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.The planet Saturn with its beautiful rings and many moons hung in Titan’s sky.Sam Grayson could see it quite clearly through the bio sphere that surrounded Titan Colony like a giant transparent bubble.Sam had been to the Moon, Mars, and even Venus but to him, Titan was the most beautiful.Behind him, his transport shuttle and several others were being packed with colonists trying to flee Titan.The city itself was in a state of extremely high tension but the authorities were managing to maintain order.He and the other shuttle pilots had made several trips over the previous two hours.So far, they had evacuated one thousand people but there were still some three thousand or so on the colony and he knew that an alien attack was probably imminent.Sam stood at the edge of the biosphere and looked out over the Titan landscape.It was incredible.In one direction he saw mountains behind which he had been told was a sea of liquid nitrogen.In another direction, he saw a half-finished bio dome on which construction had now been halted.Sam longed to stroll this world in a protective suit as he had the Moon, Mars, and Venus, although when he had strolled on Venus it hadn’t been for very long, as the corrosive atmosphere and extreme heat ate away at environmental suits quickly.As such, suits for walking on Venus’ surface could be used only once.There was no time here, however, to make an excursion outside the protective walls of the biosphere.He got back to his shuttle, entered the cockpit, and began pre-launch sequences while the remaining seats on board were filled with passengers.Back on the Saratoga, Captain Doran was getting an update on ship repairs, and planning strategy while Commander Kelley and some other officers monitored the position of the alien fleet.At Saratoga’s side were the carriers Essex and Exeter the cruisers Montana and Alabama and the destroyers Apache, Griffin, Raven, Cobra, Wraith, Dark Angel, and Fire Hawk.Also in orbit was the Japanese space battleship Nagato and two Russian Escort Carriers carrying full complements of Vostok space fighters.Captain Doran had his plan.Between the carriers and Titan’s orbital base he had a substantial fighter force at his command.When the enemy attacked, he would hit them with over 200 Star Swords.“April, come here.”“Yes, sir.” said Commander Kelley.“Here’s what we are going to do.When the enemy comes, all of our fighters will attack.We will make one hit and run assault with our fleet ships and then try to lure the enemy as close to Titan base as possible.”“Why Titan base, sir.”“Because we have rigged it to explode.We have set its reactor to overload.All we have to do is detonate it!”“But sir, that will create…”“A VERY big boom.And hopefully take as many of them with it as possible.”April looked at Doran in genuine admiration.“Captain, you never cease to amaze me.”“Captain, sir!” said an officer.“What is it, Lieutenant?”“Sir, the alien Armada is on approach!”“Very well.When they enter orbit we‘ll launch our Star Swords.”On the bridge of the Krusha, Akdon stood on his platform.“Commander, we are approaching the sixth planet,” said an officer down on the bridge’s main floor.“As far as we can tell, there are fifteen human fleet ships and an orbital facility around a moon on the far side, but the interference of their sun is affecting our scanners severely.We can’t get an accurate reading.Shall we move the fleet into orbit?”Akdon thought for a moment.He did not like going into battle without some sense of what the enemy was planning.His opponent wouldn’t be foolish enough to make the same mistake twice and try another direct assault, but he was showing no sign of getting ready to run.“Commander, shall we move into orbit?”Akdon saw on the screen that the humans had apparently not yet begun to launch there fighters.“No, send a squad of fighters over to scout out the area first.Perhaps at close range our scanners will work better.Those Humans are up to something and I want to know what.”“Yes, Commander.”“Captain!” yelled Commander Kelley.“A large group of Alien fighters has just entered orbit!”“How many?” demanded Doran.“Scanners show five.”“What about the rest of their fleet?”“It hasn’t entered orbit yet.They’re just sitting out there.What do you think they’re up to, Captain?”“I’m not sure.They could be on a reconnaissance mission or they may be a diversion.Either way we can’t risk sending too many ships after them.We’ll send two flights, one from Saratoga and one from the Essex.”“I’ll advise Essex to launch her flight,” said April.“Sir, which of our flights shall we launch?”“Do you have to ask?”Jack Thunder woke with a jump as the intercom in his cabin was calling his name.“Lieutenant Thunder report to the launch bay immediately.” Jack got out of his bunk, floated over to the wall, and pressed a button on the intercom.“Understood,” he said and rushed to get dressed.He pulled on his shirt, grabbed his pants which were floating next to the bunk and got into his boots which were stuck to the floor.After putting on his uniform coat, he rushed out the door and almost bumped into Trey.Trey had three other pilots behind him.“Come on Jack, we’ve got work to do,” said Trey as they all made their way as fast as possible to the pilot’s lockers.“Are we under attack?” asked Jack as he changed into his flight suit.“Not exactly,” said Trey and explained the situation.After they had suited up, Jack put on his helmet and climbed into the cockpit of his Star Sword.After it had closed, he flipped a few switches, pulled back on the throttle, and off he went, down the launch tunnel and out of the ship.He fell into formation with Trey and the other pilots.“It’s about time,” said a voice over the radio.It was the leader of the flight from the Essex.“It took you all long enough,”This angered Trey slightly.His squadron had not been on stand by, but had been woken in the middle of their sleep period at Captain Doran’s insistence that his best pilots be sent.Trey took his Captain’s actions as a complement.The statements of the jerk from the Essex, however, he took as an insult.But at that moment, he had no time to quarrel.“Let’s get on with it!” he said and both flights headed off towards the Zidian fighters.Trey kept a close eye on his monitors and contacted Saratoga.“Saratoga, I’m picking up five bogies on coarse zero-niner-zero.”“Affirmative, Commander Knight, you are clear to engage targets.”“Alright, guys, we’re going after them,” said Trey.He and the other nine Star Swords in formation with him accelerated to full speed and began closing on the Zidian fighters.Squad Leader Brel, the pilot of the lead Zidian fighter, was also keeping a close eye on his scanners [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]