STORY Ep.11 | Incoming

Titan magnifies the visuals of his binoculars. In conjunction with the magnified visual of his ship’s main screen and his helmet’s visor, he can finally make out distinct forms. “Ships?” He scans the horizon far beyond the Awoken’s home called The Reef. These ships aren’t cloaked after all. Yet, they have disappeared from even the Awoken’s radar. “It’s…a fleet.”

As Titan’s eyes adjust, he would hold his breath for a moment if he needed to breathe. “An Armada.” Too many ships to count. He’s never seen such a number in one place. Their course is clear; they’re heading for The Reef…and beyond.

Suddenly, he spots a single ship, massive in size. “It can’t be…”

His Ghost studies readings from the ship’s computer, “Confirmed. That thing…is a ship. I’ve never seen anything like it.” The computer’s data begins to fluctuate before disappearing. “The radar is down.”

“I have to warn the Queen…Petra Venj…everyone…” He is lost in the thought.

His Ghost hovers next to him, “Titan. I’m detecting movement in Sector 3.576.”

Titan’s attention veers left, “Scouts! Coming in fast!” His helmet visor returns to normal. Tossing the binoculars aside, the main screen of his newly acquired Ceres Galliot brings up schematics on the quickest route through the Outer Rim.

“We barely missed a debris field to get out this far,” Ghost reminds him.

“This ship was built for this, which is why I bought it,” Titan reassures him.

“There they are!” Ghost calls out.

The shields of the Ceres Galliot take the initial pounding well as five enemy ships fly passed.

“They’re coming back around!” Ghost calls out.

“I see them.” Titan whirls the ship around, still getting used to the controls. Awoken technology is different from what he’s used to, but he didn’t have time to read the manual before embarking on such a mission. “Weapons. Weapons.”

“Top, left corner console.”

“Ghost, allocate more power to the guns.”

“It will take away from the shields!”

“Do it! We may not be able to outrun them.” The ship dives down to miss a huge chunk of debris as the enemy ships give chase.

Ghost powers up the rear shields while lowering the front shields. “Guns are activated. Watch out!” Another chunk of debris spirals by.

Titan reverses the thrusts causing the Ceres Galliot to almost brake mid-stride. The enemy ships dart out of the way of the potential collision. One enemy ship is clipped by the debris before crashing into another floating piece. Titan has two in his sights. The guns are deafening. One down. One severely damaged.

Suddenly, an enemy ship rushes in from above. Titan holds on the the controls as his ship nearly takes a direct hit, spinning it into a circle.

“Front Shields at 7.62 percent!”

Titan uses all his strength to bring the bulky ship under control. It’s steady. He looks up to see an enemy ship heading straight for them, ready to fire. He braces for impact.

An explosion rocks the Ceres Galliot; the front shields down. Yet, his ship is not damaged as he spots Awoken fighters chasing the last enemy ship into the distance.

“That was close.” Ghost has a knack for stating the obvious.

“Identify yourself!” a voice cracks over Titan’s communication system. “Who are you?!”

“I am Titan. Of the Vanguard. I fight for The Traveler, itself.”

“Titan.” Petra Venj thinks it over as her ship hovers above his. “You said you wanted to explore The Reef further. I didn’t know you meant this far out.”

Titan checks the status of his ship hoping the Warp Drive still works. “I needed to get a visual. I had to get as close as I could.”

“And!” Petra insists.

“He’s coming…”

“Data?” Silence hangs in the air for a long moment, “Send me the files, Titan. When you get clear of the debris field, get out of here.”

Titan glances at Ghost, whom gives him a negative flicker of its eye. “I need more fuel.”

Another pause. “Let’s trade, then.”

Titan nods.

“Quickly,” Petra adds. “There may be more out here!”

The exchange is made as fuel is teleported to Titan’s ship and the main console of Petra’s ship begins to show data of what Titan copied to his personal HUD.

“You were able to hold on to this. You represent The Vanguard well, Titan.” Petra’s ship heads back to the Vestian Outpost.

Titan gives Ghost another glance. The ship has been refueled. The Ceres Galliot weaves its way through what remains of the debris field. Thankfully, the environment has calmed down.

His communication system cracks to life again as Titan waits for the Warp Drive to charge. “Do we really want to cause a panic? Validate rumors?” asks Petra Venj.

“If we let our homes walk into a war completely unprepared, they will certainly have reason to fear,” Titan concludes.

Although her long silence says enough, “Very well.” Petra closes the link.

Ghost approaches Titan, more sympathetic in tone, “The Drive is charge.” Titan’s nod calms Ghost’s concerns. “I knew I chose the right one,” he boasts.

Titan initiates the journey home:

As the Ceres Galliot enters the Earth’s atmosphere, Ghost breaks the silence. “What will you tell The Speaker? The City? Your brothers?”

“The truth.”

“What if the people riot? Chaos ensues?!”

Titan shakes his head, “If I lie…the only thing that will be gained is dishonor.”

The ship approaches the Hangar; as usual, they teleport to the Tower Watch.

……….

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