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The ended hero: Betrayal in Wild Space

Republic armada retreats after naval battle - Countless dead

Photo, Courtesy of Republic High Command


And so it happened
I sit in my cabin, aboard the Empress Teta. Words are barely finding their way through the maze my thoughts and images of the past few days have constructed. My fingers are heavy, my eyelids are swollen, yet my mind races and scurries into its darkened corners like a wounded womp rat. I have seen death before. In most of my life as a journalist, I have been in combat, covering the stories of simple men and women fighting for a cause, fighting for each other. I have seen untold things, but I never thought I’d witness this.

The image of the Gav Daragon, wounded, its sirens wailing like a mother warning its children to safety. Fires have been lit, people are rushing. People are wounded from fighting. The comms channels are as alight as the fires themselves. And then the call comes:
“Abandon Ship.”
I could not believe it at first. I blinked. A sudden calm, the calm of inevitability, washed over the weary shoulders and shattered hopes of the crew as the call came again, this time echoing, ringing in our ears:
“Abandon Ship.”
This was the end of history. The hero of the Republic, the RSS Gav Daragon was mortally wounded. And so were so many of its defenders. So many of the people who had lived, loved, fought and died on this ship for so many years. With the ebbing life venting from the wounded man’o’war, memories, hopes, dreams were burning through the trails of misty atmosphere from wisps of electrical fire. Like a hellish church, an altar filled with pain that one has to approach right before execution in places unknown, these people, these heroes, these friends of mine, they all hurried to the escape pods. Defeated in both body and spirit, it seemed, as their eyes had that peculiar mix of thousand yard stare, hatred, and fear of defeat.

I found myself being shoved into an escape pod by a Marine, with three others. The hatch closed. We could see the outside as we launched. Trails of blaster fire fanning from the Imperial Dreadnought who had promised to help, now treacherously, like long knives of allies turned sodomite traitors plunged deep into the heart of the RSS Gav Daragon, who like a fabled dragon of old, took each strike in agony, but kept holding, kept bearing the pain until as many of its children as possible could escape. After a few moments, with the dragon wounded, its allies arrived. Yet it was too late. The Eternal Fleet, our newest, powerful adversary was also already in the system. The Imperial Dreadnought began retreating, as the CSG tried to grab as many survivors as it could. One of those escape pods was mine...As we were being led into the hangar, I looked outside, at the still raging battle.

And then I saw it. The Gav afire. Pods were still launching. Fighters were still fighting. People were still hoping. Until the explosions. Until silence. Until no more escape pods launched, until the husk of the broken legend, of the warrior who fought in more wars than anyone alive stay still among the cold, unforgiving stars.

Stars, to which the Republic armada retreated to.
Hundreds killed.
Hundreds missing.
We have lost.
*Balentin Sarago is a writer and war correspondent for GNBC News. He graduated from the Coruscanti University of Journalism three years ago and has been attached to several active Fleets in the past, both in combat and on patrol. He has been nominated for the prestigious Grulitzer Prize for his piece on “Sith Empire Defectors: Why are our Armed Forces letting them in?”.