Gemini's instrument panel lit up, a red blip caught her peripheral and she keyed the mic. “Weapons fire!” She yelled.
Flack furrowed her brow, peering briefly at the scope to see that it was hundreds of kilometers away. “Don't -”
It was too late, Dirk jumped the gun and pulled the trigger, his crosshairs looming over Ismaly's Hornet.
The volley slit through space, racing toward her; arrows of light. She spewed air from her lungs, tightening her core and squeezing every muscle in her body as she prepared to evade. Her face red and sweat already beading at her brow, she punched ventral thrusters to maximum, simultaneously transferring shield and weapons power to maneuvering. The jolt was immense, she felt the tight grip of unconsciousness wrap its fingers around her neck as her vision blurred and darkened. Her concentration never wavered, and when the bolts passed her without a single hit, she leveled the Hornet and took in a huge gulp of air. Time slowed from her perspective as adrenaline dumped into her bloodstream. She pushed the joystick forward and with her free hand, diverted all power to weapons. Her crosshairs came across Dirk's bow as his shields flickered, weak from the volley.
Flack's eyes widened. She couldn't do anything, Ismaly had simultaneously avoided the blast and put herself in position behind Dirk, she could maneuver, but it would be too late.
Ismaly was holding her breath, she squeezed the trigger and the muffled thud of rippling particle beams glistened through space, fat and bright from the influx of auxiliary power.
One after another the bolts crashed into Dirk's shielding until the sounds changed. The impacts went from a shimmering chime to a deafening thud sounding much like metal on metal. Dark clouds erupted from his nose as the training bolts burned through the paint and superficial layer of the Hornet's hull. Dirk's display flickered and went out just as he saw a holographic missile impact on his canopy.
Ismaly heard the cheers of her wingmen, but she wasn't stupid enough to enjoy her little victory. She pulled the Hornet to starboard and burned toward her wingmen. Her reactor would need time to recuperate from such a high expenditure of energy. Even though they were only training rounds, the systems were designed to simulate real energy draw, and so at the moment Ismaly's Hornet was at it's most vulnerable. She watched as Flack came from around Dirk's floating hull. The glimmer of weapons fire from both ships raced across the expanse to meet her. One shot tagged her rear thruster, damaging it slightly, but the rest embedded themselves into Whitey's Hornet as she passed behind him, sacrificing him for the time she needed to rebuild energy.
Whitey returned fire until his Hornet was disabled, and by then Ismaly had come around him, igniting dorsal thrusters to pop out beneath his Hornet. She fired, evading incoming bolts as she maneuvered behind Mag, using his Hornet to shield herself again. She heard cursing over the comms, but ignored it.
“That's enough.” Flack said, punching forward, “It's time to end this bullshit.” She poured energy into the engines and burned for five seconds at max thrust before cutting all power to engines and diverting to shields, coming up from beneath Mag's disabled Hornet, she watched Ismaly finish off her last wingman. “Gotcha.” She said, firing maneuvering thrusters to whirl up behind Ismaly's Hornet while firing a volley of missiles.
Glancing down at the radar, Ismaly's eyes widened. She exhaled, clenched her muscles and punched thrusters, spinning the nose of her Hornet around as she corkscrewed downward while launching countermeasures. When the nose came up, she saw Flack's ship, looming above her, traveling in a high arch. She waited and waited as they both swirled around each other; neither of them fired.
Ismaly glanced at the disabled Hornets, “Let's see what you'll do.” She said, spitting air from her lungs and maneuvering hard to port, drifting sideways toward the Hornets as they floated like derelicts.
Flack smiled, “I'm not so stupid.” She pulled the trigger, but for a second.
The flash of her cannons lit up in Ismaly's eyes and she grinned, pulling the joystick up and firing ventral thrusters to climb above Flack in an arch as she fired everything. Her eyes flew wide open. The blasts flickered and dissipated off the shields, strong bright shields.
“It doesn't take energy to fire missiles Princess.” Flack said over comms as the holographic flash of rockets ignited under her Hornet.
Ismaly smashed clenched fists against her dash as they closed the distance. With no countermeasures and low shield power, the rockets pummeled her Hornet until her display flickered and went out.