"It is more then a pleasure Taran. Though our two organizations are not working together currently, it is an honor to help you. I will send you our sensor data within the hour." Taran turned off the screen, and swiveled his chair to write down his report. Filing it, he logged off the terminal, and called Brian.
"So far, only three groups have reported back on our requests. The other five aren't there. I can't find them, and from SATCOM pic's...well, their bases are gone."
"They're what!" The Golden Paladin lurched forward, almost loosing his grip on the glass he was holding. "Damn it okay. Call those three that you talked to, and tell them to be prepared for anything. After that, check with Minmei and Kaeru and see if they have any news to report."
"Sure Icy." Taran said, looking back at the terminal he had just used. "This is going to be a long day." Typing in the coordinates, he contacted the Wandering Prophet again.
Brian sat contemplating in his office on what to do next. Figuring that if three of the eight groups were left, he'd best have them warned on coming events. Satellite imaging had come back from Minmei, already showing that a Building in the Mediterranean had been destroyed when a small light seemed to fly in, and ten seconds later collapse the building. Reports were still sketchy at best but it seemed that they were being systematically wiped out. There were few defenders nowadays to protect the Earth, and it was enough that already one group had been destroyed, and the LOF attacked, nearly killing two of its members. Brian typed in a few letters, and a map popped up, showing relative positions of the five teams, along with the four active groups. Running a hand through his hair, he leaned back in the high-backed chair, and groaned. His thoughts merged as he slowly drifted to sleep. A knock at the door woke him, and Zeal leaned in the doorway.
"You look tired." She walked into the room, sitting down in the chair opposite him.
Leaning on his desk, Brian looked across and smiled. "You are probably right. Anything in the fields of Earth?"
Zeal nodded. "Nothing. Zilch, zero, nada. At least, nothing that I can pick up on, so we can assume that this is not the normal type of magic we are used to dealing with."
"Then any assumptions of being from this planet are out the window."
"Exactly. One interesting thing I've observed, is that there was a battle moments ago, but in tracing those signatures, I can feel our power, but anything that came from the other side, well "
Brian rested his chin on a hand and sighed discontentedly. "Giving us further proof that we have no clue what we are up against. I'm not all to sure on how you study the field, as in, if you warped it a certain way, or better, if we could get an energy reading of these occurrences, would that help you?"
"More then you know. If we had a clear trace, I can-" The comm system chimed in, though both Paladin and Propht knew what the plan was. Over the whirling of blades, they could hear gunfire, along with the casting of various offensive and defensive spells.
"-repeat, under attack, request immediate docking and or help for air cover!" Another loud boom was heard. Brian sat up in his chair, typing in commands into the console by his desk. A view screen came up, displaying Minmei. She looked to it, and raised an eyebrow.
"Lynn, turn the shield off, and open the docking bay doors. Start cover fire when the unauthorized aircraft are in range."
"I'm a little busy, since I'm the one who patched you to the comm system." The sarcasm thick in her voice, she typed in various commands. Calming down, she looked to the camera again. "I'm on it Icy. Do we have anyone to send up to help?" She furiously pounded on her console. Icy Brian looked over at Zeal.
"Can you fly Stormrunner?"
"With some help, yes, but I need three people for support crew. Two for turrets, and one co-pilot, and even at that, it'd take two minutes for the system start-up to complete." Sitting back, the gears in his mind turning at breakneck speed, Icy punched a button, opening a comm channel. "Taran, meet us in the docking bay. ASAP."
"Sure Icy." The static filled reply came through. Jumping out of his seat, he pushed the chair back in, and the two made off for the docking bay.
Fire filled the skies 20 miles away from the LOF Complex. Falcon, was under attack for more then ten minutes by a squadron of much faster, much more maneuverable craft. From three sides, magical fire, lightning, and meteors were barely scratching the armed and deadly craft. Saul had already sent out a distress call, and so far, nothing had come of it so far, but he knew that some help would arrive soon. Sending his sword into the air, he let loose another deluge of orbital debris, yet still unable to shake the enemy.
"Saul, we're getting low on fuel!" Jerm yelled out from the wheel. Looking at the small gauges, he figured he'd have three minutes worth of fuel before they were vaporized. "HOLD ON!" He yanked the wheel to the right, leading them out of the way of laser fire. The W-shaped craft sped past, blasting their lasers, hoping for a good shot.
Steve drank another Ether and threw the bottle overboard. Sam turned to him after casting a flame wave, and gave him an odd look. "HEY! Don't Litter!" Steve shrugged it off, shooting out another lightning bolt and futilely hitting the energy shields.
"Where's our help!" Saul looked over, finally destroying another fighter.
"It's coming!" Suddenly, the large airship jerked to the right dropping Steve to the deck. Sam was holding the railing for dear life, Saul helping her gain her balance. Jerm looked over at the three, a virtual sweat drop hanging on his forehead.
"Sorry!" The four felt the rumble as two of the ships flew past them, and one was lined up behind the giant turbines that propelled Falcon. A quick shot from the enemy hit the left turbine, melting it to slag. Sam looked over to the three men, matching the fear in their eyes. "I tried guys." The dejected analyst said to the others.
"Been good knowing you guys, even it if it wasn't for that long." Steve saluted. The ship's altitude declined at an accelerated rate. The ocean was fast approaching.
The ten remaining spacecraft slowly drew into formation, starting the final run on debilitated airship.
"Dagger Leader, permission to go for the kill." Sarlin Burr asked. Designated Dagger 5, he'd just lost his brother and best friend to the ones they were attacking. The fire burned in his eyes, just waiting to vape the dying target.
"Dagger Three, we are to wait for orders from the Master. Do not engage and stay in formation." Sarlin's blood was burning now, the fires of vengeance consuming him at a faster rate then that of the airship crashing into the sea. His thought process in complete ruin by his tragedy, Sarlin broke out of the formation, and targeted the falling airship with a missile. Locking its targeting computer, he was about to hit the button on his flight stick when a sizzling green bolt of super heated electrons crashed through the left wing of his fighter. Internal systems failing, he pressed the button intending to fire the missile. But due to the lack of complete circuitry, he only had a warhead with no guidance systems, and a timer of five seconds before detonation. Cursing, he uttered an oath to his deity, and exploded in a brilliant ball of fire and light. Dagger Leader looked over to his dying subordinate and sighed.
"Dagger Squadron, this is Lead. Sarlin Burr was a fool, but let us not follow his example. Shoot to kill " His words trailed off as another blip on his radar rose from the airship to support its altitude.
Saul looked at the vehicle that had saved them with suspicious eyes. He'd never seen such a craft in his life. Its wings were at a 40-degree angle, with the ability to change degrees on a moments notice. The horizontal engines in the rear of the fuselage controlled its thrust, and weapons were built into the hull. Another craft, that of a modified TIE (twin ion engine) Interceptor painted with a horizontal Purple and Orange stripe on its wings, maneuvered between the groups of remaining fighters, and instantly took out the Squadron Leader. Chaos ensued as four of the assault craft broke off, while the other three headed after the Interceptor and the last craft unaccounted for. Steve saw the stripes and instantly knew help had arrived. Powering up another blast of Fire and Lightning, he shot it out at the straggling fighter following the TIE. Hitting it, the craft was sent to the depths of the Pacific Ocean.
"Hope that gives ya a chance " He whispered.
The Interceptor looped up and over the opposing fighters, coming around behind them. Bringing the first ship into its targeting brackets, green laser fire coursed into the W-shaped craft, destroying the fighter's right wing. The other two craft saw their comrade fall to the Earth. Fearing for their lives, they shot up and off into space, leaving the three aircraft behind, for now. The Interceptor fired its Ion engines and turned around towards the airship and its "crutch."
The silver colored ship flew as steady as possible. The Captain keyed in the communications code, and spoke.
"Falcon, this is Frostbite, we're here to ferry you in." They all heard over the communications system. "Saul, how's your people?" Icy Brian asked his associate.
"Falcon copies, better late then never. Thanks for the assist." Brian could instantly make out the voice of Jerm. Smiling, he kept the two craft as level as possible.
"Good to hear. Any wounded?"
"Just a few scraps, nothing major." Jerm replied.
"I doubt you four can run on your own power, and we're about five minutes away from the Complex, Can you land?"
A new voice was heard over the comm. "We can land, but it will be difficult."
"All right Saul. Get ready for landing, we'll take out our assistance in 3 minutes, should give ya enough time and airspace to land."
"Thanks Frostbite, we owe you one when we return to base." Saul replied. A laugh escaped from Brian's throat.
"Don't worry about it, this time. Frostbite out." Brian watched the clock, and slowly counted down the seconds. "Taran, get ready to disengage tractor beam on my mark. Three, two, one Mark." Taran pushed the button turning their lock off, and letting the Falcon free from its crutch. Brian quickly pulled on one of the brakes, and let the airship drift ahead of them. Watching it descend, he held his breath, hoping to himself he wouldn't have to give Last Rites anytime soon.
The Airship skidded into the docking bay, coming close to hitting the Stormrunner, and stopping twenty feet from the ship. Steve looked up, breathing a sigh of relief. Frostbite and the TIE Interceptor landed behind them, with Icy and Taran exiting the larger ship. The four survivors disembarked from the ship, with Steve looking at the Interceptor oddly. Walking over to it, he stopped by the wing, and looked up. The transparasteel viewport was darkened, allowing no one to see inside the pod. The Dragoon looked back, and yelled over to Brian.
"When did we get one of these?!"
"Before you took one of my kills!" The pilot of the TIE said, screaming at him. "When I need your help, I'll ask."
"ZP!" Steve looked over at a smirking Brian. Nodding his head at the two, the paladin went off, and continued his assessment off the Falcon.
"You think I couldn't take care of my self? I was about to shake that thing off my tail. But-"
"Wait!" Gasper interjected, "I was only trying to help. And besides! A, when did you ever learn how to fly a TIE? And Bee, we don't know how powerful those things were. If we did, yeah, I'd say you shoulda took the calculated risk."
"Don't give me that crap Steve." She closed the top hatch, and hovered down to the landing bay floor. Stomping over to him, she jabbed a finger to his chest. "When I want help, I'll ask for it. Got it?" She gave him the fiercest look she could muster, and stamped off, leaving him alone.
"Well, yeah I had a good day too " Shrugging, he wondered off to his own ship and temporary home.
Repike looked at the remainder of his elite squadron of fighter pilots, and scowled. Whipping around, his cape twirling in the flowing motion, he put out a hand and instantly killed one of the men with a white blast of energy.
"I asked you three to succeed where my own apprentice had failed. And you had the gall to come back here alive?"
"Sir, we had all intention of killing them," Repike glowered at the upstart, twitching a finger, "but the enemy's skill was far more-" The neglectful officer failed to remember no one answered to the Master, lest they have a good reason. His heart burst with quiet splat, and the young pilot fell to the ground, dying of cardiac arrest.
"Anyone care to add anything before I decide whether you are worth the effort to keep on my payroll?" Repike arched his eyebrow, waiting to see if there were any protests or rebuttals. "No? Good, you seem like two intelligent pilots, who know when to follow orders. Now GET OUT OF MY SIGHT!" Repike shot out another burst of energy, frying the corpse of the insubordinate 'heart attack victim.'
"Yes sir." The two scared pilots saluted, and were lead out. Repike scoffed, and turned on his comm link. "Boomerang, I would like you to kill the two living pilots of Dagger Squadron. Then dump their bodies out the airlock. I don't want a molecule of them present in my conquest of Earth. Consider this your trial of Redemption."
"Yes my Lord." The apprentice said, shutting off the link. Looking at the viewscreen that covered the wall of his conference chambers, Repike studied the display before him.
"Nothing will hamper my plans. I've lost too many times already "
Gasper S. Keltner's Fanfiction