The WolfPak

--Bolodin--

And so it begun, from a small flint in between two planets: A war. Wolf-227b and Wolf-227a. Two planets that always had something against each other, orbiting a huge star right next to each other. Wolf-227a was the main planet and Wolf-227b was a small moon that orbited Wolf-227a.

The New Alliance (or just the Alliance as it was started to call 10 years after its foundation) had to choose sides and it chose the side of the weaker one, Wolf-227b. Alliance sent a full fleet that included four LST┤s to invade the military targets of Wolf-227a...

--Bolodin--

The LST "Infinity to Hell┤s" mission was clear:
Land on planet Wolf-227a and release the marines to attack military base Alpha-Lambda.

Aboard the LST, marines took their place in small chairs that were mounted to the wall. One of them, a marine by the name of Jim, locked his gun to the gun locker that was next to him. Everybody else did the same.

"Everybody ready?!?" a general yelled as he walked through the corridor where everybody

was.

"Sir, yes, sir!" came the answer.

"Good," the general said, "We are about to descent on the surface of Wolf-227a. Our mission is simple: Fire at everybody that is moving and get hold of the military base. Is there enough strength in you to do it !?!"

"Sir, yes, sir!" came the answer again.

"Good. I wish you Godspeed and good luck to your mission." the general said and went to the cockpit.

--RedWolf--

Sgt. Martens sneered... Not only did the brass give strange orders nowadays, they even insisted on "going in with the boys".

Back during the old Independence War something like this had been unheard of.

He looked at the faces next to him and on the opposite wall. All of these boys had probably been playing cowboy and Indians when the New Alliance was formed.

The faces he looked into told him more about these men than any psychologist could ever find out. Some were gritting their teeth; some were trying to distract each other with some dry jokes... Some were downright afraid and still others... he could tell by the glow in those kids' eyes that they were anxious to go into action.
He also knew from experience that those were always the first to go...

He shook his head almost unnoticeably... At least one thing hadn't changed.... They were still sending their life-blood to places where they were most likely to get killed...


His musings were interrupted by a warning klaxon.
The ship's LDS emitters squealed in a frantic attempt to ward off some PBC bolts from whatever "combat" fleet the resident's of Wolf-227a had managed to assemble...

The vibrations in the floorboards increased and he could hear the ship's welding groan, as the pilot violently engaged the main thrusters in an evasive maneuver.
A couple of seconds later, the marines in what was known as the "cargo box" were jostled by the sudden impact of a PBC-bolt that somehow got by the shields...

Then, the vibrations decreased, and when the red illumination changed back to dim yellow, he figured that the escort PatComs would have taken care of the attackers.

He heard the brass' voice over the intercom:

"All hands, prepare for orbital insertion! I repeat: All hands, prepare for orbital insertion!"

Someone from the back screamed a less than convinced "Go to hell!" back at the speaker, but that intercom message only worked one-way. Nevertheless, he could see some faint smiles appear on the faces of "his boys" as he heard the servos lock the heat shields in place.

-"All right," he snarled, "let's hope the flyboy puts this old rustbucket to the ground in one piece... I left a smoking cigar in the ashtray back on the Hrothgar and I don't intend to let it go out, so we better make it a quickie!!!"

He gripped the support struts to the right and left of his head and braced himself for the turbulence of atmospheric re-entry.

"Curse it, Frank. Why are you still afraid of this bit of jumbling about?" He admonished himself, as the first shocks started tossing the Infinity to Hell around...

--Dreadnaught--

People with a strong will, or a strong sense of hatred, can do almost anything, granted they have the intellect and the leadership.

That leadership came from a man named Alex Steel, a government official on the planet of Wolf-227a. Being a great fighter during the Independence War, and a strategical leader during the war with the Tsunami, he had much experience to talk of, if he had ever wanted to. However, he came to Wolf-227a not for fighting or military planning, but to retire to a quiet political position on the small world he had been born on.

Now Steel, nearly deranged with pride for his home, set up a large group of willful people who were willing to fight for their home also, against any opposer, whether it be Wolf-227b or the Alliance. Now their time was to come, the "WolfPak" was ready to defend themselves.

A fleet of armed tugs were the "small ships", fighting the smaller fights. Medium to heavy freighters and cargo ships were "capital ships", armored with all that could be scrounged up or made, and used to the best ability that they could serve...

There had been some damage to "Infinity to Hell"s heat shielding and atmospheric engines, and the vibrations were getting worse. The WolfPak tug "Friend or Foe?" was in hot pursuit of the LST, despite it's dropping altitude.

Whoever the captain on that ship was, they were taking a heavy risk. Obviously, someone had altered the WolfPak that the Alliance was on the way, and that they were to attack the Alpha-Lambda base. The tug was to eliminate the LST and then return "Home".

"Infinity to Hell" began to encounter the thinnest wisps of the atmosphere, along with the tug blasting right behind it. The LST could not enter too quickly, for the damaged motors hindered the speed of entry. The tug’s GatlingPBC was firing non-stop, to not much avail. The heat strain was becoming too much for the tug, and it had a big problem aiming its guns while hitting bits of atmosphere.

One shot, however, managed to hit. Knowing that the tug must break off attack at once, it entered LDS and sped away, pursued by two PatComs.

The main motors used for atmospheric ascent were damaged on the LST. Sgt. Martens wouldn’t get back home for a long time.

--RedWolf--

...At least, that is what the crew on the Friend or Foe would have thought, had they known about Frank Martens and the soldiers that were in that LST.

As it happens, the Tug had long disappeared beyond scanner range, both Alliance PatComs still in hot pursuit, while the LST, enveloped in a ball of fire from the atmospheric friction continued it's hellish descent downwards...

In the cockpit, klaxons blared and the dim reddish glow of the lighting was dulled even further by the acrid smoke that wafted from a nearby console...

"Braking procedure alpha!"

-"Negative, automatic control not responding!"

Cpt. Smythe cursed. Did he have to take everything into his own hands? His glimpse at the temperature meter told him that the heat shields were at around 4500K... and rising... No vessel, not even the old Commonwealth issue LST, was designed to drop in at this kind of speed. Had it not been for the fact that Wolf 227a had an extraordinarily thin atmosphere, he estimated that the shielding would have melted minutes ago...

"Get out of that seat, Lieutenant!" he barked at the pilot, who was frozen to the spot with fear, looking at him with glazed eyes... "Didn't you hear me?" Smythe yelled, "GET OUT!!!"

Shakingly, the young officer complied and collapsed on the bridge floor, a heap of pity...

Smythe slammed on the manual override button and yanked the controls violently to reduce the angle of insertion. After what seemed like an eternity, the heavy lower air-brakes were hydraulically kicked out against the firestorm that was whipping against them at the demonic speeds that the LST had attained during its uncontrolled descent towards the surface of Wolf 227a...

A small explosion in the back of the ship took out the grav. grid and all of a sudden, 8.5 full gravities slammed down upon the men and women in the landing craft, as the ship ever so slowly decreased its momentum...

With effort, Smythe somehow managed to re-activate the automatic control for emergency landing procedures... then, all around him suddenly went black!

* * *

Sgt. Martens stood next to Cpt. Smythe, as they looked at what was left of their LST.

Martens spat out. "We sure ain't going anywhere with that molten piece of junk!" he addressed the officer to his right.

-"Sure right about that." Smythe mumbled, as he fought a tear from forming in his right eye. It seemed absurd. All it had been was a tool, an instrument, a means of transportation; and yet here he stood, the age-old clichÚ of a captain that cried upon losing his ship.

He took a deep breath and turned his attention to the jumbled and motley remains of what was left of the crew and passengers aboard the Infinity to hell

Most of the soldiers in the "cargo box" had been killed by the sudden failure of the grav. grid. Of those whose necks hadn't been snapped, many had sustained a broken rib or two.

Of the technicians, only three were still alive. Most had died in the effort of still effecting repairs when the grav. grid went offline. Four had been caught in the explosion; three had been elsewhere and were killed by access plates that had been accelerated at almost nine times the normal rate. The three that survived looked pretty shaken as well...

Smythe's view turned to the woods around... The still glowing heat shields of the LST had probably started a small forest-fire, judging by the charred remains of undergrowth that extended around for about 80 to 100 meters. In some places, there were still some minor fires going, their smoke rising up into the thin atmosphere...

"Best be taking a hike soon, Sir", Smythe heard the Marine Sergeant's deep voice next to him say. "Them locals will surely have witnessed our crash landing and they're likely to be coming to look for survivors in a couple of hours. Probably best if we're not around by that time, if you catch my drift..."

-"Yeah, you're probably right." Smythe concurred. Listening to that Marine NCO assessing the situation told him how far the gap between the regular Navy personnel and the infantry really was. On board the Infinity he had been master, but here, on the ground, the roles seemed to have been reversed...

-"You'll better round up the men who are still in fighting condition and organize them." he said to Sgt. Martens, who nodded approvingly.

"You know that we'll have to leave the wounded and dead if we're to stand any chance against those buggers at all, don't you", the old Marine said, lighting one of his abominable cigars.

-"That's why I intend to stay here and surrender to the enemy forces that will come looking for us. They're human after all, they won't be after our blood if they see we're no danger."

Martens didn't seem too convinced... "I got my own little opinion about human nature." he replied between puffs of gray ill-reeking smoke billowing from his mouth and nose.

"Chances are that in these parts of the woods", Martens chuckled at his indeliberate pun,

"people ain't going to be all that civilized. Certainly not the way we are in comparison to them hicks around here."
He took another deep puff. "You best be sure they won't get the wrong impression, or that white banner won't do you no good at all..."

-"Thanks for the advice, Sergeant", Smythe said with a wry grin, "but I think we can manage..."

"Sure you can!" the Sergeant replied with one of those grins of his...

"All right men! LISTEN UP!!!" The old marine's voice boomed across the congregation of soldiers. "Everyone who can walk and use both his hands go grab yourself a rifle and a suit of PA if you don't already have some! If necessary take strip it off one of our less fortunate colleagues. I know that's a bit morbid, but this ain't a time for sissies! They won't be needing it anytime soon anyhow.

"I expect the enemy to turn up here in less than twelve hours, so we'll best be a whole damn end away from here if we're to make it to a space facility...
Remember, we'll also have to find out exactly where we are. The LST's NAV GPS went to crap in the crash..."

The soldiers and technicians all hustled to comply with the Sergeant's orders and Smythe smiled. "At least the man's got authority.", he thought, "If there's one guy we'll hear more from, then I'm sure that it'll be Sergeant Martens...
He turned and went to look at the provisory tent they had erected for the wounded...

--Bolodin--

Marine Jim was lying in a hard steel plate aboard the remains of the LST. He opened his eye and looked around him. Everything was on fire.
"Oh boy..." he thought and started to check his condition. He was lying on a metal floor of a small compartment that he had crawled into during the landing. He couldn't see outside, but he could here some voices. Jim tried to move, but only felt a pain in his left foot. He looked at his foot and saw a huge metal fragment coming out from it. Blood came out from the point that the fragment had slashed his foot. Jim gripped the fragment and started to pull it out, but couldn't do it. The fragment was deep in his foot. Jim again checked his surroundings and saw a standard issue automatic rifle. It was on a wall of the compartment only a meter from him. Jim tried to reach it, but couldn't. Suddenly a flame pulled into a hole just aside him. Jim looked amazed as the flame disappeared into the hole. Suddenly the flame came back, two times stronger and almost burned Jim’s face. The flame made fire around Jim bigger. The roof atop Jim was now on fire. Jim tried again to reach the rifle, but it was too far away. Jim took a piece of metallic rod that was on the floor of the compartment and reached it at the rifle. It was long enough. Jim hit the rifle with the rod a couple of times and the rifle fell down from the wall. Jim pulled the rifle to him with the rod and then gripped it. The fire around Jim was starting to get worse. Jim took the riffle and pressed a button in it. A blade came out from the nose of the rifle. He pushed the blade to the wound made by the metal fragment and pulled the fragment out using the blade. The fragment came out and Jim could move his leg again. Jim made the final check around him and saw two rounds to the rifle. He gripped them and kicked a hatch open to the cargo box and jumped through it as the fire was getting worse. He came on a floor that was covered with bodies. Some burned and some crushed. Jim ran to the door of the Box and opened it. Then he ran to a door that had the sign "exit". It was already open. Jim could see the surface of the planet. Suddenly there was an explosion in the Box. Every body ignited in a huge flame as the fuel line of the ship started to catch fire. Jim jumped out and started to run away from the wreck. Suddenly he fell on the mud. He looked around him and saw a body, a human body lying on the mud with his face up. Jim recognized the face of the body. It was Cpt. Smythe...

--Dreadnaught--

Sgt. Martens was a resourceful man, who was an excellent leader. However, when there were 30 angry, hate-filled people hunting you while you are cut off from your main supplies, chaos can occur. A normal LST will carry about 200 troops, while 500 can be carried. However, the Infinity to Hell had been loaded primarily as a base for operations, with large amounts of stores and ammunition. The Infinity to Hell only carried 100 troops, considering that this mission was supposed to be a "quickie". Now, only 40 survived, and they were under heavy fire from the natives. As soon as the soldiers who could walk took as much gear as feasible on to their backs, they left to set up a position in the forest. The natives were in hot pursuit, about a quarter of a mile behind the soldiers, not losing or gaining an inch on the fleeing Alliance Marines. The Marines ran and ran, until an unexpected peril stood in their escape, and utterly, their lives: a cliff. It could be climbed, but not in the approximately 35 seconds until the natives caught up with them. "All men, hit the deck and turn around! Fire when you can get a good shot! Snipes, Blaichman, throw grenades at that fallen tree as they cross…down everybody!" barked Martens. The troops fell, almost as if dying, and positioned themselves at every inclination or rock barrier that would give them an edge. As the wave of the enemy came over the fallen tree, the two Marines threw the grenades, which exploded, killing many of the pursuing people. The Marines began to shoot their guns, trying to kill the remaining ones. Many hit their mark, but one was hit and died later. The Marten group was safe, for the moment. A lone Marine was looking at the bodies of the dead natives. He noticed that all were wearing green uniforms, and some had a very mysterious logo tattooed on their arms. He left to get another opinion…

WolfPak TUG FRIEND OR FOE? NEAR WOLF-227B L-POINT The captain of the "Friend or Foe" was out of options. He could not outrun the two PatComs, and he sure-as-hell couldn’t fight them with his damaged maneuvering thrusters from the brief touch with atmosphere. There was only one option: he would have to lead the PatComs to a WolfPak capital fleet. He decided to send out a "mock" FTL message. "This is the Friend or Foe to the tug ‘Joseph’. We are being pursued by two PatComs…we are damaged. We are jumping to the L2 point, please rendezvous and assist." Aboard the PatCom "Sigma-Alpha", the captain saw this as an obvious way to make two kills. If they followed the tug, they would have that ship to deal with, and then they could wait for the other kill. Surly there could not be a significant force at the L-Point. The "Friend of Foe" jumped, followed by "Sigma-Alpha" and her wingman. The "Friend or Foe" exited the L-Point and signaled the freighter "Cap-Ship-Wanna-Be", surrounded by her escorts. The two Alliance PatComs exited the point, and were destroyed in a hail of gattling PBC fire from the freighter before they knew what they were looking at.

--Jadedog--

(Alliance Navy Vessel Sumpter, Bastille Class Destroyer)

Commodore Bronski looked at the status boards for perhaps the hundredth time since Operation Strong-Arm began. The advanced assault groups had initiated the first wave of the attack with less than favorable results.

The four LSTs were escorted to the atmosphere during the main assault. One LST was lost when a tug attacked while the LST was transferring to its airfoils. Two of the LSTs were damaged on the entry into the atmosphere, one took 60% casualties, the other took 20%.
The Vengeful Wrath made a successful landing 50 meters away from the target base. They were slowly making their way into the base, but casualties were starting to mount. They needed the support of the other marines before they could penetrate further.

The taking of the enemy base Alpha-Lambda was essential for the rest of the attack to continue. Once the base was secured, the rest of the invasion force would use that as the beachhead for the assault.

The fleet battle had been less dramatic, but still a narrow victory. The cobbled together fleet of Wolf-227a was a lot stronger than intelligence reports indicated. They were equipped with military issue LDA systems and Gattling PBCs. Commodore Bronski had lost three PatComs and a corvette during the assault. Not only that, but the destroyer Graham was damaged when it ran across an enemy minefield.

The Graham was ordered back to secure the primary LaGrange point while the destroyers Kondor and Sumpter (Bronski's flagship) would lead the attack.

The space around Wolf-227a was mainly secure, the enemy fleet was still at large, but it wasn't considered a major threat. The real battle was taking place on the surface.
The remnants of the two damaged LSTs were out of contact, but they were close enough to the base where they could reinforce the attack.

The LST Undying Claw was a full 8 km from the base and the last surveillance report showed a massive attack underway between the marines and the native infantry and armor. They were cut off at the moment, so they couldn't reach the base anytime soon.
The LST Infinity to Hell was 3 km away from the base, but there was a dense forest that blocked their easy entry. It was assumed that the marines were also under attack by some infantry units.

Bronski could only hope that the Infinity to Hell's marines were tough enough to make a difference in this attack.

--Bolodin--

On the crash site, the LST Infinity to hell was burning. Its flames were almost ten meters high as the fuel tank sprayed the fuel up in to the air. the surrounding of the LST was catching fire and the organic ground mud was already burning around the LST.

Jim started to pull a dead marine toward the burning mud to burn the body. When he had discovered the body of Cpt. Smythe he had also found other bodies around the crash sit. Some of them were dead when the crash happened and some of them were dead in the fire of the Local soldiers. Jim threw the body of the marine to the fire where the other bodies were burning. He felt something, but he wasn’t sure what it was. He was a marine, he wasn’t told to show his feelings when he sees a dead people. Jim started to search for other bodies. He swung his rifle to his back and started to walk to the near by woods. He knew that a rescue LST would soon come to check the area and they would find him and take him back to the orbit, where it was safe. Jim looked up a tree and saw a dead body that had a branch of the tree in its stomach. Blood came down from the tree. Jim took a good position to climb and started to climb up the tree. Suddenly a figure ran right next to him. Jim let go of the tree and fell to the mud. He lifted his rifle and pointed it to the figure.

"STOP!!" he yelled and the figure stop.

"Turn around." Jim continued.

The figure turned around revealing a human face, male. The figure was dressed in a heavy armor, almost like Jim’s. Jim got up from the mud and came closer to the figure.

"Who are you?" Jim asked.
The figure stayed silent. Jim walked closer to the figure pointing the gun at him.

"WHO ARE YOU ?" Jim yelled and locked the figure as a target in his rifle.
The figure heard the click of the rifle and looked at Jim.

"Marine Elias London, Alliance, 26634-155c" the figure said.

"You’re with the alliance ?" Jim asked.

"Yes, been serving for the last eight years." Elias said.
Jim lowered his gun. He was happy to see that other marines had survived the crash beside him(he didn’t know about Sgt. Martens and his marines).

"Marine Jim Concise, Alliance, 36679-467a, great to see that others survived." Jim said.
Suddenly Jim felt a pain in his head. He fell down without seeing the one who hit him.

"What took you so long ?" Elias asked the attacker "He was almost ready to shoot me!!"

"Sorry, had to evade a swarm of Tiko┤s." the attacker said looking at Jim.

"Get his armor and rifle, I┤ll check his pockets." Elias said and started to take off the armor that he had on revealing a green uniform and a logo tattooed in his arm...

--Dreadnaught--

Indeed, it had become clear to the renegade Alex Steele that the fight for control of space could not be won: the Alliance had too many far-more-powerful ships. However, he still had two more "fleets" of ships, and a new problem had arisen for the WolfPak.

His loyal fighters on Wolf-227a were trying their best to hold back the Alliance force, but they were low on supplies and were currently cut off from any way to get fresh ammunition or travel-rations. Fortunately, the WolfPak and the Alliance used the same types of guns and ammo; thus the supplies could better be stolen. A factor of the problem remained: Wolf-227a’s space elevator was currently being fought for, and so was inoperable until either side could secure it. And the WolfPak certainly had no LSTs…unless they could be stolen. And that was exactly what Steele planned to do.

Either way, he knew that he stood to lose at least one of his two remaining "fleets", but he at least knew how to use them to inflict major damage on the Alliance fleet while providing a chance for supplies to be dropped to the planet. And with his operative, he knew just when to do it.

---WOLF-227a SUBSIDUARY L-POINT---

The fleet, led by the freighter "Beautiful Is Your Death" emerged from the L-point and, after a brief check to account for all ships, proceeded to the location of the Bronski fleet in orbit.

The LSTs "Union" and "Hemingway" were on a supply mission to get vital ammunition and food to a, so far successful Sgt. Martens. Martens had taken the Alph-Lambada base, a well-earned victory, but now needed these vitals to move on. It would be difficult for him to make it to the Space Elevator, to aid in securing it. The two LST’s were now 50 KM away from the main fleet and making preparations to enter the atmosphere.

The first ship to drop out of LDS was the "Beautiful Is Your Death", followed by the rest of the WolfPak fleet. As soon as that the ship was using thrusters, it fired three LDSI missiles, and the only two disrupters the WolfPak had. The two disrupters were aimed at each destroyer: the Kondor and Sumpter. Each hit before all hands on the ship were at battle stations.

The "Beautiful Is Your Death" began to accelerate towards the Kondor gaining speed until it reached 500 MPS. At that point it released all of its cargo pods…on a collision course with the Kondor!

"Engage LDS!" yelled Captain Holmes of the Kondor. "I can’t, sir. LDSI. And the disrupter effect is still on us! Large objects closing! This is gonna be shi…" And at that, the pods hit the destroyer at 500 MPS, rupturing its hull, and eventually destroying the great ship in a slow display of flying metal and bodies. The "Beautiful Is Your Death", now lightened of much of its mass began to climb out of the way lest it destroy itself by hitting Bronski’s flagship: the Sumpter. Seeing the freighter as much more of a threat as it was, a good number of Alliance ships went after "Beautiful Is Your Death".

Meanwhile, three WolfPak tugs had gone to capture the LST’s. The "Hemingway" was the first to see the three incoming thermal traces. At 10 KM, the crew realized what was truly coming at them. Captain Samson of the "Hemingway" was quick to think "Emergency Thermal-shields! Now!"

"Sir, shouldn’t we warn the ‘Union’? Our thermal-shields don’t enable us to warn them."

"Just do it, if we know about them, so do they."

Within 40 seconds the "Hemingway had gone too deep into the atmosphere of Wolf-227a to be captured. However, the "Union" discovered for themselves of the incoming WolfPak much after the "Hemingway". A single tug docked to the LST, thus making it impossible to raise thermal shielding. An armed boarding party of three came, and quickly disposed of the crew of the Union.

"This is the WolfPak LST… err…‘Union’ to base. Beginning our descent."

Sumters now knew that there was an operative in his fleet, for the WolfPak had known when to attack. On the planet, Martens waited for his supplies. He knew it would be a hell of a job to make his way 100-KM through enemy territory to the Space Elevator. But he knew he had to. In his mind, he had two choices: go silently and not alert the locals of his presence or use the uniforms of the dead WolfPak to pretend to be a soldier, and get him and his troops to his destination without people knowing that his troops were actually Alliance. He still couldn’t decide.

--WOLFPAK BASE—

The remaining WolfPak ships left the system using the same L-point they came through. The "Beautiful Is Your Death" lost engine control and burned up in the atmosphere, managing to destroy three Alliance PatComs before it went down. This battle cost the Alliance a total of four PatComs, 3 Corvettes, and, more gravely, a destroyer.

Alex Steele and his WolfPak had lost plenty of ships, but the benefits had just barely broke even with his losses. Now he could get supplies to his troops, had taken out a good portion of the Alliance space-fleet, and now was going to use his last "fleet" to invade the much-hated moon that was doing nothing while he waged his war on the Alliance. He was going to invade Wolf-227b.

--Jadedog--

(Alliance Navy Vessel Sumpter, Bastille Class Destroyer)

"I don't care how long it takes you to bring the primaries back to full power!" yelled Commodore Bronski at the tech in front of him. "We don't know how long we have before those ships come back or if there will be another strike! Now move it!"

As the tech left the bridge, Bronski looked around at all the officers that were getting status reports from throughout the ship. He had to stifle a curse, they did it to him.
Those mindless Wolfers had actually beaten him in a direct conflict!

He was given this task force to teach the insurgents on Wolf-227a a lesson in warfare. But they apparently had some tricks of their own. Not only was he losing his main assault ships one at a time, but he had lost the use of 2/3 of his capital ship force. One was moderately damaged and patrolling the main LaGrange point for the system, and he had just watched the other crumble in space before him.

"Sir! We have a status report from the rest of the fleet," said Captain Fargo, "All ships report that they sustained superficial damage, the LST Hemmingway made it to the landing point safely."

"What about the Union?" asked Bronski.

"We lost contact with them as they were beginning their descent," replied Fargo, "we assumed that they had activated their heat shields, but they never re-established contact."

"Damn!" growled Bronski, "There is no way the Wolfers could have known about our operations, unless..."

"Unless we have an informant in our midst" continued Captain Fargo.

"Right," Bronski said, "Get security to check into it, I want this spy captured before he destroys this entire operation."

"Yes sir!" said Fargo and he turned to his command station to issue orders.
Bronski went over to the communications station and prepared a short message for FTL transmission. "Lion to Cave," said Commodore Bronski, "Wolf has eluded and bitten back. Lion is injured. Send in the Bear."

--Bolodin--

Two armdealers were looking straight in to the eyes of an Alliance officer. They didn’t show any signs of weakness or anything. They just looked. The Alliance officer Adam O'Shaugnessy looked back at them from the far end of a big table. The room where they were was completely black. No details could be seen. The only light source was a small, but warm lamp that was above the table. Adam started to sweat.

"On your message you promised us weapons." Adam said to the arms dealers.

The two identical dealers looked back at the officer.

"Yes." they said.

"Do you know what is our situation in the Wolf-227b ?" Adam asked.

"Yes."

"We are running out of ammunition and need some more and also some heavy artillery to help with the attack on the planetary lift." Adam said.

"We know," the arm dealers said at the same time "We know everything that is going on with your little... company."

"Alliance is not a company, it’s a highly sophisticated government that..."

"We don’t care."

Adam was shocked. After the independence war he thought that the Alliance was the answer to peace.

"Alright, what do you have to offer ?" Adam asked.
One of the arms dealers pressed a button on the desk and a 3d image of a satellite came hovering over the table.

"What is it ?" Adam asked.

"It’s an atmospheric gun. Fires a full load of missiles to target. Change of a miss is 0.08%." arms dealers said.

Adam was looking at the gun. He noticed that it looked like a satellite, but had a big gun attached to it.

"It is REMmed and if an enemy comes close, it LDS it self out from there."
This was a great buy Adam thought and agreed.


WOLFPAK headquarters

Alex Steel was looking straight to the two arms dealers.

"What do you got for me ?" he asked.

"A gun" the arm dealers said in same time "an atmospheric gun..."

* * *

Jim opened his eyes and saw mud. He was on his stomach lying on the mud of Wolf-227a. Jim was too tired to get up and start walking. Jim closed his eyes and started to sleep again and analyze what had happened. He remembered a man... Elias. A man dressed in an Alliance marine body armor. He remembered himself pointing the rifle at Elias and... His rifle. Jim touched his surroundings eyes closed and couldn’t find his rifle.

"Damn..." he said quietly.

Jim opened his eyes to look for the gun, but couldn’t see it. He started to get up shaking. He was weak at the time. Jim noticed that he was much lighter than usually and then he noticed that his body armor had been taken.

"GOD DAMN!" he yelled.

Suddenly he heard a voice in a small bush right next to him. It wasn’t human. A shriek of some sort. Jim took a defensive pose and reached for his belt knife. He touched his belt, but couldn’t find the knife. It seemed that Elias had taken it. Jim started to panic, but then he remembered that he was a marine. Trained to be a fighter. He took again a defensive pose and was ready for the intruder...

--Andrew--

As far as we could tell, it had taken the man almost two days to die. When we had arrived the local green suited freaks had set up a field base of operation, maybe 62hrs ago in this little hamlet, it was here to coordinate the recovery of the downed LST, "Infinity to hell" on my database. They skinned the poor fucker alive, then used medical nano to keep him screaming. I guess they were bored.

I am part of a four-man team. We are trying to track down the source of some very nasty tech. We had been inserted into orbit 86hrs ago, nothing quite like an orbital drop, it is standard procedure to kick us out of the airlock with as close to a zero ground speed as possible. Then you drop, 120 clicks up on this one, fall at supersonic speeds through the upper atmosphere slow down as the air gets reasonably thick, we slow, and brake using one shot jump packs for a final 9g 'welcome to earth'. I've always kind of liked it. We have all been 'special' forces since before King went of his nut, what a decade ago now? We spent some time chasing the remnants of COSA. Truth be told, I'm not sure what they do with the ones we catch, you don't ask to many questions in this outfit.

Today we had finally worked out a target, it took us about two hours to crack into the local military network. There just had not been any info there until now. No one seemed to think that Steel's ready source of fanatics was suspicious. The only thing to do for the last day or so has been to watch that poor ******* die. The surviving marines had turned a very nasty situation into a victory earlier today, good on them. I wonder how the locals would react if they realized just what that logo they are so fond of actually does, it is a nano-tech 'dattoo', a dermal computer hooked into a persons nervous system. Slap it on and bingo, instant fanatic, or slave, or almost anything else you can think of. These were fairly simple, merely providing an inclination towards fanaticism. The worst cases we had seen had resulted in people going totally insane shortly after they had been 'printed', the mind will not tolerate being forced against it's nature. It would probably take these poor suckers years to go nuts.

The boss had spared no expense on outfitting us on this. Each of us was wearing a state of the art power suit. We could jump over a three-story building, crush a billiard ball with one hand or throw an egg 300m straight up, and catch it without a crack. Add to that we are very close to invisible, and carry very big guns. It isn't normally a good idea not to irritate us. Now we had to trace the source of these dattoos before they became common knowledge, why public knowledge of this would be bad I'm not going to ask. I do know that if you know what they are, they will not normally work. It appears people have a natural defense, if you know what it is trying to do. So I don't ask why the public shouldn't know.

Our target was a base, located about one hundred clicks north east of here, about six hours trot. But I think Jones (our section leader) is thinking of leaving a good bye present for the local snots (the first name that stuck for the local forces). If he is not than we will recommend one, a big one. The word just came through that the force here is about to send 120 troops after those forty marines. That's not going to happen.

At twenty clicks from the base we stopped, we don't use nukes a lot; so it would be a shame to miss the show. One of our remote sensors had picked up the immanent departure of the snot hunting party. Jones, ordered "halt and ground", we did, just as the flash lit up the sky followed about a minute later by a solid thud sound as the concussion wave hit. We hadn't even needed to use one of our own devices we just sabotaged theirs and got on our way. Apart from Mister Unfortunate the snots had evacuated the locals for us, we don't like killing innocents, not if it can be avoided.

Now we go break a nano-tech factory, if it is there…

--Dreadnaught--

Sgt. Martens looked at his list of supplies…cut in half. There were only a few sets of body armor, mines, and other powerful weapons that had made it to him. However, he did have an abundance of a wide variety of guns, and some good Marine Rations. So much of these, that he was able to give each soldier their own 60 Caliber Multi-Explosive Ammunition Machine gun, and enough food to let them live for another six months. The worst part of it was that most of the really lethal stuff was now in the hands of the WolfPak.

Mines, a frighteningly large amount of grenades, machine guns, and body armor was what was given to the WolfPak. The "Hemingway" had departed, with much of the cargo it had come down with, due to the fact that so much was not needed as a result to the heavy looses to Sgt. MassÚ’s troops. Martens chose to take what he believed to be the most effective way to get to the Space Elevator. As the WolfPak was on the move, and having several painful victories, the fight for control of the elevator had become of the utmost importance. Bronski was not going to risk another LST drop for a while, possibly until the operative was found! Martens was not so concerned with this, for he felt that Bronski would see that the drops were needed and thus would arrange a secret drop.

Martens assembled his 60 troops. "Alright, I want everybody to go out into that forest in groups of three and find yourselves some WolfPak uniforms. When finished, we will tattoo you with temporary WolfPak tattoos. After that, we will divide into two squadrons to make our way to the Space Elevator. We will be passing through villages, pretending to be our enemy. However I believe that this ploy will be discovered by people in these villages in a matter of days, so we will still be going quietly. If we are detected, we should eliminate the village. Due to our control of Alpha-Lambda, the villagers do not have any communication with other villages; only the WolfPak troops have that.

"Our fleet is now in control of an orbital gun, bought by arms dealers who we believe to be associated with COSA. Yes, I said COSA…they might be getting back on track with themselves (Martens had no idea how on-track they were…how else did Steele get his weapons…but the upcoming fight against COSA is best left to another story.). We can radio the Sumpter for coordinates for the gun, which can be used to take out the villages. The guns can fire either atmospheric projectiles or missiles at a surface target. But, priority for use of the gun is directed to the fighters at the Elevator.

"With that, lets get ready to leave in 2 hours. Dismissed."

The troops scurried about, preparing to get ready for their first encounter with the villagers.

-WOLF-227a ORBIT-

At the primary L4, the destroyer Graham was being assaulted on a daily basis by large pieces of metal that had been put through the L4 point in the same manner as the Indies had used. Bronski felt he might have to call the tattered destroyer soon. Things were looking very grim for the Alliance presence in the Wolf-227 sector.

"Gun is in place, charged and ready", said an engineer to Bronski over the intercom.

"Fire SolidShell at target. Alert Alliance Marines," replied the excited commodore.

The orbital rail-gun charged it’s magnetic fields, and used thrusters to align itself with the target: a WolfPak bunker that was one of two mainstays of operations for the fight in the area of the Space Elevator. The Uranium projectile was loaded and ready. With a jump, the magnetic polarity of the magnets in the rail-gun changed back and forth as prescribed by the integrated software. The projectile was shot out at such a speed, it was unable to be seen if not for the fire of atmospheric heating. In a matter of 45 seconds, the projectile hit the bunker, and penetrated to just under its main structure: it’s heavy ammunition storage areas.

With a gigantic explosion, the bunker was eradicated, along with about 150 WolfPak troops. A victory for the Alliance, they had been able to cut the WolfPak presence in this particular ground battle in half in a matter of seconds. Now if they could find the other bunker…

The horrible fact of the matter was that the WolfPak had the exact same gun. If that was not enough, the Wolf Pak had no intention of using their gun on the home planet. They were going to use it to wreak havoc, aiding them in the invasion of Wolf-227b…

--Jadedog--

(WolfPack HQ, Secret Location, Wolf-227a

Alex Steele looked upon the data table to make sure everything was in order. He had assembled what remained of his fleet for the ultimate strike against the enemy: the assault of Wolf-227b.

So far, his brilliant tactics had been used to full effect. Utilizing all of the "dirty tricks" that came from the Indies ten years before had given the WolfPack a chance against the Alliance fleet.

By using Steele's own innovation in spatial combat, the WolfPack fleet had been able to make hit and run attacks against the Alliance ships. People were always so concerned about using the LaGrange points and capsule drives to traverse light years to reach nearby systems, Steele was the first to fully realize a possible combat tactic from it.

Instead of "jumping" to a LaGrange point in another star system, ships could execute a "micro-jump" to another LaGrange in the same system. Now, this was a huge waste of energy by using the capsule drive to make short distances; but it had given the WolfPack fleet the edge it needed.

Now, Steele was going to astound more people with another stroke of genius. The attack on Wolf-227b will not only be successful, but it would change spatial warfare as everyone knew it. Yes, Steele thought, this would definitely be one for the history books. Then, no one would dare oppose the WolfPack again.

--Dreadnaught--

Steele, being in the mental state he was, was still able to tell when he had lost a battle. The WolfPak had lost home: Wolf-227a. The Alliance’s use of their orbital gun had come to a great advantage, merely due to the fact that the WolfPak did not have their gun to protect their home planet. While most of the people on the airless moon of Wolf-227b were sleeping, Steele had gotten his satellite into orbit of the crowded skies of Wolf-227b. He had gotten a very powerful weapon in a strategic position: the orbital gun could attack a place where the remnants of the Bronski fleet or the destroyer Graham.

The calculations for aiming the gun at the Graham were not complicated, given that the WolfPak did not need to take exact measurements of the location of the primary L-Point. Orders for the gun were sent to its 5-member crew, who made the adjustments. The Uranium projectile was loaded and ready. With a jump, the magnetic polarity of the magnets in the rail-gun changed back and forth as prescribed by the integrated software. Off went the projectile, in high-velocity orbit towards the Graham.

ANV (Alliance Navy Vessel) GRAHAM-

"Sir, I’m reading a faint thermal trace…approaching at extremely high velocities," reported the Graham’s main engineer.

"Is it a ship coming in on LDS?" asked the captain.

"No, I would detect the LDS signature before the thermal, maybe an asteroid that had a flint with an atmosphere…it should miss us."

"Very well"

It would make sense that that engineer had nearly flunked orbital physics, for he forgot to compensate for the effect of the gravity of Wolf-227b, and instead gave the L-Point a gravitational field into the orbital computers, thus giving the result that the Uranium projectile would miss the destroyer by a good 14 KM.

The projectile hit the destroyer in the forward section, ripping the ship in half. The entire ship was decompressed, the very force of so much air leaving the structure tearing it up even more, strewing bodies, papers, and anything not fixed to a major structure into space. For 15 seconds or less, the startled and terrified crewmembers that had not been knocked out by the initial impact floated in the vacuum for a moment looking about them. They then lost consciousness and died.

When the third and final WolfPak fleet received the FTL pulse from the orbital gun, an armada of ships came through the now-unguarded primary L-Point. The Heavy Freighter "WolfPak", the Light Freighter "Conservative", the LST Union, and 25 other Puffin Class tugs emerged from the Jump point. Time was short. According to intelligence from the WolfPak operative, the Graham was due to report in the next three hours. The fleet had just that amount of time before the Bronski fleet was able to know that an invasion was occurring.

WOLF-227B

The fleet came up behind what was now the dark side of the moon. This moon bore a very striking resemblance to Earth’s moon save for the fact that it was slightly smaller and it’s orbit gave certain sections more sunlight than the others. The fleet dropped out of LDS. The "WolfPak" and 12 of the tugs moved into position on a plain 5-KM from one of the four main "towns" of Wolf-227b. The "WolfPak", with Steele aboard, came partially into the sunlight. In an orderly procession of cargo pods detached from the Heavy Freighter and also moved towards the surface.

"This is Wolf to Rail. Commence Alpha, proceeded by Charlie"

The rail gun crew responded with excitement. So much hard work was now blooming into their glory. First, the crew commenced with plan Alpha: ground assault. The rail gun fired smaller projectiles at the communication stations and some main buildings on the planet, killing hundreds instantly. 8 of the tugs descended as low as they could go to disable any means for the people of Wolf-227b to leave their home which they loved so much.

The next part, Charlie, was to launch some of the orbital guns’ missile batteries at some of the smaller ships of the Bronski fleet. This maneuver would result in the destruction of 4 PatComs and a Corvette. The Bronski fleet would now consist of a single destroyer, 4 PatComs, 2 LST’s, and three Corvettes.

WOLF-227A

Sgt. Martens went into the communications tent of the now-captured Space Elevator. Making his way through the villages had proved easy after the orbital gun had cleared a path for them. Martens came out and assembled his unit.

"Those damn Wolfers just invaded Wolf-227b without a hitch. We’re moving out for an insertion."

WOLF-227B

The few suited people who were walking on the surface looked up. The few suited people saw the implosions in the cities. The few suited people saw the pods descending and the tugs ravaging the other ships. The few suited people knew what was to come.

--Jadedog--

(Wolf-227b, main habitat dome Acropolis)

"Repeat! We need immediate assistance! We are facing a full blown
invasion!", yelled Commissioner Valentin into the comm station.

"It's no good Commissioner! They took out communications already, we are on
our own!", that was Major Kilfen, the military liaison for the Alliance.

"Well, then I guess its time to test all the "defense measures" that we
implemented. I hope this works." said Valentin, "You had us install them
only a few days ago, they haven't even been tested yet."

Kilfen didn't waste words at that point, he simply took out his techpad and
punched in a few digits, then hit the "execute" button.
The techpad used an independent radio frequency all its own. The quality
wasn't as reliable, but it was necessary for this precise situation.

At numerous locations around the Acropolis dome and the three other habitats
around the moon, spots on the ground were rumbling. At one location, a
mechanism erupted from the ground. It looked like a perfect ten-meter cube,
that is, until it opened up to reveal a PBC cannon. It was placed on a
turret so it could achieve maximum range and target area.

This defense station was still in its early development stages, but this was
a chance for the techheads to try it out. An automated ground turret that
could attack both air and ground targets.

These ground platforms were strategically placed around the four habitat
domes of Wolf-227b when the Alliance entered the conflict. There were a
total of ten surrounding each dome.

As the WolfPack force began their invasion, they were greeted by a staccato
of PBC blasts. It was a surprise if nothing else, most of the tugs had to
pull away from their attack runs when they started taking hits from unknown
defenses. Still, the attack continued.

(Freighter WolfPack)

"So this will be a challenge after all." said Alex Steele, "Inform all ships
to continue as planned. Have the tugs continue their attacks on the domes,
let the ground forces deal with the turrets."
As the invasion began, the freighter WolfPack had released its cargo pods
towards the surface. The maneuvering thrusters allowed the cargo pods to
reach the surface gently. The defense turrets paid no attention to the pods
because their targeting parameters didn't include worthless cargo pods.
But these cargo pods were anything but worthless.

As each touched down to the ground, the main doors to each opened up and
dozens of space armored soldiers came out. The twenty cargo pods made
touchdowns very close to the dome. In the first few seconds of the landing,
two defense turrets were destroyed by the soldiers.

It was amazing how fast the entire situation had bogged down. The defense turrets began to fire back at the soldiers because they WERE in the targeting computers. The citizens inside the domes were beginning to join the fight as they grabbed any weapons possible and geared up to defend their
homes.

Alex Steele sat back in his command chair and smiled. Yes, this would be a
grand battle indeed.

--Bolodin--

In a room deep within an asteroid that had no name the two arms dealers were
looking at a holovideo. On the holovideo ten WolfPak marines ran to a crowd
of people in the underground habitation tunnels of Wolf-227b. The angle of
the video was from a high angle and it had a marking like a glass would have
been right in front of it. The markings said: 'Security camera Alpha-Lambda
from sector 22986┤33a'. The marines on the video opened their fire upon the
civilians with their rifles. The rifles were made for zero-G gravity so the
marines missed targets lot, but not too lot. The two arm dealers looked at
each other. They were perfect twins. They talked at the same time, thought
at the same time and did the same thing at the same time. The other twin,
Jaque, knew what his brother, was thinking. Wolf-227b was nearly crushed by
the people of Wolf-227a. This little war was bringing money to the accounts
of the dealers and it couldn’t stop now. Something had to be done or the war
was going to stop too soon and the dealers’ accounts would go to negative,
and that was not good.

"You know... " they said at the both time "When there's two, their has to be
the third..."

Later in the tunnels of Wolf-227b a group of marines were gathered around a
heating lamp waiting for orders from the WolfPak. They had removed their
helmets and were eating can food.

"You know, Charlie..." one of the officers said "If you eat so much you'll
be fired from the marines."

Charlie was eating "Ham from a can". He raised his head and looked at the
officer.

"We'll aren't we funny today." he said.

Suddenly a female marine got up and raised her rifle. Everybody looked at
the marine.

"What's up ?" an officer asked.

"I heard something..." the marine started to focus on the darkness that
surrounded them and finally she pointed a direction "...There."

"Ya gonna be OK ?" Charlie asked.

"Just fine, maybe it's some native civilian." she said.

"Go get 'em." an officer said and looked after the brave mariner.

The marine vanished into the darkness. Everybody waited for her to come out,
but she didn't. Nothing was heard. Suddenly a scream and then nothing. No
sound at all. Everybody looked at others and suddenly an object was thrown
from the darkness next to the heating lamp. They looked at the object. It
was the head of the female marine, without a body. A shriek was heard from
the darkness and after that another shriek. They were surrounded. The
marines took their weapons and started shooting at the darkness. Suddenly a
marine was pulled to the darkness. Everybody could hear him scream, but
couldn't do anything. They stopped firing and started to search for targets.
Another marine was pulled to the darkness. Charlie looked around him and saw
only three marines left.

Suddenly a marine was started to pull to the darkness. Charlie gripped the marine’s hand and started to pull him back to the light. He could feel the strength of the opposition. Charlie was about to call the other marine to help, but didn't see him anywhere. The marine
that Charlie was holding was screaming in pain. Suddenly a whip-like object slashed against Charlie’s forehead throwing him to the floor and the other marine to the darkness. The shrieks were increasing around Charlie. Blood started to pour from the darkness. Charlie knew that he was already dead, but he wouldn't go down without a fight.

"YYYEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHH.........................."

--Lord Cronus--

(In orbit of Wolf 359a, Alliance Bastille Class Destroyer Sumpter)

"Admiral, you are asking the impossible, I need more ships," an angry Commodore Bronski said.

The engagements of recent days between the Navy and WolfPak ships had taken their toll on Bronski’s ships. Now, he had to request replacements for his broken and battered fleet.

"Perhaps you could show an aptitude for taking care of what you have and the joint command would consider it; however, truthfully, many in the command have already decided that this war is a waste of time, manpower, and resources and are looking for the first chance to get out of it, Continued defeats could give them that reason. Even more, reinforcements are out of the question," responded Admiral Brett.

Bronski paused a moment to consider his response. There seemed to be a feeling at Navy HQ that the WolfPak was no more well organized than the Indie units populating backwater systems during the Independence War.

"Admiral, these troops have a tactical and strategic genius leading them. If you want me to subdue this system, I am going to need more than this assortment of corvettes, LST’s, PatComs along with my one functional destroyer. I tell you, if you don’t want continued defeats I recommend you send something more than token reinforcements. I am talking about gunstars for each LaGrange point, and at least a cruiser or carrier battle group."

"Commodore, we sent you with a huge fleet when you first left for Wolf-227, and now only a fraction of it is remaining, this all because of pirates operating off a backwater world?",

Brett fired back.

"Admiral, I am not fighting a group of ragtag rebels from Wolf-227. I am fighting an inspired, well-trained, and well-led force probably being aided by some outside force. Yes, Admiral Brett, I know what you’re thinking, our friends at COSA, are back . I see no other explanation for the technology these, these, rebels have come into possession of."

The commodore had surprised even himself with the heat found in that response.

Brett pondered that for a moment. If this was true, it could indicate that this war was far more than what met the eye. It could be some manipulative scheme by a reinvigorated COSA, using some disgruntled rebels to establish a foothold.

"Commodore, if what you say is true, it causes this situation to change considerably. In light of this, I am giving new orders. Your primary objective will now be to learn about the extent of COSA’s involvement in this war; however, don’t expect that we will launch an offensive against them any time soon, we merely need to now if they are here. Meanwhile, it will remain prudent that you maintain the pressure against the WolfPak to keep COSA, if they are there, from acquiring a foothold," a thoughtful Brett responded.

"But what of my reinforcements?," came a concerned reply.

"For now, I can not promise you anything. I must bring this most concerning information to the Joint Commanders. Perhaps this news will convince them to approve a replacement fleet; however, for now, make it your concern to learn as much as you can about COSA’s involvement and prevent the WolfPak from winning any more victories. Brett out."

Bronski sat in his office for a while longer, pondering how to go about gathering firm evidence of COSA’s involvement; however, he told himself, that would have to wait, for now he had to oversee the counter-invasion of Wolf 359b.

--Dreadnaught--

Sgt. Martens was aboard the LST "Deliverance", about to descend on the surface of Wolf-227b. Because of the extreme amount of WolfPak control over the moon, the landings by the "Deliverance" and the other Alliance LST "Honduras", was to land almost half of the Alliance troops on the moon. The fighting was to be about 1:1, with about 850 ground troops on either side. The normal LST compliment was about 500, but these LST’s carried rovers, guns, small thruster packs, and a variety of other specialized weapons for such an environment.

Martens would not have much space support for a while. The orbital gun over Wolf-227a was damaged, and Bronski feared that the WolfPak might use their freighters for the same purpose as last time. While the Alliance fleet had a good chance to defeat the WolfPak in an orbital combat, such an act would require that the WolfPak’s orbital gun be taken out of commission. Thus Operation Homer was to take place.

For lack of Confederate Class MPBV, a standard Dreadnaught class Corvette would be employed on a stealth mission to the orbital gun.

--ORBITAL GUN, WOLF-227B--

The Alliance Corvette "Tsunami" (named after the ancient race of the Human Revolution) had been removed of all accommodation modules, and had been powered down as much as possible. The only systems that could be used were missile batteries, secondary thrusters, and LDA’s lest the ship be detected quickly. No capsule drive, no main thrusters, and almost all life-support had been taken off line. The ship drifted near the orbital gun. Due to the fact that it had been discovered that the WolfPak had the same gun as the Alliance, an efficient attack plan could be developed.

As the "Tsunami" approached within 25 KM of the gun, a single disrupter missile and two standard seeker missiles were released. The first two missiles hit the gun; one hitting the main power supplies and the other hit some superstructure near the missile batteries. The disrupter missile was the final precaution against the orbital gun’s rail-gun from being used. The disrupter missile made rendered the rail-gun inoperable, without any physical damage done to it. The disrupter made changes in the magnetic polarity of the entire station, so much that any part of the station was not functioning. While the disrupter effect on critical systems was only temporary, the rail-guns magnetic field generators were useless and the missile launchers would not be as reliable.

Operation Homer was a success.

The "Tsunami" engaged LDS back to the Bronski fleet, but put another missile into the laps of the WolfPak for the sake of the Alliance. That final missile saved many lives in advance.

Meanwhile, the entire WolfPak fleet, save for the "WolfPak" and 8 tugs, left to engage the Alliance in space. The light freighter "Conservative" followed by its tugs. Despite the fact that the freighter was no match for a destroyer, it was still bristled with guns and missile batteries. Each of the ships cargo pods had a Gattling gun, a single 4-pack missile launcher, and one low-powered military LDA. If the "Conservative itself was crippled, each pod could detach and still fight a little bit before it was inevitably destroyed.

* * *

"This is Homer to "Deliverance". I was a success. Proceed with the Iliad."

--Dreadnaught--

The destruction of the WolfPak rail gun significantly reduced the threat to the Alliance fleet. Sgt. Martens was on the surface of Wolf-227b and was proceeding to take a city. However, new trouble brewed for Bronski. The WolfPak fleet of the "Conservative" and 17 tugs was on the way to make an attempt upon the Bronski task force.

The WolfPak objectives for this mission were simple: destroy all the small ships of the Alliance force. The fleet engaged LDS as to avoid the enemy from getting any closer to Wolf-227B.

ONE HOUR LATER

Captain Samson looked around the damaged bridge of his Corvette "Glasgow". A glance at his damage HUD told him all he needed to know. He had no weapons, and limited thrusters. The WolfPak had lost all of its tugs, but at the cost of quite a number of the smaller Alliance ships. There were now only 3 PatComs, and 5 Corvettes remaining. However, more importantly, the destroyer Sumpter was alive. The Wolfers knew what they were up against, and they stayed far away from it.

"Sir, I have one more enemy contact…looks like one of those fucking freighters that they have!"

The "Glasgow" began a slow turn to reveal the "Conservative" entering weapons range of the small Corvette. The light freighter must have been damaged, as it seemed to not see the "Glasgow"! The range closed, closer and closer… "ENGINERING! Do we have Aggressor Shields!?!?"

"Aye sir, preparing for power burst."

The "Conservative" closed to within 5 KM.

"Ramp up magnetic fields on my mark…"

The "Conservative" closed to within 2 LM

1 KM

"NOW!"

The LDA and LDS generators around the "Glasgow" went onto full blast, surrounding the ship in a field that was virtually impenetrable. The Conservative hit the field as the Glasgow was pushed out of the way due to the greater mass of the Conservative. The plasma grid of the freighter was seriously damaged, as the ship began to vent its propulsion material.

Within 30 seconds, the armored pods of the freighter began to detach and slow. To Bronski, it looked as if the freighter was trying to ram the destroyer. The Wolfers wouldn’t d ram in such a predicament, would they? Either way, he had plenty of time to shoot the Conservative out of his sky and to a relative victory. He knew he had an advantage over the WolfPak now. He had more powerful ships. And, if the message from Wolf-227b was correct, he had a better chance of eliminating the space fleet of the WolfPak. He also had his orbital gun that he could LDS to his location and use against the WolfPak. Bronski felt he might finally get that damned Steele.

--WOLF-227B--

Sgt. Martens walked on the surface in his armored space suit. He led his troops into one of the public entrances of the bio-dome of Aristotle City. "The Wolfers are spread pretty thin. It might take a little bloodshed before the WolfPak soldiers are no longer a match for the locals, and then we can move on!"

--Lord Cronus--

The surface of Wolf 359b had become something less than a paradise. In fact it was starting to quickly resemble the depths of Hell. Alliance troops had landed some two hours ago and had started a drive into the city. It was not going well. They had lost a number of troops in the first wave after the fighting had punctured the bio-dome they were fighting in. From that point forward, the troops kept their space suits sealed.

Sgt. Martens slowly peaked around the corner of the building to see if the Wolfers they had chased down this alley were still there. A staccato of laser blasts answered his curiosity. Well, now Martens had choice. He would have liked to wait for some more men to get their position, but his orders were clear; he had to take this area. Realizing that the Wolfers were pretty well dug in, a plan hatched inside his head.

"Private Andrews, see that building over there?", Martens inquired.

"Yes, sir what do you need?"

"All right, we have an alley here, one building on each side. The Wolfers are entrenched on the other end of the alley. If we were to plant an explosive in the far corner of one of the buildings that forms the alley, could we punch through the wall on that end?"

Since Andrews was the platoon explosives expert, it was up to him to make this plan work.

"I don’t know sir, there is a lot of meteorite and micro-meteorite activity in this system, many of the buildings have been hardened to withstand impacts of that magnitude. I really don’t have that kind of explo-," Andrews paused mid-sentence and an idea materialized in his head. " I suppose… that I could use a laser rifle and detonate its power plant. That would probably be enough to punch through the wall."

"All right then," Martens said as he opened a Comm channel to all the men is his unit. "Ok, men, listen up. There are 12 of us and 6 of them. It would seem like pretty good odds, but they’re pretty nicely dug in down there. I would go around, but this was their fall back; I wouldn’t be surprised if they have land mines planted that way. As such, we have a new plan. Andrews is going to set two explosives on the far end of the building, one in the corner that meets the alley and the other towards the middle of the far wall. We’ll set the one on the wall off first, followed a couple seconds later by the one in the corner. Everyone good so far?"

He was greeted by a chorus of "yes".

"Good. For those explosions we’ll need two laser rifles. We’ll use Private Cabbell’s and Private Argand’s. They won’t need them any time soon. Following the explosions there will be a three-pronged assault. Group one, you guys climb the building next to us and wait just before you get to the top of the roof. When you hear the first explosion, climb up on top and lay down some covering fire on the Wolfers. Group two, you guys will assist Andrews in setting the devices, you will then come out of the hole caused by the first explosion and fire at the Wolfers from the side. Finally, myself and group three will shoot up through the alley. Hopefully, the explosions and being attacked from three sides will get them. Any questions?"

Silence was his only reply.

"Ok, good, execute, be ready in 10 minutes."

* * *

The WolfPak marines were sitting on the other end of the building, wondering how long it would be before the alliance troops attacked them. They got their answer soon enough.

Private Laetbus sat inside the fortifications, waiting. Suddenly, he heard a huge explosion to his right. As his head whipped around, he was knocked backwards by a much closer explosion. All of a sudden their group was taking small-arms fire from three sides. Scrambling to his feet, he grabbed his weapon to return fire and saw his commander, a friend, with a laser blast in his chest.

That was the last thing he would remember.

* * *

One by one, the Wolfers fell and their fire subsided. Martens exclaimed to his troops, "good job everyone. Status everyone."

Andrews responded, "Those explosions were a little bigger than I’d guessed. Argh, I took a piece of shrapnel, my suit sealed it off. I’ll be OK."

"Ok, guys good job, and get Andrews some medical attention."

And so, the tide in the ground war began to shift. Before long, Alliance troops would capture most of Wolf 359b; however, the war was not yet over.

--Dreadnaught--

Alex Steele looked at the surface of Wolf-227b. He could not see his defeat. He could not see his loyal followers being destroyed by the hands of the Alliance. Yet, he knew when the time to run and lick your wounds was on hand.

"Inform all WolfPak troops that they have 30 minutes to get to their cargo pods and return to the ‘WolfPak’. Any still on the surface can either fight to the death or surrender. It is up to them."

"Aye aye sir. This is a truly sad day for the WolfPak. Don’t’ worry, we will return, sir"

In one hour, the remnants of the WolfPak presence on Wolf-227b was back on the only home they had left; a heavy freighter that was about to be at the mercy of an entire Alliance fleet, yet only defended by a small armada of 8 Puffin Class tugs.

"Set course for secondary L-Point"

As the WolfPak fleet engaged LDS, the Alliance fleet rounded the moon, undetected by the WolfPak.

"Where the hell did they go?" asked Bronski

"Sir, the fleet is not far ahead…they’re heading for the secondary LaGrange point!"

"Pursuit course! Were not letting that guy leave this system alive! Send all our escorts to take out the freighters escorts!"

All of the four PatComs and three Corvettes that were left of the Bronski fleet went ahead and launched LDSI missiles once in range. The destroyer Sumpter was still able to use LDS until it approached to within 50 KM of the WolfPak fleet.

As soon as the WolfPak fleet and the Alliance ships had dropped out of LDS, a raged battle took place. The tugs, now all with aggressor shields, began to use them against the PatComs, destroying two of them within the first 30 seconds of the battle. However, the better-armed Corvettes were able to slowly pick off the eight tugs. However, the "WolfPak" itself was a major threat to the small ships as it shot off another PatCom, leaving the fleet down to one PatCom and three Corvettes. However, the Alliance had the benefit of better ships, and the WolfPak no longer had its deadly element of surprise. The tugs were eliminated.

"This is Bronski to all Alliance ships. Formate around the Sumpter, we are going to make this kill. We are 60 KM from the freighter, and we are switching to thrusters."

Chief engineer Charles Thomson did not agree with the admiral, "Sir, I think we should keep Steele alive."

The entire bridge crew stopped what they were doing to look at Thomson. "And who is Steele?" asked Bronski

The WolfPak operative had been caught. The very chief engineer of a Alliance Destroyer was an operative for a hostile renegade group that had managed to destroy an entire Navy fleet with fleets of tugs and freighters.

A quick thought flashed through Bronski’s mind: He’s the engineer! Get him before he sets off something!

A quick thought flashed through Thomson’s mind: Remember your loyalties, and what you stand for.

With a quick move, the engineer typed a command into the engineering computer. A command to take anti-matter containment offline.

A flash of white light instantly consumed the Sumpter, as the anti-matter of the ship began to react with the normal matter. The huge destroyer was consumed and reduced to nothingness, as Bronski and Thomson were incinerated before their nervous sensations of pain had time to reach their brains. The remaining anti-matter destroyed the neighboring ships that had just joined formation with the Sumpter, as the fleet was destroyed, almost at the speed of light.

The damaged freighter "WolfPak" reached the LaGrange point, minus its escorts. After aligning itself with the L-Point, it proceeded to jump to a system that was only known by the two COSA arms dealers, who now stood, watching from an observatory camera on Wolf-227b. The Alliance had lost this one. But it did not matter to them. They knew where Steele would go, and they could collect their orbital gun from Wolf-227a and re-sell it to an interested buyer. With a quick order, the COSA PatCom lifted from a large crater on a large asteroid and went to collect their gun.

A very few minutes after the "WolfPak" jumped, an Alliance fleet, sent by Admiral Brett himself, emerged from the L-point. It was just too late to get rid of Steele. But there was still peace to be kept in this system.

* * *

This small fight for freedom had cost the navy a little over 1,000 lives. The people of this story all devoted themselves to their cause, and fought "as worriers", utilizing all of their limited resources to their benefit. Just as in the Human Revolution, people who read the story of this mini-war in the news thought, "Did we really win?"

Despite the relatively major blow the WolfPak had delivered to the Alliance, much was learned to prevent the occurrence of another group of rebels. A whole navy research project began to try to think ahead of future renegades, so that they could be eliminated with much less of a loss of life. Former Indies suddenly found themselves in the spotlight, being asked of the kinds of ways they had wreaked havoc upon the Commonwealth.

Despite the valuable discoveries in space-guerilla warfare, it made no major difference. People with a strong will, or a strong sense of hatred, can do almost anything, granted they have the intellect and the leadership…and Alex Steele prepared himself for the next time he would return to the Wolf-227 system and take back what he had lost.

 

THE END

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