Flight Number 9239 (Part 2) (click to download)
The pirate named Mard quickly readjusted his ship as it started to drift out of the line. Two rows of dark, small pirate starfighters faced each other, creating a path to the frigate named, Space Shark. Any ship traveling toward the frigate would immediately be shot down. Mard was impatient, tapping the smooth metal on the control panel next to his maneuvering stick. He hoped his boss was right about how the enemy ships would enter, and if the pirates were far enough apart to not hit each other. His boss had given them a specific width that the rows were to be apart. As for the height, any ship that received the distress beacon would set their course straight toward the frigate, putting them at the perfect height and destination.
Mard was about to start complaining into his mic, when suddenly a flash erupted toward the start of the two lines. Right where a ship was suppose to enter. Perfect. Mard clutch the trigger on his maneuvering stick, ready to give the intruder a taste of pirate blaster fire. But there was no pilot, nor a ship.
Mard shifted his eyes franticly. Where’d he go!? He thought, searching the dark space for signs of the missing craft. Then, softly, the humming sound of a nearing ship reached his ears.
Without warning, the starfighter at the end of Mard’s row burst into flames, flinging hot shrapnel out and into the ship next to it. The explosion caused a chain reaction. Mard’s boss hadn’t given them directions on how far apart the rows were to be spread. The starfighters were too close. Ship after ship caught fire as the line shortened.
Boost watched the exploding line of dark fighters. He had cloaked just in time. They had hesitated long enough so that he could fly under their line of fire and shoot the exposed underside of the end fighter.
Nova’s emotionless voice crackled on in Boost’s helmet, “Warning, current opacity at twenty percent and dropping.”
Boost looked up from his control panel to see the last ship of the row burst, but there was still the second. He cracked his knuckles. Now that the odds are even… He grasped the maneuvering stick on his control panel and jammed it forward.
Nova lurched onward in response. Boost glance at his screen, it showed the opacity meter at 90%. Now the pirates could see him.
The second row consisted of ten remaining fighters. Each one was identical, but that could be deceiving. Regardless of the matching capability of the ships, the pirates inside had the skill.
“Nova, shift seventy five percent power to front shields, fifteen to the back thrusters and spread the rest on maneuvering.”
This was Boost’s favorite tactic. First he would shift most of the power to his shields, so that he had minimum maneuverability. Then, when they took out most of his shield, he would shift the majority to maneuvering and guns, at this point, his enemy would realize they had under estimated his capability, but by then it would be too late.
Almost as soon as Boost was in range, he met a flurry of incoming bolts. He let most of them collided with his ship, and jiggled the controls to make the pirates think he was losing control. Boost couldn’t help but smile. By the feel of the hits, their guns were nearly at full power, meaning less shields and maneuvering. They had fallen right into his trap.
Boost ripped through the space between the pirates and himself. He closed in too quickly for them to react, and twisted the stick so that Nova spun sideways, squeezing past two ships in the line. Here was the moment he was waiting for. Boost shot his hands to the control panel and slid two bars to the max, labeled “Maneuvering” and ”guns”. He pushed the stick forward and the ship flipped to face the backsides of the fighters. Nova automatically inverted the controls to compensate for the ship being upside down.
The fighters didn’t have time to turn around, nor were they expecting Boost to be able to turn so quickly. By the time they were half way around, he had already lined up the target with the sides of a pirate starfighter. He squeezed trigger on his maneuvering stick, sending a focused volley into the first ship. Boost slowed Nova, and slowly dragged his target across the first seven starfighters. The thin bolts ripped through their shields. Some of them exploded from engine impact, and some just lost control and spiraled out of line.
Boost removed one of his hands from the stick and pumped his fist. Seventeen down, three to go.
egardless of the blocked windows, the captain and his crew could all hear the unmistakable noise of engine screaming and explosions. A soft murmur spread across the compact storage room. Surely the pirates had noticed. If the authorities were raiding the ship then the captives would die.
“Seventeen!? Tell me, how could one, minuscule little starfighter, single handedly take out seventeen of our best pilots?” The pirate leader flashed his barbaric teeth at his second in command, Utari.
“We’re not sure how. All we saw when looking through the scope was a…”
“I don’t really care! Just get rid of the problem.”
“Shall I threaten to do away with the prisoners?”
“No, that’s too risky. If he actually does proceed, what then? If we kill the hostages, he’ll just keep coming. And then the rest of the blasted troops would interfere. You must try to destroy him.”
“Yes sir.” Utari turned to hide a frown. How should he be expected to stop an extremely skilled fighter, who had already somehow slipped out of light travel and destroyed seventeen, fully armed and competent pilots?
Nova barrel rolled, flipped and spiraled, trying desperately to shake the following pirate fighter. The fighter trailed Boost’s ship, firing an unrelenting stream of blast bolts. The other two starfighters hadn’t reacted quickly enough to the faster ship and were still trying to catch up.
Boost knew it was a matter of seconds before the others would arrive at his pursuer’s aid. Dodging one unseen gun was hard enough.
“Nova, intercept any near AAR( Automatic Anticipation Reacter),” Boost yelled anxiously into his helmet. Most likely, the ship behind him was using an AAR to synchronize his movements in order to avoid Boost flipping behind him. An AAR could track a ships future move and react accordingly.
“Sorry, you must break the signal first.”
Boost sighed. How could I possible… oh. He had an idea. Hovering his hand over the power distribution control, he let go of the maneuvering stick and quickly launched a couple flares upward. He peaked at his HUD, seeing his trick had worked. The ship behind him had responded to the flares by dimming the glass shield. In that very moment, the ship stopped firing. Boost saw his chance. He jammed all power to speed and pushed his joystick forward, shooting Nova ahead at five times the speed of the pirate’s ship.
“Signal broken, intercepting AAR,” Nova said exactly what Boost wanted to hear. He shifted the power back to normal and dispatched a cluster of mines behind him with the press of a button. Without the AAR connected, the pirate ship just surged forward, oblivious to the explosives.
KACROOM! Blinding light flooded Nova’s exterior, but no damage had occurred. The glass in front of Boost dimmed completely for a moment and then cleared as the explosion dissipated. A few small pieces of shrapnel bounced off Nova’s shield. Boost quickly activated the shield repair sequence and the surface of his ship glowed a light blue, then it faded. Good as new. Now for the other two.
A couple of red dots closed in on Nova on the radar. That’s them. Boost looked through the glass, but couldn’t see the ships.
“Cloaking huh?” He said to himself, unafraid. He waited for them to make their move.
Suddenly two small bursts of light appeared in his view, followed by the shimmery outline of the hiding starfighters. They had fired missiles.
Boost jerked Nova out of the way just as the first missile shot past him. He dodged the second with a barrel roll. Now that the ships were viewable, he had a target. Boost sped up his ship, missiles trailing close behind. Instead of shooting at the ships, he sped up toward the nearest one.
At the last second, the pirate ship fired, but Boost just twisted his fighter so that the bolts passed harmlessly. Just before crashing into the pirate, he pulled up slightly, skimming the top of the enemy’s ship. One of the missiles changed course, heading straight for the pirate. A great explosion followed.
Boost didn’t have time to rejoice, the other missile was gaining on him.
“Nova, cut the engines.”
Nova came to a halt and started to drift, at the same time; Boost turned the ship around and fired the guns. The missile exploded a couple feet in front of his ship. A little trick he had discovered once.
As Nova’s engines restarted, Boost could see the last pirate ship drifting among his comrade’s shrapnel, hesitant to continue.
“Charge the mammoth,” Boost commanded Nova, referring to the cannon hidden under Nova’s hull.
Nova responded by popping the mammoth out of its hatch. Boost wasn’t going to fire it unless he had to. He waited for the last ship, it was either going to run or attack.
The moments that ensued were tense, as Boost’s sweaty hand clutched the trigger, target aimed straight toward the remaining enemy. The pirate ship abruptly charged toward the Space Shark. Wrong move. Boost pushed the button. Whudwhud! Nova retaliated from the force, as a giant ball of blue fire burst from the mammoth. It was a perfect shot. Shock waves spread from where the small ship had been. There was no shrapnel. The only sign that the ship had ever existed was a small, swirling cloud of thin gas.
Utari watched as the last fighter disappeared into a flaming cloud of multi colored shock waves. Unfortunately for him, the Space Shark lacked any real weapons. He would have to wait until the intruder entered the frigate. The perfect opportunity for an ambush.
“Plorto, Kylan, gather the rest of the men,” He called to the closest pirates he could find, “Lock all doors except the main entrance. When the intruder finds it’s the only way in he’ll have to use it. Set up an ambush and capture him.”
“On it,” Plorto nodded and waved for Kylan to follow him. They both walked out of the room, leaving Utari to plot a backup plan.