Consecutusque cohortis ad Rubiconem flumen, qui provinciae eius finis erat, paulum constitit, ac reputans quantum moliretur, conversus ad proximos: "Etiam nunc," inquit, "regredi possumus; quod si ponticulum transierimus, omnia armis agenda erunt." - Suetonius.
Arrenhe dug her nails into her chest as she watched the city begin to be consumed by flames. Large columns of smoke were now rising in the distance highlighted by the constant flashes of energy and explosions. Every so often a stray energy beam would sear through the center of Ra'tleihfi sending a fireball accompanied by a flurry of embers into the night sky. Even now the main residential district was being devoured by a massive firestorm. The ancient wooden architecture of those homes were nothing more than kindling being fed to an angry beast. Sirens echoed as the fire battalions attempted to subdue the flames but were no match for the blistering torment the city was being thrust under.
"Soon the Senate's shielding will fail." Arrenhe murmured to Nnerhin who now stood next to her in equal awe of the ferocity of the attack.
[IRW Hhveir Ri'hwathech]
"Where did they come from?! Why didn't we receive any warning?" Raha stood behind Lai entirely vexed by the situation and kept stomping her feet every time she spoke. She was angry and she wanted so badly to hit something but unfortunately Lai was too pitiful for her to use as a punching bag so she had to make do with stomping. "Can't you contact anyone on the planet?"
Lai shook his head visibly irritated from having to restate the obvious "our communication's are being jammed. I can't raise anyone on the planet nor am I able to contact any of our orbital facilities. I have tried multiple times and the situation has not changed since you asked me two minutes ago."
"Don't get smart with me erie'Arrain." Raha balled her fist, stared a hole into the back of Lai's head, and then let out a sigh and retreated to the command throne. "They're attacking the Capital. We can't just sit here and watch."
"We are missing almost half the crew. Plus the Commander-General and RS are both still on the planet." Imin stated as he moved next to the command throne. Although she hated to hear it Raha knew the doctor was right. They were in no shape to jump into a confusing situation.
"I know but it doesn't make me feel any better Imin." She sighed and stared at the viewscreen helplessly. "Keep trying to break through the jamming signal Lai."
"Ie Rek-" Lai's voice broke as he violently tapped on his console. The view screen image suddenly shifted to an image of a bomber heading towards them "there is a small vessel approaching us from Romulus."
"Who is it?" Raha asked standing back up and staring at the visual. She had a feeling who it might be and the adrenaline was beginning to surge through her veins.
"They will be close enough to communicate through the jamming shortly." Lai said. The entire bridge seemed on pins and needles as they waited. The view screen suddenly shifted to an interior view of the bomber's cock pit and Raha's hunch was right. Although looking a bit haggard the Khre'Riov's expression told Raha all she needed to know- the commander-general was pissed. "Khre'Riov." She said with a grin.
"Don't Khre'Riov me Raha." Shiarrael replied angrily "what the hell are all of you doing sitting there like a flock of dumb hlai while those demons set our home ablaze?" She lifted her hand dismissively before Raha could respond "no matter. Beam me aboard now."
"Ie." Lai answered.
Shiarrael dematerialized out of the bomber's cockpit and appeared in front of the view screen and Raha. She motioned to Raha to take the tactical console and made her way towards the command throne. But before sitting down her eyes set on Imin "doctor- fortunately we don't have any use for you here at the moment. Why don't you make yourself a bit more useful and head down to engineering? I believe they will need an extra set of hands very shortly."
Imin winced at her words but he knew better then to argue with her "I don't like this but I will do as you have asked." He dipped his head as a courtesy and then quickly made his way towards the lift.
Raha looked up from the tactical console "do you think it's wise to put the doctor in engineering if we're about to go into comb-"
"Why?" Shiarrael glared at Raha as she took her seat in the command throne "what are you so afraid of EnArrain? If you lose a limb or organ we can just glue you back together." She smirked as the bridge crew looked uncomfortable at the prospect of the Khre'Riov's healing techniques. "Raha, how many Galae vessels are there in orbit?"
"I am able to detect about fourteen other combat capable vessel through the interference."
"Two D'Hatham, Two D'Kazanka, One D'Aylhr, and the rest are warsprites."
Shiarrael sighed "they will have to do. Helm, break us from synchronized orbit and take us in range to communicate with the-" she paused and looked at Raha "what is the name of the D'Aylhr ship?"
"Designation IRW Hvei'khenn."
"bring us into communication range with the Hvei'khenn and open a channel."
"Ie, Rekkhai." The view screen image shifted to the Hvei'khenn as they started to approach the D'Aylhr class ship. "Channel open." On the view screen a young officer appeared. He seemed uneasy and fidgeted as he stared at them.
"This is Khre'Riov Shiarrael t'Rehu. I am taking command of all operational forces in system. I need you to break through the jamming and help us relay our communications to all vessels and facilities nearby." Shiarrael paused, waited for a moment, and then frowned when she was met with silence. "I need you to do this immediately."
"Forgive me Khre'Riov but most of our crew and leih are planet side-"
Raha winced and shook her head quietly whispering "wrong answer" to herself.
"Are you so incompetent that you don't know how to run your ship when your Leih is not present?" Shiarrael glowered at him and the young man seemed to shrink away. "I will make this easy. If you can't get a message out by the time the Hhveir Ri'hwathech reaches the enemy I will have you and your Leih executed for gross incompetence when all is said and done." She leaned back in the command throne and tossed a glance at Lai "set course for the enemy vessels maximum speed." She casually turned back towards the viewscreen as Lai confirmed they were headed towards the enemy "well? You're losing time." The young officer looked off screen and shouted as the visual ended returning to a view of the planet below and fighting ahead.
"I don't mean pester Khre'Riov but we are also missing a large number of our crew..." Raha's voice trailed off as she found Shiarrael's vexed expression directed at her.
"We will have to make do. Would a thrai let a fool into her nest without at least leaving them with a bite? You are right that we are in a poor position - but we have no choice. The longer we wait the more damage they will do to our home." Shiarrael pressed her armchair console and activated the ship wide comm "this is your Leih. We will soon engage the enemy. I know we are not in the best shape for battle but the enemy are attempting to destroy our home. We can't let them go unchallenged. I have never doubted the courage or conviction of this crew and now my faith in you will be put to the test. This will be your greatest test. So let us bravely thrust ourselves into the thrai's maw and show our enemies the fury of the Rihannsu."
Raha smirked at the Khre'Riov and returned her attention to the tactical readouts. This was going to be a challenge.
[To be continued]
Captain Shiarrael t'Rehu