Chapter 3

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Dall could see the flyers from his squad were all at rest next to his. They orbited the station at a low speed from a thousand-kilometer distance. Their radar had just picked up the incoming enemies at 120,000 kilometers away, and advancing toward them quickly. The skirmish had begun. Dall instructed Clara and Max to stay close to the station while the other three joined him to engage the incoming ships as far away from the base as possible.

After a few minutes, the radar resolved the incoming ships into eight distinct engine signatures. One of them was larger than the others, and the computer assigned a high probability that it was a shuttle. Meaning it most likely had a boarding team inside. The other seven were lighter and were probably similar to what Dall's squad was flying. After twenty minutes as they got closer, at around 80,000 kilometers, the computer could determine their exact models. Three were the same Sphere Flyer as his; the other four were an older Flyer.

Moore, you're with me, Gerald and Tanya, you two pair up. We'll try to flank them." Dall knew that if they came at their enemy straight on, even if they took out a couple of ships, the others will blow right past them. Then the Delta-V would take too long for them to reengage. The remaining attackers would have a clear path to the station.

Based on his instructions, they started their flanking maneuver. Dall planned it so it would take them around and then behind, or at worst to the side of the attacking ships, without being left too far behind. Even though it was only a simulation, he could feel the force of the Tritium fueled fusion engine pushing ions out and his vessel forward at over 2500 kilometers per minute. In real life, the ship's gravity zone stabilizer would have had to work hard to battle the intense acceleration.

As his flyer sped in virtual space, Dall signaled the controller to play some music over the cockpit's speaker. The first song on the playlist was from an old Earth band whose music was making a small resurgence. It was from their 2027 album 'The Andalucian' -

Drinking with Pedro

I was drinking with Pedro
the night manager
To the sun's last halo
I was telling him
how much I missed her

We were down
to the last shot
He wore a frown
I was down and out
Coz she wasn't, no she wasn't
coming back around

I told him how
How I almost jumped
From the Ronda bridge ledge
To the rocks below
But just froze on the edge

We were down
to the last shot...

He listened for a while
And in the end he said
youll be fine,
that was your bottle
now let's open mine ♫

Tapping his feet, Dall looked out of his cockpit. Without magnification, he could only see the long jet plume of his partner's ship, flying 200 kilometers to his right. The Sphere Flyer was a flute shaped vessel, with a single fusion engine at the back and rotator rings circling its body with small thrusters that could rotate the vessel or nudge it in any desired direction. The oval front housed the cockpit where the pilot sat. It had two sets of gimbaled laser guns on the front and back that were only effective at close range. Longer range capabilities mostly centered on its host of electronic warfare and jamming capabilities.

Seeing four ships disengage from his foe's formation made Dall smile. Two were on a trajectory to meet Dall and his wing-woman. The other two were on route to engage Gerald and Tanya. They were the older model ones. Two of the newer ones flew straight at the station, and one was hanging back with the slower shuttle for protection. That made his job a lot easier as the other squad leader divided his force into more manageable units. Dall and his team were still outnumbered, so chances were not in their favor.

The oncoming ships were cutting the distance between them quickly. Dall checked his direction and passed along the desired approach profile to the ship's SI. Doing this allowed him to keep his focus on the attackers and any upcoming offensive opportunities.

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