A short story from a spin-off universe almost forgotten.
Admiral George Lancer stood upon the bridge of the HSV Pride of London, as the old cruiser and her attendant force of a few dozen Brigadier-class Destroyers beared down upon the aliens beseiging the New Manchester Colony. The world's industrial cities burned brightly against the backdrop of space; the distinctive sillhouettes of her assailants cast upon the smoke and debris in orbit, as Helisian Navy vessels burned in her skies as they mounted their final stands.
Squinting at the situation, the Admiral exhaled deeply before turning to face his bridge staff; they knew what he was going to say. "Gentlemen," he started, shifting his gaze to New Manchester, "I'm not going to lie to you. This is a fight I don't think we can win." as the admiral spoke, the Pride of London's decks began to shudder as she entered the fray above the world. "But I'll be damned if we're not going to take as many of these alien bastards down with us as possible." he said, producing an expensive-looking golden cigar box from the inside pocket of his blazer, and proceeding to place one in his mouth before returning the box. "It will be our finest hour." he concluded, lighting the cigar and settling into his command chair.
Within seconds, Pride of London's forward belt was ablaze with incoming plasma fire as a quartet of warcruisers turned their attention to Lancer's newly arrived Fleet. The admiral new that Colonial Command's goal of saving the colony was flawed at best, but he also knew that Helisian Colonies don't fall to the enemy with ease; and that he'd fight 'till the last goddamn shell was spent. The London's eight, 'two-forty' batteries returned fire; sending orange tracers hurtling towards the attacking warcruisers, one of the shells found its mark; erupting into a bright fireball of twisted micro-filament armour fibres and debris - the Warcruiser lurched slighty, before falling off course.
Left right and centre, Lancer's destroyers were being picked off like flies; at least half had been reduced to flaming wrecks, and other half were scattered or retreating. The London herself had taken a beating. She had found herself and two other Helisian Armoured Cruisers; the Falklands and Ilse of Man, surrounded by alien warships; Lancer knew this would be the end.
Standing up from his chair, brushing off the explosions and sparks flying around the bridge, the Admiral stood before the observation window, brushing some dust from his blazer, he clasped his hands behind his back. "Our finest hour."
London's hull erupted into a fireball as multiple plasma blasts impacted upon the old warship; breaking her in half. Falklands faught on valiantly; her two-forty batteries inflicting multiple blows on an approaching Dreadnought, but she too, fell to the alien onslaught. With the Helisian Colony's defenses broken, and no more warships to commit to the fight, The Magistrate accepted defeat; New Manchester was gone, and the final war had just begun.
Prime Minister Gordon Rogers called an emergency meeting at the Magistrate Hall on New London; members of the cabinet gathered in the Hall, with the Chief of the Military and his advisors. Standing up to the Podium, Mr. Rogers cleared his throat.
"We are at war." he spoke, as a low murmer broke out in the Hall. "The Colony of New Manchester has fallen to an alien threat, and I am told the Navy has lost two fleets already in an attempted defence." his words were chilling, as silence filled the room. "I have called this meeting to address the situation, and explore any and all options we have, not just to retaliate, but to ensure our survival as a nation. Mister Montgomery?" the Prime Minister gestured to the Chief of the Military, who stood up to his podium.
"Given the events in New Manchester, I can confirm that the Helisian Navy is severely out-classed by the alien threat, Mister Prime Minister. With our current capability, including our losses that we have already sustained; I am unsure if an adequate defence can be staged." the Chief said what the Prime Minister had feared the most.
"What alternatives do we have, Mr. Prime Minister?" A cabinet member spoke out. "If the Navy cannot defend our colonies, what else do we have?"
The Prime Minister paused, before turning back to the Chief. "Mr. Montgomery, can the Navy muster a combat ready fleet within twenty-four hours?" he asked.
The chief turned to an advisor; quitely exchanging words, before looking back to the Prime Minister. "We can have a battle-strength fleet assembled in fourty-eight. Thirteen cruisers remaining, from the colonies of Birmingham and Cambridge, Prime Minister. That's all we have left."
"Then assemble what ships we have and assemble a fleet over New London. I'm executing Order Nine."