The Tides of Battle

Characters: Singing Wolf

The bright swirl of hyperspace split open, revealing the black backdrop of space and the stars upon it. The sight was almost hypnotic. Singing Wolf forced herself to not stare at the magnificence of the sight, or the enemy ships in front of them. Instead she kept her eyes focused on the controls in front of her. She listened to the terse chatter flowing between the ships, pilots acknowledging last minute orders, ships changing formation.

All that came to a halt, however, when the first ship fired. Wolf, among others, brought the Zen’Thas fighters around to flank the White Star 18. She hadn’t had much time to get to know her new crewmates, but they were Anla’Shok. She trusted them with her life, and knew they did the same.

The battle was fought with precision on the part of the rebels, anger and indignation on the part of the Earthforce personnel loyal to Clark. And occasionally, hesitation. A few of the fighter pilots seemed to be trying to avoid firing upon the rebels, seeming to be simply attempting to stay out of the way. Wolf knew that their motivations were not likely to be fear of the battle, Earthforce trained its people too well for that. More likely, they were less convinced than the commanders of their motherships that Clark was the right man to follow. She was grateful to see that not everyone had completely lost their senses.

One ship in particular seemed to be avoiding the fight more than the others. It was an escort vessel, bristling with weaponry. As far as she could tell, he hadn’t fired his weapons even once. Her comm system crackled as she heard the ship broadcasting on an open frequency.

“This is the Corinth, to rebel forces. We are not hostile. Repeat. We are not hostile. We are requesting permission to join you.” The strong male voice rang through her helmet speakers.

The response from White Star 18 came almost immediately. “Jim! I thought that was you! Be glad to have you at our side.” Captain Richard’s voice was welcoming. Wolf shook her head as she turned her fire on an attacking Starfury. Old friends fighting old friends. At least this time it worked in their favor.

“Bill? Is that you? You old dog! I heard you joined up with the alien fleet when you left Earthforce, but I didn’t believe it! It’s-” He broke off abruptly as two fighters from Clark’s forces fired on his ship. It seemed they were listening in also.

Wolf brought her ship around and targeted one of the fighters. The Corinth was taking evasive maneuvers, cutting around behind White Star 18. She fired, but the other pilot was good. He avoided her first shot, and continued after his prey. She continued firing, and watched with some regret as the ship exploded.

The others in her squadron had the same idea. They chased the other Starfury. A Zen’Thas was destroyed by enemy fire. Wolf bit down on her lip until it bled. She fired again, along with several others, and they avenged the death of their comrade.

“Zen’Thas Alpha-One to Corinth,” she called. “You’re clear-” Her voice broke in astonishment as she saw the Corinth firing on White Star 18 from behind. They had protected them, and they were responding with treachery! She screamed with fury as 18 exploded, barely noticing as her ship spun with the force of the blast. Another Zen’Thas exploded, caught in the blast too close to the White Star. Her hands leaped over the controls, righting the fighter and trying to target the Corinth. Alarms sounded and sparks flew from the plating above her head.

She fired furiously at the Corinth, pounding the ship over and over. Another White Star joined her. She slammed her palm against the communications panel. “No! They’re mine!” She yelled, her voice hoarse and choked. There was no response. Smoke was filling the cockpit, half her systems were down. She had no idea if the transmission had actually gotten through or not. She didn’t really care. Distantly, she could feel the pain searing her hands as the console burned from the inside.

The Corinth exploded. The Zen’Thas rocked with the blast, spinning hopelessly out of control. Wolf attempted to right it, but the helm controls no longer responded. She gasped for air, and her breath caught at the sharp pain in her chest. Looking down, she saw the blood covering the front of her Ranger uniform. She nodded weakly. It was fitting she die along with the rest of the crew of White Star 18. As she faded into unconsciousness, the last thing she saw was the White Star that had assisted her passing overhead.