The battle had started in hyperspace, with temporal bombs—primarily subquantic cores wrapped in antimatter shells—being fired like ancient grapeshot. As the ships were damaged, they dropped out of warp and fired phasers, photon missiles and even a suicide run by a shuttle tug with its warp core disabled to explode via a timing mechanism.
The badly-crippled ships hovered at cockeyed angles to each other, drifting closer together to meet some time in the future. But for now, with life support compromised, lifeshuttles skipped through the debris, firing laser cannons and scoring infrequently with totally fatal results.
Eventually, three lifeshuttles made it down to the near-frozen planet, a Type G with scant atmosphere and no life signs. One of the Debengan shuttles lost control as it approached the landing point, rolling and smashing into an icy outcropping. Within seconds, the shuttle exploded.
The Terran shuttle slid onto the icy planet’s surface with a metallic screech, ripped away by the fierce winds. The remaining Debengan shuttle slammed down, bounced and came to a grinding halt. For almost half an hour, nothing moved except snow flurries. Then a blue laser beam shot out from the Debengan shuttle and sliced a chunk of ice near the Terran shuttle’s landing gear. Once again, silence.
A figure dropped from the Terran shuttle and quickly rolled for cover behind a nearby outcropping. The figure was wearing a heavy suit, equipped with two airtanks on its back. In the right hand, the Terran held a heavy hand phaser, military issue. In the left were “bola packs”, sonic grenades linked by plasteel bands. The bolas could be adjusted for detonations from loud sound to Mach 4 impact capable of shredding steel. Moving in short dashes, the Terran approached the Debengan shuttle, using every inch of cover.
With a sharp blast, the Debengan shuttle blew out a panel. From the opening emerged a large, gray-covered being, its suit a doubled set of orbs with four tentacles emerging from each orb. Two of the tentacles held a large cannon-like weapon, its opening glowing a hazy blue. Two other tentacles held smaller weapons, each glowing a different shade of red. The being whirled on its suit’s base, the tentacles snapping to point at different targets. The cannon fired one shot, high up against a nearby crag. The impact slammed an avalanche onto the Terran shuttle, smashing it under a blanket of ice.
The Debengan stood still, then fired the smaller weapons at the only visible part of the Terran shuttle. The red beams converged and made the metal sizzle, then flare into a blazing explosion. The entire area then convulsed with a massive explosion, forcing the Debengan to retreat to avoid the debris.
As the flurries covered the black scar where the Terran shuttle once stood, the Debengan retrieved the blown panel and began wedging itself back into its own shuttle. The actinic flare of a Terran phaser sliced through the suit’s midsection and the Debengan dropped and fired in an unbelievably fluid motion. The firing stopped as a bola pack landed next to it and exploded, sending a Mach 2 sonic wave against every solid surface nearby. The Debengan felt its insides hammered by a veritable wall of vibrations. It staggered, dropped its weapons and collapsed, quivering horribly. The Terran leaped down from its vantage point on the crag and fired once, slicing the Debengan nearly in half. The ruptured suit released a gush of fluids that steamed in the frozen air, a gush that quickly froze into a muddy stain on the ice.
Tapping the suit’s chest pack, the Terran said “Lieutenant Grissom reporting. Debengan dead, shuttle recoverable.” Several seconds went by, then: “Excelsior, here. Well done, Casey. Are you injured?”
The Terran sat on a frozen rock. “Negative. But I have no shuttle.”
A chuckle was heard before “We barely have a ship. But we can pick you up in fifteen. Hold tight.”
“Roger.” The Terran looked up at the heavy gray sky and set the timer on her suit for twelve minutes. After that kind of battle, a nap was really a great idea.