Morn nodded. Both starships fired up their
engines and came hurdling around the planet. The automatic mast have
detected them both at the same time, but as North hoped, it was
confused, didn't know which way to attack first.
2 Unfortunately, it chose to turn its main tubes on North. He managed
to get close, put in a couple of good hits, before he had to speed
away. But he cursed, slamming his fist on the arm of his command chair.
He had done no serious damage.
3 Morn, however, was a little luckier. With the automatic's attention
mainly on North, he got in and put two good hits on the automatic's
stern. Moments after they passed, they saw one of her system engines
being ejected. A cheer rose from both crews.
4 Only Morn was silent on his command deck. He fully understood that
now North was committed to a virtual death run. Halfway around the
planet, their engines hit full reverse, their planetary drive fought to
withstand the terrible gravity working against it. Both ships reversed,
however without difficulty, and headed back towards their target.
5 Gray Mountain and his forces moved in, too. They'd throw everything
they had at the mechanical. They'd buy North every second they could.
As the two ships returned, the mechanical took the bait. It turned its
forward tubes on Morn, thinking him the greatest threat, but it's stern
tubes spat out a deadly rain of fire, and the cutter was vaporized some
distance from it.
6 Morn pushed in, hoping to make the monster turn toward him, and was
met with immediate success. It was only half-way through its turn when
North's ship emerged from the fireball, already its beams were pouring