Though not as elegant as the Imperial Cutter, the Anaconda’s interior was still significantly more comfortable than the few cramped compartments that comprised his Eagle. Nick wanted desperately to take a tour of the ship, but knew he was short on time. After taking a moment to enjoy the ship’s built-in elevator, he beelined for the pilot’s seat. Nick strapped himself in, then pulled a chip out of the pilot’s datapad. He slid the chip into one of the ports on the control panel to his left, bringing the ship to life.
“All right. It’s no different from flyin’ an Eagle. Just gotta press launch, then throttle up,”
Nick said to himself. He looked around for the switch to retract the landing gear while the pad brought the ship back to the surface. Once the ship was free, Nick started the ship’s lateral thrusters.
“Shit, I knew these things were slow, but come on!”
The ship started to accelerate, causing Nick to lose control and scratch the top of the ship on the landing pad directly above him.
“Warning! Clear the area immediately, commander!” Someone in flight control hissed through the ship’s comms.
“I know! I know!”
Nick shouted as he brought the metal behemoth back to the center of the docking bay. Another message appeared immediately after in his comm panel.
“Unit 32, what the hell are you doing?” The message was from Persing. Swearing, Nick throttled forward, sending pain through his left shoulder. He felt his right hand start to twitch as he approached the airlock. He bumped the wall at first, but quickly recovered and exited the station. Once he was free, he set the ship to full speed and fired an engine boost.
“Commander don’t bother. You’re not going to get far!” Another message appeared in the comms panel. Panicking, Nick switched to his module panel to see what the ship carried.
“Ok, mostly turrets, a plasma accelerator, fighter bay, some hull reinforcements, an interdictor and a wake scanner.”
Nick considered his options. He knew that he would not be able to take both ships at once, especially since he knew nothing about flying such a heavy ship. He considered running, but he needed some sort of distraction. “Maybe if I just, wait… what?”
Nick started at the role panel for a few seconds. He knew Persing said the ship had been modified, but he hadn’t realized what he had meant until now. Inside the ship’s fighter bay was a sidewinder.
The buggers stuffed an entire sidewinder in there!
A devious plan started to form in Nick’s mind. After boosting one more time, he switched the ship’s flight assist off and turned the ship to face the station, just as the other Anaconda left the no-fire zone and began its attack. Nick started the fighter launch sequence, and blacked out as the fighter’s telepresence systems came online.
“Shield’s offline! Taking damage!”
The assassin opened his eyes to find himself in the Sidewinder, just as the ship’s forward launch bay doors opened. The fighter launched only moments before a plasma shell found its way inside the ship’s launch bay, ripping it apart and throwing the fighter off course. Though disoriented for a moment, Nick retook control of the fighter and switched to silent running. At full speed, he darted past the Anaconda and towards Persing’s Cutter.
“Come on! Boost you son of a bitch!”
Nick hissed as the Cutter moved out of the airlock. He saw the red flash he had been waiting for, and charged in. With a wild grin, Nick slammed the fighter into the side of the Imperial ship, causing the Sidewinder to crumple instantly and detonate. The assassin’s consciousness returned to his body just in time to see the station’s turrets turn on Persing. The white ship was engulfed in blue light as its shields were riddled with heavy slugs. Several messages started to pop up on the channel.
“31! I need help!”
“What about the Cmdr?”
Without a moment’s hesitation, Nick turned the ship back around and fired his frameshift drive, his heart pounding as a holographic Anaconda turned back to help its leader. His own ship was sitting steadily at a hull integrity of roughly 30 per cent, and several modules had been completely ruined, including the modded fighter bay. Nick finally relaxed as the ship’s AI started the countdown.
“Four… Three… Two… One… Engage.”