Thermal Overload During Rescue Pt 2

"Juliet Utah Four-Four-Eight-Five, we got you. Proceed to evacuation zones, business is good today!"

"Amen!" he replied, a genuine smile finally forming. They were not done yet! Following the Condors, he skimmed the hull of cruiser with the same near-reckless abandon as the other pilots, flying low and flat as PDCs filled space with an array of death-granting metal. Over the hull he went at speeds that would burst ears, determined to get by another means of death for the people onboard. Shells pinged off his hull, some finding purchase in penetration as they smacked around the inside.

As soon as he cleared the hull, he turned and reached forward to the shield panel. Grasping the clasps and with a surge of adrenaline, he ripped the metal off. He grabbed the multi-tool in the cabin and grunted with strain as he lifted the metal towards the shattered part of the canopy.

Warning, thermal overload detected. Shutdown imminent.

"Come on, come on," he muttered to himself, thinking of all the torture he could inflict upon this panel if it didn't got into place. "Get in the gorram hole!" Finally, he got a read on life support as he began to melt the edges to the cockpit frame together. There was perhaps one percent of air in here now, the last that was in the pumps before they rattled off.

Warning, thermal signature critical.

Huh, that's better, he thought. Then a warning light popped, literally. The coolant pressure in the reactor was beginning to drop, the supercooled liquid now rushing into the heat sinks just as the light itself blinked five times and shattered.

Behind him, his ship, and all others, time was finally up. Deep within the core of Orbital, the FTL drive began to spin up. The reactor, already far beyond critical, proceeded with the second part of a two-step destruction. It dumped all excess power to the warp drive. Light began bend around Orbital as that wave of out-of-control energy was fed to the field inducers, then to the Cochrane coils. These coils themselves began to glow with a frightening intensity of heat, failsafes disengaged as space-time began to fold.

The warp field coalesced into full view in the form of warped starlight. Stars melded into one bright light as the oscillating field increased in both intensity and speed of oscillations. Stray debris began to float at increasing momentum towards the station, wildcat fighters arrested in forward velocity and beginning to fall back upon the doomed satellite. The cruiser started to list to starboard, engines now flaring as she tried to reverse away.

Holiday finished the last weld when reality refused to be bent anymore.

The bright light that was now Orbital suddenly grew brighter, radiating outwards at lightspeed. Inside the warp bubble, the power gave way. The implosion constricted even more space in a fraction of a second before exploding outwards with a force no dreadnought could hope to match. Warped and glowing debris were expelled into orbit.

The cruiser, suddenly now fully reversing, was sent skittering towards the planet. The debris, parts of the Habitat Ring, fell upon the craft. The rending of metal and splitting of screaming atmosphere was silent to onlookers, a terrifying reality for those experiencing it. A body slammed against Emerson's canopy, splattering with the force of a train. He peered around his makeshift repair. It would have to do.

The destruction was not over. One iota of knowledge that everyone knew of but never thought it to be witnessed was barreling towards both Emerson and the cruiser. A gravity wave, generated by the now destroyed Orbital, and perceptible only as a shimmer across space as it caught the starlight.

Shockwaves from explosions in space were non-existent except where gravity was concerned. And the wave generated was a mild one at best. Still, the results were felt by Emerson as he suddenly was slammed into his seat. He felt the acceleration at the same time he lost control and was sent into a spin. The Condors were swept up with him and sent equally out-of-control. The cruiser, fires expelling into space, was noticeably pushed even further to Dragoon. Doomed, it began to fall. It slowed in descent but it had no way to grip orbit. On fire and listing, it descended down.

"Jesus fucking Christ! What the hell?!" he heard his gunner go. Emerson felt a grunt or two escape him as he felt the craft shake. He was entering the atmosphere, the first tell-tale of friction beginning to shake the occupants of the 100 dton vessel.

With strength and plenty of cussing, he tried to adjust his vector.

Warning, thermal overload detected. Shutdown imminent.

"Don't I fucking know it!" He yelled to the computer.

Warning, thermal-

An explosion occurred and the computers went dead. He jiggled the stick before realizing what happened. He started scrambling, looking for the physical backup breaker. "Backup, where's the backup!" He scrambled around, yelling, feeling gees start to weigh him back. Another series of tinks was barely heard over the increasing roar. Several rounds of PDC fire streaked through the craft, and three found Emerson. He felt the instant pain of the impacts fling him a bit to the side, the first passing through his left forearm while the next two pierced his chest, striking his lung.

Gasping in shock, a faint thought of logical thinking reminded him that at least his suit would seal the wounds and not let him bleed out, he felt the pressure in the room give way. Weakened by entry and now perforated with bullet holes, his makeshift shield blew out and away. His field narrowed from delta-vee, gees, and most certainly pain.

His eyes focused down that tunnel vision to a lone switch, near the emergency beacon. He heavily lifted his arm, hand shaking with the fight against physics. It slammed down with a finality. The backups flared to life the computers in front of him. The blinked and flickered as he slowly turned himself to face forward. He gasped at air as looked to the visage of a spinning ground. Emerson pulled the stick up and almost blacked out from the change in velocity.

Just... A... Bit...

Finally he pulled up, the weight on him gone and replaced with honest gravity. Wincing in pain from the still shaking craft, he scanned his board and the horizon. The backup battery was holding but only held so little energy. Thankfully, he saw Clarke Island directly ahead. He heard someone stomp beside him and into the co-pilot seat. When Link asked him of their situation, he merely replied in a strained voice, "I got twenty percent, I've got to set her down. I'm... Going to have to glide'er in."

"Can you even do that?"

He grimaced and brought her in for final approach.

((Clarke's Island))

The booming sound of JU 4485 was heard miles away but the sight of the craft was had as it came in. It trailed smoke from multiple points, metal blown out and hull warped by weapons fire. Lower still came the 100 dton craft, wobbling in attempt to stay steady. Holiday had spotted the parade ground, the nose aimed at angle to it.

The craft smacked into the ground with a screech of metal and the furrowing of the hull. She bounced twice before slamming again in one final skid, trailing sideways as his leftmost wing clipped one of the barracks. It crumpled the prefab with impact as the section tore loose.

Silence befell the craft as she finally came to a rest. The computers gave one final flicker before dying out. It was as if the ship had given her last to make sure they arrived before passing away.

Emerson chuckled, coughed, and spat blood out of his helmet. "Bio...foam..." He wheezed.

At last, they made it! Holiday felt pride through it all, slipping slowly away. He wondered if the first-aid was still on the bulkhead.

Fuck... What a way to go... he thought.

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