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The Final Exam

Kelgaron Invasion De-Classified Files Classified Files Warrior Poets File 001 File 002 File 004 File 005 File 006
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Invasion F-007

Starfighter Command Kelgaron Invasion Archives

Adapted from Adam Robert Brown’s Personal Log

   It was an ambush. The distress call was fake and six bug fighters launched themselves straight at me from the holes in the side of a burned-out space freighter. I took out two bug fighters before rolling over hard to evade the remaining four. I thought I had only four bug fighters left to deal with -- until I checked my tactical screen. Four more bug fighters had joined the battle.

   I used every evasive tactic that I had been taught, and came up with a few new ones of my own, but to no avail. I was rewarded with only one additional kill. The battle had taken me over a planet, and so I dove into the atmosphere hoping the bug fighters would follow where I would have the advantage. The bugs were smarter than I gave them credit. None of them followed me down. I hit my thrusters and followed the curve of the planet for a while before I shot back into space. Eleven bug fighters were there waiting on me. I scored another three kills as I blasted my way through their line, and headed for a nearby asteroid field hoping the bugs weren't brave enough to follow me.

   My tactical screen showed that I had fourteen bugs on my tail as I entered the asteroid belt. Dodging big rocks in space while being fired on by bug fighters is no fun; I did manage to kill four more bug fighters before they got me. Systems began crashing and one of the panels in my cockpit erupted in flames and sparks. How my ship was still holding together was a miracle. My weapons were offline, the engines were overheating, and eight more bug fighters had joined the hunt. I couldn't help but wonder where all the bug fighters were coming from until my tactical screen showed a bug destroyer on the other side of the asteroid field. I knew I was dead. It was just a matter of time.

   I no longer cared that my engines were overheating. I pushed the engines even harder in the hope that I could outdistance the bugs for just a few more moments. I scraped the sides of my ship more than once as I flew through the asteroids. I no longer cared about anything except the destroyer. I took no notice of the laser fire from the fighters behind me. I could feel it chewing up the wings of my ship as I evaded them just enough to keep my engines from being hit. I pulled out the dead-man switch for my ship's self-destruct system, and held it in my left hand before activating the system.

   When I cleared the asteroids I headed straight for the destroyer. I aimed my ship for the flight deck. I didn't care if I burned the engines up as I pushed the controls to the engine thrusters to full power. I was going to fly my ship right down their throat.

   The destroyer opened fired at me as I came screaming in at them. The fighters behind me were firing blind in a mad effort to hit me. The laser fire was thick and my ship was taking a pounding, but it held together. Sparks bathed the air around me, and the cockpit filled with smoke. Still, I kept on until I saw the back wall of the destroyer's flight deck. "Victory or death, you bastards," I said as I released the dead-man switch. There was a blinding flash of light.

   I woke up in the sickbay with a pounding headache. "Your head will stop pounding in a little while," a voice said.

   "Where am I, and how did I get here?" I asked.

   "It was just a simulation," another voice said. "We go to great lengths to make the simulation as real as possible. I must say that you did quite well."

   "It was all so real," I said.

   "It was designed that way," the voice replied. "The final exam, a test of character, and you passed with flying colors. Welcome to the Legion of Starfighters, Starfighter. Just one thing: when you are alone, call for backup before you engage the enemy. It was the only mistake you made on an otherwise flawless mission."



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