Logbook entry

Kodeyne / 20 Jan 3305
Interlude: Brief Encounter

Jeb Souter drummed his fingers on the console of his Viper MkIII and stared out of the cockpit at the monstrous chunks of ice slowly pirouetting around him. He kept glancing back to the scanner, making sure the Adder he was after hadn't moved on. His usual hunting grounds had become a bit hot of late - too many cops sniffing around - so he was trying something new...

"RES zones," said Pauly-D, breathing out a cloud of tobacco smoke. The air was thick with it, the reek of narc from a dozen worlds, the smell of beer and liquor. The squalid speakeasy in the depths of this planetary outpost was where Jeb and his fellow pirates would meet to drink and talk.
"RES zones," he repeated. "Gotta be patient. Waiting for the local filth to clear off. And wait until your target has mined a few 'roids: better chance of them having something in their hold..."

Well, this was ice-lump five, and still no sign of leaving.  But, he had to admit, the view was spectacular. Starlight gleamed off the ice, refracted through it. The distant bulk of the gas giant. It was all rather soothing....but it wasn't making him any damn money.  Jeb muttered an oath and decided it was time. He quickly powered the ship's systems back up, rolling and pitching until he was able to get a lock on the Adder. He checked his weapons were powered and ready. The Viper eased out of its hiding place, slowly at first. Jeb vaguely wondered if the poor sod knew what was about to happen....
"Warning: ship scan detected," intoned the Viper's COVAS, the voice distorted through the speaker he could never be arsed to get fixed.  "The hell?" He was sure all the cops had jumped out. Cursing, he located the new contact and locked on. Glancing at the info pane.

DANSE MACABRE

ALLIANCE CHIEFTAIN

KODEYNE

NOVICE

The other ship opened fire.
"Danse Macabre? What the fuck does that even mean?  All the gear and no idea, betcha!" He had been Competent-rated for a while now, and trusted his ship's speed and manoeuvrability.  Beam lasers lashed out and the target's shields glowed blue.  The Chieftain swept past, turreted burst lasers gnawing at his own shields. They turned, like ancient knights jousting, and prepared for another run. His shields dropped further as multicannon fire raked them, then a bigger thump.
"Warning: thermal attack. Gaining heat." He checked the ship's temperature levels. Nothing to worry about yet.
"Warning: shields offline. Taking damage."
He swore at the other ship. "Beginner's luck!" he shouted. He could still pull this one back!  Came around, fired, watched the opponent's shields drop down to the last ring.
"Warning: corrosive attack. Taking internal damage."
"Shit!"
The Viper shook and sparks rained across the cockpit.
Jeb grunted as he wrestled with the controls. He checked his hull.
Did a double take.  A moment ago, it had read 75%. Now it said 25%.
He gaped briefly, then realised it was time to go. Weapons stowed, point away from the rings, engage boost....
"Warning: thruster malfunction. Cannot comply." Arcs of electricity crawled across the console and the displays flickered.
Boom. Smoke filled the cockpit.
"Warning: corrosive attack. Taking internal damage."
"SHUT UP!" he screamed. The controls no longer responded.
His hand closed on the black and yellow stripes of the escape pod lever -


She released the fire button.
"Great gods below," Kodeyne breathed as the pirate disintegrated in front of her. She hadn't been prepared for just how deadly her new ship was. Well, it was designed to take on Thargoids, she reminded herself. She had no intention of doing that any time soon; but she couldn't complain about its performance against humans...

Danse Macabre stowed weapons, lowered its cargo scoop and moved forward to collect the precious materials from the destroyed ship.
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