Battle on all fronts
First Contact – Part 17



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Monday & Friday

“We are under atta-,” James yelled over the comes, but was cut off before he could finish.

“Captain, what’s going on?” Chloe yelled back, but no reply came.“Roanne what is going on, why can’t we contact them?” Chloe turned her focus towards her.

“I don’t know XO, the comms are somehow down,” Roanne answered while fiddling with the panel in front of her.

“Can we fix it?” Chloe asked.

“To be honest, I have no idea what is going on, but I am doing my best.” She said not turning around and continuing to play with the panel in front of her. “Here,” Roanne yelled. “We can’t get comms, nor visuals, but at least I managed to pull their vitals.” She said and pulled a hologram, then transferred it to the middle of the ship where acting Captain Chloe could see it easier.

A rough image of the terrain appeared as the 3D hologram and their team as blue dots running around. Chloe quickly counted fourteen dots instead of fifteen.

“I count only fourteen, who is missing,” She yelled.

“Wait,” Roanne said. “Doctor Vasquez is missing, I can’t find his suit signature anywhere.” She said then held her hand up. “Wait I am getting something else,” and ten red dots appeared scattered around the blue dots on the hologram.

“What the hell is that?” Chloe asked.

“No idea Captain,” Roanne answered and continued to work.

“Can we get an image on the ground?” Chloe asked.

“I am trying-” before Roanne could answer Pegasus shook violently and the lighting around the bridge turned dim red. Alarms started blaring, and Chloe pulled up the radar which didn’t show anything in their proximity.

“What happened?” Chloe asked around the room.

“We were hit on the right side, no damage to the ship thought,” Dark-haired, thick-bearded crew member with a deep voice answered. Chloe was bad with names and as the crew was selected only a few weeks before the mission she was afraid she would forget the names of some people.

Luckily for her, she remembered his name, he worked for NASA before all this happened. Their paths before the aliens have never crossed, but they chatted several times while at the South Pole Station. “Thank you, Thomas,” She said. “What hit us, I am not seeing anything on the radar.”

“We are still trying to figure it out,” Thomas said.

“I’ve got it,” Another technician said. A blue-haired thin woman in her mid-thirties.

Chloe remembered her as well, maybe her fears were misplaced, she knew this person well after all most of them spent at least a year together at South Pole Station. Her name was Nicole and she was a part of the British Royal Navy before all this. Lieutenant William knew her as well from one of their missions and recruited her to the South Pole Station a few months after they started.

As Chloe was about to ask Nicole what she got, two red dots appeared on the radar on both sides of the ship, next to the planet’s moons.

“There appear to be two platforms that were hidden by the moon and powered down so our radars didn’t pick them up,” Nicole said. “One of them fired on us, the other one is still idle.”

“I am getting the image,” Roanne said and swapped the hologram in the middle of the bridge that showed a situation on the planet with the image of a platform. It was long and rectangular in shape, it had no lights and was barely visible next to the moon. Before anyone could say anything one of the sides of the platform opened and five objects flew out in the direction of the Pegasus.

“What the hell are those,” Chloe asked.

“They appeared to be small battleships similar in size to ours,” Roanne said. “But I am not reading any life signs from them, they might be drones.”

Chloe felt overwhelmed, what had they gotten themselves into? Qhiks have never mentioned any Ellad platforms or ships, they have never mentioned stumbling onto anything alive on Ellad planets. But there is no time to dwell now, they were under attack both here and on the ground. She first needed to take care of the situation here in space before she could help Captain James and the rest of the expedition crew on the ground.

The drones were small and could easily outmaneuver any Pegasus defense, fortunately, they had fighting ships of their own aboard the Pegasus. Unfortunate thing was that five people that knew how to fly fighter ships were down on the Ephulea III. That left only two members of Chief Lawson’s team, Jojo and Elna, and her. Three of them versus what appeared to be ten drones for now.

She gave the order for Jojo and Elna to run towards the hangar, explained to bridge what her plan was, and then ran there herself.

Before she could board and fly the fighter ships, they called them Hornets, Chloe needed to suit up. Luckily for her one of the technicians was ahead of that and prepared everything, it took her less than a minute to be fully suited up and aboard the ship.

“I am Hornet one, Jojo you are two, Elna you are three,” Chloe said over the comms.

“Roger that,” both of them confirmed.

“We fly together, don’t split up unless we are forced to,” Chloe continued. “We have no idea of those drone’s capabilities so be very careful until we figure them out.” And with that, all three of them left Pegasus hangar and rushed towards five drones coming from their right side as they were closer.

It took them around five minutes of flying at about fifty percent speed to reach the drones and start scraping with them. Hornets had a mix of Kraz’ox and old Qhiks AI when it came to dodging and firing, fighting could be done almost fully automatically. But that was the problem as the drones apparently had similar systems, after almost a minute of scrapping no one hit anyone, but they were outnumbered, once the other five drones reached them, it would be only a matter of time before they started hitting Hornets and the battle was lost.

“Switch to manual targeting and shooting,” Chloe said over the comms. “And just start firing at random, we need to confuse their dodging as much as we can.”

“Roger that,” Both Jojo and Elna confirmed.

“I am going to split, you two keep fighting together,” Chloe said over the comms and flew towards the platform.

Only one drone followed her and four stayed on the other two Hornets. Her Hornet easily dodged all the attacks, and she drew the drone away from the fight consistently firing at him. When they were far away, she stopped firing at all for some thirty seconds letting the drone chase her, then she flipped her ship one eighty degrees and fired straight ahead, and then a few shots at each side. The drone’s system was focused on the fire coming straight ahead and tried to dodge to the side running into one of the straight energy blasts that Chloe sent which hit it to the side. The drone seemed to be disabled, but Chloe flew closer and fired more shots just to be sure.

Jojo and Elna were chased by the four drones not so far away from her position, so she went toward them at full speed, but before she reached them Roanne contacted her from the Pegasus.

“The other platform started firing at us,” Roanne said. “And the other four drones just flew past the Pegasus, they seem to be after you.”

“Can you handle Platforms on our own with Peagsus’s weapons,” Chloe asked.

“We can, you take care of the drones, we will dismantle those platforms in no time,” Roanne said, and Chloe saw Pegasus start moving, and after a few seconds, it jumped towards the Station far to the left.

Chloe had to focus on her fight, in no time other five drones would be approaching, and they needed to dismantle those four before they arrived. She trusted Roanne and her crew, they will be able to dismantle the platforms with ease.

Chloe flew after the drones that were chasing Jojo and Elna. She gave orders for both of them to focus their fire on one of the drones that was after Jojo and they were able to shut it down in no time. They repeated the process on another drone but as it now was three versus three drones completely changed their strategy and started running towards the other five drones that were coming to help.

As their full focus now was on dodging, in three minutes they ran towards their backup only one of the drones was shut down. Chloe, Jojo, and Elna now found themselves in seven versus three situations scrambling to dodge everything that drones threw at them. Chloe wanted to repeat the same she did the first time and split from the team. But this time, three drones flew after her and only four stayed at the other two Hornets. Drones blocked her path back toward her team and slowly started to surrender her.

“Try to shut them down there, I will try to survive for now,” Chloe said over the comms.

“Hold on Hornet one, we will come to help you as soon as we can,” Jojo said.

Chloe flew around dodging everything the drones threw at her, but they were tightening the circle around her. They were dragging her toward the station on the right side and cutting her way toward the other two Hornets. She tried to fight back, but the drones easily dodged her attacks, she only did a disservice to herself by firing and found herself completely surrounded. She tried going up or down, relative to her position, but the drones follow milliseconds later and were coming closer, her sensors were already warning her that the enemy was too close and that the AI had no time to react to the shots.

She got hit once, then twice, luckily their blasts were weaker than Hornet’s and she redirected more Power to the Shields, so she could take several more hits without any serious damage. She looked over the radar and Jojo and Elna managed to destroy one drone and were engaging the other three, trying to break toward her but were several minutes away, she couldn’t hold for that long. She got hit several more times, the ship’s voice informing her that her shield was done.

The drone in front of her fired again and she instinctively closed her eyes, one second passed nothing, two, three, four, five, and nothing. She opened her eyes to the sight of one of the drones laying dismantled in front of her and another Hornet fighting the two drones that had her surrounded. She checked the radar, Jojo and Elna were still far away, now fighting two versus two, managing to destroy one more drone.

She opened comms towards the Hornet near her and asked, “Who is it?”

“Don’t you mean thanks for saving your ass, as you humans would say,” A weird voice answered, Chloe couldn’t connect it to anyone she knew. “It’s Youx, you prisoner, here to help.”

“What? Who let you out and gave you a ship?” Chloe asked.

“No one, once your ship got hit, the powered went down for a millisecond and the door unlocked,” Youx said. “I stole your ship as you disabled mine and wanted to get away, but all this feels weird so I decided to help, to find out what is going on.”

“Well, thanks I guess,” Chloe said. “Still wanna help?”

“Let’s finish the job,” Youx said and they engaged the remaining drones.

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