There's a lot of traffic going through Quivira these days.
Civilian ships duck and dart in between the weary combat vessels. Shuttles pour up from the planet's surface bringing more people to the station, full of families separated under duress and carrying their precious lives with little else to speak of. Fearful of the unknown and frightened of what the future holds.
The luxurious Orca passenger ship emerges from the depths of the station and wobbles as it launches from the pad. Such ships are normally commissioned by the rich for tourism and luxury trips through safe systems. As the ship passes by I look across. The view panels are transparent, forgotten in the rush to leave and there is no privacy. Frightened children cling to their mothers. One young face drawn haggard with fear looks up, finding my gaze and seeking what from me I do not know.
A nearby pad that has been holding quietly picks up a sudden flurry of activity as a viper war machine launches rapidly. Station navigation control scream at the ship to move to a safe holding area within the station, they were just as surprised and try to reason with the pilot. The exit is already busy and nearly overloaded, and another ship vying for the same space as the Orca would just be too much.
The shields of the viper glow a brighter reinforced blue and the engine thrusters bleed white as the boost kicks in. Heading straight for the passenger vessel at ramming speed there is no room left to manoeuvre, and the collision spins the Orca into the side of the entrance. The hull snaps in half and bodies start to pour out. Some back into the station while others drift helplessly out past the atmo shields and out into the vacuum of space.
Klaxxons sound and a quick witted tech has started lowering the blast shields. Somehow the viper manages to escape out of the station and the stunned weapon crews struggle to bring their external station weapons into tracking arc.
Ships stop dead inside the station. Hospital shuttles and jetpack crews scramble to recover those floating inside the station. Those left outside turn to scan the wake of the viper, posting their data feeds back to the station before jumping out in pursuit.
Chaos reigns and the co-ordinated escape is disrupted for several hours while the Patreus war machine moves ever closer.
Scanning the bulletin boards has some new missions arrive from system command: fight in this combat zone, hunt that command officer, more supplies needed. Urgently. Always urgently. For once though a delivery time of tens of minutes through the blockade will make a difference here. A special mission has been raised for that viper pilot. I'm tempted.
The Quivirans have surely lost their home world; the Patreus war machine won't be stopped here and now. Help the people flee. Help the people survive.