Episode 7: The Battle of Rastaban Prime
“All squadrons report in.”, Talia’s voice came through clearly through comms. As each squadron called out their designation we approached the jump point. Our fleet was one of three separate attack groups. Each of us had specific orders. Ours was to punch through the defending fleet. This would leave the Armada vulnerable to the second and then third assaults. At least that is the plan. Draco Squadron is tasked with heading part of the initial assault. After we have whittled down enemy fighters, Talia, Mira and I are to head to the hidden base on Rastaban’s moon. Several assault teams will join us. We’ll be able to scour the base for Stella and find out what they’re doing there. Julian was finally able to crack some of the coded data we had intercepted. From that we were able to gain a set of coordinates. Hopefully everything goes to plan and we can end this quickly.
“Draco One, reporting in. Ready to jump.”, it’s time.
Our jump into the system was anticipated by the Armada. As soon as we arrived we were immediately bombarded with fire from all sides. The battleships and carriers fortified their shielding and positioned themselves to protect the fighters. We deployed into the fray. Our bombers pushed back the enemy battleships while we blazed a path through their fighters.
The hours of combat blurred together. In the chaos that unfolded, our second assault fleet arrived. As soon as they did, the tide turned further in our favor. The Armada’s capital ship began its slow approach into the front line. The generals advised caution. No one could predict what they were planning. Our ships reshuffled their formation and prepared to battle the second wave of enemies that neared.
Suddenly we received a report that a distress signal was received from one of the enemy fighters. When we arrived at the location we had already split from the main force. Talia, Mira and I were close to the moon when we saw it. An enemy fighter closed in. I didn’t recognize the voice, but Talia and Mira were stunned. It was Stella.
“Please don’t shoot me out of space, I was able to escape. We need to get back to the fleet! I’m carrying important data. Please, we must hurry!”, she said. Her tone was desperate. Who knows what she had gone through, so we turned around and started our way back. Just as we did this we received a message. This time it was Ohmaaran.
“Well, I see you’ve met your old friend again…”
Before we could properly react a small group of enemy fighters jumped right in front of us. A risky maneuver, but what truly caught us by surprise was the laser fire behind us. Stella started to attack us and hunt us down.
“Good luck facing against her, you are likely the last hope of the Alliance. Eliminating you here will mark their end.”, the message continued.
On comms Talia screamed out, “What did you do to her?!”. Of course, cowardly Ohmaaran is running things from afar. He wouldn’t dare risk his neck. Now we have no choice but to fight against an old ally. To Talia and Mira this was a nightmare.
Bit by bit our teamwork pulled us through. We avoided Stella’s attacks as best we could. Talia took most of the punishment. When the last of the enemy fighters was dealt with we tried to talk to Stella, but it was in vain. She didn’t respond to anything. At this rate our reluctance to fight her would be our undoing. I admit my own lack of attachment to her made my decision all the easier, I fought back. Although Talia and Mira were surprised by my sudden change to an offensive position, they eventually joined up.
“Schematics uploaded. Aim for the power regulator. We should be able to shut down her flight systems.”, Mira said. I complied, but Stella’s flying was difficult to track and she quickly compensated our attacks by adjusting the energy shield.
“She knows what we’re trying to do.”, Talia sounded rather hopeless about the situation. “We might not have any other choice but to destroy her ship. Do we even have a chance of bringing her back to us?”
“The doctors might be able to undo any brainwashing she might have gone through.”, I replied. “We have to stop her now.”
Despite our best efforts to disable her ship we couldn’t halt her attacks. Tired of the cat and mouse game I fired directly at the power generator, after damaging her shields for long enough.
“Olivia, what are you doing?!”, Talia yelled out. “Without power her ship will…”, before she could continue Stella fired multiple shots at her, weakening her shields and then rammed her fighter against Talia’s. The impact caused Stella’s cockpit to shatter. A seemingly mechanical humanoid was inside. It wore her face which had melted away slightly. Talia looked on in horror, but she also screamed out in pain. A piece of metal had pierced her leg and was holding her in place.
“Talia! Are you alright? Respond!”, I was worried that my actions pushed Stella to such a desperate move.
“Olivia, move away now! There’s a device hidden behind the pilot’s chair.”, Mira was quick to notice after scanning the ship. The data she acquired showed that the pilot was actually some kind of android far beyond our technology. We were in awe, but there was no time to analyze things further.
“What about Talia? We can’t just leave her there.”
“It’s alright. The damage you did to the power generator was enough to shut down whatever that device is.”, I proceeded to do my own scans. Mira was right.
“Get out of here, continue the mission. I don’t care what this thing is we need to find out what else the Armada is doing.”, Talia was in pain but stable.
“Draco One, this is Draco Two, we received your distress signal, we’ll be there in a short moment.”, it seems Talia’s ship sent the signal after it received the impact of Stella’s ship.
With the help of Draco Squadron Talia was now on her way back to one of the carriers. Meanwhile Mira and I made it to the moon station along with the assault teams. We ran through a multitude of corridors gunning down soldiers. At this point of the battle there were soldiers that surrendered. We were surprised, but they looked weary and exhausted. What they told us was shocking. Ohmaaran ordered experiments to be done on some of them. Many didn’t return from this. Finally, we arrived at what appears to be their main command room. None other than High Lord Ohmaaran was there. After eliminating his escorts and securing most of the base we started to search through the odd computer systems.
“You won’t find anything. This place is beyond any of you.”, Ohmaaran said with confidence, not recognizing that Mira had already started to enable access to our assault forces to previously sealed rooms.
“You’re not as smart as you think.”, Mira looked at him as he was handcuffed.
“I thought you were just very good pilots, it surprises me a little to see you here doing ground operations.”
“We go where we are needed and this system needs us to be here.”, he looked at me. His eyes seemed to glow, a twitch of insanity making his lower right eyelid move.
“If it isn’t the Grand Marshall. I read all about you. They turned to you when I caught their little star pilots. It’s such a wonder now, maybe I should have captured you, tortured you for all the Alliance secrets and then made a copy of you like I did with Stella.”, Mira was not happy to hear that but it gave her motivation to continue searching. If he simply made some sort of copy then Stella could very well still be alive.
Mira hastened her search through the computer systems. There is a hidden chamber that holds Stella in stasis. Part of the assault team was directed to go there. I told Mira to go with them while I continued to check the terminal for more information. Out in space Ohmaaran’s capture signaled the Armada’s defeat. Most of the defending fleet was ordered to stand down and surrender.
As I gathered some of the data into a storage drive I noticed a command had been executed from another location.
“A signal? From the surface of Rastaban Prime…”, Ohmaaran heard me.
“Ha! Now you’ll get it. This will eradicate the Alliance from the Draco System and Rastaban will rule!”
Our main fleets are here, together in this system. If their previous attempts were any indication a powerful enough blast could destroy us all. The uncertainty of what might happen next sent my heart racing.
“We found her, she’s in a coma but stable for now. The medics are looking after her.”
“I need you here, Ohmaaran activated something on the station that’s located on the surface of Rastaban Prime.”
“On my way!”
We investigated for what little time we had. When the signal arrived the station began to shake and rumble. In our search for clues as to what the signal might be we discovered that there is a hidden part of the base. This part was activated and emerged from the ground after detaching a corridor leading to it. Ohmaaran hoped this would be the ultimate weapon. Upon further inspection we found it was a ship. Another signal was fired off into deep space and this ship blasted off in that same direction. The mystery deepens. Utterly defeated, Ohmaaran confessed that they discovered the stations recently after a scientific survey commissioned by a group from Orion. The Armada didn’t build these. Instead a previous group of settlers had built them. The technology is vaguely human, but the complexity of the systems was almost alien. That same technology allowed Ohmaaran to create an android clone of Stella.
“Olivia, Mira, we need you out here. Get back as soon as you can.”, General Yen Li urged us.
Mira and I left the moon station. When we reached the space between the moon and Rastaban Prime we saw the carnage. The ship that flew off from the station continued on its way without stopping. It tore through battleships and even the larger carriers from both sides. We were told that it jumped shortly after reaching a certain distance from Rastaban Prime. Our efforts now focus on search and rescue. This is all just horrifying.