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Laser Beams Like So Many Stars – Play Report

by on April 15, 2019
 

Diary of a Student, Lunar Colony War of 2243

Entry 1 – Heroes of the War; 14th June 2243

Today the Colonial Fleet reinforced this Island. They fear war is coming. The news shows ships assembling around Earth’s space elevators and there are rumours the people living in the Asteroid Belt are starving. Today I made some enquiries at my local recruiting office. I haven’t told anyone yet.

This evening, while I was helping in the bar, four pilots swept in and I was able to get to speak to them while bringing drinks. West Division, 849th Unit, Caster Team. There’s Chiaki, the leader. Callsign Cipher. She showed me a photo she’d taken in the hangar aboard her ship, with “the two girls she loves” – a bright red Frame and a tanned mechanic. Hitomi is her second in command. Apparently, she doesn’t drink, which is unusual for a pilot. Her callsign is Pixy because she’s small and delicate. Kazuki – Strider – transferred into Caster Team from one of the Asteroid Belt patrol fleets, apparently he got into too many fights with the miners still loyal to Earth. And then there’s Souichi, callsign Galm. I know I’m not the best at reading people but he seemed afraid that night. Not that he showed it in front of the others.

I hope if I am ever needed to defend my Island I’ll have as good friends.

Entry 2 – Why Pixy?; 27th June 2243

I like Hitomi. She’s sweet, not much older than me and I was almost beginning to think we were becoming friends. I haven’t seen her for a week. She said she’d try and get me a pass to get onto the space dock and watch Caster Team training with their new equipment. I went to the dock this morning to ask after her because she left a pair of gloves in the bar the last time she was there. I’ve been going every morning for the same reason. They turn me away every day.

I want to give her her gloves back and I want to see her again. The others won’t talk about her when they hit the bar in the evenings. I asked and they went quiet.

28th June 2243

Hitomi joined the others back at the bar tonight. She looked beaten to hell, she barely spoke. And she drank, for the first time. It was like Souichi could see my disappointment, and he took me to one side and told me the truth on the condition Chiaki never found out. Apparently, the reason I never got to see the training was that Hitomi freaked out in the cockpit and slammed her Frame into the hangar wall. They found energy tablets in her locker, she’d been taking them to stay awake. She’s been under medical supervision.

Entry 3 – War; 3rd July 2243

I was walking along the Island boundaries today and I saw flashes of light out by the reflector arrays. I spent quite a few credits using the viewing telescopes to try and see what they were, but eventually, I got a good look. It was Caster Team. I could tell, I recognised Chiaki – no, today she was definitely Cipher. And I saw Pixy, her Frame painted in gleaming white with a red arm, flying like an angel.

Then the war started. I had to look away from the telescope for a moment because suddenly it was like daylight burned the artificial twilight of the Island’s evening away. My eyes adjusted and there were ships, they had come out of nowhere, there were missiles flying towards the Island and Caster Team were shooting them down. A policeman yelled at me to run, I remember that. But for that moment I didn’t want to, I wanted to see the team fighting as one. I’d never seen them train, I’d never seen them fly and now I could! I fought for every last second looking through that lens, as Caster shot down missile after missile, as Chiaki began firing upon the ship attacking us.

As Strider was too slow in turning and took a hit. Then more, as he began to drift.

I didn’t see more, the policeman had grabbed me by then and shoved me back towards the emergency exits. I ran home and shut myself away in my room. I don’t think Strider survived.

Entry 4 – They Wore Black; 5th July 2243

I couldn’t go down to the bar the night Strider died. I hid the day after, too. But today I was in the Peace Park crying as I read Strider’s obituary in the newspaper and Chiaki was there.

The Earth Fleet has tried a couple more times to attack us, but even missing a member Caster Team have fought them back. They have painted their Frames’ left shoulders black in Strider’s memory. They know who shot him down. It is an Earth forces ace who apparently betrayed the Colonies a few years ago. They have said they are on a mission to stop his planned attack on our Island.

7th July 2243

Chiaki didn’t come back from the mission.

9th July 2243

I have a shelf in my room with a print-out of Caster Team’s badge and the photos of the pilots they took while they were drinking with us. I never wanted it to become a memorial wall.

Entry 5 – Life Goes On; 16th July 2243

Apparently, the Earth Fleet have retreated for now, back to their bases on the Moon. They did not expect the Colonies to fight back as they did. The news came out a few days ago that Caster Team destroyed the enemy ace. Chiaki didn’t die in vain.

I should be sad. I know when I am alone, when I see the photos in my room, I miss Chiaki and Kazuki even though I only knew them for a few weeks. But it’s not quite the way you feel if you’ve lost a friend or a family member. Because I was never part of Caster Team’s family. It’s like – and when I look at it like this I feel the worst person in the world – losing a pet. They were a fixture of the bar, and now they aren’t.

They’ve gone for good actually. They were merged with another team and, as the Island isn’t under threat any more, sent to attack the Moon. There’s too much to do to be sad for too long.

Entry 6 – MORGAN; 1st August 2243

It turns out the Earth forces weren’t beaten at all. At midnight yesterday, without any warning, something tore through the Island and destroyed the residential block next to ours. And so today we have been fleeing our home, taking what we can, trying to get to the emergency shelters in the Island core.

The news says the Earth forces have some kind of new weapon called MORGAN. They aren’t saying more to try not to alarm the other colonies.

I want people to know what it’s like. How the night screamed, how our whole house shook, how just for a moment we lost gravity and were floating helplessly.

Every ship, apparently, has been sent to destroy MORGAN. The Hresvelgr, the ship that brought Caster Team to our island, apparently has built up quite the combat record hunting Earth force holdouts near the Moon. I saw Hitomi and Souichi in the news with two pilots I hadn’t seen before. I’m glad they’re surviving.

Entry 7 – Sol Speaks; 13th August 2243

MORGAN has not lit up the night again. We live anticipating the alarms. Earth forces have started occupying other colonies. Many have surrendered in fear of being destroyed by Earth’s superweapon. The Colonial government is discussing surrender.

Yesterday there was broadcast, an unexpected, unannounced statement from the Hresvelgr. It was the new leader of Caster Team, a masked man going by the callsign Sol. He was disgusted with the idea of surrender. Disgusted that now, with MORGAN within our sights, our government was discussing surrender rather than a strike to make Earth suffer.

All of a sudden the web has exploded with people arguing for or against the war. I know I won’t be happy with the idea of Earth being allowed to keep a way of deleting thousands of lives with the push of a button.

Entry 8 – Unsung Heroes; 14th August 2243

While the people argued, while the government tried to come to terms with Earth, the Hresvelgr and half a dozen ships disappeared. They won’t answer anyone. I think Sol has something planned, some idea to end the war. But unless they succeed, unless they’re proved right, they will go down in history as traitors, as fools.

My family are calling them cowards. The news is calling them traitors, for apparently, Earth has approached us to discuss a cease-fire. I want to believe they’re knights-errant, doing what others won’t to keep the colonies safe.

I hope I’m right.

I wonder what Chiaki would have done?

Entry 9 – War Without End; 22nd August 2243

The people hate Earth again. Caster Team are heroes. Sol and the Hresvelgr exposed Earth plans to assassinate our President at the peace talks we had all been anticipating. Pixy destroyed the ship carrying nuclear bombs to destroy the President’s vessel.

I think we were all surprised at how… how evil the Earth forces were. This had been a war – two fleets fighting – not whatever this was. We feel even less safe now. They’ve done this once, they aren’t going to stop.

Entry 10 – Dark Side; 18th September 2243

This was supposed to be over. We were supposed to win. The Colonies were united against Earth, we had the moral high ground, we were in the right here. We’d been attacked, invaded, and fought back.

Today, Sol – who by now is commanding a fleet – bombed New York. He sent a team through Earth’s orbital defence ring – not Caster Team, thankfully, his own unit of handpicked pilots – and fired down on one of the largest cities in the Northern hemisphere. The news reports thousands dead. This won’t end the war.

How is this different to when the MORGAN destroyed Block 4?

I had a letter from the recruiters, via my college – for I’ve still been able to attend. If I want to be a pilot, I can begin fast-tracked training next week. After all, they’ll need pilots for the invasion of Earth.

It’s been over a month since the MORGAN was fired. I think it is going to happen again.

Entry 11 – The Day The World Burned; 21st September 2243

We bomb New York. MORGAN destroys Island 14. Rather than destroying MORGAN, like Sol called for us to do, the Colonial Fleet destroyed Pallas City on the Moon. It’s a strategic target, Sol says. It’s a shipyard.

We are going to invade the Moon and destroy MORGAN that way.

Atrocities are just causing more atrocities. This isn’t our war any more, as much as they want us to help them fight it. This is a few powerful people trashing cities like a brat wrecks their room to make a point. I’ve stopped reading the newspapers, only the headlines. I get my news from the web, from kids as angry as me about this whole thing.

I burned the letter from the recruiters.

Entry 12 – Peace; 1st October 2243

The war is over and the wrong side won. That’s what the underground newspapers are saying.

Sol finally moved against the MORGAN and destroyed it. At the same time, the rest of Caster Team helped lead the attack against the remaining lunar fleets. We won in record time,

Because Sol sent the message the crowds had been demanding to the Earth forces. Pallas City was destroyed the other week. Serena, Kaguya and Ishtar are all now razed to the ground. The destruction of the MORGAN split the Moon’s crust and left yet more of it uninhabitable. The battle in orbit saw a space elevator destroyed, its fall causing tidal waves that annihilated swathes of America’s coast.

I think this victory is going to tear the colonies apart. There are a lot of people who think the way I do, that think this wasn’t the war they wanted.

Final Entry – 31st December 2243

I haven’t spoken to my family since the end of the war. I wouldn’t join them in the celebration of Earth’s defeat.

I’ve lost a lot of friends leaving my Island. I don’t think I’m still in touch with any of them.

The photographs of Caster Team ended up in the bin. But I did end up becoming a Frame pilot. The Asteroid Belt and a half dozen Islands declared independence, and I went to join them. There’ll be a time when the new post-war Colonial government decides it, too, needs to tell others what they should believe, and I don’t want to see my new countrymen burned to make a statement like the people of New York.

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