Thursday, 1 November 2007

(1) Descendence

Tarkath sat in the cockpit of his interceptor, frantically avoiding gun lines of the War Frigate to port.
The panels around him flashed and beeped chaotically as the computer calmly announced 'Incoming enemy interceptors.'

Tarkath froze, his eyes bouncing around the cabin trying desperately to make sense of any of it; panic was setting in, his chest heaving as if trying to keep up with his heart, his ship rapidly descending into the thin atmosphere of one of the roids below.

'What do I do?' he shouted aloud, half to himself and half to anyone who might be listening. Falling back into his chair, his propulsion systems were down, he was rapidly losing hope of survival and started to think of his family, at home on the plains. Waiting, wondering, whether he would first be destroyed by the Frigate or the impact.

A voice came over the radio, it was hurried and crackly, yet familiar, 'Tarkath, what’s your bearing? Your velocity? Tarkath?'

He jumped forward in his seat, the restraints had broken earlier. It was Jekrell, his wingman, and good friend; he took a second to read the panels, and then replied, 'I'm on bearing 32mark7, heading for the roid.'

Tarkath noticed Jekrell's ship in his wing mirror and swung his head to watch, he had just narrowly escaped one of the Dreads close to the planet, but was still functional, for the most part.

'Tark, good to see you’re still alive. I'm going to give you a nudge, I just hope the hull is going to hold together.' His entire ship jolted around him, and he could just see the horizon of the roid below lift into his view, he was still falling
'You're gonna have to ride the atmosphere and land on the roid, I’ll follow you down friend. I'm losing comm. sys...' Tarkath's radio fell silent, and his friend disappeared from view behind his own heavily damaged ship.

He was falling ever faster but he dropped the gear and pulled back the air-brake, 'surely being behind enemy lines has to be better than being dead' he mumbled.

He knew the enemy ships would let him down, they could always use more hostages in their war effort, and any ship that could be repaired is of use if they find it. As he approached the surface he took a glance in the wing mirror and saw so many of his own ships left floating in the empty space, his colleagues, his friends, just out there.

'How many will I ever see again' he asked 'if I ever see anyone again tha…'

At that moment his gear hit the rocky surface below, and his ship became no more than a dart of steel jumping across the terrain, he closed his eyes, hoped for the best, and the world just slowly faded away to black.

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