I walked to the front of the ship, sitting down in one of the chairs in the cockpit and connecting to the ship with my implant, feeling my surroundings as if I were the ship—the weight of the water around me, the lightness of the air above me, and the buzzing noise of encrypted communications between the battleship above and the ships on the ground.
I sensed Marcus come online, taking over the weapons and shields, leaving me with piloting, monitoring the engines, and repairing them if it came to that.
Deciding that we were better off under the water, I checked if the door was fully shut and dove, propelling the ship with the anti-gravity. While not as fast as the main engines, it made less noise. My only worry was that there might be megafauna in the ocean too.
The ship’s sonar wasn’t detecting anything though, so at least it didn’t look like we were going to fight some kind of giant seal.
Hal got back to me with his simulations after a few minutes. Using near space to get close worked well, provided I did it before they mined near space. The difficulties came with the target. Firing at the bridge of a battleship didn’t work because in an age of implants, the bridge became redundant. As long as there were qualified people and working sensors on the ship, the bridge crew could be anywhere. The ship’s main gun was the obvious target, but disabling it only meant that it was disabled. Simulations showed that they had bombs aboard capable of taking out the caves and even if the simulations were wrong, they could tow an asteroid to the planet and drop it on the rock formations from space.
If we wanted to be sure, we needed to go for the engines and the only problem with that was that everyone goes for the engines. A ship that can’t move, can’t fight (much). Engines have extra physical shielding. Many have stronger shields protecting them. The nozzle on the end was the most vulnerable point because you couldn’t cover it with shields while accelerating. Most ships placed extra weapons back there to discourage rear attacks.
“Marcus, are you looking through the simulations?” I brought our spaceship closer to the surface and checked the air above us with the passive sensors without seeing anything. That was good as far as it went.
A noise from the real world made it into the simulation—Marcus sighed. “It’s not looking good. From what I can see, the best simulations are the ones where we pop into real space right behind the engines, blast the ship power plant with our main gun, pop out into near space and then back into real space enough times that what’s left of the engine room isn’t fixable. It would be easy except that Hal’s assuming that there are still fighters up there.”
The shadowy forms I got out of the passive sensors didn’t give much detail about the battleship. “He’s probably right. The Extinction class battleship has a lot of fighters. On the bright side, our shields hold in most simulations. So that’s the good news.”
Marcus laughed. “Most. That’s the best shot. Are we going or did you have another idea?”
“No,” I said. “I don’t have a better idea. Be ready with the shields.”
I let the ship float upward until it was outside the water. As I did, I felt the barrier of the shield surround the ship. I’m not sure how to describe the barrier. Electrical? It’s certainly in there, but that’s not a major component of the shield.
In any case, the shields came up as the ship cleared the ocean water. With the shields on, we were invisible to any form of detection that I was aware of. Energy was simply absorbed, making the shields appear black, and making the ship a silhouette of itself. That sort of thing stood out during the day, but fortunately, it was night.
I continued to use the anti-gravity. It wasn’t quick, but when I used it, I didn’t have to thin the shields and release heat for it to work. That meant that no one did see it when I flipped the ship into near space about a kilometer above the planet.
Everything around the ship became blurry to the sensors as we shot upward at what would have been near light speed in our own universe, arriving in orbit almost instantly. I slowed the ship so that I’d have to aim it toward the rear of the great cylinder shaped battleship ahead.
An unknown number of small, blurry ships flew next to the main ship, but a quick count showed it was at least ten. When I exited near space, I’d have to move.