The dead ship tumbled slowly as the Honey Bunny circled back and began to approach. Bulkheads blew out from the plasma fires and sent gouts of flame out briefly into the void before being snuffed out by the vacuum.
Slowly, the aggressor crept closer, dropping its shield and launching a salvage shuttle.
Aboard the dark bridge of the wounded Vega, Captain Wallace stood tensed, his eyes riveted to the cracked viewscreen in front of him. When the other ship dropped its shield, he acted.
“Engineering, FULL POWER!” He slammed his fist down onto the auxillary panel, cracking the glass and engaging the emergency generators. He jerked his head towards helmsman Plummer. “Close with the enemy, ahead full!” Without pausing he pointed at the weapons console and continued “Mia, weapons free. Engage!”
Outside, the lazy tumble of the ship came to an abrubt halt as the darkened engines flared to life and blasted it towards the attacker in a tightening spiral. Powered down reactors sang to full power, pumping energy into the drive coils and energy weapons that were coming online. The Honey Bunny, caught with its pants down, lurched as the first salvo of return fire hit its unprotected flanks.
The particle lances whuffed a continuing barrage of fire, filling the radio with their characteristic “WHATWHATWHATWHATWHAT” interference. They arced between the ships and ripped into Honey Bunny’s armor. Aboard their bridge, the Yolanda twins cried out as panels blew out around them.
Captain Ringo swore and held onto his chair. The screen came alive as the Vega opened a channel.
“POSSUM, motherfucker, do you speak it?!” Captain Wallace roared, and the Honey Bunny shook under another barrage of fire.
A loud pop heralded the sudden loss of main power on the Honey Bunny, followed by the stink of ozone. With a squeal of discharging capacitors, the drive burned out, and the attacking ship began to tumble the way its ‘prey’ had moments earlier. The Vega stopped firing and swung in to grapple its prey.
Through the bridge, systems dropped offline and the room went dark except for the main screen which somehow continued to function. Occasional static arced through the image, but the picture stayed mostly intact.
“Captain Ringo, power off if you want to get out of this shit alive. Now!” The other captain bellowed over the open line.
Ringo sat motionless, staring at the image. Then, with slow deliberation, he flipped open a panel at his side and pressed a number sequence, then held his finger over the button. “How does a 20 megaton sour grape sound, you bastard? Touch my ship again and we both go.”
“Captain, I have a particle cannon zeroed in on your bridge, I can put you down before you even touch that switch. Is that what you want?”
“You don’t hurt him!” Yolanda One screamed at the main screen. Captain Wallace glanced over at her.
“Nobody’s gonna hurt anybody. We’re gonna be like three little Space Fonzies here. And what’s Space Fonzie like? Come on, Yolanda, what’s he like?” He leaned back and waited.
Yolanda One froze, and Yolanda Two cautiously answered instead, her voice barely audible over the link. “Cool?”
Captain Wallace frowned and cocked his ear towards the screen. “What?”
“He’s cool,” Yolanda Two repeated. She nervously scratched at an itch.
“Correcamundo, and that’s what we’re gonna be. We’re gonna be cool. Now Captain, I’m gonna count to three, and when I count three, you let go of the arming switch and put your hands in your lap. But when you do it, you do it cool. Ready?”
Aboard the Vega, Mia safed the atomics then re-checked the aim of the particle guns that were bracketing the enemy bridge. The thermal imaging had some indistinct blotches where crew sat, surrounded by heat striations of overheated controls and displays.
On screen, the Yolandas mewled in a panic, but they stayed motionless. Captain Ringo had just safed the scuttle charge, and her Captain Wallace had ordered his crew to stand down, but Mia had been through this type of mess before. The guns stayed ready, even if they were powered down below an obvious detection threshold.
Marsellus stared his advesary in the face over the open com unit, then spoke. “Don’t you hate that?”
An irritated frown crossed Ringo’s face. “What?”
“Uncomfortable silences. Why do we feel we need to blab about bullshit in order to be comfortable?” He raised an eyebrow.
The other captain stared, then shook his head. “I don’t know, that’s a good question.” He carefully avoided any sudden movements, trying to determine how this mess was going to work out.
“That’s when you know you’ve found somebody special”, Captain Wallace continued. “When you can just shut the fuck up for a minute and comfortable enjoy the silence.” He leaned forward and stared into his opponent’s face. “Or in this case, find out why why somebody thought it would be a good fucking idea to take a shot at one of The Wolf’s ships. THAT would be real fucking special. Any ideas, Jack Rabbit?”
Suddenly, alarms went off on both ships. Both captains started, immediately assuming the other had just launched an attack, but the source of the alarm was much, much worse.
“GIMPS!” yelled Mia from her console at the same time Butch told his commander the same thing. The Marsellus and Ringo stared at each other through the video link, then simultaneously exclaimed the same thing.
Two hundred kilometers out, the last of the Gimp Raiders blasted out of the open space warp before it collapsed on itself and disapeared. The bare metal hulls (bereft of any viewports or the usual clusters of antenna) shined dully in the light of the nearby sun as they oriented on the two wounded vessels and accelerated inwards at flank speed.
The lead ship launched a phalanx of EMP charges and the other to darted in to grapple with the ships as the charges detonated. The Vega, barely under way by the time the charges hit, shudders as they go off.
Inside, everything powers off and the drive faltered, arcs of electricity spitting down the corridors as all the breakers tripped.
On the Honey Bunny, the same electromagnetic waves knocked out their remaining lights, and the Yolanda Twins screamed.
There was a thump and a scrape as one of the Gimp raiders attaches to the bridge airlock, and Ringo closed his eyes. “This… is going to be bad.”