Etos Soldier, Gorui
The Cosmo Pulsar’s doppler radar signaled the approach of enemy craft. Kobayashi flipped open the cover on his joystick to reveal switches for his pulse laser cannons. But the enemy planes flew directly over his squadron as if to ignore them entirely.
Miharu stopped him from pitching over.
“Kobayashi! Leave them be! Deal with the enemy in front of us!”
“All right! Second squadron, I’ll leave them to you!”
Kobayashi bit his lip when he saw the enemy’s high-speed torpedo bomber corps heading toward Yamato and the escort fleet. Behind him, the second squadron began to engage enemy aircraft. The Etos fleet spread out before him and the first squadron. Sensing their approach, Etos ships launched their own fighters one by one.
“Enemy aircraft approaching. All wings, scatter and intercept!”
At his order, the Cosmo Pulsar squadron deployed. The Etos fighters attacked, determined not to let them fire missiles on their allied ships. Kobayashi dove toward an Etos space battleship, dodging anti-aircraft fire and taking aim. When his fighter launched a missile, it spouted fire and struck the Etos ship’s deck directly. A fierce flame bloomed from the impact and the ship lost control, drifting away from the fleet.
More Cosmo Pulsar missiles found their marks, smashing and burning Etos ships. Cosmo Pulsars configured for heavy bombing were shot down by Etos fighters, their ordnance bursting in cascades of flame.
Eyes fixed on his radar panel, Sakurai called out, “High-speed enemy torpedo bombers attacking from 10 o’clock!”
In response, Gunnery Chief Goda relayed the information to fire control.
“Secondary guns, open fire!”
Six of Yamato’s secondary guns targeted the enemy in the middle distance and breathed fire. Their energy grazed the Etos raiders and the radiant heat vaporized them in an instant. Still, torpedo bombers kept rushing toward Yamato without flinching. Goda gave further instructions.
“Pulse laser cannons, open fire and sweep!”
The pulse laser guns at Yamato’s flanks began shooting simultaneously. Yamato’s port side was bathed in blue light from their fierce output. Intercepted by this barrage, all the Etos bombers were shot down. Goda reported the results.
“First enemy wave destroyed. No damage to Yamato.”
But Sakurai shouted in a tense voice, “The main enemy fleet is heading this way!”
“The enemy intends to conduct a decisive fleet battle,” Kodai informed the crew. “This is the real thing.”
Yamato turned its main and secondary guns toward the Etos fleet. One of the allied escort ships took a single shot from its main battery and an Etos ship returned fire. At once, their sector turned into a battlefield where countless lines of fire crisscrossed each other. Both the Friedei and Beldel fleets followed the Etos fleet into a brawl with the Earth fleet. Starting with Yamato, the escort fleet was exposed to intensive fire from three directions. Kodai gave Goda a new order.
“Fire a bow barrier missile.”
Goda gave the order to the fire control room and a barrier missile was launched from Yamato’s bow. It exploded soon after, scattering a bloom of transparent silicon resin. Yamato and its nearby escort ships appeared to be covered in white fog. The combined battleships of Etos, Fridei, and Beldel fired missiles and beams, but the silicon resin caused laser beams to diffusely reflect, and the enemy fire was scattered across the sky without hitting Yamato.
“Escort ship Hatsuyuki hit, medium damage.”
“Escort ship Shiryuki hit, serious fire damage.”
“Escort ship Asagiri hit, losing control.”
The onslaught of the allied enemy fleets began spreading damage throughout the escort fleet, and Yamato took its first hit.
“Secondary gun number two is hit!”
But Etos and its allied fleets were taking devastating damage from Yamato and the furious bombardment of its escort fleet. The power of Yamato’s main guns was tremendous, tearing through enemy armor like paper. Space Battleship Yamato was truly a guardian deity to the immigration fleet and its escorts.
On the bridge of the Etos flagship Seagull, Admiral Gorui was impressed by Yamato’s prowess.
They are my enemy, but I admire their fighting spirit. It stands before my combined fleet as a shield in order to protect its unarmed allies as they warp. Is this the form of a so-called invader against the SUS?
Gorui was beginning to have doubts.
I came here according to an SUS resolution, but was it actually the right one?
“Admiral! I feel uncomfortable with this fight.”
The young captain seemed to have sensed what was in Gorui’s heart. Ever since Etos had bowed to the SUS’ military, all the battles they had been ordered into were brutal and cruel. Planets that had refused to pay the SUS’ exorbitant trade taxes had sometimes been annihilated at the SUS’ orders. The bitter aftertaste of that was hard to put into words. The opponents they now fought were completely different. They were trying to protect defenseless emigration ships with their own bodies. It was a noble fight that purified a warrior’s soul.
“War is the essence of one who fights. What kind of man commands the flagship of this enemy fleet?”
Gorui strongly wanted to speak with this captain. Somehow, he felt nostalgic about such a meeting. In the past, in one of the many wars at the center of the galaxy, among the many opponents who held a blade, there was one with a similar temperament. Their battle was one of superior and efficient tactics, and this opponent had handed Gorui one of his few defeats. The identity of that opponent remained unknown. This was different from that time, but any encounter with an evenly-matched enemy uplifted his warrior spirit.
“Orihara,” Kodai asked, “what’s the progress of the emigration convoy’s warp?”
“We’ve currently reached 80%. There are six groups left, about thirty minutes to warp completion.”
“Inform all the escorts,” he replied. “Retreat while continuing to engage, and prepare to warp after the emigration fleet.”
“Notify the Cosmo Pulsar Corps to cover the escort fleet’s warp. Yamato will engage the enemy fleet. Do not lure enemy fighters toward the escort fleet.”
Each of the Cosmo Pulsars fired off missiles and challenged enemy craft to dogfights with machine guns. Where enemy battleships were concerned, the only approach was to fire at what appeared to be a bridge. Damage to the allied escort fleet was not inconsiderable.
“Kobayashi, behind you!” Miharu shouted into her mic.
Unexpectedly, an Etos fighter had squeezed in behind Kobayashi. Without looking back, he accelerated forward and the Etos fighter pursued him. Kobayashi pointed the nose of his Cosmo Pulsar toward a single star that emitted intense light and gamma rays.
“Oho, you following me?” he shouted as he glanced at the rear radar.
Miharu’s hysterical voice rattled his headset: “Kobayashi, stop playing and shake him off!”
“Watch this, you’re gonna see the Kobayashi special!”
With that, Kobayashi closed his eyes. The Etos fighter lined up along a straight axis from the star to the Cosmo Pulsar. The pilot was completely focused on his prey. All that was left was to press the firing switch on his cannon. But in the next moment, the pilot was stunned speechless as he stared into his radar. The icon for Kobayashi’s machine had disappeared into that of the star. The Etos fighter’s targeting computer determined that its subject was lost and its lock-on vanished. The pilot could see Kobayashi in front of him, but the computer had judged “nothing there.” The dazzling light of the star was burning into the pilot’s retina.
His eyes still closed, Kobayashi shoved the stick forward to quickly flip his Cosmo Pulsar in an aerobatic Chandelle Turn. Pointing his nose at the Etos fighter, Kobayashi mashed the firing switch for his pulse laser cannon. A burst directly struck the cockpit of the Etos machine, and immediately after passing the Cosmo Pulsar, its fuselage shattered into small flaming pieces. Kobayashi saluted.
“Did I disappear from your radar? I was blinded through my visor and my vision blacked out.”
Miharu whistled involuntarily. Kobayashi may have been full of sass, but his piloting skill was certainly top notch.
“All fighters, return directly to the escort fleet!”
At Kamijo’s order, the entire Cosmo Pulsar squadron flipped over and hit their braking jets.
“No praise for me,” Kobayashi muttered as he realigned his airframe.
Maho’s voice echoed within the first bridge like the peal of a crystalline bell.
“Group 30 has warped. The emigration fleet has completed its warp. The escort fleet will enter warp next.”
Kodai’s voice braced the crew with tragic but brave determination.
“As the escort fleet warps, the strength of our side will be reduced. That will increase the burden on Yamato. Yamato will remain behind to cover the escort fleet to the end. Everyone, be prepared.”
While the escort fleet continued its intense bombardment of the enemy’s front line, it retreated to a designated sector and ships rushed into the long warp one by one. Of course, it meant an overall decrease in fighting power. The Etos, Fridei, and Beldel fleets took the momentum and all concentrated their fire on Yamato. Intense shock and sound reached the first bridge.
“Rear deck catapult hit!”
“Third main battery fire control room hit!”
“Rear observation room hit!”
The shouted reports of Yamato‘s damage reached Kodai’s ears in rapid succession.
“Yamato!” Kobayashi yelled. He didn’t say it, but Yamato was the mothership of the Cosmo Pulsar squadron, and he was already prepared to lose a home to return to.
“The escort fleet’s warp is going well,” Maho reported in a bouncy voice. “The last ship will warp out in five minutes.”
Five more minutes. If they could endure this for five more minutes, they could overcome the situation. Maho’s voice gave Yamato‘s crew one more dose of courage.
“Everyone, do your best. If we can hold on for another five minutes, Yamato wins!”
Then Sakurai called out from his radar screen.
“An emigration ship! One of them must have dropped out of warp, and now it’s isolated among the enemy!”
The image screen projected a picture. Indeed, a single emigration ship was under enemy missile fire.
“That’s…the 13th ship from Group 17,” Omura realized. “It failed to warp.”
“Nakanishi,” Kodai ordered, “Open a communication circuit to that ship!”
Sound came in from the emigration ship with noise like a sandstorm.
“Don’t worry about us! You can’t risk the fleet for us! Leave us and go!”
“Don’t be stupid,” Kodai yelled. “We can’t abandon any of you! Hold on and live to the end!”
“The enemy is blocking us from reaching warp. There’s no chance for you to save us! Please go, Yamato!”
Kodai held his breath and fell silent. The eyes of the crew focused on him, waiting for a decision.
“Yamato will rescue that ship!”
Omura saluted Kodai and turned to the crew.
“Didn’t you hear the captain? Full speed ahead! Break through the enemy and get to that emigration ship!”
The crew turned to their consoles and executed Kodai’s instructions. Communication Chief Nakanishi sighed.
“I give up,” he muttered under his breath. “It’s my destiny to have a reckless captain…”
Gunnery Chief Goda picked up his words.
“Yeah, this captain is reckless…but he also happens to be the best!”
The enemy fightercraft that were attacking the emigration ship took shots from Yamato‘s main batteries head on and vanished before they could even raise a scream. Yamato‘s hull slipped into place on the port side of the emigration ship and stopped her engine to become a shield against the all-out attack of the combined enemy fleet. Etos, Fridei, and Beldel firepower concentrated on Yamato and Kamijo yelled out to fire control.
“Fire all barrier missiles! Fire all of them!”
Barrier missiles loaded with silicon resin launched from the bow and flanks, completely covering Yamato and the giant emigration ship. An enormous number of laser beams directed at Yamato diffused and bounced off the silicon fog. Lightning coursed over the entire area like a violent storm. However, its effect had certain limits. Enemy shock cannons and missiles still penetrated and slammed into Yamato.
“Keep firing! Keep the enemy away from the emigration ship!”
A shock thundered through the hull before Kodai could finish his sentence. Continuous damage reports battered his ears. He put through an emergency communication to Tokugawa in the engine room. At the same time, a pull on Yamato‘s steering lever made the hull turn sharply, pointing its bow toward the enemy fleet’s front line.
“Kamijo, prepare to fire Wave-Motion Gun!”
“Eh?” Kamijo gasped. “The Wave Gun…?”
Yamato’s prime weapon could destroy some of the enemies spread out before them, but more than half would remain. The new Wave-Motion Gun could fire six consecutive shots, and could annihilate most of the enemy if they were all used. But that would exhaust all the ship’s energy and they couldn’t warp away. If there were still enemy ships left, it would all be over.
“Captain, what do you mean?” Kamijo was confused.
“Just follow the order!”
As ordered, Kamijo started Wave-Motion Gun preparations.
“Prepare to fire Wave-Motion Gun. Take anti-shock, anti-flash measures!”
On the bridge of Etos flagship Seagull, Admiral Gorui stared at the figure of Yamato with a complex expression as it fought to protect the emigration ship with its own engine stopped. This proud battleship, bereft of its own military support, stood like a king as it protected its unarmed, unmoving comrade vessel.
“This is no longer a war,” Gorui whispered as if possessed.
“I agree, Admiral,” his young captain answered. “Do you want to stop the bombardment?”
The captain’s thoughtful words deepened the anguish engraved on Gorui’s face. He had the power to stop the attack. If the Etos fleet stood down, Fridei and Beldel would follow suit. But if he didn’t comply with SUS orders, he didn’t know what kind of retaliation they would all face. A one-sided massacre was now unfolding in front of the proud Etos warriors. Not a single one of them wouldn’t feel torn by it. But in his political position as the Etos fleet commander, Gorui hesitated to follow the voice of his heart.
Then a radar officer delivered a report: “Abnormal energy reading at the bow of the enemy ship!”
“An energy reaction is increasing at its bow. It seems to be preparing to fire a weapon!”
Was it now moving to protect the emigration ship at the cost of its own life? This would use up its warp energy and…
“Notify all ships,” Gorui hurriedly shouted.” Stop the attack! Stop the attack!”
The captain repeated it and Gorui’s orders immediately rippled across the entire Etos fleet. They stopped firing and both the Fridei and Beldel fleets did the same as they noticed the change in tactics.
“Captain, what is your judgment?”
Seagull‘s young captain stiffened his expression.
“I agree with the admiral’s decision.”
“Open the communication circuit to the enemy battleship,” Gorui ordered an operator.
“There’s a reaction on my screen.”
Yamato’s crew was astonished that all enemy fire had suddenly stopped.
“What? Send it to the main panel.”
Gorui rose like a philosopher on Yamato‘s large screen.
“I am Admiral Gorui, commander-in-chief of the Etos military. I admire the excellence of your battle performance. Please tell me the name of your ship and your captain.”
Kodai responded with equal respect.
“Earth Defense Forces Space Battleship Yamato. I’m Captain Susumu Kodai.”
“Space Battleship Yamato…Captain Kodai. I will remember that. It is the ancient tradition of the Etos forces to pay respect to honorable enemies as well as our allies. I have nothing but respect for your ship and your actions, Captain Kodai.”
Kodai realized that this man called Gorui was someone who knew the ways of a warrior.
“I want to ask you, Admiral Gorui, why did you attack us?”
“It was the decision of the Great Urup Interstellar Union, of which our planet Etos is a member. The SUS controls our coalition.”
“Captain Kodai, I want you to understand that this attack was never our true intention.”
Kodai could feel that Gorui was a man of his word.
“I praise the efforts of your ship to protect an emigrant convoy of transports against the SUS. My Etos fleet no longer intends to attack you or your charges.”
“Thank you, Admiral Gorui. Thank you.”
“I wish you good luck.”
Kodai couldn’t help but return Gorui’s fatherly smile, and communication ended there.
“Nakanishi, tell the emigration ship to hurry its repairs. Kamijo, clear the Cosmo Pulsar squadron for return in sequence.”
Kodai felt relieved, but regretted how close the emigration ship had come to destruction. Not a single ship had been lost, but if the enemy hadn’t responded to the threat of the Wave-Motion Gun, it would have gone differently.
On the Seagull‘s bridge, an alarm sounded to indicate incoming communication. The voice of the communications officer shook.
“Incoming transmission from SUS forces Commander in Chief Barlsman.”
Shortly after this confirmation, an intimidating face appeared on the screen.
“Gorui! What were you thinking?!”
Admiral Gorui’s face relaxed.
“Well, well, Commander Barlsman. Were you watching our graceful fleet battle?”
Barlsman ignored Gorui’s irony.
“I ordered you to destroy the Earth fleet. Do you intend to betray the SUS by overlooking the enemy flagship?!”
“The operation was a failure. Most of the enemy’s emigration fleet had already warped away. Beyond that, we could have only destroyed a single battleship that was protecting a transport that had dropped out of formation. What strategic value lay in that?”
“You know how it will go if you defy us!”
“Now, what are you going to do?”
“If you ever disobey my orders again, you’re not the only one who will suffer! Planet Etos itself will be annihilated! Remember that!”
With that roar, Barlsman cut off the communication from his side.
“Notify the entire fleet,” Seagull‘s captain said to the communications officer. “Use a general line.”
“A general line? Not just to our people, but also to Fridei and Beldel…?”
“That’s what I said, hurry.”
Seagull‘s captain picked up his mic.
“This is the captain of the Etos space fleet flagship Seagull. Some of you may not understand Admiral Gorui’s decision, so I’ll explain it to you. Admiral Gorui did not stop the attack out of compassion for the enemy. By doing this, he preserved the lives of many soldiers, including those of Fridei and Beldel!”
The operators narrowed their eyes, not understanding the meaning of this.
“Space Battleship Yamato, flagship of the enemy fleet, was preparing to fire an energy weapon from its bow. Based on Yamato‘s power output, it could have destroyed a full third of our allied fleet. We believe our opponent was preparing a suicide attack. Admiral Gorui sensed this and stopped the assault, thinking of the potential damage to our forces, and allowed the two ships to depart. Let us be thankful to the Admiral’s judgment for saving our lives, and continue to apply ourselves to our duty in the future. That is all.”
Since this notification had gone out on the general line, soldiers of Etos, Fridei, and Beldel all should have heard the captain’s words. This would protect Admiral Gorui’s position. Of course, the captain kept silent his disdain for Commander Barlsman and Governor-General Metsler of the SUS, angrily putting away his mic.
Earth’s third emigration convoy drifted through the sea of stars, toward Planet Amal in the Sairam solar system. Attacked by the allied enemy fleet in the region of Black Hole BH199, which became a battlefield of hell, breaking through the search net that stretched across many light years, the emigration convoy and its escort fleet had carried out a super long warp into this system.
Amal was a beautiful planet of golden clouds illuminated by the sunshine of Sairam. In Amal’s orbit was a moon that would become a second home to the people of Earth. But the nine hundred million people in the emigration convoy weren’t looking at Amal now, nor its moon. As they held their breath, their eyes were trained on an empty region of space where nothing could be seen.
In a moment, space itself seemed to shimmer, and a ship emerged from subspace as if by magic. It was the emigration ship that had dropped out of Group 17. The spectators cheered. Yamato had stayed on the battlefield to the end, the proof of which was the safe arrival of the last ship of the fleet.
A five year old boy looked up at his mother’s face and asked, “Hey, what about Yamato?”
But his mother was silent. She couldn’t answer, only pray for the safety of their guardian. Again, everyone held their breath and gazed out into empty space. A long time passed, and at the moment everyone thought, “Is it gone?” a tremor rippled through space before their eyes. Then a pale flash, and the ship everyone had been waiting for emerged from a dimensional fault connected to subspace.
Space battleship Yamato was covered in scars after exposing itself to the all-out attack of the combined enemy forces. Joyful voices exploded across the emigration fleet.
“Yamato is back!”
“Yamato is safe!”
Yamato advanced slowly amid the three thousand huge emigration ships. It seemed a miracle that it had escaped the enemy barrage without being destroyed. It had taken terrible damage, and many wept at the sight of this noble figure.
The journey of 27,000 light years, a journey of fear and anxiety, had finally ended. The fact that their guardian Space Battleship Yamato was alive and well, spoke most eloquently of this.
Susumu Kodai gazed at Planet Amal and its moon from the captain’s room. It was once the room of a great captain whom Kodai had trusted from the bottom of his heart. He remembered Yamato‘s journey of twenty years ago, traveling 148,000 light years from Earth to Iscandar in the Large Magellanic Cloud. When they arrived at Iscandar, Captain Juuzo Okita thanked the crew for their service with these words:
“Crew of Yamato, this is Captain Okita. We have come to Iscandar at last. You now see Iscandar before you. On this occasion, I would like to say just a few words to you as Captain. Thank you very much…”
Yamato‘s current captain wanted to address his hardworking crew in the same way now. Kodai reached across his desk and switched on the communicator.