1 Operation: Falling Comet - Before the storm

"A little to the left!" a Mechanic calls out to the operator of the crane. Attached to the crane is a sleek black starship. Explorer class. A little larger than a fighter, but more armored and with extra cargo space. Recently the Aveis Republic has been forced to push them into service as guardian fighters and torpedo bombers. The ground crew are busy stowing the ships after routine maintenance.

Above, a lone Dragon watches with interest. Her wings folded along her sides as she looks at the scene below dispassionately. The gold crest upon her head marks her as one of the commanders of a wing of fighters. The rest of her body is pale white. Just like all Aveis, she is albino. 'More makeshift fighters.' She sighs and turns around to walk away when her implant sends a notification.

[Call from Capt. Sevro.]

Immediately picking up, she greets the captain. "Captain. What can I do for you?" She's known the man on the other side for barely three months, but trusts him completely. He's an amazing pilot, and an inspiring Captain. "Lieutenant. Gather your wing. Emergency meeting in The Mess at thirteen." Having said his piece, he hangs up. 'Emergency meeting? Very well. Must be urgent.' Bringing up her interface, she send along the message to each of her wingmates.

[Foren: Got it. I'll be there.]

[Akkai: gOt iT. iLL bE ThERe.]

[Foren: Oh shut up.]

[Rensi: oH ShUT UP.]

[Foren: Boss! They're bullying me!]

[Charen: You gotta stand up for yourself.]

[Foren: ...]

[Charen: Maybe once you bulk up and start asserting yourself you'll find a mate.]

[Akkai: Says the virgin.]

[Charen: Thats only a technicality. Unless you want to help me out with it?]

[Akkai: Not in your wildest dreams.]

[Rensi: Akkai and Charen... I could do something with that.]

[Foren: No! No more ero fiction! We were the laughing stocks of the training corps!]

[Charen: Do it!]

[Akkai: I feel oddly interested and yet violated.]

[Charen: Interested? OwO]

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[Foren: Have you all forgotten that Boss never left?]

-Charen has disconnected-

-Rensi has disconnected-

-Akkai has disconnected-

[Foren: I'll make sure they're there.]

-Foren has disconnected-

Ovara sighs. Her wing was filled with fresh trainees who haven't yet felt the terror of facing the Trachan. Foren has promise, but has a bad tendency to be shy, keeping him from taking the initiative. Akkai has serious skill as a pilot, but rarely takes anything seriously. Rensi Is creative and smart, and such talents makes her invaluable as a tactical specialist. Charen Is domineering when he wants to be, but usually doesn't have anything to back it up. The one attribute he excels at is his adamantium will. 'Somehow they ranked in the top 4 wings. placing them under my command. I wonder how that happened.'

Leaving the Neural Chat, she exits the hangar and enters the city center. She rides an elevator down towards street level. Outside the glass wall, she can see the last haven of her kind. The internal city of the Last Light Ark ship. The city itself lays in a cylindrical shape. Looking up shows you a top down view of the opposite side of the city. Through clever use of the ship's gravitational generator, you can walk all the way around. Of course, delivery fliers will just fly up to the center of the gravity well and fall the rest of the way to save time. The officials dislike this, but allow it for licensed fliers. The massive sprawling city is home to the remnants of their race, a whole 4,368,320 Aveis. The city truly showcases the size of the vessel they are on. The Last Light is the largest vessel in the Aveis fleet. About 4km wide, 3.5km tall and 14km lengthwise. Truely a marvel to behold.

Ovara steps out of the elevator at street level. Citizens gasp as they see her golden crest. Most step aside, or show some respect. but some...

"Hey you! Waste! It's your fault we lost our homes!" A deranged looking woman steps out in front of Ovara. Her scales are dirty and one of her horns is broken off. Ovara recognizes her as a refugee from Olekais Vll. Most of them have a distinctive accent. She frowns as she remembers the terrible battle before the planet was glassed. "Why can't you do your jobs and keep us safe!? We paid our taxes! We believed in you! But all you did was cram us in this stinking ship!"

By now the crowd gathering has reached nearly 30 people. 'It seems every odd day someone comes up with an excuse to blame everything on us, the ones sent to fight the swarm.' Ovara looks on dispassionately as the woman continues her rant. The woman seems to genuinely blame the defenders for how much suffering the Trachan have wrought. After the woman stops to catch her breath, Ovara walks around her and continues down the street. Most see her a dispassionate and unapologetic. But even as she holds her head high, she can't hide how her breathing has become unsteady with anger. "Hey! you can't just walk away from this!" The woman calls from behind. "The Founder would be ashamed to see the *Brave* defenders of his people!"

Spreading her wings, Ovara picks up speed and with a mighty flap, takes flight. Quickly locating the huge food center called "The Mess". It has been a popular spot to grab food since the ship was loaded with passengers after the fall of Viocrox ll. When not in use by the public, it becomes a makeshift command center for the defending forces in this quadrant. Landing in front of the entrance, she walks inside. At this time of day, The Mess is mostly empty. So she picks a spot and lays down in front of a table to wait for her wing to arrive.

Around Ten minutes later, Aevis with silver crests start filing in. Seems the captain called all the wings under his command here. Finally, she spot Akkai. Ovara waves to her and she comes over, along with Foren, Charen, and Rensi who arrive moments later. Foren speaks up first. "Hey boss. we're all here. Despite Rensi's grumbling." Rensi tilts her head up pridefully. "Just because you can't see the beauty in ero literature doesn't mean I slowed us down."

Ovara raises her forepaw, stopping them. "Stop. We're here for an emergency. Just stay quiet and listen."

After the last of the pilots file in and take a seat, the Captain steps up onto a table. "Good day everyone. I've called you here to speak about crucial changes in Operation Falling Comet." He gestures next to him to a hologram that pops up. it shows the Last Light and its Escort fleet.

"As a recap for those who never pay attention, the Last Light is too massive to send through a wormhole without risking a gravitational collapse, so conventional means of Inter-System travel are insufficient to transport it. However, the plan is to use it's old FTL drive to be able to slowly escape Trachan space. Such means of transportation are old, and nearly untraceable. Preparations for FTL travel have been underway for the last week, and are projected to still be underway two days from now. After that we can escape the Trachan and finally know peace again." Cheers ring out across the room.

"But... things don't always work out." He spins the hologram and purple marks appear all over it. "These are energy signals we've picked up. They match the siginal of Trachan invasion gates." At this, the room lights up with chatter.

"Quiet! It's projected that the enemy haven't locked onto us completely yet. But once they do, they'll drop an army on us. They will most likely lock us before the preparations are completed. This leaves us with two options. #1 Attempt Negotiation. Perhaps they will be more willing to talk than previously. But I wouldn't hold my breath for that. #2 we fight and stall the enemy long enough for the Last Light to escape. Problem: the Last Light will be completely unreachable once it's gone, so anyone unable to make it to the Last Light before it leaves is stuck with the Trachan." Murmurs rise from the crowd.

Frowning, the Captain continues. "We also lack the capacity to fight the Trachan Fleet in a straight up encounter. So the main goal is just to buy time. Seeing this, the Admiral and the President will be attempting peace talks, for a treaty with the Trachan. As many of you are aware, the Trachan have never really communicated their goals with us. So we are having an open forum tonight where we will be having a discussion about what the Trachan would want out of peace talks." The chatter continues as people begin brainstorming.

"Quiet! Lets get down to business. In the case that the peace talks fall through, we have made changes to Falling Comet. Fighter Wings will be harrassing the weapon mounts on Trachan warships. Be sure to stay within 11km of the Last Light. Guardian Fighters will be taking a bomber role for this mission. Any weapons that the fighters can't damage, it'll be your job to hit it with heavy ordnance. Stay within 10km of the Last Light. Corvette Battlegroup, use coil cannons to punch through the armor of their smaller warships. stay within 5km of the Last Light. Frigate Battlegroup will be utilizing Swarmer Missles to intercept enemy ordnance and fighters. Stay within 7km of the Last Light. Finally, Auxiliary Guardian Fighters will be creating a Phalanx Shield to defend the Last Light. If any Phalanx Members are disabled, torpedo bombers will take their place and keep the Phalanx going. Set up Phalanx 3km away from the Last Light between it and the battle. The cruisers and battleships will be taking their firepower and durability to the frontlines. Get in close and keep them off the rest of the force. Stay within 13km of the Last Light, or we have no guarantee that you'll be able to make it back before the Last Last leaves."

The captain looks over the sea of soldiers in The Mess. "You have your orders. Be ready to scramble as soon as possible and be on call for the next 48 hours. After that, we'll be free. As a reward for getting us this far, all food from The Mess is on the Defense Department!" A chorus of roars rise from the crowd of soldiers. Ovara sighs. 'This feels like a conciliatory last meal.' Behind the counter, the Clerk's heart froze at the sight of the crowd of hungry soldiers charging towards them. The gel dispensers were working overtime.

-=42hrs to FTL Jump=-

Ovara slumped down onto her assigned bed and began interfacing with the neural net. She was interested in buying a new exoskeleton for her suit. While silver crest soldiers had to use standardized equipment, gold and platinum crests were allowed to create and buy more complex and expensive equipment. On the Military Auction, she noticed an exoskeleton made of nanomeshed titanium carbide. The Black Carapace. A top of the line model for personal protection. It allowed full interface with implants and even could develop new functionality with the help of an AI. It would cost her five months pay, but fuck it. 'What good is hoarding credits if I die in combat?' She placed a reasonable bid on the skeleton and rolled out of bed.

'Little more than 41 hours until we can escape. Time for dinner and to watch something mildly entertaining... like politicians arguing about what to do. Usually around the fifteen minute mark, two of the old bastards will bear their fangs and I'll get to enjoy an old fashioned fight. That forum should be full of it.'

Ovara walks over to her fridge and pulls out a nutrient cube. A gelatinous food that is the staple ration aboard the Last Light. It has half your daily nutrients and water. One of these bad boys a day can stave off starvation efficiently. Two is the perfect blend to be in peak condition. 


*Nom* 'Completely tasteless.'

After finishing her dinner, Ovara looks at the time. 'Almost time for that open forum. guess I'll patch in just to watch.' bringing up the neural network, she patched into the feed and watched the screen repeat "We will be live in just a moment" a few times before the placeholder screen fell away and revealed the council. The four Quadrant council members, eight Community Representatives, and the two head honchos. The Admiral and the President.

The president shuffled some papers around and looks up towards the camera. "Let's begin..."

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