Hunting Day…

niagara-falls

Cyrius Day jerked the ship to starboard as a burst of pulse laser riddled the landscape in front of him, throwing up rock debris as he guided his ship, mere meters off the ground, through the gorge. “You won’t make it out of here alive Day. I told you I would hunt you down and kill you for what you did on Cygnus Prime.” The gnarled sounding voice came over the speaker. “Today is that day.” Another series of blasts rocked the ship.

“Some days you’re the hunter, other days you’re the hunted… yeah, yeah.” Cyrius responded as he shut the speaker off.

“Sir, this channel will end in less than five miles.” A synthetic female voice cooed.

“Well, I’m doing my best here.” A series of blasts from the pulse laser scored across the ablative armor on his starboard wing.

“Could you do better?” her voice almost sounded sarcastic.

“You want to fly?” He banked the ship hard around the bend, the small ship hugging the corner as it turned.

“I couldn’t do any worse.”

Ignoring her comment, he pressed the throttle down, speeding the ship up in the narrow channel. “What’s at the end of this channel?”

“A waterfall, sir.”

Cyrius’ mind went into overdrive as he started mapping out a plan in his head. He looked at the map on the screen in front of him, the marker for the larger ship trailing behind him blinking. “I got an idea.”

“How come I get scared every time you say those words?”

“You’re an AI, you don’t get scared.” he rebutted as he threw the ship around another corner, dodging a large rock that was blasted loose by another pulse laser blast.

“If I could, I find that this would be an appropriate time.” Another blast ricocheted off of the ablative armor, knocking a portion of the shielding off the vessel. “Ouch!” she bemoaned.

“How far to the waterfall?” He said, ignoring her feigned pain.

“1854 meters.”

“Warm up the guns and get ready for a fight.”

“Sir, the guns don’t need to be…’warmed up’. They are Forrestal Star FY-11 laser systems…”

“Figure of speech, darlin. Figure of…” He pulled the ship hard to port as another volley rocked into the aft, causing an explosive noise to reverberate through the interior.

“Starboard engine is compromised. Functionality is down to 44.2% and failing.”

“PLOX!” He exclaimed. “Shut it down before I lose the whole damn thing.” As he heard the hum from the engine silence, the ship shuddered under the strain of maintaining the stress of intraplanetary flight on one engine. “Let’s hope I can do this on one engine.” he muttered under his breath as he recalculated his plan.

“750 meters.” she intoned as the ship rounded the final bend, the gorge opening up and spreading out revealing the edge of the waterfall.

“What?” the ship rocked again under another blast, barely missing him as the pursuer closed.

“The waterfall, sir.”

“Really? Is that what that big cliff with water going over it is!?” he pushed the throttle down, trying desperately to eek out as much speed as he could. He watched the monitor as the big ship increased its speed, closing the distance with him.

“Sir, he is going to be on top of us in a matter of moments.” Her voice sounded stressed.

“I got this…” the edge of the waterfall fell from under the ship, and as it did, he pulled the throttle all the way back, reached out and threw three switches on the console in front of him. The ship shuddered violently as it came to an almost immediate halt, dropping over 200 feet until the landing thrusters pushed hard against the water’s surface.

He looked up out of his canopy and watched as the large ship passed over him at well over 300 kilometers an hour. As it passed, he threw the throttle forward and flipped the switch on the radio.

“Hey, Hrugher, some days you’re the hunter…” he placed his fingers on the triggers, “and some days you’re the hunted.” A smile crossed his lips. “Today…” he squeezed down letting loose a stream of 60mm rounds into the engine compartment of the large ship, “I’m both.”

*

Published by

R. Todd

MFA from the Queens University of Charlotte ('21), BA in English from the University of Central Florida ('17), Group leader for the Florida Writers Association since 2019, member of AWP and ACES.

3 thoughts on “Hunting Day…”

  1. Haha! Nice. I love a good dogfight, and this was a really good one. I love the detailed descriptions of the tactics used. The dialog between Cyrius and his AI was great. One detail, though. I get the sense that he was operating within a planet’s atmosphere since he was in a canyon. So he couldn’t have been “maintaining interplanetary flight.” Interplanetary means “between” planets. I just double-checked that. The word intraplanetary would be better. This is a minor detail though. The action and dialog made for a fun and exciting story. Great work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cyrius is a bit difficult for me to write, finding the balance between light and serious, snark and deadly.. but so much fun to play out. Glad you enjoyed the story.

      Like

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