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All of the ships were off the flight deck and in positions, ready to greet the Orion. The 2 bombers, carrying the EMP bombs, were up in front of the battlegroup. Kat and her squad of fighters were around them.

"Kat to command, we are in position and awaiting Orion." the confident young pilot said over the comm.

"This is the assault team, we are ready and able." Ashley said with less confidence than her friend.

"Acknowledged." was the only word the command said in a flat, almost computer-like, voice.

"Well, looks like we aren't the only people full of enthusiasm." Brett sarcastically remarked.

Ashley didn't say anything more about the tone-of-voice subject. She turned to face the team, which would go aboard the enemy ship and re-take it. "All right team, the Orion is supposed to arrive in 1 minute. Does everyone remember what to do and where to go? Good." she said not giving them time to say yes or no. "You are all to keep in radio contact with your team leaders, either Brett or I." Brett nodded from behind Ashley. "Any questions?"

"Are we allowed to kill any Hammer of Light members?" A soldier said from the back

"Yes and no. Do not fire until fired upon. And under no circumstances are you to shoot the leader. Command wants her alive and unharmed." Brett answered for Ashley. "Any other questions? Now is the time."

No one else had the chance to ask a question before command took over the radio waves. "Orion is inbound. Bombers, attack the Orion. Kat, you and Zeta group keep those bombers covered at all costs."

"Acknowledged! Ok boys and gals, let's plow the road!" Kat said as she hit the afterburners on her fighter. A split second later, every ship, including the bombers did the very same. "No signs of fighters command."

"Don't be fooled, they most likely didn't expect us and are only reading us now." a young woman replied from the communications station on the bridge.

"Bombers in position and ready to fire." Bomber 1 informed the battle group. "Eagle one, fox 2!" the pilot said as he let a missile fly. "Eagle 2, fox 2" the second bomber pilot mimicked.

"I bet you always wanted to say that." Kat said. The pilots never answered but Kat could only imagine the smiled on the two bomber pilots' faces.

The two giant bombs were on their way towards the ship leaving a short yellow exaust trail behind them. They hit the shields of the ship with a mighty blast that sent out a double-ringed shockwave out in all directions. Now was the pivital point in the mission; if the bombs worked.

"This is Delta one, going in for verification of shield failure." Kat said as she charged forth in her fighter towards the enemy vessel, very similar to the actions of the bombs a few seconds before. The troop transport followed her fighter so less time would be lost if the shields were down. She fires a missile and made contact with the orion's hull. It had worked.

The flight deck doors started to open and swarms of fighters started to pour out of it.

"Fighters inbound. All fighters attack!" the young woman called out.

Inside the transport, the team could only look at eachother as the ship was rocked from near misses and gunfire. This was it, no turning back.

"Nearing enemy ship, all units get ready." the pilot of the transport called out. All of the soldiers got up and loaded their guns, ready to let the bullets rip if the need should arise.

The door opened and the teams poured out into the ship. The Echo team went to the left side and Bravo team to the right. Brett and Ashley met in the middle of the two teams.

"Be careful. Don't do any hero stuff." Ashley said

"Me? Do I look like that type of guy?" Brett said trying to look innocent.

"Yeah." Ashley said

"Well.... You're right! Watch your back. Radio if you need help." Brett said, "Let's move out team!" And with that he ran off to find the bridge.

"That boy is going to get himself killed one of these days." Ashley thought to herself.

Ashley and her team ran through corridors, taking out Hammer of Light soldiers on the way. They made their way to the jail and Ashley made a discovery she, in part, wish she hadn't made.

During this time, Brett and his team were in a gunfight with the bridge crew, they thought they had the upper hand. Ashley came on frantically over the radio.

"Brett this is Ashley..." she started

"Ashley, I can't find Mary-Kate anywhere." Brett interrupted.

"That's what I'm trying to say, Mary-Kate was in the jail, she's not the leader. Get out! It's a trap!" she screamed.

Brett and his team looked at eachother. There was nothing worse than hearing those three words when you are on the front lines. It was like receiving a death sentence and going straight to the chair. He looked at his team with a look that sent a telepathic message asking "Do we fight to the end?" since they knew very well if they ran, they would be shot in the back. Soldier after soldier that Brett looked at nodded their head in silence, despite the bullets passing mere inches beside them.

"Ashley, get to the transport. Save yourselves. Get the hostages safely back to the Colossus." Brett said calmly.

"I'm not leaving you." Ashley said as she was directing the captured people back through the corridors.

"Ashley go! We're not going to make it. GO!" Brett was almost pleading with her.

Ashley ignored him. She had never lost a friend like this and was not about to start now. She got to the transport and went to see the pilot, whom had heard everything.

"You are not leaving is that clear?" Ashley ordered.

"But, ma'am." the transport pilot tried to reason with her.

"But nothing! This is a direct order, we are not leaving without that team." Ashley glared down on the pilot enough to make anyone shake.

"I can give you 5 minutes, no more. Command over-heard the entire thing and has sent out a wing of bombers with anti-warship bombs. Once the 5 minutes are up, he WILL fire. There is no use killing us all." he said

"Brett, this is Ashley, you have 5 minutes to get your butt back here." Ashley said to her friend, still on the front lines fighting a losing battle.

Brett hit the wall. "Why do you have to be so damn stubborn." Brett thought to himself. In a way, he was glad she was stubborn so that he would have the motivation to make it through. "Alright team. We have 5 minutes to get the hell out of here!" Brett said. He then started firing for all he was worth at the bridge crew and ran back at the same time. When he was clear, two other soldiers did the same. They were all that was left of the team. A grenade went off close to them that killed 3 people and 4 were killed from gunfire. They ran as fast as their legs could carry them until they reached the transport.

The pilot shut the doors and separated the two ships. The hole in the side of the Orion created a vacuum, which pulled out 4 Hammer of Light soldiers that were chasing Brett and his team. Brett got to the transport's comm. system and opened a general channel.

"Bombers, this is Lt. Cmdr. Brule. We are safely aboard the transport. Efforts to re-take the Orion have failed. Let those bombs fly!"

The bomber pilots were more than happy to comply. They released a virtual wall of smaller missiles with 8 anti-warship bombs close behind it. Everyone in the transport lay on the floor so the shockwaves wouldn't throw him or her around the transport. It took Brett and his team 3 minutes to get back so they were extremely close to the ship. They were so close that the shockwaves alone might destroy them. As they laid on the floor, they prayed for a miracle.

The missiles and bombs hit their target dead-on. The shockwaves sent the people lying on the floor into the air and slamming against the walls. It took 10 seconds for all the shockwaves to pass. They weren't out of the woods yet, the Orion still had to blow up.

"Gun it!" Ashley said to the pilot. He hit the afterburners on the transport for all he was worth.

The Orion blew up with a mighty crash, destroying all fighters that were close-by. The Colossus was rocked by the blast of the warship. The flash was so bright they were all temporarily blinded. Once they regained their vision, Commander Stacey took the place of the young women at the comm station.

"This is the Colossus, transport Omega, do you read?" he said, being overheard by all fighters and everyone on board the ship. He received no answer. "Omega, do you read?" she said louder.

At this time, Jessica came onto the bridge. Stacey looked at her and shook her head. Jessica's heart sank as she grasped the wall so she wouldn't fall. The shock left her legs feeling like wet noodles.

Kat was in her fighter, waiting desperately for an answer from the Omega. She couldn't see the transport in all the debris from the Orion. "Come on guys, please pull through."

The radio started to crackle as shreds of hope arose in everyone. "Co..., th..s is the Omega." the transmission cleared up. It was Ashley.

Everyone cheered and jumped for joy. The pilots of the fighters in space did acrobatic moves to help vent some of their excitement.

"Ashley, we read you. Is everyone ok?" Commander Stacey asked

"Aside from a few bump, bruises and a broken arm, we're all ok." Ashley said "We got banged up pretty bad and our engines are offline, we could use a pickup."

"You got it, sit tight, we'll be right there." He said as he looked over to Jessica who was crying tears of joy. She ran over and gave Stacey a big hug.

Everyone was celebrating once the Omega got back onto the flight deck. People were hugging, loved ones were reunited and cheers could be heard. Brett ran into the arms of Jessica for a friendly hug, which felt more like a bear hug. Ashley soon joined then Kat and it turned into a group hug with everyone joining in. It must have been the record for the largest group hug in history.

Chapter 5