A short story based on the events told by some of our talented writers on the forums

Chapter One

Chommel Sector
14 Days after the attacks

The small framed woman knelt huddled over a small fire inside the cave....

Two weeks prior she had been snug in the cockpit of her fighter. The battle group had been on patrol through the sector. As many flights, there was little to pass the time outside of flying the nimble fighter. Her com system crackled as the voice of her wingman sounded "Banshee, you awake over there?" The question made her grin. "Yes Prism, unlike you I can stay awake. What is your fuel state?" The com was quiet until the flyer spoke again. "82 percent, Skipper." came the response. The deep voice of their wing commander broke up the conversation. "Three flight, cut the chatter and tighten up. Reading something on the long range scans. Could be clutter, or something actually there. Two flight, remain on station, three flight, check it out."

That is when a boring patrol turned into hell.

The four fighters of three flight boosted their engines toward the scanner anomaly. The wing commander reports the situation to the small, but powerful picket force of Republic ships. Com chatter fades into the background as Banshee focuses on her piloting. The other members of three flight hang in formation with her lead ship in what is referred to as a diamond pattern. "Prism, keep my wing, Shad, you and Shrike hang back and cover." The response calls sounded and the four fighters break into two pairs. Banshee pushes the throttles forward and starts a slow port side bank, Prism hangs off on her right wing. "Prism, check scanners, mine is picking up to much scatter. Can you see anything from there?" The pilot of the second fighter began to respond. "Contacts Banshee, four.. five.." The communication ended with a shriek, and her fighter was rocked by the waves of a near explosion. Banshee looked at the scanner and saw the blue triangle indicating her wingman vanish as she looked over her shoulder at the expanding fireball that was once Prism and his ship. "Command, we are under fire, heavy fire, I am declaring an emergency.. my wingman is gone.." She looked up through the top of her canopy as she banked her ship sharply. A wave of ships, fighters and bombers dove on her from the scanner anomaly. "Heavy enemy contacts, three flight, get out of here, head back to the rest of the wing!" Red and gold blaster fire rained down around her as she tipped her wings and drove the fighter into a twisting course. Small eruptions bloom around her as near misses brush her shields. Banshee flipped switches in the cockpit, adjusting shields as needed and trying to squeeze as much juice out of other systems to shunt into her engines and shields. Her com system was a mess of signals as fleet orders and reports flooded through. A force of capital ships appeared out of hyperspace within firing range of the large Republic cruisers. The overwhelming wave of enemy fighters and bombers decimated the Republic flyers, just by sheer numbers. Banshee watched as ships vanished from her scope, a flight of twelve ships was down to two, herself, and her wing commander. "Banshee, head to the planet, this shitstorm isn't going to end well, dive for the planet.." His signal cut out as his ship exploded.

As Banshee rolled her fighter to line up with Rori, she glimpsed at the remains of the picket. Three of the heavy cruisers were wrecks, rolling in orbit bleeding shrapnel, steam, and life pods. The enemy forces had caught them completely off guard. The enemy capital ships were moving as one and tearing the Republic ships apart. A shudder of her ship snapped her back to reality. Blaster fire peppered her shields, she twisted once more, then dove for the atmosphere of Rori. Her ship slowed as she leveled off and checked her scanners, six enemy ships were closing on her. Inside the young woman a fire suddenly erupted. She growled a curse and brought the nose of her ship around, shunting shields forward and arming weapons systems. "You kriffin animals want a fight.. now you have one." The snarling tone of target locks sounded in her helmet as the computer locked firing solutions into the four lethal concussion missiles that hung under her wings. She spoke, to herself, as she lined up for the fight. "Target locked.. one.. two.. three.. and four.. and release." The four missiles flared as she tapped the control on the flight stick four times. She flicked another switch to change from ordinance to guns. Off in the distance one of the enemy ships exploded, then a second, then a third. The fourth missile missed and detonated when the on-board computer indicated it would not meet its intended target. Three to one odds were still pretty stiff, but Banshee had faced them before. When the range indicator flashed, she held back the triggers on the front and wing mounted cannons. The center enemy bore the brunt of the attack, flashes of lights pepper the fighter as cannon rounds hammered it. Banshee was rewarded with a series of sparks and the enemy ship began to trail black smoke. The enemy gave as well as they took. Her ship shook violently as heavy fire hammered her shields into expanded gas. A spark on her panel as one, then another system shorted out. She heard and felt the right engine on her ship shred itself. Banshee cut power to that engine, and banked the stricken fighter around for another pass. Two of the enemy ships mirrored her move, in hopes of getting a shot into her ship. The third, the wounded bird tried to keep up with the others but had suffered enough damage, his ship couldn't. Banshee brought the targeting cross hairs toward the ship, and when they met she pulled the triggers. Three out of four cannons spat fire at the enemy. The ship exploded in a fireball that Banshee flew through. She nosed her ship down toward the surface and punished her remaining engine by shoving the throttles to full. She looked over her shoulder just as her wounded fighter rocked under fire. And explosion and her left wing peeled away, trailing a vaporized stream of fluid, sparks, and debris. "Kriff!" Her fighter twisted into an uncontrolled dive, shedding parts of itself. All power instantly vanished, leaving Banshee without control. The experienced pilot rode the carnage and watched the read out on the HUD in her helmet, still active as it drew power from her flight suit.

As the ground grew nearer and nearer Banshee grabbed the yellow and black striped handles near the back of her pilots seat and yanked them both. She felt the kick of ejection jets and the canopy blasted free of the fighter. She rocketed away from her fighter as it fell, and turned in her seat to find the enemy. The two fighters were far above her. She frowned as they circled, unsure as to why they hadn't finished her off when could have done so easily. When the ejection seat crashed through trees Banshee braced for impact. The counter grav functioned enough to keep her alive, but the landing was not gentle. She unhooked her harness, and reached for her scanner and weapon. Once she was secure, she got the travel pack from the back of the seat, with survival gear, rations, and a beacon. As she stripped out of her flight suit, she learned why the enemy ships hadn't followed her down. The scanner showed multiple contacts around her. If the ships had fired on her, they chanced killing their brethren on the ground. That meant an invasion force. "Kriff.."

~ to be continued ~