Star Fleet Genesis - Remembrance and Early WarningRemembrance
As Shiro headed towards his quarters after his visit to the science section, he was aware of the looks he was drawing from the civilian Moon Base personnel. They parted as he approached, nodded to him, but he could almost hear their accusations and sensed something more - their fear. He could hardly blame them - but after all the pain the solar system had been subjected to in the last year, he somehow felt that people should be stronger now. It troubled him that the human spirit was so readily depleted.
Once back in his quarters he slept fitfully again, despite being near exhaustion from the ongoing patrols of the past few weeks. Memories of earlier confrontations with the Alliance return - but this time the X-Bomber crew loses their battles, leaving Earth a charred hulk dead in space and the Imperial Master more powerful then ever. Again Dr Benn appears, accusing Shiro of abandoning him to the Alliance's tender mercies.
Shiro woke up screaming. Enough was enough. If he was to exorcise his demons, the Alliance had to end. Not just their current attack, but the entire Empire. Removing the Imperial Master wasn't enough - and for whatever reason F Zero One is taking no action to support the solar system. So it falls to the crew of the X-Bomber to do the impossible once again. Shiro punches the comms panel.
Hercules and Lee arrive a few minutes later. "I'm sorry for waking you so early, but I wanted to discuss this with you both as soon as possible. A few months ago we stood together next to Dr Benn's grave on Callinian and swore an oath - to take the fight to the Alliance in order to create a lasting peace. I'd hoped that the F Zero One's victory over the Imperial Master had brought that peace about - but as we've discovered, it's only brought us some breathing space."
Hercules broke in. "Shiro, I want to finish off the Alliance as much as you do - you know that. Right now, we're chasing shadows - we don't even know what's happened in the Thalian Zone since the destruction of the Imperial Master's fortress. So how are you planning on going toe to toe with them?"
Lee added his thoughts. "Hercules is right. As much as I love playing the hero, good intentions aren't going to get us very far - we need a plan."
Shiro nodded. "I know. Right now, I have no way of knowing where we need to strike to cause the Alliance maximum damage."
Lee caught the conditional. "'Right now?' Shiro, why do I get the feeling you've got something up your sleeve?"
Shiro was starting to reply when the entry request sounded. He smiled, stood up and hit the door open button - and a familiar yellow object flew into the room. Hercules groaned, Lee chuckled.
PPA landed on the table in the middle of the quarters. "I see your promotions have left you as insolent as ever. It is a pity you cannot be upgraded as efficiently as me."
The three pilots exchanged amused looks. Shiro asked PPA to give his report.
"Certainly. Lieutenant Hagen requested that I analyse all sectors in the vicinity of Imperial attacks for indications of an enemy mothership. Although sensors are still somewhat limited I could not detect any Imperial base of operations in empty space or on any planetary body."
Shiro shook his head. "You must have missed something PPA. There has to be an Alliance command and control vessel out there. All our scans indicate that the enemy craft we've engaged are identical to those previously encountered - there's no way they can be operating so readily without a base of operations."
PPA quivered with indignation. "I agree that logic dictates the existence of such a vessel, however, I have been unable to identify any evidence of such a vessel."
Lee spoke up. "PPA, you said it yourself - EDF sensors still aren't 100% after the F Zero One Campaign. Let's have a look at the images you have for the attack sectors. Perhaps us inferior humans will spot something you overlooked?!"
PPA doesn't rise to the bait, and the pilots settle back to examine the hundreds of images already captured and analysed by the dimunitive droid. After half an hour of looking at images projected onto the wall of Shiro's quarters by PPA Lee notices something.
"PPA, hold that image. What comet is that?"
"Data from scans indicates that the comet is designated Halley's Comet."
Lee is silent for a moment. Hercules looks over to him, stretching. "What're you thinking Lee?"
Lee waves Hercules silent. "PPA, what sector was Halley's Comet passing through when that image was captured?"
"Delta Nine One Five."
Lee frowned. "PPA - what parameters did you use to confirm the comet's identity?"
"Mass, spectral analysis and surface contour scans."
"PPA - that may look like Halley's Comet, it may even be Halley's Comet - but it's 50 years early, by my reckoning. Incorporate trajectory match into your analysis."
PPA was silent for a moment. "Incorporating trajectory data into my analysis indicates that the current position of Halley's Comet is anomalous. I would point out that I was not requested to search for known bodies with anomalous trajectories by Lieutenant Hagen."
Shiro shot a look at PPA and turned to Lee. "Lee, is Halley's Comet large enough for an Alliance cruiser to hide in? Could it be using it for cover?"
Lee considered the possibility. "It's big enough - but PPA said the spectral analysis and mass were OK so I'm not sure if a cruiser could be in there. That said, we know they did something in the outer solar system to cause Pluto Beta base to be bombarded - it's possible that they've got something in mind for Halley's Comet."
Silence descended on the room. Eventually, Shiro broke it. "If we go to Star Fleet Command with this, the Imperials are going to pick up on it. They must be monitoring our communications and fleet movements to be able to strike as effectively as they have. If we suddenly take the X-Bomber out, they're also going to know something's up. We've got to have surprise on our side if we're going to pull this off."
Hercules interrupted him. "Alright Shiro - we get the picture. We're on our own on this one. So what's the plan?"
Shiro stood up, walked up to the window and looked out at Earth as it rose over the horizon. "We're not going to be entirely on our own, Hercules. This is what I have in mind..."
The pilots talk for another hour before Lee and Hercules leave for their own quarters. PPA leaves shortly afterwards. Shiro finally manages to sleep - and for once, his ghosts are silent.
Last updated 14 December 2013