The entire bridge quaked with greater and greater intensity. Standing upright became increasingly difficult with each passing moment, even with the help of safety bars. A ship of this size was not meant to traverse a planet’s atmosphere.
“There she is!” A cadet pointed at a screen.
The enemy ship itself still wasn’t visible. However, flames burst up out of nowhere, surrounding a small blank area on the screen. Something was definitely breaking the atmosphere of the planet.
“Now! Pull out. Full speed ahead.”
The shaking quickly diminished. Two seconds later, the bridge was perfectly level and moving forward smoothly again.
“Now! Target those flames. Fire aft lasers. All engines stop.”
Clark concentrated on the view screens. Lasers connected twice as two explosions erupted amidst the flames. Crew members cheered. Captain Trind quickly put a stop to the celebration as he continued to stare at the screens and rattle off commands. The enemy vessel followed suit and broke out of the atmosphere back into orbit. It came out firing. Lasers once again impacted the ship in several locations.
“Fire! Keep firing! Target the smoke! We can see exactly where she is now. Hit her!”
The camera view displayed her approach. The smoking ship passed directly overhead, both ships trading fire, both taking hits. Clark could feel the deck tremble every time they were assaulted.
“All ahead one-half. Follow that smoke trail. Fire forward lasers.”
The entire ship jumped three feet as an explosion emanated from below decks, causing those standing to lose their footing. A few seconds passed. Several crew members shook their heads and struggled to stand. It took a few more seconds to regain composure. Clark felt the ship slow down.
“Sir . . . the engine room . . . the engine room is gone. Completely.”
David Englund is a storyteller (science fiction author) and teaches economics at North Dakota State University. His first two titles, Upsetting the Tides and UNSEASONAL WAR are available on Amazon. Camouflaged Encounters is due out in late 2014 and the fourth and fifth books are in progress.