Starlance Soldier – Ep10

Episode 10: Family

“Report!”, the Captain was worried, the concentration of ships was great. If they were an additional retaliatory force we would have a very deadly fight in our hands.

“Captain, we are receiving preliminary data. The lead ship’s designation is… Starlance Legacy, a Supremacy class battle cruiser.”

“Impossible, that ship looks like the one that attacked us! Explain!”. The monitor showed the vessel clearly, our realization only muddled the situation. As the officers scoured the computer system for information a transmission arrived from the fleet.

When the face of the man appeared on the screen my eyes opened wide. I was in shock, this face I recognized and a feeling of hatred overcame me.

“This is General Dalton Greer of the main Starlance fleet. Proxima Eclipse, by aiding these rebels you have betrayed our institution. The penalty for this is death, but, as benevolent as I am, I will grant you the chance to surrender. This goes to all of the traitorous fleet. You have but ten minutes to comply, after this we will ensure your destruction. As for the so called Centauri Liberation Front you are condemned and charged with the same treason. You will be an example for those who dare threaten the peace we built.”

“Father… damn you for doing this.”, I knew he was a cruel man, but to stoop to killing civilians. Power must have currupted him. In the family it was clear he was a high ranking officer, but no one suspected he was the head of Starlance.

“Some family you have, does he know you’re here?”

“He probably does, my sister, Captain Anabelle was here when I boarded the ship.”

“Anabelle Greer, I was wondering how she could rise up the ranks with such ease.”

“There is no telling what father will do, that ship has the power to destroy everything here. We have to move fast.”

“What do you propose Ensign?”

“We may have no choice but to fight. I do not believe father will allow us to go unpunished.”

“Adrian, I am not willing to let these people die without a cause. The people on the colony must be protected, this action by Starlance is abusive! So I agree, we fight! All hands, battle stations!”

Another transmission from the Starlance fleet arrived, it was my father again. This time he would be talking directly with the captain, and the video feed would show me on the bridge with her.

“Well captain? Have you decided on the course to take?”

“These people are civilians, we cannot permit you to strike them.”

“I see you have my coward son on the bridge, tell me boy, how has it been? Are you willing to face death for these people? Are you willing to fight your own family?”

“You are the greater disgrace, fighting unarmed citizens! You haven’t even realized Dana is down there with them. She has done far more to help them than you ever will.”, I curled my hands into fists.

“Pah! What a child like mind you have. Dana chose her path, as have you it seems. My concern is not for the well being of individuals but to maintain control and order. Captain, do what you will, I will spare none of you.”

Some of the ships in the general’s fleet began to make their advance. The captain ordered all pilots to their fighters and the ships in the fleet to stand by. The Proxima Eclipse was standing between the colony and certain destruction.

I ran as fast as I could to the nearest rail system. My arrival at the hangar bay was timely Mara and Vivian were there preparing themselves. Mara was to fly an assault fighter while Vivian made the necessary arrangements for launch. The plan was to stall the enemies long enough to allow the colony to make a jump to a safer location. Crystal and James were assigned to Squadron Epsilon while I was given full command of Squadron Sigma.

All systems on the Star Shadow were ready. I began to make my exit from the hangar bay along with my fellow pilots. As I did this a short range transmission arrived on my communicator. There was a lot of interference but I understood the message. Dana’s voice, as sweet as always, said to me “be careful”. This was a nightmare for both of us, to have to face our father like this. In addition to her message a small bit of data arrived, it was a communication that was intercepted from Starlance High Command. Said communication contained orders to test their new Supremacy class starship on the current most powerful ship in the fleet, the Proxima Eclipse. I relayed the information to the Captain and moved away from the carrier. With my squadron ready we began our approach towards the main Starlance fleet. Enemy fighters began to fly out to meet us.

One of our battle cruisers began to move forward. They sent a message saying they surrendered to Starlance. It was a crushing blow, but nothing more devastating than what we would see next. The Starlance Legacy charged its main weapon and fired upon the battle cruiser. Its destruction was swift and brutal. Any smaller fighters that crossed the beam were also destroyed, those who were near got pushed away by the force of the energy.

“Sigma Squadron, the enemy ship has to take some time before they can fire again. Ready yourselves, this will be a very dangerous battle. We must give the colony time to escape! Are you with me?!”, the roaring sound of approval arrived clearly though the speakers. The captain also added her part.

“To all fighters of the Proxima Eclipse, fight bravely. We are the true Starlance. We fight for peace and justice. The people in the colony need our help and we will provide it! Onwards!”

A volley of missiles launched from the carrier as well as the other ships that remained. The battle has begun. All the modifications I had done to my fighter proved extremely useful. My ship was now much faster and the plasma cannon had a reduced charge time. I was also using every trick available to me. My opponents lasted very little, though the real target stood afar. The Starlance Legacy was preparing for another shot of its main weapon and I knew what its next target would be. The second battle cruiser of our fleet fell. It was horrifying to think that so many lives could be lost so quickly, it was a reminder of the nuclear weapons back on Earth.

The spirits of my fellow pilots were waning. I have lost two comrades in the last few minutes. The squadron had a total of seven fighters including myself, now with just five of us we had to push on towards the Starlance Legacy.

More time passed and another of our allies had fallen, this time one of the assault vessels of the Centauri Liberation Front. In one last desperate move I ordered all fighters to join up with my squadron.

“What’s up Adrian? Got a plan brewing?”, the familiar voice was James. I looked to my side as he paired up his ship with mine.

“Everyone we are at a great disadvantage but we must do something to prevent that ship from firing again. Squadrons Sigma, Epsilon and Omega will move to attack their main ship. The rest must provide cover for us and what remains of our fleet. As far as I can tell that weapon fires once every fifteen minutes, that gives us time to concentrate our fire to destabilize its shielding. Is everyone clear?”

“Yes sir!”, though I was only given command of Squadron Sigma the other teams appreciated my skills and leadership.

With our plan set we moved in closer to our target. The attack began as a success, the concentrated fire was causing the shielding to break up forcing them to modulate the energy frequency. If my assumptions proved correct enough interference would stall their main weapon.

Almost forty five minutes into our battle. We have lost three ships but my plan to stall their main weapon was working. To counter our assault they focused their fighters and most of their turrets against us. The crossfire was overwhelming, even their own ships were being hit. Their distraction was enough for the weapon to fire again, this time the target was the carrier. The beam of energy pushed away our fighters. Meanwhile the carrier was able to take the hit, though at a great cost. A large hole now adorned one side of the ship. Six hangar bays were destroyed, sadly including hangar bay sixteen. My thoughts shifted to Vivian and whether she was safe.

“This is Captain Patricia Villanova to all fighters from the Proxima Eclipse. Retreat, I do not want to lose any more of you. Retreat! Now!”

There was little else to be done. I lost contact with James and Crystal, most likely the energy burst pushed them away. Of my squadrom only two others remained. In the distance I saw the destruction of another assault vessel that belonged to the CLF. For my father though, the battle was far from over. A second shot from the Starlance Legacy crippled the carrier leaving it barely active with no shields to defend itself. A few minutes later when I had almost reached the carrier another blast passed by. The colony was hit, almost half of it completely destroyed.

New orders came from the carrier, a barely readable text read, “Disperse and disappear.” It seemed that the captain knew what was to become of us if we stayed there. My worry grew, I had received no more communication from Dana or Mara. I was alone and filled with rage. My father had become an enemy I vowed to defeat. While I made preparations, a direct link communication came from the Starlance Legacy.

“You made a brave effort, but war is about power and numbers both of which you lacked. How do you feel now boy? You have no one to protect you. I will not spare you. Even your siblings know the kind of weakling you are.”

“You! How can you be so cruel?! You killed Dana!”

“Did I? Like I said before she chose her own path! I had a perfect life for her and she threw it away, just like you did.”

“Savor your victory father, I will return for you. I swear it!”

Energy from the jump drive built up and broke the communications link. Slowly other ships started to disappear in a multitude of directions. I set coordinates somewhere far from this wretched sector which has now come to embody both pain and hatred.

The last data sweep showed the colony barely functioning. I looked to the side, time seemed to have slowed down. The debris from the ships and the colony floated in space, an eerie reminder of the carnage faced in this battle. To the other side of my ship I see a deadly weapon, but more than that there is a murderer aboard that ship. I made the jump, escaped with my life and now more alone than before.


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