Heathen loved the thrill of being called out, the feeling of flying in formation with his dragoons.
“Okay we’re closing in.”
Tapping his hub, he opened up the flight comms.
“Dragoons, this is All Father, when we drop down keep it tight, reports say the fighting in the asteroid belt is heavy. So keep close to my tail.” Once he clicked off he waited for everyone to sound off their calls of “roger” and “yes boss”.
Heathen tilted back so he could see Muninn’s outline in his peripherals. “As for you, kid, just make sure you balance the power use and fix anything that goes down.”
Muninn looked away from his monitors to look at his mentor.
“I’ll try, boss.”
Heathen looked up to see the planet they were heading towards, already seeing the cluster of lights swarming around each other in the ring, gripping the flight stick tighter in anticipation. “Preparing to power down the FSD, boss.”
“Dropping down from super cruise… now.” The hull gave a groan as it struggled to deal with the sudden deceleration, the FSD dropping them down with an earsplitting bang. Within seconds of dropping down, Heathen could see the plethora of lasers being thrown around and the fires of ships and missiles, the sensors going crazy at the amount of unknown signatures being picked up. A Viper tried to break free of the mass-lock, only to be dismantled on exit by the huge guns waiting for him.
“Right, ladies and gentlemen, let’s do this.” Pushing down on his flight stick, he led the flight into the belt, filtering between the large boulders. Picking a small group of Eagles that seemed to have got themselves caught in the rocks, he flew from below them. His sensors saw the friendly markers move away from him, diving through the asteroids round him.
Lining up his shot, he waited for confirmation that the others were in position, knowing these quiet professionals didn’t need many orders to do their jobs. “Wait for my shot.” Heathen switched to internal comms, but kept a keen eye on the bull’s eye.
“Muninn, go to combat balance.” He didn’t need a reply to know the kid tapped away to rebalance the power. Slowly he squeezed the trigger,and the sound of pulse lasers took over, the raw power of light shaking the flock of little birds into dispersing.
Sure enough, the formation worked, the eagles fled the only way they could, up, and fell quickly to the Anacondas.
Heathen grew confident, maybe too confident.
They went about for another pass, hoping to break the back of the sorry excuse of a battle fleet in front of them. That’s when he learned a terrible mistake made by initial reports. As the squadron chatter went from optimistic reports of destroying the bountiful enemy to sheer panic, Heathen looked down at his sensors. More ships were jumping in in droves. They were not Eagles.
Quickly, the fighters they were rounding up turned on them, swarming them as they received larger support, dodging between the asteroids he tried to keep most of them off his tail, but there were too many to handle with his larger support preoccupied. Spinning around the boulders, he observed a squadron of Fed fighters swarming up to crowd around the Anacondas and the supply Cutters, taking advantage of the attention the now massing Corvettes and Gunships were gaining.
This isn’t good, we’re losing this.
Looking down at his monitors he had no choice but to traverse the belt and find another way out, as going up had become suicide. Glancing back at Muninn furiously tapping away and flipping switches, he knew one thing for sure.
I can’t get the kid killed on his first day.
If I survive, his father will make sure it won’t be for long.
* * * * *
Muninns headset was buzzing with the panic and fear from other commanders trying to counter the Federal ambush.
This isn’t good… far from good…
Noticing the sudden change in pattern with Huginn’s flight he knew instantly that Heathen wasn’t thinking of an offensive. Drawing power away from the weapons, he slammed it straight into shields and thrusters, hopefully giving them that extra little time that they needed.
He glanced out the cockpit window above, watching an Imperial Eagle dance round the asteroids as they were jumping side to side away from the bullets and lasers chasing its trail, ever grinding closer to the fighters hull. He saw the left thrusters burn out, causing the pilot to veer and crash into an asteroid. Off to the distance an
Anaconda’s lights dimmed as it began to keel over the sea of asteroids, beyond the reach of help as its power plant was brought down. Snapping his eyes away, Muninn tried to control his breathing, doing his best not to panic. The people he grew to know in the docks of Leopold were falling quickly to the sudden onslaught. For them there was no escape.
“Boss, I don’t think I……” Something connected with the shields, the whole cockpit shifted to the side, cutting off Muninn and throwing him around like a rag doll, sparks flying behind him and the AI telling him that the shields were down.
No. No. No. Nooooooooo.
Heathen dived between two close asteroids, elegantly producing a roll from such a brutish man. “Oi kid!! I can’t keep us alive without that damn shield up!”
Unbuckling himself, Muninn pushed himself from the co-pilot seat, pulling himself along the handles to reach the hatch where the power relay to the shields blew out. Lifting the broken panel, Muninn peered inside.
Fuck, I’m going to have to bypass this.
He grabbed hold of the input wire, braced his hand against the wall, and began ripping out wires. He was reaching inside for his last handful when suddenly Huginn banked hard, causing inertia to slam Muninn against the floor face first.
Muninn let out a groan of pain as he heard Heathen call back, “Hurry up kid, we ain’t got all day.”
Pushing himself away from the floor, he shook off the shock.
I know prick.
Giving the final wires a pull, Muninn had to get purchase before he could pry them loose. Making his way to the other side, Muninn held onto a bar on the roof, bracing himself so he could kick open another panel. He reached in and set about connecting the live wires. Trying to make quick work, he was finished after much swearing and a little too many bruises.He heard the shields power up.
He distantly heard Heathen say something about not enough time before the ship boosted out the asteroid belt. “Err Boss?”
He wasn’t sure what to do as he heard the FSD spool up, then it dawned on him. “Oh shi….”
His body was slammed against the back wall as they were ripped away from the grasps of the Feds. Having no choice but to witness Wytch Space until they dropped at something familiar, Muninn leaned back and watched the warped galaxy until he saw the greatest Type L star in the entire galaxy.
“You did well kid” Heathen had a tone of voice that he never heard before. It was the sound of a man coming down from panic. “Now take a seat, we’re going home.”