An Inheritance of Stars

Ambush

There was a brief sickening wrench as the transport ship dropped out of the warp and into real space. The ship itself was an ancient freight hauler which had long ago been converted to a serviceable bulk passenger transport. Despite the near 300 years the ship had been in operation, it had been well cared for, and was as reliable today as the day she had first left the docks. However careful repairs and regular maintenance were no match for the rigors of a long and difficult warp voyage.

Captain Tarfu sighed with relief as the arourglass canopy above the bridge finally showed stars instead of the nauseating colours and the associated madness of the warp. “Engineering, get me a status report,” called the Captain into the ships comms. “Sensors, let me know what’s out there. We may need some time to enact repairs, and I’d rather not have company while we take care of business.” Though the tension headache Tarfu associated with warp travel was fading, he had an unsettled feeling in the pit of his stomach; something telling him that they weren’t out of trouble yet. The voyage through the Maw to Port Wander normally only took about eighteen to twenty days. However this time, the shifting warp currents had fought the ship the entire way. They had already more than doubled the normal time, and had only make it to the halfway mark. Tarfu knew his ship, and knew that it would take several days of repairs and systems checks before the ship could resume her journey. Even if the warp currents cooperated from this point forward; the little ship had already sustained brutal punishment from its journey. Tarfu shuddered inwardly at the thought of what might happen if they resumed their course, and lost their geller field while in transit. There were obviously stories of ships which had lost their fields, but they were few and far between, as the event was usually considered a death sentence for both ship and crew.

The crackle of the ships comms snapped the Captain out of his reverie. He listened intently as his chief of engineering’s voice came onto his personal comm bead and updated him on their status. Paling slightly, he nodded his head. “What’s the eta on the repairs?” Listening for a moment more he nodded again. “Ok, take care of it, and keep me up to date on our progress.” Turning back to the bridge, Tarfu held his finger on the button which controlled the ships internal speaker system, and addressed both the crew and passengers. “This is your Captain speaking. As you may have noticed we’ve recently dropped back into real space. We will be pausing here for the next 72 hours to enact basic repairs and maintenance before resuming out voyage to Port Wander. I understand that this trip has taken longer than normal, and I thank you for your patience. Please have just a little more, as we’ll be back on our way shortly.” Releasing the button, Tarfu turned his attention back to the bridge crew. “Ok folks, engineering says that we came out at just the right time. We’ve still got all of our critical systems, but the geller field and warp drives need to undergo a full workup before we can transfer again. That means we can run if trouble finds us.” Gazing at the crew’s eyes, he could see that they understood the gravity of the situation. “Until we’re back up and running, I want everybody who’s not on repairs or critical duties to be at battle stations. We may not have much in the way of firepower, but let’s make sure we’re ready to use it if we have to.”

As if in response to his words the sensors operator cried out in alarm. “I’ve just picked up an energy discharge to our stern!” Before he could finish his sentence, the ship lurched violently, and damage alarms began screaming. Almost immediately they were struck again, and again. The hammer blows against the ship fell accurately and without mercy. In what seemed like the blink of an eye they tore away engines, weapons, communications, and sensors. Without having even a chance to react the beleaguered transport ship was helpless.

“What do we do Captain?” asked a blood soaked bridge technician. He held one arm awkwardly at his side but showed more confusion than pain.

Tarfu opened the bridge weapons locker and began arming himself. He looked at his crewman, but spoke to the entire bridge. “Now we prepare to receive boarders.”

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Talib

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