The following is an excerpt of a story from the Battlespace anthology, currently available on Amazon.com.
This excerpt is from A Flash of Insight by John L. Conway:
“This is incredible, sir,” said Max, on his right wing. “Not a single scout or decoy in sight. If they’re out here, they’re just sitting ducks.”
Jason laughed, and then resumed a more serious command posture. “Focus now. I want no rough edges. When you see it—engage.”
He should have known. They’re overconfident, he thought. But all he did was make a mental note to discuss with them—later—the risks of overconfidence.
This mission would be an easy hit. They would be in and out. No problem.
He flipped the safety guard from the firing mechanism, settled his gaze on the sensor screen, and waited—his thumb hovering steadily over the familiar red button.
That moment was the end of the glory days. Between the appearance of a blip on his sensor screen and the time his practiced thumb could drop—and less than halfway through his unnecessary, but traditional command of “Fire!“—his vessel, and every other vessel in his wing, was torn asunder by precise and entirely unexpected beams of plasma that struck faster than the reaction time of the best human fighters in the fleet.
Jason, but only Jason, survived that failure. He floated for days alone in his lifesuit. During that time, he stared at the stars and despaired. He felt grief and remorse. He fought anger and futility. But most of all, as his oxygen supply dwindled in the void, he faced the inescapable knowledge that he had suddenly become utterly and irretrievably obsolete, and one thought echoed through his groggy mind. I’m going to need a new job.