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Rated: E · Chapter · Sci-fi · #2310208
The opening prologue to my latest novel, a prequel to my Starhawk Chronicles series
Another volley of laser fire flashed past the viewport close enough to glance off of the shuttle’s shields, turning them momentarily opaque. A proximity alarm sounded in her headset and Kayla Karson slapped violently at the controls to silence it.

“I can see that I’m being shot at. Don’t need it screamed at me too!” she shouted in frustration to the otherwise empty cockpit. She pulled hard over on the controls to evade, but the yacht was not designed for combat and responded like a Rycan slugfish. The maneuver only helped to put the ship more squarely in her pursuers’ line of fire. The shuttle bucked beneath her from another near miss.

This is another fine mess you’ve gotten yourself into, Kayla berated herself. For a moment, she thought to turn her ship around, to face her attacker head-on, but she knew all that would accomplish would be her own death. The yacht’s shields were too weak. There was no way they would hold up against a full-on assault. So far her unknown assailant was firing to impede her progress and that was already causing problems. If she were to suddenly put pressure on whoever it was, the rules would change for certain.

Another hit and the cabin rattled around her. Several banks of panels dimmed or went dark altogether. She thought she smelled smoke, but could not tell from where. Matt’s going to kill me for breaking his ship.

She rolled the yacht to one side, then hard over the other direction. The move backfired, her attacker anticipated the trick, laying fire along her path. There was a jolt as several shots made contact with the hull, followed by a loud whump, and a hissing sound coming from the cabin behind her. Another panel went from green to amber.

A sudden voice through Kayla’s headset confirmed what the amber panel was telling her. “Your life support is gone.” The voice sounded male, sounded human, but also like the speaker had spent its life gargling gravel, making confirmation impossible. “No sense in running any further.”

“Who are you?

You can either come with me willingly…”

“Who are you?”

“Or I can open your ship and carry you off after you’ve passed out.”

“Who are you?”

“Your choice.”

No point wasting my breath. Literally. This guy’s not going to answer. She weighed her options, of which there were not many. Running was out. She would deplete her air before she could get to the nearest outpost. Her attacker could easily run her down and disable the yacht’s drives, and she did not want to risk further damage to Matt’s ship.

Surrender was not an option. Her father had drilled that into her at a young age. Ironic that the very thing he instilled in me would come back to bite him.

Kayla cut her drives, making it at least seem that she was giving up while trying to formulate a plan.

Outside, the pursuer’s ship settled into attack position, weapons locking onto the viewport.
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