The Burning of Litash (3)

CS Unyielding Order, Litash high orbitals.

The circumambient skies over Litash burned three times over; with the pin-point blazes of wounded ships venting hot gases and of ongoing warhead detonations in the low orbitals, with the long bright streaks of hulks destroyed before they made it to orbit reentering uncontrolled, and with curtains and sheets of brightly-colored auroral fire as the atmosphere reacted to the particles sleeting down from the battle zone.

It would be quite a show for anyone on the ground, Councilman Cyprium reflected sourly, but then, anyone on the ground with half a mind would have fled for deep-crust shelter when we took the high orbitals.

“Close up the englobement over there, Aís!  You’ll have some punchcraft making a break for it on your shortscan in a quarter – don’t let them reach orbit.  Flag actual, clear.”

The plan, of course, had worked perfectly.  Sweeping in with tangle-aided simultaneity from both of the system’s stargates and ignoring the planet itself, task force 3-46 had caught most of the Litashian fleet between hammer and anvil as it climbed out of the gravity well of the system’s gas giant and burned hard to acme to get clear of their convergence; the superior mobility of the Imperial cruiser squadrons had run it down – the fleet was, after all, mostly composed of destroyers, frigates and the disguised “naval auxiliaries” for which Litash had gained infamy – and destroyed it in a single pass.

“Negative, stay in position, Peremptory.  Leave him to the destroyers.  Flag actual, clear.”

Leaving the destroyer screen behind to picket the stargates, the cruisers had then rejoined forces to sweep down on Litash itself, blasting the highports and defense stations, and occupying the high orbitals in a textbook blockade globe – giving them room and line to sight on any ship trying to leave the planet. The steady stream of would-be escapees, over the last two hours, had dwindled to a trickle.  Few had made it past the englobement, and those wouldn’t escape the destroyers.

The Admiral looked over at him.  “Running out of things to kill down here, Cyprium.”

He nodded.  “It’s time.  Let’s make an end of it.”

“All cruisers, this is Admiral Sargas.  Reform the englobement at twelve planetary diameters, best speed, and report when in position.  Stand by for the deployment of CALYX HOLLOW.  Flag actual, clear.”