tagSci-Fi & FantasyThree Square Meals Ch. 027

Three Square Meals Ch. 027


Dana woke up first, feeling completely refreshed after a good night's sleep. The Ashanath engineers had been tasked with completing the last of the work while she slept and she was so eager to check on their results, that she wanted to leap out of bed and go sprinting out the room. Instead, she stealthily climbed out from under the covers and tiptoed out softly, being careful not to awaken John, or the other three girls who were still fast asleep. She dressed in her own room, then walked down the corridor quietly, wanting to do a final check on everything before she presented the results of her hard work to the rest of the crew.


John, Alyssa, Calara and Jade woke to the gentle sounds of a melody, yawning and stretching contentedly as the tune drifted around the room. Dana pressed a button on the remote she held in her hand and the soothing music quietened and then turned off.

"Good morning ladies and gentleman." Dana said in a cheerful voice. "If you would care to get up, then the tour of the Invictus Mk II will begin shortly." she exclaimed excitedly.

Dana stripped off to join them in the shower and they all washed and dressed in double time. Everyone sensed the auburn haired girl's excitement and felt intensely curious about what she'd been up to. She led them out of the bedroom and down the corridor, stopping in front of where the old elevator used to be.

"Here's the first modification." she said proudly.

"We all know how annoying it used to be having to wait for the elevator. Well I've removed that completely and replaced it with anti-grav tubes." she said.

Dana hit the button on the wall and the doors swished open. The elevator shaft had been widened and was now divided into two, each side roughly the same size as the old elevator compartment had been. There was a light blue haze in the right empty elevator shaft and a light red one in the left. When they leaned out to hesitantly look over the edge, they could see the doors to each of the decks below.

"The colours are to let you know that the anti-gravity field is in place." Dana explained. "You wouldn't want to just step out and then find the field was out of action in the event of power loss." she said with a wry smile.

"The right side goes up and the left side goes down." she clarified for them. "I figured it was easier to let the fields do the hard work, rather than having to propel ourselves up and down the shaft."

"If you'd care to follow me, I'll show you what else I've done." she said mysteriously.

Dana stepped backwards into the anti-grav field on the left hand side and was swathed in a warm red glow. She waved at them with a smile on her face as she sank down at a comfortable speed, disappearing from sight. John glanced at the other girls with a grin on his face and stepped into the tube, the hairs on his arms standing up as he was enveloped in the field. He dropped down at a steady pace and then landed lightly at ground level, where Dana was waiting for him. Alyssa, Calara and Jade touched down too and they laughed happily at the odd sensation.

"That was really nicely thought out." John commended the redhead approvingly.

She smiled at him happily and then waved the group forward.

"The next thing to take a look at is our defences against boarding." Dana said, producing a remote with a flourish.

"I've set up panic buttons in the bridge and your quarters John, which are locked by a DNA reader." she explained.

Dana pressed the big red button on the remote after a showy swirl of her thumb, which earned her a few chuckles. A robust looking security door slid smoothly down from the ceiling, blocking off the airlock entrance completely.

"That ought to buy you some extra time, until you can get geared up and then come down here to use these..." she said, pressing a green button.

Panels on each side of the corridor slid open and two multi-barrelled turrets swung smoothly into position. At the same time, sturdy looking barricades rose up from the floor just outside the elevator entrance, large enough to provide substantial cover even for a person in full body armour.

"Oh these are excellent!" John nodded appreciatively at the heavily reinforced cover.

"These security precautions are built into all decks, just in case we have another hull breaching scenario." the redhead explained.

"What are the turrets?" Alyssa asked Dana curiously.

"Automated Gatling lasers." Dana shrugged. "They are easy to produce and maintain and we have more than enough power for them." she said.

"Will they be effective against the Drakkar though?" Calara asked, sounding concerned.

"Yeah, they should be." Dana nodded. "I'll explain why a little later on the tour." she said with a smile.

"Ok if you'd like to follow me, I'll show you what our home looks like now on the outside. It's had a makeover." she grinned, excitement shining in her eyes.

Dana bounced away down the corridor, hitting the red and green buttons on the remote which caused the defences to withdraw back into place, merging seamlessly with the walls, floor and ceiling. She pressed her hand to the DNA reader next to the airlock and the green light moved silently across the panel, scanning her hand. It beeped quietly in recognition and the airlock spiralled open.

"Ok hold hands, close your eyes and follow me." Dana said mysteriously, holding her hand out for Jade to take as she led the Nymph through the airlock collar.

The rest of the group followed her instructions and walked out in a line across the floor of the shipyard, following each other hand in hand. Dana brought Jade to a halt after they had walked out about a hundred paces and called out for everyone to stop. She walked down the line, gently turning everyone to face back towards the ship.

"Now open your eyes!" Dana urged them, hardly able to contain herself as she awaited their reaction.

There was a hushed silence as her shipmates stared in shock at the Invictus.

"Holy fuck!" Alyssa swore quietly under her breath.

Dana grinned proudly at the stunned reaction of her friends and lovers.

"I don't think I'm ever going to be able to pass myself off as a peaceful trader again." John said wryly.

The assault cruiser had been totally stripped of its old armour and had been completely re-sheathed in jet black armour plating. The lights from the shipyard glinted off the ship's hull, giving the whole ship a glistening lustre, like it had been highly polished to a fine sheen. Where their ship had looked sleek and ferocious before, now it looked positively terrifying.

"Why is it sparkling like that Dana?" Jade asked curiously. "The Drakkar armour plating looked slightly different, a bit more dull." she observed, having spotted the difference with her sharp eyes.

"I'm glad you asked." Dana said, grinning excitedly.

"I had to come up with a new alloy, so that we could use special psychic sensitive crystals in the composition. We wouldn't have been able to use the shipyard equipment to rearmour the ship otherwise." the redhead explained.

"I call the new metal: 'Invictium'!" she exclaimed proudly. "And its named quite appropriately." Dana added happily.

"It's a Titanium alloy, but the Etherite crystals have made it stronger. It's approximately twice the toughness of the old reinforced Titanium at resisting standard ordnance." she explained, overjoyed with the results.

"That sounds incredible!" Calara exclaimed. "But what about resistance against energy weapons?" she asked, remembering how effective the Drakkar armour had been against the Ashanath beams.

"Now that's the best part!" Dana grinned delightedly. "Come and check this out!" she exclaimed.

Nearby was a 10' square section of black Invictium armour plating which was held securely in place by four robotic arms. A small beam laser turret was positioned 50 metres away, with the barrel pointed squarely at the armour plating.

"Ok watch the armour plating." Dana said and produced a remote from another pocket.

She hit the button and a red beam of bright energy blasted out to hit the armour plating squarely in the centre. The beam pulsed angrily for a few seconds, before Dana flicked off the remote and the beam blinked out as suddenly as it had appeared.

"Wow!" Calara exclaimed with wide eyes. "The beam barely even scratched it!"

Dana grinned, beaming from ear to ear.

"The armour is partly reflective and deflects some of the initial energy of the attack. Whatever's left gets channelled through the armour and absorbed by capacitors that are spaced evenly around the hull." she explained for them in layman's terms.

"The Drakkar armour was able to channel and absorb the energy by using this incredibly rare element called Onyxium. Their armour is a Steel/Onyxium alloy." she noted.

"Invictium is a Titanium/Onyxium alloy, that is greatly enhanced by the inclusion of Etherite crystals and 15 other elements that I included to stabilise the bonds." Dana stated proudly.

"From the original attack strength of an energy weapon, Drakkar armour reflects 20%, absorbs 60% and allows 20% of the power through to cause actual damage. Invictium reflects 35%, absorbs 60% and allows 5% through to cause damage." she said smugly.

"So you've made us practically immune to laser weapons!" Alyssa blurted out. "That's fucking awesome Sparks!" she laughed in delight.

"We won't even need to turn the shields on!" the beautiful blonde girl added as she smirked.

"Unfortunately the capacitors can get overloaded if they absorb too much energy too fast." Dana admitted. "And Onyxium is incredibly rare, so try not to take any hits if you can avoid them!" she pleaded.

"But yeah, we're a whole heck of a lot tougher than before." the redhead smiled, well satisfied with her handiwork.

"I already thought you were one of the smartest people I've ever met, but you've managed to surpass my already sky high expectations!" John said proudly.

"You've done an amazing job Dana. Thank you!" he commended her gratefully, wrapping her up in a warm hug.

Dana sighed, ecstatically happy to have earned such high praise.

"Oh, I'm not done yet!" she exclaimed, wriggling out of his grasp.

"There's more to see!" the exhilarated girl chirped, beckoning them to follow after her as she jogged back to the ship.

Dana led them back through the two sets of doors on the airlock collar and then opened the double door into the hangar bay. The Raptor gunship brooded in the hangar bay, black and glistening like some kind of abyssal horror. John shivered for a moment, the ship bringing back a few unpleasant lingering memories from his recent nightmares.

"I replated the Raptor and added a new power core. The huge surplus of power meant I could add an upgraded shield generator, so the gunship should be able to shrug off most defence grid grade weaponry." she said happily.

Jade walked forward and ran her hand down the side of the Raptor's hull. "The ship looks magnificent Dana!" she said, thrilled with the improvements.

Dana bowed with a flourish. "Anything to keep you guys safe." she smiled contentedly.

"Ok let's move on to the next part of the tour!" she grinned, leading them back to the grav-tube.

They stepped into the dim blue glow on the right side and rose up smoothly, causing some spontaneous laughter at the odd sensation of being lifted off the ground. They stepped out onto the command deck and Dana led them across the bridge and into the debriefing room. The armour equipping frames now had company and there was one in place for each of the crew.

"Jade, would you care to be my model again?" Dana asked sweetly.

"Of course Dana!" The Nymph agreed immediately and walked over to the alcove.

She stepped into the armoured boots and slipped her hands into the plated gauntlets. With the touch of a button, the robotic arms swung into action, pressing armour plates together to fully encase the girl's wonderful figure in Phalanx armour. Except this no longer looked like the old Phalanx armour. Where the old body armour suits were a bland dark grey, the body armour was now plated in Invictium and was a sinister jet black.

"You look badass!" Alyssa nodded approvingly as she walked around the armour suit.

"Unfortunately I can't get the capacitors to work with the body armour." Dana admitted to the others. "Due to the uneven curving nature of personal armour, the energy absorbing lattice isn't working properly." she said with irritation.

"Well at least we should scare our enemies to death." Calara noted with a raised eyebrow, as she took in the enhanced body armour's terrifying new appearance.

"Don't worry, there's a few more tricks under the hood." Dana said with a grin. "The Invictium also retains its enhanced resilience against projectile weapons, as well as the passive 35% deflection trait against energy weapons."

"Do the Drakkar use the same kind of metal from their ships in their body armour?" Alyssa asked curiously.

"The ribbed armour the Drakkar wear is slightly resistant to laser fire, but it's not the same tech as the armour plating on their ships." Dana clarified. "They probably couldn't get the capacitors to work either." she guessed.

"Another incredible job Dana, well done!" John said happily as he walked over to the newly installed weapons locker.

He opened it up and saw five of the XR75 rifles on the racks. He picked one up and hefted it in his arms.

"Bring that with you..." Dana instructed him. "We're off to the firing range next!" she said with a wink.

They waited for Jade to return the armour to the alcove and then they followed after Dana as she led them down to deck 7 and along the corridor to the firing range. She pushed the button on the door and they all trooped into the room.

Nothing had really changed in here, except there was another armour equipping frame in place against the wall. Dana walked over to it and stepped into the boots, as the robotic arms swung in to encase her in Invictium body armour. There was the quiet rippling of metallic clicks as the armour plates locked into place.

Dana walked over to the nearby weapon rack and then took out an old, unmodified XR73 rifle. She slotted in a clip of caseless hollow point ammo and then walked back to the range, before handing over the assault rifle to Alyssa.

"Here you go." she said happily, the speakers built into the armoured helmet transmitting the playful tone in her voice.

Next she strolled off down the firing range, before coming to a stop 50 metres away.

"Ok try and shoot me." Dana said smugly.

Alyssa glanced at the others, not feeling entirely comfortable at shooting a rifle at her oldest friend, no matter how well armoured she was.

"Hurry up!" Dana goaded her. "We haven't got all day!"

Alyssa rolled her eyes and then sighted down the scope at the armoured chief engineer.

"Brrt!" the rifle chattered as she sent a three round burst directly at Dana.

There was a peculiar whumping sound and the bullets bounced away from their intended target, striking the walls.

"Woohoo!" Dana cheered and did a little victory dance. "It worked!" she said delightedly.

"That was the first time you've tested it?" Alyssa gasped, as she stared at her friend with wide eyes.

"The science was good, there was nothing to worry about." Dana said confidently. "Besides, this new armour is tough as old boots. Hollow point rounds would never be able to penetrate it." she said proudly.

"So what was that strange noise?" John asked. "It sounded like when I tried to shoot the Drakkar and some rounds deflected off their shields."

"Well spotted!" Dana said, clapping her hands approvingly. "Those shields have emitters that produce strong magnetic fields, which are excellent at deflecting small calibre small arms fire. I just built more sophisticated, miniaturised versions of them into the armour." she grinned happily.

"Very impressive." Calara said. "But won't we run the risk of stray rounds hitting another one of us?" she asked with concern.

"When one of you is fighting near someone else in Invictium armour, the suits link up and will sense each other's location. They will deliberately angle deflections away from friendly troops." Dana explained.

"It seems you've thought of everything!" The brunette said with a smile.

"There's one last thing!" Dana said quickly. "If you reverse the magnetic field to attract rather than repulse, you could use the armour suits to go for a spacewalk on the ship's hull!" she grinned at them.

John, Alyssa, Calara and Jade broke into a spontaneous round of applause for their incredible chief engineer. Dana took a bow and then stepped into the armour frame so that the suit could be removed.

"Thanks, but I'm not done yet!" the redhead said exuberantly.

"John have you noticed anything different about the XR75 railgun?" she asked him curiously.

"Well it feels a bit lighter." he said, bouncing it slightly in his hands to feel the weight.

"I swapped out the heavier old power supply!" Dana grinned.

"The Ashanath power generators can pump out a lot more power in far smaller devices. If I'd done a direct swap, size for size with the old power supply, that railgun would be about ten times as powerful!" She sighed, just imagining it.

"Unfortunately the barrel would probably explode, killing the shooter as well." she said ruefully.

"Well I'm glad you didn't choose that option." Alyssa said, smiling wryly.

"I did for the Invictus." Dana said, her eyes gleaming.

"Err, I hope that means the ship isn't going to explode!" Calara said looking worried.

"I did fry a console when I hooked up the new power regulators." Dana admitted, looking embarrassed. "In my defence, I had a lot of things on my mind and was pretty sleepy at the time."

"So exactly how powerful is our new power core then?" John asked curiously.

"Well the power core they've fitted is the most advanced version they can produce. The one now powering the Invictus is sized for a battleship!" She grinned wickedly.

John and the other girls exchanged glances, nodding at each other and grinning.

"That sounds pretty awesome!" Alyssa agreed. "But what does that mean in practical terms?"

"OK in layman's terms we now have about twelve times the power as before. We can run the entire ship at full power constantly, so the ship will be able to fly faster and our shields will be able to regenerate quickly, without me having to divert power from the weapons or anything like that." Dana said excitedly.

"How about the lasers?" Calara asked eagerly. "Will they be more powerful or fire faster?"

"Unfortunately no." Dana said sadly. "The weapon barrels would melt with the heat build up."

"We need to upgrade the laser weapons themselves, or improve their heat sinks to see any improvement there, but at least we have the power in place for anything we might get in the future." she explained.

"Sounds like we need to take that trip to the Maliri sooner rather than later then!" John nodded speculatively.

"Oh I have upgraded the Mass drivers though!" Dana said excitedly. "When we leave the planet, we'll need to do a fire test and you can see what they can do!" she exclaimed enthusiastically.

Calara's eyes sparkled as she tried to imagine what Dana might have done to the Invictus' main guns.

"You've done outstanding work here Dana. More than I would have dreamed possible and in so short a time frame!" John said, truly amazed.

Alyssa, Calara and Jade joined in with the effusive praise and Dana smiled at them, blushing a little with embarrassment.

"Oh I almost forgot!" she blurted out. "We need to test fire the improved XR75!"

John moved into position at the firing range and hit the button that made a target dummy appear at the end. Bracing himself, he glanced at Dana who nodded approvingly and then fired a round off down the range.

Report Story

byTefler© 31 comments/ 44281 views/ 53 favorites

Share the love

Report a Bug

4 Pages:123

Forgot your password?

Please wait

Change picture

Your current user avatar, all sizes:

Default size User Picture  Medium size User Picture  Small size User Picture  Tiny size User Picture

You have a new user avatar waiting for moderation.

Select new user avatar: