"I got them! I got them!"
Shouting in triumph, Jamal, after few skipped attempts, had hit the carrier. Not only once, but twice, probably thanks to the fact that the big and steadily progressing vessel represented an ideal target.
Still, nothing happened.
After initial excitement bitter realisation followed. The heavy armor of the carrier absorbed both shots, perhaps on the verge of collapsing, yet functional.
"Wonderful job, Jamal!"
Although a bit disappointed, Gromov watched the enlarging ship in front view, relaxed and ready for the collision.
"I am sorry, sir."
"Had I been a better gunner, you wouldn't need to die here."
"Nonsense. You cannot blame yourself for the decision of your superior. Honestly, you exceeded my expectations."
Which were very low for the beginning. Gromov hated himself for having this thought, for he did not plan to die with such a bitter smile.
"Thank you, Jamal."
Now, the female voice interrupted.
"C3 here. C1, I am just behind you. Take a turn. Leave the rest to me. I repeat: C1, leave the rest to me."
With only a few seconds to decide, Gromov reacted by pure instinct, pushing the control lever left and down, while bellowing at Jamal.
"Prepare for shooting backwards! Rotate the turret! Help her!"
By the skin of the teeth, they missed the obstacle, vision blackened by unbearable overloading.
Before Gromov had had time to agonize whether or not he committed a mistake, the eruption behind lit the surrounding space and in radio, the celebrating voices overwhelmed the communication channel.
"We did it! Good riddance!"
But the battle was far from over.
"All units, calm down," barked Gromov. "Try restart your systems. Report status afterwards. Watch for adversaries regularly."
With one Q-Field down, the possibility of obtaining more information from cockpit's supporting gadgets were a tad higher. It was worth to test the restart. Meanwhile, Gromov scrutinized all his available visual views to asses the situation, receiving valuable reports from Jamal's revolving turret.
Suddenly, a voice came from radio.
"C8 here, I've got the radar screen, sir. Cockroaches are crawling away, back to carriers 1 and 2. No insect stayed nearby."
"C1 here. Understood. C1 to all units. Proceed to the carrier 1. We have to prevent them to regroup. Hunt them down at full speed."
Since the Plantarian forces detached from C squadron, Gromov had the rare opportunity to get their backs. At least in theory, with their inferior and unmaintained engines, the Space Force should obtain temporary an upper hand here, especially when approaching from behind.
Fortunately, Steiner was not mistaken here, since hurrying Plantarians failed to keep the same speed and they scattered into a long tail.
Gromov and the rest chased and eliminated them one to one until entered a huge turmoil in the area around the carrier, targeted by Milano.
"C1 here," Gromov transmitted desperately. "Anyone of A group, report. We are coming to help."
Only silence answered his call. It appeared the complete A squadron, perhaps with exception to A16 who had joined Gromov's group, was eliminated.
Born in the Czech Republic, Pavel Morava is not a native English speaker. Having been twenty-two years old, he published his first book, which did not become an international bestseller. After a few other attempts, Pavel Morava abandoned the literary career for over twenty years, during which period he has been focusing on processing of plastics, programming, and raising of children.
Recently, with more time at his disposal, he returned to the forgotten ambition, fighting a futile battle with English language, procrastination, and the tendency to give up too early.
Being vivid reader of not Anglo-Saxon origin, Pavel Morava was fortunate enough to experience books from different countries, including Czech, Russian, Polish, Chinese, Swedish, Dutch, Japanese, French, German, and English. Such a vast literary variety heavily influenced his own work, which typically relies on an one-point-of-view narrative, consecutive storytelling, and elimination of unnecessary details.
Web novels and online publishing made him reevaluate his approach to style and building blocks of the text; the result should be, hopefully, lighter, shorter, and more intelligible for reading on electronic devices.