ALTAIR FEB 1 - CAPITAL BUILDING
Looking down at the reports on the table in front of her, one caught her eye, 'Impulse Drive Technology acquired'. The Groundbreaking discovery of Impulse technology held little meaning to Syriana now..."What need of it do we have now...", she murmured to herself quietly. After the disappearance of the Retribution, the rebellion was left with no ship in which to install the new drive technology.
The Defense Ministry had tried to suppress the knowledge of Drengin activity in this quadrant from the general public but the word had got out, how didn't matter, not now, but it did not have the affect that Syriana and her cabinet had thought it would. Expecting fear and rioting, her people's strength and resolve was the only happiness she was able to gleam from the nightmare that was the past week. The spirit and determination of her fellow Altairans made her proud, their vow to do all they can to live out whatever days they have left to their fullest, free from fear, was the strength that kept her getting up in the mornings.
Professor Zornan had never faulted either. He pushed himself and his team to the point of breaking, but they failed to waiver. Progress had been made in many areas due to the extraordinary abilities of the newly discovered ancient library and the breakthroughs from the Technological Capital and it's labs.
"What good will it do with no way to use any of it..."
Startled by the words, Syriana did not even realize who had spoke. Lost in her thoughts she had forgot all about the Altairan Rebellion Cabinet meeting that she was in now. "oh.....nothing.....Where were we gentleman?"
Senior Transport Adviser Tmlas one of Altairs most elderly citizens spoke up, "Premier...i was laying out plans for an evacuation of Altair. We need at least 18 months to even beg..."
"OUT OF THE QUESTION!" bellowed Vladz, General of the Rebellions fledgling Armed Legion, "We fight!". A roar of support from the Generals staff and from more than a few cabinet members soon drowned out the elderly Tmlas's argument.
Bringing the room to order Syriana said, "There is nothing more i would like then to fight, believe me, and if the odds were not so heavily against us, i indeed would stay and fight for our lives. But with no ships to speak of and little manufacturing output, we could do very little, but die honorably. If there is a chance we can survive we must take it."
Turning to the StarYard Commander she continued, "The Orbital Construction Platform, is it near completion commander?"
"We are within days of launching it Premier" the commander reported. Syriana turned to Professor Zornan, "could we install the new Impulse Drive into the platform within one week Professor, if so we may be able to place some form of listening post in this system to alert us of any Drengin approach...."
"Premier, i believe we could do just that, and more. We have some orbital Military arrays that i believe we can use to build a small star base. It would be powerless to defend itself but the boost in range of our sensor capabilities would indeed give us advance warning of any Drengin activity in this sector. Our main concern though is power generation, and although i do have a power source in mind, i'm not so sure you will like it."
"There is little I like these days professor, what did you have in mind?" Syriana eyed the professor wondering what could he possibly have in mind that could be any worse than what was already happening to them.
Warily, the Professor continued, "There is a stable fusion mass that i believe we can mine to power our reactors, there would be some technical issue's to overcome but i am optimistic that we could do it."
Syriana felt a small glimmer of hope rise within her, "sounds risky but worth it Professor, what's the catch?"
"The fusion mass is located in Sector 22 Premier, and as you know, that is where we believe......"
Syriana cut him off, "Yes...yes, i know...the Drengin."
SECTOR 22, GAMMA 4 - FEB 8
After threatening to resign his position if not allowed to accompany the Construction Platform, Professor Zornan was going over the reactor details when his viewscreen flashed, "Professor, we are approaching the fusion mass."
"Understood Commander, on my way."
On the makeshift bridge, Construction Foreman Folt broke the connection and spoke to his sensor officer, "Are we still undetected Ammn?" He knew he asked that question constantly but the sensor tech showed no annoyance, "Best of my knowledge Captain...sorry..Boss." As he was in command of a uncommissioned ship, Folt was not entitled to the rank of Captain. "..as our power is so low as to avoid detection i cannot be sure, Boss... I could make a full power sweep but we risk....."
The Professor had just stepped onto the bridge, "If we are detected now we lose all possible chance of completing our mission"....
"The Professor is right, we can can close in on the mass by following it's radiation signal." Folt may not be a Captain but he was no fool...
"Just like following bread crumbs eh boss?"
Theorized his helmsman "A crude interpretation, but yes...exactly" Zornan said.
He went on, "And the closer we can stay to the Nibel Pulsar, better the chance we have of avoiding the Drengin sensors too. The pulsar's erratic radio signals should make any ship in close proximity nearly undetectable."
Approaching the fusion mass at minimal power, Folt kept one eye on the sensor screen and the other on the network signals.."What was that?...Professor, take a look at this....comms, go back 15 seconds..."
"Kula dretz est thrawa lu..."
Folt reacted immediately, "Kill main power now! Give me life support, sensors and impulse...shut everything else down now.....they're out there..."
Silence fell on the bridge, no-one had even moved a muscle since hearing the muffled voice of a Drengin, "what bearing was that from..." "Bearing two-thr...It's the fusion mass Boss"
Staring at the screen in silence Folt had no clue of what to do next...
"I'm picking up a second signal Boss, coming from....from the pulsar....It's on one of our frequency's, but it's badly corrupted" Folt looked over at Professor, Zornan shrugged his shoulders and said " the pulsar could be interfering with the signal....." The comms officer went on, "Speaker only Boss"
".....form, Construction Platform. I repeat, shut down your engines and hold on tight!"
Before Folt could respond the signal disappeared only to be replaced with a hissing static....Folt looked over at the professor who said one word, "Jamming".
Looking out the main view port, Folt and Zornan were straining to see something they were not sure they had any clue as to what it was. Only Folk could hear the Professor when he said,
"Somewhere out there are the Drengin...and...something else.."
Folt looked at him, "Where is the Fusion Mass, is it in visual range?"
One step ahead of him Zornan was already reaching for the oculars, " Sure is, about 15 degrees to the left of center, you should see what looks like a glowing red star...here" Zornan passed the oculars to Folt and as he was bringing them to his eyes a blinding flash took his vision away followed by a blast wave that knocked everyone off their feet.
Before anyone could react the blast wave was past them and the platform started to settle. Scrambling to his feet, Folt screamed at his crew,
"Get me sensors and engines online now and make a full sensor sweep as soon as you can..."
"Engines online Boss" "Sensors powering up, sweep will commence in 1 minute Boss" Folt's crew though not recognized as such were trained well and knew their jobs, more mechanic than ship crew they were performing flawlessly. As he gathered himself together he felt uneasy though, he had a good crew, but with no weapons, no shielding and little armor heading forward might not have been the best idea, especially considering that whatever lay in front of them was looking more and more like a battle zone. Uneasy or not they had to find out what happened.
"Give me 50% power to the impulse engines and take us in" Folt ordered.
A moment later the sensor tech officer had the sensor report, "No contacts Boss, there is no sign of the Drengin or...anyone else."
Folt looked over at his comms officer, "Anything on the network?"
"Nothing Boss, just static from the pulsar, that jamming has ceased too"
"Approaching the Fusion Mass now Boss." The helmsman chimned in.
Zornan rushed over to the sensor tech, "Is it fluctuating, check the radiation levels...." He turned to look out the view port.
As they came into range all that could be seen was wreckage...Drengin wreckage. Zornan spoke first, "were they building their own mining facility...i wond"
Cutting him off the sensor tech shouted,
"Contact!, i have a contact bearing....its coming from the pulsar...approaching slowly Boss."
"Raise them on the network immediately" said Folt.
Over the network Folt demanded,
"Who is out there...forget that....what happened to the Drengin!!"
For a few moments there was silence and then the viewscreen flashed and the glowing red fusion mass and the Drengin wreckage were replaced with the image of a very tired looking woman wearing a Captain's uniform.