There were two hundred of them, geared up in their fighter suits. “Alright boys,” Kurt said as he glanced at his son Bill and the rest of the two hundred pilots. “In a few minutes, you’re going to see what it’s really like fighting the vamps. These guys are nuts; they’re ruthless and they want you dead. What are you going to do about it? Are you going to be on the offense or defense?”
The men said nothing, feeling the gravity of Kurt’s wrath in every word.
“I know for certain, whatever happens out there, whether I come out alive or not, I’m going to give them hell! Are you with me?”
Bill and the rest shouted in unison, calling out for blood and death to the vampires.
“Now, we already have a bunch of squadrons creating a defensive perimeter. By the time we’re out there, they should have already secured the Moon and all possible connecting passageways between it and the Regnum. When we’re out there, all we do is fight them off. They must not get to the Moon. Is that understood?”
“Yes sir!” The fighter pilots shouted.
“Good. And if we can, I want at least one mammoth base down. Now, let’s go!” Mammoth bases were not seen by many of the newer fighter pilots, since the last time they were used in battle was during the War for Existence. These bases stretched fifty thousand feet in length and twenty five in width; they usually housed larger land tankers and other fighter jets for the vampires and were like massive cities in space. They looked like colossal steel blocks with lights, satellites, towers, and hangars. Each mammoth base also had the firepower of ten times the power of a nuclear blast.
Kurt and his squadron ran towards their fighters, all of them afraid of what they’d be facing. One by one, then two by two, and finally four by four, the silverfighters blazed out of the Main Hangar and zipped right past the protective orbs that created plasma deflector shields. These shields produced a million more times the energy used in the battles of Europe, during the diversion mission when John had sent a separate unit to extract silver from Antarctica for the Prometheus Project.
In space, the shields emanated a purplish hue that pulsated from lighter shades to darker ones. In their brilliance they looked like swirling energy beams spreading out from the Regnum and created multiple passages and bridges between the space station and the natural satellite. Many other orbs emanated a distinct crimson shield that encompassed the entire Moon, acting like its ozone layer. About one hundred silverfighters were spread out protecting the various orbs around the Moon that emanated the crimson shield, while another hundred protected the orbs emanating the purple shields as well as what they calculated to be likely targets for the vampires. There were eight such points; four of which were used to evacuate the people.
“Anything on the sensors?” Bill asked Kurt as he himself checked for some sign of enemy activity.
“Nothing,” Kurt responded. “What about you guys?” he asked the others.
The response was the same. Nothing at all.
“Then let’s go.” Bill said, quick to speed up his silverfighter.
Kurt caught up with him, and the rest of the fighters followed their lead in a large triangular formation.
As they hastened through space, Bill’s, Kurt’s, and everyone else’s sensors began to pick up activity. And now, they could make out a faint glimmer of the mammoth base ships. Bill’s breath quickened, knowing the dogfight wouldn’t be the same as going against a limited vampire army on the Earth. This time, the real battalions were on their way. He tried to regain his composure and felt his mind expand, as adrenaline rushed through his bloodstream.
In a few moments, they would be facing the enemy sent out by Anaxagoras himself and commanded by one of the most merciless and skilled Generals in the entire vampire kingdom: Adiraan. Stories had always been told around campfires of this vicious vampire, both on Earth and Migra. His name had become notorious after the vampire invasion and the war that followed.
Bill’s thoughts became disturbed when he sensed something moving towards him. It suddenly crossed his right wing, and before he could do anything, he realized it was a missile. He sighed in relief when the fighter computers registered minimal damage. “Dad, do you see them?” Bill said into his comcator.
“I see them. Get ready boys,” Kurt said.
Bill watched his father’s fighter thrust towards the enemy, and he tried to keep up. As he sped his way through, his computer sensors picked up another missile headed for him and he swerved his fighter away, angling to the left. The missile missed him but it erupted into fifty small heat-seeking rockets which targeted him. He flew up and back, then dived back down and fired at the rockets in a haphazard manner. The move was effective as it destroyed more than half of them. The rest were taken care of by the other fighters. Bill stayed with them, but he was worried for his father, who was now nowhere to be seen. “Good work, guys.”
He was almost jolted off his seat when his fighter scraped against something. He pulled up and tried to take control. Immediately, he grasped what was happening. The vampires had cloaked their bases. As he veered up, he leaned to his right to look down on what he had grazed. From the base’s tubular hangars, vampire fighters darted towards him and his squadrons.
Kurt’s voice rang in Bill’s ears, “Bill, you okay? Did you see that?”
“A little busy at the moment,” Bill said as he maneuvered his fighter through the swarms of enemy jets. “If this is just one — ” He didn’t want to say they’d lose, but with so many fighters coming towards them, it seemed impossible to take down even one base. As Bill spoke, he blasted at everything that moved at him, and his squadrons did likewise. “What do we do?”
“Keep at it,” Kurt shouted. His fighter was now heading for one of the parabolic antennas on another mammoth base. Maybe if he’d jam the communications and other signals, it’d help; it was worth a shot, he thought. He aimed for one of the satellite dishes and shot three times into it. The blasts deflected off the invisible shield which protected it. “Damn it!” As soon as he pulled away, his sensors picked up a swarm of fighters heading for him. “This can’t happen.” Immediately, he connected to John’s frequency, but something disrupted it.
Irritating feedback resounded in his ears. He winced and then opened his eyes when there was total silence. What he saw before him were hundreds of fighters all lined up, ready to attack. They were waiting for a command. “Kurt Lord, how good it is to see you,” said a deep raspy voice, “or rather speak to you.” It was Adiraan.
“General Adiraan, do your worst; we have nothing to talk about.” Kurt said. As he finished those words, he picked up human squadrons heading his way. Quickly, he switched frequencies and said to his men, “Stay defensive. Do not attack. Once you see me do not attack. I repeat do not attack. Is that understood?” He waited, sweat coating his forehead now.
As soon as he got the affirmative, he switched back, not waiting to hear his men finish.
“Talk?” Adiraan said. His forceful laughter irritated and frightened Kurt. The vampire was known to be bloodthirsty and insatiably ultraviolent. “We are not here to play games. One way or another, you must hand over the boy.”
“What makes you think we’d hand him over so easily? Like I said, do you worst.” Kurt changed his frequency once more and said, “Fire when ready. I repeat, fire when'””
He didn’t need to say it a second time; the silverfighters blazed towards the enemy and opened fire. In the shock of the attack, a few hundred were easily dissipated, but when the others grasped the situation, they retaliated. As the constant firing and dodging went on, Kurt dived towards the mammoth base and shot at it again, over and over. He pulled up and glided across the space above the deflection shield. As he did so, four enemy fighters tailed him and fired. He swirled down and up, dodging each laser shot, but then one of them launched a heat-seeking rocket.
Kurt’s fighter tried to outmaneuver it in the same way Bill had done only moments ago, but as he did so, one of the enemy fighters tailing him shot at him and his right wing broke apart, making his fighter spin around in circles like a dog chasing its tail. With what little control he had left, Kurt moved closer to the enemies pursuing him and flew past them. In a flash, a bright light erupted and the four vampire fighters were vaporized by the rocket. Kurt’s fighter now toppled to the left and his remaining wing scraped against the shield of the mammoth base, second by second lessening in size due to the friction. “Bill, how you holding up?”
Bill’s voice came through. Kurt could hear lots of action in the background. “Alright, so far. What about you?”
“Not so well. I’m stuck to this shield and my right wing’s totally gone.”
“Hang in there. I’m on my way.”
Kurt’s jet spun out of control and toppled onto the shield. Another enemy fighter leaned in to fire and before the missile impacted his silverfighter, Kurt ejected out of his seat, breathing deeply into his oxygen mask. The enemy shot again, but this time it was hit from behind by Bill’s fighter. It became lopsided and the missile missed its target, hitting the shields of the mammoth base. Bill picked up his dad by putting on his own oxygen mask, opening the hatch to the cockpit, and waiting for him to sit in the backseat.
Once Kurt was secure, the hatch closed on them and Bill spun his aircraft around. “It’s no use,” he said. “They’re more than we can take.”
“What’s the assessment on the Moon?” Kurt asked.
“It’s not looking good. These beasts grow in numbers by the minute and we have no way of destroying them.” He referred to the mammoth bases.
“I have a feeling they’re not after us.”
“They’re after Alex, that’s what. Adiraan may be a heartless torturer, but he ain’t reckless. There’s no way he’d risk destroying the Moon or the Regnum without finding the Falsifier.”
“So what do we do then?”
“And these guys?” Bill shot at two more, destroying them instantly.
Bill looped around, sped behind the enemy that followed him moments ago and aimed. In a split second, the vampire fighter was reduced to particles.
“Good shot!” Kurt said.
“Learned from the best,” Bill responded with a cocky grin.
“Head for the Moon. I want to see it for myself.”
Bill accelerated his fighter towards the satellite, leaving behind a haze of blasts and a number of vicious dogfights above Adiraan’s mammoth base.
Adiraan watched the ongoing battle from the holographic screen in the control room of his designated mammoth base, The Raven. He named it thus, after hearing of its mythological connotations while on Earth so many years before humanity had evolved to develop more practical sensibilities. He smiled, knowing that he was closer to the completion of his mission; closer to achieving more praise from his king. His eyes flickered when the holograph disappeared and a video feed of the throne room popped up in its place. There was very little light behind the cloaked king. All Adiraan could make out was the silhouette of a man bound and rolling in the air.
Adiraan and the thirty crew members who were busy conducting various duties for The Raven stopped in their tracks and prostrated themselves before the screen. “Hail my lord,” Adiraan said in a rustic Migrite dialect.
“What is the status of the mission, General?” Anaxagoras’s voice hissed throughout the room.
“We’re on our way to the Regnum as we speak, sire,” said Adiraan. He stood up and then pressed a few buttons, which processed the images of the battle and sent them to the king.
“Enough of this nonsense!” Anaxagoras yelled. “I do not want any battles today. Your duty was to capture the Falsifier and to leave the humans in peace. When I arrive, they will be taken care of. This fleet was given to you for defensive measures!”
Adiraan said nothing, turning milk pale. “I — I — “
“You what?” Anaxagoras scoffed. “Stop this attack and head straight for the Regnum. From there, retrieve him. Is that understood?”
“Yes, my lord.”
“Good.” And that was all that Anaxagoras had to say as the screen resumed showing the present battle.
All those in prostration stood and resumed their work. Adiraan quickly gathered himself and called for his captain, “Captain! Captain Tyag!”
Tyag, a burly fellow in the traditional armor of the Anisaei, reported to Adiraan. He saluted, “Yes, General?”
“I want you to head for the Regnum. I don’t care if you have to crash into it. The Raven will withstand the impact. And relay a message to all fighter units to lead the enemy fighters into deep space, as far away from the Regnum as they can. As His Majesty says, we’re not here to attack. The time for that will come soon enough. Is that understood?”
“Yes sir,” Tyag said and scurried off to fulfill the commands.
As Bill, Kurt, and their squadrons headed back for the Moon, the battle near the Regnum had grown far fiercer. A few orbs had been displaced and taken apart, but the silverfighters had stuck together with valor and made sure nothing intercepted the Moon. A mammoth ship remained hovering right above them as they battled with the vampire fighters.
When he checked his computer Bill saw that the enemy had not chased them and began to retreat. “What the hell’s going on?”
“They’re trying to lead us away,” Kurt said. “They want us as far from the Moon and the Regnum as possible.”
“So what do we do?”
“Connect me to all frequencies.”
“All units head for the Regnum and the Moon. Make sure every corner is covered. Do not pursue the enemy.”
“That’s just what they want us to do,” Kurt said.
His orders were followed, and at Adiraan’s command, the vampire fighters near the Regnum and lunar atmosphere began their retreat. The silverfighters did not budge and remained defensive and intact around the protective orbs.
Bill’s computers beeped constantly and a red blip blinked on his screen. But the blip was unnecessary as he and Kurt could see the shadow covering their instruments and ultimately the entire squadron of fighters. The Raven headed for the Regnum.
“Damn it!” Kurt shouted into his comcator, “All units abort the Regnum! Abort the Regnum!” He knew exactly what Adiraan was planning. There was no way his men could take down that base and they would have to die trying. He didn’t want that, so he gave the order again, “I said abort! Get away from the Regnum!”
Immediately, silverfighters blasted away from the Regnum and headed for the Moon. The Raven slowed down to avoid a direct hit. Everyone, human and vampire, braced themselves for the impact.