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Everyone crowded around the open cockpit of Amie’s vessel, Amie sat in the pilot seat bouncing up and down rapidly. If Pheny didn’t know better she’d have thought Amie had to relieve herself. Tarvon once again began his used starship salesman pitch. “This vessel is nearly undetectable in every situation. Radar and LIDAR can barely detect it, and it defeats ion and emission sensing easily. All weapons are deploy on demand. Pull the trigger, gun ports open and fire commences. Let go of the trigger ports close. Same with missile launchers.” Amie’s bouncing intensified, her eyes darting all over the cockpit at every button, switch and slider. Solomon chuckled heartily. Tarvon continued, “Propulsion is provided by quad-linked ion drives that can get you from zero to ten thousand KPH in about thirty seconds. Faster than anything we know the Volma currently have. However, the one thing that definitely sets this apart from any of her competition” Tarvon let his sentence trail off, then spoke into his communicator, “Deck captain, secure energy screens and open bay three”.

An affirmative response was heard from the communicator and yellow warning lights flooded the bay along with a warning klaxon. The launch door in front of the ship pushed outward and then slid up and out of view with just the hazy glow of the energy shield holding the atmosphere in. “This part you need to see to be believed. Lieutenant, why don’t you power up the weapons systems and give that trigger on your control stick a quick squeeze?” Amie’s eyes stretched wide open, “Yes sir!” she returned as she flipped two switches. A resonating hum emanated from the ship, and a voice inside the cockpit chimed out, “Weapons live”. Priya, finally taking notice of everything commented, “Our ships are going to talk to us now. That’s just lovely.” Amie grinned as she grasped the control and squeezed the trigger once. Instantaneously the gun ports flashed open releasing two brilliant blue bolts of what looked to be pure energy. They traversed through the energy screen and off into space as the gun ports flashed closed. Solomon was the first to give his opinion, “Great god of Joryan ingenuity, Laser Cannons? I thought due to heat buildup and energy requirements that was next to impossible.” Tarvon grinned at Solomon and simply stated, “Not anymore”

Tarvon segued into an explanation of the discovery of a new type of crystal that allowed the creation of the weapons system. He was genuinely proud of all the work that went into it. Those listening nearly fell asleep with the exception of Pheny. Between Tarvon's explanation and trying to wrestle Amie out of the cockpit of the new fighter almost an hour had passed. Tarvon guided the group to Trinity’s mess hall for dinner. It was a nice change from the military rations they had been eating for the last 2 days on the freighter, not to mention that getting a meal cooked by a chef is especially rare. When dinner was over Tarvon stood and spoke, “I have one final surprise for you, follow me.”

Tarvon led them towards the rear of the ship. The Gleaming corridors began to give way to bare girders and industrial catwalks. They had clearly entered the engine compartment, and below them about twenty meters sat a massive unit of metal with a brightly glowing, and pulsing core to it. Most capital ships in the fleet were nuclear cored with ion drives, but this was something completely different. They continued on the catwalk over the core to a set of doors that appeared to be heavily armored. The entry procedure wasn’t simply a palm scan here. Retina scanning and voice print authorization were added. Whatever was in here was extremely important.

Entering the room nearly felt like entering a closet. There were no digiholo displays or crew stations. It looked much like a server farm with what appeared to be four people standing in front of four separate interfaces. This room seemed to bring Priya out of her sleep deprived stupor, as she was the first to comment. “Synthoids!” Priya exclaimed, “What could Synthoids possibly do that is so important to keep them in a broom closet with a retinal scanner?” she asked. Tarvon assumed that someone would pose that particular question and had a response already laid out, “These four synthoids are the key to travelling faster than the speed of light.”

Silence pervaded the room as everyone attempted to mentally process what they had just heard. Faster than light travel had been a goal of Pheny’s since she decided to focus on interstellar propulsion, until the war got in the way. Suddenly all the lights went out except for bright purple strips of light at the base of each wall and along the edges of the catwalk. “Someone didn’t pay their electric bill I see”, Solomon joked. Tarvon grabbed his comm unit, “Bridge, report.” A moment of silence before a member of the bridge crew replied, “A Volma ship has entered the sector on an intercept course. Chief ordered a quick quiet”. Tarvons eyes widened, “Damnit, this ship has the element of surprise, we can’t let it be discovered by them, not yet.” He shut down his communicator and turned to Pheny, “Well Captain, I was hoping to take the time to introduce you to the crew, but looks like you will have to take command a little earlier than anticipated.” Pheny straightened and looked at her team, “Solomon, Amie go hop in your fighters and wait for my orders, everyone else to the bridge with me.”

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Daniel Boguslawski

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