I picked up a distress call from Outpost 317. They were under attack by the bugs. The outpost's automated defense systems were holding the bugs at bay for now, but it was only a matter of time before the system began to fail. I was thirty minutes out if I used the star-
I came in hard and fast with my fighter. A bug destroyer was in orbit around the planet. I radioed for backup and went in shooting. I caught them by surprise and was able to strafe the whole side of the ship before they began to return fire. I might as well have been shooting blanks for all the good it was doing. The only thing to do was to fly my ship up their engines and self-
I set the self-
It was a bumpy ride through the upper atmosphere, but once through I regained control as the pod's wings slid into place. I came down right on top of the outpost. Coming in out of the sun I caught two of the bug troop carriers on the ground. The pod's missiles were more than adequate for the job at hand. A third troop carrier tried to lift off and I blew that one out of the air.
Escape pods can fly around for a little while, but they weren't meant to stay aloft for long. I set the self-
I cut my parachute loose a few feet from the ground and hit the ground running straight for the last bug troop carrier. Every bug that stood in my way died. Speed was what counted now. I had to keep that last ship from taking off, or the bugs might come back in even greater numbers. Even as the ship came in sight I could tell it was getting ready to take off. The bugs weren't trying to get out. They were trying to get back in. I loaded my grenade launcher as I ran toward the ship. I fired grenade after grenade on the run as soon as I came into range of the ship. The bugs still outside began to dive for cover. They had yet to start returning my fire -
After that it was a running battle with the bugs as I made my way to the outpost. Balls of plasma screamed all around me. The bugs wanted a fight and I gave them one. I fought my way through the bugs to the outpost's main gate. It was quickly opened to let me in. Only then did I take stock of the shape I was in. All I can say is thank heaven for body armor. I was cut, scratched, bruised, and battered, but still in one piece.
I was able to keep the outpost's automated defense system going for another three days, and then it failed completely. By then the bugs had stopped shooting at us, so I wasn't too worried. Some of the systems weapons could be fired manually and I had men manning them in case the bugs were up to something. Now it was just a waiting game. Either more bugs or more Starfighters would show up in the very near future. I could only hope that I blew up the destroyer before it could send a message to the bug home world. None of the troop carriers made it out of the atmosphere where they could have sent a clear message. I was okay on that account.
Two days later the remainder of the bug troops surrendered. They were not prepared for a prolonged conflict, and quickly ran out of food and other supplies. Bugs may look tough on the outside, but their hearts really aren't into fighting. They always give up when things start getting a little tough. Three days after the bugs surrendered, a Starfighter battle group entered orbit around the planet and took charge of my prisoners -
Lt. T. Andrews