Stories from the Rim #1

“Up! Up! Everyone up!” I woke up to an explosion which shook the whole ship. The sound of the alarm blared in my ear as my bunkmate shuffled to his feet. We all knew there were two people who would be brazen enough to attack a Kellerin Republic cruiser: pirates and the league. Unfortunately for us, not even the former was stupid enough to stay in the sector when the league showed up. It was a terrifying thing to know your enemy only through stories and broadcasts. It seemed the fleet only gave us enough to be afraid of them, but not enough to actually know how to deal with that fear.

I rushed to my feet as my bunkmate and I grabbed our lasers. We were trained to fight off a boarding party but we never actually thought we would have to do it.

Approaching a ship in the emptiness of space was as dangerous as it was stupid. Something which the league had in spades. The way they shrugged off all established military doctrine, risking themselves for the sake of a point, and their bullheadedness made them unpredictable. No other people would actually think ramming was a viable maneuver in space. Something which was as likely to destroy you as your opponent, but here they were, sliding up next to us amidst the sound of grinding metal and men screaming like it was some kind of casual bet among friends.

An officer pointed out some areas he suspected they were trying to cut through. We took defensive positions in the ship as we waited for them to open us up. Our officers were well-trained but I didn’t think a single one of them had any real experience. They tried their best to put on a brave face, but when we heard the metal crack open as the shooting started. Their facades cracked quickly.

The first breach blew open the metal with a loud explosion. Shrapnel blew back harmlessly as one of the first troopers of the league appeared. He jumped down in front of all of us like an idiot. He went down quickly as the entire defense team peppered him with lasers. When his body fell back I felt a wave of relief wash over me. Then I heard blood-curdling screams coming from the breach. A war cry, it was a sign of things to come. The black sea of league troops erupted out of the opening as they came rushing out. We thought we could hold the choke point, but as other breaches emerged around us we found ourselves getting overwhelmed. The sickening sounds of their outdated weapons drowned out the alarm as I heard the defense team members go down one by one.

My bunkmate tugged my uniform. “Let’s get out of here.” He wanted to hide and I found the dying screams of my companions a good enough motivation to agree.

Picking up our lasers and retreating deeper into the ship we thought we would hide in some lockers or something until they left. When we reached one of the barracks we opened the door to find a league officer with his guards on the other side. I will give the league props. Whatever they do, they do it fast.

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