Star Ghost I: Annihilation

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Chapter 3 Pirate Hunt

Chapter 3: Pirate Hunt

Meanwhile in space a good distance away from Cerinia . . .

King Alexander Croc is waiting for the report of the Cerinian attack. He is on his personnel carrier. Alexander has been waiting for a long time. He is not known for his patience. People that try his patience usually end up dead. Alexander is known for his cruelty. His thirty year reign over the Crocodiles have proved that. Anyone that stands in his ways is eliminated. He even killed his own brother and father to get the throne. The only thing that he hates more than waiting is the Cerinians. Alexander feels like the Cerinians cheated his people out of their right of controlling the universe. Now this is more about revenge than anything else. Alexander is about to get upset when one of his commanders enters his throne room.

"Sir, I have information on the Cerinian invasion."

"About f (blank) time. How did the invasion go?'

"Terrible sir, our forces were devastated. We were ambushed and our forces were almost entirely whipped we. But we were able to discover that there are now three clans living on Cerinia. The new clan appears to be some kind of wolf clan. But your nephew was also killed in the battle as well."

"How" Alexander replies in disbelief.

"He was killed by a sniper sir. By what I saw sir the Cerinians have gotten much stronger. If we are going to defeat them we are going to need the Exodus. That much is certain."

"Tell me, what happened exactly."

"Yes sir. We landed our invasion craft on a small island and detached our transport ships. The Cerinians were having some kind of celebration so they were all gathered in one area. We opened fire on the crowd and killed many of them. The Cerinians dispersed and disappeared. We then landed our troops in the area and set up a camp there. But after an hour the Cerinians launched a counterattacked. I know this may sound hard to believe but out of nowhere, several hundred Cerinians appeared. They dropped on us from above and slaughtered us. They fought like demons with no fear of death. They killed everything and everyone, even those that surrendered. Our men didn't stand a chance against these things. I have never seen anything like it. This new clan is very deadly and powerful. They did most of the hand to hand fighting."

Alexander considers his options. By what his subordinate have reported, the Cerinians have become a force to reckon with. But then again that is why he sent that force to Cerinian, to see what they are capable of. He could care less about the men he lost. He can always get more men.

Meanwhile on Zaldon . . .

Jonathan and Fara are finishing out their service. It is taking longer than Colonel Bobcat Harrison said it would. The mission, as it turns out, was a pirate hunt. Pirates have been causing problem in the Genesis System for years. The Government has appointed the Wild Cats Squadron to eliminate the problem. So far they've been very successful. They've taken out all but one pirate mother ship. This last one has been hidden pretty well.

The Wild Cats are currently in mission brief. Nine people are in the room. Everyone is seated by a chain of command with higher ranking members seated towards the front. Jonathan, being a Captain and second in command, is seated at the front of the room with Lieutenant Gilbert Cross (a German shepherd). Other than Bobcat, they are the only officers on the team. Seated behind them are the enlisted officers: Staff Sergeant Shane Wilson (a Doberman), Sergeant Major Brian Grieves (a Mastiff), and Master Sergeant Michael Lazlo (an Alligator). Seated behind them is Corporal Fara Phoenix, Sergeant Kris Carter (a Panther), Sergeant Craig Nelson (a Lynx), and Corporal Dean Marks (a Chameleon).

Colonel Bobcat Harrison enters the room and Jonathan jumps up. "Officer on deck." Everyone stands up and salutes him. Colonel Bobcat walks to the front of the room.

"As you were." Everyone sits down.

"Ok guys, I know that most of ya'll are tired of hunting pirates. Well I have good news and bad news. The good news, after this mission we'll be done and Johnny and Fara will be officially retired. We're all going to miss them." Johnny and Fara receive several high fives and amens. "The bad news is that we have no idea where it is. But this mission is going to change that."

Bobcat turns towards the monitor, turns off the lights, and turns on the monitor. An Ape's picture appears on the screen. Several of the Wild Cats recognize him as Bruce Campbell, a very wealthy and influential figure in the Zaldon society. But he is also one of the most treacherous citizens. Everyone knows it but no one has been able to prove it.

"This is Bruce Campbell, our target. We know that he is pirate synthesizer. This is our chance to catch him in the act. We have viable intel that he is meeting with some pirates in the Zaldon subway station. The problem is we don't know what they look like. But all we need is to identify Bruce and he will lead us to the pirates. After that we just track these scumbags to their ship and destroy it. So far this mission I am assigning Storm, Phoenix, and Carter to this mission. You three will go to the subway station and identify the pirates. Any questions?"

Johnny raises his hand. "I know why you are putting me and Fara on this task. But I don't understand why Carter as well. I don't have anything against him, it's just that he doesn't have any experience with this sort of thing."

Carter was recruited onto the Squadron only a few months ago. He was a replaced for Panther Caruso. Panther was a talented member of the team and a close friend to Johnny. They respected each other. But Johnny didn't like Panther's ego or his womanizing attitude. Panther had a large ego that bothered everyone. But what was more annoying was that he was constantly looking to get laid. He even tried to get Fara in bed but failed. Fara was already devoted to Johnny. While Carter is a talented fighter he is certainly no Panther Caruso.

"He needs experience, this is the best way to get it." Colonel Bobcat says.

"Alright, as long as he doesn't mess everything up." Johnny replies reluctantly.

Fara notices Carter glaring at Johnny. It is too dark for Johnny to see Carter glaring at him. Everyone knows that Johnny doesn't like Carter but no one says anything.

Fara can't help but smirk at Bobcat's choice of putting Johnny on this mission. It's not his skill that could offset the mission, it is his appearance. This mission will require them blending in and Johnny doesn't exactly blend in. Being a Black Wolf, Johnny is a rare species. They are not very common outside of Cerinia. His hair is unusual. Johnny as a military crew cut and a pony tail combination. His pony tail is the only part of his hair that has never been cut, it extends all the way down to his butt. To the Black Wolves, their hair is seen as one's honor. As a result, a Black Wolf will never cut his hair. When Johnny joined the academy, he was allowed to keep part of his hair. Even the clothes Johnny wears are out of the ordinary. Outside of Cerinia, Johnny wears a black combat suit, a Kevlar vest, a black berate, aviator sunglasses, and a skull face bandana (similar to what the character Ghost wore in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2). Strapped to his side is the Black Wolf sword and a HPC (Handheld Plasma Cannon). The HPC is a smaller version of the Plasma Cannon that can be fired with one hand, though it is not recommended due to its recoil. Johnny will have to change his entire appearance for this mission to succeed. But Fara also understands why Bobcat choose Johnny for this mission. It is the ability that his people possess. Like the Blue Foxes and the Blue Cougars, Cerinia's spiritual energy has affected them. The Black Wolves possess an ability called the Wolf Sense. Primarily, it allows them to read people's exact emotions. They can tell how a person is truly feeling no matter how hard they try to hide it. It can even tell them how the person will react specifically. It allows them to tell if the person is telling the truth and if they are a friend or an enemy. There is an advanced state of the Wolf Sense that allows the Black Wolves to predict the exact moves that their opponent will attempt in a fight before they make them. A very useful gift in a fight. However, almost all Black Wolves can only use this state on one opponent at a time. There are a select few that can read multiple opponents at once, Johnny being one of them. This ability has served Johnny very well during his time in the Wild Cats Squadron.

Three hours later Johnny, Fara, and Carter are standing in the center of the Zaldon subway station. Johnny and Fara are posing as two love birds that do not care about public display of affection. Johnny is wearing normal civilian clothes for once. Fara is also dressed out of her character. She is wearing a slim, red dress. Fara, being a tomboy, is very uncomfortably in a dress or makeup. Johnny is not complaining, he likes Fara's current appearance, though he doesn't say it to Fara's face. Carter is posing as a homeless man on a bench. He is dressed in rags. All three of them are armed with small pistols just in case things go wrong. Johnny and Fara are standing in the center on the station passionately kissing each other. Johnny is facing Bruce, who is standing in a dark corner of the station. His sunglasses prevent the people around him from seeing his green eyes, which glow when he is using the Wolf Sense and turn red when he is using its advanced state. He is supposed to be keeping an eye on Bruce. But his current tongue war with Fara is proving to be a distraction. Carter is ten yards away from Bruce. He is lying on a bench pretending to be drunk. Fara sees this an opportunity to ask Johnny a question. "So Johnny, when are you going to ask me to marry you?" Fara whispers in Johnny's ear.

Fara's question catches Johnny off guard. "Do we really have to talk about this here?"

"I'm just curious, you love me and I love you, so the next step is to get married."

Fara has been bugging Johnny about getting married for several months. Johnny wants to tell her that he is going to propose to her once this mission is completed, but he wants it to be a surprise.

"Soon"

Out of the corner of his eye, Johnny sees three men approach Bruce. All three are large Apes. They speak to Bruce but Johnny is too far away to hear what they are saying. Johnny uses his Wolf Sense to determine if these three Apes are the pirates, it confirms that they are.

"Mission is a go, I repeat mission is a go." Johnny radios Carter and Colonel Bobcat, who is at mission control.

Johnny and Fara stop kissing and make their way towards Bruce and the pirates. They look at each other and not at Bruce to avoid suspension. Carter stands and walks towards Bruce. But he makes the mistake of looking directly at one of the pirates. Carter's eyes tell the pirate everything. The pirate draws his pistol and aims at Carter. Carter immediately ducks behind a column for cover.

"Our cover is blown, we need to get out of here." The pirate shouts and fires at Carter.

The three pirates take off running. One runs toward the parking lot, the other two towards the trains. Bruce pulls out his pistol and fires at Carter. Carter pulls out his pistol and shoots Bruce twice in the chest and once in the head. Bruce is dead before he hits the ground.

"Dang it Carter" Johnny shouts.

Johnny and Fara take off running towards the pirates. Johnny takes command of the situation.

"Carter, stay here and control the crowd. Fara I want you to go after the guy that ran towards the parking lot. I'll take the other two."

Fara chases the pirate out of the building and into the parking lot. The pirate sees Fara chasing him and shoots at her. Fara takes cover behind a car and draws her pistol. She tries to get a shot off but the pirate has her pinned.

"Come on, make it easier on yourself and give up." Fara shouts.

"I would rather cut my own balls off." The pirate shouts back and fires again.

"Alright, have it your way."

Fara jumps up, fires, and hits the pirate in the leg. The pirate falls to the ground in pain. Fara tries to approach him but the pirate shoots at her. Fara jumps back behind the car.

"Persistent little scumbag isn't he."

A car comes out of nowhere. The pirate slowly and painfully stands up and stops the car. He grabs the driver and throws him out. Fara jumps out of her hiding place. The pirate tries to get away. Fara shoots at his tires, blowing two of them out. The car crashes violently into a pillar. Fara carefully approaches the car with his gun aimed at the pirate. She finds the pirate unconscious. Fara is about to grab him when she notices that the car is on fire. She grabs the pirates and pulls him out quickly. Fara carries him a good distance away from the car and waits for the explosion. She jumps behind a wall for cover. The car eventually explodes violently, shaking the ground. Fara can feel the shock waves from the explosion.

Johnny chases the pirates to a train that is scheduled to leave for Moldova. The crowd parts for the pirates because they are waving their weapons around and threatening to kill people. The train suddenly starts to move. The first pirate jumps and manages to make it on board. The second pirate stops to fire at Johnny but misses. Johnny fires and hits the pirate in the shoulder. He is not trying to kill the pirates, this is one of the few missions where they banned from killing. The pirate jumps onto the train and makes it as well. Johnny knows that he has to make it or the pirates will get away. But he has to jump a great distance to make it. The train is two hundred feet above to ground so missing would kill him. Johnny runs as fast as he can then jumps. He has to grab the last car by the railing. Johnny hangs over the edge as the train lifts off into space. He pulls himself up and into the car. Johnny then proceeds from car to car looking for the pirates. Being the Apes are rare species on Zaldon, finding them shouldn't be a problem. The first three cars that Johnny comes to he doesn't find the pirates. The fourth car is a transfer car. The only thing in there are bathrooms and soda fountains. Johnny is about to leave the car when he sees blood on the wall. The blood leads Johnny to a bathroom. Johnny is about to kick down the door when the pirate that he shot jumps out and tries to stab him. Johnny grabs the pirate's knife arm and breaks it. He finishes the pirate off with a palm strike to the nose. The strike sends the pirate's nose into his brain, killing him instantly. Johnny then proceeds to the next car. He finds the car in complete chaos. The pirate has taken a female hostage. He is using her as a human shield. Johnny aims at the pirate but doesn't fire.

"Let her go" Johnny demands.

"No way man. Back off and drop your gun or I will blow her brains out."

The woman is crying and begging Johnny to back off. Johnny knows that this is a bad idea. As soon as he drops his gun the pirate will probably shot him and kill the woman anyway. Johnny can easily shoot the pirate, despite him being fifteen yards away and the only part of his body that Johnny has a shot at is his head. But Johnny has been ordered that if things go wrong to keep at least one of the pirates alive. Fortunately, the answer to his problem comes quick.

"Johnny, this is Fara. I got the pirate and he is alive. How are things at your end?' Fara asks over the radio.

"I've killed one of the pirates and the other is currently holding a hostage. Believe it or not Fara, you've helped me solve my current problem."

"What are you talking about?"

BOOM!

The pirate lands on the ground with a hole in his head.

"I'll meet you back at Command, love you."

"Love you too Johnny"

The pirate that Fara captured told the Wild Cats everything. Their ship is located in the asteroid belt around Zaldon. The pirate gives them the exact coordinates. Within a few hours, Colonel Bobcat gets permission from Zaldon Command to attack the pirate mother ship. It was difficult because the pirate are located in Zaldon Civilian Airspace, which the Zaldon Military is highly restricted from entering. Any military unit that enters that Civilian Airspace is usually disbanded. That's why the Wild Cats are orders to not be detected by any civilians. Detection will be result in the squadron being disbanded.

The Wild Cats Squadron finds the pirate mother ship exactly where the pirate told them. It is well hidden in the asteroids. The Wild Cats stay back to avoid detection. Each Wild Cat, except for Johnny and Fara, are flying Strikers. If this mission is going to succeed they will need to destroy the ship quickly, which is only possible through surprise.

"Is everyone ready?" Bobcat asks over the radio.

"Yes sir" Everyone answers back.

"Alright, Johnny, you know what to do."

"You got it sir."

Since Johnny's ship is the only ship with radar prevention equipment, he is tasked with destroying the ship's shield generator, as usual. Johnny activates the Ghost Program, cloaking his ship, and flies in close to the pirate mother ship. He finds several gun turrets on the ship. If they detect him it's over. Fortunately they don't even glance at him. Johnny finds the shield generator on the back of the ship. He takes it out with a single shot.

"The shield generator's down sir. Now is the time to attack."

The rest of the Wild Cats fly out of their hiding spots and attack the pirates. The pirates have no idea what hits them.

As soon as Johnny destroys the shield generator the turrets start wildly. They have no idea where Johnny is, but one of turrets gets lucky and lands a blow on the Phantom's right wing. The shot deactivates the Ghost Program, leaving Johnny exposed. Johnny takes off flying as fast as he can but the turrets make it difficult. To make things worse, the pirate fighters see Johnny and all 50 of them attack him.

"Guys I could really use some help here."

Johnny is answered by a Nova bomb explosion. The blast takes out the turrets and at least five of the pirate fighters.

"I got your back Johnny." Fara shouts.

"Thanks babe"

At this point, all the enemy fighters are still pursing Johnny. But the Nova bomb distracted them. Johnny performs a fancy U – turn, flies towards the enemy, and fires a Nova bomb. The blast takes out several of the fighters. Johnny then flies right through them, taking out several fighters. The remaining enemy fighters disperse and the Wild Cats descend on them. The pirates are like ants going up against an anteater. The Wild Cats are too well trained and experienced for them, despite the pirates outnumbering them five to one. But the mother ship complicates things. The ship has several gun turrets that need to be avoided. So half of the Wild Cats take on the pirate fighters while the other half deals with the turrets. Within minutes, the pirate fighters are all but taken out. Those that are still alive retreat into the far reaches of space. All that remains is the mother ship. The Wild Cats hit it with Nova bomb after Nova bomb with very little effect. This mother ship has some very strong armor. The pirate ship suddenly starts to accelerate.

"Their trying to get away." Johnny shouts. "Don't we have anything strong than Nova bombs?"

"No, Command told us not to bring any." Bobcat answers.

"Dang morons, these pirates are going to get away and there's nothing we can do to stop them."

"I wouldn't say that" A strange but familiar voice echoes on the radio.

In this distance, the Wild Cats see a single black ship approaching. Johnny and Fara immediately recognize it.

"Savannah, what are you doing here?" Johnny shouts.

"I'll tell you later. Right now I'm here to help you. Just distract the turrets and I'll take out the ship."

"How do you plan on doing that?" Fara asks.

"Watch and see"

Savannah flies full speed towards the pirate mother ship. When Savannah gets close she starts spinning the Wolverine, turning it into a large and deadly projectile. The Wolverine hits the pirate mother ship at Mach 9. Savanah tears through the ship like a knife through butter and comes out the other side with her ship completely unscathed. The mother ship tears into two pieces and explodes.

"Who is that girl?" Bobcat asks.

"You can call me Savannah."

"Well Savannah, how would you like to join the Wild Cats Squadron?"

"I'd love to, but I got more important things to worry about right now."

An hour later, the Wild Cats and Savannah are back on Zaldon. Colonel Bobcat is on his way to a debriefing. He has to be there in less than a minute. But there is something that he has to do first. Bobcat finds Johnny and Fara by their ships. Johnny is fixing the Phantom. The blast his ship took damaged the Phantom's Ghost Program. Johnny is not used to taking hits. Fortunately, Fara is there to help Johnny out.

"Hey guys, I need to talk to you guys." Bobcat says.

He gets their attention. Bobcat hands Johnny and Fara their discharge papers.

"Well guys, this is it. You both are now officially retired." Bobcat tries to hold back the tears. He has known Johnny and Fara for years. They are like his children. He hates to see them go. "I just want to say that I'm going to miss you guys. Promise me that you guys will come and see me from time to time."

"Of course Colonel, you're like a father to us."

"John, you don't have to call me Colonel anymore. Bobcat will do just fine."

"Yes sir"

Johnny and Fara salute Colonel Bobcat one last time. Bobcat returns their salute then walks away.


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