An Untitled Story about Spaceships

by J.T. FOSTER
 

“I will stop you.”

She whispers this into her helmet mounted transmitter. Nobody hears it. With all the energy weapons going off around her, the chances of any message getting through without significant interference are just about nil.

Her number three engine has just gone dead. She’s jarred off course, but quickly rights the craft. The dead engine is pulling her fighter down and to the left. She readjusts her flight stick to a neutral position. It’s not a perfect fix, but it’ll work long enough for her to kill this fucker.

What the hell is his deal anyway? Who the hell parks their fighter in a crowded spaceport full of soldiers and opens fire?

FLASH.

Shit, too close. She’s got to keep her mind on shooting this lunatic down, not on what his motives are. Who cares anyway? All she knows is that he killed a lot of people today, he is attempting to kill her, and that if she doesn’t kill him first, he will probably head straight for the space station. She will not allow that.

FLASH.

Too close again. Shit. How is he so good? Scum like him should go down easy.

She can’t seem to get behind him. She’s not even getting close to a clear shot. What the hell kind of fighter is he in?

BEEPBEEPBEEPBEEPBEEP

Shitshitshitshitshit. He just breached her shields. With his hull. How the fuck did he get so close? Her first reflex is to oversteer in the direction of shield breach, but breaches are usually made by weapon blasts, not by ships. She overrides her instincts and hits the afterburners while curving away to the left.

She’s got a comfortable distance between them now but this guy is insane. She didn’t even see him get close. Nobody is that fast.

FLASH.

Explosion to her right. A safe distance away. Scanners are still indicating he’s a few hundred meters behind. Not quite a safe distance, but she’s still confident.

FLASH.

Closer this time. Still not “too close” though. She’s fine. She’s fine. She’s fine. Fine. Shit! Where did he go? Stay calm.

She searches the scanners. Not there. Double check. Not there. Try for visual contact. No signs of him. Fighters don’t just—FLASH.

Shit! Too close. Where did he come from? She’s feeling less confident now. FLASH.

That blast explodes safely to her right again. She swings a hard turn to her left. He’srightinfrontofher—FLASHFLASHFLASH.

She misses him three times. She’s got her confidence back now though; it’s not impossible to get him in range. Time to go on the offensive.

FLASH.

Another “safe” explosion. This time to her right. She repeats her last maneuver in reverse—SHIT.

Missiles headed straight for the cockpit. She pulls up as fast as her craft will allow. They follow. Beepbeepbeep beeeeeeeeeep. Shit—asteroid. Where did that come from?

Missiles. She’s got to keep her mind on the missiles. What do you do with seeking missiles?

She flips the trigger switch, then instructs the computer to fly her missiles in front of the hostiles and then toward the asteroid at a slower speed. She hits the button; her own missiles go flying. She watches the computer carry out her instructions; they work. The hostiles are following her missiles now, headed toward that stupid fucking random asteroid.

FLAAASH.

All of them explode at once, blasting the asteroid into pebbles that are absorbed and disintegrated by her shields.

And now, where the hell did the other fighter go? Shit, straight for the space station. Of course.

He thinks she is dead. At least, she hopes he thinks that. She turns on her signal jammers—maybe he won’t notice her. She closes in.

500 meters.

400 meters.

Getting closer. He still hasn’t noticed her.

300 meters.

200 meters.

He’s still oblivious. She’s going to make it. What if he has shields?

Shit. There’s no way. Not on such a small fighter. Shit. 100 meters. 50 meters. His craft twitches; he’s noticed her.

25 meters. He begins to pull up and to the left. No matter, she adjusts her course slightly. She’s going fast enough that he’s not getting away this time.

10 meters.

“I think I win.”

7 meters.

3 meters.

1 meter.

FLASH.

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