So I wrote this

A bit rough, but I like it so far.

    "They uh...they managed to get a distress signal off before we jammed their comms, Captain." The young crewman reported, staring down at what had to be the most interesting deck plate in all of the universe. Anything was better than those eyes and the soft whirring sound they made as they focused and unfocused. The man sitting in the command chair didn't respond at first, instead removing a piece of fuzz from his jacket. When he did speak, his voice lacked malice, but with a hint of steel below the surface.

    "Well, That is...most unfortunate. For them." He pushed himself out of the seat and turned to his communications officer. "Call Sergei. Tell him to finish offloading what he has from the freighter and return to the ship. After he kills the crew."

    "Aye." The balding, middle-aged pirate responded with a nod.

    "Now, who was assigned to man the electronics? Abdul? Yes, Abdul." The Captain muttered to no one but himself. Looking to the other end of the bridge, his voice took a more melodic tone. "Abdul, my good man!"

    Down on the other end, a man dressed in a simple t-shirt and pants stiffened slightly as he turned towards the voice. Everyone around him pretended not to notice the few beads on sweat on his ebony forehead. "Yes, my Captain?"

    "You were supposed to jam that little tramp freighter's communications network, right?" The Captain asked, emphasizing each syllable in the word communications.

    "Right."

    "Right! So why didn't you do it sooner? They managed to shoot off a call for help, you know."

    "They were quick, sir, damn quick and I couldn't cut them off in time."

    "Ah, quick, quick, quick, quick as a cat!" The Captain chuckled to himself. "Well, you know what they say, Abdul?"

    "No sir, what?"

    "They say you're either quick," The Captain paused, then with a speed that was simply inhuman, he had his blaster out of its holster and drilled the unfortunate electronics man in the head with one shot. "Or you're dead."

    Silence reigned on the bridge, no one dared look at either their Captain or the crewmate he just killed. For his part, the former let his raised arm linger before lowering it back down, the servos whirring as he holstered the gun. Abdul was a good man, one of the best of his crew, but his inaction cost them valuable loot and endangered the ship if the wrong kinds of people intercepted that signal. He clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth for a few moments, as he was wont to do, then spoke.

    "Burke, would you be a doll and send a message down to Yoshi? I feel we may need his newest toy."

    "Aye."

    The Captain dropped back into the chair, crossed his legs and began humming a jaunty tune.


    Captain Khaled Omari stared out of the window (actually a form of transparent titanium) in awe. Despite his decades of naval service, the beauty of space still struck him. Unfortunately, his reverence was interrupted by the sudden beeping of his communicator. Without taking his eyes off a distant nebula, he reached down to the box clipped to his belt and pressed a button.

    "What is it?"

    "Sorry to interrupt your prayers, captain, but communications has picked up a message - a distress signal." Came the reply. If his XO's Spanish accent were any thicker, it would be viscous.

    "I'm on my way." Captain Omari clicked the voxx off and stood, stretching his limbs. He would liked to have stayed a few minutes longer, but duty called. Straightening his uniform and running a hand down his neatly trimmed beard, he turned and passed out the observation room, pausing only to order his aide to fold his prayer rug and return it to his quarters. The AWN Bucharest, a light cruiser, wasn't a large ship, so the trip to the bridge was short. The usual sounds of the ship's command center flowed out as Captain Omari entered and approached his XO, Commander Francisco Velasquez. The latter snapped off a salute.

    "What do we have, Frank?"

    "Partial distress signal, our comm officer says it was caught off at the source, jammed." The commander replied. He handed Omari a tablet with one hand and gesture to its display with the other. "All we got was 'We're under attack' and 'pirates'."

    Khaled examined the copy of the message. Most of it was scrambled gibberish, but the lieutenant manning the communications station had cleared up enough of it for his satisfaction. The transmission originated from a bulk freighter in the Kelmar Nebula, an area rife with piracy in recent years. He raised his eyes at Velasquez and spoke two words. "General quarters."

    The reaction was immediate. The Spaniard nodded, stiffened and bellowed. "GENERAL QUARTERS!" Lights switched to red, the automated message blared over the intercoms and the captain dropped himself into his command chair.

    "Conn, set course for the source of the distress signal." He pressed a button on his armrest and opened a circuit to his marine commander. "Captain, I want your marines ready to go, we may have to retake a freighter and board a pirate ship."

    "Sir, yes sir. My boys will make those bandits rue today." Answered Captain Hannah Rice.

    "I had no doubts." Khaled replied before breaking the circuit. He looked over at the ensign manning the conn. "Are we ready?"

    "Yes, sir, course laid in, hyperjump engines primed to go."

    "Execute." He ordered and added privately. "And may god have mercy on those pirates."


    Transiting a hyperjump was nothing like what pilot Ensign Luanne Peppers saw in the old scifi vids she used to watch as a kid. There was no visual effects, the ship simply appeared at its destination in a blink of an eye. It was quite a disorienting effect on more terrestrial based naval cadets and required the academy to put them on jumpers - ships that did nothing but hyperjump - for two days straight in order to acclimate them.

    "Jump complete, Captain." She reported.

    "Tactical reports one enemy vessel, looks like an old Blackpool-class destroyer." Reported Velasquez. "Masers and particle cannons are locked and ready to fire."

    "I know it'll be pointless, but let's see if these scum are sensible enough to surrender, shall we, Lieutenant?" Captain Omari asked, looking over to the communications officer.

    "Aye, sir." The Turk opened an external circuit and spoke with a sharpness in his voice. "Pirate ship, this is the cruiser Buchacrest. We order you to stand to and surrender. Respond."

    Nothing.

    "Resend, final warning."

    "Aye, sir. Pirate ship, you are ordered to stand to and surrender. This is your final warning. Respond."

    Nothing.

    "Captain," came the voice of the tactical officer. "They've raised shields and reoriented to point on to us."

    "Their weapons systems?"

    The Lieutenant Commander shook his head. "No activity. They might be planning a feint and run. Their ship can't stand up to ours."

    Omari stroked his beard. "Well, we gave them their chance. Tactical, fire masers."

    "Yes, sir!" The LCDR answered with more than a bit of cheer in his voice as he pressed the fire button. Three laser beams lanced out from their emitters and struck the bow of the opposing vessel. The latter's shields flared in brilliant purples and blues, but held, a fact that shocked those on the bridge of the Bucharest.

    "Their...Captain, I'm not sure how, but their shields are holding."

    "What!?" Omari and Velasquez said in unison, snapping their heads between the tactical station and the view screen.

    "I'm as puzzled are you are, sirs. That should have punched through their shields and wrecked their hull. Their shields are at thirty percent, so another shot should do--Oh what the hell!?"

    "Report!"

    "Power to their forward shields is rising, it's already up to fifty, no wait, sixty percent!"

    Commander Francisco Velasquez stared at the screen, stroking his mustache as he did when thinking. "I think, we have underestimated them. They are a crafty lot."

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