Chapter 1

The Ships were ready for immediate launch. The battleship was energizing its weapons, getting ready to attack a special planet of economic achievement, and caring community. The attack squadron approached the northern debris field a couple of hours early and discharged the weapons to transfer power to the cloaking field, so they were invisible, and undetectable.

"So, Ellis, you say that the Nomads were defeated over 300 years ago, but why do people keep on reporting Nomad ships?" I said. Ellis was a Brunette, slim and slender, and keen to help the needy. I always thought of her as some kind of hero, in that her grandfather, who was the captain of The Battlemark, one of the most advanced cruisers, sacrificed his life to get others out of danger. This was over 300 years ago, as I said. That attack group defeated the Nomads, who have never been seen since then, and thought of as extinct

"I though I already told you. They are Nomad ships, but they are wrecked. The only thing is, is that people get freaked out by the sight of them and call for help. Ok, we are approaching the badlands, charge your weapons, just in case."

My name is Damon Miller, and I have just joined the Sirius Attack and Response, or SAR as we are known. I am 27, and live on the West Point Military Academy station, which is the main training centre of the protection of Liberty. At the moment, me and my 'partner' are heading to Magellan because a Nomad Wreck was spotted in sector B7, a couple of K from the Secret Magellan Jump gate, erected by the LSF when they needed to get to Freeport 4, for an effective Nomad assault team, which have been moved to the Academy, better known nowadays as SAR, us. Freeport 4 was demolished due to insufficient armour to protect itself from micrometeorites. Now there is an armaments workshop there, Boston Munitions, supplying top of the range ships, guns and equipment.

"Ellis, would you mind if I docked at Boston once we've done? I have saved up enough credits to buy a HoloHUD Second edition."

"Are they out already? I thought that they weren't going to be produced"

"Hint, I said second edition. Plus, the old HoloHUDs were too damned complicated to work. These ones are voice controlled. Unlike this damned thing" I said, dropping my fist onto the Heads Up display.

"So, how did you break it Damon? It was working last week at the race"

"I had…errrr…control problems."

"What, you hit an asteroid again!"

"So what! I only hit it because the Proximity alarm failed to work!" Ellis giggled

"You are so dammed helpless without me; thank god your shot isn't as bad as your ship. Wait, let me rephrase that-"

"-Oi! Stop it, you'll make me crash in a-"

"Proximity alert! Damned rogues!"

"What the hell are they in? Those aren't bloodhounds! They are dammed Falcons!

"FALCONS! They were all demolished last year, when they failed a safety check. How the hell have they managed to get a hold of them!

"I wouldn't know, you're supposed to be the 'Expert'!"

"Now's not the time Damon! Engage! Shoot to kill."

I flew up the first asteroid I saw, half corkscrewed and came over the top of it upside down, and fired a few shots at the leading ship; his shields absorbed most of it.

"Damned, they even have class 8 molecular shields! This doesn't look like it is going to turn out good."

"I've seen you in evasive training; do you think you can evade these guys for a couple of minutes?"

"Hell no, I can no ways do it with these guys, they are just, whoa, too dammed fast"

"But if you can hold em off for just two minutes, while I go and get some back up-"

"I SAID NO, no WAY can I hold off these guys"

"But for two minutes, we can't kill these guys on our own!" I spun the ship around in a half loop and fired at an asteroid, that split in two, just enough for me to pass between.

"Go now, there's a dust cloud. BE QUICK!"

I could barely see through the dust so I looked at my HUD for navigation. I should NOT have done that. The nav map was three dimensional, and sensors detected everything that was within 5k of your ship. The problem was that mine was bust. I transferred the power to my shields, deactivating my guns and lighting. The only thing that guided me now was the occasional spark of light, which gave me a brief view of my surroundings. I saw a large asteroid in the line of my ship, and half looped, to go back the way I had come from. Some loose stones hit the curvature of the wing, and side of the window. I saw through the murk a large rocky shape below me, then a turret whizzed past me, then a window. What the hell! An asteroid with windows? The rogue's base! Not good. Lasers were now flying past me after detecting me through the thick fog of dust, and were disappearing into the gloom. I took a few direct hits, but the shield kept me alive.

"Ellis, where the hell are you!" I screamed through the intercom

"I'm in the trade lane with some escorts, seven of them. Where are you? You aren't on my scanner."

"I'm scraping the Bloody Rogue Base. I drifted in the dust"

"Get out of there man! You'll get killed!"

"I am kind of trying, they are blocking off my routes."

"I have you on my scanner; just stay alive for a few more seconds."

"My shields are down!"

"Just hold o…" I didn't hear the last of that sentence. It seemed to echo into the badlands, along with my thought and determination. The ships engines were hit, throwing me into the straps. The plasma tank ruptured, creating an explosion, which I felt in the vibration of the seat. My escape pod curled itself over me, and pumped itself with air, just before the hull was breached, in that millisecond between the spark and the finale of debris. I saw a bright white light. Was it the end? Was I never going to see 'Home' again? I fell into unconsciousness and dreamt a seemingly never-ending dream.