“Damnit, Snooze, watch the spread. What are you doing back there?” Lt. Bram “Twofer” Vuurtoren fought his hardest to keep his heartrate level. The flashes of starburst beams scattered broken prisms of light through the cockpit of his missile corvette like firecrackers going off on his lap. He dogged his target as they spiraled dangerously close to the main thrusters of an enemy cruiser.

“There’s too many,” said Snooze, losing his focus and grating on Twofer’s nerves.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Close the gap.

He cut over a signal array and braced against the inertia of the rapid vector change. Come to papa…

“Twofer, the overshoot!”

He processed it quickly, but he was done for before he could even wrench on the stick. His corvette scuttled as it sensed critical failure and sent Twofer pinwheeling through harsh vacuum.

He knew he’d lost comms immediately—must have overloaded the breaker—because the static background hiss snapped to silence. At his velocity he was out of the plane of the battle in under a minute, the strobing lasers and glowing kinetic shrapnel coalescing into a smudge against the perfect black.

If they won, someone would be by to recover him. And if they didn’t…well, he could always pop his helmet. Better than burning up in the atmosphere.

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