Location: In space near Eshan
Allies: CIS and Allies |
Enemies: Mandalorians and Enemies
Objective: Clear Space of Mandalorian Assets and help secure freedom for Eshan
Silence ruled the bridge, even the mechanical beep and pulse of the electronics seemed muted, seemed to fade away, an answer to the cold icicle that had seemed to grasp John, sliding down his back and freezing him in place. The cyborg wanted to cry out, wanted to scream and beat his hands against the screens infront of him, but he couldn’t move, he couldn’t tear his eyes away from the sight on the viewscreen, the smoke and fire, the sheer devastation that had spread across the city. Unbidden the ensign sitting at the sensor station tapped at his controls, spawning a series of boxes on the screen zooming in on the city. John’s eyes flicked from image to image, watching the fire and smoke billowing out of the wreck of his ship, watching the Mandalorians unleash a bombardment of what looked like miniaturized proton torpedoes on the city, cutting apart troops and the civilians they were trying to rescue. Another screen showed the devastation left in the wake of some of the largest worms he had ever seen. The rest of them though, they showed the debris of the ship where it had fallen.
Not a soundcould be heard on the bridge, each member of the crew staring at the screen , lost in their own thoughts, their own current of panic and horror, unable to find a way out of this nightmare that had seemed to reach out and collectively consume them. They were all trained to use some of the most deadly creations ever made, at their fingertips the kinds of power that their ancestors could only dream of, the power to devastate a world, to wipe it out. Yet the fights they were used to, the way they generally found were carried out at a distance, the vastness of space separating them from the sight, from the reality of their actions. A light blipped off on a screen, somewhere in the numerous computers which ran the ship a number decreased by one. This was the war they were used to, clinical and mechanical, a game of tactics and positioning, of outmanoeuvring their opponent, a battle which mostly resulted in one party surrendering or retreating. Not this, not these bodies lying in the streets, not the callous disregard for life that had seemed to overtake their Mandalorian boarders and the mandalorians on the planet. John glanced down at the picture the security cameras onboard the Hermes had captured. The boarder who had precipitated this whole situation didn’t look like any Mandalorian John had ever seen, but attacking his ship, who else could it be? He’d be watching out for this one in the future though. He knew the image had been broadcast out to the Fortressa, to the rest of the Confederation forces on the planet, maybe one of them could spot the attacker, to let him know what's the man was doing.
Inevitably John’s eyes flicked upto the screen again, unwilling to meet anyone else’s eyes, to see the anger there, to see the accusations waiting there. Yet there was no-where to hid, each sight, each billow of smoke and lick of flame was like a sword driving through his body, pinning him into his seat. He could feel a track of tears rolling down his cheek from his one organic eye, hands clenching at his side.
The voice sounded like it was coming from miles away, muted as if it was coming through water.
John’s head slowly flicked around, staring at the commander standing next to him, the man’s shoulder’s rising as he braced himself, trying to brace against the anger there…the anger that…wasn’t there. In it’s place horror, sadness, a reflection of his own nightmare in another’s eyes.
“They need you, they need something…we’re still in a fight sir.”
It was just a sentence, the single phrasing that the commander used, but it was true all of it. The crewmembers were lost and it was his job to provide some guidance, not hide away feeling sorry for himself. The Hermes…the horror of the crash still weighed on his shoulders, a crushing soulful pressure he wasn’t sure he could ever loose. But for now…John made a gesture on his console, the images on the screen vanishing as he shook his head, opening a open comm channel. “Confederacy Navy, the time to mourn is later, time for tears and recriminations later. Out there, we’ve seen what the Mandalorians will do, the levels they’ll stoop to so they can ensure a victory. You heard their fleet commander claim that we’re destroying their city, but now we see the truth laid bare, when Mandalorians drop a Star Destroyer onto of an inhabited city, when they unleash a barrage of proton torpedoes that had cut down troops and the civilians they were helping. When they leave a city in rubble, this is the truth of the Mandalorian rule, this is the truth of Mandalorian justice.” The man’s fist slammed down on his armrest, “And I say, this will not do! This is not what the people of Eshan deserve. Let’s drive them out so we can bring in the support that the Echani will need to rebuild their home that the Mandalorians have attacked not once, but twice. And to any Mandalorian’s listening, I was once told you were an honourable people, a good people. Look down to the planet now, look at the people suffering and ask yourself if this is what you chose to fight for, what honour demands. I hope it’s true, that honour still exists, but any who would stand behind these crimes, I warn you, we have come to free the Echani from this horror and we will not allow this to continue.” John’s voice fell to an audible whisper, “Innocent lives have been lost, please don’t let it be in vain.”
The man sagged back in his chair, making a cutting motion across his throat as his communications officer shut off the channel. There was still a pressure on the bridge but, horror wasn’t the only emotion there, a spark of anger shone brightly in their eyes as backs straight the crew turned to their duties. Weapons swivelled, lining up a shot as the ships shifted.
John stared at the ships but…he couldn’t see any weapons fire, maybe the sensors were failing under the pressure of the battlefield.
“Enemies to our rear!”
He didn’t think things could get any worse but…they always found a way didn’t they. The man’s eyes dropped to his screen, his breath catching in his throat, blood training from his face as he saw the battlecruiser that had appeared, bisecting the lines of his fleet perfectly.
“Oh god…Alabaster and Hawk are to retreat at full speed, get the Khong, Galileo and Socrates back here. Icarus and Prometheus are to shield the Liminal and get me a gravity well spun up.“ He was actually caught between a rock and a hard place, and he’d always thought that was just a saying. Turn turn turn, all weapons, retarget to new hostile.”
The Mace Windu and the Piranha started to turn as the weapons started to fly, reaching out for his ships, enveloping them in a wave of damage as his own weapons opened fire. The ship shaking as the damage control board lit up.
“Emergency communication to all Naval Assets, let them know we could really use some help here.”