Three days after the Bombardment and subsequent Battle of Coruanthor, the CRS Republica underwent a reconnaissance mission near the wormhole in the Concordian Nebula, the key point through which the Allies planned to soon invade Neraida space. On the bridge of the mighty dreadnought, Admiral Cretacea sat in his command chair, overlooking the vast field of stars before him. In the far distance, the distinctive hue of the Nebula was clearly visible, though orders from High Command were clear, this was a recon mission—contact with the Neraida was inadvisable. Commander Reemuckeeus appeared behind him and handed him a status report, indicating that there were no Neraida signals in the immediate area. Indeed, since their defeat at Coruanthor, no Neraida vessels had been detected within Republic space.
Before Cretacea could respond to his First Officer, a massive black silhouette appeared to the aft of the Republica. A Neraida Dreadnought, a vessel of extreme power. From the prow of the deadly vessel, a heavy volley of green energy erupted, which barely missed the Republica. "Evasive manueavers!" shouted Cretacea. "Leonarrk! Return fire!"
The tactical officer nodded. Turbolaser blasts lanced from the Republica, impacting against the Neraida vessel, blasting off a chunk of the hull. Nevertheless, the Dreadnought continued firing, with a lance of energy hammering against the Republica's shields, causing a considerable portion to melt into nothingness. The force of the blast almost knocked Cretacea off his chair, while Commander Reemuckeeus was thrown off her feet and slammed into the ground hard. Continuing to shout out orders, Cretacea noticed that despite the chaos, Commander Selanius was largely unaffected, remaining perfectly still despite the whirl and frenzy of the attack.
Another blast from the Dreadnought impacted directly against the starboard hull, destroying a significant portion of the Republica's wing. On the bridge, Subcommander Dhivael reported that the vessel's nonphasic shielding had been abruptly compromised by the previous blast, exposing the entirety of the hull to the Neraida. Another shuddering blast caused a detonation deep within the flagship, sending sparks flying through the air of the bridge. Leonarrk shouted. "Admiral! We have lost the primary hyperlaser projector!"
Cretacea, who arm had been broken by falling debris, growled. "Selanius, fire the matter turbocannon!" The former Caprigrox drone nodded, interacted with a display unit on his work station and watched as the Republica shuddered under the sheer force of the matter turbocannon's fire. The blue energy of the weapon lanced across space, incinerating any of the debris in its path before impacting violently against the primary hull of the Neraida vessel. The explosion annihilated a significant portion of the Dreadnought, though the primary weapon system remained operational, a testament to the modular nature of Neraida vessels. Nevertheless, the brief respite allowed the Republica to regain primary shielding, though when the Dreadnought began recharging, it was clear that an even more extreme solution would be required, especially now that the FTL drive had been utterly disabled.
Cretacea quickly ran through in his mind all the options he could think of. After a moment, he sighed and gave the only order he knew would work. "Ram the frakkers."
The Cavaneu Subcommander Narrus snapped his head around, confusion and concern etched on his reptilian face. "Sir?"
"Redirect all power to the forward shields. Otherwise, full speed ahead! Brace for impact!"
The Republica bolted forward, straight toward the Dreadnought, which continued its relentless barrage at the oncoming Republic flagship. With sparks flying from the bridge control boards, the command crew could distinctly hear the groan of the flagship's failing hull. "Stay on course!" shouted the Admiral. Seconds later, the Republica slammed into the Neraida Dreadnought, sending many of the bridge crew reeling across the deck, despite internal gravity holding others in place. The Dreadnought on the other hand was smashed apart by the force of the Republica, with gigantic chunks of debris bursting into fire before raining down on the desolate moon below.
Luckily, the Republica's shields had held, though only barely. Large portions of the hull were now detached from the vessel. Though injured, Cretacea was lucid enough to feel the mighty engines of the Republica fail. Turning to Subcommander Narrus, who was tending to the corpse of Commander Reemuckeus, Cretacea sadly ordered the helmsman to take the ship down the surface of the moon.
Appearing unscathed, Commander Selanius approached the Admiral's chair. "That is occuring whether or not we want it to, Admiral." True enough, the remains of the Republica were hurtling down to the surface of the moon. Cretacea attempted to calculate just how fast the flailing flagship would impact against the moon and by extension, their slim chances of survival. Holding his head, he realised that the result would be disconcerting to say the least. Turning to the surviving members of the crew, he bowed his head. "It has been an honour."
The rest of the crew, even Selanius, nodded their heads in appreciation. As they awaited the inevitable impact, they suddenly heard something new. Suddenly, the inexorable descent of the Republica was slowed and abruptly stopped, just as a voice sounded throughout the bridge.
"This is Morin Ehtar of the carrier Endurance of the Hallowed Star. You are fortunate that we received your distress beacon, Admiral Cretacea." The shiplord of the Cognatus Fleet of Unrelenting Reverence had arrived, locking onto the Republica with a tractor beam seconds before it would have impacted against the moon.
With a sigh of relief, Cretacea smiled. "Thank you, Shiplord. From the bottom of my heart, thank you."
"We will tow what remains of your vessel to the nearest starbase. Though I daresay it may not be salvaged. The damage was considerable."
Cretacea nodded solemnly, though he was not about to give up on the Republica just yet. Though most of his crew had survived the encounter with the Neraida, many others, such as his own first officer were killed and the flagship itself, regardless of whether or not it could be repaired, would be incapable of participating in the push into Neraida space. Nevertheless, despite his injuries, Cretacea was resolved to personally partake in the final destruction of the Neraida—for his son, for the lives of the Neraida's victims and for the members of his crew who would not live to see the end of the cyborgs.
- Previously a story on the main Neraida War page.