Jayko stood on the bridge of his dreadnaught, the Laser Lancer. Outside the bridge-spanning viewport, the bright star at the center of Helios Station glinted, shedding it’s blue-white light on the fleet of gamma class heavy cruisers orbiting the station.
A massive artifact from a time lost to humanity and the galaxy, the several hundred kilometer space-station ringed the artificial star at it’s heart. When he’d first seen the station, it had reminded him of a throwing weapon, with it’s sleek hull and sharp edges, but the evidence that it was more than what it appeared became evident when one got much closer to it. Hundreds of city spires rose from recessed sections of hull, dwarfed by the size of the station. At the inner edge of the ring, tall curving wall sections rose up, acting as solar radiation collectors. The cut-outs along the station’s outer edges: docking bays, vast enough to hold entire an fleet of dreadnaughts.
It was still unknown whether the station had been intended to act as a safe-haven or a weapon. Regardless of that fact however, the station had never seen use until only very recently.
Jayko’s focus on the station was broken as Jessica’s hologram appeared next to him and spoke.
“The task force is nearly assembled, Jayko. We’re waiting on what remains of the Combine Human-Dekk Fleet,” she reported.
Jayko shifted his gaze from the viewport to the scan the bridge of the Lancer. He’d relinquished command of the massive bird-like dreadnaught years ago, but had kept it close by as a precaution. Now, the massive ship and the task-force it commanded were needed once more to lead an assembly of ships larger than the Combine Human-Dekk fleet had been at the height of it’s days.
He gave a small nod. “I didn’t expect the Council to divert any forces here. They don’t view this threat as a priority over maintaining the Ssin front-line. Is there any word from out recon team?”
“We have received the data they have acquired from the planet. The Arcayans are preparing to act if we do not reply soon.”
A series of holographic windows appeared along with a 3-D projection, before the two of them displaying images and analyses of a large ring of mountains. Information tags adorned each of the towers piercing the mountains and and the surrounding terrain.
“Overlay with the battle-plans, please. Any changes?”
Images changed, lighting up with a criss-cross tangle of vectors and troop positions. “Only minor. All is as expected. They have set up fortifications at base of the Gate caldera and there is a gravitational distortion protecting it from orbital bombardment.”
Jayko nodded and looked over at the AI. She smiled back at him. “Shall I put you on fleet-wide?”
He smirked back at her. “Do it.”
She turned to look out the viewport and then nodded. “You’re live.”
Jayko stood straight and gazed out at the assembled fleets. There were over a thousand ships of all sizes floating in the black out here between star-systems waiting for his word.
“This is Jayko Troven, addressing all assembled ships. We have just received the data from our advance recon team. The enemy is dug in and are waiting for us. They knew we would come to know of there plans sooner or later—but what they did not know is this: They had not a clue that we would come together in this time of need—species, fleets, from across the galactic arm—to hit them with a force greater than this galaxy has ever seen. They thought that we would fracture, that we would run, that we would crumble beneath their feet.
“I for one say that we will not! We will fight! We will stop them dead in their tracks!” Jayko raised his fist, his words growing confident. “Each and every one of you have made it to this point, survived the worst that is out there. What is to come though will test each and every one of your skills. This is why I will not be commanding this strike.”
Jayko paused for a moment his gaze hardening, a smile coming to his face. “Instead, I will be fighting along side-everyone. I have more than enough trust in each and every one of you that I will fight as well, that I will put my life alongside yours.
“The order has been given. Let’s hit ‘em hard!” shouted Jayko triumphantly.
He nodded to Jessica and she cut the transmission. “Let’s follow suit. Light ‘em up and move ‘em out. I’m counting on you to coordinate with me on the ground.”
“Aye, sir,” she said, inclining her head with a smile.
“Task force dropping out of FTL, sir!” called out one of the bridge crew. “We’re being hailed.”
“Put ‘em on,” said Jayko turning to look for the arriving ships. A sizable group of ships of dekk and human design dropped from FTL followed close by five large dreadnaughts.
A hologram appeared before Jayko. The Fleet Commander was dressed in a crisp Combine Fleet naval uniform and smiled when he saw Jayko. “We didn’t miss the party, did we now?” asked Admiral Adren Hale.
Jayko broke into a wide grin. “You’re just in time!” he said, happy to see his old friend from the Combine Fleet. “The Council finally made up their mine, did they?”
Hale shook his head. “Sadly they decided to sit with their thumbs up their asses. I had to make the decision myself. The Ssin border’s not going anywhere. And between the two of us, when you messaged me about this whole thing. It wasn’t hard to see where my forces were needed. My men are ready to follow you to hell and back if it means we can finally stick it back to the bastards that kicked us out of the core worlds.”
Jayko nodded. “Fall in. Jessica will fill you in the on the plan.”
“You’re not leading this thing?”
“Nope. I want to see this through personally.”
Hale smirked at Jayko. “That’s just like you. I’ll keep the skies clear and we’ll be on station when you need us. Good hunting. Hale, out.”
“The same to you, old friend. Jayko, out.”
The transmission cut leaving Jayko staring at the view before him. The Lancer had adjusted it’s orbit around Helios Station along with the other fleets, moving into position for FTL transition. Jessica had linked in to the entire fleet network and was coordinating the jump. They were going to bring the entire fleet into orbit around the planet right on top of the Ssin forces blockading it.
Taking the helmet of his crimson colored ability enhancing armor, Jayko slid it over his head, locking it in place. The AE armor was tighter than he remember, but it felt good to step back into it.
“Guess I better gear up, and get ready.” He shook his head and looked over to Jessica, smiling underneath the golden visor. “It’s going to be one helluva shock when Helios Station drops in on them.”
She smiled back. “First impressions are everything.” With a surge of acceleration, the Lancer and the fleet jumped. It was time for battle.