Author's Note: This will be the final chapter in Freespace 2: Devastation, I hoped everyone enjoyed reading it. I am truly thankful for those of you who gave me feedback to my story and aided me in a few minor plot details. That's the job of readers and, once again, thanks. For those of you who enjoyed this, there will be a sequel Freespace 2: The Reunification. I've included a short preview at the end of this chapter.
Destroyer ships poured through the gate. Each ship was huge and menacing. The radioactive green from the destroyer ships produced a greenish hue on the fleet arrayed against them. Immediately, the GTVSA fleet opened fire. Green, red, and orange beams shot out from the various ships, firing into the rapidly expanding cloud of destroyer ships. The Mjolnir RBCs only took a second longer, firing heavy green beams indiscriminately into the cloud. Several Destroyer ships exploded from the massive barrage. It was not enough.
For every Destroyer ship that went down, thirty more poured through the gate to take it's place. The Destroyer fleet then returned fire. Thousands of purple beams fired at the GTVSA fleet. Only a handful of the beams hit, impacting the Vasuda and one of the Sathanas Juggernauts. The beams ripped deep gashed into the out hull plating.
Chris led his squadron out of the line of fire. They were now a kilometer from the Fire Dawn. He switched his targeting system over to fighters only and began actively scanning for the inevitable Destroyer fighter swarm.
It came, millions of Destroyer fighters and bombers spilling from the bays of the Destroyer vessels. They were so thick that the subspace gate could no longer be seen by Chris. He double checked his weapons. "Keep your distance Swords." He warned.
"We've got to do something!" Louis stammered as several thousand of the Destroyer fighters were blasted apart by a combination of friendly and enemy beams.
"Not in that kind of killzone!" Amy replied.
"We bring them in close." Anya added. "Then we let our capitol ship's antifighter beams and flak cannons even the odds."
"This is the Stalwart." The Stalwart's commander stated over an open channel. "Destroyer bombers are headed for our Aeolus cruisers. Swords, Lonestars, Black Pearls, Da-Bomb squadrons move to intercept."
"Affirmative." Chris replied. "Gamma target any warheads that get launched. Alpha and Beta will handle the bombers themselves."
A chorus of affirmatives was the reply. Chris led Anya towards the Aeolus cruisers. "Break by pairs and engage!" Chris said calmly. He zeroed in on the lead bomber. The bomber was large, with twin bomb bays flanking either side of the cockpit and a massive engine cowling on the back. He activated his weapon targeting system and fired a Trebuchet missile into the bomber. The missile impacted the front shield of the Destroyer bomber. The shield collapsed almost instantly. Chris and Anya both perforated the bomber's exposed armor with Kayser ammunition. The bomber split in half and exploded.
Chris then targeted the next bomber in the flight. He closed in behind, Anya fired a Trebuchet, and he blew the engine's clear off the bomber's fuselage. The Destroyer fighter was no longer a threat, drifting without power. Chris blew it to pieces anyway. He and Anya then destroyed another, and another, and another. Every time they destroyed a bomber, more seemed to arrive. Every second brought them closer to the group of four Aeolus cruisers. Flak was exploding everywhere. Chris glanced at his shield gauge as he blew away yet another bomber. It was reading moderate damage, nothing serious. He then checked his wingman status display. Sydney's fighter had taken damage, RaNah was also damaged. Neither was damaged enough for the display to light up red.
Anya was matching his every maneuver, taking all available shots. Chris spotted the two Shivans in fierce combat with a group of bombers. He led Anya to the perfect firing position, then the two of them opened fire. From the Destroyer bomber's perspective, it was raining Kayser fire. Two of the three bombers exploded. The Shivan pilots nailed the third bomber quickly.
"Our thanks human." The Shivan pilot replied.
"Anybody, need help." A pilot from the Lonestars was screaming. The pilot was Lonestars Beta 4. He was caught between two Destroyer fighters.
"Hang on Lonestar B4." Chris said. "Break port on my mark. Anya, Tornadoes! B4, mark!" Chris and Anya unleashed a swarm of sixteen tornado missiles. Each pack of four hit there respective targets. The Destroyer fighters exploded.
"Thanks for the help Swords A1 and A2." The pilot replied, the relief was pouring off the pilot's voice.
"Your wingman dead B4?" Anya asked.
"They hit him first. Didn't stand a chance."
Chris blasted another Destroyer bomber. "Then keep up. We've got plenty of targets."
"Swords," Admiral Sean Loyde stated. "We've got a problem. An NTF Iceni class ship just jumped in."
"Bosch." Chris replied.
"I want you guys to disable and disarm that ship. You're not carrying anything capable of doing critical damage, so weapons free on their subsystems."
"Hopefully this isn't another decoy." Louis added.
"I'm vectoring the Saber Tooth squadron to take over in your area. Move out now!"
"Swords, you heard the man. B4, stay with Saber Tooth squadron."
"Aye, sir." Lonestars Beta 4 replied.
The Swords regrouped just above the field of combat. For the moment, the battle seemed almost beautiful. The flashes of light, the brilliant explosions. In all, the GTVSA was doing well. Several ships were scarred by beam cannon fire, but none were lost. Hundreds of destroyer ships had been destroyed. Chris expanded his targeting computer's filter to include Iceni class warships. The Iceni was in the center of the massive Destroyer fleet, which was still growing. The RBCs were still hammering the enemy fleet.
"Anyone else get a bad feeling about this?" Nick asked. "We shouldn't be doing this well."
Suddenly, a Shivan Lucifer superdestroyer blew up, hammered by at least eighty different beams.
"Let's do our job." Chris said. "We've got three engines to take down. The two primaries and a secondary. Alpha will take the port engine. Beta will take starboard. Gamma, you get the secondary. Then we all target the weapons arrays on the ship."
"How are we supposed to get through the fleet without being cut to ribbons?" Jack asked.
"Don't get hit." Gordon replied.
"There's a weak point near the top of the Destroyer formations. That's our ticket in. I'm marking it with a nav point. Keep moving, don't stop. Shoot at anything that moves against you but don't agitated the big ships."
The Swords raced down like vultures. The Destroyer fighters and bombers were engaged with the other squadrons, far away from the Iceni. The Swords easily dodged the flak sent up at them and were soon past the majority of the Destroyer ships and were inside what was almost a half sphere. Chris glance out his right viewport. He could barely see the Vasuda, Memphis and the other capitol ships.
The Iceni's gunner began firing as soon as the Chris came within range. He dodged the intense flak and beam fire, but just barely. He targeted the port engine and slowly got behind the Iceni. He fired a pair of Trebuchet missiles into the engine. The engine was hammered by another six Trebuchets before being pummeled by sixteen guns worth of Kayser fire. The engine shut off as the damage mounted. Within seconds, the Iceni was without engines. The Swords eagerly blasted away the individual turrets. They then blasted off all comm antennas and destroyed the comm system. The Iceni was helpless.
Chris was about to contact Admiral Sean Lodye when a pair of Vasuda Stasis freighter came out of subspace right next to the Iceni. "This is the Mesh Ra Commando wing to 77th Swords," the lead freighter transmitted. "Please provide cover. Our mission is to capture the Iceni."
Both transports docked with the Iceni. The Swords slowly circled the Iceni. Chris suddenly spotted eighteen Myrmidon fighters exit subspace. They were painted black. Death black. It was hard to see them against the back drop of space. Missile alarms went off in Chris's cockpit as the Myrmidons opened fire. Chris immediately accelerated to full throttle. "Get those Myrmidons!" He yelled. He dropped eight countermeasures, spoofing all but one missile, which slammed into his fighter's shield. The shield lost most of it's integrity.
He equalized his shields as he turned to engage. His missile system refused to lock on, but his guns worked perfectly. He fired at two Myrmidon's in passing. As they passed he got a good look at them. They still had the basic body shape of a Myrmidon, but that was where the similarities ended. Their engine's left orange con trails behind them. The missile banks had been expanded, and extra gun banks had been added. The hull pulsated with an inner glow. As he hit the lead Myrmidon, it's shields glowed bright green as each shot hit, doing only minimum damage.
Anya added her shots to Chris's. Together, they managed to bring the shields down on the Myrmidon. Once the shields were gone, the Myrmidon broke apart easily. They quickly target another Myrmidon, it launched a swarm of rear firing missiles. Chris and Anya immediately jinked and dumped countermeasures to avoid the swarm of missiles.
The Myrmidon used it's temporary advantage to swing in behind Anya. Anya dodged left and right, up and down. The Myrmidon used it's superiors speed and maneuverability to match her every maneuver. She clutched her flight stick in her sweating and shaking hands, desperately trying to avoid the constant barrage. Her shields failed and her ship was hulled. "Chris." She yelled over the comm. "Help me."
Chris swooped in behind the Myrmidon and fired two Trebuchet missiles into the back of it. He didn't need a missile locking system. The Myrmidon was vaporized by the detonation of the two missiles. Anya's fighter was shot to pieces, with one engine completely shot off and pit marks where the Myrmidon had hit it. Chris glanced at his sensor board. The Swords were still intact although the damage had accumulated. Most were below fifty percent. Anya was down to fifteen percent. The Myrmidons were nothing but space debris.
"Those weren't your average everyday Myrmidons." Louis commented.
"No, trust me, they weren't." Anya replied.
"Looked like they were definitely based off the Myrmidon though, just upgraded."
"Upgraded..." Anya snorted. "Overhauled. I've never been so utterly beaten by a anyone."
"Swords." The freighter transmitted. "The Iceni has been captured and Admiral Aken Bosch has been captured. We are transmitting subspace coordinates to you that will take you to the rear of your fleet. We are departing now." The two freighters un-docked from the Iceni and entered subspace.
Coordinates appeared in Chris's nav computer. He transmitted them to his the rest of the Swords. "Anya, can you make subspace?"
"Yeah," Anya replied, "subspace drives are still online."
"Then let's go."
The Swords entered subspace. They were in subspace for only a second before coming out of it just beyond the Fire Dawn. The Fire Dawn was not as they had left it. It's once gleaming hull was pitted with impact craters and beam cannon rifts along it's hull. The front end was breach, bodies floating into space.
"Swords, we need you in Perseus fighter. Get into the hanger now!" Admiral Sean Loyde's voice was washed out with static.
Chris led the Swords into the hanger. They set down quickly and all jumped out of their fighters. Technicians were busy preparing the only remaining group of fighters in the hanger. A squadron of Perseus fighters, bearing the squadron seal of the 99th Skulls. They were painted jet black. Chris climbed into the lead fighter. He powered up the systems and shot into space, his squadron right behind him.
As they exited the hanger, they were assailed by a wing of Destroyer fighters. Chris accelerated to full and fired a pair of Harpoons into the lead Destroyer fighter. Anya blew the fight away with renewed vigor as the other Swords destroyed the rest of the Destroyer fighters.
Suddenly, subspace apertures appeared above the GTVSA fleet. Two Vausdan Hapshetsut destroyers, three Typhon destroyers, eight Sobek corvettes, and ten Mentu cruisers exited subspace. They immediately opened fire on the destroyer fleet. Fighter squadrons began pouring from their bays. fleet Then the GTD Battlehound exited subspace just beyond the Fire Dawn. It raced towards the Destroyer .
"All ships," the lead Vasudan destroyer transmitted. "Clear the blast zone. You must be at least five kilometers from the Battlehound. This is your only warning."
All of the fighters raced towards their command ships. The Destroyer fighters followed eagerly. Chris led the Swords to cover the Da-Bomb squadron, down five fighters from a wing of Destroyer fighter. The Swords cut the wing of Destroyer fighters to pieces in a single slash attack.
"Detonation in five seconds." The Vasudan destroyer transmitted. "Four, three, two, one..."
The Battlehound exploded in a titanic fireball. Then a massive series of shockwaves ripped through the Destroyer fleet. Hundreds of thousands of Destroyer ships were blown apart in the explosion. Only a handful of Frigate sized Destroyer ships remained after the blast. A volley of beam cannon fire from the Vasudan fleet crushed the last remnants of the Destroyer fleet.
Chris breathed in deeply. It was over. The subspace gate shut down. There was a feeling of pride that surged through his soul. "Yahoo!" He yelled, not realize that his comm unit was still on. His statement reverberated through the fleet. They had won, for the first time... the GTVSA had won. It wasn't a temporary victory, it was a titanic victory.
Ten days later. The same forces that had participated in the battle were arrayed at the GTVA shipyards in Vega. The pilots and crews of all the ships were down on the surface of Vega IV arrayed before an audience of twenty five million people. They were in a massive outdoor amphitheater.
Chris stood proudly in front of his squadron, dressed in full dress uniform. They had all been awarded new medals, Heroes of the GTVSA. A brand new medal created for the crews that fought the battle near the subspace gate. The two Shivan pilots looked strange amongst the Swords, but the still held themselves proudly and stood tall on three legs.
Supreme Commander Heward Dobert, GTVA legionary commander stood at a podium aimed at them. A veteran of the Great War, the Supreme Commander was very old. He stood tall though behind the podium. He cleared his throat. "Every man here has fought valiantly against all odds. They are truly, without a doubt, heroes of the GTVA. We gather here to do one thing. To say thank you to the brave men and women." The Supreme Commander stepped down from the podium and began to applaud. He was soon joined by the crowd of spectators, all twenty five million of them.
The Swords assembled in a nearby bar after the ceremony. The Shivans pilots were carefully trying various forms of drinks, none really appealing to them. RaNah was drinking an obscure Vasudan drink, the rest of the Swords had various human beverages.
Chris had his arm around Anya's shoulders as she leaned gently against him. Louis came over, hand in hand with Amy. "So, where's our next assignment." Louis asked.
"You're assignment is vacation." Chris replied.
"I'm retiring, going back to Delta Serpentis."
"Why? You're a perfect choice for Commodore."
"Commodore's a desk job. Not to mention, I'm getting married."
"So... is this the end of the Swords?"
"I doubt it. The Swords are the people sure, but they're also an undying force. They are always going to be there. No matter who is in command. No matter who is leading them."
"Make sure you keep in touch." For once, there was no sarcasm in Louis's voice.
"It won't be the say without you and Anya." Amy added.
"Don't worry." Anya replied. "We'll visit you."
"Do you have any idea who you place in command?" Louis asked.
"Surprisingly enough." Chris replied. "I was thinking of you."
"Me! You've got to be kidding. I'm the biggest screw up in the galaxy."
"Yeah Louis." Jack added. "That's why he was considering not actually making you."
"Still, consideration is a big step."
"Anyway." Chris said. "The Swords are going to change. RaNah is returning to Vasuda. Our two Shivan pilots will probably go back to their own squadrons. Nick is retiring. Gordon and Franz are returning home to Sirius. Just promise me one thing."
"If you get a tight ass regulations person in your squadron, make sure you break him in to the reality of Louis."
"I'm almost hoping we have someone like that."
They all laughed. They all laughed deep into the night.
Commander Amy Junique banked her fighter gently around the station. She was on standard patrol. The GTD Fire Dawn, GTD Fire Dance, and GTD Fire Dusk rested silently near the Knossos construction site. Amy was thirty years old, a space veteran, with over two hundred kills to her credit. For a long time, it had drained her life. Now, it reinvigorated her. Her wingmate, Captain Louis Alba, was her strongest supporter, and her lover.
She was a brown hair woman with a finely tuned body. She was strapped securely into her Perseus Mk II fighter's cramped cockpit. She had become a commander of the 77th Swords just after the Subspace Gate incident just one year prior. She was one of only a handful of the original Swords still left after that. Jack Johnston was flying Alpha 3, and Syndey Burkman was flying Alpha 4. They alone, were the remaining members of the squadron. The rest of the pilots had been drawn from other squadrons.
Her sensors chimed as a subspace aperture appeared. Two freighters exited and moved towards the constructions site. She moved in to scan them, as was procedure. Her ship's alarms wailed when the freighters began shooting at her. She jinked left to avoid the shots. Louis, Jack, and Sydney quickly turned the freighters into dust.
"What the hell just happened?" She asked.
"Hang on." Admiral Sean Loyde on the GTD Fire Dawn replied. "Oh my god... no!"
The Knossos construction site suddenly began to detonate. Internal explosions ripped through the half completed construction.
"Shit!" Louis yelled. "This is not good."
No, this isn't. Amy thought to herself.
Author's Note: Please take time to review the story as a whole, I accept Anonymous reviews, so don't worry if you can't log in. Give me any advice and pointers you can so that Freespace 2: The Reunification can be even better the Freespace 2: Devestation.
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