Orbital Has Fallen

Foster sat back in his seat. "I never intended to initiate a draft of any kind, and I know the Articles of Colonization. I'm not about to cross major lines just to save this colony. If that's ever the case, then maybe the colony isn't worth saving." He looked away from Shin and grimaced. "As for Novak and Clarke Island it seems that, at the very least, Mr. Novak is willing to work with us. If the Clarke Island Elders are as well, then all the better. Right now we..."

He was cut off by the sound of his radio, it was a direct line from Orbital. "Colonel, we've got two contacts that just dropped out of FTL. They've launched fighters and boarding craft."

Foster looked to Shin. "It's happening."

---

Joseph was nursing his wounds in a holding cell. That damn android, Matsunari, knew just where to hit him to make it hurt. And no one had bothered giving him anything to kill the pain. He didn't expect such kindness anymore, and he knew he didn't deserve it. At this point, it didn't matter. The attack was supposed to be happening now, they'd go for Orbital first. Having an orbital station capable of bombarding the surface of the planet would give the raiding party an edge in taking the colony.

Joseph knew that this would be a short battle. The Jericho and the colony wouldn't be able to put up much of a fight once Orbital was taken. They'd have to surrender, or they'd be blasted back to the stone age.

---

Link saw seven more tick ships land and clamp onto the hull. And he was only one man in a clunky suit, he couldn't get to them all. He'd managed to sabotage just two more ships, but by then someone seemed to have noticed and before he realized it a fighter started attacking him.

Link braced himself against a nearby tick ship in the hopes that the fighter wouldn't fire on its own team. This bought him some breathing room for a moment as the fighter pulled back and got caught up in the ensuing dogfight between the Colonial fighters and the wildcat raiders.

"We need to get back inside," Sparks said.

"I know." Link agreed. "But we'll get cut to shreds if we try to make it to the nearest airlock."

"Maybe we should make a distraction?" Sparks suggested.

"With what?" Link asked.

"I dunno, you're the human with the fancy human brain. Improvise!"

Link rolled his eyes before looking around for something, anything, he could use to try and get out of this mess. All he had were his tools, Sparks and... then his eyes fell onto the tick ship he was standing by for cover.

"Maybe..." he said to himself...

---

Gunfire echoed through the corridors of Orbital. Teams of marines were trying to defend crucial areas of the station from the boarding parties but the wildcats were vicious in their strategies. The boarding parties were clad in space suits with sufficient armor to deflect the rounds the marines used on board the station, which were better suited for soft targets and designed not to penetrate the hull. The wildcats were using armor piercing rounds and seemed to have little care about whether they decompressed sections of the station or not.

It was soon becoming clear that the wildcats were winning this fight. The CO of Orbital, Natalie Barclay, realized this and decided to order a complete evacuation of the station. However, she had decided to stay behind, and while her men and women figured she was staying to make sure the fleeing escape pods were covered as they descended to the planet, she had another thing in mind as well as that.

Orbital had once been part of the Jericho. It was the main drive that housed the ship's FTL engine. Due to regulations, it was deemed too hazardous to have land on the planet along with the rest of the ship, so it was decoupled and turned into an orbiting space station. This was for a variety of reasons ranging from the potential radiological dangers of the drive's main core, to the potential of it exploding should it be overloaded.

And that was Barclay's plan. To initiate an overload and destroy the station. If she had any luck the explosion would take out the attacking ships as well, though at the moment she was just focused on making sure Orbital didn't fall into the hands of the wildcats.

Once satisfied that all members of the station had evacuated she locked off the drive room and set about initiating the overload.

---

Lovell reached the CIC of the Jericho to find Foster standing at the large holographic display showing the space battle ensuing overhead. Foster turned and regarded him with a frown.

"Where the hell have you been?" Foster asked.

"Trying to find a cure for this damned plague we've got." Lovell said.

"I'd say we have more pressing matters now, Doctor." Foster said.

"What do we have?"

"One carrier and a cruiser." Foster said. "They're trying to take Orbital, and from the chatter it sounds like they're going to seize it."

"Have we launched fighters?" Lovell asked.

"As many as we can, though a lot of them were sick when this happened. We're short handed on pilots." Foster sighed. "This couldn't have happened at a more perfect time..."

Lovell looked at the hologram of the battle and shook his head. Perhaps it was time to suggest to Foster his bioforming plan? However, before Lovell could speak the 3D image of Orbital suddenly disappeared.

"What the hell just happened?" Lovell asked.

"We're getting reports of escape pods and fleeing craft from Orbital." One of the techs monitoring the situation announced. "Evidence of a massive explosion are coming in from short range sensors."

"Did they destroy the station?" Lovell asked.

"No," Foster shook his head. "We stopped them from taking it."

"You blew up our own station?" Lovell exclaimed.

"I believe Commander Barclay did." Foster said. "And she may have saved our asses by doing so."

"How so?" Lovell asked.

"If the wildcats had taken the station they would've been able to bombard the colony from orbit if they so pleased." Foster said. "Now... things are in our favor..." He looked to the hologram and saw that while Orbital had managed to take out a number of the wildcat fighters, it had not been able to destroy the two enemy ships. They were already changing course to enter the planet's atmosphere. He straightened his posture. "Alright, people. This is it. They're coming..."

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