Friday, May 11, 2018

Flash Fiction # 302: Catchin Can/ Part 4

The fighter should have waited for bay crew to turn her before Tana headed out.  Instead, she checked on where the Captain had gone, waiting until she was sure the bay's airlock had cycled and trusted that everyone else knew enough to stay clear.

Tana fired side engines and angled them so that she pushed the fighter out without turning.  Fancy maneuvering and probably no one on the ship appreciated the finesse it took.  They popped out of the shield, and she used the ship itself as a base to fire the engines against.

Someone would have something to say about that one. Good thing the communications remained out.

"How do our weapons look?" Tana asked as she turned the fighter toward the distant line of were ships.

"Funny time to ask that one," Krisin replied as he hands moved over the controls. 
Lisel also began shunting power here and there, but the boards weren't all live.  She didn't know what worked and what didn't.

"Well?" she said again.

"We have weapons," Krisin replied with a bit of a shrug.  "I won't guarantee how effective they are because the power isn't stable."

"Should we go back?" Tana asked and even meant those words.  She should have thought this through a little better.

"What? And ruin our reputation?" Lisel asked.  "I say we stay out until at least a few more fighters can come out.  How many weres do you count, Krisin?"

"Fifteen," he said -- a steady answer, despite the insanity.  "They're coming in fast, too.  I hate to mention this, but I wonder if bringing Alika here was always what they wanted so they could trace her to the ship."

"That's a hell of a depressing thought," Tana replied. She shifted her wounded leg and grimaced.  Well, at least this battle was going to be quick, no matter what.

"There will be another three fighters launched in the next five minutes," Krisin said.  Tana wasn't certain what he saw on his screens since she couldn't get anything out of the ship.  "Since we can't communicate with them, I don't think we need to even consider what they'll do.  We might as well act as though we're on our own."

"Nothing new there," Lisel mumbled.  I looked to see his ears up, his eyes large, and that look of excitement that she had come to recognize and even to appreciate.

Krisin didn't look nearly as happy, but that was normal, too.  Tana sometimes thought Krisin must think he was the one in charge and responsible.

Tana brought the fighter around, making an arc toward the distant ships.  Not close enough to be a real danger yet, at least.  That gave her time to think about an approach that might not get them killed right away.

This was no time to be too cautious.  In fact....

When Tana told the others what she planned to do, they both looked shocked.  She took that as a good sign.

The little craft had obvious problems.  Tana suspected the weres could pick those up and understand them after so many years fighting the humans.  She tried changing some of the settings, but only ended up cutting power to just about everything.

"Tana, keep your hands off of everything," Krisin warned.  "You might survive to get back to the ship."

"Just trying to make things interesting," she mumbled, but she did keep her hands off the computer controls.  Krisin knew what needed to be done and Lisel sat close over his controls.  They were ready.  She just had to get them there and not get them killed.

"There are at least four fighters coming up behind us, but they're some ways out," Lisel said.  "We're still on our own."

"We don't want them getting in the way anyway.  Okay. This is it."

They were just within range of a were craft.  The little fighters were half the size of the human ships and with no visible ports.  Though they'd taken in the wreckage of a few of these ships, the engineers could make no real sense of them except for their power sources.  They were not as powerful as human fighters, but they were faster.

They had more powerful weapons, too -- but they were not as accurate as the human's weapons, nor as quick to track.  Tana counted on that fact.

"They're locked on," Lisel warned.

"I hope you're ready."

Tana gauged the weak gravity wells of the area and fired the fighter engine at full force.  They darted mostly forward -- a bit more to the right than she wanted, but still within a degree or two of running straight into the line of four were ships that had been turning on them.

The weres had no time to react.  One did fire a weapon, the blow glancing against the side of the fighter, but doing little more real harm.

Lisel had control of the weapons today.  He chose his shot and fired into the mass of enemy ships.  He hit the first, missed the second -- that won a growl -- and hit the third.  By then the first ship had already come apart.  They'd seen this happen before, but usually, the other ships had a chance to get out of the way.

They did not this time.  Two shots and four craft down.

"We are going to hit some debris," Krisin warned.  "And our shields are iffy at best."

"I was right," Tana said.  "Side shots.  They don't seem to have a lot of protection there."

They were in the midst of dust, metal, the were equivalent of plastics, and then out the other side and coming at the side of three more were craft.

"They always form a line when there are several of them," Lisel said.  "Some sort of instinctive maneuver to protect themselves?  This may be more important than just for our fighter battles."

"Yes," Tana agreed.

And they took out three more craft.

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