Skip to content

X3: Terran Conflict: Encounter in Zyarth’s Dominion

Some time has passed since Operation Final Fury. With the Kha’ak threat greatly diminished, Argon Federation Marshall Kel Aylin turns to the other great foe plaguing the X Universe: the Xenon.

I scan sectors looking for potential hotspots and I find one. Telemetry from the advanced satellite I placed in Zyarth’s Dominion reveals Xenon raiders. This is a convincing show of force by the sentient machines: three fighters and an equal number of heavy fighters escorting the main threat, a Xenon Q frigate.

Zyarth’s Dominion is a Split sector and I have no license that would gain me profit from an engagement there. I am initiating this battle for purely emotional reasons. I have lost two merchant ships to Q marauders and I do not mean to lose a third.

X3: Terran Conflict: Cerberus

I engage my ship’s jumpdrive and enter the sector from the South gate. The Xenon force is 11km away when it notices me and begins turning in my direction.

The Q is an ugly beast, a brutish behemoth designed as only a soulless machine could. What it lacks in looks, it makes up for in deadliness. Its presence is a promise of widespread destruction and the lack of usual sector traffic in Zyarth’s Dominion indicated the Q had already claimed victims here.

This will be a dangerous battle. My Cerberus frigate is slower than the beast and less powerful. A face on assault would end disastrously. The Q’s powerful cannons could decimate the Cerberus’s shields within moments and I do not intend to let that happen. The key would be my ship’s agility and I must make the most of this crucial advantage if I am to survive this encounter.

I am not content to merely survive, however. I intend this to be a decisive victory and I cannot achieve that alone. The Q is dangerous enough by itself but its fighter escort could maul me while I was preoccupied with the main threat.

I contact my corvettes in Omicron Lyrae, and the Vidar and the Truelight Seeker quickly jump into the sector to join me. The two M6-class ships are a study in contrasts. Despite the Vidar’s predatory looks, the tough ship is lightly armed. The odd-looking Truelight Seeker, on the other hand, is fragile yet deceptively dangerous thanks to its ability to mount capital ship weapons. While neither one could hope to take on the Q on its own, together they will distract the Q long enough for my Cerberus to go for the kill.

This is still not enough. I order Blue Wing to launch. The two Nova Raider heavy fighters exit my frigate’s hangars and wheel around to protect my flanks. They will keep the Xenon fighters busy.

The odds are now in my favour. One frigate, two corvettes and a pair of heavy fighters pitted against a Xenon frigate and its six fighter escorts. Victory is there for the taking. I need only ensure I gain it at minimum cost. There can be no mistakes.

I give the order: full speed ahead.

Five km.

The proximity alarm sounds. The enemy is close at hand.

X3: Terran Conflict: Xenon Q

Four km.

Pale yellow blossoms seem to waft slowly and serenely from the Q — a mesmerising sight for those unaware of the energy bolts’ devastating power.

My Cerberus begins the first of its evasive manoeuvres. Pitch up to avoid the incoming fire. The Q’s guns compensate and begin to redirect fire. Now quickly to starboard with the strafe drive assisting in the manoeuvre. The Q is now within weapon range but I resist the temptation to fire my main guns even as my turrets open up. I can ill afford to stay still long enough to let loose an accurate burst and I must make every shot count. I continue closing the distance while evading incoming fire.

My next manoeuvre is too slow and too predictable for the Q’s guns. I wince as half of my shields evaporate. There will not be time for them to safely regenerate. I cannot take more fire. Pitch down and hard.

Success. I am under the belly of the beast, beyond the reach of the Q’s dangerous main weapons. A heartbeat later and I am behind the Xenon frigate. I turn to port, back towards the enemy. Less than a km away, the Q fills my viewscreen. Now! The Cerberus’s eight concussion impulse generators roar to life, spitting thunderous fire. Bright explosions erupt along the Q’s starboard side and it loses some of its shields. I fire the main guns again and again, no longer caring to conserve weapon energy. Use it or lose all. The enemy’s shields continue dwindling.

The onboard computer informs me in its level detached tone one of my ships is under fire. I can hardly spare a thought much less go to its aid. It must fend for itself in this chaotic melee.

The Q turns in my direction, preparing once again to bring its fearsome weapons to bear. The danger is twofold now for both frigates are perilously close to each other. I must avoid the impending burst of fire from the Q while simultaneously avoiding smashing into its starboard side. With both frigates’ shields reduced, a collision would be fatal.  Pitch down and hard. I hold my breath, dreading the crash.

It never comes. I am below the Q then behind it once more. A quick hard turn to port and the Q is in my sights again. Full burst. Everything I have. Salvo after salvo. The computer warns me weapon energy levels are low. How much more can this behemoth take? Will it not di-…

The Q explodes. The main viewscreen fills with blinding light. Even in death, the beast impresses.

X3: Terran Conflict: Q Explodse

I exhale.

With the main threat gone, victory is only a matter of mopping up the rest of the Xenon. We do this quickly and with minimum fuss. Zyarth’s Dominion is safe once more. The Split thank us politely for our assistance, unsolicited though it was.

I order Blue Wing to collect salvage material before despatching my heavy fighters to the Split shipyard for minor repairs. The corvettes are sent home to my Omicron Lyrae factory complex to await further orders.

I engage my own jumpdrive. As the countdown to the jump begins, I take a moment to look around. There is nothing left to indicate a battle had been fought here recently. Nothing but memories.

There will be other battles, of course, other opportunities for profit, promotion and glory. This one, however, provided personal satisfaction. I now knew I need not flee at the sight of a Xenon task force. I had sufficient assets at my disposal to take on any invasion force and crush it.

Yes, there will be other battles and I look forward to them.

Posted in Games, X3.

0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.