Captain Luis Hanson sighed as he sat in the command chair of the Battle Cruiser U.H.S Reaver as he watched the planet in the viewport. There were supposed to be some kind of Antaran threat coming but it had been two years since they had lost contact with even the Elerians, who had been the last of the other races that they had known about out in space. Since then the Antarans had done nothing but raids into their systems, drones that did little more than waste their ammunition and was viewed as nothing but target practice for the pilots of the fleets. Today was going to be a long day.
Sergeant James Demarko grinned as a kid went past him. He'd been stationed on Mars for three years and he was looking forward to another year then he'd go back home to Earth, or maybe Venus. He shook his head, he needed to find his Corporal, especially if they were going to go drinking off duty later. Sure, being a soldier was tough but it was his job, and like any other job quitting time was sweet indeed. He slung his rifle across his back as it folded into his power armor and began walking towards the barracks. Thirty minutes and counting.
Luis jumped as a strange vessel swept past, then relaxed a little when he realized it was only another set of drones. It was odd, though, the timing was off from what the Antarans usually did. They'd already taken the systems past Jupiter, but seemed content with shelling their systems with drones and not actual combat. He waved at one of the techs, a man named Ryans, who sat at the communications terminal. That sent out the order for the fighters to deploy to take care of the drones themselves. Originally they'd shot at the drones with the ships' own defense systems but they couldn't afford to waste their ammunition on them anymore, at least the fighters had lasers that replenished energy. He watched as the fighters swarmed around the drones that were nearby, like angry bees around their hives and waited for the explosions that would ensue. This was about all the entertainment their lot got nowadays.
Suddenly energy spiked around the Drones and the Captain jumped again as the fighters they'd sent out exploding in an ever expanding cloud of debris. Cries from the men could be heard across the bridge as everyone froze. Luis shook his head then sat more comfortably into his seat as the Drones zipped away, suddenly propelling themselves around the ship.
"Gentlemen," Captain Hanson said, making sure his shaking hands didn't show to the rest of the crew. Fear was infectious after all. "Red alert, I think the Antarans are ready."
James grinned as he watched his friend, Corporal Daven Holt, make his way over to the bar. They'd been childhood friends and it was, mostly, luck that they'd been stationed together.
"What do you want? My treat for the first few rounds," the pale skinned Sergeant grinned. "Then we need to find ourselves some lovely ladies."
"The only ladies you could ever find," the dark skinned Corporal said as he sat himself down. "Were those Elerians, and they were quite the handful weren't they. What happened to that one, y'know. The one with the silver hair?"
"They stopped talking, remember?" James took another shot of whiskey so he could stall with having to answer questions about Yrillia. He'd been engaged to her, although his parents hadn't liked the thought. Old people and their old beliefs and hatreds and all that. It didn't matter anymore anyway. Sirraco IV had been burned away, with his parents and the fleet stationed there.
"Oh," the stupid man sighed. "Sorry James. I forgot that you were actually happy with that woman. Usually when we talk about women it's about..."
Warning klaxons sounded around the compound, freezing the two unarmored soldiers for a moment. Then they jumped and ran out of the bar.
"Why? Why?! Why the hell can't they leave us alone?!" James yelled angrily. The Corporal next to him just grunted, although it was hard to hear it with all the noise. The pair of them knew what to do, they needed to get to the barracks as soon as possible.
"Sir," Lieutenant Garrow said in her lilting voice. "Contacts, hundreds of Antaran ships have slipped past Uranus and they're making their way towards our fleet."
"What does FleetCom say?" The Captain responded towards Ryans. He was getting all the information sent straight to his command console but he still wanted to hear it from the young man. He wanted all of his people up to date and informed.
"Sir," Ryan said with only a slight quaver of his voice. Luis was proud of the man, even he felt like panicking at moments like this. "The Admiral is ordering us to hold position."
A sudden beam of what could be called dark light speared into space around them. Luis' head buzzed like he was trapped in a metal can being shaken by a kid. Three ships next to the Reaver were burning and one of them, the U.H.S. Benedict, was slowly falling into the gravity well of Jupiter.
"Change of plan!" Captain Luis yelled. "Recall the fighters, we need to move a little or we'll be picked off next."
"Sir," Third Lieutenant Jacobs yelped. "That's against orders sir!"
"Pull us out, son!" the Captain growled. "Or we'll get burned next."
Another vibration shook their ship as two more ships were hit and a third, one of the previously damaged ships that had listed in front of their own ship, was destroyed. It exploded outwards, pushing the Reaver away from combat. He could see the Admiral's orders and growled, the fool was going to charge the Antarans.
"Moving as ordered, sir!" Jacobs said slumping in his seat. They'd all realized that they'd had a close call there but the young man had continued to think. He'd make a fine captain someday. "I'm making it look like we're damaged sir."
"Good work son," Luis said with a small grin. He wasn't going to die because of some young mans' pride. He'd never liked Admiral Da Varga, thought the man was just riding his grandmothers' legend. "Now hold us here without letting us fall into Jupiter, please."
The Captain watched as their forces approached the enemy forces and he shook his head. "God help us all."
"Demarko" Lieutenant Shane Karvos yelled. "Where the hell have you two been? It's been a half hour since the bells went off."
"Sir," James said, leaning heavily against the wall nearby. "We had to run the whole way here because none of the transports were running due to the emergency. AND we had to fight our way through panicked crowds who wanted to know anything and everything about the Antarans all at once... sir."
"Dammit Sergeant," the man growled looking angry. "Fine, tuck yourselves in. The Antarans are coming and we don't plan on just handing them Mars."
"Sir!" James said, ducking a little around the man. They'd finally made it and it had been a long four mile run. Usually the battle armor took care of most of the physically exhausting activities. They'd get dressed and be ready for the ugly bastards. And if they were lucky there'd still be time for drinks afterwards.
"Captain!" Ryans yelped. The radio traffic and the sensors were going wild. The Antarans were holding position and just blasting away at the charging Humans.
What will this achieve? the captain thought to himself with a growl. You're wasting lives son, you need to pull out now!
They needed to regroup, they needed to survive this.
"Where's the Fourth Fleet?" Louis growled. "Where did those worthless sellouts get off to now?"
"Sir," Ryans growled. "The fleet is around Mars. We need to get reinforcements, they're getting slaughtered out there!"
Suddenly the warning klaxons sounded. Retreat had been ordered and he saw the admirals ship limping behind what remained of the tattered second fleet. He hissed as he tried to figure out what to do. He watched helplessly as the two frigates that had been towing the admirals mostly demolished ship were gutted with beams of, what could only be described as, pure darkness. The ship turned around and began a crash course with one of the nearer ships. He vaguely heard the Admirals last broadcast, admonishing them to protect the human race before he was cut off mid sentence by another beam of darkness cutting through his bridge and splitting his ship in two.
Luis sighed as he leaned back in his command chair. Furiously aware that he really had no idea as of yet on what to do.
"Sir!" Ryans yelled from across the room, apparently the young man had been calling to him while his mind had wandered and he'd been trying to figure a way out of this. "The Second Fleet is asking what we need to do now?"
"What do you mean?" The captain asked, confused for a moment before he realised the only remaining officers of the Second Fleet were Lieutenants in charge of frigates. Him being the highest ranking officer put him in charge. He growled, then looked closely at the remains of the fleet. Last stands were foolish and would get them all killed. "Ladies and Gentlemen. Defenders of the human race. We regroup at Mars."