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Shadowstar

Above and beyond

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I've decided to write my own story here, since I am a sci-fi writer as a hobby and I've had some interesting experiences with BC3000AD. This particular story is told from several different viewpoints and chronicles the events surrounding one of my most interesting experiences as a Battlecruiser Commander...

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Extract from conversation:

"...you bet I remember that particular battle. I don't think I'd ever forget it. It's one of those things that sorta makes you think that maybe your dirt-cheap job is really useful for some reason, but it also makes you understand how small and insignificant you are compared to everything else. I don't think the political situation of Galcom ever really dawned on me until that battle. I know I didn't have any part in it, but I was still there - in the middle of it. People think maintenance people don't see much action. I think maybe it depends on where you're doin your maintenance. Most of the time I hear about Insurgent ships or raiders passing through the system and sometimes they don't make it, but I never seen any come close - like so close you could actually see em from the station. Normally all I ever see is a soap-bubbled image of Earth through the viewport I'm cleaning, and it's beautiful and all that but it gets boring, ya know? Anyway this time there was explosions and big ships swarmin with little fighters that reminded me of those little gnats that fly around you on Earth, but I was scared of these. I knew enough of em could rip the station to bits. I knew the fact that they came this close meant there was a serious threat out there. But then I saw it - it was beautiful like some sort of gigantic angel swooping down from the stars. That big battlecruiser, not one of them old constellations, the new kind with all the nice looking devices on it. I think they called it the Starflight. It sure looked like stars flying... perfectly silhouetted against the sun, it's edge gleaming like a sword. I watched as the entire length of the thing passed by my viewport, heading off into that horrible swarm of Insurgents. As it passed into the distance, four - I counted em - four of them new Solarian interceptors spawned from the great mouth of the ship. They moved into a formation of some sort and shot off ahead of the big BC... The station's own fighters were already out there, fighting and trying to delay the Insurgents from reaching Galcom HQ.

I knew that ship, the GCV Starflight, had just fought off a mess of Insurgents at Jupiter's moon Europa and had been preparing to dock for repairs and refit when this group of Insurgents warped in. It was a huge group too, I dont know how many ships there were. Must have been like a hundred fighters and at least six big ships [Ed. Note: Probably an exaggeration]. None of the little unarmed ones either, no MRT's or LRT's or any of that. These were things I had never seen before, except for thier one Constellation Battlecruiser. I never saw any ships other than Battlecruisers, shuttles, fighters, and the unarmed kinds of ships here at Galcom. Well maybe there was occasionally a ship I didnt recognize but nobody ever told me what they were called. Anyway, so this Starflight goes out there to tangle with a mess of insurgents and I thought that commander was crazy. Sure we had our own fighters out there but a fighter ain't like a Battlecruiser. The BC's are tough and strong but if the shields go down, one lucky shot can take the whole thing out in a matter of seconds. Fighters can always go back to thier base or hyperjump out of the system because they recharge quick. I should know, I've worked on fighters and BC's when I used to be a systems engineer. I know it's faster to power up a fighter's engines to hyperjump than it is to power up a BC's. Anyway so the battle is going on out there and I can't tell if anyone's winning or losing, but soon small groups of fighters are strafing the station. I see long trails of turret fire reaching out into space, trying to catch the fighters. Every so often, one explodes and I see a pretty little colored ring as it's oxygen is expelled. But it's sad too, 'cause you know someone just died. You know they are the bad guys, but you think every one of those little rings is someone's son or daughter, maybe thier uncle or a father... And then it fades away. They're like life, those rings, they start up all bright and expand real quick, then fade into nothingness. Once, I saw one of those fighters blow up so close the ring smooshed against the viewport I was watching from and it curled in strange wisps. I was nearly paralyzed by it because I thought it looked like a ghost for a second, then I was shaken back when a load of debris pounded on the nearby shields. Sometimes you never get those thoughts out of your head... But anyway, soon I saw a couple of those really big ships out there (the Insurgent ones) blow up in a real big explosion and there were these giant rings that shot out of them... I thought how much oxygen and other gaseous ship susbstance it would take to make a ring so visible from such a great distance. I thought of how many lives were ended up in that short, quick burst. Every time, I thought of the lives. But then I thought, if it wasn't for that brave commander out there, my life might be mixed into a million others in a giant ring orbiting Earth... then fade away into nothing. Soon the station was shaking with impacts. The shields were dropping I knew. I felt that there was still enough energy left in them to keep my workload from increasing tenfold, but only for another couple of minutes. My supervisor caught up to me and put me back to work at that point, but I walked slowly because I was watching out the nearest viewport and saw a bunch of tiny little points of light suddenly appear and last for a few seconds, then fade away. Hyperjump exit points... Something told me they weren't the good guys, either. My stomach turned..."

-----

Excerpt from Commander's Personal Log

Commander Robert "Shadowstar" Beckwith

GCV Starflight

These guys were all over the place. I had to bite my lip to keep myself from screaming out on the bridge "Can't I just have a nice peaceful night at home to repair and refit?!!!". Instead, I just burned the phrase in my thoughts, along with an amalgam of tactical strategies and combat protocol. My eyes were merged with the Tacops display, my fingers were the pointer and command pad. Fleet C&C was coming through perfectly, despite the chaos of the situation. The multiple points of light that had suddenly popped up in front of me did nothing to ease the situation as I targetted each fighter strafing the station and hit it with a burst I felt would either damage it enough to disable it, scare it off, or get it's attention away from the station, whose shields were nearing dangerous levels.

If possible, I wanted our side to suffer the least losses and that meant minimizing damage to Galcom HQ. The GCV Starflight was certainly not the target of this attack. None of the original attack fleet had targeted me at first. They only did that when I barred thier way. Thier primary target was the station. This was to my advantage in that I had a great deal of control over the situation and a full load of shields on a fully upgraded Battlecruiser. All I had to do was get thier attention. This meant, firstly, distracting them, and secondly being evasive enough to prevent a lucky shot from breaching my reactor or other fatal area. Not to mention forcing any and all intruders to stare down the barrel of one of my marines' firearms and say a prayer before donating thier grey matter to the wallpaper. After a while, my tactic proved effective. I now had fighters swarming over my BC. This was better than the station, considering the BC had some pretty nice evasive manuevering and quickly regenerating shields. One or two of the more intelligent fighters continued to bombard the station, while keeping from taking damage from my diversion tactics and the station's preservation tactics. By this time, the new group of Insurgents was making thier attack run at 60 clicks. Several large starcarriers were manuevering for a kill while hordes of fighters screamed in.

I had put it off for a while, but decided that now was the time to play my hand. Letting my PTA handle the swarming fighters around me, I authorized Galcom HQ to launch all of it's battlecruisers and fighters at the incoming group. This should eliminate that group as a threat, while I handle the remnants of the first group. The last remaining capital ship of the first group was now approaching me, a Constellation Battlecruiser that had suffered no damage or shield loss during the battle. My interceptors finally managed to catch the remaining station-strafers and pick them off. Following orders to defend the station, they zoomed off to combat the new group. I began to think of the odds of one Constellation BC and about 6 or 7 large fighters against my Starflight. It seemed roughly even, but without my interceptors, I was at a slight disadvantage. By this time my shields were thinning. Not good, I thought. We had taken minimal damage at Europa and our fuel stores were running low. The shields would stay up for a good enough amount of time, and the reactor thankfully still had enough fuel to last another hour or so, but the cloaking system would die in 3 minutes. It was probably the only reason I had not lost my shields completely by now. Half a minute passed, and the Constellation BC I had thought was coming for me, turned off suddely and went behind the station, angled below/between the second Insurgent fleet (which was now effectively slowed due to heavy resistance) and the station.

Immediately the BC opened fire on the station, slowly dodging the majority of PTA fire directed at it by the station. GCHQ had only barely managed to recover some of thier shield energy and this slight gain was lost in seconds under the new assault. Thinking fast, I decided to attempt a tactic that had never been done. The enemy fighters were well at work on my shields and I had lost a good deal of shield strength. I had only managed to pick off 3 of them so far, but some of the stragglers from Insurgent group 1 had returned after recovering thier shields, upping the number of fighters on me to about 8 or 9. These were S-Fighters mostly, but a few others of the sturdier types too. Many had damage, and many were low on shields. Without an extra wasted moment, I angled my ship for the enemy BC and engaged full thrust with extra A/B to get my speed up as high as it would go. The enemy fighters, like hungry pack wolves, took off after me like leeches.

I was counting on that. I knew the station's shields, although low, would still be enough to protect against any backlash from what I was planning on doing. The enemy BC would recieve the brunt of the damage and hopefully would be enough to reduce my problems by a great deal. I lowered my cloaking system so that there would be no chance of the enemy fighters going off elsewhere. As I neared the enemy BC, I trained all PTA on it at 100% and began firing my IOD. The sudden onslaught was more than the enemy BC was expecting and it knew that punch had not come from the faltering station (which by this time had been completely depleted of its missiles). I used a couple of my own missiles (though I had no vagrants or even ralix, as I had used them all in previous encounters), it was enough to set the level of damage a bit higher. Pulling off quickly, my ship almost skimmed the top of the enemy BC. A grin spread across my face as I watched in my rear view many small rings splashed over the surface of the enemy BC and it slowly grazed sideways. The fighters that had been pursuing me were suddenly powerful missiles I had dumb-fired into the enemy ship. I quickly came about, still pursued by more than half of the original fighters, and pulled close to the enemy BC as it struggled to regain control and recharge it's shields. My PTA made sure that never happened. It was the first step towards putting off this invasion before it had the chance to get any further... It was now time to finish the job."

-----

Interview with Commander Quentin Polk, survivor of The First Battle of Sol.

Interviewer: Did you expect to encounter as much resistance as you did in Jupiter and Earth?

Polk: We were prepared for anything, or at least we thought we were. Back then, the Insurgency was so disorganized, but then we were just starting out. But look at the numbers - We should have won those battles!

Interviewer: Apparently the GCV Starflight was a wildcard that didn't figure into the equation just right, then?

Polk: Rubbish. That Commander was stupid for rushing headlong into that sort of resistance and was extremely lucky not to have been entirely destroyed by our attack.

Interviewer: The GCV Starflight was not only undestroyed, but it was also basically undamaged, and never lost its shield during the Earth phase. Do you call that luck too, Commander?

Polk: Yes, I'd call that luck. That GCV was fighting against a massive, but uncoordinated attack group. If the fighters that had been dogging him through most of the battle had used co-ordinated strategies, he would never have lasted so long. He was clearly outnumbered, but tactics proved to win the day.

Interviewer: Is it true that you had sent in a third fleet during the combat, but it had not arrived until after the first fleet had been completely wiped out and the second fleet had been routed?

Polk: That was our intention, but we had not intended for it to arrive so late. It was caught in the Europa region before reaching Earth and heavily damaged by one of Europa's BC mk2's that had been patrolling the area after our initial attack.

Interviewer: So, once again, another full Insurgent fleet had been defeated by a single Galcom battlecruiser?

Polk: I'm sure there must have been some S-fighters from the station involved too. We don't have much information on that.

Interviewer: Was the information not recorded or was it simply lost?

Polk: You can't expect a green fleet to record every little thing they see in battle.

Interviewer: I should think that force counts would be the first thing anyone would record in a combat situation.

Polk: Again, I will state that the Insurgents were a very disorganized group at the time. The fact that our attack on Earth failed so badly was not surprising considering the forces we had employed.

Interviewer: The forces you had employed were well over 10 times what Galcom had in the area.

Polk: We were fighting a starstation, for God's sake! Not just any starstation, Galcom HQ!

Interviewer: True, but there have been instances where a smart commander has been able to capture a starstation with nothing more than a Mk2 Battlecruiser.

Polk: Yes, but certainly not Galcom HQ!

Interviewer: So the reason for your defeat was that your fleets were uncoordinated, your forces were all inexperienced, and you were going up against a starstation, correct?

Polk: Not just any starstation, Galcom HQ!

Interviewer: Yes, Galcom HQ... But isn't it true that Galcom HQ only engaged about 30% of your fleet, and these were mainly fighters? The Battlecruiser Starflight actually engaged more than 70% of your forces at Earth AND Europa and defeated or destroyed them. Isn't this correct, it comes from your own records of the events (the ones we could find).

Polk: (at length) Well, yes, but as I said, he was lucky. We were very uncoordinated at the time.

Interviewer: Apparently.

-----

Excerpt from pilot's log

Interceptor pilot James "Flatline" McCoy,

GCV Starflight

"It was some of the best fighting I've ever seen in space, and some of the worst. Well I say that now, but I'm sure my experiences with this commander and this crew will lead to much greater glories in the future. I have to admit, I love my job. It's that feeling of power and the surge of combat you can only get inside the cockpit of the Solarian Interceptor. My pulse quickens every time I think of the thrill of being the hunter, or the hunted in some cases. That battle was great. I saw the Galcom forces pull off some really nice tactics, and I even saw the Starflight use the enemy fighters to knock off an attack on GCHQ at the last minute. It was really something to watch and be a part of.

Like I told the media, the battle was one that would determine the future of the Human race forever. It wasn't some ugly old alien we were fighting, it was other humans. I think it's easier to destroy something that looks ugly or alien to us than it is to kill one of our own. I knew there was no difference between me and the pilots I was fighting with out there. Every time I saw one of them go up, I saw a vision of my own interceptor going to shrapnel and the expanding cloud that meant my time was up. It was scary out there, but something about that gave me the inspiration to fight well. I know alot of people wouldn't feel that way. In fact, even the marines I've talked to sometimes say they freak out a little inside when they kill another human or see one die. You can't help but think of the families and people that death will affect. But you can't let it get to you or it happens to you.

It was shortly after the Starflight had used that brilliant tactic against the enemy BC that our own battle in the second wave turned to a rout. I picked off an Insurgent S-Fighter that was RTB and noticed that most of the fighters were on RTB. Only a few were still mixing it up. I felt a bit of myself in those guys, fighting against all odds for what they believed in. They got picked off real fast by the other Starflight Interceptors and it made me kinda queasy inside to see that. But I had to get over that quickly because we hadn't won yet.

PTA was flying all over the place from the fleeing Insurgent cruisers as they prepared to hyperjump. We followed in suit, and had our ambush set before the enemy cruisers even arrived. Unfortunately, one of the station's fighters had been too zealous and positioned himself too close to the exit point of one of the cruisers. His ship went to pieces when the cruiser came through, but it was enough to toss the cruiser upwards a bit and into the exit anomaly of another cruiser. It couldn't manuever away fast enough and the two ships collided in a burst of flame that destroyed them both. At least his life wasn't in vain.

The last remaining cruiser (of the three that had made it to jump) was badly damaged but had regained a good portion of it's shield strength. We drilled on it for a while but it got through the Jupiter jump point clean. We considered whether to follow it, but recieved RTB from Starflight. Cap'n Shadowstar must have been watching on tacops or something and was done with his work at the station. I guess he wanted to let some of the Insurgents get away to spread fear or something when they got back. He never told us why he didn't let us pursue that ship but we were tired anyway and didn't really care, plus we were eager to get our Solarians back to Mother where they would get thier bumps and bruises bandaged up. On the way back, I smiled as the display showed zero enemy contacts. We had done our job well and I hoped there would be a promotion in our near future.

After docking with Starflight, the BC went off to mine the Jupiter jump point in case any Insurgent stragglers wandered through. This proved to be effective when three damaged Insurgent cruisers appeared in the jump point and were promptly destroyed by the mines. The icing on top of the cake, I suppose. The Brass at GCHQ were quite impressed with our work and the night was to be filled with much celebration and... other enjoyable activities.

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[This message has been edited by Shadowstar (edited 04-17-99).]

[This message has been edited by Shadowstar (edited 04-17-99).]

[This message has been edited by Shadowstar (edited 04-17-99).]

[This message has been edited by Shadowstar (edited 04-18-99).]

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Guest

*applause*

We got another writer in our midst!

Just a suggestion, put in HTML format (or TXT), upload it to your server and put a link to it, this post is huge :-)

If you dont have a server or dont know how to, I'd be happy to post it up for you, I got plenty of server space left.

I liked the pilot's log..a LOT! :-)

Fleet Leader

Daniel "Tac" Londono

GCV Usagi

=Wraith Fleet=

[This message has been edited by Tac (edited 04-18-99).]

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Thanks, it's good to get positive feedback on it. Just one of the many things I cook up in my head while playing the game and then thinking about it afterwards. I often wonder what it must have looked like from the Station and from the enemy ships and stuff. Of course, I can see what it looks like from my interceptors and stuff so no wondering there. I like to try different approaches and different characters during a single story, but I always find it difficult to show several characters' points of view on the same period of time without being repetitive. In a combat scenario, the reader usually likes a smooth chronological format, so backtracking should be done minimally. Or at least that's my opinion... If that's wrong then I'd certainly love to do some backtracking and cover the same event several times with different characters. I've been reading "The Turning of a Wraith" and it looks great. I've been contemplating whether or not I should jump in. I haven't seen the whole story from the very beginning, but what's there is good enough for me to get a general idea. I have yet to finish reading the thread.

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Guest Ron Wallin

Welcome to the fray, Shadowstar. Here's links to the suggested reading to get you up to speed.

The Begingings

Operation Snowball's Chance

Eve of the War

Approaching Apocolypse

Appocolypse Begins

Finding Akira

Turning of a Wraith

that's all of them in chronological order. I suggest you read them all in order to get a complete picture of what's going on. However, the first one can be skimmed as the story line doesn't really start until the last 3rd of the thread.

Welcome on board.

Cmdr. Akira

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