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“Comm, shipwide channel please.” The Comm officer nodded and flipped a couple of switches. “Attention all crew, this is Captain Clarrington. We have an enemy cruiser on approach, our job is to avoid detection. If we can’t we need to jam communications and disable them.” Affirmative replies returned from all ship stations and Pheny took her place in the captain’s chair. “Helm, how fast can we move without threat of detection?” Phenny inquired. The Helmsman took a moment, but responded “Probably ten thousand kilometers per hour give or take.” Ten thousand kilometers per hour was a snails speed in the vastness of space, but it would have to do. “Ok Helm..” Pheny took a deep breath, “I need you to put us in reverse, at ten thousand kph, get us away from the coordinates that we docked the freighter at as quickly and as quietly as possible.”

Turning next to the sensor station where Priya had taken over, “How long until they reach minimum sensor range lieutenant Hubbard?” she asked. Priya, now apparently more awake than at any point so far this trip, tapped her work station furiously and quickly came back with, “About ninety minutes captain.” Ninety minutes would put them about only fifteen thousand kilometers away from thier rendezvous coordinates, still well within sensor range of even the weakest of the volma ships. “Damnit” Pheny muttered as quietly as possible. She quickly pondered several scenarios in her head, none of which brought her any comfort, then began to adjust her orders. “Helm, keep us at ten thousand kph for seventy five minutes, then full stop. At that point we’ll go dark.” She looked back at her Father, “Hopefully this ship of yours will be as invisible as I hope it can be.”

The minutes passed intolerably slow. Pheny could see the anxiety building on the faces of the bridge crew. One of the few things she had noticed earlier was that most of the crew appeared to be from non-military backgrounds. She let her reservations over this fact drift away, as nothing could be done about it now. She would just have to trust them all to do their jobs. The seventy fifth minute arrived and the ship was brought to a standstill. All nonessential systems were shut down, and essential systems were brought to their lowest possible power levels. Pheny had never been on a ship capable of silent running. Every type of pilot training, from atmospheric aircraft, to the largest military ships teach you one thing, Silence means there’s a problem.

When the Trinity slipped into it’s silent mode it was unnervingly quiet. Pheny had to hold back the urge to panic, but the bridge crews calm helped bolster her own. Pheny heard a faint voice from the sensor station “Be the rock”, it said. Turning towards Priya and speaking softly Pheny inquired, “What was that lieutenant?”. Priya looked at the captain and in a similar hushed tone replied, “Nothing important captain. Just something I would tell myself when playing hide and seek with my brothers in the mountains back home. I’d get behind the biggest rock I could find and tell myself to “be the rock”.” Pheny nearly smiled at the sentiment, and simply nodded to Priya in response. “Ok… I want to know everything they do as soon as it’s done. If we have to turn this into a fight, we need to end it fast.” Acknowledgements returned from all stations quickly.

Commander Opless ordered a full stop just a thousand meters from the coordinates where they lost the freighters signal. He immediately noted a lack of wreckage. The ship definitely did not explode. “Full sensor sweep of the area. If you find so much as an elevated ion level I want to know it” He ordered. Opless stepped forward to the cruisers viewport and studied the empty space before him. His thoughts raced, “If there really was nothing here, I’ll be reprimanded for wasting resources. But if the alliance has a stealth ship, and I am the one to bring it in or stop it, I’ll surely be promoted”. As Opless continued to study the star field, the sensor officer reported, “Commander we have no unusual reading in this sector.”. Opless closed his eyes and took a deep breath, if he was going to receive a reprimand, he may as well go all out for it. “Launch fighters, have them visually search from the freighters disappearance coordinates to twenty thousand kilometers out in all directions.” He ordered. The bridge became a flurry of activity as the command was given for fighters to launch.

Priya’s voice raised slightly with nervousness, “They are launching fighters Captain!”. Pheny felt an excruciating urge to curse in several languages but swallowed it down. “Lieutenant Hubbard, what is their orientation to us?”. Priya perused her sensor data and replied, “We are broadside Captain. Port side to Port side.” Pheny was hit with another urge to curse as the launch doors for the fighters were on the port side of the ship. If they wanted to launch Solomon and Amie without giving away their position, they would have to slowly turn around. “Lieutenant, update on the fighters?” Priya was prepared with the information, “Five fighters have moved to our rendezvous coordinates and are beginning a search pattern from there.” Pheny could no longer hold herself, “Son of a motherless goat” she said. “How long do you estimate, based on trajectory, until one of them sees, or runs into us?” Priya looked to her console and tapped some quick calculations, “It’s a decent distance but we have less than an hour I’d say.”. Not the best news, but not the worst either. “Helm…” Pheny ordered, “Turn us about as slowly as possible, we need our launch doors facing away. Tactical, prepare communications jamming and weapons. Target engines and communications hardware. We need to strand them and shut them up.”. The Helmsman, and the Tactical officer replied in unison “Yes Sir!”.

This wasn’t exactly how she would have wanted her first engagement, in her first command of a capital ship to be, but she well knew that nothing was perfect. “Comm, fighters.” She ordered as she could hear the comm line open she stated, “Commander Gaines, Lieutenant Ortiz. Once bay doors are out of line site of the enemy you are launching. It’s two against five out there, so nothing fancy, just disable them got it?” Solomon, in his usual cheerful tone responded, “Only five?”.

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Daniel Boguslawski

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