Jack jiggled the stick in his hand, feeling the Avenger shift around him in nervous anticipation of the battle about to start. The missiles were getting closer with each wave before exploding on the point defense fire the squadron lay down. Soon they would be on the squadron. He watched the Germans fall back until they faded into the multicolored bands of hyperspace. Only the relays kept the two squadrons in communication with each other.

“All Cowboys,” Charles began as targeting solutions appeared on the screens. “Bring deflection grids to full power. Concentrate forward.” He paused as the Avenger hummed up to full power around Jack, and all deflection grid power shifted to the forward screens. “Open fire.”

“Hang on to your shorts,” Betty ordered and the grav cannons began to twist gravity on either side of him.

Jack released the stick and throttle and grasped the shock frame in the cockpit. He licked his lips as the grav cannons came up to full power, punching through their forward deflection grid and ripping into their target, a Chinese destroyer.

“Oh God,” Jack whispered and held on tight as hyperspace itself bent to the will of their weapons. Looking at anything in hyperspace was always an exercise in trying to focus on something that was by definition out of focus, especially at longer ranges where it became impossible to correct for the light bending. Everything just went completely out of focus until it blurred into the background multicolored hue of hyperspace. Even at short range, you had to squint and concentrate to see anything clearly.

When the Avenger’s twin gravitic cannons fired and hit the Chinese destroyer, they calmed hyperspace. They brought order and as the gravity bands bent to his fighter’s will, the Chinese destroyer came into perfect focus ahead of him. He watched the grav beams pierce the deflection grid and saw them rip armor panels off the warship.

“Betty?” he asked.

“Hold on,” she answered and her lasers began to fire in rapid-fire pulse mode, sending a spray of destruction through the holes to punch deeper into the destroyer. Atmosphere belched out, flash freezing into crystals that reflected the multicolored hues of hyperspace that seemed to rage against the edges of the gravitic beams.

“Holding on,” he answered, swallowed, and set his teeth. This was going to really hurt.


You can read about the First Battle of Alpha Centauri in Forge of War, available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble right now.

Forge of War on Amazon

Forge of War on Barnes and Noble


Full size image available for free on Patreon.

First Battle of Alpha Centauri on Patreon