Episode 8: Sorrow, Mystery and the Future
“Well? How is she?”, a very nervous and emotional Mira asked the doctor.
“Talia will be alright, sadly we could not save her leg. The piece of the ship that pierced her upper thigh caused too much damage.”
“Damn. What about Stella?”, I asked.
“I am sorry to report that Stella passed away. Her organs started failing not long after you arrived. There was nothing we could do. The chamber she was in flooded her body with various unknown chemicals. It kept her alive, but barely.”
Mira sighed, then said, “thank you doctor. When will Talia be released?”
“We’ll keep her under observation for a few weeks. She will need time to heal and adjust to her prosthetic.”
“Alright…, Olivia, I’ll be around the base. Call if you need anything. I’ll report back to command in a while.”
I nodded in agreement. Her expression said it all. Despite our overall victory in the war, there was a pervasive sense of sadness all around. Walking through the corridors people spoke in whispers. We spent a few days moving back and forth between Rastaban Prime and here. The station had more and more personnel move out. Now our orders are to take what time we need to rest and relax. Security operations have been delegated to the local police force of each sector. I’ve been ordered to remain here, no doubt to receive psychological evaluations and so on.
After the Armada’s surrender the remaining government of Rastaban declared a ceasefire. Representatives from both sides are already working on a peace treaty. The reality of Rastaban Prime was far worse than what most people imagined. The propaganda machine they ran made it seem like the people backed the Armada completely, but the truth is that they hunted down dissidents and killed the governors of the regions that did not want to take part in the war. The new governors that were placed had little choice but to comply with Ohmaaran’s requests or suffer the same fate as their predecessors. Farmlands were left unattended which caused famine to wreak havoc on the population. Thankfully the Alliance has the means to provide whatever help the people need. The governors also agreed they would immediately step down from their positions.
The Draco star system is once again on track to become a peaceful one. We worked extensively to reach this point. As for myself, I will probably move back to Seven Sigma and patrol its space again. That is, until the Alliance needs me again. I suspect that might be soon too. Julian is taking over the leadership duties of Draco Squadron. The Alliance continues to investigate the mysterious ship that departed the Rastaban moon station and left a path of destruction behind it. We have no clue as to its target destination. It’s likely it jumped to another system. A warning was sent to Sirius, Centauri and Sol. As for the signal that was detected, it lasted too little time to learn anything from it. So we are left with a mystery, hoping there won’t be a follow up from whoever built the station and the ship.
Three months after the conflict I’m heading back to the station that was my home during the war. During this time I’ve been serving as Grand Marshall again. Draco Squadron seems to be doing well. I still receive some of the reports and General Yen Li keeps me apprised of any news. They haven’t really said what they called me back for, but I guess I’ll find out soon.
“Grand Draco Station, this is Grand Marshall Olivia Manzanares requesting permission to dock.”
“Grand Marshall, this is Grand Draco Command, you are cleared for docking in hangar bay three.”
Space station four three alpha one finally got a proper name. We used to joke they might name it Draco home base thanks to the success of Draco Squadron. We were close it seems. Time to see what’s up.
As soon as I landed my ship I saw Talia and Mira in the distance near one of the exits. Looks like they were waiting for me.
“Hey Olivia! I’m glad to see you!”, said Talia rather energetically.
“You seem to be doing well Talia.”
“Even with a lost leg there’s nothing that can hold her down. I think her piloting suffered a little.”, Mira said jokingly.
“Yeah and I still scorched you on that last sim battle.”
“Hey! Olivia doesn’t need to know that. Anyway, I’m also glad to see you. I hear you’ve kept busy.”
“Indeed, Seven Sigma is still a prime smuggling route. Though it doesn’t happen very often. Do either of you have an idea of why I’m here?”
“Nope, General Yen Li asked us here as well. Let’s head to command together.”
When we entered the command bridge the operators, guards and Yen Li stood up and began to applaud. I’m looking around a bit lost, but then a banner appeared on the main screen, it said, “Welcome Star Pilots”. The celebration started with a remembrance of Stella and her career as one of the elites. We had a moment of silence and afterwards I received the offer to join the group. It felt surreal for a while there. I accepted, of course. Late that afternoon we all gathered at the mess hall along with Draco Squadron. It felt like a fitting bookend to the conflict we went through.
“So I guess you’ll be even busier than before?”, Julian asked.
“Yeah. We already have orders to escort and expedition to the Centauri system. I trust everything is good with Draco Squadron?”
“Indeed. Training has already begun for Draco 10, our newest member. He’s a bit intimidated, but the others have made him feel welcome. You helped build a fine team.”
“Well, we did spend a lot of hours in the combat simulators. Oh, remember to let the general know about the next candidate.”
“I will. Piers will be leaving in a few weeks. He said he would pursue a position in the security force back at Centauri.”
“I’m sure he will be an ace over there.”
The conversations continued over the evening. As time passed the mess hall got emptier and emptier. Later on there was just Talia, Mira and I.
“I’d say that was a decent celebration.”, said Mira.
“And surely a good start for our latest endeavor.”, I replied.
“I’ll say this, we learned early on that the Star Pilots are a constantly changing group of people. Each one brings something new to the team. No one can really replace the previous members, but each new addition brings in a fresh perspective. Let’s always be mindful to keep each other safe.”, a slightly teary Talia mentioned. I’m sure she still regrets not being there for Stella. In the end we grow stronger together. Let’s see what the future holds for the ace trio of the Draco Star Alliance.