The formal declaration of war wouldn’t arrive at Hiigara for another six hours.
Until then, they had the element of surprise.
The 889th Assault wave comprised of a number of ships: key to the deployment was three of the new Imperial Battlecruisers. In order of age, they were the Akgan-Hal, Ishtin-Tish, and Ohudarii. Ishtin-Tish, under Techt’s command, was assaulting the main space station.
Her orders were to draw out the battlecruiser.
Frigates flanked the formation with their autoguns firing a storm of bullets towards the megalith-turned-space station. The blue angled defenders were weathering the storm, dodging bullets and returning fire with their punitive weapons.
Ishtin-Tish’s side-mounted laser weapons flashed in response, bulls-eyeing the punitive defenders without so much a glance.
On the bridge of the mighty Battlecruiser, Techt stood on the command dais. He was one of the captains who did away with the luxurious command chair, instead opting on a stool mounted on the rear railing. Feet planted on the deck and arms crossed, in full battle regalia, he oversaw the battle and shouted commands.
But his eyes were focused distant. His attention was focused inwardly on his mind, and on the holographic sensor display before him. He was moving this force like a game.
And a game it was, to them. Taiidani had always seen warfare as an entertainment, a game, and a contest. Now, the time came again where Taiidan had returned to grasp the stars.
The forward mounts on the battlecruiser cut like a sword in space, slicing in half one of the Torpedo-model frigates and spewing the contents in space like a balloon. There was no sound, but the simulation speakers in the bridge provided one in the hole made by physics.
Techt did not move, only issued orders. He was waiting for the answer to his challenge. So far the largest ship sent to challenge them was a destroyer called the Indifference. Techt had this ship destroyed with the silence of his ship’s weapons, and Indifference existed no more.
He ordered his ship to surge forward. The blade-like prow and protruding chin of the new face of the Taiidani navy surged forward.
‘The Queen’ as called by the Base personnel of Aslom, was just now emerging from her docking yards. Her baby-blue hull and white stripes reflected a tattered ivory in the light from the nearby sun. However, her darkened gun ports were already abuzz with energy.
The Hiigaran Mistress, seated on the wide command couch, waved her hands over the instrumentation controls and made a staccato of commands. The huge, feminine form of the Hiigaran Battlecruiser Luna moved into position. Flack frigates flanked her position, ready to shoot down bullets and spaceships sent to violate their matriarch.
The Hiigaran Mistress Saera directed her orders to her command in the blue-lit bridge. Instruments flickered, and a tone announced the ion cannons were firing. They penetrated one of the leading assault frigates, blowing it from stem to stern, leaving nothing save the explosion and absence of 87 Taiidani from the stars.
Ishtin-Tish turned her prow, showing her thin cross-section to the emerging empress as she cleared her moorings. Techt smiled, and rallied his troops with several precise commands.
The two behemoths closed on one another, marking the first clash of Kushan and Taiidan arms in more than a century.
But now, the Taiidani had returned. This statement was punctuated when Ishtin-Tish opened fire with her cylindrical batteries on the nose. Following were the wedge-shaped projectiles from the mass drivers- impacting and shattering the first layers of armor on the matriarch.
Saera responded with her own weapons, and it became aware to everyone on the Hiigaran side that their match had finally come. Whereas the earlier Vaygr mongrels were simple to defeat in their larger size, this was an enemy that understood them. The Taiidani had always been equal to the Hiigarans in many ways, from starship design ethos to the drive to conquer space. This fact had only been forgotten for the past hundred years.
Techt was willing to remind the universe, as he drove his ship closer, and started rising his vessel. In this way, the bottom turret of the matriarch would be shut down as he assumed the high ground. He ordered the frigate wave to divide also, knowing that the action would draw both ion cannons away from a singular target.
The storm of small-caliber bullets flew between both forces, but to the Capitals this was inconsequential. The only thing that mattered was the heavy weapons designed to kill motherships… and others of their kind. Luna held close to her escorts, unwilling to do battle with the crazed Taiidan.
Techt has no such reservations. The enemy were weak, and there was no way those flak frigates could pose him any danger. He barked orders, intending to bring Ishtin-Tish so close to the enemy as if to ram her.
The shining blades of blue ion cannons swept into the voluptuous form of the Luna, ripping jagged black scars across the surface. The Pulsars on outboard mounts also contributed, stitching holes in the armor.
Luna responded back as the enemy battlecruiser closed, punching holes into the underside of the chin and spilling the supplies stored there. A chance hit also knocked into the sensor dome, washing static across the bridge of the Ishtin-Tish.
But Techt was not seeing with the screens, he was still seeing with his mind. The Taiidan fist was closing in on the battlecruiser, and it was coming close to the time where she had to select destruction or surrender.
Saera waited on her dais for the right moment before issuing the order.
Bombers sallied forth from the womb of the battlecruiser, then turned and angled for the opposition. Bolts of blue stormed out of the waves of fighters, pitting the nose of the Ishtin-Tish with holes. The four squadrons flew along the hull, taunting the point-defense gunners with their proximity.
Techt was not concerned with them. So long as he had weapons, he intended to make his presence felt. He ordered the top turret targeted.
Saera had also ordered specific fire to her weapons, but the Ion turrets could not elevate. The hooded Ion cannon mount disappeared in fire moments later.
And so this moment lingered in the minds of both sides, and was repeated endlessly across the rest of time. On high, swooping down, was the Mohawk figure of the Ishtin-Tish, remarked as the herald of the Taiidan Return. Below, and with her turret ablaze, was Luna, who represented the steadfast defense of the Hiigarans in light of another assault on their homeworld.
Ishtin-Tish continued firing even as she drew closer to the Luna. The helmsmen were nervous- the Battlecruiser was exposed, and bombers were present. Techt’s only thought was his mission, and the huge distraction he was making.
The Frigate swarms were now locked in combat with their counterparts, fighters and corvettes whizzing between them. And yet, the Taiidani had come in larger numbers… as the Hiigarans had feared. It was only a matter of time before the Taiidani overwhelmed their position and were forced to surrender, or destruct.
Saera refused this destiny. She would not be made to accept the notion of surrender. Instead, she decided to make a rash maneuver of her own, and ordered it.
Luna accelerated and elevated on the galactic plain, bringing her gargantuan mass upward to collide with Ishtin-Tish.
Techt had seen this coming, and ordered the ordinance launched from the hangar bays.
Cruise missiles dumped out of the hangar and straight into the nose of the Luna, ripping gaping holes in the nose of the battlecruiser and extinguishing the lives of nearly a third of the crew.
Saera ordered a reversal of engines, and the Luna retreated, nose ablaze with fire from the gaping holes.
Yet, this cleared the bottom ion turret for firing, as she pitched her nose up. The beam lanced out from underneath, cutting into the starboard reactor pod of the Ishtin-Tish and causing explosions in the coolant pods. Fires were reported inside, and decks were sealed to prevent the tidal wave of fire from reaching anywhere critical.
Techt, for the first time, used his eyes to look at the status report of his vessel. He ordered a withdrawal also, and the two Battlecruisers parted away from one another. Turrets continued to make potshots at each side’s enemy, but with the increasing distance the shots were no longer definitive.
It was now that both commanders considered the larger picture. While a destroyer group and two flotillas of destroyers were en-route, what looked like the Emperor’s flagship and an entourage of two full fleets were just behind the assault wave, and closing. Saera made a hushed order.
The Battlecruiser launched fireworks from her sides- exploding and masking the area with particles. Techt barked an order for the gravwell generator to activate, but particle interference was too high.
The Taiidani fired blindly into the cloud, hoping to score some critical hits even as the Hiigarans were in retreat. But even as this was happening, a grin spread upon Techt’s face.
It had begun. This was only the crest of a counter-wave... Now, it would be the Taiidani returning to their lost homeworld.
Music: Allah Mazare by Niyaz