Sitting on the bridge of his flagship, Admiral Nedica watched as the tactical sphere in front of him exploded with flashes of light as ships jumped into the Barnard System. Scrambling to press the button to signal the crew of his carrier to move to battle stations, he also began barking orders to his bridge crew.
“Nav, move us into a better position for combat and move the rest of the fleet into a screen position to cover the three carriers. Tactical, arm all weapons and prepare to raise our shields when the fighters are away. Ops, scramble the fighters and get the first wave into space and into formation for an assault.”
With the faint blare of the clacson coming from the hall behind the bridge, the admiral tried to focus on the images that were slowly appearing in the sphere as the sensor pulses spread out from the fleet. Fighting down the urge to throw up, he watched as sixty ships became one hundred and as some began to appear, other bursts of gamma rays appeared on the edges of the sphere signaling the arrival of hundreds more. Glancing at the center of the sphere, the admiral did his best to fight down the growing pit in the center of his stomach as he counted the sixty-three ships of his combined fleet that had been sent to secure this system.
Seeing his only hope for survival growing smaller, he leaned forward in the chair and called out to his comms team.
“Comms get me the captains of the Arrowhead and the Ares, we need them to pull back and hold off the enemies that are trying to wrap around us. Ops pull back our Raven and Trident fighters, they will help the two destroyers to keep our path open. Once we have a secure escape route, sent the frigates out with the support ships first followed by the weaker ships.
“We will be one of the last ships out along with our battlewagons, we will deploy to screen the retreat in a shrinking bubble. Finally, deploy all of our messenger ships and send them to every know friendly ship or outpost nearby. If we don’t make it out, we need the rest of the Navy to converge on this path and block this fleet’s advance.”
Turning to look at his entire crew, he decided that this would be the moment that either made or ended his career. Pressing the button on his command pad, he opened the fleet-wide comm channel and began to address his fleet.
“Sailors and Marines of the United Democratic Fleet, we stand today at a crossroads that will define the future of our people. We are vastly outnumbered and we are the only thing standing between the enemy and our homes. Many of us joined this fleet as a way to gain an occupation or get out of a difficult situation, but today we have the chance to do something that will change the shape of the human race for all eternity.
“For this reason, I ask that you all give everything you have to save your friends and family that we have left behind. Today I fight for my wife and two children, and I will do everything in my power and beyond to take as many of these bastards with me if I’m forced to part with them today. We will try our best to withdraw from the fight and move to a better position to defend our controlled space, but there is no guarantee that we will all make it out of this. Know that we will forever honor any sacrifice that is made on our families’ behalf and if necessary I will willingly lay down my life to save as many of you as possible.
“I pray that our cause is found just and that whatever divine being you worship will protect you all and find a way to aid us during this battle. Know that I have complete faith in this entire team and I know that we will be the rock that this wave breaks on. I have sent targeting data to every ship in the fleet. These two ships will break the enemy if we can eliminate them so don’t spare any ordinance on them.”
Closing the comms system, he glanced around the bridge checking for anyone that was about to break, but the only thing he saw was determined faces. After a few seconds, the bridge crew broke the moment with a chorus of acknowledgment and went to work typing away at their computer and speaking softly into their headsets. Watching the large glowing sphere in front of him, he tried to predict the future as his fighters broke into two groups with one group pouring towards the enemy’s center while the other half broke towards the edges of the advancing enemy lines. The two destroyers followed suit, swinging away from the body of the fleet in a wide spiral towards the enemy, launching a ribbon of missiles as they drew close enough to target the enemy ships.
Taking a deep breath, he moved into the tactical sphere and located the ships that seemed to be the anchors for the enemy force. Finding the large cigar shape of the carrier from the United Soviet Planetary Republic with that nation’s ships swirling off its port side, he selected it as the primary target before shifting over to its mirrored companion. Selecting the massive ant-like carrier from the Asiatic People’s Republic at the hub of the second half of the fleet, he pulled back and gave a single word of command.