INT – Day – Bridge of the HMS Hussein
The captain sits in his raised command chair, brooding.
Sensor Tech: Sir, I think I found them!
Hussein Capt: On the main screen!
A diagram showing the sun, a half dozen planets, an icon for the HMS Hussein (with a vector arrow attached to it pointing away from the fourth planet, inward toward inner planets, and there is a matching planet on the same orbital ring about a third of the way around the side of the star), and an icon for the suspected Tajemnica, with a shorter vector arrow pointing away from them, inward across the system, with dotted lines showing expected future courses. The Hussein is a long ways away, but much faster.
In the lower right of the screen a data box pops up. It reads
Name: No Data
Class: No Data
Registered: No Data
Sensor tech: They obviously reset it. Nothing else in the area has anything that doesn’t register as known and verified.
Hussein Capt: Navigation, any chance they can transition before we get there?
Nav Tech: Not likely, sir. Acceleration barely two.
Sensor tech: Looks like a two-drive Sokolov calliope. We can do more than three times that. The interceptors five.
Hussein Capt: (smiling with evil glee) They can run, but not fast enough.
Then the data displayed in the screen box changes. The “No Data” disappears, and in its place:
Registered: Once upon a time, somewhere, someone knew me
Now the captain snorts in derision.
Hussein Capt: So, the jokers think they have a sense of humor, eh. Well. Joke’s on them. We know who you are, now, for sure! Lay an intercept course! Get ready to launch when we are 8 hours away, unless it looks like they manage to get a little more acceleration under themselves. You can run, little freighter, but you can’t hide… you can’t hide.
INT – DAY – Tajemnica Bridge
Helton, Bipasha, Kaushik, Lag, Allonia, and Cooper are there.
On the main display screen is a diagram of their situation. There are icons for Tajemnica, the HMS Hussein, and close to her a small icon with a “4” next to it, and a series of various arcs this way and that, all of which converge at one point or another. Near the edge of one side of the display is a red line labeled “transition.” Not to far from it is a small moon, and on the top a large circle labeled “gas giant.”
Helton: Damn. Those interceptors will get to us before we can transition.
Bipasha: Can’t we hide behind that moon?
Cooper: Nope. That’s the one that surprised us on the way in.
Helton: Yeah, we should avoid it if we can.
Kaushik: What’s the exclusion zone look like?
On the display a circle appears around the moon.
Helton: Hmmm… Not too bad. Maybe we could curve around behind it – we are going slower, so we can make a sharper turn. They’d have to decelerate to get around it. Then they’d have to rumble us at a much slower speed.
Cooper: Fast pass at high acceleration and set up a drive field interference problem that would make us shake and vibrate. You can break engines that way if you’re not careful.
Lag: That wouldn’t be very smart – we have a lot more mass than they do. I’d do a radio threat and missiles, not a rumble. This thing’s drives are set up more like a tug than a racer.
Helton: You said you worked here a while back. Think they are smart enough to know that?
Lag: Good point… Likely not. Give an asshole yokel the best equipment in the system, and he’s still an asshole yokel, regardless of rank and name. They’d want to show off their new toys. I think you are right, they ARE likely to try to rumble us.
Helton: Plot a curve behind that moon, make them slow down a bit, or else they’d overshoot going too fast, and have no choice but launch at us, and I’m sure they’d like to get their ammo back cleanly to sell again, and missiles are SO messy. But not TOO close. It buys a bit of time.
Stenson and his crew are working frantically on the drives trying get them going.
Stenson: -Another hour. More for even the fastest of testing.
Helton: Look, we don’t HAVE that much time.
Stenson: The Sokolovs are moving us. We have to shut them down to spin up the Harmons, and that change is going to take a couple of minutes MINIMUM, if everything is perfect on the first try. Synchronizing will take more time.
Helton: We don’t have any guns, missiles, beams, or ANYTHING offensive. We only HAVE running and a shit-load of extra mass, with no time to dump it! We NEED those drives up!
Stenson: Working as fast as I can, but I’m not a miracle worker!
Helton: We only have-
Helton suddenly freezes and gets a thoughtful look.
Helton: You said this thing has tough armor. How tough?
Stenson: Not going to stop a contact hit from a heavy anti-ship missile, I wouldn’t think.
Helton: How about a collision at moderate speed?
Helton: I think they’re going to rumble us. How fast could you invert and cycle the drive fields?
Stenson: It’d take – wait. (suddenly incredulous) NO! You CANNOT be SERIOUS! With enough velocity a used tampon would blow a bloody big hole in a ship, and those are sixty-ton interceptors!
Helton: They’ll have to slow down to make the turn around the moon, and move slow enough they don’t break their OWN drives rumbling us.
Stenson: Dammit, Helton! This is a starship, not a hockey-player!
Helton: You said it’s the toughest warship hull ever built. Time to find out just what that means. How long?
Stenson: (tired and frustrated) Aw, crap, I don’t know. I’ll let you know what’s possible as soon as I know.
Helton: (mater-of-fact) No guns. No missiles. Can’t run. Nowhere to hide… No other option. Get it ready. We’ll only have one shot at it.