"Lets go, lets go!" cried General Fenton. "This is our one and only chance at saving Dreden itself!" Alas, the great Battle of Dreden had come upon us. For a couple of years now, we, the Dreden people, had been at war with Imperial forces that wanted nothing more than to conquer our seemingly harmless planet. Often we have asked ourselves why the Empire wished to destroy us. We are a small colony with few outer worlds in our grasp. The logical answer would be that the Empire realizes the threat we could one day pose to them, even if we are currently a small needle in a haystack. For our enemies, our world is but a small, very small addition to their galactic empire. But we want nothing more then to live peacefully on our world, but when it comes to the Empire, they make war on everyone, and have yet to lose. Dreden has no choice but to defend itself, even if the possibility of winning a war against Imperial forces is extremely unlikely. But one has to understand that once you grow up on a world you love, you will do everything to defend it. That is why I risk my life every minute for my world. It is our home, and we refuse to allow it to fall into Imperial occupation.
Hello, my name is Captain Skyblade, and this is the story of the great Battle of Dreden. The battle that seemed impossible to win yet ended in our favor. Odds never matter, and this battle proves it.
I was in command of a full heavy fighter wing: thirty fighters strong. Ever since I graduated from the academy eight years ago, I had learned so much in terms of space warfare. During my college years, I thought I could take on the whole Empire myself, always forgetting how big they really were. But as I continued my studies, I realized that in combat, teamwork is everything. I can tell you now that if it werent for my wingman and other comrades, I would have been killed years ago. Not only do we fight for our world, but for our comrades. I know that every minute I risk my life for them, they do the same for me. If we just remember those simple rules, we always pull through. Teamwork is everything, as we soon found out in the battle that we had awaited us for years.
After my commanding officer, Major Olson, broke the news that Dreden was under attack, I couldnt describe the fear that ran through my mind. "Cutter!" I yelled to my wingman, "Get the crew ready. Weve got company!" As Cutter ran through our hanger toward the crew quarters, I headed for my heavy fighter. As I climbed aboard, I couldnt help but smile at the eight downed interceptors painted on my fighters hull. Every one of those interceptors I had shot down was a challenge. They made me feel proud, regardless of the fact that the number of kills you have doesnt prove your piloting skills. I have to admit there are plenty of people in my fighter wing that deserve a commanding position much more then I.
After strapping myself securely into my seat, I saw the pilots filter out of their quarters and scurry for their ships. Cutter jumped into his fighter located next to mine. As my copilot, Lieutenant James, climbed into the backseat of my fighter, I noticed the concern on his face. "Dont worry," I told him. "Weve fought the Empire several times and came out alive."
"I know," came his reply, "but this time it looks like Dreden is doomed."
I couldnt help but understand what he meant. My commander told me the magnitude of the Imperial ships approaching, and it was rather astonishing. We were outnumbered seven to one from what I was told, even with every ship we could muster in the Dreden Navy ready to defend. The outcome looked grim, but we had to try. Surrender to the Empire meant death to us and Dreden.
Once all my subordinates were ready for liftoff, I radioed to set course for the Morin asteroid. A small rock that had been orbiting Dreden ever since it was discovered. We were using this asteroid as a gathering point for the entire Dreden Navy. As we began to exit our hanger, Cutter told the fighter wing that "today is going to be our best day yet". Even though I much doubted victory, I was thankful for the fact that he encouraged all the pilots who were somewhat nerve-racked.
Our fighter wing began to head for the gathering point. It didnt take us but a minute to leave Dredens atmosphere, and soon, we were in the darkness of space. Soon after our sensors picked up large numbers of Dreden warships ahead, the Morin asteroid came in site. Never had we seen such a grand site. The entire Dreden Navy gathered together for one last stand. As we got closer, I began to count our vessels. We had six carriers, our best capital ship that housed eight fighters each. There were thirty-six frigates, the Navys most numerous medium vessel that had some distinct advantages over the Imperial warships. It packed plenty of torpedoes and and neutron turrets, and our most strategic weapon: the cloaking device. As we passed some of the frigates, I could help but wish I had a cloaking device Such a strategic weapon would come in handy for a small fighter like mine.
"That fleet is one beautiful site, huh Skyblade?" radioed Sergeant Mayors, a close friend of mine.
"I couldnt agree more. I only hope we dont lose all those suckers" I replied.
After bringing my fighter wing to a halt, I was able to get a read on our fighter numbers. Together, we had five wings, which numbered one hundred and fifty fighters; not including those carried by our carriers. We were depending on them, and little did we know that our fighters would be a lifesaver. Cutter then radioed that we had three hundred interceptors: a new vessel much like the heavy fighter, only much smaller, faster, and agile at the sacrifice of a rocket launcher. We envied our interceptors. They could beat us in a dogfight anytime. But even then, the Empire feared our fighters for their maneuverability. That should tell you the skills of a Dreden interceptor.
Upon parking our fighter wing, Major Olson, who was captain of a frigate, began to give us a read on the Imperial fleet we would be fighting soon. In our fighter wing, only Cutter and I were aloud to hear, since telling the rest of the crew might lower morale.
"The Empire is throwing 1,000 interceptors at us," Major Olson stated grimly.
"What?" Cutter said, sounding a bit overwhelmed. "We could never handle all those. Sounds like this battle is going to be more of a massacre then a fight."
"Wait a minute," the Major replied swiftly. "That isnt all. The interceptors are only serving as escorts for the capital ships. The Empire is also bringing one hundred destroyers, and thirty cruisers."
"Oh, this is going to be easier then I thought," I said, not really meaning it at all. "The Imperial cruiser is the equal to our carrier, and we only have six!"
"Dont get discouraged before weve even seen them," the Major said in a hopeful voice. "Even though we could all easily lose our lives soon, lets do our best to take as many of the Imperial vessels with us as we can."
"Yeah, why not. We dont have much of a choice," I added.
I was about to carry on with the conversation when a fleet command signal came over my intercom.
"Major. Looks like we need to cut this short. I thank you, sir, for your time."
"No problem, Captain Skyblade. I hope we meat again "
"Yes, so do I "
After closing our communication channel with the Major, I turned on the command channel to our entire fighter wing.
"Greetings to all of the Dreden Navy," came the voice of General Fenton. "Im sure many of you realize the importance of this battle. Today marks either the end of Dreden, or the destruction of the Imperial jugernaught. Whatever one happens, I know that every one of you will do your best to fight for your home world and protect your comrades. I dont know about you, but if Im the very last man in the Dreden Navy still alive, Im going to die fighting. I only hope that all of you today will give this battle everything youve got. Right now as I speak, the Imperial fleet is in hyperspace and should be just outside the Morin asteroid at any moment. I ask that you remember your friends who have given their lives already for Dreden, and that every Imperial ship destroyed is avenging a pilot who has long since died. I hope we all can come together in victory after this battle. I wish you all the best of luck. God bless."
Cheers went up over the radio before the command channel was closed. Everyone was happy to hear of the bold faith of their commander. General Fenton rarely lost the battles he engaged, but today, that could be a different story.
After thinking of General Fentons words over and over again, my orders came across my viewing screen. After quickly reading them, I passed them on to my fighter wing.
"Ok guys, weve got orders to head for the south side of Dreden. We are not going to be the first into battle, rather a reserve squadron for reinforcements. The 32nd fighter wing will be joining us. The rest of the fighters and interceptors will be on the front line. You all had better be glad we arent on the front line."
"Sir, why are we going to the south side of Dreden?" asked Private Miles, a recent graduate from the academy.
Knowing that a rookie pilot is always full of questions, I quickly replied: "Well, Miles, while the front line vessels go into head-to-head combat, we and the 32nd are serving as an ambush team. My additional orders were that once signaled, I could choose where to attack the Imperial fleet. This could give us a good start."
"Sounds good to me, sir. Thanks."
About ten minutes after leaving the Morin asteroid, we were in position at the south end of Dreden. Soon after, the 32nd fighter wing arrived. Their commander was an excellent pilot and had been fighting for about twenty years. He was greatly respected by the Dreden Navy.
Once parked in our position, all we had to do was wait. As I waited for the moment when the Imperial fleet would warp in, I couldnt help but think about the excellent design of my heavy fighter. When General Dreden (whom the planet was named after) designed it years ago, he sure knew what would scare the Empire. The normal combat load of the Dreden Heavy Fighter was six Vulcan neutron guns: two located on the wings and four just outside the cockpit on the nose. When fired, these guns made a nasty spread that could turn an Imperial interceptor into dust in seconds. One thing was for sure. Our firepower could beat the Empire any day. But our favorite weapon on our fighter was a new fusion rocket launcher. Our fighters used to carry torpedoes, until Vulcan created the deadly rocket. This weapon is very large and only three can be carried. But one rocket is enough to immediately destroy an Imperial interceptor, or cripple light Imperial escort crafts. Little did we know the important role the fusion rocket would soon play.
As I sat in my cockpit thinking of these things, my copilot, who operated the radio and targeting systems, came onto the comm.
"Sir. Im picking up a large fleet on my long-range sensors. I cant identify it yet, though."
I began to feel a little nervous. "No need, Lieutenant. I, and you, already know who they are."
"Yes, I know." Came the Lieutenants reply.
I then got on my radio to alert the fighter wing. "Ok boys, long-range sensors are picking up a large fleet headed for the Morin asteroid. I dont need to tell you who they are, we all already know. Just be ready. We may need to be called into battle very soon."
After asking my copilot for updates on the fleets range, thoughts began to race through my mind. I could easily die in the next few hours. My whole fighter wing could be destroyed. I then remembered that I was going to give all the power I had for Dreden, for my friends who were fighting the same war I was.
I then shook myself awake. I grabbed my control / weapons stick. Already I felt somewhat nervous, but I was ready. Ready and waiting.
I then heard Lieutenant James voice from behind.
"Sir. The fleet has now exited hyperspace, and oh my goodness, it is a big one."
"Yeap, thats what were expecting." I said, trying to hide the trembling in my voice. "Hey Cutter, you all ready?"
"You bet, sir."
If anything, I didnt want Cutter to die. He was such a good pilot. He shouldnt have been my wingman, but a fighter wing commander himself. When he was at the job, he worked till he finished it, and so far, he had gotten away from every battle without a scratch.
Lieutenant James then spoke again. "Captain Skyblade, the fleet is now in a full scale battle with our forces. I cant get a read on losses yet, since the assault has just began."
"Ok, James. Just keep me posted."
After a quick and quiet five minutes, James gave me a battle report.
"Sensors indicate that so far the Empire has lost one destroyer and eighteen interceptors. Our losses are ten interceptors and a fighter."
That didnt sound too bad to me. "Well, we might have fewer losses, but we cant afford them. The Empire "
My comm was then interrupted by the voice of General Fenton. "Fighter wings number 12 and 32, commence to ambush positions."
"Ok troops! Ready or not, its time to head out. Please get those weapons ready, and pray for the best." That was all I could say. Now we had to see what the future held for us.
The 32nd and us swiftly headed for the northeast side of Dreden. From here, we now had visual site of the battle, and I couldnt explain how breath-taken I was.
"Oh man. Where did anyone ever get a fleet that big!?" Cutter asked shockingly over the radio.
"Dont asked me", I replied. "Lets just do the Empire a favor and get rid of it!"
Our fighter wing took position far enough away from the Imperial fleet to stay out of short-range sensors. The 32nd wing positioned just south of us. I was full of fear, watching a terrible battle that I would soon see face to face.
I then radioed the 32nd wing commander: "Im ready when you are. You give the order."
There was tension throughout both squadrons as everyone awaited the order. Then it came.
"Move out!" yelled the commander.
I immediately began giving orders.
"James, give me full throttle, and get those weapons hot!"
"Right away, sir!"
All sixty fighters began speeding toward one of the Imperial cruisers. My legs began to shake as we got closer.
"Ok, fighter wings. Were going to try to take out the Imperial cruiser with its back facing us. If we can pound those snail-paced engines hard enough, we could disable it and finish it off with neutron fire. Use your fusion rockets on our first pass. Now move!"
We accelerated at top speed toward the cruiser. I took engine number three of the Imperial cruiser "illustrious" into my weapons sites, and had my finger on the trigger, ready to pull it when in range. I was hoping we could take this monster vessel by surprise.
"Letm fly!" yelled Cutter.
Everywhere, the sound of fusion rockets being launched filled the radio. In a few seconds, a large number of high explosive rockets headed for their marks. After firing, we began to roll away, breaking from a straight line to a "C" pattern. As we sped away from the engines, we heard what we wanted to hear: a tremendous explosion that rocked our ears. After the sound died down, I asked James to take a sensor sweep of the cruiser.
"Sir, there is nothing left of the rear section of the Illustrious. It is disabled, but all its weapons systems are functioning."
"Ok, Lieutenant." I said nervously. "Crew, lets go finish her off!"
The Imperial cruiser is about five times the size of the Dreden carrier. It carries forty interceptors and more turrets then its counterpart, but the turrets combined arent as damaging as the Vulcan neutron guns of the carrier. The site of a cruiser always scared us, and that fact there were thirty in this battle was very bothering.
"Commander to squadron" I radioed. "Break into scattered formation and fire at will."
I took my fighter into a 180 degree turn and headed straight for the command deck of the "illustrious". Laser fire began to fly towards us.
"Look out for the turret fire!" I yelled. "Its pretty thick. Get the command deck of the cruiser if possible!"
Once I got close to the bridge of the cruiser, I took some laser fire to my right shields, taking them down to 75%.
"Boy, its a good thing those lasers arent lethal," I said to my copilot.
"No kidding!" James said.
I locked my neutron cannons onto the communication systems of the bridge, and let off a burst of fire lasting about five seconds before I had to pull away to avoid collision. I looked behind me and saw the communication tower exploding.
"Looks like shes dumb now," I told Cutter.
"Hey Skyblade, Im going to take a couple of fighters and head for the shield generators," came Cutters voice.
"Ok, you go ahead. Ill try to distract most of the turret fire toward the rest of the wing."
As my fighter buzzed above the surface of the cruiser, I took another hit, this time to the rear. Fortunately nothing damaging.
"Sir, Im going to target our neutron turret at the bridge" James stated.
"Sure. Go ahead, we need every weapon at work."
I then took the fighter into a tight turn and headed for a battery of three laser turrets while our small neutron turret fired at the command deck. I must admit is was terribly scary flying towards those guns, but for everyone you destroy, thats one less gun shooting at you. I then locked my fusion rocket onto the turret located in the middle of the battery while laser beams flew all around our fighter. I got a lock on it, fired, and quickly pulled away. The fusion rocket did its job well, demolishing all three turrets.
I was happy for a moment when my intercom blared.
"Im hit! Im hit and going down! Imperial Interceptors are everywh "
The interrupted voice was followed by an explosion as I watched one of our fighters crash into the cruisers hull.
"James, how many fighters has our wing lost?" I asked in a desperate voice.
"Three sir, with one badly damaged." Came the rather sad reply.
"What? Half a minute ago we didnt have a loss!"
"Wait a minute. Captain, sensors indicate a large number of interceptors attacking our fighting wing!"
"How many are there?"
"Eighty, sir. The cruiser was able to radio for help before we knocked out its "
BOOM! Before I even knew it, a laser beam cut into our cockpit area, sending sparks everywhere.
"Lieutenant! Are you there? James!!! Do you read me!?"
I then looked behind my seat and saw James unconscious and a bloody wreck. The laser had cut right through his stomach and exited the ship. Seeing him dead made me go mad. I had lost my copilot. If it werent for the fact that I was wearing an oxygen mask, I would have been dead also. My thoughts of horror were again interrupted. Laser beams began flying all around my ship, and I took a look to my left and saw the interceptors coming.
"Fighter squadron number 12! Pull back and regroup at the Morin asteroid so we can fight these bastards with some assistance. Theres too many of them!"
"I read you, Skyblade," came Cutters voice. "Ive just destroyed the shield generator of the Illustrious and now its hull is beginning to collapse. Ive lost one fighter during the assault, but Im ok. Im heading for the asteroid now."
"Hurry, Cutter. Ive lost my copilot, and Im flying this thing by myself. I need you more then ever now. Get the whole squadron to the asteroid quickly!"
"Roger, sir. On my way." Cutter acknowledged.
As soon as I turned my ship for the asteroid, my top shields were struck hard by laser fire, almost totally decimating them. I was beginning to wander if I would make it through this battle.
I flew at top speed along with some of my squadron that began to tag along. No sooner had my shields began to recharge when I looked in my rear-view camera and saw two interceptors on my tail. I began to think quickly, but not fast enough. Both interceptors began firing, splitting my left tail stabilizer in half and damaging my number two engine. Their fire intensified, and before I knew it, I was about to become like my copilot who had died moments ago...
To be continued.
A bit choppy, but not too bad. Waiting for a continuation.
DAMN THE MAN!
Originally posted by tyrex57:
**A bit choppy, but not too bad. Waiting for a continuation.
I actually submitted this story a few months ago, but I was positive Ambrosia had decided not to post it. I myself now admit that the story is pretty bad, but I guess we all learn from our mistakes. Thanks for the comment!
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