"Captain, Marines reporting contact with the enemy at Engineering B deck 12." XO Ford reported. "So far one known casualty from Engineering."
"Noted. Pilot, push engines to 110% output, get us out of their firing envelope." Capt Blake ordered. "Drop some countermeasures, see if we can trick them for a minute or two."
He turned to the Weapons Officer next and snapped. "All guns on target Charlie."
As the Swarm ships slowed due to taking damage, the distance increased from 3,000 km to 4,000 km, but the Swarm ships regrouped and continued to chase and harrass the UNS Singapore.
"Captain, Gun One can't target Charlie, it's at its blind spot!" WO Yan Fey said. He wiped his free-flowing sweat off from his face. "Do I re-acquire another target?"
"Yes, make it so. Next time don't ask me. Just do it and inform me ." Blake replied. He looked at the main tactical display screen. Seven mins more to the Ecythn Jump Point. "Prepare the warp drives."
"Captain, engineering reports warp drives are on ready to go. But the engines can't take 110% output much longer. They are overheating badly!" Ford looked up from his console.
"How long can the engines last?" Blake asked.
"Four more minutes, tops," Ford answered. "Then the computer will auto shutdown the engines and begin the cool down procedure."
"Understood. Pilot drop back to 100% power but be ready to push it up to 125% on my command." Blake ordered.
The whole bridge turned and look at their Captain. Confusion can be seen on their faces. "Back to your duties! The Captain knows what he is doing." Ford snapped.
"Captain, with all respect, don't you think its too risky to go 125%? The engines might blow and we will be stranded here." Ford whispered as he stood beside the Captain.
"It will be fine. These things were built to last. Not like the ships these days." Blake looked how the counter changed from 7 mins to 11 mins. "We just need it to give us enough inert force to enter the jump point. Then we call for help. The Fleet supply depot there can rescue us even if our engines are burnt out."
Deep in the bowels of Engineering B deck 12, continuous gunfire echoed across the deck.
"We need backup! Ray and Hawk are down!" Sgt Collins yelled into the command network comms. "We can't hold them back! We are pulling back to deck 10 !"
He paused to fire at the rushing horde, watching his shots knock the creature down. It shook itself up and started rushing forward again.
"Back! We can't hold them here! Get back to deck 10!" He instructed Leeds and Drake before throwing a stun grenade at the mass of claws and chitin.
The concussion from the stun grenade disoriented the drones long enough for the three of them to retreat back. As they fell back they sealed and locked hatches to slow the Swarm down. Panting, Sgt Collins led Pvt Leeds and Pvt Drake to link up with the rest of Section Four.
"Sarge Collins, what's going on?" Asked Cpl Jenkins. With him were Lance Corporal Royce, Pvt Dean and 4 other white-suited techies armed with 5mm PDWs. Everyone was looking at Sgt Collins with anticipation, other than Leeds and Drake who leaned against the bulkhead panting.
"Form a firing line here. Damn things are coming!" Sgt Collins said. "These peashooters of yours can't do much damage. Those scum are damn hard to kill." He pointed to the techies' weapons. "Go find something to act as barricades. We hold them off here."
The techies looked at each other and nodded. "We got some heavy machinery movers. Those can block the passageway."
"Great! Get on it and tell Chief Matt to evacuate non-essential personnel away." Sgt Collins instructed.
"Yes Sarge." with that, the techies ran off down the hatchway. Not long later, a couple of forklifts driven by the techs arrived and were directed by Sgt Collins to park in alternating zones to create an S-shaped funnel. The techs locked the wheels and jammed the fork arms against the deck to prevent the vehicles from getting knocked away easily.
Screeching sounds of metal and unearthly cries echoed down the hatchway. "Get ready! They are coming! Remember to aim for their mouth or their weaker joints. These pussy rounds can't penetrate for fuck!" Collins yelled. "You guys, clear the area! Get back to Engineering!"
"You guys take care!" The techs left the area and returned back to the engine room.
"S4, S4 come in! This is Eagle. Over"
"Eagle this is S4 actual. Currently in combat with scums. Two men down. Requesting immediate support! Over" SGT Collins commed back.
"S4, Eagle. Roger, sending S3 to your location. Standy by. Over."
"S4 copy that. Out." Sgt Collins turnd and said to the rest,
"Section 3 is coming to reinforce us. So we gonna have to hold here till they come!"
"HOO-RAH!" The Marines of Section 4 yelled back. "Kill them all!"
The warrior drones rended and tore the hatches that stood between them and their prey. Their senses allowed them to locate the tasty meat through a mix of psionic waves, smell and taste. They "saw" things by sensing their "life" aura, a kind of energy to the Swarm. They could even see the engines and reactor fueled with Helium 3.
Live prey shows up as a yellowish white pulsing mass while pure energy sources show up as a red white mass. The drones communicated telepathically and divided into two groups to harvest those energies.
The first group continued to systematically rip open the sealed hatches to reach the live prey, while the second group tore right through the decks to reach the mass of angry red aura only which the Swarm could sense.
"Here they come!" The lead warrior drone slammed against the forklift, causing it to tilt down and crash into the deck on its side.
"Fire!" Sgt Collins commanded.
Five M7A1s blazed a hail of ceramic bullets that forced the leading drone backwards. It struggled to rise but must had suffered from some internal injury in its body. The Marines then switched to the next target behind but as one drone went down, three more appeared to take its place.
"There's too many! Fuckers don't die!" Pvt Dean shouted as he reloaded his third magazine. He suddenly found himself flying in the air towards the onrushing Swarm. "What?" He looked down at his chest to find a claw latched to his armor flipping him upside down.
"Nooo!" Pvt Dean screamed as he disappeared into the mass of thrashing claws and teeth.
"Fuck! Dean is gone!" Lcp Royce screamed.
He crouched behind a stack of engine maintenance parts, trying his best to shoot at the joints or mouths, but it was hard to hit as the creatures utilized their head carapace as a form of shield to advance.
He fired at the exposed legs, sending one of the drones crashing down, and sent a burst into its exposed mouth as it struggled to crawl up. "Sarge! We can't hold!"
"Hold, goddamn it! Section 3 is almost here!" Sgt Collins reloaded his rifle and fired at a warrior drone which climbed on top of a toppled forklift. A searing pain tore through his left side as another warrior drone appeared and slashed at him.
"Fuck this! Use frags! He yelled as he stepped back.
"Frag out!" Two fragmentation grenades were thrown by Pvt Leeds and Cpl Jenkins.
Both of them aimed theim behind the upturned forklift to prevent fratricide. The M144 AP Fragmentation Grenades packs 70 tungsten ball bearings surrounding a 25g core charge of C-9 explosives. The resulting explosion of the explosives turns the tungsten balls into bits of plasma that can burn through 4 mm thick armored steel.
The dual explosion lifted Sgt Collins off his feet as the shock wave carried him back a couple of meters, dumping him painfully against the bulkhead. Dozens of molten holes could be seen on the forklift's hard plastic structure that protected the rest of the Marines.
Alarms blared and warning of several breaches in the hull screamed. The Swarm took the brunt of the explosions in their midst, shredding them to bits and pieces. As the auto fire suppression system kicked in, a dark shape emerged through the foam.
LCP Royce dropped face down as he was cut in half by the warrior drone's scythes. The rest of the section which was still recovering from the shock after the blast was cut down one by one helplessly. Pvt Leeds lost his left arm as he attempted to fire his rifle before losing his head.
Pvt Drake managed to skittle across the deck as he dodged the multiple slashing limbs of the warrior drone.
Just as he ran out of space to dodge, with the warrior drone looming over him, sudden gunfire forced the warrior drone to retreat until it collapsed from the hail of bullets from the timely arrival of Section 3.