Cavalieri Station, Electra System
"This is Coordinator Hendricks of the Oracle Starport, we, we have been attacked by Thargoids." The woman's voice came from the holo-cast punctuated by screams and explosions over a grainy vid track of the now instantly recognisable alien ships loosing volleys of their energy weapons into the station. "Their shutdown field, we had no idea they could use it against a star-port, our defences were useless, at the moment the station was immobilised they attacked. The focused on the main reactor and they hit it hard, preliminary reports indicate hundreds dead, possibly thousands with many more wounded. Any independent pilots, any available ships, anyone, please, help us."
Jellicoe, Claude and Vik watched in stunned, silent horror as the scenes unfolding on the film, the docking bay behind the coordinator rent with explosions and fires blazing out of control, the external camera footage of Thargoid ships pumping fire into the defenceless station and the raging inferno where the main reactor had been, the words 'hundreds dead, possibly thousands' ringing in their ears. Three times they watched in total silence, not just in shock at the tragedy that had unfolded but in the knowledge that their friend, for one of them a wife was trapped aboard the station.
"Is the Resolution spaceworthy?" Jellicoe asked in a voice barely above a whisper.
"Yes," Vik replied quietly, shock and worry audible in his voice, "repairs aren't complete but she'll make it.
"Tell the crews to stop work and get everyone on board, we launch as soon as I can get clearance."
Oracle Starport, Pleiades Sector IR-W D1-55
"My God!" Claude whispered as they dropped out of Super-cruise and saw the full state of the damaged station, a whole section of the hab-ring simply blown away, duralium girders bent and twisted where almost a third of the ring looked to have been ripped away from the rest of the station, fires raged out of control in the rear section and the main reactor blazing an ominous shade of blue
"Commander you're through to flight control." A tired, fearful sounding voice came through. "This station is undergoing emergency evac procedures, do not request docking unless you intend to rescue survivors."
"Roger that control, requesting permission to dock we'll take as many as I can cram in." Jellicoe replied, his voice trembling slightly even through his ice cold reserve.
"Commander the station airlock is operating at reduced capacity, take note of pressure fluctuations before you touch down. Proceed to pad 17"
The ships computer flashed a warning 'High temperatures ahead proceed with caution' and through the docking slot a vision seemingly culled from ancient depictions of hell came into view. Debris floated freely in the micro gravity of the vast docking tube, fires bloomed seemingly all around which combined with the emergency lighting to bathe everything a hellish shade of orange, explosions were visible as fire consumed whatever combustible materials had been awaiting loading when the attack struck.
"Hull temperature rising." Vik cautioned, "64% already."
"Commander we're advising all pilots to stay well clear of damaged structures, we're seeing multiple explosions in the inner dock." Control warned as they passed through the hell mouth.
"Pop a sink if you need to." Jellicoe barked, the warning was right the pressure in the tube was fluctuating wildly and the poor light and floating debris combined to make flying through it a nightmare, huge pieces of the structure itself blown into the corridor that could easily snag even a ship the size of the Resolution, and in that heat getting tangled and trapped could be fatal. An explosion went off to port as the coolant failed on a fuel tank, the blast rocking the ship, the pressure wave sending her slewing into the wall of the tube. Jellicoe fought with the stick to right his vessel, throttling back and thankful again to the work Palins team had put in on his thrusters.
"Landing complete, glad you made it in one piece Commander," Flight Control came through as soon as the ship touched down, "We're on borrowed time here though, don't stay any longer than you have to."
As soon as the ship was in the hangar Jellicoe called up his deck chief Kwame Saunders "Chief I want every inch of this ship that can be pressurised sorted out to carry people, we get as many as possible out of this place as we can, understood?"
"On it Skipper." A low, rich voice drawled back.
"This is Coordinator Wilder." A sharp, womans voice came through the coms. "I'll be blunt Commander, the Oracle needs your assistance, help us evacuate people or bring in aid, if that's not your thing then you are no use to us."
"Acknowledged control, we'll take as many as we can but is there anyone I can ask about my... sister? She was on the station during the attack?"
"Commander we're overwhelmed, so many dead and missing and too many waiting to get out for us to process properly. I hope your sister made it but I've no way of being knowing."
"Claude start embarking survivors as soon as the Chief gives you the go ahead, I'm going to look for Kira."
"Skipper don't be a fool," Claude replied in an iron hard voice, "there are thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people waiting to get off the station how do you imagine you're going to be abe to find one of them? The best we can do is to get as many off as we can and get to the rescue ship, they will be processing survivors, if Kira is alive she will end up there."
"You have my orders, get on with carrying them out." Jellicoe snarled before stalking off the bridge.
"There are times when I really don't understand you Claude." Vik said shaking his head.
"And I have never understood why it is necessary to become irrational in order to prove that you care... or indeed why it should be necessary to prove it at all."
The corridor from the hangar to the loading bays being used as temporary evacuation centres was horrendously hot, even through the cooling mechanisms of his flight suit Jellicoe was uncomfortably warm so what it must be like for anyone in everyday clothes he could only guess at, the noise from the emergency sirens combined with that of fires raging in the docking bay punctuated by periodic explosions to make the whole station feel like a war zone. He reached the end to be met be two armed soldiers.
"Can I help you sir?" The lead man asked.
"Commander Jellicoe, I'm looking for someone, let me through."
"Don't be a fool sir, there's thousands of people here, nobody knows who they are go back to your ship and get some of them away."
"Let me through..."
"Skipper," Claude's voice came through on his link, "We've got Kira on the line, get back here."
"Where are you?" Jellicoe asked back aboard the Resolution, his voive a mixture of shock and relief.
"On the rescue ship. " Kira replied a slight smile on her face and a hint of mischief in her voice. "Sorry to spoil your damsel in distress fantasy but I got myself out of there."
"Some dreadful little creep with a Cobra, seemed to think I should want to sleep with him just because he can fly a spaceship in a straight line."
"Do they know who you are?"
"Yes I had to get access to my credit accounts or the the little toad would never have left me alone, don't worry though Aegis have far more important things to worry about than where I am and the Pilots Federation control this ship and they seem rather protective of the wife of one of their Elite ranked members, always knew you'd have your uses, now get over here and let's get out of here."
The gratuitous Blake's 7 quote was quite deliberate if anyone's old enough to pick it up.