HMS Polly Jenkins.
The Spearhead-class heavy cruiser hung impotently at the edge of the star system.
The captain and its crew watched as the Grag invaded Litin Prime for a second time. This time, Litin couldn’t withstand their military might. Warships surrounded the planet, the Grag having expended lives and materiel to build a fleet fast.
They watched with horror as Litin tried to fight back.
They were slaughtered.
The captain held back the impotent rage he felt building up.
The Ministry of Defence, not the Navy, had been responsible for this, sending in the Dreadnaught Alexandria and the Polly Jenkins. The great warship had left for another mission, ordering the Polly Jenkins to stay behind and watch what happened.
It was torture for them.
But then the other message came through.
The one the captain had to have verified several times.
Terra had been hit by an asteroid. All ships were to return to the homeworld – or what was left of it.
But what would happen to Litin Prime?
The Polly Jenkins was stationed where the Grag could see them, but away from the battles. The Grag, so far, had shown more restraint than Litin had been used to, simply because of the heavy cruiser’s presence.
If they left now, what would happen?
Would the Grag still show restraint? Or would they just utterly slaughter Litin’s inhabitants, who had fought so valiantly not long ago to defend their homeworld the first time?
Homeworld, the captain’s mind said.
His mind was set now.
“Helm, set a course for Terra on a heading of two-three-four-mark-nine, and go when you’re ready. Jump to FTL on the other side of the planet.”
“Sir, that will take us near the Grag formations around Litin Prime,” the helmsman pointed out. “In the opposite direction to Terra.”
“So it does,” the Captain replied, his voice a study in faux shock. “Tactical, best arm everything and raise shields. You never know what could happen.”
The officers all blinked, and it suddenly dawned on them what the Captain was up to. None of them had wanted this assignment, none of them had wanted to be a part of such depravity as the Ministry of Defence had forced on Litin Prime. They had wanted to be on the opposite side, to assist the Litin.
The helmsman lay in the course, and the ship moved off, on a heading that would take it over Litin Prime’s northern pole.
The ship’s engines hummed louder as the FTL drive came online as well, the great vessel charging towards its inevitable destination.
“Fire at will,” the captain ordered.
The tactical officer nodded, licking his lips, and the Polly Jenkins’ weapons opened up, sending pulses of plasma, missiles and even torpedoes into the nearest Grag formations. Ships crashed and careened, ripped apart by the torrent of fire. The Grag didn’t know what to do, having previously believed that Terrans were their allies and benefactors.
Before they could react, the Polly Jenkins was already roaring to FTL, stretching and disappearing, leaving behind devastation in its wake.
The captain knew it wasn’t much, but it was something.
Now, they were racing home.