Being this far into a gravity well gave me more options than we usually had for maneuvers. I could use both the local star's gravity and the station's bulk to help maneuver the fighter.
I let us stay dead a little longer. The last craft went past — the dangerous one that could have taken a shot at us since they were late to the battle.
The station presented a far more tempting target.
"Let's do it," Lisel said.
I had made the calculations in my head since I didn't want to start any equipment. We barely had the air circulating through life support, which was already tasting a bit stale.
Time to go.
I punched in the main engine, pushed against the gravity well, and did a lovely turn. It was not a quick one, and we'd drawn attention — but the enemy couldn't move any better than our craft. Besides, they would have to decide which among them would turn back. From all I could tell with Were, they didn't like to change plans.
So we came back in range before the chosen craft had done more than start their turn. We took that one out with a single shot to the side. I almost felt bad about how easy it was, though I knew it would be our last easy hit.
The aliens were often slow to respond, but once they did, they were quick and deadly. We still had four craft out there, and all of them now intent on us. That meant they were not going after the station.
The three of us went into team mode. Other fighters often had rotating crews, but the my team had been serving together for a long time. It helped that we were three that no one else wanted on their fighters. We'd tried to run some teaching sims for the others since we had such good luck with aliens, but it always ended in disbelief from the others.
Sometimes realizing what we were doing, I had to agree. It was crazy.
Two more craft went down, but we'd taken two serious hits, and even Krisin was having trouble keeping power routed to keep us moving and shooting.
"Go for the bay, Tana," he said. "Go quickly."
I could hear that whistle of sound that would have meant death for us if we hadn't been so close to safety. I turned the fighter -- slow-moving -- and lined up. A were ship must have sensed our problem, and it came in shooting. He annoyed me.
So I turned and fired at him.
"Tana, honest to God, you are trying to get us killed --" Krisin snarled as he worked on the power grid again. "If we're going to die, I'm going to strangle you first --"
"Only if I don't disembowel her first -- oh, good shot!"
The were craft disintegrated. I hadn't seen that reaction before, but I didn't have time to watch. Instead, we turned back to the bay, and I shoved every bit of power we had to get us inside. The outer shell was permeable -- but only if you were going fast enough.
I feared we weren't going to make it. We bounced a little. Lisel growled. Krisin added the last power to our engine, killing all the controls.
We went in and basically dropped to the pad, the grapples catching us. I was gasping. I didn't know if that came from lack of air or too much excitement.
"Huh," I said. "We made it."
Befly had to pry the canopy up. Lisel and Krisin jumped out before me. I had trouble making myself let go of the controls. By the time I climbed down, they were already helping pull out the damaged section of plating. I looked around, but everything seemed to be in hand on the station. Nothing for me to shoot here. Good, since I didn't carry a weapon.
Befly had come to me with a shake of her head. I pulled my attention back to reality and waited for the bad news.
"The shot took out half your power grid," she said, running a hand over her stubble of hair. "I've got my people scrambling for whatever we can find. We're asking for anything the ships can provide, too -- but we only have four in the dock, and you blew the hell out of one of them."
"Seemed like a good idea at the time," I said. We moved around the fighter's side to where Lisel and Krisin were already working at a rather massive hole in the side of my craft. I was glad that I'd already destroyed the were fighter, whatever one it had been.
"There are going to be more Were craft coming in," I said. Lisel gave me a grim nod of agreement. "We need to find a way to stop them."
"I've got my people working as fast as they can," Befly said. "But even so --"
"The Sailfor," I said suddenly.
Lisel looked at me. "You blew a hole in it, Tana. You are not thinking about flying it out there -- ah."
"She'll never leave the station. But I want control of her weapons. Krisin --"
"I heard." He ran both hands through his hair and looked off into space. "Let's see if there is enough left there for me to access."
I didn't want to leave the fighter. I also didn't want to stand here and wait for the were to show up and kill us all. If Krisin could find a way to access the Sailfor's system ... well, maybe we could surprise the next wave of were.
The crew of the Sailfor might have a few disagreements, but if we got control, it would hardly matter. And there was always the 'void' option if it became too dangerous to keep them alive. I had far too many others to consider.
The three of us started down the walkway. People scattered...