The fighters spun through space. Lines of fire traced paths across his field of view as the two fleets engaged in battle.
Below him Mars turned, seemingly oblivious to the battle above. More pinpricks of light on the surface showed that it would not remain oblivious for long as another round of STA missiles launched up at the Colony forces.
“Lori? You got us a heading yet?”
“Not yet sir. One moment”
The agent swung his turret and spat fire at another enemy fighter. It burst into flames as his bullets found the engines and it spiralled off towards another part of the battle.
“Any time now would be great!”
“They haven’t lowered the shields around the bay yet. Until they do that then we just need to hang tight. They may be inclined to lower them sooner if we clear all the enemy fighters out of the area”
Alexander’s voice drifted out of one of the other gunwells “Well, the more enemy fighters we kill the more come to fight us! Plus, they are pretty mad about that whole ‘assassinated their generals’ thing”
“Lori, patch me through to the ship. They will lower that containment field now”
The agent spun his turret and put a hole through the cockpit of another fighter before leaning over to toggle the speaker on.
“Redemption? This is Agent Jor aboard the dropship Hope, why aren’t those bay shields lowered?”
“Sir. There are too many enemy fighters in the vicinity. If we open the bay doors then we risk suffering internal damage from their fire. Until you can clear the enemy fighters away we can’t lower the shields”
“Well, can’t you lend us some fighters to help clear the area? I have an agent in critical condition aboard!”
Another voice cut in, weaker.
“Give her to me son. I want to talk to the Agent”
“Yes sir” to the agent now “I’m putting on Captain Zane now”
“Jor you are being unreasonable” Zane’s stern voice filled the gunwell. It had been described as being a parade ground voice. All that the agent knew was that it meant both safety and dependable reliability. And unshakeable loyalty to his men.
“I know that Zane. Now, can you spare any fighters?”
The agent could hear Zane sigh and could almost picture him rubbing his brow in frustration “Listen Jor, if we took fighters from other parts of the battle to help you then we would be in danger of losing the battle. Far more people would be placed into critical condition or even dead. Now, you are distracting me when I have a battle to run. I am sorry for your team member, but I heard you have a good medic. Get him working on it, and just hang on. If need be, take yourself and hightail it out of the fight, onto the fringes where you’ll be safe from enemy fire”
He heard the click of a disconnect as Thomas moaned in pain again.
“Dammit Zane, its my medic who is injured!” the agent shook his head before turning back to the starfield before him. He lined up another enemy fighter and was about to fire when the dropship spun and lurched.
“Just dodging the STAMs boss. We getting the shield lowered any time soon?”
“Not until we can clear the fighters from the area?”
“We getting any backup?” Alexander’s voice came echoing up out of the gunwel again. The other gunwells were aimed the wrong way for the sound of the conversation to carry.
“No. But the captain did give us the option of sitting the battle out so as to not have to dodge and risk destabilizing Thomas”
“Yah right! If we leave the battle area then we become an even bigger target. No way are we leaving here. Hang on a minute”
The dropship went into a corkscrew spin that would have been difficult for a ship half its size before leveling out again.
“Like I was saying, you two want to get busy killing the enemy fighters? I can only dodge so much”
The agent spun his turret and fired again at the nearest fighter. The shots missed, but they scared him off a bit.
This wasn’t supposed to go like this. It was supposed to be a quick and easy mission. Land on the Bird of Prey, have Gina finagle their way in, find the generals, shoot them, get out.
But then they had all been in a strategic conference, and the fleet had been about to arrive. The team had had no choice but to barge in, guns blazing.
Of course the guards had not approved of that, and a firefight had broken out in the conference room, the team pinned between the generals and their bodyguards, and the security team. An RPG from Thomas had cleared the security team out for long enough for them to kill the generals and their bodyguards.Without the crossfire the security team hadn’t stood a chance. But on the way out they had been fighting the entire time, and Thomas had been shot.
Things had gone down from there. They had rigged a gurney for Thomas and rushed him back through the halls fighting a running battle with security. Every corner, every intersection had become an opportunity for a crossfire, for a deadly trap, for another gunfight.
Finally they reached the hangar, and managed to get out thanks to a timely distraction by Gina and Lori splattering the security squad with the turrets.
They had blasted out of there, and then tried to reach the Redeemer as it jumped in, pursued by dozens of fighters and streams of cannon fire. It was a miracle that they weren’t dead already.
The agent fell back into his rhythm, locate, aim, track, aim ahead, fire, next target. Slowly but surely with him, Alexander, Kral, and Katrina operating the turrets they managed to clear enough fighters to let Redeemer lower the shields.
They touched down, still firing back out the bay doors until the shield went back up. As soon as it did the agent leapt out of the firing couch, ran to the doors, slapped a breath mask on Thomas, and rushed him straight to the infirmary.
Once Thomas was secure he moved to join Zane on the bridge.
“How goes the war?”
“Not so well. Without their generals its going better, but with them we would have been butchered. I am glad that you got the mission done”
“Have we ever not?”
“Thats true. Still, I shudder to think of the day that you and your team fail before a battle”
“Hopefully that’ll only happen when Callion’s new fleet is coming in”
Zane paused in barking out his orders to look at the agent incredulously.
“Because he only has the drone ships? Far fewer living crewers? The Annihilator, strong enough to take on a fleet all by itself? Less loss of life on our side”Zane nodded before turning back to the battle. The agent left him to it. He wanted to make sure that Thomas was being treated properly, and then he needed to sleep.