My's Full of Stars!

There was a white flash, an incredible sound of bending metal and then a low dull boom vibrated throughout the entire superstructure of the ships as they were propelled trillions of kilometers in an instant.

NOXx> B13? Sit-rep!

B13> All green, no problems here. And you?

NOXx> Yeah - all good. We should get moving...lets scan ahead and warp to a safer area. Fleet warp in progress.

NOXx instructed both ships to warp to the nearest planet on scan with his mind. Destination - Planet IV, orbiting an unrecognised white dwarf star.

B13> Again no local beacon. There is no-one here but us, or we just can't tell if anyone is here?

NOXx> I don't think anyone is here, but we'd best be careful, Try another scan from this planet...

The two ships rolled from warp space and came to rest in orbit around the 4th planet. B13 launched several probes and instructed them to scan the entire system. After a few moments the probes preliminary results were in.

B13> We appear to have ourselves some sort of structure, towards the centre. Let me lock it down...just a moment...

NOXx> What sort of signal?

B13> Not sure, It's difficult to say what it is. I've never seen a signal like this before. We should take a look?

NOXx> Roger that. Repositioning - fleet warp initiated.

NOXx willed both ships to power up their warp drives with his mind. They rotated together and warped in perfect synchronisation. As the warp field collapsed they came to a shuddering stop.

NOXx> Weird. What kind of structure is that?

B13> No looks like an acceleration portal of some sort, Let's take a closer look.

As the two ships approached the structure, both pilots were unaware of movement to their right.

B13> It appears to be made of an unknown alloy, my salvager can't extract from it. The beam is being absorbed. Perhaps a little nick to test the strength.

B13 armed a weapons turret with a lead charge, locked onto the structure and fired. The round collided with the metal with a flash, but no damage appeared, no scuff, no melting. Nothing at all.

B13> The lead just bounced right of the surface and shattered. No damage to the structure.

NOXx> Stop shooting at it damn-it! We have no idea what it is?

Mr NOXx looked to his right as he noticed a glint of a metal shape in the darkness.

NOXx> Damn! We have movement...22 degrees right.

Both ships camera drones swung around and focused their electronic eyes on the target.

B13> Is that a ship?

NOXx> No flag, no ID tag, no idea.

B13> There's another over to the left, and another...

As the ships edged slowly closer their hulls became more vivid but failed to match anything seen before. Their blackened hulls seemed to absorb the light so well that they were very difficult to make out properly, judging the size of each vessel was difficult.

B13> Aura thinks they are vessels of some sort, she's identified their masses as battleships.

They continued to watch the objects move across the sky, for the moment seemingly oblivious to their presence when suddenly the target acquisition alarm sounded. They were being targeted by the unknown 'battleships.'

B13> Erm...NOXx? We are being targeted!

NOXx> Well I suppose they are ships then.

B13> Yeah, and they appear to be hostile. Shall I engage?

NOXx> No - not yet. I want to see if they do first. Activate your tank.

B13> Way ahead of ya'.

A moment later a white blue beam eminated from one of the unknowns and struck B13's ship. There was a very loud thud, then a low grumble as B13's shield absorbed the first salvo. The impact caused B13's ship to 'jump' as the energy in the beam was dissipated around the ship.

B13> That first shot alone took more than a fifth of my shield! That's awesome damage.

NOXx> Agreed...I think their intentions are clear. Fire at will!

B13> Oh yeah, returning fire...

Both pilots undocked their sentry drones which proceeded to fire upon the enemy vessels. B13's first target was taken into armour within 3 salvos from his drones.

B13> Excellent. How are you doing NOXx?

NOXx> Great. They don't appear to be very tough...

The targeting alarm sounded again, this time NOXx felt a little uneasy as he registered 8 more ships approaching, apparently of the same configuration as the first.

NOXx> Erm, we have more enemy ships arriving behind us...

B13's target span around violently, before imploding in a cloud of white gas, spewing debris from within it's burst hull.

B13> Yes!..He's down!

The second groups' weapons were now brought to bear on the two pilots. As the first shots hit their armour and Shields, both ships lurched backwards from the explosive force of the attack.

B13> Shields down! Into armour now. That really hurts!

NOXx> My shields are falling, now at 50 percent.

B13> Just keep at them!

Moments later another 8 ships appeared on the grid, only this time they'd warped immediately within firing range. They were upon them and inflicting heavy damage within seconds.

NOXx> Damn! 8 more targets, I don't think so B13. We should retreat.

The ferocious attack had taken its toll on NOXx's shield which was nearly spent, approaching his armour layer fast. B13's ship had lost its shield but was armour tanked instead to prevent catastrophic failure of the hull plating. Even so B13 was finding it a strain to manage the incoming damage, and his own capacitor was slowly being drained. He had to constantly inject massive capacitor charges into the ships energy matrix to prevent his armour tank failing but he knew he would not last long without support.

B13> Perhaps you're right NOXx, that last shot just broke my tank, by a long way too.

NOXx> Roger that, re-aligning to the wormhole.

NOXx once again instructed both ships to prepare to warp, both of them lurching and stuttering as they struggled against the impacts from the enemy ships weapons. NOXx's ship caught fire as the final shot broke through his thin layer of armour and struck hard into the structure sending chunks of metal into the void. NOXx could feel the ship un-balanced as it entered warpspace, leaving a trail of orange plasma across several million kilometers in it's wake.

Both ships ground to a halt and sat motionless surrounded by the red glow of heat, the metal structures popping and clanging as they cooled.

NOXx> Destination reached. Are you okay pilot?

B13> Well that went well.

NOXx> Indeed, I need to repair this damage, look, I'm on fire! I don't think the repair paste will fix this one. I'm going to inform the CEO of our discovery. Maybe we can convince him to assemble a small fleet.

B13> Are you sure you want the Corporation involved? I thought this was our discovery, our pot of golden omber?

NOXx> Well...he may be a cynic, but he is not afraid of much, and he's always interested in new 'business'. I think he could help, and we'll never keep this secret for long. Sooner or later more pilots will find this wormhole, just like you did. And when they do this virginal territory will be blown wide open.

B13> Perhaps you're right. So what do we do now?

NOXx> We head back home and refit. I'll go talk to CT.

B13> You're the boss.

NOXx> Indeed.

Both vessels slowly turned on their axis and accelerated into warp towards home. They will return, but next time things would be different.