UPDATE: Hey guys, remember this? Yeah, well, I'm finally writing Chapter 6 over again, so anyone who wanted more of this (I highly doubt it) gets their wish. Really, I'm only doing this because I fell I have to finish something I started, so I figure, may as well start with this.
Also, I fixed some more spelling mistakes. I can't BELIEVE nobody saw those.
There once was a group of monks known only as the Hullarian Cult. They were a pretty normal cult, doing nothing all day but praying, preaching, eating, and sleeping. Oh, and rewriting the code of the universe.
You see, the monks of the Hullarian Cult had figured out that the universe was really just a giant computer program and all one had to do was hack into the code. They were all ex-programmers, and figured they wouldn't do anything horribly wrong that might blow up the universe. Then one day, after inventing this nifty thing called subspace, they simply vanished.
Nobody is sure exactly what happened anymore, but all of the physicists, scientist, and programmers are trying to figure out how they did it and where they went. So far, it's not going well. But one researcher made an important discovery.
Jolran Bradok, a Prollian Scout, was charting a sector of space that only probes had been through before. It was called only Sector 1137X, but that would change soon...
Jolran was taking long-range sensor readings from a simple yellow star, when he detected a radio signal from the forth planet. He turned his scanner towards the planet and his sensor readings skyrocketed.
This was the discovery of the Kerronians, a race of bipedal mammals highly similar to humans. The only detectable difference is that they are taller than humans, and that they can use magic. That's right, magic. As in old wizards hunched over spellbooks, hurling fireballs. Well, not exactly like that, but you get the idea. Since physicists think that this is the closest they've ever come to defying the laws of physics, they took an immediate interest. We were a bit more technologically advanced, and used this fact to forge an alliance with the Kerronians. This was twelve years ago...
A lone snubfighter careened into the sector with the engine in flames. The pilot had passed out seconds before activating the jumpdrive, and the ship was not succeding in making him wake up. The ship, detecting that the pilot would be unable to fly it, went on autopilot and set a course for the nearest station. It was partly successful, in that it managed to make the ship move in the direction of the station, but then the engine kicked out.
Right behind the ship, a small squadren of fighters exited subspace. They were of a design completely unkown to any of the races in the Inter-Galactic Alliance of Races (or IGAR). The lead fighter opened fire on the damaged snubfighter, the energy bursts flaring against its shields. This could be considered as a bad thing, but not for the effects. The first effect was, of course, that the shields weakened. This is bad, but we already established that. The second effect was that the pilot woke up.
"Damnit!" shouted Lieutenant Dale Brannen, and attempted to perform an emergency restart before the shields failed.
He managed to get power running again, which meant the shields were now charging. Good, he had a few more seconds to live. Then Brannen activated his comm device.
"This is Lieutenant Dale Brannen of the Inter-Galactic Military. My fighter is heavily damaged, and unkown craft are in pursuit. Please respond."
A voice came back. "Lieutenant Brannen, this is Trinity Station. We are dispatching fighters. Try to hold on until they get there."
Brannen sighed with relief, then began to work on getting his engines to respond. He attempted every trick in the book, and some out of it. The engines just wouldn't start. Finally, as the enemy ships were just coming around for another pass, he punched it.
The jolt from his fist forced the fuel cell in the engine back into place, and the engine immediately provided thrust. Brannen began evasive maneuvers, dodging enemy shots. In the distance ahead he saw a squadren of fighters coming towards him from a distant station. He could recognize them as Blade interceptors, probably mark II. He hoped they got there before the enemy ships got in a lucky shot.
"Lieutenant Brannen, this is Eagle Leader. We have a sight on the alien fighters. Continue evasive maneuvers while we engage."
"Copy that, Eagle Leader." Brannen put his ship into a sharp dive (causing it to threaten flying apart), then followed up with a barrel roll and shot past Eagle squadren. He saw bright flashes in his peripheral vision, and cheers from the pilots on the comm system. He dared to look behind him and saw all twelve of Eagle squadren pursuing the remaining alien craft. Energy bursts traversed the distance between Eagle three and the alien ship, which exploded in a bright ball of expanding gas and shrapnel.
"Eagle squadren, this is Brannen. I owe you guys my life and at least twelve drinks, I believe. Let's head on over to Trinity Station."
"Sho there I wash," said Brannen drunkenly 5 hours later. He was in the pilot's lunge with the rest of Eagle Squadren, telling them how he ended up in the Goralion Sector in the first place. "Jusht waitin' for doesh blue alien bashterdsh to kill da entaiya convoy."
Yor Frisck, Eagle Three, turned to him and said, "I think you have had quite enough to drink, friend."
Brannen had downed two bottles all by himself already, and they guessed that he must have been through some major trauma to drink all that right after a combat mission. This was an entirely true assumption, as Brannen had just lost not only his squadren, but the convoy he was protecting to the new alien threat. Colonel John Ralton, the leader of Eagle Squadren, wished he would stop drinking soon.
Brannen turned to face Yor. "No, I don't think sho. I think I want ten more drinksh. Barkeep!" he shouted. "More Telloshan ale!"
The serving droid behind the counter swiveled around. "I am sorry, sir, but your blood alchohol content is .2 above the maximum I am allowed to serve you at. Good day."
"Psh, you sherving droidsh don't even let me get drunk properly. I'll sshow you, I'll..." At that point, Brannen passed out, and Ralton and Yor had to drag him to the barracks.
. . .
Brannen came to a short while later to the sound of voices. He openned his eyes and saw two figures talking in the middle of the room. One of them was wearing a black cloak and appeared to be Kerronian. The other was wearing an admiral's uniform.
"...powerful," the Kerronain was saying. "Deckon, we must act swiftly to eliminate this threat."
Admiral Ralph Deckon, commander of Trinity Station, sighed. "I know, I know. But Sai, what do you expect me to do about it? I mean, what can I do with only three fighter squadrens and an aging frigate? I can barely keep away pirate raids and Dorin attacks as it is."
The Dorin are a race of Xenophobic warmongers that think any race other than their own is plotting to kill them. This only became true when they declared war on the galaxy. Since then, they've been conducting raids and assaults against anything that looked remotely non-Dorin. As you can imagine, all of the other aggresive races (like the Thellosians*) love having the Dorin around to work out their anger on.
*NOTE: Thellosians and Tellosans are two completely different species. DO NOT CONFUSE THEM.*
Brannen sat upright in his bunk, accidentally hitting his head on the bunk above him. This caused his already present headache to get worse. He let out a short cry of pain and frustration, causing the two other occupants of the room to turn towards him.
"Ah," noted Deckon. "You're awake. Sai, I'd like to introduce you to Lieutentant Dale Brannen. He was the pilot we rescued."
Sai bowed. "I am honored to make your aquaintence. My name is Saitami Yamamoto, Kerronian Swordsmage."
Brannen stopped rubbing his head to raise an eyebrow. "Swordsmage?"
"It means," explained Deckon, "that he is proficient in both magic and swordsmanship."
"What kind of magic?"
Sai smirked. "I am proficient in the powerful and prestigious art of Gravimetrics."
"It means," added Deckon at the confused look on Brannen's face, "that he can control gravity itself."
Brannen's eyes widened, and his jaw dropped. "You can manipulate gravity?"
Sai nodded. "I spent many years in the Kerronian Academy of Magical Arts to learn it, and am now the leading expert on Kerronia." Then Sai turned to Deckon and added, "Did I use that phrase correctly?"
Deckon laughed and said, "Yes Sai, you used it fine."
Brannen got up out of bed, popping down an alchohol chaser. "I'm sorry about..."
Deckon cut him off. "It's okay. You were off-duty, it happens. There are more pressing matters."
"Now, we have a job for you."
"We need to get this information to the council," he said, holding up a datadisk. "We don't want those aliens intercepting it. Understood?"
"Yes sir," replied Brannen, "but the technicians said it would take a few weeks to repair my fighter."
Sai cut in, "You will not require the use of your craft. We will be traveling in my ship."
Brannen raised an eyebrow. "Your ship?"
"It's a Kerronian cruiser, lent to him temporarily. He's using it until his ship is complete," explained Deckon.
"Er," stuttered Brannen. He wasn't quite sure how to reply to that, so he decided to leave it at "er."
Sai gestured to the door. "It is time, gentlemen, that we took our leave."
Brannen stood in awe, staring at the beautiful ship in Hanger 4. He could swear it seemed to shimmer as he looked at it. He almost felt as though the whole ship might melt if it stayed out in the sun too long. It was a long ship, in the shape of an elongated triange, but seemed to be made of glass. It glittered in the artificial light of the hanger.
"Beauty, ain't she?" noted Deckon.
"Yes, sir!" replied Brannen with enthusiasm.
"She may not be much to look at," said Sai as he came up behind them, "but I'll be replacing her soon."
Brannen looked quizzically at Deckon, who shook his head and mouthed the word 'later.' Brannen's curiosity would have to wait. They all stepped on board the cruiser and took the matter transmitter to the bridge. As soon as they arrived, Sai sat down in the command chair and began issuing launch orders. Deckon stayed to watch the launch, then left the bridge with Brannen in tow.
"Sir," asked Brannen, "where are we going?"
"To the Holographic Projection Chamber," replied Deckon, who then dropped the matter. They continued through several hallways until they reached a door that was set in from the hallway. Deckon pressed a series of buttons to the side of it and it slid open to reveal... nothing. Just solid black. But Deckon strode into the blackness, pulling Brannen in after him.
"What's going on?" asked Brannen. "What is this place?"
"This," answered a booming voice that shook the whole room, "is the Holographic Projection Chamber."
As soon as the voice stopped, the whole room seemed to explode with light. Huge swirls of it zoomed past, around, and even through Brannen. It was like--
Brannen's chain of thought was interrupted by a loud 'click!' and the lightshow disappeared. He turned around to see Deckon manipulating a control panel.
"Yes yes, I know, the intro is cool and all that." Deckon didn't seem at all fascinated by the lightshow a few seconds ago. "I've seen it a million times, and it can get really repetitive. Besides, I'm trying to show you something..."
Deckon was pressing a button labelled "fast forward" with the same intensity and rapidity as a pilot who's just seen his target line up in his targetting brackets. Every time he pressed the button, the chamber displayed a different image. Dinosaurs, cavemen, Neanderthals, colonization, the discovery of electricity, the information age, colonization of the moon, the discovery of the first non-human race, the formation of IGAR, all flashed before his eyes. Finally, Deckon settled on the image of an orbital shipyard slowly circling a planet Brannen couldn't identify.
"This is Dominar Shipyard," the booming voice explained. "The planet is Troxia."
That explained why Brannen couldn't identify the planet. He had never heard of Troxia.
"You may not have heard of Troxia before," it continued. "This is because it was destroyed over fourty years ago."
The holographic planet exploded with the same flourish as the introduction. Some may wonder how a planet can explode with a flourish. Unfortunately, there is no answer that can be written in mere words. It must be seen to be understood. But enough of that, back to the Chamber.
The booming voice continued, "This world was destroyed by a sudden and violent increase of heat inside the planet's core, along with eight other worlds."
Brannen turned to face Deckon. "What weapon can do that?"
"Just keep watching."
Now the image of a man wearing a cloak and armor appeared. Brannen almost jumped backwards in fear. The armor was this matte black that seemed to suck the light out of the room. It was spikey and jagged, and the gauntlets looked like they would hurt a lot if they hit you. A shiver ran down Brannen's spine and he was glad when the image disappeared. It was replaced by the image of the man inside the armor.
At first, Brannen was surprised. After all, the man was Prollian and he doubted very much that any Prollian could cause much physical harm. But why the armor?
"This is a Prollian archmage known only as Freehold," the voice informed Brannen. "Not much is known about him except that his magical speciality is Temporal Displacement, or the ability to control time."
Brannen felt his knees give way. Even he knew the ramifications of somebody that could mess with time. It would be likely, Brannen thought, that they would blame the destruction of the nine planets with this Freehold character.
"Freehold is currently suspected to be the one that destroyed what are now being called the Unlucky Nine, though nobody has been able to ask him. Anyone sent to arrest him, kill him, interview him, or anything at all was returned in a cargo container with their body horribly mangled."
At this point the hologram showed one of the bodies, and Brannen passed out.
. . .
He awoke to a sharp pain in the side of his face and Deckon shouting, "Wake up, wake up, wake up!"
He sat up and rubbed his cheek. It felt like someone had slapped him. Then he realized that someone probably had.
"Ow," he said simply as he stood up.
Deckon helped him to stand, then said, "I was going to just let you sleep it off, but we have a problem."
"Those aliens are back, and they brought some capships with them."
Brannen let Deckon lead him to the bridge. Sai was standing in the middle, shouting in Kerronian. From what little Kerronian Brannen could understand, the ship's weapons were not engaging. He frowned.
"Deckon, why aren't the weapons firing?"
Deckon shook his head. "I don't know. Maybe the aliens got in a shot to the control systems."
Deckon tapped Sai on the shoulder. "Sai, what's happening?"
Sai spun around, almost knocking Deckon over. "The alien fiends have a jamming field in place! We cannot raise shields or arm weapons unless it is lifted!"
"Well, can't you just open up a wormhole and send them through it?"
Sai shook his head. "My magics are also supressed by the field. None of my men can cast any spells at all."
"Sir, someone is tampering with the short-range sensor arrays!"
Sai turned towards the officer in charge of ship operations. "What?"
"There is someone inside Sensor Control that is reprogramming the short-range sensors!"
Sai turned around, then turned to Deckon. "Where is Brannen?"
Brannen ran out of the bridge. He had done an academy simulation like this once. He had failed it then. He intended not to this time. He rounded the corner and entered the Sensor Control Station. As soon as the door closed he spun around and locked it; He didn't want anyone else to die with him. He found the terminal that controlled short-range sensors and got to work, hoping he paid enough attention during programming class to get it to work.
The commander of the Ixilon ship Gru-Ka-uln watched the battle with interest. He saw his fighters approaching the Kerronian ship and smiled. Or, at least, the closest thing an Ixilon can do to smiling. It was more of an ugly grimace, but that wasn't improtant. Was was important was the he was about to be promoted. As soon as this "Saitami" alien was dealt with, he would be given a promotion and a new ship.
Luxolito, the commander, paced back and forth across the command deck of the Gru-Ka-uln. What was supposed to be so great about this one alien that Luxolito had been given all this special equipment to take care of him? He shook his head. It wouldn't matter in a few seconds anyway.
Brannen did a last-second check of his sloppy code. It would work. It had to work. If it didn't... well, it would work, so he shouldn't worry about it. He hit the "execute" button.
"Sai, look!" Deckon pointed out the forward viewscreen.
The approaching fighters spun out of control and slammed into each other. Sai checked his instrument panel. The shields were online, and weapons were powering up.
"Open fire!" he shouted at the weapons officer. "We must exploit this weakness while it lasts!"
Bright beams of energy lanced out from the sleek Kerronian ship, firing into and through the alien crafts. Explosions blossomed out and the fighters disappeared from everyone's sensor boards. The alien capital ship began slowly turning to exit the system.
"Don't let them get away!" shouted Sai. "Try to disable them, if you can!"
More lasers sliced across the hull of the alien ship. Gun ports could be seen detonating along the side as the blue energy beams intersected them. In a last-ditch attempt to get away, the cruiser opened fire with all of its remaining guns. Most of the shots were absorbed by the shields, but a few blasts managed to get through. One of those blasts hurtled towards the Sensor Control Station, where Brannen was watching it approach with indifference.
He had known it was going to happen, the chances were very slim of it not. In order to turn the sensors into a jamming field of their own, the shields around the sensors had to be disabled. Otherwise, it wouldn't get past the shields to do any jamming. So he had been completely unprotected the whole battle. He watched the incoming blast for a second, then closed his eyes. At least they had destroyed the enemy jamming equipment, so his duty was done.
Then there was pain and blinding light, followed by a fatal silence.
The Ixilon ship Gru-Ka-uln was suddenly surrounded by a shimmering haze as the shield generators were allowed to come back online. At the same time, the gaps in the Kerronian ship's shields disappeared. Both jamming fields had been destroyed, now it was pure ship versus ship to determine the winner.
Deckon sat down next to a bridge console and began fidgeting. "Sai?"
Sai tore his eyes away from the forward viewscreen. "What is it?"
"What just happened?"
Sai turned back to the viewscreen. "I'd guess someone turned the sensors into a jamming field. While the enemy was jammed, we must have destroyed whatever was causing their jamming field, but not before they destroyed the Sensor Control Station."
"But why would destroying the SCS stop the jamming field? Wouldn't they have the hit the actual sensors?"
Sai shook his head. "Whoever was making the jamming field had to have a constant link to the sensors to keep them broadcasting special signals that would jam the alien ships. Once the link was cut out, the sensors returned to just scanning."
"Ah," said Deckon, who then returned to fidgeting.
"Sir, the enemy jamming field has been lifted!"
Luxolito looked out the viewscreen to see both ship's shields fully active. "Then activate our jamming field!"
"We can't! It was destroyed in their last barrage!"
Luxolito scowled and fell back into his chair. "Then open fire."
Blue and red energy criss-crossed the battlefield, both ship's sheilds flaring against the impacts. Both sides' shields didn't look like they were going to budge any time soon. Sai saw this, of course, and decided to just get it over with.
Sai raised his right arm and focused on the enemy ship. He got a clear picture of it in his mind. Then, he changed that picture. He pictured a tiny black hole. So unstable it was about to collapse, closing off the infernal tear forever. He pictured the enemy ship on top of that black hole.
The Ixilon cruiser Gru-Ka-uln suddenly and violently collapsed, compressing into the size of a pin head. All onboard were instantly killed as they were squeezed beyond their imaginations. All that remained was the tiny (although heavy, due to its mass) hunk of metal. Then Sai thought of something else, and the hunk exploded in a ball of fire as the fuel exploded. How'd he do it? He pulled a solar flare through a wormhole. It was just the right temperature to ignite the hyper-compressed fuel.
Deckon watched the whole second-long event out the forward viewscreen with awe. Then he turned to Sai. "Why didn't you just do that earlier?"
Sai glared at him. "I told you, their jamming field supresses spell-casting."
"Yes, but once we had cancelled it out, why didn't you just 'pop' and be done with it?"
Sai paused, then said, "Dramatic effect?"
. . .
They arrived at Derrodia Prime, the center of the Inter-Galactic Alliance of Races and the meeting place of the Galactic Council. The Kerronian ship Warekinete glided into the nearest docking port of Starbase Gamma 32. Out of the ship came three figures. The first was wearing an IGM admiral's uniform. The second was wearing a black cloak and carried a longsword, and the third was in an IGM marine's garb. All three headed towards the Surface Transport Center.
The Tellosan at the desk eyed them suspiciously. "And what are you doing here?"
Deckon stepped forward. "I am Admiral Ralph Deckon, this is Saitami Yamamoto, and this is Colonel Olran. We're here to see the council."
"Ah yes, Admiral Deckon. Your shuttle is waiting for you in Hanger Bay IX. Sixth door on the left."
"Thank you," replied Deckon, and all three of them walked into the corridor to the left.
Upon reaching the sixth door, it slid open to admit them. They entered a brightly lit hanger with only three ships. One of them was a Scimitar class transport, the other two were Blade Interceptors Mark IV. Upon closer inspection, Sai saw that they were heavily customized for combat and long-range operations. Probably officers' personal fighters, he thought to himself.
As they got into the shuttle, the pilot greeted them warmly. "My name is Captain Paladin Xyron. I'm pleased to meet you, Admiral Deckon."
Deckon and Colonel Olran went back into the passenger compartments, but Sai stayed in the Cockpit with Paladin. "You pilot shuttles?"
"Actually, no. I'm a starship captain. But I heard that Admiral Deckon was coming, and wanted to fly him down personally while my ship is getting repairs."
"You sustained damage?"
"Yeah, the Ixilon attacked."
Sai looked confused. "Who are the Ixilon?"
Paladin looked genuinely surprised. "You didn't hear? The Council was able to translate the alien language. They're called the Ixilon, and it appears that they have a fleet to rival the IGM."
Sai strapped himself in as the shuttle took off. "So they attacked your ship?"
"Yes, the Eclipse. She's a heavy battlecruiser, and heavily modified to boot. I work with IGM testing out new weapons and technology for starships. You could call me a 'test captain.'"
Sai nodded absent-mindedly. His attention was focused on a blue star in the distance that had started flickering. Sai frowned. It shouldn't be flickering like that, should it?
"Paladin, how far out from the planet does the atmosphere extend?"
Paladin did a quick mental calculation. "About three miles. The population requires domes in order to--"
Sai cut him off. "Then why is that star flickering?"
Paladin looked to where Sai was pointing and frowned. "That's not a star."
"What? Then what is it?"
Paladin checked his sensor board and his eyes widened. "Subspace wormhole!"
Sai tilted his head to see the sensor screen. "Can you identify the jump signature?"
Paladin nodded gravely. "Ixilon."
Paladin kicked the shuttle into full speed and aimed straight for the planet's surface, hoping to come within range of the planetary defenses before the Ixilon started shooting. The shuttle's engines whined as he pushed the throttle beyond the recommended maximum, the small fission reactor straining to keep up.
The fastest Ixilon scouts were adjusting their course to intercept the shuttle, not realizing that the pilot never used the standard package. Particle beams lanced out from the shuttle, ripping two of the scouts to peices. The other three in the wing wavered and broke formation, dodgin and weaving to prevent target lock. A well-aimed kinetic turret blast turned one to slag and the two remaining fighters opened fire. The shots flared harmlessly against the shuttle's shields and two bursts later the fighters were gone.
Sai let out a sigh of relief. "Be sure to tell IGM that their new targetting system works just fine."
Paladin grinned. "That's what they pay me for."
The shuttle's shields again began shimmering as the ship entered the upper atmosphere. Since this planet had a thin atmosphere the effects weren't as severe as they might be on, say, Earth. Just a bit of heat and the ship was through the upper atmosphere and the spaceport was clearly visible. The shuttle flew through the edge of the forcefield dome and pulled to a stop above one of the landing pads. At the same time, bright flashes from kinetic defense guns could be seen flying up from the planet, turning the Ixilon pursuers into tiny flecks of debris.
The shuttle tapped down with a minimum of resistance, a testament to the pilot's skill. The ramp descended and the hatch slid open, with the lack of airflow demonstrating the perfect atmospheric containment within the dome. The group walked down the ramp and stretched their legs, which had been a bit cramped in the shuttle compartment. Paladin sat down on the durinium floor of the dome and closed his eyes, looking very tired.
Something moving caught Sai's eye and he saw some objects slam into the ground outside the dome, almost like meteorites. They'd come from one of the Ixilon cruisers, which was now exploding under the sustained fire from the planetary defense guns. Sai pointed it out to the other three and they all looked.
"It looks like something's coming out of one of the craters," Deckon noticed. Paladin pulled out a scope and twisted the zoom knob to 200x. He gave a gasp in surprise and nearly dropped the scope.
"What is it?" Sai asked.
"It looks like mehcs. The Ixilon are launching a ground assault."
Almost as if they had heard him, the dome's defense systems activated and a siren began blaring. Large autocannons could be seen taking aim at the distant Ixilon mechs. At the same time a squad of MAU*s jetted by overhead and flew through the dome wall, advancing towards the enemy targets.
*Mechanized Assault Unit.
"We should go now," Sai pointed out. The others nodded and they all headed towards the tall Capital building. Other people could be seen fleeing in all directions, and Sai had to activate a gravity beam to clear a path to the Capital building. The crowd of people were flung apart as Sai's energy swept through them, forming a tunnel only the four of them could travel trhoguh. As soon as they reached the Capital building he collapsed it and people resumed panicking.
A prollian woman in a general's uniform grabbed them and pulled them in, obviously identifying them. She led them to an elevator, which took them deep underground.
"I am General Yular," she said on the way down. "We have a problem."
Deckon noticed. "We noticed right before the siren went off."
"A different one. In most combat engagements of this sort the issue is equipment, too many pilots and not enough mechs. You understand?"
"Yes, I remember--"
"A yes will do. Well, we have the opposite here." Yular continued to talk even though Deckon was obviously miffed for not being able to talk. "We have more than enough mechs to deal with the threat, but we've run out of pilots."
"I can pilot an MAU," answered Deckon.
"I'm trained in mech combat too," added Paladin.
"I am also trained in the use of a Mechanized Assault Unit," Sai chipped in.
"I didn't get mech training," said Colonel Olran, as if just to prove that not everyone in the universe could pilot a mech.
General Yular looked shocked. "Admiral, you can't--"
"I can and I will, General. The three of us will assist in the fight. Take us to the MAU bays and we'll go."
Yular paused, then typed something into the elevator control panel. It stopped short two floors from it's original destination and the doors opened, revealing a huge room filled with IG-7 MAUs, all prepped for combat. The three mech-trained in the group headed towards the ladders, while Colonel Olran stayed in the elevator with Yular, who rode it down to the bottom floor. There they made their way to the council chambers, which were perfectly safe.
Sai, Paladin, and Deckon climbed into seperate MAUs and initiated the power-on sequence. As Sai keyed in the code to activate weapons systems, the hanger door opened to reveal a shaft big enough to house at least five mechs. Sai activated the HUD and the computer booted up.
"This IG-7 MAU has been optimized for long-range assault. The kinetic energy rifles can be accessed by--"
Sai cut short the computer's lecture and piloted his MAU into the elevator. Paladin and Deckon did the same. The hanger doors closed and the elevator shot upwards. Sai looked up and saw an enourmous door open up, revealing surface light. The elevator reached the surface and all three mechs began moving towards the bright flashes of other mechs firing.
Sai reached to his right to activate the comm system, and was immediately greeted by the sound of combat chatter.
"Two hostiles attempting to breach the perimeter in sector two. Engaging."
"I've got a visual, and-- holy cow! Those look just like IG-4s! Could the Ixilon have captured some of our mechs?"
"Not ours, B-3. Could be they got them off some deep-space outpost. We lost contact with five of them along the Dralivian border. Just a sec-- confirmed, definately IG-4s."
"They don't seem to be using any ranged weaponry. Could it be they haven't figured out how to use it yet?"
"This is R-7. We have fighters coming from the north-east. Can someone engage?"
"This is Captain Xyron. I'll deal with the fighters."
Paladin's mech began moving north-east. Sai and Deckon followed, and Sai activated his targetting system. Three red blips were flying towards the dome at high speed. The trio of mechs engaged jumpjets and left the dome perimeter, all three bringing weapons to bear on the Ixilon ships. Sai was the first one to get a lock, and a burst of fire shot forth. His stream of energy engulphed the lead fighter and it detonated, causing the other two to bank off. Paladin rocketted the one on the right, and Deckon's energy rifle obliterated the last one.
"I saw explosians. What happened?" "NOthing R-2, just those fighters getting blasted out of the sky. Stay focused. Captain Xyron I presume?" "Yeah, we took care of them. Need a hand?" "You got that right. They don't seem to be retaliating against our attacks, but once they get close enough to the dome they try to use Ixilon weapons on the defense. And there's a lot of them." "We're on our way."
Sai took that as his cue to get moving. He brought his mech around and jetted towards where the other MAUs were engaging the Ixilon. Sai could see the Ixilon IG-4s ignoring the shots from the dome's defenders, but getting through with their sheer numbers. He opened fire at the nearest target and watched as it exploded under his sustained fire. Then he targetted an Ixilon dropship that was trying to unload more mechs and rocketted it. Deckon and Paladin were similarly occupied, attempting to prevent any of the Ixilon from reaching the dome. More combat chatter floated over the radio waves.
"Three of the bastards just went kamikaze and took out B-9! They're starting to retaliate!"
"Keep at 'em! If we just keep going, they've got to run out eventually!"
"The planetary defenses report that the last of the Ixilon cruisers has been destroyed. We're almost through this!"
"There's too many of them in sector three! I need backup!"
"I got you R-4, just hang on."
"This is B-2, no more enemy mechs are being deployed. Clean 'em up!"
"Why aren't the perimeter guns firing?"
"Jamming signal! The Ixilon set up a jamming signal! Perimeter defenses can't fire at the mechs that get by!"
"Why can we still shoot?"
"Guess it only targets specific weapons."
"Use your rockets on the signal generator, B-3! It's in your sector!"
"I got it, just a second. Yes! I have a lock!"
"SHIT! The IG-4s have started shooting! We need more support or we're screwed!"
"Jamming signal is GONE, baby! The dome can defend itself again!"
"This is Dome Control. All forces, retreat to the hanger. The perimeter defenses can clean up the mess, we don't want to risk any more pilots."
"This is blue leader, copy that Dome Control. Everyone, fall back."
Sai continued firing on the distant IG-4 while he jetted backwards. As they got closer to the dome, massive energy blasts shot past them as the perimeter guns opened fire. Sai stopped firing and stepped onto the elevator with four mechs from blue group. The elevator began descending and the surface door closed up above them. When the hanger doors opened up Sai parked the IG-7 and opened the hatch, climbing onto the platform. He could see the other pilots doing the same. Sai climbed down the stairs and met up with the four pilots from blue group, who all stopped dead in their tracks.
"Whoa! We had a Kerronian in the last battle?" the lead one said.
Sai bowed. "I am Saitami Yamamoto. I was assisting Captain Xyron in his defense of the dome."
One of the pilots looked confused. "Who is Captain Xyron, anyway?"
Before Sai could answer, the hanger doors opened and five more mechs walked in. At that point the group of pilots and Sai realized that the middle of a mech hanger was not the best place to converse. They entered the adjoining pilot's lounge and all but Sai sat down.
"So, who is Captain Xyron?"
Sai leaned against the wall and said, "Captain Xyron is a starship captain. We came here to speak at the meeting of the galactic council, but then the Ixilon arrived. The three of us decided to assist in the defense of the dome.
"Three of you? Who's the third?"
One of the pilots gasped. They had obviously heard of Deckon. "The Admiral Deckon? Admiral Ralph Deckon, commander of Trinity Station?"
Sai cocked an eyebrow. "That is correct."
"Why is he here?"
"As I said, to meet with the galactic council."
Five more pilots entered, three from blue group and two from red. They sat down and one of the grabbed a glass of Tellosan ale at the bar. One of the blue group pilots nudged one of the other blue group pilots and said, "Whatcha talkin' 'bout?"
"Admiral Deckon is here!"
The pilot's face drained. "You're shittin' me."
"It gets bettter," one of the other pilots said.
"He was fighting in that last engagement."
The pilot that had asked the question looked like he was about to fall out of his chair. Then he looked up at Sai and his eyes widened. "There was a Kerronian there, too?"
The pilot burried his face in his hands. "I've got to stop drinking."
The pilot at the bar laughed and took another sip of ale. "Your not delusional, mate, you were just in the most unlikely combat engagement in the history of the universe."
Four more pilots and Paladin entered the lounge. Paladin walked over to Sai and sat down in the chair closest to him. "Did I miss something important?"
"Not that I am aware of. However, the pilots seem very hard-pressed to believe that Admiral Deckon and a Kerronian were present in the last battle."
Paladin laughed. "That's pilots for you."
One of the pilots from red group turned on Paladin. "What's that supposed to mean, huh?"
"It means you're a superstitious bunch of paranoid wackjobs."
Two of the pilots looked as though they'd just been socked. A third looked like he was trying very hard to find a blank wall interesting. The others looked mildy disturbed.
Paladin looked at the group of pilots, then turned to Sai. "Next time I look like I'm about to say something stupid, slap me."
Sai took a second to think about how he should respond. He often got confused when around humans, due to their complex social dynamics. It was hard to tell when a human was joking, and when a human was being serious. Sai often seemed to pause in the middle of a conversation, due to the fact that he had to figure out what he was supposed to do.
After a second of though, Sai took a step towards Paladin and slapped him. The entire lounge burst out laughing and Paladin rubbed his cheek. "Very funny, Sai."
Before Sai could ask what was so funny and start a three-page conversation so confusing you'd rather be disemboweled by flesh-eating zombies than try to figure it out, four more pilots and Deckon entered the lounge. All of the pilots who'd already been in the lounge stood up and saluted. Deckon saluted back and they all sat back down.
After that, pilots slowly started trickling in in groups of five. And everytime a new group came in they were astonished to learn that "the Admiral Deckon had saved the dome from the Ixilon." Paladin got so mad one time he shouted at Deckon to get his "bloody fanclub to shut up for one goddamned minute," after saying some things about Deckon's mother that would make a Thellosian blush.
Sai slapped him again.
CHAPTER 6 is on the way!
Remeber, suggestions welcome!
And I don't need a name anymore! Yay!