The cadet stepped into the Senior Instructors office with a bit of unease. Why had he been summoned here today of all days? In just a few minutes, another simulator run was scheduled to begin.
“You seem to be the wisecracker of your group," the instructor started. "You like being the class clown?"
That's unfair, the cadet thought, all he was trying to do was relieve some of the tension in the classrooms!
“Well, let's see if the class clown can be the class leader, hmm?"
Class leader! But that means...
“Get to the simulator, or you'll be late for your battle, Cadet Captain!"
The Cadet threw a sharp salute, mumbled something under his breath, turned and raced out of the room.
A few doors down, the Cadet entered the simulator and quickly took in the tactical situation as he crossed to his bridge seat. He couldn't help overhearing several snide comments but ignored them.
He was on the bridge of a Victory-class heavy cruiser. He knew this type well, it was a workhorse of the fleet. Good hull and engines, but the shields were always considered weak. His advantage was going to be his weapons suite; a good balance of long-range Proton Missiles, medium-range Pulse Cannons, and a whole slew of shorter range Laser Batteries.
The screen showed his opponent. Nothing fancy here. A Wraak-class Battlecruiser. Though it seemed fierce, the data profiles showed it as comparable to his Victory. Though it had a slightly weaker hull, it did have better shields. Definitely a medium-range fighting ship, it carried medium-long reaching Heavy Missiles and medium-range Railguns.
“This is a straight up duel," the speakers boomed. "You have only 10 centons until enemy reinforcements arrive. Your mission is to disable or destroy the battlecruiser before that time. Simulation begins...NOW!"
Glancing at the helm station, he noted his speed was .3, just over half of his thrust rating. "Goose it a bit, but keep us straight." The helmsman started turning as if to say something, but just shrugged his shoulders and plotted the course.
The Wraak had also been moving at speed .3, but quickly accelerated to .5 factors. The Cadet Captain frowned. Going for a close in pass? Why? Oh well, if that's what they want....
“Steady as she goes," the Cadet Captain said.
“Steady as she goes," the helmsman mimicked. Not quite insubordinate, but oh so close.
“The Wraak has turned to port; it's firing!" That was the weapons cadet. Damn, that uniform had to be a size too small for her....
“Commence firing," the Cadet Captain sang out, smiling as the weapons cadet turned to her console. Did she just smile back?
The smile quickly left the Cadet Captains face as the bridge lurched from a weapons impact. A brace of Heavy Missiles had found their target...him.
A screen on his left blinked for attention. The Engineer was reporting. "Damage to shields, hull and engines. Not bad but...."
The Surveillance cadet called out. "Minor damage to the Wraak. Maybe hull or engine, at best."
It looked like the Wraak wanted to close to knife-fighting range. Let them come. "Helm, steady speed but shape us a course to port," he said, a bit unsteadily.
“If we get that close, his Heavy Missiles will devastate us." That was the helmsman again. Always a pessimist.
The Cadet Captain responded. "Let them get close, we will smother him with our lasers!" He could see the weapons cadet smiling. Do you think....?
But there was no time to think. The bridge shook again, this time more violently than before. Now this is what they call an "E-Ticket" ride!
Suddenly, the Cadet Captain found himself on the deck. He had forgotten to strap himself in! He staggered back to his chair (was that blood in his mouth?) and sat down just in time to hear the engineer again. "Half the engines are gone! We also lost a laser battery. Are you crazy up there!"
“Weapons, tell me you fired everything!" The Cadet Captain thought he sounded like he was saying a prayer.
“We let him have it all at short range," weapons responded. "Three pulse cannons, five missiles, and 5 laser batteries were bearing." She was glowing....
“We have to get out of here." That was the helmsman again, sounding more than just a bit frantic. "We can't take this punishment!"
Surveillance spoke up. "The Wraak is doing worse than us. Looks like engines, hull, shields...both railguns appear inop now!"
This was a knifefight now. "Helm, dead slow. Give weapons another chance to put him away." Do I really sound that calm, the Cadet Captain wondered?
Like warriors wary of each other, the Wraak and the Victory slowly circled around. Missiles flew and beams of coherent light crossed the dark void of space. The Cadet Captain involuntarily flinched when a group of Heavy Missiles entered the vis-screen, only to pass on by harmlessly. Thank the maker! The Wraak was almost as lucky. He watched as his own Pulse Cannons went wide, but smiled like a wolf when his Proton Missiles and Lasers hit true.
“The Wraak is severely damaged. Hull integrity less than 20%," surveillance called out.
“Keep us slow and get behind him." The helmsman gulped and nodded in the affirmative. The Cadet Captain watched as they came around behind the Wraak.
“He doesn't have weapons that bear;" said surveillance again.
“Fire it all," the Cadet Captain ordered.
“So that really was your first time commanding a simulator?" It was the weapons cadet, only now she was not wearing a jumpsuit but something much more appropriate for a dinner date.
“Yes, it was." He tried to be modest, but he couldn't help but to feel conscious that everyone was looking at the two of them. "After that last volley, it simply blew up. No more hull integrity, they tell me." His date smiled.
“You know," he said, "we make a good team."
This scenario was run using the free demo version of Starmada: Admiralty Edition available at http://www.mj12games.com/starmada/SAEdemo.pdf.