Victory At All Costs
The Story of William Black

A Freelancer Fan Fiction Story

By: ww2jacob

Chapter One- An Overview of the Battlefield

Commander William H. Black stood on the stage set up at the Naval base on Planet Los Angeles. He was halfway filled with pride, and halfway filled with nervousness, the sort of feeling that you can only get at an awards ceremony. He was sweating in the hot Los Angeles sun. He hoped this would end soon.

His Commanding Officer, Admiral Johnson, took the podium.

"To conclude this event, we have one last award to give. This is an award for a certain person who took on a certain dangerous mission, and came back with everyone he left with."

It was pretty obvious that, by this point, all the Liberty Navy officers knew who and what the Admiral was talking about.

"I am very pleased to welcome Commander William Black, and also to present him with two awards. First, I will give him the Navy Star of Honor for bravery and courage in battle."

The Admiral walked over to Commander Black, and pinned the star-shaped medal on his uniform.

"Next, I will present him with the rank of Captain in the Liberty Navy."

The Admiral pinned the new rank insignia on Black's uniform.

"Congratulations, Captain Black."

That was fifteen years ago. Captain Black sat in his chair thinking about why he had gotten the medal and promotion. When he had been a Commander, he was one of the Navy's best pilots. He was so good, in fact, that he had been given command of his own squadron of twelve Defender Heavy Fighters. The squadron had been on patrol, deep in the field know as the Badlands, when they stumbled across a large asteroid. It wasn't just an asteroid, though. It had docking ports and guns on it. It was a base! Judging by the amount of Liberty Rouge fighters around it, he had figured that it was a Rouge base. There had been rumors of a Rouge base in the Badlands, but no patrol had ever found it, and lived to make it back to West Point.

He called to his squadron, telling them to note the position. He then told them to engage the Rouges, but try to lead away from the base, in the direction of West Point. He wanted to avoid the base if at all possible, because the defense turrets could do some serious damage.

The squadron engaged the Rouges, downing two of them in a few seconds. Then, the squadron slipped back into the depths of the Badlands. They took out the three Rouges that followed them, and proceeded out of the Badlands.

The information that Black gave the Navy was invaluable. For over a hundred years, the Rouges had existed in the Badlands, and no naval patrol had ever found their secret base of operations. The very next week, a huge naval force moved through the Badlands and attacked the base. They pounded the base, and the Rouges fled. The fleet made sure that no one would be able to ever use the base again, and then left.

Captain Black was now over forty years old. He had been in command of the Liberty Cruiser Reconciliation and Special Task Force 6 for fifteen of those years, and had amassed one of the finest records that the Navy had ever seen. He was a tactical genius, primarily due to his incredible knowledge of history. He tended to favor pre-journey history. That is, history that took place before humans boarded the sleeper ships. The time spent on Earth. History that was mostly forgotten. That was why he loved it; it was very challenging to find out about it. He knew a lot about it, though. He had learned of the man called Napoleon, of a lost culture that had been left in Sol. He knew of the World Wars, and the Greeks, and Romans, and all the great battles fought then. He found it hard to believe that this had all happened before the advent of space travel. These had all been fought on solid ground; these generals and commanders had led an entirely different kind of war. Yet, he found a lot that he could change to use in space. Many of these commanders had created battle styles and tactics that could be used in space, as well as solid ground. That was his secret of success.

He was flipping through an old book, when his CO, Admiral Johnson, walked in.
"I have your new deployment orders."

Black looked up. He had been waiting for this. While spacedock was nice, he ached for a new assignment.

"You have been ordered to the Shikoku system. You are to take up a position near Deshima Station, and make sure that nothing harms the Liberty transports that pass through there. Your Task Force will depart here at 0700 hours tomorrow. Is that clear?"

Captain Black could hardly hide his excitement. "Yes sir," he said.

"Excellent."

The Admiral left.

Black's task force was comprised of three Liberty Cruisers, the Reconciliation, the Providence, and the Intrepid. It also included one squadron of twelve Defender fighters. He called up his friend, Captain James Morrison of the Intrepid. He told him about the deployment. Morrison seemed pleased. Black then called up Lieutenant Roberts. He ordered his chief deck commander to get the Reconciliation ready to leave. Black then decided to rest, tomorrow seemed like it would be a busy day.

Before he went to sleep, the tele-screen burst to life. He must have left it on. Before he could shut it off, he realized what the announcer was talking about. "In urgent news, Rheinland Chancellor Schmidt has sent a fleet into Sigma-13 today. It corresponded perfectly with the expiration of the Boorman treaty yesterday. Now there is nothing stopping Rheinland from invading Kusari. The GMG ships and stations in the system were utterly destroyed, no word yet as to whether anything survived."

This was big. If Rheinland moved into Sigma, then Kusari would surely retaliate. This could lead to all out war. The colonies were still recovering from the devastating Nomad Invasion thirty years ago. It had looked like something like this might have happened. Since the Invasion, many leaders had changed. Rheinland's Schmidt was young, and headstrong. He loved fighting, and hated the Kusaris. Liberty had elected a new president, President Diana Wells. She was also young, and was likely to be influenced to join a war. Bretonia had a new ruler, King George. He was well respected, but knew little about foreign policy, and even less about warfare. Kusari had been struggling in the years after the Invasion. The Blood Dragons were becoming more and more a threat. However, Kusari had just gotten back on their feet, rebuilding their Naval Force and becoming more and more powerful.

He went to bed, hoping he would not wake up to find a war going on.

In the morning, he readied his men and ships, and set off for Shikoku.

They arrived and took up a position near Deshima. Captain Black hoped that he and his men would see some action soon, but nothing was guaranteed. By the time he went to bed, nothing had happened. It was just the boring process of scanning all the ships that they saw, and keeping an eye out for pirates, of which they saw none. He wished that they would see some action soon.