STARFALL/HCC: Going Solo #3: Fight or Flight

Phantasm phantom_belcher at
Thu May 20 12:59:00 PDT 2010

StarFall Comics
A Division of Pullemouttayerhat Productions
A Wholly-Owned Subsidiary of StarFall Innovations
Proudly Presents:

GOING SOLO #3: Fight or Flight

Cover: A small wedge-shaped fighter flying past a dark red, crater-
pocked world on a starry background.  Two cylindical space stations
are seen in the background; one sports the Nazi flag, the other sports
the Japanese Rising Sun flag.  Sprawled across the top of the logo are
the words "High Contest Challenge". Under the logo are the words "The
Red Planet".

   Stardancer's Gnat starfighter dropped her out of hyperspace.
Instantly, she felt more alert; the effects of hyperspace caused one's
mental reactions to be sluggish, an effect that normally lasted only
within the confines of hyperspace itself.  The Gnat was a small, wedge-
shaped craft, not more than ten meters long, a wingspan of about  and
three meters high, with oversized engines for a ship its size.  With a
flip of a switch, the cockpit shields that protected her from the
unusual radiation of hyperspace retracted, giving her a clear view of
the area around her.
   Stardancer was of Amerindian descent, standing 172 cm tall, with
close-cropped black hair, dark brown eyes that bordered on being
black, and a reddish-tan tint to her skin, with a slender build.  She
was currently dressed in a rust red, skintight flightsuit and a
standard pilot's helmet; a patch on her left shoulder showed the
emblem of the Iroquois Nation Exploration Corps.
   Out in front of her ship, a small red-tinted world, pockmarked with
hundreds of craters, came into view.  Two large cylindrical space
stations were visible in orbit around it, a number of smaller
spaceships coming and going.
   "Explorer Sixteen to Hiawatha Station," she broadcast.  "Requesting
permission for docking."
   To her surprise, there was no answer.  She repeated herself, this
time broadcasting on all frequencies.  For a short time, there was no
answer, then a reply came; the speaker had a thick German accent.
   "Explorer Sixteen, this is Hauptman Steissmann of the Fifth
Reich[1].  As a member of an inferior race, you are hereby ordered to
surrender yourself and your vessel, or we will destroy you as we did
Hiawatha Station."
   The implications of this barely had time to register.  The Fifth
Reich was the new Nazi movement which had appeared several decades
before in the Core Worlds.  They had seemed unstoppable, which is why
her people, the Iroquois, had retreated to the frontier to regroup -
along with several other Amerind nations, as the Apache and Lakota.
Hiawatha Station had housed ninety percent of the remaining Amerinds
in the Sol Sector.  If the Nazis had destroyed them. . . .
   "Don't listen to them," came another voice.  "Hiawatha Station is
safe, under the loving protection of the Trans-Stellar Shogunate.  You
are free to dock with us; we will guide you in."  Stardancer grimaced
inwardly. Trans-Stellar *claimed* to be benevolent, but their
predjudices were well-known; anyone who wasn't of Asian - and
specifically Japanese - descent were treated as "eta", the lowest of
the low, made to perform menial tasks.  She shuddered to think of what
she'd be reduced to if she followed the signal beacon.
   But which one was telling the truth?  And what were both doing
here?  She quickly checked her instruments before replying; there was
the usual residual radiation and debris from a recent battle, plus the
Cherenkov radiation of many hyperspace transitions - but one trail
seemed odd.  Then it hit her; the Elders had shunted Hiawatha Station
into hyperspace!
   At the present, though, she needed fuel.  She didn't really have a
choice; the Shogunate was the lesser of two evils.
   "Trans-Stellar, this is Iroquois Explorer Sixteen coming in for a
   Immediately, her sensors indicated that one set of forces were
changing course to intercept.  Fortunately, none of them had the speed
of her Gnat.  Pulling hard on her flight stick, she opened up the
throttle to a full ten Gs and rocketed towards the Shogunate station,
while the Reich kept calling for her to "surrender or be destroyed."
   Stardancer had not earned her name for nothing.  As the Reich's
missiles closed in, she pulled her Gnat into a rolling weave. This
move caused several missiles to run into each other.  She turned into
a tight 'dive' towards the planet 'below'[2], running headlong into a
number of Shogunate ships that were coming to her defense against the
   Space erupted into battle as the two forces met.  "All this for one
stray second-hand fighter?" she thought.  "There must be more going

   Stardancer's Gnat came to rest on the flight deck of the Shogunate
station.  As she disembarked, she pulled off her helmet, leaving it in
the seat.  Two technicians came towards her; she noted that one of
them was a young Caucasian boy barely into his teens.
   "How can we help?" the older tech asked her.
   "I would just like some fuel," she replied, "and a reload of
missiles, if possible. I ran into pirates in the last system I was
in."  She reached into the cockpit and pulled out her service
blaster.  "I'll be back in a few hours."
   "As you wish."
   Stardancer didn't exactly expect them to let her go around the
station armed, but that's exactly what they did.  Stopping at the
station's cantina, she asked a few questions, but no one really knew
where Hiawatha Station had disappeared to.  The battle that had
started over her had died down not long after she had landed, but she
still didn't expect to get off the station without another fight
   Two hours later, as she was heading back to where her ship was
docked, she ran into a squad of soldiers; four blocked her way, while
two came up behind her and confiscated her blaster.
   "You'll have to come with us, miss," the soldier in charge told her
bluntly.  "You are not to leave the station."
   "We'll see about that," she stated, flicking her wrist slightly.
What appeared to be a knife appeared in her hand, but as she spun on
her heels, it became evident that the "knife" was a monowire whip.
She sliced through three of the soldiers' chests and through the
blasters of two others before they knew what had happened.
   The remaining soldier drew his own blaster and fired, but she used
one of the deceased's torsos as a shield.  His blaster fire was
absorbed by the corpse.  She threw the corpse at him as she picked up
her own blaster off the floor.  Seconds later, she had gone, fleeing
down the corridor towards her ship.
   She wasn't surprised that the bay door was locked; a quick shot
into the electronics solved that little problem.  What *did* surprise
her was that the techs had done exactly what she had asked them to do:
the Gnat had a full tank of fuel and fresh missiles in the launch
tubes.  She ran through the start-up sequence as quickly as she dared,
and began calculations on most likely destinations based on Hiawatha's
last trajectory.  Then she realized a problem.
   The hangar bay doors were closed.  She hated to do it, but she
armed and fired two of the missiles at the bay doors.  The explosions
created a hole just large enough for the Gnat to fit through . . .
   As she fled from the system at full throttle, she closed the
hyperspace shields.  The navicomputer indicated that the transit was
ready, and then the small ship leapt into hyperspace.

   "Is she away?" a uniformed Japanese man asked an associate dressed
in a face-concealing black jumpsuit.
   "She's just made the jump into hyperspace," was the reply from the
jumpsuited man.
   "You're sure the homing beacon is secure aboard her ship? I'm
taking an awful risk here."
   "The New Axis cannot be denied," the officer's associate stated.
"The Fifth Reich and the Shogunate performed beautifully in their mock
battle earlier.  She will lead all of us to our enemy, where we will
eliminate the primitives once and for all. For the greater good."
   "The greater good," the officer echoed in a monotone, almost absent-

[1] The First Reich was the Holy Roman Empire, the Second Reich was
Bismark's Germany, the Third Reich was Hitler's, and the Fourth Reich
is the German-dominated European Union of the mid-21st Century.
[2] In space, where there is no gravity, 'down' is a relative term.
As such, most people tend to place the nearest star or planet as being
navigationally 'beneath' them.

Certainly not what I had intended at first, but this seemed to almost
write itself once I got started.

Something tells me we may see Stardancer again in the next few HCCs.
I'm starting to like the character.  So much untapped potential for a

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