Incursion

Foster scanned the hologram map of the colony and the approaching ships. Everyone was in place, what few pilots that weren't sick were in the air and ready to engage the incoming group of fighters. Defensive lines had been established at various positions around the perimeter of the colony, as well as inside while non-combat personnel were sent to their designated safety areas (and due to those safety areas being established in the event of dragon attacks they were effectively underground bunkers which turned out to be a saving grace in this situation).

They were as ready as they would ever be.

At least from outside attack. And when Novak called Foster up to tell him about the two men disguised as miners who had tried to kill him suddenly Foster had to worry about similar spies within his own ranks.

The last thing he needed was for everyone to start mistrusting each other, so he opted to share the news with only a select few of the higher ranking members under his command, which included Shin among some others. He'd hope that keeping an eye out for suspicious activity would help quell this issue, at the very least prevent these fuckers from trying to undermine their defense efforts...

---

Joseph listened to the repeating warning message sent out on the ship's PA about the impending attack. His head was throbbing and the idea that the fateful day was finally here didn't dull the pain he was under. The guilt.

He thought about Yuki, of all people. That sweet kid who died in the first dragon attack. He hadn't thought about her in a while. It seemed like another lifetime ago when that happened. Yet now, he wondered how she'd think of him betraying her family and friends. Betraying his oath to protect the colony.

He tried to lie to himself, to say this was the only way he could've gotten out without becoming another slave. That this attack was inevitable even if he hadn't helped the seperatists gather information. That it was better to be a slaver than a slave. But he was kidding himself.

He continued to feel sorry for himself when he heard a single gunshot behind the door to the brig he now called home. He looked up and saw the door open, revealing a man in plain colonial garb who looked at Joseph with familiarity.

"Figured you'd appreciate a jailbreak." The Seperatist spy said as he unlocked the cell door.

"I half-expected you to leave me to rot." Joseph said.

"You held your end of the bargain. Once this is over, you'll be hailed as a hero, you know." The spy handed Joseph a pistol.

"Yeah..." Joseph took the pistol. He didn't feel like a hero.

"You look like shit." The spy said. "Feel up to this?"

Joseph checked to see if the pistol was loaded and the safety switched off. He nodded. "Yeah... Come on. First thing we should do is get to engineering and sabotage power distribution."

"No power for their fancy toys." The spy smirked. "You know the layout of this ship, I'll follow you."

Joseph nodded and, somewhat reluctantly. Started down the corridor towards engineering.

---

Link was somewhat surprised by the save by Holiday, but thoroughly grateful nonetheless. That was, until Link realized what a bullet-riddled mess the man's ship was becoming.

"Stop getting your ship shot up!" Link shouted into his radio as he started to get to work fixing the ship. However, that overloaded heat sink was starting to worry Link.

"Sparks! Get to work!" Link shouted. "I want you to bypass the damaged lines in the main drive's coolant system and redirect some of that coolant to the heat sinks so we don't blow up. It would help if we didn't blow up right this instant, after all."

"Running bypass. Redirecting coolant..." Sparks let out a digital sigh of exasperation. "Coolant line is leaking like motherfucker."

"Then pump more through, just so that enough gets to the sinks." Link said.

"There's a chance we'll end up overheating the main drive if it loses too much coolant."

"Right now not blowing up takes precedence." Link said. "Just keep an eye on the coolant levels and try to keep things as balanced as you can. I gotta see to patching up some of these damn holes..." He hailed Holiday as he got to work. "So we won't blow up right this very minute, though I can't promise we won't blow up at some later point. I highly recommend landing this bird as soon as you can..."

"Coolant levels are dropping, heat sinks still approaching critical." Sparks announced.

"Preferably in water if you can find any..." Link added.

---

Novak hefted the shotgun he'd borrowed from Kimiko and stepped out onto a rocky outcropping that overlooked the mining settlement and gazed up as a small squadron of attack ships that were soaring down towards mine.

Novak regarded the sight with a frown, though he didn't seem too concerned. That was because the mine had already been evacuated and all of Novak's people had retreated to the safety of their hidden bases peppered throughout the area.

This was the part where Novak would wait. He was a man who liked to take stock of an unfolding situation and make his move when the best opportunity presented itself. And at the moment, biding his time and letting these wildcat bastards have their fun was what he needed to let happen. Still, it hurt to watch his mining operation get blown to hell as the fighters did bombing runs on the entire camp.

Oh well. He thought to himself. They'll pay for it all in full.

Novak wasn't doing nothing, however. He had sent weapons and supplies to Foster's men, things that no rinky-dink military contingent on a colony would have (even someone as powerful as Central weren't above cutting corners after all). Hopefully, it would help turn the tide of this battle in their favor.

---

Lovell was watching as the battle unfolded in front of him on the big, holographic screen which hovered above the main table in the CIC. It suddenly dawned on him that this wasn't a simple raiding party. The level of effort these wildcats were putting into this suggested they meant to take Jericho's Landing.

Lovell could feel fear gripping his soul. The possibility of these animals actually claiming this world from them was horrifyingly real now. And Lovell didn't like that. Everyone was pitching in to try and fend off this attack. Yet here he stood, feeling impotent as he watched the battle unfold.

No... He thought to himself. I won't just stand by and let this happen...

Lovell turned and left the CIC, Foster noticed and frowned. "Where are you going?"

Lovell turned to look at Foster. "I think there may be something I can do to help us in this fight..."

"You care to share it with me?" Foster asked. He was, after all, the leader of Jericho's Landing now that Miller was gone. Yet Lovell knew what he had in mind would get rejected by Foster. So he decided to lie to the man. "If we have more manpower, we'd be in better shape. I've been working on finding a cure for this plague that's taken our legs out from under us. If we can get those sick back into the game as soon as possible we may have a chance. I believe I have the cure to this plague figured out now. I can introduce it into the crew's cryo-pods from the life-support system." And Lovell knew the best lies had a kernel of truth to them. Lovell was going to cure those people, the same way he intended to cure Madison.

Foster stared at him for a moment. "Why didn't you say anything sooner?"

"I was a bit distracted what with the impending attack. But I've already done simulations, I am certain this will work." Lovell said with absolute certainty.

Foster sighed and nodded. "Fine. Get to work. If this does work I'll name my next kid after you."

Lovell smirked, though he knew what he was about to do wouldn't be seen in such a kind light by Foster once the deed was done. "Thank you, Colonel." Lovell then turned and marched out of the CIC.

After he did, Foster turned to look back at the screen.

"Sir, the enemy ship's are on a course for the colony. The bigger one is estimated to land in the nearby lake."

"Send in any ships we have to try and stop that ship from landing. If they do make it down, I want every available walker and a contingent of soldiers to the lake to try and keep them there for as long as they can. Continue to monitor and update me to any further developments."

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