O’Hara was not in direct control of the ‘Black Widow’ Virus; that job was deferred to the more specialist branches of the EW platform wing that was located within a sealed strongroom directly below the command deck. The two wings had a direct cable communication link as to provide a solid network even through interference. The Spyder Hull were a part of the Advanced Prototype Fleet, developed on Earth for combatting more dangerous foes - and the Spyder was the vessel specializing in EW warfare; it would require a secure connection between command and EW to be able to operate at maximum efficiency.
The EW platform sergeant had begun to work furiously, tapping incessantly at his virtual terminal keyboard and dragging an untold number of holographic icons into different locations to activate multiple functions within the virus code. All data that existed in relation to the current combat situation and the ‘Black Widow’ passed through his terminal for review. He had been on comms to O’Hara since the virus’ activation, and the two were working tirelessly to ensure it’s seamless effect.
“O’Hara!” He shouted through his terminal, still diligently working to keep the virus online. “I have some news you may be interested to hear.”
There was a moment of silence before the captain’s voice came booming back through the terminal, thick with anticipation. He was growing ever more anxious about the battle, even if the other two Spyder’s within the squadron were on route.
“What is it, Davidson?”
EW Sergeant Davidson took a moment before he replied, double checking his information before he relayed it to the captain. The information would be vital to their survival.
“It appears that the enemy have cut off some communicative aspects of their hardware. They are fighting the Virus but we should be able to keep it in relative equilibrium if we maintain our current power feed and the polymorphic engine keeps itself optimal. They are essentially working to solve a Rubix cube that is fighting back. They will need to have some very talented personnel to clean the hardware.”
“Is that all, Davidson? What of the communication shutdown?” O’Hara asked impatiently.
“Well the Virus is a polymorphic self replicating virus with an encrypted variable key. It can transfer itself to any other entities within the range that are linked to the anchor upload linked hull.”
O’Hara did not reply. Davidson was being intentionally over-knowledgeable to boost his own ego in jest.
“It means that the virus will transfer itself to any friendlies that are in direct communication or link with the ship we upload to. If the Xindhi vessel has turned off it’s communications then we can only assume it is in communication with something nearby. It may be the fighters, but I would not risk it, their formations and attack routes seem far too controlled to be out of communication with the main ship; their hardware is also too small scale to be a first priority target for the Virus. Be careful of raiders. The Xindhi may be predictable in their boarding stratagem, but they are certainly fierce; don’t take this situation lightly, captain.”
“Copy that, Davidson. Thank you for the advisory”
A volley of high powered rounds had sped past the Spyder only minutes ago, but already high speed debris had begun to eject from the shattered rock body, sending yet more shards spiraling towards the Acharis, some the smaller vanguard shards narrowly missing through expert flying by the navigation teams--though some shards had pushed their way through the the Energy Transfer Field--, and the larger, slower moving masses had still to strike their target due to their slow speed, though they were definitely approaching. They would need to be dealt with soon lest they rip the Hull apart. O’hara still had time to consider a solution, however, as such bodies were still a good distance away. Small dust particles, however, had a way of scrambling standard sensors, blocking preliminary gunnery tracking as the Spyder made it’s way behind the wrecked Docking Station that provided cover from the Drifta’s heavier guns. Direct targeting was nearly impossible given the situation, the Arachis could retaliate in a manner not dissimilar from the Xindhi vessel’s firing strategy.
A few directed orders from O’Hara to his gunnery teams had set the stage for a retaliatory attack. The charged Stratic Lances lining the dorsal weapon spine had been charged previously in anticipation, awaiting the chance to emerge from behind the dock and unleash a quickfire solution to disable the enemy vessel. This plan had been altered slightly in light of circumstance.
Glowing with a purple-blue haze, the Stratic hardpoints channeled their capacitor charge into a temporary firing coil that illuminated the previously hollow weaponry barrels; they filled with a more opaque substance than the haze that surrounded them in a nebulous swirl of erratic dynamics. Suddenly and silently, the weapon barrels exploded with energy and the Dorsal Weapon Spine lit up as it fed constant energy to the weapon systems. Beams of brilliant blue-white light reached from the comparatively tiny turrets deep into the battlespace instantly. Three turrets aimed at the fighters that swirled around the Spyder, hopefully slicing them in half due to the near unavoidable nature of beam weaponry; the final three had locked a half kilometer wide asteroid not far from the Drifta’s position and punched a gaping circular hole straight to it’s heart.
The Spyder crew worked almost in clockwork tandem. The latter three Stratic Hardpoints shut off almost in total synchronization with the rapid fire of a volley of Explosive repeater rounds that, in a mere few seconds, penetrated the weakness created by the Stratic lances and crashed into the heart of the rock, before detonating it violently from the inside, showering the area with jagged rocks that moved with incredible velocity.
-O'Hara works with EW teams to decipher there must be something the Drifta is trying to shield from 'Black Widow' infection, characterised by the willing shutdown of infection-prone communication links.
-Stratic Lances fire at an asteroid in the general vicinity of the Drifta, playing the same tactic.
-The Spyder narrowly avoids the majority of the asteroid debris, owing to momentum. The larger, more dangerous chunks have yet to make their way to the ship, but will do damage if they are not dealt with (in the next post).
-Stratic Lances fire at the swirly fighters that are in line of sight.