Episode 6: Family Standoff
As soon as my jump was complete I began a scan of the area and set up a new jump point. I looked around and recognized some of the planets nearby. Although I had not visited this region of the system often, I knew it well. This is where Starlance High Command is located. When the scans were complete, they confirmed my location. Further analysis indicated that the energy arc supercharging my ship had overloaded the jump drive. The extra juice made it overshoot my original target. “This could’ve been far worse”, I thought. All systems were at nominal levels, I decided to not overstay my welcome and dash away. A large sensor net, similar to the one near Proxima Centauri One, was active here. This one extended much further and covered a very large portion of this region. No doubt they had already detected my arrival. I haven’t detected any patrols nearby, so it is possible I can give them the slip. The nearest jump point is pretty far, but at full speed I should be safe, or so I thought.
“Unidentified ship, you are trespassing on Starlance High Command. You are to stand down. Your ship will be towed to space dock and you will be put under our custody”, such was the usual message they sent over. I started tapping into random communications to keep track of enemy movement. Then, I heard it.
“All units, this is Captain Greer. Squad up and meet at the target’s coordinates. He won’t escape this time”
My sister, ever pleasant and highly influenced by father, was on her way. She would either capture or kill me. Knowing her, capturing me would give her a chance to gloat. I am not going to give her that satisfaction. Engines at max, time to go. In all, four squadrons were on my tail. Two of them had adjusted their approach to try and pinch me at a specific position. I know their tactics. So I let them try.
Ships on the left and right, a few more from above and below, and two squadrons behind me. They were fast. The Star Shadow had a lot of modifications, but even so they had the upper hand. I had loaded the ship with a large payload of munitions for the battle against the Supremacy Cruiser, this too had an impact on my overall speed. Naturally I would let loose all the fury of the Star Shadow. The enemy fighters were holding me back from the jump point and helping the squadrons behind me catch up. At the cost of many of their fighters, the squadrons had almost arrived when a communication arrived.
“Hello brother, are you going to murder me the same way you’ve murdered countless others who were once your comrades?”, the voice seemed familiar. It wasn’t Anabelle though.
“It seems I was bound to meet up with you at some point, Marina”
“I’m glad you still remember me, being the forgetful little brother you are”
“I can’t promise I’ll go easy on you. Afterall you’re part of that organization that continues to repress these systems”
“I am only following orders. If you come quietly I’ll even vouch for you”
“Sure, and Anaballe will have nothing to say about that. I’d rather continue to draw father’s ire”
“Adrian, little brother, refusing Marina’s help might be the last thing you do”, now that voice I recognized easily. It was Anabelle. “Stand down Adrian, I won’t ask again”, it was likely she is leading one of the squadrons approaching from the rear.
“Sorry dear sisters, I feel I have to disappoint you again”, my ship was really close to the jump point now. I would have to continue to maneuver carefully to reach it without them noticing. My hatred for my father was one thing. He turned this family into this nightmare of combat obsessed people. I switched my weaponry to enable disabling of electronic systems. Despite my anger at father, I still decided against killing my siblings.
I disabled most of the ships that were still pursuing me. The only ones still too far were the squadrons behind me. Anabelle continued her threats to capture me, but by the time she was close enough to fire, I was ready to jump.
“Sorry sis, we will have to talk again some other day”
“Adrian you coward! Get back here!”
That was the last I heard as my ship disappeared from the sector and reappeared in another. Once again, I scanned the region to make sure I was at a safe location. No ships nearby. I was safe. After several additional jumps I was back home. Every ship leaves a small energy imprint at its jump location. I always made sure to leave hidden traces throughout the system in order to fool any Starlance observer drones. Larger ships had a more difficult time. The larger the mass, the more time it takes to make a jump. All the science and engineering behind jump drives was always a fascinating thing to explore. Sadly Starlance and all the conflict it has promoted has driven me to continue being a soldier.
I settled into my chair and desk. The monitor in front of me marked various messages that had arrived through the usual encoded channels. Mara, Patricia and even Ivanov were asking my whereabouts and whether I was fine or not. Feeling that they cared about my wellbeing was nice. It gives me strength to continue the fight. I prepared an answer and sent it through a secure channel. I think I need some time off after all that.