The VRNF pilot turned his Pugilist on the call from his wingman, the engine opening to maximum thrust to make the 6G pivot. He chuckled at the streaming trails of missiles that shot off into deep space, unable to follow his agile fighter's track. He finished the quick turn facing the missile thrower, a Shilone with a flaming black spider badge on its red hull. Yet another bandit that had thought he could pick on one of the Veiled Republic's merchant ships. He snapped a shot from his PPC to get its attention, and the Shilone came at him, its lasers blazing as he jinked.
"All right, contender or pretender? Step in the ring..." With that, he cycled the stick, drifting left, jinking down, then up and flipping over as he popped the Shilone repeatedly with his PPC. He gave the Shilone a blast from his lasers as they passed canopy to canopy, and snapped a burst from his tail guns for good measure.
Left or right? Neither. He stayed "upside down", not that "down" meant anything in zero G, and pulled back hard on the stick, skidding through a half loop and coming up under the Shilone as it was halfway through its turn. He opened the engine wide, then slammed on the brakes as he cut in behind it with guns blazing.
To the bandit's credit, the Shilone's pilot didn't panic. A salvo of tailgun missiles spat in the Pugilist's face, detonating across its nose armor. The VRNF pilot let up on the throttle, drifting back out of missile range but staying behind his foe, taking long deflection shots as they wove back and forth across space, the heavier Shilone trying to shake the more agile Pugilist.
Then suddenly, the Shilone did the one thing he wasn't expecting; it simply slammed on full braking thrust. The Pugilist shot past, just in time to take a salvo from the bandit's guns across its tail. He cursed and threw the throttle wide, pushing a full ninety degrees "up" from his course, out of the Shilone's arc of fire. He rolled over at the top, turning back to find his foe.
No more dancing. It was time for the knockout.
The Pugilist shook as it dove at the Shilone, both from its roaring engine and from its pilot tweaking the stick. Another pass, another hard turn, and he was behind the Shilone again. He opened up all guns, pounding at its tail and wings. The bandit was on the ropes. He held his position, concentrating fully on his throttle and target, ignoring the missiles from the Shilone's tail as it ducked and dodged back and forth, trying to escape the rain of blows.
Then suddenly it was over. The dodging bandit gave a strange, slight wobble as it lost thrust for a split second, and then exploded. The Pugilist rolled right, passing clear of the flaming wreck. The VRNF pilot laughed, and announced his victory with one word over the radio.
AeroTech 2 Vessel Technical Readout