Dreadnought - Tempest
La vita è un sogno.
Life is a dream.
Swirling amber and cobalt nebulae danced in a magnificent display of immortal resplendence just beyond the cockpit glass of Nora’s Minerva Class interceptor. The flickering husk of a dreadnought glided playfully amid the veil of a nearby white dwarf. Swiftly vanishing thruster wash seethed a harsh azure light ahead of her. There you are. Having crippled the Tac-cruiser her quarry had fled for the asylum of the interstellar clouds that now enveloped them. The Minerva’s heads-up display portrayed seven klicks to target while rocketing ever closer towards her prey. The celestial canvas evoked crystalline memories buried within her as she observed.
“Do you remember me, Nora?”
“Antonio! Of course I do! It’s been years, how are you?”
“Well as always, passerotto. I’ve been working for Marpillero & Associati.”
“I was scheduled for a consultation here in Padova yesterday evening…”
“What is it?”
“You’re not smiling. What’s wrong?”
A proximity warning abruptly flashed across Nora’s HUD. A torrent of gnarled steel and fractured alloys from some forgotten conflict cluttered her view while cloaking her quarry beyond. Merda! Well-toned shoulder muscles tensed as she adjusted the reactor output to the thrusters of the interceptor. Clasping throttle and stick Nora then dexterously wove an intricate pattern through the wreckage while searching for her prey. A frozen corpse brushed aside her Minerva before shattering into a kaleidoscope of chilled crimson. Sensors scrutinized whole cubic kilometers as she continued to splice her way across the celestial necropolis.
“What will you do, Nora? You’re not a writer, you’re not a hard worker, and you’re certainly not a fracking reliable person.”
“Writing is what I’ve always wanted to do. I just want to share that with…”
Sighting her adversary’s thruster wash she was at once put at ease.
“Hiding, huh?” she spoke through a soft smile.
Her HUD now read five-point-one klicks to target while a digital hologram displayed quadruple plasma cannons equipped just beneath the interceptor’s fuselage. Squeezing off several bursts the emerald bolts shot aside the Tac-cruiser’s starboard bow. You’re okay, passerotto. The sinews in her hands flexed as she pushed the interceptor harder towards her quarry.
Wisps of rose clouds washed across a sole shuttle’s ascension overhead. The niveous contrails pierced the vertical horizon as a child’s eyes traced its’ path. Below this perfect expression of freedom the child glanced back to a cold grave obscured by grieving, charcoal forms.
“Nora, she loved you…”
The cruiser had begun to discharge liquid fluoride as the ship’s thrusters flickered sporadically before eventually fading completely. Inertia would continue to carry her adversary towards the white dwarf star ahead unto oblivion. You have an objective. Her HUD now displayed twelve-hundred meters to target. Switching power to the plasma cannons Nora sensed the hum of the capacitors as they charged, brimming with the destructive fury of a God.
“Well done, Nora. You scored second in the aptitude test, an achievement to be sure.”
“Thank you for the chance.”
“Make us proud.”
Peering up through the canopy she remembered. Her whole existence had guided her to becoming a pilot. Someone who would bathe in a star’s purifying light and inhale celestial smoke as an afterthought. A new home. Focusing once more on her prey Nora slowly exhaled while carefully aligning her Minerva.
“Here we go.”