“Entering range now. Engaging.” Both ships exchanged ineffective long range fire.
“All ahead full, then make a tight turn to starboard and set up to chase it. Keep the starboard batteries lined up as it closes.” The captain remained calm and his bridge crew set about their jobs with practiced efficiency.
“It’s launched one of those projectiles. Brace for impact.” Announced the weapons officer. An explosion rocked the ship, rupturing the hull in many places and a salvo of energy beams struck out from the alien ship.
The captain shouted above the alarms “get us turned about and launch torpedoes as it passes. Maybe that will keep them busy. Get me a damage report, Ex.”
“Multiple hull breaches. Blast doors are holding. We’ve lost one light gun battery. Engineering also reports the FTL drive is down."
“Torpedoes away, sir. Magazine reports that was our last salvo. It continues to close at high speed.”
The large view-screen displayed the alien ship in close-up. The impact of lance and beam weapons showed clearly on its hull.
“None of our torpedoes hit sir. It crossed in front of us too rapidly for them to get a lock.”
Suddenly, a chunk of the alien ship erupted and tore lose, tumbling away and breaking up. “That was a lance strike sir. At this range they are pretty destructive.”
“Keep firing and get the other battery on-line.”
“Brace. Brace. Brace” yelled the weapons officer. The hive ship launched another plasma bolt and at this range, it would take no time to reach them. Once again, the cruiser shook as the force of the plasma bolt raced along the hull, cracking seems and ripping out bulkheads.
“One lance battery is out. Returning fire.” The screen showed another tear in the alien hull and lumps of biomass broke loose and scattered in all directions. But another series of energy beams shot from the hive ship causing the cruiser to lurch as the hull was breached again. “We just lost the other lance battery ,sir. Shields have gone and the main drive is also damaged.”
“Roll the ship and bring the other batteries to bear. Try and stay with it as long as possible. It looks pretty badly damaged to me. We just might get lucky.”
The ship shuddered as the artificial gravity compensated for the roll. The alien ship continued to fire as it rapidly moved away. Then, as soon as they could target the enemy, the cruiser’s port side weapons opened fire in one concentrated volley. On the screen, the hive ship simply fell to pieces. The high energy lance beams cut through what was left of the enemy hull until it burned away to nothing.
“Damage?” the captain asked as he turned to the XO.
“We’re in bad shape, sir. No FTL. Main drive is damaged. We’ve lost both starboard lances and both light gun batteries. All fires are contained, but that is largely because we are venting atmosphere from multiple breaches. I have no tally of crew casualties yet, but it will be bad. With luck, some of them made it to life pods, but we are in no position to attempt to recover them.”
“Nav, how long to reach port?”
“Two hours at current best speed.”
Once again the hooded psyker interrupted. “But we won’t have that long. Look at the scanner.”
"We won't survive another battle. Turn for port. Signal mayday and request assistance. Tell Mercia Base they have an incoming hive ship. Ex, concentrate on the engines, we will need all the speed we can get to escape or to manouevre if that thing catches us. I'll be in sick bay."
These two senarios were deliberately very simple. The aim was just to compare the two ship designs and see how they played. The plasma bolt can be very destructive, but suffers because of its limited rate of fire. The vapour shroud seems largely useless. It may be better to replace it with more armour.