6 May 2021

Memory echo


Location: Shipyard С21-41M-28, orbit Ross 128 b. Codename: “Hecate”

They had a brief respite, literally a few minutes, before the hordes of green creatures would rush out again to destroy everything in their path. The shipyard had exhausted almost all its resources, even underdeveloped prototypes had to be used — the enemy’s onslaught was unstoppable.
Now this time is up. The defenders of the shipyard were losing the last of their strength, but continued the battle. One by one, their ships burned, covered in crystals, and the weapons turned against their former allies. There were no screams for help on the air, only clear and direct orders. One could only admire the cold-bloodedness of the shipyard officials: they sent people to their certain deaths, sacrificing themselves as well, fighting for some phantom chance of stopping the hordes of biomorphs.

There was still hope, but first things first.


About a week before the events described, all the ships produced in the shipyard were taken by the Wardens by personal order of the Emperor, most of the guards were recalled to the solar system, and martial law was declared on Hecate. The shipyard had a batch of unfinished Project 20-34 ships that could have been the Empire’s main strike ship during the Third War for the Bartle Sector, but due to lack of funding, the project was frozen and the ships could not be utilized. The weapon cooling system of the 20-34 project required special iridium plates, which were not present on Hecate at the time.

The next day, Hecate was attacked by biomorphs. The attack was repelled, but the shipyard lost half of its ships. The Hecate officials ordered an inspection of what was left of the attackers’ ships. After examining the fragments, the station technicians concluded that it was safe to disassemble some elements of their hulls and extract some iridium, which could be used to replace the necessary elements. The work started, and under the cover of the last shipyard’s defense forces, they managed to get enough material and prepare a dozen ships for battle.

The next encounter with biomorphs was many times more dangerous: Hecate was attacked by two waves, a hundred ships each, and the defenders had only three dozen ships, a third of which were “new”. Due to the lack of tests, Project 20-34 was much weaker than the Empire’s conventional strike fighters, but its speed and maneuverability allowed one pilot to destroy 30 biomorphs and then escape the barrage of fire from the rest of the wave.
All days for the Hekate defenders ceased into a nightmare: awakening, an hour to prepare for work, collecting debris, preparing Project 20-34 ships for battle, a short rest, and the damned biomorphs that were everywhere. In this state, everyone in the shipyard was fighting. Fighting for their homeland, for all those who died during the Invasion. They were fighting against the enemies of Humanity.

And so another respite was coming to an end. This battle is the last one and everybody knows that — this time, 1418 biomorphs attacked Hekate. Their actions were unusual: they did not fly a disorderly horde and used complex tactics — but the defenders of the shipyard held on. They held on with the last of their strength, which was melting by the minute. There were only five of them left against hundreds of biomorphs.

Everyone flew on their own ship, but they were all united by the same fate. They continued to fight, not trying to escape, although they had fuel. Five stayed to defend Hecate. Until the last breath. They had been cutting through the biomorphs with their laser beams for an hour, when finally the last enemy of Humanity in the vicinity of the shipyard turned into a pile of melted wreckage.

That was a victory. Five ships, five pilots, five fates intertwined in one, ended this insane battle in a half-destroyed shipyard. Hecate lost four docks out of seven, lost half of its staff, but it survived. There was the echo of an old event in this victory — an event that united millions of people under the bright scarlet banner, a victory that is not forgotten even after two and a half millennia, and will never be forgotten!

 


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