Fields Aflame, Part One by J.S. Holland

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SUMMARY: Pirates, but in space. Things explode. Lasers cannons rule the day. Hyperspace. Repulsorlifts. Fighters. Guns. Luck, death, and glory.

The bomb went off not six meters from the ship's bow. Blue fire washed outward, twisting and writhing like a living thing. The electrical storm ate through the ship's shields and into its power systems, fusing wires together and overloading charge cells. The power suppressor on the aft-mount engines exploded in a ball of incandescent flame that the hard vacuum of space immediately snuffed out. The engines sparked, coughed, and died.

Six seconds from detonation, the Pride of Marik hung dead in space.
Standing on the bridge, Tarin Blacksand slammed his palm against his control console. "Hikal! Report!"

"Not good, Captain." The small, dark-skinned man ran a hand over his stomach, which pushed at the buttons of his silver and black jacket. "It was a pulse bomb, probably an EC-6. Maybe a 7. Either way, our shields are gone and our electrical systems look like somebody baked us inside a Durian trash-burner."

Tarin flipped on his headlamp in the dark ship; around him, the crew did the same. "No hope of a restart?"

Hikal shrugged. "Maybe on the auxiliary engines, if we are lucky. There is a chance we can get the generator online--it wasn't active when the bomb hit, so the electric pulse would have ignored it. But those will not get us anywhere fast."

"And the mains?"

"Fried. We will have to replace them when we get back to Saleen."

Tarin swore and swung himself over the small rail that surrounded his station. His console and captain's chair stood above the rest of the command deck; he dropped the meter and a half and absorbed the impact with his knees. "I hope we live long enough to worry about that. Get back to the auxiliary and see what you can do." Tarin turned, waving to a tall, striking woman and a man with hair the color of a red dwarf star. "Cira, Dune, get on the gun deck and try to get a visual on whoever dropped that EC. I imagine they'll be showing up soon."

Dune grinned rakishly and adjusted his leather overcoat. His hand dropped to the butt of one of the twin blast pistols he wore strapped around his waist. "Sounds good, Tarin."

Cira scowled behind chin-length black hair. "What do we do if we see them? We can't shoot anything from up there; we're just targets."

Tarin stopped halfway through the door on the oval-shaped command deck, one hand on the jam over his head, and looked back. "Just use your personal comms to tell me what's going on. And pray that Hikal gets that auxiliary power online before they try to board us."

Dune's fingers tightened around the butt of his pistol. "You think it's pirates, then?"

"An EC-6 way out here? Couldn't be anything else." Tarin tapped to bulkhead twice. "Just get up there. I'll handle the rest." He ducked through the door, leaving them in his wake.

The Pride of Marik was not a large yacht, but she wasn't a small one either. Tarin followed the passageway for ten meters aft, then clambered down an access ladder. A right turn, three more meters, then another ladder, and he found what he wanted. He keyed the door in front of him by slapping his fingers against the release, and it hissed up into the bulkhead on hydraulic lifts.

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