In 2000, the Soltan Star Empire invaded Earth. After nine months of occupation, the Soltans retreated from Earth and took off back into space, specifically, the dark side of Mars. Aside from dozens of discovered Soltan strongholds and hidden monitoring stations left manned by a few hundred remaining Soltans per site, the invasion force literally disappeared from Earth. After nearly a decade and a half later, as the world was finally getting back to normal, an astronomer noticed activity in and around Mars; somehow, the Soltans were still operating on the dark side of Mars, possibly even setting up a massive invasion way point station somewhere on the backside of Mars. Although repeated attempts to send probes to Mars occurred, the probes always wound up "unresponsive" or "lost". Earth, through the United Nations, the World Security Council and its international force, G.U.A.R.D.,(specifically its space division called "ASTROGUARD") set up defenses and monitoring stations in orbit all around Earth to detect and initially defend against any space-faring attackers. Thousands of humans and even a handful of aliens (who'd been previously in captivity, marooned or left to die on Earth) worked feverishly to build up their defenses...and their first Earth starship: Terracer 1.
Terracer 1 was designed to be used offensively as well as defensively. It was topped off with a devastating Molecular Disintegration Beam (MDB) weapon that was designed to unleash unearthly amounts of molecular-level decohesion energy damage to anything that feel in the beam's path. To many, the weapon was the answer to use to take down the Soltans that were now believed to be amassing for a new 2nd invasion of Earth; an invasion that would be far more devastating and deadly than the first. To a few, this was considered a weapon of mass destruction on the level of a neutron bomb (which Terracer 1 was ALSO secretly equipped with over 50 Neutron Nuclear Missiles) and was not only unethical (even against the Soltans) but would 'make humans no better than the Soltans' as far as some were concerned. To that degree, the Terracer 1 and its crew, although trained and primed to fight the Soltans (which a majority of the crew had lost family or relatives as a result of Soltans), where left in 'standby' in orbit around Earth - unused. Admirals, GUARD leaders, international leaders and the World Security Council continued to argue and fight over the use of Terracer 1 as a 'killing' tool rather than a defensive tool. In the end, the United Nation won out and decreed that Terracer 1 was only to be used as a defensive weapon against extraterrestrial invaders like the Soltans. Nonetheless to say, the crew of Terracer 1, along with many of the world's citizens, specifically Britain's citizens, were angry over the UN's decision.
Even after years of debates about making Terracer 1 a forward-operating offensive weapon against the amassing Soltans on the far side of Mars, a band of ambitious ASTROGUARD, GUARD, military, British pro-offense organizations, American pro-offense organizations and a band of the earlier mentioned aliens (all of whom had a hand in building Terracer 1) got together and decided to perform a starship heist and effect the equivocal of a suicide offensive run against the Soltans on the far side of Mars. They all knew what they were doing was illegal, but most didn't care; they'd lost family, lives, wives, children and friends to the Soltans - they had nothing left but revenge in their hearts. Within weeks, these groups plotted a plan to steal Terracer 1, rendezvous the starship with several cargo ships loaded with provisions and weapons and also fly three squadrons of ASTROGUARD fighter spacecraft onto Terracer 1, all before anyone could stop them.
The day came when the Terracer 1 heist plan went into effect. A special 'ceremony' was established aboard Terracer 1 for a mass release of cremated remains of fallen soldiers/fighters who'd fought against the Soltans and had died. The plan was to stage thousands of 'actual' fighters with fake soot-filled urns disguising themselves as grieving relatives. Those 'grieving relatives', in conjunction with the pro-offense officers and crew of Terracer 1 would then instill a coup aboard Terracer 1 while it was out in orbit for the ceremony. Anyone who didn't want to stay on Terracer 1 to go help fight the Soltans would then be given access to shuttles to be able to fly back to the ASTROGUARD Space Station and/or Terracer 1's space dock facilities. From there, the pro-offensive crew and soldiers would, as mentioned earlier, rendezvous with cargo ships already in orbit, bring in flights of starfighters and then take off to Mars.
All that went according to plan except for one hitch: the pro-offensive leader, Admiral Donald Black and his executive team.
Admiral Black's forces successfully took over Terracer 1 without incident. Then, like clockwork, the mutinying crew gathered up those that did not want to side with Admiral Black and his forces and shuffled them off to waiting shuttle craft that took the non-mutineers to the ASTROGUARD Moonbase, Space Station and the space dock facilities. After that, the remaining new crew and mass of soldiers (who'd been disguised as the 'grieving' guests), now changed the ship's course and headed to rendezvous with the staged cargo ships. That is when things went badly.
A dedicated crew member who didn't believe in using Terracer 1 as a 'weapon of mass destruction' and seeing mutiny occur on 'his' Terracer 1 ship, hid on the ship's Bridge and decided to act against the mutineers. In a bold and deadly act, the dedicated crew member actually killed Admiral Black and all of his executive officers on the Terracer 1 Bridge, thus leaving no one qualified in charge. The remaining senior leaders, realizing they had no choice but to follow through with Admiral Black's detailed plans, continued to execute Admiral Black's plans in lieu of the loss of all their leaders.
After the cargo ships rendezvoused with Terracer 1, the Terracer 1 crew worked feverishly and quickly transferred their cargo and supplies onto Terracer 1, eventually docking four of the six cargo ships to the outer hull of Terracer 1 to be used as 'lifeboats' or atmospheric craft if need be. The remaining two cargo ships were cast adrift into space.
ASTROGUARD's response to the theft of Terracer 1 was a to launch all three squadrons of ASTROGUARD's Starfighter fighter craft to intercept and 'influence' Terracer 1 to surrender and return back to the space dock. When the fighters eventually ordered to fire on Terracer 1 for not complying with ASTROGUARD's orders, the Starfighter wing commander instead sent a final message back to ASTROGUARD stating that the entire Starfighter wing had already agreed to join Admiral Black's 'commandeering' of Terracer 1 with all pilots intending to join the Terracer 1's new crew to take the fight to the Soltans. Suffice to say, the crew of Terracer 1 erupted in cheers upon hearing the news, unlike ASTROGUARD's commander who cursed the 'mutineers' for 'leaving Earth without a ship to defend themselves against any new invaders from space'. At that point, Terracer 1 transmitted a pre-recorded message made by Admiral Black back to ASTROGUARD describing their new mission to wipe out the Soltans at Mars and get vengeance in the name of Earth. Every single 'conspirator' and 'mutineer' name of those who wished to be identified was read off, ensuring their names would be heard by the world as "Earth's Tip of the Spear" against the Soltans. They stated they knew this was going to be a one-way trip and that they were doing it for the people of Earth. The transmission closed with "God Bless the People of Earth. God Bless our families and friends and May God grant us a successful mission in the name of humanity. Keep a light on to let us know you are thinking of us. Goodbye, Earth. We'll take it from here".
During the transmission, the three squadrons of newly mutinied Starfighter pilots landed in the Terracer 1 hangar bay, they were greeted with rousing roars of cheers and accolades from the new pro-offensive Terracer 1 crew. Sadly, the Starfighter wing commander, Captain Alexander McDonald (codenamed 'Starfighter' since he was the superhero leader of the Astroguardians once as well as the designer and first-ever qualified pilot of his own 'Starfighter' space fighter craft) was immediately informed of the unexpected deaths of Admiral Black and his executive officers on the bridge. As it turned out, officially, Captain McDonald became the new highest ranking member of Admiral Black's previously established leadership chain, much to Captain McDonald's chagrin. Captain McDonald quickly realized that there was no one else even remotely qualified to lead the ship's crew, sadly making him the only viable candidate to take charge. He knew he was originally sixth in line for leadership, but never suspected he'd actually be in charge in this scenario. He had to make a decision and quick.
In an attempt to see if there was anyone else desiring to lead the crew, McDonald, the next day, held a democratic vote with the crew, with McDonald hoping that maybe someone else would want the position.
Not surprisingly, McDonald won the election in a landslide vote.
The crew, upon hearing the results of the voting, began chanting 'Starfighter! Starfighter!' calling upon 'Captain Starfighter' to come forward and take charge. As part of his acceptance, he described each member of the new Terracer 1 crew as being 'Starfighters' unto themselves, fighting amidst the stars for Earth's survival. He called upon each crew member to hunker down and give him and the crew and this mission 150%, otherwise everything they'd be fighting for could be lost. With that, the crew roared once again with cheers and chants that went on for almost an hour. From that point on, the ship and crew were now 150% committed; committed to what all considered to be a one-way suicide trip of revenge to wreck havoc and devastation unto the Soltans on the dark side of Mars.
Today, on Earth, the mutinous 'Starfighters' (as they are now called), officially, are all considered criminal mutineers and international thieves and military saboteurs, all of whom have been awarded in absentia 25 year of jail sentences for their actions...not that any 'Starfighter' aboard Terracer 1 cares about 'official' charges; they, after all, were on their way to die for humanity. Earth is aware of Admiral Black and his executive team's fate and that 'Captain Starfighter' was now in charge with no intention of altering their mission or purpose. To many on Earth, the Starfighters are already legend; to a few, the Starfighters are responsible for what is considered 'Earth's genocide' in their selfish, suicidal attempt to childishly get even with an overwhelming mass of Soltans, all of which are expected to make their way back to Earth to decimate the planet once the Starfighters mission fails miserably.
The new crew of Terracer 1 has since gotten into a routine of watch-standing as well as performing daily training drills and combat preparations against the Mars-hidden Soltans. The trip is expected to take 20 months to get to Mars due to the lack of sling-shotting from Earth's or its Moon's orbit and the low-powered ion engines capabilities. They expect to run into Soltan patrols, defensive stations and even Earth's forces trying to haul them back to Earth.
Captain Starfighter continues to lead this unique Terracer 1 crew in their dedicated, yet suicidal mission to take out the Soltans on the far side of Mars. None of the crew expects to live through this mission, but they intend to use every single neutron nuclear missile and the Molecular Disintegration Beam (MDB) weapon against the Soltans. One of the worst case scenarios has identified that in using that much firepower, they might actually damage Mars and its orbit in the process of getting revenge against the Soltans.
We'll have to wait and see what happens to our heroic Starfighters next!