Chapter 2: Distress

Alex grinned as he stepped out of the elevator onto the bridge of the LNS Equinox, the newest ship in the Liberty Naval Fleet, "Status report," he demanded as he took the Captain's seat.

"We just entered orbit of New Berlin, Commander," Lieutenant Matthew Watkins answered from the helm.

"Good, scan the planet's surface, we have to find the Chancellor," Alex glanced towards Admiral Dilucca, "Don't worry, we'll find him."

"No doubt," Dilucca responded, a look of worry persisted to remain on his face.

"Put the planet onscreen, Lieutenant," Alex stared as New Berlin filled the screen. The world was absolutely ravaged. New Berlin was once an exquisite world, but now all he could see were fires spreading across the forests, and cities that were all in ruins. He closed his eyes for a minute, turning to Dilucca, "The 'Kavash will pay for this."

"They certainly will, I was there when they destroyed Crete, not a thing I want to repeat," He sighed and peeled away from the screen, "Standard search pattern, search the entire capital city."

"What about survivors in the other cities?" Ensign Amy King questioned him.

"Our priority is the Chancellor," Dilucca replied, "All other survivors are secondary."

Amy winced and looked at Alex; he gestured for her to comply, "Standard search pattern, aye," she added.

"Should we try hailing the capital city? Maybe someone will answer if they're by a transmitter," Alex asked Dilucca.

He nodded and turned towards Amy, "Opening hailing frequencies," she reported.

For a moment, there was only silence. Dilucca glanced at Alex and frowned, "This is a waste of time."

"Who's there?" a man responded to their hail.

"This is Commander Alex Brown of the LNS Equinox," Alex answered eagerly.

"A Liberty Naval battleship? Why the hell are you at the heart of Rhineland space?" the man was inquisitive.

"We are looking for survivors, who is this?" Dilucca demanded, lifting an eyebrow.

"Corporal Paul Köhler, Rhineland Military," the man responded, "Is that you Admiral Dilucca?"

"Yes, it's me. Wait, Köhler, weren't you assigned to protect the Chancellor?"

"Aye, it's been a tough assignment, but he's alive and rested," Paul stated, a tip-off of sarcasm in his voice.

Dilucca looked at Alex, smiling, "Alright Corporal, stay put, we're coming to pick you up."

"Aye," Paul replied and cut the signal. Alex and Dilucca paced over to the lift and preceded down to the hangar.

"Equinox Flight Control to Commander Brown, we're sending you the coordinates for the Chancellor, good luck sir."

Alex looked up at his nav-map as he received the coordinates, "Thanks Equinox."

Alex was piloting his prized Defender, a small heavy fighter that has been upgraded through the years. Just off the side of his ship, a Rhineland Valkyrie zigzagged between chunks of debris. The Rhineland fighter was much more different than his own, green in color, as was much else of the little ship, including the exhaust. Alex always wondered what the Rhinelanders burn in their engines to get that strange color from their engines.

They navigated through debris from many Rhineland vessels. Alex counted the wrecks, at least ten battleships along with hundreds of Rhineland fighters. Under normal circumstances, that armada could defeat any fleet that it came up against.

The bow of Alex's fighter started to turn a reddish color as he entered the upper atmosphere, heat was created from the air being brutally displaced away from his fighter as he continued to descend towards the surface. Clouds in the atmosphere didn't help keep them on course either, but eventually they landed at the capitol building. The gigantic city was empty, as if asleep. Ashes and smoke polluted the air as fires burnt through the cold night.

"Where is he?" Dilucca asked loudly over the sounds of their fighters' engines. His eyes scanned the landscape, a look of worry washed over him. Please be alive.

A man turned around the corner, dressed in a Rhineland Military uniform with his arm around another man who limped beside the soldier. The soldier approached the Alex and Dilucca, coming into the illuminated area in front of the two ships. Stenciled in black on his uniform, it read PAUL T. KÖHLER.

"Good to see you, Chancellor," Dilucca smiled and shook the Chancellor's hand.

"At least someone is," He smiled back, Dilucca wrapped his arm around him and helped him into Alex's fighter.

"Commander," Lieutenant Watkins's voice came over Alex's comm as he entered his Defender.

"We're on our way back, what do you need Lieutenant?" Alex questioned his helm officer. He looked out his cockpit window and watched as Köhler embarked onto Dilucca's Valkyrie.

"We're getting some strange readings coming from the direction of a asteroid field on the other side of the system. Commander, these readings are consistent of a Dom'Kavash vessel," he replied and turned to Amy, "Set red alert! We've got incoming!" After that the comm shut off, static taking over.

Alex turned his head toward the Chancellor, "Hold on, Chancellor, this might get a little bumpy."