• Nitojec

Einan

The silvery vessel bucked hard and threatened to rip apart at the seams. Its mirrored surface rippled from the force of the impact but held together, deforming from its normal egg shape to a smashed orb. The pilot cursed and adjusted the controls; its slashing arms clicked together in agitation and colors danced across its hardened carapace.


“We’re supposed to be in a truce you bloody softskins!” It said to itself.


The ship returned fire. Space warped and lashed outwards in a wave towards the flighty ship hiding in the corona of the star. It dodged and the shot missed, tearing a chunk of the star into space. Plasma spiraled away into the void.


“Now look at what you made me do.” It clicked its mandibles together and prepared to fire again but a notification appeared on its integrated display. “Ahg, worst timing as always-“


The enemy circled tightly, leaving a violet trail behind as it ripped a hole in reality. Oblivion screamed from the other side and crackling energy spewed forth. It arced and spread, filling the pilot’s vision with pale purple light.


“Fuck me.” The pilot’s many hands flew across the controls and the ship danced out of the way. Amber lights flickered to life on the integrated display and the ship shuddered.


A voice spoke in the pilot’s ear – the call had gone through. “That’s no way to address me Captain Einan.”

Einan groaned. “Damn auto-pickup feature, just go to voicemail-“


“I can hear you.”


“Fine! What the hell do you want? I’m busy.” Einan pushed the ship hard and swung it around the star through waving fingers of plasma. The softskin ship followed closely, tearing solar matter away in roostertails thousands of kilometers long.


“I have a mission for you, should you choose to accept it.”


“You know I can’t deny mission from you, asshat-sir.”


Across space Einan felt the Agent’s mandibles gnash in annoyance – it made him feel a little better. The ship rocked again and the lights flickered, gravity fluctuated and Einan hissed.


“Your connection is weak, can you improve the gain?” The Agent said.


“I’m-“ Einan’s ship dropped part of its arsenal with a heavy thunk. “-trying, if you would hold your shit together for just a goddamned minute.”


“I should have you disciplined.”


“Noted sir, now shut up.”


The silvery bullet shot away from the star and the payload streaked towards the softskin. It barreled forward under a meandering mass of plasma arching away from the star’s surface. Delicate feathers of metal glistened in the intense light and the softskin’s ship dove beak first towards Einan.


The payload detonated in a flash brighter than the star and Einan’s sensors went fuzzy. Ripples of gravity rocked Einan as the weapon did its work, distortions of force a hundredfold greater than micro singularities propagated outwards.


“What’s even going on anyway? There’s no reported Flugel activity in your sector.”


“The scouts got it wrong – they’re here and trying their dandiest to make me dead.”


“Great, now get out of there and report back to me. We’ve got bigger problems to worry about.”


“More pressing than a Flugel incursion?” Einan scanned the mess of energy surrounding the remnants of the star.


“Yes-“


“Your mother is a whore!” Einan worked furiously to avoid the softskin ship screaming towards him out of a rift in space. Its weapons flashed and rifts opened in hundreds; writhing hands of nothing flashed out towards him. They slid across the surface of his ship, ripping matter off and consuming it.


“Excuse me?” The Agent said dangerously.


“Not yours sir!” Einan’s scything arms lashed and his ship screamed in alarm. He mashed the controls and released the failsafe on the Big Red Button. It clicked satisfyingly under his hand.


“Don’t tell me you just-“


“Sir, shut your face holes.”


A pulse exploded outwards off the body of his injured vessel and its mirror surface went dark. The arms flailed as the rifts closed and severed them from the nothing. Their imaginary mass dissolved and they disappeared, leaving the softskin the ability to open a MEGA rift.


Space rippled - then it happened. Einan screamed as the weapon fired; his carapace cracked but he didn’t care. A singularity lanced outwards from the ship gone black, the size of Einan’s head, and tracked towards the avian vessel. Light warped around it and it plunged through the delicate metal wing once – stop and turn – twice – stop and turn – thrice, before the Flugel fled. The softskin disappeared into a rift, the singularity hot on its heels.


Einan slumped on his oversize couch and ordered a drink from the computer.


“Einan?”


He let the air out of his thorax in long protest. “What?”


“Don’t ever tell me to shut my face holes again.”


“Sir, I’ll say whatever the hell I want when a softskin’s humping my bumper.” Einan cracked the cold drink in his hand and set course.


“We’ll see if you’re as problematic after a reset, now come home.”


“That’s some bullshit, I’m too useful for that.”


“That’s what they all say.” The Agent scoffed and cut the connection.


Einan raised his drink in toast. “Goodbye to you too, Agent asskiss.”


The ship accelerated and opened a rift, disappearing into empty space, and the star collapsed behind him, dying and forgotten, a casualty of a pointless skirmish.


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Science Fiction and the pursuit of escapism, 2020.