(ETA: Gods. How is it possible that I am the first person to riff on this theme? The Internet was supposed to contain everything, dammit!)
The monotone voice again: "A candidate has qualified."
Centauri stared at the screen, muttered something unintelligible, and hit the space bar to acknowledge. "Weapons guidance hack?"
"Affirmative," his computer answered.
"Faked lag evasion?"
Centauri rolled his eyes. "Bring him up."
After a few minutes, the craft reached the station. An overweight teenager who smelled like he hadn't showered in ages stepped out from the docking bay. "Oh em gee --"
"Yes, yes, hi," Centauri said impatiently. "So what you've heard is all real, you've proven your --"
"YES!" the kid shouted, shuffling around with an upraised arm in what might have been some sort of victory dance. "I KNEW you'd pick me. I TOLD them all I was the leetest pk'er on the server! Let's see those tards laugh now!"
Centauri gritted his teeth. "You've proven your skill and have been selected as --"
"Wait!" the kid said. "This is too epic. I gotta upload screens of that last noob I pwned. You got wifi?"
"Wifi. Have you got wifi? Wifi, bitch, do you have it?"
Centauri pointed to a small, blocky port on the corner of his console. "Plug in."
The kid rolled his eyes. "Fail." He pulled a small device from his pocket, ran a cable to the console, and started tapping text onto the screen.
"As I was saying," Centauri continued, keeping his voice level with an effort, "you've been selected to serve as a Starfighter. THE Starfighter. We need to protect the galaxy from invasion, and you're obviously Earth's most highly skilled pilot. Unless --" he paused.
The kid, still typing out his blog entry in triumphant capital letters, didn't seem to notice.
Centauri cleared his throat. "Unless."
"Unless what?" the kid asked crossly.
"Unless the game you were playing was modified in some way --"
"Ess tee eff you!" The response was immediate and vehement. "I don't cheat!"
Centauri made a big show of shrugging. "I didn't say you did. But we've heard rumors of software compromise. We have to ask."
"Fag," the kid muttered, loud enough for him to hear. He finished his blog post, hit "Send," and stood up.
"So if you'll just come this way, we'll escort you to your ship, and then broadcast news of your victory to the server." Centauri pointed to a doorway, edged with yellow stripes, near the viewing port.
The kid hustled by, elbowing Centauri in the ribs as he went, and sauntered through the doorway with a shit-eating grin.
Centauri calmly hit a button. The door closed behind the Starfighter.
"Computer," he said, "delete queued data transmission from port e-n-zero."
"Affirmative," the monotone voice acknowledged.
"Computer," he said, a smile curling his lips, "Launch Starfighter."
The red "OPEN AIRLOCK" warning lit up. A klaxon sounded. A black silhouette, flailing madly, spun out into space.
"Affirmative," the monotone voice said.
Centauri sat back down at his console, where "Starfighter Online" was still awaiting his input: "n00b_KiLLa has destroyed you with a Death Blossom - hit space bar to continue." He tapped the key, and his character respawned. A server message blipped across the top of the screen: "n00b_KiLLa has logged off or been disconnected."
Centauri hit tab and checked his stats. 0 kills, 537 deaths. Busy day. But weren't they all?
2008-02-14: Made a few edits to streamline it.