Friday, 30 January 2015

1.7 Bounty Hunters Part 1

“We’re receiving another distress signal,” reports Janelle.

“Now what?” demands Sam.

“We’re got an oil platform malfunctioning,” says Janelle.

“Let’s go!” says Sam and he flies out of the ship.

I’m about to shout at him when Janelle starts speaking again.

“I just picked up another unusual signal not too far away,” says the AI, “It might what’s responsible for what’s happening to the oil platform.”

“Should we split up?” asks Vance.

I start to reply, but then we receive a call from the Dust Corsair.

“What’s going on?” asks Mia, “Lantern just flew out of your ship.”

“We’ve got two things to investigate,” I tell her, “A distress signal and an unknown signal. Lantern is already en route to the distress signal.”

“I’ll take the Dust Corsair and help him out,” says Mia.

“I’ll go out on my own and check out the other signal.”

“Take Darrac with you and Bolt and the Star Guardian can help with the distress signal,” says Mia, “The second signal might turn out to be nothing, but we know the first one is actually something.”

“True,” I muse, “Okay let’s do it.”

“Good,” says Mia and she cuts the signal.

“Janelle, you and Vance check out the distress signal,” I say as I get up and walk towards the open exit, “Darrac and I will check out the second signal.”

I jump out of the ship and activate the rocket pack. I’ve got 93% fuel left. Enough to last for at least two hours.

I turn to see Darrac exit his ship, a helmet now covering his face. He flies towards me using his wings.

“Follow me,” I tell him as the Dust Corsair and the Star Guardian begin to follow Sam.

I do a loop in the air and zoom off in the direction of the second signal. Darrac is barely keeping up.


Still if he can keep up with the latest version of the Sentinel suit, I can see why granddad and the other old Leaguers had trouble in the Invasion and I haven’t even seen him in combat.

“Whoa,” I say as the source of the signal comes into view.

A flying aircraft carrier. You have a fair few flying around these days, some private and some government. Personally I dislike them as they’re too easy to be damaged or taken out of action. As granddad said, one seems to fall out of the sky every other Thursday.

I land on the topside of the carrier. Several men and woman in work clothes are running about. Several people in power armour are coming topside from the carrier’s below decks.

“Are we welcome?” asks Darrac as he lands next to me.

“Don’t count on it,” I say back to him as the people in their work clothes scurry out of sight. 

Fourteen, maybe fifteen people in power armour are coming towards us.

This power armour is different to the Sentinel armour or the Bulk armour. Whereas the Sentinel armour fits around the wearer and is self-reliant for extended use, these suits also fit around the wearer, but are bulky and have a semi-external power source on the back. I also doubt the suits are as hi-tech and well-built as the Sentinel and Bulk armours are.

The armours are black with the armour plating being grey while the helmets have a wide purple faceplate.

Then I spot their leader. He’s also wearing the same type of armour as the others, but is gold and red. His face plate is black and a crimson cloak is attached to his back.

An American bounty hunter called Spartan who owns his own private army. Makes his fortune by hunting down supervillains for assorted folk.

And I have a large bounty on my head and Spartan has been known to take down heroes or neutrals when he can get away with it.

It is only as Spartan starts speaking that I realise that they’re all holding guns, large sleek rifles of some kind, and they are aimed at Darrac and I.

“So what do we have here,” says Spartan in a deep baritone voice as he strides towards us.

“Sentinel and associate,” I reply, glancing at Darrac.

“You shouldn’t be out here,” says Spartan, his emotions concealed by his armour, “We’re out in international waters and you got a massive bounty on your head. And we’re the ones who are going to collect it.”

Normally I might have tried talking my way out or negotiating with him, but Spartan and his people don’t seem to be willing to be reasonable with such a prize at stake. And I don’t know if Darrac will avoid a fight if I ask him to.

Spartan laughs and waves a hand at his power armoured warriors.

“We out number you eight to one,” says Spartan loudly, “I don’t care how good your armour is, you’re just a kid going up against the pros. And your pal won’t stand a chance either.”

There’s his first mistake. I’m actually much more skilled than Spartan if I do say so myself and you never treat a Sektain soldier as if they're anything other than a deadly threat.

“So grand and mighty Sentinel,” sniggers Spartan in a snide tone, “What’s it going to be?”

“Non-lethal force,” I tell Darrac.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

1.6 Pirates and Knights Part 7

“So what happened next?” asks Sam eagerly.

“The three of us escaped to Domino,” says Mia, “We managed to... acquire the Dust Corsair from some unmissed scum. I have been captain since then with Darrac as my first mate and Borin as my engineer.”

“So how come you haven’t gone home?” asks Sam.

Mia is silent for several seconds before sighing.

“I have become adapted to galactic society,” answers Mia, “I’ve done things that are normal out here, but I have no idea how they would fit in back on Earth. And I’m not the person that my family once knew. I would be too embarrassed and ashamed of myself if I returned home to my family.”

“I would say I understand, but I don’t,” says Sam, “I do understand the concept and theory, but I’ve never been unlucky enough to have experienced what is necessary to understand.”

“Good for you,” snorts Mia, “So are we going to New Valletta or what?”

“If we use a warp drive, it should only take a few hours in warp space and several hours using sub-lights,” I say.

“How do you know if we got a warp drive?” demands Mia.

“You don’t have a jump drive and there isn’t a gate in this system,” I reply.

“But what about a hyper drive?” insists Mia.

“I need to keep some secrets,” I say in a patronising voice.

“Let’s get going,” says Mia before cutting the connection.

I turn to face Sam. He looks at me expectantly.

“We got really good scanners,” I tell him in a quiet voice.


“This is the haul,” says Mia proudly as we and Lantern stand in the cargo bay of the Dust Corsair.

The cargo hauler is easily worn out and the mix match repairs even more telling once you’re inside. The contrast in the quality of the ship and the quality of its cargo is almost shocking.

The crates of Sektain equipment are a mixture of curved cuboids and cubes of a smooth and shiny greenish-purplish-grey metal allow. There are twenty total. Even if the crates were empty, they would still be worth a lot thanks to how well made they are.

Mia is just over our age, roughly a year older than me. She has a distinct pirate feel to her. Her brown hair is tied back while her eye colour is hard to tell thanks to fact she has had them augmented or enhanced. Mia has an athletic body with even more enhancements or augmentations to it.

I’m also fairly certain that  she is some type of cyborg.

Her clothes are made from a black material that’s very similar to cos-mat while her vambraces and boots are made from made from Sektain metal. Which means they almost definitely have hidden abilities to them. Mia has a red belt of flowing silk and a steely grey armour that covers her shoulders, upper chest and back. On her head is leather hat like that one from Pirates of the Caribbean.

“So how much would you take for all this?” I ask her.

“How much how is it worth?” she replies.

I have my HUD bring it all up. It takes a minute, but I get a figure.

“Roughly seventy thousand pounds,” I tell her, “Give or take a few thousand.”

“So how much are you willing to pay?” Mia asks.

I think about it for a moment. I could name a sum about the same value, but Mia seems to be looking for a profit. And she’s been nice enough to deserve it from me.

“Eighty thousand,” I answer.

Mia pauses for a few minutes before speaking.

“I guess that’s a good deal,” admits Mia, “And you did save our lives and haven’t asked for any reward.”

“So you’ll take it?”


“I’ve transferred the amount into her bank account,” says Janelle over my armour’s comms.

“The money should be in your account,” I say to Mia.

Mia opens up a holographic display from her left arm. After a moment of looking through it, she looks pleased.

“This all yours,” grins Mia as she waves a hand at the crates.

“So what are you planning to do now?” I ask her as Sam moves to pick up some of the crates with both his hands and his telekinesis.

“I got a bunch of tech and money to upgrade the Dust Corsair with from your money and the salvage rights from the battle,” muses Mia, “But that’ll take time.”

“Thinking of going home during that time?” I inquire.

“Probably,” says Mia, “Darrac and Borin can be trusted to look after the ship. Plus I’ll keep in contact with them.”

She pauses and looks at the doorway.

“Say,” says Mia, “Have you meet Darrac yet?”

I follow her graze and freezes.

I guess I should have realised it, but it still came as a shocked to find out that Darrac is one of the Sektain’s modified humans.

Darrac is tall and slim, but has a look of lethality to him. His black hair is slick and pointed upwards and back. Two black leather wings stick out of his back while long spikes come out of his forearms. His eyes look like those of a cat and I can see fangs sticking out of this mouth. The somewhat bulging muscles don’t help him look nonthreatening either.

He’s wearing the same black clothes that Mia is wearing with the grey metal armour on top. The only bare spots are his head and arms.

“So you’re the heir of the great Sentinel,” says Darrac.

He cocks his head at me.

“You’re pretty impressive.”

Mia laughs.

“So,” says Mia with a silly grin on her face, “Mind if we tag along on the trip home?”

Friday, 23 January 2015

1.6 Pirates and Knights Part 6

It doesn’t literally hit me, but the Sektain destroyer is almost upon us.

“Can it see us?” I ask Janelle.

“Can what see us?” demands the girl.

Darn, I forget to close the connection.

“The destroyer,” I tell her before muting my responses to her.

“No,” replies Janelle, “It will once I charge the weapons however. Not even our cloaking can hide that.”

“Do it,” I tell her as I grip the controls.

I can hear the girl curse in a mixture of alien languages, only a few I can understand. I should update our translators when we get back to Earth.

I look at the controls. The plasma cannons are ready, but the fusion lance is still charging. The destroyer has changed course once it detected us.

I fire the plasma cannons.

They’re better than nothing and much better than what most people have. Most people doesn’t include Sektain warships however as the Sektain were the ones to make plasma weaponry widespread in the first place.

The destroyer fires its emergency thrusters to avoid my shots. It is only partially successful as two bolts of plasma miss and streak off harmlessly into space.

The other two slam into the destroyer and its shield flickers and fails.

The fusion lance finally charges and I fire it. It zooms at the hapless vessel, the destroyer unable to dodge and is without its shields.

The fusion lance punches through the Sektain warship and unleashes a series of explosion throughout the ship. The forward third of it even breaks away from the ship and the engines flicker and died.

“That was some impressive firepower,” says the girl over the comm approvingly before her tone becomes extremely worried, “You’re not going to turn that on me are you?”

“Why on Earth would I do that?” I demand as I unmute myself.

“Because I’m a criminal and you’re a lawman,” replies the girl, “That’s how most folk do things out here.”

“Well you did say you haven’t done anything majorly wrong and you stayed out of trouble with the Knights and Sangor, which are people whose opinions I care about out here,” I reply, “So what were you doing out there in the first place?”

The girl hesitates for a moment before replying.

“If you mean why I’m a pirate, that is too long a story,” she finally says.

“Just tell why they were fighting and why you sent the distress signal,” I say.

“Well,” replies the girl, “Me and my crew stole a bunch of gear from the Talrak Ravagers, the ones with the assault ships, and tried to sell them to the Yarnel Interstellar Empire, the guys with the battleship. Except the Yarnels decided they didn’t want to pay so I sent the distress signal. Then the Talraks showed up after having followed me here and wanted their stuff back. So they fought while I try to sneak away. I guess you showed up at some point between then and now. So now I got several crates of stolen equipment and no buyers.”

“What kind of equipment?” I inquire.

“Five boxes of Sektain energy shield generator, a couple of crates containing plasma grenades, five of small arms and eight boxes of power cells,” answers the girl, “Interested?”

“Only if you’re willing to accept the pound sterling,” I reply, “Sektain tech isn’t easy to come by back on Earth and I’m always interested in acquiring more in a moral manner.”

“Does anyone else around here use the pound sterling?” asks the girl.

“The Knights and probably the Sangor,” I tell her, “ At the very least they will convert into something they will use. Do you want to sort out the deal back at Epsilon Eridani?”

“Is that a good idea?” asks the girl, the worry clear in her voice.

“You haven’t broken their laws and I think I might be able to get the Knights to licence you as a one of their privateers,” I reply, “The Knights will probably even let you salvage some the wreckage out here.”

“I could make a good profit on even a small amount of what is floating out here,” laughs the girl.

“Doing business now Sentinel,” grins Sam from behind me, “You don’t even know our new friend’s name.”

I almost jump. I had forgotten that he had entered the cockpit. But he has a good point.

“Before we got anywhere,” I say to the girl, “Could I get your name since you have mine?”

“Mia Robinson,” answers the girl, “So how are we going to New Valletta?”

“I would use my ship’s jump drive,” I reply, “But I’m guessing you don’t have one.”

“You got a working jump drive!”exclaims Mia in shock, “Do you have any idea how rare those are?”

“I do,” I say somewhat proudly.

It is true after all and jump drives are quite rare.

“So how did you become a space pirate?” Sam asks her, “You seem like one of the people from Earth not space. They’re either alien or Maltese”

Mia is silent for a moment before reply.

“I was on a education trip to Europa roughly a year back,” says Mia in a world weary voice, “At the time, I was helping out carrying cargo crates when the ship I was on left before I could get off. They were pirates and couldn’t just go back to a civilised spot of the galaxy to do me off. Fortunately, they were kind to me and took me as one of their own. The captain’s first mate was the father of my own first mate and pitied me. So I spent several months as part of the crew as Urck’s protégée. Then the Antol Raiders attacked us and the ship was finally cornered. Only me, Darrac and Borin escaped.”

1.6 Pirates and Knights Part 5

“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.

1.6 Pirates and Knights Part 4

“Engaging jump drive,” reports Janelle.

Now this is what I’ve been waiting for. Jumping for the first time.

The world seems to fade as a massive portal opens in front of us. It streams with deep blue energy and flashes of bright light.

“Here we go!” I laugh as I fly the ship into the portal.

It’s all very calm. The process of jumping that is. The three of us can barely keep our excitement in check. After all, it’s not every day you get to go in space and visit a new solar system.

“Since it’s just a short trip, it should only take about sixteen minutes thirty one seconds until we exit jump space,” reports Janelle.

“So what do you want to do on New Valletta?” I ask Sam and Vance.

“Well, what is its history first?” asks Vance.

“Eridani Epsilon was first claimed by the Knights Hospitaller twenty three years ago and New Valletta grew from the military outpost set up there,” I answer, “It’s currently the size of a large sub-urban city. The planet has been terraformed for humans and has many smaller farms scatter across it. It has a human population of over three hundred and one thousand and an alien population of almost one hundred and eighty five thousand from assorted species. It also has the bulk of the Knights’ space fleet based there through most of it is currently privateering against the Sektain and the separatists. It has got a bunch of historic sites we can look at. I’m sure we get can some souvenirs and treats. We’re quite famous and respected there due to the League’s actions during the Invasion.”

“Do you think we’ll get into any trouble?” asks Sam and I can’t tell whether he wants a yes or no.

“I doubt it,” I reply regardless of what Sam wants to hear, “The Knights maintain very good security and a low crime rate. We and everyone else will be very safe.”


The trip has been going great so far. We easily got landing permission and we even got a tour guide, young lad called Squire Adam Vassalli. He is very eager to show us around.

Adam is eager to serve and somewhat reserved. He wears the traditional informal clothing of the Knights Hospitaller, a black robe with their red cross held up by a belt.

“Have you enjoyed New Valletta so far?” asks Adam.

“It has been really good so far,” I reply, glancing at Sam and Vance.

They were able to get some lunch at one of the cafes. Due to my armour and its sealed helmet, only Sam and Vance got something to eat and drink. Sam is still eating the last of his cakes as we walk.

“Sorry about you being not being able to eat,” apologises Adam again.

“Don’t worry about it,” I insist once again, “It is merely one of the drawbacks of the armour combined with a secret identity.”

“If you say so,” says Adam, “May I ask a question?”

“Sure,” replies Vance.

“What’s it like on Earth?” inquires Adam, “I was born and raised on New Valletta and have always wondered what the homeworld is like.”

“Well as humans have lived on it for countless millennia so it’s pretty much been changed to suit humanity,” I reply, unsure about how to explain the Earth to someone who has never been there, “We pretty much colonised all of it so most of it is just cities and roads I guess. At least in first world countries it is. Also I think that settlements would be a better word than cities. The third world countries are generally really run down and have poor living conditions. And in the past we haven’t care about looking after the planet until the last few decades so our ancestors have mucked up the planet pretty bad. And it is just too big to fully describe and that is not even mentioning that I’ve only really been in southern England so I can’t say much about the rest of the world. New Valletta is much nicer as it’s still small and the local people been making an effort to look after the planet from the start by keeping clean, tidy and nice instead of just exploiting it.”

“I see,” says Adam.

I can’t tell if he’s pleased or disappointed by my answer. Perhaps he is just grateful for an honest answer.

“Can’t be worse than the Sektain or Tarii,” says Adam after a moment’s silence, “They have been trying to assert themselves over us. Unfortunately for them, humans are very different to the vast majority of their species. They haven’t grasp how we react to things differently to them. For example, for the Tarii, punishment is transferred to the next of kin if the punished dies or escapes before they finish carrying out the punishment. A couple of months ago, a human assassin killed one of their officials, but was killed in his escape. The Tarii wanted to punish his daughter by imprisoning her for life and torturing her. So they demanded we hand her over or else, thinking that we would give in since the Tarii are technically more powerful than we are.”

“They didn’t honestly think you would just hand over an innocent,” says Sam indignantly.

“They did,” grins Adam, “So imagine their surprise when we were willing to risk war to protect the innocent from unjust punishment. Or maybe they thought we would agree because they felt worked justice the same way.”

“Justice does not work that way,” growls Sam.

“Don’t worry,” continues Adam, “A lot of humans out here feel the same way as you do and would be more than happy about somebody doing something about it. As a result, the Tarii have backed down and are keeping their heads down for the time beings. They don’t want to risk a fight over a minor matter even if we are. Especially since many humans don’t consider it a minor matter. They don’t even care about losing face at this point if means avoiding a full on war.”

“Who is the woman?” asks Vance.

“A fourteen year old called Adrianna Mallizzo,” answers Adam, “She has recently become a squire for the Order after we took her in because of the incident. Partway through it actually. Not the most orthodox way to join our Order, but Anna is doing extremely. I know her personally and I been doing my best to look after her.”

1.6 Pirates and Knights Part 3

“The ship has an AI?” says Sam, surprised by the revelation.

“Of course she does,” I reply, “All the good ones do.”

“Should we sit down?” asks Vance, glancing at some of the passenger seats.

“Only if you wish to,” answers the ship, “Due to my engines, inertia nullifiers and artificial gravity, you may stand upright even when it turns and spins. Only once they have been disabled will you need to worry about strapping in. Of course, by that point you will almost certainly have bigger problems to worry about.”

“So what is the ship called?” asks Sam as he stands behind the pilot seat.

“The Star Guardian,” I reply.

I activate the stealth fielding and the invisibility cloak before exiting the hangar. I don’t need people worrying about what we’re doing since it’s just a pleasure cruise.

Oh, that reminds me.

“Aunt Mary,” I say as she ends my call.

“Yes Daniel?” replies Mary, “This is important? I’m sort of busy.”

“Just wanted to let you know I’m visiting New Valletta with Sam and Vance,” I tell her.

“Just a tourist trip?” inquires Mary, “Not planning to get into any fights or trouble?”

“Not if we can help it,” I answer truthfully, “But I can’t guarantee nothing will happen while we’re out there.”

“Really,” says Mary.

“Really,” I reply, “I never had to worry about a supervillain before I started wearing the Sentinel armour. Now it seems like they’re coming every other day. The Machine yesterday, Vengeance Wedsday night, Gorlack on Monday, Hall and Edison Friday last week and let’s not forget about Vistorix.”

I pause for a moment before asking, “How is Vengeance’s trial going?”

“It hasn’t actually started yet,” answers Mary, “If they were back home in the States, they might get off, but here we don’t like supers like them and the public opinion is strongly against them. It also hasn’t helped that they attacked the League of Heroes unprovoked. You are the nation’s very own classical superhero team and Vengeance trying to murder some of you has riled up the public. The US government has made their displeasure clear, but hasn’t actually done anything due to not actually wanting some bloodthirsty vigilantes back in their country. A few politicians are making a fuss, but nothing major. Shade has been extremely useful in keeping America’s superhero population from making trouble even though I doubt many of them actually would cause trouble.”

“That’s all good to hear,” I reply, “I’ll let you get back to work now.”

“Thanks for the heads up,” says Mary, “Wait a moment, is Narszara free?”

“Should be,” I say, surprised by the question.

“Would she be willing to help the Defenders out with a mission?”

“I’m sure she would,” I answer.

“Thanks again,” says Mary before cutting the connection.

I decide to give Narszara a call.

“The Defenders might ask you to help with a mission,” I tell her, “Feel free to aid them if you see fit.”

“Understood milord,” replies Narszara, “I have almost finished my armour designs. I’ll let you look them over when you return from your trip.”

At this point the Star Guardian has been going straight up and has just reach the upper atmosphere. Vance and Sam are gaping at the view.

I admit it is pretty impressive, but as I have been throughout the solar system before, I’m more interested in visiting new ones like Epsilon Eridani.

The journey is quick and rather boring. Space is big. Big and empty. None of the government spaceships were anywhere near us and we weren’t going by Europa so we didn’t encounter anybody. Not to mention nobody, but the Sangor could detect the Star Guardian through her stealth field and the invisibility cloak kept anyone from just looking out the window and spotting us.

“Boring isn’t it,” notes Vance after roughly forty minutes.

“As least it’s isn’t slow as it could be,” I reply, “The Star Guardian can do 0.565 on her sub-light engines while most ships are lucky if they can do 0.2.”

“Oh,” says Vance, “How long left?”

“Until we can jump to the Epsilon Eridani System?” I reply, “About a few minutes.”

“Wait,” says Sam, “Aren’t we warping or using hyperspace? Mum has always said that starships used warp drives and hyper drives because jump drives were too dangerous.”

“Most are,” I answer, “Our jump drives and those of the Sangor are completely safe and stable unlike everyone else’s. Jump drives are much faster than hyper drives or warp drives.”

“But don’t they need jump points to enter jump space?”

“Jump points can be used to go anywhere, not just nearby systems,” I explain, “Hyperspace is basically in normal speed, but just going at FTL while you can enter warp space at anytime to go anywhere, you have to be aimed at your location, limiting where you can warp in and out pretty much like the jump point limit where you can jump to and from. While warp drives and hyper drives are good for the masses, if you got a good jump drive, it’s better as it is faster and you can go much further.”

“I guess that makes sense,” says Sam, but I doubt he understood much of it.

“So what are you called?” Sam asks the ship.

“The vessel is known as the Star Guardian as you know,” replies the ship, “But you’re grandparents referred to me by the name of Janelle.”

“Nice to meet you Janelle,” grins Sam.