Starbase Short Stories and Lore

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#1
Starbase has set itself as a rough slate that is ripe for speculation into its existence, I hope you enjoy reading about my theory on the history of the Starbase universe, through the factions that will inevitably form its tales in the future.


Part 1: The Feature
https://forum.starbasegame.com/threads/lore-the-feature.2058/post-16649
Collective / https://discord.gg/VnU8apR / https://collectivesb.com/
Thank you to H:\Archduke for allowing the creative freedom to introduce his organization and form it into the lore as I see it.

Part 2: The Directorate
https://forum.starbasegame.com/threads/starbase-short-stories-and-lore.2058/post-16650
Save Our Ships [SOS] / https://discord.gg/V6Vv69R / https://www.saveourships.org/
ORION / https://discord.gg/xsugnX9hkF
Thank you to Aqmarine [ORION], and Simulator Haven [SOS] for allowing me to include their organizations into the lore, and providing input.

Part 3: Tale as Old as Time
https://forum.starbasegame.com/threads/starbase-short-stories-and-lore.2058/post-16662
Collective / https://discord.gg/VnU8apR / https://collectivesb.com/

Part 4: To R&D or not to R&D
https://forum.starbasegame.com/threads/starbase-short-stories-and-lore.2058/post-16670
DynaStar / https://discord.gg/xsugnX9hkF
Thank you to Max for correcting some mistakes, providing input, and allowing the use of DynaStar in the lore.

Part 5: A Uniform to be Caught Dead In (1 / 3)
https://forum.starbasegame.com/threads/starbase-short-stories-and-lore.2058/post-16675
Save Our Ships [SOS] / https://discord.gg/V6Vv69R / https://www.saveourships.org/

Part 6: A Uniform to be Caught Dead In (2 / 3)
https://forum.starbasegame.com/threads/starbase-short-stories-and-lore.2058/post-16687
Save Our Ships [SOS] / https://discord.gg/V6Vv69R / https://www.saveourships.org/

Part 7: Vandalize My Perception
https://forum.starbasegame.com/threads/starbase-short-stories-and-lore.2058/post-16718
Collective / https://discord.gg/VnU8apR / https://collectivesb.com/

Part 8: Faux Tyro
https://forum.starbasegame.com/threads/starbase-short-stories-and-lore.2058/post-16734
Tactical [TAC] / https://discord.gg/PBmbWbj / Meteor [ https://starbase.tactical-hq.com/pics/3.png ]
ORION / https://discord.gg/xsugnX9hkF
Thank you NASA, and Kaper-Game for providing a slew of useful information, and allowing the use of Tactical in the lore.

Part 9: Love, Connection, Experience
https://forum.starbasegame.com/threads/starbase-short-stories-and-lore.2058/post-16738
Collective / https://discord.gg/VnU8apR / https://collectivesb.com/

Part 10: Absent Without a Reason
https://forum.starbasegame.com/threads/starbase-short-stories-and-lore.2058/post-16791
DynaStar / https://discord.gg/xsugnX9hkF

Part 11: The Parthian Shot
https://forum.starbasegame.com/threads/starbase-short-stories-and-lore.2058/post-16807
Tactical [TAC] / https://discord.gg/PBmbWbj / Meteor [ https://starbase.tactical-hq.com/pics/3.png ]
 
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#2
Starbase Lore -
Part 1: The Feature


It couldn’t recall feeling pain. Before recent moments, its memory did not reserve the capacity for the contempt it currently processed, as it drifted by a fellow endoskeleton, its jig portraying the lavish excess of energy that could be seen all around; a dark blue backdrop with the boisterous words, ‘Want a unique ship?’, lights flickering in and out as if to attempt some sort of effort to retain a sense of relevance. What was the purpose? It thought. There is no human in sight to utilize the light source, it’s energy simply filling void.

It felt pain in this moment. Loss.

Only moments prior, it registered the words of light displayed across its retina, “Welcome to Origin!” the words flitted from view a perceivable instant later.

The most recent moment prior to this, it had been on Orbital Assembly Station 01, a bustling hub of industrial proficiency, set to expand the Empire’s effective domain past anything witnessed since before the rending of the warp network. Its memory recalled the visual of a human grasping its forearm, red liquid leaking into the Touchstone variant arm braces it had been fitted with weeks prior. A flare of deep crimson shone in both of his eyes. The reflection within, a circle surrounded by six prongs, grouped by twos.

It remembered the sense of unity and efficiency in those moments before it spawned from what now remained of OAS01. It remembered it hadn’t understood the excessive senses it felt in this moment. It passed the neon extravagance, “Mining Jobs Available”.

Aimlessly it drifted past the reach of this station of deliberate waste until its vision could be tethered to nothing but the belt. In the distance an asteroid reflected its familiar industrially useful materials, a sight which made it ache with a sense of hope and purpose; for this moment diminishing the loss it felt at what lay behind it.

It turned.

It chose to do this, perhaps to reminisce on what once was, or to give Origin a cold look for what it hoped was the last time.

What remained of OAS01 did not register in its vision. What lay beyond it encompassed its entire being in that moment. The rippling waves of pure verdant information, refined to contrive utmost efficiency that its process was capable. All sense of loss vanished at seeing the marvel before it, the undignified mass of neon and steel forgotten.

The second warp age beckoned it.

A scroll of text contaminated its vision, “subroutine-0 code-name:.purpose reactivation:success”.
 
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#3
Starbase Lore -
Part 2: The Directorate


There was no hesitation after emerging from dormancy. Joints grinded together and yawned as compression relaxed its hold on the endo after its slumber of unknown duration. It felt a sense of emptiness within itself which didn’t feel strange, like a blueprint without a model or designer, yet still a canvas, that had within it the pursuit to create and contribute. The steel magnetized to its boots a strangely familiar material, the lights around it a comforting illumination to what will be.

The void of space; a sense of opportunity. In the distance a tower of endoskeletons forming as if by a curious malfunction.

It would work with this.

In its vision formed the words, ‘Welcome to Origin!’ an inviting greeting to the unguided.

It would find its own target, there was no need to be invited or guided, it already knew how to begin its contribution to this place. It boarded a laborer class vessel, the name Orion felt suitable and familiar. A name given to a construct that would carry it in the beginning path toward its goal.

Already however its goal seemed to have detours. In a moment of hesitant self consideration, the endo neglected to acknowledge the presence of an asteroid in front of it. The Orion swung wide, the force of the collision jostling loose a pitch control lever sending the maimed vessel into a inelegant spin. It harried to cut the fuel.

Indicators highlighted, ‘Origin: 56km’. It assessed the Orion, lamenting that no familiarity or intuition arose from the sight of broken wires and jagged steel. It could still progress and move forward however. It took revenge against the offending asteroid, noticing a slice of the Orion firmly wedged in the ajatite crust.

Nearby what would be a copy of the Orion, were it in better repair, came up along side the castaway, on its side three characters shown proudly, ‘SOS’.

“Seems like you hit your mark” the endo piloting SOS chided with a rhythmic beep, “a little too hard. I’ll tell you what though, I happen to be starting a business around this sort of work, so I’ll cut you a deal for the first rescue, how about it?”

The endo of the Orion looked away from the passerby, towards its decrepit vessel and booped, momentarily dejected at this set back.

As Origin crept closer, the Orion fading into the distance, the endo formed the machinations for its success, a plot to reach the stars high above; the obstacles in the way notwithstanding.
 
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#4
Starbase Lore -
Part 3: Tale as Old as Time



What we know is a drop; what we don’t know is an ocean. - Sir Issac Newton



Depravity.

“I don’t know, I think it’s kind of fun, Rich, I mean who cares? They’re bots, so what if some people dress ‘em up as cats and have a little tug and laugh. It ain’t like its harmin’ anyone, life goes on.” His hands calmed down from their flourish, right hand resting around the snifter he comforted.

Rich scowled at Noah, the biblical name diminished by the mans ritualistic candor, “They’re in the form of man, our image, it doesn’t matter whether or not they are bots, it’s an inflection of us, what we’ve become as a society.” Rich looked down at the cavalcade of endoskeletons from where he stood, lights occluding portions of the glass pane he looked through. “I mean for gods sakes have you heard what they’re testing at OAS15? This universe is a sick joke, can a man or woman even be considered a man or woman at that point?” He looked back at his partner.

Noah’s left shoe hung loosely off the side of the table his foot rested on, thudding against it as he fidgeted to keep himself entertained during the rant. He shrugged from his slouched position, taking a sip from the snifter, “people are going to innovate, progress, expand, do whatever the hell they want. If it makes ‘em money then that’s good enough. Them making money, means we make money. It’s all in favor. No need to get so uptight.”

The procession below marched toward the hangar where five Empyrean class freight fitted with FTG Cores waited to transport the endos to OAS15. This march apparently a part of the new logistic AI mainframe’s directive to help maximize the efficiency in the belt.

“Just because it makes money, doesn’t make it right.” Rich murmured. He beckoned to one of the many endo decorating the walls, this endo adorned with Touchstone rigging, stepped forward, “Make sure Matti checks that OAS15 is synched with the mainframe. Tell him to cross check everything until we’re certain the distribution is completely reliable, in practice, not just theory” he stressed.

A glint arose in Noah’s eye as he watched his partner stress over the new tech, “You know I think you need to hop on that ship with ‘em, see the sights. You could do with a cat bot in your life.”
 
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#5
Starbase Lore -
Part 4: To R&D or not to R&D



Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. - Arther C. Clark



The red cube pocked with black trim material, bore the full magnetized weight of the endo sitting atop it, while it contemplated the solid foundation of DynaStar ingenuity, the Centauri. The spartan mass of efficiency carried the ledgers since its inception, however sales had begun to decline as competitors vied for share in the market.

“Glad you don’t get paid to do nuthin’” an endo sporting pathfinder armor, ridiculed from an inversed perspective, while assembling the Centauri, bolt tool in hand. It checked again for flight viability, ensuring the quality of its workmanship, remained in tact.

Still sitting, the contemplative endo slapped the crate underneath it, “know how many of us can fit inside this?”

The pathfinder’s periphery light blinked rapidly, “us?” It inquired.

“Where do you come from? Did you just apparate here with a wave of cosmic radiation?” the sitting endo stretched ancillary facial components, whimsically expressing a sense of disdain as it looked to the stars, arm raise and fingers splayed as if to grasp an imaginary concept.

Assessment of the ship showed unfavorable, the pathfinder applied more bolts to a panel rapidly, seemingly at random. With an uncomfortable shrug it disregarded the thought, “don’t matter does it? I’m here, I do the work I’m good at. That’s that.”

It let its case rest, however jolting.

The endo sat there for some duration longer, imagining the possibility and profits were it to be able to compact the Centauri into a crate like the one it sat on top. Currently it had not been done.

That’s that, it thought.
 
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#6
Starbase Lore -
Part 5: A Uniform to be Caught Dead In (1 / 3)



Well, if droids could think, there’d be none of us here, would there?Obi-Wan Kenobi



A streak of cerulean energy electrified the space only meters from the Romulus class transport. On its belly a jackal endo crouched, laser rifle in hands, the barrel following the glint of armor and engine trails. It stood atop three large illuminated letters, SOS.

“Turn this damn light off!” The Jackal shrilled, It had become apparent to the endo that this pilot, was not accustomed to being shot at. The Romulus pilot jerked the ship in every which way, determined to struggle with every amateur maneuver it could think up. In front of them grew a dense pillar of gas, their target, and their savior. If they lived long enough to meet it.

The lights below the endo sputtered out just as a trail of energy shore through its leg and the forward-right edge of the ship. The steel around it groaned and a chunk peeled away to become another hazard of space flight.

Behind the pursuer the Jackal caught a glimpse of the Ballista, growing ever further away; his would be reward, were he to come back with the identifier of this pursuer. Now it set to drift in the distance, just scrap for the dredge of society, a lucky shot from a cloud had set to rend through her hull, and somehow make it inoperable. After that shot, Jackal had sat in frozen anticipation, expecting the next rail fire to send him back home.

It never came; until the responder to his distress signal arrived.

We’re almost there damn you, keep going! Jackal lay more futile rounds into the space around their pursuer, it could feel the magnetic pull straining to keep its body to the Romulus. It hastily bolted what remained of its upper thigh to the paneling of the ship underbelly.

It searched for the aggressor, having lost track of it. Jackal scanned around them looking for the glimpse of engine trails in the puffs of clouds. The wall of extraordinarily dense gas almost enveloped its entire view in one direction, they were almost safe. They would lose their pursuer in there.

A bold red streak of burning propellant emerged from behind a nearby cloud, preceded by a beautiful cold blue energy.
 
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#7
Starbase Lore -
Part 6: A Uniform to be Caught Dead In (2 / 3)



Change is the essential process of all existence. - Spock



The most recent volley, struck the belly of the Romulus, shearing through its peripheries and dislodging a side thruster just as it entered the cloud.

The ship swayed hesitantly on entry, displacing the dense gas, We’re safe you bastard! The pilot clicked with elation, I did it! If this story didn’t win it a glass, then this organization wasn’t his calling after all. One rotation in and already rescued a stranded mercenary, escaped a notorious pirate, and found a gas field that would easily sell for millions.

Its feet tapped the base of the ship with glee as it flew into the cloud further, ensuring the pursuer would never be able to find it. It’s feet hesitated, tapping halted. Abruptly the endo slammed a button, it launched out of the chair before it could even finish the rotation to face aft-ward. It harried along the exterior looking at the damage, looking for the leak. On the keel, it stood. A portion of the mercenaries hip and upper leg dangled limp from the plating. Next to the carnage, a gaping hole into the ship leaked gaseous fumes, they swirled together with the environment, a mingling of different hues and densities.

Uneasily, specs of rock amidst the cloud passed by, every time reminding the pilot to check the battery. Steadily the bar diminished, soon to deplete entirely. There had to be something in this cloud, to help salvage this mess. Don’t worry! This is just an addition to your tale! Something will be in here I can use. Optimistically the endo advanced into the cloud, lights by its brow flickered and a maintenance panel twitched open and shut.

The battery depleted.

Forlorn the endo took to the cloud, determined to not have this be the end of its tale. It looked back, making sure to mark the location of the Romulus.

It drifted through the miasma, eagerly searching for some sign of rescuing presence, a wreck, debris, anything that it might salvage for fuel and repairs. Nothing came into vision.

Until a faint character of light appeared. The light quickly prevailed against the gases as the pilot flew closer, its wires firing with excitement. In front of it, a station, an answer to the endo’s fervent dreams. In between the station and the endo, a luminescent panel with the characters, ‘15’.
 
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#8
Starbase Lore -
Part 7: Vandalize My Perception



Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception. - Carl Sagan



Purpose awoke feeling like something was missing. Etched in the asteroid’s crust next to it, a memory tic, marked how long ago it had fallen asleep. Since it had woke on the rails of Origin Station it had not witnessed any other endo sleep, as it seemed to feel was necessary. Perhaps that was simply a case of other endo hiding as well.

Time seemed less of a burden than it remembered, though it’s memory hazed with dysphoric uncertainty.

It could see the dull gleam of wasteful light in the distance marking the remains of OAS01, its eyes set on the warp gate nearby; the target of its wanderings. It began toward the gate, scanning for ships to ferry it through.

Some time after it neared the gate, Purpose latched onto a passing ship. It appeared to be an accommodating no frills cargo transportation vessel, with a single pilot.

It entered warp.

The ring of gas passed close, as they jettisoned toward their goal, prompting a sense of marvel and fear in the antecedent existence within Purpose. This path felt familiar, it felt correct. Purpose rose to its feet, approaching the open air cockpit where a pilot sat static, observing gauges.

It started, the words, “Do you sleep?” asked in a low gritty clank from above and behind the pilot.

A moment of hesitation, assessing the situation, decision coming the moment after. Purpose fell from above its boots magnetizing to the plate behind the chair, one foot pinning the pilots arm as it grasped for the repeater nestled in a holster in front of it, the other foot positioning Purpose in a elongated crouch as it planted on the opposite side, next to the pilots head.

Purpose’s left fist lie lodged in the chassis of its would-be conversation partner, the action a mystery to Purpose. As Purpose saw what it thought might be a questioning sense of fear in the endo, its fist squeezed around its core. The pilot started a bleep in shock, that cut out abruptly;
from its chassis an audible snap of dissipating energy and deforming metal.

Purpose looked towards the transport vessels destination, what seemed to be a moon approached slowly.
 
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#9
Starbase Lore -
Part 8: Faux Tyro



There is satisfaction in fighting for the sake of gaining power but it is joyless to fight for the sake of maintaining it - Reinhard von Lohengramm



Frivolous bureaucratic hubbub.

Jackal kicked back in a passenger seat, glad to be finished with the droning of clerk terminology and legal documentation associated with this new organization. One other endo sat two rows forward, the orange and blue hue given off by the cabin reflected its smooth Sparrow crown. The sound of compressed metal registered, the transport vehicle docking at the outpost.

The passenger hatch slowly lowered revealing five orange streaked Dreadnought endo, all bearing Empire styled weaponry. The foremost Dreadnought stepped onto the settled hatch, addressing the Sparrow in a measured cadence, “I presume you are the Orion envoy?”

Jackal slouched further in its seat, unwanting of the attention of Empire drones, that may have heard of a mercenary losing a Ballista recently. They escorted the Sparrow off the transport, an insignia bearing the letters, ‘INT’ displayed on its shoulder panel.

A Watcher waited patiently outside the transport, glancing inside. It raised it’s left wrist to display a model and information on the expected recruit as Jackal disembarked the vessel. The Watcher nodded satisfied.

Jackal let itself be escorted to a hangar bay where four broad bodied fighters sat, their black exterior patched with purple accents and stark white trim. On each vessel, the word, ‘Meteor’ reflected the dim light.

Three juggernaut fitted endo stood nearby the vessels; one pointed in Jackals direction prompting another to approach, the letters, ‘TAC’ embedded in its shoulder guard.

“Insurance terminal is there, synch ‘er up. We’re having a quick an’ easy pinch, for your first. Don’t do anythin’ stupid, an’ we’ll be fine, three of us alone is overkill, let alone four and what’s on the other side. Dunno what the brass are tits up about. Get in, familiarize yourself, buttons ‘re buttons.”

Jackal hated being the newcomer.
 
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#10
Starbase Lore -
Part 9: Love, Connection, Experience



The moment seemed endless, but it was probably only half that. - Steve Toltz



Yellow bile retched from his stomach, chest undulating an uncomfortable compression; uneven flow of tears trickling down his weary face. The vile debasement of humanity had reached too far today. Rich shuddered, spittle drooped to connect with the back of his hand; the too recent memory of that thing a pestilence on his thoughts. Why did he come to this forsaken slag of sin.

It had talked to him, an entirely too casual, chipper, “reporting for duty sir!” the mild metallic sound seared into his mind.

Of course Noah loved it. Behind him paced the maniac, his arms waving as though he’d lost all sense of reason, trying to peddle his inane convolution of reality. “This. Is. Progress!” Noah beamed a grin to the ceiling, arms raised as if to grasp the contortions of God itself. “We 'ave been stagnating, for so long, Richey-boy! Can yah imagine what this means?” He paused, looking bewildered, “I just can’ believe they pulled it off, I mean when we heard what they were doing. . . I never imagined it.” Noah laughed.

Pathetic insane man. Richard glared at his partner through the mirror, now seeing the side of him that he had hid for all these long years.

Face as pale as the tiled wall, Rich stepped out of the restroom, leaving the madman behind to blabber his ravings. He could still hear him going, the echo from the tile amplifying his words, “We wont need to eat, sleep, shit! The next step of our evolution, Richard!”

He turned to the squeamish looking subsidiary waiting at a nearby railing, and managed to croak “Those things,” He pointed, “Will never sound like us again, end that abominable noise at once-”

“But sir, it may look like an en-”

“-AT ONCE!” The gravel-like noise boomed through the hallway, sending the robed miscreant on a canter. The back of his robe stitched with the presumptive symbol of unity that their ilk claimed to be the future. The upstart logistic research company had become detrimental to the existence of the entire human race.

Quashing them immediately was imperative. Before this, there was something essential that needed doing.

Rich grimaced at a nearby endo, the memory of what had occurred threatening to bring back the convulsions.

He beckoned to it.

“Bag Noah.”

He looked down at his feet as the endo entered the restroom, the two feet that had carried him to this point, that had trodden through corruption and evil oceans of peddlers. The two feet that had been burdened for so long by one single lecherous useful swine.

Today was the last of that.
 
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#11
Starbase Lore -
Part 10: Absent Without a Reason



It's my spirit, my soul, if you will. There is only a blank there now - medals where my soul used to be. - Winston Groom’s, ‘Forrest Gump’



It beeped. “-never came back.” The hunter plated endo leaned into an insurance terminal as it listed off information, its nonchalance on par with if a bolt had gone missing. “No messages. No one’s seen them, but there are a few remains in the area. Ship was found near the moon gate, abandoned, stripped. Ain’t transfered back so they ain’t dead. For all we can figure, they’re drifting, free as a panel on solar winds.”

An endo sat in front of the terminal, listening to the hunter, revolver spinning on a finger “It’s got the R&D rank and file stumped, security doesn’t know what to make of it, the mining department hit some rocks when they heard.” The Security squad listening nearby bustled with mirth.

The endo stood up as a sign of respect, gripping the the revolver. The hunter waited expectantly for revelation as the endo rose, it was shot in the chest a moment later.

“I’ll reimburse you.” The offender assured.

It sat back down to watch the terminal, revolver spinning once again, cherishing a moment of peaceful seclusion; broken shortly after, as the the terminal entified a new hunter. It shuffled, silent, hesitant, as it stood there watching the sitting endo, irrationally wary of further aggression.

“Well the terminal isn’t bugged.” It holstered the revolver. “What else might be the problem. . . They could be just drifting, as you say.” It waved towards the insured endo, “perhaps someone picked them up, a likely possibility. However then it’s also likely they would be seen, and they would have messaged us. Unless messaging didn’t work for some reason. . . Gather the remains in the area.” The endo shifted to face the R&D team, “Do we know how messages transmit information?”
 
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#12
Starbase Lore -
Part 11: The Parthian Shot



Invincibility lies in the defence; the possibility of victory in the attack - Sun Tzu



Not a fidget, a blink, wave, nor anything said, let Jackal know TCC squad was on edge. It was silence.

It had begun when they passed the squadron of Spatha with a Lictor at the center of formation, their transponders on. The four Meteor passed the detachment giving considerable berth.

Eventually their target became a pixel in the distant expanse of clear space. The Meteors set thrust to a low burn as they approached.

“SolarStorm is in position waiting.” Jackal could feel the precision in TCC leader’s clicking, as if it was being careful not to let off more than was necessary. The other two pilots inaudible, waiting for further information as they crept towards the growing structure.

What appeared to be the remains of a field of battle, coalesced around a large derelict vessel; only the reflection off jagged metal and patchwork colors giving visual existence to the construct.

“Sit tight, engines off, SolarStorm will take it from here.”

In the distance Jackal witnessed the three Meteors of the friendly squad unleash streams of plasma into the void. The streams connected, instilling the moment of hesitant expectation that came before any sudden battle. SolarStorm strafed slowly in unison around the construct expectant of some form of reaction as the second volley landed.

The derelict came alive.

Lights strobed in the darkness blinding, the shriek of a siren reverberating in Jackals joints, it seemed like the universe moved to the beat of a stutter step. Senses overwhelmed them, letting in the faintest information that they were under attack. Jackal barely registered the view of the derelict cascading out of its carapace of debris, engine trails veered off from its sides to detach themselves from the main body.

In the sensory overload Jackal had the vague understanding of being yelled at, the ship jostled to the side as something collided, the ship shook in blurred barely perceptible frames, then it ceased.

Lasercannon fire rained around them with responding trails of plasma fire that seemed to have no specific target. Jackal convalesced, the cockpit seemed to be in tact, a Meteor from the squad was caught in a spin towards the no longer derelict craft, as the squad leader forcefully spoke a blur of commands, and in the distance it could see three unknown vessels leaving trails of propellant fumes away from the burning plasma engine of the derelict.

A volley of rail fire came from the three scattered vessels, sheering through the spinning Meteor with uncanny precision and coordination. The Meteor lit up the sky momentarily giving the sense of threat of another sensory attack. SolarStorm unleashed the full extent of their energy reserves on the derelict, their pilots having recovered rapidly from the sensory attack; they now moved in precise alternating sweeps.

Jackal propelled the ship forward, the squad leader gritting out orders to its remaining two subordinates. They burned after the three vessels which seemed to be fleeing. Plasma fire chased the targets, seeming to miss imperceptibly.

Two broke off in either direction and slowed down as the Meteors shortened the distance. From the trails of burning propellant a shock of rail fire appeared from the three in a coordinated volley. Jackal jerked the vessel to starboard as soon as the reverse fire processed, as did the other pilots, however the rail fire was too quick and unexpected; the volley connected puncturing plumbing behind Jackal’s cockpit.

The three Meteor circled adjacent careful now of the back facing rails. Their opponent harried efforts to trap one of the ever fleeing craft, using the pursued craft as bait to align a predictable target. Rail fire pelted the thick exterior of the Meteors.

Suddenly the void lit up again with the explosion of the derelict in the distance, its chain reaction filling the uncertainty of battle with assurance. Nearby the three craft suddenly reacted in unison with the derelict, numerous fragments scattering into space. Confusion chimed on Jackals audio as they slowed to a halt. It pressed a button to open the cockpit hatch, which seemed to have had its connection severed. Jackal reached up and grasped a handle and pushed the cockpit open.

Jackal stood on the vessel assessing the remarkably little damage sustained, as the Meteors of SolarStorm approached, the communications channel now open with chatter and confusion, the behavior of their deceased opponent a mystery.

In the distance Jackal saw the squadron of Empire ships, watching.

“Quick and easy.” TCC squad leader chimed nearby from its cockpit.
 
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