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Battle of Taratrus

July 7, 2243, Tartarus, 82 Eridani system

For three months the Easterners harassed the Confederation fleet, keeping them from pushing into the inner system and attacking Amaterasu. Finally, the Earth cruisers, still reliant on purely fusion propulsion, had run out of reaction fuel. A gas giant refueling operation under combat conditions was a well simulated and practiced exercise, but no one had done it in sixty years, not since the Liberation of Jupiter. The Easterner gunships were waiting for them, hiding on the moons of Tartarus...

“Say again Richter? You’re still breaking up.”

“...the Asia is toast [static] but vapor. Invincible is ... secondary explosions.”

“Can you repeat on Invincible, Richter?”

“Got two Samurai closing ... firing... um, Invincible is dead in space .... [static] Bambi’s hit – don’t know if [static].”


“Pushing the plasma afterburners. Ten, eleven gees uh...”


“We’ve lost him on audio, Captain. But I’m still getting telemetry. He’s pulling about twelve gees with three Easterner drone missiles on his tail. Bambi’s tele is gone. Nothing from Invincible either, but I’m still getting a good ladar return.”

“Fine. Broadcast to fleet: Retreat to jump point of the day, best speed. Jump when ready. Don’t wait for stragglers; pick up any boats and fighters you can.”

“Sir, but what about the Admiral?”

“He’s dead or out of the fight. And we’ll be that way too if we don’t withdraw.”

“Yes, sir. Looks like Richter’s going to beat us there at the rate he’s going.”

“He’d better turn around and slow down soon, or nobody’ll be able to pick him up. Then it’ll be a couple of thousand years for his trip back.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Richter... how did he get that call-sign anyway?”

“Sir, if I recall it was a short time after he won a burrito-eating contest.”

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