Chains – Chapter Seventeen

“I have dropped Jen, I say about one minute until ze Diamondback arrives”

Hania’s little ship may have been one of the best fighters the feds had built, but she had no guns on this fast dash race. The mass handicap alone would have defeated their jump range, it was a non starter. But now she really wished she at least had a chaff pod.

The red eagle thundered out ahead of her in a white flash of energy and thrusters.

Jennifer’s voice broke out over the narrow band channel.

“OK, fuel line out, make it to half a tank and we’re good. Euan will fill us both at the next stop.”

The orange hose snaked out behind the eagle as Hania formed up behind it.

After a few seconds she could feel the rattling hum of hydrogen flowing under high pressure into the Condor’s tank.

“30 seconds. Charge your drive Hania.”

The mass lock warning illuminated. It often did when doing fuel runs.. but no.. Wait that was with the T6. Not filling from the eagle.. it was too small..

The radio cracked into life.

“Hania, we need to go now!”

The contact marker for the eagle switched from a friendly rectangle into the hostile triangle indicating that Jen had deployed her weapons.

She punched up the jump target and hit engage just as the fuel hose snapped away. Her heart thumped in her ears as the circular nav compass marked the jump corridor just behind, she swung the ship down and right to align.

Without warning the shocking image of an angled black craft appeared ahead only a fragment of a second before it grew to fill her whole view. Before she could react her Condor slammed into the Diamondback’s wing and spun away from the jump.

“Shields offline.. hull damage detected.. canopy compromised..”

“Hania! Make the jump!”

Jennifer’s eagle lanced out with its single pulse laser. The shields of the larger ship flaring electric blue signalling a the hit.

Another crack heralded the arrival of the second Diamondback, Hania caught the flash of spotlights from the first ship out the corner of her vision. Two harpoons slammed into the hull of her ship, and suddenly pulled her sideways.

Terror filled her head. The black ship was reeling her in to an open cargo door. She gripped the flight stick in panic, jinking the tiny craft against the cables now drawing her along.

“Boost Kid!”

Jens crackled voice broke through the rushing dread. She looked down at her left hand, pulled the engine into reverse and squeezed the grey thruster trigger.

The sharp multi G acceleration snapped her head back into the seat rest and crushed the air from her lungs. Then, just as her vision began to grey out she was flung forward on her straps as the ship suddenly caught the tether. Another lurch and the fighter burst forwards again, yawing along clockwise.

Over the right side of the cockpit wall she saw Jens Eagle flying backwards firing it’s weapons as she streaked by. She turned her head to follow the ship as she passed, she could see one of the cables still attached snaking behind and let out an angry cry of despair. She watched powerless as the thin silver wire sliced through the eagle’s side, severing one of the wings like it were made of paper. A spray of metal and dust burst from the mortally wounded craft just as the radio cracked into life one more time.

“Jump Hania!”

The mass lock was clear.. she closed her tear filled eyes and slipped into the void.

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