Varr stared out into space, watching vainly for asteroids on a collision course. A waste of time of course, for the computer would alert Varr and his crew long before his unaided eyes could spot a dangerous one. He shook his head and swept his eyes around the bridge.
Four other men, intent in concentration, were, clad in Syna'iara uniform, staring intently at their consoles. Varr envied them their distractions from what to him was merely another boring run. As a child, he had always wished to travel the spacelanes, fighting pirates and protecting the worlds from alien invasions. Of course, there were no aliens, pirates fled at the sight of a Syna'iara ship and all in all his job was rather boring. It didn't help that he was underpaid.
He looked away from the bridge crew and towards his own console once again, only to be surprised to see the glowing red private message icon lit. Probably just his illustrious diplomatic passengers again, but still he needed to answer the call. Varr tapped the icon twice and the headset dropped from the ceiling into his lap.
"Hello Varr, I believe I have some information useful to you and your...crew."
Varr immediately recognized the tones of the Ambassador to the Union.
"I just recieved a diplomatic communique from Syna'iara. The Intel section of StateSec has recieved information that a Union attack on us is immenient."
"Did I just hear you correctly?"
"You heard me fine, Varr. It's fairly obvious that they've just been stalling for time with these "negotiations" in any case. Intel believes they will declare a general strike after we're killed and insist that Union independence be guaranteed by treaty before resource shipments are resumed. There's more but it's irrevelant to us. I highly...recommend... that you take precautions for the safety of the ship and crew."
Varr turned back toward the bridge staff. "Enhance sensor resolution and alert me if any Union ships are detected. And open a channel to the cruiser captain."
The forward viewscreen was currently showing an image of the space ahead of them, littered with asteriods and other debris. The image quickly faded, replaced by the picture of the bridge of the leading cruiser.
"I've just recieved a report that a terrorist attack by Union ships is imminent. I recommend that you take further precautions."
"Unnecessary. We're already prepared for them. Thank you for the warning, but we recieved the Intel report several minutes ago. In fact, I was just about to call to warn you "
"Excellent. In that case, over and out."
The four ships continued along on their course, and soon an alarm sounded on the bridge of the Invader. "Commander Varr, scanner readings indicate a large Union vessel on an intercept course. It matches no filed flight plan on record with CenCom. ETA is four minutes. Orders sir?" said a man on the bridge, looking up from the scanner console.
"Alert the cruiser captains. And open a channel to the unidentified ship."
"No response sir."
"Incoming transmission from Captain Ceradan sir."
The viewscreen faded to a view of the lead cruiser's bridge.
"Greetings commander. We've spotted the incoming Union vessel and are taking precautions. If it powers weapons or tries to ram, we'll destroy it immediately."
Varr replied, rather annoyed at being cut out of the decision-making process, "Thanks for keeping me up-to-date. If you can, try and disable the incoming vesselwe should interrogate the pilot if they're hostile. I'll alert CenCom."
He immediately opened a channel to CenCom, the control center for all Syna'iara warships and informed them of the situation. After the brief exchange, he turned back towards the viewscreen and set it to tactical display, replacing the realistic view of the surrounding area with a 2d symbolic view of all ships nearby. The intruder was a mere forty seconds away!
Ceradan had the situation well in hand. "Target missiles on the intruder" he ordered, "and fire if they power weapons."
The hijacked miner drew closer and as it closed the mining weapons began to power up and the machine gun turret swiveled to target the Invader-class.
Several seconds passed before the "battle" was joined. IR missiles from the cruisers began to launch and closed within seconds, the number precisely calculated to knock out all power but leave the crew of the ship alive. Before the miner could fire a single shot, it was drifting disabled in space.
A pair of assault shuttles launched from the bay of the Invader and made their way towards the now derelict ship. Within minutes, it had been towed into the massive docking bay of the Invader and the only crewman was being taken to an interrogation room-Captain Jan Thormun.
(This message has been edited by Patrick (edited 08-23-2002).)
(This message has been edited by Patrick (edited 08-24-2002).)
(This message has been edited by Patrick (edited 09-02-2002).)