Wing Commander in Real Time - Day 1 - 0900 Zulu

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We see a beautiful swirling quasar. Red spills over the
blackness of space. This is the Charybdis Quasar -- the
offspring of several collapsed stars and the gateway to Earth.

A HUGE ASTEROID slowly cruises into frame. As we drift
closer we can see that this "rock" is covered with a
lattice work of towers, gun emplacements, antennae and
docks -- huge battle ships sit idle in their berths. Two
monstrously large ion engines are imbedded in the "rear"
of this mobile naval base.



Hewn out of solid rock, this is the nerve center of the
Pegasus station. a FEW BORED TECHS sit at their stations.
This is the end of the graveyard shift. A RADAR tech is
drinking coffee.

CLOSE ON his screen: NOTHING.

Puts down his coffee, leans back.

Hey Tom, you cover for me? I've got to
take a leak.

Another tech nods. The Radar Tech leaves.

CLOSE ON his screen: a mass of RED BLIPS suddenly

CLOSE ON the coffee mug: The coffee starts to VIBRATE.


From above, we see what must be the shadows of a hundred
bombers pass over the surface of this rock. Then we hear
the scream of engines. STRANGE, ALIEN FIGHTER CRAFT --
their shapes almost suggesting a TALON or a CLAW -- dive
INTO THE FRAME. Begin their attack run.


The Coffee cup is shaken by explosions. Alarms ring out.







Explosions pepper the surface of the asteroid world.

Confederation battle ships are caught helplessly in their
berths as missiles and laser fire rain down on them.

Cold space erupts with streams of tachyon fire as the
desperate CONFED ships and asteroid based gun batteries
return fire.

It's a futile effort. For every attacking ship that is
destroyed, another takes it's place. What few Confed
fighters the worldlet can launch are instantly destroyed.
The destruction is awesome, all-encompassing. This is
what Pearl Harbor must have been like seven hundred years

An alien bomber pulls up from it's attack run, banks
hard, tears past us under full power.


Alive now, people run to their stations. Radar, communications, weapons, and security officers
bark out orders to subordinates, relay orders and issue
on the spot situation reports.

Over the communications links, we hear fighters engaging
the enemy, disappearing in screams and static; capital
ship commanders desperately ordering their mooring cut,
calling for full power and more aerial support. Mayday
calls, prayers, expletives fill the airwaves.

I count one nine zero bodies inbound.
Vector three seven four, attack

Shields are not responding.

Station shudders as a CONFED capital ship explodes, tears
apart. Great pieces of fiery metal spin through space,
smash into the station, hurtle into space.

The Iowa's gone. And the Kobi.

ADMIRAL BILL WILSON, grey haired, mid fifties, thick
around the middle, enters the room, a CONFED Marine

Forty Kilrathi capital ships coming to
bear, Admiral. They are powering weapons.

How did they get past our patrols?

Alarms sound. SECURITY OFFICER reacts.

We have a station breach. Levels
seven, eleven, and thirteen. Kilrathi

WILSON looks at a bank of black and white security


We catch glimpses of massive, armored forms moving
through shadow enshrouded corridors. Their faces
obscured by rebreathers and great flowing plumes, they
cut through CONFED security teams, move efficiently and
inexorably forward.

A figure steps into view.

They're headed for Command and Control.

WILSON reacts, turns towards a massive computer system
sitting behind a glass partition. At its center is a
small black box with NAVCOM stenciled on it.

Destroy the NAVCOM A.I. Now!

COMPUTER OFFICER banks on a keyboard, smashes a glass
case to reveal a r ed handle, pushes it forward. Nothing
happens. HE pushes handle a second time. Again,
nothing. Off of Wilson's look, COMPUTER OFFICER just
shakes his head.

Command codes have been overwritten.

WILSON grabs the Marine's weapon, drops the slide back,
lines the weapon, fires on the NAVCOM. Uranium depleted
rounds, bounce off the glass. Clip empty, he tries to
break the glass with the butt. Stock shatters.

Concussion outside. Heads swing to the massive
reinforced doors leading to the center. They're
distorting, bending in.

Prepare a drone. Get me a coded

COMMUNICATIONS TECH bangs at a keyboard, nods to Wilson
who turns towards a video monitor:

This is Admiral Bill Wilson, Pegasus
station commanding officer. Forty
Kilrathi capital ships are closing.
Station has been breached. They want
the NAVCOM. Repeat, they want--

Concussion tears into the room as the exterior doors are
blown off their hinges in a wall of toxic smoke.
Wilson's head snaps to the doors. he can just see the
outline of an armored figure stepping through.

CLOSE ON his eyes. He's a dead man, but there's no fear,
just resignation.

He depresses a button by the video monitor.


A single drone launches from the burning station, fires
retro rockets, speeds away towards a distant swirling
mass of dying suns called the Charybdis Quasar some forty
hours away.

As the drone speeds back, it passes in front of the
Kilrathi battle group. CAMERA stays on the ominous alien




MARCH 15, 2654
0900 HOURS

Seated at his console in Pegasus Station's NAV-COM control room,
nineteen-year-old Radar Officer Thomas Sherryl stared through a wide
viewport at the swirling blues and reds of the Charybdis Quasar. He
looked past the whirlpool of gases, past the black hole lying at the quasar's
core like an interminably deep maw, until his inner gaze rested on a gentle
blue orb bathed in a soft glow. Earth. Homeworld. So near. So far.
Thomas Sherryl dreamed of things green. Of the smell and taste of real
air. Of foamy ocean waters rushing up and across his chest. Of beach
barbecues. Of bikinis. He no longer sat in his chair, surrounded by billions
of tons of durasteel and ice-slick rock; he no longer felt the rumble of the
naval base's enormous ion engines propelling the converted asteroid
deeper into the corridor; he no longer had to pull the graveyard shift and
oversee instruments that did a fine job of sweeping the sector without
human scrutiny. Thomas Sherryl had found his freedom. Goodbye towers,
gun emplacements, and antennae. Good-bye Confederation capital ships
sitting in your spacedocks. I'm no longer stuck on this rock. I got a ticket
out. And it's a ticket no one can take away.
"Hey, Tom? Can you cover for me? I gotta take a leak."
Robbed of his bliss, Thomas Sherryl scowled at fellow Radar Officer
Rick Adunda as the other man set down his half-full coffee mug and left
before Thomas replied.
With a loud sigh that drew stares from the other personnel on duty,
Thomas switched seats to Rick's console and resignedly studied the
long-range sensor report: a blank screen. He eyed his own short-range
display and found the same.
"I love my job," he moaned.
And, as though on cue, a mass of red blips suddenly rippled across the
Thomas's gaze shot up. Had someone hacked into the system to play a
joke? He studied the other officers. No smiles. No laughter. He felt a
tremor rise from his feet and rattle into his spine.
He looked to Rick's coffee mug as it began to vibrate.
A shadow wiped over the viewport, followed by a second, then a third.
Muffled explosions resounded from outside the control room.
Jakoby, the stocky security officer on duty, rushed to the viewport.
"Kilrathi fighters," he said stiffly.
Klaxons blared. Overhead lighting switched to the dim crimson of
battle. Behind Thomas a panel of life-support monitors sizzled and shorted
out, heaving a pungent scent that wafted through the control room. He
glanced to a bank of screens that showed images from the station's
external cameras:
Twelve comm dishes on the base's northwest side blew apart in
succession under the unrelenting Particle cannon and Meson fire.
Dozens of Dralthi medium fighters swooped down and caught the great
Confederation cruisers and destroyers still sitting helplessly in their
berths. The fighters resembled glistening gray discs cut through their
centers by sleek, single-pilot cockpits. Long, narrow laser cannons
extended from the pits and blazed unceasingly. Though only twenty-eight
meters long, the fighters' formidable, talon-like appearance made them
seem much larger. And they packed more than just laser cannons.
Heat-seeking missiles streaked away from the starfighters, locking onto
the Confed ships' now-warming engines. The cruisers and destroyers
retaliated with streams of tachyon fire, but scores of missiles navigated
through the glistening gauntlet to impact on and weaken the Confed ships'
shields. Another wave of those missiles would tear into hull armor, flesh,
and bone.
A resonant drumming seized the NAVCOM control room as
asteroid-based gun batteries finally came on line, belching out thick bolts
of anti-aircraft fire as they swiveled to track targets.
Thomas kept a white-knuckled grip on his chair as he continued to
watch with a horrid and inevitable fascination. Like an angry horde of
plastisteel insects, the fighters dove at the station, dropped their
poisonous barbs, and pulled up, leaving trails of floating debris in their
wakes. For every Dralthi destroyed, another soared through the rubble of
its predecessor.
One of the heavy cruisers, the Iowa, launched a half-dozen F44-A
Rapier medium attack fighters. The Rapiers' silver, battle-scored fuselages
and barrel-shaped rotating laser cannons that formed their brassy noses
gave them a fearsome if not sleek appearance. Short, slightly upturned
wings and huge twin thruster cones stated most clearly that the Rapier
had been built for speed. And it usually did an excellent job of catapulting
a single pilot across the laser-lit cosmos. But as the starfighters cleared the
flight deck, Kilrathi fighters methodically picked them off with salvos of
Meson and missile fire that fully obscured each ship before blasting it to
gleaming fragments.
"We're gonna lose," an astounded navigator said behind Thomas.
Rick Adunda pounded over, his young face creased in terror. "Get out
of my chair."
With a shudder, Thomas returned to his own station as Rick dialed up
a commlink so they could listen to the skipchatter from outside.
"Goddammit! Cut our moorings! Get us out of here!" a capital ship
commander cried, her voice already hoarse.
"Mooring release systems, uh, damaged," came a nervous ensign's
reply. "Unable to... to initiate."
A fighter pilot cut into the channel. "Christ almighty! They're
everywhere! Bug out, people. Bug out. Regroup at the southern pole. Go
"Belay that order," shouted the capital ship commander. "We need air
support, Lieutenant—not your announcement of retreat."
"Forget it, Commander. We… are… outgunned," the pilot said, spacing
his words for effect. "There's a fine line between bravery and stupidity."
"See you at your court-martial."
"If we live that long."
"Mayday! Mayday! This is Senior Spacehand Eric Popkin in
Watchtower Three. We can't hold 'em back anymore. Batteries are wasted.
They're coming over the fence. Wait. What's that? Ohmygod. OHMYGOD!
"Popkin? Report! Popkin, do you copy?"
"And it is you, Dear Lord, who will deliver us from this evil because we
ask it in your name, and—"
"You wanna piece of me? I don't think so. Open wide…"
Something struck heavily on Thomas's shoulder. He turned to find Rick
staring wide-eyed at him. "What are you doing?"
"I, uh, I don't know. I guess, well—"
"Make your report!"
'Thomas swallowed and regarded his scope. "I count one-nine-zero
bogies inbound. Vector three-seven-four, attack formation."
"Shields are not responding," Security Officer Jakoby announced.
The viewport filled with a harsh white light that peeled off the
blackness of space. A tremendous thunderclap shook through the entire
station as though a fusion bomb had detonated at its core.
"What the f—" Rick began, then shielded his face as his console sparked
and smoked.
"I don't believe it," Ordnance Officer Scott Osborne said, squinting at
the viewport as the glare subsided. "That was the Iowa." He turned
toward Thomas, his face paling.
"Confirmed," Comm Officer Rene Gemma said. "The Iowa is gone. And
the Kobi."
Loud footfalls caught Thomas's attention. He cocked his head toward
the lift doors as Admiral Bill Wilson double-timed into the control room
with an armored Confederation Marine in tow. Twin rows of large buttons
on Wilson's dark uniform flashed as they caught the overhead lights. He
wiped the sweat from his balding pate, and his face seemed to grow more
gaunt as he took in the scene with weary eyes.
Rick, who had moved to the console on Thomas's left, tipped his head
in Wilson's direction and muttered, "It's about freakin' time."
Wilson turned toward them. "Status?"
Thomas jerked and studied his screen. "Four Kilrathi capital ships
coming to bear, Admiral. They are powering weapons."
With a crooked grin, Wilson asked, "How did they get past our
"We lost contact with our patrols for a few minutes," Comm Officer
Gemma said. "But we reestablished. I thought it was quasar interference.
The enemy must've taken them out and transmitted false signals."
Before Wilson could respond, a low-pitched alarm added its voice to the
already rising din of the control room.
Security Officer Jakoby bolted to his terminal. He touched the screen
several times, then winced. "We have a station breach. Levels seven,
eleven, and thirteen. Kilrathi Marines."
Wilson hurried to a bank of security monitors beside Jakoby. Thomas
stood to peer over the admiral's shoulder.
Towering forms in copper-colored armor skulked through the dim
corridors, throwing markedly inhuman shadows on the walls. Rebreather
tubes partially concealed their faces and snaked down from elongated
heads to bulging chests. Exhaust fumes lingered behind them as they
forged efficiently and inexorably forward.
A pair of Confed security officers fired upon them suddenly, but two of
the Kilrathi withstood the point-blank hits and thundered on to seize the
officers. Thomas turned away as he listened to the women shriek, gurgle,
and fall silent.
"They're headed for Command and Control," Jakoby reported.
Thomas may have only been a radar officer, but he knew very well what
the aliens wanted. He flicked his gaze to the opposite end of the control
room, to the massive computer system shielded by a synthoglass wall, a
mainframe that represented the very heart and brain of Pegasus Station.
At the system's center lay that small, most precious black box with the
letters NAVCOM stenciled across its side.
Clenching his teeth, Wilson charged toward the computer system.
"Destroy the NAVCOM AI. Now!" he ordered Benjamin Ferrago, the chief
Ferrago typed frantically on his touchpad, then, balling his hand into a
fist, he smashed a glass panel to gain access to a red handle. Grimacing,
he threw the handle forward and looked to the black box.
He tried the handle a second time, his eyes now glassy.
No response.
"What's wrong, son?" Wilson demanded.
Ferrago shook his head. "Command codes have been overwritten."
Wilson whirled and seized the Confed Marine's conventional rifle,
dropped the slide back, then aimed at the NAVCOM. Thomas flinched as
uranium-depleted rounds ricocheted off the synthoglass. Wilson emptied
the entire clip before turning the rifle around. With a howl, he charged
toward the NAVCOM and drove the rifle's butt into the glass. The stock
"Back off," Jakoby said, pushing the button on a concussion grenade
the size of a ballpoint pen. He tossed it at the synthoglass.
The others retreated as Thomas crouched behind his console and held
his ears. The grenade went off with a terrific boom. He lay there, listening
to his own breath for a moment.
"Did it work?" someone asked.
Someone else cursed.
Peering furtively above his instrument panel, Thomas glimpsed the bad
Another concussion echoed from outside. The lift's massive, reinforced
doors began distorting, bending in, as the Kilrathi Marines outside
unloosed a flurry of rifle fire.
"Here," Rick said, slapping a sidearm in Thomas's hand. He winked.
"Special arakh rounds. Kilrathi catnip. We Terrans stick together."
"Where'd you get this? We're gonna get in—"
"Big trouble? You kidding me?" Rick clicked off the safety of his own
pistol. "Let's go."
Remaining hunched over, Thomas followed Rick past the radar and
navigation stations to a partition opposite the lift doors, where they
huddled and watched the doors grow hotter and weaker.
Admiral Wilson regarded Comm Officer Gemma with a grave look.
"Prepare a drone. Get me a coded channel."
Gemma seemed lost for a moment, then she touched the correct keys
and nodded to the admiral.
Wilson faced the camera at Gemma's station as it pivoted toward him.
"This is Admiral Bill Wilson, Pegasus Station commanding officer. Four
Kilrathi capital ships are closing. Station has been breached. They want
the NAVCOM. Repeat. They want—"
The lift doors blew off their glide tracks and thwacked the deck with
twin thuds. A cloud of toxic smoke swelled into the control room. Within
that smoke, Thomas made out the unnerving outline of a Kilrathi Marine
as it hunkered down and ignited its weapon.
Rick pumped rounds into the smoke, as did some of the others. Thomas
saw a half-dozen more outlines appear behind the first, and the sight sent
him ducking behind the partition.
"Drone away!" Gemma shouted.
Thomas looked back at the viewport. The tiny drone streaked away
from the dying station, bound for the nearest Confederation carrier, the
Concordia, some twelve hours away. It passed in front of the Kilrathi
battle group that included a dreadnought, two destroyers, and the largest
vessel, a Snakeir-class cruiser. Transports and smaller escort ships flew
abreast of the capital ships, exploiting their cover.
An explosion stung Thomas's ears, and he saw Rick fall against the
partition, his uniform melting into a black cavity in his chest.
Thomas wanted to act, but he could only tremble. He detected heavy
footsteps. Close. Loud breathing, mechanized. Oh, God. What's that smell?
He looked over his shoulder at the Kilrathi Marine standing over him, its
polished armor reflecting explosions from outside, its pale yellow eyes
wide, menacing, drinking him in with sinister delectation as it breathed
through its tube.
Shoot him! he screamed at himself.
He lifted the pistol.
The Kilrathi plucked it effortlessly from him, grunted, and kicked him
onto his back. The soldier pressed its boot on his chest, cutting off his air.
A rib popped.
In those last seconds, Thomas took himself away from Pegasus, through
the jump point at Charybdis, and back home, where palm trees bowed to
the coastal wind, where waves lapped endlessly at the shore, where he lay
under a canopy of fronds and drank from the lips of a dark-eyed woman
until night fell.