperwork these poor people would have to do after the battle would be astounding, but a few fees for unauthorized repair and upkeep would be nothing compared to losing the whole shipment and the lives of the crew. Caleb had just received the go ahead that the two ships were connected, and now the riskiest part of the whole thing began.
While Ione was an incredibly advanced, complicated, and awe-inspiring creature made of metal, it was still mostly a computer. It only had so much processing power and right now Caleb was asking it to do something it wasn't made for, and miraculously, the feline could comply, but only slowly. The soft man had to manually disable his own shielding and finish up any tasks he had for the transport now, as he wouldn't be able to do anything, not even move for the next few minutes. Time being a precious commodity on a battle field, this was a very vulnerable position he was putting both himself and his lion into. But it had to be done.
Submitting the last few tasks for the crew and programs to run on the transport, Caleb finally allowed Ione to begin letting out its emergency power reserves, which were vast batteries that held energy Caleb still wasn't quite sure he'd grasped fully yet. But it seemed compatible with other vehicles for as soon as the process started, locking Caleb out of any piloting or otherwise important functions, the shields on the transport began to flicker more strongly. It was faint, but noticeable.
Letting out a breath of relief, Caleb leaned back in his chair, stretching out his arms and back, sore from the frantic, hunched over typing. The others seemed to be doing well! Mopping up remains of the scattered Galran fleet, they'd probably be able to return to base within the hour, if they were lucky-
A massive energy signature suddenly flashed on the screen and it took the paladin a moment to recognize it. His heart dropped into his stomach, already a pit of anxiety. A Galran light cruiser was bad news on a good day, especially not one that had the scattered reinforcements of the remaining crafts that the blue and red lion were clearing out. Caleb sunk lower into his seat, his chin pressed against his chest, unable to do anything but watch and listen.