Adapted from David Reinhold’s Personal Log
It was a worthless piece of rock. The outpost we had set up had more value than the entire planet. However, it did have some strategic value in this section of the quadrant. On the other hand, there was nothing in this section of space of any real value. We just laid claim to this section of space to piss off the bugs. And piss them off we did.
We barely had begun our mission when the bugs showed up with two full battle groups. They began the bombardment of the outpost just before dawn on the day they arrived. We scrambled most of our fighters in response. The outpost took a pounding as our fighters engaged the enemy. The battle above us lasted for three hours. The bugs lost most of their fighters -
Our outpost and the ship it was built around had been reduced to a pile of rubble above ground. We wasted no time in setting up defenses amid the debris once the bombardment stopped. We waited for the bugs to charge, and they nicely obliged us so we did not have to wait too long. There were so many of them it was hard to miss hitting one every time I pulled the trigger. They overran the outer defenses quickly, but we were able to push them back before nightfall.
Bugs don't like to fight at night, but we were not bugs. Allowing them to get comfortable, we took the battle to them, hitting them with a counterattack late at night. We made a shambles of their encampments, destroying everything we could. We could have killed thousands of them and still we were hopelessly outnumbered come morning. They began their attack at dawn.
Fighting was fierce, but we managed to hold our ground until midday when we lost our outer defensive positions once again. The bugs' laser fire was thick, and it forced us to keep our heads down. We returned fire blindly just holding our guns above our heads and pulling the trigger. Late in the evening they breached the west side of the inner defensive ring, but we were able to repel them before nightfall. The bugs encircled us before they stopped fighting for the night. They did not want a repeat of the previous night's performance.
We went to work reinforcing our defensive ring and our final fallback positions in and around the Morning Star, the ship in the center of the outpost. Thousands of explosive charges were set. The next day brought a renewal of the fighting. The bugs hit us with everything they had. We were strafed by their remaining fighters off and on throughout the day, and they lost several more fighters doing so. We still held our ground at the end of the day.
I could not help counting the cost of holding that damn rock. We were an outpost of over 130 Starfighters. Out of that only 87 remained after eight days since the bugs began their attack. We spent the night preparing for the coming battle. The bugs charged us at dawn as usual.
We held the inner ring as long as we could before falling back to the ship in the center of the ring. We gave it everything we had, and we held our position for six days before they were able to breach the outer walls of the ship. Fighting became brutal, and was often hand-
Fighting began at dawn. By midday I flipped a switch that activated our last automated defensive system and took up my position in the small control room in the center of the Morning Star. I waited watching the video screens that showed me what was going on outside the secondary command and control bunker deep in the heart of the ship. The bugs were crawling all over our outpost looking for souvenirs. They stripped our dead of whatever caught their fancy. I wanted to kill them all right then, but I waited.
I watched as the bugs neutralized the automated defensive system one gun at a time. I watched as another troop carrier landed just outside the outpost. The top brass got out to survey their handiwork. I switched cameras and waited until I could see them as they approached the bunker. I heard something banging against the control room door. I smiled; I had all the bugs right where I wanted them. I let go of the button. The whole room seemed to rise and fall, and I was plunged into darkness.
I don't know when I regained my senses. I could not believe that I was still alive, and in one piece. It was night when I finally clawed my way through the wreckage of what remained of the bunker and the ship around it. The troop carrier was lying on its side. Not a living thing remained. I pulled my guns and went to search the troop carrier to make sure that none of the bugs survived. It was deserted, but the food dispensers still had food in them. I found a weapons locker full of good stuff. If they came back I would be ready for them. Time passed and the bugs did not return. I began the hard work of restoring the outpost and burying the dead. The Morning Star had gaping holes in the top and side, it was a burned out hulk and looked like the bones of some long dead beached whale.
It was three months before search-
Figuring that the outpost was a total loss, search-
I often think back and wonder if that rock was worth the lives of 137 Starfighters. I'm told that we stalled an invasion army of over ten thousand bugs. That would make the bugs think twice about attacking our world or any of its outposts ever again. But, I still wonder if it was worth it.