End Run by Christopher Stasheff & William Forstchen


End Run by Christopher Stasheff & William Forstchen

Author:Christopher Stasheff & William Forstchen [Stasheff, Christopher & Forstchen, William]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Published: 2011-03-14T00:00:00+00:00



CHAPTER VI

Jason paused for a moment and waited. He felt the shudder and didn’t even bother to look at the shifting starfields on the other side of the launch bay airlock. Seconds later the ship’s nav computer announced successful jump and started the countdown for the next jump which would hit in just over eleven hours.

So they were on their way in.

He turned back around.

“No way, no damned way, I need a cleared launch area and taxiway for my ships. Now either that landing craft gets moved or I’ll order it pushed over the side right now!”

“Listen here, young sir,” Merritt growled, stepping up closer to Jason. “These ships are my responsibility, and if I don’t have them I don’t land. And I’ll tell you this, if you lay a hand on that landing craft I’ll kick your butt from here to Earth and back.”

“You damned grunt,” Jason growled. “If you don’t have fighter cover, this carrier will get cooked before you’re even out of the airlock.”

He could sense that the entire deck was going quiet. Hundreds of marines were bunked out under the wings of the Sabres and in any spare corner that could be found. Tension was already high and they would most likely enjoy a good demonstration of hand-to-hand combat just about now to break the boredom.

The deck was crowded beyond anything he had ever imagined possible. Each of the landing craft was damned near the size of a Broadsword, capable of carrying up to a hundred men, two M-77 light ground assault vehicles, an array of medium caliber weapons, with a full battery of ground bombardment missiles slung to the undercarriage. That alone gave him the creeps. Ten landing craft, each loaded down with enough missiles to rip theTarawa apart a dozen times over, were sitting fully exposed on deck. Except for the hot-loaded planes, all armament aboardTarawa was stored in blast-proof lockers beneath the flight deck, only to be hoisted out and loaded on just before launch. But no one in the design of the carrier had envisioned the addition of ten marine landing craft. There simply was no place to store the armament other than on the racks of the ships, a fact which Jason felt was the equivalent of handing a lit bomb to Maniac and then telling him to go blow something up—sooner or later something would indeed blow.

If the Sabre lost in the training flight crashed on the deck now, it would ram straight into several of the landing craft—and theTarawa would simply disappear.

“Ah, sirs?”

Sparks, moving fast, pushed her way in between the two.

“Just what the hell is it,Sparks ?”

“I’ve been thinking, sir. Take a look straight up.”

“Damn it, Sparks, not now.”

“Look up, sir. See them hooks on the ceiling? They never pulled them out when this ship was converted over from a transport. We could hang eight of the landing craft up there, and there’d be just enough room underneath for the taxiway. If we jiggle the other planes around, we’ll be able to squeeze in the other two landing craft and still have room to spare.



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