Starlance Soldier – Ep9

Episode 9: Just Cause

The fleet prepared for the jump to coordinates near the colony Proxima Centauri One. Our mission was to strike down the entire colony which was once under the protectorate. Any ships who opposed us were to be destroyed as well. The harsh repercussions of their break away from Starlance were also due to them being accused of attacks against other colonies. Strangely enough Alpha Centauri Twelve was among those colonies that also broke off from the protectorate. They would not choose to ally themselves with the liberation front if they were the perpetrators of such violence. The Captain was aware of this. I am still on the bridge with her, talking about battle strategy.

“I honestly believe they will not strike first, they asked for a peaceful transition. Why would they engage us?”, I explained my point to the Captain and she listened intently.

“This will not be an easy mission. I myself do not want this, it is needless violence.”

Major Caplan added, “Of course it is needless, Starlance was meant as a promoter of peace not war. High Command is making a mistake.”

Then, in a sudden and unexpected move Lieutenant Colton rose from his chair, drew his weapon and threatened Major Caplan. “This is why I was assigned here, to ensure you would follow the orders of high command.”

“What is the meaning of this?! How dare you threaten a fellow officer!”, the Captain screamed at Colton.

“I’m sorry for this Captain but I must relieve you of duty, you are not fit to lead this fleet, nor this vessel.”

“I will not permit this, Captain Villanova has done what is best for all of us.”, declared Vance.

The tense moment put everyone on edge and halted the preparations on the bridge. A message arrived from the other ships, they were ready and in position for the jump. The simple yet short diversion was enough for Major Caplan to lunge at Colton. He received a shot but it gave me time to help him and pin the Lieutenant down.

“Major, are you alright?”, I asked worried.

“It is only a scratch, these pulse pistols are not too…”, he seemed to space out a little. Pulse pistols can stun but only after a number of shots. He shook his head and continued, “…strong, I have had whiskey that’s stronger than that, ha!”

I was relieved that Vance kept his sense of humor. A security team arrived and took the Lieutenant to the brig. Captain Villanova had been expecting something like this though not from a bridge officer. With Colton out of the way we decided it was time to brief the Captain on our research. Although she wasn’t too happy for us taking matters into our own hands, she praised our courage to stand up for what is right.

“You did well, but now we must decide on what to do about our orders. I am not fond of attacking innocent people. What do you suggest Ensign Adrian?”

“Ma’am, Starlance High Command is making a mistake. This battle could end up igniting a war. I think we should go to the location but we should not battle the Centauri Liberation Front. This could give us time to see how Starlance will proceed.”

“War may be upon us regardless of our actions, but you are right. Communications! Order the fleet to make the jump and to stand by as soon as they arrive at the location”

The Proxima Eclipse completed the undocking procedures and moved to the jump point. It was great to see the carrier in full operation. On the other end the ships arrived and reported that an attack had already commenced. Proxima Centauri One was under attack by some ships of unknown designation. They did not identify themselves either yet their attack against the colony was relentless. A total of three ships were attacking while four smaller assault vessels defended the colony.

When the carrier made its entrance I told the Captain that one of the ships resembled a modified Starlance battle cruiser similar to the one used to attack Alpha Centauri Twelve. In fact it was, as our scans revealed. Without hesitation Villanova ordered the ships to defend the colony from the attackers. Now I had a new mission, to protect the colony from harm by destroying this enemy.

“To all vessels in this sector, this is Captain Patricia Villanova of the Starlance carrier Proxima Eclipse. We will defend this colony for the sake of peace. The Centauri Liberation Front is not a hostile force and thus deserves no violence against them. To the ships that are attacking the colony, withdraw immediately or you will be fired upon.”

The attacking ships did not respond so our mission commenced. I launched in the Star Shadow from hangar bay sixteen along with my fellow pilots of Squadron Sigma. The tension mounted as we saw the battle from afar. Some explosions from missiles could be seen hitting the colony’s energy shield. A transmission from the colony arrived thanking us for our support. Considering the reputation of Starlance I’m sure many of them are weary of our presence.

Our battle strategy was clear, we needed to eliminate the ships attacking the colony or find a way to make them disengage. The two battle cruisers from our fleet closed in and began their assault. All sixteen squadrons of fighters were deployed to help. Some bombing runs were made by Squadron Delta and already the tide was turning. The biggest problem was that regardless of our attack the ships made no changes. Their assault on the colony continued. At this rate its shields would collapse in less than an hour. Additionally the enemy fighters began to clash against our own. As I moved around avoiding enemy fire I saw the Proxima Eclipse moving closer to the colony.

After some time many enemy fighters had been destroyed or heavily damaged. The larger vessels remained, though they too had taken heavy fire. Two had nearly lost their shielding and the main battle cruiser had completely lost theirs. Without shields the outer hull of the ship was now vulnerable. I took the opportunity to target the bridge and destroy its command capabilities. A charged shot from the plasma cannon did the trick. The destruction of the bridge prompted what fighters remained to begin a ruthless assault on the colony. It was clear that they would try to complete their mission until the end. To my surprise not only did they assault the colony with what they had, some fighters were crashing into the energy shield. The colony reported that its shields would only survive for a few more minutes. Fire against the enemies intensified from our part.

The reactor core of the enemy battle cruiser was hit, the chain reaction began to destroy it from the inside out. As with most ships of this size the reactor core is deep within the hull of the ship so concentrated fire was the only way to completely destroy it. The other ships reacted by beginning to move on a collision course with the colony. Our own two battle cruisers moved to intercept. They were able to cut off the hostile advance though the enemies continued their charge. The damage they received was great but in the end well worth the risk, the colony was safe. A mighty collision pushed all the ships out of their position and heading. This allowed the carrier to finish off the vessels.

Victory had been achieved. Our foes had basically destroyed themselves. There was no way that their mission could succeed, at least not with our presence there. All fighters were quickly recalled to the carrier. Casualties were minimal though a few missiles breached the colony’s shielding. Some civilians died but the worst had been avoided.

I was called to the bridge as soon as I landed on the hangar bay. The Captain extended her congratulations on the victory. Shortly after, a transmission arrived from the colony thanking us for the intervention. They also expressed concern about our presence there. We assured them that we decided to protect them because it was the right thing to do. As the Captain talked to the man, sensors began to detect a number of jump energy signatures, all from ships arriving to the sector. Soon we would find out who they were and their intentions.

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