Chains – Chapter Ten

Drives flared, shafts of energy danced from all angles. The debris of the freighter raced past them as Euan disengaged the flight assist and the fighters broke away. The T6 could take a lot of punishment but unlike the Condors could do little more than soak up weapons fire. The scarab shape of the Asp spun into view just as it began to boost away from the wreckage.

On paper the Asp and T6 were evenly matched as cargo haulers but the Asp outclassed his ship in nearly every other respect. The Empire and the Federation both used to great effect them as gunboats, often packing them with rail guns or multi-cannons.

The T6 slammed sideways into a cargo canister. It exploded in a shower of sparks and golden dust. Grain probably. Euan pulled on the flight control to counter the sideways movement. G-Forces pressed him painfully into his seat as the Asp tumbled past above him.

A sidewinder streaked by, followed by two Condors. Kinetic weapons blazing, shields flaring blue as another sidewinder fired a well timed barrage of frag rounds. The fighters diverged to reveal Morris’s Eagle heading directly for the pirate. Morris triggered the Eagle’s twin beam weapons. Laser fire poured over the target. It’s shields flashing white and then collapsing. The Sidewinder began to turn a tight arc towards Morris, just outside of each others weapons arcs the two ships spiralled and twisted. Neither pilot scoring hits on the other.

Jen’s voice twitched into Euan’s earpiece.

“Need some help here! Euan I’m heading straight for you.”

Euan looked up to see her Condor trailed by two sidewinders, each firing bursts of red death towards her.

“Roger Sketch, bring them under me!”

Euan spun the ship around towards the incoming fighters and hit boost while pushing hard on the vertical thrusters.

“PROXIMITY WARNING”..

Euan lined up with Jen’s ship and triggered the shield cell. The distance between the ships was eaten away rapidly before finally the Condor flashed below. He pulled the nose of the ship up just as Jenifer did the same. The pirate sidewinders turned up towards her, intent on keeping her red target in their sights. The first sidewinder scored a handful of hits on her port wing while the other careened into the belly of the T6 and exploded in a white flash.

Euan’s head was flung forward as the ship lunged from the impact. The shield indicator was a deep cherry but still up. Parts of the sidewinder smashed upwards trailing sparks and flashes of gas.

“One down! Other two jumping!” Yelled one of the others.

An Eagle rolled past from above and lined up to target the fleeing Asp. Euan could see it spin around, flying backwards it could continue to head away from the planet’s orbit while also firing. The Eagle dodged a solid red beam at the last moment, more pulses of burst laser fire erupted from underneath the Asp.

Three Condors converged on the escaping ship. The odds were fair now. The Asp was big and strong but not as nimble as the fighters. The mass of Euan’s T6 would also cast a shadow that would slow down the Asp jump sequence. It was going to be a fight to the bitter end. It was time for Euan to sound a bit more official, maybe this could end early..

“Pirate Asp, this is the Breckland Militia. Stand down your weapons!”

The torrent of laser fire stopped suddenly as the Asp began to turn away.

“MISSILE WARNING!”

Euan gritted his teeth and pushed the old ship into a dive towards the planet.

The missile curved wide above him. He was travelling too fast now to out turn the missile and nowhere near fast enough to out run it. The pitch of the warning sounds increased as the missile closed in on him painting it’s silent silver trail of exhaust like thin thread of cotton.

It struck. The view of the world jerked sideways and Euan’s head was slammed into the side of the headrest. Blackness and silence engulfed everything.

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