End of Days

Written By: Jeff Lincoln

Day 2.5 Yamato's Downfall

1230 Space Time

Space Battleship Yamato - Mess Hall

For the past ten hours the enemy had begun boarding operations. Several StarForce members have been wounded, mortally wounded, or killed. The enemy controls nearly 53 percent of the ship and are still moving. Endless waves of enemy reinforcements keep pouring through the docking tendrils that have been extended and latched themselves to the Yamato's hull.

The Yamato's security teams have been nearly wiped out and the Space Marines have been scattered all over the ship. For the StarForce all they encounter is chaos and defeat. Leon Knox and Derek Wildstar have taken refuge in the Yamato's Mess Hall and have begun desperately planning to retake the ship and continue on their mission.

"We could always try access tube seventeen, goes straight down to the engineering deck." Knox said pointing towards the schematic of the Yamato. "As far as we know the enemy hasn't occupied that area yet, we could use it to-"

"We can't get to tube seventeen, the whole area is decompressed and once you get to the bottom you'll float out the side of the hull breach. What about crawlspace nine? That area's not decompressed." Wildstar said bringing his hand to his chin.

"Crawlspace nine might work, but we'd have to fight through atleast two walls of enemy troops to get to it. Our push would be in vain if we tried that. We've got to come up with something that will work." Yamazaki said pointing at the schematics he had pulled for them.

Wildstar sighed, "Knox are you sure that all the civilian shuttles made it off?"

"Commander I don't know for certain about it, the enemy bombed the hanger bay as soon as we started evacuating. For all we know they died in the explosion, or the enemy is holding them prisoner." Knox replied shaking his head, "We've got to assume they are KIA or MIA, it'll only distract us."

"I'm not willing to do that Knox, didn't you learn anything from your brothers letters?" Wildstar asked frowning and placing his hands on the table. "There has to be a way to get around them, but where is it?"

"You could always try elevator shaft two." Nova's voice called as she entered the mess hall, her once yellow uniform now stained with many shades of red. "The shaft hasn't been used since the elevator was destroyed in the initial attack. The bottom is open to space so the fires should be out now." She approached the table, pointing with her right hand and plotting a path with her left, "If you take cooridor twenty-four you can go straight to Engineering, one of the boarding tendrils is located there. Taking some explosives would come in handy, if you can get the tendril to detach we can attempt to tear free of the second."

Knox blinked and muttered, "I can't believe a woman came up with that."

"I heard that Sargeant." Wildstar said with a scowl, "Men and women are equal and don't you forget that. Or do we need to have IQ-9 teach you that lesson."

Knox blinked, shocked that Wildstar had heard him, "Yes sir, I'll remember that sir."

Nova blinked, "Speaking of IQ-9 where is he?"

Knox looked up with an eyebrow raised, "Doctor Sane said he needed his arms. Whatever that could mean."

From outside the hall crashing and banging could be heard. Muffled yelling and screaming could be heard. Then Sandor, followed closely by IQ-9 came bursting into the room.

"Those are not yours! Give them back!" IQ-9 exclaimed. Everyone in the room raised an eyebrow, shook their heads, or just laughed. IQ-9 no longer had arms and Sandor had replaced his with IQ-9's.

"IQ-9 you will get them back as soon as I'm done with them." Suddenly Sandor lurched forward with a loud exclaimation and Nova turned bright red. The moment she turned her back to the two, the worst thing happened.

IQ-9 had somehow managed to activate his arms and then reached forward and groped Nova's butt. She screamed, turned quickly on her heel, and slapped Sandor in the face.

As he stumbled backward IQ-9 began laughing. "Teaches you to mess with my arms! Now give them back!"

"Nova, that wasn't me! That was IQ-9 using his arms, I swear I'd never do that to you." Sandor said rubbing his face, which was slowly forming a red mark.

Wildstar groaned and put a hand over his eyes and exclaimed as well as pointed to the door, "IQ-9 get out of here NOW! You'll get your arms back when Sandor is finished with them!"

IQ-9's head jumped and he quickly scurried out the door. Knox just stood there and blinked. Obviously he was missing something crucial in what had just happened. He shook his head and turned back to the table.

"I swear I'm going to have his memory wiped. Now whats the status of your Marines, Knox?" Wildstar said crossing his arms once again.

Knox nodded and pointed towards the schematic, "Fire teams bravo and echo are pinned down in cooridor seven on deck twelve. I have Charlie and Omega standing by outside the Mess Hall."

"It sound's like we're running a little low on troops, how many do we have exactly?"

"Making up all four teams? Atleast thirty-five marines per squad."

Nova let out a quick and loud breath, "Wow, didn't realize there were that many Space Marines on Yamato."

"Trust me there were plenty more before this catastrophe." Knox said shaking his head with closed eyes, "We had over 100 Space Marines on board."

Wildstar shook his head with a chuckle, "I always forget how big this ship really is. Right we'll put Nova's plan into action, Knox get Omega team ready to move. We'll take this ship back even if we have to go hand to hand." Wildstar said lowering his arms and walking towards the door. He pulled his Astro-Automatic out and hesitated looking at it, remembering what happened last time he drew it.

Knox raised an eyebrow at Wildstars reactions and movements, then asked himself, "Am I missing something?"

1300 Space Time

Mauritan Cruiser - New Destiny

Aboard the Flagship of the fleet that ambushed the Yamato, Colonel Nikran reports to Admiral Kilran on the progress of the Yamato's slow and extremely difficult take-over.

"Colonel, you have secured nearly 70 percent of the ship, what is taking you so long?" Kilran said slamming his fist down on his chair. Even though he was lightyears away from the Admiral, Nikran still winced, he knew it was very unwise to disappoint the Admiral.

"Admiral, the StarForce is a very formidable foe, our boarding parties have encountered stiff resistance. Since our initial assault we have lost over 200 men." Nikran said reluctantly.

"And what of the StarForce?"

Nikran rubbed the back of his head, "They've been dropped to nearly half of their orginial compliment. But they continue to defend their position."

Kilran nodded, "Continue your offensive. We can't let the StarForce regain control of their ship. As long as we control ONE of their CIC's we can control the ship and continue on with our mission." He stood up and pointed at Nikran, his voice raising in intensity, "If you fail to do that atleast I'll execute you and feed you to my pets. Do I make myself clear?"

Nikran shuddered but saluted, "By my Admirals command it will be done!" As the screen closed Nikran sighed, "Why do I always get yelled at?"

"Colonel! I've got a report you might want to see." A subordinate said walking up holding a data pad. On the pad it showed the location of all of the Yamato's crew. Nikran looked at it and watched as several small dots converged making a single giant dot. Then slowly one single dot began to decend.

"It looks as if they are going to try to retake Engineering. This is our chance, prepare the third docking tendril, position our ship along side their bridge. We'll enter through there and take the ship from them. Once that is completed I want you to start to round up the crew. The Helmsman, Engineering Staff, and the Cheif Engineer are to be taken to the bridge, the rest confine them to quarters. They could make good hostages to bargain with or make a wonderful profit as slaves." Nikran said passing off the pad, he placed his hands behind his back and looked out towards the Yamato and the distant planet.

1330 Space Time

Space Battleship Yamato - Elevator Shaft Number Two

Aboard the Yamato the long task of climbing down the elevator had begun. Knox, Wildstar, and Nova all accompanied Omega team down. The climb down was a constant puzzle and problems kept coming up. First, the elevator shaft was no longer straight and perfectly aligned. Sharp edges had been formed from the battle and they threatened everyones climb debris kept falling from the decks above where the ship was still falling apart. The final problem is that Sandor was at the top of the line lowering Nova down with IQ-9's extendo arms. At any moment the arms could tear from his body and she could fall out of the ship.

Omega team, Knox and Wildstar waited, time was running out, and Sandor was getting tired.

"How're you holding up there Sandor?" Nova yelled up the shaft.

Sandor let out a grunt before responding, "Besides the fact that I have to hold you up with IQ-9's arms for 30 minutes, my face still being sore from earlier, and getting blown up. I'm doing pretty good. Please tell me your nearing coridoor twenty-four, these arms won't hold up forever." Sandor panted, sweat was dripping from his brow and his tunic was completely soaked.

"Sorry about earlier and yes we are there. You can stop lowering me down now." Nova returned. She reached out with her foot and touched the doorway, taking the second line and attaching it to the nearest holding. "The line is hooked in. Derek, Knox you can come down now!" She turned around and looked down the coridoor. It was empty as far as she could see but that could change at any moment.

She drew her sidearm and clicked the safety off. She walked forward down the hall quietly and alert. Checking each doorway as she passed, making sure no one would get the jump on her.

As she walked through the junction area between sections she thought to herself, "Somethings not right, the hallways are deserted. Like the enemy isn't even here anymore. By all rights they should be crawling all over this deck." Just then she heard voices coming down the hall, she quickly ducked behind a doorway. But she wasn't quick enough, rather her hair wasn't.

"You! Step out from that doorway now!" One of the men exclaimed as he raised his weapon.

Nova just shook her head, "I am not going to become some slave of another." She quickly turned out of the doorway and fired her weapon. She hit one of them and one of them hit her. She quickly dropped to the ground holding her leg, exclaiming in pain.

"How dare you resist us!" The second man exclaimed readying his weapon a second time.

Nova just shook her head and raised her sidearm again. But the first shot didn't come from her. She exclaimed again as her sidearm was shot from her hand. As her side arm fell she began to cry, she knew that she was going to die then and there.

"Meet your fate, heathen." The man chuckled and aimed straight for her heart. She closed her eyes and waited. But the shot never came, instead the man blinked and he dropped to the ground. A gapping hole appeared in his chest and he fell to the ground.

"Didn't anyone teach you to not hit women?" A deep, New Yorker voice said. Nova looked up and gasped, a muscular man wearing a green uniform stood infront of her.

"No it can't be..." She started to say.

"Explainations later, letís get you out of here, Nova." The man said, picked her up and turned the other way.

"How can you be..." Nova asked holding her bleeding leg, "We saw you die when the..."

"When the Comet Empire was destroyed, I know. I'll try explain everything later." The man said as he started to run, "Where is Wildstar?"

Nova pointed in the direction she had come from. The man turned the corner and headed back towards the elevator shaft.

"How'd you get here?" Nova asked when the neared the opening.

"That's one thing I really don't know. All I do know is that I'm here and that Yamato is under attack, and you guys need my help." The man placed Nova down on the floor and began to look at her leg, "You're lucky, if that shot went any higher you wouldn't have a leg anymore." He opened up a pack on his leg and had begun to treat her injury. As he did Wildstar, Leon, and the rest of Omega team slid down the line and into corridor twenty-four.

Wildstar blinked at what he saw, Nova wounded and a man he thought was dead was kneeling there treating her. He raised his sidearm and took a few steps closer to confirm what he saw.

"Kn...Knox?" He asked, hoping his eyes were playing tricks on him.

"Hey, Wildstar. Long time no see, looks like you need my help once again." Knox said still treating Nova's leg.

"But how? You died, we destroyed the Comet Fortress and everyone aboard it. How can you still be alive?" Wildstar said lowering his weapon. Nova winced as Knox tightened the wrapping and splint he had put on.

"I'm still trying to find out myself Wildstar." Knox said as stood up, "Last thing I remember is blowing up the Comet Empireís power core. Then I found myself back here on Yamato in the middle of a firefight. What kind of trouble have you been stirring up, Wildstar?"

Before Wildstar or Leon could debate or discuss what had happened over the past hours the ship shook violently. In the elevator shaft, Omega team held on for dear life, several members lost their grips and they plumeted down the shaft and out into open vaccum. Atop the Yamato, the enemy flagship lined itself with the conning tower and the main bridge. Then a giant fleshy arm shot out from the ship and it peirced through the wall of the bridge. Once inside it's tip spread into four mouth like figures and latched itself inside. Venture, Dash, Eager, and Homer all drew their sidearms, ready to fight anything that would come through the opening.

A few moments passed and then floods of small spider-like creatures crawled out of the opening. The four began firing right away. But for each 'spider' they hit, four more took it's place. Venture stopped firing and activated his radio.

"Wildstar! The enemy is boarding the bridge! They are attacking with some sort of giant spiders. We can't hold them off, you've got to hid...hi...AIGH!" Wildstar waited, hoping to hear his friends voice again. But it didn't come, Venture and the others were overwhelmed by the 'spiders' and were rendered unconsious by their bites.

Nikran and several of his officers walked out of the tendril and looked around the alien bridge. Surprised to find mechanical controls and video screens. He expected creatures like his own to have some sort of biological bond to their vessels.

On Mauritanian vessels they were cyborg-like. The ship was 'grown' and mechanical interfaces installed surgically. In a sense the ship lived, breathed, and survived in space. At any time two ships could form a bond, whether it could be in a fleet or just passing by, eventually they will produce an offspring ship. Which too would grow and become a full sized ship. The oldest and most powerful of these ships is the main Mauritanian ship that the EDF had picked up on the outter edges of the solar system.

While these ships are biological, their outter shells are reinforced with metal and turned into a great many shapes and forms. Some look like regular rectangular prisms, others could even look like the Yamato if the designer wanted. In order to operate these gigantic space creatures, a telecommunications link between the machinery and biologics must be made. Once this operation is completed the creature loses it's sense of individuality and being, it in a sense becomes a slave of their masters. But they willingly choose who they will follow. If their 'master' is killed in battle they follow his second, and will continue to do so until it is destroyed. These machines can live for centuries, the Hammer of Light, the oldest ship in the Mauritanian fleet is over 12,000 years old.

Back in the depths of Yamato, Wildstar, Nova, Leon, and the newly returned Knox listened as Nikran began using the PA, informing the crew as to what had happened. When he did, several enemy squads surrounded the group, disarming them.

"Attention StarForce, I am Colonel Nikran. Your ship has been taken and you will no longer be able to fight back. Right now your Commander and his staff will be brought to the conference room. The Engineering staff will remain inside Engineering under armed guard, they will continue to make this ship run and make repairs. Any other non-essential personell will be placed in their quarters. Since most of your living areas have been destroyed we will be doubling up the occupancy, there will be two people per room and three gaurds placed inside and out. Any form of resistance will be met with a short trip out of the airlock. That is all. " Nikran said grinning.

Wildstar gritted his teeth and turned his once open left hand into a fist. Fighting back the tears of his failure, "Again...I've failed again. Why does this keep happening? Captain Avatar, what did I do?"

One of the soldiers pointed his weapon down at Nova, "This one is injured, she is no use to our cause. Bring her to the nearest airlock." He ordered another soldier. Nova screamed as the soldier grabbed her hair and yanked her back to her feet. Wildstar turned around with his clenched fist and punched the nearest soldier. But it was useless, another soldier slammed his weapon into the back of Wildstar's head. Both Wildstar and Nova collapsed, Nova first, then Wildstar. He lay against her chest, slowly losing consiousness.

"Nova...forgive me..." Wildstar said as he closed his eyes and his body went limp, slipping into unconsiousness. Nova held him close, turning him over, letting him rest his head against her arm, like a mother would to a newborn child.

"Listen your Commander wants the Command Staff in the conference room. The woman, myself, these two soliders, and the man you hit are part of that staff. In fact the man you hit is our Commanding Officer. I am the Executive Officer, please take us there at once, we will not fight back anymore." Sandor said raising his arms up in a surrendering motion.

Throughout Yamato crew were being rounded up and escorted to their quarters. All around a feeling of defeat and sadness echoed. For Nova, this defeat was only a setback. She knew that it wasn't the end, something touched her in the back of her mind. A sort of reassurance and comfort.

The Yamato, defeated and captured drifts in space. Waiting for orders of her new Commander. What will the enemy do with the ship? Will Wildstar and the others find a way to take the ship back and complete their mission, or will Earth face it's own savior in battle?

Hurry StarForce, there are only 3.5 days left.

This chapter is dedicated to Tim Eldred, Devin Cox, and all those other writers keeping StarBlazers alive for the last 31 years.