UEES Artemis, Halcyon System (Commander Tom O’Brian’s Quarters): It has been two weeks since that dark life altering day. Every second after it, has been living in fear as if caught in a nightmare with no escape. His career was over. Everything he has ever lived for was spiraling out of control to an inevitable end. He was locked into his quarters earlier in the morning after computer glitch fried the containment fields in the brig. O’Brian sat there in the dimly lit room in his flight suit, knowing that he would never see the inside of a fighter again. In just a few minutes the Advocacy security team will arrive to transfer him to a prison transport for a direct flight to Earth for trial, conviction, and sentencing. His fate was already sealed. It was just a matter of time. An anonymous message appeared on his mobiglas.
FROM: #DG@#T%^^$f – TERMINAL ERROR *** DATA UNREADABLE***
SUBJECT: You do not know me, but there are some who know the truth of what happened. During your time in the Brig Shaw used his connections to falsify documents showing that you and your wife have been secretly meeting Vanduul spies. The Advocacy raided your home to take custody of your child and during the raid your wife was killed. Your son is being sent to a government ran orphanage. The Advocacy is compromised and the Judge for your case has already been paid off. You will be found guilty if you go to trial. I can h…*%^&#%^&%&****** DATA STREAM TERMINATED******
A strange message, one in which someone went though much effort to send through hacking the mobiglas datastream, but one that did nothing but cause more pain, and show how hopeless things have become.
O’Brian knew there was no escape…
Except maybe one… He reached over and grabbed the rough leather holster off the nightstand next to his bed. Inside the holster was an ancient firearm, passed down through many generation of his family with a story of how one of his ancestors carried it into his own fighter, back when fighters were still limited to speeds of less than sound and driven by propellers. The Advocacy neglected to search his quarters and only removed from him his issued laser pistol. As his hands pulled back on the cold steel slide of the firearm, he stared out at the cold cruel darkness of space. He let go of the slide and it snapped forward, chambering the first round from the magazine. He smiled slightly. At least Shaw would not get the satisfaction of O’Brian begging for death. O’Brian had at least that control left in his hand. How did it come to this? He slowly lifted the firearm up and began to tremble slightly, his willpower and anguish fighting against the natural instinct for survival. Now with the barrel against his temple, he placed his finger on the trigger and began to slowly pull the trigger back as he broke out into a cold sweat and closed his eyes…
A noise in the hallway… Footsteps…. They are here for him…. It is time…..
The door opens…
The trigger pulled back, releasing the hammer onto the firing pin…
A loud female scream….
O’Brian was alive. He opened his eyes and saw a female pilot in her flight suit running to him yelling “Stop! No!” He lowered the firearm and pulled back on the slide ejected the chambered round. As the round came out of the gun he saw that it was a training dummy round. He thought about trying again, as the next round in the magazine was a live round… But the female now beside him grabbed the gun from him and said “Don’t even think about it! I can help you, but we need to move! Now! The message I tried to send you blew my cover! You tried to do the right thing! This isn’t your fault! Come with me, live, get revenge, and help fight this corruption! Don’t let it end this way! You are a warrior, do not take the coward’s way out!”
O’Brian, face now full of tears and shaking terribly muttered a weak “Who are you?”
The female responded back sternly “There is no time for that! Please trust me or we BOTH will be dead. Snap out of your self-pity!” This direct approach reminded O’Brian a lot of how his wife was when O’Brian was stressed out during the Naval Academy. Somehow it worked. To further its impact the female pilot in front of him wiped his face with part of her flight suit, comforting him. He realized she was right. Perhaps that dummy round was a sign. Standing in front of him was hope for revenge. Hope to do something that mattered, hope at getting his son back. Hope for standing up for what is good and right in the universe.
“Ok, I am with you, but where? How?” O’Brian asked, rubbing his face clear of tears. Escaping a Bengal carrier taskforce is a daunting task! How would it be possible? As he spoke he grabbed his firearm and put it in the holster and strapped the holster around his waist with the leather belt it came with.
“I have a fully armed Retaliator warmed up on the flight deck. Don’t ask me how it is arranged, just know that it is. There is a jump point on the far side of the system that goes to a system called “Old Haven”, it isn’t charted by the UEE, but some of us know this system as home, and that is where we will go. We will be safe there.” Suddenly a Klaxon blared.
***ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! SECURITY BREACH! ALL TEAMS PERFORM SWEEPS!***
The announcement rang out over the ship-wide intercom. This was not going to be easy. Letting out a sigh, O’Brian looked over at the female pilot, and after a second of sizing her up, and thinking the plan over, he spoke up “Ok, lead the way, I’m in. Let’s roll!”