“Incoming distress signal,” reports Janelle just we’re about to jump back to the Sol System.
“Where?” I ask the AI.
“In the Talimaro system,” says Janelle, “We’re only picking it up due our highly advanced equipment. It would take several months for anyone else to detect unless they passed through the system, which only criminals do due to the high danger of pirates.”
“So it is probably a pirate?” I ask, “Do we have to help them?”
“I would recommend we investigate the situation further before we take action,” replies Janelle, “We can get there in an estimated twenty four minutes six seconds and our cloak and stealth will render us invisible to all, but the most advanced detection technology.”
“And here I thought we would get through this without trouble,” I sigh, “Can we make the jump from here? Or do we have to go somewhere else to jump.”
“Here is fine,” says Janelle, “I assume we’ll jump now?”
“Might as well,” I say before I ask the other, “You guys hear all of that?”
“Yup,” says Sam, “The trip went well so why not wrap it up fighting space pirates.”
“If only all of us thought like that,” says Vance as he shakes his head, “But then again, I’m not sure if that would be a good thing.”
“Can you report the distress signal?” I ask Janelle as the jump space portal opens.
“Already have,” answers the ship.
We spent our time in jump space discussing what we might find in the there and if space pirates will be there.
What we do find turns out to be more on the ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’ side of our conversation.
Our sensors detect seven contracts near the second planet as we exit jump space. Then six as one explodes under heavy fire.
“Three Sektain assault ships engaging a Sektain battleship and a Sektain destroyer,” reports Janelle, “Plus a small cargo hauler of unknown original that is the source of the distress signal.”
“What is going to happen?” I ask her.
“Well, the battleship will probably take out the assault ships, but suffer heavy damage in the process while destroyer will be eliminated if it enters the fray,” replies Janelle, “The cargo hauler is attempting to escape, but will be unable to.”
“What do you recommend?”
“Move to cover the cargo hauler, wait out the fight if we can and report the site to the Knights so they can salvage the wreckage.”
“Could we survive a fight if things come to that?”
“With a good flying and shooting, yes.”
“Good,” I say, “Bring us in.”
“So what are we going to do?” asks Sam as he enters the cockpit.
“Cover the cargo hauler while we wait the fight out,” I reply,“We won’t get involved if we don’t have to, but we won’t abandon people in distress to die.”
Janelle’s predictions soon begin to prove true as we sneak up on the cargo hauler. One of the assault ships breaks apart under heavy fire power. But a large chuck of the battleship’s prow is blasted off in return.
“Hmm,” mutters Janelle before speaking to me, “The battleship is taking worse damage than I expected. One of the assault ships might actually win.”
And it seems like that will happened as the battleship is pounded by barrage after the barrage. Then another assault ship is destroyed.
“In position over cargo hauler,” reports Janelle, distracting me from the battle.
“Is it damaged?” I ask.
“No, the cargo hauler appears to be fully operational as it can be,” answers Janelle, “It seems to be a Hurkui class freighter that has been severely damaged over time and been patched back together. It is barely running, rather unreliable and has been repaired with inferior tech than what it original had.”
“So it is a piece of junk that shouldn’t be in use?” I suggest.
“Exactly that,” agrees Janelle, “Hmmm. The battle appears to be over.”
I look towards the Sektain ships.
I should probably point out these ships don’t belong to the Sektain Collective and just originated with them. They probably belong to some warlord or band of pirates. Otherwise we would be in a much worse position.
The last assault ship was defeated, but the battleship was effectively left dead in space.
“Let’s hail the cargo hauler,” I say.
“Opening a channel,” reports Janelle.
“Hello cargo hauler,” I say over the comm, “Do you require assistance?”
“What the Bis’nat?!” curses a voice of a young female human, probably later mid teens, “Who are you and where are you? My sensors can’t detect you everywhere.”
“That would be due my highly advanced tech,” I reply, “We’re pretty much sitting on top of you.”
“I guess I’ll just to take your word for mister ghost ship,” says the girl, “My sensors aren’t properly fixed yet. Is the battle over?”
“Yes,” I reply, “Do you still need to be rescued?”
“Who said we needed rescuing?” demands the girl.
“Your distress beacon,” I answer.
“Damn it,” grumbles the girl, “Can I at least get a name of my new mysterious friend and his ship?”
“Sentinel, a member of the League of Heroes and captain of the Star Guardian,” I reply, “I’m guessing you’re a criminal?”
“Don’t judge me!” protests the girl hotly, “I’m selective about which laws I follow and which I break. And I never have broken any of the Knights or Sangor laws.”
“And your piece of junk is called?” I ask.
“My ship is called the Dust Corsair,” answers the girl in an annoyed.
I’m about to reply when something doesn’t feel right. I’m missing something. I take a look at the battlefield. How many ships were there?
Then it hits me.