In A.D. 2101, war is beginning. Your Class SF-1FGJ starfighter weaves through the chaos of battle. You and your crew have seen many battles, but this is the worst. All around you, explosions fill the void of space. Suddenly, your ship is hit! [["What happen ?"]] The operator turns toward the screen. "Main screen turn on." A dark, evil presence materializes on the screen. He is tall, wrapped in a purple cloak. The right side of his face has been violently torn away to reveal the mechanical workings beneath. His sinister red eyes mock you. You know those yes. Yes, you have a history with those eyes. You've seen much cruelty because of this war, but only those eyes truly frighten you. It's Cats! [["It's you !!"]] The mechanic races onto the bridge. "Somebody set us up the bomb." Your heart falls into your stomach like a wet pair of pants. Panic takes hold of the crew. You can tell from the quaking of the ship that you've taken heavy damage. You try to assess the situation when suddenly, the operator cries out. "We get signal." [["What!"]] "How are you gentlemen !" Cats' red eyes gleam like moonlight in fresh-spilled blood on a cold night. Your crew stares at the screen, terrified but transfixed. "All your base are belong to us. You are on the way to destruction." Cats smiles ruefully. You become enraged. Once again, Cats has gotten the best of you. Your base is the single most imporant strategic point in this quadrant, and it's slipped between your fingers right into Cats' hands. [["What you say !!"]] Cats laughs. "You have no chance to survive make your time. Ha ha ha ha ...." You slam your fist into the control panel. You don't know what to do. You've fallen directly into Cats' trap, again, and here he is, laughing at you. Mocking you. You take your head into your hands, trying to think. What to do? Your crew is looking to you anxiously, waiting for orders. You know you should be taking charge, ordering a counterattack, but you find yourself thinking of your wife and children, back at home. How little Sally must be nearly 4 now, and little Bobby starting kindergarten. You wonder if you'll ever get to give them birthday presents again, or tie their shoes before school. You think of Penelope's fresh-baked currant pies, and how- The operator turns to you. "Captain !!" You are snapped out of your haze. You look at your crew. They look to you, waiting for orders, wide-eyed and lost. Kids, you think. They're just kids, barely out of their teens. You look at them one by one. Jax, with his lucky dice. Zax, with his girlfriend back home and a joke always at the ready. Dax, with his dirty magazines and dirtier sense of humor. One day little Bobby will be their age, and you sure as hell aren't going to see him fighting this war. Suddenly a state of calm washes over you, the type of calm only a space marine in the midst of space battle can know. Playtime's over. You know what to do. [["Take off every 'ZIG'!!"]] Suddenly you are in a frenetic state. Your fingers flip every switch on the panel in front of you. Panic is being replaced by confidence and authority. You look at the little photograph of Penelope and the kids you keep on the control panel. You wink at them. You'll see them again. You'll see them again if you have to personally explode every last goddamned mechalord in this goddamned galaxy. Because your very best pilot is in his fighter, and he's ready for a fight. You get on the intercom and call to the pilot. [["You know what you doing."]] Your best pilot fires up his fighter. Your crew is inspired by your confidence, and they run to their stations, wild grins on their faces. You aren't going to see them exploded, not today. You know you can depend on them, hell or high water. You turn back to the intercom. [["Move 'ZIG'."]] You know that you are sending your best pilot to his death. Hell, he knows it, too. But it doesn't matter. None of this matters. What matters is ending this war. What matters is ending Cats. What matters is little Sally and Bobby growing up in a peaceful galaxy. You look out the window to see your pilot's 'ZIG' take to the void. Your crew cheers. It's not like you, but you are nevertheless overcome with emotion: fear, yes, but also pride, and, surprisingly, hope. [["For great justice."]] THE END ...?