“Captain!” a voice boomed out of the darkness. Pheny sighed heavily as she realized her quiet moment in the darkness was now over. She rolled out of her bunk and switched her room lights on to low. “Report Commander?” she replied wearily into her communication unit. A hearty chuckle returned from the speaker followed with “Nothing to report, we’ve been sitting out here in the middle of nowhere for two days now. Are you sure you got the right coordinates from Command?” Commander Solomon Gaines was without a doubt the most decorated fighter pilot in the Alliance. Like Pheny was just twenty when the war began and was thrown into a cockpit upon joining his home planets Military. His service record included over one hundred separate operations against the Volma, tallying nearly five hundred confirmed kills. His skill with a star fighter made him the obvious choice as this missions second in command. His “I don’t care who I offend” attitude, while annoying, was vital to keeping perspective on the mission. If something didn’t quite add up, Solomon would surely be the first one to mention it.
“Yes Commander, these are the right coordinates. Alliance command said we are to acquire a vital piece of equipment for our mission to the Volmag system here. I don’t think they would be mistaken.” Pheny offered. Bel’s reply was to the point “Or the Alliance has been taken over by Volma impostors and brought our best pilots out into the middle of nowhere to ambush us”. Pheny couldn’t help but laugh. It had been almost a month since Pheny was promoted to Captain and assigned to lead the mission into Volma territory, and Solomon had been her second in command since the day after assignment. Pheny wouldn’t have it any other way. Changing to an informal tone “Well, if it’s a trap perhaps we should break out the alcohol and party?” Solomon chuckled again, “You’d better get up here. Some of the natives are getting restless.” “On my way” Pheny replied and shut down her communicator.
Pheny dressed quickly and stepped out of her room into the cramped hallway of the tiny transport they were in. She made her way the short distance to the flight deck and entered. A female lieutenant by the name of Amie Ortiz was the first to see Pheny walking through the door and shouted “Captain on deck!” All five occupants of the flight deck snapped to attention. “As you were” Pheny replied. As her crew returned to their stations Solomon approached and grabbed Pheny by the shoulder. “So Captain, what exactly are we doing out here”. Pheny shook her head and replied “I wish I knew. This is where our orders instructed us to come, so here we are.” Amie, sitting at the sensor station, gasped sharply and yelled out “CAPTAIN!” At the same time the flight deck windows were washed out by a blinding flash of light and the transport shuddered violently almost knocking over anyone who wasn’t sitting down and sending anything not nailed down crashing to the deck.
“Are we under attack Amie?” Pheny asked with a hint of concern in her voice. Amie sat staring out the front window of the flight deck, mouth agape and eyes wide open. When Pheny turned and looked she saw, sitting about five hundred meters ahead, a ship. It was about four hundred meters long and maybe two hundred meters high. What Pheny assumed to be the bow of the ship was rounded and tapered, flowing seamlessly down the length to the stern where it looked like half a dozen frigate sized canisters, probably the propulsion systems, sat. It had a subdued matte black finish and while she could make out a few windows, she didn’t see many aside from what appeared to be the bridge. “What is that and where did it come from??” Pheny asked. The flight deck of the transport exploded in sudden activity. Amie initiated a full sensor sweep, and Solomon leapt into the pilots’ seat and began restarting the engines. Priya, who was asleep at the communications console, woke up briefly to look out the window and nodded off again.
“uhh Captain” Amie spoke up from the sensor station “I don’t know what exactly is going on, but sensors don’t show anything. It’s as if nothing is there. I’ve run diagnostics twice and all sensors are functioning.” Pheny furrowed her brow and turned to the communications station, “Priya, have we been hailed or attempted to hail them?” There was only a soft snoring in response. “LIEUTENANT HUBBARD!” Pheny shouted. Priya shot to her feet and saluted at the wall, still obviously not completely awake “Yes sir! The bread will be ready at oh-eight hundred as ordered sir!” Silence fell over the flight deck as everyone looked at Priya with puzzled and confused looks. Priya suddenly realized where she was and upon turning around proceeded to turn a deep blue. Well deeper blue than normal, her species natural blue skin just got darker under moments of embarrassment. “I apologize captain, I did not sleep well last night.” Solomon erupted into laughter as the others went back to work. Pheny sighed sharply and asked again “Any communications?” Priya looked down at the console and with a hint of surprise replied, “We are being hailed, Sir.” Pheny shook her head in frustration. “Well patch it through the speakers lieutenant” Priya replied with a curt “Yes Sir!” and opened the comm channel. “Unidentified vessel, this is Captain Clarrington of the Alliance transport ship Detrimus. Be aware you are in Alliance space. I will need you to transmit your flight plan and authorization codes immediately.” Pheny stated. A few moments of silence fell over everything, then the speakers crackled to life. A deep yet refined voice came through “Hello Pheny, it’s been a while”.
Pheny’s jaw fell wide open and her eyes bulged. “D..Dad?” She stammered. “Yes Pheny it’s me” was the reply. Pheny remained silent and motionless for a moment then responded in a somewhat annoyed tone, “What in the hell are you doing way out here, and what kind of ship is that?” This was met with a soft chuckle before the response, “Well, I’m here to bring you your new ship.” Pheny nearly fell back into the captain’s chair, and the rest of the flight deck crew remained perfectly silent. The silence was broken by Pheny’s father, “I can understand your surprise. I’m sending you coordinates for docking bay one. Why don’t you all come aboard for dinner and a tour?” Pheny couldn’t help but laugh “Acknowledged, coordinates received and we are beginning docking procedures now.” “Good, see you soon” With that the communication ended and Pheny looked around at her crew. Each one making eye contact with her in a sort of silent agreement. “Solomon, take us in” Solomon flipped several switches and said “Yes sir! Guess who’s comin to dinner!”