This is my first original fiction story. I usually write FF, so this is a new experience, and I would love constructive critisism.

I sat in the ready room, listening to a playlist of songs from the ship's computer. Out of all the other pilots on Liberty I was perhaps the only one who couldn't relax. Of course in my defense we only have two squadrons, and a handful of support craft. Liberty wasn't a carrier, she was a battleship, and a damned fine one too. I was looking at the latest Intel on "our" new enemies. Perhaps I should give a little background information on what's going on. About four years ago an alien race who identify themselves as Adepts made first contact with humanity. They needed assistance in a war they were having with another species called Orisons. They lead us to believe that the Orisons would attack us regardless of if we helped them. They gave us technologies only dreamed of. Soon earth was spitting out spaceships, designed with weapons only heard of in sci-fi movies. The Adepts had apparently been having a decrease in population, and seemed to only want to send our ships to fight. At first our new tactics, including the use of small attack craft were letting us win.

Liberty was a new kind of attack vessel, the first in her class (for which she was named after). While true there had been other destroyer craft before, this craft was designed by humans. Not many believed it would work. That's why we were ordered to serve on the Liberty. Many of us were still in high school during first contact. An entirely untrained crew was sent to operate a ship no one even wanted in the first place. Simply we were caught in politics, and it wouldn't surprise me if someone wanted us to die. Hell when I was ordered on to this ship, I made a will and gave nearly everything away. This crew and this ship defied what the politicians wanted, and ended up being regarded as a poster ship. We have one of the best combat records in the fleet, and we seem to defy the odds. I know so far my little history seems like something Gene Roddenberry would make if he had a mental problem.

About six months ago, the Orisons took a lesson from the Adepts and drafted a race called the Hellions. Now the war had come to a stale mate.

Liberty was sitting out in some nebula, waiting to try and find some high priority target. I don't think I've left the port flight-pod in the three days we've been waiting here. The speakers stopped playing my song, and red lights began to flash. Captain Lee's voice rang out of the speakers "All hands, we are at Redcon 2, I repeat we are at Redcon 2, all hands man battle stations." (A/N yes Redcon is real, so says wikipedia. It stands for Readiness Condition.)

I jumped out of the chair, I ran down the hallway. I didn't even bother to notice the sign that warned about how this area could become depreasurized. I'd seen it too many times to really care. I struggled to put my flight suit on. I looked at my watch, 45 seconds down, 60 to go. I could see the deck crew preping the thunderbolts that we flew. The fighters were about twenty feet in length, with a wingspan of ten feet. The landing gear positioned the fighter about six feet off the deck. Like its namesake (the P-47, flown during WWII) it was tough as nails. I quickly searched for my baby. I climbed on the wing of the fighter and jumped into the cockpit. I began preflight checks. Thirty seconds left. Everything checked green. I would now be ready to be deployed, and with twenty seconds to spare. Now we play the waiting game.

"No, no, no, no! I don't care what the instructions say, you always leave the safety off on the launcher!" It was the Deck Chief, LT. Dan Cormic. Everyone called him DC. He was a british guy, about twenty three. He had the worst temper, especially when things went wrong. Aparently someone had just tried to put the launch tube in safe mode. Honestly I agree with DC, I don't want to risk a delay because someone forgot to check the lauch tube.

"But what if we got guys in the launcher?" I couldn't tell who it was that said this, he was probably a new guy we got from our last stop at a port, about two weeks ago.

"Then we put the safeties on. Listen if we need to get those stick jockeys out there in a hurry, I don't want someone messing up and slowing us down."

"All hands Redcon 1, I repeat, Redcon 1, all hands prepare for combat. Enemy contact ETA eight minutes." The captains voice rang through the speakers.

"Alright lets get these fine ladies and gentlemen airborn!" DC yelled. My thunderbolt was being pushed into the launch tube. Even though I couldn't see it, I knew there was a flight crew attaching my front wheel to the catapult, like an old aircraft carrier. The lights around me turned from red to green. That ment the tube was clear for me to launch. I tapped several buttons to start the engines. I saw the forcefield disappear, and watched as the oxygen escaped the tube. I could feel the catapult pulling me forward, I looked at the engine status. It was still warming up. I knew it would always warm enough in the five seconds it took to leave the tube, but it was always a little unnerving.

I felt the engines burst to life. I had now left the tube, and marveled at the site I saw. I was surrounded by a yellow cloud. I quickly took a defensive formation over Liberty.

"Liberty this is Viper, I'm out and ready to play." I called out.

"Roger that Viper. We have three unknowns on sensors, they're right behind us." The coms officer Scott Jameson calmly said.

"What is my suggested course of action?"

I was surprised to hear Captain Lee's voice. She didn't usually talk to us stick jockies unless she had to. " John, DC just said that there's been a problem in the port flight-pod. And they're still trying to remove the hawkeye from the starboard tube…"

"You mean I'm alone?"

"Yes. We need you to try and make contact with them, find out if they're hostile or not. This nebula's making our sensors less effective, they may not even know we're here. Try not to give our position away."

"Liberty, I'm gonna need some sort of guidance here."

"Sending data…" Scott's voice retook the airwaves.

"Data received Liberty, heading out for meet and greet."

I flipped my Thunderbolt around and hit the afterburners. It took a good five minutes to see the unidentified ships. They were only tiny specks out in the distance, I couldn't see what they were. All of a sudden two of the three started to move backwards, or at least they had turned around, I couldn't tell at this distance.

"Liberty, please confirm, two unknowns just made a U turn." I calmly asked.

"Viper, we have that confirmed, two unknowns have just made a 180 degree turn, you are authorized to go weapons hot only if the craft is hostile."

"Liberty, request permission to attempt to make contact."

"Permission granted. Viper, role out the welcome wagon."

"Attention unidentified craft, please state your intentions…" I only heard static. "Unidentified craft this is LT. John Weston of the Terran Defense Fleet ship Liberty. We mean you no harm…" I hit the magnify button on the screen. I could see the horse shoe shape of a Helion fighter. It could still be an unknown species, I couldn't risk engaging it unless I had to. I finally received a reply.

"Fight me human!"

Please tell me if that was good, bad, or ugly. I'm a fairly experienced FF writer, so I can take criticism. If you want to beta, or whatever the original fiction equivalent is called, please let me know.

signed the good dr.