The crew takes a moment to lament the absence of Rothschild as Thadius blasts away with the Queen’s weapon systems, seemingly at random. He is obviously more comfortable with aggressive firing patterns and the enemy gunners are able to exploit gaps in the defenses.
Joe and Arek prove very effective in giving direction to the engineering crew who are much diminished by Toffee’s indisposition. They manage to repair almost all the damage done by the opening volleys.
Despite the risks, Zeke continues a direct approach but enemy gunners once again pinpoint his trajectory and lay down withering fire.
Mishka unleashes his virus and causes some havoc in the enemy targeting computers but the effects aren’t as dramatic as hoped.
Thadius’s aggressive tactics pay off and he manages to disable an entire battery of defensive weapons, drastically reducing the base’s effectiveness on that vector.
Despite the admonitions of both Joe and Arek, the engineers start falling behind as the damage starts to pile up.
Ignoring the blaring damage-control sirens, Zeke pulls off an impressive maneuver that brings the ship into easy striking distance – both for a boarding action and for the massive orbital defense cannons to unload point blank salvoes. Before the salvoes can be fired, Mishka hacks through a firewall and uncovers detailed plans of the station. He relays a series of firing solutions to Thadius who follows through beautifully with precision strikes against the remaining defense cannons.
The maintenance crews breathe a sigh of relief as they realize they could not possibly have repaired damage fast enough to keep the ship flying if the big guns had connected.
Zeke pulls The Queen into position and a boarding tunnel is launched through a breach in one of the orbital base’s repair hangars.
Naturally, Joe leads the charge into the massive hangar with music blasting. He takes a few glancing shots but, as usual, he just bulls his way through the worst of it.
The marines defending the base show immense discipline and precision, pinning down the boarders and dealing significant damage to the unlucky Mishka when he finds himself out of position. The tide is turned when Arnie jump-jets into close combat with a formation of marines ‘Chico’ just broke up. Joe exploits the breaches Arnie’s weapon inflicts on the marine’s power armour – at one point reaching in and tearing a marine’s throat out with his bare hand.
When the dust (and mist of vaporized metal) settles, the boarders have killed four marines and captured a fifth. More importantly, they have secured a staging point on the base. Goshi marine units start checking in and new battle lines start to form…