Captain’s Journey is an ongoing story following the exploits of Captain Jaxx. This is the twelfth episode. If you are new to the story, you should start here.

***

I stand before the ship in the cavernous hangar bay enveloped in silence. The only visible witness to what is occurring are the actinic lights that bathe the ship and I.

“So Chikara, have you made a decision?”

The silence following my question seems to last an eternity. My need for an answer is so strong that what takes seconds to pass seems like forever.

“Yes, I have. I would like to travel with you Jaxx. The risks that come with this partnership are great but the adventures and exposure to new experiences easily outweigh them.”

“Good! then let’s finish what we started yesterday and get off this rock and see what we are capable of!”

I stride aboard Chikara. The sensations are expected and come much easier the second time around. Instead of a tool to be mastered, he is a partnered to be understood and supported. I gather up the information on his schematics and copy them to my quarters terminal for perusal offline when I have a full crew. I drop lightly into the the Captain’s chair overlooking the small bridge and watch as all the systems come alive.

I process the various pre-launch operations and find a piece of interesting data. Under the manifest for the ship, I see listed a large quantity of Quarium.

“Hey! I see we payload on board. I don’t see any specific orders attached to it. Would you care to enlighten me as to the nature of this discovery?”

“The Kossun have provided it for you Jaxx. They said that once we return to human space, you will discover all the resources that you have hidden away have been discovered over the past year. You have no base to start from. The need for Quarium is still large so the value of it on the black market is large. They trust that you will sell it to the least disreputable customer to fund your endeavors. They have also encoded into my systems enough credits to pay docking fees and other living requirements until you are able to move the payload.”

I quickly check the accounts record. I didn’t think they required perusal as they should be empty and am pleasantly surprised by the further largess of my benefactors. There are enough standard credits to get us started at Down Below Station and give me a month to move the Quarium. I file this away for later consideration. The need to get aloft and out into the black is looming large on my horizon. My knees bob in anticipation and my hands flutter about the console before me trying to speed the process up through sheer expulsion of energy.

The comms light up and I route it to the full bridge.

“Chikara, This is Zenith. Atmosphere and Voldun space are clear. You are clear for launch.”

A Quick consultation with Chikara lets me know what the appropriate response for this situation.

“Thank you Zenith. All systems are green. Requesting Hangar Theta clearance codes for departure.”

The codes flicker to life on my comms, alien script that makes no sense to me but are quickly executed by Chikara. The initial flight plan contained within includes a series of jumps designed to put some distance between the kossun and us before we head back into human space. From the level of privacy that I’ve been given since I’ve been ambulatory and them clearing the entire sky for my departure, this makes complete sense.

My skin tingles as the gravitic drives come on line an we begin our flight. I lean forward in the pilot’s seat and have my palms resting lightly on the console before me. Chikara processes the commands from the  departure codes and we lift off without a hitch. The view screen displays the same alien vista that I have seen before except that I can now see the city that was behind my habitation. The buildings sparkle like diamonds under the twin suns.  Yellows, blues, and greens glitter across my screen as we make our progress toward our apogee.

The sight is breathtaking.

The feeling of the ship leaving atmosphere is electrifying and followed by another wondrous site, Zenith. The kossun stations looms large as we glide by. It’s graceful arcs and and angles glitter in the blackness. Where the city was breathtaking in its beauty, this is awe-inspiring. Swarms of smaller vehicles circle tightly around it with energy arcing between all of them. It easily leaps to my mind that this is more than a station, it is an elegant weapon designed to protect them from all outward concerns. A shiver runs down my spine as we pass beyond the orbit of Zenith and head out into the system to make our first jump.

“Let me handle the jump Chikara. The course is already provided and the destination is clear. All I have to do is lean into the Tesla drive and punch us through slipspace. Easy!”

“It is all yours Jaxx.”

I feel jump control slide into my consciousness. I pick up the thread of power coming from the Tesla drive and lean into it, directing it to the rift generator. The hole through slip space quickly envelopes the she shipe. We leave the kossun system for parts unknown.

Alarms go off as we enter the new system. Chikara takes control and wheels us out of the path of two ships. The configurations are alien to me as I have never been to this sector before but it is obvious that a pursuit is occurring. While he handles manuvering I flip open communications and turn on the translator. Two message are loud and clear.

“Unknown ship, Please assist! We are under assault by Batraxian pirates. We repeat, Please assist!”

“This is not your fight. Stay on your current heading and we have no quarrel with you. If you deviate from your course we will assume you hostile and reduce you to atoms. this is your only warning.”

“Well fuck, I think we could use a good fight!”

 

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