I always felt more alive when I was risking everything than in somewhere peaceful. In my life, I had always been a gambler. Gamble some money; double or lose everything. Win or lose, I’d risk it.
As my ship slowed down from warp speed, I could see the first signs of the chaos that would unfold this part of space.
A few asteroids were floating away in the distance. From where I was, I could already see the fires raging from inside the cruiser that we were sent to rescue. But even more clearly, I could see the huge number of ships that were standing in our way. I had a sly smile… Time to make another gamble.
“Gold Leader, come in” said a voice in my radio.
I opened the frequency and answered at once. “This is Gold Leader, ready for orders”.
“We are joining the crew of “The Constellation” towards “The Bull”. Do not break formation, stay close to us and engage the enemy only if they stand in our way.”
Oh they will, I thought, but I kept my mouth shut. Some truths were better kept secret… It would not do to sound so eager to dive into battle.
“The Gold Squadron shall follow your lead, Commander.” I replied before ending the communication. As I sent the informations of the battle plans to the rest of my squadron, I thought about the possible meaning of this fight.
My pilot trainer used to say that every battle had a meaning. Every fight had a reason to be or it would not be a honourable fight. In truth, I had no idea why I was flying in that part of empty space so far away from the Empire’s borders. I doubted anyone did actually…
But, an enemy remains an enemy and it was time for us to do our duty. I activated my engines and opened my radio frequency to my squadron.
“Gold Squadron, Asher of Elinzer here. We’re going in. Keep it tight and do not break formation.”
As the squadron confirmed the orders, the Dark Star started their attack run followed closely by the Silver Squadron and another ship that I assumed would be the so called “Constellation”.
“Here we go friends. Strength and Valour !”
I rushed into the battle as cruisers went against cruisers, starfighters against starfighters. In a matter of seconds, blast shots were fired all around us, ships were destroyed into huge explosions and chaos had taken over the once peaceful empty space completely.
A formation of a dozen enemy starfighters came to meet the Dark Star who was leading our way. A second later, one enemy starfighter was afire and spinning out of control while another had been straight blown up by a direct shot into the engine. I did not know who was the gunner of that ship, but he was damn good, I thought.
The other starfighters did not stop to weep on their fallen comrades and rushed into the gap of our formation. The Silver Squadron managed to get through, almost undisturbed, and when the Constellation passed through the net of squadrons, another enemy starfighter was shot, losing its wing and crashing into a nearby asteroid.
“Enemy incoming, Dead Ahead. Let them pass between us.”, I said into the comlink.
As soon as I said the words, I could see the five other ships of my squadron creating gaps between themselves and taking an arrow formation. I smiled then. Some of the best pilots of the galaxy were fighting alongside me… I didn’t know who was on the other side and I didn’t care. They would not be a problem for very long.
The enemy was coming at us at full speed. I slightly directed my ship to pass between them and opened fire on their leader. Take out the head of the snake and the rest of the corpse will fall like a pile of cards.
The first shot missed by only an inch but the second, third, fourth and fifth got him into the left wing. The shock of the first two hits sent the ship into a violent spin that only caused even more severe damage when the other blasts came in contact with its hull. The left wing was cut clean off the rest of the ship which crashed in a glorious explosion into his left squad member.
From behind me, I could see green and blue blast rays coming from the rest of my squadron meeting with dark red and dark purple blast rays coming from the opposite direction.
Another starfighter was shot by two blasts that opened the hull above the pilot seat. I could see the poor fool being sucked out into space while his ship exploded almost instantly. For good measure, I turned my ship towards him and opened fire again.
One, two, three, four hits directly into the pilot. The flesh was torn into pieces and soon nothing was left of what was once a life form. Bad way to go…
The rest of the enemy squadron continued their way, passing into the gaps created by my squadron. Three of their ships were destroyed and another two were severely damaged or afire. Not bad for a first encounter.
“Do we pursue?” asked Myra of Loeb.
“No”, I replied immediately “Keep on target, we are on a protection mission here. The Dark Star and The Constellation are our priorities!”
“Who the fuck is the Constellation?” loudly said the Chronogian, Nakar-Tess Alkor.
“Fuck if I know, Alkor. But we’re still protecting them. They must be important for some reason. Just remember don’t pursue them and don’t break formation!”
“What do we do if they give pursuit?”, insisted Myra of Loeb again.
“They won’t. We’re not that big of a target. The cruisers are far more tempting… Besides, they have other squadrons to worry about…”, I replied in a tone that meant the discussion was at an end.
From the corner of my eye, I could see that I was right. Only a few seconds after the group of enemy starfighters had crossed our path, they had been taken into a crossfire between an Imperial Corvet and two squadrons of Imperial Starfighters.
I almost choked myself laughing seeing them fly in panic as their ships were being shot down almost instantly by the heavy fire of our allies. A quick glance at the sigil on the hull of the corvet gave me the name of the ship. A huge snarling Gaerling head was painted on each side of the white hull. “The Gaerling” was rushing through the enemy lines, blasting starfighters left and right.
The starfighters squadrons that were escorting the corvet however were too far away for me to recognize their colour. Could be Grey Squadron, maybe Green Squadron… or was it Blue Squadron?
“ASHER! MISSILE INCOMING!”, someone screamed over on the radio.
Turning my head back to my screens, I had just the time to pull my starfighter up to avoid two missiles going straight for the pilot seat of my ship. Fortunately those were not homing missiles and they continued their way further into the battle, disappearing amidst the chaos.
Joining back into the formation, I steadied my ship and breathed deeply to calm the rush of adrenalin that was overtaking me.
“Thanks, Gold Five”, I said into the radio after a few seconds.
“I got your back, boss.”, answered Thesar Maribor.
Indeed she had. When being part of a squadron, you were part of a family… And members of a family all take care of each other, to the death. With a slight annoyance at my own stupidity, I dived back into battle.