Location: The Pole Base.
When Daniel Blaze passed his final test and became the primary candidate to pilot the Leviathan, the Shepherds’ newest ship, he caused a quite a stir. Not because he’s the youngest member of the Pole fleet to be nominated for admiralship, the faction had already made peace with this as a necessity of war, but because he was the most controversial high-profile pilot. His rumored association with cyborgs had raised the ire of the majority of the top-ranking officers. He has openly called for forming alliances with the cyborgs and was known to tinker with cyborg technologies, in the name of research.
One week before the promotion ceremony was set to take place and start of the Leviathan maiden voyage the next day, Blaze was arrested and put in prison on charges of treason. The Pole’s leadership saw too much risk in trusting him with the Leviathan and putting him in charge of millions of lives, so they decided to err on the side of cation and made up false charges, to buy them time to investigate more thoroughly. It would be a long time until the next mothership is built, and the Leviathan would fly with another more trusted pilot in the meanwhile.
When another pilot was assigned to the Leviathan as a last-minute resort, just a few days before the launch date, they discovered that the launch codes had been changed. The mothership was grounded, with millions on board, and the faction’s contribution to the fleet was delayed. Given that motherships play the biggest role in the war, this pushed the tide of war against the Shepherds, at least in this part of the world.
Blaze was accused of intentionally changing the ship’s codes and the interrogations became way more aggressive. However, in the following weeks, the cyborgs launched a surprise attack on the base. Its small fleet, lacking a mothership and the support of the bigger fleet, was wiped out in the attack. The base was left in rubbles, and mechanical bots were dropped to the ground to kill the remaining humans inside.
Underground, deep below the base, it was complete chaos. The mechanical bots were killing off the weakly armed guards. They were trained to handle local conflicts, not armored bots or external attacks. That was the responsibility of the fleet.
Captain Jax, Admiral’s Bakhtar’s son and Blaze’s closest friend, took the opportunity to break Blaze out his cell. On their way out, they were quickly caught by one of the remaining guard squads. Jax tried to talk his way out emphasizing that Blaze was wrongly accused in the first place, and they were all going to die any way but they wouldn’t budge. They had strict orders to shoot to kill Blaze if he tried to escape, and given the circumstances now, following up that order, and thus denying the Cyborgs their spy, was a much easier decision. So, they intended to execute their orders.
As it turns out, there was some truth to the rumors. With superhuman speed, Blaze disarmed the closest guard and with a marksman accuracy shot the others before any of them could pull the trigger. He had obviously got himself Cyborg implants that nobody, including Jax, knew about. He also had, as accused, changed the Leviathan’s launch codes anticipating that his enemies in the top tier would turn against him before he got his hands on it.
They made their way to the Leviathan with whoever they could trust. Blaze’s implant allowed him to disable the enemy bots, which made their escape much easier.
Motherships are always in standby, their engines always running to sustain their populations. However, launching it into orbit requires additional energy and preparations. Things they did not have at this time. So instead, Blaze turned on the shields and broke his way through the base by brute force. He made it outside, but the ship was barely functional any more. The shield generator was burned in the attempt, the weapons damaged from the physical contact, and the Leviathan barely had enough energy to keep it floating. Scanners and payloads were not even loaded in the ship as these usually get serviced right before launch. It was a sitting duck above the debris of the base.
They waited to be annihilated by the enemy fleet, but nobody was waiting outside. Thinking that they had taken down all the capital ships, the enemy had dropped their bots and surrounded the area with turrets and moved on to their other objectives.
That was a mistake they will pay for.