They were in a real mess. Again. Yes, it seemed they were always in one scrape or another, but W’sn thought this was a particularly bad one.
“Alright, I heard you the first time!” Smith yelled.
“Just, do something… Activate the defensive dampeners.” Smith said.
W’sn flipped the circuit open and chittered out a complaint.
“I know, you’re right. But how was I supposed to know that wasn’t a derelict ship?”
W’sn barked his annoyance.
“I didn’t see the running lights, OK?! Besides. Damn. Who would have thought those furry little buggers would be this persistent?” Smith said, as he gently rolled the ship to avoid another salvo from their pursuers.
Smith, the ship’s Terran pilot, and W’sn, the Xryxlian co-pilot/navigator/mechanic/cook, were on a simple job heading towards New Tralsberg when they came across the (mostly) dark freighter. Smith had the bright idea that a little salvage side trip wouldn’t hurt their bottom line.
He might have been right too, if the ship hadn’t been full of Corgians just waking from cryo after a long journey. Corgians have a reputation for being quick to anger and slow to calm. Well, their version of calm.
They’d been running from them for the last day and a half. You’d think after a few hours of the tails-tucked-between-their-legs running away that they’d done that the Corgians would realize how little of a threat they were. But then again, That’s what you get for thinking.
“Hey W’sn, I’ve got an idea.” Smith drew out.
“No, really. You’re gonna love it.” Smith smiled. “When I give the signal, trigger the drilling arm.”
W’sn didn’t love it. In fact, he very much didn’t love it. Their ship, the Praxis, was a small frigate that had been retrofitted for asteroid mining. It was, at best, only an eighth of the size of the Corgian freighter.
Smith fired the engines full reverse, bucking them in their seats. The Praxis slowed alarmingly fast — the Corgians bearing down on them. In a flurry of motion, Smith flipped switches on his console and worked the flight yoke so that the Praxis was completely turned around and charging, head on, towards the Corgian ship.
“Now!” Smith shouted.
W’sn activated the drilling arm. They heard the whining of the servo motors as the arm extended forward and the drill head spun up to speed.
The Corgian freighter and the Praxis were now charging towards each other. The Praxis drill arm pitched forward, like a knight’s lance, towards the behemoth speeding directly at them. Smith imagined it was like the two ships were jousting. Or playing chicken.
W’sn rumbled something.
“Don’t worry, I’m sure they’ll flinch first.” Smith said with a not entirely calm voice.
They didn’t flinch first. Or at all.
Smith twitched his controls at the last possible second, causing the Praxis to bank just enough that the drill caught the outer hull of the Corgian ship, screeching loudly as it ripped a long deep gash down its side. Sparks were flying in the small bridge and it was starting to smell of burnt wiring and over worked circuitry.
W’sn was positive the drill head would hold up to the pressure they were putting it under, it could cut through anything. But the arm it was attached to, not so much.
Surprisingly enough, (especially for their luck) it held. They tore away from the freighter, trailing chunks of metal the drill had gouged from their hull.
The Corgian freighter slowed, venting atmosphere into space.
Smith took the Praxis on a victory lap and then sped off. No sense pressing their luck.
“See, no sweat.” Smith said.
Yuck. W’sn chittered. His race didn’t sweat. Or have skin, for that matter.
“It’s just an expression. Well, look at it this way; At least it kept the trip from getting too boring.” Smith grinned stupidly. He hopped up and strutted off of the bridge. “I’m gonna go back an grab some sleep, wake me when we get there.”
If looks could kill, the Praxis would need a new captain.