Sakamoto sat in the pilot ready room of the Akagi, a water bottle in one hand and a pamphlet of papers in the other. He stared at the far wall.
The Pamphlet was a list of names of all the ship’s pilots that had been hastily re-written by the quartermasters in the aftermath of the battle.
Where there had once been four rows of names, now there was barely one.
“this a private party, or can anyone join?”
Sakamoto looked up in surprise to see Fleet Marshall Genda himself stepping through the hatch.
“Sir!” Sakamoto said, jumping to his feet and snapping to attention.
“at ease, Commander” Genda replied. It took a moment for Genda’s words to sink in.
“c-c-commander, sir?’ Sakamoto spluttered. Genda smiled, before holding out a small box with the requisite rank pins sitting inside.
“I am in need of a new flight commander, in light of our…recent losses. Congratulations, commander.”
Sakamoto took the box in his hands. Commander….from ensign to commander in one promotion….
“thank you sir” he said as he took the pins and affixed them to the collar of his flight suit.
“something on your mind, Commander?” Genda asked, noticing Sakamoto still seemed tense.
Sakamoto looked up at his superior. Despite everything, something had been bugging him ever since the battle started. He spoke.
“Sir…was it too easy? I mean…those two Alien vessels. They dwarfed everything in our fleet. Their shipboard weapons had regular accuracy I’ve only seen from our best gunners. Their fighters were flying rings around our craft. What was stopping them from coming down and vaping us? Why did they run?“
Genda looked past Sakamoto at the squadron board, the many, many aircraft numbers that had been crossed out.
Genda looked hard at Sakamoto.
“Two carriers, three destroyers, twelve frigates, and a battle cruiser. 9 squadrons worth of fighters. All taken by those two alien vessels, which, according to the statistics we received before the battle, are among the SMALLEST vessels of the Nightside fleet.”
“ Too easy, Commander?” He said quietly “If this was “too easy” I’m not sure we’re ready to face the hard battles……”
several hours later, after the Spartan vessels had returned to their regular patrol circuits and the Normans had returned to whence they had come, the fleet sat in orbit around Oolan VI, checking their losses and licking their wounds, picking up distress beacons on escape pods, and preparing to move in and finish off the few Enemy units on the surface.
none of the sensor array personnel on any of the ships noticed a small shape that, all to fleetingly, blocked out a few stars as it moved out from behind the planet.
A thin, rapier-like black shape.
Likewise, no one noticed as the vessel jumped to hyperspace, following a reverse of the coordinates utilized by the Koressan fleet not a few hours before…