Chapter 5: Proximus

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"... needed on the command deck!"

Terris felt the ship rock and fell unceremoniously to the floor. He immediately pushed himself to his knees and choked back the need to be sick. Firm hands grabbed his arm and jerked him upright. He looked into the eyes of Haden's android face. Terris blinked. He saw worry there.

"Terris. You're needed on the command deck now!"

Haden shoved him in the direction of the hangar bay as the ship jolted again. Terris ran. He passed through the hangar at a dead sprint, caught a support pillar with one arm and swung around to the corridor leading to the Dawnhammer's command center. Doors opened as he ran past and sealed shut as soon as he was clear. In moments he came to a halt, gasping for breath.

"Terris, assume control of the ship." Lights powered up and the AI flared to holographic life, already in midstep as he moved to the young man. Terris did as instructed, still confused by the event that had twisted his mind. He shook his head, trying to clear the horrific feeling from his thoughts.

"Activating live feed." The android stated abruptly. Immediately, the bridge and ship disappeared, replaced by a full 360 degree view of surrounding space. Just to the right of center forward was a blue and green planet that he knew, immediately, was not Earth. Land masses were different and the blue of the planets oceans were not the same as Earth's. Blue, yes, but slightly off. Just to the left of the planet was a silvery construction, massive with spoked wheels decorating it's length. It reflected light, but not white or yellow, as he was used to. It was red.

He registered all of this as secondary. His primary focus was on the war being waged before him. Light flares from weapons streaked across the black, occasionally a ship's hull would rupture and bright explosions would reach his view.

"Haden?"

"We jumped in system to an apparent battle being waged, sir. I cannot identify the construction of some of the ships."

"Are there Guardians?"

"I have isolated all ships transmitting on Guardian frequencies." About a third of the moving dots lit up with green outlines. From his viewpoint, the Guardians were defending the space station. They would strike out, engage attackers and move back into a defensive formation. The ship bucked again, causing Terris to turn completely around. A strange round ship was peeling away from the Dawnhammer's tail.

"Damage?"

"None, sir. The weapons they are using aren't penetrating my energy barrier."

"Can you fire backwards?"

"There are turrets located above and below my hull. You may engage when ready."

Terris laughed out loud. "I don't know how to use your weapons!"

"Consider this a live training session, sir."

A red targeting reticle flared into existence. Wherever Terris looked, the reticle followed. He locked his gaze on the orb. "Fire." He said aloud. Twin sparks of white flared out into space, but the enemy ship avoided them by banking hard. "I thought you had light cannons."

"I do. Forward mounted. Unless you are prepared to engage in a piloting session as well as combat training, you'll have to compensate for projectile speed." Terris was certainly not ready to learn to fly an unfamiliar ship backwards while he was fending off an enemy attack. He nodded. The orb moved to his left and approached again, firing two shots into his ship. He moved with the impacts and the ship seemed to respond, he felt the hit, but it didn't jar him. He watched the other ship intensely, memorizing it's patterns, as it approached again, Terris looked just to the left. Fire. He moved his reticle to the right and commanded the ship to fire again. As expected the ship moved to dodge the first round and flew directly into the second. He moved his gaze down and left. FIRE. His enemy, recoiling from the hit was attempting to break off it's attack and slid away, right into the third round. A puff of green light flashed in the distance.

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