“Look alive, Renegades,” Gronk spoke to his squad through their comms. “It seems we’re going to have
some company. We just got intel from a hack that the Gols are sending Marines. They’re still a shot away,
though. And we’re outside their radar.”
The variety of ships that made up the Renegade squadron flew in no particular formation as they
approached the small moon ahead. A moon that, until recently, had not been charted in the Neutral Zone.
“What’s this place called, Sergeant?” One of them asked.
“It’s been designated Cygnus 21–12,” Gronk replied. “Ok, turn off your auto-systems and
computers.”
“Why’s that, Sergeant?” Asked Grendel, still new to combat.
“Didn’t they teach you tactics in boot camp, Grendel?”
“No, they didn’t, Sir” he replied. “They gave us a month of ship-to-ship combat training, taught us
weapons and ship systems and then we graduated.”
“Oh, yeah,” Gronk recalled his own training, “some things you learn in the thick of it.”
“History lesson?” One of the squad said rhetorically through their mic.
“History lesson,” Gronk replied. “You see, Grendel, somebody a long time ago decided that ‘bots
would do a better job fighting than humans so we made a ‘bot army and the Gols made a ‘bot army and it
took about two weeks before both sides learned how to hack and neutralize the other side’s ‘bots. Kinda
hard to fight a war when your army just sits there doing nothing five seconds into the fight.
“Biologicals can’t be hacked. Well, most can’t be hacked, anyway. But ship systems can be
hacked. So, before we even see an enemy ship or sniff a Reaver, we turn off our ship’s systems and take
manual control.”
“Right.” Grendel exhaled loudly. “I think they skipped that part in combat training.”
“We don’t have the luxury of spending tens of thousands of Tech on a single pilot to teach them
every little detail. The real lessons are learned out here.”
“Great,” Grendel replied.
“Don’t worry about it,” Gronk said. “At least they have to do the same thing. It’s the one
honourable thing the Gols do in combat, but only because they have no choice.”
“Gols don’t know the meaning of the word, Sergeant.”
“We’re coming up on Cygnus. Let’s turn on our filters and see what we’re dealing with,” Gronk
said. He reached up and flipped one of the many switches in the cockpit. A transparent slide moved down
over his HUD. As the slide locked into place and revealed the Meda activity on the moon his mouth

dropped open.

The entire moon glowed with white and gold waves, like the super heated belly of a ship on re-
entry.

“Unbelievable,” he muttered.
“Jackpot!” One of the others screamed into his microphone.
“That’s more Meda than I’ve ever seen in my entire life!” Cried another.
“I’m rich!” Screamed another.
“Keep it down!” Ordered Gronk loudly into the comms. “Now’s not the time. We’ve got a Gol
wing headed this way.”
The others fell silent or at least turned off their microphones as they continued exclaiming their
good fortune.
“Any ideas, Sergeant?” One asked.
“Two things,” Gronk said. “One is that this much Meda is going to attract a lot of attention. And
two is that we’re going to need to surprise them when they get here.”
The ships continued to close in on the moon.
“Follow me in and land on my spot,” he ordered.
“Land on it?” One of them said.
“Uh, Sergeant, do you think that it’s a good idea to get that close to that much Meda? Won’t it do
something to us?”
“You’d rather wait for the Gols to show up and decide then?” He was answered with silence.
“That’s what I thought. With me.”
Gronk headed for the surface of Cygnus with the rest of the squad not far behind. Once they suited
up and exited their spacecrafts they met their commanding officer at his ship.
“Ok,” Gronk said, “Now do as I say and maybe we’ll show those Gols how smart we Renegades
really are.”

The six Goliath Marine Corps attack fighters flew in close formation with such precision that they
would look like a single ship on any enemy radar. Viper flew in the lead position with the others around
and Torpedo at the back.
“We’re coming up on the moon. It’s designated Cygnus 21–12.”
“Any signs of life yet?” One of the pilots asked.
“No,” Viper replied. “But let’s turn off our systems and take manual before that even happens.

And make sure your evac suits are squared away. If you have to eject, you won’t last long if they aren’t
protecting you.”
The ships moved further away from each other but remained in the same formation before taking
manual control of their fighters.
“Are we expecting much resistance, Commander?”
“If the Meda readings on this moon are correct, the Renners would be insane not to send a squad –
either by order or on their own — to check it out. Renners would never give up the chance to mine some
Meda. Greedy scum.”
The fighters grew closer and closer to Cygnus, eventually attaining visual contact with the moon.
“Commander!” One of them exclaimed excitedly. “I see about fifteen ships on the surface of the
moon! Various sizes and classes, but definitely Renners.”
“Can anybody see the pilots?” Viper asked.
“Negative.”
“This may be easier than we thought,” Viper smirked. “Weapons live. Prepare to blow those ships
to pieces.”
“What about the pilots?” Torpedo asked. “It could take days for a carrier to get out here to pick up
prisoners. They could be dead by then.”
“What’s the number one rule of strategy they teach at the Academy, Torpedo?” Viper asked.
“The number one rule of strategy is: Never give up your advantage,” Torpedo replied.
“That’s right,” Viper said. “If they valued their ships, the greedy grunts should never have landed
and left them ripe for the picking. Understood?”
“Copy that, Commander,” Torpedo answered.
The fighters, still in formation, dove toward the vulnerable ships on the ground.
“Blue Ryder Two and Blue Ryder Three, on my command, target and destroy those ships on our
first run.”
“Copy that,” came the reply over comms.
The fighters dipped at a steep angle and fired a barrage at the helpless ships below. The ground
erupted into plumes of grey dust and rocks. The fighters pulled up and away.
“Confirmation, Blue Ryders Four, Five, and Six?” Viper asked.
Silence followed until a voice cracked over the comms, but the voice wasn’t coming from one of
the Goliath fighters.
“Surprise, you filthy Gols!” Sergeant Gronk screamed over the comms on a channel common for

both sides to monitor.
Viper twisted in the cockpit and looked down as the dust settled. The ships that were on the
ground remained intact, then flickered and disappeared, leaving nothing but barren waste. They’d been
decoys.
All fifteen Renegade ships appeared above the Goliath squad, bearing quickly down on them.
“It’s a trap!” Exclaimed Torpedo.
“Evasive maneuvers!” Viper yelled. “Split wing!”
The squad of six broke into two groups of three immediately, synchronized exactly together.
“Fire at will!” Gronk ordered, releasing a flurry of rounds at the closest Goliath ship, which turned
with its wingers and barely avoided being hit.
“Why do you always have to warn them like that?!” A voice came over the Renegade comms.
“A victory without honour is no victory, at all,” Gronk grinned to himself, knowing that the other
Renegade pilots understood the same.
“Get off our rock!” Gronk yelled into the common channel, his voice cracking through the
speakers of the Goliath ships.
“You are unauthorized to occupy this area. You have been warned. By order of the Goliath High
Command, you will be removed by force if you do not leave now,” Viper replied.
“Viper?” Gronk said through comms.
Viper, still maneuvering with her wingers, closed her eyes for a moment and shook her head.
“Sergeant Gronk?” She replied.
“Oh, it’s going to be a pleasure to dust you, Commander. It’s been a while, but I haven’t forgotten
what you did to my squad that day.” Gronk banked his ship hard, cutting off one of the other Renegade
ships as he focused his attention on Viper’s fighter. “Dust them all, but leave the leader to me!”
“Are you sure you brought enough ships, Sergeant?” Viper taunted the Renegade leader. “Fifteen
Renners against six Goliath Marines? It’s just not fair.”
Viper spun her ship around and released two shots that immediately disabled the engines of a
Renegade.
“Listen up, Wolf Pack! Use EMP shots against all their ships but the one marked as Commander.”
Gronk ordered his squad.
“What? Why?” Came the reply.
“Those fighters are priceless on the Renegade market. Meda and Gol fighers? Now, that’s a
prize!”

“But, Sergeant…-” One of them protested.
“Do it!” Gronk screamed the order. “You can space the pilot later, but don’t damage the ship! You
keep what you catch!”
Three fighters turned on one of the Renegade ships and, again, precision shots disabled the
engines.
“Thirteen against six, Gronk,” Viper chimed through the comms, just before hitting another
Renegade ship’s hull, causing the pilot to eject before the ship disintegrated on contact in the moon’s
surface. “Twelve.”
Renegade ships pitched and banked wildly, each one fighting on its own, barely working with the
others. Grendel found himself above three fighters just as they passed below him. He turned his ship and
fired frantically down. One of his shots found the last fighter in the formation. The concentrated EMP
disabled the engine of the fighter, which began to spin out of control.
“Well done, Grendel!” Gronk yelled. “You’ll be a rich man soon!”
Grendel could feel the sweat running down his face.
“I’m hit, Commander,” Torpedo said flatly.
“Make sure that your evac suit is working in case you have to abandon your fighter. Use your
pitch controls to stop your spin,” Viper ordered. “Get yourself clear of the fight and hope we win. You
don’t want to know what they’ll do to you if we lose.”
Torpedo swallowed hard.
“I have a problem, Sergeant,” came a voice over the comms.
“You should’ve gone before we left, Corporal. There’s no time for a toilet break now!” Gronk
laughed.
“They’re on me, Sergeant!” The voice cracked. “I can’t shake ‘em!”
Gronk turned to see three fighters trailing behind the largest ship in his squad. Before he could
react, Viper shot directly into the ship’s engines and it exploded with a burst of light.
“That’s eleven,” Viper said coldly over the comms.
“That’s it!” Gronk yelled. “Fire at will! Damn their ships and damn them! No survivors!”
“Finally!” Replied a Renegade, switching their ship’s weapons. “Light ’em up!”
The space above the moon erupted into a light show as the Renegades filled the sky with vibrant
rounds directed at the Goliath fighters. The fighters, not missing a beat, kept in close formation. Viper
came over the comms and addressed them.
“Under no circumstances allow them to get near Torpedo. None of us die today.”

“Copy that, Commander.”
A Renegade ship broke loose from the others and made a line for Torpedo. Torpedo’s wingers
replied in turn by immediately falling in behind the ship, opening fire, and turning it to dust.
“Leave that one alone!” Gronk yelled. “He’s already out of the fight. Get the others!”
Gronk heard Viper’s voice once again in his ears.
“Ten.”
Gronk grit his teeth, his jaw clenched, his knuckles turning white on his controls. He did not reply,
but turned his ship in Viper’s direction and let out a burst of his thrusters, pushing his body back into his
seat. He grunted with the force of it but recovered quickly. He had now turned his ship into a missile and
pointed it straight at Viper. He grunted under his breath.
“I may not make it,” he growled into the microphone of his helmet, “but neither will you.”
Viper heard the voice and arched an eyebrow. The hair on the back of her neck suddenly raised
and she instinctively checked her flank just in time to see the Renegade ship bearing down on her but it
was too late to react. The hull of Gronk’s ship grazed the starboard engine of Viper’s fighter, sending both
ships into a spin and disabling them. The two pilots quickly regained stability but both ships floated
helplessly in the void until they found themselves face to face, inching closer and closer, until their noses
bumped. Viper and Gronk stared at each other from their cockpits with cold hatred.
“Concentrate all firepower on their leader,” one of the Renegade pilots called out and the nine
remaining Renegade ships turned toward Viper’s ship, closing down on it. “But don’t fire until you have a
clear shot and Sergeant’s ship is clear.”
“Defend the Commander!” One of the Marines barked across the comms and the fighters all
turned in unison toward the two helpless enemies, nose to nose.
Viper released her harness and drew her pistol. Gronk reacted the same. Both frantically moved to
the top hatches of their ships and opened them, pointing their weapons at the other in the distance. Just as
they took aim the ships around them went silent.
A large destroyer, painted red and thousands of times larger than any of the small ships in the
fight, appeared in the sky above them. The Renegade markings on the side identified it easily.
Its shadow passed over Viper and Gronk and they both looked up at it. Gronk laughed. Viper
looked at her fighter wing as each ship lost power, victims of a massive EMP charge from the Renegade
destroyer. Torpedo, using his ship’s pitch controls, took position only thirty meters from Viper’s fighter.
The others in the Goliath wing did their best to do the same and then each of them went to their ships top
hatch, drew their weapons, and began to exit. Viper spoke to her wing.

“Goliath past. Goliath present. Goliath future.”
“Goliath forever,” the others answered.
The remaining Renegade ships took up position just behind Gronk but before they could aim their
weapons at their enemy, another ship suddenly appeared. It was just as large as the first, coloured a deep,
dark blue and proudly displayed Goliath Nation insignia. Another massive EMP now disabled the
Renegade ships behind their leader. Viper looked at Gronk and smirked.
“What now?” Torpedo asked through comms.
Gronk looked at Viper with a cold, hard stare and gripped the handle of his pistol.
“Now it gets interesting,” Viper replied, leveling her pistol at Gronk once again.

“But, Sergeant…-” One of them protested.
“Do it!” Gronk screamed the order. “You can space the pilot later, but don’t damage the ship! You
keep what you catch!”
Three fighters turned on one of the Renegade ships and, again, precision shots disabled the
engines.
“Thirteen against six, Gronk,” Viper chimed through the comms, just before hitting another
Renegade ship’s hull, causing the pilot to eject before the ship disintegrated on contact in the moon’s
surface. “Twelve.”
Renegade ships pitched and banked wildly, each one fighting on its own, barely working with the
others. Grendel found himself above three fighters just as they passed below him. He turned his ship and
fired frantically down. One of his shots found the last fighter in the formation. The concentrated EMP
disabled the engine of the fighter, which began to spin out of control.
“Well done, Grendel!” Gronk yelled. “You’ll be a rich man soon!”
Grendel could feel the sweat running down his face.
“I’m hit, Commander,” Torpedo said flatly.
“Make sure that your evac suit is working in case you have to abandon your fighter. Use your
pitch controls to stop your spin,” Viper ordered. “Get yourself clear of the fight and hope we win. You
don’t want to know what they’ll do to you if we lose.”
Torpedo swallowed hard.
“I have a problem, Sergeant,” came a voice over the comms.
“You should’ve gone before we left, Corporal. There’s no time for a toilet break now!” Gronk
laughed.
“They’re on me, Sergeant!” The voice cracked. “I can’t shake ‘em!”
Gronk turned to see three fighters trailing behind the largest ship in his squad. Before he could
react, Viper shot directly into the ship’s engines and it exploded with a burst of light.
“That’s eleven,” Viper said coldly over the comms.
“That’s it!” Gronk yelled. “Fire at will! Damn their ships and damn them! No survivors!”
“Finally!” Replied a Renegade, switching their ship’s weapons. “Light ’em up!”
The space above the moon erupted into a light show as the Renegades filled the sky with vibrant
rounds directed at the Goliath fighters. The fighters, not missing a beat, kept in close formation. Viper
came over the comms and addressed them.
“Under no circumstances allow them to get near Torpedo. None of us die today.”

“Copy that, Commander.”
A Renegade ship broke loose from the others and made a line for Torpedo. Torpedo’s wingers
replied in turn by immediately falling in behind the ship, opening fire, and turning it to dust.
“Leave that one alone!” Gronk yelled. “He’s already out of the fight. Get the others!”
Gronk heard Viper’s voice once again in his ears.
“Ten.”
Gronk grit his teeth, his jaw clenched, his knuckles turning white on his controls. He did not reply,
but turned his ship in Viper’s direction and let out a burst of his thrusters, pushing his body back into his
seat. He grunted with the force of it but recovered quickly. He had now turned his ship into a missile and
pointed it straight at Viper. He grunted under his breath.
“I may not make it,” he growled into the microphone of his helmet, “but neither will you.”
Viper heard the voice and arched an eyebrow. The hair on the back of her neck suddenly raised
and she instinctively checked her flank just in time to see the Renegade ship bearing down on her but it
was too late to react. The hull of Gronk’s ship grazed the starboard engine of Viper’s fighter, sending both
ships into a spin and disabling them. The two pilots quickly regained stability but both ships floated
helplessly in the void until they found themselves face to face, inching closer and closer, until their noses
bumped. Viper and Gronk stared at each other from their cockpits with cold hatred.
“Concentrate all firepower on their leader,” one of the Renegade pilots called out and the nine
remaining Renegade ships turned toward Viper’s ship, closing down on it. “But don’t fire until you have a
clear shot and Sergeant’s ship is clear.”
“Defend the Commander!” One of the Marines barked across the comms and the fighters all
turned in unison toward the two helpless enemies, nose to nose.
Viper released her harness and drew her pistol. Gronk reacted the same. Both frantically moved to
the top hatches of their ships and opened them, pointing their weapons at the other in the distance. Just as
they took aim the ships around them went silent.
A large destroyer, painted red and thousands of times larger than any of the small ships in the
fight, appeared in the sky above them. The Renegade markings on the side identified it easily.
Its shadow passed over Viper and Gronk and they both looked up at it. Gronk laughed. Viper
looked at her fighter wing as each ship lost power, victims of a massive EMP charge from the Renegade
destroyer. Torpedo, using his ship’s pitch controls, took position only thirty meters from Viper’s fighter.
The others in the Goliath wing did their best to do the same and then each of them went to their ships top
hatch, drew their weapons, and began to exit. Viper spoke to her wing.

“Goliath past. Goliath present. Goliath future.”
“Goliath forever,” the others answered.
The remaining Renegade ships took up position just behind Gronk but before they could aim their
weapons at their enemy, another ship suddenly appeared. It was just as large as the first, coloured a deep,
dark blue and proudly displayed Goliath Nation insignia. Another massive EMP now disabled the
Renegade ships behind their leader. Viper looked at Gronk and smirked.
“What now?” Torpedo asked through comms.
Gronk looked at Viper with a cold, hard stare and gripped the handle of his pistol.
“Now it gets interesting,” Viper replied, leveling her pistol at Gronk once again.

About Cryptomeda

Cryptomeda is a gaming ecosystem that uniquely blends NFT collectibles, DeFi mechanics, and iconic crypto characters into an exciting fantasy world. Players of all experience levels can explore Cryptomeda and find various opportunities to earn; whether it is finding rare collectibles, winning prize pools, receiving ranked rewards, or acquiring an ultra-rare Revolution card, traversing the world of Cryptomeda is both fun and highly rewarding. To tie the world together, all economic activity is facilitated by one unified currency — TECH.

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