When the order to flee was broadcast, Montag put Li Ming in charge of Willis, Xavier, and the probationary Todd Lian with instructions that they were to maintain guard on the stubborn Chan and William, along with the ungrateful Marsh. Cindy was ordered to bring the two nurses wit her and join Montag “due to her critical skills, so useful for the Cause”. The wounded aboard the ‘Ghost would have to hope God’s providence would protect them until the leadership could regroup. Cindy nodded in agreement and Montag rushed to board General Jessica Taylor-Leigh’s ship, a high-speed Arrowhead-Class courier.
As the fredd Crew was unarmed, with their weapons locked in a large case at the back of the cargo bay, retaking the ship was going to be a challenge. There were three revels on the bridge, two in the engine room, and four deckhands were suiting up to man the manually launched missiles. Cindy headed for the infirmary to see if she could trick the two nurses to leave per Montag’s orders. As the medic made her move, the freed Crew freed the rest of the Crew, giving the Crew plus Todd Lian nearly equal numbers to the Neo-Browncoats at eight to nine.
Chan led William and Marsh toward the bridge, as Li Ming led Willis and Lian toward the engine room. Xavier followed the bridge team as she wasn’t much of a fighter, but had critical skills needed for the Crew’s escape.
Cindy’s initial attempt to fool the nurses failed miserably. This forced her to switch from request to a barked order. The two nurses still hesitated, but yielded to her ‘Doctor’s Glare’ and moved out without further delay. As the nurses fled the ‘Ghost; Chan, Marsh, and William approached the bridge. The three slipped into position and on Chan’s signal, sprung into action. Once again, William belied his size by moving first. William closed on the man sitting at the scanner console. Chan lunged for a female pilot and Marsh at the co-pilot. Attacking the flight crew was a dangerous move as the ‘Ghost had lifted before the Crew could get into place. William’s attack may have been fast, but it was less precise than Chan’s and Marsh’s strikes which were bone crushing and knocked out the pilot and co-pilot instantly. William traded punches with the desperate rebel, but the man never recovered from the initial surprise and soon joined the rest of the Neo-Browncoat flight crew in the deck.
As the Crew freed the bridge, Li Ming, Willis and Lian approached engineering. Willis moved silently, but Li Ming’s shoes clattered on the deck and alerted the two rebels running the engine room. Li Ming lashed out at the woman nearest her with a solid punch that drove the woman back, while easily sidestepping her counter punch. Willis dodged the male mechanic’s attack and landed a weal punch in return. Li Ming pivoted and helped Willis finish off the last of the defenders giving the Crew control of their ship for the first time in ten days.
Chan contacted the engine room
and relayed as she heard Li Ming reply. Chan reported she and Marsh were at the
controls with Xavier at the scanner console. William and Cindy were in the
process of gathering up the rebels and would be along soon. However, things
were probably going to get bumpy as the ‘Ghost was part of a sacrificial
breakthrough group of six ships expected to blast a hole through the
In front of the ‘Ghost was an
The two sides closed at high
speed until reaching medium range, then the
The two fleets closed to short
range and the three wedges closed on the six ASREVs
screening the cruiser’s port side. Chan ordered the ‘Ghost’s cargo door closed
to keep the ship from being responsible for firing on
The deck crew commed the bridge demanding to know what was going on and Chan was able to buy a little time with a terse ‘change of orders, standby’ response. The deck crew called again as the airlock cycled, but Chan’s imperious ‘standby’ gave William, Li Ming, and Lian time to get into place. As the hatch opened, two of the deck crew drew weapons and fired. In the furious exchange of shots, Li Ming managed to wound one rebel, but both she and Lian only just barely dodged being hit in return. Li Ming responded with two lightning fast shots that felled one rebel and wounded the second. The rebels fought back fanatically wounding William before Li Ming killed two of the Neo-Browncoats with three shots, while William and Lian finished off the last rebel. Cindy came running once she heard the gunfire and immediately hustled the wounded William to the infirmary. This left Li Ming and Lian to secure the surviving Neo-Browncoats in the cargo bay.
Outside the ‘Ghost, Taylor-Leigh’s
gamble paid off when seventeen of the stinger fighters missiles hit the patrol
cruiser. Most of the small missiles bounced off the cruiser’s thick armor, but
a few managed to cause enough pinprick hits to add up to heavy damage as well as
causing severe system shock throughout the ship identified as the IAV Halberd. While
the rest of the rebel fire managed to cripple one ASREV.
Cindy reported to Chan that William’s wounds weren’t serious “no thanks to that hag Taylor-Leigh.” Chan thought how easily it would be to end the rebellion if the “General” were to meet with an accident and asked Xavier how difficult would it be to have the missiles on board track Taylor-Leigh’s Arrowhead. Xavier replied that it would child’s play. Chan asked Li Ming how many missiles were in the airlock and the gambler responded that there were sixteen.
Chan ordered Marsh to keep
pushing for the small opening in the
Working quickly, Xavier programmed half a dozen missiles as Marsh obtained a precise scan of Taylor-Leigh’s ship and Chan worked out the proper vector for the launch. Chan pushed the unmodified missiles into the cargo bay as it was her idea to fire the missiles in a salvo and the massive back blast would detonate any other missiles in the airlock. Li Ming rushed over to assist Chan and by te time they had the airlock cleared, Xavier was ready. Chan sealed the airlock and commed Marsh to open the other door and to take a specific course while standing by for Hard Burn.
The two fleets intermingled with
all thirty fighters swarming the stricken Halberd. Nine more missiles hit the
patrol cruiser and again the systemic shock proved telling as the Halberd
lurched to a halt. Neo-Browncoat fire also disabled four more ASREVs. However,
Chan called for the launch and fout of the six missiles hit the wildly dodging Arrowhead causing sever damage despite the fact that the ship was nearly as heavily armored as the Halberd. Xavier immediately began programming more missiles as Marsh closed the outer hatch and Chan and Li Ming began pushing the missiles into place of the bomb bay cargo hatch.
The rebel fighters scattered with most attempting to reach a carrier, but leaving enough to engage the remaining ASREVs continuing to fight. The Neo-Browncoat Pride-Class makeshift Carrier Stalwart noticed the ‘Ghost’s missile launch and fired on her, but the missile malfunctioned The rebels lost a Chariot and a Pride crippled, plus a fighter destroyed for one more ASREV crippled and tow damaged.
Xavier gor four more missiles programmed as Chan and Li Ming go them into the lower airlock. Marsh sealed the cargo bay and triggered the missiles. Taylor-Leigh’s ship was already severely damaged and this time, was unable to dodge effectively. All four missiles struck home and blasted the leader of the Neo-Browncoats to oblivion. Marsh then punched Hard Burn and cleared the battlefield.
The disorganized rebels, shorn of
their leadership, also scattered leaving fourteen fighters behind. The fighters
attempted to scatter as well with nine successfully returning to
Regardless, if this story was true or not, the Neo-Browncoat movement quickly collapsed without Taylor-Leigh. By the time the ‘Ghost reached Skyplex Sanctuary two days later on 27 November 2518, the Crew found that word of their actions had preceded them. Cindy over saw the transfer of seven wounded, five able, and four dead Neo-Browncoats, plus tow wounded civilians to the proper authority, as Li Ming unloaded five missiles for fifty credits while Chan went abut getting the basic supplies for the ship taken care of, the Dock master pulled her aside to tell her that she had done a good thing. The Neo-Browncoats were making a bad situation worse and making life for true Browncoats even harder than normal. Word had gone out that what was once said about Wu Chan Juan was wrong and the Dock Master made sure Chan knew that she was fully welcome where ever Browncoats called home.
However, he warned her that she
had made a deadly enemy out of what was left of the Neo-Browncoats. Chan said
thanks and then sent a wave to Harvey Killian about the lost cargo. He responded
that the cargo was insured and that the Crew had done the ‘Verse a big favor by
knocking the wind out of the Neo-Browncoats and that he still had plenty of
work for them. In fact, he was advancing them five hundred credits as a bonus.
Chan sighed in relief and said she’d be back at his office on