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And this state of stress this overdrive field did not have a position. It was a position. The ship inside it could not be said to be in the real cosmos at all, but when the field collapsed it would be somewhere, and the way it pointed, and how long before collapse, determined in what particular somewhere it would be when it came out. But travel in overdrive was tedious.
But the Mekinese are refusing battle now. They'll begin to slip away in overdrive if we keep chopping them down in groups. We have to give them a chance or they'll run away. The new missile system works perfectly. All ships break formation. Find your own Mekinese. Blast them!" Bors said in a conversational voice, "There are three Mekin ships yonder.
"If you use these figures," said Logan complacently and he scribbled figures swiftly "you'll get it really accurate." Having finished writing the equation, he wrote the solution. Bors asked suspicious questions. Logan answered absently. He knew nothing about overdrive. He didn't understand anything but numbers and he didn't know how he did what he did with them.
The light cruiser, the Isis, was unaware of these frustrations. It remained in overdrive, where absolutely nothing happened. Bors reviewed his actions and could not but approve of them tepidly. He'd sent food to the fleet, he'd destroyed two enemy fighting ships and he'd done what he could to harm the Mekinese puppets on Tralee. He'd had them publicly humiliated with well-chosen epithets.
He stood by while the ship was aimed for Kandar. The young astrogator said enthusiastically, "Prepare for overdrive. Five, four, three " A voice out of a speaker: "Calling Liberty! Calling Liberty! Morgan calling Liberty!" "Hold it," said Bors. He answered the call. Morgan's voice, in a high state of agitation, "Bors! The Sylva's just back! Just broke out!
It had gone into overdrive, heading for Dara at many times the speed of light. Another. Two more. That was all. The remainder of the fleet hung clumsily in emptiness. And Calhoun worriedly went over in his mind the lessons he'd given in such a pathetically small number of days. If the four ships reached Dara, their pilots would be heroes.
In overdrive there was not as yet a way to know accurately one's actual speed, and at astronomical distances small errors piled up. Correction of line was important, too, because a course that was even a second off arc could mount up to hundreds of thousands of miles. But even with that usual previous breakout, the Mekinese cruiser did not turn up conveniently close to its destination.
In their struggle against the cops two generations ago the Huks had had to learn that fighting wasn't all drama and heroics. The cops had taken the glamour out when they won. So the Huks wouldn't waste time making fine gestures now. The squad ship had appeared off their planet. It had not transmitted a code identification-signal the instant it came out of overdrive.
Mekinese ships could come out of overdrive, time a solar-system-drive approach to arrive at Tralee's atmosphere in darkness, and be hovering menacingly overhead when dawn broke. Such an appearance had strong psychological effects upon the population. Bors used the same device with modifications. His ship plunged out of the sunrise and across half a continent, descending as it flew.
The Mekinese ship was a cruiser, and it broke out of overdrive within the Tralee solar system just two days, four hours, and some odd minutes after Gwenlyn predicted its coming. Presumably, it had made the customary earlier breakout to correct its course and measure the distance remaining to be run.