It was early morning when I like usual entered my offices in Marsden City (Yaroklis System). I sat down into comfortable leather chair, enjoyed freshly prepared cofee and then started read detailed reports of the SJC Faction which were prepared by Deborah. We had in last few weeks quite unusual rise of influence in more of our systems, where we in some reached almost an expansion threshold ... something, what was undesired to happen at this time. I've thought about "We" and "our", and it had amuse me, because the Ghost Legion, which was my home for a few years already, was not always positively supporting our faction The Sovereign Justice Collective. We still are, like in the past, a force operating behind the scenes serving the needs of Chancellor Zahra Arias to help her build and maintain a Faction which not always knew what is the best for itself.
However my amusement took only a short time because Deborah unexpectedly entered the room with a serious expression on her face. Before I could ask her what the hell is going on, she put in my hand a legionnaire_ communicator that showed an incoming message with priority 1. Priority 1 meant very urgent matter, because existed just only one higher level of messages, which I have experienced only once in the past when was performed an assassination attempt on a Chancellor, and SJC had temporarily lost control about our home system Phiagre. I've put my finger on communicator's fingerprint reader and in next moment almost felt the chilling presence of death. We have all heard many times that the Thargoids began to operate deep inside of the bubble, but it was only a "distant call" at the best. However it was obvious that this has changed right now. Our neighboring friendly faction, the G.O.M. Collective, was suffering from strong Thargoid's attack held in system LTT 911 which is distant only few tens light years from Phiagre. GOM were asking for help and Legion got an order to act.
The earlier weeks of preparations have paid off now. Engineer Ram Tah advised to try new guardian_ based weaponry in combination with new ship launched fighters and "old" AX Multicanons which however were now available also in large variant and thus still very potent weapon especially against small and nimble targets like Thargoid scouts. Deborah finished preparations of my "AX_Styx" which was Krait Mk II equipped with two large turreted AX Multi-cannons, two medium Gurdian Gauss Cannons and long range large beam with thermal vent to help maintain ship heat at low levels.
Combat reports, which we had at disposal, were saying that Thargoid's do much less damage to the "cold" targets, and therefore I've decided to follow this advice till we will got more own experience. We also have added, in the last moment, one small decontamination limpets controller and smaller cargo module with 8 limpets because we got advise that in local fights with thargoids could be big amount of persistent corrosive damage and decontamination limpets should be the easiest counter to it.
We've arrived into LTT 911 and as first we noticed burning Brunel City, damaged Jokester's Station, and then system FSS scan showed than in local space are several areas (so called AX Combat zones) where were local forces fighting Thargoids. We also got info that into system have arrived Aegis Defense mega-ship Vanguard_ which started coordinating defense. Vanguard_ was located into rings of the Gas giant LTT 911 2. I've decided to fly there first for acquiring latest actual information before we go fight.
We left the Vanguard_ after few minutes and needed only short flight in Super-Cruise before we visited for a first time AX combat zone. Local forces greeted us and asked for help. I gave an order to Deborah to launch in a XG9 Lance (a small fighter equipped with latest Guardian_ technology) and extracted AX_Styx's hardpoints. Initial fight was going quite well although Scouts were doing some damage to our ship through shield. First real troubles happened in a moment when was Styx_ hit by a weapon inflicting a persistent corrosive damage. It didn't looked too dangerous at first, but with continuosly reduced hull armor I felt a first panic attack. Then I remembered that we were warned that this will happen and therefore we added decontamination limpets. Proper use of these limpets needed some practice first, but in the end they worked very well and all corrosive damage was removed. We were at this moment somewhere at 70% of hull integrity when suddenly situation significantly deteriorate. Battle was joined by two Thargoid interceptors at the same time and they "announced" theirs arrival with energy wave which overloaded (switched them off) powerplants on all human ships in reach. The next fight did not proceeding too well, these Interceptors were too fast (especially Basilisk_ variant how we have found later), they regenerated damaged bodies and were inflicting much higher damage as I expected. They also deployed so called "Swarm" (they cause the most damage) which consist of numerous drones which are able autonomaly operate in offensive or defensive modes. We fled, with big amount of luck, from that first fight with 15% of hull integrity and returned at the Vanguard_. There I immediatelly moved ship into hangar and have had with Deborah a long talk about tactics, changes in equipment and mainly about her personal presence in fight. She did not liked my decision to keep her safe, but results of our first fight with Thargoid interceptors spoke clearly. These beings were too dangerous and small SLF, although with guardian_ weaponry, was not any real threat to them. SLF's hangar was therefore removed and changed for upgraded hull reinforcement. Next to this I got confirmation, that into system have arrived another commanders from Legion. I've asked Deborah to estabilish communication channel and coordinate our further combat activities.
Further fight was much more intense and was not going any easier. Wing pilots has needed regularly withdrawn from fight for rearming and repairing. However we slowly improved our tactics and learned how to recognize different types of the Interceptors. There were four types (Cyclop, Basilisk_, Medusa and Hydra), where the first two types were manageable for us, the next two were not so much for now. We soon have achieved our first kill of the Interceptor and were dominating combat zones unless arrived Medusa or Hydra. Especially that last one was really serious threat, its Swarm was massive and ability to reach instakill was high. For killing these was needed much more experience and differently equipped ships, as we had at the moment. Our ships in the end returned to Vanguard_ for proper maintenance and safe rest of us pilots. We agreed to continue next day ...
I tried to sleep but I was unable to do so. Deborah, which was observing our fighting from Vanguard_ board, came with idea to try dividing Interceptors and use local forces for coordinated attack against only one from them. It was new application of the "old" tactic which was many times succesfully used with just basic ships in humans combat zones. I returned to Styx_ cockpit and alone headed to nearest AX combat zone. I quickly destroyed initial wave of Scouts when arrived Cyclop and Basilisk_. I sidetracked Basilisk_ away, and noticed that local forces were able dealt some damage to the Cyclop. I've joined them and short time later celebrated my first "solo" kill of the Interceptor. Basilisk_ then have returned at the scene, but it was already enough for me. I've retracted ship's hardpoints and then quickly left the still ongoing battle. It was pleasant ending of this day ...