Disclaimer:I don't own Homeworld. That belongs to Relic Entertainment.
A/N: Righto, so before anyone reads this, you should know that I have absolutely no knowledge of Homeworld lore, if there even is any. So, I'm taking some liberties with some things. I'm sure no one will mind.
Captain M'harwe walked along the main corridor of the Oathkeeper, a cup of coffee in his hands. Today was looking to be a very average day in the fleet. Nothing special was happening, except the testing of the Pride of Hiigara, which was just in it's preliminaries. M'harwe had never seen the ship, since the Tanis Shipyards were strictly off limits to non-essential personnel, but he had heard the rumors. A new mothership for the fleet. A massive project, to say the least.
M'harwe walked onto the bridge of the Oathkeeper, which was an old Revelation-class destroyer from the Homeworld War that had been refit for combat with heavier armor and better weapon systems. It was overall more powerful that the Revelation-class of old, but it was still weaker than the mainline destroyer in the Hiigaran Navy, because it could take less of a beating. It was also slower than it had been due to the extra armor, but it was necessary to keep up with advancements in weapon technology. It was overall a reliable ship, even if it did require a bit more attention than others, and M'harwe was proud to captain it as a member of the Hiigaran Home Fleet. It was a good job to have, and one envied by other captains deployed far away from their homes and families. In truth, it was somewhat wasted on M'harwe, since he had no loved ones. But he considered it an honor nonetheless.
M'harwe took his seat in the captain's chair on the middle of the bridge, then looked around, watching his crew work. Many of them were dedicated soldiers, if a bit lazy. But then who could blame them? Nothing had happened in the homeworld system for a great length of time, and though the Dust War was in it's death throes, the battles had never come close to Hiigara.
"Status report, Lieutenant."
The young Hiigaran native turned from his computer display to face the Captain, a smile on his face. "All systems are fully operational with no flaws at all. Everything's smooth. No contacts on short-range sensors. Frankly, I hope it stays that way too. We've got things easy here, unlike those poor souls out in the fringe."
"Hmm. What about long-range sensors?"
"In the middle of the homeworld system? What's the point? I mean, that's not even our job and-"
"Just do it Lieutenant. It's not like you have anything better to do."
M'harwe took another sip of his coffee as he stared out into space through the view port. The 2nd Fleet seemed to be doing practice maneuvers now. He wondered briefly if they were moving out in the fringe to reinforce the tired and battered 8th Fleet, but put it out of his mind. The Home Fleet wasn't moving, so it hardly mattered. He watched as they fell into the classic Capital Phalanx formation, with the new battlecruisers, and Avatar heavy cruisers forming the front line with various destroyers on the flanks, and frigates in the back. Most of the frigates were also fresh off the line versions, without designations yet, but M'harwe saw a few Vengeance and Puppeteer-class ships. The Firelance-class had been completely phased out by the newer Ion Cannon Frigate, which had taken the Firelance's original design and refined it into a much more deadly weapon. There were still relatively few of them though, as they were extremely expensive to produce, because of their unique weapon system.
M'harwe observed that there were no fighters or corvettes out, so he assumed that it was simply a fleet parade and not an actual test. Off in the distance he could see the elderly Mothership in orbit over Hiigara, with a few support vessels that occasionally docked with it. It had only a skeleton crew now, but it had once been the grandest ship in the Kushan Navy, before the Homeworld War, when they had seized Hiigara. Now, it was merely an orbital shipyard, there to service passing ships as they came and went. He hoped the new mothership, The Pride of Hiigara, as he had heard it called, would be the same way. A jewel in the fleet. Something to inspire awe in the people and fear in their enemies.
"What is it Lieutenant?"
"I'm picking up some strange readings on long-range sensors, but it's too far off for me to be able to identify it with this equipment. Maybe one of the battlecruisers?"
Captain M'harwe frowned and leaned forward in his chair. "Ensign Saar, get me Vice Admiral Farel on the Way to Dawn."
"Aye Captain... He wants to know how important it is."
"Tell him it has the possibility of becoming dangerous, and I just need him to use his sensors to make sure."
".......Patching you through."
"Oathkeeper, this is Vice Admiral Farel. This had better be important."
"I'm hoping it's not Sir. We just did a quick scan with our long-range sensors and picked up some strange looking readings. I'd appreciate it if you did a sensor sweep and could identify the readings for us. My apologies sir, but our equipment isn't good enough."
"That's right, the Oathkeeper is one of the old Revelation-class destroyers isn't it? You have my pity Captain. We'll do your search for you."
"Thank you Admiral. Oathkeeper out."
"Way to Dawn, out."
M'harwe scowled and signaled to terminate the transmission. "I hate that man."
M'harwe motioned with one hand towards the Lieutenant, and he turned back around. The Vice Admiral was an arrogant man, often condescending and cruel to those below his rank. Which was nearly everyone.
"What is it Ensign?"
"We just got a priority, fleet-wide alert from the Way to Dawn..."
"Those unidentified readings are a Vaygr fleet."
M'harwe jumped out of his chair, dropping his cup of coffee, and rushed over to the Ensign's station to read the report himself. "Sound general quarters! Bring the ship to battle readiness! Lieutenant, charge the ion cannons and bring weapons to full status! Prep the engines for evasive maneuvers! I want this ship ready to fight in five minutes!"
"It'll be ready in three Sir."
"And Lieutenant, tell me the moment those ships are in visual range."
All around this ship, alarms began ringing, and people scrambled to get to their stations. Chaos reigned on the ship as everyone tried to figure out what was going on. M'harwe walked over to one of the view ports. All across the fleets, lights were flickering on, and the lumbering capital ships and smaller frigates began moving as they prepped for battle. He walked back over to his chair and sat down.
"Ensign, get me ship wide."
"Aye Sir... You have it."
"Attention all hands. We have a Vaygr fleet of unknown size and power approaching our position. As of this moment, we are to assume they are hostile. I want everyone where they're supposed to be, and this entire ship secure. Now move!"
The Ensign terminated the transmission, only to receive another one. "Sir, we have orders from the Vice Admiral. We're to move with the 2nd fleet into a Frigate Wall formation. We're going to be in front of the heavy stuff and behind the frigates, not on the flanks."
"He wants us to be a shield between the Vaygr and the battlecruisers... Move us into position. Are the fighters deploying?"
"Yes Sir. Several squadrons are already moving to intercept."
"We don't even know what kind of armaments they have and he's sending out fighters alone? Is he using them as sacrificial scouts?"
"It looks that way Sir."
M'harwe cursed but kept his eyes glued to the view port as the ships began moving into their positions. He could now see the three squadrons of interceptors heading towards the Vaygr, leaving the distinct, blue trail their engines produced. He sat in anticipation for several moments as he waited for something to happen.
"Sir, we're just barely in visual range now."
"Put it on the display."
A small screen came down from the ceiling, covering the view port, making M'harwe lose sight of the fleet. All he cared about was what he would be facing though. The screen flashed on, and all the Vaygr ships all appeared to be small. Too small.
"Ensign, can you get me class identifications on those ships?"
"I'm picking up... Fighters and corvettes. No frigates or capital class ships or anything!"
M'harwe frowned, confusion clouding his mind. Why would the Vaygr send a strike-force of only small class ships against the combined force of the Home and 2nd fleets? It didn't make any sense. Then, M'harwe noticed something. The Vaygr fightercraft were moving in a Sphere Formation, and inside that sphere was something only barely discernible.
"Ensign, what's that in the middle of their formation?"
"Uh... Hold on... I... I don't know! I can't get a lock on their signal, there's too many separate signals around it. There's no way any of our sensors could pick it out."
"Hail the Way to Dawn again."
"Aye Si... They've stopped!"
"The Vaygr ships have stopped moving!"
M'harwe peered at the viewscreen and saw that the Ensign was correct, the Vaygr ships had indeed stopped moving. Then, just as the fighters were nearing the Vaygr fleet, something happened that shocked the captain. A massive fleet of Vaygr warships, battlecruisers, destroyers, and frigates all jumped right in front of the fightercraft. The entire fleet opened up immediately, wiping the three squadrons from existence.
"Those unknowns were hyperspace gates..."
"The battlecruisers are preparing to fire!"
"Sajuuk save us."
The Vaygr battlecruisers fired their massive, forward fixed Trinity Cannons at them, but at that distance the majority of the shots went wide, soaring on through space. Some of the shots found their mark, however. The red shots of energy collided with several ships in the fleet, causing massive damage. One in particular hit a flak frigate directly in front of the Oathkeeper, vaporizing it into a cloud of dust. Another shot bypassed the forward ships altogether and slammed into a battlecruiser on the port side, sending a shower of debris into nearby ships. A hole was punched straight through the battlecruiser's armor, and it's atmosphere began venting as some of crew members flew out into the silence of space, where they were immediately frozen. Yet another shot passed straight through a squadron of interceptors, easily vaporizing them and leaving nothing behind. The shot hit a mainline destroyer, plowing straight into it's bow and cracking the ship in two. Both halves exploded in a rain of fire and debris a moment later. The Vaygr battlecruisers began firing in intervals, their Trinity Cannons slowly inflicting damage on the Home and 2nd Fleets. They were too far away for any of the Hiigaran ships to fire back.
"Sir, we've receieved orders from the Vice Admiral. We're to begin an immediate advance."
M'harwe closed his eyes and motioned for the advance. He could hear the engines roar and felt the ship moving forward as it accelerated, following after the line of frigates. The capital ships were still behind them going at their slow pace, but they had a better range, so it was acceptable for them to lag behind. Directly below and above them were the small craft, the fighters and corvettes.
The red shots continued to fly past the fleet, but the closer they came to the Vaygr, the more of the shots hit. Eventually, the Hiigaran battlecruisers and Avatar-class heavy cruisers came within range of the Vaygr and opened fire with their ion cannon turrets and Arbiter kinetic turrets. Red and blue beams of energy flashed across space, impacting on the Vaygr ships and and moving across their hulls, searing the surface of the battlecruisers and destroyers and slicing the frigates clean in half. One of the Avatar-class heavy cruisers fired it's twin ion cannon turrets at a Vaygr battlecruiser, hitting it's fusion missile launcher as it was firing it's missiles, causing a massive explosion that tore a huge hole in the top of the ship. It exploded a moment later, taking several frigates with it.
"Sir, we've reached four-thousand meters. We're in firing range."
"Very good. Fire all weapon batteries at will. Pick your targets."
Red beams shot from the Oathkeeper as it's twin mass driver turrets opened up. It's two ion cannons lanced a Vaygr destroyer, which had turned to face it's broadside to the enemy in order to fire most effectively. While it did seem to cause some damage, as the lights of the destroyer began flickering on and off, it's weapons were still firing. The mass driver turrets hit frigate after frigate, easily blowing them out of space.
The fighters now moved forward, and the Vaygr assault fighters matched them. Indeed, the entire Vaygr fleet was now moving forward, and M'harwe had the feeling that boarding actions would be imminent. The fighters collided in the space between the two advancing forces, and dogfights beyond count began as hundreds of the strike-craft did battle. It wasn't long until the fleets were within one-thousand meters of each other, easily enough for the frigates to fire their armaments, but also enough for the battlecruisers' point-defense lasers to fire on the strike-craft.
"Get me ship wide, Ensign."
"You have it, Sir."
"Attention all hands. Prepare for boarding parties, we are now entering close range combat. Seal all protective bulkheads and evacuate non-essential compartments immediately. I want... Brace for impact!"
Just as the Vaygr ships neared point-blank range, the entire fleet as a whole unleashed a salvo of missiles. They went everywhere, and at this range there was no evasive maneuvers. M'harwe barely managed to hold onto his chair as three fusion missiles collided with the Oathkeeper. Alarms blared as the lights turned red. There were several explosions all across the ships, and M'harwe could vaguely hear screaming.
"Lieutenant Soral, sitrep, now!"
"We have hull breaches on decks four, five, and seven. We're losing atmosphere and have lost all engine control. Weapons are not responding. Sir, we're dead in the water."
"Unknown. Probably a lot."
"Can you get me propulsion back?"
"Not a chance. They just blasted our hard-points Sir. Our weapons are slagged."
"Damn it all!"
"This had better be good Ensign."
"We have boarding craft inbound."
"What can we... Oh no."
A Vaygr battlecruiser went straight past the Oathkeeper. M'harwe could even see people running in the halls through the view-ports.
"Ensign, give me a destination for that ship!"
"Uh... It's headed for Hiigara. It's bypassing all our defenses completely. It's just ignoring them like they aren't even there!"
"What's on that ship? Do we still have sensors?"
"That's affirmative. Scanning. Scanning. Nuclear weapons detected! Most likely strategic warheads!"
"No! Give me propulsion now, Lieutenant."
"Aye Sir. We have limited propulsion, but you try going at any sort of speed for very long and we'll fall apart."
"That's okay. Head after that ship."
It took nearly five minutes, but eventually the Oathkeeper was able to match the speed of the Vaygr battlecruiser. They headed out of the chaotic battle as massive explosions bloomed behind them.
"Sir, we're getting a transmission from the Vice Admiral."
"Patch him through."
"Oathkeeper this is Way to Dawn. What do you think you're doing? Get back to the battle!"
"With all due respect Sir I'm going to have to decline. We have no weapons and there's a ship with strategic nukes heading for Hiigara. You know it can't be allowed to get there."
"Are you insane? You yourself just said you have no weapons. Now get back in the fight! The least you could due is have that worthless bucket act as a shield for actually valuable Hiigaran property. Or are you forgetting that disobeying me will mean destroying the oath you took upon joining the Hiigaran navy? "
"Captain M'harwe, you will-"
"I'm sorry Captain, we seem to have lost communications. I guess the Vaygr did more damage than I had originally thought."
"Well, just don't make the mistake again, Lieutenant. I'd hate for you to get in trouble with the brass."
"Sir... We're going to die, aren't we?"
"Then... Can I send a message to my family back on Hiigara? I know it's against regulations, especially during a battle, but..."
"Go ahead Soral."
"Thank you Sir."
The ship raced after the Vaygr battlecruiser as quickly as it could in it's crippled state. Already parts of the ship were falling off, pieces of debris left to float in space forever. Behind it, a Vaygr Infiltrator-class frigate closed in. It settled directly above it, managing to keep pace with the Oathkeeper as it unloaded it's cargo. Infiltrator pods dropped out of it's hanger and latched onto the hull of the Oathkeeper. They immediately began cutting through the hull and inside Vaygr insertion teams waited impatiently to get inside, where they would try to take over the ship. Who knows what they would do with a crippled, weaponless ship afterwards. Probably ram it into a Hiigaran battlecruiser, knowing Vaygr tactics.
"Get me ship wide, Ensign Saar."
"Attention all hands. We are now in the process of being boarded. Security teams are to go to engineering and the bridge immediately. They take priority. Defend them at all costs. I don't want a single Vaygr soldier dirtying this bridge. This is our last stand, you hear? It's do or die."
The Ensign cut the transmission, then turned to the Captain. "Wouldn't it be do and die in this case, Sir?"
"Unfortunately so, Ensign, but they don't need to know that. Give them their desperate hope. They need it."
Soon, the doors to the bridge opened and a dozen Hiigaran marines entered, then turned to face the doors and took cover where they could. Captain M'harwe got up from his chair and approached the view port, and the computer console in front of it. He stared out at the massive Vaygr battlecruiser in front of him, and past it, Hiigara.
"What distance to the battlecruiser, Ensign?"
"Five-thousand meters and gaining."
"And to Hiigara?"
"When will they enter firing range?"
"I don't know Sir. It depends on the missile schematics really."
"Can't you even give me an estimation?"
"Not an accurate one."
"Fine. Then we'll have to do this quickly. Divert all remaining power, including life support, to the engines. I don't care if this thing is only half-intact by the time we get there, we need to be there soon."
"A minute and a half until we catch up."
M'harwe accessed the terminal in front of him, typing in code after code for verification. Soon, a small red bar appeared on the side of the screen and a square, red panel lifted up out of the terminal. M'harwe put his hand on it just as the sound of gunfire echoed behind him. Ensign Saar and Lieutenant Soral pulled out their pistols and raced towards the door to help hold off the Vaygr.
The panel glowed for a moment, then opened up. Inside was a handle. M'harwe pulled it up, then turned it to the left, then pushed it back down. The red panel sealed over it, and then descended back into the terminal. M'harwe put in one more code, then pulled his pistol and turned around. He was just in time to see the Vaygr entering the bridge, stepping over the dead bodies of the Oathkeeper's crew.
The Vaygr were an odd sort. Though humanoid, they were much taller than the Hiigarans, with very pale skin and blonde hair. The strangest thing though was their feral, yellow eyes. They were dressed in heavy, red rags and billowing cloaks that dragged on the ground as they walked. Many of them carried cruel looking swords and blunt weapons, but all of them carried guns that looked like they were patched together from a dozen different types and generations. M'harwe found it to be a miracle that they even worked.
"Ha, look at the little Hiigaran. You must me the Captain, eh? The officers are always the ones too afraid to fight. You must have hid up here hoping that your guards would save you, right? Too bad, little Hiigaran. We killed all your pathetic excuses for warriors, now you're next in line."
The Captain said nothing, but pointed his pistol towards the crowd and shot four times. The first hit an unprepared Vaygr in the head, while the second and third shots hit one in the chest as he was raising his gun. He went down, his gun spraying at his comrades as his finger held down the trigger until the gun clicked empty. The final shot hit another in the leg, but he raised his own pistol and shot. The bullet hit the Captain in the stomach, and he stumbled backwards into the terminal. The Captain raised his pistol again and fired another two shots, killing the Vaygr he had wounded before.
Another raised his sub-machine gun and fired a five round burst, each bullet slamming into the Captain's torso, nearly making him fall over backwards as blood stained his gray, perfectly cared for uniform. He fired his pistol again, hitting the Vaygr in the neck. The Vaygr dropped his gun, which clattered to the ground, and held his throat as he fell to his knees and blood streamed down his neck. Another Vaygr fired a final shot from his pistol, hitting the Captain in the shoulder and flipping him over the terminal and onto the floor. His pistol slid across the floor to the view port, and M'harwe struggled to crawl towards it, still clinging to life. Blood stained the metal floor as he crawled, and as he did so, he heard a sword being unsheathed. He just barely managed to grasp the pistol's handle as a serrated blade pierced through his stomach. He gasped in pain, but found himself unable to scream. Indeed, he was having trouble even attempting to breathe.
"Not so fast, Captain. You are indeed a warrior to go down fighting as you have, but it is over now. Accept your fate and don't tarnish what little honor you have gained."
M'harwe mumbled something almost inaudible, and the Vaygr struggled to hear.
"What was that? I'm afraid you'll have to speak up. Here, maybe this will help."
The Vaygr pulled the sword out of his body, and this time he did scream as the wound was shredded. Blood was now all over the floor and the Captain forced himself to turn over to view the Vaygr's sadistic smile.
"Care to repeat yourself now?"
"I... I said... I said... I said I hope you... Vaygr... Don't need oxygen!"
M'harwe raised his arm with his last ounce of strength and shot his final bullet into the view port, shattering it. The room decompressed explosively, and the Vaygr tried to scream as he was thrown into space, but found that without air, he couldn't make any noise at all. They all died instantly, including the Captain who had also been sucked out through view port. While normally this wouldn't have happened, the Captain had purposely disabled the blast shields earlier, planning on doing it the entire time. The ship, now on auto-pilot, continued on towards it's target.
Engineering soon fell afterwards, but it was a few seconds before they could take the engines offline, and by then it was too late. The Oathkeeper plowed into the battlecruiser from behind, destroying it's engines, and five seconds later, it self-destructed with the force similar to that of the nuclear missiles the battlecruiser had been carrying. It detonated soon afterwards, a mere one-thousand meters from firing range.
Meanwhile the battle for the homeworld system continued to rage, and it would be weeks before Karen S'jet would return to turn the tide of the battle. The Second Homeworld War was won in the favor of the Hiigarans, and the Vaygr were forced to flee for their lives. The Oathkeeper and her Captain would go down in shame, however, for Vice Admiral Farel would indeed survive the battle, as would his ship, the battlecruiser Way to Dawn. After the battle, he logged both the ship and it's crew as deserters and cowards, and with everyone focused on the main battle, and with the position of power the Vice Admiral was in, no one would dare try to prove him wrong. The only person with any record of the true events involving the Oathkeeper would be the sister of one Lieutenant Soral. And what good was the word of a simple civilian, and the sister of a disgraced Lieutenant at that? The true account would eternally go unheard to those who it would have mattered the most to, and eventually, the entire situation was forgotten, only barely mentioned in the history books. No one would look into it. No one cared. That's the fate of those who break their oaths in the homeworld system, regardless of why. Is it just? No. But then very little is in a galaxy filled with war, fear, and chaos...
More Author's Notes: Thanks for reading my little idea here. I hope I didn't kill the history of Homeworld too badly here. That would make me very sad. :(