Somewhere in witchspace…
A group of octagonal warships sat in silence, focusing their attention on the hole in space-time before them.
A lone trader popped out of the station’s docking bay and a flare of light ignited the darkness behind him as he pushed the throttle forward. Mentally, he reviewed his ship. A parcel of zero-g hockey (or was it cricket?) in the safe and twenty tons of food. Not the most money he’d ever make in a run, but not all that bad a haul. Whistling tunelessly, he set the computer about the task of getting the coordinates for a jump to Leesti. A couple more and that extra energy bank would be his. The witchspace countdown commenced and he settled back in his seat.
Somewhere in witchspace…
The octagonal ships stirred slightly, as if in anticipation. A disturbance had rippled through their sensitive bodies, and as one, a small red spark appeared at the base of each of their crafts.
The blue-white ambience turned suddenly red as an alarm bleeped on the trader’s dashboard. He sat up in horror, then lurched forward as a wave of nausea swept through him. The ship spun sickeningly and with a spine-wrenching jolt, dropped gracelessly into real-time.
Automatically, he checked the scanners but he knew what he would find. Four pulsing red and green blips, making the four corners of an almost perfect square of which he was in the middle.
“Giles help me now,” he muttered to himself and swung the nose of his ship toward the nearest pulsating vessel. Three fore lasers lit up instantly and within moments a bright flash announced the death of a Thargoid crew. The other three crafts circled him at a rate that nearly made his head spin. His shields started taking hits, and he could tell that this battle wasn’t one he was going to win without trying. He targeted the next one and overheated his lasers. His efforts only resulted in the Thargoid dispersing a cloud of little Thargons. Desperately now, he switched to his rear sights proceeded to hammer it with long burst. His shields were down now, and the resounding bangs on the hull as it took the heavy punishment was enough to spur him into decisive action.
Fire rear, redline. Switch and fire fore. Yellow explosion. Spin and target. Fire. Redline. Spin and switch to rear. Redline. Wait a second. Fire again. Explosion. One more to take care of. But by now, equipment was being lost at every hit. Target. Fire. There go the fuel injectors. Now it was spouting plasma. Fire again. And then, a hissing noise. An urgent computerized voice told him that he was losing atmosphere. Another bang, and he was thrown from the chair. A searing gash appeared in the hull. Then a laser beam traversed the ship back to front and splashed inches from his face, destroying the cockpit.
He was sucked out of the ship, thrown into the black, interstellar space. Air jetted from his lungs, vaporizing in a crystalline cloud inches from his face. He looked at his crippled ship, and then, with the last of his strength, stretched his fist towards the Thargoid mothership and slowly raised his middle finger.