Lucy watched the enemy’s main ship and its erratic movements. They were shifting pilots, for certain. Not only that, but there were at least seven different people, each one taking control at random. They probably had all of them piloting at once while the ship’s computer randomly switched among them.
No clear pattern for the manoeuvres. No pattern for who got the pilot’s seat or how long one would pilot before they got switched to someone else. They really were taking no chances with her. It was flattering, but also frustrating. The ship buckled as enemy fire grazed it.
“How’s that pattern coming?” Ophelia asked.
“Not well,” Lucy answered. “At this rate, our shields will give before I get it down. We’ll have to try something unorthodox.” She got up from her station. “I’m going to prepare a couple special missiles. Keep us moving.”
“Just don’t take too long,” Ophelia cautioned. “The girls still need our help.”
Kat had no time to think. She dodged, firing blindly at her attackers, hoping to bring some of them down or, at least, buy herself some breathing room. It wasn’t an effective strategy. Every time one moved away to avoid her, another popped up in its place.
They were toying with her, she knew. Waiting for her to tire, to make a mistake. Then… then they would converge on Allison or Farah. To avoid that happening she had to keep running, dodging and hope that one of them could deal with her three pursuers and offer assistance.
Farah spun her ship to evade some missiles. Her mind went to her training with Leon.
“These ships are extremely responsive,” he had said. “Once you get used to them, you can make them move as easily as you can move your own body and much, much faster. If you find yourself in a tight spot, just forget about the ships and move like you would if you were in a fight with regular people.”
How would she move if it were three against one like this? Could her ship actually handle it? Then again, she didn’t have much choice at this point.
The Simurgh suddenly and rapidly ascended, twisting in mid-air. Right beneath her, an enemy. She fired, blasting through their cockpit. She didn’t stop there. Stopping wasn’t an option, not right now. She kept going, blasting straight through the wrecked ship and coming out the other side. That was one down.
Allison ran. That was all she could think to do, stay ahead of the fighters on her tail and dodge.
The problem, she knew, is that it was only a temporary measure. Sooner or later the fighting around her would end and she hated the idea of having to be rescued by Kat and Farah.
She glanced at her controls, willing one of them to have a solution. Wait… bingo.
She smirked. It would work. First, she needed them closer. She descended and slowed. They closed in. She activated her boosters while, simultaneously venting her fuel. It was every bit as explosive as she’d hoped.
The enemy ships were engulfed in flames. The thrust was enough to carry her safely out of the way, but she was still uncomfortably close to the explosion. The Nebula went careening forward, out of control. Her head slammed into the control console.
The Nebula eventually lost momentum, drifting in space with no sign of movement.
“Way to go, Allison!” Farah’s voice declared.
Kat switched her own radio on. “Too reckless. Do you even have enough fuel left to fight?”
She waited, there was no response. “Allison, come in.” Still no response. One of her pursuers broke off and headed straight for the nebula.
“Dammit!” Kat cried. She hurriedly executed a u-turn, enemy laser fire grazing the Wyvern. But the manoeuvre brought her behind the fifth and allowed her to blast their ship before it could reach Allison. She didn’t have time to turn about before another made a break for it. She followed, knowing that she would take fire from the other three, but she had no choice. If she let them get away, Allison was done for.