+++BEGIN LOG – CMDR TANITH LOW ABOARD UNKNOWN COBRA – 22.06.3302+++
I killed a man today.
In my defense he wasn’t a nice man. His name was Maximilian Monroe, and chased me across BZ Ceti because of “All that tasty cargo”. Normally I’d just run but he was in a cobra too and he wasn’t carrying cargo. He was quite a bit faster than me. I didn’t have much of a choice but to fight him.
Fortunately one of the things I have put on the Cobra is some halfway decent weapons systems. A pair of beam lasers and a pair of multi-cannons underneath the cockpit which I swear to god are the most satisfying things in the galaxy to fire. Though until a few hours ago I’d only ever test fired them.
Monroe pegged me as I entered the system but he followed me until I hit the gravity well of a planet and started to slow down. Then he pounced. I have discovered that being interdicted is one one of the most boring experiences you can have in a spaceship. It’s the interstellar travel equivalent of trying to pick up a bar of soap in the shower. After a couple of minutes wrestling with the controls I gave in and submitted.
He wasn’t in any mood to talk and opened fire immediately. Heart thumping in my chest I dropped chaff and boosted, trying to give myself some breathing room to deploy the hard-points. A couple of moments spent cursing as i tried to remember where the switch was and I managed to get the guns out and powered up. Great. I toggled the flight assist off and flipped the Cobra around bringing them to bear.
Dear Past Tanith,
Thank you for spending all that time screwing around outside stations with the flight assist turned off. You’re the best!
He came straight at me trying to joust but I had the benefit of chaff and at the last minute he pulled up and tried to break away. I throttled back, threw the Cobra into reverse and followed him through the turn, multi-cannons hammering his now un-shielded hull.
And then it was over. His ship carried on past mine and I felt the “CRUMP” as the shock-wave from his exploding power plant passed through the ship. I whooped, I screamed, I cheered – I might have had a little cry. Got that felt good. What an experience. There was not a gram of adrenaline left in my entire body.
I flew to Coleman Ring and headed immediately to the bar. I was going to have a drink and then try my damnest to get laid. It wasn’t until I sat down and started on the elaborate and sickly cocktail I’d ordered that I realised I’d just killed a man. The shock hit me like a bucket of ice water. I felt cold, and sick to the pit of my stomach. I just sat there – staring at the cocktail blankly. I don’t know how long for but it was long enough that Gia – the bartender – asked me if I was all right.
Well that was it wasn’t it? I wasn’t all right! I was hundreds of light years from home, I had just killed a man for the first time, and I had no one to talk too. So I started talking to Gia. It turns out she used to be a Security Service Pilot back in the day – that’s the dream isn’t it? You do your time and then retire to a quiet station somewhere and open up a bar.
She had served her time on the frontier of Archon Delaine’s territory; some quasi legitimate pirate lord with ridiculously huge domain. This was a woman who had killed, and done it a lot – and she had three pieces of advice for ‘lil old me. The first is that it’s OK to feel bad about it. That empathy is what separates us from the bastards and it’s something that we should hold onto. The second is that you can’t let it get in the way. In a fight your only goal is to win. You can’t worry about how upset the other guy will be when you kill him, because if you do that’ll be it – and he won’t cry when you’re dead.
The final piece of advice was a bit darker. Some people have to be killed. The galaxy is full of awful people who do awful things. They won’t stop because they’ve been asked nicely. They won’t stop because a Judge told them to. If they get locked up they’ll stop only until they get out. The only way to stop them, is to put them down. By all means feel bad about it – you killed a human being and that should never be taken lightly. But remember that killing people like this really does make the galaxy a better place.
I couldn’t help thinking back to a conversation many years ago, between a heart-broken little girl and a ruthless bounty hunter. A man who told me that although my Father wasn’t coming back, the people who killed him wouldn’t be hurting anyone else. My mother was appalled that he told me that, and chased him out the house; but I always remember that it made me feel better.
When I find him I’ll have to say thank you.
+++END LOG – CMDR TANITH LOW ABOARD UNKNOWN COBRA – 22.06.3302+++