Three billion miles is a long way from home. But there's no shorter route from outer Neptune to Earth. As if that weren't enough . . . it's got to be a shoot-out all the way.

I don't know where they came from and I don't care what they want. The first shot across my bow confirmed it. They are Enemy. I am Legend.

Earth Dies Screaming? Not on my watch. The system patrol ship leaps to life under my hands, plugged directly into my brain. We are one. I am the Gyruss. The Navigation computer is locked on our destination: Earth. The cradle of mankind calls and we answer. We are Death from Above.

I grip the stick and prime the cannons. Number 2 always seizes. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Doubleshot is nice to have, but I don't hold my breath. If I did, nothing would get done. I clear the display and punch up the tunes. Time to go to work.

Bach penned Toccata And Fugue In D Minor long before men flew the stars. I swear he wrote it for this. The warp engine kicks and light streaks into ribbons. I am locked in sequence. Just outside Neptune the hairball starts. I loop the tunes and blaze my way down the pipe, five by five.

They flare like little stars when they explode. They come in waves, insect-like in action. Swarm and retreat. The collision alarm screams in my head, but I am the Fugue, I am the laser, I am Humanity’s angry response.

I feel like I have 9 lives. I hit the warp point and jump that much closer to home. 3 warps to Saturn. 2 warps to Mars. 1 warp to Earth. My knuckles are white. My luck is running out. They cloud my path with metal and plasma. I am doomed.

A blossom of fire and I am gone. Damn.

That was my last quarter.

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