Forsaken Worlds: A Brewing Storm
A short story prequel to The Strain of Hope
By A.D. Shrum
Captain Sara Falconer considered it best the folks on the borderworlds didn’t know how their drugstores got stocked. Knowing pirates liberated the medicine from the Banner of Galactic Peace would put them in a moral quandary. Sara, on the other hand, had put that quandary to rest ages ago, so she gladly managed their supply chain.
The young, raven-haired captain entered the Rosebud’s modest bridge and checked the long-range scanners. Their target had left Lagune’s orbit and had begun a slow approach to the Jumpgate.
She brought her wristcom up. “Mboku, it’s time. I need you on the bridge.”
After a few seconds, she finally got a groggy acknowledgment. She must have caught him napping. Now if they could manage to do the same with the Banner medical frigate, this heist would go well.
Her dark-skinned pilot arrived and took his seat on the small bridge. Though properly dressed in his crimson uniform, his eyes were a little glassy and his normally shaved head had the slightest bit of stubble. After tapping a few keys, an intercept trajectory displayed on-screen.
“Course plotted, Sara. We can start when David’s ready with the Stormcrow.”
“Good.” Sara pulled up her wristcom again. “David, are you ready?”
“Heh, I love playing with my latest toys,” her engineer responded.
“Is that a ‘yes’?” Sara didn’t mind the crew having fun, but when a mission had started, she expected clear communication.
“Yes, Captain,” he replied in a somewhat deflated tone of voice.
“Okay, go ahead.” Sara finally sat at the sensor terminal and pulled up a monitor of the electromagnetic signals emitted by David’s machine. The “Stormcrow,” as he’d taken to calling it, suitably mimicked the electrical storm interference common in the Lagune system. Because of the extreme dangers of travel without adequate sensor coverage, standard procedure was for Banner ships to slow to maneuvering speed until the sensors recovered. A sensor-scrambling “storm” thus provided cover for the Rosebud while increasing the vulnerability of its target.
Sara’s terminal lit up with a broad spectrum of frequencies.
“Dial it back a bit, David. Anything that intense would have a visual cue, and we don’t want them getting suspicious.”
David agreed and the signal interference dimmed to a technically dangerous but not obviously hazardous level.
Sara confirmed the medical frigate’s speed reduction. This would require an update to their planned interception.
“Already compensating. Now twenty-two minutes to intercept.”
“Good. Alright, take us in. Caesar, Ivan, Dani, gear up and meet me in the airlock in fifteen.”
The Rosebud’s drive core hummed as the vessel lurched off of its hiding place on the lunar surface and began its pursuit.