Star Force: Starchaser (SF69)

BOOK: Star Force: Starchaser (SF69)
2.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub



February 26, 2825

(Calavari Region)



Mark-084 stood on the mountaintop that held the
remains of the old Alliance base, looking out at the surrounding geography that
was a mix of small mountains and plains, the latter of which held a number of
lizard cities. Smoke was rising from them even now weeks after they’d been
assaulted by Star Force troops. The battle for the planet was over, but the
cleanup mission was going to take years to disassemble the lizard

But they had time, and Mark was going to be personally
overseeing the reclamation of
for Star Force.
was going to get a small piece of it,
but the bulk of the planet was going to be one of the new tier 4 worlds,
housing the best of the best of Star Force personnel when it came to the aerial
division and all supporting assets. Under Mark’s leadership the planet was
going to become the premier industrial producer of aerial craft and the test
bed for future prototypes, as well as the most intensive and extensive training
available for all of the empire’s various factions.

Likewise there were 8 other tier 4 worlds planned,
though none had been tagged to date save for a waterworld in the Bsidd Region
that was going to house the tier 4 aquatics stronghold. Already the
reorganization of Star Force was beginning to show dividends, with the tier 3
sectors that had already been created on Earth and Corneria having begun to
generate a new ‘feel’ to the civilization there. Everywhere from the
residential sections to the entertainment facilities was more mellow, focused,
and purposeful. The chaos of the general population was gone, as were the
dysfunctional citizens.

Roam a tier 3 region and there were no fat people, no
old people, no cutters, anorexics, gays, addicts, loudmouths, egotists,
zealots, etc. Everyone here had earned their way in, and that trial in and of
itself had allowed them to solve their personal problems and rise above the
rest of the citizenry…and now they no longer had to see the problems of others
on a daily basis. The ‘normal’ was now perfection, in that the people here had
no personal problems dragging them down with the focus being on improvement,
both personal and communal, and a striving for excellence rather than coping
with flaws.

The synergy that had resulted surprised many by its
suddenness and intensity, with the go ahead for the tier 4 worlds coming
quickly thereafter. The basic theory was to create an advanced core group that
would bring the rest of Star Force up with it, much like the Clans were, except
that these tier 4 worlds would be skill specific and essentially the poster
model for others to learn from. Mark had wanted
for the aerial specialty for that was what the planet had originally been
tasked for when the Calavari had owned it prior to the lizard invasion, not to
mention its strategic location.

It was on the very edge of Star Force territory at the
moment, but with a coreward boundary line essentially fixed the further push
against the lizards would be
, eventually
centrally located if all went according
to plan. The ADZ was going to be displaced as the geographical center of the
empire as they ate up more and more lizard worlds, with Davis already
commissioning the placement of Epsilon Eridani caliber systems at various
points along the current borders. Those so designated would be receiving supply
shipments from across the empire to fast track their development, with
being one such planet.

The first convoy wasn’t due to arrive for another
month but Mark wasn’t in a rush. There had been so many lizards here that it
had literally been a blood bath. The widespread usage of the Keema weapon
batteries within the drone fleet had given them the range advantage they
needed, and most of the destruction of the lizard civilization had occurred
from orbit, but there had been considerable ground fighting for the limited
troops the Archon had brought with him to cleanse the planet of the longtime

The base beneath the mountain had been repurposed for
the lizards, leaving nothing of the original behind, but Mark recognized the
location just the same. He’d fought here against the Nestafar when they’d
backstabbed the Alliance and joined with the lizards over 400 years ago, and
though the grasslands had been burnt away the rest of the topography hadn’t

It felt strange to be back here, for when he’d left
the Calavari had been the larger and more powerful race with Star Force being a
junior member in the Alliance. Now the Calavari were the smaller faction within
Star Force, with the Bsidd likewise having joining them and the Kvash having
been wiped out. The Nestafar were likewise all but gone, with only a small ward
colony left that was also part of Star Force now. The founding members of the
Alliance, once the huge, powerfully dominant races, had receded, with even the
Hycre now taking a backseat to the Human-led
Mark and his kin were now in the driver’s seat, and doing a far better job of
fighting the lizards than the Alliance ever had.

Mark knew that criticism wasn’t entirely warranted.
The other races didn’t have a pyramid of highly advanced tech to continually
leech off of, but that aside the old Alliance’s methods had been inadequate and
rather than repeating failure Star Force learned and adapted…which was
necessary against an opponent that did the same. Mark knew that they’d never be
beaten, for the lizards had grown so large and vast that they could keep
spreading throughout the galaxy faster than Star Force could hunt them down, so
the mission was to be better than them while staking out a ‘safe’ chunk of
territory for themselves and others to take shelter within.

had just been added to
that list of star systems and its inclusion was long overdue. Now that Mark was
here he was going to be leading numerous other invasion fleets against the
surrounding systems, carving out another section of lizard territory while
others did likewise at numerous locations throughout the local section of the
galactic arm. Eventually they planned to move all the way over to the new Voku
stronghold and place a line there, allowing their new ally to fight the lizards
beyond and protect their own designated ward races while Star Force became the
link between their territories.

It was now a common sight to see an occasional Voku
convoy passing through the ADZ, despite the fact that they didn’t own any
territory within it. More and more resources were coming forth from the Voku
and being sent out to Cal-com’s new territory and
Mark welcomed the help, for not only were they defining the
border of what would eventually be Star Force territory, but they were also
holding a bit of the coreward line as well. And though it was going to be a
very distant goal, Mark knew that Star Force was also going to have to expand
up and down all the way to the edges of the galactic disc in order to cut the
lizards off from further expansion in their area or they’d just skirt the edges
and surround them.

There were so many systems out there that Star Force
couldn’t save because they were too far away that it left Mark feeling a bit
hollow inside, but he and the others had decided to grow their empire as large
as they could in order to save as many races as possible, and the stronger the
lizards grew the less able races there were that could defend themselves. Star
Force was winning their corner of the war, but virtually everyone else was
losing and fueling the growth of the lizard juggernaut.

The number of races fleeing into Star Force territory
was growing as well, with some coming from the coreward area that had made
their peace with the Skarrons only to now be displaced by the lizards. Others
were coming to them for a myriad of reasons, some because of other threats,
in the hope of preventing doomsday from coming their
way. Few were the races that could stand alongside Star Force as their equals,
and those known were far away from here. The Nexus, for all its power and size,
was so far
that they didn’t have any claim to
this region aside from the H’kar fleets that were still fighting alongside Star
Force, and that was more on their own merits than any edict from the Nexus

The Skarrons were the other major power, but as far as
Mark knew they were getting their assess handed to them by the lizards and
despite the information digging that Star Force had been doing for centuries
there didn’t seem to be any other major powers out there within any
proximity…meaning that this region was essentially an all you could eat buffet
for the lizards when and where Star Force couldn’t stop them.

It wasn’t fair. Nobody chose when or where they would
be born, and many new races he’d come to know were fairly honorable and
industrious but there was no way they could stand up to the tech level of the
lizards, let alone their numbers. Some of those races had been wiped out,
others had seen survivors flee to Star Force. They’d done nothing wrong, hadn’t
made any missteps, and still they’d gotten obliterated. That frustrated Mark to
no end, because he hated no-win scenarios.

He and the other trailblazers had been facing one
their entire life with the V’kit’no’sat, but rather than give in to despair
they’d devoted themselves to finding ways to do the impossible, and although
that day hadn’t come yet, fortunately, they’d progressed so far that it had
brought them into a dominant position over the lizards…but that made the
situation in the region even worse, for Star Force could stop the slaughter.
The trouble was, they couldn’t be everywhere at once.

“Not enough good guys in the galaxy,” Mark said to
himself as he looked out over the planet through his helmet’s faceplate. Clan
was pretty much on autopilot right now, for aside
from a few tweaks here and there his second gen Archons were handling his
development plans while leaving him free to work on whatever he needed to.
Right now that was going to be
and building this
planet up for all of Star Force, then inviting the top pilots and aerial
engineers here to train as they continually refitted the empire’s equipment and
combat techniques.

He’d been doing much the same thing within Clan
ever since its creation, but
was going to be a training world that all the Clans could use, not to mention
the other races within Star Force and even some of their allies. With the
change in lizard tactics and them deploying huge swarms of wisps to counter
everything from infantry to warships there was a growing need for aerial craft
and this planet was going to begin producing them in crazy numbers…or at least
that was the plan, and his plan, for Davis had left
up to his discretion while feeding him all available resources that he
requested over the next 50 years.

Mark toed a bit of dry dirt with his dark blue armored
boot. There was so much work to do here and none of it fighting, assuming they
really had cleared out the last of the lizards. He doubted they’d make a second
invasion of the planet, for that was no longer something they felt like doing.
They hadn’t taken a planet from Star Force in ages and were no longer trying.
Their plan seemed to be to turtle up along the border and make themselves as
hard of a target as possible to delay Star Force when they eventually came for
them, all the while expanding elsewhere and preying on those too primitive or
too weak to defend themselves.

was staying in Star
Force hands from here on out and Mark was going to make this home for a lot of
people. People who earned being here, and who would literally feed off of the
attitude of their likeminded peers. Freedom was essential for any civilization,
but while you had to let people make their own mistakes you didn’t have to be
dragged down by them. People could learn and grow elsewhere, or not, but in
order to get here they had to prove themselves worthy…then Mark would take over
from there.

Aerial training wasn’t so much a thing of learning
various techniques or developing skills as it was of sheer repetition. A
commando improved by upgrading their body through training, but a skeet didn’t
become more powerful with more missions. It was mechanical and static, meaning
the pilot had to advance in terms of reflexes, endurance, and mostly the mental
applications. Experience was the key factor and Mark knew that
had to have people flying, both for real and in
simulators, on an exhaustive schedule. Only that would give his trainees the
chance to learn and adapt while he and a few handpicked others worked on
improving their equipment.

One of those advancements coming down the line was the
neural interface. So far it’d been used in naval and mechs, but aerial was a
bit different and Mark had insisted that they still use hand controls until the
technology became more streamlined. It was going to be far superior, if for no
other reason than being able to see all around you in a way similar to Pefbar,
save you’d be using the craft’s sensors instead of your

Mark was already using the tech in an effort to goose
along its advancement, but during this latest assault he’d piloted a standard
hand controlled skeet. The new models just weren’t reliable enough yet, though
that time was coming soon…and when it did, aerial combat was going to change
drastically, which was one reason why he wanted to personally oversee the
development of
so he could gear it towards that
new reality from the ground up rather than having to do a refit later similar
to what would be occurring on many other worlds after the transition.

BOOK: Star Force: Starchaser (SF69)
2.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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