Chapter 1!


Escape Velocity Tachyon

Photon emissions from my cannons burned that pirate Defender into so much space junk floating above the atmosphere.

"Nice shooting, Gold One! But there's more of them than there are of us!"

"Deal with it! Each man gets their own five victims!" I shot down a pilot that tried a suicidal head-on attack. I saw the other Defenders withdraw to the edge of the system.

"Sir, the Defender pirates are withdrawing! Orders?"

"Form up on me, watch out for traps." The other three Mantas came up from behind me, placing us in a diamond formation as we headed towards the retreating Defender-class fighters.

"Sir," Gold Four, my sensor manager, tried to hail me. "I'm picking up strange emissions from beyond those Defenders!" I swore.

"They're screening something! Gold flight, break and evade!" It was too late. As we began to break, the Defender screen broke and an Argosy fleet poured into the fray, launching missiles and deploying their Hawk starfighters. Gold Two next to me took a direct hit from a missile and Gold Three was preyed upon by four Hawks. The Hawk's superior weapons, speed, and shields made that a losing battle for Gold Three. Swearing, I turned around and headed for free space to jump out of the system.

"Omega code! Gold Four, get out of there! Jump to Satori!"

"I'm trying sir!" Gold Four's voice was panicked, terrified. I watched my scanners as her ship was disabled. [A/N I know Mantas don't have armor to be disabled. Bear with me, please. Actually, maybe they do. I haven't played in a year. Sorry for any technical mistakes related to the game.] Cursing the informant who had told us about this system, I jumped to Clotho, then to Satori to report back to my commanders.

When I landed on the planet, I walked into the nearest bar. I began to slump, and two men approached my table.

"This is our table. Get out or else." Being me, I rolled my eyes and showed my blaster.

"Just because there's two of you doesn't mean I have to move." Of course, this resulted in my running out of the bar firing my blaster over my shoulder with hundreds of laser shots all around me. Stupid bar patrons. Stupid pirates. Stupid informant. I didn't even know he he/she was and already I hated he/she. You would too if you'd popped in a system expecting two pirate Defenders and a pirate Scoutship, and ended up against twenty or so Defenders and a fleet of Argosies. [Is that the plural form? Maybe it's Argosi, or Argosys]

Stepping into the Rebel HQ, the first thing I noticed was a post board with news concerning the death of Gold Squad, a prominent Manta group that served with distinction in the taking of Sol years ago along with Black Squad. I blinked slowly twice, then remembered that Gold Squad was my squad.

Searching the article for information on the mission, I discovered the following:

Owing to the fact that there were no traces of survivors, only debris, it is believed that Gold Squad is dead. Gold Two, young Johan Graden, was the first taken out. After shooting down two Defenders, bringing his total kills to ten, a missile took his life. Gold Three, Farl Cort, died shortly after, preyed upon by five Hawks. (Actually, I recalled, it was four Hawks.) He took two out and was destroyed by the last three. Gold Four, Carolyn Borsch, was shot down by an Argosy, bravely defending her cowardly commander, Gold One, Michael '333' Rosenberg, who disobeyed orders and fled as soon as the Argosies arrived in system. No trace of Carolyn's Manta can be found. This is reporter Jacken Dar, reporting from in-system during this event.

Reporting from in-system? How could he? There was no one on our scanners but the pirates

I ran past dozens of people to the Admiral's office.

"Sir!" I said while saluting, ignoring the people in his office. "I demand to know how information of the Squad's destruction got out from Risa, when the only ships there where our four Mantas and those pirates!" One of the women there began to sob. I looked over, and recognized the face immediately. It was Johan's mother. The other two comforted her, while the three men glared daggers at me.

Thus ends chapter 1. Can you guess any of the answers to any of the questions?

How did the reporter manage to be there? What happened to Carolyn? What happens next?