Krystal and Chase: Evacuation
Part two: Before
That night, something happened. A jaguar walked down the hallway of one of the many orbital defense monitoring stations on the base. He was shaking his head, unable to comprehend what had just been told to him.
"It's got to be a misunderstanding." He was thinking to himself as he tapped at a keypad beside a steel door, "There's no other explanation."
The door slid open and the jaguar walked in, looking at the mix of humans and furries in the room. As he did, the few guards in the room saluted him.
"At ease." The jaguar stated, "What've we got."
"We don't really know. Our systems detected a rift opening about an hour ago. Then this thing appeared." A human replied, "But whatever it is, it's huge. And it's not responding to any hailing frequency so far."
"Show me." The jaguar said.
On a huge viewing monitor in the front of the room appeared a giant black vessel. It was in the shape of a boomerang, but with several very large and apparent energy cannons and one sub orbital mass driver weapon. But it was alone.
"Are there any other rifts opening?" the jaguar asked.
"No sir." The human said after a brief pause, "And it's not moving; it's just sitting there."
"Keep trying to hail it." The jaguar replied, "But if it makes a hostile move you have permission to fire the defensive barrage."
Before the human could reply, a wolf sat up suddenly. Her eyes widened in shock as she looked to the jaguar.
"Sir, we have a response." She said, "But it's not good."
"Do we have any identification as to who this is?" The jaguar asked.
"That's the bad news." The wolf replied.
The jaguar's eyes widened when she said the name of the one aboard the vessel. For the first time in a long time, fear entered his mind.
"Do they have any demands?" The jaguar asked.
"That the corporation surrenders its installations on this planet." The wolf stated.
As she listened more to the incoming transmission, she stated, "They're giving us a three day waiting period before they come in by force. It's not us they want right now, but our tech."
The jaguar sighed as one of the guards shrugged, "They can't be serious. Nothing can get by the orbital guns in one piece."
Just then, the viewing screen proved him wrong. The ship's left most cannon began to glow as energy built up deep within its firing chamber. Before anyone could say a word, the cannon fired a brilliant beam of red, high speed energy. The bolt passed through several of the orbital guns, each one exploding violently once the beam passed through it. Just a suddenly as it had fired, the gun stopped glowing.
Then, without warning, the mass driver near the center of the vessel fired. With a bright flash, a massive shot raced through the debris of the destroyed guns and down towards the planet, rocking the ship back a little. Seconds later, reports came flooding in about something completely obliterating one of the orbital defense stations.
"They're serious." The jaguar stated, "At dawn we begin evacuation of the base. But keep the mercenaries on high alert. We'll need as many of them as we can get if things escalate."
The wolf nodded and called the command center.
* * *
Over the next two days, the evacuation took place. Employees, miners, families, and many others had left towards whatever planet they had come from or to secure outposts near various colonies. The mercenaries had been ordered to stay, but Chase had other plans.
"Chase, you know if they find out about this-" Krystal had begun when Chase placed a hand on her shoulder.
"They won't." The fox replied.
"How can you be so sure?" Krystal asked.
With a smile, Chase handed her something. When the vixen looked down at it, she realized it was an employee badge.
"How did you-?" She began when Chase placed a finger on her nose.
"Don't thank me. Thank Hiigan." Chase smirked, "He made the arrangements. Until this defensive op is over, you're his assistant. Since he is still in charge of the two of us, he agreed to take you to the next installation where the mercs will head if things get too hot for us to handle here. Bianca will watch over you from there until I get back."
Krystal sighed sadly as her ears lowered. Chase hugged her tight, letting her nose his neck fur once more.
"Just...just be careful, ok?" Krystal asked softly.
Chase nodded, "I'll try to be."
Krystal smiled a little, "Liar."
Chase shrugged and watched as she met Hiigan for evacuation.
* * *
Finally, the third day had come. With all of the essential personnel evacuated and most of the non essential currently begin evaced; the mission for most of the mercenaries was simple. Defend the remaining transports at any cost until they can safely jump to the evacuation coordinates with the rest of the corporation's employees.
So, Chase stood beside one of the only fighting vehicles capable of defending the transports as they left the planet, the Phoenix GX4 interceptor. His favorite of all the interceptor models due to its abilities and easy-to-handle load out. The sleek, gray craft sat in the hanger with several others like it, all of them with a different colored tail stripe to identify them. Chase's was red.
Its wings were near middle instead of near the engines, but they were still in a swept wing design to increase maneuverability and agility in combat. The main thrusters and afterburners were increased in power and size for increased speed. Perfect for the run-and-gun missions the craft was designed for.
Twin, rapid-fire gauss miniguns on each wing and two pulse laser cannons hidden near the nose of the craft made for a more effective attack run. These guns had the power to rip apart enemy crafts. Plus, missiles were hidden in the body of the Phoenix, but it held fewer missiles to cope with the decrease in the size compared to Fox's Arwing or Wolf's Wolfen crafts.
Unfortunately, it wasn't the perfect craft. Like most interceptors, it had less shielding power and the hull wasn't as thick to incorporate speed and maneuverability instead of the ability to fight for extended dogfights. So the Phoenix interceptor was faster and a better range of firepower that could be applied to its armaments, but it had less defensive power, and less long range offensive capabilities.
"Hey Ronin, where's your partner?" A wolf asked as he checked the missile bay of his own Phoenix, "I would think that she'd be at your side right now. Don't tell me she chickened out of this fight."
"She didn't chicken out." Chase shot back.
"Then where is she?" The wolf asked.
Chase sighed, "If I told you, I'd have to kill you Delta."
The wolf chuckled, "I'd take you down first Ronin. Now come on, tell me."
Chase smirked, "Fine. She's with Hiigan for safety."
The wolf shook his head, "You're starting to get soft Ronin. If I didn't know you better, I'd say you were in love with your partner."
Chase simply shrugged and took a helmet out of the cockpit of the Phoenix.
As he did, Delta turned to face a female panther that was walking towards them. Her black flight outfit blended perfectly with her dark fur, making her golden eyes more menacing. Delta knew who she was and why she was coming over, but Chase didn't.
"Delta, Ronin, let's get a move on you two." She growled, "We need to be in the air in ten."
"Keep your fur on Dark." Delta replied, "You may be the one leading the two of us in the air, but on the ground you're just like anyone else here."
"On the ground I am still in charge of your sorry tail, wolf." The panther growled roughly, "Ronin, get ready. You'd better be as good as they say. If not, your tail is dead up there."
As Dark walked away, Delta growled quietly. Chase glanced from her to his friend.
"I'm going to guess you don't like Dark too much do you?" Chase smirked.
"Nah, I really like her. She's my partner after all." Delta replied, "But the second we got word that whoever it is up there showed up she's been acting a lot more aggressive than usual. Calling me things she'd never usually say and such."
"Wait...you don't know who were fighting?" Chase asked in disbelief.
"Dark does, but she refuses to tell me. Do you know who it is?" Delta asked in reply.
Chase shook his head. Now that he thought about it, he hadn't been told either. But the higher ups had been exceptionally nervous about the evacuations, as if they knew something was horribly wrong. Chase was suddenly glad the techs had put warp cores into all the Phoenix interceptors.
* * *
It had felt odd to wake up on the morning of the attack. For one, Krystal had awoken in a strange place. But after she remembered that she and a large amount of others had been evacuated for safety, she remembered everything else that had happened.
In a bed next to hers lay a sleeping vixen. Her pink fur and rose red hair were a bit messy from her rest as one of her four tails flicked slowly from side to side over the edge of the bed. Then Krystal remembered that this was Bianca, the vixen Chase had asked to watch over her while he was still in the fighting.
The room itself was a large hotel room. Two twin sized beds made up the sleeping arrangements for the vixen and her current roommate. Near the door, as in any hotel room, was a small bathroom and closet. A window on the opposite side of the room showed a large desert planet rotating slowly below.
Krystal shook her head and sat on the edge of her bed for a moment, remembering everything that had just happened. As she did, Bianca's eyes began to open. The pink vixen pushed herself up from the bed, letting the thin strap of her sapphire nightgown fall down her upper arm. As she pulled it back up to her shoulder, Bianca glanced over at Krystal.
"Good morning." Bianca said as she sat up and stretched, "Sleep well?"
Krystal shook her head, "Not really. I couldn't sleep much."
Bianca sighed softly, "You're worried about Chase, aren't you?"
The vixen sighed and looked away as Bianca got up and sat down next to her.
"He'll be alright Krystal." Bianca said gently as she patted the vixens shoulder.
"I hope you're right." Krystal replied quietly, "I really do."
She laid her head on Bianca's shoulder as the pink vixen gently rubbed her back soothingly. The truth was that Bianca was also worried about Chase. Although she hadn't known him as long as some of the others, even Bianca knew how reckless the fox could be. If he didn't watch himself in this fight, they'd both lose him. And losing the fox was something both vixens never wanted to hear.
* * *
Dark paced before Chase and Delta. It was obvious from her pacing that something was deeply bothering the panther. But just when Chase was about to ask what it was, Dark turned to face them.
"Alright, you two know what we're doing." Dark stated, "While most of the mercs will be in the air defending, the remaining bunch will be on the ground with the AA guns. You two will have to stick to me like glue to survive this. These guys aren't our usual bunch of hostiles."
"So who are they?" Chase asked.
"You'll find out up there Ronin." Dark replied, "Just stay alert."
"So, do we have a certain objective?" Delta asked.
The female panther nodded, "Of course. We're the ones who will ensure that these baddies regret coming after our tech. While most of the others will be defending the transports, our job is to take out the warp core below the engines of the capital ship that's currently positioned right above us. Your shipboard AIs already have the layout of the vessel and know what the mission is. All we have to do is destroy it and then take out that sub orbital mass driver weapon that has destroyed three of our orbital defense stations. Once the main weapon is down and it can't run away, the orbital barrage will take it from there."
"Great." Chase sighed, "Do we have an exact count of enemy crafts?"
"No." Dark shook her head, "All we know is they out number us at least ten or fifteen to one. It's not going to be an easy fight."
"So what do we do after we eliminate the threat?" Chase asked.
"Activate the warp cores and head for the closest installation we evaced to." Dark replied, "Nap`al outpost gamma-six. The coordinates should be in your systems already according to the techs."
With a nod, Chase climbed into his Phoenix. The Nap`al outpost was where Hiigan was. And if Hiigan was there, Krystal and Bianca were there as well.
As the fox ran a series of quick tests to ensure that the craft was fully ready for combat, a light flickered near his head. As it flashed urgently, Chase sighed and pressed a button near the throttle. When he did, a female wolf appeared on the dashboard of his cockpit.
The wolf's body was blue, but with green eyes and pink inside of her ears. A series of ones and zeros flashed across her body and flight gear. Right now, they were slowly progressing across her body, but they occasionally sped up, slowed down, or even changed directions, all depending on her mood or status.
This was Jennifer, the AI unit that kept the systems of his ship running. But she was also designed for a lot more than just being in his Phoenix. Due to her advanced programming Jennifer was also a voice of reason for Chase during aerial combat. Emotional programming allowed her to worry, feel glee, or become fearful or angry. But she had been programmed to override fear and anger in order to function rationally if the situation required her to do so.
"Give me some good news Jen." Chase said as he strapped in.
The AI smiled, "We are not dead yet. That is considered good news."
"You know the odds against us right?" Chase asked, "What're the odds that we'll survive this one to see Krystal again?"
"Very good odds." Jennifer replied, and then she looked a little puzzled, "Why do you ask when it is clear you should be able to see her craft beside your own?"
"Because Krystal isn't here." Chase answered, "She's safe with Hiigan and Bianca at the jump coordinates."
"Oh, recalculating." Jennifer stated.
The wolf closed her eyes for a minute, and then opened them, "Our odds of seeing her again are now very slim to none."
"We'll take those odds." Chase said as he slipped on his helmet and breathing mask, "Prep systems to attack. I want all weapons online."
Jennifer nodded as she complied with his orders. She had enough data about the fox's combat records to realize that even if the odds had been completely against him, he still would have fought.
"Alright, let's go give these suckers a Ronin welcome." Chase stated as he lowered the dark visor over his eyes, "What's the load out?"
Jennifer quickly ran through the systems, "The usual. Main guns are online and operating at maximum efficiency. Missile load out: two E-38 Ultima missiles, six Firefly homing missiles, six Shaker missiles, and one A-31B 'Nexus' smart missile."
Chase smiled as the count for each missile showed up in the corner of his helmet's HUD, "Perfect. Lock the Nexus until we reach our objective and open communications with the rest of the squadron. We'll need the firepower."
"Affirmative." Jennifer replied, "Opening channels."
"You ready Ronin?" A voice asked in his ear.
"Ronin standing by." Chase replied.
"Delta-2 standing by." A second voice stated.
"Alright, let's show these saps why no one messes with these corporate mercenaries." Dark growled, "Follow me and form up on my wings once we're airborne."
"Roger that." Ronin and Delta replied.
As another Phoenix left the hanger, Chase gunned the thrusters. With a deafening roar, three Phoenix interceptors raced skyward, followed by several other crafts of various builds. Heavier classes of fighters such as the Dark Eagle, a ship built for long battles and hard enemies, and the heavier Caliber, a heavy weapons ship that was slow, but held a much higher payload and shields than the lighter Dark Eagle and the Phoenix.
"Is anyone else going after the carrier instead of defending the transports?" Chase asked as a giant craft passed below him.
Several crafts like it were moving in small groups of five. These were the transports. They looked like flattened silver hotdog buns with engines. Not very fast, little to nothing shield power and weak hull armor, and near to nothing armaments except for two, small, rapid-fire pulse guns on the tips of the nose and tail. They were literally flying sardine cans, but they were the only type of civilian craft that had rift jumping technology. But, although they could jump, it took time to warm up the older jump engines the transports used. This meant that they would have to be guarded while the engines prepped for jump.
"Yeah, we've got plenty of backup for this attack." Dark replied, "Three Caliber groups, several Dark Eagles, and another interceptor team."
Due to the advanced build of each craft, Chase hadn't even noticed when they left the planets atmosphere. Not a single bump passed through to the cockpit. But now that they had exited, Chase was able to see what had caused all the trouble.
Looming ahead like a thundercloud over the horizon, the black, boomerang shaped vessel sat, as if waiting for something.
"Think they know we're going to attack them?" Delta asked.
As if in reply, the vessel began launching fighters. Several gray ships emerged from the blackness. Sleek designs, forward angled wings, cockpit right up front, and bristling with energy weapons.
"Jen?" Chase asked.
"Over one hundred enemy contacts approaching fast. ETA thirty seconds and counting." The AI replied.
"Shields to full power and arm the missile warheads and cannons." Chase ordered.
"Alright boys." Dark said with an angry tone, "Show no mercy."