Rushing towards the gigantic cruiser, it seemed to me that time was going more slowly… As if in a dream. I always felt that way in battle. I was looking right at my target… Their damned guns.

I noticed fuel tanks right under their battlements. I grinned… This is going to make a splendid firework, I thought.

Their shields were finally down. It had took so much time and firepower to destroy their defenses. Their hull was exposed now and already cracking where the other fighters of the squadron were firing. Vegarels were excellent fighters and even better pilots but they had no craftsmanship at making ships. Anything that looks fearsome or could fit on their ships is added immediately, without question… The result was more often than not gigantic monstrous ships, looking so miserable that even the scrap piles wouldn’t want them. A wonder that they manage to fly them anywhere…

Vegarels use their ships mostly to overpower their enemies with heavy artillery fire. That’s means a shit ton of guns everywhere on their ships. For that, they were really clever… However they seemed to less understand the idea of thick hulls, strong shields and hiding their weak spots.

I should thank them for it really, I thought. Without that, their ships would be way more difficult to destroy. Imperial Cruisers were made out of the same models in most cases, fewer weapons than the Vegarel ones but very strong shields, thick hulls, doubled on the bow and stern so that the ship may ram without much damage…

Vegarels think that a good defense is a strong attack. They’re wrong… A good defense is a good defense and nothing else.

“Silver Squadron, on my mark. Fire at will and take out their battlements!”, said Elyn of Suliri on the comlink.

I already had my finger on the trigger… and I could hardly wait… So many Imperials had already died for this shit. Good men and women… Leaving wives, children, parents, siblings forever as they begin their journey to The Beyond to feast with the Gods and Heroes of Old.

I could make them pay for that… I will make them pay.

“Hold… Hold… Almost there…”, said Elyn of Suliri.

Though her voice remained calm and confident, I could sense the nervousness in her voice. Not a lot of battles in her resume, I remembered. Wonder how she manages to stay composed. I remembered my first battle with a green commander… Five minutes in and he had soiled his breeches all over. But they never put that part in the reports afterwards…

We were coming fast on the cruiser now… A few more seconds and we would hit its hull at full speed, probably ending up destroying our ships in the process.

NOW! FIRE’EM UP!”, roared Elyn of Suliri in her comlink.

And so we did. All batteries were firing at the targets we had picked. Dozens of blue and green lights met the hull at different points and soon huge explosions tore out the metal of the ship, creating huge gaps into its protection.

I shot directly into the fuel tank which burst into huge flames that came so close to my ship that I could almost feel the heat of them. Turning my ship to full starboard, I glanced at the damage caused by the explosion. A huge and ugly crack had appeared on the ship’s hull and men and furniture came pouring out of it, sucked out of the ship by the space vacuum.

I continued my route as close as possible from the hull of the ship, firing blindly at everything. Most of the blasts were ineffective but once or twice, the hull would tore itself out into a huge explosion.

It was becoming a real challenge to fly so close to the hull. Dead men were drifting about everywhere, furniture were sucked out of the ship and pushed into space at the speed of a blaster shot. If any of them were to block my path or worse, collide with my engines or wings, my ship could take very ugly damages.

Swiftly, I evaded any small obstacles and blasted away the bigger ones. Turning my ship back to the cruiser, I could see the extent of the damage the attack had caused.

Several turrets were disabled, their guns sadly pointing downwards, useless and grotesques. The hull itself was cracking in every directions, huge holes could be seen in the lower levels, just above the engines and the main artillery cells. Fire was raging everywhere, and from the windows of the ship, I could see more flames spreading into the different levels of the cruiser. The lights of the ships were failing from time to time, which only meant that a main energy cell had been damaged.

Excellent, I thought. The cruiser seemed completely fucked. An easy prey now and ripe for total destruction.

More squadrons were flying towards us. Allies or foes, I could not tell. If they were with us, they would probably gladly assist in the destruction of this gigantic piece of metal. If they were against us… Well, they’ll be too late to actually help in any way. Might want to do something to avenge their fallen comrades but what’s a few Vegarel starfighters to real Imperial pilots?

I pushed my engines forward and lunged my ship towards the soon to be wreck of a cruiser. Sending missiles after missiles, I hit the upper levels, still untouched by the flames. Once again, admirable fireworks they did.

One of the missiles went straight for a window just at the moment where a Vegarel pilot and a soldier came in front of it, probably to get a better view of the situation outside. Bad timing lads, I thought…

The pilot didn’t have her helmet on. She was rather pretty with green eyes and long brown hair but her nose was a bit too crooked for my taste. The Vegarel soldier was a tall and strong man. Roughly looked like an foamy ox with his great green and blue bushy beard and eyebrows. I could see the terror and surprise on their faces as they realized that the missile was going to strike them in less than a second. The pilot opened her mouth while the man turned his back to the window and shielded the woman in his arms.

Did the soldier think he could save her from the blast by sacrificing himself? Did the pilot scream on her last moments or simply prayed? Did the two of them know together or did they simply wandered the wrong corridor at the wrong time?

A lot of questions that will remained unanswered. In a heartbeat, the missile struck its target and window shattered as a massive explosion burnt the pilot and soldier both to crisps. The flames invaded the corridor and other windows exploded. A few rooms away, a man was thrown into the room by the ball of flames that destroyed the door. His face and his arms became human torches as he wriggled in inhuman pain. He would not survive, I knew it… So in order to end his suffering, I fired twice into the room, blowing it up to smithereens… When facing a horrible death, better having it over with quickly than going for the long ride, I presume.

The cruiser was completely afire and starting to fall. Rooms exploded one by one as fire spread everywhere. The engines must have been hit for suddenly a massive explosion cleaved the ship in two.

One escape pod was released. I could see it going away, trying to force its way past our ships.

“Should we let it go”, I asked Elyn of Suliri.

“Bugger that…”, answered Nasser Ulgek. “Too many good folk died today because of that scum… Here’s what they deserve”.

Nasser’s ship, Fury, lined up beside me and shot three times at the escape pod, destroying it completely. I wasn’t surprised… If we hadn’t done it, other ships would have. Fewer Vegarels to deal with now…

We were meant to protect the Empire at all cost, I thought, watching the massive cruiser exploding to oblivion. Whatever this fight meant… Whatever happens now… We can all say we did our job.

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