A loud explosion was followed by silence and his cockpit went dark. The never ending expanse of stars was all that he could see. Metal tearing at metal, then silence again. He did not have much time. The enemy fighter was moving in for the kill. He knew that any moment the seals that protected him from the nothing of space would be broken. His ship was flying now purely off of momentum. He had no control, the liquid oxygen tank had been hit, it had quickly vented into space, leaving him one component short of being able to fire his main rocket.
He had a flight suit on, it would protect him from the vacuum of space, but that would simply be a slow death instead of a quick death. Until only an hour ago he was one of thousands of soldiers in Alpha Fleet, the best the nation had to offer. The HMS Excalibur was the first capital ship to be taken down, followed quickly by the HMS Hyacinthe. No attack is a surprise in space, you can see the enemy for a very long time. The weapons that were used against his fleet however, they were a surprise. He'd been a pilot of a Firestorm Fighter for fifteen years, never before had he seen that kind of fire power.
Twenty minutes into the battle all of the capital ships in his fleet were gone, human bodies that would float through the endless space, never to know the comfort of a grave. He could escape his doomed ship, but he couldn't escape space. He could surrender, eject from his plane, hope that after the rest of his fleet had been cleaned up they would bother to find his beacon and pick him up. He had always been told that surrender meant treatment worse than death and, eventually, death anyway.
Light flashed from just behind his cockpit, he leaned forward to try to see what happened. Metal pinged against his ship, he knew something had exploded near him, enemy or friend he had no way to know. Seconds later the now familiar sound of bullets tearing through the armored exterior of his ship told him that the explosion had been a friend. Soon, very soon he knew, his ship would follow suit. He wondered what the other pilot had decided, had he ejected to risk the slow death once the small oxygen supply in the flight suit ran out in a hope that he might be given a chance to surrender. Had he instead taken the quick death of an explosion.
A steady stream of bullets was striking him now, the enemy pilot knew he was dead in the water. He pulled the eject lever. Air rushed for a moment, pushing him quickly into the emptiness of space. He switched on the emergency beacon built into his flight suit. A small red light starting flashing softly inside his helmet. He spun around and looked at his ship, the enemy pilot must have seen him he eject, he saw the his attacker turning around heading back to the main battle, if it could be called that any more.
He turned the beacon back off, reached down his leg to remove the safety from a small button built into his suit. He tapped the button, a small amount of the oxygen that was sustaining him was expelled out the back of his suit, he started moving slowly towards the ship he had just abandoned. The cockpit could be resealed, he could live in the ship until dehydration killed him. Maybe, maybe he would make it long enough.
The time went slowly, his ship coming slowly closer to him. He corrected his trajectory, he had to be careful, hitting the ship too hard might injure him or damage his suit. He caught the wing of his ship, used in atmospheric flight, causing his ship to spin slowly. He pulled himself towards the cockpit. He pushed himself down into his seat, with the cockpit still open he gave a silent prayer to a God that he didn't believe in and flicked a switch, soft lights appeared on the control panel, a small screen in front of him flashed twice: "Backup Power Enabled."
He smiled, pushed another button, the cockpit resealed. Another button the nothingness of space was replaced with air, he didn't know how long it would last. He took the joystick; and stabilized the ship, orienting it towards the slightly larger dot that was the earth. His maneuvering thrusters were not designed to get him any where, and certain couldn't get him any where quickly. But earth was coming towards him, he just had to figure out where it would be when he got back into the earth's orbit around the sun. He guessed, turned so that the earth was directly above his head then pulled straight up on his joystick. The maneuvering thrusters shot gases into space, he start moving towards where he hoped the earth would be when he got there.
He pushed up again, he couldn't use all of the gas, he had to maintain a reserve so that he could make corrections and when and if he got close enough to hopefully be able to dock at the base. He pulled up one more time, looked up at the distant earth said another silent prayer then closed his eyes and hoped.