Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy another sample! The final secret of the Solar Alliance fleet is revealed!
Adrenaline surged through his body as he felt his craft propel itself into space. The other three followed close behind, no doubt experiencing the same thrills. Sensory data poured into him, threatening to overwhelm his stimulus-starved brain, and he relished the sensations.
There. Straight ahead. Battle raged. The humans were losing. He saw their small craft wink out as the other side brought them down with their sheer numbers. Even at this distance, the advanced targeting equipment of his craft acquired dozens of precise locks, and he felt his mind thrill to track them all. He could start firing now, and be utterly confident in every shot hitting from here, but he decided to wait. A short neural signal relayed this desire to the others, and they assented.
When the time was right, they would strike. They must get closer.
“Yes, head towards the destroyer! Hug it with your ship! We might as well make it even harder for them to smash into us, and if they miss, they’ll hurt their own ship!” Grafton fired his afterburners and Petros followed closely. He saw the remnants of Lambda Squad following them as well. The two squads, numbering two dozen fighters a few hours ago, were down to a quarter of that. As far as Grafton could tell, the bomber wings were all gone. They were simply fighting to stay alive now, or buy time for whatever the Admiral’s next step was.
He saw three fighters coming to his left and up high, their guns blazing again. His shields flared and he tried to bank away, screwing up their aim. He came about to fire back, but his attack run was cut short as three thick beams speared each fighter, reducing them to explosive scrap almost simultaneously. Before he could barely blink, he saw more of the beams, a mix of red and blue lightning, flash out from their unknown source. Each shot punched through a fighter or gunship, reducing it to smoking ruin. Each shot was fired with perfect accuracy, a feat Grafton knew was virtually impossible.
Within a few seconds, every enemy fighter within ten kilometers was destroyed. He could barely register the fact that, for the moment at least, he was safe. Grafton tried to compose himself and look for the mysterious shots, but Petros interrupted him.
“What the hell was that? Was that the Bastille firing?”
“No… It doesn’t have anything like that. Their gunnery crews are good, but not that good.” He tried to look about. There! Four objects, blazing with fire and leaving contrails of sparkling particles. A neural impulse caused a zoomed in display of them to appear over part of his canopy, and he felt his breath catch in his throat.
Petros must have been doing the same, because he came on the comm again, voicing the thoughts in Grafton’s head. “Holy shit! It’s an ATS squad, but… are those Savior Suits?!” The comm feed suddenly exploded with undisciplined chatter as nearly every surviving fighter pilot tried to declare or ask confirmation of the presence of Savior Suits.
Grafton had never seen an actual Savior Suit in person, but these looked like the pictures. They had the distinctive cylindrical heads, modeled after a Crusades-era helmet style. Their existence was so rare as to be nearly mythical. They were typically equipped with the absolute best, and often experimental, equipment, and piloted by the finest pilots across the entire Solar Alliance. The common wisdom was that while a single team of All-Terrain Suits could change the course of a battle, a single team of Savior Suits could alter the fate of a planet.
And now, here was a team of them, diving into the heart of battle against the Great Enemy. In seconds, they had saved several dozen lives and given the fighters a chance to escape. They seemed to be heading straight for the Ahriman destroyers, and Grafton, though he was coming about to put more distance between himself and the Great Enemy ships, could do little more than watch in awe.
The Saviors were traveling at several times the speed his starwing was capable of, to the point where his monitoring equipment could barely track them, yet this made no impact on their accuracy. Dozens of shots flashed out from them in all directions, each one destroying a fighter with unerring accuracy. As a starwing pilot, he could never hope to achieve anything even remotely like that level of accuracy.
The four Suits flew in a roughly diamond pattern, spiraling around each other in something resembling a quadruple helix. Somehow, the particles seemed to condense around them, increasing their speed, and each of the four suits seemed to simply burst with energy. The lead one came rapidly towards a medium-size gunship, but it didn’t seem to slow down in the slightest as it simply plowed through the ship as if it wasn’t there, the gunship exploding in its wake. It wasn’t until after the Savior passed that Grafton saw it had drawn and sliced through the gunship with a massive phase sword nearly as big as the Savior was.
“Follow the Savior Suits! Follow their lead!” Grafton suspected it would be a mostly symbolic gesture, but he knew it would at least give the other pilots something to focus on. He came about and went into full burn, but, as he expected, the Saviors pulled away from him anyway. At least the enemy fighter screens were virtually gone. Those that were left had fled and were returning to the planet.
The Saviors’ formation grew tighter, and the energy around them grew brighter as they barreled towards the first of the Ahriman destroyers. The ship began to fire its engines to get away, but it was far too slow. The energy engulfed the entire Savior team as a single gigantic drill of energy, and impacted with the ship. For a second, its hull seemed to withstand the assault, only to cave in. Explosions rippled all along its surface, and the energy drill punched clear through the ship, the Saviors emerging out the other side and continuing on to the second Ahriman, not even pausing to confirm the first one’s death.
Not that they needed to, Grafton saw. The first Ahriman came apart at the seams, exploding in a glorious chain reaction that blinded him for a few seconds. By the time his eyes had cleared and he could look again, the second Ahriman was under attack. This one’s shields were still up, and the Savior suits had split up. Their weapons were blazing all over the ship’s shields, and one of them, possibly the lead suit, was attempting to carve its way in with its phase sword. The amount of firepower these four suits was putting out was, at a guess by Grafton, equal to the entire fighter, bomber, and ATS compliment of the Bastille.
As such, he wasn’t very surprised when the shields began to collapse a few moments later. He was still far beyond weapons range, and could only watch as the Savior Suits clawed their way in through the shields, and then ripped the hull of the ship apart before blasting their way inside. The Ahriman drifted for nearly a full minute, only occasional explosions breaching its outer surface, before a singular large explosion ripped out from its front, and all four Saviors emerged, setting the hull ablaze with their passing. More explosions rippled across its hull, and, though it didn’t explode outright, it was obvious the ship was dead.
Again, in seconds, the Saviors were blazing towards the Rakshasa escorts. For the first time since the battle started, Grafton realized he was feeling hopeful.