Chapter Twenty

All too soon the Firing Control Officer warned, "It's coming! Keep him off our tubes, Helm!
2 Stern tube, commence firing! We might get lucky!"
3 From the stern of North's ship his single remaining beam tube began to spit a steady stream of deadly energy that their attacker zigged and zagged to avoid.
4 "In The Name of The Holy Ghost!" warned North, "Don't lose it!"
5 Several times the ship shook as the attacker's deadly beams were turned away by its shields. One time the terrible whine on the command deck was so bad it hurt North's ears.
6 "We can't take much more of this," warned Firing Control. "Our stern shields are overheating."
7 "Helm, have we reached that recommended speed?"
8 "Coming up on it, sir, about five seconds. Five, four, three, two one....we're there!"
9 "NOW!" screamed North, over the whine of another near miss. The eight thrusters on the bottom of his ship suddenly fired to life. At the same instant four mines dropped away and the ship's main engine hit full reverse. Not a second later the top thrusters fired, and the engines shifted their thrust back to forward, and from the bow of the ship the three beam tubes sent out a storm of fire.
10 Ahead of them the bewildered machine rocked and shook as it took several strikes. It turned away, fleeing back towards the ice fields. Trying to recover from the pain that was shooting through the upper part of his body, North screamed to Firing Control, "Did we hit him? Dammit, did we hit him?"
11 "At least three good, solid, wide-beam hits," screamed the Firing Control Officer. "He's moving off, but he's definitely got troubles. He's leaking something. It could be positive fuel."
12 "Get us out of here, Helm!" North snapped. At the

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