Should the plan of attack work? Were there connections to the plot in the Stanton system.
That voice, that announcement, I had heard it before. “People of Stanton…….” I had just grabbed an apple at Garcia’s Greens when I saw it on the monitor. Xenothreat, they announced the attack on the Stanton system. I wondered why, why did they want to destroy Port Olisar. The corporations already had a solution to stop the export of ore to the free peoples. Why this attack? At that moment, the message from the Civilian Defense Force arrived on the Mobiglass. Xenothreat had attacked a convoy of the UEE Navy. The Navy needed civilian forces to assist. The realization hit me like a bolt of lightning. The Xenothreat attack had nothing to do with corporations, nothing to do with exporting to the free peoples. It was a campaign of terrorists, against everything that was not human and against any cooperation with aliens. Stanton was to be only the first step. The free peoples were not safe either. I decided to help and set out.
Xenothreat’s target was the Javelin destroyer, which was docked at Jericho Station. Without the supplies, the Javelin was not operational and was defenseless against the attack. After the convoy was destroyed, the supplies failed to arrive. It was only a matter of time before Xenothreat forces launched the attack on the Javelin. In addition to fighter pilots, freighters were sought to recover cargo from the wreckage of the convoy and bring it to Jericho Station. Cargo recovery was something I could do, though I had never had to do it in a combat zone. The risk was great, the time short. I had just arrived at MIC-L1 in the fog when a Vanguard came alongside and contacted me. “You fly to the wreckage and get the stuff out. I’ll cover you.” He had just pronounced when several enemy contacts came up on radar. The Vanguard turned away, flew directly toward the red dots on the radar, and disappeared into the fog.
I flew to the first wreckage and positioned the Star Runner to reload directly. With concern, I watched the laser flashes of the battle approach. Hopefully the Vanguard could keep the enemy forces away from my position long enough. Once I went into the wreckage, my spacecraft was an easy and defenseless target. I had better have brought someone else with me. I overclocked the shields, hoping to buy myself some time should I be attacked. A rather symbolic action. With a last worried look at the battle, I left the cockpit and made my way to the wreckage.
The gate to the cargo hold of the destroyed Starfarer was open. With my weapon drawn, I floated over from the Star Runner. Glowing wreckage was scattered far and wide. Cautiously, I entered the cargo hold. It was dark. I could barely make anything out. Cargo racks were everywhere. The scenery was confusing, I had no idea if there were still pirates on board. When I stood in front of the first cargo rack, I was struck. This could not be true. It was empty, the second one too. I searched the entire cargo hold. Nothing, the cargo was gone. Despair spread through me. Had we already failed? Was the Javelin already lost?
When I was back in the Star Runner, I spotted another wreck It was closer to the ongoing space battle. More battleships had arrived to assist. Laser flashes danced wildly. Explosions lit up the fog. A Freelancer Max was already at the second wreck. I parked the Star Runner next to it and walked into the wreck. Several people were busy reloading the cargo. Then word came that Xenothreat forces had arrived at Jericho. The attack began, the Javelin was not yet operational. We were running out of time.
Most of the cargo was already in the Freelancer. It was only a short hop to Jericho. Actually, it would still arrive in time. The problem was, the Freelancer couldn’t jump. Some of the cargo reacted explosively to a quantum jump. It had to be transported by conventional flight. That took time, time we didn’t have. “Load the Quantum sensitive stuff into the Star Runner. Jump to Jericho with the other stuff. I’ll join you with the rest as soon as I can.” I shouted frantically. As if possessed by the devil, we distributed the cargo to the two spaceships. The tractor beam from the multitool was running hot. The clock was ticking. Fighting raged near the wreck. A Xenothreat Idris frigate was firing a railgun at the defenseless Javelin. The situation seemed hopeless.
Finally, we had reloaded everything. The Freelancer jumped directly to Jericho Station. For me, the long journey with the conventional drive began. I paused briefly. Did I have a chance to arrive in time? Would I arrive at all? Or would Xenothreat fighters intercept me on the way? Then I felt a hand on my shoulder. “I’m coming with you. I’ll go into the Star Runner turret and watch your back.” A smile flitted across my face. Help sometimes comes unexpectedly and a common enemy welds together. The fog slowly diminished behind us as the White Rabbit shot through space at maximum speed. A spark of hope, on the way between the stars.
Even before we saw Space Station Jericho, we saw the explosions. Bright as a nova, they outshone the stars. So bright that the spark that had almost reached Jericho faded. Was it over? Had Xenothreat won the battle? “The Idris took heavy hits. She was hit by several torpedoes.” Euphoric cries were heard over the radio. The spark of hope glowed again.
After delivering my payload on Jericho, I flew back to MIC-L1 Shallow Frontier Station . I wanted to leave the further fight against Xenothreat to others. I was not a soldier, my strengths lay elsewhere. As a farewell I flew over the Javelin. What a beast. We had done it. She was ready for the final strike against the Xenothreat threat in the Stanton system.
I stood on the gallery balcony and let my eyes wander. I realized one thing. We were wrong. The activists, Brubacker and I, we were so wrong. Our hunch that the corporations, with the help of Xenothreat, were going to destroy Port Olisar was wrong. We had evidence that the corporations wanted to prevent the export of ores to the free peoples. And we had evidence that Xenothreat was up to something in the Stanton system. But the two things had nothing to do with each other. This was not the plot in the Stanton system. Exports had since been stopped via new security regulations and trade regulations. Xenothreat was pursuing goals all its own that had nothing to do with the corporations. There was another thing, though. More dangerous, more sinister, with many unanswered questions – What was it about the killer satellite and the MTX1 chips? And did it have anything to do with Project ENOS and the bioweapon? Questions to which I still wanted to find an answer.
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