Epilogue – Battle Damage Assesment
29, 2180 (New Era Calendar) /
Sol System, Alliance Naval Headquarters, Terra
General Nizn Howrad studied his datapad closely. Throughout the last couple of days, report after report downloaded itself onto the handheld computer.
A few things caught his eye in this, the latest battle report, that coincided with initial reports from the conclusion of the battle.
Four squadron names showed up prominently in virtually every battle report—Defiant, Daemon, Titan and Alpha.
The first three, already elite-status. And the last, fast on their way to becoming so. Alpha Squadron's recent news-making exploits were not going unnoticed to the General, neither were its pair of aces, Antes Eslos and Izzy Lanceville.
Another Alliance squadron was mentioned prominently in some of the reports. Battle Dog Squadron, led by Kyle Rykerson, was reported to have played a major role in the battle. If that were the case, Howrad would need to further investigate this to confirm for later operations.
His eyes went back up to Antes Eslos and with a stylus tapped his name twice. On the General's desk a holographic display panel lit up with a projection of the young pilot from Alpha Squadron. The pilot's dossier filed up on the datapad but Nizn wasn't concerned with stats and test scores. He was concerned with the reports about his piloting of the Alpha prototype that decimated a small portion of both enemy fleets and of the Alliance fleet.
That made him only the second person alive to successfully pilot it in combat.
They would need to run tests on him when the Exped arrived to Sol System.
He cycled back through the menus and was again reviewing the latest battle damage assessment. One word struck out at him as he skimmed through it.
Howrad made a note to study and analyze every bit of combat data on the demon ship that became the focal point in the later hours of the Battle of Destrega Prime. It was all together possible that the Dominion had begun building more ships like it. If that were the case, he'd want the fleet to be prepared.
The fate of Rashku Uptac was another topic shed light on by the Battle of Destrega Prime. In the aftermath of the battle, against direct orders specifying otherwise, Uptac allowed the Dominion force to return to Pegasus. It wasn't that Uptac allowed them to go, he may have done the same in his position. It was that Uptac had superceded the General's direct order.
Antreya's had too much of an influence on you Uptac. You shouldn't have circumvented my authority.
He closed the battle damage assessment and brought up another file with two items.
The first, a directive that mandated the apprehension of the last great pirate menace in the galaxy, John Falcon. There had been one hair-brained report from Destrega that reported a Valiant-class frigate marked as the Silver Falcon, Falcon's flagship, being present at the battle. Nizn dismissed the report immediately. Falcon hadn't survived this long by being dumb enough to come that close to an Alliance force.
The second was a file marked Sirius.
Sirius, a star system taken just months ago by the Dominion, rested on the border between Alliance and Dominion space. Whoever controlled Sirius would have a staging area that would allow them to mount a siege at the heart of their enemy. The Alliance was going to retake Sirius—they needed to retake Sirius.
He punched in a decryption code that would unlock the high-level clearance attachment to the Sirius file and data on the group known as the Royal Flush popped up on the datapad.
To the key to retaking Sirius was retaking Gravenda. And to wrest Gravenda back from the Dominion, they would need to send a force against the Royal Flush.
"Sylvie, get Director Bjelejac on the horn," Nizn said never looking away from the file on the Royal Flush. He skimmed the dossiers on the three members of the Royal Flush and then was brought from his reverie when his comm terminal flickered to life.
The General tore his glare away from the datapad and to the face of Jennes Bjelejac, Alliance Director of Intelligence.
"What's the status of the Valkyrie Project?"
Bjelejac smiled nervously before answering, "General, sir, the Valkyrie Project is complete and the Unit is almost ready for combat action. I'm almost scared to ask why, though, sir."
"Jennes, we're taking back Sirius. To do that, we need Valkyrie Unit ready to go in."
"General, Valkyrie Unit will be ready, sir."
"Good, this operation has its authorization. And if Valkyrie Unit fails, I'm holding you personally responsible. If they succeed, then we'll all be a little closer to resting easy."
"They won't fail."
"They'd better not, else there will be hell to pay. Good work, Director. Howrad, out."
"Thank you, General."
The image of Jennes Bjelejac winked out and was replaced by an Alliance insignia. Nizn reclined and stared up into the ceiling.
How much longer would this war last?
If he only knew.
April 29, 2180 (New Era Calendar) /
Sirius System, GSA Battle Cruiser Crimson Tide in orbit around Dayvelle
Jennes Bjelejac, just off the line with General Howrad, studied, for a third time, the next report he needed to give. Only when he was completely satisfied would he fire up the comm and make his report. He sipped from his cup of lukewarm coffee and took a deep breath before finally activating the comm screen.
"Gravenda was not a total loss as we initially suspected. We have recovered the perfect specimen for the Valkyrie Project. Captain Jace Sanders, a combat veteran of only three years, but with experience, ability, and tactical awareness of a Brigadier General. During that short time span, he saw combat in six different theaters of the war while with the 35th Marine Regiment. He, himself, climbed up the ranks to become the commander of the 35th's Bravo Company including Gravenda he climbed up the ranks to become the commander of Bravo Company. And as you well know, the 35th Marine Regiment was one of the first groups we sent in to reinforce our forces on Gravenda.
"When the Lieutenant Colonel in command of the 35th was KIA, Sanders took command of the regiment and managed to hold out for another two weeks before they were wiped out by the Royal Flush. Not only is he a born leader, he's one hell of a soldier. He's been awarded on numerous occasions including the Alliance Crossed Swords, the youngest to ever receive the highest honor that can be awarded by our military. He's the one."
A familiar voice questioned him.
"Sanders, you say? Does your file list any parents, biological or otherwise?"
"Very well. The Guncross is one-hundred percent operational. With the test results I have from Alpha and Omega, the bird is ready to fly. We're simply waiting for the go ahead to begin mass production."
The voice answered again.
"Don't worry about Guncross just yet, Jennes. If can retrieve the other units, those will be the template for our new fighters. If not, then, and only then will we move forward with your Guncross project."
Jennes hid his disapproval under a mask of apathy.
"And were your people able to analyze the sample from the remains near Corval?"
"Sir, we were and they were ninety-eight percent inconclusive. It matches nothing in any of our databases. Nothing."
The person on the other end was silent for a moment.
"Is it possible that the sample is extragalactic?"
"That would be the best assumption, but if that were so, how did they get so deep in from the galactic rim? It doesn't make any sense."
"Sir?" Jennes' wasn't sure if he heard fear in the other man's voice.
"You heard me right, Director. Assign a fleet group to institute the quarantine and blockade that system. I want it shut up tight. Getting that damned sample virtually cost us the Seventeenth Fleet. The survivors claimed the enemy only had a dozen ships."
Jennes' eyes opened wide in shock. The Seventeenth Fleet consisted of over forty ships including six Battle Cruisers. In that instant, the ominous threat that the unidentified sample represented became very real. The Director then regained himself.
"I will start a database using that sample as soon as I return to Sol."
"Good." And then the voice continued, almost unconcerned. "Now what of Nova Fortress? When will it be ready to press into Dominion Space?"
Bjelejac held his breath before he answered.
"Sir, the Genesis reactor core is at seventy-five percent operational readiness. The Nova Fortress itself, however, is eighty percent completed."
"You're ahead of schedule, Jennes. Excellent work. Keep what you've been doing a secret. No one needs to know how close we are to ending this war until this war is finally over. The universe will soon be at our feet."
Jennes ignored that last comment and turned his attention to his datapad, keying in the last few commands.
"I have encrypted this report for you and have attached all results on that unknown sample. They will be arriving to you just shortly."
A chime in the background told Jennes' that his report was received.
"Excellent. And does…
Bjelejac had already prepared himself to answer before being asked.
"Don't worry, sir. Everyone still thinks you're dead. No one has any idea that you were behind Skyline's destruction."
"Then everything is still going according to plan. You've done an excellent job, as always, Jennes."
"Thank you, General Elanger."