Chapter 25: Headhunting

"Small objects approaching at high speed." Gold shouted.


"Twenty in a formation, about one and a half meter long. Distance 10 kilometers. Appeared at the hemispheres. Distance 8 kilometers."

"What the hell is that?" Fire was watching the dark dots in front of them.

"They are gaining speed. 5 kilometers now..."

Douglas pulled the flight stick, did a sharp turn and adjusted the engines to full power.

"Wha..." Fire started.

"Shut up, I'm the pilot and I'm not getting closer to those things than necessary."

"But we don't even know..." Fire started.

"What they are? Yeah, and I don't want to find out."

"There are still coming closer. One kilometer."

Something hit the ship.

"Damn, what's our gun range?"

"A little bit less than a kilometer..."

Douglas did a sharp turn. Rushing towards the objects he opened fire.

"Damn, I hate to be right. Drones."

Four started to smoke and crashed to the ground. Before the others reacted he climbed and with another turn brought the ship directly behind the them, taking 3 more out. Then the formation broke up and the drones turned towards the ship, bathing it with their lasers. Douglas dived. Now the ship glided over the dusty planet surface, almost hitting the ground. The dust whirled up by the jet stream seemed to irritate the drones a bit. They were slowing down.

"Incoming missiles."

"Launch counter measures."

"What's that?"

Douglas turned the ship into a vertical position. The missiles, trying to follow the ship collided, taking elven drones with them in the explosion. Douglas' ship, still flying into the sky like a rocket, was already far above them.

"What *are* drones?" Maki asked.

"Small, unmanned attack ships. I know them from the simulations..."

"You see, without your experience we would have already been atomized..." added Fire.

"You can party later. There are still 2 after us. And firing."

"I'm doing my best..."

"We are overheating. We can't keep flying at that angle. Our heat shields aren't built for that. And the engines neither..."

'She's right. It's already getting hot.'

"Only a little bit longer, Gold. If we are overheating the drones should as well."

'I can't stand that heat much longer...'

~Stay strong. If anyone can do it, it's you.~

There was an explosion.

"One drone just blew up... Two... We are save."

Douglas turned the ship.

"That was close." he said.

Maki gave him a smile. Then the ship was shaken by an explosion. "I thought we got all of them." Maki said.

"We did, one of our drives just blew up. Don't panic. We'll be fine, but we should cut back the throttle if we don't want to loose the other one as well." Gold told them.

"All right, all right. I'm already on it. Now let's look what's that great about the hemispheres. I only hope there are no more drones. Would you protect simple biospheres like that? I mean, what for? This planet is dead."

Something started to beep and the ship fell towards the surface. Douglas tried hard to get it under control again. "What... happened?" he managed to ask.

"The other engine is offline! ... Must have been hit during the fight! ... WE ARE ALL GONNA DIE!" Gold cried.

The surface was coming closer and closer...

Chapter 26