We've been experiencing problems with our asteroid mining operation. A group of...I'm not even sure what to call them. Bandits? Pirates? Well, a group of them have begun stalking the asteroid belt where we've been extracting painite ore. Jaspar had been dropping some ore rather than fighting with them, but they keep asking for more each time.
The last time they jumped him, he ran instead. The ore miner isn't built for a fight, so that would be fine with me. But now every time they try enter the belt and start refining these jokers show up and run them off. That's costing me money and reputation. I sent an offer to parlay with them and it went ignored. Maybe I've been too gentle while dealing with them. That's about to change.
A new ship arrived today from Core Dynamics. I got a good deal on a used Vulture-class space superiority fighter. It came with a rotary multi gun and a beam laser cannon, both large, class three gimbal mounted monsters. I've flown it a bit and it's incredibly nimble for a heavy fighter.
The next time the Remander goes out to the belt, I'll be waiting. In fact, I plan to get there first and power down to stealth mode. If they try anything funny, it's going to be me laughing.
- - - -
His hands tightened on the yoke of the Mk III Viper as he rolled around an asteroid and came into visual range of the Python mining ship. It was the same ship they'd been harassing for the last month and he knew it was an easy mark. It hadn't tried to fight back once yet. They'd dropped cargo several times, fattening his pockets, but as of late they'd begun running away.
He didn't care. He'd been paid by one of the mining ship's competitors to harass them, so he was profiting either way. This time he'd brought hatch breaker drones to steal some cargo even if they ran. Profit was profit and a little refined ore was simply a bonus at this point.
He checked his right wing and saw the Sidewinder in formation. He grinned as he broadcast his demands, waiting to see whether they'd try running again. He'd been authorized to destroy them it they did.
The grin turned to a frown of curiosity as the Python appeared to ignore him, continuing to blast away at an asteroid with a mining laser. 'Your funeral.' he thought as he opened a comm to his wingman and ordered him to attack.
A ball of fire blossomed where his wingmate had been moments before. His viewscreen polarized and a squeal of static came through his comm system just as a huge war bird roared past him. He recovered quickly, but not quick enough as a mining drone latched onto the side of his port wing. 'Where the hell did that come from?' he mused angrily as he pushed power to his twin pulse lasers.
The attacker had already reversed its direction as he got a lock on it. A chill ran through him as his targeting system identified it as a Vulture heavy starfighter. He was slightly more maneuverable than the Vulture but heavily outgunned. This was going to be a brutal fight. One mistake and he was done for.
An explosion off to port caused the Viper to roll out of control, slamming his head against the viewscreen. Alarms began wailing about damage as he turned and saw that his left wing was gone.
The mining drone had self detonated and had been rigged with explosive charges. Not that he'd ever know exactly what happened. In fact, the last few moments of his life were spent in a half-daze, wondering where he'd gone wrong. The Vulture's heavy guns soon put an end to his confusion.