The Patriotic Duty
The war dragged on. Conditions deteriorated. To have any hope of success the source of Dom’Kavash support for their servants needed to be singled out and eradicated. This called for a dangerous reconnaissance mission deep behind enemy lines. Joint operations could not go ahead without first locating three Rheinlander scouts gone missing weeks before. The task was deemed worthy of the Workers' 31st: the Coalition’s last surviving wing of Basilisks featuring cloak capability. Use of this cloak technology would allow easily circumvention of alien defenses on this mission. Due to the prohibitively rare and expensive nature of the needed energy crystals, the devices must be used sparingly. Even then there will be only enough of the crystals remaining for this one mission. Without those black boxes, scouts would need to chart the region all over again. The window of opportunity is too brief to allow for that. Everything is at stake. The objective must be accomplished.
Flights of four take off from a carrier in Hieron. They split up to cover as much space as possible. Danger lays in wait at every turn. Of the forty that left only thirteen return. Shortages of energy crystals, nanobots, fuel, and flares threatened to be the undoing of them all. The fallen pilots sacrificed themselves by transferring much needed supplies to their compatriots. Once unable to cloak, a slow and unwieldy fighter like the Basilisk is no match for its alien counterparts. Despite these losses, the mission was a triumph. One black box was destroyed in Lemnos when the ship carrying it was downed, but a young lieutenant pulled through as the unlikely hero of the day. Comrade Fyodor Kovalevski returned with the other two black boxes… in addition to coordinates for a Dom’Kavash hypergate located in the Menton System. Armed with priceless knowledge like this the Coalition could finally go ahead with its plans for a counteroffensive.
The Coalition’s fleet smashes through the blockade in Gurm. Overwhelming numbers play to their advantage. Escorts peel off and create numerous diversions. For the main elements of the force the objective is clear. They have come for the hypergate. The Dom’Kavash are caught largely unawares. Mobilizing slowly costs them dearly; the absence of defenders at the chokepoints en-route rolls the red carpet out for the Coalition. The gate itself has formidable defenses. It bristles with potent turrets. Coalition officers are flummoxed when the missile salvos they order are stopped cold in their tracks by the returning hail of fire. Fighters are launched from the carriers. Enemy warships, more organic than mechanical, emerge from hyperspace. They are met with a volley of torpedoes. The fleet moves ahead to engage as more jump in. All the while, the fighter pilots struggle to disable the gate. Raptors are fired into its flanks but can hardly dent the thick, armor plating. Alien fighters arrive and effortlessly rip through Coalition formations. To escape their pursuers some of the pilots activate the hypergate. Once on the other side they never return. The fleet closes in and brings its turrets to bear.