“If Only I Could Do More” Chapter One of the VARNOS FRONT WAR

The wind blew over the beach in the cool summer air.  Sirene preferred vacations like this one just lost somewhere on an small island alone laying on sands of the beach and.. “-minus 12 minutes to exit of Hyperjump. Prepare end of REM hyp-” Well, she was not total alone. Sirene did have a few friends from SOL with her here on this private island on NOVA.  A lot of of the rich from SOL did have vacations here on NOVA but many went to the corp owned commercial islands. You either had to be very rich or a certain kind employer to get access to one of the southern private islands all round the SP Military base nicknamed the ‘Hawaii’ base. Sirene was the later and right now she preferred to not think about work while on vacation.

“I hear you worked a good job but to have access this island… well I am impressed Sing” Said Ice, a former school mate from her college years, pointed at the horizon of the setting sun as she walked up.

“Don’t call me that for god sake you know I hate that name.” Sirene replied back with a cheeky grin turning to see her.

“Oh and you will beat me to a pulp like that poor guy the other night at the bar that you told your nick too.” Ice replied.

“Yeah, well he was talking to a his superior wrong, so I put him in his place its not like he will not be hospital that long” spoke Sirene while sheepishly. “and I was drunk.”

They both laughed.

“You really didn’t need to invite us–” then Ice faded out like a hologram turning off.

Sirene stood up on the beach with her shoulder length blond hair blowing in the wind. The 6’ 1″ body glimed from of long hours in both the gym, from the training on the job for combat scenarios and enhanced muscular system by her bio robotic nano blood systems. She looked back at the beach house and remembered what talking not with Ice but with Wingmates, fellow Starfighter pilots. Drinking had having a good time those few final nights before the operation had started.

Suddenly Ice reappeared in the same way she disappeared “–invite us to NOVA. I am busy you know.”

“With handling a major trade deal going your corp is in the process of bidding. You would never be able to be here cause we talked two weeks ago about it.” Said Sirene cutting off Ice who was now confused.

“Wait, when did we talk about this. Two weeks ago?! Sing this better not be a joke” whined Ice

“It is,” – “-Green, All Weapons Systems green, HyperWave Radar green, Combat Radar Green, LADAR targeting systems green, Optical HUD systems Green, All-”

Suddenly a flash of a XSF-123 Cockpit appeared in haze like a from fog in her face then just just vanished into to warm air of NOVA.

“Sirene, you look pale.” Said Ice but now in a concerned voice that now echoed instead of blowing away in the breeze of the beach air. She looked down at Sirene who collapsed to her knees in the pure shock from visual flash. “Are you all right?”

“I will be in a few moments.” She replied while Cringing..  I hate this part.  She cried out like like coyote until she woke up. —

“Status STiM?” As Sirene eye’s opened to a three layer Starfighter HUD to greet her.

One Layer for the cockpit nano visual systems over layed on all of cockpit like spray paint fed from optical sensors across the Starfighter. Allowed for a 3D 360’ viewing without changing the cockpit much from the Jet fighters old on earth except a little bit more roomy for the ability to rest though bucked in. The Second layer was from the airtight combat helmet mostly overlayed with status of the fighter and her vitals. They could be pushed to either first layer or the third she just prefer it to be on her helmet. Some maybe the desire to feel like the jets pilots of earth from a bygone era or something. Third and final layer was the Atlantean Star Grade Nanosystems in her eyes’s vitreous humour and embedded nano contact that acted as back ups and fed combat system her current visual focus and what eyes were tracking.

Though all of this was back up it for the nano-nero interface in her lower C-spine all the way through all of her T-spine that allowed her brain to drive the fighter even if she was without appendages. or am I  the backup. She really didn’t know anymore after spending almost decade in these machines they started to feel more like another skin and less machine at a unsettling level in the ways they could think and interface with the human mind. It was more like the system need the human not the other way around once is was in combat mode.

“All checks are green. You are ready for exiting Hyperspace into combat zone in 4 minutes.” Said a calm slightly feminine voice with a still robotic tone to it. Sirene did not like her machines to sound more human than they had to so a vocal profile micing her own and slight modified to sound less human did the job to make if feel non human.

“Good, send confirm wake up info blast to all fighters.” She commanded. With in seconds 125 fighters confirmed they were online and pilots were awake from deep force REM sleep.

“All right prepare to yank us out of hyperspace in NOW!” With that order all of the starfighters came out of FTL within seconds of the order all in one huge forward facing pyramid formation.

“Colonel Hardraft here. All units check in.” Said Sirene

“Bitch’s Mane all Green Ma” Said 1st Lieutenant Fairs  I wish I never lost that bet.

Coma’s Punch all green Sir” said Major Byes.  At it again I see calling me names.

Drunk Joysticks all green Ma” Captain Balecost repled.  We are really shit bags when it comes to sqad names in this wing.

Glass Skies Help all green Ma” Captain Can called out. Or fucking lame at coming up with them.

“Dark Light’s Death all green SIR” Major Nira said with her infamous joking yet honest accent. Oh they done fucked up now.

“Majors’ would you like some special treatment this drill? Say BLOODY 3 HOURS AT NINE G’s.” Fumed Sirene.

Laughter of the two major’s broke across the coms of all  one hundred and twenty five fighters followed by screams of horror as their star fighters suddenly started to accelerate without orders from them.

“I would have left you alone if didn’t try me but You decided your fate. I thought having your  systems over ridden by me for this operation would be necessary so have fun for the next 3 hours in high G’s” Her tone was scary calm. Her maiden name meant more than just family title it carried her attitude quite literally.

Two Star fighters broke away from the formation at steady 9 G’s acceleration with no internal dampers on. The Pilots of them would not die, thanks meds and nano enhancements of the body, but they would not be feeling much beyond being pinned against the rear of a cockpit for a few hours. —

“All right we all know what this drill plan is so follow your squadron commanders. AR scenario 1230-56 supported by the 1st UM Squad SFDs as aggressors is a go.”

And with that all 5 squadrons of  SP 2nd Star Fighter Wing broke off into their own formations. With two lower lieutenants from Coma’s Punch and Dark Light’s Death now commanding as relief for the preoccupied major’s that were in High G ‘training’.

“Do you think they are ready for deep space combat?” Sirene asking on a private Laser com channel to MSG Rails who was in her Squadron.

“I don’t think anyone can be ever ready for Open Space Combat in a starfighter Ma. Honestly the best we can do is hope we never have to be deployed in such a scenario. You know space combat theory 101” Said MSG Rails with his usual deep but calm voice.

“Throw many missiles as possible and block as many as you can with your PDL’s(Point Defense Lasers) at range then Kinetic Energy Blot slug-fest at close range.” Replied Sirene

“And we both know our fighters would be shot down by any good PDL’s system this side of NOVA before we could use our small ANTI-Ship Rockets or Bombs.”

MSG Rail voice ringed with the titanium truth modern space combat. If you were anything the size of a Starfighter caught in open space by average warship you were dead as fabs gnat in water no matter the numbers. PDL’s could rip a Starfighters shields apart at ranges far before even the experimental starfighters of SP, which LTC Harddraft’s Wing was flying, could scratch the hulls of warships or let alone dent the shield’s of one.

“Right, Xin. We really are just fucked a million comets to Twin’s if we got into a fight with anything bigger than a frigate sized or bigger.”

Sirene knew this drill was for the worse case scenario they could be sent into fight. With the numbers of the wing they had a chance to get through this fight at least if followed the Battleplan exactly which should happened but in real combat almost never happened.

“You are trying to at least get everyone ready for this type of combat. I had commanders in the GSN never even training beyond the sims. Boy did we lose people the first contact we had over franke’s mine.  Anyways talk more after contact”

MSG Rails, with that ,disconnected the Laser com channel.

I owe you a beer again Rails.

She felt relieved and ready for high G Combat as the AR’ sims systems came online and began counting down “5,4,3,2,1, AR Simulation commencing” Said Sirene’s robotic AI vocal doppelgänger.

The surge of pain and adrenaline rush through her body as life support systems began preparing her body for G’s maneuvers and into maintain alertness throughout potential the high stress combat. This happened along with nano nerve system beginning full data integration between her spine and the combat computers.

The starfighter now essentially was another appendage to her brain and also was feeding her data in ways that really can’t be described as analytical as much as having a set of new instincts defined by the combat computers.  Really a pilot could sense what was what could happen and instantly react both with joystick and throttle of the fighter but also with the nano nerve system doing it. Some pilots drove their starfighters completely hands-free others still slaved to many systems as possible to physical inputs but the nano nerve system essentially still ran off of what the brain thought to do and not exactly what was output by the other human appendages. At this point many experts argue that the starfighter is a super drone and that it has all the reflexive capabilities a computer but at the same time the human factor makes it fly still very much like it was manned in its unpredictability and original tactical thinking.

“Alrighty, what is our status Lieutenant ?” barked Sirene over the coms

“We are receiving contact signal from the SP corvette Hydra’s Mark 70,000 clicks out R North level. She is under attack by a frigate with two full squadrons of  fighter support by the latest tactical data burst.” Fairs replied

“All right we are going to assess the situation since we are the closest while Coma’s Punch are going cloak up and prepare for a backing us up from R high and north assault. We do not need to bring anyone else yet. Too the rest  wing follow the briefing plan and see you on the other side” Said Sirene

With that the squadron began acceleration at 25 Gs towards the Hydra’s Mark. Being pinned against the cockpit at damped felt 4Gs Sirene was ready for this.  Real adrenaline is flowing now.  Alright lets see how this goes.  It was only 30 seconds later when the other squadrons, which were on Search and destroy orders, began to report contact.

‘CONTACT, CONTACT thirty boogies R south deep closing fast 10,000 clicks from us. We are engaging ma.’ Said a mental verbal message from Captain Can. There is no time to vocally talk in High variable G Combat.

Well that is our back now about our othe-  

‘Joysticks here, We are tracking, What the they already ON?! us “BREAK BREAK”-fu#*$(*^—————-’

Damn, Usually we use the drones to clear out ambushes I guess they can do the reverse just as efficiently.

‘Status on Joystick’s ?’ Asked Sirene

‘They still up on the local combat network ma just fully engaged with 14 err 13 boogies. You can see the details on your hud as well’ Fairs replied

‘ I know just want to confirm what I am seeing, gosh damn they are making short work of those drones. Though it’s a nasty furball now. Anyways we are 45 second from contact missiles are already on the way to meet us.’ said Sirene watching on her 3rd layer of the HUD the action be represented in 3-D and the incoming threats

‘Break formation ma?’ Fairs asked.

‘No lets punch through it. Assume closed cone formation and prepared blast through.’ Time to get in there Sirene itched for combat.

‘Sounds fun’ Fairs issued the order over combat network.’

Over 100 flanker missiles with a likely anti fighter payload closed in 100,000 m, 90,000m, 70,000m, 40,000 m, Sirene’s fighter alerted her this was suicide vector. She didn’t care.

“Alright Boys…. FUCK THEM” and with a quiet but deep rumble her fighter’s center back up rail gun opened up at 5000 RPM.  Two thousand of 50 mm U.T.C. shells shot head of the formation and tore apart the flanker missiles before they could unload their payload with their remains bouncing off shields of the fighters at now 18000 meters per seconds and climbing.

‘All right we are free for hard burn’ And with that the Squadron engines light up the skies behind them with the with light fusion. Pinned against the back of the cockpit at felt 7Gs with over 300Gs on the Start Fighter itself. Only the Acceleration dampers kept the ship and Sirene from falling apart under the stresses of this kind of acceleration. These new Masskin Drives could do amazing short burns when needed. After one minute it was quiet. No Gs, no accelerations just watching the dance in the skies play out for the next few minutes and the data flowing in.

The all the other squadrons besides her’s and Coma’s the kept running into contacts left and right. It seemed the play was to tie up her forces at the jump in point but it failed already however that was minor issue. The opposing force had double her fighter count and only 60 fighters had be shot down so far. They were out there and waiting for her move and then knew she was moving in after that hard burn.

So far sub-light sensors and hyper-wave sensors had not picked up any targets yet but they passive at the moment only receiving the active data bursts from the Hyrdra’s Mark who was doing quite fine so for being out gunned and locked into a kinetic bolt slug-fest with frigate twice her tonnage.

10 minutes later Sirene’s Squadron began their move. ‘Unload all long range missiles here then hard reverse burn for 55 seconds then go bright for attack runs in your flights. Beer’s and a kiss for the first to dent the hull of that ships ass.’ and with that order the chaos began.

On the stub wings of her fighter all 8 FIST missiles launched from their pylons then her star fighter flipped to begin a reverse burn to get down to combat relative velocity.

“Incoming fire!, Incoming Fire!” Blared an STiM alert but her ship already had begun evading.

‘Here We Go’ Cringed Sirene. The the G’s when from steady to erratic and feeling from all sides. Time perception slowed down as she commanded the evasions procedures. One moment everything frozen and was still as frost on rail then it blazed by at pace too rapid to even glance. Then G’s forces pound her body like invisible waves of water that came from side or top or below. The ship didn’t care about her. She didn’t care about her body she only wanted to know one objective. Can I shoot this Fucker yet.?.  

The Squadron had broken part in every direction possible to evade the PDL fire. It seems the opposing force wanted to keep the star fighters out of the equation as long as possible though the PDL’s left up as Hydra’s Mark gave its some 30 odd Flanker missiles to think about.

“This is is Hydra’s Mark we are barely holding up shields. They have about 10 min before destabilize due to enemy fire and we cannot run from this frigate.” said Captain of the Hydra. Also well combat data link was now available for her Squadron to plug into for shared combat info between all SP vessels.

‘LTC Hardraft here Captain, how do we take this frigate do..’ “UGnnnn”! only to have her star fighter shunt to its left hard to avoid PD fire again.

“Colonel you have two points to attack and your early missiles did do some work for this. Look at the Plan 12-C in the data burst2131221—–” The Hydra got hit hard by a volley kinetic fire cutting her off however the data burst got through.

Between dodging fire PD/PDL and shooting down anti fighter missiles she got the concept of the plan in 3 seconds. It was going to be full burst of what was left of the missile banks on the hydra long with few Smokes Nukes to blind sensors for her squadron to move in and use their skipper rockets to hit the stern shield projectors and engines. The only trick was that they had to get close like scratching the hull close to the frigate to work but if they could get within 3 KM the skippers could do the rest.

The next option and the safest was wait for Coma’s to come in with their high speed payload and strike at the same time problem being they might arrive to late for the Hydra but they could exploit the damage that her first strike missiles had done to the hyper wave systems meaning only sublight sensors were up and with Coma in cloaked mode they could ponce unseen but sirene had a better idea.

‘Hyrda do HARD Ping for mines and give me a report.’ in 4 seconds data poured in and she smirked though it was hard to see on her high g’s face.  Got them with their pants down

‘Joystick and Darklight jump from your locations to this point on this burst then unload long range missiles and form up on Mane’ commanded Sirene

Glass finish your contacts and proceed to do the same and Major’s your punishment is rescinded for now move your butts to those jump point “NOW”’

‘Coma jump to these points under the data burst and wait for my comand to jump again’

“YES MA’am” The wing cried and in 20 seconds she had half her wing under direct  command again and then it all fell apart.

‘All Fighters out of Hyperspace ma, and “CONTACTS, CONTACTS, Break, BREAK”’ Said Major Nira as 200 DSF-125 Drones Star Fighters jumped out of hyperspace and began to attack Darklight and Joysticks squads broke apart like fireworks from the incoming fire.

So they were waiting for my hyper jumps it seems. Well fine.

‘Captain hook me in to the PDL system of your ship now I am taking command control of your ship’

“What the heck LTC HardDraft that was not in the SIM briefing I am only here for your— “SHUT UP AND GIVE ME FUCK CONTROL OR YOUR CAREER IS OVER YOU LITLLE DIPSHITING CUNT FUCKING SOB!!” …. Yes, ma. Routing targeting and firing control via data link” said the shocked Hydra’s Captain

‘She real mad now’ thought both Major Byes and Major Nira

Fucker And with that Sirene with four other start fighters directed the PDL fire. The furrball lasted for two minutes but the loses were heavily one sided too opposing force drones not ready for precise PDL fire directed by for five fighters acting as spotters. They were routed with 130 drones backing off to get away from the PDL fire but she was down to only 48 fighters left so the drones surprise drop did get chunk of her fire power.

‘Coma, punch it.’ She knew Major Byes could handle the rest.

“Aye, Ma” And with that slightly cheeky reply Coma Hyper Jumped from 30,000 to 30 KM away from opposing force frigate while the Hydra’s unloaded what was left of its missile banks. At the Same time the rest of the wing swung from R North West Deep to  R  West mid  behind the Hydra with the goal of providing cover against the drones which were staying 6000 clicks  R Center Deep away from Sirene’s part of the wing.

What is your move Now? and she saw it happen while she asked. 40 drones jumped from where they were to on top of Coma’s Punch but the missile payload was already unloaded so that local furry ball erupted.

‘Flight Bravo break Deep East R and get out of here’ Flight Charlie Stay engaged Alpha and Echo form up on me and lets GET THIS BITCH for FLIGHT DELTA’ Ordered Major Byes as his squadron came under fire.

The rest of the drones began to burn rapidly towards the Hydra and Sirene countered with her forces. It was 90 AI drones loaded out for anti starfighter combat vs 48 her Starfighter in a mix from multirole to anti ship. It was going to high loss for one side. The 2000KM furrball began with in 30 second later. No orders but quick mental ones were sent. The between the vibrations of her fighters railguns and the shunting and thrusting pulling and pushing her like pinball she saw on her data link. Frigate destroyed due to reactor breach from close range fire from Coma’s punch fighters after shield failure thanks to two skipper shots from Major Byes.

Good Job you idiot….. oh FUCK. “You have been killed” Said a message like in video game from the 21st century and in a killcam like format it showed her shield sync level fell low enough for a shot from drone railgun to punch through shield and then starfighter’s port hull through to the cockpit and hit her chest as it went out the starboard side. She drift in space watching the rest of the fight play out. The Hydra was able to fully help what was left of the 2nd Wing destroy the drones as they had in the sim lost central command and so were programmed to attack until eliminated. Sirene poured over the data stream and shook her head. Their performance was off the charts but one figure stuck out as a sore thumb LOSSES TO 2nd Wing: 109 fighters destroyed, 2 disabled, and 14 still jumpable. Total LOSSES 87.2% to Combat Personnel.

87.2% ……. 87.2%…….. well I guess its better than the prediction of 94.5% but still my wing would be dead. Sirene just stared at that number. It was a number she never wanted to see in real combat. Never but she looked at the number again burning it into her mind knowing it was the realty if they ever got in to open space war.

“To LTC Hardraft, this Tech Ship Andrew. AR support of the training exercise is complete on our end. We heading back to the fleet for debriefing. Good job and safe trip.” Said a comms officer.

“This is Hardraft, thanks for your support Andrews will see you back at the fleet.” Replied Sirene in dismissive manner. The losses number was still on her mind

“Roger, Andrew out.” and the ship jumped out a few second later with the drones star fighters jumping after their control ship.

“Colonel, this is the Hydra’s we are leaving as well and thanks for waking up our Captain” Spoke the comms officer hinting at her outburst.

“Oh that,” Sirene blushed slightly  “Tell Him I owe him a drink at the next port for that.”

“Will do Ma, Hydra’s out.” and Hydra’s Jump out too.

A few minutes later all the wing formed up around Sirene fighter and waited for the command to jump.

“Colonel, they are all green and ready to go” MSG Rail told her on a private laser com line.

“I know Xin but do you know how much we lost out there? We lost almost everyone. Fuckign everyone. I we would last one fight and be dead Xin. What is high comand thinking even bring us along for this operation?”

“Ma, we won. Sing we won that is what matters we completed the job. What happens next is a different story but I saw mission complete screen so I think we did what was need to be done now lets go home.”

“K, Xin but I am going to have a fist full of questions for person in charge of this operation.”

“That you will, Sing that you will.” And MSG Rails cut off the link after that.

Guess time to get home And she opened Wing wide coms.

“ Well everyone. We won so now lets get fucking home that is your debrief and Squadron leaders your reports of the this mission are due one day from now. All fighters link up for jump.”

The forward pyramid formation of the wing winked out a few second later. The darkness consumed was left of the heat of the exercise and another ship that had just decloaked jumped out a few second later after sending this data burst.

“Following is combat data from SP 2nd wing deep space training exercise. Personally Recommend for the 2nd Wing to receive R&D tech upgrade based on the Dial Chopper program. Also LTC Hardraft is as the data suggest high compatible the FD program tech. Recommend her nanonerve, and starfighter systems to receive upgrade as well along with FD program nanites infusion. Heading to Sol Sector as directed for next orders.”

Almost on the other side of known space 100 light years near Mackvin a notification popped up 20 hours on The Director’s PDA. He Read the heading and then head a few decks down to his office for the details. “Well, it looks it time to start the party” he mused as he sat down and began to read a personnel file on the holo screen labeled: LTC SIRENE HARDRAFT of SP ENFORCEMENT ARM.

(Note to all if you read this far I know its shitty editing and that will be cleaned up but this is what I have at the moment and I am moving on the the next chapter but will edit and edit again as needed so go grammer nazi if you must. It is the internet)

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