Battle of Alta Second

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Battle of Alta Second
Participants Defiant Defense Force, Krell
World Detritus
Universe Cytoverse
Featured In Skyward (series)

The Battle of Alta Second occurs on the day of Skyward Flight's graduation.[1][2]

Background[edit]

The Battle of Alta Second started in a small room in the Defiant Defense Force's Flight Command building, as Admiral Judy Ivans and her aide-de-camp Rikolfr informed National Assembly Leaders Algernon Weight, Valda Mendez, and Ukrit that a large chunk of falling debris, containing hundreds of acclivity rings, would be disarmed within two days. She and the National Assembly Leaders knew the hard truth - the DDF would continue to spiral towards collapse unless they could find a way to field more starfighters than the Krell. Knowing a better opportunity might not come while they had the strength they had, the National Assembly Leaders and the Admiral agreed to throw all DDF ships at capturing the acclivity rings.[3]

Battle at the Shipyard[edit]

Ironsides: "Cloak? Nice work. "
FM: "She's dead. This is callsign: FM. Cloak died in the blast. There are...sir, there are three of us left in the scout flight. The others died in the fighting. "
Ironsides: "Confirmed. Stars accept their souls. "

―Ironsides and FM.[1]

The battle begins as soon as the DDF Flight School graduation is over, as the DDF quickly launches eleven full flights and five scouting trios, totaling eighty-seven pilots. The DDF also calls in all of its reserves from the deep caverns. The pilots approached the shipyard and Ironsides asks the scouting trios for fighter estimates on the Krell. The scouting trios determine that a first wave of Krell contains fifty starfighters, while a second wave carries another fifty starfighters. Both sides understand the titanic consequences the battle would have.[1]

Eighy-seven brave pilots are making their way to engage the Krell to rescue the salvage. Victory will bring our league unprecedented glory and spoils.

—Radio announcer to the people of Igneous Cavern.[1]

Ironsides orders Riptide, Valkyrie, Tungsten, and Nightmare Flights to provide cover fire for the inside flights protecting the shipyard from a Krell bombing. One of the flightleaders reports a bomber, with a confirmation from three other ships. Scout Cloak gives a scouting confirmation, and Ironsides orders the pilots to drive it away, at the risk of pushing it towards Alta Base, more than two hours away. One of the flightleaders tells Ironsides that they had the lifebuster on the run, but that it was headed towards Alta. Cloak informs Ironsides that the bomber is faster than most, so Ironsides orders the scouting contingents to move to intercept the lifebuster. The flightleader of Valkyrie flight tells Ironsides they are down to three pilots and request support, only for their line to go short. Another pilot tells Ironsides that Valkyrie flight would be absorbed into their flight. Ironsides then orders a full offensive to protect the shipyard, and all the flightleaders give a verbal confirmation.[1]

Cloak tells Ironsides that the bomber is moving extremely fast, has an escort of ten ships, and could easily get in blast range of Alta Base, so Ironsides orders her to engage it with just her flight of twelve scouts. Both the battle at the shipyard and around the bomber continue for some time, before Cloak finally reports that the bomber had been destroyed and that the lifebuster was falling to the ground and ordered all of the scouts to get clear before it exploded. It hits close enough to Alta Base that Spensa could hear the explosions from underground in Igneous Cavern; after it exploded, Ironsides congratulates Cloak, only to be told by FM that Cloak didn't make it out of the blast and that only three scouts survived. Ironsides then orders the three survivors to return to the battle at the shipyard.[1]

Second Lifebuster[edit]

Shortly thereafter, a woman from antiaircraft gun outpost fourth-seven reports that it, as well as outposts fourth-six and fourth-eight, have been hit by the lifebuster blast and are destroyed. The gunner who gave the report then asks Ironsides if she had a nearby debris fall on her radar. The gunner takes out a pair of binoculars and reports multiple Krell ships dropping through the debris field, right over the destroyed antiaircraft gun outposts. The gunner tells Ironsides to scramble the reserves, not knowing all the reserves are out fighting at the shipyard. Ironsides orders Riptide Flight to return to Alta Base immediately, but their flightleader informs her that even at Mag-10 it would take over thirty minutes.[1]

Ignoring the defect, Spensa runs to the DDF hangars and asks Dorgo if she can fly Arturo's ship, Skyward Five. He tells her it is barely functional, no shields and poor steering, but it has destructors and ejection. Spensa gets in the ship and takes off for the rogue lifebuster.

Admiral Ironsides stands in command room, watching a hologram of the fifteen Krell ships, lifebuster included, approach Alta Base unopposed. Suddenly, rising from the hangars appears a single red dot, who flight command confirms is Skyward Ten: Spensa.[4]

Ironsides gives Spensa a heading for the Krell force, eight minutes away from the death zone, telling Spensa she can make it in two. Spensa tells her she might have a few reinforcements coming, and heads towards the force without a shield.

My weapons are gone.

—Spensa, to Ironsides.[5]

Spensa gets a visual confirmation on the lifebuster, so Ironsides gives her the order to shoot it down, regardless of how close it is to Alta Base. Spensa engages and immediately gains twelve tails. They chase her around, trying to draw her away from the lifebuster, but she stays focused and scores a few hits on the bomber, which its shield absorbs. She continues dogfighting with the escort, and finds that she can faintly hear the commands being sent to the Krell ships and is able to react to them before the Krell.

Understood. Saints' own speed, pilot.

—Ironsides, to Spensa.[5]

All of the junior admirals gather around Ironsides, gazes locked on the hologram of Spensa weaving in and out of destructor blasts. All of the remaining flights have been disengaged from the battle at the shipyard, and are on their way back to Alta Base. They knew they would be too late, so all of Alta and Igneous' hopes rode on Spensa.

Spensa counts five hits on the lifebuster when Jorgen contacts her via the general comm line. He asks how she's doing and informs her that he is with Riptide Flight, streaking toward Alta Base at Mag-10. Suddenly, Spensa gets hit, on the nose of her ship, disabling her destructors. The shot came from one of the sleek black ships whose commands she can't hear. Ironsides informs Spensa she has full authority to shoot the ship down even if it reaches the death zone. The lifebuster is one minute away from the death zone, and with no weapons, Spensa resolves to kamikaze into the lifebuster. Ironsides asks what she is doing, and Spensa informs her of her weapons malfunction. Ironsides understands and gives her a solemn word of good luck. Spensa streaks toward the lifebuster, nose still on fire, when her battered ship finally gives out. The acclivity rings on the bottom of her ship give out, and she undershoots the lifebuster and starts spiraling towards the ground.[5]

Return of M-Bot[edit]

Instead of ejecting, Spensa is able to control her starfighter and guide it to the ground. She skids into the ground just as Arturo informs Ironsides that he, Nedd, and Kimmalyn have successfully stolen their parents' private craft and are headed toward the Krell. Flight Command informs Spensa that a Krell ship is coming to destroy her wreckage, but she tells them she's stuck in her straps. The Krell ship opens fire, only for its destructor blasts to be blocked by the shield of a W-shaped large fighter, M-Bot. Cobb calls into Flight Command as Mongrel and tells Spensa to hang on. Cobb slams the Krell into the ground using M-Bot's light-lance, then skims towards Spensa's ship. Cobb gets out and helps Spensa out of her ship, then tells her she has to fly M-Bot and go take out the bomber. Spensa tells him she could hear the Krell commands, so he tells her to ignore the defect, that she isn't predestined to destroy the DDF, but that she can choose to save it. M-Bot tells Spensa he rewrote his code to identify Spensa as his pilot, thus forcing him to follow the commands of his new pilot and fight.  Spensa gets in M-Bot and fires up his systems, everything but his stealth mode, so the Krell will see her coming.[6]

It was a simple program. It edited one entry in a database, while I wasn't looking, replacing one name with another. I must follow the commands of my pilot.

—M-Bot, telling Spensa how he rewrote his code to make her his pilot.[6]

Several powerful families inform Ironsides that they are escaping as the last line of emergency gun emplacements inform her that the Krell fighters are coming close to engage them. She then makes contact with Arturo, ordering him to shoot down the lifebuster, regardless of the effect it might have on Alta Base. He gives confirmation, just as Rikolfr informs Ironsides of an unidentified fighter approaching the battle at Mag-20. Spensa then identifies herself over the comm line as Skyward Eleven.

Spensa speeds towards the lifebuster in M-Bot, his shield lit up due to the heat of air resistance, as he informs her that all of his systems but cytonic hyperdrive, self-repair, and destructors are online. Spensa connects with Kimmalyn and Nedd over the general comm line, informing them of her talking ship's capabilities. Spensa then flies through the center of the Krell force and immediately gains a tail if thirteen ships. Nedd tells Spensa that Riptide Flight is a minute and a half away, so Spensa tells him she'd distract most of the Krell, but she needs Nedd and Kimmalyn to try to drive away the lifebuster. Ironsides tells her to shoot it on sight, but Spensa tells her they might not need to do so.

Spensa dove through the Krell, dodging their destructor blasts, anticipating their movements before they made them, even able to feel the lines of electricity giving orders through M-Bot's fuselage. When the lifebuster reaches two minutes away, the flightleader of Riptide Flight, Terrier, calls in through the general comm line, asking who Spensa is. Jorgen tells him it doesn't matter, and Spensa tells him to focus everything he has on taking out the three black Krell interceptors. FM and Jorgen fly close to the bomber, activating an IMP to bring its shield down, and Kimmalyn fires a destructor blast on the exact spot holding the bomb to the ship. The ship keeps flying, but the bomb falls out. All of the fighters, DDF and Krell, overburn out, except Spensa.[7]

Ironsides and her junior admirals sit in the command room, weeping and praying as the lifebuster falls towards the ground. All the starfighters but one speed away from the bomb. Spensa spears the bomb with her light-lance and shoots away at Mag-16, passing through a group of DDF pilots. M-Bot calculates that they would make it outside the death zone of Alta Base, but that they would be in the middle of the blast. Spensa sinks into the ship, feeling M-Bot's processors, then M-Bot tells her that his biological component has been engaged and that his cytonic hyperdrive is online. Spensa engages the hyperdrive and shoots away from the blast in a blink.[8]

Aftermath[edit]

Spensa enters a place of complete darkness, with billions of white eyes watching her, then comes to. M-Bot tells her they are one hundred kilometers from the blast, with no evidence of time dilation. Ironsides contacts Spensa and tells her to come back to base, but, seeing a gap in the debris field, Spensa rotates her acclivity rings and launches upwards, towards the stars.[9]

Spensa and M-Bot fly up towards the gap in the platforms, eventually leaving the exosphere and reaching Mag-55. M-Bot informs her he is detecting radio communication at one of the stars ahead, believing it to not be a star, but a space station. A few Krell ships come close to M-Bot and Spensa is suddenly overcome with something pushing on her brain and eyes, trying to make her see certain images. Spensa realizes this is exactly what the Krell must have done to her father, make him see his friends as Krell and therefore shoot them down. M-Bot then jams their transmission, then pulls back a little bit, allowing Spensa to hear the Krell talking to each other. She learned the Krell are actually just prison guards, and M-Bot tries to hack the space station's systems. He tries but is booted out, so the space station deploys a couple fighters to attack them. M-Bot and Spensa flee back through the gap in the platforms, but not before M-Bot gains some information from the station.[10]

After the battle, and with help from Spensa's cytonics and Rodge and the Engineering Corps' work, the DDF is able to seize control of a couple of the Platforms above Detritus, reenergizing and reequipping them, and taking the fight to the Krell outside the atmosphere of Detritus.

Notable Combatants[edit]

Pilot Flight Notes
Spensa Skyward Flight Flew Arturo's old ship as well as M-Bot, light-lanced lifebuster away from Alta Base.[8]
Jorgen Riptide Flight Part of first flight sent back from the shipyard to engage the second lifebuster, helped IMP its shield.[7]
Nedd Skyward Flight Stole a private ship and engaged the second lifebuster.[6]
Kimmalyn Skyward Flight Stole a private ship and engaged the second lifebuster. Shot the clamp between the lifebuster and its carrier, thus dropping the bomb.[6]
Arturo Skyward Flight Stole a private ship and engaged the second lifebuster.[6]
Freyja Scouting trio Engaged first lifebuster, survived, returned to fight at the shipyard, then was sent to engage the second lifebuster.[1][7]
Cloak Scouting trio Killed by the blast of the first lifebuster.[1]

Notes[edit]

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