Siege Ghost - Part One - Fog
(Citizen Star News/1STANCESTOR) - 2014-07-01 - New addition to our fiction section by new contributor 1STANCESTOR! Welcome!
Siege Ghost - Part One - Fog
Artwork above contains stock photography by TwiggXStock.
The struggle on Orion III (Armitage) is alive once again.
The skies are awash with smoke from burning ships and the day grows dim.
Within the skeletal superstructures of an old human city, squadron leader, Dave Washburne runs as fast as he can, limping his way to his next point of cover. Washburne’s breathing becomes more labored as he tries desperately to reach a tall building about 250 yards out. With his rifle strapped to his back and the sound of enemy engines roaring in the distance behind him, Washburne grits his teeth, gives a ferocious grunt that is half frustration and half motivation then soldiers-on toward his goal.
Four klicks away, from within the cover of another dead human city, a Vanduul Scythe shoots upward into the sky and then violently shifts course, heading straight for Washburne’s position.
Washburne hears the enemy screaming toward him. Never slowing down, he turns his head, catching a glimpse of a barely visible reflection of light coming off of the Scythe.
The ship begins picking up speed, getting ever closer.
In a frantic mad dash, Washburne finally reaches the building, kicking in an old rusted door. “Hell yeah!” Washburne yells in excitement. With his injured leg, he moves as quick as possible, making it to the 14th floor of the building before he finds his perch. Washburne maneuvers his high-powered rifle into his hands and slams his body up against an open window, rifle locked and ready. He peers out through his scope.
The lone Scythe closes to within 2.5 Kilometers, zig-zagging like a bat out of hell.
“Keep dancing, you son-of-a-bitch,” Washburne whispers.
Recognizing the Scythe’s predictable side to side flight pattern, Washburne sights up the craft and places his finger on the trigger. He breathes in and out slowly as time seems to slow down. He can see the Vanduul pilot in the cockpit. He can see the pilot working the ship’s controls, jerking the Scythe from left to right and then left again.
Washburne pulls the trigger, firing a single round that seemed to simply reach out and touch the Scythe, detonating against the ship’s canopy, splattering the pilot’s head into a nasty mess. The ship noses down and drops out of the sky as if someone had simply cut its power suddenly.
Washburne watches the ship hit the ground and explode into flames. “That one’s for my wingmen,” he calmly says aloud. He then chambers another round and continues scanning the skies…
Suddenly, Washburne’s radio comes online. “Commander Washburne, come in! This is Commander Tate.” He quickly grabs the radio from his hip. “Washburne, here. What’s the status out there?”
The radio crackles for a second as if someone means to respond, but nothing is said.
Seconds later…”Washburne, this is Tate. Looks like it’s gonna be a while before we can grab you.”
“What do you mean, Commander Tate?”
“We’re not just dealing with a few Vanduul out here, there’s some aggressive pirates in the mix too…”
The radio BLEEPS out momentarily.
“Everybody wants a piece of you, Washburne!”
“What the hell did you find, man?!”
Off in the distance, several more Scythes take flight. Washburne drops his radio on the floor and picks up his rifle. He can see three Scythes mixing it up with two Hornets and a Cutlass. This fight isn’t going to last very long and he knows it.
"I need extraction, now!"
"Sit tight, Wash, we’re trying."
Washburne has been a soldier long enough to know that “we’re trying” usually means that shit is getting heavy and chances are growing slim. Reluctantly, he asks, “how far out is reinforcements?”
A brief moment of radio silence follows.
Washburne hears the regretful sigh of Commander Tate’s voice over the radio.
"Backup isn’t even in-system yet," Tate tells him.
Wash laughs ironically as the last light of Orion III begins its surrender to the night, and the pirates in the skirmish go up in flames against the dark backdrop of the approaching night sky. Now, only two of the Scythes remain and they set their sights on Washburne, himself.
Having survived their fight with the pirates, the two Vanduul ships rapidly close on Wash. The pilots are PISSED. Their flight patterns are aggressive…reckless even.
As he watched the ships close closer and closer for an amount of time that felt like an eternity, commander Washburne could not help but relate to the poor bastards in the cockpits. Some asshole is stomping around on your feeding grounds and you’ve spent all day trying to kill him with no luck. Then you get jumped by some other assholes trying to muscle in on your claim.
That feeling of similarity lasted for about a hot Pyro-second.
The two Scythes had crossed to within 2.5km…Washburne’s kill-box.
He dropped them both in two blinks of an eye, making them his 10th and 11th Scythe kill of the day with his rifle.
Now, all hell had broken loose. At least eight more Scythes were in the air wanting to kill Washburne. To make matters worse, more pirates were inbound and gunning for Wash and they wanted to take what he was fighting to protect in effort to turn over to his UEE superiors.
Orion III. This whole damned world wanted a piece of Washburne and there was no help in sight.
As the pirates and the Vanduul fight each other to get at Wash, he takes the opportunity to make his way back down to the dead surface streets of the city in an attempt to find another way out. No way was Commander Wash going to sit and wait to see who would get to take him to the school dance! He hobbles along as fast as his legs will carry him.
For quite some time, Washburne goes undetected. Then, all at once it seemed, everyone became wise to his whereabouts. A couple of pirates were racing toward him and Vanduul fighters were encircling and closing fast on his position.
Tired, bleeding and out of options, Wash drops to one knee and fires on the first pirate 325A that comes into range. Yet another perfect shot, the custom high-powered rifle penetrates the cockpit and kills the pilot.
Multiple ships continue converging on him. Washburne is a great shot but now he’s got another problem…
He has only one bullet remaining.
Washburne frantically scans the now, near total-dark sky searching for his final target.
The converging ships are now firing in the night sky. Pirates and Vanduul are striking at each other and at Wash. Laser weapons and ballistics pepper the ground, their aim improving every second.
Washburne’s only thought now is, “who’s gonna be the one to get me?”
Just then, as if someone had answered, “I’ll be the one,” a black Super Hornet darted onto the battlefield out of nowhere. Although it is now dark out, the make of the ship is given away through the night vision glow of Washburne’s rifle scope. It’s headed straight at him. STRAIGHT AT HIM!
Wash prepares to spend his final bullet on the Super Hornet.
He lines up the shot.
The blacked-out Super Hornet streaks past all other ships like a Ghost. Course locked.
"Brave pilot," Washburne decides on to be his last words. They are as good as any last words could be in this situation.
Time slows to a crawl and Wash’s brain sends the command to fire.
Seemingly, before that command even reaches his trigger finger, the Super Hornet breaks upward, rolling inverted, dodging the bullet all together.
From Washburne’s perspective, it seemed like the pilot knew exactly when to dodge and did so with ease. This pilot had attitude.
The Super Hornet resumed its siege path…Washburne’s final effort denied.
The Black Super Hornet was now so close, you could almost quietly plead with it to let you live.
Commander Dave Washburne slowly raises his hand in salute to the skill of the pilot as his sense of vision is washed out by bright light and his sense of hearing is drowned by the unmistakable hum of Gallenson 220 Gatling guns.
TO BE CONTINUED…
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