This is a ship.

This is one hell of a ship. The Banshee.

I forgot how menacing, how fierce she looks until I walked into the hangar and saw her crouched there, her gleaming flanks seeming to bristle with subdued power. 

SSF Banshee.jpg

It’s a Vulture class ship from Core Dynamics- the same firm that make the Federation boats, as it happens. An aerospace undergraduate’s wet dream, it’s essentially a pair of thumping great fusion engines of a class normally only found on cruisers and two heavy weapon mounts, and not much else. It’s phenomenally compromised – the designers have sacrificed everything at the altar of thrust and firepower. The cockpit is nestled ridiculously between the claws of the prow, essentially the only bit of the thing that’s not an engine or a gun. All on a chassis not much larger than the tiny local enforcement vessels system police use to patrol space stations.

I walked slowly around her, running my hand over her sleek hull, reacquainting myself with every gleaming angle. 

SSF Banshee side.jpg

The modifications I’d made had been just as unbalanced. I’d installed a pair of giant beam lasers, each three metres long, on the massive hard points. They drew so much power that, when they deployed, several other non-essential ship modules immediately shut down. They spewed two blazing gouts of energy over the cockpit, scorching angry red claw marks through anything in their way. They were so powerful that I could only fire them for nine seconds before two things happened: one, the energy capacitor would completely drain; and two, the ship would dangerously overheat.

But those were a deadly nine seconds. They could destroy a small ship in one pass, shields and all, and a medium one in two. In addition I’d clad her in reinforced military composite armour and reinforced the hull internally too, so she shrugged off all but the heaviest weapon fire.

SSF Banshee top.jpg

I think I’ll need something slightly more balanced, considering what I’ll be doing. I’ve asked the outfitters to strip out the twin beam lasers and replace them with large, fixed pulse lasers. They may not tear ragged holes in things as quickly but I can fire them all day, and they won’t cook the ship. I need to be able to fire a warning shot across the bows of a courier without blowing the cockpit out. 

That’ll free up a bit of power to make the thing a bit more practical, and comfortable. This ship is a pretty utilitarian place to be in deep space, compared with Vex’s new Fer-De-Lance with its mahogany bar and heated seats. I can upgrade the sensors and the life support. I’ll also strip out some of the armour – with luck I won’t be in the crosshairs too much, and it’ll boost the jump range. I can shed 50 tons easily that way. 

Because, let’s face it, if internecine data theft is going to be on the agenda, I need to be in and out before reinforcements are called. I shake my head at the lunacy of this. I must be insane. 

Still, it feels good to sit in this pilot’s chair again. It feels powerful

In the midst of a dogfight, when boosting the engines and pitching madly to get a lock on the target, the engines make a sound that can only be described as a howl. In ancient Gaelic legend the Banshee was a phantom woman whose haunting wail would warn of impending death. The scream of those engines has been the last sound a lot of pilots have heard, over the years. 

My thoughts are interrupted by the outfitters. Should they give her a new coat of paint? If so, what colour? 

I smile, resting my hand on the throttle. There’s only one colour for a beast like this. 




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