I was asleep when it happened. A loud thunderclap shook the apartment building. I jumped from bed to look out the window only to find that there wasn’t a cloud in sight. Could it have been an explosion? There was no smoke in the vicinity, except for a small puff rising from a nearby park. I guessed someone had launched the first firework of the season. We were, afterall, very close to the holidays. As I walked back to my room, someone unlocked the front door and was moving the doorknob. Somehow this person had the key. The scene resembled one of those horror movies, with the lights flickering and some unknown assailant opening the door. A few switches flicked on. The lights blinded me for a second. Shortly after I noticed a figure in front of me. His body was covered in mechanical devices in what appeared to be a random pattern. When I finally saw who it was, I was shocked. Even the world around me twisted and churned. This person was tearing at the very fabric of space. Then, as he approached, said, “This is all that I can do now. The future is bleak, but I will give you a head start”. Years of suffering were reflected in his face, or, my face? My mind felt like it was fracturing. The paradox of the existence of this person in this specific space and time was altering everything around me. Before I could ask anything this visage of my future self began to disappear into a cloud of glowing dust. These little lights flew towards me and merged with my body. His memories became my own. I bore witness to the horrors I would face in a few years. Then, after the dust had fully dissipated, the mechanical parts reorganized and settled on my arms. Like a pair of old gauntlets from medieval times. Except this technology was far beyond anything I could dream of. They constantly monitored my health and, to my surprise, space-time stability. Curious about this, I managed to navigate its interface to learn more. As I investigated further I learned that this was just one of thousands of attempts to change the future. My future. Through these devices I learned that the now unwritten history was one of many branches in time. All of them greatly affected by my existence. Upon further navigation I discovered what these mergers had been attempting, full space-time stability. The number floating above the holographic display was one hundred percent. What this meant for my future was anyone’s guess. Many of the memories that I could recall from previous attempts had been sealed away in my subconscious. Perhaps for good measure. Memories of suffering, pain or loss would likely drive me insane. The gauntlets faded from view. I turned off the lights, closed the door and went back to sleep. As I lay in bed a feeling of calm washed over me. It was as if I had been waiting for this moment for years. The future may still hold many difficulties, but clearly I had the motivation to persevere, time and again.
Tessa walked into the room. A figurine strapped to her waist. She looked around, everyone was clinging to their little idol charms like it was life or death, and it truly was, for the idols are linked to the lifeforce of their owner. In return the figurines provide mystical and sometimes unruly powers. The more common abilities include the command over fire or water. Some people can manage moving objects with their mind. Others could shape the earth, create force fields or compel plants to grow. Everyone stared at each other. A few old friends had gathered in their own groups and talked about their recent experiences. One such experience was the ritual of binding. It is the reason for them being here. That was when the idol became bound to their soul and body. This is to be their first class. To learn what their powers are, how to control them and eventually to go off and fight. Adding to these young people’s burdens, there is a war that has been ongoing for the last ten years.
After a short wait, the professor entered the room. Everyone settled down at their desks. “Welcome”, he said while scanning the room. “I see many of you have started to familiarize themselves with your newfound power. In this class you will do more than just that. First off, some introductions. My name is Kristoff. I am one of the few Elder Bound, those of us who were the first to undergo the ritual. As you can see, my idol has changed greatly since the day it was bound to me. All of the idols begin as yours. A small, claylike figurine. The material itself is a mystery. It is resilient, but not indestructible. Always, and I emphasize, always keep it in mind. It is bound to your very life and you will die if anything happens to it.”. Many looked to each other, as if gauging each other’s potential for survival. Kristoff continued, “Now, as I call you, please come forward and show the power you hold. Some of you may not have tapped into the potential of the power yet, this is nothing to worry about. We will discover it soon enough. When we are done here, the class will move to the courtyard.”
Everyone here was around seventeen years old. A small few in their twenties. Those had somehow avoided the draft when the war seemed to be proceeding favorably. To Tessa this all felt pointless. The nation was now in a heavy slump, losing the war. Faranthir had been a relatively peaceful country. The advances in medical and transportation technology caught the attention of its neighbors. There was great pressure from the governing party to take action. To make an ally of one nation and then defend against the others. It was the only way they thought could help us survive. For a time, the strategy was successful. Geographically our nation is wedged between three great powers and the sea. To the west is the vast Oriallan Ocean. A route used to trade with our southern ally was established many years ago. It persists to this day. This ally, the nation Orial, has helped Faranthir through the ages. Thus, it was natural to remain close to them. In the past, Faranthir was a region that belonged to Lor’Kastas. The northland they command as their territory is rich in ores, but Faranthir possesses the valleys and rivers. We have the fertile land that fed the miners. Without Faranthir, Lor’Kastas was forced to rely on the third nation, Tal’Vir. This nation also controls a vast expanse of valleys. Their lands are just as rich for farming as Faranthir, but their produce lacks the qualities that matter to the people of Lor’Kastas. This strained the relations between the nations. When they learned of the technologies being developed in Faranthir, they questioned why these were not freely shared for all to enjoy. The government of Faranthir knew that the tools being developed could also be altered to become weapons. Problems continued to escalate from there. A new tax on imports here, minor conflicts at the borders and then full on skirmishes. Orial was forced to increase their military presence in the borders of Faranthir. This provoked both Lor’Kastas and Tal’Vir. They wanted Faranthir for themselves. War broke out with the first declaration from the government of Lor’Kastas. It was to be a war fought on multiple fronts. Tal’Vir refused to ally themselves with their northern neighbor. This was their opportunity to control all of the food production to force both Orial and Lor’Kastas to negotiate. All of this at the cost of Faranthir’s surrender, loss of identity and independence.
Delving deep into ancient traditions led to uncovering the ritual of binding. When the first bound were sent their incredible powers caught everyone by surprise. They were able to quickly turn the tide of battle. At that point, none of the first bound had any idea of the weakness they carried with them. The sudden death of one of the members led to an investigation. While the investigation was ongoing many others were lost. When they finally discovered the reason they were in shock. The toll for having incredible power was that they needed to guard their figurine at all cost. Many mysteries accompanied the ritual of binding. Not everything was clear about them, but one thing everyone knew going forward. The powerful and mystical figurine not only holds great power, it is also tightly bound to the person’s spirit. Some speculate that this is the reason for the great manifestation of power, and also why they are often unique. Sadly, the enemies of Faranthir caught on, and began to systematically target the bound’s figurines. New methods of protecting them had to be developed. The vulnerability also led some of those first bound to leave the front lines. Suddenly, Faranthir had lost some of its greatest defenders. Thus it reached this point. Losing a war and now relying on younger volunteers to try and turn the tide once again.
The courtyard was a battered piece of land behind the school. It is what remained suitable for training after years of slowly losing territory to Lor’Kastas and Tal’Vir. Many of the much desired fertile lands had gone to waste. In this setting the training started. Kristoff ordered everyone to form rows and to focus their power on the palm of their hand. Those with elemental power quickly gathered the energy. Small flames, water bubbles, sands coalescing into stone and the occasional electric crackle could be seen. Much as she tried Tessa could not form anything on her palm.
Days passed, then months and eventually a few years. The war had reached a new high. The forces of the invading nations finally made their push against the capital of Faranthir. Tessa walked the streets of the city, looking at broken carriages and houses. The army of Lor’Kastas was ruthless. They had abandoned all semblance of civilization and replaced it with an insatiable bloodlust. A month ago, Kristoff was sent to the frontlines. He did not return. This left the students to fend for themselves as the leadership crumbled. In the city, people did what they could to barricade and guard what was left. For Tessa, time did not pass by in vain. Her power surfaced in combat. It was a great and overwhelming shadow that could consume almost anything given enough time. She could also mimic the power of idols close to her. Eventually she could master such powers and permanently add them to her own. They did have one particular trait. The flames she commanded had a purple and black tinge to them. It was as if the mimicry still contained the very essence of her idol’s power. The enemy knew to fear her. Now, she was at the capital, ready to stand against the invaders. Despite the dire situation and her preference to work alone, she managed to make friends. Linus and Thalia, two very talented soldiers, stuck close to Tessa. Thalia had the unique ability to cast force fields and she made it her top priority to keep one over their figurines. Tessa was still trying to master this trait, so that she could one day relieve the burden from her friend. She knew that Thalia would never forgive herself if any of their figurines was destroyed.
The third successful attempt at defending the capital forced Tal’Vir to retreat. Tessa and her friends now command an elite unit of mixed troops. Some were bound to idols, others were common soldiers with more traditional weapons. During these times, rifles had replaced the old bow and arrow. The horse-drawn carriage was replaced by steam engines and soon with electric engines. This last development was the great discovery made by Faranthir that eventually incited the war.
Tessa’s unit pushed Tal’Vir nearly to the border. Along the way she encountered some of the fallen. Her idol reacted to the broken pieces. A new power surged within her. She figured out she could rebuild the broken idols and claim their power. Visions of the owner, now long dead, could be seen, providing some insight that would prove invaluable. Her skill became feared by both Tal’Vir and Lor’Kastas soldiers. The great advances made by her eventually made the Tal’Vir government to cease their ambitions. Within a few months a peace treaty was signed.
Much damage had been done at this point. The fertile lands had been destroyed by war. Despite this, Lor’Kastas continues to attack. Their bloodlust had reached a point where even their government could do nothing. News reached Faranthir that the capital of Lor’Kastas had fallen. An internal uprising by the military pushed the government to either resign or be killed. Those who refused were executed on the spot. Fear and rage drove the nation to implode. Few towns remained. Tessa’s mission after being so long at war was to hunt down the military leaders and free Lor’Kastas.
Within the span of a few months the elite unit did precisely what it intended. Stability in Lor’Kastas was returning with the help of some of the bound and aid from Orial. One target remained. His name is Girghiram. The last remaining general of the Lor’Kastas army who had not surrendered yet and was somewhere in Faranthir hiding away. When Tessa finally found him, he was preparing a ritual of binding for himself. After dealing with his defenders she saw as the ritual completed and the old general gained his own idol. To the general’s dismay he saw as this little clay doll shattered within seconds and drained his life away. In his mind the great power of the idol would help him gain the upper hand. By this point no one knew the extent of control Tessa had on her power. She could easily destroy any idols near her as much as she could mend them and even repair ones that were damaged in battle, saving the lives of the people whom she had grown to care for. With the fall of the general peace would soon arrive for Faranthir.
The bound whose powers were tied to the earth and the plants, slowly fixed the valleys to support farmlands once again. Lor’Kastas proved that Faranthir’s reluctance to share technology was warranted. Tessa, along with Linus and Thalia, volunteered to fix the capital of Faranthir. They were hailed as heroes. Statues of them were built in the city. Eventually Tessa left Faranthir to journey around the world, never to be seen again. Her parting gift to her friends was giving their idols the ability to regenerate and to heal any around them.
Episode 10: New Endeavors
My ship approached the King’s Crown slowly. I was asked to join up with Ivanov and the others in celebration of the victory over Starlance. It has been four months since the battle in sector Iota. In all that time we didn’t have a chance to celebrate. Everyone around the system was enthralled by the judicial hearings. Representatives from Sol and Sirius were there. The government of the Sirius System noted the Liberation Front’s efforts to protect some of their assets investigating the Centauri system. They knew there was trouble, but not that it had reached such a magnitude. The people from Sol brushed the conflict off, saying it was bound to happen in such an unregulated system. They proposed to create a central system of government, much like the one in Sirius. The Liberation Front agreed, but only if they had a hand in its creation as well as having representation from all the colonies.
As the politics played out in the background I continued taking missions to keep my mind off of it all. Now back at the King’s Crown it is still painful to admit how my family was involved in all of this. Regardless, I promised myself I would try to enjoy this time among friends. They had become a true family.
“King’s Crown, this is Adrian. Reporting in for docking procedure.”
“Adrian! No need to be so formal. Get your ship landed at the hangar and get to the bridge!”, Ivanov said loudly.
Once at the bridge I was greeted by Mara, James, Crystal, Ivanov and Patricia.
“We have a bit of a surprise for you”, behind Crystal was Dana and Vivian. They had been invited to celebrate with us. I gave them each a hug and stood by their side while the newly reestablished Captain Villanova addressed us.
“Taking down General Greer was no easy feat, but we did it.”, said Patricia.
“I wonder, how long were you planning to use the Eclipse?”, I had been curious since seeing the ship back in action.
“That was Ivanov’s idea actually. We began to feed the nearby colony bits of data and resources to start rebuilding. Since we used most of the internal hull, no big changes could be seen from outside. By the time we were ready to depart, Starlance was already knee deep in battle. The Eclipse’s more powerful reactor was able to energize the dispersion shield more effectively too, so we had the perfect defense against the Starlance Cruisers”
“Is that why the transport carrying the shielding failed?”
“Patricia, I wanted to ask, what happened to Major Caplan?”
“Ah, yes. Poor Vance passed away on the day of the attack against Proxima Centauri One. He was helping others escape when the corridor he was in collapsed. I didn’t even get a chance to thank him for everything he had done. In the end I had to evacuate as well. We found his body during the reconstruction and gave him a proper burial.”
“A terrible story for sure. I’m sure that man was a hero, but today, today we are all heroes.”, declared Ivanov.
Most of the time spent here has been great. I stood aside for a moment and Dana approached me.
“Are you alright Adrian?”
“I’m… not sure how to feel. Our family is a broken mess”
“Don’t think too much about that, Adrian. Despite what happened with dad, I think mom would be proud of what you did.”
“For sure”, I said as Vivian arrived to join us.
“Hey Adrian, will you move to Sirius? There is a lot of work there. If you’re interested.”
“I think I will eventually spend a year or two over there. It will take my mind off of everything, especially Starlance.”
“Well, once you arrive at the system let me know, I can connect you with the mercenary guild.”
“Sounds like a plan. What about you Dana? What will you do?”, I asked, curious as to what my sister planned after all the conflict we had seen.
“Oh you know, keep doing my job of course. It has been a rough time here, but there are a lot of people who still need help and medical attention. I want to be there for them.”
“That’s great, you’d better stay safe.”
“Everything should be fine now”, Captain Villanova joined us as well. “Starlance High Command and the new government are working to maintain peace. Everyone should feel safe, especially in the colonies.”
The celebration continued through the hours. We reminisced on the battles and the friendship we developed. Despite the hardship, Starlance was the central thing that brought us together. Hopefully the organization will do better in the future. High command was adamant in creating a new set of rules to keep the force in line with its mission to protect.
As for me, I go out again, back to my base. Once there I take a moment to relax, write down a log entry and lie down in bed. A small window shows me the splendor of space. “I have to move all this to Sirius”, I thought. So, I started making a list of items. The celebration had taken its toll though, and not long after starting said list I fell asleep.
Episode 9: Hidden Eclipse
The transport with the experimental shield finally arrived. They positioned themselves between me and the Starlance Legacy, which was about to fire. The other two cruisers were too busy with the assault happening around them to care much for what was going on in my area. Finally, the Legacy fired its hyper cannon. The beam of energy hit the transport. All the energy was successfully diverted, but at the cost of overloading every system. The transport didn’t have the necessary safeguards to protect itself and the overflow destroyed it. If the Legacy fired again, and it would, there was nothing to stop the beam.
I thought I would be ready for this. It felt like the end of a grand adventure. I thought of Dana and everyone else. Then I looked down. Systems were still offline, auto repair was engaged, but would most likely not finish in time. Suddenly communications went back up.
“Ivanov, this is Adrian. I’m dead in space. I can’t move and I need a pick up. Maybe I can fix the Star Shadow before the next group arrives, or else this will continue to be a slaughter”
“Hang on tight, we will do everything we can to help. I shouldn’t have to remind you that you owe me again, hah!”
The King’s Crown was positioned between me and the Legacy. I was rather shocked by such a selfless move from Ivanov.
“I know you can hear me, Adrian. I promised high command I would hunt you down personally and here I am. You will witness the slow painful death of the movement you defended back then. Afterwards I will see you annihilated by the Legacy’s main cannon”
They fired again. The King’s Crown was hit. Its shields were depleted and its engines failed. Some of my systems were back online. Scans indicated that another blast would come soon. They must have greatly improved the charging systems. Most likely a lesson from previous engagements. This time there would be no ships to interfere. No one was close enough to block. Yet, through some sort of miracle the shadow of a ship did indeed block me once again. This ship had just jumped into the system. When the Legacy fired its weapon, the energy was dispersed by the shield on this ship. After a thorough scan I was able to identify it. It was the Proxima Eclipse. Somehow Patricia was able to slowly repair its systems right under Starlance’s nose. They even added numerous upgrades. The Eclipse could now go toe to toe against the Supremacy class cruisers, and boy did it do a damn good job.
My ship’s systems came back online in the nick of time. I flew off toward one of the cruisers while riding the Proxima Eclipse’s shadow. Its shield protected me and others from more attacks by the Legacy. This was the turning point of the battle. A report arrived from the cruiser that was boarded. Mara and James were successful in capturing it and quickly turned its main weapon against the other. Starlance didn’t anticipate this and the other ship didn’t stand a chance. Now only the Legacy was left. I knew father wouldn’t give up, so I told everyone to muster their courage and converge on the Starlance Legacy.
Hours went by maneuvering around the enemy ship’s defenses. Its hyper cannon was no longer a threat, it was either blocked or could not get a proper lock on any targets. There were too many of us. Already some of their own fighters were abandoning the battlefield. Shortly after that an intercepted message arrived, Starlance High Command gave the order to retreat. It was now the Legacy against the Liberation Front’s fleet. The sheer number of ships was overwhelming and in a short time the Legacy was disabled.
After the battle Starlance High Command assigned negotiators to deliver the terms of their surrender. According to some new intel that we received, General Greer, my father, had basically taken control of Starlance by carefully picking the information that was reported to High Command. Of course, High Command had a lot of blame for the war. It was their own arrogance and aggressive methods that led to the colonies not wanting their service anymore. The security group had become more of a paramilitary arm that ran unopposed for decades.
I visited the brig on the Legacy, where my father was being held. He had resisted his arrest when his own soldiers tried to turn him over, despite the pleas from High Command. To me, he had simply gone over the edge. He became obsessed with power and this military life. This blinded pride eventually became his downfall.
“General Dalton Greer”, I stood right outside his cell.
“Why are you here? I don’t want to see you. Look at what you’ve done! Have you no shame?”
“This was your doing. I followed the path to justice. The one you showed me at some point many years ago. You were a hero of Starlance and the system when the colonies needed it. Now look at yourself”
“I did what I had to do. These rogues twisted the truth!”
“Stop lying! You pulled your family into this and now some are locked up too. You cared about nothing else but your career in Starlance. In the end mom knew what you were becoming”
“Don’t mention her! She is the reason you’re so weak!”
“You’re delusional. She is the reason I am strong. Stronger than you. I leave you, father. Grim days await you, and I won’t be here to see it. I hope I never see you again. You almost got me killed”
“Adrian… wait! Please, don’t leave! I… I’m sorry! Adrian!”
He knew that he would be spending a lot of time on his own. My sisters and my brother were mostly following orders, or at least that will be their defense. I’m sure they were also driven by pride and ambition. I feel like there are still some rough days ahead.
Episode 8: Confrontation
A new plan is now set in motion. The experimental shield designed to disperse the energy from the Supremacy Cruiser’s main cannon has been installed on a transport. Starlance has issued its call to meet at sector Iota. Meanwhile I provided the necessary tactical knowledge and strategies to use in the coming battle. Overall we would be divided into multiple teams that would arrive at different times to the battle. The very first team would be the most vulnerable, but the main contingency for the beginning of the engagement is distance. The King’s Crown and a small number of Liberation Front battleships will arrive at the sector close to its edge. The enemy cruisers would be located too far to get a proper lock-on with their weaponry, so they are forced to engage using only their fighters. They could risk a jump, but I know they won’t try it. A short distance jump would need them to expend a lot of energy and the recovery would give us too big an opening.
While the cruisers attempt to close the gap, another team will jump in behind them and begin a new engagement. Our target will be to whittle down the shields of at least one of the vessels. An elite commando team, led by Mara and James, will board the weakened ship and take control. Their primary objective is to turn the main cannon against another of the Starlance Supremacy Cruisers, but they do have orders to set off a bomb in the main reactor if they cannot secure the bridge. Our latest intel pointed to several new systems being installed on the cruisers. Mainly one that aims to prevent chain reactions from runaway energy. Destroying the reactor would only mean that the ship would be powerless. Despite not destroying the ship, capturing it should suffice. The same will be done with the others once they have been crippled. The key to victory will be dealing enough damage to the hyper cannons so that they can be disabled. That’s where I come in.
The Star Shadow’s plasma cannon has been replaced with an EM burst launcher. It requires a slow recharge, much like the plasma cannon, but its projectile is basically a ball of contained electromagnetic energy. Upon impact, the energy is released and can quickly disable electronic systems.
Our most difficult battle approached. I left the King’s Crown to make the jump to sector Iota. Dana and I spoke briefly a few hours ago. She was ordered to stand by at a medical station to provide support. To my relief, she would be far from the front line. I would, once again, face the brunt of father’s wrath.
“Adrian to King’s Crown, are we all set?”
“This is Ivanov, the fleet is ready.”
The largest number of ships I had seen in a while. All the logistics were handled mostly by Mara and Ivanov, so I wasn’t sure how many ships we had. I estimated at least 25 ships of varying power.
“I don’t have to remind you that this mission is of critical importance”, Mara said to the fleet. “The most important objective is not to completely destroy Starlance, but to cripple their ships and capture as many as we can. If we succeed, the Liberation Front will have succeeded in freeing the Centauri Systems. Afterwards, the long road to recovery. For now, let us begin with the first phase of the plan”
“Liberation fleet, this is Ivanov. The first group will be leaving momentarily. There are five ships equipped with the EM burst launchers. Three of these will arrive with us, the first group. It is imperative that these ships be guarded at all costs. The operation hinges on their survival. Groups two and three will stand by until the allotted time. Groups four and five will be called as soon as the target cruiser is disabled. The rest of the fleet will be called once we have secured our advantage. Group one, move to the jump coordinates now”
The commanding presence of Ivanov was a bit reminiscent of Starlance. Of course, if he heard me saying that he would promptly tell me to go to hell. In any case, we achieved a fairly decent command structure for this operation. Not too shabby for a band of pirates, mercenaries and Liberation Front branded as terrorists.
It is time. “Fighters, ready to jump on my mark”, I said to my squadron. A total of nine fighters accompanied me. Others would launch from the larger ships and provide support against enemy fighters.
We arrived, but to our surprise systems only detected two of the three Supremacy class cruisers. It would have to do. There was no way to know for sure what had happened. I believed Starlance was being cautious, so I alerted Ivanov of what may come and proceeded with our plan. As soon as the cruisers were in communications range a message arrived to us.
“Centauri Liberation Front, you are ordered to stand down. You are out gunned, out classed and soon out maneuvered. Surrender now and we may yet show you mercy”
That wasn’t father. There was no way he would miss this battle. Regardless, I focused on the task. Starlance launched their squadrons. We could do little to stem whatever they were planning. So we press on.
The more time passes, the greater the risk of losing more ships. Already the first group has lost three battleships to those damned hyper cannons. Finally the second and third groups began to arrive, reinforcing the assault from behind enemy lines. Starlance countered with a group of battleships that jumped right between the Supremacy cruisers and the newly arrived groups. Our plans had not worked as well as we had originally thought, but we were still able to weaken one of the ships. Before the next group arrived with the boarding team the third cruiser made its entrance, it was the Starlance Legacy.
“You clearly didn’t think this engagement well enough. If you will not stand down, then you forfeit whatever rights you thought you had.”, my father’s voice spread clearly through our communication devices. We had to make our move now. The boarding team arrived and their target was finally made vulnerable by destroying its shields. A blast came from the direction of the Starlance Legacy. The targets were the fighters themselves. Such power was overwhelming and destroyed every one of the fighters that were hit. “It can’t be…”, I thought. It looked like they opted for extermination, but there was something else. The ships in my group that had the EM burst cannons were directly targeted. He was searching for me and he knew that the energy difference would give my position off. I hurried to shut down part of my weapon systems, but that was a mistake. The energy differential could be easily measured and used for targeting. I had but a few minutes to react. A decoy signal might help. Only a few short seconds after deploying the signal and a blast passed by my ship. The uncontained energy was so powerful everything went off line. He had me, and he knew it. It was only a matter of time before the next shot would wipe me out of existence.
Episode 7: Edge of Proxima
Three more months of skirmishes. By now, neighboring systems were reporting an all out war between the Starlance Security Force and the Centauri Liberation Front. Many of these systems worried that, should Starlance’s ambition grow, they would be the next target. We folded most of our forces into the CLF not long after the destruction of the Supremacy Cruiser back in sector Gamma. I provided proof that those ships were not invincible. Starlance supply lines were also being hit hard by a counter offensive launched by the Liberation Front. This also held back the construction of additional cruisers. Despite some of the changes I remained a mercenary, mainly to retain my independence and a little to spite Ivanov who wanted to keep me as a personal guard for the King’s Crown. Jokes aside, being a mercenary provided the chance to take on jobs from other groups. Namely, a Sirius research fleet was dispatched to an area of open space and asked for a small fleet of fighters to escort them. Since the news of the war broke, none of them wanted to hire Starlance until the conflict was resolved. So, they turned to unaffiliated mercenaries. Now, I may not be affiliated with the Liberation Front, but I fully support their campaign against Starlance.
The Sirius research fleet is mainly composed of science vessels. Most, if any, have no weapons equipped. Thankfully, the area they’re traveling through is a fairly quiet region of space, at the edge of the Proxima Centauri system. I just arrived at the rendezvous point to meet with the other mercenaries and begin our escort.
“This is Adrian, sending identification data. Ready to begin mission”
“Copy that Adrian. Data received, we will be departing to our next research point in a few minutes”, the leader of the science team was diligent in verifying all the mercenaries they hired. They also provided us with the list so we had some idea of who we were fighting with. Lo and behold, I found a name that I recognized, Vivian Mathews. I was quick to send her a message. Maybe we could catch up if the trip was quiet.
As we approached a large nebula, I received a communication request from one of the assault ships accompanying us. It was Vivian.
“I would never have guessed that I would be seeing you again, Adrian. Even more so, like this, as mercenaries. How have you been?”. It was Vivian alright. She seemed in high spirits.
“I’ve been alright. Too many battles to count recently”
“Yeah, I’ve kept an eye on the ongoing war. Frankly after what happened at the Proxima Eclipse I didn’t think I would see anyone from there still alive. I’m glad you survived though. I escaped thanks to Captain Villanova’s sacrifice. She stayed behind and made sure most of us were able to leave the ship. I ended up moving to the Sirius system and took up different jobs as a mechanic. This latest gig has been the most stable. Been working with this band of misfits for almost six months now”
“I see, I’m also glad to find you well”, I spoke about my own misadventures. Mercenary work seems slightly more regulated in Sirius. They even have guilds, or so Vivian tells me. Their involvement in more political disputes is often avoided. Perhaps that could be my next step. Move to that system, join a guild, maybe even join up with Vivian more often. As I got lost in thought, the beeping of a warning startled me back to reality. Two battleships had just jumped into the system.
“Honestly, I don’t care about the usual pleasantries the other captains blab about. This is Starlance territory. None of you are welcome here. Prepare to surrender your ships, research or whatever it is you are hiding. We are at open war, you might as well be aiding our enemy”
The lead science vessel sent a message trying to convince them that they had no hostile intentions, but the Starlance captain would not budge. As quickly as they could, the research fleet began to retreat while we covered their backs. One smaller science vessel was closely studying the nebula, and thus, had not been able to communicate. I took it upon myself to get close to them and inform them of the situation. Bad move on my part. The battleships were scanning the entire area and very quickly they realized who I was.
“You! How dare you harbor a known criminal! Destroy them! Launch all fighter squadrons!”
“Looks like my reputation caught up with me. Vivian, do you copy?”
“Don’t worry Adrian, we’ve got a few tools on our side to protect them. Get that other ship out of here”
In a few minutes I arrived near the science vessel to warn them.
“Mercenary Adrian, you are interfering with our research. Your presence is destabilizing our measurements. By the way, that is a lot of power consump…”
“Forget all that, a Starlance assault is happening now against your fleet. Join back up with them and leave. It is no longer safe here for you to remain”
“Oh, goodness, why not lead with that?! Ready engines! We leave immediately!”
Some scientists can be a bit stubborn, but I guess it is part of their job to be persistent. Regardless, having them head back was a relief. I was a bit disappointed that they had to cut back their expedition. Research like this eventually led us to the stars. I escorted them back to the fleet. A few enemy squadrons had caught up with us and the mercenary escort was currently engaging them.
“Hey Adrian, what do you say we take the fight to those battleships. They’ll be too busy with us to do anything about the research fleet”
“Got any ideas in mind?”
“I’d rather not outright destroy them. We have an EM discharge cannon that can disable specific targets, but we’ll need their shields weakened”
“I’ll take care of that, let’s go!”, the ship Vivian is on is much larger than my fighter. They’re equipped with a larger variety of tools and weapons. I guess it gives them the versatility needed to take almost any job. While the other mercenaries make short work of the attacking fighters, we sneak to the backline and attack the battleships.
The attack on the battleships went smoothly. Our combined tactics allowed us to maneuver around their cannon fire. Their shields took time to break down, but we were successful. Two more squadrons tried to engage us, but by the time the battleships were disabled there was nothing else they could do. Starlance decided to retreat today, that is, once they finish restoring their crippled systems. All in all, they sacrificed their fighter pilots for a claim the security force cannot back up. The research fleet left without a scratch and my finances are doing very good thanks to that mission.
I promised Vivian that I would go to the Sirius system someday to visit. First though, I needed to resolve the current issue with Starlance. Ivanov had just the thing too. A message arrived from him saying that Starlance wanted to settle things with the Liberation Front. He sent coordinates. The meeting would be in about a week. Just a short time to prepare for, what I guess, could be Starlance’s final stand. Also gave me enough time to plan some additional contingencies.
Episode 6: Family Standoff
As soon as my jump was complete I began a scan of the area and set up a new jump point. I looked around and recognized some of the planets nearby. Although I had not visited this region of the system often, I knew it well. This is where Starlance High Command is located. When the scans were complete, they confirmed my location. Further analysis indicated that the energy arc supercharging my ship had overloaded the jump drive. The extra juice made it overshoot my original target. “This could’ve been far worse”, I thought. All systems were at nominal levels, I decided to not overstay my welcome and dash away. A large sensor net, similar to the one near Proxima Centauri One, was active here. This one extended much further and covered a very large portion of this region. No doubt they had already detected my arrival. I haven’t detected any patrols nearby, so it is possible I can give them the slip. The nearest jump point is pretty far, but at full speed I should be safe, or so I thought.
“Unidentified ship, you are trespassing on Starlance High Command. You are to stand down. Your ship will be towed to space dock and you will be put under our custody”, such was the usual message they sent over. I started tapping into random communications to keep track of enemy movement. Then, I heard it.
“All units, this is Captain Greer. Squad up and meet at the target’s coordinates. He won’t escape this time”
My sister, ever pleasant and highly influenced by father, was on her way. She would either capture or kill me. Knowing her, capturing me would give her a chance to gloat. I am not going to give her that satisfaction. Engines at max, time to go. In all, four squadrons were on my tail. Two of them had adjusted their approach to try and pinch me at a specific position. I know their tactics. So I let them try.
Ships on the left and right, a few more from above and below, and two squadrons behind me. They were fast. The Star Shadow had a lot of modifications, but even so they had the upper hand. I had loaded the ship with a large payload of munitions for the battle against the Supremacy Cruiser, this too had an impact on my overall speed. Naturally I would let loose all the fury of the Star Shadow. The enemy fighters were holding me back from the jump point and helping the squadrons behind me catch up. At the cost of many of their fighters, the squadrons had almost arrived when a communication arrived.
“Hello brother, are you going to murder me the same way you’ve murdered countless others who were once your comrades?”, the voice seemed familiar. It wasn’t Anabelle though.
“It seems I was bound to meet up with you at some point, Marina”
“I’m glad you still remember me, being the forgetful little brother you are”
“I can’t promise I’ll go easy on you. Afterall you’re part of that organization that continues to repress these systems”
“I am only following orders. If you come quietly I’ll even vouch for you”
“Sure, and Anaballe will have nothing to say about that. I’d rather continue to draw father’s ire”
“Adrian, little brother, refusing Marina’s help might be the last thing you do”, now that voice I recognized easily. It was Anabelle. “Stand down Adrian, I won’t ask again”, it was likely she is leading one of the squadrons approaching from the rear.
“Sorry dear sisters, I feel I have to disappoint you again”, my ship was really close to the jump point now. I would have to continue to maneuver carefully to reach it without them noticing. My hatred for my father was one thing. He turned this family into this nightmare of combat obsessed people. I switched my weaponry to enable disabling of electronic systems. Despite my anger at father, I still decided against killing my siblings.
I disabled most of the ships that were still pursuing me. The only ones still too far were the squadrons behind me. Anabelle continued her threats to capture me, but by the time she was close enough to fire, I was ready to jump.
“Sorry sis, we will have to talk again some other day”
“Adrian you coward! Get back here!”
That was the last I heard as my ship disappeared from the sector and reappeared in another. Once again, I scanned the region to make sure I was at a safe location. No ships nearby. I was safe. After several additional jumps I was back home. Every ship leaves a small energy imprint at its jump location. I always made sure to leave hidden traces throughout the system in order to fool any Starlance observer drones. Larger ships had a more difficult time. The larger the mass, the more time it takes to make a jump. All the science and engineering behind jump drives was always a fascinating thing to explore. Sadly Starlance and all the conflict it has promoted has driven me to continue being a soldier.
I settled into my chair and desk. The monitor in front of me marked various messages that had arrived through the usual encoded channels. Mara, Patricia and even Ivanov were asking my whereabouts and whether I was fine or not. Feeling that they cared about my wellbeing was nice. It gives me strength to continue the fight. I prepared an answer and sent it through a secure channel. I think I need some time off after all that.
Episode 5: The Starlance Offensive
It has been a few months since the confrontation at Epsilon. From that day Starlance has been on high alert. To the point where the Supremacy class cruisers were scrambled to patrol areas of great importance. We also received worrying news that Starlance was planning to build even more of those battlecruisers. The amount of resources and time needed to build them gave us the chance to try to either stall them, or maybe even destroy their construction capability. This meant that we would have to strike at their most heavily defended bases. Proxima Starlance One, the starting point of my involvement with the group, is one such target. Another target is Proxima Starlance Four, where the Proxima Eclipse was once repaired. Thinking back on it, being near that station was ominous. As if some of the people there knew that the Starlance Legacy was the ship that had attacked us. This could be coincidental though. I’ve come to hate the organization so much. Even my old memories are overwhelmed with anger.
I have been busy doing occasional skirmishes against Starlance all this time. Our main targets have been supply runs that could serve to aid in the construction of more ships, including the Supremacy Cruisers. We also got lucky not too long ago. A data leak pointed to one such cruiser needing urgent repairs to its main weapon. This gives us a chance to strike at them at their weakest. Meanwhile, the scientists we rescued have been hard at work analyzing the data I got from sector Epsilon. They have been taken in by the Centauri Liberation Front. The Front has kept a hidden base at the edge of the Centauri systems, allowing them to strike at Starlance without drawing too much attention.
The increased patrols have made it difficult for the unlicensed traders to earn their living. Not long ago I discovered that Starlance would brand said unlicensed traders as pirates. Funny that the only thing needed for them to become outlaws was some odd registration. The entire system is bureaucratic and forces people to jump through a lot of hoops, unless they had gained previous favors through either military service, or special agreements. This had been going on for years. Only recently discovered from multiple hacks done to their databases.
Ivanov transmitted coordinates for our next meeting and I made preparations to leave my base. The Star Shadow’s weapons got replenished. Maintenance was up to date. Time to see where this next offensive takes us. In a short time I was at the jump point.
Immediately upon arrival Ivanov greeted me.
“Well finally! Why did you take so long?”
“Hey, this ship does not have automated maintenance. I have to keep it in tip top shape.”
“You and that ship have some weird relationship. I’m glad it has actually survived this long. Let’s get this going though.”, my old captain interceded.
Once we were all at the bridge Mara started the briefing.
“Here’s what we have so far. One of the Starlance Supremacy Cruisers is traveling through sector Gamma. According to the information we got its main weapon malfunctioned during battle and damaged a multitude of systems, including their jump drive. They had been in combat with a CLF resistance cell. The information pointed to the cell having been wiped out, but not before providing us with all this”
“So, do we risk taking out this ship?”, I asked curious as to what our plan was.
“It is the perfect opportunity”, Ivanov said.
“It will still take some coordination, but a large enough strike force could break through its defenses and destroy, at the very least, the energy cannon”, Mara continued. “To do this we’re going to need help from the CLF. Once we have confirmation we can strike the target. We must contact them at once though, the window of opportunity is closing. Once that ship makes it near Proxima Starlance Six, it’s game over”
“I will contact them and make sure they provide aid. Adrian, your mission will be to use your ship’s specialized weapons to hit that cannon hard”, Ivanov knew the CLF would no doubt pledge their help. On the other hand, I was curious about what Captain Villanova would be doing.
“Captain Villanova, what will you be doing?”
“Oh please Adrian, we’re not in Starlance anymore. It’s just Patricia now. As for what I will do, I proposed a special mission to Ivanov. We’re going to discuss the details later, but I will be heading out soon”
“I see, well, good luck then”, I didn’t wish to pry further. A lot of these operations are better off known to only a handful of people.
We reached sector Gamma a few hours after our meeting. After this, the operation would have just over two more to achieve our objective. I arrived with a squadron of fighters as support. The small Starlance group was quick to make their usual statements.
“Unidentified vessels, this is restricted space. Leave immediately or you will be fired upon.”
Our response was to increase our speed to intercept. A few minutes later two allied battleships arrived to begin their attack run on the cruiser. The local ‘pirates’ want a little more freedom in the region. A secondary force from the CLF will arrive later to reinforce the attack.
We were met with two squadrons of fighters. Further behind the cruiser another squadron began to move faster to catch up and provide support. By the time they arrived we had already made short work of the defending fighters. The two battleships started bombarding the cruiser’s shields. One of them positioned itself right in front of the main cannon, knowing that it was offline provided a chance to strike the forward shielding directly. While my attack wing engaged the third squadron I moved away and started to make my approach towards the main cannon. As I reached the large opening a transmission reached my ship.
“Well look who it is. I honestly didn’t think you would take the bait.”
A cold chill ran down my spine. It was the voice of my father. Sensors detected the arrival of a ship. Another Supremacy class. My first reaction was to try and move away from my target, but I was already far too deep into the cannon’s opening.
“Looks like I will win after all. No more random strikes against our people. No more false hope of removing our peace. You should know by now that this is what a lot of the people wanted. We achieved it and in a year no less!”
I wanted to answer but I had little time to prepare countermeasures. This required my full concentration.
“I don’t care what you may think of me, but I want you to know I will not give you any chances. You are lost to me. A disgrace. Now, witness our might!”
My systems detected an energy build up. This was my chance. From the moment my father spoke I knew that the ship we had targeted must have been masking its power signature to appear weakened. Now its main cannon was preparing to fire. I was right in the mouth of this beast. Luckily for me, I had other plans. Father’s little ambush would provide us with the perfect opportunity. Despite their deception, our ships were still able to deal some decent damage. Their shield is weak. I came up with the idea of overloading the main cannon and redirecting the energy back into the systems that feed it. This had the potential of being incredibly destructive, but it was worth it if it meant the end of one of these ships. My ship’s sensors alerted me of another powerful energy build up. The ship my father arrived in was almost ready to fire. I saw as energy was being drawn into the weapon. Front row seats to the current most destructive weapon in the system. It was time. Two specially built rockets. Each fired to the sides of the cannon. They latched onto the walls and created an electric arc. I moved between them and used the energy to supercharge my ship’s systems. The plasma cannon was ready in a few seconds. Whoever was commanding the ship would be in for a rude awakening. I started firing. The plasma blasts began to destabilize the energy buildup within the weapon. These cannons had a plating that was made from some of the strongest materials in the system. Those same plates could not withstand such direct punishment, they began to heat up. Whatever was behind these plates, if not similarly reinforced, would buckle under the heat. My own prediction was correct.
In the next phase I used the energy arc to redirect energy into the ship itself. The feedback started causing havoc inside. Parts of the main cannon began to blow up. Sensors detected a blast of energy. One of the battleships, the one providing the support fire from above the cruiser, was destroyed. I would be next if I didn’t hurry. I charged energy to make a jump. At these coordinates I wasn’t sure where exactly I would end up, but it was my best bet at escaping. I sent out a coded message for everyone to retreat immediately and to withhold any reinforcements. The battleship that was attacking from the front moved away to a safe jump point and escaped. The fighter wing also escaped.
“I know you’re still here. You’re alone now. No one will save you from what comes next”
He knew I was going to destroy the cruiser, so he targeted the most likely position that I was in and began to charge their main cannon again.
“Hey father, take this as a gift, from me, to you”, the cruiser began its death throes as its reactor overloaded from the feedback energy and a series of explosions destroyed it from the inside out. Right at the last second, my ship made the jump.
Episode 4: Mounting Rescues
Another return to sector Epsilon. This time, I was not alone. Mara was with me, flying her own starfighter. In the distance we saw a battle raging on. Engines set to max, it would take just a few minutes to intercept. We caught the enemy by surprise. Two of the Starlance fighters were quickly torn apart by our cannons. The ensuing dogfight kept the attention on us instead of the transport ships. One of them was heavily damaged and could only adjust its course using maneuvering thrusters. Once we dealt with the remaining fighters the challenge became dealing with the damaged transport before more enemies arrived.
“Damaged transport, what is your status? Can you make the jump?”, Mara asked.
“This is transport Tau one, we only have maneuvering thrusters left. Energy shields have been mostly depleted. Suggest we move over to transport Tau two.”
“Damn, that is going to make this very difficult.”, moving passengers from one transport to the other will make them both vulnerable. Leaving the scientists stuck in a failing ship won’t do though. “Mara, sensors are detecting enemy fighters on their way. If I intercept them I can buy you some time”
“I trust you can take them, but if any slip away we’re gonna have our hands full.”
“I’ll make sure none of them make it to you.”
“Then get going. Keep me posted.”
The transports initiated a docking procedure. A sideways tunnel extended from both to allow the people to move through it. It would take quite a while for them to finish so I would have to be thorough when fighting the Starlance fighters. Targeting systems marked five bogies on their way to the transports. I set an intercept course with them. There were also five more that had launched from the damaged research station. If I didn’t deal with the first five quickly, it would be a hairy fight against all of them. So I centered myself and prepared for another difficult battle.
As soon as I engaged the fighters I spent no time in using the arsenal on the Star Shadow. A rocket destroyed one ship, a blast from the plasma cannon destroyed another. Now they were weary of the weaponry so I had to be more careful lining the shots. The remaining enemies were mostly evading, but also slowly moving closer to the transports. Meanwhile, Mara sent coded progress reports, they would be done soon. As I received one of those reports, a fighter tried to break off and make a run at the transports. My ship was much faster and I was able to destroy them before they went any further. Sadly, the other ships that had launched were now very close and the battle was starting to get too close to the transports.
In a moment of panic one of the transport pilots disengaged the evacuation tunnel. Three scientists died when they were pulled into the vacuum of space. Mara was angered, but the pilot explained that there was no time left. In the distance, a ship jumped into the system. It was one of the Starlance Supremacy ships. Before we could do anything they were already launching dozens of fighters. I counted at least four or five squadrons.
“This is getting really bad, really quick. Transport Tau two, I have sent coordinates of a rendezvous point. Get to it now! Go!”, Mara wanted to avoid any more casualties.
“We can hold these fighters off for a while longer, just go!”, I screamed at the pilot of transport Tau two.
The pilot of transport Tau one changed course toward the Starlance cruiser, ultimately it would serve as a distraction. In the midst of this chaos a transmission from Ivanov arrived. We are needed elsewhere to reinforce a similar operation. This one was to help rescue none other than Captain Villanova.
“Adrian, go help Ivanov. I can cover the transport to the jump point”
“Acknowledged, stay safe Mara”, I maneuvered around the fighters and destroyed two more. Just as the next squadron neared, I turned away at full speed. The destination coordinates were hidden away in Ivanov’s transmission. I reached the jump point quickly and made the jump. On the other side, I arrived into a veritable melee. It looked like various factions were fighting in this area. Scans indicated that there were at least three unique groups. Analysis of the area identified it as the edge of the Centauri systems. One of the ships is part of an expedition from the Sirius system. Then I saw a number of fighter craft and Ivanov’s ship.
“What took you? Get over here and help us clean this mess. Two battleships should be at the edge of your sensor range. Assist with the enemy fighters harassing our squad and then deal with those ships, are we clear?”
“Got it. You mentioned something about Villanova?”
“Ah yes, we found her while rescuing one of our own. She was very helpful in the escape, so we brought her with us. I believe she stole one of the Starlance fighters”
“That is not surprising. She is a great pilot, I once had the honor of destroying her. In a simulation, of course”
“Hah! I would expect no less. Now get going, this gets more expensive by the minute!”
Ivanov always accounted for the costs he would incur in every attack. I always found a way to more than compensate. This time, it would be those battleships that would cover this expense. Some outcasts established their own bounties on Starlance ships. We used battle logs and ship records as proof that the enemy ships were destroyed.
I entered the fray. Again I was engaged against fighters of Starlance. My previous captain’s movements were easy to identify, but still I issued a warning to all Starlance fighters. She was surprised to hear my voice and answered back.
“Adrian? What an incredible surprise. I will send you my ship’s information. Update your targeting systems and let’s take care of these rookies.”
“With pleasure ma’am.”
The opposing fighters were no match to our combined tactics. We decimated the Starlance squadron in a few minutes.
“Stay the course towards the Crown. Ivanov will be happy to have you.”
“I spoke with him not too long ago, you’re keeping some interesting company these days Adrian.”
“These are… unique times. We can catch up after I’m done here.”
“Looking forward to it, Villanova out.”
The familiarity of talking with her was a breath of fresh air. Captain Villanova commanded great respect and was honorable to the end. Her defiance of Starlance no doubt fed my father’s anger. No time to reminisce though, the two battleships were moving closer to the King’s Crown and I was ready to intercept. Ivanov sent me a data burst that mentioned the ships didn’t have any more fighter squadrons since they had to scramble to try and stop the escape. This would make my job a lot easier. I had the ship schematics on the Star Shadow’s database. All I had to do now was strike the right points and they would be overwhelmed and destroyed. For this kind of task I had to use everything in my arsenal. A volley of missiles, fully charged plasma shots and steady damage to their shields by way of the main laser cannons. The battleships weren’t completely defenseless. Hull mounted turrets fired, and often missed. Those are intended more to fight larger targets. Still, some were actually manned, and those posed a bit more of a threat. One of the battleships pressed forward even when I had dealt some heavy damage. The other one started its retreat. Those weren’t so reckless, they knew they were outmatched. No choice left but to destroy the pursuing battleship. After a few minutes it was gone. A plasma shot to the area where its main reactor lies caused a chain of explosions that tore the battleship apart. Further ahead of them the King’s Crown made its jump to safety.
The expedition ship from Sirius had sustained some damage, so I offered some assistance. They were mostly caught in the crossfire of the early battle. With some of my help they were able to fix their jump drive. Apparently most of the other systems are unaware of this war in the centauri systems.The grateful scientists mentioned they would convey the information I gave them to the Sirius System senate. Anything that could help destabilize Starlance was welcome.
On my flight towards the jump point I was lost in thought. This was indeed a war. Despite not being openly declared by any of the parts. Starlance regarded us as a nuisance. A few rebellious pirates and outlaw organizations. The truth is, the Liberation Front and most of the people fighting simply wanted to return to their colonies. They wanted the freedom to do more with their lives. A choice beyond Starlance. I admit that the hidden ambitions of high command, or of my father, were not so easy to see. To reach this point, and to see so much loss of life was heartbreaking. Despite feeling terribly about it, my resolve could not break. Father would have to face justice someday. For endangering civilians and subjecting colonies to their oppressive rule.
Episode 3: Return to Epsilon
I arrived a good distance away from the main weapons staging area, Sector Epsilon. My previous time here was nearly a complete disaster. A few months ago I learned that the malfunction of the jump drive on that ship I used was a malicious piece of code placed to execute the moment of the jump. I studied that day closely to prepare for this new mission. The target was a hidden cache in the center of the minefield. Maneuvering through the field might be difficult, but if I could find one thing that could provide an advantage against Starlance it would be worth the risk. As quickly as I could I set up a scan of the area. I discovered something new. A research station was established not long ago. Some of the smaller patrol craft were doing the rounds close to a large asteroid. On the other side of it was the station. It was a good idea to use the asteroid as cover. They were close enough to monitor most of the sector. Whether they detected my arrival or not was a mystery, but so far none of their ships moved in the direction of the field. They most likely think that no one would be insane, or foolish enough to go near the minefield. At this point I think I am a bit insane.
A few short minutes was all I needed to hack into the systems. The minefield and anything tied to that old code system used to deactivate them were now inactive. Surely this would call the attention of the research station. So, to ensure my success, the system was rigged to reactivate and go rogue. This meant that no codes or anything would work to deactivate again, at least, for long enough to do some damage. With the systems down it was time to hit the cache. The Star Shadow’s engines quickly warmed and I blasted off. This cache was a large storage container, almost big enough to be its own starship.
Movement was detected in the outer perimeter of the minefield. I was already inside the cache searching the database for records of anything that could be useful. Although most of the equipment was too heavy to take with me there were a lot of schematics. One of them stood out. An energy redirection and dispersion shield. The perfect defense against the Starlance Supremacy Cruisers. It was developed as a countermeasure against the ships in case they were captured by enemy forces, but the research was halted shortly after the initial tests. I transferred as much of the data as I could to my ship and got out of there.
A few small fighters entered the minefield. They moved towards the cache just as I launched away. Considering how valuable that thing was I decided to let loose. I fired a fully charged blasma volley towards the main power core and destroyed the container. The enemy fighters gave chase, but I was not about to leave without a parting gift to the space station. Once I was out of the minefield I reactivated everything in the staging area. This not only included the entire minefield, it also included several experimental weapons and automated systems. Suffice to say the fighters were toast. Some of the automated ships inside began firing weapons all over the place. Their targets included some of the mines as well as the asteroid. They must have detected the station.
With the station on view I decided another gift was in order. Their defense turrets fired on me, but the disruption systems kept them busy with sensor echoes. Once I had the gift ready I sent it away. A program made to cut up chunks of data and delete them. There was also a bit that activated the station’s engines and moved it to just the right position where it could get attacked by some of the experimental weapons. As I was leaving I saw some escape shuttles leaving the station. Meanwhile pieces of it began to break as the weapons made short work of it. “All in a day’s work”, I thought to myself as I made the jump back home.
Two days after my little stint at Epsilon we’re discussing what to do with the data I acquired.
“Obviously we don’t have the manpower to finish the research on that”, Ivanov said while glancing over some of the data. “None of our technicians are prepared to work on any of this. Did you really find no weapons you could bring?”.
“Nope. Nothing. I don’t think they would be so careless to leave anything too easy to acquire, or else anyone would have been able to do it”
“What about this?”, he pointed to a supposed shield piercing weapon.
“That is an early prototype of what the Supremacy class cruisers use. It no longer holds any relevance. Its old research, though we might be able to glance some of the initial base systems used to build and scale the weapon to the massive ones currently in use”
“Hmm, then I will forward this information to the techs. Maybe they will get inspired”
“We need more than this Adrian”, Mara was concerned that I risked my life for nothing.
“Look at this part here”, I pointed to the dispersion shielding. “This could potentially redirect and disperse the energy from the Supremacy class’ main weapon. According to this research it is possible. Sadly, like you said, it still requires much more research to create something reliable”
“Not to mention that the only way to test something like that is to have one of the Starlance Supremacy Cruisers fire at us”, Mara was beginning to sound frustrated, but before she could continue an alert sounded about an incoming distress call.
“Help, please. If anyone can hear us, we are scientists and researchers from the Starlance research station Proxima Tau. We have sabotaged the station after an event with the nearby staging area in Sector Epsilon. Our transports are under siege, we need assistance!”, the message then repeated.
“I’m going to head out. If anyone can help us develop anything from here, it is them”, I said as I started to make my way out of the bridge.
“Wait! I’ll go with you. You can go alone in this one”, said Mara.
“Go on then! I will monitor Starlance communications and bail you out if things get dicey”, Ivanov said just as we were out the door.