Wing Commander Junior Novelization Chapter 1

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Chapter 1
Book Wing Commander Junior Novelization
Parts 1
Previous Prologue
Next Chapter 2
Pages 7-9
Source Wing Commander Chapter 1

Dramatis Personae

Part 1

Geoffrey Tolwyn


Richard Bellegarde
William Wilson


Christopher Blair
Todd "Maniac" Marshall
James "Paladin" Taggart


MARCH 15, 2654
2100 HOURS

In classic battle group formation, the Confederation-class carrier Concordia, flagship of the 14th Fleet, glided majestically through space, along with five cruisers, five destroyers, and ten support ships.

     Admiral Geoffrey Tolwyn stepped across the carrier's wide bridge to lock gazes with Commodore Richard Bellegarde, who had just exited the lift.

     "Did we get it, Commodore?" Tolwyn asked.

     Bellegarde nodded. "It's just been decoded." He hurried toward a video monitor at the commander's station. Tolwyn fell in behind him.

     The screen lighted with a shaky image of Admiral Bill Wilson, whose eyes pleaded as he spoke. "The NAVCOM command codes were somehow overwritten. We can't shut it down, can't destroy it. Station self-destruct programs have been locked, passwords changed. I'm sorry, Geoff. I'm so sorry." Laser fire pierced the air around Wilson. Small explosions lit the shadowy command and control room behind him. Then static whisked away his face.

     Commodore Bellegarde paced the bridge. "I've been considering ways Wilson could've protected it from them. But that doesn't matter. If they have the Pegasus NAVCOM--"

     "Calm down, Richard. Let's assume they have it," Tolwyn said.


     "Let's go after them."

     "Exactly. And I'm sure the Kilrathi counted on that." Tolwyn turned toward the open area between the commander's station and the lift. "Tactical. Give me the Vega and Sol sectors."

     A swirling holographic projection took shape as overhead lights dimmed. Dozens of star systems appeared in each of the selected sectors, their tiny planets rotating in real time about their suns. Glowing blue orbs showed the positions of Confederation capital ships. Red orbs representing Kilrathi cruisers, dreadnoughts, and destroyers dotted the display like blood. The Pegasus Station's last known location stood as a small blue dot at the center of the picture. Behind it, thin white lines formed a tube labeled the Ulysses Corridor. The tube stretched toward a small model of the Charybdis Quasar. Hundreds of yellow lines stemmed from the quasar's back, each representing a path through space-time. One yellow line, much thicker than the others, led directly to the Sol system, to Earth.

     Tolwyn walked into the projection, concentrating on the images. As he neared the Sol system, the holograph zoomed in on Earth, illustrating the precious planet in sharp detail. A hurricane swirled off Florida's east coast. Clouds blanketed California. Lightning backlit the thunderheads. Tolwyn glanced at Bellegarde. "What is the fleet's position?"

     The commodore stepped closer to the holograph and gestured toward the blue dots. "We're spread all over the sector." He rushed to the commander's station and tapped in coordinates on a touchpad. Then he looked up and shook his head. "The earliest our advance elements could reach Sol is forty-two hours. And that's piecemeal and taking risks with the jumps, sir. If we do make it within that time frame, we'll be breaking every Confederation jump record."

     "And with the NAVCOM, the Kilrathi can reach Earth in under forty hours through the Charybdis Quasar." The irony tasted so bitter in Tolwyn's mouth that it made him cringe. "A mere two hours could decide the outcome of this war." He looked away, glaring into nothingness. "Signal all ships to mark our course and make full speed for Earth."

     "All ships to mark course and make full speed for Earth. Aye-aye, sir," the commodore said. He spun on his heel toward the situational display on his monitor.

     Tolwyn stared at the holograph once more, his gaze directed to the Vega sector and traveling past McAuliffe to Trimble to Baird's Star. "Now. I need to know what the Kilrathi are up to. I need eyes and ears, and I need intelligence. Do we have any ships left in Vega?"

     "We have seven capital ships in that sector, sir," Bellegarde answered. "The closest one to the Pegasus Station's last known coordinates is the Tiger Claw. But she's in the Enyo system and out of communication range. A drone will take two standard days to reach her."

     Tolwyn moved toward a blue orb that quickly formed into an image of the Bengal-class carrier Tiger Claw, 700 meters of Confederation fury. Then he accidentally spotted a tiny dot on the projection. Granted, whatever ship it represented lay in the Sol sector, but judging distances and factoring in a jump point, it might be within communication's range and might be able to reach the Tiger Claw in time. He pointed at the dot. "Who's this?"

     Bellegarde studied the holograph, then typed on his pad. "It's a requisitioned merchantman, sir. The Diligent."

     "The Diligent?" Tolwyn watched as the dot grew into the shape of an old transport vessel.

     "She's captained by James Taggart," Bellegarde added.

     "Can you pull up her log?"

     "Already have. She's en route to the Tiger Claw with two replacement pilots: First Lieutenants Todd Marshall and Christopher Blair."

     "Open a secure channel to the Diligent immediately. I need to speak to her captain--"

     "Right away, sir."

     "--and this First Lieutenant Blair."