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Teresa M Shafer - For books that kindle thought and ignite the imagination!
Chapter 20
The Battle Over Mars
While Cara waited next to the statue on the front lawn of the Marine’s HQ Dan and the better part of seven squadrons of fighters came within full sensor range of Alti’s command ship. Dan had all the Intel that Ground Command could give to him. He immediately sent a squad of ships that had the most fuel with the shuttle to ensure that the shuttle made it to the ground. The fighters are commanded to follow the shuttle to the ground and then return to the battle in the sky. He sent those that were damage or low on fuel to the space dock and then reluctantly had to follow them in to refuel his own fighter.  The remaining four squads joined the dwindling fighters that had stayed home in their hit and run strategy against the ship.  Dan watched the battle impatiently from the platform. It took time to refuel a fighter and he used that time to check on his pilots and see to some personal relief as well. He talked to mechanics and technicians while he watched the ineffectual strategy play out before him. The fighters were the only thing that could take this menace down. It was flying too high for any anti-aircraft batteries to be effectual. They could use missiles but they had yet to install or build the missiles that would be effective against this particular ship. They were in the plans, they just weren’t done. It was like the Battle Cruiser that sat behind him in the space dock. It took up over half of the interior space in the station but it was not operational and Dan had a sinking feeling that if they didn’t do something about this single ship the one behind him would never carry a free Martian.
“Well, when all else fails shove the gun up their ass and see if that moves them.” Dan said to the window. 
“What’s that you say sir?” The mechanic said behind him.  
“Nothing… is my ship ready yet?”  Dan had just lost his patience. 
“Well sir… it’s fueled but you have some loose baffles and plating that we need weld.”  The mechanic said uneasily.  
Dan turned his full attention onto the mechanic. “Really… do you not see what’s happening out there?” The mechanic nodded his head rapidly and looked as if he would rather be out floating in the vacuum than facing the angry Major just now. “Use some fucking duct tape and get me back in the fight!” He turned and started rapidly walking back to his ship. “If we can’t shut that thing down it won’t make a damn bit off difference to anyone if my baffles are locked down, now will it? Dumb ass…”
The mechanic was scurrying along behind him looking smaller by the second.
Two minutes later Dan was leading his squadrons from the space dock and rejoining the fight. “Major Toledo, take your men into dock and get some fuel. Let me have a crack at this bad boy.” He was on the radio before his ship fully cleared the doors.
What remained of four squads had followed him out of space dock. “Alright boys and girls we all know what’s at stake here, unless of course you’re a total fucking idiot and in that case be my guest to just drive your ship up that monsters ass and do us all a favor. Otherwise… we need to take that ship out by any means possible. My guess is that it has an exhaust port. They can’t have put shielding over their ass hole. Let’s find it and light it up.”
The squads each took a quadrant and began taking pot shots at the ship while they scanned for chinks in the armor. Dan called Ground Control and asked for their assistance as well. It took forever… almost a full five minutes. During which time he got a report from the surface that the shuttle had landed and the other squad of ships was returning from the surface. He sent them to space dock. Major Toledo reported that only six squadrons would be rejoining Dan in battle. Dan lost seventeen more ships while they looked for an exhaust port.
Finally one of his pilots reported an anomaly. It was little more than a minor reading on his monitor. It seemed that since the ship could use attitude thrusters to keep it in a stable orbit they had a way of closing a shielded flap over their port hole.
“Now isn’t that precious?” Dan said when he looked at the reading and then received the analyzed pictures back from Mars Intel. “They got a flap over their poop shoot.”
“Major Baldridge, now what are we going to do?” It was the voice of a very young man.
Dan thought about it for just a second. “It’s still a weakness that can be exploited. It has to have hinges, that’s what will make it weak. Alright I want everyone to concentrate their fire on that one spot. Still take shots at the rest of the ship when you’re not in range of its ass… and stay out of each other’s way.”
Every fighter in the area aimed their noses at the alien ship’s tail pipe and opened fire. ‘It’s a shame that we can’t just sit in one spot and fire on the thing.’ Dan thought to himself as he dove under the ship and did a barrel turn across its front nose.
The occupants of the ship realized what the Martians were doing almost immediately and they began to fire upon their opponents more concernedly. The real problem now was trying to avoid the dozens of exterior guns on the alien craft while still firing upon their one weakness. But now they knew for sure that it was a weakness.
 “Squads one, two and three concentrate on their ass. The rest of you concentrate on their guns.” Dan ordered. A few well aimed shots took out a couple of guns but it seemed to make little difference. But that didn’t make them change their strategy. Something must be working because the aliens were reacting.
The aliens were stuck right where they were. If they couldn’t manage to kill all of the Martians they would be doomed. They became the cornered cat and began to lash out with everything that they had at the mosquitoes that had learned how to irritate their hide. Their concentration turned to the fighters in the air and all bombardment of the surface ceased. It was surly a godsend for the people on the ground.
Suddenly several things happened all at once. The trap door over their exhaust port snapped and flew free. A bank of weapons near the nose of the ship exploded spectacularly and another bank of weapons got lucky and took out seven fighters. But the next shot into the exhaust caused a chain reaction that sent Fighters scampering to put some distance between them and the ship. But the ship didn’t blow and neither did it seem to be crippled. But they were hurting.
The aliens seemed to realize that they were undone. The ships thrusters began to ignite all on one side and the nose of the ship was brought around to actually face the city on the surface. They were setting themselves up for a kamikaze run on the city below.
They tried to ignite their engines because flames shot from their exhaust port. Dan had no intention of allowing them to run. He sped back into the proximity of the ship and fired as many rounds as he could get off at the open port. Many in his command followed his example until he ordered his fighters away. If the ship blew he didn’t want them anywhere near it.  Unfortunately for him they seemed to be just as concerned for him. Rather than argue the point while the alien ship was floundering they all scooted away from it.
 “Okay, we can’t let it dive bomb the city. We have to get it to detonate here. Alright everyone pretend we’re doing lay ups and keep your distance unless you’re taking a shot… but be quick about it. Be fast and accurate.” The ships began to peel away from both sides of the alien craft and alternately fire shots at the small exhaust port on the posterior of the ship. It almost looked like some kind of well practiced flying show the way that two fighters would arch in under the ship; take several shots each as they passed a specific point and then peel away again… it was almost poetic.
The aliens seemed desperate at this point. Most of their dorsal guns had been knocked out or were in the wrong position to get a clear shot at the fighters. They had no way to defend themselves from the constant barrage.
After several fighters had taken shots at the exhaust pipe more explosions occurred inside the ship. Hull plating began to dislodge and gaping holes began to appear in many locations on the posterior of the ship. Dan had his people exploit them completely, which they most happily did.
The ship began to shudder with the impacts and consequent explosions and it began to lose altitude. Dan ordered a mass attack. He was torn between saving the people that were on the ground in harm’s way and saving the people in the air that were in harm’s way. He prayed silently to whatever God may be listening that he could somehow save them all.
The ship pitched forward and its downward momentum began to pick up speed. As it came into range of the city’s defense batteries they began to open up on the craft as well. The fighters were quick to dip out of the way of the surface Plasma Cannons.
Slowly the alien craft began to break up under the onslaught. After several well placed shots from the Cannon below the ship seemed to inhale and hold its nose for a long second, then suddenly it exploded in a magnificent light show. The first explosion ripped the craft in half and the subsequent smaller explosions tore it to shreds. It rained alien aircraft into Mars’ atmosphere for many days. Most pieces were burned up in entry but a few larger pieces made it through. Many of those pieces would become part of a large sculpture that would eventually sit outside of the yet unimagined massive Corporate Headquarters of Blake and Rayne Enterprises.