The deck shuddered as the port side main battery fired with a roar. The ship heeled more as she received the first blows from the enemy vessel. Carlisle’s carronades roared as Hunter felt the ship start a swift turn to starboard. A couple of explosions told Hunter that a couple of shots struck the rear of the ship. Briggs spoke up, “Standby to fire as your guns bear, Sir.” Hunter repeated the order and the gun captains bent over their viewports. His guns erupted as they fired on the ship. Hunter looked through the viewport and saw the enemy vessel, an Arachni frigate. The main deck guns fired into her as Arethusa veered towards her. Briggs spoke, “All starboard guns standby to fire and board.” The gun crews loaded their guns and the captains trained them to fire on the holes in the enemy armor belt. In the meanwhile, the boson and his mates readied the boarding equipment at the airlocks on the main and quarter decks.
As the two ships neared, boarding grapples shot across the gap and pierced the sides of the Arachni vessel. The two ships came together with a jar. The starboard guns fired in near unison. The bosons opened the airlocks and extended the boarding couplers, connecting the two ships. Boarding crews led by the starboard division officers, stood ready behind them. The bosons attached implosion grenades to the hull of the enemy vessel and detonated them.
Before the smoke cleared, Arethusa’s crew poured into the holes and onto the enemy vessel. Hunter bounded forward onto the main deck, armed with a pistol blaster. Shots rang of the armor above his head as the enemy crew attempted to choke the flow of the boarders. The firefight ended as the melee began. The Arachni crew stormed forward and the battle became a close quarters brawl. Welles, Hunter and several other men stormed the quarterdeck and the Arachni bridge. A swarm of men from the starboard side of the quarterdeck attacked them as they reached the access hatch for the bridge. Hunter fired his blaster at one man, as another slashed across his chest with a large knife. Ducking quickly, Hunter fell to the deck. He fired into the man’s chest, dropping him to the deck. Hunter rose to his feet and held the quarterdeck as Welles and some men rushed the bridge. Welles’ voice came over the ship’s intercom, “Bridge secured!”
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