Yamato, Enemy Confrontation
Led by Yamato, the third emigration fleet continued to sail forward, fearful of being attacked by the mysterious enemy. When Kobayashi entered Yamato‘s medical office, Miharu was in the middle of preparing medicine.
“Can I have a minute?”
She responded without pause.
“What – Kobayashi! Are you trying to ask me on a date again?”
“I’ll ask you every day until you accept!”
“If you feel like it, but I’m not interested in a space walk.”
“Neither am I.”
Miharu put down her work and looked at Kobayashi. He had come in for a checkup since anyone who spent much time in space could be infected by pathogens or various space diseases and needed regular checkups. She collected his blood and put two or three drops into a testing machine. Silence hung in the air between them until he spoke.
“Can I ask you something, Miharu?”
“What is it?”
“Why are you a doctor and also a pilot?”
Miharu smiled bitterly.
“Oh, that. When I was a child, my father was an architect, but his dream was really to be a fighter pilot.”
She took her beloved goggles in her hand and stared at them.
“I don’t know where he got these goggles, but he cherished them as something pilots used a long time ago. I don’t use them. When I was 12, he fell ill and died. I was so sad it felt like the end of the world. So I became a doctor to defeat that enemy.”
She said it blankly, but she’d become the doctor she wanted to be and had also made her father’s dream come true.
“When I get into a fighter, I always feel united with my father.”
Miharu’s father had drawn his own blueprints for as long as she could remember, and smiled whenever he built model kits of old fighter planes. Kobayashi found her lonely smile to be endearing.
Suddenly, the door of the medical office opened. Miharu and Kobayashi looked over to see Kamijo walk in. He’d come to have his wounds treated. He’d made a considerable journey since taking his injuries on board Blue Noah during the enemy attack on the first emigration fleet, But his wounds had not yet healed.
Kobayashi’s eyes meet Kamijo’s, but neither said a word to each other. Miharu spoke while preparing some gauze.
“Without painkillers, they’d still be hurting.”
Kamijo sat on the bed and peeled off the upper half of his uniform to reveal angry red scars on his back.
“Whoah,” Kobayashi said as he stared at the wounds. “Looks like the wounds of a veteran. Did you get those in the first emigration fleet?”
Kamijo’s face flushed with anger at Kobayashi’s crude question. Sensing that he could lunge for Kobayashi at any second, Miharu raised her voice.
“I get it. I should leave.” Kobayashi walked out, seemingly ambivalent.
“I’d be angry at him, too,” Miharu said apologetically to Kamijo. “He was the most excited about Yamato‘s reconstruction plan. He wanted to become the combat chief and sit in that seat, but you got it instead.”
“Really,” Kamijo said in a low voice. “I…I lost my parents and my younger sister in the first emigration fleet. I can’t hand over that seat to anyone until I defeat this enemy.”
Miharu was impressed by the strength of his willpower. Each member of Yamato‘s crew had a reason for boarding, including her. She hit a switch on a nearby console for internal communication.
“Life support group, this is the medical office. Can I request something?”
“OK, go ahead.”
“I’d like some piano music by Chopin, please. The one by J. Ohashi that feels so emotional.”
Soon, the sounds of Chopin’s soft piano wafted throughout the ship. Chopin’s music differed slightly depending on the pianist who played them. Miharu liked aggressive, heroic interpretations, but chose a J. Ohashi performance this time.
Kodai also heard the soft melody on the first bridge.
“That calms the heart,” he said.
“Yes,” Omura smiled with nostalgia. “We listened to it a lot on that ragged old cargo ship.”
There was a reason Miharu had requested music. Both the first and second emigration fleets had been attacked and gone missing in the same area. Now that the third fleet was nearing that dangerous region, she wanted to create a good environment to relieve the tension and anxiety that were steadily building.
Then Sakurai said it: “Confirming unidentified flying objects warping out ahead! Approximately two hundred!”
“All escort ships,” Kodai ordered, “Unidentified objects approaching! Protect the emigration fleet!”
Yamato took the lead and other escorts formed a ring to protect the convoy against the mysterious enemies. Kodai looked as if he’d just bitten down on a bitter insect.
“Another ambush! But we’ve still got some room to work with here…”
Emergency lights bathed Yamato‘s first bridge in crimson. Countless bright lights bloomed across the surface of Sakurai’s radar panel.”
“It’s a huge fleet! The enemy ships are firing missiles. Closing in at high speed!”
Clusters of missiles rushed toward the escort fleet, burning with red flames.
“All escorts, intercept,” Kodai shouted.
Gouda issued instructions for interception. Yamato‘s shock cannons fired arrows of light.
“Confirm the affiliation of the enemy fleet,” Kodai ordered Ohara at EC1.
“I can’t confirm it! None of their ships, fighters, or missiles are recorded in Yamato‘s database!”
The Gamilas Empire, White Comet Empire, Dark Nebula Empire, Galman/Gamilas Empire, Bolar Federation, Dengil Empire…Yamato had fought a number of interstellar enemies, either hostile, neutral, or to become allies afterward. It became clear that these did not belong to any of the interstellar civilizations they knew of.
Moreover, they were different from the enemy ships that had attacked the first and second fleets. It had to be an attempt to crush the emigration plan. Hundreds of millions of lives had already been lost.
(We will not let you take the life of a single emigration ship. We’ll capture you and find out where Yuki is.)
Kodai shouted without hesitation: “Into battle! All ships take combat posture! Protect the emigration ships!”
However, like bullets, the first enemy missiles struck an escort ship to Yamato‘s starboard. Kodai was stunned by their power. Even though these were much smaller than Earth’s missiles, their destructive energy was tremendous. One by one, they filtered through artillery barrages of pulse lasers to slam into allied escort ships.
“Escort ship Yuukaze is hit!”
Kodai yelled into a mic: “Keep them away from the emigration fleet by all means! We don’t know who they are, but they slaughtered the first and second fleets – unarmed emigration ships – without mercy! We are the last line of defense! Cosmo Pulsars, launch!”
Kodai ordered Yamato‘s fighter squadron into the battle. The situation was worse than expected. Whose fleet was this…? There must have been an interstellar nation that didn’t want Earthlings to migrate to Amal’s moon, but why did they suddenly resort to military action?
Miharu was about to launch from the hangar.
Chief Pilot Kobayashi boarded his Cosmo Pulsar.
“Don’t lose your life out there,” Miharu continued. “You don’t have a spare.”
“Same to you,” he said with a wink.
Miharu didn’t want to come in second to Kobayashi, who was said to be a genius pilot.
“That’s a pretty face,” he taunted, “but not with wrinkles on it.”
“What did you say?”
With his eyes locked ahead, Kobayashi accelerated his beloved machine. Miharu’s craft quickly followed his, and space spread out in front of them both, filled with combat. Friendly craft chased enemy craft around at high speed, firing from behind with pulse laser cannons. Enemy planes shook off their pursuit and got to a safe distance before counterattacking with missiles.
Space itself burned like a hot flame from hostility and hatred between allies and enemies. Kobayashi rushed in to defend his fighter group from the enemy. While skillfully avoiding the pulse laser barrages of enemy craft, he launched his own attacks with machine guns and missiles. Vivid flowers bloomed all over the sky as enemy and allied fighters alike were shot down, scattering the bodies of their pilots. It seemed like space was adorned with an epic tableau but for the fact that it was painted in blood.
“Come at me if you’re coming,” Kobayashi shouted through gritted teeth as he shot down four enemy planes. “But don’t forget – an eye for an eye!” Then he uttered a small gasp. An enemy was on the tail of Miharu’s plane. If it were to fire a pulse laser at that instant, her life would be over.
“Miharu,” he yelled into his communicator, “Dive!” He heard her gasp through his headset; she hadn’t noticed the enemy behind her.
Miharu shoved her control stick forward and her beloved plane nose-dived. The enemy continued forward and flashed over her head. She re-accelerated and fired from below, striking the enemy dead center and scattering it in flames.
“I owe you one,” Miharu said regretfully to Kobayashi’s image on her monitor.
“That’s a loan. Survive and pay it back.”
“Roger. I’ll definitely pay it off someday.”
Kobayashi smiled with a thumbs-up and accelerated to support other allies. His blunt kindness warmed her heart. At that moment, an emergency call came in from Yamato‘s first bridge.
“Kobayashi, Sasaki, both of you gather the squadron and return to Yamato immediately!”
Kobayashi and Miharu responded simultaneously. “Roger!”
“Sakurai, confirm the number and position of the enemy ships! Omura, direct the escort fleet to form up.”
Kodai decided it wasn’t a wise move to wear everyone out with combat. Unfortunately, it took time to recharge the engines for the next warp. And unlike Yamato‘s Wave-Motion gun, those of the escort ships were Dispersion types. Like fireworks, they would spread out before the enemy and strike them over a wide area. Fortunately, the number of enemies was not very large.
“Hit the enemy all at once with Dispersion Wave-Motion Guns!”
Omura relayed the order to the escort fleet.
“Prepare to fire Dispersion Wave-Motion Guns!”
Maintaining an even distance, about fifty of the escort ships started moving into two rows above and below each other. Enemy missiles raced mercilessly toward them.
Other escorts moved to protect them as they charged their Wave-Motion Guns. The missiles flew toward the immobile ships. Their Wave Energy cores were charging up with enormous energy that would be injected all at once into their Wave guns, so it only took a single missile strike to cause the entire ship to explode. This absolutely had to be prevented.
“Stop them at all cost!”
“Twenty seconds to firing,” Kamijo reported. Tachyon particles had begun to cluster in the firing gates of the Dispersion Wave-Motion Guns.
“Escort ship Shiokaze is hit! Serious damage, she’s on fire!”
The enemy missiles began to close in.
“Large number of enemy aircraft approaching,” Sakurai shouted.
The Cosmo Pulsars couldn’t move to intercept, or they’d be caught up in the Dispersion Wave-Motion blasts. Kodai issued an order to the fleet.
“All ships, fire at the enemy craft!”
Main guns, pulse lasers, and missiles flashed toward the enemy craft and destroyed them one by one. But the planes that escaped the bombardment fired more missiles.
“Ten seconds to impact,” Sakurai wailed. Countless missiles would find their marks in another moment.
“Fire Dispersion Wave-Motion Guns!”
About fifty Wave Guns were fired all at once, filling the inky blackness of space with pure white. An enormous wave of energy smashed the enemy missiles just before they could strike. The wave reached the enemy fleet and seemed to stop for a heartbeat before expanding in all direction, attacking the enemy battleships from above and below, from left and right. Even dispersed into smaller beams, each still had the power to destroy a single ship. The enemy battleships turned sharply in an attempt to flee, but were destroyed one after another.
“All right,” Kamijo shouted. “It’s a hit!”
“Wow,” Kobayashi answered from his Cosmo Pulsar. “They all went down at once!” Flying high above the maelstrom, he was surprised as he looked down upon the devastated enemy.
“Enemy ships destroyed,” Sakurai reported. “All remaining enemies in retreat.”
“We were able to safely take them out,” Omura said to Kodai, relieved.
“That’s right,” Kodai replied. But this was not the end, only a hint of what was to come. And he was ready for it.