A/N: Hey guys, thanks for reading this far and waiting so long for the end but here it is! I have made a few changes to the details of the final mission (in comparison to the game) to add a bit of pace to the narrative. I hope you approve.
It was as if all time had stopped. Around him the movement of facial muscles and his own arms slowed to a crawl. Every sense heightened, Scott walked around the flight room without speaking to anyone. Those who did know tried to talk to the man, those who did not watched on in confusion. He pulled on his boots and allowed himself one last look at Suzanne, now a pale vision of the woman he had loved.
Briefly, he stopped to take in the new face in Beta who was to take his place. Some GTI crone no doubt, he was a foolish looking kid with a beaten brow and wild blue eyes. He wouldn't last more than a month. Scott thought better of going over but Alpha wing detained him briefly to shake his hand. Alpha 1 had been especially kind recently when he learned of the impending death of his closest rival. Scott thought that partly made up for him being such an arrogant prick.
As he boarded The Prometheus, he bent low to inspect the control consol he knew so well. The thrum as he switched on the engine made his blood pulse with relentless intensity. Attaching the plastic breathing apparatus to his face, he communicated his readiness to the nearest watchtower. Scott heard the confirmation, but struggled to register it. After a few seconds, he shook off his reverie and moved smoothly through the hangar. That it would come to this, he thought, the last mission of Robert Scott.
Space outside was unusually quiet. The calm before the storm thought Scott as he tested his afterburners. They gave him a kind of kickback he had never experienced before, The Prometheus had been specifically designed for maximum speed. After all, a suicide pilot did not exactly need much self-defence. Alpha, Beta and Gamma joined Scott momentarily and they sat next to The Bastion whilst awaiting their orders.
They were not long in coming and they emphasised speed. Gamma was to escort The Prometheus whilst Alpha provided cover for Beta, who were piloting bombers. The Shivans however, did not seem to be following the script as four Neraphalim class bombers jumped in. Basilisk fighters also now waited between them and the jump node. Scott rolled his eyes, realising his relative helplessness, he stuck close to The Bastion and watched his escort engage the bombers.
The bombers were not going to last. They were cumbersome, easy targets for Alpha and Gamma but as the first hull breached, a strange reaction occurred and Scott heard a shout on the commlink 'get clear, they are gonna blow!' He had barely a moment to register the simultaneous explosion of the four Shivan craft, which wrapped Gamma wing in flame. Gamma 4 limped away, Scott's only escort now had barely 50% of its engine power remaining.
Distracted, Scott did not immediately register the red dots closing on his position. Four basilisk class fighters now converged on him and the shouts of Admiral Shima on his commlink confirmed as much. The Bastion took on as many as it could with its sentries but Scott found himself chased by two of the fighters. Alpha were speeding to intercept but were still well out of range. Scott pitched left, attempting to hug the side of The Bastion to give him some cover. A sentry took out one of his pursuers, leaving him chased by just one fighter.
The adrenaline pumping through his veins brought it all back. This is what I was born for. He had no primary weapons, so he swayed and swerved at hundreds of miles per second. The shivan on his tale was a skilled pilot, but he could not even register a hit. Scott took a nose dive and pulled up rapidly into a u-turn. It was at this moment that he realised how far he had moved. His allies were tiny dots on the horizon and he was moments from the jump node.
This moment of thought cost him dearly. The shivan took advantage of his inaction, pummelling his shields and registering a lucky hit on the dorsal side of his engine. The commlink buzzed immediately and James spoke 'Scott, get yourself clear, we cannot have too many hits on your cargo. It is extremely volatile.'
James himself stared at the monitor with a rare and unfulfilling powerlessness. The men around him were anxious, especially the Indian with the rank of commissioner on his sleeve. He attempted to make eye contact with James, but James would not engage him. He did not betray any anxiety when speaking to Scott but once he had removed his headset this façade vanished. 'Gentlemen, I will be honest with you, this may not work quite as we had planned. Scott's engine has been damaged. Let us hope that he will not be too late.'
Scott was not far from Alpha now but his engines were struggling. They no longer had the kind of kick he needed. All the support ships The Bastion carried had been destroyed by the shivans, so there was no choice but to limp on. Alpha engaged their weapons and Scott pulled up to avoid the hail as it chased the basilisk. Alpha took it out quickly, justifying their status as the top wing in the fleet. The remaining fighters formed on the wing of Alpha 1 as they powered up their afterburners.
They were two minutes from jumping out when The Bastion confirmed that The Lucifer was already in subspace. The estimates gave them a maximum of seven minutes to complete their job. They approached the node, a large green area of hyper-powered electricity. Scott activated his drives and the others followed him through the centre of the blue and white vortex he had created.
A strange and ethereal world surrounded them. They were trapped in a blue tube, a hole in the fabric of time and space. Approaching the end of that tube was a gargantuan red and black ship, surrounded by its escort. Its tiny inferiors sped towards the terrans, all of whom felt for a brief moment like intruders in a foreign land. Scott pulled downwards and used his countermeasures to distract his foes. The shivans did not long last without their shielding. Perhaps finally their weakness had been found.
Beta moved in tight form with Alpha covering each corner of its formation. Scott suddenly recalled the disk Suzanne had given him. He inserted it into his portable player and waited for a moment whilst the computer registered it. It played a long, slow, mournful note followed by a sad refrain. Scott knew instantly he had heard the piece before. It was Bach's Air on a 'G' string and it communed with him that unique combination of sadness and happiness.
There was not much time left for him, maybe a minute or so. He was delighted that it was to be the last thing he ever heard. Beta released its harbinger bombs on the first reactor. The second was taken care of by Alpha. Gamma 4 waited with Scott whilst he moved towards the point of impact. His engines were not working in agreement with his other systems but whilst he had strength left he would fight that with all the skill he had learned. Gamma 4 confirmed the last of the escorts were down.
Scott noticed Suzanne leaving formation to open fire on the 4th reactor. She was taking a terrible risk by disobeying orders but Scott knew why she had done it. The third and fourth reactors blew as the violin reached the top of its pitch. The tension was mounting as Scott realised he had thirty seconds in which to do his job. He pulled round the front of The Lucifer and plunged towards the armour plating.
As his thoughts raced for the last time, his life did not flash before his eyes. Instead, he concentrated his mind on memory. Bach's bittersweet composition was reaching its conclusion as Scott hit his afterburners. The last thing he saw was the vague impression of a distant sun through the wall of subspace. A mass of explosions went off and the fire consumed him. At that moment, everything went black.
James whooped and clapped his hands with joy. The footage of The Lucifer being destroyed had just filtered through. In its final blast, The Prometheus had taken the Sol jump node with it. Everything had gone well and truly to plan. He shook the hand of the commissioner and embraced young lieutenants whom he had never met before tonight. Nothing could have made him happier. His own planet was safe from destruction and isolated. It would not be threatened anytime soon.
What was more his own powerbase was assured, with these men, old and young alike willing to follow him to the death. His new terra would be the wonder of the ages, the greatest of the great civilisations that had been and would be. He would make Robert Scott the reluctant martyr of his cause and it would never need to be known this side of Sol just how reluctant he had been.
Captain James was now a hero, a man involved in the great struggle for Earth. He would be praised for his humanity, his bravery and his modesty. For he was determined once more to let others take the praise, to continue in his role in the background. This was the transmission he sent off to the fleet. It was self-effacing, modest and above all heroic. Earth had been saved for the future, when one day its inhabitants would return to the stars.
Now was the era of a new humanity, a new galaxy with boundless possibilities. James may only have had ten men on his side at the moment but his small band would soon grow once the next generation became aware of what it needed. He was only short on one thing, he had no name for his organisation. He could not think of one. So, he asked everyone present for ideas.
A young lieutenant addressed him 'Sir, I believe I know of a name that would suit our cause.'
James smiled 'And what would that be lieutenant?'
'The Neo-Terran Front sir' he responded abruptly.
James liked the sound of that. He asked the young man who he was.
'I am Lieutenant Bosch sir, Lieutenant Aken Bosch' came the reply.
James nodded at the young man, who inclined his head curtly. He would have to watch out for that one, he did not look trustworthy.