As soon as he arrived, he could tell that the flaming jump engines were on the blink again. There was a marker beacon, but not a dickie bird on the radar. Never one to pass up an opportunity for some fancy flying, Vin began circling the beacon, trying to get a bead on it using lateral thrusters.
Seconds later, the radar blipped into life again and targets appeared. Glancing around from within the cockpit, he couldn’t see a thing. Back down on the radar, a hollow triangle of company marked the arrival of another testpilot.
“I’m damned if I’m trying to pronounce that – you’re called Bart from now on,” Vin muttered into his freshly trimmed beard.
“Time for some fancy flying.”
Bart was clearly targeting ghost ships from his radar and Vin struggled with the power controls until he could get the pilot in a sweeping arc, keeping his cockpit within sight at all times. On one sweeping pass, he caught a glimpse of the commander at the controls.
“I really hope I don’t stick my tongue out like that when I’m concentrating.” Vin chuckled.
Clicking the “RTB” button, his jump engines blasted him back to the station.
“Right, let’s see who is in FFA”.
+ + + + + + + + + +
After a proper furball in the FFA test area, he was tired of not seeing any of the other commanders and had popped back to see if the Impeccable had returned.
Parked at the beacon, a warning noise had him looking around for new arrivals, and sure enough, a pair of sidewinders popped into existence.
Quick check – nothing else on the scanner and he had popped his camera out of the top pocket of the flight suit. Just as the perfect picture lined up, all hell had broken loose.
The drone targets were everywhere and the other two pilots had vanished…. Taking a bead on one close to the bow of the Impeccable, Vin had shifted power away from the engines and into the gimballed lasers and started a corckscrew run down to the target.
Just as he passed under the bow of the capital ship, a second drone target had drifted in front of his laser and then that was it – a beam laser up the tailpipe whilst trying to finish off the original target.
He had the satisfaction of seeing the first target turn into a firework before his canopy popped and ejected him out into the void.
Kevlar underpants had better be stain proof….