Elara pulled the trigger and with flash the last one had fallen. I watched as my crew fought with what few weapons we had and one-by-one they fell, but not Elara. She was our captain and as it turned out, she was our one-woman army as well. The creatures that boarded our ship didn’t stand a chance. As they hit the ground they dissolved into a liquid metal which quickly hardened. When we thought it was all over, that’s when the ship was ripped apart.
It was just the two of us and I was injured, as you saw. So instead of leaving me to die Elara sealed the cargo hold and told me to hang on while she tried to regain control of the ship. She tried, for a moment I could see space move, but the sound of tearing metal echoed inside the cargo-hold and soon the inevitable happened. I watched as the front of the ship was towed by the pirate ship and eventually collected. Whoever they were they were intent on stealing something, so much so they would steal the whole ship to get it. The line reeled the helm in and soon the pirate space-ship vanished into hyper light.
“And how long ago was this, Sutio?” Troki asked me.
“Hours ago…close to ten, why?” I asked.
“If you have the strength, come see for yourself.”
Troki led me to the helm and scanned empty space before pointing out something to me. I followed his finger and noticed nothing out of the ordinary. Stars and a bright red planet peaked from the darkness, but then a slight distortion caught my eye. It was as if stars formed lines for a moment, but it was just residual force played upon the emptiness of space.
“That is what happens when a ship makes a jump,” Troki explained. “It may look like a heat surge, but in reality it is something akin to that of burnt off drive fuel. It is thick enough to spot even in space and from analyzing the direction and amount with a handy computer…”
Troki began adjusting dials until a basic 3D model appeared in one of the screens and sure enough you could find the direction. The effect was coned shape, the point of it indicating the perfect direction of the jump.
“…we can find out exactly where they left hyper-speed,” Troki explained.
I leaded against the wall, watching him work. It was something I had never seen done in my life and I was raised on a military space-ship. Troki began guiding the ship into position before letting the computer do the rest.
“Now tell me, what was your ship transporting?” Troki asked. I immediately felt tense, but I pushed that feeling away. The man saved my life, but there were some things he should not know.
“It was a shipment Yorve shards,” I explained. “They are very valuable min…”
“I know what they are, kid, but that isn’t valuable to a pirate. They took the helm, not the cargo bay otherwise it would be Elara in this ship and not you. Tell me what you kept of important in the front of the ship.”
“It…it had to have been…the credit packs…but there were tens of thousands of credits worth of…”
Troki stood up quickly and I immediately backed away into the wall.
“I’m going to ask you one more time, Sutio, to tell the truth,” Troki hissed. “Or, despite my efforts to keep you alive, I will send you on short space-walk without a helmet.”
“Weaponry. It was military grade modules and weaponry that we stored in the helm,” I told him truthfully. “We were smuggling them to a Nexus-23 to be sold underground.”
“Now that makes more sense,” Troki nodded. “And what I found most interesting is that the pirates knew it wasn’t stored in the cargo bay, but in the front of the ship as well.”
“Are you suggesting there was a rat onboard?”
“No, it is clear there was, but I think you are so green, it could not have been you.”
“It is possible.”
“But that would mean she was killing her own crewmates?”
“Pirates, Sutio. Less crewmates in the ship means a bigger cut and I find it highly suspicious that a trader captain was so skilled with a gun and despite that skill, was never focused by the enemy.”
“I…I highly doubt it…”
Troki brought up a hologram and waved it towards me. It was listing of the most well-known pirates in the universe. What caught my eye next was Troki’s face appearing on the list at the fourth rank. Troki stared at me through the hologram and I stared back with a new found fear.
“Look for her face, Sutio,” Troki ordered. “If we’re lucky she might not have used a mask while serving.”
Troki sat back down at the captain’s seat and pulled a lever down. The ship was now surrounded with the brightest lights as we reached light-speed. I wished I would have found out he was a pirate before light-speed, might have had a chance to escape in a pod. The fact he only told me now is because he wants me to make a decision. Do I do as he says or do I become a problem to be removed?
Hesitantly I took the hologram in hand and began scrolling through it. Troki turned away and focused on the ships readings, although I had no doubt if I had jumped him he would end me in a moment. Still, he did save me, so my best option is to ride this out till I can get back to a city or station of some kind.
The face flashed past me quickly, but there didn’t seem to be anyone that I recognized. I was feeling more confident in Elara just being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but then I spotted her name. The face didn’t match by the build did. Troki noticed me pausing and snatched the hologram from me, selecting Elara.
An image of her appeared along with the model of the ship she commanded,
“Is this her?” Troki asked.
“The build is right, but the face different,” I murmured staring at the cold face of Elara, her eyes a solid acid green colour. “That ship is definitely the one that attacked us…”
Troki tapped my shoulder and I jumped. He held me fast with an iron grip and point back out into space. We had left light-speed and not too far away was the recognizable speck of a ship, heading straight towards the closest planet.
“Rank 47…” Troki read as set the ships course for that of Elara’s ship. “Colour me interested.”