CA-400 Devastator was lead ship of her class. Much of the First Fleet was composed of the name ships of their class. CA Courageous and the destroyers Wraith and Asher, themselves the lead ships of their classes, were screening CV Orion-the first and oldest carrier of her generation! Old, the Devastators were not as highly regarded in Force as the later and more numerousCourageous class, lacking serious anti-fighter protection. But they did have the obsolescent, yet highly effective Athena torpedoes and heavy gamma-ray lasers, both with greater punch than the Nike tactical nukes and dual X-ray lasers of the Courageous type. The X-ray laser was actually a destroyer weapon, found in quadruple emplacements in the Asher and much more powerfulWraith class destroyers, employed on the Courageous cruisers for its cheaper construction and higher firing rate. But the gamma-ray laser, known colloquially as the ‘graser,’ could tear apart a Solusan Baikal-class frigate with just a few shots, even a shielded one.
Elena’s meal finished, she pulled on her highly-polished boots and strode through narrow corridors to the command center. The boatswain’s mate of the watch barked “Captain on the bridge!” as she entered. They stiffened to attention, alert to her presence, ready to fight. She nodded her approval and focused her attention on the Tactical Action Officer. “As you were, people. TAO, our orders?”
Commander Grimes, the TAO, smiled a wolfish smile at her. “Dragon. Search, and eliminate.”
“Excellent. Pilot, ahead two-thirds. Set course 090 for first waypoint, zero angle. TAO, advise Dauntless and Steadfast to form up. Weapons officer, set grasers and Athena battery to automatic. Point-defense emplacements to defend the ship. Graviton shield at fifty percent. All ships, weapons free.” The Group readied itself for action as it approached the first waypoint. With hand-optical gear, Elena and the bridge lookouts scanned space around them, carefully peering out of the transparent, heavily armored shell of the command platform high on Devastator’s prow. The effectiveness of the Marakan jamming gear rendered the fleet sensor net useless for long-range detection without prodigious use of sensor probes, which themselves gave away what the attacker was interested in. Elena tried not to use those. Often, the Mk. 1 Eyeball could pick out a shape, bright against the fluorescent background of gases limning most of the inner Marakan systems. Or see anticollision lights, intended to warn compatriots, a giveaway to enemies. One of these would change the mission today.