Dutiful Daughter by Christopher Kellen

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NOW AVAILABLE from independent author Christopher Kellen – Dutiful Daughter, the story of Trace Atherton, the young but highly decorated commanding officer of the V.S.S Renaissance, during an unprecedented attack on her home world!

A military science-fiction short story complete at approximately, 7,500 words, Dutiful Daughter is now available at Smashwords.com and Amazon Kindle!

For your copy, please visit my author profile or the book page at Smashwords.com!

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Despite the comfortable chill of the bridge, Trace was sweating. Her ship, the V.S.S. Renaissance, was perfectly tuned to the needs of those who spent all day in a uniform which did not include nearly enough airflow. She unbuttoned the top two gold buttons on her jacket, allowing herself to breathe slightly better.

It had been the longest two-and-a-half hours of her life. She’d spent every moment of it on the bridge, listening to her crew’s reports as they worked to ready the ship’s systems for a coordinated online.

She’d been in battle many times in her career, and when the offensive was planned, there was usually time to think and prepare oneself for the possibility of death. In this case, they’d been planning to do little more than play a game, with computers simulating the firey death that missiles and grasers would normally deal out with abandon. Now her crew faced a large chance that they would not see another dawn, and it gnawed at her deep inside.

Concentrate, she told herself firmly. Your crew needs you to be calm, controlled and confident. If they smell weakness in you, they’ll start showing it themselves. She forced her attention back to the tactical spread.

Picket Delta, a small sensor platform mounted on an asteroid some five light-minutes outside of Vega Prime’s orbit,  had been making more and more frantic hail attempts to the approaching invader fleet. There had been no response. The invaders were sending out Vega transponder codes, but they were not answering any direct attempts at communication.

Picket Delta was finally going to give the invaders a good sensor sweep. The sensors on that platform were strong enough to easily cut through Castoran EW, and she needed a good look at their force strength.

The most logical deduction was that they were indeed Castoran invaders who had seized an opportunity to rid Vega of most of its defenders, while the rest of its fleet were currently en route to Aragon. All three of her fellow ship commanders agreed with the analysis. It made sense, however unfortunate it was.

I’d like to have more than four light-cruisers for backup, she thought. She fervently hoped that Admiral Flynn understood her intentions as to why she’d gone dark when she could. He’d personally given her command of this wargame task force, to see what she could do as an invading force.

Instead, he was going to see what she could do as a surprise defender. She hoped it was enough.

“Bogey fleet has entered weapons range of picket Delta,” Young said. “And… oh.”

“’Oh’, Lieutenant?” she said archly.

Young’s voice was shaking. “It’s… it’s gone, ma’am. Picket Delta is… gone.”

A collective murmur ran through the entire bridge crew.

“Gone?” Richards’ tight, strained voice. “Gone?”

“They hit it with everything they had,” Young said. “It’s gone.”