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It is a strange experience to stay in a spaceship under combat.

An unexperienced crew may easily get hurt from the ‘attack’ even if the ship isn’t hit. Fortunately, Shining Armor was not one of them.

The key of moving around within the spaceship, is to always get hold of something at the forward direction.
Most of the systems onboard is automatic – the radar automatically catches the signal of cannonballs flying towards the ship, the computer calculates the most effective way to get out the way and suffer minimal damage.

And the frequent, lack-of-warning orbital burning is not a good news to the ponies onboard of E.Q.S. ‘Molly’.

Shining Armor doesn’t like the way of space fighting. Back to the days when he was still young, the research on weapons is strictly banned by Pr. Celestia, ponies have to fight using only spears and magic. Shining Armor prefers a type of weapon called ‘plate’. It is in the shape of a round shield, but both sides are slightly embossed, which makes it unusable for non-unicorns. The edge of the ‘plate’ is sharpened and enhanced with magic, which makes it extremely lethal when handled by a master.

But, long before Shining Armor could become a master of ‘plate’, the political pressure outwashed the prohibition, and the nature of war changed.

The generals no longer fight with their soldiers.

And here, 2000km away from Equestria, their life is depending on the competition of the two computers.

From all of the data displayed on the screen in front of him, Shining Armor workes out what is happening: the zebras are creating a zone of cannonballs at the front of the spaceship in relation to its orbital movement, even though the cannon balls are fired more than 50 hours before. The easiest way to avoid them is to decrease the speed – but that would also lower the orbit, and send the ship into a passive status as it would have to speed up again while dodging the cannonballs.
As the technology of weaponry develops over the last few decades, Shining Armor find the war more and more like a game of chess, rather than a game that he could physically take part in.

The key of dodging the cannonballs at a great distance is not to actually dodge them, but to dodge them with the minimal usage of fuel. This is one of the most basic rule of orbital dogfighting:

In the orbit, the bullet is flying at the same speed of the ship

Shining Armor stares at the screen before him, which shows a big ‘NO SIGNAL’ right on his face. E.Q.S. Molly has lost any form of communication with the ground for over two days, and there is no evidence of the ship suffering any form of damage from the battle yet.

And, the second rule of orbital dogfight: Every bullet is lethal.

It is pointless to add armor to a spaceship. In the space, if the weight of a spaceship doubles, it will mean that the maneuver ability of the ship is halved, and the efficiency of using certain amount of fuel is also halved. Therefore, it will be more appropriate to build a faster and agile ship.
And, as the computer can accurately calculate the orbit of a debris as a result of a battle, the maneuverability is the only feature that decides if the ship becomes a training device or not during the intercept.
The exact definition of rather a ship has entered ‘intercept’ or not is vague. In short, it is two ship changing their orbit so they will meet at some point.

Surely, one ship could try to flee away, but eventually it will become another fight of calculation: which ship would rather spend more fuel in chasing.

This is the bit that Shining Armor hated the most: in spacefighting, everything is calculated and predetermined.

The point of intercept is getting closer. Needless to see what’s showing on the screen, Shining Armor can already feel it from the more and more frequent in the activation of engine. The cannons are fired through electromagnetic force, which is completely silent – even if it is loud, the enemy will not be able to hear it anyway. The radars and magic detection field are the only eyes and ears of the ship.
And, yes, the firing of the canons is completely automatic as well.

Surely, they have tried unponied space-fighters before. But the space is not a place that there is a sense of ‘front’ or ‘back’. If the thrust to weight ratio is high enough, there is exactly no difference between a missile and a mobile-fortress.

So, as the only thing preventing a ship from being hit by a cannonball fired at the other side of the planet is the maneuvability, it is more efficient to install the combat system to ponied spacecrafts, rather than using other spacecrafts to protect them.

And, that is everything he knows about the spacefighting.

No lasers, no ion shields, no warp drives. No heroic pilots evading the rain of cannonballs while the computer system stopped working, no flying-astronauts breaking and entering enemy spacecrafts and start gunfight, no suiciding knocking.
The space is a place where aiming at a feather and an elephant is at the same difficulty.

Suddenly, Shining Armor realized. It is not the case that the form of war is becoming more and more cruel. No, the space fight is actually closer to the original form of war -

The foals throwing stones at each other.

‘Sir, under this circumstance, is it possible to send a one-way message to Canterlot, in the minor hope that only device damaged is the receiving disk?’ a soldier asked.

‘Go ahead if you want.’ Shining Armor answered.

He knows already from Twilight Sparkle’s last telepathic message. There is nothing wrong with the communication system. Since there is no point attacking a spaceship if the reactor is paralyzed, maybe they can have a friendly chat with these zebras once either of the ship has reached that point.

It is not the string between the kite and the pony has been broken. This time, it is the pony that is gone.


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