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run for it. When they're within weapons range, we'll turn on them and open up with everything we have.' Jerklenn expertly manipulated the freighter's controls, pushing its engines to their limit. Vance saw the pursuing fighters likewise increase their speed, still gaining on their ship. 'As soon as they're in range, Merreck.' Vance did not take his eyes off the ship's sensor screen.

'Understood,' Merreck replied, likewise keeping his eyes fixed on his console.

As the trio of bleeping lights drew ever closer, Vance stared at them, feeling a strange glee as they approached. There was little chance they would survive this encounter, but the Ky'Thain would pay dearly.

'Now!' Vance shouted, as the first of the ships entered their weapons range. Jerklenn banked the ship as Mer-reck locked the freighter's electro-pulse guns on the first Ky'Thain fighter. Both vessels fired simultaneously, the Ky'Thain particle beam bouncing off the freighter's mediocre armour. In turn, the freighter's weapons cut through the front of the Ky'Thain ship, igniting its fuel ports and wrecking its life support systems. The ship flashed as its engines ignited for a fraction of a second, instantly extinguished in the vacuum of space.

When the remaining Ky'Thain fighters opened fire, the freighter's defences proved completely inadequate. The Rangers held on as the fighters' particle beams rocked the ship. Vance could see the armour reducing right before his eyes, fifty percent, twenty, ten. 'Jerklenn, relay a message on all encrypted channels. Tell the Anla'shok as much as you can. We don't have much time.'

An explosion jolted the rear of the ship as the last of the freighter's rear armour was destroyed. 'Merreck, talk to me,' said Vance.

'They have our measure,' he replied. 'Now that
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