Wing Commander in Real Time - Day 3 - 1259 Zulu
The Terran Knowledge Bank
280 EXT. BEHIND JOVIAN PLANET MOON
- The Kilrathi admiral's flagship, the Snakeir, fires its
- massive ion engines and d rifts from behind the shadow of
- the moon.
281 INT. SNAKEIR - BRIDGE
- The murky green atmosphere allows only silhouettes as
- Kilrathi move about. The Kilrathi Captain approaches the
- Admiral's chair.
- KILRATHI CAPTAIN
- A manned Confederation fighter is
- approaching the quasar jump point,
- Admiral. We're not in position to
- KILRATHI ADMIRAL
- He's going to warn the Confed fleet of
- our jump coordinates. Follow him.
- Instruct all ships to mark our course
- and follow us through. Sixty second
SC. 282 OMIT
283 EXT. SNAKEIR
- The giant ship turns, and accelerates, following a distant
- speck of light... Blair's Rapier.
284 EXT. TIGER CLAW - BRIDGE
- To the relief of everyone on the bridge, the Kilrathi
- cruiser veers right.
- RADAR MAN
- She's changing course!
- Mister Gerald, prepare to lower our
- shield. Starboard missile battery,
- prepare to fire!
- Sir, the missile guidance systems won't
- activate at this range.
- They won't need to. Arm warheads.
285 INT. TIGER CLAW - MISSILE ROOM
- Men and women lock and load missiles, preparing to fire.
286 INT. TIGER CLAW - FLIGHT DECK
- Peterson and his crew brace themselves.
287 INT. RAPIER COCKPIT - BLAIR
- The shaking is infernal.
- (voice only)
- Light speed mach point eight two.
- Twenty seconds to jump. Can you do it?
- (Distorted by the shaking.)
- Only one way to find out.
- (Closes his eyes.)
- Coordinates: 1 7 2 9 4 mark 3 3 4 3
- vector 4 4 2 7 1 angle of attack 6 3 9
- 5 6 1 by 3 2 4 9....
- HE closes his eyes.
288 EXT. TIGER CLAW & KILRATHI CRUISER
- The Kilrathi pour cannon fire onto the Tiger Claw's shield
- as the two great ships come abreast of each other.
289 INT. TIGER CLAW - BRIDGE
- The ship is rocking with shock waves.
- Lower shields. Give 'em a broadside,
- Mister Gerald.
290 INT. TIGER CLAW - TORPEDO ROOM
- The missile room crew, fire their salvo, even as they are
- rocked by explosions from the cannon fire.
291 EXT. MANIAC's RAPIER
- Maniac blows a last Krant escort out of the air and turns
- upside down to avoid the fireball. Then he s tares at the
- sight below him.
- And they say I'm crazy.
292 EXT. TIGER CLAW AND KILRATHI CRUISER
- A DOZEN GUIDED MISSILES streak from the Tiger Claw's
- battery as they bear on the cruiser, each striking the
- cruiser, piercing the shield, and EXPLODING AGAINST THE
- A missile finds the Kilrathi bridge and destroys it. The
- cruiser rolls over and "capsizes" as its stern clears the
- devastating field of fire...
- The Tiger Claw pulls clear as the Kilrathi ship is
- SHATTERED BY A SERIES OF EXPLOSIONS, finally
- disintegrating in the void.
293 INT. RAPIER COCKPIT - BLAIR
- The vibration is accompanied by a strange noise. BLAIR
- continues to spout numbers: 4, 7, 5, 5, 3, 9, 9...as MERLIN
- counts down the seconds to jump.
- Five seconds to jump. Four, three, two.
- Suddenly, time and motion stop. All is silence.
294 INT. TIGER CLAW - BRIDGE & VARIOUS STATIONS
- As one, officers and crew of the Tiger Claw scream, cheer,
- hug one another.
294A EXT. EARTH'S SOLAR SYSTEM
- Placid, calm. We can clearly see our system's nine
- planets, with Earth, blue, lush, alive...vulnerable,
- spinning in the distance.
- Suddenly, a blinding flash of light, and Blair's Rapier
- appears, blasts past us, jump drive engines glowing.
SC. 295 OMIT
296 INT. RAPIER COCKPIT - BLAIR
- Blair is ecstatic.
- We did it! We did it! I love this baby!
- She held together.
- (voice only)
- I'm not sure I did.
- Blair flicks his radio switch.
- Lieutenant Christopher Blair of the
- Tiger Claw calling any Confed Ship. A
- Kilrathi battle group has the Charybdis
- jump coordinates. They will breach at
- 167 mark 889, Sol system. Repeat, 167
- mark 889, Sol system. Do you read?
- (to Merlin)
- Check your frequencies for any sign of
- the Confed fleet.
- Nothing. Wait a minute. Check behind us.
- Behind us?
- Space, where Blair had been a moment before: A second,
- bigger, flash of light and the gigantic Snakeir appears
- through the warp in the time space continuum.
- MERLIN (O.S.)
- Kilrathi capital ship... Snakeir class
- They came through the jump point.
SC. 297 OMIT
298 INT. RAPIER COCKPIT - BLAIR
- Blair pounds the instrument panel in frustration.
- Shit! We're too late!
KILRATHI BATTLE GROUP SNAKEIR-CLASS
ULYSSES CORRIDOR MARCH 17, 2654
1 MINUTE FROM
- Admiral Bokoth's plans, based on an unholy pact between
- himself and a now-dead Pilgrim, were falling apart before him.
- But Captain Thiraka would not wave his prior reservations in
- the admiral's face. He delivered his report meekly, comfortable
- with the knowledge that the admiral's next error would be his
- last. Commander Ke'Soick's fingers itched with the desire to
- murder Bokoth, and Thiraka would permit his shintahr that
- honor now. Thiraka would sacrifice the life of a dear friend for
- the preservation of the Empire. As agonizing as it was to lose
- Ke'Soick—who would be executed for the admiral's
- murder—Thiraka had come to see the truth and the honor in
- disposing of Bokoth. He bowed before the old one. "Kalralahr. A
- manned Confederation fighter is approaching the quasar with
- its jump drive engaged. We're not in position to intercept."
- "A fighter?" Bokoth asked, turning in the command chair.
- "Using what coordinates?"
- "Apparently the right ones, sir. The ship is on course."
- Bokoth's good eye bulged. "He's going to warn the Confed fleet
- of our jump coordinates. Follow him. Instruct all ships to mark
- our course but follow original coordinates through.
- Sixty-second intervals."
- "As you wish. But I should remind you that our enemy is
- capable of jumping gravity wells, pulsars, and now a quasar.
- They must have Pilgrims among them. If the Tiger Claw is not
- destroyed, I believe she will jump behind our fleet."
- "If she does, then I'll have three destroyers from the fleet
- waiting for her. Satisfied?"
- "Only with victory, Kalralahr. Only with victory." Thiraka
- nodded and stepped away. He gave the new orders to the helm,
- then stood beside Ke'Soick.
- "Now?" the commander asked.
- "I agree with his orders," Thiraka said. "We'll wait until after
- the jump. But don't worry, my friend. You'll have your chance."
* * *
- Gerald did a double-take as he watched the Kilrathi cruiser
- turn hard to port, away from the Tiger Claw. "Mr. Falk?"
- "She's changing course, sir."
- "Frankly, sir, I'm not sure."
- "Mr. Gerald," Taggart said. "Prepare to lower our shield.
- Starboard missile battery prepare to fire."
- After setting the shield to perform a flash shutdown, Gerald
- discovered an error in Taggart's order. "Sir, missile guidance
- systems won't activate at this range."
- "They won't need to. Arm warheads."
* * *
- In the Secondary Ordnance room, Spaceman Ashley Galaway
- rushed down her line of torpedoes, typing in arming codes on
- each missile's control panel.
- When she finished, she looked across the room at a cocky,
- good-looking ghost who smiled back.
* * *
- Boss Raznick slammed down his computer slate and opened
- up the deck wide intercom. "Peterson? Why has my flight deck
- not been policed? Why am I looking at tools all over my runway?
- Why is my flight deck not one hundred percent battle-ready?"
- "I don't know, sir. But I'm on it, sir. Flight crews? Get your
- unprofessional butts over here. Now!"
* * *
- So many concussions rumbled through Blair's Rapier that he
- swore he now plunged into an atmosphere, a degree shy of
- burning up. To call the vibration infernal was to appreciate it
- only as a spectator.
- "Merlin?" he shouted, warping the computer's name.
- "Light speed mach-point-eight-two," the little man
- responded, his voice as shaky as Blair's. "Twenty seconds to
- jump. Can you do it?"
- "Only one way to find out."
- When Blair had plotted the course through Scylla, he had
- closed his eyes, fingered the touchpad, and played a song of
- coordinates written at the subatomic level. He had obeyed the
- feeling and felt the need to surrender to it now. "Computer.
- Switch to voice recognition and prepare to plot course."
- "Acknowledged. System ready."
- He reached out with his mind, with his body, into the quasar,
- feeling his way through a transparent maze of gravity and
- magnetic fields. Then he pictured the correct trajectory, a
- star-rich vortex yawning open. "Coordinates:
- one-seven-two-nine-four mark three-three-four-eight. Vector:
- four-four-two-seven-one. Angle of attack:
- six-three-nine-five-six-one by three-two-four-nine."
- "First set of coordinates plotted. Warning. Deviation in jump
- course found. Do you wish to adjust course?"
- "Ignore deviation. Maintain speed and heading."
* * *
- The Tiger Claw convulsed as the Kilrathi cruiser came
- abreast, its cannons spewing thousands of bolts that struck and
- irresistibly weakened her shields. The two great ships would
- soon pass each other, headed in opposite directions.
- Gerald buckled into his seat, seeking assurance in his
- torpedo status display. "Commodore. Four tubes loaded and
- online. Warheads armed. Range of target: four hundred and six
- meters and closing."
- Taggart sat in the command chair, his expression of quiet
- intensity reminiscent of Captain Sansky during battle. He
- clutched his armrests and leaned toward the Kilrathi cruiser, as
- though he would leap at it himself. "Lower shields. Give 'em a
- broadside, Mr. Gerald."
- "Fire all batteries!" Gerald cried.
- "Aye-aye. Fire all batteries," came the reply from the
- starboard ordnance room.
- Kilrathi cannon fire hammered the unshielded cruiser in
- rumbling waves, but Gerald ignored it, focusing on the four
- torpedoes. Three lanced through the cruiser's shield to impact
- on its hull, ravaging portside batteries and a launch bay in an
- impressive conflagration. The fourth torpedo found the ship's
- bridge and severed the entire superstructure from the hull in a
- cascade of detonations.
- As the cruiser yawed, a dozen of the Claw's guided missiles
- burrowed into her hull, stopped short somewhere inside the
- ship, then exploded. Fiery light filtered through the ruptures.
- "Commodore," Falk said. "Two fighters have broken through
- our wing. One has targeted ion engine control. If he scores a
- direct hit, we'll lose all propulsion."
- "Where are our fighters?" Taggart demanded.
- Falk grimaced. "They're being swarmed."
* * *
- "Hey, Maniac? Where the hell are you going? Don't leave my
- wing!" Polanski shouted.
- Maniac continued in his eighty-degree dive to escape the
- raging furball over the cap ships. "Two Krants broke loose.
- They're after the Claw. Now don't leave my wing!"
- "I'm with you, buddy."
- The blue blip that was Polanski's Rapier slid onto Maniac's
- radar display. "Take the one going for the bridge. I'll get the
- "Dammit, he's really moving," Polanski said.
- "Get him, man! Get him!"
- Jamming the stick back, Maniac pulled out of his dive and
- streaked toward the carrier's stern. He targeted the Krant
- swooping down on the Claw, and his VDU showed that the
- bastard had missile lock. Maniac hollered his war cry and
- issued last rites to the cat with Neutron guns. Once a fighter,
- the Krant blew into a flaming trail that cut through Maniac's
- path. "Whoa, whoa, whoa," he muttered, going inverted.
- Showers of burning fuel doused the Rapier's belly. He angled
- away, and the last of the fuel burned off.
- From his new vantage point, Maniac saw that the Tiger Claw
- glided alongside the cruiser at point-blank range. "And they say
- I'm crazy."
- A flash at his port quarter gained his attention. Polanski's
- Rapier cut a jagged line across the heavens. "That's six kills
- today, Maniac. You won't top me."
- "Oh, no?" Maniac pinned the throttle and went ballistic. The
- horde of fighters rushed toward him.
- "Hey, don't do anything reckless," Polanski warned. "Not
- without me."
* * *
- Obutu actually grinned as he looked up from his console.
- "Commander. The cruiser has lost guidance and propulsion.
- Life support failing. We got her, sir."
- As the bridge crew whooped and cheered, Gerald unbuckled
- and went to the viewport. The cruiser's stern floated ahead,
- fires still flashing behind breaches and portholes. Were she a
- seafaring vessel, she would be capsized and ringed in foam. As it
- was, she plunged into the void, expelling gas and fluids and
- sloughing off scorched and twisted plates of plastisteel.
- "Clearing the cruiser," Obutu said. "The destroyer has moved
- out of range."
- Taggart left his command chair. "Not bad for a rogue, eh?" he
- asked, coming toward Gerald.
- "Sir, you have to understand that I was putting the safety of
- this ship and her crew—"
- "Relax," Taggart said, backhanding sweat from his brow.
- "You don't surrender your trust to just anyone. Know what?
- Neither do I."
* * *
- The jump drive shrieked, and the rattle had become an
- indistinct noise that made it nearly impossible to concentrate.
- "Second set of coordinates at
- four-seven-five-five-three-nine-nine," Blair shouted.
- "Warning. Course deviation. Do you wish to—"
- "Hell, no. Stay on course."
- "Five seconds," Merlin reported. "Four, three, two—"
- The striped vortex winked out of existence.
- "You shouldn't do this to yourself, Christopher. You weren't
- meant to see me. This is not your continuum."
- "It is mine. I chose it."
- "You don't have the right to choose. Only one does."
- "What do you mean? There aren't any rules. I feel this. I can
- do what I feel."
- "Then you'll fall. Like the others."
- "You're not my mother, are you?"
- "I'm everything your mother was, is, and will be. I'm in
- every part of the universe at once, as you are now, as you
- shouldn't be."
- "I wish you could understand. I wish that more than
- anything. But I've seen your path. And there's nothing I can do
- to change it."
- "Wait. We've had this conversation before. This has already
- "No, it hasn't. But it will."
- "I don't understand."
- "You don't need to."
- "Where are you going? We have to talk! I need to know—"
- Thunder overpowered his words, and the harness dug into
- his shoulders. His head fell forward, then ripped back. Star
- lines whirled, grew shorter, coalesced into points as the jump
- drive disengaged with a whine. The faint stench of heated metal
- permeated his O2 flow. He shook his head to clear the mental
- gossamers of the gravity field, then squinted at the stars and
- knew, knew with his eyes and with his blood, that he was on the
- perimeter of the Sol system. "We did it," he muttered. "We did
- it!" He patted the canopy. "I love this baby. She held together."
- "I'm not sure I did," Merlin moaned.
- Blair quickly dialed up a secure Confederation channel on his
- comm system. "This is Lieutenant Christopher Blair of the TCS
- Tiger Claw calling any Confed ship. A Kilrathi battle group has
- the Chary bdis jump coordinates. They'll breech at
- one-six-seven mark eight-eight-nine, Sol system. Do you read?"
- Only static replied.
- "Merlin. Check your frequencies for signs of the fleet."
- "Nothing… Wait a minute. Check behind us."
- "Behind us?"
- The still and silent void exploded in a terrific white orb
- spanned by phosphorescent webs of energy. Out of the orb
- surfaced a colossal vessel whose copper-colored hull and sharp
- angles betrayed it as a—
- "Kilrathi capital ship," Merlin said gravely. "Snakeir-class."
- Blair pounded the instrument panel. "Shit! We're too late."