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"Sometimes, war is cheap."
-Arkady Sardais, Hegemon - Fifth Degree.
 
We got lazy. It was that simple. We didn't do a proper pre-scan before we jumped. I'm sure some would disagree with me. It wasn't like we had the time. Command didn't know that separatists were sitting just outside of scanning range at the Luet terminus. They certainly didn't expect for the Taurians to throw their entire force at one minor terminus.
 
We came out to complete chaos. Orders had been to take the entire 58th Roving Protectorate Fleet and sneak it through a fairly minor arm of the Thriacia wormhole network. We'd out-put to a backwater system and creep up behind what was suspected to be a fairly minor resistance cell, sitting at some nothing station. But someone in command was a sympathizer.

While we were non-comm in transit the separatists blew a half-dozen bombs and stepped, pistol-forward, into every command center in the system. Which wasn't hard. Luet was one of the few termini named for the system it resided in, as opposed to the other way around. Yea, it was that middle-of-nowhere. The first thing we knew when we went from ultra-fast light to system-standard dark was a squawk from command to power the armor and light the torps. That was two seconds too late.
 
Disruption plates were in place before we'd fully regained mass and they were able to blow our flagship to dust with about as much power as it would take to light up a fighter. Command structure went with it. It took a full three minutes before someone regained enough sense to realize that the entire automated Luet gate-keeping system had been turned against us. That was enough to lose a quarter of the Taurian system's largest offensive fleet. Someone picked a coordinate that they knew wasn't on the other side of a star and didn't require a run through enemy forces. They sent an auto-jump command to the entire fleet. We had less then ten seconds to comply or be left alone in hostile territory. Every ship left with a working FTL spun it up and leaped eyes shut into the only open vector we had.
 
They'd set it up that way.
 
We lost another fifteen ships in the flowering blossoms of matter-to-matter energy conversion, no one had told them that our formation intersected with a few floating hunks of rock. Our deep-scanner was one of them. It couldn't have been planned out that way, but it had to have been. There's only so much coincidence a man can take. I'd bet they had nudged them into place, they knew the where and when of our arrival, it wasn't too much of a leap to assume they knew our formation as well.
 
After that we didn't have time to blink before a another dozen ships were disabled by pre-programmed limpets. Cheep pieces of half-baked computing equipment that did nothing other that target a known system and turn it off. FTL, weapons, life-support. The holy trinity of surviving enemy encounters switched off. Those ships were targeted for one reason. Harvest. When you're a rag-tag group of rebels disavowed by every major government on the galactic disk and shunned by the rest, good ships are hard to come by. The separatists can man a few ships.
 
The fleet needed to figure out what to do, default mechanisms were triggered, emergency signals were activated. They fizzled. Asteroids surrounded us, meteorites stood between our ships, and the remains of the blown vessels had been tainted. Ultra-magnetic metals and otherwise useless radiating rocks were blocking our signals with far too much noise. There was so much dust, we couldn't even get a tight-band working.
 
Each ship was an island, alone and friendless. Unable to move because we didn't know what other limpets might be sitting out there and because we were sitting in the middle of the asteroid field.
 
Now, I don't know anything about what they're doing on the other ships, but I'm pretty sure I'm the unluckiest officer in the few dozen we have left. You see, I happened to look out the window. Outside--in the dust--I can see the red blinkers that are unmistakably mines.
 
Their irregular lights are drifting towards us.
Another one from the Angels Fall First Universe.

This is really a first draft, so I could sure go for some criticism.
:iconxybre:
xybre Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
"Cheep pieces of half-baked computing equipment that did nothing other that target a known system and turn it off."

Cheep -> Cheap
that -> than

Otherwise win :D
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