The Cockatrice was a lighthugger with a piratical Ultranaut crew that engaged in attacking other lighthuggers for loot and captives. They also occassionally committed kidnappings, including those of Conjoiners, in order to gain expertise from these individuals or hold them for ransom. During the flight of the lighthugger Petronel from Shiva-Parvati, carrying refugees, the Petronel came under attack in interstellar space by the Cockatrice.
The two ships engaged in an escalating interstellar chase and exchanging fire at great ranges. The Cockatrice was eventually destroyed by accident, due to a piece of debris striking the ship while it was at very high velocities. The crew of the Petronel sent a search party to the wreck of the Cockatrice to search for survivors, finding only a female Conjoiner previously held captive by the Cockatrice's crew.
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A cockatrice is a mythical beast, a creature best described as a hybrid of a cockerel (AmE rooster) and a small dragon. Historically, the cockatrice has also been a popular heraldic charge in some Western European countries, particularly those of the British Isles and France. It is not as common a creature motif in other parts of Europe.