We emerged from the asteroid field near the 2km rock called Hubert’s Folly, which has a navigational beacon on it. As we reset course Maria reported that a vessel had emerged from shadow and was on a converging course at a distance of 30 km. An old pirate trick.
“She’s firing!” she yelled, and a few seconds later a salvo of rail gun darts pummelled into the Bleriot. We fealt the impact but fortunately the integrity of the ship held-Thank God for the Russian Mafia and their ship armour.
“Action Stations!” I yelled, and people tumbled from whatever they were doing to the turrets and consoles. Our speeds were identical but the nature and attitude of our converging courses gave us some possibility for manoeuvre. Dmitri managed to line up a shot which punctured the hull integrity, and their firing missed-possibly due to Maria messing with their targeting sensors. They turned and started to pull away, and we fired a couple of warning shots.
“We don’t want to harm you. Stand too Queen Anne”-we had ID’ed their transponder codes. We have you outgunned and we have more crew. Stand too I say!”
I put Laura in the Pilots couch and I went down to the M Drive in case we needed a temporary boost to the Bleriot’s manoeuvre speed.
“We’ve got their first shot recorded” said Vincent, “Technically they’re guilty of Piracy.”
“We want our cargo back. Return this and you won’t be harmed. Try to run and we’ll shoot.” I must have sounded convincing because they responded.
“There may have been a mix-up at the spaceport, but legally this cargo now belongs to us. Stealing it from us would constitute an Act of Piracy.”- this was the Captain, Mr. Klempp.
“Your unprovoked attack on us is recorded on both our logs” I responded, “ And as we weren’t expecting it we hadn’t depressurised or donned Vacc Suits. You could easily have depressurised our ship and killed us all. I’m quite happy to call the authorities on that basis. I’ll give you 5 minutes to discuss it. Run and we fire.”
They clicked off. They called back.
“Fine, take it.”
They slowed down and we matched airlocks and sent a docking tube across. Laura and Maria tooled up and headed for their bridge. The others manoeuvred their cargo from their access ramp and into ours, with the help of the cargo drones we’d hired at Solaris, and cargo thrusters units. The process took about 5 hours.
They weren’t happy but what could they do? We put them in a corner and instructed the security Drone to shoot anyone who moved. Laura and Maria would probably have done so anyway. As a parthian shot Laura sprayed their comms unit with smg fire. She’s like that.