The shimmering light of phase space peeled away from the Planet Hopper as it entered the gravity well of Naeve, a common port of call for the interstellar freighter's crew.
The pilot of the bulky Trader ship groaned as the bluish light disappeared from the view ports and were replaced by the terran planet and it's many orbital facilities, heaving his boot clad feet off from either side of the control panel and moved them down at the base of his flight chair where they were meant to be.
Zachary Handman yawned and stretched before laying his hands over the control panel pressing the screen in several places, plotting the course to the colossal trade port between them and the planet whilst sending identification and paperwork in digital form to the Sova Carrier that was heading anti-pirating activities in the system whilst currently orbiting Naeve.
After a series of beeps indicated that the Sova had accepted the Planet Hopper's certification Zach glanced at his co-pilot, Josef, who was hunched over, paying close attention to the data dancing across the screen in front of him, as he had been for the entire flight, the light from the screen illuminating his youthful features.
Josef was a rookie, fresh out of flight school and had been looking for a job he could get straight into with good pay, something to get experience with before joining the anti-piracy forces (what the military had become in these centuries of peace) he had said. Zachary didn't understand why the kid hadn't just jumped straight into the military seeing as it didn't take all that much skill to fly a fighter, especially with flight school fresh in one's mind, but seeing as Zach was down on a co-pilot (his previous one having retired after their last massive haul) and he had seen potential in the younger man, so let him on board without too much fuss.
"Crying out loud boy, relax before you get a cramp." The older pilot said to his younger co-pilot while twisting on the spot to get the kinks out of his back. Zach wasn't old but he wasn't exactly at his prime either causing his body to protest slightly when he moved after staying still for long periods of time.
Josef looked immediately from the screen to Zachary, causing his blonde hair to flick out momentarily and he blinked a few times then snapped upright, bringing his face away from the screen and placing his hands on his legs awkwardly before looking at the floor.
"I'm sorry sir." Josef said in a professional tone causing Zach to laugh in turn causing Josef to look at him, confused slightly.
"I said relax!" The heavily german accented older man said, reaching over and slapping Josef on the shoulder. "No need for any of that 'sir' bullshit! Just sit back and enjoy the view." He patted the control panel in front of him, "She's in auto and it's not like the engines are just gonna explode."
"Oh no absolutely not, not like that one time your rust bucket's phase drives blew out, causing the reactor to overload and expelled half of your oxygen supply into space." A smooth female voice said through the crackle of static, sarcasm dripping from her voice.
Zachary looked at the control panel then replied, "You know, Catherine, it's very rude to eavesdrop on other people's conversations."
"You know 'captain' it's very stupid to lean on the intercom." Catherine replied mimicking Zach's accent and saying 'captain' with an extra thick layer of sarcasm.
The black haired older man blinked then lifted his arm up, looking down to see that his elbow had been resting against a set of buttons on the end of the armrest of his seat that would have normally been under his hand.
He scowled momentarily at the buttons then pressed one.
"Shouldn't you be watching radio traffic?"
"She's on auto-pilot remember? What's gonna happen?" Catherine replied snidely. "And anyway shouldn't you be making sure we're ready to dock instead of hitting on your co-pilot. Again might I add?"
Josef gave Zach a look and Zach gave the comms switch a mildly offended glare.
"I haven't the faintest idea what you're talking about my dear." He said, pressing the switch again.
"You know exactly what I'm talking about you swine. Hey kid, Yosep or whatever your name is, don't you think it's odd that almost all of this slacker's crew members are fem-" Zachary cut her off and gave Josef a reassuring smile.
"Don't mind her, she's just sore that she lost to me in poker." He pressed the switch again. "Lost for the twelfth time in a row might I add."
Catherine began to say something offensive but was cut off by the pilot again.
"See? Sore." Zach grinned wide then returned his attention to the view screen and the sights beyond the extremely thick glass.
The trade port loomed ahead, filling almost all of the small ship's line of sight, though something else drew the pilot and co-pilot's attention.
"The fighters look like they're scrambling." Josef murmured, concern touching his voice.
"Must just be a drill, pirates would never attack here, not while the Carrier's parked in the spaceport." Zach replied, though his voice didn't match his words' confidence.
There was a burst of static and Catherine's voice returned, lacking it's sarcasm this time and instead laced with concern, two other voices were talking in the background.
"Zach I picked up something on the private channels whizzing about-"
"You hacked into the military chat again didn't you?"
"Damn it we'll get trouble for that kind of shenanigans woman!"
"Zach just shut up and listen to this! It's the carrier's chat and I've got it live."
There was a loud burst of static then an authoritative male voice came into focus.
"-entified vessels, this is the TDN Unyielding Will identify yourselves immediately. I repeat this is the- My god what is that?"
"To the port side!" Another female voice other than Catherine's though still originating from Planet Hopper's crew.
Both Zachary and Josef leaned forwards to look through the port side view port just in time to see a flurry of Phase Shock-waves spreading out from a black mass of weird ships, sunlight reflecting off of their perfectly smooth hulls.
Josef swallowed hard and Zachary's jaw dropped, they were massive! Easily as large if not bigger than the Sova Carrier orbiting Naeve.
There was no way these were pirate vessels, sure they had that sickly, foreboding look the pirates loved to parade around but they were just too advanced (and clean) for the pirates' style.
Pirates or not, it was obvious what this was.
Something the Traders hadn't seen in over a millenia;
A war fleet.
The captain on the Unyielding Will's voice returned to the speakers of the flight deck, cracking slightly.
"Scramble all fighters! Engage the threat immediately! Sound the alarm, tell the populace planet side to bunker down and tell everyone off planet to evacuate immediately! And call for reinforcements!" There was another fizz of static. "Unidentified vessels! This is the TDN Unyielding Will identify yourselves immediately! I repeat identify yourselves! Unident- Fuck they're attacking! Retaliate, retaliate!"
True to the captain's word, streaks of light spread out all across the front and sides of several of the colossal ships, trailing hundreds of tiny missiles as blasts of sickly green light exploded out of each and every one of them, propelling them forwards at a frightening speed and a second wave of streaks of light heralded a venerable swarm of tiny fighter craft launching from gaps in the vessels' glossy armour and racing ahead of them to engage the Unyielding Will's and the local militia fighter craft.
Zach's hands were flying over the control panel before the first wave of missiles had launched and Planet Hopper was in a sharp turn at full throttle as the Sova Carrier's shields turned opaque with the force of the missiles colliding with it, sending explosions up and down it's surface.
As Zachary sent the ship rocketing towards the phase lane they had just come from the Unyielding Will continued to broadcast, no doubt forgetting to turn it off in the panic whilst Catherine was probably too busy strapping herself down to bother with their own.
There was a sound of explosions and shouting through rising and falling static as well as lots of shouting.
"What the hell?" Someone almost screamed. "nearly a third of those missiles went straight through our shields! And the rest have almost overloaded it!"
"We have reported hull breach on levels seven, twelve, fifteen, sixteen-" Another voice.
"There's so many! What are these things?" Another, cracking with panic.
"God damn it hold the line! Let the civilians get away!"
"Squadrons blue through gold and gamma through theta have been destroyed! The rest are taking heavy casualties fast!"
"Oh god we're gonna die!"
Josef pressed buttons on the screen before him at a breakneck speed, tinkering with the fuel lines and gamma ray shielding to increase the speed of the Planet Hopper as it was joined by many other civilian craft heeding the Sova's call for a hasty getaway.
The blonde man bit his lip for a second then pressed a few more buttons bringing up a view from the freighter's rear cameras.
He watched in shock and awe as the unknown ships came even closer to the Unyielding Will unleashing volleys of missiles, pulses of laser light and what seemed to be waves of plasma, tearing down what was left of it's shields then tearing away at it's bare hull when the white shimmer of it's first line of protection failed, laser and missile batteries doing little to nothing in the carrier's petty attempt to fight back.
Tiny craft swarmed around the dying Trader ship having slaughtered it's meager complement of fighters and it's garbled cries of terror and despair were finally cut off as a massive wave of green energy sheared the command deck clean in half and the last killing blows were finally struck upon it's superstructure sending detonations up and down it's length, finally smashing it to pieces in a final massive explosion.
The last thing anyone fleeing saw of Naeve was the colossal ships bombarding the hapless planet below with beams of red energy as the light of phase space re-embraced them in it's comforting glow.
Josef and Zach fell back into their seats and looked at each other, shivering with adrenaline.
"What did we just see?" The younger of the two asked, more to himself than at his colleague.
"It may be a bit far fetched..." Zach gulped. "But I think we just saw an alien invasion."